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PREFACE A collection of about 2000 questions asked by children forms the foundation on which this book is built. Rather than decide what it is that children ought to know, or what knowledge could best be fitted into some educational theory, an attempt was made to find out what children want to know. The obvious way to discover this was to let them ask questions. The questions collected were asked by several hundred children in the upper... more...

CHAPTER I HEAT I. Value of Fire. Every day, uncontrolled fire wipes out human lives and destroys vast amounts of property; every day, fire, controlled and regulated in stove and furnace, cooks our food and warms our houses. Fire melts ore and allows of the forging of iron, as in the blacksmith's shop, and of the fashioning of innumerable objects serviceable to man. Heated boilers change water into the steam which drives our engines on land and... more...

Gallick Reports: Or, A Collection of Criminal Cases adjudg'd in the Courts of Judicature in France. In which is Comprized, An Account of Arnold du Tilh, an Impostor, who deceived a Man's Wife and Relations, and puzzled, for a long Time, the Parliament of France. Memoirs of the famous Madam de Brinvilliers, who poisoned her Father, and two Brothers, and attempted the Life of her Sister, &c. The Misfortunes of the Sieur d' Anglade, condemn'd... more...

CHAPTER I. THE DISCOVERY OF THE UNIVERSE The beginning of the victorious career of modern science was very largely due to the making of two stimulating discoveries at the close of the Middle Ages. One was the discovery of the earth: the other the discovery of the universe. Men were confined, like molluscs in their shells, by a belief that they occupied the centre of a comparatively small disk—some ventured to say a globe—which was... more...

PREFACE Tins volume contains twelve essays written at various timesduring recent years. Many of them are studies contributed toScientific Reviews or delivered as popular lectures. Some areexpositions of views the scientific basis of which may beregarded as established. Others—the greater number—may bedescribed as attempting the solution of problems which cannot beapproached by direct observation. The essay on The Birth-time of the... more...


About the middle of the Miocene period, as well as I can now remember (for I made no note of the precise date at the moment), my islands first appeared above the stormy sheet of the North-West Atlantic as a little rising group of mountain tops, capping a broad boss of submarine volcanoes. My attention was originally called to the new archipelago by a brother investigator of my own aerial race, who pointed out to me on the wing that at a spot some... more...

by Various
THE CAT.PART 1. walk´-ing thought knew sheaths watched stroked smooth won´-der ground fore´-paws yawn mis-take´ shak´-ing toes stretched claw 1. Pussy came walking along the garden-path. Harry watched her, and saw that she did not like the damp ground. 2. She jumped over the pools, and then began to run, shaking her paws as she got to the house. 3. 'Now, a dog does not mind wet feet,'... more...

WHY WRITTEN Fairies, fays, genii, sprites, etc., were once supposed to be helpful to some favored men. The stories about these imaginary beings have always had a fascinating interest. The most famous of these stories were told at Bagdad in the eleventh century, and were called The Arabian Nights' Entertainment. Then men were said to use all sorts of obedient powers, sorceries, tricks, and genii to aid them in getting wealth, fame, and beautiful... more...

§ 1. THE GOSPEL OF SCIENCE In the days before the war the Annual Address delivered by the President of the British Association was wont to excite at least a mild interest in the breasts of the reading public. It was a kind of Encyclical from the reigning pontiff of science, and since that potentate changed every year there was some uncertainty as to his subject and its treatment, and there was this further piquant attraction, wanting in... more...

CHAPTER I. Dew, Water, Rain, Snow, Hail, Atmosphere, Wind, Lightning, Thunder, Electricity, Twilight, and the Aurora Borealis. What is Dew? Moisture collected from the atmosphere by the action of cold. During the day, the powerful heat of the sun causes to arise from the earth and water a moist vapor, which, after the sun sinks below the horizon, is condensed by the cold, and falls in the form of dew. Dews are more copious in the Spring and... more...