Scientific News (August 2017)

Eclipse Americans are in for a treat on August 21st, when the USA falls under the direct path of a total solar eclipse. Skies will darken across a 70 mile wide stretch from Oregon to South Carolina, and multitudes of onlookers will travel hundreds of miles in order to witness the unforgettable, jaw dropping ‘path of totality’ experience. Every 18 months, both the sun and moon complete their journey through space, the moon orbiting on average 239,000 miles from the Earth. Both the moon and sun’s paths line up against each other, forming the solar eclipse. Onlookers will watch the moon block the last of light from the sun. Once this has...

Tech Update (August 2017)

Andy Cormack gives us the heads up on what’s on the horizon in hardware and technology, giving you the lowdown on the next big thing.   This month, in his occasional sojourn into things which could be the next big things, he looks at what Facebook has been up to, game playing and changing AIs, and the ongoing battle for Net Neutrality. Facebook has announced in a blog post on the 9th of August that they will soon be rolling out a new way to watch videos on their social network, titled Watch. Upping their game from the video posts you can already make on the platform, they’re expanding from...

Engineering News (August 2017)

Business as usual The predicted major disruption at London Waterloo has not occurred, even with ten of its platforms closed. Large scale works are taking place under an £800 million project to upgrade stations throughout London that will ensure that each station can cope with longer carriages as well as accommodating higher numbers of passengers during rush hours. Network Rail announced that the closures at Waterloo are due to last until 28th August. Warnings were made by Network Rail fore-warning commuters of the closures and to expect extraordinarily busy stations during the period of station closures; it appears that passengers have taken these warnings to heart, and fewer have travelled as...

Internet News (August 2017)

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Power grid hackers Power companies the world over are being taught how to see the warning signs that they are being targeted by hackers, following an attack in December last year on a power grid in the Ukraine which left over 230,000 people without electricity for hours after malware was successfully inserted into critical systems. This attack wasn’t the country’s first of this kind; another previous attack occurred in March 2015. The malware from the breach has since been analysed by researchers from Black Hat and Def Con, two of the most prominent cadres of professional hackers and security specialists from around the world, giving insight into the security holes...

Business News (July 2017)

Miner’s strike The digital currency Bitcoin has narrowly avoided splitting into two separate currencies following a network upgrade. This upgrade will improve the ability for Bitcoin to cope with an ever-growing number of transactions. Bitcoin have a group of ‘miners’ who each represent a group of computer operators. Their job is to ensure that the blockchain is kept secure. The miners have averted a split that would have created two digital ledgers, also known as blockchains (digital ledgers in which transactions made in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies are recorded chronologically and publicly). The miners have indicated that they support the improvements being made to Bitcoin under the new proposals named as ‘Bitcoin Improvement...

Scientific News (July 2017)

Unclear Industry A clause within Article 50 has been under put under the spotlight by members of parliament with concerns relating to the UK’s withdrawal from the European Atomic Energy Community – more commonly known as Euratom – following the decision to leave the EU. In the run up to Article 50, little was discussed surrounding the hidden clause and some MPs are preparing themselves for a fight on the subject with arguments for and against leaving Euratom. Regulating the nuclear industry throughout Europe, Euratom was set up in 1957 alongside the European Economic Community (EEC). Euratom ensures that nuclear materials are responsibly transported throughout the EU and the wider...

Engineering News (July 2017)

Rolls Royce on the up More than 7000 jobs in the East Midlands have been created following an announcement by Rolls Royce following the largest single investment in the United Kingdom for over 10 years. Rolls Royce have confirmed that they will be investing £150 million in a new testing area in Derby. The site will be used primarily to test large civil aero-engines, creating 200 jobs at the new plant. The investments in Derby, Hucknall and Annesley in Nottinghamshire have ensured that 7,000 employees will remain in their jobs for at least the next five years. Speaking for Rolls Royce, Eric Schulz explained that the “unprecedented growth” in the...

Internet News (July 2017)

Massive attack The UK Parliament has received its largest cyber attack on record, admitting that it had suffered a “sustained and determined cyber attack” that began on the 23rd June – the attack lasted more than 12 hours. The unknown hacker’s goal? Gaining access to MP emails, of which they managed to ‘brute force’ fewer than 90 email accounts belonging to MPs, their aides, and other staff and peers that had weak passwords. Parliament issued a statement on the following Saturday explaining, “We have discovered unauthorised attempts to access accounts of parliamentary networks users and are investigating this ongoing incident”. Needless to say, once the intrusion had been discovered, parliamentary officials had to...

Business News (June 2017)

The Queen’s Speech During the annual state opening of Parliament this week, the Queen announced plans for the government to pass new laws to protect your personal data and to create a commission for countering extremism on the World Wide Web. The Queen’s speech also covered eight bills relating to the Brexit and the UK’s departure from Europe and the implications it will have for key industries within the UK. It also covered Theresa May’s minority government’s intention to discard several number of initiatives including the expansion of grammar schools within the UK and a vote to restore the traditional sport of fox hunting. The manifesto for a digital charter remained,...

Scientific News (June 2017)

Newquay Airport in Cornwall has been chosen for conducting ‘slow speed trials for Bloodhound – a supersonic car manufactured in the UK, and designed to break the land speed record in South Africa next year. The tests are an opportunity for the development team to gain early key data while Bloodhound is in motion. Chief Engineer, Mark Chapman explained in a recent report, “We’ve gone from a computer design to an actual thing that will move down the runway, it will be a huge validation for the people who’ve stood by us all these years and it’s happening.” The trial will also be used as a promotional event in order...