Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/592

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570
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

ling of Douglas firs, in great bare precipices of pinkish-white limestone to rugged mountain forms at once." The level of perpetual snow among them is given by the Rev. W. S. Green, who visited them to examine their glaciers, at about seven thousand feet, and the upper limit of the forest at six thousand feet, while the principal peaks rise to between ten and eleven thousand feet. The starting-point of Mr. Green's excursions was the Glacier Hotel station of the railway, in front of the great Illecewaet Glacier, 4,122 feet above the sea. Seeking some commanding point whence a view might be gained of what lay beyond the upper snow-field, the author reached a little peak on the southern shoulder of Mount Sir Donald, six hundred feet below the main summit (10,645 feet): Hence "we had," he says, "one of the most interesting views it is possible to imagine. Now for the first time we saw what the glacier regions of the Selkirks really meant. From the base of the peak we were on, the great snow-field extended for over ten miles. Beyond it to the southward, and away in unending series, far as the eye could reach, rose range after range of snowy peaks with glaciers in the hollows; peaks and glaciers were simply innumerable. Looking westward and northward, a similar prospect presented itself." Of these glaciers, Mr. Green has mapped the Sir Donald, Geikie (four miles long and one thousand yards wide), Deville, Dawson, Van Horne, Asnekan, and Lily. All the glaciers show evidences of shrinking. Measurements made at the foot of the Great Illecewaet Glacier indicated that the ice had moved along twenty feet in thirteen days.

 

Mental Powers of Criminals.—The bearing of education on the character and reformation of criminals is discussed by Dr. Hamilton D. Way in a paper on the physical and industrial training of that class, which is published by the Industrial Education Association. The author assumes that "it is a mistake to suppose that the criminal is naturally bright. Moral failure and blunted intellect, as a rule, go hand in hand. If bright, it is usually in a narrow line and self-repeating." The criminal's malpractice has its origin in blunted or non developed nervous areas, and is indicative of wrong-headedness. Whatever may be said of the motives or incentives that led to crime, the fact remains that the head of the criminal is wrong. The time has gone by in which to argue that to educate the criminal is to make him a more accomplished and successful scamp. "It is through physical and mental training and their composite labor that the slumbering germs of manhood are fructified, maturing under a firm and unrelaxing discipline." The criminal's mind, "while not diseased, is undeveloped, or it may be abnormally developed in certain directions; the smartness resulting therefrom partaking of low cunning and centering about self. He is deficient in stability and will-power, and incapable of prolonged mental effort and application. His intellect travels in a rut, and fails him in an emergency. His moral nature shares in the imperfections of his physical and mental state." A training is advocated by the author that will awaken the slumbering faculties, and thus set the mind in a normal condition. This training had best not be given by persons connected with the prison, for it might thereby be unpleasantly associated with penal features, but by teachers brought in for the purpose. Dr. Way gives an interesting relation of experiments which he has made with prisoners in accordance with these views, the average results of which are very encouraging.

 

The Advantages of Insensibility.—An English writer has recently suggested that we are wont to give excessive praise to the faculty of sensibility, while we depreciate its opposite, or the want of it, insensibility. It is clear, he maintains, that almost every shade of insensibility has a side of advantage as well as of disadvantage. The world forgets how very much tender sensibility often interferes with the calm judgment necessary for right action and the cool presence of mind which is essential to effective execution. What shall we say of the surgeon or the nurse who is so sensitive that the sight of suffering disturbs the judgment and makes the hand tremble when a steady hand is most essential to efficient work. It is obvious that, for every purpose of alleviating pain itself, a certain measure of insensibility to sympathetic pain is in the highest degree advantageous, if not neces-