I HAVE to ask your attention this evening to certain outward manifestations of a propensity common to human nature in every aspect in which we are acquainted with it—the most primitive and barbarous, and the most civilized and refined—but one which is, as far as I know, peculiar to human nature.
AT the Coöperative Congress, held in Newcastle-on-Tyne, last May, some very interesting statistics were presented. The latest report of the Registrar is for 1878, and shows the membership of British coöperative societies to have been 560,703, having transacted during the year business amounting to $102,820,000.
THE discovery of new truth is the grand object of scientific work. The exultation of feeling which comes from the possession of a fact, which now, for the first time, he makes known to men, must ever be the reward of the scientific worker. As investigators and as students of science we are met here to-day at this our annual session.
LIKE most other animals of Australia and the neighboring islands, the ornithorhynchus presents some strange peculiarities of structure and habit. Its body is flat, about eighteen inches long, its head and mouth are very much like those of the duck, and it has a short, broad, flat tail like that of a beaver.
THE author of an essay on “The Empire of Tones,” which was published at Brunswick a few years ago, wrote: “The globe is played upon around its whole circuit by the billows of the mighty ocean; it is encompassed by the strata of the atmosphere ever moving in sound-waves; and is swept from pole to pole by a flood of the most diversified tones which have their origin in nature.
ROBERT HOOKE was born at Freshwater, in the Isle of Wight, July 18, 1635. Like Newton, he was a sickly child, and, like Newton too, his early years were distinguished and diverted by his singular mechanical ingenuity. He has left it on record that, having seen an old brass clock taken to pieces, he succeeded in constructing, in imitation of it, a wooden one that would, after a fashion, go ; and about the same period he rigged out a miniature ship with ropes, pulleys, and masts, besides a contrivance to make it fire off some small guns while sailing across an adjacent haven ; with what childish applause and self-gratulation, we are left to imagine.
ONE way of estimating the validity of a critic’s judgments is that of studying his mental peculiarities as generally displayed. If he betrays idiosyncrasies of thought in his writings at large, it may be inferred that these idiosyncrasies possibly, if not probably, give a character to the verdicts he passes upon the productions of others.
INDIA-RUBBER, or caoutchouc, possesses properties so widely different from those of most other substances that it became an object of very great interest as soon as it made its appearance in the civilized world, and its industrial importance has rapidly increased as the knowledge of its remarkable characters and manifold applicability has become more extended.
IN bringing before you some discoveries made by Mr. Sumner Tainter and myself, which, having resulted in the construction of apparatus for the production and reproduction of sound by means of light, it is necessary to explain the state of knowledge which formed the starting-point of our experiments.
THE relation between physical and psychical states is so intimate, and the effects of the latter so nearly simulate disease, that physicians are often led into grave errors in diagnosis and treatment. Nor is this the worst mischief ; the secondary stage of psychical excitement may be actual disease, for the nerve-force expended is so much withdrawn from the processes of nutrition and assimilation, and continued morbid action of any of the functions has a tendency to establish organic change.
THE theory that contagious diseases as well as putrefaction and fermentation are developed and propagated by the agency of organisms allied to the bacteria has been widely accepted, and is supported by the results of recent investigations.
THE theory of thermodynamics, which asserts the equivalence of heat and mechanical work, has now been generally accepted by men of science for thirty years. The equivalence of heat and work is accepted as an established fact by engineers and mechanics, and the mechanical equivalent of heat, as determined by Joule, is made the basis of computations regarding the energy of fuel, etc., by practical men, without a question as to its correctness.
“AND pray who is George Boole, that he should be pictured and sketched in ‘The Popular Science Monthly’? We thought this department was to be devoted to scientific celebrities, chiefly contemporaneous ; but who is this Boole?” Such will probably be the exclamation of nine of our readers out of ten ; but the tenth, or more safely the hundredth, reader will know that George Boole was a man of a very high order of genius, a profound and most original thinker of this century, who will be known in future by his contributions to mathematical and logical science.
THE twenty-ninth annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which began on the 25th of August, in Boston, was in every respect a most successful affair, and will be memorable both in the history of the Association and to all who had the pleasure of attending it.
THE BRAIN AS AN ORGAN OF MIND. By H. CHARLTON BASTIAN, M. D., F. R. S. D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 708. Price, $2.50. DR. BASTIAN’S new book is one of great value and importance. The knowledge it gives is universal in its claims, and of moment to everybody.
The Cotton-Worm Investigation.—The Commission for the investigation of the cotton-worm has been organized under Professor C. V. Riley as chief, and its members have been stationed at different points in the South to make local examinations.
Mr. R. E. EARLE, of the United States Fish Commission, observed this year that the Spanish mackerel (Cybium maculatum) was spawning freely in Chesapeake Bay. He reported his discovery to Professor Baird, and then proceeded to hatch out the spawn with most satisfactory results, getting about half a million of fish in three or four different lots.