THERE is a great diversity of opinion as to the reason of the differences of complexion to be observed among mankind. Roughly speaking, the hue of the skin varies with the latitude, the fairer races having their homes at a distance from the equator; the darker, within or near the tropics.
ALTHOUGH the telephone seems to have sprung up among us very suddenly, there have been steps in its development which show that the difficulties encountered in devising a means for the transmission of articulate speech have not been overcome altogether by a single stroke of individual genius, but singly by the patient and, for the most part, unrewarded labor of many.
AN elderly clergyman, dying some years ago in the east of London, bequeathed his silver spoons and the like to his nephews and nieces. But the spoons could nowhere be found. Ultimately they were discovered in a closet beneath a pile of sermons; the good clergyman having, for the sake of safety, chosen for his little stock of plate the place in which, as he imagined, it was most likely to be permitted to remain undisturbed.
PERHAPS no indigenous animal of this country has attracted more attention or met with a greater number of biographers than the bison or buffalo. Its history has been a tale of extermination, and a very few years are likely to see the last of these noble beasts roaming over the Plains.
IN all highly civilized communities Pretense is prominent, and sooner or later invades the regions of Literature. In the beginning, this is not altogether to be reprobated; it is the rude homage which Ignorance, conscious of its disgrace, offers to Learning; but after a while, Pretense becomes systematized, gathers strength from numbers and impunity, and rears its head in such a manner as to suggest it has some body and substance belonging to it.
FROM the days of Hippocrates, intelligent medical observers have noticed that an unusual accumulation of fat, far from adding to the strength of a person, was a source of physical weakness, and, to a certain extent, an outward sign of incapacity; that it limited activity and shortened life.
THE history of human progress presents no feature more interesting yet more commonly overlooked and misrepresented than the treatment of discoverers and inventors. That these men have, as a rule, fared ill at the hands of their species is carelessly or grudgingly admitted.
HAVING thus determined what means of appreciating formal elements and relations are at the command of the eye, our next inquiry will naturally be, What modes of æsthetic intuition—in other words, what intellectual perceptions of pleasing and beautiful relations of form—are possible by help of these means?
PROBABLY very few persons who have been in Paris have visited the Salpêtrière. A home for old age, an asylum for the insane, are not tempting spectacles, and it pleases us rather than otherwise to be unmindful of the fact that within the great city of Paris is included another city of aged women and mad people, which contains nearly five thousand inhabitants.
“WHAT is the good of a knowledge of microscopic creatures? What is the good of prying into the anatomy of insects? It is all very well as an amusement, but serious persons can not be expected to assent to the devotion of endowments or state funds to such trivial purposes.
WHEN the country swain, loitering along some lane, comes to a standstill to contemplate, with awe and wonder, the spectacle of a mass of the familiar “hair-eels” or “hair-worms” wriggling about in a pool, he plods on his way firmly convinced that, as he has been taught to believe, he has just witnessed the results of the transformation of some horse’s hairs into living creatures.
THE electrical polyscope is a simple and ingenious apparatus for giving light in the cavities of the human body, the invention of M. Trouvé, who has distinguished himself by the contrivance of several other instruments useful to physicians and involving curious applications of electricity.
MR. STEPHEN CLOGG has kindly forwarded us a box containing a shanny and a mussel, which he describes as having been taken in the harbor at Looe, Cornwall, in exactly the position represented in the accompanying illustration. The shanny and mussel, our correspondent writes, were taken by a fisherman who was gathering mussels for bait at Looe.
THE works of M. Marey have nicely determined the difference between the manner in which birds and insects fly. The bird can change at will the angle of vibration of his wings, and therefore these organs serve to steer his flight. The insect is deprived of this power, because the angle of vibration, as a rule, is invariable in each species, the flying-muscles not being in the wings, but in that part of the thorax which supports the wings.
AMONG the present generation of English physicists none have attained to greater eminence, or have made more valuable additions to this department of science, than the late Professor Maxwell. The splendid promise that his accomplished work gave of future work makes his death, at the early age of forty-nine, at the height of his powers, an irreparable loss to science.
AFTER the publication of President Seelye’s peculiar statement with respect to the teaching at Amherst College regarding the law of evolution, feeling a graduate’s interest in the matter, I made careful inquiry, and find that, at a meeting of the faculty held a few years ago, the present Professor of Geology was requested by President Stearns to deliver a course of lectures on evolution, and the faculty, without any audible dissent, seconded the request.
THE question of international copyright, as we have maintained on all occasions, is for the people of this country a very serious one. It is commonly regarded that our present condition in respect to it is merely an imperfect state of things which nobody knows how to remedy, and which need not much disquiet us, as it is happily working very much to our advantage.
IN these pages Mr. Escott has endeavored to make a survey of modern England, presenting all the salient features of English social, political, literary, and industrial life in such a way as to give a correct picture. Of course, so large a subject can only be given in outline in this compass, but by a judicious use of materials a very large mass of information has been introduced and the subjects treated in approximately their relative proportions.
Where to find the Crayfish.—Professor Huxley, in his valuable work on the crayfish, published in the “International Scientific Series,” tells his readers to study the work with “crayfish in hand.” In order that readers may be able to do this, the following localities are given, copied from Dr. Hagen’s monograph on the Astacidæ, with some localities added by the author: Vermont: in affluents of Lake Champlain; at Burlington, Shelburne, Colchester, Chittenden County.
WE ask the attention of our readers to the premiums offered to new subscribers for “The Popular Science Monthly.” No such valuable list of modern scientific works has ever before been prepared for such a purpose; and no other publishing-house in this country or in the world is able to furnish from its own stock such a varied and admirable popular scientific library as that which D. Appleton & Company now present for the choice of those who will become subscribers to this periodical.