Popular Science Monthly/Volume 45/May 1894/Literary Notices

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Popular Science Monthly Volume 45 May 1894  (1894) 
Literary Notices


The Story of the Sun. By Sir Robert S. Ball, F. R. S. Eleven Plates and Eighty-two Illustrations. 8vo. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 376. Price, $6.

This great story, draped in its simple yet eloquent diction, will perchance recall to the reader's mind some bygone evening when, by the shore of a sheltered and tranquil lake, he may have beheld reflected in its depths the crumbling glories of a nation's ancient structure, intermingling with the pinnacles of the modern edifice, devoted to the promotion of science in its latest reaches of infinite research. In such a scene, what food may not one find for reflection in a mental as well as the physical sense! The simile drawn may stand as reverting to certain antique theories of the sun, when contrasted with our nowaday ascertainable data.

Indeed, if this latest work of Sir Robert S. Ball were presented to the student stripped of all but the illustrations, it would, we feel assured, be pronounced a uniformly artistic and harmonious story without words. In the author's preparation of the work he gratefully acknowledges the assistance rendered him by such marked names in astronomical science as Prof. Pickering, of Harvard College Observatory; the famous French savant M. Flammarion; Prof. Holden, of Lick Observatory; Prof. Janssen, and many others. Even the reading of proofs was consigned to the charge of four unquestionable authorities. In all these aids, the essential purport of the volume, including such pronounced care, purity of style, logic 128


��al analysis, and the very latest research, must appeal to the reader through every line. In fact, wherever the spirit of inquiry inducing mathematical precision is found to supplant the imports of theory submitted on authority, this work will doubtless find a place ; while, as registering unerringly the progressive steps taken to elucidate ascer- tainable knowledge regarding our great luminary, the scientific explorer can tread no safer ground than that prepared by the author.

In the opening chapters the principal features attaching to our solar system are submitted in detail, and it is shown that the sun in numerous senses becomes a center, apart from the geometrical position he occu- pies amid our own planetary system. For the fundamental elements of calculation needed to determine the true character of the sun we are indebted to the varying po- sitions of the planets and the measurements they afford. Remotest antiquity, and the doctrines it taught concerning the solar sys- tem, are then treated at length, and contrast- ed with the advances made down to our own time. A problem of the utmost im- portance m all astronomical deductions the actual distance of the sun is treated of amply in the second chapter, where its lead- ing characteristic is pointed out as involving the indirect method of computation. This distance becomes an abiding element in any conclusions to be drawn regarding the mag- nitude and nature of the solar spots, be- sides furnishing data for all prominences projected during a solar explosion, or as limiting the measure of the solar corona when expressed in miles.

The famous transits of Venus which, by the way, afforded formerly the most trustworthy method of obtaining scales of the solar system are commented upon at length in Chapter III, though, as the au- thor points out, they now possess for as- tronomers but a historical interest. In connecting the sun's distance with the laws governing the velocity of light, a beautiful series of reasonings ensue, until we are in- troduced to the methods of measurement de- termining the sun's mass. Eclipses, and the story of the sun's spots, are magnificently illustrated and told with an ease and beauty only betimes found associated with a rare

��romance. Our seasons, past and present, fall next into line for their due share of philosophical comment and mathematical calculation; while "the sun as a star " as- sumes the unexpected garb of a diminishing speck of light in fathomless space, to be finally lost to the finite eye. In the closing chapter, the movements of the solar system, contemplated as a unit in space, are account- ed by the author " one of the most daring exploits ever performed by astronomers," and brings this transcendent Story of the Sun to a close.

Factors that here and there throughout the volume break the intensity of interest excited in the reader are only momentarily dwelt upon as associated with special ques- tions, which again, in their turn, rivet the attention. In a word, the scope of the writ- er's inquiry, like the boundlessness of his subject, becomes in the perusal a flood of light. In this we are lost by the hour, and our waking moments only seem to recall those breathless flights in childhood's won- derland, but, with this one and wide distinc- tion, that our fancies only then revelled, where now, we feast on fact.

Speeches and Addresses of William Mc- Ki.NLEY. From his Election to Congress TO the Present Time. New York : D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 664. With Por- traits. Price, $2.

Governor McKinley is a politician of whom his most zealous opponents speak with general unqualified respect. They recognize his earnestness and sincerity, even though they may believe his views to be mistaken and mischievous. The present volume con- tains sixty-five of his speeches and address- es, selected from several hundred delivered in all parts of the country, by Mr. Joseph P. Smith, Librarian of the Ohio State Li- brary, and revised by Mr. McKinley. At- tention is invited by the editor to the care and ability with which Governor McKinley has discussed the tariff. All his more im- portant speeches are collected and presented here, and probably embrace the most and strongest that can be said in favor of the doctrine of high protection. Besides, there are speeches on Gerrymandering, the Suf- frage, and the Elections Bill, Labor, Pen- sions, the Public Schools, Civil-service Re-



��form, the Currency, the Hawaiian Treaty, Memorial Addresses on Garfield, Logan, Grant, and Hayes ; and several occasional addresses.

A Standard Dictionary of the English Language. Volume I, A-L. Edited by Isaac K. Funk, D. D., Editor in Chief ; Francis A. March, LL. D., L. H. D., Con- sulting Editor ; and Daniel S. Gregory, D. D., Managing Editor. New York : Funk & Wagnalls Company. Pp. 1060. Price (of two-volume edition, complete), russia, $15 ; morocco, $20.

There are more new departures in this work than in any other English dictionary that has appeared in the past half-century. In the arrangement of the matter under each word the greatest good of the greatest number has been deferred to rather than any historical or logical considerations. The order is, the respclling for pronunciation, the most com- mon present meaning, less common uses, the original meaning if now obsolete or rare, and last the derivation. By this procedure the derivation and antiquated definitions, which are not wanted one time in six that even a comprehensive dictionary is consulted, are not placed where one must wade through them in order to get from the word to its present meaning. In the respelling for pro- nunciation the scientific alphabet devised by the American Philological Association is used, being supplemented by a few diacritic marks. The main features of this alphabet are those now adopted in all scientific nota- tion of speech namely, vowel sounds are rep- resented as in Italian (or Gei-man) and con- sonants as in English. The dictionary, while recording all reputable usages in spelling, takes a positive stand in favor of simplifica- tion. The systematic spellings of chemical terms adopted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science are given preference over the old forms, being used in definitions. The moderately reformed spell- ings jointly approved by the Philological Society of England and the American Philo- logical Association are inserted in the vo- cabulary, but the words that appear thus are defined under the common forms. The illus- trations in the text are numerous, and besides these there are in Volume I full-page groups of cuts illustrating architecture, coins (an- cient), /owZs, and horses, also colored plates

VOL. XLV. 10

��of birds, decorations (double page), ^flaffs (double page), and gems. The movements of many animals are illustrated from Eadweard Muybridge's photographs. Many names of classes have under them lists or tables of the varieties belonging to these classes. Thus under apple is a list of nearly three hundred varieties, the size, form, color, quality, use, season, and range of each being indicated briefly. Similar though less extensive lists are to be found under American (race), bal- sam, blue, calendar, constellation, dog, ele- ment, green, and many other words. The defining for this work has been largely done by specialists, and as a rule only a small class of words, with which he is especially familiar, has been submitted to each of these collaborators. Quotations used to illus- trate definitions are exactly located. Lists of synonyms and antonyms are given for a large number of words. The vocabulary is very large ; it will contain over fifty thou- sand more words than the six-volume Centu- ry Dictionary. The compounding of words has been treated systematically, special at- tention has been given to handicraft terms, and there are yet other notable features which we lack space to even enumerate. The Standard Dictionary is sure to make many friends and they will be firm friends.

Outlines op Pedagogics. By Prof. W. Rein. Translated by C. C. and Ida J. Van Liew. Svracuse, N. Y. : C. W. Bardeen. Pp. 199. $1.25.

The aim of this work is to furnish a brief introduction to the Herbartian peda- gogics, on whose principles it is based. It presents the author's views as to the modern adaptation of those principles, a very impor- tant point ; for while every thorough stu- dent of pedagogics must ultimately refer to the prime foundation the works of Herbart himself he can not afford to neglect the results that more than fifty years of develop- ment since Herbart's death have produced. The second edition of the author's work contained some essential additions and changes, on account of which certain parts of the first edition were removed to make room for the new. The omitted parts are restored in the translation, and all that both editions contained has been combined. The subject of pedagogics is divided by the au-

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��thor into Systematic and Historical Peda- gogics ; and Systematic into Practical and Theoretical Pedagogics. The systematic de- partment is surveyed in the present volume.

Addresses Historical and Patriotic, Cen- tennial AND Quadrennial, delivered in the Several States of the Union, July 4, 1876-1883 ; including Addresses com- memorative of the Four Hundredth An- niversary of the Discovery of America, 1892-1893. Edited by Frederick Saun- ders. New York: E. B. Treat. Pp.1048.

In this portly volume are grouped the choicest of the great number of the elo- quent and patriotic oi'ations delivered in the several States of the Union during the series of centennial and multi-centennial anniver- saries through which we have passed since 18*76. They include many of vai'ious quali- ties of beauty and eloquence; many well- matured epitomes of the essential qualities of patriotic citizenship, many lessons point- ing out what in our history is to be admired, and some things, perhaps, to be avoided. The facts and sentiments embodied in them cover the whole period of American history from the landing of Columbus down to the year 1893. They have been submitted to the critical supervision of their several au- thors. The publishers suggest that the reading of the book will tend to inspire a higher patriotism, and imbue the mind with true American principles. They ought to ; but the result will depend upon the extent to which readers keep their minds clear from partisan blindness, which so often leads the best of us to the contradiction of what is right and best for the country.

The Pottery and Porcelain of the United States. An Historical Review of Ameri- can Ceramic Art from the Earliest Times to the Present Day. By Edwin Atlee Barber. With Two Hundred and Thirty- three Illustrations. New York : G. P. Putnam's Sons. Pp. 446. Price, $5.

The author sets out with a contradiction of the impression, not suflBciently contro- verted even by our own writers, that the United States has no ceramic history. " On the contrary," he says, " it can be shown that the fictile art is almost as ancient in this country as in Great Britain, and has been developed in almost parallel, though necessarily narrower, lines." The work is

��based almost entirely upon thorough personal investigations, with patient and systematic research, study of the products of the pot- teries of the United States, and consultation with intelligent potters in the leading estab- lishments. Care has been taken to omit " some of the time-honored fallacies which have been perpetrated by compilers," and to avoid the use of statements that could not be substantiated. Without attempting to give the history of every pottery that is or has been established in this country, the main purpose of the work is to furnish an account of such of the earlier potteries as for any reason possess some historical interest, and of those manufactories which, in later days, have produced works of originality or artistic merit. Beginning with a description of the processes of manufacture and a list and defi- nition of American wares and bodies, the work treats, further, of aboriginal pottery, early brick and tile making, early potting in America (seventeenth century), potteries of the eighteenth century, operations during the first quarter of the present century, the American china manufactory, the pottery industry from 1825 to 1858, pottery work at East Liverpool and Cincinnati, Ohio, and Trenton, N. J., potteries established between 1859 and 1876; development of the ceramic art since the centennial, tobacco pipes, orna- mental tiles, architectural terra cotta, Ameri- can marks and monograms, and tiles for decorative effect. The author expresses him- self highly gratified to be able to call the at- tention of lovers of art to the remarkable progress which has been made in ceramic manufacture among us within the past fif- teen years ; and adds that if his efforts shall result, in any measure, in the breaking down of that "unreasonable prejudice which has heretofore existed against all American pro- ductions," he shall feel that he has been abundantly rewarded. In his chapter of Con- cluding Eemarks he observes that " thus far our potters have been, in a great measure, imitative rather than inventive, and the re- sult is that we have largely reproduced, though in a most creditable manner, patterns and designs, bodies, glazes, and decorations of foreign factories. With some few excep- tions, our commercial manufacturers have been content to copy and imitate the prod- ucts of foreign establishments, and have, in



��consequence, unconsciously assisted in per- petuating certain offenses against good taste." The feeling that prefers articles and designs at first hands can hardly be called an unreasonable prejudice. Whatever it is, originality, with equality of merit, will go far to counteract it. It will be worth trying as a substitute for a McKinley tariff. Mr. Barber believes that " America, within the next few decades, is destined to lead the world in her ceramic manufactures." The work is sumptuously presented by the pub- lishers in the best style of bookmaking.

��Geological Survey op New" Jersey. An- nual Report of the State Geologist FOR the Year 1892. By John C. Smock, State Geologist. Trenton : The John L. Murphy Publishing Company. Pp. SG'Z, with Maps.

In this report are incorporated, as lead- ing heads or parts thereof, the reports of progress made in the various lines of inves- tigation of the several departments of the works of the survey, as follows : Surface Geology ; Cretaceous and Tertiary Forma- tions (preliminary report) ; Water-supply and Water-power ; Artesian Wells in South- em New Jersey ; and the Sea Dikes of the Netherlands and the Reclamation of Low- lands and Tidemarsh Lands. These reports are to some extent separate and independent of one another, although all have for their object the elucidation of the facts of the geological structure and physical geology of the State, and as an ultimate end the in- formation of the people in order to the high- est development of the natural resources of the State. The administrative report, intro- ductory to the reports of the several divi- sions, besides remarks on the topics already mentioned, has discussions of drainage ; natural parks and forest reservations ; the work of the United States Geological Survey in New Jersey ; and the geological survey exhibit for the Columbian Exposition.

The maps represent the whole State, with reference to its water-supply sheds, and the special geology of parts of Monmouth and Middlesex Counties. The treatment of all the subjects is full, satisfactory, and adapted to practical ends ; and the report is, as a whole, one of the most interesting the survey has issued.

��Primer of Philosophy. By Dr. Paul Carus. Chicago: The Open-Court Publishing Company. Pp. 232. Price, $1.

The author seeks to present his subject in the plainest and simplest manner he can. His point of view is not susceptible, he says, of being classified among any of the various schools of recent current thought, but repre- sents rather a critical reconciliation of rival philosophers of the tj'pe of Kantian apriorism and John Stuart Mill's empiricism. The names of positivism and monism are taken as expressing the philosophical principles which dominate modern thought. Either is complementary to the .other. Positivism represents the principle that all knowledge scientific, philosophical, and religious is a description of facts ; monism is a unitary conception of the world, presenting it as an inseparable and indivisible entirety. It stands upon the principle that all the differ- ent truths are but so many different aspects of one and the same truth. Monistic posi- tivism or positive monism "is, and always has been, the principle of all sound science. The positive and monistic maxims of philoso- phy were perhaps not sufficiently appreci- ated in former ages, but they are growing to be clearly understood now, and will in time lead to the abandonment of all transcen- dental, metaphysical, supernatural, and ag- nostic speculations. Positive monism will change philosophy into a systematization of positive knowledge."

Number Work in Nature Study. By Wil- bur S. Jackman. Chicago : W. S. Jack- man. Pp. 198. Price, 60 cents.

In secondary schools the study of mathe- matics demands a large share of the pupil's attention, and little effort has been made thus far to rescue the hours passed in solv- ing arithmetical puzzles or algebraic enig- mas. Even in grammar schools it is excel- lence in arithmetic rather than in the con- construction of language which forms the standard of scholarship. The author of this manual believes that much of the time spent in mastering arithmetical processes could be also utilized in Nature study. If the pupil obtains material, makes his own observa- tions and comparisons, the mechanism of the subject will be incidental, and instead of meaningless results or unintelligible values

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��he will gain thereby an idea of some general law. To remedy the frequent inexactness of beginners, it is advised that continual use should be made of balances, weights, rulers, and protractors, and definite quantities al- ways required. The mathematics involved are the four fundamental rules of arithmetic, fractions, ratio, and percentage, and the problems for study are sufficiently varied, being taken from seven departments of sci- ence.

The method is good, but several of the subjects appear beyond the grasp of a pupil in percentage. While interest may be aroused in the colors of insects, the constitu- ents of fruits, or the process of evaporation, it is hardly possible that the ratio of the area lying south of the mean annual isotherm of 50 Fahr. to that lying south of the mean annual isotherm of 40 Fahr., or calculations of rainfall and drainage, should be more com- prehensible or attractive to the average boy than questions in taxation and insurance.

Plato and Platonism. By Walter Pateu. London and New York : Macmillan &. Co. Pp. 256. Price, $1.V5.

However materialistic the mood of the reader may be, these lectures are apt to take him unawares and hold him for a time com- pletely under their spell. He wanders amid the groves of the Academy and listens to Socratic dialogue until he becomes somewhat hypnotized and is prepared to meet the Just and the Beautiful face to face. Not that Mr. Pater inculcates the possibility of any such actual vision. He pronounces the theory of the many and the one difficult doctrine and acknowledges that, with all allowance for poetical expression, the universals to which Plato would introduce us are very much like living beings.

In order to form a just or historic esti- mate of Platonism, the conditions of its gene- sis and growth must be examined. Mr. Pater projects for us in vivid outline the Greek in- tellectual life jireceding Socrates. The phi- losophy of Plato was a protest against the doctrine of Heraclitus. His dogma of uni- versal change, iravra pe7, is not unlike the modern idea of development and evolution, but to Plato it was in the highest degree re- pugnant. Recognizing the tendency to vary, he considered it an evil to be corrected, and

��sought in the nature of man, in culture, in society, for an unalterable K6ai.ios. In the Repuljlic he shows how this order may be established in a community.

Personally, Plato is depicted not as a rigid philosopher wrapped in speculations, but as a keenly impressionable nature with every sense sharpened to the external world. This gives " an impassioned glow to his con- ceptions," and endows his writing with the fineness of Thackeray.

According to modern views, two radically divergent tendencies are discoverable in Platonism. First, the theory of ideas, that the highest knowledge is intuitive and abso- lute. Secondly, the dialectic method, the endless question and answer, the weighing of every minute grain of evidence. Mr. Pater considers that we owe not only this method, " a habit of tentative thinking and suspended judgment," to Plato, but that it is straight from his lips that the language came in which the mind has ever since been dis- coursing with itself.

In conclusion, if we doubt Plato's im- mutable ideas, we may still seek for the ideals he pictures. If we reject his com- munistic theories, we can accept his classifi- cation of the orders of men, the intellectual, the executive and the productive. We may even strive to realize his dictum that those who come to office should not be lovers of it ! As for his contention with the Sophists, that is a question of to-day. Which is essen- tial, matter or form ? Should the artist and writer know and feel the truth himself, or only know what others think about it ? If we believe the former, we may go to the Pha^drus for inspiration.

Governments and Politicians, Ancient and Modern. By Charles Marcotte. Chi- cago : Charles Marcotte, 175 Monroe Street. Pp. 478. Price, $2.

The merits of this work are anything but inconsiderable when viewed from the stand- point of a measurable reforming medium. More. The author's sincerity and thorough- ness of purpose manifestly inheres between the lines on every page. We leave it, how- ever, to the judgment of others to say whether the " Constitution " of this country as alleged is responsible for the exist- ence of " professional " and " unscrupulous "



��politicians as well as the faulty results of our "primary elections." An antagonist worthy of the author's steel might be the Hon. W. E. Gladstone, who declares the " Constitution " in question to be the great- est "fiat" that ever issued from the hands of men. We ourselves have somehow the impression that unscrupulous politicians and packed primaries exist in spite of the Constitution. Nevertheless, the volume be- fore us tends to modify the weight that Americans customarily attach to their non- anyletical method of dealing with national shortcomings and political abuses. Fur- ther, the author places us en rcwport with the monarchical governments of Europe, both an- cient and modern, and strenuously argues in favor of similar policies or at least one such institution being adopted in the United States. Notwithstanding the trenchant analy- sis applied, as long ago as and by Lord Bacon, to the faultiness under specified conditions of the syllogistic argument, and its invalidity as demonstrated by the late John Stuart Mill ; still, Mr. Marcotte very quietly settles the " divine right of mon- archy " as follows : " The form of govern- ment which best administei-s justice is of divine right ; monarchy is that which best administers justice ; therefore, monarchy is of divine right." Evidently our author cares very little or nothing for previous questions. But the foregoing sample is the very worst feature of a work the contents of which introduce us to such excellent matter as the story of Democracy, the Greek Re- publics, Media and Persia, the Athenian Commonwealth, the Roman Empire, the Great American Republic, the Origin of the Ameri- can People, etc. In a second edition of this work the author's genuine good nature will doubtless incline him to deprecate pessimism and anticipate an epoch on this continent when impartiality will have become a neces- sity and human justice as natural as the law of gravitation.

Secularism : Its Progress and Morals. By John M. Bonham. New York : G. P. Putnam's Sons. Pp. 396. Price, $1.75.

A WORK that forces reflection of an eth- ical nature will inevitably fill an exalted niche within the radius of scientific activity. Such a volume lies before us and invites the read-

��er's thoughtful consideration for many good reasons. The philosophy underlying the in- ferences deduced in Secularism will as far as one can judge have a twofold efPect. Such as may deem it a duty to oppose the author will indubitably have to reconsider their own position, and those who agree with him, will doubtless discover new data where- with to augment their polemical outfit.

The scope of the question taken up by Mr. Bonham is far from limited by even the copiousness of his book, though the compre- hensiveness of the author's design is appar- ent throughout. The main initial purport of the argument, as a whole, is to examine minutely the relative force of influences bear- ing upon beliefs theological, in the first place through industrial results, and in the second by such surroundings as are traceable to the intellectual field of view. The next point of import rendered lucid by the author's method of reasoning is the fact that the masses, with but few exceptions, are disin- clined to philosophical abstractions, and that those influences which go farthest to build up their ethical natures are discoverable in their occupations and the deductions sup- plied from inductions gathered through the physical phenomena affecting their daily lives. This would be putting the matter with unwarrantable brevity were we unable or disinclined to further note the exhaustive- ness of this engaging book. Besides the su- periority of relative truth over the presump- tions of supermental dicta being succinctly treated, the history of the decline of theo- logic anathema against ascertained knowl- edge finds a place. The true value of au- thority per se is justly weighed, and the evolution and dissolution of things once sacred are so touched as to evidence a de- cided mastery over historical detail. The chapters on Ethics are lengthy and full to diffuseness in their estimate of the compara- tive values of the scientific and theologic theories affecting conduct, together with the impersonal entities that frequently control ethics. There is nothing perfunctory no uncertainty of tone in the treatment of secu- lar as contrasted with ecclesiastical morality. Idealism, realism, intuition, justice, the laws of Nature, and the assumptions that have signally failed to explain ultimate causes, all receive their full quota of consideration.

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��As if to crown Mr. Bonham's effort we find in his work an entire absence of sensa- tional effect. No temporary expedients of argument are resorted to, and altogether its tone is genuinely altruistic.

In the series of Correlation Papers on the several formations of North America, now being issued by the Geological Survey, the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth papers have been published as Bulletins 82 to 85. The third paper has the special title Cretaceous, being an examination of the formation of this name, by Cluirles A. White. The chief cretaceous area of the United States is an irregular belt extending from Texas north- ward through the region of the great plains and continuing into western Canada. There are also small areas in the middle and south- ern Atlantic coast States. The next paper is on the Eocene, by William B. Clark. The author finds that the marine faunas of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts permit a separation of the Eocene as a whole from formations be- longing to earlier and later periods with a high degree of confidence, but that with present evidence the lines of separation are not sharply drawn among the marine and fresh-water formations of the Pacific coast and the interior region. The Neocene is dis- cussed by William H. Dall and Gilbert D. Harris. Besides assembling the published material concerning its subject, the memoir makes original contributions based on inves- tigations by Mr. Dall. In respect to Florida these contributions are so important that it has seemed best to expand the chapter on that State so as to include practically all that is known of its geologic history. The sixth in this series is by Israel C. Russell, on Tlie Newark System. This system is confined to a chain of small areas extending from North Carolina to Massachusetts, with a continua- tion in Nova Scotia. Each of these mono- graphs contains a bibliography and is illus- trated, the last one being especially well em- bellished with colored maps, and its bibli- ography occupying over two hundred pages. Three recent Bulletins of the United States Geological Survey embody physical researches by Dr. Carl Barus. No. 92 is on The Com- pressibility of Liquids, and embodies results which it is hoped will throw light upon the behavior of the liquid mass underlying the

��crust of the earth, and the phenomena of upheaval and subsidence of the crust. No. 94 deals with The Mechanism of Solid Vis- cosity, steel and glass being the substances taken for experiment. A paper on The Vol- ume Thermodynamics of Liquids appears as No. 96. The results that it contains are con- fined to volume, pi'essure, and temperature ; questions involving entropy and energy are under investigation. The researches upon which Dr. Barus is engaged were suggested by Mr. Clarence King, who has pointed out the importance of a deeper insight into the volume changes of liquids and solids.

Mr. Bashford Dean, of Columbia College, has supplemented his report on oyster culture in France with one describing the methods used in other countries of western Europe, under the title Report on the European Meth- ods of Oyster Culture. The topics treated comprise the management of natural oyster grounds, production of seed, rearing young oysters, and the governmental regulation of oyster grounds. The monograph is illus- trated with fourteen plates. It forms part of the Bulletin of the United States Fish Commission for 1891.

In Volume XII of the Transactions of the New York Academy of Sciences are papers on Dionaea, by Bashford Dean; The North American Species of the Genus Lespedeza, by N. L. Britton ; Fact and Fallacy in the Boomerang Problem, by C. H. Emerson ; Phosphate Nodules from New Brunswick, by W. D. Matthew, Progress of Chemistry as depicted in Apparatus and Laboratories, by H. C. Bolton ; The Sunapee Saibling, by J. D. Quackenbos ; Memoir of Prof. J. S. New- berry, by H. L. Fairchild ; Petrography of the Gneisses of the Town of Gouverneur, N. Y., by C. H. Smyth, Jr., and the Creta- ceous Formation on Long Island and East- ward, by Arthur Hollick. There is a frontis- piece portrait of Prof. Newberry.

An extended Report on the Brown Coal and Lignite of Texas, prepared by the State geologist, Edwin T. Dumble, has been is- sued. The origin, character, and modes of using brown coal in general are stated in considerable detail, after which the geology, occurrence, and composition of the deposits found in Texas are set forth. Comparisons of the Texas product with European and with bituminous coal follow, and a chapter

�� � on the utilizing of the former completes the volume. The text is illustrated with twenty-five plates and thirteen figures, showing engine grates and grate-bars, briquette presses, the arrangement of certain mines, sections of coal deposits, etc.

A fourth edition of Standard Tables for Electric Wiremen, by the late Charles M. Davis, revised and edited by W. D. Weaver, has been issued (W. J. Johnston Co., New York, $1). The new edition contains the latest revisions of the Insurance Rules of the Underwriters' International Electric Association, also an important section on the calculation of alternating current wiring. A number of the most important tables were prepared expressly for this work, and, being copyrighted, can not be found elsewhere. Among these are the tables of alternating current wiring coefficients, those on limiting currents for exterior wiring and on the candle power of arc lamps, and the table enabling the ones for the three standard lamp voltages to be used for any voltage or drop, as well as several others, including a complete set of wiring tables calculated on a uniform basis of 55 watt lamps.