IN all languages there exist sounds—vowel and consonant—represented by the letters of the alphabet. This, in the opinion of some linguists, is an evidence of a common origin, while naturalists hold it to be the inevitable effect of the functions of an organ whose conformation scarcely differs in any perceptible degree between one race and another.
THE group of animals called “Bats” is one full of interest to those specially occupied with the study of animal structure—the anatomist, the physiologist, and the philosophical zoölogist. At the same time it must be confessed that bats are far from exciting that general interest which in fact they merit.
IT was not until the studies of Agassiz, Forbes, and others, among the Alps of Switzerland, had made us acquainted with the character and action of glaciers, that we could at all understand many of the most curious and interesting features connected with the formation of the multitude of lakes with which we are more or less familiar, and which lend so much beauty and grandeur to the scenery of the world.
IN the swamps of the Gambia, after they have been dried by the tropical sun, there are to be found here and there beneath the surface clods of earth uniform in shape, and usually about the size of a man’s two fists. These clods inclose living animals, which have been led by instinct to hide themselves away toward the close of the rainy season, and before the coming of the season of drought, by burying themselves in the mud while it was yet soft, and before it had been hardened by the scorching rays of the sun.
THE history of burning-mirrors of brass is known. At Rome the sacred fire was lighted with apparatus of this kind, and Archimedes fired the ships which were blockading Syracuse by concentrating upon them the sun’s rays by means of a large reflector.
IN l781-’83, Cavendish showed that when inflammable air or hydrogen, and dephlogisticated air or oxygen, are exploded together in certain proportions, “almost the whole of the inflammable and dephlogisticated air is converted into pure water,” or, as he elsewhere expresses it, “is turned into water.”
"PLEASE, sir, here’s one of them nasty mischiefull many-legs as I told you pisened the melon-bed so as we never got nothink off of ’em. Nobody can’t say as they wasn’t took care of, for I was a waterin’ and a waterin’ on ’em mornin’, noon, and night, all along the droughty summer.
IN the museum of the Louvre, in Paris, there is a vase which has by some strange chance been handed down to us through the long ages which have proved fatal to many others far more worthy of preservation than itself. It was manufactured in Italy—before the foundation of the city of Rome—by the ancient Etruscans, and it is decorated—and this is the reason I bring it to your notice this evening—with a design representing a group of children blowing bubbles.
IN 1795, Frederick Augustus Wolf published a modest octavo volume entitled “Prolegomena to Homer,” from whose appearance is dated the beginning of a new era of historic criticism. The composition of the poems of Homer formed its subject.
PRESENT STATUS OF SOCIAL SCIENCE—REPLY TO A CRITIC.
ROBERT S. HAMILTON
WHEN a periodical of such wide circulation and deservedly high reputation as THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY disparages an author by its criticism, silence on his part might reasonably be construed into acquiescence in its justness. It is, therefore, hoped that this reply to a criticism on the late work, published by H. L. Hinton & Co., on “The Present Status of Social Science,” which appeared in that monthly for May, 1874, will not be denied a place in the same columns that allowed the criticism.
THE President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, who presides at its meeting this year in Buffalo, belongs to a family which has attained eminent distinction in the field of American science. He was born in Philadelphia, in December, 1805, and is the second of four sons—James Blythe, WILLIAM BARTON, Henry Darwin, and Robert Empeie Rogers, all of whom have won celebrity as scientific teachers and investigators, and of whom William and Robert alone survive.
I HEREIN give you the outlines of a large-sized battle-axe, found in a thick bed of drift on the elevated surface of Rose or Cemetery Hill, Cumberland, Maryland. This locality is situated on the first plateau at the base of Will’s Mountain, on the south side of Will’s Creek, and east side of the mountain, and within the limits of the city of Cumberland.
IN his pamphlet entitled “PaperMoney Inflation in France: How it came, What it brought, and How it ended,” President White tells a very plain and direct, but a very exciting story of national folly and infatuation. It sounds like romance, and but for the constant citations we should almost suspect that the writer is treating us to a satire on American finance.
THIS Cyclopædia, the first edition of which was completed in 1863, having proved its adaptation to the general wants by a very extensive sale, has now undergone complete revision, and, while preserving its well-known character, comes forth essentially a new work.
The Cruise of the “Challenger."—Nature, for June 1st, gives an exceedingly interesting account of the voyage round the world recently completed by the Challenger. This voyage was undertaken chiefly for scientific purposes, the principal object being to “determine as far as possible the physical and biological conditions of the great ocean-basins of the Atlantic, the Southern Sea, and Pacific.”
THE American Association for the Advancement of Science meets this year at Buffalo, the sessions commencing August 23d. William B. Rogers, of Boston, is President; Charles A. Young, Dartmouth College, Vice-President Section A; E. S. Morse, Salem, Mass., Vice-President Section B; Thomas Mendenhall, Columbus, Ohio, General Secretary.