Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 4.djvu/265

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portion of this, water in the desired quantity was obtained. The curb of the old well, after the removal of a few of the top stones, was made the foundation of the new curbing, which was carried upward to the surface. The thirty-two feet of earth overlying the old well had never before been turned up.

Our informant, Mr. George M. Woodward, adds that these statements were originally taken down from the lips of the farmer himself, who, though not now living on this farm, is still accessible; and that they are received as facts by all the intelligent old settlers of the vicinity.

 

Scientific Prediction verified. — A striking example of the great accuracy attainable in scientific prediction is found in the history of the Mont Cenis Tunnel. Before the work was commenced, two eminent savants, M. Elie de Beaumont and Signor Sismonda, had expressed the opinion that, in proceeding from France to Italy, the following rocks would be met with: 1. A bed of schist, with anthracite, having a thickness of from 5,000 to 6,500 feet. 2. A bed of very hard quartzite, with a thickness of from 1,300 to 1,900 feet. 8. Compact limestone, with gypsum, anhydrite, and dolomite, having a thickness of from 6,000 to 9,000 feet. 4. A series of calcareous schists, 23,000 to 27,000 feet in thickness. Messrs. Beaumont and Sismonda said that no igneous rocks would be encountered, all the formations in these parts of the Alps belonging to the stratified rock.

Actual experience corresponded very closely with the predictions of science. First, there occurred the schists, with carboniferous sandstones, containing veins of anthracite: thickness, 6,45315 feet. Then the quartzites: thickness, 1,25534 feet. Next, beds of gypsum, anhydrite, and dolomite, with a thickness of 7,72613 feet. Finally, calcareous schists for the remaining 28,323 feet of the tunnel.

 

The Brain and the Mind. — Dr. Burt G. Wilder's paper, before the American Scientific Association, on "Variations in the Cerebral Forms and Fissures of Domestic Dogs," contains some very interesting criticisms of the various methods followed in studying the relations between brain and mind. There is, first, the phrenological method, wherein the skull is accepted as an index of the brain. But the fallaciousness of this method is shown: 1. By anatomy, in that no definite correspondence whatever exists between folds and fissures of the brain and the outer surface of the skull. 2. By the fact that no phrenologist has ventured to draw the accepted map of the mental faculties on the surface of the brain itself. 3. By the failure, in many cases, of the most expert phrenologists to define character by an examination of the head. The pathological method is equally unproductive of satisfactory results. This method proceeds by comparing brain-lesions with mental phenomena observed during the life of the individual. But the patrons of this method are not yet agreed as to the special function of the cerebellum, nor as to the localization of the faculty of speech. Then, too, there is good reason for supposing that peculiar mental conditions may exist without recognizable brain-lesion, and vice versa. Finally, Dr. Wilder asserts, on the authority of Brown-Séquard, that "all parts of the brain may, under irritation, act on any of its other parts, modifying their activity so as to destroy or diminish, or to increase and to morbidly alter it!"

The experimental method proceeds by irritating or destroying certain cerebral regions in living animals. This method satisfactorily demonstrates the existence in the brain of centres of action for different sets of muscles. But, then, it necessarily produces abnormal action, and fails to show the relation between brain and mind. Dr. Wilder then describes his own method, which is, in theory, that of the phrenologists, but differing therefrom in two important respects: 1. In employing the brain itself for comparison, in using large numbers, and in comparing the two sides. 2. In employing canine instead of human brains, on the ground of their simple fissural pattern, and the possibility of an accurate knowledge of the mental characteristics of the dogs. Of course, better results might be expected from the study of the brains of persons with whom we were acquainted in life, but that is impracticable. From the study of a brain, if a criminal or