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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/591

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575
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whip the bridal doll, which is held up for the purpose. That is his part of the marriage ceremony. He then goes to his house, and the bride is brought up on horseback, thickly veiled, with much shouting. As she steps upon the threshold, she must cut in two with her whip an olive-branch which is put over the door; if she does not succeed, it is a bad sign. As she enters the room, a number of young fellows armed with switches rush upon the couple and try to give them a good thrashing. Then they all prepare for the feast. Abundant supplies of provisions are sent down to the madari, or Arab inn. The poor and travelers are admitted; and the bridegroom takes the seat of honor amid the congratulations of the crowd. After the feast the couple take a seat together and spend the whole evening and sometimes the next day silently receiving the presents and greetings of their acquaintances. On the third day they are permitted to begin their regular married life.

 

Microscopy as a Science.—The proper scientific position of microscopy is well set forth by Mr. Albert H. Tuttle in his address as Vice-President of the Section of Histology and Microscopy of the Montreal meeting of the American Association. The claim of microscopy to scientific consideration does not rest on anything in the perfection of its instruments and accessories or the delicacy of its manipulations, for they are mere technics, and, however important in their scientific bearing, are not science; nor on the fact that it is engaged with objects too small to be seen without the aid of the instrument, for many of those objects have their proper place in well-defined fields of science; but on the fact that there is a department, investigations in which must be carried on wholly by the aid of the microscope. This department is that of-the study of cell-life, in all its bearings, in plant and animal alike. It embraces all matters relating to the protozoa and the protophyta, including particularly the ferment-organisms. To it belong all studies dealing with cell-life in the higher organisms; on the morphology of cells and the higher morphological questions treated by histological method; and on the development of cells and the structure and significance of embryonic layers and tissues.

 

Two Vital Phenomena explained.—Speaking of the paucity of births and the decrease of marriages shown in the French census returns for 1881, M. Levasseur remarked in the French Association that they ought not to occasion too much alarm, for they might be only temporary. Men married at thirty or thirty-five, and the men who were now of that age belonged to the class who served in the defense of the country in 1870 and 1871, which was decimated. If the decrease should be continuous for three or four years, it would be grave, and a new fact. Poverty had nothing to do with the decrease of births, for that was conspicuous in the richest departments, as in Normandy. M. Passy said that the same was the case in Switzerland. When a canton reached a certain degree of wealth, the births were fewer. A kind of indolence, mingled with a care for the future, set in, and the desire began to prevail to secure an easy position with a small expenditure, and without running any risks.

 


NOTES.

Dr. C. C. Abbott reports as among many interesting "finds" which he discovered in the Trenton gravels, after the heavy rains of last September, a wisdom-tooth of a man, which lay in the undisturbed gravel within a dozen feet of the spot where a mastodon's tusk, described in Professor Cook's "Geology of New Jersey," was found some years ago, buried almost as deeply as the tusk, and in a similar situation and among similar surroundings. This, he believes, proves the contemporaneity of man and the mastodon. He also describes some argillite spear-heads found in the gravels, more finished than the Palæolithic, ruder than the polished implements, which he is disposed to class as the handiwork of the direct, post-glacial descendants of palæolithic man.

Dr. Th. Fuchs, of Vienna, has undertaken to show that the distribution of life at the different depths of the sea is influenced more by the differences in the quantity of light than by differences in temperature. He reasons that all the known facts of the distribution of sea-life are consistent with his view, and that some of the facts favor it more than the other one. Thus, if temperature is the controlling influence, the shore-animals of northern regions should seek the deep sea when they find themselves in warmer climates, but they are still found