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Week of 19 February 1999

Vol. II, No. 24

In the News

A little wine for thy heart's sake? Maybe. "Because light alcohol consumption markedly reduces a woman's risk of heart disease and stroke, longevity is greater for light drinkers than abstainers," says Dr. R. Curtis Ellison, professor of medicine at the BU School of Medicine, in the New York Times on February 2. Ellison is the senior author of the study, which also suggests that contrary to the results of previous studies, a drink a day may not increase the risk of breast cancer in women.

"Girls are taught not to trust their instincts, and they don't want to make anyone feel uncomfortable, so rather than say, 'What are you doing with your hand?' they just sort of smile and put up with it," says Frances Grossman, CAS psychology professor, in a Boston Herald story on February 4. The story was on the increasing sexual aggressiveness in schools, as evidenced by several recent local incidents. "Girls need to trust their feelings and not worry so much about who they're going to embarrass," Grossman says.

"If the [Olympic] rings devalue in the consumer's mind, then they decline in value to the sponsors and to television," says David D'Alessandro, BU trustee and president of John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company, in the February 11 New York Times. John Hancock has been an Olympic sponsor, and D'Alessandro, who was recently named one of the 100 most powerful people in sports by Sporting News, is critical of the International Olympic Committee's response to recent scandals. "The I.O.C. isn't listening to the national organizing committees or the press, so perhaps they'll listen to the people sending them money," he adds.

In a review of The Undiscovered Chekhov, which appeared in the January 31 Boston Globe, Katherine Tiernan O'Connor, CAS professor of Russian, says, "The stories are their own best advertisement." While looking askance at some "dubious and misleading" assertions by the editor of these previously untranslated stories, Peter Constantine, O'Connor finds in the works "if not a preview, at least a taste of almost everything we have come to associate with the 'mature' Chekhov."

"Imagine a world obsessed with plumbing," muses Thomas Davenport, SMG professor of management information systems, in a special supplement to the February 1 Financial Times. "Only one plumbing-related issue is overlooked in this strange world: the water. Is it clean and fresh? Is water even what consumers want to drink?" Davenport uses this metaphor to describe his conviction that despite the promise of today's burgeoning information networks, useful information does not in fact flow at the turn of a spigot. "The transformation of data into something more useful," he says, "requires considerable human attention and intelligence." At the same time, he adds, "most managers have little understanding of how people relate to information."

Boston magazine's February issue includes Dr. Barbara Gilchrest, professor of dermatology at the BU School of Medicine, among its selection of noteworthy local physicians. "I have people from all over the world calling me every day about our advances," says Gilchrest. "I tell them, 'Hold on, we're working as fast as we can.' " What they're working on is a topical preparation using the skin's natural tanning process to impart a healthy glow and at the same time block harmful solar radiation.

"In the News" is compiled by Alexander Crouch in the Office of Public Relations.