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POPULAR MISCELLANY.

University of the State of New York. Report of the Secretary of the Regents, 1893. Pp. 324. 35 cents.—Report of Extension Department, 1393. Pp. 124. 15 cents.

Van Hise, C. R Correlation Papers. Archean and Algonkian. U. S. Geological Survey. Pp. 549.

Welles, Charles S., M. D. Practical Dietetics and Outline of Medicine. New York: F. V. Duane. Pp. 79.

Willis, Oliver R. Practical Flora for Schools and Colleges. American Book Company. Pp. 349. $1.50.

Winlock, W. C. Progress of Astronomy for 1891 and 1892. Smithsonian Institution. Pp. 96.

 


POPULAR MISCELLANY.

Social Factors of Crime.—Discussing the subject of criminology in one of the circulars of the Bureau of Education, Mr. Arthur MacDonald speaks of crime as seeming to be, to a certain extent, Nature's experiment on humanity. If a nerve of a normal organism is cut, the organs in which irregularities are produced are those which the nerve controls. In this way the office of a nerve in the normal state may be discovered. The criminal might be spoken of as the severed nerve of society, and the study of him as a practical way (though indirect) of studying normal man. The relation of criminology to society and to sociological questions is already intimate, and may in the future become closer. Just what crime is at present depends more upon time, location, race, country, nationality, and even the state in which one resides. But notwithstanding the extreme relativity of the idea of crime, there are some things in our social life that are questionable. A young girl of independence, but near poverty, tries to earn her own living at three dollars a week, and if, having natural desires for a few comforts and some taste for her personal appearance, she finally, through pressure, oversteps the bound, society, which permits this condition of things, immediately ostracises her. It borders on criminality that a widow works fifteen hours a day in a room in which she lives, making trousers at ten cents a pair, out of which she and her family must live, until they gradually run down toward death from want of sufficient nutrition, fresh air, and any comfort. It is criminally questionable to leave stoves in cars so that, if the passenger is not seriously injured but only hedged in, he will have the additional chance of burning to death. It has been a general truth, and in some cases is one still, that a certain number of persons must perish by fire before private individuals will furnish fire escapes to protect their own patrons. It is a fact that more than five thousand people are killed yearly in the United States at railroad grade crossings, most of whose lives could have been saved had the road or the railroad passed either one over the other. The excuse of the expense is pleaded for the lack of the improvements; or, practically, it is admitted that the extra money required to introduce them is of more consequence than the five thousand human lives. And yet, strange as it may seem, if a brutal murderer is to lose his life and there is the least doubt that the crime was premeditated, a large part of the community is often aroused into moral excitement or indignation, while the murdered, innocent railroad passenger excites little more than a murmur. There is no subject on which the public conscience is more tender than the treatment of the criminal. Psychologically, the explanation of this is simple, for the public have been educated gradually to feel the suffering and misfortunes of the criminal things it is easier to realize, since the thought is confined generally to one personality at a time. If the public could all be eyewitnesses to a few of our most brutal railroad accidents, the consciousness gained might be developed into conscientiousness in the division of their sympathies. The feeling spoken of is a sincere though sometimes morbid expression of unselfish humanitarianism.

 

The Arctic Sea.—In his address before the British Association on the Polar Basin, Mr. Henry Seebohm described the Arctic Sea, which lies at the bottom of the polar basin, as fringed with a belt of bare country, sometimes steep and rocky, descending in more or less abrupt cliffs and piles of precipices to the sea, but more often sloping gently down in mud banks and sand hills. These latter represent the accumulated spoils of countless ages of annual floods, which tear up the banks of the rivers and deposit shoals of detritus at their mouths, compelling them to make deltas in their efforts to force a passage to the sea. In Norway this belt of bare country is called the Fjeld, in Russia it