‘Drone’ That Hit Plane in London May Have Just Been a Plastic Bag

A few days ago it was reported that a drone may have hit a British Airways jet flying out of Heathrow. The transport minister Robert Goodwill has yet to confirm if that’s the case, saying that it could have just been a plastic bag.

The incident is believed to have occurred at around 1,700 ft, over four times the legal limit for people who want to fly their drones in the open air and while the Air Accidents Investigation Branch is investigating the incident alongside the Metropolitan Police there has been little in the way of information released to the public.

Goodwill did respond to comments regarding “geo-fencing”, a technique where drones would be blocked from entering restricted areas by means of having ‘no go zones’ installed on their devices by the manufacturers. Goodwill didn’t show great promise or belief in that option as he said it would be vulnerable to “somebody who could get round the software”.

With people speculating that the plane struck a drone, a thought that has occurred many times before and almost happened on several occasions, Goodwill did say that it “has not been confirmed it was actually a drone”, instead saying that the original story came from a local police force who tweeted the news about a reported drone colliding with a plane. “There was no actual damage to the plane and there’s indeed some speculation that it may have even been a plastic bag or something”, the latest news seems to be that if it was a drone or unmanned electronic device, they don’t even know what it could have been.

Going on to explain the current information, Goodwill explained that “there was no actual damage to the plane and there’s indeed some speculation that it may have even been a plastic bag or something”.

So no confirmed Drone could mean that people are overreacting to what has been a nightmare scenario for many groups for a while now, with incidents involving everything from illegally flying their drones during major events to even crashing into famous landmarks.

Drone Racing Has Its First Champion

Drones are the latest piece of technology that everyone must have. From planting trees in the jungle to watching your beaches for sharks, drones have developed from something in films to the technology you can pick up at your local store. With a new form of technology comes a new form of racing, drone racing. This weekend, Drone racing got its first champion!

A 15-year-old British teenager has just won first place in the Drone Prix that wast hosted in Dubai. Luke Bannister won a whopping $250,000 after coming first in the first Drone Prix, which had a total of over $1 million up to grabs in its prize pool.  In the end, it came down to Bannister’s team, the Tornado X-Blades Banni-UK facing off against Dubai’s very own Dronetek.

To help the racers keep up with their drones they use special headsets, designed to stream the content from their drones on board cameras to the controller while a second camera was often found around the course, allowing spectators to view and follow the race from different points of view.

Do you like the idea of drone racing? Are you interested in taking part yourself? Tell us your thoughts and feelings in the description below.

Google Lets You Experience Museums From Your Chair!

For those who are interested in the museum trip, you can now do it from the comfort of your own home. Engadget has reported that Google is teaming up with the British Museum in London to bring you a Street View style viewing experience of the internal museum itself. This has been recorded in a similar style as the Street View cars by moving around a camera dolly in traditional walking places around the museum floor. Google already has a Cultural Insitute, so this new venture will add over 4,500 extra pieces including detailed photos and descriptions.


Head on over to the Google Street View Cultural Insitute experience and take a free virtual stroll around the museum.

In addition to this system, Google has compiled a microsite called “The Museum of the World”. This is a collection of all stored artifacts in a timeline for you to look into what art/design was popular across different cultures at different time periods.

I can see something like this really taking off with the consumer introduction of Virtual Reality (VR) in the near future and it will really open up the world to those who are bed bound or hospitalised. Would you use a system like this to visit, or would you prefer the experience of physically walking around the location yourself?

Scientists Are Concerned That Humans May Send Aliens Malware

Space exploration is quite frankly both awe-inspiring and also necessary to the understanding of possible life within the vastness of planets and also galaxies. If you thought our tech could in no way harm these efforts then think again, as scientists at the elitist university of Oxford have warned humans that we in fact could send Mr E.T a Trojan Horse.

Speaking at the British Science Festival Dr Anders Sandberg, of the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University, said humans must be extremely cautious about what digital messages they send into space. Dr Sandberg conveyed the security problems which include languages that can hide a lot of information by stating that “We’re worried about malware being sent to aliens”.

Scientists are not usually known for their sense of humour, but Dr Sandberg also quipped that “Some people think we’re already spamming the universe with reality soaps.” This is oh so very true considering the degradation of quality over the last decade or so, which has now seen the destruction reach quite epic proportions with a new show on Channel 4 entitled “The Changing Room” Yes it’s as brain numbing as it sounds considering the premise is watching people change in shop fitting rooms.

Anyway, enough of that tangent, the possibility of communicating with a different species is mind-boggling, but if you had the chance to send a message, virus scanned of course, what would it be? The UK research network for SETI (UKSRN) has envisaged this possibility and has therefore joined forces with the Breakthrough Message Initiative with the aim of inviting the public to have their say on the message to send into space. This intergalactic notion of democracy also has a prize on offer of $1 million dollars for the best ideas.

I believe there are life forms which are different to our own considering the vastness of the universe; it would be foolish to believe that we are the only ones in all of time and space. The question has always remained concerning the outcomes that could happen if we do indeed find extra terrestrial life; will it be a friendly engagement or Independence Day all over again.

Transmitting viruses to aliens at this stage is extremely theoretical, but who knows how different life forms would react to binary numbers and data.

Thank you the telegraph for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of mashable

Wargaming Announces the Open Beta for World of Warships With New Trailer

Wargaming has just announced that it pushed its upcoming title, World of Warships, to open beta. This means that everybody can download and enjoy the naval warfare game and if you were already in the closed beta, you can now have your friends join and help you through the PvE or even test your skills in PvP with them.

The open beta is said to have 10 unique maps and over 90 ships, split into two historic naval ship banners, the Americans and Japanese. The tech tree has four ship classes, all with their unique gameplay and tactics. You can either choose to have Destroyers, boasting big torpedoes, extreme manoeuvrability and smoke screen capabilities, or take the helm of Cruisers and intimidate your opponents with big, powerful guns, anti-aircraft guns, and a lot of firepower to support your teammates.

The remaining two classes consist of Battleships, who are goliaths that can pierce through the thickest armoured ships in the game, sustain a lot of damage and act as the “guardians” for your fleet, and the almighty Aircraft Carriers, who can be your fleet’s eyes and firepower support.

Aside from the American and Japanese banners, you can also take the helm of a few Russian and British. So whether you want to try it out or get your friends to help your fleet, it’s definitely worth giving it a try. You can download it from its website here.

Redesigned ZX Spectrum To Enter Production in February

The ZX Spectrum Vega, which we’ve previously reported on, is due to enter production in February. The new model of the console will include 1.000 pre-installed games. Unlike many of today’s computers, the new Spectrum will be manufactured in the UK by SMS Electronics in Nottinghamshire.

Sir Clive Sinclair is a backer of the project, as well as a shareholder in the company that designed the new model – Retro Computers. The machine will be capable of running the 14,000 titles designed for the system.

The Vega was the product of a successful Kickstarter campaign, the proceeds of which will fund the first run of 1000 Spectrums. The machine includes an ARM-based SOC, memory chip, and flash RAM which comes together to form a dedicated Spectrum emulator.

The ZX Spectrum was intensely popular in the UK back in the 1980s, introducing a whole generation to computing and video games. The console represents a very unique time in the British computer market – when many of the most popular machines in the country were British designed and made.

The new console will go on sale in February.

Source: BBC News

British Government Want to Build a ‘Super Database’ To Help Run the Country

Even with all its power, the UK government has admitted that it’s at a point where simple tasks, such as sharing information or data between two different departments, has become a burden. This is mostly due to the fact that there are a wide range of databases controlled by each government department.

However, the cabinet’s data sharing policy team came up with a plan back in April that would have all departments link all of their databases. This means that local authorities, emergency services, schools and even government departments would merge their databases into a single ‘super database’.

The resulting database then said to be able to handle huge amounts of data and provide more accurate information. Other benefits that might follow are said to include a saving of up to £37 billion in error, dump and fraud.

Another beneficial outcome from all of this is the government’s ability to understand a person’s life and help him with their money problems. For example, if an individual is in debt to various departments, the payment can then be structured and manageable on a low-income.

To be noted is that the policy is still just a proposal and the government is now looking for the people’s opinion in order to find out if they support the plan or not.

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Engadget

British Intelligence Agecy Accredits UK Master’s Degree in Cyber Spying

British Intelligence Agency, GCHQ, is said to have started accrediting six UK universities, which can now teach people the art of ‘cyber spying’. The degree initiative comes from part of the UK’s cyber security strategy published back in 2011.

The strategy itself is said to recognize that education is a crucial key to improving defenses against hackers and online fraud. Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister, stated that cyber security is a key part of the government’s future plans for the British economy, emphasizing that it would make the “UK one of the safest places in the world to do business online”.

“Through the excellent work of GCHQ, in partnership with other government departments, the private sector and academia, we are able to counter threats and ensure together we are stronger and more aware.” Maude said.

Universities around the UK were required to submit their master’s degree courses for certification. At present, GCHQ-approved courses in cyber security can be found at Edinburgh Napier University, Lancaster University, the University of Oxford and Royal Holloway, University of London.

In addition to the previously mentioned universities, GCHQ is said to have given out provisional accreditation to Cranfield University’s cyber defence and information assurance course, and the University of Surrey’s information security course.

Thank you BBC for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of BBC

Turns out Brits Aren’t Signing up to ISP Filters

ISP filters, you either love them or you hate them, I personally have no use for them but families with small children do. The numbers are on the decline with less and less people wanting this additional protection their ISP has to offer. It really depends on the buyer and what situation they may be in, like I said previously, some may have families with small children who use the internet for school and the parents don’t exactly want their small child watching pornography now do they. On the other hand there’s people like myself, old enough to know what’s good and bad on the internet and will automatically detect a scam or phishing website.

The stats are interesting to read through, only 5 percent of new customers accepted the filter at BT, while 8 percent did so at Sky. About 36 percent of customers signed up for the TalkTalk filter, and 4 percent bought into Virgin Media’s offer. To me this shows that TalkTalk has a lot of customers that live in family households as they have the highest sign up rate for their filter.

The Office of Communications determined that 100 percent of BT, Sky, and TalkTalk customers were immediately informed about the option to add a filter upon activation of their service. Only 35% of customers from Virgin Media were informed about their options regarding a filter.

In the end it all comes down to personal preference and whether or not you trust your kids, if you have any, when they are online but by looking at those results, it seems that British folk just don’t want to know or don’t care much for ISP filters. Can’t blame them really.

Thanks to Venturebeat for supplying us with this information.

Image courtesy of Wired.

The UK is Looking Into Alternate Solutions to Stop Illegal Torrent Downloads

The UK’s biggest internet providers in collaboration with the government and content creators are said to change the way they deal with people illegally downloading and/or sharing entertainment online. They say that instead of punishing the person, they will be sending out letters in an attempt to ‘educate’ him or her, as well as pointing out legal and comprehensive alternatives.

“We believe people will ultimately pay if they can get what they want, how they want, at a price that’s fair to them.” Virgin Media stated.

The ISPs are said to team up under the Creative Content UK campaign, which includes BT, Sky Broadband, TalkTalk and Virgin Media, as well as entertainment institutions The Motion Picture Association (MPA) and the British Record Music Industry (BPI). A significant multimedia awareness campaign is said to be the first phase, having ISPs sending out letters to users pirating content after the awareness. It’s said that people can receive up to four letters per year and nothing will happen if you choose to ignore them.

“Any alert will clearly recognise the account holder may not have engaged in copyright infringement themselves and we will be informative in tone, offering advice on where to find legitimate sources of entertainment content,” said Virgin Media. “At no point will we share any customer information as part of this campaign. By embracing digital, the creative industries can realise significant benefits, reaching millions of people with new and innovative services.”

This looks similar to what Polish developer CD Projekt, The Witcher series’ maker, did a while back. They have found alternatives to pirated entertainment by changing its focus from people who don’t want to pay and encouraging people who do.

Thank you Eurogamer for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Eurogamer

Google Fiber Project Aims to Provide UK Homes with Ultrafast Internet Connection

Google is said to be planning on expanding its Google Fiber services in British cities. The move is said to put a lot of pressure on BT and its upgraded network, having Google offering speeds of up to 10 times faster than what BT currently has to offer.

The corporate giant has reportedly been in talks with a British company by the name of CityFibre, hoping that a partnership between the two will bring the Google Fiber services to UK citizens. However, CityFibre is said to have concerns regarding the partnership with Google.

It is said that CityFibre’s partnership with BSkyB would be threatened if a partnership with Google would be formed, having BSkyB to see Google as a rival in the pay-TV market. Also, BSkyB and TalkTalk are said to be funding a pilot fibre-optics network, reaching 20,000 homes and businesses in York.

Though Google publicly said it will not bring its fibre outside of the US, a source has stated that the company is talking with “people here in the UK and looking at projects”. The move seems to make sense, since the UK has been known to be the biggest market outside of the US.

Google is said to currently provide its fibre optic services in four major US cities, which is said to extend into 34 additional cities this year. While BT’s network is said to rely on copper wire technology for the home-street connection, Google Fiber is said to rely entirely on fibre optic connections.

Thank you Telegraph for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Telegraph

New ‘Super Black’ Material Developed By British Researchers

Hearing of a new material that can perform in ways that push the boundaries of what is actively known is typically heard from the heavily invested teams over at NASA, however a team from Surrey (not too far away from my home in the UK as it happens) known as Surrey NanoSystems have created a new material that is so black, it is supposed to be hard to see if it is actually there. Known as Vantablack, the material is made up of carbon nanotubes – a man-made hollow fibre which measures only 1 nanometre in diameter – hence the name ‘nanotube’. To create the Vantablack material, the team in Surrey build up the nanotubes on a layer of aluminium foil as seen above and as we can see, or not as the case may be, the material is so dark, we cannot tell that it is all crinkled up along with the foil.

The material is so absorbent to light that it has broken a world record, reflecting a mere 0.035% of light shone at it, with the possibility that it can absorb wave of light that sit outside of the range of ‘visible light’ that the naked eye can detect. The rest is the appearance of nothing being where the material is laid and thus giving a black hole effect. Furthermore, researchers state Vantablack is in the region of 10,000 times as strong as steel and it can also conduct heat very well with up to seven and half times the thermal conductivity of copper.

Having already met the requirements for their initial run of orders for this pioneering material, Vantablack has a number of projected uses in highly sensitive pieces of equipment such as space bound telescopes, where the use of current ‘dark’ materials still reflect a small amount of light, having the effect of adding noise to an image. Down here on earth the possible ability to absorb radio waves brings probable military uses in stealth planes and instrumentation, giving the military an advantage against detection.

The  new material will be getting its first public showing later on this week at the Farnborough International Airshow alongside many other bits of military hardware.

Source: Daily Mail

Newegg Reportedly Heading To Europe, Including the UK, As Early As This March

If you’re living in the United States, Canada, China or Taiwan, then you should know or have even used Newegg to buy all sorts of electronic devices, including PC hardware. The online retailer of hardware and software was founded by Fred Chang, a Taiwanese immigrant, in 2001.

Since then, it had a substantial amount of requests from potential European customers, however with no indication of the services being available in the region anytime soon. However, things are about to change in the near future.

The online retailer has recently announced that it will be bringing its services to Europe, including the UK. Newegg has planned to start business with its potential customers as early as this March, however the retailer is said to start a ‘soft’ launch at first in order to test the waters before becoming more confident about its shipping and supply lines.

Newegg allegedly claims to have 25 million registered users and 8.5 million subscribers to its regular email bulletins, numbers that look set to grow if the company can find a way to stand amidst competition like Amazon, eBuyer and the British PC-specialist Scan.

Thank you Endgadget for providing us with this information