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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/740

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

of them on paper are of little scientific value, because no paper copy can repeat all the minute accuracy of the original negative on glass; and prints are not taken from them for scientific use, but only for illustration. If one is destroyed it can never be replaced; and it is impossible to predict what fact one of them may embody of the greatest importance to the labors of some future astronomer desiring to compare the aspect of his special object of research at his period and ours. Mrs. Fleming's name is frequently mentioned in the reports of the observatory, and she has distinguished herself in several lines of stellar investigation. She has about a dozen women assistants, some of whom are computers of long experience, and some are known by the discoveries they have made.

 

Forest Planting on the Plains.—Mr. Charles A. Keffer, in a report to the Forestry Division on Experimental Tree Planting in the Plains, defines the forestless region of America as including all the States between the Mississippi River north of the Ozark Mountains and eastern Texas and the Rocky Mountains, together with the plateau west of the Rocky Mountains. The possibilities of forest growth in this vast area are yet to be proved. Roughly speaking, any species that thrive in the adjacent wooded region can be grown in Iowa, the Red River Valley of Minnesota and North Dakota, the Sioux Valley of South Dakota and the eastern counties of Nebraska, and in the more southern States. We know that difficulties of cultivation increase as one goes westward, but we can not say where the western limit of successful tree culture is. We can not even define the limits of successful agriculture in the plains, for with increased facilities for irrigation splendid crops are now produced where only a few years ago it was thought desert conditions would forever prevail. It is admitted that forest planting, as a financial investment, will probably be profitable on the plains only in a limited degree. Favorable sites may enable the profitable raising of fence posts and other specialized tree crops, but the growing of timber on a commercial scale can hardly be expected.

 

A Siamese Geological Theory.—The east coast of Siam as far south as Champawn is characterized by wide bays, with detached masses of limestone set on steep-sided islands or high-peaked promontories with serrated ridges, the most conspicuous of which is Sam Roi Yawt, or the three hundred peaks. The relations of these various rock masses to one another, Mr. H. Warington Smyth observed, in an address to the Royal Geographical Society, have been long ago lucidly set forth by Siamese geologists, who are unanimously agreed on the subject. "It appears that one Mong Lai and his wife once inhabited the neighborhood (they were giants), and each promised their daughter in marriage, unknown to the other, to a different suitor. At last the day of the nuptials arrived, and Chao Lai and the Lord of Mieang Chin (China) both arrived to claim the bride. When the horrified father found how matters stood—having a regard for the value of a promise, which is not too common in the East—he cut his daughter in half, so that neither suitor should be disappointed. Chao Lai, in the meantime, on finding that he had a rival, committed suicide, and the peak of Chaolai is the remains of his body. The unfortunate bride is to be found in the islands off Sam Roi Yawt, the peaks of which are the remains of the gifts which were to be made to the holy man who was to solemnize the wedding; while Kaw Chang and Kaw King, on the east side of the gulf, are the elephant and buffalo cart in which the presents were brought."

 

"The Hell of War."—The Cost of a National Crime and The Hell of War and its Penalties are the appropriate names which Edward Atkinson has given to two essays bearing upon the craze for expansion in which the nation has been abruptly plunged. In them an evil which has not yet received due attention, if any, is presented as sure to be inflicted upon us if the policy of militarism is persisted in. "How much increase of taxation," Mr. Atkinson asks, "are you willing to bear, and how many of your neighbors' sons are you ready to sacrifice by fever, malaria, and venereal disease, in order to extend the sovereignty of the United States over the West Indies and the Philippine Islands?" Another question is put to the missionary enthusiasts: "It may be well to ask all who are imbued with this missionary