Watching the World
◆ Evidence of racial harmony among true Christians appears in National Geographic for October 1975, though the magazine had a different objective in carrying a full-page picture of a black witness of Jehovah baptizing a white gentleman in Alabama. The accompanying caption reads: “An event once impossible—public interracial baptism in a Tuscaloosa motel pool—goes unnoticed except by the Jehovah’s Witnesses in attendance. While hardly a commonplace scene, it conveys a message: What the law guarantees, people learn to accept in a spirit of mutual tolerance and civility. Alabama is getting on and going on.” Jehovah’s witnesses agree with the Bible’s position that God “made out of one man every nation of men” and that He “is not partial, but in every nation the man that fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him.”—Acts 17:24-26; 10:34, 35.
◆ The Moses sole, a flatfish the Red Sea, emits a white poison that is lethal to small marine animals, even when greatly diluted in water. But it may also be a shark repellent of a sort. During a recent experiment, flatfish were fastened to bait lines. When a shark attacked what appeared to be easy prey, its opened jaws were paralyzed by the poison and so it merely moved away. Only after the poison’s effects had worn off minutes later could the shark close its jaws.
◆ During the last four years, Roman Catholic nuns have decreased in number by 24.6 percent. Their worldwide total now stands at 609,369. The greatest decrease took place in Canada and the United States, with a drop of 38.5 percent.
◆ During the 1964-1965 fiscal year, financial institutions, including banks, reported 2,835 cases of fraud, resulting in 604 convictions and losses totaling $20.4 million. But during the year ending June 30, 1975, reported cases reached 10,181, with 1,511 convictions. The financial loss was put at $188.7 million, of which $33.9 million was recovered. Shedding some light on the upsurge is this remark by a banking official: “Many U.S. attorneys won’t even prosecute a case involving a couple of thousand dollars. The embezzler is quietly fired, any benefits he may have coming are attached to recover the loss, and he is out of the banking industry forever. And that’s the end of it.”
Ban on Hypnosis
◆ This past February, during a school party in Domina, Israel, sixteen-year-old Yaffa Suissa was put into a trance, but the hypnotist was unable to bring her out of it. A medical hypnotist spent an entire week restoring the girl to consciousness. Because of this incident, on September 9 Israel’s Education Ministry banned hypnotic performances at school parties unless explicitly approved by principals and the students’ parents.
◆ On June 1, Robert Antosczcyk, a yoga teacher in Ann Arbor, Michigan, secluded himself in his room, telling acquaintances that he was going to attempt astral projection. In this state, supposedly one’s “soul” travels through the universe’s “astral plane.” However, two days later twenty-nine-year-old Antosczcyk was dead. His body was discovered in a yoga posture assumed in deep meditation. Reportedly, the young man’s health had been excellent and he was not a drinker, smoker or drug user. Though pathologists did not know why he had died, one suggested that Antosczcyk may have entered a state of meditation so deep that his heart had slowed down greatly and was unable to pump sufficient blood to the brain.
Widely Used Languages
◆ Chinese headed a recently published list of principal languages. It is spoken by 750,000,000 people. Ranking second is English, used by 350,000,000. Next is Hindi, spoken by 250,000,000. Spanish is fourth, with 220,000,000, and in fifth place is Russian, used by 145,000,000.
Criminals on the Payroll
◆ Employee dishonesty has reached alarming proportions. Writing in Industry Week, Michael L. Johnson remarks: “One observer says that about half of those who work in plants and offices steal to a greater or lesser extent, and about 5% to 8% are said to steal in volume.” One may wonder whether some of these individuals would change if they recognized themselves as the criminals they have proved to be. Godly persons desire to ‘conduct themselves honestly in all things.’—Heb. 13:18.
TV Viewing Record
◆ The Japanese now hold the world’s record for watching television. Daily they spend 7 hours and 17 minutes, on an average, watching TV programs, compared with 6 hours and 11 minutes for residents of Canada and the United States.
◆ A device similar in appearance to a stapler that you may have at home is being employed by some surgeons. It uses cartridge-loaded silk sutures. Among reported advantages are reduced time and expense in the operating room. Also cited is less tissue trauma, which often means faster postoperative recovery for the patient.
Quake Takes Its Toll
◆ An earthquake that registered 6.8 on the Richter scale ravaged the village of Lice in eastern Turkey on September 6. Over 1,000 of 8,000 residents lost their lives. Reportedly, at least another thousand died In nearby villages, and some 30,000 were rendered homeless. Back in 1966 inhabitants of Lice were offered government aid to establish dwellings on safer ground, but a mere 150 families did so. Whereas their reinforced-concrete houses withstood the tremor with little damage, the old hillside dwellings of stone and mortar were destroyed.
◆ The yearly report of the International Monetary Fund reveals that the volume of world trade dipped in the first half of 1975. Marked growth was noted only in the imports of oil producers. The first half of 1975 saw an export drop in industrial lands.
Signs of the Zodiac
For the first time, ancient signs of the zodiac have been found in an astronomical chart discovered in China. It appears on the ceiling of a twelfth-century tomb recently unearthed in Hopei Province. The chart contains both the Chinese system of mapping the heavens and zodiacal signs for the twelve-constellation division common in the West and that had its origin in Babylonia.
African Elephant Endangered?
◆ Wildlife experts are expressing fears that the African elephant may be near extinction within ten years. Why? Because more and more elephant country is being taken over for human habitation and agricultural purposes, and also because many are being killed illegally to supply the growing trade in ivory. Illustrating the heightened demand is the fact that from 1930 to 1970 Kenya’s ivory exports usually ranged between 20,000 and 90,000 pounds annually. Then there was an upsurge. In 1973, Kenya alone exported almost 900,000 pounds of ivory. It is noteworthy that for years, until 1969, ivory sold for about $2.80 per pound, but the price had risen to approximately $36 a pound by 1973. Prior to 1970 most of the demand was met by “found ivory,” from the tusks of animals that had died naturally.
◆ The remains of a two-story building thought to be the palace of a Mesopotamian queen have been unearthed in the Old City of Jerusalem. Covering 1200 square yards south of the temple area, the structure seems to have been built by Queen Helena, a convert to Judaism who took up residence in Jerusalem about the year 30 of the Common Era, when Jesus Christ began his ministry in that region. Benyamin Mazar, who is in charge of this archaeological project, believes the palace was demolished along with Jerusalem’s temple when the Romans destroyed the city in 70 C.E.
High World Unemployment
◆ At the end of July, there were more people out of work in the Western world than at any time in the past 40 years. In Australia, Canada, Japan, western Europe and the United States, an estimated 15 million people were unemployed. Another 5 to 6 million could find only part-time work. There are serious doubts that unemployment can be drastically reduced in the near future, even with improved economic conditions. “The days of full or nearly full employment are a thing of the past,” states U.S. News & World Report.
◆ The use of drugs that have a calming, sedative effect is growing rapidly. About 15 percent of the adults in western Europe and the United States now are reported regularly using just one of many such drugs available, Valium. Last year, fifty-seven million prescriptions for Valium were filled in the United States alone. That figure, declares the New York Sunday News, “seems almost to suggest that we are a nation of neurotics.”
◆ In 1940, according to Social Security officials, there were 11.7 Americans aged 65 and over for every 100 persons of working ages 20 to 64. Today, there are 18.3 for every 100. At the present rate, in a few decades there would be nearly 30 elderly for every 100 of working age. Why the increase? Because, since 1960, the expected number of births per woman aged 15 to 44 has plunged from 3.7 to 1.85. While the birth rate has thus been cut in half, better health measures are enabling more people to live longer.
Better for Babies and Mothers
◆ Studies are showing that the sooner a newborn baby is placed in contact with the mother and can benefit by the mother’s love the better it is for the baby. The mothers are also found to build a closer attachment to the child. In a hospital in Guatemala City, Guatemala, one group of mothers were given their infants almost immediately after delivery. Another group were separated from their babies until twelve hours later, which is routine there and in most hospitals in North America. The earlier maternal attachment of “fondling, kissing, . . . gazing at and holding the baby close” proved better for both babies and mothers.
Safer at Work
◆ Many may believe that the greatest hazards to life and limb are at their place of work. Not so, says the U.S. National Safety Council. Three times as many workers are killed off the job. In 1973, they suffered nearly half again as many injuries after work as they did during working hours. And after-hours accidents are rising much more rapidly than those at work. Why? One safety official suggests that “the American worker has more time to do more things to get him into trouble.”
Lure of the Log Cabin
◆ A century ago in the United States log cabins were not an uncommon sight, but people do not expect to see many of them today. Yet the number of log homes is rising. Of course, the builders—perhaps a man and his family—usually do not start by chopping down trees. Rather, a “kit” is purchased from one of over 50 companies producing them. One couple bought a “kit” for $11,800 and finished their log house for some $27,000. Would-be builders do well to check first with local authorities to determine whether log cabins are allowed in a chosen area.
Moonshine Market Slump
◆ Makers of illegal whiskey, called moonshiners, have flourished for years in some sections of the United States. But the government’s revenue agents are breaking up fewer stills these days, at least in northern Georgia. They now average about one a month, compared with a monthly average of ten in the past. But it seems that the business is down due to the tripling of sugar prices in the last two years.