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Thursday, October 28, 2021

Science Scene

UC Berkeley awarded $15 million grant to study population growth

The UC Berkeley School of Public Health has recently been awarded $15 million to study the influence population growth has on the global environment, international conflict and public health.

UC Berkeley will establish the new Center for Population Health and Sustainability, which will be headed by embryologist and reproductive scientist Malcolm Potts.

Population Reference Bureau has estimated that the world’s population doubled in the last 40 years, reaching 6.7 billion last year. The bureau estimates that world population could reach 9.3 billion by 2050.

Potts says such a peak in population could result in extensive hunger, disease, instability and conflict in many parts of the developing world.

UC Berkeley received the grant from the Fred H. Bixby Foundation. Bixby, who attended the university in the 1930s, had great interest in the problems resulting from overpopulation.

(Source: sfgate.com)

Higher taxes lead to less drinking

A new study led by Alexander C. Wagenaar of the University of Florida provides “statistically overwhelming evidence” that when alcohol is taxed, consumption is reduced.

The researchers say that this is true in adults and teens, social drinkers and problem drinkers alike.

Not only are people less likely to consume alcohol when prices are up, but when they do choose to drink, they drink less.

As drinking leads to higher rates of accidents and chronic health problems, Wagenaar said he disagrees with alcohol tax critics who say the fees are unfair to light drinkers.

As drinking goes down, society as a whole will benefit, he says, because the negative outcomes of heavy drinking can be seen in areas such as higher costs of car insurance and health care.

The study will be published in February’s edition of Addiction, and is a review of more than 110 studies of the subject.

(Source: nytimes.com)

SCIENCE SCENE is compiled by ANNA OPALKA who can be reached at features@theaggie.org.

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