Lewis Page

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Editor of the Register, having previously been Defence/Killer-robot correspondent. Formerly an analyst and journalist on military matters: author of the book Lions, Donkeys and Dinosaurs - Waste and Blundering in the Military. Served 11 years as a Royal Navy officer: highlights included commando training, mine clearance diving, live EOD (bomb disposal) operations and discovering genuine WMDs in 2003 (in Wales).
Artist's concept of Curiosity

METEORITES, not MEN, are FROM MARS: NASA rover's shock discovery

A foolproof way of telling whether a given meteorite fallen here on planet Earth is actually from Mars has been developed, courtesy of NASA's nuclear-powered rover Curiosity prowling across the ochre landscape of our planetary neighbour. Over the billions of years that the two planets have circled the Sun in adjacent orbits, …
Lewis Page, 17 Oct 2013
Cannabis leaves

Cannabis can CURE CANCER - cheaply and without getting you high

The non-hallucinogenic parts of cannabis seem to be potentially highly effective anti-cancer drugs, according to a new study. “This study is a critical step in unpicking the mysteries of cannabis as a source of medicine," explains Dr Wai Liu. "The cannabinoids examined have minimal, if any, hallucinogenic side effects, and their …
Lewis Page, 15 Oct 2013

Now that's real science: CYBORG MONKEYS with PROSTHETIC ARMS

Exciting news on various important science and tech beats today, as we learn that boffins have achieved breakthroughs in the allied fields of brain-chipped monkeys, robotics and cybernetics. To wit, they have been working out how to equip monkeys wielding robot arms with a sense of touch. Rather than monkey, robot, or monkey- …
Lewis Page, 15 Oct 2013
Elephant

Who here needs to explain things to ELEPHANTS?

Next time you're trying to convey an idea to an elephant, it may well help to simply point to things, according to a new study. This won't always work with other species - including our close relatives the great apes - but the brainy pachyderm will, erm, get the point straight away. "By showing that African elephants …
Lewis Page, 10 Oct 2013

Basically RUBBISH 'COMET of the Century' ISON snapped by HiRISE in Mars orbit

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter circling high above the red planet has taken a break from its normal assignment of staring down at the ochre world beneath to get some snaps of Comet ISON as it passes by en route to the inner solar system. Not going to set the world on fire. Or even the sky Despite the fact that the orbiter …
Lewis Page, 04 Oct 2013

'Safest car ever made' Tesla Model S EV crashes and burns. Car 'performed as designed'

Updated Pugnacious electric car maker Tesla Motors is embroiled in another media firestorm today, after one of its new Model S EVs - touted by the firm as being the safest car ever tested by US highway authorities - suffered a serious battery fire following an accident. Youtube Video Tesla has stated that the incident began when the …
Lewis Page, 03 Oct 2013
U.S.S. Macon over New York City - 1933

Exciting MIT droplet discovery could turbocharge power plants, airships and more

Top engineers at MIT say they have come across a handy effect which could seriously boost the efficiency of a critical piece of kit used in many important technologies. The piece of kit in question is the humble water condenser, which has been in use for hundreds of years: James Watt introduced it to the earliest steam engines, …
Lewis Page, 03 Oct 2013

Scientists to IPCC: YES, solar quiet spells like the one now looming CAN mean ICE AGES

There's been criticism for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) over its latest AR5 report from many quarters for many reasons. But today there's new research focusing on one particular aspect of that criticism. The particular part of the IPCC's science in question is its accounting for the effects of changes in …
Lewis Page, 01 Oct 2013

ZERO-G DINOSAUR made from bits and bobs by space station flight engineer

An astronaut and expert robotics engineer serving aboard the International Space Station has built a dinosaur from odds and ends salvaged from around the orbiting outpost. What an expert NASA roboticist is capable of 'Naut Karen Nyberg, who currently holds the job of flight engineer on the station, is an expert roboticist by …
Lewis Page, 30 Sep 2013
Shows Henslow tree-planting in Cambridge.

'Modern warming trend can't be found' in new climate study

There's interesting news on the climate beat this week, especially given the background of the just-released IPCC AR5 report - which blames humanity for warming the planet. A new, comprehensive study examining temperatures in the Eastern Mediterranean region over the last 900 years indicates that global warming and associated …
Lewis Page, 30 Sep 2013

Boffins have constructed a new LIGHT SABRE. Their skills are complete

Top boffins in the US say they have managed to make light behave in the same way as solid matter – and they've saved us the trouble by suggesting that this is pretty much the same as building a working Jedi light sabre. "It's not an inapt analogy to compare this to light sabers," boasts Harvard physics prof Mikhail Lukin, one of …
Lewis Page, 26 Sep 2013
Step into my office...

Austerity BITES: Greece ends extra hols for civil servants forced to use hated COMPUTERS

In a sign of just how hard the austere financial climate is hitting, it has been reported that the Greek government has been forced to put an end to one of its civil servants' most treasured privileges. We speak, of course, of the Hellenic Sir Humphreys' entitlement to an extra six days a year paid holiday if they are compelled …
Lewis Page, 24 Sep 2013

DARPA: You didn't think we could make a Mach 6 spaceplane, so let us have this MACH TEN job

In this post-Space Shuttle world, it often seems that the dream of a spacecraft which could reach orbit without expensively throwing most of itself away is receding rather than drawing closer. Last time DARPA went for a spaceplane - the X-30 SSTO concept of 1984 Sure, there's the tiny X-37B "space warplane", carrying out …
Lewis Page, 18 Sep 2013

Bother! Breakdown busts bloke's bold boffin-blasted briny boat balloon bid

An IT bloke hoping to fly across the Atlantic in a small boat suspended Up-style beneath a cluster of multicoloured balloons has had his dream dashed, according to reports. Jonathan Trappe lifted off in heavy fog from the US state of Maine on Thursday, hoping that the forecast winds would carry his small yellow lifeboat …
Lewis Page, 16 Sep 2013
Concept of the 'Skytug' hybrid airship. Credit: Lockheed Martin

First rigid airship since the Hindenburg cleared for outdoor flight trials

Good news for airship fanciers this week, as it appears that the world's first rigid airship since the 1930s will soon take to the skies for flight trials: and better still, this ship has a new piece of technology which could actually change the existing landscape and permit the leviathans of the skies to return. Rigid ships set …
Lewis Page, 11 Sep 2013
The Register breaking news

Snowden journo's boyfriend 'had crypto key for thumb-drive files written down' - cops

Journalists and their associates involved in the Edward Snowden NSA leaks affair followed almost unbelievably poor security practices while handling top-secret government files, according to a statement made in court by a British official today. The hearing was looking into the case of David Miranda, the partner of journalist …
Lewis Page, 30 Aug 2013

NASA's nuclear Mars tank REBELS against human control

NASA's famous nuclear-powered, raygun-armed Mars rover Curiosity has broken free of human control and made up its own mind where to drive across the rusty plains of our neighbour world, according to boffins at the space agency who were formerly in charge of it. Mars rover Curiosity route. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech No, I WILL NOT …
Lewis Page, 29 Aug 2013

BILLION-TONNE BELCH emitted from Sun to hit Earth this weekend

It's a stormy forecast from the space met offices for this weekend, as those whose business it is to monitor these things say the Sun has coughed out a couple of hefty plasma belches in our direction and these can be expected to pelt the planet with particles in coming days. Better out than in According to NASA, which felt …
Lewis Page, 23 Aug 2013

Oh noes! New 'CRISIS DISASTER' at Fukushima! Oh wait, it's nothing. Again

The world's media is working itself into an unedifying state of hysteria (again) following the news that radioactive water has leaked from a holding tank at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, damaged two years back by a tsunami and earthquake which led to the death and injury of more than 20,000 people - though not a single one …
Lewis Page, 21 Aug 2013
Sunset in the Arctic

CLIMATE CHANGE made sea levels FALL in 2010 and 2011

Global warming and climate change are usually thought to mean that world sea levels will rise, perhaps disastrously. But according to US government boffins, in recent times (2010 and 2011, to be precise) phenomena driven by human carbon emissions have actually caused world sea levels to fall. The seas have, of course, been …
Lewis Page, 20 Aug 2013
The Register breaking news

Green German gov battles to keep fossil powerplants running

The German government is engaged in increasingly heated negotiations with energy companies in an effort to stop them closing carbon-emitting power plants which have been rendered unprofitable by the national renewables policies. Last week power giant RWE grumbled that many of its coal and gas power stations "are no longer …
Lewis Page, 20 Aug 2013

Davros liable to criticism for huge STRAW DALEK he never built

It seems certain that evil alien mastermind Davros - who as any fule kno, created the Daleks - will soon find people criticising him harshly on the grounds that he has erected a huge Dalek made of straw in a Cheshire field as a cheesy marketing gimmick. The gigantic corn-dolly daleks feared nothing ... except combine harvesters …
Lewis Page, 05 Aug 2013
Makerbot Replicator 2 3D printer

Buy a household 3D printer, it'll pay for itself in MONTHS!

Install a 3D printer in your house and it could pay for itself in just four months, a group of university engineers have claimed. This is according the Michigan Tech "Open Sustainability Technology Group" (also home to "3D Printers for Peace"). Dr Joshua Pearce and his acolytes say that anyone who uses an open source "self- …

Mystery object falls from sky, area sealed off by military: 'Weather balloon', say officials

Simply nobody will be giving any credence to officials in America who have stated that a mystery object which fell from the sky this week - after which the surrounding area was evacuated and sealed off for some time by police and military personnel - was just a "weather balloon". Reportedly, large numbers of government …
Lewis Page, 02 Aug 2013

German guardsmen growing mono-boobs from drilling with Nazi-era rifles

Tits & Guns Guardsmen serving in Germany's ceremonial display unit - the only formation which still parades with the Nazi-era service rifle - are much more likely than other soldiers to grow a single breast on the left side of their bodies, according to a medical study. Boffins looking into the matter believe that the undesired …
Lewis Page, 31 Jul 2013
RoboCop

Robot cop called in after MAD BONGER blown up in LIQUID MARIJUANA EXPLOSION

Police in Colorado Springs were forced to call in robotic assistance last week after a devastating explosion - apparently caused by a man preparing super-strong marijuana oil - struck the city. Cops were alerted to the crisis following the blast, when a man - apparently in roughly the same condition as a Disney cartoon character …
Lewis Page, 30 Jul 2013

DON'T PANIC: '$60 Trillion' Arctic METHANE SCARE is already DISPROVEN

Three academics have written an opinion piece in hefty boffinry mag Nature, saying that humanity must reduce carbon emissions hugely or methane belching from the Arctic seabed will do $60 trillion of economic damage. But the latest research suggests that Arctic methane emissions are nothing to do with rising temperatures. Gail …
Lewis Page, 25 Jul 2013

Man who pulled gun during chess game surrenders to robot cop

A man who pulled a gun on his opponent during a late-night chess game subsequently surrendered to police following the deployment of a heavily armed enforcement robot. According to the Seattle Times, a resident in the Washington town of Bellevue had invited a neighbour over for a friendly contest of brainpower across the black- …
Lewis Page, 25 Jul 2013
The Register breaking news

For pity's sake: DON'T MOVE to the COUNTRY if you want to live

People often think that the big city is a dangerous place: they worry that they might get murdered, for instance. Being killed on purpose is more likely in town, according to new research, but it is so rare compared to dying in an accident of some type that in fact you would be much more likely to die unexpectedly in the …
Lewis Page, 24 Jul 2013

MYSTERY of 19th-century DEAD WALRUS found in London graveyard

The finest specialists in British archaeology have confessed themselves baffled by the mysterious case of the dead 19th-century Pacific walrus found buried in a London graveyard. The remains of the deceased, 12-foot-long pinniped - which may have weighed as much as two tons when alive - were discovered in a coffin interred in a …
Lewis Page, 24 Jul 2013
The Register breaking news

Feeling HORNY? RHINOCEROS INCEST project underway at Cincinnati Zoo

Desperate boffins battling to save a rare and endangered species of rhino are attempting to breed the animals in captivity by mating a brother and sister. "Harapan", 6, arrived at the Cincinnati Zoo earlier in the month to meet up with his sister, "Suci", 9, with a view to reproduction. The Cincinnati Zoo is apparently a world …
Lewis Page, 22 Jul 2013

€400k-a-head Iberian Lynx mainly threatened by Spanish politics, NOT climate change

The survival of the endangered Iberian Lynx can easily be ensured, scientists report today, if only Spanish regional politicians will stop insisting on efforts to reintroduce the iconic cats into areas which are unsuitable for them. "The world's most endangered cat", according to this statement from Copenhagen university, is …
Lewis Page, 22 Jul 2013
Graphic showing past and predicted domestic energy price rises. Credit/source: RWE npower

Why you'll be paying £3,250 extra for gas and 'leccy in coming years

Analysis Almost all Britons know that their home energy bills have been climbing painfully in recent years, and many are realising that this process is now set to continue indefinitely. What's not clear is just why this is happening: some lay the blame on rising gas prices, others on profiteering energy firms. Meanwhile, apropos of …
Lewis Page, 19 Jul 2013

The facts on Trident 'cuts': What the Lib Dems want is disarmament

Analysis So now we have what the Lib Dems insisted upon when they came into government: a detailed, costed review (pdf) of alternative plans for the UK nuclear deterrent apart from simply replacing it like for like. The gold standard. And it turns out it's cheaper than silver or copper, too. Basically, it's terrible news for those who …
Lewis Page, 17 Jul 2013

'There is no scientific consensus' on sea-level rise, say scientists

There isn't enough data to say with any certainty what will happen to sea levels around the world this century, and there is no "scientific consensus" to suggest that the rate of the seas' rise will accelerate dangerously. That's according to a group of eminent specialists based in Germany, the Netherlands and the UK. Writing in …
Lewis Page, 15 Jul 2013
The Register breaking news

'Thundering mechanical behemoth' walker mech to attack Leicester today

Vid Our hearts went pitter-pat here on the Register exoskeletons, walkers and mighty roaring machinery desk just now, when we got a press release telling us that all our dreams had come true - or some of them anyway. It says: Hydraulic walking machine to thunder through botanic garden A hydraulic-powered mechanical beast will …
Lewis Page, 15 Jul 2013

US Navy robot stealth fighter in first unmanned carrier landings

Vids The last of the great barriers has fallen: an unmanned aircraft has successfully made autonomous arrested landings on the deck of an aircraft carrier. It's now plain that robots are not just as good as human pilots - they are as good as the best human pilots. As most regular Reg readers will be aware, the X-47B project kicked …
Lewis Page, 11 Jul 2013

Alex Salmond's fantasy of a tidal-powered Scotland washed away

One of Alex Salmond's ambitious dreams for an independent Scotland - that it would soon become rich by exporting clean green electricity pouring from tidal powerplants in the Pentland Firth - has been destroyed this week by new research showing that the Firth's potential output is far less than Salmond had thought. The wild-eyed …
Lewis Page, 11 Jul 2013

Climate SHOCKER: Rising CO2 is turning the world's deserts GREEN

Far from turning the Earth into a baking lifeless hell as had been thought, elevated levels of atmospheric CO2 are causing the deserts of the world to bloom with new green foliage. Fire up the patio heater and watch the world turn green! That's according to new research from government scientists in Australia, who've been …
Lewis Page, 11 Jul 2013

European Space Agency goes for mostly solid Ariane 6

The European Space Agency has announced its selection for the rocket design which will replace the mighty Ariane 5 as Europe's workhorse launch system. OK, forget power and people. You want cheap? Here it is. The planned new Ariane 6, which will fly in the early 2020s, is to employ an unusual arrangement of engines and …
Lewis Page, 10 Jul 2013

Boffins blast briny boat balloon bid as 'gross waste of helium'

A British boffinry organisation has issued a stinging rebuke to an American daredevil who plans to cross the Atlantic in a small boat suspended beneath a huge cluster of helium balloons - somewhat in the style of cartoon flying house eldster-quest aerial battle movie Up. Jonathan Trappe, who has in fact already made a flight …
Lewis Page, 09 Jul 2013

ULTRASONIC BOLLOCK BLASTERS help Hawkmoth battle The Bat

In a development whose scientific importance would be difficult to exaggerate, it has been discovered that hawk moths emit powerful ultrasonic pulse beams from their genitals in order to intefere with the sonar senses of predatory bats hunting them. As any fule kno, bats emit high-frequency sound pulses when hunting in darkness …
Lewis Page, 05 Jul 2013

Innovative solution to modern art found: Shoot it into space

The European Space Agency says it is seriously considering a plan which involves firing a piece of modern art made from a melted-down meteorite back into space. The piece of modern art in question is titled "Campo del Cielo, Field of the Sky". It is to be exhibited this summer at the Turner Contemporary gallery in the Kent …
Lewis Page, 03 Jul 2013
big red wheelie bin and pallet full of rubbish in London street

'The Apprentice' is a load of old codswallop, says biz prof

BBC "reality" TV show The Apprentice is totally rubbish and offers no lessons of any value on how to succeed in business - indeed quite the opposite - according to a professor. “The Apprentice presents the idea that you have to be sociopathic in your relations with others in order to succeed in business," fumes Professor Martin …
Lewis Page, 02 Jul 2013

Throwing arms let humans rise above poo-flinging apes to play CRICKET

The unique human ability to hurl objects such as cricket balls fast and accurately is what lifted us above our early rivals for world dominance, according to new research. "There were essentially two questions we asked – one of them was why are humans so uniquely good at throwing, while all other creatures including our …
Lewis Page, 27 Jun 2013
Credit: Badminton School

Trick-cyclist's claim: I have FOUND how to get GIRLS INTO TECH

Ever since the dawn of time, it seems, the IT sector has noticed that it is staffed almost entirely by blokes and wondered how this could be changed. Now, through the unlikely agency of a psychology professor in America, it seems that change may finally be at hand. "Understanding what prevents women from entering computer …
Lewis Page, 27 Jun 2013

Spaniards deploy self-propelled ROBOT BALLS

Yet another boon has been conferred upon suffering humanity by boffins in Spain, who have announced the successful deployment of motorised self-rolling spherical robots intended for "missions on wild environments". The rumbling ball-bot design has been dubbed ROSPHERE by its inventors at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. …
Lewis Page, 24 Jun 2013
Girl in rain

Washout 2012 summer, melty Greenland 'nothing to do with Arctic ice or warm oceans'

Last summer was a washout for us Brits, and indeed top meteorologists are meeting at the moment to find out just why. Some other odd things happened last year, too: exceptionally large areas of the Greenland ice sheet surface melted, as did record amounts of the Arctic ice cap, and ocean temperatures were high. How were all …
Lewis Page, 19 Jun 2013
lips sealed

Whoever recently showed us the secret documents: Do get in touch

We here at The Register recently got the chance to have a look at what appeared to be some most interesting confidential information, from within a large aerospace and defence contractor. We're most grateful for this. However the way the information came to us, combined with the circumstances of the case, is going to make it …
Lewis Page, 12 Jun 2013
Chewbacca

Chewbacca held up by TSA stormtroopers for having light sabre

The hated stormtroopers of the US Transportation Security Administration earned themselves another little bit of public ire over the weekend, as they briefly held up the actor who played Chewbacca in the Star Wars movies over concerns that he was tooled up with a light-sabre. However it turned out that in fact brobdingnagian 7- …
Lewis Page, 11 Jun 2013