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Scientific News (February 2018)

The future is too bright The technology used in space exploration has dramatically advanced in recent years, and astronomers are able to look deeper into space more than they have ever been. However, these technological advances have the potential to cause mass pollution in our skies, meaning that astronomers could be denied a clear view into space, and have limited sensitivity in terms of remote sensing, leading to inaccurate measurements. Space debris, radio interference and light have already been highlighted as major causes of pollution within our skies, and the situation is set to deteriorate over the next 20 years following the launch of a further 20,000 satellites that would...

Engineering News (February 2018)

ICE 200 showcase aimed at young engineers This year is the specially designated UK Government’s ‘Year of Engineering’ (visit the official website for more details: www.yearofengineering.gov.uk). It is hoped that the projects that take place this year, aimed at 7-16 year olds, their parents and teachers, will help to inform and increase awareness of what engineers do and their impact on society. This, it is hoped, will encourage more young people into the field of engineering and help to plug skills gaps in the UKs engineering sectors. There are many engineering partners involved in the delivery of the year including the ICE (Institution of Civil Engineers) and the UK Space...

Internet News (February 2018)

No Moore? Moore’s Law no more? Named after Intel co-founder Gordon Moore in 1965, it was based upon his observation, built on condensing chip sizes after the rapid growth of transistors which up until recently doubled every two years. The theory was loved by engineers and computer scientists alike, due to the continuing and effortless performance benefits. Unfortunately, Moore’s Law has now faltered, as the power and growth of semiconductor technology has more recently slowed down. The multi-trillion dollar, world-wide semiconductor and electronics industry is slowly coming to terms with this, as engineers and computer scientists pose the question about how the industry will survive its demise. Contradicting events within...

Special Report: Cryptocurrency miners and the inflating price of PC gaming hardware

In the first of a series of Special Reports, Andy Cormack takes a look at what is happening out there on the internet that could affect us in ways that we hadn’t anticipated. Here, he takes a a deep look at a worrying trend in the costs of PC technology increasingly starkly in relation to a hitherto unthinkable use: using games graphics cards for serious number crunching rather than processing images.   And the prime suspects in this massive pricing hike? Cryptocurrency.  Here, Andy explains why. No doubt you’ve seen, or at least heard or read about, cryptocurrencies, most notable of which is of course, the infamous Bitcoin. While the astronomical...

Business News (January 2018)

How to lose a Carillion The demise of Carillion has left many questions of how a large UK based company could go so spectacularly just in just a little more than a year? The situation has been brewing for a few years, with sceptical outside investors starting to dispose of Carillion shares as far back as 2013. Just six months ago, when City scepticism was at its highest, a quarter of the company’s shares were reported to have been used for “short” trades – it was then that a Hedge Fund Manager made assertions that the trade was being made popular to the point that it was not worth undertaking,...

Scientific News (January 2018)

It came from outer space Astronomers are baffled by the presence of unusual recurring radio pulses that they are receiving from space. FRB – more commonly known in the space industry at Fast Radio Bursts – are proving to be astronomers most tenacious puzzle to date. The FRBs are frequently short-lived; however, astronomers have found a source of repeated flashes. It is believed that the unusual events have been caused by a dead star that possesses an extraordinarily strong magnetic field. Archives have shown that the first FRB was recorded in 2007 from the Parkes Radio Telescope based in Australia during their search for new examples of magnetised neutron stars,...

Engineering News (January 2018)

Government publishes report outlining £600bn infrastructure investment pipeline including plans to boost construction productivity The government has produced a much needed new National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline report, outlining measures to help boost productivity and efficiency in the construction industry as well as investing in the new technologies in the sector. The amount of investment, that will be provided from both Public and Private sector investment totals £600 billion over the next 10 years, and is welcome news in light of the uncertainty in the sector with regards to Brexit. The report states that the money will be used to invest in the skills, technologies and modern construction methods that...

Internet News (January 2018)

Bitcoin Still On The Rise, Hackers See Opportunity Breaking record after record, Bitcoin gained a huge 20% spike in price recently, bringing it up to around the $14,800 USD mark. Could there be a more obvious target then for hackers to focus their gaze upon? The crypto-mining marketplace company NiceHash has recently been hacked, resulting in nearly 5000 Bitcoin being stolen, with an estimated value of some $57 million at the time, which, just 24 hours later had risen to over $70 million. NiceHash, a cloud-based crypto-mining marketplace, was founded in 2014 as a means for people to connect from all over the world to farm out their computing power or rent...

Scientific News (December 2017)

Well and truly rooked An AI program, has successfully taught itself the game of Chess, and within hours has triumphantly won against a world-leading professional chess program. The AlphaZero program, went up against specially designed software Stockfish 8, triumphantly dispatching its competitor with wins or final draws after 100 games according to Google’s, DeepMind Division. AlphaZero successfully won 25 games, playing the white pieces on the board and having the first move, 3 games were played using the black pieces of the board. A further 72 games ended with ties. Each computer program was given a minute for thinking time each move. Deepmind has continually proven successful, and has come up against some...

Engineering News (December 2017)

A powerful collaboration produces a new ‘eco-town’ in North-West Bicester Over the past decade or so, the consumer has become more ethically and environmentally aware of what they buy and the way they live. This discernment has spread to the houses we buy and how we live on a day to day basis. We now expect our new houses to be designed to use less energy and more planning to go into the sustainability of our areas. Developers Crest Nicholson and A2 Dominion in collaboration with principle contractors Willmott Dixon, the Cherwell District Council and Oxford Brookes University amongst others have unveiled, what is considered a unique ‘eco-town’ in the...