Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 29.djvu/736
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
undone, and as a consequence the girl was 'kept in' and otherwise punished. For some time the strange movements of the child had been noticed at home, but nothing was thought of them, and no change was made in the routine of her life. It was ascertained that there had been no intentional unkindness either at school or at home. The child was anxious to learn, but too little allowance was made for her scanty opportunities of mental culture, and she thus fell into undeserved disgrace." The malady is one which develops slowly, and is very rarely recognized at the beginning. "The rule is that for weeks or for months what is really disease is taken for carelessness or perversity, and a condition which needs for its cure the utmost tenderness and allowance is thus aggravated by repeated punishment."
The fifth volume of the "History of California," in the series of Bancroft's Works, now just published, brings the record up to the discovery of gold in 1849. The publishers announce that they have been busily engaged in remanufacturing the stock that was consumed in the fire of April 30th, of which the edition of the present volume was a part, and that the delay and inconvenience caused by that disaster were only temporary.
The editor of the Johns Hopkins "University Studies in Historical and Political Science" proposes a series of extra volumes to appear in a style uniform with the regular studies, but otherwise independent of them. The volumes will vary in size from 200 to 500 pages, with corresponding prices. The first volume will be published early in the season, as "The Republic of New Haven"; a History of Municipal Revolution. By Charles H. Levermore, Ph.D. It is a new study, from original records, of a most remarkable chapter of municipal development.
From a series of experiments which he has made upon the amount of water contained in highly lignified plants in various seasons and under varied conditions of growth, Professor D. P. Penhallow has drawn the conclusions that the hydration of woody plants is not constant for all seasons, and depends upon conditions of growth; that it reaches its maximum during the latter part of May or early June, and its minimum during January; that it is greatest in the sap-wood, and least in the heart-wood; and that the greatest hydration is directly correlated to the most active growth of the plant, while lignification and storage of starch and other products are correlated to diminishing hydration.
Professor W. Mattieu Williams infers, from the examination of Count Rumford's "Essay on Gunpowder," that he produced solid carbonic acid in the course of his experiments on the explosive force of that composition. In an experiment with a confined cylinder, the count observed "an extremely white powder, resembling very light white ashes, but which almost instantaneously changed to the most perfect black color upon being exposed to the air." Professor Williams supposes that this white evanescent ash-like deposit was solid carbonic acid. The change to black mentioned by Rumford was caused by the instantaneous evaporation of the acid, causing to be revealed the ordinary black deposit of gun-powder beneath it. The pressure under which the experiment w T as conducted was 9,431 atmospheres, which is abundantly sufficient to effect the solidification of carbonic acid.
Considerably more than four million persons had been, at the end of last year, insured against sickness under the German law of compulsory insurance. At the beginning of 1886 the compulsion to insure was extended to the whole administration of the post, railway, and telegraph, and to all trades connected with transportation; and a movement is on foot to extend the principle still further. The introduction of the system has not led to any diminution in the number of friendly societies or trades-unions, but many of them have had an enormous increase.
Dr. W. J. Graham, of Grafton, Dakota, has propounded a new theory of the origin of the alkali which is more or less abundant on the Western plains. He derives it from his observations, during several years' residence, of the soil, water, and atmosphere of the country. It is that the basis of the alkali is common salt, which is derived from a rock-salt formation underlying the region, by permeation to the surface, where it undergoes the chemical reactions which give it its apparent form and composition. Dr. Graham also believes that the alkali will afford a valuable and really inexhaustible fertilizing material.
Professor Brown-Séquard was, on the 21st of June, elected to the Section of Medicine and Surgery in the French Academy of Sciences, in place of M. Vulpian, who has been made perpetual secretary. Professor Brown-Séquard received thirty-six votes, to nineteen given for M. Germain Sée.