May 07, 2011

The United States will be competitive with China in Manufacturing costs in 2015

China - US manufacturing cost components from 2008

Within the next five years, the United States is expected to experience a manufacturing renaissance as the wage gap with China shrinks and certain U.S. states become some of the cheapest locations for manufacturing in the developed world, according to a new analysis by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

With Chinese wages rising at about 17 percent per year and the value of the yuan continuing to increase, the gap between U.S. and Chinese wages is narrowing rapidly. Meanwhile, flexible work rules and a host of government incentives are making many states—including Mississippi, South Carolina, and Alabama—increasingly competitive as low-cost bases for supplying the U.S. market.

Iraq setting a lower oil production target of 6.5 to 7 million barrels per day by 2017

IRAQ is preparing to halve its official oil production target, forcing companies including BP and Shell to renegotiate their contracts.

UPDATE: The lowering of the production target has been denied. Iraq is saying they are keeping to the 12 million bpd target

The country's Oil Ministry, with backing from the Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, will set a new target to produce between 6.5 million and 7 million barrels per day by 2017, down from original plans to pump 12 million barrels, according to industry insiders.

Iraq, which is a member of the OPEC cartel that pumps 40 per cent of the world's oil, produces about 2.68 million barrels a day, barely higher than under Saddam Hussein.

Four herb mix in Stem Cell 100 with some screening from Genescient

Survival curve for fruitflies given the four herb mixture versus controls

Genescient - Stem Cell 100 have a slightly updated version of their hplus magazine article from Jan, 2011

1. Chinese traditional medicine, Astragalus membranaceus (Huang Qi)
2. From Indian Ayurvedic medicinal tradition an anti-diabetic herb, Pterocarpus marsupium (Indian keno tree bark)
3. Pine Bark Proanthocyanidins was picked from wide-spectrum herbal extracts in Western herbal medicine.
4. L-theanine (also known as gamma-glutamylethylamide, or 5-N-ethyl-glutamine) is a uncommon amino acid found preferentially in green tea.

Repeating my position

Stem Cell 100 is not proven. Genescient has long lived fruit flies. The flies live 4-5 times longer than regular flies. This is not in dispute. They then use those and other flies to try and test material that does not require FDA approval. The reason being is that they do not want to wait 5-15 years to get something approved. They can look at herbs and drugs that are no longer under patent. Based on this they have screened a set of material which happens to be mostly a mix of different herbs. You don't have to try it. I see no downside in trying it. Basically I am paying to join a clinical trial (phase 2, but since they are herbs need no clinical trial) of herbs which are known to be not dangerous (phase 1 trials prove safety) but are not proven to be effective. The approach that some would advocate are for -absolute proof- with appropriate animal models and then human trials is the 12-30 year method which results in pills that are $10-20 per pill initially. If Stem Cell 100 raises my good cholesterol levels and lowers bad cholesterol then I have paid for some pretty good statins at somewhat lower cost (unless I could get Statins covered under a medical plan).

I am not telling you to take it and I am not inflating their claims. I am also saying if people want more certain life extension and want to donate where their money can make a difference should donate to SENS and to Robert Freitas via IMM. The rejuvenation that would result if they are successful would be far more obvious life extension. The Genescient approach will be fortunate to improve the odds of adding a few real years of life extension.

There have been studies of the components that are in Stem Cell 100 and two of the components have been used for many hundreds to thousands of years in India and China. They have done a pilot clinical trial.

2100 tons of uranium oxide per year expected from a $390 million Tanzanian mine

Mantra Resources on Friday said that a definitive feasibility study (DFS) for the first phase of its Nyota prospect, in Tanzania, supported yearly production of 4,2-million pounds (2100 tons per year) of uranium oxide (U3O8)

A mine producing 2100 tons per year (for ten years) could be expected for $390 million of development cost. An increase of 3% on world uranium production.

Greek Scientist Stremmenos discusses the Rossi and Focardi Energy Catalyzer in an interview

Prof. Stremmenos is a scientist in Greece and former ambassador to Italy. He discusses the Rossi and Focardi energy catalyzer in an interview Professor Christos Stremmenos is the man who brought cold fusion to Greece, and worked with the Greek government to set up the factory that will manufacture the "Energy Catalyzer" reactors which Andrea Rossi and Sergio Focardi invented and tested, and which will produce a 1-megawatt power plant. Professor Stremmenos is Vice-President of Defkalion.

In the second part of the interview Professor Stremmenos focuses on recent events. He tells of his mediation with the Greek government to make an industrial plant possible. For this purpose, Defkalion Green Technology was formed, a business venture of which he is vice-chairman — on "honorary terms", he says. His harsh criticism of those who, within the scientific community, refuse to give the new discovery due consideration, goes side by side with his enthusiasm for the discovery of a new technology which he calls "revolutionary" and capable of solving mankind's energy problems, Christos Stremmenos declares: "Skeptics shall be defeated by the market — though this discovery is not meant to serve capitalists, but mankind". The date is set, he says, for the October opening of the first cold fusion power plant, in Greece.

Financially troubled Spain still spending $10.5 billion subsidizing renewable energy and cogeneration

1. Spain may trim its goal from 22.7 percent to 20.8 percent of national energy needs from renewable sources by 2020

Industry Minister Miguel Sebastian is devising plans for Spain to stick to its pledges on low-carbon energy as voters struggle to pay their energy bills amid the worst economic slump in at least 60 years.

Subsidies for renewable energy and cogeneration plants, which turn excess industrial heat into energy, rose 8 percent to 7.1 billion euros last year, to comprise 39 percent of the country’s electricity bill. The regulator had forecast a decline of 10 percent. The government will announce the main elements of the energy plans next week and the final version is set to be approved in July.

Spain's budget deficit for 2010 was €98.2 billion, or $135.6 billion, amounting to 9.24 percent of gross domestic product. The figure slightly bettered the government’s 9.3 percent target and was down from 11.1 percent of G.D.P. in 2009. The 2011 deficit target is 6% of GDP (about 65 billion euros or US$97 billion).

Report doubles BC shale-gas estimate

A report released today from the National Energy Board (NEB) and British Columbia Ministry of Energy and Mines puts the marketable shale gas in the basin at 78 trillion cubic feet, including 75 Tcf of undiscovered resources. The new assessment of the shale gas contained in the Horn River basin of north-eastern British Columbia more than doubles the province’s estimated unconventional reserves.

It is the first publicly released probability-based resource assessment of a Canadian shale basin.

50 page report - Ultimate Potential for Unconventional Natural Gas in Northeastern British Columbia’s Horn River Basin

The medium case estimate for marketable natural gas is 2198 billion cubic meters (78 Tcf). Once added to the 2006 estimate for conventional ultimate potential, and accounting for cumulative production to year end 2010 of 602 billion cubic meters (21.3 Tcf), the estimate of remaining conventional and unconventional natural gas available for future demands is 3058 billion (109 Tcf). This does not consider other unconventional gas resources which are known to exist in B.C.

Cameco expects a net gain of 91 nuclear reactors by 2020, ten fewer because of Fukushima

Cameco produced 2350 tons of uranium in the first quarter of 2011 but still expects to produce 10,800 tons (21.9 million pounds)

Production volumes this quarter were 23% lower compared to the first quarter of 2010 primarily due to lower production at McArthur River/Key Lake. The removal of abandoned freezepipes from the new production chamber at McArthur River resulted in lower ore deliveries to the Key Lake mill. To optimize production for the year, we rescheduled the maintenance outage at the Key Lake mill from the second quarter to the first quarter. Our production guidance for the year is unchanged

May 06, 2011

Saturn's Moon Titan Explorer Mission selected by NASA

NASA has selected a mission to Saturn's Moon for Discovery Program Development. The Titan Mare Explorer, or TiME, would perform the first direct inspection of an ocean environment beyond Earth by landing in, and floating on, a large methane-ethane sea on the cloudy, complex moon.

European Prospects on High-Power Electric Space Propulsion Technology

The latest presentation to the Future In-Space Operations (FISO) is the European Prospects on High-Power Electric Propulsion Technology for Future In-Space Operations by Cosmo Casaregola (32 pages)

SEP Transfers in the Earth-Moon System

•Three Power levels:80kW,100kW and 200kW
•Five Specific Impulse Values: 2000s, 3000s, 4000s, 5000s, 10000s
Payload Mass obtained with a preliminary mass breakdown:
* Solar arrays:                 20 kg/kW
* PPUs and thrusters:            3 kg/kW
* Tanks and related structures: 20% of propellant mass

Skylon Spaceplane builders will test the vital helium precooler component in June 2011

Roger Longstaff, engineer at Reaction Engines Ltd (REL), said that the company intends to test its amazing "pre-cooler" technology in June, 2011. An REL spokesperson announced that they had secured $350 million of further funding, contingent on successful completion of the full-sized precooled jet engine test in June 2011. In paper studies, the costs per kilogram of payload are hoped to be lowered to £650/kg (US$1000/kg as of 2011), including the costs of research and development (R&D), with costs expected to fall much more over time after the initial expenditures have amortized. Eventually prices would fall to $100-200/kg.

The pre-cooler is the key to REL's (Reaction Engines Ltd) amazing SABRE engines, which are themselves perhaps the primary factor permitting a single-stage-to-orbit space plane.

The company describes the SABRE engine as being a rocket furnished with and additional pre-cooled turbocompressor. Air is taken in at the front of the SABRE and almost instantly cooled down to the point at which it is almost liquid, using terrifically powerful freezer kit employing a liquid-helium loop. The supercold air takes the place of liquid oxygen in the combustion chamber, reacting with liquid-hydrogen fuel to produce thrust in much the same way as the space shuttle main engines. Heat sucked from the intake air is dumped into the fuel.
The breakthrough for Reaction Engines has been in the development of its pre-cooler system. At Mach 5, SABRE will need to cope with gases entering at temperatures reaching 1,000 degrees celcius. The pre-cooler uses thousands of small-bore thin-wall tubes, each around the width of a human hair, to drop the air temperature to -150degrees celcius in just 30ms. Back when Skylon was still a concept, the required heat exchangers for this type of pre-cooled jet engine were impossible to make, but with improvements in materials and manufacturing techniques, Varvill believes the technology has turned a corner

Humanoid helper robots are coming soon

In July 2010, Nextbigfuture had a Sander Olson interview of roboticist Dennis Hong. Dennis Hong's dream for 2020 is to see the CHARLIE H robot being used in millions of households as a robot helper.

Forbes has a recent feature on Dennis Hong and his humanoid robot Charli.

New robot wave using open source software and hardware

The new wave of robots work is taking place on open-source hardware and software so more innovators can play a role. IRobot designed AVA, a customizable robot with a tablet computer "head" and a wheeled-column body, to serve as a development platform for robotics, like Linux for computers.

Pentagonal tiles pave the way towards organic electronics

The University of Cambridge has pentagonal tiles which are paving the way towards organic electronics.

New research paves way for the nanoscale self-assembly of organic building blocks, a promising new route towards the next generation of ultra-small electronic devices.

Ring-like molecules with unusual five-fold symmetry bind strongly to a copper surface, due to a substantial transfer of charge, but experience remarkably little difficulty in sideways diffusion, and exhibit surprisingly little interaction between neighbouring molecules. This unprecedented combination of features is ideal for the spontaneous creation of high-density stable thin films, comprising a pavement of these organic pentagonal tiles, with potential applications in computing, solar power and novel display technologies.

Physical Review Letters - Weak Intermolecular Interactions in an Ionically Bound Molecular Adsorbate: Cyclopentadienyl/Cu(111)

Impulse radar on a chip for medical, security, automotive and other applications

Novelda is a startup in Norway that has Impulse Radar on a 5 millimeter by 5 mm chip. The device can sense the distance to one or more remote objects by emitting and receiving very short pulses of electromagnetic energy.

The pulses used by the Novelda Impulse Radars are typically shorter than 1 nanosecond in duration, and their bandwidth spans over several GHz in the frequency domain. Different materials have different penetration properties, and the optimal bandwidth for a given application will depend on the material that needs to be penetrated. Novelda offers several different bandwidths, all between 1 and 10 GHz.

Beam Powered Space Propulsion Work from NASA, DARPA and some other companies

NASA's Ames Research Center has recently spent $2 million on a powerful microwave source to be used primarily for propulsion research. Kevin Parkin's team is collaborating with Escape Dynamics in Broomfield, Colorado, which is likewise dedicated to developing microwave-based rockets. High-power microwave sources called gyrotrons have been developed for nuclear fusion research, and the gyrotron bought by Ames Research Center can pump out a megawatt of microwave power. ($2 per watt)

Kevin Parkin's 2006 thesis proposed a new idea to achieve both high Isp and high T/W: The Microwave Thermal Thruster. This thruster covers the underside of a rocket aeroshell with a lightweight microwave absorbent heat exchange layer that may double as a re-entry heat shield. By illuminating the layer with microwaves directed from a ground-based phased array, an Isp of 700–900 seconds and T/W of 50–150 is possible using a hydrogen propellant. The single propellant simplifies vehicle design, and the high Isp increases payload fraction and structural margin

China doubles solar power target to 10 GW by 2015 and 50 GW by 2020

China has doubled its target for installed photovoltaic power capacity over the next five years to 10 gigawatt (GW) by 2015, the Shanghai Securities News said on Friday, citing an official from the research arm of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

The government has also raised its installed solar capacity target for 2020 to 50 GW, up from the previous goal of 20 GW, said Li Junfeng, deputy director-general of the Energy Research Institute of the NDRC.

May 05, 2011

Joule Unlimited Secures First of Multiple Sites to Host Solar Fuel Production

Marking another milestone in its advance towards commercialization, Joule Unlimited, Inc. today announced the signing of a lease agreement providing access to 1,200 acres in Lea County, New Mexico, with the potential to scale the project up to 5,000 acres for production of renewable diesel and ethanol directly from sunlight and waste CO2. The agreement with Lea County is the first to be completed as part of Joule's production facility siting program

Artificial Intelligence founders call for a refocus on general intelligence

Some of the founders and leading lights in the fields of artificial intelligence and cognitive science called for a return to the style of research that marked the early years of the field, one driven more by curiosity rather than narrow applications.

This will be a difficult thing to achieve because success with narrow applications can generate a lot of money.

Patrick Winston, director of MIT's Artificial Intelligence Laboratory from 1972 to 1997, blamed the stagnation in part on the decline in funding after the end of the Cold War and on early attempts to commercialize AI. But the biggest culprit, he said, was the "mechanistic balkanization" of the field, with research focusing on ever-narrower specialties such as neural networks or genetic algorithms.

Nanoparticle capsules with interleukins are used to boost T-cells fighting cancer

Stable conjugation of nanoparticles (NPs) to the surfaces of T cells and HSCs via cell-surface thiols.

New Scientist - Immune cells called cytotoxic T-cells swarm over and demolish cancerous cells inside the body. Unfortunately, many tumours emit a mysterious chemical cocktail to weaken any T-cells that swim too close.

While investigating how to increase T-cells' ability to attack tumours, Irvine's team found they could fasten 100 nanoparticle capsules to a single T-cell without impairing its function – capsules they could fill with any number of drugs. Irvine's team filled the nanoparticle capsules with interleukins – molecules naturally produced by the immune system that give T-cells chemical encouragement to keep on fighting. When they injected these into mice with bone and lung cancer, the T-cells not only swarmed over the tumours but stayed active far longer than T-cells with empty capsules.

What's more, mice injected with unmodified T-cells died from their tumours within 30 days, whereas mice that received T-cells armed with interleukin were still alive and improving in health a month later.

Nature Medicine - Therapeutic cell engineering with surface-conjugated synthetic nanoparticles

Navy Research Lab Achieve High Temperature Milestone in Silicon Spintronics

Measurement geometry. In the three-terminal device measurement geometry, a current is applied to contacts 1 and 2, and a voltage is measured across contacts 2 and 3. Electrical spin injection produces spin accumulation in the transport channel under the magnetic contact 2 and a corresponding output voltage. When a magnetic field Bz is applied, the injected spins precess and dephase, and the spin accumulation decreases to zero. U.S. Naval Research Laboratory

Researchers in the Materials Science and Technology Division of the Naval Research Laboratory have recently demonstrated electrical injection, detection and precession of spin accumulation in silicon, the cornerstone material of modern device technology, at temperatures up to 225 degrees Celsius. These results provide the first demonstration that spin accumulation in Si is viable as a basis for practical devices which meet the operating temperatures specified for commercial (85°C), industrial (100°C) and military (125°C) applications. This is a key enabling step for developng devices which rely on electron spin rather than electron charge, an approach known as semiconductor spintronics that is expected to provide devices with higher performance, lower power consumption and less heat dissipation

Nature Communications - Electrical injection and detection of spin accumulation in silicon at 500 K with magnetic metal/silicon dioxide contacts

Photodetection with Active Optical Nanoantennas

An optical antenna-diode for photodetection. (A) Band diagram for plasmonically driven internal photoemission over a nanoantenna-semiconductor Schottky barrier (ϕB). (B) Representation of a single Au resonant antenna on an n-type silicon substrate. (C) Scanning electron micrograph of a representative device array prior to ITO coating, imaged at a 65° tilt angle

Science - Photodetection with Active Optical Antennas

Nanoantennas are key optical components for light harvesting; photodiodes convert light into a current of electrons for photodetection. We show that these two distinct, independent functions can be combined into the same structure. Photons coupled into a metallic nanoantenna excite resonant plasmons, which decay into energetic, “hot” electrons injected over a potential barrier at the nanoantenna-semiconductor interface, resulting in a photocurrent. This dual-function structure is a highly compact, wavelength-resonant, and polarization-specific light detector, with a spectral response extending to energies well below the semiconductor band edge.

Basic scientific curiosity paid off in unexpected ways when Rice University researchers investigating the fundamental physics of nanomaterials discovered a new technology that could dramatically improve solar energy panels.

Full article

Pilot project for $1.5 billion research programme on graphene launched

Researchers propose 'whole-system redesign' of U.S. agriculture

Incremental improvements to agriculture have been which have included adoption of two-year crop rotations, precision agriculture technologies, classically bred and genetically engineered crops, and reduced- or no-tillage management systems.

US David researchers are recommending innovative agricultural systems such as organic farming, grass-fed and other alternative livestock production systems, mixed crop and livestock systems, and perennial grains. And it would require significant changes in market structures, policy incentives and public funding for agricultural science, according to the report.

Toward Sustainable Agricultural Systems in the 21st Century (570 pages)

General Fusion raises more money and Jeff Bezos of is one of the investors

General Fusion (Canadian magnetized target nuclear fusion) has completed its US$19.5 million Series B funding round providing the financing necessary to complete the first phase of its development and demonstration program.

The investors include Cenovus Energy, through its Environmental Opportunity Fund, Bezos Expeditions, the personal investment company of Jeff Bezos, together with existing investors Chrysalix Energy Venture Capital, GrowthWorks, Braemar Energy Ventures, Entrepreneurs Fund, Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), and SET Venture Partners.

This was the steam punk or piston engine approach to nuclear fusion. Large pistons around a sphere strike at the same time and cause a compression which wave which then fuses plasmoids.

Previous Schedule
The goal is to build small fusion reactors that can produce around 100 megawatts of power. The company claims plants would cost around US$50 million, allowing them to generate electricity at about four cents per kilowatt hour.

If there are no funding delays, then in 2010-2011 for completion of the tests and work for an almost full scale version (2 meters instead of 3 meter diameter).

The third phase for General Fusion is to raise $50 million for a net energy gain device with a target date of 2013 if the second/third phase are roughly on schedule.

If they get $300-500 million for commercialization, the first commercial scale unit could be 2016-2018.

It appears they have had no problems raising the money that they need.

Combining gas and diesel engines could yield best of both worlds

Steve Ciatti, a mechanical engineer at Argonne National Labs, is heading a team to explore the possibilities of a gasoline-diesel engine. The result, so far, is cleaner than a diesel engine and almost twice as efficient as a typical gasoline-powered engine. What's the catch? This approach results in better efficiency and cleaner emissions, but sacrifices some of the power density. That is, at peak power—when you push the accelerator pedal to the floor—the engine won't provide quite as much power: about 75 percent at present. "But if you don't drive pedal to the metal, however," Ciatti said, "this won't affect the car's performance. It's excellent in the power range where most people actually drive.

Progress to safer and cheaper vaccines that need no refridgeration and can be swallowed as capsules

University of Central Florida Professor Henry Daniell has been developing a new method of creating vaccines using genetically engineered plants. He has been developing a new method of creating vaccines using genetically engineered tobacco and lettuce plants to fight diseases such as malaria, cholera and dengue or biothreat agents such as anthrax or plague.

Currently, vaccines are made through a fermentation process that requires expensive equipment. Vaccines are made using killed, inactivated or avirulent forms of bacteria or viruses. These vaccines also require refrigeration and don’t have a very long shelf life, forcing continual production. Injections require sterile needles and health professionals for their delivery.

Vaccines produced by Daniell’s technique are delivered in capsule form and are less expensive because fermentation and refrigeration are not required. This also increases the vaccine’s shelf life.

“This means they would be accessible to all people and all countries, even the poorest and most remote,” Daniell said. “That’s why I am so grateful for the opportunity to pursue this work.”

Antineutrino Detectors Closer to Helping to Prevent Nuclear Proliferation

On Earth, tens of billions of the sun’s neutrinos pass through an area the size of a thumbtack every second. But most of these particles zip straight through Earth without a single interaction with another bit of matter.

Physicists have been working to make detectors small enough to be installed inside nuclear power plants. If their prototypes are proved, such detectors could continuously monitor nuclear reactors and provide a new way to safeguard against nuclear proliferation.

Arxiv - Detection of Anomalous Reactor Activity Using Antineutrino Count Rate Evolution Over the Course of a Reactor Cycle

We show that with a reasonable choice of detector parameters, the test can detect replacement of 73 kg of plutonium in 90 days with 95% probability, while controlling the false positive rate at 5%. We show that some improvement on this level of sensitivity may be expected by various means, including use of the method in conjunction with existing reactor safeguards methods. We also identify a necessary and sufficient daily antineutrino count rate to achieve the quoted sensitivity, and list examples of detectors in which such rates have been attained.

May 04, 2011

Computationally designing the strongest graphene paper

(a) Dependences of strength and toughness of the two representative crosslink types (coordinative bonds, CB and hydrogen bonds between epoxy and hydroxyl groups, HB1) and graphite. (b) The dependence of tensile strength and toughness on interlayer shear modulus G and graphene sheet size l.

Arxiv - Mechanical Properties of Graphene Papers

Graphene-based papers attract particular interests recently owing to their outstanding properties, the key of which is their layer-by-layer hierarchical structures similar to the biomaterials such as bone, teeth and nacre, combining intralayer strong sp2 bonds and interlayer crosslinks for efficient load transfer. Here we firstly study the mechanical properties of various interlayer and intralayer crosslinks via first-principles calculations and then perform continuum model analysis for the overall mechanical properties of graphene-based papers. A deformable tension-shear (DTS) model is presented by considering the elastic deformation of the graphene sheets and the interlayer and intralayer crosslinks. The DTS is then applied to predict the mechanics of graphene-based paper materials under tensile loading. According to the results we thus obtain, optimal design strategies are provided for designing graphene papers with ultrahigh stiffness, strength and toughness.

Previously it has been reported that actual graphene paper has been made ten times stronger than steel.

A graphene paper sample. Picture by Lisa Aloisio

3 Billion Asians Could Become Affluent By 2050 - Asia Development Bank 2050 Draft Report

By the middle of this century, an additional 3 billion Asians could enjoy higher living standards, but only if Asia sustains its present growth momentum and addresses daunting multigenerational challenges and risks, says a new report commissioned by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

ASIA 2050 Realizing the Asian Century (145 page report)

Lead telluride with selenium and sodium has thermoelectric ZT of 1.8

Valence band structure of PbTe1 − xSex.

Researchers have long tried to enhance the thermoelectric effect (turning heat into electricity) to make the devices practical. In doing so, the goal is typically to increase a property in the materials known as ZT, which depends on a set of factors that include a material's ability to conduct heat and its electrical conductivity. An alloy of lead telluride (PbTe), for example, which has long been used to generate electricity aboard satellites, has a ZT of around 0.8. Researchers have now made one of the most common thermoelectric materials more efficient with a ZT of 1.8. A ZT of 1.8 at 850K has a energy conversion efficiency of about 20 to 22% instead of 13 % at ZT of 0.8.

To increase ZT, researchers typically try to increase a material's electrical conductivity as much as possible while holding down its thermal conductivity. In 2008, researchers led by Jeffrey Snyder, a materials scientist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, spiked PbTe with thallium, which boosted the ZT to 1.5. The group later determined that the thallium altered the electronic structure of the crystal, improving its electrical conductivity.

But thallium is toxic, so Snyder and his colleagues wanted to determine if they could match the improvement with other additives. Earlier this year, Snyder and his team at Caltech reported in Energy & Environmental Science that substituting sodium for thallium produced a ZT of 1.4. Now, Snyder's team, in combination with researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Shanghai Institute of Ceramics, report online today in Nature that adding selenium and sodium gives them a maximum ZT of 1.8. The selenium not only further improves the electrical conductivity, it also reduces the thermal conductivity, Snyder explains.

Even when we can program matter, this capability will be used only when truly needed

Most matter will stay dumb, because it will always be inefficient (for energy and economics) to make it programmable and able to move.

Electrostatic robots can be programmed to self assemble now

Claytronics is progressing to millimeter and micron sizes and will have some impact However, it will take a while to make them technically feasible on a small scale and longer to make them economically worthwhile.

Super high-resolution look and feel simulations
Super high resolution 3D television that does not need glasses, holograms and touchable holograms with feedback devices and ultrasound could be used instead on Claytronics for many applications.

UN projects world population of 6.2 to 15.8 billion in 2100 with 10.1 billion midrange

The UN has a new world population forecast out to 2100 The current world population of close to 7 billion is projected to reach 10.1 billion in the next ninety years, reaching 9.3 billion by the middle of this century, according to the medium variant of the 2010 Revision of World Population Prospects.

A few weeks ago this site had noted that the world population projections were too low. The UN previously predicted would reach 9.1 billion in 2050, then the peak will occur around 2070 at 9.4 billion.

A large life extension breakthrough in 2020 would add a maximum of about 4 billion people by 2100. This would have less impact on population than the high fertility versus midrange fertility scenario.

Elon Musk of Space - Why the US Can Beat China: The Facts About SpaceX Costs

Elon Musk has an open letter which describes how Spacex keeps its costs low and why they can beat China Bigelow Aerospace (inflatable space stations), Spacex,of Ad Astra Rocket Company (makers of the VASIMR plasma rocket) and few companies like them are leading the way to a new space age.

Whenever someone proposes to do something that has never been done before, there will always be skeptics.

So when I started SpaceX, it was not surprising when people said we wouldn’t succeed. But now that we’ve successfully proven Falcon 1, Falcon 9 and Dragon, there’s been a steady stream of misinformation and doubt expressed about SpaceX’s actual launch costs and prices.

As noted last month by a Chinese government official, SpaceX currently has the best launch prices in the world and they don’t believe they can beat them. This is a clear case of American innovation trumping lower overseas labor rates

Revolutionary new paper computer shows flexible future for smartphones and tablets

Professor Roel Vertegaal's PaperPhone is best described as a flexible iPhone.

The world’s first interactive paper computer is set to revolutionize the world of interactive computing.

“This is the future. Everything is going to look and feel like this within five years,” says creator Roel Vertegaal, the director of Queen’s University Human Media Lab,. “This computer looks, feels and operates like a small sheet of interactive paper. You interact with it by bending it into a cell phone, flipping the corner to turn pages, or writing on it with a pen.”

The smartphone prototype, called PaperPhone is best described as a flexible iPhone – it does everything a smartphone does, like store books, play music or make phone calls. But its display consists of a 9.5 cm diagonal thin film flexible E Ink display. The flexible form of the display makes it much more portable that any current mobile computer: it will shape with your pocket.

The Queen's University human media lab has more information

China High Speed rail impact on China Aviation and China versus US Transportation Spending

China spending over $250 billion per year on transportation

China plans to spend at least $1.3 trillion over the next five years to ease transport and freight bottlenecks, creating a windfall for companies such as Daqin Railway Co and Anhui Expressway Co.

China has spent $569 billion on fixed-asset investment in railways and roads over the past two years. That may help to more than double the country's share of world exports to 23 percent in the next decade, according to China International Capital Corp economist Zhang Zhiwei.

Over the next five years China will spend as much as 3.5 trillion yuan on railway construction, 750 billion yuan on rail rolling stock, 3.5 trillion yuan to 4 trillion yuan on highways, 300 billion yuan to 350 billion yuan on airports, and 900 billion yuan on ports, according to Macquarie.

China High Speed rail impact China Aviation

The nation's 2 trillion yuan in spending on a high-speed rail network will give it almost as much track by next year as the entire rest of the world, even before the 16,000-kilometer network is completed in 2020. More than 7,000 kilometers of track have already been laid and another 6,000 kilometers are scheduled to open by 2012.

Some in the US are making a big deal that Chinese bullet trains will be slowed from 220mph to 190mph as of July 1st. The reduced speed will allow for safer travel as well as a possibility of greater variation in ticket prices for travelers. Amtrak trains travel at 80 mph or less. European high speed rail averages 130-170 mph.

Intel Mass Produced Trigate Transistor technology

Intel 22nm 3-D Tri-Gate Transistor Technology

Intel announces a major breakthrough and historic innovation in microchips: the world's first 3-D transistors in mass production

* The transition to 3-D continues the pace of technology advancement, fueling Moore's Law for years to come.

* An unprecedented combination of performance improvement and power reduction to enable new innovations across a range of future 22nm-based devices from the smallest handhelds to powerful cloud-based servers.

* Intel demonstrates a 22nm microprocessor -- code-named Ivy Bridge -- that will be the first high-volume chip to use 3-D transistors.

32 page presentation on the new Intel trigate technology

Waste heat engine that can use any fuel receives patent and will launch commercially later in 2011

Cyclone Power Technologies, developer of the external combustion Cyclone Engine, announced that the US Patent and Trademark Office has allowed the company a patent on its scalable waste energy recycling engine known as the WHE (Waste Heat Engine).

It is designed to run on waste heat from the exhaust of small industrial furnaces, diesel engines and gas turbines, Cyclone's WHE has also been adapted for other recovered energy applications. One such extended use is the Phoenix 10, an environmentally-friendly electric power generator that runs on used motor oil. Earlier this year Cyclone announced that Topline Energy Systems, an affiliated company of global automotive parts manufacturer Topline Automotive Engineering, signed-on to help commercialize and manufacture the WHE for the Phoenix 10 and other products.

The Cyclone Engine needs:

* No catalytic converter or muffler
* No oil pump or motor oil
* No transmission or transmission fluid

Overall, the Cyclone Engine has fewer parts to manufacture, assemble and, ultimately, break-down or wear-out. Its components are made of inexpensive, non-exotic materials. As a result, we expect the cost of manufacturing and maintaining the Cyclone Engine will be less expensive than conventional gasoline or diesel engines of comparable power output.

Nanotune claims its ultracapacitors will deliver what EEstor could not

A startup called Nanotune says its ultracapacitor technology could make electric cars cheaper and extend their range. The company, based in Mountain View, California, has developed a way to make electrodes that results in ultracapacitors with five to seven times as much storage capacity as conventional ones.

Using a conventional electrolyte, the company has demonstrated energy storage of 20 watt-hours per kilogram, as opposed to roughly five watt-hours for a conventional ultracapacitor. Using a more expensive ionic-liquid electrolyte, it has made ultracapacitors that store 35 watt-hours per kilogram. By the end of the year, the company hopes to approximately double this storage capacity, says Nanotune CEO Kuan-Tsae Huang. At 40 watt-hours per kilogram, the ultracapacitors would be an improvement over the batteries used in some hybrid vehicles

Micron-gap ThermalPhotoVoltaics update

A single 250-500 watt module

Micron-gap TPV (MTPV) provides a significant breakthrough in power source technology by transferring more power between the emitter and receiver by reducing the size of the gap between them. By employing a submicron gap, the achievable power density for MTPV can be increased by approximately an order of magnitude as compared to conventional TPV. Equivalently, for a given active area and power density, the temperature on the hot-side of an MTPV device can be reduced by about 45%. which allows for new applications for on chip power, waste heat power generation, and converter power.

“We will be entering the market at 1 Watt per square centimeter, and we believe we are about two years away from perfecting our second-generation technology capable of more than 40-50 Watts per square centimeter,” Mather said.

The company “is about 12 months away from the start of selling commercial products.” The “quad” module (pictured above) could be inserted into the gas flow of an industrial plant or the methane burn-off at a coal mine. It will generate about 300 Watts, about one-fourth the power needed to power a small home. Smaller modules are also in development.

MPTV has developed the concepts and now has small teams in Austin, Boston, and Wuhan, China. The company has developed modules which deliver 10-50 times more power than earlier thermal photovoltaics.

May 03, 2011

Speeding swarms of sensor robots

One of two Slocum gliders owned and operated by the USC Center for Integrated Networked Aquatic PlatformS (CINAPS). Image: Smith et al.

A new algorithm ensures that robotic environmental sensors will be able to focus on areas of interest without giving other areas short shrift.

At the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ International Conference on Robotics and Automation in May, MIT researchers will present a new algorithm enabling sensor-laden robots to focus on the parts of their environments that change most frequently, without losing track of the regions that change more slowly. At the same conference, they’ll present a second paper describing a test run of the algorithm on underwater sensors that researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) are using to study algae blooms.

The work of Daniela Rus, a professor of computer science and electrical engineering, and postdocs Mac Schwager and Stephen Smith (now an assistant professor at the University of Waterloo in Ontario), the algorithm is designed for robots that will be monitoring an environment for long periods of time, tracing the same routes over and over. It assumes that the data of interest — temperature, the concentration of chemicals, the presence of organisms — fluctuate at different rates in different parts of the environment. In ocean regions with strong currents, for instance, chemical concentrations might change more rapidly than they do in more sheltered areas.

Forecasts of China and US GDP to 2030

Economist Arvind Subramanian who has calculated that China passed the USA in PPP in 2010, expects that by 2030 the Chinese economy to be twice as large as that of the US (in purchasing power parity dollars).

China’s lead will not be confined to gross domestic product. China is already the world’s largest exporter of goods. By 2030, China’s trade volume will be twice that of the US. And, of course, China is also a net creditor to the US.

The combination of economic size, trade and creditor status will confer on China a kind of economic dominance that the US enjoyed for about five to six decades after World War II and that Britain enjoyed at the peak of the empire in the late nineteenth century.

This will matter in two important ways. America’s ability to influence China will be seriously diminished, which is already evident in China’s unwillingness to change its exchange rate policy despite US urging. And the open trading and financial system that the US fashioned after World War II will be increasingly China’s to sustain or undermine.

The new numbers, the underlying realities they represent and the future they portend must serve as a wake-up call for America to get its fiscal house in order and quickly find new sources of economic dynamism if it is not to cede its pre-eminence to a rising, perhaps already risen, China.

Nextbigfuture update of China / US GDP forecasts on exchange rate basis

Updating the forecast of China and US GDP to 2030

Adjusted US GDP for 2011-2016 to match IMF forecast for the US. After that have growth of 4.5% for GDP and a little bit of inflation.

Persistence of black holes through a cosmological bounce

Arxiv - Persistence of black holes through a cosmological bounce If the Universe expands and contracts in cycles of Big Bangs and Crunches, some black holes may survive from one era to the next, according to a new analysis. Coley and Carr say that since the mass of primordial and pre-crunch black holes is similar, they will be very difficult to tell apart. Nobody has yet seen a primordial black hole, although efforts are underway to search for the telltale signatures they ought to produce. A Big Crunch generates a singularity that ought to cause everything in the Universe to merge. But Carr and Coley say that in some circumstances, black holes of a certain mass could avoid this fate and survive the crunch as separate entities. The masses for which this is possible range from a few hundred million kilograms to about the mass of our Sun.

There may be objects in our Universe that predate the Big Bang. And if we can somehow find a way to distinguish them from primordial black holes, we may yet be able to observe these most ancient of objects.

Separate work has suggested that advanced civilizations might be able to live inside the event horizon of a blackhole. Combining the work suggests that advanced civilizations would be able to survive from a precrunch universe to another post-crunch universe.

Technology Review has coverage

Intel CEO Promises Revolutionary 22nm Technology

Intel's CEO Paul Otellini attracted some interest during the April 19, 2011 earnings conference call when he told analysts that the next generation of 22 nanometer processors will feature a "revolutionary" process technology. Details will be revealed at the Intel analyst day event in late May, 2011.

Intel highlighted the fact that it has dramatically increased its capital expenditures and R&D spending to $10.2 billion this year. We should be expecting some big steps from Intel over the next 24 months.

The purpose apparently is a faster transition to 22 nm and later to 14 nm in an effort to keep its rivals at a distance and cash in on its process technology advantage.

Japan makes 40 watt rollup solar power for laptops using two connected units

OS – a Japanese company that makes retractable screens for projectors – has invented this very handy portable solar power-on-the-go device, that sells for ¥60,000 - or about $730.

The GSR-110B solar generator uses flexible solar cells developed by Fuji Electric Systems, and it is a mini solar setup that is completely off-grid, since it includes its own small rechargeable battery right in the case.

The GSR-110b weight 3 kg (6.6 pounds)

Novel CCL21-Vault Nanocapsule Intratumoral Delivery Inhibits Lung Cancer Growth

PLos One - Novel CCL21-Vault Nanocapsule Intratumoral Delivery Inhibits Lung Cancer Growth

This study demonstrates that the vault nanocapsule can efficiently deliver CCL21 to sustain antitumor activity and inhibit lung cancer growth. The vault nanocapsule can serve as an “off the shelf” approach to deliver antitumor cytokines to treat a broad range of malignancies. Pre-clinical studies in mice with lung cancer showed that the protein stimulated the immune system to recognize and attack the cancer cells, potently inhibiting cancer growth.

This is related to earlier reports on nanoscale vaults for nanoparticle drug delivery at UCLA

Attempts to use social media for Arab liberation and US plans to eradicate Al Qaeda

1. Some now see Bin Laden’s death as the end of an extremist era, replaced with a more moderate age of civil engagement and empowerment. Two central figures in this new civil movement came to speak at MIT just days before Bin Laden’s death. Ahmed Maher, 30, and Waleed Rashed, 27, are co-founders of the April 6 Youth Movement, an Egyptian Facebook group that mobilized thousands of citizens to take to the streets in protest, leading to the February overthrow of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.

1 in 12 Americans have Asthma and the numbers are growing

US Center for disease control - Asthma is a lifelong disease that causes wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and coughing .The number of people diagnosed with asthma grew by 4.3 million from 2001 to 2009. From 2001 through 2009 asthma rates rose the most among black children, almost a 50% increase.

Asthma was linked to 3,447 deaths (about 9 per day) in 2007. Asthma costs in the US grew from about $53 billion in 2002 to about $56 billion in 2007, about a 6% increase. Greater access to medical care is needed for the growing number of people with asthma.

Wikipedia on asthma

As of 2009, 300 million people worldwide were affected by asthma leading to approximately 250,000 deaths per year. It is estimated that asthma has a 7-10% prevalence worldwide. As of 1998, there was a great disparity in prevalence worldwide across the world (as high as a 20 to 60-fold difference), with a trend toward more developed and westernized countries having higher rates of asthma.

Westernization however does not explain the entire difference in asthma prevalence between countries, and the disparities may also be affected by differences in genetic, social and environmental risk factors. Mortality however is most common in low to middle income countries, while symptoms were most prevalent (as much as 20%) in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Republic of Ireland; they were lowest (as low as 2–3%) in Eastern Europe, Indonesia, Greece, Uzbekistan, India, and Ethiopia.

While asthma is more common in affluent countries, it is by no means a restricted problem; the WHO estimate that there are between 15 and 20 million people with asthma in India

Rice University Capteur Soleil device may sterilize medical instruments in developing world

Rice University senior engineering students are using the sun to power an autoclave that sterilizes medical instruments and help solve a long-standing health issue for developing countries.

The student's used Capteur Soleil, a device created decades ago by French inventor Jean Boubour to capture the energy of the sun in places where electricity -- or fuel of any kind -- is hard to get. In attaching an insulated box containing the autoclave, the students transform the device into a potential lifesaver.

The device was also used in Haiti for cooking.

Capteur Soleil can't provide enough heat to boil oil for frying, the steam can be used to cook dozens of dishes.

"The operating cost for our system is essentially zero," Schuler said. It won't work on a cloudy day, so it won't eliminate fuel costs altogether, but we'll be collecting data to find out just how much it can save.

Suspended Animation moving to human clinical trials with Army Funding

Trauma surgeon Dr. Peter Rhee, a former battlefield surgeon for the U.S. military who has been researching suspended animation for 15 years and is a leading innovator in the field.

In the aftermath of the Jan. 8, 2011 Tucson shootings, Dr Rhee and other medical experts asked government officials to support a clinical trial that would test suspended animation on people. A feasibility trial would take place in Baltimore; if successful, trials would expand to five locations around the country, including UMC, which is Southern Arizona's only top-level trauma center.

The Food and Drug Administration already has approved the technique for a human trial. The Army is expected to fund the feasibility phase, and Rhee is lobbying for funding for the full trial.

Five arrested under Terrorism Act near UK Sellafield nuclaer reprocessing facilities

Five men were arrested under the UK's Terrorism Act near the Sellafield site on 2 May, said Cumbria Police.

Sellafield (formerly known as Windscale) is a nuclear processing and former electricity generating site, close to the village of Seascale on the coast of the Irish Sea in Cumbria, England.

Facilities at the site include the THORP nuclear fuel reprocessing plant and the Magnox nuclear fuel reprocessing plant. It is also the site of the remains of Calder Hall, the world's first commercial nuclear power station, now being decommissioned, as well as some other older nuclear facilities

BBC News - Sellafield has a bunker that stores about 100 tonnes of plutonium, which experts say is enough to manufacture thousands of nuclear weapons.

The BBC understands the men were taking photographs and are all believed to be Bangladeshi.

Four houses in east London were raided by counter-terror detectives as part of the investigation.

Scotland Yard said a small container was removed at one of the addresses.

The container is being examined. Explosives officers attended as a precaution, although the container is now not thought to have had explosives or hazardous material in it.

Canadian election some shift and strategic voting

Some traditional Liberal voters undoubtedly voted Conservative this time in order to prevent a government led by the NDP, which promised billions of dollars in new spending as well as billions in new taxes and revenues.

The Liberal party still wants to own the center of Canadian politics, but that ground has narrowed as the NDP have moved toward the center and so have the Conservatives.

Harper has occupied some of the center ground, pledging for example to oppose any restrictions on abortion, and also to increase already-pricey transfers to the provinces for public health care.

Official confirmation that I won three nuclear bets in 2010

Global production of uranium increased 6% in 2010, compared with the previous year, according to the World Nuclear Association (WNA). Kazakhstan maintained its position as the leading uranium producing country.

Figures compiled by WNA show that worldwide uranium production grew from 50,772 tonnes in 2009 to 53,663 tonnes in 2010, the highest level since the early 1990s.

Kazakhstan was the largest producing country, with output of 17,803 tonnes in 2010, a 27% increase from the 14,020 tonnes it produced in 2009.

Michael Dittmar wrote a series of posts about nuclear energy that was published on The Oil Drum in 2009. In the first post of the series, he said that uranium "civilian uranium stocks are expected to be exhausted during the next few years" and "the current uranium supply situation is unsustainable". Basically lack of uranium production from uranium mines would cause lack of nuclear fuel which would result in steadily dropping nuclear power generation. I made a series of three bets with Dittmar

1. World Uranium production (official win for 2010)
2. World Nuclear power generation bets going to 2018 (still unofficial)
3. Uranium production in Kazakhstan (official win for 2010)

I reviewed these bets at the end of 2010 when it was clear but unofficial that I had won all three bets for 2010

May 02, 2011

Rossi and Focardi Energy Catalyzer

Pure Energy Systems reports that Andrea Rossi has stated that there are currently 105 E-Cat modules in continuous operation. Rossi claims these are modules that will be used in the one megawatt plant, and that he is personally constructing additional units every day.

Andrea Rossi has announced that an E-Cat unit will be sent to both the University of Uppsala and the University of Stockholm for extended testing. Perhaps after working with the device themselves, skeptics such as these two will eventually change their minds.

If Rossi’s technology works as advertised it could mean that a revolution in energy production is on the horizon. Rossi has said that he will be charging 1 cent per kWh initially for the electricity he produces. That is approximately one tenth of the average cost of electricity in the US.

Bill Joy still hopes that EEStor will get Commercialized

New Energy and Fuel reports that Bill Joy (an investor in EEStor via Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers) indicates that EEStor is still working to get commercialized.

Joy confirmed that Kleiner Perkins is still invested in EEStor and hope remains EEStor will get to market. Meanwhile, Joy is still looking and investing in other energy storage mediums.

The Bloc Quebecois is no longer an official party in Canada's Parliament and just part of a Historic Realignment in Canada

The NDP’s orange surge has brought a dramatic shift to Quebec, demolishing the separatist Bloc Québécois and toppling Conservative cabinet ministers by capturing more than 40% of the vote. The Conservative party has a majority and probably will not an election for 5 years. Each Parliament has a maximum term of five years. There will not be any fast union of the anti-conservatives. Liberals will try to rebuild. Having any partial revival of the Liberals will probably hand the next couple of elections to the Conservatives. Just when there were two center right parties (Conservatives and Reform - gave elections to the Liberals.)

Recognition in Canada's parliament allows parties certain parliamentary privileges. Generally official party status is dependent on winning a minimum number of seats (that is, the number of Members of Parliament or Members of the Legislative Assembly elected). The federal parliament has two houses with different requirements. In the House of Commons, a party must have at least 12 seats to be recognized as an official party. Recognition means that the party will get time to ask questions during question period (proportional to the number of seats) and money for research and staff (also proportional to the number of seats). In the Senate, a party must have five seats and must be registered by Elections Canada.

The Bloc can no longer claim to be the legitimate voice of Quebecers in Ottawa. There is a new voice, a federalist voice, the New Democratic Party, to speak for Quebec and Quebecers. This does not mean separatism is dead — as Pierre Trudeau declared it to be, prematurely, back in 1975. But it does mean that Quebecers, weary of the tired sovereignist games, are once again prepared to explore a federalist route to Ottawa.

Conservative government projected in 2011 Canada election with a probable majority

A Conservative government is projected in Canada's 2011 election with the NDP as the opposition

With 15 ridings not reporting. The Conservatives look likely to win a majority based on how the look of current results.

Leading/Elected 155 needed for majority
Conservatives 154
NDP 104
Liberals 31
Bloc 4

Conservative government projected. NDP projected as opposition
by Ron Nurwisah, National Post at 5/3/2011 2:31:35 AM7:31 PM

An utter collapse for the Liberals and the Bloc.

With polling results still to come in from the West (BC and Alberta.) It looks like a conservative majority government.

CanDo program allows DNA origami designers to test and tweak designs

The CanDo (computer-aided engineering for DNA origami) program can convert a 2-D DNA origami blueprint into a complex 3-D shape, seen here. Image: Do-Nyun Kim

A major hurdle to these increasingly complex DNA designs has been automation of the design process. Now a team at MIT, led by biological engineer Mark Bathe, has developed software that makes it easier to predict the three-dimensional shape that will result from a given DNA template. While the Cando software doesn’t fully automate the design process, it makes it considerably easier for designers to create complex 3-D structures, controlling their flexibility and potentially their folding stability.

Canada election results show Conservatives will have a majority government

Most pre-election projections were for Canada to elect another Conservative minority government. However, a Conservative Majority was elected.

UPDATE: The Bloc Quebecois is no longer an official political party in Canada's parliament. The younger people in Quebec are less interested in separation. This could mean the passing of Quebec separatism as a significant risk. The political configuration from this election will remain for close to the maximum of 5 years, because with a majority the Conservatives will have an advantage in calling an early election. It will take at least two elections for the Bloc Quebecois or the Liberals to rebuild to where they were and they may not be able to rebuild. Anti-conservative party people may decide to firm up the NDP into true competition to the Conservatives. It was mainly Liberal vs Conservative for a few decades before the Bloc, Reform and previously limited surges of the NDP.

There will not be any fast union of the anti-conservatives. Liberals will try to rebuild. Having any partial revival of the Liberals will probably hand the next couple of elections to the Conservatives. Just when there were two center right parties (Conservatives and Reform - gave elections to the Liberals.)

UPDATE - 7:48 PST May 2, 2011
Leading/Elected 155 needed for majority
Conservatives 165
NDP 103
Liberals 31
Bloc 4
Other 1

Conservative government projected. NDP projected as opposition
by Ron Nurwisah, National Post edited by Ron Nurwisah, National Post at 7:48 PM

The Conservatives appeared poised to emerge the victor in Atlantic Canada — a small but mighty 32-seat region long held by the Liberals, who looked set to lose upward of a third of their caucus.

Early results from Quebec, Ontario, the prairies and Alberta show the Tories at upward of 130 seats, the NDP in second place with an unprecedented 60 seats, the Liberals trailing in third with 26 seats, and the Bloc bringing up the rear with five seats.

The Conservatives need 155 or more seats for a majority. Pre-election polling indicates that is possible but unlikely. However, a Conservative majority was the result.

Reversible control of electrical and thermal properties could find uses in storage systems

An artistic rendering of the suspension as it freezes shows graphite flakes clumping together to form a connected network (dark spiky shapes at center), as they are pushed into place by the crystals that form as the liquid hexadecane surrounding them begins to freeze. Image: Jonathan Tong

A team of researchers at MIT has found a way to manipulate both the thermal conductivity and the electrical conductivity of materials simply by changing the external conditions, such as the surrounding temperature. And the technique they found can change electrical conductivity by factors of well over 100, and heat conductivity by more than threefold.

Nature Communications - Reversible temperature regulation of electrical and thermal conductivity using liquid–solid phase transitions

IMF GDP and PPP forecasts to 2016

The IMF has new purchasing power parity forecasts out to 2016 and new nominal GDP forecasts out to 2016. The IMF does not seem to make any attempt to have accurate currency forecasts for its nominal exchange rate forecasts.

Brazil and Russia are forecasted to pass France, Italy and the UK. Brazil will be the 5th largest national economy and Russia will be the 6th largest. India is forecast to be ahead of Italy but behind France.

The World will have a $100 trillion economy on a PPP basis in about 2015 and on a nominal GDP basis in 2018.

Ny Teknik tested the energy catalyzer

Ny Teknik recently participated in two new tests of the Italian ‘energy catalyzer’, providing more accurate measurements to reduce possible error sources.

The new tests with the energy catalyzer, which seems to generate heat by an unknown nuclear reaction, took place in Bologna on 19 and 28 April, 2011.

As in previous tests the objective was to measure the net energy that the device generates as accurately as possible.

The results of the two tests showed a developed net power of between 2.3 and 2.6 kilowatts – of the order of a large stove plate. Input electric power was in the order of 300 watts.

IEC Fusion WB8 prototype is operating as designed and should report in about 12 months

IEC (Inertial Electrostatic confinement) Fusion Technology points to an update on the Energy Matter Conversion corporation (EMC2) navy bussard nuclear fusion project.

Project Title Federal Contract

Project Status More than 50% Completed

Final Project Report Submitted No

Project Activities Description Other Scientific and Technical Consulting Services

Quarterly Activities/Project Description As of 1Q/2011, the WB-8 device operates as designed and it is generating positive results. EMC2 is planning to conduct comprehensive experiments on WB-8 in the next 9-12 months based on the current contract funding schedule.

Jobs Created 11.00

Description of Jobs Created two full time plasma physicists. one full time equivalent electrical engineer.

Talk Polywell

WB8 was designed to scale up the magnetic field by a factor of eight, and also to run with ion injectors vice puff gas, with improved diagnostics to analyze the plasma, the ion distribution, the electron distribution, and monitor fusion events and distributions.

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