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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/888

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

mental phenomena; and "there is scarcely any doubt but that our determinations measure at once the rate of change in the brain and of change in consciousness." There is also a general interest in the study. "Time, like size, is relative. The time-sense, involving the time-relations of perceptions and our power of estimating intervals of time, is to a considerable extent a physiological fact due to inertia in the sense-organ. Stimuli must be separated by a certain interval of time in order that they may be recognized as distinct. The experiments under this head relate to the measurement of these intervals. The experiments in attention, memory, and the association of ideas are varied, and cover some matters included under the other heads. The highest degree of complexity and the lowest degree of intensity and interest which our consciousness can grasp; the number of things—lines, letters, etc.; the relative visibility of colors and legibility of letters of the alphabet; the intervals between maxima of intensity and sensation, or rhythm of sensation; the time it takes for an idea to suggest another; and many similar studies—are related to it.

 

Inebriate Asylums and their Work.—Dr. T. D. Crothers remarks, as a curious fact, that inebriety was recognized as a disease long before insanity was thought to be other than spiritual madness and a possession of the devil. The first inebriate asylum was opened at Binghamton, N. Y., under Dr. J. E. Turner, after eight years of effort. It was conducted with much success for a time, but went down in the hands of trustees. The Washingtonian Home of Boston, opened in 1857, is now treating about four hundred cases every year. The Kings County Home, of Brooklyn, was opened in 1867, and is crowded with patients. The Chicago Washington Home, opened in 1867, and the Franklin Home, Philadelphia, opened in 1872, are in successful operation. The first two institutions proceed on the theory of disease. The Chicago Home and the Philadelphia Home regard religion, education, and pledges as sufficient to restore the patients, and consider a short residence at the hospital better than long treatment. More than fifty hospitals for inebriates have been started in America, over thirty of which are in successful operation. The others have been changed into insane asylums, water-cures, etc. About twenty asylums for inebriates are open in England and Scotland. Others exist in Melbourne, New Zealand, Germany, and Switzerland, and new ones are projected in Norway, Sweden, and France. The value of the results of the asylum treatment has been estimated from the answers to letters of inquiry addressed to friends of patients several years after dismissal. Of one thousand patients at Binghamton, sixty-eight and a half per cent continued temperate after five years; of two thousand at the Boston Washingtonian Home, thirty-four per cent after from ten to eighteen years; of six hundred at the Kings County Home, thirty-four per cent after ten years. The most careful authorities in the United States are agreed that fully one third of all cases that come under treatment are permanently cured.

 

The Gnawers of the Selkirk Mountains.—The heaps of bowlders above the forest region in the Selkirk Mountains of British Columbia, says the Rev. W. S. Green, "form a refuge for a variety of mammals—the hoary marmot, measuring about three feet long, being the commonest and most useful from a commissariat point of view. This creature gives a loud, shrill whistle; so weird does it sound in these solitudes that it returns to one's ears as an inseparable memory of the Selkirk valleys. The serrellel is a strange beast; it too lives beneath the bowlder-heaps, and it has the most wonderful fancy for collecting flowers. One day, when we were ascending a glacier moraine, my cousin said to me, 'Some one has been here before.' I said, 'Impossible!' but was utterly puzzled by finding a bouquet of flowers plucked, with their stems lying neatly together, just as though some child had laid them down. Soon afterward we found similar bouquets at the burrows of these animals. What their particular object in collecting flowers is, it is difficult to understand; making hay for winter use I have seen suggested. Mountain rats, chipmunks, little chief hares, and other creatures are also common in these regions, rendering caches of provisions useless, unless tinned meats alone are hidden. My Alpine rope was nibbled into little bits in one night, and on