Today's news

January 24, 2005

Students warned of jobs shortage
Students were warned today of a shortage of jobs for graduates and a possible end to the annual recruitment "milk round". A report from PwC, the professional services firm, said there were barely enough graduate-level jobs for a third of students leaving university.
Financial Times

US bank of stem cells 'is dangerously contaminated'
America's approved bank of human embryonic stem cells is contaminated and possibly dangerous to patients, scientists said yesterday. The discovery marks a major setback for the US and its efforts to dominate what many see as the next revolution in medical technology.
Daily Telegraph, The Times

Business schools worried over MBA downturn
If there is one hot topic among business school staff these days it is that applications to their full-time MBA programmes over the past two years have fallen. Even at top schools the figures are disquieting.
Financial Times

Humans or robots? UK ponders future of space flight
British scientists will meet this week to thrash out an answer to a question that has caused argument for decades: is it worth sending humans into space? The Royal Astronomical Society has called upon three wise men of science - Frank Close, an Oxford University physicist, Ken Pounds, an astrophysicist from the University of Leicester and John Dudeney, deputy director of the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge - to weigh up the scientific arguments for and against human space flight.
The Guardian

Budget cuts to bring Hubble telescope back down to Earth
According to reports in the US this weekend, the White House and Nasa have agreed to stop all plans for a space mission to prolong the life of the Hubble telescope, which is in orbit, 380 miles above Earth. The White House blames the escalating costs of maintenance - a mission to service the telescope would cost more than $1bn (£530m). Instead, Nasa is expected to focus its activities on George Bush's space priorities - the further exploration of the Moon and Mars.

Dame Miriam Rothschild, who has died aged 96, was a brilliant self-taught amateur and generalist in scientific fields dominated by highly specialised professionals; she was perhaps best known for her work as a parasitologist, and by the sobriquet "Queen of the Fleas".
Daily Telegraph

Quote of the week
"I apologise for the hideously opaque language I'm about to read out." Higher Education Minister Kim Howells, prefacing a Whitehall-drafted reply in the Commons
Mail on Sunday

Half empty
January 24 has officially been declared the most depressing day of the year. A doctor at Cardiff University has determined that misery is expected to peak on this day and has devised a formula that proves it. Weather + Debt x Motivational levels and Time since failed attempt to quit smoking x Days passed since Christmas = January 24.
The Guardian

From the weekend papers

  • Art students are Britain's most irritating undergraduates, according to a survey, and media and drama students are most disliked.
    Daily Star
  • The dreaming spires of Oxford should inspire a new generation of writers as the university becomes the latest academic institution to offer a masters degree in creative writing.

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