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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/736

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

currents, the mountains display abnormal temperature conditions; and while an arctic vegetation prevails on the seashore, forests with subtropical Japanese species occur at a certain elevation, and only on the highest summits does the forest again give place to arctic plants. The principal trees of the forest are pines, firs, and Siberian larches. The growth is very rapid and the struggle for existence severe, so that many trees are killed; the dead trees still standing and others fallen are so numerous as to make these forests almost impassable. On the west side of the island maples, birches, and large numbers of mountain ashes abound. At a certain height, especially in the more interior portions of the island, quite a sudden change to subtropical trees occurs. High bushes of Japanese Flex crenata, stems of bamboo as high as a man, bushlike vaccinium, fine hydrangeas, and the colossal leaves of Araliaceæ and Petasites make their appearance, and form an almost Indian jungle beneath the conifers of the far north. On the highest summits the forest disappears and is replaced by dwarf firs, Cembra pumila, and evergreen stretches of Empetrum nigrum. Where the seashore is flat and exposed to the wind trees are entirely wanting, and an approximation to the arctic tundras prevails. The true tundra region, however, is not on the seashore, but in the great longitudinal valleys, where a regular polar tundra, with frozen soil, peat bogs, and arctic vegetation, occurs. The banks of the streams are, however, clothed with luxuriant vegetation. At a distance of a quarter to a half mile from the river bank the peat bog gives place to a charming meadow of calamagrostis grasses, with parklike groups of birches, poplars, willows, etc., and an exuberant bush vegetation.

 

Do the Poor hate the Rich?—An interesting discussion is going on in the Contemporary Review between Mr. Hobson and Mr. W. H. Mallock, as to whether the poor hate the rich. Mr. Hobson affirms it and Mr. Mallock denies it. An impression that they do prevails largely among certain classes of philanthropists and socialists. The London Spectator, reviewing the discussion, thinks that, however it may be in the continental countries of Europe, this is not the case in England and among Americans of English descent. The immense majority of these accept differences in pecuniary conditions as part of the order of things, and rather approve them as affording incentives for ambition and grounds for hope. They do not hate the rich, because they would all like to be rich, and hope by some means some day to become so. They rather regard them as sources of benefit to the community, as persons who will keep up the standard of living, and who increase the general mass of opportunities. They will welcome the settling of a wealthy man among them, because he will spend money. Those may hate the rich who have been disappointed, or who have lost the hope of joining their number, but few others. "Have the multitude, whether in England or the United States, ever tried to limit wealth, or divide wealth, or confiscate wealth at death, or in any way whatever endeavored to cause wealth to cease to be? They have examples of such legislation before them all over the continent, but they not only do not carry similar measures, but they never ask for them, and would treat any candidate who relied upon them in his programme as either a mere faddist or an advocate of novel and disagreeable social heresies. . . . The truth is that both here and in America discontent, when it exists—and of course there is plenty of it—takes the self-pitying direction, and not the direction of envy. We remember, about five years ago, being much struck with the form taken by the discontent of a raging orator in one of the parks. He was boiling over with fury against the rich, and at last, rising to the height of his argument, he burst out into an apostrophe: 'You rich fellers, you have funds, you have bonds, you have railway shares: tell me, you wretches, why we should not have them too?' That, not the stripping of the rich, was the English rough's genuine and most hearty aspiration."

 

The Ways of Sparrows.—The habits of the London sparrow have been studied with much advantage by a writer in the London Spectator, who finds more method in the ways of the bird than we are usually apt to imagine. The site of the sparrows' nests is chosen with much care, and always with a view to avoiding the dangers from cats.