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— Computers

BBC to give away a million micro computers to coders of tomorrow

By today's standards, early 1980s home computing was a very BASIC affair (excuse the pun). But for those who lived through it, it was an enlightening period of simple wonder and creative experimentation. In the UK, the odds are pretty good that students of code performed their programming magic using a big beige box connected to a chunky monitor known as the BBC Microcomputer. Many of those early digital tinkerers went on to careers in computing and it's this pioneering spirit that the BBC is hoping to recapture with the launch of a new education initiative named Make it Digital. At its center is a new micro computing platform called, for the moment, the Micro Bit. Read More
— Science

Science Museum exhibit explores the Information Age

If the 19th and 20th centuries were the Transportation Age, then the 21st century is the Information Age. Like most other ages, it didn't suddenly leap into being with the arrival of the Web or the smartphone – it has a history going back more than 200 years. The Science Museum in London is exploring this history in a new permanent exhibit called "Information Age: Six Networks That Changed Our World," which was recently opened by Queen Elizabeth II when she sent the first tweet by a British monarch. Read More
— Good Thinking

British public to vote on 21st century Longitude Prize

Three hundred years ago, the British Parliament established the Longitude prize; one of the most important technology competitions in history. Longitude Prize 2014 hopes to duplicate that feat with a new competition with a £10 million prize aimed at solving one of today’s great technological challenges, with the British public voting for which issue the prize will be given to. Read More
— Architecture

What's your bid for a British Cold War bunker?

You can never be too careful, and if you have a upwards of £200,000 (US$330,000) laying around, you could sleep a little easier as the new owner of a nuclear bunker. Built by the British government during the Cold War to ride out a Soviet attack, the decommissioned Cultybraggan Camp bunker is being put on the block as part of a plan to preserve and redevelop the former British Army camp. Read More
— Home Entertainment

Prototype system from BBC R&D sets subtitles free

When it comes to foreign language films and TV programs, purists usually argue that subtitles preserve the vocal performance of the original actors. But I have to admit to a general preference for dubbing, mainly because I don’t like taking my eyes off the actors for extended periods (but maybe that’s just because I’m a slow reader). Researchers at BBC Research & Development could sway me to the other camp with a new system that frees subtitles from the shackles that have traditionally kept them at the bottom of the screen. Read More
— Home Entertainment

Prototype BBC radio rewrites scripts on the fly to reflect local conditions

Radio plays can transport listeners to far away exotic settings but the BBC’s prototype Perceptive Radio aims to give listeners a more localized experience. Shown to the public recently at the Thinking Digital Conference in Gateshead, UK, the Perceptive Radio uses local data and onboard sensors to adjust itself and even alter the script of a radio play in real time to reflect local conditions. The goal is to make listening to the radio more like attending live theater. Read More