How Do We Track the Fortunes of the World’s Peatlands?

They’re critical resources in taking carbon out of the atmosphere. What are the signs of our progress toward saving them or indications that we’re failing?

#carbon-capture-and-sequestration, #congo-democratic-republic-of-congo-kinshasa, #internal-open-access, #peat, #science-and-technology, #scotland

CDC raises alarm of mysterious hepatitis cases in kids; 2 states report cases

Liver lesions in patient with chronic active hepatitis C.

Enlarge / Liver lesions in patient with chronic active hepatitis C. (credit: Getty | BSIP)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a health alert Thursday notifying clinicians of a US-based cluster of unexplained cases of liver inflammation in young children, which appear to be part of a puzzling international outbreak that now spans at least 10 countries and two US states.

According to the CDC, Alabama has seen nine cases of unexplained liver inflammation—aka hepatitis—in children between the ages of one and six since October of last year. Two of the cases resulted in liver transplants, though no deaths have been reported. Health officials took notice of the unexplained illnesses after a cluster of five cases presented at one children’s hospital in the state last November, with three of those cases involving acute liver failure. The state has since identified four other cases through February, 2022.

According to reporting by Stat News, North Carolina is also investigating two cases in school-aged children, neither of which required transplants.

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#adenovirus, #cdc, #children, #hepatitis, #liver, #public-health, #science, #scotland

Scotland Apologizes for History of Witchcraft Persecution

Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister of Scotland, apologized on behalf of the government for the killing and vilification of thousands of people accused of witchcraft between the 16th and 18th centuries.

#apologies, #scotland, #sturgeon-nicola, #witchcraft, #women-and-girls

For Some in U.K., End of Covid Restrictions Threatens More Isolation

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is abolishing Covid regulations to move “back towards normality.” But people at high risk from the disease say the move will constrict their lives instead.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-reopenings, #england, #great-britain, #internal-storyline-no, #johnson-boris, #london-england, #politics-and-government, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #quarantines, #scotland, #vaccination-and-immunization

Storm Eunice Slams Britain With Dangerously High Winds

Wind gusts of up to 90 miles per hour were expected in parts of the country. One weather official said the storm would be the worst the country has seen in 30 years.

#england, #great-britain, #london-england, #met-office-united-kingdom, #northern-ireland, #rain, #scotland, #storm-eunice, #wales, #weather, #wind

A Cure-All Scottish Chicken Soup

Rich with chicken, leeks and prunes, this cock-a-leekie soup from Melissa Clark is a penicillin of a different order.

#cooking-and-cookbooks, #poultry, #scotland, #soups

How European Royals Once Shared Their Most Important Secrets

Recent research highlights the use of letterlocking techniques by Queen Elizabeth, Catherine de’ Medici and Mary Queen of Scots.

#archives-and-records, #electronic-british-library-journal, #elizabeth-i-queen-of-great-britain, #europe, #france, #great-britain, #history-academic-subject, #letters, #mary-queen-of-scots, #medici-family, #research, #royal-families, #scotland, #your-feed-science

As Its Population Soars to 40, Rum Isle Glimpses a Future in the Mist

With four new families recently arriving, the remote and rainy island in the Hebrides is experiencing its version of a population surge, although residents new and old concede living here isn’t easy.

#hebrides-islands-great-britain, #islands, #population, #rum-isle-hebrides-islands-scotland, #rural-areas, #scotland

Greta Thunberg, at COP26, Says Talks Are Becoming a ‘Greenwash Campaign’

Ms. Thunberg and other activists also spoke about the critical role that young women have played in pressuring world leaders to take action on climate change.

#demonstrations-protests-and-riots, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #nakate-vanessa, #scotland, #thunberg-greta, #united-nations-framework-convention-on-climate-change, #women-and-girls, #yousafzai-malala, #youth

The Secret 53-Year-Old British Case That Could Have Legalized Trans Identity

“The Hidden Case of Ewan Forbes,” by Zoë Playdon, investigates a long-suppressed legal case involving an aristocratic Scotsman, who, raised, at least initially, as a girl, went to court to prove his male gender.

#birth-certificates, #books-and-literature, #great-britain, #playdon-zoe, #scotland, #the-hidden-case-of-ewan-forbes-and-the-unwritten-history-of-the-trans-experience-book, #transgender-and-transsexuals

Once a Leading Polluter, the U.K. Is Now Trying to Lead on Climate Change

On the eve of a global climate summit, Britain’s evolution from fossil fuels to clean energy is on display. But experts question whether its commitment is sufficient, and whether it can persuade other nations to meet meaningful goals.

#alternative-and-renewable-energy, #coal, #electricite-de-france-edf, #england, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #johnson-boris, #politics-and-government, #scotland, #thatcher-margaret-h, #united-nations, #united-nations-framework-convention-on-climate-change, #wind-power

Agony and Ecstasy on the Scottish Archipelago of St. Kilda

The 85-mile boat ride through rough seas left some of us huddling in discomfort. But the scenery on the remote and windswept islands was otherworldly.

#atlantic-ocean, #boats-and-boating, #great-britain, #hebrides-islands-great-britain, #islands, #isle-of-skye-scotland, #oceans-and-seas, #scotland, #travel-and-vacations, #water, #world-heritage-sites

Scotland’s Oil Industry Is Fading as Wind Energy Beckons

Oil and gas production in the North Sea is not the economic juggernaut it once was. Can floating wind turbines offer an alternative?

#aberdeen-scotland, #alternative-and-renewable-energy, #energy-and-power, #great-britain, #labor-and-jobs, #natural-gas, #north-sea, #offshore-drilling-and-exploration, #oil-petroleum-and-gasoline, #politics-and-government, #scotland, #wind-power

Beavers Re-Emerge in Scotland, Drawing Ire of Farmers

Building dams that flood land, the beavers have infuriated farmers. Some have obtained permits to kill the animals — setting off outrage among conservationists.

#agriculture-and-farming, #animals, #beavers, #levees-and-dams, #scotland

Scottish Soccer’s Brexit Problem: No Way In, and No Way Out

Boxed in by stricter rules for imported players and rising prices for British ones, Scotland’s clubs may struggle to stay competitive.

#celtic-soccer-team, #english-premier-league, #great-britain-withdrawal-from-eu-brexit, #rangers-soccer-team, #scotland, #scottish-premier-league, #soccer

Scottish Group Seeks Source of Trump’s Funds for Golf Courses

The Trump Company invested hundreds of millions in the properties during a time when the former president was reporting heavy losses on his income tax returns.

#russian-interference-in-2016-us-elections-and-ties-to-trump-associates, #scotland, #trump-organization, #trump-donald-j, #turnberry-scotland-golf-resort

Covid-19 Delta Variant Widens Gulf Between Vaccinated and Unvaccinated

Data from overseas, particularly Britain, suggest the spread of the virus will set vaccinated and unvaccinated communities on very different paths.

#astrazeneca-plc, #australia, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #deaths-fatalities, #disease-rates, #england, #europe, #great-britain, #immune-system, #india, #infections, #israel, #nature-journal, #oregon, #pfizer-inc, #scotland, #seasons-and-months, #south-africa, #south-america, #southern-states-us, #states-us, #united-states, #vaccination-and-immunization, #western-states-us, #your-feed-science, #youth

Kim Avis Jailed After Faking Death at ‘Mortuary Beach’

The man’s son told the authorities that his father drowned. Months later, he was found in Colorado and extradited to Scotland, where he was sentenced this week to 15 years in prison.

#big-sur-calif, #california, #carmel-calif, #colorado, #colorado-springs-colo, #domestic-violence, #extradition, #fugitives, #highway-1-calif, #missing-persons, #scotland, #sex-crimes, #united-states, #united-states-coast-guard, #united-states-marshals-service

Experts “extremely worried” about Delta variant as US death toll hits 600,000

A serious woman in military fatigues prepares an injection.

Enlarge / Combat medics from Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps vaccinate members of the public at a rapid vaccination centre, set up outside Bolton Town Hall on June 09, 2021 in Bolton, England. (credit: Getty | Christopher Furlong )

By many metrics, the US is currently doing relatively well against the pandemic coronavirus. National tallies of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are all at lows not seen since early last year. Several states have hit the goal of having 70 percent of adults vaccinated with at least one dose, and many areas are easing or lifting health restrictions in response to squashed transmission levels.

But those hard-fought gains are accompanied by a grim milestone today: the national death toll reached 600,000. That’s roughly the population size of Milwaukee or Baltimore. And experts are voicing concerns that the state of the pandemic could once again take a turn for the worse in the US.

New threat

The menacing coronavirus variant B 1.617.2 first seen in India—now dubbed Delta by the World Health Organization—is spreading rapidly around the globe, including in the US. It is estimated to be even more contagious than the worrisome B.1.1.7 variant first seen in the UK. That variant, now dubbed Alpha, is estimated to be about 50 percent more transmissible than the original coronavirus that mushroomed out of Wuhan, China, at the start of 2020. Delta is estimated to be 50 percent to 60 percent more contagious than Alpha.

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#coronavirus, #covid-19, #england, #infectious-disease, #public-health, #sars-cov-2, #science, #scotland, #vaccine, #vaccine-efficacy, #variants

AstraZeneca Shots Carry Slightly Higher Risk of Bleeding Problem, New Study Says

But the research, involving 2.53 million adults in Scotland, found that the vaccine’s benefits outweighed the small risks.

#astrazeneca-plc, #blood, #blood-clots, #content-type-service, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-risks-and-safety-concerns, #johnsonjohnson, #nature-medicine-journal, #oxford-university, #pfizer-inc, #research, #scotland, #vaccination-and-immunization, #your-feed-healthcare

Archaeologists Uncover Decapitated Bodies From Roman Britain

Technological advances, including DNA and tooth enamel analyses, allowed researchers to form new conclusions about capital punishment under Roman rule.

#agriculture-and-farming, #archaeology-and-anthropology, #cambridge-university-press, #capital-punishment, #cemeteries, #crime-and-criminals, #freedom-of-religion, #gosden-chris, #great-britain, #london-england, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #politics-and-government, #research, #roman-civilization, #scotland, #skeletons

6 investors and founders forecast hockey-stick growth for Edinburgh’s startup scene

Scotland is slowly but surely drawing attention in the UK’s startup space. In 2020, Scottish startups collectively raised £345 million, according to Tech Nation, and with nearly 2,500 startups, it has the highest number of budding tech companies outside London. Venture capital fundraises are also consistently on the rise every year.

Scotland’s capital Edinburgh boasts a beautiful, hilly landscape, a robust education system and good access to grant funding, public and private investment. It’s also one of the top financial centers in the U.K., making it a great place to begin a business.

So to find out what the startup scene in Edinburgh looks like, we spoke to six founders, executives and investors. The city’s tech ecosystem appears to have a robust space for machine learning, artificial intelligence, biomedicine, fintech, travel tech, oil, renewables, e-commerce, gaming, health tech, deep tech, space tech and insurtech.

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However, the city’s tech scene is apparently lackluster when it comes to legal tech, blockchain and consumer-facing technology.

Breakout companies that were founded in Edinburgh include Skyscanner and FanDuel. Notable among the current crop are Desana, Continuum Industries, Parsley Box, Current Health, Boundary, Zumo, Appointedd, Criton, Mallzee, TravelNest, TVSquared, Care Sourcer, Stampede, For-Sight, Vistalworks, Reath, InfraCost, Speech Graphics and Cyan Forensics.

The Edinburgh business-angel community appears to be quite strong, but it seems local founders find it difficult to get London-based investors to take an interest. Scottish investors are said to be “pretty conservative and risk-adverse” with some notable exceptions.

We surveyed:

Wendy Lamin, managing director, Holoxica

Which sectors is your tech ecosystem strong in? What are you most excited by? What does it lack?
It’s strong in space, biomedicine, fintech/insurtech, AI.

What are the tech investors like in Edinburgh? What’s their focus?
The Scottish business-angel community is said to be the largest in Europe. It’s difficult to get London-based investors take an interest in Scotland — investors can tend to look at where companies are based. It is hard for “underrepresented founders” to get investments in Scotland and beyond.

With the shift to remote working, do you think people will stay in Edinburgh or will they move out? Will others move in?
Stay. Not always easy to get people to come and live in Scotland. Edinburgh, there are lots of prejudices, despite it being one of the best cities to live in in the whole of the U.K.

Who are the key startup people in the city (e.g., investors, founders, lawyers, designers)?
Good to see more focus on impact investing. Par Equity is one of Edinburgh’s biggest investors, whereas Archangels is one of the biggest angel investors. Poonam Malik is great for diversity and female entrepreneurs, and she is on the board of Scottish Enterprise, and is a social entrepreneur and investor. Garry Bernstein is also an investor — he leads the Scottish chapter of Tech London Advocates and Global Tech Advocates, and as such is the founder of Tech Scot Advocates.

Where do you think the city’s tech scene will be in five years?
Thriving. The government is doing its best for the tech sector. Education in tech is currently an issue, though. Hope Brexit won’t be too much of an issue.

Andrew Noble, partner, Par Equity

Which sectors is your tech ecosystem strong in? What are you most excited by? What does it lack?
Strong in fintech, health tech, data science, deep tech. Excited by quantum computing, advanced materials, AI in Edinburgh. Weak in blockchain and consumer.

Which are the most interesting startups in Edinburgh?
Current Health, InfraCost, Speech Graphics and Cyan Forensics.

What are the tech investors like in Edinburgh? What’s their focus?
Good at seed stage up to £1 million, okay for pre-series A (£1 million to £3 million) and non-existent for Series A (£3 million-£10 million). Quality of investors is improving. Par Equity is leading the way.

With the shift to remote working, do you think people will stay in Edinburgh, or will they move out? Will others move in?
Experiencing influx of new talent due to COVID-19. Edinburgh is a highly desirable city to live in. Recent new residents include Aaron Ross (Predictable Revenue) and Jules Pursuad (early employee at Airbnb and now VP at Omio).

Who are the key startup people in the city (e.g., investors, founders, lawyers, designers)?
Par Equity (investor), Paul Atkinson, Alistair Forbes, Mark Logan, Lesley Eccles, Chris McCann, CodeBase.

Where do you think the city’s tech scene will be in five years?
One to two new unicorns. Promising number of high-growth tech companies. A much more sophisticated investor scene in the Series A space.

Danae Shell, co-founder and CEO, Valla

Which sectors is your tech ecosystem strong in? What are you most excited by? What does it lack?
Edinburgh is strong in fintech because of our proximity to so many financial services companies and banks. Also, there are some exciting games tech companies because of our history of games companies. We’re pretty weak in law tech, Valla’s area.

Which are the most interesting startups in Edinburgh?
Vistalworks for consumer tech; Sustainably for fintech; Reath for sustainable tech.

What are the tech investors like in Edinburgh? What’s their focus?
As a rule, Scottish investors are pretty conservative and risk-averse. The only real exception is Techstart Ventures, in my experience.

With the shift to remote working, do you think people will stay in Edinburgh, or will they move out? Will others move in?
I think more people will come to Edinburgh from London because the quality of life and cost of living are both so much better here.

Who are the key startup people in the city (e.g., investors, founders, lawyers, designers)?
Calum Forsyth and Mark Hogarth at Techstart Ventures; Janine Matheson at CodeBase; Jackie Waring from the Investing Women angel syndicate; Jim Newbury is a very well-respected developer and coach, and my co-founder Kate Ho is also well known. Also Danny Helson who runs the EIE event with the Bayes Centre.

Where do you think the city’s tech scene will be in five years?
We’ve had a few exits in the past few years (Skyscanner, FreeAgent), which means that talent is spreading out across the ecosystem here and we’re getting some fantastic new startups kicking off. In five years, that first crop should be coming into the Series A stage so we could see a lot of super exciting businesses!

Allan Nelson, co-founder and CEO, For-Sight

Which sectors is your tech ecosystem strong in? What are you most excited by? What does it lack?
Strong in fintech, travel tech, health, oil, renewables, e-commerce, gaming (both video game and gambling tech). Excited by all bar oil (great driver of revenue, but not the future).

Which are the most interesting startups in Edinburgh?
Boundary, Parsley Box, Appointedd, Criton, Mallzee, TravelNest, TVSquared, Care Sourcer, Stampede, For-Sight.

What are the tech investors like in Edinburgh? What’s their focus?
Big fintech scene here. Travel tech is growing too, with Skyscanner’s influence strong.

With the shift to remote working, do you think people will stay in Edinburgh, or will they move out? Will others move in?
Most will stay, as it’s a very attractive city to live and work in. It’s a globally recognized and unique city. Very international flavor as evidenced by the makeup of our team.

Who are the key startup people in the city (e.g., investors, founders, lawyers, designers)?
Ex-Skyscanner people including Gareth Williams, Mark Logan, etc. Ian Ritchie, Alistair Forbes, the FanDuel’s founders and the CodeBase founders.

Where do you think the city’s tech scene will be in five years?
A lot bigger, as tech is a key growth target of the Scottish government and is underpinned/influenced/inspired by Skyscanner and FanDuel.

Lysimachos Zografos, founder, Parkure

Which sectors is your tech ecosystem strong in? What are you most excited by? What does it lack?
Strong in machine learning/AI/digital. Weak in deep tech discovery, especially in biotech/therapeutics. Excited by the rise in adoption of AI in drug discovery — all these ideas that were sci-fi 20 years ago are now adopted in £B deals.

Which are the most interesting startups in Edinburgh?
Pheno Therapeutics.

What are the tech investors like in Edinburgh? What’s their focus?
Conservative angels and a few tech seed VCs.

With the shift to remote working, do you think people will stay in Edinburgh, or will they move out? Will others move in?
Move in.

Who are the key startup people in the city (e.g., investors, founders, lawyers, designers)?
Investors: Archangels, Techstart Ventures and Epidarex.

Where do you think the city’s tech scene will be in five years?

Bertie Wilson, co-founder, “Stealth mode”

Which sectors is your tech ecosystem strong in? What are you most excited by? What does it lack?
I don’t think there are any sectors that stand out — it’s fairly evenly split. A good strength of the city is the talent that comes from the universities. There are some really good engineers that come from Edinburgh, Heriot Watt and Edinburgh Napier. The main weakness is that the ecosystem doesn’t favor the most ambitious founders. Most investors in the region are angels and aren’t interested in finding outliers that could grow 1000x and are more interested in backing companies that are less risky but might 5x their money. If you want to find investors that will back risky (but very ambitious) plans, it’s easier to find that elsewhere.

Which are the most interesting startups in Edinburgh?
Desana, Continuum Industries, Parsley Box, Current Health, Boundary, Zumo.

What are the tech investors like in Edinburgh? What’s their focus?
I would say it’s getting better, but there are still a lot of issues with the ecosystem. It is being helped in Scotland by the likes of Techstart investing at the earliest stages with high conviction and term sheets that are more similar to London VCs. Outside of this, though, it’s easy for founders to end up with a messy cap table due to the number of angels and lack of VCs looking for VC-type returns — the messiness of these cap tables can then make it hard to raise venture funding down the line. This is fine for a lot of companies that aren’t aiming for a venture-scale return (which admittedly is a lot), but it can hurt those that are.

With the shift to remote working, do you think people will stay in Edinburgh, or will they move out? Will others move in?
I imagine and hope others will move in. It is a great place to live with a very high quality of life, and this should be a natural attraction for people who want a good standard of living but want to remain in a city.

Who are the key startup people in the city (e.g., investors, founders, lawyers, designers)?
SEP (investor), Techstart Ventures (investor), Gareth Williams (founder/investor), MBM Commercial (lawyers), Pentech, Bill Dobbie (investor), Jamie Coleman.

Where do you think the city’s tech scene will be in five years?
Optimistically, I hope that there will be a good number of companies that are at the Series B/Series C stage, which will invite a lot more interest from investors outside of Edinburgh (London, Berlin, Paris, New York, San Francisco, etc.) to start investing more actively in the city at the earliest stages as well as these stages.

#artificial-intelligence, #ec-investor-surveys, #ec-united-kingdom, #ecommerce, #edinburgh, #europe, #funding, #fundings-exits, #investor-survey, #london, #scotland, #startups, #tc, #united-kingdom, #venture-capital

Of Brexit and Boris: What’s Driving the Call for Scottish Independence

Scots voted to remain in the E.U., and they resent being dictated to by England. And they just plain don’t like Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

#great-britain-withdrawal-from-eu-brexit, #johnson-boris, #referendums, #scotland, #scottish-national-party, #secession-and-independence-movements, #sturgeon-nicola

Scotland Election Results Complicate Hopes for Independence Referendum

The Scottish National Party appeared likely to fall short of an outright majority, though pro-independence parties were on track to retain control of Scotland’s Parliament.

#elections, #johnson-boris, #legislatures-and-parliaments, #politics-and-government, #scotland, #scottish-national-party, #secession-and-independence-movements, #sturgeon-nicola

Does Scotland Want Independence?

The fastest and most effective way of driving politically moderate Scots away from the United Kingdom is to tell them that they are never allowed to leave.

#great-britain-withdrawal-from-eu-brexit, #referendums, #scotland, #scottish-national-party, #secession-and-independence-movements

Scottish Election Could Boost Independence Movement

If the pro-independence vote surges in Thursday’s elections for the Scottish Parliament, momentum for an another referendum on independence may become unstoppable.

#great-britain-withdrawal-from-eu-brexit, #johnson-boris, #referendums, #salmond-alex, #scotland, #scottish-national-party, #secession-and-independence-movements, #sturgeon-nicola

U.K. Vote Is Likely to Back Boris Johnson, and an Independent Scotland

The prime minister’s Conservative Party stands to make gains at the polls on Thursday, despite ethical accusations against him. But growth in support for the Scottish Nationalist Party could create turmoil in the rest of his term.

#elections, #great-britain, #johnson-boris, #politics-and-government, #scotland, #secession-and-independence-movements

Les McKeown, Lead Singer of the Bay City Rollers, Dies at 65

Known for their catchy pop songs and their distinctive tartan outfits, the Rollers attracted a fanatical teenage following after Mr. McKeown joined in 1973.

#bay-city-rollers-music-group, #deaths-obituaries, #mckeown-les-1955-2021, #pop-and-rock-music, #scotland

Scotland’s Nicola Sturgeon Did Not Break Rules, Inquiry Says

After a bitter feud with her predecessor, Ms. Sturgeon has been cleared by one inquiry into claims that led to calls for her resignation.

#great-britain, #legislatures-and-parliaments, #salmond-alex, #scotland, #scottish-national-party, #secession-and-independence-movements, #sex-crimes, #sturgeon-nicola

Plan to Ditch the Mask After Vaccination? Not So Fast.

It’s not clear how easily vaccinated people may spread the virus, but the answer to that question is coming soon. Until then, scientists urge caution.

#clinical-trials, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #deaths-fatalities, #disease-rates, #israel, #johnsonjohnson, #masks, #moderna-inc, #pfizer-inc, #preventive-medicine, #research, #scotland, #your-feed-science

With Her Job on the Line, Scotland’s Nicola Sturgeon Hits Back at Critics

In testimony in Edinburgh, the first minister said she broke no rules and rejected claims of a conspiracy against her predecessor as “absurd.”

#salmond-alex, #scotland, #sexual-harassment, #sturgeon-nicola

Meteor Streaks Like a Firework Across U.K. Night Sky

Those who looked up just before 10 p.m. on Sunday were treated to the sight of a fireball meteor.

#asteroids, #england, #great-britain, #meteors-and-meteorites, #scotland, #space-and-astronomy

The Poisonous Feud Threatening Scotland’s Independence Drive

A former first minister, Alex Salmond, was acquitted of charges of sexual harassment. Now he is accusing his successor and one-time protégée, Nicola Sturgeon, of misleading lawmakers.

#england, #great-britain, #politics-and-government, #salmond-alex, #scotland, #scottish-national-party, #secession-and-independence-movements, #sexual-harassment, #sturgeon-nicola

Scottish University Draws Ire for Dismissing Female Gender Studies Lead

The decision by the University of St. Andrews not to renew the contract of a female philosopher points to broader underrepresentation of women in academia, critics say.

#colleges-and-universities, #scotland, #st-andrews-scotland, #women-and-girls

A Glimpse of a Bygone Life on Scottish Islands, Plucked From the Trash

Hundreds of pictures taken decades ago in the Shetland Islands, off northern Scotland, were saved from being thrown away. Now, they are finding new life online.

#photography, #scotland, #shetland-islands-scotland

For Some Scottish Seafood Businesses, Brexit Could Be a Death Knell

Daunting new paperwork could cause border delays that would ruin entire shipments — and their businesses.

#great-britain-withdrawal-from-eu-brexit, #scotland, #seafood

UK tests ‘Space Tug’ capable of refiring its engine several times in orbit, and collecting space junk

UK SpaceTech startup Skyrora is currently the only private company capable of launching rockets from UK soil. On Christmas Eve at its testing facility in Fife, Scotland, the team performed a third-stage static fire engine test onboard a new vehicle that will ultimately carry satellites to their final destination. But what’s more interesting is that the vehicle can refire it’s engine several times in orbit and conduct multiple missions in a single trip. This makes it “Space Tug” able to perform a number of maneuvers in space including the extraction of space junk or maintenance if are satellites already in orbit.

Skyrora went rough one of the early Space Camp accelerator programme from Seraphim Capital.

The Space Tug is the first “mission ready” vehicle of its kind to be developed in the UK and once in orbit it can navigate to any location under its own power, with the ability to make multiple stops etc.

The Space Tug is powered by a 3D-printed 3.5kN engine and the first stage of is launch is fueled using an eco-friendly fuel (Ecosene) made in part from waste plastics

Volodymyr Levykin, CEO Skyrora commented: “We have been deliberately quiet about this aspect of our Skyrora XL launch vehicle as we had huge technical challenges to get it to this stage and we wanted to ensure all tests had a satisfactory outcome, which they now have. With the current climate and a real shortage of good news, we feel it is the right time to share this with the world… We aim not only to conduct efficient launches from UK soil in the most environmentally friendly way, but then also to ensure that each single launch mission has the possibility of conducting the level of work that would have historically taken multiple launches.”

Sir Tim Peake, Astronaut, commented: “It’s fantastic that companies such as Skyrora are persisting in their ambition to make the UK a “launch state”. By driving forward and constantly investing into their engineering capabilities, the UK continues to benefit from these impressive milestones achieved. In undertaking a full fire test of their third stage, which fulfils the function of an Orbital Manoeuvring Vehicle capable of delivering satellites into precision orbits, Skyrora is one step closer to launch readiness. This vehicle will also be able to perform vital services such as satellite removal, refuelling and replacement and debris removal from orbit.”

#astronaut, #ceo, #europe, #flight, #launch-vehicle, #outer-space, #satellite, #scotland, #seraphim-capital, #skyrora, #space-debris, #spacecraft, #spaceflight, #tc, #uk-space-agency, #united-kingdom

Rumored Trump Trip to Scottish Golf Course Ruled Out of Bounds

Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has shot down a supposed plan for the president to pass the Biden inauguration at his Turnberry links.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #glasgow-prestwick-airport, #golf, #presidential-election-of-2020, #scotland, #sturgeon-nicola, #trump-donald-j

UK Lockdown: Schools, Colleges to Close as Coronavirus Variant Rages

Prime Minister Boris Johnson closes schools and declares a national lockdown in England, following on the heels of Scotland.

#astrazeneca-plc, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #england, #johnson-boris, #scotland, #shutdowns-institutional, #sturgeon-nicola

Britain Braces for a Dark Winter as Covid Variant Spreads

Scotland has declared a national lockdown and, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson addresses the nation Monday night, England may soon follow.

#astrazeneca-plc, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #england, #johnson-boris, #scotland, #shutdowns-institutional, #sturgeon-nicola

Lockerbie Bombing of 1988: US Unseals Charges Against New Suspect

Attorney General William P. Barr said that investigators had obtained a confession in 2012 from a bomb expert admitting his role in the terrorist attack on a jetliner over Scotland.

#attorneys-general, #aviation-accidents-safety-and-disasters, #barr-william-p, #justice-department, #libya, #lockerbie-scotland, #masud-abu-agila-mohammad, #megrahi-abdelbaset-ali-mohmed-al, #pan-american-world-airways, #qaddafi-muammar-el, #scotland, #terrorism, #united-states-politics-and-government

U.S. Unseals Charges Against New Suspect in 1988 Lockerbie Bombing

Attorney General William P. Barr said that investigators had obtained a confession in 2012 from a bomb expert admitting his role in the terrorist attack on a jetliner over Scotland.

#attorneys-general, #aviation-accidents-safety-and-disasters, #barr-william-p, #justice-department, #libya, #lockerbie-scotland, #masud-abu-agila-mohammad, #megrahi-abdelbaset-ali-mohmed-al, #pan-american-world-airways, #qaddafi-muammar-el, #scotland, #terrorism, #united-states-politics-and-government

Man Is Jailed After Taking Jet Ski Across Irish Sea to See Girlfriend

Defying the Isle of Man’s coronavirus restrictions, a 28-year-old traveled from Scotland to the island on Friday. Days after he arrived, he was sentenced to jail for four weeks.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #great-britain, #isle-of-man, #jet-skis, #mclaughlan-dale, #quarantines, #scotland

With $5 million in hand, The Routing Company is giving public transit authorities a ride-sharing service

James Cox spent much of his professional career at Uber trying to crack the problem of how to reduce congestion through ride-sharing.

As one of the architects of the Uber Pool service and a longtime proponent of ride-sharing as a means to slash vehicle emissions, Cox leapt at the chance to harness technology developed at MIT that purported to perfect a dynamic routing and vehicle management system for transit authorities.

That technology is at the heart of The Routing Company, the startup that Cox now leads. It’s based on sofrware developed by Routing Company co-founder and chief technology officer, Alex Wallar, when he was a doctoral student at MIT focused on optimizing vehicle distributions. Working with collaborators including Daniela Rus, the director of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and post-doc researcher Javier Alonso Mora, Wallar developed a platform that could apply real-time optimization to public transit.

In April, Wallar took the research to Menno van der Zee, and the two men developed the underlying platform that would become The Routing Company.

Cox came on board as an advisor to the company initially, but decided to join the ride full-time after seeing the technology that Wallar and van der Zee had developed.

Now, with $5 million in new financing led by the MIT deeptech investment fund, The Engine, and $6.5 million in total financing, the company is taking its tech to transit authorities around the world.

“We are thrilled to support The Routing Company. They have cracked the code for dynamic shared rides at scale.” said Reed Sturtevant, general partner of The Engine. “Smart ride sharing solutions for cities will have a ripple effect. Innovation in transit could quickly reduce congestion, shorten commute times for those who can’t afford to live in the city where they work, and help the environment.”

The idea is to take the services that private companies had been trying to offer to consumers, and bring the benefits to everyone.

The startup landscape is littered with failed private commuter services, and The Routing Company hopes to circumvent the issues they faced by working with, instead of competing against, public urban transit.

In the US alone, public transportation is a $74 billion business… and during the COVID-19 pandemic it’s a business that’s suffering greatly.

“When we and all the other ridesharing companies were building shared rides algorithms in the past.. The complexity in solving the shared rides problem had not been solved in real time,” said Cox of his time at Uber. “My understanding was that it was not possible to solve it in real time. We are really making transit a customer. If you look at transit they are very good at working with high capacity routes and demand. Where they’re weaker is in low and medium density areas. This is where there’s really an opportunity to help them.”

Cox sees his new company as solving a problem that specifically impacts low-income, low density communities. These areas typically aren’t serviced as well or as frequently by traditional public transit, and the tools on offer from the Routing Company give transit authorities a way to spin up a new fleet to service those areas.

The Routing Company sells a package that includes an app for riders, an app for drivers, and a fleet management platform for the transit agency. While it experiments with different pricing options, Cox declined to disclose how much the company is charging its initial customers, but the revenue model is based on either a per vehicle, per-month fee or on a percentage of the revenue generated per vehicle, he said.

Each driver receives a link to download an app. The riders are capable of accessing the app in a push a button shuttle way. We have built tools to allow people to make a phone call and make an appointment with an operator,” he said. 

The algorithms that had been developed for ride sharing in the past used an individual’s geolocation and destination to set the parameters of who would pick them up. The Routing Company flips that model by focusing on the position of an entire fleet of vehicles first and their already established routes to determine which vehicle is the best suited to pick up a passenger for a ride.

Wait times depend on the city and the number of vehicles deployed through The Routing Company, but Cox said the goal was to have passengers wait no more than 10 minutes for a pick up.  Already, one city in Scotland is using the service and The Routing Company has signed contracts with four undisclosed cities in the US an done in Australia.

“Plenty of people who have tried to make shuttle startups. The issue with a number of those is that the unit economics don’t work. Our approach definitely has the right technology and if we can augment public transit rather than compete with it,” Cox said. 

#advisor, #australia, #computing, #cox, #crowdsourcing, #daniela-rus, #director, #driver, #mit, #public-transport, #public-transportation, #routing, #scotland, #software, #tc, #transit, #transport, #uber, #united-states

UK space launch startup Orbex raises $24 million for its reusable rockets

UK-based Orbex has raised a new $24 million funding round, led by BGF and Octopus Ventures, and including participation from existing investors High-Tech Gründerfonds, Heartcore Capital, and Elecnor S.A. This new investment help “secure the roadmap” that Orbex was already working towards regarding its launch vehicle development and deployment, which is currently targeting 2022 for its first commercial launches.

Orbex is set to launch its Orbex Prime rocket from the new Space Hub Sutherland spaceport in Scotland, and has six launch contracts on the books already. Its debut launch vehicle is a small payload rocket, which is unique in the industry in that it makes use of bio-propane, a fuel source that offers 90% emissions reduction vs. the traditional kerosene-based rocket fuels generally used for liquid rockets, and which is a renewable fuel source. Orbex also aims to reduce its impact in other ways, including through recoverability and reusability, and says that Prime’s design is intended to leave no post-launch debris either in the ocean on Earth, or even in orbit.

The startup is already in the process of building out its first Prime rockets, at two factories it operates in Scotland and in Denmark. The company uses 3D-printing heavily in its rocket facbbrication process. It has raised around $63 million to date, with its last round of around $39 million announced in 2018.

#aerospace, #denmark, #heartcore-capital, #octopus-ventures, #orbex, #outer-space, #printing, #recent-funding, #scotland, #space, #spaceflight, #startups, #tc

How a Man With a Van Is Challenging U.K. Drug Policy

A former drug user turned activist is addressing Scotland’s alarming drug death crisis by running the nation’s first drug consumption room — and risking arrest to do it.

#deaths-fatalities, #drug-abuse-and-traffic, #glasgow-scotland, #heroin, #hypodermic-needles-and-syringes, #krykant-peter, #naloxone-drug, #opioids-and-opiates, #politics-and-government, #scotland, #therapy-and-rehabilitation

‘The Crown’ Season 4: What Actually Happened and How It Was Covered

Margaret Thatcher and Diana, Princess of Wales, are among the iconic figures covered in the latest installment of Peter Morgan’s show. How much is fact and how much is fiction?

#buckingham-palace, #bulimia, #england, #netflix-inc, #news-and-news-media, #royal-families, #scotland, #television, #the-crown-tv-program, #weddings-and-engagements

Sean Connery, Who Embodied James Bond and More, Dies at 90

To legions of fans who have watched a parade of actors play Agent 007, none played the part as magnetically or as indelibly as Mr. Connery.

#actors-and-actresses, #bond-james-fictional-character, #connery-sean, #deaths-obituaries, #movies, #scotland

How ‘Shuggie Bain’ Became This Year’s Breakout Debut

Douglas Stuart, a fashion designer, started writing fiction on the side. Now his first book is up for the Booker Prize and the National Book Award.

#books-and-literature, #content-type-personal-profile, #glasgow-scotland, #man-booker-prize, #national-book-awards, #scotland, #shuggie-bain-book, #stuart-douglas-author

Britain’s New Measures to Control Virus Inflame North-South Tensions

Boris Johnson campaigned on a promise to “level up” struggling northern areas, but his three-tier plan threatens to keep them in economically debilitating lockdowns.

#conservative-party-great-britain, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #johnson-boris, #liverpool-england, #london-england, #manchester-england, #scotland, #shutdowns-institutional