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The LOHAN team prepares for launch this morning

The Punch and Judy show is LIVE NOW cancelled

Updated Update at 14:12: Today' flights have been cancelled due to high winds. Highly irritating, but that's the British weather for you. We'll let you know when we've formed an alternative plan. The Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) "Punch" and "Judy" test flights are about to kick off - assuming the wind doesn't scupper …
Lester Haines, 5 Apr 2014
Flower clock

Time is on their side: NIST's new atomic clock accurate for 300 MEEELLION years

Vid Some people are nuts about knowing the correct time, but the boffins at the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have taken such habits further than anyone else with a new atomic clock that's accurate to 10 trillionths of a second per day. The clock, snappily dubbed NIST-F2, uses the frequency of a particular …
Iain Thomson, 5 Apr 2014

Too late, Blighty! Samsung boffins claim breakthrough graphene manufacturing success

A group of 14 Korean researchers, including 10 from the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology, have published details of a technique for synthesising graphene that could lead to sheets of the thin, strong, conductive wonder-material-du-jour being used in commercial devices sooner rather than later. Their paper, published …
Rik Myslewski, 4 Apr 2014
LLCD laser space broadband

NASA's LADEE: A Great Gig in the Sky, now on a death dive to the Dark Side of the Moon

NASA has confirmed it will crash its Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) probe into the Moon's surface on April 21 after the successful completion of its missions. LADEE has been operating around the Moon since November, analyzing its scant atmosphere to solve one of the odder mysteries of our natural …
Iain Thomson, 4 Apr 2014

LOHAN's Punch and Judy show is GO for Saturday

The Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) "Punch" and "Judy" test flights are go for tomorrow (Saturday 5 April), and as ever we'll be streaming proceedings live over the interwebs so you make yourselves a nice cuppa, kick back and follow the action live from the comfort of your PC. First up, we have the Punch rocket motor …
Lester Haines, 4 Apr 2014

Organic food: Pricey, not particularly healthy, won't save you from cancer

Comment One of the primary drivers of the growth in organic food sales over the last couple of decades is the perception that organic food is healthier than conventionally farmed food. It stands to reason, doesn’t it? After all conventional crops depend on chemicals and organic food doesn't. And we all know that chemicals, in this case …
The Wirliyatjarrayi Store

Deep desert XP-ocalypse averted as Reg man returns

Yesterday was day three of my XP-ocalypse aversion mission to upgrade the PCs at the remote Wirliyatjarrayi Learning Centre. The day started with the dew on the ground and the desert sun struggling to penetrate a low, hazy, layer of cloud. The air was just a tad sticky and I wondered if it might rain. I hoped not: the road to …
The El Gordo galaxy

Does my mass look big in this? Roly-poly galaxy El Gordo more porky than first feared

Pic The latest data from the Hubble space telescope has shown that the furthest fattest galaxy yet spotted is 43 per cent more massive than first thought and was formed by two huge galaxies colliding. The El Gordo galaxy Galaxy with a weight problem, for astronomers at least Galactic cluster ACT-CL J0102-4915 – nicknamed El Gordo …
Iain Thomson, 3 Apr 2014

HIDDEN OCEAN of LIVING SOUP found on Enceladus, moon of Saturn

Pics Analysis of the gravity field of Saturn's moon Enceladus, conducted by NASA's Cassini spacecraft, all but confirms that an ocean of water the size of Lake Superior lies underneath its shell of ice. And, excitingly, that body of liquid appears to be right under previously observed jets of salty water and organic molecules, which …
Rik Myslewski, 3 Apr 2014
Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer installed on the S3 truss on ISS

'Hello, is that the space station? NASA here. Can you put us through to Moscow?'

NASA has cut all ties with Russia's space programme over the crisis in Ukraine, apart from maintaining the International Space Station. The US space agency had repeatedly said that it wouldn't be taking any action over the situation between Ukraine and Russia, but it reversed its decision, saying in a statement overnight that it …
Feral camel

Driver drama delays deep desert XP upgrade

“EJ”* is a God-fearing man. I know this because, at a tricky point in my attempt to upgrade some Windows XP computers, he asked me to write a letter explaining the Lord could vouch for his words. The letter-writing exercise was welcome because, at the time, I was tearing my hair out. The first step in my attempt to upgrade the …
Shot of D-Wave's 16 qubit chip

Boffins make noise about D-Wave chip: it seems quantum

Researchers from University College, London, and the University of Southern California, have weighed into the ongoing “is it quantum?” D-Wave debate with an interesting approach, testing the device under a variety of noise conditions. As their paper at Arxiv explains, the thermal environment of a D-Wave chip isn't directly …
Fire flames come from chamber as lid blows off

Middle England trembles before roaring LOHAN

There are only a few days left before our planned "Punch" and "Judy" flights on Saturday 5 April, so a slightly sooty Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team is pleased to report that we've wrapped the final ground-based rocket motor tests in the Rocketry Experimental High Altitude Barosimulator (REHAB) hypobaric …
Lester Haines, 2 Apr 2014
Red Back Spider

El Reg's Deep Outback XP upgrade almost foiled by KILLER ARACHNIDS

Vid Australia's Northern territory, where The Reg is this week doing a Windows XP upgrade at the Wirliyatjarrayi Learning Centre in the remote community of Willowra, is huge and empty. Let's give that statement some dimensions. The United Kingdom covers 243,610 km2 and is home to 63.23 million people. Texas covers 696,241 km2 and …
Our night-vision image of the average middle-aged sex session

Want to see at night? Here comes the infrared CONTACT LENS

University of Michigan boffins have created a tiny light detector that reaches into the infared, and is already small enough to be delivered as a contact lens. The key trick, the researchers say, is that they've created an infrared detector that doesn't need the cooling demanded by most devices that currently operate at the mid- …
Illistration of single photon setup

Single chip photon source brings quantum comms closer

Down at the “basic research” level, there's a lot the labs can accomplish with quantum mechanics: entanglement, information teleportation, simple quantum computations and more. Now, an international collaboration believes it's brought exploitation of quantum effects closer to a commercial development. The researchers have …
World Cup kicking exoskeleton

Soccer's dull? A MIND-CONTROLLED robo-suit will be used to take first World Cup 2014 kick

Pic When the football (soccer for our American readers) World Cup 2014 kicks off in June, the first person to put boot to ball will be a Brazilian paraplegic person using a robotic exoskeleton controlled by an electronic skull cap. World Cup kicking exoskeleton MOre intelligent than Wayne Rooney? The robotic exoskeleton, …
Iain Thomson, 1 Apr 2014

Can you tell a man's intelligence simply by looking at him? Yes

A group of Czech researchers has conducted a study in which they determined that the perceived intelligence of men correlates strongly with their actual intelligence – but the same doesn't hold true for women. "Both men and women were able to accurately evaluate the intelligence of men by viewing facial photographs," the …
Rik Myslewski, 1 Apr 2014
Polymer heatsink

Georgia Tech touts polymer heatsink interface

Researchers at Georgia Tech say they've created a polymer that can improve the interface between silicon and heatsinks, and offers a long lifetime in terms of heating and cooling cycles. In this release, the group led by assistant professor Baratunde Cola says they've created a polymer that operates as a heat conductor (rather …
Apple MacBook Air 13in mid 2011

Boeing, Cupertino to 'explore weaponisation of Apple technologies'

Boeing and Apple will work together to "weaponise" Apple technology, after the aerospace giant found aluminium-milling techniques developed by Apple to build the MacBook Air's case result in a stronger, more versatile aircraft wings than it is possible to create with its own manufacturing practices. “One of my team dropped their …

CERN team uses GPUs to discover if antimatter falls up, not down

GTC In the next year or two, researchers at CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC) should be able to answer one of the most fundamental questions bedeviling physicists: what is the effect of gravity on antimatter? As we all learned back in high school, matter falls to Earth at an acceleration of 9.8 meters per second squared, and …
Rik Myslewski, 31 Mar 2014

LOHAN team gears up for Punch and Judy show

It's all go on the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) front as the British contingent of the team gears up for the forthcoming "Punch" and "Judy" test flights. On 5 April, we'll assemble at the new "Blighty's Baikonur" (formerly in Berkshire, now relocated to Herefordshire) to launch two balloon payloads. The first …
Lester Haines, 31 Mar 2014

New IPCC report: 8 ways climate change will throw world INTO PERIL

Debate about climate change is about to, er, heat up, after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) delivered its fifth assessment report, snappily known as WGII AR5. The summary for policymakers [PDF] and full report are online for your reading pleasure. The IPCC says both were compiled using “a substantially …
Simon Sharwood, 31 Mar 2014
Jeff Hawkins

Meet the man building an AI that mimics our neocortex – and could kill off neural networks

Special report Jeff Hawkins has bet his reputation, fortune, and entire intellectual life on one idea: that he understands the brain well enough to create machines with an intelligence we recognize as our own. If his bet is correct, the Palm Pilot inventor will father a new technology, one that becomes the crucible in which a general …
Jack Clark, 29 Mar 2014

Watch your brain LIVE in 3D, then train your mind from inside it

GTC As we age, our brains' cognitive abilities decrease. No surprise there. But one team of researches has experimental proof of a therapeutic technique that can reverse that decline: video games. What's more, they've devised a way to directly stimulate your brain to improve its cognitive abilities, and created a 3D digital model, …
Rik Myslewski, 29 Mar 2014
3D printed skull

Dutch doctors replace woman's skull with 3D-printed plastic copy

Graphic video Doctors at the University Medical Center in Utrecht have saved a woman's life – by carrying out the first skull transplant using plastic parts built in a 3D printer. The unnamed 22-year-old patient was suffering from a rare condition that caused the inside of her skull to grow extra bone, which squeezed her brain. The growth was …
Iain Thomson, 29 Mar 2014
Neal's Yard introduces its 'Green Scientists'

Homeopathic remedies contaminated with REAL medicine get recalled

A batch of homeopathic remedies have been recalled in the US after it was discovered that they contained real medicine. Terra-Medica is voluntarily recalling 56 lots of homeopathic drug products in liquid, tablet, capsule, ointment, and suppository forms after it was discovered the alternative treatments potentially contained …
John Leyden, 28 Mar 2014

LOHAN preps Vulture 2 for hot vinyl wrap

The Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team has some good news and some bad news today. The good news is that we've finished the paint element of of Vulture 2 spaceplane's livery, and it looks absolutely magnificent. The bad news, for you lot at least, is that we're not going to show our beloved readers just how …
Lester Haines, 28 Mar 2014

First pics: Comet-chaser Rosetta hurtles towards icy prey, camera in hand

Pic + vid The European Space Agency's Rosetta probe has sent back the first two aligned images of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the comet it has been chasing for ten years and nearly 800 million kilometres. Rosetta comet picture - wide angle Wide angle, tiny target ... that spec is what the ESA is trying to land on The Rosetta mission …
Iain Thomson, 28 Mar 2014

Research bods told: Try to ID anonymised data subjects? No more CASH for you

Medical research funding bodies in the UK may withdraw support for projects where researchers attempt to work out the identity of individuals behind anonymised data without the subjects' permission. Cancer Research UK, the Economic and Social Research Council, the Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust said funding …
OUT-LAW.COM, 27 Mar 2014
The orbit of dwarf planet VP113, or Biden, and Sedna

ECCENTRIC, PINK DWARF dubbed 'Biden' by saucy astronomers

A new dwarf planet has been discovered in the Inner Oort cloud that encircles our Solar System some 12 billion miles from Sol. The planet is a frozen shrimp of a thing – an estimated 450 kilometres across with a surface temperature of -432 degrees Fahrenheit and is presumed to be largely made up of ice that gives it a reddish …
Iain Thomson, 27 Mar 2014
Bohr atomic model

Boffins power wearable tech with body static

A group of Chinese researchers reckon they're close to a practical method of harvesting the static electricity you generate when tapping and swiping the screen of your smartphone as backup power for the phone itself. As anyone who's jumped back swearing at their hand when all they wanted to do was open a door in the office can …
Progress 44 taking off, launched by a Soyuz rocket

US-Russia Soyuz 'nauts STUCK IN SPACE after ISS dock fail

The three cosmonauts on board the Soyuz spacecraft are stuck in the space slow lane after a delay to their planned six-hour trip to the International Space Station. They will now arrive at the ISS almost two days later than expected after a critical 24-second engine thruster burn that would have kept the team on course failed …
Jasper Hamill, 26 Mar 2014
The Technology spacesuit design

NASA: Vote now to put FLASHY LIGHTS on future spacesuits

NASA is retiring its current spacesuit, the Z-1, in favour of the Z-2 model which is "approaching a final flight-capable design". And it wants you to decide what it should look like. The Trend in Society spacesuit design The Trend in Society spacesuit design. Credit: NASA The Z-2's basic structure has, of course, already been …
The Warlipiri Education and Training Trust

The Reg's desert XP-ocalypse aversion plan revealed

Next week, The Reg heads into Australia's red centre to perform a Windows XP to Windows 7 upgrade at the Wirliyatjarrayi Learning Centre, a facility in the tiny central Australian town of Willowra. The Learning Centre offers the first publicly accessible internet-connected PCs in the 300-strong town. Willowra is a two-hour drive …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Mar 2014
frustration_anger_irritation_annoyance pain

Stop skiving: Computers can SEE THROUGH your FAKE PAIN

Canadian boffins have designed a computer program that can recognise the signs of real pain on a person's face more accurately than a human being. The clever system is able to tell when human beings are faking agony, a development which could prove invaluable to football referees dealing with melodramatic players. However, the …
Jasper Hamill, 25 Mar 2014
Windows XP boot screen

Microsoft issues less-than-helpful tips to XP holdouts

Microsoft seems to have realised what most everyone figured out years ago: come April 9 there will still be millions upon millions of computers running Windows XP and therefore open to all sorts of potential attacks. Redmond's recognition of the problem appears in a new ”Cyber threats to Windows XP and guidance for Small …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Mar 2014
padlock

Palo Alto Networks splashes $US200 million on Cyvera

Palo Alto Networks has announced that it's buying Tel Aviv-based Cyvera for $US200 million, including $US88 million in cash. The attraction is the Israeli company's TRAPS (Targeted Remote Attack Prevention System), an endpoint protection system for Windows machines, which PAN will add to its existing firewall and cloud security …
TerminatorGoogle

Google pulls SCHAFT out of military honeypot, sprays gold at bot team

The team behind SCHAFT, the best-built bot so far in the DARPA Robotics Challenge, will stop dipping into the $1m prize pot it was awarded by the US military – and will instead rely on funds from its new owner, Google. "The decision by Team SCHAFT to self-fund allows DARPA to expand the competition and further develop disaster …
Iain Thomson, 24 Mar 2014

EXPOSED: bizarre quantum sibling LOVE TRIANGLE

University of Waterloo boffins have demonstrated a three-way quantum entanglement that shows quantum non-locality can work with more than two particles.* The regulars of quantum physics, Bob and Alice, and the interloper Charlie, had an appropriately trailer-trash setting, but alas saw precious little one-on-one photon action …
ericsson_communication_sofa

RISE of the LIVING CHAIR: Boffins recruit E coli to build futuristic materials

In a few years your furniture could be made of a living material, according to a team of MIT boffins who have worked out how to get bacteria to help them manufacture items. The breakthrough was announced on Sunday in the Synthesis and patterning of tunable multiscale materials with engineered cells academic paper published in …
Jack Clark, 23 Mar 2014

Tornado-chasing stealth Batmobile set to invade killer vortices

A pair of intrepid 20-year-old Iowans have constructed a tornado-chasing vehicle that looks for all the world like a cross between a Stryker M1126 ICV, F-117 Nightwhawk, and a Ford E-350 van. Iowa Storm Chasing Network's 'Dorothy' tornado-chasing vehicle Armored, equipped, aerodynamically and aesthetically enhanced – Dorothy …
Rik Myslewski, 22 Mar 2014