Today's papers

June 27, 2002

Degrees boost earning power
A university degree can boost earning power by up to £15,000 a year, figures from the Careers Services Unit reveal.
( Guardian, Independent )

Degree of uncertainty
The much-vaunted university qualification may not be the open door to a life of permanent and lucrative work that many students expect. How it’s tough for even the brightest to break into today’s job market.
( Independent )

Students in low-income families may receive cash
University and college students from low-income families could be paid an allowance to help them avoid debt, under radical plans being considered by the government. The allowances would provide a single system of support for all students whether they were at an elite university or a further education college.
( Financial Times )

Oxford professorship plan to honour Iris Murdoch
Two funds were launched last night to honour the novelist Iris Murdoch by helping poor students and by intensifying the fight against Alzheimer’s disease, which killed her. Oxford University announced a £2.5 million appeal to found a professorial chair in old-age psychiatry, while St Anne’s College, where Murdoch was a fellow for 50 years, set out to raise £250,000 for student bursaries and a postgraduate scholarship.
( Guardian)

Northwest’s scholarly revolt
The Northwest has set up the first regional science council. It will champion the region’s interests.
( Financial Times )

Radiation fall-out hit Brit kids
Hundreds of babies in Britain may have suffered abnormalities or died due to the Chernobyl disaster, a new study claims. Statistician John Urquhart from Newcastle  estimates that between 1986 and 1989 at least 200 more children than normal died before their first birthday. He told New Scientist : “We’ve probably been too complacent about the effects of Chernobyl.”
( Daily Mirror )

Why slugs will stop for coffee
Sprinkling coffee grounds around lettuces, marigolds and delphiniums could help to deter snails and slugs. Scientists have discovered that the levels of caffeine found in coffee are enough to repel or even kill a gastropod pest. The findings, reported in Nature , come from a team based at the United States Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Centre in Hawaii.
( Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, Times, Independent, Guardian, Financial Times )

How to feed a king – first, splatte your pyke
Chopped sparrow and roasted swan may not be today’s idea of sophisticated or even acceptable cuisine, but there was a time when such dishes delighted the palates of English aristocracy. The recipes appear in what is thought to be the earliest printed cook book in English, discovered at Longleat House in Wiltshire, home to the Marquess of Bath. A British Library Spokesman yesterday described the book, entitled A Noble Book of Royal Feasts and dating from 1500, as an extraordinary find.
( Daily Telegraph, Independent )

Asthma rate linked to childhood illness
Toddlers who are washed frequently are more likely to develop asthma and eczema, a study by researchers at Bristol University reveals today. The research appears in the Archives of Disease in Childhood .
( Independent, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, Times, Daily Mirror )

Alarm as one in three girls under 16 admits to having sex
A third of girls under 16 are having sex, according to alarming figures given to MPs yesterday. The research on the age of first sexual intercourse was gleaned from anonymous interviews with more than 11,000 16-44 year olds in the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles funded by the Medical Research Council.
( Daily Mail )

Safe sex is sadder
Sex without condoms makes women happier, researchers at New York University claim. Women absorb mood-altering substances in semen such as testosterone and prolactin. The study is published in New Scientist .
( Daily Mirror, Daily Mail )

Magnetic walls may silence mobiles
The problem of inconsiderate diners and theatregoers who refuse to switch off their mobile phones has been solved by Japanese scientists with the development of a material that will silence handsets. The panels of “magnetic wood” are designed by Iwate University in Moriokaare. Experiments by a team led by Hideo Oka and reported today in New Scientist revealed that the sheets can cut the power of electromagnetic signals by 97 per cent, making mobile phone use impossible.
( Times, Daily Mail )

In a sweat to test fabrics
Designers at Hong Kong Polytechnic University have made a dummy that sweats to mimic the effect of human usage on clothes. The £60,000 mannequin will help the development of more comfortable military clothing, sportswear and spacesuits.
( Times, Financial Times )

No link found between breast cancer and Pill
Women who have taken the Pill are no more likely to develop breast cancer between the ages of 35 and 64 than other women of the same age, according to research by the US National Institute of Child Health and Human Development reported in the New England Journal of Medicine .
( Independent, Guardian, Daily Mirror )

Battle of sexes gives clue to low birth weight
A study showing how the genes of a father attempt to gain supremacy within a mother’s womb could explain why some babies are born smaller than others. The findings could have important implications given that low birth weight is linked to higher death rates in newborn babies, a greater chance of mental or physical defects and an increased risk of heart disease or diabetes in later life. The study by Miguel Constancia and colleagues at the Babraham Institute near Cambridge is published in Nature .
( Independent )

Marine robot mimics fish
A navigational aid for robot underwater vehicles uses techniques learnt from fish to let them “feel” their way through water. A team of scientists at the University of Illinois in the US reports in the Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering , published by the UK’s Institute of Physics, that they have succeeded in mimicking a fish’s lateral line system.
( Financial Times )

Device for safer drinking water
A new device for making drinking water safer by removing dangerous contaminants has been patented in the US by the Northwestern University, Illinois.
( Financial Times )

A man of words
The 150th anniversary of the publication of Peter Roget’s Thesaurus .
(Independent )

Is it time to replace A levels with the Bac?
Comment piece by Connor Ryan, former education secretary David Blunkett’s political adviser from 1993-2001.
(Independent )


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