IN all the development of astronomy few things are more interesting than the growth of a true doctrine of comets. Hardly anything throws a more vivid light upon the danger of using isolated texts of Scripture to preserve beliefs which observation and thought have superseded, and upon the folly of arraying ecclesiastical power against scientific discovery.
A FEW years ago, under the distinguished patronage of Mr. Darwin, the animal in vogue with scientific society was the worm. At present the fashionable animal is the ant. I am sorry, therefore, to have to begin by confessing that the insect whose praises I propose to sing, although bearing the honored name, is not entitled to consideration on account of its fashionable connections, since the white ant, as an ant, is an impostor.
IN the interesting articles, in previous numbers of “The Popular Science Monthly,” entitled “An Experiment in Primary Education,” by Dr. Mary Putnam-Jacobi, she makes courteous reference to my “First Book of Botany,” while dissenting from certain points of its method.
IF it were usual to prefix a motto to these evening discourses, I might have selected such words as “Seeing the Invisible,” for I have to describe a method of investigation by which what is usually unseeable may become revealed. We live at the bottom of a deep ocean of air, and therefore every object outside the earth can be seen by us only as it looks when viewed through this great depth of air.
IN the United States it has not been an uncommon practice for railroad corporations, looking to their own immediate immunity from prosecution, to aid their servants in securing, in various ways, some protection from or indemnity for the effects of injuries received in the performance of duty; but such efforts, being usually spasmodic, and always conditioned upon releasing the company from all liability, have not generally received the cordial recognition and support of the employés themselves; have been ephemeral, and at best have only partially afforded the contributing companies protection from legal responsibilities.
TOMMASI-CRUDELI ON MALARIOUS COUNTRIES, AND THEIR RECLAMATION.
DISMISSING from scientific terminology the words “marsh miasm” and “marsh soil,” and replacing them by “malaria” and “malarious soil,” the author traces the fever-poison thus indicated to “an agent which can infect the soil of any country, however that soil may differ from other soils in hydrographical and topographical conditions and geological composition.”
THE ENERGY OF LIFE EVOLUTION, AND HOW IT HAS ACTED.
PROFESSOR EDWARD D. COPE
HAVING pointed out in a previous essay the lines of descent of vertebrata which have been brought to light by paleontological investigation, I propose to produce in the present article some evidence as to the nature of the forces which have been actively at work in effecting those changes of structure which constitute the evolution of one type of animal from another.
[IN the autumn of 1868 Mr. Tennyson and the Rev. Charles Pritchard—Savilian Professor of Astronomy—were guests together in my house. A good deal of talk arose on speculative subjects, especially theology, and in the course of it the idea was suggested of founding a Theological Society, to discuss such questions after the manner and with the freedom of an ordinary scientific society.
SINCE communication between the extremities of the earth has become both easy and rapid, our ideas on many subjects have been modified and have become more precise. Facts that formerly appeared singular and extraordinary are recognized as frequent and habitual.
THESE interesting rodents are dwellers in the Rocky Mountains and adjacent hills, and are known among us by various significant names, as mountain-rat, timber-rat, and trade-rat. The first, of course, refers to their native home; the second to the sound of their gnawing, scarcely to be distinguished from the sawing of timber; and the last to their peculiar system of barter or exchange, so curious a habit that it is doubtful if any other animal has ever been known to practice it while in a wild or untamed state.
IT has occurred to the writer that the adoption of the germ theory of disease necessarily involves the application of the theory of evolution, and that here may be found a means of accounting for the genesis of the various forms of disease. Germs are living matter; they must therefore be under the influence of those laws and forces which condition all living matter.
THE President of the American Association for this year, Professor HUBERT ANSON NEWTON, of Yale College, is distinguished not less, for his researches in the higher mathematics, which mark a distinct advance in the American study of that science, than by his contributions to the determination of the orbit of the November meteors, in which he was a pioneer.
MUCH has been said in the newspapers during the last few weeks about the mismanagement and irregularities that have been disclosed by official inquiries into the administration of the United States Coast Survey. The superintendent of that branch of the public service has been retired from his office; the assistant in charge was also removed, and then restored; and charges have been made against other parties.
COLLECTED ESSAYS ON POLITICAL AND SOCIAL SCIENCE. By WILLIAM GRAHAM SUMMER, Professor of Political and Social Science in Yale College. New York: Henry Holt & Co. Pp. 173. Price, $1.50. THIS volume consists of discussions upon the following subjects: “Bimetallism”; “ Wages ” ; “ The Argument against Protective Taxes ” ; “ Sociology ” ; “ Theory aud Practice of Elections,” Parts I and II ; “ Presidential Elections and Civil-Service Reform ” ; and “ Our Colleges before the Country.”
Malaria and the Eucalyptus.—The experiment of preventing malaria by plantations of eucalyptus-trees at Tre Fontaine, near Rome, has failed. While the eucalyptus-trees thrive, the malaria continues. Fevers prevailed there in 1880, and even during the season, exceptionally healthy at Rome, of 1882, and under circumstances which made the epidemic seem largely local.
THE American Association, recently in session at Ann Arbor, Michigan, elected the following officers for next year’s meeting: President, E. S. Morse, Salem, Massachusetts ; Vice-Presidents, J. W. Gibbs, New Haven, Connecticut; C. F. Brackett, Princeton, New Jersey; H. W. Wiley, Washington, D. C.; O. Chanute, Kansas City, Missouri; T. C. Chamberlin, Washington, D. C; H. P. Bowditch, Boston, Massachusetts; Horatio Hale, Clinton, Ontario; Joseph Cummings, Evanston, Illinois; Permanent Secretary, F. W. Putnam, Cambridge, Massachusetts (holding over); General Secretary, S. G. Williams, Ithaca, New York; Assistant Secretary, W. H. Pettee, Ann Arbor, Michigan; Treasurer, William Lilly, Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania.