FROM the intrinsic natures of its facts, from our own natures as observers of its facts, and from the peculiar relation in which we stand toward the facts to be observed, there arise impediments in the way of Sociology greater than those standing in the way of any other science.
IN tracing the history of the civilization and growth of humanity, it becomes noticeable that long periods of time often witness but slow and gradual progress ; but that from time to time a few inventions and discoveries of eminent men suddenly kindle a revolution in all the spheres of human affairs.
"WHAT can there be interesting in that commonplace, repulsive little creature, which infests our houses, annoys us by its presence, and shocks our sense of decency with its filthy webs—in that cruel little monster, whose whole life is employed in weaving snares to entrap unwary flies ; lying in wait for them in dark, damp corners of crevices, murdering them remorselessly when they are caught in its toils, and then sucking their life’s-blood ?
IT has been customary with successive occupants of this chair to open the proceedings of the meetings over which they respectively presided with a discourse on some aspect of Nature in her relation to man. But I am not aware that any one of them has taken up the other side of the inquiry—that which concerns man as the “ Interpreter of Nature ; ” and I have therefore thought it not inappropriate to lead you to the consideration of the mental processes by which are formed those fundamental conceptions of matter and force, of cause and effect, of law and order, which furnish the basis of all scientific reasoning, and constitute the Philosophia prima of Bacon.
BESIDES the elements of nutrition which we consume at every meal, there is also a number of other elements which serve to make the food savory and appetizing. These latter do not strictly come within the definition of nutritive substances, and are properly denominated condiments. Though not in themselves nutritious, the condiments are nevertheless necessary to nutrition.
NOT long ago, the Lord Rector of the University of Aberdeen submitted to the University Court a scheme for reducing the value of Latin composition. In a lecture recently given at Edinburgh upon education, Prof. Jowett condemned the existing methods of classical instruction, and asserted that Latin and Greek might be learned in two-thirds of the time now bestowed upon them.
SOME of the world’s greatest benefactors have worked with young minds, and one of the most remarkable discoveries of astronomical science was made by a company of English students in the best days of youth. We refer to the transit of Venus across the disk of the sun.
THE session being now happily inaugurated, your presiding officer of the last year has only one duty to perform before he surrenders the chair to his successors. If allowed to borrow a simile from the language of my own profession, I might liken the President of this Association to a biennial plant.
THERE is a chapter in Sir John Herschel’s volume of “ Lectures on Scientific Subjects ” which treats of certain peculiar forms of ocular spectra, under the above title. The spectra here alluded to—those which present themselves to us, independently of the will, in darkness or when the eyes are closed—are familiar to us all ; but it appears to me that the subject has certain bearings which have been hitherto overlooked, and which merit a passing notice.
THE sun, according to the philosophy of the day, is the great storehouse of Force. All the grand natural phenomena are directly dependent upon the influence of energies which are poured forth without intermission from the central star of our system.
WILLIAM BENJAMIN CARPENTER was born in Exeter, October 29, 1813. His father, Dr. Lant Carpenter, was a dissenting minister, favorably known as a writer on theological subjects. More widely known, however, as a zealous worker in the cause of juvenile reformation, is his sister, Miss Mary Carpenter.
THIS distinguished scientific philosopher, it is expected, will soon arrive in this country to give several courses of lectures in the chief Atlantic cities. Many of our people have read and admired his books, and become deeply interested in his themes, and those who can will no doubt gladly avail themselves of this opportunity to witness his beautiful experiments, and listen to his eloquent expositions.
THE comprehensive work on Human Physiology, by Dr. Flint, approaches its completion; 2,000 pages of it are done, and another volume of perhaps 500 more will finish the treatise. This is the most considerable effort yet made by an American in physiology, and the work, by its extent and thoroughness, will prove an honor to American science.
Bowlders of the Long Island Drift.—In a paper read before the Natural History section of the Long Island Historical Society, Mr. E. Lewis, Jr., gives an interesting account of the bowlders of the Long Island drift, treating especially of their size as compared with those of New England.
A COMMITTEE of astute reformers in England, charged with the duty of devising some means for repressing drunkenness and reforming drunkards, recommend that drunkenness, and even the first offence, be severely punished. For the first conviction, a month in jail ; for the third, a year’s imprisonment in a reformatory.