Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/806

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786
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

knowledge of the functions of the brain. Its career must somewhat resemble that of the art of medicine. There were great physicians before Harvey found a starting-point for scientific physiology; yet the debt of practical medicine to physiology is now well-nigh incalculable. So it will be with the art of teaching: noble work has been done for its advancement in entire ignorance of the organ whose best development it seeks; but now, since there is already a large and constantly increasing fund of knowledge concerning the working of the brain, teachers who are not bound to the traditions of the past, but are looking eagerly for every means of improving their art, will assuredly not fail to take advantage of the new knowledge.

The result must be an enormous gain for the children of the future.[1]

 


 
An influence of a total solar eclipse on air pressure has been deduced by Herr Steen from the comparison of the records of fourteen Norwegian ships between Panama and Madagascar, during the eclipse of August 29, 1885, four of the ships having been within the zone of totality and four others very near it. Two maxima of pressure, separated by a minimum, were revealed. The double wave is explained by Herr Steen by assuming that during a solar eclipse day is changed to night for a short time, and the transition is much like the ordinary change from day to night in the tropics, where the twilight is short. There the curve of air pressure has regularly a maximum about 10 p. m., some time after sunset, and a minimum about 4 a. m., shortly before sunrise; while a second maximum appears about 4 a. m. A total solar eclipse would naturally act in a similar way.

  1. References.—Any reader interested in the foregoing argument would do well to verify the statements of fact on which it is based by reference to some of the following well-known authorities:

    For a very clear, popular account of the functions of the brain, see Prof. M. A. Starr's article, The Old and the New Phrenology, Popular Science Monthly, October, 1889.

    For a more complete account, consult the same author's Familiar Forms of Xervous Disease; Gowers's Diseases of the Nervous System, pp. 454-465, American edition; and the text-books of physiology by Michael Foster and by Landois and Stirling.

    For defects in the use of language, besides the above, see Th. Ribot, Diseases of Memory, chap, iii; Moebius, Allgemeine Diagnostik der Nervenkrankheiten; Ross, Diseases of the Nervous System, chap, xviii; H. C. Wood, Nervous Diseases and their Diagnosis, chap, ix; Gowers, loc. cit., pp. 540-555; also Starr, The Pathology of Sensory Aphasia, Brain, July, 1889, and Apraxia and Aphasia, Medical Record, October 27, 1888.

    For a discussion of word-blindness and mind-blindness, illustrated by cases of great interest, see Charcot, Lecnns sur les Maladies du Système Nerveux, tome iii, pp. 154189.

    For a discussion of the working of the brain in reading, with references to previous researches, see Ein Beitrag zur Lehre von den Lesestoerungen, Weissenberg, Archiv f. Psychiatrie, xxii, 2.

    The most philosophical and elaborate work on the disturbances of speech is that contributed by Kussmaul to Ziemmsen's Cyclopædia, vol. xiv.

    In consulting any author on this subject the date of writing must, of course, be considered, as every year adds materially to the common store of available facts.