Bits and Pieces: American Businessman Stress, Aviation Fuel Dumped at Sea, and Australian Population

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A five-year study at Roosevelt University subjected a group of mice to the typical trappings of the American businessman: the equivalent of four martinis and an hour's worth of cigarette smoke-per day, a high carbohydrate diet, and no exercise.  

REMEMBER THE BIG COW DUNG DEAL we reported in MOTHER EARTH NEWS NO. 32’s Bits & Pieces? The contract between RJB Sales Export of Sequim, Washington, and the sheikdoms of Dubai and Bahrain for 50,000 gallons of liquid manure per month at 5 cents a gallon? Well — according to Salem, Oregon’s Capital Press — the “sheik” has turned out to be a taxicab driver, the valley in Bahrain that was supposed to receive the sludge doesn’t exist, and a lot of folks at RJB and elsewhere have been left with (ahem) egg on their faces.

“THIRD WORLD BABIES ARE DYING and many that do not die are drawn into a vicious cycle of malnutrition and disease that will leave them physically and intellectually stunted for life.” So goes a disturbingly grim report by War on Want — an independent British agency on the aftermath of massive promotional campaigns launched in underdeveloped countries by U.S. and European manufacturers of “artificial milk” for infants. Ironically enough, the statement comes at a time when many modern women have finally come to see the truth: that breast milk is the best possible source of nutrition for newborn children.

A SUBTLE SIGN OF THE “ADVANTAGES” OF UNCHECKED GROWTH might be seen in the fact that, in Japan — where overcrowding, sardine-can housing, and stratospheric prices are a way of life — insects have suddenly become the country’s most popular household pets. Most folks just can’t afford the “luxury” of hungry, space-consuming birds, dogs, and cats. Will your grandson grow up with a beetle?

NO MATTER WHETHER YOU’RE A MAN OR A MOUSE the rat race takes its toll. A five-year study at Roosevelt University subjected a group of mice to the typical trappings of the American businessman: the equivalent of four martinis and an hour’s worth of cigarette smoke-per day, a high carbohydrate diet, and no exercise. While the “executive mice” lived only two-thirds as long as “normal”, the life span of another group of rodents — given high protein food, allowed to “work out” regularly, and provided with a convenient retreat to privacy jumped by 30 to 40%.

AIR AND NOISE POLLUTION, OZONE REDUCTION AND SKIN CANCER all hover dangerously over our heads once again as both England and France — desperately trying to break even on their economically and environmentally disastrous Concorde SST transports — await near-assured FAA permission to land their fuel-hungry craft at Dulles and JFK international airports. And it’s all in the name of getting affluent businessmen across the ocean in three and one-half hours instead of seven.

HUH? WHAT WAS THAT PRICE AGAIN? A recent Associated Press report states that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is planning to build two “four-holer” outhouses near a federally constructed dam at Hastings, Minnesota. That’s no big deal or so it would seem — but the article goes on to say that the military unit expects the privies to cost (gasp!) $25,000 apiece!

HAVE ANY OLD PHOTOS OF NORWEGIAN SETTLERS IN AMERICA? They might be included in a photographic exhibit depicting the part Norwegians played in the settlement of the New World. The display will be opened by King Olav V on October 16, and will travel throughout the United States and Norway. Pictures will be carefully copied and the originals returned to you. Send entries to Mr. Jon Thallaug, Chicago, Illinois.

AS IF FUEL SHORTAGES AND OIL SPILLS AREN’T ENOUGH, the U.S. Navy carrier Independence recently stopped off the coast of South Carolina to jettison 9,000 gallons of aviation fuel into the sea on purpose. Why? Well, a Navy spokesman explained that it would’ve cost $20,000 to unload the $4,000 worth of gas at port, so …

“IF WE HAD LEAD-SENSITIVE SPECTACLES, ” says Dr. Clair Patterson of California Institute of Technology, “we could see streets brilliantly painted with the element, and swirling clouds of it hovering over freeways.” The scientist states that minute particles of the poisonous substance — produced mostly by gasoline combustion and industrial processes — coat sidewalks, foliage, buildings, automobiles, clothing, food, and humans themselves. Have you or your children been mysteriously irritable, nauseated, or dizzy lately?

NAKED AS A WHAT? Two University of Maryland scientists are now busily working with an experimental strain of (gulp) featherless chickens, first developed in 1957 at the University of California. The problem is: A Rhode Island Red in its birthday suit — a cold bird indeed — requires much warmer living quarters (which means extra heating costs) and consumes more food energy (up goes the grocery bill) to maintain its body heat than a normal chick. Technology strikes — out — again.

AUSTRALIA’S MINISTER FOR LABOR AND IMMIGRATION recently reported that an expert study of his country’s needs revealed a decline in population growth, and that — in anticipation of a sharp drop in the number of young people entering the work force — present immigration policies (which are unusually restrictive) “would soon have to be reconsidered” to avoid labor shortages during the 1980’s and 90’s. This, in contrast to the United States’ skyrocketing unemployment rate … is anybody up for going “down under”?