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Lester Haines

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FLYING SAUCER 'designed for Mars atmosphere' in Pacific US military base

NASA reckons the weather in Hawaii is looking vaguely hopeful for the launch later today of its Low Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) - the flying saucer ballocket mission designed to test inflatable deceleration airbags for possible deployment on future Mars landings. The agency slapped a photo up on Twitter yesterday …
Lester Haines, 11 Jun 2014
Aerial still of the Dallas Cowboys stadium

Dallas Cowboys to return 'dumbass' Texan's chopper

The Dallas Cowboys have located the quadcopter which a self-confessed "dumbass" pilot planted on the roof of the team's AT&T Stadium in Arlington, the local Star-Telegram reports. The unnamed operator's DJI Phantom Vision went into "return to home" mode when he "let the building get between me and the transmitter", as he …
Lester Haines, 11 Jun 2014
Aerial still of the Dallas Cowboys stadium

Texan parks quadcopter atop Dallas Cowboys stadium

A self-confessed Texan "dumbass" is attempting to retrieve his quadcopter from the roof of the Dallas Cowboys stadium in Arlington after interrupted radio comms prompted an unplanned touchdown atop the lofty structure. Aerial still of the Dallas Cowboys stadium The vehicle in question is a DJI Phantom Vision, which went …
Lester Haines, 10 Jun 2014

Cunning Reg reader cracks LOHAN hot coupling condundrum

We invite fans of our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) project to raise a glass or two today to the Reg reader who finally cracked the problem of just how to hook up our Vulture 2 spaceplanes's rocket motor heater. To summarise, we've got a space-grade Polyimide Thermofoil flexible heater wrapped round our aircraft's …
Lester Haines, 10 Jun 2014

NASA beams vid from space via laser

NASA has pulled off an impressive bit of space data transfer by beaming a 175 meg hi-def video from the International Space Station to the ground via laser. The Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS) experiment used a 2.5W 1,550nm laser to beam the vid earthwards in just 3.5 seconds, a feat which "would have taken more …
Lester Haines, 09 Jun 2014

Strategy Boutique ultimate 'tech'-gasm: 3D printer drone GoPro vid stream QR code

Make no mistake: the game has changed and if you're not on board the ultra engagement bus, then you'll be yesterday before it's tomorrow. That's the astounding message from a video designed to attract world-weary media types to the Creative Fuel Conference, set to redefine paradigms in Sydney on 28 July. Doubtless corpora …
Lester Haines, 09 Jun 2014
The inflatable approaches a swell-lashed Rockall in 2003

Brit lands on Rockall with survival podule, starts record attempt

Brit adventurer Nick Hancock has finally landed on the North Atlantic island of Rockall, just over a year since a first attempt to conquer the remote granite outcrop ended in failure. Nick Hancock. Pic: Michael Schofield Nick Hancock. Pic: Michael Schofield A short message beamed via satellite yesterday confirmed Hancock was …
Lester Haines, 06 Jun 2014
The servo doused in foam as a fireman, doctors and workers gather around our Playmonaut

Plucky Playmonaut bails out of smoking Vulture 2

Our plucky Playmonaut has decided to take a long weekend off after a servo meltdown during a ground avionics test of our Vulture 2 spaceplane prompted a sharpish exit from the vehicle. Here's the scene immediately after the scare, as emergency crews rushed in to cordon off the area, douse the offending kit with foam and gave our …
Lester Haines, 06 Jun 2014

Russians turn Raspberry Pi into fully-fledged autopilot

Anyone with an interest in Raspberry Pis and autopilots – in common with the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team – should nip down to Indiegogo to check out the Navio: an impressive-looking autopilot shield for the diminutive fruity computer. The Russian team behind the Navio is already well on the way to raising …
Lester Haines, 04 Jun 2014
The two Wicked Lasers fired up

Feds crack down harder on 'lasing'. Yep, aircraft laser zapping... Really

The FBI has announced it is extending a trial campaign that offers a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest of anyone indulging in "lasing" – the increasingly popular sport of zapping aircraft with lasers. Back in February, the Bureau decided it had had enough of this "dangerous crime", which in 2013 …
Lester Haines, 04 Jun 2014

Amazing never-seen-before photo of colourful hot young stars (Thanks Hubble)

A new composite image from the Hubble Space Telescope has revealed the universe's "grade-school children" – star-forming galaxies 5 to 10 billion light years away. The Hubble Ultra Deep Field 2014 image. Pic: NASA The Hubble Ultra Deep Field 2014 is made up of images of an area of space within the constellation Fornax, …
Lester Haines, 04 Jun 2014
Another still of mechanics Dan Thompson and Gary Ker caught on Street View

'THERE'S BEEN A MURRRDER!' Plod probe Street View 'slaying'

Edinburgh cops investigating an apparent murder caught on Google Street View were delighted to discover it was a hoax perpetrated by a couple of mechanics. A concerned citizen alerted the boys in blue that images snapped by Google's all-seeing eye in the city's Giles Street showed a man beating down another with a pick axe …
Lester Haines, 04 Jun 2014

US bloke raises $250k to build robo-masturbation device

The inventor of a "powerfully realistic electronic male pleasure machine" has hailed the “outpouring of support” for his robo-orifice after raising a whopping $250k down at Indiegogo. With the backing of over 2,000 chaps, Brian Sloan has shot past his original $45,000 goal and is now poised to deliver worldwide relief via the …
Lester Haines, 03 Jun 2014

New development in 'stadium-sized' FLYING SAUCER orb invasion

NASA has clarified the exact size of the mighty helium balloon that will later today lift its Low Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) over the Pacific Ocean. As we reported yesterday, the agency vaguely described the whopping 963,000 cubic metre orb as so big you could "fit a professional football stadium inside it". The …
Lester Haines, 03 Jun 2014

Flying saucer with 'stadium-sized' orb to INVADE Earth's skies

NASA's forthcoming flight of the Low Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) – a flying saucer-esque test platform for technologies intended to one day safely deposit larger payloads on the surface of Mars – will be lifted by a helium-filled balloon so large you could "fit a professional football stadium inside it". This agreeable …
Lester Haines, 02 Jun 2014
Still from the IRIS video of the CME. Pic: NASA

Watch: Sun BELCHES PLASMA large enough to ENGULF 35 EARTHS

NASA's Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) has filmed some impressive footage of a coronal mass ejection (CME) - the first such footage to come from the "Small Explorer Mission" to examine the Sun's lower atmosphere. Captured on 9 May, the video shows a "giant sheet of solar material" about "five Earths wide and about …
Lester Haines, 02 Jun 2014

SPB's mountaintop HQ menaced by WOLVES

It's with one eye on the distant sierra and a shotgun close to hand that I report today that attempts to expel wolves from the Spanish province of Ávila have failed. Despite vociferous and emotive exhortations, mostly from farmers, the Junta de Castilla y León has rejected a call to declare the province a "wolf-free zone", …
Lester Haines, 30 May 2014

TOADOCALYPSE NOW: Madagascar faces down amphibious assault

A group of scientists has urged the Madagascan government to take up arms against the Asian common toad - a poisonous relative of the infamous cane toad which has gained a foothold on the Indian Ocean island. In a letter to Nature, Jonathan Kolby of Oz's James Cook University, together with 11 other researchers, warn that …
Lester Haines, 30 May 2014

US sheddies knock up flying plastic toolbox

If ever there was a bit of kit with shed written all over it then the Box-O-Copter is definitely it - a flying plastic toolbox knocked together by the chaps at FliteTest. The Box-O-Copter Apart from being agreeably silly, the Box-O-Copter was built on the principle of "brain not frame" - investing cash in avionics and not …
Lester Haines, 28 May 2014

Spanish village of 'Kill the Jews' votes for rebrand

The inhabitants of the Spanish village of Castrillo Matajudíos (Castrillo Kill the Jews) have voted for a rebrand which will see their diminutive settlement called Castrillo Mota de Judíos (Castrillo Hill of the Jews). Castrillo Matajudios as seen on Street View The village formerly known as Castrillo Matajudíos, as seen on …
Lester Haines, 27 May 2014

Beautiful balloon burst caught on camera

Watch Video It's a traditional tip of the hat today to Tim Middleton of Replay XD for providing a couple of the company's vid cameras for a recent Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) imaging test flight, during which they captured the moment of mighty orb burst in all its glory. The Replay XD The above video speaks …
Lester Haines, 23 May 2014

NASA stitches 3.2 gigapixel 'Global Selfie' mosaic

NASA has released a 3.2 gigapixel "Global Selfie", comprising 36,422 individual images stitched into a mosaic representation of the Earth. NASA's Global Selfie The agency explains: "On Earth Day this year (22 April), NASA asked people all around the world a simple question – 'Where are you on Earth Right Now?'" We asked …
Lester Haines, 23 May 2014

French teen fined for illegal drone flight

The 18-year-old French lad who strapped a GoPro to a drone 'chopper and used it to produce a noteworthy aerial video of the city of Nancy has been fined €400, Le Figaro reports. Nans Thomas bought the vehicle on the internet and sent it aloft without realising he needed proper training and air authority permission. The online …
Lester Haines, 23 May 2014

Klingon and Maori roar into 'mutt's nuts' dictionary

Those of us who don't give a tinker's about an IT angle have been having a fine time compiling the mutt's nuts dictionary - the definitive international guide for those wishing to express excellence in canine testicular terms. This world-class piece of tomfoolery kicked off after we recklessly suggested our Vulture 2 spaceplane' …
Lester Haines, 23 May 2014
Still from downwards-facing camera on the EDGE 11 flight

El Reg chats with stormchasing Edge Research Lab

One of the great pleasures of the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) project has been the chance to hook up with kindred spirits worldwide, such as Colorado-based Edge Research Lab, which recently donated a HackHD hi-def camera to our ballocket cause. Edge formed around two-and-a-half years ago, "the result of a …
Lester Haines, 22 May 2014
An Amazon Prime Air drone

Amazon Prime hot air drone service goes a-recruiting

Online retail monolith Amazon is recruiting for Prime Air - the much-hyped future delivery paradigm whose modest aim is to "get packages into customers' hands in 30 minutes or less using unmanned aerial vehicles". Jobs up for grabs include a software development engineer who'll need "superb technical, research and analytical …
Lester Haines, 21 May 2014
The Carrotcopter

Scoff ye not: Chap carves crunchy carrot-copter

We're obliged to Gary Mortimer of sUAS News for flagging up an entertaining piece of tomfoolery in the form of a quadcopter hewn from vegetables - the entirely convincing "Carrotcopter". The Carrotcopter Sadly, there's no information on the avionics, or indeed the variety of carrot used to create this magnificent flying …
Lester Haines, 21 May 2014

Tennessee bloke cuffed for attempting to shag ATM – police

A Tennessee man earned himself an appointment with the beak last Friday night after police claimed that he'd walked into bar, dropped his trousers and tried to have his evil way with a cash machine. According to a police report quoted by the Tennessean, 49-year-old Lonnie J. Hutton entered the Murfreesboro hostelry "and walked …
Lester Haines, 20 May 2014

'Executed ex' of Norkers' bonkers Kim Jong-un rises FROM THE GRAVE

We're delighted to announce that reports of the execution last year of North Korean chanteuse Hyon Song-wol appear to have been greatly exaggerated. The former lover of Nork supremo Kim Jong-un was allegedly dragged before a firing squad along with fellow musicians on charges of "videotaping themselves having sex and selling the …
Lester Haines, 19 May 2014

NASA preps flying saucer ballocket flight

NASA has announced it's poised to do an airborne test of its Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) - a test platform for technologies that may one day safely deposit larger payloads on the surface of Mars. The LDSD at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Pic: NASA/JPL The LDSD flying saucer at NASA's Jet Propulsion …
Lester Haines, 16 May 2014

Urinating teen polluted 57 Olympic-sized swimming pools - cops

A Portland teen collared last month for urinating in a reservoir at the cost of 38 million gallons of lost drinking water has raised some interesting scientific questions. There's more here on just how cops charged 18-year-old Dallas Jeffrey Delynn for taking a slash at the water repository at Mount Tabor, prompting officials to …
Lester Haines, 16 May 2014
A microscopic view of the biometric shark skin. Pic: James Weaver

Boffins 3D-print biomimetic shark skin

Scientists from Harvard University have used 3D printing to reveal just how sharks lower their energy consumption in a cruise thanks to miniature teeth-like "denticles" on their skin. Sharks are coated with million of these "overlapping tooth-like scales", known to reduce drag, but until George Lauder, James Weaver and Li Wen …
Lester Haines, 15 May 2014

Our Reg reader 'mutt's nuts' dictionary is le chien's biens

Last month, we provoked quite a linguistic rumpus when we unwisely described our Vulture 2 spaceplane's magnificent livery as les noix du mutt. This immediately prompted protests at the use of noix for French goolies, and we threw the matter over to our beloved readers, inviting them to also provide international translations …
Lester Haines, 14 May 2014

Boffins debunk red wine miracle antioxidant myth

Saddening news from US researchers who have demonstrated that quaffing red wine doesn't confer some of the alleged benefits attributed to the tipple, specifically the ability of the antioxidant resveratrol to "reduce deaths, cardiovascular disease or cancer". Resveratrol is found in red plonk, dark chocolate and some berries, …
Lester Haines, 13 May 2014
Close-up of the HackHD

US alliance strengthens LOHAN imaging arsenal

Watch Video Fans of our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) project know that we've recently been working on the spaceplane mission's imaging capability, with airborne tests of the budget DBcam and the prototype CENTR Camera four-eyed panoramic beast. Amid all this excitement, we expressed doubts about our GoPro 3, …
Lester Haines, 09 May 2014
Colin Pillinger by Mike Peel

'A proper British BOFFIN': Famous Martian prof Pillinger dies aged 70

British space scientist Professor Colin Pillinger has died at the age of 70, the BBC reports. Prof Pillinger suffered a brain haemorrhage at his home in Cambridge, UK, and failed to recover from the resulting coma, passing away at the city's Addenbrooke's Hospital. His family described his death as "devastating and unbelievable …
Lester Haines, 08 May 2014

The ULTIMATE space geek accessory: Apollo 15's joystick up for sale

If you're a space geek gamer looking for the ultimate joystick, then feast your eyes on the Apollo 15 "attitude controller assembly" - the stick used by commander David R. Scott to land the Falcon lunar module on the Moon in 1971, and which goes under the hammer later this month: The Apollo 15 lunar module controller The …
Lester Haines, 08 May 2014

Cameras for hacks: Idiot-proof suggestions invited

The world of journalism is changing fast, and while the image-hungry internet demands ever more photographs, shrinking budgets mean the days of a hack going into the field with a snapper in tow are pretty much over. Much to the chagrin of harrumphing old school journos, editors will now regularly ask them to provide images as …
Lester Haines, 08 May 2014

'Bladdered' Utah couple cuffed in church lawn sex outrage

Guests at a Salt Lake City church wedding were treated to an unexpected display of non-marital bliss on Saturday, cops said, as they reported a couple had got jiggy on the lawn outside the House of God. According to The Smoking Gun, officer Rich Stone was flagged down outside the Sacred Heart Catholic Church at about 6pm by an …
Lester Haines, 07 May 2014
Parrot Ar.Drone

Spain clamps down on drones

Spain's Agencia Estatal de Seguridad Aérea (State Air Security Agency - AESA) has issued a declaration in which it reminds citizens that the commercial or professional use of "drones" is illegal, and that amateur UAV operation is restricted to "authorised areas". The document (PDF) stresses that "the use of remote control …
Lester Haines, 07 May 2014
Dave Akerman and Heston Blumenthal

Potato in SPAAAAACE: LOHAN chap cooks up stratospud with Heston Blumenthal

Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team member Dave Akerman confirmed his status as one of the UK's go-to guys* for high-altitude ballooning (HAB) launches when he popped up on Channel 4 last week in Heston Blumenthal's Great British Food series. Dave Akerman and Heston Blumenthal The celebrity food-botherer wanted …
Lester Haines, 07 May 2014
The full Spanglish breakfast: mealy pudding, bacon, black pudding, sausages, fried egg, toast

El Reg Quid-A-Day Nosh Posse back on the bacon

We're pleased to report that the El Reg Quid-A-Day Nosh Posse has emerged in fairly good shape from last week's Live Below the Line challenge, although team member Toby Sibley hasn't told us whether he walked up the aisle on Saturday or had to be carried by his best man. Toby certainly deserves an extra round of applause for …
Lester Haines, 06 May 2014

The amazing .uk domain: Less .co and loads more whalesong

If you're a Brit "at the forefront of the contemporary online landscape", then you've doubtless already eyed the .uk domain - the "short and sharp" dot thingy for "fearless, modern, digital natives", set to launch on 10 June. Make no mistake, this isn't just a cynical way of ditching the .co and charging you for the privilege, . …
Lester Haines, 06 May 2014

El Reg Quid-A-Day Nosh Posse crawls towards finish line

The El Reg Quid-A-Day Nosh Posse has entered the final furlong, with less than 24 hours to go before members can enjoy something considerably more substantial than the meagre rations which have sustained them since Monday. And as the finish line comes into view, the effects of the Live Below the Line challenge - to exist on just …
Lester Haines, 02 May 2014
Another grab showing images from the camera at altitude

Classified LOHAN payload is four-eyed beast

As regular readers know, the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team likes a nice bit of imaging kit, and we can now reveal that the classified payload which flew atop our recent "Judy" test flight was in fact a prototype four-eyed beast capable of capturing hi-def panoramic video. The chaps from CENTR Camera got in …
Lester Haines, 02 May 2014
Toby's lentil and carrot surpise

Quid-a-day Reg nosh posse chap faces starvation diet

As the El Reg Quid-a-Day Nosh Posse's Live Below the Line challenge enters its fourth day, we're delighted to report that team member Toby Sibley has resurfaced - albeit looking a little thinner than when we last spoke to him. At the beginning of the week, Toby expressed doubts that he'd spend his £5 food budget wisely: Toby's …
Lester Haines, 01 May 2014

The Reg Quid-a-Day Nosh challenge: What's the point, exactly?

It's been an entertaining week so far for the El Reg Quid-a-Day Nosh Posse, as team members battle to survive on just £1 per day for food as part of the Live Below the Line challenge. Calorific intake concerns aside, we've managed to knock up a few decent meals, and even forage a bit of extra nutrition. Of course, living for …
Lester Haines, 30 Apr 2014

The quid-a-day nosh challenge: Anyone fancy this fungus I found?

The sun has risen on day three of the El Reg Quid-a-Day Nosh Posse's Live Below the Line challenge, and the team's in generally good shape. I say generally, because we've haven't heard from Toby Sibley since Monday, when he expressed concern that he simply didn't have enough calories stockpiled to make it through the week. We' …
Lester Haines, 30 Apr 2014
Teepee village

Marauding quid-a-day nosh hack menaces teepee hippie villages

It's day two of the El Reg Quid-a-Day Nosh Posse's Live Below the Line challenge, so let's see how our intrepid members are getting along on just £1 per day for food. First up, we haven't had a chance yet to consider Chris Winpenny's complete cornucopious stockpile, some of which we've already seen... Chris's initial stash of …
Lester Haines, 29 Apr 2014

Microsoft forms 'Special Projects' black ops team

Microsoft has secretly formed a "Special Projects" sub-tentacle of its Microsoft Research limb in an apparent attempt to out-black-ops Google X. This sinister group is "tasked with working on disruptive technologies that could benefit the company and society". Although MS is remaining tight-lipped on when it was formed and who …
Lester Haines, 29 Apr 2014