Popular Science Monthly/Volume 11/October 1877/Literary Notices
|←Editor's Table||Popular Science Monthly Volume 11 October 1877 (1877)
The expensiveness of apparatus has long been felt as a formidable difficulty in the effort to make scientific education popular and practicable. There is double hindrance here; the instruments of experiment are so costly that they cannot be procured for common use, and because of this expensiveness they have to be kept in careful charge, so that ordinary pupils cannot use them, and must content themselves merely to look on and see others work. But what is wanted indispensably is, that all the students shall be themselves put to work; shall be set to making experiments, and observing and proving things for themselves. The obstacles to such a course have hitherto been so great and so general that pupils have had but little chance to cultivate manipulation; and but few schools, in fact, have been able to procure the instruments requisite for demonstration on the part of the teacher. To remedy these difficulties and point out not only how scientific apparatus for physical experiments can be cheaply made, but how much the pupil can do to help himself in the matter, Prof. Mayer, of the Stevens Polytechnic Institute, has undertaken a series of little books, of which the first is now published. His choice of a subject to begin with is most fortunate. The phenomena of light are at once familiar and attractive, are always available, and admit of appliances for illustration of the most simplified and inexpensive character. We give ample illustrations of this in another article of the Monthly, from which the reader will see how much can be done in the way of careful experimental work for the illustration of the principles of optics, with but a small outlay of money and but little trouble.
The authors say in the preface: "It is believed that this book will occupy a place hitherto unfilled in scientific literature. It is specially prepared for the boy or girl student and for the teacher who has no apparatus, and who wishes his pupils to become experimenters, strict reasoners, and exact observers. Nearly all the experiments described are new, and all have been thoroughly tested. The materials employed are of the cheapest and most common description, and all the experiments may be performed at an expense of less than fifteen dollars. The apparatus is at the same time suitable for regular and daily use in both the home and school, and with care should last for years."
It is proper to add, in explanation of the joint authorship of the work, that Prof. Mayer has been long busy in inventing simple and cheap apparatus to help teachers and pupils in the art of experimenting; but, being greatly occupied with his professional duties, he made an arrangement with Mr. Charles Barnard to assist him in preparing his results for the press. All the contrivances and inventions for illustrating experiments belong to Prof. Mayer; Mr. Barnard has attended to the detail in the execution of the book, while Prof. Mayer has maintained a close supervision of the work.
In this report Prof. Baird gives the results thus far obtained in the inquiry into the decrease of food-fishes, and the efforts to protect and propagate them in American waters. The work in which the commission is engaged is an important one; it has been pushed with vigor, and with results which upon the whole are encouraging. The extent to which fish can be made to contribute to the food-supply is not generally appreciated. It is not alone the fisheries of the coasts and the Great Lakes that may be made to have value, but every mile of river and creek, and every pond and even ditch, may, with proper management, be made to contribute toward supporting a stock of fish. They manage these things better in China, and have carried pisciculture to an extent unknown among Western nations.
Many of the indigenous game-fish decline to adapt themselves to the changed conditions resulting from civilization—they gradually disappear from the streams, and even if they did not are often greedy, carnivorous savages, who effectually bar a great increase of numbers, especially in small waters They must be replaced by species that take more kindly to cultivation—that may be domesticated. The trout seems well adapted to pond-culture, and its merits are well known. Prof Baird also ranks the European carp very highly in this connection, and believes that for propagation in ponds and sluggish waters, both North and South, it will excel all others. Its good qualities are: fecundity and adaptability to the processes of artificial propagation; hardiness, rapid growth, and ability to populate waters to their greatest extent; harmlessness in relation to other fishes, living largely on a vegetable diet; and good table qualities.
The volume is largely occupied by supplementary papers of unequal value: accounts of the fish-industries of other ages and countries; reports of the special efforts to transport fish, lobsters, etc., to and from California, and to Europe; and an appendix devoted to the natural history of the subject. A systematic list of food-fishes, with descriptions and some account of their range, seasons, etc., would be a valuable and much-needed contribution to common knowledge. We hope it will be possible for Prof. Baird to carry out his partial promise to issue such a work in such a way that it will be obtainable by the general public.
Many of the obscure problems of ethnology are here analyzed and discussed with a wealth of learning which renders the work a valuable one for both the student and general reader. In the opening paragraph the author affirms the great antiquity of mankind upon the earth, and proceeds to illustrate the extreme rudeness of their early condition and the gradual evolution of their mental and moral powers through the slow accumulations of experience. The facts presented throughout the work show that the progress of mankind has been from the bottom of the scale, and that "the theory of human degradation, to explain the existence of savages and barbarians, is no longer tenable." It is shown that human progress has been essentially continuous, and that there is a common principle of intelligence in the savage, the barbarian, and the civilized man. As a consequence of this, the same results have appeared at all times and in all areas under the same ethnical conditions. "The roots of modern institutions," the author observes, "are planted in the period of barbarism, into which their germs were transmitted from the previous period of savagery. They have had a lineal descent through the ages with the streams of the blood, as well as a logical development."
The subject is considered by the author under these four heads: 1. Growth of Intelligence through Inventions and Discoveries; 2. Growth of the Idea of Government; 3. Growth of the Idea of the Family; 4. Growth of the Idea of Property.
In the discussion of each of these the reader is made familiar with the successive phases of culture which society has passed through in the course of its development. These phases are, as defined by the author, savagery, barbarism, and civilization, constituting three grand ethnical periods in the progress of mankind. Savagery, the term applied to the lowest status, extends from the period in which mankind were without arts or definite social organizations to that in which they had attained something of both. With the close of the period of savagery that of barbarism begins. At this period the art of making pottery had been developed; the bow and arrow, and implements of flint and stone, were in use. The ethnical period of barbarism is subdivided, as is that of savagery, into three stages, representing characteristic phases of culture. It began with the simple arts referred to, and ends with the invention of a phonetic alphabet and the use of writing in literary composition. In this stage of culture are placed the Grecian tribes of the time of Homer, and the Germanic tribes of the time of Cæsar. Civilization begins with the close of barbarism. It will not be inferred that the transition from one status of society to another has been sharp or sudden. "Time has been an essential element in the formation of these strata."
The various lines along which development has taken place are thus summarized: 1. Subsistence; 2. Government; 3. Language; 4. The Family; 5. Religion; 6. Home-Life and Architecture; 7. Property. In the author's plan each of these lines is followed in detail, and the characteristic features of each in the successive stages of culture are presented in their order. Thus subsistence is shown to have been at first upon fruits and roots. Next in order came fish, then farinaceous substances; later, meat and milk; and lastly arose agriculture. It is obvious that food and the methods of procuring and preparing it have direct relation to culture, so that the status of a primitive people may be determined very nearly by that standard.
The author's elaborate discussion of the genesis of the family will be read with close attention, and will doubtless excite criticism. We can only in the briefest manner state without comment some of the aspects and forms of the primitive family as presented in the work. The lowest status of society is characterized by promiscuous intercourse. The next stage was intermarriage of brothers and sisters. Out of this arose the consanguineous family, or family representing consanguinity and affinity, giving rise finally to the organization of the family on the basis of sex. In this a check was given to the intermarriage of brothers and sisters, and following this occurred marriage between single pairs. A higher stage was the patriarchal family arising from pastoral life. Lastly arose the monogamian family, in which paternity of children is assured, with ownership of property, and lineal descent.
Throughout the work it is made apparent that the earliest steps in progress were 'taken with difficulty, and required a long period of time. But changes became more rapid as society advanced. If 100,000 years be assumed as the period of man's existence on earth, 60,000 years, on the theory of progressive development, must be assigned to savagery, 20,000 years to the lower stage of barbarism, 15,000 years to the middle and upper stages of barbarism, leaving but 5,000 years for the period of civilization. It would thus appear that during three-fifths of the whole human period man was scarcely more than a child. Whatever changes of fact or of conclusion future inquiries may render necessary in the present work, it will remain a monument of the painstaking labor of the author.
This is a contribution to chemical literature of special fitness and importance at the present time, when the science is passing into a new stage. Prof. Remsen devotes himself to the theoretical aspects of what is called the new chemistry, which he treats with discrimination, presenting its claims with clearness and weighing its defects with fairness. He aims to show exactly upon what basis our present conceptions of chemical constitution rest. The need of a sifting discussion of the subject is assumed to rest upon the fact that the more recent views, be they good or bad, are held by nearly all the working chemists of the day. In regard to the execution and purposes of his book, the author remarks in his preface: "The subject is, of course, not exhausted; many things have purposely been left out, either because they have not yet reached such a stage of development as to entitle them to a place among the fundamental principles, or because it was thought better to emphasize more strongly those principles which are treated. Should the reader miss anything which he expected to find, he will please carefully consider whether the grounds referred to are a sufficient excuse for the omission. The imperfections that will be noticed are, partly at least, due to the imperfection of our knowledge on some of the subjects discussed. For instance, it seems to be impossible for us at present to treat the subject of valence in such a way as to lead to satisfactory results, mainly for the reason that we know so little in regard to it. Whatever view of this property one may take, he will find some difficulties which he cannot surmount."
Prof. Allen dedicates this book to Herbert Spencer as "the greatest of living philosophers," and, as might be expected from this, he treats his subject from the point of view of Spencer's philosophy and the law of evolution. This is only another exemplification of the power of a great principle, when newly introduced into thought, of modifying old beliefs and methods of study. Mr. Bain took up the investigation of the human mind more closely from the physiological side than had been before attempted in any general exposition; but he could not link psychology to physiology without bringing it more completely into the current of scientific progress. Hence, when the doctrine of evolution was accepted, physiology underwent a philosophical change which was so powerfully felt in psychology that Prof. Bain had to revise his methodical works to bring them into harmony with it. As æsthetics is occupied with a certain order of human feelings, its roots must be found in physiology, and Prof. Allen's book is an attempt to trace out the connection. We shall review this work more fully in the future, but may here remark that it has been received with great interest and very cordial approval abroad. There are various opinions as to the completeness of his analysis, and the sufficiency of some of his reasonings, but it is agreed that he has opened the subject in a broad aspect, and in a direction that must be pursued by future thinkers. The London Examiner thus refers to the work in the opening of its review:
"Among the branches of human activity which the growing science of physiology is destined to illuminate, the fine arts certainly have a place. In proof of this we need refer only to the work of a single living physiologist, H. Helmholtz. Of the importance of this thinker's physiological contributions to the theory of musical art it is unnecessary to speak. It may not be so widely known that this same physiologist has recently published an instructive essay, illustrating the bearing of optical science on the art of painting. This invasion of the region of æsthetics by natural science will be regarded as an evil by all those who suppose that this territory should be infolded in a mist of super-subtile metaphysical fancy. To those, however, who ask for a clear and well-defining daylight in all domains of inquiry, the new direction of physiological labor will be welcome. If anything is likely to supply a firm objective basis for æsthetic rules it is physiological science. Mr. Grant Allen distinctly recognizes this, and his volume is a valuable attempt to add to the physiological foundations of art.
"Our author begins with a timely protest against the unscientific idea, apparently countenanced by Mr. Raskin, that the pleasures of art are not susceptible of exact explanation. He holds that æsthetic enjoyments, like all other pleasures, may be brought under simple principles or laws of nervous action. Moreover, he goes further, and, by help of the new science of organic evolution, seeks to explain how it is that our nervous system has become so constituted as to respond in a pleasurable or painful manner to the various sensory stimuli. In this way he hopes to arrive at a complete answer to the question regarded as insoluble by Mr. Ruskin, 'Why do we receive pleasure from some forms and colors, and not from others?'"The physiological method of study cannot as yet be safely carried into the discussion of art-effects beyond the simple sensations of tone, color, etc. The physiological conditions of the more complex delights of intellect and emotion are not as yet accessible. It is a question, indeed, whether as yet the physiological method is adequate to explaining all the æsthetic pleasure of tone and color, and their combinations. This, however, is the task which Mr. Allen sets before himself. He devotes the greater part of his space to the elementary pleasures of art, illustrating these, as is fitting, by a general review of the phenomena of pleasure and pain in the lower bodily regions and in the various senses. Following most recent writers on the subject, he connects pain with the destructive or injurious action of an organ, pleasure with the normal action corresponding to the amount of energy stored up at the time."
In this number of the "Bulletin" are contained twelve papers, mostly on subjects anthropological and entomological. Among them is one by the Rev. M. Eells, on the Twana Indians of the Skokomish Reservation, in Washington Territory. This is an instructive account of the condition of a tribe of Indians in the transition state from savagism to semi-civilization.
The progress made in sanitary science during recent years consists, according to Prof. Leeds, first, in an increased knowledge of what constitutes clean air, clean water, clean food, and clean environments, on the one hand, and on the other hand what constitutes filth in air, filth in water, filth in food, and filth in our environments, whether it be filth mineral, vegetable, or animal; and, secondly, in a better knowledge of the means of preserving cleanliness and repressing filthiness.
Besides a series of five paleontological papers by Dr. C. A. White, this number of the "Bulletin" contains a brief essay by E. A. Barber on the "Utah Dialects." Also, one by P. Schumacher on "Method of Making Stone Implements." There is a paper by Dr. Coues on "Insectivorous Mammals;" one by Lieutenant McCauley on the "Ornithology of the Red River of Texas;" a "Catalogue of Land and FreshWater Shells," by S. Aughey, Ph. D.; finally, "Notes on the Geographical Work of the Survey," by A. D. Wilson.
The Massachusetts health reports, of which this volume is the eighth, form a series of public documents hardly equaled for the wealth of important information which they contain. The "Special Reports" on sanitary subjects comprised in the present volume are seven in number, and treat of "Pollution of Streams, Dispersal of Sewage, etc.;" "Sewerage;" "Sanitary Condition of Lynn;" "Registration of Deaths and Diseases;" "Growth of Children;" "Disease of the Mind;" and "Health of Towns." It is only by unceasing iteration of the lesson that filth is the great cause of disease, that the local authorities of towns and cities can be aroused to a sense of the danger of allowing insanitary conditions to persist. This lesson is inculcated with much force and thoroughness of research in some of the special reports named above.
The title of this work sufficiently indicates its purpose, which is to promote among the people an acquaintance with the principles of art as applied to the products of industry. The author would have these principles taught in all grades of our schools, and offers a scheme of a progressive course of art-instruction which he thinks might easily be adopted by directors of schools in this country. He gives an account of the present state of art-education in sundry European countries, and especially commends the programme of art-education in use in the public schools of Belgium. The work is profusely illustrated.
The author of this little treatise, who is instructor in Descriptive Geometry and Perspective in the Sheffield Scientific School, here presents to the student, with all needed clearness, the leading principles of Linear Perspective in the space of a very few pages, and then proceeds to make application of them to perspective drawing. The course of instruction advances by easy steps from the construction of the perspective of a point situated in the horizontal plane to the construction of the perspective of a groined arch and its shadows, and of a spiral stairway.
The "Annual Record," which from the first has been recognized as the very best work of its kind anywhere published, continues to give evidence of the skill and care of its editor. The volume for 1876 contains some notable improvements on all its predecessors. One valuable feature now added is the index of authors and subjects, appended to the "General Summary." Another is the prefixing of the names of Prof. Baird's principal collaborators to the chapters of the "General Summary," written by them. The chapter on "Astronomy" is by Prof. Holden, that on "Meteorology" by Prof. Abbe, "General Physics" by Prof. Barker, "Chemistry" by the same, "Geology" by Prof. T. Sterry Hunt, and so on, the different departments of "Scientific and Industrial Progress" being attended to by writers of recognized competence. In compiling the second division of the volume, which consists of condensed abstracts of papers on scientific and industrial work, the editor has been assisted by a strong corps of writers, among whom we may name Profs. F. W. Clarke, Cope, F. V. Hayden, Major Powell, and Lieutenant Wheeler.
Bible of Humanity. By J. Michelet. New York: Bonton. Pp. 374. Price, $3.
Engineering Construction. By J. E. Shields. New York: Van Nostrand. Pp. 138. Price, $1.50;
Sanitary Condition of Dwelling-Houses. By G. E. Waring, Jr. Van Nostrand. Pp. 145. Price, 50 cents.
Inorganic Chemistry. Vol. II., Metals. By T. E. Thorpe. New York: Putnam's Sons. Pp. 406. Price. $1.50.
Weighing and Measuring. By H. W. Chisholm. New York: Macmillan. Pp. 208. Price, $1.50.
"The Jukes." By R. L. Dugdale. New York: Putnam's Sons. Pp. 121. Price, $1.25.
Daily Bulletin of the Signal Service. With Charts. Washington: Government Printing-Office. Pp. 185.
The Locust Plague in the United States. By C. V. Riley. Chicago: Rand, McNally & Co. Pp. 236. Price, cloth, $1.25; paper, $1.
Physical Geography. By A. Geikie. New York: Macmillan. Pp. 391. Price, $1.75.
General History of Connecticut. By Rev. S. Peters. New York: Appletons. Pp. 285. Price, $1.50.
Report of the Milwaukee School Board. Milwaukee: Keogh print. Pp. 396.
Compendium of Facts and Events. By E. Emery. Peoria. 111.: Transcript print. Pp. 517. Price, $8.
New Constructions in Graphical Statics. By H. T. Eddy. New York: Van Nostrand. Pp. 62. Price, $1.50.
Telegraphic Determination of Longitude. By Lieutenant-Commander F. M. Green, U.S.N. Washington: Government Printing-Office. Pp. 102.
Metallurgical Review. Vol. I., No. 1. Monthly. New York: David Williams. Pp. 100. Price, $5 per year.
Report of the Peabody Museum. Cambridge: Printed by order of the Trustees. Pp. 167.
Brooklyn Monthly. G. F. Beecher, editor. Vol. I., No. 2. Pp. 18. Price. $1 per year.
Relations of Pain to Weather. By Dr. S. W. Mitchell. Philadelphia: Collins print. Pp. 25.
Photograph of the Trotting Horse Occident. By Muybridge. San Francisco.
Fishes of Upper Georgia. By D. S. Jordan. Salem Press print. Pp. 70.
Molecule and Atom, By G. F. Barker. From Proceedings of American Association. Pp. 23.
Heredity. By Dr. E. N. Brush. Buffalo: Hansman & Burow print. Pp. 12.
Personal Appearance. By T. S. Soziuskey, M.D. Philadelphia: Allen, Lane & Scott. Pp. 196. Price, $1.25.
Materialism and Pedagogy. By W. H. Wynn. Gettysburg, Pa.: Wible print. Pp. 22.
Brain of Procamelus Occidentalis. By E. D. Cope. Pp. 4. With Plate.
Green River Shales. By E. D. Cope. Pp. 10.
Rationale of compressing Cotton. By S. H. Gilman. New Orleans: Hyatt print. Pp. 52.
Lectures and Essays. By Dr. V. W. Blanchard. New York: Blanchard Food-Cure Company. Pp. 67. Price, 10 cents.
Hay-Fever. By Dr. E. J. Marsh. Newark, N.J.: Harrdham print. Pp. 26.
New Method in Solar Spectrum Analysis. By S. P. Langley. From American Journal of Science and Art. Pp. 6.
Anglo-American Primer. By Elieza Bœrdman Burnz. New York: Burnz & Co., Fonetic Publishers. Price, 15 cents.
Annual Meeting of the Free Religious Association (1877). Boston: The Association. Pp. 95. Price, 40 cents.
Venous Circulation. By Dr. W. F. Glenn. Nashville: Marshall & Bruce print. Pp. 4.
Pacific School and Home Journal. Vol. I., No. 6. San Francisco: Lyser & Co. Monthly. Pp. 40. Price, $2 per year.
Darwin on Fertilization of Flowers. By T. Meehan. From Penn Monthly. Pp. 10.
The Glacial Period in the Southern Hemisphere. By T. Belt. From London Quarterly Journal of Science. Pp. 30.
Serpent and Siva Worship. By Hyde Clarke and C. S. Wake. New York: Bouton. Pp. 48. Price, 50 cents.
The American Bison. By J. A. Allen. Washington: Government Printing-Office. Pp. 144.
A Scientific Course of Study. By C. E. Bessey. Grinnell, Iowa: Aurora print. Pp. 11.
Electrical Conduction. By R. C. Kedzie. Pp. 8.
Criminality. By Dr. W. G. Stevenson. From the Sanitarian. Pp. 23.
Glacial Ice Deposits. By G. Sutton. From Proceedings of American Association. Pp. 7.
American Homœopathist (monthly). Vol. 1., No. 1. Chicago: Chatterton & Co. Pp. 40. Price, $2 per year.
Notes from the Chemical Laboratory of Johns Hopkins University. Pp. 16.
Proceedings of the Davenport Academy of Sciences. Vol. 11., Part 1. Davenport Gazette print. Pp. 148. Price, $3 per volume.
Inscribed Tablets from Davenport, Iowa. Pp. 22. With Plates. From the same.
Heredity, Pauperism, and Crime. By Dr. E. H. Parker, of Poughkeepsie, N. Y. Pp. 12.
School Discipline. By J. Kennedy. Syracuse, N. Y.: Davis, Bardeen & Co. Pp. 23.
Electrometers. By J. T. Bottomley. New York: Macmillan. Pp. 33. Price, 20 cents.
Veratrum Viride. By Dr. J. S. Lynch. Baltimore: Innes & Co. print. Pp. 8.