THE capacity of our ancestors to accommodate themselves to every climate depended not only on their physiological faculty of adaptation, but also on their skill in protecting themselves by artificial means from the inclemency of the higher latitudes.
OUR eloquent countryman, Mr. Ruskin, commences his work on “Flowers” by a somewhat severe criticism of his predecessors. He reproduces a page from a valuable but somewhat antiquated work, “Curtis’s Magazine,” which he alleges to be “characteristic of botanical books and botanical science, not to say all science,” and complains bitterly that it is a string of names and technical terms.
UNDER the designations of sunstroke, coup-de-soleil, heat-apoplexy, heat-asphyxia, thermic fever, ardent fever, insolation, and others, are included certain pathological states which, though differing from each other materially, are not unfrequently confounded.
IT may be considered as now established, by the most careful and intelligent investigation of the subject, that the highest welfare of almost any country demands that from one fifth to one fourth of its surface shall be covered with trees, and that these shall be, to a good degree, in masses.
IN a paper read before the American Association for the Advancement of Science, last August, I described certain experiments made by Mr. Sumner Tainter and myself which had resulted in the construction of a "Photophone." or apparatus for the production of sound by light ; † and it will be my object to-day to describe the progress we have made in the investigation of photophonic phenomena since the date of this communication.
IN the preceding chapter on chiefs and kings, we traced the development of the first element in that triune political structure which everywhere shows itself at the outset. We pass now to the development of the second element—the group of leading men among whom the chief is, at first, merely the most conspicuous.
IT can not be gainsaid that a survey of the fields of life around us impresses one with the idea that the general tendencies of living nature gravitate toward progression and improvement, and are modeled on lines which, as Von Baer long ago remarked, lead from the general or simple toward the definite special and complex.
THE reader may recall standing, when a child, by the side of a toy-dam in the course of some little stream, and, were a breach made in the mimic masonry, remember the mute interest with which he watched the slow emergence of fairy islands as points of rock and shoals of mud slowly appeared above the water’s surface—how the detached summits, at first round spots, assumed varied outlines indented with cones or bristling with promontories; how they multiplied as the ebbing water exposed newer and lower levels, until the tiny sea was dotted with an archipelago of islands, whose nearing shores, gradually joining, formed chains of islets; how the inclosed area of water contracted, and, in the union of all their separate figures, vanished.
M.A. MÜNTZ, of the French National Agronomical Institute, announces that he has discovered traces of alcohol as a natural product in cultivated soil, rain-water, sea- and river-water, and the atmosphere. He has detected the product, it is true, only in the most infinitesimal quantities, but he has established the fact of its existence by analyses which are at once simple, clear, and convincing.
THE MODERN DEVELOPMENT OF FARADAY’S CONCEPTION OF ELECTRICITY.*
PROFESSOR H. HELMHOLTZ
THE majority of Faraday’s own researches were connected, directly or indirectly, with questions regarding the nature of electricity, and his most important and most renowned discoveries lay in this field. The facts which he has found are universally known.
THE manufacture of sirup and sugar from corn-starch is an industry which, in this country, is scarcely a dozen years old, and yet it is one of no inconsiderable magnitude. On August 1, 1880, ten glucose-factories were in operation in the United States, consuming daily about twenty thousand bushels of corn.
THE outbreak of new earthquakes, first at Agram, then in Ischia, and now in Chios, the last the most destructive of all, and costing thousands of lives, within a few weeks of each other, seems to show that a period of earthquake-shock may have begun which may affect, to an extent by no means inconsiderable, the history and life of our century.
A FEW miles from Dresden, in one of the many picturesque regions of Saxony, cozily stowed away at the confluence of three lovely valleys, lies the little village of Tharandt, known to a few pleasure-seekers as a charming summer resort, and to the world at large as the seat of a famous school of forestry and agriculture.
THERE is urgent need for more general and efficient association for popular scientific improvement. In politics, in religion, in philanthropy, in reform, and in the original extension of science, the key of influence and the secret of success are cooperation; and this is the agency to which we must look for the popular cultivation of science.
THE first series of Helmholtz’s lectures met with the success which has induced Professor Atkinson to translate an additional volume of them. It is gratifying to know that the translator feels himself justified in this, as it shows a growing popular appreciation of solid intellectual work in science.
Diseases and the Weather.—A paper read by Dr. Henry B. Baker, Secretary of the Michigan State Board of Health, before the Sanitary Convention of that State, furnishes some interesting facts concerning the relation of meteorological conditions and particular diseases.
THE annual meeting of the National Academy of Sciences was held in Washington, D. C., beginning April 19th, under the presidency of Professor W. B. Rogers, of Boston. The sessions continued through four days, and were marked by the reading of a large number of papers, of general as well as special interest.