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Answers to Questions

As the publishers of the Century Dictionary, Cyclopedia and Atlas, THE CENTURY MAGAZINE, ST. NICHOLAS, a long list of text-books for use in schools and colleges, and a varied array of general books on all subjects, we have unrivaled facilities for answering questions covering a broad field of information. We are glad to place these facilities at the disposal of readers of THE CENTURY, and in many cases to answer by mail direct (when accompanied by a stamped, addressed envelop) such questions as the following:

Under the Federal Income Tax Law, what kind of income is taxable?

The net income of a taxable person shall include gains, profits, and income derived from salaries, wages, or compensation for personal service of whatever kind and in whatever form paid, or from professions, vocations, businesses, trade, commerce, or sales, or dealings in property, whether real or personal property, also from interest, rent, dividends, securities, or the transaction of any lawful business carried on for gain or profit, or gains or profits and income derived from any source whatever, including the income from, but not the value of, property acquired by gift, bequest, devise, or descent.

Proceeds of certain life-insurance policies are not included in the above.

Deductions are also made for

1. The necessary expenses actually paid in carrying on any business, not including personal, living, or family expenses;

2. All interest paid within the year by a taxable person on indebtedness;

3. All national, State, county, school, and municipal taxes paid within the year, not including those assessed against local benefits;

4. Losses actually sustained during the year, incurred in trade or arising from fires, storms, or shipwreck, and not compensated for by insurance or otherwise;


5. Debts due to the taxpayer actually ascertained to be worthless and charged off within the year;

6. A reasonable allowance for the exhaustion, wear, and tear of property arising out of its use or employment in the business, not to exceed, in the case of mines, five per centum of the gross value at the mine of the output for the year for which the computation is made; but no deduction shall be made for any amount of expense of restoring property or making good the exhaustion thereof for which an allowance is or has been made. Provided, that no deduction shall be allowed for any amount paid out for new buildings, permanent improvements, or betterments, made to increase the value of any property or estate;

7. The amount received as dividends upon the stock or from the net earnings of any corporation, joint-stock company, association, or insurance company which is taxable upon its net income as hereinafter provided;

8. The amount of income, the tax upon which has been paid or withheld for payment at the source of the income, under the provisions of this section, provided that whenever the tax upon the income of a person is required to be withheld and paid at the source as hereinafter required, if such annual income does not exceed the sum of $3000 or is not fixed or certain, or is indefinite, or irregular as to amount or time of accrual, the same shall not be deducted in the personal return of such person.

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Ocean depths are measured by the use of a deep-sea sounding-machine, described by the Century Dictionary as follows: "The combination of mechanical contrivances by the aid of which soundings may be made to great depths, with a close approach to accuracy. This result has been attained by a combination of improvements displaying great ingenuity, in which the inventive genius of Sir William Thomson (Lord Kelvin) has been particularly conspicuous. The principal features of the most perfect sounding-machine are: (1) the sinker, which is a cannon-ball, through which passes a cylinder provided with a valve to collect and retain a specimen of the bottom, the cylinder being, by an ingenious mechanical arrangement, detached from the shot, which remains at the bottom; (2) the line, made of steel wire, weighing about 141⁄2 pounds to the nautical mile; (3) machinery for regulating the lowering of the sinker and for reeling in the wire with the cylinder attached in such a manner that the irregular strain due to the motion of the ship may be guarded against and the danger of breakage thus reduced to a minimum. In the deepest accurate sounding yet made the bottom was reached at the depth of 5269 fathoms. This sounding was made on the United States steamship Nero' in the vicinity of the island of Guam. The deepest sounding previously made in which a specimen of the bottom was brought up was that of the United States Coast Survey steamer 'Blake,' off Porto Rico, the depth there reached being 4561 fathoms."


It is generally admitted that many a book which deserves to have at least ten thousand readers in an English-reading public such as ours, often reaches an edition of not more than two or three thousand. In order to correct this unfortunate state of affairs, twenty-three leading publishers contribute to the support of the Publishers' Coöperative Bureau, whose headquarters are at 39 West 32d Street, New York. A campaign of education, organized by the Bureau, includes a well-printed, convenient, monthly publication called "New Books," in which a few worthy books are described without commendatory adjectives. In this way the reader is apprised of the facts of the newest books, and is enabled to make his own decision in regard to their value. This readable publication, differing radically from the normal advertisement of books, is

supplied, free, by the Bureau, to those who request it. The Bureau is also asking a large number of readers the following questions:

Is there a book-store in your town?......

Is there a department store with a book department in your town?.....

Can you find the books advertised in this magazine at either store?....

Do you send direct to the publishers for your books?.....

Where do you send for your books?...... Would you patronize a book-store, or a

book department, if one was established in your town?....

Do you wish the periodical "New Books" free of charge?.

Answers to the above received at the office of THE CENTURY will be forwarded to the Bureau.


Outside of the architectural world little is known of the far-reaching educational work of the Society of Beaux-Arts Architects, which was incorporated in 1894. This Society makes it possible for an ambitious draftsman to receive, on payment of the nominal fee of two dollars a year, criticism from the most highly trained architects in America. The Society offers annually a "Paris prize," the winner of which is sent to Paris to study architecture for two years and a half. The grade of work done by the Society's pupils is so well recognized that the "Paris prize" winner is authorized by a decree of the French Minister of Public Instruction and Fine Arts to follow the lectures and take part in the competitions of the first class in the section of architecture, subject to the approval of the faculty of the École Nationale et Spéciale des Beaux-Arts.

A circular of information concerning the "Paris prize" is issued by the Committee on Education of the Society, whose headquarters are at 281 Fifth Avenue, New York.


Whether Mrs. Ella Flagg Young remains at the head of Chicago Public Schools, or becomes permanently the Educational Editor of the Chicago "Tribune," her influence in the educational world will continue to be far-reaching. At the present writing she is again holding the highest public office occupied by a woman in the United States.

A BOOK ON CITY GOVERNMENT Both the student and the citizen can read with satisfaction "American City Government-A Survey of Newer Tendencies," by Professor Charles A. Beard, of Columbia University, which is published by The Century Co. at $2.00. The "Independent" says of this book:

"Devoting less than a third of the text to politics and governmental structure, the author discusses such questions as tenement-house reform, recreation, industrial training, care of the streets and public health; in other words, those social and economic functions which cities are now everywhere assuming and which touch the individual citizen much more closely than any political theories do. Continued on page 30

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Professor Beard writes in the light of the most recent experience; he always manages to give definiteness and point to general statements by providing concrete illustrations which are never dull or weighted with detail. The chapter on the raising and spending of the city's money goes to show that he has a peculiar gift of making a complicated subject intelligible to the uninitiated, and even entertaining without any sacrifice of accuracy. Photographs and diagrams have been happily chosen; and the brief bibliography is just what best accords with the purpose of the book. A popular presentation, without foot-notes or technical language, it will not only find its way into many college classrooms, but will bear a not unimportant part in informing and stimulating men who had their schooling long ago."


Barbarous attacks upon the English language are an old story to educators. Recently a professor of one of our oldest universities declared that these definitions had been given by undergraduates:

An abnostic is one who believes just what he thinks.
An infidel is one who has a religion of his own.
Pride is the habit of modesty and self-control.
A man is piagmatic when he is lazy-like.

Answers revealing as firm a grasp on the language were recently made by children in a metropolitan school and printed in a recent issue of the New York "Evening Post." The question, "What is the difference between a butterfly and a fly?" was answered thus:


Preparatory to

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A butterfly sits on flowers, and a fly sits on your bread. A butterfly has nice ways, but a fly, now, is a bad thing. A butterfly you leave fly, but a fly you swat.

A fly buzzes when it flies, but a butterfly just flies.


Educational Department - Continued from page 27


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A butterfly flies in the sun, but a fly stays in the house to fly. Flies I seen, yes; but we don't have no butterflies around our block.

The question, "What is mama?" was answered thus:

She's what you chop wood for.

She's what puts clothes and shoes on you.

She keeps care of you.

She's who's good to you.

She's your creator.

She's what dead on to me.


An atmosphere of old-school culture is expressed in the following contribution to a quaint publication, called "The Bayberry Dip," issued by the pupils of a Massachusetts boarding school:

"The coziest time in the whole day, and to some of us the very pleasantest, is afternoon tea. Lessons are entirely forgotten and we gather around the tea table as one large family. On warm afternoons last June, our tea-table was a large stone near chapel, but now we sit before a blazing open fire in our living-room. As soon as each one has been served, Miss reads to us; and we have followed with intense interest the varying emotions and experiences of Jane Austen's characters, as she has depicted them in 'Pride and Prejudice' and 'Sense and Sensibility'; the thrilling adventures of Lorna, in 'Lorna Doone'; and now Colonel Newcombe and Clive are our daily companions. This is our time for mending, and doing all sorts of fancy work. Last year some of the girls made all their Easter gifts at tea time, and we had great fun watching the various handkerchiefs and workbags under construction, and wondering which would be ours at Easter. It is always a disappointed 'Oh, dear!' that greets the bell which marks the end of tea time."

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