THE progress of the strictly physical sciences in modern times has had a twofold influence on the advancement of those branches of knowledge which deal less with physical than with moral, social, and political facts. On the one hand, the exact methods and indisputable conclusions of the sciences concerned with matter have inaugurated modes of study and inquiry which are believed to be of universal application.
FOR some inscrutable reason, which she has as yet given no hint of revealing, Nature is wondrously wasteful in the matter of generation. She creates a thousand where she intends to make use of one. Impelled by maternal instinct, the female cod casts millions of eggs upon the waters, expecting them to return after many days as troops of interesting offspring.
THERE is much uncertainty as to how the backboned or vertebrate animals began ; but the best clew we have to the mystery is found in a little, half-transparent creature, about two inches long, which is still to be found living upon the English shores and the Southern Atlantic coast of the United States.
SOME international superstitions have a symbolic significance. The vampire-fable, for instance, typifies the insufficiency of human life, the sleep-disturbing consciousness of its unattained purposes. Like the visits of the White Lady, the rambles of the posthumous night-walker have generally a definite object, the gratification of revenge or desire, or of some special crotchet, like that of the Turkish horse-ghoul (mentioned by the traveler Kohl), who amused himself by galloping the race-horses of his former master.
THE simplest forms of insanity are those which consist merely of false perceptions, and they are not of such a character as to lessen the responsibility of the individual. There are two forms of false perceptions—illusions and hallucinations.
A BELGIAN philosopher, M. Stas, declared, two years ago, that “no science to which measure, weight, and calculation are not applicable can be considered an exact science ; it is only a mass of unconnected observations, or of simple mental conceptions.
THE prudent and thrifty tradesman once a year takes an account of stock, and thereby assures himself as to what goods he has in possession, as well as what gain or loss may have accrued to him as the result of the year’s transactions. So the nation, or, if we please to use the figure of personality, “Uncle Sam,” deems it wise occasionally to take an account of stock ; only this is done but once in ten years, and is called “ taking the census.
THE majority of modern naturalists have long attributed an Asiatic origin to the domestic asses. They have believed that the species are derived from the so-called onagras or wild asses of Asia, which the ancients mention, and which are still met wandering in droves of greater or less size, from the northern part of the Altai Mountains to the southern regions of the continent.
THE nature of matter is still almost as unknown to us in its essence as it was to the ancients, since in its minute structure it lies far below the range of the senses, or of instrumental appliances, and, therefore, beyond that direct experimental field so necessary in furnishing primary conceptions to the mind.
SHORTLY after the Flood, as we are informed, Abram’s wife turned her domestic, Hagar, out of the house on account of her arrogant conduct, which is perhaps the first authenticated instance on record of trouble between mistress and servant-girl.
HE history of the Geological Survey of New York from 1835, when the Legislature passed a resolution requesting the Secretary of State to report a plan for a geological survey of the State, is very easily traced, through the public documents and published reports made since that period.
THE significance of the astronomical portion of the calendar is materially different at present from what it was in the earlier stages of its development. That this may be clearly understood, and the modern problem with which astronomy has to deal in the yearly construction of the calendar justly appreciated, let us examine the history of its origin.
THE advancement of American science has been greatly promoted by the co-operation of a host of earnest workers, who, asking nothing in the way of money profit or fame, but moved by the pure love of science for its own sake, have been satisfied to labor in special or local fields, and contribute of what they could produce as free gifts to the sum of knowledge.
HAVING read with much interest Professor Gilliam’s article on “ The African in the United States,” and agreeing with his general conclusion that “ they must forever remain an alien race among us,” it seems to me that there still remains something to be said, and that now is the time to say it, and this must be my excuse for this appeal to your courtesy.
SINCE our last issue the new weekly, “Science,” an American journal, much on the plan of “Nature,” has made its appearance at Cambridge. We had been much interested in the previous announcements of the project. The cultivators of science in this country are certainly sufficiently numerous to maintain an organ by which they can promptly communicate with each other and with the world on those multifarious results of investigation for which there have hitherto been but very inadequate means.
IT is doubtful if any book could be offered to the American public of which they would be so little able to judge what it might be about, as a treatise on “ the science of politics.” It would rather be expected that the writer would choose some such title to give respectability and character to new political theories of his own, and it would at any rate be anticipated that the work would be largely of a visionary and speculative nature.
Aberrations in Fog-Signals.—Mr. Arnold B.Johnson, of the Light-house Board of the United States, has been pursuing on our coast parallel investigations with those reported some years ago by Professor Tyndall on the aberrations of audibility of fog-signals.
IN the twenty-third “ Forestry Bulletin ” of the Census-Office, the total consumption of wood for fuel in the United States during the year of the census is estimated at 145,778,137 cords, the value of which was $321,962,373. Of this quantity, 140,537,490 cords were used for domestic purposes ; 1,971,813 cords by railroads ; 787,862 cords by steamboats ; 358,074 cords in mining and amalgamating the precious metals ; 266,771 cords in other mining operations ; 1,157,522 cords in the manufacture of brick and tile ; 540,448 cords in the manufacture of salt ; and 158,208 cords in the manufacture of wool.