Today's news

October 25, 2005

UK academic gives evidence in intelligent design case
A British academic told a US federal court yesterday that the theory of intelligent design is a scientific rather than a religious concept that should be taught to children in American schools. Steve Fuller, a professor of sociology at the University of Warwick, said that the theory - which maintains that life on Earth was designed by an unidentified intelligent force - is a valid scientific one because it has been used to describe biological phenomena.
The Guardian

Protests at Yale over sacking of rebel professor
An anarchist anthropology professor described as one of the brightest minds in his field has become a cause célèbre for student union activists at Yale after the university decided not to renew his contract. The treatment of David Graeber, who belongs to the Industrial Workers of the World union and has been arrested during anti-globalisation protests, has sparked a letter-writing campaign from professors around the world, while more than 4,000 people have signed an online petition accusing the Ivy League university of letting politics influence the hiring of staff.
The Guardian

UK university ethics under fire
Campaigners have “named and shamed” 67 UK universities as “substantial” investors in the arms trade. Maximising investment returns may top university agendas, but Campaign Against Arms Trade argues that these institutions need to consider their image, particularly with overseas students, because they are funding “a trade that fuels international tensions”. The group made the revelations courtesy of the Freedom of Information Act and expects the data to subject universities to closer public scrutiny than ever before, CAAT says.
The Times, The Times Higher Education Supplement (Oct 21)

Cutting strips off diversity
There was a time when widening participation in education seemed to be high on the Government’s big list of priorities. But budget cuts to a key initiative suggests that enthusiasm for improving access to universities is on the wane. Funding to Aimhigher, a nationwide scheme to encourage non-traditional students to apply to university, is being cut by nearly 23 per cent, from more than £97 million this year to £75 million in 2007-08. Some London universities will be “stripped” of a quarter of the money they now receive.
The Times, The Times Higher Education Supplement (Oct 21)

Fees plan 'bad for medical studies'
Medical training will be damaged by plans to make graduate students pay their fees upfront, heads of medical schools and the British Medical Association has warned. From next year, when annual fees for medical school places are expected to jump to £3,000, first-time undergraduates will not have to pay until they start earning. Graduates, however, will still have to pay upfront. That will threaten the drive to get people from a wider social group into the medical profession, the medical schools say. A quarter of medical students are now mature students, many with previous degrees, while 780 of those taking the new intensive four-year courses are graduates.
The Financial Times

Ad campaign opts for the withdrawal method
Students withdrawing cash at ATMs to fund a night on the razz are about to get more than they bargain for - an advert warning them not to drink too much. An alliance between the brewer Carling and the National Union of Students has led to Britain's best-selling lager creating an advert that will appear from today on university ATM's as students withdraw cash.
The Guardian

Be still my beating heart: Viagra may help there too
Viagra, the most popular anti-impotence drug, may not only help the sex life, but also stress levels, research suggests. A US study of the effects of sildenafil citrate, better known by its brand name, Viagra, has shown that it halves stress- related damage to the heart. Scientists at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, found that the drug softened the pounding heartbeat caused by high stress.
The Times, Daily Telegraph

Burial site find in Iron Age dig
Archaeologists on a Scottish island have discovered a burial site more than 2000 years old. The site at Sand Wick on Unst, Shetland's most northerly isle, thought to date back to the Iron Age, had already been badly eroded by the sea when experts began their work in August. However, archaeologists from Glasgow University, the Scottish Coastal Archaeology and the Problems of Erosion Trust and volunteers managed to rescue artefacts and a skeleton. The team also found hundreds of shreds of pottery, limpet shells and animal bones left over from ancient meals.
The Scotsman

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