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By United Press International  |  March 6, 2006 at 6:30 AM
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Fat map being created in Britain

LONDON, March 6 (UPI) -- Family physicians in Britain are constructing what some are calling a "fat map" to pinpoint towns and streets with higher proportions of fat people.

Doctors are to be paid around $1,750 per practice to help to draw up the country's map of patients ages 16 and over who are obese, the Sunday Telegraph reported.

The data would be used to "help better plan local services for patients," the Health Department said.

About 25 percent of the British population is considered obese.

"There are concerns about a two-tier National Health Service with rationing for the obese, and this information must not be used to promote that in any way," said Michael Summers, the chairman of the Patients' Association. "Doctors must remember their Hippocratic oath, whether patients are fat or thin."

Purdue team wins Rube Goldberg prize

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind., March 6 (UPI) -- The Purdue University Society of Professional Engineers took first place at the 23rd Purdue Regional Rube Goldberg Machine Contest.

The organization employed 215 steps to shred five sheets of paper in the annual contest that puts a premium on inefficiency, complexity and creativity. It is named after the legendary cartoonist of fanciful contraptions whose name became synonymous with schemes far too involved for their end products.

The Purdue team not only took first place for a second consecutive year -- it also won the People's Choice award in Saturday's competition on the Purdue campus in West Lafayette, Ind.

The team set a record last year by using 125 steps in a Rube Goldberg machine to put batteries in a flashlight and turn it on.

"In one part of our machine we used 100 steps just to play the Purdue fight song because we basically created a fully working mechanical player piano," said Shawn Jordan, captain of the winning team and a computer and electrical engineering graduate student from Fort Wayne, Ind. "To win the competition is great, but it means so much also to win the People's Choice award because that means we entertained people, too."

Some British police prefer New Zealand

WELLINGTON, New Zealand, March 6 (UPI) -- Some 100 police officers from Britain have taken jobs in New Zealand, but more than 1,000 had applied for the jobs -- 10 for every job opening.

"A lot of people come for the lifestyle. There are parts of (Britain) where you might go out for a drink with your wife on a Saturday night and think, 'I'm not too comfortable here,'" said Police Sgt. Mick Woods. "I have not experienced that in New Zealand. There isn't anywhere I don't feel safe."

New Zealand and Australia have been collecting the names of thousands of British police officers who have expressed an interest in moving. When New Zealand needed to hire more officers it e-mailed 2,700 officers in Britain, the Sunday Telegraph reported.

"It was getting to the stage in (Britain) when you were sent to an incident and the chances were that you'd find some raging idiot," said Woods. "You don't find that here. Society as a whole is not as violent, it's a little bit gentler. Even the people I arrest are more compliant."

New home needed for Dallas elephants

DALLAS, March 6 (UPI) -- The Dallas Zoo is under pressure to build a bigger, more attractive home for its two elephants, Jenny and Keke.

The pair's current two-bedroom, 5,000 square foot home with a pool, which was built in 1959, is small and barren by today's standards. The zoo will have to make changes if it wants to retain accreditation by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, the Dallas Morning News reported.

New rules take effect this year governing everything from yard, stall and herd sizes to exercise regimens. The rules are forcing zoos across the nation to decide whether to expand or close their elephant exhibits.

"Keke may be the last elephant the Dallas Zoo receives unless we move ahead as a community ... to build a new elephant habitat," said Chuck Siegel, the zoo's deputy director for animal management.

Some animal activists say the new guidelines aren't enough and that it is cruel to keep any elephant in captivity, the newspaper said.

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