Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/716

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698
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

cular work may be applied with still greater confidence to nervous or mental work. The actual expenditure of energy in nervous work is relatively small, but the indirect influence on the economy is very great. The closeness and intricacies of the ties which bind all parts of the body together are very clearly shown by the well-known tendency of so-called brain-work to derange the digestive and metabolic activities of the body; and if there be any diet especially suited for intellectual labor, it is one directed not in any way toward the brain, but entirely toward lightening the labors of and smoothing the way for such parts of the body as the stomach and the liver."

It is evident from these statements that our present knowledge of the physiology of nutrition does not warrant any prescriptions of special food constituents for the assumed varying requirements of the system under different climatic conditions or for different kinds of work.

Individual peculiarities and inherited habits of the system are prominent factors in the processes of nutrition, and experience is a safer guide in regulating one's diet than any theories based on the chemical composition of foods. Yours truly,

Manly Miles.

Lansing, Mich.




THE PROTECTION OF BRAKEMEN.

Editor Popular Science Monthly:

Sir: By the omission of a line in printing the note I made to my suggestion as to the protection of brakemen against mutilation by accidents in coupling freight-cars (which escaped me in the proof), my suggestion itself loses whatever force it might have, I think, by being too exemplary. My suggestion was (page 222 of The Popular Science Monthly for June, 1892) that a statute might be provided requiring the draw-heads of all freight-cars manufactured or admitted into the United States to be of a uniform height and to be within projecting frame corners from the rail surface, everybody can see that not only humanity but perfect justice both to the railway company and to the employé would be subserved.

The note I added should read as follows: I think such a law as this would be a better one than one directing the use of an automatic coupler, for it would not throw any brakemen out of their jobs. As to the loss of life spoken of by the President, the larger number of instances will, I think, be found to have occurred at night, when brakemen, not knowing of course the height of the draw-heads of the cars approaching them, and often while using every precaution, might be caught and crushed by a different build of car with flush corners, or higher or lower timbered corners. Such a law, prescribing uniformity in this detail, and mulcting the company owning the car or cars causing the death or mutilation, by reason of its willful omission to observe the provisions of that law, with adequate damages, would be, I think, a salutary and an exemplary one.

Since the matter is one which certainly calls for attention, I should be glad if you would insert this letter in your next issue.

Yours, etc.,

Appleton Morgan.

New York, June 1, 1892.




EDITOR'S TABLE.


POLITICAL PROGRESS.

WHEN we look back over the history of this country since the close of the civil war we find, on the whole, ample cause for satisfaction and encouragement. Those who look for perfection in the working of political institutions are doomed to disappointment. Happy is the nation that, as the years and decades slip by, can count some solid gains for the cause of good government and national morality, even though many parts of the political machine may work faultily, and many evil tendencies manifest themselves from time to time. After the war, we entered upon a period of almost shameless political corruption, not only in national but in State and municipal affairs as well. To say that we have completely thrown off the disease of corruption would be, we fear, to say too much; but that a very considerable purification has been effected, especially in connection with the national Government, no one can doubt. Too many individuals throughout the community are indeed indifferent to this evil, and many are ready to make all kinds of apologies for it, as something that can not be dispensed with in con-