Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 3.djvu/48

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38
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

open air than it began to frisk and dance; it was left entirely to itself, and, when it had been on its legs fifteen minutes, it—apparently in obedience to the feeling of fatigue deliberately lay down, folding in its limbs after the established manner of its kind. This is all we know about calves; about children we know nothing at all. And it may fairly be asked how, when called in question, the assumption that underlies such statements as the following can be made good. We quote from Prof. Bain's account of the growth of voluntary power. He says: "The infant is unable to masticate; a morsel put into its mouth at first usually tumbles out. But, if there occur spontaneous movements of the tongue, mouth, or jaw, giving birth to a strong relish, these movements are sustained, and begin to be associated with the sensations; so that, after a time, there grows up a firm connection." Bearing in mind that, when born, the child has no occasion for the power of masticating solid food; that the ability to suck, which involves an equally complex series of muscular adjustments, is what it requires, and this it has by instinct; bearing all this in mind, the question is, Why may not the innate ability to masticate be developed by the time it is required quite as spontaneously as the teeth used in the operation? Take a parallel. The feeble nestling when it leaves the shell is blind. One of the several very pronounced and interesting instincts it exhibits at this stage is, that in response to certain sounds it opens its mouth and struggles to hold up its head to be fed. Several weeks later it begins to pick for itself. Now, we put the question, Is this second mode of filling its stomach to be considered a pure acquisition, while its original plan must certainly be regarded as pure instinct? No one, we think, will venture to answer in the affirmative; the more so as this is a case that may any day be put to the test of experiment. Where, then, is the evidence that the analogous progress from drawing milk to masticating solid food is of a different kind?—Nature.

 
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OCEAN-CABLES.
By Sir JAMES ANDERSON.

THIS is by no means a new subject for investigation, but in the present day I am certain that it will be instructive to many among the thousands who are now interested in this class of property to have their attention briefly called to all that has been clone to make submarine cables a sound property.

Eleven years ago there was a joint committee appointed by the "Lords of the Committee of Privy Council for Trade and Atlantic Telegraphy, to inquire into the construction of submarine cables, to-