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From the variation in the number of observed comets and the periodicity of shooting stars, it is concluded that during the interval from 700 to 1200 the solar system was passing through, or near, a meteoric cloud of very great extent; that from 1200 to 1700 it was traversing a region comparatively destitute of such matter; and that about the commencement of the 18th century it again entered a similar nebula of unknown extent.
The present Earl of Rosse has been engaged upon the determination of the radiation of heat from the moon. It appears from his research that the greater part of the moon's heat which reaches the earth appears to have been first absorbed by the lunar surface. The amount of lunar heat appears to indicate an elevation of temperature for the moon's surface at full moon of 500° F.
Full arrangements have been made in France and England to observe the coming transit of Venus. Some constants in astronomical science will be tested by these observations.
The new facts in geography may be thus summarized:
The explorations and discoveries in South-eastern and East Equatorial Africa.
The additional and conclusive evidence now brought to light of a climate in the ice-bound region of the Arctic, at a past and remote period of time, resembling that of the countries lying near the equator.
The marvellous results of the deep-sea dredgings of Profs. Thompson and Carpenter, revealing the existence of animal life at immense depths in the ocean, where it has been supposed to have been impossible.
The very general disturbance throughout this year of the earth's surface by earthquakes, distinguishable not so much for the effects in particular localities as for the wide distribution of the phenomena over the globe, and its appearance in parts of the world where such disturbances have never been previously witnessed within the memory of man.
The attractive power of mountains, discovered in the pendulum experiments made during the past year at the observing stations upon the Himalayas, in India.
The discovery of trees of enormous size in Australia, one of which was found to be 69 feet in circumference; of great deposits of valuable coal throughout the whole of New Zealand, and the finding of coal upon the borders of the Caspian, verifying in the last particular a prediction of Humboldt, made forty years ago ; both of which discoveries are of the highest importance to com
The anthropological researches in Europe, Asia, and Africa, revealing the structure, mode of life, and customs of the earliest inhabitants of the earth.
The assembling at Copenhagen, last August, of the International Congress of Prehistoric Archäology, under the auspices of the King of Denmark, interesting in the circumstance that it brought into communication with each other learned men from all parts of Europe, and for the valuable information the papers and descriptions elicited in respect to the three successive periods of man's early history, known as the stone, the bronze, and the iron.
The return of Capt. Hall from the Arctic regions with valuable information respecting that mysterious country.
The exploration by Dr. Hayes of the remains of the early settlements made on the south-eastern shore of Greenland. The return of captain Adams and his men from the exploration of the Colorado and its tributaries.
The completion of the French explorations of the river Cambodia to the province of Tunan in China, the official details of which have not yet appeared.
The expedition of Sir. Samuel Baker into the interior of Africa, which started last October. The
escape of Captain Livingston, of the American ship Congress, through a cyclone of extraordinary intensity and force, and the gaining of valuable information thereby.
The expedition of the Russian Merchant Soidorow, in his own steamer, around the coast of Norway, and through the polar ocean, to the mouth of the Pitschora.
A dispatch from Bombay, Oct. 6, states : A letter has just been received here from Dr. Livingstone, the great African traveller. He was at Lake Bangweolo at time of writing (in July, 1868), and was in excellent health and spirits. He mentioned that he believed he had at last found the true source of the Nile.
A caravan arrived at Zanzibar, Oct. 14, 1869, bringing the news that Dr. Livingstone had arrived at Nigi alive and well.
A later report, at our time of writing, Feb. 5th, 1870, states that he has been burnt as a wizard, by a native chief; it is trusted that time will contradict this.
In a letter to the Earl of Clarendon, he says: “I think that I may safely assert that the chief sources of the Nile arise between 10° and 12° south latitude, or nearly in the position assigned to them by Ptolemy.
“ The springs of the Nile have hitherto been searched for very much too far to the north. They rise some 400 miles south of the most southerly portion of the Victoria Nyanza, and, indeed, south of all the lakes except Bangweolo.
An International Exhibition of select works of fine and industrial art, and scientific inventions, is to be held in 1871, at South Kensington, England. This is the first of a series of annual exhibitions.
The movement which established the South Kensington Museum is having its parallel in Massachusetts and New York. It is proposed to establish a museum of the fine arts in New York and Boston. At the last session of the Legislature of Massachusetts, the following resolve was passed: —
Resolved, That the Board of Education be directed to consider the expediency of making provision by law for giving free instruction to men, women, and children, in mechanical drawing, either in existing schools, or in those to be established for that purpose, in all the towns in the Commonwealth having more than five thousand inhabitants, and report a definite plan therefor to the next General Court. [Approved June 12, 1869.]”
It is felt that our common schools do not give the right training to the industrial classes, and that if we are to have skilled mechanics, we must educate them. In view of the great natural advantages of the West, we at the East can hold our ground only by skilled labor; and the proper education of the lower classes has become a question of vital importance.
We present the readers of the ANNUAL OF SCIENTIFIC DIsCOVERY for 1870, with a fine portrait of BENJAMIN PIERCE, LL. D., Professor of Mathematics, in Harvard College, and Superintendent of the United States Coast Survey.
ANNUAL OF SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERY.
MECHANICS AND USEFUL ARTS.
PACIFIC RAILROAD TIME TABLE.
THE following statement of time and distances is given by the " Western Railroad Gazette":
Now York to Chicago, Ill.,
1613 Thus a total distance of 3,353 miles is made, according to the present schedule time, in 6 days and 17 hours, actual time, by a traveller's watch, from which we deduct 31 hours, difference of time, when going West, leaving the apparent time consumed in making the trip 6 days and 14 hours.
At San Francisco the mails will connect with the various steamship lines running on the Pacific, and may be landed at Honolulu in 9 days from that city, or 153 days from New York. They can rrach Japan in 19 days from San Francisco, or 25$ days from New York, or 33 to 34 days from Great Britain — thus beating the British mails sent via Suez, 3 to 4 weeks. The trip between Yokohama, Japan, and either Hong Kong or Shanghai, is readily accomplished by the Pacific Mail steamships in from 5 to 6 days, which, added to the time in reaching Japan, will give the through time necessary to reach either of the abovenamed ports of China.
The mails for Australia, it is thought, will hereafter go via San Francisco, as the Australian and New Zealand Steamship Company intend transferring the terminus of their line, which has been running from Sydney to Panama, so as hereafter to run from Australia to Taluti, thence to Honolulu, and thence to San Francisco, making 28 days, schedule time, which will give us monthly mail to Australia in 34 or 35 days through time.
THE RAILWAYS OF INDIA.
A great deal has been said and written respecting the completion of the Pacific Railway across the American continent; and much praise has been very justly bestowed upon the energy of the American character which has brought the work to its present position. While, however, we are lavish in our expressions of admiration for the great qualities which have thus been called into existence, we ought not to lose sight of the still greater works which have been ac omplished in India, in the matter of railways. A vast work has been carried on silently and unobtrusively, and under difficulties even greater than any which have been experienced in regard to the Pacific Railroad, and we claim for those by whom these great works have been achieved some share of that admiration which is given so freely and so fairly to our American cousins. The Pacific line, including as it does the two separate schemes of the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific, is about 1,700 miles in length. Two of our leading Indian lines, namely, The East Indian and the Great Indian Peninsula, at present in work, have a joint mileage of 2,230 miles, and when completed it will be 2,768 miles, greater by more than one-half of the whole length of the Pacific road. Like the Pacific the je lines cross our Indian empire from east to west, and connect Bombay and Calcutta, just as the Pacific forms the connecting link between San Francisco and New York. By means of the East Indian a railway connects · Calcutta with Delhi, more than 1,000 miles distant from each other; in the south, Madras and Baypore are connected by a line crossing Southern India; Nagpore, in Central India, is connected with the port of Bombay by means of the flotilla and Punjaub line; Lahore in the north-west and Kurrachee in the Indus are brought into direct connection with each other. There are now actually completed and at work in India, 3,942 miles of railway, or about 600 more than the whole mileage between New York and San Francisco, and there remain to be completed of lines already sanctioned 1,665 miles. This great extent of railway has been constructed in a country many thousands of miles distant from England, where, with a trifling exception, the whole of the capital was provided. For the construction of these works there was required to be shipped from this country 3,529,000 tons of goods, of the value of 23,252,000 pounds, and which was conveyed in 5,339 ships. In America no such difficulty as this was experienced.. The road, as it was formed, was enabled to carry the iron and timber required for the construction. The contractors worked