Bits and Pieces

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PHOTO: FOTOLIA/ARAGAMI
African development experts were of the opinion old fashioned farming techniques would be more helpful to the Third World than big agribusiness technology.

SHADES OF DR. STRANGELOVE: When an
interviewer asked Republican candidate George Bush how he
thought a nuclear exchange could be won, he replied: “You
have a survivability of command in control, survivability
of industrial potential, protection of a percentage of your
citizens… and you have a capability that inflicts more
damage on the opposition than it can inflict on you…” “Do
you mean that five percent would survive? Two percent?” he
was questioned. “More than that… if everybody fired
everything he had, you’d have more than that survive.”

GREED (Get Rich Exploiting the Earth’s
Development) is a tongue-in-cheek organization formed by
some Montana environmentalists in answer to a
pro-development group called NEED (Northwest Energy,
Employment, and Development). Among GREED’s proposals is a
1,200-foot tall, stainless steel dam, and the phony firm’s
motto is: “If people weren’t meant to take all they could
get, God wouldn’t have given them two good hands to grab it
with.”

ANOTHER REASON TO GO WHOLISTIC: Each year,
Americans use 8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas (which
amounts to 40% of our total production of the fuel) to
manufacture 30 million tons of nitrogen fertilizer… for
which U.S. farmers will pay $6 billion.

A MASSIVE LAND GRAB : The deployment of
the proposed MX missile system would require 3 to 12
million acres (an area as much as four times the size of
Connecticut), and the spots chosen — besides becoming
potential nuclear wastelands in case of attack — would face
lowered water tables, the displacement of inhabitants for
“security” purposes, and the possibility of accidents
involving nuclear materials and rocket propellants. Sites
in Texas, California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Wyoming,
Utah, Montana, Kansas, Nebraska, and Colorado have been
under consideration.

ON TOP OF THAT, our nuclear counterforce
systems are now being fully automated, so that an atomic
attack could — perhaps — be launched simply by computer error.
(On November 9, 1979 the North American Defense Command
computer in Colorado Springs sent out such a false attack
alert… and a number of planes were in the air before the
error was discovered.)

OLD-FASHIONED FARMING: According to
African Development Group’s P. Jay Fetner, what the Third
World needs from the U.S. is information provided by
“family” farmers who are willing to roll up their sleeves
and get down to business on a long-term basis. “All the
technology in the world won’t help,” he says. “U.S.
Agribusiness needs to go back to its own roots.”

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AN OMEN? In Madrid, Spain’s Incarnation
Monastery a stain which is said to be the blood of a
fourth-century martyr, Saint Pantaleon, did not coagulate
after it became liquid (as it reportedly does each year)
last July 27. According to monastery records, the same
phenomenon occurred just before the outbreaks of World War
I, the Spanish Civil War, and World War II.

ON A GLOBAL BASIS, nations now invest an
average of $16,000 a year per soldier, and $260 a year in
the education of a school-age child. In the U.S., the
figures are, respectively, $43,600 and $1,675.

INVOLUNTARY BIRTH CONTROL? Because of the
chemical contamination present in work places, air, water,
food, and even clothing, Dr. Joseph McFalls, Jr. of
Temple University concludes that the proportion of couples
in industrialized nations who cannot bear children will
probably increase. Already, 40% of American women are
sub-fecund… a term used to describe a level of
reproductive ability which is less than normal.

A LESS PAINFUL RABIES SHOT, which can be
injected into the arm rather than the stomach, may be on
the market before the end of the year… with a series of
only five injections needed, instead of the 14 to 21 shots
required for the old serum to be effective.

IN ORDER TO REDUCE THE USE OF CHEMICAL PESTICIDES
ON RICE CROPS,
the Chinese now control harmful
insects with spiders, in a ratio of approximately one
spider to 20 pests. This method has “increased rice yield
without increasing expenses” …. The U.S. Forest Service
is promoting a 1980 “PLANT A BIRTHDAY TREE” campaign to
encourage people to use such “living memorials” to
commemorate special anniversaries …. ACID RAIN ATE THE
PAINT OFF MORE THAN 200 CARS in the Harrisburg,
Pennsylvania area in just one seven-day period …. In New
York, you’re FOUR TIMES MORE LIKELY TO BE BITTEN BY A HUMAN
THAN BY A RAT , and residents of Brooklyn’s Fort Green
section bite each other more than five times as often as
New Yorkers in general…. The U.S. Department of Labor
estimates that approximately 84,000 AMERICAN TEXTILE
WORKERS suffer from “brown lung” as a result of inhaling
cotton dust …. In Rangoon, Burma EXPERIMENTS ON 30 DRUG
ADDICTS USING ACUPUNCTURE on arms, ears, and knees proved
more successful than other treatments, including use of the
addictive substance methadone.