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brous machinery has had to be devised. To summarise is well known to have attended to the subject for many and explain this machinery is the aim of the work years. under notice. In the main it is intended for the food The amount of contradictory evidence is remarkable. analyst, and the author's idea has been to give this In the case of the earlier experimenters, with more or official some information, not only on the subject of less faulty methods, this is not surprising; but the food-analysis, but also on various collateral matters same thing strikes one in many modern instances. with which he is brought into contact. Thus there are The question of the amount of transpiration in moist sections discussing the equipment of the laboratory, tropical regions, as compared with Europe, is a case the storage of samples, legal precautions, the duties in point. Another instance is what the author deof the food inspector, and certain processes of food scribes as a seven years' war (1884–1891) between manufacture.
Wille and Lundström as to the absorption of water All the ordinary foodstuffs are dealt with, a chapter by the aërial parts of plants. Other disputed points being allotted to each group of allied products, such are the effect of salt solutions supplied to the tranas cereals, spices, alcoholic beverages, and so on. The spiring plants, and the influence of varying amounts descriptions are written clearly; an excellent selection of CO, in the atmosphere; and many other cases might of the salient facts and the best methods of examin- be cited. ation has been made; and to each division an extensive The relation of plants to water, though a subject of bibliography is appended. Microscope work is a primary importance, is still to a great extent in the special feature, and the volume is enriched by a series elementary stage of inquiry. A large number of the of forty plates, containing about four times as many statements quoted by Burgerstein are little more than photomicrographs of the principal vegetable and disconnected facts, and, in spite of the interesting book animal structures met with in the examination of he has made of them, they still seem to us to await foods.
a somewhat different treatment. The chief criticism to offer on the book is that the The subject-matter of the book falls into two treatment of so much material in one volume—even classes :--(1) the loss of water-vapour considered as one of eight hundred pages-must necessarily be in physical phenomenon; (2) the biological inquiry into the nature of a summary. Hence in many instances the adaptation of plants to the distribution of water the information, though sufficient for routine work, considered as environment. From both points of view is not full enough to be of much value when cases of transpiration should be considered side by side with real difficulty arise.
assimilation and respiration, and this manner of lookOne notes several examples of careless transcription ing at the subject has not, in our judgment, been kept in looking through the work. On p. 441 the so-called sufficiently in mind by the author. The point is that " Koettstorfer's equivalent" for butter-fat is given a the same organs—the stomata—serve for gaseous exmaximum value of 241 and a minimum of 253. It change and for the evaporation of water. Burgerstein might be guessed that these two numbers have been discusses at the end of his book the question whether, transposed; but on the next page the value of the as some have supposed, transpiration is a necessary constant in question is given as 224. The author has, evil. This might have been discussed from a broader in fact, failed to distinguish between the “ equivalent” standpoint, and would have been in place in an earlier and the value ” of the saponification experiment. chapter. It does not seem necessary to treat the view In the table on p. 441 the values of the insoluble acids referred to as entirely false. Plants undoubtedly have for oleomargarine are transposed; the specific gravity to strike a balance between the possession of a free has no temperature of reference; and a faulty arrange- stomatal connection with the atmosphere and the conment of the table makes it appear that butter-fat and sequent danger of evaporating more water than they margarine possess, somehow, a maximum and a can take up from the soil. This compromise includes minimum temperature; whilst in the data for edible also the value of the transpiration-stream in supplyoils and fats on p. 380 the limiting values are again ing minerals to the aërial parts, on which Burgerstein transposed.
rightly lays stress. All we suggest is that the whole Nevertheless, it would be unfair to judge the book problem, being of a fundamental character, might well by these slips. It contains a large amount of inform- have been dealt with more liberally, and been given a ation and, though written more particularly from the place preliminary to the details of transpiration. American point of view, will be found a useful con- A fault in Burgerstein's treatment of transpiration, spectus of the whole field of food control.
though a fault difficult to avoid, is that he does not C. SIMMONDS. keep before the reader the fact that the condition of
the stomata–whether open, half open, or shut-is far
and away more important than all the other internal THE TRANSPIRATION OF PLANTS.
conditions put together. Like the rest of the world, Die Transpiration der Pflanzen. Eine Physiologische he is well aware of this, but we doubt whether the
Monographie von Dr. Alfred Burgerstein, A. 0. uninstructed reader would here learn to think of the Universitätsprofessor in Wien. Pp. x+283. (Jena : problem in this way. To take an example, he deGustav Fischer, 1904.) Price 7.50 marks.
scribes (p. 62) how, when part of the foliage is reTHIS book is a classified analysis of the published moved, the remaining leaves transpire more actively
. onward, with a running criticism by the author, who effects, direct or indirect, of the operation on the
stomata of the remaining leaves. The same thing is seem to expect a series of ready-made lessons on a true of the discussion (p. 81) on the transpiration of variety of nature subjects, basing their demand on the Aowers as compared with leaves, where the reader is ground that they have no time (or is it that they have
no inclination?) to make the necessary studies for left in ignorance of how far the facts are explicable
themselves. If this course were adopted, it would lead by reference to the stomata.
to two evils. First, all the observations (if they could But it is not merely in relation to isolated problems be so called) would come from the teacher and not that we feel the want of more information with regard from the pupils; and, secondly, knowledge thus to the stomata. We should expect to find a full acquired by the teacher could not possibly raise the
delights of genuine nature-study in the minds of his general discussion of their importance in regard to
scholars. Prof. Miall has therefore preferred to make transpiration. This would have included a reference
an effort to instil and encourage the habit of observ. to Horace Brown's work on the static diffusion of gas ation and inquiry in a few teachers (who will neces. through these openings, and a consideration of the sarily be the best of their kind) by showing them what question how far evaporation can be checked by the
may be learnt by careful observation of the common
natural objects to be met with among their daily closure of the stomata. Again, we should have liked
surroundings, rather than by pandering to the popular a discussion of the trustworthiness and general value clamour for cut and dried lessons—which are really of the microscopic measurements of the stomata in not nature-study at all. How he has succeeded reliving plants. Burgerstein gives interesting
mains to be seen. If we may venture to predict, it will account of the methods depending on the yield of
be the clever and inquiring teachers who will praise
and take advantage of his efforts, and the dullards and water-vapour, such as Stahl's cobalt test, &c., by which
plodders who will condemn them and say that they are it can be roughly determined that the stomata are
unsuited to their purpose. “ widely open” or “ nearly shut.” But if we are to
Although the author modestly says that he gives distinguish the stomatal factor from other factors in only a few lessons, his articles or essays are no less experiments on transpiration, numerical statements as than fifty-four in number, and cover a very wide range to the condition of the stomata are wanted, and the of subjects, including cheese-grubs, glow-worms,
water-lilies, London pride, the human face and hand, question whether such data are available mig well
and museums and their teachings. As an example of have been discussed. With regard to method, Burger- the large amount of information Prof. Miall manages stein seems to us a little hard on the various “ poto- to give in a very small compass, we may refer to the meter " methods, by which a general idea of the tran- exceedingly interesting account of the ancestry and spiration curve is obtained by measuring the intake of evolution of insects in the chapter on the cheesewater. He is justified in saying that these methods hopper.” An excellent work which should be in the
hands of all teachers is our verdict.
R. L. do not estimate transpiration but absorption; but we think he undervalues the fact that, with cut branches Ideals of Science and Faith. Essays by Various and for not too extended periods of time, the intake
Authors, edited by the Rev. J. E. Hand. Pp. xix +
333. (London : George Allen, 1904.) Price 55. net. so closely corresponds to transpiration that the method cannot be neglected, and is certainly of great value for recognition that the ideals common to both Religion
“On all sides ” (to quote the preface)" is a growing purposes of demonstration.
and Science are not only numerous but are indeed the Though we have criticised “ Die Transpiration der very ideals for which the nobler spirits on both sides Pflanzen," we are far from meaning to condemn it; care most.” Necessarily the treatment is varied, we have, indeed, read it with interest and profit. Any- perhaps too varied, but the editor gently deprecates
criticism of this feature. one intending to make a study of the subject cannot
Prof. Patrick Geddes has
room to discourse on the excellence of teaching boys do better than read it with care. He will thus be made
to make boxes; and the theologians, under "A aware of many pitfalls, and will have a guide to the Presbyterian Approach,” “A Church of England chief points which need fresh investigation.
Approach," and the like, hardly give one a definite F. D. view of “ A Christian Approach.'
In the papers of the men of science and philosophers
the general position is that science does not deal with OUR BOOK SHELF.
the whole of life, and that it can no longer meet the
claims of faith with a "certainly not." Sir Oliver House, Garden, and Field; a Collection of Short
Lodge defends the idea of continuous guidance on the Nature Studies. By L. C. Miall. Pp. x+316; illus
part of the Deity, seeks to reconcile Pantheism and the trated. (London : É. Arnold, 1904.) Price 6s.
belief in a personal God, and complains that religious This admirable little work appears to be by far the people seem to be losing some of their faith in prayer. best aid to the proper teaching of nature-study that has Prof. J. Arthur Thomson and Prof. Patrick Geddes lav hitherto come under our notice, the author having very stress on the altruistic side of the struggle for existwisely refrained from furnishing the teacher with a ence.
Prof. Muirhead maintains that we must limit manual which would do away with all necessity for causation and the conservation of energy to the original study and observation on his part, and enable material world, and must look for some other concephim to read the various lessons to his pupils without tion when we come to the action of the mind itself. effort or thought. The object of the writer is, indeed, “ We use a saw to make a fiddle; we throw it (sic) as much to educate the teacher as to enable the latter aside when we come to play upon it (sic).” The Hon. to teach his pupils. For example, in the article on Bertrand Russell's paper-“ An Ethical Approach "bananas, Prof. Miall, when he asks the reason for the is the most eloquent; much of it is Lucretius, Book iii., peculiar shape of that popular fruit, under the guise rewritten (could one be more complimentary?), with of leaving the reply to the pupil is really testing the the difference that Mr. Russell recognises more depowers of observation and reasoning possessed by the finitely the need for religion and worship, albeit the teacher himself.
worship of a God who is not Force but " created by As the author observes in his introduction, teachers our own love of the good.”
Die orientalische Christenheit der Mittelmeerlände.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR. By Dr. Karl Beth. Pp. xvi+ 427. (Berlin : (The Editor does not hold himself responsible for opinions Schwetschke, 1902.)
expressed by his correspondents. Neither can he undertake
to return, or to correspond with the writers of, rejected The author spent five months in 1901 in the eastern
manuscripts intended for this or any other part of NATURE. Mediterranean, investigating at first hand, and at
No notice is taken of anonymous communications.) close quarters, the institutions, and the practical
What is Brandy ? working of the Greek, Armenian, and' Coptic Churches, and of such other fragments of Christian With regard to the interesting article in your issue of communions as survive in those parts. He is
November 3 upon this subject, I trust that I may be allowed Evidently a good observer and quick worker, and was
to pass a few comments. able to elicit much interesting information, meeting connoted burnt or distilled wine ; its derivation is thus stated
There can be no doubt that the word “ brandy " originally t'verywhere, as he did, with cordial receptions and
in the “ Oxford Dictionary ” of Dr. Murray as from the assistance. The result is a valuable handbook of an
Dutch word “brandewijn,” old English “ brandy wine." ill-explored section of ecclesiology, full of queer side- Thus so late as 1719 one D'Urfey, “ Pills," v. 23, lights upon mediæval and modern history, and no less upon the workings of the religious instinct under the “I was entertained, with Kisses fine and Brandy wine." peculiarly unfavourable conditions which have pre- Certain spirits were introduced long before the outbreak vailed in the Levant for so long. The author's per- of the phylloxera in France under the name of British sonal knowledge of the working of these curious brandy, still included in certain legal documents under the institutions enables him to supply a number of designation of British compounds, though, as a matter of Directions to Kattenbusch's "Lehrbuch," and to fact, made more without than within this country. Herein
a difficulty arises for those who may have to advise county confirm and expand the observations of Gelzer, von
or borough councils in the administration of the Sale of der Goltz, von Soden, and other recent travellers.
Foods and Drugs (Amendment) Act, as now interpreted, or
those, like myself, who have to deal with cases under the Tales of Sutton Town and Chase, with other Tales and Merchandise Marks Act. For on the one hand an astute some Sketches. Collected by Tau."
chemist could make up a liquid, wholly innocent of grape Birmingham: Hudson and Son, 1904.) Price juice, so that the results, obtained on analysis, were identical 25, 6d. net.
with those of a genuine grape-spirit, and on the other, a
sample of the latter might, as pointed out in your article, Two of the narrative poems in this delightful little
if carelessly distilled be condemned, though innocent. collection are of more than local interest. One ballad
Again, if a genuine grape spirit, distilled not far from _** The Alchemist of New Hall”—refers to the moated Cognac, were mixed with per cent. of a spirit, not silent stone mansion of New Hall, where the celebrated Dr. (I omit particular details on the ground of expediency), mere Sacheverell lived at one time. Another poem deals analytical results would be of little avail ; such a problem amusingly with a meeting of the Lunar Society, which (credite experto) requires prolonged research, and the applimet in the district in the latter portion of the eighteenth
cation of methods not wholly chemical. (entury, and included among its members Erasmus
It is clear that professional tasting, especially by certain Darwin, Galton, James Watt, Priestley, Wedgwood
specially gifted persons, is a very valuable aid to analytical
results and methods of research, yet, as a matter of evidence, and Baskerville. To persons familiar with Sutton
it can be regarded only as a question of opinion, based on Coldfield and the neighbourhood, this collection of
long experience, rather than as a definite proof. serses describing in appropriate words and metre some A Government inquiry would elicit important evidence, of the stories of “o!dest inhabitants" will be read and possibly some kind of standard might be arrived at with keen interest; and many others will find pleasure which would not only exclude clever and fraudulent imitain the quaint ideas contained in this dainty little tions, but also bring the present chaos or impasse to a lume.
V. H. VELEY.
Oxford, November 5. I ke Glamour of the Earth. By George A. B. Dewar.
Your article published under the above heading in Pp. ix + 255; with illustrations by R. W. A. Rouse.
Nature of November 3 raises some interesting points. The (London: George Allen, 1904.) Price 6s. net.
writer clearly fails to appreciate any difference between THE true lover of the country will enjoy this book. brandy and alcohol, for he says, “ if the brandy is being The author is not addressing the mere seeker after made from damaged wine the rectification must be most information; and such a reader will regard the volume carefully conducted, and may have to be pushed to a point diffuse and unsatisfactory. But men who are weary
that the alcohol is obtained almost pure, that is to say, with work and have gone to the country quietly to
almost free from non-alcohol." Now if brandy is merely come into contact with nature, and so secure refresh- alcohol, as is here plainly implied, why produce it from ment and recreation, will follow Mr. Dewar's notes from malted barley, or rum from cane sugar? The fact is
grapes or wine at all? Similarly, why produce whisky and leisurely observations with sympathy and appreci- that the genuine article is, and has always been in history, stion. The beautiful pictures by Mr. Rouse add much the product of the pot still
. The pot still produces alcohol to the attractiveness of the volume.
plus“ non-alcohol,” the patent still pure alcohol. It is
true that brandy, whisky, and rum contain alcohol, but the Jahrbuch der Radioaktivität und Elektronik. Heraus- alcohol of the patent still or rectifying still is not whisky,
gegeben von J. Stark in Göttingen. Erster Band. brandy, or rum. Pot still spirit from damaged " or sick i Heft. (Leipzig : S. Hirzel, 1904.)
wines would be nauseous and undrinkable, but pot still
spirit from wines of repute possesses the qualities which disThis new magazine or "year-book,” devoted to radio- tinguish genuine brandy chemically and physiologically activity and the electric discharge, is promised to from rectified spirit. It is well known that the effects of appear in four parts yearly. The first part, now under pure alcohol on the blood pressure and lymph circulation consideration, contains two original contributions, six are modified very considerably by the presence of other conshort summaries of recent work on special branches,
stituents in spirits. These other constituents are the “ nonand a fairly complete list of the original papers on
alcohol" which you describe. To call rectified spirit or radio-activity, &c., which had appeared in 1904 up to
patent still spirit brandy is about as reasonable as calling the date of going to press. The short summaries re
skimmed milk milk. In England the word brandy ought lerred to are preceded by bibliographies, and should
to be confined to a pot still spirit produced from the wine
of grapes, and should never be applied to alcohol distilled prosce useful to specialists.
in a patent still from “ damaged wine or from likely
enough worse material. Such a definition, if adopted, changed to deep blue, violet, or purple, and so much so would be “ calculated to facilitate the work of the un- that in places the whole surface of the road has a marked fortunate public analysts who may be called upon to express blue shimmer. Or perhaps it should rather be said that an opinion as to the genuineness of a sample of brandy,' this was the case last autumn; I have not seen it since. and the question, what is brandy? analytically speaking, As will be seen from the enclosed specimen, the contrast would no longer“ await solution.” Recent analyses to between the imbedded and the exposed portion of the pebbles which you refer have at any rate reduced a large section is very striking. of the brandy trade to the confession that much of the stuff Without giving any special study to the matter, I was they sold never had its origin in the grape at all. The inclined at the time to attribute the phenomenon either to public house trade now posts notices in the bars that it a further oxidation and hydration of the iron which is, no cannot guarantee the brandy sold to be genuine grape doubt, present in the flints, or, possibly, to a molecular respirit.
arrangement of the silica. At some points the blue colour The attitude of the French committee is not difficult to passes almost into black; this suggests that it may indicate understand, and there can be no objection to it so long as a transition stage between yellow and black flints. the trade, in the interests of which it has undertaken
Possibly some mineralogist has examined the matter more the inquiry, determines on issuing an honest label setting thoroughly.
C. SIMMONDS. forth that either the spirit is a pot still spirit from grape Northcroft, Deronda Road, Herne Hill, November 14. wine or it is not.
S. ARCH. VASEY. Bromley, Kent, November 8.
Che cal Analysis for Beginners.
In a review on this subject (this vol., p. 5)“ J. B. C." The Origin of Life.
directs attention once again to the unsuitability of an ALTHOUGH there are good reasons for believing that the extended study of analysis for a beginner. His opinions life of our world is the product of its own physical con- not only claim respect, but must be largely shared by all ditions, and distinct from the life of other members of the teachers of chemistry. solar system, it is hardly probable that living substance There is, however, a side to the question which somehow can be produced otherwise than by the same conditions that seems rather to be overlooked. The average elementary produced it in the past, and one of these conditions is a student will work patiently for hours over qualitative vast period of time.
analysis, well taught, badly taught, or not taught at allWe are not acquainted with any life apart from “ cells." he is interested, and though none too willing to use brains But the cell is a very complex organism, and between in- as well as tables, he is ready under guidance to do his best. organic substance and the cell there may have been as long But in any logical system of elementary quantitative and a course of evolution as between the cell and the highest preparation work calculated to build up a firm foundation in existing animal or vegetable. Probably most biologists the principles of chemistry he appears to take no natural nowadays regard life not as an entity (e.g. not as a vital interest, when it comes to actual work. Possibly " J. B. C.” force''), but rather as a coordination of many physical will not agree that this is so; and it may be right that the processes which have become more numerous and better student should be compelled (if it can be done) to think coordinated in the course of evolution. It is not to be sup- logically from the first. But it seems not unimportant to posed that the total functions of life would be developed interest him in practice as well as on paper. in not-living substances under the restricted conditions of I do not refer to the embryo professional chemist who human experiment; nevertheless, some of the individual soon gets through the introductory work and is nearly functions might be brought into action, at least in a always interested, but to that enormous crowd of text-book primitive form.
consumers who spend, possibly, three hours per week in One of these functions, which I believe to be the most the chemical laboratory as part of their scheme of study. fundamental, is the deoxidation of a compound containing Does not the marked change of attitude in such students the elements N, O, C, H, &c., by the action of light, when qualitative analysis is touched upon indicate that there moderate heat, or slight electrical disturbance. This is the is still room for fundamental improvement in the method foundation of biosynthesis-a small beginning, which in of presenting first steps in practical chemistry? the course of ages develops mechanisms so perfect as the
F. SOUTHERDEN. photosynthesis in chlorophyll-bearing cells. We ought by Royal Albert Memorial College, Exeter. research to discover the conditions on which such deoxidation depends, and imitate it in our laboratories; we
Misuse of Words and Phrases. might even apply it to important economic purposes.
In Mr. Basset's book, to which he refers in NATURE of This deoxidation is probably a perfectly natural process, November 10 (p. 30), he speaks of the advantage of having as natural as the opposite process of oxidation, only it must ' a concise and pointed mode of expression, which saves a not be sought in the behaviour of mere oxides, as CO.,, but great deal of circumlocution and verbosity." He thinks rather in that of compounds containing N, O, C, H, &c., that this object is best gained by coining a new word from as above suggested. In fact, it may be expected to be nearly the Greek, for instance, autotomic, whereas I hold that a reversal of the process of vital oxidation, which has been the same object is better gained by adopting a word of more successfully investigated. Vital oxidation seems to English derivation, self-cutting. Mr. Basset now says that take place in two stages, as follows :-(1) the O is taken he considers this word inelegant," and, in the absence into combination with the N in a complex molecule, (2) it of any standard of elegance, I can only reply that this is a is transferred from the N to a more oxidisable element. matter of individual taste. Perhaps it would be better still Whether complete linking occurs between 0 and N, as to call a curve that has double points a “ nodal curve," and O=N=, we cannot say; but the linkings =C-0-N one that has none a " nodeless curve." The word binodal and H-0–Ne are probable. The oxygen-carrying func- is already in use. tion of N seems to be assisted in many (if not all) cases As regards the phrase " non-singular cubic,” it is clearly by Fe.
inaccurate if, with Plücker, we speak of “ singular lines First attempts at life may be occurring continually around as well as “ singular points," and include all these under us, but if any synthetic substances be formed they are sure the term singularities; but I rather think that in English to be seized and assimilated by the already developed books the term singularity was formerly not applied to organisms.
F. J. ALLEN. double tangents, or even to points of inflection. Cambridge, November 12.
T. B. S. Change in the Colour of Moss Agates.
Reason in Dogs. IN connection with Mr. Whitton's inquiry (NATURE, APROPOS of “ thinking cats," perhaps the following story November 10, p. 31), the following note may be of interest. of a practical joke played by a dog will interest your readers.
On the top of the West Cliff at Bournemouth the road A friend of mine, Mr. W., owns a Manchester terrier of is laid with material which includes a number of flint which he is very fond, and for that reason receives rather pebbles. These are, as a rule, rounded or subangular, and more than doggy attention. The dog passes most of his of a yellow or whitish-yellow colour as regards their general time in the library, where a basket and rug are provided for surface. But where exposed to the air the colour has him, but he prefers, when it is possible, to take possession
of his master's easy chair. A short time ago I had occasion of which one at least is an ancient classical language. to call on Mr. W., and the dog was, as usual, occupying Part ii. includes arithmetic, algebra, and geometry as the chair, from which he was removed to his basket. He
heretofore. The paper on “ Paley's Evidences is showed his resentment of this disturbance of his slumbers
abolished; it is not a school subject, and it is got up by becoming very restless. Presently he trotted over to the door, which he rattled by pushing with his nose, his usual
largely by an effort of memory from a bare abstract method of attracting attention when he wished to go out.
or analysis. Part iii. includes English composition as His master immediately rose and opened the door, but in- a compulsory subject, and two of the following alterstead of the dog going out he rushed back and jumped into
natives: (1) English history; (2) scripture knowledge the chair his master had just vacated! The rapid wagging
(a Gospel and Acts in English); (3) elementary organic of his tail and the expression on his face showed the dog to chemistry; (4) experimental mechanics and other parts be very pleased with the result of his ruse. The dog has re- of elementary physics. Natural science, in the shape peated the same joke once or twice since, with much evident of physics and chemistry, is thus introduced for the delight to himself.
ARTHUR J. HAWKES. first time. The syndicate was urged by weighty Bournemouth.
authorities to require from all candidates some know
ledge of science; but, after full consideration, it is Occurrence of a Tropical Form of Stick-Insect in unable to recommend more than the inclusion of science Devonshire.
among the alternative subjects. Probably, in view of A FEW weeks ago I obtained through the kindness of a the imperfect organisation of science teaching in many lady in Paignton a living specimen of a stick-insect, one public schools of the classical type, to make science of several individuals which had appeared in her garden, My example was met with on the plaster outside a window,
compulsory at this stage would have involved the and owing to the tenacity with which it adhered to its posi
adoption of a standard so low as in effect to discredit tion required some force to dislodge it. I preserved it in
the subject. captivity for about a fortnight, at the close of which period
For the benefit of certain students, among whom it died, having refused to feed on the foliage of any of the
students of science may certainly be reckoned, to plants with which it was supplied.
whom the power to read French and German is more It is an apterous female, and is, I think, referable to important than a special knowledge of one only of Cladoxerus phyllinus, Gray. I have not been able to obtain these, it is provided that the translation papers in each any clue as to the cause of its occurrence.
of the two languages may be substituted for the transROBERT O, CUNNINGHAM. lation and composition papers in one alone.
For a boy from a modern school or technical instiA Probable Variable of the Algol Type.
tute, therefore, the examination provided might thus Os the evening of October 29, while examining the include, for example, Latin, French, and German Pleiades with a binocular at about 9 p.m., G.M.T., I noticed translation, mathematics, English composition, elethat the star Atlas (27 Tauri) was slightly fainter than mentary chemistry, and elementary physics. On the Pleione (28 Tauri), a little to the north of it. I did not other hand, a boy from a purely classical school might remember at the time what the relative brightness of the take the following combination : Latin and Greek, stars was, and on looking them up in the Harvard Cata- mathematics, English composition, scripture, and logues I was surprised to find that Atlas was measured English history. For him the examination would be 3-80 magnitude, and Pleione 5.19. estimates for the last 300 years agree in making Atlas con
an improvement on the old “previous siderably brighter than Pleione. The nights following
not only by reason of the higher standard proposed to October 29 were cloudy, but on the evening of November 9 be required, but also on account of the wider range of I found Atlas of its usual brilliancy, and more than i mag- / literary subjects to be included. nitude brighter than Pleione. The observed variation was The report represents a serious attempt to recognise therefore about 1) magnitude. As Atlas is not a long period and to provide for the changes which are in progress variable, it seems probable that it is a variable of the Algol in modern English education. By asking from every type. The star should be watched, and observations for aspirant evidence that he has seriously studied one, variable radial velocity would be very desirable.
at least, of the classical languages, it safeguards the J. E. GORE.
traditional virtue ascribed to that form of intellectual
training. By admitting that modern languages (inTHE PREVIOUS EXAMINATION AT
cluding English) and physical science are possible CAMBRIDGE.
components of a liberal education in the twentieth
century, it indicates a certain widening of academic THE first report of the studies and examinations aims and ideals that may lead to better things here:
syndicate, issued on November i, deals with after. There is little doubt that the report will meet the previous examination. This is the first public with strenuous opposition from those who, in the suptest imposed on candidates for degrees at the uni- posed interest of ancient learning, dare not make any versity, and since 1822 has included a compulsory concession to modern knowledge. It will not escape examination in both Latin and Greek. In response to criticism from reformers of the more advanced type, a demand for reform sent up by teachers, parents, pro- who would sweep away Latin as well as Greek. But fessional men, and men of science in the direction of the proposals at least remedy a genuine grievance in making Greek, at least for some students, an optional a practical manner, and they make for progress along subject-a demand supported by a large majority of the lines of a sounder and broader education than the head-masters and assistant masters in the secondary older universities have yet sought to foster. schools-the syndicate proposes new scheme for the examination in which this demand is recognised.
Briefly, the scheme provides that for all candidates THE EXPLORATION OF THE TRANSVAAL.' the “ previous ” shall consist of three parts, to be student. Part i. includes Latin, Greek, French, and rivalry between the geologists of Cape Colony and of taken together or separately at the convenience of the In this first report, drawn up by Mr. H. Kynaston
and his colleagues, we see the prospect of healthy German, the papers in each to require unprepared the newly acquired territories to the north. No time translation and composition. “ abolished. A candidate may take Latin and Greek, or
has been lost in issuing one of those small folio either Latin or Greek together with French or Ger
1 "Geological Survey of the Transvaal. Report for the year 1903."
Pp. ii+48; with 24 plates, folding maps, and sections. (Pretoria : Printed man. In other words, he must take two languages, at the Government Printing Office, 1904.)