May 05, 2012

Remote-controlled genes trigger insulin production

Nanoparticles heated by radio waves switch on genes in mice Researchers have remotely activated genes inside living animals, a proof of concept that could one day lead to medical procedures in which patients’ genes are triggered on demand. The work, in which a team used radio waves to switch on engineered insulin-producing genes in mice, is published today in Science 1 . Jeffrey Friedman, a molecular geneticist at the Rockefeller University in New York and lead author of the study, says that in the short term, the results will lead to better tools to allow scientists to manipulate cells non-invasively. But with refinement, he thinks, clinical applications could also be possible. Friedman and his colleagues coated iron oxide nanoparticles with antibodies that bind to a modified version of the temperature-sensitive ion channel TRPV1, which sits on the surface of cells. They injected these particles into tumours grown under the skins of mice, then used the magnetic field generated by a device similar to a miniature magnetic-resonance-imaging machine to heat the nanoparticles with low-frequency radio waves. In turn, the nanoparticles heated the ion channel to its activation temperature of 42 °C. Opening the channel allowed calcium to flow into cells, triggering secondary signals that switched on an engineered calcium-sensitive gene that produces insulin.

May 04, 2012

Lawrenceville Plasma Physics Dense Plasma Focus Fusion Presentation

Focus Fusion: Transformative Energy Technology (28 pages)

What is Focus Fusion?
Controlled Nuclear Fusion using Dense Plasma Focus AND Hydrogen-Boron (Aneutronic) Fuel.

Goal product: 5 MW Focus Fusion generator Lower projected cost than any other energy tech $60/kW, .2 cents/kW-hr

Next: Achieve high densities with commercial fuel
$1M / 1 yr – conclude scientific feasibility
$38M / 4 yrs – for commercial generator

Aged Hematopoietic Stem Cells Rejuvenated to Be Functionally Younger

Science Daily - Researchers have rejuvenated aged hematopoietic stem cells to be functionally younger, offering intriguing clues into how medicine might one day fend off some ailments of old age.

A paper brings new perspective to what has been a life science controversy -- countering what used to be broad consensus that the aging of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) was locked in by nature and not reversible by therapeutic intervention.

HSCs are stem cells that originate in the bone marrow and generate all of the body's red and white blood cells and platelets. They are an essential support mechanism of blood cells and the immune system. As humans and other species age, HSCs become more numerous but less effective at regenerating blood cells and immune cells. This makes older people more susceptible to infections and disease, including leukemia.

Medical 'Lightsabers': Laser Scalpels Get Ultrafast, Ultra-Accurate, and Ultra-Compact Makeover

Whether surgeons slice with a traditional scalpel or cut away with a surgical laser, most medical operations end up removing some healthy tissue, along with the bad. This means that for delicate areas like the brain, throat, and digestive tract, physicians and patients have to balance the benefits of treatment against possible collateral damage.

To help shift this balance in the patient’s favor, a team of researchers from the University of Texas at Austin has developed a small, flexible endoscopic medical device fitted with a femtosecond laser “scalpel” that can remove diseased or damaged tissue while leaving healthy cells untouched.

A photograph of the 9.6-millimeter probe housing (right) next to the housing of the earlier prototype 18-mm probe (left) showing the reduction in packaged probe size. A penny is shown for scale. The scale bar is five micrometers. Image courtesy of Ben-Yakar Group, University of Texas at Austin.

UA Engineering Professor Quiets Combustion with Patented ‘Noise Sponge’

A sponge-like material employed by a University of Alabama engineering professor can significantly quiet combustion, possibly making work environments safer and extending the life of equipment. Dr. Ajay K. Agrawal, the Robert F. Barfield Endowed Chair and professor of mechanical engineering, was recently granted a patent for the breakthrough technology for noise reduction in combustion.

This technology decreases the noise generated by combustion systems at the source by placing a sponge-like material directly in the flame. This patent is based on Agrawal’s work on jet engine combustion with Ultramet Corp., funded by the U.S. Navy.

The combustion process in several engines, especially those of jets, produces a deafening noise that can also be devastating to the engine. Because the noise level is so high, the sound waves produced can cause intense pulsations. These pulsations shake the engine and result in mechanical failure. The more the engine is exposed to these intense acoustic pulsations, the more likely it is to break down.

The 'noise sponge' that can significantly reduce the noise of combustion in jet engines (Photo: Zach Riggins, University of Alabama)

Michigan Tech Researcher Using Nanoclays to Build Better Asphalt

“Nanoclay-Modified Asphalt Materials: Preparation and Characterization” reviews recent literature on asphalt that has been doctored with nanomaterials. It also presents new discoveries from You’s team suggesting that adding nanoclays to asphalt materials could make for safer, longer-lasting roadways.

“Asphalt is now made from petroleum, so it’s very expensive,” said You, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering. “As a result, a lot of people are looking at ways to make it more durable.”

Heat, cold and stress in the form of traffic take their toll on asphalt pavement, made from a mix of asphalt and aggregates like gravel. That leads to cracks, potholes and a process called rutting. Ruts are most likely to form on busy roads, sections with slow traffic, and areas with stop signs and stoplights, where the rubber hits the road hard thousands of times a day.

“Rutting can be very dangerous, especially in snow and ice,” You said. “If we could use advanced materials to reduce rutting, that would be very beneficial to the public.”

You’s team tested two types of nanoclays, adding 2–4 percent by weight to the asphalt. That’s a smidgeon--less than half of a percent of the total weight of the asphalt pavement itself. But it made a big difference.

“It improved the viscosity significantly,” You said. “That means it will provide better stiffness, which means that it won’t deform as much in hot weather or under heavy traffic.”
Ruts like these pose a serious threat to motorists. Zhanping You and his team have discovered that adding nanoclay to the asphalt pavement mix may help roads resist rutting.

Samsung Galaxy S III vs Apple iPhone 4S vs HTC One X vs Nokia Lumia 900

Samsung's Galaxy S III smartphone will compete in the U.S. with the Apple iPhone, HTC One X, and Nokia Lumia 900. How does it stack up?

Samsung Galaxy S3, Apple iPhone, HTC One X

Phone    Samsung        HTC One X      Apple iPhone 4S  Nokia Lumia 900  
         Galaxy S3

Price    16GB $??       32GB $199      16GB $199        $99.9
         32GB $??                      32GB $299
         64GB $??                      64GB $399

OS       Android 4.0    Android 4.0    iOS 5.0          Windows Phone 7.5 

Data     LTE,           HSDPA 850/900/ hSPA+            GSM 850/900/
         HSPA+              1900/2100                   1800/1900
                                                        WCDMA 850/1900
         Wi-Fi          GSM 850/900/                    LTE
         GLONASS        HSDPA 21 Mbps
         Bluetooth 4.0  HSUPA 5.76 Mbps
         NFC            Wi-Fi
                        Bluetooth 4.0

Network  ATT?            ATT             Verizon          ATT
         Verizon?        Sprint (June?)  ATT
         T-Mobile?                       Sprint
         Metro PCS? 
         US Cellular?

Screen   4.8 inch        4.7 inch       3.5 inch         4.3 inch
         HD Super AMOLED Super IPS LCD2
         1280 X 720      1280X720       960X640          800X480

Rear         8 MP        8 MP           8 MP             8 MP
Camera       1080p/720p  1280X720(20fs) 800X480 vid      720p  

Front        2 MP        1.3 MP, 720p   VGA             1 MP

Micro SD      up to 64GB  16GB           no             up to 32GB
Weight        4.7 ounces  4.6 ounces     4.9 ounces      5.6 ounces

Processors    Quadcore    Nvidia Tegra 3 dual-core 
              1.4Ghz      dualcore       A5 processor    1.4 Ghz
                          1.5 Ghz        1Ghz

TV Out        DLNA + MHL  DNLA + MHL

Other         S Voice     Google      SIRI

HTC One X specs at GSM Arena.

iPhone 4S specs

Mokia Lumia 900 specs

Comparison of an Apple iphone 4S vs a Samsung Galaxy SII

Phone Arena has a smartphone specification comparison.

Leaked list of carrier networks from Samsung Galaxy S3

Solarcity Recipe for Solar Energy Success

Technology Review - After a steady stream of bankruptcies, poor earnings reports, and canceled IPOs for clean-energy companies, this week Solarcity bucked that trend by announcing that it had filed the necessary paperwork with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for an IPO.

The key difference between Solarcity and many other clean-energy startups is that it isn't trying to take on incumbents with new technology. It makes money by deploying existing solar technology with a novel approach to financing.

Solarcity designs, installs, and maintains solar-energy systems fitted to homeowners' roofs. Instead of asking for a big upfront payment, it leases the systems. As the panels produce power, surplus electricity is sold back to the local utility. Combined with the savings that come from using less power from the grid, this will typically reduce the homeowner's electric bill by enough to offset the lease payments.

Aided in part by a rapid drop in solar-panel prices over the past few years, this approach has been a success. A market flooded with cheap solar panels from Asia saw prices drop by 50 percent last year. That has eliminated profits for many solar-panel manufacturers, forcing some, including a number in China, to declare bankruptcy or go out of business. But installing solar panels remains lucrative, and when solar prices drop, that helps Solarcity's bottom line.

A recent analysis by GTM Research suggests that SolarCity has been quickly increasing its market share, claiming 6 percent of the residential installation market in 2010; and 13 percent of the market in 2011, "more than double the next biggest player," says Shayle Kann, managing director for solar at GTM Research.

Michael Jackson will return as hologram to go on tour with his brothers and sell Pepsi

Concert performances with deceased stars became much more of a reality last week when Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg used hologram technology to bring Tupac Shakur out on to the stage during their headline slot at the Coachella festival. The Tupac hologram was actually Peppers Ghost with updated computer graphics.

Pepper's ghost is an illusionary technique used in theatre and in some magic tricks. Using a plate glass and special lighting techniques, it can make objects seem to appear or disappear, to become transparent, or to make one object morph into another. It is named after John Henry Pepper, who attempted to popularize the effect. The technique was first described by an Italian scientist in the 16th century.

The audience needs to be able to see into the main room, but not into an adjacent hidden room. In the case of the Tupac "hologram," that’s the main stage where a real-life Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre were sharing the limelight. However, hidden on stage is a piece of glass, where the images can be reflected from and pushed into a target area that makes it seem like a single room. But off to the side, behind the glass, there’s a hidden room that has the original object being projected.

These days, AV Concepts, the San Diego-based company behind the Tupac performance, uses a proprietary Mylar foil, known as Musion Eyeliner, rather than glass. The company said in a press release on Monday that its on-site server "delivered uncompressed media for 3 stacked 1920 x 1080 images, delivering 54,000 lumens of incredibly clear projected imagery."

Naturally, it was only a matter of time before groups affected by losing a key member of their number jumped onto the trend and it seems that The Jackson 5 could be the first to run with the technology.

While Michael Jackson was alive, his brothers could rarely get him to tour with them after he left the Jackson 5 in 1975

The other groups that will try to copy this move will be groups that are missing the lead performer and who have those controlling the estate and the remaining group members needing to return to glory days (because of need for money or attention).

Weaving Blood Vessels

Technology Review - Thin off-white threads of human cellular material spiral around the spindle of a machine that is braiding them into a sturdy rope. It sounds macabre, but the inspiration for the material, made by San Diego–based Cytograft Tissue Engineering, is health, not horror: the biological strands could be used to weave blood vessel patches and grafts that a patient's body would readily accept for wound repair. The process is faster and could be more cost-effective than other methods of producing biological tissue replacements.

Clean crochet: A specialist weaves a blood vessel graft from human threads on a sterile tubular loom.

Cube Sail and other solar sails

A new approach to solar sails is taking shape in a clean room in an Illinois laboratory. Researchers there have designed a sail that would unfurl from bobbins into a giant space ribbon 250 meters long, says Victoria Coverstone, an aerospace engineer at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This project, also dubbed Cube Sail, is basically ready to fly, she says, if the team can find money for a launch and to upgrade the Mylar film that makes up the sail. The Illinois group next aims to test a spinning deployment of sail blades, on the way to an ambitiously large spinning sail whose rotating blades could measure up to 5 or even 10 kilometers long.

Meanwhile, the German space agency DLR and the European Space Agency are planning their own series of solar sails dubbed Gossamer. The first of these would launch a 25-square-meter sail into Earth orbit in 2014, followed by bigger ones over the next several years.

The Dynamics and Control of the Cubesail Mission — A Solar Sailing Demonstration (227 pages)

May 03, 2012

Nuclear power is only solution to climate change, says Jeffrey Sachs

Guardian UK - Combating climate change will require an expansion of nuclear power, respected economist Jeffrey Sachs said on Thursday, in remarks that are likely to dismay some sections of the environmental movement.

Prof Sachs said atomic energy was needed because it provided a low-carbon source of power, while renewable energy was not making up enough of the world's energy mix and new technologies such as carbon capture and storage were not progressing fast enough.

"We won't meet the carbon targets if nuclear is taken off the table," he said.

He said coal was likely to continue to be cheaper than renewables and other low-carbon forms of energy, unless the effects of the climate were taken into account.

Researchers Find Room for More Data Storage in ‘Phase-Change’ Material

A team led by Johns Hopkins engineers has discovered some previously unknown properties of a common memory material, paving the way for development of new forms of memory drives, movie discs and computer systems that retain data more quickly, last longer and allow far more capacity than current data storage media.

The research focused on an inexpensive phase-change memory alloy composed of germanium, antimony and tellurium, called GST, for short. The material is already used in rewritable optical media, including CD-RW and DVD-RW discs. But by using diamond-tipped tools to apply pressure to the materials, the Johns Hopkins-led team uncovered new electrical resistance characteristics that could make GST even more useful to the computer and electronics industries.

“This phase-change memory is more stable than the material used in the current flash drives. It works 100 times faster and is rewritable about 100,000 times,” said the study’s lead author, Ming Xu, a doctoral student in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering in Johns Hopkins’ Whiting School of Engineering. “Within about five years, it could also be used to replace hard drives in computers and give them more memory.”

This illustration by Johns Hopkins doctoral student Ming Xu depicts the shape of diamond tips used to apply pressure that uncovered important new properties in the memory medium GST. The inset represents the atomic structure of amorphous GST.

PNAS - Pressure tunes electrical resistivity by four orders of magnitude in amorphous Ge2Sb2Te5 phase-change memory alloy

Fast, Low-power All-optical Switch

An optical switch developed at the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI) spurs the prospective integration of photonics and electronics. What, isn’t electronics good enough? Well, nothing travels faster than light, and in the effort to speed up the processing and transmission of information, the combined use of light parcels (photons) along with electricity parcels (electrons) is desirable for developing a workable opto-electronic protocol.

The JQI (*) switch can steer a beam of light from one direction to another in only 120 picoseconds (120 trillionths of a second), requiring very little power, only about 90 attojoules (90 x 10-18 joules). At the wavelength used, in the near infrared (921 nm), this amounts to about 140 photons.

Setup of a waveguide made from a photonic crystal. A quantum dot (QD) is placed inside a tiny zone (cavity) clear of holes. Light is sent into and out of the waveguide via endcaps (the semi-circular structure at both ends, indicated by green arrows). If properly timed (the synchronicity time, tau, being less than about 100 ps), a pump (control) laser pulse will allow an accompanying probe pulse to exit out the side. If the probe and pump beams are not aligned, the probe beam will exit out the far end of the waveguide. (Figure from Ranojoy Bose.)

Physical review letters - Low photon number optical switching with a single quantum dot coupled to a photonic crystal cavity

Life-size, 3D hologram-like telepods may revolutionize videoconferencing

A Queen's University researcher has created a Star Trek-like human-scale 3D videoconferencing pod that allows people in different locations to video conference as if they are standing in front of each other.

"Why Skype when you can talk to a life-size 3D holographic image of another person?" says professor Roel Vertegaal, director of the Human Media Lab.

The technology Dr. Vertegaal and researchers at the Queen's Human Media Lab have developed is called TeleHuman and looks like something from the Star Trek holodeck. Two people simply stand infront of their own life-size cylindrical pods and talks to a 3D hologram-like images of each other. Cameras capture and track 3D video and convert into the life-size image.

Since the 3D video image is visible 360 degrees around the Pod, the person can walk around it to see the other person’s side or back.

Light Touch Keeps a Grip on Delicate Nanoparticles

Using a refined technique for trapping and manipulating nanoparticles, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have extended the trapped particles' useful life more than tenfold. This new approach, which one researcher likens to "attracting moths," promises to give experimenters the trapping time they need to build nanoscale structures and may open the way to working with nanoparticles inside biological cells without damaging the cells with intense laser light.

Scientists routinely trap and move nanoparticles in a solution with "optical tweezers"—a laser focused to a very small point. The tiny dot of laser light creates a strong electric field, or potential well, that attracts particles to the center of the beam. Although the particles are attracted into the field, the molecules of the fluid they are suspended in tend to push them out of the well. This effect only gets worse as particle size decreases because the laser's influence over a particle's movement gets weaker as the particle gets smaller. One can always turn up the power of the laser to generate a stronger electric field, but doing that can fry the nanoparticles too quickly to do anything meaningful with them—if it can hold them at all.

NIST researchers' new approach uses a control and feedback system that nudges the nanoparticle only when needed, lowering the average intensity of the beam and increasing the lifetime of the nanoparticle while reducing its tendency to wander. According to Thomas LeBrun, they do this by turning off the laser when the nanoparticle reaches the center and by constantly tracking the particle and moving the tweezers as the particle moves.

NIST researchers’ new approach to trapping nanoparticles uses a control and feedback system that nudges them only when needed, lowering the average intensity of the beam and increasing the lifetime of the nanoparticles while reducing their tendency to wander. On the left, 100-nanometer gold nanoparticles quickly escape from a static trap while gold nanoparticles trapped using the NIST method remained strongly confined.
Credit: NIST

NanoLetters - Significantly Improved Trapping Lifetime of Nanoparticles in an Optical Trap using Feedback Control

Planetary Resources getting SBIR funding to achieve 100 times improvement to 0.1 arcsecond small space telecope pointing

Planetary Resources has an SBIR research grant to develop 0.1 arcsecond optical stability which is a 100 times improvement over the prior state of the art.

Texas Oil Production increased 50,000 barrels per day from January to February

Texas field production of crude oil is at 1.72 million barrels of crude oil per day in February, 2012 and was 1.67 million barrels of oil per day in January, 2012. Texas oil production is up 470,000 barrels of oil per day compared to Feb, 2011.

There are projections for Texas oil production to get over 2 million barrels per day (based on the Texas railway commission definitions). The Texas commissioner in charge of their oil industry is saying that 4 million barrels per day of oil production in Texas is feasible by 2016.

I could paint a scenario for you where we are producing 3 million more barrels per day by 2016, which would almost get us to the point where we could eliminate 60 to 70 percent of our OPEC imports,” said Texas Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman. “With that greater control over our own energy security , we could care less about what happens in the Strait of Hormuz” — the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf that serves as a seaway for 22 percent of the world’s oil supply.

Regular, Moderate Jogging increases life expectancy by six years

Eurekalert - Undertaking regular jogging increases the life expectancy of men by 6.2 years and women by 5.6 years, reveals the latest data from the Copenhagen City Heart study presented at the EuroPRevent2012 meeting. Reviewing the evidence of whether jogging is healthy or hazardous, Peter Schnohr told delegates that the study's most recent analysis (unpublished) shows that between one and two-and-a-half hours of jogging per week at a "slow or average" pace delivers optimum benefits for longevity.

Next-Generation Nanoelectronics - Nanoelectromechanical (NEM) switches

Silicon-based circuits continue to shrink in size in the relentless pursuit of Moore’s Law — the prediction that the number of transistors that can fit on an integrated circuit doubles every two years — power consumption is rising rapidly. In addition, conventional silicon electronics do not function well in extreme environments such as high temperatures or radiation.

In an effort to sustain the advance of these devices while curbing power consumption, diverse research communities are looking for hybrid or alternative technologies. Nanoelectromechanical (NEM) switch technology is one option that shows great promise.

“NEM switches consist of a nanostructure (such as a carbon nanotube or nanowire) that deflects mechanically under electrostatic forces to make or break contact with an electrode,” said Horacio Espinosa, James N. and Nancy J. Farley Professor in Manufacturing and Entrepreneurship at the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern University.

NEM switches, which can be designed to function like a silicon transistor, could be used either in standalone or hybrid NEM-silicon devices. They offer both ultra-low power consumption and a strong tolerance of high temperatures and radiation exposure.

Given their potential, the past decade has seen significant attention to the development of both hybrid and standalone NEM devices.
Comparing the performance of NEM technology with CMOS and other emerging technologies.

Nature Nanotechnology - Nanoelectromechanical contact switches

Kalinin 4 finishing final tests for commercial operation in September, 2012

1. World Nuclear News - Engineers bringing a new reactor into service at the Kalinin nuclear power plant have successfully completed most of their tests. The unit is slated for commercial operation in September. The plant's chief engineer, Igor Bogomolov, said the new reactor unit had "achieved an excellent result." It may now be operated at 50% power for a test period of 72 hours. If all goes well a full-power test period would follow with the intention of putting the unit into commercial operation in September.

The final procedures of this program are required before the unit can be run at its full rated thermal power of 3200 MW, producing 1000 MW of electricity for the grid. They are conducted at the minimum power level and verify the operation of control and protection systems.

2. World Nuclear News - The Canadian government has accepted the environmental assessment report for the possible construction of new nuclear capacity at Darlington, clearing the way for the issuance of a site preparation licence.

Northrop Grumman Demonstrates Compact, Rugged Solid-State Laser for Military Applications Against Anti-Ship Cruise Missile Components

Northrop Grumman Corporation has test fired the first product in its next-generation FIRESTRIKE™ family of high-energy, solid-state lasers that meet goals for size and weight reduction and ruggedization for operational applications.

The tests, conducted in the company's Redondo Beach laboratory, demonstrated that the laser could burn through the skin and critical components of a target drone used to simulate anti-ship cruise missile threats to U.S. Navy ships.

The laser, called Gamma, uses a "slab" architecture similar to previous Northrop Grumman high-power lasers. It operated at 13.3 kilowatts for a number of shots over a total of 1.5 hours with stable performance and a beam quality that exceeded design goals, completing the initial phase of trials.

"We previously announced the design for a product called FIRESTRIKE™ that builds on our heritage of record-breaking, high-energy, solid-state lasers. Since that time we've invested our internal funds to fabricate, integrate and test a demonstration prototype of the FIRESTRIKE™ laser that we call Gamma," said Steve Hixson, vice president of advanced concepts, space and directed energy systems for Northrop Grumman's Aerospace Systems sector.

"Gamma has equaled or exceeded the performance we achieved in previous slab lasers, but the real advancement here is in packaging and ruggedization for operations in real-world military platforms," he added. The term "slab laser" refers to a class of high-power, solid-state lasers with a gain medium, or source of atoms that emit light, in the form of a slab about the size of a microscope slide.

Firestrike Gamma Laser -NOTE - not a gamma ray laser. Gamma is just the name

Cookbook for a Galactic Empire - Civilization Demand and Resources for Energy Relative to Kardashev Scale

Currently the world economy is $82 trillion on a purchasing power parity basis (2012. The IMF is forecasting economic growth through 2016 for a world economy of $103 trillion.

A world economy ten times larger will be a quadrillion dollar economy. Inflation and using future dollars will accelerate that milestone.

Increasing growth every 20 years
Year    flat 6% 6-11%   6-18%
2015    100     100     100    (trillions of dollars, World GDP PPP)
2020    134     134     134  
2030    241     241     241    2.5 times energy
                               30K per cap  
2040    431     474     571    3-4 times energy
                               50-70K per cap 
2050    770     940    1390    5-10 times     (10^14 watts, 100 terawatts)
                               80K-140K per cap 
2060    1380   2000    4300    10-20 times energy
                               140K-430K per cap
2070    2500   4500   13700    15-40 times energy
                               250k-1.37 Million per cap
2080    4400  11600   56000    20-80 times energy
                               440K-5.6 M per cap  
2090    8000  30000  230000    35-200 times energy
                               800K-23 M percap     

2100   14000  86000 1200000    60-500 times energy    (10^16 watts)
                               1.4M - 120 Million per cap

The highest growth rate path on the table (increasing 3% growth rate every 20 years, 6% for 2010-2030, 9% for 2030-2050, 12% for 2050-2070, 15% for 2070-2090 and 18% for 2090-2100). It would be an economy 12000 times larger than in 2015. Assuming increased energy efficiency relative to GDP generation, I am assuming they will only need about 500 to 1000 times more energy. This would need the energy of Kardashev level one. Kardashev one is about 100 Petawatts (10^17 watts).

Earth's Energy Budget

Up through 2040-2060 the gains to the world economy come from some continued growth in the developed countries and China, India, South East Asia, and other countries catching up. The per capita assumes that world population grows to about 10 billion and then stays flat.

55 quadrillion for the world economy is roughly the level of a Kardashev level one civilization.

Assuming energy intensity of 10 megajoules/todays dollar and 10 billion people for a Kardashev level one civilization would mean $5.5 million dollars per person per year. Energy usage would be 55 terajoules per person (15.28 million kwh, 100 GW at 90% capacity factor produces about 800 billion kwh. 1.9 megawatts to generate the 15.28 million kwh)

Patent that introduced the concept of the Statite

Statite: Spacecraft that Utilizes Sight Pressure and method of use, Patent US5183225, 1989 by Robert Forward

An artificial space object capable of operating usefully adjacent to, but not in orbit about, a celestial body such as the Earth, comprising: payload means for providing useful services from a position in space adjacent to the Earth, light pressure propulsion means for intercepting light pressure and directing the resulting force to oppose the gravitational force between the Earth and the space object; and attachment means for attaching the propulsion system to the payload, whereby the force generated by the propulsion system may be transmitted to payload. The invention is designated a “Statite”, i.e. a useful space payload maintained by light pressure in a position adjacent to the surface of a celestial body, but not in orbit around it. The propulsion system may be a solar sail or it may be a solar photon thruster. The useful payload may be the space segment of a communications, broadcasting, remote sensing, or any other useful space system. The invention also teaches several methods of operating a Statite including polar and near polar positioning; solar orbital positioning; and halo orbit positioning.

Solar Wind Effect

The solar wind has a density of around 5 ions/cm^3, moving at around 500 km/s; that would lead to an influx of 2.5e12 ions/m^2/s. This might appear large, but is actually a tiny amount, just 4e-12 mol (one gram of hydrogen is approximately one mol). Since the hydrogen could not naturally escape from the atmosphere it would gradually become more and more hydrogen rich, but it would take trillions of years before the effects became significant. The net force from the solar wind and the light pressure (which is larger than the solar wind pressure) is also minor compared to the attraction of the sun

May 02, 2012

Biomarker detection of cancer requires more sensitivity

One of the central tenets of oncology is that cancers are most susceptible to treatment when diagnosed early, and the earlier the better. For example, 90 percent of women diagnosed with stage I ovarian cancer will survive five years or more, while fewer than 30 percent of those diagnosed with stage III disease will be alive in five years. This harsh reality has prompted a concerted effort to find molecules in blood – biomarkers – that would signal the presence of a tumor before it is detectable by imaging and long before it begins to spread throughout the body.

That search might be more difficult than initially thought given the predictions from a mathematical model developed by Sanjiv Gambhir of Stanford University and post-doctoral fellow Sharon Hori. In a paper published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the two researchers present work suggesting that current clinical biomarkers for ovarian cancer are unlikely to be detectable until a tumor has been growing for at least a decade and contained almost 2 billion cells. Such a tumor would be 25 millimeters in diameter, about the size of an olive.

According to these calculations, it would take at least 10 years of growth to detect biomarkers shed at this rate using detection technology available today in clinical laboratories. They noted that to be detectable at an early enough time to be clinically useful, a biomarker would have to shed at levels 10,000 greater than CA125 or other known cancer biomarkers. By varying the parameters in the model, the investigators calculated that a 10-fold increase in biomarker shedding rate or a 10-fold decrease in assay detection limit could allow for the detection of a tumor only five millimeters in diameter that had been growing for nearly eight years. The researchers noted that while it is important that biomarker discovery efforts continue, there must be parallel efforts to improve the sensitivity of biomarker detection technologies.

Science Daily - A new blood test is twice as sensitive and can detect breast cancer recurrence a full year earlier than current blood tests.

Adam Crowl Design for Dyson Bubble of Statites at 0.1 AU

Adam Crowl describes a Dyson bubble at 0.1 AU.

Wrapping the Sun in “statites” – optically levitated structures – is perfectly reasonable and avoids the issues of the science-fictional Shell Habitat. Such structures, however, have a vulnerability, from in-falling meteoroids and comets.

For a perfect absorber the ratio between the outward force of sunlight to the inward pull of gravity is 1:1300. That means energy collecting statites need to be very thin. Interestingly, because the sunlight and gravity decline in intensity via the inverse square law, except in very close proximity to the Sun, a statite able to levitate near the Earth will do so at any radial distance from the Sun. The exception is when close to the Sun and instead of being a “point source”, the Sun is a great big wall of light. For materials purposes we’ll assume an operating temperature of 1000 K and 50% conversion efficiency, which puts our collector at about 0.1 AU. Here the sunlight is 100 times stronger than at Earth’s orbit.

To levitate the collector’s areal mass density is 0.77 grams/m², which is very thin. A possible design is large reflectors concentrating onto an energy converter, though the exact details we’ll leave for future engineers. What that figure lets us do is estimate the total mass required. At 0.1 AU the total area is 2.81 x 10^21 m², meaning the total mass of our 50% coverage Dyson Shell is 1.08 x 10^18 kg (NOTE- This is 0.5% of the mass of the asteroid Pallas - 2nd largest, you could also take apart something like the 100th largest asteroid for the mass or about 10% of the 35th largest asteroid). About a quadrillion tonnes. Being so thin each collector can solar-sail its way inwards to its operating position around the Sun.

To transfer the energy collected, solar pumped and energised lasers, presumably solid-state, will be used. With half coverage of the Sun and 50% conversion efficiency, the total energy supplied to the Solar System civilisation is a staggering ~10^26 W. Essentially a million tonnes of energy per second is available.

So what do we do with it all? One possibility, which would go a long way towards making a Dyson Swarm, is transferring the power to distant objects and terraforming them. Not just the planets we know, but the potentially thousands of planet-sized objects between the stars, the Nomads of the Galaxy which were recently in the science news. Again, the difficulties of managing so many planetary sized laser streams is an exercise for future engineers, but even with 100,000 Earth-sized worlds illuminated (the Sun’s output is equivalent to 2.2 billion times what Earth receives) the total amount of sky covered by each stream is minute so streams crossing planets will be rare and predictable, thus can be mitigated.

There has been some theoretical speculation about using molecular manufacturing techniques to create advanced, strong, hyper-light sail material, based on nanotube mesh weaves, where the weave "spaces" are less than half the wavelength of light impinging on the sail. While such materials have so far only been produced in laboratory conditions, and the means for manufacturing such material on an industrial scale are not yet available, such materials could mass less than 0.1 g/m², making them lighter than any current sail material by a factor of at least 30. For comparison, 5 micrometre thick Mylar sail material mass 7 g/m², aluminized Kapton films have a mass as much as 12 g/m², and Energy Science Laboratories' new carbon fiber material masses 3 g/m².

Nextbigfuture looked at Dyson Bubbles and Statites in 2010

Another type of Dyson Sphere is the "Dyson bubble". It would be similar to a Dyson swarm, composed of many independent constructs.
Previously, nextbigfuture had written about Dyson Swarms and dyson Spheres

Unlike the Dyson swarm, the constructs making it up are not in orbit around the star, but would be statites—satellites suspended by use of enormous light sails using radiation pressure to counteract the star's pull of gravity. Such constructs would not be in danger of collision or of eclipsing one another; they would be totally stationary with regard to the star, and independent of one another. As the ratio of radiation pressure and the force of gravity from a star are constant regardless of the distance (provided the statite has an unobstructed line-of-sight to the surface of its star), such statites could also vary their distance from their central star.

Intel's Many Integrated Cores is step to Exaflop performance around 2018

VR Zone - Intel is releaseing the first Many Integrated Core, chips, aka the 'Knights' line. The first MIC to be offered to the discerning public, in a limited quantity for a sort of pilot introduction, is 'Knights Corner', basically a GPU-like PCIe accelerator card with a 22-nm process MIC chip that integrates some 50 cores for roughly 1 TFLOPs DP FP performance, or nearly 6 times that of the Xeon E5 top processor bin right now, within a similar power budget - a critical point required to get to, say, Petaflop within 10 racks now, or Exaflop level performance within a single datacentre size and power budget in 2018.

The thing that differentiates MIC from ATI or Nvidia GPGPUs is that it's front end is a X86 core, therefore the same programming model can apply for both the main CPU and the accelerator, rather than resorting to OpenCL or CUDA. On the other hand, the first MIC cores are based on a 64-bit enhanced version of the 16 year old Pentium that fronts a very wide SIMD FP unit, whose dual-issue in-order instruction approach limits the maximum achievable FP rates. Intel will surely fix that in the next round, but using the X86 as a front end, with all the associated baggage, remains a double-edged sword.

Many Integrated Core chip

Countries with Weak Governance are starting to copy better government in other countries

A Charter City in Honduras is adopting the governance practices of Canada

Honduras recently defined a new legal entity: la Región Especial de Desarrollo. A RED is an independent reform zone intended to offer jobs and safety to families who lack a good alternative; officials in the RED will be able to partner with foreign governments in critical areas such as policing, jurisprudence and transparency. By participating, Canada can lead an innovative approach to development assistance, an approach that tackles the primary roadblock to prosperity in the developing world: weak governance.

According to Gallup, the number of adults worldwide who would move permanently to Canada if given the chance is about 42 million. Although Canada can’t accommodate everyone who’d like to move here, it can help to bring stronger governance to many new places that could accept millions of new residents. The RED in Honduras is the place to start.

13% of the World's Adults want to Migrate to another country with top destinations USA, UK and Canada

Gallup - About 13% of the world's adults -- or more than 640 million people -- say they would like to leave their country permanently. Roughly 150 million of them say they would like to move to the U.S. -- giving it the undisputed title as the world's most desired destination for potential migrants since Gallup started tracking these patterns in 2007. Large numbers are attracted to the United Kingdom (45 million), Canada (42 million), France (32 million), and Saudi Arabia (31 million).

Potential migrants who say they would like to move to the U.S. are most likely to come from populous countries such as China (22 million), Nigeria (15 million), India (10 million), Bangladesh (8 million), or Brazil (7 million).

A Review of Current Understanding of Telomeres

The Scientist - Telomeres have been linked to numerous diseases over the years, but how exactly short telomeres cause diseases and how medicine can prevent telomere erosion are still up for debate.

The ends of linear chromosomes have attracted serious scientific study—and Nobel Prizes—since the early 20th century. Called telomeres, these ends serve to protect the coding DNA of the genome. When a cell’s telomeres shorten to critical lengths, the cell senesces. Thus, telomeres dictate a cell’s life span—unless something goes wrong. Work over the past several decades has revealed an active, though limited, mechanism for the normal enzymatic repair of telomere loss in certain proliferative cells. Telomere lengthening in cancer cells, however, confers an abnormal proliferative ability.

In addition to cancer, telomeres have been found to be involved in numerous other diseases, including liver dysfunction and aplastic anemia, a condition in which the bone marrow does not produce a sufficient supply of new blood cells.2 Inadequate telomere repair and accelerated telomere attrition can be molecular causes of these diseases, and targeting these processes may lead to the development of novel therapies.

Telomeres consist of hexameric nucleotide sequences (TTAGGG in humans) that are repeated hundreds to thousands of times at each extremity of each chromosome. Telomeric DNA is coated by a group of proteins, collectively termed shelterin, which serves to protect telomere structure.

When telomeres reach critically short lengths, most cells either stop dividing or die. In many cancers, however, telomerase is upregulated or the ALT pathway is activated, resulting in abnormal telomere lengthening and proliferative growth. Because of this link between telomeres and cancer, researchers are actively investigating telomerase (TERT) as a target for cancer therapeutics, with several clinical trials ongoing.

* Short leukocyte telomeres have been associated with increased risk of all cancers and of cancer fatalities.

• Patients with dyskeratosis congenita, an inherited bone marrow failure disease characterized by telomerase dysfunction, have a 1000-fold risk of tongue cancer and about 100-fold risk of acute myeloid leukemia.

Telomere Basics

Economic Predictions from Roubini, Milken and Zero Hedge

1. Zero Hedge / Credit Suisse - there are two major manufacturing order indices in China (PMI). One is from the National Bureau of Statistics and tracks large companies and the Hong Kong Bank Index which tracks smaller businesses. The Hong Kong PMI has been showing a contraction for the last 6 months while the NBS has been showing an expansion.

As Credit Suisse concludes:

The latest trend in PMI fits with the scenario we have been talking about – the economy has bottomed but not out. While the resumption of local government infrastructure projects would help remove the risk of a hard landing, we do not think it would help the economy to rebound quickly and strongly. In our view, Beijing’s tolerance towards slightly more lending is assuring, while the pick-up in some infrastructure investments has also provided a floor to how slow growth can be. However, the underlying demand from the private sector is missing at this moment and that cannot be addressed by simply making monetary policy less restrictive, in our view. Without the involvement of real private businesses and with continued restrictions on lending to developers, we suspect banks will soon run out of qualified borrowers to undertake projects and drive economic activities forward. We think that this data set would cool off the market’s optimism about a quick rebound in Chinese demand.

Zero Hedge -
Yet, the economy is not doing that bad, hence a substantial stimulus is not likely in the near future. We reiterate our core view for the medium term outlook that the Chinese economy has entered a multiple-year period of subdued growth, featuring a weak credit cycle, a weak export cycle, a weak property cycle, and a weak SME cycle.

Various sources are interpreting the PMI numbers from China and India and other countries as positive news for future GDP growth

Business Week also has a positive take on China's PMI numbers.

In Beijing today, China and South Korea said that the two nations would begin talks this month on a free-trade agreement and have a goal of lifting annual trade to $300 billion by 2016, according to Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming.

2. CNBC - At the Milken Institute Global Conference: Nouriel Roubini faces off with Michael Milken. Milken is perpetually bullish on America, confident that our challenges can be overcome through innovation and market processes. Roubini, well, he’s Doctor Doom.

US, Iraq and World Oil News Roundup

1. Reuters - Production at Iraq's West Qurna Phase-2 oilfield is expected to hit 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2014, Iraq's oil minister said on Wednesday, as drilling of the first oil well began.

LUKOIL sealed a 20-year deal to develop the virgin West Qurna Phase-2 oilfield in an auction in December 2009, pledging to boost output to a plateau target of 1.8 million bpd in six years.

LUKOIL said in a statement that drilling operations at five well pads would occur simultaneously and that wells would be as deep as 5,000 metres. It said total investment in the field would be around $25 billion.

"Production from the oilfield will reach 150,000 barrels per day by the end of 2013 and increase steadily to 500,000 barrels in the second half of 2014," Sergei Nikiforov, a vice president for development and production at LUKOIL told reporters at West Qurna, 80 km (53 miles) north of the southern oil city of Basra.

West Qurna-2 is the world's second-largest undeveloped field with recoverable oil reserves of around 14 billion barrels, according to LUKOIL.

2. Iraq sees production from its southern oilfields reaching 2.75 million barrels per day (bpd) by the end of the year as the country [an increase of 600,000 barrels per day from now], expected to be the world's biggest source of new oil supplies over the next few years, pushes to increase output.

Iraq's biggest field Rumaila, operated by BP, is currently producing 1.316 million bpd and is expected to boost output by 250,000 bpd in the second half of this year, Dhiya Jaffar, head of the state-run South Oil Co. said.

We expect production from Basra oilfields will increase from 2.15 million barrels per day to 2.75 million barrels per day by the end of this year," he told a news conference in the southern oil-rich city of Basra.

Iraq aims to double its output over the next three years as it recovers after years of sanctions and war. Last month, the country's oil production rose above 3 million bpd for the first time in more than three decades.

Jaffar said output at West Qurna One, currently at 406,000 bpd, was seen increasing by 100,000 bpd in the next six months while Zubair oilfield, also in the south, was producing 254,000 bpd and expected to increase by 100,000 bpd by the end of 2012.

Optical Alternative to Wifi Communication at 1 gigabit per second

A wavelength-division-multiplexing (WDM) visible light communiction (VLC) system employing red and green laser pointer lasers (LPLs) with directly modulating data signals is proposed and experimentally demonstrated. With the assistance of preamplifier and adaptive filter at the receiving sites, low bit error rate (BER) at 10meters and 500Mbps operation is obtained for each wavelength. The use of preamplifier and adaptive filter offer significant improvements for free-space transmission performance. Improved performance of BER of less than 10^−9, as well as better and clear eye diagram were achieved in our proposed WDM VLC systems. LPL features create a new category of good performance with high-speed data rate, long transmission length (over 5 meters), as well as easy handling and installation. This proposed WDM VLC system reveals a prominent one to present its advancement in simplicity and convenience to be installed.

New Scientist - Commonly available laser pointers can zing data through the air across a room twice as fast as most USB cables or Wi-Fi routers. The new optical wireless promises to be cheap and easy to roll out in hospitals and other places where radio transmitters cannot be used.

Engineers at the National Taipei University of Technology in Taiwan picked red and green laser pointers because they are cheap and easy to get hold of. The hardware used in a demonstration cost only about $600, says Hai-Han Lu, who led the work. Combining the two signals yielded a billion bits per second, double the data rates of USB 2.0 or high-speed radio-based Wi-Fi.

Graphene-based Terahertz Devices

Researchers at the University of Notre Dame have shown that it is possible to efficiently manipulate THz electromagnetic waves with atomically thin graphene layers.

One of the hottest areas of the electromagnetic spectrum being explored today is the terahertz (THz) range. Terahertz waves, lying between microwave and optical frequencies, offer improved performance for a variety of applications in everyday life. For instance, THz waves can carry more information than radio/microwaves for communications devices. They also provide medical and biological images with higher resolution than microwaves, while offering much smaller potential harm of exposure than X-rays.

“A major bottleneck in the promise of THz technology has been the lack of efficient materials and devices that manipulate these energy waves,” says Berardi Sensale- Rodriguez, a graduate student in the Department of Electrical Engineering at Notre Dame. “Having a naturally two-dimensional material with strong and tunable response to THz waves, for example, graphene, gives us the opportunity to design THz devices achieving unprecedented performance.

Nature Communications - Broadband graphene terahertz modulators enabled by intraband transitions

IMEC: 60-GHz transceiver offers 7-Gbps short range data rate

Imec, in collaboration with Panasonic, has developed a prototype of a 60GHz radio transceiver allowing to reach data rates of 7Gbps over short distances at very low power consumption. The chip achieves this performance over the 4 channels specified by the IEEE802.11ad standard. Imec’s low-power 60GHz solution is an important step towards adoption of 60GHz technology in low-cost battery-operated consumer products such as smart phones and tablets.

Today’s wireless consumer electronic products increasingly include data-intensive applications, while applications below 10GHz such as WLAN face spectrum scarcity. This drives wireless system designers to explore higher frequency bands such as the unlicensed band around 60GHz. This band is available throughout the world and enables multi-Gbps wireless communication over short distances. However, to enable 60GHz radio solutions for portable mass-market products, cost, area and power consumption need to drastically decrease. Imec’s ultra-low power CMOS-based solution is an important step to solve these challenges.

Imec’s low-power 7Gbps 60GHz transceiver IC implemented in 40nm low-power CMOS.

Expected gain in Life Expectancy by Curing diseases

An integrated approach to cause-of-death analysis: cause-deleted life tables and decompositions of life expectancy

This article integrates two methods that analyze the implications of various causes of death for life expectancy. One of the methods attributes changes in life expectancy to various causes of death; the other method examines the effect of removing deaths from a particular cause on life expectancy. This integration is accomplished by new formulas that make clearer the interactions among causes of death in determining life expectancy. We apply our approach to changes in life expectancy in the United States between 1970 and 2000. We demonstrate, and explain analytically, the paradox that cancer is responsible for more years of life lost in 2000 than in 1970 despite the fact that declines in cancer mortality contributed to advances in life expectancy between 1970 and 2000.

                                        1970      2000
Heart                                 6.20      3.93 
Malignant neoplasms                     2.54      3.27
Cerebrovascular                         1.26      0.70
Violence                                1.86      1.20
Chronic lower respiratory diseases 0.20      0.55
Diabetes                                0.25      0.34
Influenza and pneumonia                 0.50      0.25
Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome,nephrosis 0.07      0.16
Septicemia                              0.03      0.14
Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis 0.29      0.17
Hypertension, hypertensive renal        0.05      0.07
All other                               3.21      2.99

The methodology produces more of a relative guide to the impact of a disease. It is not likely to be correct as a prediction in how much life expectancy would be gained.

May 01, 2012

Indonesia's Future GDP Growth Appears on Track with Management by Western Educated Technocrats

Bloomberg - “Indonesia is being driven by this huge consumption engine,” says Pong Ho Yin, a Hong Kong-based fund manager at Allianz Global Investors, which oversees 279 billion euros ($370 billion) worldwide. “The opportunity that is coming from this phenomenon is going to be enormous.”

In the last quarter of 2011, Indonesia’s GDP growth, while lagging China’s 8.9 percent, exceeded India’s 6.1 percent, Russia’s 4.8 percent and Brazil’s 1.4 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

In the future, Indonesia, with a median population age of 27, may reach a growth rate of 8 percent, Pong says. China’s one-child policy has left behind an aging workforce.

From 1999 through the end of 2011, Indonesia’s annual growth surged from zero to 6.5 percent, swelling the number of middle-class consumers by 50 million to more than 130 million, according to the World Bank.

During the same period, the average wealth per adult jumped fivefold to more than $12,000, Credit Suisse Group AG reported in October.

While some other fast-developing countries such as China struggle to switch from an export-led to a consumption-based growth model, Indonesia is ahead of the game: Consumer spending accounted for 55 percent of gross domestic product in 2011; the comparable figure for China in 2010 was 35 percent.

If Indonesia is able to keep high 6-8% annual GDP growth going for 20 years, they could become the fifth largest economy around 2030. Indonesia could conceivably get to fourth behind only the United States, China and India.

Statistical Correlated Factors of National Life Expectancy at Birth by Country

There was a Statistical Analysis of Life Expectancy across Countries that explained 87.7% of the differences in Life Expectancy. (from the year 2000)

Life Expectancy at Birth = 62.9 years + (0.0001095 * GNP per Capita) + (1.4555274 * Annual Population Growth) + (-3.623246 * Fertility Rate) + (-0.066892 * AIDS) + (-0.016498 * Tuberculosis) + (0.1662502 * School Enrollment Rate) + (0.0524011 * Access to Safe Water) + (-0.035922 * Forest and Woodlands) + (-0.557085 *Annual Rate of Deforestation)

Multicollinearity was removed. For example, telephone lines were highly correlated with other modes of communication such as radio, televisions, newspapers, as well as GNP per Capita, GNP growth, average annual rate of inflation and electricity consumption. Due to their excessive multicollinarities, these two variables, phones and GNP (PPP), were removed.

Although developed, industrial countries tend to have higher life expectancies at birth than underdeveloped countries, this is not always the case. One example, as mentioned earlier, is the United States of America, which ranks very highly in terms of development, but whose life expectancy is not extremely high. An observation of our data set also reveals that there are several less developed countries that have extremely high life expectancies, such as Jamaica, Kuwait and Singapore, which have life expectancies of 74.1, 75.4, and 77.1 years, respectively. These discrepancies result in the removal of country development.

The following variables have been found to exert the greatest significance: GNP per Capita, Population Growth, Fertility Rate, AIDS, Tuberculosis, School Enrollment Rate, Access to Safe Water, Forest and Woodlands, and Rate of Deforestation. All have p-values less than 0.020.

Life expectancy is positively correlated to GNP per capita, population growth, fertility, enrollment, and access to safe water and negatively correlated to AIDS, tuberculosis, forest and woodland percentage, and rate of deforestation. The soundness of these results was discussed in detail following the stepwise regression. To improve the model, and increase the its explanatory capability (increase R2), we might consider additional variables that were excluded such as ethnicity and diet.

So a country with GNP per capita was $200,000 and fertility was 2 and annual population growth was 1% and there was no Aids or TB and 100% school enrollment and 100% access to safe drinking water and no deforestation would have a predicted life expectancy of about 100 years.

So a country with GNP per capita was $100,000 (in year 2000 dollars) and fertility was 2 and annual population growth was 1% and there was no Aids or TB and 100% school enrollment and 100% access to safe drinking water and no deforestation would have a predicted life expectancy of about 90 years.

Monaco has a per capita GNI of $183,000, but this is 2011 dollars.

Monaco has a life expectancy of 89.73 and women in Monaco have a life expectancy of 93.63 years.

Singularity University has lecture by Craig Venter and Ashton Kucher as a student

Guardian UK - It's day one at the Singularity University: the opening address has just been delivered by a hologram. Craig Venter, who was one of the first scientists to sequence the human genome and created the first synthetic life form, is up next. And later, we will see two people, paralysed from the waist down, use robotic exoskeletons to rise up and walk.

But first, the co-founder of the Singularity University, Peter Diamandis, gives us our instructions for the day. Your task, he says, is to pick one of the "grand challenges of humanity" – the lack of clean drinking water, say. And then come up with an idea that "can positively impact the lives of a billion people".

There's about 50 of us present and the room has been divided up into tables, one for education, another for poverty, another for water, and I'm not sure where I should sit. Diane Murphy, the university's PR executive, hesitates for a moment and then directs me over to the table marked "food". "Tell you what," she says. "Why don't you take Ashton Kutcher's chair over there. He's not coming until later." (When he does arrive, he pulls up a chair at the next table over. What can I say? If Ashton Kutcher fails to solve global hunger, it will be my fault.)

Half the people in the room actually have done things which have had a positive impact on a billion people. Or, in some cases, more. Not just Venter, who has flown in on his private jet; there's also Vint Cerf, who is considered one of the fathers of the internet – he worked on Arpanet, the internet's predecessor – and is now "chief internet evangelist" at Google. And Sebastian Thrun, the man behind one of Google's latest and potentially most disruptive technologies yet, the self-driving car. He's also the head of the top-secret Google X lab.

Elon Musk, the co-founder of PayPal and Tesla Motors, who created the world's first electric car, and is working on a replacement for the space shuttle. In the audience is Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn. And Troy Carter, Lady Gaga's strategist. Later in the day, Buzz Aldrin shows up. He is, in this company, a genuine celebrity. All the scientists want to have their photo taken with him, and even Kutcher has the good grace to look a bit bashful. "What do you make of the Singularity University?" I ask Aldrin. "I'm a pretty high achiever," he says. "But I come here and think 'Gosh. I've just got to do better.'"

US Nuclear Uprates cost-effective despite price increase

Projected costs for ongoing uprates at four Florida Power and Light (FPL) nuclear units have increased by over half a billion dollars - but will still save customers around $3.8 billion in fossil fuel costs over the long term, the utility claims.

In a detailed update of its nuclear investments filed with the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC), FPL noted that the work to add a total of 490 MWe across Turkey Point units 3 and 4 and St Lucie units 1 and 2 is now expected to cost approximately $2.95-3.15 billion. This increase from a previous 'non-binding' estimate of $2.32-2.48 billion is driven by additional labour and engineering needed to support regulatory requirements, 'design evolution' and the logistics of construction and implementation.

Nevertheless, the company describes the uprate project as "still solidly cost-effective." Based on latest projections, the uprate will save an estimated $3.8 billion on fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas and imported oil over its lifetime, said FPL.

Indeed, customers are already feeling the benefits of the uprate program according to FPL. Some 31 MWe has already entered service as a result of the ongoing uprate, and a further 336 MWe will be added during 2012 as work is completed at three out of the four units. The final work will be completed early in 2013. The uprate will see the capacities of the two St Lucie units increase by 12% each, with the Turkey Point units increasing by 15%.

Nanoink High Density Tip Arrays for Polymer Pen Lithography Allows for high-throughput deposition of molecules

NanoInk announced today the availability of High Density (HD) Tip Arrays for Polymer Pen Lithography (PPL). These high-density elastomeric pen arrays are ideal for high-throughput deposition of ink materials. Similar to standard Dip Pen Nanolithography® (DPN®) with regular silicon nitride pens, High Density Tip Arrays can be used for the deposition of molecules with well-controlled feature size.

High Density Tip Arrays used for Polymer Pen Lithography can easily accommodate several thousands to millions of pens in the same array and are available in a range of array sizes (from 5x5 to 25x25 mm²) with different pen-to-pen pitches (from several microns to hundreds of microns pitch). The versatility of these arrays enables different types of applications in the fields of cell engineering, drug discovery, genomics and materials science.

High Density Tip Array for Polymer Pen Lithography

Zyvex Technologies uses carbon nanotube composite for racing bike rims that last 180 times longer than regular technology

Zyvex Technologies, and ENVE Composites announced an exclusive partnership to provide a bicycle rim specifically for downhill mountain biking that uses the latest advanced materials comprised of nano-enhanced carbon fiber. This new bicycle rim gives a significant competitive advantage to the downhill cycling market as proven during the last year in development and testing. The ENVE DH rim provides performance benefits to all downhill cyclists including those that compete at the highest levels of World Cup racing.

ENVE used Zyvex Technologies’ nano-enhanced carbon fiber technology called Arovex, which is a carbon nanotube and graphene engineered composite material that uses the proprietary Kentera technology to create chemical bonds on the carbon nanotubes. It provides an advantage in toughness without compromising strength. It also protects from fracture damage. ENVE has an exclusive license for this advanced technology for cycling applications.

“The ENVE-Zyvex partnership introduces the first carbon fiber rim specifically designed for the downhill cyclist. During development and testing the wheels have won over 50 podiums in competitions around the world. These results validate ENVE’s success using Zyvex’s Arovex. Downhill racing is extreme in nature. The fact that these new rims have survived the most challenging tracks in the world make them truly one-of-a-kind,” noted Jason Schiers, founder of ENVE Composites.

Most notable is an unprecedented increase in durability, strength, and stiffness over traditional alloy offerings on the market. Often, top level teams will need to change rims more than 180 times during a season. World Cup downhill racing champion Steve Peat raced on one pair of the ENVE DH wheels during the entire 2011 season. Traditional aluminum rims historically lasted him a mere one to three runs.
The Enve/Zyvex racing bike rims are available in stores now

India can build nuclear reactors for $1700 per kilowatt

1. India can build cheaper nuclear reactors, than even South Korea according to Dr Srikumar Banerjee, secretary in the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), said India can now manufacture nuclear reactors at $1,700 per kilowatt.

"We are now the world's most economical manufacturer of nuclear reactors. Our cost per unit, of $1,700 (for a 700mw reactor) is substantially less than our nearest competitors. The average international cost is now between $2,500 and $3,000 per kilowatt (for a 1,000mw reactor).

China, South Korea, Russia and India will be battling for market share in the nuclear reactor export market. They each have substantially lower costs than the US, Japan, Canada and France.

World Nuclear Association on India's reactor costs

The Tarapur 3&4 reactors of 540 MWe gross (490 MWe net) were developed indigenously from the 220 MWe (gross) model PHWR and were built by NPCIL. The first - Tarapur 4 - was connected to the grid in June 2005 and started commercial operation in September. Tarapur-4's criticality came five years after pouring first concrete and seven months ahead of schedule. Its twin - unit 3 - was about a year behind it and was connected to the grid in June 2006 with commercial operation in August, five months ahead of schedule. Tarapur 3 and 4 cost about $1200/kW, and are competitive with imported coal.

Future indigenous PHWR reactors will be 700 MWe gross (640 MWe net). The first four are being built at Kakrapar and Rajasthan. They are due on line by 2017 after 60 months construction from first concrete to criticality. Cost is quoted at about Rs 12,000 crore (120 billion rupees) each, or $1700/kW. Up to 40% of the fuel they use will be slightly enriched uranium (SEU) - about 1.1% U-235, to achieve higher fuel burn-up - about 21,000 MWd/t instead of one third of this. Initially this fuel will be imported as SEU.

Korean government data is reported to put the overnight cost of APR-1400 at the end of 2009 as $2300/kW, compared with $2900/kW for EPR and $3580/kW for the GE Hitachi ABWR. The same data puts the generation cost for Areva's APR at US$ 3.03 cents per kilowatt-hour, compared with an estimated 3.93 cents/kWh for EPR, and 6.86 cents/kWh for ABWR.

2. Cameco produced 4.8 million pounds of Uranium oxide in the first quarter of 2012, which was 2% more than the same quarter in 2011. This was in spite of getting 21% less from the Inkai mine in Kazakhstan. They are waiting for approval to increase production at Inkai.

April 30, 2012

Aubrey de Grey debates the goal of defeating aging entirely

Aubrey de Grey will propose the motion 'This house wants to defeat aging entirely' and Professor Colin Blakemore will be opposing. The debate will be chaired and moderated by Professor Sir Richard Peto. This debate will address whether it is feasible and appropriate to consider aging as a target of decisive medical intervention, raising the possibility of substantial extension of human lifespan.

Aubrey de Grey is currently Chief Science Officer of SENS Foundation, a biomedical research charity that aims to develop, promote, and ensure widespread access to rejuvenation biotechnologies that address the diseases and disabilities of aging. SENS Foundation aims to bring aging under comprehensive medical control. Its research agenda consists of the application of regenerative medicine to ageing - not merely slowing the ageing clock, but resetting it to early adulthood.

Colin Blakemore is Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Oxford Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences. He is an expert in vision, development of the brain and neurodegenerative disease. He is active in communication of science and is president and adviser to several charities concerned with brain disorders. Prof. Blakemore was formerly Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council, the UK's largest public funder of biomedical research.

The main part of the debate starts at about 10 minutes.

Aubreys opponent has the usual arguments. Humanity cannot defeat aging, because we have tried before and failed. We should not try to defeat aging because living too long will be bad for the environment and overpopulation.

Colin also brought up the need to get rid of nuclear weapons and fight climate change.


The US alone spends over $4 billion per year fighting global warming and that does not include the cost of implementing new clean energy sources or remediating cars and other buildings which will cost trillions. How will not spending $100 million per year to fight aging make a material difference with those problems ? How does not spending $100 million fighting aging get rid of any nuclear weapons ? Would the logic work the same as not funding cancer research at Harvard until there were no handguns in Boston ?

Strong action against carbon dioxide will cost trillions of dollars and takes over 50 years to have an impact.

More immediate impact by against against soot and methane mainly in the developing world. (United nations study)

(Action on short term climate forcers)

Fight indoor air pollution. Get no soot cookers to the poor. Stop slash and burn agriculture.
Get a half degree to a full degree of reduced temperature increase over 30-50 years.

Costs a few tens of billions for initial half a degree and then hundreds of billions to do the soot remediation on cars, industry and buildings.

How does this good priority global project what we should spend on medicine ? or anti-aging research ?
Is the UK going to pay for the no-soot cookers for India ?
How does it impact global charity funding ? Do we demand that the charity donations for local clothing for the poor be spent on more urgent global priorities ?

Do we demand that advertising and promotion asking for charity for some diseases be banned because we do not want charity dollars to be diverted from brain diseases or cancer diseases to lupus ?

It mainly came down to the fear/boogy man of the long term population situation.

Well people eating right, exercising and not smoking would add 10-14 years to lifespan. There is the real possibility of significant success over the decade or two against cancer (cheap early detection and treatment) and against heart disease which could add 5-10 years to lifespan. Should those treatments and research be banned ?

There is various work to boost crop yields by 50 to 100% over the 2-4 decades Yield can increase by 15-25% per decade.

Also, it is the case that meat uses 4-10 times the grain to produce the same amount of cow meat.
So, are we saying that we have to let grandma and grandpa die so that the family can eat meat ?
One if that were somehow the rationing choice of a fixed amount of resources per extended family then my family would choose to ration and share the resources to feed the grandparents. Of course we would not need to ration food because we have an abundance of excess spending.

If we had to ration to allow the older people in our family to not be forced to die then we would do so and work towards building the more efficient cities, buildings,
vehicles, and agriculture to support the population.

Affordable heads up displays for Cars

Technology Review - Head-up displays, which project visual data onto the windshield and the driver's view of the road, are debuting in a growing number of car models. But more vibrant, compact, and efficient displays being developed by Microvision, a company based in Redmond, Washington, could help the technology become much more common.

Japan's Pioneer Corporation plans to release its first head-up display product based on Microvision's novel display technology this year. Major carmakers in Detroit are also planning to integrate the technology into their vehicles by 2016, says Lance Evans, a director of business development at the company. Microvision's image projector relies on semiconductor lasers and a microscopic mirror.

The company's head-up display is already in some concept cars but has so far been too costly for commercial models, says Evans. Now, falling prices of green lasers—a significant cost component of the display—should make the technology competitive with conventional displays, he says.

On the road: A mock-up shows a driver's view of Microvision's heads-up display. Microvision

10 GHz Optical Transistor Built Out Of Silicon

Arxiv - A Silicon Optical Transistor (13 pages)

A fundamental road block for all-optical information processing is the difficulty in realizing a silicon optical transistor with the ability to provide optical gain, input output isolation and buffer action. In this work, we demonstrate an all-optical transistor using optical nonlinearity in microrings. By using weak light to control strong light, we observed an On/Off ratio up to 20 dB. It can compensate losses in other optical devices and provide fan-out capability. The device is ultra compact and is compatible with currentcomplementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) processing.

Technology Review - In a significant step forward for all-optical computing, physicists build a silicon transistor that works with pure light.

India Develops a large Uranium reserve and Botswana Uranium and Kazakhstan Uranium

1. In a major boost to India's quest for energy security, a new uranium processing plant has recently been commissioned in Kadapa, Andhra Pradesh, which may have one of the largest reserves of uranium in the world. For a country that has been importing uranium to fuel its nuclear power plants from across the world, the commissioning of the mine has been hailed as a significant step to help fill the void.

The construction work on the uranium ore mine and processing plant cost an estimated $208 million. Studies indicated that Kadapa in Andhra Pradesh is endowed with one of the largest uranium reserves in the world. They have shown that Tummalapalle in the district could have reserves of 150,000 tonnes of the mineral.

The project, owned by the Uranium Corporation of India, will produce 3,000 tonnes of ore daily in the first phase and go up gradually, while the second phase will produce a further 1,500 tonnes per day. The mine is estimated to have uranium reserves of almost 150,000 tonnes - a ten-fold increase of the original estimate.

Officials said the reserves would be sufficient to generate 10,000 MW of nuclear power without resorting to costly imports. The uranium plant will play a major role in the country's plans to drastically expand nuclear power generation.

Officials added that nuclear power generation in the country would reach 60,000 megawatts by 2050. Reports indicate that India is planning to set up some 30 reactors and get a quarter of its electricity from nuclear energy by 2050.

100 Gigabit prototype network for US scientists being test driven

In an effort to spur U.S. scientific competitiveness, as well as accelerate development and widespread deployment of 100-gigabit technology, the Advanced Networking Initiative (ANI) was created with $62 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and implemented by ESnet. ANI was established to build a 100 Gbps national prototype network and a wide-area network testbed.

To cost-effectively deploy ANI, ESnet partnered with Internet2—a consortium that provides high-performance network connections to universities across America—which also received a stimulus grant from the Department of Commerce’s Broadband Technologies Opportunities Program.

So far more than 25 groups have taken advantage of ESnet’s wide-area testbed, which is open to researchers from government agencies and private industry to test new, potentially disruptive technologies without interfering with production science network traffic. The testbed currently connects three unclassified DOE supercomputing facilities: the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) in Oakland, Calif., the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF) in Argonne, Ill., and the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF) in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

“No other networking organization has a 100-gigabit network testbed that is available to researchers in this way,” says Brian Tierney, who heads ESnet’s Advanced Networking Technologies Group. “Our 100G testbed has been about 80 percent booked since it became available in January, which just goes to show that there are a lot of researchers hungry for a resource like this.”
Climate 100

To ensure that researchers will use future 100-gigabit effectively, another ARRA-funded project called Climate 100 brought together middleware and network engineers to develop tools and techniques for moving unprecedentedly massive amounts of climate data.

Approximately 13.7 billion years ago, the Universe was almost homogenous — meaning that every location in the cosmos was similar. Today, this is no longer the case. This simulation starts from a nearly homogeneous Universe and shows how the it has changed over billions of years. Performed on 4,096 cores of NERSC’s “Hopper” system with the Nyx code, this movie was generated with over 5 terabytes of data and was transferred to the SC11 Conference exhibit floor in Portland, Ore., last November, over ESnet. The video on the left shows the simulation streaming on a 10 Gbps link, while the one on the right shows the same model streaming on a 100 Gbps link. These simulations were generated by Prabhat (LBNL).

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