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Scientific News (October 2017)

It’s an ill wind A satellite, belonging to NASA has been providing fresh information involving carbon dioxide (CO2) and the way it moves through the atmosphere.  The satellite, known as the “Orbiting Carbon Observatory” (OCO) has been providing scientists with new insights into – and the behavioural movements of – CO2 throughout 2015/2016, during a time when Earth experienced an El Nîno event. This is when the Trade Winds weaken in the Central and Western areas of the Pacific.  The surface water temperatures in South America warm up, due to less cold water welling up from below to cool the surface. The clouds and rainstorms associated with warm ocean waters then move towards...

Engineering News (October 2017)

Vehicle manufacturer giants Rolls Royce have confirmed that a deal has been sealed with Google, with the joint aim to introduce and develop ‘Intelligent Awareness Systems’ for the next generation of autonomous vessels. The joint venture will see Rolls Royce utilising Google’s cloud-based apparatus, with a view to creating an Artificial Intelligence system that can be used to detect and track objects on the oceans. With the use of software that creates tailored teaching models that will soon be accessible through the cloud, it will then be used to construct and analyse the data received at sea. This future technology is believed to be an essential tool for the future development of independent vessels...

Internet News (October 2017)

Microsoft hosts Edge Web summit On 13th September, Microsoft held its Edge Web Summit in Seattle, Washington – a tech summit not entirely dissimilar in nature to that of Google’s IO annual event. At this event they trotted out the statistic of “330 million active devices”, qualifying that the statistic counts users that actively used the Edge browser over the course of a month. Of course, these figures may initially sound impressive, until you actually look at comparisons across the market share. Statcounter states that the browser’s desktop market share is a measly 3.95%, still significantly lower in fact than even the original legacy browser it is trying supplant, Internet Explorer, which still...

Business News (September 2017)

Licence revoked Following Transport for London’s decision not to renew Uber’s licence to operate in London, Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi has apologised openly in a letter for the mistakes the company has made. TfL have refused to renew Uber’s licence within London, following concerns regarding their business practices, referring to four main areas of concern including their approach to reporting criminal offences, and carrying out safety and background checks on their drivers. Uber’s licence is due to expire on 30th September; however, they are planning to continue business whilst pursuing a legal appeal that has the potential to last for a year. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan and Chairman of TfL welcomed...

Scientific News (September 2017)

A salt and battery Non-explosive batteries have recently been developed by scientists. These Lithium-ion batteries provides an adequate power supply to use in your everyday household electronic devices. Researchers carried out a number of physical and destructive tests, however, no explosion or ignition was produced.  Their findings were published in the academic journal Joule at the beginning of September. The batteries have been developed using a saline solution as the electrolyte. This has removed any risk of explosion that some non-aqueous models are prone to.  Until recently, if you required a high energy battery, your first choice would be a non-aqueous lithium-ion battery, which could overheat and in some instances catch fire. For...

Engineering News (September 2017)

Use your imagination, slip into the mind of Spiderman, and imagine what could happen if you could lift an object 165 times your body weight, without passing a single drop of sweat. This imaginative dream could be about to become reality. Engineers from the Department of Material Science and Engineering at the School of Engineering at Rutgers Univeresity have uncovered a simplified way to achieve this with nanotechnology with a device called a Nano-electro chemical actuator. The device can match the powers of any super hero, just on a smaller scale. The actuator weights just 1.6 milligrams, about the same weight as a Poppy seed, and studies have shown it can lift approximately 265 milligrams,...

Internet News (September 2017)

University hit by major cyber-attack Continuing a seemingly endless onslaught of cyber-attacks, the University College London (UCL) has now also been the recipient of one such incident. Described as a “ransomware” attack by university representatives, that continued throughout the day with the university’s access to online networks being restricted in order to attempt to quell the onslaught, after the NHS suffered a similar such attack not long ago. The university had been awarded the status of a “Centre of excellence in cyber-security research” by GCHQ intelligence services; combined with the fact that it’s ranked as one of the top 10 universities in the world, it makes for a strong argument...

Business News (August 2017)

Off the rails again Britain’s busiest rail station was practically at a standstill this week following a points failure and coach derailment after a collision with an engineering vehicle on the outskirts of London’s Waterloo Station. Unfortunately this event also coincided with an announcement that prices were about to rise for commuters in and out of London. Calls to the government to introduce frozen rail fares have been made following details of further increases to rail travel prices in 2018. The Campaign for Better Transport have raised concerns that commuters simply cannot keep paying more for their fares, and want to see ticket prices frozen in January 2018. The Campaign for...

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...