Watercooler Stories

By United Press International  |  Oct. 15, 2004 at 6:30 AM
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British 'asexual' movement growing

LONDON, Oct. 14 (UPI) -- British scientists have come to the startling conclusion that a sizable minority of people have absolutely no interest in sex.

Experts say a group known as "asexuals" is starting to emerge -- people who say they have never felt any physical attraction to anyone, the London Daily Mail said Thursday.

Early studies suggest that far from being just a handful of loners, the number of asexuals may be almost as large as the gay community.

Web sites dedicated to "A-pride" have sprung up and some predict that in 10 years their group will be as prominent in society as the gay movement.

Study shows beer to be America's choice

BERKELEY, Calif., Oct. 14 (UPI) -- Beer is the favorite alcoholic drink among Americans, with more reported consumed and with heavier alcohol content than believed.

Those are findings in a new report, published in the October issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

"Alcohol consumption in the U.S. comes from three main beverage types, beer, wine and spirits." said William C. Kerr, associate scientist with the Alcohol Research Group at the Public Health Institute and first author of the study. "Beer is the largest source of alcohol consumption, though the share of each beverage type varies by state and changes over time."

Kerr and his colleagues found the national mean alcohol content of beer was higher than the 4.5 percent figure typically used in aggregate-level research, ranging from 4.58 percent in 1993 to 4.75 percent in 1996.

Digital TV deadline may extend to 2009

WASHINGTON, Oct. 14 (UPI) -- The U.S. government wants to extend the deadline for ending analog transmission of TV broadcasts to give consumers more time to buy digital TVs.

The Federal Communications Commission and lawmakers are searching for a way to revise the legal deadline of 2006 to 2009 to transition the switch from analog to digital signals, Detroit Free Press reported Thursday.

"Having a deadline of 2009 will add millions more digital sets to the marketplace before analog signals are turned off," FCC Chairman Michael Powell told the Senate Commerce Committee in September.

The current law says moving to digital sets should come once 85 percent of American households own TVs that get digital signals. The current figure reportedly is 10 percent.

Digital broadcasting will allow homes without cable to view high definition programming as well as use the airwaves more efficiently, the Free Press said.

Digital television sets currently start at $500. A digital convertor for an old set can be purchased for $120.

Harvard scientists want to clone embryos

BOSTON, Oct. 14 (UPI) -- Harvard University scientists have asked the school for permission to clone human embryos to create stem cells for medical research.

If approved, they would be the first researchers at a U.S. university to attempt the procedure, USA Today said Thursday.

Dr. Doug Nelton, a molecular embryologist, and his colleagues at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute said they hope to create stem cells for use in studying juvenile diabetes and diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

Another group at the Harvard-affiliated Children's Hospital, working on blood diseases such as leukemia, also plans to attempt the creation of stem cell lines from cloned human embryos but has not yet applied for permission.

A U.S.-based company, Advanced Cell Technology, announced it had created the first cloned human embryo in late 2001, but the effort was seen as only partially successful.

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