Weekend takeaway: Cosy up with 10 great sci-tech reads

1 Dec 2017

Image: Syda Productions/Shutterstock

Stay in from the cold this weekend and curl up with a good read – here’s 10 we recommend.

December is here, the holidays are coming, the nights are long and, baby, it’s cold outside. So, while you’re hibernating for the weekend, why not catch up on some great reading material, starting with these 10 top stories from the Silicon Republic team this week.

European tech is the strongest it has ever been

“There is no doubt, Europe is killing it,” intoned Tom Wehmeier, partner and research director at venture capital firm Atomico, to delegates at Slush 2017 in Helsinki. Revealing the findings of the latest State of European Tech report – which was pulled together via 12 data partners, 3,5000 survey participants and more than 50 interviews – Wehmeier said that the destiny of Europe’s tech scene is in the hands of the Europeans. John Kennedy was on the scene.

Is blockchain more hype than revolution?

In November, the Connect 4IRC team hosted a high-energy, sold-out debate called Blockchain: Hype or Revolution? in Belfast. Topics ranged from cryptocurrencies to ICOs, to ethereum’s failure, to privacy implications – and, indeed, it turned into a rousing forum. TechWatch’s Emily McDaid was there to capture the audience opinion.

Lessons in reducing stress from Arianna Huffington

During HuffPost’s infancy, founder Arianna Huffington was a self-professed workaholic and was often listed as one of those massively successful individuals surviving on very little sleep. She worked 18-hour days and was constantly looking at devices and replying to so-called ‘urgent’ emails. Then, in 2007, she collapsed at her desk from exhaustion. Jenny Darmody was at HR Tech World to find out what a moment like this can teach a business woman at the top of her game.

In diabetes research, we need to forget the idea of an ‘average’ patient

According to the World Health Organisation, diabetes is now an epidemic affecting 422m people globally. One researcher investing time and energy into tackling this challenge is Dr Donal O’Gorman, interim director of the National Institute for Cellular Biotechnology (NICB) where he leads a research group investigating the regulation of energy metabolism.

What does Irish ESO membership mean to our budding astronomers?

International astrophysics has advanced greatly since the construction of the Leviathan telescope at Birr Castle in 1845. Since then, optical telescopes have moved on to the optimal, cloudless regions of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) facilities in Chile, and Irish scientists are finally getting the chance to join in. Our newest contributor, PhD student Lána Salmon, explains what opportunities this brings to young researchers in Ireland such as herself.

Superpowered origami muscles in soft robots can be built for less than $1

Robotics has come on in leaps and bounds in just a few short years, especially in the field of soft robotics where researchers are building everything from lifesaving sleeves for hearts to powerful exosuits. Now, researchers from Harvard and MIT have achieved a substantial breakthrough that uses artificial muscles inspired by origami to give soft robots enormous strength. Colm Gorey has the details.

12 terrific Tallinn start-ups to watch in 2018

Estonia tops all the necessary scorecards for digital penetration and governance. Under a sweeping e-Estonia initiative, the country is pursuing brave initiatives, such as an ambitious e-Residency programme that has already attracted 10,000 global entrepreneurs who can establish businesses in Estonia and run them anywhere in the world. No wonder, then, that capital city Tallinn is now one of Europe’s foremost digital cities and a natural home for tech entrepreneurs with flare and ambition. John Kennedy singles out a dozen Tallinn start-ups worth watching.

The London Underground will have full 4G signal on trains in 2019

Last August, London mayor Sadiq Khan pledged that Londoners would be able to use their mobiles to make calls or go online on Tube trains, with a view to having the scheme up and running across the network in two years. Following a successful trial on the Waterloo and City line, Khan’s vision is coming to life. Ellen Tannam finds out how.

Inspirefest reveals first group of speakers for 2018 event

The sci-tech event of the year returns to the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre in Dublin’s Silicon Docks from 21 to 22 June 2018. Now in its fourth year, Inspirefest has become an unmissable date on the European events calendar. Themes explored at next year’s event will range from the future of digital media, artificial intelligence and fintech, to blockchain uncovered, space research and environmental science. As always, there will be an invaluable dose of leadership lessons, networking tips and professional development, whatever your career path or level. Check out the first speakers announced and secure your Super Early Bird ticket while you still can.

15 inspiring gift ideas for clever and curious kids

With The Late Late Toy Show gracing our screens this weekend, we expect kids everywhere will be finalising their lists of all they want for Christmas – and so will we. Every year, the Silicon Republic team keeps its eyes peeled for great gift ideas in the realm of STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths). And, while technically a children’s wish list, we wouldn’t mind if any of these gifts found their way under the SR tree.

Inspirefest is Silicon Republic’s international event connecting sci-tech professionals passionate about the future of STEM. Super Early Bird Tickets for Inspirefest 2018 are on sale now!

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