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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 3.djvu/85

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THE BATTLE OF LIFE AMONG PLANTS.

Stonyhurst show marked and characteristic disturbances at the corresponding points, which, allowing for the difference in longitude, were the very moments of time when the solar disturbances were watched at Sherman.

The work of the last summer accomplished by the Sherman Astronomical Expedition points clearly to the inference that a great national observatory should be established without loss of time, in that position on the American Continent most favorable to astronomical observation. Sherman is evidently not the place, on account of weather-conditions, but some mountain-station must be found adapted for the purpose, far above the fogs and impurities of the sea-level. A telescope, the best and largest that scientific resources can furnish, and a corps of observers devoted to the work, must be established on this permanent locality. Then, from this high point, sun, planets, stars, nebulae, comets, and meteors, may be attacked by observers armed with the most effectual scientific weapons, until from the depths of infinite space come answers to some of the great problems that are puzzling the brains of thoughtful students of celestial mysteries.

A recent writer proposes that the whole civilized world shall contribute for a telescope which shall cost 81,000,000. Why should not America contribute enough from her vast resources to possess the most powerful one that can be built, and be the first among the nations to bring about great results, and make certainties of what seem now the shadowy possibilities of the future?

 

THE BATTLE OF LIFE AMONG PLANTS.
By MAXWELL T. MASTERS, M. D., F. R. S.

EVERY day, every hour, there is going on around us a veritable death-struggle. It excites little attention. People would be in no hurry to read the telegraphic dispatches concerning it from the seat of war, even if there were any to read. Special correspondents there are, but their letters are appreciated but by a few. Nevertheless, it cannot be said that mankind in general is not interested in the result of the struggle. On the contrary, little as the affair is heeded, it is of very serious import to the human race. Our food-supplies depend on it; the well-being of our flocks and herds is essentially dependent on it; the building of our houses, the fabrication of our raiment, are to a large extent contingent on it; nay, the soil beneath our feet, and the very sky above our heads, are materially, very materially, influenced by the result of the contest of which we are about to speak. Edward Forbes was wont to say that the movement of a periwinkle over a rock might be of greater consequence to the human race than the progress