Monday, 27 June 2016

Cat called Smog starts house fire during the night

Firemen were called to a home in Sheffield at 4:30am yesterday to tackle a house fire apparently caused by the family's cat, Smog, walking over the cooker and accidentally switching it on.
A plastic toolbox which had been left on top of the cooker had caught fire, leading to further damage.
The family and Smog fortunately managed to escape to safety, the fire service reported, and Smog is reported to be doing fine after a check-up at the vets.
If this genuine incident seems strangely familiar, it may be because it was remarkably close to the story of the children's book 'Mog's Christmas Calamity' by Judith Kerr, featuring a cat with a very similar name.
You may have seen the story brought to life on television recently as Sainsbury's made it into an animated/live action short film for its Christmas advert this year.
The book version of the story is currently being sold by Sainsbury's and all the related profits are being donated to Save the Children. So far nearly £900,000 has been raised for the charity's UK child literacy campaign.

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Monday, 20 June 2016

Wireless internet through your lights

A new wireless internet access technology called li-fi has been announced, which transmits data through light via standard LED bulbs.
This method of wireless transmission doesn't suffer from the interference of traditional wi-fi and offers speeds 100 times faster, up to 1Gbps (gigabit per second) which is 1000 Mbps (megabits per second). However, lab tests have shown theoretical speeds of up to 224Gbps.
The technology was tested this week by Estonian company Velmenni, in an office environment, allowing workers to access the internet.
The technology works by using a controller to vary the current to an LED bulb (or bulbs) at very high speed, varying the intensity of the light output enough to be detected by a photodetector device connected to a computer, but not enough to be noticed by the human eye.
Any LED lightbulb could be controlled in this way to offer the very high speed internet connection, but there are some downsides. The technology doesn't work outside in daylight for example, because of the presence of the sun. Plus of course, you need to have the lights on for li-fi to work.
The fact that li-fi doesn't cause or suffer from the radio interference of traditional wi-fi is a big plus though, allowing it to be used on aircraft, in hospitals and other such sensitive environments.
Velmenni chief executive Deepak Solanki has stated that the technology could reach consumers within three to four years.

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Monday, 13 June 2016

Queen reopens New Street station in Birmingham

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have officially reopened New Street Station in Birmingham, following its five year, £750m, redevelopment.

The royal couple unveiled a plaque at the impressive new station and paid their respects to railway staff killed in action in the First World War.

They also named a tram while visiting the recently completed Midland Metro Tram Extension at Bull Street, and visited the Birmingham Dental Hospital and School of Dentistry on the former BBC site at Pebble Mill.

Security for the Queen's visit was higher than usual, following the attacks in Paris last weekend, with armed police clearly visible and additional officers on patrol. The central concourse of the station was also sealed off while the Queen unveiled the plaque.

However, Assistant Chief Constable Gary Cann said that the measures were only a precaution and no intelligence had been received relating to a threat.

Some royal fans traveled a long way to see the Queen, with one, Margaret Kittle, coming all the way from Canada.

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