IN the wondrous literature of the time there is hardly anything so glaring and sensational as the report of the Commissioner of Pensions explaining the work of his department for the year ending June 30, 1888. In that report he says: “ The total amount expended for all purposes by the Bureau of Pensions was $82,038,386.59.
ALMOST every one has at some time wondered whether there is any truth in phrenology. The figures of heads, on which various mental faculties are marked, are to be seen everywhere, and the notion that from the shape of the head the character can be determined has enough of the mysterious in it to prove attractive.
THE Cameroons youth has the inclination to independence from the day of his birth, and it is taken advantage of by his mother. Before he can walk, she sets him out near the house, where he looks about him all the day at will. As soon as he is large enough she gives him the day’s catch of fish of his father or elder brother, to spread and turn for drying and putting away.
AT the time of the last hearing of the case of Prof. Woodrow before the General Assembly of the Southern Presbyterian Church, at Baltimore, many of the Johns Hopkins students embraced the opportunity of a lifetime to listen to the expositions of the doctrine of evolution made by so many of the divines of that gathering.
THE doctrine that a short life is a sign of divine favor has never been accepted by the majority of mankind. Philosophers have vied with each other in depicting the evils and miseries incidental to existence, and the truth of their descriptions has often been sorrowfully admitted, but they have failed to dislodge, or even seriously diminish, that desire for long life which has been deeply implanted within the hearts of men.
THE first state to recognize the necessity of education was ancient Egypt. The period referred to here is from 4000 B. C. to the time of Christ; but it is only of about fifteen hundred years of this period—2530—1000 B. c.—that we know the educational conditions.
BY the Bronze age, Dr. Oscar Montelius* understands that period in the earliest civilization of the Northern races when they made their weapons, tools, etc., of bronze. Besides that composition, they knew only of one metal, gold. The word bronze includes all combinations of copper with tin or zinc, but the usual composition of the articles of this age was ninety parts of copper to ten of tin.
THE early voyagers to America, coming from the civilized countries of Europe, were perhaps more surprised at the native inhabitants whom they found than at the broad rivers, boundless forests, or vast plains. The Indians, with their curious customs and various costumes, produced dissimilar impressions upon their different beholders.
IT is a matter well recognized by those of much experience in breeding and keeping animals with restricted freedom and under other conditions differing widely from the natural ones— i. e., those under which the animals exist in a wild state—that the nature of the food must vary from that which the untamed ancestors of our domestic animals used.
ONE of the most attractive branches of modern chemistry comprises the artificial preparation of compounds existing preformed in nature, or, in other words, the imitation of the works of creative power. Synthesis, as this section of chemical investigation is called, although it has already attained a considerable degree of success, is of but recent origin compared with analysis, or those researches by which we become acquainted with the composition of the products of nature, and of what we derive from them by industrial processes.
THE industrial history of the English-speaking peoples has been faithfully written by able hands, and, until more material accumulates by the growth of science and the progress of industry, little can be added to records already made. The study of what may, for the lack of a better name, be called industrial philology, has not, however, kept pace with the history of industrial occupations.
IN the New World, as well as in the Old, there is many a charming spot, far away in the wild woodland or within the sunless recesses of deep-furrowed mountain gorges, which might well merit the designation by which this paper is prefixed. Indeed, for a very long period the ferns of North and South America have received considerable attention at the hands of botanists; nor must it be forgotten that, centuries before the white man set his foot upon the great continent of the West, several species of these beautiful plants were much sought after by the aborigines.
WHILE we endeavor to distinguish between instinct and reason, we are accustomed to speak of such skill and conformity of actions to a given end as are exhibited by birds in building their nests, or by societies of insects, as more resembling what we call reason.
MOTION gives both physical and moral pleasure. Physically, it enables us to remove ourselves for the moment from pain. Morally, it furnishes a satisfaction for our self-love, which is remarked especially in play and in our struggles against the forces of nature.
THE Duchess of Beaufort, dining once at Madame de Guise’s with King Henri IV of France, extended one hand to receive his Majesty’s salutation while she dipped the fingers of the other hand into a dish to pick out what was to her taste. This incident happened in the year 1598.
WHATEVER may be the future progress of the sciences of botany and zoölogy, Prof. Flower has said, in the British Association, “the numerous writings of Linnæus, and especially the publication of the ‘Systema Naturæ,' can never cease to be looked upon as marking an era in their development.
A FEW months ago one of our contributors had occasion to notice the attacks made upon the scientific tendencies of the age by writers who might have been supposed to be themselves highly qualified representatives of the general scientific movement.
THE readers of George Eliot’s “Life,” as related in her letters and journals, will recall her intimacy with the Bray family. In Chapter II of that work Mr. Cross speaks of her acquaintance with and admiration for Charles Bray, mentions the book whose title is given above (which was first published in 1841), and adds that her association with the author and his family “no doubt hastened the change in her attitude toward the dogmas of the old religion.”
The Function of a University.—President D. S. Jordan has a warning in one of his recent papers against attaching too much significance to numbers in estimating the usefulness of a university. The kind of work that students are doing is the really important consideration.
SEVERAL “effigy mounds” in the Rock River Valley, Ill., have been described by T. H. Lewis. The “Rockford Turtle” is 184½ feet long and from three to five and a half feet high, and stands in the midst of the best part of Rockford. It is associated with a bird-mound, seven round mounds, and two embankments.