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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/886

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

right, with the confusion of right and left which one first feels on using a mirror for toilet purposes.

 

School Conditions and Eyesight.—Dr. Brudenell Carter has taken up the question of the effect of school conditions on the eyesight, particularly as to whether they develop and aggravate short-sightedness and the other defects of vision which have been charged to them. He examined 8,125 children in twenty-five elementary schools of London. In forty per cent of them the eyes were right. The others were subjected to further special examinations. The author reports, as the general result of his investigation, that the proportion of cases of myopia was small, and that it bore no relation whatever to the lighting of the school; the two schools in which the greatest proportions of defective visions were found being respectively the best lighted and the worst lighted of the whole number. No evidence was found of progressive myopia. Some of the worst cases were found among children who had recently joined school, and there was nothing to show that it increased with the length of time the children had been at school. The proportion of cases of astigmatism was less than the proportion discovered in Dr. Carter's private practice among patients examined for every kind of optical weakness. The vast majority of optical defects were due to hypermetropia. The most unexpected result of the investigation was the discovery that a very large proportion of the cases of defective vision were due, not to structural defects in the refractive combinations of the eye, but to imperfect practice in seeing. Comparing the vision of children at a country school with the cases in the town schools, the author found the country vision much better. It is inferred that vision is strengthened by the habit of looking at objects at a distance, which are presented far more frequently in the expanses of rural landscapes than in the street-bounded sights of the town. Dr. Carter recommends that the vision be tested and trained systematically; that it be included among the physical faculties that are tested by competition and for proficiency in which prizes are given.


MINOR PARAGRAPHS.

The recent death of Lord Lilford, Thomas Lyttleton Powys, at the age of sixty-three, has removed one of the most devoted and conscientious of English ornithologists. He was interested in natural history from his earliest years, and was President for many years of the British Ornithologists' Union. His collection of live animals at Lilford Hall was widely celebrated. At the time of his death—which occurred at Lilford Hall on the 17th of June—he was engaged on a large work on the Birds of the British Islands.

Geology has sustained a severe loss in the death of Sir Joseph Prestwich, which occurred on June 23d. He was born at Clapham on March 12, 1812. He was engaged in business in London until sixty years of age, but during this time was able to gain such a reputation among geologists that upon the death of Prof. Phillips he was elected to the chair of Geology in the University of Oxford. His work as a pioneer in establishing the geological antiquity of man was recognized by the Royal Society in awarding to him a Royal medal in 1865. He continued to be a prolific writer up to the time of his death. Although he belonged to the old school of "catastrophists" which Sir Charles Lyell opened war on in 1830, and which today is a rapidly decreasing minority, he did much valuable and lasting work.

An ingenious method of destroying cattle ticks is described by Dr. M. Francis, a veterinarian of the Texas experiment station. After several unsuccessful attempts to destroy the ticks by various other means, the dipping process was adopted, and after trying several carbolic and arsenical solutions with unsatisfactory results, the cattle were forced to swim through a large vat of five thousand gallons capacity, on the surface of the water in which was a layer of cotton-seed oil, from three quarters to one inch in thickness, so that when they emerged they were perfectly covered with oil. It is well known that grease or oil of almost any kind is fatal to insects, lice, etc., and the above treat-