Weekend takeaway: 10 tech stories you need to read right now

25 Sep 2015

Chow down on some great tech news features. Photo via Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Here are 10 must-read stories for you to chew over this weekend, starting with the first batch of incredible speakers announced for Inspirefest 2016.

Also on the menu, we have an interview with a member of the Rosetta mission flight control team, an explainer on the coming supermoon eclipse, and a look at how Fáilte Ireland is bringing Google Street View to Ireland’s off-road landscape. Tuck in!

1. First speakers announced for Dublin’s mega sci-tech event, returning in 2016

The Web Summit may be planning to up sticks from Dublin to Lisbon in 2016, but there’s still plenty for the sci-tech community to enjoy next year, including the second year of Inspirefest. The first speakers announced for the summer conference-cum-festival include the inventor of the collaborative economy, the expert voted most likely to change future management thinking and the instigator of #iLookLikeAnEngineer. Click here to learn more, and keep an eye on @InspirefestHQ for the release of super early-bird ticket sales.

2. The Interview: Laurence O’Rourke, Rosetta mission flight control team

Following his talk on the Rosetta mission with Astronomy Ireland, Westmeath native and member of the European Space Agency Laurence O’Rourke spoke to Colm Gorey about the mission and how they want to crash into an asteroid’s moon next.

3. The upcoming supermoon lunar eclipse explained

The early hours of this coming Monday, 28 September, will see a supermoon lunar eclipse take place. But what is a supermoon? And how is it eclipsed? Gordon Hunt has answers.

4. What is the Snowden Treaty, and why would any state sign it?

From Edward Snowden’s 2013 revelations to now, Gordon Hunt provides a concise background on what we have since learned about government surveillance, plus the foundation of a proposed Snowden Treaty and its potential impact.

5. L’Oréal study unearths worldwide implicit bias against women in science

While efforts are ongoing to increase the participation of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) the unfortunate reality is that public perception is far from aligned with these goals. According to a L’Oréal Foundation study, men and women in countries around the world simply don’t believe women are capable of working in scientific roles. This implicit bias – which, let’s face it, has no grounding in reality – was most apparent in China, where up to 93pc of those surveyed said women lacked the ability to be scientists.

6. A hands-on look at how Fáilte Ireland is using Google Trekker to digitise Ireland’s coasts

Ever wondered how Google captures Street View images from off the beaten track? This week, Colm Gorey met up with Mark Rowlette and Colin Hindle – who are working with the Google Trekker programme to capture an off-road perspective of Ireland’s east coast – to find out. (Spoiler alert: it involves a 20kg backpack-mounted camera system, and an endurance for on-foot exploration.)

7. Safe Harbour comes under fire

We’re still waiting for the full ruling from the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in the Europe v Facebook case led by Max Schrems, but the Austrian law student is already feeling victorious after advocate general Yves Bot, chief adviser to the ECJ, said that Safe Harbour is ‘invalid’. Gordon Hunt looks at the response to Bot’s statement and the implications for the Irish Data Protection Commission, which may now be obliged to protect the data of EU citizens funnelled through Facebook’s Dublin operation.

8. Outbox Incubator 2015 – the full story

Over the summer, we published complete coverage of the first Outbox Incubator, the world’s first business incubator for girls, from the perspective of six Irish participants in the programme. This past week, attendees at one of Microsoft’s regular Codess events were bowled over by what the Outbox team had achieved, and you can backtrack on the full story of the six-week programme right here.

9. Irish game developers stage a comeback for Biker Mice from Mars

If you’re a nineties kid who spent their TV time in the company of Biker Mice from Mars, you could be in for a treat from the games development team at 9th Impact. This Galway-based company has started crowdfunding the development of a Biker Mice comeback in the form of a forward-scrolling adventure through the streets of Chicago. Colm Gorey has the scoop.

10. Compact Imaging: The US start-up building a breakthrough photonics sensor in Ireland

A longread here from yours truly, but one worthy of your time if you’d like to delve into the story of a US start-up with Irish roots that has returned to Ireland for critical R&D on its breakthrough product. Silicon Valley-based Compact Imaging is working with NUI Galway and Tyndall National Institute to develop a photonics sensor smaller than a one-euro coin that will have useful, necessary applications in medical diagnostics and monitoring, and biometric security.

Inspirefest is Silicon Republic’s international event connecting sci-tech professionals passionate about the future of STEM. Join us again from 30 June to 2 July 2016 for fresh perspectives on leadership, innovation and diversity.

Takeaway photo by Monkey Business Images via Shutterstock

Elaine Burke is the editor of Silicon Republic