THE waves upon water are always objects of pleasing interest. From the ripples of the pond to the billows of the ocean, their beauty and their sublimity are sources of perennial inspiration to the poet and the painter. But there is an invisible realm of air-waves of a far subtler and more wonderful order.
WHAT is instinct? In what does it differ from intelligence? What explanation can be given of it in the present state of the sciences of life? All these are questions to which a positive answer is asked for the first time in our day. Philosophers and moralists do not in our time concern themselves with the relations or the differences between instinct and intelligence; for they have no means of solving problems that particularly concern biology.
NOTWITHSTANDING the objections which are still made to the theory of Natural Selection, on the ground that it is either a pure hypothesis not founded on any demonstrable facts, or a mere truism which can lead to no useful results, we find it year by year sinking deeper into the minds of thinking men, and applied, more and more frequently, to elucidate problems of the highest importance.
THE ancient leprosy, the red plague, and the disease known in Europe as the Black Death, have ceased to afflict mankind. They seem to belong to the evils of the past; their banishment is due to human progress, to a better knowledge of hygiene, and a clearer understanding of the causes that develop infection and produce contagious and epidemic diseases.
TO give readers some idea of the contents of a good book is very often the most useful thing a reviewer can do. Unfortunately, that course is not open to us in the present instance. The subject is too vast. We cannot exhibit the grandeur; we can only in a few general phrases express our admiration of the profound, all-embracing philosophy of which the work before us is an instalment.
THIS is by no means a new subject for investigation, but in the present day I am certain that it will be instructive to many among the thousands who are now interested in this class of property to have their attention briefly called to all that has been done to make submarine cables a sound property.
MANY years ago, a solicitor, sitting by me at dinner, complained bitterly of the injury which the then lately-established County Courts were doing his profession. He enlarged on the topic in a way implying that he expected me to agree with him in therefore condemning them.
MANY stories are current as to how inventors have borrowed or stolen their ideas from Nature, and there has been much ingenious discussion as to whether hints thus appropriated are properly patentable. Boring is an example of natural processes that have been thus used by art, and it is remarkable that the lowest creatures are the most skilful mechanics in this particular.
ON THE CAUSES WHICH OPERATE TO CREATE SCIENTIFIC MEN.
ON more than one occasion I have maintained that intellectual ability is transmitted by inheritance; and, in a memoir published last year in the "Proceedings of the Royal Society," I endeavored to explain what ought to be understood by that word "inheritance."
SCIENTIFIC observers have long seen the importance of securing a position elevated above the fogs and impurities of the atmosphere at the sea-level, for the purpose of making more accurate astronomical and meteorological observations.
EVERY day, every hour, there is going on around us a veritable death-struggle. It excites little attention. People would be in no hurry to read the telegraphic dispatches concerning it from the seat of war, even if there were any to read. Special correspondents there are, but their letters are appreciated but by a few.
ON the 5th of November, 1604, two hundred and sixty-eight years ago, the whole of London was in a state of commotion at hearing of the discovery of "Guy Fawkes" sitting in a cellar under the Houses of Parliament, on a powder-barrel, with a match in his hand, his intention being to blow up James I. and the House of Lords.
THERE is a small knot of thinkers in Birmingham who come together to discuss philosophical topics, and call themselves The Speculative Club. In 1870 they published a volume of seven essays, which were written with much ability, and some of them with great boldness.
IT is a fact, as yet unaccounted for, that, whereas the thawing-point of ice is constant, the freezing-point of water may, under certain conditions, be brought considerably below the temperature at which ice begins to melt. In glass vessels, with free access of air, pure water may be reduced to a temperature of from 15° to 17° Fahr.
I, JOHN TYNDALL, Professor of Natural Philosophy in the Royal Institution of Great Britain, having, at the solicitation of my friends, lectured in various cities of the United States, find the receipts and disbursements on account of these lectures to be as follows: As an evidence of my good-will toward the people of the United States, I desire to devote this sum of 13,O33 to the advancement of theoretic science, and the promotion of original research, especially in the department of physics, in the United States.
SIR GEORGE BIDDELL AIRY, the Astronomer Royal, was born on the 27th of June, 1801, at Alnwick, in Northumberland. His education was first cared for at two private academies, now at Hereford, now at Colchester. From the Colchester Grammar-School, when eighteen years of age, he went, in 1819, to Trinity College, Cambridge.
AS you have done my brief after-dinner speech (a kind of performance that usually perishes with the occasion) the honor of an elaborate criticism, which I think a little one-sided and unfair, I ask the privilege to reply. You say that I used the occasion of the Tyndall banquet "to give a lesson to the scientific gentlemen present as to the proper limit of their inquiries." But that is hardly a just representation.
THE idea suggested by this title has long been with many a matter of vague and distant anticipation; but there is promise that something of the kind may soon become a realized fact. Rather, perhaps, we are to have a highclass Teachers' Institute on a strictly scientific basis.
EDUCATION IN JAPAN. A Series of Letters Addressed by Prominent Americans to ARINORI MORI. New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1873. 255 pages. AND now Japan comes forward to confound the theories of publicists, and give a new problem to political philosophers.
Meteor-Showers on the Night of November 27, 1872.—In all quarters of the heavens, says an astronomical periodical, the Leipziger Sternwarte, the meteors were very numerous, especially in the Southwest and the Northeast. An observer looking toward the South counted within 54 minutes, soon after seven P. M., 700 meteors; another observer 807 meteors in 40 minutes.
A MONUMENT is to be erected in Birmingham, England, to the memory of Dr. Joseph Priestley. In his lifetime his heterodoxy disqualified him for a berth in one of Captain Cook's ships, though he would have been a most valuable aid to the commander.