Philobiblon: Weekend reading

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Weekend reading

I've written elsewhere about theories that humans have been, until very recent history, as often prey as predator, and there's an interesting piece on this here. It also highlights how other higher primates remain vulnerable - was surprised to read:

Our closest genetic relatives, chimpanzees and gorillas, are prey to humans and other species. Who would have thought that gorillas, weighing as much as 400 pounds, would end up as cat food? Yet Michael Fay, a researcher with the Wildlife Conservation Society and the National Geographic Society, has found the remnants of a gorilla in leopard feces in the Central African Republic. Despite their obvious intelligence and strength, chimpanzees often fall victim to leopards and lions. In the Tai Forest in the Ivory Coast, Christophe Boesch, of the Max Planck Institute, found that over 5 percent of the chimp population in his study was consumed by leopards annually. Takahiro Tsukahara reported, in a 1993 article, that 6 percent of the chimpanzees in the Mahale Mountains National Park of Tanzania may fall victim to lions.

Janice Turner offers some sanity on the Cherie Blair hairdresser story. It is simple really. If the media would stop writing stories about Cherie's appearance, she could stop having to go to such lengths...
Why has the status of the teaching profession gone down? Probably because its pay has gone down.

Research by the Guardian, using data from the Office for National Statistics, shows, for example, that teachers got 50% more than average pay in 1966 but now are barely above the average.

So perhaps what the government should do if it really wants to improve schools is do the same thing that it has done to GPs' pay:

GPs are back in the news as their average pay has reportedly climbed towards £100,000. Their last officially recorded mean average of nearly £70,000 was nearly two and a half times the average salary. Forty years ago, however, they were earning three and a half times the average. The latest rises in their pay have been part of a deliberate policy by the government to address a shortage of doctors.

Is a GP's job more difficult than a teacher's? I suspect not.


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