Popular Science Monthly/Volume 40/March 1892/Publications Received and Popular Miscellany

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Popular Science Monthly Volume 40 March 1892  (1892) 
Publications Received and Popular Miscellany
 
PUBLICATIONS RECEIVED.

Annual Report of the Postmaster-General. Government Printing-Office. Pp. 183. With Maps.

Bacteriological World. Paul Paquin and J. H. Kellogg, editors. Battle Creek, Mich. Monthly. Pp. 40. $2 a year, 25 cents a number.

Bolton, H. C. Scientific Correspondence of Joseph Priestley. Pp. 240. With Portrait.

Butler, Amos W. The Birds of Indiana. Pp. 135.

Calendar for 1892. Styles & Cash. New York.

Carus, Paul. Homilies of Science. Chicago: Open Court Publishing Co. Pp. 317. $1.50.

Chaddock. C. G. Visual Imagery of Alcoholic Delirium. Pp. 5. Reprint.

Commissioner of Labor. Annual Report for 1890. Parts I, II, and III. Government Printing-office.

Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station. Bulletin 33. Wire-worms. Pp. 82.

Engineering and Mining Journal. Mineral Statistics for 1891. New York: Scientific Publishing Co. Pp. 78.

Geikie, Archibald. Geological Sketches at Home and Abroad. New York: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 332. $1.50.

Green, C. H. Catalogue of a Unique Collection of Cliff-dweller Relics. Chicago. Pp. 35. 25 cents.

Hart, A. B. Epoch Maps illustrating American History. New York: Longmans, Green .k Co.

Humanity and Health. Monthly. New York: Humanity Publishing Co. Pp. 14. $1 a year, 10 cents a number.

Hunt, T. Sterry. Systematic Mineralogy based on a Natural Classification. New York: Scientific Publishing Co. Pp. 391. $5.

Hutchinson. Rev H. N. The Story of the Hills. New York: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 357. $1.50.

Keller, Helen. Souvenir of the First Summer Meeting of the American Association to promote the Teaching of Speech to the Deaf. Washington: Volta Bureau. Illustrated.

Langley. S. P. Report of the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. Government Printing-office. Pp. 63.

Lethaby, W. E. Architecture, Mysticism, and Myth. New York: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 272. $1.75.

Martin. G. H. Antidotes to Superstition. London: Watts & Co. Pp. 154.

New York State Reformatory. Sixteenth Yearbook. Illustrated.

New York and the World's Fair. Pp. 59. Illustrated.

Peirce. Dr. C. N. Sanitary Disposal of the Dead. Philadelphia Cremation Society. Pp. 57.

Philosophical Review. Bimonthly. J. G. Schurman, Editor. Boston: Ginn & Co. Pp. 128. 75 cents a number. $3 a year.

Porter, Robert P. The Eleventh Census. New York: Engraving & Printing Co. Pp. 64.

Powell, J. W. Tenth Annual Report of the United States Geological Survey. 2 vols. Pp. 123 and 774. Government Printing-Office. Illustrated.

Report of Board of Engineer Officers, United States Navy, on Ward's Water-tube Marine Boiler, etc. Pp. 82. Illustrated.

Roads Improvement. Papers by Isaac B. Potter, Edward P. North, and Prof. Lewis M. Haupt. Pp. 30. Reprint.

School and College. Ray Greene Huling, Editor. Boston: Ginn & Co. Monthly. Pp. 64. 20 cents a number, $1.50 a year.

School of Applied Ethics. First Year's Work. Pp. 15.

Scott, Alexander. Introduction to Chemical Theory. London: Adam and Charles Black. Pp. 266. $1.25.

Shufeldt, R. W. Where Young Amateur Photographers can be of Assistance to Science. Pp. 5. Reprint. Illustrated.

Smithsonian Institution. Miscellaneous Papers. Some Observations on the Hevasu Pai Indians and The Navajo Belt-weaver. By R. W. Shufeldt. — On the Characters of some Palæozoic Fishes. By E. D. Cope. — Condition and Progress of the United States National Museum. By G. Brown Goode. — The Genus Panopeus. By James A. Benedict and Mary J. Rathbun. — The Pito te henua, or Easter Island. By William J. Thompson. — Aboriginal Skin-dressing. By Otis T. Mason. — Animals recently Extinct, etc. By Frederic A. Lucas. — The Development of the American Rail and Track. By J. Elfreth Watkins. — Department of Geology, United States National Museum. By George P. Merrill. Government Printing-Office, 1891.

Statistics of Railways. Part of Third Annual Report to the Interstate Commerce Commission. Government Printing-Office, 1891. Pp. 99. Advance sheets.

Texas Sanitarian. T. J. Bennett, Editor Monthly. Austin, Texas: Sanitarian Publishing Co.. Pp. 72. $2 a year.

Thornton. C. S. Report on the Condition of the Cook County Normal School. Chicago. Pp. 27.

Trimble, Henry. The Tannins. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Co. Pp. 168. $2.

United States (Geological Survey Bulletins No. 62. 65, 67 to 81, inclusive. Government Printing-office, 1890 and 1891.

Wright. G. Frederick. Theory of an Interglacial Submergence in England. Pp. 8. Reprint.

Wyatt, Francis. The Phosphates of America. New York: Scientific Publishing Co. Pp. 187. $4.



POPULAR MISCELLANY.

A Defense of Examinations. — Examinations are defended by W. H. Maxwell, in a paper which he read before the National Education Association at its meeting in 1890. To the question, "Is examination one of the means that occasion those mental activities which result in knowledge, power, and skill?" Mr. Maxwell gives an affirmative answer, saying: "Knowledge is not knowledge when it has been merely taken in. It is not knowledge until it has passed through the mind and come out again in words or actions of our own. Until this is done, we can not be sure even that we possess knowledge. Every thorough-going student has been at some time or other, when confronted with examination questions, amazed at his own ignorance of subjects with which he fondly imagined he was thoroughly familiar. There is probably no better test of a teacher's ability than his power to determine, during the giving of a lesson or after it has been given, whether it has been mastered by his pupils. And yet I have frequently seen teachers of great ability astonished at their pupils' ignorance of subjects which they (the teachers) thought had been completely POPULAR MISCELLANY.

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��mastered. In all these cases the examina- tion test proves that the knowledge in ques- tion has not been assimilated, has not been converted into faculty. The very ac:. of reproducing knowledge in the pupil's own words or acts is one of the best means of converting it into faculty ; but it is not the only means. The process is not complete when isolated facts, nor even when divisions of a subject, have passed through the mind and been reproduced. All this is necessary, but it is not enough. It is but a means to an end, and the end is the comprehension of a subject as a whole, and the comprehension of the relations of the various parts to one another and to the whole. . . . Nor is even this all. The process of learning is not com- plete till the pupil can apply his knowledge in some practical way. . . • Examination consists not merely in reproducing knowl- edge imparted or acquired, but in making practical application of knowledge, in test- ing power and skill. And hence on this ground also — the ground of practical appli- cation as well as that of reproduction — ex- amination, seeing that it is not only a test of application and reproduction, but an exer- cise in application and a means of the develop- ment of power and skill, must be regarded as an element of teaching what is good."

Climate and Health. — The modifying effects of differences in age deserve more attention than they have received in the dis- cussion of the influence of climate upon health. The question is a practical one, and admits, according to the Lancet, of some fairly definite rules and principles. In gen- eral, children respond more readily to change than older persons. They commonly do well at the seaside ; they often benefit signally by a sea-voyage, and do not suffer severely from the discomforts attending one. They suffer more than grown people from the de- pressing influences of city life ; and, in a large proportion of cases, they are not spe- cially benefited by the climate of high alti- tudes. The explanation of the love of chil- dren for the sea is that they are benefited by it, because they are commonly in a condi- tion to bear stimulation, not having used-up nervous systems. They are attracted by the sea and its products, and by the amusements natural to the seaside ; and some of their

��most common ailments are among the affec- tions most amenable to sea influences. The advantages of mountain air to them are not so conspicuous, but much has yet to be learned on this subject before it can be dis- cussed with full intelligence. Elderly peo- ple in general do well with equabiUty and moderate warmth, bear cold badly, and are most benefited by abundant sunshine. High altitudes are rarely suitable to them, and often injurious; and they do best in level places, where there is abundant shelter. They may or may not benefit by the seaside or a sea-voyage, but these measures can not be recommended with the same confidence as to children. In nothing is the superior recuperative power of youth over age more apparent than in the greater readiness and certainty of its response to change of cli- mate. We can confidently recommend to the young measures which we suggest du- biously to the old. In fact, change is rarely at fault in the earlier years of life, whereas it is often a doubtful and sometimes a haz- ardous experiment for the aged. In the case of the old, we need to have solid rea- sons and tolerably definite prospects before we induce them to give up the comforts and safety of home for the uncertainties of travel.

The United States Life-saying Seryice.

— Systematic methods for the preservation of life from shipwreck were not adopted till very late in history. According to Mr. Horace L. Piper, of our Life-saving Service, the eighteenth century was " well in its twi- light " before any organized effort, and that private, was made for this purpose. The first life-boat was not invented till after our independence was achieved, and George Washington had been two years President when the first serious steps in that direc- tion were taken in England. The United States was abreast of other coimtries in this work. The Humane Society, organized in Massachusetts in 1*786, devoted itself to it in 17S9. The Life-saving Service of the United States was begun in 1848, was made more effective in 1871, and was organ- ized into a separate bureau in 1878. For its purposes, the coasts of the Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico, the Great Lakes, and the Pacific (excepting Alaska), com- prising more than ten thousand miles, are

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��divided into twelve life-saving districts, designated by number, beginning with Maine on the Atlantic and ending with AVashing- ton on the Pacific. Each district is in charge of a superintendent chosen for his knowledge of the subject, business capacity, and executive ability. The districts are subdivided into stations, known by the names of their localities, and situated with regard to the special dangers of the coast. They are of two kinds : complete life-saving stations, and houses of refuge. In all there are about two hundred and forty stations of both kinds, but some of them are not yet fully completed and manned. A majority of them are on the Atlatrtic coast ; ten on the shores of Maine and New Hampshire ; six in Massachusetts, where the Humane So- ciety provides whatever other service is needed ; thirty-nine on Long Island ; forty in New Jersey ; seventeen between Cape Henlopen and Cape Charles ; twenty-three between Cape Henry and Cape Hatteras ; one station and ten houses of refuge in Florida ; eight on the Gulf of Mexico ; forty- nine on the Lakes ; and twelve on the Pa- cific coast. Every station is in charge of an oflicer who is really the captain of the crew, but whose technical designation of keeper is a survival from the time when only one person was constantly employed and depended on volunteers for help. The crews are technically known as surfmen, and are selected by the keeper from the best men in the neighborhood. The crews are under the control of the keepers, and above these are the district superintendent, who visits the stations quarterly; the assistant inspector, who makes monthly rounds ; and the general inspector, who reports periodi- cally to headquarters in Washington. The statements of the operations of the service show that it has been very effective in sav- ing life and property. The entire loss of lives on all the coasts of the United States under the present system since 18 VI has been only thirty-eight in excess of the loss on the Long Island and New Jersey coasts alone during the preceding twenty years. This efficiency is lax-gely due to the fact that politics "has not yet intruded into the service, while the principle of choosing and keeping the best men for their work has been stead- fastly adhered to.

��Organic Variation a Chemical Problem.

— The laws of chemism are applied by Prof. A. E. Dolbear to explain the phenom- ena of protoplasmic growth and change. Since the discovery of the mechanical equiv- alent of heat there has been no alternative but to suppose those phenomena to be due to motion. Having shown that such motions of matter as constitute sound, heat, magnet- ism, and the rest, all produce fields external to themselves, and that within such fields other bodies are brought into similar states of position or of motion or both, the author would apply the same principle to proto- plasm and cell structure. " Imagine a cell with any degree of complexity, surrounded by material such as it is itself composed of, and what should one look for to take place if not that the same kind of a structure should be reproduced ? When this happens, we say growth has taken place, and it is at- tributed to life. As the new cell is similar to the old one that furnished the specific conditions for its development, we say it has inherited its form and functions. The bearings of this upon the fundamental prob- lems of biology are apparent. If the fore- going be true, heredity is explained as much as inductive magnetism is, and is no more mysterious. . . . Suppose that in such a complex molecule as protoplasm a single atom of a different substance should acci- dentally become imbedded, either as a con- stituent or not, it would bring its field along with it necessarily, and the resultant field of the whole would be modified. It could not be what it would be in the absence of this new constituent, and consequently the reaction upon other matter in its neighborhood would be different, and the next organic molecule formed would need to be a little differently organized. Mechanical conditions would ne- cessitate it. Again, if energy, radiant or conducted, should act for a short time upon one part of a molecule, it might easily bring about an exchange of positions among some of the less stable constituents without other disturbance, and this too would result in a change of the configuration of the field and the direction of growth. Every change in the collocation and motions among molecules exhibits itself in changed properties. Such conditions might properly be spoken of as changes in the environment, but it is mo-

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��lecular environment, and the difference be- tween this idea and that heretofore com- mon is, that tlie molecule produces an en- vironment of its own — the space beyond its own geometric boundary, in which it is com- petent to act upon other bodies and compel other bodies to conform in a greater or less degree to it. More than that, a new con- stituent in a nearly saturated molecule could not have as firm a grip upon the structure as the older constituents could have, al- though it might so modify things while pres- ent as to organize other molecules in like manner, but slight changes in the neighbor- hood might slough off the new acquisition in a subsequent generation, so there might be a return to the form and qualities of the ancestry — that is, reversion to a former type would also be a mechanical consequence. Thus growth, heredity, variation, and rever- sion may be considered as the consequence of atoms vibrating in harmonic orders, each producing its own field in the universal ether, and each group of atoms constituting a molecule, large or small, having a field which is the resultant of all the fields of its constituents. All of them are molecular properties as much as any one of them can be, and growth has been believed for a long time to be a property of inorganic molecules. The cause of variation is therefore molecu- lar as truly as isomerism is a different collo- cation of atoms. It is a chemical problem."

Snake-myths. — A great deal of nonsense has been published, and a great deal more is believed, about snakes. Some most thrill- ing stories turn upon a power which ser- pents are credited with of fascinating their victims. This appears to be a superstition. According to Mr. Vincent Richards, mice, birds, dogs, guinea-pigs, and other small animals, introduced into a rattlesnake's cage, show little fear, even at first, and after- ward none whatever. Smaller birds, after fluttering about till they are tired, end by becoming amusingly familiar with the snakes. Mr. Richards put two rats into a cage con- taining forty cobras. At the outset the rats' appetites were considerably affected, and they were evidently alarmed. In a short time, however, they recovered their spirits, and caused considerable commotion among the cobras by running all over their heads

��and bodies. The snakes resented this fa- miliarity by darting at each other and at imaginary foes. The rats lived and partook of food in the cage for ten or twelve days, when, one after another, they were found dead — " victims, no doubt, of misplaced confidence." It is still a matter of debate whether snakes are proof against their own poison. The remedies advised for snake- bite are of doubtful validity. Because a man recovers after being bitten by a snake, and dosed with opium, mercury, ammonia, or what not, we must not jump to the con- clusion that the treatment has effected a cure. A snake may bite without poisoning. Biting, though in appearance simple enough, consists really of a series of complex move- ments, following rapidly one upon another in ordered sequence, should any of which be inadequately performed, the victim may not be properly poisoned. Ammonia, alcohol, and making the patient move about, are worse than useless ; for they increase the ac- tivity of the circulation, and thereby pro- mote the absorption of the poison. Even permanganate of potash is of no effect un- less it is administered within four minutes. Researches into the nature of the poison have shown that it resides in some proteid, and that there are three toxic elements — globulin, serum albumen, and acid albu- men — but wherein the quality consists that gives to these substances, usually so harm- less, their poisonous power, is as much in the dark as ever.

The Gems of the Ancients. —The gems of the ancients, according to Prof. J. H. Middle- ton's book on the Engraved Gems of Classi- cal Times, consisted chiefly of the varieties of quartz — including colorless rock crystal, amethyst, sard, carnclian, chalcedony, chrys- oprase, plasma, jasper, onyx, and sardonyx. Among the non-silicious stones were chryso- beryl, topaz, emerald, garnets, peridote, tur- quoise, opal, and lapis lazuli. The translu- cent stones are preferred, for artistic pur- poses, to the transparent ones. They admit the light, but not the forms of objects, and better reveal the charms of fine and noble workmanship. Many "gems" have been wrought or reproduced in paste and glass. Paste was a hard glass colored by various me- talHc oxides, such as those of manganese, iron,

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��copper, and cobalt. Sometimes a piece of paste was treated by the gem-engraver just as if it were a natural stone, and sculptured by the aid of the same tools ; but inore gener- ally the glass was melted and pressed into a mold. Such a mold had been taken from an engraved gem by a pellet of clay which was afterward hardened by fire. Paste gems arc often beautiful in color and design, though the material lacks something of the optical properties which distinguish many of the true natural stones. The tools and processes employed in ancient times in en- graving gems were virtually the same as those in use to day— drills, wire saws, and files, re-enforced with emery, and gravers of dia- mond, sapphire, or rock-crystal.

Courtship in Torres Strait.— The people living on the islands of Torres Strait are divided by Prof. Arthur C. Haddon into the eastern and western tribes, and customs differ considerably among them. While the usual course in marriage is followed by the eastern tribe, in the western tribe the girls propose — or did, till " civilization " overtook them — marriage to the men. " It might be some time before a man had an offer ; but should he be a fine dancer, with goodly calves, and dance with sprightliness and energy at the festive dances, he would not lack ad- mirers. Should there still be a reticence on the part of his female acquaintances, the young man might win the heart of a girl by robbing a man of his head. Our adventur- ous youth could join in some foray ; it mat- tered not to him what was the equity of the quarrel, or whether there was any enmity at all between his people and the attacked. So long as he killed some one — man, woman, or child — and brought the head back, it was not of much consequence to him whose head it was. . . . The girl's heart being won by prowess, dancing skill, or fine appearance, she would plait a strong armlet, tiajmruru ; this she intrusted to a mutual friend, pref- erably the chosen one's sister. On the first suitable opportunity the sister said to her brother, ' Brother, I have some good news for you. A woman likes you.' On hearing her name, and after some conversation, if he was willing to go on with the affair, he told his sister to ask the girl to keep some ap- pointment with him in the bush. When

��the message was delivered, the enamored damsel informed her parent that she was going into the woods to get some wood or food, or made some such excuse. In due course the couple met, sat down and talked, the proposal being made with perfect deco- rum. The following conversation is given in the actual words used by my informant, Maine, the chief of Tud. Opening the con- versation, the man said, ' You like me prop- er ? ' ' Yes,' she replied, ' I like you proper with my heart inside. Eye along my heart see you — ^you my man.' Unwilling to give himself away rashly, he asked, ' IIow you like me ? ' 'I like your fine legs, you got fine body — your skin good — I like you alto- gether,' replied the girl. After matters had proceeded satisfactorily, the girl, anxious to clinch the matter, asked when they were to be married. The man said, ' To-morrow, if you like.' They both went home and told their respective relatives. Then the girl's people fought the man's folk, ' for girl more big' (i. e., of more consequence) ' than boy ' ; but the fighting was not of a serious character, it being part of the programme of a marriage. 'Swapping' sisters in matri- mony was a convenient way of saving ex- pense in the way of wedding gifts, for one girl operated as a set-off to the other."

V.alne of Photography. — The name of impressionists has been given to a school of painters who, abandoning all consideration of the arrangements and mechanism of pre- vious workers, have consulted only their im. pressions of natural scenes, and have painted to those impressions. " With one point of sight and one subject of supreme interest they have aimed to seize above all the action and first impression of that subject." The natu- ralistic school trust rather to a study of Na- ture, and make its truthful representation and perfect expression the criterion of their art. Mr. George Davison sees no reason why pho- tography should not be used to express our impressions of natural scenes as well as any other black-and-white method. Worked under the same conditions as the eye, or under conditions as nearly approximate as possible, nothing, he says, gives so truthful a record in drawing as photography, and nothing, when the proper means are used and the requisite knowledge is possessed by the

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��photographer, gives so delicately correct a relation of tones. It is to the proper use of the proper means at their disposal that pho- tographers need stimulating. The most im- portant of these means are such as are directed to securing the proper light effect and relations of light values, and those which give the focusing and relative interests of the subject. Some of the simplest facts of light are overlooked by photographers, who have been governed by untrue and mislead- ing conventions and dogmas concerning gra- dation and brilliancy. Instead of deep black prints usually in favor among them, it is of first-rate importance in landscape pictures to keep the shadows light. To repeat the im- pression of outdoor light the whole picture must be luminous, and not heavy and dark, as is the effect of the ordinary style. Fur- ther, the shadows when the sun shines are lighter than when he is obscured. The printing medium employed is an important consideration. Mr. Davison finds excellent qualities in the newest extra rough-surfaced papers. Photography is good under suitable conditions of light for representing transient action and effects. Photography has pre- eminently more of painting qualities than any other monochrome process. It is not specially limited to nor compelled to empha- size facts of form. It gives form by means of tone against tone — the best means of ren- dering it — and its truth of form is unlimited. It is equal to any other black-and-white pro- cess. In nothing more than closed forms is the delicacy of its tonal discriminations shown. The quality of naturalness will tell in the long run. Men will weary of empha- sis, and graphic artists will leave past his- tory, archaeology, and fiction to literature or scientific drawing.

A Voodoo Initiation. — A paper was com- municated to the International Folk-lore Congress in London by Miss Owen on Voo- doo Magic, to the mysteries of which she alone among white women had been initi- ated. The ceremony of initiation began with a walk at midnight, barefooted and bareheaded, to a fallow field. The author had to walk backward to the field, and when there, to pull up, with her hand behind her, a weed by the roots. She was then bidden to run home and throw the weed under her

��bed, to be left there till sunrise. Next, the weed had to be stripped of its leaves and made into a little packet, to be worn under the right arm for nine days. At the end of this time the leaves of the packet had to be scattered to the four winds, a few being thrown at a time over the right shoulder as the novice turned round and round, so that they might fall north, south, east, and west. When this was done the novice was ready for instruction. Slie learned that the pre- eminently lucky number which, when woven into incantations, was irresistible, was four times four times four; while ten was the unlucky number. After this a knowledge of the value of certain vegetable remedies and poisons had to be acquired. Charms were divided into four degrees. The first were good charms, the hardest to work, be- cause good is always more difficult to prac- tice than evil ; the second were bad charms and fetiches made in the name of the devil ; the third had special reference to bodily ailments ; and the fourth related to what were called "commanded things," such as earth and pieces of stick. After each lesson both pupil and teacher had to get drunk, either by drinking whisky or by swallowing tobacco-smoke. To be thoroughly equipped the novitiate must possess a conjuring-stone — a stone black, kidney-shaped, and very rare. These stones were supposed to oper- ate most rapidly when the moon was full or just beginning to wane. At other times, if the stones were not efficacious enough, their potency could be stimulated by a libation of whisky.

Cremation in Japan. — We are indebted to a correspondent of the London Spectator for the following interesting account of this method of disposing of the dead in Meguro, Tokeigo. It appears that cremation is the general custom among the "Monto sect of the Buddhists," a highly enlightened branch of Japanese Buddhism, which holds to the immortality of the soul as one of its leading tenets. " The building is of plaster, with an earthen floor, with stone supports for bodies. The chimneys are wide, and are carried to a considerable height, and there is no escape of disagreeable effluvium over the neighbor- hood. The bodies in the ordinary wooden chests which are used for burial are placed

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��upon piles of fagots at 8 p. m., and are to- tally consumed by 6 a. m. The relations are admitted early in the morning, and the ashes are collected and placed in urns. The scale of charges is 3s. 6(/., Is. 6d., 15s., and 20s., the process in each case being the same, the only difference being that the highest charge insures a solitary chamber, while for the lowest the corpse may be consumed in com- pany with five others, each, of course, occu- pying a separate stone platform."

Chinese Cookery. — It appears, from the Pall Mall Budget, that the great number of strange dishes spoken of in books of travel are seen only at official banquets, and do not constitute the meals even of the wealthy Chinese. These public dinners are usually given in restaurants, which are built two or three stories high, the kitchen and public rooms being on the first floor, the private rooms above. A correspondent of the Jour- nal des Dcbats gives the following as the bill of fare at a banquet given by a French official of the Chinese Government to Chen Pao-Chen, the Viceroy of the Two Kiangs : " Four large ' classical ' or stock dishes — swallows' -nest soup with pigeons' eggs, sharks' fins with crabs, trepang {beche de mer) with wild duck, duck with cabbage. Dishes served in cups placed before each guest — swallows' nests, sharks' fins, wild cherries, vegetables, mushrooms with ducks' feet, quails, pigeons in slices, dish of sun- dries. Four medium-sized dishes — ham and honey, pea-soup, vegetables, trepang. Four large dessert dishes — pea-cheese with bam- boo roots, bamboo roots, chicken, shell-fish ; four dishes of dried fruits as ornaments, four kinds of dry fruits, four kinds of fruits in sirup, four kinds of fresh fruit ; four dishes of Iiors d^cfuvre (two varieties in each dish) — ham and chicken, fish and gizzard, tripe and vermicelli, duck and pork chops. Dishes set before each guest — almonds and watermelon pips, pears and oranges. Sweet and salt dishes served in cups set before each guest — ^two kinds of salted cakes, ham- broth, a broth composed of pork, chicken, and crab boiled down, two sweet cakes, a cup of lotus fruit, a cup of almond milk. Roast and boiled meats — sucking pig, roast duck, boiled chicken, boiled pork. Entre- mets — a dish of cakes with broth, slices of

��pheasants. Last service — mutton broth, almond jelly, white cabbage, pork and broth, bowls of rice, cups of green tea." Notwith- standing this elaborate " bill of fare," the Chinese are generally an abstemious people. A coolie will subsist upon eight shillings a month, and live comfortably upon twice that sum. Boiled rice is the staple article of food. In the north of China wheat and ca- nary seed, boiled and made into small i-olls, are much used. Small cakes made of boiled wheat, together with a little fish or some vegetables, constitute an excellent dinner for a Chinaman. Some light refreshment is frequently taken between meals by the well-to-do Chinaman — " the kuo tsa lead- ing up to the morning, the kuo tsong to the midday, and the tien chen to the even- ing meal, while the chian ya and the kuo yia are partaken of during the night by those who can not get to sleep."

A Defense of Opinm- smoking. — That there is no cause without its advocate is evident from the fact that Consul Gardner, in a trade report for the past year, plausibly defends the practice of opium -smoking. We gather the following from the Pall Mall Budget : About 12,000,000 pounds of opium are yearly consumed in China. The smok- ers are of thrfee classes — occasional smokers, habitual moderate smokers, and excessive habitual smokers. When a Chinaman is said to smoke opium, the recognized mean- ing is that he belongs to the third class, just as with us when we say that a man " drinks," excessive drinking is understood. In smoking, only part of the drug is con- sumed ; the ash when reprepared yields fifty per cent of opium. This accounts for the fact that the saloon-keepers sell opium at what appears to be cost price ; the ash yields the profit and pays for light, house- rent, and attendance. It is estimated that the immoderate smoker consumes not over four pounds a year, and the average annual consumption of all classes is half a pound. If, as this implies, half the adult popula- tion smoke, and opium-smoking is the evil it is represented to be, why are there not visi- ble inherited ill effects ? Consul 'Gardner, in reply, says : " The length of the intestines in man shows that a due admixture of ani- mal and vegetable food is the diet best suited

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��to him. In China the population lives al- most entirely on vegetables. Opium-smok- ing slows the processes of digestion, and, in fact, has the same effect as long intes- tines, and consequently is highly beneficial." Again, the Chinese live in low, undraincd grounds, and are consequently liable to at- tacks of fever and ague. Under similar cir- cumstances the lowlanders of Lincolnshire took to laudanum ; the Chinese take opium in another form. Residents in China are struck with the comparative freedom of the people from pulmonary diseases. " That this immunity is not due to chmatic influ- ences is clearly proved by the fact that Euro- peans and Americans are not more free from the scourge in China than they are in their own countries." Morphia is an anaesthetic, and rarefied as smoke probably an antiseptic. " In this form it would tend to arrest the sup- puration of the lungs that takes place in consumption,"

Oscillations of Alpine Glaciers. — About thirty years ago, according to Herr von E. Richter, the glaciers of the Alps began a precipitate retreat. In 1870 the ti-aveler often found a stone-strewn plain or an un- dulating slope of polibhed rock where ten years before he had scrambled over crevassed ice. About five years later, a slight, tran- sitory forward movement was perceptible, while now the indications of an advance are becoming more marked. Similar changes, at earlier dates, are on record, and their his- tory has been studied by Prof. Forel, Ilerr von Richter, and others. The historical period of the oscillations of the glaciers ex- tends back about three centuries, while prior to this the notices are too sparse and vague to be of any real use. In this period eight marked epochs of glacier growth are on rec- ord. The first began in 1592, and the last, ex- cluding the slight one of 1875, in 1835. Each was followed by a period of diminution. The intervals between the epochs vary from twenty to forty-seven years. The observa- tions are not numerous enough to give trust- worthy indication of a law, but are supposed to hint at one. The changes are connected with climatic variations, but effects are pro- duced more quickly than is generally sup- posed. In the present century the curves representing the oscillations of the glacier

��and those of the annual temperature nearly correspond. Some traditions assert that in the middle ages the glaciers had almost melted away from many parts of the Alps, and passes were then crossed by women and children which are now left to experienced mountaineers. Their evidence relates to the cultivation of vines, cereals, etc., in locali- ties where they are no longer grown, and to the former use of passes which are now practically closed. To the former evidence, as Herr Richter shows, little weight can be given. Man and Nature are in constant con- flict in the Alps, and the position of the frontier line between their territories is de- termined by the convenience of the former. If a particular form of cultivation ceases to be remunerative all the advanced posts are abandoned. Herr Richter, likewise, does not give much force to evidence based on the disuse of passes. This is more than likely to have been brought about by the discov- ery of better ways or the making of new roads. In short, says the Saturday Review, under this author's treatment, " the tradi- tions, not the glaciers, become unsubstantial, and the warm epoch in the mediseval history of the Alps goes the way of many other legends."

Origin of tlie Colors of Flowers. — Any

one, says Mr. E. Williams Hervey, in Garden and Forest, can solve the problem as to the primitive color of flowers by a study of the native wild plants growing by the roadside or in the fields and woods. Two methods, he says, are employed by Nature in the de- velopment of colors, one of which he calls the imperfect or foliar development, and the other the normal floral process. In the former, the colors are apparently evolved directly from the green chlorophyl, as the reds, purples, and yellows of autumn leaves ; for from some green-colored flowers a rather limited number of dull reds, purples, and yellows are produced. The reds and reddish purples are, however, rare, and appear mostly on the scales of involucres, where they are common, on the spathes of several of the Aracece, in Salicornia of the salt marshes, which turns red in the fall, and in the castor- oil plant of gardens, which turns a reddish purple in all its parts. The author does not find a satisfactory example of yellow evolved

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��directly from green among our native plants, and doubts if any pure yellow ever immedi- ately succeeds green. But there are some greenish-yellow flowers. For illustration of the normal floral method of development by which he believes all the bright, attractive hues of the floral world are produced, the author takes up the Spiranthes gracilis, or ladies-tresses, an orchid which grows in all our fields, having small white flowers spirally disposed at the summit of the scape. The lip is green, fringed around the edges with white, and the other petals are wholly white. " A small section of the petals, placed under the magnifying glass, appears colorless and transparent, while the delicate network of the tissue glistens like crystal ; yet this colorless tissue, in a mass, reflects white. In the same manner a single leaf- like bract of Moiiot-opa unijlora, severed from the stem, appears colorless ; but two or more placed together, making a greater thickness, reflect a decided white color." Attention is called to the fact that in Sjcii- ranthcs the white color directly succeeds the dark rich green of the lip. The author then endeavors to demonstrate that the universal law of progression in color, as regards the floral structure, is first from gi'cen to white ; "or, differently stated, Nature, before she begins to paint the more rich and delicate tissue of the petals, by some secret chemical process completely eliminates the chloro- phyl and prepares a perfectly pure and white canvas upon which to essay higher flights of fancy." Twenty-eight wild and garden flowers are cited as illustrating this principle in the development of their colors, and numerous inconspicuous or weed-like plants in the coloring of their sepals ; while the hues of flowers of other colors are thus produced by transition through white, " with- out a single exception every flower that came to hand of a white color was developed directly from green, without any intervening color."

€anaries> — A correspondent of the Lon- don Spectator writes chattily of his pet ca- naries, and seems to show that they are very human in their reason and unreason. Dur- ing some intensely hot weather, when the ben was sitting, she drooped, and it seemed as if she might not be able to hatch her

��eggs. The cock, however, showed himself an excellent nurse. After bathing in fresh cold water, he went every morning to the edge of the nest and allowed the hen to re- fresh herself by burying her head in his breast. A green and yellow canary hung side by side, and were treated exactly alike. One day three dandelion blossoms were given to the green bird and two to the yellow one. The latter showed his anger at the proceeding by " flying about his cage, singing in a shrill voice." But when one of the three flowers was taken away, both birds seemed quietly to enjoy their feast.

Utilizing the Less-known Metals. — In

closing his presidential address before the Chemical Section of the British Association, Prof. Roberts-Austen spoke of the great importance of extending the use of the less-known metals. He supposed that in the immediate future there would be a rapid increase in the number of metallurgical pro- cesses that depend on reactions which are set up by submitting chemical systems to electrical stress. Attention is at present concentrated on the production of alumi- num. Sodium, also, is of growing impor- tance, both for cheapening the production of aluminum, and as a powerful weapon of research. The manufacture of magnesium, which was a curiosity in 1849, has become an important industry. We may confidently expect to see barium and calcium produced on a large scale as soon as their utility has been demonstrated by research. Minerals containing molybdenum are not rare ; and the metal could probably be produced as cheaply as tin if a use were to be found for it. The quantities of vanadium and thallium which are available are also considerable ; but we as yet know little of the action when alloyed of those metals which are in daily use. The field for investigation is vast, for it must be remembered that valu- able qualities may be conferred on a mass of metal by a very small quantity of an- other element. The useful qualities im- parted to platinum by iridium are well known. A small quantity of tellurium obliterates the crystalline structure of bis- muth ; but we have lost an ancient art, which enabled brittle antimony to be cast into useful vessels. Two tenths per cent

�� � of chromium increases the strength of gold enormously, while the same amount of bismuth reduces the tenacity to a very low point. Chromium, cobalt, tungsten, titanium, cadmium, zirconium, and lithium are already well known in the arts, and the valuable properties which metallic chromium and tungsten confer upon steel are beginning to be generally recognized.