Watching the World
◆ Thousands of Protestant ministers in the United States are out of work, and future job prospects look meager. High cost of living makes it increasingly difficult for smaller churches to support their own minister. Missionaries, sent home by hostile governments, increase the number of religious people looking for work. And, interestingly, the ecumenical spirit, instead of solving employment problems, has amplified them; church members cannot agree on what sectarian views they prefer in their preacher!
Salvation Army Goes “Rock”
◆ Some Salvation Army bands are experimenting with “rock” music. The Army’s U.S. Eastern Territory sponsored a summer tour by a teen-age “rock” group; similar bands are appearing in the U.S. Midwest and Nova Scotia. This change comes as the Army’s street units are being reduced because of fear of street crime and the public’s loss of interest in their music. The recent changes are creating discontent among conservative members of the organization.
Mass Attendance Down
◆ Sunday Catholic Mass attendance in the New York archdiocese dropped by 23 percent between 1965 and 1970. The figures, released in Clergy Report, covered 343 of 410 parishes in ten counties and showed a dip from 824,475 to 627,235 at a typical Sunday Mass.
Psychiatry and Astrology
◆ A growing number of psychiatrists are using astrology in their practice. Carl Jung, considered one of the founders of psychoanalysis, is said to have regularly used astrology. Currently, Atlanta, Georgia, psychiatrist Dr. Edward L. Askren states that “astrology maps the hills of the mind.” He recently lectured on “psychology and astrology” before the Georgia Astrological Association.
Conditions in India
◆ At India’s independence in August 1947 Jawaharlal Nehru promised to “wipe every tear from every eye.” There have been some improvements in the country. But, according to Minister of State for Planning Mohan Dharia, the number of Indians living below the poverty line “is just as it was at the time of independence.” This means that 220 million of India’s 550 million persons earn less than five dollars per month each.
◆ Dr. Alexander Macara, public health lecturer, recently told the British Medical Association that smoking “is arguably the greatest epidemic scourge of Britain since cholera a century ago.” And in the United States the Federal Trade Commission is urging stronger smoking health-hazard warnings. Some 547 billion cigarettes were sold in that country last year, about seven billion more than in 1968, the last peak year.
Is Crime Decreasing?
◆ Some have hastily interpreted recent reports to say that crime is ‘tapering off’ in the United States. Is that true? Aware of this trend of thinking, columnist Richard Egan observes: “One radio announcer on a Washington, D.C., station announced with what seemed like awe that ‘crime in 1971 rose only 7 per cent.’ Only. Attorney General Richard Kleindienst boasted that the United States is ‘moving from a crime increase to an actual crime decrease.’ The point to remember is that the crime rate is still climbing. In 1968 . . . there were 4,477,200 serious crimes. . . . Last year there were 5,995,200 serious crimes committed. That’s 1,518,000 more than in 1968, or a 33.9 per cent increase over the three-year period. Last year, in other words, there were one-third more crimes committed than in 1968. Statistics can be misleading.”
Crime Is Everywhere
◆ Is crime limited to big cities? No. It often lingers behind outwardly peaceful facades in suburbs and on even seemingly paradisaic islands of the sea. Eight persons were recently shot in the Virgin Islands. Immigrants there speak of molestations, harassment, near assaults and burglary. One nurse confessed, “When I get off at 11:30 p.m., I’m sometimes afraid to walk next door to my room.” And a Time magazine reporter describes the general feeling as “the mentality of siege akin to that of many big-city dwellers in the U.S.”
◆ Changing Times magazine reports that one out of every ten American customers is also a shoplifter; about 40 percent are drug users. Only 5 percent are caught, in spite of special equipment and personnel to stem the tide. It is estimated that customers and employees will lift about six billion dollars’ worth of items this year—up a billion dollars from last year!
Murder by Fright
◆ Can a person be guilty of murder when he has no motive to kill? Yes. During a three-week New York trial Milton Smith admitted tying the hands of an elderly woman. He did not strike her and stole only two dollars and a cheap brooch. But the experience accelerated the woman’s heart ailment, killing her of fright. The court found Smith guilty of murder, in the only case like it in the state for 90 years.
◆ Possibly 15 percent of the drivers killed in highway accidents may be suicides, it has been said. One recent study by Houston, Texas, researchers found that “the fatality group [of twenty-eight investigated] was made up of intoxicated, angry and impulsive persons.” Some highway deaths, listed officially as accidents, followed statements by the victim to the effect, ‘You’ll be sorry when I’m dead.’
◆ The New York State Commissioner of Human Rights has announced that a survey of state workers shows that those over the age of 65 perform “about equal to and sometimes noticeably better than younger workers.” The results, he said, are “astonishingly in favor of the over-65 workers.” The survey considered absenteeism, punctuality and on-the-job accidents as well as overall job capability. Older workers were found to be limited only in carrying out more physically demanding jobs.
Who Raise Your Children?
◆ When parents abdicate responsibility, their children simply look elsewhere for instruction. So reasons author Sid Smith, himself a father. “We ask,” he writes in the Bergen (New Jersey) Record, “what has happened to our children. That’s not the question. The question is: What has happened to Mr. Parent? Where are discipline, respect, and unity? They are right where we left them.” He also mentions that the day both parents decide to get a job, “the baby-sitter, the Police Department, and the juvenile authority adopt our children.”
Youth Baseball Leagues
◆ Joseph S. Torg of the Temple University School of Medicine writes, in American Family Physician, of the detrimental effects that excessive baseball pitching has on shoulders and elbows of the skeletally immature child. His article cites data blaming, not just the game, but the intense competition in youthful baseball “leagues.” Unnecessary pressure by adult coaches and spectators for the youngsters to make the team and win, he believes, also interferes with emotional maturing.
Return of the Screwworm
◆ The screwworm has returned to the United States’ southwest. Science boasted in the early nineteen-sixties that the screwworm, which lays its eggs in cattle so hatched worms can feed on the animal, had been wiped out. Science’s seeming triumph was brought about by releasing billions of sterile male screwworm flies. The female’s eggs (she mates only once in a lifetime) were thus infertile. But this year’s epidemic is considered the worst ever. What happened? Recent mild winter weather, ideal for screwworm reproduction, changes in cattle breeding methods and careless oversight of herds may all be responsible. One authority says it is obvious that the screwworms “don’t read the textbooks.”
San Francisco Transit
◆ The first leg of Bay Area Rapid Transit, providing electrified rail service for persons living around San Francisco, California, has been opened. Though trains move up to 70 miles per hour, rubber tie supports keep the ride quiet. The entire operation, which should be completed by next year, is computer controlled. Even automated ticket systems are backed up by change makers. Planners say the entire system, which cost about $1.4 billion and took ten years to build, should eventually carry about 200,000 persons daily.
Fish Changes Sex
◆ Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, known for the unusual forms of sea life inhabiting it, has revealed another secret: a species of the fish family of wrasse actually appears to change sex! One male usually dominates a harem of three to six females. When he dies, the most aggressive female assumes his position. In less than three weeks her ovaries are transformed into male testes. Researchers have observed twenty-six such changes.
Heart Attacks in Japan
◆ The death rate due to heart attack is six times as great among Japanese executives as among office workers. In Japan, heart disease ranks third as a cause of death, after strokes and cancer. The findings result from a survey started in 1968.
Enjoy Your Work
◆ The current cure being promoted for job stress is a shorter work week and more leisure time for recreation. But that will not cure the problem, according to Dr. Hans Selye of the University of Montreal’s Institute of Medicine and Experimental Surgery. He contends that the key to surviving modern work pressures is liking your job. “Too often,” the doctor says, “work is a source of frustration and insecurity, just something else to put up with like traffic congestion, pollution, and violence.”
Young People and Drugs
◆ Surveys of young U.S. military men in Vietnam reveal that many began to use hard drugs (that is, other than marijuana and alcohol) as early as the age of eleven. Some 84 percent of the drug users took them before going to Vietnam. A state survey in Massachusetts finds the use of hard drugs “disturbingly high.” The result of drug abuse in the U.S., according to clinical professor of psychiatry Perry Talkington, is that “our psychiatric hospitals are being flooded with adolescents . . . Drug abuse has replaced mental retardation as the third most frequent psychiatric diagnosis for males between the ages of 15 and 24.” As for marijuana, Dr. Olav J. Braenden, head of the United Nations Narcotics Laboratory in Geneva, reveals that “among the scientists working in the field, it would seem that there is a general consensus that cannabis [the source of marijuana] and hashish are dangerous.” Cannabis is now thought to be much more chemically complex than earlier expected.