Today's news

June 21, 2006

College lecturers to be balloted on pay offer
College lecturers will be balloted on an improved pay offer for the next academic year after the University and College Union accepted the employers' latest deal. UCU's further education committee yesterday decided to put the latest pay offer from the Association of Colleges to its members in further education. The offer is a two-stage pay deal where lecturers would be paid 2 per cent from August 1 and receive a further 1 per cent from February 1 next year, delivering an increase of 3 per cent. Lecturers were last month offered a 2.9 per cent increase, but UCU, created from the merger of the lecturers' union Natfhe and the Association of University Teachers, rejected it.
The Guardian

Queen's unveils multimillion-pound investment plan
The governing body at Queen's University, Belfast today backed a £259 million investment plan to fund 140 academic posts, extra bursaries and a new library for the institution. The investment is at the centre of the university's academic plan for the next five years, which was signed off by the senate at Queen's this morning. It includes £189 million for major capital works projects, including a £45 million new library, described as one of the most ambitious building projects in Northern Ireland, due for completion in 2009. A £28 million recruitment programme to attract 140 academics from around the world will also start this week with 45 posts to be advertised.
The Guardian

Dawn chorus for the May ball survivors
Survivors of three of Cambridge University's famously decadent May Balls wobbled home yesterday after a night feasting on champagne, oysters and whole roast hog. To the various strains of a string quartet, salsa band and east London punk group The Rakes, students at Trinity, Clare and Jesus Colleges drank, danced and romanced until after 6am. Those still standing at dawn were fed a full English breakfast at Trinity College ball, traditionally one of the most extravagant of the annual end-of-term 'May Week' celebrations. Students paid more than £200 for a double ticket for the event - officially The First and Third Trinity Boat Club May Ball.
The Daily Telegraph

Let's have a Scottish version of Union flag, says historian
A Scottish historian yesterday called for the country to adopt its own Union flag, different from that flown south of the Border, to reflect separate national identities across the UK. The Union flag, which was designed in 1606, originally flew in Scotland with the cross of St Andrew on top of the cross of St George. It was later altered so the red St George's Cross would dominate the Saltire. Historian David Ross is now demanding that the Scottish Parliament and other buildings where the flag is flown should restore the design with the Saltire on top.
The Scotsman

University in green drive to save energy
Edinburgh University is targeting staff and students in a major energy reduction campaign that aims to slash the university's carbon dioxide emissions. The five-year campaign will involve all staff, students and other users of the university's academic and residential buildings. The target to get everyone to "switch and save" is a reduction in consumption of energy and water by eight per cent over the next academic year.
The Scotsman

Modern lifestyles are bad for fertility
A combination of stress, dieting and exercise can dramatically affect female fertility, research on monkeys suggests. Although stress is known to reduce fertility, researchers now warn that if a woman is also dieting and exercising, the effect could be many times greater. In stressed women, increased levels of a hormone called cortisol block the signal from the brain that tells the ovaries to release eggs, explain Sarah Berga and her colleagues at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia.
Nature, The Times, The Guardian

Bacteria coat offers metal protection
A layer of living bacteria could protect metal structures against corrosion and reduce the environmental damage caused by conventional protective coatings. Researchers at Sheffield Hallam University say a gel containing bacteria could act as an ideal protective barrier for metals exposed to the elements. Metals such as steel and iron corrode when exposed to oxygen and water, a process called chemical oxidation. Some bacteria speed up this corrosion by attaching to the surface of the metal and producing chemicals that accelerate oxidation, such as sulphur.
New Scientist

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