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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/292

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

or millet, and drunk plenty of milk; and they can walk rapidly as long as life remains in them. A Sepoy regiment which means it will walk a European regiment to death, and do it on food which their competitors would pronounce wholly insufficient to sustain vigorous life. A regular Hindostanee carrier, with a weight of eighty pounds on his shoulders—carried, of course, in two divisions hung on his neck by a yoke—will, if properly paid, lope along over a hundred miles in twenty-four hours, a feat which would exhaust any but the best English runners." But the writer doubts whether this power of endurance is parallel with what is called physical strength.

 

Hypnotism in Remedial Treatment.—An unnamed writer, whose views are pronounced by the Lancet "eminently wise and judicious," has been publishing a series of articles in the London Times on the New Mesmerism, in which he identifies the hypnotism of the French and other neurologists of the present time with the mesmerism of a former generation and the hypnotism of Braid. He affirms that denial of the existence of hypnotism is out of the question. To the inquiry whether it is sufficiently beneficial to justify its use, he replies that "a method which has been already tried and found wanting ought not to meet with the same open reception as a new remedy. What would be mere caution in the latter case very properly becomes suspicion in the former." Quoting from the old authors to show that hypnotism was practiced in former days for the same maladies and with the same alleged results as to-day, he concludes that if it had possessed a real efficacy it would never have been allowed to fall into disuse. He accepts Charcot's view that the hypnotic condition is essentially morbid and dependent on a disordered brain, and that its employment is only justifiable in a few exceptional cases here and there. The writer sums up his conclusions by saying: "Hypnotism in treatment has a real but very limited value, and it should only be used with great care. It is not likely to die out altogether, but neither is it likely to be generally adopted, or even to spread much beyond its present limits. Hypnotic experiments, unless they have the patient's benefit in view, are injurious and unjustifiable alike on the platform and in the laboratory. Finally, if I may offer any practical advice to the public, it is this: Regard hypnotism with extreme caution, and do not resort to it except on the advice of an unprejudiced medical man in whose opinion you have implicit confidence."

 

Tree-top Vegetation.—The plants that grow in the tops of willow trees near Cambridge, England, have been recorded during the last few years. They represent eighty species, and have been found altogether 3,951 times among about 4,500 trees. Of the eighty species, only eighteen furnish one per cent each of the whole number of records; the others occurring only in very small numbers. Classifying the plants according to means of distribution, nineteen species, of which 1,763 records, or 44·6 per cent, occur, have fleshy fruits; three species with burs were found in 651 instances, or 16'4 per cent; thirty-four species, with winged or feathered fruit, gave 996 records, or 25·1 per cent; seven plants with very light seeds, 421 records, or 19·6 per cent; and plants whose means of distribution is poor or somewhat doubtful, 120 records, or 2·9 per cent. It is thus very strikingly shown how the various mechanisms for distribution succeed, for only the better ones present any considerable numbers in the list. The bird-distributed plants appear higher here than in such cases as the flora of the churches of Poitiers, because birds visit trees more frequently. The observations show that a seed is carried only a short distance by its mechanism for distribution. Plants are always found upon the soil within two hundred and fifty yards, at most, of those found in the trees. An analysis was made as far as possible of the birds' nests found in the trees, and pieces, often with ripe fruits, of many of the plants in the list were discovered in them; so that probably this means of distribution is of some importance.

 

Athletics and Scholarship.—Mr. William Odell, of Torquay, England, recently addressed the question to the headquarters of some of the large public schools as to whether the boys who excel in athletics are as a rule also excellent in school work, examinations, etc. A similar inquiry made by a Mr. Cathcart ten years ago elicited an-