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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - October 10, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta V Thuraday, October LETHBRIDQE HEMALD-R Aging: the dilemma of the future As a tribute to the one hundredth birthday of the city of Winnipeg, the Great West Life Assurance Company will hold a centennial symposium at the Centennial Concert Hall, Oct. 27 30. Entitled the Dilemmas of Modem Man, the symposium has been designed to bring together some of the world's out- standing thinkers to discuss where man has been, where he's at and where he's going. To stimulate public interest in some of the major areas of concern with which the sym- posium will deal, a seven part series has been prepared. This is the seventh hi the series. Turtles live to be 400 years old. Will man himself achieve such longevity one day? Scientists say this is im- possible, but flights to the moon were once considered impossible too. In both developed and un- derdeveloped countries people are already living longer, thanks to improved social con- ditions and the elimination of some of the causes of premature death. Aging is one thing that man cannot avoid unless he dies young. It's a gradual deterioration of body -func- tions until death. Aging may also be defined as an increase in the number of possible causes of death in our bodies. i an increase in the number and diversity of things that are wrong with us. Under these circumstances who would ask for a longer life? But research could change all this, and, by biological interference, delay the aging Berry's World process. In other words, at age 80 we could be physically and mentally as active as a typical 65-year-old is today. Experiments have been con- ducted on. rats and mice in which their active life span has been increased between 10 and 40 per cent. As yet hasn't been done hi humans since our- life span would make it difficult to measure the results in the duration of a normal experiment. Results could take over 90 years to be measured. The Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission at Brookhaven has now developed tech- niques to measure aging in survivors of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima to see- whether or not they aged more rapidly than men who had not been affected by radiation. They measured five changes in the system which common- ly occur with age the hair grays, the muscles weaken, the skin becomes less elastic, the chemistry changes, and the psychometric-tests change (measurement of mental traits, abilities and All five of these factors have been measured in the Hiroshima survivors and fed into a computer. By conducting a two to three year experiment on men of about 50, it should now be possible to measure and compare these various facets of aging. By testing these men and feeding the results into the computer it should also be possible to tell whether it is hereditary, genetic or en- vironmental factors that affect the rate at which man ages. The next step, called biological interference, is to slow down the process of aging. Rats and mice have been made to live longer productive lives by a few relatively sim- ple techniques. First, their in- take of calories through diet is cut by 60 per cent. This should not be difficult to effect ex- perimentally in human beings. Second, they are fed small of antioxidants, a chemical preservative that is now put in foods such as peanuts to protect the molecules from chemical at- tack. This may also work on man. The third method is by im- munological manipulation. This means helping the body defences fight against bacteria and mis specified body cells, that is, those which develop incorrectly such as in cancer. This, too, may work in man. None of the techniques to prevent aging seems to entail surgery or even costly and, tedious treatments. Should it be done? Biologists say yes. They feel that besides giv- ing us a longer, more produc- tive life, this research could help us understand the aging process and even lead to breakthroughs in many dis- eases such as cancer. But what would this mean to mankind? Could society cope with an increase in the number of older people in its midst? Already we seem un- able to utilize the resources of our older population. Though they may be active, physically and mentally, men and women are "put out to Book review pasture" at 65. We shut these people out of our lives, put them in old age homes, and try hard to forget that some- day we ourselves will be old. Some universities and other educational facilities are opening their doors to a new breed of "mature students." Many older people are fighting back in the United States by forming the Grey Panthers and similar groups to press for full human rights. Symposium speaker Dr. Ferguson Anderson, honorary chairman of the European clinical section of The Inter- national Association of Geron- tology, reports that in his native Glasgow, pre retire-, ment training courses are available to men and women who are about three to five years away from retirement. "This gives time to consider a positive approach and to ad- just gradually to a new claims Dr. Anderson. "These courses cover a wide variety of subjects, including health in retirement, retirement and money, balancing the budget, and retirement and mental health. Demonstrations to en- courage the taking up of hob- bies are included with visits to museums and theatres. There are also lectures on home safety and tours of geriatric units and old people's homes. Every effort is made to instil the belief that retirement is a time of great happiness and achievement." Dr. Anderson also praises the Glasgow Retirement Council which, since 1967, has been finding part time employment (clerks, han- dymen, companions) for retired people who still feel they have something to contribute. Aging and the prevention of it are already facts of life. Already over people are equipped with artificial heart valves, kidneys, arteries, hip joints, eye sockets, and so on. Alvin Toffler, in his book Future Shock, notes that two or three decades could be add- ed to man's normal span of three score and ten before too long. One effect of such a development would be that business and society will have to rethink the question of retirement. Right now, the trend is toward earlier retirement. Age 65 is no longer sacrosanct. Sixty, 55, and even 50 are being worked into pension plans as a retire- ment start age. Does this make sense if man's life ex- pectancy reaches out to 100 years? Would man be happy spending only 30. per cent of his lifespan in active work? Can society afford this ury? Another effect of increased longevity might be less turnover in governments dictators could be kept alive with new parts. In the immediate future it is unlikely that man will outlive the sea turtle, but it is possi- ble that 10 to 15 years will be added to his life before the next'century is over. The economic, social and psychological implications are profound. Society at large must begin rethinking the role of its elderly citizens before research progresses much further. Otherwise a society of Methuselahs might one day walk from the pages of science fiction. r Swollen U.S. military budget By Norman Cousins, editor of Saturday Historic civil strife in Greece 1974 by NEA. Inc "We can stop worrying about keeping up with the Joneses they've declared "Drifting Cities" by Stratis Tsirkas, translated from the Greek by Kay Cicelis, (Alfred A. Knopf, pages, distributed by Random With the Cyprus crisis still in the news, this is an es- pecially timely book. It is a historic novel of, Greek Com- munist activity from 1942 to 1944, with an epilogue set in 1954. The whole book, is heavy with political chicanery and fascinating contrasts between what politicians said and did and what the Greek people wanted done, between the British reports and the Greek activities. The picture the reader sees is one of national civil strife because Britain wished to preserve its control over, and therefore intervened exten- sively in, another country's internal operations. Many of the causes of present-day strife is rooted in the past and will affect the effectiveness of peace negotiations. Drifting Cities carries the reader from Cairo to Alexandria, giving the reader a view, a smell, a feel of each while following Manos. He is the hero torn between acting for the party' and enjoying his life. He loves, he .writes passionately for his homeland. He is a very romantic hero because of his ideals and also because of his very appearance and actions. I do not know if he ever ex- isted, yet I am sure there must have been someone like as there must have been a Little Man, an Emma, Michelle, Nancy, Ron, Major Peter, Robbie. There's one great reason why Acadian 400 is becoming so popular. Flavour! SUPfftfOft RYE One of the most appealing features of the book is "the cause" itself. Here were peo- ple willing and able to fight for an ideal, able to publish tracts, lead men, and do epic deeds for an ideal without resorting to violence as many idealistic groups today have found it necessary to do. The Greek forces, pushed to the brink of exhaustion and en- durance by the British, trick- ed and lied to time and time again, did not fight back but threw down their arms saying "We will not fight our allies." How many times? An exact number I could not say but it was all the time. Along with the heroism of Phanis leading the troops when they were on the point of collapse, "The Fighter" building morale in Greek forces, Greek troops main- taining absolute after disposing of Fascist of- ficers and Ariagne housing Manos, there is some dis- grace. The Little Man's cor- rupting influence over Photeros and later Garelas, the Merkatis affair, the attempt at factionalism. The good guys are not all in white. Despite toe fact this is a long book, it is easy and en- joyable reading. The story is divided into three parts, the first of which is the slowest In the back of the triology, there is a list of acronyms and a chronological outline from 1936 to 1949. The Greeks are heroes; their enemies appear as men corrupted by age, power, and desires, who trad- ed their ideals for comforts. Yet the Communists are not sparkling white, either. The book is well-written. Stylistic changes break the book into sections so it is finished before you realize it is over. Mr. Tsirkas has created a brilliant mosaic of people and events; an illuminating and exciting modern epic. JANET RUSSELL Books in brief "Ten Lost Years, 1929-1939" by Barry Broadfoot 4ay Cuafa Ltd., 99.95, 399 The White House Conference on Inflation drew up a long laundry list of things that ought to be done but steered clear of one of the major causes for the inflation the 192 billion military budget. Obviously, a nation's first obligation is to look after the security of its people. Even at the risk of causing economic dislocations, a government ;has to attend to the common safety. I do not quarrel with this proposition. What I do quarrel with, however, is the maintenance of a swollen, military bureaucracy and with a policy of overkill that have little to do with the true requirements of the national security. Right now, there is hard evidence to in- dicate that the U.S. government today is on the biggest binge of military mis-spending in its history. Some items: have been in an overkill posture for than a decade. The stockpiles of nuclear explosives are more than enough to destroy an enemy the size of the Soviet Union at least 100 times over. But the expensive stockpiling goes on. Some of the new bombs probably contain features that make them more devastating while reducing the total weight of the package. One thing that seems un- changed, however, is the fact that the use of the bombs will produce hardly less danger to ourselves than to an enemy. Any country whether the United States or the Soviet Union or .China that engages in massive nuclear warfare is involved in a form of mass suicide. end of the war in Vietnam, the SALT agreements with the Russians and the new relationship with China all of which were hailed by President Nixon as the most signifi- cant gains for world peace in many years have no reflection in the size of our military budget. Actually, we are spending more money for military purposes than we did at the height of the Vietnamese war. tailspin economy characterizes a large part of the military budget. New tanks are going into production at per tank. Some experts have asserted that the new wrinkles in these tanks have no military jus- tification. department of defence has blamed the new volunteer system for most of the increased manpower costs. It has said very little, however, about the salaries of 1.5 million officers and non commissioned of- ficers. We now have more military generals on the public payroll than at the height of the Second World War. basis for creating NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and SEATO (Southeast Asia Treaty Organization) was that all the countries involved would pull their own weight. In actuality, this has turned out to be a farce, both in Europe and Asia. American economy is suffering from competition by Japanese manufac- turers, but we continue to help the Japanese economy through the maintenance of large military spending inside Japan. maintain military personnel in South Korea. Twenty nine thousand of these- men are in administrative posts or have logistic support functions. Approximately the same ratio exists in Thailand, where out of military personnel are in non combat assignments; and in the Philippines, where out are in administrative or other noncombat jobs. the past year, it required military general personnel to train inductees at a cost of billion. billion will be spent by the military this year for maintaining forces that are trained to fighfin a Second World War kind of conflict. This, despite the testimony of military specialists that the next war will be as much unlike the last war 'as the Second World War was unlike the First World War. if The above list is long enough to indicate that the military budget could be cut by at least one-third, which is to say, by some billion. The result not only would fail to reduce our military capability but would probably add to it by getting rid of massive waste and bureaucratic proliferation. The statement was made at the White House Conference on Inflation that if the government could cut billion out of its budget, it would take a giant step toward bringing inflation under control. Unfortunate- ly very few of the experts are willing to look at the possibilities for achieving this purpose by cutting military spending. How will it contribute to the security of the American people if we continue to pursue military policies that will unhinge the American economy? The educational system By Ron Harris, Lethbridge teacher For the past half-century, the educational system has been kept busy meeting the needs of an insatiable industrial technological com- providing an abundance of scientists, engineers and other highly trained technicians. Our parents, teachers, educators and the business world, during the past five or six decades, have been 'encouraging their progeny to desire, and work towards, a successful career in a society where oppor- tunities for such success were golden. Conse- quently our public school systems and in- stitutions of higher learning have been geared to imparting those skills to children that would enable them to function effectively and successfully in such a success oriented society. And, all things being equal, the educational system during these years has served the needs of people and society ad- mirably. Today, however, we stand at a new threshold our society is being forced to re- evaluate its goals, its values and the means used in acquiring those goals. One of those means that needs to undergo thorough ex- amination is our educational system. Thus far, 20th century education has aimed at a systematized format of pre determined skill development. However, today we find that the number of careers or jobs requiring those skills are becoming fewer and fewer; indeed we are seeing a phenomenon spring up where the total number of jobs available appears to be fewer than the number of people vying for those jobs. If this trend is a continuing one, and many influential people believe it is, then this will become a major force behind the realignment of our society's present goals and values. This has important implications for the current philosophy of education subscribed to by most school boards for current board policy appears to be moving towards more accountability; accountability towards skill development, student activity, budgeting etc. This system of education, largely based on accountability, is in need of basic re evalua- tion in order to meet the needs of today's society and that of the future. It appears that the future of our society is going to hold an ever increasing amount of leisure time for the average person and thus it would seem reasonable to suggest that our educational system become concerned with teaching people how to use their abundance of leisure in a meaningful and satisfying manner. To meet these new found needs, it seems necessary that our schools begin to teach and encourage the development of liv- ing and social skills as opposed to the teaching of the job oriented skills that they are now concerned with. Now it is possible, and most probable, that many of the skills taught today, particularly up to the Grade 8 level, would also be taught as social and living skills but the motivation for teaching, as well as the means for evaluation, would change fundamentally. Hand in hand with this would be an increas- ed concern with the development of success- ful inter personal relationships and self reliance. There would also te basic changes in curriculum and-classroom structure. In conclusion, it would seem necessary to this educator that educational systems be re evaluated and appropriate changes be made in order that education does not become woefully inadequate in meeting the needs of the society it is designed to serve. review. The female volunteer Barry Broadfoot deceives the thanks of who care about their past, for he has placed into print toe memories of many who felt the pain and sorrow of the dir- ty 30s while they are still of sound mind to factually recall their experiences. From Vancouver to the Maritunes, the almost un- betterable happenings during the depression are relived in tbe grass roots history of UK despair that blanketed Canada, a 10-year period many older Canadians would just as soon forget. JIM GRANT Female Votateer" by Mrs. Joyce Howartfc aad Mrs. Suaa Secord Queen's Fruiter, 36 This little booklet both asks and answers some of the questions relevant to the organization-oriented woman, and dispels many myths such as toe one mat says a volunteer is a neurotic middle-aged, middle- class do-gooder. Using the Howarth personality question- naire, the two themselves volunteered over 100 hours to the survey) tested 901 women throughout Alberta to dis- cover that the volunteer has a less than average sociability rate, is well-adjusted and low in dominance. The study was undertaken (particularly applying to toe financially dependent woman) to explore the decline in the number of volunteers and the opening op of new and varied volunteer activities over the past decade. A few of the majority opinions are worth noting. 1. On child care, per cent of the sample women believe Out child care centres should be-available for the children of volunteers while they are working on volunteer projects (67.2 per cent of that number feel the cost should be 2. "It is believed by 94.3 per cent that train- ing programs should be provided for volunteers." with 93.2 per cent saying the volunteer should bear no cost 3. "It is believed by 83.4 per cent that a program of public education, showing the contribution made to society by the volunteer should be undertaken." If instituted this should be financed by the news media. (I im- agine a few news editors and broadcasters perked up on bearing that recommendation.) The authors nope that the outcome of the report will be to make the community more aware of the role and contribution of the volunteer, effectively encouraging others to offer their services; and to focus on the problems and solutions to those problems of the volunteers, allowing better use of their time. While the booklet is certainly not bedtime reading, it should be very interesting to social policy developers and volunteers alike. JOANNE GROVER ;