Today's news

June 9, 2006

Student protest ends in riot
Greek police fired teargas into a student rally yesterday after it was infiltrated by rioters. A group of hooded youths broke away from a 6,000-strong crowd protesting over education reforms in Athens, authorities said, and began throwing firebombs and smashing banks, stores and cars. Police used teargas to disperse the crowd and detained 42 suspects. Fourteen people were hurt in the clash. Students are protesting over the Government’s plans to end a state monopoly on university education.
The Times

Summer university scheme gets £2m funding
New plans to give every young person in London a chance to participate in summer activities were announced yesterday by Schools Minister Andrew Adonis. The Government has allocated £2 million of new funding to help boroughs and voluntary organisations set up their own summer universities, which will provide for thousands of 11 to 16-year-olds in boroughs across London. The government said it also expects to announce another offer from a charitable foundation that will provide a further funding boost.
The Guardian

University looks for £350m in bid to secure its ranking
Edinburgh University is to launch a massive £350 million fundraising campaign to help secure its place as one of the world's top centres of learning. It will target wealthy former students, major charities and trusts and public bodies to fund specific projects, ranging from student support to new centres. The appeal, known as the Edinburgh Campaign, is due to be launched in October and aims to raise the cash within five years. The university believes it is the biggest fund-raising drive of its kind in the country. It is the brainchild of US fund-raising expert Young P Dawkins III, appointed a year ago as vice-principal in charge of development.
The Scotsman

Man banned from selling fake exam certificates
A British businessman was yesterday given a high court order prohibiting him from selling fake qualification certificates online. Peter Leon Quinn, who calls himself a "designer of impressive authentic-looking certificates", produces the site He has claimed to offer "the largest degree template library available in the world" and has sold certificates for at least £135. Mr Quinn's site offered GCSE and A-level certificates and he has also sold degrees that appeared to come from universities in the UK, the US, Australia and New Zealand.
The Guardian

£195,000 funding is music to the ears of disabled children
A team of Edinburgh professors has been awarded a grant to design the world's first musical instrument able to be played by children with severe disabilities. The device will produce different notes based on the tiniest hand or eye movements. It will work in the same way that a very small movement from someone with a prosthetic limb can be translated into a specific movement. A prototype of the instrument should be available by the end of 2008 and will recreate the sound of the violin.
The Scotsman

Global warming has forced animals to evolve already
Some species of animals are changing genetically in order to adapt to rapid climate change within just a few generations, scientists believe. Smaller animals in particular that can breed quickly, such as squirrels, some birds and insects, are showing signs of evolving new patterns of behaviour to increase their chances of survival. Scientists say that many of the genetic adaptations are to cope with changes in the length of the seasons rather than the absolute increases in summer temperatures.
The Independent, The Times, The Daily Telegraph

Robot sensors go touchy-feely
Robots are one step closer to having a human sense of touch thanks to a thin, flexible film that mimics the sensitivity of a human finger. The device may become useful in the next generation of robots and in automated tools used for microsurgery. Touch is one of the first senses that humans develop, but because of its complexity it has been one of the last to be tackled by robotics. Touch has to relay information about the surface of an object and also the amount of pressure needed in order to grasp it.
Nature, The Times, The Daily Telegraph

Regarding the raw deal for academics.
The Guardian

Harvard is ranked top with good reason.
The Financial Times

Why is Oxford ranked higher than Cambridge?
The Times

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