Today's news

August 10, 2005

Top-up fees will deter students, survey reveals
Nearly 50 per cent of A-level students would think twice about going on to higher education once the government introduces university top-up fees, it emerged last night. A survey by NatWest bank revealed that 49 per cent of sixth formers said they would be "less inclined" to go on to higher education when the charges are introduced.
The Guardian

Sixth-formers will face more pressure to score 'A' passes
Britain's brightest students will need to achieve A grades in all their A-level exams and coursework to get into top universities. Exam boards will give universities all 18 grades that make up an average three A-levels to help them select students. As each A-level consists of six modules, it means students will be offered provisional places on the most popular courses only if they clock up 18 grade As.
The Independent

Undergraduates rely on cash from family
More parents are digging into their pockets to help their children through university, a report showed yesterday. More than half of undergraduates receive financial help from their families to cope with the cost of their studies, the latest NatWest Student Money Matters survey showed. Parents give regular sums to one in three students to supplement their loans and income from part-time jobs. Another 25 per cent of undergraduates said that their parents sent money “as and when” they needed it.
The Times
 
Library to document mice on ice
A living library containing 20,000 mutant strains of mice is to be set up by European scientists, providing an unprecedented resource to study the genes that contribute to the diseases of human beings. The £9 million initiative, which includes two British teams, promises to transform research into conditions as diverse as motor neuron disease, Down’s syndrome and diabetes by offering fresh insights into their genetic roots.
The Times , The Independent

Don't be a plank. Read this and get really clueful
People appalled by the uglification of English have fresh meat to chew on today with the publication of a new Oxford dictionary. The language of Shakespeare, Milton and Keats has officially taken delivery of a host of new words following their inclusion in the latest single-volume Oxford Dictionary of English . Some of the worst offenders come from the home of dumbed-down English, the United States. They include spendy (expensive), twofer (two items sold for the price of one), cockapoo (a crossbreed derived from cocker spaniel and miniature poodle) and picturize (an alleged verb describing the adaptation of a story for film).
Daily Telegraph

Out of the rainforest, a mouse-sized link to man
The discovery of two new species of mouse lemur that are distant relatives of man's ancestors could help shed light on human origins and evolution. Finding a new species of lemur is rare and its discovery in the eastern rainforest of Madagascar came as a surprise even to the German scientists who made it. "We still have a lot to learn about patterns and causes of biodiversity, even among our closest biological cousins," said Peter Kappeler, one of the team.
Daily Telegraph
 
J'accuse
When it comes to a duel between DePaul university political science professor Norman Finkelstein and Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz over Finkelstein's upcoming book, Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History , gigantic bombast feels like an understatement. It is a row that has spilled on to the pages of most of the nation's prominent newspapers and gone all the way to the desk of California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The Guardian

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