Articles about Origins

Man loads in blanket into the washing machine. Photo by Shutterstock

Facebook and Google show how the world really will be blanketed in 5G

Facebook has outdone even Google recently, in its efforts to shake up the mobile industry and accelerate the delivery of broadband services (and its revenue generators) to the entire planet. This is no longer just about using balloons and new spectrum to push affordable wireless access to underserved communities. It is about …
Wireless Watch, 18 Jul 2016

Hackers steal millions from ATMs using 'just their smartphones'

Authorities in Taiwan are trying to work out how hackers managed to trick a network of bank ATMs into spitting out millions. Police suspect that two Russian nationals wearing masks cashed out dozens of ATMs operated by Taiwan's First Bank on Sunday and left the country the following day. The crooks stole an estimated T$70m ($2 …
John Leyden, 15 Jul 2016
CHILE -FEBRUARY 6: Moais in Rapa Nui National Park on the slopes of Rano Raruku volcano on Easter Island, Chile. Photo by Shutterstock

The History Boys: Object storage ... from the beginning

Backgrounder This is a terrific object storage history map from Silicon Valley object storage guy Philippe Nicolas*, who has put together a spreadsheet detailing the history of content-addressable storage (CAS**) – otherwise generally known as object storage. I have heard so many odd things about suppliers and technologies in this market …
Dwarf planet 2015 RR245

Newly spotted distant dwarf planet orbits the Sun every 700 years

Astroboffins are excited about a newly-discovered dwarf planet, despite not knowing what it looks like. The discovery of 2015 RR245 comes from the Outer Solar System Origins Survey (OSSOS), which back in March spotted alignments in Kuiper Belt Objects that fuelled the controversial “planet X” theory. The new object has so …
China keyboard, image via Shutterstock

Maybe China's on to something: Clickbait articles now need to be 'verified' by officials

China has stepped up its online censorship efforts with a declaration that from now on all news stories will need to be "verified" for accuracy. The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) has published new rules that say websites should not publish unverified news stories from social media outlets. "It is forbidden to use …
Kieren McCarthy, 05 Jul 2016
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Huawei promo photo goof

Huawei has removed a promotional image for its Leica-branded smartphones that was actually shot by a costly professional Canon SLR kit. The Google+ post boasted that, "We managed to catch a beautiful sunrise with Deliciously Ella. The #HuaweiP9’s dual Leica cameras makes taking photos in low light conditions like this a pleasure …
Andrew Orlowski, 05 Jul 2016
Big Bang

Gravitational waves: A new type of astronomy

The first time physicists announced that the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) had detected gravitational waves, on September 14, 2015, it was breaking news. The discovery coincided with the 100-year anniversary of Einstein's theory of General Relativity, which predicted the existence of gravitational …
Katyanna Quach, 20 Jun 2016
Artist's impression of Juno and Jupiter. Pic: NASA

Juno yields to Jupiter's gravitational embrace

NASA's Juno spacecraft last week crossed the Sun/Jupiter gravitational boundary and is now firmly in the gas giant's embrace. Rick Nybakken, Juno project manager at the space agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said on Friday: "Today the gravitational influence of Jupiter is neck and neck with that of the Sun. As of tomorrow, …
Lester Haines, 31 May 2016
Jason Beres, Infragistics Senior VP, Developer Tools. Pic by Tim Anderson

Microsoft's Universal Windows Platform? It's an uphill battle, warns key partner

Keeping pace with Microsoft's ever-changing developer story has not been easy. Just ask Infragistics exec Jason Beres, Senior VP Development Tools. I spoke to Beres at Gartner's recent London event on Application Architecture, Development and Integration. Infragistics sells developer tools and components and is a veteran …
Tim Anderson, 31 May 2016

Asteroid-sampling spacecraft prepped for September launch

NASA's improbably acronmyed* "Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security – Regolith Explorer" (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft has arrived at Florida's Kennedy Space Center ahead of a September launch on an asteroid-sampling mission. OSIRIS-REx will travel to near-Earth asteroid Bennu, arriving in 2018, and …
Lester Haines, 24 May 2016

NASA's stadium-sized sandwich bag overflies Oz

The NASA Super Pressure Balloon (SPB) which lifted off from New Zealand earlier this week is heading for the open Indian Ocean, having traversed the south of Australia. According to the handy tracking map, the mighty orb and its payload were earlier today travelling west at an altitude of 108,970ft (around 33,220m). The …
Lester Haines, 19 May 2016
The Incredible Shrinking Man

HPC kids find bite-sized clusters are just as chewy

HPC blog Although the teams in the ASC16 Asian Student Cluster Competition are all using the same Inspur-provided gear, there's a LOT of variety in what they built. Cluster sizes in this competition range from three to twelve nodes, with anywhere from zero to eight accelerators. Let's meet the teams who believe that smaller is better …

NASA eyes stadium-sized orb launch: Part 3

NASA is hoping to finally get off the ground with the Super Pressure Balloon mission which has been grounded twice by unfavourable winds at altitude since 1 April. The word from Wanaka Airport, New Zealand, is that there's a launch window between 9 and 11AM local time tomorrow (5 to 7PM EDT or 9 to 11PM GMT tonight). The …
Lester Haines, 26 Apr 2016
Facebook VR, photo by Facebook

Facebook's own TLS cert used by crooks in double logon phish

Netcraft security man Paul Mutton says phishers are using Facebook's TLS certificate to create a 'remarkably convincing' scam that would go unnoticed by most users. The phish uses an iframe to serve a Facebook verification form, but that form isn't from The Social NetworkTM. Instead, the form comes from an external Hostgator …
Team Register, 26 Apr 2016

US poised to unleash stadium-sized sandwich bag

NASA's long-duration super pressure balloon (SPB) mission looks to be set for launch tomorrow morning from Wanaka Airport, New Zealand, now that "forecast surface and low-level winds are aligned", as the space agency puts it. The SPB is made of "22 acres of polyethylene film – similar to a sandwich bag" and swells to a …
Lester Haines, 18 Apr 2016

Flying Spaghetti Monster is not God, rules mortal judge

A United States District Court judge has ruled that Pastafarianism, the cult of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM), is not a religion. Stephen Cavanaugh, a prisoner in the Nebraska State Penitentiary, brought the case after being denied access to Pastafarian literature and religious items while behind bars. Cavanaugh argued …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Apr 2016

1,000 cats await stadium-sized sandwich bag launch

The fourth launch of NASA's high-altitude, heavy-lift super pressure balloon (SPB) is on hold while scientists wait for a break in the weather over Wanaka Airport, on New Zealand's South Island. The SPB is designed for "ultra-long-duration flight of up to 100 days at mid-latitudes", at a more-or-less constant float altitude of …
Lester Haines, 07 Apr 2016
Water Treatment Centre pipe sluices off water. Photo by Joe Jungmann, released into the public domain

Hybrid cloud is a neat concept – but we need to be able to move data

I remember going to an HP(E) event back in 2011 (Discover Vegas, I think) when the idea of hybrid cloud and converged infrastructure was just getting going. HPE talked about the idea of “cloud bursting” – moving data and/or applications on demand into cloud infrastructure to cope with increased demand. At the time I was …
Chris Evans, 05 Apr 2016
Xamarin will now be free for Visual Studio users

Microsoft to make Xamarin tools and code free and open source

BUILD2016 Microsoft will make Xamarin tools and code, which enable compilation of Mac, Android and iOS applications using C#, free and open source, said corporate VP Scott Guthrie at the company's Build conference under way in San Francisco. Xamarin's origins are with Mono, a project created by Miguel de Icaza as an open source and …
Tim Anderson, 31 Mar 2016
Ninth planet from the Sun

'Planet nine' theory boosted by Kuiper Belt Object with odd orbit

The long-controversial notion that there's an as-yet-undiscovered “ninth planet*” has had a boost from the best kind of science: a prediction of its effects, borne out by observation. The boffins that re-opened the debate in January this year, Caltech's Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown, are feeling vindicated after a …

NASA preps stadium-size sandwich bag launch

NASA is gearing up for the fourth launch of its high-altitude, heavy-lift super pressure balloon (SPB) tech, which involves hosting a 1,025kg payload aloft under a helium-filled "pumpkin-shaped, football stadium-size balloon" crafted from "22-acres of polyethylene film - similar to a sandwich bag, but stronger". The SPB will …
Lester Haines, 08 Mar 2016

Norman Conquest, King Edward, cyber pathogen and illegal gambling all emerge in Apple v FBI

Analysis OK, we got it: Apple good, FBI bad. But seeing as the court case between these two powerful institutions is taking on ever-increasing importance, we figured it was time to actually listen to what law enforcement has to say about the case of the locked phone. And the truth is, it makes a lot of sense. Certainly enough sense …
Kieren McCarthy, 05 Mar 2016

Regular Fast Radio Burst detected outside our galaxy

Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) have gone from mysterious to intriguing, intriguing to exciting, exciting to maybe-explained, and just took a jump back to mysterious. That's because the latest observations of the Fast Radio Burst (FRB) phenomenon, published in Nature, has turned up an FRB that repeats. That suggests either that the …

HTTPS DROWN flaw: Security bods' hearts sink as tatty protocols wash away web crypto

The discovery of a HTTPS encryption vulnerability, dubbed DROWN, again proves that supporting tired old protocols weakens modern crypto systems. DROWN (aka Decrypting RSA with Obsolete and Weakened eNcryption) is a serious design flaw that affects HTTPS websites and other network services that rely on SSL and TLS – which are …
John Leyden, 01 Mar 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

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
Chick egg, photo via Shutterstock

From DNA to Twitter: Data's digital journey to commodity

Big Data and All That In attempting any technological history, one of the traditional difficulties is to know where to begin. This difficulty follows from a flawed assumption that there is a story that is linear and began in one place at one time. The real world is not like that. Technology is more like a river that has its origins in any number of …
John Watkinson, 22 Jan 2016

Russian Pastafarian wins right to bear colander

A Russian follower of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster has won the right to wear a colander on his head in his driving licence photo, although this great leap forward for Pastafarian rights comes at a price. Andrey Filin posted a triumphant tweet last Saturday, in which he declared: "The first licence with a colander …
Lester Haines, 15 Jan 2016
solar storm

Flare-well, 2015 – solar storm to light up skies on New Year's Eve

A major eruption from the surface of the Sun could give a spectacular display of the aurora borealis in time for New Year's festivities. At 1245 UTC (0445 PT) on 28 December our star belched out a coronal mass ejection from the surface in our direction. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports that a …
Iain Thomson, 30 Dec 2015
SpaceX landing

Getting metal hunks into orbit used to cost a bomb. Then SpaceX's Falcon 9 landed

Analysis Monday's historic landing of the first stage of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket is possibly the most significant event in rocketry since Apollo 8 showed we could get humans to the Moon and back safely. Landing from helo https://t.co/dYomRtG0Xs — SpaceX (@SpaceX) December 22, 2015 The Falcon rocket's first stage is hugely important …
Iain Thomson, 23 Dec 2015

Ceres' salty history hints at bright spot origin

When the Dawn mission's first photographs arrived from Ceres, everyone from scientist to conspiracist got excited about the bright spots. Now, scientists say the spots are a kind of salt that hint at subsurface water ice on the object. An analysis led by boffins from the Max Planck Institute concludes that the strong …

How business is taking the space race to new frontiers

Analysis Jeff Bezos may not have gone where no man has gone before, but in successfully landing its New Shephard rocket back on Earth, his rocket company Blue Origins has pipped ahead of rivals in the race to make space commercially viable. It’s a significant coup in the latest incarnation of the space race. And it may have given pause …
Artist's impression of Earth-Like worlds. Pic: NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI)

Future civilisations won't know how the universe formed

Scientists have estimated that a whopping 92 per cent of "Earth-like" planets have yet to be born, and inhabitants of such worlds in the far-distant future will be "largely clueless as to how or if the universe began and evolved". Those are the conclusions of a study of Hubble Space Telescope and Kepler space observatory data …
Lester Haines, 21 Oct 2015
Ben Affleck

Forget Ben Affleck – US, Euro boffins to SMASH spaceship into asteroid

NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) are working out how to use spacecraft to stop asteroids smashing into planets – Earth in particular. Youtube Video The Asteroid Impact & Deflection Assessment (AIDA) mission is composed of two separate spacecraft: ESA's Asteroid Impact Mission (AIM) and NASA-led Double Asteroid …
Iain Thomson, 07 Oct 2015
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Asus ZenPad 10 Z300C: Cheap tab, dock combo you can turn up to 11

Review If you want a top-notch Android tablet and keyboard package, buy the Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet. It's very good. But at £499 it's also very expensive. If money is tight, Asus can now offer you a superficially not dissimilar package for two hundred quid. That £300 saving suggests some major compromises, so is the Asus a bargain …
Alun Taylor, 02 Oct 2015
jigsaw_puzzle_648

Weird garbled Windows 7 update baffles world – now Microsoft reveals the truth

Windows 7 users were left scratching their heads on Wednesday when a mysterious garbled patch appeared in Windows Update, origins unknown. The update only seems to have popped up on Windows 7 systems, including Windows 7 Pro and Windows 7 Enterprise. The rogue patch, which advertised itself as a Windows Language Pack, was said …
Neil McAllister, 30 Sep 2015
processor chip-off

Eight cores good, ten cores better: MediaTek resumes Qualcomm multi-core war

Despite what Qualcomm claims, its main foe, MediaTek, claims that the core wars are not over. Qualcomm has argued – like a politician saying that “left and right is old thinking” – that it isn't about how many cores you had, but what you did with them. Qualcomm recently announced impressive performance figures for its new …
Simon Rockman, 30 Sep 2015
skull_648

Anthropology boffins solve 9,000-year-old headless body cold case

The oldest case of human decapitation has been uncovered by scientists in Brazil – some 9,000 years after the ritual was originally performed. The body was found in the rock shelter of Lapa do Santo in 2007. Amputated hands were found laid over the face of the skull, with v-shaped cut marks on the jaw and sixth cervical …
Kat Hall, 24 Sep 2015
Birthday Cake

Happy birthday to you, the ruling was true, no charge for this headline, 'coz the copyright's screwed

Good news: you can now sing Happy Birthday without fear of someone demanding you get your checkbook out. A US judge has overturned a copyright claim to Happy Birthday, declaring the seminal number is not owned by a group that includes Warner/Chappell Music, which has been collecting royalties for the song's performances. The …
Shaun Nichols, 23 Sep 2015
Tree of Life

Boffins crowdsource web for TREE of LIFE. What could possibly go wrong with that?!

A "tree of life", which depicts the relationships of 2.3 million named species on Earth, has been created by biologists. Duke University's Karen Cranston, principal investigator on the project, said: “This is the first real attempt to connect the dots and put it all together. Think of it as Version 1.0.” Researchers from …
Team Register, 20 Sep 2015
OpenOffice and LibreOffice share a common ancestry

OpenOffice project 'all but dead upstream' argues prominent user

A prominent LibreOffice user has called for the Apache Foundation to retire OpenOffice. Christian Schaller, a Red Hat Software Engineering Manager and GNOME developer, wrote an open letter to Apache saying that “the OpenOffice project is all but dead upstream since IBM pulled their developers off the project almost a year ago …
Tim Anderson, 19 Aug 2015

Post-pub nosh neckfiller: Spanish summer soother salmorejo

It's been a bit of a scorcher here in sunny Spain this summer, with temperatures at SPB HQ regularly nudging the mid-30s, and accordingly our latest nosh neckfiller is a classic dish from down south offering an agreeable chilled alternative to frying bacon and eggs on the bonnet of the car. Introducing, then, Cordoban " …
Lester Haines, 16 Aug 2015
New Lanark photo via Shutterstock

Get thee behind me, Satanic mills! Robert Owen's Scottish legacy

Geek's Guide to Britain The European Route of Industrial Heritage marks New Lanark as an anchor point in the global development of textiles and architecture, and so it is. Nestled in the Clyde Valley the village owes its existence to the falls that were harnessed to refine raw cotton sent in from the colonies: a picture-postcard image from a time …
Bill Ray, 11 Aug 2015
GCHQ Benhall doughnut aerial view

Global spy system ECHELON confirmed at last – by leaked Snowden files

Special Report Duncan Campbell has spent decades unmasking Britain's super-secretive GCHQ, its spying programmes, and its cosy relationship with America's NSA. Today, he retells his life's work exposing the government's over-reaching surveillance, and reveals documents from the leaked Snowden files confirming the history of the fearsome …
Duncan Campbell, 03 Aug 2015
supernova

Exploding 'laptop batt' IN SPAAACE! Speeding lithium spaffed by nova

Pic For the first time, astronomers have detected lithium spread across space at high speed by an exploding star. The eggheads hope this discovery will solve one of the chemical riddles of the universe. Using telescopes in Chile, an Italian team focused on Nova Centauri 2013, a nova whose light reached Earth two years ago. It is …
Iain Thomson, 29 Jul 2015
shutterstock_225964027-pizz

The modest father of SMS, who had much to be modest about

Matti Makkonen died last week and was celebrated as the father of SMS. He’s been described as being too modest to acknowledge his involvement. It seems, however, that the story of how Short Messaging came to be is far more complicated than we originally thought, and the system has many fathers. In fact, not only did Makkonen …
Simon Rockman, 08 Jul 2015
Batman: Arkham Knight

Gaming's favourite fly by night. Batman: Arkham Knight reviewed

Game Theory Rocksteady Studios has stated that Batman: Arkham Knight is the last game of the franchise. Fans are in for a real treat. I really enjoyed Batman: Arkham City (2011) with its sense of progression but then thought the shock gloves were excessively overpowered in Batman: Arkham Origins (2013), making combat heavy handed. Batman …
Lucy Orr, 22 Jun 2015
Glorious future of China

Chinese snoops try tracking VPN users with fiendish JSONP trickery

Snoops are exploiting vulnerabilities in China’s most frequented websites to target individuals accessing web content which state censors have deemed hostile. Even users who run VPN connections to access websites that are blocked by China’s censorship technology, often called the Great Firewall (GFW), are potentially being …
John Leyden, 16 Jun 2015
Angela Merkel. Pic: Christliches Medienmagazin

Germany drops probe into NSA's Merkel phone-hacking

German attorney general (Generalbundesanwalt) Harald Range has dropped the investigation into spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel because the allegation could not be proved by “legally watertight means.” In October 2013, media reports suggested that the US National Security Agency (NSA) had snooped on Mutti’s phone. …
Jennifer Baker, 12 Jun 2015

Do you use Hola VPN? You could be part of a DDoS, content theft – or worse

Embattled "free" VPN provider Hola is facing criticism over its practice of turning its users into exit nodes in a paid-for anonymisation service which can easily be used for nefarious activities. Hola's software is also claimed to include "unpatchable" vulnerabilities allowing takeover of user machines. As the Register …