Today's news

September 20, 2006

Lecturers to get counselling helpline
The first dedicated national counselling telephone support line for university and college lecturers is being set up to meet an increased demand for such a service. The College and University Support Network is being established by the Teacher Support Network - a charity that offers a similar service to school teachers - and the lecturers' union the University and College Union. The Teacher Support Network revealed that since 2004 it has been taking calls on its teachers' support line from college and university lecturers and had been in talks with the former lecturers' union Natfhe since 2001 on developing a dedicated service. During 2004, operators dealt with 455 calls from university and college lecturers and 383 calls the following year.
The Guardian

Leading universities see sixfold return on technology transfers
Leading universities that spend money on helping academics turn their research into commercial ventures see a sixfold return on their investment, researchers into the business activities of universities around the world claimed yesterday. The Milken Institute, a US-based think-tank, found that for every $1 spent on staff working in so-called technology transfer offices, the university received more than $6 in income from licensing patents to companies. It also said that for each additional year that such an office operated there was a $228,000 (£121,000) increase in incremental licensing income generated for the university.
The Financial Times

George Lucas donates to California university
" Star Wars " creator George Lucas announced yesterday that his private foundation will give his alma mater, the University of Southern California, $175 million (£93 million) to endow and rebuild its School of Cinematic Arts in what amounts to the largest donation in USC history. The School of Cinematic Arts is the oldest film school in the United States. "I discovered my passion for film and making movies when I was a student at USC in the 1960s, and my experiences there shaped the rest of my career," Lucas said in a statement.
The Scotsman

Celts descended from Spanish fishermen, study finds
Don't tell the locals, but the hordes of British holidaymakers who visited Spain this summer were, in fact, returning to their ancestral home. A team from Oxford University has discovered that the Celts, Britain's indigenous people, are descended from a tribe of Iberian fishermen who crossed the Bay of Biscay 6,000 years ago. DNA analysis reveals they have an almost identical genetic "fingerprint" to the inhabitants of coastal regions of Spain, whose own ancestors migrated north between 4,000 and 5,000BC. The discovery, by Bryan Sykes, professor of human genetics at Oxford University, will herald a change in scientific understanding of Britishness.
The Independent

Seeds come to life after 200 years in a notebook
Botanists have successfully grown plants from seeds that lay hidden in a notebook for more than 200 years. One of the seeds is from an unidentified member of the acacia family and could be from an extinct variety, while others have been identified as Liparia villosa and Leucospermum of the Proteaceae family. The seeds were found in the National Archive, stuffed between the pages of a book that was seized by the Royal Navy in 1804 during the Napoleonic Wars, and passed to the Millennium Seed Bank, at Wakehurst Place, West Sussex. Matthew Daws, of the seedbank, said: “The seed was so old and had been stored in some dubious conditions, including a ship and the Tower of London. Even the toughest cereal seeds should have died after so long.”
The Times

Women prefer thin models - research
Women prefer thin models to those with fuller figures, new research claims. Researchers found that two thirds of women reacted favourably to print advertisements featuring thinner female models. The University of Bath study said those who preferred thinner models thought they were "more elegant, interesting, likeable and pleasant". Less than a third of the 470 female undergraduates questioned reacted favourably to adverts featuring larger models. Professor Brett Martin, from the university's marketing group in the School of Management, said: "This study shows us why using thin models is a successful strategy used by advertising companies."
The Guardian

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