Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 8.djvu/388

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374

THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

amination of Part II., we are seized with a violent longing to be spared from Part I. The special function of Part II. is to establish meteorological cycles and to promulgate the theory of planetary equinoxes, on the strength of which Mr. Tice has made predictions which have gained for him considerable attention. It is unfortunate, however, for his reputation that he ever ventured into print; for no one can give his book the most cursory examination without detecting its unsoundness. Lack of space forbids more than a brief outline of Mr. Tice's theory. To point out all his errors in mathematics, physics, and astronomy, his false assumptions and logical fallacies, would require several pages.

All phenomena are periodic. "The regular recurrence of identical physical phenomena is an admitted fact." Were the cycle known, we could tell just when the phenomena of the past would be repeated. Mr. Tice considers the discovery of a meteorological cycle "the most clamant desideratum of the age." The discovery (?) of the Great Cycle was Mr. Tice's first step in the science of meteorology. It is exactly 11.86 years. He claims that this is established by the periodic phenomena of sunspots, magnetic storms, cyclones, earthquakes, auroras, etc., but fails to give us the process of reduction. This period is identical with Jupiter's year, and the inference is that Jupiter is the cause of the cycle, which henceforth is called the Jovial Cycle. The idea of associating Jupiter with the eleven-year periods is not new, but we supposed it had been abandoned.

Mr. Tice's next stage is to prove that the phenomena of sun-spots, cyclones, etc., reach their maxima when Jupiter is at his equinoxes, and, of course, once every 5.93 years. This proof Mr. Tice gives in full with immense satisfaction, quite unconscious of its having not even a presumption in its favor. Finding nothing in his astronomy of Jupiter's equinoxes, he assumed that his solstitial points coincided with his points of greatest and least distance from the sun (aphelion and perihelion), as is the case, approximately, with the earth. The same groundless and false assumption is afterward made for the other planets, and such reasoning Mr. Tice calls "deduction from general principles" and "telluric analogy." Again, at its equinoxes the earth is at its greatest distance north and south of the plane of the sun's equator: Mr. Tice infers that the same is true of all other planets.

Mr. Tice calculates the equinoxes of the planets from their aphelia and perihelia, and accounts for the disturbing force of a planetary equinox on the supposition that the planet at its equinox is at its greatest distance from the solar equator, and hence exposed to only one pole of the sun. Thus, when the earth is at its vernal equinox, the north pole of the sun is invisible, and we are exposed to the full influence of its south magnetic pole. Terrific energy is then interchanged, disturbing both the atmosphere of the earth and that of the sun. The disturbances in the latter are communicated to the other members of the solar system. Similar results are produced at the autumnal equinox by the sun's north magnetic pole. When at their equinoxes the other planets undergo a like experience, and indirectly, through the sun, we share in the resultant electrical excitement. Such is the theory, and on such foundations does it rest. Historical records and the reports of the weather bureaus furnish endless confirmations, for every storm finds an equinox to bear the responsibility. In order to include all actual phenomena, the duration of an equinoctial period is put at one-fourth the planet's year, so that each planet spends halt its time in creating disturbances throughout the solar system.

Not the least curious feature of the book is the adoption, into the family of planets, of the mythical Vulcan, supposed to have been discovered in 1859, and for a time believed to be a real planet, lying very near the sun. As nothing has been seen of it for the last dozen years, this looks very much like another assumption, of which, indeed, there appears to be no lack throughout the book.

Proceedings of the Seventh Annual Session of the American Philological Association, held at Newport, R. I., July, 1875. Hartford, 1875.

The meeting of the American Philological Association, of which this pamphlet is a record, was hold at Newport, R. I., from July 13th to July 15th of this year. It