Today's news

August 22, 2002

University places increase by 3.5 per cent
Six days after A-level results were published, 286,481 applicants have been given places at universities and colleges, up 3.5 per cent on the same time last year.
( Financial Times )

Plans to overhaul ‘poorly planned’ doctors’ training

The chief medical officer unveiled long-awaited reforms for the training of medical graduates yesterday, admitting the present system was often poorly planned, badly supervised and fragmented. Sir Liam Donaldson declared that under the proposed reforms, all junior doctors would receive three years of well-structured training in hospitals.
( Independent , Daily Telegraph , Times , Guardian , Financial Times )

Graduates pay the price of higher education
Despite the prospect of higher incomes, there are still alarming debt levels among graduates with the average student owing £10,000 to £15,000 by the time they leave.
( Financial Times )

University bomb suspects rounded up
Israeli security has rounded up members of a Jerusalem-based Hamas bomb cell that was responsible for last month’s attack on the city’s Hebrew University in which four Americans were killed.
( Financial Times , Independent , Daily Mirror )

Ministers to probe vocational exam failures
Ministers are to investigate why more than a quarter of teenagers fail examinations in vocational subjects such as business or information technology when almost everyone is passing academic GCSE courses.
( Financial Times )

Fifth of 100 greatest Britons are scientists
A fifth of the 100 greatest Britons in a BBC poll are from the world of science, engineering and invention, including, Tim Berners Lee, Alexander Fleming and Charles Darwin. Literary figures include Jane Austen and William Shakespeare, but notable absentees include Oscar Wilde and John Keats and no black people were included.
( Daily Mail , Daily Telegraph , Times , Guardian , Daily Mirror , Independent )

Ucas phones hit by power cut
A power failure in Cheltenham shut phone and computer lines for a short while yesterday at Ucas, the universities admissions service.
( Guardian )

Girls play only for higher stakes
Women are less competitive than men because they do not want to waste their time, according to researchers from McGill University in Montreal. The study found that women will compete only when the prize is worth winning, whereas men will compete for the sake of it.
( Daily Telegraph )

Visual aid for disabled computer users
Cambridge scientists have found a new way to write with the eyes. A system called Dasher means that people who cannot use a keyboard could still bat out 25 words a minute. David Ward and David MacKay matched a camera tracking device and the logic of a video game to enable disabled people to use computers comfortably.
( Guardian , Daily Telegraph , Times , Financial Times , Independent )

Dietary fat and heart disease link stronger for women
Women only need to eat an extra 500 grams of saturated fat a week to increase their chances of dying from heart disease by nearly 40 per cent. Researchers from the University of Hertfordshire surveyed 2,700 British men and women between the ages of 40 and 75.
( Guardian , Daily Mail )

Richard III lost crown an hour away from Bosworth
Historian Michael Jones believes that battle where Richard III lost his crown to Henry Tudor at Bosworth field near Leicester, 517 years ago today, actually took place an hour’s march away in Warwickshire. His verdict is based on evidence from a newly recovered French mercenary’s account of the battle and analysis of cavalry tactics.
( Guardian )

Bacteria-busting contact lens developed
Contact lenses that can be safely worn for two months could be available soon, according to scientists at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. The secret to their development is a special coating that kills bacteria.
( Daily Mail , Times , Financial Times )

Face of jealousy
Beware the lover with the lopsided face. People with asymmetrical faces are more likely to be romantically jealous, scientists from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia have found. People who are more symmetrical are not only healthier, more fertile and perhaps even smarter, they are consequently also more attractive, the researchers found.
( New Scientist , Daily Telegraph , Daily Mail , Times , Guardian )

Scientists develop anthrax’s enemy
A chemical made by the anthrax bacterium’s most dangerous natural enemy offers a promising new weapon that can destroy even  drug-resistant strains of the disease, according to research at Rockefeller University in New York.
( Times , Nature )

Birds in decline
Farmland birds such as the linnet and skylark are in serious decline because of the increased use of pesticides killing the insects that they eat, a -year study at Stirling University has found.
( Times )

Crickets have built-in ear protection
Crickets switch their hearing on and off in time with the beat of their chirps to avoid being deafened by their song, scientists at Cambridge University have found.
( Times , Nature , Daily Telegraph , Financial Times )

Plants with gold fever
Scientists in the US have found an unusual way to get their hands on tiny particles of gold – they are using alfalfa plants, The plants act as tiny factories, extracting metals from the medium in which they are growing and storing them in their cells, a team at Stanford University has found.
( Financial Times )

Computer scientist dies
Edsger Dijkstra, computer scientist and winner of the Turing award, has died age 72.
( Independent )   

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