April 16, 2011

Carbon Capture and Sequestration status

IEA hopes that Carbon Capture and Sequestration will be big help

A CO2 capture plant pilot in Brindisi was officially opened on 1 March 2011.

Enel was granted an important permit for the Porto Tolle power plant in January 2011 to convert the existing oil-fired power plant to a coal-fired power plant with three units. The construction work for the power plant will start soon. The Porto Tolle CCS project will install a carbon capture plant on one of the new units at the power plant.

In 2011 and 2012, we will meet several milestones in the project planning stages that mature and define the project. As mentioned, the FEED studies for the capture part will be completed next month and, based on these studies, we will select the capture technology in August. In March 2012 the transport pipeline FEED will be also completed. Detailed engineering for the project will be completed by April 2012, together with detailed cost evaluation.

To date, no commercial-scale integrated power plant with CCS exists. What’s more, the addition of CCS systems to both existing and future power plants will likely add between 50% and 70% to the cost of producing electricity.

Smaller batteries for e-bike and micro-hybrids fuel a $30 billion market according to Lux Research

Plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles with large Li-ion batteries will sputter, while smaller batteries for e-bike and micro-hybrids fuel a $30 billion market, says Lux Research. The overall market for energy storage technologies that power electric vehicles is set to grow from $13 billion in 2011 to $30 billion in 2016, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18%. But, while prominent plug-in passenger cars like the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf grab most of the headlines, the bulk of future growth will be driven by more humble vehicles, such as e-bikes and micro-hybrids

Currently there are approximately 140 million ebikes and scooter in use in China. Last year, the booming Asian economy manufactured about 25 million EV 2-wheelers, of which some 600,000 were exported.

We estimate the annual growth of EV2wheelers in China will maintain 10% or more than that. In 2015, we estimate the production volume will reach 35 million and export volume will reach 2 million,” says Sun Li, an engineer from the China Electronic Society.

Electric bicycles are an attractive option for commuters, service people, and couriers. At a cost of 1,500-3000 RMB, an electric bike is much more affordable than an automobile. Also the ban on gas-powered motocycles has stimulated the growth of EV 2-wheelers. Currently more than ninety Chinese cities ban motorcycles. Then there are rising gasoline prices to factor into the rush for EV 2 wheelers.

China death toll from accidents falls in 1st quarter of year

From January to March, 13,305 people were killed in mine mishaps, traffic accidents, fires and other accidents, a number down by 3,070 from the same period in 2010.

Luo attributed the decline in the number of accidents and in the related death toll to the efforts of governments and businesses to ensure the safety of workplaces.

"There was no very serious accident nationwide during the first quarter," he said. In China, accidents that lead to at least 30 deaths are deemed to be "very serious".

During the first quarter of 2010, the number of deaths caused by serious accidents reached 152. All of them were the result of disasters that occurred at coal mines.

Nextbigfuture shaping the energy debate as even Greenpeace cites death per twh

Greenpeace discussed deaths and energy technologies and cited Nextbigfuture. Nextbigfutures articles on deaths per twh are shaping the debate of those who are pro-nuclear and anti-nuclear.

The wind power fatalities per unit of energy was reported to be twice as that of nuclear in Germany in 2000 (IEA 2002). In this chart above, we use the figure of 0.15 per TWh copied from the Next Big Future blog. It is probably safe to assume that in past decade, due to significant upscaling of energy output per one wind turbine, as well as maturing of the technology, the fatality ratio has substantially further decreased

Emergency Satellite Communications in Two Suitcases

The GATR (“Ground Antenna Transmit and Receive) satellite communication system takes about 45 minutes to set up and 15 minutes to take down. It provides Internet access, voice over Internet protocol, broadcast television, and other high-bandwidth communications.

When astronauts go into space, ready communication is a vital need. No one will ever go to Mars, or even low-Earth orbit without reliable and efficient communication technology.

One device currently under development for space communication is the inflatable antenna. Because it is lightweight, easy to deploy, inexpensive, and requires low storage volume, inflatable technology is extremely attractive for space applications.

Army Biomedical technology

The 27th Army Science conference looked at transformational Biomedical technology in one of its conference tracks

Bioengineered Skeletal Muscle for Functional Defect Replacement in Rodent Muscle Injury Model

While further studies are underway, these initial observations indicate the applicability of this technology, specifically illustrating that following surgical removal of ≈50% of the LD (Latissimus Dorsi) muscle, implanted TE-SKM (tissue engineered skeletal muscle) can recover ≈75% of the maximal isometric tetanic force observed in native muscles within 2 months of implantation. In summary, the rodent LD defect model appears to be relevant for further proof of concept studies exploring the utility of TE-SKM constructs in restoring function to skeletal muscle defects associated with volumetric muscle loss injury.

Although the battle mortality rate for US forces has dropped from 30% in WWII to less than 10% in Afghanistan and Iraq, there has been a parallel increase in the number of seriously injured soldiers who survive with extraordinary injuries, especially complex and severe extremity and head/neck injuries. These traumatic
injuries are not adequately treated with current therapies and tissue engineering of skeletal muscle provides a viable alternative. As part of the Armed Forces Institute
for Regenerative Medicine (AFIRM), our TE-SKM technology is advancing the progress of the craniofacial reconstruction program

Quadcore Tablets Rumors for later in 2011

Dual-core chips power tablets such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 but quad-core tablets are likely to be next Image: Samsung

Nvidia reportedly will ship the quadcore Tegra 3 in August. Motorola is rumored to be among the first to ship a Tegra 3 tablet.

Some of the Samsung Galaxy tablets use the Tegra 2 chip and are expected to upgrade to the Tegra 3 chip.

Writing in a blog post in February, Michael Rayfield, general manager of Nvidia's mobile unit, said the company expects its customers to be planning production of quad-core devices this August, adding: "I can't wait to see the next wave of superphones and super tablets."

Quad-core powered superphones may be coming down the line but Enrico Salvatori, senior VP of Qualcomm Europe, reckons tablets are the natural home for these chipsets in the first instance. For this reason, he said the chipmaker's first quad-core chipset will come with wi-fi inside but no 3G modem.

April 15, 2011

Summary of an Interview with Zhang Yue of the Broad Group

The Campus of the Broad Group

Zhang Yue is the founder, chairman, and chief executive of Broad. Broad has assembled a 15 story build in six days and has designed a 666 meter tall skyscraper that it plans to assemble in 4 months.

Broad is clearly thriving, and chairman Zhang is said to have a personal fortune of $850 million - enough to rank him 216th according to a 2010 survey of China's wealthiest people.

Broad's air conditioners are twice as energy efficient as conventional electric chillers of comparable size, and their CO2 emissions are four times lower.

Brazilian police will have face scanning glasses for Security at the 2014 World Cup

Variation in faces as they age and with accessories.

Brazilian police will use futuristic 'Robocop-style' glasses fitted with facial recognition equipment to identify and root out troublemakers at the 2014 World Cup.

A small camera fitted to the glasses can capture 400 facial images per second and send them to a central computer database storing up to 13 million faces.

The system can compare biometric data at 46,000 points on a face and will immediately signal any matches to known criminals or people wanted by police.

Facial recognition technology has emerged as the fastest growing technology among the biometric technologies accepted worldwide. Facial recognition techniques are estimated to grow at a CAGR of around 31 percent during 2011-2013, says a new research report “Global Biometric Forecast to 2012” from RCNOS.

Busby makes absurd claim that 400,000 will die from Fukushima radiation releases -actual number will be zero

They multiplied radiation readings and multiplied damage effects. The surface contamination calculated from the gamma dose rates is twice to three times the highest level referred to by the IAEA in their bulletins. Also, radiation levels were based on spikes in radiation and do not look at the radiation levels lowering because of the short halflife of the sources.

As with the claims Senator Jon Kyl (claimed that 90% of Planned Parenthoods activities were abortion when they were 3%), Chris Busby is making claims that are not based on real facts. They are claimed to be true but complete fabrications. If Busby was competent the statements should be "Not intended to be a factual statements".

The health outcome of the Fukushima catastrophe Initial analysis from risk model of the European Committee on Radiation Risk, ECRR by Chris Busby

European Committee on Radiation Risk uses a radiation model where they multiply the radiation risks of the International Commission on Radiological Protection by about 1000 times. They also assumed higher radiation readings, because they had to compensate for a "cover up" and they used the peak readings from radiation spikes and do not account for lowering radiation as material with a short halflife decays.

Pioneering Effort to Mass Produce Human Skin

In a laboratory at the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology (IGB) in the southwestern German city of Stuttgart machines have just begun to produce an unusual product: human skin.

Each month, this skin factory will produce 5,000 discs of tissue about the size of a one-cent coin, with a projected price of €50 ($72) per unit. The product is a whitish color, almost transparent, though project director Heike Walles says it can also come in shades of brown. A biochemist, Welles has dedicated her entire career to culturing tissue.

20 megawatt wind turbine designs based on modified conventional designs could be built by 2020

20 Megawatt wind turbines are feasible, according to a new report from the EU-funded UpWind project, published at the EWEA 2011 Annual Event in Brussels.

The UpWind project explored the design limits of upscaling wind turbines to 20 Megawatt (MW) and found that they would have rotor diameters of around 200 metres, compared to some 120 metres on today’s 5 MW turbines.

108 page Upwind report from March 2011

WISE Delivers Millions of Galaxies, Stars, Asteroids

When viewed in infrared light, NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, shows a giant nebula around Lambda Orionis, inflating the constellation Orion's head to huge proportions. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA

Today, the NASA WISE Space Telescope project is taking the first major step in meeting its primary goal of delivering the mission's trove of objects to astronomers. Data from the first 57 percent of the sky surveyed is accessible through an online public archive. The complete survey, with improved data processing, will be made available in the spring of 2012.

The mission's nearby discoveries included 20 comets, more than 33,000 asteroids between Mars and Jupiter, and 133 near-Earth objects (NEOs), which are those asteroids and comets with orbits that come within 28 million miles (about 45 million kilometers) of Earth's path around the sun.

It found 17 new comets and 94 cool, diminutive stars known as brown dwarfs. In all, W.I.S.E. detected more than 350 million objects including 155,782 within the solar system.

Solar power without semiconductors by concentrating sunlight with glass to ten million watts per centimeter to create a magnet from light

William Fisher, a doctoral student in applied physics, performing research on laser-induced magnetism.

Researchers found a way to make an "optical battery," said Stephen Rand, a professor in the departments of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Physics and Applied Physics.

* With improved materials they could achieve 10 percent efficiency in converting solar power to useable energy

* All that is needed are lenses to focus the light and a fiber to guide it. Glass works for both. It's already made in bulk, and it doesn't require as much processing. Transparent ceramics might be even better

"You could stare at the equations of motion all day and you will not see this possibility. We've all been taught that this doesn't happen," said Rand, an author of a paper on the work published in the Journal of Applied Physics. "It's a very odd interaction. That's why it's been overlooked for more than 100 years."

Light has electric and magnetic components. Until now, scientists thought the effects of the magnetic field were so weak that they could be ignored. Rand and his colleagues found that at the right intensity, when light is traveling through a material that does not conduct electricity, the light field can generate magnetic effects that are 100 million times stronger than previously expected. Under these circumstances, the magnetic effects develop strength equivalent to a strong electric effect.
Journal of Applied Physics - Optically-induced charge separation and terahertz emission in unbiased dielectrics.

April 14, 2011

Tabula devices reconfigure at multi-GHz rates and have 2-4 times FPGA performance and are five times cheaper

Tabula Spacetime device reconfigures on the fly at multi-GHz rates, executing each portion of a design in an automatically defined sequence of steps. Although manufactured using a standard CMOS process, Spacetime uses this ultra-rapid reconfiguration to make Time a third dimension, resulting in a 3D device with multiple layers or folds in which computation and signal transmission can occur. Each fold performs a portion of the desired function and stores the result in place. When some or all of a fold is reconfigured, it uses the locally stored data to perform the next portion of the function. By rapidly reconfiguring to execute different portions of each function, a 3D Spacetime device can implement a complex design using only a small fraction of the resources that would be required by an inherently 2D FPGA. A designer can realize all of the benefits of 3D within a familiar methodology using the Spacetime compiler that automatically maps standard RTL into Spacetime.

Spacetime devices will provide significantly higher logic, memory and signal processing capabilities than FPGAs, and their much higher density makes them suitable for volume production.

Spacex will launch the Next Iridium network of satellites in a $3 billion deal

Rossi and Focardi Energy Device - Commercial and Patent update

1. Rossi has indicated he has an agreement signed in the US with an unrevealed that will jointly manufacture a network of plants to sell the energy device.

2. Patent filing WO/2009/125444 - Method and Apparatus for carrying out nickel and hydrogen exothermal reactions

A method and apparatus for carrying out highly efficient exothermal reaction between nickel and hydrogen atoms in a tube, preferably, though not necessary, a metal tube filled by a nickel powder and heated to a high temperature, preferably, though not necessary, from 150 to 5000C are herein disclosed. In the inventive apparatus, hydrogen is injected into the metal tube containing a highly pressurized nickel powder having a pressure, preferably though not necessarily, from 2 to 20 bars.

Talk Polywell forum indicates the patent has undergone pre-exam and has been allocated to the Class/Subclass (Stoves and Furnaces / Chemical) for examination

New DNA nanoforms take shape using DNA Origami

Nanotech Filter Separates Oil and Water

A scanning electron microscopy image of the carbon nanotube-coated filter. For comparison, the inset is bare stainless steel mesh.

Michigan Technological University scientists Yoke Khin Yap and Jaroslaw Drelich have created a fine, stainless steel mesh that is coated with carbon nanotubes about 10 microns across. “They have a super-honeycomb structure that repels water,” says Yap, an associate professor of physics. “But they like organic stuff, like oil.”

Kidneys grown from stem cells that were harvested from amniotic fluid and could be ready for wide use in 10 years

British scientists have created human kidneys from stem cells in a breakthrough which could result in transplant patients growing their own organs. The artificial organs were created in a laboratory using human amniotic fluid and animal foetal cells. They are currently half a centimetre in length - the same size as kidneys found in an unborn baby.

IEA OECD Electricity Production January 2011

There are 2.65 million still births each year and 45% are easily preventable

Obesity, high blood pressure, smoking and advanced maternal age are all known to be risk factors for stillbirths, making some preventable. In a separate paper in the series, Zulfiqar Bhutta at Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan and colleagues highlighted 10 interventions that, if implemented, could cut the global number of still births by around half.

The interventions include folic acid supplementation before and during pregnancy, detection and treatment of syphilis, prevention of malaria and improved obstetric care. "None of these interventions are remarkably new science," says Lawn.

An additional study by Robert Pattinson at the University of Pretoria in South Africa and his colleagues comes to the conclusion that such interventions would cost a mere $2.32 per person per year - a small price to pay to avoid the grief and devastation associated with stillbirths.
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Lancet - Stillbirths: what difference can we make and at what cost?

Quantum causes gases one million times thinner than air to bounce off each other

Two gas clouds (one red and one blue), each a million times thinner than air, are seen to completely repel each other under the influence of strong, quantum-mechanical interactions. Such gas clouds can model matter under extreme conditions, such as neutron stars or the quark-gluon plasma of the early universe.
Image: Martin Zwierlein

Clouds of gases that bounce off each other could help physicists model the behavior of high-temperature superconductors and other unusual materials. When two clouds of gas meet, they normally pass right through each other. But now, MIT physicists have created clouds of ultracold gases that bounce off each other like bowling balls, even though they are a million times thinner than air. This marks the first time that such impenetrable gases have been observed.

Nature - Universal spin transport in a strongly interacting Fermi gas

April 13, 2011

Aluminum can safely reduce vehicle body structure weight by up to 40%

Using aluminum in select automotive components could reduce vehicle body structure weight safely by as much as an additional 40% compared to today’s vehicles, according to a recent study by the University of Aachen (Germany) for the European Aluminium Association (EAA).

After producing the 40% upper limit figure, the study noted that in practice, additional aspects will have to be considered such as the joinability, the performance of the joints or nodes connecting the different components or the NVH performance. Therefore it may not be possible to fully exploit the indicated weight reduction potential of high strength aluminium alloys, the report cautioned. However, it also noted, similar restrictions may also apply to the substitution of ultra-high-strength steel grades for conventional steel grades.

Algae could replace 17% of U.S. oil imports

A new study shows that being smart about where we grow algae can drastically reduce how much water is needed for algal biofuel. Growing algae for biofuel, while being water-wise, could also help meet congressionally mandated renewable fuel targets by replacing 17 percent of the nation's imported oil for transportation, according to a paper published in the journal Water Resources Research.

Anti-aging hormone Klotho may prevent complications in chronic kidney disease

Low levels of the anti-aging hormone Klotho may serve as an early warning sign of the presence of kidney disease and its deadly cardiovascular complications, according to findings by UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers.

Using mice, investigators found that soft-tissue calcification, a common and serious side effect of chronic kidney disease (CKD), improves when Klotho hormone levels are restored. The study is available online in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Fight Aging has coverage

UMD Scientists Make Magnetic New Graphene Discovery

Schematic of a graphene transistor showing graphene (red), gold electrodes (yellow), silicon dioxide (clear) and silicon substrate (black). Inset shows the graphene lattice with vacancy defects. Vacancies (missing atoms) are shown surrounded by blue carbon atoms.

University of Maryland researchers have discovered a way to control magnetic properties of graphene that could lead to powerful new applications in magnetic storage and magnetic random access memory.

Nature Physics - Tunable Kondo effect in graphene with defects

2011 Skyscraper competition second place - Flat Tower

The construction of skyscrapers has been an architectural solution for high-density urban areas for almost a century for its ability to combine height with a small footprint. Today there is a constant race between large metropolises and nations to build the tallest structure, but it has been proven that this typology is sometimes not desirable for medium-size cities where skyscrapers destroy the skyline and disrupt the infrastructure of a specific location.

The Flat Tower is a new high-density typology that deviates from the traditional skyscraper. It is based on a medium-height dome structure that covers a large area while preserving its beauty and previous function. The dome is perforated with cell-like skylights that provide direct sunlight to the agricultural fields and to the interior spaces. The dome’s large surface area is perfect to harvest solar energy and rainwater collection.

Community recreational facilities are located at ground level while the residential and office units are in the upper cells. An automated transportation system connects all the units, which are different shapes according to their program. It is also possible to combine clusters of cells to create larger areas for different activities.

Although this proposal could be adapted to any medium-size city around the world, it has been designed for the city of Rennes, France, in an old industrial area.

2011 Skyscraper competition winner - LO2P Dehli Recycling Center

Conceived as a giant turbine the LO2P skyscraper would be located in New Delhi, one of the most polluted cities in the world due to the exponential increase in population and cars -it is estimated that number of cars grows by one-thousand every day.

The idea behind this skyscraper is to recycle the old cars and use them as building material for the new structure. The building is designed as a giant lung that would clean New Delhi’s air through a series of large-scale greenhouses that serve as filters. Another set of rotating filters capture the suspended particles in the air while the waste heat and carbon dioxide from the recycling center are used to grow plants that in turn produce bio-fuels.

Skyscrapers designed for architectural competitions are like concept cars. Some elements may eventually get incorporated but the whole thing usually stays as imagination. Still these are pretty buildings and have interesting ideas.

Stanford research on Russia's mortality crisis blames the end of the anti-alcohol campaign

While many have blamed Russia's economic and political transition for the increase in deaths following the Soviet Union's collapse, Stanford's Grant Miller and Jay Bhattacharya pin new blame on the demise of an effective anti-alcohol campaign. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russians were faced with more than the demise of a political system. Working-age men began dying in droves, and the country saw a 40 percent surge in deaths between 1990 and 1994. The killer was often alcohol – that much was clear.

Stanford researchers have dug up evidence that helps get democracy and capitalism off the hook and points to a new culprit: the end of an anti-alcohol campaign that contributed to a plunge in mortality rates during its short life in the Gorbachev era.

SCPR Affiliates Explore Cause of Russian Mortality Crisis (67 pages)

Rumor of a 23 inch tablet from Lenovo is denied

Lenovo not working in 2011 on a 23 inch tablet that looks a bit like their all in one. But does it make sense later ?

Lenovo's Raymond Gorman was pretty clear, e-mailing PCMag.com the following message: "It is usually not our practice to talk about unannounced products, but in this case I will tell you that we have no plans to introduce a 23-inch tablet."

Gadget Show Live, William Cai – senior specialist in marketing for the company – talked about the problem with multiple screens in the home. He expressed his belief that a tablet that could be moved from room to room and used on tables as well as docked as an All-in-One could be an elegant answer.

Obama's debt cutting goal: $4 trillion in twelve years

bloomberg - President Barack Obama, presenting his second plan in as many months to reduce the nation’s long- term debt today, is vowing to cut $4 trillion in cumulative deficits within 12 years with $3 in spending cuts and interest savings for every $1 in tax increases, according to two congressional aides familiar with the proposal.

Obama will cite those goals today as part of a debt reduction plan built around four elements: Lower domestic spending, less defense spending, excess spending in Medicare and Medicaid, and elimination of tax breaks that favor the wealthy, according to a White House statement.

Obama is setting a target of reducing the annual U.S. deficit to 2.5 percent of gross domestic product by 2015, compared with 10.9 percent of GDP projected for this year. He also will reiterate his support for overhauling the tax code to lower rates while closing loopholes and end some breaks to increase revenue.

Other budget proposals are from Paul Ryan and the fiscal commission.

CNN live blog of the speech

Obama called on Vice President Joe Biden to begin regular meetings with leaders in both parties of Congress to come to an agreement on a plan to reduce the deficit by the end of June. He said while he doesn’t think the final agreement will look exactly like the approach he pitched today, he is “eager to hear other ideas from all ends of the political spectrum.”

HP envisions data centers 100 times more efficient than current designs - Sander Olson interviews Partha Ranganathan

Partha Ranganathan is Hewlett Packard's Principal Investigator for HPs exascale datacenter project and is an expert on data center design. Modern data centers are not nearly as efficient as they could be and waste prodigious amounts of energy. Unless these inefficiencies are addressed, exascale supercomputers and data centers will never be feasible. In an interview with Sander Olson, Ranganathan discusses the myriad challenges involved in reaching exascale computing in data centers and supercomputers, and discusses designing data centers 100 times as efficient as current ones.

Partha Ranganathan
Question: HP is doing extensive R and D related to cloud computing. What is causing the computing industry to shift to cloud computing?
Answer: The computer industry is quickly migrating to the "cloud" - towards having the preponderance of data and computation taking place in data centers and servers instead of occurring locally. Data has actually been growing at a rate of 4 to 10 times that of Moore's law, and as a result more and more work is being done in the cloud. These trends will continue for the foreseeable future, making the rise of cloud computing inevitable.

Researchers Advance Toward Hybrid Spintronic Computer chips

New Magnetic phenomena could eventually speed data storage by 1000 times

op, centre: While the magnetization of gadolinium (red arrow) has not yet changed, the magnetization of iron (blue arrow) has already reversed. Large picture: The laser pulse (pink) triggers magnetic reversal, while the X-ray pulse (blue) measures it. (Credit: HZB/Radu)

A newly discovered magnetic phenomenon could accelerate data storage by several orders of magnitude. The researchers have not only proven that magnetic reversal can take place in femtosecond timeframes, they have also derived a concrete technical application from it: “Translated to magnetic data storage, this would signify a read/write rate in the terahertz range. That would be around 1000 times faster than present-day commercial computers,” says Radu.

Nature - Transient ferromagnetic-like state mediating ultrafast reversal of antiferromagnetically coupled spins

April 12, 2011

Magnetic needles can be switched 20 times faster at 5 Ghz

A data point changes the polarisation: The detail of the sample shows how the magnetization is switched from upwards to downwards. © M. Kammerer / MPI for intelligent systems

Magnetic vortex cores, which can be used as particularly stable storage points for data bits, can now be switched much faster

Microscopically tiny ferromagnetic platelets exhibit a phenomenon which could be exploited in the future for particularly stable magnetic data storage: so-called magnetic vortex cores. These are needle-shaped magnetic structures measuring 20 nanometres (millionths of a millimetre) in diameter. Five years ago, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (formerly the Max Planck Institute for Metals Research) in Stuttgart found a way to reverse the magnetic field needles despite their stability using only a tiny amount of energy so that their tips pointed in the opposite direction. Such a switching process is necessary to enable the vortex cores to be used in data processing. The Stuttgart scientists have now discovered a new mechanism which makes this switching process at least 20 times faster and confines it to a far smaller region than before. Magnetic vortex cores could thus provide a means of data storage which is stable, fast and greatly miniaturized.

Bioactive Peptides Found to Promote Wound Healing

Cells on the move: Blood vessel cells are shown migrating from left to right in response to injury. The red label shows the structures that cells use to move around.
Credit: Jennifer Durham

Newly-created bioactive peptides promote wound healing through the growth of new blood vessels and epithelial tissue, such as skin. These wound-healing peptides, synthesized by researchers at the Tufts Center for Innovations in Wound Healing Research, increased angiogenesis in vitroby 200 percent. Angiogenesis is the physiological process involving the growth of new blood vessels from pre-existing vessels.

Wound repair and regeneration - Bioactive peptides derived from vascular endothelial cell extracellular matrices promote microvascular morphogenesis and wound healing in vitro

Technology Review has coverage

The Register UK sets the record straight on the hyped fear and the NISA tables on Fukushima radiation

1. The Register UK - The total non-story of the Fukushima nuclear powerplant "disaster" – which has seen and will see no deaths or measurable health consequences for anyone anywhere – has received a shot in the arm today with the news that Japanese authorities have upgraded the incident to a Level 7 on the nuclear accident scale.

Residual heating in the cores at reactors 1 to 3 has now decayed down to less than 0.37 per cent of normal output power. It is this heating which has previously driven emissions of core material from the cores, and which plant personnel struggled to control in the hours and days after the tsunami knocked out backup cooling power and backup-backup batteries were exhausted. During that time heating levels, though falling fast, were initially 20 times what they are now.

Carbon nanotube and plastic nanoparticles good enough to displace indium tin oxide for some applications

4-point conductivity measurement of the new transparent conducting film developed by prof. Cor Koning (left) and prof. Paul van der Schoot (right). The black pot contains a dispersion of carbon nanotubes in water, and the white pot contains the conducting latex. Photo: Bart van Overbeeke.

A replacement material for indium tin oxide has been developed by researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology. It is a transparent, conducting film that is produced in water using carbon nanotubes and plastic nanoparticles. While the conductivity of the film is still a factor 100 lower than that of ITO, the researchers say it is already good enough to be used as an antistatic layer for displays, or for EMI shielding to protect against electromagnetic radiation. The researchers also expect the gap in electrical conductivity between their film and ITO to be quickly closed.

Indium tin oxide (ITO), an important material used in displays for all kinds of everyday products such as TVs, telephones and laptops, as well as in solar cells. Unfortunately indium is a rare metal, and the available supplies are expected to be virtually exhausted within as little as ten years.

Nature Nanotechnology - Controlling electrical percolation in multicomponent carbon nanotube dispersions

Partially molten asteroids may be abundant in space and some comets could have liquid water

One of the thousands of fragments recovered from the Allende meteorite, which fell in Mexico in 1969. The black area is a fusion crust, produced from the heat of slamming into Earth's atmosphere. New studies of one such fragment provided evidence that the object the meteorite originated from had a magnetic field.

A new analysis of one of the most well-known meteorites on Earth provides strong evidence that the prevailing view of many asteroids is wrong. Rather than randomly mixed blobs of rock and dust stuck together, it appears that the asteroid that was the source of the Allende meteorite was large enough to have had a molten core, even though its surface remained cold and solid. The new view also suggests that astronomers’ view of how planets like the Earth formed may need revision.

New findings by planetary scientists at MIT and other institutions suggest that many asteroids with cores might be only partially differentiated, with their outer regions largely unmelted.

Mile High Tower update

Construction of the Kingdom Tower in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah is proceeding and will comprise 275 floors, making it twice as high as the current tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

CORRECTIONS - There was some confusion from the recent articles about the cost and internal area of the building. Here is some wikipedia information which is consistent with past sources.

The US$17 billion project, the centerpiece of a planned community near the coast, is being proposed by Al-Waleed bin Talal’s Riyadh-based Kingdom Holding Company. The city to be constructed around the Mile-High Tower will extend over an area of 23 million square metres (total investment US$26.6 billion). The city will have the capacity to accommodate 80,000 people in addition to shopping and entertainment facilities

It will take a staggering 12 minutes to reach the top of the building in the elevator. The building should have 38 million square feet on 275 floors. It should have 12 times more are than Number One Canada Water in London's Canary Wharf.

It is being financed by the Saudi Royal Family-owned Kingdom Holding Company - which is the nation's largest company. The project was officially approved last month

Mythbuster Jamie Hyneman working to develop lighter armor for U.S. military vehicles in Iraq and Afghanistan

Jamie Hyneman is on the right, beside costar Adam Savage.

Register UK - Jamie Hyneman has been working with the US government to devise lightweight armor for US military vehicles in Afghanistan and Iraq, all thanks to his work with materials such as TNT and C4 in the frankly unconventional setting of MythBusters.

Hyneman's armor had to be ultra-lightweight so the vehicle doesn't get bogged down, but also capable of standing up the shrapnel and blast damage from a powerful IED while protecting the humans inside the vehicle from the pressure wave accompanying a blast.

Hyneman was contacted by a military subcontractor working with the Office of Naval Research to participate in the armor project. He works out of his business, M5 Industries - the San Francisco studio that's featured in most episodes of MythBusters, and that's a hobbyist's dream of workbenches, power tools, and sheet metal.

Carbon Nanotube composite enables easy detection of damage for airplanes

Infrared themographic image of a nanoengineered composite heated via electrical probes (clips can be seen at bottom of image). The scalebar of colors is degrees Celsius. The MIT logo has been machined into the composite, and the hot and cool spots around the logo are caused by the thermal-electrical interactions of the resistive heating and the logo "damage" to the composite. The enhanced thermographic sensing described in the paper works in the same way.
Image: Roberto Guzmán de Villoria, MIT

MIT Researchers have devised a new way to detect internal damage, using a simple handheld device and heat-sensitive camera. Their approach also requires engineering the composite materials to include carbon nanotubes, which generate the heat necessary for the test.

Alcor has descriptions of cryopreservation cases

The Alcor Life Extension Foundation is the world leader in cryonics, cryonics research, and cryonics technology. Cryonics is the science of using ultra-cold temperature to preserve human life with the intent of restoring good health when technology becomes available to do so

In late March of this year, Alcor was notified that a member in Pennsylvania had entered into the hospital with severe abdominal pain and was critically ill. As her medical providers predicted that she would probably not survive, Alcor’s Medical Response Director, Aaron Drake and Readiness Coordinator, Steve Graber were on a plane to the east coast within the next three hours

Cable-free Charging of Electric Cars Via Coils from Siemens and BMW

Inductive Charging

Siemens and BMW announced a development project for inductive charging. This non-contact technology also works if drivers only make a short stop to recharge. The associated charging stations can be easily incorporated into practically any setting, making them nearly invisible and effectively protecting them against vandalism and wear and tear. In June 2011, the system’s capabilities will be tested in a project funded by the German Environment Ministry and involving several vehicles in Berlin.

MEMS market for consumer apps will more than double in 2011

EETimes - The MEMS market this year for consumer electronics and mobile handsets will grow by 157.4 percent according to a report by IHS iSuppli market research firm. Revenue this year for new CE and mobile MEMS devices will reach $457.3 million, up by more than a factor of 2.5 from $177.6 million in 2010. Specific microlectromechanical devices such as 3-axis gyroscopes and pico projectors will generate revenue of $1.4 billion by 2014. So one segment will be over 8 times bigger than the entire consumer electronics and mobile handsets MEMS market within 4 years.

Fukushima raised to level 7 the same category as Chernobyl but Chernobyl had10 to 100 times more radiation

Christian Science Monitor - Japan on Tuesday raised the severity rating at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to level 7, the most serious on the international scale and the same rating that was given 25 years ago to Chernobyl, as aftershocks close to the facility heighten safety concerns. The level 7 designation was made "provisionally," and a final level won't be set until the disaster is over and a more detailed investigation has been conducted. The previous event level of 5, equal to the 1979 accident at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania, was also a provisional designation.

Experts are not agreed, however, as to the extent of the radiation leaks and whether it can yet be said to be as bad as the 1986 disaster in Ukraine. The International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale defines a level 7 accident as a "major release of radioactive material with widespread health and environmental effects." The category is based on an exponential scale (similar to earthquake categories) where being within about ten times put something in the same category.

NISA (Nuclear Industrial Safety Agency of Japan) reported that the amount of radiation that has leaked from Fukushima is 1/10th of what occurred at Chernobyl.

“I don't know where they got that [estimation] from," says Yoshiaki Oka, a professor of nuclear engineering at Tokyo’s Waseda University, who believes even NISA's figure is an overestimation.

Professor Oka says he believes the idea that Fukushima is as bad as the world’s worst nuclear disaster is “completely wrong” and that according to his estimates the leak of radiation, so far, from the Japanese plant is about “1/100th of that of Chernobyl."

April 11, 2011

How can 30% of nickel in Rossi’s reactor be transmuted into copper and other information on the Energy Catalyzer

This is following up on the Rossi and Focardi energy production device, which was demonstrated in January 2011.

There have been more claims of confirmation of the results in Sweden.

1. The industrial 1000 kW plant, a set of three hundred 4 kW reactors, now under construction in Athens, is expected to become operational in October 2011, according to Rossi. The cost of electricity from such plants, if widely used, is expected to be ten times
lower than from our coal plants. Another desirable feature of the claimed reactor is that it “doesn’t produce radioactive waste".

2. Rossi says that about 30% of nickel was turned into copper, after 6 months of uninterrupted operation. At first glance this seems to agree with calculations based on simple assumptions.

Diesel-engine exhaust filter reduces harmful particles by 98 percent

A commercially available particle trap can filter microscopic pollutants in diesel-engine exhaust and prevent about 98 percent of them from reaching the air, according to research reported in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Inhaling exhaust particles increases the risk of dying from heart and lung diseases. Air pollution, including diesel exhaust as a major contributor, causes 800,000 premature deaths annually in the world, according to the World Health Organization.

Drug combo provides 10 percent weight loss for obese in a one-year clinical trial

An investigational combination of drugs already approved to treat obesity, migraine and epilepsy produced up to a 10 percent weight loss in obese individuals participating in a one-year clinical trial, according to researchers at Duke University Medical Center

Appearing online in The Lancet, the study found that treatment with the controlled-release combination therapy consisting of phentermine and topiramate also achieved significant reductions in blood pressure and hemoglobin A1C. Study participants also experienced improvements in cholesterol, triglycerides and inflammatory markers, including C-reactive protein, when taking either of two doses of the combination when compared to placebo.

DARPA using holographic goggles as an interface for directing UAV attacks

Vuzix is an eyewear company, specializing in augmented reality specs.

Wired - DARPA is using holographic goggles to direct UAV attacks in its Persistant Close Air Support project

Right now, authorizing and targeting air strikes is a process that’s sometimes bureaucratic, and sometimes dangerous as hell. Bureaucratic as in the Stanley McChrystal phase of the Afghanistan war, when it took a gaggle of lawyers, intelligence analysts, air controllers, and commanders at multiple layers to put steel on target.

DARPA wants to give one single soldier on the ground a direct data link to the drone (or manned plane) circling above.

Rundown of oilfields outside the Bakken that are using multistage horizontal drilling

North Dakota is likely to increase oil production by 300,000 to 700,000 barrels per day that will make a difference if all else was the same.

The same production methods are being used in Canada's Bakken, Cardium in Alberta, Eagle Ford in Texas and many foreign countries.

Eagle Ford in Texas is producing about 80,000 barrels per day and that could double over the coming year.

Antibiotic progress for disease Cryptococcal Meningitis that causes half a million deaths a year

Scientists at the ISIS laboratory carrying out neutron scattering experiments on the effect of amphotericin on liposomes

Scientists are making progress in their quest to find an improved antibiotic for a strain of meningitis that results in over half a million deaths a year worldwide. The fungal disease Cryptococcal Meningitis is especially rife in AIDS patients and there are fears that if new drugs cannot be found, it could become untreatable.

Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Biomembranes - Small-angle neutron scattering studies of the effects of amphotericin B on phospholipid and phospholipid–sterol membrane structure

New method for self-assembling molecules

(A to C) Single-color triangular, square, and hexagonal honeycombs in triphilic T-shaped compounds (D) with increasing relative side-chain volume.

Researchers at the University of Sheffield have discovered a new way of making small molecules self-assemble into complex nanopatterns, which will push the limits of what is possible in `bottom-up´ methods of nanopatterning for advanced functional materials through molecular self-assembly.

Science - Complex Multicolor Tilings and Critical Phenomena in Tetraphilic Liquid Crystals

T-shaped molecules with a rod-like aromatic core and a flexible side chain form liquid crystal honeycombs with aromatic cell walls and a cell interior filled with the side chains. Here, we show how the addition of a second chain, incompatible with the first (X-shaped molecules), can form honeycombs with highly complex tiling patterns, with cells of up to five different compositions (“colors”) and polygonal shapes. The complexity is caused by the inability of the side chains to separate cleanly because of geometric frustration. Furthermore, a thermoreversible transition was observed between a multicolor (phase-separated) and a single-color (mixed) honeycomb phase. This is analogous to the Curie transition in simple and frustrated ferro- and antiferromagnets; here spin flips are replaced by 180° reorientations of the molecules.

Off Topic -Tiger Woods Prediction

There is an article that compares Tiger Woods to Mike Tyson, that says that the era of Tiger Woods golf dominance is over. I know that many who hate Tiger are hoping that this happens.

The statistics do not indicate that this is the case. I think it is clear that he has his retooled swing and he will be winning again this year.

I will predict that he will win at least 3 majors over the next 3 years and will win at least 12 total tournaments over the next 3 years. Over the next 6 years. I will predict at least 5 major wins (breaking the record) and 20 tournament wins. Tiger will also regain his number one ranking this year. He only has to get back to an overall

Training breathing muscles can boost sports performance by 15%

Training the muscles responsible for breathing in – inspiratory muscles – can improve performance by 15 per cent, meaning a runner can run for longer and a swimmer can swim faster, for example.

Dr Mitch Lomax, of the university’s Department of Sport and Exercise Science, has found that inspiratory muscle training and inspiratory warm-up exercises both boost performance, but when combined they can improve a sportsman or woman’s performance even more. Her work is published in the Journal of Sports Science.

Several other universities have published studies that show similar results

An Indiana University study found that strengthening inspiratory muscles by performing daily breathing exercises for six weeks significantly reduced the amount of oxygen these same breathing muscles required during exercise, possibly making more oxygen available for other muscles. IMT involves the use of a hand-held device that provides resistance as one inhales through it, requiring greater use of inspiratory muscles. For half of the study participants, the IMT device was set to a level that provided resistance as the subjects took a fast forceful breath in. For six weeks they took 30 breaths at this setting twice a day. The cyclists in the control group did the same exercises with the IMT adjusted to a minimal level.

SENS 2010 research report

SENS has a research report for November, 2010

SENS Foundation conducts intramural research in its Research Center in Mountain View, California. The primary focus of our intramural work is LysoSENS –
investigating novel lysosomal hydrolases against intracellular aggregates that impair
cell function – and we recently produced a detailed and comprehensive LysoSENS
planning document in collaboration with our extramural project at Rice University.

We have also arranged for research in the MitoSENS strand – obviating
mitochondrial DNA deletions – to be conducted at the Research Center, following
the negotiation of a transfer agreement with Dr Corral-Debrinski covering materials
produced, and used in, previous successful work by her group. Dr Matthew “Oki”
O'Connor joined us in September to initiate this project.

Recellularized Human Hearts May be Weeks Away

In 2008, Dr. Doris Taylor of the University of Minnesota's Center for Cardiovascular repair made a preclinical advance by the tissue engineering of a live, beating rat heart, generated using a decellularized myocardium as a scaffold, onto which cardiac stem cells were seeded.

Within two years were not only reporting similar results with reseeded decellularized lungs and livers but the transplantation and in vivo functionality (albeit for brief periods) of these constructs. And the most recent advance came at the end of 2010, with the announcement from Shay Soker, Anthony Atala, and colleagues at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine that

Livers from different species [mice, rats, ferrets, rabbits, and pigs] were perfused with detergent to selectively remove the cellular components of the tissue while preserving the extracellular matrix components and the intact vascular network. The decellularized vascular network was able to withstand fluid flow that entered through a central inlet vessel, branched into an extensive capillary bed, and coalesced into a single outlet vessel. The vascular network was used to reseed the scaffolds with human fetal liver and endothelial cells. These cells engrafted in their putative native locations within the decellularized organ and displayed typical endothelial, hepatic, and biliary epithelial markers, thus creating a liver-like tissue in vitro

April 10, 2011

Advanced civilizations might be able to live inside Black holes

Arxiv - Is there life inside black holes?

Inside a rotating or charged black holes there are bound periodic planetary orbits, which not coming out nor terminated at the central singularity. The stable periodic orbits inside black holes exist even for photons. We call these bound orbits by the orbits of the third kind, following to Chandrasekhar classification for particle orbits in the black hole gravitational field. It is shown that an existence domain for the third kind orbits is a rather spacious, and so there is a place for life inside the supermassive black holes in the galactic nuclei. The advanced civilizations may inhabit the interiors of supermassive black holes, being invisible from the outside and basking in the light of the central singularity and orbital photons.

MIT Technology Review has coverage

Vyacheslav Dokuchaev at the Institute for Nuclear Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow points out that certain black holes can have a complex internal structure. And that this structure ought to allow photons, particles and perhaps even planets to orbit the central singularity without ever getting sucked all the way in.

Laptops and cell phones could recharge a hundred times faster using metal foams

Foam power: This lithium-ion battery cathode can be used to make a battery that holds as much energy as a conventional one, but can recharge a hundred times faster.
Credit: Paul Braun

A new way of making battery electrodes based on nanostructured metal foams has been used to make a lithium-ion battery that can be 90 percent charged in two minutes. If the method can be commercialized, it could lead to laptops that charge in a few minutes or cell phones that charge in 30 seconds.

Nature Nanotechnology - Three-dimensional bicontinuous ultrafast-charge and -discharge bulk battery electrodes

Speeding up biomolecular evolution by 100 times at Harvard

Researchers, led by Professor David R. Liu, say that their approach — dubbed “phage-assisted continuous evolution,” or PACE — is roughly 100 times faster than conventional laboratory evolution, and far less labor-intensive for scientists. Scientists at Harvard University have harnessed the prowess of fast-replicating bacterial viruses, also known as phages, to accelerate the evolution of biomolecules in the laboratory. The work, reported in the journal Nature, could ultimately allow the tailoring of custom pharmaceuticals and research tools from lab-grown proteins, nucleic acids, and other such compounds.

David R Liu group website

Research shows that P-B11 Aneutronic fusion will work better than previously thought

Extract's Husab uranium mine to cost $1,6bn to develop

The Husab uranium project in Namibia, which could be one of the world’s largest uranium mines, would cost about $1,6-billion to develop Extract Resources CEO and MD Jonathan Leslie said on Tuesday.

There is an interesting discussion of how one uranium mine can have its reserves doubled with extra work and exploration.

A recently completed definitive feasibility study (DFS) had found that the project could support a 15-million ton a year conventional acid leach plant, producing 15-million pounds a year (7500 tons/year) of uranium oxide (U3O8) equivalent.

Kazakhstan Plans to slow its Uranium output increase after 2013 and will raise its uranium reserves to 2.5 million tons

Kazakhstan, the biggest producer of uranium, expects to maintain output in 2013 at a minimum level of 20,000 metric tons even as growth slows from recent years.

“We grew sharply in the last two-three years and will have a planned slowdown in output this year, going toward a plateau gradually,” Vladimir Shkolnik, chief executive officer of state-run Kazatomprom, said in Almaty today. “Whether we will sign new contracts to boost output will depend on the market.”

Kazakhstan plans to increase production of the nuclear fuel by about 2 percent in 2012 to almost 20,000 tons, compared with 10 percent growth this year, Kazatomprom said last month. Output will increase to 27,000 tons to 28,000 tons by 2020, it said.

Analyst predicts that the USA will still build 5 new nuclear reactors by 2020

Video of the Tsunami Wave hitting Fukushima Daiichi on March 11

New footage has been released of the moment Japan's tsunami hit the Fukushima nuclear power plant. It was taken from the cellphone of a worker at the plant.

The video shows the giant wave generated by the historic March 11 earthquake crashing over the plant's seawall and engulfing the facility, with one sheet of spray rising higher than the buildings that house the plant's six reactors. Tokyo Electric Power, the plant's owner, told reporters the wall of water was likely 14 to 15 meters (45 to 48 feet) higher than normal sea levels -- easily overwhelming the plant's 5-meter seawall.

The footage was was shot from high ground about 900 meters south of the plant by a worker who evacuated before the tsunami hit, the Tokyo Electric Power Company said in releasing the six-second clip.

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 47

The Carnival of Nuclear Energy 47 is up at Cool Hand Nuke

Nuclear Wire discusses the views of Massachusetts Institute of Technology nuclear scientist Richard Lester

Nuclear advocates should treat the crisis as an opportunity to launch innovation programs and make the sector safer and more cost-effective, Lester writes. "This is not the time for the nuclear industry to circle the wagons: The need for intellectual vitality, flexibility and creativity has never been greater," he adds.

Wall Street Journal - Today's most advanced designs move toward the goal of 'walk-away safety'—reactors that shut down and cool themselves without electricity or any human intervention.

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