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


There’s Gold in Them Thar Braes

With prices for the precious metal surging, amateur prospectors are fanning out over the Scottish countryside, while the nation’s first commercial mine is set to start production.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #gold, #mines-and-mining, #scotland


A Somber Boris Johnson Offers Britain a New Plan to Halt the Virus

Fighting a second wave of infections that scientists warn could grow exponentially, the prime minister is imposing new restrictions and penalties for up to six months.

#conservative-party-great-britain, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #england, #johnson-boris, #labour-party-great-britain, #scotland, #shutdowns-institutional, #starmer-keir


U.K.’s Boris Johnson to Order Pubs and Restaurants to Close Early

As Britain endures a second wave of coronavirus, experts fear much worse is yet to come. But critics argue that restrictions damage the economy and threaten liberties.

#conservative-party-great-britain, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #england, #europe, #great-britain, #johnson-boris, #northern-ireland, #politics-and-government, #scotland, #wales


Microsoft’s Project Natick underwater datacenter experiment confirms viability of seafloor data storage

Microsoft has concluded a years-long experiment involving use of a shipping container-sized underwater data center, placed on the sea floor off the cost of Scotland’s Orkney Islands. The company pulled its ‘Project Natick’ underwater data warehouse up out of the water earlier this year at the beginning of the summer, and spent that last few months studying the datacenter, and the air it contained, to determine the model’s viability.

The results not only showed that using these offshore submerged data centers seems to work well in terms of performance, but also revealed that the servers contained within the data center proved to be up to eight times more reliable than their dry land counterparts. Researchers will be looking into exactly what was responsible for this greater reliability rate, in the hopes of also translating those advantages to land-based server farms for increase performance and efficiency across the board.

Other advantages included being able to operate with greater power efficiency, especially in regions where the grid on land is not considered reliable enough for sustained operation. That’s due in part to the decreased need for artificial cooling for the servers located within the data farm, because of the conditions at the sea floor. The Orkney Island area is covered by a 100% renewable grid supplied by both wind and solar, and while variances in the availability of both power sources would’ve proven a challenge for the infrastructure power requirements of a traditional, overland data center in the same region, the grid was more than sufficient for the same size operation underwater.

Microsoft’s Natick experiment was meant to show that portable, flexible data center deployments in coastal areas around the world could prove a modular way to scale up data center needs while keeping energy and operation costs low, all while providing smaller data centers closer to where customers need them, instead of routing everything to centralized hubs. So far, the project seems to have done specularly well at showing that. Next, the company will look into seeing how it can scale up the size and performance of these data centers by linking more than one together to combine their capabiilities.

#azure, #computing, #data-centers, #data-management, #data-warehouse, #distributed-computing, #electrical-grid, #energy, #gadgets, #greentech, #hardware, #microsoft, #scotland, #server, #tc


U.K. Braces for School Return Amid Fears of Virus Spike

Can Britain reopen its schools safely? The Tory government is confident it can, but after an exam grading fiasco, trust in the government is running low.

#coronavirus-reopenings, #coronavirus-risks-and-safety-concerns, #education-k-12, #england, #johnson-boris, #scotland, #williamson-gavin


Scotland spaceport gets full approval, will be able to host up to 12 launches per year

Scotland’s first proposed spaceport has been fully approved to proceed with construction and operation (via The Northern Times). The facility, which will be built in northern Sutherland on a peninsula that extends into the North Atlantic. This will be the future launch site for Orbex, a startup looking to develop the UK’s first re-usable orbital launch vehicle.

This approval follows submission of all the necessary documents, including a full environmental assessment, to local regulators and the Scottish government. Full approval means that construction can proceed, paving the way for launches to begin taking off from the site sometime over the course of the next few years.

Domestic launch capabilities in the UK would provide a significant opportunity for the area’s expansion of its bourgeoning private space industry. Aside from offering the UK government small satellite launch capabilities from local suppliers, including Orbex once its rockets become operational, earlier this year the UK and the US signed an agreement that permits US launch companies to fly missions from UK sites, meaning this Scottish site could potentially host international missions and secure more global business.

The Space Hub Sutherland facility, which will be paid for in part by funding from the UK Space Agency, will be a relatively small spaceport overall, playing host to a single launch pad and covering around 10 acres in total, including a control center and a stretch of road spanning around 1.5 miles. That should still provide plenty of space for the next generation of small orbital launch vehicles, which are designed specifically to fit the needs of small satellite operators and thus require much less infrastructure than launch facilities for existing private vehicles like SpaceX’s Falcon 9.

#aerospace, #electron, #falcon-9, #flight, #launch-vehicle, #orbex, #outer-space, #scotland, #space, #spaceflight, #spaceport, #spacex, #tc, #transportation, #uk-government, #uk-space-agency, #united-kingdom, #united-states


Brexit Behind Him, Boris Johnson Tries to Stop Scotland From Leaving U.K.

Scottish polling shows a majority favor independence. The prime minister is concerned.

#belfast-northern-ireland, #england, #great-britain, #great-britain-withdrawal-from-eu-brexit, #ireland, #johnson-boris, #northern-ireland, #scotland, #sturgeon-nicola, #sunak-rishi-1980


Trump’s Request of an Ambassador: Get the British Open for Me

Woody Johnson, the N.F.L. owner, Trump donor and ambassador to Britain, was warned not to get involved in trying to move the tournament to a Trump resort in Scotland, but he raised the idea anyway — and he failed.

#british-open-golf, #diplomatic-service-embassies-and-consulates, #johnson-robert-wood-iv, #scotland, #trump-donald-j, #turnberry-scotland-golf-resort, #united-states-international-relations, #united-states-politics-and-government


In Tackling Coronavirus, Scotland Asserts Its Separateness From England

The measured response by Scotland’s leader, Nicola Sturgeon, is a marked contrast to the freewheeling approach of Prime Minister Boris Johnson — and appears to be working.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-reopenings, #england, #johnson-boris, #scotland, #sturgeon-nicola


The Old World Turns to a New World Spirit: Rye

Distillers in Scotland and across Europe have started making their own versions of a whiskey long associated with North America.

#europe, #grain, #inchdairnie-distillery, #scotch-whiskey, #scotland, #whiskey


New UK-US agreement allows US companies to launch from UK spaceports

In a new move designed to encourage more economic and scientific collaboration between spacefaring nations, the UK and US governments have signed a new agreement that would make it possible for US companies to take part in space launches from the UK, including its many ind=-development spaceports.

The dal sounds one-way – but the nature of the agreement is designed to bolster the supply, development and customer pipeline for UK’s bourgeoning spaceport industry. The agreement now in place not only allows US companies to launch from UK spaceports, but also means that US tech companies active in any portion of the launch industry supply chain will be able to contribute to UK-based launch site setup and operation.

The goal for the UK space industry is to start active launches sometime this year, and UK regulators and government funding sources have come together to achieve this goal. The country is working on a number of spaceports, including both horizontal launch sites for launch vehicles like those operated by Virgin Orbit and Virgin Galactic, as well as vertical spaceports for more traditional rockets.

Commercial space is an increasingly lucrative market in terms of launch contracts and payload development and integration. UK companies already participate actively in the US-based private launch industry, which is already up and running thanks to private launch companies including SpaceX and Blue Origin, as well as active spaceports in the US including the Mojave Air and Spaceport from which Virgin Orbit operates.

Spaceport Cornwall is one of the sites currently in development, and launch startup Skyhrorar has also been launching from a site in Scotland as it continues its own rocket testing and certification program.

UK-based space industry organization Access Space co-founder and director Tony Azzarelli provided the following statement to TechCrunch regarding this development:

We are thrilled that the UK has signed such agreement as it would boost the space sector in the UK, both from lending a hand to US launchers, as well as increasing the importance of the UK as a launching state and thus investment from government to promote its own launch industry sector, e.g., Skyrora, Orbex, Reaction Engines, Rocket Plane, Spaceport Cornwall, Astroscale, etc.

#aerospace, #astroscale, #blue-origin, #orbex, #outer-space, #science, #scotland, #space, #spaceflight, #spaceport, #spacex, #tc, #techcrunch, #united-kingdom, #united-states, #virgin-galactic, #virgin-orbit


Microsoft employs experimental undersea data center in search for COVID-19 vaccine

Part of the challenge in seeking out an effective treatment for COVID-19 is simply one of scale – protein folding is key to understanding how the virus that causes COVID-19 attaches to health cells in order to infect them. Modeling said folding gets a big boost from distributed computing efforts like the Folding@home global program, which employs even consumer computers as processing nodes to tackle big problems. Microsoft is testing pre-packed, shipping container-sized data centres that can be spun up on demand and run deep under the ocean’s surface fo sustainable, high-efficiency and cool operation to contribute to such efforts in a big way, and it’s now using one in Scotland to model viral proteins that lead to COVID-19.

This research project isn’t new for Microsoft – it’s been operating the data center at a depth of 117 feet for two years now. But the shift of its focus to COVID-19 represents a new development, and is obviously a response to the imminent need for more advances around our understanding of the SARS-CoV-19 virus and potential therapies that we could use to treat or prevent it from infecting people.

Within the tubular submerged datacenter are 864 servers, providing significant computing power. The idea of packing them into a submersible tube is intended to provide efficiencies in terms of operating temperatures. Cooling and thermal management is essential for any high-capacity processing equipment, since all that computing power generates a tremendous amount of heat. It’s why you see such elaborate cooling equipment in high-performance gaming PC builds, and it’s doubly crucial when you’re operating at the level of the data center. Deep underwater, the thermal environment provides natural cooling that allows processors to run consistently at higher speeds, without the need to pump more energy in to run fans or more elaborate liquid cooling systems.

Should this project, which Microsoft has dubbed “Natick,” work as designed, future distributed computing projects could benefit immensely from the on-demand deployment of a number of these distributed sea-floor data centers.

#biotech, #cloud-storage, #computer-virus, #computing, #coronavirus, #covid-19, #data-center, #data-management, #foldinghome, #health, #microsoft, #science, #scotland, #software, #tc


Rocket startup Skyrora achieves a successful sub-orbital launch from Scottish island

This past weekend was a busy one for rocket launches, including for new launch companies hoping to join the ranks of SpaceX and Rocket Lab as private, operational space launch providers. Edinburgh-based Skyrora achieved a significant milestone for its program, successfully launching its Skylark Nano rocket from an island off the coast of Scotland on Saturday.

Skyrora has been developing its launch system with a goal of devouring affordable transportation for small payloads. The company has flown its Skylark Nano twice previously, including a first launch back in 2018, but this is the first time it has taken off from Shetland, a Scottish site that is among three proposed commercial spaceports to be located in Scotland.

Skylark Nano is a development spacecraft that Skyrora created while it work son its Skylark-L and Skyrora XL orbital commercial launch vehicles. Nano doesn’t reach space – it flies to a height of around 6KM (roughly 20,000 feet) but it does help the company demonstrate its propulsion technologies, and also gather crucial information that helps it in developing its Skylark L suborbital commercial launch craft, as well as Skyrora XL, which will aim to serve customers with orbital payload needs.

Skylark L is currently in development, and Skyrora recently achieved a successful full static test fire of that rocket. The goal is to begin launching commercially from a UK-based spaceport as early as 2022.

Skyrora’s approach is also unique because it employs both additive manufacturing (3D printing) in construction of its vehicles, and uses a kerosene fuel developed from discarded plastic waste that the company claims produces fewer emissions than traditional rocket fuel.

#3d-printing, #additive-manufacturing, #aerospace, #edinburgh, #flight, #outer-space, #rocket-lab, #rocket-launch, #scotland, #skyrora, #space, #spaceflight, #spaceport, #spacex, #tc


Culprit for Mass Extinction 445 Million Years Ago? Global Warming

A planet heated by giant volcanic eruptions drove the earliest known wipeout of life on Earth.

#bond-david, #carbon-dioxide, #earth, #endangered-and-extinct-species, #geology, #geology-journal, #grasby-stephen, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #scotland, #volcanoes, #your-feed-science


A huge Scottish hillfort was the largest settlement in medieval Britain

A huge Scottish hillfort was the largest settlement in medieval Britain

Enlarge (credit: University of Aberdeen)

On a hilltop overlooking a small Scottish village lie the buried remains of the largest settlement in medieval Britain. About 4,000 people lived within the community’s earthen ramparts during its heyday in the 400s and 500s CE. That’s around the time the Picts of northeastern Scotland were banding together into kingdoms to defend themselves against rival groups.

Until recently, archaeologists assumed the fortified community was much older and much smaller. But a recent lidar survey, combined with excavations on the hill, revealed a large urban center thriving in the centuries just after Rome left Britain. A drone carrying lidar instruments sent over the site, called Tap O’Noth, mapped the long-buried foundations of about 800 huts, clustered in groups and along pathways. The huts were all within the 17 acres encircled by an earthen rampart on Tap O’Noth’s lower slopes. If each hut was home to about four or five people, that’s a total population of 3,200 to 4,000.

“That’s verging on urban in scale, and in a Pictish context we have nothing else that compares to this. We had previously assumed that you would need to get to around the 12th century in Scotland before settlements started to reach this size,” said University of Aberdeen archaeologist Gordon Noble. In an email to Ars, he added, “We really don’t have any parallels for a site this large in early medieval Britain.”

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#airborne-archaeology, #archaeology, #celtic, #hillforts, #lidar, #medieval-archaeology, #medieval-europe, #picts, #science, #scotland


Britain to Impose Coronavirus Quarantine on Air Arrivals

“Stay alert,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned as the government eased restrictions on movement.

#airlines-and-airplanes, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #great-britain, #johnson-boris, #politics-and-government, #quarantines, #scotland, #speeches-and-statements, #telecommuting


7 Travel Stories to Help You Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day

Confined to the great indoors on Earth Day? These stories will help remind you of the natural world’s many splendors — and why environmental protections are of crucial importance for the future of the planet.

#alaska, #arctic-national-wildlife-refuge, #bonaire, #caribbean-area, #earth, #endangered-and-extinct-species, #everglades-fla, #fiji, #florida, #global-warming, #great-britain, #reefs, #scotland, #travel-and-vacations, #vietnam


Rocket startup Skyrora shifts production to hand sanitizer and face masks for coronavirus response

One of the newer companies attempting to join the rarified group of private space launch startups actually flying payloads to orbit has redirected its entire UK-based manufacturing capacity towards COVID-19 response. Skyrora, which is based in Edinburgh, Scotland, is answering the call of the UK government and the NHS to manufacturers to do what they can to provide much-needed healthcare equipment for frontline responders amid the coronavirus crisis.

Skyrorary says that the entirety of its UK operations, including all human resources and its working capital are now dedicated to COVID-19 response. The startup, which was founded in 2017, had been working towards test flights of its first spacecraft, making progress including an early successful engine test using its experimental, more eco-friendly rocket fuel that was completed in February.

For now, though, Skyrora will be focusing full on building hand sanitizer, its first effort to support the COVID-19 response. The company has already produce their initial batch using WHO guidelines and requirements, and now aims to scale up its production efforts to the point where it can manufacture the sanitizer at a rate of over 10,000 250 ml bottles per week.

There’s actually a pretty close link between rocketry and hand sanitizer: Ethanol, the form of alcohol that provides the fundamental disinfecting ingredient for hand sanitizer, has been used in  early rocket fuel. Skyrora’s ‘Ecosene’ fuel is a type of kerosene, however, which is a much more common modern aviation and rocket fuel.

In addition to sanitizer, Skyrora is now in talks with the Scottish Government to see where 3D-printed protective face masks might have a beneficial impact on ensuring health worker safety. It’s testing initial prototypes now, and will look to mass produce the protective equipment after those tests verify its output.

Plenty of companies are pitching in where they can, including by shifting their production lines and manufacturing capacity towards areas of greatest need. It’s definitely an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ moment, but there’s definitely a question of what happens to businesses that shift their focus this dramatically once the emergency passes, especially for young startups in emerging industries.

#aerospace, #chemistry, #coronavirus, #covid-19, #edinburgh, #ethanol, #health, #hygiene, #nhs, #rocket, #scotland, #skyrora, #space, #startup-company, #startups, #tc, #uk-government, #united-kingdom, #world-health-organization