Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 12.djvu/136

This page has been validated.
126
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

lowly organized and comparatively worthless if they remain as mere assemblages of units placed side by side without organic connection and without a common life. Mr. Boyd Dawkins regards most of the provincial museums in England as belonging to this lower type. His description of one or two of these collections is amusing enough, and worthy of being quoted entire; perhaps it will apply to some lauded collections to be found on this side of the Atlantic. "In one instance which occurs to me," writes Mr. Dawkins, "you see a huge plaster-cast of a heathen divinity surrounded by fossils, stuffed crocodiles, minerals, and models of various articles, such as Chinese junks. In another, a museum unit takes the form of a glass case containing a fragment of a human skull and a piece of oat-cake, labeled 'fragment of human skull very much like a piece of oat-cake.' In a third wax models are exhibited of a pound weight of veal, pork, and mutton-chops, codfish, turnips, potatoes, carrots, and parsnips, which must have cost the value of the originals many times over, with labels explaining their chemical constitution, and how much flesh and fat they will make." Museums of this low type "constitute a serious blot on our educational system, since they are worse than useless for purposes of teaching."

 

Size of Medicinal Doses.—One of the papers read at the last meeting of the American Medical Association was on "The Effects of Remedies in Small Doses." The author of this paper, Dr. John Morris, held that—1. The true physiological effect of remedies might best be obtained by the administration of small doses frequently repeated; 2. That medicines thus given are cumulative in their operation; 3. That the effect of remedies is greatly increased by combination, the manner of preparation, time and mode of administration, etc.; 4. That large doses of medicine frequently act as irritants; that they produce an abnormal state of the blood, as was evidenced by such conditions as narcotism, alcoholism, iodism, ergotism, bromidism, etc.; 5. That more special attention should be given at the bedside to the influence of remedial agents, to the end that greater certainty may be attained in the prescriptions.

 

Denationalizing Science.—Sir C. Wyville Thomson having called to his assistance, in working up the Challenger collections, a few foreign naturalists of eminence, Dr. P. Martin Duncan, President of the Geological Society, gives vent to his "feelings of disappointment" in a letter to Sir Wyville, and asserts that "a very large section" of British naturalists are in like manner pained by the way in which English workers have been passed over. Sir Wyville Thomson makes a dignified reply, in which he states that his endeavor had been to select first those who were generally regarded as authorities in special branches; and, second, those who could do the work assigned them within the allotted time. Where Englishmen fulfilled these conditions, Englishmen were chosen, because in that way a good deal of risk was avoided, in sending portions of the collections abroad. "Except for this consideration" (i. e., that of avoiding risk of losing collections), writes Sir Wyville, "I confess I saw and see no objection, but rather the reverse, to making a great work of this kind somewhat more catholic." Having thus mildly rebuked the rather despicable nationalism of Dr. Duncan, Sir Wyville gives a list of the naturalists employed in the work. It contains twenty-two names, all of them names of Englishmen, with six exceptions. He then begs the pardon of the Englishmen (if such there be) more eminent than Haeckel, A. Agassiz, Oscar Schmidt, Lyman, Gunther, and Claus, in their respective specialties of Radiolarians, Echinoidea, Sponges, Ophiuridea, Fishes, and Crustacea, but whom he has overlooked in favor of these foreigners. Notice has been taken of Dr. Duncan's letter by some of the most eminent scientific men in England, and a manifesto has been published deprecating national jealousies in science. This paper has received the signatures of Sir J. D. Hooker, Prof. Huxley, Dr. W. B. Carpenter, Mr. Darwin, Mr. St. George Mivart, and many ether representative scientific men. Nature, in giving an account of this very unpleasant affair, calls attention to the catholic spirit manifested by the directors of the United States Gulf Stream Expedition, who distributed their materials for description among sixteen naturalists, of whom only four were Americans.