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Kate Stevens
Managing Director, UK

News & Views

AxiOnline: Some like it hot
Hey if you thought our summer was unbearably hot ("WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU'VE SOLD OUT OF DESK FANS AGAIN"), spare a though...
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Hey if you thought our summer was unbearably hot ("WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU'VE SOLD OUT OF DESK FANS AGAIN"), spare a thought for NASA's latest probe. The Parker Solar Probe is set to take a bit of a sizzling sojourn later this week – right into the literal sun's literal atmosphere where temperatures actually reach three million literal degrees Fahrenheit. NASA has wanted to send something into the Sun's atmosphere for a while (which, strangely enough, is even hotter than its surface), but the necessary engineering and carbon manufacturing advancements have only recently made it possible. Researchers are hoping the probe will help them discover more about solar winds – something with big implications for us back home. A remarkable achievement though it is, it's a bit annoying that we can insulate a probe from just about the hottest part of the solar system, but we still can't ensure earth's office workers HAVE ENOUGH DESK FANS TO STAY COOL. Speaking of things heating up at home, Alex Jones, the sizeable face behind the controversial InfoWars brand, has this week been banned from just about every platform he was willing to scream from – that is to say, pretty much all of them. Apple was the first to ban Jones after he suggested the Sandy Hook school shooting was a hoax. And their move was enough to force Spotify, YouTube, Facebook and more to make the same call. But one platform that hasn’t acted yet is – surprise surprise – Twitter. Yes, that’s right, the same Twitter that didn’t deem actual threats of nuclear holocaust a violation of its rules. Colour us shocked. Without getting into the debate of whether people have the right to make eye-wateringly insensitive, incendiary and cruel claims on a global platform, we’ll just say that a decision either way is, unfortunately, a bit of a catch 22 – if he’s no-platformed entirely, or he’s allowed to continue, he probably makes the same number of headlines. Which is exactly what personalities like this crave. But perhaps we’re being cynical – maybe Alex Jones isn’t just an attention seeker. Then again, maybe he definitely, definitely is. In other news, and an increasingly rare tech story that directly benefits actual working people, Ford is about to release a bunch of mechanical exosuits to their factory employees. The carmaker has been busy trialling the new technology that will give factory workers extra assistance on the assembly line and help prevent repetitive strain and injury – and now 75 workers across 15 of its factories will get to re-enact the Power Loader scene from Aliens! Exosuit makers Ekso Bionics say that Ford workers' physical activity is akin to lifting a bag of flour or a watermelon above their head 4,600 times a day – and just reading that sentence makes my back hurt, so it’s just as well Ford employees are getting a hand. Okay while the goodwill is flowing in this week’s AxiOnline, we best finish up with our light-hearted “And Finally…” story. Okay here we go; an astrophysicist has this week claimed that the reason we’ve not yet made contact with alien life is because they’re hiding behind stars. In a whitepaper, Dan Hooper theorises that the key to discovering alien life, and even harnessing the universe’s energy, is in round up the constantly expanding space and stars. All very well and good, Dan. But why exactly do you think aliens are hiding from us, huh? What about our beautiful little planet inhabited by exclusively peaceful, loving beings could aliens be put off by? Wait, don’t answer that. - Bernard Wheeler