E&T news weekly #15 – we choose our favourite engineering and technology news stories from the week

It’s been a short week with the bank holiday weekend, still we have covered enough news to chose from for our weekly best off. See which technology stories caught the attention of our editors: 

James HayesJames Hayes, technology features editor
Poor coding puts business applications at risk of hacking

Software developers have long been criticised for not ‘baking-in’ sufficient security from the moment the first line of code of a critical application is created, but CAST’s findings also revivify a debate that has been raging in enterprise IT governance circles for years: to what extent should critical software be ‘security audited’ before it is passed fit to be commissioned for ‘active service’?

Vitali VitalievVitali Vitaliev, features editor
Robots make best bosses, study suggests

Looking back at my 35-year-long career in journalism spanning a number of countries and continents, I am inclined to believe that robotic managers have been with us (covertly!) for a long time. Please note that my nearly seven years with the IET are excluded from this observation for obvious reasons…

London’s tech heart suffers from slow Internet

This story brings to mind an old, yet relevant, Russian proverb: “Cobbler’s children never have shoes.”

Professor Stephen Hawking backs ice bucket challenge

Three cheers for Professor Hawking and for his lovely daughter Lucy – a very talented writer, who, as I heard, took the brunt of the challenge onto herself.

dominic-lentonDominic Lenton, managing editor
Renewables growth stunted by policy, Agency warns

There are plenty of people sceptical about the wisdom of relying on renewable energy who will welcome the International Energy Agency’s prediction that although the sector is expected to account for just over a quarter of global generation by 2020, growth will slow rapidly after that point. Whether or not you agree, that fact that this is largely due to uncertainty about government policies and not something informed by technical evidence is another indication that security of supply is too important to be left to the politicians to sort out. 

Sheepdog study could lead to herding robots

Today’s youngsters would probably find the idea that there was once a whole television programme dedicated to sheep dog trials rather quaint, although I recall it being a lot more engaging than 24-hour live streaming video of events in the Big Brother house. With the imminent arrival of mechanical sheep dogs though, perhaps the time is ripe for a 21st century animal versus robot version; One Man and his Droid anyone?

Tereza PultarovaTereza Pultarova, online news reporter
Frantic efforts to save Galileo launch fiasco

It seems as if Galileo, Europe’s planned global navigation satellite system, was born, or designed, under an unlucky star. After years of organisational and budgetary problems, the ambitious project, aiming to show its technical superiority over American GPS, finally seemed to be on track. … Until that unfortunate August 22 when the first two Full Operational Capability satellites were launched to end up in a useless orbit. 

HitchBOT completes its journey across Canada

We had been following hitchBOT, the hitchhiking robot, from the onset of its cross-Canada trip and were happy to learn that the talking tweeting creature arrived at its destination in British Columbia safe and sound.

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