Today's news

October 18, 2006

Plagiarism 'is fault of indulgent lecturers'
Plagiarism and cheating by today’s cut-and-paste generation of university students will never be stamped out unless lecturers stop spoon-feeding them a diet of handouts and PowerPoint presentations, a leading academic said. Baroness Deech, head of the students’ complaints watchdog, said that the way in which education was now “packaged and delivered” just like any other product had dulled students’ sense of inquiry and spirit of adventure. One consequence was that they were more tempted than previous generations to cut and paste work from the internet and pass it off as their own, rather than to explore and find their own answers to questions.
The Times, The Independent, The Financial Times

Muslim radicals to justify violence at student debate
Islamists will seek to justify the use of violence at a debate this week organised by students at Trinity College Dublin. They will be opposed by moderate Muslims, including the Turkish ambassador to Ireland, at an event organised by the Philosophical Society on Thursday. In an atmosphere where the UK government is seeking to clamp down on signs of extremism on campus the debate is guaranteed massive media interest. The Trinity students have invited Anjem Choudary, a former spokesman for Al-Mahajiroun, to participate and make the case for violence. He will be joined by Sulayman Keeler, of al-Ghurabaa, Omar Brooks, religious leader of the Saviour Sect Islamist group, and Mohammed Shamsuddin.
The Guardian

Ruskin chief says Labour approach to education is too focused on jobs
The Government risks causing irrevocable damage to education for the most disadvantaged adults by focusing on basic skills for work rather than wider learning, the head of an Oxford college has warned. Professor Audrey Mullender, principal of Ruskin College, accused New Labour of pushing a dangerously narrow employer-driven agenda. She said the wider role of education was in danger of being "lost in this country forever". The academic's college is hosting a major debate today to mark the 30th anniversary of an historic speech by the then prime minister, James Callaghan, credited by many to have changed the course of education policy.
The Independent

Green taxes on air travel 'would boost the economy'
Imposing green taxes on flights would actually benefit the economy because they would encourage people to take holidays in Britain rather than spending their money abroad, according to a report by Oxford University. The authors studied the impact of the drop in demand for air travel after the September 11 terrorist attacks, and found that the British economy was boosted by a £555 million net increase in tourism spending. As people shunned flying, the reduction in overseas visitors coming to Britain was more than outweighed by the rise in domestic tourism. Domestic spending rose by £1.678 billion while spending by overseas tourists fell by £1.123 billion.
The Times

Study links pollutants to rise in breast cancer
Chemical pollutants in the environment could be one driver behind the soaring rates of breast cancer, a report has claimed. Changes in lifestyle have been blamed for an 81 per cent increase in the incidence of the disease in Britain since the early 1970s but the role of chemicals has been neglected, it says. In the report for the World Wildlife Fund for Nature, Andreas Kortenkamp, from London University's School of Pharmacy, says exposure to pollutants used in the manufacture of products from plastics to cosmetics has a known "endocrine disrupting" effect.
The Independent

Museum offers fear and nausea in the name of science
A week after the German artist Carsten Holler's installation of five slides was unveiled in the turbine hall of Tate Modern, the Science Museum began a mission to advance its cause, apparently by inducing fear and nausea in paying members of the public. For each of the next three weeks, a fairground ride will be set up in the grounds of the museum's Dana Centre as part of a project to explain and enhance humanity's desire to recreate the adrenalin rushes of its early ancestors using technology. Tuvi Orbach, who designed the technology in conjunction with University College London Medical School, said: "It is typical for the heart beat to rapidly increase but what is interesting is the way we deal with stress."
The Independent

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