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Lester Haines

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Reg readers fret over misty-eyed LOHAN

Our heads-up last week on the Vulture 2 spaceplane's miniature Raspberry Pi camera (Picam), prompted some readers to express concerns that we were heading for trouble in the imaging department. Here's the camera in question... A close-up of the Picam ...and here it is glued into the underside of the aircraft's nose: The …
Lester Haines, 17 Feb 2014

LOHAN cops a faceful of Raspberry Pi

The Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team is methodically working its way through the installation of the Vulture 2 spaceplane's electronic systems, and having got the Pixhawk autopilot up and running, we were able to turn our attention this week to the onboard Raspberry Pi. LOHAN regulars will know that we use a …
Lester Haines, 14 Feb 2014

Investors throw cash at affordable 3D scanner

Proof that the 3D bandwagon continues to gain pace comes with the news that Fuel 3D Technologies has secured a suitcase full of private investor cash to further fund "the world's first 3D scanner to combine pre-calibrated stereo cameras with photometric imaging". Rendering of the Fuel3D The Fuel3D: Coming soon to a hand near …
Lester Haines, 13 Feb 2014

El Reg talks beer and binaries with a boffin named Boffin

We at El Reg like a good boffin, so we're delighted to bring fellow boffophiles a quick interview with Henri Boffin, who's staff astronomer at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) facility in Paranal, Chile. Henri Boffin at his desk in Paranal A boffin named Boffin: Henri at work in Paranal We're obliged to Henri for …
Lester Haines, 10 Feb 2014

LOHAN's handsome young autopilot springs into life

It's been a couple of weeks since the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team took delivery of a brand-spanking new 3D Robotics Pixhawk autopilot for the Vulture 2 spaceplane, and we've now whipped out our original ArduPilot Mega (APM) 2.6 and hooked up the new kit for a quick test. Here's the Pixhawk up and running …
Lester Haines, 06 Feb 2014

El Reg BuzzFelch: 10 Electrical Connectors You CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT!

(Editorial note: We at The Register are continually exploring ways to deliver content in new and exciting formats. In response to the growing online trend for undemanding, text-light stuff with loads of big pictures, we're delighted to announce the launch of BuzzFelch - an automated aggregator which trawls the internet in search …
Lester Haines, 31 Jan 2014

Language-mangling Germans fling open Handygate to selfie-snapping whistleblowers

The suffix "-Gate" has been honoured as the German language's "Anglicism of the Year", having recently resurged in Germany more than 40 years after the Watergate scandal spawned the popular, if awkward, English tack-on. -Gate saw off strong competition from "Whistleblower", "Hashtag", "Fake" and, inevitably, the celebrated " …
Lester Haines, 30 Jan 2014

Reg reader crafts 3-axis GoPro 'Stubilizer' for skull-mounted cameras

As our title suggests, we at the Special Projects Bureau like a nice project, so we're pleased to share with you today reader Stuart Smith's ambitious 3-axis stabiliser for the GoPro HERO3 - dubiously dubbed the "Stubilizer". A 3D rendering of the Stubilizer The Stubilizer in 3D rendered glory Stuart's an IT consultant …
Lester Haines, 29 Jan 2014

Behold the world's first full-colour 3D printer

Those of you frustrated by the monochrome, single material output of 3D printers, and who happen to have very deep pockets, are directed to the Stratasys Objet500 Connex3, hailed as the world's first full-colour machine. The Stratasys Objet500 Connex3. Pic: Stratasys Full colour at a price: The Stratasys Objet500 Connex3 …
Lester Haines, 28 Jan 2014
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French drug dealers regretfully announce 'temporary closure'

A bunch of French drug dealers demonstrated a touch of Gallic narcohumour earlier this week by announcing the "temporary closure" of their regular public point of sale. According to local paper Le Dauphiné Libéré, a poster taped to a concrete pillar under a block of flats in Grenoble's rue Albert-Thomas informed punters: " …
Lester Haines, 24 Jan 2014

Handsome young autopilot reports for spaceplane duty

The Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team this morning welcomed aboard a handsome young autopilot for our Vulture 2 spaceplane - the hot-off-the-press 3D Robotics Pixhawk. 3DR kindly offered to donate a couple of Pixhawks to the cause, after ArduPilot fixed-wing lead developer Andrew Tridgell suggested we'd benefit …
Lester Haines, 23 Jan 2014

German frau reports for liver transplant clutching bottle of vodka

A German woman scheduled for a liver transplant presented herself at the hospital clutching a bottle of vodka, having spectacularly failed to lay off the booze in the six months leading to the op. According to Spiegel Online (in German), a nurse at the Göttingen University Hospital had to relieve the unnamed frau of her …
Lester Haines, 23 Jan 2014

Spanish cops tweet handy dope-smuggling advice

The Spanish National Police force endeared itself to potheads on Tuesday when it obliging responded a Twitter query regarding the best way to smuggle dope through airport customs. "Contemporary cultural magazine" Jot Down asked: "If you're travelling abroad (EU) and you're carrying four joints, is it better to put them in your …
Lester Haines, 22 Jan 2014

Pregnant? Celebrate your proudest moment ... by 3D-printing a copy of the foetus

Proud parents-to-be with a few bucks to spare might want to consider splashing out on a "3D Baby" - an "adorable baby figurine" of their pre-natal sprog squirted into shape by a 3D printer. A 3D baby in its presentation box. Pic: 3D Babies According to California-based 3D Babies, these foetal representations are created using …
Lester Haines, 21 Jan 2014

Ancient carving of 'first human-built holy place' = Primitive Vulture Central

An ancient stone carving in modern-day Turkey is sensationally challenging the theory that the origins of Vulture Central lie in France. In 2012, we reported that a Paleolithic artist in the eastern French Pyrenees paid homage to the mighty vultures soaring above the gorges hemming the river Jonte, in the process creating the El …
Lester Haines, 20 Jan 2014

LOHAN develops amazing mind-reading powers

There's been a lull in the flighting on the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) front over Xmas and New Year, but the team has emerged from the festivities revitalised and ready for action. In December, we announced that 3D Robotics had kindly agreed to supply the mission with an all-new Pixhawk autopilot, to replace the …
Lester Haines, 17 Jan 2014

Mexican drink-driver shopped to cops - by his own gobby parakeet

Cops in Mexico City who pulled over a 49-year-old driver for drink-driving were left in no doubt of the poor chap's state when his pet parakeet sang like a canary. Guillermo "N" was stopped last week at a alcohol checkpoint, cops said, but before he could even get out of the car, a voice from inside trumpeted "Está borracho, …
Lester Haines, 17 Jan 2014

Mountain bike mishap man suffers SEVEN WEEK stiffie

An Irish competitive mountain biker required delicate surgical intervention after his wedding tackle came off the worse for wear after a collision with his bike, resulting in a seven-week erection. According to the Irish Medical Journal, the unnamed 22-year-old hobbled up to Dublin's Tallaght Hospital "with a five week history …
Lester Haines, 15 Jan 2014

Bloke hews plywood Raspberry Pi tablet

It's a tip of the hat today to Michael Castor, who caught our eye with his attractive fusion of plywood, carbon fibre and Raspberry Pi, dubbed the "PiPad". Top view of the PiPad Michael's plan was to build an "all-in-one system that was usable, portable, and Linux-based", but which also "had to look good". Furthermore, it …
Lester Haines, 14 Jan 2014

Hopefuls rattle tin for customisable snap together 3D printer

DIY 3D printing is very much flavour of the month, and whether it's the third industrial revolution or a load of old cobblers remains to be seen, but there's a veritable extrusion of makers vying to get their print nozzles in the trough. Kickstarter is the street corner of choice for these pioneers to rattle their tins, and …
Lester Haines, 13 Jan 2014

Woman whipped gun from vagina in SPACE ALIEN spat, reports Officer Zook

An argument over space aliens ended in a cuffing for a New Mexico resident after she reportedly threatened her other half with a handgun she whipped from her vagina. Jennifer McCarthy mugshot from Santa Fe County Adult Detention Center Jennifer McCarthy poses for law enforcement The police statement of probable cause says …
Lester Haines, 10 Jan 2014

Classy Oregon diners tipped waitress with 'crystal meth' – cops

A couple of Oregon diners were cuffed last Thursday night after allegedly tipping a steakhouse waitress an envelope of methamphetamine, the Oregonian reports. Ryan Bensen, 40, and Erica Manley, 37, were chowing down with friends at the Twisted Fish Steakhouse in Seaside, a coastal town some 100km northwest of Portland. …
Lester Haines, 09 Jan 2014

Cygnus space truck poised for blast-off (again) TODAY

All being well, Orbital Sciences Corporation's Cygnus space truck (PDF) will soar heavenwards later today en route to the International Space Station. Antares rolls out on 5 January. Pic: NASA/Bill Ingalls Antares rolls out on 5 January. Pic: NASA/Bill Ingalls NASA says the weather is "95 per cent favorable" for the Antares …
Lester Haines, 08 Jan 2014

WhatsApp? Spaniards wasapean their autofotos

English and the internet continue to exert their linguistic influence over the Spanish language, although an indigenous term has been named the Fundéu BBVA's word of the year for 2013. The Fundéu BBVA - whose principal objectives include to "promote the correct use of Spanish in the media" - named escrache as its word of choice …
Lester Haines, 07 Jan 2014

Naked Aussie gets wedged in washing machine

An Aussie bloke who climbed naked into a top-loader washing machine in an attempt to surprise his other half provided a top afternoon's entertainment for local emergency services. The unnamed chap from Mooroopna, some 180km north of Melbourne, apparently decided it was a bit of a wheeze to conceal himself inside the appliance …
Lester Haines, 06 Jan 2014

Italian woman stunned by exploding artichoke

An Italian woman was left shaken but otherwise unhurt by an exploding artichoke, La Repubblica reports. The unnamed victim bought some fresh artichokes from her local supermarket in Olginate, some 40km northeast of Milan. When she laid into one with a knife, it went bang. Initially struck dumb by the shock, the poor woman …
Lester Haines, 06 Jan 2014

Drug dealer demands jail to escape 'unbearable' missus after NYE row

An Italian court has taken pity on a desperate drug dealer who demanded jail to escape his "unbearable" wife. According to La Nazione (in Italian), 32-year-old Tunisian Walid Chaabani was under house arrest in the Tuscan city of Livorno "for crimes related to drug dealing". A New Year's Eve row with his missus prompted the perp …
Lester Haines, 03 Jan 2014

Private space truck ready for ISS trip as soon as NEXT WEEK

NASA and Orbital Sciences Corporation have announced that the private Cygnus space truck (PDF) will head off to the International Space Station no earlier than 7 January, on the system's first cargo resupply mission to the orbiting outpost. Following a launch abort on 19 December last year, Cygnus will finally head heavenwards …
Lester Haines, 02 Jan 2014

Cheeky LOHAN chaps in gutsy snatch at El Reg's paper spaceplane crown

In an audacious and extremely cheeky high altitude operation over the weekend, Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team members Dave Akerman and Anthony Stirk had a pop at our Guinness World Record for the highest-altitude paper plane launch. The SNOW aircraft The underside of the SNOW aircraft The pair's SNOW …
Lester Haines, 31 Dec 2013
Sinclair Sovereign calculator

El Reg's contraptions confessional no.5: The Sinclair Sovereign

Time was when having a calculator felt about as hi-tech as owning smartphone does these days. Lester Haines relives the experience when these small objects of desire weren't just about doing the numbers, but were even touted as status symbols. Sinclair Sovereign Having risked the lives of the specialist team members tasked with …
Lester Haines, 28 Dec 2013

Hypnotic wind map captures Earth's heavenly currents

Those readers slumped behind their desks in the traditional pre-Xmas torpor and who are looking for an alternative to watching the clock hands crawling towards Yule liberation are directed towards "earth" - magnificent animated views of the world's wind currents. Global wind currents shown on earth Using data from the …
Lester Haines, 19 Dec 2013

Fair winds and following servers: The art of flight prediction

Back in September, the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team sent a mighty orb aloft on a test flight of our magnificent Vulture 2 spaceplane's rocket motor igniter. The mission was a textbook operation, with the the payload eventually returning to terra firma within a few hundred metres of the awaiting team, at a …
Lester Haines, 18 Dec 2013

Brilliant Brit bloke builds breakfast-belching BACON DRONE

In what is described as "a breakthrough moment for humanity", a British bloke has constructed a tricopter designed to remotely deliver a full English breakfast of bacon, egg, sausage, mushroom and tomato ketchup. Joel Veitch's Bacon Drone Joel Veitch's cutting-edge design of "sticks and tape and coat hangars" is controlled by …
Lester Haines, 16 Dec 2013

Big goolies-grabbing black snake nips unlucky bloke's trouser snake

Users of a Ghanean public toilet fled the premises in panic after a "big black snake" sank its fangs into an unfortunate 34-year-old's todger. Kwabena Nkrumah was going about his business in Faaman, some 250km northwest of the capital Accra, when he "suddenly felt a sharp pain at the tip of his manhood", according to GhanaWeb. …
Lester Haines, 13 Dec 2013

Oz couple get jiggy in pharmacy in 'banned' condom ad

Oz prophylactic outfit Four Seasons Condoms is enjoying a runaway viral marketing success with a "banned" advert for its Naked Condoms deemed unfit for Downunder TV. The firm teamed up with comedian Gary Eck to produce a series of "spots" featuring the escapades of "Raquel and Tyson", and intended to "create a campaign aimed at …
Lester Haines, 11 Dec 2013

Shivering boffins nail Earth's coldest spot

US researchers have announced they've identified the coldest place on Earth recorded to date - a spot in Antarctica which in August 2010 hit a decidedly chilly -93.2°C Having trawled 32 years worth of data from various satellites, a team led by Ted Scambos of the National Snow and Ice Data Center presented its findings to the …
Lester Haines, 10 Dec 2013

Teary-eyed snappers recall the golden age of film

For those readers with a tendency to get teary-eyed over the golden age of film, and the days before digital swept physical photographic media into the cutting room bin of history, we're delighted to take a trip down memory lane today with professional photographer Phil Houghton. Portrait of Phil Houghton holding mighty Nikon …
Lester Haines, 10 Dec 2013

NASA invites you to sleepover: Stay up and watch 'FIREBALL RICH' Geminid shower

NASA is gearing up for the peak of this year's annual Geminid meteor shower on the night of 13-14 December, as debris associated with "weird rocky object" 3200 Phaethon comes to a fiery end in Earth's atmosphere. The agency has organised a live chat with astronomer Bill Cooke and chums from 23:00 EST on the 13th until 03:00 EST …
Lester Haines, 09 Dec 2013
Cassini false-colour view of the six-sided storm. Pic: NASA

Blighty's winter storms are PUNY compared to Saturn's 200mph, 15,000 mile wide HEXACANE

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has delivered some insightful images of a monster storm raging at Saturn's north pole - a six sided-beast 'wider than two Earths' and within which winds reach an umbrella-shredding 350km/h. Cassini false-colour view of the six-sided storm. Pic: NASA In a series of false-colour snaps (animated version …
Lester Haines, 06 Dec 2013

NASA opens its Jupiter photo album to honour Pioneer 10

NASA has opened its photo scrapbook to remember the Pioneer 10 spacecraft, which on 4 December 1973 passed within 130,000km of Jupiter, in the process returning some decidedly non-hi-res snaps. Pioneer 10 images of Jupiter. Pics: NASA The agency explains: "Launched on March 2, 1972, Pioneer 10 was the first spacecraft to …
Lester Haines, 05 Dec 2013

Bold Bezos aims skywards with liquid hydrogen and SPACE ROCKET engine

Amazon supremo Jeff Bezos' private space outfit Blue Origin has announced it has successfully tested its BE-3 space rocket engine "in a pattern that simulated a suborbital mission". The BE-3 firing. Pic: Blue Origin The BE-3 roared to life at the company's test facility near Van Horn, Texas, on 20 November. Burning liquid …
Lester Haines, 04 Dec 2013

LOHAN embraces handsome young autopilot

We invite fans of our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) project to raise a glass or two today to UAV specialist 3D Robotics, which has very kindly agreed to offer our Vulture 2 spaceplane a brain transplant in the form of the mighty Pixhawk autopilot. Two views of the 3D robotics Pixhawk As LOHAN regulars know, our …
Lester Haines, 04 Dec 2013

Women crap at parking: Official

A team of University of Pennsylvania boffins appears to have confirmed the commonly held notions that while women are absolutely useless at parking cars, they thrash blokes when it comes to multitasking and empathy. The scientists scanned the brains of 949 peoples aged 8-22 - 428 male and 521 female - and discovered "unique sex …
Lester Haines, 04 Dec 2013

They're back: The coffin-punting naked Polish calendar girls

Polish coffin maker Lindner is continuing its proud tradition of provocatively punting its wares with a 2014 calendar (NSFW) featuring bare naked ladies and plenty of wood. Topless Miss August pushes a floating coffin in Lindner calendar The company's latest effort is slightly less off-the-wall than the 2013 calendar (also …
Lester Haines, 03 Dec 2013

Sick to death of Xmas? Try these explosive gift ideas

It's that time of year again when whining children and relentless TV advertising attempt to persuade honest, hard-working folk to empty their wallets, hammer their credits cards and reduce themselves to penury in a glorious Yule orgy of unfettered capitalism. Ah, Christmas - a pagan festival hijacked by bible-bashers and now …
Lester Haines, 02 Dec 2013

Chester Cathedral smites net in Wi-Fi SMUT OUTRAGE

Chester Cathedral has pulled the plug on its free Wi-Fi service after a fearless Chester Chronicle investigation revealed visitors could tap unhindered into online porn. The Chronicle cruised the city in search of hotspots and found that "shops, restaurants and cafes with free Wi-Fi were unwittingly allowing shoppers and passers …
Lester Haines, 02 Dec 2013
SOHO images showing a trail around the Sun, which may be the remains of Comet Ison

NASA pic: DOOMED ice Comet ISON literally had snowball's chance in hell

NASA reckons only a little bit of plucky Comet ISON survived a close encounter with the Sun – and judging by this space photo, we're not surprised. After reaching its perihelion during Thanksgiving, the iceball failed to reappear, at least according to the agency's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which captured the portion of space …
Lester Haines, 29 Nov 2013
Nicola's swollen foot after the spider attack

Swollen Reg reader recounts FALSE WIDOW spider HORROR

Our report yesterday on the inexorable spread of the false widow spider - an unwelcome immigrant to Blighty's shores which targets guinea pigs and horror-hungry newspaper editors - prompted one Reg reader to protest that the killer arachnid really does pose a threat to those unfortunate enough to cross its path. Nicola Baker, …
Lester Haines, 29 Nov 2013

DVLA declares J14 HAD on BU14 SHT and SL14 AGS

Blighty's Drivers and Vehicles Licensing Authority (DVLA) has announced a list of vehicle registration numbers which won't be available to wags looking to take advantage of the latest "63" and upcoming "14" plates. The 14 plate will hit the streets in March next year, and the authority's staff have weeded out potentially …
Lester Haines, 28 Nov 2013

False widow spiders in guinea pig slaughter horror

A British mum has warned against the inexorable spread of the false widow spider after the killer arachnid apparently dispatched a trio of her family's guinea pigs to the hereafter. Michelle Richards, of Hedge End, Hampshire, recounted to the Daily Mail how son Jordan found three of five guinea pigs dead in their hutch, "with …
Lester Haines, 28 Nov 2013