THE investigator in any field of knowledge must, as the price of success, both comprehend the general principles underlying his special problem, and give constant care to its details. Yet it is well, now and then, to leave details behind and consider the bearing of his work upon the science as a whole.
IN this age the knowledge of arithmetic is so widespread that it is difficult to conceive that it is comparatively young. The three R’s, Reading, ’Riting and ’Rithmetic, seems to our mind almost axiomatic and fundamental in regard to education.
TWO years ago the Carnegie Institution determined to establish a laboratory to be devoted to the special study of desert vegetation. The plan originated with Air. Frederick V. Coville, who, under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution, had for some dozen years previously been a close student of the plants of the southwestern American desert.
Galileo in the Sidereus Nuncius (1610) gives this account of the invention of the telescope: A report reached my ears that a Dutchman had constructed a telescope, by the aid of which visible objects, although at a great distance from the observer, were seen distinctly as if near. ... A few days after, I received confirmation of the report in a letter . . . which finally determined me to inquire into the principle of the telescope* and then to consider the means by which I might compass the invention of a similar instrument, which, in a little while, I succeeded in doing, through deep study of the theory of refraction.
Inspection of our immigrants may be said to begin in Europe. The immigrant usually buys his steamship ticket in his native town from an agent or subagent of the steamship company. The agents of the best steamship lines are held responsible by the company, for the passengers they book for America, and if they ship one of the excluded classes they are likely to lose their agency.
ON THE RELATIONS OF THE LAND AND FRESH-WATER MOLLUSK-FAUNA OF ALASKA AND EASTERN SIBERIA.
Fauna of Northeastern Asia.
WILLIAM HEALEY DALL
HAVING recently completed a census of the land and fresh-water mollusk-fauna of Eastern Siberia and Alaska, together with a discussion of the relations of its elements, it seemed that a summary of the results in their bearing on geographical distribution of animal life in the boreal regions might have some interest for the readers of the POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY. THE determination of individual differences, the improvement of useful traits and the assignment of men to the work for which they are fit are among the most important problems in the whole range of pure and applied science.
DE MORGAN AND CHARACTERISTIC CURVES OF COMPOSITION.
To THE EDITOR: In his quotation from Augustus De Morgan in reference to the application of the law of averages to the detection of authorship and in his remarks thereon (see the December number of this journal) Dr. Raymond Pearl is, unconsciously of course, guilty of the exact fault which he, by implication at least, attributes to others; namely, ignorance of the work of previous writers upon the same subject.
THE American Association for the Advancement of Science has been fortunate in its associations with Philadelphia. In our last issue we called attention to the fact that its first meeting was held there in 1848, and it was there again in 1884 that the registered attendance reached its maximum of 1,261, including 303 representatives of the British Association.