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News from 2015

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Britain leads Europe in tech, with 18 of 47 $1bn companies – report. Europe is a successful Unicorn ranch.

Britain leads Europe in tech, with 18 of 47 $1bn companies – report

The number of private technology companies valued north of $1bn – originally nicknamed after the mythical creature due to their supposed rareness – that are based in Europe has risen to 47, according to tech investment bank GP Bullhound. The count is up by 10 in the past year, and the combined value of the companies on the list is now $130bn (£90bn). More than a third of the Unicorns are based in Britain, including Asos, Transferwise and Zoopla, as well as new entrants on the list like augmented reality firm Blippar and business planning software makers Anaplan, founded in the UK but now based in San Francisco.

Spotify has overtaken Skype as the most valuable unicorn in Europe, with a valuation of $8.5bn, and leads Sweden into second place by number of unicorns. The country has seven billion-dollar tech firms, and Germany, France and Israel (which is included in Europe for the purposes of this study) follow with six, three and three respectively. How Gaming Impacts Childrens' Academic Achievements. A new report published by the National Children's Bureau (NCB), a UK educational charity, has received extensive coverage in the media as clear evidence that video games are "bad" for children.

How Gaming Impacts Childrens' Academic Achievements

Mputers 'do not improve' pupil results, says OECD - BBC News. Investing heavily in school computers and classroom technology does not improve pupils' performance, says a global study from the OECD.

mputers 'do not improve' pupil results, says OECD - BBC News

The think tank says frequent use of computers in schools is more likely to be associated with lower results. The OECD's education director Andreas Schleicher says school technology had raised "too many false hopes". Tom Bennett, the government's expert on pupil behaviour, said teachers had been "dazzled" by school computers. The report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development examines the impact of school technology on international test results, such as the Pisa tests taken in more than 70 countries and tests measuring digital skills. It says education systems which have invested heavily in information and communications technology have seen "no noticeable improvement" in Pisa test results for reading, mathematics or science.

Unplugged But Mr Schleicher says the "impact on student performance is mixed at best". The report says: Listen: The story of Izzy Dix in five podcasts - BBC Newsbeat. Will a robot take your job? - BBC News. Type your job title into the search box below to find out the likelihood that it could be automated within the next two decades.

Will a robot take your job? - BBC News

About 35% of current jobs in the UK are at high risk of computerisation over the following 20 years, according to a study by researchers at Oxford University and Deloitte. 10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should Be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12  10 Points Where the Research Behind Banning Handheld Devices for Children Is Flawed  You may have come across Cris Rowan's popular HuffPost piece explaining 10 reasons handheld devices should be banned for children under 12.

10 Points Where the Research Behind Banning Handheld Devices for Children Is Flawed 

You may also have read the rebuttal from a librarian mom who explains why she will continue to give her children handheld devices. While the pro-device author explains the benefits of handhelds, what she doesn't uncover is that the research cited by the original author doesn't support her claims. In fact, the research cited in the Rowan piece is so unsupportive of her claims, it seems possible that the real motive behind the article was to test the reader's gullibility. Making digital butterflies from old phones. Is This Good?

Making digital butterflies from old phones

Is a collective of digital creative artists, who devote their time to building weird and wonderful electronic contraptions. They have an abundance of technical and coding skills between them and work with circuit boards, Raspberry Pi computers, capacitors and soldering kits. But they also like to use the digital litter that people leave behind, like smart phones, Bluetooth sets and SIM cards. They first made birds from mobile phone scrap on a whim, which were later exhibited at the Victoria & Albert Museum. They were subsequently commissioned by O2 Recycle to make interactive butterflies, to raise awareness about mobile phone waste. Their flock of digital birds is currently being expanded, ready for this summer's Digital Revolution exhibition at The Barbican in London. Creative Director Chris Cairns introduced BBC News to their digital animals.

What can the Micro Bit do? - BBC News. Study Finds Gamers Have Greater Cognitive Function And More Grey Matter. Gamers everywhere rejoice!

Study Finds Gamers Have Greater Cognitive Function And More Grey Matter

It turns out that gaming prowess is an indication of a better connected brain. This latest conclusion was drawn from research which looked at the cognitive function of Action Video Gamers (AVGs) of different levels of proficiency. For the ‘noobs’ out there, action video games subject the gamer to physical challenges, including hand–eye coordination and reaction-time games. This could be racing or fighting for example. There’s already an abundance of evidence that shows that expert AVG players (gamers who are regional or national champions at AVG competitions) have superior cognitive ability to amateurs. Google Maps now lets you turn any location into a game of Pac-Man. Heads’ war on Call of Duty. Schools discovered some children had been playing or watching 18-rated games such as Call of Duty HEAD teachers have told parents that they will report them to police and social services for neglect if they allow their children to play computer games rated for over-18s.

Heads’ war on Call of Duty

BBC to publish 'right to be forgotten' removals list. 17 October 2014Last updated at 09:25 ET By Dave Lee Technology reporter, BBC News.

BBC to publish 'right to be forgotten' removals list

Obama makes push for stronger cyber security laws. 13 January 2015Last updated at 19:00 ET <div class="warning"><img class="holding" src=" alt="Barack Obama" /><p><strong>Please turn on JavaScript.

Obama makes push for stronger cyber security laws

</strong> Media requires JavaScript to play. </p></div> President Obama: "Cyber threats are an urgent and growing danger" US President Barack Obama has unveiled proposals to strengthen cyber security laws following a spate of attacks against high-profile US targets. Recent hacks of Sony Pictures and a Pentagon Twitter feed reflect the need for tighter legislation, the president said. The proposals are due to be sent to Congress immediately. Previous efforts on cyber security legislation have encountered opposition from civil liberty campaigners. Mr Obama continues to face privacy concerns, part of the backlash over revelations about the scope of government surveillance and bulk data collection. But cyber-crime has directly affected millions of consumers. Growing danger. Google's YouTube to launch kids' app. 20 February 2015Last updated at 07:21 ET The NSPCC has welcomed the news of the app's launch.

Fitness trackers put through their paces. Leaving Facebook... Facebook launches new suicide prevention tool in the US - BBC Newsbeat. Watch a blind man use a bionic eye to see his wife for the first time in a decade. If you currently have a username with "@" in it, please email support@voxmedia.com. Forgot password? We'll email you a reset link. If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead. Forgot username? We'll email it to you. Try another email?