« AnteriorContinuar »
Professor Parker rests his conclusion that the planet is not inhabited upon the following premises :
"1. The moisture, if any, is insufficient. is admitted that there are no large bodies of water to be vaporized, and the telescope practically demonstrates that there are no clouds suggestive of either snow or rain precipitations.
"2. Without abundance of moisture there would be insufficient vegetation to sustain life.
"3. It is too cold. With a temperature presumably two and one-half times lower than our own, no life known to us could survive; nor does it help the matter to assume, as some have, that there is a blanketing process of heat storage, when facts demonstrate that there is no such blanket.
"4. Accepting the LaPlace theory of relative age, if man has ever dwelt upon that distant world, the period of his allotment has doubtless long since passed.
5. But the most convincing proof lies in the fact of its greatly rarified atmosphere: being generally admitted to be 100 per cent. lighter
than ours, even at the highest mountain peaks. Man lives substantially on nitrogen and oxygen, and here we find his supplies practically cut off.
"Professor Lowell, though an affirmative advocate, after reviewing conditions of the atmosphere, is impelled to admit that Beings physically constituted like ourselves would be liable to meet with severe discomforts.'
"Is not this a fatal admission? How can life be long perpetuated under conditions of unbrokenly severe discomforts? To suppose that life exists at all under such dissimilar conditions is to speculate upon some sort of organism having no analogy to our own, and about which we know nothing.
While it may hardly be consistent with the dignity of scientific investigation to rest a conclusion upon the opinion of others, it is nevertheless interesting to know that some of these reasons have had weight with many of the best minds of the present age. Want of space will forbid quotations, but we invite attention to recent utterances of Professors Newcomb, Young, Holman, and others."
WHY DISTASTEFUL FOOD IS UNWHOLESOME.
OME remarkable experiments to show the comparative digestibility of different foods have recently been conducted by Professor Pawlow upon dogs. These experiments are described by Dr. Romme in La Revue for August:
The gullet of the animal was cut in sections and fixed to the neck, so that when it ate, the food merely fell to the ground, and the stomach was divided into two parts, one where no food was allowed to penetrate, the other into which was put the food necessary to keep the dog alive. The results of the experiments proved that the mere offering to the dog of food which he liked caused an abundant secretion of gastric juice, although, of course, nothing had entered the stomach. If he were given a dainty,--not merely food which he liked,-the flow of gastric juice was much more abundant,—that is, food taken without appetite will fall into a stomach without any gastric juices ready for it. The work of digestion was formerly supposed to go on all right if only The you could get the food to the stomach. Pawlow experiments show that it is either not digested at all or very badly digested.
Again, the brain transmits its orders to the stomach by means of two pneumogastric nerves. Professor Pawlow cut these nerves on a specially "prepared" dog. Then he the dog some gave raw meat, which again, of course, did not reach the stomach; but no drop of gastric juice was secreted. No method of mechanical excitement
produced any juice. And if, unknown to the
dog, without arousing in him the idea of food, bread or cooked white of egg were introduced into the stomach, they remained hours without causing the least secretion of gastric juice. But after administering extract of meat or milk first, the secretion was provoked.
HOW MENTAL DISTRACTION MAY CAUSE DYSPEPSIA.
Clearly, says Dr. Romme, in the poorer classes a man lives far more from his muscles than from his brain,-i.e., the desire for food. It is not a bad thing to be mildly greedy. The reason for dyspepsia being so common among men of letters and the like is that their brain is so much occupied with their work that they sit down to table and eat without thinking of the food taken. The pneumogastric nerves are not called into action, and the gastric juice is badly secreted. Now it is easy to understand why it is bad to be absorbed in a book or newspaper at meals.
As for consumptives with no appetite, and mad folk who often refuse food, the gastric juice may be set in motion in their case by taking milk or broth an hour or so before a meal.
INCE the bacteria came into public notice, they have shown us that many old theories were fallacies. New problems have presented themselves, and most unexpected discoveries are constantly being made, until bacteriology has developed into a science that involves vital questions relating to both pure science and economic matters. In the last number of the Centralblatt für Backteriologie, Dr. E. S. Loudon discusses current theories concerning the means by which any creature resists the action of injurious elements upon it, and describes experiments in confirmation of the theories.
The cells composing an organism are con. sidered as living, microscopic laboratories, in which the material basis of immunity is produced. According to one theory, the phagocytes, or wandering cells, are the active agents of defense; according to another, immunity depends upon the properties of certain humors produced in the blood. Probably the individual conflict against foreign elements is carried on largely within the limits of the cell, although it cannot be denied that it also goes on outside, in the vicinity of the cells and in the intercellular substance as well.
REMOVAL AND DESTRUCTION OF HARMFUL ELEMENTS.
The fluid which maintains the immunity of any animal may be resolved into three components, different in character and use, but each supplementing the action of the others. The first (desmon) opens the attack, so to speak, upon the elements to be destroyed. It affects cell elements foreign to the organism, which have penetrated in any way from the outside, and it is the agent concerned with the removal of cell material which has belonged to the organism but has become useless. It cannot destroy useless cell material, but accomplishes the first step in its removal by uniting with it and converting it into a substance which can be acted upon destructively by another component of the fluid (alexin), which in itself is indifferent to cell material except when it previously has been made vulnerable. Besides these, there is a third component (agglutin), which coöperates with the other two. The degree of immunity of any animal depends upon the quantitative and qualitative relations of these components. By some it is held that the action of the first component is to stimulate the leucocytes to destroy the harmful elements, and another view of its mode of action is through the affinity existing between it and the alexin contained in the leucocyte.
It has been shown by the chemical reactions to staining fluids that leucocytes vary among them.
selves, but there is no method for isolating a single kind of leucocytes; and, if there were, it would hardly be possible to induce the formation in an animal of a specific solvent for a definite kind of leucocyte; but if an animal is inoculated with an exudate in which one kind of leucocute predominates, a serum will be produced in response to the stimulus which will destroy all kinds of leucocytes.
Among the cell poisons there is one which is formed in animals if a piece of ciliated epithelium from an animal of a different species is introduced under the skin. The serum of such an animal acquires the power of stopping the movement of the cilia in corresponding cells.
If an emulsion made from the suprarenal body of the guinea pig is injected under the skin of a duck it calls forth a change in the nature of the serum of the duck; the emulsion apparently acts as a poison, and in defense the blood produces something that counteracts its effects. If the serum from such a duck is then injected into a normal guinea pig, it will kill it in a few hours.
It is maintained that man, and every animal as well, has a specific serum (antihaemolysin) in his blood which, to a certain extent, will resist the action of any poison tending to dissolve its red corpuscles. It is not supposed that the presence of the antihaemolysin lends any greater powers of resistance to the red corpuscles, but that it reacts upon the dissolving poison (haemolysin) and weakens it. Normal serum can destroy the dissolving power of many bacterial poisons.
ANIMAL LIFE AND CONDUCT.
Hunger and love lead the world; now hunger and love are simply other names for the fundamental systems of what the moralist calls egotism and altruism, and the most recent discoveries of science have thrown new light on the nature and reciprocal function of these two great motive forces. The question is one of capital importance, not only in biology, but also in sociology and ethics. Both in Germany and in England there is a " Struggle for Life" school, composed of more or less faithful disciples of Darwin, and on the other side various French philosophers who have never given up protesting against the theory which reduces the whole of life to a selfish struggle.
MIGHT US. RIGHT.
S Schiller said, 66
If it is true that brute force is really the basis of life, then it would be natural to find it exemplified especially in the animal kingdom. Their ethics ought in that case to be purely and simply
the law that might is right. This is the question which M. Fouillée investigates in his article on "The Conduct of Life Among Animals contributed to the second August number of the Revue des Deux Mondes. It has been objected by some biologists that what Schiller said as to hunger, etc., should rather be regarded as the desire of the cell for its own work of reparation and division. A locomotive is not hungry because it requires coal and water to go on running. This is not the place to follow M. Fouillée through his extremely technical discussions on animal phenomena; but he goes on to consider what is the origin of what he calls "society" among animals, by which he means, it is to be supposed, those social habits and tendencies which are by some considered to be based on self-interest, and by others on sympathy.
Friendly association is, of course, to be found most highly developed among animals which resemble one another most closely, - indeed, an animal which sees another animal for the first time is troubled in proportion to the unlikeness of the other animal to itself,-provided that comparison is at all possible. Thus, a monkey in the presence of a chameleon exhibits a most ludicrous terror. M. Fouillée attributes the foundation of animal society to the desire that every animal has to have round it beings like itself, this pleasure, frequently repeated, ending in creating an absolute need. He considers, therefore, that it is instinctive sympathy and not selfish interest which plays the principal part in the social life of animals, utilitarian considerations merely strengthening bonds which have been established,-in fact, utilitarian motives, supposing them to exist, themselves presuppose the consideration of the advantages which social life gives.
TWO DOG STORIES.
A dog in his relations to man often does things which, if done by a human being, would have the character of moral actions. Thus, there is the story of Romanes' dog, which only stole once in his lifetime. "One day, when he was very hungry," says Romanes, "he seized a cutlet on the table and took it under the sofa. I had been a witness of the deed, but I pretended to see nothing, and the culprit remained for some minutes under the sofa, divided between the desire to assuage his hunger and a sentiment of duty. It was the latter which triumphed, and the dog came and put at my feet the cutlet he had stolen; that done, he returned and hid himself again under the sofa, whence nothing could persuade him to come out." As Romanes says, the par
ticular value of this story lies in the fact that the dog had never been beaten, so that the fear of punishment could not have been a motive with him at all.
There is another story of a Newfoundland and a dog of another breed who were engaged in quarreling near a jetty. They fell into the sea, and the other dog, being a bad swimmer, began to drown, whereupon the Newfoundland, forgetting his anger, had all his life-saving instincts aroused, and proceeded to bring his late enemy to the bank. Another story is told of two Pyrenean dogs in whom the feeling of property was so highly developed that each of them would defend his plate of food with the utmost valor against any depredations on the part of the other. One of these dogs was cleverer than the other one, and knowing that his companion was very fond of barking and making a fuss when horses went by, would often pretend that something interesting was going on in the distance, and make off at great speed toward it; he would allow himself to be outstripped in the race, and, returning quickly, would eat the other's food.
THE PIGEON PUNISHED.
A French pigeon fancier tells a remarkable story of a pigeon collecting sticks for his nest and having been robbed during his absence by another pigeon. Each time, on his return, he would display signs of astonishment, looking all around in a vain search for any sign of the lost sticks. This went on for some time, and then the pigeon laid a trap for the thief; he put down a stick and then pretended to go away, but really watched the nest from a little distance off. When the thief came the lawful proprietor of the sticks fell upon him, and, with beak and wing, administered terrific punishment. The interesting part is that the robber only defended himself in a halfhearted manner, and seemed by his demeanor to admit the justice of his punishment.
FEELING TOWARD A NEW RELIGION. NTICIPATIONS," by Mr. H. G. Wells, attracted so much attention that the author has been encouraged to begin a new series of articles in the Fortnightly Review, entitled Mankind in the Making.' The first paper, which appears in the September number, is called "The New Republic." Its proper title should have been "The New Religion," for almost all of it is devoted to a discussion of what general principle, leading idea, or standard can be found sufficiently comprehensive to be of real guiding value in social and political matters, and throughout the business of dealing with one's fellow-men. Mr. Wells describes his own enterprise as an
attempt to put in order, to reduce to principle, what is at present in countless instances a matter of inconsistent proceedings, to frame a general theory in accordance with modern conditions of social and political activity. He maintains that no religion which at present exists prescribes rules that can be immediately applied to every eventuality. Upon a thousand questions of great public importance religion as it is generally understood gives by itself no conclusive light. The foundation of his new religion, or starting. point, is the desire to leave the world better than we found it.
BIRTH AS A RELIGIOUS BASIS.
He then goes back to the foundation of all religions, the bedrock from which every religion has sprung, to which the Church bears witness in the supreme position which it has ever accorded to the Mother and the Child. His first basic doctrine is that the fundamental nature of life is a tissue and succession of births. Love, home, and children are the heart-words of life. The statement that life is a texture of births, he thinks, may be accepted by minds of the most divergent religious and philosophical profession. Life is a fabric woven of births, and struggles to maintain and develop and multiply lives. The departing generation of wisdom, which founds its expression in the meditations of Marcus Aurelius, is based upon a predominant desire for a perfected inconsequent egotism, whereas the new faith, of which he makes himself the prophet, protests against this accentuation of man's egotistic individuality. To the extraordinary and powerful mind of Schopenhauer this realization of the true form of life came with quite overwhelming force, although it seemed to him a detestable fact, because it happened he was a detestably egotistical man. To others less egotistical the recognition of our lives as passing phases of a greater life comes with a sense of relief and discovery. The discovery of the nineteenth century which has been its crowning glory has been to establish the fact that each generation is a step, a definite measurable step, toward improvement. Darwin, he thinks, has altered the perspective of every human affair. Social and political effort are seen from a new view point. Hence the need for formulating what he calls the new republic.
whole and completely, as it conduces more or less to wholesome and hopeful births, and according to the qualitative and quantitative advance due to its influence made by each generation of citizens born under its influence toward a higher and ampler standard of life."
The essential idea which the new republic is to personify and embody is that men are no longer unconsciously to build the future by individualistic self-seeking, but by a clear consciousness of our coöperative share in the process. Every question, such, for instance, as the continuance of the existence of monarchy,—would be judged solely from the question whether it ministers or does not minister to the bettering of births and of the lives intervening between birth and birth. The new republican, in his inmost soul, will have no loyalty or submission to any kind and color save only if it conduces to the service of the future of the race.
THE FAILURE OF OUR PARTY SYSTEMS.
There is not in Great Britain or in America any party or section, any group, any single poli. tician, whose policy is based upon the manifest trend and purpose of life as it appears in the modern view. Mr. Wells does not believe that any Liberal or Conservative has any comprehensive aim at all as we of the new generation measure comprehensiveness. Hence the new republican cannot be a thoroughgoing party man. We want reality because we have faith. We seek the beginning of realism in social and political life. We have to get better births and a better result from the births we get. Each one of us is going to set himself immediately to that, using whatever power he finds to his hand to attain that end.
to the symposium which is being
conducted in the Commonwealth by Canon Scott Holland, Sunday in London is in a bad In the current number "A Printer" and a Tram-Driver" give their views on the subject. Sunday in the Metropolis," says the latter, is becoming nothing more nor less than a weekly Bank Holiday:
"As I ride up and down the road I see drunkenness and debauchery on every side. Fathers and mothers unworthy of the name, young men and women with no sense of decency in them, while on every side my ears are assailed with profane language, cursing, and blasphemy.
The effect on the masses of spending their Sunday as a Bank Holiday, instead of a holy day, is apparent to the most casual observer on Monday morning: they are in a state of bank
ruptcy, and have to resort to the pawnshop to carry them on until pay-day. I see crowds of people waiting for the pawnshops to open, some of them most respectable people, but because of their manner of spending Sunday they have to resort to this ignominious manner of raising money to carry them on till the end of the week.
To the tram-worker Sunday brings no cessation of labor. Sunday and week day, feast-day and fast-day, it is the same; there is no day of rest to look forward to, consequently Sunday is the same as week-day to him and his wife. He having no regular meal-times, his wife has to prepare and take his food out to him, so she is never free to spend her Sunday as a day of rest.
"The London County Council, all honor to them, have, since they have acquired the tramway system in South London, arranged that every driver and conductor in their employ gets one day's rest in seven, one day in which they have nothing whatever to do with their work,-they have neither to ask if they can be spared or to show up for it,-but one day absolutely free, and every man knows which day of the week his restday falls upon, as it would be impossible under the existing conditions to have Sunday."
THE PRINTERS' SUNDAY.
"A Printer" says:
"I suppose there are still some people who delight in Sunday as a day of faith and worship and good works, but such people are few and far between, something like Abraham's ten righteous men. I have been going about asking all sorts and conditions of men, What do you think about Sunday ?' There has been a wonderful degree of unanimity in the answers. Nearly every one has said, in varying phrases, It all depends on the weather.' The shopkeeper sells more sweets if the Sunday is a fine day. He is nearly as many in number as the publican, and he keeps open on Sunday for even longer hours than the publican. Sunday' to him conveys no meaning except that of larger sales than on other days. And the boys and girls that buy the sweets and drink the ginger beer? For them a fine Sunday is merely a synonym for a fine Bank Holiday. The town publican prefers a wet Sunday. He is busier then. But, wet or fine, his doors are crowded at opening time, and the thirst of a neighborhood comes to be slaked.
"In the printing trade Sunday work is sometimes necessary. I have never heard a printer object to Sunday work on religious grounds. On the rare occasions when exception is taken, the reasons are either frankly economic or personal. The observance of Saturday afternoon is the printer's cult; and nothing else must come in
the way of its exercise. In exchange for the opportunity to attend a football match the Sunday's rest is freely bartered."
HOW MUNICIPAL THEATERS MIGHT BE
OUR readers may recall a reference in our
August (page 231) to Mr. William Archer's plea for publicly owned theaters. Mr. Charles Charrington contributes to the Contemporary Review for September an article in support of this movement. He says that it would be well if a national and municipal theater league were formed, which would set itself to secure the foundation of municipal theaters in the great towns, and especially in the London boroughs, as well as a great theater for all London. He maintains that in Great Britain, owing to the lack of municipal theaters, not only is the standard of dramatic work below that of other countries, but that it is dearer and less in quantity; above all, that so long as the theater lacks the organization, implicit in the control of the theater of every other country in Europe by the people themselves through their accredited representatives, so long will the weakness of our theatrical management remain inherent and inevitable. "It is not only that the number of times Shakespeare's plays are performed in German-speaking countries compared with the number in England is about sevenfold; but also that, in England, only the plays which admit of the opportunity of great star parts for the actor-manager are performed; whereas, among our neighbors, all the plays, including the great historical cycle, are constantly produced."
THEATERS TO BE LEASED.
Every municipal theater, he maintains, would be a repertory theater in which long runs would be impossible. The municipality would never manage the theater itself. It owns the theater and invites tenders for the lease, which is usually granted for five or seven years to a manager, who receives a subsidy and pays no rent. The manager, as a rule, does as he pleases, but he is prevented from using the theater as a mere means of speculation. Prices are kept low, and the programme must be brought out in advance for the whole season. The municipality also has a right. of veto upon plays, and can, and does sometimes, stipulate upon the performance of a certan number of classical plays. It also insists upon the payment of standard wages to the employees. Of the great London theater upon which Mr. Charrington would spend $2,500,000 in order to make