Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 51.djvu/435

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SCIENTIFIC LITERATURE.

claim to the overlordship. The greater portion of the book recounts the deeds of Robert the Bruce, the national hero. His coronation as King of Scots, in 1306, marked an epoch in Scottish history. Become king of a country that was claimed by the English Edward, and surrounded by only a small band of faithful followers, Bruce virtually had to conquer his realm foot by foot, until the decisive battle of Bannockburn, in 1314, forced the English to acknowledge his sovereignty. The many exciting adventures of the landless king, and his daring and personal bravery, are well set forth in some of the most interesting chapters of the book.

Among the papers submitted in competition for the Hodgkins Fund prizes and published by the Smithsonian Institution is one on Atmospheric Actinometry, by E. Duclaux. The chemical radiations of the sun do not behave within our atmosphere in the same way as the heat and light rays. This is indicated by the differing effects on the photographer's plate on days equally luminous, and by the rapid progress of vegetation in high latitudes as compared with temperate regions. The investigations which M. Duclaux describes are based upon determinations of the oxidation of solutions of oxalic acid exposed to the sunshine under a wide variety of conditions.

In the introduction to The Story of the Birds, by James Newton Baskett, M. A., Associate Member of the American Ornithological Union (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1897, 65 cents), one of Appletons' Home-Reading Books, the editor of the series. Dr. W. T. Harris, points out the two movements of the new education—original observation and verifying by experiment on the part of the pupil, and systematic home reading to supplement class-room instruction. "A library of home reading should contain books that stimulate to self-activity and arouse the spirit of inquiry. The books should treat of methods of discovery and evolution. All Nature is unified by the discovery of the law of evolution." In keeping with the aims here set forth, The Story of the Birds gives a brief account of the evolution of the bird, as far as such can be traced by means of the present characteristics of the feathered race. Beginning with the bird's fore leg, popularly known as the wing, which is an important factor in determining its past history, the author goes on to the discussion of the bird's raiment, its outer wraps and its underwear, its "frills and furbelows." We have chapters devoted to the wooing and mating of birds, to nest-building and nesting habits, to birds' eggs and the rearing of the young. Various habits of grown-up birds are touched upon, their expedients in getting a living, their tools and tasks, the way they go to bed, and their manner of travel. In the last two chapters hints are given for recognizing and classifying the different species. Scientifically accurate, yet free from technicalities forbidding to the uninitiated, the book, written in a pleasing style, recommends itself not only to the young student, but also to the general reader who, as a lover of birds, wants more than a passing acquaintance with them. It is profusely illustrated. An analysis of the chapters, with study hints, and an index, add to its usefulness.

In a pamphlet entitled A New Dairy Industry a process for preparing sterilized milk for infants is described by James Fred. Sarg (the author, Kempsville, Va., 80 cents). Mr. Sarg writes for the farmer, who, he says, is best situated for preparing a suitable infants' milk and should have the profit of the industry. Whether discoursing of the operation of milking, the mortality of infants, or the details and apparatus of the process that he describes, Mr. Sarg writes with vigor and an evident mastery of his subject. His pamphlet is illustrated with figures of machines and other appliances.

An inaugural discourse before the Royal Academy of Sciences of Havana, on the study of spectroscopy (Introducción al Estudio de la Espectroscopia), by Dr. Gastón Alonso Cuadrado, of the medical corps of the Spanish army, presents a clear and carefully elaborate summary of the theory and properties of light as illustrated by the latest discoveries, including a brief account of the Rontgen rays.

Rules for Regulating Nomenclature in Entomological Work, compiled by Lord Walsingham and John Hartley Durrant, of Merton Hall, Thetford, England, and published by Longmans & Co. (20 cents), have been prepared with a view to securing a