Popular Science Monthly/Volume 44/December 1893/Popular Miscellany

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Popular Science Monthly Volume 44 December 1893  (1893) 
Popular Miscellany
 

POPULAR MISCELLANY.

The World's Congress on Geology. — This auxiliary of the Columbian Exposition occupied the week August 21st to 26th, having a large attendance of geologists of the United States and Canada, with a few from other countries, though many papers were sent to the Congress by foreign geologists. The sessions were held only in the forenoons, leaving the afternoons for attending the World's Fair. Forty papers were presented before the Congress, of which thirteen were by women who are teachers and special students of geology, three of these being from POPULAR MISCELLANY.

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��Englaud, one from Belfast, Ireland, three from Massachusetts, two from Ohio, two from Illinois, and one each from Iowa and Colorado. Of the twenty-seven papers by professional geologists, twelve were from the United States and three from Canada, the twelve others being as follows : from Brazil, two ; Venezuela, one ; England, Scotland, and Germany, each two ; and Sweden, Nor- way, and Switzerland, each one. Besides the formal papers, interesting discussions fol- lowed, and the programmes for three of the days ended with questions for special dis- cussion, these being. Are there any natural geological divisions of world-wide extent ? What are the principles and criteria to be observed in the restoration of ancient geo- graphic outlines ? and similarly, What are the principles and criteria to be observed in the correlation of glacial formations in op- posite hemispheres ? Among the geologists present at this Congress were Prof. Dr. Groth, of Munich ; Mr. Hjalmar Lundbohm, of Stockholm ; Dr. A. R. C. Selwyn, Director of the Geological Survey of Canada; the venerable Prof. James Hall, whose work in geology began sixty years ago; Profs. Le Conte, Chamberlin, Salisbury, Lindahl, Wal- cott, H. S. and G. H. Williams, N. H. Win- chell, G. F. Wright, and many others from the United States.

SnbdiYisions or Unity of the Glacial Period. The final day of the World's Con- gress on Geology was devoted to papers on the Glacial period, of which eight were pre- sented. Brief notes of these papers and of the ensuing discussions will be of popular interest, as they all were specially directed to the recently much debated question wheth- er the ice age comprised two or several glacial epochs, separated by warm intervals, as has been urged by Croll, Geikie, Wahn- schaffe, Penck, De Geer, Chamberlin, McGee, and others, or was a single and continuous period of glaciation, as maintained by Dana, Wright, Upham, Lamplugh, Kendall, Falsan, Hoist, Nikitin, and others.

The first paper of this series was by Prof. James Geikie, of Scotland. This distin- guished glacialist concludes, from his obser- vations in Great Britain and their correla- tion with the northern drift-covered portion of continental Europe, that no less than five

��distinct glacial epochs are recognizable there, separated by long times of interglacial tem- perate climate. These alternations are held to be in accord with Dr. James Croll's astro- nomic theory of the causes of the Ice age, affording indeed a demonstration of the truth of that theory.

Mr. Hjalmar Lundbohm, of Sweden, giv- ing the results of his own studies and of the more extended observations of Baron De Geer in that country, thought that good evi- dence is found for two epochs of ice accumu- lation and drift deposition. During the first glaciation the Scandinavian ice-sheet flowed outward over the northwestern half of Rus- sia and the northern half of Germany, while southwestward it covered the basin of the North Sea and was confluent with the British ice. The later glaciation, in which a great ice-lobe stretched south and southwest over the basin of the Baltic Sea, formed conspicu- ous moraines in Finland, northern Germany, and southern Sweden. Since the retreat of this ice-sheet Scandinavia has been differ- entially uplifted to a maximum amount of about one thousand feet in the center of the peninsula, and the Baltic Sea has been alter- nately open to the ocean and closed from it, so that for some time it was a fresh-water lake.

Mr. Andrew M. Hansen, of Norway, also declared in favor of two glacial epochs, each of them inclading two or more stages of ice advance and retreat. The glacial drift of Norway, however, was described as affording little testimony of an interglacial epoch, which this author accepts from its stratified deposits underlain and overlain by till in other parts of Europe.

Dr. Albrecht Heim, of Switzerland, from the glacial drift with intercalated beds con- taining lignite coal and plentiful plant re- mains in valleys of the Alps, confidently as- serted that the glaciers must three times have advanced far beyond their present limits. The second advance was the far- thest, and was doubtless contemporaneous with the maximum extension of the ice-sheets of Scandinavia and Great Britain.

Dr. Robert Bell spoke of the glaciation of Canada, which was wholly enveloped by the North American ice-sheet, excepting a tract west of the lower Mackenzie Valley and perhaps a narrow area adjoining the east

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��side of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta. The stratified beds, some of them fossilifer- ous, and others containing layers of lignite, which are found in Canada between deposits of till, may probably be explained by moder- ate advances of the ice-sheet interrupting its general recession, not so prolonged nor im- portant as to be called interglacial epochs.

Prof. T. 0. Chamberlin reviewed the his- tory of the Ice age in the United States, concluding that it has probably a threefold division. Two long glacial epochs had pre- ceded the chief time of deposition of the loess, which was followed by the principal interglacial epoch with retreat of the ice bor- der perhaps generally to the northern line of the United States. The last great ice ad- vance and stages of its retreat were attended by the formation of the remarkable marginal moraines, ten to twenty in order from south to north, which have been mapped across the northern United States and portions of Canada, while others doubtless remain to be traced in regions farther north.

Mr. Warren Upham noted the uniqueness of the climatic conditions of the lee age, and the absence of glacial periods from the far longer Tertiary and Mesozoic eras. So ex- ceptional climate during the Quaternary era must have resulted from very unusual causes, which could not be astronomic, for in that case records of frequently recurring general glaciation would be found in the long pre- ceding eras. Great uplifts of glaciated coun- tries to such altitude that they received snowfall instead of rain during all the year are regarded as the cause of the ice accumu- lation ; but the vast weight of the ice-sheets finally depressed the land, bringing on a warm climate by which the ice was at last rapidly melted away. Only one epoch of glaciation, with fluctuating advance and re- cession of the ice, is held to be a sufficient explanation for the observed glacial phenom- ena of both North America and Europe; and the Glacial period in each of these con- tinents appears to have ended only some six thousand to ten thousand years ago.

Mr. Frank Leverett described the diverse deposits of the older drift in northwestern Illinois, showing on a map of that State the courses of the glacial boundary and retreatal moraines which he has traced. Comparison of the depths of stream erosion in the older

��and newer drift indicates that their times of formation were divided by a much longer interval than the time from the end of the Ice age until now.

In the discussion following these papers, Prof. G. r. Wright spoke of the rock gorges eroded by the Delaware, Susquehanna, and upper Ohio Rivers below the highest drift- gravel terraces. This erosion has been re- ferred to an interglacial epoch, but he finds evidence that it was preglacial, and that^he valleys were filled with the early drift gravels from their present bottoms to the level of the high terraces. The general parallelism of the drift boundary and the successive re- treatal moraines is thought to imply the for- mation of all the drift during a single epoch.

Prof. R. D. Salisbury cited the much deeper oxidation and leaching of the older than of the newer drift as proof of their widely different ages, separated by a long interval of ice departure and mild climate.

Major C. E. Dutton objected to the ex- tension of theories beyond the warrant of facts observed. He thought it too early at the present stage of investigations to decide the causes of the Ice age ; but he doubts the astronomic theory, and looks rather to geo- graphic conditions.

Lack of time prevented the consideration of the subject assigned for special discussion, on the correlation of glacial formations in opposite hemispheres, which, however, had been more or less touched upon by several of the papers. The prevailing view seemed to be that the glaciations of Europe and America were nearly or quite at the same time, and that there was a close agreement in the sequence of events constituting the Ice age on both continents.

The World's Fair Model Library. The

model library of five thousand volumes shown by the American Library Association at the World's Fair is to be sent to the Bureau of Education at Washington for use and exhi- bition. This library marks a noteworthy step in advance in the choosing of books in each department the selection was com- mitted to an authority in his field. In the sections of electricity, photography, general political economy, and American govern- ment, lists were printed, each title being fol- lowed by a note of description and appraisal

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��from an eminent teacher. This method, were it applied to the whole working litera- ture of education, would place the judgments of the best teachers at the service of all the people. Of the catalogue of this library the Bureau of Education is printing twenty thousand copies.

Thickness of Oil Films. From experi- ments made in the Baltic Sea off Greifswald, Prof. Oberbeck, of the University of Greifs- wald, has found that the surface of water calmed by one litre of rape-seed oil or ma- chine oil oscillates around nineteen thousand square metres, indicating that the thickness of the film is about one twenty-thousandth of a millimetre. The oil doubtless extends also in an imperceptible film outside of the circle of calm, whence the average thickness of this inner layer is probably even less. The author has made skillfully devised series of labora- tory experiments to determine still more pre- cisely the minimum thickness of a percepti- ble film, and found it to be two millionths of a millimetre. This is the same thickness as that which Lord Rayleigh found adequate to arrest the movements of camphor. Mr. Rontgen has also found that the vapor of ether striking upon oil scatters it till it is re- duced to the same thinness. According to Herr Oberbeck, a film six times thinner is still coherent. If the quantity of oil is gradually increased the pellicle becomes more and more resistant, and of uniform thickness. When it reaches eighteen millionths of a millimetre, the oil collects in droplets which lise above the rest of the surface ; and the film does not become uniform till enough oil has been poured on to equal the entire thickness of the droplets.

Advances in the Dairy Indnstry. At

the Dairy Building at the World's Fair there were daily demonstrations of the best mod- ern practice in butter and cheese making. Prof. S. M. Babcock, of the University of Wisconsin, the chemist in charge, as part of his apparatus, employed the milk tester in- vented by him in 1890. This tester is used by adding to milk an equal quantity of sul- phuric acid of 1"82 or 1'83 specific gravity. The mixture is poured into a series of glass bottles, each drawn out at the neck as a narrow and calibrated tube ; the bottles, laid

��in an inclined position on a frame, are rotated YOO to 1,200 times per minute ; the sulphu- ric acid separates the fat, and this fat, by centrifugal motion, is sent up into the cali- brated tubes, where it is easily read off. This test places the dairy industry upon a business footing, and not only enables the propi'ietor of a butter or cheese factory justly to appraise the milk he buys, but also de cides for the dairyman which of his cows is most profitable and which should be sent to the butcher. The importance of tliis simple and ready test is evident when we learn that in Wisconsin alone there are 1,700 butter and cheese factories. The Babcock tester is manufactured by some twenty firms in the United States, and by a firm in England and a firm in Germany. Due as it was to the experiments of a servant of a State, the de- vice has not been patented. To this fact is in part due the wide sale of the tester ; it is so simply manufactured that no costly pat- terns and plant are needed for its produc- tion ; at retail the price is but eight to twelve dollars, according to size. To his forerunners in the task of fat testing Prof. Babcock declares his indebtedness. Mr. Short, of the University of Wisconsin, had invented an apparatus in which milk fat was saponified and driven forth by centrifugal motion ; Prof. Patrick, of Iowa, employed, in a tester of his design, an acid instead of an alkaline combination. Uniting an idea from each of these devices, Prof. Babcock hit upon success.

Vegetarian Pedestrians. The result of a pedestrian contest recently completed be- tween Berlin and Vienna was a triumph for two vegetarian walkers, who came out a long way ahead of their carnivorous competitors. The fact corresponds with other evidence of the enduring power of non-meat-eaters. If there is one thing certain, says an English journal, remarking on the achievement, about the races that eat no meat, it is that they can march. " Thousands, probably scores of thousands of Sikhs and Hindostanees would have performed the German feat, and not have thought at the end of it that they had done anything wonderful ; and they not only eat no meat, but they are the descendants of men who have eaten no meat for perhaps two thousand years. They have eaten wheat

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��or millet, and drunk plenty of milk; and they can walk rapidly as long as life re- mains in them. A Sepoy regiment which means it will walk a European regiment to death, and do it on food which their compet- itors would pronounce wholly insufficient to sustain vigorous life. A regular Hindostanee carrier, with a weight of eighty pounds on his shoulders carried, of course, in two divisions hung on his neck by a yoke will, if properly paid, lope along over a hundred miles in twenty-four hours, a feat which would exhaust any but the best English runners." But the writer doubts whether this power of endurance is parallel with what is called physical strength.

Hypnotism in Remedial Treatment.

An unnamed writer, whose views are pro- nounced by the Lancet " eminently wise and judicious," has been publishing a series of articles in the London Times on the New Mesmerism, in which he identifies the hyp- notism of the French and other neurologists of the present time with the mesmerism of a former generation and the hypnotism of Braid. He affirms that denial of the exist- ence of hypnotism is out of the question. To the inquiry whether it is sufficiently beneficial to justify its use, he replies that " a method which has been already tried and found wanting ought not to meet with the same open reception as a new i-emedy. What would be mere caution in the latter case very properly becomes suspicion in the former." Quoting from the old authors to show that hypnotism was practiced in former days for the same maladies and with the same alleged results as to-day, he concludes that if it had possessed a real efficacy it would never have been allowed to fall into disuse. He accepts Charcot's view that the hypnotic condition is essentially morbid and dependent on a dis- ordered brain, and that its employment is only justifiable in a few exceptional cases here and there. The writer sums up his conclusions by saying : " Hypnotism in treat- ment has a real but very limited value, and it should only be used with great care. It is not likely to die out altogether, but neither is it likely to be generally adopted, or even to spread much beyond its present limits. Hyp- notic experiments, unless they have the pa- tient's benefit in view, are injurious and un-

��justifiable alike on the platform and in the laboratory. Finally, if I may offer any prac- tical advice to the public, it is this : Regard hypnotism with extreme caution, and do not resort to it except on the advice of an un- prejudiced medical man in whose opinion you have implicit confidence."

Tree-top Vegetation. The plants that grow in the tops of willow trees near Cam- bridge, England, have been recorded during the last few years. They represent eighty species, and have been found altogether 3,951 times among about 4,500 trees. Of the eighty species, only eighteen furnish one per cent each of the whole number of records ; the others occurring only in very small numbers. Classifying the plants according to means of distribution, nineteen species, of which 1,763 records, or 44"6 per cent, occur, have fleshy fruits ; three species with burs were found in 651 instances, or 16'4 per cent; thirty- four species, with winged or feathered fruit, gave 996 records, or 25'1 per cent; seven plants with very light seeds, 421 records, or 19'6 per cent; and plants whose means of distribution is poor or somewhat doubtful, 120 records, or 2-9 per cent. It is thus very strikingly shown how the various mechanisms for distribution succeed, for only the better ones present any considerable numbers in the list. The bird-distributed plants appear higher here than in such cases as the flora of the churches of Poitiers, because birds visit trees more frequently. The observations show that a seed is carried only a short dis- tance by its mechanism for distribution. Plants are always found upon the soil within two hundred and fifty yards, at most, of those found in the trees. An analysis was made as far as possible of the birds' nests found in the trees, and pieces, often with ripe fruits, of many of the plants in the list were discov- ered in them ; so that probably this means of distribution is of some importance.

Athletics and Scholarsliip. Mr. Wil- liam Odell, of Torquay, England, recently ad- dressed the question to the headquarters of some of the large public schools as to whether the boys who excel in athletics are as a rule also excellent in school work, ex- aminations, etc. A similar inquiry made by a Mr. Cathcart ten years ago elicited an-

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��Bwers that were full of enthusiasm and un- stinted praise of athletics. The replies to Mr. Odell's questions are more reserved and critical. One correspondent answered that as a general and rarely broken rule, excel- lence in athletics and in intellectual work are not met with at the same time in the same person ; another, that " the spirit of athleticism needs controlling." Dr. Horn- by, of Eton, notes that " some years ago it was quite possible for a boy who had an aptitude for cricket or rowing to attain to the highest excellence, according to the stand- ard of that day, in athletics and school work. I doubt whether it is so now. Athletics of all kinds have become so developed and brought into a system, and, I may almost say, professional, that the time required for a very high excellence in them is, I think, a serious obstacle to a reading man or a stu- dious boy's engaging in them with a view to athletic distinction. This is a serious evil in our day " ; and Dr. Percival, of Rugby, that " the great publicity given to athletics tends to give them an undue prominence in the minds of both boys and men." These re- plies suggest that physical education in pub- lic schools may have been overdone and overestimated, and that the enthusiasm of a few years ago may have carried matters fur- ther than was intended.

The Glory of Colnnibus. In his presi- dential address before the American Geo- graphic Society on Discoverers of America, the Hon. Gardiner S. Hubbard claims for Columbus, in the face of the recent attempts to depreciate his work, all the credit that has at any time been given him. There was no map published until after the sixteenth century, Mr. Hubbard says, that gave a cor- rect delineation of the seacoast of America. " It is no wonder that Columbus never com- prehended the nature or extent of his discov- eries. The more we study the history and geography of the times, the influence of the Church, the difficulty of determining longi- tude, the ignorance of the movements of the mariner's compass and of the distance to Cipango, the greater will be our admiration for Columbus. Yet a recent writer speaks of the discovery of Columbus as a blunder, and others say, as if in disparagement of his work, that he knew of the discoveries of the

��Northmen, and was only following their track ; that the chart of Toscanelli, which Columbus took on his first voyage, indicated clearly his route ; that Columbus died in the belief that he had discovered Cipango and Cathay, never realizing that it was the New World, and that Americus Vespucius is entitled to the greater credit." Sebastian Cabot is quoted by the author in testimony of the admiration with which Columbus's dis- covery was received at the court of Henry VII, where it was affirmed " to be a thing more divine than humane to saile by the west into the easte, where the spices growe, by a chart that was never before knowen." It is very doubtful if Columbus knew of the voy- ages of the Northmen, nor would such knowl- edge have been of much value, for Greenland was then believed to be a part of Europe and joined to Norway. If Columbus had known of their discoveries and sought the countries they had found, he would have sailed north- westward instead of westward. Many before Toscanelli and Columbus believed the world to be round, and that by sailing westward Asia might be reached. Columbus not only believed but proved it. He made no blun- der, for he sought land the other side of the Atlantic, and he found it. Vespucius knew little more than Columbus of the New World, and never realized that North America and South America were one continent. The maps show that learned geographers long after the discoveries of Columbus, Vespucius, Cabot, and Magellan, did not understand the geography of the New World. " All voyages before that of Columbus had been coasting voyages, the sailors keeping in sight of land. Columbus pushed into the unknown and trackless ocean, leaving the land far be- hind. Good seamen were unwilling to under- take such a voyage, so convicts were obtained, liberated from prison on condition of sailing with Columbus. A brave, resolute, and self- contained spirit was necessary to command such a crew on such an expedition. New wonders startled him each day. ... No voy- age like that was ever made before, and none like it can ever be made again, for the great discoverer solved the problem and reached the east by sailing west."

The Pose of Egyptian Drawings. The

first thing that a Western observer remarks

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��in the pose of Egyptian drawings of the hu- man figure is that it is an impossible combi- nation according to our ideas. We see the face in profile, the eye full length, the chest in front view, and the legs sidewise. But before we condemn this as contrary to Na- ture, it is well, as Prof. W. M. Flinders Petrie suggests, to see what the attitude of a mod- em Egyptian is, and how far our notions are correct. To avoid all ideas of posing for the subject, he selects the figure of a boy from a large group that was photographed without any special aim by a Cairo dealer. In the kneeling figure are seen the profile of the face, the eye full, the chest in front view, and the legs sidewise. Everything that we have heard condemned as unnatural and im- possible in the ancient sculpture is seen in the modern native, without any constraint, when simply taking an easy position. This shows what is the true ideal of the conven- tional Egyptian pose; it is a three-quarters view, modified by the omission of the much foreshortened parts beyond the profile a simplification which was essential to an out- line system of representation.

Variety in the Eyes of Animals. It is

hard, in studying some of the lower animals, to determine whether they have a proper sense of vision. They can all recognize light and distinguish it from darkness ; but that is probably all the sight that a few or- ganisms possess. In such creatures as earth- worms, for instance, the whole skin is sup- posed to be sensitive to light ; and there is some evidence that they have a choice be- tween colors. Mollusks have eyes of vari- ous qualities : those of the snail distinguish- ing light from darkness ; those of the cuttle- fish very highly developed ; the unique and curious eyes of the nautilus; and the two kinds of eyes of the onchidium. Some of these animals possess the power of restoring their eyes, as well as other lost members, when they are cut off. Great differences appear in the organs of sight of crustaceans. They are of all sorts, from a simple eye-spot in some species up to two compound eyes on a movable eye-stalk (as in the crab and lobster), with complete optical apparatus; and some have both simple and compound eyes. Most insects have two kinds of eyes ; the large compound eye, one on each side of

��the head ; and the ocelli, or simple eyes, of which there are generally three, placed in a triangle between the other two. The com- pound eyes are complex in structure, consist- ing of a number of hexagonal facets, each with its system of nerves. It is not known whether the combination forms one aggre- gate eye, or whether each facet is an eye. Many insects have thousands of these facets some beetles as many as twenty-five thousand. The vision of scorpions, though they have six eyes, is imperfect ; and that of spiders, equally well provided as to the number of ocelli, is not much better. The dexterity and unerring aim with which many reptiles catch their insect food in the air proves that they have very keen vision. The chameleon has the additional faculty of moving its eyes independently of each other, so that it can look up with one eye while looking down with the other, backward and forward, or in other different directions. The eyes of deep-sea fish are very varied : some have no eyes or sight ; some have greatly enlarged eyeballs ; and others are provided with phos- phorescent processes or spots. Birds and many of the smaller mammals have very acute vision, while that of the lai-ger ani- mals is very much like our own.

Co-oporatlon in Natnre. That crude competition is the universal law of Nature, while combination is the invention of the mind of man, is doubted by Mr. Henry Far- quhar. The position, he says, is " difficult to reconcile with even the most hasty con- sideration of ruminants feeding in herds, where, instead of a tumultuous crowding for the occupation of the best places, we see some individuals taking posts in which they can be of service in warning the whole herd of impending danger or of the wolves that prey upon them in co-operating packs. It is not to be rashly claimed that mind ... is ab- sent from the conduct of the ant and her colo- nies ; but surely their example is convincing evidence that the lesson of the economic su- periority of concert over cutthroat individual competition is one that has been well taught and learned in realms of Nature widely sun- dered from ours. ... If not with man as a self-conscious being, where in the course of evolution does an implicit recognition of the wastefulness of indiscriminate competition

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��begin ? Not even, I think, with the first appearance of gregarious animals. It is found at the point where parents first begin to care for their feeble offspring. . . . We may go back further yet much further. It is an application of the same principle es- sentially unchanged when the organic cells, which are in the lower organisms independ- ent beings, first unite in filaments to form an aggregate of the second order, each cell giving up a part of the strength with which it could carry on a rivalry with its comrades, for a power of co-operation which makes the aggregate far better able to sustain itself than as many separate rival cells could ever be."

The Biloxi Indians. The title Blloxi, as applied to the Biloxi Indians of Louisiana, said Mr. J. Owen Dorsey, in a paper read at the American Association, was probably a corruption of the name they gave themselves. Lakes or Lakeau, meaning the first people. They lived in 1669 at Biloxi Bay, Mississippi. In 1763 they moved to Louisiana, where their number has been reduced to seventeen. De- scent among them is in the female line. A Biloxi can not marry his wife's brother's daughter or his father's wife's sister, wherein they differ from the Sioux, but a Biloxi man can marry his deceased wife's sister, and a Biloxi woman can marry the brother of a deceased husband. They believed that the spirit of a deer revived and went into another body, and this could be repeated thrice ; but when the fourth deer was killed the spirit never revived again. The thunder being is very mysterious and must not be talked about in cloudy weather, but only on a fair day, when thunder stories may be told. When the Biloxi see a humming bird they say that a stranger is coming ; and the hum- ming bird, they believe, always tells the truth. The crackling of the fire is supposed to be a sign of snow or rain, and a nuthatch pecking the house a sign of coming death. If a child tt^ps over a giindstone its growth will be stopped. Snipe must not be killed or eaten, because the bird always gathers deer fat, and is the sister of the thunder being.

Playing witli Electric Eels. A writer in the London Spectator has described his ex- periences in handling the electric eels in Re-

��gent's Park, the largest of which is about four feet and a half long, and weighs be- tween sixteen and eighteen pounds. " When grasped in the middle of the back, there was just time to realize that it had none of the ' lubricity ' of the common eel when the first shock passed up the arm with a ' flicker,' identical with that which a zigzag flash of lightning leaves upon the eye, and, as it seemed, with equal speed. A second and third felt like a blow on the 'funny-bone,' and the hand and arm were involuntarily thrown back with a jerk which flung the water backward on the pavement and over the keeper, who was kindly assisting in the enterprise. This slight mishap recalled a far less agreeable result of a shock inflicted on a previous inquirer, whose recoiling hand had struck the assistant a severe blow in the face. Unwilling to be baffled by a fish less in size than the salmon which form the common stock of a fishmonger's window, the writer once more endeavored to hold the eel at any cost of personal suffering. But the electric powers were too subtle and per- vading to be denied. The first muscular quiver of the fish was resisted ; but at the second the sense of vibration set up became intolerable, and the enforced release was as rapid and uncontrollable as the first. The smaller eel was neither so vigorous nor so resentful as its fellow ; but though the first and second shocks did not compel the grasp to relax, a third was equally intolerable with that given by the large fish. The electrical power seems to increase rapidly in the heavier eels." The writer thinks that the eel controls at will the power of its electrical discharge.

The Earliest Man. In his public lecture at Madison, Wis., during the meeting of the American Association, on The Earliest Man, Prof. D. G. Brinton said that science in- clined to the belief that man originated in one spot, and that all others descended from one first pair. Some eminent men of science believed that man was on the earth even in the Tertiary period. What is called the pres- ent period was divided many thousand years ago by the Glacial period ; and it was prob- able that in certain parts of the world man lived during the ice period, which would place the antiquity of the race at least 100,- 000 years. Man could not have first appeared

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��on any small island nor in such cold regions as would expose him to death from that cause, nor anywhere where the remains of the highest animals below him were absent. This reasoning excluded Australia, all of America, South Africa, South India, north- ern Europe, and northern Asia. Nor did it permit the acceptance of the ancient Atlantis as that sunken land which Haeckel named Lemurea. It left only, in fact, the southern slope of that great mountain chain which began on the east with the Himalayas and extended to the farthest west of Spain. There also were found man's very oldest remains and weapons, and the oldest of them all in western Europe, in France and Spain. On the present evidence it must be said that man originated in western Europe or north- ern Africa. The earliest man was of the average height of men of to-day, muscular and strong, walking not always erect, but stooping forward. His skin was hairy, of a reddish color, and the women were some- what smaller than the men. His forehead was low, but his brain was fairly well devel- oped. He knew the use of fire, how to make weapons of stone, bone, and wood, traps for animals, and some kinds of boats. Then he used some sort of shelter ; he lived in com- munities ; he had a language ; he loved his family and took care of the sick, but he did not seem to have had a religion. He was brave in battle and loved to roam. All this can be proved by a careful study of his re- mains. It was concluded, therefore, that the earliest men were of the same spirit and soul with ourselves, endowed with like faculties and with a similar capacity to advance.

Inheritance Taxes. Mr. Max West, in his study of that subject (Columbia College Series in History, Economics, and Public Law), finds the recognized origin of the inheritance tax in its imposition by Augustus in Rome, 6 A. D. ; but thinks it probable that the Romans borrowed the idea from the Egyptians. There are evidences that Egypt had an inheritance tax, probably of not less than a tenth, from which even direct heirs were not exempt. A papyrus has been found which relates that a certain Hermias was sentenced in a heavy penalty for failing to pay the tax on suc- ceeding to his father's house. Another in- scription records a sale of property by an

��old man to his sons at a nominal price, ap- parently for the purpose of evading the in- heritance tax. Mr. West's review of the history of the tax in different countries and through its various phases leads him to the conclusion that it is pre-eminently an in- stitution of democracy. It is found in nearly every civilized country, but it is only in the most democratic countries Great Britain, France, Switzerland, Canada, and the Aus- tralasian colonies that it reaches its fullest development, with high and usually progress- ive rates, and becomes an important source of revenue. The United States seems thus far to be an exception to this rule, but the increasing popularity of this mode of taxa- tion, and its rapid extension from State to State, indicate that at no distant day it may be general in America. In the assessment of the tax a graduation according to relation- ship is nearly universal in practice. Direct heirs are in many cases exempted, and in others are taxed very lightly, as compared with collateral and distant heirs. A progres- sion in the rate of the tax corresponding with increase in the amount of the estate is some- times adopted. Bequests for public, benevo- lent, and educational purposes might well be exempted, for in such cases,, if the gift is wise, the whole amount accrues for the bene- fit of the community. The question of what to regard as inheritances for purposes of tax- ation is sometimes a difiicult one. A bequest of freedom to a slave has been held to be taxable. A succession is sometimes defined as any beneficial interest in property accruing in possession or expectancy on the death of any person. The English law includes in- terests accruing by survivorship in the case of joint ownership, by general powers of ap- pointment, and by the extinction of deter- minable charges ; but life insurance is ex- cluded. That the inheritance tax is regarded as something more than a purely fiscal meas- ure is shown by frequent proposals to use the proceeds for benevolent or educational purposes. Such proposals have sometimes borne fruit in legislation.

Fish Culture in America and Europe.

It appears from a statistical review of fish cul- ture in Europe and North America, prepared by N. Borodine, of the Russian Association of Pisciculture and Fisheries, that the eighty

�� � fisb-hatcheries in North America (sixty-six in the United States and fourteen in Canada and Newfoundland) produced in the year of their last report 1,616,027,192 fish hatched; and four hundred and sixteen hatcheries in Europe, 277,973,016 young fish. The North American hatcheries are all governmental; most of those in Europe are in private hands. The average production of one hatchery is 668,000 in Europe and 13,400,000 in North America. In Europe the largest amount of money for fish-cultural works is spent in Germany — the most by the Deutsche Fischerei Verein. France, which has contributed more than any other nation toward the development of piscicultural work, now ranks behind several other countries. Italy has recently begun piscicultural work under the control of the Government. The appropriations for this work by the Government of the Netherlands are small, while none are made by Austria-Hungary. The appropriations of the British, Russian, and Swedish Governments are also small. "When," says Mr. Borodine, "we compare the total amount of $37,032 spent for piscicultural work by all European countries with the appropriations of North American countries, we shall not be surprised at the enormous difference in the amount accomplished in the Old and New Worlds. Europe originated and developed the methods of fish culture, but it has become an industry only in America."