Watching the World
Staggering Crime Statistics
◆ For decades the number of major crimes reported annually in the United States has been increasing. It recently passed the 10-million mark. However, a Census Bureau survey shows that there is actually far more crime than reported—as many as 37 million major crimes a year now, triple the number officially reported. Half of the people surveyed said they were afraid to walk in their own neighborhoods at night; the figure was higher in cities. Among women living in the cities, 77 percent said they were afraid to go out after dark.
“Catholic Apostasy Rate Up”
◆ That headline appeared in The Catholic Herald Citizen. An article by Catholic priest Andrew Greeley noted that in the United States “almost a fifth of those who were raised Catholic no longer consider themselves to be part of the Church.” He observed that in 1955 the apostasy rate was 7 percent, but that by 1973 it had doubled, to 14 percent. He said that the rate “apparently is continuing to climb.” Greeley called this “a deadly serious problem for American Catholicism,” and added, “Quite simply, people are leaving in droves and apparently are continuing to do so.”
Stress Affects Heart
◆ Each year, on the average, 378 out of every 100,000 men in America die from heart attacks. That is one of the highest heart-disease rates in the world. In contrast, men living in Japan have less than one quarter that death rate. It has long been thought that the higher fat content in the diet of Americans was largely to blame. But evidence grows that stress may be as important a factor, if not more important. A ten-year study of thousands of Japanese men living in the United States revealed that, even where there was a high fat intake, those who continued to live their traditional Japanese life-style, which emphasizes acceptance of the individual’s place in both family and society, experienced no noticeable increase in heart attacks. However, those Japanese men living in the United States who adopted the more aggressive and competitive traits of American men had up to five times as many heart attacks.
◆ Recently, as a result of improved instruments and better knowledge, experts in the United States, China and the Soviet Union have correctly forecast a number of earthquakes. It is reported that in China, before two large quakes, the government issued public warnings and evacuated areas that they suspected were to be affected. Since not a day passes without earthquakes of varying intensity striking somewhere on earth, it is hoped that the increased success at predicting major quakes will help to minimize injury and death.
Soviet Credit Buying
◆ Buying on credit has long been an established way of life in the Western world. Now the Soviet Union is allowing its citizens to buy some items on credit, particularly higher priced goods. But there is a difference: when a customer buys on credit in the Soviet Union, the store notifies the paymaster where he works, and the employer automatically deducts the payments from the worker’s paychecks until the debt is paid off.
◆ A missing person’s agency in New York estimates that from 250,000 to 1,000,000 adult Americans “run away” each year. These are persons who decide they cannot cope with their present circumstances any longer and leave without giving notice. The agency’s file showed that the typical New York city male runaway was in his 40’s or early 50’s, college educated and an aggressive, middle-level executive or salesman making about $25,000 a year. The pressures of life, financial worries, unhappy family situations, job dissatisfaction and other reasons were noted. While these runaways usually seek a simpler existence, they often end up in the same profession they left, out of economic necessity. The typical woman runaway was said to be in her mid-thirties, had married young, had several children early in marriage, and had been a housewife for about 15 years.
Proper Mailbox Use
◆ The United States government regulates mailbox use, limiting it to mail that bears postage. Any person who puts material into a mailbox without having properly paid the postage faces a fine of up to $300 for each offense. The Postal Service states that without such a restriction mailboxes would become filled with all types of matter, such as advertising brochures. The law does permit other material, such as circulars, to be hung on doorknobs, placed at or under the door, or even pushed through a slot in the door. But in the mailbox itself, only mail with the proper postage is legal.
◆ In various places throughout the world, land levels are sinking. Sometimes the sinking is gradual, but at other times there is a sudden collapse, destroying buildings in the area. A 4,000-square-mile shoreline area of Texas is sinking as much as a half foot a year, with Gulf of Mexico seawater claiming more and more land. Parts of California’s San Joaquin Valley have dropped as much as 28 feet over the past few decades. Parts of Shanghai, Tokyo, Mexico City and other areas are also threatened. Why? Some very gradual sinking is due to forces that are always active on the earth’s surface, such as shifting landmasses. Some rapid sinkings are caused when large amounts of oil and natural gas are taken from the ground. However, the main reason is man’s growing need for water. Earth’s exploding population has caused an increased need for irrigation, as well as fresh water for drinking and industrial use. So more and more water is being pumped out of the ground. When it is not replaced by enough rainfall, the land surface often sinks.
Not the Way to Relax
◆ At the University of Maryland a recent study showed that alcohol only appears to relieve physical tension, but its effect is primarily mental, since it depresses the central nervous system. The drinker may feel more relaxed, but in actuality his body may be very tense. The research suggested that for bodily relaxation it would be better for the person to engage in mild physical exercise rather than sitting and drinking.
Coffee Shortage Expected
◆ Earlier this year Brazil’s coffee trees were severely damaged by frost. This is expected to reduce the crop for at least the next two years, raising coffee prices world wide. The 1975 crop, harvested before the frost, was estimated at about 23 million bags. The crop next year is expected to be only 8 to 12 million bags.
British Rate Foreign Products
◆ A Gallup poll in Britain showed that people there rate the products of West Germany as first in quality. Japan’s products were rated as second, a huge improvement over its 23rd-place position 15 years ago. Australia was rated as third. The United States was rated as eighth, compared to its top rating 15 years ago.
Hawaiians Live Longer
◆ The population of Hawaii ranks first in longevity in the United States, the average life expectancy being 73.6 years. It is the only state where, on the average, males live longer than 70 years. Following Hawaii in life expectancy are Minnesota, Utah, North Dakota and Nebraska.
Chemicals and Cancer
◆ The National Cancer Institute has published charts showing where death rates from lung, liver and bladder cancer among men are the highest. What these areas generally have in common are chemical plants and chemical pollution. Some authorities conclude that the lives of people around the world are increasingly endangered by the chemicals in their environment. Tests on animals suggest that chemicals, which may not directly cause cancer, can be changed by the body into substances that do. The evidence mounts that the unnatural pollution of modern industrial civilization is a factor in cancer.
◆ Park officials in Tanzania report that elephants have been gorging themselves on fermented fruit and going on drunken rampages. The park rangers saw elephants trumpeting, screaming, knocking down trees and chasing smaller animals.
Low Arms Spending
◆ Japan is said to spend less for armaments than any other country in the developed world except Denmark, less than one percent of the nation’s yearly income. In terms of dollars, Japan spends, on the average, only $33 per person, compared to $352 in the Soviet Union, $404 in the United States, and $468 in Israel.
◆ The $60 million spent by the U.S. government annually for tobacco price supports amounts to about $1,000 for each smoking-related lung cancer death, according to the Health Research Group’s recent report to President Ford. “On the other hand, the Federal Government spends only $14.30 per (smoking-related) lung cancer death annually on educating the public about the dangers of smoking,” the report maintains. “At the same time, the tobacco industry spends over $2,857 per lung cancer death on promoting the tobacco habit.” Over 74,000 Americans died of lung cancer in 1973.
◆ Is dabbling in the occult just a harmless pastime? The recent experience of a 17-year-old California girl indicates it is not. While driving a car she poured gasoline over herself and ignited it. Shortly before dying in the hospital, she said: “I want to know what it feels like to be dead.” Reportedly, she was deeply interested in the supernatural and in claimed spirit existence after death.
◆ “Waiting for Armageddon,” observes Time magazine, has been “turned to profit.” Some California land speculators have arranged for those who fear the worst to purchase membership in a secret mountain hideaway for $12,500 plus annual dues of $300. Dehydrated food, water and electricity supposedly will be supplied for members when the world collapses and all approach roads to their “survival” community are dynamited.
To Satisfy Gamblers
◆ Greyhound racing is popular among Florida gamblers, reports Sports Illustrated magazine, but many persons do not realize that the competition is not just a “race.” Says one trainer: “When eight dogs chase a lure around a racetrack, they’re not racing. They’re running to kill.” First the dogs are trained to chase down live rabbits. “Once they taste that live rabbit when they’re pups, they’re killers for life,” says another trainer. “They’re not kill-crazy ’cause we starve them. They’re kill-crazy ’cause they’re trained on live rabbits. People like to bet, and greyhounds like to kill. It’s natural.”
Cause of Economic Woes
◆ In these days of economic problems, theories abound as to possible causes and cures. One cause, however, is often overlooked. Thomas Wiseman speaks of it in his recent book The Money Motive: “What the studies of our economic dilemmas leave out is money lust, the underlying impulse, craving, obsession, whatever it is, out of which our present economizing/accumulating culture has arisen.”
Rock Concert Danger
◆ The Journal of the American Medical Association confirms that rock concerts can be dangerous to hearing. Noise levels produced by the musicians with the aid of amplification devices are much higher than considered safe. Permanent hearing damage, or even loss, could occur, the report states.