Popular Science Monthly/Volume 55/August 1899/Fragments of Science
Climate and Acclimatization.—In view of the rapid growth of West Indian and South American commerce and the considerable emigration to Cuba and neighboring islands, which our present relations with them will probably bring about, the following extracts from an editorial in the London Lancet are of interest: "The American nation has entered upon a new and, in a sense, imperial policy, which may be regarded as forming an epoch in its history. This brings it face to face with the problem of colonization and acclimatization—a problem which we have had to confront long ago and toward the solution of which we have ever since been slowly fighting our way by following on the lines of the best practical measures of hygiene known to us. 'The white man's burden' has proved a tragical one in its drain on the life of the young manhood of this country, notwithstanding the very large measure of success which has attended our sanitary efforts in this direction. The Americans, having taken up their burden, will, no doubt, like the practical people they are, set about their task in a practical way. The four principal factors in the production of climate, according to Buchan, are distance from the equator, height above the sea, distance from the sea, and prevailing winds. The equatorial region has the most equable climate; tropical regions have much greater variations of temperature than those near the equator, and have a hot and cold or dry and rainy season. The isothermal lines of mean temperature do not supply a graduated measure of the effects of temperature on animal life. So far as climate is concerned, no single meteorological influence appears, however, to equal the effect of temperature upon health, and its range is of more importance than its mean. The European under a tropical climate suffers from anæmia, diseases of the digestive system, especially of the liver, from malaria, dysentery, typhoid fever, and yellow fever. It is not at all easy to say, however, how much of the excess of mortality of Europeans in tropical and subtropical countries is simply attributable to climatic heat per se, and is consequently inevitable and not the effect of malaria, or how much of it is the direct consequence of habits of life and of the neglect of sanitary laws and of personal hygiene. As Arnould rightly said, the habitudes alimentaires of the Anglo-Saxon constitute one of the stumbling-blocks to health, but by far the most important is malaria, compared with which the rest are relatively insignificant. Mr. Chamberlain was right when he said the other day that 'the man who shall successfully grapple with this foe to humanity and shall find a cure for malarial fever and shall make the tropics livable for the white man, will do more for the world and more for the British Empire than the man who adds a new province to the wide dominions of the Queen.'"
"Picture Telegraphy."—The following account of the new so-called picture telegraphy is from the New York Electrical World and Engineer: "The apparatus consists of a receiver and transmitter, similar in appearance and in mechanism. The picture to be transmitted is drawn on a heavy piece of metal foil, the lines of the drawing being made with an insulating ink. The foil is then secured on the circumference of a horizontal cylinder on the transmitter, the cylinder being of about the size of a typewriter rubber roller. There is a similar cylinder on the receiver, on whose surface is clamped the paper upon which the drawing is to be reproduced; over this is superposed carbon paper, which is covered in turn by a sheet of thin paper. A stylus actuated by an electro-magnet is adjusted close to the surface of the latter, and each time a current is passed through the electro-magnet the stylus is forcibly pressed against the moving surface of the cylinder, and a corresponding mark is made on the two sheets in contact with the carbon paper; the outer sheet serves merely to offer a smooth surface to the stylus and to enable the operator to see that the picture is being properly reproduced. The transmitting cylinder passes under a similar stylus, which latter closes the circuit between the receiving and transmitting ends when it rests upon the foil, and opens the circuit when it passes over the lines drawn with insulating ink, in the latter case actuating the stylus magnet at the receiving end, which leaves a mark on the paper of the receiving cylinder in the form of a line corresponding to the width of the insulation over which the transmitting stylus is passing. The stylus at each end of the line is simultaneously advanced at the end of each revolution of the cylinders by a screw of small pitch. From the description it will be seen that if the surface of the foil on the transmitting cylinder were entirely insulated the receiving stylus would merely draw a number of parallel lines on the paper corresponding to the turns of the screw, and separated a distance corresponding to the pitch of the screw and the angle through which it is turned at each operation. Four different rates of advance may be given to the stylus, corresponding to as many different angles of advance that may, by appropriate mechanism, be given to the screw. The two cylinders have synchronous motion, so that all the marks or lines on the receiving cylinder correspond to widths of insulating ink traced over on the transmitting cylinder. Synchronism is obtained as follows: Connected with both receiver and transmitter is an electric motor which, at the end of every revolution of the cylinder, raises a weight, which acts on a clock train when failing and thus gives motion to the cylinder. At the end of each revolution of the transmitting cylinder a contact is made which locks for an instant the receiving cylinder when it arrives in a position corresponding to a similar position of the transmitting cylinder. Thus it will be seen that each cylinder begins its revolution from identical positions and at the same instant, and as the clockwork of both receiver and transmitter are duplicates, approximate synchronism is maintained during a revolution. Owing to the use of carbon paper, the lines made by the receiver are of considerable width, with the consequence that the resulting picture does not have the appearance of being made up of parallel lines, as in the case of reproductions by the original Caselli picture telegraph, of which the system described is a modification. The Hummell apparatus appears to be entirely practicable, the simplicity of its synchronizing mechanism giving it a great advantage over former types of Caselli picture telegraphs. The apparatus has been worked duplex with success. In one instance, a few days ago, a picture was sent from New York to St. Louis while one was being received from the same place in New York, the latter picture in addition being received simultaneously at Boston."
The Charges on Country Checks: an Economic Mistake.—An article in the May issue of the Yale Review, discussing the recent adoption by the New York banks of a rule imposing a "collection charge" on all country checks handled, takes the view that the new rule is a mistake. After reviewing the history and present position of the Bank of England; calling attention to the fact that although it is a private enterprise its position is used as a governor, so to speak, of English finance; the similarity to it in position and power for good or evil of the association of banks known as the New York Clearing House is pointed out; the review goes on to say: "In the associated banks of New York, as in the Bank of England, is kept a very large part of the reserve on which the great financial transactions of a whole country are based. The system of 'reserve cities' for holding large deposit accounts of country banks, in which New York is by far the most important center, is but the recognition in the national banking law of this great fact of a central reserve, and the power of utilizing such deposits, indirectly extended by the law which allows and encourages country banks to hold a large part of their legal reserve in the form of deposits in New York, probably constitutes a much more valuable privilege than the rights of note issue enjoyed by the Bank of England. In extraordinary emergencies the parallel is even closer. Just as the Bank of England is encouraged to expect a modification of the restrictions on its right of note issue, as a means of extending its effective currency reserve in times of panic, so the New York banks, by their system of clearing-house loan certificates, are encouraged and expected to evade those provisions of our national banking laws which restrict their power of issuing notes to meet an emergency.… The exercise of this function of holding a reserve for clearing the business of the country is attended with some expense, as well as with much profit. One of the most vexatious of these expenses has been the cost of collecting country checks.… Under these circumstances they have adopted a rule imposing such charges on country checks as to compel a large part of the remittances to be made in the form of bank drafts on New York city, rather than individual checks on country banks supposed to have accounts with some New York bank. This rule will save the New York banks something like two million dollars annually. It will not prevent any solvent man from making remittances, for if he has a deposit in his local bank and his local bank has a deposit in New York he can buy a draft to send as a remittance, which will pass through the New York Clearing House without question or expense. Yet, in spite of these plausible arguments, we believe the action of the New York banks to be a mistake of very serious magnitude, an inconvenience to the public, a probable loss to deposit banking in the long run, and, worst of all, a serious blow to the cause of sound currency throughout the country. It seems to us, in short, a case where narrower duties and economics have been allowed to crowd broader ones out of sight." The review then goes on to show how great an amount of inconvenience and loss of time in the aggregate the new rule is going to cause, and finally says: "In a popular government the greatest safeguard against soft money—we may fairly say the only real safeguard—is to prevent the growth of a demand for soft money. And of all the means of prevention at our command the most effective is the encouragement of the habit of paying by checks. The habit of paying by check is very general in all large business centers, and has been rapidly extending into the smaller centers, and the most serious public danger in the action of the New York banks is that it seems likely to deal a severe blow to such progress."'
La Nature's Second Scientific Excursion.—A second scientific excursion to an interesting district of France is planned, by M. Henri de Parville, of La Nature, to start from Bayonne August 25th. It will spend about two weeks, following the chain of the Pyrenees from the ocean to the Mediterranean. Among objects of interest enumerated are the scenery at Biarritz, Pau, Cauterets, and Bigorre; fine architecture at Toulouse, Carcassonne, Elne, etc.; glacial phenomena and thermal waters along the whole mountain chain; manufactories, including iron works at Bouchain, woolen mills at Bigorre, cigarette factories at Perpignan, and the Arago Maritime Laboratory and the sanitarium at Banyuls. The excursion will be "personally conducted" by the eminent anthropologist and archæologist, M. E. Cartaillac. The excursion last year, to the Central Plateau and the Tarn, was an eminent success. The programme of the present one seems equally attractive. M. de Parville and his associates deserve great credit for their sagacity and enterprise in inaugurating these excursions, which now promise to become annual. We can conceive nothing more profitable and conducive to real pleasure in a vacation than the tour in the company of men having a common interest in the pursuit of knowledge of Nature and art, through such magnificent regions as that of the Pyrenees or through a country so full of natural wonders and novelties as that of last year's excursion. And it will be an incalculable advantage to be under the guidance of so eminent a student and one so familiar with the remarkable features and the antiquities of southern France as M. Cartaillac.
The American Association Meeting.—The forty-eighth annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science will be held at Columbus, Ohio, August 19th to 26th. The association headquarters will be in University Hall, of the Ohio State University, and the headquarters of the council will be at the Chittenden Hotel. The president of the meeting will be Prof. Edward Orton, of the Ohio State University. The vice-presidents or chairmen of sections will be: Mathematics and astronomy, Alexander Macfarlane; physics, Elihu Thomson; chemistry, F. P. Venable; mechanics and engineering, Storm Bull; geology and geography, J. F. Whiteaves; zoölogy, S. H. Gage; botany, Charles R. Barnes; anthropology, Thomas Wilson; social and economic science, Marcus Benjamin. The Permanent Secretary is L. O. Howard, Cosmos Club, Washington; General Secretary, Frederick Bedell, Cornell University; Secretary of the Council, Charles Baskerville, Chapel Hill, N. C.; Treasurer, R. S. Woodward, Columbia University, New York. The address of retiring President Putnam will be delivered Monday evening, August 21st. Saturday, August 26th, will be devoted to excursions to Fort Ancient and elsewhere. Receptions and shorter excursions will be provided at hours that will not conflict with the appointments of the association.
The Desire for Notoriety a Cause of Crime.—Under the title Luccheni Redivivus the London Lancet gives some interesting psychological data which have been obtained since the imprisonment of Luccheni, the assassin of the Austrian Empress. Twice since his trial and conviction he has attempted suicide. Within the last few days (May 13th) his moral condition has undergone a change confirmatory in a significant degree of the diagnosis which found vanity or megalomania at the root of his crime. The cantonal juge d'instruction in an attempt to ascertain if possible his associates in the crime, visited him in his cell and approached the subject with what seemed to himself due dexterity and caution. At once the previously downcast and abject creature brightened up, his eyes sparkling with gratified self-importance. "I giornali ripariano di me?" (So the journals are talking of me again) he exclaimed interrogatively. The judge disclosed the object of his visit. Luccheni thereupon dallied with his interlocutor, smiling at his reminiscences of the crime, assuming airs of reticence, even indulging in self-contradiction to tease if not torment his judicial antagonist. It was learned, however, that in the preliminaries leading up to the assassination he really had accomplices; beyond this nothing new was elicited from him. The point of chief importance, however, to be observed in this account is the large part which vanity and a desire for the widespread public attention which such crimes bring about plays in reconciling the criminal to his fate, and even leading to the commission of the crime in cases where the mental balance is very unstable. Hence this class of criminals should always be tried and punished with as little publicity as possible, not only because this policy deprives the individual of a show, with himself as the center, but also because every such public trial is liable to lead to the commission of similar crimes by other mentally unsound degenerates, who are sure to attend such spectacles whenever it is possible.
Bounties and Free Trade.—Much discussion is going on in England over the question of bounties and the propriety of putting a tariff on those imported articles which, owing to bounties or other form of government aid at their place of manufacture, can be sold "too cheaply." The following paragraphs are taken from an article in the London Spectator: "In our opinion there can be no question between the policy of free and open market and the policy of only allowing goods to be sold here 'at the natural price of the world's market.' We hold that the maintenance of an open and unhindered market is essential to our welfare; … that is the real principle involved, and that is the ground on which this question of bounties must be fought out. It is not Cobdenism or free trade that is involved, but that which underlies them both—the great principle of the free and open market.… We attach such immense importance to the open market because we believe not only that our internal prosperity is essentially bound up with the right, not merely of consumers, but of producers, to buy as cheaply as they can and where and how they will, but that the empire itself rests upon the preservation of a free and open market. Mr. Morley never spoke a truer word than when he insisted that Cobden and Bright and the old free traders were empire builders. That they were so and that our empire could not possibly have grown up except with the help of free trade and a market always open must be clear to all whose eyes are not blinded by that evil and foolish spirit of commercial jealousy under which a man, in order to injure his neighbor, wounds himself. Free trade made our empire possible and created what the world before had never seen, overwhelming commercial power wielded without jealousy or narrowness and based on wide and liberal ideas. How long would our colonies have tolerated the connection with us had we been forever worrying them with tariffs and excluding this of that product because it was unnaturally cheap? … As it is, we bid all men welcome in our markets and none are aggrieved.… Foreign powers may hate us for our wealth and prosperity, but not one of them would care to spoil their best market. How would the commerce of France, or Germany, or Russia get on if England were ruined and the English market destroyed? The principle of maintaining a free and open market, coupled with our moral and physical energy, and our liberal aims and aspirations have given us a great and splendid empire. Are we to risk its destruction because the sugar refiners grumble, and because the words of Cobden on another subject may possibly be interpreted to show that he would not, were he alive, have voted against the imposition of countervailing duties?"
Forest and Animal Life of the Catskills.—The interior region of the Catskill Mountains surrounding Kaaterskill Junction is assigned, by Dr. E. A. Means in a paper of the United States National Museum, to the Canadian faunal region, with a slight mixture of the Alleghanian in the farming lands on the banks of Schoharie Creek. A few mammals of the Upper Austral zones, however, such as the New England cottontail, the deer mouse, and the gray fox, appear to have extended their ranges into the locality by following up the clearings. Though the region is now again well wooded, only the barest tags and remnants yet remain of the splendid forests that once covered the area. All is second growth except in the rockiest gulches, whence the lumber can not be extracted, and about the rocky summits of a few mountains of the East Jewett ranges. While the original forests seem to have been of conifers, the woods are now very thoroughly mixed, and the succession of trees according to altitudes, with its strongly marked division lines, is no longer seen. Specimens of fifty-eight species of trees and shrubs have been collected and placed in the National Museum. Only ten species of mollusks, one crustacean (the common crawfish), probably a dozen fishes (the author identifies eight and mentions others), eight batrachians, two snakes, and a turtle have been found. Of mammals, thirty-five species are described as known to occur at the present time, and eight as of doubtful occurrence now.
Geology of Block Island.—In a study of the geology and natural history of Block Island, of which Arthur Hollick gives a summary in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, the most important problem was whether the Amboy clay series was represented in the island. Of fifteen species of fossil leaves and fruit capable of identification, represented by about twenty-five specimens, at least nine were typical of the Amboy flora. Observations on dip and strike of strata tended to emphasize the fact of contortion of glacial action, the dip in all cases being toward the north, indicating that the strata had been pushed southward in a series of overthrust folds by the advancing ice front. The flora may be divided physiographically into that of the hills, the peat bogs and pond holes, the salt marshes, the sand dunes, and the salt water. Trees are rare, and such vegetation as is dependent on forestal conditions is absent. The bulk of the surface is that of a typical morainal region, with rounded hills and corresponding depressions, many of the depressions being occupied by swamps or ponds, often without any visible outlet. Running streams are few and insignificant, and permanent springs occur only in a limited number of localities. The soil is bowlder till and gravel, with sand in the dunes and beaches, and there are no outcrops of rock. The flora is morainal in its general character, except in the peat bogs and on the limited sand dunes and sea-beach areas, and has its nearest analogue in that of Montauk Point. "In fact, if we could imagine Montauk Point to be despoiled of its few remaining trees and converted into an island it would bear a striking resemblance, geologically and botanically, to Block Island." Considering the geological features of Long Island, Block Island, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket, and comparing their floras, we find that all except Block Island have some of the plain region remaining with them, on which a characteristic flora finds a home. Block Island has lost all its plain region and accompanying flora, and is now merely an isolated portion of the terminal moraine, with small areas of modern sand beach and dune formations, affording a home only for such species as can exist under such conditions. The island appears to have been extensively wooded before it was settled, and large stumps, together with roots and branches, are found in some of the peat bogs. The scarcity of animal life on the island is sure at once to attract the attention of the observer from the mainland. Tree-living birds are absent, but robins, bank swallows, red-winged blackbirds, and meadow larks occur with some frequency. Among mollusks, the periwinkle of the Old World, an importation or migration, is the most abundant. Frogs and spotted turtles are plentiful, and a few small striped snakes were seen by Mr. Hollick. The archæology of the island is being studied by persons specially interested in the subject.
The Claims of the High School.—In considering the right of the public high school to be a just charge upon the public treasury, Mr. Frank A. Hill, of the Massachusetts State Board of Education, finds that less than one fifth of the school money raised in the State is expended on account of these schools, whereas if the number of pupils in each of the thirteen grades of school was equal and the money was evenly divided, the higher grades would be entitled to four thirteenths, or nearly one third of it. To an objection sometimes raised against the high-school system that the "toiling millions" will have no use for more than the teaching of the elementary grades, Mr. Hill asks, Who has a right to decide whether one child shall have a greater or less amount of instruction than another?" And so freedom of choice, when the question of what one's life work shall be comes up, is a basic thing in government by the people. Upon the wisdom of this choice turns the welfare of each unit in the State, and therefore of the State itself." Hence the State has no right to refuse to one any opportunity of preparing himself to exercise this freedom of choice which it accords to another. There has never been a time since 1647 when the laws of Massachusetts did not require certain towns to maintain grammar schools, of which the high schools are the modern equivalents, at public expense, and when the colony became a State a perpetual obligation was imposed upon the Legislature and magistrates "to cherish the interests of literature and the sciences and all seminaries of them, especially the university at Cambridge, public schools, and grammar schools in the towns."
Degeneration.—Dr. William C. Krauss, in a paper on The Stigmata of Degeneration, describes degeneration as meaning, in pathology, the substitution of a tissue by some other regarded as less highly organized, less complex in structure, of inferior physiological rank, or less suited for the performance of the original function. The same definition may apply equally well, according to Dr. Krauss, in human ontogeny, "where we can regard a normal man as possessing a certain number of units of strength capable of supplying or exerting a certain number of units of work or force, varying of course according to the environment, education, and fixity of purpose of the individual. It would be obviously unfair to compare a professional man or a brain-worker, whose units of work are intuitively manifold more than a hand-worker, and declare the latter a degenerate because his force and energy, as measured by the world's standard, are not as productive as the former. The questions of money standard and time-worth are foreign to the laws of degeneracy, and are not to be regarded in any way. The degenerate must be considered solely and alone upon the physical, mental, and abnormal stigmata which brand him as an abnormal or atypical man, and prevent him from exerting himself to the highest limit commensurate with his skill and development." The author's paper treats in detail of the various aspects of degeneracy.
Birds as Pest Destroyers.—The French journal, Le Chasseur, puts in a plea for the animals that should not be killed. "Why destroy spiders, except in rooms, while they check the increase of flies? Why tread on the cricket in the garden, which wars upon caterpillars, snails, and grubs? Why kill the inoffensive slowworm, which eats grasshoppers? Why slay the cuckoo, whose favorite food is the caterpillar, which we do not like to touch? Why destroy the nuthatch and de-nest the warbler, foes of wasps? Why make war on sparrows, which eat seeds only when they can not get insects, and which exterminate so many grain-eating insects? Why burn powder against starlings, which pass their lives in eating larvae and picking vermin from the cattle in the fields? (But they eat grapes too.) Why destroy the ladybird, which feeds on aphides? Why lay snares for titmice, when each pair take on an average one hundred and twenty thousand worms and insects for their little ones? Why kill the toad, which eats snails, weevils, and ants? Why save the lives of thousands of gnats by destroying goat-suckers? Why kill the bat, which makes war on night moths and many bugs, as swallows do on flies? Why destroy the shrew mole, which lives on earthworms, as the mouse does on wheat? Why say the screech owl eats pigeons and chickens, when it is not true, and why destroy it when it takes the place of seven or eight cats by eating at least six thousand mice a year?"
The Yang-tse-Kiang.—In a lecture before the London Foreign Press Association Mrs. Isabella Bishop describes the Yank-tse-Kiang as one of the largest rivers of the world, it draining an area of 650,000 square miles, within which dwell a population of 180,000,000. In the journey to the far East, the scenery at Szu-chuan changed from savage grandeur and endless surprises to the fairest scenes, with prosperity, peace, law, and order seeming to prevail everywhere. Erroneous ideas were often entertained about Chinese social life and surroundings. China had many trade associations, which were often strengthened by alliance with guilds. They were composed of men in any particular trade or employment, who bound themselves for common action in the interest of that trade. They might rightly be called trade unions, for through their elected officers they prescribed hours of labor and minimum wages and made trade rules, the breach of which was punishable by fine and expulsion. The Chinese people displayed much benevolence and social kindness one to another, and had societies for providing free coffins and seemly burial in free cemeteries for the poor, soup kitchens, foundling institutions, asylums, orphanages, and medical dispensaries. Throughout the whole of the Yang-tse basin the author was impressed with the completeness of Chinese social and commercial organization by the existence of patriotism or public spirit, by great prosperity, and by the absence of the decay often attributed to the nation. Of the prevailing "expansion" or territorial robbery fever Mrs. Bishop said that we were coming to think only of markets and territories, and to ignore human beings, and were breaking up, in the case of a fourth of the human race, the most ancient of the earth's existing civilizations without giving for our supposed advantage a fair equivalent.
"Somewhat" Poisonous Plants.—In Prof. B. D. Halsted's paper in the State Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletins on The Poisonous Plants of New Jersey, besides the descriptions of plants recognized as poisonous internally and to the touch, a list is given of "many somewhat poisonous plants." Among these the catalpa and ailantus produce emanations that are disagreeable and sometimes poisonous, and catalpa flowers, when handled, will produce an irritation of the skin. The thorn of the Osage orange leaves a poisoned wound. The young leaves of the red cedar and the arbor vitæ are irritating to the skin and may produce blisters, and the pitch of the spruce causes itching. Balm of Gilead may cause blistering. The green bark of the club of Hercules is irritating to the skin. The herbage of oleander affects some persons like poison ivy, the bark of the daphne causes blisters, and the juice of the box produces an itching with many persons. To some the herbage of the wild clematis is acrid and unpleasant. Many of the wild herbs have acrid properties, among them skunk cabbage, Indian turnip, cow parsnip, several of the mustards, and the juice of red pepper and stonecrop. Garden rue and the short bristles of the borage are irritating. Some persons have had their skin inflamed by handling the garden nasturtium. Other plants not always pleasant to handle are meadow-saftron bulbs, garlic, juice of bloodwort and celandine, the smartweed, the herbage of the poke, monkshood, larkspur, bearberry, some of the buttercups, anemone, star cucumber, various burs, daisy flowers, hairy plants, the nettles, sneeze-weed, the corpse plant, and some of the toadstools. Flax spinners have a flax poison, jute workers a rash, hop pickers a disagreeable irritation of the hands, and the grinders of mandrake root find the powder irritating to the face. It is not unusual for persons who gather plants in field and forest to receive sensations akin to those produced by mosquitoes, which are often chargeable to the plants. Other animals than man are less susceptible to the effects of contact poisons.
The Dangers of Hypnotism.—In a review of the medico-legal aspects of hypnotism Dr. Sydney Kuh inquires whether the hypnotized can be injured physically or mentally by hypnotization, and whether they can fall victims to crime. Summing up a number of cases cited as bearing on the former question, he finds that hypnotism is now generally conceded to be a pathological and not a physiological condition; that its use, when resorted to too frequently, is liable to bring on mental deterioration; that it may be the cause of chronic headache or of an outbreak of hysteria; that at times it has an undesirable effect upon pre-existing mental disease; and that in some cases it may even produce an outbreak of insanity. He has learned of a few cases on record in which hypnotism was directly or indirectly responsible for the death of the patient. On the other hand, "we all know that hypnotism is a useful therapeutic agent practically only in cases of functional disease which only very rarely endangers the patient's life." Seeking simpler, less dangerous methods of treating maladies for which hypnotism has been recommended, the author has experimented upon the use of suggestion in the waking state, with results that encourage him. A large series of cases convinced him that a hypodermic injection of aqua distillata, given under proper precautions and circumstances, so as to impress the patient deeply, will produce very nearly, if not quite, as many cures as hypnotization. As for the other question, laboratory experiments indicate that a hypnotized person may be induced to commit acts bearing the aspect of crime, but that when the case becomes a serious one something will most likely occur in the mind of the patient or the conditions to prevent the consummation. The result is too uncertain and difficult, and the risks are too many and various, even to permit the use of hypnotism as an instrument of crime to become common or really dangerous. And the author's conclusion is that the dangers of hypnotism lie much more in its use for experimental and therapeutical than for criminal purposes.
Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb.—Of the two principal methods of instructing deaf-mutes in this country, as defined by Mr. J. C. Gordon, of the Illinois Institution, in the sign method, deaf-mutes are taught a peculiar language of motions of the arm and upper part of the body, to which they learn to attach signification through usage. For instance, to teach the word cat to a deaf child a sign teacher would show the child a cat or a picture of a cat. He would next direct attention to the cat's whiskers, drawing the thumb and finger of each hand lightly over them. "A similar motion of the thumb and hand above the teacher's upper lip at once becomes a sign for cat." After the sign has become familiar the child is trained to write the word cat on a slate, blackboard, or sheet of paper, and by frequent repetition the pupil associates the written word with the sign for cat, so that the written word recalls the gestural sign, and the gestural sign serves to recall the concept cat. This language is acquired more readily than any other means of communication. The other method is the intuitive, direct, or English language method, and, while it would require the use of the living cat or the recognition of the picture of a cat by the deaf child, would connect the written or spoken word directly with the object, without the intervention of any artificial finger-sign. Wherever this method prevails the English language in its written or spoken forms, or in its finger-spelled form, becomes the ordinary means of communication between teachers and pupils, so that every step in instruction requires the use of the English language, which is practically both the instrument and the immediate end of instruction. All the schools called oral use this method. It can be used in connection with finger-spelling, but not with the sign method.
Experiments in Nature Study.—Some very interesting features of school children's Nature study—not the teaching of science, but the seeing and understanding of the common objects of the external world—are illustrated in a report of Cornell Agricultural Experiment Station, from incidents of school life in some of the New York schools. The children in the sixth grade of one of the schools of Saratoga Springs provided themselves with eggshells filled with earth and sown with wheat. "The botanical side was made a lesson well flavored with active interest. The pride of ownership and a plant coming from a spoonful of earth had the charm of a creation all the pupil's own, and it was much more real to study the thing itself than to read about it and make a recitation." Geographical applications were made by tracing the introduction and extension and transportation of the crop, and by means of the exchange of correspondence the wheat belt could be traced and plotted in every State of the Union. The children of Corning gathered seeds and divided them into classes as indicated by the means of travel with which they are provided. A small boy felt himself a profound investigator when he discovered the advantage some seeds have in being able to float and ride on the water. It required no hard drill to learn the names. The summer planting of flowers by the children of Jamestown resulted in a flower show in the fall. Many children took the tent caterpillar, reared it from the eggs, and learned all about its metamorphoses. "Nature study can be made elastic. In the kindergarten it can be idealized so as to approach a fairy story. It can be intensified so that in the high school it will have all the solidity of pure science." The best proof that the idea is bearing fruit is that teachers are asking for definite instruction on the subject, and a course has been provided for them. The study should be so informal as not to admit of systematic examination.
Chemistry Teaching in Grammar and High Schools.—At the fourth meeting of the New England Association of Chemistry Teachers, held in Boston in January, 1899, preliminary reports were made on grammar-school and high-school courses in chemistry. The grammar-school course was defined as intended to give its pupils first-hand knowledge of the more obvious and important facts and principles of chemical changes, with emphasis placed on those facts which are illustrative of the changes that are going on all about the pupil in the home and in outdoor Nature. While the point of view should be that of Nature study rather than of science, the selection of material and method of study should be such as to make the course of greatest value to those who are to pursue the subject in higher institutions. For high-school study the report insists that, before everything else, the course be intelligible to the pupil. Whatever experiment or work is undertaken, it must be such that the pupil shall be able to understand its aim and the steps in its pursuit, and it must not be too intricate in demonstration or abstruse in application. It should require at least live hours a week, and, if possible, too, of these periods consecutive, and should come as late in the curriculum as possible, following physics. The general work may be divided into the heads of historical, informational (qualitative and quantitative), and theoretical, the second division having ordinarily the larger part of the time. The belief is expressed that only part of the demonstration work should be done by the teacher in the class, but most of it should be performed, as far as practicable, by each pupil in the laboratory. Lastly, the report recommends that the humanistic side of the science be made as prominent as possible. Whenever facts in chemistry can be related to human life or activity this should be done.