Top Stories for the Week of August 2, 2017

  • Episode 515
  • August 2, 2017
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Here are the stories we're following for the week of Wednesday August 2, 2017

The UK Government is stepping things up in the high-speed infrastructure department.

The UK government recently launched a £400m fund to boost investment in "full-fibre" broadband.

The aim is to offer speeds of up to 1Gbps to households and businesses.

Rather than relying on copper cables to connect them to roadside cabinets, fibre-optic cables will run directly to their properties.

The plan, announced by the chancellor in November, has been called "a drop in the ocean" compared with what will be needed to make "full fibre" the norm.

Although many households and organisations do not currently need 1Gbps speeds, the idea is to provide a "future-proof" solution.

The government is tapping private investors to bring the total sum to £1bn, and the money will be managed and invested by two fund managers.

Until now, the UK government's focus has been to deliver "super-fast" broadband speeds - meaning 24Mbps or more. It has pledged that 95% of UK properties will have this by the end of this year and 100% by the end of 2020.

BT's telecoms infrastructure division, Openreach, has said it believes two million premises will have access to "full fibre" by the end of 2020.

But it aims to provide speeds of up to 330Mbps to a further 10 million premises via a copper-based technology known as by the same date.


Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash

A biodegradable car is undergoing testing and looks like it will be road-worthy within a few weeks.

A car made from biodegradable natural materials has passed road safety tests in the Netherlands.

TU Ecomotive, a student team from Eindhoven University of Technology, unveiled LINA earlier this year.

The four-seater's lightweight structure is made from sugar beet and flax which takes 20% of the energy used to produce today's aluminium or carbon-fibre based cars.

The university says the concept car will undergo a few final adaptations before being allowed on public roads within the next few weeks.


Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash

Volvo is having a hard time getting their autonomous vehicles to work in Australia... because kangaroos keep hopping around in front of them!

The relentless march of the self-driving car is in danger of grinding to a halt in Australia because the technology cannot cope with kangaroos.

While other large animals walk, run, trot of lope - kangaroos jump.

This has proved all too much for Volvo. In fact, Volvo has been trying to solve the kangaroo problem for nearly two years, having sent experts to examine them in their natural habitat in 2015.

There are more than 16,000 kangaroo collisions on Australia's roads, which cost the insurance industry just over £44 million.

The company has been working on tweaking its self-braking system to deal with the problem.

Martin Magnusson, Volvo's safety manager said, "Kangaroos are very unpredictable animals and difficult to avoid, but we are confident we can refine our technology to detect them and avoid collisions on the highway."

To that, the kangaroos said, "Yeah, right."

Despite the company's best efforts, Volvo's large animal detection system has yet to crack the problem. Nevertheless, Volvo remains confident that it will have solved the conundrum by the time its self-driving cars are available in 2020.


Sent to us by: Jeff Weston

John Romero, one of the creators of Doom II, put his floppies up on Ebay and landed a sale of more than $3,000 after promising to sign them.

If you want to play the original version of Doom II, the game will set you back just £1.49 during the current Steam Summer Sale. If you want a boxed copy of the original floppy disk version, circa 1994, there's a copy available on eBay right now for $75.

But if you want Doom II floppy disks that were once owned (and potentially signed) by Doom co-creator John Romero, you'll need to pay over $3,000.

John Romero himself posted "Original DOOM 2 disks / 3.5" floppies / PC" on eBay and promoted the listing via Twitter. The auction drew 84 bids from 31 distinct bidders over three days, ending this morning with a winning bid of $3,150. "I will sign these disks if you like," Romero wrote in the eBay description.


Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash


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