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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...

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

UK & World

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.


VIDEO: Abertay study set to examine faces pulled at “unpleasant” food

July 18 2017

The often-bizarre faces we pull in response to disgusting food will be the focus of new analysis at Abertay University. Researchers are investigating how facial movements and expressions can be used to gauge the likeability of new health food products. Carried out in the University’s new £3.5m state-of-the art science labs, which opened earlier this summer, the project will seek to develop a  tool that can show the link between a person’s facial reaction and the sensory stimulus that provoked the change. In the long term, the research could hold the key to producing a new range of health foods designed to be more appealing to the general population. Dr John Grigor, of Abertay’s Division of Food and Drink, said: “We have all pulled a face when we taste, see or smell something unpleasant. “This project aims to discover more about how that sensory relationship with food works with a view to potentially finding ways to make healthy foods more appealing.” Despite the increase in general knowledge about how to select a healthy diet, some people still consistently make unhealthy food choices. In addition, the food industry has high failure rate in terms of new health food product launches. Therefore, understanding the relationship between how people rate foods in terms of their sensory characteristics and how these ratings relate to "liking" is a key part of optimising the new product development process. As of yet no formal technique has been developed and validated which can reliably predict this relationship. A funded Master by Research studentship is available to assist progress, including a tax-free stipend of £14,553 a year, paid tuition fees and a generous study package with travel budget and training. The project will uniquely combine real-time eating and physiological measures of subjects, whilst observing sensory and facial responses. Earlier this month Abertay’s Division of Food and Drink was ranked top in Scotland and 9th in the UK in the Guardian Good University Guide. Opinion I’ve always been a fussy eater, picking celery out of salads (too bitter), peeling the skin off chicken (too goosepimply) or feeling traumatised by soggy cereal (just wrong). So when I was asked to sample some health foods with odd texture and unusual taste, I expected to make some unflattering faces. In an admittedly less scientific experiment than the Abertay University study, my colleagues got me to try smoked tofu, beetroot juice and a vegan nutritional shake in a bid to record – and laugh at - my reactions. First up was the shake, whose packaging promised a “great taste”, namely vanilla. As I took a sip I could indeed taste the vanilla, plus something else that was reminiscent of herbs or some other kind of plant. I did frown at first as the taste was unfamiliar, but it’s the kind of thing I could start to like if I were to drink it regularly. Next I tried the beetroot juice, with perhaps predictable results seeing as I dislike beetroot in general. It had a strong, sickly taste that made me scrunch up my face. I definitely won’t be trying that one again. Lastly I took a bite out of the smoked tofu, which didn’t look very appealing in the packaging – it was brown and lumpy, so I was sure I’d hate the texture. However it was much better than I expected, a bit similar to a smoked cheese, which would be quite good in salads or sandwiches. Overall I’d say I could get used to the foods I tried – except the beetroot juice – but they wouldn’t be my first choice if other alternatives are available.


Dundee’s digital talent on display at Abertay University graduate show

May 9 2016

The next generation of digital artists, game designers, programmers and sound designers launched their professional careers on Friday at the Abertay Digital Graduate Show 2016. More than 130 students have work on display in Abertay’s main Kydd Building and the Hannah Maclure Centre art gallery, on the top floor of the Student Centre. The show runs until Sunday,. Clare Brennan, Abertay lecturer and curator of the Abertay Digital Graduate Show, said: “Each year we’re amazed and inspired by the originality and creativity of the work submitted for the Abertay Digital Graduate Show.”


Nurse Maule leaves Abertay University with a medical mystery

February 14 2013

A battered old suitcase which gives an insight into the life of a First World War nurse has been found at the back of a cupboard at Abertay University. Staff found the case, which belonged to a nurse called Margaret Maule, from Paisley, in the institution's psychology department. It was filled with memorabilia from the war. Among the papers and photos is an article Nurse Maule wrote for DC Thomson's People's Journal in 1940 and which is available to view in the 'downloads' section of this page. The university says how the luggage case came to be there is a "complete mystery" as there are no records linking the woman to Abertay. Staff are now appealing for the public's help in shedding more light on Ms Maule's life. To see more of the suitcase's contents click here. And see a special feature on this story in Friday’s Courier or try our new digital edition.

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


Abertay students secure BAFTA with adventure game at prestigious London event

April 7 2017

A team from Abertay University has been recognised at the BAFTA Games Awards, winning the Ones to Watch prize. Student team Bluedoor Games took the coveted title at a glittering black-tie event in London, attended by key players from the world’s games industry. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhce0a2g_Dw The winning game, Among the Stones, was created as part of Abertay’s Dare to be Digital Competition which has this year been rebooted to become Dare Academy. Bluedoor’s entry beat strong competition from fellow Abertay team Ludico’s creation, Pentagrab, and Hexterion’s dodgeball-based title, Rebound, to secure the win. Professor Gregor White, head of Abertay’s school of arts, media and computer games, said the standard of entries in the category had been particularly high. He added: “To win this award is an incredible achievement from a great team and all of the Abertay students who were nominated are now on a trajectory towards a stellar career in the games industry. “Making it to the BAFTA Games Awards is a great opportunity for our students, not only to showcase their talent, but to network with some of the sector’s biggest players.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SULMHDA4BcM Bluedoor Games is made up of Lukasz Gomula, Ashton Mills, Alberto Taiuti, James Wood, Roberto Macken, Kevin McKenna and Rory Sweeney. Kevin said: "It's so surreal. When we started making the game it was out of a nostalgic love for our gaming childhood . "We never thought it could come this far and we have a burning passion to take it as far as we can. Being nominated for a BAFTA was such a huge honour and winning it is amazing. "This means a lot to the team. Not only does it mean our hard work is validated and celebrated by industry but it gives us all more confidence to approach the jobs and kind of future we want in games." Among the Stones follows a brave, young adventurer as she explores a mysterious island with the aid of its friendly stone inhabitants. The 3D platformer allows the player to carve their own path with its creative stone building mechanics, solving puzzles and uncovering secrets on the way. The game features friendly characters and peaceful environments with fun platforming and logic challenges. In the wider awards ceremony, held on Thursday night, Uncharted 4 from Naughty Dog won best game while Overcooked took the prize for best British game and family title. Platformer Inside won in four categories including Original Property, Artistic Achievement, Game Design and Narrative.

Perth & Kinross

Culinary dimension added to Perth Show

July 28 2016

For more than 150 years Perth Show has been a popular, once a year meeting point for the people of the city and the farming community. The show - now the third largest of its type in Scotland – remains as always a showcase for champion livestock but this year holds a much wider appeal for visitors. To be held on Friday and Saturday August 5 and 6 on the South Inch, throughout the two days, trade stands, sideshows, entertainment, activities, music and parades all add to the vibrancy of the show along with a new culinary direction. “For the first time, Perth Show is set to feature a cookery theatre and food and drink marquee,” said show secretary Neil Forbes. “This will bring a new and popular dimension to the visitor attraction. “Perth Show 2016 is also delighted to welcome Perthshire On A Plate (POAP) - a major food festival, celebrating the very best in local produce and culinary talent. “Organised by Perthshire Chamber of Commerce, the two-day festival will run as part of the show and feature celebrity and local chefs, demonstrations and tastings, book signings, food and drink related trade stands, fun-filled activities for ‘kitchen kids’ and a large dining area and pop-up restaurants in a double celebration of food and farming.” Heading the celebrity chef line-up are television favourite Rosemary Shrager (Friday) and spice king Tony Singh (Saturday), backed by a host of talented local chefs including Graeme Pallister (63 Tay Street) and Grant MacNicol (Fonab Castle). The cookery theatre, supported by Quality Meat Scotland, will also stage a fun cookery challenge between students from Perth College and the ladies of the SWI. A range of pop-up restaurants featuring taster dishes from some of the area’s best known eating places will allow visitors to sample local produce as they relax in the show’s new POAP dining area. “We’re trying to create a wide and varied programme of entertainment,” said Mr Forbes. “Late afternoon on Friday will see the It’s A Knockout  challenge with teams from businesses throughout Perth and Perthshire competing against each other. “And the first day’s programme will end with a beer, wine and spirit festival where teams can celebrate their achievements and visitors can sample a wide range of locally produced drinks.” This year will also see the reintroduction of showjumping at Perth Show on the Saturday afternoon.

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.