Watching the World
The Issue of Rulership
◆ Late in June, Jehovah’s Christian Witnesses began another series of conventions that is reaching around the globe. The keynote speech at these assemblies has presented the challenging issue, “Divine Rulership—Are We for It or Against It?” During the first month of this convention series, reports show that the attendance has already passed 558,000.
A Venus Landing
◆ On July 22 the Soviet Union succeeded in landing its second unmanned spacecraft on the surface of Venus. From there it transmitted information back to earth for fifty minutes. The previous landing on this planet revealed a surface temperature of 900 degrees Fahrenheit and an atmospheric pressure 90 times that of the earth’s at sea level.
◆ The Corning Glass Company was hit by the recent floodwaters that inundated upstate New York. About 6,000 books in its library on glass craft were water damaged. Following the advice of an expert on book conservation, they put the books in freezers. Freezing prevents mold from forming and the ink from smudging, and mold is what destroys water-soaked books. The defrosting, drying and restoring of a book are said to take some twenty hours.
Costly Military Burden
◆ According to a report from the United Nations, the cost of feeding and arming the 23 million people in the armed forces of the nations of the world is $200 billion a year. This exceeds the combined income of a third of the earth’s population. The governments spend $25 billion a year in research for military weapons but only $4 billion on medical research. More money is spent learning how to destroy humans than learning how to save lives.
◆ According to the New York Times, a report prepared by officials of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency holds out little hope of curbing the smuggling of narcotics by air and sea in southeast Asia. The reason given was that “the most basic problem, and the one that unfortunately appears least likely of any early solution, is the corruption, collusion and indifference at some places in some governments . . . that precludes more effective suppression of traffic by the governments on whose territory it takes place.” Corruption and greed are common products of human rule and well illustrate mankind’s need for divine rule.
◆ The Federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs in the United States says that the number of reported addicts under 21 years of age has grown swiftly in the last few years. Said one drug abuse official: “Our experience is that the drug problem is increasing and definitely moving downward through the ages.” In one area plans were under way to begin drug education in kindergarten. Said an official: “We’ve probably already lost the battle in the fifth and sixth grades.” An ex-addict working in a New York clinic said: “When I started drugs, we were about 18, 19 or 20. Then it dropped to 17- and 16-year olds. Now we see kids all the way down to 12. . . . It seems the age drops one year every three or four years. Where will it stop?”
◆ Optical and electron microscopes have made it possible for man to peer into the microscopic world of the infinitesimal. But this has been in only two dimensions. Now striking images of microscopically small things in three dimensions are possible by means of the SEM, the scanning electron microscope. It has a magnification range that reaches to about 100,000 diameters, while a standard optical microscope that uses light is limited to a magnification of 1,000 diameters. Unlike ordinary electron microscopes, the SEM has considerable depth of focus, making it especially useful for examining objects with irregular surfaces.
◆ Scientific researchers have discovered that when rats are exposed to two smog-associated air pollutants, nitrogen dioxide and ozone, the rats given vitamin E supplements are able to survive twice as long as rats not receiving the vitamin. The pollutants cause the unsaturated fats in the body to oxidate into toxic peroxides, but vitamin E has an antioxidant effect and thus has a protective action against these air pollutants.
More Are Afraid
◆ Are you afraid to walk alone in your neighborhood after dark? In just four years, from 1968 to 1972, the number of Americans who said “Yes” to that question increased by 33 percent. How many women, of all races, 50 years or older say they are afraid now? Three out of four.
◆ There are nonphosphate detergents on the market that contain caustic materials that the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences believes can cause blindness if rubbed into the eye. These substances are carbonates and metasilicates. Reporting on the results they had in experiments with rabbits, the researchers said: “The reaction to carbonate and metasilicate detergents was more intense [than with phosphate detergents].” When detergents with carbonates were put in the eyes of the rabbits the animals suffered partial or total destruction of the cornea and a deterioration of tissue in the eyelids. However, the Food and Drug Administration is skeptical of the findings.
Use of Sugar
◆ In an article appearing in the New York Times it was stated that sugar does nothing “positive for the one who eats it except taste good and give energy.” It quotes Dr. George Briggs, chairman of the Department of Nutritional Science at the University of California, as saying: “I sometimes wonder whether the insistance that sugar contains energy arises from the fact that it contains nothing else.” He suggested that everyone would be better off if the amount of sugar consumed each year were only 5 or 10 percent of a person’s food instead of 20 percent.
Appeal for Death Penalty
◆ Since the death penalty was abolished in Great Britain in 1965, murders have been increasing. In 1971 the total was the highest since the death penalty was repealed, and this prompted the Citizens’ Protection Society to appeal for a return of the death penalty.
◆ According to a survey made of reformed Jews, it was found that 13 percent of the rabbis interviewed described themselves as agnostic and one percent as atheist. While 62 percent said they believed in God, they qualified this with “in terms of my own views.” The report appeared in the Baltimore newspaper The Sun of June 14, 1972. Of what value is it to a congregation to have as a spiritual counselor a man who does not have faith?
No Christian Army Advancing
◆ Baptist clergyman Melvin Floyd acknowledged what many others have already noticed about Christendom’s churches when he said: “We are in trouble. I don’t see the Christian army advancing. I see it in the rest areas.” With clergymen quitting, seminary enrollment dropping, church leaders issuing conflicting and demoralizing counsel, it is no wonder that their ‘army’ of followers is in retreat. Indeed, not only is their ‘army’ in retreat, but growing numbers of them are quitting altogether.
Babies Need Love
◆ A baby that is prematurely born needs the love of its parents just as much as one that is born at the normal time. Yet the premature baby usually is isolated from its parents for weeks at a time by being kept in the sterile environment of an incubator. This forcible separation of mother and child deprives the child of mother love. Doctors are beginning to conclude that this separation can retard the baby’s mental and physical development. Dr. Harry Orme, medical director of the children’s sector of Memorial Hospital in Long Beach, California, has begun a program that permits parents to reach into the incubator to caress their baby. When conditions permit, and after putting on sterile gowns, they are encouraged to lift the baby out of the incubator and to fondle it. This doctor believes that this expressing of parental love for the baby can be an important factor in the child’s progress and desire to live.
◆ Americans are deluged with advertisements for cold remedies. When the National Academy of Science’s National Research Council reviewed forty-five specific claims by the manufacturers of twenty-seven nonprescription cold remedies, it found only four claims were completely true. Among those found ineffective was the widely advertised remedy called “Contac.” The Council reported that it could find no evidence that this product was effective in easing the nasal congestion of a common cold.
Too Many Operations
◆ According to Herbert S. Denenberg, Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner, American surgeons perform at least two million unnecessary operations every year. This estimate, he says, is a conservative one. Expressing a similar view, the book How to Avoid Unnecessary Surgery estimates that 20 percent of the operations performed in the United States are not needed. Mr. Denenberg urges consultation with another physician even when one’s family doctor and a surgeon agree that an operation should be performed. He observes that such consultations reduce operations by 20 to 60 percent. He advises that, before going to a surgeon, a patient go to a doctor of internal medicine.
Ten Years to Recover
◆ A Canadian cancer expert claims that it takes at least ten years for a person’s lungs to recover after he stops smoking. Dr. Robert Taylor stated: “Only after 10 years would an ex-smoker’s chances of developing cancer be reduced to those of a person who never smoked.” He stated that about 90 percent of lung cancer was due to smoking.
New Tool for Accidents
◆ The New York City Fire Department has been experimenting with a new tool designed to free accident victims trapped in crushed automobiles. It is a portable tool that weighs fifty pounds and can exert 10,000 pounds of pressure to expand or to slice sheet metal. It can quickly remove a crushed door that otherwise would have to be cut free by an acetylene torch. It is also capable of pulling a collapsed steering column from the driver’s seat in a matter of seconds.
Hopeless Feeling Blamed
◆ When people who had actually tried to commit suicide were interviewed at a Philadelphia hospital, it was found that hopelessness, seeing nothing good happening in the future, was the most significant factor that led to the attempt. How very practical, then, is God’s Word, which fills persons with the hope of a righteous new order soon to come.
‘Bible Best Reference’
◆ More and more archaeologists and scholars doing research in the Middle East are relying on the writings of the Bible to substantiate their finds, reports the Vancouver Sun. Dr. G. Douglas Young, president of the American Institute of Holy Land Studies in Jerusalem, stated: “It was fashionable not so long ago to picture the Bible as being full of inaccuracies. But today we look upon it as an authentic source of information.” He said that the Bible was “a most reliable” source of history, and that diggings frequently bear out Biblical writings. Dr. Young recalled that when he first went to work at the ruins of ancient Hazor he asked the expedition head what reference books he should bring. He was told: “The Bible is the best reference we have.”