OUT of bricks, well burnt, hard, and sharp-angled, lying in heaps by his side, the bricklayer builds, even without mortar, a wall of some height that has considerable stability. With bricks made of bad materials, irregularly burnt, warped, cracked, and many of them broken, he cannot build a dry wall of the same height and stability.
WHETHER we owe many of the matters we are about to glance at to fishes or no, it is certain that the fishes possessed them long before we did, and though man may be said to have invented them, yet in his savage state he must have taken more or less of hints from Nature, and have adopted the methods which Nature pointed out to him as the most effective in hunting or war (which were his principal occupations) whenever they could be adapted to his needs and appliances.
AT the last meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society, Dr. Huggins, the eminent spectroscopist, made an extraordinary statement respecting the motions taking place among the stars. The results he announces are so wonderful that it will be well briefly to explain how they have been obtained, as well as their relation to what had formerly been known upon the subject.
MANY of you, I doubt not, will remember that I had the pleasure of addressing you in this hall some months ago, with reference to researches which I had a share in carrying on into the Depths of the Ocean, when I endeavored to give you some insight into the conditions of the sea-bottom as regards temperature, pressure, animal life, and the deposits now in process of formation upon it.
IN October, 1842, the Falls of Niagara were made the subject of careful study by the New York State Geologists. Under their direction a trigonometrical survey was made, and the river-banks—ancient and recent—the contours of Goat and Luna and Bath Islands, and the periphery of the Falls, were mapped with the utmost precision.
IT has been known, from time immemorial, that the sweet liquids which may be obtained by expressing the juices of the fruits and stems of various plants, or by steeping malted barley in hot water, or by mixing honey with water, are liable to undergo a series of very singular changes, if freely exposed to the air and left to themselves, in warm weather.
WHILE the scientific world and his own countrymen are rivals in doing honor to Prof. Palmieri for his zeal in remaining at his post in spite of all danger, it may be interesting to examine in some detail the work done at the Observatory of Mount Vesuvius.
IN the neighborhood of one of our midland cities is a school for some fifty boys, varying in age from nine or ten to fourteen or fifteen years. During some recent visits to this school, the singular healthiness and heartiness of the boys made me curious to learn exactly how they were fed.
THERE is, perhaps, no more amusing trait in human nature than that which leads people to criticise subjects about which they know nothing. And it seems to be a trait common to all minds, but differing much in intensity. Education roots it out to a considerable extent, but never quite obliterates it.
THE last number of the Journal of the Statistical Society had an interesting article, by Mr. Hyde Clarke, on the. "Geographical Distribution of Intellectual Qualities in England.” The writer proves, by the use of a numerical test, that the towns contribute most of the intellectual laborers of note, and that the popular notion that genius is generally of low origin or derived from obscure districts is a mistake.
THE word civilization is of somewhat indefinite meaning. It were easy to say which of the two is the more civilized, a European or a New-Caledonian savage. But, when we have to assign their respective ranks to two civilized nations, the case is more difficult.
GEOLOGY is the science which explains to us the rind of the earth of what it is made; how it has been made. It tells us nothing of the mass of the earth. That is, properly speaking, an astronomical question. If I may be allowed to liken this earth to a fruit, then astronomy will tell us—when it knows—how the fruit grew, and what is inside the fruit.
IN his short pamphlet of twenty-four pages, the writer treats of a matter observed by all who read the newspapers—we mean the fact that crimes, particularly those of a graver description, generally occur in epidemics. To prove this point, Dr. Despine, in the first division of his paper, records a large number of murders, suicides, robberies, etc.; on these it is not necessary to dwell, but we shall pass on to his second division—the law which regulates Moral Contagion.
IT would seem as if every grain brought its bane. The Agricultural Department at Washington has done a good deal for agriculture in the importation and distribution of foreign seeds, slips, and plants. In this way have been secured to the country many of the choicest improved plants from abroad, and many entirely new to our gardens.
THE eight-hour epidemic has at length subsided, and the workingmen, having failed to accomplish their object, have generally returned to their labors under the old arrangements. The infection spread through all the leading industrial crafts: carpenters, bricklayers, cabinet-makers, upholsterers, carriage-makers, iron and metal workers, piano-makers, plumbers, sugar-refiners, gas-makers, car-drivers—one after another—were drawn into the movement.
WHATEVER is truly great has an interest that is inexhaustible. Again and again we return to the mountain, the cataract, the cathedral, the picture, the poem, with an ever-deepening appreciation of their influence over us. And so it is even in a more eminent degree with the grand in human character, for a human life of noble impulse and heroic achievement has also its perennial interest.
Experiments on the Solar Spectrum.— Some experiments recently published by Dr. John W. Draper, of the New York University, on the heat of different portions of the solar spectrum, will change, in several important particulars, the views hitherto held on that subject.
THE Academy of Sciences in Bologna has announced that a prize of 1,200 lire (about $240), the “Aldini Prize,” will be awarded to the author of the best scientific experimental essay on galvanism or dynamic electricity. Essays intended for the competition must be sent in between July 1, 1872, and June 30, 1874, and must be written in Italian, Latin, or French.