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Issue 473, 19 November 2001

In the news

Music’s Simon Warner was interviewed extensively in the first programme of John Peel’s BBC Radio 2 series, The True Story of British Pop. "We’re looking at the way British groups and artists have contributed to the development of 20th century popular music, especially as the story tends to be told from an American point of view," said Weaver. "Until the Beatles arrived in the States in 1964, the UK was a poor relation in pop matters, but their impact on the other side of the Atlantic changed the emphasis of the history." The weekly series continues until December 4.

Psychologist Colin Gill appeared on national and regional television and newspapers to describe his research into why men go to the pub. Talking to BBC Look North, he explained that it ‘allows men to bond with their peers – to relax, to talk to their friends.’ On Calendar, he said: " Men would still nip down the local even if it didn’t sell beer, it’s not the primary reason men go to the bar. 10% or less go for the drinks, and taste, not alcohol content, is the key factor." In an interview with Channel 5 News, he highlighted the benefits to men of pub socialising: "Because it’s so friendly they can deal with [stress] through humour and share experiences. It’s good for their mental health." The Scotsman, however, was sceptical about the new findings: "If alcohol, in all its beguiling treachery, were not a vital component of the pub environment, we would see football crowds nipping off to the milk bar before a game."

Mike Hoyland from chemistry joined BBC Tomorrow’s World to demonstrate new decontaminating foam for dealing with chemical or biological hazards. The non-toxic formula has been used in recent incidents in the US. Working on location, Hoyland illustrated the effect of the formula on a chemical hazard. More of his memorable and exciting experiments can be viewed at www.chem.leeds.ac.uk/delights

Professor Chris Thomas’ survey, indicating a decline in many species of British butterfly, were published in Nature and gained national press coverage. Interviewed by the Guardian, Professor Thomas noted that the marsh fritillary ‘is in steep decline despite the fact that, in principle, the climate should be making things better for it.’ In the Daily Telegraph, he said: "The results are surprising because climate warming is expected to increase the range of habitats these species can inhabit."

As covered in Reporter 472, new maths tests have been developed by the school of education to encourage gifted children. They received extensive coverage in the national press including the Financial Times, Guardian, Times, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, Daily Mirror and the Express. The FT reported that the first tests will be taken by nine and 13-year-olds in the UK, USA, New Zealand, Australia and Hong Kong. New tests for sixth-formers, advanced extension awards, are also to be piloted.


 
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