Mountain runner Donnie Campbell has broken the record for the fastest solo round of of all 282 Munros in Scotland by more than a week. The 35-year-old, from Inverness, completed the round in just 31 days and 23 hours. He began the challenge on Ben More, Isle of Mull, on 1 August and finished on Ben Hope, the most northerly Munro. He ran up each mountain before running, walking, cycling or kayaking to the next one. It breaks Stephen Pyke's record of 39 days and nine hours, which was set in 2010.
A robot camera has been used in UK seas for the first time to monitor the behaviour of basking sharks. SharkCam was deployed off the west coast of Scotland where the sharks gather to breed after migrating from waters off west Africa. Basking sharks, an endangered species, are the world's second largest fish after whale sharks, sometimes growing to more than 10m (33ft) long. SharkCam followed three sharks off the coasts of Coll and Tiree. The robot monitored the animals from a distance and recorded behaviour that suggested they arrive in Scottish waters to breed rather than feed.
By using a new machine learning method, University of Aberdeen researchers have developed a technique to make identifying the source of food poisoning or infection faster and more accurate. According to an article published in Scientific Reports, the new technique could match campylobacter and potentially other common foodborne pathogens more accurately to their source of origin within a significantly reduced timeframe. The new approach to diagnosis takes advantage of advances in Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS), where the complete DNA sequence of an organism's genome can be obtained at a single time. It builds an accurate picture of a bacterial infection – the kind of bacteria and its origins. WGS has been touted as a key factor in personalised medicine, where treatments are tailored to each individual based on their genetic code.
"I am not my postcode." This slogan was displayed among a sea of students in Scotland protesting their grades over the past week. Unable to take their exams during 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and with schools shut back in March, students received their grades for an exam-free year last week for Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) courses by letter, text, and email. When they opened the envelopes containing the grades necessary for higher courses or university, many were left disappointed. It then emerged that the exam board had decided to lower tens of thousands of grades from the original awards recommended by teachers.
Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus outbreak this Wednesday evening. We'll have another update for you tomorrow morning. We've heard from Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, who's said testing is not a "silver bullet" to stop the need for quarantine for people returning from Spain. Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye wants tests at airports, and again a few days later, as an alternative. While Conservative MP Crispin Blunt thinks a more targeted use of quarantine measures would get more public support than a blanket rule for the whole of Spain.
The UK's new Space Agency funding will be used to support drones that deliver coronavirus testing kits to a Scottish island. Skyports, the company behind the drones, started a two-week trial in May with NHS Highland, which serves a group of islands off the west coast of Scotland. The technology was able to cut delivery times between Oban and the Isle of Mull to around 15 minutes, instead of going via road and taking a 45-minute ferry crossing. An initial £2.6 million was made available by the UK Space Agency and European Space Agency (ESA) to find and support space-enabled technologies and services that can support the NHS response to coronavirus. Skyports along with two other initiatives have been awarded a share of £1.1 million in funding, while the rest is open to bids until the end of September.
A big thank you to those who contributed to this exercise. You can see a visualisation of the results below. Have we missed anyone out? If so, please let us know! NB We were NOT looking for individual companies developing AI or individual researchers working on AI or organisations based outside Scotland.
A convicted paedophile who was snared by a vigilante group is to have his case examined at the UK Supreme Court. Judges at the UK's highest court will consider whether prosecutions based on the covert operations of "paedophile hunters" breach the right to privacy. Mark Sutherland, 37, believed he was communicating with a 13-year-old boy on the dating app Grindr. But in reality it was a 48-year-old man who was part of a group called Groom Resisters Scotland. The Supreme Court will hold a virtual hearing to consider the case and will issue its judgement later.
Author Neil Gaiman has admitted breaking Scotland's lockdown rules by travelling 11,000 miles from New Zealand to his holiday home on Skye. The Good Omens and American Gods writer left his wife and son in Auckland so he could "isolate" at his island retreat. He wrote on his online bog: "Hullo from Scotland, where I am in rural lockdown on my own." The science fiction and fantasy author has since been criticised for "endangering" local people". The SNP's Westminster leader Ian Blackford, who is the MP for the island, told the Sunday Times the author's journey was unacceptable. He said: "What is it about people, when they know we are in the middle of lockdown that they think they can come here from the other side of the planet, in turn endangering local people from exposure to this infection that they could have picked up at any step of the way?" Mr Gaiman - whose main family home is in Woodstock in the USA - has owned the house on Skye for more than 10 years. The English-born author wrote on his blog that until two weeks ago he had been living in New Zealand with his wife, the singer Amanda Palmer, and their four-year-old son. He said the couple agreed "that we needed to give each other some space". The 59-year-old said he flew "masked and gloved, from empty Auckland airport" to Los Angeles. He then caught a British Airways flight to London before borrowing a friend's car and heading for Skye. "I drove north, on empty motorways and then on empty roads, and got in about midnight, and I've been here ever since," he said. "I needed to be somewhere I could talk to people in the UK while they and I were awake, not just before breakfast and after dinner.