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Lester Haines

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NASA charges up 18-prop electric X-plane

NASA is working towards getting an electric-powered multiprop experimental aircraft off the ground, with an eye to future "greater fuel efficiency, improved performance and ride quality and aircraft noise reduction". The Sceptor (Scalable Convergent Electric Propulsion Technology and Operations Research) project will …
Lester Haines, 09 Feb 2016
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un

Silent Nork satellite tumbling in orbit

North Korean "Earth observation" satellite Kwangmyongsong-4 is "tumbling in orbit", according to US officials, suggesting a second failure by Pyongyang to get a functioning satellite aloft. Kwangmyongsong-4 launched on Saturday, to widespread international condemnation. The satellite has remained silent - as did its …
Lester Haines, 09 Feb 2016
Eagle's head

Drone-busting eagles to darken Blighty's skies?

The Metropolitan Police have confirmed they're looking into deploying drone-busting eagles, a few days after a Scottish MP called for cops north of the border to investigate the possibility of using feathered interceptors to deal with growing flocks of wild UAVs. According to the Times, Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe …
Lester Haines, 08 Feb 2016

LOHAN entertains the crowd at Oz Linux shindig

Our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mission took to the stage at the linux.conf.au 2016 in Geelong last Friday, as Linux guru and Vulture 2 spaceplane autopilot wrangler Andrew Tridgell gave an entertaining speech on his currently UAV endeavours. Tridge kicked off his presentation (video here) with a look at the …
Lester Haines, 08 Feb 2016

Cisco's purple princesses gush workplace joy

The faceless drones among you whose workplace misery is compounded by the need to adhere to a strict dress code are invited to gaze with envy upon this blog post revealing that Cisco is - in contrast to its reputation as "a boring, stodgy company" - actually a hotbed of individuality, personal freedom and radical hair colour. …
Lester Haines, 05 Feb 2016

IoT lacking that je ne sais quoi? Try the IoTSP

You know how it is - you've hooked up a networked drone-sensing doorbell, Java-enabled remote control toaster and Bluetooth toothbrush, and can now determine the degree of browning of your morning slice via smartphone app from the other side of the kitchen, while commanding Smartbrush™ to order extra teeth-whitening paste for …
Lester Haines, 05 Feb 2016
Red rocket toy

NASA seeks rocketeers for annual RockOn! shindig

Registration is open for the ninth annual NASA-hosted RockOn! workshop, which runs from 18-23 June at Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The event is aimed at "university and community college participants interested in building science payloads for space flight". Working in teams of three, participants "will learn the …
Lester Haines, 04 Feb 2016
Eagle's head

Scottish MP calls for drone-busting eagles

A Scottish MP has suggested cops north of the border might consider the idea of drone-busting eagles, following recent Dutch trials of a winged anti-UAV operative. Dunfermline and West MP Douglas Chapman, who sits on the Commons Defence Select Committee, described the rising numbers of drones as "a real risk to people", "a …
Lester Haines, 04 Feb 2016

13 CubeSats to ride mighty US lifter

NASA has named seven of the 13 CubeSats which will, along with an unmanned Orion capsule, ride atop the Space Launch System (SLS) for the heavy lifter's first launch in 2018. While the principal objective of the Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1) is to carry Orion "to a stable orbit beyond the moon to demonstrate the integrated …
Lester Haines, 03 Feb 2016

Uber rebrands to the sound of whalesong confusion

LOGOWATCH Gun-toting driver on demand app thingy Uber has announced a radical overhaul of its brand frontage, involving a "more grounded and elevated" logotype, new app icons and a range of "authentic identities for the countries where Uber operates". The reworked Uber font First up, check out the reworked "Uber", which apparently " …
Lester Haines, 03 Feb 2016

For sale: One 236-bed nuclear bunker

Readers looking for a spacious pad with plenty of accommodation, plus "male and female WCs, commercial kitchen facilities, BBC audio visual broadcasting facility, conference facilities, air filtration systems, conference rooms, decontamination chambers, plant rooms and oil storage", are directed to the sale of a former nuclear …
Lester Haines, 02 Feb 2016

Firing a water rocket to 1km? Piece of cake

Our report yesterday that a water rocket formed from "2 x 2l fizzy drink bottles" may have ripped past an Airbus A321 departing Birmingham airport last year prompted some readers to mull the possibility of having a pop at the water rocket world altitude record. The current "Class A" (single stage) record stands at 825m (a …
Lester Haines, 02 Feb 2016

Danish Sith Lord fined in Galactic Republic rumpus

The Vulture Central Star Wars Saddometer maxxed out at 10 today at the news that Danish police rushed to a house in Jutland over the weekend to break up a heated argument between two teenage lads regarding the exact strength of the Galactic Republic. According to The Local, cops rolled up at the premises in Fredericia at 5. …
Lester Haines, 02 Feb 2016
Eagle's head

Dutch cops train anti-drone eagle squadron

Dutch cops are mulling the idea of a drone-busting eagle squadron - one of a range of possible methods under consideration to wrest back control of the skies from UAV hordes. Trained eagles are apparently a deadly serious proposal, and police video released over the weekend shows talons can be effective weapons against a …
Lester Haines, 01 Feb 2016

Did water rocket threaten Brum airport Airbus?

The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) last week called for action to control the use of drones, citing several examples from the the latest UK Airprox Board report (PDF) of UAVs menacing airliners. The report contains details of seven such incidents, four of which fell into the most serious category A, "where a …
Lester Haines, 01 Feb 2016

El Reg nips down to the Hewlett You Inn?

When readers recently decided that Hewlett Packard Enterprise's private London drinking club should be dubbed the "Hewlett You Inn?", we promised to knock up some artwork for the boozer and deliver it to the door of HPE's shiny new HQ at One Aldermanbury Square. Here are said premises during refurbishment last November, when …
Lester Haines, 01 Feb 2016

Brit airline pilots warn of drone menace

The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) has demanded action to control the use of drones following "a spate of serious near misses" over UK airports. The latest UK Airprox Board report (PDF) describes seven incidents involving drones, of which four fell into the most serious category A, "where a serious risk of …
Lester Haines, 29 Jan 2016

SpaceX breaks capsule 'chute world record

A couple of days ago, SpaceX successfully tested its Crew Dragon capsule parachute system, as it advances towards manned vehicle certification as part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program. The Crew Dragon 'chute drop over Arizona was a quiet affair compared to the recent test of the next-generation fire-breathing Dragon 2, …
Lester Haines, 29 Jan 2016

Baikonur hosts satellite laser comms node launch

The first orbiting component of the European Data Relay System (EDRS) is due to blast off at 22:20 GMT tonight from Baikonur Cosmodrome atop a Russian Proton rocket. Also dubbed the "SpaceDataHighway", EDRS is described as the "the most sophisticated laser communication network ever designed", which when fully operational will …
Lester Haines, 29 Jan 2016

Major Hollywood studio eyes Paint Drying sequel

The Register can exclusively reveal today that a top Hollywood studio has optioned a sequel to Paint Drying - the 607-minute minimalist masterpiece designed to try the patience of the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC). A Tinsel Town source close to the project confirmed yesterday that Paint Drying director Charlie …
Lester Haines, 29 Jan 2016
parcels_shutterstock_648

Google patents robotic 'mobile delivery receptacle'

Google has been granted a patent for a "mobile delivery receptacle" - a vehicle designed to accept airborne drone deliveries and take them to a "secure location, such as into a garage" at the recipient's address. The patent blurb explains: "Unmanned, aerial delivery services may be problematic for delivery to users. For …
Lester Haines, 27 Jan 2016

Pubs good for the soul: Official

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has perhaps merely confirmed what all right-minded people already know: that those who have a local boozer in which to quaff ale and chew the fat with mates are "significantly happier" than wretched souls who do not. CAMRA asked Oxford Uni's Professor Robin Dunbar to look into the link between …
Lester Haines, 27 Jan 2016

Brit censors endure 10-hour Paint Drying movie epic

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has determined that Charlie Lyne's 10-hour Paint Drying contains "no material likely to offend or harm", and has accordingly awarded it a "suitable for all" U certificate. Nicely described by the BBFC as "a film showing paint drying on a wall", Paint Drying is the result of a …
Lester Haines, 27 Jan 2016

Uber driver 'pulls handgun' on passenger

A Florida Uber driver stands accused of threatening a passenger with a semi-automatic handgun after his fare suggested he might blow chow, according to cops. Patrick McDonald, 67, picked up Shane Fabry and chums from downtown Bradenton shortly after 8pm last Friday. En route to Fabry's home, the 27-year-old advised McDonald to …
Lester Haines, 26 Jan 2016

Tiny tech takes Turkish tin-rattling title

The makers of a diminutive Arduino-based prototyping board have declared their tablet-sized kit "the most funded crowdfunding tech campaign ever from Turkey", after tin-rattling their way to over $60,000 down at Indiegogo. "Tinylab" is the brainchild of the rather splendidly-titled Bosphorus Mechatronics, which rather less …
Lester Haines, 26 Jan 2016

Cunning Greek lizards seek skin-matching rocks

Aegean wall lizards have demonstrated the impressive ability to hide from avian predators by camouflaging themselves against rocks "that best match the colour of their backs". The Aegean Wall Lizard. Pic: Cambridge University On the look-out for a matching rock: the Aegean wall lizard That's according to Kate Marshall from …
Lester Haines, 25 Jan 2016
DARPA Robot Arm

Spaniards trouser DARPA robotics cash

Spanish firm Erle Robotics has secured funding from the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) as part of the Robotics Fast Track (RFT) programme. RFT's two goals are to "enable rapid, cost-effective development of new robotics capabilities designed to respond to, and even anticipate, quickly evolving needs in …
Lester Haines, 25 Jan 2016
Sheep, image via Shutterstock

Flock of sheep ends NZ high-speed car chase

A high-speed car chase in New Zealand's south island ended rather improbably when a carload of perps was brought to a halt by a flock of sheep. The police pursuit began at 8am last Friday when cops unsuccessfully attempted to pull a Honda Integra for speeding and having no numbers plates. During the subsequent race around …
Lester Haines, 22 Jan 2016

Oz stargazers serve up interstellar noodles

Stargazers from Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) have recorded the effect of interstellar gas "lenses", which interfere with quasar radio wave emissions. Described as dark "'lumps' in the thin gas that lies between the stars in our galaxy", these structures were first hinted at …
Lester Haines, 22 Jan 2016

Peru scrambles vulture squadron in war against trash

The powers that be in Peruvian capital Lima have scrambled a squadron of ten trained vultures in their war against illegal rubbish dumping. Lima's human inhabitants create 6,000 tonnes of rubbish every day, according to the city's waste management coordinator Javier Hernandez. He told Reuters: "Approximately 96 per cent of …
Lester Haines, 21 Jan 2016

Virginia man charged in intriguing 'suspicious bacon' case

A Virginia man is due to appear before a Grand Jury in February having been caught in his neighbour's garden while drunk, armed, wearing a camouflage mask and carrying "a suspicious bag of bacon". Evan Cater mugshot Suspicious bacon: Evan Cater poses for Amherst County cops Evan Patrick Cater, 31, of Madison Heights, was …
Lester Haines, 21 Jan 2016

Brit boffins brew nanotech self-cleaning glass

Scientists from University College London (UCL) have developed a high-tech glass intended for self-cleaning, energy-saving windows. A team led by Dr Ioannis Papakonstantinou has coupled "pencil-like, conical nanostructures engraved onto the glass" with a photochromic 5-10 nanometre film of vanadium dioxide. The nanostructures …
Lester Haines, 21 Jan 2016

Florida cuffee surprised by pills in vagina

A Florida woman being processed into county jail expressed surprise when a prison officer discovered a plastic bag of pills in her vagina. Dusty Rae Ingram, 38, was being booked into Okaloosa County Jail on 5 January, when a strip search uncovered the meds, according to this local report. The perp told the officer that while …
Lester Haines, 20 Jan 2016

Europe's satellite laser comms system set to shine

The European Space Agency (ESA) and Airbus Defence and Space are poised to launch the first orbiting component of the European Data Relay System (EDRS), aka the "SpaceDataHighway", described as "the most sophisticated laser communication network ever designed". On 27 January, the EDRS-A node will lift off from Baikonur …
Lester Haines, 20 Jan 2016

Space podule outfit inks Arizona launch deal

US space flight firm World View has announced it'll be launching the balloon-lofted passenger podule from a new facility in its home state of Arizona, dubbed "Spaceport Tucson". According to this report, although Florida and New Mexico "both offered incentives to lure the company out of southern Arizona", the Pima County Board …
Lester Haines, 20 Jan 2016

LOHAN takes the stage at Oz Linux shindig

Our Oz readers attending the forthcoming linux.conf.au 2016 shindig in Geelong might like to catch Andrew Tridgell's presentation on "Helicopters and Rocket-Planes", which will include a look at our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) Vulture 2 spaceplane. As regular readers know, Linux guru Tridge has been working on …
Lester Haines, 19 Jan 2016

Spoilsport scientists unstick Spider-Man

A team of scientists from the University of Cambridge has disagreeably grounded Spider-Man after concluding that were the arachnohuman crimefighter to use gecko-style sticky pads to scale buildings, they'd need to measure 40 per cent of his body surface.* That's because the bigger the animal, the less surface area versus …
Lester Haines, 18 Jan 2016

Nude tribute to Manet's Olympia ends in cuffing

A Luxembourg performance artist earned herself a cuffing over the weekend after she stripped off in front of Edouard Manet's Olympia at Paris's Musée d'Orsay. Deborah de Robertis treated art lovers visiting Splendour and Misery: Images of Prostitution 1850-1910 to a recreation of the celebrated work's reclining nude. The …
Lester Haines, 18 Jan 2016
Terminator

El Reg mulls entering Robot Wars arena

The news this week that the BBC is to reboot its celebrated robo-deathmatch series Robot Wars prompted much comment from our beloved readers, and amid the excitement, Sleepypete posed the provocative question: "Anyone else hoping that SPB turn their talents to making an all conquering, all destroying, punyhuman enslaving …
Lester Haines, 18 Jan 2016

Hot Swedish nurses in charity calendar rumpus

Staff at Stockholm's Astrid Lindgren Children's Hospital have landed themselves in hot water after stripping off at work for a charity 2016 calendar, The Local reports. "It is clearly inappropriate and a sign of very poor judgment," lamented hospital big cheese Svante Norgren, after he was tipped off to the outrage by …
Lester Haines, 15 Jan 2016

Russian Pastafarian wins right to bear colander

A Russian follower of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster has won the right to wear a colander on his head in his driving licence photo, although this great leap forward for Pastafarian rights comes at a price. Andrey Filin posted a triumphant tweet last Saturday, in which he declared: "The first licence with a colander …
Lester Haines, 15 Jan 2016

NASA books space shuttle delivery truck

NASA looks set to get back into the space shuttle business with the announcement of three International Space Station cargo delivery contracts, one of which has been handed to Sierra Nevada Corporation and its "Dream Chaser" vehicle. The Dream Chaser docked with the ISS. Pic: Sierra Nevada Corporation Coming soon to an ISS …
Lester Haines, 15 Jan 2016

Bijou Linux autopilot takes to the skies

Those who believe that less is indeed more are directed to the PXFmini autopilot shield for the Raspberry Pi Zero - a seriously bijou bit of kit measuring just 31mm by 73mm and weighing in at 15g. The PFXmini atop the Raspberry Pi Zero The PXFmini is the work of Spanish outfit Erle Robotics, and since the company's part of …
Lester Haines, 14 Jan 2016

Optimus Prime goes under the hammer

Film buffs with deep pockets and a really big garage should consider moseying on down to the forthcoming Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction, where the 1992 Peterbilt 379 Optimus Prime tractor will go under the hammer. The Optimus Prime Peterbilt tractor The custom rig appeared in three Transformers movies playing the …
Lester Haines, 14 Jan 2016

Boffins tentatively fire up grav wave sniffer

European Space Agency (ESA) scientists have begun to fire up systems aboard the LISA Pathfinder spacecraft - designed to "test the technology needed to develop future space-borne gravitational wave detectors". The LISA (Laser Interferometer Space Antenna) Pathfinder is now on its way to its final destination orbiting Lagrange …
Lester Haines, 13 Jan 2016

Brit 'naut Peake gears up for spacewalk

European Space Agency astronaut Tim Peake is gearing up to exit the International Space Station (ISS) on Friday on his first spacewalk. Tim Peake tries his spacesuit on for size Flying the flag: Tim Peake tries his spacesuit on for size. Pic: Tim Peake He'll be joined by the orbiting outpost's other Tim - NASA 'naut Kopra …
Lester Haines, 13 Jan 2016

Human cost of California gas well leak revealed

The BBC has published an entertaining analysis of the emissions of a blown-out natural gas well near Los Angeles, which is releasing so much methane that LA county supervisor Mike Antonovich was moved over the weekend to describe the disaster as "a mini-Chernobyl". For those of us wondering just how much is "so much", Auntie …
Lester Haines, 12 Jan 2016

Boffins switch on pinchfist incandescent bulb

Scientists at MIT have been dabbling with some tech which could see the incandescent lightbulb make a comeback at energy efficiencies far exceeding current LED and compact fluorescent (CFL) alternatives. The venerable incandescent bulb simply uses electricity to heat a tungsten filament to around 2,700°C, at which temperature …
Lester Haines, 12 Jan 2016

Cops stuff Mumbai thief with 48 bananas

Mumbai cops have chalked up another success for their preferred method of retrieving swallowed stolen goods: obliging the thief to eat bananas until the booty is expelled. According to the Hindustan Times, one Gopi R Ghaware was cuffed last Wednesday after snatching a 25g gold chain from a woman in a fish market in the east of …
Lester Haines, 11 Jan 2016

Anyone using M-DISC to archive snaps?

Since I've been at El Reg since it was all fields round here, readers can imagine I've accumulated quite a photo/video/misc rubbish collection over the years, and the time has arrived to address the issue of a proper permanent archive. My present system is as follows: photos and vid first land on the desktop PC, and are …
Lester Haines, 11 Jan 2016