THE most obvious fact in the industrial life of to-day is the enormous increase of productive power over that of any previous period. Steam and electricity have transformed civilization, endowed us with vaster powers, and altered profoundly the conditions of life.
THE question, so often suggested by changes in the aspect of the planet Jupiter, “What is he doing?” is again forcibly put by the appearance of a remarkable spot of enormous dimensions, and of a reddish or orange-brown tint, which has occupied the attention of observers for several months, and which seems to be identified, so far as relates to position and form, though not in color, with what has been seen on former occasions.
FROM the time when, as Milton tells us, the lost angels “. . . . Reasoned high Of providence, foreknowledge, will and fate— Fixed fate, free-will, foreknowledge absolute ”— no problem has excited greater interest in the human mind than the question of free-will.
"A FOOL, Mr. Edgeworth, is one who has never made an experiment.” Such are, I believe, the exact words of the remark which Erasmus Darwin addressed to Richard Lovell Edgeworth. They deserve to become proverbial. They have the broad foundation of truth and the trenchant disregard of accuracy in detail which mark an adage.
TO eat and to be eaten would seem the necessity and the end of every living thing. Doubtless every plant may serve as food for some animal; and there is no animal which may not be meat for some other animal. Nature is a vast hunting-ground, where man and beast and every animated being are legitimate prey.
IT is often said that the pleasure of form as contrasted with that of color is an intellectual pleasure arising from the perception of relations (unity in variety, proportion, etc.). In a sense this is true, for, as I hope to show in the course of this essay, the appreciation of form as compared with the enjoyment of color is saturated, so to speak, with the more refined sort of intellectual activity.
"COMMON and lowly as most may think the crayfish, it is yet so full of wonders that the greatest naturalist may be puzzled to give a clear account of it.” These words from Von Rosenhof, who in 1755 contributed his share to our knowledge of the animal in question, are cited by Professor Huxley in the preface to the careful account of the English crayfish and its immediate congeners, which forms the latest volume of “The International Scientific Series.”
WE wonder sometimes, as we wade through a mass of correspondence, whether it is possible to teach good writing. The doubt may seem absurd, considering that the majority of civilized mankind can write, that every qualified teacher among one or two hundred thousand in Western Europe thinks himself or herself competent to teach the art, and that there must be some hundreds of men in England, or possibly some thousands, who make a living of some sort by practicing this specialty.
NICHOLAS RIDLEY and Hugh Latimer stood at the stake to be burned for heresy. Fastened to the body of each was a bag of powder, placed there by friends with the intention of bringing the sufferings of the victims to a speedy termination. Latimer died first.
THERE is a curious myth which gives to Castor and Pollux, twin sons of Zeus, a divine control over the phosphorescence of air and ocean. Being present by invitation at the marriage of two youths of Amyclæ with the daughters of Leucippus, they became enamored of the brides and with the doubtful courtesy of the period attempted to carry them off.
THE recent publication in “The Popular Science Monthly” of a paper on “The Age of Ice,” and its apparently favorable reception and republication elsewhere, prompt the writer to submit the following incomplete notice of a work in which the field barely entered by the author of that paper is most thoroughly and exhaustively examined.
MUCH as has heen written about the marvels of instinct, there are still discoveries of great interest to be made in this prolific field. Particularly in the domain of those insect Yankees, the ants, with their wonderful ingenuity and human-like manners and customs, there is room for extended observations.
IT may be stated generally that the larger the animal the smaller is the proportionate size of the brain. As an example of this we may take the case of two of the largest animals now living, viz., the whale and the African elephant. The whale possesses one of the largest brains that is found in any animal, but, if we compare the size of its brain to that of any of our domestic animals, such as the dog, we find that it has a very small brain in proportion to the size of its body.
DR. HERMANN GROTHE, of Berlin, has published a work on the textile fibers furnished by the world of plants, embodying the fruits of studies pursued among the yarn and cloth materials of all nations at the great Industrial Exhibitions that have been held at the European capitals and in Philadelphia.
PROMINENT among the men who have won large distinction by varied and valuable labors in the field of science in this country, stands the name of the subject of the present notice. His career has been one of such eminent public usefulness in several departments of activity, which he has efficiently promoted both by his scientific attainments and his marked executive ability, that no biographical sketch of him can be given that does not involve some account of the various projects, measures, and reforms, with which he has become identified.
Messrs. Editors. IN the very able article under the above heading, by Mr. W. W. Billson, published in your February number, I notice the following : “The law of the Allemans, which, while undertaking to enforce compositions for stale offenses, conceded to injured partics the privilege of righting themselves on the spot, and in the first transport of passion, finds a counterpart in the .... distinction made in the Twelve Tables between manifest and non-manifest theft.
THE presence of M. Ferdinand de Lesseps in this country has precipitated the important question of a change in our national policy regarding an interoceanic canal across the American Isthmus. Let us briefly glance at the history of the subject, that we may understand the import of the new departure.
THE purpose of this book will probably be better brought out by an inversion of the title so that it shall read, “The Study of ZoÖlogy as exemplified in the Crayfish.” The work is a contribution to scientific education in the biological field, and conforms to the modern and now well-settled method of passing from the study of concrete details to the investigation of general principles.
Old river-beds are found in nearly all countries which have been affected by drift agencies. They are also found in California, but, while in other parts of that State they present general features similar to those of the Eastern States, those of the auriferous slate belt of middle California are entirely different in character and in their situation as respects the present river-beds, and are in some respects unique.
MR. JAMES W. MILNER, Deputy United States Fish Commissioner, died at Waukegan, Illinois, January 6th, aged forty years. He was born at Kingston, Ontario, grew from the age of five to manhood in Chicago, was, even as a child, exceedingly studious, and is said to have injured his health in this way in early life.