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Lester Haines

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A proposed LOHAN mission patch

LOHAN seeks stirring motto for spaceplane mission patch

The Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team has decided that in the best tradition of space endeavour, our audacious Vulture 2 spaceplane mission needs a proper embroidered patch so that we may reach for the heavens in style. In fact, having something to sew on your flight suit/lab coat is pretty well obligatory, and …
Lester Haines, 14 Jul 2014

Canuck reader threatens suicide over exact dimensions of SPAAAACE!

It's been a while since I've received a decent flame email, so it's hats off to one Lorne Babcock for this missive which sizzled into my inbox this morning, bemoaning the headline "Beer in SPAAAACE! London Pride soars to 28,000m"... SPAAAACE! How many A's should there be in the word space? The years go by Lester, and you do …
Lester Haines, 14 Jul 2014
Nick Hancock and his survival podule atop Rockall. Pic: Nick Hancock

Plucky Rockall adventurer prepares to leave islet

Brit adventurer Nick Hancock is preparing to leave the North Atlantic islet of Rockall, short of his planned 60-day stay but probably after he breaks the two existing occupation records. Nick Hancock and his survival podule atop Rockall. Pic: Nick Hancock Not long now: Nick Hancock and his survival podule atop Rockall Hancock …
Lester Haines, 11 Jul 2014

Beer in SPAAAACE! London Pride soars to 28,000m

"Pics or it didn't happen" is a common commentard cry down here at El Reg, so we're disappointed to report that last week's audacious mission to send a pint of London Pride to the upper atmosphere ended without airborne imagery. The BALYOLO - BAL (Balloon) YOLO (You Only Live Once) - flight launched last Saturday from the The …
Lester Haines, 11 Jul 2014

El Reg nips down IKEA's 'I've Got A Screw Loose Street'

We're delighted to report that the Valladolid tentacle of flatpack world superpower IKEA does indeed lie on "I've Got A Screw Loose Street", and we've got the photos to prove it. Back in 2011, as construction of the 34,700m2 particle board megarepository was under way on virgin ground in Arroyo de la Encomienda, on the outskirts …
Lester Haines, 11 Jul 2014

Reg reader fires up Pi-powered anti-cat garden sprinkler system

It's a tip of the hat today to Reg reader Joshua Thumim for putting the humble Raspberry Pi into the service of humanity with a simple but effective feline repellent system. Joshua explained: For the last few years, pretty much every time I (or my two small kids) wanted to use the garden I'd first have to remove 3-5 cat …
Lester Haines, 08 Jul 2014

Manhattan drone pair cuffed for NYPD chopper near miss

A pair of Manhattan residents were cuffed in the early hours of yesterday morning after allegedly endangering a NYPD police helicopter with a quadchopper. According to the New York Daily News, cops claim Remy Castro, 23, and Wilkins Mendoza, 34, were "remotely piloting a DGI [sic] Phantom 2 drone" on a flight over the Spuyten …
Lester Haines, 08 Jul 2014

Alabama quadchopper hits THREE THOUSAND FEET next to AIRPORT

An Alabama UAV enthusiast has been told by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) to steer clear of airports after he sent a quadcopter up to 1,100m (3,609 feet) within five miles of Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport (BHM). Michael Mayhew posted an impressive video of the DJI Phantom 2 flight on YouTube, and shared …
Lester Haines, 07 Jul 2014

Going up: Fancy a virtual flight to 30km above the PLANET?

Those of you who've always fancied a trip to 30km above the Earth's surface, but have neither the money nor a pair of cojones the size of a plucky Playmonaut's, are directed to this interesting KickStarter campaign in support of a "Virtual Ride to Space". Dr Aaron Knoll - a "lecturer in the field of plasma propulsion" at …
Lester Haines, 07 Jul 2014
Nick Hancock and his survival podule atop Rockall. Pic: Nick Hancock

Storm-battered Rockall adventurer recalls 'worst experience of my life'

Brit adventurer Nick Hancock has admitted he's "never been so scared", after enduring a storm last week that blew a good part of his food supplies off the North Atlantic islet of Rockall. Hancock landed on the granite outcrop on 5 June, hoping to spend 60 days in a survival podule, in the process breaking the occupancy record of …
Lester Haines, 07 Jul 2014

Royal Navy parks 470 double-decker buses on Queen Elizabeth

Today saw her Maj QE2 smash a bottle of Islay malt whisky over her floating namesake at Fife's Rosyth dockyard, as she hailed "a new phase" in Blighty's glorious naval history. The carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth is a 280-metre-long behemoth which promises a maritime capability equal to that of its voracious appetite for taxpayers …
Lester Haines, 04 Jul 2014
The Pi in the Sky board mounted atop the Pi in the Vulture 2

Vulture 2 fills beak with Pi in the Sky

It's all go at the front end of our magnificent Vulture 2 , and following the recent taming of the spaceplane's cantankerous canards, we've now mounted a hot-off-the-press Raspberry Pi in the Sky - the dedicated telemetry board for the Raspberry Pi. Fans of our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) project will know that …
Lester Haines, 04 Jul 2014

Booze in SPAAAACE! Brit rocket boffin preps bold stratobeer mission

A British rocket scientist with a sideline in High Altitude Ballooning (HAB) tomfoolery will tomorrow push the envelope of space endeavour by attempting to send a pint of London Pride bitter into the stratosphere. When he's not boffining it up down at European Astrotech, Chris Smith can be found propping up the bar of his local …
Lester Haines, 04 Jul 2014
Video

Is there too much sex and violence on TV?

British television's 9pm watershed is 50 years old this month, and TV watchdog Ofcom has published figures showing that while it's still relevant in protecting kiddies from the worst televisual excesses, viewers are increasingly tolerant of sex, violence and bad language. The watershed ensures there's a non-abrupt transition to …
Lester Haines, 04 Jul 2014
The inflatable approaches a swell-lashed Rockall in 2003

Rockall batters plucky Brit adventurer

Plucky Brit adventurer Nick Hancock has been forced to plan an early departure from the North Atlantic islet of Rockall after a storm deprived him of a large part of his vital supplies. He tweeted yesterday: Got battered by weather last night. Lost 4 barrels kit inc food. Need to come off early. Looking at options with @ …
Lester Haines, 03 Jul 2014
The canards bolted to the Vulture 2, with Playmonaut in his seat

Experts suspiciously eye LOHAN's cantankerous canards

As ever, we're grateful for our reader experts' feedback on the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mission, and today we have a round-up of your comments on the Vulture 2 spaceplane's cantankerous canards. As we reported last month, the aircraft's forewings have finally been tamed, and here they are attached to the …
Lester Haines, 03 Jul 2014
The Tharsis payload at 30km

Brit SPACE HEDGEHOG team flies student Mars payload

We're pleased to report that the team behind the 2013 space hedgehog drama - which saw a knitted mascot dramatically go awol over Blighty - has finally got a cluster of student experiments in the air without mishap. Last March, CASSiE (Cosmic Ambassador for Space Science and Engineering) accompanied 70 miniprojects packed into …
Lester Haines, 02 Jul 2014
Rosetta

Comet-chasing Rosetta spies SWEATY prey

The European Space Agency's (ESA) Rosetta comet-chaser has clocked 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko "releasing the equivalent of two small glasses of water into space every second" - enough to " fill an Olympic-size swimming pool in about 100 days". Graphic showing rate of water vapour outgassing from the comet It's going to take a …
Lester Haines, 01 Jul 2014
The LDSD's rocket motor fires. Pic: NASA

NASA flying saucer vids show fire in the sky

NASA has released some entertaining short video clips from last Saturday's test of the Low Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD), showing how the future Mars payload delivery tech flight featured a mighty thruster, some hot airbag action and a while lot of a-whoopin' and a-hollerin'. The LDSD launched below an enormous helium- …
Lester Haines, 01 Jul 2014
Nick Hancock and his survival podule atop Rockall. Pic: Nick Hancock

Rockall pod-dweller braces for stormy weather

Rockall pod-dweller Nick Hancock has now spent over three weeks atop the North Atlantic islet and was battening down the hatches on Saturday ahead of predicted stormy weather. Nick Hancock on Rockall last week Thumbs up: Nick Hancock on Rockall He wrote: "Tomorrow is supposed to be a very calm day, but as they say: the calm …
Lester Haines, 30 Jun 2014
Angry woman on mobile

Spanish struggle to control spelling of 'WhatsApp'

Spanish is an accommodating lingo, as the recent influx of tech and net-related Anglicisms attests, but these foreign invaders often prove challenging for Castillian orthography. The general line of attack is to adapt spelling in accordance with local custom where necessary, so while "chat", as in chatear (to chat), requires no …
Lester Haines, 27 Jun 2014

Kickstarter unplugs iFind miracle battery-free locator

Kickstarter has pulled the plug on the campaign to raise funds for the iFind - described as "The World's First Battery Free Item Locating Tag". iFind's creators WeTag had raised a cool $546,852 from 9,771 backers when Kickstarter suspended funding yesterday. Critics of the project raised serious doubts about its viability, …
Lester Haines, 27 Jun 2014
Our intrepid party playmonaut on a sofa, surrounded by blondes

LOHAN laid bare in intimate interview

Fans of our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) project might enjoy an interview I did earlier this week with Christiaan van Vollenstee of DIY Drones. The chat, beamed live from the SPB's mountaintop HQ on Wednesday, features discussion of various aspects of our audacious ballocket mission and a particularly fine pair …
Lester Haines, 26 Jun 2014
Parrot BeBop

Drone's drug airdrop mission ends in failure for Irish prisoners

An audacious quadcopter mission to deliver drugs to inmates at Dublin's Wheatfield Prison ended in failure earlier this week when the drone hit wires designed to prevent helicopter landings. According to the Irish Independent, the drone crashed in the prison's yard at around 11am on Tuesday bearing its narcotic payload. The …
Lester Haines, 26 Jun 2014

Drone-assisted Swiss construct virtual 3D castle

Those readers with a penchant for castles but a disinclination to visit Switzerland can enjoy a virtual shufti Château de Chillon, thanks to UAV image processing software outfit Pix4D. A view of the virtual 3D Chillon Castle In half a day, the company snapped "6,200 aerial and terrestrial images using DJI Phantom 2 Vision, …
Lester Haines, 25 Jun 2014

'World’s dumbest' suspect collared in Facebook sting

A suspect is languishing in jail after allegedly breaking into a house, logging into Facebook on his victim's PC, and then reportedly obligingly leaving his social network profile up and open for the returning homeowner. Police mugshot of Nicholas Wig Wig's profile pic from his police department presence Arresting officers …
Lester Haines, 25 Jun 2014

iFind: Critics slam Kickstarter campaign for miraculous battery-free phone finder

As the old saying goes: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. It remains to be seen if that adage applies to iFind - hailed as "The World's First Battery Free Item Locating Tag". As of Monday morning, iFind - the brainchild of "WeTag" - had attracted over $500,000 of funding on Kickstarter, thanks to the support of …
Lester Haines, 24 Jun 2014
The Turbo Ace Octocopter. Pic: Turbo Ace

Fearful of the drone-filled skies? Get some protection

Those fearful of a future where the skies are darkened by swarms of camera-bearing drones peering over their garden fences and peeking through their bedroom windows should proceed directly to Kickstarter and the "Personal Drone Detection System". Rattling the tin in defence of personal privacy is Domestic Drone Countermeasures …
Lester Haines, 24 Jun 2014

Firefighters deliver trapped student from GIANT GERMAN LADYPARTS

A US foreign exchange student has become a deserved internet celeb after firefighters extracted him from a giant vagina in the southwestern German city of Tübingen. According to Erick Guzman, who kindly posted snaps of the incident on Imgur, his chum decided it was a bright idea to get down and dirty with Peruvian artist …
Lester Haines, 23 Jun 2014

VIDEO SELFIE DRONE: 'AirDog' UAV follows you everywhere you go

A Kickstarter campaign to take the art of sports videography to new heights with the stalking "AirDog" quadchopper has thundered past its funding target. Described as "the world's first auto-follow action sports drone", the AirDog will lift a GoPro and then chase its owner wherever he or she runs with a programmable tracker. …
Lester Haines, 20 Jun 2014
Close-up of the canards connections, with Playmonaut a miniature fireman

LOHAN in FIGHT to DEATH with brace of cantankerous canards

Our plucky Playmonaut is back in his seat in the Vulture 2 spaceplane following the recent servo meltdown which had prompted his rapid exit from the vehicle. The miniature emergency required a servo swap-out, and while we were about it, we decided to upgrade the linkages to the canards, and bolt the cantankerous forewings to the …
Lester Haines, 20 Jun 2014

LOHAN seeks X-Plane bod for simulating relationship

If you're a dab hand with X-Plane's Plane-Maker who just happens to fancy eternal internet glory as part of the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mission, then today's your lucky day. The current state of play with our Vulture 2 spaceplane is that we've replaced the smoking servo which recently gave our plucky …
Lester Haines, 17 Jun 2014
Nick Hancock and his survival podule atop Rockall. Pic: Nick Hancock

Podule-lodged Brit nears two weeks atop ocean peak Rockall

Brit adventurer Nick Hancock is approaching two weeks in a survival podule atop the North Atlantic outcrop of Rockall in his attempt to spend 60 days on the world's remotest islet in aid of Help for Heroes. Nick Hancock and his survival podule atop Rockall. Pic: Nick Hancock Twitching: Nick Hancock and his survival podule …
Lester Haines, 16 Jun 2014

Ohio man cuffed AGAIN for shagging inflatable pool raft

The Ohio plastic lover arrested back in 2011 for engaging in "sexual activity" with a pink inflatable swimming pool raft has been cuffed again for the same offence. Edwin Tobergta, 35, was taken into custody on Wednesday after witnesses claimed to have clocked him naked and "performing simulated sex acts with a pink raft" on the …
Lester Haines, 16 Jun 2014
Neil Cardy's massive bacon sarnie from a cafe on the A90

Eating a fat bacon sarnie? Have a defibrillator handy

A study has grimly concluded that men who fill their faces with more than 75g of processed meat a day are significantly more likely to suffer a fatal heart attack. This terrifying announcement for hardcore bacon lovers is based on a 1997 examination via questionnaire of the dietary habits of 37,035 chaps from Central Sweden. …
Lester Haines, 13 Jun 2014

NASA scrubs FLYING SAUCER over Hawaii ballocket mission

NASA has scrubbed the planned test flight of its rocket-powered flying saucer - the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) - due to unfavourable wind conditions. The LDSD was due to lift off between 3 and 13 June at the US Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) on Kauai, Hawaii, to test technologies that may one day …
Lester Haines, 13 Jun 2014
The LOHAN team poses with the finished spaceplane

Spaceplane design nipper Ariadne gets a promotion

We're delighted to announce today that Ariadne - the young nipper responsible for the design of our Vulture 2 spaceplane's fetching vinyl wrap, has been promoted to "Sub-orbital aesthetics consulting engineer" for the Special Projects Bureau. To make it official, she now has her very own badge, courtesy of Chris Pyper down at …
Lester Haines, 13 Jun 2014

So, what exactly defines a 'boffin'? Speak your brains...

The recent protest by computer scientist Yossi Oren of Columbia University that he hadn't been hailed as a boffin here at El Reg prompted some lively debate at Vulture Central as what exactly defines the term. Some of us, while conceding that scientists such as Oren are indeed clever chaps, felt that his area of expertise lacked …
Lester Haines, 12 Jun 2014

US MARTIAN FLYING SAUCER tests above Hawaii: postponed

Today's planned launch of the Low Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) has been cancelled, meaning that ballocket fans have once again been denied the thrill of seeing a mighty 963,000m3 helium-filled orb lift a rocket-powered flying saucer into the upper atmosphere. NASA had its LDSD all prepped and ready to roll yesterday, …
Lester Haines, 11 Jun 2014

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