All hail Taxi Kennedy

August 13, 1999

Eyes may be on developments in the Liberal Democrats' transport policy following the election of Charles Kennedy as party leader. When Mr Kennedy was president of the Glasgow University students' union in 1980-81, auditors were called in after he and other officials allegedly ran up expenses of more than Pounds 700. Rumour had it that these were related in part to claims for taxi journeys to early-morning lectures. The rumours were never proven and Mr Kennedy remained in post until the end of his term of office. But they earned him the nickname at the time of "taxi Kennedy".

Fitzgerald on the ropes

Kenneth Barker, new vice-chancellor of Thames Valley University, would be well advised to tune in to Radio 4 on Tuesday when his deposed predecessor, Mike Fitzgerald, faces questions from Radio 4's John Humphrys in On the Ropes, a series which interviews high-profile people about difficult periods in their lives. Other interviewees include actor Tony Slattery and fertility guru Lord Robert Winston.

The singing computer

Martin Jenkins, an applied computing student at Dundee University, has developed a computer karaoke project enabling a desktop PC to sing "Flower of Scotland". The project combines speech synthesiser technology and music files from the worldwide web to create a programme in which the computer synthesises music and lyrics to sing along to its own version of the tune. His supervisor Iain Murray said: "A computer singing along to its own music is a moving experience."

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