Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 3.djvu/106

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96
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

philosopher who has had time to think his soul to oneness under the rule of reason. Euthanasia might become a wholesome doctrine if time should dissolve our present, perhaps animal, feelings, and replace them by more economical sentiments. But, as we are, it could only be an esoteric doctrine for the few who might have opportunities of ending hopeless misery by chloroform without giving needless pain to their friends. That is, it would be applicable only in the way Prof. Newman deprecates.

"It may, of course, be urged that there has been a latent change in men's notions of life and death which only needs expression, and that, if men talked freely, many would be found to talk Euthanasia. But facts like the growing aversion to capital punishment seem to point the other way. It is not because we feel less keenly the horror of murder, but because we are more scrupulous about taking even the least worthy life. Take the growing leniency toward infanticide. It is not because there is a change of opinion as to the duty of keeping even superfluous babies alive, but because we are more reluctant to take a woman's life in vengeance for a child's. Again, the sense that under certain circumstances it would be better for us or those dear to us to die, is surely far from being the true wish for death overwhelming the passionate impulse to keep up life to the last.

"It might be said, too, that the apology of Euthanasia stands on the same footing as the apology of cowardice, such as those French towns showed whose people did not think it worth while to hold out. Was it, or was it not worth while?".

 
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FREEZING OF PLANTS AND ANIMALS.
TRANSLATED FROM THE GERMAN, BY J. FITZGERALD, A. M.

IT is a fact, as yet unaccounted for, that, whereas the thawing-point of ice is constant, the freezing-point of water may, under certain conditions, be brought considerably below the temperature at which ice begins to melt. In glass vessels, with free access of air, pure water may be reduced to a temperature of from 15° to 17° Fahr. below the thawing-point, or, in a vacuum, from 18° to 20° Fahr. without freezing. A slight concussion, or contact with any rough surface, but especially with ice or snow, causes congelation at once, and the temperature ascends to the thawing-point. This rise of temperature is usually explained by the transition from the liquid to the solid form; but this is, after all, no true explanation, but merely a putting together of two facts which are apparently very nearly related.