Today's news

October 27, 2006

Scientists challenge official science graduate figures
Britain's leading scientists have criticised the Government for publishing figures they say have seriously overstated the true number of graduates with science and maths degrees. Figures from the Government's Higher Education Statistics Agency mask the scale of stagnation and decline in science subjects at university, the Royal Society said yesterday.
The Guardian

Physio graduates face high unemployment
Physiotherapy graduates in Scotland have joined with their English counterparts to lobby the Government for more jobs, after a survey revealed many university-leavers are not able to find employment. The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy says recent indications suggest that Scotland faces very high levels of graduate unemployment in the physiotherapy profession this year. The situation is equally dire in England.
The Guardian

Chilean students to continue protests
Chilean students are to continue anti-government protests, maintaining political pressure for an overhaul of the education system amid calls for President Michelle Bachelet's Government to spend more of the country's copper bonanza on improving public services. A further 291 arrests during clashes between students and police last week came weeks after a month-long strike crippled the world's largest copper mine. Ms Bachelet's approval rating has slumped by 20 points since she took office in March at the head of the centre-left Concertacion coalition.
Financial Times

Talks celebrate union birthday
The University of Edinburgh is hosting a series of debates to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the Treaty of the Union. The university is holding four talks that will look at the origins of the treaty, the consequences of Anglo-Scottish relations, nationalism and devolution and the state of the union today. The talks begin on Wednesday, January 10.
The Scotsman

Easing homeopathy law will put lives in peril, warn doctors
Lives will be put at risk by a new law that allows homeopathic medicines to make 'scientific' claims, leading doctors warned last night. More than 700 medics, scientists and members of the public have signed a statement criticising rules they say make a mockery of conventional medicine. The Government's medicines safety watchdog insists the change will give patients clearer information. But critics fear it gives legitimacy to pills and potions based on 'magic' rather than science.
Daily Mail , The Guardian

Spacecraft to deliver new view of the sun
A pair of spacecraft has blasted off on a mission to provide a 3D view of huge eruptions from the sun that can damage satellites, disrupt electrical and communications systems on Earth and endanger astronauts. The two spacecraft, known as Stereo, for Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory, will provide scientists with the first-ever 3D view of the Sun, and the violent, disruptive behaviour of our local star. The nearly identical satellites will act like a pair of human eyes, each picking up data that will be correlated, with data from observatories on the ground and other Sun probes.
The Times

Mountains caused huge ice age
The rise of the Appalachian mountains may have caused a huge ice age 450 million years ago, a study has found. According to researchers at Ohio State University, the weathering of the mountains pulled carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, causing the opposite of a greenhouse effect - an "icehouse" effect. Scientists have long thought that our current ice age, which began 40 million years ago, was caused by the rise of the Himalayas. This new study, presented this week at the Geological Society of America meeting in Philadelphia, links a much earlier ice age to the uplift of the Appalachians.
Financial Times

Help to keep your brain hot with curry
Eating curry may keep the brain active, a study of elderly Asians suggests. Consumers of curry were found to have sharper brains and better cognitive performance than those who never or seldom ate it. The magic ingredient may be curcumin, found in the curry spice turmeric, which possesses potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, say the authors of the study, led by Tze-Pin Ng from the National University of Singapore.
The Times

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