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this address, and in that of Professor Eddy, the personal experience of the speaker is so introduced as to give a peculiar value to what is said. Professor Langley of Ann Arbor discusses Chemical affinity,' "the bud our science put forth in its alchemical stage,' but a bud which of late appears to have withered. By an elaborate review he endeavors to show that "it is the word only which has become obsolete; the idea behind it is still active and of great importance." Professor Thurston, now of Cornell, takes a much broader theme, the Mission of science,' and naturally falls into a more rhetorical paper. In almost optimistic language he points out the value of applied science, and especially of mechanics as an aid to government in the promotion of social welfare. "The mission of science," he claims, "is to be fulfilled mainly through the application of mechanics." It has made as yet "but the veriest beginning," but in the end the improvement of mankind and the development of the human soul are within the range of its potentials. The geological address, by Prof. N. H. Winchell, is in marked contrast to that of Professor Thurston. It is a paper of purely professional interest. He discusses, as a geologist, the crystalline rocks of the northwest, and especially of Minnesota. It has been usual to refer these rocks either to the Huronian or the Laurentian: now this nomenclature is acknowledged to be imperfect. The difficulties and incongruities of the situation are clearly set forth. Professor Cope likewise addresses an audience of specialists, though the biological specialists in these days are a very comprehensive company. His subject is Catagenesis;' and he announces his definition of life to be "energy directed by consciousness, or by a mechanism which has originated under the direction of consciousness," and he concludes that "all forms of energy have originated in the process of running down, or specialization from the primitive energy." Professor Wormley's address on the applications of the microscope in chemical and micrometric observations is only given in abstract. Professor Morse discusses man in the tertiaries, - not any particular man, we may assure our sceptical readers, but thepossibly-to-be-discovered man. genitors of quaternary man, under different genera possibly, are to be sought for in the tertiaries. In the section devoted to economics, Gen. John Eaton very briefly considers scientific methods and scientific knowledge in common affairs.

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WHEN we read how one mediaeval saint stood erect in his cell for a week without sleep or food, merely chewing a plantain-leaf out of humility, so as not to be too perfect; how another remained all night up to his neck in a pond that was freezing over; and how others still performed for the glory of God feats no less tasking to their energies, we are inclined to think, that, with the gods of yore, the men, too, have departed, and that the earth is handed over to a race whose will has become as feeble as its faith. But we ought not to yield to these instigations by which the evil one tempts us to disparage our own generation. The gods have somewhat changed their shape, 'tis true, and the men their minds; but both are still alive and vigorous as ever for an eye that can look under superficial disguises. The human energy no longer freezes itself in fishponds, and starves itself in cells; but near the north pole, in central Africa, on alpine couloirs,' and especially in what are nowadays called psycho-physical laboratories,' it may be found as invincible as ever, and ready for every fresh demand. To most people a northpole expedition would be an easy task, compared with those ineffably tedious measurements of simple mental processes of which Ernst Heinrich Weber set the fashion some forty years ago, and the necessity of extending which in every possible direction becomes more and more apparent to students of the mind. Think of making forty thousand estimates of which is the heavier of two weights, or seventy thousand answers as to whether your skin is touched at two points or at one, and then tabulating and mathematically discussing your results! Insight is to be gained at no less price than this. The new sort of study of the mind bears the same relation to the older psychology that the microscopic anatomy of the body does to the anatomy of its visible form, and the one will undoubtedly be as fruitful and as indispensable as the other.

Dr. Ebbinghaus makes an original addition to heroic psychological literature in the little work whose title we have given. For more than two years he has apparently spent a considerable time each day in committing to memory sets of meaningless syllables, and trying to trace numerically the laws according to which they were retained or forgotten. Most

Ueber das gedächtniss. Untersuchungen zur experimentellen psychologie. Von HERM. EBBINGHAUS. Leipzig, Duncker u. Humblot, 1885. 10+169 p. 8°.

of his results, we are sorry to say, add nothing to our gross experience of the matter. Here, as in the case of the saints, heroism seems to be its own reward. But the incidental results are usually the most pregnant in this department; and two of those which Dr. Ebbinghaus has reached seem to us to amply justify his pains. The first is, that, in forgetting such things as these lists of syllables, the loss goes on very much more rapidly at first than later


He measured the loss by the number of seconds required to relearn the list after it had been once learned. Roughly speaking, if it took a thousand seconds to learn the list, and five hundred to relearn it, the loss between the two learnings would have been one-half. Measured in this way, full half of the forgetting seems to occur within the first half-hour, whilst only four-fifths is forgotten at the end of a month. The nature of this result might have been anticipated, but hardly its numerical proportions.

The other important result relates to the question whether ideas are recalled only by those that previously came immediately before them, or whether an idea can possibly recall another idea, with which it was never in immediate contact, without passing through the intermediate mental links. The question is of theoretic importance with regard to the way in which the process of association of ideas' must be conceived; and Dr. Ebbinghaus's attempt is as successful as it is original, in bringing two views, which seem at first sight inaccessible to proof, to a direct practical test, and giving the victory to one of them. His experiments conclusively show that an idea is not only associated' directly with the one that follows it, and with the rest through that, but that it is directly associated with all that are near it, though in unequal degrees. He first measured the time needed to impress on the memory certain lists of syllables, and then the time needed to impress lists of the same syllables with gaps between them. Thus, representing the syllables by numbers, if the first list was 1, 2, 3, 4 . . . 13, 14, 15, 16, the second would be 1, 3, 5 . . . 15, 2, 4, 6 . . . 16, and so forth, with many variations.

Now, if 1 and 3 in the first list were learned in that order merely by 1 calling up 2, and by 2 calling up 3, leaving out the 2 ought to leave 1 and 3 with no tie in the mind; and the second list ought to take as much time in the learning as if the first list had never been heard of. If, on the other hand, 1 has a direct influence on 3 as well as on 2, that influence should be exerted even when 2 is dropped

out; and a person familiar with the first list ought to learn the second one more rapidly than otherwise he could. This latter case is what actually occurs; and Dr. Ebbinghaus has found that syllables originally separated by as many as seven intermediaries, still reveal, by the increased rapidity with which they are learned in order, the strength of the tie that the original learning established between them, over the heads, so to speak, of all the rest. It may be that this particular series of experiments is the entering wedge of a new method of incalculable reach in such questions. The future alone can show. Meanwhile, when we add to Dr. Ebbinghaus's 'heroism' in the pursuit of true averages, his high critical acumen, his modest tone, and his polished style, it will be seen that we have a new-comer in psychology, from whom the best may be expected. W. J.


THE articles of scientific interest in the general English and American magazines for August are neither numerous nor interesting. Two topics seem to have monopolized the popular scientific mind during the midsummer months, dogs and cholera.

There are two articles on dogs worth mentioning. One is a paper in Bailey's monthly magazine on 'The descent of the foxhound,' in which the writer attempts to show that the foxhound was produced about the beginning of the eighteenth century by a process of careful selection, and not, as some have supposed, by crossing a swift-footed hound with some dog of keener scent. In the Century appears the second part of Mr. John E. Thayer's beautifully illustrated account of Typical dogs.' A clear and concise account is given of the appearance, traits, etc., of the water spaniels, collies, and fox-terriers.

Six gentlemen of the medical profession have taken occasion to express themselves on the cholera question.

In the Nineteenth century, Dr. Charles Connor, in an article entitled 'Anti-cholera inoculation,' attempts to show statistically that Dr. Ferran's experiments have been more successful than those of Jenner were; and that by the anti-cholera vaccination process the danger of dying from cholera is made about six times less than it would be under normal circumstances. Dr. J. Burdon Sanderson, in the Contemporary review, gives his views on the causes and prevention of cholera. This writer gives a brief sketch of the history of cholera, shows to his own satisfaction that Koch's comma bacillus has nothing to do with cholera, and then goes on to say the ordinary things about good drainage, careful diet, etc. But it is in the North-American review that the greatest number of articles, and the least amount of information, is to be obtained on the subject of Asiatic

cholera. Four gentlemen, Dr. John B. Hamilton, Dr. H. Rausch, Dr. C. Peters, and Dr. H. C. Wood, have each tried to answer the question: Can cholera be averted? In these papers the germ origin of cholera is admitted, but no particular bacillus is fixed on as the cause of the disease. The best methods of disinfection, etc., are spoken of, isolation of the sick recommended, and the necessity of cleanliness is urged; but no facts or theories are set forward of which the public are not already in possession.

Besides the notes on dogs and cholera, there have also appeared one or two other articles which might be called semi-scientific. In the Gentlemen's mayazine, there is an interesting and well written paper on the wild cattle of North America, by C. F. Gordon Cummings, describing the appearance, distribution, and extinction of the American bison; and the Cornhill magazine has a very popular article on the 'Birth of mountains.'

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-The Alabama state signal-service found it impracticable to use the same signals employed by the Ohio service, for three reasons: 1°. Because the railroad refused to allow red to be used on their lines. 2o. On account of the considerable cost of the Ohio set of signals (eighteen to twenty-four dollars); and 3°. From the fact, that, in a calm, it was found impossible to distinguish between the star, the crescent, and the sun. After correspondence with the U.S. chief signal-officer, five flags were determined on according to the accompanying illustrations.

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Cold-wave signal.

cost when made of bunting is something less than that of the Ohio flags: and when made of cotton cloth, the outlay is only a few cents each; while the solid colors allow the predictions to be read at a considerable distance. The railroad authorities have entered cordially into the system, and telegraph the predictions free of charge; except in the case of two or three companies not owning their telegraph lines, who expose the signals on their trains. In most cases they are hung on poles. The black triangular flag when placed above indicates rising temperature; when placed below indicates falling temperature; if absent, indicates stationary temperature.

-On account of the lack of funds necessary to maintain its activity, the astronomical observatory of Beloit college, Wisconsin (Prof. J. Tatlock, jun., director), has been closed.

-The annual meeting of the American forestry congress will be held at Boston, beginning Sept. 22, under the auspices of the local societies of horticulture and agriculture. Mr. W. C. Strong of the Horticultural society is chairman of the local committee, and Mr. Daniel Needham of Boston is the chairman of the sub-committee of accommodation; and to the latter, requests for special arrangements for board should be sent. The hotel headquarters will be at

the Adams House. Three sessions daily will be held at Horticultural Hall. Monday, Sept. 22, will be given up to addresses, reports, and general business; Wednesday, to the reading of papers and discussions; and Thursday, to excursions, - among others, to the Arnold Arboretum. Over twenty papers have already been promised, and many others are expected. The discussions will be conducted as far as possible under the following heads: 1°. Importance of forests in climatic and hydraulic respects, and in regard to other industries. 20. Duties and rights of the state to protect her forest resources. 3°. Forest fires: causes; laws and methods for their restriction. 5°. Education and research in forestry matters: arbor days; schools; lectures; exhibits; experiment stations; press; associations. 5o. Practical forestry: prospects, methods, profits, etc.

- If any indication of the mathematical activity of different nations is afforded by the number of those who have published contributions bearing upon one of the most notable of recently developed branches of mathematical investigation, England is at this moment occupying a very subordinate position in the advancement of pure mathematics. A bibliography of the modern theory of linear differential equations, which appeared in the last number of the American journal of mathematics (vol. vii., No. 4), gives in all sixty-eight writers, of whom only two are English, while twenty-seven are French, seventeen German, nine Italian, and the rest are divided among eight different nationalities, there being one American. This disproportion between the English and the French or Germans, is greatly increased, when the number and importance of the memoirs contributed by the various writers are taken into account.

We learn from L'astronomie that the crown disk for the great thirty-six-inch refractor of the Lick observatory, referred to in an earlier column, has recently been delivered to Alvan Clark & Sons, by Feil, the celebrated Paris manufacturer of optical glass. The elder Feil has reorganized the establishment, associating with himself his son and M. Mantois. The two disks for the thirty-inch Nice refractor have been placed in the hands of the Henry brothers, who take charge of the optical work; and it is hoped that the glass will be finished in October.

-The American philological association will hold its next meeting at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., on July 13, 1886. The presiding officer will be Professor Tracy Peck of Yale college.

- Nature states that it has been 'decided to withhold from publication the report of Drs. Klein and Gibbes upon Dr. Koch's discoveries in relation to the gerin theory of cholera, until the conclusions of a committee appointed by the secretary of state for India with reference to that report are also ready.

-Ausland, a German weekly published at Stuttgart, is now printing an interesting serial upon the influence of the glacial period upon the formation of the physical surface of Lower Germany, by Th. Overbeck, in which Torell's hypothesis is subjected to criticism. This weekly is now in its fifty-eighth year.




It is well known in what a dilemma the association was placed at the close of the Philadelphia meeting. Without an authorized invitation from any community to hold this year's meeting within its bounds, and propelled by the desire to find cooler quarters than those occupied in Philadelphia, the council hesitated between Mount Desert and Ann Arbor. It is hard for a college professor to cut short his summer rest, and hurry back to make his confrères happy during their week's stay near his lecture-room; and it is especially to be regretted, that each year some well-worked men give up their whole vacation, or add to their working hours, that the expected visitors may be kindly cared for. If there is any reward for this unselfish labor, it comes in the satisfaction with their reception shown by the invaders. And we are confident that all who have been present at the Ann-Arbor meeting will be glad that the proprietors of the hotels of Mount Desert turned a deaf ear to the proposals of the association secretary; and that the citizens of Ann Arbor, urged perhaps a little by Prof. J. W. Langley, tendered to the association the use of their halls and houses, and the promise of a kindly welcome.

On every side were heard expressions of pleasure at the arrangements of the local committee. The rooms of the university furnished the most convenient meeting-places the association has used for many years. The meeting was not a large one, the total attendance of members reaching only 364; but the quality, if not the number (176), of papers presented was up to the average.

During the meeting, two changes were made. in the organization. By one, the section of histology and microscopy was abolished. This

No. 136. 1885.

change has been urged for some time by those who do not think a special science of microscopy exists, but that the microscope is a tool used by scientific men in various branches. The other change was in the name of the section of mechanics, the words and engineering' being added to the title, that it may be more clearly understood by Americans that those interested in all branches of engineering are invited to take part in the proceedings.

As this was the first meeting of scientific men since the action of the government in regard to the coast-survey, it is not surprising that the question should have been discussed in private and by the council. The matter was referred to a committee, which offered a series of resolutions given on another page. At the Friday meeting, when the report of this committee was made to the society, the interest of those present was shown by the eager gathering into a more compact body, that the debate might be the more readily followed. discussion proved to be purely formal, no one offering any objection to the resolutions, which were unanimously accepted as the sense of the meeting. Indorsing remarks were made by Prof. S. P. Langley, Dr. James Hall, Prof. T. C. Mendenhall, and others.



In every direction, one sees at the association meetings the conspicuous badge of the reporter; and each secretary, at the close of the session of his section, is approached by discomfited members of the press, for at least a few suggestions as to what the talk has all meant. Each day, one is urged by the newsboy to buy a full account' of the proceedings. He may find some information as to the programme, but will probably be disappointed in the report of the papers and discussions, even of those which could be made interesting to the laymen. There are always a few eccentric individuals present, and these furnish a fruitful theme for the reporters' wit; and the officers of the association come in for a share of attention.

But an account of the meeting which should convey to the public any idea of what it is all about is wanting.

We have again to call attention to the unsatisfactory nature of the reports of the special committees of the association. While in England much of the most valuable work of the corresponding association is the result of investigations carried on under the guidance of its committees, in our association the reports consist mostly of a mere statement that the majority of the members are alive and well, and would be glad to be continued as a committee of the association for another year. As a conspicuous exception, we would call attention to the report on stellar magnitudes, due to the exertions of Prof. E. C. Pickering, which is to be printed in full. The botanists also have brought about some good results.

Some of the statistics of the meeting may be of interest. The number of papers presented was naturally not so large as last year, but exceeded that at any recent meetings in the west; the largest number being presented in section F (32), followed at no great distance by sections B (23), E (27), and H (26). Section G, with its four papers, held but one day's session, and was then merged in F. Section D, with twelve papers, completed its work in two of the four days given to papers. Section A, however, with the same number, remained in session three days; and though the sessions of B closed also on the third day, C and I, with fewer papers (17 and 21 respectively), continued through the four days. One hundred and fifty-four new members were elected, sixty-eight members were advanced to fellowship, and three hundred and sixty-four members and fellows were in attendance.

Although the meeting was a small one, the necessity of despatching business with greater promptitude was so apparent, that additional changes in the constitution were proposed to effect this, besides those which could be decided at this meeting. In accordance with a formal proposition last year, it was decided to elect members by the standing committee instead of in general session; but the association thought

it would also be wise to select the fellows in the same way, and the need of a daily general session preceding the sectional meetings was thus less obvious. The general session is undoubtedly advantageous as bringing together once a day all the members of the association, but very disadvantageous to its work; since after a half hour so spent, the members divide into the various sections, often at some distance from each other, and much delay and confusion result. It is proposed to restrict the general sessions to the beginning and close of the meeting, and to limit the public reading of committee reports in general session to such as seem to the standing committee specially desirable from their interest or importance. All these are excellent propositions, and will come up for decision next


The next meeting will be held at Buffalo, N.Y., beginning Aug. 18, 1886, under the presidency of Prof. Edward S. Morse of Salem, Mass.


THE following is a general account of the reports of committees made to the association at its general session, Monday morning, Aug. 31:

The committee on the best methods of scienceteaching in the public schools reported, through Hon. John Eaton of Washington, that considerable progress had been made, and that everywhere various associations and schools, as well as individuals, were working upon the subject, and many important experiments had been made. The committee, however, was not prepared to make more than a verbal statement, and, on its request, was continued.

The committee on the registration of deaths, births, and marriages, reported, through Mr. E. B. Elliott of Washington, that the object of this committee was to bring about the co-operation of the government of the United States and the several states in establishing a uniform and efficient system of registration. Bills have from time to time been presented by committees of congress, - the last congress having, in both houses, considered bills identical in character, — but, for various reasons, delay had prevented action. There had been no adverse action: the bills had received the hearty co-operation of many earnest friends in both houses, and favorable action in the near future might be expected. The information desired to be secured would be useful to individuals in securing the legitimate descent of heritable property,

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