Watching the World
Gallup Prediction for the 1980’s
◆ Writing in the Princeton Religion Research Center publication Religion in America 1979-80, pollster George Gallup, Jr., made a prediction for the 1980’s. “Survey evidence,” he wrote, “indicates that the 1980s may be a decade of discontent—a period of serious dislocations in our society.” Explaining further why he feels uneasy about the 1980’s, he wrote: “Signs also point to the fact that the United States is suffering a moral crisis of the first dimension.” He added that although young people are very religious, they are turned off by organized religion. Young people, he said, seem to be “spiritually restless,” and “they want a strong religious faith but at the same time find organized religion to be spiritually lifeless.”
“A Worldwide Epidemic”
◆ The World Health Organization has reported that traffic accidents now rank fourth on the list of worldwide killers. Dr. Arthur P. Vulcan, chairman of the WHO working group on the prevention of such accidents, states that “four percent of every 100 deaths the world over are due to road traffic accidents.” Dr. Vulcan added: “Motor vehicle accidents are no longer the monopoly of affluent countries; they have indeed become a worldwide epidemic.” According to WHO statistics, heart attack is the number one killer today, followed by cardiovascular ailments and cancer.
◆ On January 1, 1980, an earthquake registering 7 on the Richter scale hit the Azores Islands in the mid-Atlantic. Heavy damage was suffered on the three Portuguese islands of São Graciosa, São Jorge and Terceira, particularly in the city of Angra do Heroísmo. A total of 51 was killed, 8 were missing, and over 500 were seriously hurt. Some 15,000 were left homeless. Angra do Heroísmo looked like a bombed city, with an estimated 70 percent of the homes being damaged. The Public Security Police (PSP) of Angra do Heroísmo declared that not one arrest was made from the time the quake struck until the state of emergency was lifted, and they praised the calm and respectful conduct of the populace. None of Jehovah’s Witnesses were killed in the quake, although many had their homes severely damaged or destroyed. The Kingdom Hall remained completely intact and was used to accommodate some of the homeless Witnesses. Relief measures by Portuguese Witnesses included shipments of food immediately after the quake.
“Disco Ears” and “Disco Eyes”
◆ When almost 10 percent of the applicants for jobs as New York city policemen failed the physical examination because of hearing problems, authorities blamed loud music as the chief cause. Said Police Commissioner Robert McGuire: “Kids are ruining their hearing from loud music.” Chief Police Surgeon Clarence Robinson said that the “inordinate amount of disqualifications” is blamed on “disco ear” by the New York University Medical Center professor who devised the hearing test.
Canada’s health officials report that laser lights used in discos often have power levels much greater than the safe level for momentary viewing. So serious is the danger that the Health Protection Branch of Health and Welfare Canada recently published guidelines for laser light shows. Dr. A. B. Morrison, head of the Health Protection Branch, said: “The eye is the organ most vulnerable to injury because any energy incident on the cornea is concentrated at the retina by a large factor. . . . Direct viewing of the unscanned laser beam could permanently destroy one’s vision.”
◆ Nine years ago a jewelry manufacturer in England put down a carpet in his workshop that cost him £100 ($230, U.S.). Since he and his employees were working with gold, he had the carpet vacuumed daily to recover any tiny particles of gold that may have fallen into the pile of the carpet. Recently the jewelry manufacturer decided to have a company dealing in bullion burn the carpet in a special furnace. This would salvage any gold remaining in the carpet. Despite the daily vacuuming, the carpet yielded an amazing 150 ounces of gold, worth, at that time, £31,000 ($71,000, U.S.). “I shall put carpeting down again for the work force,” said the jewelry manufacturer, “but it will obviously cost a lot more.”
◆ A recent discovery by an obscure Soviet mathematician has surprised the world of mathematicians. The discovery by L. G. Khachian is a method by which computers can find out whether a complicated problem has a solution without having to go through all the detailed computations that would normally be required. Mathematicians have expressed surprise at the simplicity of the discovery. Computer expert Dr. Ronald L. Graham of Bell Laboratories stated: “There is an important lesson in this. You shouldn’t assume that something is hard just because you can’t do it. There may be some easy solution right in front of your nose that you keep missing.”
Snakes in the News
◆ From the Ivory Coast comes a report of a blackout. The cause? A snake is claimed to have fallen from a tree onto a hot wire, and when it wrapped itself around the two high-voltage conductors, the whole electric system throughout the Abengourou region was short-circuited for four days.
◆ A doctor in Durban, South Africa, is suing an automobile firm for $1,200 because the engine of his new car was ruined by a hungry snake. It seems that the snake chased a mouse into the auto’s engine. Mechanics checking the inoperative vehicle were said to have found what was left of a snake and a mouse twisted around the camshaft sprocket.
◆ The Indonesian newspaper Terbit reported recently that a bulldozer working at a forested construction site came upon two giant pythons blocking the way. The bulldozer operator battled with the serpents for about an hour and a half before he was able to crush one of the huge creatures. The other escaped into the forest. When the dead serpent was examined, a grisly discovery was made—the remains of four humans inside the python! Two of them had only recently been devoured, as they were still wearing shirts and trousers. Two automatic watches were also found—still running.
Faith Healer Visits Poland
◆ When Canadian faith healer Clive Harris recently visited Poland, people by the thousands lined up to get “healed.” At Warsaw’s Jacques Dominican Church, long lines waited outside, the crowd being estimated at about 25,000 a day. “Faith healing in this form is new to Poland,” said a dispatch to the New York Times, “and judging from its attraction it has struck a responsive chord among the deeply religious predominantly Roman Catholic population.” One elderly woman said: “You feel a sort of pinprick when he touches you.” She added that she had been cured of a curvature of the spine, but now she needed treatment for a tumor. Harris is said to be “in good standing in spiritualist circles in Britain.”
◆ When Hitler chose to use the swastika as his Nazi emblem, he was selecting one of mankind’s oldest symbols. The term is derived from a Sanskrit word meaning “object of well-being.” It has been used for thousands of years as a symbol of mysterious magical power. Hitler found that it had the effect he desired. In his book Mein Kampf, Hitler wrote that when he brought the swastika flag before the public for the first time in 1920, “its effect was as that of a firebrand.” A detailed study of the swastika’s origin and usage appears in Natural History magazine of January 1980, the article pointing out: “The swastika is a powerful sign of good luck. This quality, its magical aura, and its symbolism have roots in the most ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia and Iran. In India, where it is widely used in Hindu ceremonial and as a decorative motif, the swastika combines astronomical and religious symbolism. . . . The relationship of the swastika and the planetary gods fits the history and distribution of the symbol rather well. The necessary astronomical knowledge existed at the swastika’s apparent place of origin [Mesopotamia].” Thus the false religious center of Babylon appears to have originated the swastika symbol.
Japan’s TV Violence
◆ Murder every 12 minutes, a rape every six hours! This is what a group checking all the television programs in Tokyo found. During 21 days (from six in the morning till midnight) they made this tally: 1,891 murders, 74 rapes, 32 suicides. There were hundreds of other violent crimes and many thefts. The group monitoring the TV programs concluded that TV stations, in their competition to win higher ratings, seem to be trying to fill their programs more and more with scenes of sex and violence. It goes without saying that youngsters can be deeply impressed and emotionally affected by such television. Parents, what do your children watch?
Church Schools Fail to Back Bible
◆ In Ohio, when members of Cincinnati’s Federation of Catholic Parent-Teacher Associations demanded that the Biblical creation account be taught in parochial school religion and science classes, they received little sympathy from church educators. The priests reportedly said that Catholic faith requires neither acceptance nor rejection of either creation or evolution. But a spokesman for the parents declared: “If you don’t have creation as God made it and the Bible tells it, you don’t have Adam and Eve and you don’t have Original Sin and you don’t need Christ and then you don’t have anything.”
Trouble over a “Saint”
◆ According to the Athens Daily Post, Metropolitan Prokopios of Cephalonia was accused by his flock of cutting off the fingers and toes of the body of “Saint” Gerasimos, kept in the cathedral’s crypt. The cleric was thought to have sold the body parts as talismans. When a threatening crowd gathered in front of the metropolitan’s residence, he phoned the police, who sent a group of armed policemen to escort him to the ferryboat to Athens. The crowd tried to seize the metropolitan from the police and threatened to lynch him, but the escorts managed to safeguard him and get him to the island’s port, despite a hail of stones and other objects as they drove away. The Greek Orthodox Church is expected to appoint a new metropolitan.
Winking for Life
◆ A man was stabbed near his heart during a barroom fracas at Baltimore, Maryland. At the hospital, doctors tried to save his life, but the life-monitoring instruments finally indicated that the man was dead. A team of doctors then pronounced him dead. This pronouncement shocked the “dead man,” because he could hear but could not speak or move a muscle to indicate that he was still alive. Just when it appeared that he was going to be taken away as a corpse, an astonished doctor exclaimed: “This dead man is winking!” The doctors went back to work to save his life, and they succeeded. “I felt so weak from loss of blood,” explained the man, “the only thing I could move was my eyelid. And that occurred to me almost too late. They were just about to leave when I got that wink going.”