May 14, 2010

Carbon Nanotube Transistor Powered by ATP Just Like Cells in Your Body and Cheaper and Faster Carbon Nanotube and Graphene Production

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Discover News 80 Beats - Aleksandr Noy claims to have created “the first example of a truly integrated bioelectronic system,” New Scientist says. And as simple as the transistor is, the idea behind it—harnessing the energy already in our bodies to power electronics—will be one of the keys to creating battery-free devices that monitor our cells, connect to our brains, or do things we won’t think of until we’ve got nanodevices hooked up to our brains.

Nanoletters - Carbon Nanotube Transistor Controlled by a Biological Ion Pump Gate

We report a hybrid bionanoelectronic transistor that has a local ATP-powered protein gate. ATP-dependent activity of a membrane ion pump, Na+/K+-ATPase, embedded in a lipid membrane covering the carbon nanotube, modulates the transistor output current by up to 40%. The ion pump gates the device by shifting the pH of the water layer between the lipid bilayer and nanotube surface. This transistor is a versatile bionanoelectronic platform that can incorporate other membrane proteins.

Wimax and 4G Projected to Reach 1.6 Billion Users by the End of 2012

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ABI Research projects that WiMAX wireless communications will reach more than 1 billion people by the end of 2012, and that LTE will cover another 600 million by that time, marking a fast ramp up of the two technologies that fall into the "4G" category

* 3G has reached top speeds of 14 megabits per second on the downlink but in the real workd 3G is lucky if it can hit one megabit per second.
* 4G, by contrast, can hit 100 megabits per second. The first vendor out of the gate is Clearwire, which offers speeds of three to six megabits in downlink speed per second, comparable to DSL and cable modems. Verizon Wireless, currently testing its 4G network, has reported initial speeds of 40 megabits per second on the downlink.

Contrasting two reactions to the DNA Factory Research

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Recently there has been some big DNA Nanotechnology research announcments.

Including a programmable DNA assembly line

The researchers envision continuous improvement of the proof of concept DNA assembly and eventual tissue repair and other applications.

It is interesting to compare the reaction of Mike Treder and Chris Phoenix on this who both used to work together at Center For Responsible Nanotechnology (CRN).

Treder has this utterly abstract view of progress and its pace. The three year old child in the back seat with the are we there yet attitude. We are not "there" (worldshaking level of molecular nanotechnology) and that it will take many more years is both a disillusionment of Mike's expectations and a relief that he and IEET can lobby for more regulations while they passively wait.

Chris Phoenix notes the three technical things needed to move this the next step forward and has suggestions on two of them.

Stem Cell Progress to Fixing Deafness, Tooth Regeneration, Bone Marrow Therapy and Heart Injury

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1. A team led by Stefan Heller of Stanford University set out to elucidate basic principles of how the inner ear detects sound. But they also created batches of cells that can potentially replace damaged ones in the ear. Their findings are published in the May 14 issue of Cell.

To restore hearing, researchers still have to figure out how to produce millions of hair cells, prevent stem cells from forming tumors, and translate the work to human cells. “I’m very cautious about saying this will lead to a cure for deafness that is around the corner,” Heller said. A cure is at least a decade away, he said.

2. Geron Corp said data from a preclinical study showed its experimental stem-cell product for the treatment of chronic heart injury did not cause any abnormal electrical activity after it was transplanted in the site of the injury.

The product, GRNCM1, was tested in guinea pigs with chronic cardiac injury, to assess whether transplantation increases the incidence of cardiac arrhythmia, a safety concern for cardiac cellular therapies

Femtosecond Laser For 3D Printing of Microstructures and Nanostructures in Glass

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Dr. Yves Bellouard of the Department of Mechanical Engineering is coordinator of a new European project, Femtoprint, to be started this month. The goal is to design a convenient 3D laser printer that will print microstructures in glass. With this ‘femtoprinter’ the manufacture of microstructures would no longer be the exclusive realm of big enterprises.

No Clean Room Needed, Shoe Box Size Device Target

The applied three-dimensional pattern can then simply be etched away in one go, whereas conventional methods still build up the patterns layer by layer. And as the pattern is applied in the interior of the glass, there is no contact with the air, so there is no cleanroom required. Bellouard and his colleagues have already proved that this method enables them to make the basis for a lab-on-a-chip.

FEMTOPRINT is to develop a printer for microsystems with nano-scale features fabricated out of glass. Our ultimate goal is to provide a large pool of users from industry, research and universities with the capability of producing their own micro-systems, in a rapid-manner without the need for expensive infrastructures and specific expertise. Recent researches have shown that one can form three-dimensional patterns in glass material using low-power femtosecond laser beam.

These patterns can be used to form integrated optics components or be developed by chemically etching to form three-dimensional structures like fluidic channels and micro-mechanical components. Worth noticing, sub-micron resolution can be achieved and sub-pattern smaller than the laser wavelength can be formed. Thanks to the low-energy required to pattern the glass, femtosecond laser consisting simply of an oscillator are sufficient to produce such micro- and nano- systems. These systems are nowadays table-top and cost a fraction of conventional clean-room equipments.

It is highly foreseeable that within 3 to 5 years such laser systems will fit in a shoe-box.

Tiny sensors tucked into cell phones could map airborne toxins in real time

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A tiny silicon chip that works a bit like a nose may one day detect dangerous airborne chemicals and alert emergency responders through the cell phone network.

The sensor, a porous flake of silicon, changes color when it interacts with specific chemicals. By manipulating the shape of the pores, the researchers can tune individual spots on the silicon flake to respond to specific chemical traits.

“It works a little like our nose,” Sailor said. “We have a set of sensory cells that detect specific chemical properties. It’s the pattern of activation across the array of sensors that the brain recognizes as a particular smell. In the same way, the pattern of color changes across the surface of the chip will reveal the identity of the chemical.”

China Will Triple Its Subway Systems by 2015

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China will spend more than 1 trillion yuan ($146 billion) to triple the size of its subway system over the next five years, according to the country’s top economic planning agency.

China will increase the amount of track beneath its cities to more than 3,000 kilometers (1,864 miles) by 2015 from 940 kilometers at the end of 2009

New York City has about 850 miles of subways and major cities like Boston and the San Francisco Bay Area have about 50-60 miles of subways.

Chicago has about 106 miles of subway.

Mach Effect Propulsion Experiment Clarification

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This is a clarification of the Mach Effect propulsion experiments of Paul March.

Paul March commented at Talk Polywell.

The Mach-2MHz M-E test article used two, Vishay/Ceramite 500pF at 15kV, Y5U high-k ceramic caps with an e-r = ~5,000 and a DF= ~2% at 1.0 kHz or a Q= 45 at 2.15 MHz where some of the data for the Mach-2MHz was taken which consistently demonstrated ~1.0 milli-Newton thrust signatures. As noted in my STAIF-2006 report, this test article also had an upper harmonic response of 3.8 MHz that demonstrated a first light thrust signature of +5.0 milli-Newton and -0.30 milli-Newton when the E- and B-fields were phased flipped 180 degrees, using a very well shielded and filetered 500 gram load cell for the thrust data. Cap voltage at these frequencies varied between 50 to 130 V-peak with B-field levels in the 20 to 45 Gauss range in the cap dielectric. Alas this test article also demonstrated thrust die off with time of operation which went to zero with about 15 minutes of cummlative run time.

Now my new MLT-2010 test article is using six, 390pF at 15kV, N4700 caps wired in series (62pF summation) that have an e-r = ~1,400 and a DF= 0.10% (Q= 1,000) or less at 100 kHz. Now here is the fun part, its Q at 2.0 MHz is ~500, but at 4.0 MHz it goes down to 140 which drastically affects its M-E scaling predictions. I'll probably run this new unit at both frequencies to see how it responds at each.

Moving Mitochondria DNA to the Nucleus Shown to Correlate with Longer Life and Drugs to Help People Have the Biology of Those who Live to 100 Is Coming Soon

May 13, 2010

Again Transhuman Analysis is Overly Fixated on Genetic Engineering

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James Hughes has an article on Transhumanism on IO9 and takes a relatively pro-Transhumanist position and human modifications abolitionist Francis Fukuyama as his opponent...again

I understand why there is the genetic engineering fixation. There is the human word in the terms humanity, transhuman and posthuman. Humanity is usually differentiated from other species using biological and genetic definitions.

James Hughes said:
In the coming century we will begin to genetically modify ourselves to escape from disease, disability and death. We will begin ramping up our brains and bodies with designer drugs and nanobots

We have already been using medicine for hundreds of years to reduce disease, disability and death. More medicine will continue this progress and it is happening relatively slowly. We are hoping for better detection and treatments for cancer so that early successful intervention and prevention can be done to greatly reduce death rates. We are hoping for the SENS life extension project to allow for rejuvenation that fixes aging damage to enable life spans to increase 20-30 years and Aubrey de Grey is talking 50-50 chance of success in 20 years. So this is a 2-5 decade shift that is a continuation of regular medicine and science. However, even someone with delayed or reduced access to future medicine and gene therapy would not be noticably disadvantaged in the first 50-65 or more years of their lives.

We already have people who are genetically advantaged and live longer lives or have other advantages and people who have better healthcare. Those people are not dominating the people who have shorter lives. So the current variance of genetic and medical haves and the have nots is not the major driver of the world.

Carnival of Nuclear Energy Number One

Welcome to the first Blog Carnival of Nuclear Energy. The Carnival will cover nuclear or energy related articles. Talk about reactors, fuels, environmental impacts, policy and more. If you have a nuclear blog or website join the carnival of nuclear energy by contacting this site. A variety of other nuclear and energy sites and this site will host future Carnivals of Nuclear Energy.


Nuclear green has Progress Toward an American Gas Cooled Reactor and Beyond.

Industrial heat is important because there are no renewable post-carbon energy sources that are particularly good at producing the sort of heat that is required by many industrial processes. Very high temperature nuclear reactors turn out to be about the only source of industrial process heat that does not produce CO2. If any nation wants a chemical industry, or even manufacture cement in the post carbon era, it will need access to a very high temperature nuclear technology.

The Pebble Bed Advanced High Temperature Reactor is a hybrid cross between a gas cooled Pebble Bed Reactor and a Molten Salt Reactor. The most significant advantage of this hybrid is its small core. The use of gas coolants in PBMRs requires large cores proportional to power outputs. The hybrid might be more attractive to regulators than a MSR. It looks more like a conventional reactor.

2. The Yes Vermont Yankee blog had a post on Three Views of the Outage

Summary: As Vermont Yankee goes into a refueling outage, business is booming around Brattleboro, plant employees are discriminated against at the local hardware store, and the folks in Montpelier (Vermont's capital) do business as usual. Montpelier decides that intervenors can tour the plant during the outage, no matter how difficult that might be for the plant.

North Dakota Oil Production Hits a New High in March of 277,407 barrels of oil per day

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North Dakota Oil Production has hit a new high of 277,407 barrels of oil per day in March 2010. Most of the increased oil production is from the Bakken and Three Forks Sanish oil formations. This is an increase of 16,000 barrels of oil per day from February, 2010 and 41,000 barrels of oil per day from January 2010. Production could hit 300,000 barrels daily this summer, and 350,000 barrels next year according to Lynn Helms, director of the state Department of Mineral Resources. Helms said 112 rigs were drilling in western North Dakota's oil patch this week. North Dakota has had more than 100 drill rigs in the state since March.

Alfin Tracks in Detail the Engineering Work to Stop the Gulf Oil Leak

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Alfin has been doing an excellent job of tracking the work that is being done to stop the Gulf Oil Leak. Here is the coverage from most recent to earlier coverage.

1. Crunch time on the gulf floor.

Environmental damage from the ongoing oil spill continues to be limited, due to the nature of the hydrocarbon mix, favourable weather and currents in the warm Gulf waters, and a good surface response by air, land, and sea.

Vibrating Robot Climbs Tubes at 20 Body Lengths Per Second With Payload of 5 times Its Weight

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IEEE Spectrum - Carnegie Mellon University has a simple vibrating robot which climbs tubes with ease.

What's most impressive about Carnegie Mellon's new bot is its speed, versatility, and payload capability. In the video, you can see that it travels up to 20 body-lengths per second and has a payload capacity of roughly 5x it's weight. The robot can even climb different sized tubes, although at different rates. It's simple motor turns an unbalanced mass at a uniform velocity. As the mass swings around, it causes the robot to bounce back and forth between the tube walls. Two rubber o-rings let the researches specify the exact contact points and increase friction with the walls.

Building Organs with Biological Legos

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A half sphere of polymer cubes built by researchers at the MIT-Harvard Division of Health Sciences and Technology. Image: Javier Gomez Fernandez

Researchers at the MIT-Harvard Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST) are encapsulating living cells in cubes and arranging them into 3-D structures, just as a child would construct buildings out of blocks.

The new technique, dubbed “micromasonry,” employs a gel-like material that acts like concrete, binding the cell “bricks” together as it hardens. Ali Khademhosseini, assistant professor of HST, and former HST postdoctoral associate Javier Gomez Fernandez describe the work in a paper published online last week in the journal Advanced Materials.

The tiny cell bricks hold potential for building artificial tissue or other types of medical devices, says Jennifer Elisseeff, associate professor of biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins University, who was not involved in the research. “They’re very elegant and have a lot of flexibility in how you grow them,” she says. “It’s very creative.”

May 12, 2010

Russia Scheduled to Build Four Nuclear Reactors in Turkey by 2018

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Russia signed an agreement on building a power plant with four nuclear reactors on Turkey’s southern coast at a cost of about $20 billion after more than a year of negotiations. Construction of Turkey’s first nuclear power plant will take seven years, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

Mexico may build up to 10 new nuclear power stations by 2028 under one scenario being evaluated by the state electricity monopoly.

Mexico's Federal Electricity Commission, or CFE, currently has four scenarios for new power generation capacity from 2019- 28 that range from a heavy reliance on coal-fired power plants to meet growing demand to a low-carbon scenario that calls for big investments in nuclear and wind power, said Eugenio Laris, who is in charge of investment projects at the company.

China will spend more than 1 trillion yuan (US$146 billion) to build additional nuclear power reactors by 2020.

Mach Effect Propulsion Experiment May Generate 50 Milli-Newtons in 2010

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If the Mach Effect is real [mass fluctations) and behaves as theorized (with some experimental confirmation) by James Woodward and the effect scales up as expected then we can create propellentless space drive. It appears that the latest research work by James Woodward is validating the existence of the effect.

STAIf 2007- Mach-Lorentz Thruster (MLT)Applications presentation by Paul March.

An overview of the Mach Effect and interview with Paul March

All nextbigfuture articles related to Mach Effect Propulsion
Jim Woodward is building a new more robust shuttler test article. and Paul March is building a new Mach-Lorentz Thruster (MLT) prototype based on some N4700 COTS caps that should produce at least an order of magnitude higher thrust than my last successful test article, the Mach-2MHz, which generated up to 0.5 gram-force, (~5.0 milli-Newton). As to when these new test articles will see first light, my guess is sometime this summer.

UPDATE: More details on the experiment from Paul March

Carnival of Space 153 With Mars in 3D

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The Carnival of Space 153 is up at Cumbrian Sky and it has many 3D pictures of Mars.

This site provided two artices: 1. Lasermotive, winner of the power beaming competition of the space elevator games, provides details on power beaming to UAVs and powerbeaming among ground facilities.

2. The path to Bose Einstein condensate positrinium then leads to gamma ray lasers which then leads to better laser nuclear fusion.

Centauri Dreams considers artificial intelligence on interstellar space probes

DNA Nanotechnology Visions

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1. Ned Seeman (and colleagues) created a DNA factory using DNA Walkers that can take 50 steps instead previous versions that could take two steps.

DNA walker is the chassis. But rather than adding a steering wheel or side-view mirror to its frame, the DNA walker can pick up a five-nanometer gold particle, a 10 nanometer gold particle, or a pair of joined 5-nanometer gold particles. By the end of its journey, the DNA walker can take on one of eight different configurations, depending on what cargo it picked up.

Ned Seeman plans to add a longer assembly line and make more complex products by 2012.

Stojanovic and his team made a different DNA walker. It was a "molecular spider" — named for its three DNA legs — can act as an autonomous robot by following instructions programmed into a "DNA track" that it walked upon.

In the future, Stojanovic thinks molecular robots like the one his team created could traverse natural surfaces, such as body tissue, to perform tasks such as repairing broken ligaments.

Reconfigurable Metamaterial Terahertz Lens

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The micro are mighty. An array of micron-sized circuits twist in unison to form a metamaterial terahertz lens. Credit: H. Tao et al./ Boston University
Physicists from Boston University decided made their own reconfigurable metamaterial terahertz lens.

Reconfigurable metamaterials are a quantum leap beyond their static counterparts," he says. "This work could have particularly broad impact if the concepts can be extended" into frequency domains other than terahertz. Reed suggests, for example, that adjustable metamaterials could be adapted to flexibly control and focus light of many different frequencies, which would make a single metamaterial lens capable of replacing entire arrays of conventional lenses.

Adjustable metamaterial lens technology is in its infancy, but the researchers have big plans to refine it. The "ultimate" metamaterial lens, they say, would be able to change all of its properties, including both the spacing and the rotation of the split-ring resonators. That would give users fine control over the frequency and direction of the light beam for applications such as precision scanning, says team member Hu "Tiger" Tao. Tao and colleagues are currently working on quicker methods than temperature changes to rotate and move the resonators.

Chemists Create DNA Assembly Line to Make Eight Different Products from Three Different Gold Nanoparticles

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Chemists at New York University and China’s Nanjing University have created a DNA assembly line that has the potential to create novel materials efficiently on the nanoscale.

“An industrial assembly line includes a factory, workers, and a conveyor system,” said NYU Chemistry Professor Nadrian Seeman, the study’s senior author. “We have emulated each of those features using DNA components.” The assembly line relies on three DNA-based components.

Nature - A proximity-based programmable DNA nanoscale assembly line

DNA nanobots can start, move, turn and stop while Following a DNA Track

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The latest installment in DNA nanotechnology has arrived: A molecular nanorobot dubbed a "spider" and labeled with green dyes traverses a substrate track built upon a DNA origami scaffold. It journeys towards its red-labeled goal by cleaving the visited substrates, thus exhibiting the characteristics of an autonomously moving, behavior-based robot at the molecular scale. [Credit: Courtesy of Paul Michelotti]
A team of scientists from Columbia University, Arizona State University, the University of Michigan, and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have programmed an autonomous molecular "robot" made out of DNA to start, move, turn, and stop while following a DNA track.

The development could ultimately lead to molecular systems that might one day be used for medical therapeutic devices and molecular-scale reconfigurable robots—robots made of many simple units that can reposition or even rebuild themselves to accomplish different tasks.

MIT Technology review has coverage as well

Two teams of researchers have separately made complex programmable machines using DNA molecules.
(This work and the DNA factory work led by Ned Seeman)

Nature - Molecular robots guided by prescriptive landscapes

Traditional robots rely for their function on computing, to store internal representations of their goals and environment and to coordinate sensing and any actuation of components required in response. Moving robotics to the single-molecule level is possible in principle, but requires facing the limited ability of individual molecules to store complex information and programs. One strategy to overcome this problem is to use systems that can obtain complex behaviour from the interaction of simple robots with their environment. A first step in this direction was the development of DNA walkers, which have developed from being non-autonomous to being capable of directed but brief motion on one-dimensional tracks. Here we demonstrate that previously developed random walkers—so-called molecular spiders that comprise a streptavidin molecule as an inert ‘body’ and three deoxyribozymes as catalytic ‘legs’—show elementary robotic behaviour when interacting with a precisely defined environment. Single-molecule microscopy observations confirm that such walkers achieve directional movement by sensing and modifying tracks of substrate molecules laid out on a two-dimensional DNA origami landscape. When using appropriately designed DNA origami, the molecular spiders autonomously carry out sequences of actions such as ‘start’, ‘follow’, ‘turn’ and ‘stop’. We anticipate that this strategy will result in more complex robotic behaviour at the molecular level if additional control mechanisms are incorporated. One example might be interactions between multiple molecular robots leading to collective behaviour another might be the ability to read and transform secondary cues on the DNA origami landscape as a means of implementing Turing-universal algorithmic behaviour

Indian Fast Breeder On Track for September 2011

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With another critical component set to join the Rs.5,600-crore ($1.25 billion) fast-breeder reactor at Kalpakkam, some 80 km from Chennai, scientists at the 500 mw nuclear power plant said the project will be up and running, as scheduled, by September next year.

The component that will be installed this week is called a thermal baffle, a cylindrical safety vessel that is part of the crucial equipment, which helps in keeping the sodium used in the plant cool. "The 60-tonne thermal baffle, measuring some 12-metre in diameter and more than six metres in height, is made of stainless steel and is expected to be installed inside the main vessel this week," Prabhat Kumar, project director of the power plant, told IANS.

The sodium-cooled fast reactor, designed by the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR), has three vessels -- a safety vessel, a main vessel and an inner vessel, all of which are critical to keep the fast-breeder reactor cool.

India currently has 17 nuclear power reactors under operation with a capacity of 4,120 MW. This is expected to go up to 7,280 MW after the completion of six projects under implementation, including the 500-MW fast-breeder reactor at Kalpakkam.

Old Age and Dependency Ratios in China

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A dependency ratio measures the number of people either too young or too old to work, compared to the number of people within working age. For the statistic’s sake, the working age is considered to be 15 to 64.

Having a dependency ratio that is sharply rising is a drag on GDP growth.

GDP levels and GDP growth and dependency ratio have been shown to be highly correlated.

Just having a dependency ratio that starts to rise is not a crippling problem. It has to get to significant levels and rates of increase. China could lose 2-3% of GDP growth to dependency ratio increase and still have GDP growth of 8% per year.

The expected rise in dependency ratio was examined for China, India, Japan, Russia and Brazil.

The elderly dependency ratio relates to the age of the cutoff. Many calculations of dependency ratios use 60 years or 65 years as a cutoff. This means that anyone over that age is considered to be a dependent of working age population. China's leaders can easily make the logical move which many western countries have trouble with politically. They can tell citizens - tough it out work to 70 or 75 or even 80.
Here is a World Health figures for dependency ratios for different countries with an elderly cutoff at 60 years.

North Korea Claimed Success with Nuclear Fusion is Not Believed

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North Korea on Wednesday claimed it had carried out a nuclear fusion reaction.
North Korea said it had triumphed using its own technology. South Korean experts doubted that the North -- which suffers persistent power shortages in everyday life -- has made major progress in a process which potentially promises clean and limitless energy. Yang Hyung-Lyeol, of South Korea's state-funded National Fusion Research Institute, said: "I don't think the North has any technology that we are not aware of. If so, it would mean the North would be on top of the world. North Korea may have began operating a small-scale magnetic nuclear fusion device but you cannot draw any parallel with our own fusion reactor KSTAR and other reactors in the world"

May 11, 2010

Billions of Self Assembled Light Sensitive DNA Elements Could Enable New computers and A Proposal for Self Replicating DNA Systems

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A Duke University engineer creates billions of self-assembled, light-sensing, DNA nanostructures.

He could create literally billions of identical, tiny, waffle-looking structures. These nanostructures can then be used as the building blocks for a variety of applications, ranging from the biomedical to the computational.

“When light is shined on the chromophores, they absorb it, exciting the electrons,” Dwyer said. “The energy released passes to a different type of chromophore nearby that absorbs the energy and then emits light of a different wavelength. That difference means this output light can be easily differentiated from the input light, using a detector.”

Instead of conventional circuits using electrical current to rapidly switch between zeros or ones, or to yes and no, light can be used to stimulate similar responses from the DNA-based switches – and much faster.

Here is the 8 page paper, Energy Transfer Logic on DNA Nanostructures: Enabling Molecular-Scale Amorphous Computing

This paper outlines one potential path toward achieving molecular-scale computation through DNA self-assembly of electron donor-acceptor molecule pairs. DNA self-assembly provides a scalable fabrication technology that enables placement of molecules at distances in the 1nm-10nm (or larger) range. This provides the spacing necessary for certain molecules, called chromophores, to undergo resonance energy transfer, the theoretical foundation for our proposed molecular-scale logic system.

Molecular-scale amorphous computing may enable novel biological applications. However, current silicon-based fabrication techniques are unlikely to scale to the sizes required for compatibility at the cellular level. Therefore, significant technological advances are necessary to deliver on the potential of this new computing paradigm. This paper presents our initial steps toward developing a technology that can achieve molecular-scale amorphous computing. The theoretical foundation of our proposed technology is resonance energy transfer (RET) between small fluorescent molecules. For RET to occur these molecules must be placed 1nm-10nm apart. DNA self-assembly provides a low-cost, scalable fabrication method that is compatible with spacing and sizes required by molecular-scale computing. We experimentally demonstrate the fabrication and operation of a resonance energy transfer based OR-gate. This first step is encouraging, but many obstacles remain. Therefore, this paper also discusses the overall prospects for this approach to become a complete technology.

DNA Testing Kit Will Sell At Walgreens Pharmacy starting in Mid May

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Pathway Genomics with have genetic testing kits selling at Walgreens Pharmacy.
Walgreen will start offering the kits in about 6000 stores (It will not be available in New York because of a state law)

* Walgreen plans to offer Pathway's Insight Saliva Collection Kit at retail from $20 to $30. The saliva test, which will be done at Pathway's labs, will cost between $79 and $249. Genetic tests typically cost about $300.

Pathway Genomics has a corporate blog

If a Watered Down Energy Bill Cannot Pass Then Civil Society Proposes a Tougher Forty Year National Energy Efficiency Program

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Civil Society Institute has a 91 page plan for eliminating coal power in the USA and reducing nuclear energy. I support getting rid of coal power as it has costly air pollution which costs many lives and damages health. I scanned their plan. Technically I have seen many that are far worse. They are attacking coal first and basically just not investing in nuclear. They generally make the claim of nuclear accidents but do not provide support for this claim.

They are looking at paying for grid expansion and general efficiency improvements. They do not consider uprating existing nuclear reactors and the purpose is to get to "better energy generation mix" for 2030 and 2050.

Politically they talk about the climate and energy bill foundering and then they propose an energy efficiency national plan that would require draconian participation by citizens and industry and for the course to be held for 40 years. If people will not take one teaspoon of medicine then why would they drink a cup a day for forty years ?

They assume that energy efficiency will be the big cost savings engine of their plan. The problem is that the costs are going out of different pockets and the savings are going to different pockets. Plus they do not consider any Jevons paradox situation.

If I get a subsidy for energy efficient windows, insulation and better light bulbs then where do the energy savings go ? They go to me while I live in that house. A new buyer may or may not pay for it, but would enjoy the benefit. It could also go to the renter of the house. Who pays for the subsidies ? All tax payers.

If the energy bill is low, there is also the possibility that the occupants could be more willing to use more lighting, heating or air conditioning and they could also use more electrical devices. A $300/month bill goes down to $100/month and then back up to $150/month and then $200/month and maybe back to $300/month.

Bionic Eyes and Arms

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Previously we had looked at replacing the functionality of the bionic man from the seventies TV show.

Here we look at bionic eyes and arms.

The i-Limb Pulse is a new bionic arm that allows users to handle heavy objects or delicate items, as well as customise the grips to fit their needs.

The maker, Touch Bionics, claims this prosthetic hand can handle more than 200 pounds (90 kg), if your biceps are up to it. When grabbing an object, it can apply additional force by using a pulsing effect.

China and India Make Big Progress on Slums

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China and India have lifted at least 125 million out of slums between 1990 and 2010.

* China improved the daily conditions of 65.3 million urban residents who were deprived of shelter
* China’s urban population living in slums fell from 37.3 percent in 2000 to some 28.2 percent in 2010, a relative decrease of 25 percent
* 227 million people in the world have moved out of slum conditions since 2000 but at the same time 55 million new slum dwellers were added
* the number of people living in slums rose from 777 million in 2000 to 830 million in 2010. Unless urgent steps are taken, UN-HABITAT warned, that number could rise to 900 million in 2020 (Since there was net migration out the increase is from births inside slums)
* India has lifted 59.7 million people out of slums conditions since 2000. Slum prevalence fell from 41.5 percent in 1990 to 28.1 percent in 2010.

Graphene Frequency Doubler Created

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Applied Physics Letters - A high-performance top-gate graphene field-effect transistor based frequency doubler has been made

A high-performance top-gate graphene field-effect transistor (G-FET) is fabricated, and used for constructing a high efficient frequency doubler. Taking the advantages of the high gate efficiency and low parasitic capacitance of the top-gate device geometry, the gain of the graphene frequency doubler is increased about ten times compared to that of the back-gate G-FET based device. The frequency response of the frequency doubler is also pushed from 10 kHz for a back-gate device to 200 kHz, at which most of the output power is concentrated at the doubled fundamental frequency of 400 kHz.

* a graphene based frequency doubler can provide more than 90% converting efficiency, while the corresponding value is not larger than 30% for conventional frequency doubler

* IBM recently showed that graphene transistor can operate up to 100 GHz, and the group at Peking University believes that the material may even still operate well in the THz regime. “This is very exciting,” Wang says, “because a frequency doubler with high frequency and high efficiency can be very expensive. Our device is cheaper - only consisted by one transistor - but with much higher efficiency.”

MIT researchers find a way to calculate the effects of Casimir forces on MEMS

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MIT researchers have developed a powerful new tool for calculating the effects of Casimir forces, with ramifications for both basic physics and the design of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS).
One of the researchers’ most recent discoveries using the new tool was a way to arrange tiny objects so that the ordinarily attractive Casimir forces become repulsive. If engineers can design MEMS so that the Casimir forces actually prevent their moving parts from sticking together — rather than causing them to stick — it could cut down substantially on the failure rate of existing MEMS. It could also help enable new, affordable MEMS devices, like tiny medical or scientific sensors, or microfluidics devices that enable hundreds of chemical or biological experiments to be performed in parallel.

May 10, 2010

Vasimr Plasma Rocket Missions to the Moon, Mars and Jupiter

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Space exploration can greatly benefit from the high‐power electric propulsion capabilities the Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR®) provides. [29 page pdf details missions enabled by VASIMR]

When combined with chemical rocket technologies in a flexible architecture, the VASIMR® allows new and dramatically improved mission scenarios to be considered. Employing existing state‐of‐the‐art solar cell technology, VASIMR® is able to achieve dramatic propellant mass savings to move payloads near Earth and preposition payloads for assembly near the moon, the edge of Earth’s gravitational sphere of influence, and beyond. Robotic prepositioning of assets at key locations in space allows cost and risk to be reduced for later transits between staging locations. The possibility of multi‐megawatt power levels also allows VASIMR® technology to significantly reduce the travel time and improve abort options for human interplanetary missions between staging locations near the Moon and Mars. Power levels ranging from currently available solar technologies to those requiring the future development of nuclear‐powered systems are considered.

Brooke Greenberg and Anti-Aging Research

Dr Richard Walker who studies Brooke Greenberg (a girl who is now 17 but has the development of a one year old) and believes Brooke may hold the key anti-aging therapies. Here is a 61 page presentation by Dr Walker

This site has featured the case of Brooke Greenberg before with videos and other information.

The Times UK online has some new coverage on Brooke Greenberg.

* a preliminary study of her DNA has suggested her failure to grow could be linked to defects in the genes that make the rest of humanity grow old.

* Walker and his colleagues, who are working with Brooke’s parents to ensure she benefits from any research findings, have just published a research paper which suggests that in reality some parts of her body have indeed aged — but slowly and all at different rates.

* “Our hypothesis is that she is suffering from damage in the gene or genes that co-ordinate the way the body develops and ages,” he said.

“If we can use her DNA to find that mutant gene then we can test it in laboratory animals to see if we can switch if off and slow down the ageing process at will.

Multi Gigabit per Second Wireless Networking with 60 Ghz Standard and Devices

World Nuclear Power 2009 and 2010

Space Elevator Games Competition 2010 Likely in November

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The Space elevator GAmes power beaming competition for 2010 has slipped to a later date. No new date has been set to replace the May 2010 date but it will likely be sometime around November, 2010.

New detection technology identifies All Genetically Sequenced bacteria and viruses and Other Organisms within 24 hours

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Shown is the one-inch wide by three-inch long Lawrence Livermore Microbial Detection Array that contains 388,000 probes that are used to detect viruses and bacteria. Photos by Jacqueline McBride/LLNL
The Lawrence Livermore Microbial Detection Array (LLMDA), could enable law enforcement, medical professionals and others to detect within 24 hours any virus or bacteria that has been sequenced and included among the array’s probes.

Developed between October 2007 and February 2008, the LLMDA detects viruses and bacteria with the use of 388,000 probes that fit in a checkerboard pattern in the middle of a one-inch wide, three-inch long glass slide. The current operational version of the LLMDA contains probes that can detect more than 2,000 viruses and about 900 bacteria.

Currently, Slezak’s team is testing a next-generation LLMDA that boasts 2.1 million probes. This version contains probes representing about 178,000 viral sequences from some 5,700 viruses, and about 785,000 bacterial sequences from thousands of bacteria.

The latest LLMDA version also encompasses fungi and protozoa – with probes representing about 237,000 fungal sequences from thousands of fungi and about 202,000 protozoa sequences from 75 protozoa.

Russia, Italy and MIT Working on Ignitor Fusion Reactor

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Exterior view of the Ignitor fusion reactor, whose core will be built in Italy and external housing built outside Moscow, where it will be installed.Image courtesy of Bruno Coppi
MIT-led Ignitor reactor could be the world’s first to reach fusion ignition and perhaps paving the way for eventual power production. Fusion ignition is the point where a fusion reaction becomes self-sustaining instead of requiring a constant input of energy. This reactor is a tokomak variant. It is several times smaller than ITER but with a stronger magnetic field.

UPDATE: The Journal Nature has an article that provides details of a debate between the Ignitor supporters and ITER supporters

Hasinger goes further in his scepticism of the IGNITOR reactor by questioning the feasibility of the whole project. Hasinger says that the IGNITOR team's plan to heat the plasma mostly with a current, a process known as ohmic heating, will not work. ITER complements ohmic heating with two other methods of plasma heating — neutral-beam injection and electromagnetic waves. "We studied the possibility of a high-field ignition machine and came to the conclusion that relying on ohmic plasma heating has a very narrow corridor for success," he says.

But Coppi refutes the criticism, saying that ohmic heating has been shown to heat plasma to higher temperatures than expected, and points out that IGNITOR has an alternative heating method known as ion-cyclotron resonant heating

According to a 2003 ENEA estimate, at least an additional €226 million will be needed to build IGNITOR, although neither Italy nor Russia have yet officially committed any funds to the project. Coppi claims that the costs will be lower. He hopes to have the machine built and working within 3–5 years and to have the first results immediately afterwards.

Plasmonic nano-antenna for future higher density hard drives

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Plasmonic nano-antennas could increase hard drive densities to ten terabits (Tb) per square inch. The write speed obtained by the researchers was 250 megabits per second. The researchers only worked with one terabit per square inch densities but believe 10 terabits per square inch is possible. The technique combines two already-established recording methods, thermally-assisted magnetic (TAR) and bit-patterned recording (BPR).

Nature Photonics - Magnetic recording at 1.5 Pb m−2 using an integrated plasmonic antenna

Plasmonic devices are capable of efficiently confining and enhancing optical fields, serving as a bridge between the realm of diffraction-limited optics and the nanoscale. Specifically, a plasmonic device can be used to locally heat a recording medium for data storage. Ideally, the recording medium would consist of individually addressable and non-interacting entities, a configuration that has been regarded as the ultimate future hard-drive technology. Here, we describe a plasmonic nano-antenna that is fully integrated into a magnetic recording head and its use for thermally assisted magnetic recording on both continuous and fully-ordered patterned media using nanosecond pulses in a static tester configuration. In the case of patterned media at 1.5 Pb m−2 (~1 Tb inch−2) with 24-nm track pitch, we show ideally written bits without disturbing neighbouring tracks. We find a dramatic improvement in track width and optical efficiency compared to continuous media and show that this is largely due to advantageous near-field optical effects.

May 09, 2010

That Seventies Transhumanist Icon Steve Austin the Bionic Man

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Why am I going to revisit the Six Million dollar man ? The Seven Horizons Project has a Youtube video of the six Million dollar man intro on its prewiki page. The Seven Horizons project involves over 20 PHds and some doctors and seems to have some government and military funding.

The Seven Horizons effort is produced by CETMONS (the Consortium for Emerging Technologies, Military Operations and National Security), in association with Arizona State University's Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, the Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics, and the Prevail Project: Wise Governance for Challenging Futures.

I will look at simpler ways to achieve functional equivalence without cybernetic limbs.

More important than the military aspect is that a combination of electric bikes and electric exoskeletons would increase mobility for public transportation. You could wear the exoskeleton and carry your folding electric bike and walk onto high speed trains or buses, but there would be no need for a lot of public transportation off of the busiest corridors. The electric bikes would allow speeds of up to 63 mph for 50 miles. There could be a recharging system for the exoskeleton and bikes on the trains and buses. A well designed system could eliminate congestion and accelerate a no-compromise electric transportation system. People of all ages and physical condition could carry more gear and load even within buildings where cars cannot go now.

Inexpensive Metal Catalyst for Generating Hydrogen from Water and Cheaper and More Efficient Fuel Cell Catalysts

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1. A new proton reduction catalyst based on a molybdenum-oxo metal complex is about 70 times cheaper than platinum, today’s most widely used metal catalyst for splitting the water molecule. This work that appears in the April 29, 2010 issue of the journal Nature, titled “A molecular molybdenum-oxo catalyst for generating hydrogen from water.” [5 page pdf]

(H/T reader Goatguy)

Hydrogen gas, whether combusted or used in fuel cells to generate electricity, emits only water vapor as an exhaust product, which is why this nation would already be rolling towards a hydrogen economy if only there were hydrogen wells to tap.

Seven Horizons Timeline and Roadmap to Emerging Technology Over the Next Twenty Years

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The object of the Seven Horizons Timelines Project (emerging technology over the next twenty years) is to assess emerging technologies - especially human enhancement technologies and their associated areas (e.g. autonomous artificial intelligence) - and then attempt to answer these questions about each:

How seriously should we take this?
How much time have we got?

Note: this is very similar to what Nextbigfuture tries to do except Nextbigfuture does no focus on just human enhancement technology but on civilization impacting and improving technologies. Nextbigfuture also looks at trying to find and suggest better plans and projects that combine emerging and existing technology for faster deployment.

The Seven Horizons Defined

Seven Horizons are defined here

The First Horizon:
"Available, But Not Ubiquitious": This is the horizon that honors novelist William Gibson’s observation, "The future is already here; it’s just not evenly distributed." In this horizon, the technology is already on the market, but many people are still unaware of it. The Mattel Corporation’s mind-machine interface toys, for example, or modafinil, the prescription pharmaceutical that shuts off the human trigger to sleep while enhancing cognition.

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