Watercooler Stories

By United Press International  |  Nov. 14, 2005 at 6:30 AM
share with facebook
share with twitter

Teen uses DNA sample to find father

WASHINGTON, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- A 15-year-old boy whose mother used an anonymous sperm donor found his biological father using genetic technology and the Internet.

The boy submitted a DNA sample to a commercial genetic database service designed to help people draw their family tree -- and found a crucial clue that quickly enabled him to track down his long-sought parent, The Washington Post reported.

While welcomed by advocates of children trying to locate anonymous donors, the case has raised alarm among sperm banks and some medical ethicists who are concerned it might start a trend that could violate the privacy of thousands of sperm donors -- and discourage future ones.

The database involved in the sperm donor case was set up by Family Tree DNA of Houston, a private company that has accumulated more than 45,000 DNA samples. For a fee, clients hoping to learn more about their heritage can have their DNA tested to see if it matches anyone in the database.

"We provide services for genealogists. That's what we do," company spokesman Max Blankfeld told the newspaper. "We really didn't have anything like this in mind."

Public transport will drive Miss Daisy

BUFFALO, N.Y., Nov. 14 (UPI) -- As the U.S. population ages, the demand for public transportation will rise, because there are few to drive "Miss Daisy," a professor says.

Daniel B. Hess of the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning is conducting a study of the barriers faced by western New Yorkers over the age of 65 when they try to get around using public transportation.

"By the year 2030, the population of Americans in that age group is expected to double to 70 million people, and a statistical analysis by the National Institutes of Health has found a significant gap between overall life expectancy and driving expectancy," says Hess.

"That means a significant number of adults will live well beyond their ability to drive an automobile, and will need to use public transportation on a nearly daily basis just to perform perfunctory tasks like visiting friends or family, grocery shopping, picking up prescriptions or going to medical appointments."

Knight School changes U.K. town

SPILSBY, England, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- The town of Spilsby, England, has taken a page out of medieval history and formed a Knight School for its youth to teach manners and values.

Police Sgt. Gary Brown created the school after he learned that 9-year-old children vandalized a church and a cemetery of war dead.

Brown formed the Knight School to instill a chivalrous code of courtesy, respect and pride for those age 6 to 8, the Sunday Telegraph reported.

More than 130 children have been "knighted" from the school and Brown has set local community projects to keep the children and teens busy.

Since the Knight School started, the streets are clean, anti-social behavior and crime rates have been halved, Brown said. Children now offer seniors a seat on the bus.

"Instilling a sense of personal pride, of mannerly and compassionate behavior and of respect for oneself and for others in a child, I believe, is the way to becoming happier and more responsible as they enter young adulthood," Brown said.

Fewer league-sanctioned U.S. bowlers

BUFFALO, N.Y., Nov. 14 (UPI) -- At one time Buffalo, N.Y., led the country in bowling allies per capita, but recently many bowling alleys have closed.

In 1950, the Bowling Proprietors Association of Western New York had about 45 members, says executive secretary Whitey Heidenburg.

"In the late 1970s, we still had 45 members," he said. "Now we have 21."

Longer working hours, casinos and the state smoking ban have cost the bowling center patrons, bowling center owners told the Buffalo (N.Y.) News Sunday.

However, one bowling center owner -- Len Pimm, who owns bowling centers in the cities of Tonawanda and Niagara Falls -- is optimistic.

"The people that are left are hard-core bowlers, and I feel good about that," says Pimm.

Mark Miller of the United States Bowling Congress says nationally, league-sanctioned bowlers have gone from a high of 9 million in 1980 to 2.9 million this year.

Related UPI Stories
Topics: Gary Brown
Trending Stories