Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/574

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

order; nor can one constructed on bad principles and of inferior material be expected to keep itself in position after all the strength it ever had has been jarred out of it by several years' traffic. Nothing, indeed, could be simpler than all this; but how is the responsibility of the railway companies of to-day to be lessened by the reflection that the rude ox-teams of prehistoric man were also subject to vicissitudes? No doubt a badly-made ox-cart would be liable to break down, just like a badly-built bridge of modern days; but what bearing has that on the present question? Mr. Morgan tells us of a certain Philares (by which we suspect he means Phalaris) who used to roast his subjects for his amusement in the interior of a brazen bull; and he says, no doubt with great truth, that the railway companies are not of this disposition, and moreover that a modern railway accident, considered as a means of cremation, is very costly — much more so than the half-cord or so of wood used for heating up the brazen bull. All very true. We quite admit that the companies would like to avoid accidents and save costs of all kinds; but we say that nothing will hold them to a determination to do so, so far as the utmost exertion of vigilance and the employment of the very best appliances can avail for the purpose, so much as the knowledge that, if their system breaks down at any point, they are responsible to the last dollar. We quite agree with Mr. Morgan that newspaper declamation as to the "greed" of companies is often wide of the mark and quite undeserved; but we also believe that such declamation, even when it is most out of place, is not calculated to do half as much harm as his reactionary plea for a division of responsibility for rail way accidents between the companies and some occult agency wholly inaccessible to human prediction and to human control.




LITERARY NOTICES.

The American Journal of Psychology. Edited by G. Stanley Hall, Professor of Psychology and Pedagogics in the Johns Hopkins University. Vol. I, No. 1. Baltimore, Md.: N. Murray. Pp. 205. Quarterly, §3 per year.

This journal is to be heartily welcomed and commended. It supplies a genuine want, and if the first number is a fair sample, its work will be well done, and a great credit to American science. The object of the journal "is to record the psychological work of a scientific as distinct from a speculative character, which has been so widely scattered as to be largely inaccessible save to a very few, and often to be overlooked by them." The journal is to consist of three parts: "I. Original contributions of a scientific character. These will consist partly of experimental investigations on the functions of the senses and brain, physiological time, psycho-physic law, images and their association, volition, innervation, etc.; and partly of inductive studies of instinct in animals, psychogenesis in children, and the large fields of morbid and anthropological psychology not excluding hypnotism; methods of research, which will receive special attention; and lastly, the finer anatomy of the sense-organs and the central nervous system, including the latest technical methods, and embryological, comparative, and experimental studies of both neurological structure and function; II. Digests and reviews, and III. Notes, news, brief mentions, etc."

The number before us contains leading articles, entitled: "The Variations of the Normal Knee-Jerk and their Relation to the Activity of the Central Nervous System" (with plates), by Warren Plympton Lombard, M.D.; "Dermal Sensitiveness to Gradual Pressure-Changes," by G. Stanley Hall and Yuzero Motoro; "A Method for the Experimental Determination of the Horopter" (with plate), by Christine Ladd-Franklin; "The Psycho-Physic Law and Star Magnitudes," by Joseph Jastrow, Ph.D. In addition there are sixty pages and more of reviews of psychological literature, covering thirty-eight works reviewed — American, English, French, German — the reviews being of unusually excellent quality. Fi-