Essex named sexiest British accent followed closely by, um, Glaswegian

Awwigh daahlin', I FINK you'll find


Contrary to popular belief, Brits really don't all sound like the Queen or Hollywood villains and according to Big 7 Travel, there are no less than 56 accents recognised within our tiny corner of the world (though there are likely a lot more). So what's the logical next step?

Rank them by sexiness, silly.

The travel-oriented listicle churner asked its "social audience" of 1.5 million people which varieties got them hot under the collar and there are a good few WTFs at the top end.

First of all, commiserations are in order for our readers in Buuuhhhminum (Birmingham) and surrounds as Brummie came last in 50th. This isn't entirely out of left field – whether unfairly, the accent has pretty much always been maligned outside of the Black Country. Famous proponents include West Bromich's most beloved son, Frank Skinner, and below he allows a number of comedians to dismantle Birmingham's "one joke".

Youtube Video

However, at the other extremity, the Essex accent was allegedly deemed sexiest. How this happened is anyone's guess but it may have something to do with the baffling popularity of ITV's unreality show The Only Way is Essex or TOWIE colloquially.

A descendent of working-class London's Cockney (which came 10th by the way), the Essex accent developed as Eastenders left the city and moved further east, thought they were coming up in the world, and consequently tightened Cockney to a frightening degree. The original accent was East Anglian (21st), spoken in Suffolk and Norfolk, which sounds more "farmerish".

It's not "think", it's "FINK". It's not "Ibiza", it's "Oybeefaaa". And so on. Just hang on to the end of your words and stretch those vowels as if your life depended on it and you're almost there. To quote Essex comedian Russell Kane: "We sound like total fucking idiots with absolute clarity." Here's American actor Chris Pratt effortlessly pulling it off.

Youtube Video

Though it sounds like the result of a botched lobotomy, humanity does have the unfortunate tendency to find intelligence unattractive. That's not to say Essex lacks the capacity for genius, it just doesn't often sound like it. Professional morons like "Joey Essex" (link NSFW*) only perpetuate the stereotype.

Moving to the far more reasonable second place, we find Northern Irish. Nothing to see here, who can resist that lilting sigh?

In third place, however, we come to <squints> Glaswegian? The less said about that, the better. The next highest Scottish accent was the capital's, Edinburgh, at 13th. The Highlands accent scraped into the top 20, coming in 19th. A botnet originating in Glasgow is the only possible explanation for such a result.

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For those of you insistent that you don't have an accent, Queen's English came fourth. Of course in reality, British accents can be divided into two – Northern and Southern – and both sound ridiculous to the other. Think the list is bullshit**? Weigh in below. ®

Bootnotes

* Not safe for wit

** Who are we kidding? Of course it is


Former NCSC chief says US sanctions made Britain strip Huawei from mobe networks

Scrutiny system worked OK until firm was forced off western chip tech

US sanctions on Huawei got the Chinese firm kicked out of Britain, the former head of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has told Parliament – adding that he didn't feel under pressure to change the body's own verdict on keeping Huawei in UK mobile networks.

Speaking to Parliament's National Security Strategy (NSS) Committee, Ciaran Martin told peers and MPs that US trade sanctions aimed at Huawei were the final nail in the coffin for the Chinese telecom equipment supplier in Britain.

"While the Huawei issue for better or worse is resolved by, essentially, the change in US sanctions, more important is shaping the regulation of standards, providers who come from trustworthy backgrounds and were developed in democracies on this continent," Martin told Parliamentarians on Monday.

The NSS Committee had invited NCSC's founding chief exec, now an Oxford don*, to a wide-ranging Q&A session about his time in office. Martin stepped down last summer.

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Hydrogen-powered train tested on Britain's railway tracks as diesel alternative

Hydroflex has ambled through Warwickshire at up to 50mph

Hot on the heels of commercial aviation, Britain's rail industry has hailed planned trials of a hydrogen-powered train as "welcome news".

Converted out of a 1980s electric train that was displaced from the unloved Bedpan line's* rolling stock, the Hydroflex train ignores its 25kV overhead electrical wire pickup in favour of an onboard hydrogen fuel cell and battery pack, as owners Porterbrook explained on their website.

The proof-of-concept train has now been driven at speeds of "up to 50mph" around Warwickshire, according to the BBC.

David Clarke, technical director of the Railway Industry Association trade body, said in a canned statement today: "It is welcome news that the UK is undertaking mainline testing of a hydrogen train and announcing a Hydrogen Transport Hub in the Tees Valley. The introduction of fleets of low-carbon, self-powered trains, alongside a rolling programme of electrification, can help ensure rail leads the country's decarbonisation revolution, generating jobs and investment in the process."

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The Battle of Britain couldn't have been won without UK's homegrown tech innovations

Radars, aeroplanes, radio: Don't forget the boffins on this 80th anniversary

Comment Today marks the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, where Britain saw off Nazi Germany's air force and briefly stood alone against Hitler's military might. Yet while the occasion is marked by flypasts and parades, it's important to remember that tech also played a part in Britain's victory.

Fought over the skies of southern England, the Channel and France, the battle ran throughout the summer of 1940. As Germany conquered northern France and pushed the British Expeditionary Force back to the mainland, the entire defence of the UK fell on the shoulders of the Royal Air Force.

Vastly outnumbered by the German Luftwaffe, the RAF nonetheless held out – and on 15 September 1940 inflicted a decisive 2:1 blow against the Nazi air force, breaking the Germans' resolve and frustrating their plan to invade Britain and cement fascist rule over western Europe.

Some 544 RAF pilots, including British, American, Commonwealth and European aircrew, died during the battle along with 312 ground personnel.

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Thou shalt not hack indiscriminately, High Court of England tells Britain's spy agencies

Choke chain tightened on 'general warrants' after Privacy International wins judicial review

A landmark High Court ruling has struck down Britain's ability to hack millions of people at a time through so-called "general warrants" in what privacy campaigners are hailing as a major victory.

The ruling, obtained by Privacy International, means that some bulk equipment interference (aka hacking) warrants are no longer usable by the British authorities, something the campaign group says enhances legal safeguards protecting innocent people from dragnet surveillance.

Speaking on Friday afternoon when the judicial review judgment was handed down, Caroline Wilson Palow, PI's legal director, said in a statement: "General warrants are no more permissible today than they were in the 18th century. The government had been getting away with using them for too long. We welcome the High Court's affirmation of these fundamental constitutional principles."

The judgment struck down a previous ruling from rubberstamping figleaf operation spy agency court the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), which, true to its principles, previously ruled there was nothing wrong with the idea of one single warrant authorising mass surveillance by MI5, MI6, and GCHQ.

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UK's National Audit Office warns full-fibre rollout strategy is leaving rural Britain behind. Again

Tough luck, bumpkins! Broadband speed gap misery to widen, says report

The UK government's strategy for deploying full-fibre broadband shows signs of repeating the errors of previous broadband infrastructure programmes, which failed to extend comprehensive access to rural areas, a report from the National Audit Office has claimed [PDF].

In "Improving Broadband", the NAO - a Parliamentary body that scrutinises public sector spending in Britain - today warned that industry will struggle to hit the government's target of offering nationwide gigabit coverage by 2025, particularly when it comes to the hardest-to-reach 20 per cent of the country — which largely refers to rural settlements and shires.

The full-fibre broadband programme initially prioritised premises unable to access 30Mbps connections, in a strategy dubbed "outside-in." The NAO expressed concern that as the 2025 deadline looms, infrastructure providers may be tempted to shift their focus to so-called "low-hanging fruit," namely high population density areas like towns and cities.

The NAO said that if providers opt to take this route, the gap in broadband provision could widen. "By the end of 2025, some premises may still lack superfast speeds, let alone gigabit connectivity," it said.

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Peek inside this fascinating effort to map Britain's subterranean tubes – a deep sprawl of unrecorded infrastructure beneath our feet

Join the Ordnance Survey in a cosy pub for the Reg's February lecture

Register Lecture This event has now sold out - but wait, there's more. The Reg's Lectures team is working on new date for a second run. More details soon!

A golden age of cartography is upon us. Only this time, it's satellites and tech firms’ vehicles that are crossing the Earth’s surface, compiling maps for their distant masters who are building geospatial services.

But what about the world they don’t see – the world beneath the Earth's surface? A sprawl of unrecorded, subterranean infrastructure lies deep beneath our feet, and it's a nightmare for those rolling out broadband and other cabling for a connected Britain. We're talking centuries of pipes, tunnels, and wires just waiting to be wrecked by workmen in diggers, producing untold cost and inconvenience.

If only somebody had a comprehensive map of underground Britain...

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Dutch spies helped Britain's GCHQ break Argentine crypto during Falklands War

Five Eyes-style Euro intel alliance Maximator tipped UK off about Crypto AG machines

Dutch spies operating as a part of a European equivalent of the Five Eyes espionage alliance helped GCHQ break Argentinian codes during the Falklands War, it has been revealed.

Flowing from revelations made in German-language news reports earlier this year that Swiss cipher machine company Crypto AG was owned by the CIA and German counterpart the BND during most of the Cold War, an academic paper has described the Maximator alliance which grew from the Crypto AG compromise.

Authored by Professor Bart Jacobs of Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands, his in-depth article, titled Maximator: European signals intelligence cooperation, from a Dutch perspective shines a light on Cold War security and SIGINT from an oft-ignored perspective, at least in the Anglosphere.

As related by Jacobs, Maximator was founded in 1976 and brought together Denmark, France, Germany, Sweden, and the Netherlands as a northwest European version of the Anglosphere's Five Eyes. The latter comprises Britain, America, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand - what Sir Winston Churchill called the English-speaking nations.

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BT and Serco among bidders competing to run Britain's unfortunately named Skynet military satellite system

Hollywood was right!

The UK Ministry of Defence has shortlisted BT, Serco, Babcock and Airbus in the bidding for its £6bn Skynet satellite project.

Whoever wins the MoD's six-year Skynet 6 Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract will find themselves operating and maintaining Britain's military satellites – including the vital changeover phase in 2025 when the old spacecraft are replaced with new ones.

Secret UK military and government communications that can't be entrusted to someone else's satellites are routed through Skynet. As a sovereign capability independent of the rest of the world's whims, it's rather important.

The so-called "Service Delivery Wrap" Skynet 6 contract has attracted quite a bit of defence industry attention, with all the named shortlisted bidders having formed consortia to enhance their chances. Last year Serco declared it was joining hands with Lockheed Martin, Inmarsat and IT firm CGI, according to reports, while BT is joining Inmarsat's arch-rival Viasat and NSSL Global for its rival bid.

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UK MPs fume after Huawei posts open letter stating: 'Disrupting our involvement in the 5G rollout would do Britain a disservice'

Conservative politicos including IDS voice anger over 'untimely special pleading'

An open letter from Huawei about the UK's 5G strategy in light of COVID-19 has provoked outrage among several key politicians in the country's ruling Conservative Party, who have denounced it as "hubristic" and "arrogant".

The letter, penned by Huawei VP Victor Zhang, urges the UK to avoid taking any steps that would remove Huawei from the nation's telecommunications infrastructure, describing any such move as a "disservice".

"During this pandemic our engineers – designated 'essential' workers – are striving around the clock to keep Britain connected," Zhang wrote.

"We have built trust in our UK business over 20 years by helping our customers – the mobile network operators – provide consumers with affordable, reliable calls and data. Despite this, there has been groundless criticism from some about Huawei's involvement in the UK's 5G rollout. And there are those who choose to continue to attack us without presenting any evidence. Disrupting our involvement in the 5G rollout would do Britain a disservice."

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Britain's courts lurch towards Skype and conference calls for trials as COVID-19 distancing kicks in

Coronavirus forces judges to join the 21st century more or less overnight

Britain's courts have declared they will start holding trials and hearings through video calling – although they appear rather ill-equipped for doing so.

As the UK struggles to get to grips with government advice to go home, stay home and only leave those four walls for truly essential journeys, Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service has told lawyers and judges that they need to starting using Skype instead of trudging into cramped and dirty court buildings.

In a statement, the MoJ said: "We have put in place arrangements to use telephone, video and other technology to continue as many hearings as possible remotely. We will make best possible use of the equipment currently available; and are working nonstop to update and add to that."

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