LEAVING to those of wider knowledge the survey of the whole field of scientific labor, it has seemed to me that I. could best present to you some account of that branch of it with which I am most familiar, which is that of "Solar Physics." This study is essentially a modern one.
SOME naturalists have asserted that wild animals, when in a state of liberty, are almost entirely free from disease, and that the latter afflicts them only when in captivity. I know that this is entirely erroneous, and it can be proved that captive wild animals are more exempt from ailments than those roaming at large.
TO throw light on the title of this lecture I must go back more than sixty years—to 1816. Faraday, then a mere student and ardent experimentalist, was twenty-four years old, and at this early period of his career he delivered a series of lectures on the general properties of matter, and one of them bore the remarkable title, “On Radiant Matter.”
THE year 1842 was memorable for the American repudiation, in which Mill was heavily involved. He had invested, I am told, a thousand pounds of his own money, and several thousands of his father’s money which he had in trust for the family, and which he would have to make good.
WERE the captain of a ship to contemplate making a passage in a sea he had never before traversed, he would find it desirable to be supplied with charts of two different kinds: one kind showing the rocks, shoals, and other dangers scattered throughout its expanse, the contour of its islands and bounding shores, and the soundings of its shallow waters; the other kind giving full and reliable information regarding its winds and weather, storms and currents, barometric and thermometric fluctuations.
BIOLOGY is the science of the structure, the functions, the distribution, and the succession in time of all living beings. If the proper study of mankind be man, he has learned late in the inquiry that he can only understand himself by recognizing that he is but one in the vast network of organic creation; that intelligible human anatomy must be based upon comparative anatomy; that human physiology can only be approached as a branch of general physiology, and that even the humblest mold or sea-weed may furnish help to explain the most important problems of human existence.
THE three stages of mythologic philosophy that are still extant in the world must be more thoroughly characterized, and the course of their evolution indicated. But in order to do this clearly, certain outgrowths from mythologic philosophy must be explained, certain theories and practices that necessarily result from this philosophy, and that are intricately woven into the institutions of mankind.
WE find that the degrees of perception in people vary. In other words, one may receive more impressions than another, so that we measure the extent of a person’s life by the number of objects or ideas that produce a lasting effect and modify the disposition or mental tendency.
SINCE water tends to find a level, we infer that flowing water is acting in harmony with this natural law, unless it be put in motion by some equivalent force. The overflowing of wells and springs has hitherto been accounted for by scientists only upon the supposed existence of hydrostatic pressure.
THERE is no member of the solar system, with the exception of our moon, which can be studied under such favorable circumstances as the planet Mars; for, although Venus, when in inferior conjunction, is nearer to us than Mars in opposition, yet Venus, at this time, turns her darkened hemisphere toward the earth.
WE hear a good deal of the joylessness of the present generation, and no doubt there is a greater unrest and a greater impatience among those who lead the forward movement of thought than in any former time. And partly, no doubt, this is due to want of trust, want of power to lean on any invisible hand; partly, too, to a habit closely connected with this want of trust—a habit contracted by men of the greatest intellect, of straining to see or say something new, as if such straining were the only healthy condition of the mind, as if without it one must sink into a sort of death.
MOST of the substance we call the rubbish of our houses finds its way sooner or later into the dust-bin, and thence into the dustman’s cart, which conveys it to the dust-contractor’s yard; and there we are for the most part contented to lose sight of it. It is worthless to us, and we are thankful to be rid of it, and think no more of it.
I PROPOSE to write a short reply to an essay entitled “The Fallacies of Evolution,” which was published in the July number of the “Edinburgh Review.” This essay aims at nothing less than stemming of the whole tide of modern philosophy by the material supplied in some thirty diffusely written pages.
THE statue to Arago recently unveiled at Perpignan is not the first erected to that great astronomer and greater physicist. In 1867 M. Isaac Pereire, then representative of the native place of Arago in the Imperial Chamber of Deputies, erected one at his own expense at Estagel.
THERE is in the world a class of men whose characters, labors, and attainments well entitle them to be called great, who are yet so modest in their self-estimate, so unassuming in their knowledge, that those who dwell about them recognize only the common characteristics of average men; or if, from peculiar ideas and habits, they are found to be different, the difference is accredited them with complacent tolerance.
FROM Professor Langley’s address at the Saratoga Scientific Association, on the recent progress of solar physics, which is herewith printed, we get a vivid idea of the rapidity with which knowledge upon this subject has advanced within a very few years.
ETHICS, OR SCIENCE OF DUTY. By JOHN BASCOM, author of “Principles of Psychology,” etc. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons. Pp. 385. Price, $1.75. DR. BASCOM has here given us a freshlyreasoned and excellent manual of morals. It is attractively written, and very judicious as an exposition of practical duty. But the title chosen raises expectations, at the present time, which the work seems to us hardly to fulfill.
Experiments with Platinum.—A paper by Mr. Edison, on the behavior of platinum under the influence of the electric current, was read at the last meeting of the American Association by Professor F. R. Upham, the author being absent. Having found that a platinum wire, heated by the electric current and suspended in the air, loses weight in proportion to its mass, its heat, and the length of time during which the current passes through it, Mr. Edison took a platinum wire of an inch in diameter, and wound it in the form of a spiral one eighth of an inch in diameter and one half inch in length.
THE important statement is made by Professor C. V. Riley that for the feeding of silkworms there is no appreciable difference between the leaves of the osage orange and the mulberry, provided care is taken to reject the more tender and milky leaves of the former, as they are apt to produce flaccidity and disease.