THE tints produced by Nature and art are so manifold, often so vague and indefinite, so affected by their environment, or by the illumination under which they are seen, that at first it might well appear as though nothing about them were constant; as though they had no fixed properties which could be used in reducing them to order, and in arranging in a simple but vast series the immense multitude of which they consist.
MODERN PHILOSOPHERS ON THE PROBABLE AGE OF THE WORLD.
A SHORT time ago Sir William Thomson took occasion, at a meeting of the Geological Society of Glasgow, to make a some what startling statement. He said that the tendency of British popular geology was, at the time he spoke, in direct opposition to the principles of natural philosophy.
THE LOCAL DISTRIBUTION OF PLANTS AND THE THEORY OF ADAPTATION.
LESTER F. WARD
THERE is one class of facts in the geographical distribution of plants which has not received, at the hands of botanists, the degree of attention which its importance justifies. I do not refer to those wide general phenomena which a comparison of the floras of different countries renders so striking, and by which the more humble and restricted class to which I would call attention is usually eclipsed.
THE retina is the point where the physical process of vision passes into the physiological process. Until it impinges upon the retina, the light which penetrates the eye has only undergone physical changes, consisting chiefly in refraction, the last perceptible result of which is the production of the image upon the retina.
THE antagonism between Science and Religion has become a commonplace of literature. Both preachers and physicists have narrated with bitterness of spirit the battles which they have fought, the wrongs which they have suffered, the complaints which they have to make,, the one against the other.
NOTHING distinctly answering to a brain is to be found in the lowest animals in which a nervous system exists. It is thus, for instance, with star-fishes and the larger nematoid entozoa, in which what most nearly resembles a brain consists of a mere band of nerve-fibres surrounding the commencement of the æsophagus, and containing a few nerve-cells, partly between its fibres and partly in groups slightly removed therefrom.
AMONG the various branches of natural science which have in recent times attained a high development, geography holds a prominent rank. By this, however, we must understand, not so much that vast regions of previously unexplored country have been made known to the educated world; that rivers, seas, and mountains, have been discovered, and the courses of known streams more accurately defined in maps; but rather that geotectonic data, of which a rich store has been collected, have been studied from broad and general points of view, and the individual phenomena ranged in the order of cause and effect.
A GLANCE at the respective antecedents of individual organisms and social organisms shows why the last admit of no such definite classification as the first. Through a thousand generations a species of plant or animal leads substantially the same kind of life; and its successive members inherit the acquired adaptations.
THE problem of homes for the people is not a simple one. The question is not merely how to house single families at the least cost. No solution of the problem can be worse than the solitary farmhouse in a thinly-settled country. The real question is, how to reconcile the autonomy of the individual and family with the economies and productive forces of modern society.
CIVILIZATION has not reached that state of perfection where hospitals can be dispensed with. 1. As long as armies exist, hospitals will be necessary. Soldiers when sick must be provided with special accommodations ; and, after a battle, the wounded cannot be properly cared for except in hospitals constructed especially for the purpose.
THIS versatile thinker, known to science by his “Seaside Studies” and his “Physiology of Common Life”—works of much originality—as well as by his “History of Philosophy1’ and his “Problems of Life and Mind,” in which he puts forth independent views on scientific methodology, was born in London, April 18, 1817.
AT the risk of appearing ungracious, and possibly fastidious, I beg leave to invite attention to some inaccuracies in a brief notice of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, published in THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY for August, 1876.
SOME months ago, as our readers will remember, there appeared in the Nation, by an anonymous writer, a scandalous attack upon Prof. Tyndall. He was accused of treating Prof. Henry dishonorably; and the accusation was so garnished with insulting insinuations as to convey the impression that Prof. Tyndall is not above ignoring and suppressing other people’s valuable work which he desires to profit by himself.
THE work intrusted to the accomplished Professor of Physiology at Halle, Dr. Bernstein, has been admirably performed. Aware of the importance of his undertaking, and that his work would promptly reappear in all civilized countries, the author has taken his time, and produced a volume second to none in the series to which it belongs, and which will be valued as an able and permanent contribution to physiological literature.
A Preliminary Note on Menopoma Alleghaniense of Harlan.—At the Buffalo meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Prof. A. R. Grote read a paper with the above title on the Menopoma, an aquatic salamander, with soft, leathery, scaleless skin, inhabiting the tributaries of the Mississippi River.
DURING the present year the United States Fish Commission have placed in the Hudson River 4,580,000 young shad. The commissioners observe a steady increase in the supply of this fish. They ask, however, for legislation compelling a cessation of fishing on Sunday.