Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/151

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of refuge for vessels in stormy seasons. The people were skillful ship-builders and prosperous ship-owners. Steam has deprived them of most of their old advantages, and they have had to turn their attention to other pursuits. The mild climate and the good soil of the islands are favorable to all kinds of vegetation. Raising early potatoes and vegetables for the English markets has been a remunerative occupation. Recently the raising of narcissus and other bulbs has promised to be still more profitable, and the people are every year giving more and more attention to it. In 1887 more than a hundred tons of flowers were exported. The small extent of the islands bringing them into close relations, and almost inevitably under one another's eye, the Scillonians are quite sociable and considerably prone to gossip. They give occasional dinners, at which heavy cake and clotted cream are favorite dishes; but they object to dancing and card-playing, and abhor jesting and flippancy. They are great readers, and keep in the current of English periodical literature; and, having had George Eliot and Tennyson to visit them, they are "not to be awed by the prestige of any literary magnate." Finally, Mr. Frank Boufield says of them, "Most of them seem to have had a tradition of having come in from somewhere at no very remote period of the past, and I am very doubtful if there is any aboriginal population—that is to say, families who have no record or reminiscence handed down of having lived somewhere else."


Chemical Bibliographies.—The report of the American Association's Committee on Indexing Chemical Literature mentions as published, the "Provisional List of Abbreviations of Titles of Chemical Journals," Dr. A. Tuckerman's "Index to the Literature of the Spectroscope," and Prof. Clarke's "Table of Specific Gravities"; as completed, Prof. Traphagen's "Index to the Literature of Columbium," and Prof. Bolton's "Bibliography of Chemistry" for 1887; and as in preparation, indexes on "Ethylene," by Mr. A. A. Noyes; "Methane," by Prof. W. P. Mason; "Cæsium and Rubidium," by Mr. William Rupp; "Tantalum," by Prof. Traphagen; a "Bibliography of the History of Chemistry," by Dr. Bolton; and "Thermodynamics," by Dr. A. Tuckerman. Bibliographies are mentioned of "Food Adulteration and its Detection," by Dr. J. P. Battershall; "Milk," by E. W. Martin; and "Butter," adulterations, testing, etc., by Prof. Elwyn Waller and others. Among lists of patents relating more or less to applied chemistry are those of Mr. C. T. Davis on the manufacture of leather; of bricks, tiles, and terra-cotta; of paper; and his "Treatise on Boiler Incrustations"; and Mr. William T. Braunt's "Treatise on Animal and Vegetable Fats and Oils." B. Tollen's "Handbuch der Kohlenhydrate," Breslau, 1888, contains about fifteen hundred references to the literature of carbohydrates. Dr. A. B. Lyons is publishing, in the "Pharmaceutical Era," a monthly "Index Pharmaceuticus." The work of the committee is now being supplemented by chemists in Great Britain.


Old and New-Fashioned Ideas in Medicine.—Dr. Malcolm Morris has indicated some points in medical practice in which a mysticism, which was one of its predominant features in the middle ages, still lingers around it. "There remains in the people," he says, "a belief in the efficacy of drugs as drugs—a belief that, as for every bane there must be an antidote, so for every disease there must be a curative leaf or root. Nature is distrusted; disease is still represented as some evil influence to be exorcised. In the popular mind Disease walks the earth as a devouring fiend, and has a personality about it as of old. The phrases 'Stricken with disease,' 'visitations,' and 'seizures,' are survivals of the conceptions of primitive times. . . . The mysticism survives in the courtly phrase and the ambiguous language of the practitioner of modern times. When sorely pressed by the sick man, the physician's only armory is equivocation, from which he draws such verbal weapons as 'the state of the constitution,' 'the tone of the body,' 'the general health,' 'lowered vitality,' and all that kind. . . . Are these not in some sort a survival of the circle of the horoscope?" The profession is also at a disadvantage because of a skepticism, reacting from the implicit faith in drugs of the olden time, which repudiates all aids and accessories; briefly, it states its deliberate opinion that disease is infinitely better left to itself. The natural