Today's news

February 18, 2004


Outrage at 'dirty don's' return to Cambridge
Peter Smith, the Jesus College, Cambridge, fellow who was suspended from teaching last December after it was discovered that he entertained prostitutes in his rooms, is to be quietly reinstated as a lecturer at the start of the Easter term. Although he cannot resume his role as a fellow, female students in particular are outraged at his return and the prospect of one-on-one tuition with Dr Smith.
( Daily Mail )

Learning Arabic? Your country needs you
The British army is facing such a critical shortage of Arabic translators and interpreters in Iraq that it has had to recruit university undergraduates to fill the gaps. Some students are even suspending their degrees in order to take up the £200-a-day posts. The Ministry of Defence began recruiting university students last October. The commanding officer of the Defence School of Languages at Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire said that between 15 and 20 university graduates with degrees in Arabic had been recruited since last November to fill a gap in demand. The Ministry of Defence indicated that five of those were deployed in Iraq.
(Time s, Daily Telegraph )

French intellectuals attack 'war on intelligence'
More than 20,000 French artists, thinkers, film-makers, scientists, lawyers, doctors and academics have signed a petition accusing the centre-right government of "waging war on intelligence" and instituting "a new state anti-intellectualism". Among the better-known names to have signed the document, published in today's issue of Les Inrockuptibles magazine, are the philosopher Jacques Derrida, film-makers Bertrand Tavernier and Claude Lanzmann, theatre director Ariane Mnouchkine, novelist Marie Darrieusecq, the former Socialist culture minister Jack Lang and Danny Cohn-Bendit, hero of the May 1968 student uprising.
( Guardian )

£48m grant for fusion research
A £48 million grant has been awarded to help scientists pin down the holy grail of energy research: how to produce unlimited supplies of clean, safe, renewable energy. The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council's largest grant will fund four years of fusion research at the UK Atomic Energy Authority at its Culham site in Oxfordshire.
( Guardian )

British chemistry facing extinction
Nobel laureate Sir Harry Kroto outlines why the government must act to stop the short-sighted, penny-pinching closure of university chemistry departments.
( Daily Telegraph )

Designers make a bee-line for micro plane
British researchers aim to make aircraft the size of a bee that could be used to spy inside buildings or monitor dangerous environments such as nuclear reactors, according to the head of the aerospace sub-group at the University of Bath's department of mechanical engineering. The department plans five research projects over the next two years, funded by the Ministry of Defence, BAE Systems, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research.
( Independent )

Shoe order reveals Henry VIII's penchant for football
A clothes historian at the Textile Conservation Centre at Winchester School of Art has discovered that Henry VIII ordered a pair of football boots from in 1526, and played the game with young nobles of his royal court. The handmade leather football boots cost four shillings (£100 in today's reckoning) and were stitched by Cornelius Johnson, the monarch's official cordwainer.
( Guardian, Times, Daily Telegraph )

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