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Boffins turns landfill WinPhones into microscopes

Four University of Houston researchers say ordinary phone cameras can be turned into microscopes comparable with a US$15,000 device, by using lenses worth three cents apiece . Yu-Lung Sung, Jenn Jeang, Chia-Hsiung Lee, and Wei-Chuan Shih created a budget lens able to hone in on human skin to a magnification level of 120 using a …
Darren Pauli, 6 May 2015
Big Bang

In a galaxy far, far, far away ... Farthest ever star system discovered

Pic Astronomers at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii have spotted the farthest galaxy on record – a galaxy 13 billion light-years away that formed 670 million years after the Big Bang. Youngest galaxy yet found I've seen things you people wouldn't believe... (click to enlarge) Several very old galaxies were detected by the …
Iain Thomson, 5 May 2015
A humpback whale shows its open mouth as it breaches the surface of the sea.

EXTREME FEEDING: BLUE whales' gluttonous gobbling of fishy fluids

Marine mammal boffins are less baffled by blue whales, having discovered that stretchy nerves allow the beasts to gobble the gallons upon gallons of water and food they are famous for guzzling. In a paper with the pleasantly explicit title "Stretchy nerves are an essential component of the extreme feeding mechanism of rorqual …

French BIONIC EYE sits IN your peeper, feeds infrared light into nerves

A photovoltaic visual prosthesis developed by a French team of cyborg shepherds will be powered by the infrared light it receives as it sits inside your eyeballs. The infrared light, beamed to the prosthesis through some cyberpunk-looking goggles, is then propagated through the user's (undamaged) optical nervous system to …
Relative shapes and distances from Mars for five active orbiter missions plus the planet's two natural satellites. I

Mars needs TRAFFIC COP to stop probe prangs, says NASA

NASA has “beefed up” the processes it uses to stop orbiters around Mars from colliding with each other, after two orbiters came within two kilometres of each other in early January. Humanity currently has five live orbiters around the red planet, namely NASA's MAVEN, Mars Odyssey and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), plus …
Italy's first woman in space enjoys espresso on the ISS

Italian ISS trekkie sips first zero-G cup of espresso in SPAAAACE

The ISS now has a functioning espresso machine and it was Italy's first woman in space, astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, who got the first shot – although not before donning a Star Trek uniform for the occasion. "Coffee: the finest organic suspension ever devised." Fresh espresso in the new Zero-G cup! To boldly brew... pic. …
Iain Thomson, 5 May 2015
Isambard Kingdom Brunel, credit: Brunel Museum

Bridge, ship 'n' tunnel – the Brunels' hidden Thames trip

Geek's Guide to Britain When you mention Brunel to most people, they think of the one with the funny name – Isambard Kingdom Brunel. A few folks will know that his father Marc Isambard Brunel was the first famous engineering Brunel, but not many will know that Isambard's own son, Henry Marc Brunel, was also an engineer and finished some of Isambard’s …
NRAO's artist impression of PSR J1930-1852

High school students' record-setting pulsar STUMPS BOFFINS

A bunch of high-school students has turned up a record-setter in the world of astro-boffinry: a pulsar with the biggest-ever orbit around a neutron star. That's exciting to astrophysicists, because the orbital oddity creates a new set of boundaries for such objects – and thus, a new line of investigation to help understand them …
Bostrom drinking coffee. Image credit: Ken Tancwell under creative commons attribution-share alike 4.0 international licencelicence

Meet the man who inspired Elon Musk’s fear of the robot uprising

Exclusive Interview Swedish philosopher Nick Bostrom is quite a guy. The University of Oxford professor is known for his work on existential risk, human enhancement ethics, superintelligence risks and transhumanism. He also reckons the probability that we are all living in a Matrix-esque computer simulation is quite high. But he’s perhaps most …

Bonny Scottish post-pub nosh neckfiller: Rumbledethumps

It's been far too long since we at the El Reg post-pub nosh team ventured north of the border in search of the very best wobbly dining haute cuisine, and indeed it was way back in 2012 that we served readers the very pinnacle of Scottish fusion cuisine – the quite remarkable haggis pakora. This simply won't do, so at the behest …
Lester Haines, 3 May 2015
scanners

Shields up! Shields up! ASTRONAUTS flying to MARS will arrive BRAIN DAMAGED, boffins claim

A NASA-funded study into the effects of long-term space travel has a troubling conclusion: astronauts going to Mars could arrive with brain damage. The research, conducted by the University of California Irvine and published in the Science Advances journal, involved bombarding mice with ionised oxygen and titanium nuclei for six …
Iain Thomson, 2 May 2015

Quantum CPU upstart D-Wave drills into physics simulations to boost vital magnetic shielding

Physics upstart D-Wave has shed some light on its work simulating quantum computer processors to improve their performance and capabilities. Canada-based D-Wave builds chips made up of 512 superconducting semiconductor circuits called qubits, which are run at ultra-high frequencies in absolute-zero temperatures with minimal …
Team Register, 1 May 2015

Quid-A-Day Nosh Posse chap in 'desperate' cash shortage

As the El Reg Quid-A-Day Nosh Posse nears the finishing line of the Live Below the Line challenge, Stateside member Richard Jacob reports that he and his family are "desperately short of money", reduced to just $1.52 to fuel them to the finishing line. It's been quite an adventure for the Jacobs over the last week, and with a …
Lester Haines, 1 May 2015
Terminator head

ZuckerBorg assimilates Microsoft boffins into potentially world-threatening FART

The ZuckerBorg has assimilated yet more humans from academia and industry into its Facebook Artificial-Intelligence Research Team (FART). Facebook claims their work will focus on several aspects of machine learning, with applications to image, speech and natural language understanding. The free global ad platform announced that …

El Reg merch tentacle mulls retro LOHAN T-shirt

The chaps and chapettes at El Reg merchandising tentacle Cash'n'Carrion have been strapping a few ideas to the apparel ducking stool to see if they float, and have just sent over a couple of pics of a proposed Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) T-shirt in a retro comic book stylee. It's pretty fetching, we reckon, …
Lester Haines, 1 May 2015
Cthulu springs from desktop printer

Strange alien-like life zones found beneath Antarctic glacier

Back in March, we reported on “Blood Falls”, a peculiar spot in Antarctica stained red by hypersaline brine. Despite being ever-so-salty, the waters that fuel Blood Falls show signs of hosting microbial life. The boffins behind that report reckoned that the pools of brine that leak out from beneath Taylor Glacier to make Blood …
Blue Origins

Amazon boss Bezos' Blue Origins declares test flight 'flawless' ... if you overlook one snafu

Video Blue Origins, the rocket company started by Amazon supremo Jeff Bezos, has staged its first test flight – with mixed results. Youtube Video The New Shepard rocket launched from the firm's test site in Texas on Wednesday – although word of the blastoff emerged on Thursday afternoon. It reached its target altitude of 307,000 feet …
Iain Thomson, 1 May 2015
messenger

NASA's Messenger craft SMASHES into Mercury: See ya later, alien crater

Pic NASA's Messenger space probe has slammed into the planet Mercury at 3.9km per second (8,724mph) – creating the first human-made crater on the innermost planet of our solar system. Well I guess it is time to say goodbye to all my friends, family, support team. I will be making my final impact very soon. — MESSENGER (@ …
Iain Thomson, 30 Apr 2015

Heroic Quid-A-Day Nosh Posse tighten their belts

It's day four of the El Reg Quid-A-Day Nosh Posse's five-day Live Below the Line challenge, and while everyone is on course to triumphantly cross the finishing line tomorrow night, it's not all plain sailing. We've got 13 people tightening their belts in support of Malaria No More UK. I'm doing the challenge for the third …
Lester Haines, 30 Apr 2015

Brits send Star Wars X-wing fighter to the stratosphere

A couple of Brits have made a cheeky pitch for tickets to the premiere of forthcoming Star Wars flick The Force Awakens by sending a model X-wing fighter into the stratosphere. Essex boys Matt Kingsnorth and Phil St. Pier, of Project Helium Tears (motto "For Essex, for Earth, for all mankind") hit 36,190m with their diminutive …
Lester Haines, 30 Apr 2015

BATWINGED DINO-PIGEON causes FLAP in bone-boffinry circles

Chinese dinoboffins have announced the discovery of one of the oddest creatures that may have ever attempted flight. The critter lived during the Jurassic Period, about 160 million years ago, 10 million years before the appearance of the first bird. The pigeon-sized reptile, named Yi qi ("E-chee") or Strange Wing in Mandarin, is …
pluto

NASA spies weird glow from Pluto's FRIGID pole

Pic NASA's New Horizons space probe has beamed back photos that seem to show that dwarf planet Pluto has a strange effulgent spot on its pole. Pluto's icy pole The pole shows up as a bright spot on the right of the image The spacecraft is more than 60 million miles away from the tiny world. New images released by NASA at a press …
Iain Thomson, 30 Apr 2015
Uni Geneva Quantum RNG

Geneva boffins make light work of random numbers

“How good is your random number generator?” is a pretty ticklish question in cryptography that a bunch of Swiss quantum bods have set out to answer. The history of crypto is littered with examples of buggy random number generators, so the group at the University of Geneva have set out to create a self-testing quantum RNG that …

Calamity cargo capsule DOOMED: Space station pod in fireball re-entry

Vid Roscosmos has written off the Progress supply capsule that was supposed to deliver tons of cargo to the International Space Station. The Russian space agency said the out-of-control craft will burn up within days as it falls back to Earth. Youtube Video Igor Komarov, head of Roscosmos, told a press conference on Wednesday that …
Iain Thomson, 29 Apr 2015
Night sky over Hawaii

ROBOT telescope discovers ENORMOUS planetary neighbours

A robotic telescope enslaved by the will of astroboffins has done their bidding and discovered three "supersized Earths" orbiting a star in our galactic neighbourhood. Based at Lick Observatory, the robotic telescope scans the sky every night in search of new Earth-like planets for colonisation study. In a freely available paper …
Layout of IBM's four superconducting quantum bit device. Using a square lattice, IBM is able to detect both types of quantum errors for the first time. This is the best configuration to add more qubits to scale to larger systems. (Credit: IBM Research)

Big Blue boffins claim quantum computing measurement leap

+Vid IBM has claimed major breakthroughs in quantum computing after boffins in Big Blue's lab demonstrated the ability to simultaneously detect and measure bit-flip and phase-flip quantum errors for the first time. Additionally, they revealed a new, square quantum bit circuit design that, the researchers believe, is "the only …
Kelly Fiveash, 29 Apr 2015

Anonymous benefactor to match today's Quid-A-Day donations

A Register reader who wishes to remain anonymous has said he will match all donations today to the El Reg Quid-A-Day Nosh Posse's 2015 Live Below the Line fundraising total in aid of Malaria No More UK, up to a maximum of £750. This piece of generosity was apparently prompted by the belief that other fans of Vulture Central have …
Lester Haines, 29 Apr 2015
sniper

DARPA's made a SELF-STEERING 50-cal bullet – with video proof

Vid The military boffins at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have shown off how the latest version of their "steerable bullet" lets a complete novice hit a distant target with pinpoint accuracy. EXACTO Live-Fire Tests, February 2015, DARPA The firearms program, dubbed the EXtreme ACcuracy Tasked Ordnance ( …
Iain Thomson, 29 Apr 2015
Super Pressure Balloon overhead in Victoria

NASA 'UFO' pops a leak, lands in outback Australia

NASA has terminated the flight of its Super Pressure Balloon after one-third of its planned flight. While the aviation agency's Wallops Flight Facility is pleased that the balloon made a near-circumnavigation in its 32 days aloft, the mission was originally planned to last 100 days. “Controllers detected a leak developing in …

MAYHEM in ORBIT: Russian cargo pod spins OUT OF CONTROL

Video Russian space boffins have lost control of a Progress cargo capsule which had been due to deliver 6,000lb of supplies to the International Space Station. The crazy podule is spinning and tumbling in orbit above the Earth as controllers try to establish contact with it. Youtube video The Progress 59 space-mule lifted off …
Iain Thomson, 28 Apr 2015

Quid-A-Day kids chow down on foraged weed salad

We at the El Reg Quid-A-Day Nosh Posse headquarters received the first full report from team member Nathan Dennis yesterday afternoon, shortly after he got stuck into the Live Below the Line challenge in aid of Malaria No More UK. Regarding his basic line of attack as to how to survive on £1 a day for food, he said: "Given I do …
Lester Haines, 28 Apr 2015

Quid-A-Day veteran fuelled by vastly improved nosh stash

We're pleased to report that El Reg Quid-A-Day Nosh Posse member and 2014 Live Below the Line veteran Toby Sibley has resurfaced, fuelled by a vastly superior diet to that which saw him subsist on a meagre 780 calories per day last year. Toby did the challenge in the immediate run-up to his getting hitched to Rosalind Griffin, …
Lester Haines, 28 Apr 2015

TURKEY-SIZED 'platypus' T. REX found by kid BAFFLES boffins

Baffled bone boffins are puzzled by the discovery of a diminutive new vegetarian dino in Chile which, they say, was closely related to the infamous meat-eating Tyrannosaurus rex. Chilesaurus diegosuarezi. Image credit: University of Birmingham Chilesaurus diegosuarezi. Image credit: University of Birmingham Specimens of the …
Kelly Fiveash, 28 Apr 2015
spacex

SpaceX in MONEY RING shot, no spare juice for tail backdown this time

Pic For the second time in a month, Elon's Musk-eteers at upstart rocket startup SpaceX have fired cargo into space – this time delivering the first satellite owned and operated by the former Soviet republic of Turkmenistan. The launch was delayed slightly due to thick overhead clouds and thunderstorms in the area, but a gap in the …
Iain Thomson, 28 Apr 2015
Night sky over Hawaii

Eco-loons hack Thirty Meter Telescope website to help the 'natives'

A cyber attack downed the Hawaiian Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT)'s official website for two hours in protest against the construction on Mauna Kea. A group called Operation Green Rights, claiming to be affiliated to Anonymous, launched a primitive DDoS attack on the TMT and Hawaiian government sites, posting trophy screen grabs …
Simon Rockman, 27 Apr 2015

Quid-A-Day Nosh Posse taunted with sausage sarnie snap

The El Reg Quid-A-Day Nosh Posse's Live Below the Line challenge got off to a provocative start today, as Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team member Paul "Lord Shax" Shackleton sent over a snap of what we certainly weren't getting our laughing gear round this morning. Paul Shackleton's sausage sarnie Careful not to …
Lester Haines, 27 Apr 2015

Top Spanish minister shows citizens are thick as tortillas de ballenas

A survey into the social perception of science by the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology has revealed that a quarter of Spaniards believe the sun orbits the earth. Additionally, a third of those surveyed seemed to think that humans co-existed with dinosaurs, and only 60 per cent believed that science has more benefits …

Quid-A-Day Nosh Challenge kicks off early for starvation veteran

The El Reg Quid-A-Day Nosh Posse has attracted two last minute members for the 2015 Live Below the Line challenge, and we're delighted to welcome back on board 2014 participant Toby Sibley, who's joined by his better half Ros Griffin. Readers who followed last year's budget nosh entertainment will recall that Toby survived on an …
Lester Haines, 26 Apr 2015
Milky Way stars and planets

Astroboffins mine data in pursuit of lonely, homeless RUNAWAY GALAXIES

Astronomers have observed 11 runaway galaxies wandering aimlessly around in spaaace. The discovery was revealed by star-gazing boffin Igor Chillingarian of Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (HSCA) and Moscow State University, who was the lead author of a study published in the Science journal on Friday. Scientists dub …
Kelly Fiveash, 25 Apr 2015
Hubble anniversary image

Hubble hits 25th anniversary IN SPAAACE – time for telescope to come home

Pics On 24 April, 1990, the space shuttle Discovery lifted off from Kennedy Space Centre in Florida carrying a very special cargo: 24,490lbs (11,110kg) of advanced optics, electronics, and antennas that made up the Hubble Space Telescope. The 'scope has revolutionised our understanding of the universe, in part thanks to five …
Iain Thomson, 25 Apr 2015

SUPERVOLCANIC MAGMA reservoir BUBBLING under Yellowstone Park

Geoboffins have claimed that a massive lake of magma found under the Yellowstone National Park's supervolcano could fill the Grand Canyon 11 times over. The study, published in Science this week, follows from the University of Utah's seismologists discovering and surveying a deeper reservoir of partly-molten rock which lies 12 …
Stegosaurus

SEX: Naughty female stegosauruses offered it on a PLATE

Differences in stegosauruses' armour plating may have had distinctly sexual origins, the University of Bristol's Evan Thomas Saitta suggests. Sophie, the teenage Stegosaurus starlet on display at the Natural History Museum, has 19 plates along her back. These are quite thin, suggesting no particular utility in defence. …