Wetenschap - 29 november 2001

English summary

Stealing is once again becoming a major problem for Wageningen UR.

Mostly it is computers and related equipment that is stolen, often in alarming quantities, but purses and personal possessions also disappear regularly. The Alterra building is a frequent target, possibly because it is so big, easily accessible and is home to a large number of departments. The search for solutions presents dilemmas: a university is supposed to be a public institution and therefore also open to the public, but this makes it possible for anyone to just walk in and steal things. Options including issuing security passes, badges for visitors, locking doors and restricting opening hours are being considered.

Students living in SSHW accommodation face a change in the telephone system in the coming weeks.

At the beginning of 2002, the Dutch telephone company KPN will stop the impulses which enabled 'ticks' to be counted during a phone call. This will make it impossible for students with joint telephones to record their use of the phone. Student corridors will be offered an ISDN connection in the coming weeks, which will be more expensive than the current configuration, but the SSHW is worried that it will be faced with picking up the unpaid bills resulting from the lack of a 'tick' system. SSHW has also done a deal with the local Primafoonwinkel, whereby student corridors will be able to buy cheaper ISDN phones which can register calls. The corridors will have until 10 December to opt for this system. In the longer term SSHW wants to go over to using the university computer network for phone calls: the Voiceover IP system.

Environmental Economics Professor Ekko van Ierland argues in the introduction of a recent publication that an alternative to Gross National Product is required that would more accurately reflect the state of welfare in the Netherlands.

He refers to this measurement as 'sustainable national income'. Van Ierland: "GNP as it is currently calculated does not take into account exhaustion or depletion of natural resources. If you do take these into account then the Dutch GNP would be about half of what it is now." The book entitled Economic Growth and Valuation of the Environment is written by economists at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam and Wageningen environmental economist Rob Dellink.

Even though most female pigs are artificially inseminated instead of being decked by the male boar these days the latter has not lost all functions.

PhD research carried out by Pieter Langendijk in the Adaptation Physiology group indicates that sows that have a boar in the pen come on heat more quickly after weaning their piglets and for a longer period of time than those without male company. A sow with a boar for company produces more of the hormone oxytocin, which also encourages the womb to contract which helps the male sperm to reach the womb better.

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