October 29, 2011

Mass of the universe in a black hole

Arxiv - Mass of the universe in a black hole (4 pages)

This is discussed on reddit science

It's the latest in a series of papers exploring the idea that black holes and the big bang/inflation are actually the same phenomenon, just looked at from opposite sides of an event horizon.

The implication would be that the universe we know is simply a bubble holding matter pinched off from a larger universe and similarly black holes in our universe are exploding into universes of their own as they form.

It's very appealing asthetically, but these speculative theories don't have a great track record of holding up once they finally make testable predictions that can be measured.

If spacetime torsion couples to the intrinsic spin of matter according to the Einstein-Cartan-Sciama-Kibble theory of gravity, then the resulting gravitational repulsion at supranuclear densities prevents the formation of singularities in black holes. Consequently, the interior of every black hole becomes a new universe that expands from a nonsingular bounce. We consider gravitational collapse of fermionic spin-fluid matter with the stiff equation of state in a stellar black hole. Such a collapse increases the mass of the matter, which occurs through the Parker-Zel’dovich-Starobinskii quantum particle production in strong, anisotropic gravitational fields. The subsequent pair annihilation changes the stiff matter into an ultrarelativistic fluid. For a typical stellar black hole, Mb is about 10^32 solar masses, which is 10^6 larger than the mass of our Universe. As the relativistic black-hole universe expands, its mass decreases until the universe becomes dominated by nonrelativistic heavy particles.

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 76

1. Cool Hand Nuke's - Nuclear Energy Dead? Think Again

Another round of good news about nuclear energy. Serious efforts to get reactors built continue to make progress. It is fashionable among green groups and others who have utopian visions of a low tech post industrial society to say that nuclear energy is finished as a result of the Fukushima crisis. This is dead wrong.

2. Atomic Power Review - the latest Fukushima Daiichi update

This past week, Will Davis has noted a number of places on the internet (mostly those spewing anti-nuclear vitriol) which are asserting that the facts about what is going on at Fukushima Daiichi are being suppressed. This could not be any further from the case, and he'll prove it.

Berkeley Lab will create an advanced extreme-ultraviolet microscope called SHARP

Berkeley Labs has partnered with colleagues at leading semiconductor manufacturers to create the world’s most advanced extreme-ultraviolet (EUV) microscope. Called SHARP (a succinct acronym for a long name, the Semiconductor High-NA Actinic Reticle Review Project), the new microscope will be dedicated to photolithography, the central process in the creation of computer chips.

Kenneth Goldberg is seen in the reflective coating of a photolithography mask, contained in the clear plastic box, which he’s about to measure at the Advanced Light Source’s beamline 11.3.2. Inset at lower right shows a mask’s extreme-ultraviolet (EUV) absorbing layer, printed on a six-inch square of glass coated with multiple layers of molybdenum and silicon only billionths of a meter thick to reflect unwanted EUV. The patterned layer represents one level of a working microprocessor or memory chip, which may have 20 or more such levels. Its structures are less than one ten-millionth of a meter across and diffract visible light in rainbow patterns.

Induction accelerator at Berkeley Labs

Berkeley Lab, a partner in the Heavy Ion Fusion Sciences Virtual National Laboratory (HIFS VNL) with Lawrence Livermore and the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, has been a leader in developing a special kind of accelerator for experiments aimed at fusion power, called an induction accelerator. The induction principle is like a string of transformers with two windings, where the accelerator beam itself is the second winding. Induction accelerators can handle ions with suitable kinetic energy at higher currents (many more charged particles in the beam), much more efficiently than RF accelerators.

The NDCX-II accelerator is specifically designed to study warm dense matter. By using an induction accelerator and a neutralized drift compression system, the ion pulse can be shaped to deliver most of its energy to the target surface.

BYD E6 all electric car on sale in China and coming to the US in Second quarter of 2012 for $35000 before incentives

BYD Co., the carmaker partly owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., began selling its all-electric E6 to individuals in China.

The E6, which has a range of 300 kilometers (188 miles) per charge, has a sticker price of 369,800 yuan ($58,200), BYD said today in Shenzhen, where it is based. Buyers in the southern Chinese city will qualify for as much as 120,000 yuan in subsidies, according to Li Ganming, a deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission’s Shenzhen branch.

BYD will start selling its battery-electric buses and sedans to fleets in the U.S. in the fourth quarter of 2011. A BYD electric bus is currently on a demonstration tour of the U.S. to show off the technology. Sales to consumers of the e6 crossover will start in the U.S. in the second quarter of 2012. The BYD vehicles have passed all the necessary safety tests for the U.S. market.

Conductive cotton: scientists fashioning electronic future for cotton fiber

The latest breakthrough in cotton fiber research has scientists envisioning hospital gowns that monitor medical patients and jerseys that test athletic performance, according to Cornell University fiber scientist Juan Hinestroza, co-author of a new study that reveals how everyday cotton can be turned into high-tech fabric.

The innovation represents a significant step forward because it lays the groundwork for creating even more complex devices, such as cotton-based circuits, Hinestroza said. This would allow fabrics to sense body temperature, automatically heat up or cool down, track heart rate and blood pressure in high-risk patients, and monitor the physical effort of high-performance athletes.

“Perhaps one day we can even build computers out of cotton fibers in a similar way as khipus – a recording device based on knots and used by the Inca empire in Peru,” Hinestroza added.

Organic Electronics - Organic electronics on natural cotton fibres

Previously theoretically impossible covalent boron boron bonds produced

Journal of the American Chemical Society - Boron–Boron σ-Bond Formation by Two-Electron Reduction of a H-Bridged Dimer of Monoborane

Diborane(6) as a H-bridged dimer of monoborane can be converted cleanly by two-electron reduction into diborane(6) dianion, which is isoelectronic with ethane, through B–B σ-bond formation when each boron atom has a bulky ligand on it. The existence of the B–B σ bond is supported by the X-ray molecular structure [B–B bond length of 1.924(3) Å], NMR studies, magnetic susceptibility measurements, and DFT calculations. Stepwise hydride abstraction reactions of the diborane(6) dianion produce the corresponding H-bridged diborane(5) anion and doubly H-bridged diborane(4) without B–B bond scission.

Theory has long predicted that by pumping extra electrons into a compound such as diborane, the boron–hydrogen–boron structure should break down to form a boron–boron single bond. Until now, however, all such attempts to make and isolate such a structure had failed, instead generating clusters or single boron species.

Matsuo and Tamao’s strategy for generating the boron–boron bond was to start with a borane precursor where each boron atom was fitted with a bulky side-group known as an Eind group. The researchers suspected that previous attempts probably succeeded in generating the boron–boron single bond but failed to protect that structure from quickly falling apart through over-reaction. Using the bulky side-groups, they were able to block these over-reaction processes, and successfully isolate the desired boron–boron single bond

October 28, 2011

Reports on the Rossi 1 MW October 28, 2011 test

Link to a 2.9 MB zip file with the report on the Rossi energy catalyzer test of October 28, 2011

Mats Lewan - Ny Teknik report

Half a megawatt thermal power in self sustained mode, for over five hours. That’s what Andrea Rossi obtained with his E-cat plant on Friday, according to his customer. The question now is who the customer was.

At about quarter past ten on Friday October 28, the test of Andrea Rossi’s heat plant, potentially producing one megawatt, was initiated in an industrial hangar in Bologna.

The plant consisted of more than 100 'energy catalyzers' – Rossi’s invention that possibly produces heat from a hitherto unknown nuclear reaction – connected in parallel.

According to the customer’s controller, Domenico Fioravanti, the plant released 2,635 kWh during five and a half hours of self sustained mode, which is equivalent to an average power of 479 kilowatts – just under half the promised power of one megawatt.

Here is a translated 22passi report of the October 28 test.

Spin lasers at 11.1 Gigahertz with potential for well over 100 gigahertz speed for the internet of tomorrow

Electrical engineers in Bochum have succeeded in developing a new concept for ultrafast semiconductor lasers. The researchers make clever use of the intrinsic angular momentum of electrons, called spin, to successfully break the previous speed barriers. The new spin lasers have the potential to achieve modulation frequencies of well above 100 GHz in future. This is a decisive step towards high-speed data transmission, e.g. for the Internet of tomorrow.

By injecting spin-polarised electrons in semiconductor based microlasers, modulation speeds can be reached that are far superior to any conventional lasers

Applied Physics Letters - Ultrafast spin-induced polarization oscillations with tunable lifetime in vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers

Wired UK and Forbes coverage of the Rossi Energy Catalyzer

1. Wired UK - Cold Fusion: Future of physics or phoney? David Hambling reviews the Rossi energy catalyzer and past tests and the testing controversy.

The E-Cat is beginning to be noticed by the mainstream media, with articles in Forbes and the US National Reviewonline edition. While few appear to have much faith in the E-Cat, it's might be compared to buying a lottery ticket: the chances of a success are low, but the prize is gigantic.

His target cost is 500 euros per kilowatt, so replacing a typical boiler with an E-Cat would cost about £6,000 -- but you could then leave the heating on 24/7 and never see a fuel bill again. Rossi claims it could be on the market within months, though one suspects that there might be regulatory issues with people have nuclear reactors in the homes.

Rossi says that today the experimental results will be updated hour-by-hour, with a full report and video at midnight. Will it be a triumphant success, or an abject failure? Or will there be endless squabbling about measurements and standards, allegations of cheating or sabotage?

We'll know by the weekend.

Monetary contraction in Portugal has intensified and mimics Greece and Italy pays highest price for debt since launch of the euro

1. Monetary contraction in Portugal has intensified at an alarming pace and is mimicking the pattern seen in Greece before its economy spiralled out of control, raising concerns that the EU summit deal may soon washed over by fast-moving events.

Data released by the European Central Bank show that real M1 deposits in Portugal have fallen at an annualised rate of 21pc over the past six months, buckling violently in September.

"Portugal appears to have entered a Grecian vortex and monetary trends have deteriorated sharply in Spain, with a decline of 8.4pc," said Simon Ward, from Henderson Global Investors. Mr Ward said the ECB must cut interest rates "immediately" and launch a full-scale blitz of quantitative easing of up to 10pc of eurozone GDP.

The M1 data - cash and current accounts - is watched by experts as a leading indicator for the economy six months to a year ahead. It has been an accurate warning signal for each stage of the crisis since 2007.

Data released by the European Central Bank show that real M1 deposits in Portugal have fallen at an annualised rate of 21pc over the last six months, buckling violently in September.

Video of Rossi Claiming Breakthrough with Energy Catalyzer test of October 28, 2011

Snapshot of deaths per terawatt hour with recent reports on deaths from coal, oil and natural gas

This site has covered deaths per terawatt hour per energy source.

Energy Source              Death Rate (deaths per TWh)

Coal – world average               161 (26% of world energy, 50% of electricity)
Coal – China                       278
Coal – USA                         15
Oil                                36  (36% of world energy)
Natural Gas                         4  (21% of world energy)
Biofuel/Biomass                    12
Peat                               12
Solar (rooftop)                     0.44 (less than 0.1% of world energy)
Wind                                0.15 (less than 1% of world energy)
Hydro                               0.10 (europe death rate, 2.2% of world energy)
Hydro - world including Banqiao)    1.4 (about 2500 TWh/yr and 171,000 Banqiao dead)
Nuclear                             0.04 (5.9% of world energy)

1. China reports that 1,419 coal miners were killed in the first nine months of the year, 27.6 percent fewer than the same period last year. The number of deadly accidents fell 18.7 percent to 892 during the same period.

2. Two workers at a surface coal mine in Centertown, Kentucky died on Friday when a portion of the mine face collapsed on their truck.

In 5-10 years, how will people get things done at work, at home, and on the go? Microsoft Answers

Microsoft offers a glimpse into what they see as the future of productivity in 2016-2021.

(H/T KurzweilAI)

All of the ideas in the video are based on real technology. Some of the capabilities, such as speech recognition, real time collaboration and data visualization already exist today. Others are not yet available in specific products, but represent active research and development happening at Microsoft and other companies.

Watch this video to see how we see technology moving from a passive tool to a more active assistant, helping us get things done, and strengthening our interactions with one another. You’ll see how people can stay productive using a variety of devices from slates and PCs to mobile devices where they can access their information regardless of their location or the device they are using.

Massively parallel computing on an organic molecular layer

Technology Review - Japanese scientists have built a cellular automaton from individual molecules that carries out huge numbers of calculations in parallel They've laid down 300 DDQ molecules on a gold substrate, setting them up as a cellular automaton. More impressive still, they've then initialised the system so that it "calculates" the way heat diffuses in a conducting medium and the way cancer spreads through tissue. And since the entire layer is involved in the calculation, this a massively parallel computation using a single layer of organic molecules.

Bandyopadhyay and co say the key feature of this type of calculation is the fact that one DDQ molecule can link to many others, rather like neurons in the brain. "Generalization of this principle would...open up a new vista of emergent computing using an assembly of molecules," they say.

The concept of a wireless molecular circuit: a. The DDQ molecule. b. The DDQ bilayer’s atomic structure; side view (above); top view (below, Movie 1). T denotes a molecule on the top layer

A massively parallel computing on an organic molecular layer, A. Bandyopadhyay, R. Pati, S. Sahu, F. Peper, D. Fujita, Nature Physics 6, 369 (2010). (25 pages)

Current computers operate at enormous speeds of ~10^13 bits per second, but their principle of sequential logic operation has remained unchanged since the 1950s. Though our brain is much slower on a per-neuron base (~10^3 firings per second), it is capable of remarkable decision-making based on the collective operations of millions of neurons at a time in ever-evolving neural circuitry. Here we use molecular switches to build an assembly where each molecule communicates–like neurons–with many neighbors simultaneously. The assembly’s ability to reconfigure itself spontaneously for a new problem allows us to realize conventional computing constructs like logic gates and Voronoi decompositions, as well as to reproduce two natural phenomena: heat diffusion and the mutation of normal cells to cancer cells. This is a shift from the current static computing paradigm of serial bit-processing to a regime in which a large number of bits are processed in parallel in dynamically changing hardware

The Rossi one megawatt Energy Catalyzer test has started and reports 470 kW maintained continuously during self-sustained operation with customer satisfied

Andrea Rossi reports on his blog that the 1 megawatt energy catalyzer test has started

October 28th, 2011
[Rossi almost always posts everything in all caps, I will remove some of the caps]
First information regarding the 1 MW Plant Test:

We started regularly the test this morning. Everything is going well so far. The 1 MW E-cat is working in self sustaining.

Tonight I will publish the non secret report that the customer will release.

WARM REGARDS, I have to return to the plant. Sorry, I cannot answer to the many comments I am receiving. I will publish them probably I will never find the time to answer.

Warmest Regards to all,
Andrea Rossi

UPDATE - Peswiki - Q and A just finished; reading of results; 470 kW maintained continuously during self-sustain; customer satisfied; sale made; more later.

General comments - I will guess that there will still be plenty of things to be skeptical about after today for those who doubt this system. The systems will have to go into actual commercial operation for some weeks to months and those systems will need to be independently inspected to remove most of the doubts.

On the positive side is that Rossi said that he would be testing his 1 megawatt system in October, 2011 and that is what is happening.

Peswiki has coverage

Free Energy Truth is covering as well

Alfin is also gathering coverage

October 27, 2011

Artificial Blood produced from stem cells within the next decade

Telegraph UK - Clinical trials using blood created from adult stem cells are set to begin within the next two or three years, raising the prospect it could soon become routinely used where real blood is unavailable.

Scientists are also developing alternative bloodlike substances which could be injected into the body as a "stopgap" until an actual blood transfusion could be performed.

About two and a half million units of blood are given to patients in Britain every year, costing about £130 each, and modern doctors have minimised the risk of patients receiving infections such as Hepatitis A and C during transmission.

MIT Energy Series complains about nuclear power plant concrete but Wind Power four times more concrete per megawatt

MIT Energy Initiative has a five-part series of articles that takes a broad view of the likely scalable energy candidates. The article on wind talked about the economics, the intermittent nature of wind power and prospects for scaling.

The MIT article on nuclear power stated

Nuclear power is often thought of as zero-emissions, Prinn points out that “it has an energy cost — there’s a huge amount of construction with a huge amount of concrete,” which is a significant source of greenhouse gases.

Per Peterson analyzed that wind and solar use more steel and concrete than nuclear to generate the same amount of power

Practical Invisibility cloaks for any size or shaped object could be made with metamaterial tiles

Oliver Paul at the University of Kaiserslautern in Germany and a few friends reveal an eminently practical way of making invisibility cloaks of any size and shape. Their idea is simple. Creating a cloak that exactly follows the shape of the object it is intended to hide is hard because curve cloaks are hard to make.

Instead, Paul and co approximate the shape using flat facets. These 'invisibility tiles' fit together in the same way as the triangular facets in a computer animation. And since each flat tile is relatively simple and easy to make, it becomes much cheaper and easier to build complex cloaks.

Arxiv - Flat-face approximations of invisibility cloaks with planar metamaterial layers (18 pages)

(a) Exact circular cloak consisting of metamaterial elements arranged in
concentric circles. (b) and (c) Polygonal cloak shell approximations. In the figures, the grey shading depicts the variation of the geometric dimensions of the metamaterial elements, whereas the short lines indicate the orientation of these elements.

Merging Plasmonics and Nanophotonics to enable new Quantum Information Systems

Purdue University - The merging of two technologies under development - plasmonics and nanophotonics - is promising the emergence of new "quantum information systems" far more powerful than today's computers.

It would be the grab bag of future keywords and phrases

Hyperbolic metamaterials integrated with nitrogen vacancies in diamond
nanophotonics quantum information systems
quantum computers
plasmonic computers

The technology hinges on using single photons – the tiny particles that make up light – for switching and routing in future computers that might harness the exotic principles of quantum mechanics.

The quantum information processing technology would use structures called "metamaterials," artificial nanostructured media with exotic properties.

The metamaterials, when combined with tiny "optical emitters," could make possible a new hybrid technology that uses "quantum light" in future computers

Structures called "metamaterials" and the merging of two technologies under development are promising the emergence of new "quantum information systems" far more powerful than today's computers. The concept hinges on using single photons – the tiny particles that make up light – for switching and routing in future computers that might harness the exotic principles of quantum mechanics. The image at left depicts a "spherical dispersion" of light in a conventional material, and the image at right shows the design of a metamaterial that has a "hyperbolic dispersion" not found in any conventional material, potentially producing quantum-optical applications. (Zubin Jacob)

Journal Science - Plasmonics Goes Quantum

The Bullish case for the Economic Future of the United States

The Telegraph UK lays out the bullish economic case for the United States

Nextbigfuture already covered the two main items listed in the telegraph article.

1. US crude oil production could increase by 500,000 to 1 million barrels per day each year through 2015 driven by North Dakota oil, Eagle Ford in Texas and Utica Shale. The US could have 8-10 million bpd of crude oil production in 2015 and 11-15 million bpd of crude + natural gas liquids + biofuel/ethanol.

US oil imports have shifted 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).

In 2015, US oil and petroleum imports could be 2-5 million barrels per day and by 2020 the US could get to the point where it would not be a net importer of oil.

IMF GDP and PPP Estimates for China Through 2016

Here are IMF GDP, GDP per capita and PPP estimates for China in US $, yuan in current and constant currency

The estimates were updated in Sept, 2011.

The exchange rate is about 6.35 yuan to 1 US dollar

China has recently ruled out faster yuan appreciation and the exchange rate appreciation will likely slow or pause for a few months.

Standard Chartered's Mr Green forecasts that the Chinese economy will grow 8.5 per cent next year, down from 9.4 per cent growth in the first three quarters of 2011.

Standard Chartered economist Stephen Green projected earlier this week that the yuan's appreciation against the US dollar will slow to 3 per cent to 4 per cent in 2012 from 5.5 per cent in 2011, due to China's slowing economic growth.

If China is at 45.82 trillion yuan at the end of 2011 then the Chinese economy would be 7.22 trillion US dollars.

Psychopaths have distinctive speech patterns

Live Science - Psychopaths are known to be wily and manipulative, but even so, they unconsciously betray themselves, according to scientists who have looked for patterns in convicted murderers' speech as they described their crimes.

The researchers interviewed 52 convicted murderers, 14 of them ranked as psychopaths according to the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised, a 20-item assessment, and asked them to describe their crimes in detail. Using computer programs to analyze what the men said, the researchers found that those with psychopathic scores showed a lack of emotion, spoke in terms of cause-and-effect when describing their crimes, and focused their attention on basic needs, such as food, drink and money.

The robotics industry is now on an exponential growth path

Several indicators point to the robotics industry being on an exponential growth path. Key enabling technologies, such as AI, energy storage, computer hardware, sensors, and actuators are steadily improving, and revenues are also increasing. Robots are now doing an increasing number of tasks that formerly could only by done by humans. Some are even starting to worry that robots may take some jobs, although others argue that the robotics industry will create as many jobs as it displaces. In an interview with Sander Olson, Qinetiq Chief Technology Officer Richard Wiesman discusses the major advances that have occurred in the robotics field during the past three decades, as well as the future of autonomous robots.

Richard Wiesman

Question: Do you divide your time between the Field and Space Robotics Lab at MIT and the robotics corporation Qinetiq?

I divide my time between being a "Professor of the Practice" at MIT and the FSRL and the Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at QinetiQ North America. QinetiQ makes extensive use of technologies that are coming out of academic institutions and laboratories throughout the world

A Step Towards Inception with Dreams read by brain scanner

New Scientist - Michael Czisch and Martin Dresler at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich, Germany, and their colleagues turned an array of brain-monitoring technology on lucid dreamers.

"A lucid dream is simply a dream in which you realise you're dreaming," says Dresler. The rare ability to "wake up" while still in a dream and be in control of their actions – and their dreams – makes lucid dreamers a real asset to dream researchers: they are the only people who can reliably, and in real time, communicate what they are dreaming about – usually with eye movements.

After tracking down six individuals who claimed to be able to have lucid dreams almost nightly, the team used both functional MRI scanning and near-infrared spectroscopy to observe each person's brain activity as they clenched a hand while awake. They then compared this with the activity associated with imagining clenching the same hand, and clenching the hand in a lucid dream.

Previously other scientists had been able to determine the basic image that someone was watching by learning the brain patterns that corresponded to known images and video.

The Economist magazine considers the imminent future with machine assisted mind reading

Current Biology - Dreamed Movement Elicits Activation in the Sensorimotor Cortex

* Eye signals can be used to access dream content with concurrent EEG and neuroimaging
* Dreamed hand movements correspond to activity in the contralateral sensorimotor cortex

Neural implants with improved efficiency

Electrical implants that shut down excessive activity in brain cells hold great potential for treating epilepsy and chronic pain. Likewise, devices that enhance neurons’ activity may help restore function to people with nerve damage.

A new technology developed at MIT and Harvard Medical School may overcome the primary drawback to this approach, known as functional electrical stimulation: When electrical current is applied, it can spread to nearby nerves, causing painful side effects.

Nerves, the long bundles of neuronal extensions that carry instructions to the muscles — as well as sensory information such as pain — communicate via extremely rapid electrical signals. By manipulating the concentration of charged ions surrounding a nerve, the researchers were able to dramatically reduce the current needed to keep an impulse going; they could also interrupt an impulse as it traveled along a nerve.

Ion-Selective Microelectrodes for Low-Power Electrochemical Stimulation and Blocking of Neuromuscular Systems.
Image: Yong-Ak Song

Nature Materials - Electrochemical activation and inhibition of neuromuscular systems through modulation of ion concentrations with ion-selective membranes

Applications to make your smartphone a radiation detector and applications to integrate with your car infotainment system

1. WikiSensor dosimeter is an application for Smartphones for measuring radioactivity.

Cameras lens, including CMOS sensors, found on most smartphones, are not only sensitive to visible light but also to other types of waves including Gamma and X waves emitted by radioactive sources.

Covering the camera with something opaque (electrician tape, thumb of the user ...) the lens no longer capture visible light but only Gamma and X waves. Then, the application algorithm counts the number of impacts received and translates into a value in microsieverts per hour.

October 26, 2011

Europe making progress on the sovereign debt crisis

1. European leaders persuaded bondholders to take 50 percent losses on Greek debt and boosted the firepower of the rescue fund to 1 trillion euros ($1.4 trillion)

Ten hours of brinkmanship at the second crisis summit in four days delivered a plan that the euro area’s stewards said points the way out of the debt quagmire, even if key details are lacking. Last-ditch talks with bank representatives led to the debt-relief accord, in an effort to quarantine Greece and prevent speculation against Italy and France from ravaging the euro zone and wreaking global economic havoc.

2. French President Nicolas Sarkozy said he plans to call Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao today to discuss China contributing to Europe’s efforts to resolve the region’s debt crisis.

“China will need time to evaluate this plan very carefully,” said Shen Jianguang, a Hong Kong-based economist for Mizuho Securities Asia Ltd. “What worries China is that there is so much disagreement among European policy makers. It doesn’t want to be seen spending money on a plan that even Europeans don’t want to support.”

Solar powered hybrid airships

Solar Ship is a buoyantly assisted aircraft, possible through a confluence of modern developments. Advanced aerodynamics, synthetic textile laminates, smart electronics, lightweight batteries, and high-efficiency photovoltaics are the enabling technologies that now allow us to realize the vision of a practical solar aircraft. Solar ship is a company based in Toronto, Canada.

By combining hybrid aerospace design with advanced propulsion, Solar Ship carries a truck’s payload, with greater flexibility than an airplane, with unrivaled efficiency. The design also scales well, with a payload that grows cubically as its size increases.

The Caracal (smallest version) is a compact Solar Ship targeted primarily at the General & Utility and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) markets. It features a solar-hybrid platform; extreme short take-off and landing capabilities; high endurance flight-time; category leading fuel efficiency; and easy add-on capacity for commercial and personal use tool-kits.

High-quality white light produced by four-color laser source

The human eye is as comfortable with white light generated by diode lasers as with that produced by increasingly popular light-emitting diodes (LEDs), according to tests conceived at Sandia National Laboratories.

The finding is important because LEDs — widely accepted as more efficient and hardier replacements for century-old tungsten incandescent bulb technology — lose efficiency at electrical currents above 0.5 amps. However, the efficiency of a sister technology — the diode laser — improves at higher currents, providing even more light than LEDs at higher amperages.
In the test setup, similar bowls of fruit were placed in a lightbox with a divider in the middle. In this photo, the bowl on one side was illuminated by a diode laser light and the other was lit by a standard incandescent bulb. The aesthetic quality of diode laser lighting (left bowl) compares favorably with standard incandescent lighting (right). (Photo by Randy Montoya)

Laser Frequency Comb on a chip

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a compact laser frequency comb, a step toward user-friendly and ultimately chip-based combs that could enable new applications in astronomical searches for Earth-like planets, high-capacity telecommunications, and—if other components are miniaturized as well—portable versions of the most advanced atomic clocks. Large frequency combs are best known as the "gears" in today's room-sized versions of these clocks.

Laser frequency combs—extraordinarily precise tools for measuring frequencies (or colors) of light—have helped propel advances in timekeeping, trace gas detection and related physics research to new heights in the past decade. While typical lasers operate at only a single or handful of frequencies, laser frequency combs operate simultaneously at many frequencies, approaching a million for some combs. These combs have very fine, evenly spaced "teeth," each a specific frequency, which can be used like hash marks on a ruler to measure the light emitted by lasers, atoms, stars or other objects. But frequency combs are usually bulky, delicate lab instruments—about the size of a typical suitcase—and challenging to operate, which limits their use.

NIST's prototype micro-comb consists of a low-power semiconductor laser about the size of a shoebox and a high-quality optical cavity just 2 millimeters wide. A miniature laser like those in DVD players might be substituted in the future to squeeze the whole comb apparatus onto a microchip.

Stack of quartz optical 'cavities' -- precisely machined disks of solid quartz crystal -- for use in NIST's compact laser frequency comb. (Only one is actually used.) A low-power infrared laser produces light that travels in a loop inside one of the cavities. Each cavity is 2 millimeters wide and shaped like a flat ellipse.
Credit: S. Papp/NIST

Printed Logic with Printed Memory

Researchers at the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) and the Norwegian company Thinfilm Electronics have announced a printed electronic device that, for the first time, marries transistors with memory. The device provides a low-cost way to read, write, and process small amounts of data. In addition, the added logic increases the amount of data that can be stored.

Printed circuits, made of organic inks, operate far more slowly and with less memory capacity than their silicon counterparts, but they can be made for pennies. Printed circuits can also go where silicon currently cannot: wrapping around a child's toy, for example, or conforming to the curve of a soldier's helmet.

New approaches that could scale solar power - using organisms for solar and new approaches to solar thermal

MIT - solar energy is, at least in theory, sufficient to meet all of humanity’s energy needs, the question becomes: “How big is the engineering challenge to get all our energy from solar?” Taylor says.

Solar thermal systems covering 10 percent of the world’s deserts — about 1.5 percent of the planet’s total land area — could generate about 15 terawatts of energy, given a total efficiency of 2 percent. This amount is roughly equal to the projected growth in worldwide energy demand over the next half-century.

scientists discover drugs to strengthen synapses in the brain by 300 percent

MIT - Each of the brain’s 100 billion neurons forms thousands of connections with other neurons. These connections, known as synapses, allow cells to rapidly share information, coordinate their activities, and achieve learning and memory. Breakdowns in those connections have been linked to neurological disorders including autism and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as decline of memory during normal aging. Many scientists believe that strengthening synaptic connections could offer a way to treat those diseases, as well as age-related decline in brain function. To that end, a team of MIT researchers has developed a new way to grow synapses between cells in a laboratory dish, under very controlled conditions that enable rapid, large-scale screens for potential new drugs.

Nature Communications - Synapse microarray identification of small molecules that enhance synaptogenesis

Schematic of the synapse microarray technology.

Stretchable Graphene Transistors with Printed Dielectrics and Gate Electrodes

Nanoletters - Stretchable Graphene Transistors with Printed Dielectrics and Gate Electrodes

With the emergence of human interface technology, the development of new applications based on stretchable electronics such as conformal biosensors and rollable displays are required. However, the difficulty in developing semiconducting materials with high stretchability required for such applications has restricted the range of applications of stretchable electronics. Here, we present stretchable, printable, and transparent transistors composed of monolithically patterned graphene films. This material offers excellent mechanical, electrical, and optical properties, capable of use as semiconducting channels as well as the source/drain electrodes. Such monolithic graphene transistors show hole and electron mobilities of 1188 ± 136 and 422 ± 52 cm2 (V s), respectively, with stable operation at stretching up to 5% even after 1000 or more cycles.

Novel Abeta Vaccine Reports First Human Data

SENS (Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence) — SENS approaches the diseases and disabilities of aging from an "engineering" point of view. Instead of seeking to decipher the code of life and interfere with metabolic processes (the gerontological approach), or waiting until it is effectively too late to treat age-related damage and treating symptoms (the conventional medical, geriatric approach), SENS targets the damage of aging itself, bringing it down to levels below the threshold at which it causes problems.

With promising preliminary human data and what appears to be a mechanism of Aβ clearance, the advancement of gantenerumab into preliminary efficacy testing places one more damage-removal therapeutic into the race for disease-modifying therapies for AD. Should it ultimately be successful and its migroglial cell-mediated mechanism of action be validated, it would have the advantage of being potentially in synergy with lysosomal fortification with novel hydrolases to enhance microglial lysosomal hydrolysis of engulfed Aβ.

Rejuvenation biotechnology is the application of the principles of regenerative medicine to the damage to cellular and molecular structures that accumulate in aging tissues -- the structural damage that disables those structures' function and leads to loss of homeostasis and the progressive rise in frailty, disease, disability, and death that people now suffer with age. Because the damage is multifarious, a platform of rejuvenation biotechnologies, rather than a single, all-encompassing "youth pill," will be required to achieve the robust rejuvenation of aging humans, restoring youthful health and vitality.

SENS is a strategy for engineering negligible senescence, based on this heuristic -- not a prescriptive list of therapies in development whereby it shall be executed. The rapidly-expanding group of agents, each with a meaningfully-distinct mechanism of Aβ clearance, entering into the clinical pipeline and in increasingly advanced stages of human clinical testing for the arrest and reversal of Alzheimer's disease, bodes well for the early achievement of the first rejuvenation biotechnology. SENS Foundation is proud to be engaged in its mission of catalyzing the progress toward a mature rejuvenation biotechnology industry; with that proof of concept, the wider biomedical field should become more alive to the application of the damage-removal heuristic to the many different kinds of aging damage underlying age-related disease. The engagement of a wide range of scientists in academia and industry, and aggressive funding of rejuvenation research, will accelerate progress toward a comprehensive panel of rejuvenation biotechnologies, and the achievement of thoroughgoing biomedical restoration of youthful health, vigor, and longevity.

The theoretical advantages of catalytic antibodies as a mechanism for the therapeutic clearance of malformed protein deposits, combined with promising results to date in preclinical studies using such antibodies to clear brain Aβ, were key considerations leading to SENS Foundation's funding of research into catalytic antibodies for the removal of senile cardiac amyloidosis.

Accumulation of soluble and insoluble aggregates of beta-amyloid protein (Aß) and other malformed proteins accumulate in brain aging and neurodegenerative disease, leading progressively to neuronal dysfunction and/or loss. These have long been widely accepted to be drivers of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and other age-related dementias and neurological disorders such as Parkinson's disease, and it has recently become increasingly clear that neuronal protein aggregates are the main driver of "normal" cognitive aging. To prevent and reverse the course of neurodegenerative disease and age-related cognitive dysfunction, the regenerative engineering solution is therapeutic clearance of extracellular aggregates (such as Aß plaques) and intracellular aggregates (such as soluble, oligomeric Aß).

Stanford researchers build transparent, super-stretchy skin-like sensor

Stanford University - Using carbon nanotubes bent to act as springs, Stanford researchers have developed a stretchable, transparent skin-like sensor. The sensor can be stretched to more than twice its original length and bounce back perfectly to its original shape. It can sense pressure from a firm pinch to thousands of pounds. The sensor could have applications in prosthetic limbs, robotics and touch-sensitive computer displays.

When the nanotubes are airbrushed onto the silicone, they tend to land in randomly oriented little clumps. When the silicone is stretched, some of the "nano-bundles" get pulled into alignment in the direction of the stretching.

When the silicone is released, it rebounds back to its original dimensions, but the nanotubes buckle and form little nanostructures that look like springs.

"After we have done this kind of pre-stretching to the nanotubes, they behave like springs and can be stretched again and again, without any permanent change in shape," Bao said.
The sensor is stretchy in all directions and then rebounds to the original shape.

Nature Nanotechnology - Skin-like pressure and strain sensors based on transparent elastic films of carbon nanotubes

October 25, 2011

Petrobank still developing THAI fire flooding process

Whitesands is a wholly owned operating company holding, dedicated to developing Petrobank's heavy oil and oil sands assets using our patented THAI® technology.

Whitesands has a 100 percent working interest in over 46,000 acres of oil sands leases in northern Alberta. We are currently in the final stages of regulatory approval.

The initial May River facility is located approximately two kilometers from our existing Conklin demonstration project and will be built in modules so that it can easily be scaled to as much as 100,000 bopd. Phase I will have a design capacity of 10,000 bopd from 18 THAI® well-pairs, each producing upgraded bitumen.

There is a March 6, 2012 hearing about the May River project which is supposed to start in 2012

The Toe Heal Air Injection process has the possibility of radically lowering the cost and increasing the scale of oilsand recovery.

Progress to the Flying Humvee and enabling a revolution if door to door air travel up to 400 mile ranges

Aviation Week - "Flying Humvees" being designed by AAI and Lockheed Martin have made it through to the second phase of DARPA's Transformer (TX) program - but the sheer scale of the challenges in producing a fly-drive tactical vehicle is becoming clear.

Transformer is not simply a roadable aircraft - it is a four-seat vehicle that must be able to drive off-road, survive small-arms fire, and rapidly reconfigure into an aircraft that can take off and land vertically and be flown without pilot training.

Phase 2 of the Transformer program is heading for preliminary design reviews at the end of the third quarter of fiscal 2012, after which DARPA will decide whether to select one team to proceed into Phase 3, which would culminate in prototype ground and flight demonstrations in mid-fiscal 2015.

Cost is also a challenge, with DARPA aiming for around $1 million a copy compared with $400,000 for a Humvee and $4 million for light helicopter.

The Terrafugia Transition roadable has a base cost of $279,000 The flying humvee will be able to have a jump takeoff without runway which can enable door to door commuter flying.

AAI's TX is a 7,500lb vehicle with an unpowered rotor for VTOL, a fold-out wing for cruise and a ducted fan for propulsion. A single 1,200shp Honeywell HTS900 turboshaft generates power to drive the four electric wheel motors, spins up the rotor for a "jump" take-off and drives the 56in-diameter ducted fan in forward flight. Ground speed is up to 80mph; flight speed range is 50-155kt; maximum altitude is 10,000ft.

Using Cartercopter's slowed rotor/compound technology, AAI's TX is essentially an autogyro with wings

John McCarthy — Father of AI and Lisp — Dies at 84

Wired - John McCarthy was the man who coined the term 'artificial intelligence'. He organized the Dartmouth Summer Research Conference on Artificial Intelligence in 1956. McCarthy not only added a term to the popular lexicon, he founded an entirely new area of research alongside fellow pioneers Marvin Minsky, Nathaniel Rochester, and Claude Shannon. In the years to come, he would go on invent LISP — one of the world’s most influential programming languages — and he played a major role in the development of time-sharing systems.

Nextbigfuture covered the information that John McCarthy gathered about technology for sustaining humanity.

John McCarthy had pages discussing energy in general, nuclear energy, solar energy, food supply, population, fresh water supply, forests and wood supply, global engineering, pollution, biodiversity, various menaces to human survival, the role of ideology in discussing these matters, useful references. Other problems are discussed in the main text including minerals and pollution.

The largest active nuclear bomb in the US arsenal is now 1.2 megatons

The United States has dismantled its last B53 9 megaton nuclear bomb. The next biggest bomb is the B83 which is 1.2 megatons. The B53 weighed 10,000 pounds and was the size of a minivan.

The B53's disassembly ends the era of big megaton bombs, he said. The bombs' size helped compensate for their lack of accuracy.

Taiwan Semiconductor Research chief sees 10 years of scaling to 7 nanometer Finfets

EEtimes - The path is clear for continued semiconductor scaling using FinFETs for the next decade, down to the 7-nm node, according to Shang-Yi Chiang, senior vice president of R&D at foundry giant Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.

Beyond 7-nm, the most pressing challenges to continued scaling will come from economics, not technology, Chiang said in a keynote address at the ARM TechCon event.

Chiang said he has faith that the semiconductor industry will solve technical hurdles associated with moving past 7-nm over the next decade, but acknowledged that the new technologies might make volume manufacturing of chips with critical dimensions smaller than 7-nm cost prohibitive.

"From node to node, we have found the wafer price has increased much more than previous nodes," Chiang said.

Nvidia Kal-El quadcore procesors will be in Asustek tablet on November 9

Nvidia Corp.’s Kal-El quad-core SoC will emerge November 9 in Asustek Computer’s Transformer Prime tablet, Asus CEO Jonney Shih has revealed. Kal-El, the codename for the third generation of Nvidia’s Tegra mobile processor, was due out by the end of summer or early September, but will now emerge early next month in Asus’ new 10-inch, 8.3 mm thin tablet.

The Asus Transformer Prime tablet, announced on stage at the AsiaD Conference in Hong Kong last week will purportedly boast 14.5 hours of battery life and include both USB and mini-HDMI ports as well as an SD card reader. It will be the first device to boast Nvidia’s Kal-El chip, but is not thought to include the latest iteration of Google’s Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, which has been optimized in its early days for Texas Instruments’ Omap 4 processor.

Italian government on the brink as EU plan stalls

USA Today - Markets are looking to the EU's grand plan — promised in time for a leaders' summit on Wednesday — for a turnaround in the debt crisis that will avert a potential global recession.

Wall Street Journal - The aide to Mr. Bossi said the party leader had reached a preliminary compromise with the government to change Italy's pension system. She didn't elaborate. Asked by reporters if he was still gloomy about the chances of the government surviving disputes over economic reforms demanded by euro-zone leaders, he replied: "I remain pessimistic," according to Reuters.

Mr. Bossi and his top lieutenants have been in marathon talks with Mr. Berlusconi over whether to adopt measures to supplement the government's recent €60 billion ($83.57 billion) austerity package. Germany, France and European Union officials have called on Rome to announce measures aimed at trimming Italy's €1.9 trillion debt and boosting its stagnant growth.

Mr. Berlusconi has responded by pushing his cabinet to approve pension reforms. Italians can retire as early as 58 if they have worked for 40 years, a rule known as seniority. Mr. Berlusconi, however, has floated the idea of setting Italy's retirement age as high 67.

"They're asking us to let people retire at 67 years. To do away with seniority. That's not possible," Mr. Bossi told reporters on Tuesday. If the government changed the pension system, Mr. Bossi added, voters "will slaughter us."

But it risked being delayed, yet again, as governments failed to agree on details. Berlusconi's government, meanwhile, showed little sign of meeting the EU's demands for reforms, a prerequisite for the grand plan to go ahead.

EU officials say they will not present their comprehensive plan if Italy doesn't agree to new economic measures they demanded Sunday. But Berlusconi has so far been unable to get his key ally in parliament, the Northern League, to swallow an increase in pension age. The Northern League says it will alienate their constituency of workers in the productive north.

Breakthrough Furnace Can Cut Solar Costs with 1200 wafers per hour of 20 percent efficient solar cells

A game-changing Optical Cavity Furnace has been developed by the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory uses optics to heat and purify solar cells at unmatched precision while sharply boosting the cells' efficiency.

NREL researchers continue to improve the furnace and expect it to be able soon to hike the efficiency by 4 percentage points, a large leap in an industry that measures its successes a half a percentage point at a time. "Our calculations show that some material that is at 16 percent efficiency now is capable of reaching 20 percent if we take advantage of these photonic effects," NREL Principal Engineer Bhushan Sopori said. "That's huge."

Meanwhile, NREL and its private-industry partner, AOS Inc., are building a manufacturing-size Optical Cavity Furnace capable of processing 1,200 wafers an hour.
The cavity inside the Solar Optical Furnace glows white hot during a simulated firing of a solar cell. Credit: Dennis Schroeder

James Webb Space telescope will see the atmosphere of earth like worlds if it is not cancelled

Astrobio.net covers the James Webb space telescope.

The James Webb Space Telescope is facing possible cancelation due to the increasing cost of the project. But according to Matt Mountain and John Grunsfeld of the Space Telescope Science Institute, the telescope will provide an invaluable view of Earth-like worlds.

An estimated $3.5 billion has been spent on the JWST project, with about 3/4 of the construction and testing completed. If JWST is not canceled by Congress, it is scheduled to launch in 2018 on the European Space Agency’s Ariane V rocket.

Five years ago, the project was estimated to cost 2.4 billion dollars, but the latest reports peg the total at closer to 8.7 billion. The Independent Comprehensive Review Panel Report, issued in late 2010, said the main problem was that the necessary development costs had not been properly estimated, and the budget therefore had been unrealistic.

Intel to Sell Ivy Bridge Late in Q4 2011

CEO Paul Otellini confirmed that Ivy Bridge 22 nm processor volume production has already begun. Intel would only consider a production process volume production if it affects "millions" of processors.

Intel Ivy Bridge CPUs should be selling in volume by March 2012. Intel has updated their roadmap with their 14nm skylake and 10 skymont CPUs appearing by 2016.

Suppression of the water ice and snow albedo feedback on planets orbiting red dwarf stars and the subsequent widening of the habitable zone

Red dwarf stars are 80% of all main sequence stars and recent work suggests that their habitable zone is 30% larger than previously thought.

Arxiv - M-stars comprise 80% of main-sequence stars, and so their planetary systems provide the best chance for finding habitable planets, i.e.: those with surface liquid water. We have modelled the broadband albedo or reflectivity of water ice and snow for simulated planetary surfaces orbiting two observed red dwarf stars (or M-stars) using spectrally resolved data of the Earth's cryosphere. The gradual reduction of the albedos of snow and ice at wavelengths greater than 1 ?m, combined with M-stars emitting a significant fraction of their radiation at these same longer wavelengths, mean that the albedos of ice and snow on planets orbiting M-stars are much lower than their values on Earth. Our results imply that the ice/snow albedo climate feedback is significantly weaker for planets orbiting M-stars than for planets orbiting G-type stars such as the Sun. In addition, planets with significant ice and snow cover will have significantly higher surface temperatures for a given stellar flux if the spectral variation of cryospheric albedo is considered, which in turn implies that the outer edge of the habitable zone around M-stars may be 10-30% further away from the parent star than previously thought.

China loaded fuel for what will be its 15th operating nuclear reactor

1. The process of loading fuel into the fourth reactor of the second phase of development at the Qinshan nuclear power plant in China's Zhejiang province has been completed. China National Nuclear Corporation announced that, following an operation lasting 45 consecutive hours, the final fuel assembly was loaded into the CNP-600 design pressurized water reactor (PWR) at 5.42am on 23 October. The next stage in the unit's commissioning will be for it to achieve first criticality - a self-sustaining nuclear fission chain reaction. The 610 MWe reactor is expected to begin commercial operation in 2012, when it is set to become China's 15th operating power.

New extraction technologies for Alberta Oilsands

Technology Review - large oil companies, including Shell, Suncor Energy, and Exxon subsidiary Imperial Oil, as well as entrepreneurial startups such as N-Solv and Laricina, are field-testing a growing number of in situ techniques. Some are pumping air deep underground and igniting some bitumen in hopes of melting the rest more efficiently. Others see potential in using electricity to heat deeply buried bitumen.

Cenovus is testing a method that uses a combination of steam and a solvent, butane, to help loosen up the bitumen. Pad A02 looks like any other at Christina Lake, except that it has just one pair of wells supported by some extra hardware: three 50-foot-long storage tanks for the butane and equipment to blend it with the 250 °C steam that roars in by pipe from the steam generators. Adding that equipment boosts the cost of building a new site by almost a third, but it's worth it, says Harbir Chhina, Cenovus's executive vice president for oil sands. Chhina says adding butane delivers 10 to 15 percent more bitumen from the same resource and does so roughly 30 percent faster.

The effects of that improvement on energy use, profits, and greenhouse-gas pollution are to get a first commercial-scale test at Narrows Lake, an in situ project immediately northwest of Christina Lake where Cenovus hopes to be producing 130,000 barrels of bitumen per day by 2016. (Approval for Narrows Lake is expected by next summer; Alberta has never rejected an oil-sands application.) Harbir Chhina, Cenovus's executive vice president for oil sands prediction: Narrows Lake's steam-to-oil ratio will be around 1.7, 15 percent lower than it would be without the solvent. He says the technology could decrease greenhouse-gas emissions by as much as 30 percent at most SAGD sites.

Solar Power is getting cheaper and getting grid stabilized with natural gas

Grist has an article that makes the claim that solar PV will become the cheapest option to generate electricity by about 2018 in the sunniest places in the world.

Cumulative installed PV capacity globally was 40 gigawatts (GW) at the end of last year. Three doublings mean this has to grow by a factor of eight, to 320 GW, to achieve the necessary halving of cost (to 6 cents per kwh). From 2005 to 2010, PV capacity installed annually grew by an average of 49 percent per year. Even if this slows down to 25 percent per year in the near future, we will reach 320 GW in 2018.

320 GW would be about 500 TWh. China recently announced a target of 50 GW for solar by 2020. I think China will add 25-40% of any world solar installation. So for the Grist estimate to be right there would have to a further acceleration of Chinese solar power.

China has the following targets for 2015 and 2020

Targets disclosed early 2011      target 2015       target 2020   
 Hydropower                250       260 (865 TWh)   390-430 GW (1300-1430 TWh)              
 Wind                       90       100 (190 TWh)   200-250 GW  (380-470TWh)
 Solar                       5        10 (15 TWh)         50 GW (70 TWH) 
 Bio-energy                 13        13   
 Geothermal                N/A         0.1   
 Tidal wave                N/A         0.01-0.02   
 Nuclear                    40        40 (320 TWh)       65 GW (520 TWh)

Nuclear is targeted for 40 GW which is the equivalent of 200 GW of solar and 160 GW of wind.

October 24, 2011

Toshiba Develops 498 Pixels-per-Inch (PPI) display

Toshiba Mobile Display announced that it has developed a liquid crystal display (LCD) panel that features a world-class, high-definition 498 pixels-per-inch (ppi) image in a direct-view, compact 6.1-inch screen. Despite the small screen size, the display resolution format is 2,560 × 1,600 pixels, a higher resolution than even the full HD resolution format of 1,920 by 1,080 pixels.

Macrumors - Apple has long touted the crisp resolution of its "Retina" display that debuted in the iPhone 4 with a resolution of 326 ppi (pixels per inch), a display that has since made its way to the iPod touch and now the iPhone 4S. The Retina display concept is also said to be set to make its way into the iPad 3 next year, with Apple preparing to quadruple the number of pixels to offer a resolution of 2048 x 1536 on the device's 9.7-inch screen.

Self driving cars will save fuel

Technology Review - Cars that park themselves and automatically convoy with other cars could reduce congestion and emissions.

The biggest benefits will come with fully automated cars. Cars that park themselves—a trick GM has demonstrated with its EN-V concept vehicle—could save fuel by eliminating the need for drivers to circle the block waiting for a parking space to open up. The ambition is for a car to drop its owner off and go directly to the nearest available parking spot—even if that spot happens to be miles away, too far for the owner to walk. When it's time to leave, the owner notifies the car with a smart phone, and it picks him or her up.

Vehicle-to-vehicle communication, which allows vehicles to travel on highways very close together at consistent speeds, could also reduce fuel consumption. If a truck in a convoy brakes, it sends a signal slowing down the following trucks instantaneously. A spacing of four meters reduces wind resistance for the following trucks, and could reduce fuel consumption by 10 to 15 percent, Boules says. Vehicle-to-vehicle communication could also reduce congestion by cutting accidents, coordinating traffic intelligently, and "getting rid of those drivers who accelerate through red lights." The U.S. Department of Transportation is sponsoring work to enable this last goal using sensors in stop lights that can communicate with smart vehicles.

BMW’s semi-autonomous test vehicle automatically brakes, accelerates, and passes slower vehicles—at over 70 miles per hour. It can also slow down or change lanes to allow merging cars onto the road. It uses lidar, radar, ultrasound, and video cameras to keep track of its surroundings—each technology checks against the others for improved accuracy—and pairs this with GPS and maps.

It will not be a problem to feed 15 billion people

The UN has a new world population forecast out to 2100 The current world population of close to 7 billion is projected to reach 10.1 billion in the next ninety years, reaching 9.3 billion by the middle of this century, according to the medium variant of the 2010 Revision of World Population Prospects. The high projection variant, whose fertility is just half a child above that in the medium variant, produces a world population of 10.6 billion in 2050 and 15.8 billion in 2100. The low variant, whose fertility remains half a child below that of the medium, produces a population that reaches 8.1 billion in 2050 and declines towards the second half of this century to reach 6.2 billion in 2100.

The range of projections is relatively unchanged from last year, but reissued press releases and the statistical analysis that we are passing the milestone level of 7 billion people has caused fearful articles about inability to support that level of population.

Guardian UK - Why current population growth is costing us the earth

Guardian UK - Paul Ehrlich, a prophet of global population doom who is gloomier than ever. Population surge means there is only a 10% chance of avoiding a collapse of world civilisation, says professor.

Paul Ehrlich has been wrong predicting doom since his 1968 book The Population Bomb.

John McCarthy at Stanford has some information about how food, water and other human resources will be sustainable using current technology to sustain population levels of 15 billion people.

October 23, 2011

True Limits for food, energy and minerals are very distant

Many people get crazed by the idea that there will not be enough food, energy or minerals for human civilization. A New Scientist article published some estimates for very short times before certain key minerals ran out

* indium(used in lcd monitors): 4-13 years
* silver: 9-29 years
* lead: 8-42 years
* antimony(used in pharmaceutical drugs): 13-30 years
* tin: 17-40 years
* uranium: 19-59
* zinc: 34-46 years
* gold: 36-45 years
* copper(wire, plumbing, pennies): 38-61 years
* nickel: 57-90 years

This information is wrong.

It is based upon running out of what are currently commercially classified reserves.

When you underestimate how much food, energy and minerals you have by thousands and billions of times then you make very bad choices and plans. If you make an estimate of how much you have after a plane crash that is one thousand times too low then you may choose to pursue the Donner Party (cannibalism) option way too soon, when you actually had food for decades and not a couple of days.

For the world and civilization - it is let us not start sterilizing killing other countries yet - when there can be bountiful genetically modified crops and stacked fish farming for everyone.

Carnival of Space 220

Weareallinthegutter has Carnival of Space 220

The American Museum of Natural History’s Beyond Planet Earth contest. They’re looking for original, out-of-this-world ideas on the future of space exploration in 3 minutes or less – watch their introductory video to find out more:

Merrill Lynch forecasts Congressional Super Committee failure and credit downgrade for the US and Greece Default Developments

1. The United States will likely suffer the loss of its triple-A credit rating from another major rating agency by the end of this year due to concerns over the deficit, Bank of America Merrill Lynch forecasts.

"The credit rating agencies have strongly suggested that further rating cuts are likely if Congress does not come up with a credible long-run plan" to cut the deficit, Merrill's North American economist, Ethan Harris, wrote in the report.

"Hence, we expect at least one credit downgrade in late November or early December when the super committee crashes," he added.

The bipartisan congressional committee formed to address the deficit -- known as the "super committee" -- needs to break an impasse between Republicans and Democrats in order to reach a deal to reduce the U.S. deficit by at least $1.2 trillion by November 23.

If a majority of the 12-member committee fails to agree on a plan, $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts will be triggered, beginning in 2013.

Rossi’s E-Cat Commercialization Plans for November and Beyond

1. Ecatworld summarizes Rossi’s latest remarks, the first products to go to market are going to be the 1 MW plants (or variants thereof) which will be suitable for industrial applications; initially it seems they will be used mainly for providing heat to factories.

Rossi has mentioned that he has been working on developing a small model of the E-Cat suitable for household heating, but says now that there are still “issues to be resolved” with this unit and that “it will be a matter of one year”.

Rossi most likely meant to say he plans to sell “several tens” of plants (understandable English error). If this is the case we could conceive that could be selling “at least” 40-100 of these E-Cat plants next year, which for a startup operation is quite impressive.

Spacex completes another milestone towards manned Spacex launches and Europe launches first two commercial GPS satellites

1. Universe Today - Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) is now one more step closer to sending astronauts to orbit. The commercial space firm announced today that it has completed a successful review of the company’s launch abort system (LAS). SpaceX’s LAS, dubbed “DragonRider” is designed differently than abort systems that have been used in the past.

The United States is paying Russia an estimated $63 million per seat on its Soyuz spacecraft. SpaceX has estimated that, by comparison, flights on a man-rated version of its Dragon spacecraft would cost approximately $20 million. Despite the dramatically lower cost, SpaceX has emphatically stated that safety is one of the key drivers of its spacecraft.
The DragonRider launch abort system would allow astronauts to be safely pulled away from the Falcon 9 launch vehicle in the advent of an emergency. Image Credit: SpaceX

Engineered modular and orthogonal genetic logic gates for robust digital-like synthetic biology had proof of concept built inside E Coli

Nature Communications - Engineering modular and orthogonal genetic logic gates for robust digital-like synthetic biology

Modular and orthogonal genetic logic gates are essential for building robust biologically based digital devices to customize cell signalling in synthetic biology. Here we constructed an orthogonal AND gate in Escherichia coli using a novel hetero-regulation module from Pseudomonas syringae. The device comprises two co-activating genes hrpR and hrpS controlled by separate promoter inputs, and a σ54-dependent hrpL promoter driving the output. The hrpL promoter is activated only when both genes are expressed, generating digital-like AND integration behaviour. The AND gate is demonstrated to be modular by applying new regulated promoters to the inputs, and connecting the output to a NOT gate module to produce a combinatorial NAND gate. The circuits were assembled using a parts-based engineering approach of quantitative characterization, modelling, followed by construction and testing. The results show that new genetic logic devices can be engineered predictably from novel native orthogonal biological control elements using quantitatively in-context characterized parts.

A modular and orthogonal genetic AND gate design. The AND gate is designed on the basis of the σ54-dependent hrpR/hrpS hetero-regulation module. Two environment-responsive promoters, P1 and P2, act as the inputs to drive the transcriptions of hrpR and hrpS, and respond to the small molecules I1 and I2, respectively. The transcription of the output hrpL promoter is turned on only when both proteins HrpR and HrpS are present and bind the upstream activator sequence to remodel the closed σ54-RNAP-hrpL transcription complex to an open one through ATP hydrolysis. The output shown is a gfp reporter. The RBS is used for tuning the dynamic range of the device inputs or output. The regulatory promoter inputs and gfp output are both interchangeable. The AND gate is orthogonal to the E. coli genetic background and is independent of its normally used σ70-dependent transcriptional pathway.

Russian Prime Minister Putin reviewed plans for Umka, a 5000 person domed Arctic City

From the website of the Prime Minister of Russia - The prime minister promised to maintain the Arctic region in its natural state and he reviewed a project to build a domed city.

The prime minister had a chance to see into the future of the Arctic. Along with the offshore platforms, new developments will include cities for scientists. One such project was displayed at the exhibition. Umka, an Arctic village, can house up to 5,000 residents and will be completely isolated from the outside world by a huge dome with a controlled temperature.

"Researchers could live there permanently rather than for short expeditions only," the developers say. "It is modeled after an imaginary Moon city or a completely isolated space station."

A domed city will be built on one of the New Siberian Islands in the Arctic Ocean. While the developers are working on that design, another effort is the exploration of the Northern Sea Route. It will substantially shorten the time required for shipping between Europe and Asia. Between some city pairs, shipping time could be cut by more than ten days.
The total area of Kotelny Island is 23,165 km². Kotelny is one of the 50 largest islands in the world. West part of Kotelny Island proper, also known as “Kettle Island”, is the largest section of the group, with an area of 11,665 km². It is rocky and hilly, rising to 374 m on Mt. Malakatyn-Tas. The Chukochya River flows westwards to the Laptev Sea. The Anisiy Cape 76.200°N 139.1167°E is the northernmost headland of Kotelny and it is an important geographical point for it marks the NE limit of the Laptev Sea.

Express UK - Architect Valery Rzhevskiy, who has shown the designs to Kremlin strongman Vladimir Putin, said: “This city will be of strategic importance as ­Russia’s northern outpost.”

Sources say it will house soldiers, border guards and secret service officers, as well as scientists and explorers, as Moscow gets serious about its claims to Arctic mineral riches.

Nicknamed “wonder city”, it will be built at a cost of up to £4billion (US$6.3 billion) on the remote ­island of Kotelny, in the Novosibirsk archipelago, 1,000 miles from the North Pole.

The Umka designs are based on the International Space Station, but it is vast by comparison, just short of a mile long and 800 yards wide.

Electricity will be supplied by a floating nuclear power station. It will be totally self-sufficient with fish and poultry farms, greenhouses, a wheat processing factory and bakeries.

Kotelny island at wikipedia

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