Today's news

August 22, 2005

Baccalaureate better than A-levels, Lord Adonis admits
The schools minister Lord Adonis has acknowledged that the international baccalaureate could be a better option than A-levels for youngsters who want to broaden their studies. His comments were immediately seized on by education leaders as evidence that the Government had been wrong to reject Sir Mike Tomlinson's proposals to replace A-levels with a broader diploma.
The Independent

EU influx 'squeezing out British students'
British youngsters could be squeezed out of universities by an influx of European students, it emerged yesterday. Competition for places has been intensified this year by a surge in applications from the Continent following the expansion of the EU last may to include ten more nations.
Daily Mail

No offers for A-grade girls
Two pupils who each gained three A grades in their A levels have been unsuccessful in their applications to six universities. Rachel Prentice and Varsha Beorge, both 18, who attended King Edward VI Handsworth School in Birmingham, did not receive a single offer to read medicine.
The Times

Plant gene may allay GM fears
A new plant gene identified by scientists could help to allay fears over the safety of genetically modified crops. Research at the University of Tennessee suggests that the naturally antibiotic-resistant gene from the simple thale cress could provide a strong alternative to the way GM plants are created.
The Times

Einstein manuscript found
A Dutch student at Leiden University in the Netherlands has discovered the original manuscript of a key paper by Albert Einstein in the archives of one of the university’s science academies. The paper, Quantum Theory of the Monatomic Ideal Gas, published in 1925, is considered one of Einstein's last breakthroughs.
The Times, The Guardian

Cockney takes on a new sound
The cockney sparrow accent is being chased out of its spiritual home in the East End of London by young people who copy the voices of Bangladeshi immigrants, research has claimed. A study of speech patterns in its heartland around the church of St Mary Le Bow, Cheapside, has found that its replacement is a hybrid of Bangladeshi and British vowels. Sue Fox, a socio-linguist at Queen Mary College, University of London, carried out the research for the BBC Voices project.
Daily Telegraph

Cerebral athletes play mind games
Fed up with sudoku? Why not have a go at decoding (p-n) x 100/(p-1), a formula, which features at this week's Mind Sports Olympiad in Manchester, 11 days of brain-busting fun. Not that the formula is part of any competition; it's simply (!) a way of calculating the number of points scored in the pentamind contest, where p is the number of players and n is a participant's position in any given tournament.
The Guardian

From the weekend's papers:


  • 10,000 university applicants are expected to be turned away this year. The Independent
  • Tuition fee increase forces students to rush for places this year. The Times
  • Women-only colleges have become less popular but still have some supporters. Financial Times


  • Oxford will no longer accept child prodigies. The Observer
  • Higher education expansion has failed to change society as expected. Sunday Telegraph

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