Popular Science Monthly/Volume 55/May 1899/General Notices


An unfulfilled intention entertained by two successive prosectors of the London Zoölogical Society—the late Professor Garrod and the late W. A. Forbes—of writing a treatise on bird anatomy, is carried out in the present work[1] by their successor, Frank E. Beddard. Professor Garrod had nearly completed an account of the Anatomy of the Fowl, which was to be followed by a presentation of the anatomical characters of the different groups. Professor Forbes died before he was able to add anything to the manuscripts left by Professor Garrod. In the instance of the present work the detailed account of Gallus, with which Professor Garrod intended to preface his book, has been rendered unnecessary by Dr. Shufeldt's monograph on the Raven, dealing with one particular bird type. Accepting this as a sufficient presentation of that feature of the subject, Mr. Beddard begins with a general sketch of bird structure, purposely avoiding histological detail and the elaborate description of anatomical facts, which in the present state of our knowledge are not of great use in classification. The main part of the book is the account of the structure of the different groups of birds, which is treated of to a considerable extent; and a large number of facts, some of which are recorded for the first time, are incorporated in the systematic part of the book. While all the principal facts pertaining to the subject are believed to have been given, and nothing of importance to have been left out, references are made in each section to most of the memoirs already published. The majority of the facts of bird structure have been verified by the author, especially those relating to osteology and anatomy, and he has drawn liberally on the notebooks of his two predecessors. The book gives first an account of the general structure of birds; next of the reproductive and renal organs, the circulatory, respiratory, and muscular systems, osteology, brain and nervous system, and affinities of birds, and, finally, the classification.

Bush Fruits[2] is the first of a proposed series of monographs on the various types of American fruits, to be published under the editorial direction of Prof. L. H. Bailey. Its purpose is to present both the practical and the technical phases of all the important questions concerned in the cultivation and domestication of the fruits that grow on bushes; and the attempt is made to present these two sides separate from the details of history, botany, and entomology, so that the practical reader may be introduced at once to the information he is seeking. The aim is made to treat general truths and principles rather than mere details of practice, leaving the reader to think out and solve the local problems for himself. The author, Mr. F. W. Card, who presented the work originally as a Cornell University thesis, was first a bush-grower, and then a student and teacher, acquiring first the practice and then the theory. The fruits treated of are raspberries, blackberries, dewberries, currants, gooseberries, buffalo berry, gounie, huckleberries, Juneberries, the cranberry, barberry, and sand cherry—all, as to their important types, except the currants, evolutions from the species of our own woods. A useful list of American books on bush fruits is given in the appendix.

The History of the World, from the Earliest Historical Time to the Year 1898,[3] is the latest addition to the Concise Knowledge Library, "a series of volumes on great subjects, containing in an abridged form a wealth of exact information which can be thoroughly relied upon by the student, and yet of such a popular character as to meet the needs of the general reader." This compact volume of 790 pages presents a complete survey of the world's history. After a brief introduction describing the various races that have furthered civilization, ancient history proper begins with the Egyptians, the people of whom we possess the earliest records, and who were the first to emerge out of the darkness of prehistoric times. Closely connected with them, both by racial affinities and political ties, were the other great empires in the southwestern part of Asia that one after the other rose, flourished, and fell into decay. The interesting part of the book here is the constant reference to the familiar facts of the Bible, the connection of the known with the unknown. The rise and development of Greece and Rome, following in due course, bring us down to the middle ages. Mediæval history has for its stage Europe, and for its argument the upbuilding of the states on which our modern political institutions rest. Modern history, dating from the discovery of America, then turns the eyes of the nations westward, to found empires beyond the sea. Nor is the East forgotten. Asia, the cradle of man, and Africa, where he first rose into consciousness of himself and recorded his deeds, again claim the historian's attention. But now it is China and Japan on the one continent, and the conquests and colonies of the Europeans on the other. Neither is the country youngest in civilization, Australasia, passed by. And the history of all these countries, whether east or west, is brought down to date. Even our recent war with Spain is briefly told. Indeed, the value of the book as a work of reference lies in the fact that it encompasses all the world's history, giving in compact, handy form the chief data in the progress of the human race, that otherwise must be sought for in a dozen different places. Another valuable feature of the book, attainable only on the plan of rigid selection of salient points, is the connection between the different peoples. Their interdependence, the sequence of their appearance on the stage of action, and their decline, are most vividly realized in such a bird's-eye view. The book has maps and a full index.

The essays comprised in Mr. William M. Bryant's volume entitled Life, Death, and Immortality, and Kindred Essays[4] have developed, as he expresses it, one by one during a number of years past. The term developed is a happy one, for the papers were certainly not made to order, but read like results of systematic, continuous thinking. They concern the religious aspect of human nature. The author thinks that negative criticism has for the time being exhausted its resources, and the time has come for further positive interpretation of the fundamental conceptions of the Christian doctrine as to man's nature and destiny. A reference to a few of the points in the first essay, which gives the title to the book, will afford a view of the author's method. Men of science are constantly insisting that the total quantity of energy is changeless, and nothing can be added to it and nothing taken away. What are the "total quantity of energy" and the "great first cause" but the same, to the activity of which is due every phase of reality? This being changeless, it could not at some period "have created a world and afterward left it to spin on of its own accord 'without interference.'" Mind is a form of energy, consequently indestructible and undying, and the question of immortality is reduced to the form "whether in respect of man's essential nature as a thinking unit, death can ever be more than transition from one to another grade of life." Other essays are on Oriental Religions, Church Organization, The Heresy of Non-Progressive Orthodoxy, Christian Ethics and those of other religions, and Eternity.

Professor Merriman's Elements of Sanitary Engineering[5] is a thoroughly practical treatise setting forth the principal rules and laws relating to sanitation, both individual and municipal, as it is practiced to-day. A brief historical introduction is followed by a classification of diseases, and a general consideration of such questions as filth and disease, impure air and disease, drinking water and disease, etc. The second chapter takes up the question of the purification of water. Chapter III discusses the practical aspects, for a municipality, of water-supply systems. Consumption of water, capacity of storage reservoirs, pipe lines, pumping engines, tanks and stand pipes and street mains are among the special headings. Sewerage systems are next dealt with. A discussion of questions connected with the disposal of garbage and sewage forms the fifth and last chapter of the book. An item which adds value to the volume is the series of exercises and problems, practically applying the laws set forth, which follows each chapter.

An Epitome of Human Histology[6] has been written by Mr. Weysse to meet the difficulty in which the conscientious student of microscopic anatomy is placed who finds himself in possession of a great many isolated facts about the minute structure of the body, but with rather an indefinite conception of the relation of those facts to one another and of the subject as a whole. In the writing the author has sought to present all the facts that are of real importance to the student; to express them in the briefest and clearest language, omitting whatever is not strictly required: and to arrange them in such a way that the reader, in considering any organ, may, if he will, actually sketch each part as he proceeds, and thus make a diagrammatic plan or picture of the entire structure. The book is not for idle students, but for serious ones, and it is not a text-book or intended to take the place of one; and it can serve its true purpose only when used by students who have had laboratory practice as well as lectures in histology, and have thus examined the actual structures.

In his work on Elementary Botany[7] Professor Atkinson introduces the method which he has found successful in teaching beginners. Many of the newer botanical text-books, in reacting against the plan of presenting first the higher types of plant life, overwhelm the student not only with a multitude of unfamiliar forms, but demand from him powers of comparison and analysis that are generally the result of much scientific discipline. In this book the pupil receives some preliminary guidance in habits of correct induction. By studying the processes of transpiration, nutrition, growth, and irritability in plants belonging to higher as well as lower groups, he learns the universality of these life principles, and is led to see the foundations for sound generalization. This the author considers vastly more important than the knowledge of individual plants. The student, however, in this investigation becomes acquainted with special forms among the lower plants, and is thus prepared to take up morphology systematically. This topic begins with the study of Spirogyra, and ends with an outline of twenty lessons in the angiosperms. The final third of the book is devoted to ecology, the study of plants in their natural surroundings and of their modifying factors—climate, soil, topography, etc. The illustrations, which are above the average throughout the work, are in this division exceedingly good. The descriptive text of the same section is entertaining enough to be used as a class reader, and would interest those unfamiliar with botany. There are several slight errors to be corrected in a future edition. In the table of measures a kilometre is made to equal one hundred instead of one thousand metres, and the references to plates are occasionally wrong. On page 345 the reference should be 449, and on page 349 should be 458 in place of 457. In describing pollination of the skunk cabbage, the words "rub off" are ambiguous. The uninitiated might suppose that the insect obtained pollen from the stigmas instead of depositing it there. The book is not intended for recitation, but for reference and as a guide in study. It is supplied with an appendix upon the collection and preservation of material, and an index.

A notice of a book[8] of this nature is justified in this column, since it contains much that will be of interest to the student of ethnology, folklore, and cognate subjects. It is interesting to get a glimpse of matters pertaining to social customs, ways of thinking, and the occurrences which animated these ways among the Japanese a thousand and more years ago. The author says, "It is a remarkable and, I believe, an unexampled fact that a very large and important part of the best literature which Japan has produced was written by women."

The preparation of his Elementary Text-Book of Botany[9] was undertaken by Mr. Vines to meet a demand which appeared to exist for a less bulky and expensive volume than his Students' Text-Book. A more important feature than the diminution of the bulk is claimed in the simplification which the contents have undergone from the omission of certain difficult and still debatable topics. The usual divisions into morphology, anatomy, physiology, and systematic botany are followed; but the caution is appended that it must not be forgotten that these are all parts of one subject, different methods of studying one object—the plant. Hence they must be pursued together. "For instance, the morphology of the leaf can not be profitably studied without a knowledge of its structure and functions; and it is also important to know what is the systematic position of each of the various plants whose leaves afford the material for study. In a word, the student should not attempt to read the book straight through from the beginning as if it were a novel. On the contrary, he may begin with any one of the four parts as his main subject; but that part must be studied in close relation with the other three parts"; and this method of proceeding is facilitated by the insertion of a large number of cross-references in the text.

A satisfactory account is given by C. Francis Jenkins in Animated Pictures[10] of the development and present state of chronophotography, or the art of "conveying by persistence of vision a counterfeit impression of objects in motion through the display in rapid succession of a series of related pictures." The story shows very clearly that this, like most other inventions of consequence, is no sudden discovery, but is the culmination of a very long series of experiments. The principle of it is embodied in the toy, the zoetrope, the origin of which is not known, though a citation from Lucretius indicates that something of the kind existed in his time. With the discovery of instantaneous photography, a new application of the principle of the zoetrope was found. Muybridge and Marey were pioneers in this development with their photographs of the motions of animals valuable in sciences. Since their work was begun the photographic processes and apparatus have been greatly improved. Mr. Jenkins forecasts a brilliant and useful future for the art, which he hopes will be prosecuted along the line of other than its present most popular uses. The book is practical as well as historical and prophetic, and contains an account of Mr. Jenkins's phantoscope as the first successful "moving picture projecting apparatus," for which he received the Elliott Cresson medal from the Franklin Institute.

The Metric System of Weights and Measures, prepared by Mr. A. D. Risteen, and published by the Hartford Steam-Boiler Inspection Company, Hartford, Connecticut (price, $1.25), gives what has long been wanted—a neat volume, convenient for the pocket and durably bound, furnishing tables for instantly converting all the metrical units up to one hundred of each into those of the English weights and measures, and vice versa. Calculation, being needed only for the numbers above one hundred, for which there are already short devices, is reduced to the lowest possible limit.

Terrestrial Magnetism, an international quarterly journal, edited by L. A. Bauer and Thomas French, Jr., and published at the University of Cincinnati, is the recognized organ of the International Conference on Terrestrial Magnetism and Atmospheric Electricity. The September number, 1898, contains the proceedings of the conference, which met in connection with the last Bristol meeting of the British Association. It contains in full the welcoming address of Prof. W. E. Ayrton, the opening address of A. W. Rücker, president of the conference, and ten of the papers read at the meeting.

The name of Prof. John Trowbridge as author of such a book as Philip's Experiments; or, Physical Science at Home (D. Appleton and Company, $1) is a sure guarantee of its scientific value. The author has given a chapter substantially out of his own experience, for he says his taste for science and for drawing were stimulated by his father in the manner here described. His object in publishing it is "to show that a few moments devoted each day at home to simple investigations can result in habits of self-reliance in the acquirement of a modern language and in the study of the art of drawing." He endeavors also to show how to cultivate a taste for mathematics by studying practical problems in surveying and in sailing a boat; and how much a parent can accomplish in the formation of a son's tastes without special knowledge, and without the expenditure of much time and money. The account is in the form of letters from the father to a friend, describing his experiments with his son Philip in this method of teaching. He has always cultivated fellowship with the boy; and, finding him inclined to improve and add to the designs on the wall-paper, puts objects to be drawn and copied in his way, and induces him to go out and draw from Nature. So the boy learns to study forms and observe. To teach language he gives him regularly the daily German newspaper, to pick out what he can from it, and joins him in the sport. In a similar way he introduces Philip to surveying and physics, and other branches of science. The plan is a success; Philip attracts attention by the ingenuity which his training has enabled him to develop, and going to college is graduated with credit and in possession of a live as well as a book knowledge of what he has studied.

In The Story of the English (American Book Company) the more prominent facts of English history from the beginning to the present time are related by H. A. Guerber in simple, brief narratives. A commendable feature of the book is the insistence in the preface of the essential oneness of the English and American people—an idea that can hardly be too sedulously cultivated. The author's principal object has been to render pupils so familiar with the prominent characters of English history that they shall henceforth seem like old acquaintances, and, in addition, to make the story attractive; but it is a fact to be regretted that he has regarded the growth of English law and liberty and the changes in religion as too unintelligible and uninteresting to be more than touched upon "very briefly and in the most simple way." The growth of law and liberty are the very things that it is most important to fix the attention of children upon, and it is only because they have suffered comparative neglect in the education of teachers in favor of stories of war and intrigue that they are not the most intelligible and interesting branch of the subject.

Prof. Francis E. Nipher, of Washington University, having been called upon to present a paper to an educational convention on the Greater Efficiency of Science Instruction, undertook to show how such changes as were adapted to promote that end might be accomplished without radical departures from present methods; and the Introduction to Graphical Algebra (Henry Holt & Co., New York, 60 cents) is the result of that effort. The author believes that the study of algebra and geometry as distinct subjects having no relation to each other gives the pupil a false idea of the intellectual situation of to-day; that by injecting here and there into the ordinary instruction in algebra such material as is found in his book, new meaning will be given to the operations involved in the solution of equations, and new interest in the subject may be aroused; and that as scientific investigators are making much use of other methods than Euclid's, while the study of his geometry should not be banished from our schools, some of the time given to it might be usefully spent in elementary analytical geometry or graphical algebra. The treatise is brief and convenient in size and composed in clear language.

The New Man, a Chronicle of the Modern Time (Philadelphia: The Levy-type Company), is a story written by Ellis Paxson Oberholzer with reference to that expansion of women's education and sphere of action which is suggested by the phrase "the new woman." In it "the new woman is developed to her logical conclusion, and the new man as he must needs become under the reaction of her influence," and it deals with "men and women imbued with the modern university spirit, whose emotional natures are developed under the scientific impulse of our time, and whose thoughts and actions reflect that impulse in the midst of all the varied realities of our modern life."

Armageddon (Rand, McNally & Co.), to the plot of which the author's name of Stanley Waterloo seems curiously appropriate, is possibly a specimen of a class of literature to which we are likely to be treated in abundance for a few years to come. The spoliation of the Spanish Egyptians by the Americans having come to a halt with the gain of Puerto Rico and the Philippines, the great Anglo-American alliance enters upon the view and is made a fact, though informally. The two nations together build the Nicaragua Canal, and are about to celebrate its completion, when they are anticipated by the precipitation of the war of the nations through the simultaneous occurrence of a number of slight international quarrels in different parts of the world. Germany, Russia, the Scandinavians, and the Latins are pitted on one side, and the British and Americans, assisted by the British colonies and the Japanese, on the other; and the battle of the combined fleets occurs near the Canaries. The hero of the story has invented an air ship which carries terrible explosives to be dropped from a great height into the midst of the enemy. This engine does its work at the decisive moment, and then follows the grab game of negotiations, in which might rules, and Germany joins the Anglo-Saxon alliance against the rest of the world. Finally, the air-ship engine of destruction has rendered war henceforth forever impossible.

Mr. James Reid Cole, president of a classical and military school at Dallas, Texas, has published under the title of Miscellany what is substantially a picture or transcript of his own life. It contains a variety of articles—literary essays, school addresses, and even schoolboy compositions—the chief interest of which is to the author and his close friends. Other papers, such as A Bird's-eye View of Johnston's Surrender, the sketches of the Life of Lieutenant C. C. Cole, the Looking Backward over the course of the author's own life, and political and legislative speeches may have a more general value as partial reflections of the times to which they relate, more intimate than are usually to be derived from ordinary sketches and histories.

The publications of the New York Academy of Sciences now consist of two series—the Annals (8vo) and the Memoirs (4to). The Transactions, in which the shorter papers and business reports have hitherto appeared, are abolished, and the matter appears in the Annals. This publication, which was begun in 1824, contains the scientific contributions and reports of researches, together with the reports of meetings. The complete volumes will hereafter coincide with the calendar year. Vol. X, Nos. 1 to 12, contains three papers by H. S. Davis and one by Frank Schesinger based on the Rutherfurd photographs of the stars; The Nature and Origin of Stipules, by A. A. Tyler, and an examination of the Ascidian Half-Embryo, by H. E. Crampton, Jr. Vol. XI, Part II, contains the annual address of retiring President J. J. Stevenson, February 28, 1898, on the Debt of the World to Pure Science, and six articles on special subjects in biology.

The Commissioner of Labor was authorized by Congress in 1895 to make an investigation, so far as it could be done within the limits of the regular appropriations to his department, relative to the economic aspects of the liquor traffic. He interpreted such an investigation to include the consideration of monetary conditions; of the agricultural and other products used in the production of liquors; of the manufacture of liquors as a distinct industry; of transportation, consumption, and the traffic in them; of the revenue derived from them and the laws regulating its collection; and of the experience and practice of employers in relation to the use of intoxicants. In some of these phases of the subject the facts were not separable from those relating to other matters; in others, they were to be found in the reports of other departments; and original inquiry was necessary only with reference to the last three items of the category. The results of this inquiry are given in the Twelfth Annual Report of the Commissioner of Labor, 1897, under the heading of Economic Aspects of the Liquor Problem.

A New Story of the Stars is an essay in which A. W. Bickerton, professor of chemistry and physics in Christ Church College, New Zealand, sets forth a theory of the origin of universes or of parts of universes by impact. Nebulæ already existing—but how existing we are not informed—careering through space, are supposed to collide, whereby heat and light are developed. They may meet in face, and would then probably coalesce, but more likely the impact would be a grazing one, when three bodies would be produced; a portion, or slice, as the author calls it, of each of the colliding bodies would be sheared off, forming an intensely hot and bright new star, while the original masses would go on their course, having the parts that had been in contact heated and made brilliant, so as to present in their revolutions the aspect of variable stars. The author's attention was drawn to this subject by the appearance of a new star in Cygnus in 1877. A little while afterward Nova Aurigæ appeared, presenting exactly the phenomena he had predicted. Professor Bickerton writes as one who understands his subject; there is nothing in his speculations, so far as we have observed, that grates harshly with known facts, and it can be read, as he reads it, to account plausibly for some of the facts—just as can several other theories of the formation of the universe which are still only speculations. The problem is yet far from comprehension, and is one of the legacies which the nineteenth century is destined to bequeath to the twentieth. (Published at Christ Church, New Zealand.)

  1. The Structure and Classification of Birds. By Frank E. Beddard. London and New York: Longmans, Green & Co. Pp. 548.
  2. Bush Fruits. A Horticultural Monograph of Raepberriee, Blackberriee, Dewberries, Currants, Gooseberries, and other Shrublike Fruits. By Fred W. Card. New York: The Macmillan Company. Pp. 537. Price, $1.50.
  3. The History of the World, from the Earliest Historical Time to the Tear 1898. By Edgar Sanderson. With Maps. New York: D. Appleton and Company. 1898.
  4. Life, Death, and Immortality, and Kindred Essays. By William M. Bryant. New York: The Baker & Taylor Company.
  5. Elements of Santary Engineering. By Mansfield Merriman. New York: John Wiley & Sons. London: Chapman & Hall, Limited. Pp. 216. $2.
  6. An Epitome of Human Histology. By Arthur W. Weysse. New York: Longmans, Green & Co. Pp. 90. Price, $1.50.
  7. Elementary Botany. By George Francis Atkinson, Ph. B. New York: Henry Holt & Co. Pp. 444. Price, $1.25.
  8. A History of Japanese Literature. By W. G. Aston. Late Japanese Secretary to H. M. Legation, Tokyo. D. Appleton and Company.
  9. An Elementary Text-Book of Botany. By Sydney H. Vines. London: Swan, Sonnenschein & Co. New York: The Macmillan Company. Pp. 611. Price, $2.25.
  10. Animated Pictures. An Exposition of the HiBtorical Development of Chronophotography, its Present Scientific Application and Future Possibilities, and of the Method and Apparatus employed in the Entertainment of Large Audiences by Means of Projecting Lanterns to give the Appearance of Objects in Motion. Washington, D. C: C. Francis Jenkins. Pp 118, with plates.