THE advances in science lead to hopes of the sudden accumulation of gold, just as the discovery of new worlds led our ancestors to invest in many inflated enterprises of commerce and conquest. This older temptation has passed away, for there are no new worlds to discover, and this small globe has been practically staked out; but the mysterious domains of science are still illimitable, and afford vast opportunities for inflated schemes which have their prototype in the South Sea Bubble.
IF the successful operation of a street-railway car by mechanical power depended wholly upon the ability to produce a motor of sufficient capacity to do the work, the problem would be an easy one to solve, and would have been solved long before the advent of the electric motor.
THE question whether the Christian religion is declining is agitating the public mind in some measure at the present time. This is due to the many changes that are taking place in the forms of religion, the types of doctrine, and the methods of action in the numerous religious organizations which bear the name of Jesus Christ.
GEOLOGY is one of the youngest of the sciences. It may almost be said to have been born of the present century. It is true that knowledge concerning the structure of the earth had been accumulating ever since the time of the Greeks and Romans; it is true that these materials became more abundant and were better organized in the eighteenth century; but this knowledge had not yet taken form as a distinct branch of science until about the end of that century.
IT is apparent that the range of even the most highly perfected torpedo is comparatively short, while their accuracy of travel is low. Besides, their propelling, controlling, and discharging mechanisms are complicated, delicate, and easily deranged, they are very expensive, and not only the explosive chamber but the entire system is destroyed in use.
TWO years ago the difficulties of reaching the Klondike were thought to be of such a nature as to preclude the probability or even possibility of Dawson ever becoming a place of permanent habitation. The trials of the Chilkoot and White Passes were exploited in magazine and journal from one end of the continent almost to the other, and the wrecks of humanity, and particularly of the thousands of beasts that lay scattered along the trail—the tribute to the Sahara turned to shame—were appealed to as grim testimony of the almost insuperable barrier which separated man from the object of his search.
THE rights of personal security, personal liberty, and private property have been called the “rights of the people of England,” and may be said to constitute the richest heirloom in the Anglo-Saxon family. While, in a certain sense, they belong to all civilized people, yet, in their practical application, they are peculiarly the creation of Anglo-Saxon common sense and love of order.
THE caves of the United States are inhabited by three cave salamanders, two of them with degenerate eyes; by six cave fishes, all with impaired vision—five of them with rudimentary eyes, one with eyes the most degenerate among vertebrates; and by several mammals.
THE human mind is addicted to the creation of types, a process which implies classification and generalization of a somewhat low order. Some prominent feature of the thing classified is selected for emphasis, and there is often a degree of exaggeration which leads, in the end, to caricature.
IT is a fact of common observation, at different times of the year, that the forenoon and afternoon, as to daylight, are of unequal length. Along in later autumn the shortness of the afternoons is very noticeable, and the shortness of forenoons along in later winter.
OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT, LELAND STANFORD JUNIOR UNIVERSITY, PALO ALTO, CAL. POST OFFICE, STANFORD UNIVERSITY. DEAR DR. YOUMANS: The inclosed, from an anonymous but appreciative source, may interest you. It is doubtless true that the philosophy of Neminism goes back to India, through Hegel and Plato, but the high priestess does not know this.
Editor Popular Science Monthly : SIR: In your editorial, in the issue of September, you speak of "faith as the organ of religious apprehension.” This suggests some important facts that are not always apprehended, or are forgotten. There is no organ for the discovery, the proof, or the apprehension of truth but reason, whether facts of Nature or of religion.
IT must be a matter of deep regret to all right-thinking men that there should have been during the latter half of the century now expiring so marked a revival of the war spirit. In the middle of the century it was thought by many that the world had learned wisdom from the terrible experiences of the past, and that with the development of international trade war would become an outworn mode of settling international controversies.
“Dark Lightning.”—The attention of meteorologists and photographers has been engaged to a considerable extent, within a few months past, with the appearance on photographs of lightning of what seemed to be dark flashes as well as bright ones.
SOME recent experiments were made by Armand Gautier on the amount of the chlorides contained in sea air. They were conducted at the lighthouse at Rochedouvres, situated about fifty-five kilometres from the coast, during and after the long continuance of a good breeze directly inshore from the Atlantic.
THE Massachusetts Institute of Technology has received, by the will of Mr. Edward Austin, deceased at the age of ninety-four years, a bequest of $400,000, the interest of which is to be used for the assistance of needy and meritorious teachers in prosecuting their studies.
Agricultural Experiment Stations. Bulletins and Reports. Cornell University: No. 172. The Cherry Fruit-Fly. A New Cherry Pest. By M. V. Slingerland. Pp. 20.—Maryland: Twelfth Annual Report. Pp. 212.—Michigan: Horticultural Department.