Today's news

October 24, 2005

Library faces higher fee than bars under licensing law
Under the Government's much criticised Licensing Act, the fees levied on the British Library, whose visitors have yet to attract complaints of antisocial behaviour, would far outstrip those to be levelled at Secrets, a bar less than half a mile away. Amid fresh warnings from police about the perils of more late night licences, local government officials are warning that the fees structure may result in rowdy bars facing lower fees than they paid before.
The Guardian

Gene may help doctors identify patients at risk of schizophrenia
Scientists have made a breakthrough in understanding the biological basis of schizophrenia, the most common severe mental illness in Britain. The findings could result in earlier diagnosis in children and young people, and lead to the development of new drugs and better treatment. A study has found that a genetic defect in some people can trigger a dangerous increase in levels of a natural brain chemical called dopamine, which may lead to schizophrenia.
The Independent

Warning on droughts eating up aid to Africa
Droughts in Africa, which may be exacerbated by rising greenhouse gases, threaten to swallow up aid increases agreed at the Gleneagles summit, the president of The Royal Society has warned. In an open letter to ministers, published today, Lord May of Oxford points to new research suggesting that climate change, largely caused by rising greenhouse gas emissions, may have already caused droughts in Africa.
The Guardian , The Independent

'Building in a bag' made for disasters
Two students have invented "a building in a bag" for refugees and relief organisations used to relying on tents for months, or even years, after human disasters. Their Concrete Canvas structure can be put to use as a secure and clean home, storage space or a base for medical treatment and can be erected within a day. Peter Brewin and William Crawford invented the Concrete Canvas while post-graduate students at the Royal College of Art and have set up a company to realise their design.
Daily Telegraph

A mini adventure for world's smallest car
Scientists have constructed a car from a single molecule, complete with chassis, axles and wheels. The world's smallest driving vehicle measures only three to four nanometres across - slightly wider than a strand of DNA. A nanometre is a millionth of a millimetre. By comparison, a human hair measures about 80,000 nanometres in diameter. Scientists built the molecular car to show the potential of "nano" machines.
The Scotsman , The Times

One in three has bought a book just to look intelligent
Books are the new snobbery, according to a survey out today. Social competitiveness about which titles we read has become one of the new mass forces of the era and only middle-aged people are relatively free of it. Driven partly by pressure from incessant literary prize shortlists, more than one in three consumers in London and the south-east admit having bought a book "solely to look intelligent", the YouGov survey says.
The Guardian


From the weekend's papers:

Saturday

  • Chinese students are being put off increasingly expensive degrees at British universities because of the difficulties they face in being able to work for short periods in the country. Financial Times

  • Cambridge University should follow the example of its famous rival, Oxford, and introduce sweeping reforms if it is to remain a world-class university, Lord Patten, chancellor of Oxford, has warned. Financial Times

  • Scottish scientists are attempting to eliminate the threat of bird flu by creating a new breed of chicken that is resistant to the killer virus. Scotsman

Sunday

  • College chiefs have been forced to scrap a training course for new plumbers because they cannot tempt experienced tradesmen away from their £100,000-a-year-jobs to become lecturers. Mail on Sunday

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