November 12, 2011

Keeping Moore's law going to 7 nanometers

IEEE Spectrum - Right now it looks like both FinFETs and UTB SOIs should be able to cover the next three generations of transistors. But UTB SOI transistors may not evolve much below 7 nm, because at that point, their gate oxide would need an effective thickness of 0.7 nm, which would require significant materials innovation. FinFETs may have a similar limit. In 2006, a team at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology used electron-beam lithography to build 3-nm FinFETs. But crafting a single device isn't quite the same as packing millions together to make a microprocessor; when transistors are that close to each other, parasitic capacitances and resistances will draw current away from each switch. Some projections suggest that when FinFETs are scaled down to 7 nm or so, they will perform no better than planar devices.

Illustration: Emily Cooper Eliminating EXCESS: In the next few years, traditional planar CMOS field-effect transistors [left] will be replaced by alternate architectures that boost the gate's control of the channel. The UTB SOI [center] replaces the bulk silicon channel with a thin layer of silicon mounted on insulator. The FinFET [right] turns the transistor channel on its side and wraps the gate around three sides.

Fujitsu has a commercially available supercomputer that scales to 23.2 petaflops

Fujitsu has announced worldwide availability for its new PRIMEHPC FX10 supercomputer, which can be scaled up to a 1,024 rack configuration for 23.2 petaflops of theoretical processing power
UPDATE - TechCrunch - The PRIMEHPC FX10 will go on sale in January next year, with prices starting at US$640,000 for a one-rack model. Fujitsu hopes to sell a total of 50 supercomputers in three years. Based on the one rack price - 1024 racks could be about $300 million assuming that there was volume discounts over the price of the one rack model. However, the price might be a bit higher to fully load the 1024 racks and to add all of the networking and other gear.

First in Vitro Meat Hamburger will cost $345,000

Catalyzer description at new Leonardo-ecat website

Rossi has a new website
The site has the involvement of Hank Mills and Sterling of PESN (Pure Energy Systems Network).
The site has descriptions of how the energy catalyzer is supposed to work, the 1 MW unit and an upcoming 5 KW version.

Leonardo Corporation is offering one megawatt E-Cat plants for sale, that are capable of producing hot water, or low temperature steam. These plants consume small quantities of nickel powder and hydrogen gas, to produce vast amounts of continual power - up to one megawatt of output in the form of heat. They require infrequent refueling (once every six months), and can operate 24 hours a day, regardless of weather conditions or external environmental conditions. In addition, they emit no pollution, do not release any radiation, and do not utilize any radioactive or hazardous substances. The one megawatt plants offered can operate with a "drive" (continual input power) that is a fraction of the output power, or in a "self sustained" mode. In the self sustained mode, a one megawatt plant can operate at full power, while consuming a miniscule amount of electricity to operate fans, pumps and radio frequency generators. These radio frequency generators help stabilize and sustain the nuclear processes, so the reactor can continue functioning with almost zero input.

An auxiliary power source of 250 kW will be needed to start up the plant, bringing the resistive heaters up to temperature.

The heart of an E-Cat (Energy Catalyzer) is the reactor core. This is the metal tube in which the cold fusion nuclear reactions take place. Due to the high power density of the E-Cat technology, extremely large reactor cores are not required. Most E-Cat reactor core models have an internal volume that is smaller than a can of soda. Others are as small as a D-Cell battery, with an internal volume of around 50 cubic centimeters.

In the tube that composes the reactor core, a small quantity of specially processed, micron grain sized, nickel powder is placed. The nickel powder has been enriched in two specific isotopes (Ni-62 and Ni-64) via a proprietary and cheap method that only adds 10% to the final cost of the raw material. Enriching the nickel powder in Ni-62 and Ni-64 is important, because it is these two isotopes that undergo the most nuclear reactions.

November 11, 2011

Progress to making a better catalyst for fertilizer process for making cheaper food and pharmaceuticals

For the past 100 years, the Haber-Bosch process has been used to convert atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia, which is essential in the manufacture of fertilizer. Now researchers are making progress to developing a room temperature process that would make the process far cheaper and energy efficient. This would make fertilizer and thus food far cheaper.

They discovered that an iron complex combined with potassium was capable of breaking the strong bonds between the nitrogen (N) atoms and forming a complex with an Fe3N2 core, which indicates that three iron (Fe) atoms work together in order to break the N-N bonds. The new complex then reacts with hydrogen (H2) and acid to form ammonia (NH3)—something that had never been done by iron in solution before.

Despite the breakthrough, the Haber-Bosch process is not likely to be replaced anytime soon. While there are risks in producing ammonia at extremely high temperatures and pressures, Holland points out that the catalyst used in Haber-Bosch is considerably less expensive than what was used by his team. But Holland says it is possible that his team's research could eventually help in coming up with a better catalyst for the Haber-Bosch process—one that would allow ammonia to be produced at lower temperatures and pressures.

At the same time, the findings could have a benefit far removed from the world of ammonia and fertilizer. When the iron-potassium complex breaks apart the nitrogen molecules, negatively charged nitrogen ions—called nitrides—are formed. Holland says the nitrides formed in solution could be useful in making pharmaceuticals and other products.

New Ferroelectric memory may produce Instant-On Computers

Ferroelectric materials-- found in subway, ATM, fuel and other "smart cards"--may eliminate time-consuming booting and rebooting of computer operating systems by providing an "instant-on" capability. Besides reducing the waiting time for everyday computer users, the discovery could pave the way for memory devices that are lower power, higher speed, and more convenient to use. The materials may also help prevent losses from power outages.

Ferroelectric materials provide low-power, high-efficiency electronic memory. Smart cards use the technology to instantly access and store updated information when they're waved before a reader. A computer with this capability could instantly provide information and data to the user.

Researchers led by Cornell University materials scientist Darrell Schlom deposited strontium titanate onto silicon. Strontium titanate is a normally non-ferroelectric variant of the ferroelectric material used in smart cards. Silicon is the principal component of most semiconductors and integrated circuits. Schlom's method forced the silicon to squeeze the strontium titanate into a ferroelectric state.

The arrangement between atoms of a film of strontium titanate and single crystal of silicon on which it was made. Credit: D. Schlom

Michael Rae Provides an Update on SENS in an interview

Digital journal reports interviews Michael Rae, research assistant and coauthor of his book, Ending Aging.

One exciting recent development is that, with an increase in our research budget this year (based on performance last year and a more optimistic financial outlook from many of our donors), we've recently approved funding for several quite important and exciting research projects.

Project to tissue engineer a new thymus

The thymus is a gland located near the breast bone, where T-cells (an important immune cell) mature. The thymus shrinks with age, and the tissues on the outer layer of the organ where T-cells mature lose their architectural integrity, leading to a progressive failure to produce new T-cells to fight novel infections. The thymus engineering project, which is underway with SENS Foundation support at the Wake Forest University Institute for Regenerative Medicine by Dr John Jackson and colleagues, is to use a trick that you may have heard of having been used to make a new rat heart using the tissue scaffolding of another's. The first studies will be done in mice, and if they succeed, they have very good access to sheep to scale the work up into a large mammal.

South China Sea may hold 213 billion barrels of oil

Bloomberg- The South China Sea may hold 213 billion barrels of oil, or 80 percent of Saudi Arabia’s reserves, according to Chinese studies cited in 2008 by the U.S. Energy Information Agency. The world’s second-largest economy claims “indisputable sovereignty” over most of the sea, including blocks off Vietnam that Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) and Russia’s Gazprom OAO (GAZP) are exploring.

The sea lies south of mainland China at the western extreme of the Pacific Ocean, and while it borders several nations China claims a huge expanse. That’s based largely on a historical map that predates the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949. There are hundreds of islands, many disputed.

The vast amounts of oil and gas indicate the stakes and motivation for conflict over the South China Sea.

For Vietnam and the Philippines, the revenue and energy security from offshore hydrocarbon reserves would help boost economic growth. For China, delays to a final resolution of territorial claims may prove more fruitful in the longer term.

“Time will only make China much stronger, both economically and militarily, and increase its chances of grabbing a bigger share of the pie,” Lin said. “We all know when the elephant moves, it shakes the room.”

The oil and gas could cover any energy shortfall for China for the 2020-2050 timeframe.

Groningen chemists construct an electrically powered nanovehicle

Groningen chemists made a molecule that resembles a four-wheel drive vehicle, but that also brings a wondrous insect to mind using four paddle-legs to move about. Electrical energy from the tip of a Scanning Tunnel Microscope (STM) serves to power the vehicle.

The motor is used as a wheel. The new molecule has a long midsection with four rotating wheels at its corners. Or perhaps it would be better to call them paddles, as the extremities are not completely round. As a result, the vehicle tends to bumble along a bit.

Overhead wire

The four-wheeled molecule receives its power to move from an STM tip that serves as something like a train’s overhead wire. An STM (scanning tunnel microscope) feels its way across a surface with a pointed wire without any actual ‘physical’ contact taking place – the very last bit is bridged by an electrical charge. The energy from the STM tip ‘tunnels’ into the molecule, which then enters a higher energy level, leading to the wheels turning step by step; this process is analogous to energy transfer by photons.

Side view of a molecular model showing how the molecule moves across a surface

Nature - Electrically driven directional motion of a four-wheeled molecule on a metal surface

Memristor memory could be used in wearable electronics

Physics World - Researchers in South Korea are the first to make a bendable digital memory that can store data without constant power. Such memories could find applications in electronic paper for more comfortable reading and in wearable computers, which could be used in medical monitoring and treatment.

Several research groups have explored the development of flexible memories by placing memristors in cross-point configurations. Two arrays of parallel metal lines are placed one on top of the other in a grid; where the lines cross, they are connected with a memristor. By running current along the two wires that cross a particular memristor, the researchers can – in theory – read, write or erase information encoded in its resistive state.
Memory bends easily round a pencil-sized rod

Nanoletters - Flexible Memristive Memory Array on Plastic Substrates

Iraq Oil Production

Motley Fool - Iraq is the only OPEC member operating without the constraints of a production quota, which has been suspended since 1998. This is expected to come to an end in 2014, as the country targets a production level of 4.5 million barrels per day in 2013 and a staggering 12 million barrels per day by 2017.

OPEC expects global demand to increase 5.3% over the next five years, requiring a production output of 92.9 million barrels a day.

Last year Iraq announced its new estimate of national crude oil reserves at 143.1 billion barrels, which is 24 per cent higher than the previous estimate of 115 billion barrels in 2001.

November 10, 2011

World and Libya Oil Production

1. International Energy Agency = Global oil supply rose by 1.0 million barrels per day to 89.3 mb/d in October from September, driven by recovering non-OPEC output A yearly comparison shows similar growth, with OPEC supplies well above year-ago levels. Non-OPEC supply growth averages 0.1 mb/d in 2011 but rebounds to 1.1 mb/d in 2012, with strong gains from the Americas.

National Instruments signs to do E-Cat controls

Pure Energy Systems News - Andrea Rossi signed an agreement with National Instruments to have them make all of the instrumentation for the E-Cat cold fusion plants, which began to be sold commercially on October 28 with the first 1 MW plant successfully tested in Bologna.

The 1 MW plant, which is the size of a small shipping container, and said to produce about as much power as a small locomotive, is made up of around 100 modules, each containing three reactors acting in parallel that combine hydrogen and nickel (a special micro powder preparation) into copper in the presence of a proprietary catalyst and a radio frequency stimulator, beginning at around 450 degrees Celsius. The initial heating is supplied electrically from resistive heaters. Once the nuclear reactions commence, the start-up electrical energy source can be disconnected, and the self-sustaining reaction can be controlled by the amount of hydrogen pressure supplied to the chamber.

First 1 MW E-Cat plant following its successful test on October 28, 2011 in Bologna. Photo by Sterling Allan

Economist magazine, Roubini and other make predictions about Euro and Europe

1. Economist Magazine - The euro crisis might wake Europe up. But more likely, argues Edward Carr, it will lead to compromise and decline

The crisis that has engulfed the European Union (EU) is about much more than the euro. The euro will not be safe until Europe answers some fundamental questions that it has run away from for many years. At their root is how its nations should respond to a world that is rapidly changing around them. What will it do as globalisation strips the West of the monopoly over the technologies that have made it rich, and an ageing Europe starts to look increasingly like the western peninsula of a resurgent Asia?

The euro zone still has the capacity to stop this run on its banks and governments. As a block, it is less indebted than America and its public-sector deficit is lower. It has the money to fortify its banks against the default of Greece—and Portugal and Ireland, if need be. And it is minded by the European Central Bank (ECB), which can in principle stand behind those vulnerable governments by buying their debt in unlimited quantities on the secondary market. But the EU has repeatedly failed to put forward a convincing euro rescue.

2. Forbes - Nouriel Roubini, the famed NYU economist dubbed Dr. Doom for his ultra-bearish predictions, argues that without the ECB engaging in QE (drop rates down to zero and massively purchase bonds) and a strong stimulus program from Germany, the European Union will not survive.

Research firm Exclusive Analysis calculates 65% chance of banking crisis by November 26, 2011

CNBC - There is a 65 percent chance of a banking crisis between November 23-26 following a Greek default and a run on the Italian banking system, according to analysts at Exclusive Analysis, a research firm that focuses on global risks. This analysis is also being presented on BBC World News.

Having tested a number of assumptions in a scenario modeling exercise, the Exclusive Analysis team warned it is becoming less and less likely that EU leaders will simply “muddle through” and have made some bold calls with clear timelines on when the euro zone will be thrown into a major financial crisis.

The most likely outcome according to their analysis is a sudden crisis in which the US, UK and BRICs nations refuse to provide funding via the IMF for the euro zone.

Exclusive Analysis is a specialist intelligence company that forecasts commercially relevant political and violent risks worldwide. We leverage our source network and methodology to deliver accurate, decision-ready forecasts to a broad range of sectors. These include insurance and reinsurance, financial services, shipping, banking, oil and gas, aviation, mining, cargo and logistics, governments, NGOs and media.

Tweaking a gene makes muscles twice as strong

Eurekalert - A team of researchers at EPFL, the University of Lausanne and the Salk Institute created super strong, marathon mice and nematodes by reducing the function of a natural inhibitor, suggesting treatments for age-related or genetically caused muscle degeneration are within reach.

The mice were stronger, had more endurance and had more cold resistance. The mice could run faster and longer as well. This could be used to counter frailty in the elderly which is a major health risk and reduces quality of life. This development also seems likely to be used to create supersoldiers and enhanced athletes.

It turns out that a tiny inhibitor may be responsible for how strong and powerful our muscles can be. By acting on a receptor (NCoR1), they were able to modulate the transcription of certain genes, creating a strain of mighty mice whose muscles were twice a strong as those of normal mice.

All Aluminum frame makes bus 40% lighter than steel and Boeing 737 Max engine will be 12% more fuel efficient

1. Alcoa today announced it has developed a new all-aluminum space frame and bus design for BYD that has reduced the weight of the new BYD Electric Bus body by 40 percent, or nearly one ton, versus steel options. The first two BYD Electric Bus prototypes were launched this week in Changsha City, Hunan Province, China.

Alcoa solutions including Alcoa forged wheels and Huck Spin® fasteners reduced the overall bus weight by 1.2 tons in total. The combined weight savings are expected to help improve the overall range of the electric bus by at least 10 percent. The new bus has a range of approximately 300 kilometers (188 miles) on a full charge.

Using Light, Researchers Convert 2-D Patterns Into 3-D Objects

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a simple way to convert two-dimensional patterns into three-dimensional (3-D) objects using only light.

“This is a novel application of existing materials, and has potential for rapid, high-volume manufacturing processes or packaging applications,” says Dr. Michael Dickey, an assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at NC State and co-author of a paper describing the research.

The process is remarkably simple. Researchers take a pre-stressed plastic sheet and run it through a conventional inkjet printer to print bold black lines on the material. The material is then cut into a desired pattern and placed under an infrared light, such as a heat lamp

The new technique can be used to create a variety of objects, such as cubes or pyramids, without ever having to physically touch the material.

Soft Matter journal - Self-folding of polymer sheets using local light absorption

Analysis of Deimos and Phobos for human exploration

Comparison of Deimos and Phobos as Destinations for Human Exploration, and Identification of Preferred Landing Sites (16 pages)

•For a solar-powered mission with a focus on tele-robotic operation of Mars surface assets, Deimos is a better choice of location than Phobos, due to its superior coverage of sites on the Martian surface and extended durations of constant sunlight.

•A human mission to Deimos could visit the identified Northern and Southern sites during their respective summer seasons

•Human missions to Deimos are possible with relatively few new technologies

Telerobotics and telepresence could be performed from Deimos and Phobos to almost any site on Mars.

Deimos has a mean radius of 6.2 kilometers (3.9 miles)

Phobos has a mean radius of 11.1 kilometers (6.9 miles)

Telerobotics and Telepresence from Earth-Moon Lagrange Points

Low-Latency Lunar Surface Telerobotics and Telepresence from Earth-Moon Lagrange Points by Dan Lester (27 pages)

* Latency smaller than our “cognitive timescale” leads to ”telepresence”
* When 2-­‐way latency exceeds our “cognitive timescale”, the brain works differently. “Move and wait” to avoid instability – inefficient.

Cognitive Timescale is about half of one second

• Human reaction time for visual stimulus is ~200 ms, ~150 ms for audio (probably smaller for haptic)
• High performance online gaming depends on latencies of less than 100-­‐200ms
• Telerobotic surgery (cutting, suturing, knot tying) requires less than 500 ms
• Telerobotic mining (driving bulldozers, drilling) assume ~500 ms
• Drone piloting with latencies of ~1000 ms (but flying is easy!)

Two way communication range within the cognitive time is 75,000km

Revolutionary ultrasonic nozzle can reduce water and energy used for cleaning by ten times

A team of scientists from the University of Southampton have developed a revolutionary ultrasonic attachment for taps, which massively enhances the ability of water to clean. Professor Tim Leighton and Dr Peter Birkin’s device works with cold water, minimal additives and consumes as much electrical power as a light bulb. Its application will be wide – licenses have already been sold to a number of industries to look at cleaning in food preparation, hospitals, manufacturing and the home. The new technology consumes less water and power than the established competitor technologies.

Using the £250,000 award from the Royal Society, the team will develop products based on an ultrasonic nozzle which can fit on the end of a tap or hose. The device uses less water and power than the equivalent pressure washer (approximately 2 litres/minute compared to 20 litres/minute and less than 200 W compared to 2kW). It is also far less damaging as the stream pressure is less that 1/100th that of a pressure washer. Another advantage is that it generates far less runoff and aerosol (tiny atmospheric particles of water that can carry contaminates into the air to then settle and contaminate other surfaces). As it is able to use cold water, energy is saved on heating water.

Professor Leighton (left) and Dr Birkin with their ultrasonic nozzle device. Credit: University of Southampton

Rocketeer UK covers a Reaction Engines presentation on the Skylon Spaceplane development

A Skylon status update was given by Alan Bond of Reaction Engines at the BIS Propulsion meeting held at RAF Cosford last weekend.

* Bond discussed the complexities involved in manufacturing the very fine tubes required for the pre coolers, and assembling them into the finished modules. The tubes are checked by automated electromagnetic sensors, with any anomalies passed to human inspectors.

* The thermodynamic cycle of the SABRE-3 engine was outlined.

The Reaction engines website presents information on the frost control of their heat exchangers.

We have constructed a cryogenic wind tunnel facility at our laboratories at Culham Science Centre. This facility has been used to develop a frost control system for the 'air pre-cooler' heat exchanger of the SABRE engine. The pre-cooler is designed to cool the engine airflow (about 400kg/s) from intake recovered conditions (up to 1000°C at Mach 5) down to about -140°C prior to compression. At low altitudes atmospheric moisture will clog the matrix with frost within a few seconds unless preventive measures are taken.

The heat exchanger matrix is cooled by cold gaseous nitogen whose thermal capacity matches the helium flow employed in the real engine. Although the test matrix is much smaller than the real pre-cooler, it is built with the correct tube diameter, wall thickness and material. Therefore no 'scaling' problems can arise since it is tested at identical flow mass fluxes and Reynolds numbers to the real engine.

Mobile subscriptions near 6 billion and broadband usage by country

ITU (International Telecommunications Union) World Telecommunication facts and figures for 2011 (8 pages)

With 5.9 billion mobile-cellular subscriptions, global penetration reaches 87%, and 79% in the developing world.

Mobile-broadband subscriptions have grown 45% annually over the last four years and today there are twice as many mobile-broadband as fixed broadband subscriptions.

* Of 1.8 billion households worldwide, one third have Internet access, compared to only one fifth five years ago.
* In developing countries, 25% of homes have a computer and 20% have Internet access, comparedto 20% and 13%, respectively, 3 years ago.

November 09, 2011

Scientists over the age of 40 making most of the major breakthroughs

Ohio State University - Scientists under the age of 40 used to make the majority of significant breakthroughs in chemistry, physics and medicine – but that is no longer the case, new research suggests.

A study of Nobel Laureates from 1901 to 2008 in these three fields examined the age at which scientists did their prize-winning work.

Results showed that before 1905, about two-thirds of winners in all three fields did their prize-winning work before age 40, and about 20 percent did it before age 30.

But by 2000, great achievements before age 30 nearly never occurred in any of the three fields. In physics, great achievements by age 40 only occurred in 19 percent of cases by the year 2000, and in chemistry, it nearly never occurred.

Researchers Create a Pituitary Gland

A research team at Japan's RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology synthesized a stem-cell-derived pituitary gland.

The pituitary gland is a small organ at the base of the brain that produces many important hormones and is a key part of the body's endocrine system. It's especially crucial during early development, so the ability to simulate its formation in the lab could help researchers better understand how these developmental processes work. Disruptions in the pituitary have also been associated with growth disorders, such as gigantism, and vision problems, including blindness

The work brings us closer to being able to bioengineer complex organs for transplant in humans.
Rathke’s pouch development in the mouse embryo.
a, Adenohypophysis originates in the non-neural head ectoderm rostral to the anterior neural plate. dorsal view. b, Immunostaining of mouse Rathke’s pouch. c, Signals from adjacent tissues to Rathke’s pouch. Scale bars, 100 μm (b).

Nature - Self-formation of functional adenohypophysis in three-dimensional culture

EMC2 Inertial Electrostatic Fusion Update

The US Navy and US government recovery act funded nuclear fusion based on work of Robert Bussard has issued a very brief report.

As of the third quarter of 2011, the WB-8 device has generated over 500 high power plasma shots. EMC2 is conducting tests on Wiffle-Ball plasma scaling law on plasma heating and confinement.

(H/T Talk Polywell)

They are over halfway through this funded (about $8 million) project. This part is just one step towards commercial fusion and if successful could justify a $200 million follow up to develop a full commercial scale system.

NPR interviews Michel Laberge of General Fusion

Michel Laberge knew he couldn't beat the existing multibillion-dollar fusion labs at their own game. So instead, he decided to combine ideas from the two current approaches to make a vastly cheaper machine

Canadian startup General Fusion has designed a machine to generate fusion power by smashing together two variants of hydrogen atoms: deuterium, which has one neutron and one proton, and tritium, which has two neutrons and one proton.

The result: helium gas (which will get released into the atmosphere) and vast amounts of energy, which will get captured and turned into electricity. The company is still constructing its prototype. Here's how it's supposed to work.

Getting Started

1. Two large injectors heat the deuterium and tritium gas to 1 million degrees Celsius, turning it into plasma, an electrically charged gas.

2. Puffs of the plasma are shot into the center of a spherical tank filled with spinning, molten lead.

3. The spinning vortex of metal creates magnetic fields that trap the plasma in the center of the sphere.

Creating The Fusion Reaction

4. About 200 pneumatic pistons cover the outside of the sphere. The pistons strike the tank at exactly the same time, creating a shock wave in the liquid metal. This shock wave compresses the plasma in the center.

5. The compression raises the temperature to 150 million degrees Celsius, creating the right conditions for fusion.

Capturing Energy, Generating Electricity

6. The energy released from the fusion gets absorbed into the swirling lead, causing it to heat up. The hot lead is piped away to a heat exchanger, where it boils water into steam. The steam then turns a turbine, generating electricity.

Conference Board Global Economic Outlook for 2012

Until at least the middle of the next decade, global growth is likely to slow to approximately 3 percent per year on average rate somewhat below the average of the last two decades. A recovery in advanced economies will be more than offset by a gradual slowdown in emerging ones as they mature, with the net result that global growth will slow. But the biggest risk ahead for the global economy is not this slower overall growth in output but a slowdown in average output per capita, which will determine how fast living standards can be supported and raised.

* Global growth is projected to grow at 3.2 percent in 2012, then accelerate somewhat to 3.5 percent from 2013-2016, and then show a further slowdown to 2.7 percent from 2017-2025. At 3 percent, on average, global growth will still be somewhat higher than the period 1980-1995 but between half and a full percentage point below the growth rate from 1995-2008.

* Advanced economy growth is expected to slow down from an already meager 1.6 percent in 2011 to 1.3 percent in 2012. For 2013-2016, the outlook suggests some recovery in advanced economies, bringing these countries back to the pre-recession growth trend of a little more than 2 percent.

Italy needs some kind of bailout and France and Germany discuss a smaller and more integrated euro zone

Telegraph UK - Italy's escalating crisis prompted questions about whether European leaders had sufficient will or financial firepower to rescue it.

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, called for deeper European integration and a new “breakthrough” treaty that would give the EU greater fiscal powers to stop member states from slipping into dangerous levels of debt.

There were also reports that German and French officials were privately looking at ways to make it possible for European nations to leave the eurozone, causing US shares to slump by three per cent last night.

The turmoil dramatically increased the risk of a “double dip” recession in Britain, with most economists predicting that the economy will grind to a halt before the end of the year.

A full-scale Italian financial collapse could knock “several percentage points” off the size of the British economy. British banks have more than £42 billion of outstanding loans to Italy, including almost £10 billion to the government.

Eurozone leaders were accused of failing to get on top of the crisis. Last month, they announced plans for a one-trillion-euro bail-out fund but have struggled to raise money for the scheme.

Reuters - German and French officials have discussed plans for a radical overhaul of the European Union that would involve setting up a more integrated and potentially smaller euro zone

French President Nicolas Sarkozy gave some flavor of his thinking during an address to students in the eastern French city of Strasbourg on Tuesday, when he said a two-speed Europe -- the euro zone moving ahead more rapidly than all 27 countries in the EU -- was the only model for the future.

The discussions among senior policymakers in Paris, Berlin and Brussels raised the possibility of one or more countries leaving the euro zone while the remaining core pushes on toward deeper economic integration, including on tax and fiscal policy.

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.

Pilio’s online energy monitoring tool can save 40% of energy usage for businesses

Pilio Limited - provides a cost-effective online tool enabling small and medium businesses to monitor and manage their energy usage. The tool can enable savings of up to 40 per cent from energy bills.

Pilio’s online energy monitoring tool, sMeasure, was developed and piloted at the University’s Environmental Change Institute as part of a research project funded by the UK Energy Research Centre looking at ways to Pilio reduce energy demand. It has been available online for three years and in the last year has been used by over 400 businesses to monitor their energy use.

sMeasure works by combining two sets of data: gas and electricity meter readings provided by the customer and weather data, to accurately assess a building's energy efficiency. It requires no additional meters or devices

Italy 5-Year Yield Tops 7.5%

Businessweek - Italian bonds slumped, driving two- five-, 10- and 30-year yields to euro-era records, after LCH Clearnet SA raised the deposit it demands for trading the nation’s securities.

Two-year note yields rose above 10-year rates, with five- year debt climbing above 7.5 percent as Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s offer to resign left his weakened government struggling to implement austerity measures to reduce borrowing costs. The yield on Italy’s five-year notes jumped 82 basis points, or 0.82 percentage point, to 7.70 percent at 11:56 a.m. London time.

The 7% level was the interest level where Greece, Ireland and Portugal had to get their bailouts.

BBC News - Concerns are spreading to other previously safe nations.

The gap, or spread, between French and German 10-year bonds reached a record high of 1.47 percentage points. France has proposed a round of reforms recently to prevent it from losing its highest AAA rating.

NASA's has the new black that absorbs 99 percent of ultraviolet, visible, infrared, and far-infrared light

NASA engineers have produced a material that absorbs on average more than 99 percent of the ultraviolet, visible, infrared, and far-infrared light that hits it -- a development that promises to open new frontiers in space technology

"The reflectance tests showed that our team had extended by 50 times the range of the material’s absorption capabilities. Though other researchers are reporting near-perfect absorption levels mainly in the ultraviolet and visible, our material is darn near perfect across multiple wavelength bands, from the ultraviolet to the far infrared," Hagopian said. "No one else has achieved this milestone yet."

This close-up view (only about 0.03 inches wide) shows the internal structure of a carbon-nanotube coating that absorbs about 99 percent of the ultraviolet, visible, infrared, and far-infrared light that strikes it. A section of the coating, which was grown on smooth silicon, was purposely removed to show the tubes' vertical alignment. (Credit: Stephanie Getty, NASA Goddard)

Thorium clock could be 60 times as accurate as existing atomic clocks

New Scientist - Corey Campbell at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta and colleagues have devised a scheme that uses lasers to carefully control the spatial orientation of the electron orbits in atoms. A thorium clock controlled in this way would drift by just 1 second in 200 billion years. This is 60 times the accuracy of existing atomic clocks.

Arxiv - A Single-Ion Nuclear Clock for Metrology at the 19th Decimal Place (5 pages)

New metamaterial allows transmission gain while retaining negative refraction property

Eurekalert - A new type of active metamaterial that incorporates semiconductor devices into conventional metamaterial structures is demonstrating an ability to have power gain while retaining its negative refraction property, a first in the world of metamaterials research.

"Our simulation and experimental results show that the addition of the battery powered semiconductor diodes not only provided gain, but also maintained the negative index of this kind of metamaterial," said Dr. Hao Xin of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Arizona. "It is demonstrated, to our knowledge for the first time, that negative index can be obtained with net gain."

Researchers Design Super-Absorbent Solar Material

Technology Review - A new nanostructured material that absorbs a broad spectrum of light from any angle could lead to the most efficient thin-film solar cells ever. Atwater and Aydin demonstrated this broadband effect in a 260-nanometer-thick film made of a layer of silver topped with a thin layer of silicon dioxide and finished with another thin layer of silver carved with arrays of wedges that are 40 nanometers at their tips. Atwater says they chose these materials because they are particularly challenging: in their unpatterned state, they're both highly reflective; but the patterned films can absorb an average of 70 percent of the light across the entire visible spectrum.

Nature Communications - Broadband polarization-independent resonant light absorption using ultrathin plasmonic super absorbers

NVIDIA Quad-Core Tegra 3 Chip introduced and it has 3 times the graphics perfomance and less than half the power usage as Tegra 2

NVIDIA today ushered in the era of quad-core mobile computing with the introduction of the NVIDIA® Tegra® 3 processor, bringing PC-class performance levels, better battery life and improved mobile experiences to tablets and phones. The world's first quad-core tablet with the Tegra 3 processor is the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime.

Known previously by the codename "Project Kal-El," the Tegra 3 processor provides up to 3x the graphics performance of Tegra 2, and up to 61 percent lower power consumption. This translates into an industry-leading 12 hours of battery life for HD video playback
The Asus is a google android tablet with a keyboard

* Up to 18 hours of battery life when docked and charged
* Mobile Dock with full QWERTY keyboard and touchpad for productivity and mobile flexibility
* Expansion with USB and SD card ports
* 8MP rear auto-focus camera with flash and 1.2MP front camera
* 10.1" LED backlit screen with Super IPS+ (1280 x 800) 10 finger multi-touch, Corning® Gorilla® Glass
* Android™ 3.2 Honeycomb upgradable to Android™ 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
* 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
* 12 hour battery life, 18 hours when docked
* 32 GB version will cost $499, $149 for the keyboard dock
* It is a bit thinner than the iPad (8.3 mm versus 8.6 mm)
* Input lag is only 50 milliseconds
* Need to see more hands on reviews but the ASUS tablet with keyboard dock could finally be the tablet that performs like a notebook instead of a poor imitation
* It will come with Supernote and Polaris Office software
* It could finally be the perfect tablet for mobile blogging

November 08, 2011

China inflation drops from 6.5% in July to 5.5% in October

China's annual inflation rate fell sharply in October to 5.5 percent in a further pullback from July's three-year peak, giving Beijing more room to fine tune policy to help an economy feeling the chill of a global slowdown.

Premier Wen Jiabao said prices had fallen further since October, adding to the view that policymakers will edge toward more pro-growth policies, although inflation is still too high to expect a cut in interest rates.

"As inflation worries ease, the room for fine-tuning monetary tightening is getting bigger," said Ting Lu, an economist at Bank of America/Merrill Lynch in Hong Kong.

"Policymakers might still put taming inflation as a top priority, but we will see policies to be increasingly nudged toward pro-growth.

Skylon Spaceplane update

SKYLON is an unpiloted, reusable spaceplane intended to provide inexpensive and reliable access to space. Currently in proof-of-concept phase, the vehicle will take approximately 10 years to develop and will be capable of transporting 12 tonnes of cargo into space.

The critical piece of new enabling technology is the pre-cooler and heat exchanger. Those parts are being tested now.

The pre-cooler test programme is progressing well and the technical specifications for the high performance heat exchanger modules are being met in our prototype production facility.

A number of manufacturing obstacles have been encountered, however, and, as a result, the testing of a full pre-cooler heat exchanger is running approximately three months behind our ambitions.

As there was highly successful early progress, the programme remains on track to meet the contractual requirements of the European Space Agency due in April 2012

A Row of Completed Pre-cooler Modules.

Potential Shale plays in World

EIA World Shale Gas Resources: An Initial Assessment of 14 Regions Outside the United States

The growing importance of U.S. shale gas resources is also reflected in EIA's Annual Energy Outlook 2011 (AEO2011) energy projections, with technically recoverable U.S. shale gas resources now estimated at 862 trillion cubic feet. Given a total natural gas resource base of 2,543 trillion cubic feet in the AEO2011 Reference case, shale gas resources constitute 34 percent of the domestic natural gas resource base represented in the AEO2011 projections and 44 percent of lower 48 onshore resources

The initial estimate of technically recoverable shale gas resources in the 32 countries examined is 5,760 trillion cubic feet. Adding the U.S. estimate of the shale gas technically recoverable resources of 862 trillion cubic feet results in a total shale resource base estimate of 6,622 trillion cubic feet for the United States and the other 32 countries assessed. To put this shale gas resource estimate in some perspective, world proven reserves5of natural gas as of January 1, 2010 are about 6,609 trillion cubic feet, and world technically recoverable gas resources are roughly 16,000 trillion cubic feet, largely excluding shale gas. Thus, adding the identified shale gas resources to other gas resources increases total world technically recoverable gas resources by over 40 percent to 22,600 trillion cubic feet.

Poland has the largest shale gas reserves in all of Europe, with 187 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas resources.

SpaceX Has Invested $500 Million

Wall Street Journal - Space Exploration Technologies Corp. said on Wednesday it has invested about $500 million in commercial-space ventures, shedding light on the closely held company's efforts to develop private rockets and capsules even as congressional skepticism about such projects grows.

The figure is substantially larger than founder and Chief Executive Elon Musk previously spelled out to lawmakers and goes beyond earlier statements that he has invested $100 million of his personal wealth in the Southern California-based maker of launchers and spacecraft. The nine-year-old company, which is widely known as SpaceX, has said little publicly about its overall spending on design, manufacturing, testing, personnel and facilities

Testifying before the House Science Committee, Mr. Musk said the company was created "to advance the cause of space" rather than maximize profits. He added that he has retained majority control of the company "to assure that those idealistic goals of SpaceX remain

The government has invested roughly $300 million in the company, which is considered one of the leading contenders for additional federal financial support.

Global Nuclear Power Development: Major Expansion Continues

Global Nuclear Power Development: Major Expansion Continues (13 pages)

The Nuclear Energy Institute has a white paper that reviews the current status and the plans for nuclear power

China’s government has plans to increase nuclear incrementally—80 GW by 2020, 200 GW by 2030 and 400 GW by 2050.

India is working to extend electrification to 400 million citizens without access to power. Currently coal provides almost 60 percent of India’s electricity. India is developing fast breeder reactors and is at the forefront of developing a thorium-based reactor fuel cycle (thorium is abundant in India). Today India has 20 operating commercial reactors supplying 3 per-cent of its electricity and six reactors under construction, including one prototype 500 MW fast breeder reactor. India’s ambitious plans to expand nuclear energy use include 17 reactors planned and possibly 40 plants proposed for longer term development; these numbers are eclipsed only by China’s nuclear construction plans.

DARPA funding Airborne Launch Assist Space Access to reduce costs by three times

DARPA funding Airborne Launch Assist Space Access to reduce launch costs by three times compared to current military and US commercial launch costs.

ALASA seeks to develop and employ radical advances in launch systems, to include the development of a complete launch vehicle requiring no recurring maintenance or support, and no specific integration to prepare for launch. The ALASA demonstration system will draw upon emerging technologies to provide increased specific impulse propellants, stable propellant formulations, hybrid propellant systems, potential "infrastructure-free" cryogen production, new motor case materials, new flight controls and mission planning techniques, new nozzle designs, improved thrust vectoring methods, and new throttling approaches.

Challenges include development of alternatives to current range processes, control of weight and margin under a hard gross weight limit, creation of a low-cost launch vehicle compatible with an existing aircraft, and development of a concept of operations capable of achieving a cost goal of $1M per launch in this small satellite class.

Berkeley Lab Researchers Ink Nanostructures with thermal dip pen nanolithography

Researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have shed light on the role of temperature in controlling a fabrication technique for drawing chemical patterns as small as 20 nanometers. This technique could provide an inexpensive, fast route to growing and patterning a wide variety of materials on surfaces to build electrical circuits and chemical sensors, or study how pharmaceuticals bind to proteins and viruses.

One way of directly writing nanoscale structures onto a substrate is to use an atomic force microscope (AFM) tip as a pen to deposit ink molecules through molecular diffusion onto the surface. Unlike conventional nanofabrication techniques that are expensive, require specialized environments and usually work with only a few materials, this technique, called dip-pen nanolithography, can be used in almost any environment to write many different chemical compounds. A cousin of this technique — called thermal dip-pen nanolithography — extends this technique to solid materials by turning an AFM tip into a tiny soldering iron.

Thermal dip-pen nanolithography turns the tip of a scanning probe microscope into a tiny soldering iron that can be used to draw chemical patterns as small as 20 nanometers on surfaces. (Image courtesy of DeYoreo, et. al)

Applied physics letters - Temperature-dependence of ink transport during thermal dip-pen nanolithography

Berlusconi will leave after reforms passed

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi confirmed on Tuesday that he would stand down after a new budget law is approved in parliament.

"After the approval of this finance law, which has amendments for everything which Europe has asked of us and which the Eurogroup has requested, I will resign, to allow the head of state to open consultations," he told his own Canale 5 television.

He said Italy was in a "difficult position" with regard to financial markets and had to demonstrate that it was capable of serious reforms. He added that the only realistic option as far as he could see was new elections.

SENS researcher Michael Rae reviews Clearance of Senescent Cells for Tissue Rejuvenation

Aging bodies become increasingly burdened over time with dysfunctional cells resistant to apoptotic or other clearance. The most well-known of these are so-called "senescent" cells, originally characterized by Leonard Hayflick as mitotic cells that reached growth arrest after a limited replicative lifespan (later associated with telomere attrition) under unphysiological conditions in culture. Later research has revealed that few cells reach a "senescent" state through sheer replicative exhaustion: instead, senescence has emerged as a programmed response to DNA damage or oncogenic stress, and as part of the resolution of wound healing.(1) Unfortunately, the near-term benefits of these functions -- in preventing damaged cells from progressing to cancer, and in preventing fibrosis --are coupled to deleterious long-term consequences, whose effects worsen as the burden of such cells rises with aging. First, the loss of mitotic competence of stem cells denies proliferative tissues of the capacity for renewal. Secondly, the secretory and other phenotypes of such cells progressively derange local and systemic metabolism and tissue function, rendering tissues more vulnerable to metastasis, promoting systemic inflammation, and otherwise impairing tissue function.

To bypass the disruptive effects of the age-related accumulation of senescent cells, some investigators are working on possible ways to manipulate the signaling pathways involved in enforcing the senescent phenotype. This approach bears with it great risks, however, because of the very purposes of senescence to which allusion was made above: returning senescent cells to their normal differentiated function and replicative capacity could lead cells bearing oncogenic mutations to progress into metastatic disease, and aberrant resumption of the wound-healing response leading to fibrosis. The regenerative engineering solution to this dilemma is therefore the ablation of such cells, to eliminate their contribution to age-related loss of homeostasis without reactivating the more acute risks against which the senescence machinery was activated in the first place.

As widely covered in the mainstream press, a successful proof-of-principle study for this rejuvenation biotechnology has now been performed.

North Dakota oil production hits record 464129 barrels of oil per day

North Dakota oil production has hit 464,129 barrels of oil per day which is almost 14 million barrels per month. This is 80,000 barrels per day more than three months ago and 100,000 barrels per day more than four months ago.

North Dakota produced 444142 barrels of oil per day in August, 2011

North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms indicated that the boom in North Dakota oil is likely to lead to over 500,000 barrels per day by the end of 2011 and is heading to 800,000 barrels per day in 2013-2014.

California produces about 539,000 barrels of oil daily, compared with about 550,000 barrels in Alaska and about 1.2 million barrels daily in Texas.

North Dakota is likely to move to become the second largest state for oil production in 2012.

Hundreds of exoplanets have been discovered but we could soon detect exomoons

Arxiv - The Detectability of Moons of Extra-Solar Planets (H/T Universe Today)

387 page pdf

The detectability of moons of extra-solar planets is investigated, focusing on the time-of-arrival perturbation technique, a method for detecting moons of pulsar planets, and the photometric transit timing technique, a method for detecting moons of transiting planets. Realistic thresholds are derived and analyzed in the in the context of the types of moons that are likely to form and be orbitally stable for the lifetime of the system.

For the case of the time-of-arrival perturbation technique, the analysis is conducted in two stages. First, a preliminary investigation is conducted assuming that planet and moon's orbit are circular and coplanar. This analysis is then applied to the case of the pulsar planet PSR B1620-26 b, and used to conclude that a stable moon orbiting this pulsar planet could be detected, if its mass was over 5% of its planet's mass (2.5 Jupiter masses), and if the planet-moon distance was ~ 2% of the planet-pulsar separation (23 AU). Time-of-arrival expressions are then derived for mutually inclined as well as non-circular orbits.

For the case of the photometric transit timing technique, a different approach is adopted. First, analytic expressions for the timing perturbation due to the moon are derived for the case where the orbit of the moon is circular and coplanar with that of the planet and where the planet's orbit is circular and aligned to the line-of-sight, circular and inclined with respect to the line-of-sight or eccentric and aligned to the line-of-sight. Second, the timing noise is investigated analytically, for the case of white photometric noise, and numerically, using SOHO lightcurves, for the case of realistic and filtered realistic photometric noise.

Google Android Will Remain Free

Wall Street Journal Google Inc. Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said Tuesday that the Internet search giant remains committed to offering its Android mobile operating system for free to its handset manufacturing partners.

In August, Google unveiled plans to buy the Motorola Mobility and set-top devices for $12.5 billion, a development that has raised anxiety among cellphone makers about whether Google would accord them equal treatment regarding the Android platform.

PC Mag - T-Mobile confirmed Tuesday that the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus will arrive on Nov. 16 for $249.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate. Customers will be required to sign up for a two-year deal with the carrier.

Technorati State of the Blogosphere in 2011

Technorati has published its survey of 4114 bloggers and 1231 consumers.

In 2011 we are seeing bloggers updating their blogs more frequently and spending more time blogging. The type of information influencing blogging has shifted from conversations with friends, which was the primary influence in 2010, to other blogs, which for 68% of bloggers are having more of an influence in 2011.

Professional Part- and Full-Timers bloggers represent 18% of our total group. This group primarily blogs about personal musings and technology

Corporate bloggers make up 8% of the blogosphere. These bloggers primarily talk about technology and business in their blogs.

13% of the blogosphere is characterized as entrepreneurs, or individuals blogging for a company or organization they own. 84% of these bloggers blog primarily about the industry they work in, with 46% blogging about business and 40% about technology. 76% blog to share expertise; 70% blog to gain professional recognition; and 68% to attract new clients for their business

Latest statements from Rossi on his plans for the energy catalyzer

Ecat World summarizes recent Andrea Rossi energy catalyzer comments from The Journal of Nuclear Physics site

1. Leonardo Corporation will be the sole manufacturers of the E-Cat reactors. Until now these reactors have been made by hand, but Rossi has said this process will be automated. Rossi has mentioned having plants or offices in Miami, Boston and Manchester, NH.

2. Outsourcing will be done for other components.

3. 10 per cent of pre-tax profits will be spent on research and development.

4. Leonardo Corporation will have employees who will recharge the units on site, and spent reactors will be returned to treatment units which will be located strategically for regeneration. This policy and service is a Rossi attempt to keep the secrets of the units for a longer time. However, groups could still buy the units and then perform the testing needed to determine what is happening when no one is on site.

5. Leonardo Corporation will possibly eventually become a public company. About this, Ross has said “Probably we will sell shares to allow everybody to participate to this enterprise. But before this we have to consolidate our manufacturing and commercial system.”

6. While production of the 1 MW plants is already underway, it appears that Rossi’s priorities are to produce home heating units and electrical generator — both of which he estimates will take two years to achieve. He also says he has a ‘duty’ to use E-Cats for desalination — which his technology is ready for now.

Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi has lost majority support

Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi won a confidence vote Tuesday, but the result left him without a majority in parliament. Berlusconi's main coalition ally had urged him to step aside ahead of the vote. Many investors believe a new government would enact more austerity measures that could help Italy cut its debt load and remain part of the euro.

BBC News has live coverage of the crisis in Italy

Mr Berlusconi has lost his majority in parliament, with 308 voting for him on a budget vote seen as a test of his support. One abstained, and 320 others - the entire opposition - did not vote

The opposition showed that they have the majority but allowed a confidence vote to pass so that there can be an orderly resignation.

Chung-lie Wang

Chung-lie Wang passed away October 30, 2011. He was 86. He was born in Qichun Hubei on Qizhou Town Long Street. It was a street which produced nearly a hundred PhDs, and thus known as "Dr. Street."

He had a B. S. (Taiwan), M. A. (So. Carolina), M.S., Ph. D. (Rutgers).

He lived in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada for over 30 years and over twelve years in Vancouver, BC, Canada. He is survived by and was married for 48 years to Caroline Wang.

He was a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Regina, Canada for over 25 years and also taught for several years in Taiwan. He taught advanced calculus and researched inequalities.

Some of his 300 papers were:
An extension of Bellman inequality and variants of the Holder inequality, Refinements of the Mathieu , extension of the Bernoulli inequality, A unified approach to continuous and discrete gronwall-bellman inequalities and On Development of Inverses of the Cauchy and Hölder Inequalities.

His life was dedicated to education, mathematics, and a healthy and happy
family. His three children are each married and there are seven grandchildren.

November 07, 2011

Singularity University Futuremed 2020

FutureMed is an educational program that will explore and drive the future of medicine through exponential, game changing technologies.

How will rapidly developing technologies such as low cost genomic sequencing, artificial intelligence, telemedicine, robotics, 24/7 body wearable monitors, smart pills, stem cells, synthetic biology, gene therapy, mobile phone apps and crowd sourced health data affect the future of healthcare and medicine?

The FutureMed Program educates, informs and prepares physicians, innovators, inventors, investors and senior healthcare executives to understand and recognize the opportunities and disruptive influences of exponentially growing technologies within medicine and healthcare, and to understand how many rapidly developing and converging fields affect the future of clinical practice and the biomedical industry.

Peptoid foldamer engineering technology for molecular nanosystems reviewed by Eric Drexler

“Peptoids at the 7th Summit: Toward Macromolecular Systems Engineering” [8 page pdf] kicks off the peptoid special issue of Biopolymers: Peptide Science. All the papers are open access.

In peptoid self-assembly, the most exciting development of the past year has been the synthesis of peptoid nanosheets, crystalline bilayers with a thickness of 2.7 nm and transverse dimensions that can exceed 100 microns.

In a fundamental physical sense, the enormous design space opened by modern foldamer technologies offers enormous potential, but to make effective use of that physical potential will require software tools to support what amounts to a new field of engineering. Biology-based evolutionary methods (such as SELEX and phage display) are unavailable in peptoid engineering, and this highlights the importance of developing design-based methods. Protein design provides a model that illustrates the nature of the problem and some of the solutions.

The key question for engineering, isn’t ‘‘What remains to be discovered?’’,
but rather, ‘‘What is visibly within reach?’’ The tool kit in hand for peptoid engineering is large and growing, and has already proved adequate for engineering protein-scale macromolecular objects. Exploiting side-chain diversity offers many ways to increase the predictability and stability of folds, many ways to link folded structures to form larger systems, and many ways to imbue those structures with new functions. This is enough to move forward, and with confidence that the path leads beyond today’s horizon.

Methods for engineering biomolecular systems based on DNA and protein are advancing rapidly, building a technology platform for engineering increasingly large and complex self-assembled nanosystems. A comparative review of the physical basis for DNA, protein, and peptoid engineering indicates that the characteristics of peptoids suit them for a strong role in developing self-assembled nanosystems. Physical parallels between peptoids and proteins indicate that peptoid engineering, like protein engineering, will require specialized software to support design. Access to novel side-chain functionality will enable peptoid designers to exploit novel binding interactions, including many that have been discovered and exploited in crystal engineering, a field that has extensively explored the self-assembly of small organic molecules to form well-ordered structures. Developments in DNA, protein, and inorganic nanotechnologies are converging to provide a technology platform for the design and fabrication of complex, functional, atomically precise nanosystems. Peptoid-based foldamer technologies can contribute to this convergence, expanding the scope of the emerging field of atomically precise macromolecular nanosystems

Folding of a single-chain, information-rich polypeptoid sequence into a highly ordered nanosheet

The design and synthesis of protein-like polymers is a fundamental challenge in materials science. A means to achieve this goal is to create synthetic polymers of defined sequence where all relevant folding information is incorporated into a single polymer strand. We present here the aqueous self-assembly of peptoid polymers (N-substituted glycines) into ultrathin, two-dimensional highly ordered nanosheets, where all folding information is encoded into a single chain. The sequence designs enforce a two-fold amphiphilic periodicity. Two sequences were considered: one with charged residues alternately positive and negative (alternating patterning), and one with charges segregated in positive and negative halves of the molecule (block patterning). Sheets form between pH 5 and 10 with the optimal conditions being pH 6 for the alternating sequence and pH 8 for the block sequence. Once assembled, the nanosheets remain stable between pH 6 and 10 with observed degradation beginning to occur below pH 6. The alternating charge nanosheets remain stable up to concentrations of 20% acetonitrile, whereas the block pattern displayed greater robustness remaining stable up to 30% acetonitrile. These observations are consistent with expectations based on considerations of the molecules' electrostatic interactions. This study represents an important step in the construction of abiotic materials founded on biological informatic and folding principle

Euro zone trouble - Italy bond yields soar and EFSF bailout fund seeing higher interest rates

Italian government bond yields soared to near 15-year highs, putting the euro zone's third largest economy front and center of the region's debt crisis, despite scrambling efforts by policymakers to stem the growing contagion.

Italy, the world's eighth largest economy, overtook Greece as the prime threat to the stability of the 17-country single currency zone, as finance ministers met to try to find ways of building a firewall around the two-year-old crisis.

The EFSF bailout fund is having trouble borrowing at lower rates The euro zone's rescue fund, the European Financial Stability Facility, has raised €3 billion for Ireland in a bond auction, but it had to pay a higher interest rate than in previous auctions. The EFSF auction had to be postponed last week due to the turmoil on the financial markets. But today, demand was only slightly more than the €3 billion on offer and the effective rate or return paid to buyers of the bonds was 3.59%, higher than anticipated. At the last such sale in June, the bonds were sold at rates around 0.8 percentage points lower.

The EFSF fund is supposed to borrow cheap so it could lend to EU countries that cannot borrow.

Nuclear power is India's gateway to a prosperous future and Uranium news

The Hindu - Nuclear power is India's gateway to a prosperous future

Energy is the most fundamental requirement of every society or nation as it progresses through the ladder of development. This is clearly reflected in the average energy consumption per person across nations — for instance, an average American consumes more than 15 times the energy consumed by an average Indian

Today, India finds itself going through a phase of rapid ascent in economic empowerment. Industries are evolving at a significantly higher rate since liberalization. Our focus for this decade will be on the development of key infrastructure and the uplifting of the 600,000 villages where 750 million people live, as vibrant engines of the economy. In 2008, we crossed the trillion-dollar mark, and it took more than six decades for us to reach that milestone. However, it is predicted that the Indian economy will double again, to reach the $2-trillion mark by 2016, and then again redouble, to reach the $4 trillion milestone by 2025. All this economic growth will need massive energy. It is predicted that the total electricity demand will grow from the current 150,000 MW to at least over 950,000 MW by the year 2030 — which will still be less than one-fourth of the current U.S. per capita energy need. In fact, by 2050, in all likelihood the demand could go even higher, and the per capita energy demand would be equal to the current French or Russian figure of about 6000 W per capita.

Africa is second after Asia Pacific in terms of mobile subscriptions

Africa has become the second most connected region in the world in terms of mobile subscription count, up from fourth place at end of 2010, according to new research by Informa Telecoms and Media. There were over 616 million mobile subscriptions in Africa at the end of September, which means that the mobile market on the continent is second only to Asia-Pacific in terms of mobile subscription numbers.

Africa’s mobile market is forecast to pass one billion mobile subscription in 2016 according to the latest forecast.

Michael Pettis says Germany Must Bail out Europe, Not China

Michael Pettis (professor at Peking University’s Guanghua School of Management and a Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace) agrees with Arvind Subramanian (Peterson Institute) that China should use current events to play a bigger and more decisive role in global finance, and I certainly agree that as a surplus nation it is very much in China’s interest provide financing to the eurozone, I am not sure it makes sense for China to do anything that actually helps Europe.

[The concept of China bailing out Europe accord to Pettis is a] little bizarre, but not at all out of step with the thinking in Europe. I think the request for assistance from China and other developing countries shows how confused Europe’s leaders are and reinforces the claim made by Beth Simmons in her book (Who Adjusts) on the politics of the 1930s European debt crisis. Simmons argues that one of the problems with a debt crisis is that when debt levels are perceived as being too high, major stakeholders are forced into behaving in ways that reinforce credit deterioration and exacerbate the debt problem.

Foreign Policy Experts Agree With Ron Paul and China's Reaction to the Herman Cain Nuclear Mistake

1. Ron Paul is often chided by his Republican opponents for his extreme views on American foreign policy. His calls for ending all foreign wars and shutting hundreds of military bases across the globe have drawn howls from his GOP rivals, who have labeled the moves irresponsible and naïve. He also pledges to cut all foreign aid and withdrawing U.S. participation in the World Trade Organization and the United Nations has been at odds with even the most conservative members of his own party.

Paul, the Congressman from Texas, is finding support for his non-interventionist positions from a growing number of foreign policy experts.

“He’s attacking our rich lazy friends, why is that not more popular,” said Harvey Sapolsky, emeritus professor of public policy and organization at MIT. He backs Paul’s calls for reducing America’s military budget, arguing that much of it is used to defend wealthy nations’ security.

“He’s easily dismissed as a crank,” said Sapolsky, who says Paul has good ideas but can be an inarticulate messenger.

Like most aspects of running a national political campaign, style often outweighs substance and both Sapolsky and Preble said that Paul is neither a great orator nor does he break down large global situations well.

Furukawa Electric acquires SuperPower Inc., U.S. manufacturer of second generation high temperature superconducting wire

Furukawa Electric acquired one of the only two companies in the world with the capability for commercial production of 2G HTS wire today. Furukawa Electric plans to expand both its and SuperPower's business aggressively in the markets of the globally-expanding smart grid sector, alternative energy sector and industrial sector by providing superconducting wire as well as developing applied superconductor devices.

New Method for Making Neurons Reverses Parkinsons in Rats and tests are proceeding on Monkeys

Technology Review - A new method of synthesizing dopamine-producing neurons, the predominant type of brain cell destroyed in Parkinson's, offers hope for creating cell-replacement therapies that reverse the damage.

The method provides an efficient way of making functional cells. When transplanted into mice and rats with brain damage and movement problems similar to Parkinson's, the cells integrated into the brain and worked normally, reversing the animals' motor issues.

In the new study, researchers started with human embryonic stem cells, which by definition can differentiate into any cell type. To make a specific type of cell in high numbers, scientists expose the stem cells to a cocktail of chemicals that mimic what they would experience during normal development.

November 06, 2011

Printable "small-molecule" solar cells reach 6.7% efficiency and could reach 9% by the end of 2012 and 15% eventually

Technology Review - Polymer solar cells are inefficient compared to silicon solar cells, but they are much cheaper to make. Organic materials—whether made of polymers or so-called "small molecules," which are organic compounds with a low molecular weight—can be made into inks and printed over large areas. They're also lightweight and flexible, which makes them promising for applications like rooftop installations or solar-cell patches for charging portable electronics.

Using a new small molecule designed by Bazan, Heeger built a solar cell that converts 6.7 percent of the light energy that strikes it into electricity. Bazan expects to reach 9 percent efficiency within a year. Although efficiencies in lab tests tend to be much greater than those in a manufactured cell, this would put these materials on par with the best polymer solar cells on the market.

Nature Materials - Solution-processed small-molecule solar cells with 6.7% efficiency

Carnival of Space 222

1. Discovery Space News by Ian O'Neill - Those pesky physicists are at it again; they want to build a laser so powerful that it will literally rip spacetime apart.

The lasers planned by the Extreme Light Infrastructure Ultra-High Field Facility, known as "ELI," would concentrate 200 petawatts of power -- that's 100,000 times the world's power production -- and fire it at a single point for less than a trillionth of a second.

The combined power of 10 separate lasers would be focused down to a very small volume, creating conditions more extreme than in the center of our sun. It is hoped (yes, hoped) that this immense energy will punch a hole through the fabric of spacetime itself, heralding a new era of exotic physics discovery.
Left One schematic setup to probe collective and dynamical nonlinear and [Right] The Generation of higher harmonics from the quantum vacuum

The European Union website for the Extreme Light Infrastructure project

The ELI will have applications for studying the Quantum Vacuum and Quantum Dynamics

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