Today's news

June 8, 2004

E-university fears ignored
MPs are to investigate the collapse of Britain's e-university, a £2 million government project that ministers hoped would repeat the success of the Open University on a global scale.

Sainsbury promises 'major initiative' on animal research
Lord Sainsbury, the science minister, has said there will be a 'major initiative' to protect animal researchers from extremists in the next four to six weeks. "The government is considering the proposals for a single piece of legislation as a matter of urgency," he said. Lord Sainsbury was speaking at the world's largest biotech conference, where he pledged more action to maintain Britain's leading position in world biotechnology.
(Financial Times)

Lost city of Atlantis 'found in Spain'
Ancient ruins that appear to match Plato's description of the fabled lost city of Atlantis have been found in southern Spain. The structures, resembling two rectangular buildings at the centre of concentric circles, appear in satellite images of salt marshes near the port of Cadiz. Rainer Kuehne, a physicist at Dortmund University who studied the images, says the "island" of Atlantis was a region of Spanish coast ruined by flood between 800BC and 500BC. His paper, which is yet to be peer-reviewed, is reported online by Antiquity .

Cancer experts scorn pro-sunshine theory
A doctor who dared to champion the health benefits of sunshine won few converts yesterday among cancer experts in Britain. Michael Horlick, a professor of dermatology at Boston University, was in Britain to promote his book, The UV Advantage . Its thesis, which cost Horlick his job, claims that only by exposure to adequate sunlight can the body generate enough vitamin D, a vital protection against many internal cancers. John Troy, medical director cancer research, said: "There is not one single piece of evidence that vitamin D prevents cancers, but skin cancers are zooming up"

Trial by Ink
Universities continue to champion hand-written exams, a skill with no useful function in the modern world, writes psychology student Mary Braid.

Student surfs to success on OU course
A windsurfing champion who dropped out of university after a year with a large debt has gone on to academic success with the Open University, as well as winning major events in her sport. Ruth Elliott, who is studying biology and psychology, is one of a growing number of students choosing the OU route because of debts incurred on traditional courses. Almost 16,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are now studying on the distance courses, nearly three times more than five years ago. Elliott gave up her traditional university degree after finishing her first year with £4,000 of debt. The national indoor windsurf champion has gone on to win Cornish and Irish windsurfing titles.
(Daily Mirror)

Staying alive is down to status
Higher status is a prescription for longer life, according to research released today. Michael Marmot, an epidemiologist at University College London, has spent his career examining the link between social status and health. His findings, for example that people who leave university with a BA will outlive contemporaries who left school at 16, are published in a new book Status Syndrome .
(Guardian, Telegraph)

Student raped in Leeds park
A 20-year-old female student and her boyfriend, aged 21, were attacked and the woman was gangraped in Chapel Allerton Park, in Leeds, on Saturday morning. Two teenagers have been arrested and released on bail in connection with the attack.
(Guardian, Times)

Vogue to showcase graduate designers
Fashion magazine Vogue is to devote eight pages to graduate designers from the MA fashion course at Central St Martins college in London.

Poet laureate prepares poem on D-Day trip with father
Andrew Motion, the poet laureate, has been in Normandy for the D-Day commemorations to research a poem on the day of the Allied landings. He accompanied his father, Richard, who took part in the landings as a captain in the Essex Yeomanry.

Academics? They could be serious!
They spend months on surveys and then conclude, for example, that rich people buy bigger houses. Are they having a laugh, asks Hugo Rifkind.
(Times 2)

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