Today's news

August 27, 2002

Cambridge faces £20m yearly deficit
Cambridge University is facing an expected annual deficit of £20 million within three years but has failed to bring in controls and planning of its budget, its own watchdog has warned. The Board of Scrutiny has demanded a “root and branch” review of funding and urges a debate over a new building programme. (Guardian)

Tories plan to go for education gold
A levels may be replaced by the International Baccalaureate, or English version of it, under plans being considered by the Conservatives to revive confidence in the examination system. (Times, Guardian, Daily Mail)

Israel on a tragic path
Britain’s chief rabbi Professor Jonathan Sacks today delivers an unprecedentedly strong warning to Israel, arguing that the country is adopting a stance “incompatible” with the deepest ideals of Judaism and that the current conflict with the Palestinians is “corrupting” Israeli culture. (Guardian)

Ready, willing and able?
Despite new legislation, some universities may still have to be forced to improve their facilities for disabled students. (Guardian education)

How the metre fell martyr to short measure
In a revelation to put a spring in the step of metric martyrs everywhere, it has emerged that the metre – which is supposed to be one 10 millionth of the distance from the pole to the equator – is in fact too short. Science writer Ken Alder claims in a book that the two 18th-century French astronomers given the task of working out the length of the measure made a minute error. (Guardian)

Australia downloads porn for posterity
The Australian national library in Canberra is to download the contents of pornographic websites as part of its electronic collection, to give a “representative picture of Australian erotica on the internet”. (Guardian)

NUS lectures on liquor
The National Union of Students wants to stop excessive drinking but students should get on with it while they have the chance, says Zoe Williams. (Guardian comment)

Pioneer of endocrinology dies
Mary Pickford, a pioneer of endocrinology who was the first woman to be elected to the Pharmacological Society and the first to be appointed to a professorship in the faculty of medicine at the Edinburgh University, has died on her 100th birthday. (Guardian)

How to pay your way as a postgraduate
Postgraduates are given a few tips on survival through their studies. (Guardian education)

The money for postgraduate study is out there
If they got funded so can you – advice on how to get hold of funding for postgraduate study. (Guardian education)

Pioneers of education at home toast their 25-year revolution
Education Otherwise, the charity that helps parents to educate their children at home, celebrates its 25th anniversary this week. An estimated 50,000 children now learn out of school. (Independent)

End seas of poverty, says Mbeki
The time has come to overturn a world order based on the “savage principle of the survival of the fittest”, Thabo Mbeki, the South African president, said at the opening of the world summit on sustainable development in Johannesburg. (Independent and all papers)

Cell therapy may aid stroke victims
Human cell transplants could help to repair the damage caused by a stroke, according to a study published in the journal Neurology yesterday. (Telegraph, Daily Mail)

Geckos inspire ultimate super glue
The gecko’s climbing ability has inspired engineers to make a new dry adhesive which works under water and in outer space. A team working at Lewis and Clark College at the University of California and Stanford University found that the reptiles climbing ability depends on weak molecular attractive forces called van der Waals bonds. (Telegraph, Daily Mail)

Tiny robot seeks answer to pyramid mystery
A mysterious passage in the Great Pyramid at Giza will be explored by a robot next month in an attempt to unravel one of the final secrets of the last remaining wonders of the ancient world. (Times)

Experiment shows microbes may have life on Mars
Microbes may be able to survive on Mars, according to an experiment in which conditions on the red planet were simulated on Earth. The research was led by Professor Timothy Kral at the University of Arkansas in the US. (Telegraph)

Green tea rub could prevent skin cancer
Treating skin with caffeine has been shown to prevent skin cancer in laboratory studies, it is reported today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences . (Telegraph)

Teenager sees meteorite fall to Earth
A North Yorkshire teenager was standing outside her home when a odd-looking curiously hot stone landed at her feet. Dr Benny Peiser, an expert on earth impacts at Liverpool John Moores University, has said the stone could be a “thing from outer space”. (Mail, Mirror)


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