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A random story from the archives

AIRLINER ‘CRASHES’ AS HACKER GETS CONTROL
Computer virus used to take over plane's autopilot
Dateline: 9 November 2013
For the first time, an aircraft has been taken over by a hacker rather than a hijacker. In a bizarre incident over Eastern Europe yesterday, the captain of a passenger jet suddenly found that he was no longer in control of his plane. A cryptic message, “ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US” flashed up...

Older stories

You can’t always rely on AI
Trust the data, unless it’s horribly wrong
Dateline: 2 June 2024
Over the past few years, we’ve been blown away by the exponential improvements in computing in general, and in artificial intelligence in particular. From beating all opponents in the game of Go to driving autonomous cars and diagnosing cancer, it seemed that AI could outperform human players, drivers, and doctors at every turn. Until it...
Natural is the new synthetic
Plastic, glass and drugs come from microbes, not minerals
Dateline: 29 May 2030
For close on a century now, we’ve been making materials out of petroleum products and minerals; things that drive the modern consumer society like plastics, fuels, and food additives. What’s more, our never-ending population boom needs larger crops every year. It’s not like we’re running short of commodities like oil and maize, but mining and...
Super steel for aerospace
Stronger than titanium, better than aluminium
Dateline: 12 May 2027
Elon Musk caused quite a stir when SpaceX decided to build their new Starship rocket out of stainless steel, rather than titanium alloys or carbon composites. But for sheer strength and durability, you can’t beat steel. It’s also more economical. “I’m in love with steel,” tweeted Elon, and to prove it, Tesla launched their CyberTruck,...
Electric cars and trucks are here to stay
Cities insist on cleaner air despite the slump in oil
Dateline: 15 May 2030
They’ve slowly been making inroads into the mainstream transport paradigm, but now electric cars are the mainstream – and trucks are right behind them. Ten years ago, cities from Shanghai to Venice to New York were treated to weeks of fresh air and cleaner rivers, courtesy of coronavirus shutdowns. It was remarkable how quickly air...
Living the lockdown legacy
Things are very different in this new world order
Dateline: 7 May 2026
Life ‘beyond Covid’ is strangely different from what went before the pandemic. Most obvious is the reluctance of governments and national leaders to relinquish their newfound powers of decree. What a wonderful time it was, for despots and democratically elected leaders alike! Given a golden opportunity to declare states of emergency and national disasters, most...
Making America make again
Going back to the basics of building things
Dateline: 1 May 2025
It’s taken five long years to climb out of the hole blown in the global economy by the viral pandemic of the early ‘20s, but now business is busy again. And making things is part of the new usual. For the past 20 years, innovation has been driven by tech and scaled by globalization. “Designed...
Send big planes, please
Large aircraft desperately needed by airlines
Dateline: 22 April 2027
Airlines that have survived the last decade’s roller coaster ride are back in business in a big way, and what they need most right now are planes – big planes; and quickly. The cycle has turned once again, and although many low-cost carriers and smaller feeder airlines went bust during the brutal travel bans of...
Life skills, for when life is interrupted
DIYOL is the new must-have ability
Dateline: 20 May 2022
Now that we have a vaccine for coronavirus, life has morphed into a new normal. But one thing is clear: we will not forget. One of the many lessons we learned is that Do It Yourself on Location (DIYOL) is the skill we should all be mastering. Restaurant dinners with friends are resuming and hotels...
Designer genes for all
Beat the next viral pandemic with modified immunoprotection
Dateline: 10 April 2025
Five years ago, we were taken aback at how quickly a new viral pneumonia could turn into a global pandemic, and decimate the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems, or underlying illnesses that made them vulnerable. And yet, even then, we had decades of experience, virtually a century, of dealing with viral and bacterial...
Sign up for the surveillance society
Automated contact tracing, for our own protection
Dateline: 3 April 2023
As any politician knows, you should never waste a good crisis. When Covid-19 raised its ugly head, demagogues and autocrats quickly seized the day, putting entire countries in lockdown, and requiring recovered or suspected cases to surrender their personal information, so that their movements could be tracked and their contacts traced. And we happily agreed;...

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