The Spanish academy of sciences have announced the following subject for competition: “An experimental investigation and explanation of the theory of nitrification, the causes which most influence the production of this phenomenon, and the means most conducive in Spain to natural nitrification.” The prize, to be awarded in May 1851, is to be a gold medal and 6000 copper reals—about seventy pounds sterling; and a second similar medal will be given to the second best paper. The papers, written in Spanish or Latin, are to be sent in before the 1st May, with, as usual, the author’s name under seal.
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Improvements in the Telegraph.—The Presse gives some account of experiments made at the house of M. de Girardin, in Paris, with a new telegraphic dictionary, the invention of M. Gonon. Dispatches in French, English, Portuguese, Russian, and Latin, including proper names of men and places, and also figures, were transmitted and translated, says this account, with a rapidity and fidelity alike marvelous, by an officer who knew nothing of any one of the languages used except his own. Dots, commas, accents, and breaks were all in their places. This dictionary of M. Gonon is applicable alike to electric and aerial telegraphy, to transmissions by night and by day, to maritime and to military telegraphing. The same paper speaks of the great interest excited in the European capitals by the approaching experiment of submarine telegraphic communication between England and France. The wires, it says, on the English side are deposited and ready for laying down. It is probable that in a very few days the experiment will be complete.
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AUTHORS AND BOOKS.
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New Orleans as seen by A German prince is very naturally not quite the same city as in the opinion of her own pleasure-loving citizens, nor can the republic whose South-western metropolis is condemned with the rigidity of a merciless judge and the jaundice of an unfriendly traveler, hope to get clear of censure from the same super-royal pen. It seems that his serenest highness Major-General Duke Paul William, of Wirtemburg, is traveling in America, and that the Ausland, a weekly paper, of Stuttgart, is from time to time favored with the results of his experience on the way. From some recent portions of his correspondence The International translates the subjoined morceau, which, however, despite its great exaggeration, is not altogether devoid of truth: “It is not necessary here to mention how much New Orleans has altered, increased, and deteriorated, for it is an established thing that cities which grow to such gigantic proportions gain nothing in respect to the morals of their inhabitants. Here drunkenness