E&T news weekly #22 – we choose our favourite engineering and technology news stories from the week

Friday October 17 2014

  Aasha Bodhani Aasha Bodhani, assistant technology features editor
First Google Glass addict admitted for treatment

It has been reported an American man has been diagnosed with having an addiction to Google Glass, having used the wearable technology for up to 18 hours a day as part of his job. The man experienced irritable and aggressive traits when stripped of the glasses, and would dream about seeing the world through the Glass’s small screen. He’s now reportedly under an ‘internet detox’ programme, including Google Glass and other electronic devices.

Windows flaw used by hackers to spy on Nato

Cyber security experts iSight Partners say they’ve detected a flaw in Microsoft Windows, providing Russian hackers the opportunity to spy on Nato, the EU, Ukraine and energy and telecommunications companies. The attack was achieved by targeted phishing emails and an unknown method to bypass all forms of security protection. While no comment has been made from the Russian government, Microsoft have been alerted and are issuing an automatic update.

 

  Tereza Pultarova Tereza Pultarova, online news reporter
First Google Glass addict admitted for treatment

Most of us have probably observed the negative effects of excessive Internet exposure on our attention span and would admit sometimes checking our smartphones, emails and social media accounts far too often. However, the world’s first Google Glass addict has taken the gadget addiction to an entirely new level, even developing dreams in which he sees the world through the Google Glass display.

Mars One settlement would perish in weeks

There has been a lot of media fuss about the daring Mars One project, which aims to establish a permanent human colony on the Red Planet within the next decade. With a reality show-style astronaut selection process and a claim that the technology needed for such an ambitious venture already exists, the project has raised eyebrows of many experts. It doesn’t come entirely as a surprise then that the concept didn’t fare particularly well in an independent engineering assessment.

 

  dominic-lenton Dominic Lenton, managing editor
Influx of foreign engineers to UK mightier than ever

With immigration set to be one of the hot topics of next year’s general election, news that the number of non-EU engineers recruited by UK companies has increased by 36 per cent in the last year. Good news that firms are getting back in the hiring mode, but why are they finding it so hard to find suitable workers that they have to look overseas?

TV white space used to monitor endangered wildlife

With the annual return of the BBC’s ever popular Autumnwatch on the horizon, thousands of viewers will be tuning in to live wildlife webcams on the web. The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and Google are taking a more innovative approach to ‘citizen zoology’ by using the white space gaps between channels in the digital TV spectrum to test technology that monitors endangered wildlife in remote areas.

 

  Lorna Sharpe Lorna Sharpe, sub-editor
TV white space trial to provide flood warning

interesting application of so-called ‘TV white space’ technology, collating data from a network of sensors that monitor waterways and groundwater in a flood-prone area, with the intention of giving residents early warning of problems.

Radar tests detect small aircraft among wind turbines

Ever since wind-farm developments took off in a serious way it’s been recognised that moving turbines create spurious signals on air traffic control radars, and engineers have been looking for ways to mitigate the problem. UK trials of a Danish radar system are showing promising results.

 

  Edd Gent Edd Gent, online news reporter
Experts question Lockheed fusion reactor claims

Fusion is one of those technologies that always seems to be 50 years away, so fair play to Lockheed for sticking their necks out with a prediction that they will be able to produce one in a decade. The jury is very much still out on the claims, largely due to the lack of detail, but here’s hoping it’s not all a load of hot air.

 

  Jonathan Wilson Jonathan Wilson, online managing editor
Shelve the Climate Change Act, says former minister
Shale firm to appeal council’s exploration refusal

It isn’t much of a stretch to join the dots of these two stories from the same day this week to complete an ugly picture of the shortsighted, selfish greed typical of Tory MPs and vampiric fossil-fuel drilling companies. First, former (note former) Tory environment secretary Owen Paterson challenges David Cameron to shelve the Climate Change Act, on the basis that scrapping policies focused on renewable energy targets in favour of “common sense” energy policies would be a “glorious opportunity” for the Conservatives and a chance to address the threat posed by the rise of right wing rival party Ukip. One of Paterson’s primary columns supporting his argument? Push for shale gas. And what do you know? Celtique, the shale drilling company, is now challenging the decision made in July this year by West Sussex County Council’s planning committee to refuse Celtique’s application to drill for oil and gas exploration near Wisborough Green, a conservation area just outside the South Downs National Park.

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