THERE is an agency that pervades the earth and is peculiarly resident in all its iron. It is magnetism. This force is akin to electricity, though not identical with it, and the manifestations of both are often similar. The small steel wire, scarcely larger than a sewing-needle, which constitutes the mariner’s compass—every iron vessel, even the huge steamship City of New York, and the earth itself—all have certain properties in common that warrant classing them as magnets; and, as the ship sails the earth and is guided by the compass, there is a very intimate though varying relationship between these three that should deeply interest those who traverse the ocean.
IN the year 1596 there was published in London a pamphlet entitled “A new discourse of a stale subject; called the Metamorphosis of Ajax. Written by Misacmps,” which was followed in the same year by a second pamphlet entitled “An Anatomy of the Metamorpho-sed Ajax, wherein, by a tripartite method, is plainly, openly and demonstratively declared, explained and eliquidated by Pen, Plot, and Precept, how unsavory places may be made sweet, noisome places made wholesome, filthy places made cleanly.
IT may be readily supposed that the conditions of life and their general surroundings must largely influence and materially affect the physical or constitutional characteristics of town-dwellers. At the onset, then, I venture to advance the proposition that the “vital force” of the town-dweller is inferior to the “vital force” of the countryman.
THE animals of the seal-kind include two groups or families which, with a general similarity of structure, exhibit quite distinct features in their appearance, habits, and movements. The order to which they belong is named Pinnipedia, from the structure of the paws, which are webbed down to the ends of the fingers, and in one of the families beyond them.
LET it be granted that a vast deal of nonsense has been talked everywhere in this oblate spheroid of ours about almost every conceivable subject. Yet about none has a vaster amount of nonsense been talked before the tribunal of literature than about the famous old forensic case of Genius versus Talent.
INVENTIONAL geometry is the name given to a series of carefully graded problems, thought out and arranged by that able mathematical teacher, William George Spencer, the father of the distinguished philosopher. The little book was published in this country in 1876.*
NOT many months ago we had in a single number of a leading English review—the “Contemporary”—no less than two articles by able writers lamenting the disintegrating action of science on morality and religion. The first of these was from the pen of the eminent Belgian publicist, M. Emile de Laveleye, and was entitled “The Future of Religion”; the second, contributed by Miss Frances Power Cobbe, dealt in a trenchant and aggressive manner with “The Scientific Spirit of the Age.”
A NEW recreation-ground is wanted for those of our countrymen who, without being travelers by profession, find pleasure and refreshment in rough travel among primitive people, in mountain scenery and glacier air, in that sense of adventure and discovery which is afforded only by unknown countries or virgin heights, and on unmapped snowy chains.
THE first five years of this century are notable in the history of radiant energy, not only for the work of Leslie, and for the observation by Wollaston, Ritter, and others, of the so-called “chemical” rays beyond the violet, but for the appearance of Young’s papers, re-establishing the undulatory theory, which he indeed considered in regard to light, but which was obviously destined to affect most powerfully the theory of radiant energy in general.
WE have been favored with the following interesting letter, giving some facts in relation to Prof. Gauss in addition to the sketch of this distinguished mathematician which appeared in “The Popular Science Monthly” for September, 1888, and inclosing the appended extracts from letters by Gauss in regard to his invention of a form of electric telegraph:
AS an indication of the present state of feeling in England toward the system of public education in that country, and especially toward the abuse of examinations, we reprint the following vigorous protest, which is signed by over a hundred professors and teachers, about seventy members of Parliament, and by members of the nobility, clergymen, and others, to the total number of four hundred.
THE Rev. MOSES ASHLEY CURTIS, D.D., presents the example of a clergyman who, doing hard pioneer missionary work in the mountains of North Carolina, and caring actively and efficiently for the wants of his parish, brought the botany of his State to a full development.
MR. MCGEE, in his article on “Paleolithic Man in America,” in the November issue, falls into an unfortunate error in stating that I had found twenty-five thousand specimens of true paleolithic implements in the gravel. The number found is about four hundred, and this represents twelve years of most laborious search for them.
IT is idle to be continually repeating that this is a very wonderful age; but we may with good reason congratulate ourselves that science has now reached a point that insures to the human race an ever-increasing mastery over the powers and resources of nature, and that ought, with any kind of right management, to be productive of better modes of life from year to year, not for the few only but for all.
THE discussion of the subject of this volume is considerably amplified from that given in the original work, with a more precise classification and fuller detail of examples. The subject is confessed to be beset with peculiar difficulties, arising from the vague and indefinable character of the human feelings, which can not be described directly or accurately analyzed; it can be approached only by the way of wide comparison and illustration.
Fast Ocean Passages.—It was about fifty years ago, with the introduction of iron ships and the screw-propeller, that the era of rapid steamboat traveling began. The paddle-wheel steamer Great Western sailed from Bristol, England, April 8, 1838, and reached New York April 23d.
THE statistics of the Japanese Empire for 1887 show that commercial enterprise is developing there in a remarkable degree. The foreign trade of the country has increased more than 86 per cent in ten years. In connection with the addition of 151 miles of railway to the 370 miles before built, the pertinacity with which the Japanese insist upon furnishing their own capital, and not borrowing from abroad, is remarked upon.