Bits and Pieces: Professional Beekeeper, Motorcycle-Caused Pollution, Radiation Therapy and More

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HIghlights and headlines on environmental, economic and social topics of interest.

If you had radiation therapy as a child to shrink infected tonsils, adenoids, or thymus glands, the Health Insurance Institute asks that you notify your doctor or hospital of that fact as quickly as possible. The Institute says that the treatment (common during the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s . . . and then discontinued) is related to a high incidence of thyroid cancer, but that prompt action can help prevent the malady.

There’s always room for modern medicine. . . OR IS THERE? Dr. Adrian Upton, professor of neurology at MacMasters University in Hamilton, Ontario, recently rigged a brain wave machine, artificial respirators, and intravenous feeding equipment to a bowl of lime jello about the size of a human brain, and–gasp!–recorded readings typical of those emitted by a living person. In fact, the good doctor noted, the results of the electronic analysis would not have qualified the dessert as sufficiently “dead” to have the fife-sustaining plugs pulled under existing legal guidelines!

The Environmental Protection Agency reports that most motorcycles produce “several times” more pollution than the average 1976 car, and that–unless strict controls are established soon–total emissions from those “cute little bikes” will actually exceed those of all autos by 1978. It would seem that the two-wheelers do indeed “let the good times roll” . . . right past all of us.

The conventional building industry may be having its ups and downs these days, but folks involved in the field of alternative housing are enjoying a booming business. One such company, American Geodesic Inc., offers an “instant home” kit called “Omegadome” which–according to the firm–costs between $4,800 and $6,900, can be transported to even remote areas, and is easy to erect and fully weatherproof within three days. All you would-be entrepreneurs out there might take note of the fact that sales of the kit–and others like it–are soaring.

Don’t be misled by industry complaints that “environmentalism” is the culprit behind today’s high unemployment rate. Russell Peterson, Chairman of the President’s Council on Environmental Quality, reports that every $1 billion spent for ecological cleanup creates 66,900 new jobs . . . and that the field of pollution control will be “one of the relatively few areas of job strength” during 1976.

Would you like to become a professional beekeeper? Considering the fact that demand for honey and pollinating bees has leaped far beyond the available supply over the past few years, you may want to look into the two-year degree program in apiculture now offered by Ohio State University’s Agricultural Technical Institute. The course provides intensive study and on-the-job experience, and is conducted by John R. Caulk, beekeeping columnist for Countryside and Small Stock Journal.

American Heritage Magazine has calculated that–in the past two centuries-the U.S. Government has spent more on warfare than for all other federal goods and services combined. Since 1789, says the publication, we’ve poured $1.62 trillion into the military . . . as opposed to a total of only $1.60 trillion (or $20 billion less) in such areas as health, social security, education, and agriculture.

Carla Emery’s “School of Country Living” will open for its second season this June . . . an event we’re especially happy to announce, because Carla had been forced to close her school earlier due to financial strife, and health problems caused by “total exhaustion”. We’re told that Ms. Emery is now back on her feet, that she has sold paperback rights to her Old-Fashioned Recipe Book, and that–as a result–she will be able to continue (and intends to expand and improve) her free homestead school.

Approximately 300 old books, pamphlets, and 19th-century magazines on early farming and related subjects are offered in a new catalog now available from Hurley Books (Westmoreland, N.H. 03467). Incidentally, Mr. Henry Hurley, proprietor of that bookstore, has identified himself as the “mysterious” contributor of the 1870 article on solar-powered steam engines which appeared in MOTHER NO. 36 . . . and we’d like to take this opportunity to express our sincerest thanks for his help.

This years’ celebration of our national birthday may bring a more accurate re-enactment of life in the 1770’s than many government officials would care to see. Discontent over ever-increasing taxes has fostered a growing number of groups of citizens across the country who are flat out refusing to pay local and state tariffs at current rates. Some informed sources are now saying that such strikes can be expected to occur eventually on a coast-to-coast basis.