Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/298

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286
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

ciated minerals are rock-salt in beautifully transparent masses, sparingly disseminated; the anhydrous sulphate of lime and soda (glauberite); and "pseudomorphs," in which the glauberite having disappeared, its place is supplied by amorphous carbonate of lime exactly filling the matrices of its crystals.

 

Holy Things and Toys from Torres Strait.—Prof. A. C. Haddon has fitted up in the British Museum a collection of objects from Torres Strait, which illustrates the customs and superstitions of the people of that still savage quarter. Among the objects are some forty native skulls, some of which had been strung in bunches as trophy decorations of the hut of a warrior, while others had been used for ceremonies and divination. The great eccentric masks employed in semi-religious and secular dances are represented by specimens which the collector believes to be the last of their kind. One of them, a crocodile mask, had such striking powers that the native from whom it was obtained refused to put it on for fear that death would be the consequence, because it was not the season of the year when it might be legitimately worn. Of the charms, those in stone and wood shaped like dugongs are very interesting. There are charms to protect against poisoning, love-charms, rain-making charms, charms to make the tobacco-plant grow; female figures, some in coral to keep the fire in when the housewife is absent; and taboo figures and signs of various kinds. The musical instruments include some ingenious drums, "bull-roarers," and a new kind of simple construction. Of toys there are tops of considerable weight, of which the Papuan spins several on his toes at the same time, and arrangements of string used as a sort of cat's cradle. The implements and articles of clothing and those for personal adornment are varied. An ornament worn by a betrothed girl appears to be derived from two fish-hooks placed back to back. Several specimens grimly illustrate the old savage customs. A hardwood weapon is marked with eleven notches, to indicate as many heads which the owner has cut off. A double cassowary head-dress that belonged to a late king of the island Tud was handed over by his son to Prof. Haddon, together with the boar-tusks which he wore in his mouth on war expeditions, on the understanding that they were to go to the British Museum, where "plenty men" wanted to see them. When drawings or photographs of some of the natives were being taken they would ask, "Queen Victoria, he see picture along we fellow?"—that is, Will Queen Victoria see our picture?—to which the professor replied in the same strain, "S'pose he want> he see; I no savee. Plenty men along England want to savee about you fellow." Some of these photographs may now be seen in this collection, recording features and decorations which, in a few years, will have died out.

 


NOTES.

Dr. S. Weir Mitchell, of Philadelphia, recently received from a woman-patient the singular present of a cord of white-oak wood, chopped down and sawed up by her own hands. He had recommended to her an active, outdoor life in the woods for nervous invalidism. She had followed his directions, with results of which the cord of sawed wood was one of the evidences.

Dr. E. N. Sneath, lecturer on the History of Philosophy at Yale, has been inspiring the preparation of a series of small volumes of selections from the leading philosophers from Descartes down, so arranged as to present an outline of their systems. Each volume will contain a biographical sketch of the author, a statement of the historical position of the system, and a bibliography. Those so far arranged for are Descartes, by Prof. Ladd, of Yale; Spinoza, by Prof. Fullerton, of the University of Pennsylvania; Locke, by Prof. Russell, of Williams; Berkeley, by ex-President Porter, of Yale; Hume, by Dr. Sneath, of Yale; and Hegel, by Prof. Royce, of Harvard. Kant, Comte, and Spencer will certainly be added to the series, and others if encouragement is received. The publishers will be Henry Holt & Co.

The American Academy of Political and Social Science, of which Prof. Edmund J. James is president, was founded in December, 1 889, for promoting the study of the political and social sciences, particularly of those which are omitted from the programmes of other societies, or which do not at present receive the attention they deserve. Among them are sociology, comparative constitutional and administrative law, philosophy of the state, and portions of the field of politics. It will attend to the publication of material that will be of use to students which does not now reach the public in any systematic way. The plan of the academy includes meetings for the presentation of papers and