General News

Defra: Small businesses can save cash, carbon & water by adopting the advice of 10 simple tips from Defra and DECC. As part of the 'Real Help for Businesses Now' campaign, the Government has collated easy guidance for small businesses, helping them to save money.  The top ten tips include:
* switching off computers & monitors - a single computer and monitor left on 24/7 will cost over £50p.a.
* heating costs can go up by 8% each time you increase the temperature by just one degree
* using refillable printer, fax and photocopier cartridges which cost about half the price of a new one
Press release ~ Top 10 Tips ~ Real Help for Businesses Now campaign
 
DH: Stroke is the third most common cause of death in the UK.  Each year, 150,000 people have a stroke and of those, 67,000 people die.  Stroke can happen to anyone, young or old, at any time.  In fact, 25% of people who have a stroke are under retirement age.
 
The Department of Health has launched a 3-year £12m awareness campaign to help the public to recognise the signs of stroke, using a simple test called FAST:
* Facial weakness - can the person smile?  Has their mouth or eye drooped?
* Arm weakness - can the person raise both arms?
* Speech problems - can the person speak clearly and understand what you say?
* Time to call 999 - if the person shows any one of these signs, call an ambulance
Press release ~ National Stroke Strategy ~ The Stroke Association ~ Act FAST ~ DH - Stroke ~ Stroke Improvement website ~ Royal College of Physicians' Sentinel Audit ~ Stroke Research Network
 
OFT: The Office of Fair Trading and Get Safe Online have joined forces to urge internet users to be vigilant against online fraudsters as recent research shows that online scams are on the increase. The warning comes as part of the OFT's Scams Awareness Month.
 
The second week of this year's campaign focused on internet scams and is being supported by Get Safe Online, the UK's national internet security awareness initiative. Three of the most common e-mail scams which consumers should look out for are:
* Phishing
* Bogus foreign lotteries
* Advance fee scams
Press release ~ Get Safe Online ~ OFT's Scamnesty ~ Consumer Direct - Scams
 
NA: Important unpublished records of the Hundred Years War are to be made available online in an innovative new 3-year project led by the University of Oxford and assisted by The National Archives. The Arts and Humanities Research Council has awarded almost £750k to the Universities of Oxford and Liverpoolto digitise & edit the Gascon Rolls, which consist of 113 unpublished manuscripts covering the era 1317 to 1468 (which includes the ‘Hundred Years War’).
Press release ~ University of Oxford ~ Gascon Rolls Catalogue ~ Arts and Humanities Research Council ~ Ranulf Higden Society
 
ScotGov: More than 11,000 young people throughout Scotland are to benefit from improved sports facilities, including new 3G synthetic pitches, as part of the latest element of the Scottish Government's CashBack for Communities scheme.
 
The first 19 projects, part of the sports facilities strand of the scheme will also include a new sports pavilion, changing facilities, floodlights and drainage systems. They are to receive a share of over £1.3m, with a further £700k being allocated later.
Press release ~ CashBack for Communities scheme
 
MoD: The RAF's latest 'eye in the sky' has recently returned from its successful trials in Afghanistan.  The ASTOR system (Airborne Stand-Off Radar) on the Sentinel R1 aircraft was used to gather vital information for forces in the fight against the Taleban. These aircraft are capable of operating for over 9 hours at a time.
 
The radar on RAF Sentinels works by looking down to the ground and ‘staring’ at the target area while the aircraft flies in a straight line.  The radar transmits pulses and receives target information as it moves, while building up a ‘picture’ of the target area.  State-of-the-art computers & software allow rapid processing of the information.  Data is transmitted to mobile or static ground stations for immediate use by commanders on the ground.
Press release ~ Number 5 (Army Cooperation) Squad­ron ~ ASTOR system (Airborne Stand-Off Radar)
 
MoD: The new Sea Viper air defence missile system has demonstrated its ability to protect air, land and sea forces during a second, successful test firing. Sea Viper is a highly sophisticated system that has been designed to allow the new Type 45 Destroyer to protect forces, both at sea & over land, against attack by enemy aircraft, as well as defending the fleet against anti-ship missiles approaching from any direction and at supersonic speeds.
 
The missile system was successfully test-fired from the 12,000 tonne trials barge Longbow, near the Ile du Levant off the French coast. The Longbow barge has a full replica of the air defence equipment the new Type 45 destroyers will carry, including long-range & missile directing radars, a combat control centre and missiles in their vertical launcher silos.
Press release ~ Principal Anti-Air Missile System (PAAMS (Aster)  ~ Type 45 Destroyer ~ Sampson Multi Function Radar
 
STFC: Astronomers have made an unexpected find using a polarimeter (an instrument used to measure the wave properties of light) funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), that has the potential to affect future climate models.

University of Hertfordshire astronomers were making observations of the stars in search of new planets after mounting the ‘PlanetPol’ (polarimeter they designed & constructed to take extremely sensitive readings) on the William Herschel Telescope (part of the Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes) in La Palma in the Canary Islands, when their measurements became affected by a layer of dust.  Their observations might explain why large Saharan dust grains can travel as far as the UK instead of falling to the ground long before.
Press release ~ Centre for Atmospheric and Instrumentation Research ~ Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes ~ Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)
 
NE: Dinosaurs, booming bitterns and other wetland birds are at the heart of the decision made by Natural England to designate Ely Pits and Meadows in Cambridgeshire as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, making it the first SSSI to be notified and then designated by Natural England since the government’s wildlife advisor was formed in October 2006.
 
Ely Pits and Meadows SSSI is a nationally important site for bitterns in both the breeding and winter seasons and now becomes one of only eight sites in England to be designated as a SSSI on account of their bittern population.  The designation marks an extension of the area of ‘Kimmeridge Clay’ deposits in the area that now have SSSI status.  These deposits have yielded a number of exciting fossil finds, including turtles, crocodiles, plesiosaurs, ichthyosaurs and sauropod dinosaurs.
Press release ~ Ely Pits and Meadows ~ Information on SSSIs ~ Map
Episode 13 | The Digital Divide