survivors of school shootings and relatives of victims have told president trump of their pain and anguish — appealing to him directly to bring in new gun controls. mr trump said he was considering arming teachers and banning gun free zones around schools. with concern growing over the syrian government's bombardment of the rebel—held area eastern ghouta, on the outskirts of damascus, diplomats at the un are considering a new attempt at a 30—day ceasefire. it's not clear whether russia — a major supporter of the assad government — will veto. a new study from the university of oxford has found that anti—depressa nts are effective. researchers analysed more than five hundred clinical trials and included previously unpublished data held by drug companies. the findings refute recent suggestions that some treatments don't work. now on bbc news — click. this week, dancing with the stars,
laughing with the stars and... ..skinny—dipping in the himalayas! choose wi—fi, choose snapchat, choose a pre—ordered macchiato with almond milk, choose likes, choose follows, choose pizza delivered by drone, swipe right, swipe left, follow, follow, follow. we are constantly being bombarded with updates, tweets, information and fake news. we're glued to our phones, addicted to digital status. we're even smashing up our gadgets, obliterating them to pieces in a violent quest to rid ourselves
of these virtual assistants. our self—imposed restraints. well, it's time to get away from all that, just for a few minutes. this week, justin rowlatt travelled thousands of miles to a village in the himalayas which is getting electricity for the very first time by enhancing the power of the sun. i'vejoined a team hiking up the frozen zanskar river. we've got an eight day 140 kilometre trek ahead of us. our destination — hanamur village. it has around 50 people, its four houses huddled together under granite cliffs. for hundreds of years the only light after dark was the thin flicker
from oil lamps. sta nzin chonzom struggles to cook in the dim light. translation: these traditional lights are not portable from one room to another and they don't cover enough area for the children to read. it also causes pollution. if we had solar power it would be much betterfor us. the next morning and the team gets to work. this is the satellite dish and take a look at this. it's taken quite a beating along the way. it will be interesting to see if this works. this is a street light. 0h, you've got street lights! 20 watts. oh my god, it's a complete grid! because you get wild animals in the summers and winters. if you have street lights,
no wild animal will come. oh, that's good! this is a charge controller. tying the grid together is over 550 metres of wiring, but there's a problem. ok, the bulb and switches connected by wire, but the wire is very thick and it is frozen. it's so cold. it's about minus 15 now. yeah, we need to warm this for about half an hour so that it can be usable. his team is hard at it, threading cables through the tightest nooks and crannies. each home is topped off with a shimmering solar panel. 0k! this is a solar panel and the capacity of the solar panel is 260 watts. this panel is a polycrystalline panel. that means at any temperature it can charge the batteries very well. so even when it is freezing, as it is now, this will still generate electricity? the beauty is at low temperatures it gives a
better current. so it gets better? it gets better. so this is like a high altitude desert, so it gets sun something like 360 days in a year? 360 days in a year and... it gets sun? and in one day it gets nine hours of sunlight, in summer. in winter it get six hours of sunlight, and proper sunlight. generating as much power as possible is only the half of it. the other issue is making sure no power is wasted. what's more, the solar panels don't just passively drip dc into a battery, this system has a brain. remote motion sensors ensure what's generated lasts. the idea is you don't have to remember to turn the lights off, as soon as you leave the room the lights go off. the sun sets... ..and it is almost ready to go. the new solar micro grid is a big dealfor the villagers. there is an elaborate ceremony.
the local buddhist monk says a prayer for the system. and then it's time to throw the switch. cheering and applause. the hope is the new grid can ensure the future of the village. that battered satellite dish does work after all, and so... ..does the motion sensor. global himalayan expedition has installed over 250 micro grids
in outlying areas of ladakh. after hanamur, we visited one specifically designed to light up the minds of schoolchildren. welcome, welcome! thank you very much! it's at the government higher secondary school. hello, kids! all: hello, sir! so they've got an innovative computer system and what i'm going to do is test it by asking you a few simple questions. so i'm going to write them on the board and then you fire up the computers and we'll get to work. 0k, sir! here we go. that's right.
so get to work! it might look like they're online, but they're actually scouring through an off—line internet. so even without a data connection, these children will learn the sort of research skills essential for finding out information in a connected world and of course it all runs off solar power. there's half a terabyte of memory in here and installed on here is all of wikipedia, ted talks, all sorts of other encyclopaedias, all sorts of works, works that the kids can use in order to research all sorts of subjects. so that's the heart of the system. but this is the key to keeping it all low power. this is a raspberry pi, a uk developed computer system. incredibly low—energy, drives the keyboard and the mouse. so this is the computer that they use. what it means is they can have up to ten of these bright led screens all running on 2a vaults, so very, very efficient. 0k, everybody, time's up!
we need answers. i'm going to come down the line and i'm going to pick on you! so who is atahualpa? atahualpa was the last king of the inca empire. excellent, very good! so, tell me, what do you think of this system? how does it work? it works very well and i get many knowledge from it. it's very useful. it's really easy to operate. i think it's perfect for students of mountain areas. solar micro grids are a great fit for ladakh, where steepling geography has scattered communities and made them difficult to reach with powerlines. 1.2 billion people globally live without electricity and for many of them solar is a perfect solution too because, as we've seen, it can be rolled out almost anywhere under the sun. it feeds the demand for electricity without
eating up the planet. but there is a rather unfortunate tradition at the end of the trek. that's right. a dip. shrieks. hello and welcome to the week in tech. it was the week that the uk government unveiled an artificial intelligence tool for blocking extremist content online. and it's notjust airspace that drones are going to be occupying in the future, researchers at north carolina state university have developed a drone that can fly through the air and propel itself underwater.
plus, the winter olympics website was frozen by a cyber attack during the opening ceremony. and robots got to compete in their own winter olympics. eight teams unleashed downhill skiing droids onto the slopes, competing for a $10,000 prize. robots aren'tjust skiing, though. boston dynamics is at it again, with a demo guaranteed to freak most people out. its robo—dog can now open doors. that's one less obstacle in the way of world domination for our future robot overlords. and pig farmers in china are using al to bring home the bacon. using id barcodes on pigs, the ai measures animals‘ health and behaviour, which developers alibaba hope will improve farming efficiency. and, finally, bitcoin might be preventing us from making contact with aliens. researchers at seti, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, complained this week that the price of key computer chips have been driven through the roof by demand
from crypto currency miners. with no price drop in sight, we're alljust going to have to watch this space. fashionably late, apple has decided it wants a slice of the home speaker market, finally releasing its homepod, some 2.5 years after the first generation amazon echo hit the shelves. they've gone for the same cylindrical shape as both the google home and amazon echo, but it feels and looks more like a premium, high—end speaker than either of those systems. and that's the key point here. the amount of audio work apple have done on this device means its key selling point is as a speaker. it is impressive, with a four inch upward facing woofer and seven beam—forming tweeters, each with its own amplifier, meaning it can push sounds in different directions. so it sounds exactly the same wherever you are in the room. what it doesn't do is give you the opportunity to change the levels in any way.
if i wanted to push the bass up right now there's no way of me doing that. and even in a space this big, the sound really carries. what's interesting, though, is even at 100% volume, when i can't even hear myself think, siri's still going to recognise my voice. hey, siri, pause. music stops just like that. where as apple seems to be going all in for sound quality, amazon, with their ears on the market, seem to be focusing on different features. their echo spot is all about one thing — the screen. it now has the ability to make video calls, as well as doing the usual like play music, tell you the weather and even boil your kettle, if you have a smart home setup. but really it comes into its own as a very nice alarm clock. it's notjust a function that makes these two home assistants different, the price is anotherfactor. while the echo spot costs £119, the homepod will set you back £319. as is apple's way, the homepod ties you into apple.
so instead of being able to access any music streaming service by voice activation, for example, it will only let you use apple music in this way. so if you're one of the 17 million spotify subscribers, you'd have to go into your phone and use airplay as a workaround, essentially turning this premium smart—speaker into a... ..well, speaker. and, as people have been discovering, one that might leave a nasty white mark on wooden tops. apple's response? choose a different surface, or get a cloth and some elbow grease. now, over the next few weeks we're going to be talking to some of the gods of the visual affects world. last week we went behind the scenes of blade runner 2049, this week it is the turn of the guardians of the galaxy volume ii and we started by talking about its truly bonkers opening sequence. the beginning of the sequence
features a title sequence where groot is dancing in the foreground. and it doesn't cut. it is on groot the whole time. he has to hold their viewers with his crazy little dance, while what happens in the background never stops. we have something like 4,000 frames of continuous action. we were faced with the fact that the environment was completely spectacular and had to be created entirely digitally. everything that we were inserting had to be reflected and that's multiple times the computation to compute the light on them and also their reflection. everything ended up being done two or three times, because of the surface of the world they were standing on. we were delighted to have the opportunity to take
on rocket the raccoon. the first shaders that we've got here at framestore, the muscle systems, all of these things had updated in the three years between the first guardians and this one. we wanted to bring all of that into rocket, which meant rebuilding him from the ground up. and yet making sure that he was absolutely recognisable as the same character from the first movie. space being very open, it's very hard to tell how fast things are moving. and james gunn‘s very keen on selling the speed of the action. so we conceived of these sort of wafts and waves of plasma energy that lived in and around this planet which we could whip past the camera to really sell how fast the camera and the spaceships were all moving. there is a scene in the middle
of the movie where rocket and yondu are in prison, but when they break out they're on—board this enormous, very big spaceship. which of course didn't exist. we had big shots of yondu walking through these huge hallways full of spaceships or sort of docking bay with all of the ravagers, which are the crew of the spaceship, being shot at with his arrow. ultimately, the arrow which yondu is firing works its way all the way around the spaceship. we had to design the interior of the spaceship to give a really satisfying journey for this arrow to take. it looks like a busby berkeley movie, with crazy camera angles. every movie that we get involved in we want to be pushing the envelope, trying something new, with expectation that we will get there. old film stock is a treasure trove
of historical information. in the case of old bbc programmes it can be a race against time to find any remaining copy and digitise it or risk losing it forever. but when producer charles norton was given an old morecambe and wise episode there was a problem. archivists at both the bbc and the british film institute have a look at the film and essentiallyjudged it to be irrecoverable, due to the advanced decomposition and they were, effectively it was going to be thrown out. the pictures inside that film, they're still there, they're still printed on the plastic, but they're all locked inside this permanently
fused block of immobile gunk, which, sooner or later, will just rot away to soup. so charles brought the film to queen mary university's dental department to use their x—ray machine to see through the lump of decaying film to be precious pictures within. but now they had another problem. the film was too big to be x—rayed. the only thing you could do would be to cut the film into little pieces and scan one piece at a time. i didn't expect him to say yes to cutting up the film, but given the alternative was watching this just rapidly
disintegrate, he said, yeah, let's do it. we were using an infrared laser, it generated a lot of heat, occasionally there were flames. at the best we had a little bit of damage at the edge of the frames, at worst we lost whole frames. frame took 5000 images of each chunk as it rotated through 360 degrees to make a 3—d model. at that point they started to see what was on the film for the first time. when you first start seeing those pictures of eric morecambe in one of his stereotypical poses, you can't help but smile and think, yes, this has to be done. once the scans were finished, they had loads of data, but they also had a new problem. the next really difficult part was finding a way of digitally flattening out this warped object and digitally prising apart all of the individual film layers within it. we originally has some manual software where i would physically go through each individual block and spend five or ten minutes flattening out one layer after the other, but that was, over several thousand frames, quite labour—intensive. at this point charles took the problem to a data scientist. what a human would do
is try to see where the image was within the cross—section, the problem here is that a computer algorithm cannot quite do that. what the algorithm does is it follows, predominantly, the layers of plastic, so not the images, but the plastic. and then, once we have the layer of plastic, we can move to the edge of that layer and read off the image. that process was repeated on all of the film, making short work of a task that would take a human thousands of hours of work. now charles is beginning the next phase, turning these scarred pictures back into video. that is the next problem. but for now he has managed to put together a taster of what is on that film. and beautifully as well. not a word out of sync. no, i'm not miming now. it's me... you realise, of course, that the tape has stopped. no, yeah, well, of course it's stopped... you've started again! how does he do it? but for now he has managed
to put together a taster of what is on that film. and beautifully as well. not a word out of sync. no, i'm not miming now. it's me... you realise, of course, that the tape has stopped. no, yeah, well, of course it's stopped... you've started again! how does he do it? that is an impressive sight, isn't it? that is the king's library, assembled by king george iii in the second half of the 18th century. now four floors below my feet here at the british library lie its vast basements, which as you can imagine also contain a lot of books. but did you know that they also contain 6.5 million sound recordings which are now being digitised? the british library is the national sound archive, with sound recordings spanning the last 130 years. these are stored on all sorts of physical formats, from delicate wax cylinders to brass discs, to short lived formats
like minidiscs, remember those? there is a big push to digitise them and make them available online. each of the a0 different types of storage format has unique challenges, they all need their own playback devices, and some need a little tlc to coax the best quality sound from them. something reasonably robust like a vinyl disc, we have an ultrasonic bath to be able to shake that debris out of its hiding place, we also have more traditional type of record cleaning machines, the brush and vacuum arrangements, that can produce some quite startling results when you start to clean off otherwise invisible gunk. the team also have a workshop to keep their collection of machines
in tiptop condition, so staff can work on as many concurrent transfers as possible and chip away at the millions of recordings. if you are faced with a tape or a disk in a really parlous state and you take it off a shelf, it may be mouldy, it may need treatment, it may need some sort of repair, that doing that process, that active process of caring for, conserving, and repairing that media such that it can be replayed, evenjust once, is hugely rewarding. certainly challenging. but with only 2% of their collection digitised and only 15 years until some recordings become unsalvageable, it is a race against time to save as many as possible. which reminds me that i have a box full of minidiscs in the loft, i should bring them in.
anyway, that's it for this week from the british library. don't forget we live on facebook and on twitter at bbc click. thank you very much for watching. and we'll see you soon. a very cold spell of weather is on the way, it is just a little too early to say whether it's going to be particularly exceptional for the end of february and early march but one thing is for sure, it looks like temperatures could struggle to get above freezing, some time next week and there is snow on the way as well, just uncertain exactly how deep and where. but this high pressure continues to build as forecast, from scandinavia across western parts of europe. so the forecast so far is going according to plan. those easterly winds are starting to strengthen and they will keep strengthening
as we go over the next few days. by the end of the night, early on thursday morning, not too cold, not at this stage. temperatures in towns and cities will be around about zero, maybe a little below. outside of town a good frost on the way. in these situations when we get an area of high pressure, there is always a bit of cloud floating around so not everybody is going to get the sunny skies but on balance it is going to be a bright day for most of us and it is starting to feel a little bit colder now. those temperatures will be struggling in the east. four degrees in norwich, briefly during the day. most of the day it will be lower than that. still relatively mild in belfast, around 8 degrees. this is thursday's forecast across europe. these are the daytime highs. minus 10 in moscow — the big freeze has hit that place. minus 2 in warsaw. not quite across western parts of europe. still in a relatively mild air but the wind will start to feel stronger and colder as we go towards the weekend. just a hint briefly of a southerly, maybe just around ireland and the western isles but that is pretty much it. so the temperatures will keep on dropping away by day,
by around a degree or so. as we go through the weekend, that high—pressure continues to strengthen and build from russia, and when high—pressure strengthens, the winds around it strengthen as well and they keep pushing in the colder air, straight out of russia. so the temperatures will keep on dropping away during the course of the weekend. i suspect even those values here are too high, it could be even as low as a couple of degrees above freezing, by sunday, in some major towns and cities. then the high—pressure gets even more intense and, yes, there are snow showers developing. you can see those blobs of white effecting almost any part of the country. so the big freeze is on the way, it is just too early to say where the coldest of the air is going to go. it could actually sink towards more southern parts of europe and into france, or it could go straight over us, or, as we have been talking in the last two days, it could engulf the whole of europe. so for now, we do know that it is going to be cold next week with widespread frost, possibly by day as well, a bitter wind and snow for sure. welcome to bbc news,
broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. my name is mike embley. our top stories: a white house meeting for survivors of school shootings, president trump hears the anger of family members. it doesn't make sense. fix it. it should have been one school shooting and we should have fixed it! meanwhile, survivors of last week's high school massacre protest in florida, after the state refuses to discuss gun control. the head of the un demands an immediate end to fighting in the syrian enclave of eastern ghouta, calling it "hell on earth". psychiatrists welcome a new review of scientific evidence that says anti—depressant drugs do work after all.