Today's news

August 1, 2006

Most colleges 'set to sign technology transfer deals'
Most of Britain's top research universities will have signed long-term deals giving companies exclusive access to their discoveries and inventions within the next two years, a leading technology commercialisation company has claimed. Andrew Newland, chief executive of Angle, which specialises in turning high-technology ideas into profitable companies, said he was also looking to export the British strategy of buying stakes in future university discoveries to the US, where it is unheard of. Since the first such deal in 2000 between an investment bank and a leading university chemistry department, 10 institutions have signed agreements allowing "technology transfer" companies to help them commercialise their research.
Financial Times

Digital old boy network takes posh students by storm
As if going to Oxbridge were not enough of a boost to your life chances, a digital version of the old boy network can now help you that bit more. Facebook.com, a social networking website, is sweeping across the servers of Britain's posher universities, assisting students with everything from checking out potential partners to impressing employers. Launched in the US by Harvard roommates in February 2004, Facebook has 7.5 million users, who can register only if they belong to a supported school, college or company. In the UK, 41 universities have joined up so far, but it is proving especially popular at Oxford, Cambridge, University College London and the London School of Economics. Some estimates claim 80 per cent of Oxford students have a Facebook profile.
The Guardian

Latest US newspaper mogul - law student, 25
A 25-year-old New York law student has become Manhattan's youngest media mogul, purchasing the newspaper best known for the Sex and the City columns that inspired the television series. Despite not yet having completed his degree at New York University, Jared Kushner, the son of a wealthy property developer, bought the New York Observer for a reported $10m (£5.35m). The Observer , a weekly launched in 1987 by the investment banker and part-time sculptor Arthur Carter, and printed on pink paper, gained a reputation for gossipy coverage of New York's elites.
The Guardian , The Independent

Oceans teeming with 10 million kinds of microbe, researchers find
The diversity of microbes in the world's oceans may be more than 100 times greater than previously thought, according to scientists working in marine sites near Iceland and elsewhere. The researchers were astonished to find that they had massively underestimated the diversity of single-cell organisms that make up 98 per cent of all life in the oceans. An international team of marine biologists carried out the study with the help of DNA probes which can quickly distinguish between thousands of life forms in a single glass of seawater. Only 5,000 marine microbes have been named and formally described by scientists, but the true number of bacterial species living in the ocean could be between five and ten million, said Mitchell Sogin, director of the Marine Biological Laboratory in Massachusetts.
The Independent , Daily Telegraph , The Mirror

Lakes on Saturn's moon are Titanic
Lakes up to 60 miles long have been discovered on Saturn's giant moon, Titan. Dozens of dark patches are shown in radar images from the Cassini spacecraft, which flew past Titan on 22 July. Scientists believe they are probably frigid lakes of liquid methane, or a combination of methane and ethane. The smallest is 0.6 miles wide, while the largest l is 62 miles long - more than two and a half times times the length of Loch Lomond. Dr Steve Wall, of Nasa said: "This is a big deal. We've now seen a place other than Earth where lakes are present."
The Scotsman

The bog man still looking his best 2,300 years later
For decades it has been a man's privilege to scoff at the lengths to which women will go to make themselves look beautiful. But go back a few thousand years and the male of the species went to extraordinary lengths to look good, it has been revealed. Scientists examining prehistoric bodies found in the peat bogs of Ireland have discovered evidence of careful grooming on male corpses. One of the bodies, dug up in 2003 at Clonycavan, near Dublin, had Mohawk-style hair, held in place with a gel substance. The other, unearthed three months later 25 miles (40km) away in Oldcroghan by workmen, had perfectly manicured fingernails.
The Times

 

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