CHIEF among the qualities of a good road is that of durability, and durability can be assured only by first-class work in construction and by ceaseless vigilance in maintaining the road in perfect condition. It goes without saying that the highways of America, considered as a whole, are not to be compared with those of the older European countries, After a motor car tour through Europe, the returning Amelican becomes painfully aware of the fact that in this most important matter, his country, even if we allow for its comparative youthfulness, is many decades behind that stage of development to which its wealth and enterprise should have carried it long ago. Although we say this with full appreciation of the fact that some of our States, and notably New Jersey and Massachusetts, have done efective work in building up a system of highways, the fact remains that, taken as a whole, the United States has not done much more in this matter of good roads than make a beginning—the work has yet to be done. It is not that we have been parsimonious in the matter of appropriations. Had the money which has been voted by legislatures and county boards, and the enormous amount of work which has been done under the assessment method, been expended wisely in the frst place, and followed up by intelligent methods of maintenance and repair—in other words, had we built our roads and carcd for them as they build and maintain them in Europe, we do not hesitate to say that for the money and energy expended, our roads would have been in at least one hundred per cent better condition than they are to-day. The fundamental requirements of a good road are an ample foundation and good drainage. Without these, the most carefully leveled and smoothly rolled top surface is nothing more than a delusion and a snare, Furthermore, a road which has been built with deep foundations, good drainage, and an ample depth of suitable top dressing-unless it be watched and tended with the most solicitous attention-will go to pieces only a little less rapidly than the cheap product of the scraper and horse roller. We have long believed that in those districts where scarcity of travel and fnancial inabilitylo provide the necessary funds prohibit the construction of a frst-class macadam road, it would be better to invest the time and money in constructing short sections of durable road, leaving the trafc to fght it out with “chuck-holes,” deep ruts and mud over the balance of the highway during the winter months. The endurance of a few years of discomfort would be repaid by the ultimate possession of a permanent frst-class highway. Moreover, the use of oil or some other of the many excellent “binders” that are now available would make it possible to maintain the unimproved roadway in as good, if not better, condition than that of the old scraper-and-roller highway, which invariably went to pieces after the frst two or three frosts and rains of the winter. In districts where fnancial conditions and the amount of trafc has warranted the construction of expensive roads, millions of dollars have been thrown away because of the absolutely absurd system of maintenance (if it can be called such) which has been followed. There is no method of construction upon which eternal vigilance is so necessary as on that of the modern macadam highway. This has long been recognized in Europe, where the roadways are divided into comparatively short sections, each of which is controlled by a section gang, provided with a supply of broken rock, gravel, sand, or other road mending material, conveniently distributed in piles along the roadway, Each member of the gang has his wheelbarrow, pick and shovel, and as soon as the slightest indication of breakdown, such as a rut or hollow, is detected, repairs are made before the damage can proceed any further. A century of experience has proved that this is the only way in which a road can be maintained always in absolutely frst-class condition; never was the truth of the old adage “A stitch ill time saves nine” more strikingly true than in this matter of the upkeep of public thoroughfares, Sou nd in the Universe W E live and move :t the bottom of an ocean of air, the earth's atmosphere. One consequence of th is is that every me chanical disturbance starts waves of compression and rarefaction, which radiate out from the source, and, striking the drum of our ear, may (if of the right strength and quality) cause in us the sensation of “sound.” Among such sensations some afect us merely as “noises"; in others we recognize a more or less well-defned “musical pitch” and “tone quality,” Physically the “noise” difers from the “musical note” in that the former is an irregular distur:: bance, while the latter is periodic and of definite:o frequency. Not that there is any hard and fast line of demarkation: a rapid succession of impulses, which separately would be mere noises, may impress the ear with a defnite sense of pitch. Thus the teeth of a saw, cutting in rapid sequence through a wooden board, produce a sound of defnite pitch, though lacking perhaps in musical quality. Or again, a sharp noise of brief duration, proceeding from a point in the neighborhood of a series of equidistant obstacles, such as a line of fence-rails, or a fight of stone-steps, produces upon the observer a sensation in which a more or less well-defned pitch can be recognized. The explanation of this phenomenon is that the sound is reflected back from each fence-rail in turn, and since it takes time to travel, each echo reaches the observer a trifle later than that from the neighboring raiL This case is of special interest, because the sound “heard” contains an element quite foreign to the initial disturbance. Furthermore, the pitch of the sound heard difers according to the location of the observer, so that, borrowing an expression from optics, it might be said that the original disturbance is “analyzed” by refection from the fence (grating) into its “constituent” waves-each traveling in its own direcHon, so that it can b2 singled out by the observer. It is possible that the means commonly employed to analyze light waves act in this way, and perhaps we are not quite justifed in imagining “white” light for instance as “composed” of the various spectral colors, these being rather impressed upon it by the prism or grating or other device employed to “analyze” the light, as we commonly say. Of all the forms of energy, sound would probably bE of the least consequence to man, were it not for the one important fact, that sound is the normal vehicle for the transmission of intelligence between individuals. Certain special sounds are recognized by us not merely as “noises,” or “musical notes,” but as “words,” which are associated in our minds with defnite concepts, and whose mere mention immediately summons up before our imagination the concepts thus attached to them. Not that speech exhausts all the modes of sound-expression for mental states at our command. Indeed, more elemental and lower in the scale than speech are various inarticulate sounds, such as laughter and crying, calls of various kinds, the groan of pain, the sigh of relief, the shriek of fear, and a host of other emotional expressions, In these man approaches more nearly to the lower animals, who also possess “calls.” But the range of our modes of expression by means of sound extends also on the other, the heroic side, beyond ordinary speech. The poet by rhythm an cadence conveys something more tllan his words alone would say, and in the symphonies of the great masters of music there is bornc in upon us a wealth of thoughts that lie too deep for words. If the ocean of air which envelops us is the me- dium that carries sound to our ears, and thus places us in sentient communication with the other occupants of this globe, its shore, the void upon which the upper atmosphere abuts, is also the extreme limit of the range of space comprising all things audible to us. No sound, however loud, can ever pass from the earth into space beyond, neither can it penetrate from other orbs to us. The sun's burning eye looks down on us in splendor mute; for though his fery ocean be lashed by furious gusts, in comparison with which the fercest earthly gale is but as the soft sighing of the autumn wind, or as the breath of one that slumbers; and though monstrous explosions rend his very bowels, belching aloft great pillars of fre that tower thousands upon thousands of miles; yet of all the crash and thunder and tumult not a whisper escapes to break the eternal silence of infnite space, and the empty void holds close the clamorous secret of the fery orb. Seismology in America THE United States has heretofore laggo behind most other civilized countries in the cultivation of the science of earthquakes, and to this day there is no chair of seismology or department of seismology in any American university. Shortly after the San Francisco earthquake of April, 1906, a number of scientifc men on the Pacifc coast organized the Seismological Society of America, which now has a large membership well distributed over this continent, and beyond. We are glad to record the appearance, beginning with last March, of the quarterly Bulletin of the Seismological Society of Ame1ica, published at Stanford University. In the initial number of this publication Prof. Andrew C, Lawson gives a timely review of the status of seismology in this country; while elsewhere in the Bulletin appears a list of all the seismographs known to be in operation in North and South America and the West Indies. Probably few scientifc men realized how numerous these instruments have become on this side of the Atlantic. Forty-three are enumerated within the United States. The Jesuit colleges are especially notable for the zeal with which they have extended and organized such installations. Prof. Lawson appeals to the Carnegie Institution to undertake the direction or seismological work in America. At present such work lacks organization, and the seism010gical stations are badly distributed; they are crowaed in some_ sections and very sparsely distributed in others. The attitude of the government toward seismology is strangely at variance with its general P?licy in regard to other branches of science. It was proposed a few years ago to equip a number of stations of the \Veather Bureau with seismographs, and this proposal was urged upon Congress by a committee of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. As the Bureau has some two hundred regular meteorological stations scattered over the country, manned by paid employees, the additional expense entailed in adding seismological work to its duties would not be considerable, and such an addition would be in accord with the policy of most foreign countries, where seismological observations are generally made under the direction of the ofcial weather services. In spite, however, of the urgent recommendations of the Chief of the Weather Bureau in behalf of this proposal, it was rejected by Congress, and the Bureau possesses, up to date, only the seismograph installed at its central ofce in Washington. Another appeal was made to Congress last year ta establisn"I bureau of seismology under the Smithsonian Institution. Although the bill introduced to this effect carried with it an appropriation of only $2O,OOO, it never passed the committee stage in Congress. It might be supposed that the State of California, after its painful experience of 1906, would be liberally disposed toward the science that has for its practical aim the amelioration of the efects of earthquakes, but such is not the case. It is practically impossible to secure State aid to seismological investigations in California because the commercial spirit of the people fears that such investigations would advertise California as an earthquake region and hurt business, We are not in a position to say what attitude the Carnegie Institution will take toward Prof. Law-son's proposal that it take over the national control of seismology. Such action would, however, be a departure from the settled policy of the Institution, which is opposed to the assumption of duties that properly belong to the national government. ''hat the study of earthquakes falls within this category cannot be doubted.
This article was originally published with the title "Good Roads that are Permanent, Sound in the Universe, and more" in Scientific American 105, 5, 94 (July 1911)