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taken a length of time of which we have no means of getting an idea. But after this animal was developed, the origins of the various great types were not serial, but simultaneous. This animal began to be modified in various directions to fit its surroundings, and the result was a rapid divergence of groups. Slight variations in these simple types would cause the descendants of the various lines to separate still further. We can therefore imagine the Silurian times to be somewhat close to the origin of life, and yet not be surprised at the existence of all the greater divisions of the animal kingdom, and many of the smaller ones. We can also understand why it is that the development of most groups since that time has resulted chiefly in the increase of the abundance and diversity of small branches. For the Gastrea, having diverged into several great branches, has itself disappeared as such, and can of course produce no new sub-kingdoms. Development must now take place within the branches, and must confine itself to smaller and smaller particulars as evolution progresses. Modern embryology, therefore, showing as it does the early divergence of the great types, offers to us an explanation both for the highly diversified fauna of the Silurian age, and for the comparatively less importance of the development that has taken place since that time, even though post-Silurian times be recognized as very much longer than pre-Silurian times. And we are finally led to believe that the vertebrates also were much more abundantly represented in this fauna than the scanty remains hitherto discovered would indicate. H. W. CONN.

Wesleyan university, Middletown, Conn.


As M. Donnat well remarks, politics in France have been largely based on sentiment and abstract reasoning rather than on the lessons derived from observation. Frenchmen are confessedly adepts in constitution-building, but so little acquainted are they with the practical history of political methods that they have not yet arrived at the stage of regarding politics as an art, much less as a science. It is well, therefore, to notice these two works as written in the spirit of comparative politics. M. Donnat maintains that there is a science of politics whose principles are as unvarying and determinate as the laws of the natural and physical sciences. A political solution may be compared to the product of the two gases in fixed volumes to form the molecule of water; nor is

1 La politique experimentale. Par LEON DONNAT. Paris, Reinwald, 1885.

Lettres sur la politique coloniale. By YVES GUYOT. Paris, Reinwald, 1885.

there any higher power to introduce uncertainty in the operations of political forces. This is no new thought; and if the English reader wishes to understand the significance of such political inquiry, free, however, from the particular irreligious character of M. Donnat's thinking, he is already in possession of the suggestive work by Sheldon Amos on 'The science of politics.' While the latter has the advantage in philosophic treatment of the subject, the former is more imperative in his claims for the purely scientific nature of politics. He is constantly suggesting parallel illustrations from the other sciences, and derives much comfort from a contemplation of the methods employed by Claude Bernard in his development of the science of medicine. M. Donnat's spirit of inquiry, nevertheless, is admirable, and one sure to be fruitful in its results. He is animated by the spirit which prompted De Tocqueville, Comte, and Le Ploy. Like the first, he has travelled much abroad: and his knowledge of English and American political life extends even to the details of such legislation as our homestead laws. In early life he hoped to find in Comte a guide, but this master soon turned aside, and became a divinity. In Le Ploy, also, he well-nigh found a kindred spirit; but, instead of persisting in those remarkable studies of the civic and industrial institutions of European society, this profound thinker also was drawn into immature synthesis, in declaring that religion was indispensable for private and public life. With M. Donnat it is ever observation and experimentation in politics. The former, on account of the complexity of political phenomena and political Daltonism on the part of the observer, is insufficient. It must be supplemented with experiment. The great success of the Swiss, English, and Americans has been due to their adoption of this principle. Their legislation is not only of local application, but limited in time; and the different legislative assemblies of England's colonies are compared to so many political laboratories. In France, however, legislation is indiscriminating. The colonies have no local voice. An enactment of the PalaisBourbon is as far-reaching in its provisions as the limits of the most distant colonial possessions. Nor is legislation of that tentative character which should be the spirit of all genuine scientific inquiry. The author, therefore, earnestly pleads that France cut loose from its hard and fast methods, and make trial of local and temporary legislation.

M. Guyot is even savage in his criticisms. The arraignment of French colonial policy is exhaustive in its details. The budgets and commercial statistics of colony after colony are taken up and

skilfully analyzed to prove that no Europeans, except possibly Spaniards or Portuguese, can be acclimated in the zone lying between the isotherms twenty-five degrees north and south of the equator. Of the French colonies, Algiers and New Caledonia are the only ones not situated within these limits. From every point of view, the French colonial policy is shown to be disastrous. Neither the French race or language can thus hope for expansion. Even commercially it is a failure, for foreign nations can undersell France in her own colonies. French emigration is always fatal when it is perpendicular instead of parallel; and there can be no national advance until an intensive colonial culture be substituted for the extensive system so popular in this day. The work has many interesting points for the ethnologist to consider, such as the relations of European colonists with indigenous races. It is written with much force and even grim humor, as when the author, after analyzing the statistical situation of Algiers, sums it up with the picture of the twenty-five thousand productive colonists, each seated on four graves, and guarded by a brace of soldiers.

These two books are suggestive not only for their political philosophy of freedom, but also as furnishing clear and forcible views of the difficulties which stand in the way of French progress.


THE small value of the parallax of 40 o2 Eridani (Science, vi. 358), combined with its large propermotion (4".10), brings it into prominence as the third or fourth of the stars, moving rapidly across our line of sight. Since a list of these stars seldom appears in works on popular astronomy, we give below the proper-motions μ, the parallaxes, and the resulting velocities v, in miles per second across our line of sight, of the eight stars which head the list in the order of velocities. The method of deriving the velocities is of course very simple. If a star's annual proper-motion equals its parallax, it moves across our line of sight each year a distance equal to the semimajor axis of the earth's orbit. (How much it moves to or from us can only be told by the spectroscope.) Therefore, since this motion increases directly as μ, and inversely as , we have for the annual motion across the line of sight

t = a,

or, calling a 92.5 million miles, and t the number of seconds in a year, we have for the velocity in miles per second v = 2.93 μ


Of course, the proper-motions below are much

more accurately known than the parallaxes, and where the latter are small the values of v are correspondingly uncertain. The authorities for the adopted values of π are given in the column following them. In the case of 40 o2 Eridani, we have weighted Gill and Hall 2 and 1 respectively, as the former determination was made under much the more favorable conditions, and rests upon two comparison-stars. The latest values of Hall and Ball for 61 Cygni are practically identical. The probable errors of all the values of are generally less than 0".02.

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The first will be recognized as Newcomb's 'runaway star,' so graphically described in his 'Popular astronomy;' but it will be seen that the others have velocities which are at least comparable with that of Groombridge 1830, and indicate momenta that represent vast amounts of energy. The discovery of huge suns like our own rushing through space with these great velocities is a matter of more than usual interest just now, from the fact that Mr. Denning's claimed discovery of fixed meteor-radiants has raised the question as to the possible existence of broad swiftly flying streams of meteorites in inter-stellar space, moving with velocities entirely beyond the control of our sun, and so broad that it takes the solar system some years to pass through them. (An annual parallax of 1° in a meteor-radiant corresponds to a velocity of over 1,000 miles per second for the meteor-stream.) The idea of such streams moving with such velocities is a startling one, and, if shown to be true, gives a very vivid idea of the forces acting, or which have acted, in stellar space. It seems at first highly improbable that such can be the case, but with the hard facts of Groombridge 1830, and these other swiftly flying suns staring us in the face, the idea is worth considering, at any rate. If these suns are the products of condensation due to central attraction, so that the luminous energy by which they reveal themselves to us was once energy of translation, it is no violent assumption to suppose that some of their constituent parts were once moving with much greater velocities than that of the present whole. In fact, the man who should claim as a

possibility that space contains broad belts of small particles moving with velocities which are the resultant of all the forces acting on them since primeval chaos, and which have not yet been gathered into the control of any one of the stellar systems among which they are sweeping, would find much to confirm his ideas in these giant swiftly flying suns.

The question is certainly of sufficient interest and importance to call for a thorough overhauling of the present methods of determining meteor-radiants, for probably most astronomers would to-day be disposed to deny in toto the existence of the greater part of these so-called radiantpoints. H. M. PAUL.


CRETINISM is a peculiar form of idiocy which Dr. Kratter defines as "an arrest of psychical development, associated with very manifest malformations of the body, and especially of the skeleton." Goitre is frequently, though not invariably, present. Rachitic deformities, deafness and mutism, and that peculiar disease myxoedema, combine with idiocy to characterize the cretin. The cause of cretinism has never been satisfactorily determined. Operations upon human beings for the removal of goitre have shown that cretinism will occasionally follow the extirpation of the thyroid glands, and therefore the disease would seem to be connected, in some measure, with the function of those glands. Moreover, in places where cretins are numerous, goitre is also prevalent, even to a greater degree.

It is a fixed belief among the laity that goitre and cretinism are developed through the drinkingwater, and in some places particular wells are designated as being especially endowed in this direction. Such wells are even sought out and used by those who wish to develop goitre, in order to escape military conscription. The noxious element in such waters has been claimed by some to be an excess of chalk, while others say that too much magnesia is the baneful ingredient.

In order to contrast, within a limited area. the frequency of cretinism with the geological formation of the land, Dr. Kratter has carefully studied a district in the Austrian central Alps, where cretinism is so frequent that it amounts to an actual scourge.

In Tyrol there are 112 cretins to every 100,000 of population. Salzburg presents 309, Kärnten 343, and Steiermark 240, cretins for every 100,000. In Muran one per cent of the entire population is tainted with this disease. When we remember,

Der alpine cretinismus insbesondere in Steiermark. Von Dr. JULIUS KRATTER. Graz, Leuschner & Lubensky, 1884.

he remarks, that the officially recorded cretins are not nearly the entire number, and that between the healthy people and the fully developed cretins there must exist a broad zone of partially feeble-minded folk; and, still further, when it is known that in the same communities pure goitre is five to ten times more frequent than cretinism, we have a picture of endemic affliction which may well be called a scourge.

Kratter found that the maximum frequency of goitre followed the gneiss and granite formations which are rich in magnesia, while, on the other hand, the disease was extremely rare over chalky areas. The people in the regions noted were of the same nationality, and exhibited the same habits and customs. Elevation also appears to have a marked influence upon the frequency of cretinism. Cases are not developed higher than 1,000 metres above the sea, and they are extremely rare below 300 metres elevation. The greatest frequency occurs in mountain valleys which are between 400 and 700 metres above sea-level. Many villages in such valleys present the high proportions mentioned above.

Dr. Kratter gives his short paper simply as a summary of his work thus far, but he does not attempt to draw ultimate conclusions from it, because the field in which he labored was limited. He hopes that government interest may be attracted to this disease, and that a wide-spread and systematic investigation of the subject may be undertaken.

AT a recent meeting of the Paris academy of medicine, M. Roullier, a surgeon attached to the French navy, gave an account of the practice of transfusion of blood in cholera cases at the St. Mandrier hospital, Toulon. The operations were performed during the state of collapse. Of 55 cases, 18 recovered. The transfusion of 1,500 to 2,000 grams 'literally effected a resurrection ;' but, unfortunately, in the majority of cases the patients did not permanently recover.

A manufacturer of Breslau is stated to have built a chimney over fifty feet in height entirely of paper. The blocks used in its construction, instead of being of brick or stone, were made of compressed paper, jointed with silicious cement. The chimney is said to be very elastic, and also fireproof. We may add that picture-frames are now made of paper. Paper-pulp, glue, linseed oil, and carbonate of lime, or whiting, are mixed together, and heated into a thick cream, which, on being allowed to cool, is run into moulds and hardened. The frames are then gilded or bronzed in the usual way.



STUDENTS OF MAPS may have noticed upon nearly all maps of Colorado issued during the past twenty years a settlement indicated upon White River, near the western boundary of the state, denominated Golden or Goblin City. This is a curious example of the persistence of a geographical blunder. Many years ago an army expedition traversed this region, going from Fort Bridger, Wyo., to old Fort Massachusetts, Col. In this neighborhood are bad lands, eroded into curious forms, which naturally suggest a ruined city; and the commander of the expedition gave the locality the name of Goblin City, which name appeared on his map. The map-makers, in their haste to fill up the blanks in this unsettled region, jumped to the conclusion that this was a veritable settlement, and gave it a place on their maps, place which it has ever since retained. Not only have the commercial map-makers, almost without exception, fallen into this error, but such authorities as the U. S. engineer office and general land office have adopted it. The name has, however, been gradually changed from Goblin to Goldin, and thence to Golden City, while more than one enterprising map-maker, reasoning, probably, that a city cannot exist without means of communication with other settlements, has constructed on paper a road down the White River to it. It is scarcely necessary to add that there is not, and never was, a settlement in this neighborhood.


IN THE APRIL ISSUE of the Druggists' circular appeared an offer by the publisher of three prizes for "the three most practical and otherwise valuable essays on disinfectants." In the May issue the following gentlemen were announced as the committee of award: Prof. S. A. Lattimore, Rochester, N.Y.; Dr. Henry B. Baker, Lansing, Mich.; Prof. Joseph P. Remington, Philadelphia. In the June number it was announced that nearly two dozen essays had been handed in, and several of them, selected at random, were printed in that and succeeding issues. Finally, in the October number, the successful names were announced: first No. 148. -1885.

prize, $125, to Mr. Marcus Benjamin, New York City; second prize, $75, to B. W. Palmer, M.D., Detroit, Mich.; third prize, $50, to R. G. Eccles, M.D., Brooklyn, N.Y. The essays all appear in a book issued by the Druggists' circular, entitled 'Disinfectants and their use.' From the editorial remarks made in the issue announcing the decision, we learn that the delay was caused by the difficulty of arriving at a unanimous decision as to the merits of the various essays, and that it was finally decided by a majority of the committee. From a letter which appeared in the New York medical journal of Nov. 7, we infer that Dr. Baker's was the dissenting voice. It is also distinctly stated in the announcement of the award that the decision of the committee is not to be regarded as an endorsement of the accuracy and scientific value of the essays, but is merely an indication of relative value.

The result reached by the committee has been in many quarters adversely criticised. Inasmuch as these essays were intended to meet the urgent demand for reliable disinfectants, in view of the possible advent of cholera, it is very unfortunate that they should be sent broadcast through the land, with what amounts to a statement that their accuracy and scientific value are not indorsed by the committee. Essays with these qualifications were called for, and, if they do not supply this want, they are of no more value than so many school-boy compositions: indeed, they may do infinite harm, as, this want of indorsement being overlooked, a false sense of security may be created in those who employ the remedies suggested, to the exclusion of means which have been found reliable and trustworthy. In the first six essays, there being twenty-one in all, we find no less than thirty substances mentioned as having disinfecting value; how many there are in all, we do not know. We can imagine the satisfaction which would be felt by one of those subscribers asking for "the most practical information in relation to disinfectants," for whose benefit these essays were obtained, when he turned to this volume for help.

WE HAVE RECENTLY received "Outline of matter and advance sheets of the Report of the

legislative, administrative, technical, and practical problems of irrigation, in course of preparation and publication, by William Ham Hall, state engineer, California." This outline is 304 pages in length, and is an exhibit of the character of the report in preparation, which will be in seven books, forming five or six volumes, of five hundred pages each, or from 2,500 to 3,000 pages in all. How the compilers are paid is not stated; but judging from the following sentence,-"Great public works, such as national roads, railroads, basins and docks, canals and the canalization of rivers, whether enterprises of the state, of departments, communities, or of particular companies, whether toll is to be charged in any way or not, or whether a subsidy of treasure is to be granted or not, or whether any part of the public domain is to be used or not, can only be executed by virtue of special law, which can be passed only after an administrative inquiry has demonstrated the feasibility and desirability of the work, and a report has recommended it," which is a fair sample of the book, we presume they are paid by the word; the idea evidently being that of quantity, and not quality. A thorough investigation of the problem of irrigation, as developed in the old world, with reference to the new, would be of almost inestimable value; but the work should be concise, stating briefly the old laws, the work done in each country, the necessity and uses of irrigation as drawn from these examples, the land to be irrigated in California, and the plan to be adopted. If the book had been written with these ends in view, it would have been generally read and widely useful. Now few will read it, for it is necessary to look for the facts in a volume of words as you would for a needle in a haymow. We trust the legislature of California will thoroughly revise the work, and see that it is made less expensive and more useful.

ALTHOUGH THERE HAS BEEN within recent years a great multiplication of biological journals in Europe, many of which, from the character of the articles they have published, take high rank, yet they have nearly all been in fact, if not in name, confined almost exclusively to physiology and morphology. This is especially the case with the zoological periodicals, none of the best of which touch, except incidentally, upon the systematic, geographical, or biological departments of the science. In three fields there are special journals, with their clientèle principally among

amateurs. We refer to entomology, ornithology, and conchology. There is certainly a great deal of work in zoölogy, of great value and interest, and quite outside of either morphology or physiology. It would be a great convenience if there could be a journal which included a large fraction of the work of the character indicated.

We are glad to learn that such a journal is to be inaugurated in Germany, under the title Zoologische jahrbücher, and the sub-title Zeitschrift für systematik, geographie und biologie der thiere. It is to be edited by Dr. J. W. Spengel of Bremen, and published by Fischer at Jena. It is desired to give it a distinctly international character, and it is hoped to secure the co-operation of American zoologists. The editor justly attributes special value to thorough monographs, either of large or small groups, from any part of the animal kingdom, and to faunal papers. The division of the journal devoted to the life-histories of animals ought to prove peculiarly interesting and valuable. It is high time that something more was made of these than mere curiosities - which, in most cases, is all they pretend to be. Those who intend contributing will be pleased to know that articles will be published in German, French, English, or Latin; and that the authors are furnished with forty reprints of them, besides being paid a small That the new journal will be of a high character, the editor's name assures us. Dr. Spengel is one of the best-known and ablest of the younger German zoologists. His memoirs on the urogenital system, and on Bonellia viridis, are of altogether exceptional value, and are familiar to all scientific morphologists.



OUR contemporary Science, in the last number which has reached this country, makes some remarks concerning the admission of candidates into the Royal society, against which, in the interests of truth and accuracy, it is our duty to protest, the more especially as it is also implied that the French system of canvassing those who are already fellows of the society is also adopted. The statements actually made are, 1°, that there is an actual competitive examination, on the result of which a certain number of successful candidates are annually chosen:" and, 2°, "that the English method has the additional disadvantage

1 From Nature of Nov. 19.

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