Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/579

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LITERARY NOTICES.

Why the epigastric organs should be moral while the thoracic are mental is another philosophic mystery.

Not less perplexing than this tripartition is the use made of the word thermometer. We learn that there are six physical thermometers the larynx, wrist, shoulder, elbow, eyebrow, and thumb. The eyebrow is the thermometer of the mind, from which we might infer that Shakespeare wrote in all seriousness of "a woful ballad" to that important feature. However, judgment is declared to be "the lowest form of intellectuality," and in the dim light above it, or without it, little incongruities, such as have been noticed, may not appear.

In a sketch of François Delsarte, prefixed to this work, it is expressly stated that he died in 1871. Were it not for this, we might conclude that he nourished some seven hundred years earlier, and that we had stumbled upon a manual of the old scholastics, who tortured facts into accordance with arbitrary symbols and "ground the air in metaphysic mills."

Are the Effects of Use and Disuse inherited? By William P. Ball. Nature Series. London and New York: Macmillan & Co. Pp.156. Price, $1.

This is obviously and avowedly a controversial book. The author takes the negative side of his question, in opposition to Darwin and Spencer, and argues it with much ability and in an admirably courteous tone. He is not, however, alone in his position, for he is able to name Weismann, Wallace, Poulton, Ray Lankester, and Francis Galton as disagreeing in greater or less measure from the two great leaders just named. The author examines in detail the examples of Spencer and those of Darwin cited on the affirmative side of this question and replies to them. He next discusses the inheritance of injuries, and then passes to certain miscellaneous considerations. In conclusion, he affirms that useinheritance is supported by insufficient evidence, while "the adverse facts and considerations are almost strong enough to prove the actual non-existence of such a law or tendency." But, he says, "It will be enough to ask that the Lamarckian factor of use-inheritance shall be removed from the category of accredited factors of evolution to that of unnecessary and improbable hypotheses. The main explanation or source of the fallacy may be found in the fact that natural selection frequently imitates some of the more obvious effects of use and disuse. . . . As depicted by its defenders, use-inheritance transmits evils far more powerfully and promptly than benefits." It is to natural selection, without the doubtful aid (as he deems it) of use-inheritance, that he trusts to save the race as a whole from degeneration.

Astronomy: Sun, Moon, Stars, etc. By William Durham, F. R. S. E. Edinburgh: Adam & Charles Black, Pp.133. Price, 50 cents.

The character of this book is indicated by the name of the series in which it is the second volume—Science in Plain Language. The author states that it is not a treatise on astronomy, but that it "merely describes in plain language some of the more interesting facts and speculations connected with that science." The divisions of the subject which he makes are, the sun and moon; the earth; stars, nebulæ, etc.; planets; astronomical speculations as to the formation of the heavenly bodies, and the contents of space; the tides, etc. The various topics are treated in an attractive style, free from mathematics, but in such a way as to impart as full a knowledge of astronomy as most cultivated people require.

Derivation of Practical Electrical Units. By Lieutenant F. B. Badt and Prof. H. S. Carhart. Chicago: Electrician Publishing Company. Pp. 56. Price, 75 cents.

How did certain electrical units come to be called ampère, ohm, farad, etc.? must have been asked by many persons, knowing more or less of electrical science. To answer this question is the task that Mr. Badt undertakes in the little volume before us. He gives in an introductory chapter the general reasons for adopting the system of practical units now in use, with a table showing the names and symbols of the several units, the quantity to be measured by each, comparative values, remarks, etc. This is followed by biographical sketches and portraits of the eminent electricians whose names have been given to these units. The list includes