July 28, 2012

Deficits, Debt and GDP for the USA, China

US Government deficits have been running at about $1.3 trillion per year or about 9% of GDP.

China has a federal deficit of 1.5 to 2.4% of GDP. However, China is ramping up spending at the provincial and city level. China is increasing spending on high speed rail and other infrastructure.

The White House projection is for a deficit of $1.2 trillion in 2012. The 2013 deficit forecast was increased from $901 billion to $991 billion. The White House is calling for $195 billion in economic stimulus.

The US is still likely to run $1 trillion per year deficits.

Computational efficiency of current and near term CPUs and GPUs

Real world Technologies - IBM’s Blue Gene/Q conclusively demonstrates that a CPU designed for throughput can match and even exceed the power efficiency of GPUs. There is still a gap in terms of area efficiency, but smaller than the data suggests given that Blue Gene/Q includes a large cache and robust interconnects that are not found in a GPU. This bodes relatively well for Intel’s Knights Corner, although the area problems might be worse with the overhead for x86 relative to PowerPC.

The best throughput processor (Fermi) has a 68% area and 77% power advantage compared to the best CPU (Ivy Bridge), despite using an older process technology. Excluding the GPU die area from Ivy Bridge, and the density advantage falls to a little under 10%. While the two design philosophies may be converging, they are also more clearly delineated as throughput processors have become more successful at handling double precision floating point. There are no cases of GPUs that are less efficient than CPUs.

July 27, 2012

Experts Argue over HP Memristor

Wired - Like most technology Who-Done-Its, says Martin Reynolds, an electrical engineering analyst with research outfit Gartner, the questions over HP’s memistor ultimately boil down to semantics. Like Campbell, he says that while HP’s technology HP is not precisely what Chua proposed, it does have memristor-like qualities.

“Is Stan Williams being sloppy by calling it a ‘memristor’? Yeah, he is,” Reynolds tells Wired. “Is Blaise Moutett being pedantic in saying it is not a ‘memristor’? Yeah, he is.”

In the grand scheme of things, he says, the argument is pointless. “At the end of day, it doesn’t matter how it works as long as it gives us the ability to build devices with really high density storage.”

The debate between experts is one over patents and claiming credit and money for what is expected to be a hugely successful new computer memory technology.

The argument is not over whether what HP has will work or not.

Ten million H1NI flu vaccines produced in one month, says DARPA

A DARPA-funded vaccine company working on ways to quickly develop immunizations for potential pandemics, has successfully made over 10 million doses of H1N1 flu vaccine in a single month.

The company, Medicago Inc., used a “rapid-fire,” plant-based production method to make them, according to DARPA. The plants used in this case, however, aren’t factories, but the chlorophyll-based kind. Plant-produced vaccine practices hold promise for speedier development of vaccines than traditional egg-grown vaccine techniques. Plants are soaked with a solution that contains a disease’s DNA. The plant responds by producing antibodies almost immediately. Those antibodies can be synthesized into a human vaccine.

Cigar Lake Uranium Mine Production Plan

A technical report on the Cigar Lake Uranium mine was produced on Dec 31, 2011

Cigar Lake will be one of the biggest Uranium mines in the world.

From 2016, it is planned to produce 8000-9000 tons per year for 10 years.

The mine will nearly double the uranium production from Canada

2013 a few tons
2014 2000 tons
2015 5500 tons
2016 8000 tons
2017-2026 about 9000 tons

Cameco reports in the Q2, 2012 financials that Cigar Lake is still on track to this schedule.

Cost Benefit Analysis Studies of High Speed Rail

Hong Kong spent USD$8.60 billion to build the high-speed rail (HSR) line linking with mainland China. (10 pages) They calculate a net present value (NPV) of up to USD$2,068.49 million for the calculated benefits. Conventional railway also has a positive NPV (about USD$177.60 million) due to its balance performance in all kinds of aspects. Roadway transport is the only alternative that has a negative NPV (-USD$15885.60 million). This is mainly due to its longest travel time which causes a large negative impact on the benefit of travel time savings.

All big projects have studies that support the financials of the projects. The assumptions supporting China's cost benefit analysis look more realistic than the studies for California's high speed rail.

China stimulus unsustainable ? Wait til 2015-2020

So we may see in 2015-2020 if China's new round of economic stimulus proves unsustainable. China is building out all of its high speed rail and having massive local stimulus and infrastructure construction.

The Chinese economy will have a lot of stimulus for the next three years.

Some think that China could not stimulate to boost GDP. This claim will be tested in the second half this year through 2013 and 2014.

There will also be some interesting comparisons between the hundreds of billions of spending in Europe on Greece compared to what happens with Changsha.

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi pledged on Thursday to do whatever was necessary to protect the euro zone from collapse, sending a strong signal that inflated Spanish and Italian borrowing costs were in his sights.

China Changsha unveils US$130 billion municipal investment plan

Changsha, capital of central China's Hunan Province, unveiled a package of infrastructure and industry projects Thursday that would require total investments of 829.2 billion yuan ($130.2 billion), a move to stimulate local economic growth. The government plans to stimulate economy by investing in infrastructure, finance, power generation and tourism.

The Changsha city government unveiled 195 projects, including an airport expansion, road construction, waste treatment facilities and redevelopment of 10 older areas in the city, according to a statement posted on the government's website. According to China News Service, apart from large projects in infrastructure, 155 small projects were also included, covering energy saving,emission reduction and people's livelihood.

This is a staggering amount of investment for a city whose total GDP was $87 billion in 2011. It’s also notable because Changsha is already one of China’s fastest-growing, most prosperous and industrially competitive cities.

Its population of 7 million enjoys a per-capita GDP of $12,313 — about three times the average of China as a whole and third among China’s provincial capitals and nearly eight times the $1,623 per-capital GDP in 2002. Changsha posted a blazing 14.5% annual growth rate last year, far higher than the 9% rate for the nation.

Changsha is where Broad Group was planning to build the tallest building in the world. It would be a 838 meter tall (220 story skyscraper called Sky City One

Reach for the sky: the world's tallest buildings, once the 838-meter Sky City is completed, projected for January 2013.

Changsha plans to stimulate the economy at 200 times the cost of Sky City ($638 million) then why wouldn't they fund Sky City ? If the stimulus is "too big", then the "cherry on top" would only by 0.5% of any future issue. I wish them good luck on their stimulus, but will be happy to see a completed Sky City One in January or February 2013.

Chemotherapy drug vorinostat flushes HIV out of hiding

Researchers in the United States used the chemotherapy drug vorinostat to revive and so unmask latent HIV in the CD4+T cells of eight trial patients.

The patients were also on antiretroviral drugs, which stops HIV from multiplying but have to be taken for life because they do not kill the virus hidden away in reservoirs.

"After a single dose of the drug, at least for a moment in time, (vorinostat) is flushing the virus out of hiding," Margolis said of the trial results -- the first drug ever shown to do so.

The drug targets an enzyme that allows the virus to lie latent.

The researchers cautioned that vorinostat may have some toxic effects and stressed this was merely an early indication of feasibility that had to be explored further.

VASIMR Plasma Rocket Improved by 10% and Demos Constant Power Throttling

Experimental data obtained in June 2012 on Ad Astra’s VX-200 high power VASIMR® engine prototype showed an improvement in efficiency at intermediate values of specific impulse (Isp) below the 5000 sec optimal point demonstrated in late 2010. A new optimized performance model that shows approximately a 10% improvement in engine efficiency over a wide Isp range. Short for Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket, VASIMR® works with plasma, an electrically charged gas that can be heated to extreme temperatures by radio waves and controlled and guided by strong magnetic fields. VASIMR can be 10-30 times more efficient with fuel than a chemical rocket. VASIMR has 15 to 200 times more thrust than current ion engines.

Constant Power Throttling is made possible by changing the relative fraction of power going to the first stage (helicon) and second stage (ion cyclotron heating (ICH)) systems and simultaneously changing the rate at which the propellant gas is fed into the engine. For high thrust, power is routed predominantly to the helicon with propellant consumed at a relatively high rate, producing more ions at lower exhaust velocity (low Isp). For high Isp, more power is diverted to the ICH while less power and propellant are being fed to the helicon with concomitant reductions in thrust.

China High Speed Rail Rail network to be finished by 2015

By 2015, China will have a high-speed railway network that will encompass almost all its cities with a population of more than 500,000, the State Council said on Tuesday.

The State Council issued a plan for building a comprehensive transportation network.

The plan says China should complete the construction of a high-speed railway network with a total operating length of more than 40,000 km by the end of 2015.

The combined length of China's high-speed railway has reached 13,000 kilometers, the most out of any other country in the world.
the 4 by 4 network. 4 North South Lines and 4 East West Lines

Felix Baumgartner jumps from a preliminary altitude of 96,640ft/29,455meter and reaches 536mph/862kph in freefall.

Felix Baumgartner landed safely near Roswell, NM following a test jump from (preliminary) 96,640 feet / 29.455 meters, after 3 minutes and 48 seconds of freefall leading up to a 10 minute and 36 second decent. It's an incredible achievement considering this is the fastest and highest jump for Felix so far.

Felix Baumgartner plans to ascend to 120,000 feet in a stratospheric balloon and make a freefall jump rushing toward earth at supersonic speeds before parachuting to the ground.

There is interesting video at the site, but I could not easily determine how to remove autoplay from the embedded video code

iRobot and InTouch Health Launch RP-VITA Telemedicine Robot

InTouch Health, the leader in acute care remote presence telemedicine, and iRobot (NASDAQ: IRBT), a leader in delivering robotic technology-based solutions, announced the companies will unveil the breakthrough RP-VITA (Remote Presence Virtual + Independent Telemedicine Assistant) at the InTouch Health 7th Annual Clinical Innovations Forum, to be held July 26 – 28 in Santa Barbara, CA. The RP-VITA is the first remote presence solution for patient care that combines the latest in telemedicine technology from InTouch Health with the latest in autonomous navigation and mobility developed for the iRobot Ava™ mobile robotics platform. For the hospital market, the RP-VITA improves patient care by ensuring the physician is in the right place at the right time and has access to the necessary clinical information to take immediate action.

The RP‐VITA offers doctors the ability to take command of any clinical, patient or care team management process remotely. It provides a new level of mobility, utility and ease of use for healthcare professionals in the acute care market.

Google Delivering low cost gigabit per second fiber internet profitably

Gigaom - Google launched its fiber to the home with gigabit speeds are aimed at consumers only. The search giant’s fiber network, which will cost $70 for Internet only and $120 for fiber plus TV, is a killer wrapper for Google’s cloud, consumer and tablet products, some of which will be included in the fiber and TV package.

Technology Review reports that Google's vice president of access services, says the Internet service will have no monthly volume caps or overage charges.

Several Google executives at the event were very clear that delivering gigabit internet access over fiber for $70 a month (and even free 5 Mbps fiber) is a business that will not only help advance Google’s consumer goals, but also make it money.

“There’s no sense selling a product at a loss,” said Google CFO Patrick Pichette (just look at Google’s Nexus 7 tablet). “But it’s not only about profits, it’s about changing the access costs.” His goal and Google’s goal is to bring the same efficiencies that have helped create cheaper, smaller and more powerful computers and create a cost and improvement curve for broadband access that resembles the curves for compute storage, as the chart below illustrates.

How Google cuts costs to below $300 per home to install

Delivering broadband is a capital-intensive business, with Verizon spending $23 billion to spread its fiber to the home service to 17 million homes. Analysts estimate that it cost Verizon roughly $670 to run fiber past each home in its footprint. That cost varies depending on a huge number of factors, ranging from how far apart homes are to whether or not Verizon could string fiber from telephone poles rather than bury it.

Google makes its own gear: From the infrastructure on the back end to the TV and Wi-Fi routers in the home, Google has built its own stuff. Most carriers rely on outside vendors to sell them networking gear and even set-top boxes. However, like Iliad, the operator in France that provides the Free mobile and wireline network, Google has built its own equipment.

July 26, 2012

Wearable Biomonitors for superior sports training and medicine

Technology Review - David Icke, CEO of MC10, wants you to feel like an Olympian. The company wants to provide users with sophisticated knowledge to fuel individual fitness and improve health, all through wearable electronics.

The biggest opportunity offered by wearable electronics, he claims, is to unlock the mysteries of human biology so that we understand what makes us sick, and what expands our capacities. “Imagine what we don’t know today that we will learn from a closer look at our systems, which is possible when sensing and computing electronics conform to us,” he says.
Wearable monitor

MC10 has formed a Sports Advisory Board (SAB) to shape the next generation of athletic performance monitoring devices.

Fungus and Microbiomes better than Genetic Modification for increasing crop yields, cold, heat, salt and drought resistance

New Scientist - researchers sprayed spores from D. lanuginosum's endophytes (fungus) and sprayed them onto wheat seeds, which normally grow at temperatures up to 38 °C. With the spores, the wheat could grow at 70 °C and needed up to 50 per cent less water than normal.

Different microbiomes can confer a range of superpowers to a number of crops. Rodriguez's group have also isolated endophytes from a salt-loving dunegrass (Leymus mollis), and a strawberry plant (Fragaria vesca) that grows at high altitude at temperatures as low as 5 °C. Rice plants that had been sprayed with the fungi became able to tolerate salt and cold, respectively. They also grew five times larger and needed half the water of normal plants

The results were immediate: within 24 hours of being sprayed, the seeds began sprouting a greater number of longer roots than untreated seeds, and the team found that they expressed genes involved in stress-resistance and drought-tolerance. That suggests endophytes could help crops cope with droughts like the one afflicting the US.

Rodriguez thinks the fungi are jump-starting the plants' metabolism, although the exact mechanism is still unclear. "The plant has the ability to do all this, it just can't get its act together without the fungi," he says

Amateur Prints Functional Lower Receiver of Gun - DARPA working on additive manufacturing of ground vehicles and planes

Gun enthusiast “HaveBlue” has documented in a blog post (via the AR15 forums) the process of what appears to be the first test firing of a firearm made with a 3D printer. HaveBlue reportedly used a Stratasys 3D printer to craft the part, assembled it as a .22 pistol and fired more than 200 rounds with it.

Partially 3d printed Gun. Credit: HaveBlue.org

In firearms terminology, the receiver is the part of a firearm that houses the operating parts.

IAEA Red Book 2011

World Nuclear News - the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)published a new Red Book (Uranium 2011: Resources, production and demand). It is currently published every two years and draws together official data on uranium exploration, resources and production, and uranium demand related to its use in nuclear reactors. The new edition covers data to the end of 2010.

Total identified uranium resources have increased by over 12% since the last edition, which covered data up to 2009, although lower cost resources have decreased significantly because of increased mining costs. Nevertheless, with total identified resources standing at 7,096,600 tU recoverable at costs of up to $260 per kg, identified resources are sufficient for over 100 years of supply for the world's nuclear fleet. (An additional 124,100 tU of resources have been reported by companies but are not included in official national figures.) So-called undiscovered resources - resources expected to exist based on existing geological knowledge but requiring significant exploration to confirm and define them - currently stand at 10,400,500 tU.

The increase in the resource base is the result of concerted exploration and development efforts. Some $2 billion was spent on uranium exploration and mine development in 2010, a 22% increase on 2008 figures, with a focus on areas with the potential for hosting in-situ leach (ISL) recovery operations.

July 25, 2012

A few days in Nanomedicine - regeneration, synthetic vaccines, gene therapy, medical tests 1 billion times more sensitive

1. Nano-enhanced cell regeneration (nanoparticles in the scaffolding) combined with gene therapy enables bone regeneration and could help regenerate other tissue.

Researchers at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) have developed a new method of repairing bone using synthetic bone graft substitute material, which combined with gene therapy, can mimic real bone tissue and has potential to regenerate bone in patients who have lost large areas of bone from either disease or trauma. The researchers have developed an innovative scaffold material (made from collagen and nano-sized particles of hydroxyapatite) which acts as a platform to attract the body’s own cells and repair bone in the damaged area using gene therapy. The cells are tricked into overproducing bone producing proteins known as BMPs, encouraging regrowth of healthy bone tissue. This is the first time these in-house synthesised nanoparticles have been used in this way and the method has potential to be applied to regenerate tissues in other parts of the body.

Researchers at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) have developed a new method of repairing bone using synthetic bone graft substitute material, which combined with gene therapy, can mimic real bone tissue. (Credit: © Marco Desscouleurs / Fotolia)

DNA Nanotechnology enables new class of synthetic vaccines

Scientists at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University have turned to a promising field called DNA nanotechnology to make an entirely new class of synthetic vaccines. They developed the first vaccine complex that could be delivered safely and effectively by piggybacking onto self-assembled, three-dimensional DNA nanostructures. They developed an immune response in mice that was robust immune response up to 9-fold higher than with antigen and adjuvant alone.

Safe and effective vaccines offer the best intervention for disease control. One strategy to maximize vaccine immunogenicity without compromising safety is to rationally design molecular complexes that mimic the natural structure of immunogenic microbes but without the disease-causing components. Here we use highly programmable DNA nanostructures as platforms to assemble a model antigen and CpG adjuvants together into nanoscale complexes with precise control of the valency and spatial arrangement of each element. Our results from immunized mice show that compared to a mixture of antigen and CpG molecules, the assembled antigen-adjuvant-DNA complexes induce strong and long-lasting antibody responses against the antigen without stimulating a reaction to the DNA nanostructure itself. This result demonstrates the potential of DNA nanostructures to serve as general platforms for the rational design and construction of a variety of vaccines.

Nanoletters - A DNA Nanostructure Platform for Directed Assembly of Synthetic Vaccines

New Dire Claims about Problems Supporting 10 billion people in 2050 to 2100

New Scientist reports that computational scientist Stephen Emmott has a one man show warning about resource problems if the world population reaches 10 billion.

Stephen Emmott claims that overpopulation is the root cause of all the environmental problems with the planet. He also claims there will be no political solution and no technological solutions.

At ThinkProgress, Joe Romm is predicting dustbowlification and drought around the world by 2050-2070.

Joe Romm got a comment article into the journal Nature.

Carbon Dioxide and Population

Joe Romm rants against carbon dioxide but that is a slower temperature effect. Many decades longer than fixing soot emissions.

Also, population takes decades to change. So if the warning is about 2050 then population is not where you should be looking for any solution.

Any climate result is already "baked in" based on population levels and carbon dioxide. I think the forecasts are overstating the issue or are wrong and that more can be done to modify the climate if needed and more effective steps can be taken around climate, food and resources.

The problem that many environmentalists have is that they see trends around resource demand but do not try to see what is being done to increase supply and automatically fall back to wanting people to be poor, dead or unborn.


Meat and grain yields are still increasing now and are projected to continue to increase through 2020.

Studies using existing agricultural methods indicates that feeding 15 billion people is feasible.

Aging heart cells rejuvenated by modified stem cells that enhanced telomerase

Damaged and aged heart tissue of older heart failure External link patients was rejuvenated by stem cells modified by scientists, according to research presented at the American Heart Association’s Basic Cardiovascular Sciences 2012 Scientific Sessions.

* Elderly heart failure patients’ heart cells were rejuvenated with modified stem cells.
* The rejuvenated cells could one day be used to repair damaged heart muscles.
Newly formed Myocytes

Human Cardiac Progenitor Cells Engineered with PIM-1 Kinase Enhance Myocardial Repair

July 24, 2012

Carnival of Space 259

Histogenics Gets $49 Million for Tissue Regeneration—and Recapitalization

Xconomy - Histogenics, a regenerative medicine company based in Waltham, MA, has closed $49 million in new financing led by Sofinnova Ventures.

The deal is being called a Series A financing round for the company. According to our records, however, Histogenics has raised more than $40 million in equity and debt funding since 2008. The company started back in 2000 and acquired ProChon BioTech in a stock deal last year. Today’s financing is a traditional recapitalization, not a restart, according to a company spokesperson.

Histogenics is in the middle of clinical trials for its lead product candidate, called NeoCart. This is a tissue implant that uses a patient’s own cells to grow cartilage outside the body for the purpose of repairing cartilage lesions in the knee. The company has another product candidate, called VeriCart, that uses a tissue-engineering approach involving stem cells and a collagen scaffold to repair cartilage defects. That product is slated for the European market, pending regulatory clearance.

Nanoparticles and gene therapy used to trick the body into overproducing the desired tissue to enable regeneration

Researchers at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) have developed a new method of repairing bone using synthetic bone graft substitute material, which combined with gene therapy, can mimic real bone tissue and has potential to regenerate bone in patients who have lost large areas of bone from either disease or trauma. Nanoparticles and gene therapy are used so that the body's cells are tricked into overproducing bone producing proteins known as BMPs, encouraging regrowth of healthy bone tissue. This is the first time these in-house synthesised nanoparticles have been used in this way and the method has potential to be applied to regenerate tissues in other parts of the body.

The researchers have developed an innovative scaffold material (made from collagen and nano-sized particles of hydroxyapatite) which acts as a platform to attract the body’s own cells and repair bone in the damaged area using gene therapy. The cells are tricked into overproducing bone producing proteins known as BMPs, encouraging regrowth of healthy bone tissue. This is the first time these in-house synthesised nanoparticles have been used in this way and the method has potential to be applied to regenerate tissues in other parts of the body.

Science Daily has coverage

Researchers at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) have developed a new method of repairing bone using synthetic bone graft substitute material, which combined with gene therapy, can mimic real bone tissue. (Credit: © Marco Desscouleurs / Fotolia)

Advanced Materials - Innovative Collagen Nano-Hydroxyapatite Scaffolds Offer a Highly Efficient Non-Viral Gene Delivery Platform for Stem Cell-Mediated Bone Formation

Clean Air and Climate Coalition against Soot and other Short Term Air Pollution

The Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short Lived Climate Pollutants is a voluntary Partnership of governments, intergovernmental organizations, representatives of the private sector, the environmental community, and other members of civil society that have joined forces to address the challenge of short lived climate pollutants.

Current members :

The United Kingdom
The United States of America
The European Commission

Short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) are agents that have relatively short lifetime in the atmosphere - a few days to a few decades - and a warming influence on climate. The main short lived climate pollutants are black carbon, methane and tropospheric ozone, which are the most important contributors to the human enhancement of the global greenhouse effect after CO2. These short-lived climate pollutants are also dangerous air pollutants, with various detrimental impacts on human health, agriculture and ecosystems. Other short-lived climate pollutants include some hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). While HFCs are currently present in small quantity in the atmosphere their contribution to climate forcing is projected to climb to as much as 19% of global CO2 emissions by 2050.

Avoiding millions of premature deaths

Each year, 3.1 million people die prematurely from indoor and outdoor air pollution. Short-lived climate pollutants are largely to blame. Fast actions on short lived climate pollutants, such as the widespread adoption of advanced cookstoves and clean fuels, have the potential to prevent over 2 million of premature deaths each year.

Increasing crop yields

Feeding a growing world population has become one of the major issues of our century and we cannot afford to lose millions of tons of crops each year because of air pollution. Present day global relative yield losses due to tropospheric ozone exposure range between 7-12 percent for wheat, 6-16 percent for soybean, 3-4 percent for rice, and 3-5 percent for maize

Bakken formation, Eagle Ford shale drilling could slow and other Oil and Gas News

1. Oil and Gas Journal - The pace of oil drilling could slow in the Bakken formation in North Dakota and also in the Eagle Ford shale in South Texas if US prices were to drop below $80/bbl for a sustained period, said Baker Hughes Inc.’s president and chief executive officer.

“I think the shoe’s dropping in South Texas, no doubt about it,” Martin S. Craighead said during a July 20 second-quarter Baker Hughes earnings conference call. “I’m a little bit more concerned about the Bakken than I am (about) the Permian [basin],” he said.

Separately, Barclays Capital analyst Amrita Sen wrote in a July 10 research note that North Dakota might be experiencing a slowdown after the state has repeatedly reported record drilling. Both the Bakken and Eagle Ford have contributed to the US rig count and oil production statistics.

Kazakhstan produced 5040 tons of uranium in the second quarter

1. Businessweek - Kazakhstan, the world’s biggest uranium producer, increased second-quarter output of the radioactive metal by 9 percent from the previous three months to 5,040 metric tons, state-owned Kazatomprom said.

Kazatomprom’s share of production totaled 2,896 tons, also a gain of 9 percent from the first quarter.

The company produced a total of 19,450 tons of uranium in 2011 - 9% up against 2010. Plans exist to increase the figure to 25,000 tons a year by 2015. Estimated net profit of KazAtomProm hit $523.6 million in 2011.

2. Herald Sun - URANIUM miner Energy Resources of Australia has revealed production has more than doubled this year as it recovers from the heavy flooding that hampered output in 2011.

The group's shares jumped almost 2 per cent yesterday after it declared it had produced almost 1250 tonnes of uranium oxide in the six months to June - up 107 per cent on the same period last year.

Nanoscopic-sized gold stars increase disease test sensitivity by one billion times to detect diseases earlier

Scientists, from London Centre for Nanotechnology at Imperial College London and the University of Vigo, have created a test to detect particular molecules that indicate the presence of disease, even when these are in very low concentrations. There are already tests available for some diseases that look for such biomarkers using biological sensors or ’biosensors’. However, existing biosensors become less sensitive and predictable at detecting biomarkers when they are in very low concentrations, as occurs when a disease is in its early stages.

In today’s study, the researchers demonstrated that the new biosensor test can find a biomarker associated with prostate cancer, called Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA). However, the team say that the biosensor can be easily reconfigured to test for other diseases or viruses where the related biomarker is known.

a, The mechanism involves capturing the target antigen (red) by means of an antibody linked to plasmonic gold nanostars and a secondary antibody conjugated to the enzyme glucose oxidase (GOx; green). b, GOx oxidizes glucose in the presence of the co-factor flavin adenin dinucleotide (FAD), and produces H2O2, which in turn acts as a reducing agent for the formation of metallic silver from silver ions (these are added to the nanostar solution in a final step, akin to the old-fashioned photographic development process). If the sample contains a low concentration of antigen–GOx complexes, the rate of H2O2 production will be low. Silver will then mainly form as a thin coating on the surface of the gold nanostars, resulting in a large shift of the plasmon resonance wavelength (top right). Conversely, a high concentration of antigen–GOx leads to the production of H2O2 at a rate that is so rapid that silver clusters are formed in solution, resulting in a much smaller shift of the nanostar plasmon band (bottom right). Panel a courtesy of Roberto de la Rica and Molly Stevens.

Nature Materials - Plasmonic nanosensors with inverse sensitivity by means of enzyme-guided crystal growth

Scalable device for quantum information processing

Researchers in NPL's (UK National Physical Laboratory) Quantum Detection Group have demonstrated for the first time a monolithic 3DNature Nanotechnology - A monolithic array of three-dimensional ion traps fabricated with conventional semiconductor technology. The device could be used in quantum computation, where entangled qubits are used to execute powerful quantum algorithms. As an example, factorisation of large numbers by a quantum algorithm is dramatically faster than with a classical algorithm.

Scalable ion traps consisting of a 2D array of electrodes have been developed, however 3D trap geometries can provide a superior potential for confining the ions. Creating a successful scalable 3D ion trapping device is based on maintaining two qualities - the ability to scale the device to accommodate increasing numbers of atomic particles, whilst preserving the trapping potential which enables precise control of ions at the atomic level. Previous research resulted in compromising at least one of these factors, largely due to limitations in the manufacturing processes.

The team at NPL has now produced the first monolithic ion microtrap array which uniquely combines a near ideal 3D geometry with a scalable fabrication process - a breakthrough in this field. In terms of elementary operating characteristics, the microtrap chip outperforms all other scalable devices for ions.

State of the Art of Carbon Nanotube Fibers: Opportunities and Challenges

The Chou research group in the University of Delaware's College of Engineering recently reported on advances in carbon nanotube-based continuous fibers with invited articles in Advanced Materials and Materials Today, two high impact scientific journals.

According to Tsu-Wei Chou, Pierre S. du Pont Chair of Engineering, who co-authored the articles with colleagues Weibang Lu and Amanda Wu, there has been a concerted scientific effort over the last decade to “go big” – to translate the superb physical and mechanical properties of nanoscale carbon nanotubes to the macroscale.

The result, he says, has been the development of continuous fibers comprised solely of carbon nanotubes held together through local entanglements and van der Waals forces, a type of weak molecular interactions.

“Despite a discontinuous microstructure, these carbon nanotube fibers exhibit strengths comparable to current high performance fibers with significantly lower densities, creating new avenues for ultra-light weight multifunctional composite materials and structures,” explains Chou.

“Furthermore, their flexibility and electrical conductivity have gained attention and given rise to the potential for carbon nanotube fibers to serve as embedded strain and damage sensors.”

Advanced Materials - State of the Art of Carbon Nanotube Fibers: Opportunities and Challenges

Controversial Rossi Now Claims the Energy Catalyzer is Stable over 1000C and a Big Report is coming this September

Ecat World - Rossi claims that there will be an important report about the high temperature E-Cats published in September, 2012.

Rossi claims that the energy catalyzer is now stable at temperatures over 1,000C.

Rossi claims that the first non-military 1 Megawatt e-cat plant will be delivered and in operation within this year (2012 ? within 12 months of when he made the statement?).

Optimising Magnesium diboride superconductors

Magnesium diboride (MgB2), was discovered to be superconducting material in 2001. It has has the highest transition temperature (it becomes superconducting, 39K) for a conventional superconductor.

MgB2 could become the superconducting material of choice in numerous medium-range magnetic field applications such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). European companies already play a dominant role in MRI and the use of low-cost MgB2 could substantially enhance European competitiveness in a large global market.

Doping effects of ZrC and ZrB2 in the powder-in-tube processed MgB2 tapes (2006)

* Doping MgB2 with carbon (e.g. using 10% malic acid) can improve the upper critical field and the maximum current density (also with polyvinyl acetate).

* 5% doping with carbon can raise Hc2 from 16 T to 36 T whilst lowering Tc only from 39 K to 34 K. The maximum critical current (Jc) is reduced, but doping with TiB2 can reduce the decrease. (Doping MgB2 with Ti is patented.)

* The maximum critical current (Jc) in magnetic field is enhanced greatly by doping with ZrB2.

* Even small amounts of doping lead both bands into the type II regime and so no semi-Meissner state may be expected.

Canadian Point Lepreau nuclear power station authorized for restart

July 23, 2012

'Rattle memory', new computer memory thanks to nanotechnology

Researchers from the FOM Foundation and Eindhoven University of Technology have successfully made a 'magnetic domain-wall ratchet' memory, a computer memory that is built up from moving bits of magnetised areas. This memory potentially offers many advantages compared to standard hard disks, such as a higher speed, lower electricity consumption and much longer life. Using concentrated ion bundles the researchers have influenced the magnetic wires the bits move through, and they have successfully controlled bits at the nanometer scale and subsequently constructed a new memory.

The bits in a nanowire can be conceptualised as areas that can have two possible magnetic directions, a 0 or a 1. Usually all of the bits are simultaneously set at either 0 or 1 during the construction as they reverse like compass needles. The researchers have now demonstrated that bits can be coherently transferred without the information they contain being lost. This method of magnetic data transport is radically different from that in current computers, where rotating magnetic disks are mechanically moved to address data.

Ion irradiation creates an asymmetric potential or 'ratchet' for the main walls (visualised as light-yellow spheres). The bit with a magnetic coating is shifted one position to the left by sequentially positioning a field upwards and downwards

Nature Nanotechnology - Shift registers based on magnetic domain wall ratchets with perpendicular anisotropy

Controlling chemical reactions of a single particle using ultracold neutral atoms

Nature Physics - Traditionally, chemical reactions have been investigated by tuning thermodynamic parameters, such as temperature or pressure. More recently, laser or magnetic field control methods have emerged to provide new experimental possibilities, in particular in the realm of cold collisions. The control of reaction pathways is also a critical component to implement molecular quantum information processing. For these studies, single particles provide a clean and well-controlled experimental system. Here, we report on the experimental tuning of the exchange reaction rates of a single trapped ion with ultracold neutral atoms by exerting control over both their quantum states. We observe the influence of the hyperfine interaction on chemical reaction rates and branching ratios, and monitor the kinematics of the reaction products. These investigations advance chemistry with single trapped particles towards achieving quantum-limited control of chemical reactions and indicate limits for buffer-gas cooling of single-ion clocks.

Sally Ride Dies of Pancreatic Cancer

29 years ago Sally Ride rode to orbit aboard space shuttle Challenger to become America's first woman in space. Sally Ride has died of pancreatic cancer.

Ride's contribution to America's space program continued right up until her death at age 61 this week. After two trips to orbit aboard the shuttle, she went on to an award-winning academic career at the University of California, San Diego, where her expertise and wisdom were widely sought on matters related to space. She holds the distinction of being the only person to serve as a member of both investigation boards following NASA's two space shuttle accidents. She also served as a member of the Review of U.S. Human Spaceflight Plans Committee in 2009 which informed many of the decisions about NASA's current human spaceflight programs.

However, Ride's place in history was assured on June 18, 1983 when she rocketed into space on Challenger's STS-7 mission with four male crewmates.

Micro-drones: The new face of cutting-edge warfare

New Scientist - Drones are getting smaller and smarter, able to navigate and identify targets without GPS or human operators. Micro-aerial vehicles (MAVs) with uncanny navigation and real-time mapping capabilities could soon be zipping through indoor and outdoor spaces, running reconnaissance missions that others cannot. They would allow soldiers to look over hills, inside buildings and inspect suspicious objects without risk.

Researchers led by Roland Brockers at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, have developed a MAV that uses a camera pointed at the ground to navigate and pick landing spots. It can even identify people and other objects. The system enables the drone to travel through terrain where human control and GPS are unavailable, such as a city street or inside a building.

After takeoff, the autonomous landing (a) and automated ingress (b) algorithm proceed in three phases: Detection, Refinement, and Approach.

Autonomous landing and ingress of micro-air-vehicles in urban environments based on monocular vision.(12 pages)

First gene-therapy medicine to be recommended for authorisation in the European Unionl

Glybera is the first gene-therapy medicine to be recommended for authorisation in the European Union. Gene therapy medicines have the potential to cure genetic disorders by replacing a defective gene with a working copy, thus helping the body to recover functionality. Glybera uses an adeno-associated virus vector as the delivery vehicle to add working copies of the LPL gene into muscle cells to enable production of the enzyme in the cells.

Many people in Brazil, Sudan, India, Iran and China exceed the maximum yearly dose for US Civilians based on Natural Background Radiation

The 30-40 millisieverts per year of radiation that people in part of Brazil, Saudan, India and China get is higher than the annual dosage limits for non-radiation workers in the United States.

Background radiation exposure varies hugely, from an annual average of 2.2 millisieverts in the UK to above 30 millisieverts in the Indian state of Kerala (pictured) and the city of Chennai, and as high as 40 millisieverts in parts of Brazil and Sudan, according to the World Nuclear Association.

It all depends on local geology. India, for example, has large amounts of radioactive thorium in its soil. The province of Ramsar in Iran has hot springs full of dissolved radium-226, making it the most naturally radioactive place in the world, with doses up to 250 millisieverts a year, five times the permitted dose for American radiation workers.

The dosage limits do not include background radiation. Even though background radiation varies by location.

It is not clear if a nuclear industry worker who vacations in the Brazil or Sudan would have the extra background radiation that they experience there counting against their dosage limit.

World Nuclear Association on radiation and health

US Dosage Limits

50 millisieverts is the maximum yearly dose for nuclear industry workers.
5 millisieverts is the maximum yearly dose for regular civilians in the USA.

Raytheon funded for Anti-Ballastic Missile Interceptor

Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) was awarded a $636 million development and sustainment contract to provide the Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle to The Boeing Company, which is the prime contractor for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense program.

EKV represents the centerpiece for the Missile Defense Agency's GMD as the intercept component of the Ground Based Interceptor, also known as GBI, which is designed to engage high-speed ballistic missile warheads in space.

"When it comes to developing, testing and deploying technologies that enable the intercept of threats in space, Raytheon is a world leader," said Dr. Taylor W. Lawrence, Raytheon Missile Systems president. "We are proud to contribute to our nation's first line of defense against the threat of ballistic missiles."

Under conditions of the contract, which extends through November 2018, Raytheon will provide EKV development, fielding, testing, system engineering, integration, configuration management, equipment manufacturing and refurbishment, and operation and sustainment.

Tissue Engineered Jellyfish made from Rat Heart Muscle Cells and Polymers

New Scientist - Called a medusoid, after the umbrella-shaped class of jellyfish it mimics, the silicone cyborg uses heart muscle cells from a rat to recreate the pumping motion of the moon jellyfish, Aurelia aurita. When video of the medusoid is shown alongside that of the real thing, the similarity is startling.

They have tissue engineered (and intergrated it with other engineering) a soft robot cyborg that simulates a living creature.

Nature Biotechnology - A tissue-engineered jellyfish with biomimetic propulsion

Reverse engineering of biological form and function requires hierarchical design over several orders of space and time. Recent advances in the mechanistic understanding of biosynthetic compound materials computer-aided design approaches in molecular synthetic biology and traditional soft robotics and increasing aptitude in generating structural and chemical microenvironments that promote cellular self-organization have enhanced the ability to recapitulate such hierarchical architecture in engineered biological systems. Here we combined these capabilities in a systematic design strategy to reverse engineer a muscular pump. We report the construction of a freely swimming jellyfish from chemically dissociated rat tissue and silicone polymer as a proof of concept. The constructs, termed 'medusoids', were designed with computer simulations and experiments to match key determinants of jellyfish propulsion and feeding performance by quantitatively mimicking structural design, stroke kinematics and animal-fluid interactions. The combination of the engineering design algorithm with quantitative benchmarks of physiological performance suggests that our strategy is broadly applicable to reverse engineering of muscular organs or simple life forms that pump to survive.

Jellyfish-inspired Medusoid muscle and body design. a, Muscle architecture in juvenile jellyfish showing radial and circular fiber orientations. Note: Composite image generated from single stained lobe copied and rotated to eight positions around central axis to extrapolate musculature of “entire” animal. White: F-actin stain. b, Biomimetic Medusoid muscle layout based on late-stage ephyrae. c, Final optimized Medusoid body and muscle layout with radial and circular fiber orientations. d, Suboptimal Medusoid design promoting inefficient fluid interactions (“sieve design”). e, Close-up on junction of radial and circular muscle in jellyfish. f, Close-up on junction of radial and circular muscle in Medusoid. Note: This tissue was micropatterned using 20 μm wide lines spaced by 20 μm to emphasize longitudinal edges and improve pattern visibility. Final constructs were patterned with 22 μm wide lines separated by 4 μm gaps resulting in confluent anisotropic tissue (Fig. 1f).

Zyvex marine has a new carbon nanotube composite boat

Zyvex Marine, a division of Zyvex Technologies, the world's first molecular nanotechnology company, today announced the global launch of the LRV-17. The advanced Long Range Vessel is designed for fuel efficiency and rough sea stabilization with a sprint speed over 40 knots and a range of over 1,500 nautical miles, more than three times the range of comparatively sized vessels.

Global Maritime Security Solutions (GMSS), a leading maritime security company based in Dubai, will deploy the vessels for maritime security, including piracy protection, off the coast of Africa and surrounding areas.

The LRV-17 is built from Arovex®, a carbon fiber nano-composite system (carbon fiber reinforced plastic enhanced with carbon nanotubes or CFRP-CNT) that reduces structural weight, allowing for more efficient fuel usage and increased range. This is the first time nano-composites have been used as the primary material for a manned vessel.

July 22, 2012

Chinas Strategic Industries

China has released a plan for the development of its new strategic industries from now to the end of 2015.

The seven new strategic industries include energy conservation and environment protection, new information technology, biology, high-end equipment manufacturing, new materials, new energy and new-energy cars, according to the plan.

The seven industries will maintain an average growth rate of more than 20 percent during the 2011-15 period, the plan said.

The total value-added output of the industries will account for around 8 percent in China's GDP by 2015, it said.

Nextbigfuture reviewed when China was planning the investments at the end of 2010

APCO Worldwide describes how China's current 5 year plan is to work.

Three sectors that will receive a major boost from the 12th FYP are health care, energy
and technology. Not only have segments of these sectors been singled out as China’s
new Strategic Emerging Industries (SEIs), but they also dovetail with the 12th FYP’s
emphasis on “inclusive growth.”

Strategic Emerging Industries: No longer content with being considered the “world’s factory,” Chinese planners have included several preferential tax, fiscal and procurement policies designed to develop seven “Strategic Emerging Industries” (SEIs). Planners hope these industries will become the backbone of China’s economy in the decades ahead, and they have been chosen sectors where Chinese corporations are expected to succeed on a global scale. The seven industries are biotechnology, new energy, highend equipment manufacturing, energy conservation and environmental protection, clean-energy vehicles, new materials, and next-generation IT. The government is reportedly prepared to spend more than RMB 4 trillion ($600 billion) on these industries during the 12th FYP period, with an aim to increase SEI’s contribution from today’s approximately 5 percent of GDP to 8 percent by 2015 and 15 percent by 2020.

China will spend about $1.5 trillion from 2011 -2020 on the Strategic Industries.

Laying the Ground for future molecular machines, Interlocked molecules can function inside solid materials

A graduate student and his team of researchers have turned the chemistry world on its ear by becoming the first ever to prove that tiny interlocked molecules can function inside solid materials, laying the important groundwork for the future creation of molecular machines.

“Until now, this has only ever been done in solution,” explained Chemistry & Biochemistry PhD student Nick Vukotic, lead author on a front page article recently published in the June issue of the journal Nature Chemistry. “We’re the first ones to put this into a solid state material.
This schematic shows how the various elements assemble themselves into mechanically interlocked molecules.

Nature Chemistry - Metal–organic frameworks with dynamic interlocked components

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 114

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