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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.
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.
The native peoples of Loreto, in Peru’s Amazon basin, have just ended a month long occupation of 14 oil wells
belonging to the Argentine company Pluspetrol. Negotiations are still
underway between the oil company and various other communities,
represented by the indigenous association Feconaco, writes Dr Marc Brightman (UCL Anthropology) in The Conversation.
11 March 2015
mission that has investigated Saturn since 2004 has revealed much about
the giant planet and its many moons. Perhaps most tantalising is the
discovery that the moon Enceladus is the source of strong geysers
ejecting plumes of water and ice, writes Professor Andrew Coates (UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory) in The Conversation.
10 March 2015
In order to understand the importance of the Murty Classical Library of
India, we should look to the success of the Loeb Classical Library. In
the Anglophone world, without the Loeb Classical Library, and without
series such as the Penguin Classics, the popularity of Homer and Virgil
in schools and universities would be a fraction of what it is today, writes Professor Phiroze Vasunia (UCL Greek & Latin) in NDTV.
9 March 2015
Planning permission has been given for what could become the world’s
largest offshore wind farm on the Dogger Bank, off England’s east coast.
If fully constructed the project will have up to 400 turbines with a
total generation capacity of 2.4 GW. That’s enough to power 1.9 million
households – more than Manchester and Birmingham combined, writes Dr Xavier Lemaire (UCL Energy Institute) in The Conversation.
You probably didn’t realise it, but today is
Commonwealth Day. In fact, it's likely that the vast majority of the 2.2
billion people around the world who call one of the 53 Commonwealth
nations home didn't know either. Fifty years ago - and earlier, as Empire Day - this would have been a
day of celebration for people in Britain, India, Nigeria and many other
places besides. But with every passing year, it seems, the ‘ties that
bind’ Britain and its former colonies together are loosening, writes Professor Henrietta Moore (UCL Institute for Global
Prosperity) in The Independent.
5 March 2015
Only 14% of young women who enter university for the first time chose
science-related fields of study such as engineering, manufacturing and
construction. This is one of the headline findings of a new report
from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development that
examines gender equality in education across 64 countries and
jurisdictions, writes Professor Michael Reiss (UCL Institute of Education) in The Conversation.
4 March 2015
Since the death of Hugo Chávez, Venezuela’s political leadership has moved from charisma to authoritarianism. Support for Chávez’s Bolivarian Revolution has fallen from 65% when the populist leader died to 22% today. The revolution’s erstwhile steward is Nicolás Maduro, Venezuela’s current president and Chávez’s hand-picked successor, writes Dr Marco Aponte-Moreno and Lance Lattig (UCL Management Science & Innovation) in The Conversation.
3 March 2015
Universities sometimes seem to have few political friends — unlike their
debt-laden students. It is not hard to tell why. It is not only that
individuals have the vote and institutions don’t. At times university
leaders give the impression that all they care about is hanging on to
the extra cash that higher fees have generated, even if this means their
graduates face a lifetime of debt and the government has to pick up the
bill for those who never repay their loans in full (and other public
services have to suffer even greater cuts as a result), writes Professor Peter Scott (UCL Institute of Education) in The Guardian.
Over the last five years, schools in England have been granted an
unprecedented level of freedom. An increasing number of state schools
now decide for themselves which children are admitted, the curriculum
they follow, who to appoint to teach it, and how much they will be paid, writes Robert Webster (UCL Institute of Education) in The Conversation.
27 February 2015
“Skunk stole Snow’s soul”, “Just say no, Snow” – these were just some of the headlines this week in response to Jon Snow’s blogpost
and video recounting his experience of smoking ‘skunk’-type cannabis as
part of a scientific study at UCL which
will be shown in a live TV programme – Drugs Live: Cannabis on Trial –
on Channel 4 on March 3. We wanted to answer some of the questions raised by people about the
trial as well as providing some of the wider context about this study,
plus its aims and rationale, writes Professor Valerie Curran (UCL Clinical, Educational & Health Psychology) in the Guardian.
26 February 2015
dialogue has become an integral part of the policymaking process, but
those in power still pay more heed to the technocrats, says Melanie
Smallman (UCL Science & Technology Studies) in Research
25 February 2015
For the past few decades, the world has been worried by the prospect
of running out of oil and gas. How would we fuel our cars, run our
factories, make plastics? Now, says Deutsche Bank, the problem has
shifted. The threat of climate change could mean we need to leave our
fossil fuels in the ground, unburnt, locked away forever, writes Professor Phil
O'Neill (UCL Bartlett School of Planning) in The Herald.
high-flier Rachel Reeves’s boast that, if her party wins the General
Election in May, she will hold a post in Cabinet while taking maternity
leave, made my jaw drop. These
are two incredibly important jobs. By choosing to do them at the same
time she totally negates the value of both. Her desire to ‘have it all’
trumps the well-being of the country and her own children, writes Belinda Brown (UCL Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering) in the Daily Mail.
19 February 2015
In 1945, Alexander Fleming, the scientist who first observed the action
of a new bacteria-fighting substance on a mouldy Petri dish, sounded a
sober note. I imagine it may have clashed uneasily with the gala
occasion: Fleming’s Nobel acceptance speech for co-discovering penicillin, writes Dr Jennifer Rohn (UCL Clinical Physiology) in The Guardian.
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