Much as we should be disgusted by their crimes, locking people up for a century will not make our country a safer place

Development: Boys lack gene to prevent autism

British Association: Predisposition to social problems inherited; orgasms aid fertility; and `phantom limb syndrome'

UNDER THE MICROSCOPE: Close encounters


Woodhead lets fly at `dross'

MUCH OF the pounds 63m of taxpayers' money spent each year on educational research does nothing to improve schools, Chris Woodhead, the Chief Inspector of Schools, says today, writes Judith Judd.

Working Parents: My life as a full-time dad: a fish out of water

Most primary carers are women. So how does a man fit in? By Sarah Jewell

Letter: Empower me

As Far as most employees I meet are concerned, empowerment is a dirty word (Business, 28 December).

UNDER THE MICROSCOPE: A relativist load of old nonsense

I have for some time been appalled by the claims of some sociologists of science about the nature of science. The Strong Programme of the sociology of science insists that science is little more than a social construct, another set of myths, little different from any other beliefs. It was thus with enormous pleasure and relief that this extreme relativist view of science has come under both scrutiny and attack in the science journal Nature.

Revealed at last: Why boys will be boys and girls will be girls

It's the gene that explains feminine intuition. It's the gene that explains why you can persuade a group of adolescent men to attack a machine-gun emplacement. It's the gene that explains why New Men are made, not born.

Identity parade

Sander's work can also be seen at the Museum of Modern Art in Oxford, as part of an exhibition mouthfully entitled "In Visible Light: Photography & Classification in Art, Science and the Everyday". The theme is specimenisation, the dubious ways the camera has been used to provide specimens for various human and natural sciences. An extensive and fascinating archive has been assembled.

Letter: Treason against Welsh speakers

Sir: My four eldest children attend Ysgol Gyfun Bro Myrddin, a bilingual comprehensive school in Carmarthen. As with many other children in the school, their mother tongue is English (their mother comes from Pinner in London). Last year, the school was the top state school in Wales in the Government's GCSE result tables.

Letter: Awkward squad

Sir: At last, an educational policy I can support! ("Plan to raise school cadets", 23 January.) Thirty-five years ago my experience in the school cadets taught me a lot. Social skills - how to subvert orders and avoid detection; leadership skills - how to get your mates to join in the latest scam; a sense of cameraderie - pride in being termed the "sod squad". And as for the weapons training, it's quite a skill to explode field telephones when you're meant to be firing at targets.

LETTERS: Smoke screen

In his impassioned plea for continued government funding of science ("The science of wealth creation", Review, 28 July), Lewis Wolpert claims that only the state would ever support research into the effects of smoking on health. This, he says, is because the tobacco industry would find it against its interests to do so. In fact the story is much more complicated.

Ivory Towers: Lavatories, breasts and the Bank of England lending rate.

A survey published this week reveals that 36 per cent of us now call the lavatory the "loo", while only two per cent say "lav". Husbands clean the loos in only eight per cent of married households, with wives doing the job in 74 per cent and eight per cent sharing. Reading, crosswird- solving and thinking are the most popular extra-curricular activities while on the loo, while five per cent of the population like to use the time sedately making phone calls.

Letter: Causes of crime in the Thirties

From Ms Anne Stott

LETTER: Social works

WHILE I would not wish to dispute your reporter's account of the British Sociological Association conference it would be wrong to allow the impression to go unchallenged that it is representative of British sociology ("Sociology: dark and difficult work", 16 April).

Sociology: dark and difficult work, but someone has to do it

"WE'RE not dead yet," says the sociologist at the bar, with his authenticating pint. "It's only a midlife crisis. We're not as sexy as we were in the Sixties. We're a bit greyer. We've had some catching up to do. But look round you: there's life in us yet."
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