Today's news

August 3, 2006

Media giants lap up Milkround in £20m battle for graduate website
Several media groups are in the running to buy graduate recruitment website Milkround Online for about £20 million. Milkround, which is privately owned, has been in talks with a number of potential buyers during the past few weeks. DMGT, which owns graduate recruitment service Hobsons, is understood to have been considering a bid for Milkround. The publisher is also poised to reveal that it has sold language training company The Study Group to Australian private equity firm Champ for £70 million. Trinity Mirror, which owns a number of recruitment websites, and News Corporation are also thought to be interested in Milkround.
Daily Telegraph

Student complaints to watchdog on increase
Twice as many students complained to a university watchdog about questionable exam marks and shoddy halls of residence in 2005 compared with last year, a new report released today reveals. In its second annual report since its launch in 2003, the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education revealed that students are increasingly questioning their exam results and seeking compensation.
The Guardian , The Times, The Times Higher Education Supplement (August 4)

Poorly educated workforce is drag on UK productivity
The dismal standard of literacy and education in the UK is one of the key reasons that the economy's efficiency has plunged in recent years, according to the chief economist at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The country's productivity may also be suffering because of the City's success in luring some of the best graduates to work in finance rather than manufacturing or research. The observations were made by Jean-Philippe Cotis, chief economist of the Paris-based OECD, at a recent conference in Nottingham.
Daily Telegraph

Student dies on skydive after aircraft crashes
A British student who decided to try sky-diving to help conquer her fear of heights was killed when the aircraft taking her for her debut jump suffered engine failure and crashed. Victoria Delacroix, 22, from Beckenham, southeast London, was one of four passengers who died when the twin-engine plane lost control and hit an electricity pylon before ploughing into the ground near Sullivan, Missouri. Ms Delacroix had just graduated in geography from Derby University and was working at a summer camp for children with disabilities in the US before returning to Britain to apply for an army career.
The Guardian , The Times

Lloyds attacks 'cavalier debtors'
Lloyds TSB's chief executive, Eric Daniels, has launched a stinging attack on the increasingly cavalier attitude of consumers to paying off their debts following the introduction of new bankruptcy laws. Mr Daniels, speaking as Lloyds announced a spike in bad debts at its first-half results, said: "What does a debt mean? Twenty years ago in our parents' generation it was something that people would naturally repay. Today advice is being given to students that the minute they graduate they should default. It is a huge societal change.''
Daily Telegraph , The Times

Eureka! Ancient works by Archimedes rediscovered
A series of previously undiscovered texts by Archimedes, the Greek mathematician, has been revealed. Hidden since the 13th century under religious writings and drawings, the single parchment on which they are written is made from goat skin. It includes seven treatises by Archimedes, who was particularly noted for calculating a value for Pi and for being the first recorded person to conceive of infinity. Will Noel, curator of manuscripts and rare books at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland, and director of the imaging project, described the palimpsest as "the eighth wonder of the world".
The Independent

Having the occasional curry 'could prevent Alzheimer's'
Curry could help improve mental agility and stave off Alzheimer's disease, it was claimed yesterday. Scientists found those who ate the dish as little as once every six months did better in tests than those who had it never or rarely. It is thought that curcumin, the part of the spice turmeric that gives curry its distinctive yellow colour, is responsible for the effects. Although previous studies have suggested curcumin helps ward off Alzheimer's, it was not realised that even small quantities could have an effect. Dr Tze-Pin Ng, from the National University of Singapore, who led the research, told New Scientist magazine it was remarkable 'that apparently one needs only to consume curry once in a while' to improve mental performance.
Daily Mail , New Scientist , The Independent , The Times

Bumblebees get a buzz out of sunbathing, say scientists
Bees like to bask in the warmth too, according to a study that overturns thinking about what motivates them to visit flowers and why blooms are shaped the way they are. In their hunt for their next meal, it has long been thought that bumblebees head for the flowers that contain the most nectar. But as bees need to invest energy in maintaining their body temperature, and to warm up if they are to fly on a cold day, they like to seek out cosy warm flowers in much the same way as humans enjoy a hot drink. The insights into the minds of the insects have come from Lars Chittka, from Queen Mary, University of London, working with Adrian Dyer, Heather Whitney, Sarah Arnold and Beverley Glover, from the University of Cambridge.
Daily Telegraph

Obituary
Professor Wilfrid Butt: pioneering endocrinologist.
The Independent

Letter
Universities are not in the public sector.
Financial Times

Letters
Top-up fees; animation at Lincoln.
The Independent

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