Watching the World
Aliens, Please Note
◆ During January all aliens in the United States (with few exceptions) are required to report their addresses to the government. Forms for this purpose are available at offices of the Immigration and Naturalization Service as well as all post offices. Upon completing Form 1-53, place a postage stamp on the card’s reverse side and mail it to the preprinted address appearing there. Last year, in New York State alone, 4,964,331 aliens reported their addresses.
◆ During the first half of the 1970’s, Denmark became the world leader in salaries, according to a recent Conference Board report. The survey was based on the salaries of new engineers because job content is comparable in all nations and their wages frequently are used as a bench mark for salaries in other lines of work. In 1975, Denmark’s beginning engineers had an average salary of $20,400, compared with $14,890 in the United States. Denmark, Federal Republic of Germany, Switzerland, Norway and Belgium all were ahead of the U.S.
Widowed Senior Citizens
◆ According to the American Council of Life Insurance, women 65 years of age or older number 12.7 million in the United States. Of these, 53 percent are widows.
◆ It is thought that about two million Americans are using cocaine. Many persons consider this drug harmless, and it does have medical uses that seem beneficial. However, the journal Scientific American cites the results of a four-year research project financed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and comments: “Heavy, prolonged use of the drug can produce dependence, intense anxiety or depression and sometimes a cocaine psychosis characterized by tactile hallucinations, in particular a feeling that insects are crawling over the skin. Overdoses can cause death, resulting from a central-nervous-system response usually involving seizures followed by respiratory or cardiac arrest.”
Penalty for Promiscuity
◆ Research at the University of the Philippines public health institute reveals that nearly all gonorrhea germs afflicting Manila patients are resistant to penicillin and other antibiotics except the drug named rifampicin. But fear is expressed that, within three years, it will be ineffective. The Philippine newspaper Bulletin Today opened its report on this matter with the words: “For the promiscuous, a word of caution.” But Bible students already know that the price paid for continued promiscuity is high indeed, for such persons “will not inherit God’s kingdom.”—1 Cor. 6:9, 10.
Watch Your Child!
◆ Crossing a street and bicycle riding are the greatest perils for children. But how many are injured or killed in a single year? Note some of the most recent sample statistics for youngsters under 15 years of age. By country, those injured ran as follows: Italy, 15,641; France, 19,090; Great Britain, 41,082; Federal Republic of Germany, 45,701; United States, 82,150. The death toll for the same age group was: Italy, 552; France, 552; Great Britain, 594; Federal Republic of Germany, 1,231; United States, 2,650.
Safeguarding Your Bicycle
◆ The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation recommends the following measures to foil bicycle thieves: Register the bike, with either the police or some other agency; etch on the frame your state’s abbreviation, followed by the number of your driver’s license; use a chain (through both wheels and the frame) and a good lock to secure an unattended bike to a tree or sturdy rack; also, do not leave your bicycle in an unlocked garage or on your porch or lawn, particularly during the night.
When Tremors Strike
◆ For over a year, speculation has grown that a great earthquake will strike Japan on the Pacific side in the area between Tokyo and Mt. Fuji. So, for some months, police and fire departments have conducted exercises to acquaint people with what they should do in the event of a quake. But has all the effort been worth while? Not if one judges by the response to four tremors that jolted Tokyo and vicinity in the early morning hours of October 5. When the Tokyo Fire Department polled 1,005 persons by telephone, it found that 963 felt the tremor at 12:39 a.m., 42 slept right through it, and in only 35 out of 51 places where individuals were using fires did they extinguish them. Just 214 persons opened their doors in preparation for flight, whereas 614 of those surveyed took no defensive measures at all.
Divorce Rise in Britain
◆ Among the British, marital breakups have reached the point of nearly one divorce for two new marriages, according to Sir George Baker, president of the family division of Britain’s high court. Recently, he said that in England and Wales during 1976 there were 146,415 divorces, as compared with 356,000 marriages. Baker indicated that wives sought the divorce in seven out of 10 cases.
◆ In an undisclosed area of the Amazon, scientists have discovered an Indian tribe that runs a profitable gold mine described as “an underground city worked by 50 prisoners.” The newly found Niawa tribe “also owns valuable jewels, makes human sacrifices, marries off its children at age 6 and boasts a language with a 15-letter alphabet,” reports Parade magazine.
Fatal Sound Shocks
◆ Professor of medicine Masaki Omori of Okayama, Japan, has found that mice are affected and may even be killed by supersonic waves. By accident, he noted that the 35- to 50-kilohertz vibrations produced by equipment used in the washing of test tubes caused mice in nearby cages suddenly to begin running around. These mice, of two separate breeds, died soon afterward. Dr. Omori thinks that these breeds apparently possess genes that cause them to be sensitive to sound shocks, and he feels that sound-wave energy is absorbed through their hair and is transmitted by nerves to the animals’ nervous systems, resulting in the death-dealing shock. But Dr. Omori considers it too early to tell whether his findings will have any application to humans.
Balloons Are Back
◆ Hot-air ballooning is rapidly increasing in popularity. In 1963 there were only six of them in the United States, but today there are about 1,000. These balloons, some 70 feet (21 meters) in height, are inflated with air that is heated by fuel such as propane gas. The warm air inside the balloon causes it to rise in the cooler air surrounding it. The balloon’s burner can heat the air again in flight when more lift is desired. While the up-and-down motion can be controlled, there is no control of direction. The balloons are entirely at the mercy of air currents, resulting in a number of accidents. Most balloonists prefer to fly at altitudes of less than 500 feet (150 meters), because at low altitudes they can observe all the activity below and hear the sounds of birds, mountain streams, the wind in the trees, and people talking on the ground.
Smoking Increases Miscarriages
◆ A new study by Columbia University scientists in New York confirms that cigarette smoking during pregnancy nearly doubles the chance of a miscarriage (or, spontaneous abortion, as some call it). Previous studies showed that smoking caused a higher rate of infant mortality and lower-than-normal weight at birth, which causes a higher risk of serious illness. Also significant in the new study was the fact that light smokers suffered nearly the same number of miscarriages as did heavy smokers. The striking difference in miscarriage rates was between smokers and nonsmokers.
More Unmarried Couples
◆ The United States Census Bureau reports a huge rise in the number of unmarried persons living together. Nearly one million couples now do so, an 83-percent increase in such households in the last seven years. The Bureau also noted that the nation’s marriage rate has dropped sharply in recent years.
◆ Long exposure to noise levels of about 70 decibels can cause hearing loss. Typical levels for some sounds are: jet airplane takeoff, 120; garbage truck loading, 100; city traffic, 90; alarm clock, 80; electric shaver, 75; noisy restaurant, 70; air-conditioning unit, 60; light auto traffic, 40; quiet office, 40. The sound level doubles with each 10 decibels.
◆ Citing information provided by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, the journal To the Point International lists the following as the most threatened animals in Africa: Northern square-lipped white rhino, Jentink’s duiker (an antelope), Swayne’s hartebeest, Grevy’s zebra, Cape Mountain zebra, mountain gorilla, cheetah, black rhino, Barbary macaque (a monkey) and the leopard.
Stronger Finnish Hearts
◆ For some time North Karelia County in eastern Finland held the distinction of having more people die of heart disease, on the average, than any other place on earth. But after a special five-year prevention program, the heart-attack rate for males reportedly has dropped by 40 percent. Though Finland still has the highest heart-disease rate among developed nations, North Karelia is down to fifth place among the nation’s counties. The improvement is credited to a coordinated program that attacked smoking and fat in the diet, while promoting consumption of fresh vegetables.
◆ In their legalistic quest for godliness, devout Jews seeking rulings on fine points of conduct have had a big job. It has meant searching the Responsa, 2,500 volumes of rabbinical opinions compiled over 1,200 years. Now, though, for just $50, a powerful computer near Tel Aviv will quickly come up with references to answer such questions as, “What dietary standards must a kosher hotelkeeper maintain for gentile quests?” In a test, the computer was able to produce far more references needed for full answers than did a panel of Talmudic scholars.
Reform Judaism recently issued a new book of prayers to replace their previous 25-year-old prayer book. The new book covers more situations in life, enabling pious Jews to read off a prayer for everything from adopting a child to entering college.
Substitute for Whale Oil
◆ Oil from the sperm whale has been an important component in lubricating oils. But since this whale is an endangered species, importation of its oil into the United States is forbidden. However, years of research with the jojoba, an oil-bearing bean, is now bearing results. The peanut-sized jojoba contains an odorless, chemically rare liquid wax that is almost identical to sperm-whale oil. The bean grows in arid desert regions of Mexico and the United States. Hundreds of acres are now under commercial cultivation, and wild jojoba plants are being harvested too. Its oil also is used in some cosmetics. It is nontoxic and nonirritating. And since it is chemically stable, it will not turn rancid as do some other oils.
Falls Still Receding
◆ Famous Niagara Falls between Canada and the United States has been eroding for many years. A number of suggestions have been offered to slow down or stop the erosion, but an International Joint Commission has rejected them all as impractical. Instead, it has decided to “let nature take its course.” Presently the falls are receding at the rate of about one meter a year.