Today's news

March 2, 2005

Anger at Ulster Degree for Police Reformer Patten
The University of Ulster was fiercely criticised today for its decision to confer an honorary degree on Lord Patten, one of the architects of police reform in Northern Ireland. Jimmy Spratt, former chairman of the Police Federation, said it was a disgrace that the university made the announcement on the day relatives and colleagues were remembering nine RUC officers murdered in an IRA mortar bomb attack in Newry 20 years ago.
The Scotsman

University Awarded Grant for Breast Cancer Research
A University of the West of England doctor has been awarded almost £60,000 for research into helping women with early breast cancer diagnosis. Dr Diana Harcourt has received the grant of £59,350 from Breast Cancer Campaign for a three-year project. It will look at the personal and emotional impact on women being diagnosed with a condition known as Ductal Carcinoma in situ also known as early or pre-invasive breast cancer.
The Scotsman

Universities Balk at Proposed Bush Cuts
Bush budget cuts would hit important research programmes that examine everything from soybeans and dairy production to cattle viruses, agriculture school officials complained to Congress on Tuesday. Fred Cholick, dean of the agriculture college at Kansas State University, said the cuts threaten the original mission of the 75 land-grant schools, which were created by Congress in the 1800s to use public money on shared agricultural research.
The Guardian

Brunel research into MBAs
"Macho" MBA courses are alienating women managers and neglecting the "feminine" interpersonal skills needed in modern management, according to research from Brunel University's business school.  Ruth Simpson, who has studied business schools in the UK, Canada and China, said women gain from MBA courses, but often find them sexist and competitive - what one female student described as promoting "Mighty Big Attitude". "Women feel alienated and find them pretty macho," Dr Simpson said today.
The Guardian

US scientists issue warning over bioterrorism research
More than 750 leading American scientists have warned that the massive US research effort to counter bioterrorism is backfiring by siphoning off funds from more promising public health and basic research. In a letter of protest to Elias Zherouni, head of the National Institutes of Health, the microbiologists say the US will miss out on potential breakthroughs from the application of new techniques like genomics because funds are being diverted to a small group of organisms that could be used in biological weapons.
The Guardian

Most distant galaxy cluster yet is revealed
The most distant cluster of galaxies ever found has been revealed by astronomers - and it bears an uncanny resemblance to those nearby. The technique used to discover the cluster promises further discoveries at similar distances, which would help constrain cosmological models. The cluster of galaxies spotted by astronomers lies 9 billion light-years away. That beats the 8.5 billion light-years' distance of the previous record holder - a jump that represents a "significant fraction of a galaxy's lifespan", says Christopher Mullis, at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, US, who led the team.
New Scientist

Scientists launch healthy tissue bank
The first tissue bank for the collection of samples from non-diseased organs is being set up, scientists said today. Previous tissue banks have gathered samples from organs affected by a particular disease for research into that disease. The facility, due to open at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh tomorrow, will collect tissue during post-mortems of people who have died suddenly, in support of research groups across the world.
The Guardian, The Scotsman

Should you worry if your child conjures up an invisible companion?
Researchers at Manchester University are currently looking into the effect of imaginary companions on children's language, skills, development and creativity, and the team say that in the course of their work they have been confronted with a motley procession of invented characters, ranging from a whole class of children - all with names - to a 30-year-old adult and a talking toy dog. The children taking part in a series of game-style tests at the university's school of psychological sciences sometimes bring in their imaginary friends with them, or they explain that they have left them outside in the corridor, or in the castle where they live "because they have so much to do there".
The Guardian

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