Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 81.djvu/390

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in the sand, or carved out of clay frightening demons, and so beguiled from the first five the larger share of their wealth. In this land of factories, while the many are confined to mean streets and wretched houses, possessing no sufficiency of baths and clean clothing, and are ill-fed, they work all day long, not to fashion for themselves better houses and clothing, but to make those unnecessaries such as "the fluff" of women's apparel and a thousand trifles which relieve the monotony of the idle and bemuse their own minds.

The discovery of radium and its disintegration as a source of energy has enabled the physicist to extend Lord Kelvin's estimate of the world's age from some thirty to a thousand million years. Arthur Keith does not hesitate to give a million of these years to man's evolution. Karl Pearson speaks of hundreds of thousands of years. The form of the human skull, the brain capacity of man, his skill as evidenced by stone implements and cave drawings of animals in action, was the same tens of thousands of years ago as now. For ages primitive man lived as a wild animal in tropical climes, discovered how to make fire, clothe himself in skins, build shelters, and so enable himself to wander over the temperate and arctic zones. Finally, in the last few score of years, he has made houses draughtless with glass windows, fitted them with stoves and radiators and every kind of device to protect himself from cold, while he occupies himself in the sedentary pursuits and amusements of a city life. How much better, to those who know the boundless horizon of life, to be a frontiers-man and enjoy the struggle, with body hardened, perfectly fit, attuned to nature, than to be a cashier condemned to the occupation of a sunless, windless paybox. The city child, however, nurtured and educated in confinement, knows not the largeness and wonders of nature, is used to the streets with their ceaseless movement and romantic play of artificial light after dark, and does not need the commiseration of the country mouse any more than the beetle who lives in the dark and animated burrows of his heap. But while outdoor work disciplines the body of the countryman into health, the townman needs the conscious attention and acquired educated control of his life to give him any full measure of health and happiness.

Experimental evidence is strongly in favor of my argument that the chemical purity of the air is of no importance. Analyses show that the oxygen in the worst-ventilated school-room, chapel or theater is never lessened by more than 1 per cent, of an atmosphere; the ventilation through chink and cranny, chimney, door and window, and the porous brick wall, suffices to prevent a greater diminution. So long as there is present a partial pressure of oxygen sufficient to change the hemoglobin of the venous blood into oxyhemoglobin there can arise no lack of oxygen.