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THURSDAY, JUNE 3, 1915.
GERMANY AND THE MUNITIONS OF WAR.
previous articles we have commented upon the stringency which will undoubtedly be felt. in time by our enemies in regard to the provision of certain raw materials which are absolutely essential to the manufacture of munitions of war. All accounts which are allowed to leak through from Germany and Austria clearly indicate that this stringency is now becoming acute, and with the advent of Italy as another of our Allies, it will rapidly become almost insurmountable.
From an article which appears in the last issue of the Engineering and Mining Journal of New York, based upon a communication made by the director of a great German metallurgical company to an American correspondent, we gather that the shortage is frankly admitted, and some account is given of the desperate efforts which are being made by our enemies to meet it. Germany has evidently summoned to her assistance all the metallurgical skill and chemical knowledge at her disposal in attempts to improvise substitutes for the materials of which she has been deprived by the effectiveness of our blockade. That she will to some extent succeed may be conceded, for ordinary commercial conditions are no longer applicable to the case of a nation which has "its back to the wall," and is determined to stake everything, regardless of human life and treasure, in the struggle to preserve its existence. But whilst these attempts may do credit to the intelligence and resourcefulness of our enemies, and may serve to illustrate their undoubted organising capacity, they are clear proofs of the straits to which they are reduced.
Such attempts may prolong the duration of the struggle, but it is highly improbable that they will materially affect its ultimate result. It is possible that gun cartridges, rifle cartridges, and the fuse-heads of grenades may be made without the use of copper or brass, or with alloys containing only a minimal proportion of copper, but it is unlikely that such substitutes will prove as efficient as the material hitherto used. It must be remembered that the strongest arm of the enemy's service is its artillery, and anything that militates against the efficiency of that branch pro tanto weakens the enemy's power.
Supplies of cotton are almost unavailable to Germany and Austria; the closing of the Italian ports has effectively cut off some lines of im
portation of this commodity. Other sources of cellulose are, of course, open to them, and other forms of nitro-cellulose than ordinary gun-cotton are being made and are said to be in use with what is stated to be "unobjectionable" results, which rather sounds like damning with faint praise.
It is admitted that we have also cut off all supplies of petrol and petroleum, but as regards the use of the former substance in internal combustion engines, benzene, which is obtained by the destructive distillation of coal, is claimed to be a satisfactory substitute. This may be more or less true of ordinary motor-driven vehicles, especially in summer; but benzene is apt to freeze at low temperatures, and this circumstance has undoubtedly led to trouble in air-craft flying at high elevations in winter. Ordinary gasolene consists largely of pentane and amylene, and no doubt these hydrocarbons can be produced synthetically, if cost is no object. Indeed, it is claimed that German chemists have worked out two synthetic processes which are actually in operation, and are said to be so far successful that Germany is assured of internal supplies, even after the conclusion of the war. Acetylene has largely replaced petroleum as an illuminant, and is in use even in safety-lamps, and it is possible that the substitution may be more or less permanent, unless, which is unlikely, steps are taken on the conclusion of peace to reduce the relatively high price of burning oil consequent on the import duty and the operations of the American, Russian, and Dutch Trusts.
Germany also now claims to be independent of any external supply of nitrates. It is stated that "within a short time enormous works will have been erected, which will convert the nitrogen of the air into ammonia, and thence, by its combustion, into nitric acid "-one works alone turning out about 80,000 tons of nitric acid yearly. It may be confidently asserted that before this consummation is reached the war and all its doings will have been relegated to the domains of history.
Nitric acid can only be made commercially by the use of oil of vitriol, and there is ample evidence that the growing scarcity of the raw materials upon which the manufacture of the latter substance depends is causing great perturbation in chemical circles in Germany. All outside sources of sulphur, whether as such or as pyrites, are excluded. The use of sulphuric acid for the manufacture of fertilisers is practically prohibited. Attempts are being made to convert ammonium carbonate, obtained by the Haber process, into
ammonium sulphate by treatment with gypsuma process already used in France with only partial success; and various methods of obtaining sulphuric acid from Epsom salts and other alkaline earth sulphates are being tried, with what probable result may be judged of from Lunge's well-known work on sulphuric acid manufacture, in which prior attempts to make use of such processes are described in more or less contemptuous terms. Indeed, the patent literature of every country is
tion and arrangement in order to avoid undue bulk of matter and at the same time to present the subject in the clearest possible way. This is the task that Mr. Arthur Marshall has set himself in “Explosives, their Manufacture, Properties, Tests and History," and the author has succeeded in giving us a most valuable book, which will be welcomed by all workers on the subject.
Part i. of the book is historical, and deals with the progress and development of explosives from Greek Fire to picric acid, and considerable space
evidently being ransacked in the dire necessity is given to Colonel Hime's translation of Roger
which has now overtaken our enemies, and all sorts of suggestions, many of which have been tried and hitherto found wanting, are being exploited with a feverish activity.
The problem which confronts a Minister of Munitions in Germany is gradually becoming hopeless, unless he is given practically unlimited time in which to solve it. He has the men, who are working with a unanimity and a strenuousness which compels our respect and admiration, and the intelligence, knowledge, and skill of the captains of industry and all their appliances are at his disposal. But he cannot make bricks without straw, and the straw is gradually being denied him, struggle as he may. To us and to our our Allies thanks to our command of the sea-the world is all before us where to choose, and we have access to all the raw material we need. To our Minister of Munitions the problem is not want of material; it is want of men, and the lack of that strenuousness of purpose and of determination, energy, industry, and fixity of effort which have been imbued into the whole German nation. Time is of the essence of the situation, and to waste it in political bickerings, squabbles about profits and war bonuses, labour troubles, strikes, and "slackness" is to play directly into the enemy's hands and to prolong the agony and wretchedness under which the whole civilised world is now suffering.
Bacon's cipher instructions for the manufacture of gunpowder, and the reasons for supposing that the statements as to the great antiquity of gunpowder were inaccurate and based on erroneous translations. In this part of the book it is pleasant to find an appreciation of the wise and tactful manner in which Sir Vivian Majendie and his successors, Colonel Ford, Captain Thomson, Major Cooper-Key and their subordinates have carried out the working of the "Explosives Act " and have made it a boon to the workpeople without interfering with the development of the industry.
Part ii. is devoted to black powder, and three chapters are given to the preparation of the ingredients and manufacture, but nothing is said as to the reactions taking place on the firing of gunpowder under varying conditions, and although the products of explosion of R.L.G. powder as determined by Nobel and Abel are given, not a word is said of such historical
researches as those of Bunsen and Schischkoff Linck, Karolyi and Debus.
Part iii. contains three chapters dealing with the manufacture of sulphuric acid and nitric acid, and the manipulation of waste acids. Although the preparation of nitric acid from Chile saltpetre is very fully described, the production of nitric acid from the air is dismissed in eight lines, which seems strangely inadequate in view of the Germans being at the present time largely dependent upon synthetic nitric acid for the preparation of their high explosives.
Part iv. is on the nitric esters of carbohydrates, and commences with a chapter on the Theory of Nitration of Cellulose, which gives the work done by many observers fairly fully, and then suddenly branches off to the commercial uses of pyroxylin and collodion. Following this come chapters on cellulose, manufacture of nitro-cellulose, stabilisation of nitro-cellulose, and the nitric esters of other carbohydrates.
Part v. deals equally fully with the nitric esters of glycerin, whilst smokeless powders occupy Part vi. These first six divisions of the book contain
twenty-one chapters, and deal with the class of explosives that may be called "propellants." In In reading them two criticisms arise-the first being that the subject matter is so subdivided as to destroy continuity, and the second is that a vast amount of detail as to manufacture and history of the explosives has been presented to the reader without any attempts being made to give an idea of the principles on which the composition and action of explosives depend. The explanation of this is probably to be found in the statement made in the preface that "subjects which are treated fully in the ordinary scientific or technical textbooks have only been dealt with in so far as they throw new light on problems connected with explosives."
This limits the utility of the book, as although a collection of widely scattered results from many sources is a great help to the workers in the subject, the addition of a chapter in the early part of the book, dealing with the principles on which the subject rests, would have enormously extended the public to which the work would appeal.
The next portion of the book deals with blasting explosives, and in Part viii. we come to the properties of explosives, such as their physical character, the pressure and heat, power and violence of explosion, and a chapter on ignition and detonation.
Part ix. is devoted to special explosives, such as fuses, safety explosives and fireworks. The chapter on safety explosives gives an interesting account of the testing galleries to be found in the mining centres of various countries, and the procedure adopted for testing the liability of explosives to ignite mixtures of coal gas or methane and air, and also coal dust suspended in air. The whole chapter is so well done that it is a pity that the author does not point out more strongly that the class of explosives to which these methods of testing have given rise are safe safe in name only, as those in which nitroglycerin is the explosive basis are so diluted with carbonaceous matter as to give on explosion volumes of carbon monoxide, a poisonous and inflammable gas, whilst the ammonium nitrate class often contains so large an excess of this salt, used in admixture with trinitrotoluene or other explosive body as to give an excess of oxygen, which must always be a danger in a coal bore.
Part x. deals with stability, whilst in Part xi. materials and their analysis are fully discussed. Throughout the thirty-six chapters in which the book is divided full references are given to the original memoirs from which quotations are made, whilst there is an appendix and an index of names as well as of subjects.
Feeble-mindedness: its Causes and Consequences. By Dr. H. H. Goddard. Pp. xii+599. (New York: The Macmillan Co.; London: Macmillan and Co., Ltd., 1914.) Price 175. net.
HIS is the most recent American work dealing in an authoritative and scientific manner with what is now known in this country as mental deficiency. Some years ago Binet and Simon devised a method of classifying mentally defectives according to the degree of intelligence they had attained, comparing the results of certain tests with those obtained from normal children of various ages. Thus, mentality 4 means that the patient has attained the intelligence of a child aged four years. This classification is adopted throughout the present work, certain general terms being used in accordance with the American general classification on the same basis. Patients of mentality 1 or 2 are called idiots, those of mentalities 3 to 7 are called imbeciles, and those from 7 to 12 are called morons.
In some preliminary remarks respecting the relationship of feeble-mindedness to certain other social evils, the author quotes statistics or competent opinions which seem to show that at least 50 per cent. of criminals, prostitutes and paupers (inmates of almshouses), many ne'er-do-wells and some alcoholics are feeble-minded. It is also mentioned that 80 per cent. of truants are feebleminded, the explanation being that truancy is the result, and not the cause, of failure in schoolwork.
The greater part of the book is devoted to the study of heredity in relation to feeble-mindedness. This investigation is so thorough that it comprises the labours of a whole field of trained investigators, for it is clear that no one man could carry out by himself the enormous amount of work recorded in Dr. Goddard's book. Not only is a detailed family history obtained, but as many members of the family as possible are personally seen and examined or, when this is not possible, inquiries are made of the inhabitants of the village where the person lived respecting his intellectual capacity. In this way a history is obtained of every individual member of the family tree for three, four, five or, in one case, six generations back. When we reflect how few of us could give particulars of so many of our ancestors, we can appreciate the amount of labour which has been expended in this field.
In chapter v. the author collects the data of his charts in a series of twenty-one tables and shows the etiological influence, positive or negative, of alcoholism; paralytic, epileptic, insane or syphilitic parentage or affection; tuberculosis; sexual
immorality; blindness and deafness; consanguinity; neuroses, etc. This chapter cannot be abstracted but, in the succeeding chapters, the author discusses the Mendelian law and its relationship to feeble-mindedness.
Dr. Goddard appears to be disappointed with his conclusion that general intelligence is a unit character, although several psychologists (Burt, Hart, Spearman and others) have amply demonstrated this truth from other points of view; and his figures agree so closely with Mendelian views that he feels justified in stating that "normalmindedness is, or at least behaves like, a unit character; is dominant and is transmitted in accordance with the Mendelian law of inheritance." From this it is to be inferred that feeblemindedness obeys the law as a recessive char
Then comes a chapter on eugenics, in which the author states, in opposition to Mott, that feeble-mindedness does not tend to run itself out of a family, and considers that the stock might be improved if something were done on eugenic principles. Colonisation and vasectomy he regards as generally impracticable, and is rather inclined to some form of control of matings. Most people will regard this also as impracticable, at least in this country.
The book contains a mass of information to which no reference has been made in this review, and we have no hesitation in saying that it should be on the shelf of every statesman and asylum medical officer in the country.
SYSTEMATIC NATURAL HISTORY. (1) Flora of Jamaica, containing Descriptions of the Flowering Plants known from the Island. By W. Fawcett and Dr. A. B. Rendle. Vol. iii. Dicotyledons: Families Piperaceae to Connaraceae. Pp. xxiv +280. Plates i-v, textfigures 1-113. (London: British Museum (Natural History) and Longmans, Green and Co., 1914.) Price 15s.
(2) The Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Mollusca, ii. (Trochomorphidae to Janellidae.) By G. K. Gude. Pp. xii+ 520, textfigures 1-164. (London: Taylor and Francis, 1914.) Price 20s.
(3) Catalogue of the Amatidae and Arctiadae
(Nolinae and Lithosianae) in the Collection of the British Museum. By Sir G. F. Hampson. Pp. xxviii+858, text-figures 1-276. (London : British Museum (Natural History) and Longmans, Green and Co., 1914.) Price 25s.
HE verse in which Catullus describes the three volumes of Chronica written by his friend Cornelius Nepos may well be applied to the three works above named, "Doctis, Juppiter, et laboriosis." Though by different authors, they agree in displaying the unwearied industry with which modern naturalists of eminence examine and re-examine, compare and classify, name and (occasionally) re-name, the objects which Nature, their patroness, offers in seemingly endless variety.
(1) The botanical volume is usefully illustrated by detailed figures for one species in each genus, and provided throughout with helpful keys for the discrimination of families, genera, and species. Here and there economic and other untechnical notes are introduced, as in the Annonaceæ, on what is good to eat or otherwise. A bibliography occupying several pages with more than two hundred entries is some evidence of exhaustive research, and credit is given to fifty-six collectors and contributors of specimens. This interesting list covers a period of more than two centuries, beginning with H. Barham as earliest and longest in the field (1680-1726), and concluding with Mr. and Mrs. N. L. Britton (from 1906) and Mr. J. R. Bovell (from 1914) down to the present time. As might be expected, there are many well-known names in the intermediate group; for example, Sir Hans Sloane in the seventeenth century, Patrick Browne in the eighteenth, Philip Henry Gosse in the earlier half of the nineteenth, and in the latter half Sir Daniel Morris (1879-1886), and William Fawcett (1887-1908), the last-named by his former position as director of public gardens and plantations in Jamaica being exceptionally qualified for the joint-authorship of the present flora. Charles Kingsley's visit to the West Indies did not include Jamaica, but his attractive volume "At Last" offers an observation that may well apply to it. Referring to West Indian weeds, he says:
"So like home weeds they look: but pick one, and you find it unlike anything at home. That one happens to be, as you may see by its little green mouse-tails, a pepper-weed (Peperomia), first cousin to the great black-pepper bush in the gardens near by, with the berries of which you may burn your mouth gratis. So it is, you would find with every weed in the little cleared dell, some fifteen feet deep, beyond the gravel. You would not-I certainly cannot-guess at the name, seldom at the family, of a single plant."
Fawcett and Rendle state that there are more than six hundred species of Peperomia, and they carefully discriminate thirty-six species as occurring in Jamaica, in the distribution of five naming Trinidad, with which Kingsley was concerned. Unfortunately in their technical keys and descriptions they do not take into account "little green mouse-tails" as a distinguishing character! This omission does not prevent our perceiving how great a boon this work of theirs will be to all botanists, amateur as well as professional, to whom the West Indian flora makes any sort of appeal.
(2) and (3) Turning now to the zoological treatises, in two trifles, regarding not matter but mode, the reader may find Mr. Gude's volume better to his liking than its companions. Its alphabetical index is simple and continuous for genera and species, whereas the botanists less conveniently divide up theirs into a simple series for the genera, but for the species as many separate series as there are genera. Sir George Hampson's alphabetical index agrees in principle with Mr. Gude's, but parsimoniously omits several generic names altogether. Also, like the botanists, where no saving of space can be pleaded, he disfigures names of authorities by abbreviation, supplying such forms as Butl., Dogn., and the unpronounceable Wllgrn. and Hmpsn., to compare with the equally illustrious botanical writers Miq., Moq., and Mill., Ham., and Jacq., Nutt., Plum., and Tréc.
Sir G. Hampson reports that since the first and second volumes of the "Catalogue of Moths " were published in 1898 and 1900 respectively, to a total of 426 genera and 2401 species in one family and part of another, there have been added ninety genera and 1941 species, the monstrous increase dealt with in the present volume.
Similarly in Mr. Gude's work, the family of Helicidæ alone occupies nearly 200 pages, though far from covering the complete distribution of these familiar snails. In this subject the growing importance of malacology is ever tightening its grip upon conchology, the immediate effect being to expose earlier classification at many points to serious need of revision. An thusiast in the eighteenth century, wishing to teach mankind how to estimate character by the curves and angles of the forehead, says, "For this purpose, I would advise the physionomist to procure a collection of sculls of well-known persons," evidently expecting that well-known persons would readily lend their skulls in the interest of scientific investigation. The modern student of mollusca wants, not so much the skull-cap so prized by the conchologist, as the molluscous body, to dissect out the radula
with its ribbon of (often multitudinous) teeth, to examine the intimate parts of the hermaphrodite structure, and to note, it may be, as Mr. Gude has done in the genus Corilla, curious differences between immature forms and their parents.
Both our zoologists evidently intend to uphold the pedantic, inconvenient, and unscholarly rule that the specific name should agree in gender with the generic. The rule is unscholarly, because, while all sexual species of animals contain male individuals, the Latin tongue gives a preference to the masculine gender, where it has to do with genders in combination. The rule is inconvenient, because cases are continually occurring, as has been several times shown, in which naturalists are deceived as to the real gender of a generic Had he been content to leave specific names in the masculine gender, Mr. Gude would have been spared three out of the seven items of his list of errata. Yet in the body of the work he leaves Pupisoma miccyla (neuter and feminine) by the side of Pupisoma cacharicum, and, while himself using P. constrictum, quotes Godwin-Austen for Pupa (Pupisoma) constrictus. He treats Zootecus as masculine, though by its termination it should be regarded as neuter. In like manner among the moths we have the generic names Sphecosoma, Chionaema, Chrostosoma, Cosmosoma, Empyreuma, neuter forms, all treated as feminine, though apparently by accident Sphecosoma nigrifer escapes a change into nigrifera. Why the genus Mesothen, with a Greek adverb for sponsor, should be deemed feminine, remains obscure. But, apart from any grammatical mysteries, it remains clear that the several authors have applied much sound learning and solid labour to their very arduous tasks.
T. R. R. STEBBING.
OUR BOOKSHELF. Ancient Hunters and Their Modern Representatives. By Dr. W. J. Sollas. Second Edition. Pp. xxiii+591. (London: Macmillan and Co., Ltd., 1915.) Price 155. net.
PROF. Sollas's treatise on prehistoric archæology having the title of "Ancient Hunters and their Modern Representatives" was published four years ago. We are not surprised to know that the first edition was soon exhausted, for the book was well designed to meet the needs of a large public. In the present edition the author has incorporated accounts of the more recent discoveries relating to ancient man, including Mr. Dawson's important find, at Piltdown. Prof. Sollas had anticipated the discovery of such a form as Eoanthropus as an almost necessary stage in the course of human development." He apparently differs from Dr. Smith Woodward as regards the antiquity and size of brain of