Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 47.djvu/590

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579
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

study of the vertebrate body. The work in botany will be restricted to the study of the structure and development of types of the various orders of the cryptogamous plants Applications should be addressed to William A. Setchell, 2 Hillhouse Avenue, New Haven, Conn.

Dr. E. B. Tylor suggests the use of correspondence in culture as a means of tracing lines of connection and intercourse between ancient and remote peoples. The Egyptian conception of the judgment of the dead by weighing in a spiritual balance may be traced in a series of variants that seem to draw lines of intercourse through the Vedic and Zoroastrian religions. The associated doctrine of the Bridge of the Dead, which separates the good, who pass over, from the dead, who fall into the abyss, appears first in the ancient Persian religion, reaching to the extremities of Asia and Europe.

The subscription of $250,000 required by the law incorporating the New York Botanic Garden as a condition precedent to the city's furnishing $500,000 more and a site, has been completed, and the Garden may now be regarded as a near certainty. Its friends purpose to go on with their efforts and secure an increase of the subscriptions to $500,000. The site chosen, comprising 250 acres, is in Bronx Park, on both sides of the Bronx River.

The difference between European (continental) and our own methods of criminal procedure was strikingly illustrated in a trial for murder by poisoning which recently took place in Antwerp. The presiding justice freely expressed the opinion that the evidence was convincing, and questioned the prisoner as if he had been a prosecuting lawyer; and the prisoner, who expected this, had to prepare herself for such treatment. She was herself the principal witness. The jury was presumed to take the judge's questioning for what it was worth as it would have taken them from a prosecuting counsel, and not as carrying any authority, as whatever the judge might say would do with us. The prisoner had her advantages under this method, for she could be her own witness and counsel, and explain the circumstances herself. No prejudice appears to have existed in the minds of any except that which was raised by the evidence.

The Report of the Interstate Commerce Commission shows that the percentage of increase of railway mileage in 1894 was less than for any preceding year for which reports have been made to the commission. No better showing is anticipated for 1895. Sixteen roads were abandoned. The gain in the use of train brakes and automatic couplers was largely in excess of the increase of equipment during the year, but can not be considered as showing a marked tendency toward compliance with the law; for 74·80 per cent of the total equipment is still without train brakes and 72·77 per cent without automatic couplers. All must, by law, be supplied before January, 1898. The number of men employed was smaller than in any year since 1890, the largest decrease being in trackmen.

The man or woman, says Dr. B. Ward Richardson, who trains himself in the best bodily health makes the best of life. Bodily welfare is important, not for itself only, but because the health of the mind so largely depends on the health of the body. A good engine outlives many of its masters because they attend to it more carefully than they attend to their own bodies. The usual relations of the age of maturity to length of life, indicating a ratio of one to five, suggest that a man taking twenty-one years to mature should live one hundred and five years. The fact that such life is exceptionally attained shows its possibility; and it is owing to errors that it is not more widely attained in the human species.

 


OBITUARY NOTES.

Thomas Henry Huxley died at Eastbourne, England, on June 29th. A severe attack of influenza early in the spring had been followed by bronchitis and other disorders. He several times rallied, but was finally obliged to succumb. A sketch of his career, by Ernst Haeckel, and a portrait, were published in an early volume of this magazine. Prof. Huxley had recently completed the revision of his essays for an edition that has appeared in nine volumes. His last magazine article was on Mr. Balfour's Attack on Agnosticism. It appeared in the Nineteenth Century for March, and was to be followed by a second paper which his illness prevented him from completing.

Prof. William C. Williamson, well known as a biologist and paleontologist, died at Clapham, England, on June 23d, in his seventy-ninth year. When Owens College was founded in 1851 he was made its Professor of Biology and Geology, his researches having already won him an election as a F. R. S. Later this professorship was divided, and for many years he had held the chair of botany. He was the first to announce the existence in some of the deeper seas of what is now known as the foraminiferous ooze. He also made important researches upon the teeth and scales of fishes, and upon the fossil plants of the coal measures. He received the Royal Medal of the Royal Society, and the Wollaston gold medal of the Geological Society. The University of Edinburgh conferred upon him the degree of LL. D. He was elected by the Royal Society of Sweden to the foreign membership left vacant by the death of Asa Gray.