Wetenschap - 1 januari 1970

Genetische modificatie verontrust consument

Genetische modificatie verontrust consument

Genetische modificatie verontrust consument

48 Procent van de Nederlandse consumenten vindt genetische modificatie een van de belangrijkste voedingsthema's. Dat bleek uit een enqu352te van de Consumentenbond, waarvan de resultaten deze week zijn bekendgemaakt. Van de bijna 15.000 deelnemers aan het onderzoek vond 34 procent duidelijke informatie op het etiket belangrijk. Bestrijdingsmiddelen kwam met 31 procent op de derde plaats. Met de uitslag geeft de bond het startsein voor de campagne Zuivere Voeding. W.K

Auto blijft nummer oon



Vorig jaar verplaatste de gemiddelde Nederlander zich 3,6 keer per dag. Het merendeel van deze verplaatsing, zo'n zeventig procent, maakte hij voor privo-doeleinden, zoals winkelen, wandelen of op bezoek gaan. Bij slechts ruim een kwart van de verplaatsingen gaat het om zakelijk of om woon-werkverkeer

Alle Nederlanders legden samen 191,5 miljard kilometers af, ongeveer oon miljard kilometer minder dan in 1997. Er werd vooral minder gefietst en met de auto gereisd, terwijl er meer kilometers met de trein werden afgelegd

De auto blijft met ruim 142 miljard kilometer veruit het meest gebruikte vervoermiddel. Het personenautopark groeide vorig jaar fors tot ruim zes miljoen voertuigen, waarin de Nederlander gemiddeld ruim zestienduizend kilometer aflegde, 440 kilometer minder dan het jaar daarvoor. Slechts ruim zevenduizend kilometer komt voor rekening van zakelijk of van woon-werkverkeer. Op een gemiddelde doordeweekse werkdag gaan vijf miljoen mensen op weg naar hun werk. Drie miljoen van hen doen dat met de auto. Van de 2,6 miljoen personenauto's die hiervoor dagelijks op de weg zijn, worden er 309 duizend gebruikt om te carpoolen

Hoewel Nederlanders meer met de trein reizen, blijft het aantal kilometers dat zij hiermee aflegden, ruim negentien miljard, ver achter bij de auto. De fiets komt op de derde plaats; hierop legde de Nederlandse bevolking vorig jaar 12,6 miljard kilometer af. Dat is ongeveer een miljard kilometer minder dan in 1997, waarschijnlijk als gevolg van het natte weer, meldt het CBS. M.B./H.W

:The ten commandments for freshmen

The new international MSc students are nearly at the end of their second week in Wageningen. There's a lot to get used to for many: not only settling down to study, but getting to grips with Dutch customs and the weather may prove a challenge. Below a set of guidelines to help

1) Don't be shy, ask the locals. The Dutch are quite willing to help you, but they expect you to ask. You may lose a lot of time at the beginning of your study if you don't ask about things that are not clear to you. Bear in mind that you face a period of intensive study and bad weather, so you won't feel great in the first eight months. People in your department and corridor can help you a lot to cope with things, but you have to ask them. If for instance you feel the monthly corridor bill has not been calculated correctly, ask the afdelingsoudste (corridor elder) to explain. The Dutch themselves are quite blunt in their way of communicating and will not feel offended that you doubt their calculation. Being direct will help you more than complaining to other international students

2) Buy an agenda (Dutch for a diary) and stick to your appointments: not only your professional appointments, also your social ones! The Dutch may find it awkward if you visit their home unexpectedly - it's better to make an appointment. If you pass by during dinner time, don't be surprised if you are not offered food. A meal will only be offered when an explicit invitation has been given to eat food together

3) Dutch social life is difficult to get into. People make a distinction between colleagues and friends, and it's difficult to go out with people from the office. Don't be disappointed in the beginning, just keep trying

4) Discover the social rules, especially the ones between men and women. A tip for men coming from Latin countries: Dutch women feel uncomfortable if you touch them while talking, or open the door for them. On the other hand the women may walk half-naked through your corridor and hang their underwear up to dry right outside your room!

5) You have to learn to share space in the corridor. The corridor is a social structure, a cooperative system. Your corridor mates can help a lot, if you know how to share space in your room and kitchen. This may be difficult for international students used to a more individual lifestyle, especially as they are often older than the Dutch students. If you feel you will never fit in, ask SSHW for another room

6) Beware of ignorance. The Dutch won't comment on what you are doing or won't tell you what to do. This may be strange for people who come from a culture in which it is common to act on the approval and disapproval of your environment. It seems that the Dutch don't care, they don't mind about your behaviour, it's your personal life. But you don't want a personal life (which is quite lonely in a strange country), you want a community life. The solution to this item is probably: ask the Dutch for their opinion. When asked, the Dutch will give it, usually in a quite forthright manner

7) Buy fruit and vegetables from the open market on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The best time to go there is after 15:30, just before closing time when prices are reduced

8) Buy a raincoat, especially for the summer

9) Buy a reduction-card if you plan to travel a lot by train. The reduction-card will give you a 40 percent reduction on train tickets

10) Buy a bike. Wageningen is a small town and you will find almost everything you need within biking-distance. The various university buildings are never more than 15 minutes apart. A.S./K.V

:Shocked by Dutch TV

Some of my friends were quite shocked by life in the corridor. Dutch women students dry their underwear right outside their doors and walk around half naked. I myself was not particularly shocked. I lived with quite a lot of sisters in my home country Uganda. What did shock me however was Dutch TV. Some of the channels show very explicit movies. In my country TV is strictly state regulated, says Joseph Muyeti, looking back on his first year in Wageningen

Muyeti is president of the International Student Panel. The ISP is the official representative body of international students in Wageningen and meets regularly with members of the University Executive Board to discuss problems of international students. The majority of complaints ISP receives are about housing. Most of the students live in SSHW student apartments together with Dutch students. Some make very good friends, but others have difficulties finding their place between the often young Dutch students. Muyeti: The Dutch are not very open. And in a corridor with 15 Dutch students and one international, you cannot expect them to speak English all the time. Some international students keep changing rooms. Muyeti himself is very pleased with his accommodation. My situation is exceptional. I live on a corridor with 50 percent international and 50 percent Dutch students.

One of the important lessons for Muyeti was to be direct with Dutch students. Corridor bills for telephone and other common costs are calculated by the corridor-elder (afdelingsoudste in Dutch, ed.). I have heard some people complain that the bill was not calculated right and they think they are paying too much. The best way to deal with that is to be direct and ask about it. Some cultures are quite closed and some students do not dare to question the bill because they feel uncomfortable criticizing. But the Dutch students will not feel offended if you ask. I think I am becoming more and more direct myself. I suspect when I return to Uganda next year I may experience culture shock the other way round, and people will find me blunt. K.V

How can reforestation and changes in land use lead to a decrease in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere?

This was one of the questions posed at an international congress held in Wageningen this week. The congress was organised by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an international group of scientists studying climate change. In 1997 thirty-eight industrialised countries signed the Kyoto Protocol, an agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5 percent compared with 1990 levels, within 11 to 15 years. A team of researchers at IBN-DLO (Institute for Forestry and Nature Research) in Wageningen presented a report on ways of reducing CO2 emissions. One is through land use methods which leave more organic material in the soil. Another, according to the report, is not only to record the planting of trees, but also deforestation rates. Trees require CO2, but grow slowly. When trees are cut down more CO2 is released into the atmosphere. One of the aims of the congress was to agree on definitions of CO2 capture for policy formulation. Research in the Netherlands on climate changes is coordinated by the National Research Programme on Global Air Pollution and Climate Changes, of which the IBN-DLO research is part

Diet drinks often have a chemical and bitter aftertaste according to consumers. This is due to the unpleasant taste of artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and sodium cyclamate, according to Denis Nahon from the WAU Department of Food Technology and Nutrition Sciences. Her PhD research put paid to the volatile substances hypothesis, that sugar in food drives out volatile substances in the form of gases, which are smelt and tasted first upon consumption. Diet products, however, contain such small quantities of sweeteners that volatile substances are hardly released. Nahon's conclusion is that the substances themselves taste bitter. Does this mean we'll just have to get used to them. Not necessarily according to Nahon: You can improve drinks a lot by combining different sweeteners. Even better results are achieved by mixing sweeteners with real sugars like fructose. The ideal proportion of sweeteners and sugars depends on the type of drink

Queen Beatrix showed her interest and knowledge of environmental issues in agriculture during a visit to the horticultural test stations in Horst, Limburg this week. Her thorough questioning on research into the use of pesticides and how to decrease mineral leaching resulted in her visit running over time. She was well informed on the new guidelines on nitrates and reduction in pesticide use. She also showed concern about the developments in genetic modification, particularly where human and environmental safety may be affected. She was also interested in the position of researchers vis 340 vis potential conflicts of interest, arising from government and the private sector financing research. Were they prepared to carry out research for industry which may lead to results the government would prefer not to hear about? The answer was yes, if money is available, if the research is legally permitted and if there is no pressure to manipulate results and conclusions. The Queen even expressed concern at the amount of space the strawberry plants had been given, when she was invited to taste the fruit at the end of her visit. Someone was able to reassure her that they needed the room to grow

Wageningen is now the proud owner of a fierljepp jump. This Frisian sport can best be described as a sort of horizontal pole vault in which a canal or ditch at the edge of a field is traversed. In the past the students had to make do with a temporary jump set up each year during the Introductory Week. Now they, and anyone else who wishes to try, can jump to their hearts' content at the edge of the Van Ketwich Verschuur football fields in Wageningen Noordwest. The trick is to ensure that the 9.5 metre long pole stays vertical long enough to climb up it and then drop gently over to the other side. Needless to say there are many wet landings. If you are now totally mystified try looking at the photos on page 3 and the back page for further clarification!

Dutch researchers have found that exposure to pesticides leads to a decrease in male fertility. See the translation on the Wb website

http://www.gcw.nl/wisp'r

Re:ageer