Watching the World
‘Reward for Neutrality’
◆ The Rhodesia Herald recently reported on “some tales of unexpected reward for the [Jehovah’s] Witnesses’ reputation of political neutrality.” Citing one case, the newspaper said: “An armed terrorist boarded the bus [carrying delegates to a Witness convention in Salisbury] and laid claim to all the money on the bus, which included the return bus fares. He then commanded the passengers to sing revolutionary songs, but, because of their faith, which demands political neutrality, they refused. The terrorist threatened to bayonet them, but at that point the bus driver interceded for them, explaining their religious convictions, and the terrorist promptly left the bus.” The busload of Witnesses received an additional “reward” for their neutrality. The bus company “granted them a free return passage back to their homes,” says the Herald.
Ancient African Technology
◆ Anthropologists have discovered that the Haya people of Tanzania were able to produce carbon steel as far back as 2,000 years ago. According to Time magazine, “a technology this sophisticated was not developed again until nearly 19 centuries later, when German-born Metallurgist Karl Wilhelm Siemens . . . produced the first high-grade carbon steel.” The anthropologists found that the Hayas had abandoned steel-making about 50 years ago, when cheap European steel tools became available. But the very old tribesmen could still build a working furnace of slag and mud for the researchers. The 2,000-year-old remains of 13 nearly identical furnaces were discovered in excavations along the shore of Lake Victoria. This “will help to change scholarly and popular ideas,” said the scientists, “that technological sophistication developed in Europe but not in Africa.”
◆ Formerly secret World War II documents, recently turned over to the U.S. National Archives, reveal much about the role of Pope Pius XII during the war. The information was taken from decoded messages radioed by various Japanese envoys to Tokyo. “A great many people think the pope might do a lot to bring about peace but he will not broach the subject,” radioed Japan’s ambassador in Berlin. The report by Thomas O’Toole of the Washington Post observes: “The documents make clear that the Vatican exercised little moral leadership during the war. It appears that the pope was more concerned with the bombing of Italy and the collapse of the Germans on the Russian front than he was with bringing about peace.”
◆ When the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) staged this year’s “war games” in the Federal Republic of Germany, they became deadly serious for at least 13 persons. “A U.S. pilot died in a helicopter crash and another American was killed in a crash between an army truck and a car,” reports Newsday. “Four German soldiers, a Canadian soldier and a British soldier also died in the mock war.”
The “Why” of Cervical Cancer
◆ English medical researchers have discovered a reason why women who lead promiscuous sex lives are far more susceptible to cervical cancer than are virgins or monogamous women. Dr. Albert Singer of Sheffield University and his Australian associate have demonstrated that a factor that can lead to cancer is carried by a certain kind of male sperm. The factor is a basic protein called a histone, known to be harmful to cervix cells. “Dr. Singer’s work has shown that a woman, by being involved sexually with several men, increases the risk of meeting with one who is carrying this high-histone factor,” reports the London Daily Mail.
Who Attend Most?
◆ In an article entitled “How 60,000 Women Feel About Religion and Morality,” McCall’s magazine reported on a recent survey in which women were asked whether they attended church meetings during the week as well as on weekends. According to the survey, those “most likely” to do so were “Jehovah’s Witnesses (91 percent), Mormons (52 percent) and Baptists (48 percent).” The article also reported: “On the other end of the scale, 59 percent of Unitarian-Universalists, 36 percent of Jews, 29 percent of Christian Scientists and 26 percent of Episcopalians say they ‘virtually never’ attend church.”
Accounts $50 Billion Off
◆ “International accountants have turned up a $50 billion shortfall” in the overall balance of payments in trade among nations, according to Industry Week magazine. This finding resulted when the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD) tried to reconcile the accounts of the world’s nations. Why the discrepancy? It is thought that “the missing money went into unrecorded black market currency dealings, secret payments for weapons, and unpublicized bribes,” says the journal.
◆ Sessions of the British House of Commons are regularly broadcast to the English public. Apparently, what this reveals about the politicians is unsettling. “It is now clear that Parliamentary broadcasting is doing serious damage to the public reputation of the Commons,” observes London’s Daily Telegraph. “Most listeners are shocked, some even revolted, by what sounds to them like the incoherence, rudeness, and even childishness of what goes on in the Lower House.”
Smoke Smites Women
◆ Smoking husbands may have an unwitting share in taking their nonsmoking wives with them to an early grave. A statistician at Pennsylvania’s Edinboro State College found that the wives of regular smokers had a life-span 5 percent shorter than that of those married to nonsmokers. He and his assistants interviewed over 8,000 surviving spouses in Erie County, finding that at death the average age for wives of nonsmokers was 78.8 years and for wives of smokers, 74.7.
U.S. Health, Education and Welfare Secretary Califano reports that while the lung-cancer death rate among men aged 45 to 64 has doubled since 1950, for women it has quadrupled. He also declared that 75 percent of heart attacks among women under 45 would not have occurred if they had not smoked.
China’s Ambitious Project
◆ According to news sources, in the People’s Republic of China preliminary surveying has been completed for building a series of great canals to divert water from the Yangtze River into North China’s dry agricultural areas. “Surface water and underground water have been utilized to the greatest possible extent but are still inadequate,” says Peking’s Kwangming Daily. “Water . . . shortages in North China have become more and more serious in recent years.” The planned man-made river, which would redirect about 5 percent of the Yangtze’s water over a 700-mile (1,100-kilometer) route, is said to be one of the most ambitious projects in history.
◆ After its first year of operation, Yamaha Motor Company’s all-woman motorbike factory “has proved to be an outstanding success,” reports Tokyo’s Daily Yomiuri. Management concern that productivity would drop was dispelled when 25,000 more motorbikes than initially planned were produced. The women proved so skillful at precision work that the rate of unusable damaged goods was also reduced.
◆ Garlic can lower cholesterol levels in the blood, claims a researcher in the Federal Republic of Germany. Professor Hans Reuter of Cologne asserts that he has proof of garlic’s ability to help to clear fatty accumulations in blood vessels, thus helping to combat heart attacks. “Tests showed that volunteers fed butter containing 50 grams of garlic oil in gelatin capsules had a cholesterol level considerably lower than that of a control group fed butter without garlic,” says a United Press International dispatch, adding: “In another experiment, patients ate 3 grams of raw garlic daily. After 4 weeks their cholesterol level dropped markedly.” Reuter says that to get the full benefits, fresh, not powdered, garlic must be used. As to the problem of odor, he remarks: “If everybody were to eat garlic regularly, as in many southern countries, the smell would bother no one.”
Smallpox Still Plagues
◆ An English woman recently came down with smallpox—a disease thought to have been conquered by medical science. However, in this case, medical science appears to have been the culprit. It has been suggested that she contracted the virus from a medical research lab on the floor below the one on which she worked as a medical photographer. Though the victim appeared to be recovering, two other persons did lose their lives in the case—her father, who had a heart attack upon learning of his daughter’s disease, and the scientist whose lab contained the virus for study. He apparently committed suicide.
◆ A 26-year-old Danish patient literally exploded on the operating table, according to two doctors writing in the Journal of the Danish Medical Association. They were using an electrically heated surgical knife that burned through the patient’s digestive tract wall and ignited explosive gases within the tract. The explosion destroyed part of his colon and he later died from blood poisoning, after further operations to repair the explosion damage. The doctors recommended extra care in the use of heated surgical knives.
Untapped Energy Source?
◆ “If the energy required to maintain the fat on overweight Americans were used to generate electricity,” says an Associated Press report, “it could supply the annual residential needs of Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.” Two University of Illinois scientists also calculated that if all overweight adults dieted to their proper weights, the energy saving would be equal to that in 1.3 billion gallons of gasoline. Maintaining their weight at this level would save as much energy as it takes to run nearly a million automobiles each year.
First Wave-Power Plant
◆ An electrical generating plant using ocean-wave energy as its source of power recently began experimental operation off the coast of Japan. It is claimed to be the world’s first big wave-activated power plant. The plant is called “Kaimei” (“Sea Light”). It uses air compressed by wave swells to drive turbine generators. When all turbines are installed, it is hoped that it will generate a maximum of 2,000 kilowatts. The 40- by 260-foot (12- by 80-meter) power plant is said to look like a 3,000-ton tanker.
Assistance for Criminals
◆ By means of the 1975 Freedom of Information Act, the U.S. congress gave citizens the right to search government files for information about themselves. Since that time, it has turned out that among the most persistent searchers have been criminals. Of 60,000 requests for information from the FBI, about 2,500 reportedly are from such persons. One criminal told a Senate sub-committee that he had filed many requests in an effort to “identify informants” who had reported on his activities. His reason? “To eradicate the informant.” Government clerks try to remove names and other clues from the information before it is passed on.
Big Life-Span Gain
◆ Just 30 years ago Japanese people lived, on the average, about 50 years. Now they live longer than people in any other country. Japanese men can expect to live an average of 72.69 years and women, 77.9 years. Life expectancy in the countries closest on the scale to Japan is, reportedly, 72.12 for Swedish men and 77.83 for Norwegian women.