Posts Tagged ‘England’

Bletchley Park Codebreaker Honored

December 29th, 2012 12:18 admin View Comments

The Military

Rambo Tribble writes England has awarded Raymond Roberts, one of the nine cryptanalysts responsible for breaking the Nazi Tunny code machine, (also known by the German designation Lorenz cipher machine) the MBE. Roberts is the last surviving member of the team which cracked the German army’s cipher machine functionality, much like others at Bletchley broke the better-known Enigma machine.”

Source: Bletchley Park Codebreaker Honored

“Jedi” Religion Most Popular Alternative Faith In England

December 12th, 2012 12:57 admin View Comments

United Kingdom

Census numbers show that 176,632 people in England and Wales ask themselves, “What would Yoda do?” Although the number of people who list their religion as “Jedi” has dropped by more than 50% in the past 10 years, It remains the most popular “alternative” faith in England. From the article: “The new figures reveal that the lightsabre-wielding disciples are only behind Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, Judaism and Buddhism in the popularity stakes, excluding non-religious people and people who did not answer.”

Source: “Jedi” Religion Most Popular Alternative Faith In England

Vector Vengeance: British Claim They Can Kill the Pixel Within Five Years

December 12th, 2012 12:24 admin View Comments


MrSeb writes “The humble pixel — the 2D picture element that has formed the foundation of just about every kind of digital media for the last 50 years — may soon meet its maker. Believe it or not, if a team of British are to be believed, the pixel, within five short years, will be replaced with vectors. If you know about computer graphics, or if you’ve ever edited or drawn an image on your computer, you know that there are two primary ways of storing image data: As a bitmap, or as vectors. A bitmap is quite simply a giant grid of pixels, with the arrangement and color of the pixels dictating what the image looks like. Vectors are an entirely different beast: In vector graphics, the image is described as a series of mathematical equations. To draw a bitmap shape you just color in a block of pixels; with vector graphics, you would describe the shape in terms of height, width, radius, and so on. At the moment, bitmaps are used almost exclusively in the realm of digital media — but that isn’t to say they don’t have their flaws. As display (and camera and cinema) resolution increases, so does the number of pixels. The obvious problem with this is that larger bitmaps are computationally more expensive to process, resulting in a slower (or more expensive) workflow. Pixel bitmaps don’t scale very gracefully; reduction is okay, but enlargement is a no-no. There is always the issue of a master format, too: With pixel bitmaps, conversions from one format to another, or changing frame rates, is messy, lossy business. Which finally leads us back to the innovation at hand: Philip Willis and John Patterson of the University of Bath in England have devised a video codec that replaces pixel bitmaps with vectors (PDF).”

Source: Vector Vengeance: British Claim They Can Kill the Pixel Within Five Years

UK Government Mandates the Teaching of Evolution As Scientific Fact

November 30th, 2012 11:35 admin View Comments


An anonymous reader writes “A story at the BBC explains how the UK government has put an extra clause into a funding bill to ensure that any new ‘free schools’ (independent schools run by groups of parents or organizations, but publicly-funded) must teach evolution rather than creationism or potentially lose their funding. ‘The new rules state that from 2013, all free schools in England must teach evolution as a ‘comprehensive and coherent scientific theory.’ The move follows scientists’s concerns that free schools run by creationists might avoid teaching evolution. Sir Paul Nurse, president of the Royal Society, said it was ‘delighted.’ Sir Paul told BBC News the previous rules on free schools and the teaching of evolution versus creationism had been ‘not tight enough.’”

Source: UK Government Mandates the Teaching of Evolution As Scientific Fact

WW2 Carrier Pigeon and Undecoded Message Found In Chimney

November 2nd, 2012 11:01 admin View Comments


BigBadBus writes “The BBC is reporting that the remains of a World War 2 carrier pigeon were found during renovation of a chimney in England. What is interesting is that the pigeon’s remains still had its message attached to the leg ring; even more interesting, this is the first recorded instance of a code being used rather than plain text. The successor to WW2 code-breaking HQ Bletchley Park, the GCHQ, is trying to decipher this unique code. Maybe a Slashdot reader can beat them to it?”

Source: WW2 Carrier Pigeon and Undecoded Message Found In Chimney

17th Century Microscope Book Is Now Freely Readable

October 23rd, 2012 10:17 admin View Comments


menno_h writes “In January 1665, Samuel Pepys wrote in his diary that he stayed up till two in the morning reading a best-selling page-turner, a work that he called ‘the most ingenious book I read in my life.’ It was not a rousing history of English battles or a proto-bodice ripper. It was filled with images: of fleas, of bark, of the edges of razors. The book was called Micrographia. It provided the reading public with its first look at the world beyond the naked eye. Its author, Robert Hooke, belonged to a brilliant circle of natural philosophers who — among many other things — were the first in England to make serious use of microscopes as scientific instruments. They were great believers in looking at the natural world for themselves rather than relying on what ancient Greek scholars had claimed. Looking under a microscope at the thousands of facets on an insect’s compound eye, they saw things at the nanoscale that Aristotle could not have dreamed of. A razor’s edge became a mountain range. In the chambers of a piece of bark, Hooke saw the first evidence of cells. Micrographia is is available on Google Books now.”

Source: 17th Century Microscope Book Is Now Freely Readable

Science and Math Enrollments Reach New High In UK

August 20th, 2012 08:01 admin View Comments


ianare writes “There has been a continued increase in the number of students taking A-level science and maths subjects. Physics has been especially popular. A growing fascination with science and teacher support schemes seem to be improving the teaching of maths and physics in UK state schools. From the article: ‘There is evidence that two teacher support schemes funded by the Department for Education and run by the Institute of Physics and Mathematics in Education and Industry are beginning to make a big difference. The IOP runs a network in England designed to help science teachers teach physics, called the Stimulating Physics Network. The MEI has a similar scheme called the Further Mathematics Support Programme. There is compelling evidence that much of the rise in the numbers of A-level students comes from schools participating in the scheme.’”

Source: Science and Math Enrollments Reach New High In UK

The Chinese Telecom That Spooks the World

August 5th, 2012 08:45 admin View Comments


wrekkuh writes “The Economist has printed an interesting look at the concerns and speculations of the fast-growing Chinese telecom giant Huawei, and it’s spread into western markets. Of particular concern is Huawei’s state funding, and the company’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, who once served as an engineer in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). However, another article from The Economist goes into greater detail about the steps Huawei has taken to mitigate some of these concerns in England — including co-operating with the GCHQ in Britain, the UK’s signals-intelligence agency, to ensure equipment built by Huawei is not back-doored.”

Source: The Chinese Telecom That Spooks the World

Teenager Arrested In England For Criticizing Olympic Athlete On Twitter

July 31st, 2012 07:35 admin View Comments

United Kingdom

An anonymous reader writes “A teenager from Dorset, England was arrested for sending a Twitter message to Olympic athlete Tom Daley saying: ‘You let your dad down i hope you know that.’ Police arrested the 17-year-old boy as part of an investigation into ‘malicious tweets’ after Daley and his teammate missed out on a medal. Daley’s father died from cancer last year. While it is rarely used and the police have not indicated whether they are pressing charges, the Communications Act 2003 s.127 covers the sending of improper messages. Section 127(1)(a) relates to a message that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character. Sean Duffy was convicted and sentenced earlier this year for similar comments. I look forward to tens of thousands of arrests across England over the next few days as all public remarks which may cause offense, regardless of their target, are investigated by the law.” According to the Guardian, another (since deleted) tweet threatened Daley with drowning, but the law doesn’t require threats of violence for an arrest to be made.

Source: Teenager Arrested In England For Criticizing Olympic Athlete On Twitter

“Bomb Threat” Tweet Conviction Overturned By UK Appeals Court

July 27th, 2012 07:44 admin View Comments


New submitter Kupfernigk writes “Paul Chambers was the man who was convicted (in England) of a terrorist offense based on a tweet threatening to ‘blow up’ Robin Hood Airport because they couldn’t get snow cleared. Despite the fact that it was obviously a (feeble) joke, the Crown Prosecution Service actually went ahead with a prosecution and were able to convince a junior judge sitting with magistrates. The senior judges, including the Lord Chief Justice, said ‘We have concluded that, on an objective assessment, the decision of the Crown Court that this ‘tweet’ constituted or included a message of a menacing character was not open to it. On this basis, the appeal against conviction must be allowed.’ In effect, they have said that the original decision was not made objectively, which can be considered a severe slap for the Crown Prosecutor.”

Source: “Bomb Threat” Tweet Conviction Overturned By UK Appeals Court