E&T news weekly #21 – we choose our favourite engineering and technology news stories from the week

Friday October 10 2014

  Jonathan Wilson Jonathan Wilson, online managing editor
Turing’s codebreaking machine voted engineers’ favourite

It’s been a momentous week for the mathematical legacy of Alan Turing. Not only did the biopic of his life, The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Kiera Knightley, debut at the London Film Festival, Turing’s World War Two codebreaking machine, nicknamed The Bombe, was also voted the engineers’ favourite artefact in a new survey to mark the 30th anniversary of the Engineering Heritage Awards.

Police struggling with cybercrime says top policeman

A worrying admission that the robbers are smarter than the cops these days, as Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe acknowledges at a recent security conference that police have still not “got to grips” with online fraud despite a huge rise in the crime.

 

  Vitali Vitaliev Vitali Vitaliev, features editor
Driverless and first-time air-conditioned Tube train design revealed

This welcome development looks like a possible end of a very long saga. It also contradicts earlier conclusions of London transport engineers to the effect that effective air-conditioning in London Tube stations and trains was technically impossible. In 2010, we had a rather heated (sorry for the pun – could not refrain from it!) discussion on the pages of E&T as to whether cooling the Tube was a reality or a dream. Looks like it was (is, will be?) a reality, after all – a fact particularly pleasing for an inveterate passenger like myself who had a heat stroke while travelling on the Tube in July 2003!

 

  Edd Gent Edd Gent, online news reporter
LED inventor unhappy at Nobel Prize snub

It’s great that research central to a lot of electronic engineering received the Nobel Prize for Physics this year, but the furore over the snubbing of the inventor of the first visible-light LED and also the inventors of the first ever LED, the infrared LED, highlights the fact that scientific research is not a series of Eureka moments but a steady and incremental accumulation of knowledge.

 

  Dickon Ross Dickon Ross, editor in chief
Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game opens festival

As The Imitation Game, the new biopic of cryoptoanalyst and computer science pioneer Alan Turing, opens the London Film Festival, the stars admitted they struggled with the maths. E&T has seen the preview of the film and found it really quite moving. Bletchley Park, prepare for a lot more visitors.

LED inventor unhappy at Nobel Prize snub

Not everyone was happy about the Nobel prize for physics going to the inventors of the blue LED.

Spanish smart meters easy to hack

Concerns that hackers could take control of smart meters in Spain. There will be more like this to come as the security of the new generation of networked devices will become a running story – and not just consumer devices in the home. The players involved in building the Internet of Things are taking security and privacy issues very seriously indeed and talking about what needs to be done by industry and government to reassure the public. Watch this space.

 

  dominic-lenton Dominic Lenton, managing editor
Smart waste collection service launched in Spain

Suggestions that how well British householders are at recycling could be monitored by ‘smart’ rubbish bins have met with predictable mutterings about Big Brother going through our bins. Spain isn’t going that far, but is using technology to plan refuse collection routes more effectively by tracking which bins are closest to overflowing.

Engineering adventure stories to inspire next generation

American aerospace engineer Ken Hardman is determined to attract more young people into engineering by telling stories about the exciting side of the job. “Engineers don’t just sit around writing software and solving mathematical equations,” he says. “They go on business trips, they have deadlines, they conceive new ideas, they solve problems.”

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