Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/593

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575
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the pupil to self-activity in a natural manner. Its abuse happens when the subject is presented in a confused manner, or scientific precision is lost by using too familiar language or by too much pouring-in without exercising the pupil by making him do the reciting and explanation. The excellence of the text-book method consists in getting the pupil to work instead of working for him; in teaching him how to study for him-self, and to overcome difficulties by himself, instead of solving them for him. Unless the teacher knows this and directs all his efforts to achieve this end, very great abuses creep in. Thus it may happen that the teacher requires the pupil merely to memorize the words bf the book, and does not insist upon any clear understanding of it. Indolent teachers lean upon the text-book and neglect to perform their own part of the recitation. But in the hands of the good teacher the text-book is a powerful instrument to secure industry, precision, accuracy, and self-help on the part of the pupil.

 


NOTES.

The theories expressed in the "Monthly" by Mr. Eaton and Mr. Gouinlock, that constriction of the blood-vessels of the head by tight hats is a chief cause of baldness, have been reviewed by Professor T. Wesley Mills, who only partly accepts them, and holds that the principal root of the trouble is in nervous strain. Men, by their position and more intense responsibilities, are more liable to this disorder than women, because they are more subject to mental overwork. "Baldness," this author concludes, "is one more of the many warnings of our day—one of Nature's protests against the irregular and excessive activity maintained in this restless age."

"There is no reasonable doubt," says J. L. Kaine, of Milwaukee, in a paper on the "Condition of Health in Cities," "that if the public would apply such laws as sanitarians are agreed about, there would be an immense saving in human life and in the time and money now lost through sickness. The conditions of health in cities involve only fresh air and wholesome water. Given these, which a man can not provide for himself, and given the exercise of some control over the character of the food-supply, a man can take care of other conditions himself—he can keep a clean skin and be temperate and take exercise,"

The Medico-Legal Society of New York offers the Elliott F. Shepard prize of $100 for the best essay on any subject within the domain of medical jurisprudence or forensic medicine, with second and third prizes of $75 and $50, respectively, for the next best essays. The competition is open to all students in the subject throughout the world, upon the condition of their becoming members of the society. It will close on the 1st of April, 1888. Papers designed for it should be sent to the president of the society, New York.

Monotonous, continuous sounds are recommended by various persons as promotive of sleep. Any one who has experienced the murmur of the insect and leaf life of a forest knows how quieting it is. So the purling of the waters, the humming of a hive of bees, the buzz of a spinning-wheel, and the murmur of a distant factory, all act as lullabies. And Mr. S. N. Stewart asserts in the "Scientific American" that there is no better sleep-guard than machinery. A person having a spring or electric or water motor to run her sewing-machine need only remove the needle, place the machine near the patient, and let it run.

The new work by Dr. Charles Mercier on the "Nervous System and the Mind," which is intended to serve as an introduction to the "Scientific Study of Insanity," will contain an exposition of the new neurology as founded by Herbert Spencer and developed by Hughlings Jackson; an account of the constitution of the mind from the evolutionary stand-point, showing the ways in which it is liable to be disordered; and a statement of the connection between nervous function and mental processes as thus regarded.

A band of forgers of Swiss lake-dwelling antiquities have been detected and brought to trial, who appear to have been carrying on a quite extensive business. Among their deceptions was the installation of a spurious "horn age," which they effected by rudely carving objects of horn and planting them where they would afterward be excavated.

Dr. Albert E. Leeds, in the American Association, after referring to the rapid pollution which local water-supplies are undergoing in consequence of the growth of manufacturing towns, described what he called the "American System of Water Purification." It comprises three distinct features: Artificial aeration under pressure; precipitation of dirt, sewage, hardening constituents, and coloring-matters, by harmless precipitants; and mechanical filtration through filters capable of rapid reversal of current, with cleansing by mechanical means.