THE above title is prefixed to an article contributed by Professor Simon Newcomb to the April number of the “International Review.” The avowed object of that article is to discredit a recent volume of the “International Scientific Series” (“The Concepts and Theories of Modern Physics”) as a publication unworthy of the company in which it appears, and to denounce its author as a person ignorant of the subject whereon he writes—as a scientific, or rather unscientific, “charlatan” and “pretender ” belonging to the class of “paradoxers” whom Professor De Morgan has immortalized in his famous “Budget.”
ONLY a few biological studies can count on so general an interest as those which concern the diversities in the sense-life of animals. We wonder at the stories of snails and mussels that have ears in their feet, or on their backs, or in the folds of their mantles, or which, like the Argus of mythology, have many eyes, or which have eyes on all their limbs ; or of those creatures which, like some fishes, have organs of taste all over their skin ; or of animals on which have been discovered nervous organs that do not seem to relate to any of our recognized sensorial functions, but rather point to some sixth sense, unknown to us.
THERE are to-day in the United States over four hundred institutions claiming the title of college or university. Some of them are really, a few confessedly, only high-schools or academies ; and between these and the highest there is every diversity of grade.
SIR CHARLES BELL AND PHYSIOLOGICAL EXPERIMENTATION.
DR. WILLIAM B. CARPENTER
IT has been repeatedly urged, by the opponents of physiological experimentation, that Sir Charles Bell in his later life declared that his physiological discoveries had been really made by anatomy only, and that he had only made experiments for the satisfaction of others ; and a quotation to this effect has been lately brought prominently forward by Mrs. Dr. A. Kingsford, in order to set in the most unfavorable light what she characterizes as the needless, fruitless, and barbarous experiments of Magendie on the same subject.
GENTLEMEN OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES-LADIES AND GENTLEMEN : Let me at once present my Indian friends. And now let me introduce some remarks on the mythology and religion of the people whom they represent, the Zuñi Indians of Western New Mexico, the largest of the Pueblo nations, the lingering remnants of a vast culture which gave rise to the cliff and mesa ruins of the far Southwest, by a few words designed rather to define my own position than to illustrate my subject.
WHEREVER science has not been cultivated, all new and startling appearances in the sky are regarded as supernatural. But a few years since a shower of meteoric stones fell in India, the fall being attended by terrific explosions. The alarmed inhabitants of the district believed these masses of rock to have been thrown by their deities from the Himalaya Mountains, and with great veneration gathered up the fragments to be kept as objects of religious worship. Nor need we smile at this example of recent superstition.
ALL of the forms under which the stereoscope has come into general use have been devised with a view to creating to the utmost the illusion of natural binocular perspective by reproducing as nearly as possible the conditions of natural vision.
THE Academy celebrates to-day the birth of its royal head and gracious protector. Such a festival is, first of all, devoted to feelings the simplest, purest, and most elevating—love, reverence, gratitude. But it is also an occasion on which we are glad to think of our sovereign as weighing and pondering the affairs of his people, and the general condition of Germany ; and passing under review the most important events of the time, carefully measuring their gravity.
I HAVE, for some years, been trying to improve the teaching of chemistry in girls’ schools. It is, of course, work of the most elementary character. I wished earnestly to make it, so far as it went, inductive study—in other words, to train the observing powers to select for themselves the significant facts ; and to train the reasoning powers to draw for themselves, with some degree of independence, the more important of the general principles which we call the theory of chemistry.
A PAPER was recently read by me before the Royal Society, under the above title, which may be termed a first attempt to open for the sun a creditor and debtor account, inasmuch as he has hitherto been regarded only as the great almoner, pouring forth incessantly his boundless wealth of heat, without receiving any of it back.
BUT what does science testify as to the probable future of mind in earthly life ? Have mind and body attained their supreme development ? Is humanity a fixed entity, incapable of essential modifications or improvement? All the evidence goes to show that the improvement of the human race is practically illimitable.
THE molds represent an immense variety of minute plants that grow upon a great number of objects, and under different circumstances. The spores from which they are developed are borne in the air, imperceptibly to us because of their extreme littleness.
THE roving shepherd sows hastily a piece of land, which he leaves after harvesting his crop, to do the same the next year with another piece of land. But, when fruit-growing is combined with agriculture, this unsettled shepherd-life becomes entirely changed.
VISITORS at the recent Electrical Exposition in Paris were much interested in an apparatus exhibited by Dr. C. A. Bjerknes, of the University of Christiania, Norway, for the illustration of certain properties in hydrodynamics analogous to some of the manifestations of electricity and magnetism.
LETTER FROM PROFESSOR TYNDALL TO THE LONDON “TIMES.”
ON the 24th of March, 1882, an address of very serious public import was delivered by Dr. Koch before the Physiological Society of Berlin. It touches a question in which we are all at present interested—that of experimental physiology—and I may, therefore, be permitted to give some account of it in the “ Times.”
MR. DARWIN died at his home, Down House, near Orpington, England, April 19th. He had been suffering for some time from weakness of the heart, but continued to work till the last. He was taken ill, after having enjoyed an apparent improvement, on the day before his death, with pains in the chest, faintness, and nausea, from which he never recovered.
THE present year will be memorable in the history of science as bringing to a close the labors of two illustrious scientific thinkers—one, perhaps, the most eminent man of science in America, Dr. John William Draper, and the other probably the most celebrated scientific man of the world at the present time, Dr. Charles Robert Darwin.
THOUGH an opportune and much-needed book upon a subject that is exciting wide attention in the higher circles of inquiry, yet this treatise is of a much graver character than its title might imply to those familiar with current mythic literature.
Sewerage of Large Villages.—Mr. James T. Gardiner, Director of the New York State Survey, has made a valuable report to the New York State Board of Health on the methods of sewerage for cities and large villages. He finds, after inquiry, that where, in general, intelligent efforts have been made to produce proper sanitary conditions for towns, cess-pools and vaults have been abolished, and the sewage is removed from the neighborhood of dwelling-houses by dry removal, or by water-carriage or sewerage.
THE Boston Society of Natural History announces that a sea-side laboratory, under the direction of its curator, will be opened at Annisquam, Massachusetts, July 1, to continue until September 1,1882. A limited number of students can be accommodated, and the work will consist mainly of study and observation of the common types of marine animals, under the immediate care of Mr. B. H. Van Vleck, assistant in the museum and laboratory of the society.