10 must-read articles for 26 March (Wired UK)


Your WIRED.co.uk daily briefing. Today, Nasa to
redirect asteroid chunk, Facebook unveils big changes at F8,
Liverpool has fastest 4G and more.

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1.  Nasa to redirect asteroid chunk into Earth orbit

A plan to capture an entire asteroid and place it in Earth’s
orbit for study by human astronauts has been scaled back, but only
slightly. Nasa said it now wants to remove a boulder from the
surface of an asteroid with a robotic probe in 2020, and return the
rock to Earth’s orbit for study by the crew of a manned Orion
mission by 2025 ( Ars Technica). Nasa said the test “will help NASA develop
options to move an asteroid off an Earth-impacting course, if and
when that becomes necessary”.

2.  Trent Reznor ‘leading Beats Music redesign’ for
Apple

Nine Inch Nails frontman and Oscar-winning The Social
Network
score composer Trent Reznor is taking a leading role
in remoulding the Beats Music for a full relaunch by parent company
Apple (The New York Times). Almost a year after it paid $3bn for
the headphones brand, Apple wants to make a full tilt at the
streaming music market, and has tasked Reznor, the New York
Times
reported, with focusing the Beats Music team on the
needs of musicians, and not just engineers.

3.  Liverpool has Britain’s fastest 4G service

A study of UK mobile data speeds suggests that Liverpool has the
fastest 4G in the country. More than 30,000 mobile users in 25
towns tested their signals, and found the Merseyside town came out
on top ( CNET). Liverpool users have an average speed of 21.32Mbps, a
full 0.1Mbps faster than second-place Brighton. Lowest on the list?
That would be Teeside, with an average speed of
5Mbps.

4.  Apple to let Foxconn buy and sell reused iPhones in
China

iPhone resales are big business in China, and now Apple wants in
on the action. Rumours suggest Apple wants to launch a trade-in
program in partnership with Foxconn, the manufacturing giant
responsible for much of its hardware production ( Engadget). The deal would see Foxconn buying used iPhones
directly from consumers, refurbishing the units and selling them
back online and perhaps even in physical stores. 

5.  Freshwater bathing pond to open in London’s King’s
Cross

Fancy taking a bath in the open air outside one of Europe’s
busiest train stations? Soon you can. The project, unsettlingly
called Of Soil And Water, will see a freshwater, man-made and
naturally filtered pond open for use of bathers and swimmers close
to the enormous King’s Cross Station ( Dezeen). The pond will form past of the 27-hectare development
site behind the station, close to the campus of Central Saint
Martins.

6.  Free iPads for every MP post-election

The House of Commons wants MPs to be more connected when
Parliament returns following May’s General Election. It has
announced a £1m programme to provide all 650 MPs with an iPad Air 2
and a laptop, though some current members aren’t happy about being
locked-in to Apple’s mobile OS ( Computer World UK). “Choosing a vertically integrated
proprietary system at a time when GDS and indeed the digital
community is pushing open source, open standards and
interoperability raises real concerns,” shadow cabinet office
minister Chi Onwurah told Computer World UK.

7. Facebook unveils 360-degree videos for News Feed

While Mark Zuckerberg’s social network’s decision to open up its
Messenger platform to developers has grabbed the headlines, there
was plenty of other news from the annual F8 conference ( Techcrunch). Facebook also announced a realtime comments
system, support of 3D spherical videos in the newsfeed and a set of
SDKs to run the backend for Internet of Things-style projects.

8.  Europe’s solar power infrastructure survived the
eclipse

Despite fears that the 20 March solar eclipse might badly affect
European power networks dependent on solar cells, it appears the
grid came through with flying colours ( Extreme Tech). While the eclipse did cause a very significant
dip in power generation of more than 17GW, power authorities were
able to mitigate the risk and use alternative supplies to cover the
deficit before scaling back up after the eclipse was over.

9.  China to power clean future with hydrogen trams

While problems with urban pollution are not restricted to China
— Paris was briefly the world’s smoggiest city earlier this week
due to ongoing air problems — its issues in this area are well
known. But now China is looking to hydrogen-powered vehicles to
help, and it’s not cars but trams that are at the forefront of the
scheme. China plans to spend 200 billion yuan (£21bn) on more than
1,200 new miles of tram tracks over the next five years, many
powered by hydrogen fuel ( Bloomberg).

10.  Minecraft free for every secondary school in Northern
Ireland

The massively popular block-building video game
Minecraft will be provided to 200 secondary schools and 30
libraries and community groups in Northern Ireland, as part of a
project arranged by the annual CultureTECH festival. Funded by the
Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, the project will see
copies of MinecraftEdu, the education-focused version of the game,
form the basis of lessons about agriculture, architecture and
creativity (The Guardian).

Popular on WIRED.co.uk

Facebook opens Messenger to third-party
apps

Facebook has
introduced a new feature in its Messenger app that allows you to
send friends content like music, photos and videos from other apps
mid conversation. Introduced at Facebook’s F8 Developer Conference
in San Francisco, the feature will use a new sharing platform that
enables developers to plug into Messenger, giving users more
options with which to express themselves.

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26 March 2015 | 7:40 am – Source: wired.co.uk

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