September 10, 2011

Singularity University Startup Videos of Presentations

Matternet will use UAVs to provide point to point for half the price of current systems.

6 cents per kilometer per kilogram.
In Africa dirt roads can be washed out 6 months out of the air.
It will help leapfrog over the lack of infrastructure for 1.4 billion people.

Star Wars Old Republic 2011 Video and other E3 2011 Videos

Star Wars: The Old Republic, abbreviated as SWTOR or TOR, is an upcoming massively multiplayer online role-playing game based in the Star Wars universe.

The story takes place in the Star Wars fictional universe shortly after the establishment of a tenuous peace between the re-emergent Sith Empire and the Galactic Republic, 300 years after the events of the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic games, and more than 3,500 years before the events in the Star Wars films. The Jedi are held responsible for the success of the Sith during the devastating 28-year-long Great Galactic War (which led to the Treaty of Coruscant prior to the Cold War), and thus choose to relocate from Coruscant to Tython, where the Jedi Order had initially been founded, to seek guidance from the Force. The Sith control Korriban, where they have re-established a Sith Academy. The game begins as new conflicts arise.

A collaborative effort between BioWare, LucasArts and Dark Horse Comics has resulted in webcomics entitled Star Wars: The Old Republic – Threat of Peace and Star Wars: The Old Republic – Blood of the Empire, the purpose of which is to establish the backstory as the game opens.

There will be a range of playable species for the player to choose from. So far confirmed are Chiss, Human, Miraluka, Mirialan, Rattataki, Sith Pureblood, Twi'lek and Zabrak. Although Humans can pick any class available, other species have been restricted to only several classes each.

An E3 2011 gameplay footage video showed a Rattataki Bounty Hunter.

Satele Shan was a Human female who served as a Jedi during the Great Galactic War between the Galactic Republic and the resurgent Sith Empire. Shan participated in several major battles on behalf of the Republic during the war, and studied under a number of Jedi Masters, including the Togruta Dar'Nala. As a Padawan, she had fought with and lost her first Master, Kao Cen Darach, during the Fall of Korriban. After achieving Knighthood, Shan played a pivotal role in the struggle for the Core World of Alderaan, which had come under a devastating attack from the Sith Lord Darth Malgus. In a confrontation in the forests of Alderaan, Shan engaged Darth Malgus and was defeated by the Sith Lord, but with the assistance of a Republic trooper she was able to dispatch him.

Kao Cen Darach was a Zabrak male Master of the Jedi Order during the early stages of the Great Galactic War in 3,681 BBY. That year, Darach and his Padawan, Satele Shan, were present on a space station orbiting the Sith homeworld of Korriban when the Sith Empire, which had been believed destroyed for centuries, launched an assault to retake the planet. Darach ultimately sacrificed himself in order to hold off Sith Lord Vindican and his apprentice, ensuring that Shan was able to escape and warn the Galactic Republic of the Sith Empire's return.

Advanced Fusion Reactors for Space Propulsion and Power Systems

Advanced Fusion Reactors for Space Propulsion and Power Systems (8 pages)

Previously we looked at a proposal for a laser enabled megawatt class nuclear fusion space propulsion system for about 2020-2025 Now the full eight page paper by John J. Chapman, NASA, Langley Research Center is online.

We had also looked at laser particle acceleration upon which the system is based and found that the required high power and high repetition lasers do exist.

The preferred fuel for space is the p-boron reaction: p + 11B → 3 4He + (8.7 MeV)

11Boron is an abundant, inexpensive fuel stock and has the major advantage of a clean
fuel for the primary fusion reaction, at the expense of reduced plant gain since currently p-11B energy gain estimates range from ~5 to 15. Previously the parameters for harnessing aneutronic ( p-11B ) fusion had appeared significantly more exigent than for conventional (D-T) fusion fuel cycle. Yet recent scientific studies and engineering lab efforts applicable to micro-scale triggering of advanced fusion fuel solid targets has introduced new concepts with unique aspects that include demonstrations of attainable aneutronic reactions. The successful application of aneutronic methodology to fusion propulsion plants for space deployment will ultimately offer the possibility of enhanced performance from nuclear gain as compared to existing chemical and even ion propulsive engines, while also providing a clean solution to planetary protection, Earth included considerations and requirements. Proton-triggered 11boron fuel (p-11B) offers the potential for abundant ion kinetic energy for in-space vectored thrust applications as well as for direct energy conversion in specialized direct electrical energy conversion plants.

Highlights of the 40th American Aging Association (AGE) Conference

Michael Rae, SENS researcher provides highlights of the 40th American Aging Association (AGE) Conference

The preconference "Late-onset intervention against aging: Tools, approaches, impact was organized by Aubrey de Grey.

Prospects for Retarding Aging

Some of the opening-day sessions were devoted to those few interventions based on perturbing metabolic determinants of aging to have demonstrated some benefit in experimental animals when initiated during a similar late-life period. The results of these studies have buoyed the field with enthusiasm for the promise, but the sessions reminded researchers of the limitations and contradictions intermingled in the results. Dr. Z. David Sharp of the Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies reviewed and updated the National Institutes of Health's Interventions Testing Program (ITP)'s two lifespan studies on the mammalian Target of Rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitor rapamycin (sirolimus/Rapamune®), and the ongoing studies to evaluate "healthspan" in treated animals. Intriguing findings included the similarities and differences in the metabolic effects of rapamycin as compared to other "gerontological" interventions in the aging process, of which rapamycin is widely assumed to be a pharmacological "mimetic."

Thus, for example, the most likely mechanism of rapamycin's ability to retard biological aging is through inhibition of mTOR activity, which is thought to contribute to the slowing of age-related degeneration by reducing synthesis of defective proteins, increasing their autophagic degradation, and retarding the rate of cell proliferation (and thus dysplasia and possibly abberant differentiation of cells with age). Recent studies have confirmed that Calorie restriction (CR) and mutations that dampen insulin/insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) signaling (IIS), also elicit a net reduction in mTOR activity, albeit with some differences in the effects on different parts of the overall pathway. Yet methionine restriction, the only dietary intervention clearly shown to retard aging independent of Calorie intake, has no effect on mTOR.(5) Again, while CR opposes the age-related downregulation of major urinary protein-1 (MUP-1), and rapamycin actively upregulates it, the gene is downregulated in mice with disruption or knockout of the growth hormone receptor gene (GHR-KO) (6)-- and rendering human translation even more confused, mice have ~40 isoforms of the gene, while humans have only one (and this one isoform is itself thought to be a pseudogene). And while increased insulin sensitivity, reduced adiposity, and lower fasting glucose levels are amongst the most robust effects of CR, both rapamycin and some IIS mutations lead to impaired glucose tolerance and a surprising increase in adiposity. Granted that, as Dr. Sharp acknowledges, rapamycin itself is not suitable for use as a human "anti-aging" agent, the fact that prominent age-retarding interventions have so complex a mixture of convergent and divergent effects on major putative effector mechanisms highlights the perils of attempting to translate such findings into therapies for human use.

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 69

The Carnival of Nuclear Energy 69 is up at Atomic Power Review

Idaho Samizdat reports that China has restarted progress on their nuclear program

After five months China has mostly completed the safety inspections of its 11 GWe of nuclear energy plants. Work will resume on on the start of construction of new nuclear power stations. China temporarily suspended its nuclear new build on March 16, 2011.

The Chinese government may scale back the size of its new build up to 2020 but would continue the overall plans afterward. Last year China announced it would build the equivalent of 80 1,000 MW nuclear power plants. Now China’s National Energy Administration is saying it will complete an additional 30 GW of plants by 2015, and an additional 28 reactors in the next decade, for a total new build of about 70 GW.

Some in Russia have been pushing a Bering Strait tunnel and rail projects

A conference in Yakutsk was hosted by Yegor Borisov the Governor and the Bering Strait tunnel project was ratified by President Medvedev's top officials including Aleksander Levinthal the deputy federal representative for the Russian far East.

Experts forecast that the completed service could carry 3% of the world's freight and earn £7 billion GBP per year. Engineers have said the project could reach break-even in seven years. A 500 mile, £900m GBP link from the Trans-Siberian railway to Yakutsk is already in construction and will be completed in 2013, nudging towards the Russian goal of a further 2360 miles by 2030.

The Australian railpage has coverage of all of the news about this project which was first mooted in 2007

Some in Russia want it so that Siberia can be developed. Others in Russia think that it would make more sense to develop transportation connections and pipelines to China. The United States has no awareness of it. There is some railwork on the Russia side by it would take to 2030 for the rail to get to the Russian tip of Siberia. So it would be 5-10 years before any tunnel would need to start and for the US and Canada to get on board with developing the North American side.

September 09, 2011

SENS5- Maintaining Telomere Length

Presentation from the SENS5 conference
Anti aging oligos 5'-(TTAGGG)n-3' treatment maintaining telomere length in vitro in human skin cells overcoming senescence and the t-loop deletion factor

Telomere shortening is thought to play a role in cellular aging contributing to human aging and longevity. Critical telomere shortening affects different genes, as the human genome varies, which is why the cascades differ, hence the different effects and organ failures. For years telomere length maintenance has been targeted. However there was no one treatment to keep the length within the normal limits. Variations of telomere shortening occur within same type of tissue, as well as different tissue types, from same and different individuals. Also very little is known about ratios comparing old cells with short telomeres to new cells with normal telomeres, among same and different tissues and individuals. Many telomere shortening factors have been considered, including the t-loop deletion factor and 5'-(TTAGGG)n-3' oligos, in order to find treatment that works. However it still takes trial and error to adapt the dose levels and administrating the treatment frequencies, according to the individual genes and their interaction with the environment. Additional difficulties arose when the treatment was to be cheap, as well as testing it. Treating human skin cells with 5'-(TTAGGG)1-50-3' oligos overcomes senescence and the t-loop deletion factor. The difficult part is the dose and administration frequencies. Overall as expected the longer the oligomer, the lower the administration frequencies. Doses are according to transfection efficiencies, in this experiment of DEAE-Dextran. Additional immortality control is required to take cells into a new culture and stop their treatment to see if they will immortalise, which will indicate too higher dose and/or too frequent. The opposite will be if the cells live as long as the non treated cells control, which would indicate lower dose and/or lower frequency of treatments. Cheap, easy, effective and sufficient test was simply cell counting. Different cell dyes were also tested. Culturing is efficient with both CO2 incubator and/or electric blanket. However the electric blanket after you manage to maintain the correct temperature in the dish requires also pH regulation every 3 hours. Cell counting is easier with TESCO-food-colours. Every little helps. Every microscope with eyepiece x10 and objective x20 is sufficient, OPAX-1108 was used in this experiment. Photos were obtained with 3.2MP mobile-phone-cam. Future experiments will gather more cell-lines data, target tissues, whole organs and eventually extending whole human life spans. Prediction is that telomere length maintenance is tissue independent, but ratios of old cells with short telomeres to new cells with normal telomeres remains tissue dependent. This would suggest that even tissue such as blood cannot be used as parameter predictions for relative telomere length in other tissues.

Selected Abstracts from the fifth Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS) Conference

1. Improved Sequencing as a SENS Accelerant by Halcyon Molecular

We are improving DNA sequencing to achieve our goal of turning biology into an information science. Along the way, various SENS approaches will be accelerated by improved DNA sequencing, and we present here specific experimental paths for using the tool in service of SENS. As one example, sequencing offers extreme technical shortcuts in molecular directed evolution techniques, allowing larger populations to be interrogated with fewer rounds of evolution and increased stringency of selection. This will accelerate attempts to find, improve, or evolve enzymes and other catalysts targeting age-related molecular damage. As another example, sequencing will enable better quality control of stem cells in both clinical and laboratory settings. We will discuss these specific experimental strategies and others that leverage improved sequencing to hasten progress toward saving lives via SENS therapy approaches.

Rice unveils new method to grow synthetic collagen

In a significant advance for cosmetic and reconstructive medicine, scientists at Rice University have unveiled a new method for making synthetic collagen. The new material, which forms from a liquid in as little as an hour, has many of the properties of natural collagen and may prove useful as a scaffold for regenerating new tissues and organs from stem cells.

"Our work is significant in two ways," said Rice's Jeffrey Hartgerink, the lead author of a new paper about the research in Nature Chemistry. "Our final product more closely resembles native collagen than anything that's previously been made, and we make that material using a self-assembly process that is remarkably similar to processes found in nature."

Collagen, the most abundant protein in the body, is a key component of many tissues, including skin, tendons, ligaments, cartilage and blood vessels. Biomedical researchers in the burgeoning field of regenerative medicine, or tissue engineering, often use a combination of stem cells and collagen-like materials in their attempts to create laboratory-grown tissues that can be transplanted into patients without risk of immunological rejection.

Hartgerink said it's too early to say whether the synthetic collagen can be substituted medically for human or animal-derived collagen, but it did clear the first hurdle on that path; the enzyme that the body uses to break down native collagen also breaks down the new material at a similar speed.

Nature Chemistry - Multi-hierarchical self-assembly of a collagen mimetic peptide from triple helix to nanofibre and hydrogel

Hong Kong-Shenzhen integration plan progressing

Shenzhen, a city in southern Guangdong province, became a special economic zone following the country's reform and opening-up in the late 1970s. The city is now one of the richest and fastest-growing Chinese cities, with a per capita GDP of 93,000 yuan ($14,560) last year and a GDP that grew 12 percent year-on-year to hit 951.09 billion yuan.

In the past three decades, many Hong Kong businesses have used their neighbor as a springboard to access the resources of the Pearl River Delta (PRD) and the Chinese mainland to help the region become an economic powerhouse of the country through low-cost manufacturing. The PRD is China's largest export hub, making up more than one-quarter of the national trade volume.

Hong Kong, as a special administrative region with its own legal and monetary systems as well as an established international financial and services hub, has provided investment and management expertise to support the factories and labor force of the mainland. Hong Kong's GDP hit HK$1.744 trillion ($223.8 billion) and boasted a GDP per capita of HK$246,733 in 2010.

Last year, about 505,000 people crossed the border between Shenzhen and Hong Kong by land every day.

New Research could pave the way for cancer vaccine to become a mainstream treatment

Scientists at A*STAR's Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB) have made a landmark discovery in the battle against the rapid spread of aggressive cancers associated with PRL-3 oncoprotein . Contrary to the current accepted theory that antibodies can only bind to cancer proteins found on the cancer cell surface, the IMCB team led by Dr Zeng Qi is the first to discover that antibodies can in fact directly target intracellular oncoproteins like PRL-3 that reside within the cancer cells to suppress cancer growth successfully. This breakthrough finding will pave the way for more targeted solutions for cancer treatment and also offers hope for cancer prevention.

Science Translational Medicine - Targeting Intracellular Oncoproteins with Antibody Therapy or Vaccination

Antibody-based therapies have better specificity and thus improved efficacy over standard chemotherapy regimens, which result in extended survival and improved quality of life for cancer patients. Because antibodies are viewed as too large to access intracellular locations, antibody therapy has traditionally targeted extracellular or secreted proteins expressed by cancer cells. However, many oncogenic proteins are found within the cell (such as intracellular phosphatases/kinases and transcription factors) and have therefore not been pursued for antibody therapies. Here, we explored the possibility of antibody therapy or vaccination against intracellular proteins. As proofs of concept, we selected three representative intracellular proteins as immunogens for tumor vaccine studies: PRL-3 (phosphatase of regenerating liver 3), a cancer-associated phosphatase; EGFP (enhanced green fluorescent protein), a general reporter; and mT (polyomavirus middle T), the polyomavirus middle T oncoprotein. A variety of tumors that expressed these intracellular proteins were clearly inhibited by their respective exogenous antibodies or by antigen-induced host antibodies (vaccination). These anticancer activities were reproducibly observed in hundreds of C57BL/6 tumor-bearing mice and MMTV-PymT transgenic breast tumor mice. Our in vivo data suggest that immunotherapies can target not only extracellular but also intracellular oncoproteins.

Hidden Immunotherapy Targets Challenge Dogma

There is the intriguing possibility that intracellular tumor antigen–specific monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) inhibit tumor growth and metastasis and prolong survival of tumor-bearing mice. Here, I discuss the implications of using intracellular targets in mAb-based immunotherapy as well as the possible underlying mechanisms of action.

Bakken oil shipping to get boosted using rail by over 500,000 barrels per day by the end of 2012

Kansas-based Lario Logistics said it will open a 100,000 barrel-per-day crude-by-rail terminal in North Dakota's Bakken Shale oil area this month, a move that will boost the region's capacity to ship crude on railways by about 75 percent.

North Dakota oil production has tripled in four years, reaching 380,000 bpd in June and reached 423,592 barrels per day in July.

Electric Solar Wind Space Sail Videos

The electric solar wind space sail project in Finland is making progress. They have videos showing operating components. There will be a 10 m long test tether onboard the ESTCube-1 satellite, to be launched in 2012. There is an EU FP7 project (2011-2013) developing laboratory prototypes of key components of the E-sail. The project involves five countries, nine institutes and has a budget of about 1.7 million Euros.

A full-scale electric sail consists of a number (50-100) of long (e.g., 20 km), thin (e.g., 25 microns) conducting tethers (wires). The spacecraft contains a solar-powered electron gun (typical power a few hundred watts) which is used to keep the spacecraft and the wires in a high (typically 20 kV) positive potential. The electric field of the wires extends a few tens of metres into the surrounding solar wind plasma. Therefore the solar wind ions "see" the wires as rather thick, about 100 m wide obstacles. A technical concept exists for deploying (opening) the wires in a relatively simple way and guiding or "flying" the resulting spacecraft electrically.

The solar wind dynamic pressure varies but is on average about 2 nPa at Earth distance from the Sun. This is about 5000 times weaker than the solar radiation pressure. Due to the very large effective area and very low weight per unit length of a thin metal wire, the electric sail is still efficient, however. A 20-km long electric sail wire weighs only a few hundred grams and fits in a small reel, but when opened in space and connected to the spacecraft's electron gun, it can produce several square kilometre effective solar wind sail area which is capable of extracting about 10 millinewton force from the solar wind. For example, by equipping a 1000 kg spacecraft with 100 such wires, one may produce acceleration of about 1 mm/s^2. After acting for one year, this acceleration would produce a significant final speed of 30 km/s. Smaller payloads could be moved quite fast in space using the electric sail, a Pluto flyby could occur in less than five years, for example. Alternatively, one might choose to move medium size payloads at ordinary 5-10 km/s speed, but with lowered propulsion costs because the mass that has to launched from Earth is small in the electric sail.

A tether reeling demonstration is shown on video. 10 meters of bonded tether has been reeled both ways in DLR. The tether behaved very well

Whole-Parasite Malaria Vaccine

or the first time, a malaria vaccine that uses the entire malaria parasite has proven safe and shown promise to produce a strong immune response in a clinical trial. Though malaria has been largely eliminated in much of the developed world, it is still a widespread threat in warm, tropical areas where infected mosquitoes thrive, such as Africa. Malaria, caused by a parasite transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito, kills nearly one million people and infects 300 million annually worldwide. The condition can be treated with anti-parasite drugs, but can have fatal consequences for vulnerable patients who have no immunity to the disease. Children under the age of five succumb at high rates to the neurological and cardiac effects of malaria, particularly in Africa.

IBM Patent Filing Details First 100 PetaFLOP Computer

An IBM patent filing sheds light on the architecture of the upcoming BlueGene/Q “Sequoia” system, as well as a potential successor, which is could become the first 100 PFlop supercomputer: The system will have almost 8.4 million compute cores which will consume almost 16 MW.

BlueGene/Q is estimated to hit a peak performance of 20 Pflop/s, when it will go into operation as “Sequoia” supercomputer at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 2012. However, the architecture described in a patent would increase the performance to 107 PetaFLOPS.

Patent Application 20110219208 - Multi-petascale Highly Efficient Parallel Supercomputer.

Fujitsu single-die solution for data conversion at 2 Terabits per second analogue to digital

Fujitsu Semiconductor Europe (FSEU) announces its first- generation 8-bit, 4-channel DAC in 40nm CMOS technology. This is the world’s fastest CMOS DAC for next-generation optical transport systems. It is a single-die solution for data conversion at 2 Tbps (terabits per second) to and from analogue to digital.

With a sampling rate range of 55 – 65 GSa/s per channel, small footprint and low power (0.75W/channel), this technology supports long-haul optical transport systems providing data links of 100Gbps and higher over a single lambda. Complimenting the 40nm 55 – 65 GSa/s Fujitsu CHAIS ADC for 100Gbps coherent receivers, the new DAC also offers unparalleled ultra-fast sampling rates, high resolution, low noise and wide bandwidth signal generation for OTU4 signals.

New complex offers potentially safer alternative for gene therapy delivery

Spontaneous ordering of DNA fragments in a special matrix holds the key to creating non-toxic gene therapy delivery vectors, according to a study recently published in the European Physical Journal E.

Scientists from the CNRS Paul Pascal Research Centre, an institute of the University of Bordeaux, France, and colleagues from the Institute of Physics at the University of Sao Paolo, have created a complex system designed to hold DNA fragments in solution between the hydrophilic layers of a matrix of fatty substances (also known as lipids) combined with a surfactant (used to soften the layers’ rigidity). One possible application that has yet to be tested is gene therapy.

Invisible World Discovered using gravitational effect on another exoplanet

NASA's Kepler spacecraft has spotted a planet that alternately runs late and early in its orbit because a second, "invisible" world is tugging on it. This is the first definite detection of a previously unknown planet using this method. No other technique could have found the unseen companion.

Both the seen and unseen worlds orbit the Sun-like star Kepler-19, which is located 650 light-years from Earth in the constellation Lyra. The 12th-magnitude star is well placed for viewing by backyard telescopes on September evenings.

Kepler locates planets by looking for a star that dims slightly as a planet transits the star, passing across the star's face from our point of view. Transits give one crucial piece of information - the planet's physical size. The greater the dip in light, the larger the planet relative to its star. However, the planet and star must line up exactly for us to see a transit.

September 08, 2011

North Dakota hits a big new record of 423592 barrels of oil per day in July

North Dakota had a record of 423592 barrels of oil per day in July, 2011 This was an increase of 39,000 barrels of oil per day over the previous record in June of 384811 barrels of oil per day.

July had 1.587 million barrels more than the monthly production in June.

US Net oil imports were at the lowest level since 1998.

Weekly U.S. Net Imports of Crude Oil and Petroleum Products for the first week of September was 7,988,000 barrels per day.

Weekly U.S. Field Production of Crude Oil (Thousand Barrels per Day) 5,642,000 barrels per day (returning to levels of 2004.)

Battery Storage Could Get a eight times higher capacity by using Seaweed and silicon anodes

Lithium-ion batteries could hold up to 10 times as much energy per cell if silicon anodes were used instead of graphite ones. But manufacturers don't use silicon because such anodes degrade quickly as the battery is charged and discharged.

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Clemson University think they might have found the ingredient that will make silicon anodes work—a common binding agent and food additive derived from algae and used in many household products. They say this material could not only make lithium-ion batteries more efficient, but also cleaner and cheaper to manufacture.

Researchers have demonstrated that the alginate can produce battery anodes with reversible capacity eight times greater than that of today's best graphite electrodes. The anode also demonstrates a coulombic efficiency approaching 100 percent and has been operated through more than 1,000 charge-discharge cycles without failure.

They hope to explore other alginates, boost performance of their electrodes, understand how the material works. Alginates are natural polysaccharides that help give brown algae the ability to produce strong stalks as much as 60 meters in length. The seaweed grows in vast forests in the ocean and also can be farmed in wastewater ponds.

Journal Science - A Major Constituent of Brown Algae for Use in High-Capacity Li-Ion Batteries

New Technology to Control the Dispersion of Single-Wall Carbon Nanotubes with Light

Masaru Yoshida (Leader) and Yoko Matsuzawa (Researcher), Smart Materials Group, the Nanosystem Research Institute (Director: Kiyoshi Yase) of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST; President: Tamotsu Nomakuchi), have developed a new dispersing agent that allows easy control of the isolated dispersion and aggregation states of single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) by UV irradiation, through the investigation of the molecular structures of agents.

* Based on a study of the molecular structure of dispersing agents, dispersion control has been achieved using the structural change induced by light irradiation.

* The photoreaction induced by UV irradiation enables selective removal of the dispersion agent.

* The dispersing agent is expected to have applications in materials made of carbon nanotubes.

Carbon nanotubes (CNTs), including SWCNTs, are attracting considerable attention as nanocarbon materials but are insoluble in solvents. The insolubility is limiting the applications of CNTs. In recent years, dispersing agents to disperse SWCNTs in solvents are being developed extensively at home and abroad. However, there was no established technology for precise control of the dispersion state of SWCNTs. The newly synthesized dispersing agent has high SWCNT dispersion ability and a chromophore (a photoreactive group). Because of the chromophore, the molecular structure of the agent can be changed by a UV-induced photoreaction, allowing easy removal of the agent from the SWCNT surface. This technology, which allows removal of a dispersing agent using a non-contact stimulus, is expected to improve the purifying techniques of SWCNTs and to have applications in the materials made of various types of CNTs.

Schematic of the dispersing agent removed by light (shown in blue is the developed dispersing agent) (top) and the SWCNT solution that underwent a change in dispersion state before and after UV irradiation (before UV irradiation: dispersion, after UV irradiation: aggregation) (bottom)

Quantum dot display and lighting is production being ramped up for 2012

QD Vision, Inc. (, developer of nanotechnology-based optical products for displays and solid state lighting, today announced it has relocated to a new, high-volume production facility in Lexington, Massachusetts to support new products launching in 2012.

They make quantum dot lighting and are working on quantum dot displays.

3M and IBM to Develop New Types of Adhesives to Create 3D Semiconductors

3M and IBM today announced that the two companies plan to jointly develop the first adhesives that can be used to package semiconductors into densely stacked silicon “towers.” The companies are aiming to create a new class of materials, which will make it possible to build, for the first time, commercial microprocessors composed of layers of up to 100 separate chips.

Such stacking would allow for dramatically higher levels of integration for information technology and consumer electronics applications. Processors could be tightly packed with memory and networking, for example, into a “brick” of silicon that would create a computer chip 1,000 times faster than today’s fastest microprocessor enabling more powerful smartphones, tablets, computers and gaming devices.

The companies’ work can potentially leapfrog today’s current attempts at stacking chips vertically – known as 3D packaging. The joint research tackles some of the thorniest technical issues underlying the industry’s move to true 3D chip forms. For example, new types of adhesives are needed that can efficiently conduct heat through a densely packed stack of chips and away from heat-sensitive components such as logic circuits.
IBM and 3M Corp. are developing a new type of electronic “glue” that can be used to build stacks of semiconductors – 3D chips. The glue, shown in blue above, connects up to 100 separate chips as it conducts heat away from the silicon package. The innovation will create microprocessors 1,000 times more powerful than today’s PC chips. 

Cuba launches world's first vaccine against lung cancer

Cuban medical authorities have launched the sales of the world's first therapeutic vaccine against lung cancer, local officials said on Tuesday.

The CimaVax-EGF vaccine, as a result of a 25-year research into diseases related to tobacco smoking, has been developed by researchers and scientists at the Center of Molecular Immunology (CIM) in Havana.

Clinical Development and Perspectives of CIMAvax EGF, Cuban Vaccine for Non-small-cell Lung Cancer Therapy (2010, 7 pages)

Inefficient driving can lead to a reduction in on-road fuel economy of up to about 45% in total

Eco-driving: strategic, tactical, and operational decisions of the driver that improve vehicle fuel economy (19 pages) Researchers calculated that a car that could get 36 mpg will experience a reduction to 19.8 mpg in actual fuel economy (a reduction of 45%) as a result of disregarding all eco-driving practices.

This report presents information about the effects of decisions that a driver can make to influence on-road fuel economy of light-duty vehicles. These include strategic decisions (vehicle selection and maintenance), tactical decisions (route selection and vehicle load), and operational decisions (driver behavior). The results indicate that vehicle selection has by far the most dominant effect: The best vehicle currently available for sale in the U.S. is nine times more fuel efficient than the worst vehicle. Nevertheless, the remaining factors that a driver has control over can contribute, in total, to about a 45% reduction in the on-road fuel economy per driver—a magnitude well worth emphasizing. Furthermore, increased efforts should also be directed at increasing vehicle occupancy, which has dropped by 30% from 1960. That drop, by itself, increased the energy intensity of driving per occupant by about 30%.

Opel shows a concept electric vehicle that has production potential

European GM subsidy Opel has unveiled a new electric two-seater concept car called the One Euro Car, because Opel claims it can go 100 kilometers for the price of just one euro.

The futuristic looking car is just one-third the weight of a traditional modern small car, according to Opel, and as such has 10 times less the energy requirements. Hence the 100 km for one euro.

The 100 mpg automotive Xprize was won by a 750 pound 4 passenger car the Edison 2. Lightweight cars can be safe and far more energy efficient.

Large Hybrid Airship Purchase

Discovery Air Innovations Inc. (DAI)and Hybrid Air Vehicles Limited (HAV) have entered into a commercial agreement which identifies DAI as the launch customer for HAV’s Commercial Heavy Lift programme. They plan to buy around 45 new hybrid air vehicles. These aircraft will be used across Canada's Northwest Territories. The airships will be produced and deployed around 2014.

The hybrid airships are HAV's model 366, which can carry 50 tonnes if they take off horizontally like an airplane and around 30 tonnes if they take off vertically. This is more than the largest helicopters in the world can carry.

One hundred and ten metres long, the vessels can reach altitudes of almost 3000 metres and can take off and land almost anywhere.

Giant Red Crabs invade the Antartic - I blame Zoidberg

A large population of king crabs in Palmer Deep on the west Antarctic Peninsula shelf and potential invasive impacts

Lithodid crabs (and other skeleton-crushing predators) may have been excluded from cold Antarctic continental shelf waters for more than 14 million years. The west Antarctic Peninsula shelf is warming rapidly and has been hypothesized to be soon invaded by lithodids. A remotely operated vehicle survey in Palmer Deep, a basin 120 km onto the Antarctic shelf, revealed a large, reproductive population of lithodids, providing the first evidence that king crabs have crossed the Antarctic shelf.

September 07, 2011

Global Research and development almost $1.2 trillion in 2011

2011 Global R&D Funding Forecast - Battelle, 36 pages

Total global spending on R and D in 2011 is anticipated to increase 3.6%, to almost $1.2 trillion. With Asia’s stake continuing to increase, the geographic distribution of this investment will continue a shift begun more than five years ago. The U.S., however, still dominates absolute spending at a level well above its share of global GDP.

The Battelle/R and D Magazine team forecasts that U.S. R and D will grow by only 2.4% (equal to the global median rate) over the final 2010 estimate, reaching $405.3 billion in 2011. With 2011 inflation forecasted to remain a low 1.5%, this growth in R&D still leads to 0.86% ($3.4 billion) growth in real terms.

No segment has a stronger connection to public R and D investment than aerospace, defense, and national security. The U.S. and many foreign governments invest massive amounts on defense and security-related R and D every year. As an illustration of the scale, the U.S. government will spend more on defense R and D in 2011 (about $80 billion) than our estimates of total R and D (government, corporate and academic) for every country in our global analysis except the top three.

$139 billion is spent on Electronics and computer hardware research and development.

$138 billion is spent on Life Science research and development.
Perceived leading topic areas (although not necessarily leading by research funding) of life science research are
1. Tissue Engineering
2. Stem Cell Development
3. Proteomics
4. Pharma Development
5. Personlized Medicine
6. Medical Implants
7. Drug Delivery
8. Automated Healthcare

Real Life Progress to Minority Report Precrime is advanced crime modeling because active criminals live somewhere

In the movie Minority report there people who are able to predict the future and prevent crime.

Precrime is a system which punishes people with imprisonment for murders they would have committed, had they not been prevented.

Singularity Hub - In July, 2011 the Santa Cruz Police Department began experimenting with an interesting bit of software developed by scientists at Santa Clara University. The researchers behind the software are a team of specialists: two mathematicians, an anthropologist and a criminologist.

They have developed more advanced crime modeling and prediction.
Artificial intelligence augments human intuition. Predictive policing software avoids human bias.

Geographic profiling is the problem of estimating the residence (or place of work) of a criminal offender given the locations of crimes committed by the offender. We have developed an agent-based, Bayesian method for geographic profiling that calculates a prior distribution of residences using housing/population density and a prior distribution of foraging parameters using historic crime data. The method attempts to take into account how criminals interact with their heterogeneous environment.

After 9 years Gene Therapy for Bubble Boy Disease Cured 14 out of 16 children

Nine years after getting gene therapy for a rare, inherited immune system disorder often called "bubble boy disease," 14 out of 16 children are doing well. The children were born with severe combined immunodeficiency disease (SCID). They got an experimental gene therapy in the U.K. A new report shows that nine years later, 14 of the 16 children had working immune systems and were leading normal lives.

Children with SCID carry genetic defects that prevent their immune systems from working. Without treatment, most die from infection in their first two years of life.

United States GDP at $15 trillion mid 2011 and China adjusted GDP

Car-to-Car Communication trial will test thousands of cars

A Car-to-Car Communication System will get a trial involving thousands of cars. This could pave the way for technology aimed at cutting accidents and traffic jams. Many high-end cars already come with sensors capable of spotting a vehicle in a driver's blind spot, or warning that the car is drifting out of lane. However, these technologies, which use radar, laser, or video sensors, have a limited view. Car-to-car communications could provide even more sophisticated earlier warnings—for example, when a car several vehicles ahead brakes suddenly.

The DOT (Department of Transportation) estimates that 80 percent of serious crashes could be addressed by this technology. "This is the next major safety advancement, one that's comparable to seat belts, air bags, and electronic stability control," said Scott Belcher, president and CEO of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America, a nonprofit founded to promote advanced car technologies.

Successful trials and full deployment in the United States could save 20,000 lives per year and global deployment could help to save 600,000 to 800,000 lives per yaer.

Natcore Technologies makes progress to 30% efficient quantum dot solar cells

A research team working under Natcore Technology Inc. co-founder Prof. Andrew Barron has fabricated two families of multilayer quantum dot films, one with silicon quantum dots and the other with germanium quantum dots, both of which have demonstrated the ability to produce a photo-generated current. Natcore's scientists have discovered that its LPD (Liquid Phase Deposition) process could allow, for the first time, mass manufacturing of super-efficient (30%+) tandem solar cells. For comparison purposes, these cells could achieve twice the power output of today's most efficient solar cells. Until now, these tandem cells have been producible only by using very special, expensive semiconductor materials, and at very high costs. Natcore's process has the potential to allow tandem cell mass production at a lower cost/watt than anything available today.

The photo-generated current measurements are the first of their kind for this sort of structure and showed unequivocally that both film types (i.e., with Si quantum dots or Ge quantum dots) were photoactive in different spectral regions. The larger Ge quantum dots were responsive to an infrared-rich light source and the Si quantum dots were responsive to a UV-rich light source, consistent with expectations. Smaller quantum dots (the Si quantum dot diameters were between 1 nm and 2 nm) will respond more readily to shorter wavelengths of light, while larger quantum dots (the Ge quantum dot diameters were between 5 nm and 6 nm) will respond more readily to longer light wavelengths, precisely as observed.

Neurosurgeons Use Adult Stem Cells to Grow Neck Vertebrae

Neurosurgery researchers at UC Davis Health System have used a new, leading-edge stem cell therapy to promote the growth of bone tissue following the removal of cervical discs -- the cushions between the bones in the neck -- to relieve chronic, debilitating pain. The stem cell procedure at UC Davis took place early in August. The patient was a 53-year-old male from the Sacramento region with degenerative disc disease.

Removal of the cervical disc relieves pain by eliminating friction between the vertebrae and/or nerve compression. Spinal fusion is used following surgery for degenerative disc disease, where the cusioning cartilage has worn away, leaving bone to rub agains bone and herniated discs, where the discs pinch or compress nerves.

"We hope that this investigational procedure eventually will help those who undergo spinal fusion in the back as well as in the neck," said Kim, who also is chief of spinal neurosurgery at UC Davis. "And the knowledge gained about stem cells also will be applied in the near future to treat without surgery those suffering from back pain."

Millions of Americans are affected by spine diseases, with approximately 40 percent of all spinal fusion surgery performed for cervical spinal fusion. Some 230,000 patients are candidates for spinal fusion, with the numbers of potential patients increasing by 2 to 3 percent each year as the nation's population ages.

E-Medicine and Smart Phones Manage Chronic Illness

1. Smartphone apps that connect to medical monitors have been shown to improve the health of people with diabetes and hypertension—and could ease the burden on the health-care system.

Joseph Cafazzo, a biomedical engineer at the University Health Network, in Toronto, and collaborators have developed apps that do much more. Their apps interface wirelessly with medical devices—including a blood-pressure monitor and a blood-sugar monitor—and offer suggestions based on the readings. They found that people using the programs lowered their blood pressure and were more vigilant about monitoring and testing their blood sugar.

One of the most interesting findings was that doctors seemed to play no role in the change. "It was solely patients becoming responsible for their own care," says Cafazzo, who heads the university's Centre for Global eHealth Innovation.

In a yearlong clinical trial of the system involving 110 patients with diabetic hypertension, Cafazzo and colleagues had some people use the app and a home blood-pressure monitor, while others used only a monitor. Those who used the app had a drop in systolic blood pressure of 10 millimeters of mercury, on average, which would reduce the risk of cardiac events by about 25 percent. Those who used just the conventional pressure monitor saw no reduction in blood pressure.

SkyNET: a 3G-enabled mobile attack drone and stealth botmaster

SkyNET: a 3G-enabled mobile attack drone and stealth botmaster (9 pages)

SkyNET is a stealth network that connects hosts to a botmaster through a mobile drone. The network is comprised of machines on home Wi-Fi networks in a proximal urban area, and one or more autonomous attack drones. The SkyNET is used by a botmaster to command their botnet(s) without using the Internet. The drones are programmed to scour an urban area and compromise wireless networks. Once compromised, the drone attacks the local hosts. When a host is compromised it joins both the Internet-facing botnet, and the sun-facing SkyNET. Subsequent drone flights are used to issue command and control without ever linking the botmaster to the botnet via the Internet. Reverse engineering the botnet, or enumerating the bots, does not reveal the identity of the botmaster. An analyst is forced to observe the autonomous attack drone to bridge the command and control gap. In this paper we present a working example, SkyNET complete with a prototype attack drone, discuss the reality of using such a command and control method, and provide insight on how to prevent against such attacks.
Diagrams showing the PAAE procedure used by the SkyNET drone. Black dots represent targets. In b the targets are networks. In c the targets are both networks and hosts.

“Magnonics” using nanoscale magnetic waves could replace microwaves for many applications

A group of scientists from the University of Gothenburg and the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) have become the first group in the world to demonstrate that theories about nanoscale spin waves agree with observations. This opens the way to replacing microwave technology in many applications, such as mobile phones and wireless networks, by components that are much smaller, cheaper, and that require less resources.

The research group has used one of the three advanced spin wave microscopes in the world, at the university in the Italian town of Perugia, to visualise the motion. The microscope makes it possible to see the dynamic properties of components with a resolution of approximately 250 nanometre.

Nature Nanotechnology - Direct observation of a propagating spin wave induced by spin-transfer torque

Schematic sample layout.

Cheap drugs could save thousands of lives - in Sweden alone

A major new international study involving researchers from the Sahlgrenska Academy and Sahlgrenska University Hospital has revealed that aspirin, statins, beta blockers and ACE inhibitors are prescribed far too infrequently. They are cheap, preventive medicines that could prevent a huge number of deaths from heart attacks and strokes.

Micronutrient powders reduce anemia and iron deficiency in infants in low-income countries

Adding a powder that contains several vitamins and minerals, including iron, zinc and vitamin A, to the semi-solid foods taken by infants and children between six months and two years of age, can reduce their risk of anaemia and iron deficiency. This is the conclusion of a new Cochrane Systematic Review.

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies, particularly those of iron, vitamin A and zinc, affect more than two billion people worldwide. Infants and young children are highly vulnerable because they grow rapidly and often have diets low in these nutrients. Micronutrient powders are single-dose packets containing multiple vitamins and minerals in powder form that can be sprinkled onto any semi-solid food immediately before eating at home or at any other place. Thus, this intervention is known as home or point of use fortification.

The coming age of robotics

The field of robotics is about to enter an exponential growth phase. Robots from corporations such as Qinetic, irobot, and Vecna Robotics are already used extensively by the military and industry, and new robotics corporations, such as Seegrid and Heartland robotics, have formed. A combination of factors, including Moore's law, the increasing cost of human labor, and improved actuators/sensors, mean that robots are beginning to appear in ever greater numbers and increasingly diverse locations. In an interview with Sander Olson, Seegrid CEO Dr. Scott Friedman discusses the burgeoning importance of warehouse robots, why voice-activated industrial robots won't appear, and the coming era of "twilight" factories and warehouses dominated by robots.

Dr. Scott Friedman

Question: Seegrid's warehouse robots have vision systems. How does the vision system work?

The vision system works by creating a 3-D grid, actually an Occupancy Grid, which is a machine vision technique invented by Seegrid’s co-founder, Hans Moravec. That is why our company is named Seegrid. It is a pun on "see the grid".

Innovative Superconductor Fibers Carry 40 Times More than Copper

Researchers at Tel Aviv University have found a way to make an old idea new with the next generation of superconductors.

Dr. Boaz Almog and Mishael Azoulay working in the group of Prof. Guy Deutscher at TAU's Raymond and Beverly Sackler School of Physics and Astronomy have developed superconducting wires using fibers made of single crystals of sapphire to be used in high powered cables. Factoring in temperature requirements, each tiny wire can carry approximately 40 times more electricity than a copper wire of the same size. They have the potential to revolutionize energy transfer, says Dr. Almog.

There was a high temperature superconducting patent application 20100298150 by Guy Deutscher (Herzliya, IL) Mishael Azoulay (Kfar-Saba, IL) Boaz Almog (Rehovot, IL) made November 2010

A sapphire substrate carrying a superconductive layer of a compound of the formula YBa2Cu3O7-x (YBCO), the layer having surface area of at least 10 cm2, and critical current of at least 100 A/cm width at a temperature of 77K or higher. In one exemplary embodiment, the thickness of the superconductive layer is between 10 nm and 50 nm. In another exemplary embodiment, the thickness of the superconductive layer is more than 600 nm. In preferred embodiment, an YSZ layer and a non-superconductive YBCO layer separate between the superconductive layer and the substrate.

The properties of copper wires are listed here

High temperature superconducting wire usually carries 4-10 times the power of copper SuperPower state-of-the-art second-generation high temperature superconductor (2G HTS) wire can carry up to one hundred times as much current as conventional copper wire.

The state of the art for superconducting wire electrical performance and cost performance is described in a 30 page presentation by Superpower Inc (a leading superconducting wire company)

September 06, 2011

Innovation is step toward digital graphene transistors

Purdue University researchers are making progress in creating digital transistors using a material called graphene, potentially sidestepping an obstacle thought to dramatically limit the material's use in computers and consumer electronics.

Purdue doctoral student Hong-Yan Chen has led a team of researchers in creating a new type of graphene inverter, a critical building block of digital transistors. Other researchers have created graphene inverters, but they had to be operated at 77 degrees Kelvin, which is minus 196 Celsius (minus 320 Fahrenheit).

"If graphene could be used in digital applications, that would be really important," said Chen, who is working with Joerg Appenzeller, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and scientific director of nanoelectronics at Purdue's Birck Nanotechnology Center.

The Purdue researchers are the first to create graphene inverters that work at room temperature and have a gain larger than one, a basic requirement for digital electronics that enables transistors to amplify signals and control its switching from 0 to 1.

Researchers are making progress in creating digital transistors using a material called graphene, potentially sidestepping an obstacle thought to dramatically limit the material's use in computers and consumer electronics. This composite image shows the circuit schematics of a new type of graphene inverter, a critical building block of digital transistors, left, and scanning electron microscope images of the fabricated device. (Hong-Yan Chen, Purdue University Birck Nanotechnology Center)

Innovative nanoparticle purification system uses magnetic fields

Penn State - Innovative nanoparticle purification system uses magnetic fields

A team of Penn State scientists has invented a new system that uses magnetism to purify hybrid nanoparticles -- structures that are composed of two or more kinds of materials in an extremely small particle that is visible only with an electron microscope. Team leaders Mary Beth Williams, an associate professor of chemistry, and Raymond Schaak, a professor of chemistry, explained that the never-before-tried method will help scientists to remove impurities from such particles. The method also will help researchers to distinguish between hybrid nanoparticles that appear to be identical when viewed under an electron microscope, but that have different magnetism -- a great challenge in recent nanoparticle research. The system holds the promise of helping to improve drug-delivery systems, drug-targeting technologies, medical-imaging technologies and electronic information-storage devices. The paper will be published in the journal Agewandte Chemie and is available on the journal's early-online website.

"Nano-olives" are made up of an iron oxide "olive" with an iron and platinum "pimento." Together the components make a highly magnetic particle structure, which may one day be useful for data storage in computers. Penn State Department of Public Information

Self-directed microspider could repair blood vessels

New Scientist - Ayusman Sen of Pennsylvania State University in University Park and his colleagues have created the self-propelling microspiders using spheres less than a micrometre wide. Each sphere is made up of two halves – one hemisphere is gold, the other silica – and looks like a gold-and-silver Christmas bauble.

Sen hopes to develop versions of these tiny aquatic spiders that run on chemicals readily available in the body, such as glucose. In the future, more sophisticated microspiders attached to nanobots that detect chemicals secreted by damaged tissue could swim through the bloodstream, weaving a medical glue to help heal tears in vessel walls. Decorated with other micromachines and enzymes, they could swim through the circulatory system scouting out tumours, scouring plaque from vessel walls and helping the immune system battle infections .

The microspider represents a "new model of micromachines based on chemistry", says Joseph Wang, a nanoengineer at the University of California, San Diego, in La Jolla. "It's the first example of a micromotor that works on polymerisation. The concept is preliminary, but when it is improved it could be very powerful.

Angewandte Chemie International Edition - A Polymerization-Powered Motor

Polymer-powered! A polymerization reaction is used to power the first micromotor outside biological systems. The motor employs a form of Grubbs’ catalyst asymmetrically bound to gold–silica Janus microspheres (see picture). These motors show increased diffusion of up to 70 % when placed in solutions of the monomer. The motors also exhibit chemotaxis when placed in a monomer gradient.

Controlling the phase of a light beam with a single molecule

Arxiv - Controlling the phase of a light beam with a single molecule (10 pages)

We employ heterodyne interferometry to investigate the effect of a single organic molecule on the phase of a propagating laser beam. We report on the first phase-contrast images of individual molecules and demonstrate a single-molecule electro-optical phase switch by applying a voltage to the microelectrodes embedded in the sample. Our results may find applications in single-molecule holography, fast optical coherent signal processing, and single-emitter quantum operations.

1. a) The experimental setup. BS: beam splitter; BP: bandpass filter; LP: low-pass filter; S: sample; SIL: solid-immersion lens; AOM: acousto-optical modulator; PD: photodetector. The inset exemplifies raw data of the beating signal recorded in a start-stop configuration using the signals of PD1 and PD4, respectively. Green solid and dashed lines indicate the two detuned laser beams after the AOM. The red solid line signifies the fluorescence signal from the sample. b) Laser beam attenuation of 18% by a single molecule recorded on PD2 in reflection.

Holographic Control of Motive Shape in Plasmonic Nanogap Arrays

Nanoletters - Holographic Control of Motive Shape in Plasmonic Nanogap Arrays

Here we demonstrate that 4-beam holographic lithography can be utilized to create plasmonic nanogaps that are 70 times smaller than the laser wavelength (488 nm). This was achieved by controlling phase, polarization, and laser beam intensity in order to tune the relative spacing of the two sublattices in the interference pattern of a compound-lattice in combination with the nonlinear resist response. Exemplarily, twin and triplet motive features were designed and patterned into polymer in a single exposure step and then transferred into gold nanogap arrays resulting in an average gap size of 22 nm and smallest features down to 7 nm. These results extend the utility of high-throughput, wafer-scale holographic lithography into the realm of nanoplasmonics.

Culturomics 2.0: Forecasting Large-Scale Human Behavior Using Global News Media Tone in Time and Space

paper published yesterday in the peer-reviewed journal First Monday combines advanced supercomputing with a quarter-century of worldwide news to forecast and visualize human behavior, from civil unrest to the movement of individuals.

The paper, titled “Culturomics 2.0: Forecasting Large-Scale Human Behavior Using Global News Media Tone in Time and Space,” uses the tone and location of news coverage from across the world to forecast country stability (including retroactively predicting the recent Arab Spring), estimate Osama Bin Laden’s final location as a 200-kilometer radius around Abbottabad, and uncover the six world civilizations of the global news media. The research also demonstrates that the news is indeed becoming more negative and even visualizes global human societal conflict and cooperation over the last quarter century.

It seems like a real attempt at psychohistory from Isaac Asimov's Foundation series of novels

Psychohistory is a fictional science in Isaac Asimov's Foundation universe which combines history, sociology, and mathematical statistics to make general predictions about the future behavior of very large groups of people, such as the Galactic Empire.

Rice has made a cable from double-walled carbon nanotubes and powered a light bulb

Cables made of carbon nanotubes are inching toward electrical conductivities seen in metal wires, and that may light up interest among a range of industries, according to Rice University researchers.

A Rice lab made such a cable from double-walled carbon nanotubes and powered a fluorescent light bulb at standard line voltage -- a true test of the novel material's ability to stake a claim in energy systems of the future.

Nature Scientific Reports - Iodine doped carbon nanotube cables exceeding specific electrical conductivity of metals

Rice breakthrough could double wireless capacity with no new towers

Rice's new "full-duplex" technology allows wireless devices like cell phones and electronic tablets to both "talk" and "listen" to wireless cell towers on the same frequency -- something that requires two frequencies today.

"Our solution requires minimal new hardware, both for mobile devices and for networks, which is why we've attracted the attention of just about every wireless company in the world," said Ashutosh Sabharwal, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Rice. "The bigger change will be developing new wireless standards for full-duplex. I expect people may start seeing this when carriers upgrade to 4.5G or 5G networks in just a few years."

Arxiv - Experiment-driven Characterization of Full-Duplex Wireless Systems

32 page pdf

Lawrenceville Plasma Physics completes Dense Plasma Focus Fusion upgrade reassembly

In early August, the LPP research team—Eric Lerner, Aaron Blake, Derek Shannon and Fred Van Roessel, ably reinforced by visiting Kansas State University graduate students Mohamed Ismail and Amgad Mohamed, completed the re-assembly of the FF-1 upgrade.

The upgrade, which involved reinforcing insulation on the device’s transmission plates and around its switches, prepared it for firing up to 45 kV. With the advice and design help of LPP contractor John Thompson in San Diego, the team came up with and implemented a half dozen ways to make the Mylar plastic sheets that insulate the current more effective. Re-assembly was completed only nine days after we received the last parts from machinists.

August 27, 2011 the team fired 11 shots with the upgraded system

Scientists announce human intestinal stem cell 'breakthrough' for regenerative medicine

Human colon stem cells have been identified and grown in a lab-plate for the first time. This achievement, made by researchers of the Colorectal Cancer Lab at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) and published in Nature Medicine, is a crucial advance towards regenerative medicine.

Throughout life, stem cells of the colon regenerate the inner layer of our large intestine in a weekly basis. For decades scientists had evidences of the existence of these cells yet their identity remained elusive. Scientists led by the ICREA Professor and researcher at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) Eduard Batlle discovered the precise localization of the stem cells in the human colon and worked out a method that allows their isolation and in vitro expansion, that is their propagation in lab-plates. Growing cells outside the body generally requires providing the cells in a lab-plate with the right mix of nutrients, growth factors and hormones. But in the same way that each of the more than 200 types of cells in our body differs from the others so too do optimal growing conditions in the lab. Consequently, human adult stem cell culture in labs has been a truly impossible mission until now. Batlle's team has also established the conditions for maintain living human colon stem cells (CoSCs) outside of the human body: "This is the first time that it has been possible to grow single CoSCs in lab-plates and to derive human intestinal stem cell lines in defined conditions in a lab setting," explains the IRB Barcelona researcher Peter Jung, first author of the study together with Toshiro Sato, from the University Medical Center Utrecht in The Netherlands.

Nature Medicine - Isolation and in vitro expansion of human colonic stem cells

Room Temperature Superconductivity Claimed for Cuprates for high temperature islands parts of the total material

In recent years, some physicists have found some cuprates in which the transition to zero resistance occurs at a lower temperature than the Meisner effect. So at low temperatures, the cuprate acts like a normal superconductor. As the temperature rises, it goes through a first transition and loses its zero resistance while maintaining the Meisner effect. Then as the temperature rises further, it goes through a second transition in which the Meisner effect disappears and the material becomes an ordinary conductor. In underdoped yttrium barium copper oxide (YBCO), the first transition occurs at 85K while the second at over 200K.

Vladimir Kresin at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Stuart Wolf at the University of Virginia put forward a theory. They think that these cuprates consist of two components with different transition temperatures: the component with the higher transition temperature forms islands in a matrix with a lower transition temperature.

That explains why the material has two transition temperatures, they say. Below 85K, both components are superconductors. But as the temperature rises above 85K, the matrix becomes a conventional conductor introducing finite resistance. However, the island component maintains its superconductivity. Their idea is that the high temperature islands form where atomic isotopes subtly change the material properties.

Kresin and Wolf say that one experiment has shown that the substitution of O-18 for O-16 in another cuprate dramatically increases the second transition temperature. That's potentially exciting. In effect, these guys say they've discovered a room temperature superconductor, albeit one that works inside a lower temperature superconductor. Whether this materials can be isolated so that the effect appears in a standalone bulk material will be an important question to investigate.

Arxiv - Inhomogeneous Superconducting State and intrinsic Tc : Near Room Temperature Superconductivity in the Cuprates.

NOTE - High temperature islands of room temperature superconductivity is what Joe Eck has been reporting for many months.

In 2006, Joe Eck at (a private experimenter) reported 150K superconductor (for islands of a material)
In 2007, Joe Eck reported 175K superconductor (for islands of a material)
In 2008, Joe reported 200K and then 212K superconductor
In 2009, Joe reported 233K, 242K and then 254K superconductor islands
In 2010, Joe reported 277K
In 2011, Joe reported islands of 18.5C (291.5 K)

Wolf Raynet protostar ejecting a powerful molecular jet

This video shows the evolution over time of Herbig-Haro object HH 47, a jet expelled from a newborn star in the southern constellation of Vela. The video was made by stitching together observations of HH 47 made in 1994, 1999 and 2008.

credit: NASA, ESA, P. Hartigan (Rice University), G. Bacon (STScI)

Given the vast distances in astronomy, even fast moving objects will not appear to change their appearance in a human lifetime. Typically. A recent spectacular exception to this, however, is the supersonic jet in the star forming Herbig Haro 47. HH 47 is so close -- and the jets are moving so fast -- that images from the Hubble Space Telescope from 1994 to 2008 have been combined into a time-lapse movie that actually shows a powerful jet expanding. Visible above, jets of plasma extending over 10,000 times the Earth-Sun distance shoot out from a forming star at speeds in excess of 150 kilometers per second. Studying how these jets evolve gives clues not only to how the star in HH 47 is forming, but how stars like our Sun formed billions of years ago. HH 47 is located about 1,500 light years away toward the constellation of Sails of a Ship (Vela)

H/T goatguy

September 05, 2011

Demonstration of a single-molecule electric motor

Tufts researchers have built the smallest electric motor ever—it consists of just one molecule. Tufts research team has developed the world’s first single-molecule electric motor—which is a mere 1 nanometer across. They reported the results in a paper published in Nature Nanotechnology on Sept. 4. This development—made possible with a low-temperature scanning tunneling microscope at Tufts, one of only about 100 in the United States—may be the first step toward a new class of devices that could be used in applications ranging from medicine to engineering.

Sykes and his colleagues used the metal tip of the microscope to provide an electrical charge to a butyl methyl sulfide molecule that had been placed on a copper surface. The molecule had a sulfur atom at the center and carbon atoms radiating off to form two arms, so to speak: four carbons on one side, one on the other. In subsequent experiments, such arms could potentially act as interlocking cogs or gears, and as one molecule is powered, it could turn or rotate others in sequence.

Nature Nanotechnology - Experimental demonstration of a single-molecule electric motor

In this illustration, the orange represents the copper surface on which the molecular motor is resting. The yellow ball is the molecule’s sulfur base, and the two arms are composed of carbon and hydrogen atoms. The power source above the device is the tip of a scanning tunneling microscope, which uses electricity to direct the molecule to rotate in one direction or another. Illustration: Sykes Laboratory

New path to new materials and devices

A University of Arkansas physicist and his colleagues have found that ultra-thin films of superconductors and related materials don’t lose their fundamental properties when built under strain when built as atomically thin layers, an important step towards achieving artificially designed room temperature superconductivity. This ability will allow researchers to create new types of materials and properties and enable exotic electronic phases in ultra-thin films.

Dr Richard Nebel now at Tibbar Technologies

Dr. Richard Nebel used to be the lead researcher at EMC2 Fusion. EMC2 Fusion is funded by the Navy to develop inertial electrostatic fusion. The EMC2 fusion processed were developed by Dr Bussard (Bussard Ramjet and a lot of other work). Dr Nebel is now at Tibbar Technologies. (H/T Talk polywell

Electrostatic Mode Locking and Mode Suppression in RFPs and Tokamaks by Richard Nebel (x lead researcher at EMC2 Fusion)

In this paper we show that it is possible to lock and amplify m=1 modes from the boundary in an RFP by using electrostatic fields. Furthermore, it is possible to do this without any magnetic field lines penetrating the boundary (i.e. the normal component of the magnetic field vanishes at the boundary).

These can result in single-helicity states which have good flux surfaces everywhere. The key to forming these states is to drive one of the unstable RFP modes. For the unstable modes, perturbations from the boundary amplify into the interior (Resonant Field Amplification). This is consistent with the theory developed 20+ years ago that boundary perturbations can be described by the marginal ideal MHD equations.

Carnival of Space 213

September 04, 2011

IMBots - Inorganic Macrocell Robots

Ben Goertzel at HPlus Magazine talks about his idea for robots made of quarter centimeter to one centimeters pieces that he calls Inorganic Macrocell Robots or IMBots

The idea seems very doable with the current millimeter scale claytronics which are themselves precursors to Micron based claytronics and precursors to utility fog. Utility fog needs early stage molecular nanotech to fully realize.

Ben talks about a muscle ball made up of IMBot sensors and cameras and actuators.

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 68

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