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UCLOpinion

UCLOpinion is the home for opinion and expertise from around the UCL academic community on topical social and political issues. Views expressed are those of the authors, and not of UCL.

Opinion

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Women’s groups save mothers and babies

Gadagadei village, in the state of Odisha, is inhabited by Juangs, one of a number of tribal groups in India that are counted as being particularly vulnerable. It is remote, surrounded by forests, and has poor communication and transport links. With limited access to services, Gadagadei village – and many others like it – has suffered the death of newborns and mothers who might otherwise have been saved, writes Dr Audrey Prost (UCL Institute for Global Health) in The Conversation.
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Published: Jul 2, 2014 11:43:11 AM

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Sunbathing mice? This kind of silly research is harmful

Last week a study from America claimed that mice become addicted to sunlight. My first thought, like many other readers, was: “What’s the scientific merit of that?” Quite apart from the harm ultraviolet light does to mice, the experiment seemed to fall into the same dubious category as exposing animals to cigarette smoke or using them to test cosmetics, says Dr Clare Stanford (UCL Neuroscience, Physiology & Pharmacology) in The Times (£). More...

Published: Jun 26, 2014 9:50:23 AM

Anson Mackay

Botswana’s Okavango Delta: a unique desert that’s wet, and a worthy UNESCO addition

The list of the natural world’s most extraordinary places, UNESCO’s World Heritage List, gained its 1,000th entry this week with the addition of the Okavango Delta in northern Botswana. To be chosen for the UNESCO list a site must be deemed to have “outstanding universal value”. It is fitting that the delta should be such a landmark choice as it is quite simply unique: a wetland located in a desert, a delta that does not flow into the sea. This may sound improbable, but actually it provides an exceptional example of how biological, hydrological, biogeochemical and climatic processes have interacted to give us an ecosystem of outstanding importance and amazing biological diversity, writes Professor Anson Mackay (UCL Geography) in The Conversation. More...

Published: Jun 26, 2014 9:40:38 AM

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Salamanders give clues to how we might regrow human limbs

Humans have some regenerative abilities but compared to creatures like the salamander, which has an amazing ability to regenerate after injury, we’re pretty limited. Not only are salamanders the only adult vertebrates able to regrow full limbs, they’re able to regenerate an impressive repertoire of complex structures including parts of their hearts, eyes, spinal cord and tails, writes Dr Max Yun (UCL Structural & Molecular Biology) in The Conversation. More...

Published: Jun 23, 2014 11:15:27 AM

Noreena Hertz

Europe must face up to the new antisemites

The New York Met this week cancelled its planned global telecast of John Adams's The Death of Klinghoffer, the opera that portrays the hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship by the Palestinian Liberation Front in 1985. While emphasising that the work itself is not antisemitic, the Met's general manager, Peter Gelb, said that he recognised concerns among Jews "at this time of rising antisemitism, particularly in Europe". Regardless of one's view of either the opera or the Met's decision, Gelb is unfortunately spot on about Europe, writes Professor Noreena Hertz (Office of the UCL Vice-Provost, Research) in The Guardian. More...

Published: Jun 23, 2014 10:22:28 AM