Watching the World
Teachers Vote for the Rod
◆ Teachers in England have voted overwhelmingly to keep “the rod of discipline” in school. Corporal punishment is definitely needed, said delegates at the annual conference of the National Union of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers. The union’s London delegate said: “We don’t enjoy corporal punishment, but it is necessary to maintain discipline.” And a magistrate and head of a Birmingham secondary school said: “It is acceptable to use corporal punishment when there is thieving, vandalism, violence and fighting. There are good reasons for a sharp reminder. The knowledge that the sanction is there is often sufficient deterrent.”
A Heart-Attack Preventive?
◆ Some studies, reported on in medical journals, have indicated that the daily use of aspirin by heart-attack victims can reduce the chance of a recurrence. Now a report by Dr. Ruth Pick, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, hints that a small daily dose of aspirin may prevent the initial onset of the problem. Monkeys were fed a high cholesterol diet and five received a child’s dosage of aspirin each day. Six months later an examination revealed that the coronary arteries of monkeys not given aspirin were twice as narrow as those put on the aspirin diet. The report said that aspirin prevents blood platelets from building up. How much aspirin prevents blood platelets from building up? Dr. Pick plans further research to determine the matter of dosage, since platelets become slippery only with the correct dosage. Further, overdosage may result in upset stomach or stomach bleeding. “It would be nice to be able to prevent heart attacks and strokes by taking an aspirin a day from childhood,” said the research scientist. “But we are not there yet.”
TV Imitators Injure Playmates
◆ The Yugoslav national television has a series dealing with a skilled medieval archer. Children, playing with bow and arrow and imitating the folk hero, are causing many injuries. In one Belgrade hospital alone, there were more than 20 children suffering with eye injuries from arrows shot by playmates.
Types of TV Violence
◆ A study in England about the effect of TV violence on young boys has now been completed. It confirms previous studies made in other countries that violence on TV does indeed incite young ones to violent acts. However, the study revealed that certain types of violence on TV are not likely to stimulate youthful violence. Among such were slapstick violence, science-fiction violence and cartoon violence. But contrary to some previous findings, the study indicated that violence by even a “good guy” can incite violent acts among youths.
Camera Battery Danger
◆ The button-sized mercury batteries often used in cameras can pose a danger to children, warns the British Medical Journal. If children mistake such a battery for candy and swallow it, it can be fatal. Each battery contains about two grams of mercuric oxide, nearly twice the lethal dose for a child. The battery cases may deteriorate quickly in stomach acids. Five hours after a child swallowed one, the battery was found to be “bubbling vigorously,” and surgery was performed immediately to remove the battery.
Cheating Costs More
◆ The Japan National Railways decided to crack down on people who cheat on train fares. The results were quite startling. “We were shocked to find among the cheaters schoolteachers, men with managerial posts at big enterprises and others—people usually not associated with cheating on train fares,” said a railway official. A banker who cheated for two years on train fares was fined the highest ever in Japan for such an offense. He had to pay $7,800 (U.S.), which was three times what he would have paid had he been honest. Another, attempting to save for a house, was fined $6,300 (U.S.), which was more than twice what he had saved till then. Many cheaters were found to have been given a travel allowance by their employers, but they used such funds as pocket money.
◆ According to preliminary data of the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, at least 446,878 Americans suffered bicycle injuries during 1978. As for sports, government experts estimated that baseball-related injuries came to 399,874 last year; football injuries were 394,827 and those from basketball, 349,760. Snow skiing resulted in 103,893 injuries.
◆ A Soviet-Afghan archaeological expedition recently came upon a treasure trove in northern Afghanistan. Excavating six royal burial sites, the team uncovered an amazing 20,000 pieces of gold jewelry. Gold seemed to be everywhere. The Soviet Novosti Press Agency reported that a dead king was found wrapped in two or three garments, adding: “The head of the buried king lay on a large gold platter with a small decorative gold tree. The jaw was tied with gold ribbons and the head capped with a gold crown.” Besides the thousands of pieces of jewelry, there were gold cups and daggers. The gold objects were said to date from the first and second centuries and to show definite influence from several cultures: Roman, Greek, Indian and Chinese.
In England two treasure hunters went searching for “the odd coin” on a Roman site. Instead of an odd coin, they found enough coins to pay a year’s wages for nearly 200 of Caesar’s Roman legionnaires. The coins numbered some 56,000 and were third-century double denarius silver pieces. They were mainly in an earthenware pot that was 200 years older than the coins.
Waning German Birthrate
◆ Women in the Federal Republic of Germany are limiting their families to an average of only 1.4 children. If such a rate were to continue, authorities say that the population would decline from the current 57.2 million to 49 million by the end of this century. Financially distressed manufacturers of baby carriages and clothing blame the falling birthrate on birth-control pills, abortion and “the growing feminist selfishness.” Many polls have been taken as to why German women are not having more children. The answers? They vary considerably, but one basic theme came through: “The future does not look all that good.”
◆ The Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development reports that the Western world is getting noisier. Noise pollution is at its worst, said the 22-nation research panel, in the United States. The organization explained that if Americans slept with their windows open, 13 percent of all of them would be awakened by airplanes. Elsewhere in the Western world, the figure was 2 percent.
Should Cancer Patients Know?
◆ The Journal of the American Medical Association recently reported on a survey among physicians regarding the question, Should patients be told when they have cancer? Twenty years ago, 90 percent of the doctors did not think so; today, 97 percent think that the patients should know the truth.
New Therapy for Cancer Pain
◆ Japanese researchers report a new way of relieving pain in cancer patients: instilling alcohol into the pituitary gland. A needle is used to puncture the area around the pituitary gland. Reported Dr. Fumikazu Takeda of Osaka Medical College: “The pain relief was so excellent that the procedure became the first choice of treatment for cancer pain in our hospitals.” Among 25 of 30 patients so treated, complete pain relief continued for a long time.
◆ To determine the human body’s natural level of lead, California researchers recently analyzed the bones of Peruvian Indians who died 1,600 years ago. Their findings, however, underscore the effect of industrial pollution on modern-day man. Reporting in the New England Journal of Medicine, the researchers said that Americans today have 500 times the human body’s natural level of lead.
More than Gambling Fever
◆ Many have heard that gambling is bad for one’s moral health, but fewer persons may be aware of its physical health dangers. Word in from Reno, Nevada, tells of a number of such dangers. One of the most serious is termed “Jackpot Attack.” This occurs when a gambler gets so excited about winning that he keels over in a heart attack or a faint. Even a faint could be serious because of the possibility of striking one’s head on the way down. Other ailments related to gambling were given names such as Slot Machine Elbow, Blackjack Blackout and Keno Coma.
Churches in Moscow
◆ When the Bolshevik revolution took place in 1917, there were 657 churches in Moscow. Today? Soviet officials state that there are only 100 to 150 standing, and, of these, only 46 are ever used for worship.
◆ Egypt’s interior ministry has ruled that friends and relatives attending a wedding must leave their guns at the door. Why? Agence France-Presse news service claims that ‘in the past three years, guests firing wild celebratory bursts from their small arms have slain 769 fellow guests and wounded 3,087.’
Illegitimacy in Sweden
◆ Sweden’s Central Bureau of Statistics recently disclosed that every ninth couple in the country are unmarried and every third child is born out of wedlock. The report indicates that cohabiting of the unmarried in Sweden became common in the early 1960’s.
Crime in São Paulo
◆ Last year crime in São Paulo increased by 25.3 percent. Published averages were: one robbery or mugging every half hour; six people murdered every day; three reported rapes every 24 hours. Crime against property rose from 50.16 in 1977 to 55.35 a day. São Paulo has an estimated population of 12,089,000.
◆ Coming as no surprise to many persons was the fact that the United Nations Monthly Bulletin of Statistics lists Tokyo as the world’s most expensive city. Using New York as a base of 100 and relating the cost of living of other cities to that, Tokyo was indexed at a whopping 199. Other expensive cities were: Geneva (163), Brussels (150), Bonn (148), Copenhagen (146), The Hague and Buenos Aires both indexed at 143. Among the least expensive places were Kingston (61), Belize (63), Lima (72), Warsaw (73) and Cairo (75).
Impaired Digestive System
◆ Liver damage is not the only danger from heavy drinking, reports Hagop S. Mekhjian, professor of medicine at Ohio State University. He warns that the heavy drinker is likely to develop nutritional deficiencies. He says that six or seven drinks a day can cause the small intestine to flush food from the body before it is used. This deprives the body of needed minerals and vitamins. After about two weeks of such heavy drinking, the “intestine will go into a secretory state where it will pour out fluids, resulting in a loss of minerals and vitamins.” The professor says the condition can be partially corrected by supplementing the diet with folic acid, but that “all of these abnormalities are reversible when a person stops drinking.”