Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 25.djvu/580

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566
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

to take part in the Philadelphia meeting. Receptions will be given at the Academy of Music and the Academy of Fine Arts; a garden-party at Haverford College; and a microscopical exhibition at the Academy of Natural Sciences. Botanical excursions will be organized, and a special meeting for botanists held by the botanical section of the Academy of Natural Sciences; and other interesting visits and excursions will be made. The address of Professor Young, as retiring President of the Association, will be delivered on the evening of the 4th, at the Academy of Music, and will be followed by a reception to members of the Association and their invited guests. The headquarters of the Association will be at the Academy of Music, Broad Street.

 

Sir John Lubbock on Classical and Scientific Education.—Sir John Lubbock spoke, at a recent dinner of the British University College Club, in reference to the great advance that had been made in this age in education. A commission of inquiry, appointed in 1861, mentioned as a great practical evil of the English schools that too little time was devoted to modern languages, and science was practically excluded altogether. A similar commission in 1864 gave substantially the same verdict. A third royal commission, in 1875, declared that the practical omission of these subjects from the training of the middle and upper classes was little less than a national misfortune. Still, though no doubt some progress had been gained, too little attention was given to these subjects. The time in the schools was at present allotted somewhat on the average as follows: To science, not more than two hours a week were given; to modern languages, three hours; and to geography, arithmetic, and mathematics, four hours, leaving thirty hours for Latin and Greek. Now, suppose that six hours were devoted to arithmetic and mathematics, six to science, six to modern languages and history, and six to geography, there would still be more than twenty hours for Latin and Greek, and if a boy could not learn Latin and Greek in twenty hours a week, spread over ten years, he would certainly never learn them at all. Sir John Lubbock was far from undervaluing Latin, and indeed it seemed to him well worth considering whether the present system of learning it was really wise, and whether our sons ought not to be taught to speak it as well as to read it. He then spoke of the particular importance of the knowledge of modern languages and science in England. Englishmen have the most varied enterprises all over the globe, more than half the shipping on the high seas, and foreign investments returning them $350,000,000 a year. The management of these gigantic undertakings ought to be intrusted to those who could speak the language of the country in which they were carried on. Many a promising concern had been brought to ruin because it had been impossible to find properly qualified Englishmen to take care of it, and because it had consequently been intrusted to foreigners. He did not undervalue and would not neglect the classics. All he asked was that science and modern languages should have their fair share of attention, for, as Dr. Carpenter had well observed, there was one side of our nature which science was the only means of cultivating.

 

The Weather, Health, and Crime.—Mr. S. A. Hill has recently published, in "Nature," an analysis of the effects of the weather upon the death-rate and crime in India, particularly in the Northwest Provinces and Oude. The whole number of deaths varies enormously from year to year. Thus it was 1,914,499 in 1879, and 987,190 in 1880, showing a difference of nearly a million in two successive years. The average yearly rate is about a million and a half. Taking the two years of extremes cited, in 1879 the monsoon rains were unusually heavy, while in 1880 they were extremely scanty, and apprehensions of famine were entertained. The year 1877 was also dry and healthy. The first rough generalization suggested by Mr. Hill's tables is, that dry years are healthy and wet ones unhealthy. It would, nevertheless, be wrong to infer that in India mortality is due to rain, for the figures for the several months show that, as a rule, the month in which fewest deaths occur is July, which happens to be just the rainiest month of the twelve. Rain is, no doubt, one of the indirect causes of death;