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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/146

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

ing 4,133 specimens, and largely adding to the representation of the flora of Louisiana and Texas; the interesting herbarium of Gustav Jermy, of San Antonio, Texas, containing a very full set of Carpathian plants and a nearly complete local flora; the important pre-Linnæan herbarium formed by Boehmer and Ludwig; and a Chinese collection by Dr. A. Henry. Even larger additions were made to the library. The instruction of garden pupils was continued, and the garden was visited by several research students. Among the scientific papers accompanying the report and bound with it are those of C. H. Thompson on American Lemnaceæ; N. N. Glatf elter on Salix longipes; H. C. Irish on the Genus Capsicum; A. S. Hitchcock on Cryptogams collected in the Bahamas, Jamaica, and Grand Cayman; J. N. Rose on Agaves; C. H. Thompson on Cacti Anhalonium; and seven shorter papers under the heading of "Notes and Observations."

 

The Indian Idea of the "Midmost Self."—In attempting to explain the significance of a pentagonal stone dodecahedron with vestiges of figures on it found near Marietta, Ohio, Dr. J. C. Morris assumed that, besides the Aryan idea of three dimensions of space, there is, to the Indian and to the Eastern mind, another—the fullness. "It is not the length and breadth and thickness of a cube, for instance, but the whole of it, which is as much to be considered as any one of its sides. A cube would therefore be represented numerically by seven, a dodecahedron by thirteen. Among the Mexicans the thirteen lunar months would thus correspond in the year with the twelve zodiacal signs and the earth which passed under and embraced them all." Again, the five digits came to be a measure of man's power or individuality, and thus a sacred number. A pentagonal dodecahedron, then, might be the emblem of the world; and the best time to be active in some contemplated pursuit might be shown by the zodiacal sign that came uppermost when the dodecahedron was thrown or rolled with appropriate ceremonies. As Mr. Frank H. Cushing interpreted the doctrine at the same meeting of the Anthropological Society, when the primitive man contemplates or considers himself or anything in its relation to space or the surrounding directions, "he notices that there is ever a front or face, a rear or back; two sides, or a right and a left; a head and a foot, or an above and a below; and that of and within all of these is himself or it; that the essence of all these aspects in anything is the thing itself—that is, the thing that contains their numbers or sum, yet is one by itself. This is indeed the very key to his conception of himself and of anything in relation to space and the universe or cosmos. He observes that there are as many regions in the world as there are aspects of himself or sides to any equally separate thing; that there are as many directions from him or his place in the world (which is his 'midmost' or place of attachment to the Earth-mother), or from anything in the world (which is its midmost or natural station), toward these corresponding regions. Hence to him a plane would be symbolized not by four, but by five—its four sides and directions thence, and its central self—as was actually the notion of the prairie tribes; a cube, not by six, but by seven, as was the notion of the valley Pueblos and Navajos; a dodecahedron, not by twelve, but by thirteen, as was the notion of the Zuñis, the Aztecs, and apparently—from this example—of the mound builders as well."

 

The Bactrian Camel for the Klondike.—The great Siberian or Bactrian camel is recommended by Mr. Carl Hagenbeck, the famous Hamburg importer of wild beasts, as the best animal for the Klondike climate. It is at home in the coldest regions, can carry or go in harness, can cross mountains or traverse valleys, and is so easily supplied that Mr. Hagenbeck can undertake to deliver any number in New York, duty paid, for three hundred dollars each. It can endure thirst and long spells of hunger as well as freezing cold, and is not too delicate to make its bed on the snow. It sheds its coat before the summer heat, but as the cooler weather of the fall comes on "it grows a garment of fur almost as thick as a buffalo robe and equally coldresisting. It is far more strongly built than the southern camel. It does not 'split' when on slippery ground, though it falls on moist, wet clay which yields to the foot. On ice and frozen snow it stands firmly, and can travel far." It is said that an excellent cross can be made between the male Bactrian and