The Register Columnists

Lucy Sherriff

Contact Mail Follow RSS feed
The Register breaking news

Global warming not to blame for warmer North Pole?

Recent dramatic changes in the Arctic climate - melting sea ice, warmer ocean, green fields in place of icy wilderness, etc - might not all be directly related to global warming. The more clement Arctic climate of recent years could have been triggered by shorter term circulation changes in the oceans and atmosphere. …
Lucy Sherriff, 15 Nov 2007
The Register breaking news

Will bird flu stuff our Happy Christmas?

Will the latest outbreak of bird flu (the nasty, H5N1 strain) in the UK do for Christmas this year what Farepak did last year? Are we all due to sit down to a table of trimmings, without the turkey*? On Sunday, the highly pathogenic strain of the virus was discovered on Redgrave Park farm in Suffolk. The authorities swung into …
Lucy Sherriff, 15 Nov 2007
The Register breaking news

Tutankhamun: the boy king comes to London

No IT angle There has been much fanfare in the press about the unveiling of King Tutankhamun's mummified face. The boy king has recently been installed in a clear, climate controlled chamber, confronting visitors to the Valley of the Kings with his mortality, and his humanity. A statue of Queen Nefertiti, Tutankhamun's stepmother The …
Lucy Sherriff, 14 Nov 2007
The Register breaking news

Court date for challenge to 'new' patent rules

A date has been set for a hearing in the High Court to determine the legality of a patent office review of the level of protection it offers to software patents in the UK. On November 19, the High Court will hear four small UK companies argue that the patent office's refusal to accept patent claims covering disks and downloads …
Lucy Sherriff, 13 Nov 2007
The Register breaking news

Boffins refine mind-to-prosthetic link

Scientists in the US have developed a technique that could massively improve the control amputees have over their prosthetic limbs. The technique, known as targeted muscle reinnervation (TMR) allows a motorised prosthesis to respond directly to the brain's signals. The research has been led by Dr Todd Kuiken, a physiatrist at …
Lucy Sherriff, 13 Nov 2007
The Register breaking news

21st century travel: building your own warp drive

There is to be a gathering of boffins in London next Thursday (15 November), at which the future of intergalactic spaceflight will be discussed. Not content with merely watching Star Trek re-runs, the good folk of the British Interplanetary Society (BIS) have organised a conference to discuss how to make faster-than-light …
Lucy Sherriff, 12 Nov 2007
New York flag

New York State takes on the DOJ over e-voting

The US Department of Justice is going to the courts in a bid to force New York State to buy its preferred voting machines in time for the 2008 election. New York State's Board of Elections has declined to hold an open discussion on how to respond. New York State has so far refused to buy the voting machines approved as part of …
Lucy Sherriff, 12 Nov 2007
The Register breaking news

ESO spies warped, star-forming spiral galaxy

The European Southern Observatory has released a new image of nearby spiral galaxy NCG-134, revealing a place very similar to our own galaxy, but with a significant difference: the galaxy's spiral disk is twisted. ESO picture of galaxy NGC-134 ESO picture of galaxy NGC-134. Our own galaxy does have a small warp in it, but …
Lucy Sherriff, 12 Nov 2007
The Register breaking news

Filtering starlight to probe new worlds

Interview European star gazers have been filtering stellar light through the atmospheres of the three inner planets to find out what they are made of. Venus, Earth and Mars (not to scale) Venus Express, the European Space Agency's (ESA) mission to our twin planet, is watching starlight as it passes through Venus' thick swirling …
Lucy Sherriff, 11 Nov 2007
The Register breaking news

Christmas Doctor Who exhibition at UK Space Centre

Diary marker The Tardis is set to land at the National Space Centre in Leicester next week for a Doctor Who exhibition that will run from November 13 to January 6. The Tardis: Oooo-eee-ooooo © BBC 1963, Courtesy of BBC Worldwide Visitors to the exhibition will be able to see characters and props from the series, including the truly …
Lucy Sherriff, 09 Nov 2007
The Register breaking news

Black holes blamed for super-charged cosmic rays

You've always suspected it*, and now some properly clever boffins think they've found the data to prove it. Yes, a rare breed of supermassive black hole, otherwise known as active galactic nuclei, are the most likely source of the super-charged cosmic rays that batter our tiny planet from time to time. The particles zip …
Lucy Sherriff, 09 Nov 2007
The Register breaking news

Bacteria to blame for global warming?

Researchers from the University of Arizona's Department of Climatology, and the Department of Atmospheric Physics at Gothenburg University have published research they believe will overturn the consensus view that man's activities are causing global warming. They also make some rather astonishing claims that they had been …
Lucy Sherriff, 09 Nov 2007
Recycle sign

Clinton calls for Kyoto successor

Bill Clinton has called on the international community to draw up and sign up to a successor to the Kyoto Protocol to tackle climate change. Speaking at the Greenbuild Conference in Chicago on Wednesday, Clinton was clear on the need for action: "The sale's been made, otherwise Al Gore wouldn't have gotten the Nobel Prize," he …
Lucy Sherriff, 08 Nov 2007
The Register breaking news

Aussie boffins translate whale chat

Aussie boffins have been eavesdropping on our underwater cousin the humpback whale, and think they've managed to decode a bit of what the swimming mammals are saying to each other. According to Reuters, the researchers have clearly identified the sounds of a mother issuing a warning to her calf, and of a male trying his luck …
Lucy Sherriff, 08 Nov 2007
The Register breaking news

UK gov greenlights 450MW wind farm

UK energy minister Malcolm Wicks (who did a brief turn as science minister just before Mr. Blair got his eviction notice from No. 11 stepped down) has given his blessing for a 450MW wind farm to be built off the coast of Cumbria, 14km from Walney Island. Wicks also gave the nod to the overhead connection line that will link a …
Lucy Sherriff, 08 Nov 2007
The Register breaking news

Brown reveals road pricing, emissions plans

The UK will be the first country in the world to have legally binding emissions targets under the Climate Change Bill announced today in the Queen's Speech. The bill sets out plans to reduce carbon emissions in the UK by 60 per cent by 2050. It also has an interim target of at least 26 per cent by 2020, and will allow five- …
Lucy Sherriff, 06 Nov 2007
The Register breaking news

Brain gene map: a route to Alzheimer's cure?

A new catalogue of genes, and the proteins they trigger in the brain, could help scientists develop new treatments for neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's. The database has been created by researchers at UCL and the University of Miami, who have spent years mapping the expression of genes in the brain. Professor John …
Lucy Sherriff, 06 Nov 2007
The Register breaking news

China goes lunar

Brief China's lunar probe has arrived in orbit around the moon after a twelve day journey. It slotted into place yesterday, after receiving orders to slow down some 200km from its destination. It will spend the next year scanning the surface and reporting back, with images and data, to mission control. The satellite, dubbed Chang'e …
Lucy Sherriff, 06 Nov 2007
The Register breaking news

Shuttle crew completes daring wing repair

The space shuttle Discovery has uncoupled from the International Space Station and is heading back to Earth, after an eventful 11 day stay in orbit. The shuttle's journey home will take two days, and it is scheduled to land back at Kennedy Space Centre in Florida on Wednesday afternoon. The crew of Discovery spent time this …
Lucy Sherriff, 05 Nov 2007
The Register breaking news

Petty crimes, 150,000 kids and a million new records

Have you ever used one of those machines at a fairground or on a seaside pier? You know, the ones that stretch a penny out, imprinting it with a touristy message and the date of your holiday? Well, get yourself down to the local nick and hand over your fingerprints and a DNA sample immediately, because defacing a coin is one …
Lucy Sherriff, 05 Nov 2007
The Register breaking news

Shampoo boffins decode dandruff fungus' DNA

Researchers working for the maker of Head and Shoulders anti-dandruff shampoo have mapped out the genome of the microbe that causes the pesky condition. The news is being hailed as a breakthrough that could put millions of snowy-shouldered people out of their misery, according to a report in The Sunday Times newspaper. …
Lucy Sherriff, 05 Nov 2007
The Register breaking news

Star formation? All a bit of a wind up

UK astronomers have discovered that the material flowing out of newborn stars contains a coiled, spring-shaped magnetic field. The discovery, reported in the 1 November edition of Nature helps to explain why new stars are able to form as they condense from spinning clouds of interstellar gas. "Astronomers know that stars form …
Lucy Sherriff, 01 Nov 2007
The Register breaking news

Biofuels make poor people even poorer

European targets for use of biofuels will make life worse for some of the poorest people on the planet, according to a report from charity Oxfam. In January, the European Commission issued guidelines suggesting that member states should use biofuels for 10 per cent of their transport fuel "budget" by 2020. Oxfam argues that if …
Lucy Sherriff, 01 Nov 2007
The Register breaking news

USPTO shake-up derailed by injunction

New rules proposed by the US Patent Office have been blocked after pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline won a preliminary injunction against the proposed changes. The firm said it did not believe the US Patent and Trademark Office had the legal authority to redefine procedures like this. The changes would have limited both the …
Lucy Sherriff, 01 Nov 2007
The Register breaking news

UK boffins ID three new exo-planets

Planet-hunting boffins based in the UK have announced the discovery of three more spinning globes to add to the more than 200 extrasolar planets already known to science. The planets turned up during the Wide Area Search for Planets (WASP). All are gas giants, roughly the size of Jupiter, and are orbiting their parent stars so …
Lucy Sherriff, 31 Oct 2007

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2017