The City Diary: Futurist gadgeteers join the MOD to fight the terrorists of Salisbury Plain

The vast chalk expanse of Salisbury Plain is the sight of a futuristic battle worthy of a 'Terminator' movie this weekend, with a range of gadgets built by automotive design firm MIRA and global defence outfit BAE Systems tackling a host of security threats as part of a Ministry of Defence science and technology competition. The MIRA equipment, such as a remote-controlled ground vehicle and an unmanned air vehicle, will be used to track down a sniper, an armed vehicle and a terrorist cell. MIRA and BAE will be pitted against five other teams in the Grand Challenge, and the winner will have a chance to work on further MoD projects. Let's hope it's all above board then.

Insurance against stupidity

Peter Staddon, the head of technical services at the British Insurance Brokers Association, has been caught having a right old rant against the Foreign Office. Incensed that the Government is advising Brits to make sure they have travel insurance because accidents abroad are increasing, Mr Staddon roared at the 'Insurance Times': "The Government thinks it can get the insurance industry to foot the bill for people who drink recklessly abroad and end up arrested, or those who injure themselves when driving a motorcycle in socks and sandals." Sounds fair enough to us.

Unions stand firm against high heels

Oh, the Good old trade unions, standing up for the common man – and woman. The TUC General Secretary has put the boot into City institutions and upmarket fashion outlets that force their female workers to wear high heels. It's a disgrace and "blatantly sexist", cried Brendan Barber. "Heels may look glamorous on the catwalks and on Hollywood stars, but they're not appropriate for day-to-day workwear," Barber railed. He also called for employers to provide puncture and slip resistant soles to avoid mishaps with pins and wet floors. What a helpful lot the TUC are.

Gordon stalks our nightmares

It's official. There is something of the night about our beloved PM Gordon Brown. If it wasn't enough to have to listen to him during the day, being chased by Brown and sidekick Chancellor Alistair Darling is the most common nightmare in the UK, according to a survey from hotel group Travelodge. The poll results were revealed by Leigh McCarron, the group's director of sleep, who should know.

Breaking nuclear news

Tim Stone, the Government's highly regarded nuclear adviser, informs Diary that he broke his foot while on a busman's holiday to the north polar ice cap, travelling on a nuclear-powered ice breaker. Rushing to take snaps in the engine room, "like a kid in a candy store", Dr Stone failed to look where he was going and tripped, causing the injury.

Willie's a web wonder

The internet has gone Willie Walsh-crazy. The British Airways chief executive is the most talked-about FTSE 100 head honcho, be it through blog commentary or news item, according to the good people at Propellor BossBuzz Monitor. Just think, Mr Walsh, were it not for Terminal 5 you may have trailed far behind.

Public workers in stampede for the exit...

This research comes courtesy of recruitment consultant Badenoch & Clark. The company's Happiness at Work survey of 1,000 office-based workers claims that one-in-five public sector employees now put in the equivalent of an extra day a year to keep up with additional work covering for absent colleagues. Apparently, 72 per cent of public sector employees reported increased workloads since the new year. Nearly half the public sector workforce say they intend to change jobs by the end of 2008, but that could be the silver lining for the cash-strapped Government, which no doubt will be glad to be feeding fewer mouths.

...but the private sector has the recipe for calm

Clearly some private-sector workers do not face the same level of pressure as their public-sector peers. MyFood.co.uk – which purports to be a "community recipe website" – has set up social network sites at BT and AXA to encourage staff "to not only talk about their favourite recipes, but to share the stories behind those dishes", a press release practically beams. Carol Savage, MyFood.co.uk's founder, says that this is "a great way to get people talking" and "brings people together". Apparently the company will also arrange bake-offs and curry competitions. It's like Facebook, only odd.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Equity | New York

Not specified: Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Global Equity | New Yor...

Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation

Not specified: Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation This top tiered investment...

Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect