November 27, 2010

The 'Facebook killer' won't look like Facebook

When it comes to toppling web giants, one factor is frequently overlooked: The replacement is usually radically different from its predecessor

This year, Digg entered a decline after a series of stumbles, and some users were said to defect to rival Reddit. And yet the site's troubles really began much earlier, with the rise of Twitter and Facebook. Although radically different in their execution, these two social services served much the same purpose as Digg by allowing users to share interesting links they found around the web. As web users found new outlets for these behaviors, Digg's relevance dwindled.

The real threat to Digg wasn't a clone but rather a completely different approach.

India has new 250MWe nuclear reactor will be connected the grid next month

Karwar (Karnataka): The fourth unit of the Kaiga Generating Station (KGS) — It is India's 20th nuclear power reactor — achieved criticality on Saturday. The new unit would produce 250 MWe of nuclear power, which would be distributed among the southern States. The unit would be synchronised with the southern grid after certain mandatory tests are carried out early next month. Two Light Water reactors (LWRs) of 100 MWe each, at Kudankulam and a prototype fast breeder reactor of 500 MWe at Kalpakkam were at advanced stages of completion.

Srikumar Banerjee, Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission, Kaiga-5 and Kaiga-6 would come up at Kaiga in the next couple of years and the site would be decided by a selection committee of NPCIL. The capacity of the each new unit would be 700 MWe. Two other 700 MWe reactors at Kakrapar in Gujarat and Rawatbhata in Rajasthan are under construction.

The installed nuclear power capacity in the country will increase to 7,280 MW in 2012 and to 10,080 MW by 2017.

Series Connected Hybrid 36 Tesla magnet will enable new science and medicine

What makes the Series Connected Hybrid magnet unique is that it will combine an amazingly powerful magnetic-field strength of 36 tesla with the field quality needed for NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance). When completed in 2013, the combined tools will allow scientists "to perform potentially transformative science in an unexplored magnetic-field range for a broad range of applications, from biological tissues to battery materials.
"For nuclear magnetic resonance, 23 tesla is now the cutting edge for science," Brey said. "So 36 tesla is years and years beyond the cutting edge. It's an increase in field strength of more than 50 percent."

And that's saying something, given that the last 50-percent jump in magnetic-field strength took 20 years, said Tim Cross, a chemistry professor at Florida State and director of the Magnet Lab's Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Program.

3-D Printing Could Make Smartphone Chips Cheaper

Eoplex Technologies has unique 3D Printing manufacturing capabilities.

IEEE Spectrum - A California startup, Eoplex has come up with a combination of secret sauces and manufacturing techniques that lets it print sub-micron size voxels of stuff to mass produce 3D objects. After some simple, but secret, processing this stuff turns into metal, ceramics, and empty spaces. The result can be miniature machines with moving parts, metamaterials-enabled multi-function antennas, piezoelectric powered energy harvesters, coin-sized hydrogen fuel cells, pretty much anything.

There’s a type of chip packaging called QFN (for Quad Flat No leads) that’s all the rage for packaging chips for mobile devices. The key to QFNs are the lead-frames, delicate spider-works of metal laid out by the dozens on a rather expensive tape. The lead frames are made by etching away a film of metal from the tape, using various nasty chemicals. What you’re left with is a set of leads that look like q-tips surrounding a central slab of metal that conducts heat away from the chip. The long end of the q-tip is just to anchor it to the frame; it doesn’t have an electrical purpose. In the packaging process the chips are stuck to the lead frame, and delicate wires are connected between the chip and the leads on the tape. That familiar black plastic is then flowed over the chip, and then the frame, chip, and plastic are peeled from the tape. Finally, the packaged chips are diced up, tested, and shipped.

The ideal QFN package would not be made using a chemical etch (so it’s a relatively green process), have no extra metal (so it would have better electrical performance, so chips could be tested before dicing, and so dicing would be quicker), as many rows of leads as you want (so you could get data on and off the chip faster), and no tape (so it would be cheaper).

Instead of starting with a film of metal on tape, Eoplex prints a layer of recyclable steel alloy and then tops it with the electrically important parts of the leads (the tip, not the stick) and the thermal pad—both made of silver.

Update on China's nuclear breeder and fuel reprocessing plans

The China Institute for Atomic Energy (CIAE), a research and development affiliate of China’s leading nuclear state-owned enterprise, the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), began operating a small 20-megawatt (MW) test breeder this summer—a quarter-century after the project was first planned. This was built with cooperation from Russia. CIAE now aims to set up a series of progressively bigger FBRs in China with Russian help, beginning with a 600-MW to 900-MW reactor to be finished by 2020 and, just eight years later, a unit as large as 1,500-MW.

CIAE has firmed up its plans for what comes next after the 20-MW test breeder: an 800-MW reactor designed by Russian engineers decades ago but not yet built and operated. Russia has built a few smaller breeders of a similar design, but the largest of these have burned mostly uranium fuel. An agreement for the design of the Chinese project was made with the Russian nuclear vendor Atomstroyexport (ASE) last year, and advocates of this project at CIAE and CNNC are now pressing to begin construction in 2011.

Carnival of nuclear energy 29

The Carnival of Nuclear Energy 29 is up at Idaho Samizdat

India has officially begun building home grown 700 MWe reactors, The second unit of the Changjiang nuclear power plant on China's southern island province of Hainan has officially begun construction. The nuclear power reactors on Hainan (this one and others) will reduce the province's consumption of coal by more than 300 million tonnes annually.

Atomic Insights indicates that Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear reactor technology was sold to China in 2007 and he wrote in 2007 that China would export variations of the technology that was transferred to them.

November 26, 2010

Graphene-Based Supercapacitor with an Ultrahigh Energy Density

Nanoletters - Graphene-Based Supercapacitor with an Ultrahigh Energy Density

A supercapacitor with graphene-based electrodes was found to exhibit a specific energy density of 85.6 Wh/kg at room temperature and 136 Wh/kg at 80 °C (all based on the total electrode weight), measured at a current density of 1 A/g. These energy density values are comparable to that of the Ni metal hydride battery, but the supercapacitor can be charged or discharged in seconds or minutes. The key to success was the ability to make full utilization of the highest intrinsic surface capacitance and specific surface area of single-layer graphene by preparing curved graphene sheets that will not restack face-to-face. The curved morphology enables the formation of mesopores accessible to and wettable by environmentally benign ionic liquids capable of operating at a voltage over 4 Volts.

Taiwan advances diamond electronics

Taiwan has fabricated n-type conducting UNCD films by Li-doping at very low temperature of about 570°C by simply using a Li-based substrate material. There is no need to use any heater that usually used for diamond growth processes.

Applied Physics Letters - Monolithic n-type conductivity on low temperature grown freestanding ultrananocrystalline diamond films

We report monolithic n-type conductivity on low-temperature ( less than 570 °C) grown ultrananocrystalline diamond (UNCD) films by Li-diffusion (about 255 nm) from LiNbO3 substrates. Low resistivity of 1.2 Ω cm with carrier concentration of −2×10^20 cm−3 is obtained on freestanding UNCD films. The films bonded to Cu-tape show very low turn-on field of 4.2 V/μm with emission current density of above 0.3 mA/cm2 at a low applied filed of 10 V/μm. The n-type conductivity of low-temperature Li-diffused UNCD films overwhelms that of the high-temperature ( ≥ 800 °C) nitrogen doped ones and will make a significant impact to diamond-based electronics.

Aubrey de Grey and David Brin Discuss When Will Life Expectancy Reach 200 Years?

Aubrey de Grey – Aubrey is the Chief Science Officer of the SENS foundation and editor of Rejuvenation Research. Aubrey thinks we have a 50% chance of achieving medicine capable of getting people to 200 in the decade 2030-2040. Presuming we do indeed do that, the actual achievement of 200 will probably be in the decade 2140-2150 - it will be someone who was about 85-90 at the time that the relevant therapies were developed.

There will be no one technological breakthrough that achieves this. It will be achieved by a combination of regenerative therapies that repair all the different molecular and cellular degenerative components of aging.

I estimate that the Methuselarity* will be reached with medicines that get people to live 30 years longer than they otherwise would, i.e. that push the maximum lifespan out to 150. There will be a small "cusp" - a small period when we can get people to 150 but no further - and that will translate into a small number of people who reach 150 but still die of old age because we couldn't QUITE rejuvenate them fast enough. So the first person to reach 150 will almost certainly not reach 200. But the first person to reach 200 will have a pretty good chance of reaching 1000.

Donate to the SENS foundation to help finance the research that has the best chance of enabling radical life extension.

Hitachi paves the way to 24 Terabyte hard drives with 3.9Tbit per Square Inch Hard Disk Drive Technology

CDRInfo - Japanese researchers have developed a new HDD (hard disk drive) technology that could boost the capacity of hard disk drives to 24TB (Terabytes).

The New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), Japan's public management organization that promotes research and development on energy and environmental technologies, National University Corporation Tokyo Institute of Technology, Kyoto University and Hitachi, have successfully developed a HDD technology for storing data at a density of 3.9Tbit per square inch.

China Builds Nuclear Reactor for 40% Less Than Cost in France, Areva Says

Areva SA said the EPR (1700MWe) nuclear reactor costs 3 billion euros ($4 billion) to build in China, 40 percent less than the price tag Electricite de France SA has put on building one in Normandy.

Chinese nuclear builders’ grasp of the technology is “very worrying” for European companies, Areva Chief Executive Officer Anne Lauvergeon told a hearing at the French Senate today in Paris. She also said Chinese companies are more efficient.

I translate "very worrying" by the CEO of the French nuclear company as "Areva will be toast when China starts exporting". China 40% price advantage is for Areva most advance 1700 MWe version. China has even more price advantage for the 1000MWe version of the 900MWe french reactor.

Talks on developing two more of the reactors in China in addition to two already under construction are “near completion,” Lauvergeon said. Areva is also in the final stages of negotiating the sale of two EPRs in India, plus a nuclear fuel contract, she said.

Nuclear Townhall talks about China nuclear advantage and Russian plans.
China and Russia have agreed to drop the U.S. dollar in their bi-lateral trade, and China has revealed ambitious plans to start exporting reactors by 2013 and develop an integral fast breeder program that will complete its nuclear fuel cycle.

All this has extraordinarily implications for America’s economic future. Approximately 40 percent of the dollar’s value comes from its use as the world’s international currency. Yet inflation and U.S. debt have eroded that value and China and Russia are catching on. If the world follows their lead in dropping the dollar, every American will lose 40 percent of his or her net worth overnight.

Chinese technicians have already reversed-engineered Areva 900-MW reactors built at Daya Bay into the CPR-1000 and have 16 under construction, the first scheduled to open next September. Zhang said that once certain intellectual property issues are cleared up with Areva, Guangdong would begin exporting, probably by 2013. Chinese engineers are already doing the same thing with the Westinghouse AP1000 as well.

Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) funded for a 2013 Ten MW system

The Millennial Project: Colonizing the Galaxy in Eight Easy Steps by Marshall T. Savage is a book (published in 1992) in the field of Exploratory engineering that gives a series of concrete stages the author believes will lead to interstellar colonization.

Step two was build seasteads powered by Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) power.

The U.S. Naval Facilities Engineering Command awarded Lockheed Martin a $4.4 million contract modification to advance the design for an Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) pilot plant off the coast of Hawaii. The Hawaii pilot plant is expected to have a 10 megawatt capacity, and be operational by 2012 or 2013. It is hoped that its success will lead to commercial-sized plants generating 100 MW or better, by 2015.

Chinese regions targeting doubling GDP per capita by 2015

Even though China's central economic indicators have yet to be finalized, quite a few provinces have already set ambitious targets for the 12th Five Year Program (2011-2015).

Under the local development plans that have been published so far, there are already four provinces or municipalities that have set targets to double GDP or even GDP per capita over the coming five years.

Chongqing aims to double GDP per capita to $ 8,000 by 2015.
Chongqing GDP per capita doubled to $ 8,000.

* South China's Guangxi is aiming to double its GDP and fiscal revenue by 2015.

* Northeast China's Heilongjiang province has similar targets and also aims to make the 2011-2015 its fastest-developing era since China adopted the opening-up policy in 1978.

* Southwest China's Guizhou province is aiming for a GDP of 800 billion yuan of over the next five years, and will endeavor to raise the figure to 1 trillion yuan.

* Inner Mongolia and Tianjin municipality have committed themselves to doubling GDP during 2011-2015, though their robust economic growth, about 15 percent to 20 percent in recent years, suggests the doubling-of-GDP task may be conservative.

Terrorism & Security North Korea says on 'brink of war' as US, South Korea prepare for military exercises

1. Officials in North Korea have warned that they are on the brink of war with the South, as the United States and South Korea prepare to conduct a joint training exercise in the Yellow Sea. North Korea also conducted artillery test fires audible on Yeonpyeong.

The rounds fired on Friday were the first heard since the attack earlier this week, and South Korea’s Ministry of Defense spokesman, Kwon Ki-hyeon, told The New York Times that all of the rounds fired appeared to stay within North Korea and were thus likely part of a drill or a show of force designed to keep South Korean forces on edge.

2. The son of Taiwan's former Vice President Lien Chan has been shot in the face while campaigning for local elections.

High Power LEDs enabling better hydroponics and smartphones and projectors

OSRAM’S UX:3 Chip in a new package is 50 percent brighter than the precursor package.

High power LED applications like automotive headlights, general lighting, or pocket projectors demand ever increasing brightness. High driving currents yield high brightness, but as the current rises, the efficiency of the LED declines. Hence high efficiency at high currents is the key to brighter high power LEDs. OSRAM Opto Semiconductors’ new generation of high power chips features higher efficiency which is achieved by burying the n-type contact inside the chip. Moreover, the efficiency decline at high currents is overcome by reducing Auger recombination.

At 150 lux, the LED with the UX:3 chip is 50 lux brighter than its predecessor. As a result, high-quality images can be taken even with very flat cell phones or smartphones. The LED flash can illuminate a wider area and provides a more uniform light distribution. As a result, it is more efficient at higher currents than previous LEDs. Oslux is available with two different lens types, which are already integrated and matched to the beam characteristics of the UX:3 chip. This ensures smooth, rectangular illumination of the subject. The light distribution depends on the lens used. At a distance of one meter, the LED

LED horticultural lighting is enabled by OSRAM Opto Semiconductors and will reduce energy usage by 60% versus High Pressure Sodium (HPS)

High Pressure Sodium (HPS) lamps are widely used in horticulture to create the right environment for plants to grow in the dark season. A typical one hectare greenhouse using HPS lamps will consume around 10,000 Mega Watt Hour of electricity per year. “Based on some researches, we found that only 7% of the light created by HPS lamps is absorbed by the plants. Much of the energy is wasted by inefficiencies. By converting into LED lighting, energy saving can be achieved immediately. In the case of lettuce grown in a greenhouse, energy consumption can even be reduced by 20% to 30%. Certain wavelengths and color temperature can make the fruit amount, weight or biomass grow faster based on the recent studies. By using more predefined light for example in tomato growing the joules spent per kilogram of vegetables is reduced. With cucumbers the yield can be increased by more than 20%, the vegetable quality is improved, and the production season will be lengthened.

Bose-Einstein Photon Condensate Can Produce Laser-Like X-Rays

Scientists have turned photons, the wave/particles we see as light, into one huge super-particle. The photons share the same energy level and can’t be distinguished from each other.

Nature - Bose–Einstein condensation of photons in an optical microcavity

Bose–Einstein condensation (BEC)—the macroscopic ground-state accumulation of particles with integer spin (bosons) at low temperature and high density—has been observed in several physical systems including cold atomic gases and solid-state quasiparticles. However, the most omnipresent Bose gas, blackbody radiation (radiation in thermal equilibrium with the cavity walls) does not show this phase transition. In such systems photons have a vanishing chemical potential, meaning that their number is not conserved when the temperature of the photon gas is varied; at low temperatures, photons disappear in the cavity walls instead of occupying the cavity ground state. Theoretical works have considered thermalization processes that conserve photon number (a prerequisite for BEC), involving Compton scattering with a gas of thermal electrons or photon–photon scattering in a nonlinear resonator configuration. Number-conserving thermalization was experimentally observed for a two-dimensional photon gas in a dye-filled optical microcavity, which acts as a ‘white-wall’ box. Here we report the observation of a Bose–Einstein condensate of photons in this system. The cavity mirrors provide both a confining potential and a non-vanishing effective photon mass, making the system formally equivalent to a two-dimensional gas of trapped, massive bosons. The photons thermalize to the temperature of the dye solution (room temperature) by multiple scattering with the dye molecules. Upon increasing the photon density, we observe the following BEC signatures: the photon energies have a Bose–Einstein distribution with a massively populated ground-state mode on top of a broad thermal wing; the phase transition occurs at the expected photon density and exhibits the predicted dependence on cavity geometry; and the ground-state mode emerges even for a spatially displaced pump spot. The prospects of the observed effects include studies of extremely weakly interacting low-dimensional Bose gases and new coherent ultraviolet sources.

Nature - Chilled light enters a new phase

First Bose–Einstein condensate of photons could help build solar cells and lasers.

Quantum physicists have created the first Bose-Einstein condensate using photons — a feat until now suspected to be possible only for atoms. The technique could be used to increase the efficiency of solar cells and lasers.

Weitz and his colleagues have found a way to get light to stick around long enough for a BEC of photons to be created — details of the technique are published in Nature today. To prevent the usually massless photons from escaping, the team trapped them in a cavity between two curved mirrors. The mirrors restricted the way the photons could move and vibrate — forcing them to behave as though they were atoms with a mass about ten billion times smaller than a rubidium atom

November 25, 2010

What was the best way to use the Saturn V to reach the Moon-- in retrospect?

Lunar Surface Rendezvous as an Exploration Strategy

Hi, everybody, Joseph Friedlander here in a guest post on Next Big Future. Everybody who is into the history of space knows the CSM-LM (Command and Service Module/Lunar Module) Lunar Orbit Rendezvous method that was finally chosen as payload aboard the Saturn V, but was that really the best way to have done it? It certainly was not the cheapest, using a Gemini and Centaur could have done a variant of the Apollo 8 mission a couple years in advance... but people in NASA had a strong desire to go a certain way, and anything not using Apollo-Saturn hardware was not as favored (Orion, the nuclear launch method, lost NASA support for that reason-- they were obsessed with developing chemical boosters at that time, and particularly the Saturns.)

In 1966, Douglas Aircraft, builder of the DC-9, (prime contractor on the Saturn V third stage, the S-IV-B) suggested a lunar lander variant. "Lunar Application of a Spent S-IVB Stage (LASS)" (for more details see the Astronautix page on that proposal)

I have done a Photoshop mashup of various real and projected hardware proposals from that time. LASS is on the right.

On the left bottom is the projected Apollo Venus flyby.

Boeing subsidiary Spectrolab to mass-produce about 100MW in 2011 of 39.2% efficient solar cells Spectrolab, the Boeing subsidiary that specializes in high-efficiency solar cells, says that it has begun mass production of its newest “C3MJ+” devices (updated triple-junction devices) – which have an average conversion efficiency of 39.2% at a 500-sun concentration.

That is an improvement of 0.7% on its existing “C3MJ” cells (the product nomenclature reflects the three junctions within the cell’s structure, which enable it to capture much more of the solar spectrum than conventional silicon or thin-film cells).

Sahara Solar Breeder Project proposal for 50% world electricity for 2050

The Sahara Solar Breeder Project, which will start from the basic research stage, has the grand goal of providing 50% of the energy used by humanity in 2050 as electrical energy converted from sunlight. The project's leader, Professor Koinuma, calls it the Super Apollo Project.

In this initial project, it will be important to demonstrate the possibility of manufacturing high-purity silicon from desert sand and constructing a high-temperature superconducting, long-distance, DC power supply system. The aim is to achieve a solar plant with annual capacity of at least 100 GW, which would truly help to solve the world's energy problem.

China's Guizhou proposes $11.3 Bln coal-to-oil plant for 100,000 barrels per day

Southwestern China's Guizhou province has proposed a 5 million tonnes-per-year (36 million barrels/year or 100,000 barrels per day) coal-to-oil project after China's home-grown indirect coal liquefication technology was endorsed by the National Energy Administration .

Officials with the administration agreed to include the project in China's energy development plan for the five years ending 2015, the Guizhou Development and Reform Commission said in a report on its website .

China could start exporting nuclear reactors in 2013

Starting from French reactors imported in the 1980s, Chinese engineers have developed their own large reactor systems to the point that exports appear possible from 2013.

Having imported two 900 MWe pressurized water reactors for the Daya Bay nuclear power plant, CGNPC engineers embarked on a development program that led to the CPR-1000 design. The first of these began operation at Ling Ao Phase II in September, while 16 are under construction and many more planned. A domestic supply chain has been built up with each project and now only about ten percent of components need to be imported.

By 2013, Zhang said, a further design evolution will clear certain areas of intellectual property retained by Areva, resulting in a Generation III design called the ACPR-1000 that CGNPC could market in other countries.

New more complete assessment of climate change emissions contribution

CO2 stays around in the air for a century or more, so to measure the warming that a country can be blamed for, you need to measure not current but cumulative emissions – over centuries. Industrialisation is new to China. As a result, when historical accumulations of CO2 emissions over the past century are taken into account, its contribution sinks to around 10 per cent. On the other hand, contributions from European industrial pioneers like Germany, France and especially the UK, with their long-accumulated legacies of emissions, increase significantly. The US contribution to global warming approaches 30 per cent for CO2 but a complete analysis (with methane and deforestation) shows an 18% share. Brazil's contribution rises from around 1 per cent to 5 per cent of the global total, and India's share doubles. The contribution of Indonesia, a hotspot for deforestation, rises by a factor of between 10 and 90, say the authors.

They do take the usual short cut of looking at CO2 alone. Other greenhouse gases warm our world: the second most important is methane, produced by a range of human activities from draining marshes and deforestation to cattle farming. Methane does not accumulate as CO2 does, because its "half life" in the atmosphere is only around a decade, but while it is there it is a potent warmer.

Contributions of individual countries’ emissions to climate change and their uncertainty

How much taxes would Warren Buffet Pay ?

Warren Buffet favors increasing income taxes and a higher inheritance tax but neither one of those things would have much impact on his situation. Through charitable donations Buffet can drive his income taxes to zero. There are any number of ways that Buffet can have his insurance companies and his foreign companies not pay taxes. Big global companies like Google can reduce taxes nearly to zero and do so now.

Buffett stated that he only paid 19% of his income for 2006 ($48.1 million) in total federal taxes (due to their being from dividends & capital gains), while his employees paid 33% of theirs, despite making much less money. On the other hand in 2008 Berkshire Hathaway paid $1.9 billion in federal corporate income taxes on $7.5 billion in earnings (more than 26% in federal taxes alone.

Buffet can lower his taxes by donating appreciated Berkshire Hathaway stock — which costs him pennies on the dollar — to charity, and receives a tax deduction at the appreciated price without having to pay a capital gains tax on the appreciation. The money then sits in his own charitable organization. He’s saving income taxes with the ordinary deduction so it’s essentially a tax shelter. He builds up net worth and doesn’t have to sell stock while deferring capital gains. When he does take a capital gain, it’s at a 15% rate, and he lives in a low-tax state.

There are also favorable tax rules and rates for insurance companies.

Captive insurance companies are used by more than 80% of the Fortune 500 companies.

The cost of ‘self-insurance’ outside of a valid CIC structure is not tax deductible. With a properly formed CIC, the insurance premiums are deductible so that claims are paid with pretax dollars. If no claims are made, the CIC retains the premiums for future business risks or distribution. CIC policies may replace current coverage to cover copyright infringement, errors and omissions, employment practices and property damage.

November 24, 2010

Carnival of Space 178 - traversing wormholes and super magnetic fields

VASIMR VX-200 plasma rocket achieves full power efficiency milestone

Ad Astra Rocket Company’s VASIMR® VX-200 rocket prototype demonstrated its highest power efficiency and performance so far in tests, which ended Friday November 19 at the company’s Houston laboratory. Last week’s results met the efficiency milestone set by the company as it specifies the requirements for the VF-200 flight engine for the International Space Station.

At 200 kilowatts of power the plasma rocket delivers 5.7 Newtons of thrust at 72% efficiency and exhaust speed of 50 kilometers per second.

Proof of Concept Quantum Hard drives

EETimes - The California Institute of Technology has demonstrated that quantum entanglement can simultaneously transfer whole blocks of quantum information, providing a proof-of-concept for future quantum Hard Drives. The Caltech team claimed that its device is the harbinger of quantum Hard drives that someday may challenge traditional storage technologies with optical memories that use entanglement for access. In its demonstration, the team transferred the state of four quantum memories to an optical signal and back again, claiming that the principle could be extended to any number of parallel transfers into and out of future quantum Hard Drives.

Researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have demonstrated quantum entanglement for a quantum state stored in four spatially distinct atomic memories.

They also demonstrated a quantum interface between the atomic memories—which represent something akin to a computer "hard drive" for entanglement—and four beams of light, thereby enabling the four-fold entanglement to be distributed by photons across quantum networks. The research represents an important achievement in quantum information science by extending the coherent control of entanglement from two to multiple (four) spatially separated physical systems of matter and light.

The World's First Fully Superconducting Motor and Cambridge Superconducting material advances

Superconducting motor

A Superconducting Permanent Magnet Motor has been built at Cambridge University's Engineering Department in collaboration with Magnifye Ltd.

Magnifye is developing the technology to produce the strongest permanent magnets in the world. Using rare earth superconductors Magnifye's technology enables these to be magnetised to fields orders of magnitude greater than that available from ordinary permanent magnet materials such as NdFeB and SmCo. Magnifye has developed a heat engine which converts thermal energy into currents of millions of amps. The thermal energy is used to create a series of magnetic waves which progressively magnetise the superconductor much in the same way a nail can be magnetised by stroking it over a magnet.

As long as the superconductor stays cold, the currents will flow uninterrupted, providing powerful, stable, shapeable magnetic fields for a wide range of applications. These powerful magnets can be small enough to fit in the palm of the hand and large enough to power a train or a cruise liner.

Engineers at the University of Cambridge have also used new techniques to manufacture high-temperature superconducting materials, producing samples that can carry record quantities of electrical current for their type and size. he breakthrough has improved the effectiveness of yttrium barium copper oxide (YBCO) and a related family of superconducting materials. It raises the prospect of more powerful and affordable samples that could have huge benefits in a number of fields.

At present effective superconductors are often expensive and difficult to mass-produce. The Cambridge research could be a step towards resolving this, by providing the basis for the development of more powerful samples that can be manufactured using a commercially compatible process.

That would drive down the production costs of machines that rely on the materials. MRI scanners, for example, which can cost around £1.5million each, could eventually become a common sight in GP's surgeries, helping to improve accurate detection and diagnosis of problems ranging from twisted knees to brain tumors.

French nuclear power in 2010 and 2011 and Cameco has a new uranium contract with China

1. EDF last week said French 2010 nuclear output would likely be within a range of 405 terawatt-hours to 415 terawatt-hours.

The utility is expecting a full-year nuclear plant availability rate, a measure of how many reactors are operating, of nearly 78.5 percent, at the low end of a target because of unplanned halts in October (more strikes). In May, EDF said it was aiming for an improvement of “at least” 1.5 percentage points in 2010 from last year’s 78 percent. Strikes wreaked havoc last year on a maintenance and refueling schedule designed to halt plants during months when demand is lowest. Days after Proglio took the helm a year ago, Prime Minister Francois Fillon told him his first goal should be to improve output at the company’s 58 French reactors.

EDF today had 49 reactors online compared with 44 a year earlier, according to an EDF spokeswoman and data collected by Bloomberg.

Purdue University and General Motors look to boost fuel economy by 10% using waste heat

A Purdue University team is collaborating with General Motors, which is developing a prototype using thermoelectric generators, or TEGs. The prototype, to be installed in the exhaust system behind the catalytic converter, will harvest heat from gases that are about 700 degrees Celsius, or nearly 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit, Xu said. The project begins Jan.1. The first prototype aims to reduce fuel consumption by 5 percent, and future systems capable of working at higher temperatures could make possible a 10 percent reduction, said Xu, whose work is based at the Birck Nanotechnology Center in Purdue's Discovery Park.

November 23, 2010

Penrose claims to have glimpsed universe before Big Bang

Circular patterns within the cosmic microwave background suggest that space and time did not come into being at the Big Bang but that our universe in fact continually cycles through a series of "aeons". That is the sensational claim being made by University of Oxford theoretical physicist Roger Penrose, who says that data collected by NASA's WMAP satellite support his idea of "conformal cyclic cosmology". This claim is bound to prove controversial, however, because it opposes the widely accepted inflationary model of cosmology.

Penrose takes issue with the inflationary picture (inflation after a big bang) and in particular believes it cannot account for the very low entropy state in which the universe was believed to have been born – an extremely high degree of order that made complex matter possible. He does not believe that space and time came into existence at the moment of the Big Bang but that the Big Bang was in fact just one in a series of many, with each big bang marking the start of a new "aeon" in the history of the universe.

Arxiv - Concentric circles in WMAP data may provide evidence of violent pre-Big-Bang activity

Self-assembly of nano-rotors

A Nano-rotor in its honeycomb-cage

Scientists from the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) have managed to direct the self-assembly of rod-shaped molecules into rotors only few nanometers in size. The tiny systems serve the study of forces that act on molecules on surfaces and in cage-like structures.

PNAS - Rotational and constitutional dynamics of caged supramolecules

The confinement of molecular species in nanoscale environments leads to intriguing dynamic phenomena. Notably, the organization and rotational motions of individual molecules were controlled by carefully designed, fully supramolecular host architectures. Here we use an open 2D coordination network on a smooth metal surface to steer the self-assembly of discrete trimeric guest units, identified as noncovalently bound dynamers. Each caged chiral supramolecule performs concerted, chirality-preserving rotary motions within the template honeycomb pore, which are visualized and quantitatively analyzed using temperature-controlled scanning tunneling microscopy. Furthermore, with higher thermal energies, a constitutional system dynamics appears, which is revealed by monitoring repetitive switching events of the confined supramolecules’ chirality signature, reflecting decay and reassembly of the caged units.

MoNETA: A Mind Made from Memristors

IEEE Spectrum - DARPA has funded a new memristor-based approach to AI consists of a chip that mimics how neurons process information.

This site has discussed how memristors look very promising for creating human scale synapse networks. It was highly speculative (and still is) to think that memristors would be the key to AGI, but now the funding stake and project has been made by DARPA. The memristor approach has not yet delivered any level of animal intelligence. Memristors seem to have a better shot at scaling to relevant complexity of synapses for a rat or other animal.

The memristors seem to have the analog properties matching a synapse at the level of handfuls of memristors.

This approach has an architectural shot at getting the brain simulating hardware to the right level of complexity. Can it all function together and do useful things. Don't know. The projected hardware levels look interesting. Could it all fail to deliver in any number of ways ? Yes.

The government and corporate and academic levels of effort and funding also appear to have interesting levels of momentum. As opposed to AGI projects that only have one or two professors working on them.

The goal of the MOdular Neural Exploring Traveling Agent (MoNETA) project is to develop an animat that can intelligently interact and learn to navigate a virtual world making decisions aimed at increasing rewards while avoiding danger. The animat, which is a virtual agent living in a virtual environment, is designed to be modular: a whole brain system, initially including fairly simple modules, will be progressively refined with more complex and adaptive modules, and will be tested in increasingly more challenging environment. The animat brain is designed in Cog Ex Machina (Cog), the software realized by HP in collaboration with Boston University in the DARPA SyNAPSE project. Cog, which can run on CPUs, GPUs, and will run on memristive-based devices, allows to pack large-scale, highly interconnected, plastic, heterogeneous neural models that make up the animat brain in a low-power, high density chip which is suitable for implementing portable petascale neural-based computing. The current plan is for the animat to replicate a classic rat experiment, the Morris Water Maze (left), by February 2011, and progressively simulate more complex mazes used in rat experiments. Further evolution of the model will use the Iterative Evolution of Models (ItEM) project software.

Federal Reserve economic forecast for the US for 2010-2013

Federal Reserve economic forecast for the US for 2010-2013

The Federal Reserve cut its outlook for the U.S. economy for this year (down from about 3.5% growth to 2.5%) and 2011 and projected that it could take several years for the economy to return to health.

According to minutes from the Fed's November 3 meeting released Tuesday, more than half of the central bank's policymakers thought it would take about five or six years for unemployment, growth and inflation to return to more normal levels. Other Fed members warned the full recovery could take even longer than that.

They are expecting unemployment to be 8% in 2012.

1. The central tendency excludes the three highest and three lowest projections for each variable in each year.

2. The range for a variable in a given year consists of all participants' projections, from lowest to highest, for that variable in that year

United States Strategies for the Korean Peninsula

The Brookings Institute had an opinion piece which suggested cutting deals to get China's support in curbing North Korea.

*The only real hope of getting North Korea to relinquish its nuclear weapons is to apply such significant economic pressure that the regime is forced to make a choice between economic collapse and the verifiable dismantling of its nuclear weapons and facilities. Such pressure would need to be accompanied by an offer of full political and economic normalization if Pyongyang agreed to abandon its nuclear program. The only country capable of applying such pressure is China.

* the US would guarantee to help handle any North Korean refugee problem

* the US would guarantee no troops would cross the 38th parallel except for temporary

American high speed rail debacle. Is it because of vigorous Democracy or Political Gridlock and lost ability to build big things

Megan McArdle tries to put a positive spin on America's failure and bleak future in regards to high speed rail.

Viewed from a purely technological perspective, America's high speed rail is an embarrassment compared to China's: shaky, slow, and not particularly sleek. But viewed in another way, our slow rail network is the price for a lot of great things about America: our limits on government power, our democratic political system, and the fact that we're already rich enough to have an enormous amount of existing infrastructure, in the form of houses, industrial plant, and roads, that would be very expensive to tear up in the name of building rail lines. All in all, I think these things are more valuable than even a really cool train system.

High speed rail in the USA will not go very fast because it uses existing rights of way, and because the politicians that fund it like to have it make stops in their city

Forbes - Political gridlock railroads high-speed trains - Whether or not a multi-billion-dollar high-speed rail project is good for the nation, the current political schizophrenia over its funding is causing rail companies lot of pain.

North Korea fires Artillery at South Korea and kills two and South Korea returns fire

Wired Danger Room - North Korea fired artillery at an inhabited South Korean island and South Korea returned fire. Two South Korean marines were killed.

At least two South Korean marines are dead and over a dozen are wounded after North Korea fired off hundreds of artillery rounds at a South Korean island.

Time has coverage too.

Adam Savage of Myth Busters goes through new TSA security with two - twelve inch long razor blades

Adam Savage, from the Myth Busters TV show, flies a lot and has dangerous items on his person for his job. He tries to make sure he leaves all that at home. But after the TSA finished shooting Adam Savage with radiation and looking at his “tiny junk”, Adam noticed he had forgotten two 12 inch long razor blades in his suit jacket. He noticed the razor blades in his pocket once he was ON THE PLANE.

Self Assembly of three dimensional structures from molecular building blocks

The University of Nottingham has achieved a world first to provide building blocks for new nano devices.

Scientists at The University of Nottingham have made a major breakthrough that could help shape the future of nanotechnology, by demonstrating for the first time that 3-D molecular structures can be built on a surface.

The discovery could prove a significant step forward towards the development of new nano devices such as cutting-edge optical and electronic technologies and even molecular computers.

In a paper published in the prestigious journal Nature Chemistry, the team of chemists and physicists at Nottingham have shown that by introducing a ‘guest’ molecule they can build molecules upwards from a surface rather than just 2-D formations previously achieved.

The new process involved introducing a guest molecule — in this case a ‘buckyball’ or C60 — on to a surface patterned by an array of tetracarboxylic acid molecules. The spherical shape of the buckyballs means they sit above the surface of the molecule and encourage other molecules to form around them. It offers scientists a completely new and controlled way of building up additional layers on the surface of the molecule.

Nature Communications - Guest-induced growth of a surface-based supramolecular bilayer

A New Critical Temperature High for Calcium-Doped YBCO Superconductor

For years superconductor research has focused on improving the performance of YBCO, the most widely used industrial superconductor.

Doping YBCO with calcium can improve its current-carrying capability across grain boundaries by as much as 35 percent - but at a sacrifice. Doping lowers its 91K Tc (critical temperature) to a level uncomfortably close to that of the 77K liquid nitrogen coolant.

To date there have been just two variants of YBCO discovered that will accommodate calcium without Tc loss: Y2CaBa4Cu7O16+ (Tc ~96K) and Y3CaBa4Cu8O18+ (Tc ~99K). Superconductors.ORG today reports a third calcium-doped YBCO formulation has been found that produces a Tc considerably higher than even those two compounds. YCaBa3Cu5O11+ displays a resistive Tc near 107K.

November 22, 2010

New Decommissioning method is faster and could be 25% cheaper

Decommissioning nuclear power plants is now 25% cheaper

Commonwealth Edison, now part of Exelon, is trying out a radical new approach to decommissioning nuclear plant that promises to make the process faster, simpler and 25 percent less expensive — instead of hiring a contractor, it has turned the job and the reactors over to a nuclear demolition company that owns a nuclear dump site. The cost will be covered by the $900 million that Exelon accumulated in a decommissioning fund.

If the approach is successful, it could have implications for 10 other nuclear plants around the country that are waiting to be decommissioned, and for the 104 reactors that are still in operation but will eventually be torn down. It will also save money for electricity customers, who often end up paying for the cleanup of nuclear plants through their utility bills.

The decommissioning operation at Zion, which began on Sept. 1, will skip one of the slowest, dirtiest and most costly parts of tearing down a nuclear plant: separating radioactive materials, which must go to a licensed dump, from nonradioactive materials, which can go to an ordinary industrial landfill.

The new idea is not to bother sorting the two. Instead, anything that could include radioactive contamination will be treated as radioactive waste.

Humanity+ @ CalTech, Dec 4-5 2010: Redefining the Future of Humanity

Humanity+ @ CalTech Redefining the Future of Humanity is a conference on December 4-5

Humanity Plus conference registration is here.

* Real-Time World Building — Performance Art for the 21st Century

It’s not so often that someone introduces a brand new art form to the world, but that’s exactly what polymathic performer/designer/filmmaker/artist/composer J-Walt will demonstrate at the Humanity+ Summit: real-time world building as a novel form of performance art

* Robot Einstein, and his creator David Hanson will be there

Long range anti ship missile programs

the RATTLR long range missile was studied but not developed.

The Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) has awarded Lockheed Martin a contract worth $157 million for the development of an advanced long range anti ship missile (LRASM). The new anti-ship missile and its associated systems will extend the effective attack range of Navy warships beyond current or projected enemy anti-air and anti-ship capabilities.

While LRASM is positioned as a direct successor for the Harpoon, the development of a more ambitious weapon known as ArcLight is also under evaluation at DARPA as a quick reaction weapon hitting time critical targets at a distance of 2,000 nautical miles within 30 minutes. ArcLight will employ a rocket booster, sustainer accelerating the weapon to hypersonic speed, from where the strike vehicle will glide at high speed, carrying a warhead weighing 100-200 pounds to strike the target with pinpoint accuracy. ArcLight, like LRASM, will also be stored in, and launched from existing Mk 41 VLS.

Anti-ship missiles are compared at wikipedia

DARPA Contract to Develop Non-Volatile Spin Logic

Grandis, Inc., the leader in spin transfer torque random access memory (STT-RAM), today announced that it has been awarded a new contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop non-volatile spin logic. Under the contract, the company will expand its cutting-edge development of spintronics and advanced magnetic materials beyond non-volatile STT-RAM memory into non-volatile logic applications. Non-volatile spin logic is a next-generation, solid-state logic technology that, in addition to being non-volatile, ultra-fast and radiation-hard, promises radically lower power consumption than conventional CMOS logic.

The program will be carried out through a collaboration between the University of Notre Dame and Grandis. Development work will focus on integrating magnetic tunnel junction (MTJ) materials capable of sensing very small magnetic fields with nano-magnets performing logic operations. The goal is to demonstrate non-volatile spin logic circuits operating at ultra-fast speeds of less than 1 nanosecond and ultra-low power consumption of less than 10 atto-Joules per operation. Such performance coupled with the inherent non-volatility of spin logic devices will enable not just significant reductions in the active power consumption of microprocessors but also the virtual elimination of standby power consumption

Atto stands for 10^-18.

Pico is 10^-12
femto is 10^-15

zepto is 10^-21
yocto is 10^-24

A novel embryo identification system by direct tagging of mouse embryos using silicon-based barcodes

Human Reproduction journal - A novel embryo identification system by direct tagging of mouse embryos using silicon-based barcodes

The full article is here

BACKGROUND Measures to prevent assisted reproductive technologies (ART) mix-ups, such as labeling of all labware and double-witnessing protocols, are currently in place in fertility clinics worldwide. Technological solutions for electronic witnessing are also being developed. However, none of these solutions eliminate the risk of identification errors, because gametes and embryos must be transferred between containers several times during an ART cycle. Thus, the objective of this study was to provide a proof of concept for a direct embryo labeling system using silicon-based barcodes.

METHODS Three different types of silicon-based barcodes (A, B and C) were designed and manufactured, and microinjected into the perivitelline space of mouse pronuclear embryos (one to four barcodes per embryo). Embryos were cultured in vitro until the blastocyst stage, and rates of embryo development, retention of the barcodes in the perivitelline space and embryo identification were assessed every 24 h. Release of the barcodes after embryo hatching was also determined. Finally, embryos microinjected with barcodes were frozen and thawed at the 2-cell stage to test the validity of the system after cryopreservation.

In spite of the promising results obtained so far, the approach reported here for direct embryo labeling has some limitations, such as barcode adhesion to the embryo surface after hatching or the need for micromanipulation to label each individual embryo. Current work in our laboratory is focused on overcoming these limitations, and alternative methods of barcode incorporation into oocytes/embryos are being pursued. In particular, modification of the barcode surface aimed at the selective attachment of barcodes to the outer surface of the zona pellucida by either physical or chemical means is being investigated.

Precognition experiments show that academic standards of evidence are too low

Re-examining the statistical methods used in the studies of precognition. Conclusions should not be drawn from a series of 50-50 tests and then to sift the data for anomolies. That might be the first part but then you have to run tests and analysis to confirm the anomolies.

In eight out of nine studies, Bem reported evidence in favor of precognition. As we have argued above, this evidence may well be illusory; in several experiments it is evident that Bem’s Exploration Method should have resulted in a correction of the statistical results. Also, we have provided an alternative, Bayesian reanalysis of Bem’s experiments; this alternative analysis demonstrated that the statistical evidence was, if anything, slightly in favor of the null hypothesis. One can argue about the relative merits of classical t-tests versus Bayesian t-tests, but this is not our goal; instead, we want to point out that the two tests yield very different conclusions, something that casts doubt on the conclusiveness of the statistical findings.

Although the Bem experiments themselves do not provide evidence for precognition,
they do suggest that our academic standards of evidence may currently be set at a level that is too low.

Global wind energy outlook - the maximum optimistic view

Global Wind Energy Council has published their global wind energy outlook for 2010. Greenpeace is one of the sponsors of the report. This report can be viewed as the maximum optimistic scenarios for wind energy.

There is minimal discussion in the report about increased transmission and energy storage issues with higher percentages of wind power. In general the issue is dismissed with the grid investments that have to be made should be made.

Supply chain issues and kite powered wind or other wind technology is not discussed in the report.

Market growth rates used in these scenarios are based on a mixture of historical figures, current policies and trends, new market development, discussions of future energy policy and other factors. While cumulative annual growth rates of more than 25% per year, as envisaged in the ‘Advanced’ scenario, are unusually high in most industries that manufacture heavy equipment, the wind industry has consistently experienced much higher growth. In fact, the global wind markets have grown by an average 28% per year in terms of total installed capacity during the last decade.

In the GWEO Advanced scenario, the average annual growth for cumulative installed capacity is assumed to start off at 27% in 2010, and then gradually decline to 9% by 2020. By 2030, they will have dropped to 4%. Growth rates as anticipated by the IEA in the Reference scenario start at 17% in 2010, drop to 3% by 2015, stabilising at that level. The growth rates for the Moderate scenario range from 26% in 2010 to 9% in 2020 and to 5% in 2030.

In the Reference (based on IEA outlook) scenario, wind power would produce 1,000 T Wh of electricity by 2020, a trebling from the estimated 350 T Wh produced by the 158.5 GW of wind capacity in 2009. Depending on the demand projection, this would cover between 4.5-4.8% of the world’s electricity needs, about the same share as is currently achieved in Europe. By 2030, 1,400 T Wh would account for 4.9% to 5.6%. Overall, the contribution of wind power to the global electricity supply would remain small.

Emerging Applications of Carbon Nanotubes

Emerging Applications of Carbon Nanotubes

On the basis of their unique electrical and mechanical properties, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have attracted great attention in recent years. A diverse array of methods has been developed to modify CNTs and to assemble them into devices. On the basis of these innovations, many applications that include the use of CNTs have been demonstrated. Transparent electrodes for organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs), lithium-ion batteries, supercapacitors, and CNT-based electronic components such as field-effect transistors (FETs) have been demonstrated. Furthermore, CNTs have been employed in catalysis and sensing as well as filters and mechanical and biomedical applications. This review highlights illustrative examples from these areas to give an overview of applications of CNTs.

Tau Foundation covers all options to reach other habitable worlds

Centauri Dreams has a status report on the Tau Foundation.

Ideally, the Tau Foundation wants to cover all the technologies and implications related to the ultimate goal of reaching other habitable worlds, and we want to do that in a manner where you can count on the accuracy of our information (which is why we include reference citations so that you can check any questionable assertions). This span includes understanding ‘what’s out there,’ examining all the options for ‘how to get there,’ and being sure to tie this all to its ‘relevance to humanity.’

Tau Zero covers the full span of options, from the seemingly simple solar sails to the seemingly impossible faster-than-light travel. For each option within that span, there are different levels of readiness and performance, and accordingly different types of work. One consistent finding – which is nonetheless contentious amongst our readership – is that there is no single “best” choice of propulsion. We have also found that individuals tend to have a favorite within that span, but our interests cover the full span. So, rather than prematurely arguing over which engine is best, we intend to give you reliable, traceable information about the status and next-steps for all those options.

Flexible wings driven by simple oscillation may be viable for efficient micro air vehicles

Creating micro-scale air vehicles that mimic the flapping of winged insects or birds has become popular, but they typically require a complex combination of pitching and plunging motions to oscillate the flapping wings. To avoid some of the design challenges involved in mimicking insect wing strokes, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology propose using flexible wings that are driven by a simple sinusoidal flapping motion.

"We found that the simple up and down wavelike stroke of wings at the resonance frequency is easier to implement and generates lift comparable to winged insects that employ a significantly more complex stroke," said Alexander Alexeev, an assistant professor in Georgia Tech's School of Mechanical Engineering.

The 5 page paper is here. Physics Review E - Resonance of flexible flapping wings at low Reynolds number

Advance could make e-paper cheap enough for disposable e-readers by 2013-2015

Andrew Steckl's research is featured on the cover of the November issue of ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

A discovery by University of Cincinnati engineering researcher Andrew Steckl could revolutionize display technology with e-paper that’s fast enough for video yet cheap enough to be disposable.

In the research, Steckl and UC doctoral student Duk Young Kim demonstrated that paper could be used as a flexible host material for an electrowetting device. Electrowetting (EW) involves applying an electric field to colored droplets within a display in order to reveal content such as type, photographs and video. Steckl’s discovery that paper could be used as the host material has far-reaching implications considering other popular e-readers on the market such as the Kindle and iPad rely on complex circuitry printed over a rigid glass substrate.

Fractal Antenna claims benefits of metamaterial antennas

Fractal Antenna retrofitted a conventional ¼ wave Marconi monopole antenna with a slip on fractal metamaterial collar/sleeve to increase the gain by 3 dB and TRIPLE the bandwidth. (video embedded below) This is their attempt to illustrate and promote their patented/proprietary fractal metamaterial/ resonator/ antenna technology

* The gain of the antenna also undergoes improvement, more than doubling value.

* Conservatively describing the bandwidth improvement as tripled, the actual bandwidth increases from 120 MHz to a new value 1500 MHz, just by slipping the fractal metamaterial sleeve over the monopole

New spinal implant will help people with paraplegia to exercise paralyzed limbs

Engineers have developed a new type of microchip muscle stimulator implant that will enable people with paraplegia to exercise their paralysed leg muscles. It is the first time that researchers have developed a device of this kind that is small enough to be implanted into the spinal canal and incorporates the electrodes and muscle stimulator in one unit. The implant is the size of a child's fingernail. There have been other devices that use electrodes in the spinal canal but the muscle stimulators are implanted in the abdomen in the front.

World energy is expensive and all of it is subsidized

All forms of energy generation are subsidized.

Energy is not cheap. There is a recent estimate that $25 trillion will need to be put into building what is needed to meet global energy demand increases between 2010 and 2030 For solar and wind, the analogy is books and libraries. One book may be cheap and fast to print but all the books in all the libraries takes time and are expensive.

The world is building a lot of coal power, natural gas, oil, biofuel, nuclear, hydro and wind. There is also some solar and geothermal.

The IEA world energy outlook for 2010-2035

India begins building home grown nuclear reactor design and China nuclear keeps rolling

1. India's first pair of indigenously designed 700 MWe pressurised heavy water reactors (PHWRs) are now officially under construction with the first pouring of concrete at Kakrapar 3 and 4.

Ground breaking for the two units, in Gujarat state, began in January 2010 and excavation works and other preparatory site works were completed by August, in record time according to Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL). Approval from India's Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) was needed before concrete pouring could go ahead. The units are slated to start up in 2015 and 2016.

Indian plans call for 20,000 MWe of nuclear capacity to be on line by 2020 and 63,000 MWe by 2032, with nuclear supplying 25% of the country's electricity by 2050. It already has 19 operating reactors totalling 4183 MWe, and Kakrapar 3 and 4 mean the country now has 6 reactors under construction, the others being a 220 MWe PHWR at Kaiga 4, two 1000 MWe Russian-design VVER pressurised water reactors at Kudankulam, plus the 500 MWe Kalpakkam prototype fast breeder reactor (PFBR). All are scheduled to start up by mid-2011, although reports earlier this year suggested that the Kalpakkam PFBR could be delayed by up to a year.

November 21, 2010

Various devices and services for getting internet video to your TV

Labnol has a list of devices for watching internet videos on TV Here is an updated list of pricing and updated descriptions.

There are definitely good options for ditching your cable and satellite TV subscription to watch internet TV instead. Then the choices are if the freely available internet content is enough or if you need Hulu Plus at $7.99/month and/or Netflix starting at $8.99/month

Wii, Xbox and Playstation 3 all enable you to connect your TV to the internet.

Tivo claims a more complete capability for watching videos on TV that is cheaper than buying individual shows via iTunes. Starting at $99.99 and $19.99 per month. Google TV, Apple TV all enable the internet connection but Tivo claims a better search across recorded video, web and TV. You can buy a large hard drive and dedicated media center devices (like one from western digital) for a larger video recording capability that does not need a monthly charge.

Apple TV lets you watch iTunes and Youtube videos. Apple TV will connect to the Internet through Ethernet or built-in Wi-Fi and retails at $99. HD movie and TV show rentals, Netflix and YouTube streaming, iTunes music and photos from your computer, 802.11n Wi-Fi

Roku digital video player now sells for $59 Roku is a little box that allows you to instantly stream tons of entertainment on your TV. Watch movies and TV shows from Netflix, Hulu Plus or Amazon VOD, listen to music on Pandora, catch the latest ballgame, and more. There are free and premium entertainment channels on Roku. Free channels include music services (like Pandora, RadioTime), major network news (Roku Newscaster), original programming on current events and culture (Revision3,, photo and video sharing (Flickr, Facebook Photos, Vimeo), and much more. Subscriptions start at $8.99 per month

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