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Popular Science Monthly/Volume 54/April 1899/General Notices

GENERAL NOTICES.

In preparing the new edition of his Text-Book of Mineralogy[1] first published in 1877, Prof. E. S. Dana has found it necessary to rewrite the whole as well as to add much new matter and many new illustrations. The work being designed chiefly for use in class or private instruction, the choice of topics discussed, the order and fullness of treatment, and the method of presentation have been determined by that object. The different types of crystal forms are described under the thirty-two groups now accepted, classed according to their symmetry. In the chapters on physical and chemical mineralogy, the plan of the former edition is retained of presenting somewhat fully the elementary principles of the science on which the mineral characters depend, and the author has tried to give the student the means of becoming practically familiar with the modern means of investigation. Especial attention is given to the optical qualities of crystals as revealed by the microscope; and frequent references are introduced to important papers on the different subjects discussed. The descriptive part of the volume is essentially an abridgment of the sixth edition of Dana's System of Mineralogy, published in 1892, to which the student is referred for fuller and supplementary information. A full topical index is furnished in addition to the usual index of species.

The title, The Story of the Railroad[2] carries with it the suggestion of an eventful history. The West, in the author's view, begins with the Missouri River. The story of its railroad is the story of the line, now very multiple, that leads to the Pacific Ocean. The beginning of white men's travels in these routes is traced by the editor to the Spanish adventurers of the sixteenth century, who made miserable journeys in search of gold or visionary objects, through regions now traversed by some of the more southern hues. Then came trappers; next costly and painfully undertaken Government expeditions into the then regions of the unknown, the stories of which were the boyhood delight of men now living. The period of practical traversing of the continent began with the raging of the California gold fever, when the journey of many weeks was tiresomely made with ox teams, in the face of actual perils of the desert, starvation, thirst, and the Indians. After California became important, stage and express lines were put on; but still, at the time Mr. Warman takes up the story, less than sixty years ago, the idea of building a railroad to the Pacific was regarded as too visionary to be entertained, and Asa Whitney sacrificed a fortune trying to induce somebody to take it up. The first dreams were for a short route to the Orient. Eventually the idea was developed that the American West might be worth going after, and then the idea of a railroad to it began to assume practical form. Young Engineer Dodge, afterward Major General, began surveys before the civil war; after it General Sherman gave the scheme a great impulse, and the Union Pacific Railroad was built—when and how are graphically and dramatically told in Mr. Warman's book. Next came the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fé, and other transcontinental lines, the histories of all of which are related in similar style, with stories of adventures, perils encountered, and lively incidents, including the war between two of the lines for the possession of the Arkansas Canon; financial mishaps, and political scandal. Then came the settlement of the plains, road-making in Mexico, and the opening of Oklahoma, all of which were made possible by the railroads, and have in turn contributed to support them. The beginnings and growth of the express business are described, and the later lines that have penetrated the plains are mentioned.

Prof. William Benjamin Smith's treatise on the Infinitesimal Analysis[3] has been written, the author says, on what appeared, in the light of ten years' experience in teaching the calculus, to be lines of least resistance. The aim has been, within a prescribed expense of time and energy, to penetrate as far as possible into the subject, and in as many directions, so that the student shall attain as wide knowledge of the matter, as full comprehension of the methods, and as clear consciousness of the spirit and power of this analysis as the nature of the case would admit. The author has accordingly often followed what seemed to be natural suggestions and impulses toward near-lying extensions or generalizations, and has even allowed them to direct the course of the discussion. In accordance with the plan and purpose of the book as given, "Weierstressian rigor" has been excluded from many investigations, and the postponement has been compelled of some important discussions, which were considered too subtle for an early age of study. Real difficulties, however, have not been knowingly disguised, and pains have been taken on occasion to warn the reader that the treatment given is only provisional, and must await further precision or delimitation. Where the subject has been found too large for the compass of the intended work, or too abstruse or difficult for the contemplated students, the treatment has been compressed or curtailed. The book is, in fact, written for such as feel a genuine interest in the subject; and the illustrations and exercises have been chosen with frequent reference to practical or theoretic importance or to historic interest.

Mr. George Jacob Holyoake has written with much enthusiasm the Jubilee History of the Leeds Industrial Co-operative Society.[4] Many schemes have been started on lines similar to those of this one, but very few besides it have grown from the very beginning, and, having become to all appearance a permanent institution, can look back upon a career of fifty years with complete satisfaction. The society began in times of public distress. The ground was prepared for it by the "Redemption" Society, which was founded at Leeds in 1845, by admirers of Robert Owen, after the experiment at Queenswood had failed. It practiced a kind of co-operation and had some distinguished friends to wish it well. Among the speakers at its meetings was Dr. Frederic Hollick, still living, now a resident of New York city. The co-operative society was started as a means of getting cheaper flour for its members. On February 25, 1847, an appeal headed "Holbeck Anti-Corn Mill Association" was issued to the working classes of Leeds and vicinity by the "working people of Messrs. Benyon & Co.'s mill," Holbeck, inviting combination and subscriptions for establishing a mill to be the property of the subscribers and their successors, "in order to supply them with flour and flour only." Meetings were held, an organization was effected, and the mill was started. The history of the society and how it grew, how "flour only" was stricken from its scheme and other things were added and it branched out, how co-operative stores were established, how it gained the confidence of the public and the respect of rivals in business, its successes and its mistakes, its triumphs and failures, are told by Mr. Holyoake, year by year, in a detail in which everything is set down and nothing covered up. In 1897 the cooperative society had productive departments of flour, bakery, bespoke clothing, boot and shoe factory, brush factory, cabinet making, building, millinery, and dressmaking, employing 541 hands and turning over £26,949; 80 large stores for the sale of these and various other kinds of goods in Leeds and vicinity; drapery branches and boot and shoe stores; 43 butchering branches; and 37,000 subscribing purchasers. Its capital stood at £447,000; and its sales for the year amounted to £1,042,616.

 

D. Appleton and Company have added to their Home Reading Series The Earth and Sky, a primer of Astronomy for Young Readers, by Prof. Edward S. Holden. It is intended to be the first of a series of three or more volumes, all treating of astronomy in one form or another, and suited for reading in the school. The treatment is based on the principle that "it is not so simple as it appears to fix in the child's mind the fundamental fact that it is Nature which is true, and the book or the engraving which is a true copy of it. 'It says' is the snare of children as well as of their more sophisticated elders. The vital point to be insisted on is a constant reference from words to things." The volume is written as a conversation with a young lad. He is first shown how he may know for himself that the earth is not flat, though it certainly appears to be so. The next step is to show him that he may know that the earth is in fact round, and that it is a globe of immense size. Its situation in space is next considered, and the child's mind is led to some formal conclusions respecting space itself. It is then directed to the sun, to the moon and its changes, to the stars and their motions, to the revolution of the earth, etc.

In 1887 E. S. Holden published through the Regents of the University of California a list of recorded earthquakes on the Pacific coast, it being the first systematic publication of the sort. The purpose of it was to bring to light all the general facts about the various shocks, and enable studies to be made of particular earthquake phenomena. It was necessary at the Lick Observatory to keep a register of the times of occurrence of all shocks on account of their possible effects on the instruments. With this was associated in 1888, when the observatory began its active work, the collection of reports of shocks felt elsewhere on the Pacific coast. Mr. Holden now reprints this pamphlet through the Smithsonian Institution in A Catalogue of Earthquakes felt on the Pacific Coast, 1769 to 1897, with many corrections and additions, including a complete account of the earthquake observations at Mount Hamilton from 1887 to 1897, and an abstract of the great amount of information that has been collected regarding other Pacific coast earthquakes during the same interval.

The Psychologie als Erfahrungs-Wissenschaft of Hans Cornelius is not intended for a complete account and review of the facts of psychical life, but rather to present the fundamentals of a purely empirical theory, excluding all metaphysical views. Such an account should not start from any arbitrary abstractions or hypotheses, but simply from actually ascertained, directly perceived psychical experiences. On the other hand, an empirical definition should be required for all the terms that are used in a comprehensive description of the experience; and on term should be used without the psychical manifestation described by it being pointed out. After an introduction in which the method and place of psychology, subjective and objective, physiological and genetic, are referred to, the elementary facts of consciousness are discussed. The coherency of knowledge is treated of in the next chapter, and in the third, Psychical Analysis and the conception of unobserved consciousness; and the succeeding chapters are devoted to Sensation, Memory, and Fancy; The Objective World, Truth and Error, and Feeling and Will. (Published at Leipsic, Germany: B. G. Teubner.)

An extremely interesting book is given us in the publications of the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Society of studies by George W. and Elizabeth Peckham, of the Instincts and Habits of the Solitary Wasps. These insects are familiar enough to us all, as we meet them or see their nests of one or a few cells every day, and then think no more of them. But Mr. and Mrs. Peckham, following them to their haunts and keeping company with them, have found them manifesting remarkable instincts and exercising curious customs, which they describe in the style of persons who are in love with their work. The opportunity for the studies was given in two gardens, one on the top of a hill and the other lower down, with an island in a lake close by and acres of woodland all about, offering a rich variety of nesting places. There are more than a thousand species of these solitary wasps in the United States, to only about fifty of the social ones, and they live without knowledge of their progenitors and without relations with others of their kind.

The eighth volume of the report of the Iowa Geological Survey comprises the accounts of surveys completed during 1897 in six counties, making up the whole number of twenty-six counties in which the areal work has been completed. This does not, however, represent the whole extent of the operations of the survey, for some work has been done in nearly every county in the State, and in many counties it will require but little additional work to make a complete report. In addition to the areal work, too, special studies of coal, clay, artesian waters, gypsum, lead, zinc, etc., have engaged attention. A growing public appreciation of the work of the survey as illustrated in the demand for the volumes of the reports and for special papers, is recognized by the State Geologist, Mr. Samuel Calvin; and an increasing use of the reports as works for reference and for general study in high schools and other educational institutions is observed. The survey is now collecting statistics of production of various minerals mined in the State.

One of the features most likely to attract attention in the Annual Report of the State Geologist of New Jersey for 1897 is the paper of Mr. C. C. Vermeule on the Drainage of the Hackensack and Newark Tide Marshes. In it a scheme is unfolded for the reclamation and diking of the flats, under which an ample navigable waterway shall be developed, and the cities which now stop at their edges may be extended and built up to the very banks of the new harbor, made a highway for ocean sailing vessels. An interesting paper is published by Lewis Woolman on Artesian and Bored and other Wells, in which many important wells are described with reference to the geological strata they penetrate. Other papers relate to iron mining and brick and clay industries, mineral statistics, and statistics of clays, bricks, and terra cotta. The field reports describe progress in the surveys of the surface geology, the Newark system, and the upper Cretaceous formations.

On the basis of a reconnoissance made by him for Alexander Agassiz, Mr. Robert T. Hill has published through the Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoölogy at Harvard University, a paper on The Geological History of the Isthmus of Panama and Portions of Costa Rica. He finds that there is considerable evidence that a land barrier in the tropical region separated the two oceans as far back as Jurassic time, and continued through the Cretaceous period. The geological structure of the Isthmus and Central American regions, so far as investigated, when considered aside from the paleontology, presents no evidence by which the former existence of a free communication of oceanic waters across the present tropical barriers can be established. The paleontological evidence indicates the ephemeral existence of a passage at the close of the Eocene period. All lines of inquiry give evidence that no communication has existed between the two oceans since the close of the Oligocene.

The Twenty second Annual Report of the Department of Geology and Natural Resources of Indiana, W. S. Blatchley, State Geologist, embraces, in part, the results of the work of the several departments of the survey during 1897. These appear in the form of papers of economic importance on the petroleum, stone, and clay resources of the State, natural gases and illuminating oils, a description of the curious geological and topographical region of Lake and Porter Counties, and an extended paper on the Birds of Indiana, with specific descriptions. A large proportion of the energies of the department were employed during the year in gathering data for a detailed report on the coal area of the State, which is now in course of preparation.

The Report of the United States Commissioner of Education for 1896-'97 records an increase in the enrollment of schools and colleges of 257,586, the whole number of pupils being 14,712,077 in public institutions and schools, and 1,513,016 in private. The increase is confined to the public institutions, the private ones having suffered from "hard times." Among the numerous papers published in the volume containing the report are those on Education in Great Britain and Ireland, France, Denmark, Norway, Central Europe, and Greece; Commercial Education in Europe; the Teaching of Civics in France, Switzerland, and England; Sunday Schools, including accounts of the several denominational systems; the Legal Rights of Children; and sketches of Horace Mann and Henry Barnard and their work in furthering education.

Mr. David T. Day's report on the Mineral Resources of the United States for 1896 appears as Part V of the Eighteenth Annual Report of the United States Geological Survey, in two volumes of fourteen hundred pages in all; the first of which is devoted to Metallic Products and Coal, and the second to Nonmetallic Products except Coal. The report covers the calendar year 1896, and shows only a slight increase in total values over 1895. Of some substances, however—gold, copper, aluminum, and petroleum being the most important ones—the value was the greatest ever attained. Of other substances, including lead, bituminous coal, building stones, mineral waters, salt, and pyrites, the product was increased in amount, but the value was less. A paper, by Mr. George F. Becker, on the Witwatersnand Banket, records observations made by him in the Transvaal gold fields.

A Geological Reconnoissance of the Coal Fields of the Indian Territory, published in the Contributions to Biology of the Hopkins Seaside Laboratory of Leland Stanford Junior University, by Noah Fields Drake, is based upon a six months' examination made by the author during the spring, summer, and fall of 1896, of the larger part of the coal measures and adjacent formations of Indian and Oklahoma Territories. The best maps that could then be had being exceedingly inaccurate, sketch maps were made of areas that were especially important. On account of features of particular geological interest, nearly all the area south and east of the Canadian River and the bordering areas of the Boone chert and limestones were sketched and studied rather closely.

The American Catholic Historical Society at Philadelphia publishes in its Quarterly Records much that, while it must be of deep interest to historical students holding the Roman Catholic faith, possesses, perhaps, a strong though more general interest to all students of American history; for the men of that faith have had no small part in the colonization and development of this country. The number for June, 1898, contains a portrait and a bibliographical sketch of the Rev. Peter Henry Lemke, 0. S. B., of Pennsylvania, Kansas, and Elizabeth, N. J.; a poem on the Launch of the American Frigate United States, whose commander was a Catholic; articles on the Sir John James Fund, and Catholic Chronicles of Lancaster, Pa., and Extracts from the Diary of the Rev. Patrick Kenny.

A memoir on A Determination of the Ratio (X) of the Specific Heats at Constant Pressure and at Constant Volume for Air, Oxygen, Carbon Dioxide, and Hydrogen gives the result of a series of investigations by Drs. O. Lummer and E. Pringshein, of Charlottenburg, Germany, made with the aid of a grant from the Hodgkins Fund of the Smithsonian Institution. Besides being of exceptional importance in thermodynamics, the specific heat ratio is of interest as affording a clew to the character of the molecule. In the present investigation coincident results on the gases examined appear to have been reached for the first time. (Published by the Smithsonian Institution.)

From the greater lightness of the air and the higher velocity of its currents, it is evident that the materials it may carry and deposit will be somewhat different in composition and structure from those which are laid down in water. They are as a rule finer, they exhibit a different bedding, and are more capriciously placed. Mr. Johan August Udden has made a careful study of the subject, the results of which he publishes under the title of The Mechanical Composition of Wind Deposits, as the first number of the Augustana Library Series, at the Lutheran Augustana Book Concern, Rock Island, Ill.

The History Reader for Elementary Schools (The Macmillan Company, 60 cents), prepared by L. L. W. Wilson and arranged with special reference to holidays, contains readings for each month of the school year, classified according to different periods and phases of American history generally, so chosen that some important topic of the group shall bear a relation to the month in which it is to be read. The groups concern the Indians, the Discovery of America, Thanksgiving, Other Settlements (than those of Virginia and the Pilgrims), Dr. Franklin, Lincoln and Washington, the Revolution, Arbor Day, and Brave Sea Captains, etc., closing with articles in reference to Flag Day. The insertion of an article on the War with Spain seems premature. Public sentiment is not yet at rest on the subject.

  1. A Text-Book of Mineralogy, with an Extended Treatise on Crystallography and Physical Mineralogy. By Edmund Salisbury Dana. New edition, entirely rewritten and enlarged. New York: John Wiley & Sons. Pp. 593. $4.
  2. The Story of the Railroad. By Cy Warman. New York: D. Appleton and Company (Story of the West Series). Pp. 280. Price, $1.50.
  3. Infinitesimal Analysis. By William Benjamin Smith. Vol.1. Elementary; Real Variables. New York: The Macmillan Company. Pp. 352. $3.25.
  4. The Jubilee History of the Leeds Industrial Co-operative Society from 1817 to 1897. Traced Year by Year. By George Jacob Holyoake. Leeds (Eng.) Central Co-operative Office. Pp. 260.