Today's news

July 29, 2004

Drugs firms put up £4m to pay for animal experiments

Britain's pharmaceutical giants delivered a defiant message to animal rights extremists yesterday by launching a £4 million research fund to pay for animal experiments in universities. Three multinational drug companies, GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca and Pfizer, said they would back fellowships and pay for lab equipment to help universities continue animal testing in the face of increasing hostility from campaigners.
( Guardian , Financial Times )

Medical chief fumes at fashion's 'smoking chic'
Chief medical officer, Professor Sir Liam Donaldson, yesterday reiterated his call for the Government to ban smoking in public places, despite opposition from the health secretary, but then stopped short of threatening to resign over the issue.
( Times , Guardian , Independent , Daily Telegraph , Financial Times )

Islamic colleges in Britain 'linked to terrorists'
Two British universities, Loughborough University and the University of Wales, have given their approval to a pair of Islamic colleges with close links to fundamentalist scholars and political movements. Ministers faced calls last night for an inquiry into the apparent connections between the colleges, which train imams for British mosques, and hardline Islamist groups.
( Times )

Scientists attempt to rid nanotechnology of its image problem
The Royal Society is calling for a public debate into nanaotechnology to dispel fears about the new science and prevent it being labelled as "another GM".
( Independent )

Coke or Pepsi? It's all in the head
The long-standing conundrum of why Coke sells more than Pepsi despite being less popular in blind taste tests may have been solved. Scientists in Texas used a brain scanning technique to carry out a hi-tech version of the Pepsi challenge and found that, when it comes to fizzy drinks, brand love is just as important as taste.
( Guardian )

The squirrel's secret: rodents use ultrasonic warning calls
Squirrels have been recorded using high-pitched ultrasonic "whispers" that are inaudible to the human ear but warn each other of danger. The discovery was made by James Hare, professor of zoology at the University of Manitoba in Canada, and his student David Wilson.
( Independent )

Tired? All in the mind, says sports scientist
Physical exhaustion is all in the mind, according to research by a British scientist and would-be Olympic rower. Paula Robson-Ansley, of the University of Portsmouth, has found that the brain takes its cue from a signalling module called interleukin-6, so that muscles are not worked dangerously hard. Yet muscles could work for longer if the brain could ignore the signals.
( Times , Independent )

Myopia researchers are starting to see double
Scientists at St Thomas' hospital in London yesterday invited 220 sets of twins to take part in a research project into the causes of short-sightedness after discovering that the PAX6 gene, fundamental to eye development, could be responsible for myopia. Researchers homed in on the gene after comparing DNA from identical and non-identical twins.
( Daily Telegraph )

One in three chalk rivers at risk
England's chalk rivers are suffering the consequences of urban sprawl, intensive farming and low rainfall. A new report, by the Environment Agency and English Nature, reveals that almost a third of the country's 161 chalk rivers and streams are in a bad way.
( Guardian , Independent , Times )

Amazon halts tit-for-tat critics
The world's biggest online bookseller, Amazon, is to clamp down on anonymous reviews of titles on its website in an attempt to curb excesses of back-stabbing in the competitive world of book publishing.
( Guardian )

BBC2 gets to the roots of fame
Genealogy is a popular pastime that does not transfer easily to the medium of television. So it was perhaps inevitable that the BBC should enlist a roster of celebrities to help make the subject engaging - and the result is Who Do You Think You Are?, part of BBC2's autumn season.
( Guardian , Daily Telegraph )

It's all old hat as Napoleon and Nelson get joint retrospective
In life, Horatio Nelson and Napoleon Bonaparte came no closer than a few sea miles, but they will meet next year at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich in a major exhibition celebrating the bicentenary of the battle of Trafalgar.
( Guardian , Independent )

Independent: Education
Stop knocking golf degrees

Editorial criticising the Professional Association of Teachers' decision to come out publicly against so-called "mickey mouse" degrees and the Government's target of getting 50 per cent of under-30s to university by 2010.

A lesson in PR
Editorial on Leeds University's recruitment of its first marketing director.

Your lab needs you!
Feature on the closure of the UK’s chemistry departments.

Blurring the boundaries
Feature on a new online writing centre based at Nottingham Trent University.
( Guardian )

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