A History of Science


The period from 1637 to 1687 affords a good illustration of the value for the progress of science of the coöperation in the pursuit of truth of men of different creeds, nationalities, vocations, and social ranks. At, or even before, the beginning of that period the need of coöperation was indicated by the activities of two men of pronouncedly social temperament and interests, namely, the French Minim father, Mersenne, and the Protestant Prussian merchant, Samuel Hartlib.

Mersenne was a stimulating and indefatigable correspondent. His letters to Galileo, Jean Rey, Hobbes, Descartes, Gassendi, not to mention other scientists and philosophers, constitute an encyclopedia of the learning of the time. A mathematician and experimenter himself, he had a genius for eliciting discussion and research by means of adroit questions. Through him Descartes was drawn into debate with Hobbes, and with Gassendi, a champion of the experimental method. Through him the discoveries of Harvey, Galileo, and Torricelli, as well as of many others, became widely known. His letters, in the dearth of scientific associations and the absence of scientific periodicals, served as a general news agency among the learned of his time. It is not surprising that a coterie gathered about him at Paris. Hobbes[Pg 100] spent months in daily intercourse with this group of scientists in the winter of 1636-37.

Hartlib, though he scarcely takes rank with Mersenne as a scientist, was no less influential. Of a generous and philanthropic disposition, he repeatedly impoverished himself in the cause of human betterment. His chief reliance was on education and improved methods of husbandry, but he resembled Horace Greeley in his hospitality to any project for the public welfare.

One of Hartlib’s chief hopes for the regeneration of England, if not of the whole world, rested on the teachings of the educational reformer Comenius, a bishop of the Moravian Brethren. In 1637, Comenius having shown himself rather reluctant to put his most cherished plans before the public, his zealous disciple precipitated matters, and on his own responsibility, and unknown to Comenius, issued from his library at Oxford Preludes to the Endeavors of Comenius. Besides Hartlib’s preface it contained a treatise by the great educator on a Seminary of Christian Pansophy, a method of imparting an encyclopedic knowledge of the sciences and arts.

The two friends were followers of the Baconian philosophy. They were influenced, as many others of the time, by the New Atlantis, which went through ten editions between 1627 and 1670, and which outlined a plan for an endowed college with thirty-six Fellows divided into groups—what would be called to-day a university of research endowed by the State. It is not surprising to find Comenius (who in his student days had been under the influence of Alsted, author of an encyclopedia on Baco[Pg 101]nian lines) speaking in 1638 on the need of a collegiate society for carrying on the educational work that he himself had at heart.

In 1641 Hartlib published a work of fiction in the manner of the New Atlantis, and dedicated it to the Long Parliament. In the same year he urged Comenius to come to London, and published another work, A Reformation of Schools. He had great influence and did not hesitate to use it in his adoptive country. Everybody knew Hartlib, and he was acquainted with all the strata of English society; for although his father had been a merchant, first in Poland and later in Elbing, his mother was the daughter of the Deputy of the English Company in Dantzic and had relatives of rank in London, where Hartlib spent most of his life. He gained the good-will of the Puritan Government, and even after Cromwell’s death was working, in conjunction with Boyle, for the establishment of a national council of universal learning with Wilkins as president.

When Comenius arrived in London he learned that the invitation had been sent by order of Parliament. This body was very anxious to take up the question of education, especially university education. Bacon’s criticisms of Oxford and Cambridge were still borne in mind; the legislators considered that the college curriculum was in need of reformation, that there ought to be more fraternity and correspondence among the universities of Europe, and they even contemplated the endowment by the State of scientific experiment. They spoke of erecting a university at London, where Gresham College had been established in 1597 and Chelsea College in[Pg 102] 1610. It was proposed to place Gresham College, the Savoy, or Winchester College, at the disposition of the pansophists. Comenius thought that nothing was more certain than that the design of the great Verulam concerning the opening somewhere of a universal college, devoted to the advancement of the sciences, could be carried out. The impending struggle, however, between Charles I and the Parliament prevented the attempt to realize the pansophic dream, and the Austrian Slav, who knew something of the horrors of civil war, withdrew, discouraged, to the Continent.

Nevertheless, Hartlib did not abandon the cause, but in 1644 broached Milton on the subject of educational reform, and drew from him the brief but influential tract on Education. In this its author alludes rather slightingly to Comenius, who had something of Bacon’s infelicity in choice of titles and epithets and who must have seemed outlandish to the author of Lycidas and Comus. But Milton joined in the criticism of the universities—the study of words rather than things—and advocated an encyclopedic education based on the Greek and Latin writers of a practical and scientific tendency (Aristotle, Theophrastus, Cato, Varro, Vitruvius, Seneca, and others). He outlined a plan for the establishment of an institution to be known by the classical (and Shakespearian) name “Academy”—a plan destined to have a great effect on education in the direction indicated by the friends of pansophia.

In this same year Robert Boyle, then an eager student of eighteen just returned to England from residence abroad, came under the influence of the[Pg 103] genial Hartlib. In 1646 he writes his tutor inquiring about books on methods of husbandry and referring to the new philosophical college, which valued no knowledge but as it had a tendency to use. A few months later he was in correspondence with Hartlib in reference to the Invisible College, and had written a third friend that the corner-stones of the invisible, or, as they termed themselves, the philosophical college, did now and then honor him with their company. These philosophers whom Boyle entertained, and whose scientific acumen, breadth of mind, humility, and universal good-will he found so congenial, were the nucleus of the Royal Society of London, of which, on its definite organization in 1662, he was the foremost member. They had begun to meet together in London about 1645, worthy persons inquisitive into natural philosophy—Wilkins, interested in the navigation of the air and of waters below the surface; Wallis, mathematician and grammarian; the many-sided Petty, political economist, and inventor of a double-bottomed boat, who had as a youth of twenty studied with Hobbes in Paris in 1643, and in 1648 was to write his first treatise on industrial education at the suggestion of Hartlib, and finally make a survey of Ireland and acquire large estates; Foster, professor of astronomy at Gresham College; Theodore Haak from the Pfalz; a number of medical men, Dr. Merret, Dr. Ent, a friend of Harvey, Dr. Goddard, who could always be relied upon to undertake an experiment, Dr. Glisson, the physiologist, author in 1654 of a treatise on the liver (De Hepate), and others. They met once a week at Goddard’s in Wood Street, at the Bull’s Head Tavern in Cheapside, and at Gresham College.

From An Introduction to the History of Science, by Walter Libby, available free at Gutenberg. To be continued


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Hans Brinker and Hans Brinker

Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates, Preface
This little work aims to combine the instructive features of a book of travels with the interest of a domestic tale. Throughout its pages the descriptions of Dutch localities, customs, and general characteristics have been given with scrupulous care. Many of its incidents are drawn from life, and the story of Raff Brinker is founded strictly upon fact.
While acknowledging my obligations to many well-known writers on Dutch history, literature, and art, I turn with especial gratitude to those kind Holland friends who, with generous zeal, have taken many a backward glance at their country for my sake, seeing it as it looked twenty years ago, when the Brinker home stood unnoticed in sunlight and shadow.
Should this simple narrative serve to give my young readers a just idea of Holland and its resources, or present true pictures of its inhabitants and their every-day life, or free them from certain current prejudices concerning that noble and enterprising people, the leading desire in writing it will have been satisfied.
Should it cause even one heart to feel a deeper trust in God’s goodness and love, or aid any in weaving a life, wherein, through knots and entanglements, the golden thread shall never be tarnished or broken, the prayer with which it was begun and ended will have been answered.

Great Illustrated Classics Preface:
There is no preface. There is a short two page ‘about the author’ spread, which does mention that she wrote articles about “strong minded, independent women who made a place for themselves in American history,” but dos not refer to her faith or her hopes for the book.

The first chapter in the original:
On a bright December morning long ago, two thinly clad children were kneeling upon the bank of a frozen canal in Holland.
The sun had not yet appeared, but the gray sky was parted near the horizon, and its edges shone crimson with the coming day. Most of the good Hollanders were enjoying a placid morning nap. Even Mynheer von Stoppelnoze, that worthy old Dutchman, was still slumbering “in beautiful repose”.
Now and then some peasant woman, poising a well-filled basket upon her head, came skimming over the glassy surface of the canal; or a lusty boy, skating to his day’s work in the town, cast a good-natured grimace toward the shivering pair as he flew along.
Meanwhile, with many a vigorous puff and pull, the brother and sister, for such they were, seemed to be fastening something to their feet—not skates, certainly, but clumsy pieces of wood narrowed and smoothed at their lower edge, and pierced with holes, through which were threaded strings of rawhide.
These queer-looking affairs had been made by the boy Hans. His mother was a poor peasant woman, too poor even to think of such a thing as buying skates for her little ones. Rough as these were, they had afforded the children many a happy hour upon the ice. And now, as with cold, red fingers our young Hollanders tugged at the strings—their solemn faces bending closely over their knees—no vision of impossible iron runners came to dull the satisfaction glowing within.
In a moment the boy arose and, with a pompous swing of the arms and a careless “Come on, Gretel,” glided easily across the canal.
“Ah, Hans,” called his sister plaintively, “this foot is not well yet. The strings hurt me on last market day, and now I cannot bear them tied in the same place.”
“Tie them higher up, then,” answered Hans, as without looking at her he performed a wonderful cat’s cradle step on the ice.
“How can I? The string is too short.”
Giving vent to a good-natured Dutch whistle, the English of which was that girls were troublesome creatures, he steered toward her.
“You are foolish to wear such shoes, Gretel, when you have a stout leather pair. Your klompen *{Wooden shoes.} would be better than these.”
“Why, Hans! Do you forget? The father threw my beautiful new shoes in the fire. Before I knew what he had done, they were all curled up in the midst o the burning peat. I can skate with these, but not with my wooden ones. Be careful now—”
Hans had taken a string from his pocket. Humming a tune as he knelt beside her, he proceeded to fasten Gretel’s skate with all the force of his strong young arm.
“Oh! oh!” she cried in real pain.
With an impatient jerk Hans unwound the string. He would have cast it on the ground in true big-brother style, had he not just then spied a tear trickling down his sister’s cheek.
“I’ll fix it—never fear,” he said with sudden tenderness, “but we must be quick. The mother will need us soon.”
Then he glanced inquiringly about him, first at the ground, next at some bare willow branches above his head, and finally at the sky, now gorgeous with streaks of blue, crimson, and gold.
Finding nothing in any of these localities to meet his need, his eye suddenly brightened as, with the air of a fellow who knew what he was about, he took off his cap and, removing the tattered lining, adjusted it in a smooth pad over the top of Gretel’s worn-out shoe.
“Now,” he cried triumphantly, at the same time arranging the strings as briskly as his benumbed fingers would allow, “can you bear some pulling?”
Gretel drew up her lips as if to say, “Hurt away,” but made no further response.
In another moment they were all laughing together, as hand in hand they flew along the canal, never thinking whether the ice would bear them or not, for in Holland ice is generally an all-winter affair. It settles itself upon the water in a determined kind of way, and so far from growing thin and uncertain every time the sun is a little severe upon it, it gathers its forces day by day and flashes defiance to every beam.
Presently, squeak! squeak! sounded something beneath Hans’ feet. Next his strokes grew shorter, ending oftimes with a jerk, and finally, he lay sprawling upon the ice, kicking against the air with many a fantastic flourish.

(continued, this is just the beginning)

The first chapter in Great Illustrated Classics:

Long ago, in the 1840’s, on a cold but bright December morning, two children were kneeling on the bank of a frozen canal in Holland. Ice covered that country’s canals all winter long, and skating was the main means of transportation.
The children’s thin jackets barely warmed their shivering bodies, but fifteen year old Hans Brinker and his twelve-year-old sister, Gretel, didn’t pay much attention to the cold, as their numb red fingers tried to fasten “things” onto their feet.

Those strange-looking “things” were were clumsy pieces of wood which Hans had carved into runners. They were pierced with holes into which he threaded strips of rawhide, which tied around their shes and feet. These took the place of regular ice skates, which their poor peasant mother couldn’t afford to buy for them, but which still managed to give Hans and Gretel many happy hours on the ice.

“Come on, Gretel,” Ccalled Hans as he stood up and glided smoothly across the canal, avoiding the peasant women on their way to market and the young men on their way to work.

“I can’t, Hans,” groaned his sister. “My right foot still hurts from where the string cut it the last time I wore the skates.”

“Then tie them higher,” said her brother, intent on the circles he was makig on the ice.

“I can’t! The string is too short!”

“Troublesome girls!” he muttered, throwing his arms up in the air, but skating towards his sister anyway. “You really should have worn your heavy leather shoes, Gretel.”

“Oh, Hans, have you forgotten? Father threw them in the fire.” And tears began trickling down Gretel’s cheeks.

Hans knelt beside his sister. “I’ll fix it,” he said gently as he took off his cap and tore out the ragged lining. He folded it over and made a pad of it, then adjusted it over the top of Gretel’s worn-out shoe and wound the strings around her foot. “We’d better hurry though. Mother will be needing us soon.”
In another moment the two were laughing as hand in hand they flew along the frozen canal. But within moments, Hans’s smooth glides turned into squeaky jerks and he finally lay sprawled on the ice.”

Here is a small section from a later chapter, in the original:
“I hope so, Hans, with all my heart. You are in haste to turn homeward, I see. Promise me that should you need a friend, you will go to my mother in Broek. Tell her I bade you see her. And, Hans Brinker, not as a reward, but as a gift, take a few of these guilders.”
Hans shook his head resolutely.
“No, no, mynheer. I cannot take it. If I could find work in Broek or at the South Mill, I would be glad, but it is the same story everywhere—‘Wait until spring’”.
“It is well you speak of it,” said Peter eagerly, “for my father needs help at once. Your pretty chain pleased him much. He said, ‘That boy has a clean cut; he would be good at carving.’ There is to be a carved portal to our new summer house, and father will pay well for the job.”
“God is good!” cried Hans in sudden delight. “Oh, mynheer, that would be too much joy. I have never tried big work, but I can do it. I know I can.”
“Well, tell my father you are the Hans Brinker of whom I spoke. He will be glad to serve you.”
Hans stared in honest surprise.
“Thank you, mynheer.”

The same section in Great Illustrated Classics:
“I hope so, Hans, with all my heart.. Now start for home immediately and promise me that if you need anything, you[ll go to my mother. She’ll be glad to help you. And plase take a few of these guilders, not as a reward but as a gift from a friend.”

“No, no, sir. I can’t I’ll only take money when I earn it, thought I haven’t had any luck finding work lately.”

“Now that you mention it, Hans, my father needs help right now. He was so impressed with the carving you did on my sister’s chain that he wants you to carve a door for our new summer house. He’ll pay you well.”

“Oh, sir, that would be a joy! I’ve never carved anything so big as a door, but I know I can do to it. And thank you, sir.”

There are around fifty references to God in the original. I do not think one of them made it into this copy.

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Odds and Ends about Life in Davao

Day I do not know, Davao Diary- various and sundry-

My comeuppance after my eat their food post- I am not eating the food.  I don’t know what it is, but something disagrees with me with unpleasant results which I will not detail because it would be foul and disgusting.  I mostly feel okay.  I just cannot go anywhere because it would not be good if I were more than a few steps from a bathroom when I need it. And while I say I mostly feel okay,this leaves me feeling tired, wiped out, and drained (because that’s a good word for it, er, sorry, I wasn’t going to go there).  I wish I could figure it out.  I am getting by on chicken (not street cooked chicken), white bread, rice and bananas and water and sometimes I have my doubts about some of these.  Oh, and I try to do some yogurt every day just in case it’s merely a case of imbalanced flora and fauna of the gut.  Whatever the cause, surely this must be the result by now.  Ugh.  SO tired.

For the most part, people do not ring doorbells here.  They also do not come to the door.  Most of the houses seem designed on something of the old Spanish line (although I’ve K-drama houses like this , too)- there’s a fence or a wall with a high gate around the house.  There’s a bell to ring on the gate or wall but mostly people stand outside the gate and sing song something out that sounds a bit like “Aiii-yooooo”  It’s  gentle sound, but it does carry.  Problem is, not to our ears because we are not attuned to it.    People have to stand there singing “aye-yoooo” three or four times, at least, before it dawns on us that they might mean us.   So, a couple of our neighbors have figured this out and they just go right to the bell, but when I come to the door they always apologize for ringing the bell and they seem genuinely embarrassed that they did this.  I want to reassure them, but I am not sure the right thing is, “no, no, we’re Americans.  Be rude to us, it’s okay.  We won’t even know.”  And that is all I can think of.

One day last week the man who gave us our dog rang the bell to tell us there would be somebody coming to give him his anti-rabies vaccination.  I asked him how much this would be, and he said it was free because it is an obligation.  He had to hunt a bit for that word, and I thought he meant he was providing it as part of providing the dog.  But it turns out, it’s a local thing (maybe more, I don’t know)- they come to the neighborhood and the neighbors go around letting each other know and you carry your dog over and they give it a rabies vaccination.  It was pretty interesting.   PEople carried their dogs, brought the leashes, but there were no muzzles or kennels.  One dog which apparently would need to be muzzled if in the U.S. was on a tighter leash and his owner kept him further away from the rest, and they vaccinated him separately I think.

Somebody else came to the door about the wifi.   We still don’t have any.  WE still do not know when we will have some.  The landlord’s son is visiting from the STates and he was concerned about some paperwork one company wanted his dad to sign.  I told him what I understood they were asking, and he muttered “STupid Filipinos” under his breath.   I am frustrated but not ready to go that far, but it is his people.  He visited with my husband later and his dad will sign the papers anyway, and then my husband will give him a tour of the school.  When he retires in the US and comes back to the Philippines, he’s considering going into teaching.

This week my son decided he didn’t want long pants for his school uniform after all, he wants shorts.  We don’t want to buy more uniform components (egad).  So we asked our helper, that amazing young lady, if she knew anybody who could do cut his pants off into shorts and hem them.  She said she did, there was a place right by the school gate.  She also said she would just walk over there and drop them off and wait, because it would not take long at all.  So, for 40 pesos each (total of around 1.60 USD), his pants were done in about an hour, including walking time.

Our family once worked on a family bingo game to play at family get-togethers with things on it like, “DHM says, “Oh, no, I forgot the….” and “Striderling and MopTop discuss comic book characters” and “Princess Peach knocks over her water.”
There is something else that would strike most Americans visiting here for the first time and it is ubitquitous enough it would belong on a similar bingo game.  It was the same in Okinawa, so we do notice it, but we weren’t really surprised- men may be seen urinating outside against almost any wall anywhere.  One Friday night when we were walking home from the school at about 10 by the time we passed the third one (on essentially a ten minute walk) I suddenly thought of that bingo game and had to laugh.   It is rude to look, just so you know if you are ever here with no cultural warnings.


The most carabao (water buffalo) I have ever passed on that walk is four.  Usually it’s only two.


A friend told me to look this up and watch it because I had been here long enough to understand most of the cultural references.  It is pretty funny:

There’s a couple I don’t get yet. But it’s still funny.

Lyrics (written by Mikey Bustos):

Opo Pinoy style, Pinoy style

When I come around you know it’s gunna be a party,
Cuz I come from a land that’s more fun than the other countries,
Where we ace our exam with flying colours cuz we studied,
and there’s nobody else that can cook better than our mommies

Yeah it’s hotter here,
And that is why my skin is brown
and you’ll find water here
to wash my bum after I’m done raiding my
Cuz I proud that I’m pinoy I shout it everywhere, and tattooed it here

A baby duck still, inside the egg shell,
It tastes good
It’s called balut
I eat my ulam, rice and sawsawan
with my hands, i close open,
you have two godparents I have ten…


Opo Pinoy style! Pinoy style. Op-op-op-op-op opo Pinoy Style…. Pinoy style. Op-op-op-op-op opo Pinoy Style….
A pinay lady
stays where it’s shadey!

My name is Mikey Bustos, your one and only Pinoyboy,
I’m pointing with my lips, cuz hands are busy eating penoy,
Blessing to the elderly I mano po to Lola,
but now my forehead smells like ginger cuz she cooked tinola

During summer yeah it is super scortching hot,
and the rest of the year, yes it is still so scortching hot,
but really I don’t care,
Cuz I just use my split type air con, I can peepee here
almost anywhere

Cuz I do OK in videoke, magaling in tinikling,
Yes I am gwapo, haba ng hair mo, as I court you
That’s how we do, Beautiful eyes will get to you!


Opo Pinoy style! Pinoy style. Op-op-op-op-op opo Pinoy Style…. Pinoy style. Op-op-op-op-op opo Pinoy Style….
Eh Tita Baby op-op-op-op-op Opo Pinoy style
Eh we’re related op-op-op-op-op Opo Pinoy style

I wear barong, while eating chicharron
Just watch us take over the world with a plastic balloon
And I’m on my cell phone, texting in jejemon,
And I am BV during brown out cuz there’s no aircon, bat ganun, Opo Pinoystyle

Long live Filipinos op-op-op-op-op Opo Pinoy style
Mabuhay ang pilipino op-op-op-op-op Opo Pinoy style

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Short Lessons and Readings

line-of-childrenIt seems counter-intuitive to stop a book or a lesson while the child is still enjoying it, but there are reasons.  We have touched on many of them here before– but here’s another, gleaned from a story by Ina Hervey:

“The hour devoted to this exercise flew by so rapidly, that the children could scarcely realize that it was time to go home, and coaxed to stay longer ; but their teacher was too wise to exhaust their enthusiasm by granting their request. Even their recess was partially occupied by lively discussions on the relative beauty of their discoveries.”

We don’t want to ‘exhaust their enthusiasm.’  We want them coming again to the next lesson with their appetites and interest still seasoned by the sauce of curiosity.  Don’t glut their appetite for learning more.

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Media: I don’t care, and you are the reason why.

Obama sentenced whistleblowers to 31 times the prison time as all previous presidents combined.   The press did not really give that fact much coverage.  Perhaps they were afraid.

But I am supposed to be outraged that President Trump called on some other media source before the AP.

“All hype and spin.” “Restrictive in every sense of the word.” “Cramped and windowless.” “Locked.” That’s how just four reporters described the job in Politico Magazine’s second annual survey of the White House press corps, with nearly 70 journalists weighing in on what it’s really like to on the presidential beat. ”  From a Politico source.  Politico was incredibly friendly to both Obama and Hillary, they show up as lapdogs in the Podesta emails.

But it’s absolutely the end of Democracy as we know it that Spicer might have lied to the press about the size of the inauguration crowd (more likely, the press chose not to understand him, as he was speaking of airwave audience as well).

Chilling and Orwellian is essentially what Obama’s approach to the press is being described as here.

CNN has a very long history of idolizing totalitarian governments.

Remember when a judge slammed Obama’s DOJ for lying to him and other unethical behavior in amnesty case?

The fake story about Mike Flynn and Russia was fake, but super important.  Obama’s secret meeting with Iran? Yawn.

Media complicity in Obama’s dishonesty over same sex marriage.

Obama spied on Journalists and the media overlooked it.  Trump tells some social media lackeys at a Federal Agency to stop using their position to stir the pot (again, a FEDERAL agency, which is supposed to represent the policies of the currenty head of the FEderal government, i.e. The President currently serving), and now the media cares about something the President does?

Trump has every right to ask the EPA to stop representing the previous office holder’s policies.  And even if he didn’t, why would I care any more?



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