China and the CONFUCIANISM

Attitude of Confucius.—Under the influence of Confucius, B.C. 551-479, the old order of things began to undergo a change. The Sage's attitude of mind towards religion was one of a benevolent agnosticism, as summed up in his famous utterance, "Respect the spirits, but keep them at a distance." That he fully recognised the existence of a spirit world, though admitting that he knew nothing about it, is manifest from the following remarks of his:—
"How abundantly do spiritual beings display the powers that belong to them! We look for, but do not see them; we listen for, but do not hear them; yet they enter into all things, and there is nothing without them. They cause all the people in the empire to fast and purify themselves, and array themselves in their richest dresses, in order to attend at their sacrifices. Then, like overflowing water, they seem to be over the heads, and on the right and left, of their worshippers."
He believed that he himself was, at any rate to some extent, a prophet of God, as witness his remarks when in danger from the people of K'uang:—
"After the death of King Wen, was not wisdom lodged in me? If God were to destroy this wisdom, future generations could not possess it. So long as God does not destroy this wisdom, what can the people of K'uang do to me?"
Again, when Confucius cried, "Alas! there is no one that knows me," and a disciple asked what was meant, he replied, "I do not murmur against God. I do not mumble against man. My studies lie low, and my penetration lies high. But there is God; He knows me."

Yoga is a science

Yoga is a science. That is the second thing to grasp. Yoga is a science, and not a vague, dreamy drifting or imagining. It is an applied science, a systematized collection of laws applied to bring about a definite end. It takes up the laws of psychology, applicable to the unfolding of the whole consciousness of man on every plane, in every world, and applies those rationally in a particular case. This rational application of the laws of unfolding consciousness acts exactly on the same principles that you see applied around you every day in other departments of science.

You know, by looking at the world around you, how enormously the intelligence of man, co-operating with nature, may quicken "natural" processes, and the working of intelligence is as "natural" as anything else. We make this distinction, and practically it is a real one, between "rational" and "natural" growth, because human intelligence can guide the working of natural laws; and when we come to deal with Yoga, we are in the same department of applied science as, let us say, is the scientific farmer or gardener, when he applies the natural laws of selection to breeding. The farmer or gardener cannot transcend the laws of nature, nor can he work against them. He has no other laws of nature to work with save universal laws by which nature is evolving forms around us, and yet he does in a few years what nature takes, perhaps, hundreds of thousands of years to do. And how? By applying human intelligence to choose the laws that serve him and to neutralize the laws that hinder. He brings the divine intelligence in man to utilise the divine powers in nature that are working for general rather than for particular ends.


Neither vocalization nor articulation are essentially human. Many of the lower animals, e.g. parrots, possess the power of articulate speech, and birds can be taught to pipe tunes. The essential difference between the articulate speech of the parrot and the human being is that the parrot merely imitates sounds, it does not employ these articulate sounds to express judgments; likewise there are imbecile human beings who, parrot-like, repeat phrases which are meaningless.
Articulate speech, even when employed by a primitive savage, always expresses a judgment. Even in the simple psychic process of recalling the name aroused by the sight of a common object in daily use, and in affixing the verbal sign to that object, a judgment is expressed. But that judgment is based upon innumerable experiences primarily acquired through our special senses, whereby we have obtained a knowledge of the properties and uses of the object. This statement implies that the whole brain is consciously and unconsciously in action. There is, however, a concentration of psychic action in those portions of the brain which are essential for articulate speech; consequently the word, as it is mentally heard, mentally seen, and mentally felt (by the movements of the jaw, tongue, lips, and soft palate), occupies the field of clear consciousness; but the concept is also the nucleus of an immense constellation of subconscious psychic processes with which it has been associated by experiences in the past. In language, articulate sounds are generally employed as objective signs attached to objects with which they have no natural tie.

Hernando Cortez and the conquistadors

The expedition, whose arrival had caused such excitement in Mexico, was commanded by Hernando Cortez, a man who united in his person all the gifts requisite for a great leader of men. He possessed a handsome person, great strength and skill at arms, extraordinary courage and daring, singular powers of conciliation and of bringing others to his way of thinking, pleasing and courteous demeanor, a careless and easy manner which concealed great sagacity and wisdom, an inexhaustible flow of spirits, and an iron determination.

Born in Estremadura in 1485, of an ancient and respectable family, he was--like many others who have distinguished themselves as great soldiers--while at school and college remarkable rather for mischievous freaks, and disregard of authority, than for love of learning. At the age of seventeen he had exhausted his parents' patience, and was on the point of starting with the expedition of Ovando, the successor to Columbus, when he so injured himself by a fall, incurred in one of his wild escapades, that he was unable to sail with it. Two years later, however, he went out in a merchant vessel to the Indies.

On reaching Hispaniola Ovando, who was governor of the island, received him kindly, and gave him a grant of land and a number of Indians to till it. The quiet life of the planter, however, little suited the restless young fellow; and after taking part in several military expeditions against insurgent natives, under the command of Diego Velasquez, he sailed in 1511, with that officer, to undertake the conquest of Cuba.

All about Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

The early December dusk was closing in over the quaint old city of Salzburg. Up on the heights above the town the battlements of the great castle caught a reflection of the last gleams of light in the sky. But the narrow streets below were quite in shadow.

In one of the substantial looking houses on a principal thoroughfare, called the Getreide Gasse, lights gleamed from windows on the third floor. Within, all was arranged as if for some special occasion. The larger room, with its three windows looking on the street, was immaculate in its neatness. The brass candlesticks shone like gold, the mahogany table was polished like a mirror, the simple furniture likewise. For today was Father Mozart's birthday and the little household was to celebrate the event.

Mother Mozart had been busy all day putting everything in order while Nannerl, the seven year old daughter, had been helping. Little Wolfgang, now three years old, in his childish eagerness to be as busy as the others, had only hindered, and had to be reprimanded once in a while. One could never be vexed with the little elf, even if he turned somersaults in new clean clothes, or made chalk figures all over the living-room chairs. He never meant to do any harm, and was always so tenderhearted and lovable, it was hard to scold him.

Darius and the revolt of Babylon

The city of Babylon, originally the capital of the Assyrian empire, was conquered by Cyrus, the founder of the Persian monarchy, when he annexed the Assyrian empire to his dominions. It was a vast and a very magnificent and wealthy city; and Cyrus made it, for a time, one of his capitals.

When Cyrus made this conquest of Babylon, he found the Jews in captivity there. They had been made captive by Nebuchadnezzar, a previous king of Babylon, as is related in the Scriptures. The holy prophets of Judea had predicted that after seventy years the captives should return, and that Babylon itself should afterward be destroyed. The first prediction was fulfilled by the victory of Cyrus. It devolved on Darius to execute the second of these solemn and retributive decrees of heaven.

Although Darius was thus the instrument of divine Providence in the destruction of Babylon, he was unintentionally and unconsciously so. In the terrible scenes connected with the siege and the storming of the ill-fated city, it was the impulse of his own hatred and revenge that he was directly obeying; he was not at all aware that he was, at the same time, the messenger of the divine displeasure. The wretched Babylonians, in the storming and destruction of their city, were expiating a double criminality. Their pride, their wickedness, their wanton cruelty toward the Jews, had brought upon them the condemnation of God, while their political treason and rebellion, or, at least, what was considered treason and rebellion aroused the implacable resentment of their king.
Causes of discontent.

Earth and Ozone hole

Ozone is an unstable molecule made up of three oxygen atoms (O3). It is found at two levels in the atmosphere. Near the ground  , it is toxic , notably for the respiratory tract and mucosa.This ozone is generated by pollution , mainly from motor vehicles. Ozone is also found at high altitude in the stratosphere.
Here , there is a "layer" some 20 to 25 km above the Earth , wich is formed through equilibrium between its formation and destruction under the effect of solar radiation, from temperature changes and from presence of other chemical substances. This layer protects us from some of the harmful rays of the sun , such as ultraviolet radiation.

When we talk about the hole in the ozone layer it is in this stratospheric ozone.The discover of a hole in the ozone layer goes back to the 1980s. It was in the Antartic that the first ground measurements of ozone levels produced some surprising results. As early as 1985 , Joseph Farman , from the British Antarctic Survey, published the results of his observations in Nture. A "hole" , or a drop in concentration , albeit temporary but very marked, appeared each spring in the stratospheric ozone layer above the Antartic. This phenomenon mainly occured in the lower stratosphere. What is the situation today ? The next year , his phenomenon was investigated by NASA , the American Space Agency. A report drawn up with the help of some hundred or so experts from all over the world suggested that stratospheric ozone concentration had fallen on average by 1.7 to 3% in the northern hemisphere between 1969 and 1986 , despite major annual variations.However , by the end of the 1980s , the scientific community had reached agreement about the cause of this depletion in both the Antarctic and Arctic regions : halogenated hydrocarbons, and particulary the notorious CFCs ( chlorofluorocarbons).

The Gulf Stream stopped ?

For most people , slowing or even stopping the Gulf Stream could only be a sci-fi story.This vast oceanic current on the surface of the Atlantic , wich runs from  the intertropical zone towards the shores of Europe (thus ensuring our mild winters and temperate summer) cannot simply "break down".

However , a reduction in its intensity , or even its coming to a complete halt , is not impossible.The climatic history of our planet shows this.The Gulf Stream has already seen some major disturbances to its "flow".Canadian , American and British researchers , whose work was partly funded by the European Union's 5th Framework Research Programme , reckon that over the past ten years , the global warming of our planet has modified the salinity of ots oceans , wich in turn may disturb the circulation of marine currents ( know as thermohaline circulation).

If the Gulf Stream malfunctions , then Europe , deprived of ots effects , will in turn lurch towards a new era of lower temperatures. In other word , winters in Lisabon may become as rigurous as those in New York. Fact or fiction ? The climatic history of our planet shows that such a development in the past - a considerable  influx of fresh water in the North Atlantic resulting from a massive offloading of ice from the American ice sheet - has already seen the Gulf Stream mechanism put "out of order".A question of salinity It is the increased evaporation of surface water in  temperate regions , generating a significant surplus of water vapour in the atmosphere and more precipitation of fresh water at higher  latitudes , that could be briging about  such a change in the salinity of the North Atlantic.

God and the Univers

God and the Universe.--To the superficial reader it may appear at first sight, that the theory of the Aether suggested in this work leaves no place in the Universe for the operations and existence of an Infinite and living Spirit, a God. It may be objected, that if all matter and all modes of motion find their physical origin in one common and primordial medium, the electromagnetic Aether, where is the necessity for the existence of an Eternal and Infinite Spirit?

At first sight there appears some force in the objection, but it loses its point when we come to view the Universe from the standpoint of spirit phenomena. The purpose of the writer in this work has been to deal with natural phenomena only, purely from the philosophical and scientific standpoint. Spirit phenomena (which is equally as real and obvious as natural phenomena) have no part or place in a work which deals with scientific facts and data, but demand and will receive in a future work equal consideration and philosophic treatment. A man must indeed be lacking in vision who cannot see behind all things the evidence of a richer and fuller truth than that which merely lies on the surface, or who fails to read and learn the greatest truth that circles the Universe in its ultimate unity, which indisputably points to the existence of an Eternal and ever-living Spirit, a God. I affirm that there is no scientific truth, even including the law of the conservation of matter and motion, which has been enunciated in this work, but what is reconcilable with the existence of an Eternal and Infinite Spirit; and although such a statement may seem a paradox, yet I am convinced that before many more years have passed, the reconciliation of natural with spiritual phenomena will be an accomplished fact. The fool to-day may say in his heart, there is no God, but ere long not only religion, but Science herself, shall expose his lack of wisdom and his folly.

Science in China

Chinese society has been recognized throughout history for its tradition and stability of the bureaucracy. By the fifteenth century, China has successfully applied more scientific knowledge than in Europe.

The Chinese discovered paper technology since 105. The first printed text to see the light of day was in 868. By in the year 100 the Chinese have found that a magnet is oriented only towards the North Pole, but did not use magnets on sailing until 969 In X century during wars, used weapons detonating powder. According to reports the Venetian traveler Marco Polo, in 1237 had firearms.
Ratchet, the most important element of a clock, was invented in 725. But the Chinese were familiar with many other mechanical systems such as Crank and piston rod, long before they become known to Europeans. Foalele kiln, operated by hydraulic wheels, has helped develop amazing technology of iron and steel production.

Besides technological advances, Chinese civilization has made enormous steps towards development of the theory about matter and life. For example, it seems that they have always been convinced that the blood circulates through the veins and arteries. The first law of motion formulated by Isaac Newton, that a body will not stop moving unless it is stopped by a force contrary to that which it moves, was set forth by the Chinese almost 2000 years before the English physicist.

Buddha and Buddhism history

In the sixth century before the Christian era, religion was forgotten in India. The lofty teachings of the Vedas were thrown into the background. There was much priestcraft everywhere. The insincere priests traded on religion. They duped the people in a variety of ways and amassed wealth for themselves. They were quite irreligious. In the name of religion, people followed in the footsteps of the cruel priests and performed meaningless rituals. They killed innocent dumb animals and did various sacrifices. The country was in dire need of a reformer of Buddha's type. At such a critical period, when there were cruelty, degeneration and unrighteousness everywhere, reformer Buddha was born to put down priestcraft and animal sacrifices, to save the people and disseminate the message of equality, unity and cosmic love everywhere.
Buddha's father was Suddhodana, king of the Sakhyas. Buddha's mother was named Maya. Buddha was born in B.C. 560 and died at the age of eighty in B.C. 480. The place of his birth was a grove known as Lumbini, near the city of Kapilavastu, at the foot of Mount Palpa in the Himalayan ranges within Nepal. This small city Kapilavastu stood on the bank of the little river Rohini, some hundred miles north-east of the city of Varnasi. As the time drew nigh for Buddha to enter the world, the gods themselves prepared the way before him with celestial portents and signs. Flowers bloomed and gentle rains fell, although out of season; heavenly music was heard, delicious scents filled the air. The body of the child bore at birth the thirty-two auspicious marks (Mahavyanjana) which indicated his future greatness, besides secondary marks (Anuvyanjana) in large numbers. Maya died seven days after her son's birth. The child was brought up by Maya's sister Mahaprajapati, who became its foster-mother.
On the birth of the child, Siddhartha, the astrologers predicted to its father Suddhodana: "The child, on attaining manhood, would become either a universal monarch (Chakravarti), or abandoning house and home, would assume the robe of a monk and become a Buddha, a perfectly enlightened soul, for the salvation of mankind". Then the king said: "What shall my son see to make him retire from the world ?". The astrologer replied: "Four signs". "What four ?" asked the king. "A decrepit old man, a diseased man, a dead man and a monk - these four will make the prince retire from the world" replied the astrologers.
Buddha's original name was Siddhartha. It meant one who had accomplished his aim. Gautama was Siddhartha's family name. Siddhartha was known all over the world as Buddha, the Enlightened. He was also known by the name of Sakhya Muni, which meant an ascetic of the Sakhya tribe.

The Alexandrian School

"In the year 331 B.C.," wrote Kingsley, "one of the greatest intellects whose influence the world has ever felt, saw, with his eagle glance, the unrivalled advantages of the spot which is now Alexandria, and conceived the mighty project of making it the point of union of two, or rather of three worlds. In a new city named after himself, Europe, Asia and Africa were to meet and hold communion." The School of Alexandria became, after the decay of Greek culture, the centre of learning for the world, and when the Empire of Alexander the Great was subdivided, the Egyptian share fell to the first Ptolemy, who, under the direction of Aristotle, founded the Alexandrian Library, containing at first fifty thousand, and finally seven hundred thousand volumes. Every student who came to the University of Alexandria, and possessed a book of which there was not a copy in the Alexandrian Library, was compelled to present the book to the library. The first Ptolemy also fostered the study of medicine and of dissection. Eumenes likewise established a library at Pergamos. It is instructive to follow the history of the great Library of Alexandria. The greater part of the library, which contained the collected literature of Greece, Rome, India and Egypt, was housed in the famous museum in the part of Alexandria called the Brucheion. This part was destroyed by fire during the siege of Alexandria by Julius Cæsar. Mark Antony, then, at the urgent desire of Cleopatra, transferred to Alexandria the books and manuscripts from Pergamos. The other part of the library was kept at Alexandria in the Serapeum, the temple of Jupiter Serapis, and there it remained till the time of Theodosius the Great, until in 391 A.D. both temple and library were almost completely destroyed by a fanatical mob of Christians led by the Archbishop Theophilus. When Alexandria was taken by the Arabs in 641, under the Calif Omar, the destruction was completed.

Ptolemy gathered to the museum at Alexandria a number of very learned men, who lived within its walls and were provided with salaries, the whole system closely resembling a university. Grammar, prosody, mythology, astronomy and philosophy were studied, and great attention was given to the study of medicine. Euclid was the teacher of Mathematics, and Hipparchus of Alexandria was the father of Astronomy. The teaching of medicine and of astronomy was for long based upon observation of ascertained facts. The Alexandrian School endured for close upon a thousand years, and its history may be divided into two periods, namely, from 323 to 30 B.C., during the period of the Ptolemies, and from 30 B.C. to 640 A.D. The second period was distinguished for the study of speculative philosophy, and of the religious philosophy of the Gnostics, and was not a scientific period.

Begin of the Univers

The noted scientific cosmologist, P. James E. Peebles, summed up the current state of this field by saying that at its heart is the solidly established big bang theory. But Peebles immediately cautioned, "That the universe is expanding and cooling is the essence of the big bang theory. You will notice I have said nothing about an "explosion" – the big bang theory describes how our universe is evolving, not how it began." To the big bang, he tells us, scientists are trying to add the theory of inflation, that is, that early in its life the universe expanded rapidly. There is also strong evidence that most of the mass of the universe cannot be accounted for by the things we see, but there must be some sort of unknown dark matter. Further, it appears that something, some dark energy or quintessence, is making the universe accelerate.

By 1929, however, the picture was changing. Edwin Hubble was discovering other galaxies, and found that the farther away they were, the more the light from them was shifted towards the red end of the spectrum, indicating that they were moving away and the universe was therefore expanding. And physicists like Alexander Friedmann and George Lemaître and others had uncovered Einstein’s apparent mistake. In 1965, two Bell Laboratory scientists, Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson, while trying to eliminate radio interference, discovered cosmic background microwave radiation left over from the big bang.
Now we are faced with a universe so big and so old that it defies our imaginations to grasp it. It appears to have begun 15 billion years ago. Our galaxy, alone, has some 100 billion stars, and it is just one of perhaps a 100 billion galaxies, and this immense universe is expanding at an ever increasing rate.

This is an awe-inspiring picture, but what does it say about the origin of the universe? Let’s imagine that the scientific cosmologists have been creating an ever more detailed and vivid movie of the structure and movement of the universe, and this film, when it is played backwards, makes the universe appear as if it is coming together and beginning in an intensely hot and dense state. But the real question is whether this movie takes us back to the absolute beginning, or very origin of the universe. It doesn’t appear to do so because the basic laws of nature, as described by Einstein’s relativity, break down as we approach this beginning. It is as if the film runs out and just before we reach the beginning we are dazzled with a blinding white light. And we are faced with the very difficult question: can science find a way to talk about the very beginning of the universe, or is this simply outside its scope?

The Death of Darius the Great

The city of Athens and the plain of Marathon are situated upon a peninsula. The principal port by which the city was ordinarily approached was on the southern shore of the peninsula, though the Persians had landed on the northern side. Of course, in their retreat from the field of battle, they fled to the north. When they were beyond the reach of their enemies and fairly at sea, they were at first somewhat perplexed to determine what to do. Datis was extremely unwilling to return to Darius with the news of such a defeat. On the other hand, there seemed but little hope of any other result if he were to attempt a second landing.

Hippias, their Greek guide, was killed in the battle. He expected to be killed, for his mind, on the morning of the battle, was in a state of great despondency and dejection. Until that time he had felt a strong and confident expectation of success, but his feelings had then been very suddenly changed. His confidence had arisen from the influence of a dream, his dejection from a cause more frivolous still; so that he was equally irrational in his hope and in his despair.
The omen which seemed to him to portend success to the enterprise in which he had undertaken to act as guide, was merely that he dreamed one night that he saw, and spent some time in company with, his mother. In attempting to interpret this dream in the morning, it seemed to him that Athens, his native city, was represented by his mother, and that the vision denoted that he was about to be restored to Athens again. He was extremely elated at this supernatural confirmation of his hopes, and would have gone into the battle certain of victory, had it not been that another circumstance occurred at the time of the landing to blast his hopes. He had, himself, the general charge of the disembarkation. He stationed the ships at their proper places near the shore, and formed the men upon the beach as they landed. While he was thus engaged, standing on the sand, he suddenly sneezed. He was an old man, and his teeth—those that remained—were loose. One of them was thrown out in the act of sneezing, and it fell into the sand. Hippias was alarmed at this occurrence, considering it a bad omen. He looked a long time for the tooth in vain, and then exclaimed that all was over. The joining of his tooth to his mother earth was the event to which his dream referred, and there was now no hope of any further fulfillment of it. He went on mechanically, after this, in marshaling his men and preparing for battle, but his mind was oppressed with gloomy forebodings. He acted, in consequence, feebly and with indecision; and when the Greeks explored the field on the morning after the battle, his body was found among the other mutilated and ghastly remains which covered the ground.
As the Persian fleet moved, therefore, along the coast of Attica, they had no longer their former guide. They were still, however, very reluctant to leave the country. They followed the shore of the peninsula until they came to the promontory of Sunium, which forms the southeastern extremity of it. They doubled this cape, and then followed the southern shore of the peninsula until they arrived at the point opposite to Athens on that side. In the mean time, however, the Spartan troops which had been sent for to aid the Athenians in the contest, but which had not arrived in time to take part in the battle, reached the ground; and the indications which the Persians observed, from the decks of their galleys, that the country was thoroughly aroused, and was every where ready to receive them, deterred them from making any further attempts to land. After lingering, therefore, a short time near the shore, the fleet directed its course again toward the coasts of Asia.
The mind of Datis was necessarily very ill at ease. He dreaded the wrath of Darius; for despots are very prone to consider military failures as the worst of crimes. The expedition had not, however, been entirely a failure. Datis had conquered many of the Greek islands, and he had with him, on board his galleys, great numbers of prisoners, and a vast amount of plunder which he had obtained from them. Still, the greatest and most important of the objects which Darius had commissioned him to accomplish had been entirely defeated, and he felt, accordingly, no little anxiety in respect to the reception which he was to expect at Susa.
One night he had a dream which greatly disturbed him. He awoke in the morning with an impression upon his mind, which he had derived from the dream, that some temple had been robbed by his soldiers in the course of his expedition, and that the sacrilegious booty which had been obtained was concealed somewhere in the fleet. He immediately ordered a careful search to be instituted, in which every ship was examined. At length they found, concealed in one of the galleys, a golden statue of Apollo. Datis inquired what city it had been taken from. They answered from Delium. Delium was on the coast of Attica, near the place where the Persians had landed, at the time of their advance on Marathon. Datis could not safely or conveniently go back there to restore it to its place. He determined, therefore, to deposit it at Delos for safe keeping, until it could be returned to its proper home.

Charles Darwin - Origin of Species

Charles Robert Darwin was born at Shrewsbury, England, Feb. 12, 1809, of a family distinguished on both sides. Abandoning medicine for natural history, he joined H.M.S. Beagle in 1831 on the five years' voyage, which he described in "The Voyage of the Beagle," and to which he refers in the introduction to his masterpiece. The "Origin of Species" containing, in the idea of natural selection, the distinctive contribution of Darwin to the theory of organic evolution, was published in November, 1859. In only one brief sentence did he there allude to man, but twelve years later he published the "Descent of Man," in which the principles of the earlier volume found their logical outcome.
In other works Darwin added vastly to our knowledge of coral reefs, organic variation, earthworms, and the comparative expression of the emotions in man and animals. Darwin died in ignorance of the work upon variation done by his great contemporary, Gregor Mendel, whose work was rediscovered in 1900. "Mendelism" necessitates much modification of Darwin's work, which, however, remains the maker of the greatest epoch in the study of life and the most important contribution to that study ever made. Its immortal author died on April 19, 1882, and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

I.—Creation or Evolution?

When on board H.M.S. Beagle as naturalist, I was much struck with certain facts in the distribution of the organic beings inhabiting South America, and in the geographical relations of the present to the past inhabitants of that continent. These facts, as will be seen in the latter chapters of this volume, seemed to throw some light on the origin of species—that mystery of mysteries, as it has been called by one of our greatest philosophers. On my return home, in 1837, it occurred to me that something might perhaps be made out on this question by patiently accumulating and reflecting on all sorts of facts which could possibly have any bearing on it. After five years' work, I allowed myself to speculate on the subject, and drew up some short notes; these I enlarged in 1844 into a sketch of the conclusions which then seemed to me probable. From that period to the present day I have steadily pursued the same object. I hope that I may be excused for entering on these personal details, as I give them to show that I have not been hasty in coming to a decision.

In considering the origin of species, it is quite conceivable that a naturalist, reflecting on the mutual affinities of organic beings, on their embryological relations, their geographical distribution, geological succession, and other such facts, might come to the conclusion that species had not been independently created, but had descended, like varieties, from other species. Nevertheless, such a conclusion, even if well founded, would be unsatisfactory, until it could be shown how the innumerable species inhabiting this world have been modified so as to acquire that perfection of structure and co-adaptation which justly excites our admiration.

Mystery of Machu Picchu

It was in July, 1911, that we first entered that marvelous canyon of the Urubamba, where the river escapes from the cold regions near Cuzco by tearing its way through gigantic mountains of granite. From Torontoy to Colpani the road runs through a land of matchless charm. It has the majestic grandeur of the Canadian Rockies, as well as the startling beauty of the Nuuanu Pali near Honolulu, and the enchanting vistas of the Koolau Ditch Trail on Maul. In the variety of its charms and the power of its spell, I know of no place in the world which can compare with it.
Not only has it great snow peaks looming above the clouds more than two miles overhead; gigantic precipices of many-colored granite rising sheer for thousands of feet above the foaming, glistening, roaring rapids; it has also, in striking contrast, orchids and tree ferns, the delectable beauty of luxurious vegetation, and the mysterious witchery of the jungle. One is drawn irresistibly onward by ever-recurring surprises through a deep, winding gorge, turning and twisting past overhanging cliffs of incredible height. Above all, there is the fascination of finding here and there under the swaying vines, or perched on top of a beetling crag, the rugged masonry of a bygone race; and of trying to understand the bewildering romance of the ancient builders who ages ago sought refuge in a region which appears to have been expressly designed by Nature as a sanctuary for the oppressed, a place where they might fearlessly and patiently give expression to their passion for walls of enduring beauty. Space forbids any attempt to describe in detail the constantly changing panorama, the rank tropical foliage, the countless terraces, the towering cliffs, the glaciers peeping out between the clouds.

We had camped at a place near the river, called Mandor Pampa. Melchor Arteaga, proprietor of the neighboring farm, had told us of ruins at Machu Picchu.

The morning of July 24th dawned in a cold drizzle. Arteaga shivered and seemed inclined to stay in his hut. I offered to pay him well if he would show me the ruins. He demurred and said it was too hard a climb for such a wet day. When he found that we were willing to pay him a sol, three or four times the ordinary daily wage in this vicinity, he finally agreed to guide us to the ruins. No one supposed that they would be particularly interesting. Accompanied by Sergeant Carrasco I left camp at ten o'clock and went some distance upstream. On the road we passed a venomous snake which recently had been killed. This region has an unpleasant notoriety for being the favorite haunt of “vipers.” The lance-headed or yellow viper, commonly known as the fer-de-lance, a very venomous serpent capable of making considerable springs when in pursuit of its prey, is common hereabouts. Later two of our mules died from snake-bite.
After a walk of three quarters of an hour the guide left the main road and plunged down through the jungle to the bank of the river. Here there was a primitive “bridge” which crossed the roaring rapids at its narrowest part, where the stream was forced to flow between two great boulders. The bridge was made of half a dozen very slender logs, some of which were not long enough to span the distance between the boulders. They had been spliced and lashed together with vines. Arteaga and Carrasco took off their shoes and crept gingerly across, using their somewhat prehensile toes to keep from slipping. It was obvious that no one could have lived for an instant in the rapids, but would immediately have been dashed to pieces against granite boulders. I am frank to confess that I got down on hands and knees and crawled across, six inches at a time. Even after we reached the other side I could not help wondering what would happen to the “bridge” if a particularly heavy shower should fall in the valley above. A light rain had fallen during the night. The river had risen so that the bridge was already threatened by the foaming rapids. It would not take much more rain to wash away the bridge entirely. If this should happen during the day it might be very awkward. As a matter of fact, it did happen a few days later and the next explorers to attempt to cross the river at this point found only one slender log remaining.

The Monguls

Three thousand years is a period of time long enough to produce great changes, and in the course of that time a great many different nations and congeries of nations were formed in the regions of Central Asia. The term Tartars has been employed generically to denote almost the whole race. The Monguls are a portion of this people, who are said to derive their name from Mongol Khan, one of their earliest and most powerful chieftains. The descendants of this khan called themselves by his name, just as the descendants of the twelve sons of Jacob called themselves Israelites, or children of Israel, from the name Israel, which was one of the designations of the great patriarch from whose twelve sons the twelve tribes of the Jews descended. The country inhabited by the Monguls was called Mongolia.

To obtain a clear conception of a single Mongul family, you must imagine, first, a rather small, short, thick-set man, with long black hair, a flat face, and a dark olive complexion. His wife, if her face were not so flat and her nose so broad, would be quite a brilliant little beauty, her eyes are so black and sparkling. The children have much the appearance of young Indians as they run shouting among the cattle on the hill-sides, or, if young, playing half-naked about the door of the hut, their long black hair streaming in the wind.Like all the rest of the inhabitants of Central Asia, these people depended almost entirely for their subsistence on the products of their flocks and herds. Of course, their great occupation consisted in watching their animals while feeding by day, and in putting them in places of security by night, in taking care of and rearing the young, in making butter and cheese from the milk, and clothing from the skins, in driving the cattle to and fro in search of pasturage, and, finally, in making war on the people of other tribes to settle disputes arising out of conflicting claims to territory, or to replenish their stock of sheep and oxen by seizing and driving off the flocks of their neighbors.The animals which the Monguls most prized were camels, oxen and cows, sheep, goats, and horses.
They were very proud of their horses, and they rode them with great courage and spirit. They always went mounted in going to war. Their arms were bows and arrows, pikes or spears, and a sort of sword or sabre, which was manufactured in some of the towns toward the west, and supplied to them in the course of trade by great traveling caravans.Although the mass of the people lived in the open country with their flocks and herds, there were, notwithstanding, a great many towns and villages, though such centres of population were much fewer and less important among them than they are in countries the inhabitants of which live by tilling the ground. Some of these towns were the residences of the khans and of the heads of tribes. Others were places of manufacture or centres of commerce, and many of them were fortified with embankments of earth or walls of stone.The habitations of the common people, even those built in the towns, were rude huts made so as to be easily taken down and removed.

About the nuclear explosion and radiation

In nuclear explosions, about 90 percent of the energy is released in less than one millionth of a second. Most of this is in the form of the heat and shock waves which produce the damage. It is this immediate and direct explosive power which could devastate the urban centers in a major nuclear war.

Compared with the immediate colossal destruction suffered in target areas, the more subtle, longer term effects of the remaining 10 percent of the energy released by nuclear weapons might seem a matter of secondary concern. But the dimensions of the initial catastrophe should not overshadow the after-effects of a nuclear war. They would be global, affecting nations remote from the fighting for many years after the holocaust, because of the way nuclear explosions behave in the atmosphere and the radioactive products released by nuclear bursts.

When a weapon is detonated at the surface of the earth or at low altitudes, the heat pulse vaporizes the bomb material, target, nearby structures, and underlying soil and rock, all of which become entrained in an expanding, fast-rising fireball. As the fireball rises, it expands and cools, producing the distinctive mushroom cloud, signature of nuclear explosions.

The altitude reached by the cloud depends on the force of the explosion. When yields are in the low-kiloton range, the cloud will remain in the lower atmosphere and its effects will be entirely local. But as yields exceed 30 kilotons, part of the cloud will punch into the stratosphere, which begins about 7 miles up. With yields of 2-5 megatons or more, virtually all of the cloud of radioactive debris and fine dust will climb into the stratosphere. The heavier materials reaching the lower edge of the stratosphere will soon settle out, as did the Castle/Bravo fallout at Rongelap. But the lighter particles will penetrate high into the stratosphere, to altitudes of 12 miles and more, and remain there for months and even years. Stratospheric circulation and diffusion will spread this material around the world.
Both the local and worldwide fallout hazards of nuclear explosions depend on a variety of interacting factors: weapon design, explosive force, altitude and latitude of detonation, time of year, and local weather conditions.

Taj Mahal - Indian beauty

Agra, once the capital of the Mughal Empire during the 16th and early 18th centuries, is one and a half hours by express train from New Delhi. Tourists from all over the world visit Agra not to see the ruins of the red sandstone fortress built by the Mughal emperors but to make a pilgrimage to Taj Mahal, India’s most famous architectural wonder, in a land where magnificent temples and edificies abound to remind visitors about the rich civilization of a country that is slowly but surely lifting itself into an industrialized society.

The postcard picture of Taj Mahal does not adequately convey the legend, the poetry and the romance that shroud what Rabindranath Tagore calls "a teardrop on the cheek of time". Taj Mahal means "Crown Palace" and is in fact the most well preserved and architecturally beautiful tomb in the world. It is best described by the English poet, Sir Edwin Arnold, as "Not a piece of architecture, as other buildings are, but the proud passions of an emperor’s love wrought in living stones." It is a celebration of woman built in marble and that’s the way to appreciate it.

Mumtaz MahalShah JahanTaj Mahal stands on the bank of River Yamuna, which otherwise serves as a wide moat defending the Great Red Fort of Agra, the center of the Mughal emperors until they moved their capital to Delhi in 1637. It was built by the fifth Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan in 1631 in memory of his second wife, Mumtaz Mahal, a Muslim Persian princess. She died while accompanying her husband in Burhanpur in a campaign to crush a rebellion after giving birth to their 14th child. The death so crushed the emperor that all his hair and beard were said to have grown snow white in a few months.

Crystal skulls mystery

Large quartz crystal skulls have generated great interest and fascination since they began to surface in public and private collections, during the second half of the nineteenth century. Some of them have been attributed to the work of ancient Mexica*, Mixtec or even Maya stone workers in Mexico. Others are said to be examples of colonial Mexican art, for use in churches, perhaps as bases for crucifixes.

Scientists at the British Museum studied traces of tool marks preserved in the highly polished surfaces of this crystal skull. These show that it was extensively worked using rotary cutting wheels, unknown in Mexico before the arrival of the Spanish in 1519. Furthermore, analysis of inclusions in the quartz crystal indicates that the large block of material was obtained in the nineteenth century from a source far beyond ancient Mexican trade links, probably Brazil or Madagascar.
First, art critic Frank Dordland started investigating the strange skull. After a closer investigation, he discovered that the skull had a complicated system of lenses, prisms, and channels, creating unusual optical effects. The investigator was surprised to discover no signs of processing on the skull's perfectly polished surface. They couldn't be seen even with a microscope. Frank Dordland even addressed Hewlett-Packard, the famous company that specialized in crystal oscillators at that time, for a competent examination of the crystal.

Solomon's Temple

The Temple of Solomon being destroyed by the Babylonians, it may not be amiss here to give a description of that edifice.
This  Temple looked eastward, and stood in a square area, called the Separate Place: and  before it stood the Altar, in the center of another square area, called the Inner Court, or Court of the Priests: and these two square areas, being parted only by a marble rail, made an area 200 cubits long from west to east, and 100 cubits broad: this area was compassed on the west with a wall, and  on the other three sides with a pavement fifty cubits broad, upon which stood the buildings for the Priests, with cloysters under them: and the pavement was faced on the inside with a marble rail before the cloysters: the whole made an area 250 cubits long from west to east, and 200 broad, and was compassed with an outward Court, called also the Great Court, or Court of the People,  which was an hundred cubits on every side; for there were but two Courts built by Solomon: and the outward Court was about four cubits lower than the inward, and was compassed on the west with a wall, and on the other three sides  with a pavement fifty cubits broad, upon which stood the buildings for the People. All this was the  Sanctuary, and made a square area 500 cubits long, and 500 broad, and was compassed with a walk, called the Mountain of the House: and this walk being 50 cubits broad, was compassed with a wall six cubits broad, and six high, and six hundred long on every side: and the cubit was about 21½, or almost 22 inches of the English foot, being the sacred cubit of the Jews, which was an hand-breadth, or the sixth part of its length bigger than the common cubit.

Hector and Achilles

In all their battles, the booty won by the Greeks from the enemy had been divided among the chiefs and soldiers, and on one occasion female slaves were given to Agamemnon and Achilles. These girls were not born slaves, but were captives of war reduced to slavery, as was then the custom; for, while the men and boys were always killed, the women and girls were forced to be the servants of the victors.
Now, it happened that the slave given to Agamemnon was the daughter of a priest of A-pol´lo. He was very sorry when he heard she had fallen into the hands of the Greeks, and sent a message to Agamemnon, offering to give him a large sum of money if he would only set her free.
Agamemnon would not accept the money, and sent a rude message to the priest, who, in anger, asked Apollo to avenge this insult by sending a plague upon the Greeks. The god heard and granted this prayer, and soon all the soldiers in the Greek camp were suffering from a terrible disease, of which many of them died.
As no remedy could relieve the sufferers, the Greek leaders consulted an oracle, to find out how the plague might be stopped. Then they learned that Apollo was angry with Agamemnon because he had refused to give up his slave, and that the Greeks would continue to suffer until he made up his mind to give her back to her father.
Thus forced to give her up to save his men from further suffering and even from death, Agamemnon angrily said he would take Achilles' slave instead, and he had her brought to wait upon him in his tent.
Achilles, who wanted to save the Greeks from the plague, allowed the maiden to depart, warning Agamemnon, however, that he would no longer fight for a chief who could be so selfish and unjust. As soon as the girl had gone, therefore, he laid aside his fine armor; and although he heard the call for battle, and the din of fighting, he staid quietly within his tent.

About meteor

Can there be any one upon the Earth who has not been struck by the phosphorescent lights that glide through the somber night, leaving a brilliant silver or golden track—the luminous, ephemeral trail of a meteor?
Sometimes, when Night has silently spread the immensity of her wings above the weary Earth, a shining speck is seen to detach itself in the shades of evening from the starry vault, shooting lightly through the constellations to lose itself in the infinitude of space.
These bewitching sparks attract our eyes and chain our senses. Fascinating celestial fireflies, their dainty flames dart in every direction through space, sowing the fine dust of their gilded wings upon the fields of Heaven. They are born to die; their life is only a breath; yet the impression which they make upon the imagination of mortals is of the profoundest.
The young girl dreaming in the delicious tranquility of the transparent night smiles at this charming sister in the Heavens . What can not this adorable star announce to the tender and loving heart? Is it the shy messenger of the happiness so long desired? Its unpremeditated appearance fills the soul with a ray of hope and makes it tremble. It is a golden beam that glides into the heart, expanding it in the thrills of a sudden and ephemeral pleasure.... The radiant meteor seems to quit the velvet of the deep blue sky to respond to the appeal of the imploring voice that seeks its succor.
What secrets has it not surprised! And who bears malice against it? It is the friend of the betrothed who invoke its passage to confide their wishes, and associate it with their dreams. Tradition holds that if a wish be formulated during the visible passage of a meteor it will certainly be fulfilled before the year is out. Between ourselves, however, this is but a surviving figment of the ancestral imagination, for this celestial jewel takes no such active part in the doings of Humanity.... Besides, try to express a wish distinctly in a second.
It is a curious fact that while comets have so often spread terror on the Earth, shooting stars should on the contrary have been regarded with benevolent feelings at all times. And what is a shooting star? These dainty excursionists from the celestial shores are not, as is supposed, true stars. They are atoms, nothings, minute fragments deriving in general from the disintegration of comets. They come to us from a vast distance, from millions on millions of miles, and circle in swarms around the Sun, following a very elongated ellipse which closely resembles that of the cometary orbit. Their flight is extremely rapid, reaching sometimes more than 40 kilometers (25 miles) per second, a cometary speed that is, as we have seen, greatly above that of our terrestrial vehicle, which amounts to 29 to 30 kilometers (about 19 miles).
These little corpuscles are not intrinsically luminous; but when the orbit of a swarm of meteors crosses our planet, a violent shock arises, the speed of which may be as great as 72 kilometers (45 miles) in the first second if we meet the star shower directly; the average rate, however, does not exceed 30 to 40 kilometers (19 to 25 miles), for these meteors nearly always cross our path obliquely. The height at which they arrive is usually 110 kilometers (68 miles), and 80 kilometers (50 miles) at the moment of disappearance of the meteor; but shooting stars have been observed at 300 kilometers (186 miles).
The friction caused by this collision high up in the atmosphere transforms the motion into heat. The molecules incandescence, and burn like true stars with a brilliancy that is often magnificent.
But their glory is of short duration. The excessive heat resulting from the shock consumes the poor firefly; its remains evaporate, and drop slowly to the Earth, where they are deposited on the surface of the soil in a sort of ferruginous dust mixed with carbon and nickel. Some one hundred and forty-six milliards of them reach us annually, as seen by the unaided eye, and many more in the telescope; the effect of these showers of meteoric matter is an insensible increase in the mass of our globe, a slight lessening of its rotary motion, and the acceleration of the lunar movements of revolution.
Although the appearance of shooting stars is a common enough phenomenon, visible every night of the year, there are certain times when they arrive in swarms, from different quarters of the sky. The most remarkable dates in this connection are the night of August 10th and the morning of November 14th. Every one knows the shooting stars of August 10th, because they arrive in the fine warm summer evenings so favorable to general contemplation of the Heavens. The phenomenon lasts till the 12th, and even beyond, but the maximum is on the 10th. When the sky is very clear, and there is no moon, hundreds of shooting stars can be counted on those three nights, sometimes thousands. They all seem to come from the same quarter of the Heavens, which is called the radiant, and is situated for the August swarm in the constellation of Perseus, whence they have received the name of Perseids. Our forefathers also called them the tears of St. Lawrence, because the feast of that saint is on the same date. These shooting stars describe a very elongated ellipse, and their orbit has been identified with that of the Great Comet of 1862.
The shower of incandescent asteroids on November 14th is often much more abundant than the preceding. In 1799, 1833, and 1866, the meteors were so numerous that they were described as showers of rain, especially on the first two dates. For several hours the sky was furrowed with falling stars. An English mariner, Andrew Ellicot, who made the drawing we reproduce , described the phenomenon as stupendous and alarming (November 12, 1799, 3 A.M.). The same occurred on November 13, 1833. The meteors that scarred the Heavens on that night were reckoned at 240,000. These shooting stars received the name of Leonids, because their radiant is situated in the constellation of the Lion.
This swarm follows the same orbit as the comet of 1866, which travels as far as Uranus, and comes back to the vicinity of the Sun every thirty-three years. Hence we were entitled to expect another splendid apparition in 1899, but the expectations of the astronomers were disappointed. All the preparations for the appropriate reception of these celestial visitors failed to bring about the desired result. The notes made in observatories, or in balloons, admitted of the registration of only a very small number of meteors. The maximum was thirteen. During that night, some 200 shooting stars were counted. There were more in 1900, 1901, and, above all, in 1902. This swarm has become displaced.
The night of November 27th again is visited by a number of shooting stars that are the disaggregated remains of the Comet of Biela. This comet, discovered by Biela in 1827, accomplished its revolution in six and a half years, and down to 1846 it responded punctually to the astronomers who expected its return as fixed by calculation. But on January 13, 1846, the celestial wanderer broke in half: each fragment went its own way, side by side, to return within sight from the Earth in 1852. It was their last appearance. That year the twin comets could still be seen, though pale and insignificant. Soon they vanished into the depths of night, and never appeared again. They were looked for in vain, and were despaired of, when on November 27, 1872, instead of the shattered comet, came a magnificent rain of shooting stars. They fell through the Heavens, numerous as the flakes of a shower of snow.
The same phenomenon recurred on November 27, 1885, and confirmed the hypothesis of the demolition and disaggregation of Biela's Comet into shooting stars.

Hanibal and the battle of the Cannae

The battle of Cannæ was the last great battle fought by Hannibal in Italy. This conflict has been greatly celebrated in history, not only for its magnitude, and the terrible desperation with which it was fought, but also on account of the strong dramatic interest which the circumstances attending it are fitted to excite. This interest is perhaps, however, quite as much due to the peculiar skill of the ancient historian who narrates the story, as to the events themselves which he records.
 It was about a year after the close of the dictatorship of Fabius that this battle was fought.
That interval had been spent by the Roman consuls who were in office during that time in various military operations, which did not, however, lead to any decisive results. In the mean time, there were great uneasiness, discontent, and dissatisfaction at Rome. To have such a dangerous and terrible foe, at the head of forty thousand men, infesting the vicinage of their city, ravaging the territories of their friends and allies, and threatening continually to attack the city itself, was a continual source of anxiety and vexation. It mortified the Roman pride, too, to find that the greatest armies they could raise, and the ablest generals they could choose and commission, proved wholly unable to cope with the foe. The most sagacious of them, in fact, had felt it necessary to decline the contest with him altogether.
This state of things produced a great deal of ill humor in the city. Party spirit ran very high; tumultuous assemblies were held; disputes and contentions prevailed, and mutual criminations and recriminations without end. There were two great parties formed: that of the middling classes on one side, and the aristocracy on the other. The former were called the Plebeians, the latter the Patricians. The division between these two classes was very great and very strongly marked. There was, in consequence of it, infinite difficulty in the election of consuls.

The resurrection and immortality in ancient Egypt

In perusing the literature of the ancient Egyptians one of the first things which forces itself upon the mind of the reader is the frequency of allusions to the future life or to things which appertain thereto. The writers of the various religious and other works, belonging to all periods of Egyptian history, which have come down to us, tacitly assume throughout that those who once have lived in this world have "renewed" their life in that which is beyond the grave, and that they still live and will live until time shall be no more.
The Egyptian belief in the existence of Almighty God is old, so old that we must seek for its beginnings in pre-dynastic times; but the belief in a future life is very much older, and its beginnings must be as old, at least, as the oldest human remains which have been found in Egypt. To attempt to measure by years the remoteness of the period when these were committed to the earth, is futile, for no date that could be given them is likely to be even approximately correct, and they may as well date from B.C. 12,000 as from B.C. 8000. Of one fact, however, we may be quite certain; that is to say, that the oldest human remains that have been found in Egypt bear upon them traces of the use of bitumen, which proves that the Egyptians at the very beginning of their stay in the valley of the Nile made some attempt to preserve their dead by means of mummification. If they were, as many think, invaders who had made their way across Arabia and the Red Sea and the eastern desert of the Nile, they may have brought the idea and habit of preserving their dead with them, or they may have adopted, in a modified form, some practice in use among the aboriginal inhabitants whom they found on their arrival in Egypt; in either case the fact that they attempted to preserve their dead by the use of substances which would arrest decay is certain, and in a degree their attempt has succeeded.


One day in 1852, at Trenton, New Jersey, there appeared in the Circuit Court of the United States two men, the legal giants of their day, to argue the case of Goodyear vs. Day for infringement of patent. Rufus Choate represented the defendant and Daniel Webster the plaintiff. Webster, in the course of his plea, one of the most brilliant and moving ever uttered by him, paused for a moment, drew from himself the attention of those who were hanging upon his words, and pointed to his client. He would have them look at the man whose cause he pleaded: a man of fifty-two, who looked fifteen years older, sallow, emaciated from disease, due to long privations, bitter disappointments, and wrongs. This was Charles Goodyear, inventor of the process which put rubber into the service of the world. Said Webster: 

"And now is Charles Goodyear the discoverer of this invention of vulcanized rubber? Is he the first man upon whose mind the idea ever flashed, or to whose intelligence the fact ever was disclosed, that by carrying heat to a certain height it would cease to render plastic the India Rubber and begin to harden and metallize it? Is there a man in the world who found out that fact before Charles Goodyear? Who is he? Where is he? On what continent does he live? Who has heard of him? What books treat of him? What man among all the men on earth has seen him, known him, or named him? Yet it is certain that this discovery has been made. It is certain that it exists. It is certain that it is now a matter of common knowledge all over the civilized world. It is certain that ten or twelve years ago it was not knowledge. It is certain that this curious result has grown into knowledge by somebody's discovery and invention. And who is that somebody? The question was put to my learned opponent by my learned associate. If Charles Goodyear did not make this discovery, who did make it? Who did make it? Why, if our learned opponent had said he should endeavor to prove that some one other than Mr. Goodyear had made this discovery, that would have been very fair. I think the learned gentleman was very wise in not doing so. For I have thought often, in the course of my practice in law, that it was not very advisable to raise a spirit that one could not conveniently lay again. Now who made this discovery? And would it not be proper? I am sure it would. And would it not be manly? I am sure it would. Would not my learned friend and his coadjutor have acted a more noble part, if they had stood up and said that this invention was not Goodyear's, but it was an invention of such and such a man, in this or that country? On the contrary they do not meet Goodyear's claim by setting up a distinct claim of anybody else. They attempt to prove that he was not the inventor by little shreds and patches of testimony. Here a little bit of sulphur, and there a little parcel of lead; here a little degree of heat, a little hotter than would warm a man's hands, and in which a man could live for ten minutes or a quarter of an hour; and yet they never seem to come to the point. I think it is because their materials did not allow them to come to the manly assertion that somebody else did make this invention, giving to that somebody a local habitation and a name. We want to know the name, and the habitation, and the location of the man upon the face of this globe, who invented vulcanized rubber, if it be not he, who now sits before us.

The Gorgons

The Gorgons, Stheno, Euryale, and Medusa, were the three daughters of Phorcys and Ceto, and were the personification of those benumbing, and, as it were, petrifying sensations, which result from sudden and extreme fear.
They were frightful winged monsters, whose bodies were covered with scales; hissing, wriggling snakes clustered round their heads instead of hair; their hands were of brass; their teeth resembled the tusks of a wild boar; and their whole aspect was so appalling, that they are said to have turned into stone all who beheld them.
These terrible sisters were supposed to dwell in that remote and mysterious region in the far West, beyond the sacred stream of Oceanus.
The Gorgons were the servants of Aïdes, who made use of them to terrify and overawe those shades, doomed to be kept in a constant state of unrest as a punishment for their misdeeds, whilst the Furies, on their part, scourged them with their whips and tortured them incessantly.
The most celebrated of the three sisters was Medusa, who alone was mortal. She was originally a golden-haired and very beautiful maiden, who, as a priestess of Athene, was devoted to a life of celibacy; but, being wooed by Poseidon, whom she loved in return, she forgot her vows, and became united to him in marriage. For this offence she was punished by the goddess in a most terrible manner. Each wavy lock of the beautiful hair which had so charmed her husband, was changed into a venomous snake; her once gentle, love-inspiring eyes now became blood-shot, furious orbs, which excited fear and disgust in the mind of the beholder; whilst her former roseate hue and milk-white skin assumed a loathsome greenish tinge. Seeing herself thus transformed into so repulsive an object, Medusa fled from her home, never to return. Wandering about, abhorred, dreaded, and shunned by all the world, she now developed into a character, worthy of her outward appearance. In her despair she fled to Africa, where, as she passed restlessly from place to place, infant snakes dropped from her hair, and thus, according to the belief of the ancients, that country became the hotbed of these venomous reptiles. With the curse of Athene upon her, she turned into stone whomsoever she gazed upon, till at last, after a life of nameless misery, deliverance came to her in the shape of death, at the hands of Perseus.
It is well to observe that when the Gorgons are spoken of in the singular, it is Medusa who is alluded to.
Medusa was the mother of Pegasus and Chrysaor, father of the three-headed, winged giant Geryones, who was slain by Heracles.

Life of Hippocrates

Owing to the lapse of centuries, very little is known with certainty of the life of Hippocrates, who was called with affectionate veneration by his successors "the divine old man," and who has been justly known to posterity as "the Father of Medicine."
He was probably born about 470 B.C., and, according to all accounts, appears to have reached the advanced age of ninety years or more. He must, therefore, have lived during a period of Greek history which was characterized by great intellectual activity; for he had, as his contemporaries, Pericles the famous statesman; the poets Æschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, and Pindar; the philosopher Socrates, with his disciples Xenophon and Plato; the historians Herodotus and Thucydides; and Phidias the unrivalled sculptor.
In the island of Cos, where he was born, stood one of the most celebrated of the temples of Æsculapius, and in this temple—because he was descended from the Asclepiadæ—Hippocrates inherited from his forefathers an important position. Among the Asclepiads the habit of physical observation, and even manual training in dissection, were imparted traditionally from father to son from the earliest years, thus serving as a preparation for medical practice when there were no written treatises to study.
Although Hippocrates at first studied medicine under his father, he had afterwards for his teachers Gorgias and Democritus, both of classic fame, and Herodicus, who is known as the first person who applied gymnastic exercises to the cure of diseases.
The Asclepions, or temples of health, were erected in various parts of Greece as receptacles for invalids, who were in the habit of resorting to them to seek the assistance of the god. These temples were mostly situated in the neighbourhood of medicinal springs, and each devotee at his entrance was made to undergo a regular course of bathing and purification. Probably his diet was also carefully attended to, and at the same time his imagination was worked upon by music and religious ceremonies. On his departure, the restored patient usually showed his gratitude by presenting to the temple votive tablets setting forth the circumstances of his peculiar case. The value of these to men about to enter on medical studies can be readily understood; and it was to such treasures of recorded observations—collected during several generations—that Hippocrates had access from the commencement of his career.


In early days the land of Egypt used to end at what was called the First Cataract of the Nile, a place where the river came down in a series of rapids among a lot of rocky islets. The First Cataract has disappeared now, for British engineers have made a great dam across the Nile just at this point, and turned the whole country, for miles above the dam, into a lake. But in those days the Egyptians used to believe that the Nile, to which they owed so much, began at the First Cataract. Yet they knew of the wild country of Nubia beyond and, in very early times indeed, about 5,000 years ago, they used to send exploring expeditions into that half-desert land which we have come to know as the Soudan.

Near the First Cataract there lies the island of Elephantine, and when the Egyptian kingdom was young the great barons who owned this island were the Lords of the Egyptian Marches, just as the Percies and the Douglases were the Lords of the Marches in England and Scotland. It was their duty to keep in order the wild Nubian tribes south of the Cataract, to see that they allowed the trading caravans to pass safely, and sometimes to lead these caravans through the desert themselves. A caravan was a very different thing then from the long train of camels that we think of now when we hear the name. For, though there are some very old pictures which show that, before Egyptian history begins at all, the camel was known in Egypt, somehow that useful animal seems to have disappeared from the land for many hundreds of years.

The barons of Elephantine bore the proud title of "Keepers of the Door of the South," and, in addition, they display, seemingly just as proudly, the title "Caravan Conductors." In those days it was no easy task to lead a caravan through the Soudan, and bring it back safe with its precious load through all the wild and savage tribes who inhabited the land of Nubia. More than one of the barons of Elephantine set out with a caravan never to return, but to leave his bones, and those of his companions, to whiten among the desert sands; and one of them has told us how, hearing that his father had been killed on one of these adventurous journeys, he mustered his retainers, marched south with a train of a hundred asses, punished the tribe which had been guilty of the deed, and brought his father's body home, to be buried with all due honours.

Some of the records of these early journeys, the first attempts to explore the interior of Africa, may still be read, carved on the walls of the tombs where the brave explorers sleep. One baron, called Herkhuf, has told us of no fewer than four separate expeditions which he made into the Soudan. On his first journey, as he was still young, he went in company with his father, and was away for seven months. The next time he was allowed to go alone, and brought back his caravan safely after an absence of eight months.

On his third journey he went farther than before, and gathered so large a quantity of ivory and gold-dust that three hundred asses were required to bring his treasure home. So rich a caravan was a tempting prize for the wild tribes on the way; but Herkhuf persuaded one of the Soudanese chiefs to furnish him with a large escort, and the caravan was so strongly guarded that the other tribes did not venture to attack it, but were glad to help its leader with guides and gifts of cattle. Herkhuf brought his treasures safely back to Egypt, and the King was so pleased with his success that he sent a special messenger with a boat full of delicacies to refresh the weary traveller.

But the most successful of all his expeditions was the fourth. The King who had sent him on the other journeys had died, and was succeeded by a little boy called Pepy, who was only about six years old when he came to the throne, and who reigned for more than ninety years—the longest reign in the world's history. In the second year of Pepy's reign, the bold Herkhuf set out again for the Soudan, and this time, along with other treasures, he brought back something that his boy-King valued far more than gold or ivory.

You know how, when Stanley went in search of Emin Pasha, he discovered in the Central African forests a strange race of dwarfs, living by themselves, and very shy of strangers. Well, for all these thousands of years, the forefathers of these little dwarfs must have been living in the heart of the Dark Continent. In early days they evidently lived not so far away from Egypt as when Stanley found them, for, on at least one occasion, one of Pharaoh's servants had been able to capture one of the little men, and bring him down as a present to his master, greatly to the delight of the King and Court. Herkhuf was equally fortunate. He managed to secure a dwarf from one of these pigmy tribes, and brought him back with his caravan, that he might please the young King with his quaint antics and his curious dances.

When the King heard of the present which his brave servant was bringing back for him, he was wild with delight. The thought of this new toy was far more to the little eight-year-old, King though he was, than all the rest of the treasure which Herkhuf had gathered; and he caused a letter to be written to the explorer, telling him of his delight, and giving him all kinds of advice as to how careful he should be that the dwarf should come to no harm on the way to Court.

The letter, through all its curious old phrases, is very much the kind of letter that any boy might send on hearing of some new toy that was coming to him. "My Majesty," says the little eight-year-old Pharaoh, "wisheth to see this pigmy more than all the tribute of Punt. And if thou comest to Court having this pigmy with thee sound and whole, My Majesty will do for thee more than King Assa did for the Chancellor Baurded." (This was the man who had brought back the other dwarf in earlier days.) Little King Pepy then gives careful directions that Herkhuf is to provide proper people to see that the precious dwarf does not fall into the Nile on his way down the river; and these guards are to watch behind the place where he sleeps, and look into his bed ten times each night, that they may be sure that nothing has gone wrong.

The poor little dwarf must have had rather an uncomfortable time of it, one fancies, if his sleep was to be broken so often. Perhaps there was more danger of killing him with kindness and care, than if they had left him more to himself; but Pepy's anxiety was very like a boy. However, Herkhuf evidently succeeded in bringing his dwarf safe and sound to the King's Court, and no doubt the quaint little savage proved a splendid toy for the young King. One wonders what he thought of the great cities and the magnificent Court of Egypt, and whether his heart did not weary sometimes for the wild freedom of his lost home.

Herkhuf was so proud of the King's letter that he caused it to be engraved, word for word, on the walls of the tomb which he hewed out for himself at Elephantine, and there to this day the words can be read which tell us how old is the story of African exploration, and how a boy was always just a boy, even though he lived five thousand years ago, and reigned over a great kingdom.

Edison and phonograph

AT the opening of the Electrical Show in New York City in October, 1908, to celebrate the jubilee of the Atlantic Cable and the first quarter century of lighting with the Edison service on Manhattan Island, the exercises were all conducted by means of the Edison phonograph. This included the dedicatory speech of Governor Hughes, of New York; the modest remarks of Mr. Edison, as president; the congratulations of the presidents of several national electric bodies, and a number of vocal and instrumental selections of operatic nature. 
All this was heard clearly by a very large audience, and was repeated on other evenings. The same speeches were used again phonographically at the Electrical Show in Chicago in 1909—and now the records are preserved for reproduction a hundred or a thousand years hence. This tour de force, never attempted before, was merely an exemplification of the value of the phonograph not only in establishing at first hand the facts of history, but in preserving the human voice. What would we not give to listen to the very accents and tones of the Sermon on the Mount, the orations of Demosthenes, the first Pitt's appeal for American liberty, the Farewell of Washington, or the Address at Gettysburg? Until Edison made his wonderful invention in 1877, the human race was entirely without means for preserving or passing on to posterity its own linguistic utterances or any other vocal sound. We have some idea how the ancients looked and felt and wrote; the abundant evidence takes us back to the cave-dwellers. But all the old languages are dead, and the literary form is their embalmment. We do not even know definitely how Shakespeare's and Goldsmith's plays were pronounced on the stage in the theatres of the time; while it is only a guess that perhaps Chaucer would sound much more modern than he scans. 
The analysis of sound, which owes so much to Helmholtz, was one step toward recording; and the various means of illustrating the phenomena of sound to the eye and ear, prior to the phonograph, were all ingenious. One can watch the dancing little flames of Koenig, and see a voice expressed in tongues of fire; but the record can only be photographic. In like manner, the simple phonautograph of Leon Scott, invented about 1858, records on a revolving cylinder of blackened paper the sound vibrations transmitted through a membrane to which a tiny stylus is attached; so that a human mouth uses a pen and inscribes its sign vocal. Yet after all we are just as far away as ever from enabling the young actors at Harvard to give Aristophanes with all the true, subtle intonation and inflection of the Athens of 400 B.C. The instrument is dumb. Ingenuity has been shown also in the invention of "talking-machines," like Faber's, based on the reed organ pipe. These automata can be made by dexterous manipulation to jabber a little, like a doll with its monotonous "ma-ma," or a cuckoo clock; but they lack even the sterile utility of the imitative art of ventriloquism. The real great invention lies in creating devices that shall be able to evoke from tinfoil, wax, or composition at any time to-day or in the future the sound that once was as evanescent as the vibrations it made on the air.