WHOEVER has observed the heavens on a clear night with some amount of attention and patience, cannot fail to have noticed the phenomenon of a falling star, one of those well-known fiery meteors which suddenly blaze forth in any quarter of the heavens, descend toward the earth, generally with great rapidity, in either a vertical or slanting direction, and disappear after a few seconds at a higher or lower altitude.
THERE is no one who, coming for the first time to a knowledge of our English system of education, would not be very much surprised by the fact that, while we take the greatest trouble to instruct young men in the language, history, and institutions of nations that lived two thousand years ago, and whose whole being belongs to a past stage in the world’s existence, we take no trouble at all to instruct them concerning the nations who now live, with whom we have an every-day intercourse, on whom we depend for so many benefits, as well material as spiritual, whose temper, character, and friendly or inimical feelings toward us are of the very highest importance.
IN order to understand the importance of the nutritive salts in food, we must first ascertain how far its mineral elements are nutritious, how far they are indispensable, and when they may be considered as in excess. The investigations of Liebig, who first studied this question, and those of his school, demonstrate that certain salts are closely combined with the other elements of living bodies, forming integral parts of them.
"THE twinkling of oblivion,” as Wordsworth exquisitely defines the phenomenon of sleep, has, from the time of Hippocrates to the present hour, engaged the attention of thoughtful minds. Poets have found in the phenomenon subject-matter for some of the most perfect of their works.
THE Calmucks primitively inhabited the countries northeast of the Chinese Empire. At the commencement of the seventeenth century, they arrived on the shores of the Caspian Sea; and they have camped there to the present day. The first glance at a Calmuck suffices to recognize in him the model representative of the true Mongol type.
WHEN man looks upon Nature, he sees everywhere the records of death’s work among the representatives of creative energy. The stratified rocks are but the tombstones in the great graveyard of the world; they cover the bones of a million generations, and their inscription is, “The dust we tread upon was once alive.”
THE recent trials for murder, in which insanity has been alleged for the defence, whatever differences of opinion they may have given rise to, have clearly shown how entirely unfitted a common jury is to decide the delicate and difficult question of a prisoner’s mental state.
MR. BANTING had defective hearing, and consulted a physician for his deafness. The doctor was William Harvey, aural surgeon to the Royal Dispensary for Diseases of the Ear, and also for the great Northern Hospital of London. Dr. Harvey told the patient that his deafness was complicated with his corpulence, for Mr. Banting was very fat.
SOME of you may ask, and you have a perfect right to ask, why I, a clergyman, have chosen this subject for my lecture? Why do I wish to teach young men physical science? What good will the right understanding of astronomy or of chemistry, or of the stones under their feet, or of the plants or animals which they meet—What good, I say, will that do them?
BE the idea what it may, that we form to ourselves of the mysterious tie that links our perception to the life of the soul, so much is undoubted, that the material supplied by the impressions of the senses constitutes the basis on which the soul unfolds; further, that they furnish the nutriment on which our thoughts and conceptions live and grow, and that through them alone is preserved the connection between the invisible “I” and the external world—the soil in which all conscious intellectual activity strikes root.
THE word “element” is used by chemists in a peculiar and very limited sense. In calling certain bodies elements, there is no intention on the part of chemists to assert the undecomposable nature or essence of the bodies so called. There is not even an intention on their part to assert that these bodies may not suffer decomposition in certain of the processes to which they are occasionally subjected, but only to assert that they have not hitherto been proved to suffer decomposition; or, in other words, to assert that their observed behavior, under all the different modes of treatment to which they have been exposed, is consistent with the hypothesis of their not having undergone decomposition.
WHETHER the human race is degenerating, and, if so, by what causes, are questions of much speculative interest to scientific thinkers, and of much practical interest to each father and mother in the community. The subject is complicated by many conditions.
WHEN we enumerate the few great living botanists, the list must include Dr. ASA GRAY, Fisher Professor of Natural History at Harvard University. To the average reader, this may not imply any great distinction, as a botanist is too commonly looked upon as merely one who can call plants by name.
WE hold educational reform to be the first and most important of all reforms. There are many things in this world that need amendment, and, happily, there are plenty of people willing to help on the work. By diverstiy of tastes and division of labor, the business of reform is taken up piecemeal, and it is but natural that each party should clamor for the precedence of its own projects over all others.
IT is only recently that the general public has been admitted to a knowledge of the researches which are carried on by the leading physicists of the world. Perhaps an educator would consider the desire of the public to be so admitted one of the most encouraging signs of the times, and he undoubtedly would hail the fellowship of the scientists and their audiences as a good omen.
Death of Dr. Stimpson.—In the recent death of Dr. William Stimpson, secretary of the Chicago Academy of Sciences, American science has suffered an irreparable loss. He was born near Boston, February 14, 1832, and was drawn by a strong impulse to the study of science in his boyhood.
PROF. TYNDALL remarks that the ordinary definition of the solid, liquid, and gaseous states, given in many text-books, is hardly correct. Cohesion is thought to be predominant in the first state of matter, absent in the second, and negative—that is to say, absolute repulsion exists among the molecules—in the third.