Watching the World

▪ In a survey of some 2,000 people in Germany, almost 40 percent of teens 14 to 19 years of age thought it was all right to end a relationship by text message or e-mail. Over 80 percent of those 50 and older considered this totally unacceptable.​—FRANKFURTER NEUE PRESSE, GERMANY.

▪ It is estimated that 2.3 trillion text messages were sent worldwide during 2008.​—HITU NEWS, TAHITI.

▪ “How much does smoking shorten a person’s life? By five to ten years, on average.”​—UC BERKELEY WELLNESS LETTER, U.S.A.

It is estimated that up to 60 percent of personal computers used in offices in the United States are left on overnight. As a result, some 14.4 million tons of carbon dioxide are needlessly emitted by electric power plants every year.​—WORLD WATCH, U.S.A.

Buses Promote Atheism

“There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” This slogan has been displayed on 200 buses in London, England; on another 600 countrywide; and on two giant screens in London’s Oxford Street, reports The Guardian newspaper. The originators say that their campaign is in response to religious advertising that condemns nonbelievers to hellfire. The word “probably” is used in order to meet the rules of Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority, since it is impossible to prove that God does not exist. One objective of the campaign is to encourage more atheists to “come out,” to reveal their views.

Risks of Programming Early Childbirth

In the United States, more and more infants are delivered early​—by induced labor or by Cesarean section—​out of convenience. However, the “last weeks of pregnancy are more important than once thought,” says The Wall Street Journal. A study of some 15,000 newborns showed that for every week a baby remained in the womb between the 32nd and 39th weeks, there was a 23 percent drop in seizures, jaundice, respiratory distress, and brain hemorrhages. Infants born at 32 to 36 weeks had increased risk of mild behavioral and cognitive problems. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists thus recommends that babies not be delivered “before 39 weeks unless there is a medical reason to do so,” says the Journal.

Climbing Stairs Improves Health

“Taking the stairs regularly is a simple and practical means to improving health,” reports the British medical journal The Lancet. Researchers asked 69 sedentary employees to use only the stairs at their place of work instead of the elevators. After 12 weeks, the workers’ aerobic capacity had increased by 8.6 percent, which gave them “a 15% reduction in all-cause mortality risk.” The workers also saw significant improvement in their “blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, fat mass, and waist circumference.”