Watching the World
Bible Translations: 1,660
◆ According to the annual “Scripture Language Report” of the United Bible Societies, with headquarters located in England, by the end of last year the Bible, the whole or in part, could be read in 1,660 different languages. The complete Bible has now been published in 268 languages; the Greek portion [“New Testament”] by itself is available in 453 languages; and individual Bible books have been translated in 939 different languages. Last year, the complete Bible appeared for the first time in two new languages—Kate, spoken in Papua New Guinea, and Mofa, used in Cameroon. In addition, parts of the Bible were translated into 64 other languages, ranging from Abuan (Nigeria) to Zoque (Mexico).
◆ How many people were killed when atomic bombs were dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II? Various estimates have been made over the years, including one in 1976 by officials of the two cities. They had said that approximately 140,000 died in Hiroshima and 70,000 in Nagasaki. However, more precise figures were asked for by the cities, so 38 researchers spent two years documenting information. Their conclusion: A-bomb fatalities in Hiroshima totaled at least 190,000, and in Nagasaki at least 120,000. Yet, the destructive power of those atomic bombs was only a fraction of that of the nuclear weapons available today.
◆ One of the world’s richest fishing grounds is located in the frigid Bering Sea between Alaska and the Soviet Union. But why these cold, inhospitable waters should be the spawning ground for so much marine life has long baffled scientists. Research lasting several years was undertaken jointly by the United States and the Soviet Union to try to unravel this mystery. By monitoring underwater currents, the mystery was solved. It was discovered that a previously unknown current moves northward from the Pacific Ocean and bumps into the North American continental shelf, pushing upward from the seabed rich minerals that nourish sea life.
WHO Attacks Smoking
◆ Calling for a worldwide ban on all kinds of tobacco advertising, the U.N.’s World Health Organization (WHO) recently sharply attacked smoking as a major source of lung cancer, heart disease, bronchitis and damage to unborn babies. The WHO report recommended making a concerted effort to reduce smoking “to the status of a private activity of a minority of adults who are unable to give up the habit.”
◆ When Costa Rica’s constitution was adopted in 1949, it abolished the army, although providing for national defense. Not spending much money on costly modern armaments has enabled the country to provide things that other developing nations lack. For instance, about 90 percent of Costa Rica’s people can read and write, a higher percentage than in any other Central American country. One official pointed out: “For the price of one out-dated fighter aircraft, we can finance the building and equipment of eight secondary schools.” Malnutrition has been significantly reduced, and Costa Rica’s per capita national income has increased faster than that of neighboring countries that maintain expensive armies. What could be done with the $400 billion (U.S.) now spent each year on armaments world wide?
Sign of the Times
◆ The 1970’s saw profound changes in marriage patterns. One evidence was that the number of couples living together without marriage increased sharply. Among those under 25 years of age in the United States, for example, the increase was more than eightfold in the first eight years of the decade. There was also a growing trend toward living alone. Divorce skyrocketed, so that now there is one divorce for every two marriages. This has sharply increased the number of families headed by a woman—from 5.6 million in 1970 to eight million in 1978, a 43-percent increase. Census Bureau officials estimate that as a result of so many marriage breakups nearly half of all children born today will spend much of their childhood with only one parent. About 45 percent of all black children already live under such a handicap.
◆ Schools in many metropolitan areas have become increasingly dangerous places. Crime and violence, against both teachers and students, mount. An evidence of this comes from Cleveland, Ohio, where, in the past three years, 45 pupils have been expelled for carrying firearms. Some of these students claimed that they had to carry the firearms for their own protection.
◆ The problems that teachers face in the United States have caused many to suffer mental and emotional difficulties that they cannot resolve. As a result, increasing numbers of them are leaving the teaching profession. Included in the problems are an unwillingness of many students to learn, student violence, vandalism, inadequate salaries, and poor support from school boards and administrators. More than 110,000 teachers were physically attacked by students in the 1978-1979 school term. More than 25 percent suffered damage to their property. Willard McGuire, president of the 1.8-million-member National Education Association, said: “Thousands of teachers are in desperate need of help. Their school-induced psychological problems are not being solved.” He stated that many teachers “can’t sleep, often feel depressed and are physically run down.” In one survey, a third of the nation’s teachers said that they would not enter teaching if they were beginning their careers again.
◆ Today’s American students are learning less than their parents did, says Paul Copperman, president of the Institute of Reading Development in California. Testifying before a Senate committee, he stated: “Every generation of Americans has surpassed its parents in education, literacy and economic attainment—except the present one. For the first time in American history, the educational skills of one generation will not even approach those of their parents. Only about one quarter . . . will have the average level of academic skill recorded in the early 1960’s.”
Help for Lost Tickets
◆ Losing airline tickets involves more than just an inconvenience. Although replacement policy differs from airline to airline, in some cases new tickets must be purchased to continue a flight. And it may take many months to be reimbursed for the lost tickets. Airline officials advise: on a separate piece of paper keep the identification number of the tickets. Then if the tickets are lost and you must file a lost-ticket claim, you have the vital information needed. One airline official stated: ‘It’s a relatively simple process to have a replacement ticket issued on the spot when the passenger can provide the number of the original ticket.’
Four-footed “Lawn Mowers”
◆ In California, some home-owners live in areas of steep canyonland where the underbrush is difficult or impossible to cut with regular lawn mowers. After a rainy season, the underbrush dries and becomes a fire hazard. Cutting the weeds by hand and hauling them out is hard work, so some people are now using goats to do the job. It is said that two goats will eat all the weeds in a 100-foot-by-100-foot (about 30-m-by-30-m) area in just two weeks. During one widespread fire last year, it was reported that a home was saved because the owner had three goats that kept the surrounding underbrush “mowed,” while those around it were destroyed.
Marijuana Evidence Mounts
◆ The evidence against marijuana continues to mount. According to more recent research, marijuana can damage the brain, harm unborn children, cause infertility, damage the lungs and cause other problems. A medical conference in New York was told that the “most alarming” effects involve teen-agers “because they are in the process of sexual maturing so the damage may be irreversible.” Dr. Nicholas A. Pace stated: “One hears over and over that marijuana is safer than alcohol. Nothing can be further from the truth.” Unlike alcoholic beverages, which the body processes and eliminates in a matter of hours, marijuana components accumulate in fatty tissues and are not fully eliminated for weeks.
Giant Tumor Removed
◆ A woman weighing 380 pounds (172 kg) entered a California hospital complaining of abdominal pain and left a few days later weighing only about 180 pounds (82 kg). In the meantime, a team of seven doctors at the University of California Medical Center removed a 200-pound (90-kg) benign ovarian tumor in a 4-1/2-hour operation. “The major problems were just technical,” said the doctor who headed the team. “Removing a mass that large requires a careful watch of the cardiovascular system and a lot of painstaking dissection of the mass to avoid blood loss and damage.” About 165 pounds (75 kg) of fluid was drained during the operation before removing 40 pounds (18 kg) of solid tissue. The woman had thought that she was just getting fat.
Youths Bigger, Not Better
◆ The Japanese Education Ministry’s annual school health survey of 340,000 schoolchildren found that the children now are somewhat taller and heavier than youths 20 years ago. On the average, boys are two inches taller (5 cm) and nine and a quarter pounds (4.2 kg) heavier, while girls are one and a quarter inches (3.1 cm) taller and three and three quarters pounds (1.7 kg) heavier than in 1958. But in other respects, the 20-year trend was negative. The Daily Yomiuri reports that some 94 percent have tooth cavities and about one third are nearsighted. The nearsightedness was blamed on television. Among high-school students, nearsightedness climbed 21.1 percent and cavities 32.1 percent since 1958. Twenty years ago sweets were not so plentiful, nor was television so widespread as today.
Gas Shortage Benefit
◆ One benefit of the summer gasoline shortage in the United States was the low death toll on the highways over the July 4 holiday period. The National Safety Council had estimated that about 180 persons would be killed in highway accidents. The actual death toll was 98, due largely to fewer cars on the highways and the fact that many drivers voluntarily slowed down to get more gas mileage. In 1978, during a longer July 4 holiday period, 712 people were killed in highway accidents.
Dog Bites Costly
◆ Dogs may still be regarded as “man’s best friend,” but many dogs have a strange way of showing it. The Disease Control Center in Atlanta reports that at least one million Americans are bitten by dogs each year. The cost of treating these dog bites is more than $50 million annually. The disease center states that, among the most reported diseases and injuries, dog bites are surpassed only by gonorrhea.
◆ An International Labor Organization (ILO) survey reports that the British use more money budgeted for food to purchase alcoholic beverages than any other nation. The survey of 90 countries shows that the English use 18 percent of their food budget for alcohol, while Australia and Greenland use 16 percent; Ireland, 15 percent; Canada, 14 percent; Denmark, Sweden and France, about 9 percent; and the United States, 6 percent.