ON THE BORDER TERRITORY BETWEEN THE ANIMAL AND THE VEGETABLE KINGDOMS.
T. H. HUXLEY
IN the whole history of science there is nothing more remarkable than the rapidity of the growth of biological knowledge within the last half century, and the extent of the modification which has thereby been effected in some of the fundamental conceptions of the naturalist.
KERGUELEN Island is in latitude 48°-49° south; longitude 70° east from Greenwich. That is to say, it is in the South Indian Ocean, about half-way between the Cape of Good Hope and Australia, but well to the southward of both. It is rather an archipelago than an island, innumerable small peaks being grouped around and in the estuaries of a central mass of volcanic rock, about ninety miles long by fifty wide, and shaped somewhat like a spider, of which its numerous long promontories and peninsulas represent the legs.
AMONG the most revolutionary of the geographical schemes of the day are the projects of flooding portions of the African Sahara, and thus restoring to the sea what was once an integral part of it. In the Pliocene period, according to Sir Charles Lyell, the great desert was under water between latitudes 20° and 30° N., so that the southeastern part of the Mediterranean communicated with that portion of the Atlantic now bounded by the west coast of Africa.
THE fight for a foothold in the animal world brings the combatants into many strange relations, few of which are more curious and interesting than those existing between the creatures popularly known as parasites and the animals which furnish them support.
OBSERVATIONS ON THE OPTICAL DEPORTMENT OF THE ATMOSPHERE IN REFERENCE TO THE PHENOMENA OF PUTREFACTION AND INFECTION.
PROFESSOR TYNDALL began his paper by alluding to a former inquiry on the decomposition of vapors, and the formation of actinic clouds, by light, whereby he was led to experiments on the floating matter of the air. He referred to the experiments of Schwann, Schroeder and Dusch, Schroeder himself, to those of the illustrious French chemist Pasteur, to the reasoning of Lister and its experimental demonstration, regarding the filtering power of the lungs; from all of which he had concluded, six years ago, that the power of developing life by the air and its power of scattering light would be found to go hand in hand.
IN one of the quarters of the “ old city ” in Hamburg, untouched by the great fire of 1842, is a little square around which crowd tall, narrow buildings with high, pointed roofs. The quaint architecture, the flat barges in the canal, and the queer trucks with harness enough on each horse to stock a team of four, remind one of the middle ages; but the busy railway-station near by and the forest of shipping on the Elbe bearing the flags of every civilized nation tell us that this is the great commercial port of Northern Europe.
THE centre of gravity of the earth is the centre of the sphere formed by the surface of the oceans ; or rather, owing to the flattening of the earth at the poles, it is a point equally distant, in opposite directions, from the level of the sea. The waters, being free to move, must of necessity conform themselves to this equidistance from the gravitating centre of the whole mass.
NOT all matter is capable of performing vital acts. Those substances alone possess this property which, owing to their peculiar composition, readily undergo molecular changes; that is to say, whose parts are grouped in very unstable equilibrium, and which are always ready to form other combinations.
THE science of the present age is distinguishable from the learning of past ages by many important features. By these it has indeed somewhat altered the sense originally attributable to its name, and science has become a word of greater precision, and therefore of a less broad significance than what may be termed mere knowledge.
SEXUAL cerebration may here and there be seen coming to the surface, amid the complex array of circumstance and causes which affects woman’s criminal career. If I am correct in the use of the term, and it surely has the merit of expressing the idea designed to be conveyed by it, we may perceive two forms of sexual mental action, one normal and the other abnormal.
MOST people in this country have heard of Miss Caroline Herschel the astronomer. Without knowing much about her, she has been vaguely regarded by the public as a profound scientific genius, the strong-minded peer and coadjutor of her brother, the illustrious Sir William Herschel.
THE authors of “The Unseen Universe” tell us, as appears in a note in your January number, “It is probable that, before many years have passed, electricity will be called upon by an enlightened Legislature to produce absolutely indescribable torture, thrilling through every fibre of such miscreants”—in referring to “human brutes who vent their despicable passions in murderous assaults on women and children.”
ONE of the great characteristic elements of scientific knowledge is that it is progressive, and the nature of that progress is to arrive gradually at the establishment of truth. Science having fixed upon its methods—methods that have been vindicated in its history—goes on with the exploration of phenomena in all fields, by beginning with imperfect evidence and gradually working out its investigations to the completeness of proof and the firm establishment of facts and principles.
To those who care only for politics on account of its gossip, personalities, and passing excitements, or who study it merely as an art for the attainment of their own selfish ends, these works need not be commended; but those who are interested in working out the principles of a science that underlies all politics will be glad to learn that the “Descriptive Sociology” of Herbert Spencer is making fair progress, the fourth number being now published.
Trichinous Pork.—Trichina spiralis was first discovered by Owen, in 1835, in human muscular tissue. Some twenty years later the parasite, as seen by Owen, namely, as a minute worm coiled up within a cyst, was found by Herbst to be the larva of a thread-like worm.
LAST summer the French Assembly voted to M. Pasteur a life-pension of 12,000 francs, in consideration of his public services as a scientific investigator. Another pension of 6,000 francs was lately allowed him by a decree of the Marshal-President.