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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/301

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FRAGMENTS OF SCIENCE.

ground alongside each limb. The animal was intentionally not isolated from his fellows, as it was feared that if placed by itself it would become restive and ill-tempered. The rope surrounding the beast's neck had one end secured to three strong pillars in the ground, some distance away and slightly in advance of the fore feet; and the other, which terminated in a loop, was hooked to a double series of pulleys, to the tackle of which ninety men were attached. When all was ready, the slack was gently, quietly, and without any apparent annoyance to the elephant—which kept on eating hay—taken in till the coils round its neck were just taut. The word was then given, "Walk away with the rope." Amid perfect silence the ninety men walked away, without apparently any effort. So noiselessly and easily did everything work that, unless with foreknowledge of what was going to take place, one might have been present without realizing what the march of these men meant. The elephant gave no sign of discomfort either by trunk or tail. Its fellows standing close by looked on in pachydermatous unconcern, and at the end of exactly thirty seconds it slowly collapsed and lay down as if of its own accord. There was absolutely no struggle and no motion, violent or otherwise, in any part of the body, nor the slightest indication of pain. In a few seconds more there was no response obtained by touching the eyeball. At the end of thirteen minutes after the order to "walk away" the eye had become rigid and dim. That no more humane, painless, and rapid method of taking the life of a large animal could be devised was the opinion of all the experts who witnessed the execution.


MINOR PARAGRAPHS.

Count Gleichen relates, in his story of the mission to Menelek, that besides the Maria Theresa 1780 dollars, the people of Abyssinia, for small change, use a bar of hard crystallized salt, about ten inches long and two inches and a half broad and thick, slightly tapered toward the end, five of which go to the dollar at the capital. People are very particular about the standard of fineness of the currency. "If it does not ring like metal when flicked with the finger nail, or if it is cracked or chipped, they won't take it. It is a token of affection also, when friends meet, to give each other a lick of their respective amolis, and in this way the material value of the bar is also decreased. For still smaller change cartridges are used, of which three go to one salt. It does not matter what sort they are. Some sharpers use their cartridges in the ordinary way, and then put in some dust and a dummy bullet to make up the difference, or else they take out the powder and put the bullet in again, so that possibly in the next action the unhappy seller will find that he has only miss-fires in his belt; but this is such a common fraud that no one takes any notice of it, and a bad cartridge seems to serve as readily as a good one."

A study of problems in the Psychology of Reading, by J. O. Quantz, bore upon the questions of the factors which make a rapid reader, the relations of rapidity to mental capacity and alertness, quickness of visual perception, and amount of practice; and whether those who gain their knowledge principally through the eye or through the ear obtain and retain most from reading. The author finds that colors are more easily perceived than geometrical forms, isolated words than colors, and words in construction than disconnected words; that persons of visual type are slightly more rapid readers than those of the auditory type; that rapid readers, besides doing their work in less time, do superior work, retaining more of the substance of what is read and heard than do slow readers. Lip movement is a serious hindrance to speed, and consequently to intelligence, of reading. The disadvantage extends to reading aloud. Apart from external conditions, such as time of day, physical fatigue, etc., some of the influences contributing to rapidity of reading are largely physiological, as visual perception; others are of mental endowment, as alertness of mind; still others are matters of intellectual equipment rather than intellectual ability, as extent of reading and scholarly attainment.

Mr. Merton L. Miller, of the University of Chicago, says, in his preliminary study of the Pueblo of Taos, New Mexico, that he was