5 March 2014

Huge student giveaway, Students stripping for uni, UK unis lagging behind…

Save the Student to give away 20,000 Free £10 train vouchers

STS train vouchersSave the Student (that’s us) have secured a HUGE exclusive offer in collaboration with RedSpottedHanky to give away 20,000 £10 train vouchers.

The vouchers have no minimum spend and will help 1000s of students save on journeys home or trips to visit friends around the country. It’s an exclusive giveaway for STS fans but it’s not too late to become one 😉

We’ve also given the website and Facebook page a little lick of paint too…

Our take: We couldn’t avoid a shameless plug in this week’s news but to be honest it’s an awesome offer so can you blame us? We’ve worked really hard to secure this for you and we’re so happy to eventually offer this to our fans (both old and new).

We’ll be releasing the vouchers in batches starting next week and it’s on a first come first served basis so make sure you sign up to be notified when the vouchers are released here.

Students are stripping to pay for Uni

Stripping to pay for uniNew research by the University of Leeds has found that a third of the dancers in strip clubs are students, who are putting their earnings towards the high cost of tuition fees.

The survey of over 200 dancers also found that the adult entertainment industry was actively targeting students through various methods, including leafleting during Fresher’s week.

Our take: Well that’s one way to pay the bills… It all feels a little sordid and exploitative, but that’s a given when talking about the sex adult entertainment industry. That said what people choose to do with their bodies is nothing to do with us (as long as no students feel forced into making this decision!) so if that’s what you enjoy we won’t judge.

Plus if you really are struggling for money we’ve got 40 ideas (not including stripping) here.

VAT scrapped on Bitcoin currency

Cumbria Uni BitcoinsHMRC have scrapped plans to charge VAT on the trading or ‘mining’ of the virtual currency Bitcoin.

The news comes only a few days after the collapse of one of the biggest exchanges, Mt.Gox, which lost £300 million of customer deposits.

Our take: Bitcoin is fascinating us at the moment, it’s so unpredictable, volatile and revolutionary. While very much on the fringes at the moment, it’s starting to pick up with the first bitcoin based ATM in the UK being installed in a Shoreditch bar and Universities starting to take Bitcoin payments for tuition fees.

UK unis ‘lagging behind’ in rankings for STEM subjects

STEM subjectsNew figures have revealed that UK higher education institutions are facing stronger competition than ever before in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects.

The US dominates the field, and while the UK is still second, Asia has made huge strides and looks set to overtake the UK in the near future.

Our take: In slightly more positive news, British universities still perform very well globally in arts and humanities, but you have to wonder if this is one of the reasons our engineering and science courses are suffering.

Mary Beard raises concerns about online degrees

Mary Beard online coursesMary Beard, a classics professor at the University of Cambridge, has spoken out against online degree courses, claiming they lose the focus on education and that they lack genuine interaction between students and lecturers.

Our take: This looks to us like the ‘old guard’ complaining about becoming obsolete. Somewhat ironic that a Cambridge professor is worried there could be a distinction between the ‘privileged few’ and those learning on the internet, isn’t that the dream they’ve been selling for years? We do slightly agree with her though…

State of the Machin: On the Pointless app

Pointless appIt’s been awhile since I’ve talked about any mobile games in this column, but the main drain of my time this week has been the brand new Pointless app released on iOS. It’s quite costly for an app (£1.49), especially one that offers additional in-game purchases and is still quite buggy. But damn, is it fun.

There are two play modes, single and multiplayer, both of which are (unsurprisingly) similar in format to the popular teatime TV show Pointless.

In single player you compete in three consecutive rounds against generic AI opposition, before reaching the final to win the Pointless trophy and possibly the final prize. So far I’ve won the final round three or four times, which I think places it about right on the challenge/reward ratio.

The game really shines with multiplayer, the questions are much more challenging and being able to link to Facebook and challenge your friends and family is a major draw factor. This is however, the most notably buggy part of the game, for example I can only be challenged for new games and not start my own.

I currently have an international game running against my brother (I’m winning) and one with my mum (I’m losing). If Facebook isn’t your scene you can also challenge people in Random matchups, so you feel the edge of competition without having your every move watched by Zuckerberg and co.

Hopefully the developers will iron out the bugs and keep the content up to date for those who’ve bought the app (and not like EA, who passive aggressively threaten to stop developing Dungeon Keeper).

And that’s the state of the Machin!

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