Watching the World
Cocaine is deadlier and more addictive than heroin, a new study has found. A recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association reports that “in rats given free access to heroin or cocaine, cocaine is three times as lethal to them as heroin.” Until quite recently, cocaine use has been considered by many to be relatively safe, but the researchers, Michael Bozarth and Roy Wise of Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, say in their report that “cocaine toxicity has been underestimated.” According to William Pollin, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse in the United States, “cocaine is now becoming widely recognized as one of the most dangerous illicit drugs in common use.” He adds that recent research leads “to the conclusion that it is powerfully addictive.”
AIDS From Mother’s Milk
According to Reuters news service, Dr. Julian Gold (of the Australian government’s national AIDS task force) said that in Sydney a baby boy has contracted AIDS. This is the deadly disease that destroys the body’s immune system. The child, now more than a year old, probably got AIDS after having been breast-fed by his mother. If so, he would be the first person on record to have contracted AIDS in this manner. The mother received the AIDS virus from a blood transfusion after giving birth.
Dr. Martha Rogers from the Centers for Disease Control, United States, told Awake! that “three-quarters of the babies who have AIDS get it from their mother, either while developing in the womb or by coming in contact with the mother’s blood during the birthing process.” She also said that it is possible for AIDS to be transmitted through mother’s milk.
Chinese Rat Control
Eating rat steaks and wearing rat shoes are popular in some parts of rural China and are good ways to control rats, reports the English-language newspaper China Daily. “In Fujian Province, local people hail rat steak as the best steak in the world,” adds the Chinese-language newspaper Economic Information. According to China Daily, a factory in southwestern China is producing children’s shoes out of rat skins, “an ideal material for shoes because of its fine grain and flexible, glossy texture.” Rats are said to consume 15 million tons of grain in China each year.
The eating disorder bulimia also afflicts high school girls, concludes a study by Mary D. VanThorre and Francis X. Vogel published in Adolescence. People suffering from bulimia go on extreme food binges, usually followed by purging—either by self-induced vomiting or by the use of large amounts of laxatives. The potential for this appetite disorder, previously thought to be a problem mostly with young women in college, has been found in females of all ethnic groups aged 14-18. “Another important finding,” says the report, “has to do with race.” It was thought that the disease affected primarily white, upper-class females, but the study suggests that “middle-class black females manifest the symptoms of bulimia in the same proportion as their white counterparts.”
The German newspaper Offenbach-Post reports that the Frankfurt police committee formed to look into violent youth groups found that youths who riot do so neither because of need nor because of difficult circumstances at home. Rather, “the 15-to-19-year-olds who were arrested today in street riots are predominantly the children of 1968 protesters who dragged their children along to all the demonstrations,” said the report. “These children were fed an attitude of protest right along with their mother’s milk. The experiment was a success. . . . The young fathers and mothers of 1968 were proud of the antiauthoritarian upbringing they bestowed upon their children. Today, these same parents, if honest with themselves, cannot but be surprised when their children provide them with a taste of their own medicine in the form of this upbringing’s bitter fruitage.”
Brazil is said to have the highest incidence of tooth decay in the world among persons 18 to 25 years of age—18 caries per person. Moreover, 90 percent of the population do not have access to the most elementary dental service, according to José Paulo Gouveia de Toledo, president of the Dental Surgeons Association in Campinas, Brazil. What makes this situation worse, he says, is the fact that Brazil is recognized as “being among the principal [nations] of the world” in technological advances in dentistry.
Clergy’s View of Sex
Two attorneys, G. Sidney Buchanan and Mark Johnson, from the University Park Law Center of the University of Houston in the United States, asked 469 religious teachers and pastors about sexual practices. Only 40 percent of the clergymen responding believe that fornication is a sin. Buchanan and Johnson stated in Psychology Today that their poll found that it was easier for the clergyman to preach that “fornication is immoral than to say the same thing to John and Mary who engage periodically in fornication and have come to you for counseling and moral guidance.”
Licking Stamp Laundering
“Right now, there are people in their cellars washing postage stamps, and it’s only going to get bigger,” says store owner David A. Schmidt, who used to sell washed postage stamps—until the government caught up with him. “Welcome to the latest crime wave—stamp laundering,” proclaims The Wall Street Journal. Launderers usually obtain used stamps from trash bins or from retirement homes and charities willing to sell to them. Typically, launderers soak envelopes in hot water to remove the stamps and soak the stamps in bleach to remove the postage-cancellation marks. Uncanceled stamps—a by-product of faulty postal machines—makes laundering even easier. But selling and using these stamps is a federal offense. Since late 1983, the postal authorities have seized more than $13 million dollars’ worth of contraband stamps.
Women as Clergy
The exclusively male bastion of priesthood in the Church of England may be about to collapse. The Church’s General Synod has voted to allow the ordination of women to the lowest rank of the Anglican clergy—deacon. In the Anglican hierarchy, a deacon is one step away from being a priest. “Women deacons will become members of the clergy, be styled ‘reverend’ and be able to perform marriages and baptisms, but they will still not be able to perform holy communion,” says Archdeacon Michael Perry of Durham. The Anglican Communion has already ordained women as priests in Uganda, Kenya, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and Canada, and in the Episcopal Church in the United States.
TV and Obesity
Watching too much television contributes to youthful obesity, reports a Harvard team of researchers who studied television watchers 6 to 11 years old. The incidence of obesity among these children—normally 15 percent—increased 2 percent for each additional hour they spent in front of a television set per day. Why? Because youngsters glued to the tube snack more and exercise less. Says Dr. William H. Dietz, Jr., one of the researchers: “Kids are watching about 25 hours of television a week, and that’s 25 hours that they are not doing other, potentially more active things.”
Japan’s “Useful Shops”
Affluence has given birth to another growth industry in Japan—benri-ya, or “useful shops.” These small, family-run businesses provide clients with personal services for a fee. With more and more Japanese women working outside the home and thereby lacking the time or energy for housework, the demand for benri-ya is rising 40 percent a year, says The Daily Yomiuri. What will the benri-ya do? They will clean your house ($24 [U.S.] for two hours), place a wake-up telephone call ($4), pull out gray hair ($12 per hour), look after a pet (up to $24 per hour), or check if the front door is locked ($40).
Should I Spank My Child?
While most child-care experts disapprove of spanking, 88 percent of parents in the United States spank their children, according to a poll by the Family Research Laboratory of the University of New Hampshire. A growing number of psychologists suggest that parents use alternative disciplinary measures. “Spanking is never a good substitute for communication between parent and child,” maintains Dr. Kenneth Kaye, an associate professor of clinical psychology at Northwestern University Medical School. Disagreeing with these psychologists is a mother of three children, aged 4 to 8, who feels spanking makes for good communication: “Other forms of punishment just don’t seem to make much of an impression on them.”
‘Copper From Stone’
Representatives of the German Mining Museum in Bochum, Germany, spent two months last year investigating the ancient production of copper in and around Fenan, Jordan. During the eighth to fifth centuries B.C.E., Fenan bustled with copper production. “The scientists from Bochum discovered batteries of twelve melting furnaces that at one time were used simultaneously. They looked like pears and had a capacity of 25 liters [26 qt],” reports the Austrian newspaper Salzburger Nachrichten. “At that time copper production must have amounted to several thousand tons.” Some 200,000 tons of copper slag are to be found in Fenan. Interestingly, the Bible at Job 28:2-4 refers to such a method of producing copper, explaining that “from stone copper is being poured out.”