Today's news

August 29, 2002

Stem cells grown for first time
Researchers at King’s College London claimed last night to have made stem cells from human embryos in the laboratory, the first group of scientists in the country to do so. (Guardian, Financial Times)

Professor arrested after body parts found
A University of Florida professor has been arrested after police found preserved heads, brains, arms and other body parts at his house. Joseph James Warner, 49, a neurologist, has been charged with illegal storage and preservation of human remains, and domestic battery. He told officers he did research at his home. (Independent)

Pioneer research makes men walk again
Two men, both partly paralysed by strokes, can now walk thanks to computer implants able to take over from the damaged nerves. Scientists at Hokkaido University in Japan placed sensors over muscles on each patient’s healthy leg and matched them on the paralysed leg. (Guardian)

Medical student dies on safari
A medical student who went to work for two months in Africa has died from severe dehydration after falling ill while on safari in a Namibian game reserve. Catherine Bullen, 22, died at a remote village despite the efforts of her friend and fellow student at Bristol University, Stephanie Chalmers, who performed an emergency tracheotomy to try to save her. (Telegraph, Times, Mail)

Earth ages 30 million years after recount
The Earth is even older than previously thought, according to a study that pushes back the date of creation 30 million years. (Telegraph)

More black inmates than students
More black men in America are in jail than in higher education, says a new study by a Washington DC thinktank. (Guardian)

Maths crisis in university admissions
University entrants for maths have dropped this year after a slump in interest at A level, but media studies continues to rise in popularity, figures show. (Guardian)

Intensive farming blamed for killing sparrows
The severe decline of the house sparrow in towns and cities has spread to the countryside, Oxford University researchers have shown in a study that found intensive farming was killing the rural populations. (Independent, Telegraph, Times)

One cigarette can cause addiction in teenagers
Teenagers can become addicted to nicotine after smoking one cigarette, researchers have discovered. The lead author of the research, published in the British Medical Journal, is Joseph DiFranza, from the University of Massachusetts. (Independent, Telegraph, Times, Guardian, Mail, Mirror)

Wine’s taste can be in the glass
The wine snobs are right: the shape of the glass does make a difference to how wine tastes. The reason is that some wine glasses allow more of the subtle chemical reactions with air because a greater surface is exposed to it, according to a study by food science student Kari Russell at the University of Tennessee. (Independent, Times, Guardian)

Government to miss education targets
The government will fall short of its targets for raising the standards in maths and English, a survey by The Independent has discovered. (Independent)

World needs an airbag
A giant airbag several miles wide would be the best way to divert the hundreds of pieces of cosmic debris that threaten lives on our planet, according to Hermann Burchard, professor of mathematics at Oklahoma State University in the US. (Independent)

Gene clue to mental decline in old age
People are more likely to suffer mental decline in old age if they carry a version of a gene that is a known risk factor in senile dementia, according to a study by scientists at Edinburgh University. (Independent)

You need more than good As for Oxford
Mary Dejevsky examines why deaf student Anastasia Fedotova and others have failed to make the grade at Oxford University. (Independent comment)

Discontent of the dons
Why are academics so underpaid and undervalued in Britain? And how can they gain the respect that they feel they deserve? (Independent, education section)

Fall guys of the new inspections
Principals have been major casualties of a new approach in further education. (Independent education section)

The enterprising academics
Universities are increasingly spinning the fruits of their research into commercial assets. (Times education, T2)




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Recent controversy over the future directions of both Stanford and Melbourne university presses have raised questions about the role of in-house publishing arms in a world of commercialisation, impact agendas, alternative facts – and ever-diminishing monograph sales. Anna McKie reports

3 October