xiox writes "The European Space Agency (ESA) have decided that its next two large astronomy missions (costing 2bn Euros) will be to study two aspects of the "invisible universe". The first will be a very large X-ray telescope to be launched in 2028. It will study the physics of the hottest and largest structures in the universe, investigating how they formed and evolved. It will also investigate how black holes grow and affect the universe. The second mission, launched in 2034, will be an observatory capable to measure gravitation waves, the stretches and compressions in space-time caused by massive moving systems, such as merging pairs of black holes. Although the final designs are not yet chosen, the two proposed observatories Athena and eLISA are likely choices. BBC News has more information." top
xiox writes "A danish computer company, Specialisterne is actively employing autistic workers and now has 40 of them. The firm is planning to expand to the UK in Glasgow. The owner of the company was motivated to do this when one of his sons was diagnosed as autistic. The company provides a quiet environment and fixed routines. Given the right conditions, the staff are said to excel at technical tasks. In addition, robots and Lego models are used to test their skills." top
xiox writes "The BBC devote a 30 minute radio program to Free and Open Source Software, related projects such as Wikipedia, and community projects in Brazil. Interviewees include RMS, Alan Cox, Microsoft representatives, and Jimmy Wales." top
xiox writes "The UK government is planning to stop funding a study to understand obesity in children. The study fits children with accelerometers to measure how much energy each child uses in a day by moving. The results are very surprising. Those children who do sports at school do not burn more calories than those who don't. Furthermore there is no correlation between body mass index and the number of calories used! The results are very interesting, suggesting that genetics and diet are the main reasons for childhood obesity, not sport. The UK government is trying to increase the amount of sport in schools." top
xiox writes "Private Eye magazine contains a comprehensive report detailing the horrifying background to the wasting of £12.4 billion of public money on an unnecessary and useless central bureaucratic computer system for the UK's National Health Service. This could have paid for 26,000 doctors over 10 years. While the full report is not available online, NHS Blog Doctor details some of the findings.
Those of us working within the NHS have long been aware of the futility and waste of this IT system. The details that emerge from the Private Eye report reveal a tale of incompetence and greed that beggars belief. Incompetence on the part of the government, and greed on the part of some of the contractors, two of whom are named by the report. Both made personal profits of over £20 million on the back of inflated share sales and illusory profits generated by Enron style accounting.