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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/879

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POPULAR MISCELLANY.

experience, Mr. Rankin suggests,-would another time remove the risks that were incurred; and he has not the shadow of a doubt that there is yet a great future in Africa for the elephant, especially when the stage of capturing and taming the native species has been reached.

 

Co-operation of Medical Officers and People in Sanitary Objects.—The Sanitary Aid Association of St. Leonard's and Hastings, England, during nine years of work among a population of thirty-five thousand, has secured a co-operation between the people and the sanitary officers, under which the spread of all infectious diseases has been effectually prevented. This it has done by tact in the exercise of its functions as a medium between the medical officers and the people. It seeks, first, to guard against popular jealousy of inquisitorial inspection. The teachers of the schools are expected to make weekly returns of all absentees, with the cause of absence if known; if the cause is not known, some fit person is deputed to make a friendly casual visit to the family, without any suggestion of suspicion of fever, and report the information received to whoever acts as sanitary manager. The case is then put into the hands of the health officer, and his endeavors are furthered by explaining to the mother that she shall receive, for the strict performance of the processes of disinfection taught her, assistance, to be allotted according to the circumstances of the family. The assistance may come in the form of a milk allowance, beef-tea, wine, or whatever may be ordered by the medical attendant, a nurse, or a person to do the washing, or, where no want exists, of little delicacies and comforts which may be given without offense. It should always be connected with Obedience, by the persons assisted, of the inspector's orders, and should be accompanied, through the period of illness, by the promise of suitable help at the end. The greatest difficulties the medical officers have to meet arise from the desire of the poor to conceal their cases, for fear of injuring their business; but, under the operation of this system, every family that enjoys the benefit of its application and finds out what help and relief it gives tells the neighbors, and so it is brought about that the medical officer becomes himself the poor man's accepted friend. The St. Leonard's and Hastings society has never incurred a failure during all the years of its working; yet so unobtrusive have been its operations that one who should go down to inquire at random about it, without having a list of its allies, would have difficulty in discovering its existence. By adhering to and avowing the principle that it has no more right to interfere with the persons it visits than they with its members, by using persuasion and sympathy instead of threats, it has reduced the number of unmanageable cases to one a year; and has always brought even these around by taking care in conversing with the persons to give full information respecting disinfection. Thereupon, they turn around and act upon the information they have gained, so as to show how well they can do without their visitors.

 

Number of Species of the Orang-Outang.—The number of species of the orangoutang has been placed variously at from one to four. The upholders of the one-species theory have doubted whether the characteristics that were regarded as indications of specific differences might not really have arisen from the examination of skulls of different ages. To contribute to a solution of this doubt, Mr. Frederick A. Lucas has examined the large collection of orangs of Professor Henry A. Ward, and compared the notes taken by Mr. William T. Hornaday, while collecting orangs, and has satisfied himself that the views of the advocates of one species are correct. He previously believed that there were two species. He adds to his notes on the subject the suggestion that "they point clearly to the fact that it is extremely dangerous to form a species from observations of one or two skulls," and that they render it very probable that many fossil species have been based on individual or sexual peculiarities.

 

The Law of Land Formation on our Globe.—Professor Richard Owen, of New Harmony, Indiana, has observed some coincidences in the arrangements of continental lines and in the location and direction of elevations and depressions of the surface of the earth, which have suggested to him