March 16, 2013

Worldwide accepted measures of human development and quality of life justify radical life extension and developing per capita wealth beyond todays levels

The UN Human Development Index (HDI) is a composite statistic of life expectancy, education, and income indices to rank countries into four tiers of human development. It was created by economist Mahbub ul Haq, followed by economist Amartya Sen in 1990, and published by the United Nations Development Program.

We can see that the current formula has a country would have 1.00 ranking in the current index with
* a life expectancy at birth 82.3 years
* mean education years 13.2 years for someone 25 years old or older
* expected educations years 20.6 years for someone 5 years old
* Gross national income at purchasing power parity per capita (2005 international dollars) 107,721

Very highly developed are scores from 0.80 to 0.999
Highly developed are scores from 0.70 to 0.799
Middle developed are scores from 0.60 to 0.699
Least developed are scores below 0.599

So levels beyond very highly developed would be
Beyond very highly developed category 1 would be 1.0 to 1.199
Beyond very highly developed category 2 would be 1.2 to 1.399
Beyond very highly developed category 3 would be 1.4 to 1.599
Beyond very highly developed category 4 would be 1.6 to 1.799
Beyond very highly developed category 5 would be 1.8 to 1.999
Beyond very highly developed category 6 would be 2.0 to 2.199

Getting to human development index 2.0 would be a country with
* Life expectancy of 142.3 years
* mean education years 26.4 years for someone 25 years old or older
* expected educations years 41.2 years for someone 5 years old
* GNI per capita (2005 international dollars) of $107,721,000 [The wealth part of the formula is a natural log. So doubling adds 0.1 and you have to go 1000 times to get a +1.0]

Monaco has an average life expectancy at birth of 89.68 years and a GNI per capita (2005 international dollars) of about $100,000 Monaco should have a development index of about 1.04. (Monaco has a population of 35,000)

It is possible to get closer to those metrics and improve a country more than the difference that Norway is beyond India. There should not be any dispute that increasing life expectancy is a worthwhile goal and increasing per capita GDP is a worthwhile goal. They are the basis for how the UN measures human development.

Yet there are those who dispute the goal of increasing lifespans beyond 83 years and question increasing per capita GDP. If the very highly developed and highly countries did not exist would there be arguments in Africa about increasing life expectancy beyond 70 years or GNI per capita beyond $10,000 ?

China is spending $250 billion per year on Education

China is making a $250 billion-a-year investment in what economists call human capital. Just as the United States helped build a white-collar middle class in the late 1940s and early 1950s by using the G.I. Bill to help educate millions of World War II veterans, the Chinese government is using large subsidies to educate tens of millions of young people as they move from farms to cities.

The aim is to change the current system, in which a tiny, highly educated elite oversees vast armies of semi-trained factory workers and rural laborers. China wants to move up the development curve by fostering a much more broadly educated public, one that more closely resembles the multifaceted labor forces of the United States and Europe.

The recently released 2013 Human Development Index from the UN has some lagging metrics for China.

China was ranked at 0.699 which is at the top of the middle ranking of the human development index.

However, the life expectency, education years and GDP PPP per capita are below the actual situation.

The UN listed China's life expectancy at birth at 73.8 years. However, the The Chinese national bureau of statistics indicated life expectancy in China was 74.84 years in 2010. China is expecting to get to 75.8 years in 2015

March 15, 2013

Open online courses expanding and a completely online course university targets 1 year tuition of $1500 or less

As online education platforms like Coursera, edX, and Udacity burst onto the scene over the past year, backers have talked up their potential to democratize higher education in the countries that have had the least access. These ambitions are now moving closer to reality, as more people begin to experiment with their setup, although significant challenges remain.

One of the major challenges for MOOCs (massive open online courses)—which so far mostly come from U.S. universities—is to tailor the content of courses to a diverse worldwide audience with any number of combinations of language, educational, motivational, and cultural backgrounds.

In February, edX, the nonprofit platform started last year at Harvard and MIT, added Switzerland’s École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne as a partner. Though its first courses will be in English, the school is now thinking about offering a civil engineering course designed for Francophone regions in East and Central Africa, according to an edX spokesman.

As MOOCs cast their eye to the developing world, very minor tweaks matter a great deal, such as the ability to allow students to download, rather than only stream course videos. But even more major ones are coming, including edX’s plans to start open-sourcing its platform in the next few months, which could allow even more universities to post online courses, and software programmers around the world to experiment with customized interfaces.

Dynamic Soaring and Riding Rising Thermal Air Currents for Super Endurance Robotic Gliding

Wandering albatrosses exploit the vertical gradient of wind velocity (wind shear) above the ocean to gain energy for long distance dynamic soaring with a typical airspeed of 36 mph. In principle, albatrosses could soar much faster than this in sufficient wind, but the limited strength of their wings prevents a much faster airspeed. Recently, pilots of radio-controlled (RC) gliders have exploited the wind shear associated with winds blowing over mountain ridges to achieve very fast glider speeds, reaching a record of 498 mph in March 2012. A relatively simple two-layer model of dynamic soaring predicts maximum glider airspeed to be around 10 times the wind speed of the upper layer (assuming zero wind speed in the lower layer). This indicates that a glider could soar with an airspeed of around 200 mph in a wind speed of 20 mph, much faster than an albatross. It is proposed that recent high performance RC gliders and their pilots’ expertise could be used to develop a high-speed robotic albatross UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle), which could soar over the ocean like an albatross, but much faster than the bird. This UAV could be used for various purposes such as surveillance, search and rescue, and environmental monitoring. A first step is for pilots of RC gliders to demonstrate high-speed dynamic soaring over the ocean in realistic winds and waves.

China passes the US in PPP GDP per Penn World Tables 7.1

The Penn World Tables are one of the main official sources of purchasing power parity.

The China version 2 Penn World Table 7.1 lists a 3.37 conversion yuan to USD as the correct purchasing power parity conversion factor.

China ended 2012 with 51.9 trillion yuan GDP, which is 15.4 trillion USD at 3.37 conversion.
There is also the need to add $300 billion for Hong Kong and Macau's GDP. Hong Kong and Macau were turned back over to China in the late 1990s.

The US GDP was about 15.8 trillion USD at the end of 2012.

Now 3 months into 2013, China-Hong Kong-Macau has passed the USA in PPP GDP using Penn World Tables 7.1.

Other economists and academics have calculated that China passed the US in purchasing power parity in the 2009-2012 timeframes.

Professor Feenstra will be leading the effort to produce the next generation of the Penn World Table GDP (PPP-based) estimates.

So when the next Penn World Tables 8.X version comes out with Feenstra input then it will show that China passed the US sometime in 2010-2012.

The Penn World Table 7 adjustments has China passing the US for leading PPP GDP in 2012 with 15.954 trillion in China versus the US 15.61 trillion.

Professor Feenstra will be leading the effort to produce the next generation of the Penn World Table GDP (PPP-based) estimates.

So when the next Penn World Tables 8.X version comes out with Feenstra input then it will likely show that China passed the US sometime in 2010-2012.

World Bank 2005 Price Comparison Flaw

The World Bank and the IMF use the same price comparison stats from a survey done in 2005. The China price comparison from the 2005 study was criticized for only focusing on the top twelve cities. This caused the 2005 study to record about a 38% drop in PPP GDP for China. This is like basing using prices on the costs in New York.

A research paper from the World Bank recognizes the flaw in the International Comparisons Program in 2005

Our results have a direct bearing on the debate over the causes of the substantial downward revision in China's GDP arising out of ICP 2005. They suggest that at best one third of the revision attributable to the ICP stage 1 Asia-Paci c comparison can be explained by an excessive focus in the Chinese data on unrepresentative products and urban areas. The remaining two-thirds of the discrepancy may well be caused by the pre-ICP 2005 estimates simply overstating China's (and India's) GDP. Alternatively, problems with our data set could have caused us to understate the ICP stage 1 bias. ... a larger rural-urban price diff erential, the lack of rural price quotes for China could have a bigger impact on its estimated GDP.

So the Worldbank recognized that they were at least wrong by about 13% of the 39% drop in 2005 for China and possibly more if the rural prices were lower by even more from the urban prices.

March 14, 2013

Samsung Galaxy S4 has vastly improved camera features and Health, TV Remote, Voice to Text apps

The 7.9mm Galaxy S 4 has a slightly thinner body and a larger 5-inch screen than the S3. The screen is also much crisper, with a 1080p, Super AMOLED panel. Internally, the phone has a quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM. It has built-in temperature and humidity sensors, and a removable battery.

The standout hardware feature is the 13-megapixel camera (the S 3 had an 8-megapixel camera).
The camera will take crisper and better low-light shots.
It has the Galaxy Camera interface to the phone. It is easier for people to know how the modes work with images.
It has dual shot and recording mode, which lets you combine photos and video from both the front-facing 2-megapixel camera and the rear camera into one shot or video.

Samsung's new Air Wave feature you can actually wave your hand over the screen to cycle through the photos. The software, which uses a sensor on the front of the phone, also works in the Web browser; wave to the left to go backward in the browser and wave right to go forward. You can also wave across the screen to accept a call.

Using a sensor and the camera on the front of the phone, the phone recognizes that someone is looking at the screen with facial recognition software. Then you can tilt it to scroll up or down

Swiss company announces reusable suborbital spaceplane launcher for 2017

Swiss Space Systems (S-3) objective is to develop, manufacture, certify and operate unmanned suborbital spaceplanes for small satellite deployment. The range of satellites we will be able to launch goes up to 250 kg small satellites. The start of the test flights is planned for 2017.

They propose a sustainable system based and built on aeronautics experience and its developments.

* launch our spaceplane from a Zero-G certified Airbus A300,
* spaceplane will use standard fuels, with no fuel required during landing after a suborbital flight.

They are planning to build the most economic and ecological model available today. Nothing is lost on a flight. The main components used during the flight are re-usable and we intend to develop ground operations known from aviation such as inspection, repair and equipment replacement activities.

They plan to launch small satellites for about 7 million pounds (about 12 million USD.) This is about four times less than current costs.

Fujitsu Develops First Optical Transmission Technology to Achieve 100 Gbps using conventional components

Fujitsu Laboratories Limited and Fujitsu Research and Development Center Co., Ltd. of China today announced the development of the world's first optical-transmission technology that can achieve 100 Gbps transmission speeds using widely available, conventional components intended for 10 Gbps networking.

Increasing data-transfer rates has typically required new components designed for those higher speeds, for which existing components have not been compatible. Moreover, there is a limit to the speed improvements that can be achieved with transmission methods using the simple modulation and demodulation formats that have been used to date. Fujitsu Laboratories and Fujitsu R&D Center have applied a Discrete Multi-Tone (DMT) modulation/demodulation format(1) using digital signal processing (DSP) to transmit at 100 Gbps per channel using conventional components intended for transmission speeds of 10 Gbps per channel.

Applying this technology to an optical transceiver with four channels would result in a 400 Gbps Ethernet transceiver, which are needed in the next generation of datacenters in order to increase their data transmission speeds and processing capacity to better support cloud services.

Application for this technology

Researchers confident they have found Higgs boson but need to determine what kind of Higgs Boson

At the Moriond Conference today, the ATLAS and CMS collaborations at CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC) presented preliminary new results that further elucidate the particle discovered last year. Having analysed two and a half times more data than was available for the discovery announcement in July, they find that the new particle is looking more and more like a Higgs boson, the particle linked to the mechanism that gives mass to elementary particles. It remains an open question, however, whether this is the Higgs boson of the Standard Model of particle physics, or possibly the lightest of several bosons predicted in some theories that go beyond the Standard Model. Finding the answer to this question will take time.

Whether or not it is a Higgs boson is demonstrated by how it interacts with other particles, and its quantum properties. For example, a Higgs boson is postulated to have no spin, and in the Standard Model its parity – a measure of how its mirror image behaves – should be positive. CMS and ATLAS have compared a number of options for the spin-parity of this particle, and these all prefer no spin and positive parity. This, coupled with the measured interactions of the new particle with other particles, strongly indicates that it is a Higgs boson.

"The preliminary results with the full 2012 data set are magnificent and to me it is clear that we are dealing with a Higgs boson though we still have a long way to go to know what kind of Higgs boson it is.” said CMS spokesperson Joe Incandela.

The detection of the boson is a very rare event - it takes around 1 trillion (1012) proton-proton collisions for each observed event. To characterize all of the decay modes will require much more data from the LHC.

Rocket Tests Bring us Closer to Age of Suborbital Space Tourists in 2014

The Virgin team just conducted an extremely significant night rocket motor firing, which has been described by Matt Stinemetze, Scaled Composites' Program Manager for the development and testing of our space vehicles, in the fantastically descriptive piece below. His words show the huge excitement now emanating from the Mojave Desert, as we move closer to breaking the sound barrier and then building up to full spaceflight in the coming months.

In the January, 2013 issue of IEEE Spectrum, Richard Branson says he expects to be aboard a flight into space by the end of this year [2013]. In BBC News, pilot David Mackay, said Virgin's tourist flights are on track to start next year. The flights will reach higher than 350,000 feet.

Military lasers on fighters in 2014 and ships in 2016

A prediction that I made in 2006 was that Military lasers on fighters, ships and tanks able to destroy other vehicles would begin to be seen in 2012-2018.

In 2011, the Navy used laser to set fire to a small boat

The US Navy $110 million program for high energy lasers to have installation on some US ships by 2016

The Navy sees a modular open-systems approach as best way to develop a directed-energy laser gun with a maximum 150 kW output. A 100 kW laser weapon could be used on board a US Navy ship by 2016, according to a document outlining a $110 million plan to further develop such “directed energy” systems.

The US Navy has identified two ship classes – the Arleigh Burke Destroyer (DDG-51) and the Littoral Combat Ship – as primary candidates for initial shipboard installation, which are likely to follow extensive at-sea tests on other boats as the systems are developed.

Previously it was announced that a 150 kilowatt lasers will be on a fighter jet plane for prototype work in 2014.

Lower Insurance prices based on achieving or maintaining cholesterol levels, BMI, blood pressure and other targets

One of my 156 predictions made in 2006 was that Insurance would have pricing based on maintaining biomarkers in optimal ranges in the 2008 and 2012.

An article in 2012, many [worker wellness programs] offer discounted premiums to workers who meet standards related to blood pressure, cholesterol and weight, with the value of those discounts running between $30 and $60 a month, says Jim Pshock, founder and CEO of Bravo Wellness in Avon, Ohio. Pshock administers such wellness programs for about 220 employers nationwide, including Colorado construction firm Oakwood Homes and Nashville’s Ardent Health Services.

Although employers may set specific goals — such as a body mass index (BMI) below the 30, the level considered obese — many also reward achievement of less daunting targets. One employer rewarded workers if their test results didn’t get any worse, Pshock says.

At Swiss Village, workers get $500 off their deductible for each of these measures: not smoking, having a BMI of 27.5 or less, a low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level (LDL) of 130 milligrams per deciliter or less, and blood pressure of 130/85 or less. LDL levels above 129 are associated with higher risk of heart disease, while blood pressure greater than 120/80 is considered a risk factor for heart attack and stroke.

What is rumored about the Samsung Galaxy S4 before the official reveal later today

The Galaxy S4 appears to have a similar design to the Galaxy Note 2 and a high-resolution 1080p display.

Sammyhub has photos of what is claimed to be the Samsung Galaxy S4

Samsung Galaxy S3 beside what is claimed to be a Samsung Galaxy S4

The Galaxy S IV phone will have an improved camera and a quad-core processor. HTC’s One phone has a 4.7-inch, 1080p screen and an aluminum design.

The biggest features will be software-based. The phone would have an “eye-scrolling” feature. Users will be able to look down and the phone will do the scrolling for you.

March 13, 2013

Retail price of $65 for Basic Smartphone that Costs $40 to Make

Liang aim is to make smartphones that are affordable, even if they aren’t yet as good as an iPhone. That means the camera and LCD screen might not be the best, and the battery life could be shorter. “I always use this word ‘acceptable,’” he says. “A lot of users only need an acceptable product. They don’t need a perfect product.” This year, he expects to build 10 million of them. The basic smartphones retail for as little as $65 and cost $40 to make.

What’s certain, Liang says, is that the quality of the phones his factories produce will rise. “There is no profit at the bottom,” he says. “Everyone is trying to improve their techniques.”

Manufacturers built about 700 million smartphones last year. The change began in 2011, when computer-chip makers began selling off-the-shelf chipsets—the set of processors that are the brains of a touch-screen phone. Those, plus Google’s free Android operating system, made smartphones much easier to produce.

Researchers developing 3D printer, 'bio-ink' to create human organs

Researchers are developing 3D printer with 'bio-ink' to create human organs.

The long-term goal of this branch is to create functioning human organs some five or 10 years from now.

While bioprinters at other institutions use one arm with multiple heads to print multiple materials one after the other, the UI device with multiple arms can print several materials concurrently. This capability offers a time-saving advantage when attempting to print a human organ because one arm can be used to create blood vessels while the other arm is creating tissue-specific cells in between the blood vessels.

The first major goal is to make blood vessels.
The next goal is to make the insulin producing portion of the pancreas to provide a functional cure to diabetes.

Microtubules and Quantum Consciousness

The second international Global Future 2045 congress will take place on 15-16 June 2013 at the Lincoln Center in New York, and will be focused on discussion of a new evolutionary strategy for humanity aimed at overcoming the 21st century’s civilization challenges.

5% OFF your ticket -- When you register for your attendance at, use coupon code GFPVNFB to receive an additional 5% discount on top of the early bird registration fee.

Dr. Stuart Hameroff
Quantum Consciousness Theorist — Anesthesiologist and professor at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona

Researches consciousness, anesthesia and microtubules, i.e. protein structures which organize living cells including brain neurons.

Proposed in the early 1980's that microtubules functioned as molecular computers. His 1987 book Ultimate Computing suggested downloading consciousness into microtubule arrays. Teamed with British physicist Sir Roger Penrose in the mid-1990s to develop the controversial Orch OR theory in which consciousness derives from quantum computations in microtubules inside brain neurons, quantum computations connected to the fine- scale structure of spacetime geometry.

Orch OR has major implications for the nature of our existence, place in the universe, and future of consciousness. Co-creators of the Orch OR model of the quantum nature of consciousness and memory.

Magnesium alloys made twice as strong by commonly used hot rolling method

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a new technique for creating stronger, lightweight magnesium alloys that have potential structural applications in the automobile and aerospace industries.

Engineers constantly seek strong, lightweight materials for use in cars and planes to improve fuel efficiency. Their goal is to develop structural materials with a high “specific strength,” which is defined as a material’s strength divided by its density. In other words, specific strength measures how much load it can carry per unit of weight.

Researchers were able to strengthen the material by introducing “nano-spaced stacking faults.” These are essentially a series of parallel fault-lines in the crystalline structure of the alloy that isolate any defects in that structure. This increases the overall strength of the material by approximately 200 percent.

“This material is not as strong as steel, but it is so much lighter that its specific strength is actually much higher,” says Dr. Suveen Mathaudhu, a co-author of a paper on the research and an adjunct assistant professor of materials science and engineering at NC State under the U.S. Army Research Office’s Staff Research Program. “In theory, you could use twice as much of the magnesium alloy and still be half the weight of steel. This has real potential for replacing steel or other materials in some applications, particularly in the transportation industry – such as the framework or panels of vehicles.”

Conventional “hot rolling” technology that is widely used by industry. They used existing technology. The metals industry could adopt this technique quickly and without investing in new infrastructure.

Materials Research Letters - Ultrastrong Mg Alloy via Nano-spaced Stacking Faults

Revised Estimate is 7 light years to the Nearest potentially habitable planet instead of 14 light years

The number of potentially habitable planets is greater than previously thought, according to a new analysis by a Penn State researcher, and some of those planets are likely lurking around nearby stars.

“We now estimate that if we were to look at 10 of the nearest small stars we would find about four potentially habitable planets, give or take,” said Ravi Kopparapu, a post-doctoral researcher in geosciences. “That is a conservative estimate,” he added. “There could be more.”

They recalculated the commonness of Earth-sized planets in the habitable zones of low-mass stars, also known as cool stars or M-dwarfs.

Scientists focus on M-dwarfs for several reasons, he explained. The orbit of planets around M-dwarfs is very short, which allows scientists to gather data on a greater number of orbits in a shorter period of time than can be gathered on Sun-like stars, which have larger habitable zones. M-dwarfs are also more common than stars like the Earth’s Sun, which means more of them can be observed.

According to his findings, “The average distance to the nearest potentially habitable planet is about seven light years. That is about half the distance of previous estimates,” Kopparapu said. “There are about eight cool stars within 10 light-years, so conservatively, we should expect to find about three Earth-size planets in the habitable zones.”

A Revised Estimate of the Occurence rate of Terrestrial Planets in the Habitable Zones Around Kepler M-Dwarfs

Solar Wind Energy Mechanism Could Help Nuclear Fusion Researchers add and remove energy from ions in plasma

The solar wind is not like wind on Earth. Here on Earth, atmospheric winds carry nitrogen, oxygen, water vapor along together; all species move with the same speed and they have the same temperature. The solar wind, however, is much stranger. Chemical elements of the solar wind such as hydrogen, helium, and heavier ions, blow at different speeds; they have different temperatures; and, strangest of all, the temperatures change with direction.

The solar wind flows away from the sun at speeds up to and exceeding 500 km/s (a million mph). As solar wind leaves the sun, it accelerates, tripling in speed as it passes through the corona. Furthermore, something inside the solar wind continues to add heat even as it blows into the cold of space."

The behavior of heavy ions in the solar wind is what intrigues fusion researchers. Kasper explains: "When you look at fusion reactors on Earth, one of the big challenges is contamination. Heavy ions that sputter off the metal walls of the fusion chamber get into the plasma where the fusion takes place. Heavy ions radiate heat. This can cool the plasma so much that it shuts down the fusion reaction." Ion cyclotron waves of the type Kasper has found in the solar wind might provide a way to reverse this process. Theoretically, they could be used to heat and/or remove the heavy ions, restoring thermal balance to the fusing plasma.

NASA next solar sail mission to make solar sail technology a mainstream technology option

The Solar Sail Technology Demonstration Mission (TDM) by NASA and L’Garde will advance the state of the art of solar sailing. The end goal of this mission is the deployment, flight, and navigation of a mission capable solar sail to demonstrably prove the efficacy of solar sails. This proposed mission will definitively advance the technology of solar sailing for use by future mission planners.

This will be a definitive demonstration of a mission capable solar sail. This TDM aims to boost the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of the L’Garde solar sail from ~6 to ~9. The four main objectives of the mission are:

* Demonstrate segmented deployment of a solar sail with ~4X the area of that vacuum tested at Plum Brook, “cookie cut” from the center of a much larger sail.
* Demonstrate attitude control plus passive stability and trim using beam-tip vanes.
* Execute a navigation sequence with mission-capable accuracy.
* Fly to and Maintain Position at L1 and pole sitter positions

Once proven, solar sail technology could enable a host of versatile space missions, including flying an advanced space-weather warning system to more quickly and accurately alert satellite operators and utilities on Earth of geomagnetic storms caused by coronal mass ejections from the sun. The technology also could provide an economical solution to removing some of the more than 8,000 pieces of orbital launch debris ringing the planet; conduct station-keeping operations, or hover at high latitudes above Earth for communications and observation; and could drive a variety of propellantless, deep-space exploration and supply ferrying missions.

The project will hold its preliminary design review in 2012. The Solar Sail Demonstration will launch on a Falcon 9 as early as 2014.

This solar sail will be over seven times bigger than any solar sail deployed in space

China, Russia and India are pushing forward with fast neutron nuclear reactors

Fast reactors, whose high-speed neutrons can break down nuclear waste, are on the road to commercialization. That message has been advanced forcefully by Russia, China, and India.

At a global conference sponsored by the International Atomic Energy Agency last week in Paris, Russia and India described large demonstration plants that will start operating next year and further deployments that are still in the design phase. China, meanwhile, described a broad R&D effort to make fast reactors comprise at least one-fifth of its nuclear capacity by 2030.

By breaking down the longest-lasting and hottest components of spent fuel from light-water reactors, fast reactors would need only 2 percent of the space required by a conventional reactor to store spent fuel. Fast reactors would also reduce the time that the waste must remain in storage from roughly 300,000 years to just 300. “Are they going to eliminate the need for geological repositories? No. But it will reduce the burden,” says Thierry Dujardin, acting deputy director general for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Paris-based Nuclear Energy Agency.

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 147

The Carnival of Nuclear Energy 147 is up at Things Worse than Nuclear Power

From the Hiroshima Syndrome/Fukushima Commentary:
Japan Correctly Takes Umbrage with WHO Risk Estimates.

On March 1st, the World Health Organization released their public risk estimates relative to the Fukushima accident. The WHO’s concluded that the increased risk of cancer due to F. Daiichi-based exposure is tiny. The Japanese government is less than happy with the recent WHO risk estimates. They feel WHO’s results are purely hypothetical and can only increase the wide-spread fear of radiation infecting millions of their people. WHO ignored other studies out of Japan and within the United Nation's family itself. Japan's might be the first government to ever challenge WHO's methodology. They are entirely correct in criticizing WHO.

The Environmental Ministry says the risk estimates were intentionally exaggerated and do not reflect “reality”. On official said “Their calculations were made based on the assumption that people continued living inside the evacuation zone and ate banned food. But there are no such people.” What? The estimates are based on factors that did not actually exist? What possessed WHO to make THAT assumption? In addition, Makoto Akashi of the National Institute of Radiological Sciences said, “It’s utterly hypothetical. It can increase peoples’ fears as they just see the findings. I’m not seeking underestimation, but I’m very angry at seeing the (WHO) raising fears by overestimating data.” To make matters worse, WHO ignored a recent report by Japan’s National Institute of Radiological Sciences’ which said no Fukushima residents were exposed to more than 46 millisieverts, and the overwhelming majority below 20 mSv. NIRS concluded that since the lowest exposure level believed to cause negative health effects is 100mSv, there will be no Fukushima cancer increases. See why the Tokyo government is upset?

Nissan to Use Advanced Triple Tensile Strength Steel in up to 25 Percent of New Model Parts

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. today announced its plan to expand the use of Advanced High Tensile Strength Steel (AHSS) in to up to 25 percent of the vehicle parts (measured by weight) installed in its new production models. Nissan will make use of advanced high tensile strength steel starting in 2017 as one of its initiatives to help reduce vehicle weight.

Nissan has developed 1.2 gigapascal (GPa) Ultra High Tensile Strength Steel with High Formability and has employed it in the new Infiniti Q50, which goes on sale in North America in 2013. Prior to the development of 1.2GPa ultra high strength steel it had been difficult to use high tensile steels for vehicle parts with highly-complex shapes. Nissan continues to be the only auto manufacturer using 1.2 GPa Ultra High Tensile Strength Steel with High Formability.

This effort will begin in 2017 and aims to reduce the weight of Nissan's vehicles by 15 percent with corresponding body structure rationalization. This should result in about a 10% increase in fuel efficiency. Under the Nissan Green Program 2016, Nissan's mid-term environmental plan, the company is aiming for a 35 percent improvement in fuel economy compared with 2005 on a corporate average for all Nissan vehicles by the end of fiscal 2016.

Through an optimal combination of materials, the jointly-developed 1.2 GPa Ultra High Tensile Strength Steel with High Formability provides greater elongation, and offers strength and high formability, to make lighter-weight steel sheets. These attributes enable it to be used for parts with complex shapes, which had been difficult to manufacture using established high tensile steels. Combined with high-precision die design and a welding process suitable for materials during the production process, the 1.2GPa Ultra High Tensile Strength Steel with Formability can now be applied to the production of more vehicle parts.

Futurist Martin Discusses Changes in Energy, Environment, Employment and Humanity

Dr. James Martin — Futurist Entrepreneur, British visionary entrepreneur, science-sponsor, author. Largest individual benefactor to the University of Oxford in its 900-year history

Martin was a pioneer in the automation of software development, and was ranked 4th in Computer World's 25th Anniversary Edition's most influential people in computer technology. He was a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the U.S. Department of Defense. He is an Honorary Life Fellow of the British Royal Institution, a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science, an Honorary Fellow of Keble College, Oxford, and a Senior Fellow of the James Martin Center for Non-Proliferation Studies at Monterey, California. Martin has honorary doctorates from all six continents.

In this video Dr. James Martin discusses the major changes needed to avoid an environmental crunch and invites participants to the second international Global Future 2045 congress (June 2013)

"Humanity is drifting into time when there is great insecurity, because the population is growing too large, consumption is growing too large, we're talking about the footprint, meaning the resources that humanity consumes. And about 20 years ago, we got to a stage when we were consuming 100% of the sustainable resources on the planet, and in 20 years from now that will go up to 200%, and that of course is impossible to sustain, and so in many ways you can look at humanity and say there's a crunch coming.

I think we know that in many ways we're on the wrong path today, with the civilization that we have, and so major changes have got to be made, and we're going to have fabulous technology for creating those changes." says Dr. James Martin

For more information about the GF2045 congress, please visit

March 12, 2013

Extending beyond our brains using optogenetics

Dr. Ed Boyden. Optogenetics Neuro- engineer — Neuroscientist at MIT. Associate member of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research

Develops 'optogenetic' tools enabling activation and silencing of neural circuit elements with light; 3-D microfabricated neural interfaces enabling control and readout of neural activity; and robotic methods to automatically record intracellular neural activity and performing single-cell analyses in the living brain.

Applies neurotechnologies to analyze and engineer the circuits of the brain and to understand how cognition and emotion arise from brain network operation, and enabling systematic repair of brain disorders such as epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, PTSD, and chronic pain.

Launched an award-winning series of MIT classes teaching principles of neuroengineering from basic principles for control and observation of neural functions, culminating with neurotechnology start-up strategies.

Stanford University Ph.D. in neuroscience, discovering that molecular mechanisms used to store a memory are determined by the content to be learned.

For more information about the GF2045 congress, please visit

Diamandis discusses humans progressing to Meta intelligence group-minds

Dr. Peter H. Diamandis -- Abundance Abundance
Physician, entrepreneur, founder and chairman of the X PRIZE Foundation. Author of Abundance

In the field of Innovation, Diamandis is Chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation, best known for its $10 million Ansari X PRIZE for private spaceflight. Today the X PRIZE leads the world in designing and operating large-scale global competitions to solve market failures. He is also the Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Singularity University, a graduate-level Silicon Valley institution that studies exponentially growing technologies, their ability to transform industries and solve humanity's grand challenges.

In this video Dr. Peter H. Diamandis discusses the future of humans evolving into meta-intelligence group-minds and invites participants to the second international Global Future 2045 congress (June 2013)

Molecular electronics ten times more energy efficient than todays electronics

A recent breakthrough by scientists from NUS and University College Cork may mean the arrival of highly energy-efficient smart phones and tablets that can last up to 10 times their usual life.

The team succeeded in designing the devices with a tenfold jump in switching efficiency by altering just one carbon atom of the active molecular component. By acting as electrical valves, these molecules allow current to flow through them when switched on and stop current flow when switched off. The Singapore scientists packed these molecules tightly on metal electrode surfaces, and the defect-free assemblies can suppress leakage currents to operate efficiently and reliably. The device can be switched on and off cleanly based on the charge and shape of the molecules.

Redox active ferrocenealkanethiol molecules pack together and assemble into monolayer thin films on silver electrodes. Molecules standing tall instead of crouching form tighter assemblies, which dramatically improve the device properties.

Nature Nanotechnology - The role of van der Waals forces in the performance of molecular diodes

LPP Dense Plasma Focus Fusion Peak Output Beams at 380 Gigawatts with 4 kilojoules of power for 1/15th the input power

The ion beam produced by a plasma focus device (LPP nuclear fusion project) will be the primary means of getting electric power out of the device. On February 28, while firing Focus Fusion -1 (FF-1), LPP’s experimental plasma focus device, the team observed a record 380 GW peak power in the ion beam. The previous most powerful beam observed had a peak power of 93 GW , so the new beam is a four - fold improvement. In addition, this was the first beam observed that, at least in part, went all the way down the meter - long drift tube that is attached to the underside of the FF-1 vacuum chamber . It was also the first beam that equaled or exceeded our theoretical predictions. Both the higher peak power and the beam’s more vertical direction are signs of increasing symmetry of the compression that forms the plasmoid, a key goal of LPP’s current efforts.

Indeed, the beam was probably considerably more powerful than the figure we measured, as LPP’s Chief Scientist Eric Lerner calculated that about half the beam spread out beyond the 1 -cm wide entrance hole to the drift tube. We believe this is the most powerful beam ever measured from a plasma focus device, although we will have to search the literature more thoroughly to make that claim with certainty.

Of course, the beam only lasted 5 - ns, so it and the equally powerful electron beam emitted in the opposite direct carried only about 4 kJ of energy, about 1/15 th of the total energy fed into the electrodes during the much longer 2 - microsecond rise - time of the current from the capacitors. To get more energy out of the beam than is put in will require much higher fusion yield than is presently obtained in FF-1.

Piecemeal Repair and Replacement of the Brain as a pathway to radical life and health extension

Professor Berger (USC) is a bio medical engineer and a developer of neuro prosthesis technology .

Professor Berger research work is at his USC website

Professor Berger was the first to replace the function of a hippocampus in a rat brain with a chip. He develops "neuron--silicon interface" technology using silicon-based, multisite electrode arrays and tissue culture methods for implantation of hardware models into the brain to replace damaged or dysfunctional nerve tissue.

In this video Dr. Theodore Berger discusses the future of neurological engineering and invites participants to the second international Global Future 2045 congress (June 2013)

5% OFF your ticket -- When you register for your attendance at, use coupon code GFPVNFB to receive an additional 5% discount on top of the early bird registration fee.

"We are living longer and longer, and so more and more of neuro diseases of the brain, degenerative or accidental damage to the brain, are going to be seen and must be dealt with. And so having a strategy where we think about which brain parts can be replaced, in the context of which ones are damaged more often is just a wise thing to do."

"There are several parts in the brain that I consider to be ready for this next-generation analysis, and this will allow us to create a mathematical model of how some of the functions work, and we'll be able to reproduce those in mathematical models, and we'll be able to reproduce those in microchip form." says Dr. Berger.

Global Futures 2045 Conference June 15-16, 2013 in New York Will Have George Church who discusses his vision of radical brain health extension via gene therapy and synthetic biology

The second international Global Future 2045 congress will take place on 15-16 June 2013 at the Lincoln Center in New York, and will be focused on discussion of a new evolutionary strategy for humanity aimed at overcoming the 21st century’s civilization challenges.

The first GF2045 congress took place in Moscow in February 2012. Its main goal was a discussion of global threats and opportunities arising from the development of new technologies, and the formulation of recommendations for the realization of the optimal scenario for the future with regard to the expected usage of these technologies. In the world of international science, this was the first time at this level and in this form, that not only the key directions of innovations in the coming decades were examined, but also their ethical and philosophical aspects.

In the 3 days of the congress, over 1,500 participants took part, with 50 speakers from countries around the world, including the USA, the Netherlands and Australia.

5% OFF your ticket -- When you register for your attendance at, use coupon code GFPVNFB to receive an additional 5% discount on top of the early bird registration fee.

Conference Invitation video by George Church

Dr. George Church. Genomics Pioneer. Molecular geneticist, pioneer in personal genomics and synthetic biology.

He discusses his optimism about significant near term life extension (at about 3-6 minute part of the 15 minute video).
Get better and better at replacing body parts except for the brain.
Best way to protect the brain from alzheimers would be to find the genetic immunity to alzheimers that other have and inject them into brain.
There are 80 gene therapies in clinical trial now.
If we can genetically reprogram the neuronal cell body while retaining the connections then we could rejuvenate the brain like cleaning up blood now.
Update the nucleus of the cell (the epigenetic and genetics).

March 11, 2013

Transatomic plans for a Factory Produced Deep Burn 500 MW Molten Salt Nuclear Reactor

Transatomic announced plans to building a 500-megawatt molten salt nuclear power plant that achieves some of the cost savings associated with the smaller reactor designs. It estimates that it can build a plant based on such a reactor for $1.7 billion, roughly half the cost per megawatt of current plants. The company has raised $1 million in seed funding, including some from Ray Rothrock, a partner at the VC firm Venrock. Although its cofounders, Mark Leslie and Leslie Dewan, are still PhD candidates at MIT, the design has attracted some top advisors, including Regis Matzie, the former CTO of the major nuclear power plant supplier Westinghouse Electric, and Richard Lester, the head of the nuclear engineering department at MIT.

The new reactor is expected to save money not only because it can be built in a factory rather than on site but also because it adds safety features—which could reduce the amount of steel and concrete needed to guard against accidents—and because it runs at atmospheric pressure rather than the high pressures required in conventional reactors.

A conventional nuclear power plant is cooled by water, which boils at a temperature far below the 2,000 °C at the core of a fuel pellet. Even after the reactor is shut down, it must be continuously cooled by pumping in water. The inability to do that is what caused the problems at Fukushima: hydrogen explosions, releases of radiation, and finally meltdown.

Interview with Transatomic Power CEO Wilcox at ThoriumMSR

WAMSR is similar in many ways to the Molten Salt reactor built in th1960s but WAMSR is a factor 20 smaller due to changes in materials, geometry and spectrum. The technical approach Transatomic Power is using will work for uranium or thorium. The first product is the simpler case, which is for burning uranium, either fresh, low-enriched uranium or in the form of spent fuel. A future version could use Thorium.

If using fresh fuel, WAMSR is likely to receive UF6 gas. If using spent fuel, WAMSR would have a mechanical process to remove casings but otherwise dissolve the entire spent fuel uranium oxide directly into the salt.

The WAMSR will operate at about 700 Celsius.

Transatomic Power's Waste-Annihilating Molten Salt Reactor -- WAMSR -- can convert the high-level nuclear waste produced by conventional nuclear reactors each year into $7.1 trillion of electricity. At full deployment, our reactors can use existing stockpiles of nuclear waste to satisfy the world’s electricity needs through 2083.

Conventional nuclear reactors can utilize only about 3% of the potential fission energy in a given amount of uranium before it has to be removed from the reactor. Our design captures 98% of this remaining energy.

Claim of Smoking Gun Evidence of Panspermia is Likely Wrong

Algae-like structures inside a Sri Lankan meteorite are clear evidence of panspermia, the idea that life exists throughout the Universe, say astrobiologists

Astronomer Phil Plait has shredded the claim over at Slate.

On 29 December 2012, a fireball lit up the early evening skies over the Sri Lankan province of Polonnaruwa. Hot, sparkling fragments of the fireball rained down across the countryside and witnesses reported the strong odour of tar or asphalt.

Over the next few days, the local police gathered numerous examples of these stones and sent them to the Sri Lankan Medical Research Institute of the Ministry of Health in Colombo. After noticing curious features inside these stones, officials forwarded the samples to a team of astrobiologists at Cardiff University in the UK for further analysis.

The results of these tests, which the Cardiff team reveal today, are extraordinary. They say the stones contain fossilised biological structures fused into the rock matrix and that their tests clearly rule out the possibility of terrestrial contamination.

Arxiv - The Polonnarawa Meteorite
: Oxygen Isotope, Crystalline and Biological Composition (7 pages)

Elon Musk Says Boeing 787 Battery Problem is Clear to Him and Offers to Fix it

Elon Musk says he's still waiting for a call from Boeing to fix the jumbo jet maker's overheating Dreamliner battery problem. For the past few months, Boeing's 787 fleet has been grounded in the United States following a lithium-ion battery that caught fire in flight. The National Transportation Safety Board was unable to determine the cause of the fire, but the Tesla and SpaceX CEO says the problem is clear to him, and he's willing to "do the fix" for Boeing.

Elon Musk gave the keynote speech at the South By Southwest Interactive festival in Austin, Texas.

Musk told the audience he was sincere in his offer of assistance and didn't mean it as an attack on Boeing. In fact, what followed was a brief primer a la Musk on lithium battery technology that sounded more like a sales pitch from a guy who would be happy to ink a new contract with a major manufacturer.

Musk says that Boeing outsourced the battery for the 787, and that the company that received the battery contract from Boeing also outsourced the job, and so on, resulting in what Musk called "nested outsourcing," which "resulted, I think, in a breakdown in communication."

Elon Musk claimed physical battery problem is that the cells used in the 787 are too big and that the gaps between them are not big enough, creating a cascading overheating effect that led to the fire.

March 10, 2013

Carnival of Space 292

Alien Worldships should be detectable by their infrared signature and a list of feasible interstellar travel methods

Crowlaspace has a paper by Dr. Gregory Lee Matloff that suggests that aliens worldships should be detectable in the Kuiper-Belt and Oort comet cloud. The paper also reviews the feasible and what will become feasible interstellar travel methods which would change what the infrared signature would look like.

It is argued using a conservative approach to interstellar travel that intelligent extraterrestrials (ET’s) may be present in our solar system, living in world ships that have colonized cometary or asteroidal objects during the last billion years. The originating star systems for these advanced beings could be solar-type stars that fortuitously approach our Sun within a light year or so at intervals of about a million years or nearby stars that have left the main sequence, prompting interstellar migration. If we are indeed within such a “Dyson Sphere” of artificial worldlets, we could detect their presence through astronomical means since a space habitat will emit more infrared radiation than a like-sized comet or asteroid. Interestingly, several Kuiper-Belt objects have recently been found to have an unexpected and substantial red excess. It is argued that, in opposition to the assumptions of current SETI searches, the very advanced occupants of this possible local Dyson Sphere may have as little interest in beaming radio signals in our direction as we do in communicating with termites. A research program is proposed whereby large and small college observatories would routinely monitor the spectral irradiances of Near Earth and Kuiper Belt objects while a concurrent theoretical effort models the spectral characteristics of various proposed space habitats. Much of the observational work, at least, could be dovetailed with projects designed to detect Near-Earth Objects (NEO’s) that might impact Earth in the future. Possible strategies and protocols for direct contact, requiring humans to be the active contactees are presented to be considered for use if such intelligent ET’s are discovered within our solar system.

Interstellar Travel - 1. Bussard Ramjet

The Bussard Ramjet (Figure 1) works by using a magnetic scoop (or ramscoop) to ingest interstellar protons over a large area. The fuel passes through a fusion reactor capable of converting hydrogen directly into helium plus energy, as does the Sun and other main sequence stars. The released energy is used to accelerate the helium nuclei exhaust out the rear of the spacecraft. Although recent research indicates that a suitable ramscoop may be feasible, there seems to be no way to create a proton fusion reactor. Many less capable ramjet variants have been proposed, the most feasible is the use of a solenoidal field ramscoop to reflect oncoming interstellar ions and thereby decelerate a speeding starship.

Safe SIRTUIN activating drugs could be available in five years and effective Sirtuin drugs could help people live to 150 years old

Publishing his work in the prestigious journal Science, David Sinclair of Harvard reports a breakthrough in the development of drugs that can block the aging process.

The article is entitled Evidence for a Common Mechanism of SIRT1 Regulation by Allosteric Activators, and reveals how interaction with a single amino acid in the SIRT1 enzyme is crucial for the ability of drugs that can activate the enzyme.

SIRT1 is an enzyme in the class of molecules called Sirtuins. Significant research shows that activation of sirtuins reduces cellular aging through its interaction with other cellular master switches such as FOXO3a and PGC-1a

“At the cellular level,” explain the authors. “SIRT1 controls DNA repair and apoptosis, circadian clocks, inflammatory pathways, insulin secretion, and mitochondrial biogenesis”

Journal Science - Evidence for a Common Mechanism of SIRT1 Regulation by Allosteric Activators

George Church has joined the SENS research foundation advisory board

Dr. George Church as the newest member of SENS Research Foundation's Research Advisory Board. Our RAB plays a key role in our mission to change the way the world researches and treats age-related disease. By applying expertise from multiple relevant areas, the Board assures that efforts and resources are directed along the most promising avenues.

Dr. Church brings relevant expertise in a number of fields, genetics in particular. He is Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and Director of, in addition to being the author of the book, Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves. His 1984 Harvard PhD included the first methods for direct genome sequencing, molecular multiplexing & barcoding, which led to the first commercial genome sequence in 1994.

His innovations in "next generation" genome sequencing and synthesis & cell/tissue engineering resulted in 12 companies spanning fields including medical genomics and synthetic biology as well as new privacy, biosafety & biosecurity policies. He is director of the NIH Center for Excellence in Genomic Science, and his honors include election to NAS & NAE and Franklin Bower Laureate for Achievement in Science.

SENS is trying to fix the damage of aging

Two thirds of all deaths worldwide, and about 90% of all deaths in the developed world, are from causes that only rarely kill young adults. These causes include Alzheimer's, cardiovascular disease, Type II diabetes and most cancers. They are age-related because they are expressions of the later stages of aging, occurring when the molecular and cellular damage that has accumulated in the body throughout life exceeds the level that metabolism can tolerate. Moreover, before it kills them, aging imposes on most elderly people a long period of debilitation and disease. For these reasons, aging is unarguably the most prevalent medically-relevant phenomenon in the modern world and the primary ultimate target of biomedical research.

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