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rate and comprehensive weather-service will enable the Union Pacific to save thousands of dollars every week to its patrons. If storms can be accurately predicted beforehand, the stockmen can withhold their shipments and allow cattle to be sent through without danger of perishing by being caught in blockades or blizzards. One prominent cattleman recently said that such a system of predictions, if accurate, would be the means of saving him fifty thousand dollars every year. The practical working of this service will be watched with much interest by raiload men in all parts of the country.
In the prominent mention given just now to the meteorological enterprise of the Union Pacific railroad, it should not be forgotten that very considerable contributions towards increasing the value of the signal service are made by other roads. The display of weather-flags on many western and southern lines is no small matter, for one of the greatest difficulties that the service has to contend with is the delay in placing its indications in the hands of those who wish to know them. The predictions based on the seven A.M. observations, and issued about ten o'clock from Washington, are read by most persons only at five or six o'clock in the evening, or later, when the time dovered by the prediction is already well advanced. Besides this, there is a large contribution of temperature, wind, and general weather observations made to the Pacific coast division of the service, at present in charge of Lieutenant Glassford, by the Southern Pacific railroad company. Observations are taken daily at seven A.M. at about a hundred and twenty stations on their wide-branching lines, making a valuable addition to the tri-daily reports from the twenty regular stations of the service on the Pacific slope.
THE FIRST PUBLISHED print of the topographical survey of Massachusetts, executed jointly by the U. S. geological survey and the state, was the map of the Greylock-Williamstown-North Adams district, issued last summer by the Appalachian mountain club on the scale of the original planetable sheets (1: 30,000), and of which mention has been made in Science. The same district is now published in its official form, on a scale of an inch to a mile (162,500), with brown contours every twenty feet, blue water-courses, and black roads, towns, and lettering. Old Greylock makes a fine centre for the sheet, and its sharply moulded form
is well displayed in the crowded contours on its steeper slopes. The curiousHopper,' with its deep-cut outlet valley opening to the west, is one of the best-marked topographic forms in the state. There ought to be found here a nocturnal windstream as distinct as the water-stream that flows from so well-developed a drainage surface; for on calm clear nights, as the air near the ground cools by conduction to the radiating earth, it becomes heavy, and, if resting on an inclined surface, tends to flow down it; if a large surface lead downward to a narrow valley exit, like that from the Hopper, a distinct mountain breeze should be felt at the mouth. This should be studied and defined, so that our teachers need not go abroad to Switzerland, or even so far away as the Cordilleras of the west, to find illustration of phenomena that are doubtless distinct enough near home.
The deep valley separating Greylock from the Hoosac range is included in this sheet almost to the head of its stream, the Hoosic, a little south of the village of Berkshire. From the low pass that leads southward to the Housatonic valley, the Hoosic runs north before turning at North Adams westward to Williamstown, and therefore presents an example of that class of streams that suffered obstruction in the latter stages of the glacial period; for, when the southern marginal remnants of the ice-sheet lay in the deeper valleys, they blockaded the streams that ran towards them, and flooded them into lakes that commonly rose until they overflowed backwards across their divides to the south. Glen Roy in Scotland, with its parallel roads,' is a famous example of the kind; the Red River valley of Minnesota and Dakota is a very large illustration of essentially the same type; the northward-flowing Contoocook in New Hampshire has been obstructed in the same way, according to Upham; but not a single example of a valley thus modified has yet been described in Massachusetts. It is time that the many examples which undoubtedly exist should be brought to light, that they may contribute their share to the proper foundation of geographic study. Enough has been done in the broad, vague way of distant continental homologies : what is now needed is the local examination of minute topographic details, so that we may learn to see and appreciate the forms about us at home; and nothing will lead sooner or surer to this long-delayed end than the publication of good topographic
maps. The educational value of these maps will alone repay the people of Massachusetts over and over again for their share in the cost of making them.
WHENCE COME RACE CHARACTERS ? ONE is often led to speculate as to the origin of national peculiarities; and soon such speculations take one to the conclusion that a great deal of what characterizes a nation in the way of mental traits is not an intrinsic quality of the race, but akin rather to folk-lore, as to its origin at least. There are modes of the mind, and fashions of thought, which spread by propinquity. Such modes may give currency to superstitious tales of witchcraft, to foolish prejudices, or to great intellectual impulses. Every man's mind is a country inhabited by ideas, very few of which are autochthonous. His opinions are an immigrant populace; and, when a sturdy thought goes forth from the mind of its birth, it breeds abundant exact reproductions of itself in many other minds. Indeed, most thinking is repetitive. So, when a strong man appears, his example establishes a tendency in those about him; and, if he is highly endowed, he founds a school perhaps, of politics, art, or science, as the case may be. If many such men come in one epoch and in one nation, it may well happen that their conjoint impulses may lead a whole nation in a certain developmental direction, without the qualities which become prominent really being intrinsic race characters.
It is a legitimate question, and one possessed of deep meaning, Are the Germans more musical inherently than other peoples, or has the succession of splendid musical geniuses among them at once guided and accelerated the musical culture of the nation? The same alternative query arises concerning the pre-eminence of Italian painting or of English literature. Or we may make the complementary inquiry. Does the lack of certain qualities in a nation depend on the lack of the right leaders? To go back to the Germans, at whom indeed we are aiming all the while, do they lack American inventiveness because it is nowise in them, or merely because they have never been rightly impelled into the habit of invention by example-giving inventors? Probably for the latter reason, for German scientific men have done their share in inventing scientific apparatus, and the Germans who come to America learn to invent. The final interest of these considerations resides in the decision as to whether national defects of certain kinds cannot be remedied by tuition and right leadership. It must be left, however,
for some powerful investigator to definitely solve these problems by rigid historical research. Let us, however, by an act of cheerful faith, accept the belief in possible betterment even unto thinking that the German people may acquire the literary instinct.
I have referred on several occasions in the columns of Science to the absence of the literary sense in German scientific men. It is one of the most flagrant arguments against the classical education, with its supposed results of literary culture, that the Germans, who have school doses of classics much larger and more concentrated than are administered in the rest of the world, themselves write more barbarously than any other civilized western people. German scientific articles are full of sentences like this, which refers to the bristles serving among arthropods as organs of touch: "Man darf für wahrscheinlich halten, dass die so sehr wechselnde gestalt und ausbildung der Tastborsten' nach der art des thieres und den körpergegenden noch bestimmten nebenzwecken zu dienen hat, ohne dass wir uns davon rechenschaft zu geben vermögen." Now, the author of this sentence is one of the most distinguished and justly distinguished of German zoologists, but his manner of writing is similar in quality to that of most scientific writers in Germany. The sentence is neither better nor worse than thousands upon thousands of others, perpetrated by his countrymen equally without literary feeling. The Germans need literary conscience to reprove them for all their awkward and involved phrases, that their souls may know how guilty they are in ignoring their readers' rights. The quoted sentence was evidently written without attention to the forms of expression. It never occurred to the author that aught was due the reader. His meaning cannot be had except by an effort. It is illmannered to give others so much trouble, when a little pains on one's own part might save it. A cultivated Frenchman would be incapable of such a rudeness. The pith of the evil is the indifference of the German author as to how he writes: he feels no inward necessity of having a good style, and is inclined to despise the French qualities of grace and lucidity.
Perhaps reiterated complaints will stimulate improvement. May it be brought about that the few good writers among German savants will have soon many imitators. It is, to be sure, more trouble to write well than to write ill. We all have facilities for bad logic, bungling rhetoric, and poor composition; but these undesirable gifts ought not to excuse us from striving after their 1 Zoologischer anzeiger, ix. 288.
opposites. We cannot admit, therefore, that Germans are to be pardoned for not trying to present their many and valuable discoveries in articles well arranged and in language well chosen. It may be, however, that this will not come about until a set of leaders shall have established the 'folk-mode' of good writing. M.
THE HEALTH OF NEW YORK DURING NOVEMBER.
THE total number of deaths which occurred in New York City during the month was 3,076, an increase of 99 over the previous month: 1,290 of these deaths were of children under five years of age. The decline in the mortality due to diarrhoeal diseases is very marked, being but 87 as compared with 234 in October. The deadly influence of the oppressive heat of our midsummers is nowhere better illustrated than when we compare the deaths from these diseases in July and in November. In the former month no less than 1,382 persons are recorded as having died from this cause, while in the latter but 87 succumbed to affections of the bowels. From consumption 459 persons died, an increase of 27 over October. Diphtheria, which began in October to figure more prominently as a mortality factor, has not yet relaxed its hold, and is chargeable with 188 deaths, 23 more than in the previous month. The deaths from scarlet-fever were only 23, practically the same as in October, the difference being but 5. Measles is now very prevalent in New York, and is assuming such proportions as a cause of death, that we shall in the future include it in our chart. Small-pox is still absent from the city. a fact which reflects great credit upon the health department, for, with its prevalence in Brooklyn, it seemed almost impossible for New York to escape without becoming infected to a slight degree at least.
The meteorology of the month has not been characterized by any great variations from the normal or average, either as to temperature or rainfall. The maximum temperature was 71° F., at 3 P.M. of the 2d, the average for ten years being 67.9° F. the minimum was 27° F., at 5 A.M. of the 27th, somewhat above the average of the past decade, which was 22.2° F. The rainfall for the month was 4.42 inches, 0.25 of an inch more than in October. The November average for ten years is 3.19 inches.
THE Fortnightly review is to begin in its January issue the publication of a series of unsigned articles on The present political situation in Europe.' It is expected that these articles will be very important, and attract much attention.
A SKETCH OF THE GREAT SERPENT MOUND.
ACCEPTING an invitation from Dr. Cyrus Thomas to accompany him on a visit to a number of the ancient monuments of southern Ohio, I had the long-wished-for opportunity of examining the great Serpent Mound. This work is situated in the northern part of Adams county, somewhat remote from frequented routes of travel, and hence rarely visited by people from a distance. Several accounts have been published, however, the first in the classic work of Squier and Davis, and subsequent ones by McLean, Putnam, Allen, and others. The map given in the first-mentioned work conveys, as far as it goes, a fair idea of the extraordinary structure, but is characterized by remarkable omissions. Some of the more decided shortcomings have been pointed out by recent writers, who have, in their turn, fallen into the opposite error of over-elaboration. I venture to present a few notes and observations which will assist in enabling those who cannot visit the locality, in gaining a clear conception of the work and its surroundings. The valley of Brush Creek is bordered by an extremely rugged country, abounding in high hills which reach an elevation of perhaps six hundred feet above the bed of the creek. Entering from the north, we skirt the eastern rim of the valley, and descend at Lovett's farm upon the subordinate levels that border the stream. Leaving the road and crossing the fields, with the Lovett dwelling on the right and a small circular mound on the left, we reach the brink of a steep cliff which descends about one hundred feet to the stream bed. Turning our faces up stream, we find ourselves at the insertion of a long, narrow spur, described as 'crescentshaped,' which holds its level to the extreme point, and slopes abruptly to the brink of the cliffs at the left, and rounds off more gently into the deep gulch at the right. This spur narrows up farther on, and terminates in an abrupt promontory, around the base of which a small branch from the gulch at the right turns, and crosses the strip of alluvial bottom to the creek. Along the rounded grassy crest of this ridge we can detect the obscure serpentine coils of the earthwork, and descending a little to the left, and almost to the brink of the cliff, we reach the tail of the serpent. Beginning with a small pit at the terminal point, we follow the unfolding coil for two full turns, and then advance along the body to its highest point upon the ridge. The curves are strong and even, and the body increases gradually in height and width as we advance. Upon the crest of the ridge we find ourselves at the beginning of three great double folds. Following these, we descend
into a slight sag in the ridge, caused by the encroachment of opposing drainage, and ascend again slightly to a point where the body straightens out along the ridge. Beyond this we reach the curious enlargement with its triangular and oval enclosures. Here the body embankment is divided into two parts, which respectively pass to the right and left of the enclosures. At the sides they descend slightly upon the slopes of the ridge, and at the widest part of the oval are somewhat obscure on account either of original conformation or of subsequent erosion. Beyond these breaks they continue, closing entirely around the
body of the serpent, and the peculiar features of the enlarged portion, are all distinctly traceable, as shown approximately in the accompanying map, and leave no doubt in the mind as to their artificial character. The work was carefully laid out and neatly executed, and, reduced as it now is, it is of a most stable nature. The earth employed is extremely compact; and the elevation of the body is so slight, as compared with its width, that time, unassisted by the plough, produces but little change. The height rarely reaches three feet, and the width at the base is in many parts fifteen feet or more.
oval embankment within. From the point of junction the body continues for a short distance, perhaps forty feet, and then terminates in a rounded and slightly widened point. This terminal elevation is entirely omitted by Squier and Davis, but is noticed by more recent writers; and, on account of the supposed presence of obscure auxiliary ridges of earth extending down the slopes to the right and left, it is likened to the body of a frog by Mr. McLean. These auxiliary ridges, and the minor appended features recognized by Squier and Davis and by some recent visitors, are too obscure to be identified with absolute certainty, and I consider it unsafe to introduce them into my illustration; but the entire
The topography of the outer end of the promontory is somewhat peculiar, and needs to be briefly described. The extreme point is about thirty feet beyond the end of the artificial embankment, and is slightly cleft in the middle. The right-hand portion has no exposure of rock, and descends in a narrow, rounded spur to the rivulet at its exit from the gulch. The left-hand point is a naked shelf of rock a little to the left of the direct continuation of the earthwork, and some ten feet below its terminal point. It is rounded at the margin, and perhaps twenty-five feet wide.
Descending upon this rock, we are upon the brink of a slightly overhanging ledge composed of rather compact, nearly horizontal beds of lime