Today's news

March 24, 2004


Mars rover finds itself by ancient seaside
Analysis of rocks at the Meridiani Planum landing site of the Mars rover Opportunity indicates that it was once covered at least intermittently with salty water, Nasa announced last night.
( Times, Daily Telegraph, Independent )

Big rise in public administration courses
The number of universities offering masters in public administration courses is set to rise. A network we launched this month for universities interested in developing MPAs has already been joined by 224 universities. Colin Talbot, professor of public policy at Nottingham University, predicts that there will be more than a dozen courses available by September, and another 20 to 30 more universities would offer them within a year. There are currently four MPA courses in Britain.
( Financial Times )

Universities invest in access to sports
Students are blessed with £73 million worth of sports facilities every year, two reports revealed today. Sports facilities in English higher education institutions receive more than 26 million visits per year, and are available for non-students to use approximately 70 per cent of the time. The reports, from the government's sport strategists, Sport England and Universities UK, also reveal that universities and colleges in England have 41 swimming pools (3 are Olympic size), 284 grass pitches for summer use, 932 winter grass pitches, 145 fitness suites, 541 hard tennis courts, 74 grass tennis courts, 125 free weight areas, 296 squash courts and 139 sports halls.
( Guardian )

Weight on Oxbridge coxes' shoulders
It became evident yesterday that the weapons available to decide Sunday's annual Boat Race were likely to be technical expertise and strategic initiative after the weigh-in revealed hardly any difference in weight between the crews. Cambridge were 1lb heavier at an average 14st 2.5lb, and 1.25in taller. Much of the strategic initiative will come from coxes Acer Nethercott (Oxford) and Kenelm Richardson.
( Daily Telegraph )

At the end of the day... we're fed up with clichés
The Plain English Campaign celebrated its 25th anniversary yesterday by publishing the ten most annoying phrases in the English language. "At the end of the day" has been voted the most irritating phrase. Second place is shared by "At this moment in time" and the constant use of "like" as if it were a form of punctuation. "With all due respect" came fourth.
( Times )
Details: http://www.plainenglish.co.uk/pressrelease.html

Sex and physics
Letter from Wade Allen, Keble College, Oxford, setting the score straight on the subject of gender and university admissions.
( Daily Telegraph )

Obituaries
- Sir William Wade, the academic lawyer who set the framework for the development of administrative law in Britain, died on March 12 2004, aged 88. ( Guardian )
- Keith Hopkins, historian and sociologist, died on March 8 2004, aged 69. ( Independent )
- Edward Paige, physicist and electrical engineer, died on 20 February 204, aged 73. ( Independent )

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