Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/142

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
132
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

other stood up for the defense of American legislative methods as developments of American political conditions. The author has sought a mean between these schools, and has tried to glean from contemporary debates, memoirs, newspapers, and other records the reasons assigned for each innovation as it has entered and enlarged the codes, and has taken the testimony of contemporary legislators upon the conditions prevailing in successive stages in the history of the national House and Senate. Among the lessons presented by the book are those of the tremendous power wielded by the speaker of the House of Representatives and of "other anomalies in a supposed elective folk congress."

Whittaker's Mechanical Engineer's Pocket Book, prepared by Philip R. Börling, if it does not contain everything, contains a great many facts and formulas concerning matters on which the mechanician is often called upon to seek immediate information, a considerable proportion of which are not easily subject to systematic classification. Among the one hundred and thirty formulas and processes are those relating to the flow and force of water and wind, the pressure of gases and the air, the weight, proportions, and strength of parts of machinery; stresses, rate of delivery of elevators, etc., gauges, tables of areas and circumferences, squares, cubes, fourth and fifth powers and roots, and items which can be indicated only by viewing them in detail. It is a valuable and indispensable companion for the mechanical engineer. The Macmillan Company. Price, $1.75.

M. J. Costantin conceives that science consists in something more than the mere accumulation, description, and classification of facts, with which too many persons confound it, and that the important thing is what the facts teach, and, as related to it or as what may help to find it out, the theories that may be deduced from them. He applies this principle to the evolution of plant life in his book Les Végétaux et les Milieux Cosmiques (Plants and Cosmic Media)—adaptative evolution, which is essentially a study of the operation of the various material factors of the environment on growth and development. "Guided by Goethe's ideas, he invites us to witness the incessant variations of organized existence everywhere visible in Nature," under the influence of cold and heat, light, gravity, and the aquatic medium, hoping in these studies to find new and decisive arguments in favor of transformist conceptions. He aims to show how the new characteristics produced by changes in the influence of these factors to which plants are subjected may be fixed and gradually become hereditary. (Published by Félix Alcan, Paris, in the Bibliothèque Scientifique Internationale.)

Mr. A. G. Elliott's' little work on Industrial Electricity—a translation and adaptation from the French of Henry D. Graffigny—is the first and introductory volume of an electro-mechanical series published by Whittaker & Co., London, and the Macmillan Company, New York. The editor, in introducing the volumes, expresses the belief that there is room for them because they explain in very clear and non-mathematical language the many and various applications of electricity. Many thousand copies of the original French editions have been sold. The present volume is divided into short chapters, each dealing with a separate branch of practical electricity—its nature, the units, magnetism and induction, practical measurement, chemical generators, accumulators, dynamo-electric machinery, electric light, electricity as a motive power, electric chemistry and electro-plating, bells and telephones, and telegraphs. In the succeeding volumes of the series the more important branches of the subjects touched upon here will be treated separately and in detail.

Franklin Story Conant was born in Boston in 1870; was educated in the public schools of New England, at the University of South Carolina, and at Williams College; and was a Doctor of Philosophy, Fellow, and Adam T. Bruce Fellow in Johns Hopkins University. He showed great appetency for biological investigation and devoted himself to it, at Baltimore, Beaufort, N. C, Wood's Hole, and in Jamaica. He published a few papers of mark, and would have published many more if he had lived. He went to Jamaica in June, 1897, to continue his investigations, and worked for nearly three months on the development and on the physiology of the sense organs of the Cubomedusæ. After