Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/137

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
127
LITERARY NOTICES.

the selection of the material of which the machines are made; in the application of pure science (in its strictest sense) to the form and to the proportioning of the parts, and also in the arrangement of these various parts in relation the one to the other. The result is, that the greatest possible strength is afforded with only the least possible weight, and that friction in working has been reduced to a minimum."

Finally, the hardly appreciable difference in the density of the air on the upper side and the under side, of a shot issuing from a gun is sufficient to deflect the missile toward either side, according to the "hand" of the rifling, to such an extent that it has to be allowed for in the sighting and rifling of guns designed to be fired at long range. So, in fixing long-range guns, pointing north and south, the difference in the velocity of the earth's rotation at the two ends of the range has to be taken into consideration.

Sir Frederick's address having begun by showing how applications of science and discoveries act and react upon and further one another, and having illustrated the importance of minute details in this mutual helping, closed with a demonstration that engineering has a poetical side.

The building of such a work as the Eddystone Lighthouse, the throwing of a long and lofty span across a navigable river or strait, or the tunneling under a body of water — like the English Channel, for instance — with the closer bringing together of peoples that would result from it, or the execution of a sanitary work that will reduce disease one half — a thing that is not unknown — afford abundant scope for emotion and flight of the imagination. Whether it be these, or the supply of pure water to every dwelling — 

"or the distribution of light or of motive power; or whether it be in the production of the mighty ocean-steamer, or in the spanning of valleys, the piercing of mountains and affording the firm, secure road for the express-train; or whether it be the encircling the world with telegraphs — the work of the civil engineer is not of the earth earthy, is not mechanical to the exclusion of science, is not unintellectual; but is of a most beneficent nature, is consistent with true poetical feeling, and is worthy of the highest order of intellect."




LITERARY NOTICES.

Animal Memoirs. Part I. — Mammals. By Samuel Lockwood. New York and Chicago: Ivison, Blakeman & Co. Pp. 317.

This book is the first of a projected series of "Readings in Natural History," in which the author purposes to present mainly individual portraits, or animal biographies, in the fourfold setting of their morphology, physiology, chorology (or geographical occupancy), and origin, "but so far as possible without technicality of treatment, and with as little formal limning as is compatible with clear and truthful outlines." Preference is given, where possible, to such creatures as the author has known with the intimacy that attaches to pets. In accounting for the origin of the book, Prof. Lockwood describes how his own interest in natural history began. It arose from his picking up, while he was a very small boy, a torpid snake which had been chilled in a severe storm. Having taken it home, he was examining its diamond-pointed scales, when it revived under the influence of the warmth, and was at once dispatched by an older brother. "I felt very badly," he says, "to have it taken from me. But a little picture of its ornamentation held a place for a long time in my memory. The pattern was a mosaic of pretty geometric figures. From that time on my taste grew. I had that day got a nibble in the lane which led to the rich and open field of nature. What an appetizer it proved to be! I hungered for more. My first book was Goldsmith's 'Animated Nature,' which was read and reread with avidity. I took in everything, even the wild statement that Indians had passed safely over the Falls of Niagara in their canoes." The key to the author's mood is given in the sentence, "With the imagination and judgment in healthful union, let one enter into the mind of the animal — that is, put himself in its place — and it will be surprising how much of one's self can be seen in that lowly thing." Prudence and foresight, forecasting of the weather, mag-