Today's news

August 30, 2002

Lack of cash puts gene banks in jeopardy
The world’s ability to feed itself as the human population expands is in jeopardy because the gene banks where seed and plant varieties of food crops are stored are underfunded, scientists have warned. Jeff Wage, head of the department of agricultural sciences at Imperial College, London, who runs the world’s gene bank for many fruits, said: “Many critical gene bank collections are in a precarious state. If these collections are allowed to fail, then we will lose the valuable crop diversity they contain forever.” (Guardian)

Students aim for FA cup glory
A team from Bath University has won selection as the first student side to compete in the FA cup since Oxford beat the Royal Engineers in 1874. (Times)

Belles of St Hilda’s reveal all
For the first time, a camera crew has been allowed behind the scenes at the last defiantly single-sex college at Oxford. And after three years' filming, the result is a television series with plots that befit a Hollywood screenplay. (Telegraph)

Babies' mouths mirror brainwaves
US researchers have solved the mystery of babies’ babble. They have found a link between the burbling sounds and the language processing centres of the brain. “This suggests that language functions specialise in the brain at a very early age,” said Laura Ann Pentitto, of Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. (Guardian, Times, Telegraph, Mail)

Weather satellite could alter our lives
The launch of a European weather satellite on Wednesday night will for the first time enable scientists to measure how much energy the earth and the oceans receive, and how much they radiate back into space. Understanding this energy balance will add to the debate on global warming. (Independent)

Americans struck first fatal blow at Pearl Harbor
Debate about who drew first blood at Pearl Harbor has finally been resolved with the discovery by University of Hawaii scientists of a Japanese midget submarine off the Hawaiian coast. For decades the US had insisted that one of its warships sunk the submarine an hour before the first waves of Japanese aircraft attacked the US naval base. The submarine was discovered on a routine training dive by the university's submersible research craft. (Telegraph, Times)

Stretching exercises fail to prevent sports injuries
Stretching before and after exercise to try to warm up and prevent injury has little or no effect, according to research conducted by Rob Herbert at the School of Physiotherapy, Sydney University, Australia. (Telegraph, Times, Mail)

Renewable energy policy unrealistic, say engineers
A panel of top British engineers, including academics, has called the government’s energy policy “hopelessly unrealistic” for expecting far too much from wind and wave power and ignoring a need for nuclear plants. (Times)

Stone Age woman ate like a wolf
The thigh bone of a Stone Age woman who ate almost as much meat as a wolf has been found in a dried-up channel of the Trent. The discovery by Sheffield University archaeologists gives insight into the development of the British diet. (Times)

A rude awakening
Some of antiquity’s most notorious finds are kept in cupboard 55 at the British Museum. Now the door is opened. (Times features section)

Catholic biblical scholar dies
Roland Murphy, one of the leading Catholic Old Testament scholars of the 20th century, has died at the age of 85. (Independent)

    

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