May 14, 2011

Metallic Glass 70 nanometer Nanowires

Photograph of a thin, flexible metallic glass fiber (left) and an electron microscopy image of a metallic glass rope weaved from such fibers (right).

Nature Asia Pacific Materials - Glassy metallic wires can be controllably manufactured by drawing from a supercooled rod

The metals we are most familiar with adopt a periodic, crystalline atomic arrangement. Metallic glasses, on the other hand, have an amorphous structure that is well suited for certain fabrication processes such as casting. Glassy metallic wires with widths of micrometers or nanometers are also less brittle than their bulk metallic counterparts, but such wires have proved difficult to fabricate. Wei Hua Wang and colleagues from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing have now developed a simple method for producing well-controlled and defect-free metallic glass wires.

The researchers found that the resulting wires had high structural uniformity. Their surfaces were as smooth as those of industrial silica glass fibers, and the wires could tolerate a much greater bending angle, in excess of 90° (see image). The diameters of the wires were easily controlled by adjusting the drawing force, allowing the researchers to draw wires as thin as 70 nm—ten times thinner than any wires produced previously.

This work increases the feasibility of using metallic glass fibers as building blocks for microscale and nanoscale devices, with possible applications in composites, sensors, intelligent fabrics, circuit interconnects and optical waveguides. It also holds considerable intrinsic scientific interest, says Wang. “Our fibers can be used as a model system to study many fundamental issues in metallic glasses.”

Nuclear Power News Roundup May 12 (Restoring)

1. Pakistan's third nuclear power reactor began commercial operation today. The Chashma Nuclear Power Plant unit 2, also known as CHASNUPP-2, is a 300 MWe pressurized water reactor located near Chashma Barrage on the left bank of the River Indus. Construction on the unit began late in 2005 and it was grid connected on 14 March this year. Pakistani and Chinese teams delivered the project three months ahead of schedule.

Pakistan currently has a small nuclear fleet consisting of three reactors with a net capacity of 725 MWe. However, it has plans to expand on this with at least two more reactors planned for the same site, and a total nuclear capacity of 8800 MWe by 2030. This is part of a much more ambitious program that would see an increase in generation from all sources from 20 GWe in 2006 to over 160 GWe by 2030.

2. Latest update on Fukushima reactors from Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (10 pages)

iRobot to sell AVA the Android-based robot (Replacing what has not restored)

iRobot hopes someday soon a robot waiter will deliver your food--and it might well use an Android tablet to see, hear, speak, and think. Today there are two general robot types that are sustainable businesses: high-end, expensive ones for defusing bombs in Afghanistan or monitoring radiation in Japan, and low-end ones for vacuuming. Angle wants an intermediate category and believes tablets will enable that market to develop.

AVA grafts a tablet onto a mobile robot body that can navigate floors. An Android-powered Motorola Xoom tablet was not just the brains of the operation, but the senses and face as well.

The tablet is the head
* camera and microphone for visual input
* a screen and speakers to let people interact with the robot

NASA plans test of advanced nuclear power generator (Replacing cause has not fixed)

Diagram of an Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator. Credit: U.S. Department of Energy

Two of the robotic missions NASA selected for further study last week would be powered by experimental nuclear generators. NASA picked robotic missions to Mars, a comet and Saturn's moon Titan as finalists last week for a launch opportunity in 2016, and two of the probes would employ a cutting edge nuclear power source never tested in space. Probes to Titan and comet Wirtanen, a small object composed of a mix of rock and ice, would be powered by Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generators on their journeys into the outer solar system. The nuclear power units, called ASRGs, use less plutonium than existing generators.

Pairing Quantum Dots with Fullerenes for Nanoscale Photovoltaics (replacing myself because is too slow to fix)

Left: Photoinduced electron transfer occurring in quantum dot-bridge-fullerene hererodimers and observed with single molecule microscopy. Right: Control of electron transfer (ET) rate by variation of interparticle distance (R, upper panel) and quantum dot size (D, lower panel).

Brookhaven National Laboratory researchers have assembled nanoscale pairings of particles that show promise as miniaturized power sources. Composed of light-absorbing, colloidal quantum dots linked to carbon-based fullerene nanoparticles, these tiny two-particle systems can convert light to electricity in a precisely controlled way.

Dwave four by four array of 8 qubit quantumness

Dwave has had their 128 qubit adiabatic quantum computer chip for some time

It is a 4×4 array of 8-qubit unit cell

Just a few days ago Dwave published a peer reviewed article in the prestigious journal Nature that confirms that their 8 qubit unit cells are leveraging quantum effects.

So proving the 8 qubit unit cells are quantum proves that the 4x4 array is leveraging quantum effects.

Google and Dwave have been using the 128 qubit chip on image recognition and binary classifier applications

Stronger, Tougher than steel or Titanium and Now Cheap: Caltech Researchers Have New Way to Process Metallic Glass (Replacing is too slow to fix)

A metallic-glass rod before heating and molding (left); a molded metallic-glass part (middle); the final product with its excess material trimmed off (right). [Credit: Marios D. Demetriou]

Stronger than steel or titanium—and just as tough—metallic glass is an ideal material for everything from cell-phone cases to aircraft parts. Now, researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have developed a new technique that allows them to make metallic-glass parts utilizing the same inexpensive processes used to produce plastic parts. With this new method, they can heat a piece of metallic glass at a rate of a million degrees per second and then mold it into any shape in just a few milliseconds. The new technique is called rapid discharge forming and a company Glassimetal Technology has been set up.

Journal Science - Beating Crystallization in Glass-Forming Metals by Millisecond Heating and Processing

Previously covered work at Yale to make metallic glass that is stronger than steel but moldable as plastic

* 20 times harder than plastic but can be shaped like plastic
* Metallic glass is already produced in tens of thousands of tons per year (golf clubs and other markets). 1.3 billion tons of steel are produced every year and 10 million tons of stronger glass fiber. This should boost metallic glass to the millions of ton level by 2020
* lowering the cost of this stronger and tougher material will enable more applications
* separate work in China and other places, nanowires (as thin as 70 nanometers) can be produced from metallic glass

Replacing - Graphene-Powered Optical Networks Could Lead to Petabit and Exabit Transmission Speeds

graphene-based waveguide-integrated optical modulator.

This is a follow up to coverage of graphen optical modulators from a few days ago.

UC Berkeley researchers have a graphene optical modulator down to 25 square microns in size -- small enough to include in silicon circuitry -- and modulated it at a speed of 1GHz. The researchers say that modulation speeds of up to 500GHz are theoretically possible, though -- and for comparison, the modulators found in 40Gbit switches are measured in centimeters and operate at just 40GHz.

Replacement of missing story - Activated Graphene Makes Superior Supercapacitors for Energy Storage

Atomic resolution electron micrograph of activated graphene. The images show that the material is composed of single sheets of crystalline carbon, which are highly curved to form a three-dimensional porous network.

Activated graphene combines high storage capacity with quick energy release and unlimited recharge. Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory have helped to uncover the nanoscale structure of a novel form of carbon, contributing to an explanation of why this new material acts like a super-absorbent sponge when it comes to soaking up electric charge. The material, which was recently created at The University of Texas - Austin, can be incorporated into “supercapacitor” energy-storage devices with remarkably high storage capacity while retaining other attractive attributes such as superfast energy release, quick recharge time, and a lifetime of at least 10,000 charge/discharge cycles.

May 13, 2011

Ground Effect Aero Trains

IEEE Spectrum - A ground-effect vehicle takes advantage of this fast-moving air and uses some stubby little wings to fly just above the ground, like a maglev without the mag. This is a tricky thing to do, since you have to control the vehicle more like an airplane than a train, meaning that you have to deal with pitch, roll, and yaw and not just the throttle. A Japanese research group led by Yusuke Sugahara at Tohoku University has built robotic prototype of a free flying ground-effect vehicle that they're using to test an autonomous three axis stabilization system.

Japanese language aerotrain site Tohoku University

OECD nuclear generation 10 TWH ahead of 2010 for first two months and Australia talks about doubling Uranium production

Nextbigfuture briefly deleted for "unusual activity"

This site was briefly deleted.

Turns out my problem just required using the verification system

the link of
I can't find my blog on the Web, where is it?'

then used verification - "they detected unusual activity"

I verified and my site got put back.

A lot of weird stuff going on over there. Making the whole outage thing even worse.

If I did not do the verification the site would still be in suspension - deletion.

Copy of a missing article - D-Wave’s latest Quantum computer paper has been published in Nature and uses freezeframe snapshots to prove quantum mechanical behavior

Everyone knows that when you observe a quantum computation, you destroy it, right? So how are you supposed to know if your quantum computer is working correctly? That’s what this latest Nature article from the scientists at D-Wave addresses. We’ve known for some time that the D-Wave quantum computers are performing computations, and we know that the answers they are giving us are correct, (they agree with our predictions).

But wouldn’t it be cool to be able to go further, to actually look INSIDE a quantum computer, with large numbers of qubits all interacting and computing, and catch the quantum mechanics in the act?

* This is the workings of a quantum processor. It is programmable – it actually solves problems, looks similar to the integrated circuits inside your laptop, and you can program it using Python

* They can use those quantum effects to compute

The unit cell mentioned above is operated in the same way as it would be during a normal computation – running what is known as a quantum annealing algorithm. The difference is that at a certain point during the computation, the usually slow, careful annealing of the qubits is suddenly interrupted by a very fast signal. This signal causes the unit cell to ‘freeze’ in whatever state it was in at the time. If you repeat the computation lots of times, but each time apply your ‘freezing’ signal at a slightly different moment during the quantum computation, you can build up a series of ‘snapshots’, like stills on a movie reel. D-Wave scientists compiled all these snapshots to reveal exactly what is happening during the quantum computation.

Tepco will install giant polyester covers over the Fukushima reactors

Giant polyester covers will soon be placed around the damaged reactor buildings at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex to help contain the release of radioactive substances into the atmosphere, the plant operator said Friday.

Tokyo Electric Power will install the first cover at the No. 1 reactor, the focus of recent stabilization efforts.

Workers will erect a steel framework and place a giant polyester tent-like cover around the reactor building. The cover will be 55 meters high, 47 meters long and 42 meters wide.

The operation to fit the cover will begin next month. Similar covers will be placed around units Nos. 3 and 4. The work is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

It is a low tech and slower version that serves the same purpose as an inflatable dome. A giant inflatable cover that has double lining would be something that could be transported to any site.

Inflatable domes

August, 2006, Southern Inflatables announced the completion of the installation of the largest span air supported structure ever constructed in the world, 215 meters x 215 meters x 45 meters high (705’ x 705’ x 150’ high). The structure was installed over a waste disposal site, 45 meters deep (150 feet) in South Korea.

Luna Personal Robot

1,000 limited edition Luna personal robots will go on sale in 2011 and will be generally available in 2012.

Luna has a Dual Core Atom 2 GHz processor, a Linux-based operating system, and up to 32 GB of storage. Interaction is possible via an 8-inch capacitive touchscreen, a three-microphone array with speakers, wireless and cellular communication, an 8-megapixel camera, and a 3D sensor. She runs on a 12-volt battery, for 4-8 hours per charge.

The IEEE website also reports a projected price of just US$1,000, although the first models (which should ship later this year) will go for $3,000.

iRobots Ava robot and the Luna Robot appear to target the same new middle tier robot niche

I think when Heartland robotics comes out with $5000 or less high precision robotic arms, mounting those arms onto these kinds of robots will be very powerful. A one high precision arm robot that is mobile with visual and audio interfaces could be had for about $6000. Those robots will be able to run thousands of different apps. There a rapid impact of millions of highly functional personal robot within 3 years. had a big outage which hampered Nextbigfuture

10-15% of internet users hit something on in a day.
It has about 0.75% of internet traffic. This is 12% of the total traffic that goes to the main site of

The problem was software maintenance gone wrong. status is here
They are still recovering articles from the last two days.

May 12, 2011

Xprize and Qualcomm will offer $10 million for the Tricorder Xprize

The Tricorder X PRIZE is a $10 million prize to develop a mobile solution that can diagnose patients better than or equal to a panel of board certified physicians. The X PRIZE Foundation and Qualcomm seeks to achieve this by combining advancements in expert systems and medical point of care data such as wireless sensors, advancements in medical imaging and microfluidics.

May 11, 2011

Trial runs of Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway to begin

The long anticipated Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway will start a one-month trial operation on Wednesday, before its formal launch in late June.

The railway authority has also decided that the fastest train service between the two mega-cities will make an extra stop in Nanjing (capital of Jiangsu province), according to an official with the transport bureau under the Ministry of Railways.

The Beijing-Shanghai high speed train will run at speeds between 155mph - 185mph and provide three services: "non-stop" (which actually will stop in the old imperial capital of Nanjing), a medium-fast service stopping in provincial capitals and a "full service" stopping in 24 stations along the line.

The Beijing Shanghai line is a 1,318 kilometres (819 mi) long high-speed railway that connects two major economic zones in the People's Republic of China: the Bohai Sea Rim and the Yangtze River Delta. Construction began on April 18, 2008, and a ceremony to mark the completion of track laying was held on November 15, 2010. The line is scheduled to be put into commercial service on June 20, 2011

EMC2 Fusion CEO Jaeyoung Park discusses the project in an interview at Cosmic Log

Alan Boyle at Cosmiclog (MSNBC) interviews Jaeyoung Park who is working at EMC2 Fusion (Bussard, Inertial Electrostatic Fusion)

EMC2 Fusion has a $7.9 million Navy contract to test a plasma technology known as inertial electrostatic confinement fusion, also known as Polywell fusion.

Some of the leading team members went on leave from Los Alamos National Laboratory to work on EMC2. Rick Nebel, the Los Alamos engineer who led the company since Bussard's death in 2007, retired from the company last November. Taking his place as acting chief executive officer is Jaeyoung Park. The 41-year-old physicist says he's given up his position at Los Alamos to focus fully on EMC2.

"We had a lot of milestones to meet in the last six months or so," Park told me today. "It's been pretty hectic."

Workplace Robots Need Better Machine Vision

Robotics pioneer Rodney Brooks says a new generation of industrial robots could be enabled by better machine vision. A coming wave of industrial robots will be smart enough to work safely alongside humans in many different settings, says Rodney Brooks, a professor emeritus of robotics at MIT and a founder of iRobot.

May 10, 2011

India's Economy at 80 trillion Rupees and should be at US$ 2 trillion in 2012

Business Standard - India is about to exceeds $2 trillion in GDP. According to recently released data, India’s nominal GDP is expected to grow at 14 per cent in 2011-12 (Fiscal year end March 31, 2012), to reach Rs 90 lakh crores. At a dollar exchange rate of Rs 45 (currently the exchange rate is Rs 41.5 to 1 US$), this works out to $2 trillion. However, if inflation is assumed to be 7 per cent and the real growth rate is 9 per cent as projected, the growth rate of 14 per cent may actually understate nominal growth rate by 2 percentage points, which means India’s nominal GDP in dollar terms will actually exceed $2 trillion this fiscal.

Indian GDP was at about 78.8 trillion Rupees at the fiscal year end of March 31, 2011 With the current exchange rate India is almost a $2 trillion nominal GDP country now.

Indonesia could become a one trillion dollar economy in 2012

The Indonesian economy will produce a nominal GDP of Rp 7,400 trillion ($870 billion if the exchange rate leads to an average of Rp 8,500 against the US dollar) in 2011. This is roughly an increase of 15 percent from 2010.

If by year end the rupiah is around Rp 8,000 per US dollar, then the average rate of exchange of the US currency will be around Rp 8,400 to Rp 8,500. Therefore, an average exchange rate of Rp 8,500 is certainly a conservative assumption.

Indonesia's economy will expand further next year. If the rate of growth continues, we will see Indonesia’s nominal GDP rise again in 2012 to a level of around Rp 8,500 trillion, an increase of 15 percent. With the strengthening rupiah against the US dollar, Indonesia’s GDP may translate to a level of over $1 trillion in 2012.

Wikipedia list of countries by future nominal GDP according to IMF projections Indonesia getting to $1 trillion in 2012 is one year ahead of the IMF projections.

NASA Offers $200 million for an Orbiting Gas Station

NASA has put out a call for a $200 million mission to show how to store and transfer rocket propellants in space. In-space refueling technology would allow smaller and cheaper rockets to be used for missions that would otherwise be outside their weight class. It will also considerably enhance the capabilities of larger rockets. "Instead of sending the rockets fully fueled to asteroids or to Mars we would launch them partially fueled to get more payload into orbit," Chris Moore, deputy director of advanced capabilities for NASA told "Then we'd top off the propellant by docking with depots in lower Earth orbit."

Cryogenic Propellant Depots Design
Concepts and Risk Reduction Activities Future In-Space Operations (FISO) March 2, 2011 (30- pages, 4.5 megabytes)

Google IO 2011 - Android rally, App Engine 1.5, Music Beta and more

At Google I/O 2011, the Android team shared some updates.

There are now:

* 100 million activated Android devices
* 400,000 new Android devices activated every day
* 200,000 free and paid applications available in Android Market
* 4.5 billion applications installed from Android Market

Android 3.1 update (new version of Android called Ice Cream Sandwich) to the Honeycomb tablet OS adds the ability to make an Android device a USB host.

Android 3.1's interface includes features such as a new scrolling list of apps for switching among them and resizable widgets. Existing widgets can be updated with new XML code to give them the new resizing abilities.

Google has launched Music Beta by Google, a new service that lets you upload your personal music collection to the cloud for streaming to your computer and Android devices

Microbubble-delivered combination therapy eradicates prostate cancer in vivo

Docked structure of BI-97C1 into the BH3 binding groove of Mcl-1.

Researchers prevent tumor growth in prostate-cancer-prone transgenic mice by combining an anti-cancer drug with viral gene therapy delivered by ultrasound-targeted microbubble technology.

Cancer researchers are a step closer to finding a cure for advanced prostate cancer after effectively combining an anti-cancer drug with a viral gene therapy in vivo using novel ultrasound-targeted microbubble-destruction (UTMD) technology. The research was conducted by scientists at Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center, VCU Institute of Molecular Medicine and School of Medicine, in collaboration with colleagues from Washington University School of Medicine and Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute.

PNAS - Apogossypol derivative BI-97C1 (Sabutoclax) targeting Mcl-1 sensitizes prostate cancer cells to mda-7/IL-24–mediated toxicity

Leukocyte Infusion Therapy Clinical Trial in China

The Leukocyte Infusion Therapy (LIFT) for cancer treatment pioneered by Dr. Zheng Cui of Wake Forest University has a clinical trial proceeding in China. The process is a simple transfusion of certain immune system white blood cells from people who are naturally immune to cancer to boost the immune system of people with weaker immune systems.

While many of Dr. Cui’s preclinical and preliminary clinical studies have shown promising results and the FDA has approved a combined phase I-II clinical trial in the US which is currently in process, a lack of conventional funding has limited the access of many patients to the US trial. Due to the significantly lower cost of medical procedures in China, it is now possible to conduct the clinical trials for testing LIFT in China for a larger number of subjects.

The first clinical trial in China is taking place at the 304 Hospital in Beijing and its lead investigator is Dr. Wenhua Xiao. It will include twenty-six patients and you can read more about it in the Who Can Participate? section.

Iran's Bushehr nuclear reactor goes critical

Iran's first nuclear power reactor has achieved a sustained chain reaction, Russian builder AtomStroyExport (ASE) has announced.

Final commissioning tests will now be carried out prior to ramp-up to 100% power and the start of commercial operation. According to Iranian news agency Fars, the plant is expected to be connected to the national grid within the next two months.

It would normally take a few months after grid connection before a new nuclear reactor is operating at full commercial capacity.

The Next Decade in Global Wealth Among Millionaire Households

According to a Deloitte Center for Financial Services sponsored study, wealth among millionaire households could more than double over the next decade in 25 major economies, growing from an estimated $92 trillion this year to $202 trillion in 2020. The study provides estimates of the number of households with net wealth in three distinct cohorts of $1 million- $5 million, $5 million- $30 million, and $30 million plus across 25 economies. In 2020, 43 percent of the world's wealth held by millionaire households is predicted to be in the U.S. while the number of millionaire households in the U.S. is projected to increase from an estimated 10.5 million in 2011 to 20.6 million in 2020.

The next decade in global wealth among millionaire households (47 pages)

Nanocrystalline diamond aerogel produced from a carbon aerolgel and a laser heated diamond anvil

Scanning transmission X-raymicroscopy (STXM) analysis. (A) STXM image of a piece of diamond aerogel nonspecifically adhered to a copper TEM grid. Green line indicates direction of scan for data Scale bar: 1 micron. (B) Bright field TEM image and electron diffraction (inset) of a diamond aerogel following STXM analysis. Electron diffraction shows that nanocrystalline diamond rings are preserved following exposure to soft X-rays.

PNAS - Synthesis and characterization of a nanocrystalline diamond aerogel

Aerogel materials have myriad scientific and technological applications due to their large intrinsic surface areas and ultralow densities. However, creating a nanodiamond aerogel matrix has remained an outstanding and intriguing challenge. Here we report the high-pressure, high-temperature synthesis of a diamond aerogel from an amorphous carbon aerogel precursor using a laser-heated diamond anvil cell. Neon is used as a chemically inert, near-hydrostatic pressure medium that prevents collapse of the aerogel under pressure by conformally filling the aerogel’s void volume. Electron and X-ray spectromicroscopy confirm the aerogel morphology and composition of the nanodiamond matrix. Time-resolved photoluminescence measurements of recovered material reveal the formation of both nitrogen- and silicon- vacancy point-defects, suggesting a broad range of applications for this nanocrystalline diamond aerogel.

* The nanodiamond aerogel is 40 times as dense as air
* samples of the nanodiamond new gel are about 200 microns wide
* nanodiamond aerogel can be molded like plastic and is completely transparent
* Made of diamonds smaller than a quarter of the wavelength of violet light
* it does not react with many elements, therefore it is biocompatible
* nanodiamond aerogel can be used to coat structures in the human body
* It can coat glass or clear plastic to create tough but well-insulated windows and instruments for spacecraft
* Diamonds give off electrons, it can be used in ultra-light, ultra-tough quantum computers and other electronics
* it is reasonable to speculate that the chemical transformation from amorphous carbon to cubic nanocrystalline diamond could proceed through a hydrogen-catalyzed mechanism. However, detailed simulations are required to determine the precise atomistic processes involved in this phase transition.

SENS Foundation Year End Report for 2010 including a research summary on life extension projects by Aubrey de Grey

SENS Foundation's has a Year End Report for 2010. The Report includes: an overview of the year from our CEO, Mike Kope; a research summary from CSO Aubrey de Grey; commentaries on our Research Center operations and our outreach activities; and a breakdown of our 2010 finances.

The SENS Foundation’s research strategy is to support a mix of intramural work at our Research Center and extramural projects at university laboratories elsewhere.

The Research Center has hired five additional full-time and one part-time staff,
including Tanya Jones, our Director of Research Operations. They have two
vibrant projects, within the LysoSENS and MitoSENS project areas.

Donate to SENS here

Pentagon funded Aeros working on Rigid Aeroshell Cargo Airship

In 2012-13, Aeros plans to fly the Pelican, a 230-ft.-long, 600,000-cu.-ft. demonstrator for its rigid-aeroshell, variable-buoyancy (RAVB) technology. Inside the shell, comprising a load-bearing frame of carbon-fiber trusses covered by thin-gauge rigid panels, will be a membrane to contain the helium lifting gas. Inside that membrane will be pressurized pump-fed tanks. More helium under pressure in the tanks makes the vehicle heavier, and less makes it lighter.

UPDATE - the Pelican is in the final stages of assembly as of October, 2012.

Aeros of Montebello, Calif., founded by Russian-born Igor Pasternak, is now the sole-source supplier for a project called Pelican, funded via the Pentagon’s Rapid Reaction Technology Office

VTOL/Hover                       Yes
Payload                          60 tons
Speed Max                        120 knots
Speed Cruise                     100 knots
Operating Altitude               12,000 ft
Range at Maximum Payload         3,100 nm
Ton-Mile per Gallon of Fuel      23

The airship will be over three times as efficient as a C17 cargo ship but three times less efficient than a truck. It will be about three times faster than a truck (especially being able to fly in a straight line and over rough terrain).

C17 plane ton-mile per gallon                         7
Aeros Airship Ton-Mile per Gallon of Fuel            23
Rail fuel efficiency (Ton-mile per gallon)    156 to 512
Trucks                                         68 to 133

A C17 cargo ship can move 77 tons with a ton-mile per gallon of about 7

A 156 page of study of Rail and Truck Fuel Efficiency

Rail fuel efficiency has a much wider range, varying from 156 to 512 ton-miles/gallon, while truck fuel efficiency ranges from 68 to 133 ton-miles/gallon.

Absence of Mitochondrial Translation Control Proteins Extends Life Span by Activating Sirtuin-Dependent Silencing

A SOV1 Deletion Extends Life Span without Affecting Steady-State Levels of ROS or Oxidative Damage

Mitochondria are the body's energy producers, the power stations inside our cells. Researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have now identified a group of mitochondrial proteins, the absence of which allows other protein groups to stabilise the genome. This could delay the onset of age-related diseases and increase lifespan.

A research team has now identified a group of mitochondrial proteins that are involved in this type of aging regulation. The researchers found that a group of proteins called MTC proteins, which are normally needed for mitochondrial protein synthesis, also have other functions that influence genome stability and the cell's capacity to remove damaged and harmful proteins.

Molecular Cell journal - Absence of Mitochondrial Translation Control Proteins Extends Life Span by Activating Sirtuin-Dependent Silencing

A donated blood vessel had a patients own stem cells infused for rejection free transplant surgery

For the first time ever in the world, researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy have produced a blood vessel from stem cells and then used it in an operation on a 10-year-old girl at the Sahlgrenska University Hospital. Surgeon and Professor Michael Olausson was able to create a new connection with the aid of this blood vessel between the liver and the intestines, necessary to cure the girl. The girl is now in good health, and her prognosis is very good.

* the blood vessel was created with the girl’s own stem cells, she does not need to take drugs to prevent rejection

* it is possible to create new blood vessels from stem cells, using a previous blood vessel as a template

* The next step is to intensify research into the recreation of other organs, and to develop methods that can be used for arteries. This can help, among others, patients who need dialysis and those needing surgery for the coronary arteries. It may also help those needing complete organs

Interleuken-12 primed T-Cells more effective in fighting cancer

Researchers with UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center have discovered a way to amp up the power of killer T-cells, called CD8 cells, making them more functional for longer periods of time and boosting their ability to multiply and expand within the body to fight melanoma, a new study has found. When they programmed t-cells in the presence of IL-12 (Interleukin-12), they saw that the tumors decreased in size and the mice with brain metastases (cancer tumors) survived longer. In fact, Prins said that the mice treated with killer T cells primed in the presence of IL-12 lived about 2.5 times longer than those not receiving the IL-12.

Journal of Immunology - Enhanced Sensitivity to IL-2 Signaling Regulates the Clinical Responsiveness of IL-12–Primed CD8+ T Cells in a Melanoma Model

Effective cancer vaccines will soon emerge - Sander Olson Interviews Dr. Herbert Chow, Ph.D

A protein called Keyhole Limpet Hemocyanin (KLH) could play a key role in treating many different types of cancers. KLH can be used to direct the body to attack the cancer cells, and it also has important applications in immune response testing and immunotoxicology. But the molecule is harvested from a rare mollusk, and is extremely expensive, selling for thousands of dollars per gram. A company called Stellar Biotechnologies has found a way to harvest KLH without killing the mollusks, constituting a major advance for cancer treatment. In an interview with Sander Olson, Stellar Vice-President Dr. Herbert Chow, Ph.D, describes the considerable potential of this protein.

Herbert Chow, Ph.D, interview

Question: How did you first find out about the Keyhole Limpet Hemocyanin (KLH)?

I have known of the unique and extremely valuable properties of KLH since my days as a student of immunology many years ago. I have been with Stellar working on KLH related products for about 18 months. It is a large molecule that is harvested from the blood of a very rare ocean mollusk. This mollusk resides from central California to Baja Mexico. This mollusk produces a glycoprotein - a protein sheathed in a sugar molecule. This is one of the largest molecules ever found in the biological world. Due to its sheer size, it cannot be synthetically made, and can only be harvested from this mollusk. This molecule, which we call KLH, is extremely valuable and can be used in vaccines as well as other therapies.

May 09, 2011

Self-assembled colloidal structures for photonics

Colloidal crystals for photonics applications. (Left) Colloidal crystals can be formed into any shape to achieve desired reflectance properties. (Center) Inverse structures can be obtained by infiltrating the crystal with various materials and then removing the template particles (colloidal templating). (Right) Short-range-ordered structures of colloidal particles or colloidal glasses can be assembled to achieve angle-independent coherent optical scattering.

Colloidal self-assembly has been investigated as a promising and practical approach for the fabrication of photonic nanostructures, including colloidal crystals, composite and inverse opals, and photonic glasses. Depending on the interactions between the colloidal particles, colloidal structures can be affected dramatically and modulated by applying an additional external field. Furthermore, in contrast to other approaches, self-assembled nanostructures with large areas or designed shapes can be prepared at low cost. As a result, the use of such colloidal systems has been investigated in many practical photonic applications. In this review article, we describe the colloidal self-assembly of periodic and non-periodic photonic nanostructures in brief and then summarize recent achievements in the field of colloidal photonic nanostructures and their applications, which include displays, optical devices, photochemistry and biological sensors.

Project for Microbial fuel cells that will cost about one dollar and use dirt - Truly dirt cheap cellphone chargers

Aviva Presser Aiden (Harvard) and colleagues are working to develop microbial-based cell phone charger to increase access to health care via mobile apps. Their project to use dirt-powered batteries to charge cell phones in Africa won a $100,000 grant from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation today.

The goal is to make a charger would cost of order a dollar and could completely charge a phone in 24 hours. Furthermore, unlike solar panels, MFCs do not require any sophisticated materials: they can be easily assembled in only a few minutes. As cultural knowledge of MFC technology spreads, Africans will become capable of assembling their own chargers almost entirely from scratch, and at minimal cost that will be recouped with the very first recharge."

Aiden has already demonstrated the effectiveness of the MFC-approach, building MFCs that can produce enough to power LED lights for use in homes in regions such as Tanzania and Namibia. Moreover, the MFCs were able to operate continuously in the lab for 14 months.

The Geobacter project is a related effort to use geobacter bacteria for power

Geobacter species also have the ability to transfer electrons on to the surface of electrodes. As outlined under the Microbial Fuel Cell link, this has made it possible to design novel microbial fuel cells which can efficiently convert waste organic matter and renewable biomass to electricity.

A new lab on a chip can monitor our driniking water for bioterrorist attacks

Researchers connected to DINAMICS (DIagnostic NAnotech and MICrotech Sensors), a project co-funded by the European commission, have made a lab-on-a-chip device that can monitor our drinking water and spot different pathogens even at very low concentrations.

The device uses sensors with very small strands of different pathogenic DNA integrated onto their surfaces to quickly recognize pathogenic DNA from water samples. The DNA in the sensors will only bind to the water samples’ corresponding DNA, multiplied for easier identification. To see what different DNAs are present in the water samples, the researchers apply a reaction called chemiluminescence that will make the bound DNAs emit light. The nanoscale reactions are then interpreted by a computer. The DINAMICS project’s researchers have also developed another type of sensor that changes the bound DNAs into electric signals. The signal’s magnitude is proportional to the quantity of pathogenic DNA from the water sample.

Carnival of Space 196

The Carnival of Space 196 is up at vintage space

Ian ONeill at Discovery news looks at black holes in our modern universe that were created before the Big Bang.

Pre-Big Bang black holes with masses of a few hundred million kilograms to the mass of the sun might have made it through. Black holes of these masses may have been able to retain their structure, keeping them separate from the Big Crunch singularity that is predicted to form. Then, as the Big Bang exploded to life, these black holes slipped into the new universe... our universe.

This is a pretty heady theory, but it's not the first to suggest some pre-Big Bang artefacts may survive into the modern universe.

In Nov. 2010, British physicist Roger Penrose went on the record to say that it was by his reckoning that there were patterns in the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR) -- the "echo" of the Big Bang. Penrose's theory is that gravitational waves -- "ripples" in spacetime -- leaked through from the pre-Big Crunch universe, imprinting the CMBR with detectable rings.

Iraq Deputy Prime Minister says they are keeping 12 million barrel per day oil target

Iraq does not plan to lower its 12 million barrel per day oil output capacity goal or to redo contracts with oil firms over their plateau targets, Deputy Prime Minister for energy Hussain al-Shahristani said on Sunday.

There was earlier talk of Iraq lowering the oil target to 6.5-7 million bpd for 2017

Shahristani also said the oil ministry had reached a final draft contract on a $12 billion project to capture associated gas at southern oilfields and sent the deal to Iraq's cabinet for approval.

Oil and Gas Journal - Iraqi's ambitious production aims supported by progress in oil fields

Work in Iraq has proceeded on a very large scale, in most cases on or near the schedule set in detailed contracts let to international oil companies. The companies have invested over $5 billion within the past year, a meaningful portion of it unrecoverable bonuses. Announcements from operators of three major field-development projects—BP, ExxonMobil, and Eni—in the past few months confirmed that they had achieved or exceeded contractual targets. Production increases under these contracts have combined to boost Iraqi exports by 300,000 b/d

Millimeter-wave photonic wireless links for greater than 10 Gbps communication

Conceptual diagrams of MMW-over-fiber communication systems with (a) a common optical local oscillator (LO) MMW source shared by different base stations and (b) different electrical LO MMW sources installed at each base station.

NPG Asia Materials - Millimeter-wave photonic wireless links for very high data rate communication

In this paper, recent progress in millimeter-wave (MMW) photonic gigabit wireless communication is reviewed. This technique is attractive partly because the MMW signal can be easily distributed from central to base stations through the use of a low-loss optical fiber. This radio-over-fiber approach facilitates the transmission of MMW signals. An MMW photonic transmitter, comprised of high-power photodiodes with integrated antennas for MMW signal broadcasting, is needed for signal generation only over the last mile. The development of several different low-noise optical MMW sources and high-power photonic transmitters and photodiodes for optical MMW wireless links is summarized. The performance of photonic wireless links with extremely high data rates (over 10 Gbit per second) developed based on these key components and using different modulation schemes is also reviewed. Finally, some advanced commercially available products and the prospects of a future gigabit wireless communication era are discussed.

* 10 Gbit per second wireless line-of-sight data transmission at a center frequency of 120 GHz has been demonstrated

* the 16-QAM or OFDM modulation formats have been used to achieve wireless data transmission of around 30 Gbit per second at a 60 GHz center frequency

* In our recent work, we demonstrated error-free 20 Gbit per second OOK wireless data transmission in the W-band using an NBUTC photodiode-based photonic transmitter–mixer

Official EPA mileage rating of 207.5 MPGe for most efficient street legal full sized sedan in the world

Illumati Motor Works Seven car officially received an EPA mileage rating of 207.5 MPGe, based on the official EPA 74 test cycle used for determining mileage for electric and hybrid vehicles like the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf, during its recently completed testing at the Chrysler Proving Grounds in Chelsea Michigan.

The car came in second to the team Edison2 in the Progressive Automotive X-Prize competition last summer. The car had a clutch problem during the X-Prize competition. The Illuminati team has continued to work on their vehicle. The Edison2 Very Light Car, winner of the competition last summer achieved just 102.5 MPGe. The Nissan Leaf, now commercially available, gets just 99 MPGe according to the EPA rating.

Illuminati Motor Works (IMW) “Seven” is a four seat battery electric vehicle (BEV) that was constructed from scratch specifically for the Progressive Automotive X Prize. The steel frame and foam/fiberglass body were constructed by hand

Final Stats:

207.5 MPGe
160.42 Wh/mile
Road Load Coefficient A: 12.18
Road Load Coefficient B: 0.0853
Road Load Coefficient C: 0.00976
Vehicle Weight = 2900 lbs.

This proves Seven to be the most efficient, street legal full size sedan in the world.

Fast DNA sequencing with a graphene-based nanochannel device

Illustration showing how a graphene nanoribbon (gold) helps to keep a DNA strand (red/blue) flat as it passes through a nanochannel (green/blue).

Nature Nanotechnology - Fast DNA sequencing with a graphene-based nanochannel device

Devices in which a single strand of DNA is threaded through a nanopore could be used to efficiently sequence DNA. However, various issues will have to be resolved to make this approach practical, including controlling the DNA translocation rate, suppressing stochastic nucleobase motions, and resolving the signal overlap between different nucleobases. Here, we demonstrate theoretically the feasibility of DNA sequencing using a fluidic nanochannel functionalized with a graphene nanoribbon. This approach involves deciphering the changes that occur in the conductance of the nanoribbon as a result of its interactions with the nucleobases via π–π stacking. We show that as a DNA strand passes through the nanochannel, the distinct conductance characteristics of the nanoribbon (calculated using a method based on density functional theory coupled to non-equilibrium Green function theory) allow the different nucleobases to be distinguished using a data-mining technique and a two-dimensional transient autocorrelation analysis. This fast and reliable DNA sequencing device should be experimentally feasible in the near future.

Virtual Reactor could help accelerate uprates of existing nuclear reactors and provide 5–7 GWe at 20% of cost of new reactors

1. On May 3, the Department of Energy (DOE) dedicated the Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors (CASL), an advanced research facility that will accelerate the advancement of nuclear reactor technology. CASL researchers are using supercomputers to study the performance of light water reactors and to develop modeling that will help accelerate upgrades at existing U.S. nuclear plants.

These upgrades could improve the energy output of the country’s existing reactor fleet by as much as seven reactors' worth at a fraction of the cost of building new reactors, while providing continued improvements in reliability and safety, the release from DOE said. Sophisticated models developed by CASL researchers could help accelerate upgrades at existing U.S. nuclear plants, increasing energy output and improving energy reliability and safety.

* uprates for 5–7 GWe delivered at 20% of new reactor costs
* Advances in Modeling and Simulation needed for further uprates of up to 20 GWe
* Significant financial decisions to support operation beyond 60 years are expected in 2014-2019

China's Ling Ao II 1080 MWe nuclear power plant to start commercial operation June 15

1. The second unit at China's Ling Ao II nuclear power plant has been connected to the grid. The 1080 MWe Chinese-designed CPR-1000 pressurised water reactor (PWR) was synchronised with the grid on 3 May. It is now undergoing final tests prior to commercial operation which is scheduled to begin on 15 June, exactly five years after construction formally began. The reactor is the second CPR-1000 to start up, following its sister plant Ling Ao II unit 1, which entered commercial operation in September 2010. 17 CPR-1000s already under construction. Work is planned to begin on at least five more during 2011.


The reactor building dome of unit 2 at the Yangjiang nuclear power plant in China was recently installed, 16 days ahead of schedule. Meanwhile, the second ring of the containment vessel of unit 2 at the Haiyang plant has also been lifted into place.

Role of test motivation in intelligence testing

PNAS - Role of test motivation in intelligence testing

The results indicate that being highly motivated in tests improves IQ tests scores and being highly motivated in life improves life outcomes. “IQ scores are absolutely predictive of long-term outcomes. But what our study questions is whether that’s entirely because smarter people do better in life than other people or whether part of the predictive power (is) coming from test motivation,” Duckworth said. “This means that for people who get high IQ scores, they probably try hard and are intelligent,” she said. “But for people who get low scores, it can be an absence of either or both of those traits.”

Intelligence tests are widely assumed to measure maximal intellectual performance, and predictive associations between intelligence quotient (IQ) scores and later-life outcomes are typically interpreted as unbiased estimates of the effect of intellectual ability on academic, professional, and social life outcomes. The current investigation critically examines these assumptions and finds evidence against both. First, we examined whether motivation is less than maximal on intelligence tests administered in the context of low-stakes research situations. Specifically, we completed a meta-analysis of random-assignment experiments testing the effects of material incentives on intelligence-test performance on a collective 2,008 participants. Incentives increased IQ scores by an average of 0.64 SD, with larger effects for individuals with lower baseline IQ scores. Second, we tested whether individual differences in motivation during IQ testing can spuriously inflate the predictive validity of intelligence for life outcomes. Trained observers rated test motivation among 251 adolescent boys completing intelligence tests using a 15-min “thin-slice” video sample. IQ score predicted life outcomes, including academic performance in adolescence and criminal convictions, employment, and years of education in early adulthood. After adjusting for the influence of test motivation, however, the predictive validity of intelligence for life outcomes was significantly diminished, particularly for nonacademic outcomes. Collectively, our findings suggest that, under low-stakes research conditions, some individuals try harder than others, and, in this context, test motivation can act as a third-variable confound that inflates estimates of the predictive validity of intelligence for life outcomes.

New Calculations on Blackbody Energy Set the Stage for Clocks with a precision equivalent to one second of error every 32 billion years

A team of physicists from the United States and Russia announced today* that it has developed a means for computing, with unprecedented accuracy, a tiny, temperature-dependent source of error in atomic clocks. Although small, the correction could represent a big step towards atomic timekeepers' longstanding goal of a clock with a precision equivalent to one second of error every 32 billion years—longer than the age of the universe.

Precision timekeeping is one of the bedrock technologies of modern science and technology. It underpins precise navigation on Earth and in deep space, synchronization of broadband data streams, precision measurements of motion, forces and fields, and tests of the constancy of the laws of nature over time.

Columbia Engineers Patch A Heart

Researchers at Columbia Engineering have established a new method to patch a damaged heart using a tissue-engineering platform that enables heart tissue to repair itself. This breakthrough, recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), is an important step forward in combating cardiovascular disease, one of the most serious health problems of our day.

PNAS - Composite scaffold provides a cell delivery platform for cardiovascular repair

May 08, 2011

GE and EADS to 3D Print Lighter and better performing Parts for Airplanes

Lighter load: A conventional hinge for the cover of a jet engine (top) could be replaced by the more intricate one at bottom, which is just as strong but weighs half as much. The new design, created by EADS, is made practical by three-dimensional printing technology. Credit: EADS Innovation Works

GE is starting a new lab at its global research headquarters in Niskayuna, New York, that's devoted to turning three-dimensional printing technology into a viable means of manufacturing functional parts for a range of its businesses, including those involving health care and aerospace. The company aims to take advantage of the technology's potential to make parts that are lighter, perform better, and cost less than parts made with conventional manufacturing techniques

3D printing has now improved to the point that these printers can make intricate objects out of durable materials , including ceramics and metals such as titanium and aluminum, with resolution on the scale of tens of micrometers.

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 51

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 51 is up at Nuclear Green

Kirk Sorenson has been running the Energy from thorium blog for five years now

First is the environmentalist community. Thorium is a reliable and energy-rich substance that can address many of their issues with existing forms of nuclear power. Yet not a single environmentalist organization of any stature has embraced it. Why?

Second is the nuclear power generation community. LFTR technology addresses concerns about safety, high-pressure operation, spent-fuel management, nuclear fuel resources, and a host of other concerns. Yet not a single large-scale nuclear manufacturer has any effort to develop LFTR. No national nuclear program outside of the Chinese has an effort to develop thorium/LFTR. Why?

Graphene optical modulators could lead to 500 Gigahertz communications

Shown is a scanning electron microscope (SEM) image magnifying the key structures of the graphene-based optical modulator. (Colors were added to enhance the contrast). Gold (Au) and platinum (Pt) electrodes are used to apply electrical charges to the sheet of graphene, shown in blue, placed on top of the silicon (Si) waveguide, shown in red. The voltage can control the graphene's transparency, effectively turning the setup into an optical modulator that can turn light on and off. (Ming Liu image)

A team of researchers, led by UC Berkeley engineering professor Xiang Zhang, built a tiny optical device that uses graphene, a one-atom-thick layer of crystallized carbon, to switch light on and off. This switching ability is the fundamental characteristic of a network modulator, which controls the speed at which data packets are transmitted. The faster the data pulses are sent out, the greater the volume of information that can be sent. Graphene-based modulators could soon allow consumers to stream full-length, high-definition, 3-D movies onto a smartphone in a matter of seconds, the researchers said.

Graphene enables modulators that are incredibly compact and that potentially perform at speeds up to ten times faster than current technology allows. This new technology will significantly enhance our capabilities in ultrafast optical communication and computing. This is the world’s smallest optical modulator, and the modulator in data communications is the heart of speed control.

The researchers layered graphene on top of a silicon waveguide to fabricate optical modulators. The researchers were able to achieve a modulation speed of 1 gigahertz, but they noted that the speed could theoretically reach as high as 500 gigahertz for a single modulator.

Graphene-based modulators could overcome the space barrier of optical devices, the researchers said. They successfully shrunk a graphene-based optical modulator down to a relatively tiny 25 square microns, a size roughly 400 times smaller than a human hair. The footprint of a typical commercial modulator can be as large as a few square millimeters.

Nature - A graphene-based broadband optical modulator

Beijing Genomics Institute working to determine the genetic basis for High IQ

The Beijing Genomics Institute has the world’s largest genome-mapping facility which has 128 Illumina HiSeq 2000 gene sequencing machines. Satellite research centers have been set up or are underway in the U.S., Europe, Hong Kong, and four other locations in China, and the number of researchers at the main headquarters in Shenzhen has more than doubled during the past year and a half. The institute now employs almost 4,000 scientists and technicians—and is still expanding.

One of the projects is to determine the genetic basis of high IQ. His team is sampling 1,000 Chinese adults with an IQ higher than 145, comparing their genomes with those of an equal number of randomly picked control subjects. Zhao acknowledges that such projects linking intelligence with genes may be controversial but “more so elsewhere than in China,” he says, adding that several U.S. research groups have contacted him for collaboration. “Everybody is interested in intelligence,” he says.

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