Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 52.djvu/874

This page has been validated.



show that current theories of the origin and history of the earth and solar system are wrong; that the sun does not project light and heat as such to the earth; that the earth is not a result of nebular evolution, but is self-existent and independent, as are other planets and systems, and along with the other bodies is a great electromagnet; and that the forces of that category developed by these bodies are the power behind all phenomena. His argument consists of variations of the familiar one that the present explanations—accepted for want of better ones—are unsatisfactory. His electromagnetic idea—perhaps not intrinsically objectionable as a general principle—still leaves the why and the how unaccounted for.

A book by Dr. Frank Wood Haveland (published by the author, 205 West 118th Street, New York, $2), entitled Science, the Ancient Hebrew Significance of the Book of Genesis, is a little bewildering to one not initiated into the mysteries of Christian science. The book of Genesis is described as the foundation of all other books of the Bible and of every science, philosophy, and religion of all ages, and as explaining various biblical and human mysteries, including the science of healing of the sick, and revealing the highest conditions of thought. In connection with the authorized version of Genesis, a paraphrase is published, embodying its supposed hidden meaning.

The poem of Josiah Augustus Seitz, entitled The Colloquy, is further designated on the title-page as Conversations about the Order of Things and Final Good, held in the Chapel of the Blessed St. John, summarized in Verse. The conversations cover a considerable part of the field of philosophy and knowledge, and relate to subjects, some of which, as in the tenth conversation, "The World of Wrong and Pain," bearing on the social aspects of life; the twelfth, "Of the Natural Order," setting forth evolution; and the thirteenth, "Excursion to Mars," relating to cosmogony, bear on subjects coming within the purview of science. (G. P. Putnam's Sons. Price, $1.75.)

Certain underground structures found in some of the ruined groups of Yucatan have excited the curious attention of explorers, but have not been satisfactorily accounted for. They are generally single chambers, resembling vaults in appearance, built ten or fifteen feet below the surface, and having no connection with the outer world except a single opening through the roof. They are particularly noticeable at Labná, and several have been found at Uxmal. Thirty-three of these chultunes, as they are called, at Labná have been explored by Mr. Edward H. Thompson, whose report upon them, The Chultunes of Labná, is published as a Memoir of the Peabody Museum of Ethnology and Archæology. Mr. Thompson found in them much dust, flint implements, potteries, and human bones. He believes that they were primarily built and used for the storage of water in a region where that necessary is very scarce and hard to get, and that some of them were afterward converted into tombs.

Suggestions for laboratory and field work in High-School Geology, by Ralph S. Tarr, is intended as an aid for the teacher. It is an attempt to introduce the object-lesson method into the study of geology, and, while there can be no question of its desirability and efficacy, there are many difficulties in the way of its adoption in the ordinary high school, the chief among which are lack of time and adequate knowledge by the teacher. The subject is taken up chapter by chapter (following the author's Elementary Geology), field and laboratory work being introduced wherever it seems called for. The latter half of the volume consists of a series of questions for use with the author's Elementary Geology. (Macmillan, 25 cents.)

The elementary course in comparative anatomy of the vertebrates includes, in many colleges, the thorough study of some readily obtained, characteristic vertebrate, followed by studies of the various types. Prof. David S. Kellicott, of the Ohio State University, finds that in the preparation of literary guides for these dissections, the Ophidian, or snake, has been omitted. Considering it as really an important and agreeable type, and easily obtained in the spring, he has undertaken to supply the omission with a little handbook on the Dissection of the Ophidian. The Spreading Viper (Heterodon platyrhinus), a common, harmless snake of fair size, is taken as the type for examina-