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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.
21 May 2015
Archaeologists have discovered stone artefacts in Kenya dating back to 3.3m years ago – making them the oldest stone tools yet discovered. The finding pushes back the record of stone tools by 700,000 years. While the tools predate the earliest known representative of our own genus, Homo, it is not yet possible to pin down exactly which species created the tools, writes Dr Matt Pope (UCL Institute of Archaeology) in The Conversation.
19 May 2015
JD Salinger, at the start of his short story Raise High the Roof Beam,
Carpenters, quotes an ancient Chinese tale about the search for a
superlative new horse for Duke Mu of Chin. Chiu-fang Kao is commissioned
for the job and recommends a wonderful black stallion, but describes it
as a dun mare. Naturally, the duke questions his expertise, but
Chiu-fang Kao’s patron replies “Has he really got as far as that? … In
making sure of the essentials he forgets the homely details", writes Professor Jonathan Wolff (UCL Philosophy) in the Guardian.
18 May 2015
Nuclear power has had a makeover. What was once seen as a futuristic
source of limitless energy has been reframed as a response to global
warming, an ideal solution for countries looking for a continuous source
of low-carbon power. But who are these countries, asks Dr Paul Dorfman (UCL Energy Institute) in The Conversation.
It is often believed that hierarchical and sometimes oppressive social
structures like the patriarchy are somehow natural – a reflection of the
law of the jungle. But the social structure of today’s hunter gatherers
suggests that our ancestors were in fact highly egalitarian, even when it came to gender. Their secret? Not living with many relatives, say Dr Lucio Vinicius and Dr Andrea Migliano (both UCL
Anthropology) in The Conversation.
London’s taxi drivers have to pass an exam in which they are asked to
name the shortest route between any two places within six miles of
Charing Cross – an area with more than 60,000 roads. We know from brain scans
that learning “the knowledge” – as the drivers call it - increases the
size of their hippocampi, the part of the brain crucial to spatial
memory, write Francis
Carpenter and Dr Caswell Barry (both UCL Cell & Developmental Biology) in The Conversation.
15 May 2015
The age of enlightenment was a beautiful thing. People cast aside dogma
and authority. They started to think for themselves. Natural science
flourished. Understanding of the natural world increased. The hegemony
of religion slowly declined. Eventually real universities were created
and real democracy developed. The modern world was born, writes Professor David Colquhoun (UCL Neuroscience, Physiology
& Pharmacology) in the Spectator.
Sweden has experienced a dramatic decline
in the international ranking of its schools. Swedish 15-year-olds'
performance on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and
Development-led Programme for International Student Assessment
(PISA) has declined from near the average in 2000 to significantly
below average in 2012, writes Dr Susanne Wiborg (UCL Institute of Education) in The Conversation.
David Cameron has given Michael Gove the task of scrapping the Human Rights Act
and curtailing the role of the European court of human rights. Gove,
the new justice secretary, is probably unaware of how poisonous are the
contents of the chalice passed into his hands. And Cameron wants a draft
bill within the first 100 days of his new government, writes Professor Philippe Sands (UCL Laws) in the Guardian.
14 May 2015
United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura recently announced that his schedule for the U.N.-backed “peace consultations”
in Geneva includes over 40 one-on-one meetings representing an array of
external states, non-jihadist armed factions, opposition groups and
civil society actors with a stake in the Syrian conflict, writes Dr Kristin Bakke (UCL Political Science) in the Washington Post.
13 May 2015
Ananta Bijoy Das,
who was murdered in a brutal roadside machete attack in north-east
Bangladesh, is the third secularist blogger to be killed by Islamist
extremists since February 2015. But this is a less recent development
than it seems. Militant attacks on so-called “atheists” have been
accelerated in Bangladesh since 2013, writes Dr Ashraf Hoque (UCL Anthropology) in The Conversation.
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