Today's news

March 6, 2007

Wikipedia hit by identity crisis as student admits posing as professor
Wikipedia is facing one of its biggest crises after a twentysomething student from Kentucky posed as a professor of religious studies and made more than 20,000 alterations to controversial topics on the online encyclopedia. Using the pseudonym "Essjay", the bogus professor had become one of Wikipedia's most prolific "editors", trusted to adjudicate on factual disputes and keep the site free from vandalism. He had even featured in an article in the New Yorker , which took his claims to be an expert in canon law at face value. Now he has been unmasked as Ryan Jordan, a 24-year-old who had created an entirely false identity, claiming to be a tenured professor at a private university, but who relied on books such as Catholicism for Dummies when correcting articles on dogma.
The Independent

Sir Tom Farmer named QMU's first chancellor
Kwik-fit founder Sir Tom Farmer has been named the first chancellor of Queen Margaret University. The Edinburgh philanthropist has become the figurehead for Scotland's newest university. He was seen as the ideal candidate having worked with QMU in the past and being a leader in business, a specialist area for the former college. Professor Anthony Cohen, principal and vice chancellor, said: "We will profit also from his brilliance at drawing together individuals and groups from different sectors of society to pursue and achieve their collective goals. We are delighted and honoured that Sir Tom has agreed to become our founding chancellor."
The Scotsman

Secretary, 56, dies in holiday fall
A university secretary has died after falling down stairs at an apartment in Tenerife. Emily Stewart, 56, died at the island's Candelaria Hospital on Friday of her head injuries. Full details are unknown but local police say there are no suspicious circumstances. Ms Stewart, from Carnoustie, had worked at Abertay University in Dundee for more than 30 years, where she was secretary to vice-principal Professor Mike Swanston.
The Mirror

Students best with finances
Students are better at handling their finances than most other bank customers, a survey has claimed. A study by the Bank of Ireland found undergraduates pay off their credit card bills on time and keep their affairs in the black. Just one in five of the bank's student customers has a credit card and one in eight has a loan. Bank marketing manager Nicola Brady said: "Our research clearly debunks the myth there is a growing debt crisis in this segment."
The Mirror

Researchers pour cold water on belief in morning coffee 'caffeine buzz'
Regular coffee drinkers who believe their morning cup gives them a much-needed boost might like to think again. A conference today will hear evidence is growing that the idea an early cup of caffeine-laden coffee gives you a lift is a myth. Peter Rogers, a professor of biological psychology at Bristol University, said all coffee did was ease the symptoms of caffeine withdrawal. During the night, caffeine leaves the body, lowering alertness and mood and degrading performance.
The Scotsman

Epileptic seizures sparked by tooth brushing
Tooth brushing can induce seizures in people with epilepsy, a new case study of three people with the condition has found. “Brushing your teeth is very rhythmic. Our idea is that it causes a rhythmic over-activity in the brain, which feeds back on itself – similar to the effect of strobe lighting on people with photosensitive epilepsy,” says neurologist Wendyl D’Souza of St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, one of the team reporting the cases. Epilepsy occurs when nerve cells in an area of the brain fire more rapidly than usual and in synchrony with one another.
New Scientist

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