Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/580

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564
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

foreign; and 55 are worst, 98 are bad, and 112 are indifferent, The weeds in Iowa not found in New Jersey are mostly of the indifferent class, native in large part of the prairie, and as a rule quickly disappear when the land is placed under cultivation. The New Jersey list can be made up from the one for Iowa by omitting 75 of the native prairie plants, mostly perennials, and adding 43, a large percentage of which are annuals. The only single weed of the first rank stricken from the Iowa list in adapting it for New Jersey is a species of pigweed, but even this has within a year been found in New Jersey. On the other hand, there are several first-class (worst) weeds that are added in the adaptation of the Western list to the East. Of such, for example, are a pepper-grass, the wild radish, two kinds of cocklebur, feverfew, wild onion, wild leek, nut-grass, Bermuda grass, and a kind of chess. The East is overrun with a larger number than the West of the most aggressive weeds "weeds that assert their ability to resist the forces of the cultivator and plant their banners upon the tilled ground, likewise annual weeds that stock the soil with a multitude of seeds, ready to spring into life whenever an opportunity offers. Some species of weeds, such as a goose-foot, a pigweed, a thistle, plantain, shepherd's-purse, and purslane, are found everywhere from Maine to California; others are prominent on the Pacific coast and not elsewhere; and there are weeds peculiar to the Rocky Mountain region, and others to the prairie region. In the middle prairie States it is mostly the members of the sunflower family that prevail. In the central States the list is led by the Canada thistle, quack-grass, docks, daisy, chess, plantain, and purslane. If to this list we add wild carrot, onion, and parsnip, and the like old foreign enemies, we have the extensive catalogue of these plant pests that prey upon the lands of New England.

 

Hypnotism as a Remedy.—Accounts are given by Dr. George C. Kingsbury, in his Practice of Hypnotic Suggestion, of fifty cases of pain or disease which he has himself treated by hypnotism. In forty-five of these, complete cure followed, without any relapse so far as is known, and there was at least some slight or temporary relief in the five others. In one case the hypnotism was used as an anæsthetic in childbirth. The patient was hypnotized twelve times in preparation for her confinement, and once more when it began. She was brought to the convenient stage of hypnotic somnambulism in which she could understand and obey orders and nevertheless felt no pain. In the treatment of three patients of confirmed drunken habits some remarkable results in the way of sobriety, or even dislike for alcohol, were obtained, which had lasted up to the time of the publication of the book, nine months or more, and none of them was known to have relapsed. In many lesser ills, such as neuralgia, headache, toothache, etc., the relief of the pain was immediate and complete. The author has found no damage done by hypnotism in careful hands.

 

The Weather and Influenza.—A paper by Dr. Lang, of Munich, treats of the relations between influenza and changes of weather. Among atmospheric conditions favorable to the development of infectious maladies are light and rare precipitations, while the soil dries out and dust abounds, and next slight winds. Such conditions prevail in anti-cyclones. But not every barometric maximum that occurs can be accused of being a promoter of an epidemic. The germs of the disease must be present, then the anti-cyclone is a danger. Entirely local conditions can not be held to account for what passes in the atmosphere, nor for events that depend on its constitution, for the air is not, like us, fixed to the ground. It is continually suffering displacement, and brings us elements from all the places over which it has passed. We must look, therefore, to the place where the wind started that is, to the center of the aerial circulation of the region in which we are. We know that the distribution of barometric pressure is a determining cause of the movements of the air, and it may be that the corpuscles scattered through the atmosphere have been brought from far-off regions, especially if the distribution of the pressure has continued the same during a considerable time. In the winter of 1889-'90 a barometric maximum was fixed for six weeks in the eastern part of Europe, with only unimportant modifications in its shape and extent. Now, since