The following news items were drawn from multiple sources.
Heavenly Atomic Bombs
Now that the Equal Rights Amendment has been defeated, Phyllis Schlafly and her Eagle Forum (with a membership of 50,000) have chosen a new "calling": to work against a nuclear freeze. A major newspaper has quoted her as proclaiming, "The atomic bomb is a marvelous gift that was given to our country by a wise god."
The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that 123,000 chainsaw-related injuries occurred last year, and that one-quarter of these were the result of "kickback" — the sudden rearward and/or upward jerk of the powerful cutter. For information on operating the tools safely, write to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
A substitute for cigarettes — nicotine gum — has been recently tested at the University of Arkansas. The chewable substance (which has been popular in Europe for some time) may produce a nicotine level slightly higher than that acquired from cigarette smoking, but the absence of smoke will make the gum at least a bit more healthful for folks suffering from coronary, arterial, or pulmonary diseases.
Delivery Room Dog
Not all hospitals deny patients their rights. In fact, when Kathy Malone and her blind husband Jim went into the hospital for the birth of their baby, Jim's guide dog was allowed to go right along with them. The pooch accompanied the family in both the labor and the delivery room. It seems that not a single staff member opposed the canine's presence.
Fly in the Soup — and Everything Else
Whether or not you consider grasshopper legs a delicacy, chances are you consume hundreds of pieces of insects a day. A normal peanut butter and jelly sandwich can contain more than 50 bug fragments, and the FDA permits up to 20 drosophila (fruit fly) eggs in one glass of tomato juice and 75 insect parts per two ounces of cocoa mix. The good news is that the bug parts — although many folks find the notion of consuming them unappetizing — are actually quite high in protein, vitamins, and minerals.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have developed electric braces complete with three tiny batteries, a transistor, and a resistor that are tiny enough to hide under the lip. Using an undetectable 20 millionths of an ampere to move the teeth into position, the metal marvels are supposed to do the job in about half the time that conventional braces require.
Evidence of what's been called "the environmental movement's greatest failure" is as close as your car window. Billboards (which were supposed to become an endangered species after the 1965 Highway Beautification Act) are now as common as roadside daisies. According to Vermont Senator Robert Stafford, "The noble purposes of [the act] have been thwarted by a steady stream of crippling amendments and by the neglect of too many who originally supported those purposes."
A new type of fire escape, which has already saved hundreds of lives in Japan, consists of a chute of synthetic fabric encircled by steel coils. People trapped in hotels, hospitals, or any burning high-rise can simply pull the chute out from its steel box below a window and jump in. The contraption — which is now available in the United States — hugs the body, allowing a person to drop at a safe 10 feet per second.
Beaver Dam Water Management
The Bureau of Land Management is hoping that the beavers are eager in Wyoming. Instead of shelling out the estimated $50,000 per mile to restore an eroded stream system, the authorities plan to provide the flat-tailed construction workers with trees so that their dams will control the currents. The little critters had done the job in the past, but nearby residents and builders depleted their "lumber" supply, forcing them to build "temporary" dams with shrubs and other weak materials.