Today's news

May 8, 2003

Black Africans in Britain lead way in education
Figures from the 2001 census, published yesterday, show that Black and Asian ethnic groups are better educated and more likely to hold professional jobs than British white people and are also more likely to be in good health. Commentators said the findings, which cover England and Wales, marked a significant milestone in Britain's cultural history. The data also disclose enormous disparities between different minority groups. People from Bangladeshi and Pakistani backgrounds were far more likely than other groups, including British whites, to have neither qualifications nor jobs.
(Times)

Scientists find secret of longer life
A gene that can lengthen an organism’s lifespan has been discovered for the first time in experiments on yeast, promising new insights into human ageing. Research at Harvard Medical School reveals that yeast strains with versions of a gene known as PNC1 live for up to 70 per cent longer than those with a different genetic configuration.
(Times)

Royal Society says GM food is safe to eat
Foods that have been genetically modified pose no greater threat to human health than conventional varieties, Britain’s leading scientific institution said yesterday. There was no scientific evidence that foods made from GM crops were any more dangerous to eat than those that were not, the Royal Society said in its submission to the government's GM science review. GM foods were no different from non-GM produce in terms of nutritional quality and potential for causing allergic reactions, and no credible study had yet found evidence that genetic engineering could harm human health.
(Times)

British Library publishes forgotten voices on CD
The voices of some of the greatest writers and poets have come alive once again on a compact disc published by the British Library. The distant crackling voices of Alfred Tennyson, Rudyard Kipling and P. G. Wodehouse that were recorded up to 113 years ago can be heard in a series of rare broadcasts and commercial recordings. The oldest voice is the barely intelligible recording, converted from a soft wax disc made in 1890, of Tennyson reading his poem the Charge of the Light Brigade two years before his death.
(Times, Guardian, Daily Telegraph)

Flexible e-paper screen unveiled
A computer screen as thin as a piece of paper has been developed by scientists in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The liquid crystal display, designed by an American company, is less than 0.3mm thick, and can be bent without distorting the picture or reducing its contrast. It can be viewed from almost any angle, and the screen can even survive being rolled into a cylinder. It cannot, however, be folded and bent through any angle without destroying it. Details of the development are published today in the journal Nature.
(Times)

How to make university admissions fairer
University of Warwick pro-vice-chancellor Susan Bassnett comments on the admissions process in the wake of the recent boycott of Bristol university by independent school head teachers.
(Independent)

Oxford union ejects president
Marcus Walker, president-elect of the Oxford Union, admitted yesterday that bouncers at the society's nightclub had last month escorted him away in a "tired and emotional" state.
(Guardian)

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