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Air-slurping solar battery will slice energy costs – boffins

Scientists have cooked up a patent-pending hybrid device that combines a solar cell with a rechargeable battery for the very first time. The solar battery was invented by boffins at the Ohio State University, who used a titanium gauze permeable mesh solar panel, which they say was key to the success of the entire US department …
Team Register, 4 Oct 2014

ESA's comet-chasing Rosetta eyes up 67P's vital statistics

Pic Incomplete yet more detailed measurements of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, taken by the European Space Agency's Rosetta probe, were released on Friday. And now you can 3D print your own copy of the cosmic rock as a result. Comet 67P/C-G dimensions. Images: NAVCAM (snapped on 19 August). Dimensions: OSIRIS Boffins at the ESA …
Kelly Fiveash, 4 Oct 2014
Princeton team finding the Majorana fermion

Particle that behaves like matter AND antimatter found: Majorana fermion

Scientists at Princeton are reporting the observation of Majorana fermion, a particle first predicted over 70 years ago that behaves like matter and antimatter at the same time. Majorana fermion Finding the Majorana fermion only took 77 years and a shedload of high-tech hardware The existence of such a particle was first …
Iain Thomson, 3 Oct 2014

Ice probe peers at hidden BOTTOMS of oceans from SPAAACE

Pics Space is said to be the final frontier, but in fact there is also a penultimate frontier to be finished off before we get out there: the ocean depths, more than 80 per cent of which, until recently, had remained unmapped and unexplored. Not any more though, because a team of international brainboxes has decided to gaze down from …
Lewis Page, 3 Oct 2014

Ingredient found in TASTY BEER is GOOD for your BRAIN

It may come as a surprise to anyone nursing a hangover, but beer might actually be good for your brain. Boffins at Oregon State University found that a chemical called xanthohumol, which is found in hops, improved "cognitive function" related to the memory of mice. Xanthohumol is a flavanoid, a class of compounds which are …
Jasper Hamill, 2 Oct 2014
DSolar's PV concentrator concept

Supercomputer water-cooling comes to solar power

Solar power outfit Airlight Energy has borrowed technology from the world of supercomputers to make its large-scale photovoltaic collectors more efficient, on the way heating water to get a second source of energy. As explained by the IEEE, the Swiss company has created a spin-off called Dsolar to develop its dish-style large- …
Random numbers

DARPA joins math-secured microkernel race

In a discussion that will sound familiar to Australian readers, US military development agency DARPA wants to create provably-secure software. According to Threatpost, DARPA director Arati Prabhakar told a Washington Post security conference that embedded systems are among the kinds of applications for which it's feasible to …
Magneto

X-Men boffins demo nanomagnets to replace transistors

A team of scientists in Germany and the US have developed a new kind of logic gate that could crack the size problems haunting the processor industry. The problem is that the conventional CMOS method of producing chips requires ever-smaller transistors, but once you get to working in measurements of single-figure nanometers, the …
Iain Thomson, 1 Oct 2014

Hipster chimps are SLAVES to the latest social trends

Boffins have observed the "incredibly rare" moment that new forms of behaviour spread around a community of chimps. Just like the slavishly modish sub-species of humanity known as hipsters, chimps are known to copy each other's actions. Scientists at the University of St Andrews spotted the sharing of ideas among the Sonso …
Jasper Hamill, 1 Oct 2014
Hippies stage sitdown on beach (in shape of peace sign)

Want to see the back of fossil fuels? Calm down, hippies. CAPITALISM has an answer

Worstall on Wednesday It's a distinctly lonely intellectual position to have — agreeing with the IPCC that climate change is a problem, one we're causing, and something that we might want to do something about but thinking that we've probably already done what we needed to do. The extent of the Arctic ice cap during the last ice age I'm no expert on …
Tim Worstall, 1 Oct 2014
Mars

Ice, ice maybe: Evidence of 'Grand Canyon' glacier FOUND ON MARS

Boffins have found evidence that suggests an ancient glacier was once at the bottom of a huge chasm known as the Grand Canyon of Mars. It has long been speculated that glacial action formed the massive Valles Marineris canyon, which stretches for about 4,000km (2,500 miles) along the surface of the Red Planet. But this theory …
Jasper Hamill, 30 Sep 2014
New humpback dolphin species

DOLPHINS SMELL MAGNETS – did we hear that right, boffins?

Scientists have discovered that dolphins are sensitive to magnetic fields, shedding some light on how the lusty mammals navigate the oceans. A team at the Université de Rennes in France carried out experiments on six bottlenose dolphins to determine whether they behaved differently when exposed to magnets. The researchers …
Jasper Hamill, 30 Sep 2014

'This BITE MARK is a SMOKING GUN': Boffins probe ancient assault

Top brainboxes using advanced technology say they may have found a "smoking gun" in the form of a bite mark inflicted during a long-ago battle between a mighty dinosaur and another giant reptile. Dino bite rumble smoking gun action The bite mark in question dates from the late Triassic era, and was found in a rare fossil which …
Lewis Page, 30 Sep 2014

Mine Bitcoins with PENCIL and PAPER

Google engineer Ken Shirriff has mined Bitcoins with nothing more than a paper and pencil. While he says the process is about a quintillion times slower give or take than than a Bitcoin mining rig, the algorithm was easy enough to crunch. Shirriff completed a round of SHA-256 in 16 minutes and 45 seconds at which rate a full …
Darren Pauli, 30 Sep 2014
Canberra UAV team

Canberra drone team dances a samba in Outback Challenge

CSIRO has, for the first time, dipped into its pocket and paid out to drone-makers who successfully completed its annual UAV challenge. For each of the past eight years, the science body has offered prizes up to $AU50,000 for anyone who can locate their “missing bushwalker” (dubbed “Outback Joe”) and drop water to the target. …

NASA rover Curiosity drills HOLE in MARS 'GOLF COURSE'

The Mars Curiosity rover has drilled an opening that looks suspiciously like the hole towards which Tiger Woods and his fellow golfers usually aim their balls. It is the first hole dug by the Rover during its quest to find water on the Red Planet. On its journey across the mountain, the Rover also spotted what appears to be a …
Jasper Hamill, 29 Sep 2014

That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN

Scientists believe that a "significant fraction" of water molecules found on this planet are older than Earth, the solar system and even the Sun. According to new research led by astro boffin Ilse Cleeves at the University of Michigan, a "significant fraction" of the big drink was created more than 4.5 billion years ago. The …
Team Register, 27 Sep 2014

Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead

Updated A volcano eruption in Japan earlier today reportedly left 250 people stranded on the mountain, while eight others were understood to have been seriously injured. According to Reuters, which cited TV broadcaster NHK, a witness to the natural disaster said: "It was like thunder." She added: "I heard boom, boom, then everything …
Team Register, 27 Sep 2014
Golf HECKLER! screenshot

Alien gimp gag or cosmic golf ball? NASA tackles question everyone's asking

Pic Mars watchers have spotted another weird object on the surface of the Red Planet: images uploaded from the Curiosity rover feature a small, nearly perfect sphere that was photographed by the machine's MastCam. Mars ball Mars has a tiny ball (click to enlarge) The photo, which was snapped on September 11 and posted on NASA …
Iain Thomson, 26 Sep 2014

Tearful LOHAN Playmonaut bids adiós to Spain

Our plucky Playmonaut is feeling a tad emotional today as he prepares to bid adiós to Spain and travel to Blighty with the Vulture 2 spaceplane, before shipping out to Spaceport America. Our rocket ship is back in LOHAN's substantial box, which will on Monday once again cross the Bay of Biscay, en route to an encounter with the …
Lester Haines, 26 Sep 2014
Jae Sang Lee with Blue PHOLED

Boffins' better blues beat battery blues

All the way from the battery in a pocket to the LED TV on a wall, the colour blue is a problem: blue LEDs are less efficient than the reds or greens that make up the other two primary display colours, and that's a problem for power consumption. Researchers at the University of Michigan are now claiming as much as a fourfold …
Artist's impression of HAT-P-11b, a Neptune-like exoplanet with water vapour in its atmosphere

HOT WET ALIEN world discovered in constellation Cygnus

Lucky astronomers have peered through the clear skies of tiny, faraway exoplanet HAT-P-11b – and detected signs of water vapour. Artist's impression of HAT-P-11b, a Neptune-like exoplanet with water vapour in its atmosphere The Neptune-sized world was seen through Hubble, Spitzer and Kepler space telescopes, and its clear …
Mangalyaan's first picture of Mars' surface

Indian MOM just LOVES it on Mars, tweets fave holiday snap

Pic India’s cheap and cheerful Mars Orbiter Mission, Mangalyaan, has sent back its first images of the Red Planet just a day after successfully achieving orbit. The MOM craft, which naturally has its own Twitter account, tweeted its first image of the surface of Mars just a few hours ago. The view is nice up here. pic.twitter.com/ …
The Moon

Man's future in space ... Barack Obama: Mars. Narendra Modi: Mars. Vladimir Putin: Er, Moon

As India's boffins manage to put a probe in orbit of Mars on a shoestring budget, Russia has reiterated that it will boldly go ... as far as the Moon. The head of President Putin's space agency has confirmed it will build a new rocket to reach Earth's natural satellite – first occupied by the US in 1969 – and set up permanent …
Iain Thomson, 25 Sep 2014

Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER

Boffins have discovered a dinosaur with one of the biggest noses ever seen in the animal kingdom, which it was thought to flash around in a bid to impress the ladies. The researchers who found the big-hootered dino decided to call it Rhinorex condrupus, which literally means "King Nose". Terry Gates, a joint post-doctoral …
Jasper Hamill, 24 Sep 2014

'Space bubbles' may have helped Taliban down 'copter in bloody Afghanistan battle

The world has been treated to all sorts of excuses about why the United States and its allies from the UK and elsewhere failed to win the ongoing war in Afghanistan. Now boffins have put forward the bizarre suggestion that one of the Yanks' most infamous defeats was actually caused by a phenomenon called space bubbles. Lead …
Jasper Hamill, 24 Sep 2014
The orbital trajectory of India's Mangalyaan Mars probe

MOM: CHEAP Mars ship got it right first time. Nice one, India

India has become the first nation to achieve a successful insertion to Mars orbit on its first attempt, after an epic 10-month trek by its cunning Mangalyaan (aka Mars Orbiter Mission, or MOM) spacecraft. The mission that marked India as a genuine deep-space power is also a miracle of low-cost space exploration, setting the …
SpaceX launches CRS-3

SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...

The International Space Station has snapped up the latest SpaceX Dragon and its supplies, including the floating lab’s new 3D printer. Alexander Gerst and Reid Wiseman watch the approach of the SpaceX Dragon from the Cupola. Are you there, Dragon? It's us, Alexander Gerst and Reid Wiseman. Credit: NASA TV The commercial cargo …
The forward view from the aircraft in the stratosphere

US team claims PARIS paper plane launch crown

A US team has announced it's broken El Reg's Guinness World Record for the highest launch of a paper plane by releasing a substantial paper dart at 96,563ft (29,430m). A group of cadets from Fox Valley Composite Squadron of the Illinois Wing, Civil Air Patrol, sent their vehicle aloft on 13 September from Kankakee, Illinois, and …
Lester Haines, 23 Sep 2014
The Colias robot

Colias robots SWARMING out of the lab

Video Greybeards of the IT industry will remember RoboCode, the Java programming teaching game that let you set virtual robots in battle with each other. How about teaching a bunch of real robots how to swarm? That's the aim of the University of Lincoln's Colias project, which provides relatively low-cost – £25 a pop – micro-robot …

SpaceX breaks ground on first commercial spaceport in Texas

SpaceX founder Elon Musk and the Governor of Texas Rick Perry have officially broken the first ground for the rocketry firm's first commercial spaceport. The ceremony was held near Boca Chica Beach in the south of the state. Musk said the first rockets could blast off from the site by 2016. Once the port is up and running, …
Iain Thomson, 23 Sep 2014

GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins

Data from the European Space Agency's Planck satellite has cast doubt over the claimed discovery of a gravitational wave tsunami sweeping the universe from the Big Bang. In March, a team of astrophysicists running the Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization 2 (BICEP2) observatory shocked the scientific …
Iain Thomson, 22 Sep 2014

LOHAN wraps Kickstarter tin-rattling at £30,725

We invite all of you who backed our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mission Kickstarter tin-rattling to award yourselves a beer or two, in celebration of the campaign closing yesterday at £30,750. Yup, a total of 653 generous souls gave it up for Spaceport America ballocket tomfoolery, and we very much appreciate …
Lester Haines, 22 Sep 2014
Artist concept of MAVEN in orbit around Mars

NASA's MAVEN enters Mars orbit to sniff its gas

NASA's MAVEN spacecraft has reached Mars after a 10-month journey – and started its mission to study the Red Planet's upper atmosphere. The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) dropped into orbit around Earth’s favourite neighbour around 3.24am BST after months of journeying through space. To do it, the craft had to …
The iconic Buzz Aldrin image

Moon landing was real and WE CAN PROVE IT, says Nvidia

It's only a product promo, but it's a smart one: Nvidia reckons the judicious application of its graphics technology can debunk one of the world's favourite “moon landing was a hoax conspiracies”. As a demo of the VXGI – voxel based global illumination – technology included in the company's new Maxwell graphics architecture, a …

SpaceX blasts a mischief of mice, a 3D printer and a cuddly toy* into SPAAAACE

Vid Elon Musk's private spaceflight company SpaceX successfully launched its unmanned, mouse-laden Dragon 'craft in the early hours of this morning. The commercial cargo ship is carrying 2.5 tons of supplies destined for the International Space Station, NASA said. SpaceX rocket lifts off from Cape Canaveral. Image credit: NASA A …
Kelly Fiveash, 21 Sep 2014
Planetoid crashes into primordial Earth

Relive the death of Earth over and over again in Extinction Game

Page File Parallel universes are already pretty cool, especially the ones that are tantalisingly close to ours, a mere what if away. The parallel universes of Extinction Game have this and an extra edge going for them, as the only ones we visit are those that have endured an apocalyptic event that’s wiped out most of humanity. Wars, …
Our LOHAN mission patch design

Last chance to snaffle LOHAN Kickstarter goodies

There's just one day to run on the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) Kickstarter tin-rattling, and as our plucky Playmonaut celebrates already hitting the £30,000 target needed to take the ballocket mission to Spaceport America, we're busy getting ready to ship our generous backers' magnificent rewards. If you haven't …
Lester Haines, 20 Sep 2014
Mars

India vs America: Earthling invaders in race to MARS

India and America are locked into a race to Mars - but it looks as if the Yanks will get there first. On Sunday, NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft will complete its 10 month journey and go into orbit around the Red Planet. Its 442 million mile trip will conclude with a tricky manouvere which …
Jasper Hamill, 19 Sep 2014
Neil Cardy's massive bacon sarnie from a cafe on the A90

Bacon-related medical breakthrough wins Ig Nobel prize

Is there nothing that can’t be solved with the judicious application of bacon? Apparently not, as this year’s Ig Nobel Prize for Medicine winners can attest. The boffins from the US and India took home the gong for their paper on treating “uncontrollable" nosebleeds by packing the nose with strips of cured pork. The Ig Nobels, …
Our Playmonaut celebrates with three members of his fan club

Plucky Playmonaut parties as LOHAN hits Kickstarter goal

It's with the traditional portentous drumroll and mighty fanfare of trumpets that we announce we've hit our Kickstarter target to take the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mission to Spaceport America. Thanks very much to all our generous backers, and we're right on the case sorting the magnificent rewards which will …
Lester Haines, 19 Sep 2014
The view from the ISS

Stray positrons caught on ISS hint at DARK MATTER source

Data gathered by the International Space Station's (ISS') Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) is being cautiously suggested as useful evidence for the existence of dark matter. The AMS is a particle detector on the ISS and keeps its eyes on cosmic rays, in order to observe the high-energy particles they carry. As explained in a …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Sep 2014