AXATION.—Of all the economic features of Mexico there is no one more novel, interesting, and instructive, and withal more antagonistic in its influence to the development of the country, than the system by which the Government—Federal, State, and municipal —raises the revenue essential to defray its necessary expenditures.
WE are accustomed to think of the land of the earth as something solid and fixed ; and, as a testimonial of this impression, the Latin phrase terra firma, firm land or solid ground, has been naturalized in the languages of nearly all civilized peoples.
IN an article on silk-culture, published in “Harper’s Magazine more than a quarter of a century ago, the following passage occurs : "We shall soon be ready to begin that which the next century will find us doing with all our might—commanding the silk as we now do the cotton markets of the world.
MANY old theories of education are being mercilessly discussed. Many new theories claim the places of the old. The classical scholar still claims for the ancient languages the greatest educational power. The advocate of modern languages says life is too short to study dead things, and that modern languages furnish enough discipline, and are, besides, useful.
MOST of the great fortunes of the United States—those that are unduly great—are ascribed to the rapid development of the means of transportation and the facility with which those means have been centered in comparatively few hands.
THE northern edge of Bohemia, which borders on Silesia, Saxony, and Bavaria, is at once the principal seat of the German population of the country and of its industrial activity. A person approaching this border region from the interior will be struck at once with the contrast between the stagnation of the Czech districts and the freedom and active enterprise of the Germans, under the impulse of which a not very fertile soil has been made to support a dense population.
THE peculiar climate of geological times has hitherto been treated as if it were a question of temperature only. Scientists have sought the cause of the remarkable warmth in arctic regions, but have left untouched other questions of equal and perhaps greater importance.
OUR modern scientific methods of education are slowly correcting hosts of popular errors regarding every-day subjects of observation, and doubtless a succeeding generation will have outgrown many queer conceits and myths now held as facts by the great majority of country children.
TILL the second half of this century the nature of the innumerable stars with which space is peopled was wholly a subject of imaginative speculation. Recent science has been able to substitute more exact ideas for premature hypotheses. Notwithstanding the immense distances that separate them from us, spectrum analysis has enabled us to make chemical investigations of the sun, the comets, stars, and nebulæ.
THERE is a natural tendency on the part of most parents to aim at precocity in their first child. They love to boast of its progress, and to draw favorable comparisons between it and the children of friends. Sometimes, as we all know, they overdo the matter, and produce a mental deformity, or a mental dwarf, or an idiot, or a grave in which their hopes as well as their error are buried.
OF the many methods in use for the protection of iron from rust, the one of most scientific interest is the so-called Bower-Barff process. By this treatment the iron is coated with a layer of the black or magnetic oxide of iron (Fe3O4), and, as is well known, this oxide does not undergo any further oxidation on exposure to air or water— proved by the magnetic iron-ores and sands, which withstand any amount of weathering.
IN a lecture on “The Life of Minerals,” which was published about a year ago, I tried to bring out a few principles which seem to assert themselves as each day’s work contributes new facts and suggests new thoughts in science, and which seem to give a general direction to the labors of investigators.
GERARD MERCATOR, the distinguished geographer and author of the system of map-drawing which bears his name, was born at Rupelmonde, Flanders, March 5, 1512, and died at Duisburg, December 2, 1594. The name by which he is known, Mercator, is a translation into Latin of his real name, which is given by one authority as Kaufmann, by others as Krämer, or De Cremer, all meaning merchant or trader.
“AN ECONOMIC STUDY OF MEXICO.” Messrs. Editors: I HAVE read with interest the article under the above title published by Mr. David A. Wells in the April “Popular Science Monthly,” and, while I admire in it the author’s smoothness and facility of style, I can not afford, as a Mexican, to let it pass without at least pointing out some of its many inaccuracies in regard to history and current facts.
IN this country we have no state Church ; but, on the principle perhaps which, whether scientifically true or not, seems often to be illustrated in human affairs, that Nature abhors a vacuum, we have in its stead a very notable development of state science.
UPLAND AND MEADOW. A Poaetquissings Chronicle. By CHARLES C. ABBOTT, M. D. New York : Harper & Brothers. Pp. 397. THE readers of the “Monthly” already know much of Dr. Abbott as a naturalist and antiquary ; for he has not unfrequently visited our pages, bringing with him contributions, the fruit of his researches among the gravels of the Delaware, and of his rambles along the streams and through the swamps that happen to be near Trenton.
The Chicago Public Schools.—Mr. James R. Doolittle, Jr., President of the Board of Education of Chicago, in his report for the school year 1884-85, considers briefly but with vigor many interesting points in connection with the school system of that city, which are well worth the attention of school officers generally.
IN Professor Jordan’s sketch of Rafinesque, in the June number of the Monthly, page 216, “Hendersonville,” Kentucky, should have been “Henderson.” The correction was duly marked by the author, but failed to reach our press-room. THE thirty-fifth annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science will be held at Buffalo, New York, August 18th to 24th.