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Electronic connections

Software for the common good

17 Oct 2014 by Chris Edwards Comments (1)

After a few weeks of watching Shellshock-enabled exploits let hackers into things like VoIP phone systems as well as regular web servers, the attention has shifted back to software that was supposed to be secure. The Poodle bug in what is now a relatively old version of the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) should not affect too many systems running on the internet now but calls attention to the informal way a lot of active code was created.

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Editor's letter

What Now For Antarctica?

17 Oct 2014 by Dickon Ross

The Antarctic is the Earth's last great wilderness, but can we keep it that way? Antarctic sea ice has been increasing - against a global trend of ice loss - and Nasa, which has monitored it since the 1970s, says the extent now exceeds 20 million square kilometres for the first time since 1979.

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View from Washington

Technology and content: better-off apart

17 Oct 2014 by Paul Dempsey

Word has it that Silicon Valley is circling Hollywood for acquisitions. We've been here before and what evidence there is suggests that technology and content do not make such happy bedfellows.

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View from Brussels

EU threatens UK gene research, says minister

16 Oct 2014 by Pelle Neroth

It is research intended to revolutionise the care of NHS patients - and the British government says EU red tape is in danger of strangling it.

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After All

What's in the train's name?

15 Oct 2014 by Vitali Vitaliev

Our little, almost toy-like, train was slowly but surely puffing its way up the mountain. From my comfy wooden bench I had a breathtaking view of the three snow-capped peaks - Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau - as well as of numerous waterfalls, valleys and chalets, all squeaky-clean and brand-new, as if recycled and neatly packaged. And of cows of course - also neat and sterile - with bulging blue eyes and bells around their necks - strolling lazily beside the narrow-gauge rail track, with cables and cogwheels in its middle. We were told by our hosts that Swiss cows wear bells not just to allow the farmers to find them easily, but mainly because the monotonous jingling sound relaxes them (cows, not farmers) and makes them (cows again) produce more milk...

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The Philosophical Engineer

Piece on security

12 Oct 2014 by Francis Goode

A regular feature of the Goode family life involves your poor blogger being berated by the Goode child for his dinosaur-like inability to adapt to words taking on new (and, to his mind, wholly inappropriate) meanings. For example how, one protests, can "tandem," which comes from the Latin "at length (in time)" possibly be flipped to take on the exact opposite sense, as it does when people use it to mean in parallel with, or concurrently? Such protests produce no more than a roll of the Goode child's eyes. That's just the way it is, she says, language evolves. Normal people don't care about things like ancient etymologies. So get over it.

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Jack's blog

Jack's Blog: October

6 Oct 2014 by Jack Devine

"My dad is going email-free at work," I told my flatmates. "Look, it says so in this email from him. I think it's like a condemned man's last meal. Or the letter you post back from the Front when you're about to die. And he chose me to receive his last email! I think that's quite sweet."

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'Data as the lifeblood to the Smart Built Environment'

22 Sep 2014 by James Hayes

Successful large-scale projects have always required multi-disciplinary teams and high-quality data. The compelling reasons for gathering data have not changed - we need reliable information to support confidence in our decision-making, and to

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Secretive U.S. Air Force space plane ready to return to Earth – an annotated infographic

17 Oct 2014

The U.S. Air Force’s robotic X-37B space plane is set to return to Earth after almost two years in orbit. The secret mission is believed to have been a test of new sensors and other next-generation satellite technologies. Click on the graphic for an expanded view.

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