MANY points have been left obscure in the history of the double trial of Galileo, the details of which till lately were but imperfectly known. The important work published by Domenico Berti2 fills up some of these gaps, by placing before our eyes a collection of authentic documents taken from the secret archives of the Vatican.
THE problem of finding the distance of the sun is one of the most important and difficult presented by astronomy. Its importance lies in this, that this distance—the radius of the earth’s orbit—is the base-line by means of which we measure every other celestial distance, excepting only that of the moon ; so that error in this base propagates itself in all directions through all space, affecting with a corresponding proportion of falsehood every measured line—the distance of every star, the radius of every orbit, the diameter of every planet.
THE scientific treatment of any art consists partly in applying the principles furnished by the several sciences involved—as chemical laws to agriculture—and partly in enforcing, throughout the discussion, the utmost precision and rigor in the statement, deduction and proof of the various maxims or rules that make up the art.
THERE is a small district in the south of France known as the Deux Charentes, which has a commercial centre called Cognac. From the grapes of this district there comes a wine, and from this wine there is distilled a celebrated liquor which is named after the place, and called Cognac brandy.
OBSERYATIONS made around the shores of Long Island justify the conclusion that they have undergone important changes in time geologically recent. These changes appear to have arisen from a series of vertical movements, by which the coast has been alternately elevated and depressed.
AN American astronomer, Prof. Young, of Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, has recently achieved a victory over a problem which has for many years foiled the skill of the best European observers ; and, in so doing, he may be said to have added the keystone to an arch of no small importance in the edifice of modern astronomical science.
NONE who have had experience of travel in Swedish Lapland are likely to deny to it the charms of perfect freshness and originality. The almost primitive character and habits of the people, the singular conditions of their life, the unique splendor of the scenery, the bright intoxication of the air, and the glory of the arctic sunsets, are all a constant source of pleasure and surprise.
IN the history of science, and notably in the history of physiology and medicine, it has often happened that the ignorant and obscure have stumbled upon facts and phenomena which, though wrongly interpreted by themselves, yet, when investigated and explained, have proved to be of the highest interest.
THE boring of a tunnel of any importance presents difficulties of various kinds, among which may be mentioned the clearing away of the rubbish arising from the excavation of the gallery, whenever that reaches any considerable length, and the work is carried on with activity.
THERE are three kinds of gas, named after the substances from which they are obtained, as coal, petroleum (or naphtha), and water gas. The first two are produced by destructive distillation of coal and petroleum, or naphtha, the last by passing a current of steam over a bed of incandescent anthracite.
THE position occupied by this gentleman in American science is one of marked distinction as a successful original investigator, and also as an efficient reformer in the work of scientific education. He is known at home and abroad both by the extent and importance of his experimental researches, and by the high-toned and thoroughgoing character of his expository works on chemistry and physics.
ABOUT a hundred gentlemen sat down to dinner at Delmonico’s, December 12th, in commemoration of the centennial anniversary of the publication of Adam Smith’s “Wealth of Nations.” The occasion was an.interesting one, and the various topics suggested were treated with an earnestness and ability of which the public got but a very imperfect idea through the newspaper reports.
WE are glad to see this sterling and favorite work brought up to date, as it is in the edition now issued. A generation ago Arnott’s “Physics” was the leading textbook on natural philosophy both in England and this country, and we much question if for educational purposes anything equal to it has appeared since.
Tolhausen’s Technological Dictionary, French, German, and English. 3 vols., 900 pages each. New York : H. Holt & Co. Price, $3.50 per vol. The Electric Bath. By George M. Schweig, M. D. Pp. 134. New York : Putnam’s Sons. Price, $1. Improvements of the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers. By G. K. Warren, Brevet MajorGeneral. Pp. 114, with Plates.
Talking by Telegraph.—On Sunday, November 26th, Prof. A. Graham Bell experimented with the “ telephone ” on the wires of the Eastern Railroad Company between Boston and Salem. Prof. Bell was assisted at the Boston end of the line by two operators, and Mr. Thomas A. Watson by one operator at the Salem end.
UNDER the head of “ Commercial Manias,” we referred last month to the banking enterprise of a lady at Madrid. The Economist of December, 1876, reports further on the case, as follows : “ The extraordinary banking at Madrid, by a lady who paid twenty per cent, interest monthly on deposits, has ended in a manner which has long been expected.