WHEN the historian of the future writes the history of the nineteenth century he will doubtless assign to the period embraced by the life of the generation terminating in 1885, a place of importance, considered in its relations to the interests of humanity, second to but very few, and perhaps to none, of the many similar epochs of time in any of the centuries that have preceded it ; inasmuch as all economists who have specially studied this matter are substantially agreed that, within the period named, man in general has attained to such a greater control over the forces of Nature, and has so compassed their use, that he has been able to do far more work in a given time, obtain a much larger product, “measured by quantity in ratio to a given amount of labor,” and reduce the effort necessary to insure a comfortable subsistence in a far greater measure, than it was possible for him to accomplish twenty or thirty years anterior to the time of the present writing.
WHILE the Fathers and school-men were laboring to deduce a science of meteorology from our sacred books, there oozed up in European society a mass of traditions and observances which had been lurking since the days of paganism ; and, although here and there appeared a churchman to oppose them, the theologians and ecclesiastics ere long began to adopt them and to clothe them with the authority of religion.
THE Mississippi River and its tributaries, forming as they do one of the most important river systems on the globe, and draining one of the most richly-furnished continental areas, present, moreover, many interesting geological studies, and open up fields of curious inquiry to the investigator.
"IT is a most beautiful and delightful sight,” exclaims Galileo, in describing the discoveries he had made with his telescope, “to behold the body of the moon, which is distant from us nearly sixty semi-diameters of the earth, as near as if it was at a distance of only two of the same measures....
THE first object of education being to bring the mind of man into direct relation with its surroundings, and as this communion is only possible through the senses, the importance of the cultivation of the senses is duly insisted upon by all educational authorities.
FIFTY years ago, science was still inchoate. Much had already been done by the early pioneers. The ground had been cleared ; the building-materials had been in part provided ; the foundations had been duly and ably laid ; but the superstructure as yet had hardly been raised a poor foot or two above the original level.
OF the contemporary writers of the conquest of ancient Mexico there are but three who have told us that there were in that city not only objects of gold, silver, and copper, but also some of bronze and tin. They have, moreover, told us that some of these metals were most skillfully wrought, and that the designs fashioned therefrom were so marvelous and beautiful that even the European goldsmiths of those days could not excel them.
THE planet Mars has for a long time signalized itself to observers by the remarkable traits of its constitution. In consequence of its relative nearness, the telescope has been able to furnish us with a number of data respecting its physical geography and its meteorology ; and it has been a very rich source of results concerning the philosophy of the solar system and the physical universe in general.
THERE is so much sound philosophy on the present subject in a story related by that genial publication, the “Arkansaw Traveler,” that we may be excused in departing from the severe dignity proper to a sociological essay in repeating it. It seems that down in Arkansaw there lives an old man named Billson, together with his son Dan, who is a close student.
PAUL GERVAIS was eminent as a zoölogist and as a paleontologist. Born in Paris on the 16th of September, 1816, he died in March, 1879, having lived a life exclusively devoted to science. By his entire consecration to study, says M. Blanchard in his “Eulogy,” he reached the most enviable positions, conquering them with only his natural talents, courage, perseverance, and assiduity in work ; for he had at the beginning of his career neither the resources which make existence easy, nor the certainties which give confidence as to the future.
AN answer to Miss Helen H. Gardener and the “Twenty of the Leading BrainAnatomists, Microscopists, and Physicians of New York.” Editor Popular Science Monthly : DEAR SIR : In the June number of the “Monthly” I find a communication entitled “Sex and Brain-Weight,” signed Helen H. Gardener, and indorsed, as she says, by “twenty of the leading brain-anatomists, microscopists, and physicians of New York,” which assumes to be in some measure a reply to my paper, in the April number, on “Brain-Forcing in Childhood.”
ONE of the accusations brought by the Duke of Argyll against Professor Huxley in the discussion that lately took place between these two representatives of very different lines of thought was—to put it plainly—that the professor was himself half in rebellion against a kind of scientific orthodoxy that has been established in these later days, and was only waiting until the movement against it now going on among the younger men of science had gathered a little more strength, in order to declare himself.
THE PROBLEM OF EVIL. AN INTRODUCTION TO THE PRACTICAL SCIENCES. By DANIEL GREENLEAF THOMPSON, author of “A System of Psychology.” London : Longmans, Green & Co. 1887. Cloth. 8vo. Pp. 281. “THE Problem of Evil,” though modestly heralded by its author as “An Introduction to the Practical Sciences,” and not assuming to present a complete exposition of ethical science, is in reality a noteworthy contribution to that department of philosophical inquiry.
Report upon the Charleston Earthquake.—The United States Geological Survey, according to a communication from Messrs. Dutton and Hayden in “Science,” has received reports relating to the Charleston earthquake from more than sixteen hundred localities, giving a much larger amount of information than has ever before been collected concerning any one earthquake.
THE retiring President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, who will give the presidential address at the New York meeting, is Professor Edward S. Morse, of Salem, Massachusetts. He will review what American zoologists have done to advance the doctrine of evolution.