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


The Elementary Zoölogy of Frank E. Beddard[1] contains an account of a few types selected from the chief groups of the animal kingdom, followed and accompanied by a consideration of some of the more general conclusions of biology. A type system has to be used, but the author has endeavored to obviate the great fault of that method—the liability of the students conceiving that the characters of the species selected for description are distinctive of a wider assemblage of forms—by emphasizing here and there the differences between allied groups. The question arises whether to begin with the higher forms and go down to the lower, which some authorities believe to be the course easier of comprehension by the student, or to follow the inverse method. The author prefers to begin with the lower forms and gradually work to the higher as the course having the undoubted advantage of presenting the facts in a logical sequence. He accordingly begins with the amoeba and proceeds upward. The treatment is simple and lucid. Novelty has not been sought in the illustrations, though there are several new ones, but selections have been made from the best already drawn.

An Introductory Logic[2] grew out of the lectures of the author, Prof. J. E. Creighton, to undergraduate classes in Cornell University; is intended primarily as a text-book for students, and aims at being both practical and theoretical. The broad view is taken in the definition of the subject that logic is the science of thought, or the science that investigates the process of thinking; and the author expresses himself convinced that, in spite of some difficulties, formal logic is one of the most valuable instruments in modern education for promoting clear thinking and for developing critical habits of mind. To doubters of the advisability of attempting to include a theory of thought or a philosophy of mind in an elementary course in logic, Professor Creighton replies that psychology having differentiated itself from philosophy and become a "natural" science, no longer undertakes to describe all that the mind is and does. "It belongs to logic to investigate intelligence as a knowing function, just as it is the task of ethics to deal with the practical or active mental faculties." Logic must first be a science before it can become an art, but it can not be regarded as an art in the sense that it furnishes a definite set of rules for thinking correctly. What it can do is to show the method by which new truths have been discovered and the general conditions that must always be fulfilled in reasoning correctly. The treatment in the text follows the usual order, except that the author, keeping clear of artificial diction, writes in talking English that is easy to be comprehended.

There are no more vital problems in the evolution of society than those connected with the point of view, the outlook, of the great masses of the "working people." These people form the backbone, the potential energy of society; an acquaintance with their views of ethics and life, and manner of living, is of the utmost importance, not only per se, but especially because of the efficient direction which such a knowledge can give the attempts at improving these latter, and through them society at large. Mr. Walter Wyckoff has, apparently actuated by some such view as this, in combination perhaps with a desire for a novel experience, made a two years' trip across the continent, living chiefly among the lowest and most improvident class of manual laborers; making his own living by their methods, and, by means of the close contact, studying them from a vantage point of unusual value. The account of this expedition[3] is, as it could not fail to be, no matter who the traveler might have been, of great interest and value. But in Mr. Wyckoff's hands the story has an added attraction through the literary ability of the author. There is much material of practical scientific value in the volume; it should prove especially suggestive and useful to some of our charity organization workers who apparently find it so difficult to govern their work by reason rather than emotion. There are one or two rather unpleasant lapses, the most marked of which advertises in a Chicago police station Mr. Wyckoff's great linguistic attainments, but the work is generally free from this sort of weakness, and is on the whole very well worth reading for instruction as well as entertainment.

The Manual of Determinative Mineralogy of Professors George J. Brush and Samuel L. Penfield[4] is intended primarily to be used in the identification of minerals, and that purpose has been kept prominently in view. The present edition is a complete revision of Professor Brush's original work, the value of which and the estimation in which it is held by its constituency are attested by the fact that fourteen editions of it have been issued since it first appeared in 1874. A revision of the parts devoted to blowpipe analysis and the chemical reactions of the elements was published in 1896. To the present edition a chapter is added on the physical properties of minerals, devoted chiefly to crystallography, in which the endeavor has been made to present the subject as simply as possible. Importance has been attached to the description of those forms which are of most frequent occurrence, and the examples chosen to illustrate the different systems represent, as a ride, the simple forms that prevail in specimens of common minerals, while rare and complex forms are treated very briefly. The introduction of a large number of species since 1874 has made a complete rearrangement necessary in the analytical tables; and they have been so developed that tests for characteristic chemical constituents furnish the chief means of identification. Stress is laid upon the importance of determining the chemical constituents as a factor in securing accuracy in identification.

Demonstrator G. S. Newth opens his Manual of Chemical Analysis[5] with a protest against the thought of "doing" analysis without learning more than the minimum amount of chemistry, and against teaching and practicing it in such a manner as to degrade it to the level "of a purely mechanical and often unintelligible series of rule-ofthumb operations." He says he has done his best to make it "as little of a cram book as possible," and has endeavored "to teach analytical chemistry as well as analysis"—that is, the theoretical as well as the practical side of the subject. He begins with emphasizing the importance of the student making himself practically familiar with certain simple operations he will have to perform constantly, and gives clear, concise definitions of such terms as filtration, solution, evaporation, fusion, precipitation, ignition, etc., which relate to those operations. He condemns slovenly formulas and mechanical notes, but commends real notes of the student's own observations. In his treatment he excludes merely descriptive details that have no bearing on analysis; and in quantitative analysis, prefers describing fully a few typical methods and processes to covering much ground slightly.

The Ingersoll Lectureship at Harvard University is constituted on a legacy by Miss Caroline H. Ingersoll, carrying out the wishes of her father, George G. Ingersoll, for the foundation of an annual lectureship on the "Immortality of Man," to which no conditions as to doctrine or method of treatment are attached. The purpose of the lectures, or perhaps their operation, as defined by Prof. William James, is that out of the series may emerge a collective literature worthy of the theme. Professor James took as the special subject of his lecture[6] the answer to two objections to the doctrine of immortality: first, the absolute dependence of our spiritual life, as we know it here, on the brain; and the second relating to "the incredible and intolerable number of beings which, with our modern imagination, we must believe to be immortal, if immortality be true." To the former objection the author replies that thought is not a productive but a permissive or transmissive function of the brain; when the brain decays the sphere of being that supplied the consciousness is still intact, and the stream still goes on; to the second, that spiritual being is not as material being, that each new mind brings "its own edition of the universe of space" along with it, that there is no crowding or interference, and that the supply of individual life in the universe can never possibly exceed the demand.

The first number of In Lantern Land, a monthly journal "devoted to literature, the fine arts, the play, with some discussion of passing events," Charles Dexter Allen and William Newnham Carleton, editors, gives promise of a literary journal of elevated tone. It holds its aim to be unprejudiced and independent. (Published at Hartford, Conn., by Charles Dexter Allen, for one dollar a year.)

Mr. Henry Carr Pearson presents in his Greek Prose Composition (American Book Company, 90 cents) results of his own experience in the class room. The aim of the book is to combine study of the essentials of Greek syntax with practice in translating connected English into Attic Greek, and to afford convenient practice in writing Greek at sight. The work is in three parts: Part I, containing, in graded lessons, the principal points of Greek syntax, designed for use at the beginning of the second year's study of Greek; Part II, short simple English sentences modeled after sentences in Xenophon's Anabasis, for daily use in connection with reading of the text; and Part III, connected English prose, graded, also based on the Anabasis. Review lessons are introduced, and a Greek-English vocabulary is provided.

Mr. James W. Crook, in the introduction to his history of the development of German Wage theories (Columbia University Studies in History, Economics, and Public Law), remarks upon the slowness with which political economy, and particularly the study of questions concerning wages, has advanced in Germany. Hardly any original work on wages is to be found there for half a century after the publication of Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations, although numerous textbooks bearing upon the subject were issued—all for the most part only summarizing or slightly modifying the reasonings and conclusions of the English master. The conditions of economic life in the two countries were different, and the "industrial revolution was slow in developing on the Continent, and in Germany the old industrial order with its restrictions and conservative methods prevailed long after England had replaced the old with the new." These differences between the two countries may adequately account for the great disparity in theoretic development. And Germany is still largely dependent upon other countries in its discussions. In the present work, the chief object being to discover progress of thought on the subject, chronology had to be sacrificed, in some instances, to a logical treatment. Those writers are grouped who appear to show the largest number of points of contact, and this leads to placing all the German writers treated in two groups, in one of which a real unity of method and interest prevails, and Hermann is the most important center, while the other group includes van Thünen, Karl Marx, and Schulze-Gaevemitz, authors who do not belong together in the sense that the others do.

Among the articles in the Columbia University Bulletin for June, 1898, are those on the Department of History, the Preparatory Schools (by G. R. Carpenter), Columbia NonGraduates (H. G. Paine), the Teaching of Anatomy (by George S. Huntington), and the second of Mr. H. A. Cushing's historical papers on King's College in the American Revolution.

The report of Filibert Noth, special agent of the Division of Forestry, on Forestry Conditions and Interests of Wisconsin, and the Third Annual Report of the Chief Fire Warden of Minnesota, C. C. Andrews, furnish many facts and suggestions of value to persons interested in the maintenance and protection of our forests.

D. Appleton and Company publish as one of their Home Reading Books The Story of Rob Roy, by Sir Walter Scott, condensed for home and school reading by Edith D. Harris. The editor of the series, Dr. W. T. Harris, furnishes a preface, pointing out the essential qualities of Scott's works on which their fame rests, and analyzing the features of Scottish and English life of the age to which they relate and which give these stories of the border their interest and charm. In explanation of the plan and reason of the present condensation, he says that "it has been found possible to condense the Waverley novels by omitting all lengthy descriptions of scenery, historical disquisitions on the times, and a few passages of dialogue and monologue that do not contribute directly to the progress of the story, or throw light upon the character of the persons who enter upon the scene. It is believed that by this method the interest is preserved intact, and that after a year's interval the story in its unabridged form may be read with as lively an interest as the youth will feel in reading this version." Price, 60 cents.

A paper, Indices Ponderaux de la Crane (Weight Indexes of the Brain), in the Bulletin of the Anthropological Society of Paris, comprises the results of a study of the weight and capacity of the brain, the weight of the mandible, and the cranio-mandibular and craniocerebral indices, etc., made upon sixty-four heads of animals by George Grant McCurdy, of New Haven, with the collaboration of M. Nicolas Mohyliansky.

The pamphlet embodying the Proceedings of the Tenth Annual Session of the Association of American Anatomists, held at Cornell University in December, 1897, contains a portrait and notice, with bibliography of the late Dr. Harrison Allen, the reports of the majority and the minority of the committee on anatomical nomenclature, and seventeen papers contributed by members of the association.

The University Geological Survey of Kansas is conducted under the authority of the Board of Regents of the State University, and has issued already several large and elegant volumes recording the operations and results of its work. The fourth volume, now before us, embraces the paleontology of the Upper Cretaceous, and is by Samuel W. Williston, paleontologist. Kansas is famous for its fossils, no equal area in the United States, perhaps, presenting such varied and remarkable records of this kind. Yet, while the State has furnished much of interest to the sciences of geology and paleontology, the published accounts in these departments are confined to scattered and abstruse papers accessible only to the specialist. The present publication is an effort to put this knowledge, so far as the particular formation to which it relates is concerned, within the reach of students. Professor Williston has been engaged for twelve years in the study of the geology and paleontology of the State, having spent more than three years in field exploration, and has been eight years collecting material for his book, enjoying the advantage of access to the very important collection of the university. Much of the information is here published for the first time. The fossils of the western part of the State only are described in it, for the sole reason that more preparatory work has been done on them in the university in recent years; but other departments are in preparation and will appear in due course. The fossils described are birds, dinosaurs, crocodiles, mosasaurs, turtles, microscopic organizations, and invertebrates, all of the Upper Cretaceous.

In a paper on The Relations of the People of the United States to the English and the Germans, read before the Thursday Club of Chicago, Mr. William Voeke undertakes a defense of the Germans against a supposition that they are hostile to the United States. This is right, if the Germans need defense, which we doubt; but to give his thesis the shape of an attack on England, as is done in the paper, is unnecessary.

The account of the investigations conducted by Dr. D. N. Bergey under the supervision of Drs. J. S. Billings and S. Weir Mitchell, on the Influence upon the Vital Resistance of Animals to the Micro-organisms of Disease, brought about by a Long Sojourn in Impure Atmosphere, already referred to in the Monthly, is published under the Hodgkins Fund in the Smithsonian Miscellaneous Contributions.

The Report of the United States National Museum which we are called upon to notice U for the year 1895, and bears the signature of G. Brown Goode. It embraces accounts of the origin and development of the museum, its organization and scope, and its work in public education; reviews of the special topics in its operations for the year; synopses of the scientific work in various departments; the administrative reports; appendixes relating to accessions to the collections, lectures, meetings, etc.; and a number of special papers of great value and interest, including an account of the Kwakiutl Indians, by Franz Boas; The Graphic Art of the Eskimos, by W. J. Hoffman; The Geology and Natural History of Lower California, by G. P. Merrill; The Tongues of Birds, by F. A. Lucas; The Ontonagon Copper Bowlder in the United States Museum, by Charles Moore; The Antiquity of the Red Race in America, by Thomas Nilsen; and accounts of the Mineralogical Collections in the Museum, by Wirt Tassin, and of the Taxidermical Methods in the Leyden Museum, Holland, by Dr. Shufeldt.

The Dawn of the Twentieth Century is a poem, described by the author, Charles P. Whaley, as his first sermon, dedicated to rationalism. He describes himself as having recovered from "a severe attack of orthodoxy," which deprived him for the time of the power of logical reason, and to have at last discerned a theology, "founded upon absolute, demonstrable scientific facts," which is to prevail in the next century. His poem presents his view of that theology.

In the September number of the Quarterly Review, The New World, an article by Prof. Otto Pfleidener on Evolution and Theology, defines the task of Ecclesiastical Protestantism after having abandoned the ethical ideals of mediæval Christianity, as being "for a still wider development, to strike off the dogmatic fetters of ecclesiastical criticism, and to clothe its religious principle in new forms of thought, which shall render for our age the same service that the Greek and Roman dogmas rendered for the earlier time." In an article on Social and Individual Evolution, Mr. Henry Jones maintains that the social tendencies of the present day point to a limitation of individual independence and enterprise.

A contribution to the anthropology of the Jesup North Pacific Expedition, Facial Paintings of the Indians of Northern British Columbia, by Franz Boas, forms the first part of Volume II of the Memoirs of the American Museum of Natural History. The Jesup expedition has been organized under the patronage of Mr. Morris K. Jesup, president of the museum, and under the direction of that institution, to study what relations may exist or may have existed between the natives of the northwest coasts of America and the peoples of the neighboring Asiatic coasts. The general likeness, in the midst of their special minor diversities, of all the Indians of the American continent points to an ultimately common origin for them, while the differences indicate that this may not have been precisely identical in time and place, and seem to have required a very long time for their development and establishment. The purpose of the expedition is to collect all the information that can be obtained by its method of exploration contributing to this end. The present contribution embodies the fruits of a study of the arts, as applied to facial decoration, of the Thompson River Indians, the Chilcotin, the Bella Coola, the Kakiutl, and the Nootka. This art is almost exclusively based on animal motives, is highly conventionalized, and has the unique peculiarity of seeking to fit the whole figure of the animal to the surface on which it is applied; whence it presents some curious effects. In this effort to illustrate the principles of its conventionalism Dr. Boas has selected as the most difficult and complicated surface the human face, of which he gives in six plates eighty-eight figures of as many different styles of decoration.

  1. Elementary Zoölogy. By Frank E. Beddard. New York: Longmans, Green & Co. Pp. 208. Price, 90 cents.
  2. An Introductory Logic. By James Edwin Creighton. New York: The Macmillan Company, pp. 392. $1.10.
  3. The Workers: an Experiment in Reality. The West. By Walter A. Wyckoff. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. Pp. 878. $1.50.
  4. Manual of Determinative Mineralogy, with an Introduction on Blowpipe Analysis. By George J. Brush. Revised and enlarged, with entirely new tables for the identification of minerals. Fifteenth edition, first thousand. New York: John Wiley & Sons, pp. 312.
  5. A Manual of Chemical Analysis, Qualitative and Quantitative. By G. S. Newth. New York: Longmans, Green & Co., pp. 462. $1.75.
  6. Human Immortality. Two Supposed Objections to the Doctrine. By William James. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., pp. 70. $1.