Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/556

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poplars had grown so fast that at last, without his being aware, they had hid the turret behind them. Kant, deprived of the material support which had steadied his speculations, was completely thrown out. Fortunately, his neighbors were generous the tops of the poplars were cut, and Kant could reflect at his ease again.

—— The manuscript of Mill's "Logic" was first sent to the publisher Murray, who, after keeping it so long as to occasion a year's delay in its publication, declined it. It was next offered to Parker, who accepted it, and sent the opinion of his referee, in the writer's own hand, withholding the name. "He forgot," said Mill, "that I had been an editor, and knew the handwriting of nearly every literary man of the day." The referee was Dr. W. Cooke Taylor, who afterward was one of the reviewers of the book.

—— Carriage-Fares in New York and London.—A writer in the "Tribune," describing the carriage system of large cities, says: "Briefly put, the legal rates for cabs and carriages in New York are fifty cents a mile and fifty cents a half-hour, with no fare less than one dollar. In London the cab rate is twenty-five cents for any distance under two miles, and thirteen cents for each additional mile; just one fourth the rate in New York." Who would live under monarchical extravagance, when they can have republican simplicity at four times the price?

—— Infinitesimal Scale of Molecular Systems.—Life is a stream of attributes that flows along from generation to generation, each kind being, as it were, a special channel for special characters. But the everlasting wonder is, how all the characteristics of a species can be embodied in a germ so as to be reproduced by growth; and still more amazing is it how the nicer shades of organic modification are also transmitted by the germ so as to become hereditary. In some way the systems of organic molecules must be capable of taking and retaining an infinite number of inconceivably delicate impressions; for with the myriad forms of life there must be formed myriads of molecular modifications of germ structure. Dr. Flint says that the head of a human spermatozoön is  1/5000 of an inch long,  1/8000 of an inch broad, and  1/25000 of an inch thickness; and Professor Du Bois-Reymond says if this head is assumed to be as large as the Great Eastern, and packed throughout with machinery as fine as the finest ladies' watch, even this would fail to represent the fineness of the system of molecular machinery that actually fills the head of the real spermatozoön.

—— According to Mr. Lockyer, the Egyptians are stated to have recorded 373 solar and 832 lunar eclipses; and he says this statement is probably true as the proportions are exact, and there should be the above number of each in from twelve hundred to thirteen hundred years.

—— The "Saturday Review" notices, as an instance of the reduction to absurdity of the conjectural method, the efforts of M. de Gubernatis to interpret the multiform stories of the cat and allusions to the cat in folk-lore, as parts of the great system of solar myths. With M. de Gubernatis, the cat with white ears in a fairy tale is the "morning twilight," or "the moon which chases the mice of night." A chattering cat appears in a Russian fairy story, and is killed in the territory of a hostile sultan. M. de Gubernatis explains that the sultan is "the wintry night," but leaves us in the dark as to what the chattering cat is. A cat is metamorphosed in a tale by Madame d'Aulnay into a woman who wears a dress of thin white gauze, set off with rose-colored taffeta, the gauze and rose-colored taffeta being inventions of the author's fancy which she has added to the