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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/132

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

ing the winter he rides every day many miles in the country around Baltimore, and sits his horse like a Centaur. He especially enjoys a fox-hunt of the old-fashioned sort, for which Maryland has been famous for a century, the first requisite of which is such perfect horsemanship that seven-rail fences and deep ditches are not considered obstacles to the chase. A "paper chase" he would probably regard with as much contempt as he does the pamphlets in his "crank library," a collection of so-called scientific papers written by people who know nothing of science. He intends to deliver a lecture soon on the contents of this "crank library."

His vacation is usually spent in his native New England. He cruises along the coast in a small yacht of his own design, in whose seagoing capacity he has great confidence. It is said by some of his students, who assume to know more of nautical science than of physics, that this yacht does not "ride the waves" properly, and that some day they expect to hear that their teacher has been drowned in a rough sea off the Atlantic coast. These critics are not aware of the fact that during his boyhood a part of Prof. Rowland's vacations were spent in New York city, and that his favorite pastime was rowing or sailing his own boat in New York harbor. A glance at the shipping in that port, with steamships and sailing vessels coming from and going to all parts of the world, with ferryboats constantly passing from pier to pier, and the shrill whistle of the omnipresent tugboat constantly rising above the roar of commerce, ought to convince the most skeptical that even as a boy he was a seaman who knew his business.

This sketch of Prof. Rowland's life should be read with pride and interest by every one of his fellow-citizens. It should encourage every ambitious and gifted American youth to persevere in an effort to overcome obstacles which prejudice and ignorance often interpose to obstruct the career of those who are born with mental powers too great to be trammeled by ancient traditions or to be made pliant to an uncongenial routine.

 


 
The thumb is regarded by Mr. B. Whitehead as one of the most important factors of civilization. Without it, or with only a rudimentary and imperfect thumb such as the monkeys have, men could never have made or used arms of offense or defense, and would never have been able to exercise a number of industrial arts by means of which they have improved the conditions of their existence. No monkey can throw a harpoon or draw an arrow with any precision, turn a spindle or twist a cord. This importance of the thumb has been observed by primitive peoples. Sir John Lubbock mentions savages in Australia and Africa who are accustomed to cut oil the thumbs of dead enemies to disable them from making reprisals upon them.