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northern observatories, was incorrect and un- supporters of this Oberlin system, apparently just, in that it overlooked the case of Dr. C. thinks that it is not yet time for formal conP. Olivier, for several years an astronomer in sideration of the plan. It has been mooted the McCormick Observatory. I regret exceed- for two years, and indeed over fifteen years ingly this oversight, and I am at a loss to ex- ago something of the sort was suggested, but plain it, especially as Dr. Olivier was for a it has received only individual consideration year a member of the staff of the Lick Ob- by members of the faculty. Judging from servatory, and his valued astronomical con- numerous conversations, I think the faculty, tributions are thoroughly familiar to me. It if they are asked to consider it, will decide is my duty and pleasure to say that the ob- the plan to be unwise. A general feeling servatory of the University of Virginia, among the faculty is that Oberlin's effort thanks in good measure to the abilities and should be centered upon strengthening herself enthusiasms of Director Mitchell and astrono- in every way as a college before entering upon mer Olivier, is as efficient in good works as university or technical school work. any existing observatory. It is greatly to be

MAYNARD M. METCALF regretted that their financial resources are so limited.

URTHER REMARKS ON “THE USE OF THE I should like to say that my comments upon

TERM FOSSIL" the astronomical situation in the southeastern The short article entitled “The Use of the states were primarily not intended to be taken Term Fossil” published in No. 1330 of in the negative sense. There was with me SCIENCE seems to have fulfilled the writer's the hope that a public expression on the sub

object of stimulating discussion. The first ject might lead to a better realization of criticism, by Garret P. Serviss, appeared in existing needs, and to more adequate financial the Sunday Americani and while approving provision in the positive sense.

“poetic license” the author continues the W. W. CAMPBELL

plea for a more careful use of scientific terms

by the scientist, as follows: TECHNICAL STUDY AT OBERLIN COLLEGE

Half the fogs that trouble the ordinary reader IN SCIENCE for December 31 I find a note:

when he undertakes to traverse the fields of sciIt is planned to establish a technical school at

ence are due to the capricious use of words which Oberlin College with accommodation for about

ought to have an invariable signification, seven hundred students.

In No. 1348 of SCIENCE, under the title This statement is not quite correct.

“Professor Field's Use of the Term Fossil,"

President King has several times proposed, upon

Professor Authur M. Miller suggests the his own responsibility and doubtless merely following definition: “Any trace of an for informal consideration, a plan for tech

organism that lived in a past Geological

Age." He then states that such expressions nical departments chiefly in chemical engi

“ fossil suncracks" and “ fossil flood neering and metallurgy. I believe the proposal has not yet come to the faculty for for

plains” are “illuminating” and “apt” and

valued contributions to geological mal consideration, so of course does not have

phraseology.” In a recent contribution by their endorsement. As all matters of internal

a well-known paleobotanist, we find the term policy and administration in Oberlin are con

“ fossil climate." Would it be considered trolled by the faculty, in accordance with an

“illuminating" or "apt” to define paleoold vote of the trustees twice recently re

climatology as the study of "fossil climates”? affirmed and now in part of the nature of a

There is a science of words as well as of contract, it is evident the proposal has not yet

things, and is it not true that much of the taken the first formal step toward adoption. President King, who is one of the staunchest 1 July 22, 1920.

as

are

course

misunderstanding in biological discussions Professor Miller's constructive criticism arises from the misuse of such terms as mu- consists of the new definition already quoted. tation and saltation? We would not quibble It has the advantage of being brief, but in with Archbishop Trench's remark that words using the expression “past geological age simply will not stay tied as regards their (subdivision of the present geological epoch, meaning but are “constantly drifting from i.e., Bronze Age) he appears to make a very their moorings,” but the more the scientist slight geological time distinction indeed. allows his vocabulary to drift the more is he After careful reading of the whole text, we disturbed by the redefined or original terms are under the impression that he means past of his colleagues who, believeing it impossible geological epoch” or pre-historic! to use words of two, three or more meanings,

RICHARD M. FIELD continue to inflict long-suffering humanity DEPARTMENT OF GEOLOGY,

BROWN UNIVERSITY with an ever-increasing nomenclature. Rather do we agree with Alice who, after listening to

THE BIOGRAPHICAL DIRECTORY OF AMERICAN a dissertation by Humpty Dumpty in which

MEN OF SCIENCE he makes his words mean what he chooses

The third edition of the Biographical them to mean—"neither more nor less," comes to the conclusion that his remarks are

Directory is now in type; it will be published not particularly illuminating. Of

as soon as the printers can complete their part

of the work. The editor ventures to ask for Humpty Dumpty was, among other things, a poet, not a geologist !

the return of all proofs and also for informaBut Professor Miller also states that

tion in case proof has not been received. A

second copy of the proof (by letter post and The definition proposed by ... Field . . . is

with return letter postage) has been sent to faulty in that it errs in the time concept. He has

those who did not return the first copy within committed the popular error of considering his

a reasonable time. If it is not known that a toric synonymous with the present geological epoch.

scientific man can be reached at the address This is an unfortunate misstatement by given, or even that he is living, it will in most Professor Miller and it is only necessary to cases be undesirable to include the biographquote from the original text to show that

ical sketch. Field was not making the “popular error

It is gratifying that the number of those implied.

engaged in scientific work in America has inA fossil is an object which indicates former ex- creased from about 4,000 in 1905 to about istence of an organism which has been buried and 10,000 at the present time. This circumpreserved previous to historic time. According to stance, however, has greatly enhanced the this definition the mastodon preserved in the arctic labor and the cost involved in the preparation ice is a fossil; the leaf buried in the gutter is not. of the work, and it is not possible to write

It is also worth noting that Schuchert and individual letters of enquiry in all cases where others distinguish the recent historic this might be desirable. The editor conseperiod as beginning the Psychozoic era. If quently makes public this request for the in agreeing with this concept an error has return of the corrected proofs of all biographbeen committed, it is certainly not a popu

ical sketches. lar” one.

J. McKEEN CATTELL Paleontology, the study of ancient life, is GARRISON-ON-HUDSON, N. Y, literally the study of fossils. Paleo is accepted in earth science as meaning geologic

QUOTATIONS ally ancient. As a last analysis, which is the WHEN AN INVENTION IS NOT AN INVENTION more “apt,” ра climates

“ fossil

ERE exists in our patent and copyright climates”?

laws a gap which has always seemed to us a

or

or

right. Even the feeble solace of a design patent seems denied him.

The situation has long been familiar to us. We are inspired to comment on it by a subscriber who shows us a farmers' account book which he has devised. This is an admirable article, and at the same time it fills a want; for the farmer, never an accountant, is required to keep accounts under penalty of paying an income tax on a lot of income that isn't income. But our subscriber can't advertise his little book decently, for if he does some substitute that doesn't have to meet any advertising expense will appear and wipe out his market. We think he has a grievance against the government that tells him that an invention is sometimes an invention and sometimes isn't.-Scientific American.

SCIENTIFIC BOOKS

lamentable one, and one which there is not the slightest justification for leaving unfilled. This has to do with the invention-we use the word though the law denies its propriety-of printed forms for the keeping of accounts or any other purpose.

It goes without saying that much skill and thought may be expended upon the formulation of a set of forms which shall be the last word in furnishing a framework for the proper recording of a certain kind of data. Business of many kinds is dependent upon tabular devices of this sort under one head or another; the invention of such a form may be of great value to its users. It would seem that the man who devotes his time and energy and ingenuity to getting up a thing of the sort ought to be rewarded to the same degree and in the same manner as the man who invents a new safety pin or a novel design for a perfumery bottle or a clever trade-mark. But under the law and the decisions as they now stand he is able to get no protection of any description; you or I or anybody else may manufacture and sell his form in direct competition with him and he has no redress save to undersell us.

The hitch lies in the fact that the law defining invention is so worded that a blank form to be filled in by the user is not an invention. It has no mechanical features, and it is not a process or a product. If the inventor be sufficiently ingenious to design it in such fashion that the user has to punch a hole as part of the process of using it, or join two parts of it in a certain predetermined relationship, or fold the left fifth over upon the right fifth and tear them half off and turn one of them over again in order to bring into juxtaposition two parts of the paper that were originally remote, this constitutes the mechanical feature necessary to make the form stand up under fire as an“ invention ” entitled to patent protection. But in the absence of such a feature the patent examiners will have nothing to do with it; and if the unhappy inventor turns to the copyright division, he learns that whether his device is an invention or not, it certainly is no publication and he can not protect it by copy

The Airplane.” By FREDERICK BEDELL, Cornell University. D. Van Nostrand Co. Pp. 257.

The theory of flight has more than kept pace with the development of the airplane. It is possible, on the basis of constants determined in wind tunnels, to predict very closely the performance of an existing airplane or to design a plane for some desired performance. The fundamentals of this theory of flight are embodied in a number of recent treatises and are readily available to the student. In Bedell's work they are not only available but are presented in so attractive and understandable a form as to compel the interest of the reader. The present reviewer has read the book through twice, for the pleasure of following so masterly a presentation. Everything is reduced to its simplest terms; every idea is driven home; the influence of each element is illustrated by a series of graphs; the whole subject seems to develop itself. It is a book for the amateur, but it is also the best of beginning books for the serious student. And it explains so convincingly many things which are troublesome to the beginner, as for example, why can not speed be increased in level Alight

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merely by opening the throttle, as in the case with 198 in 1918, 179 in 1917, 193 in 1916, 169 of an automobile.

in 1915, 110 in 1914, and 97 in 1913. In other Professor Bedell's book shows an unusual words, in the next year immediately following gift for clean cut analysis and exposition; the cessation of hostilities France's death-birth there are but few scientific or technical books ratio came back to less than that of 1915, the that demonstrate these qualities in so high a first whole year of the war. With an increase degree.

of 157 per cent. in marriages in 1919 over 1918 Į The book does not attempt to extend the there seems little risk in predicting that 1920 science of aeronautics. It is devoted primarily will show a ratio not far from 100, which will to a discussion of the problem of sustentation; be about the normal prewar status, France the matter of stability is also treated, but in a having had for some time a nearly stationary qualitative way. It falls in a category between population. The 1920 vital index for France the popular book, superficial and inadequate, may well prove to be considerably below 100. and the treatise, involved, and complicated. Another, and even more striking illustraIt is a book destined for a long and useful life. tion of the exceedingly transitory effect of war

LIONEL S. MARKS upon the rate of population growth, is seen in HARVARD UNIVERSITY

the figures for the City of Vienna. Probably

no large city suffered so severely from the war SPECIAL ARTICLES

as did this capital. Yet observe what has A FURTHER NOTE ON WAR AND POPULATION1

happened, as set forth in Table I. To this In a note published last summer? I drew at

table I have added, for the sake of rounding tention to the course of the ratio

out the data of this and the former paper, the

death-birth ratios of the United States Regis100 Deaths

tration Area for as many years as they are Births in the principal belligerent countries of Eu

available, and for England and Wales, 1912 to rope between 1913 and 1918. All of the curves

1920 (first three quarters of latter year). presented, with the single exception of that for Prussia, ended on a high point in 1918. The

Percentage of Deaths to Births question was raised as to what would be their course after that year, and it was shown that

England England and Wales gave a value of 73 per cent. for 1919 against 92 per cent. for the high point in 1918. The first three quarters of the year

1912
80

56
1913
85

57 1920 give for England and Wales a value of 1914

86

59 46.8 per cent. This is 10 points lower than the

1915

113
56

69 1916

143
59

65 figure for 1913! For every death England had

1917

195
57

75 more than two births.

1918

229
73

92 The Journal Officiel has recently published

1919

162
58

73 1920

473 the 1919 figures for France (77 non-invaded departments only) to the following effect:

These figures are shown graphically in Fig. 100 63569400

ure 1.
= 154 per cent.
B
413379

We note that:
This figure compares (for the same territory) 1. The high point of the Vienna curve in

1918, 229 per cent., is higher than that for 1 Papers from the Department of Biometry and Vital Statistics, school of hygiene and public

France (198 per cent.), and probably higher health, Johns Hopkins University, No. 27.

than for any other equally large aggregate of 2 Pearl, R., SCIENCE, N. S., Vol. LI., pp. 553–

population in the world. 596, 1920.

3 First three quarters of year only.

TABLE I

Year

City of Vienna

U. S. Birth
Registration

Area

and Wales

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YEAR Fig. 1. Showing the change in percentage which deaths were of births in each of the years 1912 to 1919 for Vienna ( -); 1915 to 1919 for the United States (--); and 1912 to 1920 for Eng. land and Wales (---..).

2. The drop in 1919 is sharp in its angle and marked in its amount, the percentage coming down nearly to the 1916 figure and this in spite of the very distressing conditions which prevailed in Vienna throughout 1919. It is not at all improbable, indeed rather it is probable that Vienna will in 1920 show a ratio under 100—that is, more births than deaths. If this happens she will have begun absolute natural increase again in only the second year after the cessation of hostilities, during the last year of which she had 21 persons die for every one born.

3. The war produced no effect upon the death-birth ratio in this country, as would have been expected. The influenza epidemic in 1918 raised the curve a little, but it promptly dropped back to normal in 1919.

4. In England and Wales the provisional fig

ure indicates that 1920 will show a lower vital index than that country has had for many years.

Altogether, these examples, which include the effects of the most destructive war known to modern man, and the most devastating epidemic since the Middle Ages, furnish a substantial demonstration of the fact that population growth is a highly self-regulated biological phenomenon. Those persons who see in war and pestilence any absolute solution of the world problem of population, as postulated by Malthus, are optimists indeed. As a matter of fact, all history definitely tells us, and recent history fairly shouts in its emphasis, that such events make the merest ephemeral flicker in the steady onward march of population growth.

RAYMOND PEARL

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