Popular Science Monthly/Volume 50/March 1897/General Notices
|←Scientific Literature||Popular Science Monthly Volume 50 March 1897 (1897)
We have received a couple of attractively got up books, one on Angling and one on Hunting which are apparently the first two of a new series, to be called the "Out-of-door Library." The books are made up of short papers by different writers, all of which have appeared in Scribner's Magazine. The stories are for the most part accounts of trips to special regions famed for some particular game. The first chapter in Angling is a discourse on fly fishing. The Land of the Winanische is the account of a fishing trip to Lake St. John and its surroundings, where, it seems, the winanische or ouinaniche is localized. Nepigon River fishing, striped and black sea bass, and tarpon fishing in Florida are accounts of similar excursions. A chapter on American game fishes, and finally one on Izaak Walton, which describes his home and fishing grounds in Dovedale, complete the volume on angling. Hunting contains eight chapters. The first one, entitled Hunting American Big Game, is an account of the game conditions in Wyoming some fifteen or twenty years ago. Camping and Hunting in the Shoshone gives a general description of the Rocky Mountain scenery in this district, and describes exciting incidents from a number of hunting trips which the 7o8
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��author, W. S. Rainsford, has made to this re- gion. A few pages are next given to climb- ing for white goats. Sport in an Untouched American Wilderness describes the region east of the State of Maine, between the Atlantic Ocean on the south and the Gulf of St. Lawrence on the north. A Kangaroo Hunt recounts several hunting excursions in the Australian bush. The Last of the Buf- falo is a brief historical sketch of this now almost extinct animal, winding up with the description of a Montana buffalo hunt of the days when this game was still plentiful. At St. Mary's and Hunting Musk Ox with the Dog-Ribs complete the volume. Both books are well illustrated, and, while not particu- larly scientific or instructive, some of the de- scriptions are interesting simply as stories, and all of them will hold the attention of the sportsman.
Prof. L. H. Bailey has made a collection of his addresses to horticultural societies and similar essays, all bearing upon the process of evolution as observed in domestic plants.* Having had the plan for such a collection in mind for some time, he has been treating from time to time subjects which would to- gether make up a somewhat systematic whole. He has grouped his papers as essays touching the fact and philosophy of evolution, those expounding the fact and causes of variation, and those tracing the evolution of particular types of plants. The last of these divisions is the most popular and practical, and there- fore the most interesting to the horticulturist who is not a biologist. In one of these he discusses the question, Whence came the cul- tivated strawberry ? or rather. Whence came the pine, its ancestor ? Of the three pos- sible origins a hybrid, a direct development of the Chilian strawberry, or a modified form of our big wild strawberry his examination leads him to decide on the second. In a similar manner he discusses the development of American plums, grapes, and carnations ; of the petunia and the garden tomato. Much interesting horticultural history is used as evidence in these discussions. The opening essays of the volume are addressed more especially to the biologist. "It is only in
- The Survival of the Unlike. By L. H. Bailey.
New York : The Macuiillan Co. Pp. 515, 12mo. Price $2.
��the first two essays," he says, "that I have ventured to state any general convictions re- specting the bolder problems of organic evo- lution ; but I count these of much less merit than the statement" of many plain and sim- ple facts of observation and experiment which are made in the humbler essays. If the au- thor has been fortunate enough t.o make any contribution to positive science in these pages, it is probably that associated with the vexed question of bud variation, which is chiefly presented in the third essay ; but even this is novel only in its treatment." The first two essays deal with the survival of the un- like and the transmission of acquired char- acters. Prof. Bailey holds that unlikenesses are the greatest facts in the organic creation ; that they survive because they are unlike, and thereby enter fields of least competition. He believes that acquired characters useful to the species tend to be perpetuated, and the more surely the longer the transforming en- vironments are present. Intermediate in character as in position between the former and latter groups of essays are those dealing with the fact and with the causes of varia- tion. In one of these he combats the idea that improvement in the quality of fruits is always at the expense of some other desir- able quality of the plant. In others he dis- cusses the distribution of cultivated varieties with reference to climatal and geographical conditions, the longevity of varieties, the re- lation of seed-bearing to cultivation, and simi- lar topics.
Problems in Elementary Physics, by P!. Dana Pierce, is the title of a little volume intended to be used as an auxiliary to the ordinary text-book or laboratory manual on physics. It consists of a series of selected problems for illustrating and also for testing the student's knowledge of the general phys- ical laws. The introductory sections review the portions of arithmetic most needed in physical computations. A good working knowledge of algebra and plane geometry is assumed. A separate chapter is given to simple applications of the graphic method. (Holt, 60 cents.)
A seventh and revised edition of Dr. Newell Martinis useful handbook of physi- ology, The Human Body, has come to hand. A considerable amount of new matter has
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��been added, especially in connection with the physiology of the cardiac and general vascu- lar nerves and of the brain. As Dr. Martin says, " Physiology has not finished its course," and while this volume contains all the more important facts at present known about the working of our bodies, it also makes it plain that very much is yet to be discovered. (Holt, $2.20.)
The first and most needed reform in methods of instruction called for in the educa- tional revival begun by Horace Mann was the substitution of something better for text- book memorizing. Objects were chosen in- stead of words, and " things before words " became the motto. James Johonnofs Prin- ciples and Practice of Teaching, in the Inter- national Education Series, of which a new edition lies before us, was a potent factor in bringing about the above reform. He advo- cated the new education as based on the meth- ods of Pestalozzi. The work of revision for the present volume has been done by Sarah Evans Johonnot. In a few instances the phraseology has been modernized, and a brief sketch of the pioneer work in manual train- ing has been added, to show Mr. Johonnot's influence and close connection with the ear- liest experiments in this country. (Apple- tons, $1.50.)
The thirty-fourth annual Report of the Michigan State Board of Agricidture, as do all these reports, contains a large amount of interesting information, which is, however, as is also usually the case, so presented as to be rather difiicult of access. There are nine hundred pages, and the topics range from the " management of swamps " to " climbing cutworms" and "five-banded bees." The volume contains a portrait and sketch of T. T. Lyon, Superintendent of the Michigan Ex- periment Station.
The Transactions of the American Clima- tological Association for 1896 have just reached us. Among the papers of special interest may be mentioned: Some of the Dif- ficulties of Climato-therapy, by J. B. Walker ; A Plea for Moderation in our Statements re- garding the Contagiousness of Pulmonary Consumption, by V. Y. Bowditch ; The Cli- mate of Arizona, by M. A. Rodgers ; The Sanitarium or Closed Treatment in Phthisis, by E. 0. Otis ; and A Study of Highly Min-
��eralized Thermal Waters in the Treatment of Disease, by H. H. Schroeder. The object of the association is thus stated in its con- stitution : " The study of climatology and hydrology, and of diseases of the respiratory and circulatory organs."
General Principles of Zoohgy, by R. Hert- irig (translated by George W. Field), com- prises the first or general part of the author's Lehrbuch der Zoologie. When the latter vol- ume first appeared there was no intention of a separate publication of the general part ; but it is now thought that a l)ook simply cover- ing the " larger generalizations of the sub- ject" will be of service and within the reach of many who would not purchase the larger work. The contents are well deicribed by the title ; it is a manual of zoology ; there are paragraph headings in larger type, and the general arrangement of the text is such as to facilitate its use as a text-book, if de- sired. (Holt, $1.60.)
The Elements of Physics, of Profs. Edward L. Nichols and William 8. Franklin (Mac- millan, $1.50), has been prepared with a view to producing a text-book which shall corre- spond with the increasing strength of the mathematical teaching in university classes. While some text-books assume that the stu- dent's mathematical knowledge does not reach to the calculus, and others presume so much upon the mathematical training that they are unreadable for nearly all under- graduates, this one is intended for those who possess an elementary knowledge of the cal- culus. It is planned to be used in connec- tion with illustrated lectures. It meets all difficulties, simplifying them as much as pos- sible, but not evading them. The first vol- ume, on mechanics and heat, has already been published. The present volume, the second, concerns electricity and magnetism, and a third volume is to follow.
The second title of Mr. William Mat- thews's Nugce Litterarice (or Literary Trifles) Brief Essays on Literary, Social, and other Themes well describes the character of the book. It is a collection, without special ar- rangement, of paragraphs and short essays on all kinds of subjects ever bright and pungent and consequently interesting, always containing at least one good thought, often witty and more frequently suggestive, and
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��good to take up at any time of the day and to read steadily or in five to fifteen minute intervals. Six of the papera first appeared in the North American Review (Roberts Brothers, $1.50).
The second volume of The Cambridge Natural History (Macmillan, $3.50) contains a connected and comprehensive history of the flatworms and mesozoa, nemertines, threadworms and sagitta, rotifers, polychaet worms, earthworms and leeches, gephyrea and phoronis,. and polyzoa. These various subdivisions are dealt with by special stu- dents and zoologists. The chapters on poly- chaet worms, gephyrea and phoronis, and polyzoa are particularly acceptable as bring- ing together much information that has here- tofore been locked up in special memoirs. In the chapter on rotifera, Prof. Hartog pre- pents for the first time his views on the zoo- logical affinities of the group. He says : " I have been induced to take a view of the structure of the rotifers that brings it into close relationship with the lower platyhel- minthes and with the more primitive larva of the nemertines termed pilidium." He there- fore changes the orientation of the rotifer, and places it, like the cuttlefish, mouth down- ward. For anterior and posterior he substi- tutes oral and apical ; for dorsal and venti-al he uses anterior and posterior. As in the volume on insecta, the name of the author of the first chapter only stands conspicuously on the cover. The volume and the whole series, in fact, is in a way so encyclopedic in its character that it seems as much out of place to have an author's name on the cover as it would be to see a single author's name on an encyclopicdia. The volume is an indis- pensable adjunct to the library of a natural- ist. The beautiful illustrations, the matter, well up to the latest researches on the sub- ject, and the fact that specialists in each de- partment have contributed to its material, bringing in their own original work, make the series unique and invaluable.
The United States Weather Bureau has issued a folio pamphlet on Surface Currents of the Great La/;f.s, deduced from the courses taken by floating bottles put into the waters of the lakes in 1892, 1893, and 1894. Of the five thousand bottles set afloat by the Bureau, six hundred and seventy two had
��been recovered up to the preparation of this report. The text is accompanied by a chart of each lake, showing the courses taken by the bottles each season, and the movements of the waters which these courses indicate.
The Report of the Commissioner of Edu- cation for the Year 1893-94 makes two vol- umes of the familiar form containing over a thousand pages each. The usual statistics are accompanied by a large number of essays on educational topics. The reports of the " Committee of Fifteen " on training of teach- ers, on correlation of studies, and on city school systems, which have aroused wide- spread interest, are here printed ; Rev. A. D. Mayo contributes a history of public schools during the colonial and revolutionary period;". A digest of school laws in the several States and of sanitary laws affecting schools occu- pies about three hundred pages. Other fea- tures are A Preliminary List of American Learned and Educational Societies, giving the officers, objects, and publications of each, and Some Recent Educational Bibliographies. There was an increase of over four hundred thousand pupils in the public schools of the country during the year, against an average of less than three hundred thousand for the preceding ten years.
A useful contribution to the current dis- cussion of the money question is afforded in No. 74 of the Old South Leaflets, Hamilton's Report an the Coinage. All the important phases of the currency problem are dis- cussed calmly and thoroughly in this mas- terly report of the first Secrefciry of the Treasury, and it is highly instructive to see how an able financier, unatfected by any of the prejudices of the present day, looked at matters that are now in hot dispute. The report makes a pamphlet of thirty-two pages. (Directors of the Old South Work, Boston, 5 cents a copy, $3 a hundred.)
Describing his book, Tite Perfect Whole (Ellis, $1.50), in its preface, Horatio W. Dresser says : " Thus, broadly defined, the purpose of this book is threefold psycho- logical, metaphysical, and practical. As a psychological analysis, it is especially con- cerned with the higher or spiritual nature of man. As a philosophical discussion, it aims to develop a generally sound view of reality by a consideration of materialism, agnosticism,
�� � and mysticism in the light of their shortcomings when compared with the demands both of reason and the spiritual sense. It points out many important distinctions essential to a just view of life, and indicates the dangers of pantheism and of all one-sided conceptions of the universe. In its practical aspect it urges the same need of breadth and discrimination which it finds essential to a sound doctrine of reality. It is an urgent appeal to life, a plea for the realization of ethics and the application of spiritual law in every moment of existence." Mr. Dresser is also author of a book entitled The Power of Silence.
The fourth volume, completing the edition of The Writings of Thomas Paine, which Moncure Daniel Conway has collected and edited, is almost wholly devoted to Paine's religious writings. About half of it is occupied by The Age of Reason, to which we called attention when it was issued separately. This is followed by several essays arguing against the reality of divine inspiration in the Bible, and in support of a simple Deism and a pure morality. To appendixes are relegated a number of shorter writings — autobiographical, political, and technological — including a few pieces of verse and his will. In closing his labors on the history and the writings of Thomas Paine, whom he calls "the Great Commoner of mankind," Mr. Conway says: "Personally I place a very high value on Paine's writings in themselves, and not simply for their prophetic genius, their humane spirit, and their vigorous style. While his type of Deism is not to me satisfactory, his religious spirit at times attains sublime heights; and while his republican formulas are at times impaired by his eagerness to adapt them to existing conditions, I do not find any writer at all, not even the most modern, who has equally worked out a scheme for harmonizing the inevitable rule of the majority with individual freedom and rights." As to the historical value of Paine's political writings Mr. Conway adds, "He was literally the only man who came out with the whole truth, regardless of persons." (Putnams, $2.50 a volume.)
- The Out-of-door Library. Angling, pp. 305, $1.50. Hunting, pp. 337, $1.50. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.