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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.

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

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

Scotland

Dundee University researcher staging ‘virtual death’ to assess ‘digital inheritance’

March 26 2011

A Dundee University researcher is planning a 'virtual death' to find out how social networks and internet providers deal with demise. Wendy Moncur wants to learn what happens to our "digital inheritance" when we die, and what systems might be in place to protect and pass on photographs and other personal data. She plans to create a fictitious person online and then kill them off, to track what happens to all the virtual person's stored information. Some internet providers prevent access to data stores when a customer dies, including photographs and other information that family and friends may wish to have. The deceased may have wished, even expected, that the data stores would pass to relatives and loved ones. Ms Moncur has been awarded a three-year fellowship by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and will be based at Dundee University. She will work with lawyers, psychologists, sociologists and the public when her project starts in May.BequestMs Moncur said, "The goal for the next three years is to look at how people want to bequeath their online stuff and how they want to inherit it." She added, "Beyond that I want to look at how people re-use the things they inherit, like photographs and emails, in creating some kind of online memorial." She said social network that host memorial pages have terms and conditions that regulated their interaction with users. Ms Moncur mentioned a US marine whose wishes were scuppered by an internet provider that blocked access to all his data. The young man was killed in Iraq and had left instructions with his parents to access his online information, including emails and photographs, but the internet service provider would not give them his password. Ms Moncur said, "They were only able to get hold of the data after going to court." She is particularly interested in working with people in dangerous jobs, who are interested in planning what happens to their online data store should they die.

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.

Dundee

McManus museum team on the trail of Royal Arch remnants

February 20 2015

The presence of huge chunks of Dundee’s once iconic Royal Arch within the grounds of D&A College is now being explored by some of the city’s leading local history experts. A team from The McManus Dundee’s art gallery and museum plan to visit to photograph and record the stones. They discovered an article in the museum’s archives, dating back to 1964, which shows the stones in situ at the newly-opened college’s Kingsway campus. Curator of early history Christina Donald believes the article verifies links between the college and the maligned structure, which was demolished that same year. “Back in 2010 when we were doing research for the redevelopment of the museum, I came across the People’s Journal article while looking for something else,” she said. “As we have the clock from the Royal Arch in the museum’s collections, I filed it away for future reference. “When I saw the photo of the stones at the college in The Courier, I forwarded on the article so that they could confirm that their finds were indeed the stones from the Royal Arch.” As well as contacting D&A College with her find, Christina is keen to get in touch with the city archivist to see if there is any more information about the Royal Arch stones. The curator is also eager to have museum staff visit the Kingsway Campus to photograph and record the carved stones. According to college legend, three pieces of Royal Arch stonework have been around the campus since the 1960s. One has now been moved to the Children’s Hospice Association Scotland’s Robin House, in Balloch, where college staff and students recreated an award-winning show garden. The most easily-identified piece is by the science block while a third piece is shrouded in mystery as only the top is visible the rest being buried in the ground in the former caretaker’s cottage at the campus entrance. Anyone who may be able to shed further light on the stones should contact Christina at the McManus. An online petition to have the Royal Arch replicated and reinstated was opened two weeks ago. Nearly 1,300 people have since signed the petition which as a target of 20,000.

Dundee

Man jailed for stealing designer shirt from Dundee shop two days after appearing in court

April 21 2014

A Dundee man who stole a designer shirt only two days after appearing in court was sentenced to six months in prison. Steven Greig, 36, also attempted to make off with another two high-end items worth £774 from Threads on Commercial Street. Appearing at the city’s sheriff court on Saturday, Greig, of Adamson Court, admitted that on Thursday he stole a designer shirt costing £250. He also admitted removing the security tags and price labels from a Stone Island jacket and Stone Island shirt and attempting to steal them. Depute fiscal Isma Muktar said: “Around 4.50pm a member of staff at the store saw the accused. “The member of staff entered the second room area to speak with the male and he noticed a grey Stone Island jacket on the floor. “The accused said someone had dropped it. The member of staff hung it up and want to serve another customer.” Ms Muktar said the shop assistant thought it was strange the item had just been dropped as the second room housed the more expensive merchandise. Greig then left and the staff member found the labels had been ripped off the jacket and a shirt. He reviewed CCTV footage and contacted the police who were dealing with other matters. Ms Muktar said: “Around 6pm, the member of staff saw the accused standing outside Waterstones. He phoned the police on his mobile and began following the accused.” Police then traced Greig in Meadowside. He was searched and officers found two labels in his backpack and the £250 Stone Island shirt. Greig’s solicitor Jim Laverty said his client had left court on Tuesday with instructions to report to the social work offices. He said he had been on remand and had taken up residence with his wife but the family had not been in receipt of benefits. Mr Laverty said: “He came upon the idea of shoplifting to, in effect, put food on the table.” Sheriff Richard Macfarlane sentenced Greig to six months in prison.

Fife

Former Countdown champion attacked Fife supermarket worker with wine bottle after she criticised his writing

November 10 2015

A former Countdown champion travelled to Glenrothes to attack a teenager who criticised his online book. Richard Brittain made the journey from England to attack Paige Rolland, 18, at the Asda store in Glenrothes where she worked. The 28-year-old, who was crowned Countdown champion in 2006, attacked her from behind with a wine bottle, knocking her out. He tracked her down using Facebook after she left comments about his online book The World Rose, which he had published on a website called Wattpad. A month before the attack, Brittain stalked a university classmate, Ella Durant, who moved from London to Glasgow. At Glasgow Sheriff Court on Monday, Brittain admitted assaulting Ms Rolland with a bottle to her severe injury on October 3, 2014 at Asda, Fullerton Road, Glenrothes. He also pled guilty to engaging in a course of conduct which caused Ms Durant fear or alarm by repeatedly pursuing her, approaching her, following her and publishing a story about stalking her in September 2014. https://www.youtube.com/embed/UKsqz7fFrqM Depute fiscal Harry Findlay said Ms Rolland was assaulted while kneeling down at the cereal aisle. He said: “While doing so, the accused approached without warning, any provocation or words and he struck the complainer on the back of the head with the bottle. “One blow. It made contact and the wound bled immediately and she had a moment of unconsciousness.” He was traced by the police and his house was searched which revealed travel documents and evidence he had been in Glasgow on an earlier date. Defence counsel Michael Meehan told the court that in relation to a message from Brittain to Ms Rolland after she criticised his work, his client pointed out she had not read the published version and asked her to remove her comments. The court was told he also contacted her in September this year with an apologetic message. Sheriff Martin Jones QC deferred sentence until a later date for a number of reports and a motion for bail was refused.

Farming news

Aberdeen-Angus DNA test hailed by Victor Wallace

February 13 2015

The adoption of a new DNA test to authenticate the pedigree of all Aberdeen-Angus calves will put the breed in the vanguard of genomic technology, retiring Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society president, Victor Wallace, told a packed annual at Stirling. The society has decided to collect blood samples using special ear tags which incorporate a small uniquely identified receptacle. As the tag is inserted soon after birth the small amount of displaced tissue and blood is captured ready for future DNA testing. Responding to criticism of the society’s decision to use only one company, Caisley, for the collection of samples, Mr Wallace insisted Caisley was the only ear tag company which had the technology to meet the society’s required specification. “We invited a number of ear tag companies to tender and some didn’t bother to reply while others couldn’t meet the spec,” said Mr Wallace. “It is a simple and inexpensive system which most breeders are finding easy to use.” The aim is to collect blood samples from all bull calves to enable the sire of all calves to be verified in the case of any uncertainty or dispute and to authenticate beef being sold as Aberdeen-Angus.” The move by the society has been welcomed by major supermarkets selling Aberdeen-Angus beef. Mr Wallace added: “This process was extensively and rigorously tested with management and council visits to the manufacturers in Germany and the completion of field trials. After this process it was brought back to council and unanimously approved. “Like all changes, there has been some resistance but I am convinced that putting the society in a position to be leading in genomic testing can only be a good one. “We should be leaders, not followers.” Mr Wallace admitted that a £34,000 re-branding exercise carried out over the past year, which included the dropping of the society’s long-established black, green and yellow colours, left room for “significant improvement”. The issue, particularly improvement to the website, would, he said, be addressed in the coming year. The decision to prop up the pension fund of chief executive, Ron McHattie, by £120,000 in four tranches was defended by new president, David Evans, who explained that it was a “catching up” operation as the funding of the pension had not been addressed for 11 years and annuity rates had halved in that time. Mr Evans, who works as a financial adviser, runs a 60-cow pedigree herd in Cleveland with his wife, Penny, and has been chairman of the society’s breed promotion committee. He is planning a series of open days throughout the country this year to promote the commercial attributes of the Aberdeen-Angus breed. “There is a huge and growing demand for certified Aberdeen-Angus beef with the active involvement of most of the leading supermarkets in the UK and registrations in the Herd Book are at a record level and continuing to increase,” said Mr Evans. “But we can’t stand still and it is important that the breed adopts all the latest technology to take the breed forward in the future.” New senior vice-president is Tom Arnott, Haymount, Kelso, while Alex Sanger, Prettycur, Montrose, was appointed junior vice-president.

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