Latest research news

July 10, 2002

Getting the right grade can be a lottery
The grading of essays is a "lottery" according to new research from North London and Surrey universities. Researchers invited 100 history and psychology lecturers from a broad range of universities to mark sample essays. Only 50 per cent agreed on the classification they should receive.
(Guardian)

No prospect of total cure for Aids
Aids will remain intrinsically incurable unless there is a new approach to designing drugs, according to Robert Siliciano, professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He told the international Aids conference in Barcelona yesterday that the drugs that suppressed the virus to keep people in rich countries alive and well would not clear the last vestiges of HIV from the body as scientists had hoped.
(Times, Guardian)

Britain joins elite stargazers
Distant galaxies and solar systems came within sight of British astronomers yesterday when the UK belatedly joined an elite group of European stargazers. The move to pay £80 million to become the tenth member of the European Southern Observatory gives British scientists access to the best international telescopes and technology, including the Very Large Telescope in northern Chile.
(Times, Daily Telegraph)

Alzheimer drug could lead to memory pill
A drug for Alzheimer's disease could lead to a memory pill. The drug, Aricept, was successfully tested on 18 healthy pilots. Dr Jerome Yesavage, who led the research at Stanford University, California, expressed his concern at the implications of such use in the journal Neurology .
(Times)

Caesar's soldiers gave us fish paste
Archaeologists can now say with confidence what life was like for the Roman legionaries stationed at the end of the empire in Carlisle almost 2,000 years ago – it rained all the time and it stank of fermented fish. The experts dug up evidence of a 1st-century pot of fish paste during the Millennium Dig outside Carlisle Castle.
(Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, Guardian)

Patterns shape ant cemeteries
Ants arrange their dead using the same principles that are thought to produce the markings on animal skin and on tropical sea shells. This is the first clear example of so-called Turing patterns in communities of higher organisms, say researchers from the Université Paul Sabatier in Toulouse, France. Such patterns are named after the mathematician Alan Turing, who also developed some of the fundamental concepts behind computers and came up with a theory of how spots and stripes appear spontaneously in nature while he was trying to explain how a single-celled embryo grows into a patterned organism. (Nature)

Chinese frog sings like a bird
The male Chinese frog Amolops tormotus warbles melodies just like a bird to attract females, according to research by a team from the University of Illinois who were investigating high-pitched birdcalls on the banks of the Tau Hau river in China. It is the first time a frog has been found to use rising and falling modulations - most frog calls go either up or down only. (Nature)


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