Monday, October 30, 2006

Red Bull gives you .. ?

500 new energy drinks were launched worldwide this year alone, Red Bull being the number one heavyweight champion of them all.
Thirty-one percent of U.S. teenagers say they drink energy drinks, according to Simmons Research. That represents 7.6 million teens, a jump of almost 3 million in three years.
Nutritionists warn that the drinks, laden with caffeine and sugar, can hook kids on an unhealthy jolt-and-crash cycle. The caffeine comes from multiple sources, making it hard to tell how much the drinks contain. Some have B vitamins, which when taken in megadoses can cause rapid heartbeat, and numbness and tingling in the hands and feet.
But the biggest worry is how some teens use the drinks. Some report downing several cans in a row to get a buzz, and a new study found a surprising number of poison-center calls from young people getting sick from too much caffeine.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Science degree numbers falling

The falling number of traditional science graduates has been masked by a growth in topics such as sports science, says the Royal Society, who also suggested increases in the number of maths and biology degrees were "apparent rather than real".
The Royal Society made the claims after asking government agency the Higher Education Statistics Agency (Hesa) to re-analyse its own figures using different methods. The re-analysis was commissioned as part of a Royal Society report examining the future supply and demand for science, technology and maths graduates. The new figures suggest that the popularity of subjects such a sports science, forensic science and psychology is masking a drop in those taking first degrees in biology. While there had been an increase in graduates taking subjects categorised by Hesa as the "biological sciences", in 2004/5 biology students accounted for just 17% of this group - down from 31% in 1994/5.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Pelican swallows pigeon

Families and tourists in a London park were left shocked when a pelican picked up and swallowed a pigeon. An RSPB spokesman said: "It is almost unheard of for a pelican to eat a bird. Their diet should be strictly fish." Pelicans were introduced into St James's park during King Charles II's reign as a gift from the Russian ambassador.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Safe Drinking

A campaign has been launched to encourage students to drink sensibly. The University of Leicester Students' Union is distributing thousands of cards detailing safe drinking limits and contact numbers for welfare services. The campaign is also supported by city cab firm Highfields Taxis, whose drivers are distributing the cards. Julia Coats, vice-president of welfare at the students' union, said: "We are here to help anyone who needs it, which is why a responsible drinking campaign is important."

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Ancient history?

At the tender age of 77, Hank Reece has fulfilled a lifelong dream and become a university fresher, mixing with students almost 60 years his junior. While many men his age are ready to put their feet up, Hank decided it was time to expand his mind and embarked on a three-year degree course in archaeology and ancient history at the University of Leicester. The grandfather-of-three said: "I didn't think at my age I could go to university but I went to the open day and the tutors were so enthusiastic, there was no looking back."
Hank said: "When I walked in for my first lecture, I thought, 'What the hell am I doing here?' and some students asked me for information, thinking I was the lecturer. I am impressed with the students. With what you hear, I thought they were going to be bad-tempered or rowdy, but actually, they're really polite and friendly."

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Most Popular Degrees

The most popular degree courses in the UK are:
  1. Law
  2. Design Studies
  3. Psychology
  4. Management Studies
  5. Business Studies
  6. Computer Science
  7. English
  8. Medicine
  9. Sports Science
  10. Social Work

Sad, isn't it?

Friday, October 20, 2006

Darwin online

The complete works of Charles Darwin are being published online. The project run by Cambridge University has digitised some 50,000 pages of text and 40,000 images of original publications - all of it searchable.
View them here.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Microbiology for the masses

A microbiologist has won critical acclaim - and prestigious sponsorship - for his on-line podcast. Dr Alan Cann, of the University of Leicester, created a website to cover breaking news in the field in a form which could be easily understood. Latest figures show the podcast has been downloaded by more than 3,000 people a month and the number is growing. It has been praised in Science magazine's NetWatch. The site, called MicrobiologyBytes, has now received a grant from the Society for General Microbiology for the public understanding of science. Dr Cann said: "The aim of MicrogiologyBytes is to bring people the latest news from the forefront of biomedical research in a form that everyone can understand. Obviously, I hope that this will also attract more students to the University of Leicester, but I don't expect that someone who listens to my podcasts in, say, Mexico, will turn up on the doorstop wanting to study for a degree. "It's all about the conversation we should have with the public."

£2m boost for new library

A new university library has received a donation of £2 million from one of Leicestershire's most prominent businessmen. The library, which will be twice the size of the university's existing building, will provide study spaces for 1,500 students and 38km of book shelf space. The building will be named the David Wilson Library and is to be open in time for the university to celebrate its jubilee next academic year.