Today's news

July 31, 2003

A levels should stay, says teaching union
Ministers should keep faith with A levels rather than pursue plans for a radical shake-up of the sixth-form curriculum, the Professional Association of Teachers said yesterday. At its annual conference in Harrogate the union called on the government to shelve, at least temporarily, the proposal announced earlier this month by its adviser, Mike Tomlinson, for a four-part diploma for students aged 14 to 19 in England.
(Guardian, Daily Mail)

Beetle outjumps flea to world record
A bug that can leap the equivalent of a skyscraper has beaten the flea to become the insect world high jump champion. The froghopper, a ladybird-sized green bug commonly found in gardens, can jump more than 2 ft (0.6m), scientists announced yesterday. Malcolm Burrows, head of zoology at Cambridge University, reveals in the journal Nature, that the froghopper's back legs can accelerate the bug at 13,000 feet per second and to a height of inches (68cm).
(Daily Telegraph, Independent, Daily Mail)

Sun could replace lasers to kill tumours
Using little more than a parabolic mirror, a length of fibre-optic cable and a steady pair of hands, scientists at Israel's Ben-Gurion University have for the first time harnessed the sun's energy to kill cancer cells. They estimate that the equipment needed for performing surgery by sunlight would be hundreds of times cheaper than a comparable laser device for cancer treatment - a great benefit for developing countries where money is in short supply but sunshine is plentiful.

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