Today's news

August 25, 2005

Demand for science degrees on the rise
The university admissions service, Ucas, today hailed the revival of interest in science subjects as increased numbers of students took up degree places this year. The number of students accepting places for biology has risen by 9.9 per cent to 4,159, chemistry is up 17.3 per cent to 3,039 and physics is up by 11.4 per cent to 2,654, said Ucas. This is against a background increase of 8.6 per cent in the number of home students under the age of 21 who have secured university places, and a 2 per cent fall in numbers of physics A-level entries this summer.
The Guardian

Extremists seek fresh targets close to home
Buoyed by their success in closing Darley Oaks guinea-pig farm, animal rights extremists will now inevitably seek a new cause. Oxford University is the obvious target. Activists who have temporarily stopped the building there of an £18 million research laboratory are expecting their ranks to swell. Police believe, however, that an entirely new campaign focusing on a previously unknown company could also spring up. A police source said that a new offensive against Sequani, a pharmaceutical research company in Ledbury, in Herefordshire, was under surveillance.
The Times, The Financial Times

20,000 places left unfilled at universities
One week after A-level pupils were told they faced a "desperate scramble" for a dwindling number of university places, Ucas, the central admissions service, admitted yesterday that more than 20,000 places were still unfilled at 200 institutions. Of the 114,000 "applicants" supposedly involved in the scramble, just 6,000 had bothered to find a place. With youngsters apparently resisting the Government's efforts to herd everyone who passes two A levels into higher education, courses ranging from accountancy to zoology were still going begging at universities and colleges ranging from Aberdeen to York St John.
The Daily Telegraph

Graduate unemployment higher than national rate
Almost three quarters of last year's graduates have got jobs, but unemployment among this group is higher than the national rate, according to official figures. The survey of a quarter of a million graduates from all over the UK who completed their first degree in 2004 found that 5.9 per cent are unemployed. Government statisticians report that the national unemployment rate, as a percentage of the population that is economically active, has been almost constant at around 4.75 per cent for the past year.
The Guardian

Is this a clever thing to say about women's IQ?
Half the population will dismiss this story, but a study claims that the cleverest people are much more likely to be men than women. Men are more intelligent than women by about five IQ points on average, making them better suited for “tasks of high complexity”, according to the authors of a paper due to be published in the British Journal of Psychology . Genetic differences in intelligence between the sexes helped to explain why many more men than women won Nobel Prizes or became chess grandmasters, the study by Paul Irwing and Professor Richard Lynn concluded.
The Times , The Times Higher Education Supplement (August 26)

Invigilator dies during exam
A business studies exam at the University of Gloucestershire was halted when the invigilator, a former member of staff in his sixties, collapsed and died. The five students who were resitting the exam at the Park Campus in Cheltenham were told that they could submit their papers or take the test again.
The Times

Many embryonic stem cells from one embryo
The age of embryonic stem cells (ESCs) edges closer. Researchers have found a way to create many personalised ESCs from a single embryo, taking us a step closer to doing away with the controversial need for therapeutic cloning. Personalised ESCs, which can repair damaged or diseased tissue in patients while avoiding tissue rejection, can only be produced with a transient "embryo" made by fusing a patient's own cells with human egg cells stripped of their nuclear DNA. But that means destroying a new embryo created for each patient.
New Scientist

Letter
Regarding learning languages and TV subtitles.
The Independent

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