Watching the World
◆ The worst attack of locusts in the history of South Africa has stripped two of the country’s four provinces. The insects mutilated crops and other green vegetation in their path. They brought several trains to a standstill by causing the wheels to spin on rails made slippery by masses of crushed locusts. The swarms of insects were in patches over about 100,000 square miles.
◆ During the past ten years India’s population has grown by 24.6 percent. This is an increase of nearly 108 million persons, bringing the total population to a crowded 547 million.
New Layer of Matter
◆ Physicists believe they have evidence indicating that the neutron and proton in the nucleus of the atom are not the end of the line in atomic structure. At one time it was thought that the atom was the smallest particle of matter, but then it was found that the atom was made up of smaller particles a nucleus and surrounding electrons. Then the nucleus was discovered to be made up of still smaller particles, and now these particles—the neutron and proton—appear to contain even further smaller particles called quarks. The energy concealed in them is thought to be of awesome proportions. Dr. Victor Weisskopf observed: “We are faced with a realm of entirely new phenomena.”
Flying by Magnetic Cues?
◆ In an experiment with homing pigeons an ornithologist at Cornell University believes he has evidence that birds may use magnetic cues as an aid in navigating their flights. He based his conclusion on observations made of the pigeons when released on an overcast day when they did not have the sun as a reference point. Some of the pigeons had a small magnetic bar fastened to their backs and others a small nonmagnetic bar. When released, the birds with the nonmagnetic bar flew directly homeward, but those with the magnetic bar were disoriented. However, there is still uncertainty as to precisely how birds navigate, as other views may differ.
Runaways Made Prostitutes
◆ New York police uncovered a ring that preyed upon runaway girls, making prostitutes out of them. The Bronx District Attorney said: “The indication is that runaway girls are fair game for people who would make a racket from it.” Four girls were specifically mentioned as having been sold by their “boyfriends” to agents of the ring for $130 apiece. They were transported to an apartment where they were tortured, beaten and repeatedly raped to make them prostitutes. The ages of the girls ranged from fifteen to twenty.
◆ The rate of crime among young people in the United States is rising almost four times as fast as the youth population. According to an official in the Justice Department, half of the serious crimes in the country are committed by youths.
◆ The discovery of quasars in the 1960’s has proved to be one of the most astonishing discoveries in astronomy in our century. Quasars are objects that resemble distant stars but are billions of times brighter. They also appear to be billions of light-years away. What mystifies astronomers is that their brightness is out of proportion to their distance. Reporting on it, the New York Times remarked that they are “powered by energy sources that have challenged the ingenuity of theorists.”
Faster than Light?
◆ The speed at which light travels has long been regarded as the fastest that anything can go. All the objects in the universe that man has observed up until now have been within this speed limit. But just recently astronomers were shocked to observe by radio telescopes what they believe to have been two components of a quasar flying apart at ten times the speed of light. This was detected by three independent teams of astronomers, and they have no plausible explanation. Further examination of the evidence is necessary to make certain that the observation was not the result of an illusion.
◆ Enthusiasm over road grooving has been growing as more and more states try it. By cutting rows of shallow, lengthwise grooves into the concrete on highway curves, automobile accidents have been dramatically reduced. Where this has been done on hazardous, high-skid areas in Los Angeles and San Francisco, wet-weather accidents have been reduced 90 percent. In Milwaukee the decrease in accidents was 70 percent.
◆ Ignoring the divine condemnation of homosexuality in the Bible, some churches are performing homosexual weddings. In a Methodist church in San Francisco a marriage ceremony was performed in March for two male homosexuals who exchanged rings. Across the country, in New York city, another homosexual marriage was performed in April for two women. It was held in a homosexual church and was conducted by a homosexual clergyman.
◆ According to the Sunday Times from Perth, Australia, homosexual priests in the Netherlands are demanding “the right to carry on their relationships openly and without the condemnation of the church.” The spokesman for the group said: “I do not hide the fact that I am a homosexual. I am still a priest. . . . There has never been any attempt to excommunicate me. The church tolerates me because it knows there are many priests in the same situation.” It tolerates homosexual priests but excommunicates priests who choose the Scriptural course of marriage.
Married Priest Excommunicated
◆ Much to the surprise of the congregation of a large Roman Catholic church in Pacifica, California, it was recently revealed that their priest had been a married man for nearly seven years. He is the father of a five-year-old son. Archbishop Joseph T. McGucken said: “By the law of the church his action involved automatic excommunication.” The congregation is not happy about the priest’s expulsion. The Bible foretold that there would be people today who would be “forbidding to marry” and it says that this would be evidence of their having fallen away from true Christian faith. Read it for yourself at 1 Timothy 4:1-3.
‘Clergy Have Sold Us Out’
◆ In a speech delivered to clergymen and laymen an official of the University of Denver, Dean Edward A. Lindell, observed: “It’s my particular point of view right now that the church has dramatically, drastically, and I think sometimes, thoughtlessly abandoned the basic precepts that gave it the vitality for life it once had. Consequently it has lost its central motive force in our society. And I’ve said this before and I’ll continue to say it, I believe that the clergy of the church in many instances have sold us out. . . . The people the church needs to fear today are the theologians. The places to be feared by churches today are the seminaries. This is where the Gospel is being distorted. . . . This nonsense that there is really no evil, that nothing is really wrong is in the process of destroying our society.”
◆ According to the Ghana newspaper Weekly Spectator, there are more professed Christians than outright pagans who are going to jail in Ghana. It said: “While some said it is a shame to Christendom, others expressed the view that the churches will have to do more to inculcate in their members the need to abstain from crime.” It went on to point out that 18,775 professed Christians were convicted for various offenses during the past three years, which is “9,862 more than the number of convicted pagans during the same period.” In other countries throughout the world professed Christians fill the prisons. However, true Christians are not lawbreakers but follow the Scriptural counsel: “It is better to suffer because you are doing good, if the will of God wishes it, than because you are doing evil.”—1 Pet. 3:17.
Church of Scotland in Business
◆ According to the Scottish Daily Express of March 27, 1971, the “Church of Scotland is big business—a £100 million plus concern.” Referring to the church as “the Kirk,” the paper went on to say: “The Kirk owns property all over Scotland with a conservative valuation of £100 million. The Kirk is Scotland’s biggest landlord apart from the State—an activity that reaps in £400,000 a year. The Kirk runs an investment trust with funds exceeding £10 million, and total investments of £14 million. The Kirk’s congregations alone produce an annual income in excess of £7 million, and with investments the total income is over £10 million a year. Administration costs little over £250,000. It all sounds very healthy, so healthy that one wonders why appeals for more cash never stop ringing in the ears of the people in the pews.”
◆ Italian authorities have uncovered a frightful situation in Italian children’s homes operated by religious and lay institutions. A magistrate has closed two homes and arrested a priest and a seminarian. Police are investigating 286 such homes in Rome. Children have been found suffering from malnutrition, tied naked to their beds and being sexually molested by supervisors. Unruly children were locked in rat-infested cellars. In some instances bed sheets were changed only once every two months. There was also evidence of children being tortured. The reason why a home was not closed when local authorities heard about the children being tortured was, as pointed out by the Guardian Weekly, due to “the benevolent protection of a local prelate” or because no place could be found for the children.
◆ Contrary to the customary procedure of having a woman give birth to a baby while lying in bed, Dr. Tucho Perrusi, an Argentine biologist advocates vertical delivery. He thinks that birth is made to be unnatural and extra painful when a woman is made to give birth while lying on her back. He contends that the instinctive position is vertical, and so he has designed a delivery chair that is now used popularly in Argentina. In centuries past a delivery chair was a common piece of furniture in a home. There are several advantages of vertical delivery, he contends. Gravity helps by preventing the baby from slipping back between contractions, which is common in horizontal delivery.
◆ Among American veterans of the Vietnam war drug addiction is proving to be far more widespread than had been anticipated. According to officials of the Veterans Administration, the problem is comparable to that of venereal disease and alcoholism among veterans of World War II. An estimated 10 percent of the returning Vietnam veterans have a major dependency on drugs.
Operating Without Blood
◆ In the March 29, 1971, issue of JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, it was observed that in thirteen patients who had sustained major blood loss Ringer’s solution was given in place of blood transfusion. The results were good. In conclusion the article said: “It may be estimated that the number of transfused units of blood could be reduced by 50% if physicians would use crystalloid solutions for fluid resuscitation in place of the initial 1 or 2 units of blood employed for volume expansion. . . . The fact that crystalloid solution alone, in the absence of artificial colloid solution, was able to be employed successfully in high-trauma surgery of adults with blood loss up to 1,200 ml is offered as support and encouragement for this practice.”