Today's news

July 27, 2006

Oxford to end colleges' freedom to pick students
Oxford colleges are to lose the right they have enjoyed for 800 years to admit the students they want to teach. Instead, they are to be confined to picking applicants from an approved list drawn up by administrators and heads of department. The controversial move to a centralised system is designed to give the university the power to ensure the admission of more students from state schools and poorer backgrounds, as the Government has demanded.
Daily Telegraph , Daily Mail , The Guardian

Academics learn to license inventions
Deals by universities to license their academics' inventions and discoveries to industry have surged by almost 200 per cent, even as the number of spin-out companies has fallen for the third year running, according to a report published yesterday. The shift shows that British universities are becoming more like their US counterparts, according to the report's authors. US universities and colleges have produced fewer companies per research dollar than the UK in recent years but have been far more successful in securing lucrative licensing deals for their innovations and technology.
Financial Times

Attacks by animal rights extremists fall
The number of attacks by animal rights extremists fell sharply during the first half of this year, according to statistics released yesterday by the pharmaceutical industry. There was a significant decline in almost every type of illegal activity, from arson to threatening e-mails. "These figures mark a sea change in the level of attacks and harassment in the UK and substantive progress towards government objectives," said Philip Wright, science director of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry.
Financial Times , The Guardian

EU's stem cell decision sounds alarm bells in Germany
This week's decision to free European Union funds for research on human embryonic stem cells has triggered warnings in Germany that its legislation limiting such experiments could prove as damaging to its science and industry as its failure to legalise genetic engineering until the mid-1990s. Politicians and scientists have called for a review of the 2002 "stem cell law", a compromise that revealed new and profound tensions between Germany's historic quest for scientific excellence and the moral vigilance dictated by its Nazi past.
Financial Times

Graduates find prized jobs are rather boring, says survey
It will come as a surprise to many arts students, and may change attitudes about careers traditionally regarded as dry and dull. Graduates who chose a career in advertising, journalism or the law are more bored with work than contemporaries who opted for banking or accountancy. That, at least, is according to the first official graduate tedium index published today on the government news network. Pollsters interviewed more than 2,000 graduates aged from 21 to 45, and found half said they "often feel bored at work". But there were big differences in the answers from different professions.
The Guardian, Daily Telegraph

No more singing, says Cherie
Cherie Blair admitted yesterday that her daughter Kathryn was not impressed when she sang the Beatles song When I'm Sixty-Four in public. She was on a visit to China with the Prime Minister three years ago when students at Beijing's Tsinghua University asked Tony Blair to sing. He declined but Cherie, who, like the Beatles, was brought up in Liverpool, stepped in with a rendition of the hit. Addressing graduates of Liverpool John Moores University, she said she had not realised that the media were recording her singing.
Daily Telegraph

Scientists in Australia indentify a real 'Nessie'
Australian palaeontologists have discovered two ancient marine reptiles that swam in an inland sea 115 million years ago. The reptiles, named Opallionectes , above, and Umoonasaurus , belonged to the Plesiosaurs group, which included a killer whale-type predator that lived during the Jurassic period, Ben Kear, of the University of Adelaide, said yesterday. Dr Kear, whose team studied 30 opalised fossils, mainly from around the mining town of Coober Pedy, South Australia, said that the long-necked creatures lived in shallow waters.
The Times

All aboard, with a little help from Einstein
As you board your flight, the fabric of space-time is probably the last thing on your mind. But research suggests that by harnessing the maths behind Einstein's theory of relativity, airlines could speed up the arduous process of boarding. According to New Scientist , which reports the research today, it is the first practical application of Einstein's work outside physics. And the researchers are in talks with a major airline which wants to use their ideas.
The Guardian, New Scientist

Letter
Explosive moral choices around stem cell research.
Financial Times

Letters
Fair pay for academics at Leeds.
The Independent

Letters
The animation degree at Lincoln.
The Independent

 

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