Watching the World
N. H. Knorr Succumbs
◆ On June 8, 1977, after an illness of some months, Nathan H. Knorr, president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania since January 13, 1942, succumbed at Watchtower Farms, Wallkill, New York. Frederick W. Franz has succeeded him as president of this legal agency used by Jehovah’s Witnesses for administrative and publishing purposes. Interestingly, in a front-page article, Georgia’s Columbus Times commented: “Wednesday night, June 8th, a great man died. His greatness was not due to being a powerful politician nor a commercial giant, for upon his death he had few worldly goods.” It was observed that few persons even recognize his name, “although his life work has had a profound effect upon all nations and has touched the lives of most of their citizens.” Mentioning how this was so, the newspaper said that Mr. Knorr had spoken at hundreds of assemblies held by Jehovah’s Witnesses world wide, including “the world’s largest religious assembly” in New York city (in 1958), a gathering “attended by over 250,000, filling simultaneously the Polo Grounds and Yank[ee] Stadium.” The Columbus Times also referred to his role in instituting congregational schools and one for foreign missionaries (the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead). “So,” remarked the newspaper, “every time one of Jehovah’s Witnesses knocks on your door and offers you a free home Bible study you personally are benefiting from this extension of Mr. Knorr’s Bible training program for Jehovah’s Witnesses.” The number of Witnesses has risen from 115,240 in 1942 to 2,248,390 in 1976. However, the Times pointed out that, like the apostle Paul and Apollos, “Mr. Knorr has only ‘planted and watered, but God has made it grow,’ and Mr. Knorr has never claimed credit for himself for this phenomenal increase in the numbers of Jehovah’s Witnesses.”—1 Cor. 3:5-8.
Witnesses in Argentina
◆ Jehovah’s Witnesses were banned in Argentina in September 1976. But, according to an Associated Press dispatch of June 20 from Buenos Aires, the ban was lifted by a court on June 16, 1977. At the time of the report, it had not been indicated whether the Argentine government would appeal the court action.
◆ For longer garden productivity, several suggestions have been made. Fast-growing vegetables like lettuce can be planted alternately in a row with those that mature slowly (cabbage, for instance). “Or,” reports Industry Week, “you can make successive short-row weekly plantings of fast-growing and early maturing crops such as radishes.” After the spring yield has been gathered, you can plant summer vegetables in the same rows and later replace these crops with autumn plants. “For crops with long seasons—such as corn and tomatoes—plant several varieties having different times of maturity,” says the journal.
◆ The United States Department of Agriculture and the Census Bureau have revealed that in 1976 just 8.3 million of the country’s residents were living on farms. That is a mere 3.9 percent of the populace. Also, from 1935 to 1976, U.S. farms dropped in number from 6.8 million to only 2.8 million.
◆ Experiments at the Clinical Research Centre in Harrow, England, indicate that when temperatures soar a person can keep cooler by drinking hot tea than by consuming ice-cold beverages. “Whereas an ice-cold drink produced only local cooling around the mouth,” reports the British journal New Scientist, “the tea produced an overall drop in skin temperature of 1 to 2°C [1.8° to 3.6° F.], nine minutes following a cuppa [cup of tea]. Though the temperature rose slowly to normal in 15 minutes, subjects reported feeling cool, refreshed and dry.” Any other hot drink would probably serve the same purpose.
Baboon Heart Transplant
◆ According to an Associated Press dispatch of June 20, Dr. Christiaan N. Barnard and a team at Cape Town, South Africa, implanted the heart of a baboon alongside the diseased heart of a human. However, the ten-hour operation was to no avail, for the patient died some hours after the transplant.
Have Plants Evolved?
◆ Karl J. Niklas and David E. Giannasi of the New York Botanical Gardens have been studying the chemical composition of still-green elm leaves from Oregon that were quickly covered by volcanic ash, supposedly “thirty million years ago,” according to Science News. The object of the research? “To learn how flowering plants have evolved,” reports the journal. However, it admits: “So far they find the chemical profile of the prehistoric leaves surprisingly similar to that of modern leaves.” This is not surprising to those who believe the Bible, for it shows that plants are the product of creation, not evolution.—Gen. 1:11, 12.
Perilous Pollution Level
◆ With 25.3 parts per million, carbon monoxide gas from automobile exhausts has reached “attention” level (15 to 30 parts per million) in the center of São Paulo, Brazil. The pollution peril there is evident from the fact that the World Health Organization considers only 9 parts per million to be the maximum permissible in urban areas. In fact, “attention” level pollution has been registered in central São Paulo over 140 times during the year beginning in June 1976. If these conditions continue, the state governor says that access to the area will be prohibited for all vehicles. The newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo reports that carbon monoxide and other pollutants, often in combination, result chiefly in such respiratory illnesses as chronic bronchitis, asthma and emphysema. But this pollution can also produce such conditions as headaches, irritability, fatigue, reduced capacity for heavy work, depression of the central nervous system and mental confusion.
Italy’s “Latin War”
◆ Latin no longer is taught in Italy’s “compulsory” schools (equivalent to junior high schools). Hence, students between 11 and 14 years of age will not have to learn it. Courses in the language were required in such schools until 1962, when the subject became an elective. But Giovanni Gozzer, an education consultant, is quoted as saying: “Only about 15 percent of our students have been choosing Latin as an elective. Many public schools have been forced to eliminate their courses altogether for lack of students.” Advocates of Latin courses have said that without such instruction Italian will be affected detrimentally by “incursions from barbarian languages.” Opponents, including Communists, have argued that Latin training reinforced barriers between the working class and persons of the upper and middle classes who received education in that language. The recently passed law seems to have ended the country’s 15-year “Latin war” because of abolishing Latin courses in the compulsory schools. But the New York Times reports that the law “did not affect the teaching of the language in the scientific and classical high schools that prepare students for the universities. Latin remains compulsory for students 14 to 19 years old.”
Smoking and Health Professionals
◆ Recently, the National Clearinghouse for Smoking and Health released the results of a study showing that cigarette smoking has declined among United States physicians, dentists and pharmacists since the latter part of the 1960’s. Whereas 30 percent of the country’s doctors smoked cigarettes in 1968, only 21 percent did so in 1975. Among dentists there was a drop from 34 to about 23 percent, and the percentage of smoking pharmacists declined from 35 to 28 percent during the same period. On the other hand, among nurses (who generally are women), the percentage rose. The Associated Press says that it was “39 per cent in 1975 compared with 37 per cent earlier.” Interestingly, among adults of the general populace in the U.S., 29 percent of the females and 39 percent of the males were smoking in the year 1975.
The Rat Peril
◆ The World Health Organization’s Regional Office for Southeast Asia recently estimated that rats may outnumber humans in certain nations in that part of the world. Reportedly, lands of Southeast Asia lose 33 million tons of food annually. In a single year, just one rat roaming in a warehouse consumes 20 pounds (9 kilograms) of food and leaves 25,000 droppings and urine that will ruin even more of the stored food. Also, rats carry various diseases that can be spread to man. For instance, the Rodent Control Demonstration Unit in Rangoon, Burma, has noted plague among rodents. “WHO is planning to use the facilities available in Rangoon to train workers engaged in similar activities in other countries of South-East Asia and the Western Pacific,” reports the journal World Health.
“World’s Deepest Hole”
◆ A United Press International (UPI) dispatch from Moscow recently revealed that the Soviet Union plans to dig “the world’s deepest hole.” According to the Tass news agency, scientists intend to dig the hole in southern Azerbaijan to a depth of 9.3 miles (about 15 kilometers). The purpose? To study the crust of the earth. However, the UPI report says that the Soviets announced comparable projects in 1972 and 1974, “but apparently never reached the intended depth.”
Chief Deficiency Diseases
◆ World Health, the journal of the World Health Organization (WHO), reports that the main deficiency diseases on earth today are anemia, endemic goiter, kwashiorkor, marasmus and xerophthalmia. Anemia results from insufficient hemoglobin in one’s blood and can be prevented by eating meats, fruits and green vegetables. Endemic goiter, or thyroid gland enlargement caused by iodine deficiency, can be avoided by eating seafood and using iodized salt. Acute protein deficiency causes kwashiorkor, a malady that results mainly in such symptoms as swelling and apathy, but that can be prevented by eating eggs, groundnuts, pulses (such as beans), milk, cheese, fish and meats. Marasmus, which has such symptoms as growth retardation and muscle atrophy, results from serious calorie deficiency and may be prevented by including cereals, oils, fats, tubers and roots in a person’s diet, as well as feeding a baby its mother’s milk. Severe deficiency of vitamin A produces xerophthalmia, which leads to blindness, but can be avoided by consuming liver, egg yolks, milk, cheese, butter, red palm oil, vegetables and yellow fruits, according to the WHO magazine.
◆ Recently, the president of the American Medical Association reported that average life expectancy in the United States now is 72.4 years, compared with 70.9 in 1970. Since then, nine of the ten major causes of death (all except cancer) have shown a decline. “On the other hand,” says Science Digest, “the number of Americans handicapped by chronic illness or injury is increasing; the average number of years of bed illness, hospitalization, or institutionalization is up to 2.2 (from 1.7 in the mid-60s); and the suicide rate continues to climb.”
◆ The Tire Industry Safety Council urges caution in driving during light rains, for these result in road film nearly as slippery and dangerous as ice. Slower speeds are recommended during showers because it then requires four times the distance to stop a car that it would on dry roads. “In putting on your brakes,” says U.S. News & World Report, “pump gently to avoid locking the wheels and throwing you into a skid. To prevent swerves when braking, keep the air pressure the same in both front tires.”