Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/586

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572
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

and in the warmer parts it is either forest or steppe. Greenland, the home of the glacier and the mother of the icebergs of the Northern Atlantic, rises 9,000 or 10,000 feet above the sea level, while the sea between that lofty plateau and Scandinavia is the deepest known in the polar basin, though it is separated from the rest of the Atlantic by a broad belt or submarine plateau connecting Greenland across Iceland and the Faroes with the British Islands and Europe. Iceland, Spitzbergen, and Novaya-Zemlia, the latter a continuation of the Urals, are all mountainous and full of glaciers. The glaciers of southern Alaska are some of the largest in the world.

 

Aspects of the Antarctic Regions.—The subject of antarctic exploration was discussed at the meeting of the British Association. Mr. W. S. Bruce contributed Notes of an Antarctic Voyage. Dr. C. M. Donald, reporting some observations made on the voyage, said that the antarctic regions differ in many respects from the arctic regions, the differences arising probably from diversities in geological structure. Bird life is scant in the south, and the birds are of different kinds from those of the north. The icebergs, too, instead of being rugged and irregular, are plateau-shaped, rising with straight sides about two hundred and fifty feet from the water, and often of vast extent. One was met thirty miles long. Two of the steamers of the expedition worked through the pack ice—impenetrable to a sailing ship—and approached the sixty-fifth parallel. Mr. Seebohm described the penguin as being, with the exception of a few petrels, almost the only bird found in the ntarctic aregions. Penguins were so different from all other birds that some had divided the order into penguins and not-peuguins. The penguin was found almost to the equator; not only where there is a cold current. The Australian Antarctic Expedition, much talked of a few years ago, is in a state of suspense on account of the difficulty of obtaining the money needed.

 

The Place of Geology in Education.—In the discussion, in the British Association, of the Place of Geology in Secondary and Professional Education, Prof. Greenville A. J. Cole urged that geology formed a subject of such far-reaching importance that it should be included in the general course for boys and girls of about the age of sixteen or seventeen. Every one should be capable of appreciating his surroundings, and particularly the past history of life upon the globe, if he was to be able to pass judgment upon current affairs and to play his part as an individual organism. Geology was as fundamentally important as history, and tended to modify very largely our conceptions of the relations between what is called antiquity and ourselves. In common with other natural sciences it encouraged a love of truth where statements could be safely made, and of reserve where assertions would be merely dogmatic. The course suggested for all pupils was one in which mineral details were subordinated, except where they were important in explaining the origin of certain broad features, such as familiar and local landscapes. The greatest stress for general purposes was to be laid upon an outline of stratigraphical geology and its illustration by such beds, unconformitiss, etc., as might be exhibited in the environs of the school. The outdoor character of the study should be insisted on; and the fact that the broader generalizations of the science were based on the collation of local observations would not be among the least valuable results of the introduction of the subject into our educational systems. Prof. G. A. Lebour thought that in teaching geology to students destined to be engineers or to have charge of mines it was desirable that they should have such a kuowledge of the subject as would enable them, not to solve problems, but to understand the grounds on which experts base their reports.

 

Finger Marks.—In the British Association Mr. Francis Galton gave a description of his system of finger-print impressions which had been recently introduced into the Indian army. There is affixed to the nominal roll an impression in ink of the fore, middle, and ring fingers of the right hand of each recruit. This plan is found very useful as a check upon personation. Sir William Herschel used the method with success in Bengal for many years. If a clear impression with the finger tips were made, there