Today's news

September 13, 2002

Put everyone on DNA database, expert says
A database holding the DNA profile of the entire British population could be the fairest way to help solve crime and yet protect civil liberties, Sir Alec Jeffreys, professor of genetics at Leicester University and discoverer of genetic fingerprinting, told the British Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Leicester. (The Financial Times, The Guardian)

Leave universities alone
The government’s aim of introducing greater market forces into higher education is misguided, argues Roderick Floud, president of Universities UK and vice-chancellor of London Metropolitan University. (The Financial Times)

More homes turn up the heat
Plans to build hundreds of thousands of homes in the Southeast of England will create a micro-climate with warmer temperatures and lots more rain, Christopher Collier, professor of environmental remote sensing at the University of Salford, told the British Association festival of science. (The Daily Mail, The Financial Times, The Times)

Monsoon failure leads to European floods
The failure of the monsoon in India, which is vital for crops, may have led directly to a breakdown in the normally settled summer weather of southern and central Europe, which this year was plagued by floods, Brian Hoskins, a meteorologist from Reading University, told the festival. (The Financial Times, The Independent)

Ancestor was deft but forgetful
A quarry used a million years ago in India has provided a glimpse into the mind of one of man’s earliest ancestors. He appears to have been ingenious and cooperative but absent-minded, creating stone tools with great skill but then leaving them lying on the ground like a pensioner mislaying his spectacles, Mike Petraglia of Cambridge University told the BA festival of science. (The Times)

Scientific adviser backs aid for nuclear power
Nuclear power should be a special case for state subsidies because of its potential to curb global warming, David King, the government’s chief scientific adviser, told the BA festival. (The Times)

Obesity may overtake smoking as top preventable killer
British waistlines are expanding so quickly that three-quarters of the population could suffer the ill-effects of excess weight within ten to 15 years, and obesity could overtake smoking as Britain’s single biggest preventable killer, according to experts at a European summit on obesity in Copenhagen. (The Daily Mail, The Guardian, The Independent)

Bold, bossy women more likely to bear boys
Assertive mothers-to-be have an 80 per cent chance of having son because they have higher levels of testosterone, according to a study by Valerie Grant, a psychologist based at Auckland University, New Zealand. (The Daily Mail)      

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