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US astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson: US is losing science race

Rock star astrophysicist Neil Tyson says the United States has lost pole position in scientific research and its people must refocus on innovation rather than wait for "the next app". Tyson (@neiltyson), Carl Sagan's former student and the narrator of recent popular documentary series Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, said …
Darren Pauli, 10 Oct 2014

ROBOT TROUSER SNAKE stiffens to master slippery mounds

Scientists say their new snake robot has cracked the tricky problem of slithering up slippery mounds. The trouser(ed) snake robot This undeniable pushing-back of the frontiers of science comes to us courtesy of Professor Daniel Goldman's Complex Rheology And Biomechanics Lab ("the Crab Lab") at the Georgia Institute of …
Lewis Page, 10 Oct 2014

'MYSTERIOUS PYRAMID STRUCTURE' found on COMET beyond Mars: Landing planned

Exciting news from outer space today, as it has emerged that a "mysterious" pyramid-like "structure" has been discovered on the surface of a comet plunging towards the inner solar system from beyond the orbit of Mars. Necropolis-esque comet structure The comet in question is 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, and the discovery has …
Lewis Page, 10 Oct 2014
Siding Spring Mars flyby

NASA: Mars satellites menaced by speeding SPACE ALIEN

Pics On October 19, comet Siding Spring will make a very close flyby of Mars. And that's why NASA will hide its satellites in the area behind the Red Planet – to protect the agency's valuable hardware from passing comet debris. Siding Spring duck and cover Everybody hide! The comet, first spotted on January 3 last year by Robert …
Iain Thomson, 10 Oct 2014

El Reg Christmas Lectures to span space, big data and GCHQ

Reg Events What will you be doing in the run-up to Christmas? Mad dash round the shops? Crunching the end of year numbers? Warm white wine and cold sausages in a meeting room? Or will you be kicking back with other similarly bright people, sipping hand crafted beer and listening to a bona fide expert talk about space exploration; or using …
Joe Fay, 9 Oct 2014

Antarctic ice at ALL TIME RECORD HIGH: We have more to learn, says boffin

Climate scientists have confessed they are baffled – yet again – by another all-time record area of sea covered by ice around the Antarctic coasts. "What we're learning is, we have more to learn," said Ted Scambos, lead scientist at the US National Snow and Ice Data Center, announcing the latest annual sea ice maximum for the …
Lewis Page, 9 Oct 2014
Thirty Meter Telescope

Protesters stop ground breaking on world's largest telescope

Peaceful protesters successfully halted the groundbreaking ceremony for construction of the world's largest telescope for a few hours before being removed by police. Thirty Meter Telescope The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) will be the largest Earth-based telescope ever built with, as the name implies, a 30-meter reflective …
Iain Thomson, 9 Oct 2014

DOCTOR HELL and his henchmen score Nobel for the NANO-SCOPE

Hefty German scientist Dr Stefan Hell - and American colleagues Eric Betzig and William Moerner - have been awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their development of super-high-res microscopes: so hi-res, in fact, that they are really nano-scopes. "Due to their achievements the optical microscope can now peer into the …
Lewis Page, 8 Oct 2014

Re-light my diode: Trio of boffins scoop physics Nobel for BLUE LEDs

The 2014 Nobel Prize for Physics has been awarded to three researchers for coming up with the blue LED - allowing humanity to break free of the red and green prison it had languished in until then. Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura have been honoured “for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes which …

Inflatables in SPAAACE! ISS 'nauts to enjoy bouncy castle spaceship

Astronauts will be able to enjoy the pleasures of an inflatable spaceship from next year, when a blow-up craft will attach itself to the International Space Station. The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) is expected to be blasted into space aboard SpaceX's Dragon cargo spacecraft at some point in 2015, the firm behind it …
Jasper Hamill, 7 Oct 2014
DTI scans of male and female brains, showing pathways

Big racks? Pah. Storage boffins have made a BIONIC BRAIN material

Research boffins at RMIT university in Melbourne have demonstrated a non-volatile memory at nanometer scale using memristive effects – and suggest it could help build a bionic brain. The team, led by Dr Sharath Sriram, built a stacked structure using perovskite oxide with designed-in defects in its chemistry to demonstrate a …
Chris Mellor, 7 Oct 2014

Trio share 2014 Nobel Prize for cracking internal GPS of the brain

The 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to three neurologists for their work in helping to understand how the brain can remember where we are – and finding out which nerve cells are responsible. Half of the prize was awarded to American-born John O'Keefe, who is a naturalized Brit and has spent his career …
Iain Thomson, 7 Oct 2014
BellSouth IBM Simon

‘This is 2LO calling’: Marconi transmitter, IBM Simon and more at the Science Museum

The BBC's flagship tech programme, Click, will host a lecture on the history of communications technology at the new Information Age gallery, which opens at the end of the month at the Science Museum. The gallery is divided into six zones, each representing a different information and communication technology network: The Cable …
Simon Rockman, 6 Oct 2014

Hiss-hiss! GIGANTIC SOLAR FILAMENT snakes around Sun

Pic NASA boffins have observed a massive filament of solar material snaking around the Sun. When fully extended the scientists believe that the filament – a cloud of stuff suspended above the fiery star by "powerful magnetic forces" – would measure some one million miles across from end to end. Solar filament (dark thread upper …
Kelly Fiveash, 5 Oct 2014
Doctor Who on Kill The Moon

Doctor Who becomes an illogical, unscientific, silly soap opera in Kill The Moon

TV Review Brid-Aine says: None of this episode made an ounce of sense. You don’t expect a lot of scientific grounding in Doctor Who, but you do expect the bare minimum and maybe some form of logic. Kill the Moon had no logic at all (at any time), and some parts in particular were utterly infuriating. Doctor Who on Kill The Moon The …

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 …