Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 5.djvu/744

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724
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

the additional fuel required, estimated at three cents per hour, would bring the estimate up to 56 cents per hour. It is probable that a suitable magneto-electric engine would cost less than our estimate. The engine of Mr. M. G. Farmer, of Boston, the celebrated electrician, bids fair to play an important part in applications of the electric light. The engines of the ship could doubtless run by suitable attachments the magneto-electric engine, and our estimate of one attendant would doubtless prove sufficient, with the aid of the ordinary ship-watch.

When one reflects upon the number of steamships crossing the Atlantic, and the increasing danger of collision, with the feeble lights now in use, one is forced to wonder at the want of agitation of the subject. It is safe to affirm that, had the Ville du Havre been provided with more powerful lights, the fatal collision would not have happened. The loss which the steamship company suffered by this collision would have furnished their entire fleet with the apparatus for producing the electric light. With a careful watch, a light which can be seen three miles on a clear night would doubtless prove sufficient. The fog-whistle, with an equally careful watch, can also be made efficient to prevent collisions. But a careful watch cannot always be had; there are many temptations to be careless. Drowsiness, in chilly weather, creeps upon even a conscientious lookout, and a powerful masthead-light would supplement human fallibility.

 
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ARE ANIMALS AUTOMATONS?[1]
By Prof. T. H. HUXLEY, LL. D., F. R. S.

I SHALL go no further back than the seventeenth century, and the observations which I shall have to offer you will be confined almost entirely to the biological science of the time between the middle of the seventeenth and middle of the eighteenth centuries. I propose to show what great ideas in biological science took their origin at that time, in what manner the speculations then originated have been developed, and in what relation they stand to what is now understood to be the body of scientific biological truth. The middle of the seventeenth century is one of the great epochs of biological science. It was at that time that an idea arose that vital phenomena, like all other phenomena of the physical world, are capable of mechanical explanation, that they are reducible to law and order, and that the study of biology is an application of the great science of physics and chemistry. Harvey was the first clearly to explain the mechanism of the

  1. An address delivered before the British Association at Belfast, August 25th.