This week's UK news: December 5 2014
5 December 2014

Scientists invent roads that repair themselves

Holes in roads cost lots of money. It's expensive to fix the holes, and cars and buses are often damaged if they drive over the holes.

Now a report says there may be a new solution to the problem. Scientists at three universities in the UK have been working on a new type of concrete. It includes bacteria which will produce limestone if they get wet. That means if the road surface cracks and water gets in, the bacteria will create a material which automatically fills the hole before it gets bigger.

Man finds rare carving when gardening

A man who bought a pile of rocks to create a special feature for his garden got more than he paid for.

John Wyatt paid GBP 50 for the rocks, which were covered in mud. When he cleaned them up he saw what looked like a dragon's tail on one of them. He cleaned it more and found a Celtic cross on one side and a bird on the other. Then he took the stone to an expert, who thinks it was part of a Christian building from 1000 years ago. It might have been smashed by Viking invaders.

Now Mr Wyatt is going to sell the stone and hopes to get at least GBP 10,000 for it.


New technology helps Stephen Hawking communicate faster

Professor Stephen Hawking is one of the world's best known professors of physics. This is partly because of his distinctive voice and appearence. Professor Hawking is almost completely paralysed and is in a wheelchair. He can move a muscle in one cheek which means he can slowly talk and read with the help of a computer.

Now Intel and Swiftkey have helped the professor. They have created a new switch in his glasses to detect movement in his cheek, and have analysed the words he uses most often to create a special predictive text for Professor Hawking. This means he only needs to find one letter in five to type the words he wants, and internet browsing is much faster.

However, Professor Hawking's computer voice will not change. It is very well known, especially since he has appeared in programmes such as The Simpsons.


UK starts to celebrate Christmas

Christmas Day is not until December 25 but people in the UK are already enjoying the celebrations. The shops are full of decorations for our homes and special food, like mince pies (which are pastries with currants inside). Putting lots of Christmas lights on houses is a newer tradition.

Quite a lot of people now put lots and lots of Christmas lights on their houses and ask people to give money to a charity if they come and look. This week a famous house in Bristol switched its lights on for the 18th year.

Lee and Paul Brailsford, who light their mother's house, started with a single lit Christmas tree. Now the whole of the house front and the garden is covered with lighted decorations, including angels and a holy family. The Brailsfords have raised more than GBP22,000 for Bristol Children's Hospital from their lights.


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