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Hitchhikers' Guide was WRONG, Earth is not in a galactic backwater

As just about any regular Reg reader knows, the Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy states authoritatively that this planet Earth lies "far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the galaxy". However, it appears that in this case the Guide is probably wrong. We learn this from new …
Lewis Page, 04 Jun 2013
The Register breaking news

Graphene QUILT: A good trampoline for elephants in stiletto heels

Fears that the radical wonder material graphene might not actually be strong enough for elephants to stand supported in mid-air on a thin film of it, on one leg, while wearing stiletto heels, have been disproven. And the material - set to revolutionise just about everything, as soon as people can figure out ways to start using …
Lewis Page, 03 Jun 2013
The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System at its rollout ceremony

UN to call for 'pre-emptive' ban on soulless robot bomber assassins

Picture this dystopian scenario. A robotic jet aeroplane takes off on a bombing mission. But this is not one of the "Predator" or "Reaper" drones in use today above Afghanistan - there's no human pilot in constant control as there is with those, and once the jet is in the air there's no way for human commanders to communicate …
Lewis Page, 30 May 2013
by high contrast (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:High_Contrast) licensed under creative commons 3.0 attribution germany https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/de/deed.en

Boffins' brilliant plan: CONCRETE COMPUTERS

At times it might seem to some of us as though the world's top boffins are slacking at their task of making our technology better and more advanced: but not today. Today we learn that some of them are on the track of something which everyone involved in IT must have been lusting after for years. Wouldn't it be nice, you must …
Lewis Page, 28 May 2013
Purple ketchup OF DOOM!

Stand by for PURPLE KETCHUP as boffins breed SUPER TOMATOES

You might find yourself banging out a blob of PURPLE ketchup onto your bacon sarnie in days come, as scientists report that they may soon have managed to create a type of heliotrope-hued super tomato, superior to the humble red variety known and loved today. “Working with GM tomatoes that are different to normal fruit only by …
Lewis Page, 28 May 2013
We don't know if Marissa made this herself

FLABBER-JASTED: It's 'jif', NOT '.gif', says man who should know

The internet - and especially the recently-sold content sausage machine Tumblr, epicentre of the animated gif rebirth - is reeling today at the news that when referring to image files formatted as .gifs one should pronounce it "jif". That's according to no less an authority than Steve Wilhite, the man who invented the Graphics …
Lewis Page, 22 May 2013
Horses in a field

EU boffins in plan for 'more nutritious' horsemeat ice cream

Brussels-funded boffins say they have hit upon a brilliant method of creating "enriched" ice-cream, fortified with "disused" animal products which are normally thrown away by the meat industry as being unfit for human consumption. A press release issued by an EU-funded "research media centre" breaks the news of the stunning …
Lewis Page, 22 May 2013

Garden fertilised by Twitter output wins Gold at Chelsea

A garden conceived by an alliance of trick-cyclists, architects and professors of "social computing" - and enabled by the wondrous power of Twitter - has won a gold medal at the Chelsea Flower Show. This is how the garden goes: The garden is divided diagonally by an autonomous-panelled screen which separates the planting of …
Lewis Page, 22 May 2013
star trek alien dinosaur space reptile gorn

Global perils of dirt, glaciers and lizardocalypse overblown, say boffins

A trio of new studies out this week have undermined three of the basic ideas underpinning the belief that the world is facing imminent doom as a result of human carbon emissions and perhaps-associated global warming in past decades. It would seem that the menaces of a runaway feedback loop driven by carbon belching from …
Lewis Page, 21 May 2013

Last time CO2 was this high, the world was underwater? NO, actually

OK, so levels of atmospheric CO2 are rising through 0.0004 (or 400 parts per million) at the moment. Disaster, right? The last time the world saw carbon levels like this, some three million years ago, the mighty ice sheets of Greenland and the Antarctic had melted from the heat and the seas were 35 metres higher than they are …
Lewis Page, 20 May 2013

Massive EXPLOSION visible to naked eye SEEN ON MOON

Sensational news today from the Moon, as skywatchers say a huge explosion - as bright as a star, and visible from Earth with the naked eye - has been seen on the lunar surface. "It exploded in a flash nearly 10 times as bright as anything we've ever seen before," splutters Bill Cooke, a top NASA boffin. According to NASA, the …
Lewis Page, 20 May 2013

Your Flying Car? Delayed again, but you WILL get it, says Terrafugia

Not long ago the famous Massachusetts startup Terrafugia caused something of a stir by releasing details of a new electric hybrid flying-car design, the TF-X - though the company is now very late in delivering even its less-radical Transition design. The Terrafugia Transition in flight tests accompanied by chase plane …
Lewis Page, 13 May 2013
Parts for the Liberator 3D printed pistol1

'Liberator': Proof that you CAN'T make a working gun in a 3D printer

People are missing one important point about the "Liberator" 3D-printed "plastic gun": it isn't any more a gun than any other very short piece of plastic pipe is a "gun". Parts for the Liberator 3D printed pistol1 You can take my Liberator ... and shove it Seriously. That's all a Liberator is: a particularly crappy pipe, …
Lewis Page, 10 May 2013

US Army engineer wins Air Assault wings after repairing hi-tech leg twice

A hard-as-nails engineer has successfully completed the US Army's tough Air Assault school despite twice having to stop and fix breakdowns in his prosthetic leg. Sergeant Robinson (left), making an effort not to tread on any toes at his graduation from Air Assault school "A disability is only a disability if you let it hold …
Lewis Page, 07 May 2013
An X-51A scramjet attached to the wing of a B-52 bomber ready for launch. Credit: USAF

Scramjet X-51 finally goes to HYPER SPEED above Pacific

The US military may have finally achieved its goal of powering a sustained hypersonic flight on relatively ordinary jet fuel, according to a report. The first X-51A and its booster rocket mounted ready for release from B-52 mothership. Credit: USAF Fourth time lucky, maybe? Aviation Week says that the fourth and final X-51A …
Lewis Page, 03 May 2013

Thousands rally behind teen girl cuffed, expelled in harmless 'explosion'

Controversial decisions by officials in Florida to arrest, charge and expel from school a teenage girl (and model student) for causing a totally harmless "explosion" by mixing household products in a plastic bottle are attracting widespread condemnation. Kiera Wilmot, 16, a student at Bartow High School in Florida, is no …
Lewis Page, 02 May 2013
Capitol By Matti Mattila licensed under Creative Commons http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

CLIMATE CHANGE forces women into PROSTITUTION - US politicians

A group of American politicians has introduced a resolution into Congress saying that climate change (among many other bad things it does) forces women into prostitution, and that as a result the USA should use "gender sensitive frameworks" in battling the scourge of global warming. House Concurrent Resolution 36 of the 113th …
Lewis Page, 01 May 2013
Shows Henslow tree-planting in Cambridge.

Another negative climate feedback: Warmer plants cool the planet

Another powerful negative-feedback mechanism which acts to reduce the effects of global warming has been identified, as scientists say that rising temperatures cause plants to emit higher levels of planet-cooling aerosols. "Aerosol effects on climate are one of the main uncertainties in climate models," explains Pauli Paasonen …
Lewis Page, 30 Apr 2013

CURSE you, EINSTEIN! Humanity still chained in relativistic PRISON

Disappointing news on the science wires today, as new research indicates that a possible means of subverting the laws of physics to allow interstellar travel apparently doesn't work. Curses! Can nothing pierce this damned rubber sheet? As we are told in a new paper just published in hefty boffinry mag Science: Neutron stars …
Lewis Page, 26 Apr 2013

Announcement of 'churnalism detector' gets furiously churned

"Churnalism" - it's terrible stuff, isn't it? When so-called journalists pick up a press release or announcement from an organisation and simply reprocess it (perhaps even cutting and pasting chunks or the whole thing verbatim), adding nothing and doing no useful analysis or investigation before placing it in front of their …
Lewis Page, 26 Apr 2013

Climate-cooling effect 'stronger than volcanoes' is looking solid

A newly discovered mechanism for cooling the planet - potentially, according to its discoverers, more significant even than the well-known chilling effects of volcanic eruptions - has now been further investigated. The mechanism in question is the action of difficult-to-study atmospheric molecules known as "Criegee intermediates …
Lewis Page, 25 Apr 2013
The Register breaking news

The fast-growing energy source set to replace oil: Yes, it's COAL

The emergence of renewable power has had essentially no effect on the amount of carbon emissions involved in energy generation, according to a new report. The new analysis is from the International Energy Agency. According to the IEA: The Energy Sector Carbon Intensity Index (ESCII) shows how much carbon dioxide is emitted, on …
Lewis Page, 19 Apr 2013
Sunset in the Arctic

Cutting CO2 too difficult? Try these 4 simple tricks instead

Climate researchers - including one working for Wendy Schmidt, the campaigning wife of Google overlord Eric - have published research suggesting that there are other things apart from cutting CO2 emissions which would help to avoid disastrous rises in sea levels this century. According to Dr Claudia Tebaldi: "Without …
Lewis Page, 15 Apr 2013
The drill's hose moves downwards

Antarctic ice sheet melt 'not that unusual', latest ice core shows

The latest ice-core analysis from the Antarctic shows that nothing unusual in terms of melting is occurring. In research published yesterday, a large team of scientists used a deep ice core from the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide to produce records going back some 2,000 years. Their analysis shown that recent melting in that …
Lewis Page, 15 Apr 2013

Want to know if that hottie has HIV? Put their blood in the DVD player

Cunning Swedish boffins have come up with a new use for the cheap technology in optical DVD drives: it can be used to carry out complex biochemical tests, even to the point of detecting HIV in a blood sample. See? It is basically a DVD player This isn't hyperbole - an actual DVD player has been converted into a laser scanning …
Lewis Page, 12 Apr 2013

German boffins aim to burn natural gas - WITHOUT CO2 emissions

Top boffins based in Germany - including a Nobel Prize laureate - believe they may be able to largely eliminate carbon emissions while nonetheless permitting the human race to use cheap and convenient fossil fuels as much as it likes: and this doesn't involve any tricky and probably expensive capturing of CO2 which must then be …
Lewis Page, 10 Apr 2013
The Register breaking news

Google offers Adwords deals - but you can't trust their numbers

Google's Adwords platform has always been something of a mystery, to put it mildly - the only certainty about it is that it makes a lot of money for Google - but nobody has caught it out using numbers which are definitely, verifiably untrue. Until now. Simples An eagle-eyed Reg reader has broken this long run of success. This …
Lewis Page, 04 Apr 2013

RAF graduates first class of new groundbased 'pilots'

The Royal Air Force is chuffed this week to announce the graduation of its first class of "remotely piloted air system pilots", who have the job of piloting aircraft they are not actually in. 'Differ only slightly' from the normal ones. Visually, anyway As regular readers of these pages will know, the RAF (with some …
Lewis Page, 04 Apr 2013
Credit: Hans Hillewaert. Licence: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

You know how your energy bills are SO much worse than they were?

The government's Department of Energy and Climate Change, with the current minister as mouthpiece, has just pushed out a report claiming that its green policies are saving us money now and will save us even more in coming decades. Can it be true? We can save the planet - or anyway reduce carbon emissions - and it not only costs …
Lewis Page, 28 Mar 2013

No, really: Austrians develop hi-tech jewellery made out of concrete

A Viennese designer has just snagged a prestigious international award for his new line of jewellery, which uses a new high-tech process to fashion the ornaments out of concrete. Can it be that I hold here in my mortal hands ... a lump of purest grey? "Concrete has incredibly beautiful aesthetics. As a material it can do a lot …
Lewis Page, 25 Mar 2013

Space probe spies MYSTERY 'Cold Spot' in very fabric of cosmos itself

Top international boffins poring over a newly-produced sky map of the microwaves released when the entire universe exploded into being out of soup have confessed themselves baffled by a mysterious "cold spot" on the chart whose existence today's science cannot explain. MYSTERY of the cosmic soup blast shine cold spot enigma …
Lewis Page, 21 Mar 2013
The Register breaking news

UK's 'Nobel prize for engineering' given to 'inventors of the interwebs'

The would-be British based "Nobel Prize of engineering" - aka the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, whose recipients can be of any nationality - has been awarded for the first time. The winners are described as the "five engineers who created the internet and the World Wide Web". According to the official announcement: …
Lewis Page, 18 Mar 2013

Drunk driving: No more dangerous than talking on handsfree mobe

Driving with an illegal or almost-illegal level of blood alcohol is often no more dangerous than taking a call using a hands-free device at the wheel, according to new research by scientists in Australia and Spain. Sumie Leung Shuk Man of Barcelona uni carried out the study in cooperation with colleagues Down Under. He and his …
Lewis Page, 15 Mar 2013

HEAVILY ARMED SEX CRAZED DOLPHINS on RAMPAGE in Black Sea

Worrying news today for any Register readers who may be in the neighbourhood of the Black Sea, as news has emerged that three elite Ukrainian navy killer dolphins, possibly armed with deadly weapons attached to their heads, have gone absent without leave in the region, apparently intent on nookie. As all habitués of these pages …
Lewis Page, 13 Mar 2013

Elon Musk's 'Grasshopper' hover rocket scores another test success

SpaceX, the radical upstart startup rocket firm helmed by PayPal hecamillionaire and geek visionary Elon Musk, has announced a further successful trial of its hovering "Grasshopper" test vehicle. According to the company: On Thursday, March 7, 2013, SpaceX’s Grasshopper doubled its highest leap to date to rise 24 stories or …
Lewis Page, 12 Mar 2013

Era of the Pharaohs: Climate was HOTTER THAN NOW, without CO2

A new study has confirmed that at the time of the Pharaohs the world's climate was significantly hotter than it now is for thousands of years - and yet the seas don't appear to have risen, nor did the various other doomsday scenarios foretold by climate alarmists take place. The new research, funded by the US government's …
Lewis Page, 11 Mar 2013

Strategic SIEGE ROBOTS defeated by 'heavily intoxicated' man, 62

In yet another sign of the continued supremacy - for the moment at least - of humanity over its machines, reports are coming in that a duo of powerful police robots has been bested in combat by an elderly American man who was "heavily intoxicated" at the time after the "strategic" enforcement machines attempted to storm his …
Lewis Page, 28 Feb 2013

World+Dog don't care about climate change, never have done

Seventeen years of continuous surveys covering countries around the world show that people not only do not care about climate change today - understandably prioritising economic misery - they also did not care about climate change even back when times were good. The new information comes in a study released by the National …
Lewis Page, 27 Feb 2013

Look out! PEAK WIND is COMING, warns top Harvard physicist

The realistic limits on wind power are probably much lower than scientists have suggested, according to new research, so much so that the ability of wind turbines to have any serious impact on energy policy may well be in doubt. Even if money were no object, the human race would hit Peak Wind output at a much lower level than …
Lewis Page, 26 Feb 2013

Tesla vs Media AGAIN as Model S craps out on journo - on the highway

Californian electric car maker Tesla Motors - well known for tangling repeatedly with the BBC (and the Register) over coverage of battery vehicles which it did not deem positive enough - is now in a row with the New York Times after one of the paper's journalists wrote a stinging review of its new Model S. Tesla Model S sports …
Lewis Page, 12 Feb 2013
The Register breaking news

British games company says it owns the idea of space marines

British company Games Workshop, well known for producing tabletop wargames and other products set in various fantasy universes, has claimed that it owns the idea of future space marines and that nobody can write books featuring astro-bootnecks* without its consent. Last December the company succeeded in getting the novel Spots …
Lewis Page, 07 Feb 2013

The truth on the Navy carrier debacle? Industry got away with murder

The Ministry of Defence is in the pillory again today, being corporately pelted for the recent unedifying sequence of events in which the Coalition government decided in 2010 to fit the Royal Navy's new aircraft carriers with catapults - and then abruptly changed its mind in 2012, reverting to the former plan which will see them …
Lewis Page, 06 Feb 2013

Under cap-and-trade, flying is greener than taking the bus

Under so-called "cap and trade" schemes designed to reduce carbon emissions, individuals will actually be acting more green-righteously by taking the plane rather than the bus, according to new research. Dr Grischa Perino of the University of East Anglia uses the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) - a typical cap- …
Lewis Page, 04 Feb 2013

Is your Surface Pro a bit full? Slot in an SD card, it's not from Apple

There's massive internet coverage today of a major "issue" with the forthcoming Microsoft Surface Pro slab, the latest attempt by Redmond to unseat Apple's iPad line from its global tablet throne. It's being widely reported that the Surface Pro arrives with a lot of its onboard storage already full up: but this is a foolish …
Lewis Page, 30 Jan 2013

Climate shocker: Carry on as we are until 2050, planet will be FINE

New research produced by a Norwegian government project, described as "truly sensational" by independent experts, indicates that humanity's carbon emissions produce far less global warming than had been thought: so much so that there is no danger of producing warming beyond the IPCC upper safe limit of 2°C for many decades. “In …
Lewis Page, 25 Jan 2013

Greenland ice SIMPLY WOULD NOT MELT in baking +8°C era 120k years ago

Scientists analysing ancient ice samples say that the Greenland ice sheet withstood temperatures much higher than today's for many thousands of years during a period of global warming more than 120,000 years ago, losing just a quarter of its mass. It had been widely suggested - by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change …
Lewis Page, 24 Jan 2013
The Register breaking news

Engineers are cold and dead inside, research shows

A study carried out by psychology researchers in Sweden has shown that people who go into engineering are less caring and empathetic than those who enter professions such as medicine. Trick-cyclist Chato Rasoal and his colleagues determined this by surveying 200 students from six different study programs, using a "well- …
Lewis Page, 21 Jan 2013
The Register breaking news

PR people 'put duty to the public ahead of employers' interests'

Public relations professionals, often thought generally to lie on a spectrum somewhere between Edina Monsoon (Ab Fab) and Malcolm Tucker (The Thick Of It) are actually "fervent about serving the public interest", and typically place their duty to the public above any loyalty to their employers. We learn this from a press release …
Lewis Page, 18 Jan 2013

Climate watch: 2012 figures confirm global warming still stalled

The two major US temperature databases have released their consolidated results for 2012, and as had been expected, global warming has failed to occur for approximately the fourteenth year running. One of the US agencies downgraded 2012 to tenth-hottest ever: it had been on track to rank as 9th hottest. The tenth-hottest result …
Lewis Page, 16 Jan 2013
Shot of a wee lass with headphones

CIOs: Don't listen to tech vendors on ICT skills, listen to US

An alliance of CIOs at some of the biggest companies and organisations operating in Britain has issued a call to action, saying that it's time the government stops listening to technology firms on IT issues and starts paying attention to the people that actually use the technology. A new report from the Education and Skills …
Lewis Page, 14 Jan 2013