November 17, 2012

Stanford expert: 'Black swans' and 'perfect storms' become lame excuses for bad risk management

Instead of reflecting on the unlikelihood of rare catastrophes after the fact, Stanford risk analysis expert Elisabeth Paté-Cornell prescribes an engineering approach to anticipate them when possible, and to manage them when not.

Her research suggests that other fields could borrow risk analysis strategies from engineering to make better management decisions, even in the case of once-in-a-blue-moon events where statistics are scant, unreliable or non-existent.

Paté-Cornell argues that a true "black swan" – an event that is impossible to imagine because we've known nothing like it in the past – is extremely rare. The AIDS virus is one of very few examples. Usually, there are important clues and warning signs of emerging hazards (e.g., a new flu virus) that can be monitored to guide quick risk management responses.

The attacks of 9/11 were not black swans, she said. The FBI knew that questionable people were taking flying lessons on large aircraft. And a group of terrorists seemed to have had a similar plan in 1994, when they took over in Algiers, Algeria, an Air France aircraft bound for Paris.

Similarly, she argues that the risk of a "perfect storm," where multiple forces join to create a disaster greater than the sum of its parts, can be assessed in a systematic way before the event because even though their conjunctions are rare, the events that compose them – and all the myriad events that are dependent on them – have been observed in the past.

"Risk analysis is not about predicting anything before it happens, it's just giving the probability of various scenarios," she said. She argues that systematically exploring those scenarios can help companies and regulators make smarter decisions before an event in the face of uncertainty.

An engineering analysis could also be used to examine the development and potential impacts of what are considered by many to be unlikely new technology but with potentially very high impact.

Greater than human level artificial intelligence
Massively scaled quantum computing
Molecular nanotechnology
Inexpensive nuclear fusion for energy and space propulsion
Radical life extension
Mach effect propulsion

Artificial Ion Channels have been made with DNA Origami

Science - Synthetic Lipid Membrane Channels Formed by Designed DNA Nanostructures

ABSTRACT - We created nanometer-scale transmembrane channels in lipid bilayers by means of self-assembled DNA-based nanostructures. Scaffolded DNA origami was used to create a stem that penetrated and spanned a lipid membrane, as well as a barrel-shaped cap that adhered to the membrane, in part via 26 cholesterol moieties. In single-channel electrophysiological measurements, we found similarities to the response of natural ion channels, such as conductances on the order of 1 nanosiemens and channel gating. More pronounced gating was seen for mutations in which a single DNA strand of the stem protruded into the channel. Single-molecule translocation experiments show that the synthetic channels can be used to discriminate single DNA molecules.

Scheme of a DNA-origami based ion channel. This image relates to a paper that appeared in the Nov. 16, 2012, issue of Science, published by AAAS. The paper, by Martin Langecker at Technische Universität München in Garching, Germany, and colleagues was titled, "Synthetic Lipid Membrane Channels Formed by Designed DNA Nanostructures." Credit: Image courtesy of Technische Universität München

Google Aims to become a wireless carrier

Google is indeed making plans to start its own wireless network, one that would compete directly with Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. It is said the search giant has been in talks with satellite TV provider, Dish Network in recent weeks and both companies are looking to bring forth a new wireless network.
Wall Street Journal - The talks between Dish and Google aren't advanced and could amount to nothing, one of the people said. Google is just one of several companies that Dish has held talks with recently, and the discussions with other potential partners are also at an exploratory stage, said the people familiar with the discussions.

Light Modulator Antenna on a chip could speed information processing by orders of magnitude

A Rice University lab produces a micron-scale spatial light modulator like those used in sensing and imaging devices, but with the potential to run orders of magnitude faster. A device that looks like a tiny washboard may clean the clocks of current commercial products used to manipulate infrared light.

New research by the Rice University lab of Qianfan Xu has produced a micron-scale spatial light modulator (SLM) like those used in sensing and imaging devices, but with the potential to run orders of magnitude faster. Unlike other devices in two-dimensional semiconducting chips, the Rice chips work in three-dimensional “free space.”

The manipulation of light has become central to the information economy. Think about light-reflecting compact discs and their video variants and all the ways lasers are used, from sensing to security to surgery. Light carries data through optical fibers for telecommunications and signals on the molecular scale as photonics techniques improve. Light-emitting diodes power television displays (for viewers clutching infrared remotes) and are beginning to replace the inefficient light bulbs in homes.

But in the computer space, light has been bound and gagged by two-dimensional circuitry, tied to waveguides that move it from here to there, Xu said. He and his colleagues point out in the new paper that 2-D systems fail to take advantage of “the massive multiplexing capability of optics” made possible by the fact that “multiple light beams can propagate in the same space without affecting each other.”

The researchers see great potential for free-space SLMs in imaging, display, holographic, measurement and remote sensing applications.

(a) The diagram of the SLM design where a p-i-n junction is built across the 1D PhC cavity. (b) A top-view SEM picture of the fabricated device after the SiO2 upper-cladding is removed by wet etching in H

Nature Scientific Reports - Active dielectric antenna on chip for spatial light modulation

A person surrounded by a 3D microwave cloak

Fractal Antenna Systems have cloaked a man at a wide range of microwave frequencies. The cloaking is very effective from the 700 to 1250 Mhz range. A person is an obstacle with 7 to 20 decibels of attenuation (loss of a lot of the microwave signal). When the person is inside the cloak (a cylinder) the microwaves a routed around and there is almost no signal loss.

Economy Has Green Shoots From China to US

Business Week - The U.S. and China, the world’s traditional twin sources of growth, are planting seeds to lift the world economy from its midyear slowdown.

Among the green shoots indicating faster expansion: stronger housing demand and hiring in the U.S. and accelerating factory output and retail sales in China. Responsible for a third of the world economy, the two countries are now providing ballast internationally as Europe and Japan stagnate.

“China and the U.S. are both improving, which is extremely good news,” Jim O’Neill, chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, said in a telephone interview. “If we could pretend Europe and Japan didn’t exist, the world would be fine.”

Quantum teleportation between remote atomic-ensemble quantum memories

Arxiv - Quantum teleportation and quantum memory are two crucial elements for large-scale quantum networks. With the help of prior distributed entanglement as a "quantum channel", quantum teleportation provides an intriguing means to faithfully transfer quantum states among distant locations without actual transmission of the physical carriers. Quantum memory enables controlled storage and retrieval of fast flying photonic quantum bits with stationary matter systems, which is essential to achieve the scalability required for large-scale quantum networks. Combining these two capabilities, here we realize quantum teleportation between two remote atomic-ensemble quantum memory nodes, each composed of 10^8 rubidium atoms and connected by a 150-meter optical fiber. The spinwave state of one atomic ensemble is mapped to a propagating photon, and subjected to Bell-state measurements with another single photon that is entangled with the spinwave state of the other ensemble. Two-photon detection events herald the success of teleportation with an average fidelity of 88(7)%. Besides its fundamental interest as the first teleportation between two remote macroscopic objects, our technique may be useful for quantum information transfer between diff erent nodes in quantum networks and distributed quantum computing

Motor Trends Video Review of the Tesla S Car of the Year

A video review of the why the Tesla S was named car of the year.
It has a luxury interior and a 17 inch screen for controls.
It has high performance and long battery range.

November 16, 2012

Hyperloop will be a cross between a railgun and a Concorde

Nanotube yarns lift 50, 000 times their own weight

Button sized activity tracker

Misfit Wearables raised $7.6 million in a round led by Founders Fund and Khosla Ventures back in April. CThey have a new product called Shine. Misfit Wearables’ first device is a sleek activity tracker that records how much you’re moving like the FitBit or Nike’s Fuelband do.

The form factor is simple and elegant. The Shine is a small, circular disc that’s about the size of a quarter. It has an all-metal, aluminum casing that took the company months to perfect.

The syncs with the iPhone, but not Android yet. It doesn’t use on Bluetooth or any physical connectors.

1. Open the company’s app
2. Put the Shine on your iPhone’s screen
3. Data will from the device

NASA Kepler Space Telescope transitions to Extended Mission

NASA is marking two milestones in the search for planets like Earth; the successful completion of the Kepler Space Telescope's 3 1/2- year prime mission and the beginning of an extended mission that could last as long as four years.

Scientists have used Kepler data to identify more than 2,300 planet candidates and confirm more than 100 planets. Kepler is teaching us the galaxy is teeming with planetary systems and planets are prolific, and giving us hints that nature makes small planets efficiently.

So far, hundreds of Earth-size planet candidates have been found as well as candidates that orbit in the habitable zone, the region in a planetary system where liquid water might exist on the surface of a planet. None of the candidates is exactly like Earth. With the completion of the prime mission, Kepler now has collected enough data to begin finding true sun-Earth analogs -- Earth-size planets with a one-year orbit around stars similar to the sun.

November 15, 2012

Dwave Systems Commercializing 512 Qubit Adiabatic Quantum Computer

Toronto Globe and Mail - Dwave is preparinng to launch a 512-qubit product before the end of 2012, the company has proven that it can roughly double the number of qubits every year.

DWave first showed off its 512 qubit chip in late 2011, but it has taken about one year to prepare it as a commercial product.

“A quantum computer is on a completely different scaling curve, where once it passes traditional computers, they can never catch up,” says Mr. Jurvetson, who sits on D-Wave’s board. “That is just unprecedented in the technology business.”

Investors, including prominent U.S. venture capital firms, have staked $130-million on the Montreal-raised theoretical physicist’s big idea. D-Wave is beginning to attract paying customers, too. In 2010 it sold its first system, to aerospace and defence giant Lockheed Martin. And last month it closed $30-million in equity financing from two big names: Bezos Expeditions, a venture capital shop established by Inc. founder Jeff Bezos; and In-Q-Tel, which sources technology for U.S. intelligence agencies.

The Dwave Adiabatic quantum computer can run machine learning mathematics and could be able to overcome some of the key bottlenecks in machine learning and artificial intelligence.

US Oil Production near term and long term

US crude oil production is up to 6.709 million barrels per day and other oil liquids are at 4.332 million barrels per day. The combined US oil liquids production is 11.041 million barrels per day.

Technology Review - The United States could see a surge in oil production that could make it the world’s leading oil producer within a decade, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency. But that lead will likely be temporary, and it still won’t allow the United States to stop importing oil. Barring technological breakthroughs in oil production and major reductions in consumption, the United States will need to rely on oil from outside its borders for the foreseeable future.

U.S. production had fallen from 10 million barrels a day in the 1980s to 6.9 barrels per day in 2008, even as consumption increased from 15.7 million barrels per day in 1985 to 19.5 million barrels per day in 2008. The IEA estimates that production could reach 11.1 million barrels per day by 2020, almost entirely because of increases in the production of shale oil, which is extracted using the same horizontal drilling and fracking techniques that have flooded the U.S. with cheap natural gas.

At the end of 2011, 8.1 million bpd from crude oil and natural gas liquids.
Now 9.076 million bpd from crude oil and natural gas liquids.

From the most recent week
6.709 million bpd crude
2.367 million bpd from natural gas liquids

Mind Controlled Robot

Diginfo - Researchers at the CNRS-AIST Joint Robotics Laboratory and the CNRS-LIRMM Interactive Digital Human group, are working on ways to control robots via thought alone.

"Basically we would like to create devices which would allow people to feel embodied, in the body of a humanoid robot. To do so we are trying to develop techniques from Brain Computer Interfaces (BCI) so that we can read the peoples thoughts and then try to see how far we can go from interpreting brain waves signals, to transform them into actions to be done by the robot

Google Fiber is live with real-world speeds at 700Mbps

Ars Technica - the gigabit home Internet service Google Fiber finally went live on Tuesday in Kansas City. The search giant is offering 1Gbps speeds for just $70 per month—significantly faster and cheaper than what any traditional American ISPs are offering.

Real world performance for Google Fiber is at consistent speeds of 600 to 700Mbps, with Wi-Fi topping out around 200Mbps. Even at the slower wireless speeds, that’s more than an order of magnitude faster than what most Americans have at home.

China's new leadership examining economic reform

The need to restructure how China achieves its economic growth - by emphasizing consumption over investment and exports - would mean major policy changes such as loosening the dominance of state companies across many industries.

"At this juncture, if the (new leadership) doesn't move quickly, the consequences will be clear and immediate," said Daniel Rosen, an economist and head of the Rhodium Group, a New York-based consultancy.

"GDP growth will deteriorate within six to nine months, and that will have consequences. I don't think they get even a one-year honeymoon."

The party has earned its legitimacy with a broad swathe of the populace with rapid economic growth. However, growth has fallen for seven straight quarters, hitting 7.4 percent in the July-September period. Should growth falter further, discontent will rise.

Human Eye Gives Researchers Visionary Design for new more Natural Lens Technology

Drawing heavily upon nature for inspiration, a team of researchers has created a new artificial lens that is nearly identical to the natural lens of the human eye. This innovative lens, which is made up of thousands of nanoscale polymer layers, may one day provide a more natural performance in implantable lenses to replace damaged or diseased human eye lenses, as well as consumer vision products; it also may lead to superior ground and aerial surveillance technology.

It provides a new material approach for fabricating synthetic polymer lenses.

The fundamental technology behind this new lens is called “GRIN” or gradient refractive index optics. In GRIN, light gets bent, or refracted, by varying degrees as it passes through a lens or other transparent material. This is in contrast to traditional lenses, like those found in optical telescopes and microscopes, which use their surface shape or single index of refraction to bend light one way or another.

Polymer Lenses - These light-gathering polymer lenses are 3.5 times more powerful than glass, and are the first commercial nanolayered product to come out of many years of R&D at Case Western Reserve University. To create the lenses, a 4,000-layer film is coextruded, and then 200 layers of film are stacked to create an 800,000-nanolayer sheet. Photo courtesy Michael Pont

Optics Express- A bio-inspired polymeric gradient refractive index (GRIN) human eye lens

Injectable sponge delivers drugs, cells, and structure

Bioengineers at Harvard have developed a gel-based sponge that can be molded to any shape, loaded with drugs or stem cells, compressed to a fraction of its size, and delivered via injection. Once inside the body, it pops back to its original shape and gradually releases its cargo, before safely degrading.

The biocompatible technology amounts to a prefabricated healing kit for a range of minimally invasive therapeutic applications, including regenerative medicine.

“What we’ve created is a three-dimensional structure that you could use to influence the cells in the tissue surrounding it and perhaps promote tissue formation,” explains principal investigator David J. Mooney,

Bioengineers at Harvard pushed pink squares, hearts, and stars through a syringe to demonstrate the versatility and robustness of their gel. (Image courtesy of Sidi Bencherif.)

PNAS - Injectable preformed scaffolds with shape-memory properties

Wii U out next week and PS4 and XBox 720 probably late in 2013

November 14, 2012

Contour Crafting TED Talk

Nanometer-scale diamond tips improve nano-manufacturing

One of the most promising innovations of nanotechnology has been the ability to perform rapid nanofabrication using nanometer-scale tips. The fabrication speed can be dramatically increased by using heat. High speed and high temperature have been known to degrade the tip… until now.

“Thermal processing is widely used in manufacturing,” according to William King, the College of Engineering Bliss Professor at Illinois. “We have been working to shrink thermal processing to the nanometer scale, where we can use a nanometer-scale heat source to add or remove material, or induce a physical or chemical reaction.”

One of the key challenges has been the reliability of the nanometer-scale tips, especially with performing nano-writing on hard, semiconductor surfaces. Now, researchers at the University of Illinois, University of Pennsylvania, and Advanced Diamond Technologies Inc., have created a new type of nano-tip for thermal processing, which is made entirely out of diamond.

“The end of the diamond tip is 10 nm in size,” King explained. “Not only can the tip be used for nanometer-scale thermal processing, but it is extremely resistant to wear.”

The research findings are reported in the article, “Ultrananocrystalline diamond tip integrated onto a heated atomic force microscope (AFM) cantilever,” that appears in in the journal Nanotechnology. The study shows how the 10 nm diamond tip scans in contact with a surface for a distance of more than 1.2 meters, and experiences essentially no wear over that distance.

Diamond nano-tip integrated onto the micro-heater of a doped silicon microcantilever. The tip has a radius of 10 nm.

Ultrananocrystalline diamond tip integrated onto a heated atomic force microscope cantilever

Carbon Nanotubes can be produced with predictable diameter and chirality

A key reason carbon nanotubes are not in computers right now is that they are difficult to manufacture in a predictable way. Scientists have had a difficult time controlling the manufacture of nanotubes to the correct diameter, type and ultimately chirality — factors that control nanotubes’ electrical and mechanical properties.

Think of chirality like this: If you took a sheet of notebook paper and rolled it straight up into a tube, it would have a certain chirality. If you rolled that same sheet up at an angle, it would have a different chirality. In this example, the notebook paper represents a sheet of latticed carbon atoms that are rolled up to create a nanotube.

A team led by Professor Chongwu Zhou of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and Ming Zheng of the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Maryland solved the problem by inventing a system that consistently produces carbon nanotubes of a predictable diameter and chirality.

Designing HPC Systems: OPS Versus FLOPS

HPCWire (by Steve Wallach, Chief Scientist, Co-Founder, and Director, Convey Computer)- Building computer systems of any sort, but especially very large systems, is somewhat akin to the process an apartment real-estate developer goes through. The developer has to have an idea of what the final product will look like, its compelling features, and the go-to-market strategy.

Do they build each unit the same, or provide some level of heterogeneity, different floor plans. Do they construct one monolithic building or a village with walkways? What level of customization, if any, should be permitted?

In contemporary HPC design we face similar decision-making. Do we build tightly coupled systems, emphasizing floating point and internode bandwidth, or do we build nodes with extensive multi-threading that can randomly reference data sets? In either case, we always need to scale out as much as possible.

Examining the attributes listed above would initially lead one to the observation that there are substantive differences between the two. However, looking at a hardware logic design reveals a somewhat different perspective. Both systems need as much physical memory as can be directly supported, subject to cooling and power constraints. Both systems also would like as much real memory bandwidth as possible.

For both systems, the logic used by the ALU’s tends to be minimal. Thus the amount of actual space used for a custom design floating point ALU is relatively small. This is especially true when one considers that 64x64 integer multiplication is an often-used primitive address calculation in big data and HPC applications. In many cases, integer multiplication is part of the design of an IEEE floating point ALU.

If we dig a little deeper, we come to the conclusion that the major gating item is sustained memory bandwidth and latency. We have to determine how long it takes to access an operand and how many can be accessed at once, Given a specific memory architecture, we need to figure out the best machine state model for computation. Is it compiler managed-registers using the RAM that would normally be associated with a L3 cache, or keep scaling a floor plan similar to the one below?

Samsung Will Not Negotiate With Apple over Patents

Yonhap News - Top smartphone maker Samsung Electronics Co. does not intend to hold talks with Apple Inc. to reach an agreement on their ongoing patent war, its mobile business chief said Wednesday, raising views the company will rely on legal means rather than settling the issue out of court.

"It may be true that HTC may have agreed to pay [US$276 million] to Apple, but we don't intend to [negotiate] at all," said Shin. This isn't a good signal from the world's largest supplier of cellular devices.

Samsung will rely on other legal avenues with which to combat Apple.

Samsung has grabbed a 35.2 percent market share in the global smartphone market in the third quarter, widening its lead over Apple's 16.6 percent stake, according to the data by Strategy Analytics.

Researchers Find Way to Boost WiFi Performance 400-700 Percent

As many WiFi users know, WiFi performance is often poor in areas where there are a lot of users, such as airports or coffee shops.But researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a new software program, called WiFox, which can be incorporated into existing networks and expedites data traffic in large audience WiFi environments – improving data throughput by up to 700 percent.

WiFi traffic gets slowed down in high-population environments because computer users and the WiFi access point they are connected to have to send data back and forth via a single channel.

If a large number of users are submitting data requests on that channel, it is more difficult for the access point to send them back the data they requested. Similarly, if the access point is permanently given a high priority – enabling it to override user requests in order to send out its data – users would have trouble submitting their data requests. Either way, things slow down when there is a data traffic jam on the shared channel.

Metamaterials lens focuses radio waves

Researchers at MIT have now fabricated a three-dimensional, lightweight metamaterial lens that focuses radio waves with extreme precision. The concave lens exhibits a property called negative refraction, bending electromagnetic waves — in this case, radio waves — in exactly the opposite sense from which a normal concave lens would work.Concave lenses typically radiate radio waves like spokes

For Isaac Ehrenberg, an MIT graduate student in mechanical engineering, the device evokes an image from the movie “Star Wars”: the Death Star, a space station that shoots laser beams from a concave dish, the lasers converging to a point to destroy nearby planets. While the researchers’ fabricated lens won’t be blasting any planetary bodies in the near future, Ehrenberg says there are other potential applications for the device, such as molecular and deep-space imaging.

The orientation of 4,000 S-shaped units forms a metamaterial lens that focuses radio waves with extreme precision, and very little energy lost.
Photo: Dylan Erb

Continuous supply of rejuvenated stem cells shown as a path to radical longevity

Researchers from Kiel (Germany) have examined why the polyp Hydra is immortal – and unexpectedly discovered a link to ageing in humans. The tiny freshwater polyp Hydra does not show any signs of ageing and is potentially immortal. There is a rather simple biological explanation for this: these animals exclusively reproduce by budding rather than by mating. A prerequisite for such vegetative-only reproduction is that each polyp contains stem cells capabprle of continuous proliferation. Without these stem cells, the animals could not reproduce any more. Due to its immortality, Hydra has been the subject of many studies regarding ageing processes for several years.

Studying animal tissue such as those of Hydra – an animal full of active stem cells during all its life – may deliver valuable insight into stem cell ageing as such.

„Surprisingly, our search for the gene that causes Hydra to be immortal led us to the so-called FoxO gene“, says Anna-Marei Böhm, PhD student and first author of the study. The FoxO gene exists in all animals and humans and has been known for years. However, until now it was not known why human stem cells become fewer and inactive with increasing age, which biochemical mechanisms are involved and if FoxO played a role in ageing.

FoxO has been found to be particularly active in centenarians – people older than one hundred years – which is why we believe that FoxO plays a key role in ageing – not only in Hydra but also in humans“. However, the hypothesis cannot be verified on humans, as this would require a genetic manipulation of humans.

PNAS - FoxO is a critical regulator of stem cell maintenance in immortal Hydra

There is a project that is trying to increase the supply of a persons own stem cells by a million times and then rejuvenate the stem cells. They are trying to fund raiser for a kickstarter style project. I think it is worth a shot to get the project funded for another $69000, to give this approach a try

Centagen is a biotechnology company that is developing medical therapies that utilize a patient's own adult stem cells. The company has a new technology to expand adult stem cells in vitro (in the lab) up to 1 million times, then rejuvenate them and inject the stem cells back into the person from which they came. This will help repair and rejuvenate organs and tissues damaged by aging, disease and injury. The process may even help healthy people stay young.

They can multiply the rare adult stem cells in cell culture without aging them or degrading their function. One innovation involves lengthening the telomeres while amplifying the stem cells.

November 13, 2012

Videos related to a Mundane Singularity

This site has looked at a list of technologies for a Mundane Singularity. Technological Singularity and Transhumanism are often criticized because the primary technologies that enable it are Molecular Nanotechnology and greater than human intelligence general AI, which some believe are not possible. Much of the projected benefits of a technological singularity could be achieved even without Molecular Nanotechnology and without greater than human Artificial General Intelligence as the technology triggers.

A Mundane Singularity could bring about a large amount of
1. Economic abundance
2. Radical life extension
3. Physical and Cognitive enhancement
4. Blood Stream Robots
5. Supermaterials
6. Open Access to space
7. Pollution elimination
8. Computer Advancement
9. Shape changing functional devices like utility fog

The list of technologies and policies that I believe play a major part in achieving those things over then next 20 years are

1. Pro-growth Policies
2. Energy Efficiency - superconductors, thermoelectrics, improved grid
3. Energy Revolution - Mass produced fission, fusion, and maybe cold fusion
4. Additive manufacturing
5. Not so mundane - neuromorphic chips, quantum computers, photonics
6. Automated transportation (leading to robotic cars and planes)
7. Urbanization MegaCities
8. Urbanization Broad Group skyscrapers, Tata flat packed buildings
9. Robotics
10. Hyperbroadband
11. Supermaterials
12. Improve medicine and public health
13. Space
14. Synthetic biology and recombineering
15. Sensors everywhere
16. Education transformed and accelerated innovation
17. Supersmartphones, exoskeletons and wearable systems
18. Memristors and other significant computing and electronic improvements.

The Mundane Singularity still has a normal adoption and deployment cycle. So the impact will increase over time. ie. More robots in 2020 and still more in 2025 and 2030.

Here are videos that relate to Mundane Singularity technology

Everspin ships first ST-MRAM memory with 500X performance of flash

Computer World - Everspin Technologies today announced what it is calling the industry's first Spin-Torque Magnetoresistive RAM (ST-MRAM) chip, which offers an alternative to non-volatile DRAM sub systems.

Everspin said the new memory type is not targeted to replace volatile DRAM in the near future.

An Everspin spokesperson wrote in an email reply to Computerworld that ST-MRAM "gives system designers a new storage class memory tool that complements, not replaces, DRAM or NAND. System designers are excited about the benefit of persistent, high endurance storage or memory and will target the 64Mbit density at buffer and cache memory in storage applications and main memory in many industrial applications. Everspin plans to scale up density and performance while reducing cost in its ST-MRAM roadmap going forward."

The new memory type has about 500 times the speed of NAND flash but the endurance of DRAM. ST-MRAM is seen by industry analysts as complementary technology to NAND flash memory, which is used to make solid-state drives (SSDs).

Everspin sees its ST-MRAM being used as buffer memory in SSDs, for I/O and network cache and as an ultra-fast tier of storage, as some DRAM manufacturers use their products today.

China will field nuclear missiles on submarines in two years and this relates to the South China Sea Island dispute with Japan

Popular Mechanics - China is on track to field nuclear weapons on submarines in two years, according to U.S. government reports.

The U.S. government is reporting that China, after decades of trying, is on the verge of fielding a true underwater leg of its nuclear deterrent, with new long-range missiles tipped with nuclear weapons on board its fleet of new long-range submarines. And that could transform the Pacific into a tense militarized zone reminiscent of the Atlantic during the Cold War.

On November 14 the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission will release its annual report to Congress, and that report will contain some sobering language about new Julang-2 missiles China plans to field in two years. (Drafts of the report, created by a Congressional mandate, have already been leaked.)

According to the report, JIN-class submarines, two of which have already been put to sea, would carry nuclear tipped missiles. Naval intelligence documents estimate five such submarines will be ready for service. The submarines and the JL-2 missile combination will give Chinese forces "a near-continuous at-sea strategic deterrent," according to the report, and Beijing is "on the cusp of attaining a credible nuclear triad of land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and air-dropped nuclear bombs."

2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year: Tesla Model S

The 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year is one of the quickest American four-doors ever built. It drives like a sports car, eager and agile and instantly responsive. But it's also as smoothly effortless as a Rolls-Royce, can carry almost as much stuff as a Chevy Equinox, and is more efficient than a Toyota Prius. Oh, and it'll sashay up to the valet at a luxury hotel like a supermodel working a Paris catwalk. By any measure, the Tesla Model S is a truly remarkable automobile, perhaps the most accomplished all-new luxury car since the original Lexus LS 400. That's why it's our 2013 Car of the Year.

Wait. No mention of the astonishing inflection point the Model S represents -- that this is the first COTY winner in the 64-year history of the award not powered by an internal combustion engine? Sure, the Tesla's electric powertrain delivers the driving characteristics and packaging solutions that make the Model S stand out against many of its internal combustion engine peers. But it's only a part of the story. At its core, the Tesla Model S is simply a damned good car you happen to plug in to refuel.

Motor Trend interviewed Elon Musk after announcing the Tesla Model S winning the Motor Trend Car of the Year 2013

What will Tesla do next ?

North Dakota Daily Oil Production increase 27000 bpd to 728,494 bpd in September

Computer hard disk memory could increase five fold

The storage capacity of hard disk drives could increase by a factor of five thanks to processes developed by chemists and engineers at The University of Texas at Austin.The researchers’ technique, which relies on self-organizing substances known as block copolymers, was described this week in an article inScience. It’s also being given a real-world test run in collaboration with HGST, one of the world’s leading innovators in disk drives.“

In the last few decades there’s been a steady, exponential increase in the amount of information that can be stored on memory devices, but things have now reached a point where we’re running up against physical limits,” said C. Grant Willson, professor of chemistry and biochemistry in the College of Natural Sciences and the Rashid Engineering Regents Chair in the Cockrell School of Engineering.With current production methods, zeroes and ones are written as magnetic dots on a continuous metal surface. The closer together the dots are, the more information can be stored in the same area. But that tactic has been pretty much maxed out. The dots have now gotten so close together that any further increase in proximity would cause them to be affected by the magnetic fields of their neighboring dots and become unstable.“

6.5 billion mobile subscribers by 2018

A number of speakers on a panel at the Techonomy 2012 conference talked about how the world will change when everyone is online.

Douglas L. Gilstrap, senior vice president and head of strategy for leading Internet infrastructure provider Ericsson, said that there are now 650 million subscribers to traditional wired phone service, but that by 2018, there will be 6.5 billion mobile subscribers. LTE, which he said is 10 times as fast as those when T1 lines were introduced, should cover 50 percent of the population by 2018.

This, he said, will bring access to information, health care, and education to more and more people. He noted that 70 percent of new mobile broadband subscriptions will come from Asia/the Pacific, the Middle East, and Africa.

November 12, 2012

Smart scaffolding aims to rebuild tissue from the inside

Smart scaffolding that can guide cells, proteins and small-molecule drugs to make new tissue and repair damage inside the body is in development at Rice University

Bioengineers use scaffolds to mimic the body’s extracellular matrix, which supports the growth and maintenance of living cells. Synthetic scaffolds are used as frameworks to form replacement tissues and, perhaps someday, regenerate entire organs from a patient’s own cells. Once their work is done, the scaffolds are designed to degrade and leave only natural, healthy tissue behind.

While much of the work to date has focused on creating tissue in the laboratory for implantation, Hartgerink’s aim is to inject scaffolds infused with living cells that will allow the repairs to happen inside the tissue’s natural environment.

The peptides designed and prepared at Rice self-assemble into nanofibers that can be triggered to form a hydrogel. “We can then deliver cells, small-molecule drugs and proteins to bring everything together properly in one place,” said Hartgerink, an associate professor of chemistry and of bioengineering at Rice. Hydrogels could be designed to interact with stem cells and “get them to do what we want them to do,” he said.

Significant relationship between mortality and telomere length discovered

Eurekalert - A team of researchers at Kaiser Permanente and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) has identified a significant relationship between mortality and the length of telomeres, the stretches of DNA that protect the ends of chromosomes, according to a presentation on Nov. 8 at the American Society of Human Genetics 2012 meeting in San Francisco.

- individuals whose telomeres were in the shortest 10 percent were about 23 percent more likely to die in the three years following measurement of their telomeres, when compared with individuals whose telomeres were longer

While a reduction in telomere length is regarded as a biomarker of aging, scientists have not yet determined whether it plays a direct causal role in aging-related health changes and mortality or is just a sign of aging.

In their prospective study of 100,000 multi-ethnic individuals whose average age was 63 years, the researchers determined that an association between telomere length and mortality existed and persisted even after the data were adjusted for such demographic and behavioral factors as education, smoking and alcohol consumption, said Catherine Schaefer, Ph.D., director of the Kaiser Permanente (KP) Research Program on Genes, Environment and Health (RPGEH).

Science News - The 10 percent of people with the shortest telomeres had a more than 20 percent higher risk of dying than people with longer telomeres, Catherine Schaefer, an epidemiologist who directs the Kaiser Permanente Research Program on Genes, Environment and Health, reported November 8 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics. “It seems as though once your telomeres get critically short, your risk of dying goes up,” she said. The increased death risk is about the same as for people who drink 20 to 30 alcoholic beverages per week or smoke for 20 to 30 years. “It’s a modest increase, but it’s not nothing.”

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 130

The Carnival of Nuclear Energy 130 is up at Atomic Insights.

Canadian Energy Issues - Modern cities cannot function without electricity. That electricity is usually the product of other people from outside of the city, which, says Steve Aplin, illustrates Adam Smith’s division of labour in real time action. City dwellers do not produce most of what they consume; that is why they exist in the form they do.

This division of labour, whereby most citizens of and workers in Toronto do not produce or distribute the electricity that runs Toronto, also is why electricity is cheap. The central-station grid model is by far the most efficient way to deliver bulk electricity to millions of consumers.

And the most efficient central station grid is one that is fed with cheap, highly concentrated generation sources, that occupy small physical footprints.

World's Fastest Supercomputers Titan and then Sequoia

The 40th edition of the twice-yearly TOP500 List of the world’s top supercomputers was released today (Nov. 12, 2012). The Oak Ridge National Laboratory Titan, a Cray XK7 system, achieved 17.59 Petaflop/s (quadrillions of calculations per second) on the Linpack benchmark. Titan has 560,640 processors, including 261,632 NVIDIA K20x accelerator cores.

In claiming the top spot, Titan knocked Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Sequoia out of No. 1 and into second place. Sequoia, an IBM BlueGene/Q system, was No. 1 in June 2012 with an impressive 16.32 Petaflop/s on the Linpack benchmark. With 1,572,864 cores, Sequoia is the first system with one million or more cores.

Rounding out the top five systems are Fujitsu’s K computer installed at the RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science (AICS) in Kobe, Japan (No. 3); a BlueGene/Q system named Mira at Argonne National Laboratory (No. 4); and a BlueGene/Q system named JUQUEEN at the Forschungszentrum Juelich in Germany (No. 5), which was upgraded and is now the most powerful system in Europe.

Google and Acer announce $199 C7 Chromebook

Zdnet - Google is continuing its push to build the Chromebook market with the latest model by Acer. The Acer C7 Chromebook is available for $199.

The $199 model has an extra 20% weight (3.05 lbs instead of 2.43 pounds) and it has 3.5 hours of battery instead of 6.5 hours for the $249 Samsung Chromebook.

The Acer Chromebook can be bought at Google Play

Google has been seriously pushing the Chrome OS with the recent partnership with Samsung to offer the new Samsung Chromebook. That device lowered the price of a Chromebook to just $249. Continuing that push is the new Acer C7 Chromebook just released for a mere $199. Like the Samsung model before, Google is also offering free goodies worth more than the price tag of the Acer C7 Chromebook.

The new C7 from Acer weighs in at 3.05 pounds and is only an inch thich. In that slim body is an Intel Celeron processor, 2 GB of memory, and surprising for a Chromebook -- a 320GB hard drive. The 11.6-inch display is capable of HD video, and has a quoted battery life of over 3.5 hours.

Google is offering two years of 100GB of free storage in the cloud for new purchasers of the Acer, along with 12 free Gogo Internet passes. Those two offers are together worth more than the price of the new Acer Chromebook, so you could say Google will pay you to get one.

Nvidia launches Tesla K20X and K20

Nvidia has launched its Tesla K20X GPGPUaccelerator card aimed at double-precision floating point scientific workloads. Nvidia had already announced that its Tesla K20 series would be used in what was forecast to be the most powerful high performance computing (HPC) cluster, Titan, a few weeks ago. Now the firm has revealed the launch its Tesla K20X double-precision floating point GPGPU accelerator card and confirmed that the Cray XK7 Titan cluster at the US Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which boasts 18,688 Tesla K20X GPGPU cards, has taken top spot on the prestigious Top 500 HPC list.While Nvidia's Kepler architecture made its first showing in the HPC market with the single-precision Tesla K10, the firm waited over six months before bringing out the big guns.

The firm's Tesla K20X card delivers 1.31 TeraFLOPS of peak double-precision floating point computing power and 3.95 TeraFLOPS of peak single-precision floating point computing performance, and is supported by 6GB of onboard memory with a bandwidth of 250GB/s.

Nvidia also announced the Tesla K20, a marginally cutdown version of the Tesla K20X that boasts peak single-precision floating point computing power of 3.52 TeraFLOPS and 1.17 TeraFLOPS for double-precision floating point. The firm cut back memory capacity to 5GB and memory bandwidth to 208GB/s on the Tesla K20 compared to its top-end Tesla K20X

November 11, 2012

The Future of large-scale, high-performance data processing infrastructure

Wired provided coverage of Google spanner

“If you want to know what the large-scale, high-performance data processing infrastructure of the future looks like, my advice would be to read the Google research papers that are coming out right now,” Mike Olson, the CEO of Hadoop specialist Cloudera, said at recent event in Silicon Valley. According to Charles Zedlewski, vice president of products at Cloudera, the company was already aware of Spanner — after recruiting some ex-Google engineers — and it may eventually incorporate ideas from the paper into its software.

Facebook is already building a system that’s somewhat similar to Spanner, in that it aims to juggle information across multiple data centers. Judging from our discussions with Facebook about this system — known as Prism — it’s quite different from Google’s creation. But it shows that other outfits are now staring down many of the same data problems Google first faced in years past.

The Spanner paper lists many authors, but two stand out: Jeff Dean and Sanjay Ghemawat. After joining Google from the research operation at DEC — the bygone computer giant — Dean and Ghemawat helped design three massive software platforms that would have a major impact on the rest of the internet. MapReduce and the Google File System gave rise to Hadoop, while BigTable helped spawn an army of “NoSQL” databases suited to storing and retrieving vast amounts of information.

Spanner draws on BigTable, but it goes much further. Whereas BigTable is best used to store information across thousands of servers in a single data center, Spanner expands this idea to millions of servers and multiple data centers.

Spacex Grasshopper pictures and video

TPM - SpaceX has over the past few months been testing a new experimental reusable rocket design, which the company calls “Grasshopper,” launching and landing it twice in two separate “test hops,” from its site in McGregor, Texas.

Spacex's ultimate goal, and that of its founder Elon Musk, is to drastically reduce the current costs of space travel to get them closer to airfare costs — down from $1,000 per pound to $10.

Spacex has a google plus page. They have pictures shots of the Grasshopper

Ultrathin electrode spun from a single carbon fiber can record neurons in living animals.

Technology Review - Connecting a human brain to a computer is as much a materials science problem as a biology one. What kind of interface is delicate enough not to damage nerve tissue, but resilient enough to last decades?

Researchers have come up with what they call a “stealthy neural interface” made from a single carbon fiber and coated with chemicals to make it resistant to proteins in the brain.

The new microthread electrode, designed to pick up signals from a single neuron as it fires, is only about 7 micrometers in diameter. That is the thinnest yet developed, and about 100 times as thin as the conventional metal electrodes widely used to study animal brains.

An electrode made from a carbon fiber thread is 7 micrometers wide

Nature Materials - Ultrasmall implantable composite microelectrodes with bioactive surfaces for chronic neural interfaces

High-power circuit breaker makes it possible to create highly efficient DC power grids

Technology Review - ABB, the large power and automation company, has developed technology that could provide an efficient way to transmit power from widely distributed solar panels, wind turbines, and other sources of renewable energy. The new technology is a fast and efficient circuit breaker for high-voltage direct-current (DC) power lines, a device that has eluded technologists for 100 years. The breaker makes it possible to join high-voltage DC transmission lines to form a resilient power grid.

DC lines have long been used to transmit power across the North Sea, and from large hydroelectric dams to cities. But until ABB's advance, it wasn't safe to connect DC lines into a large-scale grid.

ABB's circuit breaker changes that. Within five milliseconds it can stop the flow of a huge amount of power—equal to the entire output of a nuclear power plant, ABB says. The breakers could be used to nearly instantaneously reroute power in a DC grid around a problem, allowing the grid to keep functioning. “Ordinarily, if something goes wrong anywhere, all the power goes off,” says Claes Rytoft, ABB’s chief technology officer. “The breaker can cut out the faulty line and keep the rest healthy.”

ABB engineers test out high-voltage direct-current concepts at this test facility.

Belated notice that Michael O'Hare actor from Babylon 5 passed

J. Michael Straczynski posted earlier September 28, 2012 on Facebook that Babylon 5 star Michael O’Hare has died at the age of 60.

I regret that I must convey the sad news that Michael O’Hare passed away today. He suffered a heart attack on Sunday and was in a coma until his passing this afternoon. This is a terrible loss for all B5 fans and everyone involved with the show wishes to convey their condolences to the O’Hare family. He was an amazing man.

Other actors from the Babylon 5 TV show who have passed are Jeff Conaway (Zack), Andreas Katsulas (G'Kar), Richard Biggs (Dr. Stephen Franklin) and Johnny Sekka (Dr Kyle) and Tim Choate (Zathras).

Japan and All of Europe may already be in recession

Japan's economy shrank 0.9 percent in the three months to September, marking the first contraction in three quarters, adding to signs that slowing global growth and tensions with China are nudging the world's third-largest economy into recession.

The fall in GDP, which matched a median market forecast, translated into an annualized 3.5 percent fall.

Toronto Globe and Mail - The European Commission has removed all the growth from it latest 2012 economic forecast for the entire European Union, although it has stopped short of predicting a formal recession. The EU’s executive arm now expects the entire 27-country bloc to post a decline in GDP this year of 0.3 per cent, compared with its previous projection of no growth or contraction. Within that group, the 17-member euro zone is forecast to shrink by 0.4 per cent, the first annual decline for the region since the sovereign debt crisis began driving peripheral economies off the rails in 2010.

The commission said the eurozone as a whole would contract by 0.4% this year and grow by 0.1% in 2013. It cut its forecasts for the single currency's "big four" economies – Germany, France, Italy and Spain – as it predicted that unemployment would rise to a fresh peak of 11.8% next year.

The commission expressed confidence that by 2014 the benefits of the austerity programmes would bear fruit, leading to expansion of 1.4%.

Although the UK is expected to grow by just 0.9% next year, Brussels believes it will expand more quickly than any of the major economies of the eurozone. The commission has pencilled in growth of 0.8% for Germany, 0.4% for France, a contraction of 0.5% for Italy and a retrenchment of 1.4% for Spain.

Full-parameter unidirectional metamaterial cloak for microwaves

Nature Materials - Invisibility is a notion that has long captivated the popular imagination. However, in 2006, invisibility became a practical matter for the scientific community as well, with the suggestion that artificially structured metamaterials could enable a new electromagnetic design paradigm, now termed transformation optics1. Since the advent of transformation optics and subsequent initial demonstration of the microwave cloak, the field has grown rapidly. However, the complexity of the transformation optics material prescription has continually forced researchers to make simplifying approximations to achieve even a subset of the desired functionality. These approximations place profound limitations on the performance of transformation optics devices in general11, and cloaks especially. Here, we design and experimentally characterize a two-dimensional, unidirectional cloak that makes no approximations to the underlying transformation optics formulation, yet is capable of reducing the scattering of an object ten wavelengths in size. We demonstrate that this approximation-free design regains the performance characteristics promised by transformation optics.

Cloaking of sound, seismic waves and light

Though invisibility to the naked eye is an exciting prospect, the ability to cloak objects from other forms of electromagnetic waves, as well as sound waves, has equally important benefits. Military defense is an area in which this engineering accomplishment may prove most useful. Radar is widely used to detect ships, tanks, and other military vehicles. Thus, a clear advantage is presented to anyone able to cloak these objects from their enemies’ radars. In addition, in the case of a disaster in which people are exposed to radiation, metamaterials could act as deflectors to ensure safety.

The cloaking of sound and elastic waves could prove easier than cloaking light and have even more dramatic impacts. The seismic waves caused by earthquakes typically have wavelengths on the order of kilometers, so a cloak could be built from relatively large components and could channel the destruction around buildings, or even entire cities. Completely soundproof rooms could be possible by deflecting sound waves around the walls of the room.

The possibilities of this new technology continue to excite the engineering community. Until Vesalago's research, scientists had erred through their overly restricted interpretation of Snell’s Law. Vesalago’s revolutionary realization that physics does not deny the possibility of negative indices of refraction has allowed scientists to break through old boundaries and explore new perspectives. Young and enthusiastic minds at universities all over the country are finally working to make invisibility possible.

Carnival of Space 275

1. Weirdwarp looks at light and whether it is made up of waves or particles. This question has been around for ages. Photons which are particles of light are said to be both particles and waves by quantum theory. Physicists from the University of Bristol have backed up the quantum theory with a new demonstration using a new piece of equipment.

2. Centauri Dreams - t 42 light years from Earth, the star HD 40307 is reasonably within the Sun’s neighborhood, so the news of a potentially habitable planet there catches the eye. HD 40307 is a K-class dwarf, one previously known to be orbited by three super-Earths — with masses between the Earth and Neptune — that are too close to the star to support liquid water on the surface. Now we have the discovery, announced in a new paper in Astronomy & Astrophysics, of three more super-Earth candidates found by digging into data from HARPS (the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher) and HIRES (the High Resolution Echelle Spectrograph).

Форма для связи


Email *

Message *