January 08, 2011

Facebook is at or near peak hype

Douglas Rushkoff makes the point that it's not that MySpace lost and Facebook won. It's that MySpace won first, and Facebook won next. The longer the company can maintain the illusion of great profits without alienating its user base, the longer they can delay the inevitable decline. But given that Facebook has already begun cashing in its chips, that moment has quite likely arrived.

The actual peak is probably 2012 on the day of the IPO or the day after.

I definitely think that Facebook is stronger and more useful than Myspace.

However, Facebook claims 500 million users, so how much longer can they have high speed growth when there are 2 Billion internet users in the entire world ?

Also, the vast majority of the most active and most profitable users are already on the system. How much revenue opportunity is possible in some of the developing countries ?

There is also the vulnerability of not being able to increase market share from near 100%. Market share can only go down. China can also get more aggressive supporting the domestic system like they helped Baidu against Google. Other countries could do the same thing.

China has not passed the US yet but do not be in denial that it will and do not sweat the ghost cities

Foreign Policy journal was trying to make the case that China is still far weaker than the USA. They used one of my articles to make that case.

Some make a big deal about China's ghost cities that could have 64 million empty homes.

Having a lot of overbuilding would be a huge issue for a western real estate market. The difference is that they are not urbanizing at 20-30 million people per year and they do not have a political system where the government can go to the villages and rural areas and say - We have a million buses over there - get on your going to Kangbashi. There are more processes and procedures than that but Chinese leadership has far more flexibility to manage and direct the economy.

Ford plans to have 10-15 percent electric cars by 2015

Ford expects to have five different electric cars on the market by 2012. In the longer term, he said, Ford plans for its fleet to be 10-15 percent electric -- including hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles -- by 2015, compared to one percent today. He added that Ford's EcoBoost technology in conventional gasoline-driven cars is designed to save up to 30 percent in mileage and cut carbon emissions as much as 15 percent.

RED Camera - Red Scarlet was shown at CES

Red Camera appears very close to releasing another revolutionary digital video camera, Red Scarlet

Red Scarlet will be called Epic Light, which reflects that it’s really just a compact and differently-spec’ed version of their new digital cinema camera.

The company's main product is the Red One, which can record at resolutions up to 4,096 horizontal by 2,304 vertical pixels, directly to flash or hard disk storage. It features a single Super 35-sized CMOS sensor and a cinematography industry standard PL mount. Peter Jackson, reportedly, will film his version of The Hobbit, using 30 Epic cameras. The first Red Epic cameras are being used to replace 35 mm cameras for major movies and TV productions.

Wikipedia has information There are now many competitors. Originally they were the first to have digital cameras that could replace 35mm and possibly get 70mm like resolution. Their cost was and is far less than 35 mm film.

Generation of Medical X-ray and Terahertz Beams of Radiation Using Table-Top Accelerators

Arxiv - Generation of Medical X-ray and Terahertz Beams of Radiation Using Table-Top Accelerators

Theoretical and experimental studies of PXR and diffracted radiation of an oscillator in crystals combined with the development of VFEL generators with photonic crystals give a promising basis for creation of X-ray and THz sources using the same table-top accelerator. Multi-modal medical facility can be developed on the basis of one dedicated table-top electron accelerator of some tens of MeV energy. Such a system could find a lot of applications in medical practice and biomedical investigations.

January 07, 2011

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 34

1. Nuclear Green has an article Mark Z. Jacobson's proliferation of errors

Stanford's Mark Jacobson has a new paper "Providing all Global Energy with Wind, Water, and Solar Power, Part I: Technologies, Energy Resources, Quantities and Areas of Infrastructure, and Materials"

Jacobson, in effect, argues that by avoiding the construction of civilian power reactors, the likelihood of nuclear proliferation and nuclear war can be diminished or even prevented,. This argument contains multiple flaws. First it is unlikely that a large scale international buildup of nuclear power can be prevented. Both China and India have announced policies involving the construction of hundreds of reactors

Prediction Google Chrome OS notebooks will be introduced at under $100 in mid-2011

Google in December unveiled a beta version of its Chrome OS notebook, dubbed Cr-48. Google plans to release two, Intel-based Chrome OS notebooks from Acer and Samsung in mid-2011, with Verizon Wireless providing cellular connectivity. No pricing information was released for the upcoming Acer and Samsung devices; Google said its partners will hold their own launch events in the future with more details. Google has announced that it has partnered with Verizon Wireless to provide 3G wide area network (WAN) coverage on every Chrome OS device. Each device will receive 100MB of data for free each month for two years.

My prediction on pricing will be under $100 and probably about $50.

The reason is that Google can come in below the price of the Amazon Kindle and under the price of many netbooks and most Android tablet PCs.

I think Google will subsidize its hardware partners because it is a thin browser that looks in Google search and advertising. If they can make $10 per month, then a $50 subsidy makes sense.

Lensmen trilogy of movies

The internet movie database has the Lensmen movie listed as sometime in 2011 I am thinking it will get delayed to a May release in 2012 to load up the special effects.

Lensmen was the biggest of the space opera books in classic science fiction

Writer J. Michael Straczynski said in 2009 he's finished his second draft for Lensmen, and producer Ron Howard and Universal are happy with it. He said it'll be very character-based, typical of Howard's work, and yet the special effects will be cutting edge. And it'll keep the massive scale of the original novels, as much as possible:

I think it really does create that world and what's cool about it is all the character stuff that's in there now. It's just the sheer scope and scale of it, which is what the Doc Smith books were always about to me to a large extent; the scale was insane. We found ways to really dramatize that.

My best case hope - Lord of the Ring movies in space mixed with the fourth season Babylon 5 Shadow War with an Avatar effects budget.

The best way to research old articles of Nextbigfuture

Nextbigfuture has almost 6400 articles.

The best way to search the old articles is to use the Google search widget.

There are tags under each article and those keyword categories can be used to search for other articles but the results are listed in full article format. Putting the keywords and combinations of keywords into the searchbox delivers brief targeted results. 10 articles on one page with a link and short description. There are a list of the primary labels at the bottom of the left column. Those keywords can also be used to filter your searches.

For example you could put in

cancer lab on a chip
space nuclear
china hydro
china gdp forecast

Custom Search

China plans more hydro power, more energy productivity, and accelerated delivery of electrical grid and high speed rail

1. China has met its target to cut the amount of energy produced per unit of GDP growth by 20 percent over the 2006-2010 period. Chinese officials are still deliberating on energy intensity targets for the next five years, but Chinese media reports suggested last October that the figure for 2011-2015 could be 17.3 percent. China also aimed to reduce key pollutants like sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and chemical oxygen demand by 10 percent over the 2006-2010 period

2. The Chinese government now aims to have 430 gigawatts of -hydropower capacity by 2020, increasing its earlier target of 380GW, the China Securities Journal -reported last month, citing unidentified sources.

Foreign Policy Journal and Andrew Sullivan at the Atlantic linked to Nextbigfuture and Centauri Dreams follow up our article on space

Nextbigfuture was linked from Foreign Policy Journal and Andrew Sullivan at the Atlantic

They were linking to my article on the 'History and Future of US and China GDP

They were taking an alternative views on China and where things are now and where they might be but used the article as a reference.

Unmanned long range bomber and unmanned anti-submarine vehicle

Congressional Budget Office explains exactly why long term budget change is essential

The Congressional Budget Office describes the future of the federal debt and the risk of a fiscal crisis (8 pges from July 2010)

This is not a blogger telling you that loose budgets are going to cause huge problems, this is a blogger summarizing what the Congressional Budget Office is warning. Congress must fix the finances and budget of the United States with a tightening plan or there will be a crisis and far more austere spending and restructuring will be forced upon the US.

Fed Chairman Bernanke is also saying a credible 5-10 year spending plan has to be put in place right away

The extended-baseline scenario adheres closely to current law, following CBO’s 10-year baseline budget projections through 2020 (with adjustments for the recently enacted health care legislation) and then extending the baseline concept for the rest of the longterm projection period. The alternative fiscal scenario incorporates several changes to current law that are widely expected to occur or that would modify some provisions that might be difficult to sustain for a long period.

Certain changes to current law are widely expected to be made in some form over the next few years, and other provisions of current law might be difficult to sustain for a long period. Therefore, CBO also developed an alternative fiscal scenario, in which most of the tax cuts originally enacted in 2001 and 2003 are extended (rather than allowed to expire at the end of this year as scheduled under current law); the alternative minimum tax is indexed for inflation (halting its growing reach under current law); Medicare’s payments to physicians rise over time (which would not happen under current law); tax law evolves in the long run so that tax revenues remain at about 19 percent of GDP; and some other aspects of current law are adjusted in coming years.

Roundup of Consumer Electronics Show News - the hot Tablets and more gadgets

1. EETimes reports on six hot tablets at CES (Consumer Electronics Show)

* Intel Corp. is showing off a Samsung tablet called Gloria, which features a 10-inch touch screen and a slide out keyboard. The Gloria, which runs Windows 7, is said to be set for release sometime this spring.

* ViewSonic Corp.'s ViewPad line of Android-based tablets includes the ViewPad 7 and Viewpad 10 (pictured) that were launched last November. On Tuesday (Jan. 6) the company added the ViewPad 4, which features a Qualcomm Snapdragon chip set, a 4.1-inch WVGA touch screen and also includes phone functionality. The ViewPad 10, which uses an Intel Atom processor and is capable of running Windows 7 or Android 1.6, is scheduled to be available in March and priced at $629.

Stem cell discovery could lead to improved bone marrow transplants and stem cells and baldness

January 06, 2011

Machine Washable electrically conducting nanotube yarns for smart clothing

Nanotechnologists have developed conducting fabrics that can survive a washing machine. Multifunctional applications have been limited by the ability to spin important materials into yarns and make sure they stay there even after washing. They make a yarn peppered with "guest" particles of interest – titanium dioxide to create self-cleaning fabrics and wrap the particles up in a tightly scrolled web to hold them in place.

Journal Science - Biscrolling Nanotube Sheets and Functional Guests into Yarns

Multifunctional applications of textiles have been limited by the inability to spin important materials into yarns. Generically applicable methods are demonstrated for producing weavable yarns comprising up to 95 weight percent of otherwise unspinnable particulate or nanofiber powders that remain highly functional. Scrolled 50-nanometer-thick carbon nanotube sheets confine these powders in the galleries of irregular scroll sacks whose observed complex structures are related to twist-dependent extension of Archimedean spirals, Fermat spirals, or spiral pairs into scrolls. The strength and electronic connectivity of a small weight fraction of scrolled carbon nanotube sheet enables yarn weaving, sewing, knotting, braiding, and charge collection. This technology is used to make yarns of superconductors, lithium-ion battery materials, graphene ribbons, catalytic nanofibers for fuel cells, and titanium dioxide for photocatalysis.

US Nuclear energy generation for 2010 will be close to best years in 2007 and 2008

For the first 11 months of 2010, nuclear generation is 0.9% higher than the same period in 2009. For 2010, nuclear generation was 732.9 billion kilowatt-hours compared to 726.3 bkWh for the same period in 2009 and 734.5 bkWh in 2007 (the record year for nuclear generation). In 2007, nuclear power generated 806.5 billion kilowatt-hours (KWh) in the U.S.

NEI is reporting that 2007 was the peak for US nuclear generation but the World Nuclear Association information is that the peak was 2008 with 809 billion kWh.

For November 2010, nuclear generation was 62.3 billion kilowatt-hours compared to 59.1 billion kWh in November 2009. The average capacity factor for November 2010 was 85.9% compared to 81.4% in November 2009.

December capacity factors have been in the mid to high 90% range

Lockheed P791 Hybrid Air Vehicle and other related vehicles

Lockheed Martin's is working on the P791 Hybrid Air Vehicle. It can be designed as an unmanned or manned intelligence gatherer or transport vehicle. As an eye in the sky, this remarkable airship can stay aloft for up to three weeks at an altitude of 20,000 feet. Loaded with cameras, infrared sensors, communications relays, and other payloads, the Hybrid Air Vehicle can provide American and allied forces a clear picture of the battlefield. As a transport vehicle, the Hybrid Air Vehicle can be sized to move equipment and troops cost effectively to unimproved forward areas.

Graphene electrodes could replace Indium Tin Oxide for lower cost organic solar cells

Researchers have identified a technique that could make a new kind of graphene solar photovoltaic panel practical. Indium is used now and is expensive and relatively rare, so the search has been on for a suitable replacement. Graphene electrodes would match flexibility, transparency and low cost needed for organic solar cells.

A promising approach for making solar cells that are inexpensive, lightweight and flexible is to use organic (that is, carbon-containing) compounds instead of expensive, highly purified silicon. But one stubborn problem has slowed the development of such cells: Researchers have had a hard time coming up with appropriate materials for the electrodes to carry the current to and from the cells.

Graphene is transparent, so that electrodes made from it can be applied to the transparent organic solar cells without blocking any of the incoming light. In addition, it is flexible, like the organic solar cells themselves, so it could be part of installations that require the panel to follow the contours of a structure, such as a patterned roof. Indium-tin-oxide (ITO, the current material), by contrast, is stiff and brittle.

Reviewing the IEC fusion work mentioned in the George Miley Presentation

There was a 98 page technical presentation from 2009 by George Miley on IEC nuclear fusion. I have embedded it below. It is related to a larger nuclear fusion space propulsion program. I will pull out the specific research progress that was reviewed by George Miley. A lot of it is work done at the University of Illinois where George leads a nuclear fusion research lab.

Other IEC Fusion configurations and approaches
Dipole assisted
Electron injected
MSCA = linked IECs (discussed later for high power units)

A 7 page paper- Magnetically-Channeled SIEC Array (MCSA) Fusion Device for Interplanetary Missions

China targets 48.5 Gigawatts of nuclear power by 2015 and other nuclear news

1. China's top energy official Zhang Guobao says China will increase its nuclear power capacity by 38 gigawatts and hydropower capacity by 140 gigawatts by 2015 This would increase China's nuclear power to about 50 GWe and hydropower to about 330 GWe in 2015.

China has 13 nuclear reactors operating now and generating about 10.5 GWe

He did not give any forecast for wind power, but said there would be more large-scale windfarms in provinces such as Inner Mongolia and Gansu.

I do not see any reason to think that the second half of the decade being slower for China's energy additions than the first half. Hydropower has a limit to how many rivers can be economically dammed. China's nuclear energy should then at least be 86 GWe in 2020 by having the second half keep pace with the first half of the decade. If China hits the 48.5 GWe target then I would think that the 112 GWe levels or higher that have been mentioned would be very likely. The 2020 level would then likely exceed the level of US nuclear power generation. The USA is the current world leader in nuclear power generation.

January 05, 2011

IEC thrusters for satellite maneuvering - actual experiments

Space Probe Application of IEC Thrusters

A novel plasma jet thruster, based on Inertial Electrostatic Confinement (IEC) technology, is under development for an ultra maneuverable - space thruster for satellite and small probe thrust operations. The IEC Jet design potential offers unique capability to cover a wide range of powers (few Watts to Kilowatts) with good efficiency while providing a plasma jet that can start with a large diameter but be narrowed directionally to focus on targets.

This is part of several lab experiments that are in progress related to a larger nuclear fusion space propulsion effort. They have lab work for the jet thrusting and there has been other lab work for other parts. Various grants funded different work over the last few decades. i put up a post on some lab work related to a satellite maneuvering thruster competitor using this tech and what they have not revealed the details of is a new system which will get ten times the thrust of Hall Thrusters. So Richard Dell Jr and George Miley are saying that they will within a few years (3-5 year ?) get to about (my guess) 2-3 Newtons with my guess of 1000-3000 ISP. I would guess that there is new lab work that provides justification for this case but not until the later this year or next year for the "breakthrough in small nuclear fusion" to firm up.

Two dimensional acoustic cloak

Richard Dell Jr who is developing nuclear fusion propulsion is interviewed by Sander Olson

Here is the Richard Dell Jr interview. Mr. Dell believes that he and his team have developed a method for generating fusion power which is appropriate for providing the propulsion for exploring and colonizing space. He is confident that this approach could lead to spacecraft capable of flying to the moon and landing on it, and returning to earth using a single craft without jettisoning any stages or equipment. This technology could also be used to send humans to mars in only 2 months. His company, which is still largely in stealth mode, plans on generating short term revenue by selling more efficient satellite maneuvering thrusters to the satellite industry. Mr. Dell is confident that breakeven fusion power generation will be demonstrated within the next 3 years.

Highlight answers from Mr Dell in this the interview:

This technology will change everything. By 2020, we could be actively implementing commercial settlement and/or tourist expeditions to Mars.

2011 or 2012 will be the year of small scale fusion

This system will have ten times the propulsive thrust of a George Miley IEC fusion propulsion proposal

5 weeks to Mars with Helium 3 version of the fusion spaceship

In the 98 pager there is a description of being able to use the IEC in jet mode for propulsion.

Way down the development path would be big fusion rockets like this

The ships that are designed

IEC Fusion Ship I
500 MT
Thrust= 1028 Newtons

IEC Fusion Ship II
500 Mt
Thrust= 4369 Newtons

But near term are progressively better propulsion units that start with satellite maneuvering thrusters that are ten times better than todays Hall thrusters.

IEC power units can be added in series to develop higher power units such as required for deep space propulsion -- Magnetically Channeled Spherical Array, MCSA

High Power Operation
Eliminates Grid Structure
Increase Energy Confinement Time

They are tuning the IEC configuration for space propulsion

If they pulse it up to several thousand amps then it is OK if IEC only has scales by cubing the power instead of to the fifth power to get to 25 Megawatts.

A 7 page paper- Magnetically-Channeled SIEC Array (MCSA) Fusion Device for Interplanetary Missions

Question: Tell us about how you became involved with Dr. Miley

Answer: Several years back I was a Program Manager for a small, family owned company. While I worked there I became very interested in developing an Advanced Aerospace Research Center and began to make contact with a variety of physicists, technologists and foundations. The Arlington Institute and the Institute for Advanced Studies in Austin introduced me to Dr. Miley, about four years ago this March. I am truly grateful to the principals of both of these Institutes and I confess that I owe them a debt of gratitude more than I could possible ever repay.

China has a prototype stealth fighter

Photographs published online and Chinese military sources cited by the Japanese media indicate a test model of the J-20 fighter has been finished, with taxi tests carried out last week at an airfield in southwestern China.

China plans to begin test flights of the J-20 as soon as this month, with plans to deploy the jet as early as 2017, Japan's Asahi Shimbun newspaper said, quoting Chinese military sources. The fighter will be equipped with large missiles and could reach Guam with aerial refueling, although it could take 10 to 15 more years to develop technology on a par with that of the US F-22 stealth jet. (Others estimate 8 years for an F22 equivalent.)

Russia's T50 is supposed to be an F22 equivalent and could be ready by 2015. There are indications that Russia will sell T50s to China and India. Russia will make the money, China will get F22-like planes sooner and upgrade their airforce and copy the technology.

The F-22 program was canceled after building only 187 such warplanes.

Honda Jet has unique fuel efficient shape made possible by composites

Composite image: The new jet from Honda, pictured here, is built largely of composite materials and features a unique over-the-wing engine mount.
Credit: Honda

Honda has moved closer to bringing its first jet to market—one that uses 20 percent less fuel than similar-sized planes while also flying faster.

A prototype of Honda's light jet, which will seat five to six passengers and is scheduled to go on sale next year, made its first flight last month. The plane flies at 420 knots, or about 780 kilometers per hour—about 80 kilometers per hour faster than other planes its size. Fujino estimates that about half the fuel savings come from extending natural laminar flow, and most of the rest from the new GE engine and the placement of the engines over the wing. The plane is about 20 decibels quieter than other jets its size, in part because the wings block the engine noise from reaching the ground.

Fujima says that the basic design principles for this plane can be used for larger planes, although there is a limit to how large planes can be and still achieve laminar flow. Airflow is turbulent over the whole surface of large commercial jets, Drela says. Honda isn't disclosing its plans for future, larger jets.

Scientists squeeze more than 1,000 cores on to computer chip

Scientists at the University of Glasgow have created an ultra-fast 1,000-core computer processor.

The core is the part of a computer’s central processing unit (CPU) which reads and executes instructions. Originally, computers were developed with only one core processor but, today, processors with two, four or even sixteen cores are commonplace.

However, Dr Wim Vanderbauwhede and colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Lowell have created a processor which effectively contains more than a thousand cores on a single chip.

To do this, the scientists used a chip called a Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) which like all microchips contains millions of transistors – the tiny on-off switches which are the foundation of any electronic circuit.

The researchers then used the chip to process an algorithm which is central to the MPEG movie format – used in YouTube videos – at a speed of five gigabytes per second: around 20 times faster than current top-end desktop computers.

The Dell C410X allows eight Nvidia Fermi cards to be out into one server and each Nvidia Fermi has 448 cores. 3584 cores in one server.

Pico computing used FPGAs to accelerate DES decryption by 4620 times

There was the RAMP Blue v3.0 rack, with 21 BEE2s, each with 48 cores, for a total of 1008 MicroBlaze cores in late 2007. This took a whole rack of servers.

TheOilDrum agrees - new monthly peak in liquid fuel production and soon a new peak in monthly oil production

TheOildrum, perhaps the most popular peak oil web site, has an article by Stuart Staniford that agrees with my reading of the IEA report that there is a new monthly high in liquid fuel production and likely near term prospects for oil production are for higher oil production.

My article on the IEA world oil supply report scooped them by one day.

Stuart indicates:
Both the IEA and OPEC came out with new monthly reports recently. And both report that oil production in November 2010 exceeded the previous high month of July 2008 (back when oil was over $140). Probably the difference is within the margin of error, and in any case the third agency (the EIA) won't weigh in for a few months.

January 04, 2011

Supercomputer trends are the rise of GPGPU and China in Supercomputers

HPCWire - two clear trends established in 2010 that are set to change the face of HPC over the next 5 to 10 years: the rise of GPGPU supercomputing and the emergence of China as an HPC superpower.

LSU's Sterling noted that the Chinese are not simply buying their way into the upper echelons of supercomputing. The top Tianhe-1A machines is based on a home-grown system design, sporting a custom network interconnect and I/O processor developed from the silicon on up. "Unlike us, they have a long tradition of five year plans, and they stayed the course," said Sterling. And they will do so here as well. They have no doubt through the procedures and methods they've applied that they will be the leader in this field before the end of this decade." Indeed, China has stated it wants to be the first nation to field an exascale machine.

China rushing to build supercomputer centers

"Within a year, there will be more Top500 systems in China than there are in Europe collectively," predicts David Turek, IBM VP deep computing, referring to the list of the world's 500 most powerful supercomputers, which is regularly updated by academic researchers in the U.S. and Europe. China has 41 systems on the most recent Top500 list. Europe has triple that amount (Europe 126, Germany 26, UK 25, France 26, Italy 6, Sweden 6, Spain 3, Poland 6, Norway 3)

Under construction: China's massive new supercomputing center site in Shenzhen.

Intel's New Core processors with integrated graphics and Many Integrated Core Architecture

Intel has officially released its second-generation Core processor line, which includes a number of technologies that reflect the chipmaker's belief that video is the future of consumer computing.

Intel launched the latest Core i3, i5, and i7 processors Monday in advance of the Consumer Electronics Show. Formerly code-named Sandy Bridge, the new Core chips include a number of video-related technologies, such as Intel Insider, Quick Sync Video, and a new version of Wireless Display. Intel is initially launching 20 new Sandy Bridge processors, along with 6 Series chipsets and Centrino Wi-Fi and WiMax wireless adapters. The processors will each have four CPU cores and will be integrated with a graphics processor on the same die. The new products, built with a 32-nanometer manufacturing process, are scheduled to be available next week.

Intel Many Integrated Core (MIC) architecture that will create platforms running at trillions of calculations per second.

Flooding in Australia will cause coal prices to spike at least 20 percent

Rising coal prices are set to spike at least 20 per cent higher because of supply shortages due to severe flooding in Australia, adding cost pressures to the steel industry that could ripple widely through the economy.

Some industry watchers believe the effects of the supply squeeze will be felt through this year and into 2012, though analysts and officials in the coal and steel-making business say the toll cannot be precisely quantified yet, with mines in Australia still under water. Australia supplies about half of the metallurgical coal used in steel making.

IEA World Oil Supply Report from December 2010

The December 10, 2010 IEA world oil supply report is here (71 pages)

Global oil product demand is revised up by 0.13 Mbbl/d to 87.4 Mbbl/d in 2010 (actual), and projected to rise 0.26 Mbbl/d to 88.8 Mbbl/d in 2011, on stronger data from OECD North America and non-OECD Asia. Growth in 2010 (up 2.5 Mbbl/d year-over-year) was largely driven by buoyant gasoil (diesel & jet fuel) demand, notably in 3Q10, but expansion should slow to an increase of 1.3 Mbbl/d in 2011 as temporarily supporting factors fade.

Global oil supply rose 0.4 Mbbl/d to 88.1 Mbbl/d in November, largely due to increased non-OPEC production, notably from Canada, Kazakhstan and Brazil. Non-OPEC supply now averages 52.8 Mbbl/d (59.9%) in 2010 and is projected at 53.4 Mbbl/d (over 60%) in 2011, representing growth of 1.1 Mbbl/d and 0.6 Mbbl/d, respectively. OPEC NGLs (natural gas liquids) output is seen averaging 5.3 Mbbl/d this year and 5.8 Mbbl/d in 2011.

Nanomagnet logic research summary and DARPA funding to achieve energy efficient computing breakthrough

DARPA awarded a $9.9 million contract to Notre Dame’s Center for Nano Science and Technology for advanced nanomagnet logic (NML) research — a promising new field where the transmission and computation of data are accomplished using magnetic fields, rather than electrical current.

The ultimate goal?

Invent a new type of logic/computational platform powered by magnets that will eventually lead to the development and commercialization of an all-magnetic information processing system. Notre Dame researchers have projected that NML processes consume up to 100 times less power than current computer technologies.

Another advantage of magnetic memory is that it is “nonvolatile” — in other words, it doesn’t lose the information it is using when it shuts down. Any computation with NML devices will start up instantly. The DARPA program is scheduled to run 4.5 years. At the end of that time, there should be enough experimental data to show if commercialization of this technology is feasible.

Quick Summary of Relevant Nanomagnet Logic Research

There is a lot of research to determine the right configurations, architecture and operating modes to capture the desired energy efficiency while maximizing speed.

1. This is either the same DARPA funding or related to DARPA funding of Grandis and Notre Dame's work on spin transfer torque random access memory.

China yuan exchange ends 2010 at 6.59

Compact Fusion Experiment Demonstrates Confinement of 100 keV (Billion-Degree) Ions in Dense Plasma

In a breakthrough in the effort to achieve controlled fusion energy, a research team at Lawrenceville Plasma Physics, Inc. (LPP) in Middlesex, NJ, announced that they have demonstrated the confinement of ions with energies in excess of 100 keV (the equivalent of a temperature of over 1 billion degrees C) in a dense plasma. They achieved this using a compact fusion device called a dense plasma focus (DPF), which fits into a small room and confines the plasma with powerful magnetic fields produced by the currents in the plasma itself. Reaching energies over 100 keV is important in achieving a long-sought goal of fusion research—to burn hydrogen-boron fuel. Hydrogen-boron, (also known by its technical abbreviation, pB11) is considered the ideal fusion fuel, since it produces energy in the form of charged particles that can be directly converted to electricity. This could dramatically cut the cost of electricity generation and eliminate all production of radioactive waste.

The dense plasma focus has been studied for over 40 years. However, LPP has been able to make great strides since its ―Focus-Fusion-1 experimental device started producing data in October, 2009, due to its unique, patented design. Most importantly, its electrodes, which produce the self-pinching action that concentrates the plasma and current, are much smaller than those of other DPF devices with similar peak currents. The electrode assembly is only 4 inches across and less than 6 inches in length.

The fusion energy yields achieved in these experiments are still far less than the energy used to run the machines. However, LPP hopes to make rapid progress in the coming year when the machine will be running with hydrogen–boron fuel for the first time.

January 03, 2011

Ultradense nanowire racetrack memory could have a prototype in 2013

MIT Technology review has details of IBMs progress to develop racetrack memory Racetrack memory's reliability is likely to depend on the materials used for the nanowires, and the design—which will be worked out as a prototype is developed. "It shouldn't take too long," Parkin says. "Maybe in two years we should have this prototype." Racetrack memory would combine the capacity of a magnetic hard disk with the speed, size, and ruggedness of flash memory.

Other competing future memory is three dimensional flash memory (ten times or more dense). Graphitic memory could help make 3D flash memory or new FPGA memory.

Memristors are also a candidate for denser and faster memory than flash.

New thinner and tougher blast-resistant glass

An engineer from the University of Missouri studies the glass pane after a test explosion.

A team of engineers from the University of Missouri and the University of Sydney in Australia is working to develop a blast-resistant glass that is lighter, thinner, and colorless, yet tough enough to withstand the force of an explosion, earthquake, or hurricanes winds.

The new blast resistant glass was covered last year.


Unlike today's blast-resistant windows which are made of pure polymer layers, this new design is a plastic composite that has an interlayer of polymer reinforced with glass fibers-and it's only a quarter-inch thick.

Engineers expect the new design will be comparable in cost to current blast-proof glass panes, but lighter in weight. At only a quarter-inch thick, this newly engineered composite would slip into standard commercial window frames, making it much more practical and cost-efficient to install.

To date, the glass has been tested with small-scale prototypes. "In future tests, the size of the glass panels will be increased by two to four times to determine the effect of size on blast resistance," said Khanna.

The goal is to create blast-resistant panes as large as 48 by 66 inches-the standard General Services Administration window size for qualification blast testing-that can still be cost-effective. While dependent on results from upcoming tests, Khanna hopes this glass could become commercially available in three to four years.

Previously we have looked at re-inventing civil defense by retrofitting buildings with reinforced construction to make them more resistant to bombs and nuclear effects.

The new blast-resistant glass could soon join blast resistant wall paper and hurriquake nails as affordable ways to strengthen buildings.

Suzuki has new 63.5 mpg minicar motor

Green car congress reports that Suzuki Motor Corp. plans to introduce an all-new engine for its minicars for the first time in roughly 16 years. This 660cc engine is expected to deliver a fuel efficiency of 27 km/L (63.5 mpg US, 3.7 L/100km) when combined with an idle-stop system—an improvement of about 20% over the current offering.
Suzuki plans to invest a total of 20 billion yen [US$246 million] over three years to retool its Sagara factory in Shizuoka Prefecture to make the new engine.

All future versions of the company’s minicars, including the Wagon R and the Alto, will eventually be powered by the engine. The first to feature it will be the new MR Wagon, slated for launch this month.

China makes a version of the Alto and sells it for about $2800.
The Jiangnan Alto is based on the Maruti 800 version of the Suzuki Alto.

Anthropologist claims prehistoric man was stronger and faster - I claim gene therapy and transhuman technology can fix it

An anthropologist McAllister delving into a wide range of source material finds evidence he believes proves that modern man is inferior to his predecessors in, among other fields, the basic Olympic athletics disciplines of running and jumping. Anthropologists love to make the claim that our ancestors were superior. I was in a class in University where the professor boasted of the superior sharpness of flint knives. Sure one offs were sharper but could they make them by the billions ?

An analysis of the footsteps of [an Australian aboriginal from 20,000 years ago], dubbed T8, shows he reached speeds of 37 kph on a soft, muddy lake edge. [World record holder Usain] Bolt, by comparison, reached a top speed of 42 kph during his then world 100 meters record of 9.69 seconds at last year’s Beijing Olympics. With modern training, spiked shoes and rubberized tracks, aboriginal hunters might have reached speeds of 45 kph.

Turning to the high jump, McAllister said photographs taken by a German anthropologist showed young men jumping heights of up to 2.52 meters in the early years of last century.

Modern soldiers are expected to be able to march 25 miles in a day with a 55lb pack Roman soldiers walked nearly 40 miles a day with fifty pounds of supplies.

Stumbleupon drove more traffic to other sites than Facebook and more than other sites combined

Analyzing successful ways to build better brains and improve cognitive performance

Newsweek looks at the work and studies related to building better brains. Neuroscientists are discovering the mechanisms of intelligence, they are identifying what really works.

The quest for effective ways to boost cognitive capacity is not hopeless, however. The explosion in neuroscience is slowly revealing the mechanisms of cognition. “We have accumulated enough knowledge about the mechanisms and molecular underpinnings of cognitionat the synaptic and circuit levels to say something about which processes contribute,” says James Bibb of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, who organized a symposium on “cognitive enhancement strategies” at the 2010 meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. Greater cognitive capacity comes from having more neurons or synapses, higher levels of neurogenesis (the creation of new neurons, especially in the memory-forming hippocampus), and increased production of compounds such as BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), which stimulates the production of neurons and synapses, says neuroscientist Yaakov Stern of Columbia University. Both neurogenesis and synapse formation boost learning, memory, reasoning, and creativity. And in people who excel at particular tasks, Stern’s neuro-imaging studies show, brain circuits tend to be more efficient (using less energy even as cognitive demand increases), higher capacity, and more flexible.

A rule of neuroscience is that “neurons that fire together, wire together” suggests that cognitive training should boost mental prowess. Studies are finding just that, but with a crucial caveat. Training your memory, reasoning, or speed of processing improves that skill, found a large government-sponsored study called Active. Unfortunately, there is no transfer: improving processing speed does not improve memory, and improving memory does not improve reasoning.

A microfluidics chip that captures rare cancer cells in blood tests is headed for commercialization.

A microfluidics chip designed to capture cancer cells circulating in the blood is taking a step closer to clinical use, thanks to a new partnership between Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Veridex, a diagnostics company owned by Johnson and Johnson. According to a release from the company, the technology "will enable [circulating tumor cells] to be used both by oncologists as a diagnostic tool for personalizing patient care, as well as by researchers to accelerate and improve the process of drug discovery and development."

* In 2007, the researchers first showed that the chip could capture these rare cells--which make up just one in a billion cells in blood--in high enough numbers to analyze them for molecular markers.

Early detection of cancer will save lives as treatment is more effective for early stage cancer. Also, it can be 100 times cheaper to treat early stage versus later stage cancer. The Canary Foundation goal is to deliver early detection tests for solid tumor cancers by 2015. Cancer treatment cost $89 billion in the U.S. in 2007.

Early cancer detection has proven value: since 1950, there has been a 70 percent decline in cervical-cancer incidence and deaths in developed countries5 thanks to a simple screening test, the Pap test ($8 test). Effective early cancer tests could save over $50 billion per year in medical costs and 400,000 lives each year in the USA and 5 million lives around the world. 7 million people die from cancer each year worldwide.

David Brin discusses his top futurology method

David Brin describes his top method for Futurology: The tricky art of knowing what will happen next.

The top method is simply to stay keenly attuned to trends in the laboratories and research centres around the world, taking note of even things that seem impractical or useless," says Brin. "You then ask yourself: 'What if they found a way to do that thing ten thousand times as quickly/powerfully/well? What if someone weaponised it? Monopolised it? Or commercialised it, enabling millions of people to do this new thing, routinely? What would society look like, if everybody took this new thing for granted?

I would then add refining it with an estimation of how much effort will be put into developing it.

Determine if there are truly hard physical limitations.

Summarizing oil, nuclear and hydroelectric news

Here is a summary of latest info that I have been tracking on oil, nuclear energy and hydroelectric power.

Nuclear power could see an addition of 150-250 Gigawatts by the end of 2020 (the year not the decade, so before 2021). China alone could add 100 Gigawatt. Hydroelectric power should increase by 33% to 4000 TWH.

Oil production will likely continue to increase through 2020 based on oil recovery technology and development of oilsands, Bakken like oilfields, deepwater oil (in Brazil) and oil shale. Reducing fossil fuel usage will require replacing it with nuclear power, hydro power, wind, geothermal and solar power and energy efficiency. Waiting to run out of producible oil, coal and natural gas will disappoint those concerned about carbon and air pollution.

1. Company owner Harold Hamm said he believes the Bakken and Sanish/Three Forks formations taken together could contain 24 billion barrels of oil. Continental spokesman Brian Engel said his company has its own models for estimating oil reserves. Over 169 billion barrels of oil in place. Continued improvement in drilling tech can increase the recoverable oil.

2. North Dakota is currently on track to 700,000 barrels of oil per day in 2014-2017

3. Australia has what appears to be a duplicate of the Bakken field with current estimates of 5-11 billion barrels of recoverable oil based on current tech.

Continential Resources estimates Bakken and Sanish/Three Forks formations have 24 billion barrels of recoverable oil

Continental Resources, an oil production company with 22 drilling rigs in North Dakota, has led the industry in developing the Sanish/Three Forks formation and concluded it is a separate oil formation, rather than one that siphons off the Bakken. Company owner Harold Hamm said he believes the Bakken and Sanish/Three Forks formations taken together could contain 24 billion barrels of oil. Continental spokesman Brian Engel said his company has its own models for estimating oil reserves.

Proven oil reserves in the United States are 21 billion barrels. If the Bakken and Sanish/Three Forks oil were reclassified as proven oil that would double the US proven reserves.

The U.S. Department of the Interior estimates the total volume of undiscovered, technically recoverable prospective resources in all areas of the United States, including the Federal Outer Continental Shelf, the 1002 area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the National Petroleum Reserve–Alaska, and the Bakken Formation, total 134 billion barrels of crude oil. This excludes oil shale reserves, as there is no significant commercial production of oil from oil shale in the United States.

The estimate is based on current oil recovery technology. There is over 169 billion barrels of oil in place in North Dakota, so improved oil recovery technology should increase the amount of recoverable oil.

Australia has shale oil field with an estimated 5 to 11 billion barrels of recoverable oil that seems to duplicate Bakken oilfield in the USA

An encouraging development was recently announced by Baraka Petroleum Limited (“BKP”) concerning shale oil potential in two permits in the Southern Georgina Basin in which they have an interest (EP127 and EP 128 covering approximately 30,000 km2). The estimates prepared independently by US based Ryder Scott for these permits ranged from 5 to 11 billion barrels in prospective recoverable resources at the “low” to “high” estimate levels respectively. The Georgina basin is in the middle of Australia. the field also has about 80 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

The Georgina Basin, which covers most of the central-eastern part of the Northern Territory, is one of the most prospective undeveloped onshore petroleum provinces in the Northern Territory and Queensland.

The basin is one of several large intracratonic basins found in central Australia that are filled mainly with Paleozoic and Precambrian sediments (about 1,000-5,000 metres thick). Intracratonic basins are worldwide in occurrence and are normally found within continental interiors and away from plate boundaries. Other well-known intracratonic basins are the highly productive Williston Basin (located in North Dakota, Montana and Saskatchewan) and the Parana Basin in South America. Both the Williston and the Georgina Basin areas contain massive source rocks. The Cambrian strata of the Arthur Creek (Georgina Basin) is considered to be similar to the Mississippian succession (Brakken Shale) of Western Canada & North Dakota that has produced more than ten tcf of gas and one billion bbls of oil.

What's really cool ? $50 billion

Facebook has raised $500 million from Goldman Sachs and a Russian investor, according to a New York Times report. As part of its deal with Facebook, Goldman is expected to raise as much as $1.5 billion from investors for Facebook.

The unfinished transaction values Facebook at $50 billion, more than Time Warner, eBay, and Yahoo. It also doubles the net worth of chief executive Mark Zuckerberg to around $15 billion.

Zuckerberg is now close to the net worth ranks of Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, both worth $15 billion as of Forbes’ Sept. 2010 ranking of the 400 Richest Americans.

UK Guardian has 20 predictions for the next 25 years from different experts

From the web to wildlife, the economy to nanotechnology, politics to sport, the Observer's team of experts prophesy how the world will change – for good or bad – in the next quarter of a century

1. Geopolitics: 'Rivals will take greater risks against the US'

2. The UK economy: 'The popular revolt against bankers will become impossible to resist'

3. Global development: 'A vaccine will rid the world of Aids'

4. Energy: 'Returning to a world that relies on muscle power is not an option'

5. Advertising: 'All sorts of things will just be sold in plain packages'

We'll be nudged into renegotiating the relationship between society and advertising, because over the next few years we're going to be interrupted by advertising like never before. Video screens are getting so cheap and disposable that they'll be plastered everywhere we go. And they'll have enough intelligence and connectivity that they'll see our faces, do a quick search on Facebook to find out who we are and direct a message at us based on our purchasing history.

China claims success with nuclear fuel reprocessing

Chinese scientists have made a breakthrough in spent fuel reprocessing technology. China, as well as France, the United Kingdom and Russia, actively supports reprocessing as a means for the management of highly radioactive spent fuel and as a source of fissile material for future nuclear fuel supply. The technology, developed and tested at the No.404 Factory of China National Nuclear Corp in the Gobi desert in remote Gansu province, enables the re-use of irradiated fuel and is able to boost the usage rate of uranium materials at nuclear plants by 60 folds.

There are few details so far so it is unclear if China has made improvements to the reprocessing processes that are done in France and Japan.

UPDATE: This is most likely not a breakthrough but the execution of an 800-to-1000 tonne/year plant that is part of the deal inked in 2007 with Areva. That deal also includes two 1600 MW EPR reactors and 20% of Areva’s uranium output from Canadian mines.

January 02, 2011

Iraq oil production over 2.7 million barrels per day

Iraq's oil production has exceeded 2.7 million barrels a day. Just last week it passed 2.6 million barrels of oil per day. Iraq's oil exports also continue to rise and are expected to exceed two million barrels per day by the end of January from 1.95 million barrels shipped abroad last month.

The increases were due both to improved Iraqi efforts and investments by international companies that have signed contracts to develop Iraqi fields.

Alberta targets reducing oilsand emissions to below conventional oil, creating a lot jobs and a budget surplus

Alberta's Premier Ed Stelmach loftiest goal would be cutting oil sands’ greenhouse-gas emissions to a level below conventional oil. Currently, they’re about 25 per cent higher, and most new development is in situ, or underground, bitumen deposits – the extraction of which produces more carbon than open pit bitumen mining.

North Dakota may produce 700,000 barrels of oil per day by 2014-2017 and over 11 billion barrels of reserves

North Dakota is now looking at the possibility of 700,000 barrels of oil a day within the next four to seven years.

Federal and state estimates had pegged North Dakota's portion of the Bakken shale and underlying Three Forks-Sanish oil formations in western North Dakota at about 5 billion barrels of oil, using current horizontal drilling technology. Helms said that estimate has more than doubled based on drilling success and current production rates. "We're starting to see indications that we could reasonably get 11 billion barrels," Helms said.

UPDATE - Here is a summary of recent oil, nuclear and hydro energy related news. Continental oil estimates that the Bakken and Three Forks-Sanish oil formations have 24 billion barrels of recoverable oil based on current technology.

IBM Watson Jeopardy AI matches will air February 14-16, 2011

Jeopardy! will take two of its most popular former contestants — Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter to compete against Watson, a computer program developed by IBM’s artificial intelligence team.

UPDATE: Ray Kurzweil, Stephen Wolfram and others discuss the importance and the context of what Watson on Jeopardy means for AI and society

0. The Atlantic has a liveblog of the Jeopardy match

7:10: Oh, Watson's got the Daily Double! He's wagering $1,000...and he's got it right. Ken gets a question correct about the 50s.

7:20: Watson doesn't appear to be getting any of these decades questions correct...Man is really coming back here in the second half. Watson really does like the Beatles though. He's tied for the lead with...Brad? What's happening Ken? Brad wants to be an actor for heaven's sake.

7:25: What have we learned tonight Trebek? "Watson is very bright, very fast, but he has some weird little moments..." Tomorrow is double Jeopardy and Wednesday is the final.

Earlier in 2010, on one day of test matches against humans Watson won four of six games. Jeopardy Champions hit the buzzer first about 50% of the time and get 85-95% of the answers correct. Ken Jennings during his winning streak had 2,693 correct responses (including Final Jeopardy) and 263 incorrect responses. IBMs true target is to create search engines better than Google and answer engines better than WolframAlpha.

Many of the statistical techniques Watson employs were already well known by computer scientists. One important thing that makes Watson so different is its enormous speed and memory. Taking advantage of I.B.M.’s supercomputing heft, Ferrucci’s team input millions of documents into Watson to build up its knowledge base — including, he says, “books, reference material, any sort of dictionary, thesauri, folksonomies, taxonomies, encyclopedias, any kind of reference material you can imagine getting your hands on or licensing. Novels, bibles, plays.”

No single algorithm can simulate the human ability to parse language and facts. Instead, Watson uses more than a hundred algorithms at the same time to analyze a question in different ways, generating hundreds of possible solutions. Another set of algorithms ranks these answers according to plausibility; for example, if dozens of algorithms working in different directions all arrive at the same answer, it’s more likely to be the right one. In essence, Watson thinks in probabilities.

Competing against Watson will be two of the most celebrated players ever to appear on Jeopardy! Ken Jennings broke the Jeopardy! record for the most consecutive games played by winning 74 games in a row during the 2004-2005 season, resulting in winnings of more than $2.5 million. Brad Rutter won the highest cumulative amount ever by a single Jeopardy! player, earning $3,255,102. The total amount is a combination of Rutter’s original appearance in 2002, plus three Tournament wins: the “Tournament of Champions” and the "Million Dollar Masters Tournament" in 2002 and the "Ultimate Tournament of Champions" in 2005

Jennings and Rutter will play two games against Watson with a $1 million prize at stake. (IBM says they’ll donate the prize money to charity, and Jennings and Rutter plan to give away half of the winnings.) The matches will air Feb. 14-16.

Most populous countries

Projections for the most populous countries in 2020 through 2050

The 2010 census for Indonesia is showing a substantially higher population, so projections for Indonesia are low. Also, Indonesia may not slow its population growth until much later. Nigeria, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Congo and other high growth countries could also surprise on the high side.

Country  2020    2025    2030   2035   2040   2050 
India    1,327  1,396   1,461  1,519  1,572 1,657
China    1,385  1,395   1,391  1,378  1,359 1,304
USA        341    357     374    390    406   439
Indonesia  268    279     289    298    305   313
Brazil     223    232     240    247    253   261
Pakistan   214    228     243    257    269   291
Bangladesh 183    198     211    223    234   250
Nigeria    182    197     212    226    239   264
Ethiopia   120    140     162    188    215   278
Mexico     125    130     135    139    143   148
Philippines119    129     138    147    156   172
Russia     132    128     124    120    117   109
Japan      122    118     114    109    104    94
Congo       96    110     125    140    156   189
Egypt       96    104     111    118    125   138
Vietnam     99    102     105    108    110   111
Turkey      87     90      94     96     99   101
Iran        87     90      93     96     98   100

World population forecast to 2300

In 2003 and 2004, the United Nations had a population forecast to 2300.

Population projections lose a lot of their accuracy when they start dealing with people who have not been born and guessing at the rate at which they will choose to reproduce. Population projections are far better with calculations based on counting who is living now and figuring that the people who are fertile now will reproduce at the same rate as other people in their same generation in the same country and region.

The main medium projection is for population to go to about 9 to 10 billion around 2050. However, if fertility rates increase slightly and death rates were to drop then the population could continue to grow.

There is plenty of technological improvement which can manage this situation and enable everyone to be wealthy and healthy.

Energy can be provided with mass produced deep burn nuclear fission, nuclear fusion and space based solar power.

Molecular nanotechnology, additive manufacturing can enable more efficient use of material resources. The US military and Airbus and other companies have active funded projects developing additive manufacturing

Oldest baby boomers now 65 and the future of US population

The United States has a total estimated resident population of 310,565,000. There are over 76 million baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964).

As the charts show the number of people becoming senior citizens will increase this year by about 50% over last year and will get close to double last years level of new 65 year olds in about ten years.

Areva and Cameco investing to double uranium production in Canada and China invests in a mine in Niger

1. AREVA and Cameco, the project operator, are the two main investors in Cigar Lake. Once it is in production by mid-2013, it will be the second largest high-grade uranium producing mine in the world, second only to Saskatchewan's own McArthur River mine. "We're in a big investment and development phase now," said Richards, noting AREVA's capital investments of over $200 million a year in Northern Saskatchewan. "We expect that to come to fruition about five years from now, when we hope to double our share of uranium production."

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