Today's news

August 4, 2005

Students likely to stay in debt till 35
Students will still be paying off their university debts when they are 35, thanks to the introduction of variable tuition fees, the Government has confirmed. Although all full-time undergraduates should be better off in the short term, officials from the Department for Education and Skills said yesterday that the average debt for graduates would rise by about two thirds, to at least £15,000.
The Times , The Guardian

Beleaguered Ulster professor due back at work
Gerry McKenna, who stepped down from his role as vice-chancellor of the University of Ulster following an investigation into his conduct, is due to return to work next week. Yesterday the university remained tight-lipped in the face of continuing questions about what he would actually be doing and whether his £193,454 salary would be reduced for the coming year before his retirement in 2006.
The Guardian

Freshers will give us up, say unions
Glasgow University's plan for a campus-wide smoking ban has been greeted with mixed reactions by students. The university, which will introduce the ban next month ahead of the Scotland-wide ban on smoking in public places next March, is consulting students. Unions fear that pre-empting the nationwide ban will drive students elsewhere, citing a survey suggesting it will lose them up to 35 per cent of trade.
The Times

Bush wants alternatives to Darwinism taught in school
President George W. Bush stirred the debate on the teaching of evolution in schools when he said this week that he supported the teaching of alternative viewpoints - such as the theory of Intelligent Design - to help students "understand what the debate is about". Although Mr Bush did not explicitly endorse the concept of Intelligent Design, which contends that certain features of biological systems are best explained by an "intelligent" cause rather than by natural selection, such influential groups as the National Academy of Sciences strongly oppose the teaching of ID in schools.
Financial Times

Is a child ready to be a student?
With a 14-year-old Chinese boy expected to start at Oxford this autumn, a debate is raging about whether children should go to university at such a young age.
The Independent

Jumping through hoops
The Government relies on it to give funding, but the research assessment exercise is more about playing games than scholarship.
The Independent

Cancer-linked genes identified
Scientists are homing in on four new genes they believe are linked to breast cancer. Tumours with multiple copies of the genes seem to be more aggressive, according to Cancer Research UK scientists at Cambridge University who also report that the group is not found in healthy tissue.
The Guardian , Daily Mail , Daily Telegraph

After Dolly the sheep comes Snuppy the puppy
Scientists have finally broken the hound barrier - they have cloned an Afghan puppy called Snuppy from the skin cells of a three-year-old male hound. The breakthrough ends a seven-year worldwide race to replicate a dog from donor cells using the technique pioneered by British scientists when they cloned Dolly the sheep in 1998.
The Guardian , The Times , Daily Telegraph , The Scotsman

Women are not the only ones who prefer sex in the dark
A study of badgers' mating habits has found that, like many women, they prefer to have sex in the dark. During a new moon, female badgers are "tolerant or indifferent" to the advances of males, but during the darker phase, from the last quarter to the first quarter of the lunar cycle, they are more amorous and mate far more frequently. David Dixon, a biologist who made the discovery, said: "A possible evolutionary driver for this link with the lunar cycle is that badgers spend a long time copulating - 90 minutes or more is not unusual."
Daily Telegraph

 

 

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