Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/588

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572
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

ting its second teeth, but the proportions of the bone and of the teeth are those of a fully-grown person. The measurements of every part largely exceed those of similar parts in any child, and equal, in some points surpass, those of adults. Peculiarities were remarked in the shape of the fragment, as a retrocession of the lower part of the jaw, indicating the absence of a chin, and a very oblique slope of the hinder surface of the symphysis, as is observed in a higher degree in the anthropoids and in a lower degree in savage races and other fossils of men, such as the jaw of Nanette, with which this one has considerable similarity.

 

An Unpublished Letter of Sir Isaac Newton's.—At the conversazione given to Professor Helmholtz at University College, Mr. Latimer Clark exhibited the accompanying interesting unpublished letter from Sir Isaac Newton to Dr. Law:

"London, December 15, 1716.

"Dear Doctor: He that in ye mine of knowledge deepest diggeth, hath like every other miner ye least breathing time, and must sometimes at least come to terr; alt for air.

"In one of these respiratory intervals I now Bit doune to write to you, my friend.

"You ask me how, with so much study, I manage to retene my health. Ah, my dear doctor, you have a better opinion of your lazy friend than he hath of himself. Morpheous is ray best companion; without 8 or 9 hours of him yr correspondent is not worth one scavenger's peruke. My practizes did at ye first hurt my stomach, but now I eat heartily enow as y' will see when I come down beside you.

"I have been much amused by ye singular Φενομενα resulting from bringing of a needle into contact with a piece of amber or resin fricated on silke clothe. Ye flame putteth me in mind of sheet lightning on a small—how very small—scale: But I shall in my epistles abjure Philosophy whereof when 1 come down to Sakly I'll give you enow. I began to scrawl at 5 mins frm 9 of ye elk, and have in writing consmd 10 mins. My Ld. Somerset is announced.

"Farewell, Gd bless you and help yr sincere friend (Signed) Isaac Newton.

"To Dr. Law, Suffolk."

—Nature.

 

The Endowment of Research.—A meeting of the Fellows of the Royal Astronomical Society was lately held to consider the question of the endowment of research, when resolutions were offered by the Earl of Crawford, Sir Edmund Beckett, the Astronomer Royal, Captain Noble, and others, expressing opinions adverse to the granting of public money for scientific research where it does not appear that results useful to the public will be obtained, or where the researches proposed are likely to be undertaken by private individuals or public bodies, as not tending to the real advancement of science; disapproving the foundation of a physical observatory at the national expense; recommending the discontinuance of the Government grant to the Committee on Solar Physics; and calling for the publication of full accounts of all money expended by the Government for scientific purposes, and clear definitions of the nature of the work to be undertaken. The resolutions gave way to an amendment, which was adopted, declaring that no sufficient reason existed at present why the Society, in its corporate capacity, should express an opinion on the subject.

 

Frost-formed Earth-Beds.—Professor W. C. Kerr contributes to the "American Journal of Science" some observations on the superficial earths which cover the rocks of the Middle and South Atlantic States for a depth of from a few feet to twenty or thirty feet, and sometimes twice as much. The earths are easily discovered to be for the most part the result of the decomposition in situ of the exposed edges of the underlying strata, the vertical and highly inclined bedding lines of which are distinctly traceable by the eye through the earth-covering, and are seen to pass by insensible gradations into the undecayed rock beneath. The question is discussed, by what agency, and when, was this decomposition effected. The beds present, generally, unstratified masses of earth, interspersed with pebbles and coarser stones, with a general tendency of the heavier fragments to seek the bottom, or to descend, like a stream, to the lower levels of the formation. Indications of a proper stratification by the action of water are seldom present; and such action is excluded by the most obvious features of the deposits. The appearances point rather to a settling by some kind of movement of the mass. A clew to the origin of the beds is given by the mineral veins which rise to the level of their floors. Fragments of the mineral are thickly scattered around them,