Science > More stories

Churchill's blood valued at £560,000. Take that Stalin!

The blood circulating in Winston Churchill's veins was worth around £560,000, on the basis of a valuation placed on a small phial of it being auctioned next month. Dukes Auctions is estimating the phial of his blood obtained by a nurse in 1962 could fetch £1,000, although a spokeswoman from the auction house said that due to the …
Kat Hall, 27 Feb 2015
SkyProwler drone

SkyProwler VTOL transformo-drone set to darken skies

Joe Public's appetite for new UAV tech must surely have a limit, but that's still some way off if the case of the SkyProwler "Multi-Mission VTOL Transformer Drone" is any indication. Having soared past its $100,000 Kickstarter goal in a matter of days, Arizona-based Krossblade Aerospace Systems is set to unleash the vehicle …
Lester Haines, 26 Feb 2015
Ceres

Spotty Ceres baffles boffins with bright patches

The Dawn spacecraft sent by NASA to investigate the asteroid belt's largest bodies has spotted a second bright spot on the surface of Ceres, sparking speculation that the dwarf planet might be significantly stranger than first thought. Dawn is slowly approaching Ceres using its ion drive to match orbits, and its latest pictures …
Iain Thomson, 26 Feb 2015

Laughing gas and rubber: A recipe for suborbital flight?

This summer, the skies above Nevada will thunder to the sound of a mighty hybrid rocket motor, as the Boston University Rocket Propulsion Group (BURPG) sends its Starscraper vehicle past the symbolic 100km Kármán line. BURPG group shot at motor test site BURPG: Laughing gas and rubber Having recently tin-rattled its way to …
Lester Haines, 26 Feb 2015
Pictured: a total spaz who can't stop hitting himself

Trolls prevail because good men do nothing: boffins

A recent study into online bullying has found that nine out of 10 internet users won't do a thing to stop it. Researchers from Ohio State University found that when confronted with examples of bullying, many users shy away from direct confrontation. The study pitted 221 student volunteers in a simulated support chat environment …
Shaun Nichols, 26 Feb 2015
bionic hand

Boffin: Use my bionic breakthrough for good, and not super cyborgs

Austrian scientists have used a technique dubbed "bionic reconstruction" to connect a robot hand to human nerves, enabling directly brain-controlled prosthetics for the first time. "Bionic reconstruction is a holistic concept that covers more than just surgical technique," said Prof Oskar Aszmann, MD, Head of the Christian …
Iain Thomson, 25 Feb 2015
Superluminous quasar J0100+2802

COSMIC FATTY from the DAWN of TIME simply can't exist – astroboffins

Researchers from Australia and China have turned up an unfeasibly large black hole that almost dates back to the beginning of time. At 12 billion times the Sun's mass, and in a quasar that was a million billion times as energetic as the Sun, it's not actually the largest black hole ever spotted. However, its redshift indicates …
International Space Station

Russia considers keeping its own half of the ISS alive after 2024

Russia has decided that if Europe ends its involvement in the International Space Station (ISS), it will undock and keep its half alive. A meeting of the Roscosmos science and technical council has recommended that the Russian space agency continue to support the ISS until 2024. After that, the Federal Space Agency statement …

Wanna free web domain for a year? Hey, it's not rocket .science

This morning has seen the launch of the dot-science top-level domain – and one registrar at least is offering them for free. That's right, AlpNames is offering one year's registration for zero dollars. The typical price for a dot-science domain will be $40 per year, but in order to give the launch a boost the registry owners, …
Kieren McCarthy, 24 Feb 2015

Love rats show sex while drunk will sober you up, say boffins

Sydney University boffins reckon there just might be such a thing as a sobering drug – and that it's something the body makes naturally. In joint research with the University of Regensburg in Germany, the researchers found that in drunk rats, the so-called “cuddle hormone” oxytocin ameliorated alcohol's effect on the drunken …
Marconi and transmission equipment

Marconi: The West of England's very own Italian wireless pioneer

Geek's Guide to Britain This is the story of a 22-year-old technology genius, who, stung by the lack of interest in his work in his homeland, moved to a new country to develop his ideas. In a single year, this individual extended the performance of a key technology of his time by a factor of more than 20. It sounds like an outlandish tale even by …
SA Mathieson, 23 Feb 2015
2001: A Space Odyssey

Spacewalking NASA 'nauts hook up power and data cables to ISS Harmony module

NASA astronauts clocked up hours of walking in the void of space on Saturday, as they continued to rig the forward end of the Harmony module and Pressurised Mating Adapter-2 with power and data cables. Terry Virts and Barry Wilmore routed 340 of 360 feet of cable during their walks, the U.S. space agency said. NASA added: The …
Team Register, 22 Feb 2015

Post-pub nosh neckfiller: El Reg eggs Benedict

A few days ago, we offered wobbly dining fans the Post-Pub Noshographic - a procedural flowchart to steer our beloved readers through the after-boozer neckfiller decision-making process. That handy guide serves for immediate deployment as you stagger through the front door, a gibbering and dribbling mess in search of immediate …
Lester Haines, 22 Feb 2015

New Mexico mulls sale of first US commercial spaceport (and LOHAN launchpad)

A New Mexico State Senator has proposed to sell off Spaceport America, saying the site has no viable business model – while claiming that Virgin Galactic may be in breach of contract after a disastrous spaceplane flight ended in death. The spaceport opened for business in 2006 but has seen hard times, hosting just 21 vertical …
Iain Thomson, 21 Feb 2015
Stephen Hawking, weightless and happy

HAWKING ALERT: Leave planet Earth, find a new home. Stupid humans

Human aggression threatens to destroy Earth so we'd better start colonising planets soon, pioneering physicist Stephen Hawking has said. "I believe that the long-term future of the human race must be space and that it represents an important life insurance for our future survival," said Hawking, speaking at London's Science …
Kat Hall, 20 Feb 2015
The Colossus Mk II, photo: Gavin Clarke

Royal Mail's Colossus move gets ex-WREN's stamp of approval

Once muzzled by officialdom, former operators of Colossus have reacted well to a Royal Mail stamp marking the achievements of the computing beast and its designer, Tommy Flowers. The Colossus stamp is part of eight in the Royal Mail’s series, called Inventive Britain. The world’s first electronic, programmable computer, …
Gavin Clarke, 20 Feb 2015
DNA Helix

Want a MEEELLION-year data storage? Use DNA of course

Swiss boffins have used their weird wizardry to devised a way to store data for a million years using DNA, or so they claim. Perhaps DNA should be changed and adopt a new acronymic meaning: Digital Nucleotide Archive. The researchers were led by boss boffin Robert Grass (Die Haupt Boffiner – think that’s the translation, Ed), a …
Chris Mellor, 20 Feb 2015

El Reg chefs whip up Post-Pub Noshographic

Our post-pub nosh neckfiller recipes have proved immensely popular over the last few months, as we've strived to bring our beloved readers the very best antidotes to a rigorous night on the sauce. However, amid the smacking of lips and the rattling of pots and pans, we have noticed a trend for commentards to decry some recipes …
Lester Haines, 20 Feb 2015
A close up at atomic level of limpits' teeth. Image via Portsmouth University

HOLY SEA SNAILS! Their TEETH are strong enough to build a plane

Forget the Killer Rabbit from Monty Python, limpets – a type of aquatic snail – have far more power behind their bite, say the scientists who've discovered their teeth are composed of the strongest natural material. The creatures need high strength teeth to scrape algae off rocks. But researchers from Portsmouth University have …
Kat Hall, 19 Feb 2015
Photograph of the killer shrimp. Pic: Defra

Prawn cocktail offers hot new way to make solar cells

Wrap your laughing gear around this: researchers from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) have discovered that materials from shrimp/prawns can replace expensive elements in solar cells. The boffins working on nano-structured solar cells found that chitin and chitosan can make the quantum dots that are coated onto structures …
Planetoid crashes into primordial Earth

Watch a hot, speeding space alien explode all over Earth's Beaver

Video Three NASA cameras have picked up the fiery entrance and explosive exit of a 500lb (226kg) chunk of space rock in the skies over Pennsylvania in the wee small hours of Tuesday. Youtube Video The meteor was spotted at 0450 local time (0950 UTC) sixty miles above Beaver Falls. It was filmed by three video cameras that are part of …
Iain Thomson, 18 Feb 2015
Scholz' Star. Michael Osadciw/University of Rochester

BLOOD STAR of the NEANDERTHALS passed close to our Sun

Back when Homo sapiens neanderthalensis strode or shambled or knuckled along the earth, about 70,000 years ago, the prehuman simians may have been able to see a small star passing through the fringes of our solar system. So say the authors of a new paper, The Closest Known Flyby of a Star to the Solar System, in The …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Feb 2015
Total Recall

Big Brother in SPAACE: Mars One picks first 100 morons to suffocate, er, settle on Red Planet

Pics The final 100 wannabe Mars One colonists have been announced. The organizer of the project has received 202,586 applications from Earthlings longing for a one-way trip to the fourth rock from the Sun – and claims it will fire the first four settlers to Mars in 2024. It will fund the whole thing through sponsorship and a reality …
Iain Thomson, 17 Feb 2015
Google Street View penguins

PENGUINS are just TASTELESS, say boffins

Penguins may be immaculately tailored but it seems they may be a bit tasteless in other areas; specifically that of, erm, taste. This is according to new genetic research which indicates that the smartly turned out flightless birds of the Antarctic have the genes to detect only two of the five tastes (which are sweet, sour, …
Lewis Page, 17 Feb 2015

Boffins now one step closer to male birth control pill

Boffins are developing two new methods for birth control that may eventually lead to the availability of a “male pill”. H2-gamendazole, an organic compound that prevents sperm from reaching maturity, is going through animal testing. Sperm cells grow a tail and head in the testis, but H2-gamendazole blocks this metabolic process …
John Leyden, 17 Feb 2015

BBC: SOD the scientific consensus! Look OUT! MEGA TSUNAMI is coming

Special Report The BBC Trust has supported its programme makers in their use of old and debunked scientific conjectures to produce a "Hollywood style" environmental disaster film. In a formal decision, the operationally independent governing body of the broadcaster rejected a complaint made about the BBC Two TV "documentary", Could We Survive …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Feb 2015
"Image from the glassbrain project, neuroscapelab.com, UCSF

DARPA's 'Cortical Modem' will plug straight into your BRAIN

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is developing a brain interface it hopes could inject images directly into the visual cortex. news of the "Cortical Modem" project has emerged in transhumanist magazine Humanity Plus, which reports the agency is working on a direct neural interface (DNI) chip that could be …
Darren Pauli, 17 Feb 2015
Mars

Boffins baffled by the glowing 'plumes' of MARS

A group of amateur astronomers has discovered a tricky conundrum for the professionals, documenting atmospheric plumes - or something that looks uncannily like them - above Mars... where they should not occur. The observations, made in March 2012 and written up for Nature here (PDF), found plumes in the Red Planet's atmosphere …
A still from Eppendorf's epMotion video

Want to find LOVE online? Make sure your name is high up in the alphabet

A scientist, sickened by repeatedly getting turned down when seeking a date online, roped in a colleague and carried out extensive research through scientific literature so as to develop a set of foolproof methods for finding love on the internet. He now has a girlfriend, with whom he spent last week in Rome. The boffin in …
Lewis Page, 16 Feb 2015
Oxford University's multi-gigabit visible light comms demo

Lightbulb moment for visible light networking: 200 Gbps without a fibre

If you think the multi-gigabit per second performance promised by WiFi communications is hot, think again: research out of Oxford University is claiming 100 Gbps and beyond in homes using free-space optics. The research, led by photonics engineer Dominic O'Brien, uses a base station to communicate with computers using light …
View of the LHC tunnel sector 3 to 4

Boffins grasp Big Knob, get ready to go ALL THE WAY at the LHC proton-punisher

Boffins at CERN are counting down the days until the rebuilt and now even more powerful Large Hadron Collider (LHC) particle accelerator restarts this spring, following a two-year-long shut down. Until this point, the LHC's power had been intentionally limited for safety reasons, but now its fullawesome power can be unleashed. …
Kelly Fiveash, 15 Feb 2015
Violin

Violin-fiddling boffins learn that 'F-HOLES' are secret to Stradivarius' SUPERIOR sound

Scientists have identified the design features that boost the acoustic power of violins. Italian workshops of master violin-making families (such as Stradivari) produced increasingly powerful instruments in the renaissance and baroque musical eras during the 17th and 18th centuries, the so-called Cremonese era. Advances in the …
John Leyden, 15 Feb 2015
Solar filament eruption of August 31, 2012

Watch: FIRE-SPITTING time-lapse images of Sol showcase NASA's sun-gazing highs

Vid NASA has released an impressive time-lapse vid of our sun, to mark five years since the US space agency's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) project began. The video shows off the highlights of NASA boffins gazing at old Sol. NASA said in a back-slapping post to celebrate SDO's fifth anniversary: Capturing an image more than …
Team Register, 14 Feb 2015
Interstellar movie black hole special effects

Interstellar sci-fi WORMS its way into spinning black hole science FACT

Vid Boffins who worked alongside Hollywood film-makers on the Oscar-nominated sci-fi flick Interstellar reckon they've come up with new discoveries that reveal the "powerful effects" of black holes – all thanks to the computer code that was used for the movie. As The Register reported back in October, theoretical physicist Kip …
Kelly Fiveash, 14 Feb 2015

El Reg's plucky Playmonaut eyes suborbital rocket shot

Those of you who like your rockets liquid-fuelled and your altitudes suborbital might like to have a shufti at "Earendel", which promises to be "the first vehicle capable of reaching space, ie, greater than 100km, with an entirely open source design". Cutaway view of the Earendel rocket Earendel (left) - named for the Anglo- …
Lester Haines, 13 Feb 2015
Artist's conception showing the inner four planets of the Gliese 581 system. GJ 581g, potentially habitable, is in the foreground. Credit: Lynette Cook/NSF

ATTENTION SETI scientists! It's TOO LATE: ALIENS will ATTACK in 2049

Today, top experts on aliens will debate one of the most pressing issues of modern times: to wit, should the human race send out signals with the aim of letting any possible extraterrestrial beings know we are here? But the brainboxes assembled in San Jose for the annual shindig of the American Association for the Advancement of …
Lewis Page, 13 Feb 2015
A concept design for a submarine to explore Titan's seas

TITANIC: Nuclear SUBMARINE cruising 'Sea of KRAKENS' may be FOUND ON icy MOON

NASA boffins have come up with a design for a submarine they reckon could one day be used to explore the liquefied hydrocarbon seas of Saturn's mysterious freezing moon, Titan - the only bodies of surface liquid confirmed to exist off Earth. The submarine – to be revealed at the 46th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in …
Simon Sharwood, 13 Feb 2015
LSD

HIGH-RANNOSAURUS WRECKED: Druggie dinos tripped balls on psychedelics – boffins

Fossil hunters in Burma have discovered the earliest specimen of grass yet found – and say it’s laced with a hallucinogen. Ancient amber encasing early grass Ancient amber encasing early grass – no, not that kind The plant remains date from between 97 and 110 million years ago, and are encased in a chunk of amber. Around the …
Iain Thomson, 12 Feb 2015
wine

SWINGBELLIES! Take heed AGAIN: Booze shortens your life

It might be time to bury the “J-curve” – not the hockey stick that confuses the climate debate, but one that booze-pimpers like – according to a study that just hit the BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal). The curve in question is the one that says “moderate drinking is the best”, based on studies purporting to show that …
67P_Churyumov_Gerasimenko_August_8th

Update - Boffins: COMETS are like FRIED ICE CREAM. Mmm

Boffins working for Caltech and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory have created comet-like stuff in a cryostat. Along the way, they've decided that your average comet is kind of like fried ice-cream: squishy on the inside, crusty on the outside, with organic chemicals dusted on top. Both the ESA's Rosetta and NASA's Deep Impact …

Cricket's nervous nineties are a THING, say econo-boffins

Cricket's “nervous nineties”, in which batsmen hit the brakes as they approach milestones like a century, aren't just an invention of television and radio commentators. Queensland University of Technology (QUT) statisticians say it's a measurable thing. According to research from QUT's Business School, the numbers from 3,500 one …
SpaceX launch

SpaceX HOVER-SHIP landing scuppered by MASSIVE ocean waves

Pic+vid+updates Upstart startup rocketbiz SpaceX has launched its Falcon 9 rocket carrying aloft NASA's sun-sniffing DSCOVR satellite – which is destined to take up position beyond Earth's orbit and warn humanity of dangerous solar storms. Sadly, extreme sea weather has prevented SpaceX from attempting to land the lower stage of the reusable …
Iain Thomson, 11 Feb 2015