Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/285

This page has been validated.
271
LITERARY NOTICES.

sounds were all emotional and inarticulate. Now, when so many details of a complex game bring out a variety of symphenomenal expressions, why may we not insist that the so-called speech of monkeys as well as of other animals is of the same nature?

We do not doubt Mr. Garner's earnestness, but lament his impetuous tendency to see one side of the question only. His experiments with the phonograph and his studies of the subject should be encouraged, as the collection of facts will be of great value, even if his theory of speech falls to the ground. The book is interesting reading throughout.

Lessons in Elementary Biology. By T. Jeffery Parker, F. R. S., Professor of Biology in the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. London and New York: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 408. Illustrated. Price, $2.25.

This work differs essentially in purpose and treatment from the standard Practical Biology. Although the author admits the value of Prof. Huxley's "sound canon of instruction," to proceed from the known to the unknown, yet he clings to the earlier method pursued in teaching biology, analogous with the order of evolution, advancing from the simple to the complex, and defends it upon logical grounds. He recognizes the danger of overwhelming the hapless student at once with unfamiliar objects, new means of observation, and a strange tongue, and suggests a compromise. Disregarding the arrangement of the book, practical class-work may begin with a study of a flowering plant and of a vertebrate animal. The pupil will then be sufficiently acquainted with the terminology and microscopical work to take up the lessons in the order given.

The book, however, is designed for the study rather than the laboratory, and the life processes of different types are described and illustrated with such detail that actual handling of the objects is not essential to a fair acquaintance with their changes of structure. Beginning with amœbæ, representative forms are considered in the order of increasing complexity until examples of the higher plants and animals are reached. At intervals, special lessons are devoted to important topics: cell structure and nuclear division; biogenesis, homogenesis; the origin of species; distinctive characters of animals and plants; reproduction and embryology. The various modes of nutrition, digestion, movement, and generation are treated in connection with each individual organism.

The aim of the author, "to give a fairly connected account of the general principles of biology," is very carefully carried out, and those who desire to gain an insight into the science are materially assisted by a glossary. In this the author has given to several botanical terms a zoölogical meaning, striving toward a more consistent nomenclature; but the student will be grateful, without regard to these innovations, to be saved the thankless labor of searching for words that the average dictionary does not define.

Transformers. By Caryl D. Haskins. Bubier Publishing Company, Lynn, Mass., 1892. Pp. 150. Price, $1.25.

It not infrequently happens that an apparatus, machine, or method of work which was discarded in the early stage of a developing industry, becomes later, by the progress of the industry, to be very important. This has been the case in the application of electricity to the production of light. It began with the alternating current, and is now returning to it. The use of this type of current is now becoming so general that it would not be beside the mark to say that future progress in the application of electricity will all be in this direction. An increasing amount of incandescent lighting is being done with it, and it needs only the development of a satisfactory alternating-current motor to render it available for all power purposes for which the continuous current is now employed. The marvelous flexibility of this form of current is what constitutes it's great commercial advantage. You can start with a current of any tension and volume you please, and produce at the operating point a current of any other tension and volume that you desire within the limits of the original energy. You can step up to higher tension or down to lower tension, or do both in succession. All this is accomplished by the use of the transformer—a form of induction coil. This, which is the vital part of the alternating-current system of distribution, forms the subject of this little volume of Mr. Haskins.