Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 4.djvu/135

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125
MISCELLANY.

tion of that Disease;" Fernand Papillon, on "The Relations between Science and Metaphysics;" the Abbé Ducrost, on "The Prehistoric Station of Solutré;" and Dr. Bertillon on "The Population of France."

One of the sections of the French Association is devoted to the medical sciences. In this department, the most remarkable papers were those of M. Ollier, on "The Surgical Means of favoring the Growth of the Bones in Man;" M. Chauveau, on "The Transmission of Tuberculosis through the Digestive Organs;" M. J. Gayet, on "The Regeneration of the Crystalline Lens;" and M. Diday, on "A Physiological Theory of the Passion of Love."

In anthropology, we may mention M. Lagneau's "Ethnological Researches on the Basin of the Saone and Other Affluents of the Rhone;" M. Chauvet's "Observations on the Bone-Caves of Charente," Gabriel Mortillet and Abel Hovelacque on "The Precursor of Man in the Tertiary Period."

The chemical section presents matter of special interest only for chemists. In that of botany, M. Merget read a paper on "The rôle of the Stomata in the Exchange of Gases between the Plant and the Atmosphere."

 

The Cryptograph.—A very ingenious instrument, the cryptograph, was recently described by its inventor, Pelegrin, in a note communicated to the French Academy of Sciences. The cryptograph is a contrivance intended for noting down on the spot and converting into mathematical expressions, so that they may be sent directly and secretly by telegraph, the polar coordinates of the points which determine a given figure. By means of this instrument, one may—at New York, for instance—trace out figures seen and noted down by a correspondent at any point in telegraphic communication with him. The cryptograph consists of a graduated arc of a circle, and an alidade, or index, also graduated and movable over the entire arc. The alidade has attached to it a small, thin plate of mica, which may slide up and down its entire length. On the mica is a black point, and this, it is plain, may occupy every possible position within the arc. A sight is fixed in front of the instrument. In order, now, to note down the outlines of a given figure, the observer places his eye at the sight, and brings the black speck on the mica over all the chief points, and marks their polar coördinates, as shown by the positions of the alidade and the sliding-point. These numbers may then be transmitted by telegraph anywhere. With the assistance of another cryptograph, in which the mica is replaced by a style or pen, the points noted by the first instrument are at once found and copied on paper.

 

Localization of the Faculty of Speech.—In a recent memoir on the localization of the faculty of speech in the anterior lobes of the brain, the eminent physiologist Bouillaud communicates to the French Academy of Sciences the results of his protracted researches on that subject. Some of the cases cited by him in the course of the memoir are extremely curious. In some instances, says he, the inability to speak is restricted to a certain class of words—certain proper names, for instance; in others, it extends to all past events; in others, again, only prominent circumstances are involved; and so on. Cuvier tells of a man who had lost the recollection of all nouns-substantive, and who would construct his phrases perfectly and regularly, the places of the nouns being always left vacant. Some years ago, M. Bouillaud visited a patient whose vocabulary did not contain a single verb, but who, notwithstanding, talked with remarkable volubility: his language was, of course, perfectly unintelligible. Others are unable, of their own accord, to write some particular word—house, for instance—though they can copy it when it is placed before them. A lady, forty-three years of age, was suddenly deprived of the power of speech, and entered the Cochin Hospital; she heard and understood perfectly every thing that was said to her, but could not speak. She could express herself in writing, however, and thus it was learned that she suffered pain in the forehead. From these cases, it follows that aphasia is produced by an incapacity to execute the coördinate movements requisite for pronunciation, and that it has nothing to do with loss of memory as to the meaning of words.

According to M. Bouillaud, these phenomena are produced by lesions of the an-