ONE of the latest phases of the religious thought of the times seems to be a desire to get rid of, or to explain away, the supernatural —at least to reclaim and domesticate it and convince mankind that it is not the irresponsible outlaw we have so long been led to suppose —a desire nearly as marked in the theology as in the science of the day. Thus, the Bishop of Exeter (Dr. Temple), in his Bampton Lectures of 1884, on the “ Relations between Religion and Science,” upholds the belief in miracles, without calling to his aid the belief in the supernatural as the word is commonly used.
POPULAR sciences resemble the forest-plants that can flourish without the aid of systematic culture, but that advantage is offset by their liability to excrescences in the form of popular superstitions. During the middle ages thaumaturgy, or the study of the supernatural, enjoyed for centuries an all but universal popularity, and the luxuriance of its products almost suffocated all better germs of the human mind.
ON all sides the woman question bristles with difficulties, and the higher education is one of them. The excess of women over men—reaching to not far from a million—makes it impossible for all to be married—Mormonism not being our way out of the wood. At the same time, this paucity of husbands necessitates the power of self-support for those women of the unendowed classes who are left penniless on the death of the bread-winner, and who must work if they would eat.
FEW people have any true conception either of the kind or amount of actual energy displayed in the life and growth of a simple plant. In ordinary experience the manifestations of vital energy are always associated with the activity of some animal. Life in the animal seems at its best ; its forces are more concentrated, hence more vivid in display, and in every way appeal more certainly to our attention.
THUS far our discussion has been limited almost entirely to physical causes and effects. If we now turn to the life-history of the Atlantic, we are met at the threshold with the question of climate, not as a thing fixed and immutable, but as changing from age to age in harmony with geographical mutations, and producing long cosmic summers and winters of alternate warmth and refrigeration.
THE NEW REQUISITIONS FOR ADMISSION AT HARVARD COLLEGE.
PROFESSOR JOSIAH PARSONS COOKE
AT the close of the last academical year the Faculty of Harvard College published a new scheme of requisition for admission, which will be followed at the admission examination of 1887, and thereafter. This scheme has been very slowly matured.
THE inhabitants of the New Hebrides are Melanesians, divided into a multitude of independent and usually hostile tribes. On several islands there are communities of Polynesians, some of whom— as shown by their complexions—have preserved, among their Melanesian neighbors, their purity of descent.
THE institution at Dessau made distinct approaches to object-teaching. It remained for Pestalozzi, however, to give this method philosophical expression and justification. We know how the Pestalozzian idea has been enlarged and improved by Froebel and his followers. Our present purpose is to trace this idea in its beginning and development under Pestalozzi.
"GIVE me a fulcrum,” cried the ancient sage—“give me a fulV3T erum, and I shall move the world.” “Grant me a few postulates,” says the modern reasoner, “and I shall read you the riddle of the universe.” An unchallengeable postulate, however, is almost as difficult to find as a stable extra-terrestrial fulcrum.
IF a blizzard of unusual severity were coming from the northwest that would send the thermometer down 50° or 70° in three hours, we should expect a great increase of pneumonia and other respiratory diseases, resulting in many deaths. Now, instead of three hours, suppose the mercury were to drop threescore degrees in three minutes— or take another step in fancy, and suppose this great change to take place in three seconds—what would likely be the effect on health ? And yet we bring about, artificially, changes to ourselves quite as sudden and as severe as this.
THE power of flying through the air is one of the principal characteristics of the class of birds. Although some members of the other great divisions of the vertebrates—the bats among mammals, the extinct pterodactyl among reptiles, the flying-fishes among pisces —possess this power in a greater or less degree, these are all exceptional forms, whereas in birds the faculty of flight is the rule, its absence the exception.
GEODETICAL science—that is, the particular branch of human investigation which is devoted to ascertain what are the exact form and dimensions of the earth—has not been slow to follow the general progress. The advance made in this branch of studies since it was first proved that the earth’s form was spheric, and since Galileo uttered his historical “Eppur si muove,” has been parallel to the advance made in all other branches of scientific knowledge and methods of investigation.
THE “Outlines of Psychology” was written, as the title-page showed, “with special reference to the theory of education.” Sometimes in the midst of the text, but chiefly at the end of each chapter, abundant remarks and reflections were introduced, showing the bearing of the principles of mental science upon the training of faculty and character in the young.
ON the 26th of February last the one-hundredth anniversary of the birth of François Arago was celebrated at Perpignan, France, his native city. A grand celebration of the day had also been planned at Paris, to be held under the direction of the scientific men and publicists of the capital, but the municipal subvention, on which its promoters depended for its expenses, was not granted, and it failed.
DO not let us put Wiggins away until we have learned all he has to teach us. He may not know much of meteorology or astronomy; he may be ignorant of the very elements of those sciences and of all science; but, it does not follow that he is not a great teacher in his way.
IT is a most enjoyable treat to get a clear insight into the personality of a man who has made himself in any way distinguished, and to realize how like he, whom we have had to regard at a distance and as a kind of abstraction of the cause he is associated with, is to other men, and how fully he is in sympathy with all that is human.
Garrison, F. Lynwood, Philadelphia. The Microscopic Structure of Gar-Wheel Iron, pp. 7. The Microscopic Structure of Iron and Steel, pp. 12. Martin, Lillie J., Indianapolis, Ind. Chemistry in the High-Schools. Pp. 12. Hale, Horatio. The Origin of Languages, and the Antiquity of Speaking Man. Pp. 48. Jastrow, Joseph, Johns Hopkins University.
The State and Public Health.—Professor Edward Orton, in an address before the Ohio State Medical Society, on “ The Relation of the State to the Health of the People,” asserts that “ the manner in which we are doing much of our sanitary work is far below the best knowledge of our time, and is a serious reproach upon our civilization.
MR. A. H. ALLEN, in a paper on oils, read in the American Association, said that shark and fish oils are often unsaponifiable, and hence are not fatty ethers. He believed them to contain Cholesterine, like cod-liver oil. The fixed oils can be separated into groups, but we know no process for separating a mixture of lard and cotton-seed oil.
MAURICE GIRARD, formerly Professor of Physics in the Collége Rollin, France, died in September. He was a naturalist of considerable merit, and an eminent entomologist ; and was the author of a number of scientific and popular-scientific books, including a “Treatise on Entomology” and “ The Metamorphoses of Insects ” in the “ Library of Wonders.” He was connected with M. Tissandier’s “La Nature” from its beginning.