The Register Columnists

Lester Haines

Contact Mail Follow RSS feed

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