November 10, 2012

Dalian Wanda Group makes

China has Broad Group who factory mass produces skyscrapers.

Businesswithoutborders - Chinese state-owned conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group Corp is probably best known outside China for its bold $2.6 billion purchase of U.S. movie theater chain AMC this summer. In Chinese real estate circles, however, it’s known for something else altogether: churning out shopping malls in a fraction of the time it would take other developers.

Wanda is a household name in China, with 55 “Wanda Plaza” mixed-use developments across China. Among them is Nanjing Jianye Wanda Plaza, a mall with a gross floor area of a 275,000 square meters (68 acres or 2.96 million square feet) – roughly equivalent to 60 American football fields – that the company managed to build in 12 months.
The Mall of American has 4.2 million square feet (2.7 million square feet of retail space). The Mall of AMerica took 3 years to build.

Nexus 4 and IPad Mini Reviews

1. - picking up the Nexus 4, you can tell this is a quality device just like the LG Optimus G we recently reviewed. Not since HTC manufactured Nexus phones for Google has one felt this good. The Nexus 4 has the best screen of any Android phone.

The Google Nexus 4 can be purchased for a mind-blowing $299 for the 8GB model… without a contract. Google’s best phone ever — in fact, the best Android phone ever created — can be bought for only $299 with no two-year agreement. It’s just insane. It’s said that Google is subsidizing the cost of each handset sold by up to $350 each, but that’s not your problem, now is it?

2. - Does the world need a newer, smaller iPad that’s practically the same price as the existing iPad 2? I mean, looking at it on paper, the iPad mini uses the same hardware as the iPad 2 — the same processor, same amount of RAM, same screen resolution — and it’s only $70 less expensive. Why would consumers choose this over the iPad 2 or even a regular iPad? The answer is immediately obvious from the moment you pick up the iPad mini.

Google operating at its own level of multi-cloud reliability and scalability

Google’s spanner handles trillions of rows of data and Google is shifting away from NoSQL and to NewSQL. Google believes it is better to have application programmers deal with performance problems due to overuse of transactions as bottlenecks arise, rather than always coding around the lack of transactions.

A complicating factor for an Open Source effort is that Spanner includes the use of GPS and Atomic clock hardware.

Spanner is Google's scalable, multi-version, globally-distributed, and synchronously-replicated database. It is the first system to distribute data at global scale and support externally-consistent distributed transactions. This paper describes how Spanner is structured, its feature set, the rationale underlying various design decisions, and a novel time API that exposes clock uncertainty. This API and its implementation are critical to supporting external consistency and a variety of powerful features: non-blocking reads in the past, lock-free read-only transactions, and atomic schema changes, across all of Spanner.

The servers in a Spanner universe.

A zone has one zonemaster and between one hundred and several thousand spanservers. The former assigns data to spanservers; the latter serve data to clients. The
per-zone location proxies are used by clients to locate the spanservers assigned to serve their data. The universe master and the placement driver are currently singletons. The universe master is primarily a console that displays status information about all the zones for interactive debugging.

Amazon is somewhat competitive with datacenter reliability but they charge to replicate across clouds. Amazon does failover automatically across clouds and data centers.

A few decades ago Toyota and Japanese car makers had several times more reliability and quality than competing car companies. This required having a different company culture. Orders of magnitude greater reliability and quality can be competitive weapons that enable things to be done that are impossible for those without the quality and reliability. Google also operates at levels of scale that competitors cannot match.

Spanner: Google’s Globally-Distributed Database (14 pages)

China considers a 16 billion program to develop high performance jet engines

China has failed to build a reliable, high-performance jet engine to end its dependence on Russian and Western makers for equipping its military and commercial aircraft. Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), the country's dominant military and commercial aviation contractor, is hopeful the government will back a multi-billion dollar plan to build a high-performance engine. China is evaluating a 100 billion yuan ($16 billion) plan to galvanize a disjointed and under-funded engine research effort, aviation industry officials say.

AVIC, a Beijing-based giant, with more than 400,000 employees and 200 subsidiaries including 20 listed companies, has already set aside about 10 billion yuan of its own funds for jet engine development over the next three years.

So China has copied advanced jet airframes (the bodies of the planes) and has the electronics, but they do not yet have good jet engines.

It will likely take China over $100 billion and 10-15 years to catch up in jet engines.

A Direct Voltage breaker for high voltage transmission will enable interconnect between countries and continents

ABB, the leading power and automation technology group, today announced a breakthrough in the ability to interrupt direct current, solving a 100-year-old electrical engineering puzzle and paving the way for a more efficient and reliable electricity supply system.

After years of research, ABB has developed the world’s first circuit breaker for high voltage direct current (HVDC). It combines very fast mechanics with power electronics, and will be capable of ‘interrupting’ power flows equivalent to the output of a large power station within 5 milliseconds- that is thirty times faster than the blink of a human eye.

The breakthrough removes a 100-year-old barrier to the development of DC transmission grids, which will enable the efficient integration and exchange of renewable energy. DC grids will also improve grid reliability and enhance the capability of existing AC (alternating current) networks. ABB is in discussions with power utilities to identify pilot projects for the new development.

Overlay DC grids will be able to interconnect countries and continents, balance loads and reinforce the existing AC transmission networks. “

Brain-Computer Interface Technologies in the Coming Decades

Arxiv - : As the proliferation of technology dramatically infiltrates all aspects of modern life, in
many ways the world is becoming
so dynamic and complex that technological capabilities are overwhelming human capabilities to optimally interact with and leverage those technologies. Fortunately, these technological advancements have also driven an explosion of neuroscience research over the past several decades, presenting engineers with a remarkable opportunity to design and develop flexible and adaptive brain-based neurotechnologies that integrate with and capitalize on human capabilities and limitations to improve human-system interactions. Major forerunners of this conception are brain-computer interfaces (BCIs), which to this point have been largely focused on improving the quality of life for particular clinical populations and include, for example, applications for advanced communications with paralyzed or “locked-in” patients as well as the direct control of prostheses and wheelchairs. Near-term applications are envisioned that are primarily task-oriented and are targeted to avoid the most difficult obstacles to development. In the farther term, a holistic approach to BCIs will enable a broad range of task-oriented and opportunistic applications by leveraging pervasive technologies and advanced analytical approaches to sense and merge critical brain, behavioral, task, and environmental information. Communications and other applications that are envisioned to be broadly impacted by BCIs are highlighted; however, these represent just a small sample of the potential of these technologies.

Indian Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project to start production by first week of December

The controversy-hit Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) will start its production by the first week of December and the first tranche of entire 1,000 MW of power will go to Tamil Nadu, Union minister V Narayanasamy said.

He said enriched uranium has been fed in the core of the vessel and the lid was closed. "Now, the vessel is being pressurised. After that trial run will start. That will go for about 20 days. Thereafter the production is likely to start. Probably in the end of November or first week of December," he told PTI here in an interview.

Researchers Produce Tissue-Engineered Human Colon from Postnatal Donor Colon

Researchers have for the first time grown tissue-engineered human large intestine. The human tissue-engineered colon includes all of the required specialized cell types that are found in human large intestine. The research team grew the tissue-engineered large intestine from specific groups of cells, called organoid units that were derived from intestinal tissue normally discarded after surgery. The organoid units grew on a biodegradable scaffold. After 4 weeks, the human tissue-engineered colon contained the differentiated cell types required in the functioning colon, and included other key components including smooth muscle, ganglion cells, and components of the stem cell niche. Identification of a human-specific protein confirmed that the tissue-engineered large intestine grew from human cells. This proof-of-concept experiment is an important step in transitioning tissue-engineered colon to human therapy.

Atala predicts within next decade we will see partial replacement of organs via tissue engineering and regeneration

Slate - Anthony Atala ( the director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine - he also had a TED talk in 2010 where he showed off an engineered kidney)predicts, “Within the next decade, we will see partial replacements of [some] organs—not the entire replacement, but many times that’s all we need.” Of course, the very necessary regulatory process will have to be carried out before there is widespread use of regenerated organs. Atala notes that the average drug takes 15.5 years to be approved in the United States, and regenerative medicine is neither drug nor medical device, but a combination thereof, which makes approval even more complicated. However, he tells me, the FDA has recently created an Office of Combined Products that will help this process run a bit more smoothly.

November 09, 2012

OECD World Economy Outlook out to 2060

OECD - Looking to 2060: Long-term
global growth prospects - A GOING FOR GROWTH REPORT No. 03 (30 pages)

This OECD forecast is using the current World Bank purchasing power parity calculation which likely understates China's GDP by PPP by 70%

A paper, Who Shrunk China? Puzzles in the Measurement of Real GDP by Robert C. Feenstra, Hong Ma, J. Peter Neary, D.S. Prasada Rao argue that IMF’s estimate of China’s GDP for 2005 was 50% too low. (37 pages)

Their analysis is important, not just because it is carefully done, but also because Professor Feenstra will be leading the effort to produce the next generation of the Penn World Table GDP (PPP-based) estimates.

If they are right, and if I therefore might have underestimated China’s 2010 GDP (PPP dollars) by about 20 to 23 percent, three conclusions follow.

This implies China’s 2010 GDP PPP exceeded $17 trillion and in 2012 will reach $20 trillion.

India would also be understated by about 40-50% if the updated analysis is correct.

The balance of economic power is expected to shift dramatically over the next half century, with fast-growing emerging-market economies accounting for an ever-increasing share of global output, according to a new OECD report.

Divergent long-term growth patterns lead to radical shifts in the relative size of economies. The United States is expected to cede its place as the world's largest economy to China, as early as 2016. India’s GDP is also expected to pass that of the United States over the long term. Combined, the two Asian giants will soon surpass the collective economy of the G7 nations. Fast-aging economic heavyweights, such as Japan and the euro area, will gradually lose ground on the global GDP table to countries with a younger population, like Indonesia and Brazil.

China will see more than a seven-fold increase in per capita income over the coming half century, but living standards will still only be 60% of that in the leading countries in 2060. India will experience similar growth, but its per capita income will only be about 25% of that in advanced countries.

"None of these forecasts are set in stone," Mr. Gurría said. "We know that bold structural reforms can boost long-term growth and living standards in advanced and emerging-market economies alike."

OECD research shows that wide-ranging labour and product market reforms could raise long-term living standards by an average of 16% over the next 50 years relative to the baseline scenario, which only assumes moderate policy improvements.

NASA may unveil new manned missions to the moon and L2

NASA is thinking about setting up a manned outpost beyond the moon's far side, both to establish a human presence in deep space and to build momentum toward a planned visit to an asteroid in 2025.

Exploration of Earth-moon L2 could get started as early as 2021 with the first manned flight of SLS and Orion, which NASA calls Exploration Mission 2. (Exploration Mission 1 is the initial, unmanned test launch of SLS, slated for late 2017.)

"I'm not privy to the specifics of this, but one could conceive of the second SLS mission being the start of activity in cislunar space, rather than just being a lunar orbit mission," Logsdon said.

We may know soon enough. NASA higher-ups have dropped hints recently that a big announcement may indeed be in the offing before too much longer.

November 08, 2012

Researchers design proteins from scratch with predictable structures to enable building blocks for nanoscale assembly

Nature - Proteins are an enormous molecular achievement: chains of amino acids that fold spontaneously into a precise conformation, time after time, optimized by evolution for their particular function. Yet given the exponential number of contortions possible for any chain of amino acids, dictating a sequence that will fold into a predictable structure has been a daunting task.

Now researchers report that they can do just that. By following a set of rules described in a paper published in Nature today1, a team from David Baker’s laboratory at the University of Washington in Seattle has designed five proteins from scratch that fold reliably into predicted conformations. In a blind test, the team showed that the synthesized proteins closely match the predicted structures.

“There’s really only one previous example of a protein that has been designed from scratch: that’s Top7 which we designed 10 years ago,” said Baker, a computational structural biologist. “Top7 was sort of a one-off case,” he says. In the new work, the team presents a generalized approach.

“What you have now is a flexible set of building blocks for nanoscale assembly,” says Jeremy England, a molecular biophysicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, who was not involved in the work.

In 1981, Eric Drexler wrote of the protein pathway to molecular manufacturing.

ARM CEO sees TV and Computers as Big Smartphones

Technology Review- ARM is a British company that licenses the energy-efficient processor designs required by mobile devices. Those chips were once considered significantly less powerful than the x86 processors found in desktops, laptops, and servers—a market dominated by Intel—but that gap appears to be closing. Microsoft is exploring a switch to ARM’s technology for traditional computers, suggesting that ARM’s technology will soon shape more than just mobile computing.

ARM CEO sees other devices like Smartphones

To me a PC is really just a smartphone in another form factor. It’s got a bit more local storage, and it’s got some types of interfaces that are a bit different. You wouldn’t have a DVD player in your phone because there’s no room for a DVD, but actually there’s no reason why you couldn’t have a connector to an optical reader to have a DVD. TVs are the same. TVs are big smartphones. Computers are kind of medium smartphones.

I would then guess that cars are bigger smartphones with wheels and Airplanes would be really big flying smartphones.

Climate Change more than doubles Canada Farmland prices

Climate change is giving Canada a longer growing season and milder climate. This is enabling a switch from wheat to corn production and more than doubling farmland prices.

Corn’s new appeal to Canada’s prairie farmers is based on two things: climate change and price. Growing seasons in the prairie provinces—which border Minnesota, North Dakota, and Montana—have lengthened about two weeks to up to 120 days in the past half-century. The mean annual temperature is likely to climb by as much as 3C (6F) in the region by 2050, according to Canadian researchers.

A temperate climate and longer growing season are ideal for corn. An acre of farmland produces more corn than wheat, making corn the more profitable grain, while the higher yields drive up land values as well.

Corn has long grown in southern Ontario’s mild climate, but for Canadians to be big players in the crop at a new order of magnitude, they must plant in the vast farmland of the prairie provinces. Farmers planted a record 121,400 hectares (300,000 acres) of corn in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta this year.

Bloomberg - The US produces 275 to 300 million tons of corn. Farmers across the world will harvest 838 million metric tons of corn in the 2012-13 crop year, down 3 percent from 864 million tons forecast on July 26 and below last year’s output of 875 million tons. The US planted about 97 million acres of corn.

Microsoft Moves us closer to a Real Life Star Trek Universal Translator

Technology Review - Microsoft researchers have demonstrated software that translates spoken English into spoken Chinese almost instantly, while preserving the unique cadence of the speaker's voice—a trick that could make conversation more effective and personal.

The first public demonstration was made by Rick Rashid, Microsoft's chief research officer, on October 25 at an event in Tianjin, China. “I'm speaking in English and you'll hear my words in Chinese in my own voice,” Rashid told the audience. The system works by recognizing a person's words, quickly converting the text into properly ordered Chinese sentences, and then handing those over to speech synthesis software that has been trained to replicate the speaker's voice.

There was a blog post with a video

Low Energy Nuclear Reaction Experiment generates millions of neutrons in a second

A University of Missouri professor has resurrected his two-decade-old work in the contested field of cold fusion. He presented his findings at a cold fusion conference in August in South Korea.

Neutron Emission from Cryogenically Cooled Metals Under Thermal Shock (7 pages)

Mark Prelas, now a professor in the university's Nuclear Science and Engineering Institute, received funding from the Sidney Kimmel Institute for Nuclear Renaissance at MU. It was created with a $5.5 million gift from the institute's namesake, an apparel tycoon who founded The Jones Group.

Five other research teams are working on energy-related studies through the institute.

In the original experiment, the team created an emitted neutron-recording device and expected to count about 10 neutrons a second. The card's storage was used up in less than one-hundredth of a second. Then, the team used a counter with the capacity to track up to 1 million neutrons and timed it again. They reached a million neutrons in a second.

Sketch of the testing chamber used for the pressure shock experiment. The pressure guage was a bourbon tube with a 1000 psi maximum and an accuracy of 3%. The catch tank was evacuated and used to capture the D2 gas from the test chamber for analysis. The hot water inlet and outlet were used to thermally shock the samples

High Temperature Gas Cooled Reactors and the potentional market of 700 reactor modules

Westinghouse and others are pursuing the development of a true next-generation nuclear technology referred to as the High Temperature Gas Cooled Reactor (HTGR) for the past few years. Without too much technical detail, HTGRs are helium-cooled, graphite-moderated reactors with robust ceramic-coated fuel that operate at temperatures at or above 750 Degrees Celsius (1400 Fahrenheit) where conventional light water reactors operate at temperatures less than half that. In short:

* The design is intrinsically safe. It requires neither active or passive systems nor operator interventions to remain safe, thereby allowing co-location near major industrial facilities.

* High temperature output that allow direct substitution for fossil fuel use in industrial process heat applications.

* Much higher efficiency leading to lower energy cost, making it competitive with natural gas in many places of the world today without any price for carbon.

There are current HTGR operational demonstrations in Japan and China

First Public 1 Megawatt Rossi Ecat expected in May/June 2013 and other non-Public Sales

Cold Fusion Now - there was an announcement of a projected public 1 Megawatt plant viewing around May/June 2013, a month or so before the ICCF (international Cold Fusion Conference) 18 conference taking place this time around in the US, making for a lot of revision and last minute speech editing if everything goes as scheduled time wise, and the plant is operational and viewable to the selected public.

Rossi also stated - the first 1 MW hot cat will go in operation within February 2013. It will not be a military application, therefore selected persons will be allowed to visit it. It will be installed in a big power production and distribution plant.

2. ECat World - While commercial E-Cat products are listed as being for sale through Prometeon and other licensees, these plants are under wraps for now, and according to Aldo Proia it could be months after installation before the members of the press or general public might be able to see one in action. This being the case, there is not likely to be a huge amount of excitement generated about this technology among the general public if only secret customers are able to see and use it.

Real Life Mad Science Blobs are only 100 micrometers across . . . for now

New Scientist - Creating drops of the active gel about 30 to 100 micrometres across resulted in something akin to cells that crawled across a microscope slide. "It mimics a little bit what might happen in a living system," Marchetti says. But the researchers can control how their artificial cells behave. Adjusting the amount of ATP dictates how long the drops stay in motion, while changing the concentration of tubes affects the way they churn.

The key to making the blob mobile was to add nanometre-sized polymers to the solution, which helped draw the tubes into bundles. A motor protein could then span the tight spaces between tubes and cause them to slide past each other in opposite directions. When Dogic and colleagues crammed enough tubes in a small space, they flowed and churned in patterns that resemble a Van Gogh painting in motion.

Active microtubule networks exhibit internally generated flows

Nature - Spontaneous motion in hierarchically assembled active matter

Only One in six college-educated Indian women works full time

A Gallup study shows that China outpaces India for Women in the Workforce. Chinese women are taking part in their country's labor force in vastly greater numbers than Indian women are, according to Gallup surveys between 2009 and 2012. Overall, 70% of Chinese women are either employed in some capacity or seeking employment, vs. 25% of Indian women.

Not only do Indian women participate in the labor force at lower levels, those who do participate have a harder time finding jobs than women in China. Gallup's data indicate that, among Indian women who are labor force participants, 15% are unemployed -- meaning they are available for work and looking for jobs -- compared with 5% among India's male labor force participants. Among the much larger share of women in the Chinese workforce, 5% are unemployed.


The most recent UNESCO statistics put the literacy rate among Chinese females at 91%, approaching the 97% rate among Chinese men. This rate of literacy far exceeds that in India, where half of women are literate, along with three-quarters of Indian men. Indian women are less likely than Chinese women to receive even a basic education -- and those Indian women who do achieve higher levels of education are less likely to apply it in a full-time job.

A long time to change especially with literacy and education problem

The Economist has a discussion of women in work in different countries. There are many cultural shifts that have to occur and restructuring how the society is organized to enable shifts in women participation in the workforce.

Wikipedia discusses the barriers to women in the workforce and other aspects of the issue

Argonne National Laboratory Engineer makes better diesel engine but states there will be no demand without regulation

Northwestern University - Steve Ciatti, a mechanical engineer at Argonne National Laboratory west of Chicago, modifies diesel engines. By the time he finishes, emissions are reduced 66 to 95 percent and gas mileage improves.

Q: Why hasn’t there been more progress in fuel economy for cars sold in the U.S. despite the high price of gas?

A: It’s very simple. There isn’t much demand for fuel efficiency. Most people are not willing to pay extra for fuel-efficient technologies. Some people are, but in general the answer is “no.” So, short of mandating that people buy fuel-efficient vehicles — which traditionally Americans don’t like; they don’t like being told what to buy — don’t hold your breath.

4 Story tall Vertical Farm that is up to ten times more productive than regular farms

The company SkyGreen is building a vertical farm in Singapore (H/T Singularity Hub)

It is the world’s first low carbon hydraulic water-driven, tropical vegetable urban vertical farm, using green urban solutions to achieve enhanced green sustainable production of safe, fresh and delicious vegetables, using minimal land, water and energy resources.

The farm system, created by the company Sky Green and called A-Go-Gro, is a series of aluminum towers, up to nine meters high, with 38 tiers with troughs in which vegetables are grown. To ensure uniform sunlight the troughs are rotated via a hydraulic water-driven system that needs just 0.5 liters to rotate one of the 1.7 ton structures. With an emphasis on efficiency Sky Green made sure that the water was recycled, eventually being used to water the vegetables themselves. Just 60 Watts of power – just enough for a lightbulb – is needed to operate one tower per day. The company that builds the system, Singapore-based Sky Green, claims that the artificial system is 5 to 10 times more productive than traditional farms.

Only about 7 percent of Singapore’s food is grown locally.

Sky Green is planning on expanding their current 120 towers to 300 in 2013, over which they expect production to increase from half a ton to two tons and increase the proportion of locally grown from 7 to 10 percent. The increased production would also drive prices down and attract even more customers

Cray 'Cascade' XC30 can scale to over 100 petaflops in 3 to 4 years

Register UK - The Aries chip has 217 million gates and Cray has chosen Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp as the foundry to build it, and uses its 40 nanometer processes for etching. Cray has used IBM as a foundry in the past for interconnect chips, but being rivals in the supercomputer racket, Cray is no doubt more comfortable with TSMC these days.

The Aries chip has 184 SERDES lanes, with 30 being optical links, 90 being electrical, and 64 being PCI-Express. Cray has reserved the right to tweak the Aries chip if needed as part of its deal with Intel, and enhanced versions could come out between now and 2016. But Cray is making no promises.

Cray is still putting together the performance specs of Aries, but Bolding dropped a few hints. The injection rate out of any PCI-Express 3.0 port on real workloads into the Aries interconnect is on the order of 8GB/sec to 10GB/sec. The more you load up the XC30 machine, the better it performs compared to the XE6 machine.

At a chassis level, the loaded injection bandwidth is on the order of 2X of that on the XE machine, and on a big box with ten cabinets or more where the whole system is used, its more on the order of 3X. The Dragonfly topology and Aries interconnect has 20X the global bandwidth as the 3D torus-Gemini combo, too.

The other thing that is important about the Dragonfly topology is that it is easier to build up. On the Blue Waters machine that Cray is building, you can't just add one cabinet to the box because you have to build on the 3D torus in a way that everything can still route to everything else.

In fact, you have to add a row of a dozen cabinets at a time to keep the shape of the torus. With Aries, you can add a single group at a time, which is only two cabinets.

Assuming a certainly level of CPU performance enhancements and the addition of GPU or x86 coprocessors, Bolding says that the Aries machine will be able to scale well above 100 petaflops over the next three to four years.

To add support for Intel's Xeon Phi x86 coprocessor or Nvidia's Tesla K20 coprocessor, you just take out half one of the processor daughter cards with CPUs and add a new one in with accelerators. The CPU cards link to the accelerators over PCI-Express, and then on the other side the CPUs link to Aries through PCI-Express links.

The Cray announcement of the XC30. Early shipments of the Cray XC30 are starting now, and systems are expected to be widely available in first quarter of 2013.

Entanglement Makes Quantum Batteries Almost Perfect

Technology Review - In theory, quantum batteries such as atoms and molecules can store and release energy on demand almost perfectly--provided they are entangled, says physicists.

Physicists have long known that it is possible to extract work from some quantum states but not others. These others are known as passive states. So the quantity physicists are interested in is the difference between the energy of the quantum system and its passive states. All that energy is potentially extractable to do work elsewhere.

Alicki and Fannes show that the extractable work is generally less than the thermodynamic limit. In other words, they show that this kind of system isn’t perfect. However, the twist is that Alicki and Fannes say things change if you have several identical quantum batteries that are entangled. Entanglement is a strange quantum link that occurs when separate particles have the same wavefunction. In essence, these particles share the same existence.

Alicki and Fannes show that when quantum batteries are entangled they become much better. That’s essentially because all the energy from all the batteries can be extracted at once. “Using entanglement one can in general extract more work per battery,” they say.

Arxiv - Extractable work from ensembles of quantum batteries. Entanglement helps. (4 pages)

China yuan forecast to appreciate to 5.7 versus the US dollar in 2017

Caixin online - China's currency will gradually appreciate against the U.S. dollar by nearly 10 percent over five years, a report by a private think tank predicts. In 2017, the exchange rate of the yuan against the US dollar would be 5.7, up about 9.5 percent from the current 6.3 level, Beijing-based West Brothers Economic Research Institute said.

The result is based on the assumption that the country's economy will keep growing at 7.5 percent per year over the next five years, compared with 2 percent in the United States.

November 07, 2012

China vows reforms to double GDP by 2020

China will reform to make its currency and interest rates more market-based, boost overseas investments and plough more state funds into industry as part of plans to keep GDP on track to double in size by 2020, President Hu Jintao says. This is a repeat of the target to double the 2010 GDP by 2020.

Hu also restated a commitment to targets that would double household incomes nationwide a decade, in a speech prepared for delivery at the opening of China's Communist Party Congress. Hu is due to step down as party chief during the congress.

"We should firmly maintain the strategic focus of boosting domestic demand, speed up the establishment of a long-term mechanism for increasing consumer demand, unleash the potential of individual consumption, increase investment at a proper pace, and expand the domestic market," Hu's speech said.

China will reform to make its currency and interest rates more market-based, boost overseas investments and plough more state funds into industry as part of plans to keep GDP on track to double in size by 2020, President Hu Jintao says.

Hu also restated a commitment to targets that would double household incomes nationwide a decade, in a speech prepared for delivery at the opening of China's Communist Party Congress. Hu is due to step down as party chief during the congress.

"We should firmly maintain the strategic focus of boosting domestic demand, speed up the establishment of a long-term mechanism for increasing consumer demand, unleash the potential of individual consumption, increase investment at a proper pace, and expand the domestic market," Hu's speech said.

US all liquids oil production over 11 million barrels per day

United States all liquid oil daily oil production is more than 11 million barrels per day

Crude oil production was 6.677 million barrels per day
Other oil liquid production was 4.339 million barrels per day

The total all liquids US daily oil production was 11.016 million barrels per day

California has one party rule

SFGate - California Democrats appear to have picked up a supermajority in both houses of the state Legislature Tuesday night, a surprise outcome that gives the party the ability to unilaterally raise taxes and leaves Republicans essentially irrelevant in Sacramento.

Democrats were long expected to gain a two-thirds advantage in the Senate, but Assembly Speaker John Pérez had downplayed expectations that the party could win a supermajority in the lower house. The party's apparent capture of 54 seats in the 80-member Assembly and 27 in the 40-member Senate would mark the first time in nearly 80 years that one party controlled two-thirds of both houses, according to Senate President pro tem Darrell Steinberg.

This will be an interesting test case to see what will be the results of unilateral and uncompromised Democrat policies.

Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown quickly cautioned that he already has pledged to take any further tax hikes to voters, as he did with the temporary tax increases that voters approved on Tuesday. And Democrat leaders in both the Senate and Assembly downplayed the idea that they would seek to further ratchet up tax rates.

Nanoshell therapy to be tested in lung cancer clinical trial

Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) and Nanospectra Biosciences have planned the first clinical trial for lung cancers of a new therapy that uses gold nanoshells, which were invented at Rice University.

Nanospectra’s AuroLase Therapy uses a combination of lasers and nanoparticles to destroy cancer tumors with heat. Because the nanoparticles — balls of silica encased in a thin shell of gold — are absorbed by tumors and not healthy tissue, the technology can destroy tumors with minimal damage to healthy tissues.

The Nanoshell treatment research was described in 2004

Results of the study are published in the June 25, 2004 issue of the journal Cancer Letters.

Invented in the 1990s by Naomi Halas at Rice, nanoshells are about 20 times smaller than a red blood cell. The multilayered nanoshells consist of a silica core covered by a thin gold shell. The size, shape and composition of nanoshells give them unique optical properties. By varying the size of the core and the thickness of the gold shell, researchers can tailor a nanoshell to respond to a specific wavelength of light.

The photothermal cancer treatment uses nanoshells that are tuned to respond to near-infrared light. Located just outside the visible spectrum, near-infrared light passes harmlessly through soft tissue. In the treatment, nanoshells convert this light into heat that destroys nearby tumor cells. The heating is very localized and does not affect healthy tissue adjacent to the tumor.

The animal trial involved 25 mice with tumors ranging in size from 3-5.5 millimeters. The mice were divided into three groups. The first group was given no treatment. The second received saline injections, followed by three minutes exposure to near-infrared laser light. The final group received nanoshell injections and laser treatments.

New nanostructured material could lead to better armor

A new study by researchers at MIT and Rice University has shown that even lighter materials may be more capable and effective than Kevlar.

The key is to use composites made of two or more materials whose stiffness and flexibility are structured in very specific ways — such as in alternating layers just a few nanometers thick. The research team produced miniature high-speed projectiles and measured the effects they had on the impact-absorbing material.

The experimental work was conducted at MIT’s Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies.

The team developed a self-assembling polymer with a layer-cake structure: rubbery layers, which provide resilience, alternating with glassy layers, which provide strength. They then developed a method for shooting glass beads at the material at high speed by using a laser pulse to rapidly evaporate a layer of material just below its surface. Though the beads were tiny — just millionths of a meter in diameter — they were still hundreds of times larger than the layers of the polymer they impacted: big enough to simulate impacts by larger objects, such as bullets, but small enough so the effects of the impacts could be studied in detail using an electron microscope.

This electron-microscope image of a cross-section of a layered polymer shows the crater left by an impacting glass bead, and the deformation of the previously even, parallel lines of the layered structure as a result of the impact. In this test, the layered material was edge-on to the impact. Comparative tests showed that when the projectile hit head-on, the material was able to resist the impact much more effectively. Image courtesy of the Thomas Lab, Rice University

Nature Communications - High strain rate deformation of layered nanocomposites

Largest corporate research and development spenders

Technology Review reports who the largest corporate research and development spenders are.

The information is from 2011. Nokia and RIM are shrinking and becoming far weaker.

Google, Apple and Samsung continue to see strong revenue growth.

Microsoft, Intel, Cisco and HP are holding steady.

Stem cells and nanofibers could enable nerve regrowth and replacement

Eurekalert - Researchers have coaxed cells to grow and myelinate along thin fibers and it has the potential for use in testing treatments for neurological diseases.

They report success in developing polymer nanofiber technologies for understanding how nerves form, why they don't reconnect after injury, and what can be done to prevent or slow damage.

Using polymer nanofibers thinner than human hairs as scaffolds, researchers coaxed a particular type of brain cell to wrap around nanofibers that mimic the shape and size of nerves found in the body.

They've even managed to encourage the process of myelination – the formation of a protective coating that guards larger nerve fibers from damage. They began to see multiple concentric layers of the protective substance called myelin start to form, just as they do in the body.
This shows an oligodendrocyte nerve cell (red/purple) wrapped around a polymer nanofiber (white/clear).

Nature Methods - A culture system to study oligodendrocyte myelination processes using engineered nanofibers.

A Paper-Like Display Showing Color Video

Technology Review - Japan Display combined two novel technologies to create a paper like display with color video.

1. an optical property optimization adopting a newly-developed scattering layer
2. a method for reducing power consumption when displaying still images.

Japan Display press release on the paper like color video display.

Human enhancement and the future of work

The Royal Society looks at Human enhancement and the future of work. The project explored potential enhancements arising from advances in science and engineering that are likely to impact on the future of work.

Here is the 72 page workshop report

What is meant by Human Enhancement (for this report)

The term ‘human enhancement’ encompasses a range of approaches that may be used to improve aspects of human function (e.g. memory, hearing, mobility). This may either be for the purpose of restoring an impaired function to previous or average levels, or to raise function to a level considered to be ‘beyond the norm’ for humans.
This is often achieved through technological means, with examples including the following:
• The use of cognitive enhancing drugs to improve memory and concentration.
• The use of hearing aids and retinal implants to improve sensory perception.
• The use of bionic limbs to restore mobility.

These examples demonstrate that new enhancement techniques arise from a range of disciplines including biotechnology, engineering, neuroscience and computing. The social, political, ethical, economic and regulatory issues raised by their use further highlight the interdisciplinary nature of this topic.

Key messages identified by participants at a workshop in March 2012 included:

* Enhancement technologies could change how people work. Work will evolve over the next decade, with enhancement technologies potentially making a significant contribution. Widespread use of enhancements might influence an individual’s ability to learn or perform tasks and perhaps even to enter a profession; influence motivation; enable people to work in more extreme conditions or into old age, reduce work-related illness; or facilitate earlier return to work after illness.

Dittoscope looks at making telescopes with flat diffraction gratings

Centauri Dreams - An inventor named Tom Ditto has been casting a serious look at diffraction gratings as large primary collectors for telescopes, work that has been getting a bit of a buzz on the Internet.

The new approach could enable kilometer length telescope membranes to be launched with current rockets for radically improved space telescopes.

In a presentation to the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts back in 2007, Ditto showed that his Dittoscope could be conceptualized as a standard telescope capable of spectroscopy aimed at a flat grating. The standard telescope’s spectrometer has its own grating and slit. The use of the second spectrometer eliminates the overlapping spectra from the flat primary grating. Each object is thus imaged at a single wavelength at any unique angle of incidence. There are no moving parts other than the rotating Earth, with the instrument oriented east to west.

The ground based Dittoscope, then, takes advantage of the Earth’s rotation, as described in the presentation for Ditto’s Phase I study: “The precession of objects in the night sky causes their incident angles to rotate. For any incident angle there is a corresponding wavelength, so an entire spectrogram can be assembled over the course of a night.” With this enormous field of view — a 40 degree arc — millions of stars are placed within view simultaneously.

The roof is coming off the observatory. Gone are the domes, the sliding hatch doors and the rotating walls. A Dittoscope can lay flat to the ground. Its roof may be the primary objective. Wind resistance is negligible. The secondary optics are buried in a trough, and the ray paths can be protected within a pacified atmosphere, even a vacuum. Credit: Tom Ditto.

The Dittoscope is described here. ( 12 pages)

A 56 page presentation from 2007 for the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts.

Election Winners are Computationally Driven Campaigns and Permanently Embedded Field Operations

The US has efficient computational driven electoral campaigns. The US just needs efficient computationally driven government.

1. CNN described the superior Democratic political organization.

Obama organizers were deeply embedded in small towns and big cities for years, focusing their persuasion efforts on person-to-person contact. The more nuanced data they collected, often with handwritten notes attached, was synced nightly with their prized voter database in Chicago.

Multiple Romney advisers were left agog at the turnout ninjutsu performed by the Obama campaign, both in early voting and on Election Day.

Not only did Obama field marshals get their targeted supporters to the polls, they found new voters and even outperformed their watershed 2008 showings in some decisive counties, a remarkable feat in a race that was supposed to see dampened Democratic turnout.

With the president's campaign on the ropes in the wake of his awful debate performance in Denver, four Obama staffers had a straightforward, math-driven sales pitch.

The share of the national white vote would decline as it has steadily in every election since 1992. There would be modest upticks in Hispanic and African-American voter registration, shifts that would overwhelmingly favor the president. And Obama's get-out-the-vote operation was vastly more sophisticated than the one being run by Romney and the Republican National Committee.

November 06, 2012

Speed tests of the Nexus 4, Samsung Galaxy 3M, Nexus 7, iPad 3 and the Apple iPhone 5

Ars Technica - The Quad-core Snapdragon powered Nexus 4 is faster than the Galaxy SIII and is sometimes faster and sometimes slower than the Apple iPhone 5.

The Nexus 4 will wipe the floor with the Galaxy SIII and Nexus 7 in both CPU and GPU performance, and while it doesn't always beat the Apple A6 in the iPhone 5, it's always very close in synthetic benchmarks. Between the two, the iPhone's dual-core A6 may have the advantage in real-world performance, since not all apps will be able to take advantage of all four of the Snapdragon's CPU cores, but we need more real-world comparison time to say for certain. If you can get past the lack of LTE, the Nexus 4 (and by extension the Optimus G, which will give you LTE but take away the Nexus line's guaranteed updates) is easily the fastest Android handset you can buy today.

Teh Android ecosystem is finally beginning to take graphics performance as seriously as Apple's devices do.

China finds another large Uranium deposit in Mongolia

A large leaching sandstone-type Uranium deposit has been discovered in China’s northern regions. The deposit, ranking as the country’s largest leaching sandstone-type Uranium deposit identified so far, was found in Daying areas in central Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. The site was discovered along with a “Super-size” Coal mine, the reserve of which was estimated at 51-Billion tons

Almost no changes - Obama still president, Senate Democratic and House Republican

Realclearpolitics live presidential results

The first polls have started to close on the east coast. The first race to watch is Virginia. Then in the next half hour batch Ohio and North Carolina are the main races to watch for the presidential race.

CNN Live election results

Realclearpolitics live senate race results

Realclearpolitics live House election results.

Realclearpolitics live Governor election results

Supercomputers are at 20 petaflops now and projects announced for 100 petaflops for 2015, 200 petaflops in 2016 and exaflops by 2018

At 20 petaflops, Titan would be significantly more powerful than the current Top 500 champ, the Sequoia supercomputer at Lawrence Livermore National Labs, which clocks in at 16.3 petaflops.

Data Center Knowledge - “We envision two systems beyond Titan to achieve exascale performance by about 2018,” wrote Jeff Nichols, Associate Laboratory Director for Computing and Computational Sciences. “The first will be an order of magnitude more powerful than Titan, in the range of 200 petaflops. This system will be an exascale prototype, incorporating many of the hardware approaches that will be incorporated at the exascale. We hope to scale this solution up to the exascale.”

InfoWorld - The 100 petaflop Tianhe-2 supercomputer, slated to be deployed in 2015, could help keep China competitive with the future supercomputers of other countries.

The European Union, Japan and the U.S. have similar [100 petaflop] ambitions, said Jack Dongarra, a computer scientist at the University of Tennessee who also compiles the list of the world's top 500 supercomputers.

Researchers Create Laser the Size of a Virus Particle

A Northwestern University research team has found a way to manufacture single laser devices that are the size of a virus particle and that operate at room temperature and defy the diffraction limit of light. These plasmonic nanolasers could be readily integrated into silicon-based photonic devices, all-optical circuits and nanoscale biosensors.

Reducing the size of photonic and electronic elements is critical for ultra-fast data processing and ultra-dense information storage. The miniaturization of a key, workhorse instrument -- the laser -- is no exception.

Nanoletters - Plasmonic Bowtie Nanolaser Arrays

Healthy Living Adds 14 Years to Your Life

If you have optimal heart health in middle age, you may live up to 14 years longer, free of cardiovascular disease, than your peers who have two or more cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, according to a new Northwestern Medicine study.

All participants were free of CVD at entry into the study and data on the following risk factors was collected: blood pressure, total cholesterol, diabetes and smoking status. The primary outcome measure for the study was any CVD event (including fatal and nonfatal coronary heart disease, all forms of stroke, congestive heart failure, and other CVD deaths).

Key results from the study:

* Individuals with optimal risk factor profiles lived up to 14 years longer free of total CVD than individuals with at least two risk factors.
* Men in middle age had lifetime risks of approximately 60 percent for developing cardiovascular disease.
* Women in middle age had lifetime risks of approximately 56 percent for developing cardiovascular disease.
* Lifetime risks for cardiovascular disease were strongly associated with risk factor burden in middle age.

Joint-Development Program for Advanced Titanium/Graphene Composite Materials

XG Sciences, Inc. announced today that it had launched a joint program with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to develop a titanium-graphene composite using an advanced powder metallurgy manufacturing process. Titanium is an important structural material for a variety of industrial, commercial, and military applications due to its light weight, high strength, and corrosion resistance. However, utilization of titanium in many applications is limited due to its low thermal conductivity. Graphene-based materials, with excellent thermal conductivity, would be a perfect reinforcement material for improving both thermal and mechanical properties of titanium. XG Sciences has the capability to mass-produce graphene nanoplatelets in high volume, while ORNL has unique capabilities for low-temperature powder metal processing. Together, the two organizations see exciting opportunities to create advanced titanium-graphene composites.

George Church, his new Book Regenesis And Synthetic Biology

Science 2.0 - In October, Basic Books released Regenesis by Harvard Medical School Geneticist George Church and science writer Ed Regis. Their successful collaboration interestingly resulted from the pair having the same literary agent. In Regenesis the authors ask, “What should we do?” How can we balance economic growth and a sustainable environment? How can we outsmart viruses? In an attempt to answer these questions, Church and Regis argue that synthetic biology is an industrial revolution with the potential to change life as we know it and discuss its possibilities. Among these exciting possibilities are creating novel materials and biofuels, and providing a better understanding of evolution and complex diseases leading to new drugs and vaccines.

Synthetic Biofuels
Many revolutions look irrelevant just before they change everything (swiftly). For example the WWW went from zero to millions of web pages in one year (1993). Cyanobacteria are about 100X more efficient than the corn-to-ethanol that many knew from the start was simply lobbying, not smart bioengineering. Cyanobacterial biofuels are now closing in on $1.28 per gallon.

Joule (synthetic fuel startup) claims an $1.28 (unsubsidized) all-in cost for Joule fuels. That includes both capital and operating costs, 70/30 debt equity, 15 year depreciation, and reasonable interest rates. They have taken huge strides toward full commercialization. We also note the scale – 25,000 acres at 25,000 per gallon – 625 million gallons per site (potential).

Joule continues to move out of stealth and into the light with its transformative Sunflow-E and Sunflow-D fuels, made biologically from waste CO2, sunlight and saline water with no intervening biomass step.

Audi selected Joule as its exclusive partner in the development of biologically-derived diesel and ethanol, after extensive evaluations of Joule’s proprietary technology and commercial plans. The relationship will help spur production of Joule Sunflow-E and Sunflow-D, including fuel testing and validation, lifecycle analysis and support for Joule’s SunSprings demonstration facility located in Hobbs, New Mexico, which began operations this month.

Update on Commercialization of the Controversial Energy Catalyzer

Prometeon SRL CEO Aldo Proia, E-Cat licensee for Italy, has conducted a new interview with Italian journalist Alessandro Securo in which he answers questions about the current status of commercialzing the controversial Rossi E-Cat.

He says there will be a soft launch of E-Cat sales and marketing taking at least 6 months, before mass marketing begins.

He indicates that new technological developments with the technology are taking place which will allow for features to be added that today seem “almost impossible”.

He talks about a guaranteed COP (co-efficient of power)of 6.

Mole Rats have poisonous protein that kills cancer cells

Wired UK - Blind mole rats don't get cancer, and geneticists have worked out why -- their cells kill themselves with a poisonous protein when they multiply too much.

The two species examined by the University of Rochester's Vera Gorbunovaand her team were the Judean Mountains blind mole rat (Spalax judaei) and the Golan Heights blind mole rat (Spalax golani), which live within small regions of Israel. The team took cells from the rodents and put them in a culture that would force them to multiply beyond what would happen within the animals' bodies. For the first seven to 20 multiplcations, things looked fine, but beyond 20 multiplications the cells started rapidly dying off.

Examining the cells as they died revealed that they had started to produce a protein, IFN-β, that caused them to undergo "massive necrotic cell death within three days". In effect, once the cells had detected that they had multiplied beyond a certain point, they killed themselves.

Carnival of Space 274

Combined visible, near infrared and infrared sensors with networked heads up displays

DARPA - PIXNET technology would combine visible, near infrared and infrared sensors into a single clip-on device that soldiers can attach to their weapon sight or helmet. Desirable features for many new man-portable systems include small size, light weight, minimal power consumption, low cost, ease of use, multi-functionality and, to the extent possible, network friendliness.

DARPA created the Pixel Network for Dynamic Visualization program, or PIXNET, to apply these features to the cameras and sensors used by dismounted warfighters and small combat units for battlefield awareness and threat detection and identification. PIXNET aims to develop helmet-mounted and clip-on camera systems that combine visible, near infrared, and infrared sensors into one system and aggregate the outputs. PIXNET technology would ingest the most useful data points from each component sensor and fuse them into a common, information-rich image that can be viewed on the warfighter’s heads-up display, and potentially be shared across units.

The base technologies DARPA proposes to use already exist and are currently used by warfighters. However, these devices typically have dedicated functionality, operate independently of one another and provide value only to the immediate operator. Through PIXNET, DARPA seeks to fuse the capabilities of these devices into a single multi-band system, thus alleviating physical overburdening of warfighters, and develop a tool that is network-ready, capable of sharing imagery with other warfighters.

Stem Cell Companies pursue Regenerative Medicine

North County Times - 35 companies and researchers spoke at last week’s stem cell conference in La Jolla.

Nearly all of them shared the goal of using stem cells and the body’s own regenerative ability to treat diseases and injuries. But their approaches to regenerative medicine vary greatly.

Many are tackling diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and hair regeneration. Some aim to provide new and useful stem cell types. Others provide equipment to expand regenerative medicine’s tool chest.

Here are summaries of five of the presentations:

November 05, 2012

Stem cells taken from a third party donor or a patient’s own bone marrow repair damaged hearts

Miami Herald - When he was only 43, Peter Harrison had a severe heart attack that left him suffering from the symptoms of a damaged heart: shortness of breath, chest pain and increased risk of another heart attack. An otherwise healthy commercial real estate agent from Key Biscayne, Harrison was in and out of the hospital for 20 years treating his heart condition until last year when doctors at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine injected his heart with stem cells as part of a study.

Three weeks later, he was hiking the steep hills of the U.S. Virgin Islands, keeping up with his wife.

“There was no chest pain and I was not out of breath — it was quite a revelation,” he said. “I was hoping that the damaged part of my heart would come back to life, and the indication is that it has.”

The study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association this week, found that stem cell injections into the heart muscle reduced scar tissue by one third, built up healthy heart tissue and remodeled the spherical shape of the damaged heart to look more like a football-shaped healthy heart.

Tesla Motors on track to reach profitable 20,000 car per year production volumes

The third quarter was a fundamental turning point for Tesla as we successfully transitioned to a mass production car company, growing from manufacturing 5 cars per week at the beginning of the quarter to 100 cars per week by the end. That rate has doubled since last month and is now at over 200 cars per week or 10,000 cars per year, which is at the critical threshold needed for Tesla to generate positive operating cash flow. One month from now, we expect Tesla to double production again and achieve the target rate of 400 cars per week or 20,000 per year. Despite many short term costs associated with the ramp, Tesla nonetheless expects to get approximately halfway to the 25% gross margin target by end of year.

Frost and Sullivan forecasts China economy to be $38 trillion in 2025 with 921 million people living in cities

New analysis from Frost and Sullivan, Mega Trends in China: Macro to Micro Implications of Mega Trends to 2025, has identified over 10 key Mega Trends that will accelerate China's nominal GDP growth rate to around 16 per cent by 2020.

China is set to become the largest economy in the world by 2025 with a nominal GDP value of US$38 trillion. Fuelled by a strong urbanisation rate, a favourable corporate environment, huge infrastructure investment and the largest working age population, the Chinese economy will finally transform itself from being the manufacturing site of the globe to one of the biggest and largest consumer markets in the entire world.

AMD Launches new server CPUs

AMD today launches a new series of server CPUs. These CPUs are fabricated on a 32 nanometer process, and can be used for servers and supercomputers. Data centers now consume approximately 3% of all electricity produced, and that number will inevitably increase during the coming decade. As a result, more efficient CPUs have the potential to substantially ameliorate the problem. In an interview with Sander Olson for Next Big Future, AMD's Product Marketing Manager Michael Detwiler describes the features and capabilities of the "piledriver" Opteron 6300 CPU series. AMD is hoping that the 6300 CPU series, which can be used in everything from servers to supercomputers, will change the server and high-performance computing landscape and return AMD to profitability again.

Michael Detwiler

Question: The Opteron CPU has been out since 2003. How has the architecture evolved since then?

The first AMD Opteron had a revolutionary architecture, with an integrated memory controller and eliminated the front-side bus. It was a single-core processor that initially did very well in the High Performance Computing market. Over the past 10 years, we have seen a huge rise in multi-threaded applications, virtualization adoption, and cloud computing in which highly scalable energy efficiency processors are needed to deliver the required level of performance. Those requirements led us to our current architecture, which is a modular design with up to 16-cores per processor.

Spacex reports progress with Grasshopper reusable rocket

Universe Today - Spacex reports more progress with the Grasshopper reusable rocket tests.

The Grasshopper has made a second, bigger hop. Over the weekend, Elon Musk quietly tweeted a link to a video, saying, “First flight of 10 story tall Grasshopper rocket using closed loop thrust vector & throttle control.”

The reports goes on to say that the Grasshopper test program is to have three phases of test launches, at SpaceX’s facility in McGregor, Texas. Phases 1 and 2 would consist of very low test fires with the rocket rising to not more than 73 meters (240 feet) during Phase 1 and 204 meters (670 feet), which is below controlled-airspace. Both Phase 1 and 2 flights would last up to 45 seconds.Phase 3 tests have the goal of increasingly higher altitudes with higher ascent speeds and descent speeds. The altitude test sequence likely would be 366 meters (1,200 feet); 762 meters (2,500 feet); 1,524 meters (5,000 feet); 2,286 meters (7,500 feet); and 3,505 meters (11,500) feet. The maximum test duration would be approximately 160 seconds.

November 04, 2012

Apple tablets at 57% marketshare

Apple will have a marketshare of about 5% in smartphones and 10% in tablets in a few years

Venturebeat also notes that this is Mac versus PC all over again.

Apple is already down to 14.9% marketshare in smartphones.
There are about 700 million smartphones shipping in 2012. By about 2018 there will be about 3 billion smartphones shipping. Apple grew by 58%, so they increased their marketshare as overall smartphones grew by 46% but that was share taken from Nokia and Blackberry.

The new stronger competitors are emerging from China.

When 3 billion smartphones are shipping every year it will be because everyone in China and many people in India and Africa will also be buying smartphones. Most of those will not be premium priced smartphones.

Apple still has more dominance in tablets, but the new Nexus 10 and other tablets are going to erode Apple market share there as well.

Apple finally posts new Samsung in the UK

CNET - Apple has reissued and updated its Samsung "apology" statement on its British Web site after a U.K. Court of Appeal found it to be "untrue" and "incorrect." It comes off weeks of back and forth from the U.K. courts after Samsung scored a rare legal win over Apple, after the iPhone and iPad maker lost an iPad design patent suit it brought to the British court against rival tablet maker Samsung.

On October 18, U.K. High Court Judge Colin Birss originally ruled that Apple must run notices on its U.K. Web site and in a number of U.K. print publications stating that Samsung did not infringe Apple's patents and therefore did not breach U.K. law.
Birss ruled that the notice must stay on Apple's site for one month.

Germans follow Italians, Americans and Canadian and others to Pursue Kite Generated Wind Power

German researchers are sending stunt kites into the skies to harness the wind and convert the kinetic energy generated into electricity.

Compared to conventional wind farm technology that relies on rotors, this technology offers a wide range of advantages. Wind speeds at ground level tend to zero, but they increase dramatically the higher you go. At a height of 100 meters wind speeds are around 15 meters a second; at 500 meters they exceed 20 meters a second. “The energy yield of a kite far exceeds that of a wind turbine, whose rotor tips turn at a maximum height of 200 meters. Doubling the wind speed results in eight times the energy,” says Montnacher. “Depending on wind conditions, eight kites with a combined surface area of up to 300 square meters can equate to 20 conventional 1-megawatt wind turbines.”

Kites do not have to struggle with the constancy of the wind the way turbines do, because the higher you go, the windier things get. Figures for the past year show that at a height of 10 meters, there is only about a 35 percent chance of wind speeds reaching 5 meters a second, but at 500 meters that likelihood goes up to 70 percent. This makes any number of new lowland sites viable for the production of wind energy. Another advantage is that it costs considerably less to build a system that, among other things, does not require towers each weighing hundreds of tons.

Many others are pursuing kite generated wind power.

The Italian Kitegen company has been a leader in developing kite generated wind power.

Is China's Leadership more Legitimate than the United States ?

BBC News has an opinion piece by Martin Jacques (Economist who wrote When China Rules the World).

On Tuesday the next American president will be elected. Two days later, the 18th congress of the Chinese Communist Party will select the new Chinese president and prime minister.

Americans in their tens of millions will turn out to vote. In China the process of selection will take place behind closed doors and involve only a relative handful of people.

You are probably thinking, "Ah, America at its best, China at its worst - the absence of democracy. China's Achilles heel is its governance. This will be China's downfall."

I want to argue quite the contrary.

But democracy is only one factor. Nor does democracy in itself guarantee legitimacy.

Think of Italy. It is always voting, but the enduring problem of Italian governance is that its state lacks legitimacy.

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 129

1. Yes Vermont Yankee has Fear and Facts about Nuclear Plants and Hurricanes

Meredith Angwin reviews fear-mongering statements about nuclear plants and hurricanes: for example: "we can't expect to cool these fueling pools." She describes fact-filled industry rebuttals. The fear-mongerers have the sound bytes, and we have the facts. However, both sides are preaching to the choir.

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