Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/433

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419
LITERARY NOTICES.

among them, for the reason that he is wholly wrong in what he says of the propriety of grounding children in a knowledge of the astronomical relations of the earth to the universe. The reason of this is that the immature mind can not grasp that order of ideas, and ideas that can not be clearly seized are not suitable for educational purposes. A child sees the sun, moon, and stars, and may be curious to ask questions about them, but that is no evidence that it can comprehend those truths about them that it took thousands of years to discover, and which it still tasks the adult mind to understand. A child sees also that fire converts water into steam, but it is not, therefore, competent to take in, even in its rudiments, the science of thermo-dynamics. The child can learn words, and astronomical words just as well as any, because the power of verbal acquisition is quite independent of any meaning that may be attached to words. This learning of mere words and the passing off verbal statements for knowledge is the bane of education; and nowhere will this mischievous result be more certain than in the attempt to teach children astronomy. Nevertheless, parents will be flattered to see their wonderful little prodigies at the same time in breeches and astronomy, and so Mr. Champlin's neat little book will no doubt be a "success."

The Total Solar Eclipse of July 29, 1878. Observations at Pike's Peak, Colorado. Report of Professor S. P. Langley. Pp. 15, with Plate.

The most interesting features of Professor Langley's observations were the narrow, structureless ring of vivid light around the sun, which faded suddenly into a nebulous luminosity, extending for two and a half solar diameters all around; and a stream of light with parallel borders extending to three and a half diameters on one side and six diameters on the opposite side, in a direction nearly corresponding with that of the ecliptic, which were seen with the naked eye; and a coarse, sharply defined filamentary structure in the corona seen through the telescope. Some of Professor Langley's assistants observed very peculiar and striking color-phenomena in the clouds during the moment of the coming on of totality.

Papers of the Archæological Institute of America. American Series, I. 1. Historical Introduction to Studies among the Sedentary Indians of Mexico. 2. Report on the Ruins of the Pueblo of Pecos. By A. F. Bandolier. Boston: A. Williams & Co. Pp. 135, with Plates.

This handsomely printed and finished volume gives a favorable introduction to the society under whose auspices it is put forth and of which it is the first publication. The first part gives the history of the Pueblos from the time they are first mentioned by the Spaniards, and the theories that have been urged and inquiries made respecting them. The second part gives the results of the author's examinations, surveys, and measurements of the ruins of the Pueblo in the valley of the Rio Pecos, with views, plans, sections, and estimates, and observations such as the information at hand makes appropriate concerning the character, customs, and arts of the Indians who constructed the buildings.

Materialism Ancient and Modern. By a late Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. New York: Macmillan & Co.

This essay of forty-three pages, in large type, is a very commonplace argument intended to be opposed to materialism, and its quality is as slight as its form. It can help nobody.

Sea-Mosses: a Collector's Guide and an Introduction to the Study of Marine Algæ. By A. B. Hervey, A. M. Boston: S. E. Cassino. 1831. Pp. 281. Price, $2.

Those who live by the sea, and those who frequent the seaside for recreation and health during summer vacations, if they have any desire to improve their opportunities for improving their minds, are placed under obligations to Mr. Hervey for the preparation of this volume. The author thus indicates his object: "I have attempted to make a book which should be a real and helpful guide to those who, though not expert botanists, and not having or using any aids to a good pair of eyes other than a simple pocket magnifier, desire to begin the collection and study of marine plants." The author has been freely assisted by many