Today's news

June 9, 2003

Students expect to leave with top degree
High expectations, fuelled by "grade creep", have led to 86 per cent of undergraduates expecting to leave university with a first-class or upper second degree, according to a survey published today by the Careers Research and Advisory Centre. The educational charity conducted a survey of 1,000 students at 45 universities.
(The Daily Telegraph)

Cambridge college loses clean sheet
Mollycoddled students at one of Cambridge University's wealthiest colleges, St John's, have been told their bed linen will be washed less regularly to cut costs. Faced with "very substantial" losses, college authorities also propose saving more than £500,000 by increasing library fines for overdue books, raising accommodation fees and suspending grants for extracurricular activities.
(Daily Telegraph)

El Niño clue feared lost in Iraq
Ancient clay tablets that may have unlocked the secrets of El Niño, the destructive weather system, are now feared lost or damaged in Iraq. Researchers believe the tablets, written in cuneiform, form the oldest record of climate change. Richard Grove, director of the Centre for World Environmental History at the University of Sussex, fears the tablets are being plundered from Iraqi sites following the war and has called on ministers to act to protect them.

Some men are born to earn more
The key to a man's earning power may lie in the first 12 months of his life, according to University of Southampton researchers. They found that the speed at which male babies grow in the first year could determine their future income. A study of 4,630 men showed that those who were shorter than average at the age of one earned significantly less than others in their peer group.
(Daily Mail)

Atlas prepares to search for 'God particle'
The search for the holy grail of physics took a step forward at the weekend as engineers began to assemble a giant instrument below the Franco-Swiss border in a cavern big enough to house Canterbury Cathedral. The Atlas instrument, which is five storeys high and weighs 7,000 tonnes, will search for the sub-atomic phenomenon called the Higgs boson, nicknamed the "God particle". The discovery of the particle could answer the biggest question in science: why do we, and all other matter in the universe, exist?

Queen Nefertiti found
Archaeologists from the University of York believe they have unearthed the mummy of Queen Nefertiti in Egypt's Valley of the Kings. Nefertiti died 3,300 years ago and was the first woman to wield absolute power in the ancient world.
(Daily Mail)

Naked ape evolved to avoid fleas
Humans became hairless, or "naked apes", to deprive fleas, ticks and other blood-sucking insects of a home, scientists claim. The theory of Walter Bodmer, of Oxford University, and Mark Pagel, of Reading University, challenges the widely accepted view that humans became hairless to keep cool.
(Daily Telegraph)

Oxford historian dies
J. M. Roberts, the former warden of Merton College, Oxford, has died aged 75. He was best known as the presenter of the television series The Triumph of the West and was a leading exponent of works of grand historical synthesis.
(Daily Telegraph)



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