Today's news

June 28, 2006

'Studentification' report labels latest urban development
Student unions are increasingly appointing volunteering and community officers in a bid to improve relations in cities with ballooning student populations, a demographic shift highlighted in a report released yesterday. Veronica King, vice-president of welfare at the National Union of Students, said the University of Nottingham student union was the latest to appoint a vice-president of community affairs to help prevent bad blood between students and residents. Ms King said: "The welfare officer at Nottingham was spending most of their time 'firefighting', rather than focusing on student welfare."
The Guardian

Young people 'immature because of university'
Young people are becoming increasingly immature because they are staying on so long in higher education, new research has revealed. Some students are left with minds which are effectively 'unfinished' because formal learning now extends well past physical maturity. Dr Bruce Charlton, reader in evolutionary psychiatry at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, claims that increasing numbers of people are suffering from the condition, known as psychological neoteny. Dr Charlton, whose theory features in the journal, Medical Hypotheses , said: "Formal education requires a child-like stance of receptivity to new learning, and cognitive flexibility."
The Daily Mail

Partners wanted in the laboratory of the world
India could soon be known as the laboratory of the world: it churns out 450,000 science and engineering graduates each year and is home to the biggest research pool. This focus on science is one of the reasons that Lord Sainsbury is keen to foster links for British universities. This year, the European Union identified scientific collaboration with India as a “strategic priority”. Joint projects could emerge in IT, climate change, nanotechnology and automotive research. “Twenty-five years ago when a political analyst said India could fall off the map and no one would notice, he was right. Now you cannot ignore India,” R Seshasayee, president of the Confederation of Indian Industry, said yesterday.
The Times

We didn't help with history book, say angry academics
Academics have criticised the author of a controversial study of Mary Queen of Scots for thanking them in print for helping with a book that they said they knew nothing about. David Tweedie, a lawyer and amateur historian, singled out several Scottish historians who he claimed "helped in the writing of this book". But last night several of those listed in the acknowledgements section of David Rizzio and Mary, Queen of Scots: Murder at Holyrood demanded that their names be removed from the book and said their inclusion damaged their reputation.
The Scotsman

Watchful gaze that can keep you honest
A pair of staring eyes fixed upon them makes people more honest, according to a study showing that being selfish is more likely when we think we are not being watched. Psychologists experimented on their unwitting colleagues when they placed a poster with a pair of eyes above an honesty box in their university department's kitchen. They found colleagues were more likely to pay for their coffee and tea when the poster was in place than when it was changed to a picture of flowers. Melissa Bateson, an evolutionary behaviourist at Newcastle University, said: "I and a few colleagues were interested in seeing whether we could use a few ideas that were knocking around to see if we could manipulate people to pay more money."
The Independent, The Times, The Daily Telegraph, New Scientist

Almost half of all Parkinson's cases misdiagnosed
Thousands of people are being misdiagnosed with Parkinson's Disease each year because only 4 per cent of GPs have any expertise in the field, it emerged today. One in five family doctors fail to refer patients suspected of having the disease to a specialist immediately and treat patients themselves, despite the vast majority having little experience of it, a survey from the Parkinson's Disease Society suggests. And their inexperience means that almost half of all cases are misdiagnosed - causing patients to be put on the wrong drugs, and having delays in the correct treatment.
The Guardian

New telescope will hunt dangerous asteroids
A new telescope designed to spot potentially dangerous asteroids has taken its first test images. When it is upgraded with the world's largest camera in 2007, it will be able to find space rocks as small as a few hundred metres wide. The PS1 telescope is the first of four identical instruments in a project called the Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS). It boasts a 1.8-metre mirror and is located in Hawaii, US. It is the first of a new generation of telescopes designed to find small asteroids and comets whose orbits bring them close to that of the Earth.
New Scientist

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