From today's UK papers

February 28, 2002

British experts set to lead medical science revolution
Britain's official watchdog on embryo research - the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority - is expected to give the go-ahead today for two teams of scientists to treat incurable diseases using stem cells derived from test-tube human embryos. They will become the first scientists in the world to receive a government's endorsement for pursuing experiments that could lead to a revolution in medical science, as well as producing the first cloned human embryos. (Independent, Times, Financial Times, Daily Telegraph)

Millions in grants for embryo stem cell research
Millions of pounds of funding for research on stem cells from human embryos is expected to be announced in the next few months. At least four universities are gearing up to consolidate Britain's reputation as the world capital of stem cell and cloning research. (Guardian)

Private schools accused of spoonfeeding
Fee-paying private school pupils are often "spoonfed" lessons to help them pass exams, but lack creativity, according to a report by the Independent Schools Inspectorate. (Financial Times, Independent, Times)

Urgent need to save digital heritage
The digital age may only just have dawned, but last night a group of eminent institutions issued a warning that large swaths of the nation's digital heritage risk being lost for ever without urgent action to preserve them. The average website or email would hardly qualify to be described as cultural artefacts. But electronic information and communications are now so vital to every aspect of daily life that future generations could find an enormous "black hole in Britain's collective memory" if important digital material is allowed to disappear, according to the Digital Preservation Coalition. (Guardian)

US firm developing under-the-skin microchip
A company in Florida has asked for approval for an identity chip that would be inserted beneath the skin, saying that interest in the technology has soared since the terrorist attacks of September 11. The VeriChip would be the size of a grain of rice and would be injected into the carrier. It could carry a variety of information, including a medical history, which would be read by a hand-held scanner. (Independent)

At last, the secret behind Mr Grumpy
Grumpy men could soon start getting the kind of knowing glances that women of a certain age have long been used to. It is all in their hormones, according to Gerald Lincoln of the Medical Research Council's Human Reproductive Sciences Unit in Edinburgh. When levels of the male sex hormone testosterone begin to drop, irritation begins. The scientist first identified the syndrome in Soay sheep. (Times, Daily Telegraph)

T-rex's sprint proves a non-runner
Bad news for the makers of Jurassic Park IV - the top speed of the terrifying Tyrannosaurus rex today falls by up to a quarter of the estimates made previously by scientists. University of California analysis suggests the dinosaur would have needed absurdly large leg muscles to break into a sprint and could achieve only 11mph. Olympic sprinters can reach 25mph in short bursts. (Daily Telegraph)

Bat skill echoed by aid for the blind
The ability of bats to navigate in the dark using echo location is the inspiration for a high-tech white cane for blind people being developed at Leeds University. (Times)


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