Today's news

December 14, 2004

Ministers 'likely to miss' student targets
Plans for a 'modest' expansion in undergraduate numbers over the next three years suggest the Government is likely to miss its target of getting half of all young people into university by the end of the decade. The overall financial package for universities, outlined yesterday in a letter from Education Secretary Charles Clarke to the Higher Education Funding Council for England, was broadly welcomed. But the figures, which cover the years to 2007-08, allow for only a slight increase in the proportion of people under 30 in higher education.
Financial Times

Nasa boss takes off to pursue university role
Nasa's top official, Sean O'Keefe, resigned on Monday to pursue a job leading the main campus of Louisiana State University. O'Keefe says he will remain at Nasa until the White House names a replacement, adding that he hopes that by February the nominee will be confirmed by the US Senate.
New Scientist

Google to scan major libraries
Google is trying to establish an online reading room for five major libraries by scanning stacks of hard-to-find books into its widely-used internet search engine. The ambitious initiative announced on Monday gives Google the right to index material from the New York public library as well as libraries at four universities - Harvard, Stanford, Michigan and Oxford.
Washington Post

Students round on minister over graduate claims
Student leaders attacked the Government last night after the higher education minister, Kim Howells, declared it was a "good time to be a graduate". Figures released today show that more than 93 per cent of students who finished their degree last year are in full-time employment or remain in education. The National Union of Students said the Government was glossing over the low salaries and mounting debt that many students faced at the end of their course.
The Guardian

Reel chance for budding scientists
Schools in Edinburgh could win thousands of pounds and expert help to make their own short film. First Light, the UK Film Council’s film-making initiative for young people, is looking for a Scottish school with the best idea for a film about biomedical science. Topics include genetically-modified foods, stem cell research and cloning. The film can take the form of anything from live action to animation, or drama to documentary.
The Scotsman

Hundreds of bird species going the way of the dodo
One tenth of all bird species could be extinct by 2100, and by then another 15 per cent could be on the brink of extinction, Californian scientists report today. They say the consequences for humankind are unpredictable.
The Guardian , The Times , The Independent , Daily Telegraph

Stressful deadlines boost heart attack risk
The pressure of meeting a work deadline can produce a sixfold increase in the risk of suffering a heart attack over the course of the following day. And competition at work could double the ongoing risk, according to a new study.
New Scientist

Original 1648 mince pie put to taste test
The true and original English minced pie was unveiled on Monday as the Royal Society of Chemistry restored real meat to its rightful place in traditional Christmas fare. At their headquarters in Piccadilly, London, the chemists denounced modern mince pies as a meatless fraud, and, to show what the nation’s culinary heritage had lost, served up pies made to a 390-year-old recipe.
The Times

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