Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/108

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98
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

and beneficently used it for the world. The spirit of science, which sets infinite value on knowledge, can not fail to teach reverence for those who have made it possible for us to know.

At every point, then, the scientist opposes the tendencies I have deplored. Against them all he must stand, by training and by instinct. Against them all he would teach others to stand, by giving to them his own training. Against them all we science teachers may arm our countrymen if we are faithful to our duty. But this end of our work is defeated if our students are allowed to indulge in careless statements of what they see and do; if they are permitted to use exaggerated description or inaccurate terms. Right here is the crucial test of the teacher's honesty of purpose. The careful examination of written descriptions and reports, the enforced correction of every inaccurate detail, the personal consultation—all require untiring labor, and time never allotted in the schedule. But such work carried out has its own reward. The student first respects the truth, then learns to love it. He conscientiously avoids the vague, the doubtful, the unsubstantiated. If in our schools we might insure to every boy and girl this attitude of mind, this desire for strict veracity, we should have started him well on the way to correct judgments and wise conduct; we should have implanted in his nature the first elements of good citizenship. As Tennyson says:

"Self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-control,
These three alone lead life to sovereign power.
Yet not for power (power of herself
Would come uncalled for) but to live by law,
Acting the law we live by without fear,
And because right is right, to follow right
Were wisdom in the scorn of consequence."

 


 
The fish called Lepidosiren (Lepidosiren paradoxica) is one of the only three still existing survivors of the once prominent group of Dipnoi, or lung fishes, which are characterized by the possession of well-developed lungs in addition to their gills. Mr. Graham Kerr, who spent several months in the swamps of the Gran Chaco, South America, a habitat of these fishes, describes them as living among the dense vegetation of the swamp, swimming in eel fashion, or clambering through the mass of vegetation by means of their leglike limbs. In the dry season they retire into the mud, and breathe entirely by means of their lungs. When the wet season begins they are set free, and at once prepare to spawn. They lay their eggs in burrows at the bottom of the swamp, where the eggs develop into larva?. The phenomena of their development are of special interest, because it takes place in seclusion, away from the disturbing features due to adaptation to varied surroundings. It has been discovered that the young lepidosirens become white and transparent during the hours of darkness.