Today's news

October 26, 2004

Biological weapons pose biggest threat to world
The threat posed to the world by biological weapons is now far greater than that from nuclear and chemical because of the "riotous" development in biotechnology. The warning came yesterday as the British Medical Association published its second report in five years into biological and genetic weapons. The report, written by Malcolm Dando, head of Peace Studies at Bradford University, warns that the "window of opportunity" to tackle the spread of these weapons is shrinking fast.
Scotsman, Times

Human and insect diseases link found
Scientists from the University of Bath have identified a disease caused by a luminous bug that evolved in insects. The researchers have found similarities between the emergence of the infection and the appearance of bubonic plague. About a dozen cases of infection by Photorhabdus asymbiotica have been seen in the US and Australia. The bug causes pustulant sores to appear on parts of the victim’s body.
Scotsman, Times

Scientists hope for Swift answers to universal secrets
Secrets surrounding the formation of our universe could be unravelled soon as astronomers get set to study gamma-ray bursts - the most powerful explosions experienced since the Big Bang. Swift , a tri-functional satellite telescope specifically designed to study the afterglow of gamma-ray bursts, will be launched next month. Scientists from Leicester University and University College London's Mullard Space Science Laboratory have designed and built two core elements of the telescope. Other UK astronomers will be involved in follow-up observations using ground-based telescopes across the world.
Scotsman, Guardian

Forgotten anything? Then sit down and have a cup of tea
Drinking tea can help to improve the memory and even ward off Alzheimer's disease, according to researchers at Newcastle University's Medicinal Plant Research Centre. The scientists found that regular consumption of tea inhibits the activity of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase, which breaks down the chemical messenger, or neurotransmitter, acetylcholine. Alzheimer’s is characterised by a drop in acetylcholine. The findings are published in the academic journal Phytotherapy Research .
Times, Guardian, Independent, Daily Telegraph

Exclusion zone
Tessa Blackstone says that older universities in particular must address their image issues if they want to attract ethnic minority students.

How to lecture
A look at whether the Higher Education Academy is the right way to boost teaching in universities.

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