Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 2.djvu/781

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MISCELLANY.

irritated; but, if merely touched with the finger, he will fold up his legs, and feign death. If again molested, the animal will try to escape, and will employ his sting only when driven to the wall. The katipo's nest is a perfect sphere, and the eggs about the size of mustard-seed. The changes undergone by this animal in its progress toward maturity are as follows: In the very young state its body is white, with two linear series of connected black spots, and an intermediate line of pale red; under parts brown; legs light brown, with black joints. In the next stage, the forepart of the body is yellow, with two black "eye-spots," sides black, with transverse marks of yellowish white; dorsal stripe bright red, commencing higher up than in the adult, and with the edges serrated. At a more advanced age the stripe on the back is brighter, with a narrow border of yellow, and the thorax and legs are nearly black. In the fully adult condition, the female is very handsome in form and color. The body varies in size from that of a pigeon-shot to that of a small green pea; and the outspread legs even of the largest of these animals cover only a space of three-quarters of an inch. The thorax and body are black and shining, with a stripe of bright orange-red down the centre of the body. The male is considerably smaller, having the body blackish brown, with a faint-yellow line down the back.

 

Prof. Agassiz's Estimate of New-England Education.—The following significant paragraph is from the Tribune:

"Prof. Agassiz's speech before the Committee on Education at Boston, last week, was practical, impetuous, and a little impatient. His demand for a State appropriation for the benefit of the Cambridge Museum served as a text from which he drew a sermon, unpleasant, but not untrue nor unnecessary. He warmly expressed his disapproval of the existing system of popular education in America. Instead of using the rich and growing intellectual material of later years, he declared that our colleges teach chiefly the traditional learning of the middle ages. 'Harvard,' said the fiery professor, 'is not a university; it is only a tolerably well-organized high-school.' Nor is even this learning, in his eyes, the best of its kind; it is merely the dregs of scholarship. He brought up our grammar as an example, referring to it as no longer a living matter, but a reduction to formulas from which all the living spirit has fled. As for his darling, Natural Science, he contemplates mournfully the want of thoroughness with which its phenomena are taught in the common schools. The fault, he asserts, is that of the teachers, who have no sort of thorough knowledge in this direction, and who cannot get it from the normal schools, where instruction is given from text-books alone, and in the poorest possible manner. The schools of Massachusetts had round censure from the good professor, and very much it must have astonished the authorities of that great State, who are incessantly ready to fold their hands and go to heaven when they think of their 'superior' school system. Owing to the misplaced confidence which they have in it, the professor thinks that it might be easier to push a new course of education in a new State earlier than in New England."

 

Ancient Bavarian Agriculture.—The Historical Society of Munich has recently set on foot an investigation of the remains of ancient agriculture to be found in the neighborhood of that city, and in other parts of Bavaria. Garden-plots of an unknown antiquity have been discovered, many of them assuming the form of a parallelogram, with beds of equal length, breadth, and height; while others are in the form of a trapeze, with beds of very unequal length. Often-times wide and narrow beds alternate; and again beds are found side by side, the one being ten times the length of the other.

In height they vary from 1¼ to 3 feet or over, and the soil is scooped up out of the furrow and thrown up on the bed, uncovering the gravel. There is no trace of drains or water-courses dating from the period of these gardens, though water-courses of a later time are to be seen. In the middle of one of these agricultural districts is always found a free space where in all probability the people had their dwellings, although we find no trace of their abodes. If there ever were houses there, they must have been built of light material. Horseshoes are found at various depths in the soil. These