Lester Haines

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Schlock and .aw as Dutch net registry rebrands

LOGOWATCH Admit it, for years you've regarded the Dutch net registrar SIDN as a "fairly conservative organisation", concerned mainly with administering the .nl domain. Well, we've got news for you, because Stichting Internet Domeinregistratie Nederland, to trumpet its full title, has actually evolved into a "dynamic enterprise", whose …
Lester Haines, 01 Mar 2016

Brit uni rattles tin for ultra-low latency audio board

A team from London University's Queen Mary (QM) tentacle is rattling the tin down at Kickstarter for its "Bela" - an open source "embedded computing platform developed for high quality, ultra-low latency interactive audio". Sitting atop a BeagleBone Black, the Bela cape offers "8 analogue inputs, 8 analogue outputs and 16 …
Lester Haines, 01 Mar 2016

ISS 'nauts Kelly and Kornienko homeward bound

'Nauts Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko will wrap 340 days in space tonight when they return to terra firma from the International Space Station. Kelly and Kornienko will be joined aboard the Soyuz TMA-18M capsule for the return trip to Kazakhstan by cosmonaut Sergey Volkov, who will himself have clocked up 182 days in the …
Lester Haines, 01 Mar 2016

Computers abort SpaceX Falcon 9 launch

SpaceX yesterday failed once again to get the SES-9 satellite aloft atop a Falcon 9 rocket, after the lifter's computers shut down the engines shortly after motor ignition. The Falcon 9's motors ignite We have ignition and lift.... The Falcon 9 engines shut down ...oh, no we don't The launch was first delayed by a boat …
Lester Haines, 29 Feb 2016

Raspberry Pi celebrates fourth birthday with fruity version 3

As rumoured last week, the Raspberry Pi Foundation is celebrating its fourth birthday today with the release of the Pi 3, packing a 1.2 GHz 64-bit ARM Cortex A53, 802.11n Wireless LAN capability and Bluetooth 4.1. The Raspberry Pi 3 The Raspberry Pi 3 We spoke to Pi head honcho Eben Upton last week ahead of the unleashing …
Lester Haines, 29 Feb 2016
The Pasadena Rose Bowl

California methane well leak filled a Rose Bowl a day

We're delighted to report that Phys.org has adopted the "Rose Bowl" standard for quantifying improbably large amounts of gas. In this report on the Aliso Canyon gas well blow-out which spewed vast quantities of methane into the Californian atmosphere, before finally being capped on 11 February, the website explains that at the …
Lester Haines, 26 Feb 2016

Sub-atomic boffins glimpse four-pack tetraquark

Sub-atomic boffins believe they've found evidence for the existence of a new "tetraquark" particle comprised, as the name suggests, of four quarks. Scientists working on the DZero Experiment, using data collected between 2002 and 2011 by Fermilab's Tevatron collider, sniffed for a postulated particle containing two mesons ( …
Lester Haines, 26 Feb 2016

Brit brewer opensources entire recipe archive

Scottish brewer BrewDog has agreeably released its entire recipe back catalogue, encompassing the 215 beers developed during its almost 10-year history. From humble home-brewing origins, James Watt and Martin Dickie have grown BrewDog to an international craft beer operation. Along the way, they've claimed the "world's …
Lester Haines, 26 Feb 2016

Barking spider prompts Spanish clan shoot-out

An exchange of air biscuits between two men prompted a shoot-out between rival Spanish Roma clans in the city of Torrent, Valencia, on Sunday night, which left three cuffed and four injured, two of them with bullet wounds. According to local news outlet Información, the ruckus kicked off in the street shortly before midnight …
Lester Haines, 25 Feb 2016

Lonely bloke in chem suit fuels Mars orbiter

The European Space Agency (ESA) has released a nice snap of a rather lonely figure in a chemical suit fuelling the ExoMars mission's Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO), due to launch between 14–25 March 2016 from Baikonur Cosmodrome. Man in chemical suit fuelling the TGO. Pic: ESA Easy does it. Pic: TAS-F / Y. Le Marchand ESA …
Lester Haines, 24 Feb 2016

Carolina cop cuffed for 'carjacking'

A former South Carolina cop has been arrested and charged with "Misconduct in Office" after allegedly pleasuring himself in his patrol car while eyeballing smut on his mobe. According to WISTV, Marshall Lee Hardin was in his vehicle next to Woodward Park in Camden, some 40km northeast of state capital Columbia, when he decided …
Lester Haines, 24 Feb 2016

ISS 'nauts prepare to wrap One Year Mission

ISS residents Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko are preparing to wrap their One Year Mission aboard the International Space Station, and will return to terra firma on 1 March after 340 days aloft. The focus of the pair's extended stay on the orbiting outpost was to gain detailed information on how the human body reacts to an …
Lester Haines, 24 Feb 2016

Lithium ion batteries banned from passenger aircraft holds

The International Civil Aviation Organization has declared that as of 1 April, lithium ion batteries cannot be carried in the cargo holds of passenger aircraft, pending development of "a new fire-resistant packaging standard". Back in October, the US's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it would back such a ban, while …
Lester Haines, 23 Feb 2016

NASA's Orion: 100,000 parts riding 8 million pounds of thrust

NASA has been putting its Orion capsule "crew display and control system" through its paces - a lean three-screen set-up designed as a user-friendly alternative to the "nearly 2,000 switches and controls" packed into the space shuttle. An engineer evaluates Orion’s display and control system. Pic NASA An engineer eyes Orion' …
Lester Haines, 23 Feb 2016

Ukraine has a Eurovision pop at Russia

Ukraine looks set to put the Boom Bang-a-Bang back into the Eurovision Song Contest with a jolly ditty about Stalin's forced relocation of Crimean Tatars. According to the BBC, chanteuse Jamala's 1944 is "about the tragedy that befell her great-grandmother, when the dictator sent 240,000 Tatars on crowded trains to barren …
Lester Haines, 22 Feb 2016

NASA stormed by 18,000 wannabe 'nauts

NASA has received a record 18,300 applications for its 2017 astronaut class, "almost three times the number of applications received in 2012 for the most recent astronaut class, and far surpassing the previous record of 8,000 in 1978". Once the space agency has sifted through the application mountain, it'll invite the best …
Lester Haines, 22 Feb 2016

Europe's ExoMars mission enjoys orchestral fanfare

Every proper space mission deserves a full orchestral soundtrack, so we're pleased to report that the European Space Agency (ESA) has delivered in spades for its short vid overview of the forthcoming ExoMars mission. The mission is slated to launch between 14–25 March 2016 from Baikonur Cosmodrome, atop a Proton-M lifter. On …
Lester Haines, 19 Feb 2016

Q: How many guns to arm nine coachloads of terrorists?

The BBC has made an audacious if flawed bid to establish the "coachload of terrorists" as a standard for quantifying arms caches. Back in 2014, Suffolk police found an impressive 177 rifles, 136 handguns, 88 shotguns and 38 machine guns, plus 200,000 rounds of ammunition at the home of James Arnold. So impressive was the …
Lester Haines, 19 Feb 2016

Loved one just died? Pah, that's nothing

It's said that the most stressful situations a human being can suffer are the death of a loved one, divorce, moving house, a major illness and losing your job. We might add to that living in Syria and, if mobe outfit Ericsson is to be believed, enduring a "time-to-content delay" when attempting to eyeball a vid on your phone …
Lester Haines, 19 Feb 2016

Sir Clive Sinclair in tech tin-rattle triumph

Sir Clive Sinclair has in just three days tin-rattled his way to over £160,000 towards production of the Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega+, described breathlessly as "the world’s only hand-held LCD games console with 1,000 licensed games inside that can also connect to your TV!!". Following the success of the similarly crowdfunded …
Lester Haines, 18 Feb 2016

Oz town suffers hairy panic attack

The good burghers of Wangaratta in rural Victoria are battling to reclaim their town from a nasty "hairy panic" attack which has seen their homes engulfed by an invading army of massed tumbleweed. According to 7 News, residents' homes have been smothered by the wandering seed heads of Panicum effusum, aka hairy panic - a …
Lester Haines, 18 Feb 2016

Brits unveil 'revolutionary' hydrogen-powered car

A UK startup is banking on a hydrogen-powered automotive future with its "Rasa" - a "revolutionary" vehicle whose production prototype hit the streets earlier this week. Featuring a carbon-fibre monocoque frame, four electric motors powered by an 8.5 kW hydrogen fuel cell and regenerative braking, the Rasa (as in "tabula …
Lester Haines, 18 Feb 2016

China 'evacuates' 9,000 around monster radio 'scope

China will "evacuate" 9,110 residents living within a five-kilometre radius of its new "Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope" (FAST), in order to create "a sound electromagnetic wave environment". The monster radio 'scope - located in the south-western province of Guizhou - is due for completion in September. The …
Lester Haines, 17 Feb 2016

Europe's Earth-watching satellite streaks aloft

The European Space Agency's Sentinel 3-A satellite successfully launched yesterday from Russia's Plesetsk Cosmodrome, atop a Rockot converted intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) lifter. In what was almost a "blink and you'll miss it" moment, the Earth-watching satellite departed the launchpad at a considerable rate of …
Lester Haines, 17 Feb 2016

Follow ESA's intercontinental ballistic missile launch live today

The European Space Agency (ESA) is gearing up for today's launch of its Sentinel 3-A satellite - part of the Copernicus Earth-monitoring programme. The satellite will lift off at 17:57 GMT from Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia, atop a Rockot converted ICBM. ESA will have live coverage of the event from 17:00 GMT. ESA's …
Lester Haines, 16 Feb 2016

Facebook tells Viz to f**k right off

UPDATED Facebook has "unpublished" the page pertaining to legendary Brit comic Viz, citing a breach of the social network's terms and community standards. Viz revealed the shock news on Twitter earlier today, prompting one fan to suggest: "Couldn't you disguise yourselves by posting child pornography or right wing nut job content?" …
Lester Haines, 16 Feb 2016

Ordnance Survey unfolds handy Mars map

Those of you planning a hiking holiday on Mars will be pleased to learn that Ordnance Survey has produced a handy map of the Red Planet, or at least a 3,672 by 2,721km chunk of it. OS used elevation data from the Mars Global Surveyor's Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) and official International Astronomical Union and U.S. …
Lester Haines, 16 Feb 2016
Long exposure shot showing patterns made my moving lightsabers

Virgin Atlantic co-pilot dazzled by laser

A Virgin Atlantic flight from Heathrow to New York was forced to return to London yesterday after the co-pilot was dazzled by a laser. The flight crew of flight VS205 declared a "Pan-Pan" emergency* shortly after 8pm as the Airbus A340 passed over the west coast of Ireland. The aircraft, carrying 252 passengers and 15 crew, …
Lester Haines, 15 Feb 2016

ESA's Sentinel satellite to ride converted ICBM

The European Space Agency's (ESA) Sentinel 3-A satellite will soar heavenwards tomorrow from Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia, riding a "Rockot" converted ICBM lifter. Sentinel 3-A will form part of the European Commission’s Copernicus Earth-monitoring programme. From an altitude of 814.5km, the satellite will "measure …
Lester Haines, 15 Feb 2016

Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The gargantuan Gatsby

It's February, and the weather's crap this side of the equator, so travel with us if you will to South Africa's sunny Cape Town for a wobbly dining experience so substantial it's more of a team sport than a post-pub dining exercise. Yes indeed, prepare to get your laughing gear round the "Gatsby", recommended by reader Simon …
Lester Haines, 12 Feb 2016

Philae comet lander officially dead

Scientists have glumly concluded that the Philae lander on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is almost certainly dead, and have given up trying to contact the spacecraft. Boffins have been trying to re-establish communications with the lander since July last year, when sporadic transmissions from the comet's surface were cut. …
Lester Haines, 12 Feb 2016
Our plucky Playmonaut celebrates his riches with a bevy of beauties

Argos offers 'buy now pay in 3 months' deal

If you're one of the estimated 96 per cent of Brits who lives within 10 miles of an Argos outlet,* then you've probably enjoyed the in-store tablet-based catalogue shopping experience, browsing and purchasing goods for immediate collection from the front counter. The trouble is with that, you have to pay on the spot. Shop …
Lester Haines, 12 Feb 2016
Star Wars: The Complete Saga

Health and Safety to prosecute over squashed Harrison Ford

The UK's Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has announced it will prosecute the company allegedly responsible for squashing Harrison Ford during filming of Star Wars: The Forces Awakens. Ford suffered "a broken leg and other injuries when he was struck by a heavy hydraulic metal door on the set of the Millennium Falcon" at …
Lester Haines, 11 Feb 2016

Amazon's Lumberyard invaded by zombies

A couple of days back Amazon unleashed Lumberyard - a free game engine and development tool locked into Amazon Web Services (AWS). According to the AWS Service Terms, Lumberyard's "engine, integrated development environment, and related assets and tools", known collectively as "Lumberyard Materials", "may not be run on any …
Lester Haines, 11 Feb 2016

Hold the miniature presses: Playmobil movie is go

In long-overdue news, it's been announced that 2018 will see the release of a full-blown animated Playmobil movie, the first of a planned trilogy. The $75m cinematic celebration of our fave figurines will be helmed by Lino Di Salvo, the former Disney Animation chap who headed animation on Frozen. His other credits include …
Lester Haines, 10 Feb 2016

Firemen free chap's todger from four-ring chokehold

Firemen from the Spanish town of Dénia, in Alicante, enjoyed an entertaining shout last week when they were called to remove four steel rings from the base of an unfortunate chap's todger. An unnamed 40-year-old foreigner rolled up at the local hospital in the early hours of Friday morning, unable to extract his member from …
Lester Haines, 10 Feb 2016

NASA charges up 18-prop electric X-plane

NASA is working towards getting an electric-powered multiprop experimental aircraft off the ground, with an eye to future "greater fuel efficiency, improved performance and ride quality and aircraft noise reduction". The Sceptor (Scalable Convergent Electric Propulsion Technology and Operations Research) project will …
Lester Haines, 09 Feb 2016
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un

Silent Nork satellite tumbling in orbit

North Korean "Earth observation" satellite Kwangmyongsong-4 is "tumbling in orbit", according to US officials, suggesting a second failure by Pyongyang to get a functioning satellite aloft. Kwangmyongsong-4 launched on Saturday, to widespread international condemnation. The satellite has remained silent - as did its …
Lester Haines, 09 Feb 2016
Eagle's head

Drone-busting eagles to darken Blighty's skies?

The Metropolitan Police have confirmed they're looking into deploying drone-busting eagles, a few days after a Scottish MP called for cops north of the border to investigate the possibility of using feathered interceptors to deal with growing flocks of wild UAVs. According to the Times, Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe …
Lester Haines, 08 Feb 2016

LOHAN entertains the crowd at Oz Linux shindig

Our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mission took to the stage at the linux.conf.au 2016 in Geelong last Friday, as Linux guru and Vulture 2 spaceplane autopilot wrangler Andrew Tridgell gave an entertaining speech on his currently UAV endeavours. Tridge kicked off his presentation (video here) with a look at the …
Lester Haines, 08 Feb 2016

Cisco's purple princesses gush workplace joy

The faceless drones among you whose workplace misery is compounded by the need to adhere to a strict dress code are invited to gaze with envy upon this blog post revealing that Cisco is - in contrast to its reputation as "a boring, stodgy company" - actually a hotbed of individuality, personal freedom and radical hair colour. …
Lester Haines, 05 Feb 2016

IoT lacking that je ne sais quoi? Try the IoTSP

You know how it is - you've hooked up a networked drone-sensing doorbell, Java-enabled remote control toaster and Bluetooth toothbrush, and can now determine the degree of browning of your morning slice via smartphone app from the other side of the kitchen, while commanding Smartbrush™ to order extra teeth-whitening paste for …
Lester Haines, 05 Feb 2016
Red rocket toy

NASA seeks rocketeers for annual RockOn! shindig

Registration is open for the ninth annual NASA-hosted RockOn! workshop, which runs from 18-23 June at Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The event is aimed at "university and community college participants interested in building science payloads for space flight". Working in teams of three, participants "will learn the …
Lester Haines, 04 Feb 2016
Eagle's head

Scottish MP calls for drone-busting eagles

A Scottish MP has suggested cops north of the border might consider the idea of drone-busting eagles, following recent Dutch trials of a winged anti-UAV operative. Dunfermline and West MP Douglas Chapman, who sits on the Commons Defence Select Committee, described the rising numbers of drones as "a real risk to people", "a …
Lester Haines, 04 Feb 2016

13 CubeSats to ride mighty US lifter

NASA has named seven of the 13 CubeSats which will, along with an unmanned Orion capsule, ride atop the Space Launch System (SLS) for the heavy lifter's first launch in 2018. While the principal objective of the Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1) is to carry Orion "to a stable orbit beyond the moon to demonstrate the integrated …
Lester Haines, 03 Feb 2016

Uber rebrands to the sound of whalesong confusion

LOGOWATCH Gun-toting driver on demand app thingy Uber has announced a radical overhaul of its brand frontage, involving a "more grounded and elevated" logotype, new app icons and a range of "authentic identities for the countries where Uber operates". The reworked Uber font First up, check out the reworked "Uber", which apparently " …
Lester Haines, 03 Feb 2016

For sale: One 236-bed nuclear bunker

Readers looking for a spacious pad with plenty of accommodation, plus "male and female WCs, commercial kitchen facilities, BBC audio visual broadcasting facility, conference facilities, air filtration systems, conference rooms, decontamination chambers, plant rooms and oil storage", are directed to the sale of a former nuclear …
Lester Haines, 02 Feb 2016

Firing a water rocket to 1km? Piece of cake

Our report yesterday that a water rocket formed from "2 x 2l fizzy drink bottles" may have ripped past an Airbus A321 departing Birmingham airport last year prompted some readers to mull the possibility of having a pop at the water rocket world altitude record. The current "Class A" (single stage) record stands at 825m (a …
Lester Haines, 02 Feb 2016

Danish Sith Lord fined in Galactic Republic rumpus

The Vulture Central Star Wars Saddometer maxxed out at 10 today at the news that Danish police rushed to a house in Jutland over the weekend to break up a heated argument between two teenage lads regarding the exact strength of the Galactic Republic. According to The Local, cops rolled up at the premises in Fredericia at 5. …
Lester Haines, 02 Feb 2016
Eagle's head

Dutch cops train anti-drone eagle squadron

Dutch cops are mulling the idea of a drone-busting eagle squadron - one of a range of possible methods under consideration to wrest back control of the skies from UAV hordes. Trained eagles are apparently a deadly serious proposal, and police video released over the weekend shows talons can be effective weapons against a …
Lester Haines, 01 Feb 2016