Popular Science Monthly/Volume 25/August 1884/Popular Miscellany
The American Association.—The Philadelphia meeting of the American Association will begin September 4th, under the presidency of Professor J. P. Lesley. The sectional Vice-Presidents are: A. Mathematics and Astronomy, H. T. Eddy, of Cincinnati; B. Physics, John Trowbridge, of Cambridge; C. Chemistry, John W. Langley, of Ann Arbor; D. Mechanical Science, R. H. Thurston, of Hoboken; E. Geology and Geography, N. H. Winchell, of Minneapolis. Biology, E. D. Cope, of Philadelphia; F. Histology and Microscopy, T. G. Wormley, of Philadelphia; H. Anthropology, E. S. Morse, of Salem; I. Economic Science and Statistics, J. Eaton, of Washington The Permanent Secretary is Professor F. W. Putnam, of Cambridge; General Secretary, Alfred Springer, of Cincinnati; Assistant General Secretary, E. S. Holden, of Madison, Wisconsin; Treasurer, William Lilly, of Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania. The British Association has invited the members of the American Association to join in the meeting at Montreal, and the American Association and the local committee of Philadelphia have invited the members of the British Association and their companions to take part in the Philadelphia meeting. Receptions will be given at the Academy of Music and the Academy of Fine Arts; a garden-party at Haverford College; and a microscopical exhibition at the Academy of Natural Sciences. Botanical excursions will be organized, and a special meeting for botanists held by the botanical section of the Academy of Natural Sciences; and other interesting visits and excursions will be made. The address of Professor Young, as retiring President of the Association, will be delivered on the evening of the 4th, at the Academy of Music, and will be followed by a reception to members of the Association and their invited guests. The headquarters of the Association will be at the Academy of Music, Broad Street.
Sir John Lubbock on Classical and Scientific Education.—Sir John Lubbock spoke, at a recent dinner of the British University College Club, in reference to the great advance that had been made in this age in education. A commission of inquiry, appointed in 1861, mentioned as a great practical evil of the English schools that too little time was devoted to modern languages, and science was practically excluded altogether. A similar commission in 1864 gave substantially the same verdict. A third royal commission, in 1875, declared that the practical omission of these subjects from the training of the middle and upper classes was little less than a national misfortune. Still, though no doubt some progress had been gained, too little attention was given to these subjects. The time in the schools was at present allotted somewhat on the average as follows: To science, not more than two hours a week were given; to modern languages, three hours; and to geography, arithmetic, and mathematics, four hours, leaving thirty hours for Latin and Greek. Now, suppose that six hours were devoted to arithmetic and mathematics, six to science, six to modern languages and history, and six to geography, there would still be more than twenty hours for Latin and Greek, and if a boy could not learn Latin and Greek in twenty hours a week, spread over ten years, he would certainly never learn them at all. Sir John Lubbock was far from undervaluing Latin, and indeed it seemed to him well worth considering whether the present system of learning it was really wise, and whether our sons ought not to be taught to speak it as well as to read it. He then spoke of the particular importance of the knowledge of modern languages and science in England. Englishmen have the most varied enterprises all over the globe, more than half the shipping on the high seas, and foreign investments returning them $350,000,000 a year. The management of these gigantic undertakings ought to be intrusted to those who could speak the language of the country in which they were carried on. Many a promising concern had been brought to ruin because it had been impossible to find properly qualified Englishmen to take care of it, and because it had consequently been intrusted to foreigners. He did not undervalue and would not neglect the classics. All he asked was that science and modern languages should have their fair share of attention, for, as Dr. Carpenter had well observed, there was one side of our nature which science was the only means of cultivating.
The Weather, Health, and Crime.—Mr. S. A. Hill has recently published, in "Nature," an analysis of the effects of the weather upon the death-rate and crime in India, particularly in the Northwest Provinces and Oude. The whole number of deaths varies enormously from year to year. Thus it was 1,914,499 in 1879, and 987,190 in 1880, showing a difference of nearly a million in two successive years. The average yearly rate is about a million and a half. Taking the two years of extremes cited, in 1879 the monsoon rains were unusually heavy, while in 1880 they were extremely scanty, and apprehensions of famine were entertained. The year 1877 was also dry and healthy. The first rough generalization suggested by Mr. Hill's tables is, that dry years are healthy and wet ones unhealthy. It would, nevertheless, be wrong to infer that in India mortality is due to rain, for the figures for the several months show that, as a rule, the month in which fewest deaths occur is July, which happens to be just the rainiest month of the twelve. Rain is, no doubt, one of the indirect causes of death; but it operates by inducing malaria, which does not come with it but after it. Mere rise in temperature, as shown by monthly means, appears to have comparatively little effect. The variations in the diurnal range have a much greater effect, while the change in the death-rate, due to varying humidity, is even less than that due to temperature changes. The relation between the death-rate and the movement of the wind is inverse. In October and November, when malarial diseases prevail, the air is almost absolutely still, and a little wind would probably go a good ways toward dissipating malaria. The deaths by small-pox are fewer in the months when the general mortality attains its maximum. The meteorological causes favorable to the spread of this disease appear to be heat, drought, and possibly also an unusually high wind-velocity. The maximum mortality from cholera usually occurs in the rainy season. Whatever may ultimately prove to be the nature of the disease, there can be little doubt that in the Northwest Provinces it is, to a great extent, dependent upon heat and moisture. Crimes by violence seem to be proportional in frequency to the tendency to prickly heat, an excruciating condition of the skin induced by a high temperature combined with moisture.
The Morality of Happiness.—If any proof of the truth of your remark, that "there can be no manner of doubt that rules of conduct are regarded by an immense number of persons as essentially associated with religious doctrines," were needed, it may be found in the fact that many people will but half-heartedly admit that a man may be capable of good conduct if he does not profess their own peculiar creed, but will stoutly deny that such conduct is possible to him who professes no creed at all. The reason for this position is, I think, not far to seek. That conduct conduces to happiness is, perhaps, more conclusively insisted upon in the Bible than in any other book that is equally read; and those who regard the Bible as the inspired fount of their theology can not admit that a man may by his life prove this and yet not give his adhesion to their own or some kindred doctrine which they insist is built upon biblical teaching. But that this proposition—"Conduct conduces to happiness"—is true, most people, indeed, I should say, all people, may prove to themselves by a little thoughtful introspection. Who, without any reference whatever to religious sentiments, has not felt the pangs of remorse, when suffering from a sense of wrong-doing? Who has not felt a thrill of the most real and satisfying pleasure when, by the exercise of self-denial, he has conferred some benefit on a fellow-creature—thus receiving from his own conscience the direct assurance that the proposition is true? Yet conscience existed before the Bible, and before the Bible must have been susceptible of the same emotions that influence it now. It so happened that the Jews made the discovery, some centuries ago, that "conduct conduces to happiness," and insisted upon it in their literature; and it further happened that upon Jewish literature the whole fabric of Christian theology was built up; but the truth and proof of the proposition are matters of purely worldly wisdom, the outcome of experience, and have nothing whatever to do with theological dogmas.—A. McD., in Knowledge.
Flat-foot.—Flat-foot is an acquired deformity, characterized by a flattening or falling down of the inner longitudinal arch of the foot, a structure on which depend the form of the foot, the distribution of the weight of the body over it, and the grace and ease of walking connected with the rising forward on the toes. Its cause may be found in any condition that disturbs the natural equilibrium between the weight transmitted to the arch and the power of the fibrous and muscular structures to sustain the pressure. It comes on about puberty, or between puberty and full manhood, particularly in persons exposed to long standing, carrying heavy weights, or other modes of straining the arch, and in those whose tissues are weak at that point. Besides the deformity and the loss of elasticity in the step and of all ease and grace in walking, it causes great pain, which, naturally, is always worse after standing or walking, especially after going up-stairs or up-hill, and at night than in the morning. In very severe cases the heel becomes raised, giving the foot what Professor Ongston has called a canoe-shape. The success of any treatment of the deformity depends largely upon the age and extent of the affliction and the ability of the patient to conform to the surgeon's directions. It includes prolonged rest, the avoidance of standing still, the exhibition of tonics, the adaptation of boots to the requirements of the case, with the application of devices to raise and support the arch or bring the other parts of the foot into proper position, with, sometimes, surgical operations. Professor Ongston, availing himself of the advantages of Listerism, has ventured, with success, upon the bold operation of rearranging the bones of the foot in their proper position and plugging them together with ivory pegs.
The True and False in Mesmerism.—The physiologist, says the "Saturday Review," holds that some of the phenomena of mesmerism are genuine and comparable to certain natural states, but that none exist to justify the supposition of any unknown force or effluence, most mesmeric manifestations of a certain sort being entirely due to individual or collusive fraud. For most of the facts alleged are of such a nature that it is infinitely more probable that all connected with them, both actors and reporters, are deliberate impostors, than that they themselves should be true. The careful study of the alleged phenomena by those who are alone qualified to report on them has over and over again negatived all shadow of evidence that a person in the state called hypnotism, somnambulism, or mesmerism, has any power whatever of being influenced in any way by another to perform specific actions, all possibility of previous hints or impressions being excluded, while demonstrably apart from all methods of communication by the senses. That in many cases the mind may act abnormally most are aware, and spontaneous counterparts are found in disease to the real phenomena of hypnotism. Artificial somnambulism, indeed, is practically undistinguishable from the somnambulism which is called disease; and it is mainly true to regard the psychological fields of these phenomena as identical. In this state the brain acts, as it were, fitfully; some of its functions sleep while others wake, and in various combinations the actions of the senses are heightened or lowered, or apparently for a time abolished. But in no instance of this artificial somnambulism that has been admitted to be genuine has there been any justification for supposing a special effluence from the operator; and innumerable counter-experiments have been made on hypnotic subjects who have promptly fallen into this condition from merely believing that some force was being exerted. Every hypnotic phenomenon can be more or less obviously referred to morbid conditions of the nervous system and to abnormal reaction or response to suggestions and other stimuli from without. Illustrations of this are not far to seek. We know that lunatics, out of harmony as they are with their own environment, often imagine themselves to be other people, especially kings and queens. So do the subjects of hypnotism at the suggestion of external surroundings; in the one case the morbid condition is temporary, in the other often permanent. The explanation, then, of the phenomena in question, is to be sought not in the person of the mesmerizer or operator, or in any unknown force, but in the subject "mesmerized." The common element of mesmerism and spiritualism, and it is indeed a large one, is really fraud and fraud alone. Of what remains, the genuine fact of hypnotism, it must be repeated, that it is amply recognized by scientific observers.
Nickel-Plating in the United States.—"Nickel-plating," says Mr. William H. Wahl, in a paper read before the Chemical Section of the Franklin Institute last November, "is an American industry, in the sense that it was first practiced on a commercial scale in the United States, and here received that practical demonstration of its usefulness that has since made it the most successful and most widely practiced branch of the art of electro-plating." It first came into prominence about ten years ago, and has developed into an industry of great magnitude, and acquired a popularity which is easily accounted for by any one acquainted with the use and the excellence of nickel-plated articles. Its growth has been favored by the success which Mr. Joseph Wharton has attained in the production of metallic nickel of suitable purity at a reasonable price. Mr. Wharton was one of the first to work the metal successfully, and exhibited at Vienna, in 1873, samples of axles and axle-bearings, and at Philadelphia, in 1876, a remarkable series of objects of wrought-nickel. He produced in his works, between 1876 and the close of 1882, 1,466,765 pounds of the metal, the principal source of supply of which was from the ores at Lancaster Gap, Pennsylvania. The earliest practical process for nickel-plating in the United States was patented by Isaac Adams, Jr., in 1869. He devised a bath of the double sulphate of nickel and ammonium and the double chloride of nickel and ammonium, with anodes of metallic nickel, in which iron was combined, to obviate the bad effects of copper and arsenic impurities. The extensive application of this process was facilitated by the production of nickel of improved qualities of purity, and the introduction of dynamos for producing the electric currents, they taking the place of the expensive galvanic battery. Edward Weston, in 1878, prepared a solution containing boric acid, with the double sulphate of nickel and ammonium, the superiority of which is generally recognized. The deposited metal is almost silver-white, dense, homogeneous, and tenacious, while the solution maintains a uniform, excellent working quality. Among other solutions which have been introduced, one prepared by adding ammonia and water to the sulphate of nickel, is recommended by Professor Böttger, and is said to be well suited for the purposes of amateurs, because of its giving good results with a platinum anode. Compositions containing sulphate of nickel and ammonium and sulphate of ammonium are recommended for coating several different metals. Where the double sulphate of nickel and ammonium is used, the bath should be maintained as nearly neutral as possible; but it may be either slightly acid or slightly alkaline. The strength of the current should be carefully regulated according to the surface of the articles in the bath, or the work will be apt to "burn," when the metal is precipitated as a dark-gray or black deposit. To obviate this difficulty, a plate of nickel presenting considerable surface is suspended from the rods by which the objects to be plated are held in the bath, to divert the surplus of the current from them. Other things being equal, the slower the rate of deposition, the more adherent and tenacious the coating of deposited metal will be. Success in plating depends very largely upon the perfect cleansing of the articles before they are immersed in the bath; and this is more important in case of plating with nickel than with other metals, for which the solutions are generally more alkaline. As nickel-plated articles can not be burnished on account of the hardness of the deposited metal, they should be thoroughly polished before being exposed to the bath. A good coating of nickel properly laid on preserves great durability.
A People who can not make Fire.—The Papuans of the Maclay coast of New Guinea are represented by the Russian explorer, Dr. Miklucho Maclay, as being in the most primitive stage. They are wholly unacquainted with metals, and make their weapons of stone, bones, and wood. They do not know how to start a fire, though fire is in use among them. When the traveler asked them how they made a fire, they could not understand his question, but they regarded it as very amusing, and answered that when a person's fire went out he got some of a neighbor, and, if all the fires in the village should go out, they would get it from the next village. Some of the natives represented that their fathers and grandfathers had told them that they remembered a time, or had heard from their ancestors that there was a time, when fire was not known, and everything was eaten raw. The natives of the southern coast of New Guinea, having no iron, shave themselves now with a piece of glass. Formerly they shaved with flint, which they could sharpen quite well, and used with considerable dexterity.
The Art of Early Rising.—The proper time to rise, says the "Lancet," is when sleep ends. Dozing should not be allowed. True sleep is the aggregate of sleeps, or is a state consisting in the sleeping or rest of all the several parts of the organism. Sometimes one and at other times another part of the body, as a whole, may be the least fatigued, and so the first to awake, or the most exhausted, and therefore the most difficult to arouse. The secret of good sleep is, the physiological conditions of rest being established, so to work and weary the several parts of the organism as to give them a proportionally equal need of rest at the same moment; and, to wake early and feel ready to rise, a fair and equal start of the sleepers should be secured; and the wise self-manager should not allow a drowsy feeling of the consciousness or weary senses, or an exhausted muscular system, to beguile him into the folly of going to sleep again when once he has been aroused. After a very few days of self-discipline, the man who resolves not to doze, that is, not to allow some sleepy part of his body to keep him in bed after his brain has once awakened, will find himself, without knowing why, an early riser.
Reafforesting of Ireland.—At the suggestion of Dr. Lyon, M. P. for Dublin, Mr. D. Howitz, Forest Conservator of Denmark, has made an examination of the resources and the need of Ireland for forest cultivation, and his observations and conclusions have been embodied in a parliamentary report. He has found that "swamps and morasses are created in Ireland from the want of trees to drink up the superfluous moisture. Irish rivers inundate the districts they traverse because there are no forests on the mountain-tops to arrest and retain the autumn and spring rains. In summer there is a dearth of water because the trees are gone which would have served, each, as a reservoir....Irish agriculture, by its system of straight drains, which Mr. Howitz entirely disapproves, has acted as if water were poison instead of nutriment. In the past by felling the mountain-woods, and in the present by planting no successors, it has done worse by tapping the supply at its source. Irish fruitfulness is gradually being drained and washed away into the lakes and seas, and no preparation has been made to replenish it." Yet the island presents the especial conditions for rendering forestry easy and beneficial. Five million of its twenty million acres are waste, and might be planted with a reasonable certainty of profit; and these lands would grow valuable timber, instead of the commoner and cheaper kinds. The list of available trees includes thirty-six conifers, thirty-eight deciduous and hard-wood species, and eight sorts of bushes. Mr. Howitz has drawn up from personal inspection a scheme for planting a hundred thousand acres every year for the next thirty years. By the end of that time a plantation, he estimates, will come to full productive capacity, besides having already given incidental returns from brush-wood and saplings. The cost per acre, at the end of thirty years, will have been, at the highest, £20, or $100; while the lowest annual profits are computed, at present prices, at one pound, or five dollars per acre; and as the demand for timber is all the time rising, and the area of supply narrowing, they are likely to be higher.
The Training of a Medicine-Man.—The medicine-man among the Indians of French Guiana, who is called the piaye, is priest, doctor, wizard, and mountebank, chiefly the last, all in one. He prepares himself for his office by going through a course of special training, full of terrible experiences, to which he submits willingly for the sake of the advantages he expects to gain. The candidate, who is supposed to have had some kind of a call to the office, must obligate himself to submit, without flinching, to all the processes of discipline that are to be imposed upon him. Except for a little instruction in the concoction of poisons, the discipline has no reference to the medical art. For six months he is put upon a diet of manioc, which he must feed himself with his feet, using his hands only to guide his feet to his mouth; then he is allowed dried fish, to be taken in the same way, and tobacco, of which he must swallow the juice. Having survived this for a year, he is "examined" by being held under water till he is almost strangled, and then made immediately to walk over red-hot coals, deliberately. Another year of the former regimen is given him to prepare for his second examination, when he is tied up in a bag full of red ants, previously well shaken to a pitch of savage excitement. He is next treated to a most ingeniously devised application of wasp-stings, and to a trial of snake-bites, against which he is permitted to fortify himself with antidotes. He may also be hung to a flexible rod by hooks stuck in his ribs, or by his thumbs and toes, and kept awake for a week at a time. After this course, he is permitted to assist his master by beating the drum around the sick man's hammock, and howling to drive away the evil spirits. His final trial is the drinking of a decoction of carrion and tobacco-juice, after which he is regarded as fully qualified to work upon the fears of the tribe, and extort from them all the service and tithes and tribute, and levy all the black-mail his victims can be forced to pay. As for medical treatment, there is none of it, not even the herb-doctoring; and this constitutes the chief advantage of the system.
Treatment for Inebriate Patients.—At the last meeting of the American Social Science Association, T. D. Crothers, M. D., read a paper in which he stated that, by a strange shifting of events, insanity, which was supposed to be a spiritual affection until a comparatively recent date, is now studied as a physical disorder; while, inebriety, which was regarded as a disease twenty centuries ago, is still invested with the superstition of a spiritual origin. If it were a moral disorder, it would diminish with the growth of morality and intelligence, but, notwithstanding the advance in these directions, it is rapidly increasing. The revenue returns for twenty years bring out this fact clearly. In 1862 the revenue collected from liquors was six millions; in 1882 it had reached eighty-six millions, an increase far beyond that of the population; yet this does not indicate the enormous increase in sales by the local dealer, of which there are no records. The law assumes the correctness of the theological theory of inebriety, which affirms it to be a vice. The remedy, of course, is punishment by fine and imprisonment, which never cures or prevents drinking, but, on the contrary, weakens and enfeebles the victim, rendering him less curable. Very much in the same way, the punishment of insanity and witchcraft always made its victim worse. The hygienic influences of jails and prisons are wanting in every respect, and adverse to any general healthy growth of body and mind. The only compensation to the inebriate is the removal of alcohol, and the state, in doing this, most terribly unfits him, and makes him more helpless for the future. The hereditary nature of many cases of inebriety is well established. It is estimated that over sixty per cent of all inebriates inherit a defective brain and nerve organization. Moderate drinking always leaves an impress on the next generation. In heredity from inebriety there is transmitted a special nerve defect, which, from certain exciting causes, will always develop into inebriety, or one of its family group of disorders—consumption, insanity, pauperism, criminality, etc. Another form of injury that is obscure, but equally prominent as a cause of inebriety, is mental shock, that is, the effect of sudden grief, alarm, loss, sorrow, or other depressing emotion, which brings on a form of nervous derangement that finds relief in the narcotic effect of alcohol. Children from inebriate, insane, or defective parents require a special education. It is a fact beyond all doubt that the education of to-day, applied irrespective of the natural capacity of the person, and along unphysiological lines, literally destroys and unfits a large class for healthy and rational living. Probably the largest class of inebriates in this country is without means of support. Dr. Crothers recommends that this class should come under legal recognition, and be committed to workhouse hospitals located in the country. These hospitals should be training-schools, in which medical care, occupation, and physical and mental training could be applied for years, or until the inmates had so far recovered as to be able to become good citizens and self-supporting.
Old-World Origin of the American Indians.—M. Dabry de Thiersant, a French author, has published a book on the "Origin of the Indians of the New World and of their Civilization," in which he asserts that "everything authorizes the supposition that the New World was peopled, at an epoch difficult to determine, by colonies of the Mongolian race, coming over by way of Behring's Strait or of the Aleutian Islands." They were followed by the immigration of another race which played an important part in the development of American civilization, an Aryo-Turanian race, from Scythia. The author describes the probable steps of these immigrations, and assigns the part the Aryans took in the construction of the ancient civilization of the country, in plausible conjectures, which, however ingeniously drawn and stated, lack the essential quality of being known facts. He might, however, have had some substantial foundations on which to rest his hypotheses, had not the Spanish conquerors taken the pains to destroy all the monuments and records they could place their hands upon.The Mask-Dances of New Ireland.—Herr Weisser, who has recently been cruising in the South Sea Islands, has communicated to Dr. Bastian some interesting facts respecting the use of masks by the savages of New Ireland and some of the neighboring islands. A kind of feast of masks takes place once a year, in the early days of May, and is made an occasion when hostile tribes meet each other in peace for that day only—and, possibly, for finding pretexts for another year's hostilities. Tribes that are neighbors are constantly at war with each other, and hardly a week passes but some person of one of the tribes is killed and eaten by members of another. Such is the course of life through the year, till the festival of peace and masks. During this time the brave carves out, adorns, and paints his mask according to his own notion, and generally with considerable artistic skill. Hence the masks in a large tribe will exhibit a great variety of patterns. Great care is taken that no one shall see the mask, for it is very important that the identity of the owner shall be concealed. When the work is finished, the owner puts his mark on it, and takes it to the mask-house. When the time comes for the parade of the masks, the champions put them on, having arrayed themselves for the occasion in red shirts of bark, and skirts reaching to their knees. They then go out armed to the neighboring tribes, giving notice of their approach by the blowing of conchs and the beating of their wooden drums. When the hostile tribe is reached, the mask-dance is executed with a sot of extraordinary movements, and then they all fall to eating together, not without some restraint, for instances of treachery have been known in which poison was concealed in tempting looking sago-cakes. Peace lasts till night, when the masks are inspected, compared, criticised, and jeered at with every manifestation of contempt. The last part of the proceedings excites mutual anger, and furnishes the occasion for the next year's hostilities.
Why we walk in Circles.—The reason that, when lost or not able to see, we walk in a circle, is still undetermined. Mr. George H. Darwin believes that it is because we are right or left legged, our "leggedness" being generally the converse of our "handedness," and that therefore right-handed men, being left-legged, are most apt to deviate to the right, and left-handed men to the left. Himself and Mr. Galton and others, making personal experiments in walking blindfolded, found themselves describing circles not more than fifty yards in diameter, to the right. Of eight schoolboys, six, who were totally right-handed, strode longer from left to right than from right to left, hopped on the left leg, and rose in jumping from that leg; one boy pursued the opposite course; and the last walked irregularly, with no average difference between his strides. Walking on a match for straightness, the left-legged boys all diverged to the right, the seventh boy to the left, and the eighth won the prize. Measurements of Mr. Darwin's own stride, and of the strides of his friends, showed the same connection between divergence and comparative length of stride. Mr. Thomas Hawksley believes that the reason for the divergence is to be found in differences in the length of the legs, not enough to affect the visible step, but sufficient to reveal itself in a considerable walk.
Siberian Superstitions.—A Russian officer, who has spent several months in that region, has given a curious picture of the Yarchans, or the people of Yarkino, in Northern Siberia, who, while in the organization of their communal life they conform quite closely to the Russian system, have so little communication with the world that they still remain almost in a primitive condition, and the grossest superstitions prevail among them. When the moon is eclipsed, they think it is bewitched; they regard green trees as living and having souls; and they consider sickness a kind of foreign, baleful clement that has intruded itself into the organism. Sleep is conceived to be something apart and independent of the body, and the idea of disturbing sleep is incomprehensible to them. They think that, if a man has sleep, he will keep on sleeping in spite of all that can be done, but that, when sleep has left him, the slightest movement will arouse him. They believe in spirits of the wood, and of the tree, fire, house, and bath, not with the abstract, half-belief of the Russian peasant, but with a full confidence in their existence as practical realities. "I am convinced," says the Russian officer, "that the Yarchan peasant is accustomed to begin nothing without previous incantations and mysterious manipulations. Father Wood-Spirit is besought not to drive away the squirrels during the hunt; the spirit of the bath is asked for permission to go into the bathing-place; and the Yarchan is not willing to go to his bath alone for fear of being troubled by the spirit. So permission is asked of the wood-spirit before felling a tree. All petitions of this kind are accompanied with peculiar symbolical formulas. Incantations are in use for the gun, in behalf of the cattle, against diseases, and for every occupation of the day and hour. Of course, there is little room for rational medicine among such a people, and incantations, holy water, and amulets are chiefly relied upon to meet the effects of bewitching. A wizard's cap was formerly set up on the road leading to Yarkino, to prevent the entrance of plagues and witches. The town clerk had it taken away, and the whole community complained of the act to the official board. A wood-fire—that is, a fire that has been kindled by rubbing two sticks together—plays an important part as a prophylactic against infections and all kinds of disease. When an epidemic breaks out, the use of matches is forbidden, all fires are extinguished, and a new wood-fire is kindled in the street, whence all the household fires must be replenished. If, while this is going on, any fire is lit by means of matches or flints, the procedure is vitiated, and has to be gone over again from the beginning.
Virchow on the Origin of Bronze.—At the recent meeting of the German Anthropological Society in Treves, Professor Virchow spoke on the origin of the bronze age. Some archæologists supposed that the composition of the bronze alloy was discovered at different places and in different times independently of one another; but against this view was the fact that the composition of the bronze found everywhere, from the Caucasus to the Pillars of Hercules, is identical—nine parts of copper to one of tin. Considering the question of original discovery, the speaker did not regard the evidence in favor of the claim of the Phœnicians as strong enough to justify the ascription of the honor to them, though they may have been active as spreaders of bronze. Hochstetter's theory that the metal was the property of the whole Aryan race, and had been their common possession before they left their Asiatic home, was opposed by geographical and archaeological considerations. Nevertheless, Professor Virchow believed that the civilization of Central Europe was the development of Arvan influence.
The Ideal Zoölogical Garden.—Mr. Theodore Link protests, in "The American Naturalist," against the usual arrangement of zoological gardens. As distinguished from menageries, or "shows," the object of zoölogical gardens, according to the constitutions and by-laws of most of them, is the study and dissemination of a knowledge of the natural habits of the animal kingdom. To fulfill this definition, the gardens should furnish opportunities for the study, "and these the disappointed zoologist seeks in vain. In fact, in this respect, the zoölogical garden of to-day affords but few more advantages than any of those traveling shows that come here every season....I have simply found that an animal, as closely confined as most of them are in zoölogical gardens, retains none of its natural habits; it only exists—a mere automaton; and even this existence is seemingly under protest. Therefore this aforesaid 'study and dissemination of a knowledge, etc.,' is 'a delusion and a snare.'" In the zoölogical gardens, as he conceives it, "the foremost condition will be the rational construction of inclosures—not cages—liberal in extent, and in strict accordance with the respective habits and instincts of the animals to be confined. Cages can not well be avoided by traveling menageries; in zoölogical gardens they are inexcusable." In the landscape features of a zoological garden, the aim should be to unite beauty with use. The surroundings should imitate, as near as the climate permits, the scenic characteristics of the homes of the various specimens. "This would be a pleasant delusion to both visitor and animal. These widely different styles of scenery should, of course, be blended into a harmonious and well-balanced composition by a very guarded and gradual transition, thus affording delightful surprises at every step."
The One Hundred Cataracts of the Iguazu (South America).—One of the most remarkable systems of waterfalls in the world is described by Herr Gustav Niederlein, who last year made an exploration of the Paraná River into the Argentine province of Misiones. The falls are called the One Hundred Cataracts of the Iguazu, a stream which at that point defines the boundary between the Argentine Republic and Brazil. The river, which is about three miles wide at a short distance above, falls from the Albert Archipelago in a three-quadrant arc, which is compared with that of the Victoria Falls, a descent of about one hundred and seventy feet. The falls appear in three divisions, called the Brazilian, Island, and Argentine Falls, or as Herr Niederlein prefers to style them, the Emperor Dom Pedro, the Emperor William, and the General Roca falls. The first excel in grandeur, the last in beauty, while the Emperor William falls, less extensive, and situated between the other two, impinge upon the handsomely wooded Emperor William's Island. The Dom Pedro Fall plunges a sheer depth of forty or fifty metres into a narrowly contracted basin, whence flows the Brazilian arm of the Iguazu, into which farther down the island-cataracts pour their masses. The bow-shaped Argentine Fall is broken into two stages, the upper one of which is divided by the interposition of a rocky mass into two minor bows, so that it is really a kind of triple fall. This triple cataract feeds the smaller Argentine arm of the river, which joins the Brazilian arm farther on. Not far from these falls the stream receives from the Argentine side the two Bosetti Falls, which, issuing from side-clefts, throw their water-masses over a ledge, about fifty feet high, upon a rocky platform, whence they immediately plunge into the Iguazu. Still below these are fourteen smaller falls, and, finally, the Prince Bismarck Cataract, which falls with a descent broken into two falls, about one hundred and twenty-five feet into a gulf fringed with the primitive sub-tropical forest. About ten miles below this, the Iguazu, now about six hundred and sixty feet wide, unites with the Paraná.
The Southern Andes and Patagonia.—Dr. Karl Martin, of Jena, has recently published a description of the Patagonian wilderness and the lower Andes, from his own observations. The Andes do not stretch in a continuous chain to Cape Horn, as is often supposed, but are broken south of Central Chili by several interruptions. Down to the volcano of Villarica, in south latitude 39°, they are a solid range; but below that peak the mountains fail far below the sixteen thousand feet which it attains. From its southern slope the Shoshuenco River, the chief affluent of the Valdivia, penetrates the mountains through a pass of only about thirteen hundred feet above the sea, receiving its water from a lake which is separated only by a low ridge from the waters of the Limai, a stream flowing into the Atlantic. The mountain standing between this and the next pass of three thousand feet in height is 8,700 feet high, while south of it are lower mountains, between which a number of little known but not very elevated passes lead into the Patagonian highland. A view from the hills surrounding the city of Osoruo shows a number of considerable mountains with no connecting ridge between them, and, in the south, a chain of three peaks. One of these peaks, the shapely cone of the volcano of Osonio, rises from between two lakes, into one of which flows from the east the Puella, a stream whose source is in the glacier of the Tronador, ten thousand feet high. Near it and separated by a pass of only twenty-nine hundred feet high, flows the Rio Frio from another glacier, into the Nahuelhuapi Lake, the largest lake in Patagonia, from which the Limai, the principal river of the country, flows to the Atlantic Ocean. The chain of the Andes is again broken at this point by a deep gorge; and the passes continue to diminish in height as we go south. The idea that the Patagonian Andes form a continuous marked boundary to the table-land of the country is a mistaken one. The line is frequently broken by ravines that reach far back into the interior; and Captain Simpeon, of the Chilian marine, has found the sources of two of the principal western rivers not far from the center of the country. At other points the sea makes extensive cuts into the land, forming deep bays and fiords, between which the land pushes out its sharply serrated peninsulas. Archipelagoes, in which Simpson has counted more than a thousand islands, lie before and within the bays. The largest of the islands is Chiloe; a few of them are level, but most of them are mountainous and steep, while all are thickly wooded. The coast-lines are sharply indented, and the slopes in the neighborhood of the Straits of Magellan, those of Cape Froward, Tierra del Fuego, and Cape Horn, with whose cincture of evergreen beeches the verdant mantle of the Patagonian wilderness descends to the sea, arc very rugged.
Effect of Sewage on River-Water.—Franz Hulna has examined the water of the river Oder above Breslau, in its course through the city, and for fourteen kilometres, or about ten miles, below the town, to determine the effect of sewage upon its purity. From the point where the water-supply of Breslau is pumped up to a little above the town, the water undergoes a slight but appreciable deterioration, but after filtration is quite suitable for domestic uses. In passing through the city a continuous change for the worse takes place, which is manifested by the increase of oxidizable matter and of chlorine, and by a hundred-fold augmentation of ammonia and albuminoid ammonia. Microscopic examination disclosed the abundant presence of organisms of putrefaction. Farther down was observed a gradual process of self-purification by contact with oxygen, along with the co-operation of vegetable and animal life in the stream. At fourteen kilometres below the city the influence of sewage could not be detected, either by the chemical or the microscopic examination; but the water was of the same composition as at the supply-station above.