Today's news

August 12, 2004

Permission to clone human embryos granted
Britain's fertility watchdog has, for the first time, given the go-ahead for a team of university scientists to clone human embryos for medical research. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority licence permits the creation of stem cells from early cloned human embryos which will not develop beyond a few days of age. Professor Alison Murdoch, who leads the team from the University of Newcastle and the Centre for Life, said that ultimately the work would help to develop treatments for a range of diseases, such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and diabetes.
Independent, Daily Telegraph, Guardian, Financial Times

Science nearing cloning's Holy Grail
Newcastle University's licence to clone human embryos will open a huge ethical controversy.
Times

From science fiction to unproved fact
The race to clone has attracted hoaxers, mavericks and a UFO cult, but even the more reputable attempts have been problematic.
Daily Telegraph

Students 'left broke' by loans system crash
Thousands of students face weeks without money when they start university this September because of serious failings in a new computer system introduced by the Student Loan Company. Councils across England and Wales are calling on the Government for a contingency plan to provide emergency funding for undergraduates who cannot take out overdrafts to cover the shortfall. Last month 96 per cent of local authorities in England and Wales polled by MORI reported having significant problems with the introduction of the new centralised loan system.
Times

Graduates feel they lack job skills
Few graduates believe their education has furnished them with the skills a first employer will need and most lack confidence in their ability to cope with the "real world", an international survey conducted by Accenture has found. Less than a quarter of the 1,500 recent or soon-to-be college graduates in the US, UK, France, Germany and Spain said they had the communication skills necessary for the workplace and only 16 per cent were happy they had the right computer and technical skills.
Financial Times

Tropical fish hooked on Channel holidays
A shoal of grey tropical fish has become the latest warm-water species to be discovered in the once chilly waters off the British coast. The triggerfish ( Balistes capriscus ), whose usual habitat is the tropical Atlantic and the Mediterranean, were discovered two miles off the Isle of Purbeck, Dorset by Ken Collins of the Southampton Oceanography Centre, while he was photographing an artificial reef.
Daily Telegraph

The names that give you extra sex appeal
Certain first names make people more attractive to the opposite sex while others are a turn-off, say linguists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The authors of the study claim the explanation lies in vowel sounds. Women prefer names with short vowels produced at the front of the mouth, such Ed, Matt or Mike, However, the opposite is true for men. They prefer women's names with longer vowel sounds such as Laura, Moira or Paula. The findings are published in New Scientist magazine today.
Daily Telegraph

Secret of T rex size: a teen growth spurt
The growing pains of today's teenagers pale into insignificance compared with those of Tyrannosaurus rex more than 65 million years ago, according to a study published in Nature today. Between the age of 14 and 18 T rex would put on about 70 per cent of its adult mass, growing from a one-ton carnivorous lizard to a bone-crushing, six-ton eating machine with few rivals in the prehistoric world.
Daily Telegraph, Guardian, Times

Whales took 10m years to hear well
Whales not only lost their legs when they took to the water, they had to relearn how to hear, scientists said yesterday. Research published in the journal Nature documents how the hearing of whales evolved over 10 million years.
Guardian

Tarred with the same brush
Feature: reputable private colleges fear that the Government crackdown on dodgy establishments makes them look guilty too.
Independent

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