Monday, October 11, 2010

News 24 Paper Review.

Just returned from BBC Television Centre. First time I've been into BBC HQ for 25 years. Last time it was as a guest of Martyn Lewis, when I actually sat alongside him as he fronted the 9.00 News. This time I was reviewing tomorrow's newspapers on News 24. Didn't see anyone famous around looking, well, famous as they do - probably because I was on at 11.20.

My top issue was the speculation about Lord Browne's report on university tuition fees, which we're expecting tomorrow. It seems to be accepted that he's going to recommend that the cap on tuition fees be lifted in England, and assumed that this will lead to a substantial increase in fees. I couldn't comment on this in any definite way, because I've not seen the report. What I'm almost more interested in is how the Coalition partners manage an issue where there seems to be genuine policy disagreement. Before the General Election the Liberal Democrats were strongly opposed to allowing tuition fees to be raised. Clearly, the financial 'black hole' facing the Coalition Government is even worse than expected, and we are having to make reductions way beyond what any of us expected, or like - but its still a difficult issue for Nick Clegg's party. It seems that a simple 'graduate tax' has already been abandoned. The debate will be about whether some form of 'progressive' element can be incorporated (such as differential interest rates on outstanding loans), to satisfy Lib Dem Ministers. Whatever, I reckon this coming week will feature much discussion about the Browne Report, and the Government's response to it - and we'll learn a bit about the Coalition.

Second article I chose was the Indy story about the 33 Chilean miners, who have been trapped 700 metres below ground for 66 days. The international story that is going to dominate the coming weeks will be the hauling of these men up through a narrow pipe, from their dungeon deep down in the bowels of the earth up to the surface. They are going to become 33 world-wide celebrities. There could be 33 books and 33 films, and 333 TV shows about them. Each of these men could become even bigger celebrities than Lembit Opik - and never have to work again. Until now this amazing story has been one of tension and fear. Today's article in the Independent is one of red-nosed joy and celebrity. A sign of things to come.

I also chose the Mail story about the collapse of the Iraqi trial. What a tragedy this is for the families of the six young men who were killed seven years ago by a murderous mob of human animals. It must be very difficult to accept that no-one will be held accountable for their brutal deaths. The BBC's Chris asked me whether there was a case for not recognising Iraq's right to conduct such trials. I understand why he asks this, and a lot of other people will do so. My response was that we must continue to help Iraq establish its own system of justice, difficult as that process will inevitably be.

And I did manage to get in a mention of Dai Greene, who today won Wales' first gold at the Commonwealth Games. Well done Dai. What an amazing year he's had. Really enjoyed the programme. I can see why Iain Dale enjoys doing this sort of thing. Hope I'm asked again.


Anonymous said...

See that Opik man is now claiming England as his country on his Facebook page.....Does that mean that even the Lib Dums in Mid Wales have ejected him as their candidate?

Council house laddie said...

"Second article I chose was the Indy story about the 33 Chilean miners..."

Any truth to the rumour that the BBC is sending almost as many BBC staffers as the number of trapped miners?

That's almost a 1:1 (one to one ratio).

X-Welsh CH laddie, PhD JD said...

Completely off topic, but I warned that Welsh universities MUST pick up the pace turning research into job creating patents. Despite all the rhetoric this STILL hasn't happened.

We have blind mice running the show who have no genuine motivation vis-à-vis job creating patents, who are riding the WAG gravy train of handsome government salaries and pensions, who have no fundamental understanding of international IP matters, and who lack a real connection between what they do and the MASSIVE need for the sake of Wales for Welsh universities to boost the Welsh economy and all they do is essentially pass the buck, make excuses or claim Wales is doing well compared to some UK region or other north of Watford.

The facts speak for themselves, the GVA rating of Wales is in the pits. Not a single Welsh university in the THE World Ranked Top 200 list (Scotland has four). A pathetic issued patent rate wherein, for example, Wales’s largest university which has more students than MIT is totally outclassed by MIT in terms of issued patent output, spin-outs and heavily cited publications in learned journals.

Let me give you a working example:

"MIT news" has just published an article entitled: 'Express lanes for Ions';

An MIT scientist working in collaboration with a team of electrical engineers from Pennsylvania State University discovered that electrodes containing aligned carbon nanotubes operate at a higher efficiency compared to conventional (prior art) electrodes.

What did these guys do apart from publishing their findings?

Why! They filed a patent ("Controlled-Orientation Films And Nanocomposites Including Nanotubes Or Other Nanostructures', published on August 5, 2101 as US 20100196695 and no doubt there will be numerous foreign filings too).

Was that so hard: not for MIT, but it seems VERY HARD for Welsh universities to do the same thing.

WAG compares Welsh IP output to other UK regions when in fact WAG should compare Welsh IP output to other nation states – particular states that see job creating patents as the way to go. Even the Middle Ease awash with oil has woken up, but not the WAG.

x-CH Welsh Laddie said...

typo correction: MIT patent entitled "Controlled-Orientation Films And Nanocomposites Including Nanotubes Or Other Nanostructures', published on August 5, 2010 (i.e., just 2 months or so ago) and not on August 5, 2101.

Additional: BBC is reporting that Wales exports have fallen by £1.6bn.

Question: is WAG ever going to wake up and ask for help from those who understand how to turn Welsh IP into job creating patents? I have submitted my ideas - a nice-guy Welsh Minister has ordered a paper on this issue, but it will be written by in-house staffers or appointees who have not, for example, drafted 200 plus patents.

Anonymous said...

Now that you wise people have got rid of Opik, do let's hope that he doesn't get selected as the Lib Dem mayoral candidate. Surely, not even the Libs would be so stupid?!