Our Times: June 2005

 
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60 Years Ago in SIGNS

“The lights go on again,” Arthur S Maxwell entitled his cover story of the June 25, 1945, issue of SIGNS OF THE TIMES. In the wake of the war, he was speaking both literally and metaphorically. Not only had Europe endured a night-time blackout for five years, but, as Maxwell wrote, “Everyone remebers…how the extinguishing of the lights of Europe was the signal for the commencement of the most horrible ordeal that humanity had ever been called upon to suffer. The legions of darkness semmed to be thereby eleased to perform their most cuel and hateful deeds.” Indeed, Hitler embodied evil and the forces darkness.
He concludes on a note of hope, quoting the prophet Isaiah: “That God has planned a complete and lasting deliverance from war and all its tragic consequences….’Violence shall no more be heard…he Lord shall be unto thee an everylasting light’ ” (60:18-20 KJV). Hope in a future without war, when Christ reigns, is the message SIGNS continues to tell, at a time when the world is threatened by terrorism, fear and war.

For Sale . . .

A Scud missile complete with its own launch truck is for sale on eBay. The launcher, which makes a Humvee look like a Dinky toy, has been repaired and repainted, and has only 300 km on the odo. The owner hopes to receive around $A66,000 for this rare item, and already has offers from Hollywood studios.

Remote Access

Mobile phones have become popular in a remote Romanian village. This may not seem all that strange except users have to walk eight kilometres to recharge them. The small village in Bistrita Nasaud country has 80 households, none of which has electricity but all of whom have at least one mobile phone.

Print-A-Meal

A chef has created a computer that prints paper meals. It uses ink made of liquidised food to print a picture snack on low-cal edible paper. The “meals” on soya bean and potato paper are intended to help office workers satisfy food cravings without piling on the kilos, as well as blend into the desktop.

Sunscreen Pill

Sun worshippers may soon be able to pop a pill to protect their skin, instead of slapping on handfuls of greasy lotion. The drug, made from a plant known to have the ability to destroy cancerous cells and rich in antioxidants, significantly reduced damage to skin exposed to direct sunlight. Taking a pill before sun exposure would be much simpler than having to regularly top up on sunscreen.

Online Library

The Libraries of Harvard, Stanford, University of Michigan, University of Oxford, and the New York Public Library have joined with Google to digitally scan library books to make them searchable online. This medium will benefit both publishers and authors, increasing the the visibility of both in- and out-of-print titles, and generating book sales via advertising.

Mobile Golf

Subway commuters could soon become more energetic in Japan through a new motion-sensitive mobile telephone. The V603SH, billed as the first phone in Japan to respond to movements, will let users perform basic mobile functions through programmed shakes and jerks. The 142 g mobile telephone doubles as a golf club, where users perform a programmed swing then look at the screen for feedback on their putting action.

Ahead of the Rest

Giuseppe Ferrigno decorates a John Paul II figurine in his shop in Naples, soon after the pontiff’s death. Meanwhile the new pope, Benedict XVI, has initiated the beatification of his predecessor as a first step toward sainthood. This overrides the usual five-year waiting period following the death of a candidate before beatification procedures begin.
—AAP/AFP/Mario Laporta