Today's news

October 12, 2005

Threats posted to Oxford lab contractors
Building and decorating firms have been sent threatening letters believed to be from animal rights activists warning them not to work for Oxford University. Thames Valley police said it knew of 18 anonymous letters which tell contractors they will be targeted by the militant Animal Liberation Front group if they undertake work for the university. Oxford University is currently building new research laboratories where tests on animals will be carried out. Detectives believe it is likely other people may have also been targeted, but chose not to report the letter to the police.
The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph

University gunman spared jail
A university executive who took pot-shots with an air rifle in a Glasgow park was fined yesterday. Adam Taylor, Strathclyde University’s director of marketing and communications, repeatedly fired at bushes in Kelvingrove Park. Taylor, 38, of Woodside Terrace, Glasgow, who had pleaded guilty to discharging an air rifle to the danger of others, was fined £750 at Glasgow Sheriff Court. Sheriff Craig Henry told him: “This case is entirely lacking of an explanation why a man of your age, education and obvious intelligence should find himself at 3am firing an air gun at bushes in a public park. I have to recognise there is a great deal more to this episode than has been discovered.”
The Times

University off to flying start
A team of experts from Napier University has beaten off strong national competition to develop an online educational programme for the NHS. Flying Start NHS will help newly-qualified nurses, midwives and health professionals to develop their skills and roles in shared learning experience across the professions.
The Scotsman

Anti-ageism threat to student job fairs
The traditional "milk round" of student recruitment fairs could become illegal next year under planned legislation designed to combat ageism, employers fear. The industry group for information technology staffing has warned its members that marketing job vacancies to recent university graduates or undergraduates through stalls at student careers fairs or advertisements in young people's media could fall foul of laws that will come into force next autumn, if passed by parliament. The Association of Graduate Recruiters said its 620 member organisations faced similar concerns.
The Financial Times

Jurassic Park velociraptor not quite so scary after all
Research suggests that a star of the Jurassic Park films was not as vicious as it has previously been portrayed. Scientists at the University of Manchester and the Natural History Museum carried out a study into the workings of the enormous foot claw found on the small meat-eating velociraptor and deinonychus. Using a scientifically accurate robotic limb, the study, published today in Biology Letters , found that instead of slicing through flesh and disembowelling prey, as previously thought, the dinosaur primarily used its foot claw as a tool to hold on to its victims before using its teeth.
The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian

Doctors seek key to regrowing limbs
A study has been launched to see if humans can mimic amphibians - particularly the salamander - and regenerate lost limbs and organs. Dr Enrique Amaya was appointed Britain's first Professor of Tissue Regeneration to lead a £10 million initiative at Manchester University, partly funded by the Healing Foundation charity. Salamanders were inspirational, he said, because they could regrow limbs, tail, spinal cord, gills, parts of the brain, retinas, irises, jaw and parts of the heart. During salamander regeneration, specialised cells "de-differentiate" to form "blastema" cells that can rebuild a limb or organ.
The Daily Telegraph, The Times

New centre for deafness research
A new centre is to open in London in the new year, bringing together the previously disparate fields of research into deafness and communication. The Deafness, Cognition and Language Research Centre will be based at University College London and will be funded by a £4.5 million grant from the Economic and Social Research Council, it was announced yesterday.
The Guardian

Rural life 'good for lungs'
Country living is good for your lungs, according to a new study. Researchers from Aberdeen University questioned 1,000 people in rural areas of Scotland and 1,500 city dwellers about their respiratory health. The results, published in the medical journal Chest, found the prevalence of any lung illness was 28 per cent lower among country folk than city residents. Dr Jennifer Cleland, lecturer at the university's school of medicine, said city dwellers may be exposed to more "irritant factors" such as poor housing and more pollution.
The Scotsman

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