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The UCL Media Relations team is the university’s central press
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9 December 2013
The recent attack by Lord Sumption, the UK Supreme Court judge, on the Strasbourg court was based on question-begging arguments that failed to address the substance of the issues involved, writes Dr George Letsas, UCL Faculty of Law.
5 November 2013
The evidence is clear: recent waves of immigrants, those who arrived in the UK since 2000, and who have driven the stark increase in the UK’s foreign-born population, have contributed far more in taxes than they received in benefits, write Professor Christian Dustmann and Dr Tommaso Frattini (UCL Economics), in The Conversation.
28 October 2013
A complete hominin cranium found at the archaeological site of Dmanisi shows remarkably primitive morphology, prompting its discoverers to propose that early forms of the genus Homo evolved as a single, highly variable lineage, writes Professor Fred Spoor (UCL Cell and Developmental Biology) in Nature.
21 October 2013
My personal quest for space began at the age of three and it was all because of the magic of The Clangers. These small, wonderful, knitted creatures and their animated adventures captured my heart and my imagination, and with the logic of a child I planned my visit to the Clanger home world. People at that time were telling me excitedly about astronauts who had landed on the moon. So it should be quite easy to get one small child to Clangersville, writes Professor Maggie Aderin-Pocock (UCL Physics & Astronomy) in the Observer.
18 October 2013
Sanity has prevailed in the US, at least temporarily. For now, the threat of America’s first ever debt default has receded. But we may be back in the same territory in early 2014 as the US treasury is only authorised to engage in further borrowing until February, writes Professor Iwan Morgan (UCL Institute of the Americas) in The Conversation.
There was a bit of a spat about my own trade last week. Intelligence, so Michael Gove’s special adviser told us, is due to genetics. Dominic Cummings is convinced that a child’s fate lies in its DNA. That statement, and many like it, shows a fundamental misunderstanding of how biology works, writes Professor Steve Jones (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment) in the Telegraph.
1 October 2013
In 2011 UK Business Secretary Vince Cable lamented that a bunch of "right-wing nutters" was holding the American government and the world economy to ransom by refusing to agree the usually routine increase in America's legal debt limit. World leaders might avoid the blunt description used by Cable but their thoughts are probably very similar. The U.S. is, once again, having another political gunfight over public funding and debt issues, writes Professor Iwan Morgan (UCL Institute of the Americas) in a special for CNN.
Rather than simply tell us what to do, the declaration misses the opportunity to inform the debate on how best to do it, writes Dr Petra Boynton (UCL Medical School) in the Guardian.
30 September 2013
Last week several Greenpeace activists bearing ropes and posters attempted to board Gazprom’s oil platform, the Prirazlomnaya, in the Russian exclusive economic zone. But did they commit a crime under international or Russian law? And was there any legal basis for seizing the Arctic Sunrise, asks Dr Douglas Guilfoyle (UCL Laws), in the Conversation.
26 September 2013
Everything I know about university finance I learned from watching The Sopranos and specifically by following the career of Tony Soprano's nephew, the ambitious Christopher Moltisanti, writes Professor Jonathan Wolff (UCL Philosophy) in the Guardian.
You might think social networks couldn’t possibly gather more information on you than they already do. That in a world where your every move is tagged, flagged and logged, there is nothing more that could possibly be gleaned from your digital footprints. You’d be wrong, writes Dr Matthew Higgs (UCL Statistical Science) in the Conversation.
25 September 2013
Antipsychotic drugs are usually considered to be one of the 20th century’s major medical breakthroughs. They are often believed to be so effective that they brought about the closure of the old mental asylums and enabled the mentally ill to return to the community, writes Dr Joanna Moncrieff (UCL Mental Health Sciences Unit) in The Conversation.
16 September 2013
At a time of much business debate around whether the UK should remain in the European Union (EU), there is one critical area being overlooked regarding the relationship – science, write Dr Mike Galsworthy (UCL Health Services Research) and Michael Browne (UCL European Research and Development) in The Conversation.
9 September 2013
It is Tokyo, after all. It was nearly 6am when a few thousand supporters gathered at Komazawa stadium, one of the key venues for Tokyo’s 1964 games, exploded in celebration as International Olympic Committee Jacques Rogge held up the winning envelope marked “Tokyo 2020". With Madrid ousted at the first round, the Tokyo-Istanbul competition boosted the hopes of the Japanese bidders that eventually took the final vote by a large margin: 60 to 36. Writes Dr Michele Acuto in The Conversation
The tech wars took a major swerve into the leftfield this week. No longer content with updating their phone offerings, companies have come over all James Bond in the hope of hitting upon the next big innovation. While one of the biggest presences in technology busies itself with Google Glass, its rivals are looking to our wrists. Samsung has, in the past few days beaten Apple to be the first to unveil a “smartwatch” and Sony is not far behind. It has worked in this field for some time but is preparing to make its Smartwatch 2 available some time this month in a bid to take on Samsung. Writes Dr Matthew Higgs (UCL Dep of Statistical Science) in The Conversation.
4 September 2013
Tensions in the Middle East rose considerably this morning when Russian radar detected the launch of two rockets in the eastern Mediterranean, triggering alerts across the region. After initially claiming no knowledge, Israel announced it had launched the rockets to test its missile defence system as part of a joint exercise with the US navy. Writes Prof Iwan Morgan (UCL Institute of the Americas) in The Conversation
22 August 2013
Robots represent the cutting edge in science. For decades we have been promised a bright future in which these human-like machines will become so advanced that we won’t be able to tell the difference between them and us. But are technologists really dabbling in the unknown in their work or merely ripping a page out of their favourite sci-fi novel? Writes Kathleen Richardson, in The Conversation.
15 August 2013
Even for a relatively seasoned observer of the antics of government, the recent performance over fracking, crowned by the prime minister’s comments about fracking his backyard, has been a wonder to behold, writes Professor Paul Ekins, UCL Energy Institute, in The Conversation.
30 July 2013
"A constitutional monarch is purely ceremonial and plays no part in politics. But in the UK it isn't quite as simple as that. The first problem is that we have no constitution." Writes Professor David Colquhoun in The Conversation
"While people cheating on their partners is frowned upon in modern society, monogamy among mammals is something of an evolutionary puzzle. Some stick to one sexual partner for a lifetime. That is why the evolution of monogamy among mammals is hotly debated. Two studies published this week, including one I worked on, weigh in on the debate." - Writes Dr Christopher Opie (UCL Anthropology) in The Conversation
25 July 2013
"Is it time for Australia to embrace nuclear energy? Many in Australia would say the answer is a resounding “No!”. After all, Australia is richly endowed with non-nuclear energy resources. But it really depends on what our objectives are for Australia’s energy sector..."writes Professor of Chemical Engineering, Stefaan Simons (UCL Australia) in The Conversation
23 July 2013
In 1994, a crypt containing 242 bodies was discovered in Vác, Hungary. Many of the bodies were naturally mummified, including the remains of a woman, Terézia Hausmann, who died apparently from tuberculosis. Because of the natural preservation of these remains, we could extract and type the DNA from the bacterium,Mycobacterium tuberculosis, that had infected her. This has revealed important information about these bacteria that infected people 200 years ago. - writes Helen Donoghue - UCL Department of Biosciences - in The Conversation
22 July 2013
IS IT the Dragons’ Den effect? Have the fab five made it sexy to be an entrepreneur? Or was it Britain’s favourite businessman, Sir Richard Branson, who started an empire and became the model of a modern British entrepreneur?writes Adrian Furnham, in the Sunday Times (£)
16 July 2013
Italy is changing – but the racist 'joke' made about minister Cécile Kyenge shows why progress is so painfully slow, writes Professor John Foot, UCL Italian, in the Guardian.
15 July 2013
In anticipation of the birth of the Royal baby, Parliament passed the Succession to the Crown Act in April 2013. It provides that in future the eldest child will be next in line of succession, whether it is a girl or a boy. The law will not come into force in time for the Royal birth, but the new baby when born will be next in line, writes Professor Robert Hazell of the UCL Constitution Unit.
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