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The opening round of the annual Beanpot Tournament, Monday, February 2, 5 p.m., at the FleetCenter

Week of 30 January 2004· Vol. VII, No. 18

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NBC Nightly News: Tanners have better bone density

“I believe that Americans have gone overboard with their fear of the sun,” says Michael Holick, a MED professor of medicine and a specialist on vitamin D, in a January 19 NBC Nightly News report on the benefits of sun exposure. “And I think that sensible exposure to sunlight is really important for your overall health and well-being.” We need 1,000 units a day of vitamin D, which is essential for bone strength and other health needs, and our skin makes it from the ultraviolet rays of the sun. Holick has been working on experiments that show that in the middle of winter, even on a sunny day, in a city such as Boston there's not enough sunlight for people to get sufficient quantities of vitamin D. He has studied the bone density of young people who use tanning machines, and he says, “Tanners had higher bone density, on average, than nontanners.”

Talk of the Nation: State of the Union less message, more politics

In an interview about the president's annual State of the Union speech on National Public Radio's Talk of the Nation on January 21, Robert Dallek, a CAS professor of history and author of numerous books about the U.S. presidency, notes the differences in recent State of the Union messages from those of the past. “What I find so striking as a historian is how different this address and the other recent State of the Union messages are from what we used to have in the 19th and even early years of the 20th century. They were called messages because they were not speeches or addresses. They were sent over to the Congress by the White House in written form. And it was only with Woodrow Wilson in 1913 that they began to be oral presentations by the president in person before a joint session of Congress. . . . they used to be terribly matter-of-fact. They would recount the number of railroads and railroad tracks that were being laid and what revenues were being compiled and the amount of taxation. . . . But nowadays what they've become is a kind of political soapbox address, an attempt to justify the presidency of the individual holding the office, and particularly in an election year, justifying the policies of that president and speaking to the future about how he will make the country safer and more prosperous. And that's what Mr. Bush was trying to do last night, in my judgment. It was very much an election-year stump speech rather than strictly a description of the state of the union.”

Morning Call: Knock-and-announce guidelines at issue in Pennsylvania trial

For the most part, police officers serving a search warrant must obey the knock-and-announce rule, in which they knock on the door to a residence, announce their presence, and then wait a reasonable amount of time to give occupants a chance to respond peacefully. But “no-knock” searches are allowed if officers believe occupants could pose a danger to them or may quickly dispose of evidence such as drugs. Most recent rulings by the Supreme Court in knock-and-announce situations have favored the police, reports the January 26 Morning Call (Lehigh Valley, Pa.). But the judge in the civil rights violation and wrongful death of John Hirko, Jr., trial in Bethlehem, Pa., will explain to jurors the laws they have to follow when they decide whether police acted illegally -- if it was an unreasonable search -- in a no-knock storming in 1997 of Hirko's residence. Hirko was shot 11 times and died. “I think the public should be concerned,” says Tracey Maclin, a LAW professor of law instruction in the J.D. program and an expert in constitutional law. “It's too late when the police come crashing through your door at midnight and you're in bed.” People believe that it is necessary to strengthen the fight against crime, he adds, but don't realize that it could affect their own rights. “People tend to view the police as their protectors and the Fourth Amendment as something that protects the criminals.”

Newsweek: Love at the Super Bowl

The February 2 issue of Newsweek reports that advertising during the third quarter of the Super Bowl on Sunday, February 1, will promote a new impotence product that is taking on such giants as Viagra and Levitra. Drug giant Eli Lilly and the ICOS biotech firm are spending $100 million to launch Cialis, which works for up to 36 hours. The French call it “Le weekender,” and there is currently so much buzz about the product that men are asking for it without knowing its name. “People are walking in here and saying, ‘I want the weekend pill,'” says Irwin Goldstein, a MED professor and director of BU's Center for Sexual Medicine.

29 January 2004
Boston University
Office of University Relations