News & Views Index
March 2007



Australian Academy of Science Fires Off Three Media Releases in Quick Succession.    (30/03/07)

     The challenge for the Academy will be to engender an active interest by the federal Coalition and Labor opposition and in the first instance that requires detailed recommendations, but it also requires the federal Cabinet / shadow cabinet to be receptive to the proposals and be prepared to be proactive. [More]


Just Stringing Us Along?    (30/03/07)

     It was a stoush between Columbia University's Brian Greene, one of the principal standard bearers for string theory, and Lawrence Krauss of Case Western Reserve University noted and articulate detractor of it. [More]


Julie Bishop, After Three Months of Inaction, Fobs Off Mathematicians' Plea Onto Assistant.    (28/03/07)

     In a remarkable display of arrogance, even for her, the federal Minister for Education, Science and Training, Julie Bishop, continues to dismiss the pleas of Australia's academic mathematicians  and statisticians to consider the evidence that teaching and research in these disciplines is in crisis at tertiary institutions. [More]


Emeritus Professor Sol Encel: "We Should be Apprehensive About the Dangers of Brain Atrophy" Rather Than Brain Drain.    (26/03/07)

    For the Sunday, March 25 broadcast of the ABC's Ockham's Razor Robyn Williams invited UNSW Emeritus Professor Sol Encel to have his say on matters of greater consequence than arguing if there is or isn't a net draining of Australia's brains? [More]


US Universities Eye the New Educational Frontiers and Pose Mounting Competition for Asian Dollars.    (26/03/07)

    The educational press in the United States is giving increasing attention to the ventures of its universities and colleges into Asia particular China and India for the prepose of gaining immediate income, to be sure, but only in part, they are also looking to the longer term. [More]


An Open Letter to the Prime Minister of Australia.    (22/03/07)

    Why are signatures being collected for this letter?  It is now 3 months since the National Strategic Review of Mathematical Sciences Research in Australia was completed. So far there has been no response from the government. [More]


The Goracle Fronts the US Congress and Struts the World Stage.    (22/03/07)

    "It was part science class, part policy wonk heaven, part politics and all theater as former Vice President Al Gore came to Congress today to insist that global warming constitutes a "planetary emergency” requiring an aggressive federal response." [More]


David Colquhoun Asks, "Why do vice-chancellors allow their universities to award BSc degrees in anti-science?"    (22/03/07) [More]


Canada's Federal Budget for R&D Increases Significantly.    (21/03/07)

    On March 19 Canada's Minister of Finance, Jim Flaherty tabled that nation's 2007-08 budget. [More]


University of Manchester to Dump 400 to Clear  £30m Debt.    (20/03/07)

    The University of Manchester has amassed a £30m debt in the course of the merger between the Victoria Manchester University and the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (Umist) in 2004. [More]


While US House of Representatives' Government Reform Committee Examines Gagging of Federal Scientists, CSIRO Sacks Maarten Stapper.    (20/03/07)

    The New York Times reported today, "Democratic lawmakers released documents today that showed hundreds of instances in which a White House official who was previously an oil industry lobbyist  edited government climate reports to play up uncertainty. [More]


MIT Calls the Shots as it Sees Them, Coalwise.    (16/03/07)

    In 189 pages the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) yesterday published The Future of Coal -- An MIT Interdisciplinary Study. [More]


UK Chancellor to Privatise Student Loans.    (16/03/07)

     Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, in bringing down his 2007 budget will announce the privatisation of student loans worth an estimated £16bn to give him extra funds for education. [More]


What do you think About the French Proposal to Treat Nuclear Energy on Equal Terms with Renewable Energies?    (15/03/07)

    Nature's question to Germany's former Minister for the Environment, Klaus Töpfer. -- His reply? [More]


Let Them Eat Spaghetti -- No Sauce.    (15/03/07)

    It was some time ago, so long ago in fact that Stanford's Edward Tatum had still a few years to wait before he would travel to Stockholm to receive his Nobel Prize. [More]


Beautiful Minds: 100 Years of Nobel Creativity -- the Show Comes to Sydney.    (14/03/07)

    April 18 and "Beautiful Minds: 100 Years of Nobel Creativity" will reach the University of Technology. [More]


Fallout From the Threat of the Government's Implementation of the Research Quality Framework.    (13/03/07)

    The following email was sent around The University of Melbourne this morning. [More]


U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Announces US$168 Million Initiative to Make Solar Technology Affordable for Everyone by 2015.    (13/03/07) [More]


Mr Rudd Tells the Global Foundation a Thing or Two -- If Elected Will He Be Able to Make Good?    (11/03/07)

    The leader of the federal Labor opposition, Kevin Rudd, addressed The Global Foundation in Melbourne this past Thursday. It might be thought to be a public utterance for the Labor Party membership to keep in mind come the party's National Conference toward the end of April. [More]


Comments from Afar to Gladden Ms Bishop's and Mr Howard's Hearts.    (11/03/07)

    The item comes from the March 10, 2007 Detroit News. [More]


The Efficacy of Ethanol as a Petrol Substitute.    (10/03/07)

    Bob Park says to use ethanol makes about as much sense as  generating energy from gravity. [More]


~70% of Full-time University Undergraduates Worked an Average of 14.8 Hours a Week During Second Semester Last Year.    (09/03/07)

    With a federal election just over a half-year away, off hand you wouldn't think this 'd be a vote winning scenario for the regime among generation "debt". [More]


The Effects of Local Particulate Airborne Pollution.    (09/03/07)

    The argument is still heard around the traps that Australia is such a small country that even if per head of population we are one of the planet's biggest polluters, it does really matter. [More]


Science and the Democratically Controlled 110th Congress.    (09/03/07)

     The Journal Science reports the two-month-old Democratically controlled US congress is putting forward what appear to be serious proposals to significantly bolster scientific research. [More]


A Little Light Reading for the Weekend?    (08/03/07)

    Precisely one year after the issuing of the terms of reference by the Treasurer, Peter Costello, and the Minister for Education, Science and Training, Julie Bishop, for the Productivity Commission to perform a research study into the economic, social and environmental returns on public support for science and innovation in Australia, the commission is scheduled to deliver its final report. [More]


Some Thoughts by the Group of Eight on the Review into the Impact of the Higher Education Support Act of 2003 [HESA] on the Higher Education Sector.    (07/03/07)

    One of the trenchant submissions made to the first phase of Ms Bishop's review is from the Group of Eight who have made it publicly available. [More]


Bitter Herbs for the Higher Education Sector.    (07/03/07)

    With John Howard's continued squeeze on Australia's universities their administrations are beginning to look like a cross between subsistence farmers and the Country Women's Association in the ways they're working to chase revenue -- except that the CWA branches are adept at raising funds through their baking contests and cake sales. [More]


Something to Think on For That Coming Election.    (06/03/07)

    It could have been a 245 word "unforgettable speech" but it's part of an opinion piece. Who wrote it? [More]


Oh Did Anyone in Parliament Mention the Current Account Deficit, Even in Passing?    (05/03/07)

    While the media play up the current stoush concerning the relative veracity of the leader of the federal Labor Opposition, Kevin Rudd, vs the leader of the governing Coalition, John Howard, the Australian Bureau of Statistics published on March 2 the nation's current account deficit as of the December 2006 quarter. [More]


Australian IT Academic Named President of Indiana University.    (05/03/07)

Michael McRobbie was a professor in the Institute of Advanced Study at the Australian National University and chief executive officer of the Cooperative Research Center for Advanced Computational Systems before moving to Indiana University in 1997. [More]


University Rankings 2006, Just for the Record.    (05/03/07)

    Overall rankings of universities remain a contentious issue, nevertheless they continue to be a source of interest, and those of research universities published since 2003 by the Institute of Higher Education of Shanghai Jiao Tong University (IHESJTU) are considered by many academics to be the most objective. Ranks according to fields have been included for the first time [More]


South Africa versus Australia; No It's Not the World Cup.    (03/03/07)

    The journal Science reports that Australia will be facing stiff competition to snare the the world's most powerful radio telescope, the Square Kilometre Array. [More]


Britain Cuts Funding for Research Councils 1%, Increases University Funding by 6%.    (01/03/07) [More]


Netherlands' New Research Minister, Molecular Geneticist Ronald Plasterk, Speaks to Nature Who Asked...    (01/03/07)

    What are the key issues for science in the Netherlands, and How can scientific quality be improved? [More]