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Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station. Bulletin Mo. 55. Fruit Testing. Pp. 32.

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Minerva Publishing Company. New York. The Exegesis of Life. Pp. 192. 50 cents.

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North Carolina Agricultural Experiment Station. Technical Bulletin No. 1.

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Parker, Francis W., Chicago. Report of the Principal of the Cook County Normal School. Pp. 16.

Ribot, Th. The Psychology of Attention. Chicago: Open Court Publishing Company. Pp. 121. 75 cents.

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Sickels, Ivin, M. D. Exercises in Wood-working. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 158.

Truth-Seeker Annual for 1890. New York: Truth-Seeker Company. Pp. 115. 25 cents.

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Thayer, David. Aërial Railway for the Exploration of the Polar Zone, etc. Boston: Alfred Mudge & Son. Pp. 7, with Plate.

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Washburn College Laboratory of Natural History. Bulletin. Topeka, Kansas. Pp. 4.

West, James H.. Editor and Publisher. "The New Ideal." Monthly. Boston. Pp. 48. 20 cents. $2 a year.

Wilson, Samuel. Annual Price List and Catalogue (Seeds and Plants) for 1890. Mechanicsville, Bucks County, Pa. Pp. 112.

Wisconsin, Natural History Society of. Occasional Papers (Spiders). Pp. 113.

Young. Prof. Charles A. Elements of Astronomy. Boston: Ginn & Co. Pp. 430 + 42, with Maps.


The Future of our Weather Service.—Everybody has been noticing that more and more of our official weather predictions turn out wrong, and in the hope of restoring their former efficiency several bills have been introduced into Congress within the last few years for transferring the Weather Service from the War Department to a civil bureau. The reasons for such a change, as stated in a pamphlet sent to us by Mr. H. H. Clayton, are that military regulations hamper the scientific work of the bureau, and cause civilians, who have joined the service from aptitude for science, to resign. The abler military men, also, seeing no hope of promotion in the Signal Corps, generally prefer the line. The natural result has been that, as General Greely reports, the service is full of incompetents, and the percentage of successful weather predictions has decreased in the last five or six years from eighty-seven to seventy-six per cent. During the same time the weather service in European countries has been steadily gaining in efficiency. The objections to the transfer are: First, that military control is claimed to secure superior promptness, accuracy, and continuity of record, which is met by the statement that the European weather services are entirely civilian, and our own depends for some of its data upon observations telegraphed by civilian observers from about twenty stations in Canada. Second, it is claimed that only military discipline could keep men in disagreeable or dangerous places; but civilian observers are found to man the Canadian meteorological outposts in Manitoba, and the mountain-peak stations in Europe. Third, it has been urged that the cost of the weather service would be increased by civilian control; but our military weather service costs more than the civilian services of all the governments of Europe put together. The appropriations are now about $900,000 a year, and some considerable reduction that has been made in the cost during the last few years has been due to the employment of civilian aid. Fourth, it has been urged that the military training of the observers would be of value in case of war; but if this argument is valid, the postal service and all the other Government departments should be put under military control. A fifth objection is, that in a civil bureau the appointments would be controlled by political influence. But with the protection of the civil service rules, it is probable that the bureau would be at least as free from favoritism as the army is. It has also been objected that the Government would be breaking its contract with the men of the Signal Corps if they were transferred to a civil bureau. But this difficulty could be met by allowing the military men now in the bureau to choose whether they would go with the Weather Service or stay with the Signal Corps. The chief signal officer is even better aware of the defects of the Weather Service than any outside critic. But the