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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...

This student took his Tinder profile to the next level by turning it into a PowerPoint presentation

February 21 2018

Standing out from the crowd on Tinder can be tough, but with the help of Microsoft PowerPoint a British student has managed just that – and gone viral in the process.Sam Dixey, a 21-year-old studying at Leeds University, made a six-part slideshow entitled “Why you should swipe right” – using pictures and bullet points to shrewdly persuade potential dates to match with him on the dating app. The slideshow includes discussion of his social life and likes, such as “petting doggos” and “laser tag”, and “other notable qualities and skills” – such as being “not the worst at sex” and “generous when drunk”.It even has reviews mocked up from sources such as “Donald Trump”, “Leonardo Di Capri Sun” and “The Times Guide to Pancakes 2011”.Sam told the Press Association the six-slide presentation only took about 20 minutes to make and “started off as a joke”.However, since being posted to Twitter by fellow Tinder user Gracie Barrow, Sam’s slideshow has been shared tens of thousands of times across social media.So, it’s got the seal of approval form Gracie, but how has the slideshow fared on Tinder? “I’d have to say it has been pretty successful,” Sam said. “Definitely a clear correlation of matches and dates beforehand to afterwards.“Most of the responses tend to revolve around people saying ‘I couldn’t help swipe right 10/10’ but I’ve had some people go the extra mile and message me on Facebook.“Plus some people have recognised me outside, in the library and on dates.”A resounding success.

Motoring news

Join the queue for littlest Audi Q

November 9 2016

Audi’s relentless release of new models continues with the launch of its smallest SUV. The Q2 goes on sale in the UK next week with prices starting at £22,380. There’s an extensive selection of petrol and diesel power trains as well as the option of front or Quattro four-wheel drive. More models will be added to the range later on, including powerful SQ2 and RSQ2 versions. Aimed squarely at a younger audience, the Q2 has bolder, sharper lines and a different shape to Audi’s bigger SUVs, the Q3, Q5 and Q7. Although it’s clearly meant more for buzzing around cities than growling across farmland, cladding and skid plates lend it an aura of ruggedness. Audi is also offering a range of vibrant colours to deepen the Q2’s appeal to youthful buyers. The interior is as plush as you’d expect from Audi, justifying its price hike over similarly sized SUVs like the Nissan Juke and Honda HR-V. The materials are high quality – softtouch plastics, leather on higher spec cars and brushed aluminium trim elements all blended into a smart-looking package. As standard, drivers get a seven-inch infotainment screen on top of the dashboard. It’s operated through Audi’s rotary dial system that’s far more intuitive and easier to use when on the move than rivals’ touchscreen systems. Among the many options is Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit - a 12.3in screen that replaces the manual instruments behind the steering wheel. Overall, the Q2 is 4.7in shorter than the A3 hatchback, but Audi says there’s enough leg and headroom for two adult passengers in the back. Boot space comes in at 405 litres – 50 more than you’ll find in the A3 hatchback and rival Nissan Juke, although it trails the Mini Countryman by the same amount. To begin with, the only diesel option is a 1.6 litre with 114bhp, although a more powerful 184bhp 2.0 litre unit will be added to the range soon. Similarly, the petrol engine range is limited for now but will be expanded by the end of the year. The 1.4 litre, 148bhp unit offered now will be joined by 1.0 litre, 114bhp three cylinder turbo and 2.0 litre, 187bhp options – the latter coming with an S-Tronic automatic gearbox. When it arrives the 1.0 litre petrol version will be the cheapest model in the range with a price tag of £20,230. Courier Motoring has yet to get its hands on the car but early reviews have been very positive and Audi looks to have yet another winner on its hands. jmckeown@thecourier.co.uk

Road tests

Audi Q2 puts quality over size

March 21 2018

Audi’s Q2 was one of the first premium compact SUVs on the market. It sits below the Q3, Q5 and the gigantic, seven seat Q7 in Audi’s ever growing range. Although it’s about the same size as the Nissan Juke or Volkswagen T-Roc, its price is comparable with the much larger Nissan X-Trail or Volkswagen Tiguan. Even a basic Q2 will set you back more than £21,000 and top whack is £38,000. Then there’s the options list which is extensive to say the least. My 2.0 automatic diesel Quattro S Line model had a base price of £30,745 but tipped the scales at just over £40,000 once a plethora of additions were totted up. Size isn’t everything, however. In recent years there’s been a trend of buyers wanting a car that’s of premium quality but compact enough to zip around town. It may be a step down in size but the Q2 doesn’t feel any less classy than the rest of Audi’s SUV range. The interior looks great and is user friendly in a way that more mainstream manufacturers have never been able to match. The simple rotary dial and shortcut buttons easily trounce touchscreen systems, making it a cinch to skim through the screen’s menus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eQ5p5Z7-Ek&list=PLUEXizskBf1nbeiD_LqfXXsKooLOsItB0 There’s a surprising amount of internal space too. I took three large adults from Dundee to Stirling and no one complained about feeling cramped. As long as you don’t have a tall passenger behind a tall driver you can easily fit four adults. At 405 litres the boot’s big too – that’s 50 litres more than a Nissan Juke can muster. Buyers can pick from 1.0 and 1.4 litre petrol engines or 1.6 and 2.0 litre TDIs. Most Q2s are front wheel drive but Audi’s Quattro system is standard on the 2.0 diesel, as is a seven-speed S Tronic gear box. On the road there’s a clear difference between this and SUVs by manufacturers like Nissan, Seat and Ford. Ride quality, while firm, is tremendously smooth. Refinement is excellent too, with road and tyre noise kept out of the cabin. It sits lower than the Q3 or Q5 and this improves handling, lending the Q2 an almost go-kart feel. On a trip out to Auchterhouse, with plenty of snow still on the ground, I was appreciative of the four-wheel drive as well. The Q2 is expensive – though there are some good finance deals out there – but you get what you pay for. Few cars this small feel as good as the Q2 does. Price: £30,745 0-62mph: 8.1 seconds Top speed: 131mph Economy: 58.9mpg CO2 emissions: 125g/km

Angus & The Mearns

Arbroath Musical Festival week begins

March 7 2017

The 85th annual Arbroath Musical Festival got under way at the Webster Theatre in Arbroath on Monday. The competitive events continue until Friday, with a concert featuring festival winners and the In Harmony Ladies Choir, and the presentation of blue ribands to top performers from Angus, Dundee and the Mearns. The initial percussion and piano events saw Ami Conchie, Alice Gall, Aidan McFarlane, and the duet of Laura Martin and Alice Gall pick up wins, with Alice Gall earning a distinction. Ami Conchie won four classes — drum kit, snare, xylophone and timpani. Seven-year-old Aidan McFarlane of Carlogie Primary School, Carnoustie won the piano solo competition for under-9s. Young pianists played for adjudicator Gordon Yeaman of Falkland, a former principal teacher at Anderson High School in Shetland, and music advisor to the Islands Council.   Competition continued into the evening and the early winners are as follows: Class 102 drumkit – 1 Ami Conchie, Carnoustie High School 88, 2 Ciaran Kane, Carnoustie HS 87, 3=Euan Mannion, St John’s RC Dundee and Adam Thomson, Carnoustie HS 86. Class 103 snare drum – 1 Ami Conchie, Carnoustie HS 87; 2 Catie Mathieson 85, 3 Saul McGivney 84. Class 104 tuned percussion – 1 Ami Conchie 87, 2 Catie Mathieson 85, 3 Corbie Smith 84. Class 62 piano solo under 9 years – 1 Aidan McFarlane, Carnoustie 174, 2= Carla Christie, Carnoustie and Ewan Findlay, Broughty Ferry 173. Class 63 piano solo ages 9 to 11 years – 1 Alice Gall, Monifieth 180; 2 Joe Christie, Carnoustie 178; 3= Joe Barry, Inverbervie and Abbey Robertson, Monifieth 175. Class 75 piano duet under 10 years – 1 Laura Martin/Alice Gall, Monifieth 173; 2 Carla Christie/Alice Miller-Richardson, Carnoustie and Monikie 168.  

Motoring news

Form an orderly Q for Audi SUV

August 10 2016

First there was the Q7. Then the Q5 and Q3. All have been a phenomenal success for Audi. I’d be surprised if that script changes when the Q2 arrives in November. Audi’s baby SUV is available to order now with prices starting at £22,380. Can’t quite stretch to that? Don’t worry, an entry level three-cylinder 1.0 litre version will be available later this year with a cover tag of £20,230. From launch, there are three trim levels available for the Q2 called SE, Sport and S Line. The range-topping Edition #1 model will be available to order from next month priced from £31,170. While the entry-level 113bhp 1.0-litre unit isn’t available right away, engines you can order now include a 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel and 148bhp 1.4-litre petrol unit, both with manual or S tronic automatic transmissions. Also joining the Q2 line-up from September is the 2.0-litre TDI diesel with 148bhp or 187bhp. This unit comes with optional Quattro all-wheel drive. A 2.0 litre petrol with Quattro and S tronic joins the range next year. Standard equipment for the new Audi Q2 includes a multimedia infotainment system with rotary/push-button controls, supported with sat-nav. Audi’s smartphone-friendly interface, 16in alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity and heated and electric mirrors are all also standard for the Audi. Along with the optional Audi virtual cockpit and the head-up display, the driver assistance systems for the Audi Q2 also come from the larger Audi models – including the Audi pre sense front with pedestrian recognition that is standard. The system recognises critical situations with other vehicles as well as pedestrians crossing in front of the vehicle, and if necessary it can initiate hard braking – to a standstill at low speeds. Other systems in the line-up include adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go function, traffic jam assist, the lane-departure warning system Audi side assist, the lane-keeping assistant Audi active lane assist, traffic sign recognition and rear cross-traffic assist.

Dundee

Fintry glass attacker ordered to pay £1000 compensation after leaving 78-year-old scarred

May 23 2016

A thug who glassed a 78-year-old man following a bizarre bar-room brawl - leaving the OAP scarred - has avoided jail. Kenneth Thomson attacked Henry Heenan at the Dolphin Bar in Dundee’s Fintry area just before Christmas last year. Thomson had asked the OAP to borrow cash - then later went back for more, causing an argument to break out. Sheriff Lorna Drummond QC placed Thomson on an electronic tag restricting him to his home from 7pm to 7am for four months. He was also ordered to pay a £650 fine and £1000 in compensation to Mr Heenan.

Motoring news

Audi showcases raft of new cars

June 29 2016

Audi threw everything it had at the Goodwood Festival of Speed last weekend, with no fewer than nine upcoming models making their UK debuts. One of the most interesting – and affordable – was the new Q2. Audi’s smallest crossover yet, it’ll sit underneath the Q3, Q5 and big ole Q7. It will be available as a front wheel drive or with Audi’s Quattro four-wheel drive system. Under the skin there’s a choice of three TFSI petrol and three TDI diesels, with Audi’s 1.0 litre three-cylinder petrol offering 114bhp, the 1.4 litre four-cylinder sitting below the 187bhp 2,.0 litre TFSI. Diesel options are the 1.6 litre TDI with 114bhp and a pair of 2.0 litre TDIs with 148bhp or 187bhp. It goes on sale later this summer with a starting price expected to be in the region of £20,000. At the other end of the price scale is the R8 V10 Spyder. The 553bhp supercar comes a year after the second generation coupe R8 was released. Audi reckons the new Spyder is 50 per cent stiffer than the last Spyder, and its canvas roof stows beneath a massive rear deck, able to open or close at speeds up to 31mph in 20 seconds. Fuel economy “improves” to just over 24mpg thanks to a new coasting function that idles the engine when it’s not needed. Expect it to cost around £130,000. In between those two extremes are a plethora of other upcoming Audis, including the new S5 Coupe, and the Audi TT RS which first revealed a year ago is hardly new but apparently it had never been seen in the UK before. A couple of Q7s were also at Goodwood, including the Q7 e-tron plug-in hybrid, which returns a claimed 156mpg, and the SQ7 – a diesel with 429bhp. There was also the refreshed A3 range. Audi’s upmarket Golf rival has been given a styling refresh along with a few new engine options. Following a trend for downsizing, there’s a 1.0 litre three -cylinder petrol unit, while a powerful 2.0 petrol engine also joins the range.

Dundee

Nemesis Machine set for Dundee’s NEoN festival

October 21 2016

Scotland’s ground-breaking digital arts festival NEoN will return to Dundee next month. The seventh annual North East of North festival showcases digital arts and this year’s theme is The Spaces We’re In, an examination of the environment around us – both physical and virtual -  inspired by Scotland’s Year of Innovation,  Architecture and Design. For the first time NEoN will have its own exhibition trail around Dundee, with venues including DCA, Abertay University’s Hannah Maclure Centre and DC Thomson’s former West Ward Works. Highlights of this year’s festival include an interactive digital art installation at the Wellgate Centre and the installation of Stanza's The Nemesis Machine at DCA. This uses electronic components to recreate city life while small cameras take pictures of visitors and then makes their images part of the network. DC Thomson’s former print works at West Ward will host a group exhibition featuring work by Brent Watanabe, Joseph Delappe, Linda Havenstein, Monica Studer and Christoph van den Berg. Digital artists Genetic Moo will create an interactive game at the Wellgate Centre that will run over the four days of the festival. Called It’s Alive, the all-ages project will allow visitors to interact with digital creatures, upload their own selfies and even see Dundee from a maggot’s-eye view. There will be an app visitors can download that will direct them around Dundee. They will then be able to listen to pieces created by Andrew Wasylyk inspired by six parts of the city. A festival spokesperson said: “NEoN brings a new media and digital art perspective to Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, by considering these real and virtual environments. “International artists will explore and respond to the festival theme and consider alternative uses and futures for ‘The Spaces We’re In’, both virtually and materially. “Dundee has always been a city in transition, and the digital media sector continues to be an important part of that reinvention. “NEoN will interrogate the materials that make up our built environment – from air and glass, to cardboard and concrete to circuits and steel – and the designed devices we use to navigate it.”

Fife

Breakthrough by St Andrews scientists in fight against ‘antibiotics apocalypse’

November 25 2016

Growing resistance to commonly prescribed antibiotics is one of the biggest public health threats of modern times with the potential to cause 80,000 deaths in the UK over the next 20 years. But a team of scientists at St Andrews University -  awarded a prestigious prize in London this week - is fighting back. Michael Alexander reports. It has been described by the United Nations and World Health Organisation as one of the biggest known threats to humanity – an “antibiotics apocalypse” where a simple cut to your finger could leave you fighting for your life and where getting an appendix removed could prove deadly. Experts say an increase in drug resistant disease could cost 10s of millions of lives in the next few decades as simple infections could soon become entirely untreatable with existing drugs. The problem has been caused by over-use of antimicrobial medicines for humans, animals and agriculture. But now medical scientists at St Andrews University have made a breakthrough which they hope will help counter the threat. The researchers have created a laser that can identify the right antibiotic to treat bacteria present in an infection, in minutes instead of hours. The team hope that faster diagnosis will mean more targeted use of prescription drugs and ultimately a reduction of antibiotic resistance. In an interview with The Courier, Professor Stephen Gillespie, Sir James Black Professor of Medicine at St Andrews, who is leading the research team, said antibiotic resistance is “one of the most important threats facing humanity” with an estimated $50 trillion price tag for health care if nothing is done about it. He said: “In the 19th century the father of modern surgery Joseph Lister said that every surgery was an experiment in getting under someone’s skin. At the moment in modern medicine by comparison, there’s a danger of going back to those days. “Modern medicine is only made possible because we can treat infection. If infection becomes drug resistant then complicated surgery will disappear. “Operations and treatments that people now take for granted are going to become increasingly difficult.” Current estimates are that drug resistant infections already claim about 700,000 live per year globally. And if we do not create new antibiotics, or prevent the loss of the ones we have, it is estimated that this will rise to more than 10 million deaths a year globally within the next few decades. It’s for this reason that the Orbital Diagnostics team at St Andrews have developed a device - the Scattered Light Integrated Collector (SLIC) - to reduce the time taken to test bacteria for resistance. Current testing frequently takes 24 hours to produce a result, but the SLIC team can produce a similar result in around 20 minutes. The new tool aims to help patients get the right treatment faster. This reduces the risk of antibiotic resistance by helping ensure bacteria are not exposed to antibiotics unnecessarily. Professor Gillespie, a practising clinical microbiologist, explained that SLIC was a sophisticated technique of seeing very small numbers of bacteria. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYvX8tnCM9s At its heart is a sphere and inside that a spherical mirror. A laser beam enters one end and 98% of its energy leaves the other. However, the small amount of light that’s left is scattered multiple times throughout the internal face of the sphere and passes through the bacteria, counting the bacteria present. He added: “Our very sensitive device detects bacteria in very small numbers. This means when they grow in the presence of antibiotics, we can show that quickly. "Conventional tests take up to 24 hours – for some bugs we can now do the same job in less than 20 minutes. “At the moment this promising test can only be used in the laboratory; the challenge is to turn it into a test that can be used in a doctor’s surgery or a pharmacy.” Dr Robert Hammond, co-inventor and senior scientist, said the device could make a real difference if it came into everyday use. He added: “We aim to develop SLIC to enable a person with a suspected urinary tract infection to give a sample to a practice nurse or pharmacist – then within two hours be given an antibiotic prescription knowing that the infecting bacteria are susceptible. "This will be faster and better for the individual. It will mean that fewer unnecessary prescriptions will be issued, reducing chances that bugs will develop resistance.” The team’s ambition to develop it for practical use in surgeries has been bolstered this week by receipt of the prestigious Longitude Prize Discovery Award at a ceremony held at the Royal Society in London. The prize will help the team develop a device that can challenge for the coveted Longitude Prize, a challenge with a £10 million prize fund to reward a point of care diagnostic test that helps solve the global problem. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RpKZvnJwicA The Orbital Diagnostics team is supported by Scottish Enterprise to form a company that will take the SLIC device to market. Eleanor Mitchell, High Growth Ventures Director at Scottish Enterprise, said: “This prestigious award is fantastic recognition of Orbital Diagnostics’ strong progress in developing the SLIC device, which has significant global market potential. "Scottish Enterprise is delighted to be supporting the team to commercialise this emerging technology which exemplifies the strength of innovation in Scotland’s healthcare sector.”

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