Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 36.djvu/139

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129
LITERARY NOTICES.

more perfect than the evolution philosophy as represented by Herbert Spencer." The class of ideas that is most positive and reliable is found in modern science, which acknowledges nothing as beyond candid criticism, has nothing sacred but the truth, and investigates every part of the universe and of man with equal impartiality; and is not an extreme or antagonistic of all former knowledge and opinion, but "is a more complete, thorough, and systematic knowledge of the same kind as any imperfect knowledge preceding it that has a real basis of fact."

The second volume of the Report for 1838 of the Geological Survey of Arkansas, under the direction of State Geologist John C. Branner, comprises a review of the Neozoic Geology of Southwestern Arkansas, by Robert T. Hill. It is the result of the joint work of the United States and the State Surveys, in which the latter was able to avail itself of Prof. Hill's knowledge of the mesozoic geology of other parts of the Union. The region embraced in the present survey may be said roughly to lie between the Ouachita and Red Rivers, extending a little east of the Ouachita, including Little Missouri and Little Rivers, and to consist most largely of the Trinity, Lower and Upper Cretaceous, and Tertiary formations, with plateau gravel and associated deposits, and the flood plains of the rivers, of the Post-tertiary or Quaternary. In determining the relations of the Upper Cretaceous beds, the author concludes that they are identical with those of Texas, more obscurely so with those of New Jersey, and the equivalent of the Upper Cretaceous of Europe. The relations of the Lower Cretaceous and Trinity with formations east of the Mississippi are at present only conjectural. Prof. Hill's review is supplemented by papers on "The Northern Limits of the Mesozoic Rocks in Arkansas," by Prof. O. P. Hay, and "On the Manufacture of Portland Cement," by Prof. Branner.—The third volume of the series is a preliminary report on the Geology of the Coal Regions, by Arthur Winslow. It contains only a part of the coal regions of the State, representing an area of nearly two thousand square miles and extending about seventy-five miles along the Arkansas River from the Indian Territory to Dardanelle. Chapters are devoted to the "Distribution of the Coal," a review of the coal industry of the State, and the composition and adaptabilities of the coals.

The Commissioner of Agriculture, in his Report for 1888, represents the year as having been one of much greater activity in the department than it had ever before experienced. The investigations made have excited popular interest, and the results obtained have been helpful to the farming class. A good record was made of the work of the experiment stations. A clearing-house or exchange is called for through which they can co-operate. The most important duty devolving upon the Bureau was the work for eradicating contagious pleuro-pneumonia in cattle; and, in connection with this, the need of a laboratory is suggested where persons can qualify themselves by experiment for practice in the diseases of animals. The division of entomology pursued investigations on the cottony-cushion scale of California, the hop-louse, the root-infesting nematode worms, the cotton and boll worm, which attacked the tomato; the Rocky Mountain locust, the buffalo gnat, and various other insects injurious to vegetation. It is giving attention to the introduction of parasites destructive of such insects. Experiments of silk-culture have not yet given promise of a profitable industry. The chemical division interested itself in the study of food adulterations and processes for making sugar from sorghum. The statistical department had to meet large demands for supplying information. The botanical division was busy in experiments on the adaptation of various plants, and in studies in vegetable pathology. Attention was given to the habits of different birds, and the depredations on crops of various small mammals. The seed division was active in sending out seeds to experimental cultivators and the constituents of members of Congress. The forestry division reported progress, but not much encouragement as yet for the restoration of the forests, or even for the preservation of what of them are left. Microscopical investigations were made in various directions. In pomology experiments are reported on tropical and semitropical fruits and on hardy Russian fruits for the Northwest; and an excellent paper, by Mr. W. H. Ragan,