THE degree of responsibility attaching to insane criminals has in all ages been a difficult problem for the dispenser of justice. I am not aware that the contributions made to its elucidation by the Spanish Inquisition have ever received attention, and the history of a few cases which throw light upon this phase of the subject may not be without interest.
THE fossil forests of the Yellowstone Park are among its most interesting features, but they are as yet not within ready reach of the tourist, and so little has been published about them that only a few have definite knowledge of them. It is accordingly believed that the accompanying notes in regard to them will be of general interest.
LESS objectionable than administration of poor relief by a law-established and coercive organization, is its administration by privately established and voluntary organizations—benevolent societies, mendicity societies, etc. “Less objectionable” I say,but still, objectionable : in some ways even more objectionable.
ARE THERE EVIDENCES OF MAN IN THE GLACIAL GRAVELS ?
MAJOR J. W. POWELL
THE geologist studying in the Rocky Mountains is ever astonished at the rapid degradation of mountain forms. Cliffs, peaks, crags, and rocky scaurs are forever tumbling down. The rocks break asunder above and roll down in great slides on the flanks and about the feet of the mountains.
AMONG the many interesting features that a close acquaintance with Japan and its people reveals to foreigners, the ethics of the Japanese will surely claim the paramount attention of the ethnologist. The people are unlike any other ; and we find that this strong national individuality—so fascinating to visitors to Japan—reaches far beyond the quaint homes, graceful costumes, obsequious courtesy of both rich and poor, and the picturesque beauty of the country itself ; finding its origin in the very heart of the people, inculcated by the lives and precepts of generation upon generation of warriors, poets, and statesmen.
MOST of the controversies which are rife in reference to the vital question of education appear to have originated in failure to rise to a sufficiently general point of view of the subject —to a national, international or perhaps an ethnic view.
OF all the dark chapters in the history of the world none is more terrible than that which deals with sorcery and demoniacal possession. To-day this belief has almost entirely disappeared in civilized lands : it lingers only in some remote hamlet in “lucky and unlucky days,” good and bad signs, and similar harmless idiosyncrasies ; although most grown persons can remember that in their childhood certain uncanny individuals were regarded as “witches,” just as certain houses were said to be “ haunted.”
THE human brain is the most complicated organ known, and although its anatomy has been the object of innumerable investigations, often by observers of the highest ability, we are still far from understanding its organization. Within recent years, however, embryologists have turned to the study of the development of the brain, and have succeeded in elucidating many of the obscure features.
IN essential characteristics—by tradition, by nature, and by education—the American woman is the direct antithesis of the woman of the East, of her of whom the Hitopadésa says, “A woman should be under the watch of her father during infancy, of her husband in middle age, of her sons in old age, and never independent.”
THERE is no physical science without exactness, and there is no exactness without measurement. Far as we are still from understanding the mystery of life, it is not to be denied that the greatest advances in biology have been due to exactness in observation and quantitative comparison.
DURING the last thirty years the data of meteorology have been accumulated with a very great rapidity, and the chief desideratum of the moment is, to construct with these data such a general theory of the circulation of the atmosphere as would embody the distribution of heat, pressure, moisture, and winds over the surface of the earth, and represent them as consequences of well-established mechanical laws.
THE question whether crime is increasing or decreasing in England and Wales has been the subject of an interesting discussion in The Nineteenth Century between the Rev. William Douglas Morrison, chaplain to the prison at Wandsworth, and Sir Edmund F. Du Cane.
IN tracing the growth of science in this country it is interesting to observe how its development may be followed in the biographies of its leaders ; thus, many of our scientists received their first inspiration from the elder Silliman, while those of a later date acquired their great fondness for the life-work to which they devoted themselves from Louis Agassiz.
MY attention has just been called to the notice you have given, in the May number of The Popular Science Monthly, of the second volume of the report upon which I am engaged (see pages 131 and 132 of the May number). I am gratified by the approval expressed of the “ report proper,” “ five hundred pages of well-digested matter,” etc., as that is in an especial sense my own work ; but it seems to me the writer would have been more just if he had stated that the work was avowedly largely a work of reference, and also that every device had been availed of to facilitate such reference.
WE publish in this number an article by Major J. W. Powell, Director of the Geological Survey of the United States, in which much interesting information is given as to the problems, or some of them, which the Survey has taken in hand to solve, and as to the methods of investigation which have been employed.
VIVE la république!—the welfare of the nation—is the keynote of this book. Educators who would have a complete and well-balanced understanding of their own field should not omit to study the relation of education to national interests.
Copper in the United States.—Each of the main geographical subdivisions of the United States, according to Mr. James Douglas, possesses a distinct group of copper deposits. The Appalachian chain of mountains carries throughout its entire extent, from far beyond the northern limits of the United States to near the Gulf of Mexico, copper, which is chiefly but not exclusively contained in masses of iron pyrites imbedded in crystalline slates.
JAPANESE jugglers have exhibited a trick which consists in throwing knives at a person extended against a structure of boards, into which the knives appear to stick alarmingly close to the subject. The trick has been copied or imitated by European prestidigitateurs ; but instead of real knife throwing and sticking, an illusion is arranged.