February 23, 2013

Aubrey De Grey Provides a Review of SENS Anti-Aging Projects

Aubrey discusses SENS (Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence) anti aging projects. There are three direct projects and several projects supported at universities.

Adam Ford (Director of H+) interviewed Aubrey.

1. There is work to make mitochondrial mutations harmless by placing the mitochondrial DNA into the cell nucleus (this ensures the necessary mitochondrial functions continue even if the mitochondria are damaged.)

2. They have identified enzymes that can break down the extra cellularintracellular junk that causes cardiovascular disease and macular degeneration. They are placing them into mammalian cells and published the work in 2012.

This is INTRAcellular junk, not EXTRAcellular junk -- ie, it's damaged material that accumulates /inside/ cells, not outside of them.

3. They are working on telomeres. Alternative lengthening of telomeres is used in ten percent of cancers.

Work with Plenty of other sources of funding

RepleniSENS is to replace loss of cells. This would help for Parkisons disease and spinal cord damage. There is work on stem cells and there are some clinical trials now. Some trials are working and it appears to be a matter of time before it works spectacularly well on a reliable basis. There is many companies and researchers working on stem cells so SENS does not need to address it.

The extracellular garbage in the brain are being addressed. SENS is funding a project for addressing extracellular garbage in other parts of the body.

Divide and Conquer Approach

SENS targets seven areas of aging damage. SENS approach is to target each of the seven pieces but there should not be any expectation of significant life extension until all seven areas are being addressed quite well. There are other simpler approaches which are showing some benefit (rapamycin and calorie restriction.) Each of the seven strands of SENS work (other than mitochondrial mutations) has a disease or diseases associated with that area. This means that the work in that area can be justified as addressing those diseases for regulatory approval.

Clarification from SENS Science Writer Michael Rae

"Each of the seven strands of SENS work (other than mitochondrial mutations) has a disease or diseases associated with that area. This means that the work in that area can be justified as addressing those diseases for regulatory approval."

Having listened to the relevant section of the interview I can understand why Adam (or whoever wrote the summary) would have misunderstood the point, by dint of overextrapolation. Aubrey said (correctly) that the various kinds of damage targeted by SENS are also know to cause *age-related* disease, whereas the links between (age-related) mitochondrial mutations and such diseases remain a matter of debate. However, it is quite certain that /some/ mitochondrial mutations cause /some/ diseases: to wit, *inherited* (rather than age-related) mitochondrial mutations cause many very terrible inherited diseases, though most of them occur in very few people. The good news, for both these patients and for aging, is that the "allotopic expression"/mitoSENS approach to making these mutations irrelevant will work for both, so again, there is in principle a way to get regulatory approval for their use by using it to target a specific disease. (In fact, because these inherited mitochondrial diseases are so rare, it may even be easier, at least on the regulatory front, to advance mitoSENS into clinical trials than it is to do so with the other therapies, because special provisioins are made to ease the regulatory burdens for therapies targeting such so-called "orphan diseases."

Aubrey never explains the latter, but it isn't correct (fortunately), and he didn't say, that mt mutations don't cause known, discrete, FDA-recognized diseases.

10 to 20 year outlook not that good

Chances for significant life extension over the next ten to 20 years are quite low according to Aubrey. The 2 year per decade increase of life expectancy sources (reduced smoking and improved infant health) are running down. When regenerative medicine gets more mature and capable then this trend will reverse and life extension will accelerate again.

Sony Playstation 4 Will Bring Movie Like CGI with Motion Control Interaction

Sony Playstation 4 will bring movie like CGI and combine with superior motion control interaction.

Simple User Experience Enabled by technology

The PS4 will offer a low-power sleep state, so it will have instant-on capabilities. There will also be background downloading when the console is asleep or even powered off. For DLC, gamers will be able to start playing once the download starts.

Sony will have second chip for uploads and downloads. Games will be playable even while they are downloading.


They want to make sharing of video clips of games as easy as screenshots today.

Friends can help take over your controller to get through levels that you are having trouble with.


Blizzard is bringing Diablo 3 to the Playstation 3 and Playstation 4.
There is a new game Knack.

Bungie (the makers of Halo) are bringing the First person Shooter, Destiny to PS4. They also call it the first "Shared World Shooter".

February 22, 2013

China has almost 10,000 kilometers of high speed rail now and 5 times more by 2020 - Forcing China's Airlines to Shift Focus to International Travel

China’s new high-speed rail system is proving to be financially viable. The 2,298km Beijing to Guangzhou trip that used to take 22 hours, now takes just eight hours since the opening in December of the high-speed line between the capital and the southern commercial hub.

“The Beijing-Guangzhou high-speed railway connects the economic region around Beijing with the Pearl River Delta. Considering the population and levels of development of the two economic zones, they are undoubtedly important engines for China’s economy, therefore improving the transport system will definitely increase exchanges between the two in terms of investment, talent and information,” he said.

Another showcase route is the Beijing to Shanghai route, which covers 1,318km and runs 90 pairs of trains daily, with the trip taking four hours and 48 minutes.

China now has 9,356km of high-speed railways.

In 2015 China will have 18,000km of high speed rail.

The plan is to expand this to 50,000km by 2020.

The top price for a ticket from Beijing to Guangzhou is more than 2,000 yuan (€235), which is about the same price as a flight.

Mainland airlines experienced turbulence at the turn of the year, posting losses for three consecutive months due to low air fares and competition from high-speed railways.

Nvidia Tegra 4i will bring LTE superphone capabilities to mainstream smartphones

Earlier this week Nvidia announced the Tegra 4i which is their first quad-core mobile processor with integrated LTE capabilities. The entire family of Tegra 4 processors supports the new NVIDIA Chimera Computational Photography Architecture.

Chimera allows consumers to instantly grab high-quality high-dynamic range photos and videos in a vast array of conditions with a single flash.

Another showstopper: the ability to quickly take wide-angle ‘fish-eye’ photos by simply moving the camera around to ‘paint’ whatever panorama a user desires in real-time.

And ‘tap-to-track’ technology lets a user touch an image of a person or an object they want to capture. This insures that the subject of the photo remains in focus as the camera – or the person or object the camera is trying to capture – moves, while adjusting for changing lighting conditions.

LTE modem enabled

As a result of the Nvidia acquisition of Icera 20 months ago, they have new LTE modem products

The first product, the NVIDIA i500 LTE modem, was previewed at CES and officially announced today. It will help power high-end phones and tablets.

The second product is the NVIDIA Tegra 4i processor, which integrates Tegra 4 with the i500 modem in a chip half the size of its nearest competitor. Tegra 4i will bring super phone capabilities to the mainstream smartphone market, and there will be nothing on the market like it.

Tegra 4i's CPU cores aren't going to set performance records, and that will be doubly true in late 2013 after Qualcomm's 600- and 800-series Snapdragon chips have had some time to proliferate. The 4i will improve significantly on Tegra 3, though, putting the SoCs CPU performance firmly in "good enough" territory.

So far, Qualcomm has essentially cornered the mid-to-high-end smartphone market in the US, not just because of its generally good performance but also because most of its chips feature an integrated LTE modem. This is one reason why phones released in the US often use Snapdragon SoCs despite using different SoCs in their international versions, and as Nvidia's first chip with an integrated LTE modem the Tegra 4i should help the company win some of that business.

China's nuclear energy program

Business Week has a review of China's nuclear construction program.

China has 29 nuclear reactors under construction (40% of the world total).

Construction on the Pebble Bed reactor began in December. The design came from Beijing’s Tsinghua University. If successful, it would be the first full-size prototype of this technology. If unsuccessful, it would be a costly, dangerous mess to clean up. Germany’s pebble-bed prototype, which was never operational, cost €5.5 billion ($7.3 billion) to decontaminate.

In theory, a pebble-bed model operates much more efficiently than other designs. “The problem has been that although graphite is slippery when it’s cool, at high temperatures and when it’s heavily radiated it gets more sticky,” causing the graphite pebbles to get lodged in one place, explains Steve Thomas, professor of energy studies at London’s University of Greenwich. “When the pebbles stick, they overheat and start to disintegrate, leaving a dust of fuel products and radioactive graphite.”

The Chinese are also testing the radioactive chemical thorium, said to be safer than uranium, as a nuclear fuel. That program was launched in 2011 in Shanghai by former President Jiang Zemin’s son, Jiang Mianheng.

February 21, 2013

Potential game changing gel can repair damaged hearts

There are currently no treatments that can repair the damage associated with this so-called ‘myocardial infarction’ (MI), but a potential solution is now showing promise in a large-animal model. Reporting today in Science Translational Medicine, a team of bioengineers at the University of California–San Diego (UCSD) has developed a protein-rich gel that appears to help repair cardiac muscle in a pig model of MI.

The researchers delivered the hydrogel via a catheter directly into the damaged regions of the porcine heart, and showed that the product promoted cellular regeneration and improved cardiac function after a heart attack. Compared to placebo-treated animals, the pigs that received a hydrogel injection displayed a 30% increase in heart volume, a 20% improvement in heart wall movement and a 10% reduction in the amount of scar tissue scar three months out from their heart attacks. “We hope this will be a game-changing technology that can actually prevent heart failure after heart attack,” says UCSD’s Karen Christman, who led the study.

Christman and her team developed their hydrogel by stripping muscle cells from pig hearts, leaving behind a network of proteins that naturally self-assembles into a porous and fibrous scaffold upon injection into heart tissue. They previously tested its safety and efficacy in rats, where they found increased cardiac function and no toxicity or cross-species reactivity.

Christman has already formed a company based on the technology, called Ventrix, and she hopes to move the product into human safety trials within the year.

Science Translational Medicine -Safety and Efficacy of an Injectable Extracellular Matrix Hydrogel for Treating Myocardial Infarction

DARPA is looking to mitigate short and long term ionizing radiation risks

DARPA is looking to reduce ionizing radiation risks

Darpa has three main research areas for enhancing nuclear radiation survival.

1) i“prophylactic” and “post-exposure” treatments that can neutralize ionizing radiation before it starts to cause serious cellular damage.

2) Another looks at how to survive and/or mitigate the long-term effects of radiation exposure, to include cancers — effectively meaning Darpa wants to push the boundaries of surviving radiation-induced cancer.

3) Get a better understanding and model of the effects of radiation on the human body, from a molecular up to a systemic level, with an eye to “mitigation and repair of genetic and cellular damage.”

A particular area of interest: what nuclear radiation does to the very building blocks of life. “Emerging models of DNA damage dynamics, DNA damage response, signaling pathways and DNA repair mechanisms,” Darpa’s request reads, “may lead to the development of novel therapies for long-term radiation damage.”

Bioengineers printed ears and target first human implant in 2015

Cornell bioengineers and physicians have created an artificial ear that looks and acts like a natural ear, giving new hope to thousands of children born with a congenital deformity called microtia. They have developed high-fidelity, biocompatible, patient-specific tissue-engineered constructs for auricular reconstruction which largely mimic the native auricle both biomechanically and histologically, even after an extended period of implantation. This strategy holds immense potential for durable patient-specific tissue-engineered anatomically proper auricular reconstructions in the future.

The novel ear may be the solution reconstructive surgeons have long wished for to help children born with ear deformity, said co-lead author Dr. Jason Spector, director of the Laboratory for Bioregenerative Medicine and Surgery and associate professor of plastic surgery at Weill Cornell.

Cornell biomedical engineers and Weill Cornell Medical College physicians described how 3-D printing and injectable gels made of living cells can fashion ears that are practically identical to a human ear. Over a three-month period, these flexible ears grew cartilage to replace the collagen that was used to mold them.

"This is such a win-win for both medicine and basic science, demonstrating what we can achieve when we work together," said co-lead author Lawrence Bonassar, associate professor of biomedical engineering.

3d Printed Ear

PLOS One - High-Fidelity Tissue Engineering of Patient-Specific Auricles for Reconstruction of Pediatric Microtia and Other Auricular Deformities

Carnival of Space 289

While we wait for the 220 Story Skycity Skyscraper there will be a 100 Story factory mass produced skyscraper

The local government of the city of Yinchuan has already signed a contract with Broad group in the construction of a 100 story building using factory mass produced construction methods.

Broad Group is famous for proposing to build the tallest building in the world and assembling it in only 3 months. The Skycity project has been delayed but has not been cancelled.

Here is a translation of news about the 100 story building

Broad Group has the future of building technology with a factory mass produced building that can
* withstand a category 9.0 earthquake
* five times more energy-efficient
* 20 times cleaner air inside
* 1% of construction waste
* 93% factory manufacturing sustainable building.

Broad Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo was built in a day.
Six days to build a new Ark Hotel 15 days to build a 30-story T30 Hotel.

Sustainable high-rise buildings have been built in Mexico, Hunan Changsha Xiangyin, Shanghai, Shanxi, Fujian, Shandong, Hubei and other places. They have built more than 20 buildings, opened the prelude to the revolution of the third building in the world.

They plan to build the new 100 story building inJinfeng District, Yinchuan City CBD center. It will have a total building area of ​​300,000 square meters, a height of about 410 meters and 100 floors. They plan to build one set of grade 5A office space, seven-star and five-star hotels, high-end commercial and apartment high-rise urban complex.

Computer Chip Pioneer Says We Must Complete the Quantum Mechanics Revolution and Look to Mach Principle

Carver Mead is a key pioneer of modern microelectronics. His 40-year academic and industry career touches all aspects of microelectronics, from spearheading the development of tools and techniques for modern integrated circuit design, to laying the foundation for fabless semiconductor companies, to catalyzing the electronic design automation field, to training generations of engineers, to founding more than twenty companies, including Actel Corporation, Silicon Compilers, Synaptics, and Sonic Innovations.

Mead Says the Quantum Mechanics Revolution of Physics is Blocked and Incomplete

Carver Mead said that we're all taught that there was a revolution in scientific thought that started with relativity and quantum mechanics. "Actually, that's not the case," he said. "A revolution is when something goes clear around. And what happened starting in the first 25 years of the 20th century was that there was the beginning of a revolution, and it got stuck about a quarter of the way around."

From Mead's point of view, the key to a more intuitive explanation of the universe lies in not only the interrelationships of matter and forces, but also a better understanding of the electron. "We need to treat the wave functions of our electrons as real wave functions," he said. "I have found personally that I had to go all the way back and reformulate the laws of electromagnetism, starting with the quantum nature of the electron as the foundation."

Look to Mach Principle for the Quantum Nature of the electron and Inertia

A more holistic approach was suggested by none other than the Austrian physicist and philosopher Ernst Mach. As Mead tells it, Mach "took Newton to task. He said, 'Look, your idea of absolute motion is a stupid idea. Motion can only have meaning when what it is that's moving is moving relative to other matter in the universe'."

Einstein, of course, was mightily influenced by what the ex–patent clerk called Mach's Principle, which Mead explained as the proposition that "the inertia of every element of matter is due to its interaction with all the other elements of matter in the universe."

Nextbigfuture has covered Mach Principle and Mach Effect and it could lead to propellentless space drive and traversible stargates

Many Nextbigfuture article on Mach Effect propulsion.

If the Mach Effect is real [mass fluctations) and behaves as theorized (with some experimental confirmation) by James Woodward and the effect scales up as expected then we can create reactionless drive.

Over a century has passed since Ernst Mach conjectured that the cause of inertia should somehow be causally related to the presence of the vast bulk of the matter (his “fixed stars”) in the universe. Einstein translated this conjecture into “Mach’s principle” (his words) and attempted to incorporate a version of it into general relativity theory (GRT) by introducing the “cosmological constant” term into his field equations for gravity. Einstein ultimately abandoned his attempts to incorporate Mach’s principle into GRT. But in the early 1950s Dennis Sciama revived interest in the “origin of inertia”.

James Woodward 1990 Mach Effect Conjecture:
* Mach's principle and local Lorentz-invariance together yield the prediction of transient mass fluctuations in accelerated masses that concurrently change their internal energy states.”

* “The resulting mass fluctuations, in both principle and practice, can be quite large and, in principle at least, negative.”

* “The M-E derivation is relativistically invariant, so the conservation laws are automatically satisfied”

*“No New Physics is involved

Dennis Tito Plans 501 day Manned Mars Trip starting Jan 2018 - Believed to be Free Return Mars Flyby

The Inspiration Mars Foundation, a newly formed nonprofit organization led by American space traveler and entrepreneur Dennis Tito, will have a Feb 27, 2013 press conference detailing its plans to take advantage of a unique window of opportunity to launch an historic journey to Mars and back in 501 days, starting in January 2018. This "Mission for America" will generate new knowledge, experience and momentum for the next great era of space exploration. It is intended to encourage all Americans to believe again, in doing the hard things that make our nation great, while inspiring youth through Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and motivation.

Free Return manned Flyby of Mars

New space Journal has more info

The mission would involve a flyby of Mars with a free return back to Earth, without stopping. That type of low-energy trajectory requires a special set of orbital circumstances: The presentation says those circumstances exist for the 2018 opportunity but won't repeat until 2031. Two astronauts living in spartan conditions could make the 501-day trip in a modified SpaceX Dragon capsule, launched by SpaceX's yet-to-be-flown Falcon Heavy rocket.

Feasibility Analysis for a Manned Mars Free Return Mission in 2018 (paper to be presented March 3, 2013) written by John Carrico; Dennis Tito; Grant Anderson; Michel Loucks; Taber Mac Callum; Thomas Squire; Jonathan Clark

Free Return from Mars

Here is a 30 page NASA paper from the 1990s that discusses free return Mars flyby trajectories

China will become a predominantly service economy in 2013

The Chinese economy is known for its industrial might. Manufacturers, miners, utilities and builders accounted for over 45% of China’s GDP in 2012. In America, by contrast, they typically contribute less than 20%.

Manufacturing’s share of China’s GDP was more than 18 percentage points above the global norm in 2005. Services, in contrast, were almost eight points below.

Services (which include transport, wholesaling, retailing, hotels, catering, finance, real estate and scientific research, among other things) accounted for 44.6% of China’s GDP in 2012. That is less than one point behind industry’s 45.3%.

Quantum Dots covering one square inch could produce a watt of power for every one degree temperature difference

A new type of nanoscale engine has been proposed that would use quantum dots to generate electricity from waste heat, potentially making microcircuits more efficient.

"The system is really a simple one, which exploits certain properties of quantum dots to harvest heat," Professor Andrew Jordan of the University of Rochester said. "Despite this simplicity, the power it could generate is still larger than any other nanoengine that has been considered until now."

The engines would be microscopic in size, and have no moving parts. Each would only produce a tiny amount of power – a millionth or less of what a light bulb uses. But by combining millions of the engines in a layered structure, Jordan says a device that was a square inch in area could produce about a watt of power for every one degree difference in temperature. Enough of them could make a notable difference in the energy consumption of a computer.

Quantum Dot Heat Energy Harvester Simple Diagram. An array on nano energy harvesters in what the researchers call a “swiss cheese sandwich” arrangement.

Physical Review B - Powerful and efficient energy harvester with resonant-tunneling quantum dots

Full paper on arxiv.

Light Weight and Low Power Exoskeletons for Injury Prevention are US Army Focus

Developing an expensive and energy-hungry super suit, though a nice idea, might not be the military’s top priority. Augmenting soldiers’ natural strength and protecting them from injuries is another matter: Darpa is now working on a new programme called Warrior Web, which is much closer in inspiration to Batman than Iron Man. Rather than relying on a hard, exterior robotic shell, the Warrior Web suit is described as being a “lightweight, conformal undersuit”, like a diver’s wetsuit.

The undersuit takes a different approach to enhancing soldiers: rather than creating “super soldiers” that can carry much more than a normal human, it focuses on helping troops do what they already do more efficiently and safely: carrying gear and supplies which can reach over 100 pounds (45kg). The idea is that the suit will fit comfortably underneath the uniform and outer protective gear to provide functional and adaptive support. Integrated components and sensors will help to prevent injuries and enhance the user’s natural abilities by supporting joints and reducing the amount of energy a soldier expends. Darpa is also looking at other “novel technologies that prevent, reduce, ambulate, and assist with healing of acute and chronic musculoskeletal injuries.”

2007 DOD statistics about military injuries:

* There were 2.1 million injury-related medical visits, affecting 900,000 service members.
* Injuries were the second cause of hospitalizations, accounting for almost 110,000 days in hospital.
* Injuries were, and are, the leading cause of outpatient clinical visits.
* Musculoskeletal injuries accounted for 68 percent of all limited-duty days and medical profiles; they add up to an estimated 25 million limited-duty days per year.

The injury rate for the Army is 2,500 reported injuries for every 1,000 Soldiers. This means that every Soldier could potentially to go to sick call at least twice a year for a musculoskeletal injury. Injuries that affect the low back, knee, ankle and shoulders account for most of the visits.

UAE developers may adopt Broad Group of China's factory mass produced skyscrapers

Major UAE developers visit Broad Sustainable Building - a Chinese construction firm that specialises factory mass produced skyscrapers that can be assembled in weeks to months. Rhe UAE is ranked third on the list of countries having the most buildings taller than 200 metres. In Dubai alone, there are 65 buildings over 200 metres with the maximum being on the Sheikh Zayed Road corridor.

Last year, Broad Group announced plans to build the 220-storey Sky City in Changsha, 10 metres taller than the 828-metre Burj Khalifa, currently the world’s tallest tower, once they get approval from the government.

In order to build the tallest tower, the Chinese company will use the same factory-built module technique on a mega scale that was used to construct the T30 tower, a 30-storey hotel in Hunan province, which BSB built in 15 days.

To construct Sky City, a 16,000 strong workforce will build the wall and floor panels over a six-month period with the electrics, plumbing, flooring and air conditioning being installed in the panels before they are shipped to the construction site. Pieces will be set up just like a Lego set.

BSB claims the technique is energy efficient, reduces the need for cement and is one third of the cost versus traditional building techniques.

February 20, 2013

NASA Designs New Space Telescope Optics to Directly Image Exoplanets and detect biosignatures

Although hundreds of planets orbiting other stars have been discovered in the past 15 years, we cannot yet answer the age-old question of whether any of these planets are capable of sustaining life. However, new NASA technology may change that, by giving us our first look at distant planets that not only are the right size and traveling in the temperate habitable zone of their host star, but also show signs of potential life, such as atmospheric oxygen and liquid water.

Research scientists at NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., are developing new space telescope optics that won’t just detect planets similar to Earth, but actually take photos of them. To take photos, called “direct imaging,” a new technology will be used called phase-induced amplitude apodization (PIAA). In development since 2003, it is a proof-of-concept and technology tested prototype that is a strong candidate for NASA's upcoming direct imaging exoplanet missions expected to launch in the 2020 decade and beyond.

“By blocking the glare and diffraction from the star, we can start seeing planets that would otherwise be obscured. With this technology, direct imaging confirmation of a habitable zone exoplanet would happen for the first time,” said Ruslan Belikov, a NASA astrophycist and technical lead of the coronagraph technical experiment at Ames.

The PIAA system uses two specially designed non-spherical optics to reshape the light in the pupil of the telescope into a new "high-contrast" pupil pattern. Image credit: Dominic Hart

The EXoplanetary Circumstellar Environments and Disk Explorer (EXCEDE)

Supercomputers used to design superior antioxidants

Scientists from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Free Radical Chemistry and Biotechnology at the University of Sydney leveraged techniques from quantum chemistry and supercomputing to custom design molecules with improved antioxidant ability. Lead researchers Professor believe that these novel compounds hold the key to slowing the progression of age-related diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease.

The team investigated the ability of carnosine to scavenge the oxidant, hypochlorous acid. Normal amounts of hypochlorous acid work with the body's immune system to fight off invading pathogens, but too much of the substance is associated with the development of heart disease.

"The supercomputer modelling allows us to probe deeply into the molecular structure and helps us to understand just why carnosine is such an effective antioxidant. Armed with this understanding, we are then able to design even better antioxidants," said Professor Radom.

Tilera has the World’s Highest-Performance and Highest-Efficiency Manycore Processor

Tilera, the leader in 64-bit manycore general-purpose processors today announced the TILE-Gx72™processor with 72 power-efficient cores coupled with massive I/O and four high-performance DDR3 memory controllers to drive the next-generation of network, multimedia and cloud infrastructure.

In less than a year from the launch of its market-leading TILE-Gx36™processor, Tilera is doubling the compute performance, doubling the I/O capacity, and continuing the linear scaling of application performance with increasing core-count that is the hallmark of the Tile architecture. The TILE-Gx72 leverages Tilera’s many innovations – including the iMesh™2-dimensional interconnect, DDC™distributed coherent cache, and TileDirect™direct-to-cache I/O – to deliver the highest compute-per-watt efficiency of any multicore processor in its class.

The TILE-Gx72 is ideally suited for compute and I/O-intensive applications including:

* L2-7 networking and firewall appliances
* High throughput SDN (Software Defined Network) computing
* Network monitoring and analytics with 100% line-rate packet capture at 100 Gbps
* Layer 7 Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) at over 50 Gbps
* Compute offload NIC (Network Interface Card)
* Intrusion prevention and detection (IPS/IDS) at over 20 Gbps
* “Big Data” transaction processing at over 4 million transactions per second
* Streaming video server/content delivery networking offering 50 Gbps HTTP streaming
* HD video conferencing with dozens of H.264 1080p encode/decode channels

General Atomics Calls for game-changing nuclear technology

The principal barriers preventing nuclear power from competing in today’s mix of energy technologies are relatively low efficiency and large scale. Current light water reactor technology tops out at about 34% efficiency, and typical advanced LWR plants cost on the order of $10 billion, which means that few utility companies in the US can afford them. And even small modular LWRs (SMLWRs) are not that small. For one such design, the reactor with its steam generator is more than 25 meters tall, not including the relatively large building for the turbine required to turn steam into electric power. The complexity of such a large structure makes its build time relatively long and its cost potentially high.Reducing reactor size while maintaining high thermal output is the key to better economics.

The Energy Multiplier Module, is being developed by General Atomics. The EM2 is a compact fast reactor about 12 meters high, with 265 megawatts electric (MWe) output. The immediate challenge for the reactor is proving out the fuel element, which consists of novel ceramic cladding and fuel that enable the reactor to operate at high temperatures and high power densities. The company is also developing and testing a compact high-speed turbine generator that can achieve efficiencies of more than 50%.

The typical arguments against more advanced designs are that they will take too long and that the technical risks of fuel and power conversion are high. But what does “too long” mean? Photoelectric materials were discovered in the 1800s, yet we are still working on them. Windmills go back much further in history. Yet neither of those technologies is currently game changing. There are countless other examples. Moreover, due to market conditions, it is unlikely that many LWRs or SMLWRs will be built in the next 10–20 years. So this would be a great time to come up with truly game-changing approaches.

February 19, 2013

Google Maps Owns the World

GE just announced a partnership with Google to license Google maps for use in its geographic information system (GIS) dubbed Smallworld. Smallworld is a set of software tools used by engineers to help design and manage things like electric grids, pipelines, telecom networks and other large, critical systems of stuff that guys in trucks tend to keep an eye on. Google Maps will start to evolve as the mapping needs of this new set of industrial users starts banging away on it.

Say someone is designing the routing of a fiber optic network, they will be able to couple their design with a street view from Google to adjust the course of the fiber to avoid running across a parking lot or through a house. That same view will be accessible from the field on Android-powered smartphones and tablets, allowing revisions to be made on the fly—and ideally before the expensive business of sending trucks and digging holes commences.

Those simple features, available for some time to consumers, will be a great leap forward in the industrial sector, Friehauf says, and he imagines how Google could help push it even further for this new set of users. “What about 3-D visualizations, so instead of Street View, we started getting below the street and above it?” he says. The next industrial version of Google Maps could display all the electric lines and pipe systems running below ground and then show how they branch out and terminate inside houses and buildings.

Maps for the Movies

The scene from the movie the Matrix could become possible in one or two iterations of Google Maps

Morpheus : Tank - Find a structural drawing of this building. Find it fast.
Tank : Got it.
Morpheus : I need the main wet wall.

There are also movies and TV Shows where people are crawling through ductwork (Mission Impossible, Die Hard, and many others) or large plumbing (Shawshank Redemption, Aliens).

3d Map all of infrastructure, plumbing, cabling, ductwork and make it compatible and integrated for a global mapping system.

Add in all of the other geographic information. Seismic information, underground water, resources, caves etc...

$7700 Self Driving Car System Uses Off the Shelf Parts and can be added to any Regular Car

The Oxford University’s Mobile Robotics Group (MRG) RobotCar is a modified Nissan LEAF. Lasers and cameras are subtly mounted around the vehicle and taking up some of the boot space is a computer which performs all the calculations necessary to plan, control speed and avoid obstacles. Externally it's hard to tell this car apart from any other on the road. It is designed to take over driving while traveling on frequently used routes.

RobotCar constantly monitors the road ahead to look for pedestrians, cars or anything that could pose a danger. If an obstacle is detected the vehicle comes to a controlled stop and waits until the obstacle has moved out of the way. Once clear the car simply accelerates and continues its journey.

There are three computers onboard. The iPad, the LLC (Low Level Controller) and the MVC (Main Vehicle Computer). The iPad runs the user interface and demands constant attention from the LLC. If any of these computers disagree the driver will not be able to start autonomous driving. If at any point there is a problem when the car is in control the human driver is prompted to take control, if they fail to do so the car is automatically brought to a stop.

The sensors and computers build up a three-dimensional map of the route. This is augmented by semantic information such as the location and type of road markings, traffic signs, traffic lights and lane information, as well as aerial images. Since such things can change, the system can also access the internet for updates. Only when the system has enough data and has been trained enough will it offer to drive the car.

They have modified the base Nissan LEAF systems to allow complete fly-by-wire control. Everything from the steering to the indicators can be manipulated by the main vehicle computer in the boot. RobotCar senses the world in two main ways. The first uses a pair of stereo cameras to assess the road and navigate, much like a human driver's eyes. The second is a little different and uses several lasers mounted around the vehicle. These sensors assess the 3D structure of world and also improve performance at night.

The MRG team sees an immediate future in production cars modified for autonomous driving only part of the time on frequently driven routes. They estimate that the cost of the system can be brought down from its current £5,000 ($7700) to only £100 (US$155).

February 18, 2013

Small first step to figuring out dark matter will be published in about two weeks

Big news in the search for dark matter may be coming in about two weeks when the first paper of results from the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, a particle collector mounted on the outside of the International Space Station, will be submitted to a scientific journal, said MIT physicist Samuel Ting, AMS principle investigator.

It will not be a minor paper," Ting said, hinting that the findings were important enough that the scientists rewrote the paper 30 times before they were satisfied with it. Still, he said, it represents a "small step" in figuring out what dark matter is, and perhaps not the final answer.

Honda Joins Steel and Aluminum to Reduce Car Door Weight by 17%

Honda announced that it has newly developed a technology to join steel and aluminum and applied it to enable adoption of aluminum for an outer door panel, which has conventionally been made of steel. Honda will adopt this technology first to the North American version of the all-new Acura RLX, which will go on sale in the United States in March 2013, and will expand application sequentially to other models.

The new technology contributes to the improvement of fuel economy and dynamic performance of the vehicle by reducing door panel weight by approximately 17% compared to the conventional all-steel door panel. In addition, weight reduction at the outer side of the vehicle body enables to concentrate the point of gravity toward the center of the vehicle, contributing to improved stability in vehicle maneuvering.

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 144

Doubling Farm Yield to 300 bushels per acre by 2030

Corn has doubled its yield twice in history. The first came from the mechanization of farming. Then the move from 75 to 150 bushels/acre came from a new age in the science of seeds and fertility. Both of these advances were on an average basis, with one improved crop for all conditions. The average solution loses a lost of potential value, and the next doubling to 300 bushels/acre will take a systems approach for micro-specialization.

Steve Jurvetson described a presentation by Monsanto.

Agriculture is set to undergo a series of dramatic changes as IT/Big Data intersects with Robotics, Novel Sensors and Life Science innovations.

Monsanto is the largest seed company and the largest gene sequencer on Earth. They turn over their entire seed product line every three years.

In their molecular breeding program, they sample and sequence each individual corn kernel to detect variation across the cob, with a fleet of ten automated machines, each of which can chip one seed/second to look for 10-100 genetic markers per seed. They test the seeds at 7 million plots at 500 sites in 50 countries. In 2012, they moved from daily data collection to every two hours. It becomes a big data problem. They went from 3 to 8 Petabytes of data in 2012.

This year they will introduce drought-tolerant seeds with a transgene from bacteria. The product has been in development for 12 years with a combination of breeding, biotech and agronomics.

Graphene Liquid Gate will Revolutionize Neural Implants

Neural implants are set to be revolutionised by a new type of graphene transistor with a liquid gate. The emerging technology of neural prostheses has the power to change what it means to be human. The ability to implant electrodes into the eyes ears, spine or even the brain has the potential to overcome degenerative disease, mend broken bodies and even enhance our senses with superhuman abilities.

But despite numerous trials of electronic devices implanted into the human body, there are still many challenges ahead. The problem is that most of these devices are based on silicon substrates which are hard, rigid and sharp. Those are not normally qualities that sit well with soft tissue.

Arxiv - Graphene transistors for bioelectronics

Graphene solution-gated field effect transistors (SGFETs) and their applications in bioelectronics. The fabrication and characterization of arrays of graphene SGFETs is presented and discussed with respect to competing technologies. To obtain a better understanding of the working principle of solution-gated transistors, the graphene-electrolyte interface is discussed in detail. The in-vitro biocompatibility of graphene is assessed by primary neuron cultures. Finally, bioelectronic experiments with electrogenic cells are presented, confirming the suitability of graphene to record the electrical activity of cells.

Concept for a retinal implant. An image is acquired by a camera which is mounted to eyeglasses. After processing, the information is transferred to a retinal implant which stimulates nerve cells to transmit the signal to the brain.

Borg Rats with Brain to Brain interfaces in Rats and infrared sixth sense implants

BBC News - Duke University fitted rats with an infrared detector wired up to microscopic electrodes that were implanted in the part of their brains that processes tactile information.

The researchers say that, in theory at least, a human with a damaged visual cortex might be able to regain sight through a device implanted in another part of the brain.

Lead author Miguel Nicolelis said this was the first time a brain-machine interface has augmented a sense in adult animals.

Within the space of a few weeks the rats learnt through training to distinguish this extra, artificial sense from real stimulation of their whiskers and use it to find water in a completely dark chamber, Professor Nicolelis said.

“It’s like driving a car or riding a bike. My suspicion is that these animals are feeling touch, its different from regular touch in that they are projecting the feeling of touch, not from their body, but to the external world,” he said.

“We have a monkey now that learned the same task and I was surprised at how quick he was. Now we are equipping our rats with a 360-degree view of the environment so that they can see infrared anywhere, up and down,” he added.

Nature Communications - Perceiving invisible light through a somatosensory cortical prosthesis

Next Generation Fish Farming will Multiply the Yield

Improvements in fish-farm construction are also expected to boost aquaculture production.

1. Split Ponds for Boosting Yield

Catfish farmers have found success with split-pond designs. Such a design entails separating a smaller area, where the fish are kept, from a much larger area, where the water is treated. Split-pond farming has helped catfish farmers see their yields triple to 15,000 pounds per acre from 5,000 pounds per acre in the last several years, according to Silverstein.

2. Microbial Fish Food

Frequently, farmed fish have to be fed fish oil near the end of their lives to help make them healthier for humans to eat. One of the ways to mitigate that dip in nutrition could be to turn to an alternative source of fish food: microbes.

Researchers are currently trying to perfect the production of various microbes that could bulk up a farmed fish’s diet, thereby cutting the amount of food and agricultural land used indirectly by fish food production.

Margareth Overland, a nutritionist with the Aquaculture Protein Center at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, said one of the more promising microbial sources for fish food is yeast grown on processed spruce wood. Algae and bacteria are also being studied.

However, microbe-based food is years away from being ready to supply large industries, and researchers still need to conduct taste tests to make sure there's nothing especially fishy about a salmon that's been dining on yeast.

World Economic Forum lists the top 10 emerging technologies for 2013

The World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Emerging Technologies identifies the top 10 most promising technology trends that can help to deliver sustainable growth in decades to come as global population and material demands on the environment continue to grow rapidly. These are technologies that the Council considers have made development breakthroughs and are nearing large-scale deployment.

1. OnLine Electric Vehicles (OLEV)
2. 3-D printing and remote manufacturing
3. Self-healing materials
4. Energy-efficient water purification
5. Carbon dioxide (CO2) conversion and use
6. Enhanced nutrition to drive health at the molecular level
7. Remote Sensing
8. Precise drug delivery through nanoscale engineering
9. Organic electronics and photovoltaics
10. Fourth-generation reactors and nuclear-waste recycling

1. OnLine Electric Vehicles (OLEV)

Wireless technology can now deliver electric power to moving vehicles. In next-generation electric cars, pick-up coil sets under the vehicle floor receive power remotely via an electromagnetic field broadcast from cables installed under the road. The current also charges an onboard battery used to power the vehicle when it is out of range. As electricity is supplied externally, these vehicles need only a fifth of the battery capacity of a standard electric car, and can achieve transmission efficiencies of over 80%. Online electric vehicles are currently undergoing road tests in Seoul, South Korea.

China connects a new nuclear reactor to the grid and Areva has a record year in uranium production

1. Unit 1 of the Hongyanhe plant in Liaoning province in northeast China has been connected to the electricity grid. The reactor is expected to enter commercial operation later this year. The 1080 MWe Chinese-designed pressurized water reactor was connected to the grid at 3.09pm on 17 February. It now enters a phase of commissioning tests, after which it will enter commercial operation.

Hongyanhe 1 is the first of four CPR-1000 reactors currently being built at the Hongyanhe Phase I project. Its construction started in August 2007. Cold testing of the nuclear island of the unit was successfully completed in October 2012; it achieved first criticality on 16 January.

Hongyanhe 1 was previously scheduled to begin commercial operation by the end of 2012. All four units at Phase I should now be in operation by the end of 2015.

An adjacent site - Hongyanhe Phase II - will comprise two further CPR-1000 units.

Hongyanhe 1 will reduce annual coal consumption by some 10 million tonnes while cutting carbon dioxide emissions by around 24 million tonnes.

Traces of water found in rocks from the original crust of the moon means the moon was never bone dry

Traces of water have been detected within the crystalline structure of mineral samples from the lunar highland upper crust obtained during the Apollo missions, according to a University of Michigan researcher and his colleagues.

The lunar highlands are thought to represent the original crust, crystallized from a magma ocean on a mostly molten early moon. The new findings indicate that the early moon was wet and that water there was not substantially lost during the moon's formation.

The results seem to contradict the predominant lunar formation theory — that the moon was formed from debris generated during a giant impact between Earth and another planetary body, approximately the size of Mars, according to U-M's Youxue Zhang and his colleagues.

"Because these are some of the oldest rocks from the moon, the water is inferred to have been in the moon when it formed," Zhang said. "That is somewhat difficult to explain with the current popular moon-formation model, in which the moon formed by collecting the hot ejecta as the result of a super-giant impact of a martian-size body with the proto-Earth.

"Under that model, the hot ejecta should have been degassed almost completely, eliminating all water," Zhang said.

Called the "Genesis Rock," this lunar sample of unbrecciated anorthosite collected during the Apollo 15 mission was thought to be a piece of the moon's primordial crust. In a paper published online Feb. 17 in Nature Geoscience, a University of Michigan researcher and his colleagues report that traces of water were found in the rock. Photo courtesy of NASA/Johnson Space Center

February 17, 2013

Studies show particulate matter air pollution also has direct impact on heart attacks

Researchers at Rice University in Houston have found a direct correlation between out-of-hospital cardiac arrests and levels of air pollution and ozone. Their work has prompted more CPR training in at-risk communities.

For the new study, the authors analyzed eight years’ worth of data drawn from Houston’s extensive network of air-quality monitors and more than 11,000 concurrent out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCA) logged by Houston Emergency Medical Services (EMS).

They found a positive correlation between OHCAs and exposure to both fine particulate matter (airborne particles smaller than 2.5 micrograms) and ozone.

The researchers found that a daily average increase in particulate matter of 6 micrograms per day over two days raised the risk of OHCA by 4.6 percent, with particular impact on those with pre-existing (and not necessarily cardiac-related) health conditions. Increases in ozone level were similar, but on a shorter timescale: Each increase of 20 parts per billion over one to three hours also increased OHCA risk, with a peak of 4.4 percent. Peak-time risks from both pollutants rose as high as 4.6 percent. Relative risks were higher for men, African-Americans and people over 65.

For the study, OHCA events were defined as cases where EMS personnel performed chest compressions. Ensor and Raun noted the patients died in more than 90 percent of the cases, which occurred more during the hot summer months (55 percent of total cases).

The researchers also looked at the effects of nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide levels, none of which were found to impact the occurrence of OHCA.

Inertia from an Asymmetric Casimir Effect

Arxiv - Inertia from an Asymmetric Casimir Effect.

The property of inertia has never been fully explained. A model for inertia (MiHsC or quantised inertia) has been suggested that assumes that 1) inertia is due to Unruh radiation and 2) this radiation is subject to a Hubble-scale Casimir effect. This model has no adjustable parameters and predicts the cosmic acceleration, and galaxy rotation without dark matter, suggesting that Unruh radiation indeed causes inertia, but the exact mechanism by which it does this has not been specified. The mechanism suggested here is that when an object accelerates, for example to the right, a dynamical (Rindler) event horizon forms to its left, reducing the Unruh radiation on that side by a Rindler-scale Casimir effect whereas the radiation on the other side is only slightly reduced by a Hubble-scale Casimir effect. This produces an imbalance in the radiation pressure on the object, and a net force that always opposes acceleration, like inertia. A formula for inertia is derived, and an experimental test is suggested.

China's Bachelors Hustling to Make Money and Win a Wife Are Boosting GDP by 2% per Year

In China, men overwhelmingly outnumber women. The ratio of men of marriageable/dating age (15-30 years old) to every woman is 1.15 -- an unusual imbalance that's created a rat race of bachelors vying for the affections of a limited pool of young women. Many may want to marry, but never will.

Men started outnumbering women in 2002. It has become almost an unspoken prerequisite for bachelors to have enough for a down payment on a home before attracting a wife. Which, in turn, has bred fierce competition among the male population.

"Acquiring wealth becomes far more important," says Wei, director of the Jerome A. Chazen Institute of International Business at Columbia. In fact, China's bachelors helped drive its growing housing market. Last year, Wei and other experts published a study that showed up to 48% or ($8 trillion worth) of the rise in property values across 35 major cities is linked to the country's gender imbalance.

Over the past 10 years, China's economy has grown about 10% annually. Wei estimates the gender imbalance, on average, contributed 2 percentage points annually during that period.

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