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ATLAS experiment "candidate event"

CERN data explains how Higgs heavies other matter

Ever since the putative discovery of the Higgs boson in 2011, one of the next-big-thing searches in physics has been to confirm the mechanism by which the exotic particle imparts mass to other particles. Now, a team led by boffins from Brookhaven National Laboratory think they've contrived just such a test. In work conducted at …

German brain surgeon flies in for vital LOHAN operation

We invite fans of our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mission to raise a foaming stein or two today to Linus Penzlien - the man who has recklessly volunteered to perform brain surgery on our Vulture 2 spaceplane's Pixhawk autopilot. Linus poses with a quadchopper Linus, 34, will fly from his native Hamburg to the …
Lester Haines, 17 Jul 2014
Artist's concept of Curiosity

ALIEN BODY FOUND ON MARS: Curiosity rover snaps extraterrestrial

Picture NASA's Curiosity rover has stumbled across a massive iron meteorite half buried in the sands of Mars – an object the US space agency has dubbed Lebanon. The Lebanon meteorite found by Curiosity The Lebanon meteorite found by Curiosity The two-metre-wide rock was discovered by the Martian robot on May 25. It was photographed …
Iain Thomson, 16 Jul 2014

Huge FOUR-winged dino SPREAD LEGS to KILL – scientists

Flabbers around the world were gasted this week, as news emerged of a previously unknown flying dinosaur equipped with feathered legs – giving it the ability to make precision landings or attacks on its prey. Feathery death from above The 125-million-year-old dinosaur is of the Microraptor group and is named Changyuraptor …
Lewis Page, 16 Jul 2014

Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT

Elon Musk has taken another step in his transformation into James Bond supervillain, with the FAA granting SpaceX approval to start building its own spaceport in Texas. The FAA has issued a “Record of Decision” (PDF here) stating its support for the issuing of licenses to SpaceX. The facility, to be built near Brownsville, …
Illustration of Barak Dayan's photonic router

New photonic router works by flipping reflective atom's lid

Quantum boffins from Israel's Weizmann Institute have demonstrated a two-input/two-output router that works entirely with single photons – no electronics required. It's not the first time a photonic router has been demonstrated, but what's different about the Israeli work is that everything is photonic: the device has two …
Mind blown

Microsoft's anti-bug breakthrough: Wire devs to BRAIN SCANNERS

Microsoft is developing a new approach to splatting bugs in software before they take down production systems. It involves wiring up programmers to sensors that record brain activity, track eye movement, and test how sweaty the engineers are. If the developer is stressed – bingo, they're probably reading some rather hairy code …
Jack Clark, 15 Jul 2014
From left to right: Mastodon, mammoth, gomphothere. Credit: Sergio de la Rosa

Native Americans KILLED AND ATE DUMBO, say archaeologists

The primitive folk assessed by many archaeologists as being the original native Americans – that is, the Clovis people – killed and ate the lovable prehistoric elephants that inhabited the continent alongside them, scientists say. From left to right: Mastodon, mammoth, gomphothere. Credit: Sergio de la Rosa Majestic, delicious …
Lewis Page, 15 Jul 2014

NASA: ALIENS and NEW EARTHS will be ours inside 20 years

A group of top NASA scientists told the space agency's chief yesterday that the forthcoming generation of space telescopes are likely to discover habitable Earth-like worlds and probably alien life – perhaps within 20 years. We're all someone's Sun "Sometime in the near future, people will be able to point to a star and say, ' …
Lewis Page, 15 Jul 2014
Plaques in the retina fluorescing in a scan

Get an EYEFUL OF CURRY for the sake of your brain

Researchers at Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have announced that turmeric – the root that imparts a distinctive yellow colour and subtle flavour to curry – has clinical applications in testing for Alzheimer's disease. The boffins have been working on retinal imaging as a test …
New Horizons blasts off. Photo: NASA

Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!

NASA's New Horizons mission will arrive at Pluto 364 days from … now! Launched in January 2006, the craft passed Jupiter back in 2007. It hasn't had much to do since, as while it has passed the orbits of Saturn, Uranus and Neptune the planets weren't there at the time. NASA's not worried about that, because New Horizons' …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Jul 2014
Shot of D-Wave's 16 qubit chip

D-Wave to bust 1,000-qubit barrier with new quantum compute device

D-Wave is planning a big expansion into quantum computing hardware and their software, helped in part by $30m in extra funding from venture capitalists. Vern Brownell, CEO of D-Wave, told The Register that his firm will use the bulk of the cash injection to expand out its software side to make it easier for customers to use the …
Iain Thomson, 15 Jul 2014

Can it be true? That I hold here, in my mortal hand, a nugget of PUREST ... BLACK?

British boffins have constructed a light-absorbing nano-material that could improve the accuracy and sensitivity of imaging and optics systems. Researchers at Surrey NanoSystems say that their Vantablack material, built from carbon nanotubes, is capable of absorbing as much as 99.96 per cent of incident radiation to create a …
Shaun Nichols, 15 Jul 2014
2001 HAL poster

Microsoft's new 'Adam' AI trounces Google ... and beats HUMANS

The battle for neural-network dominance has heated up as Microsoft has developed a cutting-edge image-recognition system that has trounced a system from Google. The company revealed "Project Adam" on Monday and claimed that the system is fifty times faster and roughly twice as accurate as Google's own DistBelief system. In one …
Jack Clark, 15 Jul 2014
The Falcon 9 at Cape Canaveral

SpaceX FINALLY lobs six sats into orbit (don't mention the landing)

Video SpaceX has successfully launched six new communications satellites for Orbcomm after months of delays. However, Elon Musk's rocketeers had less success at landing the used Falcon 9 rocket after its delivery. The Orbcomm birds will be used solely in a machine-to-machine communications network run by the company, and will …
Iain Thomson, 14 Jul 2014
A proposed LOHAN mission patch

LOHAN seeks stirring motto for spaceplane mission patch

Competition The Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team has decided that in the best tradition of space endeavour, our audacious Vulture 2 spaceplane mission needs a proper embroidered patch so that we may reach for the heavens in style. In fact, having something to sew on your flight suit/lab coat is pretty well obligatory, and …
Lester Haines, 14 Jul 2014
International Space Station

Chow rocket blasts off for ISS: Awww, freeze-dried ice cream AGAIN

A private space company has launched its third mission: an Antares rocket sending a freighter packed with food – among other things – to the International Space Station. Orbital Sciences Corp's unmanned Cygnus spacecraft lifted off from Virginia's eastern shore yesterday strapped to a 13-storey high Antares rocket, which is …
Jasper Hamill, 14 Jul 2014

Space geeks' resurrected NASA Sun probe ISEE-3 now on collision course with THE MOON

The attempt by a team of crowdfunded space hackers to recover one of NASA's most historic satellites has run into problems: the spacecraft's engines are stubbornly refusing to fire, leaving it on a possible collision course with the Moon. The ISEE-3 reboot Team Space hacking team has the right stuff Last week the team …
Iain Thomson, 11 Jul 2014
sniper t-shirt 24.7.03

Watch: DARPA shows off first successful test of STEERABLE bullet

Video The military boffins at DARPA have just released footage of their first successful shots of a bullet dubbed EXACTO (EXtreme ACcuracy Tasked Ordnance) that can be steered onto a target when fired from a standard rifle. The video, shot at a government firing range in February and April, shows two .50-cal rounds maneuvering in …
Iain Thomson, 11 Jul 2014

Beer in SPAAAACE! London Pride soars to 28,000m

Pics "Pics or it didn't happen" is a common commentard cry down here at El Reg, so we're disappointed to report that last week's audacious mission to send a pint of London Pride to the upper atmosphere ended without airborne imagery. The BALYOLO - BAL (Balloon) YOLO (You Only Live Once) - flight launched last Saturday from the The …
Lester Haines, 11 Jul 2014
Artist's impression of the Lythronax argestes

US authorities round up ILLEGAL DINOSAURS for repatriation

A group of unusual Asian immigrants, smuggled into the US by unscrupulous criminals, has been returned to its country of origin following an investigation by federal immigration and security operatives. The AP reports that US Attorney Preet Bharara announced the repatriation of no less than 18 distinguished Mongolians this week …
Lewis Page, 11 Jul 2014

World Meteorological Organization says climate data is uncool

The World Meteorological Organization's Commission for Climatology has called for governments to refresh their “climate normals” more often. Climate normals are thirty-year chunks of weather observations that are used as baselines for comparison with more recent events. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) says the data …
Simon Sharwood, 11 Jul 2014

Cosmic dust riddle BREAKTHROUGH: Study tackles stuff of the universe

Astronomers have long wondered where all the strange dust that hangs about in space originates. They're also interested in how all the cosmic dust clouds form despite all the solar flares, supernovas and other potentially dust-blasting events. A new study that was published in Nature this week may provide some answers. The …
Total Recall

Cranial RAM cram plan aims to restore memory

Brain implant chips – beloved of conspiracy theorists and science fiction writers alike for decades – have finally made it onto the US government's research list, courtesy of DARPA. The Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency, home to research into humanoid robots, guided bullets, Spider-Man-style climbing pads, suspended …
Artist's impression of an exoplanet orbiting a star in the cluster Messier 67

Give an exoplanet a new name: Fill in this form and hope these astro-boffins pick your $input

You won't be able to give a planet an insulting name to denigrate a politician, but if you're part of the amateur astronomy world, you can help bestow names on exoplanets. The International Astronomical Union has opened up 305 exoplanets for public input into naming, with public astronomical organisations, or “non-profit …
Buzz Aldrin, spaceman. Pic NASA

Man FOUND ON MOON denies lunar alien interface

Space ace Buzz Aldrin has admitted glimpsing a UFO during his journey to the Moon – but insisted it was not an extraterrestrial visitation. The second man on the Moon answered questions during a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) session, touching on missions to Mars, aliens, and the dubious accuracy of the film Gravity. Aldrin's AMA …
Jasper Hamill, 9 Jul 2014
Smallpox virus

Dead letter office: ancient smallpox sample turns up in old US lab

It's a scene reminiscent of Raiders of the Lost Ark's climax: something very dangerous is put in storage by a government agency, and forgotten. America's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working to hose down fears about its control of stockpiles, following the startling discovery of 1950s-era smallpox samples in a …
Printed GHz diode

Printed diode can slurp power from phone signals

A group of Swedish researchers has created a printed diode that can use the radio output of a smartphone for power – and along the way has answered a long-standing question about how printed diodes work. In this paper at PNAS, the researchers demonstrate a device created by printing a niobium silicide layer over a silicon paste …
Artist's concept of the Voyager spacecraft in space.

In space no one can hear you scream, but Voyager 1 can hear A ROAR

Hero space probe Voyager 1 has sent home what NASA is calling a “sound” from the cosmos. The venerable spacecraft – now 19,093,090,914km from Earth at the time of writing and moving further away at a rate of about 15km a second – recorded the “noise” in March. That was when a pressure wave caused by a coronal mass from the Sun …

Would it be BAD if the Amazon rainforest was all FARMS? Well it WAS, once

It's generally assumed that it would mean a disaster for the planet if the rainforests of the Amazon were to be replaced with farmland. But it turns out that, actually, much of the area was indeed farmland just a few thousand years ago. We learn this from new research just published in the august Proceedings of the National …
Lewis Page, 8 Jul 2014

Reg reader fires up Pi-powered anti-cat garden sprinkler system

Vid It's a tip of the hat today to Reg reader Joshua Thumim for putting the humble Raspberry Pi into the service of humanity with a simple but effective feline repellent system. Joshua explained: For the last few years, pretty much every time I (or my two small kids) wanted to use the garden I'd first have to remove 3-5 cat …
Lester Haines, 8 Jul 2014
Artist's impression of world's largest flying bird, <i>Pelagornis sandersi</i>

'BIGGEST BIRD EVER': 21-foot ripsaw-beaked flying HORROR

Pic Boffins have identified the fossil remnants of a vast creature that had a jagged-edged ripper beak, and appears to have had the largest wingspan of any bird ever. Artist's impression of world's largest flying bird, Pelagornis sandersi Artist's impression of world's largest flying bird, Pelagornis sandersi. Credit: Liz Bradford …
Contraceptive pill

Wireless-controlled contraception implant is coming, says MIT

MIT's decade-plus pitch to embed microchip-based drug-dispensaries in humans has been re-framed as a microprocessor-based, wireless-controlled, fully Internet-of-Things-compliant, implantable contraceptive. Since 1999, MIT's Robert Langer et al have been pitching the idea of using microchips to deliver medicines. The idea, way …

Boffins urge European Commission to reboot electric brain project

More than four hundred scientists have signed an open letter asking the European Commission to rethink the Human Brain Project (HBP), a €1.19b attempt to build a computer capable of simulating the human brain. The HBP has been pitched as beneficial for neuroscience and computer science. The former discipline gets a whole new …
ESA's "Dropship" drone

European Space Agency demos MARS LANDINGS BY DRONE

The European Space Agency has used an off-the-shelf quadcopter to demonstrate the latest output of its StarTiger rapid-development program: precision guidance and safe delivery of a rover-like vehicle onto a simulated Mars surface. Getting to Mars is one thing, but as the ESA knows only too well, executing a successful landing …
isee3

It's alive! Space hackers fire up zombie Sun probe's engines

An international team of space geeks has successfully fired up the engines of long-defunct NASA satellite ISEE-3. Now the gang says it'll try to kick the bird into an Earth orbit that will enable it to carry on performing the mission it was launched for 36 years ago. ISEE-3 team celebrates Team celebrates the rocket's red …
Iain Thomson, 7 Jul 2014

Alabama quadchopper hits THREE THOUSAND FEET next to AIRPORT

Vid An Alabama UAV enthusiast has been told by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) to steer clear of airports after he sent a quadcopter up to 1,100m (3,609 feet) within five miles of Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport (BHM). Michael Mayhew posted an impressive video of the DJI Phantom 2 flight on YouTube, and shared …
Lester Haines, 7 Jul 2014

Going up: Fancy a virtual flight to 30km above the PLANET?

Those of you who've always fancied a trip to 30km above the Earth's surface, but have neither the money nor a pair of cojones the size of a plucky Playmonaut's, are directed to this interesting KickStarter campaign in support of a "Virtual Ride to Space". Dr Aaron Knoll - a "lecturer in the field of plasma propulsion" at …
Lester Haines, 7 Jul 2014
The Warlipiri Education and Training Trust

Help us out readers: How would you sniff and store network traffic?

Having successfully averted the XP-ocalypse at the Wirliyatjarrayi Learning Centre in the remote Australian desert community of Willowra, Vulture South's operatives felt pleased with themselves. As regular readers will know, our encounter with the facility, run by the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education, led to …
Artist's concept: NASA's Space Launcher System

Boeing to start work on most powerful rocket ... EVER!

NASA and Boeing have inked a key contract that should see agency's Space Launch System take to the skies in 2017. Under the $US2.8 billion contract, the aerospace giant will be building the core stage of the space giant: the Space Launch System will stand 212 feet (more than 64 metres) tall, and will be powered by a combination …
Communicating using the magnetometer

Phone motion sensors can receive data

Video Boffins from the University of Oulu in Finland and Huazhong University in China have put together a prototype that uses an Android smartphone's magnetometer as a short-range one-way communications channel. The applications for such a system are limited, of course: magnetic fields decay very quickly, so the system has a range of …
Namibia's HESS-II radio telescope

HESS-II scope spots its first pulsar

Namibia's HESS-II telescope has shown off two-years' worth of software upgrades, identifying gamma rays at 30 GeV emanating from the Vela pulsar. Vela is a well-known object, having been associated with the supernova remnant of the same name in 1968, and is visible in the radio, optical, X-ray and gamma spectra. HESS-II's …