Bootnotes > More stories

verity stob portrait

The harbingers of Doomwatch: Quist is quite the quasi-Quatermass

Stob "Plastic-eating bugs [...] could help solve the global plastic pollution crisis," was the Guardian's rather chirpy take on this story, triggering the recollection of a childhood nightmare. I inhaled my mouthful of coffee. The office youngsters couldn't understand my panic. "It's the Doomwatch scenario!", I coughed. "The skies …
Verity Stob, 21 May 2018

Blood spilled from another US high school shooting has yet to dry – and video games are already being blamed

Comment Once again, a mass murderer has opened fire at a school in America – this one is Santa Fe High School in Texas – and video games are already being blamed. Rather than, oh, say, gun control, or the lack thereof. Details are still coming in. The attack happened just a few hours ago. At this stage, it appears nine students and …
Iain Thomson, 18 May 2018

Flamin' Nora! Brit firefighters tackle blazing fly-tipped boat

Boatnotes The UK's battle with fly-tipped vessels reached new heights last night after a fishing boat was set ablaze in northern England. Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service said they had been called to a quarry in the area after reports of a fire and found a burning boat on a trailer. A crew from #SunderlandCentral Fire Station have …
Rebecca Hill, 18 May 2018
A man holds in his poo while looking at the toilet

Want to know what an organisation is really like? Visit the restroom

Something for the Weekend, Sir? I like to hang out in company toilets. That's not to say I linger long after the shake-off – I'm no washroom loiterer – but I do enjoy the visit. It's because I am curious. As an itinerant freelancer, my work takes me to a variety of tech-savvy business premises. And while small companies each have their own style of office …
Alistair Dabbs, 18 May 2018
after-party mess

Bowel down: Laxative brownies brought to colleague's leaving bash

Leaving parties can be an opportunity for more anally retentive colleagues to loosen up and go with the flow. But one woman took that to an extreme by bringing laxative brownies to a send-off bash. The 47-year-old from Michigan lost her job after police discovered she put purgatives in a departing co-worker's going-away …
Kat Hall, 16 May 2018
smashed windscreen

Airbus windscreen fell out at 32,000 feet

An Airbus A319 operated by China’s Sichuan Airlines lost one of its cockpit windshields at 32,000 feet on Monday, but was able to land safely. As reported by the Civil Aviation Administration of China’s south-west region, flight 3U 8633 from Chongqing to Lhasa took off as expected, reached its cruising altitude of 32,000 feet …
Simon Sharwood, 15 May 2018

German IKEA trip fracas assembles over trolley right of way

Weekend shoppers can now add trolley rage to the list of reasons to avoid their local IKEA store after an altercation in southeastern Germany ended up with a visit to hospital. The fracas in Eching, on the outskirts of Munich, reported in Bavarian local papers Echinger Zeitung and Merkur began with an argument over which …
Richard Speed, 14 May 2018

You've got pr0n: Yes, smut by email is latest workaround for UK's looming cock block

Web-dwellers who don't use Tor but are worried about the UK's impending smut block interrupting their viewing habits have been offered a simple way to satisfy their urges – porn by Email. The idea is a two-fingered salute to the government's decision to require all sites hosting adult content to set up age-check gateways to …
Rebecca Hill, 14 May 2018
A picture of a US mail box

Chap charged with fraud after mail for UPS global HQ floods Chicago flat

A man is facing charges of theft and fraud after the mail of parcel delivery service UPS was redirected to his home address. Dushaun Henderson-Spruce, who lives in a one-bedroom garden apartment in Chicago, allegedly began the scheme back in October and wasn't rumbled until January this year. According to The Chicago Tribune …
Rebecca Hill, 11 May 2018

Zookeepers charged after Kodiak bear rides shotgun to Dairy Queen

Canadian law enforcement is bearing down on a pair of zoo owners whose wild trip to the local Dairy Queen wasn't quite the Kodiak moment they'd hoped for. Doug Bos and Debbie Rowland, who own the the Discovery Wildlife Park in Innisfail, Alberta, have been charged under the Wildlife Act after they took a one-year-old bear to …
Rebecca Hill, 10 May 2018
Hairy-nosed wombat - Shutterstock

Australian foreplay: Bum-biting in an underground hole

Wombats generally get tagged as #cute in social media images, but on dates things can get, umm, hairy, with boffins reporting bum-biting as a prominent mating behaviour. If a male Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombat runs down a female in a burrow, he's confronted with a challenge: the marsupials' ample, muscular, and extremely solid …
Man lights his cigar with a $100 bill

Yes, people see straight through male displays of bling (they're only after a fling)

If you're male, and splash your cash on fast cars and shiny things, then those around you likely think you're more interested in a short-term fling than something more romantic, according to a new study. The study, published in Evolutionary Psychological Science, took a group of diverse US undergraduate students and presented …
Richard Speed, 08 May 2018
The Black Knight, defeated

New Monty Python movie to turn old jokes into new royalties

When legendary comedy troupe Monty Python staged “Live (Mostly): One Down, Five to Go” in 2014, its surviving members filmed themselves taking what they promised would be their final bows together. So how can we then speak of a new Python movie in the headline? Because, according to entertainment industry outlet Deadline, the …
Simon Sharwood, 08 May 2018
Man ties laces on running shoe pre-jog. Photo by Shutterstock

Mystery crapper comes a cropper

A phantom plopper was literally caught with his pants down after New Jersey cops arrested a top education chief in the act of dropping the kids off... just not at the pool. Thomas Tramaglini, a school superintendent at Kenilworth, was detained after investigators conducted a sting operation to snare the secret shitter on a …
Kat Hall, 04 May 2018

The steaks have never been higher: Swiss Lidl is selling local cannabis

Budget supermarket chain Lidl, best known for giving shoppers greater bhang for their buck, is offering a more... high-end product. Swiss customers can now purchase two products derived from hemp flowers as an alternative to rolling tobacco. Lidl's supplier, a startup called The Botanicals, has grown the hemp flowers …
Kat Hall, 03 May 2018

Texas residents start naming adopted drains

The good folk of Houston, Texas have started naming their adopted drains, as part of a community project seeking sponsorship of the city's water discharge system. Monickers so far have included "Masshole", "It's Draining Men" and "Sir Drains a Lot", according to the Houston Chronicle. The city's Adopt-A-Drain Program was …
Kat Hall, 03 May 2018

No top-ups, please, I'm a millennial: Lightweight yoof shunning booze like never before

New official drinking statistics confirm that millennials are more sober than their lush parents – and drink less than any other age group. The Office of National Statistics reports that teetotalism is rising among all age groups under 44 and declining with the over-65s. Despite the lurid headlines, Britain is in fact drying …
Andrew Orlowski, 02 May 2018
Marvel's Avengers:Infinity War still shot

Avengers: Infinity War: More Marvel-ous moolah for comic film-erverse, probably

Movie franchises generally follow the law of diminishing returns. Christopher Reeve’s iconic first turn as Superman made $170m more than his second and a positively heroic $500m more than his fourth. Josh Brolin's Thanos reprises his role as villain But Marvel’s carefully constructed Cinematic Universe – owned by Disney –, …
Michael Moran, 26 Apr 2018

There's just one month left 'til the big day: May 25... but don't panic!

Today, 25 April, marks exactly one month until a truly momentous milestone - but an exclusive El Reg analysis* has revealed that as many as 42 organisations are not yet full of froods. Next month, certain bodies – no matter whether they're at the Restaurant at the End of The Universe or Lord's Cricket Ground – should be ready …
Rebecca Hill, 25 Apr 2018
Kim Wall - Facebook

Danish submariner sent down for life for murder of journalist Kim Wall

The Danish submarine innovator who murdered journalist Kim Wall has been handed a life sentence by a Copenhagen court. Peter Madsen was pronounced guilty and sentenced today by judge Anette Burkoe at the end of his 12-day trial for murder. Madsen had given the Copenhagen City Court three separate explanations of how Wall died …
Gareth Corfield, 25 Apr 2018
Skeleton Using Cell Phone

Bungling cops try to use dead chap's fingers to unlock his smartmobe

Detectives from Largo, Florida, visited a funeral home in nearby Clearwater and tried, unsuccessfully, to unlock a phone with the hand of its deceased owner to aid an investigation. Thirty-year-old Linus Phillip was shot and killed by a Largo police officer in March. His fiancée, Victoria Armstrong, was at the funeral home …
Richard Speed, 23 Apr 2018
A group of Playmobil pirates

Drama brews on high seas as Playmobil ship running out of steam

A Playmobil pirate ships's journey to the Caribbean sea risks being scuppered as its supplies run low. The vessel, named Adventure by two Scottish brothers – Ollie Ferguson, 8, and Harry, 5 – and their family, set sail from the west coast of Africa last year. It was edging closer to Guyana when the brothers' dad, MacNeill …
Rebecca Hill, 20 Apr 2018
Suitcase full of money

Tech bribes: What's the WORST one you've ever been offered?

Some tickets to a Bros reunion gig in return for a favourable article? £1,500 to do a straight rewrite of a press release? Or some "free" man perfume from Kaspersky called Eau d'Eugene. Just what would you accept as a gift bribe to do someone's corporate bidding? OK – I'll 'fess up – Reg Towers was not invited to glory in some …
Paul Kunert, 20 Apr 2018
Statler and Waldorf - copyright - The Walt Disney company - the muppets studio

There is no perceived IT generation gap: Young people really are thick

Something for the Weekend, Sir? Blank faces abound. No, not all are blank: some are horrified, revolted even. What did I say? Security is swiftly called. The usual routine, I think, as a pair of uniformed bouncers slip unhurriedly into the open-plan office, fire doors swinging gently behind them. But no – they come to a halt several paces in front of me and …
Alistair Dabbs, 20 Apr 2018
measuring tape

Size does matter, chaps: Oversized todgers an evolutionary handicap

A study published by Nature this month suggests less is more when it comes to male genitals and species survival. Sexual dimorphism – the differences between males and females – usually helps males attract mates. Peacocks are a good example of where a male expends a lot of energy producing plumage to catch the eye of a passing …
Richard Speed, 18 Apr 2018
Lisa Su

Car-crash television: 'Excuse me ma'am, do you speak English?' 'Yes I do,' replies AMD's CEO

Some of us love watching Formula One for the prangs and crashes – but we don't really expect them to happen before the race even begins. Yet, that's the only way to describe a live TV interview at the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix on Sunday, which went embarrassingly wrong. Former Formula One driver and Sky Sports telly …
Iain Thomson, 16 Apr 2018
Men drink beer, play with cellphones / mobile phones

UK pub chain Wetherspoons' last call: ♫ Just a spoonful of Twitter – let's pull social media down ♫

There's only one reason to head to cheap 'n' cheerful UK pub chain Wetherspoons and it is about to be taken away. No, we're not talking about the cheap beer, ever-shrinking menu options, or politically nuanced beer mats. As any 'Spoons aficionado will testify, the main reason to patronise this most functional of drinking …
Kat Hall, 16 Apr 2018
Boy slapping another boy on the head

The first rule of maths class: Don't start a fight club

A bored substitute maths teacher from Connecticut has been cuffed for allegedly starting a fight club in his lessons. Ryan Fish, 23 years old, was charged with two counts of risk of injury to minors, four counts of reckless endangerment, and breach of peace for allegedly supervising fights during October 2017. Police were …
Kat Hall, 13 Apr 2018
man reads tablet on the toilet. Photo by Shutterstock

Best thing about a smart toilet? You can take your mobile in without polluting it

Something for the Weekend, Sir? A man on the internet wants me to take a look at his ring. He claims his ring detects hand gestures. Apparently with one flourish of the fingers, it will open up and let you in. His ring supports input as well as output. You can store things in it. It accommodates accessories. He uses it as a means of payment in lieu of cash …
Alistair Dabbs, 13 Apr 2018
Donkey Kong

Donkey Wrong: Arcade legend Billy Mitchell booted from record books amid MAME row

Legendary video arcade games player Billy Mitchell will be wiped from the gaming industry's official list of record high scores. List maintainers Twin Galaxies announced on Thursday they will remove all of Mitchell's high scores from their books, including his once-world-beating three million-point Donkey Kong scores, and will …
Shaun Nichols, 12 Apr 2018
Tape over mouth, image via Shutterstock

'Dear Mr F*ckingjoking': UK PM Theresa May's mass marketing missive misses mark

Britain's ruling Conservative Party was today forced to apologise to an elderly couple that received a letter, signed from the PM, addressed to a Mr Youmustbe F*ckingjoking. The letter was posted on Twitter this week by Laura McCormack, who said it had been passed to her by her neighbours. Trying to argue they can run the …
Rebecca Hill, 12 Apr 2018
two people 'appreciating' art in a gallery... look a bit pretentious doing so.

Penis pothole protester: Cambridge's 'Wanksy' art shows feted

A Cambridge-based protester has been heralded for daubing penises around potholes - the latest in a rising trend of phallic crater painters. On the Facebook page created in the prankster's honour, one local described the hazardous cavities as "an absolute disgrace". She said: "I put an official complaint in at least 3 months …
Kat Hall, 11 Apr 2018

Snubbed R Us: Microsoft eschews Vulture Consultants in Playmobil tech research

Despite a failure to consult Reg Playmobil academia, Microsoft Research has unleashed new toy findings: a playmat for little ones that combines capacitive sensing, Near Field Communication (NFC), a kid-friendly user interface and Playmobil. Revealed: Google's SECRET London office READ MORE In Project Zanzibar, objects ( …
Richard Speed, 11 Apr 2018
Lord Kitchener pointing at reader

El Reg needs you – to help build an automated beer-transporting robot

The Register needs to build a robot capable of transporting multiple pints of beer without spilling a drop. Can you help? Vulture Central has moved to a shiny new shared collaboration space in central London, which, among other exciting advances, features a selection of beers to refresh thirsty hacks, weary from a day of …
Richard Speed, 11 Apr 2018
women in bathrobes look shocked

German sauna drags punters to court over naked truth

A steamy romp in a sauna – like there's any other kind – has landed two alleged canoodlers in hot water. The unnamed duo were yesterday taken to court by the owners of spa complex Badewelt, based in, er, Sinsheim, south Germany, after they refused to cough a €600 fine for supposed fruity behaviour in the changing rooms, The …
Paul Kunert, 10 Apr 2018
salsa + ingredients

Fear the Reaper: Man hospitalised after eating red hot chilli pepper

A man had to be taken to hospital after eating one of the world's hottest peppers in an eating contest, it has emerged. The 34-year-old was rushed to an emergency room in New York after developing "excruciating" pain from eating the Carolina Reaper, according to a report in the British Medical Journal this week. The chilli …
Kat Hall, 10 Apr 2018

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2018