Monday, November 20News For London


Virtual reality eases depression, finds UCL

Virtual reality eases depression, finds UCL

#breakingnews, Health, Tech
Immersive virtual reality headsets could help people with depression to become more compassionate towards themselves, new research has found. Scientists from University College London and ICREA-University in Barcelona tested the therapy on 15 patients with depression. Following the virtual reality therapy, four experienced a clinically significant drop in depressive severity a month after the therapy began. A further five reported a reduction in symptoms. The 15 patients with depression used a headset to virtually interact with a crying child. The more compassion the patient shows to the child, the quicker they stop crying. This trains the patient to express empathy and compassion. In the press release, study lead Professor Chris Brewin explained. “By comforting the child and th

Women make better computer coders than men, study finds

Business, Tech
Computer code written by women has a higher approval rating than that written by men, according to a study carried out by US researchers. But the analysis also showed that if women revealed their gender, their coding contributions were less likely to be accepted. In what they claim is the “largest study to date on gender bias”, scientists from Cal Poly and North Carolina State University looked at contributions made to Github, a software sharing platform which has more than 12 million users. They found that 78.6% of pull requests (suggested code changes) made by women were accepted, compared with 74.6% by men. But the number of accepted pull requests from women fell to 62.5% when they specified that they were female. “While our big data study does not definitely prove th

Snooper’s Charter deemed “disappointing” by parliamentary committee

News, Politics, Tech
The Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) has criticised Theresa May’s draft Investigatory Powers Bill citing concern over a lack of privacy protections. The government appointed committee said the proposed digital surveillance legislation failed to provide sufficient clarity regarding the agencies’ “intrusive capabilities”. Chairman of the ISC, Dominic Grieve QC, said:“The draft Bill fails to deliver the clarity that is so badly needed in this area.” “We had expected to find universal privacy protections applied consistently throughout, or at least an overarching statement at the forefront of the legislation. Instead, the draft Bill adopts a rather piecemeal approach, which lacks clarity and undermines the importance of the safeguards associated with these powers,” he continu

Users angry about Twitter changing its design

Business, Tech
Twitter changed its design to show tweets in a popup window. Many users, however, did not like the new feature. The new feature is called popup tweets. Before, Twitter users clicked it would just slide out to display inline. Now it pops open an entirely separate modal to show you a single tweet. The new popup model led to confusion. Some users accidentally unfollowed people. I keep on almost accidentally unfollowing people because of Twitter's stupid popup bollocks — Mermaid Princess (@Pastel__Mermaid) February 8, 2016 Others found that posts are difficult to read now. Wow that new @twitter POP UP box sure makes threaded tweets/stories hard to read, huh. What a piece of shit. Why do you do this, Twitter? — Angie Manfredi (@misskubelik) February 7, 2016 Twi

Ever ‘liked’ a Facebook post? Now you can ‘love’ it, too

Business, International, Social media, Tech
Facebook will soon feature ‘Reactions’, a range of responses which will sit alongside the traditional ‘like’ function, according to media reports.   Since its launch, Facebook users have just been able to ‘like’ pictures, posts and pages published on the site. But they will now be able to react more accurately using Reactions, which include “sad”, “angry”, “love” and “wow”. Facebook announced the move yesterday after the company announced its full-year financial results, which revealed a 44% year-on-year jump in revenues to just under $18 billion. “You can love something, you can be sad about something, you can laugh out loud at something,” said Chris Cox, Facebook’s chief product officer. “We know on phones people don’t like to use keyboards, and we also know that the l

Artificial Intelligence: one step closer as Google wins at Go

Google’s DeepMind artificial intelligence program has achieved a significant result in beating the European champion at the ancient board game Go. The software beat the champion Fan Hui five games to nil and its achievement has been hailed as a milestone in the development of artificial intelligence. Go has long been considered one of the most difficult challenges for artificial intelligence. While Backgammon,  Draughts and Chess have all already been mastered Go presented a truly difficult challenge to machines owing to its high level of complexity. Google Research tweeted about the achievement earlier today: Set on a nineteen by nineteen board and with three hundred and sixty one possible variations to consider f

Boris Johnson defends Google

Business, Tech
Google is due to pay £130m extra in a decade’s worth of back taxes to the UK. The Mayor of London, however, defended Google in his column for the Daily Telegraph on Monday. Johnson claimed that it is the manager’s job to pay as little tax as possible within the law. He wrote: “It is absurd to blame the company for ‘not paying their taxes’. You might as well blame a shark for eating seals. It is the nature of the beast; and not only is it the nature of the beast – it is the law it is the fiduciary duty of their finance directors to minimize tax exposure.” The Mayor of London further explained that the companies have legal obligations to their shareholders, not to public opinion or to politicians. Boris Johnson is a known advocate of the tech sector. He recently launched a cam

Amazon pulled some hoverboards in the UK and the US

ReportingWeek2, Tech
Anyone looking for self-balancing scooters known as “hoverboards” for Christmas on Amazon from America or Britain, may have a very limited selection. Amazon has suspended many sales of hoverboards over safety fears, the gadget site BestReviews first reported. The company has asked all hoverboard manufacturers to provide documentation showing that they are following necessary safety standards. Swagway, one of the well-known importers of hoverboards, told The Verge that Amazon asked manufactureres  to show "documentation demonstrating that all hoverboards you list are compliant with applicable safety standards, including UN 38.3 (battery), UL 1642 (battery), and UL 60950-1 (charger)". This company has also said Swagway already meets this requirements, and its products are still avail

Nigerian Delivery Service among top start-ups at the Annual TechCrunch Disrupt Conference

News, ReportingWeek1, Tech
This year, an African Start-up is competing for the first time in Disrupt TechCrunch history and is ready to go head to head with Europe’s crème de la crème of technology developments. The TechCrunch Disrupt conference was all abuzz at the Copper Box Arena in Olympic Park. Tech gurus and nerds alike had gathered around to see what is new this year in the technology world and to scope out the start-ups battling it out on the Start-up Battlefield for the top prize of €30,000 and a shiny new disrupt trophy. The conference is held every year in different cities in the world. This year London is a proud host to the innovative event and it is about time as most start-ups that compete at Disrupt TechCrunch hail from right here in London and various cities in Europe like Germany, France and Th

TechCrunch announced the competitors for the Startup Battlefield in London

ReportingWeek1, Tech
On December 7, TechCrunch named the startups that will compete for £30,000 at the Startup Battlefield in London. This conference is held every year in several cities across the world, and this week it is hosted in London. Except for money, this award gives the startups a specific status. Since TechCrunch Disrupt was launched, over 500 companies has taken part in the competition, including global brands such as Yammer, and Dropbox, and they have raised more than $5.7 billion in funding collectively. The list of companies fighting for this status includes the producer of intelligent connected car vision system Caruma Technologies, the startup making persona robots Emotech / Olly, the service that lets upload energy bills and get savings and insights EnergyElephant, the