Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/587

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POPULAR MISCELLANY.

ment and the decline of peoples; and what constitutes 'a people,' and shapes its destiny, is the very business of ethnology to explain. So likewise in hygiene and medicine, in ethics and religion, in language and arts, in painting, architecture, sculpture, and music, the full import and often unconscious intention of human activity can only be understood, and directed in the most productive channels, by such a careful historical and physical analysis as anthropology aims to present."

 

Science Teaching in Preparatory Schools.—The report of the Committee of the American Society of Naturalists on Science Teaching in the Schools embraces the answers from the colleges and preparatory schools in the North Atlantic States between Maine and the District of Columbia, to a circular of questions respecting what they require of scientific instruction. Of sixty-nine colleges from which answers were received, only eighteen require science for admission to the course for the degree of Bachelor of Arts. Eleven other colleges require science for admission to the scientific course, while forty colleges offer no recognition of the place of science in the pre-collegiate course. Of twenty-one institutions catalogued as scientific schools, ten do and eleven do not require some science for admission. Of one hundred and forty-one preparatory schools, ninety-eight include science in the course preparatory for the classical course in colleges. These facts seem to indicate that the academies and high schools are in advance of the colleges in the recognition of the claims of science. The report, analyzing the courses of instruction of the schools, shows that the plea that time can not be found for scientific study in the four years of preparatory school instruction is not well founded. The greatest difficulty in securing the right kind of scientific instruction in the schools arises from the lack of properly trained teachers. This difficulty is vanishing, and the number of teachers is increasing who possess an acquaintance with science which, though limited in scope, is in considerable part sound in method. "Let it be clearly recognized that the teacher of science demanded even in the primary schools is not one who has committed to memory some verbal propositions about science, but one who has learned to observe and experiment, to compare and reason, and the conditions are already in existence which will not fail to supply that demand."

 

Miss North and her Animals.—Miss Marianne North, a British naturalist and traveler, whose death we noticed several months ago, exhibits in her recently published "Recollections" a happy appreciation of the individual eccentricities of animals. A favorite dog of her father's, which was implicitly trusted, when left one day in a room with a tempting pigeon pie, could not resist stealing a pigeon, but replaced the bird with the blackened sponge which Mr. North used to wipe his pens. Miss North made friends with the sacred baboons in the Indian temples, "who came and sat by her side to criticise her drawing, or who, after breaking out in the tricks of their unregenerated monkey nature, would suddenly fold their arms and relapse into pious imbecility, as if they had been disciples of Buddha, and were meditating on the Nirvana. She commemorates her first impressions of the Queensland kangaroos, when she saw fifty come hopping down hill in single file, ludicrously manœuvring as if moved by machinery, and using their big tails for balancing rods. Shortly afterward she saw a bear taking a siesta in the fork of a tree, who merely cocked his great ears and yawned when her attendants shied stones at him. He knew he was out of harm's way. He took his constitutional only at night, and was not going to alter his habits to please anybody. She tells a capital story of a cockatoo, brought up in a zoölogical garden, and taught to say: 'Walk in, ladies and gentlemen; don't all come at once one at a time.' The bird escaped, and was found with a troop of wild cockatoos attacking it. It was lying on its back, fighting beak and claw, and screaming out: 'Come on, ladies and gentlemen, come on; not all at once, one at a time.' She heard of a South African baboon, who, having taken to brigandage, had assailed a musician returning from a dance, and captured his accordeon. Examining his prize, there was a dismal discord, followed by a hideous howl, and the robber vanished in a panic, leaving the booty behind. She encumbered herself with a family of opossum mice, and this cost her endless trouble and anxiety." But these mice proved extremely serviceable