ON November 19, 1883, the daily papers of the United States and Canada, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Rocky Mountains, contained more or less elaborate accounts of the change from local to "standard time" which had been made on the previous day.
OUR newly-constituted Section of Anthropology, now promoted from the lower rank of a Department of Biology, holds its first meeting under remarkable circumstances. Here in America one of the great problems of race and civilization comes into closer view than in Europe.
WHY should children be sent to school? Is it merely that they may learn to read, to write, and cipher? Reading, writing, and ciphering are no doubt very important, but are they all-important, or even most important? The man who reads may be said to hear from the past and the distant; the man who writes speaks to the future and the far away.
IF Baron Munchausen had ever in the course of his travels come across a single flower one standard British yard in diameter, fifteen pounds avoirdupois in weight, and forming a cup big enough to hold six quarts of water in its central hollow, it is not improbable that the learned baron’s veracious account of the new plant might have been met with the same polite incredulity which his other adventures shared with those of Bruce, Stanley, Mendez Pinto, and Du Chaillu.
I PROPOSE to describe in a general way a peculiar mental state following the toxic use of alcohol, which has only recently attracted attention, and which promises to be a very imporant factor in the medical jurisprudence of the future. Morbid states of the nervous system, in which the mind seems to act automatically, and without consciousness of the surroundings, and with no registration by the memory of these acts, are not new to students of mental and nervous diseases; but the fact that they are more or less common in inebriety from alcohol, and may follow any excess, is a recent discovery.
THERE are three principal theories of suffrage. It may be regarded, first, as the final shape assumed by the struggle for existence among mankind. Since it is necessary, sooner or later, to come to a treaty of peace, let us make it before the battle, instead of afterward; let us put ballots in the place of gun-shots.
THERE is a certain weird attractiveness about the subject of cannibalism, a grim fascination in its grisly horrors, that is not easily to be explained, but which, although few of us will admit it, most of us have experienced. Perhaps it is in subjective cannibalism alone that this uncanny attraction exists; objective cannibalism may not possess the same eerie charm.
THE recent case of cannibalism at sea opens up some curious questions as to the effects of fasting on the moral nature of man. To the superficial observer, death by starvation simply means a wasting of the body, a horrible agony, an increasing weakness, a lethargic state of the brain, and a sleep from which there is no awakening; but is this all that it means?
TAKE eight parts by weight (say ounces) of meal (Rumford says "wheat or rye-meal" and I add, or oatmeal), and one part of butter. Melt the butter in a clean iron frying-pan, and when thus melted sprinkle the meal into it; stir the whole briskly with a broad wooden spoon or spatula till the butter has disappeared and the meal is of a uniform brown color like roasted coffee, great care being taken to prevent burning on the bottom of the pan.
THAT civilization exerts upon the older societies of the world an influence which is on the whole favorable to physical perfection and longevity has been abundantly shown. While certain forms of disease, more particularly those affecting the nervous system, are increasing in frequency as a result of the increased demands upon the workers in our large cities, yet there is no question that a more than countervailing influence is exerted by the greater knowledge of sanitary science and the increased resistant power which modern civilization has conferred on mankind.
THE regularity of nature is the first postulate of Science; but it requires the very slightest observation to show us that, along with this regularity, there exists a vast irregularity, which Science can only deal with by exclusion from its province.
THE earlier experiments of MM. Cailletet and Raoul Pictet in the liquefaction of gases, and the apparatus by means of which they performed the process, were described in "The Popular Science Monthly," March and May, 1878. The experiments have since been continued and improved upon by MM. Cailletet and Pictet, and others, with more complete results than had been attained at the time the first reports were published, and with the elucidation of some novel properties of gases, and the disclosure of relations, previously not well understood, between the gaseous and the liquid condition.
MANY and varied are the uses to which human ingenuity has already contrived to turn this precious gift of dirty-green earth-oil. At first its value was only recognized as a lubricating oil for machinery, and a somewhat dangerous burning-oil for illuminating, commonly called kerosene.
MR. J. S. MILL, in his essay on "Liberty," long ago warned us against the stupefying influence of custom upon human beings, and held that we ought to encourage eccentricities in each other, and to guard jealously the right to be eccentric, instead of insisting on reducing every one by the hard-and-fast Procrustean standard to a single dead-level of mediocrity.
AMONG the most prominent of the British scientists, attracted to the recent meeting at Montreal, was the President of the Anthropological Section, EDWARD BURNETT TYLOR. He is well known as a distinguished author on the early history of the races of mankind, and his investigations of this comprehensive subject entitle him to an eminent rank among the founders of the recently established science of anthropology.
I HAVE been highly entertained, and gained some new ideas, by reading Dr. Stockwell's article on "The Beaver and his Works" in the "Monthly" for May, 1884. I have myself long since made the acquaintance of the beaver, but in different regions from that studied by Dr. Stockwell.
THE progress of popular education is gradually bringing into prominence a class of questions of fundamental importance, the existence of which was hardly recognized in its earlier stages. It seemed at first a very simple affair to organize a common-school system, and nobody anticipated that any very serious difficulties could arise in carrying it out. Children were to be taught the rudiments of knowledge—chiefly reading, writing, and ciphering.
IT is now upward of a century since the Rev. John Bampton bequeathed his lands and estates to the authorities of Oxford University, the income of which was to be used forever in paying for a course of eight annual sermons or lectures devoted to the following objects: "To confirm and establish the Christian faith, and to confute all heretics and schismatics; upon the divine authority of the Holy Scriptures; upon the authority of the writings of the primitive fathers, as to the faith and practice of the primitive Church; upon the divinity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; upon the divinity of the Holy Ghost; upon the Articles of the Christian Faith, as comprehended in the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds."
American Association Addresses.—Professor J. W. Langley’s vice-presidential address before the Chemical Section of the American Association was on "Chemical Affinity." He opened his paper with a review of the various theories that had been proposed to account for chemical action from Hippocrates down, and showed how the term "affinity" has disappeared from the chemical literature of the present day.
FROM papers read in the British Association, it appears that the most important coalfields in the Acadian or St. Lawrence basin are those of Cumberland, Pictou, and Cape Breton. The other coal-regions of the Dominion are one extending from the ninety-seventh parallel to the base of the Rocky Mountains, and one on Vancouver’s Island.