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Silkworm Quotes (2 quotes)

He who contemplates nature finds an inexhaustible source of wonder and pleasure in considering, among the class of insects, their forms, their colours, the different offensive and defensive weapons with which they are provided, their curious habitudes, the bond of union which is shewn in some kinds, and the prudence and industry which they employ, less indeed for their individual preservation than with a view to secure the perpetuity of the species, while yielding to the soft and powerful impulse of nature. But if this innumerable family of little animals furnishes ample matter for the curious researches of the naturalist, it affords also a subject of meditation for public economy, since some kinds of these beings cause even national calamities, while on the contrary other species greatly contribute to the prosperity of states and individuals.
As translated (by uncredited trans.) in Chap. 1, 'Of Caterpillars Generally, Amongst Which is Comprised the Silk-Worm', The Art of Rearing Silk-Worms (1825), 1. Originally published in Italian as, Dell'arte di governare i bachi da seta (1815). Above quote from the original Italian, “Una sorgente inesausta di meraviglia e di piacere trova il contemplatore della natura nella classe degli insetti allorquando si fa a considerare l’abito esterno di çodesto iminenso popolo di esseri viventi, le tante differenti armi di offesa e di difesa loro prestate dalla provvida natura, le curiosissime loro abitudini, lo spirito di famiglia eminentissimo, che sì bene si mamifesta in alcune spezie, e la somma loro previdenza ed insdustria rispetto non tanto a’ mezzi che impiegano per la loro individuale conservazione, quanto a quelli cui, seguendo il dolce e possente invito della natura, mettono in opera, onde meglio assicurare la perpetuazione della spezie. Ma se questa innumerevole famiglia di animali fornisce ampia materia alle curiose indagini del naturalista, offre pur auco un soggetto di grande studio al pubblico economista, per la ragione che come alcune spezie di cotali esseri esercitano talvolta una influenza la più diretta sulle disgrazie dei popoli, così altre spezie per lo contrario l’hanno grandissima sulla prosperità degli Statie di quanti individui li compongono.” [Note: Whereas the printed translation gives “cause even national calamities”, the original Italian reads, “disgrazie dei popoli”—which might be translated less dramatically as, “misfortunes of the peoples.” —Webmaster
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In the 1860s, Pasteur not only applied his germ theory to create “Pasteurization,” rescuing France’s wine and vinegar industries, but also found both the cause and cure of silkworm disease, saving growers millions of dollars. When Napoleon asked the scientist why he had not legitimately profited by his findings, Pasteur replied: “In France scientists would consider they lowered themselves by doing so.”
In Jacques Cousteau and Susan Schiefelbein, The Human, the Orchid, and the Octopus: Exploring and Conserving Our Natural World (2007), 190.
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Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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