A reported on a treatment process that created highly productive "super seeds" and a bank-sponsored rent-a-cow program in Ohio are among the news items covered in this installment of a regular feature.
The following news items were drawn from multiple sources.
Super-seed may be the result of a new process by which dry seeds are moistened with an appropriate enzyme, and then passed through a series of electrical stimuli (including ion bombardment, infrared exposure, and a high-frequency electrical field). In current tests, soybean, corn, and rice yields have shown a 20% to 30% increase with treated seeds. A portable machine—designed by Dr. Andrew Zaderj, a pioneer of solid-state electronic engineering—can handle several hundred tons of seed an hour.
''Rent-a-Cow'' service is now available from any one of 200 BancOhio Corporation offices. The organization leases herds of Jerseys and Guernseys to farmers who are unable to get loans to buy cattle outright. A cow worth $1,000 rents for about $35 a month on a 36-month plan. At the end of that time, the renter can return the animal or buy it at 10% of its initial price.
The Soviets claim they've stopped the aging process with a program of 45 consecutive daily injections of a specially prepared human placenta serum, followed by a 45-day period of rest. This alternating pattern can supposedly continue indefinitely, and no other lifestyle changes are necessary. Twelve years of tests with 25 patients—their ages now range from 57 to 101—show that the treatment not only stops the aging process but also restores normal blood pressure, improves blood flow to the brain, returns blood sugar levels to normal, restores sexual functions (even for nonagenarians), improves memory and agility, quickens reflexes, and strengthens eyesight! American scientists admit such a thing is "theoretically attainable". Further U.S.S.R. tests are now being conducted.
The potential microwave radiation health threat from such products as microwave ovens, burglar alarms, smoke detectors, garage door openers, food warmers, communication relays, and commercial heaters has been neglected by federal agencies according to a General Accounting Office study. At high levels, this radiation is known to cause cataracts, sterility, and birth defects.
Large commercial organic farms (250 of which can be found in the Corn Belt alone) yield about the same net returns per acre as farms that use commercial—and sometimes toxic—chemicals to kill weeds and insects or to fertilize the soil. In fact, it's being recognized by many authorities (but not by the U.S. Department of Agriculture) that quick chemical "fixes" leave fields dangerously prone to pests and erosion. Surprisingly, most produce from America's organic farms ends up in supermarkets, rather than in "health food" stores.
A worldwide fertile cropland shortage is being created by urban sprawl, desert expansion, and soil erosion. This frightening trend could—according to Worldwatch Institute—lead to food price rises dwarfing those of recent years. "Governments," says the Institute's president, "seem to take croplands for granted perhaps because the losses occur in the countryside, while most political leaders live in the city."
Icebergs as a water resource may become a reality within 20 years. Since water will likely be the world's next great resource "crisis," serious efforts are being made—particularly by Prince Mohammed al-Faisal of Saudi Arabia—to overcome iceberg transportation problems. Though 'bergs have been sighted that are as large as Belgium, those of "hauling size" would probably be about a mile long, half a mile wide, and 600 to 800 feet thick. It's been estimated that 8,000 of such "islands" could yield about 1,000 billion tons of fresh water or five times the world's domestic water supply.
Pure gold medallions weighing half an ounce and one ounce each will be minted next year by the U.S. Government. The feds want to win some of the global gold sales market now monopolized by South Africa's Krugerrand, a one-ounce coin that has the advantage of being legal tender.
AMERICA'S SWEET TOOTH HAS BEEN PULLED, it seems, since the 1977 U.S. consumption of candies dropped to 15.4 pounds per person (the lowest in 39 years) .... It's been estimated that MEXICO'S POPULATION GROWTH RATE of 35 to 38% a year actually results in a less than 1% increase in that country's population, because of mass (and mostly illegal) emigration to the United States .... U.S. exports of FRESH HORSE MEAT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION rose from 6.7 million pounds in 1972 to 120 million pounds (a jump of 1,700%) in 1978, and this 50¢-a-pound (on the hoof) meat is selling—to European homemakers—for $6.50 a pound .... Pollster George Gallup says that 7 out of 10 adult urban residents would volunteer nine hours of work a month on projects to improve their neighborhoods, which equals about one billion hours a month, and—even at $2.65 an hour—is $31.8 BILLION worth of untapped talent, brains, and brawn .... Arab experts warn that—by the year 2,000— FOOD CONSUMPTION IN ARAB COUNTRIES is expected to be three times as great as the area's food production capabilities .... CHINA OFFERS AN ADDED BONUS for its tourists: $2.50 abortions—either Chinese style (by acupuncture) or Western style in one of several fine hospitals—with no questions asked of foreigners .... Greenville, Illinois found that IT PAYS TO ELIMINATE PARKING METERS, since a five-month experiment with free parking increased sales tax revenue by 16% .... A growing number of dental lab technicians want to offer DENTURES DIRECT FROM DENTAL LABS without using dentists and go-betweens, but—so far—the service is only legal in Maine and Arizona.