Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 60.djvu/530

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
522
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.


Arrests for insanity (females) 1,097 Police records.
Suicide 2,946 Police and coroner's records.
Deaths 74,793 Board of health records.
Policemen off duty for sickness 191,137 Police records.
Clerical errors 3,698 Bank records.
The whole number of data considered is 497,262.

The only influences which I wish to discuss in this paper are those of calms. For present purposes I have considered those days as calm, for which the total registration of the anemometer for the twenty-four hours was less than 100 miles. This would mean an average hourly movement of about 4 miles.

To explain more fully the data given above and discuss them: Under 'Registration in the Public Schools' is shown the exact number of single day's attendance which the registers of the schools studied would have shown if none of the pupils had been absent. As a matter of fact 9.2% were regularly absent. These absences were of course distributed throughout the whole school year, and, consequently, throughout all kinds of weather. As would naturally be expected, they varied to a marked degree with the weather. On excessively hot and cold days, on very windy or rainy days, there was a falling off in attendance for reasons that are patent.

The fact of importance from the standpoint of our present study is the falling off on calm days. For the two years studied, the average of absences for days upon which the total movements of the wind was less than 100 miles, was 29%: more than three times the average for all kinds of weather,—an excess of 214% based upon the expected, or average number. Here is something which on à priori grounds would scarcely have been looked for. Why were the pupils at home? The most logical answer to that question is, I believe, that they were not well enough to go. That they were suffering from some of the many indispositions to which childhood is subject. Not necessarily measles, nor mumps, nor scarlet fever, but the simple lack of condition which the woman in the next flat understands perfectly when his mother remarks that 'Johnnie was not feeling well this morning, so I kept him home from school.' To be sure, other matters keep the children home on calm days, such as company, funerals and parades, but these things occur just as frequently in other kinds of weather and we can not reasonably suppose that the conditions which we have found are due to them.

The next class of data has to do also with deportment, though not in public schools. It is marked 'Deportment in the Penitentiary,' and is based on the record of the prisoners committed to solitary confinement in the dark cells at the penitentiary on Randall's Island. The number so punished for misdemeanors occurring on calm days was 80% of the daily average for all kinds of weather, showing a deficiency of 20%.