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Pp. 5. On the Lientity of Certain Supposed Spe-
cies of Sigillaria with Si:;illaria Lepidodendrifo-
lia (Urongniart). With Plate. Pp. 5. By Her-
man L. Kairchild. From the "Annals of the
New York Academy of Sciences."

The Nature of Vibration in Extended Media,
and the Polarization of Sound. By S. W. Rob-
inson. Philadelphia. 1881. Pp.13.

Thoughts on .\gricultural Education. By E.
Lewis Sturtevant, M. D., South Framingham,
Massachusetts. 1881. Pp. 19.

The "Spoils" System and Civil-Service Re-
form in the Custom-House and Post-Otfice at
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A Fourth State of Matter. By Alexander E.
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Notes on North .\merican Microgastei-s, with
Descriptions of New ^<pecies. By 0. V. Riley,
M. A., Ph. D. From the " Transactions of the
Academy of Sciences of St. Louis," April 6,
1881. Pp.20.

The Infidel Pulpit. A Study of Ingersoll.
By George Chainey. Boston. Pp. 8. Price, 5
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The Microscope and its Relation to Medicine
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S. An Illustrated Bi-monthly Journal. Vol.1,
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Physiolosy in Thought, Conduct, and Belief.
Bv Daniel Clark. M. I)., .Medical Superintendent
Asylum for the Insane, Toronto. 1881. Pp. 15.

Rapid Breatliingas aPain-Ohtunderin Minor
Surgery, Ob-tetrics, the General Practice of
Medicine, and of Dentistry. By W. G. A. Bon-
will. D. D. S. Pp. 16.

On the Geologv of Florida. By Eugene A.
Smith. With a Plate. Frmi the "American
Journal of Science." April. 1881. Pp. 17.

The "Journal of Physiolosrv." Bv Michael
Foster, M. D., F.R S. Vol. 111. No. f, Auirust,
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Johns Hopkins University. Pp. 92, 70, 68.
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Contributions to the Anatomy of the Milk-
Weed Butterfly, Dnnain Archippus {YixhT.). By
Edward Burgess. Secretarv of the Boston Soci-
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Published by the Society. Pp. 16.

"The Magazine of Art." London, Paris,
and New York : Cassell. Petter. Galpin & Co.
April. 1881. Pp.34. Price, 35 cents.

Modem Architectural Designs and Details :
fur Dwellings, Stores, Offices, and Cottages.



Part VI. Plates 41 to 48. New York : Bicknell
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The Student's Dream. Chicago: Jangen,
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The Dirt-Cure. By T. L. Nichols, M. D.
New York: M. L. Holbrook & Co. 1881. Pp.
88. Price, 50 cents.

Imaginary Quantities: Their Geometrical
Interpretation. Translated from the French of
M. Argand. By Professor A. S. Hardy. New
York : D. Van Nostrand. 1881. Pp. 135. Price,
50 cents.

Locke's Conduct of the Understanding. Ed-
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Fowler, M. A. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1881.
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Second German Book, after the Natural or
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A. M. New York : A. S. Barnes & Co. 1881.
Pp. 81. Price, 40 cents.

Working Drawings, and how to make and
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Joseph M.Stoddard & Co. 1881. Pp.53. With
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Pocket Pronunciation-Book. By E. V. De
Graff, A. M. Syracuse, New York : C. W. Bar-
deen. 1881. Pp. 46. Price, 15 cents.

Short History of Education. Being Articles la
the ninth edition of the Encyclopasdia Britannica.
Edited by W. H. Payne, A. M. Syracuse, New
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50 cents.

Cooperation as a Business. By Charles Bar-
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The School of Life. By William R. Alger.
Boston: Roberts Brothers. 1881. Pp.205. Price,
$1.

IIow to tell the Parts of Speech. Bv the Eev.
Edwin A. Abbott, D. D. American edition, re-
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Boston: Roberts Brothers. 1S8L Pp.143. Price,
75 cents.

Report on Foreign Life-Saving Apparatus.
By Lieutenant D. A. Lyle. Washington: (Jov-
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Nineteen Plates.

Annunl Report of the Operations of the Unit-
ed Stales Lire-Saving Service for the Fiscal Year
ending Jimo 30. 1880. Washincton : Govern-
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The Origin of Primitive Superstitions. By
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pincott & Co. 1881. Pp. 898. Price, |3. Dlus-
trated.

Second Report of the United States Entomo-
logical Commission for the Years 1878 and 1879.
Relating to the Rocky Mountain Locust and the
Western Cricket. Washington: Government
Printing-Offlce. 1880. Pp. 424. With Map and
Illustrations.



POPULAR MISCELLANY.

Disoasps and the Woatlipr. — A paper
read by Dr. Henry R. TJakor, Secretary of
the Michigan State Board of Health, before
the Sanitary Convention of that State, fur-
nishes some interesting facts concerning the
relation of meteorological conditions and
particular disea.«e3. Meteorological reports
are received from about thirty observers in
different parts of the State, who record the



276



THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.



facts of the state of the weather three times
a day, and reports of health are received
regularly. The reports, as a whole, show
how certain diseases vary with the season,
and indicate that relations exist, for in-
stance, between the great heat of summer
and the amount of sickness from diarrhea,
■ cholera-morbus, cholera-infantum, etc., and
between the cold, dry air in winter and
spring and the increase of sickness from
pneumonia and similar diseases, which near-
ly disappear during the warm months. In
several years the sickness from pneumonia
increased slightly in September, decreased
slightly in October, about the time of the
Indian summer, and then gradually rose as
cold weather set in. When the facts are
represented in diagrams, a correspondence
appears to be shown between the changes
in certain features of the weather and the
progress of particular diseases. Thus, the
line representing the amount of ozone at
night for 1879 nearly agrees with the line
representing the prevalence of pneumonia.
Tlie bronchitis line is nearly parallel with
these, while the lines representing zjinotic
diseases run in an opposite direction. It is
unsafe, however, to lay too much stress on
these conincidences, for it is not probable
that the amount of ozone was accurately
measured. Intermittent fever was at its
highest from July to September, remittent
fever in August, typho-malarial fever in
September, typhoid fever in Kovembcr, and
cerebro-spinal meningitis was irregular, pre-
vailing most from January to March.

Sknil- Worship.— " Skull- Worship in the
Pacific Ocean " was the title of an address
recently made by Herr J. D. C. Schmeltz
before a scientific sodety in Hamburg. The
Museum Godefroy in Hamburg has several
skulls which have been adorned with stripes
over the eyebrows ; on some a triangle has
been traced in red, from the apex of which
another red stripe has been drawn down the
nose, with black stripes on either side of it.
In other specimens a red line has also been
drawn from the apex of the triangle to the
roof of the skull, ending there in a spiral on
either side. It was already known that
the under jaws, if not the whole skulls, of
dead relatives were often peculiarly adorned
and highly honored in New Guinea. Herr



Schmeltz, observing similarly painted skulls
in the New Britain Islands, has concluded
that a like cultus exists there. Herr Klein-
schmidt, of the Museum Godefroy, relates
that at stated times a kind of priestly per-
son, called at Pall-Pall the Duk-Duk, or re-
ligion-man, collects the skulls of the dead
and commits them to the care of their rela-
tives; and he has sent to the museum a
skull from there, in which the fleshy parts
are represented by plaster and the eyes
by a snail-shell, and the whole is painted.
On one of the New Hebrides Islands whole
skeletons of deceased persons have been
exhumed, endowed with a flesh prepared
from vegetable matters, and installed in
the temples. A traveler on the German
man-of-war Ariadne sent the museum at
Hamburg a skull from the Island of Isabel
(Solomon Islands) which had been browned
with smoke, and with it the statement that,
"when prominent men, who have distin-
guished themselves in war or by superior
power, die, they enjoy after death a par-
ticular reverence, which appears to origi-
nate in the belief that the spirit of the
dead man passes over to his worshiper
and makes him fit for similar deeds. After
the body has remained for a half-year in
the earth, the grave is opened and the skull
taken out. It is then subjected to a course
of various processes, especially to a pro-
tracted smoking, after which it is deposited
in the temple as an object of worship."

Chesapeake Zoological Laboratory. —

The fourth annual session of the diesapeake
Zoological Laboratory of Johns Hopkins
University was to begin at Beaufort, North
Carolina, May 2d, and will continue till the
end of August. Dr. W. K. Brooks, Associ-
ate in Biology and Assistant Professor of
Comparative Anatomy, has charge as direc-
tor. The laboratory is designed for advanced
students, and for persons who are qualified
to carry on original investigations. No defi-
nite courses of instruction are given, as
the persons who are received as students
are presumed to have sufficient knowl-
edge to carry on their studies without such
aid. An elementary class will also be con-
ducted in connection with the laboratory,
during about six weeks of the summer, at
which daily lectures will be given, and ar-



POP ULAR MIS CELL A NY.



Z7J



rangemcnts made for systcmiitic work in
the laboratory, and a part of the class will
be allowed to join each day in the dredging
and collecting expeditions. Dr. Brooks will
exercise personal supervision of the work
of this class, and will give a course of lect-
ures on general zoology, but the students
will be under the more immediate guidance
of Dr. S. F. Clarke, who will lecture daily
on the structure and habits of marine ani-
mals. Beaufort, on account of its diver-
sified fauna, and of its mild and uniform
climate, is described as a desirable place
for study during the hot months of sum-
mer.

Trees and Lightning. — Professor Colla-
don, of Geneva, published the conclusion
several 3-ears ago that, when lightning
strikes a tree, it is received on the ends of
the branches, which, being excellent con-
ductors, lead it, without suffering disturb-
ance, down to the larger limbs. Thence it
descends to the main limbs and the trunk,
whose conducting power, intrinsically infe-
rior to that of the smaller and younger
shoots of the top, is insufficient to sustain
the concentrated force of the currents which
have united here from the thousand chan-
nels by which they have so far descended.
Here, then, generally appear the first marks
of the shock, not because the lightning has
struck the tree at that place, as might be
superficially supposed, but because the con-
ducting powers of the tree begin to fail at
this point. This view was satisfactorily
confirmed by the effect of the lightning
upon a poplar-tree, which was struck at Ge-
neva on the 5th of May, 1880. The young,
tender leaves of the main topmost branch
of this tree and of the branches immediate-
ly below it were torn up into small frag-
ments, which strewed the ground below
them, as if they had undergone a violent
shock of air, such as would be produced by
an explosion of dynamite. Many trees may
be compared, in respect to their power to
conduct electricity, to structures of wood or
masonry, which are well furnished with con-
ductors on their upper part, but with which
no conducting connection with the ground
is given. If such a building were struck
with lightning, its upper part would not be
hurt, while its lower part would suffer badly.



The danger of being struck by lightning, to
which persons standing under a tree are ex-
posed, is thus accounted for. The top of
the tree, bristling with conducting twigs,
attracts the lightning ; the current, meeting
with non-conducting obstacles at the trunk,
jumps from it to the surrounding bodies,
whether they be bushes or men and animals.
Of two persons, one standing under the tree,
the other sitting among the limbs at the
top, the latter would be in a vastly safer
position. Birds having nests in trees are
rarely struck by lightning, and their nests
are hardly ever damaged. Large trees
growing near a house will protect it from
lightning, provided there is no pond or well
or stream beyond the house to attract the
current across it. If the water is on the
same side of the house as the tree, or the
tree is between it and the house, or has a
rod attached to it, the protection is almost
perfect. When a vineyard is struck by
lightning, the leaves over a large circuit
will, a few hours or days afterward, appear
discolored, showing that the electrical ac-
tion has taken place in a diffused manner,
and not in a concentrated attack. In such
cases hundreds or even thousands of vines
may be affected, showing palpably that it is
the property of lightning to manifest itself
upon the whole top of a tree or a plot of
vegetation. In his memoir on this subject,
M. Colladon mentions a single stroke of
lightning which left its traces on more than
two thousand things.

Progress of Cremation. — Cremation is
gi'owing in favor throughout Europe. The
first furnace for the purpose was erected
at Milan, in \%1Z ; the second, built at Gotha,
in 1878, has been recognized by the author-
ities of the city, so that there the choice
between burial and cremation is free to
every citizen. Several societies for the ad-
vancement of the rite have been formed,
some of them even in states where no prep-
arations have been made for performing it.
The International Hygienic Congress which
met at Milan in September, 1880, adopted a
resolution in favor of compelling the bodies
of all animals dying of contagious diseases
to be incinerated, and of the provision of
facilities for that purpose in every parish.
It also api)ointed a special international



278



THE POPULAR SCIEXCE MONTHLY.



committee to draft and present to the sev-
eral governments within a year a series of
propositions for expediting the adoption of
cremation. A third furnace for cremation
has been built at Woking, England, but has
not been used. The society having charge
of it, although it is assured by the Govern-
ment that the execution of its purposes will
not be interfered with by the law, is seeking
to obtain au express sanction of them from
the Government, with the expectation that
a measure recognizing cremations properly
performed with an eflScicut apparatus will
impose restrictions against the irregularities
of indiscriminate cremations, and against
the use of defective apparatus.

Glatial Action in the Tellovrstone Val-
ley. — ilr. William II. Holmes has furnished
the "American Naturalist," from the un-
published report of the Government sur-
vey, an account of the glacial phenomena
in the Yellowstone Park, which are mani-
fested in a variety of forms, chiefly in er-
ratic rocks scattered everywhere, and in the
glaciation of rocks in situ in the narrow
gorges. It is not always safe to assume
that the presence of a bowlder in a particu-
lar spot indicates the former existence of a
glacier there, for the rock may have been
carried to a considerable distance by a force-
torrent or by a gradual, creeping movement
caused by the undermining of the soil un-
derneath ; nevertheless, we have every rea-
son to believe that glaciers formerly existed
in the park on a very extensive scale. Gla-
cial moraines are curiously absent from the
region ; and the tens of thousands of bowl-
ders that dot both sides of the Yellowstone
Valley generally lie on the smooth surface
of the flood-planes of the river, or on low
ridges of alluvial drift. " The significance
of this fact may be that the transporting
glaciers existed in the earlier stages of the
erosion of the valley, and that the morainal
ridges have been destroyed by the river, as
it oscillated from side to side in the suc-
ceeding stages of its descent from the pla-
teau-level to its present bed. These great
bowlders would, in such a case, be the more
durable masses of the moraines stranded on
the various flood-planes for want of water-
power to transport them." In seeking for
th« source of the granite bowlders, it is ob-



served that they occur to a great extent on
the south side of the valley, and at all ele-
vations, while the only bodies of similar rock
within the valley are found either on the
north side or on the bottom at no consider-
able elevation above the level of the river.
Either, then, the bowlders must have been
transported to their present positions be-
fore the valley existed, or the ice-streams
must have been so deep as to fill the valley
to the brim and thus carry and strand them.
In the latter case, if the glacier followed
the course of the valley, the bowlders must
have crossed the whole width of it after the
manner of a ferry. " This could really oc-
cur only in case there should be such an in-
crease in the masses of ice descending from
the highlands to the north as to completely
fill the valley, sweep across its course and
j overspread the broad table-land to the
south." This table-land, the parit plateau,
I is wholly volcanic, extends for a hundred
j miles to the south, and is separated from
j the base of the granite highlands on the
north by the valley of the Yellowstone prop-
er and by the East Fork. A great bowlder
' more than two thousand cubic feet in size
which was noticed near the brink of the
canon, and a mile and a half below the
great falls, must have come either from the
granite highland north of the valley, in
which ease it must have crossed the valley
' of the East Fork and the third canon, and
ascended the river for twenty miles, avoid-
ing Amethyst Mountain and the Washburn
range by a circuitous route, or, less probably,
from the Gallatin Mountains, also twenty
miles away, when it must have had to cross
the valley of the Upper Gardiner Eiver and
the spurs of the Washburn Mountain. If
[ it be admitted, as all the evidence seems to
indicate, that the ice-rivers bringing down
the erratic blocks of granite came from the
north, " it becomes at once clear that the
erosion of the grand canon has been ac-
I complished since the close of the glacial
I period, or at least that a second erosion has
I taken place if a canon existed prior to the
! glacial epoch."

1 Refrigeration and Animal Heat. — Dr.

Paul Delmas, of Bordeaux, has published

j the results of some experiments in refriger-

I ating a healthy person by exposing him, dur-



P OP ULAR MISCELLANY



279



ing from a quarter of a minute to five min-
utes, to a bath of water at 50°, in wliich he
took notice of the temperature of the sub-
ject during the exposure and every five
minutes in succeeding hours. During the
application of the cold, while the subject
showed every sign of very intense sensa-
tions, the temperature of the body hardly
varied at all, or, at most, less than half a
degree from that recorded in the beginning.
It still varies but little after the application
is over, if, having been dried and dressed,
the subject remains perfectly still; but if
he exert himself actively, either immediately
or after a time of immobility, so as to bring
on the external phenomena of cold reaction,
the temperature suddenly falls. The reduc-
tion persists for several hours, and is more
pronounced as the sensation of heat in the
subject is stronger. On the other hand, if
chill continue or reappear, the animal tem-
perature either does not fall or begins to
rise again. The pulse suddenly becomes
very quick at the beginning of the cold ap-
plication ; its velocity dimini.^hes after a few
seconds, and by the end of the experiment
returns to the original rate, or falls below it.
The retardation stops or progresses slowly
if the subject keeps quiet, but becomes
more pronounced and persistent as he gives
signs of energetic reaction and of a general
sensation of heat.

The Reality of Dypnotie Phenomena.

— The "Lancet" publishes an article of
Dr. Charles llichet, considering the reality
of the phenomena of hypnotism. It is im-
possible to fix upon a decisive test in this
matter. We know that a fact is scientifi-
cally certain when the phenomenon, which
is the evidence of it, can be reproduced at
will by all persons who will use the same
processes, as in the case of any chemical or
physical manipulation. The phenomena of
hypnotism are uncertain, intangible, and
variable ; different persons, even though
employing identical processes, are liable
to obtain very different results. The only
absolute sign possible is one's own experi-
ence, and that is applicable only to himself.
There are, however, certain arguments which
bear upon the case with almost, if not quite,
the force of a demonstration. First, it is ab-
gurd to suppose that all hyjmotizcd persons



have simulated sleep. Friends, in whom wo
have absolute confidence, may be among
them; it is not possible to believe that they
have conspired all at once to deceive us.
Second, a close agreement has prevailed
among certain of the phenomena of the
manifestations for sixty years. "That
would be a very strange simulation to be
reproduced so often, in so long a time,
with the same appearances — closed eyelids,
fibrillar movements in the muscles of tho
face, hallucinations of vision and hearing,
catalepsy, contracture" — and this among
persons strangers to each other and who
may be wholly ignorant of hypnotism.
Third, many of the phenomena can not
be simulated without a profound knowl.
edge of anatomy and physiology, which
hardly any hypnotics possess. When the
nerves of the hypnotized person are pressed,
the muscles supplied by them contract.
Who among them knows what muscles
should act under the influence of a par-
tieular nerve? Yet no mistake is made.
"With somnambulists one can, by direct
incitation, cause contraction of the muscles
(rudimentary in man) moving the auricle
of the ear. Now, this contraction is im-
possible in the individual when awake."
With a certain hysteric, who came under
Dr. Riehet's observation, " by opening the
right eye aphasia was produced ; while, by
opening the left eye, no such effect was ob-
tained. Certainly, if this be simulation, one
must assume that the patient knows that
speech is affected by the left cerebral hemi-
sphere, and that the retina of the right eyo
is in relation with this hemisphere, while
the right hemisphere is useless for speech."
The hysterical contractures afford equally
convincing evidence. "There is no indU
vidual strong enough to preserve volunta-
rily the contraction of a muscle during a
quarter of an hour without one perceiving
in it the slightest tendency to weakness
or relaxation. Now, somnambulists main<
tain their contractures for many hours, and
on waking they have no recollection of, no
fatigue from, this prolonged and improb-
able effort." Again, insensibility may be
feigned ; " but how many persons are there
who would have the courage to bear, with-
out serious reason, pricks in the face, on
the nostrils, or hands ; to allow their hair



28o



THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.



to be plucked out, and the conjunctiva, the
nose, and the ears to be tickled; to have
pins thrust into the arms ; to drink nause-
ous liquids ; to breathe with delight ammo-
nia or sulphurous acid?" Somnambulists
oppose no resistance to tests like these.
"Must we suppose that they exhibit hero-
ism (and a very misplaced heroism) or an-
aesthesia?" It is objected that the phe-
nomena of somnambulism are incompatible
with the facts of science. But, if they are
themselves facts, they can not be overthrown
by a pnori reasoning. Another objection
has been made: that everything observed
in hypnotism is inconstant, irregular, mo-
bile, and that the phenomena vary with
every observer and with each subject. The
same is the case with other psychological
phenomena, and the diversities may, in ail
cases, be perfectly explained by the prodi-
gious complexity of the mind. " We ought
to be really struck by the resemblances
rather than the differences, for the latter
are of small account relatively to what they
might be."

Gradnal Disappearanee of the Largrer



Online LibraryD. S. (David Samuel) MargoliouthThe Popular science monthly (Volume 19) → online text (page 35 of 110)