November 05, 2011

Internet Explorer drops below 50% browser market share

Ars Technica - Internet Explorer still retains a majority of the desktop browser market share, at 52.63 percent, a substantial 1.76 point drop from September. However, desktop browsing makes up only about 94 percent of Web traffic; the rest comes from phones and tablets, both markets in which Internet Explorer is all but unrepresented. As a share of the whole browser market, Internet Explorer has only 49.58 percent of users. Microsoft's browser first achieved a majority share in—depending on which numbers you look at—1998 or 1999. It reached its peak of about 95 percent share in 2004, and has been declining ever since.

Adaptive on-chip control of nano-optical fields with optoplasmonic vortex nanogates

Arxiv - Adaptive on-chip control of nano-optical fields with optoplasmonic vortex nanogates (11 pages)

A major challenge for plasmonics as an enabling technology for quantum information processing is the realization of active spatio-temporal control of light on the nanoscale. The use of phase-shaped pulses or beams enforces specific requirements for on-chip integration and imposes strict design limitations. We introduce here an alternative approach, which is based on exploiting the strong sub-wavelength spatial phase modulation in the near-field of resonantly-excited high-Q optical microcavities integrated into plasmonic nanocircuits. Our theoretical analysis reveals the formation of areas of circulating powerflow (optical vortices) in the near-fields of optical microcavities, whose positions and mutual coupling can be controlled by tuning the microcavities parameters and the excitation wavelength. We show that optical powerflow though nanoscale plasmonic structures can be dynamically molded by engineering interactions of microcavity-induced optical vortices with noble-metal nanoparticles. The proposed strategy of re-configuring plasmonic nanocircuits via locally addressable photonic elements opens the way to develop chip-integrated optoplasmonic switching architectures, which is crucial for implementation of quantum information nanocircuits.

An artificial molecular clock to control artificial molecular machines

Rsearchers use such a transcriptional oscillator as a molecular clock to time two other molecular processes. One of these is a DNA nanomechanical device, a DNA tweezers that gives different fluorescent signals when open and when closed. Different RNA molecules produced by the transcriptional oscillator act to either open or close the tweezers. The other process is the synthesis by the transcriptional oscillator of an RNA molecule that binds the dye molecule Malachite Green, changing its fluorescence.

(H/T foresight institute)

November 04, 2011

Foxconn will replace 500,000 workers with 1 million robots that they will produce themselves

Foxconn will mass produce their own robots

Robot Report - Taiwan-based Hon Hai Precision Industry (Foxconn) plans to invest $223 million to build an R&D and manufacturing facility in Taiwan to develop and produce an empire of robots.
... The project is expected to generate an estimated $4 billion in production value in the next three to five years and create about 2,000 jobs while replacing 500,000 mainland Chinese workers with 1 million robots.

Russia 2045 project aims to eliminate death and disease

Winston Churchill once said that Russia was "a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma". The same thing could perhaps be said of the recently unveiled Russia 2045 project. The project appears to have goals so ambitious that they make even Ray Kurzweil's predictions seem tame by comparison. The Russia 2045 project is privately funded and has provided few details regarding the technologies to be developed. In an interview with Sander Olson, Russia 2045 founder Dmitry Itskov discusses avatars, robotic bodies, and reverse-engineering the human brain.

Question: You recently gave a talk at the Singularity Summit 2045. How did that conference go? What was the reaction to your talk?

This was the first Russian speech at such an important international conference and I would like to thank the organizers for the opportunity to give a talk. The audience reaction was certainly important to us. We monitored social networks, Twitter, blogs. The responses were varied—for instance, one user, apparently hinting at the achievements of Soviet science, wrote that “Whatever you might think about the viability of 2045 movement, Russian brute force engineering has accomplished breakthroughs before”. I would like to add something here: Russian engineering is famous not for a brute-force approach, but for inventive problem solving given limited resources. It is very Russian to implement a cheap and clever way of doing something instead of spending unlimited funds to achieve something through brute force.

Some viewers enjoyed my appeal to forget the long history of tense relations between Russia and the U.S. and to combine our efforts to achieve cybernetic immortality. Others expressed agreement with the statement that eternal life is our right and that if someone does not like it, they may remain in whichever world they choose, but that they should not question our right to be free and immortal. Americans have always respected man’s personal freedom, his freedom of choice. It is important for the modern Russian as well.

Red Camera finally releases its Scarlet-X with video camera

RED Digital Cinema has officially released its third industry-changing camera, the Scarlet-X. With burst modes up to 12 fps at full 5K resolution alongside 4K motion capture from 1-30 fps, the camera allows professional photographers and cinematographers to simultaneously capture motion footage and still content. Never miss a shot. Ever. Scarlet-X’s compact design, endless modularity and advanced feature set provide a future-proof solution catering to every shooter’s needs, leaving one-dimensional DSLRs and 1080p camcorders in its wake. Priced at under $10,000, Scarlet-X advances RED’s vision to democratize superlative cinema and professional photography.

With 4000 to 5000 lines of resolution it has 16 to 25 times the resolution of high definition. It has superior resolution to $200,000 35mm analog film cameras. Red Cameras other digital cameras have already been replacing 35 mm analog film cameras.

No Greek Referendum but bailout drama continues

After intense pressure from European leaders, the government confirmed it had dropped plans to hold a referendum on Greece's euro zone membership, which had threatened an immediate crisis in the bloc, but remained some way from saving the bailout deal.

Papandreou says he announced the referendum on Monday -- sending shockwaves through world markets -- to ensure political consensus for the deal. His opponents have since said they will back it conditionally but accuse him of clinging to power.

Opposition politicians want Papandreou's resignation and early elections as a price for their support for the bailout deal -- which aims not only to save Greece from bankruptcy but prevent its problems engulfing bigger euro zone economies.

For euro zone leaders -- and Greece's battle to avoid a debt default -- the worst possible outcome would be a stalemate, prolonging the agony over the 130 billion bailout which euro zone leaders agreed only last week.

November 03, 2011

Rumor that Navy SPAWAR is a Rossi Energy Catalyzer customer

1. Rossi's first customer who is now the proud owner of their very own 1 megawatt fusion reactor looks almost certainly military in origin, and could well be SPAWAR. Space And Naval Warfare Systems Command

The US Navy has a long history and association with cold fusion going back to the Pons and Fleischmann era, even studying cold fusion in secret for over a decade while mainstream science shrugged at it's very mention.

Fox News - Cold Fusion Experiment: Major Success or Complex Hoax?

Sterling Allan (PESN blog) hinted that an unnamed “customer” of Rossi's device is a military organization that starts with an N. Rossi said this customer measured and verified the test -- and told that Paul Swanson with the U.S. Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems unit (SPAWAR) can vouch for the demonstration.

Cancer is responsible for 40% of the premature deaths in the UK

Cancer is responsible for killing 40 per cent of all the men and women who die prematurely between the ages of 25 and 74 in the UK – according to a new analysis of the figures released today by Cancer Research UK.

This means cancer causes more untimely deaths than any other disease including coronary heart disease, stroke and AIDS as well as traffic accidents, suicide and murder.

But there is good news too. Despite the rise in the number of people developing cancer, death rates from the disease have fallen dramatically over the last forty years. And there are more people surviving cancer than ever before thanks to new research finding better treatments.

A Top Tier Venture Capitalist is bullish on Entrpreneurs in China but the future elite entrepreneurs are still expected from the USA

Silicon Valley venture capitalist Jim Breyer made $5 billion for his firm Accel Partners and earned himself billionaire status by taking a risky bet on Facebook in 2004.

Breyer says that over the next decade “you will see at least half of the top 10 or 20 Internet companies come from China. China remains a phenomenal mobile Internet consumer market.” He added that the entrepreneurs in China “are a bit more mercenary” than in the U.S., discussing in their business pitches how much money they expect to make for themselves. But Breyer explained that it is part of the culture in a different way from Silicon Valley, where technological success is the primary aim, with the financial success the secondary bit.

Economist magazine endorses removing senescent cells - one of the seven pillars of SENS

Dr Baker developed a drug that when given to genetically altered mice would kill cells which had reached their Hayflick limits while leaving other cells untouched. Hayflick limited cells had reach senescence.

The results were spectacular. Mice given the drug every three days from birth suffered far less age-related body-wasting than those which were not. They lost less fatty tissue. Their muscles remained plump (and effective, too, according to treadmill tests). And they did not suffer cataracts of the eye. They did, though, continue to experience age-related problems in tissues that do not produce P16INK4A as they get old. In particular, their hearts and blood vessels aged normally (or, rather, what passes for normally in mice with progeria). For that reason, since heart failure is the main cause of death in such mice, their lifespans were not extended.

The drug, Dr Baker found, produced some benefit even if it was administered to a mouse only later in life. Though it could not clear cataracts that had already formed, it partly reversed muscle-wasting and fatty-tissue loss. Such mice were thus healthier than their untreated confrères.

The most intriguing thing Dr Baker’s result provides is a new way of thinking about how to slow the process of ageing—and one that works with the grain of nature, rather than against it.

The new way of thinking about aging is one of the seven pillars of the SENS approach to antiaging. The way to think about is to remove and repair as much aging damage as we can.

Donate to SENS to hasten the development of research and therapies to implement this new approach to antiaging.

Petrobas plans for 5 million barrels of oil per day for Brazil in 2020

Economist - If the ambitious plans of Petrobras, Brazil's national oil company, come to fruition, by 2020 Brazil will be producing 5 million barrels per day, much of it from new offshore fields. That might make Brazil a top-five source of oil.

The government has established a complicated legal framework for the fields. It has vested their ownership in Pré-Sal Petróleo, a new state body whose job is merely to collect and spend the oil money. It has granted an operating monopoly to Petrobras (although the company can strike production-sharing agreements with private partners). The rationale was that, since everyone now knows where the oil is, the lion’s share of the profits should go to the nation. But this glides over the complexity in developing fields that lie up to 300km (190 miles) offshore, beneath 2km of water and up to 5km of salt and rock.

To develop the new fields, and build onshore facilities including refineries, Petrobras plans to invest $45 billion a year for the next five years, the largest investment programme of any oil firm in the world.

Bill Gates and saving millions of lives every year by altering the economics of Vaccines

Forbes - The metrics of success that Bill Gates is concerned about now are lives saved, kids who aren’t crippled.

Bill Gates’ vaccine-based giving is closing in on $6 billion to fight measles, hepatitis B, rotavirus and AIDS, among others—is part of the largest, most human-driven philanthropy in the history of mankind.

“A 23-cent vaccine,” he says, “and you’ll never get measles,” a disease that “at its peak was killing about a million and a half a year; it’s down below 300,000.” Gates rattles off milestones in the history of global health and the prices of vaccines down to the penny, but blanks on the name of one of his favorite vaccine heroes, John Enders, the late Nobel laureate, or Joe Cohen, a key inventor of the new malaria vaccine Gates helped bankroll.

He is using his the reputation, resources and determination to stamp out infectious disease. “I’d be deeply disappointed,” says Gates, if in the next 25 years he can’t lower the death toll by 80%. Otherwise, “we’re just not doing our job very well.”

Calls for Greek Prime Minister Papandreou to resign

Greek PM George Papandreou is facing calls from senior members of his own party to resign, amid uncertainty about a eurozone bailout deal. Earlier the BBC reported that the PM was preparing to resign but state TV said he had ruled this out. The opposition New Democracy party has said it would accept taking part in a coalition government if Mr Papandreou agreed to stand down.

UCLA developing stronger carbon nanotube materials

Researchers at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science been awarded $4.5 million over four years by the U.S. Department of Defense to strengthen carbon nanotube yarns and sheets, materials that hold great promise for advancing satellite technology.

Since their discovery in 1993, carbon nanotubes have attracted great academic and industrial interest, but commercial applications have been slow to develop, primarily because of lingering technical problems that reduce the nanotubes' strength.

Now, a group of UCLA researchers led by Larry Carlson, head of UCLA's Easton Institute of Technology Advancement and director of new materials at UCLA Engineering, intends to correct various technical issues, potentially making the yarns and sheets 10 times stronger.

Nanocomp Technologies has carbon nanotube yarns with the following strength now

breaking strengths up to 3 GPa expressed or in other terms: 1.5 Nt/Tex or 450,000 psi and with fracture toughness that is higher than aramids (such as Kevlar® or Twaron®). Our CNT sheets have breaking strengths, without binders, that range from 500 MPa to 1.2 GPa depending upon tube orientation. Aluminum breaks at 500 MPa, carbon steel breaks around 1 GPa.

Chemically assembled metamaterials could lead to superlenses and cloaking

Nanomanufacturing technology has enabled scientists to create metamaterials -- stuff that never existed in nature -- with unusual optical properties. They could lead to "superlenses" able to image proteins, viruses and DNA, and perhaps even make a "Star Trek" cloaking device.

Other metamaterials offer unique magnetic properties that could have applications in microelectronics or data storage.
Two polymer molecules linked together will self-assemble into a complex shape, in this case a convoluted "gyroid." One of the polymers is chemically removed, leaving a mold that can be filled with metal. Finally the other polymer is removed, leaving a metal gyroid with features measured in nanometers.

November 02, 2011

Eradicating Aging Cells Could Prevent Disease which is part of SENS

For more than a decade, researchers have believed that aging cells damage the tissue around them, and that this damage underlies a number of age-related disorders. Now a new study in mice appears to confirm this. The study shows that selectively eliminating those aging, or "senescent," cells, could help prevent the onset of everything from muscle loss to cataracts

Scientists at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, identified senescent cells in mice that had been genetically engineered to age rapidly using a biomarker, called p16Ink4a, specific to these cells. For the length of the animals' lives, they were injected with a drug that induced only those biomarker-containing senescent cells to commit suicide, while leaving others untouched.

The results were striking: in tissues that contained the labeled cells, including everything from fat to muscle to eyes, selective removal appeared to postpone age-related damage. Treated mice had no cataracts, and showed increased muscle mass, strength, and subcutaneous fat when compared to mice that hadn't received the drug.

Fightaging - At any given time a whole bunch of cells in your body need to be destroyed before they cause harm - cells that are past the productive stage of their life cycle and have become senescent, cells that are damaged and malfunctioning, and so forth. The majority of these cells are indeed destroyed, either by the immune system or through self-destruction mechanisms that evolved to trigger when vital cellular processes begin to run ragged. But this protective culling fails with age, and the accumulation of cells that should have been destroyed but were not is one of the driving forces of degenerative aging.

This fact is reflected in the proposed apoptoSENS research program, one of the seven branches of the Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence. Where the body isn't keeping up with cells that should be destroyed, appropriate forms of biotechnology can could be developed to perform this necessary work - and thereby remove and reverse this contribution to aging. The first array of therapies will probably look much like the targeted cell killing strategies under development in the cancer research community: using bacteria, viruses, nanoparticles, or the patient's own immune system to selectively seek out and destroy cells based on their surface markers.

Fukushima reactor is not in critical state - xenon traces were from natural reactions

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said the No. 2 reactor at its destroyed Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear station isn’t in a critical state after the company detected signs of nuclear fission.

The discovery of xenon, announced yesterday, at the plant was caused by “natural” nuclear fission, Junichi Matsumoto, a general manager at the company known as Tepco, said today at a press briefing in Tokyo

Greek bailout loan withheld

Carnival of Space 221

India's thorium-fueled Advanced Heavy Water Reactor (AHWR) design is ready

The basic physics and engineering of a thorium-fueled Advanced Heavy Water Reactor (AHWR) are in place, and the design is ready," said Ratan Kumar Sinha, the director of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC).

Once the six-month search for a site is completed – probably next to an existing nuclear power plant – it will take another 18 months to obtain regulatory and environmental impact clearances before building work on the site can begin.

"Construction of the AHWR will begin after that, and it would take another six years for the reactor to become operational," Sinha added, meaning that if all goes to plan, the reactor could be operational by the end of the decade. The reactor is designed to generate 300MW of electricity – about a quarter of the output of a typical new nuclear plant in the west.

One problem is the "trigger fuel" the reactor needs to initiate operation. In the original design, this is a small quantity of plutonium. Instead the new reactor's trigger will be low-enriched uranium (LEU) – which India is permitted to import under the 2008 Indo-US deal.

"The AHWR will eventually have design flexibility, using as fuel either plutonium-thorium or LEU-thorium combinations," said Sinha. "The LEU-thorium version will make the AHWR very much marketable abroad, as it would generate very little plutonium ... making it suitable for countries with high proliferation resistance."

The LEU-thorium design is currently at pilot stage. For the first time last year, the BARC tested the thorium-plutonium combination at its critical facility in Mumbai, but is still some way from doing the same for the thorium-LEU combination.

November 01, 2011

Four Quadcopters fly a man - first manned multicopter flight

According to German aircraft developer e-volo, its multicopter is simpler in construction and mechanics than a helicopter, and safer - it can reportedly land even with up to four of its motors failed, and its propellers experience much less wear. Onboard computers running custom firmware control the rotational speed of the propellers, dictating the attitude (horizontal orientation to the ground), altitude and direction of travel of the aircraft. Potential flight times range from 10 to 30 minutes, depending on payload and battery capacity.

Four enlarged quadcopters with some rigging will be massively cheaper than a helicopter.

There are quadcopters that can fly about 40 mph now.

Larger quadcopters would cost about $1000-4000 each depending upon size and performance. This could make manned vertical takeoff and landing manned flight down to the cost of a regular car.

After the Energy Catalyzer test with Rossi

On October 28th of 2011, Sterling Allan, the founder of PESN, attended the test of the world's first one megawatt, E-Cat (Energy Catalyzer) cold fusion reactor. After the successful test, he attended a gathering in which the inventor, Andrea Rossi read the official public report about the test, and answered the questions of those who attended.

Mr. Sonya of has asked me if I think that the test of today is a breakthrough. I think yes because I think today we have seen enough.. no more small five or ten kilowatt unit, but we now have overcame the disconnected with the engineering to make something... to go in self sustaining mode and make 400 kilowatt hour per hour, to understand that this is a breakthrough you can also think that hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent to try and have a COP of 1.1 with hot nuclear fusion. Today we have made a theoretically endless COP, maybe 400 and something. 470 kilowatt hour per hour, totally free energy, free of fuel. Of course this is the first step, but a very important first step. Because now we are not looking at the plant from the top to the bottom, but the bottom to the high.

Computer Simulated Nurse

Technology Review - Researchers at Northeastern University have developed a virtual nurse and exercise coach that are surprisingly likable and effective Patients who interacted with a virtual nurse named Elizabeth said they preferred the computer simulation to an actual doctor or nurse because they didn't feel rushed or talked down to.
A recent clinical trial of the technology found that Elizabeth also appears to have a beneficial effect on care. A month after discharge, people who interacted with the virtual nurse were more likely to know their diagnosis and to make a follow-up appointment with their primary-care doctor. The results of the study are currently under review for publication.

Timothy Bickmore (seen here with his virtual nurse system) will use a new grant to develop agents that help cancer patients. Photo by Lauren McFalls

Hope of a breakthrough cure for high blood pressure that could save millions of lives every year

DNA origami on a reusable chip

In the emerging field of synthetic biology, engineers use biological building blocks, such as snippets of DNA, to construct novel technologies. One of the key challenges in the field is finding a way to quickly and economically synthesize the desired DNA strands. Now scientists from Duke University have fabricated a reusable DNA chip that may help address this problem by acting as a template from which multiple batches of DNA building blocks can be photocopied. The researchers have used the device to create strands of DNA which they then folded into unique nanoscale structures. hey will present their findings at the AVS Symposium, held Oct. 30 – Nov. 4, in Nashville, Tennessee.

Many different methods of DNA synthesis have been developed, but each method has its drawbacks. Bulk DNA synthesis, which makes use of separate columns to house the reactions, can produce large amounts of material, but is costly and limited in the number of different DNA sequences it can create. The Duke researchers, by contrast, used an inkjet printer head to deposit small droplets of chemicals on top of a plastic chip, gradually constructing DNA strands of mixed length and composition on the surface. The team then used a biological photocopying process to harvest the DNA from the chip. To the researchers' surprise, they found they could reuse the chip to harvest multiple batches of DNA. "We found that we had an "immortal" DNA chip in our hands," says Ishtiaq Saaem, a biomedical engineering researcher at Duke and member of the team. "Essentially, we were able to do the biological copying process to release material off the chip tens of times. The process seems to work even using a chip that we made, used, stored in -20C for a while, and brought out and used again."

Greek government faced possible collapse over referendum call on bailout

The Greek government faced possible collapse on Tuesday as ruling party lawmakers demanded Prime Minister George Papandreou resign for throwing the nation's euro membership into jeopardy with a shock call for a referendum.

Caught unawares by his high-risk gamble, the leaders of France and Germany summoned Papandreou to crisis talks in Cannes on Wednesday to push for a quick implementation of Greece's new bailout deal ahead of a summit of the G20 major world economies.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou is throwing in the towel and is looking for a graceful exit. By calling a vote, he wants the people to say that they don't want the euro rather than (saying it) himself,” said Axel Merk, president of Merk Investments and an expert on European fiscal policy.
It’s widely assumed that any further austerity measures required as terms of another Greek bailout would be rejected in a popular vote, regardless of how that “no” vote impacted Greece’s economic future and its relations with the rest of Europe.

“The people will say 'no,'” Merk predicted. “What Papandreou’s asking is, ‘Do you guys want to suffer and make the tough choices?’ Of course the answer will be 'no.' Then the country will fall into anarchy and (Papandreou) will say it’s not my fault, it’s what the people wanted.”

Papandreou has thrown that agreement into doubt and almost single-handedly revived the issue of contagion.

If Greece is cut off, default is all but inevitable, and the likelihood of Greece leaving the EU altogether increases, as well.

Merk believes default was inevitable “from the get go,” and that if there’s a silver lining to Papandreou’s startling announcement is that it will force Europe to contain Greece once and for all, and begin addressing emerging debt issues in Italy and elsewhere.

“There was no solution on Greece last week,” he said. “The bank recapitalization program is the one thing that’s for real. That’s one thing that’s being taken seriously and being pursued.”

AcuFocus KAMRA Inlay to correct near sightedness without bifocals

The AcuFocus KAMRA inlay is a thin, opaque ring perforated with 8,400 micro-holes to provide for nutrient transport. When placed in the cornea, the small-aperture technology of the inlay provides increased depth-of-focus and improved near visual acuity while maintaining good distance visual acuity.


* Presbyopia is the clinical term for the loss of near vision
* Affects us all by the time we are in our 40s to 50s
* Over time, the eye’s natural lens becomes too stiff to focus up close
* Words and other nearby objects become blurry

When placed in the cornea, the small opening in the center of the KAMRA inlay blocks unfocused light and only allows focused light to reach the retina. With focused light rays, you can enjoy a wider range of improved vision for all distances – near, far and in between. The small-aperture technology is a superior alternative to options that use a multi-focal approach.

This microscopic ring has nearly ten years of research and development behind it. Furthermore, the KAMRA inlay received CE mark in 2005 and is now available in Europe, Asia and South America.

NASA examine three laser-based approaches to tractor beam for particles

BBC News- NASA has identified three possible options to capture and gather up sample material either in future orbiting spacecraft or on planetary rover.

One is an adaptation of a well-known effect called "optical tweezers" in which objects can be trapped in an area where two laser beams cross. However, this version of the approach would require an atmosphere in which to operate.

The other two methods rely on specially shaped laser beams - instead of a beam whose intensity peaks at its centre and tails off gradually, the team is investigating two alternatives: solenoid beams and Bessel beams.

The intensity peaks within a solenoid beam are found in a spiral around the line of the beam itself, while a Bessel beam's intensity rises and falls in peaks and troughs at higher distances from the beam's line.
The approach could be put to use in space and on planetary surfaces

NASA - Laser-Based Optical Trap for Remote Sampling of Interplanetary and Atmospheric Particulate Matter

California high speed rail cost estimates rise to $98.5 billion and new target completion is 2033 instead of 2020

LA Times - California has decided to stretch the construction schedule by 13 years, completing the Southern California-to-Bay Area high speed rail in 2033 rather than 2020. The price is nearly double any previous projection and one likely to trigger political sticker shock.

If this 800 some mile stretch of high speed rail gets built at this price (which it probably will not), then US high speed rail will be about seven times the cost of high speed rail in China and take 20 years longer. ($300 billion for 16,000 miles of high speed rail by about 2020. Already about half that money for half of the high speed rail lines in China.) The new price of nearly $100 billion would also escalate over the 22 years they are planning to take to build it.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority, the state agency running the project, plans to unveil the new business plan in a news conference Tuesday morning in Sacramento.

The authority's past two plans have been sharply attacked, not only by opponents but also by many supporters, for offering unrealistic construction cost and ridership figures.

New MRI algorithm could reduce the time patients spend in the machine from 45 to 15 minutes

New algorithm could substantially speed up MRI scans. Faster scans could reduce the time patients spend in the machine from 45 to 15 minutes. Using GPUs (graphical processing units) could improve the speed even more.

MRI scanners use strong magnetic fields and radio waves to produce images of the body. Rather than taking just one scan of a patient, the machines typically acquire a variety of images of the same body part, each designed to create a contrast between different types of tissue. By comparing multiple images of the same region, and studying how the contrasts vary across the different tissue types, radiologists can detect subtle abnormalities such as a developing tumor. But taking multiple scans of the same region in this way is time-consuming, meaning patients must spend long periods inside the machine.

October 31, 2011

Aubrey de Grey thinks SENS has a 50 per cent chance of success within 25 years

Bikyamasr interviews Aubrey de Grey. De Grey is the Chief Science Officer at the ‘Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence’ (SENS) Foundation and the Editor-in-Chief of Rejuvenation Research, the world’s highest impact peer-review journal focused on aging intervention.

The SENS model breaks aging down to 7 major classes of damage; cancer-causing nuclear mutations, Mitochondrial mutations, intracellular junk, extracellular junk, cell loss and atrophy, cell senescence and extracellular crosslinks.

“In the SENS Foundation research center we currently focus on two major projects,” said de Grey.

“Two of our senior postdoctoral fellows are working on a project to make mitochondrial mutations harmless, by putting modified copies of the mitochondrion’s DNA into the cell nucleus. Mitochondrial mutations are one of the seven key types of damage that are described in SENS, and this is the most complete way to address it.”

Mitochondria are important components for energy production in cells and mitochondrial mutations are believed to be one of the key proponents of progressive cellular degeneration.

The second project which is currently pursued by another senior postdoc in de Grey’s staff deals with the accumulation of molecular ‘garbage’ which de Grey says our bodies are not built to dispose of.

In this case the approach is to introduce enzymes from other species – enzymes that do break the offending substance down.” The enzymes that could be used are found in bacteria and mold, as well as other organisms that completely digest biological matter.

Krivit believes Rossi is a Fraud but believes there is legitimate underlying science and Sterling D. Allan with Hank Mills rebut the fraud assertion

1. Steven Krivit at New Energy Times has written another two articles where he asserts that Rossi and his energy catalyzer are a fraud.

Energy Catalzyer: Extraordinary Scams Require Extraordinary Claims

I [Steven Krivit] don’t doubt the legitimacy of the underlying science — apparently copied from biophysicist Francesco Piantelli — which has been published in peer-reviewed journals. But I do doubt the extraordinary magnitude of Rossi’s claim. And I certainly have very low confidence in the one and only paper that Rossi published with his associate Sergio Focardi. They self-published their paper on Rossi’s blog, which Rossi calls Journal of Nuclear Physics.

Noble Aspirations Are Not Enough

2. Sterling D. Allan with Hank Mills at PESN disagree and rebut the fraud assertions.

Scam? I [Sterling D. Allan] think that is 99% improbable.

Part of that is because I am privy to some confidential information about an independent validation by a very credible institution that starts with an N.

Soyuz successfully returns to flight for space station

Spaceflightnow - Two months after a rare Russian launch failure, an unmanned Progress cargo ship loaded with 2.9 tons of supplies and equipment bound for the International Space Station rocketed smoothly into orbit Sunday, clearing the way for the resumption of manned Soyuz flights next month, just in time for the lab's partners to avoid being forced to temporarily abandoning the complex.

With Sunday's successful launching of the Progress M-14M supply ship, Russian space engineers are gearing up to launch the Soyuz TMA-22 crew at 11:14:05 p.m. Nov. 13.

Rossi claims to have sold several more 1 megawatt E-cat plants

1. ECat World - Rossi was asked at the JONP whether he had sold 2 or more plants, and he answered, “more.” Also, asked if he could say who any of the other customers were he declined to do so saying, “I want not our Customers assailed by the puppetts moved by their puppetteers. Let the plant go to work, then they will reveal themselves automatically. Probably you did not understand that there is a war against us.”

When asked how many units he was expecting to build in the first year, Rossi answered, “From 30 to 100 for the first year is what we are already ready to make, but we will get exponentially faster in time”, which means that production facilities must getting lined up to handle these orders. Rossi When asked where in the United States he will be working, and hiring people he listed Miami, FL; Manchester, NH; and Boston, MA. Rossi mentioned again that the industrial strength plants are ready for manufacturing, but there still is work to do to get authorization from government regulators for the small household units to be sold.

Humanoid Petman Robot does pushups

CNET - Boston Dynamics has released new video of its Petman robot.

The vid below shows the anthropomorphic bot (aka the Protection Ensemble Test Mannequin) walking on a treadmill, doing squats, and pumping out push-ups without breaking a sweat.

4 inch wide single cell amoebas are real

Star Trek had pancake sized single cell organisms in the episode Operation: Annihilate

Scientists have discovered a community of 4-inch amoebas living at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest known part of the world's oceans.
The neural parasites of Deneva

The real organisms are not a hive mind which each cell able to attach to people and able to cause intense pain.
Of course the real single cell organisms cannot fly through the air. However, they could be recovered from the deep ocean and then flung through the air.

Cornell Study shows Blood Vessels Support Lung Regeneration

Researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College say they have taken an important step forward in their quest to "turn on" lung regeneration — an advance that could effectively treat millions of people suffering from respiratory disorders.

The research team reports that they have uncovered the biochemical signals in mice that trigger generation of new lung alveoli, the numerous, tiny, grape-like sacs within the lung where oxygen exchange takes place. Specifically, the regenerative signals originate from the specialized endothelial cells that line the interior of blood vessels in the lung.

Journal Cell - Endothelial-Derived Angiocrine Signals Induce and Sustain Regenerative Lung Alveolarization

Femtotech: computing at the femtometer scale using quarks and gluons from Hugo de Garis

Kurzweilai - How the properties of quarks and gluons can be used (in principle) to perform computation at the femtometer (10^-15 meter) scale.

An atom is about 10^-10 m in size.

The next smallest thing in nature is the nucleus, which is about 100,000 times smaller, i.e., 10^-15 m in size — a femtometer, or “fermi.” A nucleus is composed of protons and neutrons (i.e., “nucleons”), which we now know are composed of 3 quarks, which are bound (“glued”) together by massless (photon-like) particles called “gluons.”

Hence if one wanted to start thinking about a possible femtotech, one would probably need to start looking at how quarks and gluons behave, and see if these behaviors might be manipulated in such a way as to create a technology, i.e., computation and engineering (building stuff).

In this essay, I concentrate on the computation side, since my background is in computer science. Before I started ARCing (After Retirement Careering), I was a computer science professor who gave himself zero chance of getting a grant from conservative NSF or military funders in the U.S. to speculate on the possibilities of a femtotech. But now that I’m no longer a “wager,” I’m free to do what I like, and can join the billion strong “army” of ARCers, to pursue my own passions.

So I started studying QCD (quantum chromodynamics), the mathematical physics theory of the strong force, or as it is known in more modern terms, the “color force.”

ARM CTO predicts chips the size of blood cells

Techworld - In less than a decade, that smartphone you're holding could have 32 times the memory, 20 times the bandwidth and a microprocessor core no bigger than a red blood cell, the CTO of chip design company ARM said on Thursday.

ARM has already helped develop a prototype, implantable device for monitoring eye-pressure in glaucoma patients that measures just 1 cubic millimeter

October 30, 2011

Aviation Weeks complete Imagining the future technology list

Aviation Weeks complete Imagining the future technology list 4 of the first 5 were different views of quantum computing and quantum related technology.

1. Quantum Revolution - quantum computers and quantum-related technologies will impact everything we do says Pete Rustan, former deputy director for mission support at the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office.

2. Quantum Sensing - quantum dots will be used extensively during the next 20 years-as optoelectronic devices to accelerate the speed of today's networks by at least 30%; as photovoltaic devices to increase solar-cell efficiency from 30% to beyond 40%; as light-emitting devices for display sources using little power: and as improved photo-detectors to replace today's focal-plane arrays with no background electron noise."

3. Manufacturing the future - additive manufacturing is "a process that provides a net-shape capability where you only make what you need-no more, no less. No more 10:1 'buy-to-fly' ratio of raw material to finished part. A process that allows for unprecedented weight optimization and for complex parts to be rapidly designed, manufactured and qualified

Aviation Week lists potential technologies in Imagining the Future

Aviation Weeks lists 16 technologies in an Imagining the Future special.

Orbitec is working on vortex and electric propulsion, heating vortex plasmas with microwaves [and] using water vapor as propellant. They are working on rocket engines whose thrust chambers are made entirely of electromagnetism, whose nozzles are magnetic lines of force and whose exhaust is plasma hotter than the Sun.

ORBITEC is developing the Dual-Mode Water Rocket Propulsion system, a flexible in-space propulsion system that relies on water as propellant feedstock for both chemical and electric propulsion modes. Both propulsion modes rely on solar-derived electric power.

To operate in chemical propulsion mode, water is electrolyzed to produce hydrogen and oxygen gas. These gaseous propellants are then intermittently burned to produce thrust in ORBITEC’s Stoichiometric Combustion Rocket Engine (SCORE), a high-performance chemical thruster which relies on ORBITEC’s vortex cold-wall technology to deliver high efficiency in the challenging environment of stoichiometric combustion.

To operate in electric propulsion mode, water is vaporized and delivered to the Microwave Electrothermal Thruster (MET), an electrode-less electric thruster that permits high performance with water. The combination of the two propulsion modes, relying on a common propellant, promises to deliver a high-performance propulsion system which will be particularly responsive to emerging mission requirements, permitting either high-thrust or high-specific impulse as needed.

The dual-mode system offers major advantages over current state-of-the-art in-space propulsion systems, including:

* Increased flexibility
* Improved specific impulse
* Non-toxic, green propellants
* Totally inert launch state to guarantee operational safety

First step toward a general method of creating artificial self-replicating materials of arbitrary structure and composition starting with Structural DNA seeds and tiles

New York University scientists have developed artificial structures that can self-replicate, a process that has the potential to yield new types of materials. (H/T Foresight Institute)

The discovery in Nature reports the first steps toward a general process for self-replication of a wide variety of arbitrarily designed seeds. The seeds are made from DNA tile motifs that serve as letters arranged to spell out a particular word. The replication process preserves the letter sequence and the shape of the seed and hence the information required to produce further generations.

This process holds much promise for the creation of new materials. DNA is a robust functional entity that can organize itself and other molecules into complex structures. More recently DNA has been used to organize inorganic matter, such as metallic particles, as well. The re-creation by the NYU scientists of this type of assembly in a laboratory raises the prospect for the eventual development of self-replicating materials that possess a wide range of patterns and that can perform a variety of functions. The breakthrough the NYU researchers have achieved is the replication of a system that contains complex information. Thus, the replication of this material, like that of DNA in the cell, is not limited to repeating patterns.

NYU scientists have developed artificial structures that can self-replicate, a process that has the potential to yield new types of materials. These structures consist of triple helix molecules containing three DNA double helices. Image courtesy of Nature.

Nature - Self-replication of information-bearing nanoscale patterns

Waste heat recovery of superheated steam improves fuel consumption by 4-12% for rail, marine and other large engine applications

Founded in 1867, Voith employs almost 40 000 people, generates €5.2 billion in sales, operates in about 50 countries around the world and is today one of the biggest family-owned companies in Europe.

According to Voith calculations, the SteamTrac, which is connected to one of the two engines, generates an additional input power of 24 kW. Initial measuring trips already came up with an additional power of 19 kW. The extra output has a positive impact on fuel consumption and therefore CO2 emissions. On average, reductions of at least 4 up to a maximum of 12% can be achieved - depending on the driving profile.

Superheated steam from the waste heat of combustion engines is forwarded to the SteamTrac via a heat exchanger. The SteamTrac converts this steam into additional mechanical energy, which is then redirected straight to the driveline.

Since March, a SteamTrac has been operating in a rail test vehicle of SWEG. It is fitted with two 250-kW diesel-hydraulic drive systems with Voith turbo transmissions.

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