ASPHALTUM is the solid form of bitumen, as it occurs in nature. It has been known to man from prehistoric times. The word is said to be derived from α privative, and σϕαλλo ‘I cause to slip.' It, therefore, signifies a substance that prevents one from slipping, and was applied to the solid forms of bitumen that soften in the sun.
THE fact that life did not exist upon the earth at a remote period of time, the possibility of its present existence as well as the prospect of its ultimate extinction, can be traced to the operation of certain physical conditions. These physical conditions upon which the maintenance of life as a whole depends are in their main issues beyond the control of man.
AFTER the outbreak of the late war with Spain in the early summer of 1898, typhoid fever soon became prevalent in concentration camps in different parts of the country. In many cases—in fact in fully one-half of the total number—the fever was not recognized as typhoid for some time, but towards the close of the summer it was practically decided that the fever which prevailed was not malarial, but enteric.
AMONGST the records of the most remote antiquity we find little to lead to the conclusion that geometry was known or studied as a branch of mathematics. The Babylonians had a remarkably well-developed number system and were expert astronomers; but, so far as we know, their knowledge of geometry did not go beyond the construction of certain more or less regular figures for necromantic purposes.
AN ADDRESS GIVEN BEFORE THE DEPARTMENT OF ANTHROPOLOGY OF THE BRITISH ASSOCIATION, 1878.
T. H. HUXLEY
[Huxley’s address at the Dublin meeting of the British Association gives an admirable account of the condition of anthropological science twenty-two years ago. It has not been republished in the ' Collected Essays,' but like everything that Huxley wrote it is worth reading at the present time.]
IF any one in these days condescends to read that first favorite with the youth of bygone generations, ‘Robinson Crusoe,’ he will be aware that, disregarding its more subtle meanings and the allegorical intention upon which the author himself laid so much stress, we may consider the narrative as a detailed study of self-help.
THE country of France, by reason of its position, has been forced into prominence in the life of Western Europe. The nation is surrounded by powerful peoples of diverse types, and because of its central location has perhaps developed a more cosmopolitan culture than its neighbors.
IF any follower of Dr. Pearson thinks that in the observations I am about to make I am not sufficiently respectful to his master, I can assure him that without a high opinion of his powers I should not have taken the trouble to make these annotations, and without a higher opinion still, I should not have used the bluntness which becomes the impersonal discussions of mathematicians.
THE problem of the structure and duration of the universe is the most far-reaching with which the mind has to deal. Its solution may be regarded as the ultimate object of stellar astronomy, the possibility of reaching which has occupied the minds of thinkers since the beginning of civilization.
AFTER having called attention in a recent issue of the MONTHLY to certain circumstances leading to the retardation of science, we may now venture to discuss a few of the particular ways in which a scientific writer can perplex his brother workers.
THE second volume of the'Cyclopedia of American Horticulture,' edited by Prof. L. H. Bailey, has made its appearance from the press of the Macmillan Company and shows the same general excellence attributed to the first volume already noticed in this magazine.
WE again direct attention to the bills before Congress for the establishment of the National Standardizing Bureau, the functions of which shall consist in the custody of the standards used in scientific investigations, engineering and commerce; the construction, when necessary, of such standards, their multiples and submultiples; the testing and calibration of such standards and standard measuring apparatus; the solution of problems arising in connection with standards and the determination of physical constants and the properties of materials, when such data are of great importance and are not to be obtained of sufficient accuracy elsewhere.