January 15, 2011

Aluminum encapsulated ceramic tiles for hybrid armor

CPS Technologies (CPS) has developed a technology for improving the toughness of ceramic tiles in composite armor systems by selectively reinforcing them with metal and metal matrix composites (MMC) and then packaging them in a hermetic layer of high-pressure cast aluminum. Armor integrators can translate this improvement into more consistent ballistic performance, reduced need for gap-fillers, and improved ballistic performance near tile edges.

18" x 18" modules designed to meet the DARPA vehicle armor challenge goal of being less than 18 pounds per square foot and able to stop (i) the 7.62mm x 63 (0.30 caliber) APM2 armor piercing round, and (ii) the 20 mm fragment simulating projectile (FSP) were sent for testing.

CPS patented HybridTech Armor® modules are comprised of multiple materials completely enveloped within and mechanically and chemically bonded to lightweight and stiff aluminum metal matrix composites. CPS believes that CPS HybridTech Armor® modules offer a lightweight, multi-hit capable, and cost competitive, alternative to conventional steel, aluminum and ceramic-based armor systems.

Apple iPad 2 will quadruple resolution to 2048x1536

Apple Insider - The original iPad offered a 1024x768 resolution (at 132 ppi), leading many to guess that the next version might also get a similar Retina Display. However, a 300+ ppi display covering a 9.7 inch screen would require a fantastically high resolution. It appears Apple will instead simply quadruple the iPad's native resolution as it did when it introduced iPhone 4, resulting in a very high resolution display with a pixel density of around 260 ppi, short of "Retina" status but still higher than most high end smartphones.

Mini-magnetosphere prototype protects against simulated solar storms and enabling safe manned interplanetary missions

Universe Today reports that UK scientists working at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford and the universities of York and Strathclyde have tested a “mini-magnetosphere” enveloping a model spacecraft in the lab. It turns out that their prototype offers almost total protection against high energy solar particles. By mimicking the natural protective environment of the Earth, the researchers have scaled the protective magnetic bubble down into an energy efficient, yet powerful deflector shield.

UK Telegraph had the original report

This astounding achievement is a big step toward protecting sensitive electronics and the delicate human body against the radioactive effects of manned missions between the planets.

Earlier paper from 2008 - The interaction of a flowing plasma with a dipole magnetic field: measurements and modelling of a diamagnetic cavity relevant to spacecraft protection

Minimag presenation from Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, early 2010

Green Super Rice and reducing world hunger

For every one billion people added to the world’s population, 100 million tons of rice (paddy) need to be produced more annually –- with less land, less water, and less labor, in more efficient, environmentally-friendly production systems that are more resilient to climate change and also contribute less to greenhouse gas emissions.

Green Super Rice (GSR) is bred to perform well in the toughest conditions where the poorest farmers grow rice. GSR is a step away from reaching farmers thanks to a major project led by the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).

Focardi and Rossi Energy Catalyzer first jan 14 demo videos and summary of an online Question and Answer session from Jan 15

Everyone is speaking italian but the instruments can be seen in the videos. there are better answers from the online Q and A this morning.

The technical aspects of their claims of multi kilowatt nickel hydrogen cold fusion were covered here two days ago.

The "online press conference" was today at 10 a.m. Italian Time. The researchers responded to questions in a discussion thread.

Summary of some of Andrea Rossi's answers -
The commercialization timeframe is at most 1 year.
We have contracts in the USA and in Europe.
Mass production should escalate in 2-3 years.

I estimate that the cost of energy made with this system will be below 1 cent/kWh, in case of electric power made by means of a Carnot cycle, and below 1 cent/4,000 M J in case of thermal power production for heating purposes.

No radiation escape has been detected, apart a slight deviation of gamma rays respect the ground values. [Separately they have stated they do not have a firm understanding of the processes but have some theories and are working to understand it]

Conservatively, I would say 0,01 g/kWh of Ni is the actual demand of Ni is necessary, even if the mass that really reacts is in the order of picograms.
The ratio Output Energy/Input Energy , conservatively, is always over 6 .

Dear Mr Daniel Zavela:
Watts in: 400 wh/h
Watts out: 15,000 wh/h
Yes, we can turn off the input current, but we prefer to maintain a drive and the reasons are very difficult to explain without violating my confidentiality restraints.
The reaction becomes self sustaining.

1) What is the evidence for copper production?
Answer - the evidence of copper production in past has been found using an atomic microscope in the University of Bologna. The same we will make now: we will bring the sample of the Ni we used to the lab of UNIBO and detect Cu

2) Is there any evidence for isotopic anomalies?

Answer - in the past we found them by means of the secondary ions mass spectrometer of the University of Padua. We will do the same now

3) How is the power switched on and off?
Answer - just [the same process] as [when] you turn on and off your television set

4) Is there evidence of consumption of a fuel?
Answer - yes, by an analysis. To measure the difference of mass you have to use the charge for months, because what you consume in a day is in the order of picograms

How much Ni is in the cell? Answer - In the cell there are several milligrams of Ni

How much total energy, heat and radiation, is produced per hour for a gram of Ni?

To make 10 kWh/h the consume of Ni and H is in the order of several picograms, but considering that not all the Ni in the reactor reacts, the actual consumption, to make 10 kWh/h is of about 0,1 g of Ni and 0,01 g of H

Are some other elements used to facilitate the reactions?

Yes, other elements are used, upon which we have to maintain confidentiality until the patent pending becomes a patent

How small can a working cell be made — for instance, for home power units buried in the yard?

The dimensions of a unit like the one you are thinking of, of course not considering the authorization issues, could be about one cm 50 x 100 x 50 with the present technology.

Question from chrismb- I would still like to understand why you think Ni62 could possibly have any exothermic reactions.

Collis Williams has attempted to reply, but it is naive to think that there can be an exothermic reaction from a resultant 6.15MeV excited 63Cu, as its total binding energy is 8.7MeV higher than 62Ni. Where does the extra 2.6MeV come from? Surely you have to balance the total binding energy, as well as the total mass, to analyse the energy flow?

The per-nucleon binding energy of 63Cu and 62Ni are around 8.7MeV. So it would be thermodynamically unfavourable for an additional nucleon to be added to 62Ni with only 6.15MeV available from mass-energy alone.

This would have to be endothermic if you have only 6.15MeV, yet the total binding energy goes up by more than 8MeV.

I have given a more detailed account on; http://www.talk-polywell.org/bb/viewtopic.php?p=54883#54883 {which also covers each possible nuclear reaction (each of which cannot result in heat)}.

The question is; how can the 6.15MeV mass-energy increase of 62Ni+p->63Cu account for a total binding energy increase of 8.7MeV, and yet also be exothermic?

Answer AR Rossi

Dear Mr CHRIS:
I base my work on facts, than I work on theories.
The fact that we get 10 folds more energy at the output respect the input implies that something in contraddiction with what you are saying is going out.
As I said, we are working strongly upon the theoretical issues. I know that in this field there are still contradictions with the rules as they are known today.
Maybe you too can reflect on this and help us.

Question and answer condensed

What is the longest period of time that the apparatus was in operation? Answer - around 2 years.

On the Internet I found that you have been working on the device that would produce MW of thermal energy. What is the progress with such a device? Answer - The device, made combining modules equal to the one tested yesterday, will be in operation in few months.

Did you find or are aware of any limitations of power density that could be achieved? Answer - 5 liters per kW, just for the thermal power.

In the demo there was a mention of the gamma radiation spike after the input power was switched off. How do you explain this? Answer - The gamma ray issue is a very interesting one. We have to work a lot to understand it. Sincerely, I have not a clue, so far.

Here is an earlier Rossi-Focardi paper describing their experiments and what they believe is nickel being fused with hydrogen into a copper isotope

A process (international patent publication N. WO 2009/125444 A1) capable of producing large amounts of energy by a nuclear fusion process between nickel and hydrogen, occurring below 1000 K, is described.

January 14, 2011

Hybrid spintronics and straintronics

Applies Physics Letters - Hybrid spintronics and straintronics: A magnetic technology for ultra low energy computing and signal processing

The authors show that the magnetization of a magnetostrictive/piezoelectricmultiferroic single-domain shape-anisotropic nanomagnet can be switched with very small voltages that generate strain in the magnetostrictive layer. This can be the basis of ultralow power computing and signal processing. With appropriate material choice, the energy dissipated per switching event can be reduced to ∼45 kT at room temperature for a switching delay of ∼100 ns and ∼70 kT for a switching delay of ∼10 ns, if the energy barrier separating the two stable magnetization directions is ∼32 kT . Such devices can be powered by harvesting energy exclusively from the environment without the need for a battery.

Filters that select molecules

MIT researchers have a new technique that could produce filters that select molecules according to their chemical properties and dimensions. The team’s ability to produce tiny, uniform pores smaller than 10 nanometers (billionths of a meter) across is itself a significant accomplishment that solves a major problem in existing nanoseparation technology.

This is “a fundamentally different way” of separating molecules, Gleason says. “People usually think of size as being the defining factor,” but by making the pores in the filter small enough so that there is a significant chemical interaction between the pore walls and the molecules passing through them, it becomes possible to discriminate according to other characteristics, she explains. In this case, the selection was based on the molecules’ affinity for water. Because the walls of the pores were hydrophobic (water repelling), other hydrophobic molecules were more easily drawn to the pores and propelled through them than were other, less hydrophobic molecules.

iPad2 and iPhone 5

Engadget indicates that the iPad2 will feature a dual GSM / CDMA chipset produced by Qualcomm and the iPad2 will be available in April, 2011 iPad 2 will have a new screen technology that is akin to (though not the same as) the iPhone 4's Retina Display and will be "super high resolution. iPad 2 will still have a 10 inch screen but will now feature both front and rear cameras and an SD slot. There will be no USB.

iPhone 5 will be a total rethink from a design standpoint and will be running atop Apple's new A5 CPU (a Cortex A9-based, multi-core chip). iPhone 5 will feature a Qualcomm chipset that does triple duty as the CDMA / GSM / UMTS baseband processor. There will still be no LTE in the mix at this point.

Adjusted purchasing power parity GDP would move China above world per capita average

Corrected purchasing power parity statistics (Penn World Tables version 7 to be released in early February 2011) would increase China's PPP GDP by 47%. China per capita GDP for 2001 woule go from $7,518 (the current estimate in the IMF’s World Economic Outlook) to $11,047.

This would put China ahead of the World per person average of 10,725 China would be between Iran and Brazil in per capita GDP PPP.

China would be at the per capita GDP PPP level of Mexico in 2015 and ahead of Turkey.

In 2020, China would be at the per capita level of Russia. Portugal and Poland.

China Surpasses US To Become World's #1 Economy in 2010 Say Peterson Institute Economist

Based on new economic data compiled by the University of Pennylviania, Arvind Subramanian (senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington) claims that China’s economy became bigger than the US’s in 2010.

In a research note published on Thursday, Subramanian calculates that in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms – that is, adjusting for the different costs of living in the two countries – the size of China’s economy was $14.8 trillion in 2010, compared to the US economy’s $14.6 trillion. The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook, China’s 2010 GDP was only $10.1tn in PPP terms.

What explains the huge discrepancy between these estimates? Subramanian believes that IMF calculations overstate prices in China by focusing solely on urban areas. This has the effect of lowering GDP on a PPP basis. If prices are adjusted downwards to a more accurate level Chinese GDP rises significantly.

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 35

NEI Nuclear notes has the 35th Carnival of nuclear energy

Steve Aplin indicates why it is urgent for the western countries to develop clean cheap energy to not end up having expensive energy and expensive salaries, because competition will then put more pressure on salaries.

Energy from Thorium looks at a two articles about Liquid Fuel Nuclear Reactors including one by Robert Hargraves and Ralph Moir.
Liquid Fuel Nuclear Reactors has ten thousand time less nuclear actinides (nuclear waste)

The article about Liquid Fuel Nuclear Reactors including one by Robert Hargraves and Ralph Moir is here

Light transforms material into a superconductor

A non-superconducting material has been transformed into a superconductor using light, Oxford University researchers report.

In the journal Science, they describe how a strong infrared laser pulse was used to perturb the positions of some of the atoms in the material. The compound, held at a temperature just 20 degrees above absolute zero, almost instantaneously became a superconductor for a fraction of a second, before relaxing back to its normal state.

There is a school of thought that it should be possible to achieve superconductivity at much higher temperatures, but that some competing type of order in the material gets in the way,’ says Professor Cavalleri. ‘We should be able to explore this idea and see if we can disrupt the competing order to reveal superconductivity at higher temperatures. It’s certainly worth trying

Challenges and work to lift Iraq Oil Production

1. Merrill Lynch has raised their forecast for Iraq oil production for 2015 from 3.8 million barrels per day to 4.4 million barrels per day. The 4.4 mbpd would be an increase of 1.7 mbpd from the current 2.7 mbpd.

The Iraqi government expects output to rise to 12 million bpd over the next six or seven years according to an announcement by Iraq's new Oil Minister Abdul Kareem Luaibi in December. However, analysts doubt that the security and infrastructure challenges can be fixed to meet that schedule.

Iraqi economy could double every six years if production reached 6.7 million bpd in 2025, absorbing "some" of the increased output, the group said, adding Iraq might inevitably rejoining OPEC's quota system once flows reached 4 million bpd.

Focardi and Rossi LENR (Cold Fusion) Demo today

Photo of the device from last month

I had reported that the Focardi and Rossi demo would be on Jan 15th (based on an online notice) that was the online press conference and that will happen tomorrow. Today there was the italian press conference.

UPDATE - The online "press conference" was question and answer in a comment thread, but it had some more technical answers.

Bologna, 14/1/11 - Focardi-Rossi Ni-H cold fusion test reactor - live report from demo now taking place Friday, Jan. 14, 2011; photos and video pending.

Here is a live update transcript

Focardi and Rossi LENR (Cold Fusion) Picture before the demo

Prof. S. Focardi (left) and Eng. A. A. Rossi (right) around the prototype device (reactor Ni-H, module 10 kW) during a preliminary test from last month Dec 15, 2010.Photo courtesy of G. Levi.

Here is another article from italian media source (Wed, Jan 12, 2011)

January 13, 2011

Helical “supermolecules” self assembled from tiny colloid balls

Researchers at the University of Illinois and Northwestern University have demonstrated bio-inspired structures that self-assemble from simple building blocks: spheres.

The helical “supermolecules” are made of tiny colloid balls instead of atoms or molecules. Similar methods could be used to make new materials with the functionality of complex colloidal molecules. The team will publish its findings in the Jan. 14 issue of the journal Science.

Big progress towards room temperature - 1.8-THz quantum cascade laser operating at 163K instead of 73K

a, Maximum operating temperature (Tmax) versus frequency survey chart for terahertz QCLs (which operate without the assistance of a magnetic field), where the shaded area corresponds to a variety of reported design

Nature Physics- A 1.8-THz quantum cascade laser operating significantly above the temperature of planck ω/kB

The breakthrough moves terahartz quantum cascade lasers closer to applications
* disease diagnosis
* quality control in drug manufacturing
* detection of concealed weapons, drugs and explosives
* the remote sensing of the earth’s atmosphere
* the study of star and galaxy formation.

Several competing technologies continue to advance the field of terahertz science; of particular importance has been the development of a terahertz semiconductor quantum cascade laser (QCL), which is arguably the only solid-state terahertz source with average optical power levels of much greater than a milliwatt. Terahertz QCLs are required to be cryogenically cooled and improvement of their temperature performance is the single most important research goal in the field. Thus far, their maximum operating temperature has been empirically limited to ~planckω/kB, a largely inexplicable trend that has bred speculation that a room-temperature terahertz QCL may not be possible in materials used at present. Here, we argue that this behaviour is an indirect consequence of the resonant-tunnelling injection mechanism employed in all previously reported terahertz QCLs. We demonstrate a new scattering-assisted injection scheme to surpass this limit for a 1.8-THz QCL that operates up to ~1.9planckω/kB (163 K). Peak optical power in excess of 2 mW was detected from the laser at 155 K. This development should make QCL technology attractive for applications below 2 THz, and initiate new design strategies for realizing a room-temperature terahertz semiconductor laser.

IBM Watson won a practice round of Jeopardy against Ken Jennings

Watson won the practice round of Jeopardy with $4,400, Jennings had $3,400 with Rutter bringing in $1,200.

* Watson cannot be psyched out, which is a problem for human players. Jennings and Rutter said that it’s a disadvantage to play a computer that has no emotions. Both Jeopardy champs said they were able to psych out rivals during their win streaks.

* I asked Rutter what it was like playing against Watson. “I’m impressed with Watson and its speed,” he said. “But after 10 or 15 questions Watson is just another good player. I have every confidence that we’ll do well.”

How the world will decarbonize energy

Joe Romm had 1 full wedge for nuclear and 700 GW for nuclear in his 2008 decarbonize energy plan.

It shifted to half a wedge 350 GW in 2009 and then had half a wedge for advanced nuclear 350 GW.

It is now back to 700 GW and one wedge for his 2010 plan.

Joe Romm has not changed his tune on nuclear.

He has now tried to slightly de-empasize coal's one wedge and added a wedge for white roofs and roads and a wedge for WW2 style mobilization and sacrifice.

Aubrey dr Grey in GQ magazine and BBC news and Genescient's Stem Cell 100

Google Language Translation Conversation Mode Smartphones

Google on Wednesday began turning Android-powered smartphones into interpreters with experimental software that lets the handsets translate conversations in real time. At the time of this launch it is only Spanish and English.

Word Lens was the recent augmented reality translation of visual images

An in-the-works version of "Conversation Mode" was made available as the California-based Internet giant updated a text translation feature it added to Android smartphones a year ago.

Free Voice Communication dominant prediction will get close enough to be borderline correct in 2011

One of my 156 predictions from 2006 was free voice communication will become dominant in the 2007-2011 date range

Skypejournal - Skype grew to 20% of international minutes in 2010

Nearly all regular calls are domestic. In the 99% range. So while this does affect international divisions of phone companies, they are usually pretty small parts of a national phone company’s sales. Skype users spend about half of all their time calling across national borders.

It’s a big deal anyway. On the chart, you see Skype calling grow faster and faster even as other calling grows slower and slower. The conservative trendlines show Skype beating 140 in 2011, and other telcos just 425, giving Skype 25% share by year end.

Skype to skype calling is free, but skype to a regular phone has charges.

There will be 10 kilowatt nickel hydrogen cold fusion demonstrations on January 14 and 15th in Italy and peer reviewed papers

The Journal Of Nuclear Physics (Peer Reviewed online journal) is announcing:

January 14th (Italian press conference) and then on the 15th on online press conference Sergio Focardi and Andrea Rossi will make a press conference online about the presentation of the 10 kilowatt module reactor: with 100 of such modules is made the 1 MW plant in construction.

The press conference will start at 10 a.m. Italian Time.

UPDATE Translated transcript of live blogging reporter and a picture of the device from one month ago

It is a public demonstration of a significant level of power. The Nissan Leaf electric car has an 80 kilowatt electric motor

Here is the Italian press release. il Resto del Carlino is an Italian local newspaper based in Bologna, and is one of the oldest newspapers in Italy. Circulation 165,000.

Here is the Google Translate version of the Italian press release

Here is an earlier Rossi-Focardi paper describing their experiments and what they believe is nickel being fused with hydrogen into a copper isotope

A process (international patent publication N. WO 2009/125444 A1) capable of producing large amounts of energy by a nuclear fusion process between nickel and hydrogen, occurring below 1000 K, is described.

Hydrogen/Nickel cold fusion probable mechanism

Large molten carbonate fuel cells for ships and clean power

Molten Carbonate Fuel Cell (MCFC) are being developed by the European-funded MC WAP research project as an alternative power supply for ships.

Molten carbonate fuel cells demand very high operating temperatures (600°C and above) and most applications for this kind of cell are limited to large, stationary power plants. The envisaged initial application is associated with waste heat, industrial processing, and in steam turbines to generate more electricity.

The MC WAP project has developed a molten carbon fuel cell which uses hydrogen obtained from a system that converts diesel oil into a hydrogen-rich gas, and air coming from the compressor of a microturbine. The reaction produces electricity and heat, without combustion.

The energy produced by the current system, corresponds to about 250 kilowatts, and represents one production unit of reserve energy that can power the essential systems on board, such as the control systems, communication, lighting and main auxiliary systems. Although at this time it will not power the propulsion, it will be able to contribute to it in some cases.

Nuclear power already powers hundreds of ships and submarines with clean power to over hundreds of megawatts in new aircraft carriers. Nuclear powered shipping has been operating for several decades.

Vaccine fridge uses phase change material for ten days of unpowered cooling

Vaccine fridges using phase change material can keep vaccines cool for ten days without power.

Originally developed to help store vaccines in developing countries, the low-power cooler is partly the result of good insulation. But it also incorporates a phase-change material to regulate the temperature, says Ian Tansley, chief technical director of the firm behind the fridge - True Energy, based in Tywyn, Gwynedd, UK.

True energy page on global vaccine refrigerators.

Ben Goertzel and Hugo de Garis have new speculation on Femtotech

Ben Goertzel and Steve Omohundro discussed Bolonkins idea of degenerate matter femtotech.

There are many possible routes to femtotech, and Hugo notes a number of them in his article, including some topics I won't touch here at all like micro black holes and Bose-Einstein condensation of squarks. I'll focus here largely on a particular class of approaches to femtotech based on the engineering of stable degenerate matter – not because I think this is the only interesting way to think about femtotech, but merely because one has to choose some definite direction to explore if one wants to go into any detail at all.

Hugo de Garis searches for phenomena in physics that may serve as basis for a femtometer scale technology

A femtometer (aka a “fermi”) is 10-15 of a meter, to find such phenomena implies that one should be hunting at the nuclear, nucleon, and elementary particle levels. Hence one should be studying nuclear physics, elementary particles physics, QCD (quantum chromo dynamics), etc.

If ever a femtotech comes into being, it will be a trillion trillion times more “performant” than nanotech, for the following obvious reason. In terms of component density, a femtoteched block of nucleons or quarks would be a million cubed times denser than a nanoteched block. Since the femtoteched components are a million times closer to each other than the nanoteched components, signals between them, traveling at the speed of light, would arrive a million times faster. The total performance per second of a unit volume of femtoteched matter would thus be a million^3 times a million = a million^4 = a trillion trillion = 10^24.

Hugo's list of physics phenomena to search for ways to femtotech:

Nuclear molecules, quark-gluon plasma, strangelets, kaons, surface of neutron stars, QCD (quantum chromodynamics), quarkonia, mini black holes, halo nuclei, neutron starlets, Bose-Einstein condensation of squarks, etc.

If femtotech (10-15 m) is possible, what about an attotech (10-18 m), a zeptotech (10-21 m), a yoctotech (10-24 m) ... or a plancktech (10-35 m)?

January 12, 2011

MIT Technology Review talks spasers

Recently we reviewed the research around spasers (surface plasmon amplification by stimulated emission of radiation)

MIT Technology Review has more

Proof of principle—electrically injected plasmonic lasers that run at room temperature—should be possible within a couple of years, and commercial devices could follow quickly.

China has appreciation from exchange rate and inflation and Economists see China rising and declgning USA

China's currency is appreciating 10% per year from exchange rate increases and inflation differences between China and the United States.

* Beijing's holdings of foreign cash and securities amount to $2.85 trillion - a jump of 20 percent over the year before

MIT economist Simon Johnson says the damage from the financial crisis and its aftermath have dealt U.S. prominence a permanent blow. He predicts the (Chinese) Yuan will be the world's reserve currency within two decades

Nvidia Tegra 3 due later in and a quad-core Tegra 4 in 2012

Verizon iPhone 4 compared to the specifications of other Verizon LTE smartphones - HTC Thunderbolt, Motorola Bionic, LG Revolution, Samsung 4G

Slashgear compares the Verizon iPhone 4 vs HTC Thunderbolt vs the Motorola Bionic

Phone        Apple iPhone 4    HTC Thunderbolt Droid Bionic LG Revolution Samsung 4G LTE

OS           iOS4              Android 2.2     Android 2.2  Android 2.2   Android 2.2   
Data         1x RTT            3G and LTE      3G and LTE   3G and LTE    3G and LTE    
             EVDO Rev A (3G)  
Network      All are Verizon  
Screen       3.5 inch          4.3 inch        4.3 inch     4.3 inch      4.3 inch      
Rear Camera  5.0MP, LED flash, 8 MP            8 MP         5 MP          8 MP          
             720p HD, 30 fs   
Front Camera VGA               1.3 MP          VGA          VGA           VGA           
Micro SD     no                up to 32GB      up to 32GB   up to 32GB    up to 32 GB   
Wifi hotspot yes               yes             yes          yes           yes           
Processors   A4 Processor      1Ghz,           1Ghz,        1Ghz          1GHz          
             Nvidia            Tegra 2         Nvidia       Tegra 2      

HTC Thunderbolt
* will connect to the LTE network.
* 4.3-inch display.
* 1GHz processor (not dual-core).
* 8MP camera on the back, and a 1.3MP on the front.
* 8GB of internal storage, with the option of adding more via a microSD card up to 32GB.

Verizon iPhone 4

iPhone 4′s features:
* a 3.5-inch display, with Apple’s Retina Display.
* Apple’s A4 processor inside, clocked at 1GHz.
* Apple’s latest version of iOS, which now includes multitasking in Apple’s creative fashion.
* no 4G LTE network
* can become a 3G mobile hotspot.
* 16GB or 32GB of memory
* 5MP camera on the back and a VGA camera on the front

Details of Current Fusion Energy Work from Commenter Sebtal

In response to a posting on UK nuclear fusion research there were several detailed comments from someone knowledgable in nuclear fusion.

1. Sure, they modelled it, and this is part of the ongoing work. Remember, Culham (I did my PhD there) used to be known as UKAEA and has been in magnetic confinement fusion from the beginning, being home of the team from the west sent to verrify the then amazing temperatures being claimed by the Soviet Tokamak people, when the west were messing around with Torsatrons and Reversed Field Pinches.

This is not some Johnny-come-lately "new scheme for fusion" bull-snot, nor (as you are correct in saying) is it some new silver bullet: these people ARE the Europeans who have been trying dozens of topologies etc. and more of that endless theorising: it never stopped!

Malaysia stuck in Middle Income Trap

Here is a 12 page paper that discusses how Malaysia is stuck in a middle income trap

Malaysia has moved from being a raw commodity exporter to an industrial product exporter, from a banana chip exporter to a computer chip exporter. Malaysia has become a middle-income country, and knowledge-led growth is the next development stage for Malaysia.

The expectation in 2001 was that things would return quite rapidly back to normal, back to the pre-Crisis period of impressive material growth and structural transformation. For example, projected private investment in 2010 (21.4 percent of GDP) would be at almost the same level as in 1990 (21.9 percent of GDP).

However, this optimism has proved to be ill-founded even before the arrival of the global financial crisis in the last quarter of 2008. Instead of surging to a 7.5 percent growth rate, the average annual real GDP growth rate turned out to be only 4.5 in the first five years of the Second Millennium, and 6.1 percent in the 2006-2007 period. The fact that, in the same 2001-2007 period, economic growth accelerated in the neighboring countries of China, India and Indonesia certainly makes credible the possibility that Malaysia has descended to a much slower growth path, and would not transition fully to a knowledge-based economy by 2020.

What happened? How could the Malaysian economy get its groove back?

Malaysian Demographics

Malay 50.4%, Chinese 23.7%, indigenous 11%, Indian 7.1%, others 7.8% (2004 est.)

Muslim 60.4%, Buddhist 19.2%, Christian 9.1%, Hindu 6.3%, Confucianism, Taoism, other traditional Chinese religions 2.6%, other or unknown 1.5%, none 0.8% (2000 census)

Malaysia tried to give a free ride to the majority Malaysian population. Although the bias is uneven and favors some groups of Malays over others. Malays would get a free ride and the ethnic chinese would do the work. Eventually too many of the successful ethnic chinese left Malaysia.

Ultralight Multiwalled Carbon Nanotube Aerogel

ACS Nano - Ultralight Multiwalled Carbon Nanotube Aerogel Carbon nanotube aerogel is the lightest solid material. It can be used in sensors to detect pollutants and toxic substances, chemical reactors, and electronics components. Aerogels made from silicon dioxide (the main ingredient in sand) and other material already are used as thermal insulation in windows and buildings, tennis rackets, sponges to clean up oil spills, and other products. MCNT aerogels mixed with plastic material are flexible like a spring that can be stretched thousands of times. MCNT aerogels also are excellent conductors of electricity.

Breakthrough for making blood vessels and capillaries with engineered tissue

Researchers from Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) have broken one of the major roadblocks on the path to growing transplantable tissue in the lab: They've found a way to grow the blood vessels and capillaries needed to keep tissues alive.

Journal Acta Biomaterialia - Covalently immobilized platelet-derived growth factor-BB promotes angiogenesis in biomimetic poly(ethylene glycol) hydrogels

"The inability to grow blood-vessel networks -- or vasculature -- in lab-grown tissues is the leading problem in regenerative medicine today," said lead co-author Jennifer West, department chair and the Isabel C. Cameron Professor of Bioengineering at Rice. "If you don't have blood supply, you cannot make a tissue structure that is thicker than a couple hundred microns."

Spasers can enable computers and electronics that are 100 times faster

Tel Aviv University (TAU) develops a groundbreaking nano-laser (called a SPASER) for medicine and electronics "Spaser" is an acronym for "surface plasmon amplification by stimulated emission of radiation"

Spasers are considered a critical component for future technologies based on nanophotonics — technologies that could lead to radical innovations in medicine and science, such as a sensor and microscope 10 times more powerful than anything used today. A Spaser-based microscope might be so sensitive that it could see genetic base pairs in DNA.

It could also lead to computers and electronics that operate at speeds 100 times greater than today's devices, using light instead of electrons to communicate and compute. More efficient solar energy collectors in renewable energy are another proposed application.

Coverage of a 44 nanometer diameter spaser (2009). It emitted 530-nanometer wavelength.

Spaser at wikipedia

Levelized energy costs need to be adjusted for peak and offpeak market value

Comparing the Costs of Intermittent and Dispatchable Electricity Generating Technologies by Paul L. Joskow at MIT Adjusting for market based economics makes solar and nuclear power look better and makes wind power look worse.

Economic evaluations of alternative electric generating technologies typically rely on comparisons between their expected life-cycle production costs per unit of electricity supplied. The standard life-cycle cost metric utilized is the “levelized cost” per MWh supplied. This paper demonstrates that this metric is inappropriate for comparing intermittent generating technologies like wind and solar with dispatchable generating technologies like nuclear, gas combined cycle, and coal. Levelized cost comparisons are a misleading metric for comparing intermittent and dispatchable generating technologies because they fail to take into account differences in the production profiles of intermittent and dispatchable generating technologies and the associated large variations in the market value of the electricity they supply. Levelized cost comparisons overvalue intermittent generating technologies compared to dispatchable base load generating technologies. They also overvalue wind generating technologies compared to solar generating technologies. Integrating differences in production profiles, the associated variations in the market value of the electricity supplied, and life-cycle costs associated with different generating technologies is necessary to provide meaningful comparisons between them. This market-based framework also has implications for the appropriate design of procurement auctions created to implement renewable energy procurement mandates, the efficient structure of production tax credits for renewable energy, and the evaluation of the additional costs of integrating intermittent generation into electric power networks.

Traditional levelized cost comparisons fail to take account of the fact that the value (wholesale market price) of electricity supplied varies widely over the course of a typical year. The difference between the high and the low hourly prices over the course of a typical year, including capacity payments for generating capacity available to supply power during critical peak hours, can be up to four orders of magnitude.

Different intermittent generating technologies (e.g. wind vs. solar) also can have very different hourly production and market value profiles, and indeed, specific intermittent generating units using the same technology (e.g. wind) may have very different production profiles depending on where they are located.

Realistic Agricultural yield increases can sustainably feed everyone in 2050 and another study shows we can house them too

(12 page summary)

Agrimonde describes the findings of a huge five-year modeling exercise by the French national agricultural and development research agencies, INRA and CIRAD.

The French team began with a goal – 3000 calories per day for everyone, including 500 from animal sources – then ran a global food model repeatedly, with and without environmental limits on farming. The aim was to see how the calorie goal could be achieved. The model suggested that realistic yield increases could feed everyone, even as farms take measures to protect the environment, such as preserving forests or cutting down on the use of fossil fuels. The key will be to tailor detailed solutions to different regions.

"We found three main conditions," says Hervé Guyomard of INRA. "The biggest surprise was that some regions will depend even more on imports", even as their production rises. This, he says, means that we will need to find ways to counter excessive fluctuations in world prices so that imports are not hindered.

January 11, 2011

The International Exascale Software Project Roadmap

The International Exascale Software Project (IESP) Roadmap (85 pages)

Over the last twenty years, the open source community has provided more and more software on which the world’s High Performance Computing (HPC) systems depend for performance and productivity. The community has invested millions of dollars and years of effort to build key components. But although the investments in these separate software elements have been tremendously valuable, a great deal of productivity has also been lost because of the lack of planning, coordination, and key integration of technologies necessary to make them work together smoothly and efficiently, both within individual PetaScale systems and between different systems. It seems clear that this completely uncoordinated development model will not provide the software needed to support the unprecedented parallelism required for peta/exascale computation on millions of cores, or the flexibility required to exploit new hardware models and features, such as transactional memory, speculative execution, and GPUs. This report describes the work of the community to prepare for the challenges of exascale computing, ultimately combing their efforts in a coordinated International Exascale Software Project.

New nickel-manganese-cobalt cathodes leading to much higher energy density batteries

GM licenses technology that could also make the batteries much cheaper GM has licensed battery-electrode materials developed at Argonne National Laboratory, a U.S. Department of Energy Lab. These materials, called mixed-metal oxides, could improve the safety and durability of car batteries and help double their energy-storage capacity, potentially leading to substantial costs savings by allowing GM to use a smaller battery pack. Doubling the energy density of the cathode does not double the amount of energy the battery pack as a whole can store. The storage capacity of the anodes has to keep pace, and the electrolytes have to be modified to work at higher voltages. Also, all three of these main components of the battery have to be engineered to work well together

The current model of the Volt uses lithium-ion batteries made with lithium-manganese spinel cathodes ("spinel" refers to the three-dimensional arrangement of atoms in the material). The Argonne patents that GM has licensed cover a cathode material that consists of lithium, nickel, manganese, and cobalt. The new material has such high energy density because it can operate at a higher voltage than current electrode materials and also store more lithium ions.

Lawrenceville Plasma Physics December 2010 Report

Lawrenceville Plasma Physics are working towards commercial nuclear fusion using dense plasma focus fusion. They have their December, 2010 report. They have had problems with switches that has cost them a few months of time to resolve. They have repeatably fired the bank with 10 capacitors attached, giving reliable shots above 1 MA at 33-34 kV. They believe that they now clearly understand the previous pre-firing and insulator-breakage problems. This will enable them to continue gathering data and testing their theories while they prepare a thorough ruggedization of the switches that will enable them in a few months to reach full power with all 12 switches at 45 kV, and push on to their goal of 2 MA current. They are implementing a redesign which will take until March to complete because delays to get some components. So in April, 2011 they will be able to push ahead with 12 switches at 45 kV.

The milestone update for the project
LPP has completed 3.5 of their 8 milestones. They are a year behind the original schedule, which can mostly be blamed on the switch problems, but they are making good progress. In 2011 their plan is to finish the trigger electrode revision, which will allow them to achieve 45kV and 2MA, optimize the gas pressure for that configuration with deuterium, switch to helium and nitrogen while continuing to optimize, then switch to hydrogen and boron. At that point they hope/expect to see a shot that generates 33,000 Joules of fusion energy, and all of their milestones will be complete. Unless they run in to more unexpected problems it is realistic that they might finish that by the end of the year.

Houston Researchers Helping Pentagon Build Mind-Controlled Prosthetics

University of Houston researchers are helping the Pentagon build reliable mind-controlled prosthetic devices that military and civilian amputees can use the rest of their lives. Prosthetic limbs that can be maneuvered by neural implants have shown promise in the laboratory, but there are challenges to making them work in the real world. Chief among these obstacles is the neural implants' nearly inevitable failure over time, often in a matter of weeks. Roysam and his group have received a three-year, $5.4 million grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Researchers from Seattle Children's Research Institute, the University of Michigan, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and two companies also are involved in the project.

The grant is part of DARPA's Histology for Interface Stability Over Time program, which is the next phase of its Revolutionizing Prosthetics project that began in 2000

A new algorithm enables much faster dissemination of information to enable smart dust

A new algorithm spreads information (red) much more efficiently in networks characterized by sparse connections between densely interlinked clusters.
Graphic: Christine Daniloff

A new algorithm enables much faster dissemination of information through self-organizing networks with a few scattered choke points.

Computer manufacturers are beginning to take seriously the decade-old idea of “smart dust” — networks of tiny wireless devices that permeate the environment, monitoring everything from the structural integrity of buildings and bridges to the activity of live volcanoes. In order for such networks to make collective decisions, however — to, say, recognize that a volcano is getting restless — they need to integrate information gathered by hundreds or thousands of devices.

Fast Information Spreading in Graphs with Large Weak Conductance

Partial Information Spreading with Application to Distributed Maximum Coverage

Field and Coil Design for a Quadrupolar Mirror Hybrid Reactor

A 3D view of the theoretical device studied in this paper, with fission mantle, coolant outflow pipes and magnetic expanders at the ends

Journal of Fusion Energy - Field and Coil Design for a Quadrupolar Mirror Hybrid Reactor

The mirror machine with the entire coil set, where the circular coils reside outside the quadrupolar coils. Space is available for outflow/inflow of coolant from the fission mantle and power feed to radio frequency heating in the transition regions between the confinement region and the magnetic expanders

A vacuum magnetic field from a superconducting coil set for a single cell minimum B fusion-fission mirror machine reactor is computed. The magnetic field is first optimized for MHD flute stability, ellipticity and field smoothness in a long-thin approximation. Recirculation regions and magnetic expanders are added to the mirror machine without an optimizing procedure. The optimized field is thereafter reproduced by a set of circular and quadrupolar coils. The coils are modelled using filamentary line current distributions. Basic scaling assumptions are implemented for the coil design, with a maximum allowed current density of 1.5 kA/cm2. The coils are optimized using a local optimization method and the resulting field is checked for MHD flute stability and maximum ellipticity

Confinement of over 100 keV (billion degree C) ions will be published in peer reviewed journal

The Lawrenceville Plasma Physics work that shows that they have confined of ions with energies in excess of 100 keV (the equivalent of a temperature of over 1 billion degrees C) in a dense plasma has been accepted for publication on the peer-reviewed Journal of Fusion Energy.

The article is particularly significant as the first peer-reviewed publication of the basic theory guiding LPP's pursuit of useful fusion energy from the dense plasma focus, as well as featuring the first experimental results from the team's Focus Fusion-1 experimental device

Friedwardt Winterbergs description of using conical imploding wires as an improved method to generate the ultrafast jets that are needed for impact nuclear fusion has also been published in the peer reviewed Journal of Fusion Energy

Introductory Summary of Invisibility, Metamaterials and Transformative Optics

Illustration of the idea of a "Pendry cloak". Light rays illuminating the cloak are bent around the central region and allowed to continue on their original path. Figure from BBC News.

An introductory overview of invisibility cloaking work and transformative optics

In 1988, a mathematician named Nachman provided a rigorous proof that invisible objects do not exist: if one shines enough light on an object from enough directions, it will be detectable.

Nachman's theorem, though rigorous, had two big "loopholes" in it that were overlooked by researchers of the time but were caught by the 2006 researchers. Leonhardt correctly noted that Nachman's theorem only precluded perfectly invisible objects; a cloak that is 99.9% invisible, however, might very well be possible. Pendry, Schurig and Smith observed that Nachman's theorem only applies to isotropic materials, in which light travels at the same speed regardless of its direction and polarization. Anisotropic materials, such as calcite crystals, behave differently depending on the nature of the light traveling through them, and give rise to phenomena such as double refraction.

DNA directly put into the cell nucleus using protein nanodisks

Researchers have demonstrated that the peptide R9, formed by a specific type of amino-acid (arginine), can encapsulate genetic material, assemble itself with other identical molecules to form nanoparticles and enter directly into the cell nucleus to release the material it contains. The nanoparticles have the shape of a disk, with a diameter measuring 20 nanometres and a height of 3 nm.

DARPA Maskless nanowriter is to be 100 times faster than single electron beam lithography tools

The new high-throughput maskless tool developed at DARPA, achieves high throughput through the simultaneous deployment of 1 million parallel electron beamlets. Illustration: DARPA

DARPA said its Maskless Nanowriter program is developing a massively parallel, direct-write, electron-beam lithography tool with a write speed more than 100 times faster than current single-column eBeam tools. If successful, the program will eliminate the need for expensive mask sets and will increase economic viability of small-lot production for custom, ASICs and micro-electromechanical systems. The new Nanowriter tool is targeted at the 45-nm lithography node with technology scalable to 32 nm and beyond

The DARPA Maskless Nanowriter program project page

Unmanned spy planes that are faster, stealthier and higher-flying

The massive Global Observer built by AeroVironment Inc. of Monrovia is capable of flying for days at a stratosphere-skimming 65,000 feet, out of range of most antiaircraft missiles. The plane is built to survey 280,000 square miles — an area larger than Afghanistan — at a single glance. That would give the Pentagon an "unblinking eye" over the war zone and offer a cheaper and more effective alternative to spy satellites watching from outer space.

The estimated $30-million robotic aircraft is one of three revolutionary drones being tested in coming weeks at Edwards Air Force Base.

Hedge Manager buy credit default swaps that pay off if Japan and China have big problems

In an interview with Bloomberg Markets magazine, hedge fund specialist and Eclectica founder Hendry warned Japan is a ‘nuclear bomb' strapped to the global economy, while China could collapse by 2015. Hendry is continuing to buy credit default swap protection on corporate bonds issued by Japanese industrial names as a play against China. He believes the Chinese economy is threatened by softening export demand, falling asset prices, and wild speculation in the real estate market. In response, veteran investor Bolton, the manager of the Fidelity China Special Situations trust, acknowledges China faces challenges, but says these do not outweigh the country's bull points.

If Japanese corporate bond CDS spreads widen to equal or surpass their record highs of 2009, Hendry's fund could rise by as much as 50% percent, he believes.

Hendry is making bold predictions and backing it up with a lot of money. He is also trying to talk up the risk premiums which will help him make money even if the negative cases do not materialize. Hendry is a hedge-fund manager beat who more than 80 percent of his peer group rivals in 2010.

Sander Olson Interviews Charlie Kemp about the future of Healthcare robotics

Here is the Charlie Kemp interview by Sander Olson. Sander Olson has provided dozens of first hand interviews to Nextbigfuture. Sander is an online journalist who has been working parttime with Nextbigfuture. Dr. Kemp is a Professor at the biomedical engineering department at Georgia Tech and Emory University. His lab is focused on developing robots that would be capable of aiding the sick and elderly. His lab has developed several custom robots, and has also received a PR2 robot from Willow Garage. Dr. Kemp believes that the healthcare industry could become one of the primary drivers of robotics development.

Healthcare robotics website

Question: You founded the Healthcare Robotics Lab at Georgia Tech. What is the focus of your lab?

Answer: I founded my lab in 2007 to investigate how mobile robots that physically manipulate the world can improve healthcare. The type of robot we work with is called a mobile manipulator, because it can move from place to place in an environment and physically manipulate the world. Three of the mobile manipulators in my lab (EL-E, Cody, and GATSBII) have wheels and arms, and are approximately the size of a person. Human-scale mobile manipulators are exciting, because they have the potential to perform a wide variety of helpful tasks in human environments. For example, their arms and human-scale let them reach important locations, such as table tops. Their size also makes it easier for them to have the strength to perform tasks, such as opening a refrigerator door. My lab is especially interested in how this type of robot can assist older adults, people with disabilities, people incapacitated by illness or injury, and healthcare workers.

Marginal land can grow biofuel to meet half of the worlds liquid fuel needs

Using detailed land analysis, Illinois researchers have found that biofuel crops cultivated on available land could produce up to half of the world’s current fuel consumption – without affecting food crops or pastureland.

The critical concept of the Illinois study was that only marginal land would be considered for biofuel crops. Marginal land refers to land with low inherent productivity, that has been abandoned or degraded, or is of low quality for agricultural uses. In focusing on marginal land, the researchers rule out current crop land, pasture land, and forests. They also assume that any biofuel crops would be watered by rainfall and not irrigation, so no water would have to be diverted from agricultural land.

Pandemic Flu Strain Could Point Way to Universal Vaccine

Several patients infected with the 2009 H1N1 strain developed antibodies that are protective against a variety of flu strains, scientists from Emory University School of Medicine and the University of Chicago have found. The results were published online Monday in the Journal of Experimental Medicine. Infection with the 2009 pandemic influenza strain could induce broadly protective antibodies that are only rarely seen after seasonal flu infections or flu shots

Using mechanobiological mimicry of red blood cells to extend circulation times of hydrogel microparticles

The master template (grey) is fabricated using advanced lithographic techniques. A unique liquid fluoropolymer (green) is poured on the surface of the master template and photochemically cross linked (top row, left), then peeled away to generate a precise mold having micro- or nanoscale cavities (upper middle). The unique properties of the PRINT mold enable a liquid substance (red) to fill the cavities (top row, right) through capillary filling. Once the liquid in the mold cavities is converted to a solid, the array of particles (red) can be removed (bottom row, middle) from the mold (green) by bringing the mold in contact with a harvesting film (yellow) that enables the particles to be easily handled, chemically modified, and analyzed. At this point free flowing particles or stable dispersions can be obtained by separating the harvesting film from the particles (bottom row, left).

PNAS - Using mechanobiological mimicry of red blood cells to extend circulation times of hydrogel microparticles

A team of scientists has created particles that closely mirror some of the key properties of red blood cells, potentially helping pave the way for the development of synthetic blood. It could lead to more effective treatments for life threatening medical conditions such as cancer.

Beyond moving closer to producing fully synthetic blood, the findings could affect approaches to treating cancer. Cancer cells are softer than healthy cells, enabling them to lodge in different places in the body, leading to the disease’s spread. Particles loaded with cancer-fighting medicines that can remain in circulation longer may open the door to more aggressive treatment approaches.

Research Offices says China should only target 100 Gigawatts of nuclear in 2020 instead of 120 GWe

China should 'keep a clear head' on nuclear power, concentrate more on Generation-III reactors and keep its new build ambitions for 2020 to around 100 GWe instead of 120 GWe. The advice came from the State Council Research Office (SCRO), which makes independent policy recommendations to the State Council on strategic matters.

* The SCRO was mindful of the 100-fold increase in probabilistic safety brought by Generation-III and that future generations would continue the trend. So do not built too many Gen-II reactors just because we can.

They were only saying to build 100 GWe and not 120 GWe not because 120 GWe could not be done but because China would have too many Gen 2 reactors (CPR1000s)

They also indicated that China would have the technically trained people but should take longer to get the safety culture.

They also want more effort to the AP1000, CAP 1400 and more fuel cycle work.

There is no constraint on steel and concrete because China builds the coal plants of the same size and similar amounts of steel and concrete and land and completes 1 per week.

There are some supply chain issues but only on some of the Gen III / Gen 3.5 reactors components.

SCRO does not look at the factory mass produced pebble beds but those will not be moving the needle much in this decade.

January 10, 2011

Metallic Glass stronger and tougher than steel follow up

MIT Technology review has coverage of the new stronger and tougher metallic glass "It's probably the best damage-tolerant material we've seen," says Robert Ritchie, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who tested the new material. He says no one has ever achieved such toughness from 100 percent glass and that the potential exists to mass-produce the glass.

A very tough marginal glass made of palladium with small fractions of metalloids like phosphorus, silicon, and germanium, yielded one-millimeter-thick samples. By adding 3.5 percent silver to this marginal glass, Demetriou (Caltech) was able to increase the thickness to six millimeters while maintaining its toughness.

"The Achilles' heel of these metallic glasses is that when you pull them in tension or try to deform them somehow, they fail catastrophically," says Greer. This occurs through the formation of what's termed "shear bands," small defects which coalesce into vein-like patterns that rapidly evolve as cracks, causing the glass to break under extremely small strains. However, according to the researchers, the palladium glass generates so many of these bands that they form a blocking pattern that prevents cracks from propagating without impairing the material's overall properties.

The limitation is palladium's very high cost. Therefore, Ritchie says, although there are countless structural applications that could utilize this material's high strength and toughness—like automotive and aerospace components—many of them will prove impractical in the marketplace. Demetriou is more optimistic. He believes there's already demand for metallic glass and says a product like a dental implant made from the stuff could be available within the next five years. He says this would offer a "superior alternative" to traditional implants made of noble metals, which are softer and stiffer and thus more likely to wear or cause bone atrophy.

China brain project is scheduled to complete this year

The China Brain Project: An Evolutionary Engineering Approach to Building China’s First Artificial Brain Consisting of 10,000s of Evolved Neural Net Minsky-Like Agents There is a video below from 2008.

The China brain project is a 4 year research project (2008-2011) to build China’s first artificial brain. It takes an “evolutionary engineering” approach, by evolving 10,000s of neural net modules, (or “agents” in the sense of Minsky’s “Society of Mind” [Minsky 1988, 2007]), and connecting them to make artificial brains. These modules are evolved rapidly in seconds on a “Tesla” PC Supercomputer, and connected according to the artificial brain designs of human “BAs” (Brain Architects). The artificial brain will eventually contain thousands of pattern recognizer modules, and hundreds of decision modules that when suitably combined will control the hundreds of behaviors of a walking, talking robot.

Contact lenses for health monitoring and headup displays

The SENSIMED Triggerfish® Sensor device developed by SENSIMED AG is a contact lens capable of recording qualitative diurnal IOP profiles over a 24 hour period of normal behavior in patients with suspected IOP fluctuations. Sensimed, a Swiss spin-off from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, has launched the very first commercial smart contact lens, designed to improve treatment for people with glaucoma.

Lenses that monitor eye health are on the way, and in-eye 3D image displays as well.

In 2008, as a proof of concept, Babak Parviz at the University of Washington in Seattle created a prototype contact lens containing a single red LED. Using the same technology, he has now created a lens capable of monitoring glucose levels in people with diabetes.

It works because glucose levels in tear fluid correspond directly to those found in the blood, making continuous measurement possible without the need for thumb pricks, he says. Parviz's design calls for the contact lens to send this information wirelessly to a portable device worn by diabetics, allowing them to manage their diet and medication more accurately.

Metallic Glass stronger than Steel and less brittle

Ashby map of damage tolerance (toughness versus strength) of materials.

Glass stronger and tougher than steel? A new type of damage-tolerant metallic glass, demonstrating a strength and toughness beyond that of any known material, has been developed and tested by a collaboration of researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab)and the California Institute of Technology. What’s more, even better versions of this new glass may be on the way.

The new metallic glass is a microalloy featuring palladium, a metal with a high “bulk-to-shear” stiffness ratio that counteracts the intrinsic brittleness of glassy materials.

Nature Materials - A damage-tolerant glass

Commercialized metallic glass known as Liquidmetal and Vitreloy hit the market several years ago in the forms of golf clubs and baseball bats, it was too brittle to withstand much duress.

Liquid metal company website

Liquid metal at wikipedia

The liquid metals have always been strong but the new material is far less brittle.

Will Verizon iPhone be announced tomorrow ?

Dick Winters - leader of the Band of Brothers has died

Dick Winters, a decorated Army officer whose World War II service was recounted in the best-selling book and HBO mini-series "Band of Brothers," died Jan. 2. News reports listed his age at 92.

Mr. Winters, who separated from the Army at the rank of major, and his men fought together through D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge and later occupied Adolf Hitler's mountainside retreat, the Eagle's Nest, near Berchtesgaden.

A charismatic officer who led by example, Mr. Winters received the Distinguished Service Cross, the country's second highest decoration for valor, while conducting combat operations on D-Day.

UK Fusion research advance and nuclear fission power in France and Brazil

Weak bets offered from peak oil proponent

John Tierney officially has won his peak oil bet with Matthew Simmons. Matthew Simmons expected the price of oil, about $65 a barrel in 2005, to more than triple in the next five years, even after adjusting for inflation. He offered to bet $5,000 that the average price of oil over the course of 2010 would be at least $200 a barrel in 2005 dollars.

Now Steven R. Kopits heads the New York office of Douglas-Westwood, energy business consultants offers new bets that are far weaker. His company assists with energy service market research, strategy development and commercial due diligence. He claims to be a former Cornucopian.

His new bet offers -
* US oil consumption — including biofuels and NGL‘s, but excluding natural gas, CTL (coal to liquid) and GTL (gas to liquid) — will be at least 10 percent lower by 2018 than it is today.

* We‘ll have another oil shock within three years.

Eliminate left turns to achieve 20% faster travel times on surface streets

The so-called “superstreet” traffic design results in significantly faster travel times, and leads to a drastic reduction in automobile collisions and injuries, according to North Carolina State University researchers who have conducted the largest-ever study of superstreets and their impacts.

Superstreets are thoroughfares where the left-hand turns from side streets are re-routed, as is traffic from side streets that needs to cross the thoroughfare. In both instances, drivers are first required to make a right turn and then make a U-turn around a broad median. While this may seem time-consuming, the study shows that it actually results in a significant time savings since drivers are not stuck waiting to make left-hand turns or for traffic from cross-streets to go across the thoroughfare.

* a 20 percent overall reduction in travel time compared to similar intersections that use conventional traffic designs

* superstreet intersections experience an average of 46 percent fewer reported automobile collisions – and 63 percent fewer collisions that result in personal injury

North Dakota Oil Production 355038 Barrels per day in November, 2010

Economist’s study shows how the poor in developing countries become wealthier

Robert Townsend, professor of Economics at MIT, looks at How poor people manage their finances? The findings are summarized in a new working paper, “Wealth Accumulation and Factors Accounting for Success”.

A long-term study of the poor in small villages in Thailand is shedding light on the issue. Having a sound financial strategy, including a commitment to saving money has a large impact on lifting families out of poverty, the research reveals. Moreover, advances in wealth are linked to highest level of education obtained by a household member, as well as a willingness to try new ventures.

Among rural households, 43 percent realized significant and lasting gains in net worth over a seven-year period, and that 81 percent of that wealth accumulation was due to savings of income, as opposed to gifts or remittances

the New Global Elite

From the Atlantic magazine, the super rich are becoming a transglobal community of peers who have more in common with one another than with their countrymen back home. Whether they maintain primary residences in New York or Hong Kong, Moscow or Mumbai, today’s super-rich are increasingly a nation unto themselves.

Though China’s middle class has grown exponentially and tens of millions have been lifted out of poverty, the super-elite in Shanghai and other east-coast cities have steadily pulled away. Income inequality has also increased in developing markets such as India and Russia, and across much of the industrialized West, from the relatively laissez-faire United States to the comfy social democracies of Canada and Scandinavia. Thomas Friedman is right that in many ways the world has become flatter; but in others it has grown spikier.

January 09, 2011

Nanomedically Engineered Negligible Senescence (NENS)

Robert Freitas’ book chapter for The Future of Aging compilation is now online. Here we look at part of the monumental work. It is adapting SENS life extension with nanomedicine.

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According to Aubrey de Grey, SENS (Strategies for Engineered Negligible
Senescence) is a panel of proposed interventions in mammalian aging that “may be sufficiently feasible, comprehensive, and amenable to subsequent incremental refinement that it could prevent death from old age (at any age) within a time frame of decades.” As explained in the foundational SENS paper: “Aging is a three-stage process: metabolism, damage, and pathology.

Intervention in metabolism can only modestly postpone pathology, because production of toxins is so intrinsic a property of metabolic processes that greatly reducing that production would entail fundamental redesign of those processes. Similarly, intervention in pathology is a losing battle if the damage that drives it is accumulating unabated. By contrast, intervention to remove the accumulating damage would sever the link between metabolism and pathology, and so has the potential to postpone aging indefinitely. The term ‘negligible senescence’ (Finch 1990) was coined to denote the absence of a statistically detectable increase with organismal age in a species’ mortality rate.”

Seven major categories of such accumulative age-related damage have thus
far been identified and targeted for anti-aging treatment within SENS. As
late as 2007 the prospective SENS treatment protocols still lacked any serious discussion of future contributions from nanotechnology, an unfortunate omission which is corrected here by adding nanomedicine (medical nanorobotics) to SENS, obtaining “NENS”

Below are two of the seven sections that describe each part of nanotechnology enabled SENS. This builds upon the other sections in the work of Freitas which includes details on each nanotechnology device and the various mechanisms of aging and disease and how to apply nanotechnology to each part of comprehensive rejuvenation.

Medical nanorobots can provide targeted treatments to individual organs, tissues, cells and even intracellular components, and can intervene in biological processes at the molecular level under direct supervision of the physician. Programmable micron-scale robotic devices will make possible comprehensive cures for human disease, the reversal of physical trauma, and individual cell repair.

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