Popular Science Monthly/Volume 39/June 1891/Literary Notices
The Autobiography of the Earth. By Rev. H. N. Hutchinson, F. G. S. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 290. Price, $1.50.
Those who know but little of the science that deals with rock-formations, and regard it as one of many perplexing 'ologies, would be surprised to see what a fascinating story the earth's geological record becomes, as told in this book. The author has not written a text-book, but a volume designed to give the general reader an understanding of the process that has molded the superficial layers of the earth's crust into the forms they bear to-day. In his preface he says: "Many a sportsman or pedestrian, we believe, pauses now and again to examine some curious stone which attracts his attention, or looks at the rock or bowlder on which he rests for a mid-day repast, and would like to understand a little of its previous history. But, not knowing where to turn for assistance, he remains ignorant of a subject of which even a slight knowledge would greatly add to the pleasure of his rambles over the country." The author states that the plan of his book is, "First, to give in simple language, .and in a style which it is hoped will not deter the reader, a brief sketch of the former history of our planet, beginning with its first appearance as a member of the solar system, and passing through all the different geological periods, with their changing scenes and various phases of life, down to the latest period, when man appeared on the scene. Secondly, to explain, however briefly, the methods by which the conclusions of geologists have been arrived at, or, in other words, to put the evidence before the reader so that he may see how those conclusions were formed, and judge for himself how far they are reasonable. To do this at all fully in a small book was of course impossible, but it was thought better to attempt brief explanations than to state conclusions which, without reasons, might seem very arbitrary. Such as are given may in some cases be inadequate or incomplete, but at least they will serve to give the reader an insight into the methods of geology, and may possibly lead some to further study, and especially to personal observation. Geology can not be learned from books alone. Observation and a little reflection will help the student far more than reading. Study should be combined with field work, and in this way only can the subject be mastered." It is now fully recognized that the culture demanded by modern life includes an acquaintance with the chief fields of science. This book introduces the reader into one of these fields in a notably happy manner.
A Move for Better Roads. Essays on Road-making and Maintenance and Road Laws. Philadelphia: H. C. Baird & Co. Pp. 319. Price, $2.
Important work in the cause of road-improvement has been done in the preparation and publishing of this volume. The essays which it contains were written in competition for prizes of four hundred, two hundred, and one hundred dollars, offered by William H. Rhawn and other citizens of Philadelphia, and awarded by a board of adjudicators appointed by Dr. William Pepper, Provost of the University of Pennsylvania. The paper for which the first prize was given was written by Henry Irwin, B. A., C. E., of Montreal, assistant engineer on the Canadian Pacific Railway. As required by the conditions of competition, this essay takes up the engineering, the economic, and the legislative features of road-making. The writer gives hints as to locating roads, states what grades are allowable, what widths are required in various cases, and discusses all the other details of construction. One thing on which he lays much stress is drainage. "It is almost impossible," he says, "to make a good road on a wet, yielding soil, except by going to great expense in providing a heavy concrete foundation. ... In northern latitudes the remark is frequently made in the spring that 'the frost has heaved the road.'" Mr. Irwin says that "the proper remark to make in such a case would be, 'The road is badly drained,'" and he recommends that all roads should have a ditch about four feet deep on each side, outside the fences. In particularly wet places the road-bed should be thoroughly subdrained. For use in cities he names asphalt, stone blocks, wooden blocks, and brick as suitable pavements, giving the advantages and disadvantages of each. He states that a concrete foundation, which need not be very rich in cement, should be provided for any of these. For country roads Mr. Irwin is convinced that the Telford-Macadam system is by far the best, and he says that it is not much more costly than a sufficiently deep simple Macadam. He then goes on to tell what stone should be chosen for the road-metal, how it should be broken and laid on, and how the surface of the road should be finished. While urging the general use of macadamized roads, he does not omit to tell how gravel and earth roads can be improved. Under the head of maintenance Mr. Irwin touches on cleaning and repairing the surface of roads, and cleaning out drains. Under economic features, he gives figures that show how much loss farmers suffer from bad roads. "A farmer who might send produce into market for two hundred days in the year, using a pair of horses to draw a load of about a ton on a poor gravel road, could, if the road were well macadamized, dispense with one of the horses. Supposing that the horse cost him forty cents per day (including interest on first cost), he would save on this single item eighty dollars per annum." Then there is the wear and tear of wagons and harnesses to be considered, and the loss in the price of produce from not being able to get it into town when it is wanted, or not fast enough, if the roads happen to be deep in mud at that time. From the Engineering News of February 22, 1890, is quoted a "statement made by Captain Brown, manager of Hollywood truck-farm in Virginia, to the effect that a pair of horses can draw fifty-five barrels of produce over the roads on that farm, which are in excellent condition, whereas on the ordinary country roads they can only draw twelve barrels." As to road legislation, Mr. Irwin recommends that control over all public roads and bridges should be given to a council in each county. The council should appoint, an engineer, assistants, and clerks, whose tenure of office should be permanent. He also recommends the employment of convicts in cleaning and repairing county roads, or in breaking stone at the jails.
The writer of the second-prize paper, David H. Bergey, B. Sc, M. D., devotes considerable space to general discussion of the subject. His recommendations and statements agree generally with those of Mr. Irwin, though he prefers the Macadam to the Telford road. The third-prize essay, by James B. Olcott, of South Manchester, Conn., is quite similar to the preceding. One thing that he protests against is the putting of a layer of broken stone, by contractors, over the surface of a road for the public to wear it down by the wheels of their vehicles. Five papers that had received honorable mention are also published. The writers of these, without reference to order, are Edwin Satterthwait, President of the Cheltenham and Willow Grove Turnpike, Jenkintown, Pa.; Charles Punchard, of Philadelphia; George B. Fleece, C. E., Memphis, Tenn.; Frank Cawley, B. S., Instructor in Civil Engineering, Swarthmore College; and Francis F. McKenzie, C. E., of Philadelphia. A digest of the main suggestions in the other papers that were submitted, and a review of all the essays by Prof. Lewis M. Haupt, the secretary of the committee that arranged the competition, follow the above. A list of brief rules, published by the Road Improvement Association, of London, is appended. The committee intends to publish also a draft or drafts of a model legislative bill for a road law.
This subject is one which profoundly affects the interests of farmers, and will return ten times as much for money, time, and effort expended on it as the ordinary political schemes which promise to do so much for the farmer in return for his support. The above-described volume should have a wide circulation, and should find a place in every public and school library in our farming communities.
Studies in Psychology. By S. G. Burney. Nashville, Tenn: Cumberland Presbyterian Publishing House. Pp. 535.
The author of this work is Professor of Systematic Theology in Cumberland University, and is author of a book on moral science and some works in theology. The volume contains the substance of his class-lectures, which were prepared for that particular purpose, and are published only at the solicitation of successive classes of students. The treatise is original in the sense that it embodies the author's own independent thoughts, with free criticisms of the writers of the esoteric school who have preceded him, and from whom he differs widely on several important points. It usually, however, has those in view, and, however freely his own theories may be presented, those of the others are not far away t Among the more important points of difference from other standard works are the endeavor to avoid the perplexity arising from the practice of formally accepting any given analysis of the mind, and then practically disregarding it in attributing to one faculty the functions of another; it rejects the doctrine of complex faculties, complex feelings, and complex action, and opposes to it the principle that these features are all simple, though interdependent; it also rejects the doctrines that consciousness is cognitive; that there are a voluntary consciousness, a latent consciousness, and unconscious influences exercised over the mind by unknown objects; that there is an involuntary attention, and the mind can attend strictly to a multitude of objects at the same time; and of the objectivity of time, space, beauty, and sublimity in the form in which those phenomena are generally stated. It differs from the more common theories concerning identity, memory, and the laws of association or mental suggestion. The doctrine of sensibility is discussed briefly; and the textbook presentation of the will is supplemented by a review of the prominent teachings concerning it of a number of the more popular authors from Augustine to the present time. The study offered in this book is wholly from the interior, the author holding, with all who have treated of the subject prior to the rise of the evolutionist school, that "in mental science the mind deals exclusively with itself, or rather studies itself through the facts given in consciousness." We are not disposed to belittle the value of the esoteric study. It has been well attended to by the authors of the past, to whom Prof. Burney often refers, and whom he often also criticises; but the publications of Spencer, Maudsley, Sully, and Ribot have shown that the study from the outside is even more valuable, and has already furnished a large volume of data essential to a full knowledge of the subject, and competent to answer some of the questions which the esoteric theories still leave open. While the adherents of this school may not accept all the conclusions of the evolutionists, they will find that they can not be ignored, and that no treatise can in this day be considered complete that does not take account of them.
A Short Course of Experiments in Physical Measurements. By Harold Whiting. Part II. Cambridge: John Wilson & Son. Pp. 305.
The present portion of this work, the first part of which has been noticed in the Monthly, is devoted to sound, dynamics, magnetism, and electricity. The measurements relating to sound are merely the conclusion of the subject. Under dynamics are included experiments on the pendulum, the measurement of force, elasticity, and cohesion, and the determination of work done. The measurement of the distance between the poles of a magnet, the deflections of compass needles, and magnetic dip are among the experiments under magnetism. Several methods of measuring electrical currents, electrical resistance, and electro-motive force are given. In the concluding pages there are a few experiments for advanced students in various departments of physics, and the use of certain instruments of precision is described. The volume is illustrated with many diagrams and cuts of apparatus.
Principles of Social Economics. By George Gunton. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. Pp. 447. Price, $1.75.
The author divides this treatise into four parts, dealing respectively with the principles of social progress, of economic production, of economic distribution, and of practical statesmanship. He defines social progress as "the movement of society toward the realization of the highest material, intellectual, and moral possibilities in human life," and states that it "consists in a series of changes from a relatively simple to a relatively complex state of social organization." Its cause is "man's conscious effort to adapt social institutions to his own needs and desires." Considerable historical matter is cited in support of these views. In Part II, on production, Mr. Gunton criticises various definitions of wealth previously given, and thus defines it himself: "Everything may be regarded as wealth, the utility of which is actualized by human effort." Other topics discussed in this section of the book are the nature of value, relation of demand and supply, prices, cost of production, and the function of money. The author advocates the issuing of money by private enterprise, under government supervision. In the part on economic distribution he discusses various theories in regard to wages, rent, interest, profit, etc. Mr. Gunton regards the laissez-faire doctrine as unscientific, claiming that it is not likely to secure the survival of the most fit. In regard to international trade he affirms that protection should offset difference in wages, but should do no more; he argues the superiority of a home market over a foreign, and maintains that "no competition can promote industrial well-being which does not tend to make wealth cheap." The sub-title of the book—"with criticisms on current theories"—is amply justified, for nearly every prominent economist is criticised, from Adam Smith to Blaine.
The Missouri Botanical Garden. First Annual Report, 1890. St. Louis. Pp. 165.
This volume embodies a record of the founding of the Missouri Botanical Garden and of the Henry Shaw School of Botany. It contains a biographical sketch of Henry Shaw, from which it appears that the idea of laying out a garden first came to him during a visit to England, his native country, in 1851. Preparation of the ground for the garden was begun in 1857. In the same year the assistance of the late Dr. Engelmann, then in Europe, was secured to gather suggestions from foreign botanical gardens, and at about the same time a correspondence was begun with Sir William J. Hooker, whose advice largely influenced the shaping of the institution. Mr. Shaw had retired from business, and during the rest of his life over thirty years the development and supervision of this garden was his sole care. An outgrowth of the garden was Tower Grove Park, containing two hundred and seventysix acres, in which more than twenty thousand trees have been planted, all raised in the arboretum of the garden. This volume contains also Henry Shaw's will conveying the garden to a board of trustees, and providing for its maintenance, and also devising property to Washington University for the establishment of a School of Botany. The will is followed by the inaugural exercises of this school, held on November 6, 1885, a report on the school, made in June, 1890, and the first annual report of the Director of the Botanical Garden, covering the year 1889. The inaugural exercises include an address by William Trelease, Engelmann Professor in the school. There is also the first of a series of annual "flower sermons," and the proceedings at the first annual banquet of the trustees of the garden and their guests, funds for both of which commemorations were provided by the will. The volume is illustrated with many full-page views of buildings and spots in the garden and park, maps of the grounds, and a portrait of Mr. Shaw.
Building-Stone in New York. By John C. Smock. Bulletin of the New York State Museum. Vol. II, No. 10. Albany: University of the State of New York. Pp. 203.
A large amount of information is contained in this report, embracing the geological position and the composition of the building-stones found in the State of New York, the localities where they are quarried, the extent and nature of their use, their durability, etc. The descriptive notes in regard to quarries are arranged under the two general heads crystalline rocks and fragmental rocks; the former including granites, limestones, and marbles, and the latter comprising slate and a variety of sandstones. Under each kind of rock, each locality where it is quarried receives a paragraph. There is an important chapter on the use of stone in cities, in which is stated the general purposes for which the several kinds of stone are used in each of the cities of the State, names of structures built of each kind being given. Many of the stones here mentioned come from without the State. A report on physical and chemical tests of representative building-stones of New York, by Prot. Francis A. Wilber, is inserted, and there is a chapter on the durability of stone and the causes of its decay. One reason given for the rapid decay of sandstone in recent years is, that lately much of the stone has been set on edge. A folded map of the State on which the towns where there are quarries are marked accompanies the volume.
Church and State. By Count Leo Tolstoï. Boston: Benjamin K. Tucker. Pp. 169.
This collection of essays, better than any other, shows in strong light the peculiar logic of the Russian novelist. The subjects discussed are Church and State; Money; Man and Woman, and the Mother.
A remarkable dissertation on the origin and use of money takes up the greater part of the book, and is worth reading only as an abnormal subject is valuable for dissection. At the outset it is unequivocally declared that money is the cause of slavery, but this proposition is so obscured in the conclusion that many paragraphs are devoted to proving that slavery results from the compulsion of the unarmed by the armed! These are some of his inimitable ideas: "To say to-day that money does not produce slavery is as correct as it was correct fifty years since to say that serfdom did not produce slavery. . . . To plain people it appears beyond doubt that the immediate cause of the enslavement of some men by others is money. But science, denying this, says that money is only a medium of exchange, which has no connection with the enslavement of men. . . . Doubtless money has those harmless properties which science enumerates; but it has them in reality only. . . in an ideal society, but in such a society money would not exist at all . . . its main function is not the serving as a medium of exchange, but the serving as a means of compulsion." The proof of this assertion Tolstoï proceeds to find in the history of the Fiji Islands. The Fijians were unacquainted with any means of exchange other than barter until American colonists came among them. Some of the American intruders were injured by Fijians, and the United States Government demanded forty-five thousand dollars indemnity for the outrages. The Fijians appealed to England for protection, borrowed money, and finally became enslaved—ergo, money is the cause of slavery!
The scientific method of investigation is somewhat slower than this electric Russian would have it, so he compares it to "a lazy, restive horse," and states at length: "Science has a definite purpose, which it accomplishes. The purpose is, to maintain the superstitions and delusions of the people, and thereby hinder humanity in its advance toward truth and welfare" It is hardly worth while to pursue such folly much further, yet Tolstoï carries this agility of conclusion into his examination of all social questions. In another essay he enunciates the following theorem: 'The service of mankind resolves itself into two parts: 1. The improvement of living men and women. 2. The perpetuation of mankind itself. To the former men are chiefly called, since the possibility of the latter service is denied them. To the second women are called, as they are exclusively capacitated therefor." At one time he would make the world a vast nursery where the ideal woman rears the greatest possible number of children; at another he declares, "The continuation of the human race will no longer be necessary for those who are living a true life."
The celebrity of this author makes any utterance from him noticeable; but, however highly his imaginative power may rank him as a novelist, there is no continuity or sequence to his arguments, and as a thinker he is wholly out of joint.
Household Hygiene. By Mary Taylor Bissell, M. D. Fact and Theory Papers, No. 7. New York: N. D. C. Hodges. Pp. 83. Price, 75 cents.
We rarely see a book that hits its aim so pat as this one does. It covers an important subject with a serviceable degree of completeness, it contains nothing that is superfluous or unavailable to those for whom it is written, and it is everywhere clear, forcible, and direct. The author's statement of what she has attempted is no less apt than the body of the book. "This little volume," she says, "has been compiled with the hope that the housekeeper of to-day may find in its pages a few definite and simple suggestions regarding sanitary house-building and housekeeping which will aid her to maintain in her own domain that high degree of intelligent hygiene in whose enforcement lies the physical promise of family life." Nothing more is needed by way of description but to give the chapter headings; these are: The Site and the Soil; Hygiene in Architecture; The City House and Plumbing; The Country House; Ventilation and Heating; Our Water-supply; Kitchen and Table Hygiene; Sanitary Furniture; The Sick-room; Roof Gardens.
Open Sesame! Poetry and Prose for Schooldays. By Blanche Wilder Bellamy and Maud Wilder Goodwin. Vol. III. Boston: Ginn & Co. Pp. 861.
This volume, the closing one of the series, is intended for pupils over fourteen years of age, and young students in search of something to read or recite can scarcely fail to be satisfied with its varied contents.
There are rhymes of old-fashioned flavor from Chaucer and Robert Herrick and verses of modern seasoning by Joaquin Miller and Walt Whitman. The shorter masterpieces of English are given, as well as poems culled from Omar Khayyam, Schiller, and Victor Hugo. Famous stirring addresses are chosen from the time of Thucydides and onward, and wise words of counsel from Prof. Huxley and Jane Welch Carlyle.
The selections are grouped under five headings—Sentiment and Story; Art and Nature; Loyalty and Heroism; Song and Laughter; Holidays and Holy Days—and to each section an illustration is prefixed.
The State University of Iowa publishes semi-annually a journal entitled The Transit, edited by the Engineering Society in that institution (price, 50 cents). The second issue was that for December, 1890, and is largely devoted to the details of a series of cement tests carried on in the department of engineering. The paper was prepared by Mr. Hubert Remley, one of the authors of the article on cements in the Monthly for March, and is illustrated with diagrams and cuts of apparatus. Besides this, there are two short papers on cements in this issue, and other papers on The Preservation of Timber, A Simple Method of determining Latitude, and on Paving-Brick and Brick Pavements. Two of the university buildings are described, with illustrations, and the issue contains also editorial matter and a list of courses in engineering given by the university.
Two addresses by Prof. Delos Fall have been reprinted together from the Report of the Michigan State Board of Health for 1890. One, on School Hygiene, urges attention to everything that affects the health of children during school hours. The other is A Study of the Action of Alcohol on the Human Body, and presents, without any fanatical ranting, the evils which physiologists say that alcohol inflicts upon the human body. It also quotes General Greely as stating that the regular taking of alcohol is useless, or worse, in very cold regions, and Mr. Stanley as having the same opinion of its use in very hot regions.
Some of the experimental psychological studies of Alfred Binet have been published in a pamphlet entitled On Double Consciousness (Open Court, 50 cents). An essay on Experimental Psychology in France is prefixed to these studies, in which the special fields are mentioned that the leading psychologists of that country are engaged in, most of these being embraced in the domain of pathological psychology. By double consciousness is meant the capability of hysterical persons to respond to excitations of an insensible part of the body without being aware that the excitation or response has been made. The author describes experiments performed on the insensible arm and the hysterical eye, defends the hypothesis of double consciousness against the theory of unconscious automatic action, and discusses various topics connected with his general subject.
A pamphlet manual of Invertebrate Dissections has been published by Prof. Henry L. Osborn, of Hamline University, St. Paul, Minn, (price, 40 cents). It tells what parts are to be observed and where to look for them in each specimen. The creatures chosen for dissection are readily obtainable, and include the sponge, various hydroids, coral, star-fish, angle-worm, crayfish, etc., ending with the grasshopper. The author states that the accounts of type specimens contained in this manual are incomplete, and should be supplemented with details of anatomy, embryology, paleontology, etc., gathered from reading or lectures.
A lecture on Organic Evolution delivered by Prof. Samuel E. Tillman at the United States Military Academy has been printed at the Academy Press. It presents those general facts concerning evolution in the domain of life that every intelligent person should be acquainted with, and in a manner well calculated to arouse the interest and hold the attention of hearers or readers. This lecture has been pronounced by good judges a most satisfactory summary of the great doctrine with which it deals.
A useful book for the phonetic teaching of reading is A Sound-English Primer, by Augustin Knoflach (Stechert, 25 cents). Its plan is to teach children first how to read phonetic print, and then, using this knowledge as a stepping-stone, to impart the ability of reading the ordinary spelling. The author's scheme of phonetic spelling recognizes six long and six short vowel sounds, the long vowels being distinguished by doubling the letters. No new letters are employed; q, not being needed as a consonant, is used for the sixth vowel, and six digraphs are used for consonants that have no single letters to represent them, namely, ch, sh, zh, th, dh, and ng. A notable feature of this system is that it indicates accent. In words in which it does not conform to a simple rule, the accent is marked either by a diacritic or by doubling a consonant. Prefixed to the book is an account of a test of this mode of teaching made last summer with a part of Mr. Knoflach's manuscript. In a little over three weeks a six-year-old boy, who had never had any instruction in reading before, was made able to read a large portion of an ordinary primer. Mr. Knoflach's book has clear print arid is of convenient size.
No. 3 in the series of pamphlets on North American Fauna, issued by the Department of Agriculture, embraces the Results of a Biological Survey of the San Francisco Mountain Region and Desert of the Little Colorado, Arizona, by C. Hart Merriam and Leonhard Stejneger. It contains a general description of the region and annotated lists of the mammals, birds, reptiles, and batrachians found therein, with a few notes on the forest trees that are common in that locality. The skulls and dentition of many of the animals are figured, and there are also colored maps showing the distribution of forest trees about the mountain.
In an essay on the Origin of Plane Trees, reprinted from the American Naturalist, Prof. Lester F. Ward criticises a paper by Prof. Johann Jankó on the same subject. Jankó excludes from the genus certain American species that had not before been challenged, and ignores others; but the chief point that Prof. Ward urges against him is that he has overlooked the significance of the basal lobes that occur on the leaves of some species.
Among the results of Prof. Angelo Heilprin's study of the Geology and Paleontology of the Cretaceous Deposits of Mexico, made during his expedition to that country in the spring of 1890, are the conclusions that the deposits, covering or scattered over a large part of the country, are continuous with the Cretaceous area of the interior basin of the United States; that they are a part of the Middle or Upper Cretaceous series; that no true Lower Cretaceous beds have been so far identified in Texas or Arkansas; and that no marine deposits of unequivocally Lower Cretaceous age have thus far been determined in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains.
Pilot Knob; a Marine Cretaceous Volcano, of which Prof. Robert P. Hill has published a study, is one of a group of hills composed of igneous rock standing a few miles southwest of Austin, Texas. From its structure, as studied by the author, it appears to be the neck of an ancient volcano which rose out of and deposited its débris in the deep water of the Upper Cretaceous sea. From its isolated position it must have been an isolated eruption. The hill probably belongs to a great chain of igneous localities, eruptive and basaltic, extending from the mountains of northern Mexico to the Ouachita system of Arkansas.
The Account of the Determination of the Mean Density of the Earth by Means of a Pendulum Principle, by J. Wilsing, of Potsdam, has been translated and condensed for the Smithsonian Report by J. Howard Gore. The value found by Mr. Wilsing is 5·579 ± 0·012.
A second edition, revised and enlarged, is published by Blakiston, Son & Co. of Leffmann and Beam's Examination of Water for Sanitary and Technical Purposes. The more recent methods of water analysis may be found in this volume, including those recommended by the Chemical Section of the American Association for determination of nitrogen in ammonium compounds, for nitrates and nitrites, and for oxygen-consuming power. Attention is called by the authors to the application of the Kjeldahl process in ascertaining the total organic nitrogen. The media and manipulation of biological examinations are amply treated, and a chart is given of the culture phenomena of the more important microbes. Much value is not attached, however, to the results thus obtained, since the number of microbes may vary greatly without analogous variation in the healthful character of the water. Ordinary filtration is shown to increase the micro-organisms, which develop finely in the pores of sand or stone filters. The Bischof and the Pasteur filters are to be preferred for household use, while the Anderson process of agitating the water with fine particles of cast iron in a rotating cylinder produces a water of high organic purity with great rapidity. The text is clear and well arranged, all required apparatus is illustrated, and useful analytical tables are furnished for comparison.