Latest research news

July 23, 2003

Krypton clue to North Korean nuclear progress
Suspicions that North Korea has begun to extract plutonium for making nuclear bombs have been heightened by US claims that it has detected a tell-tale radioactive gas. But speculation that the country may have secretly built a second plutonium plant is being treated with caution by experts. "Recent experience suggests we should reserve judgement until we get proof," says Jon Wolfsthal, a former US weapons inspector in North Korea.
(New Scientist)

GM food risk to humans "very low"
Existing genetically modified crops and foods pose a "very low" risk to human health and are "very unlikely" to rampage through the British countryside, concludes a major UK report. The independent review of over 600 scientific papers was commissioned by the UK government and will help inform its decision on whether to end its three-year moratorium on the commercial growing of GM crops later in 2003.
(New Scientist, Guardian)

Obesity may raise risk of Alzheimer's
Women who are overweight at 70 may be at greater risk of developing Alzheimer's disease later in life. Prevention and control strategies should stress the benefits of a healthy diet and lifestyle, researchers suggest.
(Nature)

Astronomers count the stars
Astronomers in Australia say there are 10 times more stars in the visible universe than all the grains of sand on the world's beaches and deserts. Dr Simon Driver of the Australian National University says the actual total could be much bigger still - in fact, it could be infinite. He believes that many of the stars out there have planets, and some of those probably have life.
(BBC)

Seaside beaches at risk
The traditional seaside holiday, with sandcastles on wide open beaches, could disappear within 100 years if the effects of climate change go unchecked, English Nature warned yesterday.
(Guardian, BBC)

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