SOME readers of THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY may never have seen gar-pikes, or even heard of them. The word does not occur in some of the dictionaries, and the animals themselves are found alive only in certain parts of the world. So, before telling what gar-pikes do, it is necessary to explain what they are.
MESMERISM, ODYLISM, TABLE-TURNING, AND SPIRITUALISM.
WILLIAM B. CARPENTER
THE aphorism that “history repeats itself” is in no case more true than in regard to the subject on which I am now to address you. For there has been a continuity from the very earliest times of a belief, more or less general, in the existence of “occult” agencies, capable of manifesting themselves in the production of mysterious phenomena, of which ordinary experience does not furnish the rationale.
THE remains of the lofty arcades upon which the aqueducts of ancient Rome were carried to the city have been justly classed among the finest and most picturesque ruins of the Roman Empire. Stretching across the plain eastward of the city, and towering high above the landscape, they are the first objects to fix the gaze and command the admiration of the stranger approaching the home of the Cæsars, and to fill his mind with visions of the strength and grandeur of the nation which mastered the world two thousand years ago.
AMONG students of natural philosophy no facts are more frequently misunderstood than those pertaining to the laws of gravitation. It is readily admitted that if a body A exerts on B a certain force of attraction, if A’s mass be doubled, then will A’s attractive influence on B be doubled also, but the fact is not so apparent that any two bodies, whatever their disparity of mass, or however great their distance apart, will attract each other with precisely equal forces; and that if, for instance, the mass of A be doubled, not only will A’s attraction for B be doubled, but at the same time B’s attraction for A will be doubled also.
THE anthropoid apes no doubt approach nearer to man in bodily structure than do any other animals; but when we consider the habits of ants, their social organization, their large communities, elaborate habitations, their roadways, their possession of domestic animals, and even in some cases of slaves, it must be admitted that they have a fair claim to rank next to man in the scale of intelligence.
THE phenomenon of a new star appearing in the heavens is sufficiently rare to strike the imagination of the public, as well as to attract the attention of scientific men. On the one side, it possesses all the interest which attaches to the unexpected, to the mysterious unknown; and, on the other, it raises some very important questions as to the physical and chemical constitution of the stars, and as to the likeness between those distant suns and our own.
NOTHING more forcibly attests the imperial power and magnificence of Rome, at the height of her glory, than the fragments of precious marbles which almost every excavation among her ruins brings to light. Even if her history were lost to us, these varied bits of stone would tell in language stronger than words the story of her universal dominion, when her ships sought every clime, and every land paid tribute to her luxury.
ON THE WONDERFUL DIVISIBILITY OF GOLD AND OTHER METALS.
ALEXANDER E. OUTERBRIDGE
IT is both curious and interesting to notice how frequently original investigators, working from different standpoints, and with entirely dissimilar objects in view, will, independently of each other, accumulate a mass of observations corroborative of some one physical law, but which require to be collated in order to reveal their mutual relations.
IF Jupiter be regarded as a planet resembling our earth in condition, we find ourselves compelled to believe that processes of a most remarkable character are taking place on that remote world. It is singular with what complacency the believers in the theory that all the planets are very much alike accept the most startling evidence respecting disturbances to which some among those brother worlds of ours must needs on that hypothesis have been subjected.
I DO not mean in this article to consider the origin, reproduction, nature, and extent of the family of Cryptogamous plants called Fungi; for I do not claim the culture of the scientist, or the disinterested enthusiasm of the naturalist. “Art for art’s sake” is not my war-cry.
AMONG the promoters of science and liberal culture in our time, few men have labored more efficiently and successfully than the present versatile and accomplished President of Columbia College. Although Dr. Barnard has done his share of original scientific work, it is not claimed for him that he has made any great discoveries ; nor could this be justly expected of a man whose life has been so absorbed in the work of educational reform, the progress of scientific culture, the organization and administration of collegiate institutions, and the furtherance of those higher measures and agencies of intellectual improvement which are never carried out except through the executive force and indomitable perseverance of a few men who are specially constituted for such tasks.
UNDER the above heading, in the January number, Mr. Meehan calls for a list of the Hymenoptera and Lepidoptera, abundant enough to probably act as cross-fertilizers of flowers in the region observed by him—namely, from Denver to Golden City and Idaho Springs, through the South Park to Pike’s Peak, thence returning to Denver direct.
MENTAL OVERWORK UNDER THE COMPETITIVE PRIZE SYSTEM.
THE RELATIVE IMPORTANCE OF IDEAS.
CONCERNING “BLUE GLASS."
THE death by suicide, not long ago, of a brilliant student of Cornell University; Emil Schwerdtfeger, at the age of nineteen, has a painful interest in connection with the subject of education. We are glad to see that the case has elicited some wholesome comment on the part of the press, in regard to the influences to which he was subjected, and the system of culture that supplies them; and we think the lesson that has been drawn ought to be enforced upon the public mind in the most pointed and emphatic manner.
As we sit down to write a notice of this interesting volume, we are startled by the painful intelligence of the sudden death of its distinguished author. Mr. Bagehot was in the prime of life and the full vigor of his powers, as attested by the recent fertility of his pen and the sustained character of his intellectual work.
Cotton-Culture in Egypt.—While the Khedive is taxing to the utmost the resources of his dominions in his desire to subjugate his southern neighbors, he must regard as little less than providential the reputed discovery of a new and extraordinarily-productive species of cotton-plant, the general cultivation of which in the cotton-fields of Egypt will, it is said, more than double the present annual product.
IT is proposed to occasionally issue from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology a “ Circular,” containing notes and queries on physical and chemical apparatus, processes, etc. It will be printed by the papyrographic process, and will be sent free to chemists and physicists, on condition that they from time to time communicate to the editors descriptions of apparatus and processes which they may have found convenient, and which are not in general use in laboratories.