Today's news

September 7, 2005

Merton College tops Oxford's official league table of degree results
Merton College has come top of the first official league table of degree results published by Oxford University. With a high proportion of first-class and upper-second degrees and no thirds, Merton beat St John's into second place by only 0.1 percentage point in the Norrington table for 2004-05 results. Harris Manchester, with only one first, came in last.
The Financial Times, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph

Britain 'developing brain drain'
British universities are poaching academic talent from developing countries and should consider recruitment restrictions and compensation packages, a report suggests. “The brain drain marks a potentially serious barrier to economic growth, development and poverty reduction,” says the report’s author, Alex Nunn, of Leeds Metropolitan’s Policy Research Institute. The research - commissioned by academic trade unions and the Department for International Development - finds that academic migration is driven by “a complex combination of ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors”.
The Times, The Times Higher Education Supplement (Sept 2)

America offers its Third World scholarships to British students
A third-world American scholarship scheme has been extended to Britain to recruit the brightest students from the poorest backgrounds to study at US universities. The United States Achievers Programme was devised to give Zimbabweans the opportunity to compete for university places in America. Now sixth formers from Lewisham and East Ham, alongside students from Nigeria, Bangladesh and Mongolia, are being urged to apply for places at Harvard and Yale and study for free.
The Times

Simple word tests could help detect onset of Alzheimer's
Regular mental health check-ups using simple tests could be used in the future to spot the early warning signs of dementia and help doctors treat the disease more effectively, an expert in language said yesterday. Professor Andy Ellis, a psychologist at York University, has been studying language problems in people with Alzheimer's disease and has come up with a test which could be used to detect the condition.
The Scotsman

Cannabis joins battle of the bulge
Scientists have unveiled an unlikely weapon in the battle against the bulge: cannabis. More specifically, one of its key ingredients, which has been found to suppress appetite. Anyone who has ever inhaled will know the feeling: an inescapable desire to eat everything in sight, a state called the munchies. It stems from the action of tetrahydrocannabinol, one of the active ingredients in cannabis, on specific appetite-control receptors in the brain. The chemical also causes the body to lay down more fat.
The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph

Why we may grow to like grass power
Power plants fuelled by burning perennial grasses could provide a significant proportion of Britain's electricity needs, scientists said. Impressive yields of elephant grass in recent trials in the United States suggest that the potential of biomass crops as a clean, cheap and renewable energy source may have been underestimated. Under a Government scheme British farmers are to be offered subsidies to grow the 12ft miscanthus giganteus grass and power generators will also receive payments to use it. Construction of a £6.5 million power station in Staffordshire that will burn locally cultivated elephant grass and supply 2,000 homes with electricity will begin next year.
The Daily Telegraph, The Times

Letter
Regarding the penurious plight of research fellows.
The Independent

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