Thursday, December 29, 2005

Diet, CSIRO, Nature and Funding

An article on the latest issue of Nature (December 22, 2005, refers to a diet book published by Australian researchers working in Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). ...continues here!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Spy Court Judge Quits In Protest

People who honour their title.

A federal judge has resigned from the court that oversees government surveillance in intelligence cases in protest of President Bush's secret authorization of a domestic spying program, according to two sources.

Two associates familiar with his decision said yesterday that Robertson privately expressed deep concern that the warrantless surveillance program authorized by the president in 2001 was legally questionable and may have tainted the FISA court's work.

Google, Microsoft and Sun fund new UC Berkeley Internet research center

An excellent example of how a top public University can cooperate with top industries to promote research with the interest of the public in mind. ...continues here!

Joint statement by the presidents of the top nine US Universities on gender equity in higher education

The following statement by the leaders of the top 9 research institutions in the US shows that they don’t put all of their efforts on research but they care also for a wider range of social issues. (Women receive half the doctorates in the United States but just a quarter of them are professors). ...continues here!

UC Berkeley Library Collection Hits 10-Million Mark

The University Library has acquired its 10-millionth volume this fall, bringing to the university a range of literary curiosities from ancient Egyptian papyri to a collection on the Swiss Enlightenment.

Many of the ten representative items, including a signed letter from Father Junipero Serra, were donated, but a few were purchased in the six-figure range through donor contributions, Leonard said. ...continues here!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

NSA Eavesdropping Wider Than W.House Admitted

We learn more everyday…Data mining in action!

The volume of information gathered from telephone and Internet communications by the National Security Agency without court-approved warrants was much larger than the White House has acknowledged, The New York Times reported on Saturday. ...continues here!

Evangelicals plan to ban presents

Conservative religious leaders are flexing their muscles…

Conservative religious leaders are so pleased with their campaign against the "war on Christmas" that they're going to rev it up next year. ...continues here!

S Korea cloning research was fake

The controversy surrounding Professor’s Hwang Woo-Suk research that led to his resignation, raises an issue on which I have very strong views: The issue of the availability of the data on which various scientific claims are based. ...continues here!

Friday, December 23, 2005

U-wide warrant over 'CIA kidnap'

An Italian court –and not any of the European governments- is trying to set the record straight. In Greece, the minister of homeland security still insists that nothing happened…
...continues here!

EU vs. Microsoft

Is this an indication that Europe is doing well in the consumer protection front or the trade conflict between Europe and the US has reached a new level?
In Short: Computer giant Microsoft risks having daily fines imposed on it if it fails to fully implement a European Commission decision on code sharing.
...continues here!

'Voting error' gave London Games

What are the implications of a “voting error”? Well, it could be the presidential race in the US. It could also be the nomination of the city to organize the Olympics of 2012, as the following news item indicates. ...continues here!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Judge Rules Against 'Intelligent Design'

The following piece of news (from today’s San Francisco Chronicle), gives some hope to the scientific community (and not only).

"Intelligent design" cannot be mentioned in biology classes in a Pennsylvania public school district, a federal judge said Tuesday, ruling in one of the biggest courtroom clashes on evolution since the 1925 Scopes trial. ...continues here!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Are secular universities discriminating against religious schools?

An article in the Economist (Dec. 14, 2005) about the culture war
between the U of California and religious schools. The implications are far reaching.

Swiss hospital to allow suicide

An indication of a “mature” society.
A hospital in Lausanne becomes the first to allow assisted suicide for terminally-ill patients. (

Saturday, December 17, 2005

School Reform in the UK

The argument goes on. The deputy prime minister of the UK John Prescott has spoken again, against the white paper in an interview with the Sunday Telegraph. (Sunday, 18 December 2005). Interestingly, in the same interview, he attacks the Eton "Mafia" running the Conservative Party. ...continues here!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Are secular universities discriminating against religious schools?

The "Economist" published a very interesting article on December 14, about the argument between the Univeristy of California and the association of Christian Schools in the US, regarding the admission procedures of the UC with reference to the teaching of non- scientific material in christian schools. ...continues here!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Latin America faces year of change

Interesting times for Latin America

Twelve presidential elections are due to take place in Latin America between November 2005 and the end of 2006. They include seven of the region's eight most populous countries: Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, Chile and Ecuador. ...continues here!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Sunday, November 20, 2005

George Papandreou Next President of Socialist International

This is a piece of news that made me very happy and proud.

Having known G. Papandreou as a politician and as a person for almost 30 years, I consider this as an international recognition of his political agenda. George is not a conventional Greek politician and certain Greek political “experts” doubt his ability as a leader. I hope that his election in January as the President of the Socialist International will make a lot of them reconsider their views. ...continues here!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Open access to scientific books

The following opens new avenues to free access to scientific books. Luc Devroye should be congratulated for it! (Visit his web page for more. )

...continues here!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

The net and mobile phones are giving us the power to change politics for the better

This is an interesting opinion.

Mociology refers to how mobile and wireless technology has changed the way we do things: downloading music on to a mobile phone, for example, or getting the football scores texted through on a Saturday afternoon. To Trippi, however, its potential lies in how it can be used for political purposes - just as he saw and exploited the possibilities of blogs for political campaigning while running Howard Dean's unsuccessful bid for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination. ...continues here!

Caution over HIV 'cure' claims

Doctors say they want to investigate the case of a British man with HIV who apparently became clear of the virus. Scotsman Andrew Stimpson, 25 was diagnosed HIV-positive in 2002 but was found to be negative in October 2003. Mr Stimpson, from London, said he was "one of the luckiest people alive".

Chelsea and Westminster Healthcare NHS Trust confirmed the tests were accurate but were unable to confirm Mr Stimpson's cure because he had declined to undergo further tests. A statement from the trust said: "This is a rare and complex case. When we became aware of Mr Stimpson's HIV negative test results we offered him further tests to help us investigate and find an explanation for the different results.

Bacteria modified to combat HIV

Scientists have genetically modified bacteria living in the human body to produce chemicals that block HIV infection. Although the research is still at an early stage, they hope it could eventually lead to a practical and cost effective new way to combat the virus. As of December 2004, there are 39.4 million people living with HIV/AIDS. The research, by the US National Cancer Institute, is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Most HIV transmission occurs on the surfaces of the gut and reproductive areas which are normally coated with a layer of bacteria. The researchers modified one of these bacteria - a form of E.coli - so that it began to secrete proteins that block HIV from infecting its target cells.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Private Education: Is it worth the money?

The other side of the story. Not everything is rosy.

Sunday November 13, 2005
The Observer

There are as many different accounts of private schools as there are children who went to them. ...continues here!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

O'Reilly on open source software.

The BBC web site has a very interesting interview with O’Reilly. Some of it follows. (For the full article go to the link at the end).

Tim O'Reilly: Proprietary software grew up, starting really in the 1980s, as an alternative and that became the dominant model with the rise of companies like Microsoft and Oracle and the like.

But then a set of people said, we like it the way it was where we just gave our stuff away. So you had a bit of revolt against the commercialisation of software which started with Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation which was founded in 1984. ...continues here!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Music and Mathematics

A very interesting event that I attended last Saturday.

Christopher Taylor in Conversation with Bob Osserman

MSRI invites you to attend a free public event at 2:00 PM on Saturday, November 5, 2005, which presents acclaimed pianist Christopher Taylor and mathematician Bob Osserman in a discussion that explores how harmoniously music and math inter-relate to each other. Taylor, who majored in mathematics, graduated summa cum laude from Harvard University in 1992. The following year he entered the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and became the first American to receive a medal since 1981. He has gone on to become a leading representative of 20th century piano music. ...continues here!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

BBC: Nominate most important political protest

Rosa Parks
Parks was arrested and charged for violating segregation laws

BBC, on its web page, has initiated an interesting project. It is seeking the opinion of its readers to nominate most important political protest. I thought that this initiative should be supported, that is why I am adding a post for it. Below, some info from the site. All the details in

...continues here!

Monday, October 31, 2005

Orwell Rolls In His Grave

"All over Oceania this morning there were irrepressible spontaneous demonstrations when workers marched out of factories and offices and paraded through the streets with banners voicing their gratitude to Big Brother for the new, happy life which his wise leadership has bestowed upon us. ...continues here!

UK: Primary test results indicate growing gender gap

Boys fell further behind girls in reading, writing and mathematics at primary school this year, according to the latest test results.

Just 51% of 11-year-old boys in England reached the level expected of their age group in the three core subjects, compared with 63% of girls.

The latest figures demonstrate that the growing gender gap is a much wider problem. ...continues here!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Greek “reality”

Τhe subtitle of the blog translates to: Greek “reality” (pragmatikotita) exists only in the minds of those who never managed (or did not want?) to escape it”. It refers to an argument often brought forth by people not wanting to consider adopting a practice established in another country in education, health, politics etc. arguing that “it will never work because this is just the way we Greeks are”