Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 48.djvu/210

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198
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

Smith? Am I the man who did this and that? or is it merely a dream?" And when we go further, and totally destroy a man's memories, as not infrequently happens in cases of disease or accident, we find that the consciousness of personal identity is also gone. The man may know that he is somebody, or at least that he ought to be somebody, but he can not tell who he is. If the injury be greater still, even this consciousness that he ought to be somebody is lost, and the patient sinks into a condition of dementia, which we can not well understand because it is so utterly unlike anything that we have experienced.

Now, evidently, this is very like the case of the simple idea. I have shown that the permanence and identity of any such idea, as that of a rose, which is the standard illustration in psycholgy, depends upon the organization of a permanent system of physical forces of some kind, and I think we have reason to believe that the man remains the same for much the same reason, although the elements entering into that system are a thousandfold more numerous and more complexly interlaced.


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PROFESSOR FORBES ON "HARNESSING NIAGARA."

By ERNEST A. LE SUEUR, Sc. B.

THE past few months have seen the successful completion of a gigantic work, of epoch-making extent and significance — the Niagara Falls electrical power transmission plant. An article appeared in these pages in September, 1894, describing something of the difficulties which had been met and overcome by the engineers in charge of the water power and generator installation of the Cataract Construction Company, as the corporation which had the contracts for erecting the plant was named.

Prof. George Forbes, who held the position of consulting electrical engineer to that company, is to be heartily congratulated upon the success that has crowned his efforts. It becomes pertinent at present to insist, however, that Prof. Forbes should be content to limit his claims to glory to the considerable work that he has undoubtedly accomplished, for, unfortunately, he appears not overanxious to define that limit when discoursing to the public about his achievements.

There has been some bickering between Prof. Forbes and Prof. Rowland, of Johns Hopkins, as to which of the two was the originator of certain of the novel points in the Niagara Falls Power Company's generators. The atmosphere is very murky in consequence, but some facts would seem to have filtered through, and we shall take occasion to refer to them later. What seems