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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...

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.

Business

The Next Consortium of ITRI launches ‘RoboScooter’

October 29 2012

At the Pavilion of Taiwan Automotive Research Consortium during the AutoTronics Taipei 2008, in Taipei Time, the Next Consortium of Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) unveiled a brand-new environmental-concept vehicle named "RoboScooter". At the Pavilion of Taiwan Automotive Research Consortium during the AutoTronics Taipei 2008, in Taipei Time, the Next Consortium of Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) unveiled a brand-new environmental-concept vehicle named "RoboScooter". It was jointly designed by the Creativity Lab of ITRI, SYM Motors, and the Media Lab of Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This announcement was approved by industrial, governmental, and academical executives, but not just in Taiwan. The ability for R&D to manufacture the electronic vehicles and bicycles was concerning to several automobile-related industries. There was concern not only from several trade shows, but also international competitions related to the design after winning several prizes back in Taiwan to establish the industrial position and brand image of "Made in Taiwan". Since several industries like automobile are transformed to high-value industries, "creativity" progressively became a key element before unveiling any new products. As of this sector, Wen-jean Hsueh (ITRI Creativity Lab General Director) hoped companies could do proper transformations on its R&D nature from "Made in Taiwan" to "Created in Taiwan" for best practice. This not only echoed "OBM" theory discussed at 2007 Taiwan Brands' Trend Forum but also blended with a key element of production - "creativity". On the other side of SYM Motors, to solve the transportation problem for TWTC Nangang, SYM Motors Taiwan imported manufacturing technology from Kinglong Bus Co., Ltd. to manufacture several 4th-cycle low floor buses and sell them to Chung-hsing Bus Co., Ltd. and Kwang-huang Bus Co., Ltd. In this launch, the SYM Motors Taiwan hope this vehicle is energy-efficiency, easily-parked, and has creative functions which can improve the transportation habits of individuals. This article was originally published on Wikinews and is reproduced here in accordance with CC-Attribution-Generic 2.5.

Angus & The Mearns

Angus pensioner’s milestone for medical research

January 27 2015

A Tayside woman has become the 50,000th volunteer to offer their support to a unique medical research project. SHARE (Scottish Health Research Register) aims to make it easier for researchers in Scotland to carry out ground-breaking medical studies. It uses blood left over from testing to help improve treatments for diseases such as cancer, diabetes and asthma. Every day in Scotland around 70,000 samples of blood are discarded after routine clinical testing, but researchers are asking the public to allow them access to that spare blood. Evelyn Hood, 78, from Ruthven, became the 50,000th person to volunteer for the register. She said: “I have seen family members suffer with serious illness. “If by doing something as simple as this I can give a help to research that might give us better diagnosis and earlier and improved treatments for diseases then that can only be a good thing. “I have blood taken two or three times a year and it seems a waste to have the spare blood thrown away when it could be put to good use.” People can sign up at www.registerforshare.org.

Dundee

Dundee University scientists report skin cancer breakthrough

November 4 2013

Dundee University researchers believe they have made a major breakthrough in the battle against skin cancer using a “simple” blood test. Scientists say the blood test could be used to identify patients whose melanoma the most serious form of skin cancer has started to spread to other parts of the body. The researchers examined DNA shed from tumour cells into the bloodstream, looking at a single gene called TFP12. Their research was presented at the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Cancer Conference in Liverpool today. Dr Tim Crook, study author and a consultant medical oncologist at Dundee University, said: “Once melanoma starts to spread it becomes far more difficult to treat. But actually detecting whether or not it has started to spread is also challenging. “By using a blood test, we have the basis of a simple and accurate way of discovering how advanced the disease is, as well as an early warning sign of whether it has started to spread. “This would give doctors and patients important information much sooner than is possible at the moment. “There’s increasing evidence that the latest treatments are more effective in these early stages and, if we can identify patients whose cancer has only just started to spread, this would significantly improve the chances of beating the disease.”

Rocktalk

Award-winning Tayside song writer Eddie Cairney immortalises Queensferry Crossing in tune

October 25 2017

An award-winning Tayside song writer who immortalised the 50th anniversary of the Tay Road Bridge in music last year has released an EP which pays tribute to the newly opened Queensferry Crossing over the Forth. Perth-born Eddie Cairney, 65, who now lives in Arbroath, has released an album called ‘Sketches o' the QC’ which includes songs dedicated to the “isolated” workers who were employed during construction and contrasts the old Forth Road Bridge to the new crossing with its wind shields designed to keep traffic flowing during storms. Eddie, who delayed the release of the album due to family illness and bereavement, said: “It's just another quirky album like I did for the Tay Road Bridge. https://youtu.be/Z6BblA_Zev4 “As you can probably imagine, how do you write six songs about a bridge? “I usually end up using a process of creative journalism. I get a few facts or even just a single fact and then I let my imagination take over. “With each album early on in the writing process I draw a blank and think there's nothing here I can write about but there's always something to write about. “You just have to hang around long enough and it comes eventually. https://youtu.be/a9NyQAFjDsY “I just took threads from here and there. I was going to call the album The Queensferry Crossing but thought that was a bit boring so I went for Sketches o' the Q.C. “It introduces a bit of ambiguity. If you Google the name you get lots of drawings of court scenes!” Eddie was inspired to write Columba Cannon after reading an article about the general foreman for the foundations and towers. https://youtu.be/y_y1y8oV7vo Eddie said: “It was the name that got me and that gave me the first line of the song "He is a bridge builder wi a missionary zeal" Has to be with a name like Columba!” Fishnet bridge was set in a meditative light, describing the bridge as a “thing of beauty that looks like a big fish net glistening high above the Forth but it is a symbolic fishnet with the song taking the form of an imaginary conversation with the bridge.” https://youtu.be/dJgsl2WQ5G0   “Midday starvation came from an article which highlighted the isolation of the workers working high up on the bridge,” he added. https://youtu.be/Dme-bfCXHRI “If you forget your piece you've had it and you starve for there's no nipping round to the corner shop for a pie. The article also said that a local pizza delivery firm regularly delivered a pallet load of warm pizzas to the bridge so that was "midday salvation"! Meanwhile, The boys frae the cheese is a play on words. https://youtu.be/phtQ2-Xx1I0 He added: “I read an article that said The Forth Estuary Transport Authority (FETA) could have acted sooner and avoided the costly closure of the bridge at the end of 2015.” Eddie is no stranger to music and song influenced by Dundee and wider Scottish history. In 2015 he featured in The Courier for his efforts to put the complete works of Robert Burns to music. With a piano style influenced by Albert Ammons, Champion Jack Dupree and Memphis Slim, and a song-writing style influenced by Matt McGinn, Michael Marra and Randy Newman, the former Perth High School pupil, who wrote the 1984 New Zealand Olympic anthem, has organised a number of projects over the years including the McGonagall Centenary Festival  for Dundee City Council in 2002. Last year’s Tay Road Bridge album included a tribute to 19th century poet William Topas McGonagall and also honoured Hugh Pincott – the first member of the public to cross the Tay Road Bridge in 1966. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y51tixl9GEs Thanks to The Courier, he also became one of the first to cross the Queensferry Crossing  when it opened to the public in the early hours of August 30.

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

Fife

St Andrews University scientists’ Star Trek breakthrough

January 25 2013

University boffins are boldly going where only Captain Kirk has gone before. Scientists from St Andrews University have invented a real-life tractor beam, as featured in the classic sci-fi series Star Trek. The discovery will for the first time allow a beam of light to attract things or even “Klingon” to them. The USS Enterprise in the TV series and films used a tractor beam to snare other spaceships and large objects hurtling through space. Although the breakthrough by academics at St Andrews and the Institute of Scientific Instruments (ISI) in the Czech Republic is not quite that ambitious, it could lead to more efficient methods of medical testing, such as the examination of blood samples. Light manipulation techniques have existed since the 1970s, but this is the first time a light beam has been used to draw objects towards the light source, albeit at a microscopic level. The scientists have found a way to generate a special optical field that efficiently reverses radiation pressure of light. The team, led by Dr Tomas Cizmar, Research Fellow in the School of Medicine at St Andrews University, with Dr Oto Brzobohaty and Professor Pavel Zemanek, both of ISI, discovered a technique which will allow them to provide ‘negative’ force acting upon minuscule particles. Professor Zemanek said: “The whole team have spent a number of years investigating various configurations of particles delivery by light. “I am proud our results were recognised in this very competitive environment and I am looking forward to new experiments and applications. It is a very exciting time.” Normally when matter and light interact, the solid object is pushed by the light and carried away in the stream of photons. Such radiation force was first identified by Johanes Kepler when observing that tails of comets point away from the sun. Over recent years, researchers have realised that, while this is the case for most of the optical fields, there is a space of parameters when this force reverses. The scientists at St Andrews and ISI have now demonstrated the first experimental realisation of this concept together with a number of exciting applications for bio-medical photonics and other disciplines. The exciting aspect is that the occurrence of negative force is very specific to the size and composition of the object. This in turn allows optical sorting of tiny objects in a simple and inexpensive device. Interestingly, the scientists identified certain conditions in which objects held by the “tractor” beam force-field rearranged themselves to form a structure which made the beam even stronger. Dr Cizmar said: “Because of the similarities between optical and acoustic particle manipulation, we anticipate that this concept will provide inspiration for exciting future studies in areas outside the field of photonics.” Dr Brzobohaty said: “These methods are opening new opportunities for fundamental phonics as well as applications for life-sciences.”

Fife

Star Trek’s Captain Kirk hails St Andrews University’s enterprise

February 8 2013

A St Andrews University press release has boldly gone where no other university press release has gone before and caught the eye of Captain James T Kirk himself. Two weeks ago St Andrews University scientists revealed they had invented a real-life tractor beam, as featured in the classic sci-fi series Star Trek. The discovery will for the first time allow a beam of light to attract things or even “Klingon” to them. The research breakthrough was reported by news organisations around the world including Forbes, Fox News, Time Magazine, the Huffington Post and hundreds of others including The Courier. However, we can reveal that after the news went viral on social media, it was forwarded on Twitter by none other than Star Trek actor William Shatner (pictured), who played Captain Kirk in the original 1966 TV series and the motion pictures that followed. St Andrews University media office staff kept an eye on Twitter and were surprised to see the following pop up: “William Shatner @WilliamShatner. Difference between Sci-Fi and Sci-Fantasy: Star Trek Tractor Beam: reality,Star Wars Death Star: not ;-)” A St Andrews University spokesman told The Courier: “This is definitely a first for St Andrews, to have boldly gone where no other university press release has gone before and caught the eye of James T Kirk himself. It’s Fife Jim, but not as we know it.” The USS Enterprise in the TV series and films used a tractor beam to snare other spaceships and large objects hurtling through space. However, although the breakthrough by academics at St Andrews and the Institute of Scientific Instruments (ISI) in the Czech Republic is not quite as ambitious, it could lead to more efficient methods of medical testing, such as the examination of blood samples. It is the first time a light beam has been used to draw objects towards the light source, albeit at a microscopic level. The team, led by Dr Tomas Cizmar, research fellow in the School of Medicine at St Andrews University, with Dr Oto Brzobohaty and Professor Pavel Zemanek, both of ISI, discovered a technique which will allow them to provide “negative” force acting upon minuscule particles. Normally, when matter and light interact, the solid object is pushed by the light and carried away in the stream of photons. The scientists at St Andrews and ISI have now demonstrated the first experimental realisation of this concept, together with a number of exciting applications. Interestingly, the scientists identified certain conditions in which objects held by the “tractor” beam force-field rearranged themselves to form a structure which made the beam even stronger.

Dundee

Royal opening for Dundee University research unit

January 16 2015

The Princess Royal formally has opened the Farr Institute of Health Informatics Research at Dundee University. The Farr Institute is a state-of-the-art facility for research based on health-related data. Dundee University has been a pioneer in this approach, and enjoys an international reputation for health informatics research. Professor John Connell, who is vice-principal for research at the university and head of the college of medicine, dentistry and nursing, said: “We are delighted that HRH the Princess Royal has joined us to open the Farr Institute and also to recognise the tremendous work done by Tenovus as a charity supporting valuable medical research across Scotland.”

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