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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/887

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POPULAR MISCELLANY.

somewhat resembling that of creosote, which is very strong and unpleasant in the dead animal. The body, in decaying, passes into a fluid, which the natives of the district say is good for rheumatism. Fowls refuse to touch it, living or dead. When held in the hand the worm, in contracting its body, throws out jets of a milky fluid; and this fluid seems to be the substance which it uses for coating its burrows to make their walls moist and slippery. The worm moves in its burrow by swelling up one or the other end and pulling or pushing itself along from that. Outside of the burrow it does not attempt to get along. The burrows of the large worm measure from three quarters of an inch to an inch in diameter. In disused burrows are often found casts of the worms, and, more rarely, cocoons containing a single embryo. The cocoon is thin, and made of a leathery, tough material, with a very distinct stalk-like process at each end. It contains a milky fluid like that found in the body cavity of the worm.

 

Fishing in the Greek Islands.—Mr. J. Theodore Bent has been struck, in his visits among the islands of Greece, by the observation of many survivals of ancient ways in the customs of the people, and this very noticeably in the fishing. In fishing for "shell-fish," the fishermen use a long trident, with more prongs than Neptune's had, but otherwise like it, and which they call by the old name καμαξ. The fishermen of Hydra make bulwarks of netted osiers, like those which Ulysses made for his two-decked raft when he left Calypso's charmed island. The scaros is pursued in the way that Oppian sings of in his poem on fishing. Taking advantage of the affectionate character of the scaros and of the male's gallant devotion to the female, the fisherman fastens a female fish to his line. If the "bait" is dead, he imitates life by bobbing it up and down. The male scari rush up in shoals to rescue their female fellow, and are caught by a companion-fisher with a net. For tunny, nets are used having large openings and furnished with a thick string. A bay is chosen with a convenient promontory, from a post on which the nets are fastened, while the fishermen row out to a rock in the sea. Here they leave a man, and return to shore by a roundabout route, carrying a string with them by which they can pull in the net as soon as the man on the rock announces the arrival of the fish. The same method is described by Aristotle in his book on animals. If the market is overstocked with tunny, the fish are driven into a creek by throwing stones at them and the entrance is fastened up with brambles. The fishermen in Melos believe in an ogre called Vanis, a being with goat's feet and a human body—a satyr, in short—who dwells at the end of a promontory they have to pass in going out of their harbor. They always cast a bit of bread into the water as they go by, that Vanis may eat it and send them fish in return.

 

Studies at Wundt's Psychological Laboratory.—Wundt's psychological laboratory at Leipsic occupies four rooms in the university building. The number of students has gradually increased, and in 1887 was nineteen. The men work in groups, one acting as subject in the experiments, and another making observations. Wundt suggests subjects for research at the beginning of the semester, but he lets the students choose the direction in which they prefer to work, and encourages them to find independently problems and the methods of solving them. The experiments are classified by Dr. J. Mck. Cattell under four heads: 1. The Analysis and Measurement of Sensation. 2. The Duration of Mental Processes. 3. The Time Sense; and 4. Attention, Memory, and the Association of Ideas. Under the first head are included experiments in the least differences in weight, intensity, and tone of sound, illumination, and color that can be perceived—the whole being embraced under the term psychophysics. In the subjects under the second head, constituting psychometry—"the facts obtained when we learn how long it takes to perceive, to will, to remember, etc., are in themselves of the same interest to the psychologist, as the distances of the stars to the astronomer or atomic weights to the chemist"; they help in the analysis of complex mental phenomena, and in studying the nature of attention, volition, etc. Psychometrical experiment has brought perhaps the strongest testimony we have to the complete parallelism of physical and