Scottish Spaceport Plans Announced

Scotland is being considered as the site of the UK’s first-ever spaceport, which could be here as early as 2018, it was reported this week.

The spaceport would be the first one ever built outside of the US.

What’s more, Scotland are definitely the odds-on favourite to be granted this prestigious (not to mention historic) prize, as eight UK aerodromes have been short listed as possibilities and six of them are located in Scotland. 

It is thought that the spaceport would not only increase the country’s revenue by providing a site for satellite launches, but also through tourism, with ‘space tourism’ expected to increase in the next few decades.

Chief Secretary to The Treasury Danny Alexander (who was born in Edinborough), told BBC News, “I am delighted that the government is pushing forward with its ambitious plans to open a spaceport in the UK by 2018. Spaceports will be key to us opening up the final frontier of commercial space travel (…) Scotland has a proud association with space exploration. We celebrated Neil Armstrong’s Scottish ancestry when he became the first man on the Moon and only last week an amazing Scottish company was responsible for building the UK Space Agency’s first satellite (…) The UK space industry is one of our great success stories and I am sure there will be a role for Scotland to play in the future.”

UKube-1, a satellite designed and built by Glasgow-based firm Clyde Space, was launched earlier this week. It was the first ever spacecraft to be fully assembled in Scotland, but it may turn out to be the first of many.

According to the BBC, UK profits from the space industry are now exceeding £11bn a year and it provides employment for some 34,000 people. It is also a significant growth industry, with employment figures rising by 9% since 2011.

The recent interest in the development of UK-based, but more specifically Scottish, space exploration technologies has also become linked to the current debate over Scottish independence, with the Scottish government suggesting that a vote for independence on September 18th would only strengthen the space initiative.

A spokeswoman said, “Scotland is proving that it has the expertise to attract and support such a specialized, global industry, and as such an independent Scotland will be an attractive option for spaceport pioneers.”

However, it seems probable that the plans for a Scottish-based spaceport will go ahead either way, whether Scotland is declared an independent nation or not. In addition, doubts about the potential strength of an independent Scotland’s economy may also act to the detriment of its space research.

As with all things, time will tell…

SOURCES

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-28276525

Naked Pics Can Be Retrieved From Factory Re-Set Phones. Really

A Czech-Republic based security firm (Avast), have ruined everybody’s fun by pointing out that, even when your old phone is subject to a full ‘factory re-set’, those ‘special pictures’ your lover sent you can actually be retrieved by a third party.

Now, I imagine that there are two types of people reading this article:

People who are now wondering if their naked selfies are being perved over by complete strangers at this very moment (it is possible, I’m afraid).

…And the people who are expectantly clutching their second-hand phones and waiting for me to get to the bit where I explain how to obtain these pictures (shame on you, but hang in there, we’ll get to it in a bit!).

Well, whichever you are, you should know that the firm used publicly available forensic technology to extract, not only naked selfies, but ALL SORTS of other data from second hand phones they purchased on eBay (however, they were clearly most excited about the selfies – computer nerds don’t get out much, after all).

According to experts, the only way to PERMANENTLY delete these images from your phone is to destroy your phone.

Now, if you’re the smug type of reader, who thinks ‘I never took a naked selfie, so I’m in the clear’…Well, I’m here to tell you that you may be facing an even more embarrassing problem than that of a stranger on the Internet getting a gander at your goodies, because other data extracted from the test phones included texts, emails and Google search data.

I’m also here to tell you that you’re a pretty boring person.

I’ll bet you wish they’d been distracted by your bits now, don’t you?

Of the 20 phones examined by Avast, about 40,000 photos were extracted and about 750 of them depicted women in the nip (or near to it), whilst 250 or so depicted (to quote Avast) “the previous user’s manhood”.

According to Avast, “Deleting files from your Android phone before selling it or giving it away is not enough. You need to overwrite your files, making them irretrievable.”

Even then, older smartphones sometimes only erase the indexing of the data and not the data itself. To make matters worse, the tools required to retrieve this data can be easily downloaded from the Internet (and no, I’m not telling you where!)

So, the moral of the story appears to be that, if you want to continue getting those ‘special messages’ from that ‘special someone’ then for Pete’s sake…Don’t show them this article.

SOURCES

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-28264446

TECH NEWS Electric Buses Set to Arrive on Time!

Eight experimental electric buses will be operating in Milton Keynes from late January onwards. The fleet will begin operating along the busy Number 7 route, which covers the 15 miles between Wolverton and Bletchley. They are the first electric buses to operate in the UK.

UK-based bus manufacturer Wrightbus have built these new electric buses in conjunction with Japanese company Mitsui and UK engineering group Arup. Continue reading »

Tech We’d Like To See: The Dead Actor’s Studio

Imagine a young Marlon Brando starring alongside Johnny Depp, or Audrey Hepburn playing rival to Sandra Bullock as Marilyn Monroe stops by for a catty cameo.

Depending on how you look at it, this is either tantalizing ‘fantasy film making’ or else an utterly horrible, cash-in exercise in Hollywood excess. Whatever your viewpoint, it does seem likely that someone, somewhere will try this in the near future.

About three years ago, the news broke that George Lucas, the genius behind the ‘Star Wars’ merchandise (and a couple of related movies), was buying up the likeness rights to a plethora of iconic, yet deceased, leading men and famous actresses from Hollywood’s golden age. His plan? To use a concoction of existing footage, CGI and motion capture to create reasonable facsimiles of classic Hollywood stars and have them appear in future films, despite the notable handicap of being, well, dead. Continue reading »

What tech corporation would make the greatest jet pack?

What it is:

A jet pack is the portable gadget that you wear on the back so as to facilitate short-range travel. There is a dissimilarity around a jet pack, a rocket pack with a rocket belt, but essentially, they all work on the similar principle. In case you questioned, Jet engines feature two openings (an intake and an exhaust nozzle), where a rocket only has 1.

A jetpack, of any kind, is probably going to become driven by jets of escaping gas. Continue reading »

Playstation 4 trumps the xbox one on announcement date

Japanese technology giants Sony have unveiled the 4th instalment of their enormously admired Playstation series.

The gaming device, which was officially exposed at this year’s E3 Trade show in Los Angeles, California, have been hotly anticipated.

Although several of the console’s features and upgrades were unveiled in February, Sony had kept potential consumers guessing on some important details, including the overall design of the Playstation 4. Continue reading »

Tech we’d like to have: glowing foliage

Followers of James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’ will enjoy this 1. Effectively, a group of scientists have just announced they’d like to provide the world glowing crops! (Yes, you read that right). The proposed technology could, in the future, give us bioluminescent plants as an alternative to streetlights. The scientists’ eventual goal is to produce vegetation so light that you could study by them in otherwise entire darkness.

The thought is to work with a kind of genetic engineering (purposely: Synthetic Biology, where scientists synthesize the desired genes rather than purely splicing them in) that allows you to create a strain of plant that can glow, visibly, during the dark. Continue reading »