Today's news

May 25, 2005

Publishers in challenge to Google bid to scan libraries
Academic publishers are challenging Google’s plan to scan millions of library books into its web search engine index. They fear the ambitious project will violate copyrights and stifle future sales. In a letter to Google, the Association of American University Presses described the online search engine’s library project as a troubling financial threat to its membership - 125 non-profit publishers of academic journals and scholarly books.
The Scotsman

Scientists told: reduce animal experiments
Alternative ways of conducting medical research should be found to spare animals being used in experiments, an influential group of scientists and ethicists says today. A two-year study on the ethics of animal experiments by the Nuffied Council on Bioethics, published today, concludes that researchers should be more open about the experiments.
The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Times, The Scotsman

UEA adopts law admissions test
National admissions tests for law degrees are to be used by the University of East Anglia to widen access to its law programmes, it was announced today. The LNat tests are now mandatory for all students applying to study law at eight universities, including UEA, Oxford, Cambridge and Bristol. They were introduced last year to help admissions tutors choose between the most able students.
The Guardian

Call for fairer fees for overseas students
The government's lack of "joined-up thinking" over decisions affecting international students is risking the reputation of UK universities around the world, a conference heard today. Robert Boucher, the vice-chancellor of the University of Sheffield and chairman of Universities UK's international strategy group, said the higher education sector was being "buffeted by an onslaught of different impositions" that could force overseas students to look elsewhere to study.
The Guardian

Big money but little take-up
Depending on whom you listen to, science is in crisis as university departments face a wave of closures, which in the short term seem likely to continue. At the same time, sciences are benefiting from the highest state investment for a generation. A lack of student demand is apparently to blame. The number of students studying three A levels in science has halved since the 1960s, and the number doing mathematics has dropped by a fifth since 2000. Paradoxically, the universities that offer degrees in physics, chemistry, microbiology and engineering are still commanding the top grades.
The Times

Manchester careers service again tops poll
The University of Manchester's careers service has been voted the best in the country for the third consecutive year. In a survey of more than 120 graduate employers, which have collectively recruited more than 11,000 graduates in the past 12 months, the university beat Cambridge and Oxford into second and third place respectively. Warwick came fourth. Manchester has topped the poll since the AGR/Barkers National Graduate Media Audit was first commissioned in 2002. The audit asks employers to rank the most effective ways to recruit graduates.
The Guardian

Genetics suffering from lack of cash
Scotland risks missing out on the medical revolution sparked by the cracking of the human genetic code for the sake of a few million pounds, an expert warned yesterday. Professor Michael Connor, a medical geneticist at Glasgow University, said there was only half the necessary number of consultant geneticists in Scotland, despite a massive increase in their workload. Genetics laboratories used to deal with rare conditions that affected as little as 3 per cent of the population, but increasingly they are being used to screen people thought to be at a high risk of developing cancer and other common diseases.
The Scotsman

South Korea's extra stem cell research funds
The South Korean government said today it will give an extra £547,000 in funding to a South Korean cloning pioneer, a week after he stunned the world with another breakthrough in stem cell research.
The Scotsman

Elgin Marbles cast dark shadow over looted art
Ministers could stop the British Museum returning artworks looted by the Nazis to a Jewish family because of fears that they might pave the way for Greece to make a legally binding claim on the Elgin Marbles. Lord Goldsmith, the Attorney-General, asked the High Court to clarify whether the museum could exercise a “moral obligation” to return improperly obtained property. The specific case at issue is a claim by the heirs of Dr Arthur Feldmann for the return of four Old Master drawings taken from the Czech lawyer’s home in Brno by the Gestapo in 1939.
The Times, The Guardian, The Scotsman, The Financial Times

Not a very bright idea
The world's smallest light bulb, capable of emitting a single photon at a time, was unveiled yesterday. At 45 billionths of a metre across and 10 billionths of a metre tall, the bulb, known as a quantum dot, heralds a new era in secure communication. It has been developed by Toshiba Europe, Cambridge University and Imperial College London with funding from the Department of Trade and Industry to send the keys to unscramble coded messages along ordinary fibre optics telecoms lines.
The Daily Telegraph

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