Hot news! E&T news weekly #1 – we choose our favourite stories from the week

E&T staff select their picks of the week from our daily news coverage – the best stories, industry developments, company announcements, new product releases, future predictions and past reflections.

Friday May 9 2014

Electronic nose sniffs out prostate cancer in urine

I’m sure middle-aged men around the world will join me in welcoming the news that Finnish researchers have reported promising results from a technique for detecting early stages of prostate cancer. The eNose was inspired by the ability of dogs to pick up their owners’ health problems by smelling their breath, but sniffs a urine sample.

Dominic Lenton, managing editor
LG fridges chatting with owners via IM

Thank heavens machines haven’t become self-aware. Otherwise LG’s new suite of smart appliances that can chat to users over an instant messaging app might cause body image problems: “Open the fridge door, Hal!” “I’m sorry, Dave, I can’t do that!”

Kris Sangani, consumer electronics editor
Google Glass in the operating theatre

Google Glass often seems like a frivolous piece of gadgetry so it’s nice to see it being used for something genuinely productive.

Edd Gent, online news reporter
EasyJet drones inspect aircraft

Low-cost airline EasyJet says drones programmed to carry out aircraft inspections can save time and reach awkward places more easily than people can. They will alert technicians to anything that needs further investigation.

Lorna Sharpe, transport editor
Recycled urine drinks for schoolchildren

Though I am not sure I would be particularly happy to know I was drinking recycled urine if I were a Moroccan school kid, I think it’s great when expensive publicly funded space projects bring some benefits to less fortunate people on Earth.

Tereza Pultarova, online news reporter
Dark fibre extends network possibilities

Greater use of fibre should be a step toward extending photonic switching – which, in theory, could make parts of the global Internet infrastructure more secure; but the NDFIS must also take this opportunity to ensure that additional cyber-security safeguards are built into this emerging network out from its very core.

James Hayes, technology features editor
Windows XP patched again

Despite Microsoft’s stating it will never release another patch for Windows XP following its retirement date, 8 April 2014, the software giant has made an exception, after Internet Explorer and Windows XP became vulnerable to an attack. However this security update is a one-time fix only, as Microsoft warns XP users should still upgrade to newer versions.

Aasha Bodhani, assistant technology features editor
Eurostar’s 20th anniversary

I was on board the first ever Eurostar train, which as we reported made its maiden journey 20 years ago this week. As a staff columnist for the now-defunct ‘European’ newspaper, I was on that historic trip with a large group of London journalists. It did have a touch of a miracle then and I remember feeling a bit uneasy as the train was rattling through the pitch darkness. 20 years on – to the day! – on 7 May 2014, I was returning home from a press trip to Paris. In between these two memorable trips there have been hundreds of Chunnel journeys to the Continent and back. Among those was one unhurried walk… through the service Channel tunnel (on top of the two main ones) – as part of yet another press trip, this time for E&T. I have to confess that after 20 years of frequent Eurostar trips, I haven’t quite come to grips with the fact that I can (theoretically, at least) be in my Paris hotel room three hours after leaving the E&T offices in Stevenage. No wonder Eurotunnel is often listed among the ten engineering miracles of modern world.

Vitali Vitaliev, features editor
UAV’s check planes for safety

Drones are being employed to check the safety of aircraft before take-off, which is particularly poignant following the Malaysia Airline MH370 disaster. Using UAV technology could cut down days’ worth of human-led safety checks, saving airlines significant amounts in late take-off fees and reducing time spent by holiday-goers waiting in take-off lounges.

Abi Grogan, assistant engineering features editor
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