Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 60.djvu/529

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A STUDY OF CALMS.

A STUDY OF CALMS.
By Professor EDWIN GRANT DEXTER,

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS.

AMONG the suggestive things which have been noted in the course of a series of studies which I have made in an attempt to discover the influence of the weather upon human conduct, no one has been more interesting or unexpected than the seeming effects of calms. Few people are immune to weather influences, and most of us are in a more or less apologetic mood for our behavior during some meteorological condition. East winds and leaden skies are made scape-goats for many a sin of omission or of commission, but it has not been my observation that conditions of calms were often used in that way.

That they do exert a marked influence upon human activities I hope to demonstrate in this paper. The method is wholly an empirical one. Various records of the occurrence of different abnormalities of human conduct were made use of, and the average daily occurrence of these phenomena for a number of years, compared with their average daily occurrence under definite meteorological conditions. The study was for the city of New York—a fact that must be borne in mind since it has an important bearing on the present problem—and covered a period of twelve years, for every day of which the mean temperature, barometric pressure and humidity, the wind movement, the precipitation and the character of the day were determined and used in the tabulation.

The conditions covered by this problem, the number of data, and their sources are as follows:[1]

Registration in Public Schools 118,020 School records
Deportment in Public Schools 14,020 School records.
Deportment in Penitentiary 3,981 Penitentiary records.
Arrests for assaults and battery (males) 36,627 Police records.
Arrests for assaults and battery (females) 3,981 Police records.
Arrests for drunkenness (males) 44,495 Police records.
Arrests for insanity (males) 2,467 Police records.

  1. Fuller studies have been published as follows: 'Conduct and the Weather,' Monograph Supplement, No. 10, The Psychological Review; The Pedagogical Seminary, April, 1898; The Scientific American Supplement, June 3, 1899; Science, August 11, 1899; Appleton's Popular Science Monthly, September, 1899; Educational Review, February, 1900; Nature, February 11, 1900, Annals of American Academy of Political and Social Science, October, 1900; Popular Science Monthly, April, 1901; International Journal of Ethics, July, 1901.