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Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, November 25, 1962, Image 2

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THE SUNDAY STAR
Wadb'ngtcn, 0. C., Novembtr 25, 1962
SILENT SPRING |i
f Chemical Controls Pose Dangers
- Continued From Pare A-l
silenced the voices of spring in
countless towns In America?
Tfiis is an attempt to explain.
Mbn Alters Nature
!The history of life on earth
has been a history of inter
a&ion between living things
and their surroundings. To a.
la£ge extent, the physical form
and the habits of the earth’s
vegetation and its animal life
have been molded by the en
vironment. Considering the
whole span of earthly time, the
opposite effect, in which life
actually modifies its surround
ings, has been relatively slight.
Oflly within the moment of
time represented by the pres
ent century has one species—
man—a cqul re d significant
power to alter the nature of
his world.
During the past quarter cen
tury thia power has not only
increased to one of disturbing
magnitude but it has changed
in Character. The most alarm
ing of all man's assaults upon
the environment is the con
tamination of air, earth, riv
ers, and sea with dangerous
and even lethal materials. This
pollution is for the most part
irrecoverable; the chain of evil
it ‘initiates not only in the
world that must support life
huf living tissues is for the
most part irreversible. In this
now universal contamination
of the environment, chemicals
are the sinister and little
recfognized partners of radia
tion in changing the very na
ture of the world—the very
nature of its life. The problem
whose attempted solution has
brought such a train of disas
ter in its wake is an accom
paniment of our modern way
of life.
Long before the age of man.
Insects inhabited the earth—a
group of extraordinarily varied
and adaptable beings. Over the
course of time since man's ad
vent, a small percentage of the
mdhe than half a million spe
cies of insects have come into
conflict with human welfare in
two principal ways: as com
petitors for the food supply and
as carriers of human disease.
Disease-carrying insects be
come important where human
beings are crowded together,
&r
2 Scientists Find Clues
To Why Plants Flower
* By RALPH DIGHTON
Press Science Writer
PASADENA. Calif., Nov. 24.
detectives are
making headway in their 50-
year search for an elusive
something that, trapped and
put to work, could multiply the
world’s food supplies
YDne of their problems, they
new have learned, is that it
works only at night.
■The elusive substance makes
plants flower and bear fruit.
Its name is florigen, a hor-j
nfone.
biologists at the Cali-’
fornia Institute of Technology,
Df James Bonner and Dr. Jan
Zoevaart, announced today that
they have discovered some sig
nificant clues to its nature:
;They have evidence it is one
of a number of fatty sub
stances called steroids and that
it is manufactured in the
leaves of plants only in the
absence of light.
The next step is to Isolate
it, analyze it and make it ar
tificially. The United States
Public Health Service is pro
viding help to spur the re- j
search.
“A synthetic version of it to
control crop production.” said
Dr- Bonner, “could have far-'
THE FEDERAL SPOTLIGHT '
Talk of Civilian Personnel Cuts
In Defense Department Discounted
By JOSEPH YOUNG
Star Staff Writer
Despite rumors of impending
civilian personnel reductions in
the Defense Department. Pen
tagon insiders declare there
will be little or no changes
in the number of civilian work
ers in the various defense units
in the year ahead.
One top Pentagon official
said, "Actually, our real prob
lem will be to keep civilian
employment from growing
larger."
The world situation being
what it is, Defense officials
feel that the present 1 million- !
plus civilian personnel strength
in, the Army, Navy and Air
Force Departments will have to
be kept around present levels.
There has been talk that
the Defense Department will
order that the cost of the re
cent Federal pay raise be partly
absorbed by defense units
through reduction in civilian
employment. While defense
units will be asked to absorb
as much of the cost as pos
sible through the attrition
method of not filling vacancies
unless absolutely necessary, no
adverse effect on present em
ployes is anticipated.
And even the attrition
method will be used to a
limited, degree due to the world
situation, Defense officials pre
dict.
'As far as civilian employes
in Army, Navy and Air Force
headquarters here as well as
in the Office of Secretary of
Defense are concerned, there
J A
. 11 -
~ * i—fl..
>
• especially under conditions
• where sanitation is poor, as in
_ time of natural disaster or war
. or in situations of extreme pov
t erty and deprivation. Then con
s trol of some sort becomes nec
essary.
r Success Is Limited
It is a sobering fact, however.
‘ as we shall presently see, that
' the method of massive chemi
-1 cal control has had only lim-|
' ited success, and also threatens
' to worsen the very conditions
’ it is intended to curb.
! Under primitive agricultural
; conditions the farmer had few
; insect problems. These arose
’ with the intensification of ag
riculture—the devotion of im
■ mense acreages to a single crop, i
' Such a system set the stage for
) explosive increases in specific
’ insect populations.
Single-crop farming does not
’ take advantage of the princi
\ pies by which nature works; it
is agriculture as an engineer
might conceive it to be. Nature
’ has introduced great variety
into the landscape, but man
has displayed a passion for
simplifying it. Thus he undoes
the built-in checks and bal
ances by which nature holds
the species within bounds. One
important natural check is a
limit on the amount of suitable
habitat for each species. Ob
viously then, an insect that
lives on wheat can build up
its population to much higher :
levels on a farm devoted to 1
wheat than on one in which ’
wheat is intermingled with | 1
other crops to which the insect 1
is not adapted.
The same thing happens in
other situations. A generation i
- - ■• - - p
reaching effects on the world’s
food supply.”
Dr. Bonner and Dr. Zeevaartl
theorize that their quarry al
ways uses the same "M. 0.
'modus operand! or method of
operation).
From its birthplace in the
leaves of a plant, florigen slips
undetectably along the veins to
the growing tips of the stems.
There it somehow turns on
the genetic mechanism that
makes flowers, apparently while
i the plant cell is busy splitting
. itself in two.
The scientific detectives
have found that, contrary to
popular notion, the length of
darkness, rather than the
amount of light, is vital to
flowering.
Using the cocklebur, they
found that its leaves need at
least 8*72 hours of darkness to
manufacture florigen. After an>
adequate dose of darkness, how- 1
ever, the cocklebur will flower
! in two days.
Unable to put their finger i
directly on florigen, the scien-l
tists used the detective's old
standby: Deduction.
First they removed all but
one leaf from several cockle
bur plants. These leaves were
dipped in several solutions.
Some prevented the manufac-
is a study now being made at
the direction of Defense Secre
tary McNamara to determine
how operations can be stream
lined and made more effective.
This had led to reports that
sharp cuts will be made in
Defense Department civilian
employment in Washington.
However. Pentagon officials
close to the situation express
doubt that any significant
civilian employment reduction
will occur in Washington.
They say the main objective
of the study is to increase ef
ficiency and scope of opera
tions and that any civilian
cutbacks that would result
from that would be incidental.
They express the view that
Defense Department civilian
employment in the Washing
ton area will remain about
the same.
** * *
PROFESSIONAL GROUP
CONVENTION - The Federal
Professional Association will
hold its founding conference
from 9 am. to noon Wednes
day jn the Departmental Audi
torium, Constitution avenue be
tween Twelfth and Thirteenth
streets N.W.
Formed to “promote the wel
fare of professional personnel
in Government," the new or
ganization will be open to pro
fessional people, engineers and
scientists, and those in execu
tive and managerial positions
The group estimates it has
a potential membership of 250,-
000 in Government. It will at
j tempt to parallel the activities
or more ago, the towns of large
areas of the United States
lined their streets with the
noble elm tree. Now the beauty
they hopefully created is
threatened with complete de
struction as disease sweeps
through the elms, carried by a
beetle that would have only
limited chance to build up large
populations and to spread from
tree to tree if the elms were
only occasional trees in a richly
diversified planting.
Invasion a Problem
Another factor in the mod
ern insect problem is one that
must be viewed against a back
ground of geologic and human
history: The spreading of
thousands of different kinds of
organisms from their native
homes to invade new territo
ries. This world-wide migration
has been studied and graphi
cally described by the British
ecologist. Charles Elton, in his
recent book, “The Ecology of
Invasions.’’ These invasions,
both the naturally occurring
and those dependent on human
assistance, are likely to con
tinue indefinitely.
Quarantine and massive, I
chemical campaigns are only
extremely expensive ways of
buying time. We are faced, ac
cording to Dr. Elton, "with a
life-and-death need not just to
find new technological means
of suppressing this plant or
that animal’’; instead we need
the basic knowledge of animal
populations and their relations
to their surroundings that will
“promote an even balance and
dampen down the explosive
pure of proteins, some the!
manufacture of nucleic acids,
other the making of steroids.:
Only the anti-steroid solution
completely prevented flowering.
iTheir speculative conclusion:!
| Florigen is a steroid.
This was important because
scientists have been able to
make many steroids synthetic
ally.
“Armed with synthetic anti
steroids as well as steroid
sprays,” Dr. Bonner said,
“growers could spread crops
over longer seasons, produce
them when needed and in
| crease their yield.
“Steroid sprays could in
crease flowering crops such as
tree fruits and such vegetables
as cauliflower and artichoke.
“Aanti-steroids could be even
more important economically.
By the prevention of flower
ing, they could accelerate
growth of the edible parts of
such plants as potatoes, car
rots, onions and sugar cane .”
Grader Gets Support
Mrs. Clem Miller indorsed
yesterday the candidacy of
' William Grader. Democrat
! nominated to succeed her hus
band as Representative of the
Ist congressional district in
California. Mr. Miller, elected
posthumously November 6. was
killed in a plane crash on Oc
tober 7.
of the regular Government em
ploye unions—the only differ
ence being that it will act on
behalf of professional employes
; in Government.
Vincent Jay of Public Health
Service is expected to be elected
president of the FPA at its
founding session on Wednes
day.
“We invite all interested
Government employes who are
in professional occupations to
attend and participate in our
Founding Conference,” Mr. Jay
said.
Among those who will ad
dress the conclave on Wednes
day morning are Representa
tive Olsen, Democrat of Mon
tana, a member of the House
Civil Service Committee; Dr.
Wilson Elkins, president of
Maryland University; Robert
Ramspeck, former House whip
and former chairman of the
' Civil Service Commission.
Mr. Jay said charter mem-
I bership applications have been
■ received from Federal employes
in 25 States and overseas.
Leaders of the new group
■ feel that President Kennedy's
r recent Federal labor-manage
ment executive order will help
■ its progress. While Mr. Ken
-1 nedy’s order prohibits man-
• agerial and executive officials
■ from holding office in the
I regular Government employe
• unions, the order permits them
to hold office and take active
> part in organizations of their
■ own in the field of labor-
■ management relations, they
point out.
power of outbreaks and new ;
invasions.”
Much of the necessary knowl
edge is now available, but we
do not use it. It is not my con
tention that chemical insecti
cides must never be used. I do
contend that we have put poi
sonous and biologically potent
‘chemicals indiscriminately into
the hands of persons largely or
I wholly ignorant of their po
tentials for harm. We have
subjected enormous numbers of
people to contact with these
poisons, without their consent
and often without their knowl
edge.
There is still very limited
awareness of the nature of the
threat. This is an era of spe
cialists, each of whom sees his
own problem and is unaware of
or intolerant of the larger
frame into which it fits. It is
also an era dominated by in
dustry, in which the right to
make a dollar at whatever cost
is seldom challenged. When the
I public protests, confronted with'
some obvious evidence of dam-I
aging results of pesticide ap
plications, it is fed little tran
quilizing pills of half truth. We
urgently need an end to these
false assurances, to the sugar
coating of unpalatable facts. It
is the public that is being
asked to assume the risks that
the insect controllers calculate.
The public must decide whether
it wishes to continue on the
present road, and it can do so
only when in full possession of
the facts. In the words of Jean
Rostand. “The obligation to
endure gives us the right to
know."
Published by Hcurhton Mifflin Co.)
(Copyright, 1982. by Rachel Carton.
Tomorrow: Elixirs of Death
PAKISTAN |
Continued From Page A-l
ber of both. It signed up for
SEATO in 1954 and CENTO,
originally the Baghdad Pact.
, in 1955.
Bitter Debate on Arms
The flow of Western arms to i
Prime Minister Nehru’s Indian!
government remained a sub
ject of bitter debate in the Na
tional Assembly.
Sardar Bahadur Khan, a
brother of the President and
leader of the opposition, called
for Pakistan to drop but of
SEATO *nd CENTO, adopt
neutrality and promote friend
ship with all nations—" Co
mmunist or capitalist.”
He accused the United i
States, through its arms con
tributions, of expanding the
frontier hostilities between In
dia and China into a full
fledged war for its own bene
fit
An opposition rightist reli
gious leader, Farid Ahmed,
called the Western arms delivs
eries to India a gross betrayal
of Pakistan, which he described
as “the friendliest nation of
Asia.”
Chiefs of United States and
British missions now surveying
India’s arms situation are ex
pected to visit Pakistan soon
for conciliatory talks. The
chiefs are W. Averell Harriman,
United States Assistant Secre
tary of State, and Duncan
Sandys, British Commonwealth,
Secretary.
Satellite Launched
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE
BASE, Calif., Nov. 24 <AP).—A
satellite employing a Thor-
Agena rocket booster combina
tion was launched by the Air
I Force here today. The Air
. Force declined to release tur
. ther details.
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