THE people of the United States are this year applying themselves with a concentration very rare in great masses of men to the problem of tariff revision. It is inevitable that in a nation of so fresh and independent a spirit the claims of authority and scientific results should not receive any great recognition; and I, for one, rejoice that the people rely upon themselves and their own judgment and experience, rather than on the theories, however respectable, of eminent writers.
PALEOLITHIC MAN IN AMERICA: HIS ANTIQUITY AND ENVIRONMENT.
W J McGEE
DURING the unlettered youth of the race there were no written records from which the antiquity of man can be read. So the anthropologist on the one hand, and the geologist on the other, have sought to construct an early human history from prehistoric relics, and from the formations in which they are imbedded or the fossils with which they are associated.
IN a recent paper published in “The Popular Science Monthly” for February, 1888, I called attention to the effect on the soil produced by various burrowing animals. At that time I had not seen the work done in the under-earth by the Gopherus Carolinus, the largest of our North American tortoises, a creature which, on account of its peculiar habits and the geological effects which it brings about, is worthy of an attention which it has not received.
ONE of the chief characteristics of Indian domestic polity is extreme subdivision, and the tendency among all classes of the natives of India is toward the social isolation of groups with contracted interests, and the consequent accentuation of minute differences in habits of life.
THE primary motive of human action has always been the care of self, this being for man Nature’s first and greatest law. In his unthinking zeal he has often followed this to a degree unnecessary, and consequently harmful to others. In his savage state, and especially in his primeval condition, where he was subject, like all the lower forms of life, to the law of the survival of the fittest, he could not consider others’ interests because they were so antagonistic to his own.
IN “The Popular Science Monthly” for November, 1885 (vol. xxviii, p. 1), Mr. Mather closes an excellent article on flying-machines with the following weighty remark : “These are the most important inventions of this class—i. e., self-raising, self-propelling machines.
WE know that our planet retains the position which it occupies in the solar system through the force of gravitation; we know, furthermore, that all organic life on our earth depends upon the warmth and the light which it receives from the sun; but of the intimate relation which exists between organic life and the changes taking place on the sun we are in comparative ignorance, notwithstanding investigation has brought to light a number of important facts.
UP to the age of three or four years an Ainu child is called ai-ai (baby), without regard to sex. From that age until about seven, a boy is called sontak and a girl opere. From seven until about sixteen or eighteen a lad is called heikachi, and a maid matkachi. After that age a maid is called shiwentep, or woman.
IN order that one may live to near the limit in years of human life, must he inherit some peculiar qualities? Must he conform his habits to some set rules? Must he eat and drink certain things and abstain from certain others? Or, does it all depend upon a series of indeterminable accidents?
IN addition to the organs of which I have attempted in the preceding chapters to give some idea, and to those which from their structure we may suppose to perform analogous functions, there are others of considerable importance and complexity, which are evidently organs of some sense, but the use and purpose of which are still unknown.
EDMOND ABOUT used to tell a good story of a Spanish prelate who studied anatomy for the special purpose of describing the fragments of a miraculous skeleton, but who was so astounded by the discovery of a rudimentary tail-bone that he relinquished his study in dismay, and declined to specify the results of his investigation.
THE subject of the present sketch holds a prominent position among American writers who have made most valuable contributions to political and economic science. His essays, all in this or related departments, are characterized by far-reaching grasp of thought, boldness and absolute independence in discussion, and the clear and direct manner in which the principle he is seeking to develop is presented.
IN the September number of “The Popular Science Monthly,” Mr. Virgil G. Eaton makes the following statement in his article on “How the Opium-Habit is acquired”: “The parties who are responsible for the increase of the habit are the physicians who give the prescriptions.
ONE of the most interesting papers read at the recent meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science was one upon “Altruism considered economically,” by the Vice-President of the Section of Economic Sciences, Mr. Charles W. Smiley.
ANIMAL MEMOIRS. Part I.—MAMMALS. By SAMUEL LOCKWOOD. New York and Chicago: Ivison, Blakeman & Co. Pp. 817. THIS book is the first of a projected scries of “Readings in Natural History,” in which the author purposes to present mainly individual portraits, or animal biographies, in the fourfold setting of their morphology, physiology, chorology (or geographical occupancy), and origin, “but so far as possible without technicality of treatment, and with as little formal limning as is compatible with clear and truthful outlines.”
Death of Richard A. Proctor.—Mr. Richard Anthony Proctor, the distinguished writer and lecturer on astronomy and other subjects, died in this city, September 12th, of yellow fever. He had left his home at Oak Lawn, Florida, to go to England and fulfill some lecture engagements, and had engaged passage on one of the steamers appointed to sail on the following Saturday.
THE article on “Bird Courts of Justice” in the last number of the “Monthly” should have been credited to “Chambers’s Journal,” from which it was, with a few adaptations and abbreviations, compiled. COMMITTEES were appointed by the American Association at its Cleveland meeting as fellows: Committee on Chemistry Teaching—W. H. Seaman, W. L. Dudley, H. W. Wiley, W. O. Atwater, and W. A. Noyes; Committee on Water Analysis—O. C. Caldwell, J. W. Langley, J. A. Myers, W. P. Mason, R. B. Warder, and W. H. Seaman; Committee to confer concerning the Organization of a National Chemical Society—A. B. Prescott, Alfred Springer, and Edward Hart.