October 22, 2010

Joe Eck finds indication of superconductivity at 258 kelvin or -15 celsius

Superconductors.ORG (joe Eck) announced a way has been found to further increase the record high critical temperature of superconducting material (Tl4Ba)-9223 from 254K to 258K (258 kelvin is -15 celsius and +5 fahrenheit) . This extraordinarily high transition temperature was achieved by substituting magnesium into the calcium atomic sites of the 16-layer 9223 structure that produced 254K superconductivity in 2009. The new formula thus becomes (Tl4Ba)Ba2Mg2Cu7O13+.

When 4-point resistance tests were performed on a sample pellet, multiple plots displayed a sharp resistive transition near 258 Kelvin (-15C, 5F), as shown at page top. This is the first observation of superconductivity over 0F. While four degrees Kelvin is not a huge increase in high Tc, this discovery again validates planar weight disparity as a prolific Tc enhancement tool. It also illustrates the challenges in trying to improve superconductor performance as we approach room temperature. A meissner transition was observed near 260K in this material

Some of Joe's earlier work was confirmed and published in journals by researchers in the middle east.

Malaria deaths in India and the World were underestimated

A new study published in the Lancet indicates that India's annual deaths from Malaria were 125 000—277 000 instead of the previous World Health Estimate of 16,000 in India. alaria accounted for a substantial minority of about 1.3 million unattended rural fever deaths attributed to infectious diseases in people younger than 70 years. Malaria deaths happen out in the countryside. They're invisible to the healthcare system.

The results suggest that some of the methods being used to fight malaria in Africa might work in India too. "Some [Indian] states are not enormously different to what we see in highly malarial areas in Africa, suggesting universal coverage with insecticide-treated bed nets and access to prompt treatment will be cost-effective

Indonesia probably also has an undercount. Worldwide malaria probably is killing closer to 1.5 million instead of prior estimates of 1 million each year.

Qinshan Phase II unit 3 is China second new commercial nuclear reactor for this year and Kazatomprom now projects 17800 tons of Uranium for 2010

1. Qinshan Phase II unit 3 has become China's 13th nuclear unit to enter commercial operation.

The 650 MWe CNP-600 pressurised water reactor was connected to the grid at the beginning of August. It had been pencilled in for commercial operation for early 2011, but has now become the second Chinese reactor to go commercial this year, following on from the first unit at Ling Ao II which entered commercial operation in September.

My most recent summary of world nuclear energy for 2010 is here

North Dakota produces more than ten million barrels of oil in one month

October 21, 2010

Regenerative Medicine could get billions of dollars in funding and revenue from stem cell breast augmentation

Stem cell breast augmentation is not a substitute for implants for women who want to look unnaturally large. You can’t take a flat-chested woman and make her look like a dancer at a strip club. We’re not targeting that market. If they don’t care about looking natural, let them do silicone. The goal of this is a natural, soft-tissue feeling. Plus, there is a whole new market of women who would love another 100 to 200 cc but would never have an implant. This market is likely bigger than the current breast implant market—a sea of women who wouldn’t consider a silicone implant but who would be intrigued by the opportunity to have their breasts plumped with cells from their own bodies while reducing the fat in their hips and abdomen to boot.

In late 2007, cosmetic surgeon Tatsuro Kamakura of Cosmetic Surgery Seishin in Japan began a study of the Celution System for breast augmentation, eventually enrolling 20 women. In 2008 he told the Congress of the Japan Society of Aesthetic Surgery that the first three patients kept their new volume and that the tissue remained soft and natural. He had injected an average of 160 cc of stem-cell-loaded fat droplets, boosting breast circumference an average of 4 centimeters (1.6 cup sizes). In commercial use, a new breast could run about $2,000 to $2,800, depending on physician charges. “It’s probably a $1 billion market,” Calhoun says. “You can buy an appliance with a 30 to 40 percent unpleasant rate or you can use your own cells. Which would you choose ?

Nuclear Power costs for different countries from an IEA and OECD study

South Korea and China's nuclear power is 66%-100% (up to half the cost) of nuclear power in Europe and the United States. With higher financing costs of 10%, the chinese and south korean reactors are one third the cost of European and US reactors.

(H/T Capacity Factor blog

Science of Salary Negotiation

by Christina Wong

Five negotiation strategies were examined in a study: accommodating, avoiding, collaborating, competing and compromising. Individuals who negotiated using the collaborating and competing strategies —openly discussing issues and perspectives — had the best results. In contrast, those who used the avoiding, accommodating and compromising approaches were less successful in negotiating higher salaries.

Hundred Year Starship Program has Initial Funding and new Microwave Launch Propulsion funded

Kurzweilai reports that NASA Ames has “just started a project with DARPA called the Hundred Year Starship,” with $1 million funding from DARPA and $100K from NASA

Worden also mentioned some nearer-term ideas that NASA is exploring. One new propulsion concept is electric propulsion.

NASA is also funding a new program to develop microwave thermal propulsion for getting to orbit. “The idea is if you can beam power to the spaceship, so you don’t have to carry all the fuel; and then you use that energy from a laser or microwave power to heat a propellant; it gets you a pretty big factor of improvement. I think that’s one way of getting off the world.”

The principal investigator of this program is Dr. Kevin L.G. Parkin, who invented the technology and described it in his PhD thesis. He is assisted by Creon Levit and David Murakami. Caltech grad student Dmitriy Tseliakhovich has also formed a company called Escape Dynamics LLC to commercialize the microwave thermal propulsion project. (Tseliakhovich’s team project at Singularity University this past summer grew out of Parkin’s work.)

Endurocore is a Wankel engine prototype by Pratt & Whitney with a goal of 2 HP/lb (just over 3 kW/kg)

Light on Silicon Better than Copper?

Duke engineers have designed and demonstrated microscopically small lasers that could replace the copper in a host of electronic products.

The Duke team developed a method of taking the thick substrate off of a laser, and bonding this thin film laser to silicon. The lasers are about one one-hundreth of the thickness of a human hair. These lasers are connected to other structures by laying down a microscopic layer of polymer that covers one end of the laser and goes off in a channel to other components. Each layer of the laser and light channel is given its specific characteristics, or functions, through nano- and micro-fabrication processes and by selectively removing portions of the substrate with chemicals.

Berkeley Lab Scientists open electrical links to living cells

Scientists with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have designed an electrical link to living cells engineered to shuttle electrons across a cell’s membrane to an external acceptor along a well-defined path. This direct channel could yield cells that can read and respond to electronic signals, electronics capable of self-replication and repair, or efficiently transfer sunlight into electricity.

Coaxing electrons across a cellular membrane is not trivial: attempts to pull an electron from a cell may disrupt its function, or kill the entire cell in the process. What’s more, current techniques to transfer cellular electrons to an external source lack a molecular roadmap, which means even if electrons do turn up outside a cell, there is no way to direct their behavior, see where they stopped along the way, or send a signal back to the cell’s interior.

Science Journal Articles on the detailed detection of Lunar Water, Calcium, Magnesium, Mercury and Silver

Below are links the science journal articles about the recent analysis of lunar spectra results. Paul Spudis of the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas, cautions that the spectral lines are not definitive. "We really need a surface rover mission," he says. "We can argue about emission spectra from now until doomsday, but I want an on-the-spot measurement before I'll finally believe it.

Journal Science - Detection of Water in the LCROSS Ejecta Plume

Several remote observations have indicated that water ice may be presented in permanently shadowed craters of the Moon. The Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) mission was designed to provide direct evidence. On 9 October 2009, a spent Centaur rocket struck the persistently shadowed region within the lunar south pole crater Cabeus, ejecting debris, dust, and vapor. This material was observed by a second "shepherding" spacecraft, which carried nine instruments, including cameras, spectrometers, and a radiometer. Near-infrared absorbance attributed to water vapor and ice and ultraviolet emissions attributable to hydroxyl radicals support the presence of water in the debris. The maximum total water vapor and water ice within the instrument field of view was 155 ± 12 kilograms. Given the estimated total excavated mass of regolith that reached sunlight, and hence was observable, the concentration of water ice in the regolith at the LCROSS impact site is estimated to be 5.6 ± 2.9% by mass. In addition to water, spectral bands of a number of other volatile compounds were observed, including light hydrocarbons, sulfur-bearing species, and carbon dioxide.

One Thousand Car Design Part 2 - Mercedes-Benz Biome, Toyota Nori and the Volvo Air Motion

One Thousand Pound Los Angeles Car Design Competition Part 1 GM Aera, Honda Air and Nissan iV

The Los Angeles auto show has a one thousand pound car design competition. The objective is to envision an efficient, light-weight, four passenger vehicle (not to exceed 1,000 lbs.), that is both comfortable and safe, while delivering satisfactory driving performance without sacrificing the styling consumers demand. For the first time studios from Germany and Japan will join the competition adding an international dimension to the contest. This is an important competition because recently the Edison2 car won the 100 mpg xprize car competition with a four passenger car that weighs about 700 pounds. Lighter cars can get better gas mileage. The competing entries look fantastic.

General Motors New Cadillac Aera Design

The Cadillac Aera (Aero + Era) launches Cadillac’s philosophy of “Art and Science” into new territory by taking an innovative and stylistic approach to ultra-light weight vehicle design. Aera is a 1000 lb, 2+2 touring coupe, with a range of 1000 miles before refueling; attributes achieved without compromising size, capacity and safety.

Optimum efficiency, minimum parts

Aera’s highly advanced body structure utilizes a 3D lattice, mono-formed frame. This polyhedral structure is similar to configurations found consistently in nature, e.g., inside the grouping of bubbles. The structure is formed from unique, alloy-utilizing, semi-solid freeform manufacturing, creating a naturally strong, extremely lightweight frame. All major body parts, including interior components, are essentially “grown” into a single part lattice structure.

Renowned Cadillac smoothness and quietness are accomplished using the harnessed power of compressed air via a highly efficient Pneumatic Drive System (PDS). Its 10,000 psi composite air storage tank has ample capacity for a 1000 mile range. Flexible, pressurized air cells in the exterior skin, similar to material developed for the NASA Mars Rover airbags, enhance passive safety and interior comfort. The flexible polymer skin optimizes aerodynamics and functions as an ultra-lightweight alternative to conventional body panels and glass.

Additional technologies include an All-In-One (AIO) wheel system, combining rotary actuator propulsion, steering and suspension functions. A drive by wireless system decreases the mass of electrical components. Vehicle to vehicle communication (V2V) promotes active safety.

IMEC advancing to stimulating one brain and nerve cell at a time and by 2020-2030 make 3D smart brain implants

Imec's research focusses on the interface between biological and electronic systems. They design processes, components, and prototype microsystems for neuro-electronic interfaces that can exchange information - bidirectionally - with electrogenic cells (neurons, cardiomyocytes) through electrical and chemical mechanisms.

There are already electronics that talk to brains. With deep brain stimulation (DBS) probes, it is possible to relieve the situation of people with severe Parkinson's, depressions, or obsessions. DBS techniques are well established and have already been used successfully to improve the lives of thousands of patients.

But DBS doesn't take advantage of all the possibilities of today's electronic technology. The electrodes are large (mm-scale), and stimulate thousands of brain cells at once, insensitive to where the real culprits of the patient's disease are. Also, the DBS electronics cannot measure if the applied stimulus is overshooting or undershooting. So DBS is a fairly crude technology, with many unwanted side effects.

The Moon has double the water concentration as the Sahara desert

NASA announced its groundbreaking discovery of lunar water last November. Now, a more detailed analysis of the data—the subject of six research papers being published in the journal Science—concludes that there is a lot more water on the moon than anyone expected, about twice the concentrations seen in the Sahara Desert

"It's really wet," said Anthony Colaprete, co-author of one of the Science papers and a space scientist at NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif. He and his colleagues estimate that 5.6% of the total mass of the targeted lunar crater's soil consists of water ice. In other words, 2,200 pounds of moon dirt would yield a dozen gallons of water.

NASA LCROSS was a companion mission to NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission and NASA has a description of the analysis and work.

The two missions were designed to work together, and support from LRO was critical to the success of LCROSS. During impact, LRO, which is normally looking at the lunar surface, was tilted toward the horizon so it could observe the plume. Shortly after the Centaur hit the Moon, LRO flew past debris and gas from the impact while its instruments collected data.

Dynamical mass generation via space compactification in graphene

Relativistic physics can be simulated in Graphene and now researchers believe mass can be created in graphene by compacting dimensions.

Fermions in a graphene sheet behave like massless particles. We show that by folding the sheet into a tube they acquire non-zero effective mass as they move along the tube axis. That is, changing the space topology of graphene from 2D to 1D (space compactification) changes the 2D massless problem into an effective massive 1D problem. The size of the resulting mass spectrum depends on the quantized azimuthal frequency and its line spacing is proportional to the inverse of the tube diameter.

The USA needs to build things as fast as it used to build which was even faster than Other countries build today

The United States needs to build things the way it used to.

It took 410 days to build the Empire State Building (381 meters tall); four years to erect the Golden Gate Bridge. The Pentagon took two years; the Alaska Highway just nine months. These days it takes longer to build an overpass.

Burj Khalifa known as Burj Dubai prior to its inauguration, is a skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and the tallest man-made structure ever built, at 828 m (2,717 ft). Construction began on 21 September 2004, with the exterior of the structure completed on 1 October 2009 (just over 5 years). The building officially opened on 4 January 2010, and is part of the new 490-acre flagship development called Downtown Dubai at the 'First Interchange' along Sheikh Zayed Road, near Dubai's main business district.

Terabit Optical Ethernet Center targets Terabit Internet by 2015 and 100 Terabits by 2020

Imagine if all the data traveling throughout the world right now—on long distance networks and between and within computers and other hardware—could be sent through a single fiber the width of a human hair.
The University of California at Santa Barbara had a presentation on the vision and current research being performed under a newly launched center at UCSB, whose mission is to make this a reality by developing technologies necessary for a new generation of Ethernet a thousand times faster, and much more energy efficient than the most advanced networks being deployed today. The Terabit Optical Ethernet Center (TOEC) has as its vision and roadmap 1 Terabit Ethernet over optical fiber by 2015 and 100 Terabit Ethernet by 2020. Ethernet, the way computers talk to each other over a network and first implemented in the 1980s, has become the standard for data transmission for all networks from small-scale to global-scale. Current Ethernet technologies will be difficult to push much past 100 Gigabits per second without new innovations, predominately because of the amount of power needed to run and cool the systems. Large data centers and communications networks consume as much power as a small city requiring new generations of Ethernet that are much more energy-efficient and cost-effective. In as little as five years today’s state of the art Ethernet will have trouble keeping up with the speed and bandwidth required for applications like video and cloud computing. The Center’s goal is to develop energy-saving photonic network technologies that will allow applications and the underlying networks to scale way beyond today’s capacity, paving the way for greening future networks and the systems. Current research efforts and recent results in photonic integration geared towards Terabit Optical Ethernet will be described in this talk as well as the driving applications and the structure of TOEC.

OECD Electricity Generation July 2010 and Japan up to September 2010

The International Energy Association has released the OECD electricity generation report for July 2010

January - July 2010 vs. the same period in 2009
Total OECD production reached 5 925.8 TWh, an increase of 3.7% or 209.5 TWh over the same period last year.

- Production from Geoth./Wind/Solar/Other showed the largest percentage change by energy source for both OECD Europe and OECD North America, being respectively, 13.0% and 17.3% higher.
- Production from Combustible Fuels increased in all OECD Europe, OECD North America and OECD Pacific, with an overall 4.5% increase to 3653.7 TWh for the OECD Total

October 20, 2010

Spintronics and nanotechnology

Paul Crowell of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis has brought spintronic devices a step nearer by grounding them in a reassuringly familiar landscape: they are the first to develop a simple, all-electric method to both generate and detect spin currents within a standard semiconductor.

In their recent experiment, Crowell and colleagues sent a current through a gallium arsenide semiconductor, doped with silicon impurities and indium to enhance the spin-splitting effect. The impurities were contained within a 2.5-micrometre-deep, 30-micrometre-wide channel: as electrons pinged off the impurities to right or left, they gathered at the channel's edges, where they passed one of two iron electrodes bordering each side of the channel.

The electron's spin gives it a tiny magnetic moment, and the moments of the right and left-spinning electrons point in opposite directions. The electrons spinning inside the two iron electrodes only "see" the electrons in the semiconductor that share their alignment – in this case, the right-spinning electrons. Because many of those right-spinning electrons gathered at one side of the semiconductor channel – while left-spinning electrons gather at the other side – one of the iron electrodes sees more negative charge than the other, establishing a voltage between the two and giving the first electrical measurement of the spin Hall effect.

New Macbook Air laptop has multitouch and is built around Flash memory and next year a new Lion Operating System

Apple has introduced new thinner Macbook Air laptops

The Macbooks are more like the iPad, with Flash memory instead of harddrives. They turn on instantly. The all-flash storage for better responsiveness and reliability. It features a trackpad with full Multi-Touch support. A large battery gives you portable power that lasts for hours.

Virtual Satellite Dish using energy efficient special DSP chips and no satellite dish

Satellite TV without having to set up a receiver dish. Digital radio on your mobile phone without your batteries quickly running flat. The advanced calculations needed for these future applications are made possible by a microchip with relatively simple processors that can interact and communicate flexibly. These are among the findings of research at the Centre for Telematics and Information Technology of the University of Twente carried out by Marcel van de Burgwal, who obtained his PhD on 15 October.

Soon it will be possible to receive satellite signals without a satellite dish, but also using stationary antennae arrays made up of grids of simple, fixed, almost flat antennae that can fit on the roof of a car, for example. The antennae then no longer need to be carefully aimed: the grid of antennae forms a 'virtual dish'. That is a great advantage, especially for mobile applications such as satellite TV on the move. The aiming of the virtual dish is actually carried out by the entire grid. It is comparable with the LOFAR project, in which countless simple antennae laid out on the heathland of Drenthe in the north east Netherlands together form a huge dish for radiotelescopy. This too calls for large numbers of calculations and fast communications.

Carbon nanotube thermopower achieving high specific power over seven times higher than Lithium batteries

Carbon nanotube thermopower is achieving power discharges of 7 kilowatts per kilogram. Lithium batteries usually have 1 kilowatt per kilogram.

Michael Strano (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) laboratory has been interested in how carbon nanotubes can be utilized to illustrate new concepts in molecular and energy transfer. In the first example, we predict and demonstrate the concept of thermopower waves for energy generation. Coupling an exothermic chemical reaction with a thermally conductive CNT creates a self-propagating reactive wave driven along its length. We realize such waves in MWNT and show that they produce concomitant electrical pulses of high specific power over 7 kW/kg. Such waves of high power density may find uses as unique energy sources. In the second system, we fabricate and study SWNT ion channels for the first time and show that the longest, highest aspect ratio, and smallest diameter synthetic nanopore examined to date, a 500 μm SWNT, demonstrates oscillations in electro-osmotic current at specific ranges of electric field, that are the signatures of coherence resonance, yielding self-generated rhythmic and frequency locked transport. The observed oscillations in the current occur due to a coupling between stochastic pore blocking and a diffusion limitation that develops at the pore mouth during proton transport

Rare Earth Embargos, Supply Problems and the overall situation and longer term view

Most of the world is dependent on China to supply rare earths as key raw materials used in many of the latest technologies from military hardware to electric cars, but China's Ministry of Commerce is warning that its massive supply of rare earths could be exhausted in just 15 - 20 years. Although China accounts for almost all the global production of rare earth elements, its dominance is a consequence of economics and government regulation, not geology, writes Ed Crooks in Washington. Rare earth production outside China has been curbed by higher costs and concerns about pollution from mining waste.

China's rare earths deposits dropped to 27 million metric tons by the end of 2009, or just 30 percent of the world’s total known reserves, from 43 million tons, or 43 percent of the world total, in 1996, Chao Ning, section chief of foreign trade at the ministry said at a Beijing conference.

China reduced its quota for rare-earth exports to 7,976 tons for the half, compared with 22,283 tons for the first half and 28,417 tons for second half of last year, according to data from the ministry.

“China is not the only country that has these deposits, but it has been carrying the lion’s share of the supply in more than a decade, at the cost of quickly depleting its own resources and hurting its environment,” Chao said.

Apple Peel to Turn your iPod Touch into a Phone using any phone network with a working SIM Card

The Apple Peel is a like a holder case for the iPod Touch but the case connects to the iPod and enables phone calls the phone network of a compatible working SIM card that you install.

The Yosion Apple Peel 520 is a new wireless device that adds mobile voice and text messaging capabilities to the iPod Touch. The gadget acts as a protective skin that slips over the iPod Touch and includes a battery, dock connector and SIM card holder. Once the proper software is installed, the Apple Peel 520 adds the ability to make voice calls and send and receive text messages on your iPod Touch.

The Apple Peel 520 requires a Jailbroken iPod Touch 1st, 2nd or 3rd generation to make the SMS and Call app work. iOS Firmware 3.1.2/3.1.3/4.0/4.1 are currently supported. The iPod Touch 4th generation is NOT supported since it’s dimensions are different compared to the previous generations. Yosion is developing a special version of the Apple Peel 520 for the 4th generation iPod Touch. There is no ETA yet. You need a working SIM card. GSM (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) and EDGE networks are supported. UMTS/3G is NOT supported.

October 19, 2010

Graphene Films with Large Domain Size by a Two-Step Chemical Vapor Deposition Process

Nanoletters - Graphene Films with Large Domain Size by a Two-Step Chemical Vapor Deposition Process

The fundamental properties of graphene are making it an attractive material for a wide variety of applications. Various techniques have been developed to produce graphene and recently we discovered the synthesis of large area graphene by chemical vapor deposition (CVD) of methane on Cu foils. We also showed that graphene growth on Cu is a surface-mediated process and the films were polycrystalline with domains having an area of tens of square micrometers. In this paper, we report on the effect of growth parameters such as temperature, and methane flow rate and partial pressure on the growth rate, domain size, and surface coverage of graphene as determined by Raman spectroscopy, and transmission and scanning electron microscopy. On the basis of the results, we developed a two-step CVD process to synthesize graphene films with domains having an area of hundreds of square micrometers. Scanning electron microscopy and Raman spectroscopy clearly show an increase in domain size by changing the growth parameters. Transmission electron microscopy further shows that the domains are crystallographically rotated with respect to each other with a range of angles from about 13 to nearly 30°. Electrical transport measurements performed on back-gated FETs show that overall films with larger domains tend to have higher carrier mobility up to about 16000 cm2 V−1 s−1 at room temperature.

October 18, 2010

Eurocopter X3 and Sikorsky X2 push to almost Double Helicopter speeds to 550 kph

Eurocopter's X3 has wings which support two propellers. At high speeds, those wings contribute 40 per cent of its lift, so the single rotor doesn't have to work so hard.

Like the Sikorsky X2, it has no tail rotor - so the pitch of the left and right propeller blades subtly adjust automatically in flight to maintain stability and to provide steering, says Billig, but the pilot still controls the craft as they would a regular helicopter.

The X3 has so far only flown once, in a 35-minute flight that tested its hovering behaviour and Billig says it performed as designed. It won't be going for any high speed attempts until late 2011, but they are initially aiming to bust 400 km/h.

Animated tattoos


New ultra-flexible, waterproof LEDs can be implanted under your skin. Only one color for now but soon you will be able to get a changeable tattoo. No more regret. Change it to your current girlfriend's name.

Microscope resolution better than 1 nanometer

Nature Nanotechnology - Direct visualization of secondary structures of F-actin by electron cryomicroscopy

H/T Eric Drexler at metamodern

F-actin is a helical assembly of actin, which is a component of muscle fibres essential for contraction and has a crucial role in numerous cellular processes, such as the formation of lamellipodia and filopodia1 as the most abundant component and regulator of cytoskeletons by dynamic assembly and disassembly (from G-actin to F-actin and vice versa). Actin is a ubiquitous protein and is involved in important biological functions, but the definitive high-resolution structure of F-actin remains unknown. Although a recent atomic model well reproduced X-ray fibre diffraction intensity data from a highly oriented liquid-crystalline sol specimen3, its refinement without experimental phase information has certain limitations. Direct visualization of the structure by electron cryomicroscopy, however, has been difficult because it is relatively thin and flexible. Here we report the F-actin structure at 6.6 Å resolution, made obtainable by recent advances in electron cryomicroscopy. The density map clearly resolves all the secondary structures of G-actin, such as α-helices, β-structures and loops, and makes unambiguous modelling and refinement possible. Complex domain motions that open the nucleotide-binding pocket on F-actin formation, specific D-loop and terminal conformations, and relatively tight axial but markedly loose interprotofilament interactions hydrophilic in nature are revealed in the F-actin model, and all seem to be important for dynamic functions of actin.

NIST Mini-Sensor Traces Faint Magnetic Signature of Human Heartbeat

NIST's miniature magnetic sensor is about the size of a sugar cube. The lid has been removed to show the inner square cell, which contains a gas of rubidium atoms. The diagonal bar is an electrical connection to the cell's heaters, which are powered by the red, black and white electrical wires. The clear optical fiber extending from the middle bottom of the sensor connects to a control box. credit: Knappe /NIST

Researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the German national metrology institute have used NIST's miniature atom-based magnetic sensor to successfully track a human heartbeat, confirming the device's potential for biomedical applications.

Xi Jinping likely to be designated the next President of China in 2012 and next five year plan to strengthen social safety net

Chinese vice president Xi Jinping was elected as the vice chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) during the Fifth Plenary Session of the 17th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in Beijing on Monday, boosting the possibility that he may succeed after President Hu Jintao retires.

Known for his liberal policies, tough stance on corruption, and a frank openness about political and market economy reforms, Xi's combination of positions makes him the heir presumptive to current General Secretary, President Hu Jintao and the emerging leader of the People's Republic of China's fifth generation of leadership.

The position of vice chairman at the Central Military Commission is a stepping stone on the way to becoming president. Chinese President Hu Jintao was also appointed to the position in 1999, where he served for the next three years before being elected president. Xi will serve in the post until the next Communist Party leadership meeting in 2012, when he is expected to be designated as the next leader.

David Lior Interviewed by Sander Olson

Here is the David Lior interview by Sander Olson. Dr. Lior served in the Israeli airforce for 17 years and now heads an israeli startup company called R-JET Engineering. R-JET has designed a new type of gas turbine engine that is simpler, more efficient, more reliable, and less polluting than current gas turbine engines. This engine could be used to power jets, for distributed electrical power generation, and even for solar driven turbogenerators.

The Economist recently ran an article on R-JETs technology

Question: R-Jet has developed an engine (gas turbine) that is different than standard engines. What benefits does this engine have over conventional engine ?
Answer: Our engine is simpler than conventional jet engines. It is substantially more fuel efficient, has fewer parts, is more environmentally benign, and is more reliable than conventional jet engines. So it is in virtually every respect superior to conventional gas turbines technology.

October 17, 2010

Google keeps growing while Facebook and Microsoft make classic mistake

Google is up to 66% of all searchs. Facebook and Bing( Microsoft) are combining to improve search results on Facebook.  FB and Bing are making the same mistake that many search companies have made in the past.  Google is not a search company.  

The reason that Google's revenue went up 23% in the last quarter is it's strength in advertising. Google does a better job of matching the ads that somebody might click to the person doing the search.  Google also does that on straight content.

US subsidizes Innovation, China subsidizes manufacture

The USA is driving innovation in the Solar market, but China is taking the older technology and driving the cost through the floor.

The complaint is that China is unfairly subsidizing with billions in loan guarantees.  The problem is not that China is unfairly subsidizing it's industries.  The problem is that it is so much better at it.

Artificial life Update

New Scientist discusses artificial life, stem cells and artficial photosynthesis and universal flu vaccine.

Artificial life Update

Cells, enzymes, photosynthesis – soon we'll be remaking life our own way. Not to mention making our own spare body part, and taming flu once and for all

Artificial enzymes

Molecules for all occasions       
Whether for a new drug or solar cell, we constantly strive to design and build intricate new molecules. Making them is one thing; making them efficiently enough for commercial production is quite another. If only we could take a leaf out of nature's book, which uses highly specialised enzymes as catalysts to churn out vast quantities of the molecules life needs.
Increasingly, we can. We can take natural enzymes and randomly tweak their structure until a variant efficiently produces the molecule we desire. For a rather less hit-and-miss strategy, we can use computer-led "rational design" modelling processes to make artificial enzymes from scratch.
Ultimately, the aim is to trump nature. Compared with artificial catalysts, enzymes are wrapped around a relatively limited range of metals at their core. By combining the best of natural and artificial catalysis, we might be able to make enzymes - and final products - that are capable of simply anything.

Endogenous stem cells

How does my organ grow?           
Stem cells are arguably the most exciting frontier in medicine right now. Most cells of the human body are irreversibly specialised or "differentiated" into roughly 200 types. Stem cells, on the other hand, are blank slates with the potential to develop in many different ways.
That means they could be used to heal a myriad of damaged or diseased tissues. Most research so far has focused on creating them from embryos or adult tissues in the laboratory, manipulating their development using chemical "growth factors" and implanting them where needed. But there could be a cleverer way: to awaken our bodies' own "endogenous" stem cells to achieve natural regeneration.
Other animals do this. Amphibians, for example, can regrow entire lost limbs while hobbling about their daily business. Some day, the thinking goes, simply injecting the right chemicals might be enough to allow us to grow a new kidney or pancreas - or even a leg.

Artificial photosynthesis

Energy out of thin air          
A leaf is a beautiful thing. It is also a wonder of chemical engineering. Within it, photosynthetic reaction-centres collect solar energy to drive the transformation of water and carbon dioxide in the air into sugars that nourish and build the plant.
Would that we could do something similar. The sun is by far the biggest energy source we know, but sunlight can't be everywhere all the time. If we could find a cheap way to convert solar energy into storable, transportable chemical fuels available 24/7, we would be well on our way to clean energy for all.
Some pieces of the jigsaw are already in place. Tiny light-collecting particles can be embedded on a membrane to absorb energy and split carbon dioxide and water molecules. The products are not sugars, but carbon-neutral transportation fuels: hydrogen, methanol and, in the future, high-energy-density fuels optimised for specific vehicles such as aircraft.
This year, the US Department of Energy earmarked $122 million to set up the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis in California. Here and across the world the race is on to develop new absorbers, catalysts and membranes that will permit the large-scale realisation of an idea that could change the world for good. Nate Lewis
Nate Lewis is a professor of chemistry at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, and director of the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis

A universal flu vaccine

Taming a global killer         
Bird and swine flu might have receded for now, but the top candidate for a global pandemic remains: a novel strain of flu.

That is because flu mutates, so catching it one year may not stop you from catching it the next. This is why we make new flu vaccines year after year. It is also why every few decades a flu strain appears with the genetic novelty to evade our herd immunity and wreak global havoc.
How to stop that? By developing a universal vaccine effective against all strains. Various possibilitiesMovie Camera that trigger an immune response against the parts of the virus that don't mutate are in the works. Several have reached trials in people. If they prove effective, flu could soon become just one more half-forgotten disease that we vaccinate children against

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Robot limbs to plug into the brain with light

Newscientist follow up to previous nextbigfuture article on neurophotonics

Imagine a bionic arm that plugs directly into the nervous system, so that the brain can control its motion, and the owner can feel pressure and heat through their robotic hand. This prospect has come a step closer with the development of photonic sensors that could improve connections between nerves and prosthetic limbs.

Einstein is tough to beat - 5 more tests of relativity


Nearly a hundred years after it was first published, Einstein's theory of relativity has held up to rigorous scientific testing. And the tests keep coming. Here are five recent tests of theory. Yes, it still holds up.

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