Other News of Interest

June 28, 2006
  • A boy’s birth order could determine his sexuality, according to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle. Canadian researchers found that a boy with older brothers is more likely to be gay. The scientists speculated that “mothers during childbirth may develop antibodies to proteins made by their firstborn son’s Y chromosome, and subsequent pregnancies may stir up those antibodies in an immune reaction that affects the development of a male fetus.”

  • I have to pick up the latest issue of Oprah Magazine. Apparently Harper Lee, the author of To Kill A Mockingbird — one of my all-time favorite books! — wrote a rare and inspirational letter about becoming an avid reader during the Depression in Alabama. The 80-year-old author quit giving interviews and has written nothing of significance in 40 years.

  • This almost sounds like a hoax: As a way to prevent child abuse, the British government is proposing an electronic database to track children from birth. Doctors, schools and childcare workers would be able to input “concerns” on the way parents raise their children.

Dr. Eileen Munro, of the LSE, said that if a child caused concern by failing to make progress towards state targets, detailed information would be gathered. That would include subjective judgments such as “Is the parent providing a positive role model?”, as well as sensitive information such as a parent’s mental health.

“They include consuming five portions of fruit and veg a day, which I am baffled how they will measure,” she said. “The country is moving from ‘parents are free to bring children up as they think best as long as they are not abusive or neglectful’ to a more coercive ‘parents must bring children up to conform to the state’s views of what is best’.”

Scary indeed.