Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 8.djvu/118

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108
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

direction; so that the skin is drier after than before dinner, other things being equal. In like manner, the hands and feet, and the skin generally, become hot and dry after taking alcoholic drinks, and an intoxicated man in a state of perspiration would be an unheard-of phenomenon.

The direct tendency of alcohol is to diminish muscular power in a state of health, but indirectly it may have the contrary effect by improving the tone of the system through the appetite and digestion of food. In the state of body in which alcohol has reduced muscular contractibility, all the vital actions temporarily languish; and so far the action of alcohol is opposed to foods, and it is not a food.

While the food-action of beer and wine may be accounted for by their known nutritive ingredients, other than alcohol, which they contain, much difference of opinion exists as to the true action of alcohol itself, and the problem to be solved is, whether it acts physically or chemically. The known actions of alcohol in man are physical in their character, and so they are upon food immersed in alcohol, or alcohol-and-water, when it is hardened, and the process of digestion retarded.

If it has been shown that alcohol is capable of supporting a few persons, it is certain that it kills in its own way ten thousand persons a year in Russia, and fifty thousand in England; but its method of killing is slow, indirect, and by painful disease.

Finally, two things must always be borne in mind. First, we use alcohol not on account of its importance as a nutriment, but on account of its effects as a stimulant or relish; and secondly, the border-line between its use and abuse is so hard to be defined that it becomes a dangerous instrument even in the hands of the strong and wise, a murderous instrument in the hands of the foolish and weak.—Food and Fuel Reformer.

 
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SKETCH OF DR. H. C. BASTIAN.

PROMINENT among the contemporaneous explorers of biological and physiological science, the investigation of which is so active in the present age, is the subject of this notice, who, though still a young man, has achieved an undoubted eminence in the departments of study to which he has devoted himself. Dr. Bastian has done a good deal of excellent scientific work in the medical field, and has gained the wide respect of the profession; but he is more generally known by his researches into the origin of life; and is the author of perhaps the ablest work that has yet appeared on the question of the generation of the lowest animate forms. The careful readers of The Popular Science Monthly are quite aware that the subject of so-called "spontaneous generation" has latterly not only occupied the