Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 39.djvu/724

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

machine education, and supplements that book by pointing out the features that should be secured in the school of the future. The author's suggestions are illustrated by accounts of lessons actually given in some exceptionally fortunate schools of the present day. Among the chief changes urged by Miss Kenyon are that political boards of education shall give way to professional boards; that minute regulation shall be banished from the schools; and that the best teachers shall be assigned to the work of primary teaching, which is the foundation underlying all higher education.

The twenty-first "Summer Number" of The School Journal (New York) gives evidence of vigorous life in that publication. Its contents includes articles on a wide range of educational subjects, and the number is illustrated with portraits of prominent educators, plans of school buildings, and diagrams for drawing, writing, and other lessons.

The series of Picturesque Geographical Readers (Lee & Shepard, Boston) has been projected by Mr. Charles F. King, to make the learning of geography a source of pleasure as well as of real instruction. It aims to present the important facts of the science in a simple, interesting narrative style, so as to make the relation attractive. The books are intended to be used with the regular geography or atlas, and not in place of them; with the large and fuller maps of the text-books opened upon the pupils' desks, and the wall maps hung up, to be freely consulted as the lessons are read. It is advised also that the pupils be encouraged to write stories in connection with the pictures found in the book, to give oral abstracts of the lessons read, to name the pictures seen, to write the best single word to suggest the story in the chapter, and to draw and make as many of the illustrations as they can. The present volume is the second book of the series, and relates to this continent of ours. In it are given, in dialogue form, descriptions of the principal physical features of North America, including the frozen region, whaling, the land and water masses, the mountains, the Yellowstone Park and its geysers, central plain and eastern highlands, the rivers, climate and lakes, with special chapters on a few minor features; then an account on a similar plan of the Dominion of Canada; whence the reader is jumped, passing a special description of the United States, to like descriptions of Mexico and the West Indies.

A paper on the Evolution of the Ordinance of 1787, with an Account of the Earlier Plans for the Government of the Northwest Territory (G. P. Putnam's Sons), by Jay A. Barrett, is the first of a new academic series of papers, to be called the Seminary Series, which is started in connection with the Departments of History and Economics of the University of Nebraska. The institution of these series, in which historical, political, and economical questions are discussed in carefully studied monographs, is regarded in an editorial note as a sign that American universities are at last becoming centers of organized literary work. It affords a means also by which students may do useful work, make considerable additions to knowledge, and do the State a service. In the belief that a division of the labor is expedient, the Seminary Series, while not excluding other topics, will deal mainly with questions relating to Western history and economics. The Evolution of the Ordinance of 1787 is a good beginning.

In a book on the Origin, Purpose, and Destiny of Man, of which Mr. William Thornton, of Boston, is the author and publisher, the doctrine is unfolded that all things are made up of three states, which are called the three ethers. Life is the first ether, which is a continuous aggregate. The second ether is a composition of the potentialities heat, light, electricity, and magnetism, mechanical power being manifested during the activity of these potentialities. The third ether is a material nucleus which permits of the action of the other two ethers. All bodies manifesting the second and third ethers independently of the first make up inorganic bodies. Organized bodies require all these ethers. These two conditions constitute all things natural and supernatural. The Creator is not to be found in the universe in any morphological form, but has only a subjective existence; and it is only when the subjective part of man exists as a distinct entity that he can ever know God.

Two novels of considerable merit, and