WHEN the starry heavens are viewed through a telescope of moderate power, a great number of stellar clusters and faint nebulous forms are revealed against the dark background of the sky which might be taken at first sight for passing clouds, but which, by their unchanging forms and persistent appearance, are proved to belong to the heavenly bodies, though possessing a character widely differing from the point-like images of ordinary stars.
IT is natural that we should regard with an intense curiosity all the faculties with which our bodily frame is gifted, and that we should desire to preserve them as perfectly as possible. The following remarks are designed to do something toward gratifying that curiosity with regard to one of the most important of our powers, and to give a few hints in respect to things that are hurtful to it.
THE primary conception of a railway is a perfectly smooth, level, and straight road, upon which friction is reduced to the minimum, so that heavy loads may be propelled with the least possible resistance, and at the highest rate of speed.
LET us now dwell a little on two grand facts presented to us by the animated world, these two properties of living beings equally undeniable and unintelligible in their essence-habit, and. hereditary tendency; and. let us see how, in Darwin's theory, they will combine with intelligence.
JOHN STEPHENS HENSLOW is described as having been a beautiful boy with brown curling hair, a fine straight nose, a brilliant complexion, soft eyes, and a smile that reached everybody's heart. He was active, observant, and intelligent, a favorite partner at childish parties, and danced elegantly.
EVERY day brings events which, showing the politician what the events of the next day are likely to be, serve also as materials for the student of Social Science. Passing occurrences may have their special meanings sought, as by the many, or may have their general meanings sought, as by the few.
MY endeavor will be, to show that there may be obtained, from a much-diminished consumption of coal in fireplaces used for domestic purposes, all the advantages which have hitherto resulted from the wasteful expenditure which has prevailed.
IN the March number of this journal, Mr. Elias Lewis calls attention to the occurrence of bowlder-like masses of clay in stratified gravel, at Brooklyn, N. Y. In the progress of the geological survey of Ohio, similar masses of gravelly clay were met with in the northwestern portion of the State, lying in the stratified gravel and sand that constitute the long ridges which have often been pronounced "lake-beaches."
IT is one of the disadvantages of reading books about natural scenery that they fill the mind with pictures, often exaggerated, often distorted, often blurred, and, even when well drawn, injurious to the freshness of first impressions. Such has been the fate of most of us with regard to the Falls of Niagara.
ASTRENUOUS effort is being made at the present time to reorganize the Geological Survey of Pennsylvania. It promises to be successful. The legislators of that State, in voting upon the measure, will be mainly influenced by considerations relating to the pecuniary value of a geological survey in locating beds of coal, building-materials, and ores.
WHATEVER may become of Darwin's theory of natural selection, its worst foes must at last concede it the rare honor of being reckoned the most fertile hypothesis ever proclaimed. It has created a library of books on species, selection, and evolution, and it enters more or less into most attempts at serious writing.
JUSTUS VON LIEBIG, the famous German chemist, who died at Munich, April 18th, was born at Darmstadt, May 12, 1803. Having graduated from the gymnasium of his native place at the age of sixteen, his taste for the study of natural science led him first to accept a situation in an apothecary's shop, where he expected to have abundant opportunity for experiment and research.
THE QUESTION OF COMPULSOEY ATTENDANCE ON SCHOLASTIC EXERCISES IN COLLEGES.
THE DANGERS AND SECURITIES OF SCIENCE.
A CORRECTION.-LETTER FROM PROF. TYNDALL.
THE press has recently occupied itself to an unusual degree with matters which concern our system of higher education; and a point on which the widest di versity of views has been expressed, and on which the argument on both sides has been maintained with the greatest ability and earnestness, is the question whether mental training is a process which can only be successfully conducted by assuming that its subjects will not in general receive it voluntarily, and whether, therefore, it is or is not necessary to proceed upon the plan of coercing them to their own good.
THE proposition of Prof. Leeds, in his article on "State Geological Surveys," to link these undertakings to the collegiate institutions of the country is a novel and very important one, and deserves the serious attention of all the friends of scientific education.
LESSONS IN ELEMENTARY ANATOMY. By ST. GEORGE MIVART, F. R. S., etc. Macmillan & Co., London and New York, 1873. THIS is a companion volume to Huxley's " Lessons in Physiology " and Oliver's " Lessons in Botany," and is devoted mainly to a description of the human body, with only so much of the anatomy of the lower animals as will serve to illustrate the variations which corresponding organs exhibit in the inferior vertebrates.
Action of Drought and Cold on ForestTrees.—In an able paper on the manner in which the distribution of plants and animals may be influenced by extraordinary changes in the character of the seasons, published in the American Naturalist for November last, Prof. N. S. Shaler attributes the wide-spread destruction of evergreen trees, which became so painfully apparent during the previous spring, to the action of drought and cold.
THE population of France, as shown by the census, was 38,067,064 in the year 1866. The official estimate of annual increase is 130,078—or, for the seven years ending January 1,1873, 910,546. Total, 38,977,610. But the actual census gave only 36,102,921, showing a loss of 2,874,689.