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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/744

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

Dr. Ogle, an English statistician, while admitting to the full extent alleged the movement, in England and the United States, toward the towns and cities, denies that it is attended by a depopulation of the rural districts. He has found that the rural population in England did not decrease between 1851 and 1881 by more than one percent, a rate quite within the limit of allowance for error. The author believes that the rural population is only stationary, and is ample, with the modern improvements in farming, for the tillage of the land, while only its increase and surplus pour into the towns; but the continuous migration of the most vigorous and energetic to the manufacturing districts, and the higher mortality there, may be producing a gradual deterioration.

While asserting that attention has hitherto been largely paid to the preservation of the unfit members of society by not allowing them to disappear according to natural causes, and thus propagating unfitness. Dr. Thomas Searcy, of Tuscaloosa, Ala., suggests that a higher field of effort lies in the direction of increasing the proportionate numbers in society of the more fit. Apparently, in modern society, the object of effort is to reach such a degree of competency that one's children will not have to strive. Degeneracy then sets in. The first generation may succeed by force of the brain-power transmitted from its parents, but the after-generations have no bottom to stand upon.

In a recent lecture on the education of girls, Mr. James Oliphant condemned the impression that the education of the two sexes should be governed by the same rule. Physical deterioration, he said, could best be prevented by a suitable distribution of studies during the day, and by allowing hourly short interludes of muscular exercise. There was, in our modern plan of study, too much reiteration and too little thought, a consequent sense of drudgery, and a lack of the interest which comes of using the reasoning power. Home lesson work had become a sort of tyranny. The possession of special aptitudes did not justify the preference often given to them in cultivation, at the expense of less developed faculties.

In the lack of any national registry of vital statistics, the Superintendent of the Census of 1890 will rely upon the physicians to furnish an approximate estimate of the birth and death rates of most of the country. He is accordingly issuing to the medical profession "Physicians' Registers," with blanks, which they are invited to fill, and thus furnish more accurate returns than it is possible for the enumerators to make. In order that the returns of farm products and live stock may be as full and complete as possible, farmers are requested to keep accounts of such matters from June 1, 1889, to May 31, 1890.

The demand for its leather, which is so pleasant for summer shoes, has brought the kangaroo into imminent danger of extinction; and the Australians are contemplating measures for restricting the slaughter of the animal.

Dr. Koch's theories respecting the functions and work of the cholera bacillus, which have been disputed, and even discredited by certain commissions, have now been confirmed in their most important points by the researches of Drs. Neil Macleod and Milles. These gentlemen, who practice in a part of the British Empire where cholera is endemic, have identified, isolated, and cultivated Koch's spirillum, and confirm his original statement as to its pathogenic character.

Out of more than five hundred letters received by the Principal of the Detroit High School in answer to questions concerning the effect of the studies on the health of the children, 87·81 per cent sustain the work of the school. The sixty-two complaints are of various character, and refer among other things to "hard studies," bad air, long lessons, and worry. In fourteen of the cases of complaint the pupils were doing more than the regular work; and requests to be allowed to do this had in some instances followed complaints.

According to Dr. Ozeretskofski, hysteria exists among Russian soldiers, and presents as various diversities of form as it does among women.

 


OBITUARY NOTES.

Eugen Ferdinand von Hameyer, an eminent ornithologist, and President of the Ornithological Society of Berlin, died in Stolp, Prussia, June 1st, at eighty years of age. He was the author of several books, and possessed the largest existing collection of European birds.

Mr. John F. La Trobe Bateman, the engineer who supplied Glasgow with water from Loch Katrine, died June 10th, aged seventy-nine years.

Heinrich Gustav Reichenbach, Professor of Botany and Director of the Botanic Garden at Hamburg, died there. May 6th, in the sixty-seventh year of his age. He was born in Leipsic, the son of a botanist and professor at Dresden, and co-operated with his father in the preparation of the later volumes of the "Icones Floræ Germanicæ et Helveticæ." He devoted more than forty years of his life chiefly to the study of orchids, in knowledge of which he was the first.

Charles Harvey Bollman, museum assistant in the University of Indiana, a young naturalist of great promise, died July 13th, at Waycross, Georgia. He was in charge of the explorations of the United States Fish Commission in Georgia.