September 05, 2008

Anti-peak oil and peak oil people agree: US natural gas production will increase by a lot [Canada too]

Natural Gas production is going up by a lot in the United States. This was noted at Peak Oil Debunked about a month ago.

The peak oil people such as Mike Ruppert and Matt Simmons were saying in 2003 and since then that natural gas production was heading for a sharp decline.

Now even some peak oil people are changing their tune. Gail at the oildrum has agreed that natural gas production will increase in the USA

Natural gas production can be ramped up by nearly 50% by 2020. My [Gail at ] interpretation of what is happening is that there has been a technological breakthrough, probably in the area of shale gas production of natural gas.

Stocks benefiting from the Haynesville natural gas play

Chesapeake (CHK) is the diversified approach, Petrohawk (HK) is the concentrated way, and Goodrich (GDP) seems to be the small cap approach. Haynesville is a southeastern shale deposit in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas.

The U.S. has enough natural gas resources to last up to 118 years, or 2,247 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), according to the study by Navigant Consulting for the American Clean Skies Foundation based on a mid-2008 estimates.

Canada Natural gas and oilsands
In Canada, The Horn River basin as 500 trillion cubic feet in place. 9-16tcf from the Ootla region of the Horn River for Apache Corp alone.

Canada's Oil and Gas sector outlook from June 2008.

B.C.'s Horn River Basin, near the Northwest Territories, has generated early estimates upwards of 28 tcf (trillion cubic feet) in potential shale gas reserves. To the south lies the Montney sand, shale and siltstone tight gas play, which the B.C. government pegs at 80 tcf of tight gas in place.

In the Saint Lawrence Lowlands of Quebec, Forest Oil Corp. compares its Utica shale gas discovery (estimated four tcf potential) to the legendary Barnett shale in Texas. On the East Coast, wildcatters are testing the potential of the Frederick Brook shale formation of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

In a February report, Raymond James Ltd. calculated that a move from vertical wells to horizontal improved Montney economics from break-even to a 27% expected internal rate of return.

Massive cost increases have bedeviled development of Canada's Arctic gas potential. In the Mackenzie Delta, three natural gas discoveries total 5.8 tcf. Further north in the Arctic islands, 16 gas discoveries amount to a further 17 tcf. Benoit Beauchamp, executive director of the University of Calgary's Arctic Institute of North America and a former Geological Survey of Canada field geologist in the Far North, estimates the remote region's potential at 117 tcf of gas plus nearly four billion barrels of oil.

Canada's oilsands motherlode - Alberta estimates that its buried treasure totals 1.7 trillion barrels of bitumen in place - could require fresh capital in the stunning range of $300 billion. That estimate, released by the Canadian Energy Research Institute in November, assumes that all announced projects by oilsands producers and upgraders proceed. Production in that case would soar to six million barrels per day by 2027. David McColl, an economist with the Calgary-based think tank, says capital expenditure on that scale would require a long-term stable oil price upwards of $60 (U.S.) WTI per barrel.

Shale Gas at wikipedia

China's Small/Medium Businesses, Biotech Companies and Physics

China's Small and Medium Size Enterprises Are to Employment and Economy

Chinese enterprises, especially small and medium ones, are facing a harder time because of the combined effects of the global slowdown, tight domestic credit, rising costs and an appreciating yuan.

About 67,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) went bankrupt throughout China in the first half of the year, according to National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the country's top economic planner.

SMEs employed 75 percent of the country's workforce and created 85 percent of new jobs each year, contributing substantially to the country's economic well-being.

That's why decision makers are coming to the rescue with a host of measures, including encouraging commercial banks to make loans to SMEs by raising their credit quota.

The Beijing authorities have signaled on several occasions that they will give greater weight to keeping stable economic growth, while staying vigilant against inflation.

China's exports are actually performing better than previously thought, increasing by 21.9 percent in the first half of 2008.

Retail sales were solid with a real growth rate of 15.4 percent in July after adjusting for inflation, the strongest increase in the past 10 years, according to a HSBC report.

Investment, another major driver of economic growth, also fared well. In the first six months, fixed assets investment grew 26.3 percent from a year earlier, compared with 25.9 percent in the same period last year.

China has plenty of investment prospects as it prepares to host the World Expo in Shanghai as well as the Asian Games in Guangzhou in 2010, among many other international events.

China's Biotech Industry Built by Sea Turtles
In a reverse migration, U.S.-trained scientists are setting up biotech startups, contract-research companies, and university labs on the mainland. [report from Businessweek Magazine]

Today, 2,500 life sciences faculty at U.S. research universities are native Chinese, as are an estimated 10% to 20% of scientists in the labs of U.S. drug and biotech companies. "Ray Wu opened the door for countless Chinese students," said Pfizer's (PFE) Steve Yang.

Now this wave of imported brainpower is building bridges between the pharmaceutical industries of China and the U.S. The catalysts are returnees, known as "sea turtles," creatures celebrated in Chinese lore for their brave oceanic migrations

Princeton's Shi warns that shamefully few Chinese scientists rise to the top of major U.S. companies or research programs, compared, say, with Indians or Europeans. "Unless the U.S. solves this glass ceiling problem, you will see a serious brain drain," he predicts.

So far, China's talent gain has not been America's loss. Sea turtle ventures in China still work mainly for U.S. drugmakers. And with 9,000 Chinese students a year earning U.S. biology master's and doctoral degrees, more talent is arriving in the U.S. than is leaving. Chinese companies still don't have a critical mass of veteran scientists who can turn discoveries into products, says John V. Oyler, a former McKinsey consultant who heads Beijing-based contract research company BioDuro. "In five years, as much drug research will be done in Shanghai and Beijing as in Boston and San Francisco," he predicts. "But China's pharmaceutical industry will only be able to succeed by collaborating with the U.S."

Although in ten years this could change with China's pharma business gaining more independence over time.

China Strong in Physics
China is becoming a physics powerhouse.

Published journal articles in nanoscience with at least one co-author based in China, have seen a 10-fold increase since the beginning of the millennium, rising to more than 10,500 in 2007. If China's output continues to increase at its current pace, the country will be publishing more articles in physics - and indeed all of science - than the US by 2012.

Quantity alone however is not enough. The number of times a journal paper is cited by other academics in their own journal papers is often used as a guide to journal papers' quality. Unfortunately for China, they are currently a long way from the national citation top spot, ranked in 65th for physics, just ahead of Kuwait, with an average of 4.12 citations for each of the papers published. As China has only just started to publish large volumes of work, it is not a fair reflection.

China Leadership Targets Science and Technology
Gaining leadership in science and technology is a top priority for China

China is targeting the production of one million "new energy vehicles" in 2010. New energy vehicles are electric or hybrid vehicles.

China's technological development is getting stronger and by some measures is passing the United States.

Carnival of Space Week 69

September 04, 2008

Transgenic Genetic Engineering

A transgenic animal is one that carries a foreign gene that has been deliberately inserted into its genome. (Usually from another animal.)

Two methods of producing transgenic mice are widely used:

- transforming embryonic stem cells (ES cells) growing in tissue culture with the desired DNA;
- injecting the desired gene into the pronucleus of a fertilized mouse egg.

There are transgenic mice, goats, cows, pigs, monkeys and other animals.

Goats have been modified to produce spider silk in their goat milk.

Rhesese macaques have received two transplants of embryonic pancreatic cells and this research could lead to a human cure for diabetes

There could be risks for new diseases that result from this work.

There are many potential benefits from more environmentally friendly agriculture, disease cures and lower costs for production of many useful substances.

Transgenic fish (salmon) grow faster and could solve problems feeding the world's population

Chinese scientists have successfully bred a genetically altered cow capable of producing cancer-curing proteins for human beings. Antibodies could be 50 to 100 times cheaper using the transgenic cows.

The U.S. based Business Communication Corp. has estimated the worldwide market for transgenically sourced therapies at more than $1 billion in 2008, and $18.6 billion by 2013.

This large industry is supporting the work to constantly improve the processes (efficiency, safety and costs) of genetic engineering which will likely ultimately lead to transgenic people.

Possible future: genetically engineered for endurance of an Alaskan sled dog, cheetah like speed, gorilla strength, regeneration and then add a DARPA exoskeleton for kangaroo leap and even more strength.

Transgenic animals benefit humanity

- agriculture, such as larger sheep that grow more wool
- medicine, such as cows that produce insulin in their milk
- industry, such as goats that produce spider silk for materials production

Researchers Develop First Transgenic Monkey Model of Huntington’s Disease: Experts See Model as Tool to Better Understand the Disease, Develop More Effective Therapies, and Lead the Way to Similar Models for Other Genetic Diseases

A transgenic pig is model for testing Alzheimer's

Transgenic animals are discussed at wikipedia.

Genetically modified organisms at wikipedia.

Gene therapy speeds transgenic animal production.

Frequently asked questions about transgenic fish.

IBM Quicksilver Solid State Memory Sets Data IO record by 250%

IBM achieved groundbreaking results in transferring data at a sustained rate of over one million Input/Output (I/O) per second -- with a response time of under one millisecond (ms). Compared to the fastest industry benchmarked disk system Quicksilver improved performance by 250 percent at less than 1/20th the response time, took up 1/5th the floor space and required only 55 percent of the power and cooling.

IBM tested 4 terabyte (flash memory) solid-state drives

It's feasible that we could get it commercialized within 12 months," said Charlie Andrews, director of product marketing for IBM systems storage. "Right now we have a screaming (fast) system, but there's more work to be done in terms of long-term reliability and integration with systems applications. We don't want to get distracted with 'push the hardware.' We want to focus on the solution piece first," he said.

IBM coupled solid-state drives with its storage virtualization technology to achieve a sustained data transfer rate of more than 1 million input/output per second (IOPS), with a response time of less than one millisecond in a 4.1-terabyte rack of SSD storage. SSDs are being supplied by Fusion-io.

By comparison, Intel is commercially shipping SSDs (X25-E Extreme) that individually achieve random data reads of 35,000 IOPS and random writes of 3,300 IOPS. In a 3.8-terabyte storage array using 120 SSDs, Intel claims 4.2 million IOPS.

New hybrid Honda Insight 2010, $18500, 60 mpg

Honda Insight Hybrid 2010

UPDATE: The 2010 Honda Insight has been introduced but with low EPA ratings of 40-city and 43-highway.

Test drives are showing higher mileage.

We recently got the opportunity to drive the new Honda Insight through the gently rolling hills just north of Phoenix, AZ, and managed to score 63.4 mile per gallon on one particular efficiency run. That's impressive, and it's also much higher than the Insight's official EPA rating of 40-city and 43-highway. In fact, even the older Civic Hybrid scores better under the EPA's testing procedure, leading many to wonder what's up

Honda has introduced a five-door, five-passenger compact hatchback, the new Insight will feature an innovative new platform in which the battery and control unit are located beneath the cargo space for exceptional utility and better handling. The Honda Insight 2010 will start selling on April 22, 2009 with starting prices of $18,500 and fuel efficiency of about 60mpg.

Honda plans to introduce the production version of the all-new Insight to the markets in Japan, Europe and North America in spring 2009 and projects annual global sales of 200,000 units. The Insight will use a more cost-effective version of today’s Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) powertrain, enabling the car to be priced under current hybrids.

The new Insight is about 2.5 inches shorter bumper to bumper, one inch narrower, and two inches lower in height than the Prius.

Following the Insight launch, Honda will introduce a sporty two-door hatchback hybrid shown in Detroit, the CR-Z.

Honda CRZ Hybrid

Honda Insight 2010 revived as a Toyota Prius fighter

The Economist magazine covers the trend to more fuel efficiency.

The first stage, happening now, is an effort to wring efficiency from the internal-combustion engine. Volume car producers will soon be making cars that crack 80mpg. The direction of travel for them is clear. Engines will become smaller and lighter, and will have clever new valve-control systems and superchargers to boost power. For example Fiat’s new Multiair, which should be on sale in a year or so, uses hydraulics and electronics to optimise the engine’s valve settings. When this combines with a supercharger or turbocharger, Fiat reckons, a “downsized” two-cylinder engine can be made to perform like a bigger four-cylinder one—though it will use some 20% less fuel.

The second stage of the journey will begin about two years from now. Despite his conviction that the internal-combustion engine will remain, VW’s Mr Leohold concedes that the car industry needs to start moving away from mineral energy and towards electric-powered vehicles. Nearly all the coming hybrids are “plug-ins”. That means their batteries can be recharged from an ordinary power socket. Almost nobody disputes that hybrids are a bridging technology, however, and that eventually most cars will be powered by batteries alone. Given today’s progress, by 2020 batteries should have a range of more than 200 miles—enough for the bulk of journeys. Bucking this consensus is the Renault-Nissan alliance. Encouraged by the fruits of its partnership with NEC, an electronics giant, Renault-Nissan wants to have all-electric cars ready for mass production by 2010. Renault will supply an all-electric Mégane to Better Place, a start-up that is building a network of 500,000 battery-charging points in Israel, and has similar plans in Denmark and Portugal. Nissan has promised to launch an electric car in America in 2010. It will have the performance of a V6 petrol engine, a range of 100 miles and should be capable of an 80% recharge in one hour, the company says..

Safe and Effective small interfering RNA Delivery allows for drugs to be developed in Weeks

Tobacco mosaic virus is like a 18-nanometer wide straw, which can hold gene silencing RNA

The tobacco mosaic virus appears to be the key to safe and effective delivery of gene silencing RNA.

Bentley's team has successfully hollowed out the virus and filled it with siRNA, and then used it to slip the frail substance into all sorts of cells, from kidney tissue to cancer. The researchers have proven that the tiny capsules provide adequate protection, and that they release their payloads once inside -- hitting their target genes right on the mark.

The short, double-stranded RNA molecules known as siRNA can program cells to destroy disease-causing proteins. Their molecules turn on a cell's own built-in disease-fighting mechanisms. They can be programmed for a wide range of ailments -- from cancers to viruses -- and because they use the cell's own defense mechanisms, they produce minimal side effects.

In addition to treating cancers and genetic disorders, siRNA could prove useful against a variety of rare diseases that have, and always will be, overlooked by big pharmaceutical companies -- the long tail of disease.

People suffering from similar, exotic maladies could band together and recruit a small team of scientists, as if they were the Seven Samurai, to champion their cause and quickly design a cure.

“The speed with which you develop siRNA drugs is truly amazing,” said Stephen Hyde. “In the past, a traditional small molecule drug might take several years of intensive research effort by a large team of scientists to develop. Today, with siRNA technology, it is possible for a single researcher to develop a drug candidate in a few weeks.”

Bentley is optimistic that the virus will not cause health problems because most people already have traces of it in their blood -- from second-hand smoke -- and it does not seem to cause irritation or obvious immune-system problems.

Protecting the payload is not the only challenge, said Ben Berkhout, a biotechnology expert at the University of Amsterdam. Even if the delicate molecules are packaged in the perfect substance, they still need some sort of a guidance system.

"You want to efficiently get the siRNA drug into the cells where the therapeutic action should be,” said Berkhout.

By coating each tube with special proteins that can recognize and penetrate cancer cells, Bentley's team hopes to make smart drugs that will only go where they are needed.

If that trick works, tobacco may finally be able to turn over a new leaf.

September 03, 2008

Heartland Robotics : Low Cost Industrial Robots Revolution

Rodney Brooks, co-founder and CTO of iRobot, is leaving his iRobot post to found his own robotics company, Heartland Robotics.

Heartland Robotics, based in Cambridge, Mass., will focus on the manufacture of industrial worker robots.

"I want to effect a powerful evolution in the world's labor markets, and my current focus is to develop low-cost robots that will empower American workers," Brooks said in a statement released on his personal Web site.

Rodney Brooks new work talks about "I want to effect a powerful evolution in the world's labor markets, and my current focus is to develop low-cost robots that will empower American workers" which is the same as Heartland Robotics. The new work is focused on the Obrero robot.

The Obrero robot page

Obrero is a humanoid robot especialized in sensitive manipulation: manipulation that is as much about perception as action and is intrinsically responsive to the properties of the object being manipulated; manipulation that does not rely on vision as the main sensor but as a complement.

This work is being done by Eduardo Torres-Jara and supervised by Prof. Rodney A. Brooks.

There are currently over 1 million industrial robots in the world

Rodney Brooks at wikipedia

Rodney Brooks at MIT

Used industrial robot arms in the $9000-15000 range

Soon ten or more Large forging makers for nuclear reactors

UK's Sheffield Forgemasters is considering the addition of a 15,000 tonne press, which would allow it to accept 500 tonne ingots.

The machine, 50% more powerful than its largest existing press, would allow it to make reactor pressure vessels for reactors up to and including Areva's 1650 MWe EPR, the largest PWR currently on the market.

Japan Steel Works is seen as the leader in large forgings, but it is far from the only company to offer them. Korea's Doosan Heavy Industries and Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries can also produce the items. Mitsubishi are doubling their capacity.

The OMZ Izhora facility will make all the large forgings for Russia's nuclear build plans. It too is doubling capacity. France's Areva is installing larger forging capacity at Le Creusot.

Chinese firms Harbin Boiler Works, Dongfang Boiler Group and Shanghai Electric Group are preparing to enter the very large forgings market, while Larsen & Toubro in India are hoping to be allowed to export their forgings.

So soon there could be over ten companies able to make large forgings for nuclear reactors.

Deep burn nuclear reactors and seriously scaling nuclear power

A previous look at companies entering the forging business and welding two smaller forgings together

China targeting having 100 Westinghouse AP1000 reactors built or being built by 2020.

AP1000 component factories in China, United States and probably UK, South Africa and Turkey.

September 02, 2008

Nickel Zinc batteries 35% more energy than NiMH but half the cost of lithium ion

PowerGenix makes a variation on nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries, which are often used in hybrid vehicles (which have a conventional engine to back up the batteries). The company has created a nickel zinc (NiZn) battery that has 35 percent higher power and energy density than NiMH, but is half the cost of a lithium-ion battery (which still has a third more energy than a NiZn battery), according to its CEO, Dan Squiller.

The batteries are also light, which makes them particularly suitable for small vehicles like motorcycles.

Using both a patented electrolyte and a patented electrode composition, PowerGenix has eliminated past issues of dendrite formation and shape change of the zinc electrode during cycling. Dendrite formation and shape change of the zinc electrode have been the primary hindrances to a commercially viable rechargeable NiZn battery.

Beyond CMOS: Emerging research devices

Beyond CMOS: Emerging research devices presentation at the summer 2008 ITRS public conference.

Emerging Research Device Technology Candidates are to be evaluated. This is the list of devices being considered to go beyond CMOS.
- Nano-electro Mechanical Switches
- Collective Spin Devices
- Spin Torque Transfer Devices
- Atomic Switch / Electrochemical Metallization
- Carbon-based Nanoelectronics
- Single Electron Transistors
- CMOL / Field Programmable Nanowire Interconnect (FPNI)

The ERD/ERM TWGs recommended to the International Roadmap Committee:
Carbon-based Nanoelectronics to include carbon nanotubes and graphene. Additional resources should be budgeted and a detailed road map for ITRS created for nanoelectronics as promising technologies with targeting of commercial demonstration in the 5-10 year horizon.

Graphene pseudospintronics presentation

Graphene spintronic and quantum electronics papers by Trauzettel

OHSU Grows Hair Cells Involved in Hearing for possible deafness cure

Oregon Health & Science University scientists have successfully produced functional auditory hair cells in the cochlea of the mouse inner ear. The breakthrough suggests that a new therapy may be developed in the future to successfully treat hearing loss. Successful production of functional sensory hair cells in the inner ears of mice suggests that a new therapy to regain hearing may be possible.

Brigande and his colleagues were able to produce hair cells by transferring a key gene, called Atoh1, into the developing inner ears of mice. The gene was inserted along with green florescent protein (GFP) which is the molecule that makes a species of jellyfish glow. GFP is often used in research as a “marker” that a scientist can use to determine, in this case, the exact location of the Atoh1 expression. Remarkably, the gene transfer technique resulted in Atoh1 expression in the organ of Corti, where the sensory hair cells form.

Using this method, the researchers were able to trace how the inserted genetic material successfully led to hair cell production resulting in the appearance of more hair cells than are typically located in the ears of early postnatal mice. Crucially, Dr. Anthony Ricci, associate professor of otolaryngology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, demonstrated that the hair cells have electrophysiological properties consistent with wild type or endogenous hair cells, meaning that the hair cells appear to be functional. Based on these data, the scientists concluded that Atoh1 expression generates functional auditory hair cells in the inner ear of newborn mammals.

South Africa Pebble Bed Modular reactor gets key regulatory approval

South Africa's National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) has given the go-ahead for the start of production of graphite feedstock for the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) demonstration unit.

The lifting of the work stop order paves the way for the production of long-lead items. This includes the manufacture of the graphite feedstock material which will be machined to PBMR specification and will shape and support the reactor's pebble bed core within the pressure vessel.

The construction of two 1250 MW Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear reactors in Sanmen China are 67 days ahead of schedule.

First concrete - the official start of construction of a nuclear power plant - should be poured for Sanmen 1 in March 2009, with operation following in late 2013.

A component module factory specifically for AP1000 units has been established near Haiyang in Shandong province, where two other AP1000s are to be built. Pre-assembled modules could be transported from the Haiyang facility across China or even for export later on in China's nuclear power program. A similar facility is planned in America to provide AP1000 modules to the USA as well as - potentially - the UK, South Africa and Turkey.

Off topic: Tropic Thunder is very funny: Never go full retard

Here is the internet movie database quote entries.

After the jump, there will be a post of a sample quote from the movie. So avoid going there if you do not want a spoiler.

Tugg Speedman is the Ben Stiller character. An action movie star whose previous movie was Simple Jack. Kirk Lazarus is a five time academy award winning actor playing a black man.

Tugg Speedman: There were times while I was playing Jack where I felt...
Tugg Speedman: ...retarded. Like, really retarded.
Kirk Lazarus: Damn!
Tugg Speedman: In a weird way I had to sort of just free myself up to believe that is was ok to be stupid or dumb.
Kirk Lazarus: To be a moron.
Tugg Speedman: Yeah!
Kirk Lazarus: To be moronical.
Tugg Speedman: Exactly, to be a moron.
Kirk Lazarus: An imbecile.
Tugg Speedman: Yeah!
Kirk Lazarus: Like the dumbest mother fucker that ever lived.
Tugg Speedman: [pause] When I was playing the character.
Kirk Lazarus: Everybody knows you never do a full retard.
Tugg Speedman: What do you mean?
Kirk Lazarus: Check it out. Dustin Hoffman, 'Rain Man,' look retarded, act retarded, not retarded. Count toothpicks to your cards. Autistic, sure. Not retarded. You know Tom Hanks, 'Forrest Gump.' Slow, yes. Retarded, maybe. Braces on his legs. But he charmed the pants off Nixon and won a ping-pong competition. That ain't retarded. Then there was Sean Penn in ‘I Am Sam.’ He went full retard. Left the Oscars empty-handed. You went full retard, man. Never go full retard.

Google chrome is fast

September 01, 2008

Cray has supercomputer cooling technology 10 times better than water cooling

Cray has unveiled a petascale-era cooling technology it says is more than 10 times as efficient as same-size water coils. They call it ECOphlex technology.

The cabinet infrastructure can use either Cray’s high-efficiency vertical air cooling or our new phase change cooling technology that converts an inert refrigerant, R134a, from a liquid to a gas. The other flexibility is that the liquid-cooled systems can use various chilled or unchilled datacenter water temperatures to pull heat from the R134a subsystem and to adapt to changing datacenter conditions.

The cooling technology will be used in the new XT5 family of supercomputers.

Type rest of the post here

China has a 230 teraflop supercomputer

China has launched a supercomputer based on homegrown server standards that, at its peak, can make 230 trillion per second.

The supercomputer, named Dawning 5000, was developed by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and Dawning Information Industry Co. Ltd. and has recorded a LINPACK speed of 160 trillion FLOPS (floating point operations per second), Xinhua news agency reported.

It is 10 times faster than China's former fastest supercomputer, the Dawning 400A, which is able to make 10 trillion calculations per second. The Dawning 400A was jointly launched by Dawning and the CAS's Institute of Computing Technology in 2004.

Dawning 5000 will be sold commercially for RMB 100 million (14.71 million), according to Dawning.

China is investing heavily in its domestic Godson series of microprocessors

China has produced four Godson processors, the latest being the Godson 2f. It struck a deal last year with STMicroelectronics to manufacture and sell the chips, and they are now used by 40 companies in set-top boxes, laptops and other products, Xu said. The commercial name for the chips is Loongson.

China will complete the design of a new version of the chip, the Godson 2g, which integrates more functionality on the silicon. Next year it hopes to include graphics capabilities on the same silicon as the main processor, much as AMD and Intel are doing today.

China is also hard at work on the Godson 3, which is aimed primarily at servers and will be the first Godson to use a multicore design. A version of the chip due in 2009 will have four general-purpose cores and four specialized cores for tasks like scientific computing.

China hopes the Godson 3 will allow it to build a high-performance computer in 2010 that can perform at one petaflop per second. Godson's use in PCs has been held back by the fact that it is based on a MIPS core, as opposed to the x86 design used by Intel and AMD. To run Windows, it has to use translation software to achieve x86-compatibility, and the Godson loses a lot of its native MIPS power in the process.

The Godson 3 adds new instructions that speed the x86-to-MIPS translation by a factor of 10. A goal is to achieve 80% of the MIPS performance but right now they are at 40%.

Dawning computers at wikipedia

The Dawning 5000 is the sixth or seventh fastest supercomputer on the June 2008 Top500 list. The top500 list does not include the special purpose MDGrape 3 petaflop computers from Japan.

The Top 500 list of supercomputers

Repeatable 100 Tesla Magnet under Construction

a 100 Tesla magnet is needed to test the properties of new high-temperature superconductors like iron oxyarsenide, which may improve the performance of MRI machines and high-voltage power lines while lowering their cost. A 100‑T magnet would also let you conduct certain zero-gravity experiments without traveling into space and let you develop magnetic propulsion systems that could eventually replace those that burn rocket fuel.

The Magnet Lab is close to reaching the material tensile strength needed to repeatedly break the 100-T barrier. It will have to resist enormous Lorentz forces—the electromagnetic push on electrons that attempts to force them in a direction perpendicular to the flow of current. In a 100-T magnet hese forces are “equivalent to the explosive force of 200 sticks of dynamite packed into a volume of space the size of a marble.”

The electromagnet will be made of two pieces—a thick, hollow cylinder, called an outsert, that's 1.5 meters in diameter by 1.5 meters tall, and an insert just big enough to fit inside the outsert's 225‑millimeter bore. The outsert will be powered by a 1.4‑gigawatt generator and produce fields between 40 T and 44 T, while the insert will draw enough current from a 2-megajoule capacitor bank to generate fields up to 60 T. The outsert is never powered up for more than 2 seconds at a time, during which the insert can deliver multiple 20‑millisecond bursts. Enough energy is transferred during those 2 seconds to raise the magnet's temperature from the cryogenic cold of liquid nitrogen to nearly 200 °C. It takes an hour to cool the magnet enough to start another round of pulses. Boebinger says the design and composition will allow researchers to get roughly 10 000 pulses out of the $8 million outsert magnet and about 100 pulses before a $20 000 insert magnet is destroyed.

Strong magnets at he National High Magnetic Field Lab witnessed new electronic states of matter what physicists call a "collective state".

If you can imagine, it's as if we were looking at passengers scrambling through Grand Central Station in New York, watching them run in different directions. All of a sudden, the whistle blows and we see them run to the same train. This is a simple example of a sudden transition to collective behavior," Ong said.

Lab info on the 100-Tesla multishot magnet project

Singapore heart stem cell transplant could replace heart bypass surgery

Singapore's National Heart Centre should start human clinical trials for stem cells for treating heart disease in one or two years. Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. This follows recent news of using stem cells to create an unlimited disease free blood supply and the possibility of using stem cells for regeneration, rejuvenation and life extension.

If successful the new stem cell (heart cell) transplant method pioneered by the National Heart Centre (NHC), will help patients avoid the high-risk heart transplant and even eliminate the need for bypass procedures.

The method involves taking stem cells from the patient’s heart, cultivating them in a special solution to differentiate them into heart muscle stem cells and then transplanting these differentiated cells back into the patient’s heart.

While there is now a race to use stem cell therapy in the treatment of heart failure patients, most of the programmes are in their early phases.

The NHC, with its pre-clinical study results that it claims are “better than any other in the world” and proprietary technology to manipulate the cells, thinks it has a good chance at early success.

The NHC study has shown that heart pump action is significant in mice which have received the heart stem cells. A total of 43 patients undergoing heart bypass surgeries donated their heart stem cells for the project.

“These cells tend to be clever and can move by themselves by migration, and tend to move into areas that require them most,” said Dr Wong.

In the study, some 30 per cent of stem cells were converted into heart muscle cells under a patented method used by the NHC. This compares well against the few out of “millions” of whole stem cells poured into the heart used in conventional methods, the NHC said.

Another potential benefit of the NHC’s research is that a heart failure patient can harvest his own stem cells to be used for his own treatment — doing away with the need for immunosuppressants, or drugs that help a transplant patient cope with rejection of donor tissue.

Bellafont reactors follow up

Excellent analysis of the possible restart of Bellefont nuclear reactors by Dan Yurman at Idaho Samizdat . A quick back-of-the-envelope estimate suggests that the cost to complete the two units could be $3.6 billion at a minimum. This could save 2 billion versus the construction of new reactors. If there is carbon taxes or costs (as is likely to be introduced in 2009 under Obama or McCain) then the two reactors would probably be restarted and two new reactors which are currently submitted for a license will also be built.

Energy from Thorium indicates that the rising cost of nuclear power and new electrical power in general is caused by the failure to develop more advanced reactors. Advanced reactor development has been left to foreign governments such as France, Japan, China, Russia and even South Africa.

Various forecasts of China's Economic Growth

Several economists have projected future economic growth for China

Albert Keidel at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington says that when Japan was at China's current level of GDP of just over $2,000 per capita, and headed for $10,000, it sustained growth rates of 8-10 percent. So did South Korea and Taiwan. Keidel expects China to grow more swiftly than its three neighbors did at the same stage of development. The result, he says, is that China will match America for economic size by 2035 and be twice as big by mid-century.

Japan in the late 1960s "one of the most polluted countries in the world". Japan, however, started to tackle its pollution, giving its environmental agency de facto cabinet status in 1971. China, now following suit, did the same earlier this year.By some measures, China is even ahead of the game, Keidel argues. By 2004 in Beijing, ambient sulfur dioxide had already fallen far below Japan's peak levels in the mid-1960s.

China encouraged early improvements in the business climate for foreign investment that Japan and South Korea never allowed.

Aging Population Pessimists still project 7.5% growth
Derek Scissors of the Heritage Foundation, draws a much gloomier lesson from Japan's experience. The number of Chinese in the industrious 15-24 age cohort grew by 20 million between 2000-2005, but the increase in 2010 will be just 1 million on U.N. projections. It will then drop sharply, as a consequence of China's one-child policy, and the country's overall working population will shrink after 2015. Dong Tao of Credit Suisse also cites Chinese demographic trends as a key reason why Chinese GDP growth is likely to head down to 7.5 percent in 2011-2020 from around 10 percent now.

Urbanization and Producivity
Arthur Kroeber, head of the Dragonomics consultancy in Beijing, is convinced that urbanization, productivity gains and fast-rising incomes bode well for continued growth in China. [This site is also optimistic about urbanization and productivity gains] "Put all that together and you can certainly get 8 or 9 percent GDP growth in China for the next few years," he said.
The pessimistic 7.5% 2011-2020 case would only delay the following projection by 1 or two years.

Year GDP(yuan) GDP growth Yuan per USD China GDP China+HK/Ma US GDP
2007 24.66 11.9% 7.3 3.38 3.7 13.8
Jul08 26.3 6.85 3.83 4.2 Past Germany
Oct08 26.7 6.65 4.0 4.45
2008 27.3 10.2% 6.35 4.3 4.8 14.0
2009 30.1 9.8% 5.62 5.4 5.9 14.2 Pass Japan
2010 33.7 9.5% 5.11 6.6 7.1 14.6
2011 37.0 9.5% 4.64 8.0 8.5 15.0
2012 40.6 9.5% 4.26 9.5 10.0 15.4
2013 44.2 9.0% 3.91 11.3 11.8 15.9
2014 48.2 9.0% 3.72 13.0 13.5 16.4
2015 52.0 8.0% 3.54 14.7 15.2 16.9
2016 56.2 8.0% 3.53 16.7 17.2 17.4 Passing USA
2017 60.4 7.5% 3.38 18.8 19.4 17.9 Past USA
2018 64.2 7.0% 3.20 20.9 21.5 18.4
2019 69.2 7.0% 3.09 23.0 23.6 19.0
2020 74.0 7.0% 3.0 25.2 25.8 19.6
2021 78.4 6.0% 2.9 27.2 27.8 20.2
2022 83.1 6.0% 2.9 29.4 30.0 20.8
2023 87.3 5.0% 2.8 31.5 32.2 21.4
2024 91.7 5.0% 2.8 33.7 34.4 22.0
2025 96.3 5.0% 2.7 36.1 36.8 22.7
2026 101.1 5.0% 2.6 38.7 39.4 23.4
2027 106.1 5.0% 2.6 41.4 42.1 24.1
2028 111.4 5.0% 2.5 44.4 45.1 24.8
2029 117.0 5.0% 2.5 47.5 48.2 25.5
2030 122.8 5.0% 2.4 50.9 51.6 26.3 Close to double USA

August 31, 2008

Enerdel Technologies targets halving the cost of lithium ion batteries

Ener1 Inc's battery division Enerdel believes that they can reduce the cost of lithium ion batteries to half of their current cost when produced in high volume. This will mean a payback of two years instead of eight years for making a car a hybrid and having the fuel savings pay for the extra costs.

Chemistry Advantages
EnerDel believes longevity, safety and cost are the most important elements demanded by the automotive customers. To achieve these key attributes, EnerDel is convinced that a non-graphite anode material is key for success in automobile battery business. EnerDel has developed our own Lithium Titanate Anode material in collaboration with Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) for HEV applications. We have also developed a Hard Carbon anode lithium ion battery for PHEV/EV applications.

Mechanical Design Advantages

The mechanical design inside the EnerDel cell is a stack design where the electrodes are stacked on top of each other, i.e. multiple anode and cathode pairs of electrodes are stacked on top of each other. This differs markedly from almost all lithium ion batteries in the market today, including batteries for notebook computers, mobile phones, power tools, etc., which are using a wound design, i.e. where one anode and one cathode electrode of the same lengths are wound up.

Manufacturing Process Advantage

EnerDel’s stack design in the cell is accomplished with a fully automated mass production process.

In separate work, the latest development in biology-based circuity comes courtesy of researchers at MIT who have crafted a battery with an anode wired-up using a virus. These nanoscale batteries can be printed onto most conducting surfaces.

The virus' coat of proteins self-assembles from thousands of identical proteins, which allows researchers to manipulate the protein structure in order to allow the virus to serve as a template for other materials. In this case, a few tweaks to the protein's sequence allowed it to interact with cobalt oxides, which can function as anodes in lithium-based batteries.

But an anode is only part of a functional battery. The new paper describes a process that allows the battery components to largely self-assemble. The researchers built a template of polydimethylsiloxane that contained round posts roughly five microns in diameter. On top of the post, they deposited a dozen alternating layers of two solid electrolytes: polyethlenimine and polyacrylic acid. These layers formed a cap on the substrate about 150nm thick. On top of that, the researchers deposited the M13 virus, dipped in a cobalt oxide solution that converted the viral layer into the nanobattery's anode.

Less than a centimeter's worth of the batteries managed to hold anywhere from 375 to 460 nAh, depending on the charging conditions.

These batteries aren't likely to be solutions for big problems, like laptop batteries, but they could find a niche in the world of miniaturized, low-power devices.

the recent virus battery abstract:

Stamped microbattery electrodes based on self-assembled M13 viruses

The fabrication and spatial positioning of electrodes are becoming central issues in battery technology because of emerging needs for small scale power sources, including those embedded in flexible substrates and textiles. More generally, novel electrode positioning methods could enable the use of nanostructured electrodes and multidimensional architectures in new battery designs having improved electrochemical performance. Here, we demonstrate the synergistic use of biological and nonbiological assembly methods for fabricating and positioning small battery components that may enable high performance microbatteries with complex architectures. A self-assembled layer of virus-templated cobalt oxide nanowires serving as the active anode material in the battery anode was formed on top of microscale islands of polyelectrolyte multilayers serving as the battery electrolyte, and this assembly was stamped onto platinum microband current collectors. The resulting electrode arrays exhibit full electrochemical functionality. This versatile approach for fabricating and positioning electrodes may provide greater flexibility for implementing advanced battery designs such as those with interdigitated microelectrodes or 3D architectures.

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