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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/137

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EDITOR'S TABLE.

country's attitude in the Mexican War." A third writer, A, Califf, says: "I believe in teaching patriotism, but I do not believe in trying to legislate patriotism into people. I consider the 'flag law' a total failure, so far as the teaching of patriotism is concerned." A fourth, M. W. Marvin, gets to the root of the matter in the observation that "the teaching which tends to develop properly the pupil's sense of right and wrong, of humanity and justice, that which makes him better acquainted with his duty to himself, his neighbor, and his country, better prepares him for the future duties of a patriotic citizen."

If the teaching given in our schools and other educational institutions on the subject of patriotism were all on these lines, there would be nothing to complain of; on the contrary, there would be much cause for congratulation, and much reason to hope for good results at no distant day. Unfortunately, what with flag laws and other nonsense, it is difficult for the schools in some of our States not to be made subservient to the spirit and aims of militarism; and if the mind of youth is thus perverted, what will the harvest be? These are times when well-disposed citizens should take earnest and frequent counsel together as to the best means to antagonize the hurtful influences that are abroad, and to uphold the ideal of peaceful civilization as the true goal of national progress.

 

 

THE RÖNTGEN RAY

Prof. Röntgen's discovery of the X ray crowns two as alluring courses of investigation as ever called forth the resources of experimental skill. One of the pillars from which sprang the achievement of the Bavarian teacher rose from the observation by an Italian cobbler, Vincenzo Cascariolo, who three hundred years ago picked up near Bologna a bit of sulphate of barium. It might, he hoped, have some value in alchemy, for it glowed in the dark as if with sunshine it had stored by day. This singular property of phosphorescence has since been noted in a wide diversity of minerals, in nasturtium and other blossoms, in fungi and decayed wood, in a host of flying and creeping things of kin to the common firefly and glow-worm. As means of detection are refined, it becomes more and more probable that phosphorescence, while highly characteristic of but a few substances, really manifests itself in matter of all kinds. In this it may share the universality of many other properties.

And phosphorescence, half a century ago, was discovered in direct alliance with other curious qualities. Of high importance was the discovery, in which Prof. Stokes took an honored part, that rays which enter the eye only to prove it blind can be brought within the compass of vision if suitably modified; that when ultra-violet rays of the spectrum traverse solutions of sulphate of quinine and other compounds, or take their way through uranium glass, they are so reduced in refrangibility as to fall within the range of perception. The light thus indirectly brought to view is fluorescence, the continuous phase of what in brief and fitful gleams is phosphorescence. Among the compounds fluorescent in an eminent degree is the platinocyanide of that same barium whose sulphate aroused the wonder of the Bologna cobbler.

While one group of explorers was running down the facts of phosphorescence and fluorescence, another group was examining the behavior of attenuated gases when excited by electricity of high tension. The familiar tubes of Geissler now shone with a radiance resembling the au-