News & Views Index
May 2006



Just When You Thought the International Space Station was a White Elephant.    (31/05/06) [More]


Should Israeli Universities by Boycotted.     (31/05/06)

Reprinted in its entirety is ScienceNow's report of the events that took place on Monday at this year's annual meeting at Blackpool of  Britain's National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education. [More]


"I think what he's saying is that Western schools shouldn't try to inculcate Aboriginal culture into students, that that's a role for parents and elders, and I think that's a very sensible suggestion." Federal Minister for Education. Julie Bishop.    (30/05/06) [More]


Aussie Science Going Third World? Civil Engineer Ted Roach Sees Signs.    (29/05/06)

    The conSCIENCE page in the June issue of Australasian Science is written by civil engineer Ted Roach who "is Managing Director of Roach Industries and has three decades experience in physics research and commercial R&D." [More]


Nuclear Power -- Read the Synopsis and Believe.    (26/05/06)

    If you thought that the Federal Government would make available the full report commissioned from "independent consultant Prof. John Gittus" by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) you may read the following media release from the Minister for Education, Science and Training, Julie Bishop with a wry smile. [More]


Can UK Universities Produce Enough Scientists to Meet Britain's Needs?    (26/05/06)

     The Royal Society has launched a study to "assess whether higher education science and technology at UK universities and colleges will produce enough individuals with the skills to meet the needs of the economy in 2015 and beyond". [More]


Italy's Changing of the Guard May Signal a Boost for Italian Science.    (25/05/06)

    Former Italian leader, Silvio Berlusconi presided over significant squeezing of the country's research sector. [More]


Ms Bishop Brings Quiet Fibrillation to Her Portfolio.    (25/05/06)

    In 2002 the National Party's feckless Peter McGauran was Minister for Science under Brendan Nelson. He was given the task to develop a set of National Research Priorities (NRP) for Australia. Ultimately, after considerable pulling and tugging he brought forth a mouse. [More]


FASTS Issues Its View on the Suggested Debate of a Nuclear Energy Option.    (23/05/06)

    The Federation of Scientific and Technological Societies (FASTS) has issued its response to Prime Minister John Howard's call for a wide-ranging debate on the enrichment and use of nuclear fuel in Australia. [More]


An "Open Mind" Regarding the Use of Nuclear Power in Australia.    (20/05/06)

    On August 10, 2005 last the then Minister for Education, Science and Training, Brendan Nelson, remarked, "We seem to be quite keen about digging [uranium] out of the ground and exporting it to other countries; we might reasonably consider nuclear power as an option for our future." It is unlikely he would have made his remarks had they not been cleared with the Prime Minister. [More]


Further Revelations and Discussion About Homo floresiensis ... those Hobbits).    (19/05/06)

    While paleoanthropologist Robert D. Martin of the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Illinois, and his colleagues continue to challenge that Homo floresiensis was a normal if diminutive primitive hominid, it looks increasing probable that an ancient hominid which traces its origins to H. erectus has been discovered. [More]


The Detritus from Brendan Nelson's Reign as Minister for Education, Science and Training Keeps on Falling.    (17/05/06)

    It really ought not to come as any surprise that the now Minister for Defence who put out three mutually exclusive versions of how Australian soldier Private Jake Kovco was shot and killed, none of which is credible, has left Australia's university system in disarray. [More]


Canada's Province of Ontario Sets Up Review to Determine if its Universities are Providing Quality, Accessible and Accountable Education.    (17/05/06)

    Frank Iacobucci, was an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of Canada from 1991 to 2004. He has now been named to lead a review exploring whether universities are providing quality, accessible and accountable education. [More]


Twenty-five Federation Fellowships Awarded.    (16/05/06)

    The Minister for Education, Science and Training, Julie Bishop, has announced the awarding of 25 Federation Fellowships. Eighteen will go to researchers currently resident in Australia, five are awarded to returning expatriates and  two to foreign nationals. Four of the eighteen residents are receiving their second Federation Fellowship. [More]


A Lesson from the French University System?    (16/05/06)

    There is persistent evidence that the French university system is dysfunctional and so far there is scant evidence that it is going to change anytime soon. [More]


From Bob Park's What's New.    (13/05/06)

    Space: The Only Thing in NASA that Still Goes Up is the Cost. [More]


In Canada the Times, They Are a Changing.     (12/05/06)

    After a thirteen year stint on the opposition benches in January Canadians voted in a Conservative Government led by Stephen Harper who laments the current dire lack of a sound plan for investing in science. [More]


Royal Society Publishes Advice on Communicating the Results of New Scientific Research to the Public.    (12/05/06)

    "...the timely and appropriate communication of research results to the public is key to maintaining public confidence." [More]


Beazley's Budget "Right of Reply" Makes Cursory Mention of Universities and Research.    (12/05/06)

    The leader of the Federal Labor Party opposition in his budget reply last night focused on making a "pact with middle Australia". He guaranteed,  "what you put in, you get out". [More]


Pin a Leather Medal on the Treasurer.    (11/05/06)

    Yesterday morning the ABC's Fran Kelly asked the Federal Treasurer, Peter Costello, why no new money for higher education. [More]


U.S. Climate Change Science Program: Clear Evidence of Human Influences on the Climate System.    (11/05/06)

    On May 2 the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) issued the first of 21 reports with findings that improve technical knowledge about climate change and human influences on temperature trends. [More]


Media Releases Regarding R&D and Higher Education from the Department of Education, Science and Training.    (10/05/06)

    A set of links to media release made by the Minister for Education, Science and Training, Julie Bishop, referring to the effect of the 2006/07 Budget on higher education, research and development. [More]


Mt Stromlo 3.4-Years On.    (08/05/06)

    On January 18, 2003 the bush fires that were destroying thousands of hectares of the Australian Capitol Territory climbed Mt. Stromlo and decimated the mountaintop observatory maintained by the Australia National University's (ANU) Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics (RSAA). [More]


US Industry's Support for Universities' Research Declines.    (07/05/06)

    Industrial funding for U.S. academic research, which for the past two decades had been on the increase, has now gone into decline according to a four page report from the US National Science Foundation. [More]


Debate Over Scrapping of UK Research Assessment Exercise Continues.    (07/05/06)

    The scrapping of the UK's Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), on which Australia's proposed Research Quality Framework (RQF) is based, has become the subject of critical debate. [More]


Top US Scientists Publicly Condemn Their Government's Disdain for International Law.    (07/05/06)

    Nineteen members of the US National Academy of Sciences had a short letter published in The New York Times On April 30. [More]


ANU Vice-Chancellor Declares RQF Flawed Beyond Resuscitation.    (05/05/06)

        At a recent postgraduate research conference in Glenelg, South Australia, the Australian National University's Vice-Chancellor, Ian Chubb told delegates the federal Government's proposed research quality framework (RQF) is so flawed it cannot be relied on to prudently redistribute resources. [More]


You Sure You Got It Right? "Govt to Boost Research at Universities".    (05/05/06)

    Yesterday early afternoon the aap sent out an item which presumably is based on a deliberate budget leak. [More]


We Seek Them Here, We Seek Them There, We Seek Those Mathematicians Everywhere.    (04/05/06)

    We (and others) have mentioned that Australian mathematicians are disappearing, virtually before our eyes. But is it really the case. [More]


The January Elected Canadian Government Gags Climatologist.    (04/05/06)

    Really it's old news, goes back to the middle of April but it gained international attention when The New York Times picked up the story a couple of days ago. Mark Tushingham a climatologist at Environment Canada has written a science fiction novel called Hotter Than Hell. [More]