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tem ? A shot of 1,000 pounds moving at 1,600 feet per second strikes
a fixed target. How far will the shot penetrate the target exerting
upon it an average pressure equal to the weight of 12,000 tons ? "

If it be borne in mind that judgment on the five momentous math-
ematical generalizations (for they are hardly within the pale of phys-
ics proper) was demanded of boys averaging sixteen or seventeen
years of age, fresh from school, it will be evident that the race of
schoolmen and of De Morgan's " Conundrum "-makers is not yet ex-
tinct, and that the current rumor of the award having been returned
to the examiners for mitigation may have some foundation in truth.

It is interesting to note how this radical change in the scope and
subjects of education has reacted on our older and on the more recent-
ly founded universities. Far in the van stands that of Cambridge.
Here, from the traditional character of the instruction given, little
modification was required to bring modern requirements into harmony
with the older teaching. Ever since the appointment of the great au-
thor of the " Principia," the discoverer of the binomial theorem, and
of the " Fluxionary Calculus " to a junior fellowship in Trinity Col-



PROGRESS OF HIGHER SCIENCE-TEACHING. 679

lege, A. D. 1G67, j^hysics and matheraatics have had their full and
abundant share in the eurricuhim of this university. If, therefore,
there has been a greater leaning toward physics and applied, as dis-
tinguished from pure mathematics, it has been accomplished, almost
imperceived, under the guidance of men like Stokes, Thomson, Clerk-
Maxwell, and his successor, Lord Rayleigh, who combine the highest
powers of numerical analysis with the imaginative, constructive, and
inventive faculty of Wheatstone and Faraday.

At the sister University of Oxford the case is very different. Here
the method of the schoolmen and the misrepresented teaching of Aris-
totle reigned supreme until our own time. The anachronism was in-
deed expressed in concrete form by a single word. The " science "
which up to 1852 formed one foot of the tripod, -with scholarship and
history, on which honors were adjudged, was the science of a thousand
years before, the metaphysics and moral philosophy of the Stoics — of
those who, proposing to teach it, wrote over the entrance to their
school, ovdecg ayeof-itrprj-og elairo, which, in the terms we are now
using, may fairly be translated, " Let none unacquainted with physics
fnter." It was a purely mental analysis of the great problems even
then seen to underlie our simplest conceptions of the universe. The
change required in this center of learning was therefore from meta-
physics to physics ; it was a scientific putting of the cart before the
horse ; a substitution of Pythagoras or Archimedes for Plato or Aris-
totle, as the latter then and there were studied ; namely, in his dog-
matic treatises on ethics, politics, rhetoric, and metaphysics, and not
in his far stronger genius as a natural historian and zoologist.

Is it to be wondered that the wrench thus suddenly given produced
molecular change ; that the impulse overran the neutral point ; and
that those who previously had been commended for accurate knowl-
edge of the metaphysical attributes of God should require time to
learn the internal economy of a Ilolothurian, the exact chemical con-
stitution of ethylic-diethyloxamate, or the formula for Carnot's revers-
ible heat-engine ? Even now, within an ace of thirty years from this
intellectual cataclysm, poor old Oxford is only just recovering from a
protracted state of vertigo, and settling down again to useful work.
It is sad that she should have to chronicle the early loss of one who
has been a main agent in the revolution. The Linacre Professor of
Physiology [Dr. Rolleston], who began as an orthodox first-classman
in the school of Litterm Humaniores in 18.50, dies in 1881 at the age
of fifty-two, an advanced exponent of modern views in anthropology.
— Popular Science Review.



68o THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

THE AUSTKALIAN ABOEIGIXES.

By GABEIEL MAECEL.

THE recent work by Mr. Brough Smyth relative to the aborigi-
nes of the colony of Victoria contains also many curious de-
tails respecting the manners and customs of the natives of other parts
of Australia. It is evident that the native race is not everywhere
equally pure. In the northern part of the continent traces may be
observed of immigrations in earlier times of Papuans from New
Guinea ; of Chinese, whose visits are attested by the lacquered
articles, cotton cloths, bamboos, etc., which have been found in the
hands of the natives ; and of the Malays, who have frequented the
northwest coasts for fishing from time immemorial. Nevertheless,
the figures of the natives, their arms, their workmanship, have every-
where a strikingly uniform character. Their numbers have fallen off
very fast in the face of the extension of the white settlements, partly
on account of the fierce wars that have prevailed between them and
the colonists, but more in consequence of the inroads of the vices an(l
maladies M^hich they have contracted from the whites. The mission-
aries have been able to make but small headway in their efforts to
convert them, and have exerted no appreciable effect in staying the
progress of extermination. Recently the Government has established
a bureau for their protection, has allotted lands to them, and opened
schools for them, and the few of them that are left enjoy at least a
promise of better times.

The disappearance of the Australian race has been promoted by
certain peculiarities of its OAvn, among which are the
belief that no person can die a natural death, and the
general practice of infanticide. When a member of a
family is about to die, the natives believe it is the result
of witchcraft practiced by some neighboring tribe. The
relatives of the deceased arm themselves at once, and
follow the course that is taken by the first insect or fly
that they see light upon the grave of the deceased. It
is not from any lack of affection that the mother kills
her child, but most frequently because it is impossible
to give it food, or because it cries too much, or is stupid,
[ I or deformed, or weak ; and, along with this incompre-

J hensible hardness of heart, these savages give to their

children numerous marks of affection. The same man
who will half kill a girl to make her his wife will protect her and love
her tenderly after she has submitted to his will. The part of the wife
is far from being agreeable. The slave of her husband, she has to
carry, besides her child, all the burdens when they travel, to do the
hard work, and be ready at any moment to obey the orders of her




THE AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINES.



681



lord. He is brutal, and punislies the lightest offense with the lance or
hatchet.

Polygamy is universal, but the oldest men of the tribe have the
most wives, acquiring them in exchange for their daughters. A num-
ber of young men are thus compelled to remain bachelors. When a
young man has, after cruel ceremonies and horrible tortures to test his
courage, been proclaimed a warrior, h^ may take a wife. If he is a
son of a great warrior, he will have little difficulty in the matter ; but,
generally, he will have to capture his wife, or buy her from a neigh-
boring tribe, in return for some girl over whom he can exercise a cer-
tain degree of control. Since the tribe is only an extension of the
family, and all of its members are generally closely related, it is neces-
sary to marry outside of it. Hence three methods of marriage are
practiced — free consent, cajjture, and exchange.




Mutilations, especially of the first phalanges of the left hand, are
practiced among the natives ; circumcision, tattooing — not regular and
complete as in Samoa and New Zealand, but simply in curved lines —
are in frequent use. They paint themselves indifferently with white,
yellow, and black streaks ; blue was unknown among them till the
arrival of the Europeans.

The most numerous and most robust tribes are those which live on



THE POPULAR SCIEXCE MOXTHLW



the borders of the sea or the rivers, where they are sure of enough
food. The tribes of the interior, whei'e water is extremely scarce,
are miserable, repulsive; and feeble, their encampments are more prim-
itive, their arms are less well cared for, their dialect is ruder, than
among the inhabitants of the coast.

It has been represented that these natives have not the virtue of
providence ; but they know how to make provision for a bad season.
Grey affirms that they save the nuts of the zamia, and Coxen describes
the methods which the natives of the northeast employ for preserving
oily seeds, gums, and other kinds of food. "Whenever a whale or a
large fish is stranded on the shore, fires are kindled, and all the fami-
lies around assemble to get a share of the windfall.

Fig. 3.




Families settling down choose -a situation near a forest where they
can get the wood they need for their cabins, which are sometimes
made of limbs covered with earth, sometimes of the bark of a tree
called the stringy-bark. This bark, according to Baron de Bougain-
ville, is very thick and incombustible ; it serves both for the walls of
the cabins and their roofs, and, as it can be taken off in large slabs,
only a few hours are needed to make with it a habitation which gives
a perfect shelter. When a savage has found a tree suitable for his
purpose, he, with his stone hatchet {kal baling-carek, Fig. 1), cuts a



THE AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINES. 683

notch in the bark for his great-toe, raises himself up, makes a second
toe-hole, and climbs up with a facility, rapidity, and skill, of which
we can hardly have an idea. In Western Australia, the helve of the
hatchet is pointed, and the natives, after making the notch, stick the
tool in the bark and lift themselves up with it. In other parts, they
scale very large trees with the assistance of a simple cord of vegetable
fiber having wooden handles at its ends (Fig. 2). Sometimes the cord
is passed around the tree and the climber, so as to hold him up by his
loins. The man hugs the tree with his legs, lifts the rope, draws him-
self up without slipping back, and reaches the desired height in a very
short time (Fig. 3).

For making their canoes the natives choose the bark of certain
gum-trees. The species most in favor for this purpose is the red-gum




{Eucalyptics rostrata), from which the bark can be peeled in large
pieces. It is considered desirable to get the bark from a tree that is
a little bent, so that it shall be somewhat near the shape of the canoe,
and a part of the labor of making the vessel may be saved. The bark
is cut according to a specially designed shape, at the points x and x'
(Fig. 4, A), and these points are connected by cuts from one to the
other. The bark is then gradually peeled off by the aid of the helve
of the hatchet and a stick (Fig. 3). Sometimes two sections are made
at three and at ten feet above the ground, and connected with a verti-
cal cut (Fig. 4, B). Poles are then introduced between the tree and
the bark so as to work out a gradual detachment of the latter. The
slab of bark is then given the desired form, and the ends are drawn to-
gether with cords or withes. This is one of the most primitive canoes
that can be imagined.

These people appear to have a really genial taste for design. Frey-
cinet relates that Captain King found on the walls and the floors of
the caves in Clark Island numerous drawings executed with a white
earth upon a reddish ground with which the rocks had been covered.
Finders discovered similar sketches in a little island in the Gulf of



684



THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.



Carpentaria, representing porpoises, turtles, kangaroos, and a human
hand (Fig. 5). At another place in the cave was a figure of a kangaroo
followed by thirty-two hunters.

The atlas of the " Voyage of Perron " contains copies of a number
of designs by natives of Port Jackson, but none of them are more curi-
ous than the one Avhich we reproduce from Mr. Brough Smyth (Fig. G),




Above are a hunter chasing a swan on the water, two emus Avith their
nest and eggs, a native about to strike a large lizard, and two European
houses ; below, are nine natives dressed in European clothes, holding
native arms in their hands, and executing a war-dance ; while in the
right-hand corner are an emu, and an Englishman, who, with a whip
sticking out from his pocket and wearing hunting-boots, gives his
arm to a woman whose ample crinoline fairly indicates the time when
the figures were drawn.

These first essays of a barbarous race possess a high interest, and
cause us to regret that the circumstances controlling the condition
of the people have not permitted them to give their tastes a higher
development. — Translated from La Nature.



UNEXPLORED PARTS OF THE OLD WORLD.

By M. V^NUKOFF.

I PROPOSE to point out very briefly certain regions of Europe and
Asia which have not yet been explored. Some persons may be
surprised to hear Europe spoken of in this sense, but there are consid-
erable parts of that continent of which much of interest is yet to be
learned, and concerning which our maps are inexact and our geography



UNEXPLORED PARTS OF THE OLD WORLD. 685

is still defective. Extensive geodetic and topographical surveys were
made in the principality of Bulgaria and Eastern Roumelia during the
war of 1877-'78, but that the geography of Macedonia, Epirus, and
Thessaly is far from being exact is proved by the difficulties which
were experienced at the Conference of Berlin in defining the boun-
dary between Turkey and Greece. In Russia all the northern prov-
inces, from the frontier of Norway to the Ural Mountains, have been
explored only supei*ficially, and the only well-traced lines are those of
the coasts and of the beds of the great rivers. The map of Lapland
is equally imperfect, the great tundra of the Samoieds is wholly
unexplored, and but little is known of the northern part of the Ural
Mountains, which is probably equally rich in minerals with the middle
division of the chain. From the Ural we pass to Nova Zembla, of
which the littoral only has so far been examined, but which is destined
to afford geologists an interesting study concerning its probable con-
nection with that chain and with the archipelago of Franz-Joseph
Land.

The parts of Asia bordering on the Kara Sea and the Arctic Ocean
offer many points worthy of the attention of explorers. Among them
is the enormous tract belonging to the basins of the Khatanga and
Anabara, a country twice as large as France, concerning the geography
of which the voyages of Tchekanovsky and Xordenskjold have upset
our old ideas, and which are still only hypothetically represented on
our maps. The countries east of the Lena are wholly unknown, and
embrace very extensive regions that have never been visited by Eu-
ropeans. Wrangell has made a sketch of them from infonnation sup-
plied by Siberian natives, but it can not be depended upon. The coun-
try of the Tchouktchis is superficially well known, thanks to the labors
or Xordenskjold and previous explorers, but has never been scientifi-
cally examined. The extreme northeast peninsula north of the Gulf
of Anadir needs a thorough exploration of its interior, for it may be-
come important as a station for whalers, particularly if it should be
found to contain coal. The country of the Koriaks, a vast desert region
of hardly accessible mountains, traversed by no important river, offers
few attractions, but might be made to yield a rich harv^est of new dis-
coveries to the naturalist. Kamchatka is better known, but it needs
an accurate survey. The geologist would find objects of interest in
its central chain of mountains and its active volcanoes ; the botanist
and zoologist, in its rich flora and fauna ; the landscape-painter, in its
majestic peaks with their summits vomiting fire and their slopes cov-
ered with magnificent forests; the ethnologist, in tracing the connection
between the native population and the people of the Kurile Islands on
the one side and of Northwestern America on the other, and in watch-
ing the development of a new mixed race, which has originated since
the Russians have settled in the country. On the other side of the
Sea of Okhotsk we find awaiting a competent explorer the northern



686 THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

part of Saghalien, an island as large as Ireland ; the mountain-chain
which rises between the Strait of Tartary and the valleys of the Amoor
and Ousouri ; the vast spaces of Manchooria ; the mountains divid-
ing Corea from China, covered with great forests, and containing so
considerable mineral wealth as to afford a profit to the Chinese vaga-
bonds who work for it with the most primitive processes ; and the for-
bidden land of Corea. On the classic ground of the Celestial Empire
are spaces larger than Great Britain that may be ranked among un-
known lands. Eastern and northern Thibet, the least accessible part
of all the empire, presents in particular many interesting problems, the
most important of which is that of the river systems. What is the true
relation between the rivers which we see hypothetically represented
on the map of Thibet and those of Indo-China and India ? Is the
chain of the Kuen-Lung, which appears on the maps as one of the prin-
cipal ranges of the continent, really worthy to be ranked with the
Himalaya and the Thian-Shan systems ? The latter question is now
complicated with some apparently contradictory circumstances. The
southern part of eastern Turkistan deserves the attention of explorers
equally with Thibet. It is the most inaccessible desert of the conti-
nent, a land of jade-stone and gold, of camels and the wild horses that
are not known anywhere else in the world.

Prejevalsky, during his last expedition, touched a country of quite
exceptional geographical interest, the sources of the Hoang-Ho. lie
was not able to penetrate to the " Sea of Stars " itself, but he saw a
considerable part of the narrow valley by which the upper Yellow
River flows toward the east. Access to the sources themselves of this
great stream has thus become one of the geographical desiderata ;
but no doubt exists concerning the absence of the subterranean con-
nection between the Iloang-llo and the Tarim, of which the Chinese
geographers have often spoken.

The great desert of Gobi has lately been tolerably well explored,
but the question is still to be answered whether it is crossed by a chain
of mountains connecting the eastern end of the Thian-Shan with the
In-shan. The mountains, if they exist, can not be very high, for no
large rivers flow from the region, and some streams flow toward it ;
but they are marked on several maps of China, including that of the
Russian staff ; and the existence of a direct route between Koukou-
Khota and Barkoul indicates that there are springs along the line, and
they must have hills to maintain them.

Northern and northeastern Mongolia have been topographically
delineated with some exactness, but no naturalist has visited them ;
and only three or four European travelers have crossed the Kingan
range between Mongolia and Manchooria, whose geological structure
and mineral, zoological, and botanical riches have still to be found out.

Returning along this range into China proper, we enter a country
the superficial character of which has been often described, but con-



UNEXPLORED PARTS OF THE OLD WORLD. 687

cerning which the determinations are still very inexact. Consequently,
our maps of China are filled with chains of hypothetical mountains,
which certain famous savants would like to impose upon us as the last
word of modern science. Unfortunately for them, Nature has the bad
habit of not agreeing with systems that are too learned, even when
they are framed by disciples of the most eminent geographers. An-
thropological interest is attached to the heterogeneous populations of
the western provinces of this vast country, and we may possibly find
among them the missing links of the chain that may connect the yel-
low race with the white race. To make such researches successful,
one must of course be an accomplished scholar in Oriental linguistics
and philosophy, but the possible results of such investigations are so
attractive that I am disposed to believe in their near realization. Simi-
lar anthropological and linguistic researches may be undertaken in the
southwestern provinces of China,' which are filled with aborigines not
of Chinese origin ; and hence we may go to Indo-China, the richest
part of Asia, of which only the French and the English colonies, the
coast regions, and the largest valleys are known, and where the origin
of immense rivers is still to be traced.

Japan and the archipelagoes of the Pacific are others among the
richest countries, and have attracted much attention from travelers ;
but Avhat has been learned about them should only sharpen the desire
to learn the more which is still unknown ; and these islands, with their
varied populations, afford most profitable studies in language and an-
thropology.

British India is the best explored part of Asia, and is even better
knoAvn than some parts of Europe, It does not come within our cate-
gory ; but the adjoining countries of Afghanistan and Beloochistan
still await a scientific exploration of their most important parts. Our
geographical knowledge of the Southern parts of Turkistan is also
wanting in many points concerning which it would be desirable to
know more. The Oasis of Merv, which is so often mentioned in the
journals, has never been visited by a scientific traveler. The funda-
mental question of Turkoman geography is identified with the dis-
covery of the ancient beds of the Oxus and its afliuents. Many im-
portant advances have been already made in this direction, but much
of the desert stretching between the present Amoo-Darya and the
mountains of Khorassan still remains to be explored ; and on its com-
petent exploration depends much that is important to the improvement
of the country.

Great progress has been made in the last twenty-five years in the
exploration of Khorassan, and Stebnitzky's late map of Persia is quite
full in relation to that province. Western Persia has been nearly as
well mapped, but much is yet to be done concerning the southern part
and the interior of the country. The greater part of the interior, how-
ever, has been known, from the most remote antiquity, to be a desert,



688 THE POPULAR SCIEXCE MONTHLY,

and is not likely to afford any features of important interest. The
same is the case, in a higher degree, with the most of Arabia, which the
inhabitants themselves say God created in anger, and which the travels
of Palgrave and Blunt show is not likely to afford enough scientific
results to pay for the toil and dangers of a thorough examination.
Our knowledge of Mesopotamia and Syria is being rapid!}' increased by
the zeal of antiquarian explorers, whose investigations, although they
are rather historical than geographical, and concern the past rather
than the present, are not without results of contemporary interest. In
Asia Minor and Armenia, researches already can-ied on need to be
completed and systematized and made generally applicable to the whole
country ; and there are spots within three or four days' journey from
Constantinople that still need to be thoroughly worked out.

We are back in Turkey, whence we started, but on the southern
instead of the northern side of the Hellespont and Bosporus. We
might complete our tour by examining these straits, and finding
whether they are traversed by a single current, carrying the waters of
the Black Sea into the Mediterranean, or by two currents, one super-
ficial and running to the west, the other submarine and directed tow-
ard the east — a question that may have a bearing on the future of the
countries east of the Black Sea. — Revue Scientifique.



WHAT IS A MOLECULE?

MODERN science declares that every substance consists of an
aggregation of extremely small particles, which are called
molecules. Thus, if we conceive a drop of water magnified to the
size of the earth, each molecule being magnified to the same extent,
it would exhibit a structure about as coarse-grained as shot ; and
these particles represent real masses of matter, which, however, are
incapable of further subdivision without decomposition. A lump of
sugar, crushed to the finest powder, retains its qualities ; dissolved



Online LibraryD. S. (David Samuel) MargoliouthThe Popular science monthly (Volume 19) → online text (page 85 of 110)