Today's news

April 22, 2004


Have-not-students scrape by on £9.50 a week
There is a yawning gap between the haves and have-nots among UK students, with 8 per cent surviving on only £9.50 a week while 10 per cent have £150 a week, the Sodexho/ Times Higher university lifestyle survey reveals. One-quarter of students minimise their debts by living with family.
Full details in The Times Higher - available in newsstands today.
( Times Higher, Daily Telegraph )

Academics blame VAT for holding back internet publishing
The decision to levy value added tax on academic journals published over the internet despite printed publications being exempted is holding back the take-up of new technology, MPs were warned yesterday. Lynne Brindley, chief executive of the British Library, told a committee of MPs investigating the scientific publications market that the 17.5 per cent tax was hampering the move towards the internet-based publishing of research.
( Guardian )

Anger voiced over RCA extension plans
Nearly 10,000 letters of protest have been delivered to deputy prime minister John Prescott over plans by the Royal College of Art to erect a six-storey glass and steel building next to the Royal Albert Hall in London.
( Times )

Students' career pessimism revealed
Fewer university students think they will secure a good job when they graduate than at any time in the past decade, the UK Graduate Careers Survey has revealed. Just 35 per cent of finalists expect to enter the graduate job market, compared to 39 per cent last year and 49 per cent in 1998.
( Times )

Fast-track to nowhere
A degree used to be a passport to a better job, but with graduate numbers outstripping supply, these days you are more likely to end up in a betting shop.
( Independent )

Japanese mouse created without father
A female mouse without a father has been born at the Tokyo University of Agriculture, shattering the belief that mammals of the same sex cannot produce viable offspring. The findings are published in the latest edition of the Nature .
( Times, Financial Times, Daily Mail, Guardian, Independent, Daily Telegraph )

Dolly scientists seek licence to clone human embryos
Scientists at Scotland's Roslin Institute, who created Dolly the sheep, are to apply for a licence to clone human embryos for stem cell research. Ian Wilmut, leader of the Roslin research team, said yesterday on BBC radio that he wanted to carry out "therapeutic cloning" to study motor neurone disease.
( Financial Times )

Obesity pill research starved of money
A pill that would cure obesity is scientifically possible but research is being hindered by lack of funds, Steve Bloom of the department of metabolic medicine at Imperial College and the Hammersmith Hospital, London, said yesterday.
( Daily Telegraph )

Scientists stress role of genes in obesity
The role played by genes in determining whether people get fat or not must be recognised by ministers devising a new anti-obesity strategy, scientist Steve O'Rahilly of Cambridge University said yesterday.
( Financial Times )

Virus could end acne misery
Leeds University researchers have isolated a virus that destroys the bacteria that cause acne, opening the way for development of treatments free from chemical side-effects.
( Times )

Chemical cocktail invading our bodies
University of Sunderland professor Malcolm Hooper yesterday unveiled the results of research commissioned by the wildlife charity WWF Europe into the toxins found in our bodies. The study revealed 76 chemicals in total, with an average of 41 in the blood of the 47 adult volunteers from 17 European countries - all of them showed traces of 13 substances.
( Daily Mail )

Scientists finally twig
Scientists from Arizona claim in the journal Nature that gravity means giant redwood trees have a height limit of 130m (425ft).
( Times )

Preventing test-tube terrorism
Feature on whether the Royal Society's controversial proposals to vet research are the answer to how scientists can make sure their work doesn't create a mass killer.
( Guardian )

Ruffling feathers the Sykes way
Report on the furore triggered by comments on new universities made by Sir Richard Sykes, outspoken vice-chancellor Imperial College London.
( Independent )

Obituaries:
- John Maynard Smith, the evolutionary biologist who demonstrated that sex might be bad for the parents' health, died on April 19, 2004, aged 84. ( Times )
- Hugh Christopher Longuet-Higgins, theoretical chemist and cognitive scientist, died on March 2004, aged 81. ( Independent )
- Alexander Youngson, economic historian at Edinburgh, Canberra and Hong Kong, died on 6 April 6 2004, aged 85. ( Independent )

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