Watching the World
◆ During the First Interhemispheric Conference on Adolescent Fertility, held recently at Arlington, Virginia, the delegates representing thirty-nine nations concluded that childbearing among teen-agers has reached the proportions of a “worldwide epidemic.” As quoted in Medical Tribune, Iranian journalist Nalia Kazemian said in the keynote speech: “[We must] face the fact that the world-wide trend towards pregnancy and childbearing [at an early age] is a physical, social, and demographic crisis. . . damaging the whole fabric of society.”
Further Reason Not to Smoke
◆ Recent studies reveal that nicotine is present in the milk of smoking mothers. Modern Medicine reports that out of 34 samples of milk from 15 women, no nicotine was noted in the 6 samples from women who did not smoke, whereas “the 28 samples from smokers contained an average of 91 parts per billion nicotine.”
How Long the Workweek?
◆ The United States Labor Department recently revealed the results of a survey showing that a greater number of Americans work seven days per week than those on the other end of the scale who work just four days. Of the full-time work force, 1.9 percent (1,115,000 persons) have a seven-day workweek, whereas only 1.2 percent (744,000) work four days a week. The norm for U.S. workers, however, is the five-day workweek, with 83 percent (49.8 million persons) working five days. The study covered full-time workers and excluded part-time employees, farm workers and self-employed individuals.
◆ Elderly persons apparently need more light than younger individuals. At least, that is suggested by Dr. Philip Hughes of the General Electric Company. “In general,” he says, “changes in the aging eye result in more than a 50% reduction in light reaching the retina of the eye at age 50 and a 66% reduction at age 60.”
Teen-Agers and Autos
◆ In a column appearing in the Detroit Free Press, Sydney J. Harris stated that “a teenager is 88 percent more likely to be killed in an auto accident than the average motorist.” Harris also pointed out that drivers under twenty years of age constitute “the only group whose accident rate has risen since the 55 m.p.h. [mile-per-hour] speed limit” was established in the United States.
◆ A massive iceberg nearly as large as the state of Rhode Island recently went aground safely to the north of James Ross Island after floating about in Antarctic waters for ten years. Measuring 25 by 45 miles (40 x 72 kilometers), it is one of the biggest bergs ever recorded. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration says that it contains sufficient fresh water to supply the state of California (at the present rate of use) for 1,100 years, provided none of it melted if towed there. Interestingly, Saudi Arabia has been looking into the possibility of having Antarctic icebergs towed to the Red Sea in order to relieve fresh-water shortage in that area.
◆ For about $20 and a few hours of work weekly, during the summer months it is possible to raise up to $300 worth of vegetables in a home garden, according to the National Association for Gardening. The Wall Street Journal says that this Association “estimates there were 32 million home gardens in the U.S. last year, translating into a potential $9.6 billion of vegetables.”
◆ Lobbying—engaging in activities intended to influence the decisions of public officials—is considered legal in the United States unless certain laws are violated. Businesses, consumers, unions, foreign countries and the like maintain lobbies in Washington, D.C., and some lobbyists are highly paid. A lobbyist’s annual salary may range from $30,000 to $300,000, according to The U.S. News Washington Letter.
“I Don’t Like Esther”
◆ Mrs. Anne Lapidus Lerner, an instructor at the Jewish Theological Seminary, has been quoted as saying, “I don’t like Esther,” referring to Queen Esther of Biblical record. According to the New York Post, Mrs. Lerner pointed out that “it is Esther’s uncle Mordecai who tells her to intercede with the king to save her people from the wicked Haman,” and “Esther merely follows instructions.” It might be mentioned that Queen Esther took courageous action, although she did adhere to the principle of male headship, recognized as God’s will by the Jews of ancient times. Reading the entire Bible book of Esther proves enlightening and rewarding.
Suggestion Box Record
◆ Raymond Roberts, an employee of the General Motors Corporation, has submitted 148 suggestions in the past twelve years, and his employer has adopted 29 of them. As a result, Roberts earned $105,392 for his ideas during that period. According to the National Association of Suggestion Systems, his earnings for suggestions are the highest ever recorded.
Papaya Promotes Healing
◆ An Associated Press dispatch from London, England, states that Dr. Michael Bewick has cured postoperative transplant infections by placing strips of papaya on the wounds. Referring to the team with which he is associated, Dr. Bewick is quoted as saying: “We have treated at least 10 patients with infected wounds of various sorts, and it works. We do not know why, but there appears to be something in the fruit that stimulates the wound to heal.” Papaya is a tropical fruit containing an enzyme used at times to tenderize meat.
Undersea Hot Springs
◆ A group of thirteen scientists recently undertook the first manned explorations of deep-sea hot springs and found some of them teeming with life. Using the Woods Hole submersible called Alvin, dives were made to depths of some 9,000 feet (2,740 meters) in a Pacific rift area 200 miles (322 kilometers) northeast of the Galapagos Islands. Surrounding the vents of certain ocean-floor hot springs were such creatures as crabs, mussels and clams ten inches (25 centimeters) wide. Researchers suspect that the hydrogen sulfide gas present is largely responsible for the abundant life clustered about the hot-spring vents.
Dead Sea and Health
◆ Besides bathing in the Dead Sea for pleasure, tourists in Israel bathe in it and in the hot springs on its banks for health reasons. Research into treatment of skin problems began there in the early 1950’s, and for some time Denmark’s department of health has kept, on an average, 200 psoriasis patients at the Dead Sea for nine months a year. “They are flown from Copenhagen in groups of 40 to remain for two months, bathing in the sea and lying in the sun,” reports Sea Frontiers, adding: “While the treatment does not cure this chronic condition, the patients are much benefited. The rash is said to heal more quickly than on medication alone, and the improvement is more lasting.”
◆ Indian author and lecturer Bhikshu Chaman Lal has been quoted as stating in an article appearing in The Indian Express of New Delhi that “yoga is the most profitable business in today’s materialistic world.” In thirty-five years of travel Lal says that he has “encountered no less than a hundred merchants of yoga all over the world. There are bearded Indian yogis with flowing long hair, there are Negro yogis wearing Indian turbans, there are German, Swiss, English, Swedish and Norwegian yogis doing a roaring business all over Europe, the U.S., Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Argentina and practically every country except Japan.” While mentioning those he calls “genuine yogis who live in monasteries and do not merchandise yoga,” Lal says: “I wish the Indian Foreign Office could cancel the passports of those against whom there are serious charges of swindling foreigners and who bring India into disrepute.” (The Wall Street Journal) It might be added that true Christians avoid yoga as a practice contrary to the Bible. See Awake!, February 22, 1975, pages 27, 28.
◆ A dangerous species of fighting frog (pyxichepalus adspersus) is being seen increasingly in certain areas of South Africa. At Meyerton, Transvaal, such a frog recently attacked a housewife in her garden, and it turned on her son who came to the rescue. The woman said that the frog had “teeth like a shark’s.” Gary Craye of the University of Cape Town says: “Once they get a grip, they hang on, rather like a bulldog. There are two large incisors in the lower jaw and an array of needle-sharp teeth, angled backwards, in the upper jaw.” Formerly, these frogs were noted in Rhodesia and neighboring regions.
Improved Bullock Carts
◆ Although India has made notable progress in the field of transport, reportedly some 300 million farmers in that country still make use of the bullock cart, and the government has appointed a committee to look into the possibilities of improving the design of these long-used vehicles. Even now, instead of the usual wooden-spoked wheels, a few of them have four pneumatic tires, which, it is estimated, lessen road damage by several million dollars annually. Also, the tires increase a cart’s load capacity from approximately 700 kilograms (1,540 pounds) to about 2 1⁄2 tons. A man owning one of these improved carts can raise his income from $1 to around $5 daily. Regarding the laboring bullock, however, To the Point International comments: “Supporters of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals group ruefully point out that cruelty to animals and overloading are not recognised offences in India yet. Plain economic considerations have always drowned the voices of compassion.”
◆ The United States has the highest number of telephones per 1,000 residents—657. Sweden is next, with 594. In third place is Great Britain, which has 350 phones for a thousand inhabitants.
◆ Nearly half the food now produced world wide reportedly is being lost to pests, even though pesticide use this year will reach a high of 4.1 billion pounds. That is over a pound (.4536 kilogram) for each person alive on earth. Dr. David Pimintel of Cornell University recently said, at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, that pesticide use had grown 20 percent in the past five years. But pests are developing increased immunity to pesticide and overuse of it is killing their parasites and predators, according to Dr. Pimintel and Dr. Ray F. Smith of the University of California. Smith pointed out: “Fully 90 per cent of all the eggs and larvae of crop pests would be destroyed by their own natural enemies if we made better use of pesticide. We’re not doing any better than half that, because of our overuse of pesticides.” The New York Post states: “Pimintel and Smith said that about 33 per cent of the food lost in the world is lost to pests before it can be harvested. Another 9 per cent is lost after harvest, much of it to rats before it can be marketed.”
◆ Britain’s Defense Ministry recently marketed some of the by-products of its research. “Bacteria by the Kilogram” was the title of a government agency advertisement offering toxic microorganisms in various forms at bargain rates to nonmilitary users. “Just picture the headlines,” declared Medical Tribune, “if such an advertisement heralded the addition of United States Army bacteriologic agents to the list of deadly products we presently market.”