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Lester Haines

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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
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