Two years ago conservationists stocked Lake Michigan with coho salmon fingerlings imported from Oregon, and by the end of last summer 20-pounders were being caught and the program was heralded as a spectacular biological success. As recently as last month authorities in the area were enthusiastically predicting that the ever-increasing fleets of coho fishermen would bring the region more than $9 million this season.
It is bitter irony that conservationists must now report that hundreds of thousands of young salmon hatched from eggs taken from Lake Michigan coho have died. Laboratory tests show that DDT is the killer.
The DDT has washed off the land and contaminated the lake—just as it has much of the world's fresh-and marine-water environments. So pervasive is its presence that traces of it are even found in rain. Once in the water, it enters microscopic plankton, the base of the natural food chain, and is then absorbed, in increasingly concentrated amounts, by higher forms of life. It has been detected, along with several other so-called persistent pesticides, in many species of ocean and freshwater fish. In birds of prey, such as eagles, falcons and ospreys, which feed on DDT-tainted animals and fish, the pesticide inhibits reproduction. How DDT affects the highest carnivore—man—is not yet evident, but virtually everything he eats contains some of it.
Michigan is now taking action to prevent further pesticide pollution in its waters and is asking neighboring states to cooperate. "People had better heed the warning," says one biologist. "Even if we were able to completely curtail the use of it today, it would take 100 years to purge Lake Michigan of DDT."
What with the South African contretemps, they may not need it, but the Russians are going ahead anyway with an Olympic lottery. Tickets are being sold in towns all over Russia, on streets, in bars, shops, cafés and railway stations. Authorities expect to collect some 50 million rubles ($55 million); 30 million rubles will be returned in prizes such as cars, motorcycles, scooters, tape recorders and radios. Tickets cost one ruble each, and the proceeds will be used to finance the Olympic team and to build additional sports facilities.
BENT ON CHANGE
With the exception of goalies and centers, almost every player in the National Hockey League is now using a curved stick. The trend started about six years ago when players like Stan Mikita began to soak their sticks in water and bend the blades. The bent blade made the puck behave something like a knuckle ball. Sticks are now custom-curved by the manufacturer to each player's specifications. Mikita has the most severe hook in the league, and Bobby Hull is next.
There is no rule against curved blades nor any regulation specifying the maximum degree of curve permitted, but a number of NHL goalies—who are being befuddled by and hit with dancing pucks—say there better be, and quick.
"The curved stick is dangerous," Oakland's Charlie Hodge says. "Players can't control their shots." Detroit's Roy Edwards complains, "It's impossible to follow a puck. The only chance a goalie has is for the puck to hit him."
Ed Johnston of the Bruins declares, "If they don't do something to restrict the curved blade, somebody is going to get hurt badly and not just the goal-tender. The way the puck takes off now the players don't know which way to duck. After all, players shoot at 100 miles per hour. It's enough that a goaltender has to stop a puck at that speed."
Wayne Rutledge of Los Angeles has suggested the goalies go on strike to get the big curve banned. The Canadiens' Rogatien Vachon does not go along with that idea because he says the curved blade has made hockey faster and "that's what the people want." But he suggests league officials should compensate the goalies by making the nets smaller. Pittsburgh's Hank Bassen says all goaltenders will have to wear masks because of the new hazard they face. Perhaps the most novel solution is the one proposed by Dave Dryden of the Black Hawks. "What we need," he says, "is a curved stick for goalies. That way we can fire back at them."
Somewhere on the snow-covered peak of Africa's 19,340-foot Mt. Kilimanjaro is a case of Canadian Club whiskey that is getting to be more trouble than it is worth.
The adventure-minded Hiram Walker company announced in some tongue-in-cheek advertising a few months ago that it had parachuted a shock-proof package of its product onto the mountain's summit last July. The advertisements challenged readers to recover the case and gave laborious instructions on how to get it.
But whiskey-minded Kilimanjaro climbers have turned out to be more numerous and determined than the company anticipated. The Kenya and Tanzania embassies in Washington, Hiram Walker offices and several African contacts named in the ads have been inundated with letters, some requesting more information, some asking for expedition subsidies and some complaining about fruitless climbs. One irate woman cabled: "I'm here. Where's whiskey?" The Mountain Club of Kenya, considering the nondiscovery a blot on its honor, mounted a full-scale search. But the expedition failed. The whiskey is now believed buried under shifting snows, to be found only if the snows of Kilimanjaro melt, as some geologists predict they will, sometime in the next 50 years.
The State of North Carolina is running a series of advertisements in The Wall Street Journal to attract businessmen and industry to the area. The text of an ad that appeared earlier this month said, "The percentage of man days lost by North Carolina manufacturing workers in 1966 was only .02%. One reason to consider North Carolina for your new plant. And here's another good reason:"
The photograph below showed five basketball players from North Carolina colleges—four of them white and one Negro.
What subtle message was North Carolina trying to convey?
"Livability," says J. W. York, the chairman of the state's Department of Conservation and Development. "It's a soft-sell idea, and we've had wonderful response to it."
And does livability have something to do with integration? "Sure," York replied. "That's the reason we put the Negro in there. It's to show we have no integration problem down here. You have it up North. We want people to know we have Negroes on our basketball teams and in our colleges. They get the same treatment as white folks."
Four of the five colleges represented by players in the advertisement—Davidson, Duke, North Carolina and Wake Forest—have only one Negro on their basketball teams, and in each case he is the first member of his race in the school's history to play basketball. The fifth college, North Carolina State, has never had a Negro on its basketball team.
SIC TRANSIT GLORIA
Mascot raiding is a tradition in England and serves a somewhat more worthy purpose than such activity in the U.S. The mascots, usually stuffed or metal animals of varying sizes, are kidnaped and then ransomed, the proceeds going to charity. "These are well-planned, militarylike maneuvers," a member of the student union at Queen Mary College in London explains. "We get building plans of other schools and map out complicated sorties. Our own mascot committee set out this year to break the old national record of 12 captured within one school session, and we succeeded. We got 13 in all."
The committee's booty includes a metal lion, a stuffed alligator, a nine-foot-tall dinosaur, a stuffed owl, a stuffed pelican and a large toy caterpillar. The students believe they will raise $3,000 from the offended parties, with the money going to an organization that finances African education.
Unfortunately mascots are occasionally damaged in transit. Queen Mary College's own mascot is a 10-foot-long concrete leopard. A number of years ago the leopard was unmistakably male, but he had the misfortune of being the target of a rather violent kidnaping attempt made by another college. Now the leopard's name is Mary.
HARDLY A FAIR FLIP
In the National Basketball Association's college draft, to be held in May, a flip of a coin will determine which of the last-place finishers—the Eastern or Western Division team—will get the first draft choice. Thus San Diego, which will finish last in the Western Division with a 15-65 record, can lose out to Baltimore, the last-place finisher in the East, which has won 36 and lost 45. Chicago and Seattle, which are expansion clubs like San Diego, and also in the Western Division, will end up with fewer wins than Baltimore.
The point of the draft system is to build up the weaker teams. It's pretty obvious who is weak this year—hardly a toss-up.
C√≤ T√∫ong, which is sometimes called elephant chess, is the most popular game in Southeast Asia, and to the Vietnamese it is considered a yardstick of a man's intellectual stature. A more complicated version of chess, it is played in every Vietnamese village. The chief of Phong Bac, a hamlet about 15 kilometers from Danang, told William Lederer, co-author of The Ugly American: "Perhaps I am the hamlet chief because I play C√≤ T√∫ong well." In his new book, Our Own Worst Enemy, to be published in May by W. W. Norton & Company Inc. ($4.95), Lederer relates how the marines in Phong Bac became experts in the chess game and used the skill to win over the village. "At first we did not like the marines," the hamlet chief explained. "We did not like them because the Americans had bombed and burned our villages. We also did not like the marines because they would go through the streets giving everyone chewing gum, cigarettes, candy, things to eat and toys to the children. We Vietnamese are very proud, and we do not want to be beggars. One of the worst insults in our country is to call someone a beggar."
Left alone, the marines decided on the C√≤ T√∫ong tactic. Lieut. Colonel William R. Corson instructed his troops in the intricacies of the game, and when they had mastered it the marines announced they would sponsor a C√≤ T√∫ong tournament. The winner would receive a radio. On the night of the tournament 1,500 people came to Phong Bac to watch. The hamlet chief won the championship. "After I had won, and the people were still congratulating me," the chief told Lederer, "'Colonel Corson came through the crowd and spoke to me in Vietnamese. He asked me if I would give him the honor of playing C√≤ T√∫ong with him. I did not want to because I was the champion and had already proved myself; and also I did not wish to get intimate with an American marine. But there was no way out. I had to play. The game lasted for an hour. It ended in a draw. But I knew that Colonel Corson could have beaten me if he wanted to."
In succeeding days the marines began to play the game in the village, and after several weeks their obvious enjoyment in competing had impressed the villagers. Subsequently they were invited into village homes and were called on to supervise the fishing and hog-raising efforts of the local peasants. Lederer says the Phong Bac experiment became the pattern for Marine village programs and that, in his opinion, these are "the only successful American projects of any kind whatsoever in Vietnam."
THEY SAID IT
•Ara Parseghian, Notre Dame football coach, when asked by a golfer what his handicap is: "I'm half Armenian."
•Captain John Ridgway, who plans to sail the Atlantic alone this summer: "It may mean the end of me, but I think if you are going to die it will happen in any event, whether you are crossing the Atlantic or driving your car."