Today's news

June 9, 2004

Sex scandal rocks Italian campus
An Italian professor acquitted of trading better grades for sex has boasted of his videotaped affairs with a series of young women in an interview with La Stampa newspaper. A court ruled last month that former law professor Ezio Capizzano should pay the University of Camerino €120,000 (£80,000) for the damage he had done to its reputation.
( Guardian, Times Higher , February 8 2002:  Law professor sacked over porn videos )

The degree is losing its meaning
Universities desperate for students have caused rampant grade inflation. Frank Furedi, sociology professor at the University of Kent, says it has to stop.
( Daily Telegraph )

Civilisation safe as nanotech threat fades
Eric Drexler, of the Foresight Institute in California, the scientist who raised fears that nanotechnology could engulf the world in a mass of "grey goo", has admitted in the Institute of Physics' journal Nanotechnology , that his concerns were largely groundless and are likely to remain science fiction.
( Times, Guardian )

Gene test casts light on prostate cancer
Scientists at the Institute of Cancer Research and the University of Liverpool have discovered a gene that will enable them to predict how aggressive a prostate tumour will be.
(Times, Independent)

Little dot is the sight of a lifetime
Millions in Britain, Europe and the Middle East watched the greatest show not on Earth yesterday: the six-hour transit of Venus across the face of the Sun. The rare astronomical event - that happens only four times every 243 years - was last seen and photographed by professional astronomers in 1882.
( Guardian, Times, Daily Mail. Independent, Daily Telegraph )

Spacecraft to check on climate
A $780 million (£425 million) spacecraft is about to begin a six-year health check on the Earth's atmosphere. Aura, a US mission carrying ultra-sensitive British and European instruments, will monitor the greenhouse gases that could accelerate global warming. It will eventually be one of 20 Earth observation satellites orbiting at 438 miles.
( Guardian )

Shipwrecks cast new light on the Dark Ages
Sean Kingsley, visiting fellow at the University of Reading, has drawn up a map of 222 Mediterranean shipwrecks dating from the 4th to 10th centuries AD that shows the emergence of a consumer revolution with an epicentre in the Holy Land. His research challenges Edward Gibbon's 18th-century theory that the Dark Ages were ushered in after the sacking of Rome by the Goths in AD410.
( Times )

Titantic wreck plundered, says ocean explorer
Robert Ballard, the ocean explorer who discovered the watery grave of the Titanic 73 years after it sank, said yesterday plunderers have hauled away as many as 8,000 artefacts from the ship as "salvage". The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Dr Ballard are pushing for an international agreement to protect the Titanic as a cultural site and prevent future attempts to retrieve its treasures.
( Guardian, Times )

Obituary : Brian Manning, the historian who wrote a Marxist critique of the English Revolution, died on April 24 aged 76. (Times)

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