Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 39.djvu/284

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272
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

the Academy Press. It presents those general facts concerning evolution in the domain of life that every intelligent person should be acquainted with, and in a manner well calculated to arouse the interest and hold the attention of hearers or readers. This lecture has been pronounced by good judges a most satisfactory summary of the great doctrine with which it deals.

A useful book for the phonetic teaching of reading is A Sound-English Primer, by Augustin Knoflach (Stechert, 25 cents). Its plan is to teach children first how to read phonetic print, and then, using this knowledge as a stepping-stone, to impart the ability of reading the ordinary spelling. The author's scheme of phonetic spelling recognizes six long and six short vowel sounds, the long vowels being distinguished by doubling the letters. No new letters are employed; q, not being needed as a consonant, is used for the sixth vowel, and six digraphs are used for consonants that have no single letters to represent them, namely, ch, sh, zh, th, dh, and ng. A notable feature of this system is that it indicates accent. In words in which it does not conform to a simple rule, the accent is marked either by a diacritic or by doubling a consonant. Prefixed to the book is an account of a test of this mode of teaching made last summer with a part of Mr. Knoflach's manuscript. In a little over three weeks a six-year-old boy, who had never had any instruction in reading before, was made able to read a large portion of an ordinary primer. Mr. Knoflach's book has clear print arid is of convenient size.

No. 3 in the series of pamphlets on North American Fauna, issued by the Department of Agriculture, embraces the Results of a Biological Survey of the San Francisco Mountain Region and Desert of the Little Colorado, Arizona, by C. Hart Merriam and Leonhard Stejneger. It contains a general description of the region and annotated lists of the mammals, birds, reptiles, and batrachians found therein, with a few notes on the forest trees that are common in that locality. The skulls and dentition of many of the animals are figured, and there are also colored maps showing the distribution of forest trees about the mountain.

In an essay on the Origin of Plane Trees, reprinted from the American Naturalist, Prof. Lester F. Ward criticises a paper by Prof. Johann Jankó on the same subject. Jankó excludes from the genus certain American species that had not before been challenged, and ignores others; but the chief point that Prof. Ward urges against him is that he has overlooked the significance of the basal lobes that occur on the leaves of some species.

Among the results of Prof. Angelo Heilprin's study of the Geology and Paleontology of the Cretaceous Deposits of Mexico, made during his expedition to that country in the spring of 1890, are the conclusions that the deposits, covering or scattered over a large part of the country, are continuous with the Cretaceous area of the interior basin of the United States; that they are a part of the Middle or Upper Cretaceous series; that no true Lower Cretaceous beds have been so far identified in Texas or Arkansas; and that no marine deposits of unequivocally Lower Cretaceous age have thus far been determined in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains.

Pilot Knob; a Marine Cretaceous Volcano, of which Prof. Robert P. Hill has published a study, is one of a group of hills composed of igneous rock standing a few miles southwest of Austin, Texas. From its structure, as studied by the author, it appears to be the neck of an ancient volcano which rose out of and deposited its débris in the deep water of the Upper Cretaceous sea. From its isolated position it must have been an isolated eruption. The hill probably belongs to a great chain of igneous localities, eruptive and basaltic, extending from the mountains of northern Mexico to the Ouachita system of Arkansas.

The Account of the Determination of the Mean Density of the Earth by Means of a Pendulum Principle, by J. Wilsing, of Potsdam, has been translated and condensed for the Smithsonian Report by J. Howard Gore. The value found by Mr. Wilsing is 5·579 ± 0·012.

A second edition, revised and enlarged, is published by Blakiston, Son & Co. of Leffmann and Beam's Examination of Water for Sanitary and Technical Purposes. The more recent methods of water analysis may be found in this volume, including those rec-