Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 12.djvu/124

This page has been validated.

Weighing and Measuring. By H. W. Chisholm. Pp. 192. London: Macmillan. Price, $1.50.

The author of this little treatise, after defining weight and measure, devotes a chapter to "Ancient Standards of Weight and Measure," in which it is shown that accurate standards were totally unknown to the ancients, and in particular that the standards of ancient Egypt were not based on the earth's dimensions. The history of English standard units of weights and measures is then given with considerable minuteness; next follows a chapter on the metric system; finally, there is a chaper on "Weighing and Measuring Instruments, and their Scientific Use."

The Bible of Humanity. By Jules Michelet. Translated by Vincenzo Calfa. New York: J. W. Bouton. Pp. 347. Price, $3.

This book is not, as might be inferred from its title, a scripture which would be acceptable to the followers of Comte, nor would it answer as a foundation on which to build any creed. It is one of a class—compilations of moral, religious, and ethical teachings from various sources, with comments and extensions by the compiler, and bearing the impress of his ideas, which in the case of M. Michelet are quite peculiar. It is rather more reverent and refined than John Stewart's "Bible of Nature," but it is an equally great misuse of words to call it a Bible.

The literature and art of India, Persia, and Greece, "the three hearths of light," and of Egypt, "the monument of death," have inspired the greater part of the work. Of course, it is erotic; the commentary on the "Song of Songs," though rather free, presents that drama in a wonderfully bold and vivid way; and Chapters VI., VII., and VIII., which treat of woman, are marked by the unhealthy exaltation which appears in all of Michelet's later works, seeming, as the writer of the biographical sketch says, "to have been written under the influence of an uninterrupted honey-moon."

It aims to be epigrammatic, abounds in italics and exclamation-points, and offers a rich field for phrase-hunters. It is among these and rather sentimental transcendentalists that the book will find its readers.

Lectures and Essays. By Virgil W. Blanchard, M. D. New York: Blanchard Food-Cure Company. Pp. 67. Price, 10 cents.

These so-called essays are papers ostensibly on physiological subjects, but are really written to puff a lot of preparations sold by the author, who styles himself the "originator of the food-cure system." They are written in the style which characterizes that class of literature—various diseases are described, embellished with sensational horrors, which may be avoided and cured by the use of the food-remedies. While Pavy, Frankland, and other able investigators, are becoming more and more wary in their statements as to the way in which food is assimilated, and are beginning to question positions that have heretofore been generally accepted, Dr. Blanchard dogmatically asserts his ability to furnish specific material which shall go directly to the defective spot in the system, and set about the work of repairing the wasted tissues and disorganized nerve and brain cells without delay.

It is probably useless to expose the fallacies of this sort of trash; so long as people are content to remain in ignorance of hygienic rules, and ignore the laws of waste and supply, the platitudes of these venders will have readers, and their nostrums find sale:

A Partial Synopsis of the Fishes of Upper Georgia: with Supplementary Papers on Fishes of Tennessee, Kentucky, and Indiana. By David Star Jordan, M. D. Salem, Mass. Pp. 70.

In a recent notice of Commissioner Baird's Report on Food Fishes, we expressed a hope that a systematic list of the fishes of American waters, with descriptions, and an account of habitat, seasons, etc., would some time be made.

The papers included in the pamphlet before us are valuable contributions to such a work. Over the area indicated in the title the fishes have been catalogued and described with scientific accuracy, the localities, relative abundance, and common names, are given, while the synonyms of their nomenclature receive due attention. No attempt is made to give any account of the seasons, habits, or manner of breeding,