Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 53.djvu/296

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.



of which are in active service, two are kept for reserves, and one has been exhibited in many parts of the State as a sample. Mr. Frank A. Hutchins, in his account of the libraries, says that the eagerness of the public for them "is touching, and as evident among people who read little as among the more intelligent." Illiterate parents seemed to know, almost by instinct, that if their children could read good books freely, they would be likely to be better men and women, and to hold better stations in life. Even rough men acknowledged the value of good literature. One place that had been described as a "hell hole" took the books notwithstanding its bad reputation, and in a few weeks showed double the circulation of its "scoffing neighbor." A storekeeper took in a library, hoping it would help get the loafing boys out of his store. "They are good boys," he said, "except for their habit of loafing, but they haven't anything to do and I can't turn them out." Of the thirty-four stations in Dunn County, twenty-two are in farmhouses, nine in post offices, two in country stores, and one in a railway station. The success of the libraries in all parts of the county was immediate and the interest has continued to grow, an increase in the circulation being mentioned in each succeeding report. Other places have taken up the idea, and there are now one hundred traveling libraries at work in Wisconsin.

A Tornado's Work on Trees.—After the tornado that swept a part of the city of St. Louis, May 27, 1896, a study was made of the injury done to the trees, the general results of which, with some of the technical details, were communicated to the Academy of Sciences by Mr. Hermann von Schrenck. Hardly a tree escaped injury of some kind, except possibly a few cypresses, which with their conical forms yielded to the force of the wind. Some of the uprooted maples and elms were simply turned over, and when straightened up a few days afterward resumed their former growth. Most of them, however, lost all their principal branches, and some were reduced to the trunk with perhaps two forks. These were trimmed up to look like very heavily pollarded trees. The new leaves were in their most active growth, and the destruction of them was very marked. The leaves were wet, and the injuries were evidently largely due to rubbing against branches. Flying missiles of various kinds aided in the destruction. "Grains of sand and small bits of wood and stone, flying through the air at velocities ranging from fifty to eighty miles per hour, were well able to shred the tender leaves." Many trees were left with hardly a sound leaf on their remaining branches. Other injuries were inflicted, not so evident as those to branches and leaves. "Numerous trees had trunks of sufficient elasticity to bend before the force of the wind without breaking. In swaying to and fro, the bark was considerably stretched on one side and compressed on the opposite side, and in the next instant the conditions were reversed. When this took place repeatedly, the bark was torn horizontally for several feet, sometimes on but one side, more often on both. The violent wrenching of a tree with a large top, like the maple, produced considerable strain upon the bark, especially when the force applied was a twisting one. When the strain was too great, the bark came off in sheets, or split longitudinally. . . . In many trees there was no outward sign of this injury for several months; not until the loosened bark died did any shrinkage take place, but then it split and curled up." Wounds made by flying pieces of wood and slate cutting away bark or imbedding themselves in the wood healed rapidly. In the course of June the axillary buds for 1897 on such twigs as were left began to unfold, and produced new leaves; and by September a growth of six inches or more had been made from these buds. In trees that had no such buds to fall back upon, numerous adventitious buds broke out from all parts of the trunk and remaining larger branches. In many of the most injured trees this growth was very small, and they failed to revive the next spring.

Archæology a True Science.—Following Sir John Evans's presidential address in the British Association on the Antiquity of Man, Lord Kelvin spoke for the claims of archæology to be placed among the strict sciences. There is too much tendency among scientific men, he said, to include under the term true science nothing but dead physical facts and certain definite branches of biological knowl-