OF all the triumphs won by science for humanity, none has been farther-reaching in its good effects than the modern treatment of the insane. But it is the result of a struggle long and severe between two great forces. On one side have stood the survivals of various superstitions, the metaphysics of various philosophies, the theologies of various religions, the literal interpretation of various sacred books, and especially of our own—all compacted into a creed that insanity is mainly or largely demoniacal possession; on the other side has stood science, gradually accumulating proofs that insanity is always the result of physical disease.
IT would be a great mistake to apply, in the physical training of children, the same principles as those by which gymnastics for adults is adapted. And as we recognize different grades in the intellectual teaching of children, corresponding with their different ages, so the exercises prescribed for them should vary, to correspond with the different degrees of their bodily development.
THE POLITICAL CONTROL OF RAILWAYS: IS IT CONFISCATION?
IT may be doubted whether the non-enforcement of the Interstate Commerce law, however fortunate for the railway companies, is not an unmixed calamity for the country. For, if the shortest way to abolish a bad law is to vigorously enforce it, the danger is that the slumber of so un-American and unconstitutional a measure will lead, by mere lapse of time, to its becoming an apparent part of our governmental policy, and so, at the last, all the more awkward to be got rid of.
INDIANS of to-day, who are well acquainted with the history of their race, may often think with melancholy of the olden times, when their forefathers were the only masters of the country. Numerous and powerful tribes occupied the vast territory between two oceans, some hunting the deer in the forests of the East, others ruling supreme in the plains and mountains of the West.
THE Yezidees, sometimes called “Devil-worshipers,” are one of the half-dozen curions and interesting sects outside of Islam who live in Mesopotamia. But little is known of their inner life except to the initiated, for they resist all attempts to question them; and, when driven into a corner, will put off the inquirer with a fiction.
ABOUT the 12th of September, 1888, there was brought into the laboratory of the United States Fish Commission a male specimen of the lady crab (Platyonychus ocellatus), which was placed in an aquarium with a female crab of the same species. During the evening of the 13th, while sketching some hermitcrabs which had previously been placed in the same tank, I was attracted by the movements of the male Platyonychus.
WHATEVER influence we may attach to environment and external conditions, it is self-evident that they alone have not been sufficient to induce the wonderful variety of life existing upon the globe to-day. Indeed, so far as natural selection implies necessary utility, necessary adaptation to surroundings, it is, as I have said, defective.
IN this age of wholesale educational machinery the faithful record of any school, individual in its character, ought to be of interest to all who seek better results in practical ability than our present systems of instruction succeed in giving.
EVIDENTLY different actions from those which engendered the metalliferous deposits have propagated themselves through considerable masses, and have impressed a peculiar stamp upon them. The rocks that have been marked by such actions exhibit at once the characteristics of the sedimentary rocks and some of those of the eruptive rocks.
AS ballads are the essence of a people’s history, so holidays are the free utterance of their character. Spontaneity is always valuable evidence, and holidays are in their beginnings purely spontaneous. They furnish psychically an excellent example of reflex action.
SOME years ago I examined two inmates of the Deaf and Dumb Asylum, at Hartford, who from birth had distinct symptoms of acute intoxication. Both were boys, aged nine and thirteen years, who walked with a staggering gait and great muscular incoördination.
CONSIDERING that nearly forty years ago I did my best to prove the necessity of examinations for admission to the civil service, it will be believed that I did not sign the foregoing protest with a light heart. Before the Indian civil service had been thrown open, and before Sir Charles Trevelyan had carried his reform of the civil service in England, I was allowed by the then editor of the “Times” to publish several letters signed “La Carrière Ouverte,” in which I said all that could be said against appointments by patronage and in favor of examinations.
JOHN B. STALLO is among the notable examples which this generation presents of men who, while busy in professional and public affairs, have at the same time shown themselves masters in scientific and philosophic thought. His published essays have given him place among the foremost thinkers and critics of his time, while he has achieved an equal eminence in his career of law and politics.
SIR: To the greater part of Prof. Le Conte’s article, “The Problem of a Flying-Machine,” in the November number of “The Popular Science Monthly,” I give hearty assent, and yet I can not admit that his premises warrant his very discouraging conclusions.
THE question of the proper balance to be maintained between altruism and egoism is one of much practical importance. A certain view of the subject waspresented in the paper by Mr. Charles W. Smiley, published in our November number, and a different, to some extent an antagonistic one, was maintained in the letter from Prof. Bulkley, of Washington, which appeared in our number for January.
WHATEVER may be the educational process by which knowledge is gained—observation, reasoning, or passive reception of text-books and lectures—it is retained by the one faculty of memory. This consideration is enough to show the great importance to the educator of a thorough acquaintance with the nature of this faculty and the best means of cultivating it.
Faults of City Schools.—In his recent annual report on the public instruction of the State of New York, Superintendent Draper, after mentioning the first-class appliances for education employed in the cities and larger villages of the State, the systematic arrangements and competent superintendence found there, goes on to show the deficiencies of the city schools as follows: “Yet school-work in great cities is encompassed with innumerable perplexities.
PROF. FREDERICK TUCKERMAN, M. D., of Amherst, has examined two specimens of tape-worm (Tœnia saginata) of unusual length, sent him by Dr. John G. Stanton, of New London. The first specimen consisted of a long ribbon and several smaller pieces, measuring together over 7 metres, and comprising 711 joints.