Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 14.djvu/741

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has been made for it throughout the whole region on both sides of the sun, if perchance it might be seen at the periods of its greatest distance. Perhaps not a day has passed for the last twenty years, but that the sun has been examined at one point or another of the globe, observed with the greatest care, sketched in all its details, even directly photographed.

The hypothesis of a single body comparable to Mercury, gravitating in close proximity to the sun, and on a plane probably little inclined to the solar equator, seems to us to be so open to objections as to be untenable. Still, the mathematical theory of universal attraction proves that there is a cause for the retardation observed in the motion of Mercury, and that this cause can not be found by augmenting the mass of Venus—a quantity now determined with great exactitude—but must be sought for in some disturbing mass between Mercury and the sun. But this mass may not be a planet worthy of the name of planet; it may consist of a great number of asteroids like the minute fragments which gravitate between Mars and Jupiter—asteroids so small that oftentimes they escape the notice of observers of the sun and of eclipses, though some of them may be large enough to be seen under certain rare conditions. This latter theory is the one which we adopt.


"MAN is what he eats" (Der Meusch ist was er isst) is a German proverb, the propriety of which may be chiefly alliterative, though the apothegm of our greatest English physician goes even further: "If we could solve the problem of diet," Dr. Radcliffe tells us, "it would almost amount to the rediscovery of paradise. Wrong eating and drinking, and the breathing of vitiated air (which is gaseous food), these form the triple fountain-head of nearly all our diseases and our misery."

Even a great doctor is fallible, especially on his hobby, but it is not easy to deny the importance of a subject which can assert itself by such dire argumenta ad hominem as dyspepsia, congestive chills, and other penalties that follow swifter now than in old times on any violation of the physical laws of God. Love of health or fear of sickness (which differ as ancient from modern civilization) has always made the question of diet one of primary interest; yet there is certainly none about which doctors disagree more widely. It is amusing to compare the different food-theories which have been cherished like plans of salvation