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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 46.djvu/658

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

reticence on the part of both those who should receive and those who should impart this instruction. The study of the sexual processes in the lower plants furnishes an excellent opportunity to get correct ideas concerning sex. The sum total of the information gained can be greatly increased by the reading that pupils should do after making a thorough study of the object. They can appreciate and remember the illustrations and opinions of others after they have made drawings, written descriptions, and expressed opinions of their own. This is a part of the work that is too frequently omitted. Biological work is often merely a study of types, without sufficient reading to get the connecting facts.

What this work ought to do for its students, then, is to train their powers of observation; to teach them how to discover truth for themselves; to train them in expressing discovered truths in the form of drawings and in written and oral language; to train them in the power of getting thoughts from the writings of other investigators; to lead them to see the beauties and harmonies in Nature, and incidentally to give them information concerning life and life problems that will be ever useful to them in any occupation they may choose.

 

THE "MUTUAL AID SOCIETY" OF THE SENSES.
By Dr. S. MILLINGTON MILLER.

NUMEROUS images have been felicitously employed to illustrate the significance of the human brain. Drummond, in his book on The Ascent of Man, likens it to a great table-land, traversed by many broad highways, studded with mighty cities, broken up into an endless maze of cross-roads and paths, with some mere faint trails. The cities are the originating centers of gray matter; the highways the constantly traversed paths of ordinary thought; the cross-roads and bypaths its correlations; and the trails, the solitary, unfrequented channels of new and original ideas.

A better simile, perhaps, would be to typify the human brain by some rich mine, with numberless operating centers, connected by subterranean, well-worn passages and alleyways. The number and complexity of these is constantly increasing, as new lodes of ore are opened up, and still newer short cuts are daily blasted out for the economical conveniences of transportation and discovery.

"Suppose I want to buy a dynamo, as power for an electric light, or for the movement of machinery," said Dr. Walter E. Fernald (I am clothing his idea with my words), the Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Asylum for Feeble-minded Chil-