Feeds

Queen honours civil liberties and astro-boffins

Oh, and that bloke who invented the web

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Shami Chakrabarti, director of human rights group Liberty, has been nominated for a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) in the Queen's birthday honours list. She is being recognised for her services to human rights.

It is always fun to try to read things into the birthday honours list: to use it as a lens to peer into the personality of the Queen - or rather, the committee which actually puts the list together. And when someone like Chakrabarti makes the list (and with a CBE, no less) it is tempting to interpret it as a subtle message from one corner of the establishment to Blair and his ID card loving set.

Chakrabarti issued a statement saying "I hope it will send a timely signal that far from being disloyalty, democratic dissent is a positive civic duty. I take it as an invitation to protest even more in the future."

As well as civil liberties, another of El Reg's favourite topics gets some royal recognition, as two astronomers make the list.

Radio astronomer Jocelyn Bell Burnell is to be made a Dame in recognition of her 1967 discovery of pulsars. Bell made the discovery during her doctoral research at Cambridge.

She and her doctoral adviser initially tagged the signal "LGM" for little green men, suspecting that the signal could be from another world. As we know now, pulsars are in fact small, but extremely dense, fast-spinning neutron stars. Some are thought to be remnants of the explosive death throes of a star at least eight times as massive as our own sun.

In general, a pulsar is about the same mass as our sun, but is a mere 20km or so across. When they are born, they tend to spin very rapidly, courtesy of conservation of angular momentum, but they slow down over the course of a hundred thousand years or so. Less glamourous than little green men, perhaps, but still an active and interesting area of astronomical research, 40 years later.

Dr Heather Couper, the TV stargazer from the 1980s, is up for a CBE for her work on the Millennium Commission. Couper's web page says that "although a scientist by training, she has spent the last 20 years working entirely in the media".

This is not Couper's first honour. In 1999 the International Astronomical Union named asteroid 3922 "Heather", after her.

Tim Berners-Lee, knighted in 2004, is up for a British Order of Merit. Salman Rusdhie is also on the list, as is Barry Humphries (better known as Dame Edna). What we should read into this, we are not sure. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Musicians sue UK.gov over 'zero pay' copyright fix
Everyone else in Europe compensates us - why can't you?
Megaupload overlord Kim Dotcom: The US HAS RADICALISED ME!
Now my lawyers have bailed 'cos I'm 'OFFICIALLY' BROKE
MI6 oversight report on Lee Rigby murder: US web giants offer 'safe haven for TERRORISM'
PM urged to 'prioritise issue' after Facebook hindsight find
BT said to have pulled patent-infringing boxes from DSL network
Take your license demand and stick it in your ASSIA
Right to be forgotten should apply to Google.com too: EU
And hey - no need to tell the website you've de-listed. That'll make it easier ...
prev story

Whitepapers

10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
The total economic impact of Druva inSync
Examining the ROI enterprises may realize by implementing inSync, as they look to improve backup and recovery of endpoint data in a cost-effective manner.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.