Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 51.djvu/410

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398
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

or in the mad rush of the public for the novelty of the hour, is not in replanting the hedgerows of custom. We must go forward, keeping in mind, however, that the chief present need is not to discredit the past but to discredit the mass. The spell of ancestors is broken; let us next break the spell of numbers. Without lessening obedience to the decision of majorities, let us cultivate a habit of doubt and review. In a good democracy blind imitation can never take the place of individual effort to weigh and judge. The frantic desire of frightened deer or buffalo to press to the very center of the throng does not befit civilized man. The huddling instinct has no place in strong character. Democracy's ideal is a society of men with neither the "back"-look on the past nor yet the "out"-look on their fellows, but with the "in"-look upon reason and conscience. We must hold always to a sage Emersonian individualism, that, without consecrating an ethics of selfishness, a religion of dissent, or a policy of anarchism, shall brace men to stand against the rush of the mass.

 
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ARE SCORPIONS MATRICIDES AND SUICIDES?
By Dr. JUAN VILARÓ,
PROFESSOR OF NATURAL HISTORY, HAVANA UNIVERSITY; FISH COMMISSION'S NATURALIST.

IT is by no means a rare thing to see a simple coincidence designated and accepted as a cause. Such is the case with the erroneous though common and deep-rooted belief that the newly born scorpions devour their mother during the first period of their life. Science has dispelled this vulgar error, as it has done away with the absurd assertions about the vegetating wasp and other species of animals.

It is a well-known fact that the little scorpions, when they come into life, place themselves at the sides and upon the back of their mother, where they remain huddled together while their transformation is being completed, or, in other words, until they change their first skins (exuviation or ecdysis).

At this moment the little scorpions break away and commence on their own hook their lively search for food, thus entering the wide field of the struggle for existence.

During this period of their life the mother may die. The difficult and hazardous process of delivery is oftentimes the cause of such death. The ants hasten to do away with the remains, and this is the origin of the common but erroneous belief that the mother has fallen a victim to the voracity of her own offspring.

As I have always been impressed by the grandeur of small things, and as phenomena of apparent insignificance are often of