Popular Science Monthly/Volume 47/August 1895/Literary Notices

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Physics for University Students. By Henry S. Carhart, LL. D. Boston: Allyn & Bacon. Pp. 335.

This is Part I, including mechanics light, and sound, of a text-book, not a treatise, the necessity for which has grown out of the author's own needs as a teacher. The book does not pretend to cover the subject, nor to treat exhaustively those portions with which it deals. It has been written with the notion of giving the student a general survey, and only those portions of the science of most importance from this standpoint have been selected for treatment. Rather more space than is usual in an elementary book is given to a consideration of simple harmonic motion. The author explains this by pointing out its value in the study of alternating currents of electricity and in mechanics. After the statement and explanation of the various laws, the author has arranged problems for testing the student's knowledge. The following, which is one of the experiments given to illustrate surface tension, will convey a fair notion of the simplicity and clearness of the author's style: "Make a ring of stout wire three or four inches in diameter, with a handle. Tie to this a loop of thread so that the loop may hang near the middle of the ring. Dip the ring into a good soap solution containing glycerin, and obtain a plain film. The thread will float in it. Break the film inside the loop with a warm pointed wire, and the loop will spring out into a circle. The tension of the film attached to the thread pulls it out equally in all directions."

Electricity and Magnetism. By S. R. Bottone. London and New York: Whittaker & Co. Pp. 203. Price, 90 cents.

Prof. Bottone, who is the author of several other books on electrical subjects, has here presented in small compass and popular form an outline of what is known about electricity. "The work is not intended as a text-book," he says in his preface, "hence no recondite calculations and no mere enumeration of all the existing electro-magnetic appliances are introduced. . . . The two old theories are sufficiently dwelt upon to enable the reader to form an intelligent conception of them, while very special stress has been laid upon the modern and more satisfactory 'molecular' theory." The book has evidently been prepared for adult readers, as its language is not restricted to the vocabulary of the young. There are one hundred and two illustrations.

The Rise and Development of Organic Chemistry. By the late Carl Schorlemmer, LL. D., F. R. S. Revised edition. Edited by Arthur Smithells, B. Sc. London and New York: Macmillan & Co. Pp. xxvii + 280. Price, $1.60.

Much light is thrown upon any science by tracing the successive discoveries through which it has been built up. There is a chance also to give such a story an attractiveness which a general treatise on the subject might never hope to possess. Prof. Schorlemmer well improved this opportunity, and one who has any knowledge of chemistry will be interested in his account, telling when and by whom the principal advances in this field have been made, and pointing out the importance of each and its bearing upon the state of the science at the time. The vivacious movement of the author's style and his occasional anecdotes relieve the book from the dryness that might be thought inseparable from it. The volume first appeared some years ago, and the present edition has been revised partly by the author and partly since his death by Prof. Smithells, who has prefixed a biographical notice of Prof. Schorlemmer. There is also a frontispiece portrait of the author.

How to Make and Use the Telephone. By George H. Cary, A. M. Lynn, Mass.: Bubier Publishing Co. Pp. 117. Price, $1.

This is a little workshop companion, confining itself entirely to the practical parts of the subject: the materials and simplest methods of construction; the parts most liable to get out of order, and how to discover and repair them; the things not to do in handling the instruments; the simplest and most reliable batteries, etc. That the book is a really practical one may be gathered from the following extract: "The poles for an ordinary line to carry from one to four wires should be of chestnut, cedar, or other durable wood, and should be reasonably straight, at least twenty-five feet long, and at least five inches in diameter at the top," etc. An appendix contains a chapter on the Gibboney long-distance telephone, and another on how to make the phonograph.

A Florida Sketch-book. By Bradford Torrey. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co. Pp. 242. Price, $1.50.

As a writer of out-of-door books Mr. Torrey must be given high rank. His style is chatty, he goes into no long disquisitions, and in his descriptions of Nature he does not forget that the human animal is part and parcel thereof. His favorite subjects of observation are birds, and he tells us much about the ways of the herons, the pelicans, and the gannets, of the kingfishers, the grackles, and the buzzards, and many others of the feathered tribe. Occasionally he tells us about creatures of other kinds, or some striking flower, and his experiences with crackers and negroes are frequent enough to give quite a human flavor to the book. A curious bit of local language here and there adds still further to the variety of his observations. The value of the little volume is increased by a serviceable index.

The Story of the Stars. By George F. Chambers, F. R. A. S. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 160. Price, 40 cents.

Ignorance of Nature can no longer be excused by the size and forbidding character of scientific books. An especially attractive series of little guides to various divisions of the world about us has begun to appear under the general title of The Library of Useful Stories, the first place in the series being given to the stars. Mr. Chambers is an experienced writer on astronomical subjects, and has a happy faculty for taking away the strangeness of unfamiliar things. He opens this little volume by telling of two legal cases which turned on the matter of standard time, and shows that in such matters, as well as in navigation, astronomy comes very close to everyday life. This, followed by a chapter on First Experiences of a Starlight Night, make an easy introduction to the subject. In speaking of the constellations and their history he improves the opportunity to bring in much curious lore. Of similar interest is the chapter on The Stars in Poetry, further along. Every one has wondered about the number of the stars, and Mr. Chambers does not neglect to tell us what attempts have been made to estimate them. Colored, moving, temporary, and variable stars are duly described; also stars arranged by twos, in groups, and in clusters. The nebulae and the Milky Way have due consideration, and finally we are told something of what has been learned by the spectroscope about the stars and nebula?.-A Table of the Constellations and a List of Celestial Objects for Small Telescopes are appended. Twenty-four maps in white on black illustrate the text.

A Standard Dictionary of the English Language. Vol. II, M-Z and Appendix. Edited by Isaac K. Funk, D. D., Editor in Chief; Francis A. March, LL. D., L. H. D., Consulting Editor; and Daniel S. Gregory, D. D., Managing Editor. New York: Funk & Wagnalls Co. Pp. 1061-2318. Price (of two-volume edition, complete), russia, $17; morocco, $22.

A little over a year ago we pointed out the chief distinguishing features of this work in noticing its first volume. In the second volume the excellences of the first are well maintained. Among the special features falling in the latter half of the alphabet are colored plates showing national coats of arms, familiar flowering plants, signal flags, and typical colors, also plates showing typical heads of human races, and the seals of the United States, the several States, and the Territories. Several other terms have illustrations occupying a whole page. The color chart appears under "spectrum" and is accompanied by a table giving the percentages of primary colors to be combined for producing nearly five hundred shades. A list of varieties, subdivisions, or technical terms is given under many words, such as man, measure, officer, printing-press, science, soap, theology, watch, and weight. The appendix includes a collection of names in biography, fiction, geography, mythology, etc., with the pronunciation and definition of each, arranged in a single alphabetical list. There are also a glossary of foreign words and phrases, a list of cases of faulty diction, lists of disputed spellings and pronunciations, abbreviations, signs, and one giving the sentiments of flowers and gems. The scientific alphabet used throughout the dictionary to indicate pronunciation is explained at length in the appendix, and there is also a key showing the pronunciation of Anglo-Saxon, Latin, Greek, and thirteen modern languages with the aid of this alphabet. In the appendix, as in the body of the work, the form and arrangement of the matter have been carefully adapted to popular use. In a great many families the dictionary is the only reference book, and to these especially the Standard will prove highly satisfactory.

Dr. Judas: a Portrayal of the Opium Habit. By William Rosser Cobbe. Chicago: S. C. Griggs & Co. Pp. 320. Price, $1.50.

Nine years of dreadful experience joined to the facile diction of an able journalist are here applied to warning all who will read of the horrors of opium slavery. The author tells the story of his own subjection—vividly, impressively, fascinatingly—with incidents from the experience of others and observations on the effects of other narcotic drugs. The habit was fastened upon him from the administration of morphine during an illness by his physician. He declares that a great majority of the two million persons habitually using narcotic drugs in the United States were introduced to the habit by careless physicians, whom he censures severely. From the start he found himself compelled to deceive and lie in order to conceal the practice. For this he despised himself, and he was also in constant dread of being found out. Delusions as to hostile intentions of those about him and threatening voices haunted him. The unsettling influence of the drug caused him to endanger the support of his family several times by giving up his position. He had bewildering, grotesque, and dreadful dreams, and among his other ills were insomnia, periods of depression, and a variety of aches and pains. After many attempts to break his chains, he was cured by a treatment lasting thirty days, thus contradicting the verdict of many physicians that "the opium habit is a vice which can not be reached by medical science." The author vigorously denounces De Quincey's book, and contradicts many of its statements which are favorable to opium.

Elementary Lessons in Electricity and Magnetism. By Silvanus P. Thompson. London and New York: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 607. Price, $1.40.

This is a new and revised edition of a work which first appeared in 1881. The revision was rendered necessary by the large advances which have been made in the electrical world during the last ten years. These advances have occurred not alone in the practical electrician's department, in the way of perfecting old and creating new machinery and thus opening new fields for its application, but also in the general acceptance and extending of theories which ten years ago were mere speculations.

The most striking of the latter has been the establishment of the identity between light waves and electrical waves, a fact the probability of which Clerk Maxwell suggested many years ago, and which has since been practically established by the work of Heinrich Hertz. In view of the widespread and constantly growing uses and applications of electrical energy in the arts and in transportation, it seems quite essential that even a common-school education, to which, unfortunately, much the greater number are limited, should include such a study of electrical theory and practice as would, at any rate, teach the student the dangers and means of guarding against accident when in the neighborhood of this most subtle and silent of workers. This book, while rather more extensive than such a superficial knowledge would require, is simply and clearly written and well arranged, and, as its name implies, begins at the bottom.

The first three chapters have to do respectively with frictional electricity, current electricity, and magnetism, and together constitute Part I. Part II contains chapters on electrostatics, electro-magnetics, electricity as a heating, lighting, and motor agent, electro-chemistry, telegraphy, telephony, and electric waves. There is an appendix containing tables and various practical points, such as "directions for setting up a cell," etc. This is followed by a number of carefully prepared problems for school use. There is a magnetic chart of the British Islands and other illustrations.

The Cat: a Guide to the Classification and Varieties of Cats, and a Short Treatise upon their Diseases and Treatment. By Rush Shippen Huidekoper, M. D. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 148. Price, $1.

The first national cat show, held in New York in the early part of May of the present year, may be regarded as opening a new era in the life of Pussy in this country; and we may henceforth expect to have cat fanciers and cat breeders and the other appurtenances of a well-cultivated and really proper fad, as we have long had horse and dog fanciers and breeders. In view of her independence and individuality, it is well that Pussy be taken up and have more regard paid to her than heretofore. When it became certain that the exhibition would be held, and inquiries were made concerning the classification and qualities, it appeared that New York had no suitable book on the subject. Dr. Huidekoper perceived the emergency, and determined to supply the want. He has done it very well. The book is a practical one, as well as scientific. It treats of the zoölogical position of the cat family, the anatomy, origin, and varieties of the domestic cat, classified as long-haired and shorthaired; the care of the cat; its diseases and the remedies, the etymology and synonyms, and the emblematic significance of the animal.

Electric Light Cables and the Distribution of Electricity. By Stuart A. Russell. With 107 Illustrations. London and New York: Whittaker & Co. Pp. 319. Price, $2.25.

This is to be one of the new series of books for students, practical engineers, and others, to be called The Specialists' Series. It is thoroughly practical, describing the primary systems of distribution and their combinations, the various forms of conductors and the insulating materials in use, modes of placing overhead and underground lines, internal wiring, modes of testing, etc. Among the problems discussed are the relative advantages of different materials for conductors, the relative economy of direct and transformer systems, the use of air insulation, and the comparative advantages and disadvantages of overhead and underground lines. Besides presenting the results of experience so far attained, the book has the additional purpose of helping the further advance of knowledge in its field.

Geological Survey of New Jersey. Report on Water Supply, Water Power, the Flow of Streams, and Attendant Phenomena. By C. C. Vermeule. Pp. 352 + 96.

The present is Volume III of the final report of the State Geologist. The waters of the State having been recognized by the Geological Survey as part of its mineral resources, much attention has been given to them in nearly all the reports. The subterranean as well as the accessible waters were studied by Mr. Cook, the late State Geologist, as to their accessibility, volume, and character, and the artesian wells along the Atlantic coast belt have demonstrated the accuracy of his studies. The work for the present volume was begun in 1890. Results of permanent value have been obtained, illustrating, among other points, the large influence of geological conditions upon storage and delivery of ground water; the bearing of evaporation and ground storage upon stream-flow; the preponderating influence of temperature in determining the amount of evaporation and the total run-off of streams for a given rainfall; the subordinate influence exerted by forests and other vegetation thereon; and the indicated certainty of occasional periods of small rainfall. The former part of the volume is occupied with discussion of the laws that govern stream-flow, rainfall, evaporation, ground storage, surface storage, and surface or flood flows. Gauging flows and the method of computing them are next considered. The local water systems are then described. The latter part of the book is devoted to generalizations as to water supply, chemical analyses, public water supplies, water power, evaporation, ground storage, effects of vegetation, and stream-flow; and a list of the developed water powers and the drainage systems is given in the appendix.


The Psychology of Childhood, by Frederick Tracy (Heath, 90 cents), would be better described by the title The Psychology of Infancy, for the view which it affords extends but little beyond the first two years of life. The author shows that he recognizes this fact, so perhaps the publisher is responsible for the title used. What is here undertaken is "to gather together, so far as possible, the best work that has been done in actual observation of children up to the present time, arrange this under appropriate headings, incorporate the results of several observations made by the writer himself, and present the whole in epitomized form, with copious references and quotations." The mental manifestations of early childhood are taken up in the following order: sensation, emotion, intellect, and volition. Language, in view of its peculiar importance, is treated in a chapter by itself. Prof. G. Stanley Hall testifies in an introduction to the thoroughness with which the work has been done.

The doctrine set forth by Theodore C. Knauff, in his Athletics for Physical Culture, is that gymnastics is good, but athletic sports are better. (Tait, $2.) Accordingly, after giving two short chapters to gymnasium work, he describes nearly a score of athletic games and contests, pointing out their valuable features and warning against their dangers. His descriptions are general, not aiming to give the technics of the sports treated. Other subjects discussed are Training, Questions of Hygiene, Athletic Clubs, and Professionalism. There is a special chapter on Women in Athletics, in which the matter of dress is prominent, and in the chapter on Equestrianism the riding of women receives separate attention, the cross-saddle position being strongly advocated. The volume contains a large number of instructive illustrations, most of them made from photographs.

The Twenty-second Annual Report of the Geological and Natural History Survey of Minnesota is a record of the regular work of the survey in 1893. The Twenty-third Annual Report is largely made up of discussions on interesting general and economic topics. In the first of these the origin of Archæan greenstones is treated by N. H. Winchell, the State Geologist. This is followed by a preliminary report on the gold region about Rainy Lake, by H. V. Winchell and U. S. Grant, and a record of the mineral discoveries in the Lake Superior region, which includes the Mesabi iron deposit. Another scientific topic considered is the late glacial subsidence and re-elevation of the St. Lawrence River basin.

The Journey through Mongolia and Tibet in 1891 and 1892, of which Mr. William Woodville Rockhill gives the story in a large and handsomely illustrated volume, was undertaken by him partly under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution, and the work, is issued as one of its special publications Tibet is now, as it has been many scores of years, the most isolated country in the world. Many travelers have attempted to reach its interior, but all have been turned away when they came within a certain distance of the capital. Mr. Rockhill himself was brought to a stop in the neighborhood of the Tengri nor and the Gart'ok. Although his route was not to any great extent through wholly new country, he has been able, through his knowledge of the Chinese and Tibetan languages, as well as by his own observations, to collect many data of interest and value. At any rate he has given us a very excellent book concerning a region of which very little is known.

The Revue Franco-Americaine is a new French magazine, especially designed for American readers; and with that view it promises to temper the freedom with which French writers are sometimes accustomed to express themselves, to suit American ideas of propriety and taste. It is edited in Paris, by Prince Poniatowski; will admit only masters of French literature and the principal artists of France (though we find Whistler named among them) as contributors; will give representation to the various schools of art and literature; and will "not be composed of extended, heavy studies, but will contain short, vivid, vigorous articles on subjects of universal interest." The first number, of one hundred and twenty-three pages, contains many articles of the character described, by well-known authors, with portraits of French authors in their work-rooms, and other pictures that deserve to be well spoken of. (83 and 85 Duane Street, New York; price, $10 a year.)

The microbe has, during the past few years, assumed so prominent a place, both in dietetics and therapeutics, that nowadays a medical school of any standing must include in its curriculum, some sort of a course in bacteriology. The book before us, A Course of Elementary Practical Bacteriology, by A. A. Kanthack, M. D., and J. H. Drysdale, M. B., has grown out of the teacher's and student's needs at the St. Bartholomew Hospital in London, and is designed simply as a laboratory handbook. It is arranged in three parts. Parts I and II, Elementary Bacteriology and Bacteriological Analysis, encompass three months' work. The third part consists of an introduction to bacteriological chemistry. (Macmillan, $1.10.)

A Report on the Geology of the Coastal Plain of Alabama has been issued by the Survey of that State. The coastal plain includes all but the northeastern two fifths of the State. It is an agricultural region, and contains only such useful minerals as fertilizers and building materials. It is interesting scientifically from the remarkably complete series of Eocene and Cretaceous strata exposed in its river banks.

The piece of special pleading for Greek in which John Kennedy essays to answer the question Must Greek go? is likely to be ineffective because of its extravagance (Bardeen, 50 cents). The author claims for Greek the excellence of Shakespeare, Burns, and Keats, to whom Greek culture was accessible only at second hand, also the "Spirit of '76" and the beauty of the Columbian Exposition, allowing no credit to our inheritance from our Germanic ancestors. His claims are tricked out in a multitude of jingling phrases, many of which are too hackneyed for the columns of a one-cent newspaper.

A manual of technical directions for the grinding, finishing, setting, testing, and computing of lenses, prepared by Henry Orford, has been issued under the title Lens Work for Amateurs (Macmillan, 80 cents). The directions are full and explicit, and are supplemented by two hundred and thirty-one cuts. The author disclaims any attempt to give an easy method for the manufacture of lenses, but he has aimed to furnish a serviceable guide to both young workmen and amateurs.

The Psychological Review has undertaken a series of Monograph Supplements, in which may be published longer dissertations than can be admitted to the Review. The first issued is On Sensations from Pressure and Impact, by Harold Griffing. The results obtained from the investigations herein described relate to discrimination between different intensities and durations of stimuli, between the same stimuli applied to different areas and different parts of the body, the difference in the discriminative powers of different individuals, etc.

In an article on Evolution and Christianity, reprinted from the Wooster Quarterly, Prof. Horace N. Mateer gives a popular statement of what evolution is, assenting to its validity, but affirming also the truth of all the important doctrines in the Bible. He says that the position of the Bible is strengthened by placing it upon a scientific foundation.

Four essays by as many writers, reprinted from The Engineering Magazine, have been issued as a pamphlet with the title Architectural Education for America. In the first of these Arthur Rotch tells what is the influence of the École des Beaux-Arts; Robert D. Andrews describes a practical training; the English method is set forth by R. W. Gibson; and Barr Ferree closes with An Outsider's View. The object of the pamphlet is to bring together the chief points of merit in the systems most familiar to the American architect, so as to throw some light on the question, How shall the American architect be trained professionally to reach the best results for architecture in his own country?

The first of the 1895 series of Ethical. Addresses is What we mean by Duty, by W. L. Sheldon (S. Burns Weston, Philadelphia, yearly, $1; single number, 12 cents). After pointing out that popular conceptions of duty regard it as something stern and forbidding, the author shows that it should rather be regarded as the conformity of conduct to natural order.

In a pamphlet published by the Theosophical Society, Tacoma, Wash., Fred G. Plummer attempts to prove a Change of the Earth's Axis. His argument is clearly put and shows a wide acquaintance with both ancient traditions and modern geological writings. (Price, 25 cents.)

A pamphlet entitled A Few Facts about Turkey under the Sultan Abdul Hamid II, by An American Observer, tells of important advances in the railroads, docks, finance, education, army, navy, and other affairs of that country. Several pages are devoted to showing that the Armenians are deceitful and conscienceless agitators. Testimony is given also to the effect that the attitude of the American missionaries toward the Armenians is not always judicious. (Printed by J. J. Little & Co., New York.)

S. Baring-Gould is at his best as a student of mystery, antiquities, traditions, folklore, and myth; and whatever we may find under his name we are sure that some of the results of his studies in these fields are interwoven in the matter. His stories, consequently, depart from the overworked models on which too much of the usual fiction of the day is drawn, and are always certain to afford something novel, fresh, and instructive. These words apply well to his Noémi, which is published by D. Appleton & Co., in their Town and Country Library. The story takes us back to Guienne of five hundred years ago, in what is now southern France. The region—near Domme—is terrorized over by Le Gros Guillem, a leader of the Free Companies, whose supposed daughter—a girl stolen from the Fénelons, and from whom the story is named and her lover who has a leading part in delivering the region from its oppressors—are the central objects of interest. The story, in its plot and general structure, reminds one of Lorna Doone, although the style and method of treatment are vastly different.

The text of Prof. F. E. Rockwood's edition of Cicero's Cato Major, or De Senectute (American Book Company), is substantially that of C. F. W. Müller (Leipsic), but a few variations have been made. The text is supplemented by a general introduction concerning Cicero's life and works; illustrative notes on the pages with the text; grammatical and textual notes, a list of variations from Müller's text, and indexes to the notes and of proper names. The introduction has been made somewhat full in order to present, in convenient form, besides the sketch of Cicero's life, a brief account of what he has accomplished in literature and philosophy. Altogether, this is a very satisfactory edition of one of the most charming essays ever written.