The THES Diary

December 25, 1998

Wealthy and wise

Dame Barbara Cartland was only too happy to oblige when the Royal Society of Arts invited her, along with other prominent figures, to comment on what "wealth" means to her for an article arguing that global stability is threatened by 20th-century definitions of the word.

Clearly not someone who has had to rummage bins for the odd half-eaten sandwich, she gushed: "Wealth to me is the true love between a man and woman, which is a gift from God and a part of God and is there for all eternity."

Ding dong merrily online

Churches in Milton Keynes are delivering messages from on high in an original way. The Open University is using two steeples to relay internet data for local schools. Staff at the university's knowledge media institute are connecting the schools via radio links rather than telephone lines. Using the steeples is cheaper than erecting special relay stations.

Organically grown

History pervades Oxford's Sheldonian Theatre, which has witnessed many of the great and good collecting their degrees, arguing a point at congregation, or orating in Latin. But sometimes a spot of modern technical wizardry is needed. A team from Bradford University has been brought in to introduce the latest generation of electronic music to the theatre's organ. Known as the Bradford enhanced synthesis technology, it will reproduce the sounds of four different styles of organ, including French romantic and English cathedral.

Worcester source

A Christmas card lands on the desk from David Dilks, vice-chancellor of the University of Hull. Depicted is a distant view of dreaming spires, a theme firmly linked to higher education, if not to Hull. As it turns out, the scene, by Henry Charles Brewer, is of Worcester. Nevertheless, it so inspired Professor Dilks that he bought the painting and sent it to Worcester Cathedral to ask if they wanted to make prints. Proceeds from sale of the cards go to Worcester Cathedral shop.

Olive branch?

And while we are on the subject of Christmas cards should we read anything into this year's missive from the Universities and Colleges Employers Association? A medley of bold and contrasting colours, it depicts a dove of peace.

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