THE period of contest and denial over the question of the possibility of producing a light of low intensity by means of electricity, that would be suitable for the general purposes of interior lighting, has about drawn to a close. It is now pretty generally conceded—what there has never been any reason for denying—that the known laws of electric transmission interpose no bar to the successful solution of the problem, but that the difficulties in the way are solely of a practical kind.
DURING his last expedition to Central Asia, Professor Vambéry managed to interview the Emir of Samarcand—a sort of Mohammedan prince-cardinal and primate of the Eastern Sunnites. As Imam of the local lyceum the Emir appeared to take a natural interest in the progress of European science, but, when his guest expatiated on the material prosperity of the Western Giaours, he interrupted him with a less expected question.
A FIERCE and pitiless struggle for life in the animal world is a stern fact. All creatures are beset by dangers. The negative conditions of cold and hunger and the positive influences of nature’s elements are more easily resisted than the innumerable voracious foes.
THE discovery of the diamond-beds of the Cape of Good Hope, with the extraordinary abundance of their yield, seems to have caused it to be forgotten that the empire of Brazil only a few years ago had the monopoly of that precious stone, as it still has of the finest crystals.
THE FUNCTIONS OF AN AMERICAN MANUAL TRAINING-SCHOOL.
PROFESSOR C. M. WOODWARD
WITH his gentle lance Emerson pricked many a bubble, and, though collapse did not always follow immediately, the wound was always fatal. In 1844, in his essay on New England reformers, he charged popular education with a want of truth and nature.
AN article on this subject in the “Nineteenth Century” for June contains conclusions so inadequately supported by trustworthy facts that a few words of comment seem to be called for. The matter in question has attained a somewhat undue prominence of late; but if it is as simple and intelligible as it appears to be to most who have investigated it with care, and with minds free from mystical bias, any aid toward the extinction of what must then be regarded as an ignis fatuus of pseudo-science carries with it its own justification.
A CHANGE in the theory of disease, which long since began, but is not yet completed, must profoundly affect the work of the physician of the future. Disease was formerly believed to be a something which had a sort of independent existence, and which went about over the earth seeking whom it might assail.
IN his very interesting lecture on witches, Dr. Regnard has mentioned that insensibility to suffering was, in the middle ages, considered evidence of diabolical relations. By a singular contradiction of the human mind, this same insensibility was also under certain circumstances attributed to divine intervention; and that which, in one case, brought death upon the accused, was good for his acquittal in another case.
A HISTORY of electricity, in order to be complete, must include two distinct and very different subjects: the history of electrical science, and a history of electrical exaggerations and delusions. The progress of the first has been followed by a crop of the second from the time when Kleist, Muschenbroek, and Cuneus endeavored to bottle the supposed fluid, and in the course of these attempts stumbled upon the “Leyden-jar.”
SHAKESPEARE in one place calls sleep the “ape of death,” and thereby gives living expression to an idea which men have at all times entertained of their “nearest relative.” As sleep to death, so according to the vulgar view is the ape related to man.
THE cases of contamination of the air by means of insalubrious industrial operations may be divided into two groups: 1. Emanations (dusts or vapors) that act as poisons, and which, carried by the blood to all parts of the body, produce general and various disorders.
THE names which we have placed at the head of this article are those of four of the most illustrious representatives of the intellect of France in the present age. M. Littré, whose recent death the Academy and the world of letters have to deplore, takes rank among the greatest masters of language; M. Dumas still pursues his valuable researches in chemical science, and he combines with them an eloquence and elegance in literary composition not unworthy of his scientific renown; M. Pasteur has carried to their farthest limit the investigations of physiology, and has rendered incalculable services to mankind by tracing to their sources the germs of life, and of the diseases which affect life; M. Taine must be placed among the best French writers left to us since the extinction of the great historians, critics, and orators of the last generation.
THE manners and customs of the Chinese—an extensive subject, and our canvas a narrow one. But where to begin?—Domestic life, religion, war, courts of justice, schools, literature, are all alike almost unknown. Be chance our guide. A paper is lying open on our table: it is the “Times.”
THOMAS SAY, the father of American zoÖlogy, was born in Philadelphia, July 27, 1787. Of his youth we know comparatively nothing. At an early age his parents, who were Quakers, placed him in a boarding-school under the control of the Friends, but Say did not take kindly to the instruction there provided, and acquired nothing but a most intense dislike for his teachers and for all ordinary branches of study.
—Spanish Enterprise.—Peter Bayle holds that it is sufficient for the glory of a nation to have produced one superlative man in every department of human merit, and by that rule the Spaniards can hardly be charged with a want of enterprise.
THE appearance of Sir John Lubbock’s remarkable book on “Ants and Bees” has awakened some interesting discussion as to why there are not more such authors, and why, especially, we have no representatives of the class in this country. Sir John Lubbock is a man of wealth, who could, if he pleased, “enjoy” his liberal means—that is, spend his time in dignified idleness or elegant amusement; but he finds his pleasure, on the contrary, in all kinds of hard work, and, although he takes abundant relaxation, he never wastes an hour.
THE compiler believes that it is no disadvantage for the reading-lessons given to the pupil in school to be primarily directed to some subject of thought. “If the food is also palatable as well as nutritious,” the pupil becomes interested and his mind engaged with the substance of the lesson, and he will gain all the advantages that otherwise cost so much labor, without direct and conscious effort.
Experiments in Ensilage.—Professor W. A. Henry, of the Experimental Farm of the University of Wisconsin, has published a report of an experiment in ensilage that was made last year under his direction. A pit was made, thirty feet long by fifteen wide and fifteen deep, with thick stone walls, at a cost of $413.12, and was filled to near the top with a crop of fodder-corn that had been raised and cut up for the purpose, weighing 150,222 pounds, and at the top with second-crop clover just as it came from the field, all under the inspection of many visitors who had been invited to witness the process.
IN our notice, in the July number, of the death of Professor W. B. Rogers, we ascribed it, following the newspaper reports, to apoplexy. We now learn from his brother, Professor R. E. Rogers, that the deceased died from heart-disease. Professor Rogers’s physicians pronounced the cause of his death to be “an attack of the heart, in which life was extinct before his body reached the floor.”