Our Times: May 2005

 
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51 Years Ago In Signs

While the decision of Mr and Mrs Petrov to seek asylum in Australia was still making world headlines, another Soviet police officer threw his lot in with the West in still more dramatic circumstances“. The “Survey of Current Events” column of the May 24, 1954, SIGNS OF THE TIMES, referred to the case of Captain Nikolai Khokholov, who was to assassinate an anti-Communist Russian kleader in Germany, but instead chose to yield to “his conscience and the plea of his wife,” and surrendered instead to the West.

The ruthless curelty…the atmosphere of suspicion and distrust, have led many to realise that the Communist way of life has nothing to offer in the way of human decency or freedom. How much better off one would be to surrender to a power that reconised human rights and granted freedom!”

His case has parallels,” the editorial concluded.…God is still calling those who are the enemies of truth to turn to Him in full surrender and service.

Rocking The Universe

Rock music is set to spread further than ever before when a specially written CD lands on one of Saturn’s moons. The CD is aboard the Cassini-Huygens space probe that has landed on the moon Titan. The four instrumental tracks are “Lalala,” “Bald James Dean,” “Hot Time” and “No Love,” and are described as “edgy, punk, music themes.” The European Space Agency asked French musicians Julien Civange and Louis Haeri to write the music to raise awareness of space travel among youngsters.

Faith And Pain?

Volunteers participating in an Oxford University study will undergo torture to discover if faith can ease pain in an endeavour to understand how the brain works during states of consciousness. It will involve followers of both religious and secular faiths being burned to see if they can handle more pain than others. Some volunteers will be shown religious symbols, such as crucifixes and images of the Virgin Mary during the torture.

The Height Of Destruction

The tsunami caused by the Aceh earthquake in the Indian Ocean was only 50 cm high in deep water. Satellites stationed above the Indian Ocean captured the only defined measurements of the tsunami in the open ocean. By comparison, wind-driven waves typically reach 10 metres.

A Waning Sun

Recent scientific measurements of sunlight are showing that the earth’s surface receives less sunlight than in the 1950s. The staggering 22 per cent drop in solar energy is a result of thicker clouds, produced by pollution particles in the air, reflecting the sun’s radiation back into space. Scientists are worried that this may in turn disrupt the world’s rainfall pattern.

Laser Fit

Finding a pair of jeans that fit perfectly is almost impossible, but with a state-of-the-art body-mapping system from Bodymetrics, the search is getting easier. The technology calculates the perfect measurements by scanning a person, and working out how the light is reflected off the body, thus allowing designers to create perfect fitting clothes.

It’s Business

The entrance of one of Luigi Savelli’s four Rome religious art shops, near St Peter’s Basilica. Savelli, whose family claims an impressive four popes, including seventh-century Benedict II, eighth-century Gregory II, and 13th-century Honorius III and Honorius IV, says, “Even if it was a long time ago, having popes in the family still adds prestige.” Products for sale include papal benedictions and a parchment signed by Vatican authorities blessing a marriage or baptism in the Savelli family.
—Harmonie Toros