IN the preceding paper of this series (No. IV), evidence was submitted to the effect that the remarkable decline in prices which has occurred during the last ten or fifteen years—or since 1873—in the case of the various commodities which constitute the great bulk of the trade, commerce, and consumption of the world, has been so largely due to conditions affecting their supply and demand that, if any or all other causes whatever have contributed to such a result, the influence exerted has not been appreciable ; and, further, that if the prices of all other commodities/not included in such analysis, had confessedly been influenced by a scarcity of gold, the claims preferred by the advocates of the latter theory could not be fairly entitled to any more favorable verdict than that of “ not proven.”
IN order to clear up the conception of evolution, it is necessary to give a brief history of the idea, and especially to explain the relation of Louis Agassiz to that theory. This is the more necessary, because there is a deep and wide-spread misunderstanding on this subject, and thus scant justice has been done our great naturalist, especially by the English and Germans ; and also because this relation is an admirable illustration of an important principle in scientific philosophy.
A JESUIT with whom I was conversing on educational questions once told me, in depreciation of my position as a man of science, that the naturalist of to-day can be a physiologist or a physicist, mineralogist, geologist, zoÖlogist, botanist, or chemist, and no more ; that he can not overlook the whole of science, but can at most only really know a part of his own branch, from which he is not, of course, justified in drawing any general conclusion.
FOOD AND FIBER PLANTS OF THE NORTH AMERICAN INDIANS.
J. S. NEWBERRY
IT has happened to me to visit nearly forty tribes of the native population of North America, and many of these at a time when they had had little or no intercourse with the whites. As a physician and botanist, my attention was naturally directed to the use of plants among them for food, and as remedies.
ON the present anniversary, which is the conclusion of my first year of office as President of this Institute, I propose to address a few words to you bearing on the object of the Institute, and on the spirit in which, as I conceive, that object is best carried out.
IN the “ Fifth Evening ” of that delightful, old, out-of-date book of Fontenelle’s, on the “Plurality of Worlds,” the Astronomer and the Marchioness, who have been making a wonderful pilgrimage through the heavens during their evening strolls in the park, come at last to the starry systems beyond the “ solar vortex,” and the Marchioness experiences a lively impatience to know what the fixed stars shall turn out to be, for the Astronomer has sharpened her appetite for marvels.
OF all the ornaments with which vanity, superstition, and affection have decorated the human form, few have more curious bits of history than the finger-ring. From the earliest times the ring has been a favorite ornament, and the reasons for this general preference shown for it over other articles of jewelry are numerous and cogent.
NOT every lover of the oyster knows that the size and plumpness which are so highly prized in the great American bivalve, and which are so attractive in specimens on the half-shell or in the stew as to lead the average man to pay a considerable extra price for extra size, are not entirely natural ; and even those who do know that the majority of the oysters in the market are artificially swollen by introducing water into the tissues are not all aware that the process by which this is done is closely analogous to that by which the food in our own bodies is conveyed through the walls of the stomach and other parts of the digestive apparatus and poured into the blood and lymph to do its work of nourishment.
GEOGRAPHY has been the last of the sciences which are studied in school to be affected by the modern demand that science shall be taught according to the scientific method. It is extremely important that this method of teaching the description of the earth should speedily become general, for most pupils study geography, and those who leave school at an early age may not otherwise obtain that quickening of the powers of observation and inference which the study of science gives.
KITCHEN College! Well, why not? We have a College of Music, of Surgeons, of Physicians, of Preceptors ; why not a College of the Kitchen ? It seems a little absurd at first sight, and yet the only absurdity is, that no one ever thought of it before.
WHAT AMERICAN ZOÖLOGISTS HAVE DONE FOR EVOLUTION.*
PROFESSOR EDWARD S. MORSE
UNDER geographical variation many interesting facts have been added since Professor Baird, Dr. Allen, and Mr. Ridgway published their capital discoveries calling attention to the variations observed in birds and mammals coincident with their latitudinal range.
IN many American cities basement-houses are quite the rule ; and rooms, partly or almost completely below the street-level, are in common use as work and dining rooms, and occasionally for living and sleeping purposes. A rather casual examination of the standard works, on hygiene, of Parkes, Buck, Wilson, and others, fails to reveal any condemnation of basements, though the dangers arising from damp cellars and foundations are freely discussed.
IN the company of Puritans who, in the severe winter of 1635, traveled from Massachusetts Bay through the wilderness and settled at Hartford and Windsor, was Richard Lyman, who had come over from England four years before in the same ship with John Eliot, the Indian Apostle, and who, through his two sons Richard and John, was the ancestor of all the Lymans in America.
[SOME weeks ago Messrs. O. R. Glover and Charles H. Lawrence, of Chicago, favored us with a living specimen of jointor glass-snake, which had been captured on a farm owned by them in Starke County, Indiana. With a view of obtaining, if possible, any facts in addition to what was published in the Correspondence department of the "Monthly" for February and April, and in the Popular Miscellany department for the latter month, the creature was sent for examination to Dr. W. A. Conklin, Director of the Central Park Menagerie, New York, who has kindly furnished the following report.—ED.]
NO journal has upheld more steadily than “The Popular Science Monthly ” the principle that, as fast as they are established, the truths of science shall be applied to useful purposes, and, through popular education, be made as widely available as possible for the general guidance of life.
According to a review of the subject in “ Nature,” the principal fields in which advance has been recently made in sanitary science are the etiology of such diseases as Asiatic cholera, typhoid fever, diphtheria, and tubercular disorders of the lungs.
PRESIDENT PECKHAM, of the Natural History Society of Wisconsin, has been investigating the mental habits and peculiarities of wasps. On the question whether these insects have much sympathy with one another, he says : “ To be sure, when we caught numbers of them, and painted them within the cage, they at once went to work to clean each other, and this shows that they have some desire to aid and comfort their friends.