FACILITY of exposition will be gained by approaching indirectly the facts and conclusions here to be set forth. As described by Burton, the ancient ceremony of infeftment in Scotland was completed thus : “He [superior’s attorney] would stoop down, and, lifting a stone and a handful of earth, hand these over to the new vassal’s attorney, thereby conferring upon him ‘real, actual, and corporeal ’ possession of the fief.”
A LITERARY venture of our boyhood comes upon us like the aroma of tropical fruit eaten for the first time. An uncle had given his eight-year-old favorite a silver sixpence. Never before had the youngling possessed so much money in his own right.
INTRODUCTION AND SUCCESSION OF VERTEBRATE LIFE IN AMERICA.
PROFESSOR O. C. MARSH.
IT remains now to consider the highest group of the animal kingdom, the class Mammalia, which includes man. Of the existence of this class before the Trias we have no evidence, either in this country or in the Old World, and it is a significant fact that, at essentially the same horizon in each hemisphere, similar low forms of mammals make their appearance.
THERE are other enemies of game-life besides human poachers whose numbers must be kept within bounds to insure successful sport. The thirst of the weasel for blood is insatiable, and it is curious to watch the persistency with which he will hunt down the particular rabbit he has singled out for destruction.
SCARCELY had the grand truth been well demonstrated, some thirty years ago, that force can neither be created nor annihilated, when it served as a basis for one of the boldest theories ever conceived in the history of science. Prof. William Thomson (now Prof. Sir William Thomson) in 1853 first broached the theory of the dissipation of energy, and since that time many other eminent men have enlarged it and speculated upon it.
I. WE have found that every argument derives its force from the general truth of the class of inferences to which it belongs ; and that probability is the proportion of arguments carrying truth with them among those of any genus. This is most conveniently expressed in the nomenclature of the mediaeval logicians.
R. THOMAS A. EDISON has recently invented an instrument which is undoubtedly the acoustic marvel of the century. It is called the "Speaking Phonograph," or, adopting the Indian idiom, one may aptly call it" The SoundWriter who talks." Much curiosity has been expressed as to the workings of this instrument, so I purpose giving an account of it.
THE recent debate in the Lower House of the Prussian Parliament on the Marpingen miracles is in many ways remarkable. That the Ultramontane party should have had the courage themselves to force on the discussion is rather surprising, though it is true that all the speakers on that side were careful to deprecate the notion of attaching any religious importance to the question, and to treat it purely as one of law and equity, while they studiously avoided committing themselves to any belief in the alleged supernatural occurrences.
THE advance of modern research has brought the sciences of physics, chemistry, and physiology, into very close relations, and as the 'two former have given great help to the latter, many are looking to see all physiological problems finally resolved on physical and chemical principles.
W. E. DAMON PERHAPS enough already has been written about corals and coralbuilders, but certainly too little is really known about the habits and mode of growth of this interesting animal. I am fortunate enough to possess fine specimens of some three or four varieties of living, working coral “ polyps,” for such is the name by which the coralbuilder is designated.
CHLOROFORM is a colorless, volatile, oily liquid ; it is denser than water, and does not mix with it. It was discovered by Soubeiran in 1831,2 and Soubeiran’s process for obtaining it is still in use, viz., distilling alcohol with calcium hypochlorite and lime.
THIS distinguished Italian physicist and astronomer died on the 26th of February. PIETRO ANGELO SECCHI was born in Reggio, in Emilia, July 29,1818. He was educated for the Church, and joined the order of the Jesuits November 3, 1833. He studied mathematics, physics, and astronomy, under Padre de Vico, and taught physics in the college of Loreto from 1841 to 1843.
IN your February number, Dr. J. R. Black assumes to correct Dr. Niemeyer’s statement that the night-air of large cities is less noxious than the stirred-up air of the daytime, and he does so with a degree of confidence that seems to imply that there can be no such thing as doubting that he speaks ex cathedra.
THE story of electricity forms the most romantic chapter in the history of science. The curious thing about it is, that it has been a progress from utter and absolute ignorance to the most familiar and extensive practical results. In all the other sciences— mechanics, optics, physiology, astronomy—there was a basis of common knowledge, consisting of many familiar facts to start with, and there is ever a rudiment of science in the loose observations of uninstructed people concerning things that fall within the range of ordinary experience.
PHYSIOGRAPHY: An Introduction to the Study of Nature. By T. H. HUXLEY, F. R. S. With Illustrations and Colored Plates. Second edition. Pp: 377, New York : D. Appleton & Co. Price, $2.50. THIS volume has been prepared as a school text-book on the subject hitherto known as physical geography, but in its method it is very different from the usual works upon that subject.
Anticipations concerning the Phonograph.—Dr. William F. Channing, writing to the Providence Journal on Edison’s phonograph, thus presents its future : “ The sheet of tin-foil or other plastic material receiving the impressions of sound will be stereotyped or electrotyped so as to be multiplied and made durable.
MANY of the ills and diseases prevalent among women in our day are, no doubt, traceable to the sedentary mode of life so common among them. The progress of modern industrial art has done away with much of the household drudgery to which women were formerly subjected, and the result is in too many cases want of sufficient occupation for needed bodily exercise.