Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/149

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139
POPULAR MISCELLANY.

their order. The drain upon the earth's stock of coal has hardly begun yet. The known fields of China, still almost unbroken, are supposed to have an area of 200,000 square miles; those of the United States of 193,870; the East Indian fields of 35,000; the British fields of 9,000; Germany, France, and Belgium have small fields; one field in Russia covers 13,600 square miles; Japan has coal-fields in fifteen of its thirty-eight provinces; Australia has excellent coal to supply the lands of the Pacific. Great Britain consumes coal at the rate of 3·6, the United States of 106, Germany of 1·1, France of-0·64, Belgium of 1·96, Austro-Hungary of 0·33 ton per inhabitant. In England about one third of the coal is used in the manufacture of iron and steel, more than one fifth in the large industries, more than one sixth for domestic purposes, and the rest is consumed by gas-works, water-works, mines, railways, and steamers. In France, the metallurgical, industrial, and gas works consume 72 per cent., the household 13 per cent., the transporting industries 10 per cent., and the mines 4 per cent, of the whole amount. The coal-mines of the world employ about 1,100,000 men, viz., 514,500 men in England, 210,000 in Germany, 97,000 in France, 101,000 in Belgium, more than 100,000 in the United States, and 63,000 in Austro-Hungary.

 

Intellectual Condition of the Savage Negro.—M. de Rouvre gives, in the "Bulletin de la Société de Géographie," a darkly-colored view of the mental and moral capacity of the negroes of southern Guinea. The black, he says, has no initiative, and is completely destitute of metaphysical conception and abstract ideas. The seat of the intellectual functions appears to be paralyzed or atrophied; the comprehension is inert. He receives no impression of the beautiful, of the grand; feels no love, no other passion than the bestial instinct; knows no distinction between good and evil, except that which is imposed by the fear of punishment. Therefore, he experiences no satisfaction over a good deed, no remorse over a wicked one. His enjoyments lie in eating, drinking, and sleeping. He has no conception of property beyond that of an infant that prizes what it has without thinking of its real value, and has no scruples against taking what is another's if the notion strikes it. The black, from sheer unintelligence, is unmoved by the sight of our machines. The crew of M. de Rouvre's pirogue, when he visited the frigate Bellona, were taken through the ship and shown it by a quartermaster, but paid more attention to the biscuit and rum that were offered them than to any feature of the vessel or its equipment. M. de Rouvre showed some of them a photograph of a friend who had a long beard and with whom they were well acquainted; they remarked, after looking at it in every aspect, "You have a very pretty wife in Europe." As a rule, when anything is shown them, they look at the person who points it out rather than at the object, try to divine what he thinks about it, and repeat that. It is impossible to convince them that anything can be different from what it is; but they regard everything with a mixture of superstition, incapacity, and perversity. They have never thought of digging wells in their towns in time of drought, though they suffer greatly from the want of water, and have often seen how the Europeans provide it in their factories. Some of them have visited Europe, without having received any permanent improvement. One young man went to Paris and learned to speak French and dress in the European style, but resumed his natural life as soon as he returned home, reserving only a kind of varnish to cover the duplicity with which an incomplete education had endowed him. All the traces that were left of his education were an increased power of discovering what was really wicked, and of putting what he had learned to the service of his unrestrained instincts.

 

Action of the Different Rays of the Spectrum.—Assuming that the rays of the spectrum vary simply by their wavelength, or quantitatively, M. Lermantoff, of St. Petersburg, believes it probable that their mode of action on bodies is really the same. The dark heat-rays produce a sensible heating of the entire body; but each superficial molecule that receives directly the energy of the ray is heated much more than the rest of the body, and communi-