THE world of the primitive man was bounded by the circle of his vision. He regarded the horizon as a fixed line which separated the earth from the sky, and which it would be possible for him to reach by going far enough. He did not deem it less real because it unfortunately always eluded his search, like the fabulous pot of gold which, according to popular superstition, lies buried at the point where the rainbow rests on the ground.
THERE is hardly a season goes by that I am not asked, by some one more or less interested in our native birds, “ What is the difference between a night hawk and a whip-poor-will ? ” Generally the belief is that these two very interesting forms are one and the same species ; but this is by no means the case, and a full reply to the question leads us to the consideration of one of the most attractive groups in the entire range of our American avifauna.
THE frequency and the frightful fatality of recent railroad disasters have come to be most appalling. Among the more prominent causes put forth in explanation or in extenuation is that of the overtaxed and exhausted condition of the trainmen.
SO many adventures of gods and heroes, alternately defeated and restored, with so many other myths of earlier religions, merely (we are told) describe, in figurative language, the simplest physical phenomena, that most of us now expect to find “the dawn,”
IT was not until long after astronomers had begun to sound out the realms of space and to measure the distances and weigh the masses of the planets that the longing which has always existed in the human mind to know more of the mysteries of the sea began to be gratified.
THE relation that exists between the activity of the nervous system and resistance to causes of destruction may be illustrated by facts of different sorts. It has been often remarked, and the registers of the academies confirm it, that we find many old men among scientific and literary people.
THE United States Life-saving Service is now one of the great institutions of our Government. Its system embraces the dangerous parts of our Great Lakes and oceans, and its hundreds of stations cover a coast line of more than ten thousand miles in length.
MOST subjects of analysis can be studied both in quantity and quality, and light is no exception to the rule. Color as a quality of light has always been a popular study. A vast deal of experiment and attention has been given to the harmonics of color, and many who make no claim to scientific attainment are well versed in it.
LESS than thirty years ago no attempts were made to give speech to the deaf children of this country. Signs, writing, and finger-spelling were the means of communication employed. It had been a gigantic task to arrange a system of education for a class of persons previously supposed incapable of advancement, and it is not surprising that articulation in its early days fought hard for recognition among the older teachers.
THE logical processes involved in scientific reasoning are the same in kind as those used in the everyday life of the masses. The difference between the two lies in the clearer recognition of the processes and their importance in the scientific field.
THE antagonism between the plantation interest on the one hand, and commerce and manufacturing on the other, was pointed out at an early period of our history. The institution of negro slave labor repelled white labor and immigration from the South; and while the North received continuous waves of population, and the growth of commerce and manufacturing caused cities to spring up in every direction, the South remained a sparsely settled section, almost purely agricultural.
WE have met to study together the means of combating alcoholism, to which we can not refuse the well-merited title of the scourge of the nineteenth century, for it has produced and is still producing more victims than the plague and the cholera combined.
AT the Universal Exposition of 1855 appeared for the first time an ingot of that silver-white metal from clay, as Sir Henry Roscoe called it. Aluminum does not seem to have attracted much attention from the public at that time. When it was exhibited again at London in 1862 and at Paris in 1867, in the shape of utensils of every sort, and jewelry, it had at first a success of curiosity, provoked by its extraordinary lightness of weight.
IT is strange how sometimes two men distinctly different seem to reside in the same person. Who would believe it at first sight that Elisée Reclus, the eminent geographer, the careful, accurate, and scientific writer, should also be an anarchist of the most pronounced and uncompromising type—the man who actually regards Ravochal, the perpetrator of the outrage last winter at the Café Very at Paris, as a great man who died for his principles without betraying his friends ?
THE criticism made by Mr. E. S. Moser, in his article in the November Monthly, is undoubtedly sound from the writer’s point of view, which is that of physical science. And yet there are many persons—for one, the writer of this letter—who, while recognizing the untenableness from the scientific standpoint of the positions taken in Prof. Lusk’s article, yet as to the main idea accept it as true.
THERE is nothing more tiresome than the platitudes in which popular orators and journals indulge when, generally for some sinister purpose, they set themselves to extol the wisdom and virtue of “the people.” People who have any sense know just how wise and virtuous they are, and quite fail to see the point of the excessive adulation thus bestowed on them.
IN this book Dr. Ward elaborates and reenforces the main plea of his Dynamic Sociology, published ten years ago. His central thought is that civilization owes its chief impulse to man’s conscious effort to better his lot—an effort in which, so far from imitating the operations of Nature, man has modified or even reversed them.
Political Science at the Brooklyn Institute.—The School of Political Science of the Brooklyn Institute announces an advance course in American politics, conducted by Dr. Lewis G. Janes. It will be the aim of the instructor to give a concise and correct history of our national politics from the Revolutionary period to the present time, with some account of the great statesmen and political leaders of our country.
AN Experimental Study, by William O. Krohn, of simultaneous stimulations of the sense of touch, made upon ten different persons, among its interesting results showed that skin over the joints is much more sensitive than at other places ; that touches on the back of the body are more distinctly felt, more clearly remembered, and therefore better localized than on the front part of the body ; that the localizations are better for points not on the median line than for those on it ; that they are not so correctly made on the left as on the right side of the body ; that they are better on hairy portions than on those not covered with hairs ; and that a difference in the power of correct localization exists between usually clothed and usually unclothed parts ; the parts not covered, except in case of the joints, giving the more correct localizations.