In the news
Leeds food scientists who came up with a mathematical formula for the perfect bacon buttie made headlines around the world, including the New York Times, Australia’s Daily Telegraph, Radio New Zealand, Chinaview.cn, DailyIndia.com, the Toronto Star, and the Scottish Farmer. They tested 700 variations of bacon butties using different cooking techniques, temperatures and times. Dr Graham Clayton said: “We often think it’s the taste and smell of bacon that consumers find most attractive. But our research proves that texture and sound is just, if not more, important.” The research was commissioned by Danish Bacon.
Food scientist Dr Graham Clayton investigates the perfect bacon buttie.
The ratio of students to each academic at the University of Leeds is 14.3, below the UK national average of 16.8, according to Higher Education Statistics Agency data reported in the Times Higher Education Supplement.
The free fruit and vegetables policy for school children is under review after experts from the University of Leeds and the National Foundation for Educational Research found the initiative had failed to significantly increase the portions of healthy food that pupils ate, reported the Sunday Telegraph.
London Lite reported on CCTV software developed at Leeds that can detect when someone is preparing to steal a car just from their behaviour. Professor of artificial intelligence David Hogg said that as creatures of habit, our human body language is such that computers can predict behaviour to some degree.
Professor Juliet Lodge from the Institute of Communications Studies gave evidence on the new role of Europol, the EU’s fledgling police agency, at a public hearing of the European Parliament on 10 April, reported Spero News and ISN. Professor Lodge warned the hearing that “there is no way to separate data collected for counter-terrorism purposes from data that citizens will have to provide to private companies for other reasons.”
It’s time for businesses to venture beyond central and eastern Europe to the former Soviet central Asian republics, politics lecturer Michael Denison told the Financial Times. He said the region of Kazakhstan “has the backing of huge national reserves in metals as well as oil and gas, and it also has quite sophisticated banking and pensions systems.”
Professor Rory McTurk’s inaugural lecture on King Alfred and whether he actually did burn the cakes received fresh attention in the Independent, Radio Four and the Western Daily Press following the release of the Iranian detainees. Professor McTurk’s explanation of how the legend was used as propaganda by both Alfred’s supporters and his Viking enemies was compared to the two versions of the servicemen’s captivity told by the British and Iranian sides.
Simon Warner, a senior teaching fellow in popular music at Leeds, spoke to the Guardian about the divide between pop songs and terrace chants, and what made The Fratellis’ Chelsea Dagger such a popular football song. Warner suggests that most football chants come from a working-class brass band tradition, for example Elgar’s Land of Hope and Glory. The British generally find public singing embarrassing, he says, “but if you release a few thousand young men on to the terraces of Leeds or Manchester, they suddenly find their voice. It’s quite an interesting psychological hurdle.”
Eating small amounts of red meat every day significantly increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer, according to Leeds research reported in the Daily Telegraph, the Evening Standard, the Daily Mail, and the Sunday Times. A team led by Professor Janet Cade studied the diets of 35,000 women aged between 35 and 69 over eight years. They found the risk of breast cancer was more pronounced on post-menopausal women, but young women also had a raised risk.
Professor Surya Subedi, from the School of Law, was interviewed on BBC World TV about recent political developments in Nepal, where the former Maoist rebels have joined the new mainstream government, raising hopes of a peaceful future in this troubled region.
The average small-to-medium enterprise writes off £14,000 in bad debt each year, reported Better Business. The shocking finding was made by the credit management research centre at Leeds University Business School, as part of research which also found that late payments are an issue for a third of all businesses.
Climate expert Dr Alan Haywood spoke to BBC Radio 4 about his research into the El Niño weather pattern two to five million years ago, and how it might change in the future due to global warming. El Niño is a recurring climate swing over the Pacific and Indian Oceans that brings drought to Australia, forest fires to Indonesia, and floods to Peru and the USA.
Plastics reinforced with carbon or glass are difficult to recycle because their composite materials often cannot be separated. The Independent reported that Curv, a special plastic developed at Leeds that features in Samsonite suitcases and Nike shinpads, is reinforced by stretching fibres of its own polymer, which makes the product easy to melt down and reuse.