Watching the World
◆ The issue of charismatics has severely divided the First Baptist Church of Quinlan, Texas. Says a report from the nearby Sherman Democrat: “Baptists in this small town have traded blows during a church service, voted under the eye of the police, had church records stolen from the home of the church treasurer and have split into two factions led by rival groups of deacons. One group claims it cannot worship safely at the First Baptist Church.” The church’s pastor, Ron Howard, says: “It’s been kind of a shock to me. I never thought Christians would react like this.” True Christians, of course, would not.
Religion in Sports
◆ Louisville (Kentucky) Courier-Journal sportswriter Billy Reed wrote about the Easter religious service that University of Kentucky basketball players attended in San Diego, California: “Next came Mass at poolside. Only in California can you expect to see a bunch of people gathered by a swimming pool to worship. Some of the congregation wore sunglasses, others sat under beach umbrellas. The altar was set up on card tables, with palm trees forming the backdrop. . . . At the end of the service, Father Sales said: ‘This concludes the Mass. Thank you for inviting me to share Easter with you. I hope you become national champions. That’s what I’m going to ask for in my Mass.’” However, Kentucky lost the championship game.
◆ People are growing taller. Americans average 5 feet 8.2 inches, putting them among the tallest in the world. The Watusi and Dinka of East Africa are even taller. In just two generations Americans added an average 1.5 inches to their height. But in only one decade Japanese junior high students have become, on the average, 2 to 2.5 inches taller.
◆ The Roanoke (Virginia) Times recently commented on a test given by a Newton, Massachusetts, teacher. Among the answers given on exams were that Sodom and Gomorrah were lovers, that Jesus was baptized by Moses, and that “New Testament” Gospel writers included Matthew, Mark, Luther and John. The article notes: “These results are testimony to what a poor job Sunday schools, churches and homes are doing.”
When the Patient Says “No”
◆ Should doctors be overly critical of patients who refuse medical advice on religious grounds? No, says a Perth, Australia, gynecologist. He says: “Providing the doctor is made aware of any restriction that may be placed on his management of a patient he has the right reasonably to refuse to take on that management . . . On the other hand, he may be prepared to respect the patient’s views and accept the limitations. Mostly, tragedies do not occur. When they do there can be no blame on the doctor—and there is nothing to gain in being critical of the patient.”
◆ Cocaine comes from coca leaves, which are grown mostly in Latin America. The demand for the drug has risen intensely: since 1973 the price of coca leaves has gone up 1,500 percent, from four dollars to sixty dollars per bale.
More Rats than People
◆ The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that there are 4,250,000,000 rats in the world, annually consuming over forty million tons of food.
Hepatitis and Transfusions
◆ The National Institutes of Health in the U.S. report that hepatitis following blood transfusion may be caused by an unknown virus that is not related to either of the disease’s two forms, commonly called A (infectious) and B (serum). The report says that this may explain why serious liver disease occurs even after careful testing of blood.
Limited Value of College
◆ “College is a waste of time and money,” says an article in a recent issue of Psychology Today. Author Caroline Bird says: “As I crisscross the United States lecturing on college campuses, I am dismayed to find that professors and administrators, when pressed for a candid opinion, estimate that no more than 25 percent of their students are turned on by classwork. For the rest, college is at best a social center or aging vat, and at worst a young folks’ home or even a prison that keeps them out of the mainstream of economic life for a few more years.”
◆ An Illinois woman was only wounded when a bullet struck her abdomen. But an examination revealed that her nine-month-old fetus was killed. A jury recently decided that the man who fired the gun was guilty of murder. How can it be, then, that when a four- or five-month-old fetus is aborted, this is not murder?
Lifeboat Medical Ethics
◆ Increasingly one reads unusual suggestions for dealing with population problems. Some propose that “lifeboat ethics” be employed; the rich, to save themselves, would not feed the poor. Now a government doctor in one African nation says, Do not treat the ill. He writes in the Central African Journal of Medicine: “The unnecessary saving of human lives in a world that is bursting its seams should be made a criminal offence, punishable by slow strangulation.”
◆ “If the human race is to survive into the next century,” warns noted scientific historian Loren C. Eiseley, “scientific technology will have to learn how to control the devastating forces it has unwittingly turned loose on the planet”—from exploding population and pollution to the arms race and energy waste. “All of these disasters are rooted in the successes of our scientific technology . . . This is the great paradox of the scientific age.”
More than Money
◆ Current economic problems are often blamed for growing U.S. crime. “But,” says the Boston Sunday Globe, “the hypothesis fails to account for the persistent rise in crime in the 1960s, a period of relative prosperity, or of the 1974 increases in areas where the economy is booming. In Houston, for instance, unemployment is a scant 3.6 percent, but serious crime jumped 11 percent in 1974.”
◆ What is said to be the fastest-growing major crime in the U.S.? Not rape or murder—but arson. Known losses from the crime, it is thought, will exceed one billion dollars in 1975. And losses are rising 10 to 15 percent every year. Reasons for the rise vary, but the most familiar form of arson is called “insure-and-burn,” where property is burned for the sake of getting insurance payments; the recession is said to contribute to this increase.
◆ The theory that genetic mutations are responsible for evolution has been severely questioned in recent months. When comparing forty-four different proteins from man and chimpanzees, scientists concluded that they are more than 99 percent identical; thus, they say, man and the chimps are relatives. Yet what happens when creatures that appear to be even more closely related are compared? Says the New York Times: “Two species of frog that are similar in anatomy and behaviour may have protein differences 30 to 40 times greater than those between man and chimpanzee.”
Church Decline in Britain
◆ Church membership in England and Wales is dropping fast. The Roman Catholic Church admits that it loses about 250,000 members each year. The Methodist Church fell from 750,000 to 601,000 in the last decade. But the figures are most significant for the Church of England, since it is the national church. In 1956 the attendance at Easter Communion was 2,348,000. By 1970 the figure was down to 1,814,000. In the same period, however, the adult population in England rose from 32 million to 35 million.
Rock Concert Firetrap
◆ Many parents, fearing that their youngsters may be hurt in a riot, or be exposed to drugs and bad company, keep them away from rock concerts. Columnist Mike Royko in the Detroit Free Press adds another reason to the list after visiting one of the country’s finest auditoriums during such a concert: “Throughout the theater, we found exits locked, some with chains. . . . Of the 12 doors leading out of the south end of the auditorium, we found 8 were locked.” Most of the youngsters, 14 to 18 years of age, were smoking marijuana. “The no-smoking law didn’t seem to apply. If any of these hundreds of cigarets touched off a fire, or if some nut decided to throw a smoke bomb, the results would have been a mad rush to . . . to where?” Royko adds that in their condition “the kids would have been stacking up like long-haired cordwood.”
◆ In recent years a number of leading American corporations changed their names, feeling that they needed a new image. It became popular to use only initials. As a result, Industry Week reports: “Today there’s a bewildering jumble of companies with initials in their names.” At least one major company wants to get out of the “corporate alphabet soup” by reverting to its old name.
Family Breweries Dying
◆ Family-owned breweries once proliferated throughout the State of Pennsylvania. There were forty-two in just the city of Philadelphia. Now there is only one. The next to last recently sold out. Why? Because of increased advertising expenses, soaring malt and corn prices, as well as a recent 25-percent increase in the cost of canning.
Less Back Trouble
◆ Can any exercise or special sleeping position help one to prevent back trouble? Dr. Henry L. Feffer, professor of orthopedic surgery at George Washington University, answers: “If every one of us could swim every day, that would be perfect. Walking is good. You don’t have to lift weights. . . . I think you’re better off if you sleep on your side, curled up, or on your back with your knees up, because your back then flattens out.”
Food for Emergencies
◆ The threat of worldwide food shortage grows. But the nations do not seem to be able to organize and take advantage of provisions that are available. Strangely, however, they can regiment in wartime. Says Ceres magazine (of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization): “Since the remotest times, man has been able to plan the food supplies of armies, even when located very far from their home base. . . . The science of nutrition, well known to soldiers and veterinarians, was long neglected in the case of civilians and was put into practice only during the second world war. Must we agree with Lord Boyd Orr that we know how to arrange for the supply of food only in wartime?”
Highly Paid Athletes
◆ The highest-paid athletes in America are boxers. The three top ones earned a total of $12,800,000 in 1974. A leading harness racer was fourth-highest wage earner in sports, with $500,000; another earned $400,000. Six basketball players each made over $400,000 in 1974.
◆ What is currently the best way to survive an auto crash? “Among approximately 500 users of lap and shoulder belts in the 30,000 accidents investigated . . . in Western New York since 1969, there was not a single death reported,” says a recent report in Machine Design magazine. This confirms a past Swedish study of 28,000 accidents indicating “that none of the motorists wearing the three-point lap and shoulder belts was killed in impacts up to 60 mph.”