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Lester Haines

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Revealed: HMS Endeavour's ignominious fate

Researchers in the US believe they have identified the remains of Captain James Cook's HMS Endeavour – the ship aboard which he famously sailed the Pacific Ocean between 1768–71. Captain James Cook: Outlived his famous ship by just one year. Pic: Shutterstock Cook was killed by Hawaiian islanders in 1779 while on his third …
Lester Haines, 03 May 2016

Venezuela tops world lightning conductor league

Venezuela's Lake Maracaibo has wrested the world's "maximum lightning activity" crown from Africa's Congo Basin, according to electrifying data from the joint NASA and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM). Using 16 years of detection data from the now-deceased TRMM satellite's …
Lester Haines, 03 May 2016

Galileos 11 and 12 live for your (imminent) navigating pleasure

The European Space Agency (ESA) has announced that for your future metre-level accuracy navigating pleasure, satellites Galileo 11 and 12 are now fully operational and "broadcasting working navigation signals". The pair launched from Kourou, French Guiana, last December. Since then, the onboard navigation kit has been …
Lester Haines, 29 Apr 2016

India trumpets seventh navigation sat launch

India yesterday celebrated the launch of the seventh and final "Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System" (IRNSS) satellite - IRNSS-G - which rose from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, in the southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh, atop a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). According to the Indian Space Research …
Lester Haines, 29 Apr 2016

Europe's Earth-watching sat beams back icy first pic

Europe's Sentinel-1B Earth-watching satellite has delivered its first image, a tad over two days after soaring aloft from Kourou, French Guiana, and a mere two hours after its Synthetic Aperture Radar was fired up. Norway's Svalbard archipelago - including the Austfonna glacier - was the satellite's inaugural snap (full …
Lester Haines, 29 Apr 2016

Heathrow Airbus collision 'not a drone incident'

The UK's Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, has told Parliament that what was thought to be the Britain's first recorded incident of a collision between a UAV and an airliner was probably "not a drone incident" after all. A British Airways Airbus A320 flying in from Geneva was approaching Heathrow airport on 17 April …
Lester Haines, 28 Apr 2016
The Microscope satellite. Pic: CNES / D.Ducros

Galileo in spaaace: France's 'equivalence principle' satellite

Earlier this week, France's snappily-named "Micro-Satellite à traînée Compensée pour l'Observation du Principe d'Equivalence", aka Microscope, rode a Soyuz lifter to orbit on a mission to " test the equivalence principle, which postulates the equality between gravitational mass and inertial mass". Legend has it that in around …
Lester Haines, 28 Apr 2016

First rocket finally departs Russia's Vostochny cosmodrome

Russian president Vladimir Putin was on hand earlier today to witness the first launch from Russia's new Vostochny cosmodrome, as a Soyuz lifter carried three satellites* heavenwards. The rocket departed the launchpad at 05:01 Moscow time (02:01 GMT), following a 24-hour knock-back due to a technical glitch. Two views of …
Lester Haines, 28 Apr 2016
Toilet

Redback sinks fangs into Oz builder's todger

An Aussie builder was the victim of a classic redback spider attack earlier his week when an eight-legged beast sank its fangs into his todger while he sat on a portaloo. The unnamed 21-year-old "tradie" (tradesman) was enjoying an early-morning squat on the mobile dunny at a site in the south of Sydney when the creature …
Lester Haines, 27 Apr 2016

NASA eyes stadium-sized orb launch: Part 3

NASA is hoping to finally get off the ground with the Super Pressure Balloon mission which has been grounded twice by unfavourable winds at altitude since 1 April. The word from Wanaka Airport, New Zealand, is that there's a launch window between 9 and 11AM local time tomorrow (5 to 7PM EDT or 9 to 11PM GMT tonight). The …
Lester Haines, 26 Apr 2016
flag.Japan

Tokyo rebrands 2020 Olympics

LOGOWATCH Tokyo has whipped the covers off a couple of new logos for the 2020 Olympics, after it was forced to bin the previous brand frontage over plagiarism claims. The new Tokyo 2020 Olympic logos According to the organisers, Asao Tokolo's "harmonized chequered emblem" featuring "the traditional Japanese colour of indigo blue …
Lester Haines, 26 Apr 2016

Europe's Earth-watching sat rides Soyuz to orbit

VID Europe's Sentinel-1B satellite thundered aloft yesterday from Kourou, French Guiana, en route to its Earth-monitoring role as part of the Copernicus environmental monitoring network. The Soyuz lifter departed the launchpad at 21:02 GMT. Some 23 minutes later, Sentinel-1B separated from the rocket's Fregat upper stage to …
Lester Haines, 26 Apr 2016

US intercepts Bermuda Triangle bubble podule

An adventurer's audacious plan to venture forth from Florida into the Bermuda Triangle in a "hydro pod bubble" came to a premature end on Sunday when the US Coast Guard intervened to scupper the "inherently unsafe voyage attempt". Iranian Ray "Reza" Baluchi, 44, was on his second attempt to conquer the ocean aboard his hamster …
Lester Haines, 25 Apr 2016

European Space Agency eyes fourth pop at Sentinel sat launch

The European Space Agency (ESA) is hoping to finally gets its Sentinel-1B Earth-watching satellite off the ground tonight, following three cancelled launches. Sentinel-1B was scheduled to depart the launchpad at Kourou, French Guiana, atop a Soyuz lifter on Friday. Unfavourable weather scuppered the attempt. A second pop on …
Lester Haines, 25 Apr 2016

El Reg Quid-A-Day Nosh Posse spared chickpea ordeal

Mercifully for the members of the El Reg Quid-A-Day Nosh Posse, who have for the last few years suffered an annual five days of dietary privation as they attempted to subsist on £1 per day for food, the Live Below the Line challenge has been suspended until 2017. So, we're spared a diet of chickpea stew, and readers are spared …
Lester Haines, 25 Apr 2016

Google Loon balloon crash lands in Chile

The Chilean authorities are investigating a Google Project Loon balloon flight which ended on Saturday morning in a pile of crumpled kit in a farmer's field. Police at the scene of the landing. Pic: Policía de Investigaciones de Chile Police teams cordoned off the crash site to the east of Los Ángeles, some 100km southeast …
Lester Haines, 25 Apr 2016

Romania suffers Eurovision premature ejection

Romania has been prematurely ejected from this year's Eurovision Song Contest after state broadcaster Televiziunea Română (TVR) failed to cough fees owed to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). The shock expulsion came after the EBU gave the Romanian government - which it views as "legally obliged to underwrite TVR's debt …
Lester Haines, 22 Apr 2016

Dutch students serve up world's first 'drone café'

Visitors to Eindhoven University of Technology's Dream and Dare Festival over the next couple of days will able to pop into the world's first "drone café", where an interactive UAV will serve booze to eager punters. The "Blue Jay" initiative is designed to showcase the potential capabilities of domestic drones, and although …
Lester Haines, 22 Apr 2016
Prince in concert at Coachella 2008. Photo by Scott Penner, licensed under CC-by-SA-2.0

RIP Prince: You were the soundtrack of my youth

The shock death yesterday of Prince at the age of 57 prompted immediate worldwide reaction which bore witness both to the man's undeniable talent and influence, and the internet age's obsession with celebrity. The newsgasmic blanket coverage... BBC website featuring blanket Prince coverage The Guadian's website showing …
Lester Haines, 22 Apr 2016

Blighty ranks 38th in World Press Freedom Index

The UK has ranked 38th in the 2016 World Press Freedom Index - a league table of "the degree of freedom available to journalists in 180 countries". Topping the Reporters Without Borders (aka Reporters sans frontières, or RSF) index is Finland, followed by The Netherlands, Norway, Denmark and New Zealand. China, Syria, …
Lester Haines, 21 Apr 2016

Soyuz to loft Sentinel-1B Earth-watching sat

Europe's Sentinel-1B Earth-watching satellite will soar heavenwards tomorrow from Kourou, French Guiana, riding a Soyuz lifter to a 700km altitude polar orbit. It'll orbit 180° apart from its identical twin - Sentinel-1A - which launched in April 2014, on a joint mission to deliver data as part of the Copernicus environmental …
Lester Haines, 21 Apr 2016

ESA seeks resident space artist

The European Space Agency (ESA) is seeking a resident artist with the Right Stuff to "explore the fertile ground between art and space science". ESA - in association with Ars Electronica and the European Digital Art and Science Network - is inviting applications for its art&science@ESA gig, which is "open to artists to propose …
Lester Haines, 20 Apr 2016

NASA injects cash into solar electric motor

NASA has announced it has awarded a contract worth $67m to Aerojet Rocketdyne to "design and develop an advanced electric propulsion system that will significantly advance the nation's commercial space capabilities, and enable deep space exploration missions". The Advanced Electric Propulsion System (AEPS) will "potentially …
Lester Haines, 20 Apr 2016

Obama London visit prompts drone no-fly zone

The Secretary of State for Transport has imposed flight restrictions over London for US president Barack Obama's forthcoming visit to the capital, meaning aircraft including "any small balloon, any kite weighing not more than two kilograms, any small unmanned aircraft and any parachute including a parascending parachute" are …
Lester Haines, 19 Apr 2016
Terminator

Blighty gears up for first UK Robotics Week

The acronymically-abundant UK Robotics and Autonomous Systems Network (UK-RAS Network) tentacle of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has announced further events which will feature at the first UK Robotics Week from 25 June to 1 July. As we previously reported, the event is backed by the Royal …
Lester Haines, 19 Apr 2016

Are bearded blokes more sexist?

Scientists have critically discovered that men with beards are not necessarily more sexist than clean-shaven chaps, despite previous research which indicated "a connection between facial hair and negative attitudes about women". Back in 2015, Aussie researchers Barnaby J. Dixson and Julian A. Oldmeadow asked 309 Indian and 223 …
Lester Haines, 19 Apr 2016

US poised to unleash stadium-sized sandwich bag

NASA's long-duration super pressure balloon (SPB) mission looks to be set for launch tomorrow morning from Wanaka Airport, New Zealand, now that "forecast surface and low-level winds are aligned", as the space agency puts it. The SPB is made of "22 acres of polyethylene film – similar to a sandwich bag" and swells to a …
Lester Haines, 18 Apr 2016

NASA spools up ultra-high def aurora movie

NASA has released an illuminating ultra-high definition video featuring the Auroras Borealis and Australis as seen from the International Space Station. The movie was put together by "video delivery infrastructure solution" firm Harmonic, to punt the space agency's NASA TV UHD. NASA's linear 2160p60 service launched last …
Lester Haines, 18 Apr 2016
Scott on the surface of the Moon during Apollo 15. Pic: NASA

Obama to admit Moon landing was faked?

Bookie Paddy Power has conceded it seriously underestimated Leicester City's chances of winning the Premier League, rating that laughable prospect when the season kicked off as less likely than Obama admitting the Moon landing was faked. Back in August, the odds against Claudio Ranieri's team pulling off a historic triumph …
Lester Haines, 18 Apr 2016

NZ Pastafarians joined in noodly wedlock

A New Zealand couple had the honour of celebrating the world's first Pastafarian wedding on Saturday, when Ministeroni Karen Martyn joined Marianna Fenn and Toby Ricketts in noodly wedlock. The historic ceremony took place aboard a vessel in Akaroa harbor, where Fenn and Ricketts - dressed as pirates - exchanged pasta rings, …
Lester Haines, 18 Apr 2016

NZ hotel bans cyclists' Lycra-clad loins

A New Zealand hotel has struck a blow for dining decorum by banning Lycra-clad cyclists, lest elderly customers and wide-eyed kiddies cop an unwelcome eyeful of their "unsightly" tackle. Visitors pedalling up to The Plough Hotel in Rangiora, on NZ's South Island, were greeted with a sign yesterday which read: "The bicycle is a …
Lester Haines, 15 Apr 2016
Flag of czech republic on cobbled stret in prague. Photo by Shutterstock - editorial use only

Czech Republic to rebrand

The Czech Republic will henceforth be known as "Czechia", if the rebrand agreed by government leaders yesterday wins parliamentary approval. The move will result in massive thread savings for sports goods manufacturers, according to the BBC, because they'll no longer be obliged to spell out "Czech Republic" on shirts and the …
Lester Haines, 15 Apr 2016

Chilling evidence emerges of Kilocat weapon

Our recent speculation that it might be possible to hoist 1,000 cats aloft under a helium-filled, stadium-sized sandwich bag and then drop them from 32km to devastating effect appears to be somewhat more than idle Friday afternoon pre-pub musing. Sensationally, we at El Reg have obtained solid evidence that the US has indeed …
Lester Haines, 15 Apr 2016
BEAM at the ISS. Pic: Bigelow Aerospace

NASA prepares to unpack pump-up space podule

NASA is preparing to unpack Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) - described as "first human-rated expandable structure that may help inform the design of deep space habitats" - which arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) last Sunday aboard a SpaceX Dragon resupply vehicle. The Dragon approaching the ISS last …
Lester Haines, 13 Apr 2016

US bus passenger cracks one off for three hours

A passenger aboard a Megabus service to Coralville, Iowa, was cuffed on arrival on Sunday after cracking one off for three hours in the mistaken belief that a female fellow traveller appreciated his marathon five-knuckle shuffle. Telly Shadell Corey, 41, allegedly kicked off by playing with his todger in his sweatpants but " …
Lester Haines, 12 Apr 2016
Microduino stack inside eggshell

Vulture conservationists hatch cunning 3-D printed egg plan

Devastated vulture populations in India, Nepal and Pakistan are being pulled back from the brink of extinction thanks to an artificial breeding programme agreeably assisted by a 3d-printed egg packed with diminutive Microduino microprocessor kit. The egg's skeleton and contents According to Microduino, the International …
Lester Haines, 12 Apr 2016

UK cops trial £250k drone squadron

Surrey and Sussex Police have received almost £250k of Police Innovation Fund cash to acquire four UAVs as part of the "largest trial of police drones in England and Wales". The forces will augment their existing capability of one Aeryon SkyRanger - operating at Gatwick since 2014 - with four more examples of the Canadian-built …
Lester Haines, 12 Apr 2016

Aluminum-wrapped robbers fail to foil bank

It's a tip of the tinfoil hat today to the two Brazilian blaggers who attempted to do over a bank last Saturday while wrapped in aluminium foil. According to O Globo, the pair hoped a metallic cladding would screen them from alarm sensors as they forced their way into the branch of Banco do Brasil, in Praia Grande, São Paulo …
Lester Haines, 11 Apr 2016

Saturn spacecraft immune to mysterious Planet 9's charms

NASA has been obliged to clarify that if the hypothetical Planet 9 exists, it is not responsible for "unexplained deviations" in the orbit of the Cassini spacecraft around Saturn. Back in January, CalTech boffins Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown claimed to have found evidence for a mysterious body, around 10 times the mass of …
Lester Haines, 11 Apr 2016

ISS to host space truck rally

The International Space Station will soon be abristle with docked space trucks, as a SpaceX Dragon resupply vehicle prepares to join its Russian Progress and Orbital ATK Cygnus counterparts mated with the orbiting outpost. The Falcon 9 and Dragon on the pad at Cape Canaveral. Pic: SpaceX The Falcon 9 and Dragon on the pad at …
Lester Haines, 08 Apr 2016

Dropping 1,000 cats from 32km: How practical is that?

Our report yesterday into NASA's high-altitude, heavy-lift super pressure balloon (SPB) mission - lofted by a stadium-sized sandwich bag and weighing in at 1,000 cats - prompted the traditional provocative reader input. First up, since the SPB's orb is crafted from 22 acres of polyethylene film, swelling to a whopping 516,499 …
Lester Haines, 08 Apr 2016

Bavarian town rescinds Hitler's honorary citizenship

A Bavarian town has somewhat belatedly voted to rescind vegetarian dog-lover Hitler's honorary citizenship, a mere 71 years since the Führer and his missus went up in smoke in the Reich Chancellery garden. By unanimous vote, the town council of Tegernsee stripped Adolf of the honour, along with the same bestowed on former prez …
Lester Haines, 07 Apr 2016

1,000 cats await stadium-sized sandwich bag launch

The fourth launch of NASA's high-altitude, heavy-lift super pressure balloon (SPB) is on hold while scientists wait for a break in the weather over Wanaka Airport, on New Zealand's South Island. The SPB is designed for "ultra-long-duration flight of up to 100 days at mid-latitudes", at a more-or-less constant float altitude of …
Lester Haines, 07 Apr 2016

Florida weed suspect cuffed after hoverboard pursuit

A Florida drug suspect proved last weekend that so-called hoverboards are not an effective means of escape from law enforcement officials when he was cuffed following an unsuccessful attempt to evade arrest aboard the electric getaway vehicle. According to The Smoking Gun, 20-year-old Jerome Dennis was clocked by an officer at …
Lester Haines, 06 Apr 2016

ESA decupboards asteroid-dusting brush-o-matic

The European Space Agency is poised to conduct zero-grav tests on an impressively brushy "asteroid cleaner". The asteroid cleaner. Pic: Added Value Solutions The space brush-o-matic. Pic: Added Value Solutions As you can see, the prototype space brush-o-matic - designed and lovingly built by Spanish outfit Added Value …
Lester Haines, 06 Apr 2016
BEAM at the ISS. Pic: Bigelow Aerospace

Inflatable space podule set for orbital trial

The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) is set to travel to the International Space Station later this week, ahead of a two-year trial to see how it performs in the rigours of outer space. The 1,400kg inflatable podule is currently packed into the SpaceX Dragon resupply spacecraft which will depart Cape Canaveral Air …
Lester Haines, 06 Apr 2016

3,000 kids' sketches to fly with exoplanet hunter

No less than 3,000 sketches by European kids will accompany the CHEOPS space telecope when it thunders aloft in early 2018 on its mission to accurately measure the radii of transitioning exoplanets. Back in 2015, youngsters between the ages of eight and 14 were invited to submit black-and-white artwork for possible engraving …
Lester Haines, 05 Apr 2016

Brits rattle tin for 'revolutionary' hydrogen-powered car

UK hydrogen-powered car outfit Riversimple is inviting investors to open their wallets and buy into what it considers to be the future of four-wheeled transport: the "revolutionary" gas-driven Rasa. A side view of the Rasa The Wales-based company unveiled its prototype Rasa (as in "tabula rasa") back in February. It claims …
Lester Haines, 05 Apr 2016

Truly crap exhibition dumped on Isle of Wight

Visitors to the Isle of Wight will this spring and summer be able to enjoy faecal enlightenment at the National Poo Museum, featuring 20 kinds of animal arse output. The Museum is actually an exhibition at The Isle of Wight Zoo by members of local artists' collective Eccleston George. Dave Badman, Nigel George and Daniel …
Lester Haines, 05 Apr 2016

Commentard April Fool decries Blighty's dodecaquid

There's absolutely no shame in being taken in by a nicely crafted April Fools' Day spoof, but one Reg reader will be spending the next year in the corner sporting the big pointy "D" hat after crying foul over Blighty's magnificent 12-sided pound coin. As we reported last Friday, the Royal Mint has started pumping out the retro …
Lester Haines, 04 Apr 2016