Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 31.djvu/148

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138
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

tions a sufficient fund has so far been kept in hand to provide for the treatment of every patient who has made application; so that none have been turned away on account of inability to pay the cost of treatment. While it is not intended to make the institution a charity, it is desired to keep this feature up. A prize fund has been started to encourage the research for new and effective remedies and methods of treatment for cancer.

 

The American Society of Naturalists.—The meeting of the Society of Naturalists, which is composed of persons who regularly devote a considerable portion of their time to the advancement of natural history, was held in Philadelphia in the latter part of December, 1886. A prominent place is given in the proceedings of the society to the discussion of questions relative to methods of investigation and of instruction. At the present meeting the discussion on methods in teaching was led by Professors H. S. Williams and Davis, of Harvard College, on geology and geological investigation; Farlow, on botany; H. N. Martin, on collegiate teaching of biology; and Whitman, on the proper position of biological investigation in the university. It is contemplated to discuss the subject of science in the schools at next year's meeting.

 

Why English Trade is declining.—The latest English "Blue-Book" exposes the fact that English trade is falling behind in most countries, while German commercial interests are gaining the ascendant. The reasons for the change are somewhat complicated, but the principal ones may be summed up in the assertion that English merchants have lapsed into a kind of indifference about pleasing and accommodating their customers, while the Germans are taking great pains to ascertain and meet their wants. The reasons assigned for the superior vigor of German trade in Italy are a "higher standard of technical education, greater activity in the employment of commercial travelers speaking Italian, greater attention paid to the wants of the Italian market, and greater facilities for delivery and for payment." In Bulgaria, "some Jew from Vienna comes every week offering something wanted." The remark applies to several countries. "Ask an English manufacturer to alter the shape of an article to meet the requirements of foreign markets, . . . he generally refuses. The German manufacturer, on the other hand, has no prejudices; if he find that an article of a certain shape commands a ready sale in any particular country, he makes it, however foreign it may be to his own tastes and wants." So it is in Greece, Roumania, Servia, Turkey, Spain, and South America. The lesson is drawn from these facts by the "Spectator" that the English manufacturer must display more intelligence, more adaptiveness, more energy, more sympathy, if he is to hold his own against the increasing rivalry of the highly educated, active, and expanding German. His commercial education must be improved. Boys must be taught the modern languages, and be given a speaking as well as a grammatical acquaintance with the tongues of the peoples with whom they are to stand in commercial relations. But these and other branches of commercial importance still hold only a subordinate place in English secondary schools, while men of commerce and manufacture are trained almost entirely in subjects rather suitable for the professions.

 

Sewerage and Typhoid Fever. The Baltimore "American" some time ago questioned the value of a system of sewerage in promoting the health of a city, and cited, in justification of its doubt, the case of Baltimore, a healthy city without a system, as opposed to Brooklyn and Boston, where the systems of sewerage are extensive, and yet diphtheria and scarlet fever and other like diseases are more prevalent than in Baltimore. The London "Sanitary World" answers these doubts by citations from the report of Mr. Erwin F. Smith to the Michigan Sanitary Convention on "The Influence of Sewerage and Water-Supply on the Death-Rate in Cities." This paper shows, almost decisively, that the introduction of sewerage and water-supply jointly has had a marked influence in reducing the mortality from typhoid fever, at least. The difficult point is to ascertain the influence of the sewerage alone. The introduction of a pure water-supply is unquestionably an important ele-