Today's news

October 30, 2003


Middlesex offers cash to top students

Middlesex University is to offer annual bursaries of £1,000 for bright students in an early indication of the marketplace tactics likely to arise if the government's plans for top-up fees succeed. The "achievement scholarships" will be available from next autumn to any UK student enrolling on a full-time undergraduate course who has got three Bs at A-level or the equivalent.
( Guardian )

Children in US hooked on television at two
More than half of American children are hooked on television by the age of two and master the use of a computer not long after learning to walk, according to research by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a private group devoted to promoting health, has found. The report also proved the negative impact of television on children's reading.
( Times )

Universe began with a whistle not a bang
The universe may have begun with a whistle rather than a bang, according to a study of the afterglow of the moment of creation. By analysing radiation left over from 14 billion years ago, John Cramer, from the University of Washington, Seattle, has recreated its "sound" - a noise that resembles the hum of a jet plane flying overhead. He told New Scientist magazine that he was prompted to carry out the research after an 11-year-old wanted to know what the Big Bang sounded like for a school project.
( Daily Telegraph )

Polar bears surviving on thin ice
Polar bears could disappear from the Arctic before the end of the century as the ice melts away, scientists have said. The study, published today in Nature , was conducted by scientists at University College London and the Met Office's Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research. Seymour Laxon, senior lecturer in geophysics at UCL's Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling, said there was serious concern over the long-term survival hopes for polar bears in these habitats. "To put it bluntly, no ice means no bears."
( Times, Daily Telegraph, Independent )

Difficult births linked to fertility problems
Women who have trouble conceiving are more likely to have difficult pregnancies and a higher risk of a premature or low-birthweight baby or a Caesarean birth, according to a Danish study. The study, the largest ever on infertility and birth outcomes, found that it was not only women who had fertility treatment that were at risk but also those who eventually conceived naturally.
( Times )

Brainbox pterosaurs were first high-flyers
The huge flying reptiles that swooped overhead during the age of the dinosaurs were far better flyers than they have been given credit for. A team from Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine used X-ray scans to work out the brain structure of two pterosaurs, suggesting that the flying creatures had a lot of brain processing power to control their complex wings. Their findings are reported in Nature .
( Times )

Other higher education items
Remember us? Now cough up. A look at how UK universities are emulating their US counterparts by turning to former students for cash ( Independent ) · Letters on Oxford's disciplinary action against Andrew Wilkie for his refusal of a PhD candidate on the grounds that he had served in the Israeli army ( Guardian ) · Keith Waterhouse considers why Sir Alan Wilson wants to raise the proportion of young people entering university to 70 per cent ( Daily Mail )

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