Watching the World
◆ Swedish research points to success in making synthetic “blood” to replace natural blood in cases of emergency. Compounds containing granules made of carbon and fluorine are said to be especially promising because they “absorb and transport oxygen and carbon dioxide much like human blood,” according to The Journal of the American Medical Association. So far, this particular “blood substitute” research has progressed from rats to baboons. There have been similar experiments elsewhere.
Tobacco Smoke Tar
◆ Recently, studies at Heidelberg, Federal Republic of Germany, have confirmed that the respiratory system’s tiny hairs are clogged by tobacco smoke tar. Since these hairs clear foreign and harmful bodies from air passages, the clogging of them is highly detrimental. Under such circumstances, lung cancer could “possibly be attributed to the fact that [cancer-producing] substances in smoke have free access to the lung vesicles,” say the researchers, according to the Belgian journal To the Point International.
Polygamists Not Excluded
◆ Recently, the National Synod of the Church of Christ in Zaïre decided to grant membership to polygamists. However, according to The Christian Century, this federation (which does not include the country’s Kimbanguist and Roman Catholic churches) resolved that polygamists may not be given ecclesiastical duties.
Where It Is Cheaper
◆ In a list of 57 cities, Business International placed Tokyo first in 1977 as having the highest cost of living. Next in line were Stockholm, Oslo, Zurich, Vienna, Geneva, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Brussels, Frankfurt and Paris, with New York city in 17th place. But in which of the major cities is it cheaper to live? Citing “relatively cheap cities,” Parade magazine lists Rome, Dublin, Lisbon, Beirut, Rio de Janeiro, Manila, Bangkok, Madrid, Johannesburg, Bogotá, Mexico City and Cairo. The least expensive city is Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Rotating Radial Tires
◆ Howard D. McDonald of the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company says that radial tires (unlike their bias or bias-belted counterparts) develop a life-long “set.” So, if you rotate radials by moving them from one side of your car to the other, vibration or a rough ride may result. McDonald recommends front-to-back rotation every 6,000 to 8,000 miles (9,600 to 12,800 kilometers), while keeping the radials on the same side of the vehicle. And what about the spare tire? If included in the rotation, place it on the right side, where tires suffer the most abuse from curbs and the like. Of course, the opposite would apply in countries where vehicles are driven on the other side of the road.
Addicted to Work?
◆ Gerhard Mentzel, a German neurologist, contends that work addiction is as serious as alcoholism. Early symptoms are said to include such things as stomach aches and headaches, circulatory problems, loss of concentration, and unreasonable fears. Among other things, Mentzel says that confirmed workaholics remain awake nights thinking about their work, and they have a compulsive urge to stay on the job for some time after normal office hours.
◆ According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there is no health peril associated with normal use of ceramic dinnerware having heavy metals in its glazes and decals. “But,” states the FDA Drug Bulletin, “leaching of heavy metals (cadmium, lead) may occur when acidic foods (carbonated beverages such as cola drinks; cider; foods containing vinegar; fruit juice, cooked fruits, and other fruit products; sauerkraut; tomatoes; wines, etc) are stored in dinnerware.” So, under conditions of normal use, one may not need to worry about the danger of toxicity in the case of such decorated earthenware or fine and bone china. “However,” cautions the Bulletin, “homemade articles and other suspect items should be tested before they are used.”
◆ Many animals have a keener sense of hearing than do humans. For example, the high frequency of an ultrasonic whistle can be heard by dogs, but not by people. Cornell University scientists say that birds may be able to hear sounds at far greater distances than we once thought, perhaps hundreds of miles. Experiments have shown that homing pigeons can hear infrasound. These are sound waves that have a frequency too low for humans to hear, but which may travel thousands of miles through the atmosphere. It was thought that these sounds perhaps aid birds to migrate, helping them to identify surface features such as ocean breakers crashing over shorelines, or winds whistling through mountain peaks.
Philip of Macedon’s Tomb?
◆ Recently, at the village of Vergina, near Salonika, Greece, a tomb was uncovered that some consider to be that of Macedonian King Philip II, father of Alexander the Great. However, certain archaeologists doubt this identification. According to the discoverer, Prof. Manolis Andronikos, five ivory heads found in the tomb furnished deciding evidence. Prof. Andronikos believes that the small heads represent Philip, his father and mother, Olympias (his first wife) and their son Alexander. Among other finds at the site were two gold ossuaries, or boxes, bearing the bursting star symbol of the Macedonian royal family, as well as a golden diadem worn by kings of Macedon.
◆ In a recent survey, the magazine Schoener Wohnen (Better Living) found that in the Federal Republic of Germany the majority of family disputes relate to just how loud the stereo or television set is to be played. Thirty-two percent of the families polled cited arguments about which television program is to be watched.
For Your Fireplace
◆ According to the Maine Bureau of Forestry, the types of wood having the best fireplace heating qualities are beech, black locust, hickory, red oak and sugar maple. All but sugar maple are hard to start burning, however. For ease of kindling, as well as desirable fragrance, one might select white pine or cedar, but cedar has the disadvantage of giving off numerous sparks. Cherry and apple are noted for fine fragrances and few sparks, although they are hard to kindle.
Suez Canal Traffic
◆ Two years after its reopening, the Suez Canal’s traffic has risen to a daily average of 55 ships, nearly the number using it prior to the 1967 Middle East war, when the waterway was closed. But Suez Canal Authority chairman Mashour Ahmed Mashour reportedly adds that the shipping volume has almost doubled, inasmuch as present vessels are bigger and can transport more goods. Not as many oil tankers now use the canal, however, as it can accommodate laden ships weighing only 60,000 tons and having a draft of 38 feet (11.5 meters). Hence, about half the world’s oil tankers are too large to pass through the canal. Presently, though, a deepening and widening project is in progress that would, by 1980, enable the waterway to take loaded vessels of 150,000 tons and having a 53-foot (16-meter) draft.
Faster in 1789?
◆ Britain’s House of Lords recently heard a complaint about the mail service from London to Paris. Lord Boyd-Carpenter claimed that a letter now takes 12 or 13 days to deliver. He added: “This is twice the time it took before the French Revolution.”
Finns Speak Out on Saunas
◆ Finnish manufacturers of saunas are concerned about the misuse of saunas in some parts of the world. They deplore the erotic image that some have given the sauna. To set matters right, Torsten Hyvarinen, director of a large sauna-making concern in Helsinki, said: “In Finland men and women do not bathe in the sauna together unless they are members of the same family, and in many families older boys and girls bathe separately.” Though Finland has fewer than five million people, it has almost a million saunas.
◆ Soviet medical scientist Michael M. Krasnov, head of Moscow’s State Institute for Eye Diseases, claims almost 100 percent success for his laser treatment of one type of glaucoma (closed-angle), and about 65 percent success with the other major type (open-angle). He uses a very high-energy ruby laser of extremely short duration to make the eye puncture that reduces internal fluid pressure. Otherwise, surgery may be required. “On average, patients need repeated treatments at intervals of about six months,” reports Medical World News. But most patients “prefer a five-minute treatment a couple of times a year to surgery.” American scientists still rate the procedure as experimental.
“One Pig per Mu”
◆ To grow crops for her more than 800 million people, “China’s agriculture uses mainly organic or farm manure,” according to China Reconstructs. “Pig manure is the biggest source of farm manure in China,” says the journal. The three tons of manure produced by a pig each year can produce “five to ten tons of high quality fertilizer,” when mixed with weeds and earth. Together with small amounts of chemical fertilizer, this is “enough for one mu (0.06 hectare [.15 acre]) of land.” The magazine notes that “the target of ‘one pig per person’ or ‘one pig per mu’ is common.”
◆ A young Greek student who got nearly perfect answers in the entrance exams for the Athens Polytechnic School had a lot of help. “Young Andreas had tied on his two feet a transmitter and a receiver,” reports the Athens Daily Post, “and was in continuous contact with his two friends in [a] car” parked outside. After hearing the problems broadcast, his friends would look in textbooks for the answers and dictate them to him. The suspicious professor noted that the student failed to write anything during the first half of the exams, yet wrote during the second half while holding his left ear.
More Grain—More Hungry
◆ Grain stocks throughout the world generally have improved due to good harvests in a number of countries. However, To the Point International observes: “Starvation still worsens. Full grain stores are doing little to alleviate the malnutrition of the estimated 450 million people who live beyond the reach of food handouts.” The explanation for “the gloom in the midst of plenty” is the lack of any world system for distributing the grain evenly. So those who have the money get the grain.
◆ The director of a small English company learned that Mecca’s usual supply of Moslem prayer mats from Beirut was cut off by Lebanon’s civil war. “I copied an illustration from a book at the local library,” he says. “A couple of days later half a dozen samples were on their way to Mecca. The orders rolled in and soon the firm had sold 74,000 of them.” His company received this year’s “Incredible Exporter of the Year Award.”
◆ Chickens are seldom considered to be birds of flight. Yet what flight there is in them has been developed by some enterprising chicken owners. At a chicken-flying meet on the island of Rota, northern Marianas, one bird set a new world distance record of 339.15 feet (103.37 meters). This broke the previous record of 293.9 feet (89.58 meters) set in Ohio, U.S.A.