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Cheap chargers putting people and homes at risk



Safety experts are warning that the rise of cheap chargers for electrical items like mobile phones, laptops and even e-cigarettes could be putting people and their properties at risk.

It comes after three generations of one family died in a house fire in Sheffield last month.

An investigation is continuing into the blaze but the fire service says it is likely to have been caused by a faulty electrical charger.

Watch video [HERE]

Digital carpets: Can you spill water on them?

Dutch carpet firm Desso has teamed up with Philips to create a digital carpet.

It uses a unit of LED lights, laid beneath a carpet which has a specially designed translucent subsurface. It can then be pre-programmed to convey electronic messages to those who walk on it – or it can be plugged into live internet feeds.

The BBC’s Dougal Shaw tested out the digital carpet with Ed Huibers from Philips Lighting. Desso and Philips were showing off the device as part of Clerkenwell Design Week in London.


How kids react to old computers…

Online students can’t help being sociable



It was a revolution moving higher education from bricks to clicks… and now it’s started to go back to bricks again.

Online university providers, which offered people the chance to study from home, are turning full circle by creating a network of learning centres where students can meet and study together.

Instead of demolishing the dusty old classrooms of academia, the online university revolution is responsible for opening some new ones.

Coursera, a major California-based provider of online courses, is creating an international network of “learning hubs”, where students can follow these virtual courses in real-life, bricks and mortar settings.

And there are thousands of meet-ups in cafes and libraries where students get together to talk about their online courses.

This is the latest stage in the rapid evolution of so-called Moocs – massive open online courses – where some of the world’s leading universities have created digital versions of courses which are offered free over the internet.


Young Reporters for the Environment

AnnMarie Magri:  14yrs old 

Photos: Save the Sea Turtles

These photographs were taken during a Turtle Release activity held last November in the Blue Flag beach of Paradise Bay Hotel at Cirkewwa, Malta. These turtles were found injured by fishermen. Fishing hooks and nylon were found in their mouth and internal organs. Plastic bags are also a threat to turtles as they mistake them for their favourite food, jelly fish. The injured turtles were given the necessary medical treatment and rehabilitation before release. As a young reporter for the environment, I strongly recommend that a public campaign should be launched to increase awareness about the consequences of marine debris on sea creatures. Moreover, the general public, especially fishermen, should immediately contact Nature Trust’s  Wildlife Rescue Team  when finding injured sea turtles.






Marvic Micallef- 14 Yrs  Photos

Photos: Keep our Seas Clean

As  young reporters  for the environment, we were invited to attend the Turtle Release event organised by Nature Trust (Malta) and its Wildlife Rescue Team. This educational activity was held at the Blue Flag beach of Paradise Bay Hotel at Cirkewwa-Malta. These photographs show one of the injured turtles which was found by local fishermen after swallowing  fishing hooks and nylon. The turtles were first taken in at the Malta Aquaculture Research Centre, Forti San Lucjan Marsaxlokk.  Further medical treatment was provided by Nature Trust and its Wildlife Rescue volunteers and veterinary surgeon Dr.Anthony Gruppetta.
Other serious threats to marine turtles include marine debris such as floating plastic bags and oil spills. A public campaign should be launched such that ship operators and boat owners do their utmost to keep our seas clean, thus protecting these  marine creatures. 


Alexia Formosa -14 Years old

Photos:  Spot the Difference

These photographs show the difference between clean and polluted seawater. One of the pictures  was taken at Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq. Although hardly visible, the presence of  foul smell in the area, possibly indicated contaminated seawater due to sewage discharge. In contrast, the other photograph was taken at Sliema, where the sea was clear and unpolluted. As a young reporter for the environment, I recommend the launch of  an awareness campaign such that more people reduce, separate and dispose of  waste responsibly. For example, people should use the waste separation bins found on different beaches around Malta. Furthermore, the authorities should ensure that the local waste water treatment plants are working in an efficient manner to safeguard the marine environment.spotthedifference2
Carmen Galea- 15yrs Old

Video: Free Rosy and her Friends

Five loggerhead turtles-Rosy, Ricardo, Spartacus, Kiko and Bizu were released last November from the Blue Flag beach of Paradise Bay Hotel at Ċirkewwa. These marine turtles were found injured  in our sea after swallowing fishing hooks, nylon and fishing lines. They were given the necessary medical treatment for several weeks.
A key solution to protect these creatures is by educating the younger generation. We have to keep our sea clean from waste especially plastic bags because every year a number of turtles die suffocated by mistaking plastic bags for jellyfish. With our help, these marine species can live longer in cleaner seas.

How today’s children react to yesterday’s technology…

These children were presented with an old rotary dial telephone…

Parents unaware of dangers faced by children on smartphones


Many parents are out of touch with the dangers faced by their children on tablets and smartphones, according to a poll by BBC Learning.

Almost one in five children said they had seen something on their devices that had upset them, twice the number parents had thought.

A separate study found that just over 20% of parents do not monitor what their children are doing online.

The research was commissioned as part of Safer Internet Day.

While 90% of the parents surveyed by the BBC in England said they had spoken to their children about staying safe online when using a tablet or a smartphone, most said they allowed their children to use them unsupervised.

Parental controls

“Unfortunately, none of us – of whatever age – is immune from encountering problems online,” said Tony Neate, chief executive of Get Safe Online.

“Without using controls such as built-in security, safety and privacy features and search engine filters, children will almost certainly run into something that really isn’t appropriate for their age, or any age.”

The survey also found that teenagers aged 13-16 were more vulnerable to being bullied online than those aged 8-12. However, parents worried less about the older group using a tablet.

David Emm, senior security researcher at Kaspersky Lab said parents were not often as aware of the dangers of using the internet on tablets and smartphones as they were with PCs.

“When children use mobile devices to access the web, they are using the same internet, with the same risks,” he said.

“There is a common misconception that smartphones and tablets don’t need the same level of protection as a PC.

“But with such a high percentage of parents not having a clear view of their children’s online activity, this way of thinking needs to change.”

Unmonitored losses

Apple’s iPhone and iPad have restrictions, or parental controls, that can be set using a passcode.

Access to certain apps or websites can be blocked completely or restricted to age appropriate content.

Restricted profile accounts can also be set up on Android smartphones and tablets.

Over 50% of parents who took part in the BBC poll said they had set up parental controls and filters on their tablets but only 40% said they had done the same on their children’s smartphones.

Kapersky Lab’s own survey revealed that 18% of parents had lost money or data from their own phone or tablet because their children had been using it unmonitored.

In-app purchases made by children when playing games on their parents’ phones are often cited as a reason for money being spent unwittingly.

Apple was recently told to refund $32.5m (£19.8m) to parents whose children had made purchases without their parents’ consent.

Adults were also being warned to stay safe online as Microsoft released its annual online consumer safety research.

It showed that 5% of consumers in the UK had fallen victim to a phishing attack – losing on average £100. Meanwhile, 3% said they had suffered identity theft which had ended up costing them £100.

The software giant recommended that users set PINs for their mobile phones and strong passwords for online accounts.

The artist who makes pictures with a typewriter


In a world of computers and smartphones, the humble typewriter seems long-forgotten as a means to communicate.

But one woman has found a continuing use for the machines and it has nothing to do with writing words.

Keira Rathbone uses the letters, numbers and symbols to create art – from tiny stick figures to huge multi-page montages.

She says she began the technique after sitting at a typewriter with a desire to type, but nothing to say.

Watch the video here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-24760538

‘Fastest ever’ broadband passes speed test


The “fastest ever” broadband speeds have been achieved in a test in London, raising hopes of more efficient data transfer via existing infrastructure.

Alcatel-Lucent and BT said speeds of 1.4 terabits per second were achieved during their joint test – enough to send 44 uncompressed HD films a second.

The test was conducted on a 410km (255-mile) link between the BT Tower in central London and Ipswich.

However, it may be many years before consumers notice any effect.
But the breakthrough is being seen as highly important for internet service providers (ISPs), as it means a greater amount of information can be sent through existing broadband infrastructure, reducing the need for costly upgrades.

“BT and Alcatel-Lucent are making more from what they’ve got,” explained Oliver Johnson, chief executive of broadband analyst firm Point Topic.

“It allows them to increase their capacity without having to spend much more money.”

Alcatel-Lucent told the BBC that the demand for higher bandwidth grew by around 35% every year, making the need for more efficient ways to transfer data a massively pressing issue for ISPs, particularly with the growing popularity of data-heavy online services, such as film-streaming website Netflix.

There are faster methods of transmitting data – such as the use of complex laser technology – but this is the first test to achieve such high speeds in “real world” conditions, outside testing labs.

Rush-hour traffic

The high speeds were achieved using existing fibre cable technology that has already been installed in much of the UK and other parts of the world.

Kevin Drury, optical marketing leader at Alcatel-Lucent, likened the development to reducing space between lanes on a busy motorway, enabling more lanes of traffic to flow through the same area.

He said flexibility meant some could be adapted to specific needs – like opening an extra lane during the morning rush hour.

In internet terms, this would mean, for example, streaming video would get a large, wide lane, while accessing standard web pages would need only a small part of the fibre’s capacity.

However, pushing more data through fibre cables presents a challenge.

The test will be welcome news for Reed Hastings, chief executive of streaming service Netflix, interviewed by the BBC earlier this month

“The trade-off is, the more you squeeze into a fibre line, the more potential there is for interference and for error,” explained Mr Johnson.
Continue reading: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-25840502