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Selection of Australian banknotes

Australian Research Council funds clean tech

Technology research projects have won a decent slice of the latest round of Australian Research Council industry-linked funding – around AU$15.5 million of the $86 million total, by The Register's reckoning*. The total $86.9 million of government funding announced by education minister Chris Pyne will be overmatched by nearly …
Chemist at work

Black and Latina boffins regularly mistaken for janitors, study finds

A survey of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers has found that black and Latina boffins are being mistaken for janitors. The study [PDF], conducted by California's Hastings College of Law, found that women in STEM careers continue to face sexism and discrimination, with women of color …
Shaun Nichols, 8 Jul 2015

'Real' vampires reluctant to 'come out of the coffin' to social workers – barmy prof

Genuine, blood-drinking vampires lead difficult unlives and are often reluctant to "come out of the coffin" and reveal the fact of their vampirism to social workers and other care professionals, a new study suggests. The paper, titled Do we Always Practice What we Preach? Real Vampires' Fears of Coming out of the Coffin to …
New Horizons spacecraft approaching Pluto

DOUGHNUT (donut?) and whale FOUND ON PLUTO

Pics NASA has published new photos of the freezeworld Pluto, taken by its Far-travelling New Horizons probe - that prominently feature what appears to be a pareidolic whale and a tasty doughnut (or donut). The New Horizon space podule is closing in for its 14 July flyby of the frosty dwarf planet. The images, taken between 27 June …
opportunity selfie

Mars rover Opportunity shuns dodgy flash chips, relies on RAM

NASA says its aging solar-powered Opportunity rover will from now on explore the Red Planet without using its flash memory whenever possible. Opportunity has been on Mars since 2004, and it was expected to work for three months. Glitches in the rover's flash memory, which first became apparent with an ”amnesia” incident in …
Ceres' bright spots  Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

Dawn falling late: NASA's other glitch of the week

While the world was distracted by New Horizons' brief woes, NASA also had to put its Dawn spacecraft into a holding pattern to work out a software glitch. Dawn, which is fascinating the world with its shots of Ceres – and exciting boffins and conspiracists alike with its shots of the dwarf planet's bright spots, is currently …
Johnny Cab

Robo-taxis, what are they good for? Er, the environment and traffic

Taxi firms that move from human drivers of gas-powered cabs to automated electric taxis could cut vehicle emissions by over 90 per cent, according to a study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Most of these emission cuts come from shifting from oil power to electric, but the study found that autonomous taxi services …
Iain Thomson, 7 Jul 2015
Black hole

Ginormous HIDDEN BLACK HOLES flood the universe – boffins

Pics NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) X-Ray telescope has observed a cluster of massive black holes that were hidden from Earth's view by interstellar dust clouds. Crucially, the findings indicate that there many more holes dotted around the universe than first thought. The black hole spotted by Durham …
Iain Thomson, 7 Jul 2015
HoloLens testing on the vomit comet

World's (possibly) first HoloLens startup promises mixed realities

A mobile upstart has claimed dibs on title of first HoloLens company. Object Theory launched Tuesday under the leadership of ex-Microsoft HoloLens Studio member Michael Hoffman and apps entrepreneur Raven Zachary. The pair claim they will help companies create, develop and launch “mixed reality” applications for Microsoft’s 3D …
Gavin Clarke, 7 Jul 2015
Philae takes a first look at the surface of Comet 67P

ALIEN SLIME SHOCKER: Approaching comet probably NOT inhabited, say boffins

The Rosetta probe's Earth-bound shepherds have sternly stated that suggestions of alien life within comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko - around which the probe is in orbit - are "pure speculation". Let us put aside the conflict humanity will eventually face if and when we do encounter alien life for a later date, and report …

Behold the mighty Swiss SPACE JUNK NOSHER PODULE

Vid The CleanSpace One Project is going to deploy a conical net on its orbital dustpan ship to capture a small SwissCube satellite, which had been purposefully littered into orbit as a demonstration of a interstellar debris collection. A 10cm3 satelliting box has been zipping about Earth's atmosphere for over five years, with …

Pluto probe brain OVERLOAD: Titsup New Horizons explained

NASA has explained in detail how its New Horizons deep-space probe suffered a computer meltdown just as it was moving in towards its destination: the tiny frost-world Pluto on the fringes of the Solar System. At 2pm Eastern Time on Saturday July 4 – Independence Day in the US – contact with the spacecraft was lost. The ground …
Iain Thomson, 6 Jul 2015
Kuratas robot

THIS MEANS WAR between USA and Japan! GIANT ROBOT WAR

Vids An industrial company in Japan has accepted an American challenge to a duel between massive robots the size of buildings and weighing in at many tons each, each piloted by human crews. Youtube Video Last month Boston-based Megabots issued a vid challenge to their competitors at Suidobashi Heavy Industries for an international …
Iain Thomson, 6 Jul 2015
Spaceguard Center in snow, photo: The Spaceguard Center

Planet killer: Ex-army officer's Welsh space-rock mission

Geek's Guide to Britain As I approach the Wales-England border, the rolling Herefordshire countryside sharpens into steep hills and narrow valleys. Powys is a county covering a quarter of Wales, but it is home to just 133,000 people, making it the least densely populated area of Britain south of the North Yorkshire moors. Limited population means few …
SA Mathieson, 6 Jul 2015
Philae takes a first look at the surface of Comet 67P

Dormant ALIEN SLIME LIFE frozen in SPEEDING comet will AWAKEN - boffins

Top astrobiologists say that the approaching comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko could be loaded with slumbering alien organisms capable of living on Earth, which will wake up and become active as the frosty spaceball comes nearer and nearer to the Sun. Dr Max Wallace and Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe say that data from the …
Lewis Page, 6 Jul 2015
Progress 60 approaching the ISS

Soyuz source replenishes international space station

The Russian Soyuz craft launched last week to bring supplies to the International Space Station (ISS) has successfully docked, bringing welcome supplies to the crew. The last two ISS replenishment missions failed. In April another Soyuz spun out, then in late June a SpaceX Falcon 9 blew up before it reached orbit. The two …
DMC3 spacecraft under assembly

Look! Up in the sky! Five Brit satellites on one Indian rocket!

The UK is entrusting a bunch of earth observation satellites to India's burgeoning space program. Three DMC3 optical observation satellites, along with a couple of other payloads, will be hoisted on July 10 by India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). It's the thirtieth mission for the PSLV, and also the heaviest. The …
New Horizons spacecraft approaching Pluto

WHY did NASA probe go suddenly SILENT - JUST as it was about to send pics of remote ice-world?

NASA's New Horizons probe – due to soar past the remote, icy dwarf planet Pluto 10 days from now – gave its handlers a brief fright yesterday by going silent at an inopportune juncture. Fortunately, contact was re-established after around 80 minutes. NASA added that the spacecraft remained "healthy" despite the anomaly. NASA …
The Scientific Secrets of Doctor Who book cover

The Scientific Secrets of Doctor Who

Page File The Scientific Secrets of Doctor Who is what you might call a publication with a rather bastardised nature, being both a new anthology of Doctor Who short stories with quotations included from the TV series, and short essays about the relevant attached science. The Scientific Secrets of Doctor Who book cover Extracting the …
Mark Diston, 5 Jul 2015

Post-pub nosh neckfiller: Uitsmijter

We're obliged to readers who answered our recent call for post-pub nosh neckfiller suggestions, and rest assured we now have a extensive menu planned for the coming months, based on your input. One comment which caught our eye came from "dan1980", who pitched the "cheese and tomato sandwich", daringly proposing: "Add ham or left …
Lester Haines, 4 Jul 2015
The northern giant mouse lemur and its improbably large testicles. Pic: Melanie Seiler

Biologists gasp at lemur's improbably colossal bollocks

Scientists are marvelling at a lemur with testicles so large that were a human chap to carry equivalent plums in his trouser department, they'd be the size of a couple of grapefruit. The average male northern giant mouse lemur (Mirza zaza) tips the scales at just 280g, but has "an average testes volume of 15.48 cubic centimetres …
Team Register, 3 Jul 2015
ocean_648

Will rising CO2 damage the world's oceans? NOT SO MUCH – new boffinry

Those who fear that the oceans and their ability to support life on Earth may be doomed by rising CO2 – take heart! A recent scientific study shows that one of the basic engines of the ocean, namely the life cycle of phytoplankton, will probably not be disrupted by the rising levels of carbon dioxide to be expected later this …
Lewis Page, 3 Jul 2015
Photo by Shellac (https://flic.kr/p/5AAS2Z)

Engineers 3D-print ROBOT SEAHORSE, then SMASH it with rubber mallets

A thing you may not have known: the tail of a seahorse is a square prism rather than the typical cylinder shape normally expected in tails. Researchers have now investigated what mechanical performance advantages this may provide, and reckon it has immense robotic applications. Clemson University boffins have found the ideal …
University of Chicago press-release picture. Credit: Giant Screen Films LLC

Boffin: Will I soon be able to CLONE a WOOLLY MAMMOTH? YES. Should I? Hell NO

Poll It will definitely be possible within the foreseeable future to bring back the long-extinct woolly mammoth, a top geneticist has said. However, in his regretful opinion such a resurrection should not be carried out. The assertion comes in the wake of a new study of mammoth genetics as compared to their cousins the Asian and …
Lewis Page, 3 Jul 2015
Hubble image compared to SMACK simulation

NASA invents super-SMACK, hallucinates WHOLE STAR SYSTEMS

video Beta Pictoris, a research favourite among astro-boffins since the discovery of its bright debris-and-dust disk in 1984, has yielded new wonders in a NASA supercomputer simulation. The debris disk, Goddard astrophysicist Marc Kuchner explains, has what looks to be a warp in long wavelengths, but looks like an X in shorter …
Progress rocket

Hold my vodka, comrade – I got this: Ruskies blast supplies to the ISS

Updated Astronauts on the International Space Station will cross their fingers and toes that Friday's resupply mission doesn't suffer a similar fate to the last three attempts. On Friday at 05:55 UTC, a Progress 60 capsule filled with supplies is expected to blast off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan atop a Russia-built Soyuz …
Iain Thomson, 2 Jul 2015

Original LIZARD JESUS is found in Wyoming

Rejoice! For the Lizard Jesus (or jesus lizard if you prefer) has been found hidden smack bang in the middle of the United States of America (or Wyoming to be a little more precise). Yes – it's true. And this is the original jesus lizard, mind you, not any later imitation. We are told: Modern relatives of the Jesus lizard live …
Lewis Page, 2 Jul 2015

F# earns Syme top Royal Academy of Engineering award

The inventor of Microsoft’s F# programming language is among those being awarded the Royal Academy of Engineering’s prestigious silver medal. Susannah Clarke, the co-founder of Embody Orthopaedic and Andy Ward, founder of Ubisense, joined Don Syme, principal researcher at Microsoft Research, in picking up the accolade. Clarke …

Oil & gas? Pah. We’ve got a MASSIVE 3D printer, beams Dubai

Dubai has announced it will erect "the world’s first fully functional 3D printed building", hoping to establish the United Arab Emirates "as the global centre of technology in architecture, construction and design". The "approximately 2,000 square feet" structure "will be will be printed layer-by-layer using a 20-foot tall 3D …
Lester Haines, 2 Jul 2015
Comet sinkhole

Rosetta spots potholes IN SPAAACE: Someone call the galactic council

The Rosetta probe, currently in orbit around Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, has spotted what appear to be massive sinkholes on the comet's surface that are thought to be caused by the cosmic snowball melting in the Sun's rays. Comet sinkhole map The comet's holier than Pope Francis (click to enlarge) The holes, some of …
Iain Thomson, 1 Jul 2015
New Horizons spacecraft approaching Pluto

NASA's New Horizon probe rudely fires its thruster at gnome planet

NASA's New Horizons space probe has fired its thrusters for the last time to get it into position before it buzzes Pluto on July 14. The little science lab has also detected evidence of methane on the halfling planet. "We are really on the final path," said New Horizons Project Manager Glen Fountain, of APL. "It just gets better …
Iain Thomson, 1 Jul 2015

Congratulations! You survived the leap secondocalypse

The leap second did not break the internet, it wasn’t the second coming of the Y2K bug and nor did it challenge the world’s financial markets or make the Greek situation any worse. Neither did it kick Amazon.com, Netflix, Instagram or Pinterest offline. At most, the addition of a leap second to Universal Co-ordinated Time (UTC …
Gavin Clarke, 1 Jul 2015
Macrostomum hystrix

SEX-starved worm can GIVE HEAD to ITSELF to reproduce

Bioboffins have found a species of flatworm, Macrostomum hystrix, that can reproduce by injecting its own head with its sperm. The spunky self-shagging slitherer is discussed in a paper titled Hypodermic self-insemination as a reproductive assurance strategy that's made it into the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The worms …
Vulcan bomber bomb bays, photo Phil Holding

Goodbye Vulcan: Blighty's nuclear bomber retires for the last time

Visit a British air show before September and it's possible you’ll get the opportunity to witness the last Vulcan bomber in flight - and this is definitely the last year you'll get the chance, this time. Alongside the staple leather-clad wing-walking ladies, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, simulated Apache attack- …

Palaeoboffins discover 500 MILLION year old ARMOURED WORM

A worm which walked on legs and was adorned with vicious spikes is likely to have been one of the first animals on Earth to have donned armour for its own protection, say palaeoboffins who have identified the wee beastie. The "super-armoured" worm, a previously unknown species from 500 million years ago, ate by filtering …
One Night in Hell - Dolby event with Brian May

Giant FLYING SPACE ROCKS could KILL US ALL, warns Brian May

Scientists are trying to raise awareness about planet-killing chunks of flying space rock with today's Asteroid Day. Among them are ex-Queen guitar man and astrophysicist Brian May and meedja celeb Brian Cox. Asteroid Day accompanies a call for a 100-fold increase in the detection and monitoring of asteroids, called the 100x …
Gavin Clarke, 30 Jun 2015
Public domain, right size for index

BBC veterans require skilled hands to massage their innards

The National Museum of Computing (TNMOC) has made an appeal for volunteers who could help them keep their BBC Micro computers – which the museum uses to give visiting young'uns a taste of hacking history – in good health. TNMOC is looking for people familiar with the BBC Micro computer and its peripherals, as it is seemingly …
Jaws on Blu-ray disc

Cunning goldfish avoided predator in tank for seven years

A cunning goldfish, which was delivered into an aquarium as food for its main inhabitant, the Arapaima, managed to avoid being eaten and instead survived for seven years in a filtration unit. The survivor was apparently discovered by staff at Japan's Shima Marineland during a routine cleaning out of the filtration unit, …
SpaceX explosion

Why SpaceX will sort out Sunday's snafu faster than NASA ever could

Analysis SpaceX's perfect delivery record to the International Space Station ended on Sunday, 139 seconds into the flight of its Falcon 9 rocket. But there are good reasons why Elon's Musketeers will be back on schedule far faster than many are predicting. The accident itself was a disaster, and a very unfortunate birthday present for …
Iain Thomson, 30 Jun 2015
Twilight Zone, 'Time Enough At Last'

Get READY: Scientists set to make TIME STAND STILL tonight

Time could be up for leap seconds later this year, if Tuesday night's addition of one second to the world's time proves to be a success. International weights and measures standards-keepers at the Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) near Paris want an end to leap seconds and favour a single, consistent time standard. BIPM has …
Gavin Clarke, 29 Jun 2015

Linux bids for UAV world domination by enslaving future skybot army

The Dronecode open-source UAV platform initiative has announced that it has welcomed on board a raft of new members, who'll help drive the project towards becoming a de facto standard for consumer and commercial drones. The non-profit organisation – governed by the Linux Foundation – was formed in late 2014. Founding members 3D …
Lester Haines, 29 Jun 2015

Is that a FAT PIPE or are you just pleased to stream me? TERABIT fibre tested

Proximus and Huawei have successfully trialled a super-channel optical signal, flinging out information at up to one terabit per second (Tbps). Tech lothario Huawei shacked up with Belgian box-wrecker Proximus back in January. The pairing has now produced a single super-channel optical transport network (OTN) card with a …