Today's news

July 22, 2004

Hawking: I've solved the black hole riddle
Eminent physicist Stephen Hawking opened a lecture at a conference in Dublin yesterday with the words: "I want to report that I think I have solved a major problem in theoretical physics." Professor Hawking said he now believes that black holes, the mysterious massive vortexes formed from collapsed stars, do not destroy everything that is sucked into them. Gerry Gilmore, an astrophysicist at Cambridge University said: "At the moment everyone is reserving judgement, but Steve doesn't say things like this very often and so it's highly likely he's on to something interesting. What it is may well be so esoteric that it's not obvious to a non-expert, but then he's not talking to non-experts."
Guardian, Independent

£1bn reason for employing graduates
University graduates are contributing at least £1 billion a year to the economy in terms of added value once they have a job, according to an estimate based on figures provided by members of the Association of Graduate Recruiters. The research was conducted by Anthony Hesketh of Lancaster University's management school.
Daily Telegraph, Independent

No way to treat a guest
International students, including 30,000 Chinese, bring £20 billion into Britain each year, yet some universities are failing to give them the level of care that they need.

Class distinctions
Cambridge and Oxford universities have the best teacher training courses, but graduates from new universities are more likely to be working in schools. Liverpool University's Centre for Education and Employment Research has ranked the institutions by assessing entry qualifications, inspection ratings and employment rates.

What's so special about Oxford's lab?
Article about the positive aspects of the controversial animal laboratory being built in Oxford.

Baby's first word filled Stone Age papa with pride
A French study has found that the word "papa" is used in almost 700 out of 1,000 languages - and in 71 per cent of cases it means father or a male relative on the father's side. The researchers believe the word may have been passed down through the generations from a "proto-language" spoken 50,000 years ago and was probably one of the first words to be uttered by Stone Age babies. The findings were reported in New Scientist yesterday.
Daily Telegraph

Blind leading the blind, says canine study
Scientists in New Zealand investigating the health of guide dogs have made an alarming discovery: sometimes the blind are leading the blind. At least one in ten working guide dogs had such poor vision that they would be prescribed glasses if they were human, the researchers found. However, the dogs' blurred vision appeared to make no difference to their day-to-day duties because the animals compensate by relying more on smell and hearing.
Daily Telegraph, Guardian

Dogs and pilots have a lot in common
Researchers at Arizona State University in the US have deduced that dogs chasing Frisbees use the same skills as pilots landing aeroplanes on runways at an oblique angle, or major league baseball players making difficult catches. Dogs' use of linear optical trajectory tracking is apparently more instinctive than in most humans because they practise a lot more.

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