OUR theological professors make a mistake when they think they have weakened or parried the objections of science to their doctrines by pointing to the fact that science is constantly revising or reversing its own conclusions ; that what was deemed good science at one time is found to be false science at another.
THE recent action of the Harvard College authorities, in striking Greek from the list of studies required for the degree of A. B. marks an era in the history of college education in this country. The long struggle, which has been carried on at times with much bitterness between the classical and modern party, has been distinctly advanced one stage toward a final settlement.
FROM human history we know that for several thousand years the sun has been giving heat and light to the earth as at present; possibly with some considerable fluctuations, and possibly with some not very small progressive variation. The records of agriculture, and the natural history of plants and animals within the time of human history, abound with evidence that there has been no exceedingly great change in the intensity of the sun’s heat and light within the last three thousand years ; but for all that there may have been variations of quite as much as five or ten per cent, as we may judge from considering that the intensity of the solar radiation to the earth is six and a half per cent greater in January than in July; and neither at the equator nor in the northern or southern hemispheres has this difference been discovered by experience or general observation of any kind.
IN a recently published work, bearing the above title, we have an elaborate plea, drawn by an eminent legal practitioner, against the doctrine of evolution as expounded by such writers as Darwin, Huxley, and Spencer. To satisfy the natural curiosity of the public as to how eminent qualifications as a jurist should have come to be united with competence for a very ambitious essay in biological and philosophical criticism, the author informs us that, for years past, he has found relaxation from severe professional labor in the study, during his leisure hours, of the works of the leading evolutionists.
NOTHING in the ancient history of man is of more considerable interest than are those monuments, at once rudely grand and mysteriously simple, which have been designated megalithic. They may be simply raised stones, isolated menhirs, cromlechs arranged in a circle, or artificial caves formed by placing flat flags horizontally on standing supports.
THE study of the relation of organized society to individual sustenance may, for brevity, be called the science of social sustenance. This means practically the same as the term political economy in its original significance. Economy means housekeeping or husbandry, or making a living.
THERE appeared in these pages not long since a valuable essay, by M. Daubrée, on the structure of meteorites, and a little later a very interesting paper by Professor Newton, of Yale College, in which the general question of the origin of meteors, meteorites, and comets was discussed, without any definite conclusion being indicated, except that there are objections against all the various opinions which have been expressed by Schiaparelli, Tschermak, Meunier, Daubrée, and others, respecting this very difficult subject.
THE masses of snow and ice known as glaciers, which are found upon high mountains, have been the object of many studies ; and it is a matter to be wondered at that the same has not been the case with the immense beds of snow that every winter cover parts of Europe, Asia, and America, to disappear in the following spring.
IN the philosophy of Fichte, that prince among German idealists, the universe of matter, so called, is reduced to ideas, and that by a method of reasoning which the ablest opponents of idealism find it difficult to refute. This, doubtless, Fichte could easily arrange, so long as his brain, digestive apparatus, etc., were in good working condition ; but let a congestion of the organ of mind or of its meninges set in, and what becomes of Fichte’s ideas?
IN the southeast range of the National Museum at Washington is a collection of casts of Mexican statues, historical stones, and other figures of American antiquities, an examination of which alone is well worthy of a visit to the Museum. This collection was installed for exhibition by its owner, Señor Eufémio Abadiano, and was brought to Washington from New Orleans, where it had been on view at the Exposition in 1885.
BOTANY has so changed, broadened, and deepened, within the past twenty years, that it may seem like retrogression to talk of flowers. The average botanist of to-day has gone so far beyond mere blossoms, as such, in his study of minute anatomy or in his experiments upon vegetable physiology, that he sometimes almost forgets there are such things as sepals and petals.
THE suggestive article in your October number, under the heading “A Bald and Toothless Future,” should arouse more than a temporary interest. Of late, frequent reference to baldness has been made in medical and other journals, but none of the articles I have read have given the cause, it seems to me, nor suggested the proper means of prevention.
WHEN the waving surface of the green oat-fields begins to assume a golden tint, when the swelling heads of Indian corn hang heavy on their stalks, and the sweating peasant prepares for the last act of his hard summer labor, then also do the good-wives in the village begin to talk of matters which have been lying dormant till now.
THE sudden death of Brigadier-General William B. Hazen, Chief Signal-Officer of the United States Army, which occurred on Sunday, January 16, 1887, deprived the country of one of its most distinguished officers, and the Signal Corps of a chief who took a broad view of its duties and relations to the world of business and science.
MR. JAMES FERGUSSON, writer on architecture and its history, who died January 9, 1886, was distinguished for the diligence with which he prosecuted his researches, and for the originality of his conclusions. Although the subject to which he chiefly directed his attention is usually classed among the arts rather than the sciences, he brought so philosophical a spirit to its study; so prominently regarded it in its archæological and anthropological aspect, and so combined with the questions which it raised those which relate to the development of human civilization; and so faithfully in all his work upon it strove, as he expresses the thought, to raise its study from the “dry details of measurements to the dignity of an historical science,” that he may well be considered entitled to a place among scientific men.
THOUGH usually reading with approbation the “Editor’s Table” in “The Popular Science Monthly,” I can not refrain from expressing a decided dissent from the position taken in the latter part of an editorial in the March number entitled “ Functions of the State.
WE publish elsewhere a letter calling in question the opinion expressed in these columns last month that education was properly a matter for the family rather than for the state —for private enterprise rather than for governmental control.
OUTLINES OF CLASSIFICATION AND SPECIAL MORPHOLOGY OF PLANTS. By Dr. K. GOEBEL, Professor in the University of Rostock. A new edition of SACHS’S TEXTBOOK OF BOTANY. Book II. Authorized English translation. By HENRY E. F. GARNSEY, M. A. Revised by ISAAC BAYLEY BALFOUR, M. A., M. D., F. R. S., Sherarden Professor of Botany in the University of Oxford.
A Fraudulent Benefaction.—The tricks of fraudulent schemers are endless, and are marked by the greatest craft, so that even the most wary are sometimes taken in by them. There came to us some months ago what purported to be the honest proceedings of a national society—“ The Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association of the United States.
PROFESSOR ANGELO HEILPRIN has described, in the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, a species of cat-fish from Lake Okcechobee, Florida, which differs in several well-marked characters from other described North American species.