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The UCL Media Relations team is the university’s central press
We connect journalists to expert academics and promote UCL
research and teaching throughout the global media.
17 April 2015
Nigel Farage launched Ukip’s 2015 manifesto on Wednesday with a promise
to hack deep into the foreign aid budget. Indeed, the manifesto goes so
far as to suggest that the aid programme is responsible for increasing
the national debt we leave to our children, writes Dr David Hudson (UCL Political Science) in The Guardian.
16 April 2015
Labour’s commitment to controlling immigration had already been made clear by its announcement as one of Labour’s five election pledges. But the party’s manifesto goes further to explain the policies, and how they would be implemented, writes Professor Ian Preston (UCL Economics) in The Conversation.
14 April 2015
Microsoft has announced its intention to hire more autistic people – not
as a charitable enterprise but because, as corporate vice-president
Mary Ellen Smith said: “People with autism bring strengths that we need
at Microsoft.” Employing autistic people makes good business sense, says Dr Anna Remington (UCL Institute of Education) in The Conversation.
Mongolia is hoping a massive dam on its largest river could provide much
needed power and water for the country’s booming mining industry.
However environmental groups are concerned that the hydroelectric power
plant and a related pipeline project will do immeasurable environmental
damage to oldest and deepest freshwater body in the world: Lake Baikal, writes Professor Anson Mackay (UCL Geography) in The Conversation.
13 April 2015
It’s that time of year when everyone and their dog takes a view on the
most important political question of our times: who will sit the Iron
Throne of Westeros? Recently, journalist Paul Mason used Marxism
to explain the game, and others have looked at George R R Martin’s work
through all kinds of lenses. But funnily enough, given the title of the
series, none of them uses game theory, writes Peter Antonioni (UCL Management Science & Innovation) in The Conversation.
Science and research were not at the front of the political debate in
2010. The first coalition government for a generation was cobbled
together in the middle of a global economic recession and a domestic
banking crisis which combined to put public spending under pressure, writes Professor Graeme Reid (Office of the UCL Vice-Provost,
Research) in The Conversation.
8 April 2015
The financial crisis did succeed in creating at least one dynamic new
industry. Since the late 2000s, there has been a massive upsurge in
op-ed pieces, books and even artistic performances offering a critique
of capitalism. A founder member of the Monty Python team, Terry Jones,
is the latest to get in on the act with his documentary Boom, Bust,
Boom. The film makes use of puppetry and animation to argue that
market-based economies are inherently unstable, writes Dr Paul Ormerod (UCL Clinical, Educational &
Health Psychology) in City AM.
Wales has a lower immigrant population
than almost any other region in the UK. Plaid Cymru’s manifesto adopts
an unabashedly positive tone, much more focused on the benefits of
immigration – referring to migrants as “world-class experts and those
who can help run our public services” – compared to what we might expect
from some of the other parties. Unsurprisingly, the need for
immigration policy to recognise the specific needs of Wales is a central
theme, writes Professor Ian Preston (UCL Economics) in The Conversation.
In the 2010 election, higher education acquired a surprising
prominence, notoriety even, as a result of the Liberal Democrats’
position on student fees. What a U-turn that was – from a promise to
abolish fees entirely to acquiescence in a decision to triple them from
£3,000 to £9,000. This time round it looks unlikely there will be the same excitement, writes Professor Peter Scott (UCL Institute of Education) in the Guardian.
1 April 2015
Zero inflation is trending. The consumer price index in the UK was at
the same level in February as it was a year earlier. The reporting of
this figure on the BBC website created some unintended amusement,
however. The drop to zero, we were told, was “sharper than many analysts
had expected”. And what was this expectation? All of 0.1 per cent, writes Dr Paul Ormerod (UCL Clinical, Educational &
Health Psychology) in City AM.
30 March 2015
Last month, the "press office of the province of Nineveh" released a
video that showed Daesh (ISIS) militants destroying statues and other
historic objects in Mosul's central museum. Anyone who loves art will
find it painful to watch the images of destruction, although the images
are tame by the standards of ISIS videos, writes Professor Phiroze Vasunia (UCL Greek & Latin) in NDTV.
The Chip and PIN card payment system has been mandatory in the UK since 2006, but only now is it being slowly introduced in the US. In western Europe more than 96% of card transactions in the last quarter of 2014 used chipped credit or debit cards, compared to just 0.03% in the US, says Dr Steven Murdoch (UCL Computer Science) in The Conversation.
The largest eruption ever recorded, in Indonesia 200 years ago, wreaked
havoc across the world, causing hunger, disease and death for years
afterwards. When a volcanic event on that scale happens again – and it
will – we should be prepared for serious disruption to our climate and
food production, writes Professor Bill McGuire (UCL Earth Sciences) in the Guardian.
27 March 2015
Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie Pitt has revealed in the New York Times
that she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to prevent ovarian
cancer. Two years ago she underwent a double mastectomy and breast
reconstruction after she was found to carry a mutation, or alteration,
on the BRCA1 gene. This was inherited from her mother, who developed
ovarian cancer aged 49, says Dr
Lucy Side (UCL Women's Cancer) in The Conversation.
26 March 2015
Economic statistics are the bane of forecasters’ lives. Cynics might say
that this is because the data reveal how bad their predictions are. But
a big practical problem is that initial estimates of the state of the
economy can be revised substantially, writes Dr Paul Ormerod (UCL Clinical, Educational &
Health Psychology) in City AM.
Research Councils UK (RCUK) has today released the Report of an independent review body on the implementation of its Open Access
policy. It is not a review of Open Access policies and their
implementation in the UK. The Report is quite clear about this – it is a review
of the impacts of the implementation of the RCUK Policy on Open Access for its funded research outputs, writes Professor David Price (Vice-Provost, Research) in Richard Poynder's blog.
“Islamic State cowards have destroyed the Assyrian empire” ran one headline in
the Guardian on March 16. “‘Ancient statues’ destroyed by ISIS in
Mosul were FAKES”, suggested the Daily Mail on the very same
day. The truth is somewhere in between, but it will take many months of
careful analysis to determine exactly how much of northern Iraq’s cultural
heritage has been lost since the invasion in June 2014, writes Professor Eleanor Robson (UCL History) in TLS.
25 March 2015
The French government is backing parliamentary plans to ban unhealthily thin models from catwalks.
Under two proposed amendments to recent health reforms, anyone
employing skinny, undernourished fashion models or “glorifying anorexia”
could face fines of up to €75,000 (US$80,000; £54,000; A$104,000) and a
six-month prison sentence, writes Dr Sarah Jackson (UCL Epidemiology & Public Health) in The Conversation.
The solar eclipse due to cover much of Europe on March 20 will be the
continent’s first for 16 years. Back in 1999, as people stopped staring
at the sun and got back on with their day they caused a power surge which still stands as a UK record – greater than anything after a football match or royal wedding, writes Dr Catalina Spataru (UCL Bartlett School Environment, Energy & Resources) in The Conversation.
24 March 2015
Three years ago, I attended my first race equality training. A pair of warm-hearted, well-meaning liberals gave us a list of words
relating to race, gender, sexuality and class, and asked us to divide
them into three categories: acceptable, unacceptable and not sure. Many of us were, understandably, appalled by this superficial and patronising approach to race equality, writes Adam Elliott-Cooper (UCL Philosophy) in The Voice.
23 March 2015
The International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Bill is on the cusp of becoming law. It
means that 0.7% of the UK's gross national income (GNI) will be
ringfenced for international aid spending. The target will be legally
binding on future governments. This makes Britain the first nation in the G7 to honour a commitment agreed by the United Nations as far back as 1970, writes Professor Henrietta Moore (UCL Institute for Global
Prosperity) for BBC News.
18 March 2015
The quest to identify the bones of Miguel de Cervantes looked bleak in
the summer of 2014. “We’re not going to find Cervantes with a nameplate
on his coffin,” the project’s forensic director, Francisco Etxeberria,
wryly predicted in an interview with Spain’s Agencia EFE in June. But his name on a coffin is not a far cry from what has, in fact, now come to light in Madrid. For researchers have announced that they have found the tomb of Spain’s most famous author, almost 400 years after his death, writes Dr Tyler Fisher (UCL SELCS) in The Conversation.
Cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and stroke, cancers,
diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive
pulmonary disease and asthma are among the leading causes of death
across the world, says Dr Sarah Jackson (UCL Epidemiology & Public Health) in The Conversation.
All eyes will be on George Osborne’s Budget today. An immense amount of
media attention and serious commentary will be devoted to it. But do
Budgets really matter? How much difference would it make if successive
chancellors simply did nothing, apart from indexing various allowances
and benefits in line with inflation, writes Dr Paul Ormerod (UCL Clinical, Educational & Health Psychology) in City AM.
17 March 2015
Given my lack of revision, I didn’t do badly at my O-levels, back in
1975. All were passed, though at grades that would make this year’s Ucas
candidates blush and reappraise their options. My modest success, such
as it was, I owe to an article in Punch magazine on how to puff up your
prose. Never write “etc”, said the journalist, for it makes you look as
if you’ve forgotten what else to say. Instead use “and so forth”, which
hints of a treasury in your head too rich to write down in the available
space, writes Professor Jonathan Wolff (UCL Philosophy) in the Guardian.
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