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tical, in the plane of the prime vertical, at the same place; third, correction to the equatorial radius of the reference spheroid; and, last, the correction to its compression.

In the combination of conditional equations arising from observations of a different nature, the question or their relative weights must be considered. In the present case, four assumptions were made and the consequent normal equations solved, viz.: for equal weights, for weights, for weights one-half, one-third, and onefourth to the azimuth equations, the latter being necessarily inferior to the equations derived from latitudes and longitudes. A comparison of these four results showed that it was of small consequence which of these hypotheses was finally adopted, since the corrections to the equatorial radius of the reference spheroid were practically the same for any of these hypotheses, and nearly the same could be said of the resulting compressions. The weight one-third to each of the azimuth equations was finally decided upon, and the resulting dimensions of an osculating spheroid were found to be: Equatorial radius, 6,378,157 ± 90 metres; compres

sion, 1/304.5 ± 1.9. The equatorial radius, therefore, differs but forty-nine metres from Clarke's value of 1,866 adopted on the Survey, while the Besselian value is apparently too small by eight hundred and nine metres. On the other hand, the compression or the ratio of the difference of the equatorial and polar semi-axes to the former is in favor of Bessel's spheroid, of which the compression is 1/299.2; that is, one more closely approaching a sphere.

In the present state of our knowledge there is no reason to suppose that the curvature of the northern part of America differs any more from that of a general spheroid derived from arcs of all kinds so far measured than local ones in either hemisphere differ among themselves. A comparison of a number of such locally adopted spheroids will bring to evidence the local deformities in the shape of the earth's equilibrium surface and furnishes the geodesists endless material for the study of the earth's actual figure.

The manuscript concludes with a comparative table of the dimensions of several spheroids which of late have come more into prominence. It is as follows:

Spheroid of

Bessel, 1841. From ten arcs of the meridian and total amplitude 50° 34'. Clarke, 1858. Special spheroid for sur face of Great Britain and Ireland; range of latitude 12°, the same in longitude; seventy five astronomic stations Clarke, 1866. From five meridional arcs, of total amplitude 76° 35'.. Clarke, 1880. From five meridional arcs and longitudinal measures, total ampli. tude 88° 59.8' (equatorial degrees).. United States Coast and Geodetic Survey. 1900. Eastern oblique arc of the United States; total length, 23° 31', and eightyfour astronomic stations

Harkness. 1891. From "The Solar Parallax and Related Constants," Washington, 1891, p. 138. From a variety of

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N. B. The indicates probable errors.


R. DONALDSON SMITH has returned to Philadelphia from a journey of 1,500 miles through Central Africa, from Berbera, on the Somali coast, to the Nile via Lakes Rudolf and Stephanie; the last half of the journey was over new country never before explored.

After considerable difficulties with the local officials, which involved the fitting out of three distinct expeditions, Dr. Smith started from Berbera on August I, 1899. Owing to the desertion of his Sikh followers, he began to cross the Haud with only seventeen Somalis and as many Gurkhas and Sikhs, besides his assistant, Mr. Frazer, and a Goarnese cook. The expedition marched by way of Milmil, Sesahane, and Sheneli to the Shebeli River, the followers being increased to forty-eight on the way. The Shebeli was reached on September 8th at a spot called Godi, over four hundred miles from Berbera by road, and on September 11th the expedition started west again, and between Gohulle and El Dere followed the line of march traversed by Dr. Smith in 1895.

In the first journey he saw the worst side of the Abyssinian method of annexation, but his more recent observations showed him that the Abyssinians' treatment of tribes once brought thoroughly to submission was commendable. In the first attacks the Abyssinians were certainly very cruel, but later they restored to the natives a large proportion of their belongings and very nearly their original self-government, only a moderate tax being imposed. From the Somalis to the Boran he was surprised to find the natives quite as rich apparently as they were before they came under Abyssinian rule.

Leaving El Dere, which is about equidistant (750 miles) from Berbera and the Nile, the expedition marched through

broken and

very wooded wooded country, abounding in elephants, and here the Somali followers gave much trouble. They were never satisfied unless they had over ten pounds of camel meat or mutton a day each, and when food was scarce Dr. Smith had to be on the alert constantly to prevent them from poisoning transport animals or stealing sheep. But the Somalis were not such miserable thieves as most of the Indians, and their superb physical condition, swift-footedness, endurance, and intelligence were remarkable. Of the nine Gurkhas four only were pure blooded, and these were among the best men in camp. But the others, with some of the Sikhs, continually tried to hide if the march were long, and had to be hunted up. Two who evaded the search parties were never heard of again.

After leaving Goff, the expedition reached an altitude of over 5,000 feet in the Boran highlands, when suddenly the caravan was brought to an abrupt halt by a precipice that sheered off almost perpendicularly to a broad plain 1,700 feet below. Five marches were occupied in crossing this plain, where Dr. Smith, obtained a specimen of a tiny gazelle which had been proved to be new to sci


On November 26th the valley of Lake Stephanie was entered, and here the expedition endured much hardship by the burning of the camp and the shortness of water, for the water of the lake was found to be so briny that it was undrinkable. Lake Rudolf was reached on December 10th. The formerly rich tribe of Rusia was found no longer to exist, and no human beings were seen until the river Nianam was reached.

A remarkable change in the fauna was now observed. Between the Nianam and the Nile there was not only a completely different set of birds, but scarcely any of

the mammalia were the same as had been found in the eastern section of the journey. On January 3d the Omo River was left behind. It was now found that as the expedition approached, the natives fled to the hills and seemed inclined to fight. They appeared to be a branch of the Turkana. One day a number of them attacked two of Dr. Smith's camelmen, and were only driven off by firing; but this was the only case of attempted hostilities on the whole journey.

After leaving the highlands and crossing at right angles the line of march of the late Captain Wellby, the Magois were encountered. They have the heavy build and large features, with high cheekbones, of the Soudanese, and, above all, the lines of raised tattooing on their cheeks that is so typical of the people about the Nile. Dr. Smith thinks it not unlikely that they are a branch of the Dinkas, who, perhaps being driven from the Sobat by the Neurs, put the desert between themselves and their persecutors. They seem to care principally for small red beads, and work them in gorgeous patterns on leather plaques, with which the warriors adorn their massive dead-dresses.

The most outré of our fashionable young men can never aspire to the height of collar worn by some of the Magois. Their collar of beads throws the chin high up in the air, and their locks are done up in a great chiffon, composed principally of clay covered with ostrich feathers. Parallel lines of raised tattooing on the chest and abdomen, leopards' skins hung over the back, and a bell hung on a slender cord around the waist help to enrich the men's apparel. They are the only people Dr. Smith has ever wearing a zebra's tail suspended from the elbows. Many of the younger girls have rather attractive features and pretty figures. The worst burden they have to carry in life seems to be the countless necklaces of beads which spread over


their bosoms to the waist, and the large bracelets and anklets of ivory, brass, and iron. Their hair is shaved above the ears and cut fairly close on the top of the head.

Contrary to the advice of these natives the expedition set out into the plain westward, and here they suffered much from the difficult ground and the scarcity of water, and many transport animals and much valuable baggage were lost. After searching for a better route for many days, a branch of the Magois calling themselves Katua were encountered, and Dr. Smith was surprised to find them. cow-worshippers, indulging in certain rites supposed to be peculiar to the Hindu religion. On reaching the most northern extension of the Uganda highlands on February 15th, the Akara were met with. Many of these natives were agriculturists as well as stock - raisers, and had substantial wooden dwellings. Villages were passed which might easily have contained 1,500 inhabitants. Dr. Smith secured at this stage of the journey the only specimens ever obtained of the spotted bushbuck. On March 2d Lockall was reached, and there Dr. Smith received a visit in state from King Amara, who commanded perhaps 25,000 warriors. Fort Berkeley was reached on March 14th last. As no steamers had come up, however, the followers of the expedition had to be sent down to Mombasa after waiting a month. But on May 5th a gunboat arrived and Dr. Smith and his collections were carried down to Cairo. That site was reached just ten months after the departure of the expedition from the Somali coast.

Dr. Donaldson Smith has not only thoroughly explored a large tract of Africa, but he has made a most valuable series of surveys and some very interesting collections. Dr. Smith has earned a very high position as an explorer of unknown countries, and deserves the warmest praise of geographers.

THE DUKE OF ABRUZZI. ing. It had been agreed when Cagni and

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the Duke separated that only those most enduring and competent should continue with Cagni on the march. The three were started back in good spirits, good health, and abundantly provided with provisions, but they were never heard from again. Captain Cagni believes that they must have fallen into a chasm and perished. Letters were left at Teplitz Bay with instructions for the men to proceed to Cape Flora. Provisions sufficient for twenty men for three years were also left with the letters and enough more for three men for four years at Cape Flora.

The preliminary report of the expedition recently published by the Duke of Abruzzi in the Italian Militare e Marina has added but little to the account already given in the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE (vol. xi., pp. 411-413). The advance of Cagni is especially remarkable for the speed which his party was able to maintain. For days they averaged 9.5 miles in twenty-four hours, a phenomenal rate of advance over polar ice and snow. Latitude 86° 33' was reached April 26th. No land was here in sight, nothing but ice in a state of thaw. Petermann's Land, which Payer believed he saw, did not exist where he stated or Cagni would surely have seen it early in his journey. The same must be true of King Oscar Land.

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practical control over Manchuria after the Chino-Japan war. The disturbances in this province during the past summer have shown the Russian Government that for a number of years the route through Manchuria is liable to be cut by bands of Chinese at any moment. Hence if there is to be regular railway service from St. Petersburg to the Pacific a safer route must be maintained. The northern route, which is a part of the original plan, follows the left bank of the Shilka and Amur Rivers and thus keeps entirely in Russian territory. It protects and is in turn protected by the line of Russian steamers and barges which regularly ply up and down the Shilka and Amur between Stretensk and Khabarovsk.



HE National Geographic Society announces the following lectures: "The Explorations and Missions of the Franciscan Fathers in Mexico," by J. Stanley-Brown, Friday, January 4th;

The Routes for an Isthmian Canal," by Arthur P. Davis, Friday, January 18th; "The Characteristics, Recent Progress, and Present Condition of Mexico," by Señor Dr. Don Juan N. Navarro, Mexican Consul-General at New York, Friday, February 1st. These lectures are held in the Congregational Church, at eight P.M. Technical meetings for the reading of papers and general discussion will also be held on the evenings of January 11th and 25th. The place of meeting and subjects will be announced later.

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and sound, and is as enthusiastic and vivid in his descriptions as ever. He reports that he has passed the summer, unmolested, in the vast Desert of Gobi.

It will be remembered that Sven Hedin went to Central Asia in August, 1899, purposing to stay three years there verifying and continuing the explorations he made in that region during 1893-1895. His narrative of those years, Through Asia, has been published in half a dozen languages, and has made him worldfamous as one of the great explorers of history, comparable to Marco Polo, von Richtofen, and Livingston.

Dr. Hedin writes that he has definitely located the original bed of the mysterious and shifting Lake Lobnor, about the location of which geographers have so long wrangled. Along the south end of the lake once ran the ancient caravan route from Central China westward, formerly thronged with camels carrying silk to the markets of the west. On the banks of Lake Lobnor were found the ruins of houses, temples, and watch-towers, evidently the remains of a city rich and prosperous 2,000 years ago. The rivers in that region are very perceptibly drying up at their southern ends, Dr. Hedin states, and growing bigger and bigger at the north. He concludes that the hydrographical system is moving toward the




HERE was no relaxation in the activity displayed by the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey in its surveying operations in Porto Rico during the summer of 1900. During the season thirty-six triangulation stations were occupied and one hundred and one geographical positions located. A base line was measured and an azimuth determined. Large scale surveys were made of the approaches and surroundings

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