Today's news

December 12, 2006

Iran students denounce Holocaust denial
Dozens of Iranian students burnt pictures of President Ahmadinejad and chanted “Death to the dictator” as he gave a speech at a university in Tehran yesterday. Never has the hardline leader faced such open hostility at a public event, which came as Iran opened a conference questioning whether Nazi Germany murdered six million Jews. One student activist said that the protest was against the “shameful” Holocaust conference and the “fact that many activists have not been allowed to attend university”. The conference “has brought to our country Nazis and racists from around the world”, he added. Mr Ahmadinejad responded by saying: “Everyone should know that Ahmadinejad is prepared to be burnt in the path of true freedom, independence and justice,” according to an Iranian students’ news agency.
The Times, The Guardian, The Independent

Google, eat your heart out
Academics, researchers and students searching for obscure reference material can now access a powerful new online tool. Intute is an academic search engine that can track down books, journals or research materials from university libraries and collections across the UK. Launched this summer by universities and colleges' broadband developer Jisc, Intute has established a reputation as higher education's answer to Google. It's available on university virtual learning environments and virtual research environments and is compatible with the UK's most popular academic platforms Moodle and Blackboard. It also comes with a virtual training suite that provides free internet tutorials to enable students to get the best from the web in education and research.
The Guardian

US universities seek delay on new law
Three universities asked a federal court in Detroit yesterday to delay a new state ban on public affirmative action programmes until after this year's admissions and financial aid cycles. The University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Wayne State University want to complete their annual admissions and financial aid cycles using the standards that were in effect when the process began earlier this year. The voter-approved initiative to ban the use of race and gender preferences in university admissions and government hiring is to take effect from December 23.
The Guardian

Pill offers release from hay fever misery for millions of sufferers
More than 1 million hay fever sufferers could benefit from a new drug that will be available on prescription next month. Grazax, taken as a pill, provides immunity to the allergens contained in grass pollens and has had an 83 per cent success rate in tests. Allergy researchers believe it will provide relief for hay fever sufferers who find antihistamines and nasal sprays ineffective. Stephen Durham, of Imperial College London, who is investigating the long-term benefits of the drug, said: “It’s been shown to be associated with a 30 per cent reduction of hay fever symptoms and a 40 per cent reduction in the need for other medications, such as nasal sprays.“
The Times

Army has its eye on invention that can 'see' through camouflage
The Army is testing technology developed by an Edinburgh scientist that allows soldiers to distinguish the world's best camouflage from real foliage and spot buried landmines. The video camera-style machines created by Andy Harvey, a senior lecturer in electrical engineering at Heriot-Watt University, can identify 30 times more colours than it is possible to detect with the human eye. The military believes the invention may help them spot hidden enemy outposts, tell enemy soldiers from allies and spot small disturbances in the grass where landmines have been buried. Medics are also keen to test the "image replicating imaging spectrometer" as a possible tool for saving patients' sight.
The Scotsman

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