Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 3.djvu/507

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value in connection with the problem of weather-prediction, if periodic solar changes of a less marked character have been detected which have no recognizable bearing on weather-changes, what can be hoped from the recognition of solar changes still more recondite in their nature? It is incredible that the complex phenomena involved in meteorological relations regarded as a whole, those phenomena which are but just discernibly affected by the great sun-spot period, should respond to changes altogether insignificant even when compared with the development and decay of a single small sun-spot. It appears to me, therefore, that it is the duty of the true lover of science to indicate the futility of the promises which have been mistakenly held out; for it cannot be to the credit of science, or ultimately to its advantage, if government assistance be obtained on false pretences for any branch of scientific research.


THE anticipations with regard to the appearance made by Orientals at Vienna will be realized to the full, and doubtless the contact between the East and West will prove of mutual advantage. In fact, the peculiarly happy situation of the Austrian capital has not only given this Exhibition its distinctive character, but has developed its proportions in a degree that has falsified all the original calculations. It soon became evident that circumstances would take it out of the category of those which had preceded it; that it might open new markets which were practically limitless, and that it would throw new and valuable lights upon hackneyed and familiar subjects. It was seen that it would reproduce, on an immeasurably greater scale, such cosmopolitan gatherings of traders as assembled at the great fairs of Leipsic or Nijni-Novgorod; that it would drag into open day the rarer contents of Oriental bazaars, and expose them side by side with the goods produced in Western manufactories and sold by Western shopkeepers. There would be unrivalled opportunities of making comparisons and drawing conclusions, of learning practical lessons and exploding antiquated prejudices. So it seems likely to prove; nor will either half of the world have much reason to triumph over the other. We need not advertise the wonders of our Western civilization. If we are not much in the way of boasting of them as against the benighted East, it is simply because we enjoy the serene self-complacency of indisputable superiority. To a certain extent we are justified by the results of a rapidly accelerating progress, which shows itself in the swift growth of our material prosperity. We work at the highest pressure; we invoke science to our assistance, and foster a restless rivalry that drives invention forward at express speed; we