October 01, 2011

Bakken Oil, Eagle Ford, Utica Shale and other US Oil

1. Harold Hamm, multi-billionaire CEO of Continental Resources, estimates that entire Bakken oil field, fully developed, has 24 billion barrels.

Continental Resources has seen its "proved reserves" of oil and natural gas (mostly in North Dakota) skyrocket to 421 million barrels this summer from 118 million barrels in 2006. Continental expects their reserves and production to triple over the next five years. If they reach that goal Harold Hamm will increase his networth from about 8 billion dollars to over 20 billion.

The USGS (US Geological Survey) will do a new assessment of the Bakken starting in October, 2011 and will be completed in about two years.

Harold Hamm calculates that if Washington would allow more drilling permits for oil and natural gas on federal lands and federal waters, "I truly believe the federal government could over time raise $18 trillion in royalties."

Wood Mackenzie consulting has a 57 page presentation that describes how pro-oil and gas policies could increase oil production by over 10 million barrels per day. Over 3 million barrels per day from the Gulf of Mexico.

September 30, 2011

Why Spacex Abandoned Parachuting into Water for Reusable Rockets

New Scientist - SpaceX's original concept for first-stage recovery and reuse didn't work and apparently is being abandoned.

The original concept seemed simple: the spent first stage would parachute down to a splashdown offshore, where it would be recovered by boat and hauled back to shore for refurbishment and reuse. There were some obvious questions about how well a rocket stage would survive being soaked in seawater, which is quite corrosive; perhaps only selected components would be reusable, not the whole stage. (Yes, NASA recovered the shuttle SRBs the same way, but their refurbishment process was so labour-intensive that it's not clear it ever really saved them any money.)

Overall, the idea seemed like a clumsy makeshift, and some doubted that there would be much real benefit, but it didn't seem ridiculous – just challenging.

The only problem was, it didn't work. At the Space Access conference in April, Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX's president, admitted: "We have recovered pieces of the first stages." The first stages weren't even getting as far as deploying their parachutes – they were breaking up during atmospheric re-entry.

Game Changing SpaceX Falcon Heavy Booster will be Thirty times cheaper than the space shuttle

The Falcon Heavy is slated to launch twice the payload of the Shuttle at about one-fifteenth the cost of a Shuttle launch. It is thirty times cheaper to launch the same weight and ten times cheaper than a Delta IV Heavy.

SpaceX has broken the long-sought 1,000 dollars a pound to orbit price barrier with a rocket which is still expendable.

SpaceX had a launch manifest of over 40 payloads, far exceeding any current government contracts, with more being added every month. These are divided between the Falcon 9 and the Falcon Heavy.

Using the average posted price value of $100 million, the Falcon Heavy actually can be launched for about one-fourth the cost of a Delta IV Heavy (4.35 times cheaper per launch), yet it carries 2.31 times as much payload! This means the current cost per pound to LEO for the Delta IV Heavy is 4.35 times 2.31 = 10.05 or almost exactly 10 times more expensive (by multiplying the two ratios together).

Musk has been talking about creating a hydrogen-oxygen upper stage, which could boost the total Falcon Heavy payload (from 53 tons) close to the minimum for a “true” heavy lift vehicle, or about 70 tons. This engine could enter service before 2015.

Drones that can see the difference in the faces of identical twins

Today Anwar al-Awlaki was killed by a U.S. drone strike. Awlaki, identified by U.S. intelligence as "chief of external operations" for al Qaeda's Yemen branch and a Web-savvy propagandist for the Islamist cause, was killed in an attack by missiles fired from multiple CIA drones in a remote Yemeni town.

The US is continuing to improve the capabilities of their drones.

Danger Room - Progeny just started work on their drone-mounted, “Long Range, Non-cooperative, Biometric Tagging, Tracking and Location” system. The company is one several firms that has developed algorithms for the military that use two-dimensional images to construct a 3D model of a face. It’s not an easy trick to pull off — even with the proper lighting, and even with a willing subject. Building a model of someone on the run is harder. Constructing a model using the bobbing, weaving, flying, relatively low-resolution cameras on small unmanned aerial vehicles is tougher still.

If the system can’t get a good enough look at a target’s face, Progeny has other ways of IDing its prey. The key, developed under a previous Navy contract, is a kind of digital stereotyping. Using a series of so-called “soft biometrics” — everything from age to gender to “ethnicity” to “skin color” to height and weight — the system can keep track of targets “at ranges that are impossible to do with facial recognition,” Faltemier says. Like 750 feet away or more.

But if Progeny can get close enough, Faltemier says his technology can even tell identical twins apart.

Tesearchers from Notre Dame and Michigan State Universities collected images of faces at a “Twins Days” festival. Progeny then zeroed in on the twins’ scars, marks, and tattoos — and were able to spot one from the other.

Artificial leaf solar cell splits water into hydrogen and oxygen

The artificial leaf — a silicon solar cell with different catalytic materials bonded onto its two sides — needs no external wires or control circuits to operate. Simply placed in a container of water and exposed to sunlight, it quickly begins to generate streams of bubbles: oxygen bubbles from one side and hydrogen bubbles from the other. If placed in a container that has a barrier to separate the two sides, the two streams of bubbles can be collected and stored, and used later to deliver power: for example, by feeding them into a fuel cell that combines them once again into water while delivering an electric current.

The 'artificial leaf,' a device that can harness sunlight to split water into hydrogen and oxygen without needing any external connections, is seen with some real leaves, which also convert the energy of sunlight directly into storable chemical form. Photo: Dominick Reuter

Journal Science - Wireless Solar Water Splitting Using Silicon-Based Semiconductors and Earth-Abundant Catalysts

Washable wearable antenna

Wearing an antenna – without anyone knowing – is making a splash in the world of search and rescue. The new antenna is made from highly flexible, lightweight material that is robust against water exposure and moist conditions, and resistant to wear and tear, this special antenna has been designed for use by the Cospas-Sarsat worldwide search and rescue satellite system.

Recent field trials with the antenna show that someone lost at sea wearing a life vest equipped with this new technology can be pinpointed within minutes.
Fabric Antenna

High-Power, Narrowband Terahertz Single Chip Source at Room Temperature

Researchers at Northwestern University have developed a simpler way to generate single-chip terahertz radiation, a discovery that could soon allow for more rapid security screening, border protection, high sensitivity biological/chemical analysis, agricultural inspection, and astronomical applications.

Terahertz radiation (wavelength range of 30 – 300 microns) can be used to see through paper, clothing, cardboard, plastic, and many other materials, without any of the health risks posed by current x-ray based techniques. This property has become extremely valuable for security screening, as it is safe to use on people and can detect metals and ceramics that might be used as weapons.

In addition, a scanning terahertz source can identify many types of biological or chemical compounds due to their characteristic absorption spectra in this wavelength range. Sensitivity to water content can also be utilized to study agricultural quality. Finally, through mixing with a compact coherent terahertz source, very weak terahertz signals from deep space can be detected, which may help scientists understand the formation of the universe.

Applied Physics Letters - Room temperature single-mode terahertz sources based on intracavity difference-frequency generation in quantum cascade lasers

We demonstrate room temperature single-mode THz emission at 4 THz based on intracavity difference-frequency generation from mid-infrared dual-wavelength quantum cascade lasers. An integrated dual-period distributed feedback grating is defined on the cap layer to purify both mid-infrared pumping wavelengths and in turn the THz spectra. Single mode operation of the pumping wavelengths results in a single-mode THz operation with a narrow linewidth of 6.6 GHz. A maximum THz power of 8.5 μW with a power conversion efficiency of 10 μW/W2 is obtained at room temperature.

AlphaDog Robot Video

The AlphaDog Proto is a lab prototype for the Legged Squad Support System, a robot being developed by Boston Dynamics with funding from DARPA and the US Marine Corps. When fully developed the system will carry 400 lbs of payload on 20-mile missions in rough terrain. The first version of the complete robot will be completed in 2012. This video shows early results from the control development process. In this video the robot is powered remotely. AlphaDog is designed to be over 10x quieter than BigDog.

Understanding the reduction in percentage of oil imports in the United States

NPR had a claim - two years ago, America was importing about two thirds of its oil. Today, according to the Energy Information Administration, it imports less than half.

The actual levels seem to be more of a shift from 61-63% imports to 47% imports. 3.8 million barrels per day of lower oil imports but 1.8 million barrels per day is from lower oil usage. A lot of the lower oil usage is because of the higher prices for oil and a weaker economy.

Net imports of oil and fossil fuel liquids have decreased to 8.0 to 9.5 million barrels per day in 2010 and 2011 (average about 9.0 million barrel per day). From 2005 to 2007, the net imported crude oil and petroleum products was 12.0 to 13.3 million barrels per day (average about 12.8 million barrels per day)

The total petroleum supplied to the United States from 2005 to 2007 was 19.7 to 21.4 million barrels per day (average about 20.8 million barrels per day). In 2010 and 2011 the petroleum used has been 18.1 to 20.2 million barrels per day (average petroleum used has been 19.0 million barrels per day).

Domestic crude oil production has increased about 500,000 to 700,000 barrels per day.

Ethanol is up about 100,000 to 200,000 barrel per day and natural gas liquids have increased.

Dense Plasma Focus Fusion on the cusp of significantly Higher Fusion Yield

With all switches firing and central components cleaned, realigned, and in some cases even resurfaced, Focus Fusion-1 (FoFu-1) has pushed the frontier of DPF functioning to record pressures of fill gas. This is a prerequisite for achieving high fusion yields. The yield increases with the plasma density in the tiny plasmoid where fusion is produced, and for a given type of gas, this density is proportional to the fill gas pressure. While no other DPF has achieved fusion reactions at fill pressures above 30 Torr, and FoFu-1 had previously only done this once, on Sept. 12, LPP's device achieved fusion reaction at these high pressures in 10 shots, including several times at 44 Torr and a single shot over 75 Torr.

The gas pressure has been increased 3 to 5 times over previous work.
FoFu-1’s fusion yield, measured in billions of neutrons produced, is tightly correlated with the height of the voltage spike (see fig. 2) in new shots performed after the tungsten pins on the cathode plate were aligned (blue line on left). Those shots were at the record gas filling pressure of 42-44 Torr and capacitor charge of 34 kV. The slope shows that fusion yield scales with spike voltage to the 2.73 power. By comparison, many shots with unaligned pins produced a correlation with much more scatter that levels off at high pinch height (green line on right).

The chart indicates that with pressures increased 3 times and with aligned pins that 30-100 times the neutron yield would be expected if the early results continue the linear relationship.

Carnival of Space 217

The Carnival of Space 217 is up at Dear Astronomer.

Universe Today - SpaceX to Develop a Fully Reusable Launch System — and Elon Musk Wants to Send Humans to Mars

Elon Musk incidated in a speech that humanity should be willing to spend about one quarter of one percent of GDP for Mars colonization civilization insurance, and Musk said a ticket price of about $500,000 per per person would likely be affordable for about one person in a million. Since humanity will tip the scales at 8 billion by the time the architecture for living on Mars would be available, 8,000 people could afford to head out to Mars.

Mars is the closest potentially habitable planet, he’d like to send people there. He’s not talking about establishing a small base, but sending large numbers of people to live there permanently. He sees this as “life insurance” for humanity in case something happens to our planet, be it a natural catastrophe or a human-caused event.

DARPA looking for Incredibles Edna Mode for Warrior Web supersuit

DARPA wants to create a quasi-passive adaptive suit.

The vision of the Warrior Web program, grounded in human physiology and performance, is to develop and demonstrate the technologies required to create a compliant, warfighter-wearable, quasi-passive and adaptive suit system to both reduce injuries and retain optimal warrior performance. The Warrior Web program currently seeks the development and demonstration of technologies in five thrust areas: injury mitigation technologies; comprehensive analytical representations of biomechanical processes; quasi-passive regenerative actuation technologies; adaptive sensing and control technologies; and advancements in potential suit human-to-machine interfaces.

Edna Mode (character in Pixar Incredibles) has created custom-made original outfits for superheroes since the "glory days", saying that she designs for gods.

"Your boy's suit I designed to withstand enormous friction without heating up or wearing out, a useful feature. Your daughter's suit was tricky, but I finally created a sturdy material that can disappear completely as she does. Your suit can stretch as far as you can without injuring yourself, and still retain its shape. Virtually indestructible, yet it breathes like Egyptian cotton."

Flywheel and compressed air hybrid cars

Alternative hybrid approaches replace the battery with compressed air or a flywheel.

Compressed Air

Scuderi has now released results of a computer simulation of its compressed air engine against a European economy-class engine of comparable power. The compressed air hybrid achieved a fuel economy figure of 65 miles per gallon, compared with 52 miles per gallon for the conventional engine. It also emitted 85 grams per kilometer of carbon dioxide, compared with 104 grams per kilometer for the conventional engine.

Scuderi, based in West Springfield, Massachusetts, has altered the way the internal combustion engine operates to convert kinetic energy into the potential energy of high-pressure air. It splits the four parts of the internal combustion cycle across two cylinders synchronized on the same crankshaft. One cylinder handles the air intake and compression part of the cycle, pumping compressed air via a crossover passage into the second cylinder. The crossover contains the fuel-injection system, and combustion and exhaust are handled in the second cylinder.

When the vehicle does not need power—when traveling downhill, braking, or decelerating—the second cylinder is disabled and the first cylinder's air is diverted into a high-pressure air-storage tank. This air can be used to help run the engine, boosting its efficiency.

Scuderi has combined this system with a "Miller-cycle" turbocharger, which picks up energy off the exhaust and uses it to compress air into the intake cylinder. This allows the compression side to be shrunk down and reduces the amount of work done through the crankshaft.

A stretchy binder material can Boost Battery Storage by 30%

Technology Review - A stretchy binder material that's compatible with existing factories could help electric cars and portable electronics go 30 percent longer.

Lithium-ion battery electrodes bound together by a new highly conductive material have a much greater storage capacity—a development that could eventually increase the range of electric cars and the life of smart-phone batteries without increasing their cost. Unlike many high-capacity electrodes developed over the last few years, these can be made using the equipment already found in today's battery factories.

The key is a stretchy, highly conductive polymer binder that can be used to hold together silicon, tin, and other materials that can store a lot of energy but that are ordinarily unstable. Researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory painstakingly engineered this new polymer binder and used it to make a silicon anode for a rechargeable lithium-ion battery with a storage capacity 30 percent greater than those on the market today. It's also more stable over time than previously developed electrodes.

September 29, 2011

Over half investors have pessimestic view for China GDP growth by 2016 but Economists are positive

More than half the global investors surveyed by Bloomberg predict Chinese growth will slow to less than 5 percent annually by 2016.

Fifty-nine percent of respondents said China's gross domestic product, which rose 9.5 percent last quarter, will gain less than 5 percent annually by 2016. Twelve percent see such a slowdown within a year, and 47 percent said it will occur in two to five years, the quarterly Bloomberg Global Poll of investors, analysts and traders who are Bloomberg subscribers showed.

Now, four years into a financial crisis triggered by the collapse of the U.S. mortgage-securities market, some investors are beginning to doubt China's staying power. Investors labeled the Chinese economy as "deteriorating" rather than "improving" by a nearly three-to-one margin, 38 percent to 13 percent. A plurality of 47 percent called it "stable."

Investors’ outlook for the world’s second-largest economy clashes with that of China economists including those at HSBC Holdings Plc, Nomura Holdings Inc., Capital Economics and the nation’s State Council, or cabinet equivalent. Lu Zhongyuan, deputy director of the State Council Development Research Center, said at a briefing in Beijing yesterday that growth in the next five years will likely exceed 8 percent.

Vaccine could reduce HIV to 'minor infection'

Telegraph UK - HIV could be reduced to a "minor chronic infection" akin to herpes, scientists developing a new vaccine have claimed.

Spanish researchers found that 22 of 24 healthy people (92 per cent) developed an immune response to HIV after being given their MVA-B vaccine.

The injection contains four HIV genes which stimulate T and B lymphocytes, which are types of white blood cells.

48-volt electric supercharger for micro-mild hybrids

Currently the most cost-effective solution for reducing CO2 emissions is modular ‘Micro-Mild’ (MM) hybrid technology, based on highly boosted and radically downsized gasoline and diesel powertrains. Modular ‘micro-mild’ hybrid technology offers a compelling cost-effective route to reducing CO2 emissions in family cars says Controlled Power Technologies. Incremental manufacturing cost is €50-60 for every 1 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions compared with the €200-500 per cent typical for full hybrids. Further value enhancements are possible if the automotive industry were to standardise around the proposed 48 volt power networks developing in Europe.

For a 15-25 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions using micro-mild hybrid technologies we have established an incremental cost to the manufacturer of between €750 and €1500,” says Morris. “This compares favourably with the 8-20 per cent typical of CO2 emissions benefit offered by mild hybrids, full hybrids and plug-in hybrids, at a much higher manufacturing on-cost of between €1,600 and €10,000.”

Master key found which could lead to treatment for all autoimmune disorders

Imagine a single drug that would treat most, if not all, autoimmune disorders, such as asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, and Lupus. That might not be so hard to do thanks to a team of researchers who have discovered a molecule normally used by the body to prevent unnecessary immune reactions. This molecule, pronounced "alpha v beta 6," normally keeps our immune systems from overreacting when food passes through our bodies, and it may be the key that unlocks entirely new set of treatments for autoimmune disorders.

Journal of Leukocyte Biology - Intestinal epithelial cell-derived integrin αβ6 plays an important role in the induction of regulatory T cells and inhibits an antigen-specific Th2 response

Would be Terrorist will cause a lot of regulations for remote controlled planes

The FBI has charged a would-be terrorist in Ashland, Massachusetts with planning multiple bomb attacks in which radio-controlled planes would have been used as bargain-basement, explosives-packed drones. It could lead to a thicket of regulations on both the vendors and flyers of RC planes in future.

Ferdaus ordered and acquired a $6,500 remote-controlled aircraft, an F-86 Sabre, that he kept in a rented storage facility.

Ferdaus was going to fly the RC aircraft using onboard GPS-guided autopilots, says the FBI. That's essentially the only difference between an enthusiast's cheap RC plane and a small drone: the autopilot allows manual control to be abandoned after take-off, allowing the aircraft to seek targets by GPS position alone. Autopilot electronics keep the plane flying straight and level through a series of GPS waypoints until the destination is reached.

France orders new steam generators to extend nuclear plants from 40 to 60 years of operation and Fukushima nears cold shutdown

1. French utility EDF has placed an order worth €1.5 billion ($2 billion) for the supply of 44 replacement steam generators. The replacement steam generations will all be installed at its 1300 MWe series of nuclear power plants. EDF said that the order "constitutes part of the programme for the gradual replacement of major plant components." In July 2010, EDF said that it was assessing the prospect of 60-year lifetimes for all its existing reactors. This would involve replacement of all steam generators (three in each 900 MWe reactor and four in each 1300 MWe unit) and other refurbishment, costing €400-600 million ($545-815 million) per unit to take them beyond 40 years. The company is currently replacing steam generators at a rate of two units per year, and plans to increase this to three units in 2016.

First Energy-Storage Membrane

A team from the National University of Singapore’s Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Initiative (NUSNNI), led by principle investigator Dr Xie Xian Ning, has developed the world’s first energy-storage membrane.

The new membrane promises greater cost-effectiveness in delivering energy, but also an environmentally-friendly solution. The researchers used a polystyrene-based polymer to deposit the soft, foldable membrane that, when sandwiched between and charged by two metal plates, could store charge at 0.2 farads per square centimeter. This is well above the typical upper limit of 1 microfarad per square centimetre for a standard capacitor.

The cost involved in energy storage is also drastically reduced. With existing technologies based on liquid electrolytes, it costs about US$7 to store each farad. With the advanced energy storage membrane, the cost to store each farad falls to an impressive US$0.62. This translates to an energy cost of 10-20 watt-hour per US dollar for the membrane, as compared to just 2.5 watt-hour per US dollar for lithium ion batteries.
energy storage membrane

Polymer Physics - Supercapacitive energy storage based on ion-conducting channels in hydrophilized organic network

CSpan has archived the Elon Musk Future of human space flight talk

Pictures and video of Reusable Falcon 9 Spacex Vehicles

Spacex has a page about the Elon Musk National Press Club talk

Hobby Space has highlights and discussion of the Elon Musk talk

- Pivotal break-through is a fully reusable, rapid turnaround rocket
- 2-3% of expendable initial total mass gets to orbit
- Adding reusability cuts into that 2-3%
- Very tough engineering problem. Wasn't sure for awhile that it could be solved. In past year decided that it could be.
- SpaceX will try to do it. No guarantee of success.
- Calculations and simulations say it should work.
- See simulation (video below).
- Falcon 9 is the lowest cost rocket in world at ~$50M
- Fuel is only about $200,000
- So if could reuse it would lead to 100 times reduction in cost.
- Fully reusable rapid turnaround is absolutely required for practical spaceflight and making humanity multiplanetary.
- A little base is not interesting.
- Definitely going to be an adventure to make this happen.
- Doesn't think mining anything on Mars to bring back to earth is viable.
- If you could make moving to Mars cost around $500k, that would be a viable business model.
- If only 1 in a million decided to do that, that's 8000 people. Probably number would be far higher.

Stacked shrimp farms will enable 1 million pounds of shrimp per acre of water which is 15 to 50 times more per acre

They may look like bunk beds on steroids, but a new shrimp production technology developed by a Texas AgriLife Research scientist near Corpus Christi promises to revolutionize how shrimp make it to our tables. The patent-pending technology, known as super-intensive stacked raceways, was created by Dr. Addison Lawrence at the Texas AgriLife Research Mariculture Laboratory at Port Aransas, who says the system is able to produce record-setting amounts of shrimp.

“These tanks require stringent control and supervision, 24/7 monitoring with computers tracking the shrimp,” he said. “But properly run, these systems can produce up to 1 million pounds of shrimp per acre of water, or two acres of land per year,” he said “That’s far superior to traditional shrimp farms in the U.S. that can produce only up to 20,000 pounds of shrimp per acre of water per year. In tropical countries that have year-round growing seasons, they can produce up to 60,000 pounds of shrimp per year.”

This breakthrough in aquafarming increases production by 15 to 50 times.

Dr. Addison Lawrence, left, points to the lower section of his super-intensive stacked raceway shrimp production system to Dr. Maurice Kemp, president of Royal Caridea. (AgriLife Research photo by Patty Waits Beasley)

Kindle Fire compared to iPad and other tablets

PC World has a comparison of the Kindle Fire with most of the other major tablets.

Barnes and Noble is also rumored to be launching a 10-inch version of the Nook Color before the end of 2011. It is expected to sell for $349, and will give Barnes & Noble a head start against a larger Kindle tablet for users who prefer the 10-inch tablet form factor.

China launches first space lab module Tiangong-1

Xinhua - China's first space lab module Tiangong-1 blasted off at 9:16 p.m. Beijing Time (1316 GMT) Thursday from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center located in China's northwest desert area.

The unmanned module, carried by the Long March-2FT1 rocket, will test space docking with a spacecraft later this year, paving the way for China to operate a permanent space station around 2020 and making it the world's third country to do so.

The Tiangong-1 will orbit the Earth for about one month to await Shenzhou-8 unmanned spacecraft. Once the two vehicles successfully rendezvous, they will conduct the first space docking at a height of 340 kilometers above Earth surface.

After two docking tests, Tiangong-1 will await Shenzhou-9 and Shenzhou-10 in the next two years, according to a plan of China's manned space program.

The 8.5-tonne Tiangong-1, with a length of 10.4 meters and maximum diameter of 3.35 meters, provides a room of 15 cubic meters for two to three astronauts to live and work.

A Long March-2FT1 carrier rocket loaded with Tiangong-1 unmanned space lab module blasts off from the launch pad at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China's Gansu Province, Sept. 29, 2011. (Xinhua/Wang Jianmin)

Elon Musk talks about the future of human space flight and Spacex in minutes

SpaceX CEO and CTO Elon Musk will discuss the future of human spaceflight in advance of SpaceX's planned flight later this year to the International Space Station, the first private mission to the ISS for NASA, at a National Press Club luncheon today at 1pm EST (10 AM PST, minutes away)

UPDATE: Pictures and video of reusable Falcon 9 and highlights of the Elon Musk talk

Click here to watch the discussion live: http://press.org/events/npc-luncheon-elon-musk

Link to audio of the speech

Reusability is key to the dramatic cost savings that will enable advancements in human exploration of space. The Dragon spacecraft is fully reusable and SpaceX is wor

September 28, 2011

New Energy Times Reports NASA investigating Piantelli and other Cold Fusion News

New Energy Times is reporting NASA is investigating the Piantelli low energy nuclear reaction process.

The Piantelli group’s Ni-H gas experiments produced excess heat in the tens of watts.

On Sept. 2, Samantha McRoskey, an analyst with Diligence Global Business Intelligence, representing an anonymous investor, contacted New Energy Times to learn more about Ni-H LENR research. We directed her to our published reports and analysis.

On Sept. 5 and 6, a team comprising representatives from an investment group and NASA visited Andrea Rossi’s showroom in Bologna. The team went there with an explicit agreement about test parameters and opportunities to observe and evaluate Rossi’s claims. They did not observe any positive results.

On Sept. 22, NASA conducted a LENR Innovation Forum workshop at Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. Speakers included NASA scientists Joseph Zawodny, Gustave Fralick, Michael Nelson, Jim Dunn and Dennis Bushnell and retired University of Illinois professor George Miley.

BullDog Robot

In early 2010, Sander Olson of Nextbigfuture interviewed Marc Raibert of Boston Dynamics. Marc discussed a new contract for the LS3 robot which would be a larger version of the Big Dog robot

BigDog carries 340 pounds on flat terrain, and climbs difficult terrain carrying 100-125 pounds. It has a maximum range of about 12 miles, but not while carrying maximum payload. By contrast, the LS3 is designed to carry 400 pounds for 20 miles over rough terrain. The LS3 will weigh about 1000 pounds, including the weight of the robot, fuel and 400-pound payload. It will also be able to walk, trot, run, and wade through water. It will be able to operate at night, though probably with less mobility than in daylight. So LS3 will go far beyond what BigDog has done.

From the Boston Dynamics website - The development of LS3 will take 30 months, with first walk out scheduled for 2012.

Now there are photos and videos emerging of the LS3 (Bigger dog robot- is being called Bulldog)

Marc Raibert, the flower-patterned-shirt-wearing founder and president of Boston Dynamics, discussed the LS3 project in a keynote talk today at the 2011 IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems. Boston Dynamics, based in Waltham, Mass., has made significant progress in transforming the DARPA-funded LS3 robotic mule project into reality.

Michael Johnson believes Usain Bolt can run faster than 19 seconds in the 200 meters

Michael Johnson believes that Usain bolt can run faster than 19 seconds in the 200 meters

The American says that whilst Bolt's untidy technique, where he rocks from side to side, can let him down, he stands a better chance than fellow Jamaican Blake of running 18-point.

Usain Bolt has run the 100 meters in 9.58 seconds and the 200 meters in 19.19 seconds.

Top ten Cybernetics and Mind Computer Interface Advances

1. Matti Mintz, from Tel Aviv University in Israel, has developed the artificial cerebellum which sits on the outside of the skull and is wired to the brain using electrodes. The chip mimics the cerebellum, a small region of the brain which plays an important role in motor control and movement. This demonstrates how far we have come towards creating circuitry that could one day replace damaged brain areas and even enhance the power of the healthy brain.

Here is Ratcutus of Borg

2. Scientists use brain imaging to reveal the movies in our mind and suggests a visual brain machine interface is feasible.

Using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and computational models, UC Berkeley researchers have succeeded in decoding and reconstructing people’s dynamic visual experiences – in this case, watching Hollywood movie trailers.

As yet, the technology can only reconstruct movie clips people have already viewed. However, the breakthrough paves the way for reproducing the movies inside our heads that no one else sees, such as dreams and memories, according to researchers.

Carbon fiber for cars

Carbon fiber composite autoparts can be 50% lighter than steel and 30% lighter than aluminum. Industrial-grade carbon fibers suitable for use in cars cost close to $30 per kg, Roberts says. High-end vehicle builders can afford expensive carbon fiber parts. “But how many people will really spend an extra $5,000 to $6,000 beyond the usual cost for a small car to own an electric car with a carbon composite body?” he asks.

In 2013, BMW plans to launch two mass-produced vehicles with carbon fiber composite passenger cages: the battery-powered i3, formerly known as the Megacity, and the hybrid i8, which can run on batteries or an internal combustion engine. Two years ago, the carmaker formed a joint venture with carbon fiber maker SGL Carbon to make carbon fiber parts for the i3 series.

Electrifying The BMW i8 (left), a hybrid electric vehicle, and the i3, a plug-in electric, are set to debut in 2013.

We covered the work of Japanese companies making carbon fiber cars.

Teijin projects that, with the global push to reduce CO2 emissions, the market for carbon-fibre-based vehicles will grow to around 4 million per year by 2020 [About 5-7% of all new cars]. If 200 kg of carbon fiber were used in each car then that would mean 800,000 tons of carbon fiber for cars by 2020. This would mean total carbon fiber production would be about 6 times higher than others like consultant Roberts project.

Edison 2 is a superlight car that won the 100 mpg Automotive XPrize.

Reducing vehicle weight is a major method of increasing fuel efficiency in future cars and trucks.

For every 10% weight reduction, the vehicle’s fuel consumption reduces by 6 to 7%. A car that weighs half as much would get about 40% better fuel consumption. A car that weighs 30% as much would get about 20% better fuel consumption.

Hyperbolic metamaterial reflects 15 times less light than black paint

Black paint absorbs 85% of light and a new hyperbolic metamaterial absorbs 99%.

Arxiv - Darker than black: radiation-absorbing metamaterial

We show that corrugated surfaces of hyperbolic metamaterials scatter light preferentially inside the media, resulting in a very low reflectance and ultimate dark appearance in the spectral range of hyperbolic dispersion. This phenomenon of fundamental importance, demonstrated experimentally in arrays of silver nanowires grown in alumina membranes, originates from a broad-band singularity in the density of photonic states. It paves the road to a variety of applications ranging from the stealth technology to high-efficiency solar cells and photodetectors

DRAMATIC REDUCTION OF REFLECTANCE OFF CORRUGATED HYPERBOLIC METAMATERIAL. Panel (a): the phase space “volume” enclosed by two different surfaces of constant frequency, in the cases when components of the dielectric permittivity tensor are all positive (left) and have opposite signs (right). Panel (b): angular reflectance profiles measured on untreated (circles) and roughened (diamonds) parts of the same membrane sample in spolarization and p-polarization. Inset: reflectance profiles in the corrugated sample (same as in main panel (b), zoomed). Panels (c) and (d): topography profiles of the untreated (c) and corrugated (d) samples.

Transplants entering era of restoring pre-injury form and function

Transplant surgery is entering an era of new complexity, where complex surgeries will become standardized and the goal will be restoration of pre-injury form and function rather than merely reconstruction, the surgeon who led Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s face transplant team said Monday.

Surgeries conducted so far are designed for each individual, Pomahac said he expects face transplant procedures to become standardized and the 15- to 20-hour operation to become more streamlined.

New Drug sweeps up the virus that causes Pink Eye

Scientists are reporting discovery of a potential new drug for epidemic keratoconjunctivitis (EKC) — sometimes called "pink eye" — a highly infectious eye disease that may occur in 15 million to 20 million people annually in the United States alone. Their report describing an innovative new "molecular wipe" that sweeps up viruses responsible for EKC appears in ACS's Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.

Ulf Ellervik and colleagues note that there is no approved treatment for EKC, which is caused by viruses from the same family responsible for the common cold. EKC affects the cornea, the clear, dome-shaped tissue that forms the outer layer of the eye. It causes redness, pain, tearing, and may reduce visions for months. "Patients are usually recommended to stay home from work or school, resulting in substantial economic losses," the scientists write.

They describe discovery of a potential new drug that sweeps up the viruses responsible for EKC, preventing the viruses from binding to and infecting the cornea. The drug removes viruses already in the eye and new viruses that are forming. In doing so, it would relieve symptoms, speed up healing (potentially avoiding impaired vision, and reduce and the risk of infecting the patient's other eye or spreading the infection within families, schools and work places, the scientists suggested.

Molecular Wipes: Application to Epidemic Keratoconjuctivitis

Computer Chip Replaces the Cerebellum in a rat

Daily Mail UK - Scientists have used a computer chip to restore cognitive function in a rat's brain sparking hopes the technology could one day help humans.

UPDATE: Picture of the cyborg rat (Ratcutus of Borg) with the computer chip cerebellum.

The chip mimics the cerebellum, a small region of the brain which plays an important role in motor control and movement. This demonstrates how far we have come towards creating circuitry that could one day replace damaged brain areas and even enhance the power of the healthy brain.

Matti Mintz, from Tel Aviv University in Israel, has developed the artificial cerebellum which sits on the outside of the skull and is wired to the brain using electrodes.

Mintz presented his work at the Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence 5 conference.

A biomimetic model aimed at recovering learning in a brain damaged animal: Converging neuroscience with technology

Matti Mintz web page at Tel Aviv University

Air Pollution Effects are ten thousand times the possible effects of Chernobyl

A fairly common complaint about my deaths per terawatt hour article is that radiation has long term effects and air pollution also has long term effects so why put more emphasis and concern over air pollution versus radiation and fallout from Chernobyl ?

Outdoor air pollution in cities causes 1.3 million deaths per year. Chernobyl might cause 4000 deaths over about 35 years.

1.3 million deaths per year is 0.023 of all deaths or 23000 out of every million.
4000 deaths per year over 35 years is 2 deaths out of every million.
One effect begins in the second decimal place and other might begin in the sixth decimal place.

If the 4000 deaths from Chernobyl type events is accurate then if we started having a Chernobyl every day for 40 years then the number of deaths would increase to 1.3 million deaths per year from the cumulative effect.

Air pollution deaths are so high and widespread that the correlation between air pollution fluctuations can be tied to the daily changes in deaths and illness at hospitals

$199 Kindle Fire, $99 Kindle Touch unveiled

CNET - Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos has unveiled a $99 Wi-Fi only, no-button Kindle Touch e-reader and a $149 Kindle Touch 3G--both designed to rival the Nook Touch. He also showed off a redesigned basic, non-touch Kindle e-reader for $79. And the big news of the morning...the $199 Kindle Fire tablet. The 7-inch, 14.6-ounce tablet--Amazon's first foray into tablets--features a simple black border, color touch screen, a dual-core processor, wireless syncing, free Amazon Cloud storage, and Amazon's new Silk browse

The Kindle Fire will be available on November 15 and is available for preorder now.

Apple will have the high-end tablets. Every tablet maker in the middle is screwed. Amazon will own the lowend of the tablet market

Vaccines are cost efficient life savers and now profitable too

Increased use of vaccines would save over 5.4 million lives each year. The vaccine business has become more profitable in recent years.

Two factors have turned the industry around. One is an increasing demand for vaccines in developing countries. This is partly due to greater prosperity in the growing economies of China and India but also because vaccination is being vigorously promoted by various organisations as a route to economic development. The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI), which campaigns for greater access to vaccines in developing countries, has created a booming market for vaccines in developing nations partly by persuading governments to pool resources and make advance purchase commitments. This helps bring prices to an affordable level for developing countries while still making it profitable for the manufacturers. As a result, vaccine makers are now working on widespread, previously neglected diseases, such as malaria.

Research is also driving the boom in vaccines, bringing a better understanding of pathogens and immune reactions to them, as well as diversifying the jobs available in this area.
Vaccines in the pipeline can be searched at New Scientist.

Self Assembled Nanopillars on entire silicon wafers

A*Star Singapore - Advanced electronics beckon thanks to self-assembling templates that allow the creation of nanoscale features on silicon wafers Although other groups have developed similar self assembled nanopillars, Krishnamoorthy and co-workers are the first to develop a process that can pattern the entire surface of a silicon wafer with highly uniform nanostructures

The ever-increasing demand for enhanced performance in electronic devices such as solar cells, sensors and batteries is matched by a need to find ways to make smaller electrical components. Several techniques have been proposed for creating tiny, nanoscale structures on silicon, but these types of ‘nanopatterning’ tend to involve low-throughput, high-cost approaches not suited to large-scale production. Sivashankar Krishnamoorthy and co-workers at the A*STAR Institute of Materials Research and Engineering have now found a simple and robust method for nanopatterning the entire surface of a silicon wafer1.

Krishnamoorthy’s technique exploits the self-assembling properties of polymeric nanoparticles, known as reverse micelles. These unconventional particles have a structure consisting of a polar core and an outer layer of non-polar ‘arms’. Reverse micelles can form highly ordered arrays on the surface of a silicon wafer. The resulting ‘coating’ can be used as a lithographic resist to mask the silicon surface during the etching process.

Fine arrays of nanopillars can be patterned onto a silicon surface using a self-assembling polymer template

Advanced Functional materials - Wafer-Level Self-Organized Copolymer Templates for Nanolithography with Sub-50 nm Feature and Spatial Resolutions

September 27, 2011

NIST Polishes Method for Creating Tiny Diamond Machines

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) researchers have a new method for carving diamond crystals. The method offers a precise way to engineer microscopic cuts in a diamond surface, yielding potential benefits in both measurement and technological fields.

NIST semiconductor researchers have found a way to create unique features in diamond—potentially leading to improvements in nanometrology in short order, as it has allowed the team to make holes of precise shape in one of the hardest known substances. But beyond the creation of virtually indestructible nanorulers, the method could one day lead to the improvement of a class of electronic devices useful in cell phones, gyroscopes and medical implants.

This colorized electron microscope image reveals the boxy shape of the pits the NIST team etched into the diamond surface, exhibiting their smooth vertical sidewalls and flat bottom. The pits were between 1 and 72 micrometers in size.
Credit: NIST

Diamond and Related Materials - Rectangular Scale-Similar Etch Pits in Monocrystalline Diamond

A Way to Make Motor Fuel Out of Wood

NY Times - A Georgia company says it has overcome a major roadblock in turning agricultural waste into vehicle fuel and other useful chemicals by experimenting with a technology that treats the waste with compressed water heated to very high temperatures. The goal is to accomplish something that has eluded a dozen companies in recent years despite big government inducements: to commercialize a technology for making use of cellulosic biomass, or wood chips, switchgrass and the nonedible parts of crops.

Renmatix, the leading producer of cellulosic sugars, today unveiled the PlantroseTM process, the company’s commercial approach to producing sugars more cheaply than ever before. Access to non food derived low-cost industrial sugars, the foundation of the emerging bioindustrial economy, will trigger a dramatic shift from petroleum-based fuels and chemicals to cost-effective biobased alternatives.

Scientists Identify New Microbe-Produced Advanced Biofuel as an Alternative to Diesel Fuel

Researchers with the U.S Department of Energy (DOE)’s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have identified a potential new advanced biofuel that could replace today’s standard fuel for diesel engines but would be clean, green, renewable and produced in the United States. Using the tools of synthetic biology, a JBEI research team engineered strains of two microbes, a bacteria and a yeast, to produce a precursor to bisabolane, a member of the terpene class of chemical compounds that are found in plants and used in fragrances and flavorings. Preliminary tests by the team showed that bisabolane’s properties make it a promising biosynthetic alternative to Number 2 (D2) diesel fuel.

Commercial trucks in the U.S. burned approximately 22 billion gallons of diesel fuel in 2010. Replacing diesel with a clean, green and renewable biofuel could substantially reduce the industry’s carbon footprint. (Dept. of Transportation)

This diagram shows the steps for synthesizing bisabolane, an alternative to D2 diesel, from the chemical hydrogenation of bisabolene, which is metabolized in microbes via an engineered mevalonate pathway, (Image from Taek Soon Lee)

Researchers Use Carbon Nanotubes to Make Solar Cells Affordable, Flexible

Researchers from Northwestern University have developed a carbon-based material that could revolutionize the way solar power is harvested. The new solar cell material – a transparent conductor made of carbon nanotubes – provides an alternative to current technology, which is mechanically brittle and reliant on a relatively rare mineral.

Advanced Energy Materials - Electronically Monodisperse Single-Walled Carbon Nanotube Thin Films as Transparent Conducting Anodes in Organic Photovoltaic Devices

Single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) sorted by electronic type are employed as organic photovoltaic device anodes. Metal-enriched SWNT films yield device efficiencies that are fifty times greater than their semiconducting counterparts. Through sheet resistance, UV-vis-NIR optical absorbance, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy measurements, the OPV charge blocking layer PEDOT:PSS is found to reverse the original chemical doping of the SWNT films. The relative insensitivity of metallic SWNTs to chemical doping thus explains the improved performance of metal-enriched SWNT films as OPV anodes.

Plug-in vehicles with small battery packs are better for the environment

Carnegie Mellon University's Jeremy J. Michalek and co-authors report that plug-in vehicles with small battery packs and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) that don't plug in can reduce life cycle impacts from air emissions and enhance oil security at low or no additional cost over a lifetime. But plug-in vehicles with large battery packs are more costly and may have higher or lower emissions than HEVs depending on where and when they are plugged in.

Electrified vehicles with smaller battery packs are more efficient in reducing societal costs for health care, environmental damages and oil consumption.

Amazon Will Unveil the Kindle Fire Tablet tomorrow

Techcrunch - On Wednesday morning in New York City, Amazon will unveil the Kindle Fire. It will be a 7-inch backlit display tablet that looks similar to the BlackBerry PlayBook.

It will use a Texas Instrument dual-core OMAP chip. This is the same chip used inside many newer Android devices.The clockspeed will probably be 1.2 GHz. This will make it significantly faster than the rival Nook Color, which uses a single core 800 MHz OMAP.

Barnes and Noble is on the verge of launching the Nook Color 2 next month.

The Nook Color 2 will also be built on top of Gingerbread, Android 2.3.
The Kindle Fire is believed to be based on Android 2.1.

Block Copolymers used to organize nanostructured magnetic materials

Scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst report that for the first time they have designed a much simpler method of preparing ordered magnetic materials than ever before, by coupling magnetic properties to nanostructure formation at low temperatures.

The innovative process allows them to create room-temperature ferromagnetic materials that are stable for long periods more effectively and with fewer steps than more complicated existing methods.

Tew explains that his group’s signature improvement is a one-step method to generate ordered magnetic materials based on cobalt nanostructures by encoding a block copolymer with the appropriate chemical information to self-organize into nanoscopic domains. Block copolymers are made up of two or more single-polymer subunits linked by covalent chemical bonds.

Nature Communications - Room temperature magnetic materials from nanostructured diblock copolymers

FETRAM. An Organic Ferroelectric Material Based Novel Random Access Memory Cell

Purdue University - Researchers are developing a new type of computer memory that could be faster than the existing commercial memory and use far less power than flash memory devices. The technology combines silicon nanowires with a "ferroelectric" polymer, a material that switches polarity when electric fields are applied, making possible a new type of ferroelectric transistor.

Nanoletters - FETRAM. An Organic Ferroelectric Material Based Novel Random Access Memory Cell

Science and technology in the electronics area have always been driven by the development of materials with unique properties and their integration into novel device concepts with the ultimate goal to enable new functionalities in innovative circuit architectures. In particular, a shift in paradigm requires a synergistic approach that combines materials, devices and circuit aspects simultaneously. Here we report the experimental implementation of a novel nonvolatile memory cell that combines silicon nanowires with an organic ferroelectric polymer—PVDF-TrFE—into a new ferroelectric transistor architecture. Our new cell, the ferroelectric transistor random access memory (FeTRAM) exhibits similarities with state-of-the-art ferroelectric random access memories (FeRAMs) in that it utilizes a ferroelectric material to store information in a nonvolatile (NV) fashion but with the added advantage of allowing for nondestructive readout. This nondestructive readout is a result of information being stored in our cell using a ferroelectric transistor instead of a capacitor—the scheme commonly employed in conventional FeRAMs.
This diagram shows the layout for a new type of computer memory that could be faster than the existing commercial memory and use far less power than flash memory devices. The technology, called FeTRAM, combines silicon nanowires with a "ferroelectric" polymer, a material that switches polarity when electric fields are applied, making possible a new type of ferroelectric transistor. (Birck Nanotechnology Center, Purdue University)

Rice, Hong Kong Polytechnic physicists calculate 100 trillion graphene field effect transistors could fit on a chip

To stand a ribbon of graphene upright, it needs diamond on the soles of its shoes. A new paper by collaborators at Rice University and Hong Kong Polytechnic University demonstrates the possibility that tiny strips of graphene -- one-atom-thick sheets of carbon -- can stand tall on a substrate with a little support. This leads to the possibility that arrays of graphene walls could become ultrahigh density components of electronic or spintronic devices.

Calculations by Rice theoretical physicist Boris Yakobson, Assistant Professor Feng Ding of Hong Kong Polytechnic and their collaborators showed substrates not only of diamond but also nickel could chemically bind the edge of a strip of a graphene nanoribbon. Because the contact is so slight, the graphene walls retain nearly all of their inherent electrical or magnetic properties.
Journal of the American Chemical Society - Upright Standing Graphene Formation on Substrates

We propose integrating graphene nanoribbons (GNRs) onto a substrate in an upright position whereby they are chemically bound to the substrate at the basal edge. Extensive ab initio calculations show that both nickel (Ni)- and diamond-supported upright GNRs are feasible for synthesis and are mechanically robust. Moreover, the substrate-supported GNRs display electronic and magnetic properties nearly the same as those of free-standing GNRs. Due to the extremely small footprint of an upright GNR on a substrate, standing GNRs are ideal building blocks for synthesis of subnanometer electronic or spintronic devices. Theoretically, standing GNR-based microchips with field-effect transistor (FET) densities up to 10^13 per cm2 are achievable.

One third of sun-like stars have earth sized planets in habitable zone based on most recent analysis of Kepler Data

Arxiv - Terrestrial, Habitable-Zone Exoplanet Frequency from Kepler (27 pages)

Data from Kepler’s first 136 days of operation are analyzed to determine the distribution of exoplanets with respect to radius, period, and host-star spectral type. The analysis is extrapolated to estimate the percentage of terrestrial, habitable-zone exoplanets. The Kepler census is assumed to be complete for bright stars (magnitude less than 14.0) having transiting planets over 0.5 Earth radius and periods less than 42 days. It is also assumed that the size distribution of planets is independent of orbital period, and that there are no hidden biases in the data. Six significant statistical results are found: there is a paucity of small planet detections around faint target stars, probably an instrumental effect; the frequency of mid-size planet detections is independent of whether the host star is bright or faint; there are significantly fewer planets detected with periods less than 3 days, compared to longer periods, almost certainly an astrophysical effect; the frequency of all planets in the population with periods less than 42 days is 29%, broken down as terrestrials 9%, ice giants 18%, and gas giants 3%; the population has a planet frequency with respect to period which follows a power-law relation dN/dP ∼ Pβ−1, with ≃ 0.71 ± 0.08; and an extrapolation to longer periods gives the frequency of terrestrial planets in the habitable zones of FGK stars as about (34 ± 14)%. Thus about one-third of FGK stars are predicted to have at least one terrestrial, habitable-zone planet.

The period and radius of Kepler planets in the sample, around bright stars,
are plotted. The lower right corner is relatively empty, probably owing to low SNR there, not because small planets are absent from long periods. The upper left corner is relatively sparse, in spite of an expected high SNR there, implying a deficit of large planets on short-period orbits. The left side of the diagram is relatively empty owing to an apparent paucity of planets of all sizes at periods less than 3 days. The right side of the diagram is not completely sampled in the current database, so should be ignored here.

September 26, 2011

Superpower Inc has updated information on their superconductors

Recent Developments in 2G HTS Coil Technology (20 pages, Sept 19, 2011)

Coated Conductors: From R and D to Manufacturing to Commercial Applications (Sept 19-23,2011, 49 pages)

Coated Conductors: A completely different superconductor wire manufacturing approach
• Coated conductors: HTS is produced by thin film vacuum deposition on a flexible nickel alloy substrate in a continuous reel-to-reel process a change from mechanical deformation and heat treatment techniques used for Nb-Ti, Nb3Sn and 1G HTS wires
– Only 1% of wire is the superconductor
– ~ 97% is inexpensive Ni alloy and Cu
– Automated, reel-to-reel continuous manufacturing process
– Quality of each thin film coating monitored on-line, real time

Long tapes with Zr-doping exhibit critical currents of over 250 A/cm in tapes run through the manufacturing facility at up to 1400 meter lengths.

New nanowire technologies being developed for large pinning enhancements
• Prefabricated nanorods on buffer surface followed by HTS epitaxial growth can allow for independent control of size, distribution and orientation of nanorods.
• Three techniques developed for prefabricated nanorod growth on LMO on IBAD tapes.

Stuxnet the start of new CyberWar Era

Christian Science Monitor - One year ago a malicious software program called Stuxnet exploded onto the world stage as the first publicly confirmed cyber superweapon – a digital guided missile that could emerge from cyber space to destroy a physical target in the real world.

Ralph Langner about a month to figure that out. He is an industrial control systems security expert in Hamburg, who deciphered and tested pieces of Stuxnet's "payload" code in his lab and declared it a military-grade cyberweapon aimed at Iran's nuclear facilities.

With Stuxnet as a "blueprint" downloadable from the Internet, he says, "any dumb hacker" can now figure out how to build and sell cyberweapons to any hacktivist or terrorist who wants "to put the lights out" in a US city or "release a toxic gas cloud."

Putin is the defacto President of Russia again and he has plans for the Ukraine

Putin will become President of Russia again next year as he is the only candidate that will be allowed to run from his party.

In 2010, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin encouraged Ukraine to join Moscow-driven efforts to integrate the economies of the biggest post-Soviet republics into one trading bloc

Putin wants to resurrect an smaller version of the former Soviet Union, through the invitation of the Ukraine to join the post-Soviet free-trade zone, or Customs Union, between Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan.

Early in 2011, the Kremlin has unveiled the biggest rearmament programme since the fall of the Soviet Union, saying it intends to buy 600 new planes, 100 new ships and 1,000 new helicopters within the next decade. (20 trillion rubles or about $600 billion)

SpaceX Plans a three year Test Program for a Reusable Suborbital Rocket

Hobbyspace - spacex has submitted a draft Environmental Assessment for Issuing an Experimental Permit to SpaceX for Operation of the Grasshopper Vehicle at the McGregor Test Site, Texas - September 2011 to the FAA A 65 page pdf describes the Grasshopper RLV plans.

The Grasshopper RLV consists of a Falcon 9 Stage 1 tank, a Merlin-1D engine, four steel landing legs, and a steel support structure. Carbon overwrapped pressure vessels (COPVs), which are filled with either nitrogen or helium, are attached to the support structure. The Merlin- 1D engine has a maximum thrust of 122,000 pounds. The overall height of the Grasshopper RLV is 106 feet, and the tank height is 85 feet.

The propellants used in the Grasshopper RLV include a highly refined kerosene fuel, called RP- 1, and liquid oxygen (LOX) as the oxidizer. The Grasshopper RLV has a maximum operational propellant load of approximately 6,900 gallons; however, the propellant loads for any one test would often be lower than the maximum propellant load. Even when the maximum propellant load is used, the majority of the propellant would remain unburned and would serve as ballast to keep the thrust-to-weight ratio low.

Update: Other items from the document: p.13 -

SpaceX anticipates that the Grasshopper RLV program would require up to 3 years to complete. Therefore, the Proposed Action considers one new permit and two potential permit renewals
The planned reusable Grasshopper RLV would be based upon the Falcon 9

Skylon testing key part of hypersonic spaceplane - heat exchanger through the end of 2011

Flight Global - Testing is under way to demonstrate the heat exchanger technology crucial to a hybrid air- and liquid oxygen-breathing rocket motor that Oxford-based Reaction Engines believes will enable single-stage-to-orbit flight.

The Sabre engine is intended to power a reusable, runway take-off and landing unpiloted spaceplane called Skylon, which promises to put payloads of up to 12t into orbit - and as much as 6 tons to a high geostationary orbit - for 10% of the cost of a traditional rocket launch.

New Design Photos for the Proposed Mach 4 or 5 Zero Emission High Speed Transport

The Zero Emission High Speed Transport or ZEHST is a supersonic passenger airliner project by EADS. EADS revealed the proposal at the Le Bourget air show (June 18, 2011). It is expected to fly at mach 4, 32km above the ground, and it will carry 50 to 100 people. It will combine three propulsion systems: two turbofans for take-off and up to Mach 0.8, then rocket boosters up to Mach 2.5, then two underwing ramjets would accelerate it to Mach 4.

EADS has estimated it would cost well in excess of €15 billion ($22 billion) to bring the design to market. This would be distributed across a fleet of 50 to 100 aircraft. Mr. van Toor says the company had not put a price on a ticket yet, but he adds: "We would imagine the cost of the ticket to be much more than the premium fare of today's aircraft. It will be for the lucky few."

Oskarshamn 3 reactor finally completes 250 megawatt uprate and China reactor build progress

1. OKG's Oskarshamn 3 has reached its new maximum thermal capacity, two years later than originally anticipated. The unit's capacity increased from 1200 MWe to 1450 MWe. It received regulatory approval for one year's trial operation at 1450 MWe in October 2009. The path to full capacity, however, has not been smooth thanks to problems with turbine equipment. It the largest-capacity BWR (boiler water reactor) in the world.

One of the issues highlighted by OKG is the plant's sensitivity to variations in the temperature of sea water used for cooling, which will be addressed during the plant's next maintenance outage.

2. The dome of the reactor building of unit 4 at the Hongyanhe nuclear power plant in Liaoning province in northeast China has been successfully lowered into place The next stage involves the installation of heavy reactor system components within the building. Unit 4 is scheduled to start up in 2014.

Progress to Carbon fiber for lighter and stronger steel for lighter cars

Toray Industries' Teewave AR1 carbon fiber concept car is seen at an event in Tokyo on Sept. 14. (Mainichi) Toray Industries, which got its start making rayon and is now the largest producer of carbon fiber. Teijin, another company that began in textiles, also presented a concept car based on carbon fiber in March this year. The two companies are beginning a major push to market carbon fiber to car companies as a serious substitute for the heavier steel-based designs of today. Even with a 200-kilogram battery, this car weighs 846 kilograms which is about half the weight of a comparable regular car.

The Teewave's substructure is made of carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer -- carbon fibre strengthened with a polymer resin -- helping bring the total weight of the vehicle down to two-thirds that of current electric cars. The lower weight means it requires less electricity to run, which in turn can result in lower overall CO2 emissions.

Many carbon fiber parts, which weigh about one-fourth their steel equivalents but are 10 times stronger, are currently used in small-production-run sports cars and luxury vehicles. Their absence from the majority of road cars stems from carbon fiber parts' high production cost -- about 10 times that of steel parts -- and the 10 minutes or more it takes to cast each part.

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 71

The 71st Carnival of Nuclear Energy is up at NEI Nuclear notes

Atomic Insights looks at how oil and gas companies benefit from any backlash against nuclear power.

In the six months since the great northeast Japan earthquake and tsunami, the world market price of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) has increased by 33% and the volume of shipments into Japan have increased by 15-20%.

This relates to the intricate connections associated with the world’s $6 trillion per year energy market.

Neutron economy reviews the book Uranium: War, Energy, and the Rock that Shaped the World, by Tom Zoellner

September 25, 2011

Videos from the fifth SENS life extension conference

Oskar Schindler saved 1200 lives and here is one way that someone could save that many lives now

As the Red Army drew nearer to Auschwitz concentration camp and the other easternmost concentration camps, the SS began evacuating the remaining prisoners westward. Amon Göth's personal secretary, Mietek Pemper, alerted Schindler to the Nazis' plans to close all factories not directly involved with the war effort, including Schindler's enamelware facility. Pemper also persuaded and encouraged Schindler to switch production from enamelware to anti-tank grenades in an effort to save Schindler's Jewish workers. Tipped off to the factory closure, Schindler persuaded the SS officials to allow him to move his 1,200 Jewish workers to Brünnlitz, in the German-speaking Sudetenland, thus sparing them from certain death in the gas chambers.

The academy award winning movie "Schindler's list" shows this story and one of the scenes is below. The scene is "whoever saves one life, saves the world entire". It is also where Liam Neeson as Schindler laments that he should have done more.

Today there are 60 million births where the mother has an untrained attendent or no help at all. About 1 in 60 of those births ends up having an infection in the baby that results in death.

Shape memory materials ready for mass production

Materials that can remember their shape and switch from one form to another may sound like science fiction, they are actually real and already in use all around us. But the alloy used to produce shape memory materials, based on nickel and titanium is expensive. Some researchers have started looking for cheaper options.

Five years ago, Professor Mirko Gojic, a researcher at the University of Zagreb in Croatia, wondered what his small team of researchers could do to lower the price of ‘smart metals’: a type of high-tech materials that can remember their original cold-forged shape, returning the pre-deformed shape by heating – a property that makes them crucial in a series of industries. The idea was there, but problems quickly aroused from lack of money and key equipment. Thanks to the support of EUREKA, the product is now almost finalised and could be rolled out within the next two years. Gojic thinks that this international research project he led could soon turn into commercial production of a cheaper alloy for use in aerospace engineering or electronics.

European debt crisis

1. Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos was quoted by two newspapers as saying an orderly default with a 50 percent haircut for bondholders was one of three possible scenarios for resolving the heavily indebted euro zone nation's fiscal woes.

Signs emerged on Friday that European governments are working on recapitalising vulnerable banks, with France's top market regulator saying 15 to 20 banks needed extra capital, although no French ones "at this stage".

A statement issued after G20 talks in Washington said the 17-nation euro zone would implement "actions to increase the flexibility of the EFSF and to maximise its impact" by mid-October.

2. According to senior G20 sources, the assumption now is that the country will have to default on its debt by as much as 50% – on top of the 20% voluntary restructuring already agreed in July.

And so whereas efforts some months ago were aimed at preventing Greece defaulting, the Eurozone, and its G20 colleagues from the world's biggest economies, are instead making secret plans to build a firewall protecting European economies such as Spain and Italy from the prospect of a buyers' strike.

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