AN oyster-bed, in its natural and undisturbed state, consists of long, narrow ridge of shells and oysters, lying generally in brackish water, on and surrounded by sticky bottoms, a mixture similar to clay and mud being the most favorable. The form and area of the bed are variable, but, naturally, the length is greater than the breadth, and the greatest dimension is usually in the direction of the current. The bed itself is made up of masses of shells and oysters, covering areas of different sizes, and separated from each other by mud or sand-sloughs, though frequently it is unbroken, and the animals spread evenly and continuously over the entire area.
LOGICIANS distinguish between inferential and presumptive fallacies, the first being founded upon illogical conclusions from correct premises, the second upon logical conclusions from incorrect premises. With few exceptions the most mischievous popular delusions of all ages have arisen from the latter—the “presumptive” fallacies.
THAT application of the sciences of biology and geology which is commonly known as paleontology took its origin in the mind of the first person who, finding something like a shell or a bone naturally imbedded in gravel or in rock, indulged in speculations upon the nature of this thing which he had dug out—this “ fossil ”—and upon the causes which had brought it into such a position.
MAKING skip-rings in the water, and gazing at the vapors in the air, furnish common expressions for complete inactivity and vacuity. Yet, in these occupations may be found subjects of profound and worthy studies. Nothing is vulgar to one who knows how to see, nothing indifferent to one who knows how to observe ; and the fall of a drop of water, insignificant as we may regard it, may bring us into the neighborhood of the ultimate mysteries of those regions to which the fall of an apple once transported the immortal genius of Newton. As profitable subjects for study may be found in those common rings, simple wrinkles on the surface of the water, in which the physicist sees many things and the clown few ; or, in those turbid clouds of smoke which every day float toward the sky from our fires here below. Everybody has seen some adroit smoker throw from his mouth or his pipe pretty, white wreaths, whose whirling vapors it was a pleasure to follow in the air.
THE sentimental pretensions put forward by a political school which holds that woman is intellectually the equal of man, give a character of actuality to the question of the comparison of the sexes. This question, which it has been the custom to treat from a metaphysical point of view, is to us purely anthropological, or rather zoological ; for we propose to show by characteristic examples borrowed from the whole animal kingdom that sexuality undergoes the same evolution in all species, including the human species. The female surpasses the male in certain inferior species.
IN astronomy, the discovery in 1845 of the planet Neptune, made independently and almost simultaneously by Adams and by Le Verrier, was certainly one of the very greatest triumphs of mathematical genius. Of the minor planets, four only were known in 1831, while the number now on the roll amounts to 220.
THE influences of religion are, together with the influence of race, the strongest motive powers which act on the will of man. The discussion as to whether the growth of suicide is to be accounted for by the decrease of religious sentiment scarcely finds place in a work like this.
EVERY new scientific book is duly noticed, and every meritorious painting or other work of art receives its critical mention, but we have yet to see, in this country, any review of that combination of science and art a geographical map. Such a map, worthy in more ways than one of the attention of engineer and artist, has just been completed in the Washington office of the geographical surveys of the United States Engineer Bureau, and as a posthumous publication of these surveys, now discontinued, its appearance may awaken a sense of regret over the end of an organization which was capable of producing such excellent results.
FEW geological subjects have been discussed so much as the nature. extent, and cause of the glacial period. At first, the speculations of such men as Dr. Buckland upon the ice-markings excited derision, and led to the publication of caricatures. Next, when its claims could not be set aside, some thought it the same with the flood of Noah, and others believed it to represent the chaos supposed to have pervaded space just before the advent of man.
FOR the past two years I have had charge of a public school in Pennsylvania, and have endeavored to awaken in the minds of my pupils a love for and an interest in science, with especial reference to the truths and lessons of physiology and zoology. Perhaps my experience may not prove valueless or uninteresting to teachers and others.
AMONG the distinguished men who came together at the recent International Medical Congress—a gathering altogether unexampled for its combination of great and varied ability, and worthily representative of almost every country in which medicine is studied— there was no one whose presence was more universally or more cordially welcomed than a quiet-looking Frenchman, who is neither a great physician nor a great surgeon nor even a great physiologist, but who, originally a chemist, has done more for medical science than any savant of his day ; and this, not only (probably not so much) through the results already attained by Pasteur himself and by others working on his ideas—great though these results are—but through the entirely new direction he has given to scientific inquiry, the number of new paths of research he has opened out, and of new clews he has afforded to those who will follow them up, and, last but by no means least, by the admirable example he has afforded, in the strictness and severity of his own methods (which have made him almost unerring in his predictions, and have given his conclusions the force of demonstrations), to those who would carry on the same lines of inquiry.
M. BROCA, says his friend Jacques Bertillon, worked all his life, and at tasks of very different sorts. “ Rarely has there been a mind so active, so equally open to all kinds of knowledge, and so equally fond of all kinds. M. Elisée Reclus, who was his associate in college, tells that he said to him very early in life: ‘I do not believe in vocations ; a man may select a career almost at random, he will always make a place for himself in it according to his cut.
INFLUENCE OF TEMPERATURE ON THE CHIRP OF THE CRICKET.
HAVING had a curiosity to know, in something more than a general way, how the various sections of the country contribute to the attendance at the meetings of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, I have analyzed the “ registers of arrivals ” of the Boston and Cinncinati meetings.
THE recent centennial proceedings at Yorktown, and the event they commemorated, have been so fully discussed in all quarters and in all asspects, that the topic is now pretty well exhausted. We certainly can not add anything to it in the way of novelty, hut among the lessons that have been drawn from it there are some which deserve greater emphasis than they seem to have received.
SUICIDE : AN ESSAY ON COMPARATIVE MORAL STATISTICS. By HENRY MORSELLI, M. D., Professor of Psychological Medicine in Royal University, Turin ; Physician-inChief to the Royal Asylum for the Insane. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 388. Price, $1.'75.
The Mammoth Cave.—Professor H. C. Hovey made some interesting statements at the last meeting of the American Association concerning recent discoveries, measurements, and temperature observations in the Mammoth Cave. No exact measurements of the cave have ever been given, and most of the statements that have been published rest upon the representations, seldom accurate, of guides and proprietors.
DENISON’S Improved Reference Index is an ingenious arrangement to give aid in making references in dictionaries and cyclopaedias. It can be added to any such book at small cost and without disfiguring it, saves time and avoids perplexity at exactly the right moment when a reference is to be made.