That common simile in which the various divisions of science are represented as branches of the tree o knowledge, is a grotesque survival of a time when neither trees nor science were understood. No simile is perfect or even approximately correct, but one better than the tree and its branches for the origin and relationships- of any inductive science is that of a river, rising from various and often obscure sources, growing in size and importance as it proceeds both from the springs within its own bed and by the entrance and contributions of tributary streams, and finally pouring its substance into the mighty ocean of accumulated human knowledge. Some of the arts are nearer to the welfare of man than others, and the same is true of the sciences. Two arts, however, lie very near human welfare, and if we were called upon to give up all of the arts but two there would be little difference in choice as to which two should be preserved. The one most important would be the art of agriculture and the next the art of healing. Man first of all must be nourished, and next to this, kept in health. We might look forward to a time when lawyers would disappear. We might even grow so perfect as to be able to do without ministers of the gospel. Even the histrionic art might be abandoned, and yet mankind be reasonably happy. But strike down agriculture and you strike a blow which is fatal; banish the healing art and you leave man (o the ravages of disease. Enormous as is the annual loss which may now be fairly charged td insects, it would undoubtedly be vastly greater if such pests were left absolutely unchecked and no efforts were made to limit their operations. Were it not for the methods of controlling insect pests, resulting from the studies of the Bureau of Entomology and of the official entomologists of the various States, and the practice of these measures by progressive farmers and fruit-growers, the losses from insects would be greatly increased. Familiar illustrations of savings from insect losses will occur to anyone familiar with the work in economic or applied entomology in this country. The cotton worm, before it was studied and the method of controlling it by the use of arseni-cals was made common knowledge, levied in bad years a tax of 30,000,000 on the cotton crop. The prevention of loss from the Hessian fly, due to the knowledge of proper seasons for planting wheat, and other direct and cultural methods, results in the saving of wheat to the farm value of from 100,000,000 to 200,-000,000 annually. Careful statistics show that the damage from the codling moth to the apple is limited two-thirds by the adoption of the arsenical sprays, banding, and other methods of control, representing a saving of from 15,000,000 to 20,000,000 in the value of this fruit product alone. The existence and progress of the citrus industry of California were made possible by the introduction from Australia of a natural enemy of the white scale, an insect pest which was rapidly destroying the orange and lemon orchards, this introduction representing a saving to the people of that State of many million dollars every year. The rotation of corn with oats or other crops saves the corn crop from the attacks of the root worm to the extent of perhaps 100,000,000 annually in the chief corn-producing regions of the Mississippi Valley. The cultural system of controlling the boll weevil is already saving the farmers of Texas many millions of dollars, and, in fact, making the continuance of cotton growing possible; and scores of similar illustrations could be cited.
This article was originally published with the title "Science Notes" in SA Supplements 60, 1542supp, 63 (July 1905)