August 03, 2013

Greentec Awards could not handle the truth that Molten Salt Reactors would be good for the environment and that German Public liked it, but a German Court Overturns disqualification

The Dual-Fluid Reactor, a MSR (Molten Salt Reactor) was entered into the Greentec contest by Berlin’s Institute for Solid-State Nuclear Physics. MSRs and other advanced nuclear designs auger a CO2-free energy future and represent clear improvements in nuclear safety, efficiency, and waste management when compared to conventional nuclear. The Dual-Fluid Reactor (DFR) can also be used as a source of industrial process heat to make hydrogen and synthetic fuels.

Greentec did not like a result from voting in the court of public opinion. Then they decide to cheat to boot the voting winner. Then they lost in a real legal court.

Clearly, a significant portion of the German public understands this. The Dual-Fluid Reactor (DFR) made it to the finals on the strength of an open, online voting round. Under the rules of the competition, GreenTec judges select two finalists in each of the contest’s eight categories, and the public selects the third.

On June 4, Dual fuel Molten salt was disqualified and denominated by the jury, with no explanation.

Outrage ensued, as DFR supporters accused GreenTec of changing the voting rules to suit their own interests.

German blogger Rainer Klute - a regular commenter on Weinberg blogs - noted:

“People who had campaigned for the award and for the DFR were heavily shocked. Not only they found the decision as such completely incomprehensible, but also the procedure to make it. Changing rules in the course of the game is something that is usually considered less than fair. Most of us (but obviously not all) learned this early in our childhood. No wonder the award’s makers were criticized violently in blogs and social media, especially on their own Facebook page.”

A Greentec spokeswoman said that the Institute for Solid State Physics had violated a clause in the application process “which obliges participants to provide truthful information about their projects, ensuring an objective evaluation process.” She also noted that “The organizers are authorized to disqualify the applicant as well as take away his/her rights to the title.” They also stripped another finalist, called Care Energy.

A German appeals court ruled in July 7, 2013 that the disqualification was unlawful.

The court also allowed the DFR makers’ application for an injunction. Greentec Communications GmbH must accept the results of the online voting, treat the DFR according to the original contest rules and allow it for the finals. Consequently, the jury must repeat its vote for the overall winner, taking into account the Dual-Fluid Reactor as a regular candidate. In addition, the IFK has the right to receive a movie about the DFR created by TV broadcaster ProSieben, one of the award’s media partners. As a nominee, the DFR must also receive an adequate presentation at the GreenTec Awards gala on August 30th in Berlin. The court’s decision is final; Greentec Communications must bear the judicial costs.

Molten Salt Reactor review with benefits like very little waste and 2000 energy return on invested energy

The non-profit Weinberg Foundation has a 23 page report on the status and background on Thorium Fuelled Molten Salt Reactors.

Thorium-fuelled Molten Salt Reactors (MSRs) offer a potentially safer, more efficient and sustainable form of nuclear power. Pioneered in the US at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in the 1960s and 1970s, MSRs benefit from novel safety and operational features such as passive temperature regulation, low operating pressure and high thermal to electrical conversion efficiency. Some MSR designs, such as the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR), provide continuous online fuel reprocessing, enabling very high levels of fuel burn-up. Although MSRs can be fuelled by any fissile material, the use of abundant thorium as fuel enables breeding in the thermal spectrum, and produces only tiny quantities of plutonium and other long-lived actinides.

Current international research and development efforts are led by China, where a $350 million MSR programme has recently been launched, with a 2MW test MSR scheduled for completion by around 2020. Smaller MSR research programmes are ongoing in France, Russia and the Czech Republic. The MSR programme at ORNL concluded that there were no insurmountable technical barriers to the development of MSRs. Current research and development priorities include integrated demonstration of online fuel reprocessing, verification of structural materials and development of closed cycle gas turbines for power conversion.

August 02, 2013

Podcast interview with George Church

O'Reilly Radar podcast interview with George Church.

George discusses the potential of synthetic biology. He offer his thoughts on the coming transformation of medicine, whether genes should be patentable, and whether the public is prepared to deal with genetic data.
George discusses what the CRISPR genetic engineering technology can do.
It is RNA based for targeting instead of protein based. It is 1000 times easier to program and ten times more accurate and effective.

Recording information in DNA. He produced 70 billions DNA copies of his book.
He is trying to develop DNA archiving commercially.
DNA recording is very low energy and long duration (hundreds of thousands of years).

Before you would put a copy of a gene randomly.
Now we can put copies precisely. We can take cells out and change them and put them back.
We can also change within the body.

The alternative to patents is trade secrets. Trade secrets with synthetic biology and genetics would be bad. You would force people to obsfuscate what is being done so people cannot look at things and reverse engineer easily. This would create incompatibilities and dangers.

New Coating makes Superglass

New resilient, ultraslippery glass could lead to self-cleaning, scratch-resistant windows, lenses, and solar panels. A new transparent, bioinspired coating makes ordinary glass tough, self-cleaning and incredibly slippery, was made by a team from Harvard University.

The new coating could be used to create durable, scratch-resistant lenses for eyeglasses, self-cleaning windows, improved solar panels and new medical diagnostic devices.

The new coating builds on an award-winning technology that Aizenberg and her team pioneered called Slippery Liquid-Infused Porous Surfaces (SLIPS)—the slipperiest synthetic surface known. The new coating is equally slippery, but much more durable and fully transparent. Together these advances solve longstanding challenges in creating commercially useful materials that repel almost everything.

SLIPS was inspired by the slick strategy of the carnivorous pitcher plant, which lures insects onto the ultraslippery surface of its leaves, where they slide to their doom. Unlike earlier water-repelling materials, SLIPS repels oil and sticky liquids like honey, and it resists ice formation and bacterial biofilms as well.

While SLIPS was an important advance, it was also “a proof of principle”—the first step toward a commercially valuable technology, said lead author Nicolas Vogel, a postdoctoral fellow in applied physics at SEAS.

“SLIPS repels both oily and aqueous liquids but it’s expensive to make and not transparent,” Vogel said.

Researchers create the ultraslippery coating by creating a glass honeycomb-like structure with craters (left), coating it with a Teflon-like chemical (purple) that binds to the honeycomb cells to form a stable liquid film. That film repels droplets of both water and oily liquids (right). Because it’s a liquid, it flows, which helps the coating repair itself when damaged. (Image courtesy of Nicolas Vogel.)

Inhalable Gene therapy may restore function of a crucial enzyme in the lungs to reverse deadly Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension

The deadly condition known as pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), which afflicts up to 150,000 Americans each year, may be reversible by using an inhalable gene therapy

Scientists demonstrated that gene therapy administered through a nebulizer-like inhalation device can completely reverse PAH in rat models of the disease. In the lab, researchers also showed in pulmonary artery PAH patient tissue samples reduced expression of the SERCA2a, an enzyme critical for proper pumping of calcium in calcium compartments within the cells. SERCA2a gene therapy could be sought as a promising therapeutic intervention in PAH.

"The gene therapy could be delivered very easily to patients through simple inhalation — just like the way nebulizers work to treat asthma," says study co-senior investigator Roger J. Hajjar, MD, Director of the Cardiovascular Research Center and the Arthur & Janet C. Ross Professor of Medicine and Professor of Gene & Cell at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. "We are excited about testing this therapy in PAH patients who are in critical need of intervention."

This same SERCA2a dysfunction also occurs in heart failure. This new study utilizes the same gene therapy currently being tested in patients to reverse congestive heart failure in a large phase III clinical trial in the United States and Europe.

Journal of Circulation - Therapeutic Efficacy of AAV1.SERCA2a in Monocrotaline-Induced Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension

Graphene based supercapacitors with 60 watt hours per liter are 12 times the energy density of commercial supercapacitors

Monash researchers have developed a completely new strategy to engineer graphene-based supercapacitors (SC) with the energy density of lead batteries, making them viable for widespread use in renewable energy storage, portable electronics and electric vehicles. The energy density of 60 Watt-hours per litre - comparable to lead-acid batteries and around 12 times higher than commercially available SCs.

Science - Liquid-Mediated Dense Integration of Graphene Materials for Compact Capacitive Energy Storage

Porous yet densely packed carbon electrodes with high ion-accessible surface area and low ion transport resistance are crucial to the realization of high-density electrochemical capacitive energy storage but have proved to be very challenging to produce. Taking advantage of chemically converted graphene’s intrinsic microcorrugated two-dimensional configuration and self-assembly behavior, we show that such materials can be readily formed by capillary compression of adaptive graphene gel films in the presence of a nonvolatile liquid electrolyte. This simple soft approach enables subnanometer scale integration of graphene sheets with electrolytes to form highly compact carbon electrodes with a continuous ion transport network. Electrochemical capacitors based on the resulting films can obtain volumetric energy densities approaching 60 watt-hours per liter.

Xkeyscore is the NSA tool to search everyones emails, online chats and browsing histories

Xkeyscore is a secret National Security Agency program allows analysts to search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals, according to documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The NSA boasts in training materials that the program, called XKeyscore, is its "widest-reaching" system for developing intelligence from the internet.

US has global travel alert and other US middle east news

1. The United States issued an extraordinary global travel warning to Americans Friday about the threat of an al-Qaida attack and closed down 21 embassies and consulates across the Muslim world for the weekend.

The alert was the first of its kind since an announcement preceding the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. This one comes with the scars still fresh from last year’s deadly Sept. 11 attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, and with the Obama administration and Congress determined to prevent any similar breach of an American Embassy or consulate.

The State Department warning urged American travelers to take extra precautions overseas, citing potential dangers involved with public transportation systems and other prime sites for tourists and noting that previous terrorist attacks have centered on subway and rail networks as well as airplanes and boats. It suggested travelers sign up for State Department alerts and register with U.S. consulates in the countries they visit.

The statement said that al-Qaida or its allies might target either U.S. government or private American interests. The alert expires on Aug. 31.

The State Department said the potential for terrorism was particularly acute in the Middle East and North Africa, with a possible attack occurring on or coming from the Arabian Peninsula.

2. CNN has uncovered exclusive new information about what is allegedly happening at the CIA, in the wake of the deadly Benghazi terror attack. Four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were killed in the assault by armed militants last September 11 in eastern Libya.

Sources now tell CNN dozens of people working for the CIA were on the ground that night, and that the agency is going to great lengths to make sure whatever it was doing, remains a secret.

Neural dust could make a long duration, low power brain machine interface with thousands of sensor connections at the 10-100 micron scale

Arxiv - Neural Dust: An Ultrasonic, Low Power Solution for Chronic Brain-Machine Interfaces

A major hurdle in brain-machine interfaces (BMI) is the lack of an implantable neural interface system that remains viable for a lifetime. This paper explores the fundamental system design trade-offs and ultimate size, power, and bandwidth scaling limits of neural recording systems built from low-power CMOS circuitry coupled with ultrasonic power delivery and backscatter communication. In particular, we propose an ultra-miniature as well as extremely compliant system that enables massive scaling in the number of neural recordings from the brain while providing a path towards truly chronic BMI.

These goals are achieved via two fundamental technology innovations:

1) thousands of 10 – 100 micron scale, free-floating, independent sensor nodes, or neural dust that detect and report local extracellular electrophysiological data, and

2) a sub-cranial interrogator that establishes power and communication links with the neural dust.

For 100 micron scale sensing nodes embedded 2 mm into the brain, ultrasonic power transmission can enable 7 % efficiency power links (-11.6 dB), resulting in a received power of 500 W with a 1 square mm interrogator, which is over 10 million times more than EM transmission at similar scale (40 pW). Extreme efficiency of ultrasonic transmission and CMOS front-ends can enable the scaling of the sensing nodes down to 10’s of microns

Dr. Michel Maharbiz: Neural dust system diagram showing the placement of ultrasonic interrogator under the skull and the independent neural dust sensing nodes dispersed throughout the brain.

Using cosmic ray scattering to map asteroid interiors to 1 kilometer and more NASA Advanced concepts

Here are more of the most recent batch of NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program NIAC Phase I awarded projects.

Pions and Muons from galactic cosmic ray collisions can be used to map the interior of asteroids to the meter scale and a depth of a kilometer

Established remote sensing methods provide coarse, indirect information about the interior structure of small bodies. This information is generally inferred from surface structures and overall mass density. Imagine being able to directly examine the interior of a comet or asteroid. Is the asteroid a composite of different materials or is it uniform? On a comet, how do the vents extend into the nucleus? Are there distinct interior reservoirs of volatiles? Determining the macro-scale of asteroid porosity would be fundamental to characterizing their rubble pile nature and formation and necessary for the development of planetary defense strategies. Knowledge of the interior structure and heterogeneity of comets would provide the first detailed physical constraints on jetting mechanisms, regolith formation and episodic mantle loss, while revealing interior evolutionary processes ongoing in the outer solar system. We propose to develop new types of spacecraft instrumentation, data analysis, and imaging methods that enable mapping the interior of small solar system bodies (SSBs, e.g. asteroids, comet cores and near Earth objects) to unprecedented depth and detail. Our proposed method makes use of galactic cosmic ray (GCR) secondary particle shower products, such as pions and muons. Muons, in particular, can penetrate rock to depths on the order of a kilometer and enable the deep interior of SSBs to be sampled, potentially with meter-scale spatial resolution. The secondary muons produced by GCR collisions with Earth’s atmosphere provide a convenient flux of long range particles that have already found application in volcanology, archeology, and national security, for which radiographic and tomographic methods are employed. Successful Earth surface applications demonstrate that the proposed concept is viable and that the likelihood of success is high; however, the existing muon radiography and tomography methods depend on the production of muons in Earth’s thick overlying atmosphere so that implementation of transmission radiography is straight forward. Interpretation of muon fluxes measured by a spacecraft orbiting an SSB requires separating the production of these particles in the near surface from space background contributions. In this proposal, we will use modeling to determine the magnitude of these signatures and their sensitivity to the internal and near surface structure of solar system bodies. We will also evaluate concepts for imaging systems and missions that would acquire this information.

August 01, 2013

Printing biomaterials out of thin air, deep sleep transfer to Mars and plasmonic thruster arrays

More of the new phase 1 selections for NASA Innovative advanced concepts.

Biomaterials out of thin air: in situ, on-demand printing of advanced biocomposites

Imagine being able to print anything from tools and composite building materials to food and human tissues. Imagine being on Mars with the ability to replace any broken part, whether it's a part of your spacesuit, your habitat, or your own body. We propose a technique that would allow just that. By printing 3D arrays of cells engineered to secrete the necessary materials, the abundant in situ resources of atmosphere and regolith become organic, inorganic, or organic-inorganic composite materials. Such materials include novel, biologically derived materials not previously possible to fabricate.

Torpor Inducing Transfer Habitat For Human Stasis To Mars

The idea of suspended animation for interstellar human spaceflight has often been posited as a promising far-term solution for long-duration spaceflight. A means for full cryo-preservation and restoration remains a long way off still. However, recent medical progress is quickly advancing our ability to induce deep sleep states (i.e. torpor) with significantly reduced metabolic rates for humans over extended periods of time. NASA should leverage these advancements for spaceflight as they can potentially eliminate a number of very challenging technical hurdles, reduce the IMLEO for the system, and ultimately enable feasible and sustainable missions to Mars.

New NASA Advanced Concepts such as Eternal flight, pulsed fission-fusion propulsion

The NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program has selected twelve new NIAC Phase I awards.

The selected proposals include a wide range of imaginative concepts, including 3-D printing of biomaterials, such as arrays of cells; using galactic rays to map the insides of asteroids; and an "eternal flight" platform that could hover in Earth's atmosphere, potentially providing better imaging, Wi-Fi, power generation, and other applications.

Pulsed Fission-Fusion (PuFF) Propulsion

Pulsed Fission-Fusion (PuFF) Propulsion System

Leveraging insights gained from the weapons physics program, a Z-Pinch device could be used to ignite a thermonuclear deuterium trigger. The fusion neutrons will induce fission reaction in a surrounding uranium or thorium liner, releasing sufficient energy to further confine and heat the fusion plasma. The combined energy release from fission and fusion would then be directed using a magnetic nozzle to produce useful thrust. This type of concept could provide the efficiency of open cycle fusion propulsion devices with the relative small size and simplicity of fission systems; and would provide a radical improvement in our ability to explore destinations across the solar system and beyond. This proposal is modified version of last year’s proposal - addressing issues raised during that evaluation.

Android has 80% of the smartphone market and Apple has 14%

Global smartphone shipments grew 47 percent to hit 230 million devices in the second quarter of 2013, according to a new report from research firm Strategy Analytics. And Android captured record market share of 80 percent. Apple iOS reached 14 percent global smartphone share in the quarter.

Microsoft has 4%.

There will likely a bit over 1 billion smartphones for 2013.

A new iPhone 5S and a cheaper iPhone for both domestic and international markets are coming.

Reddit Futurology is having a vote for top futurist sites

Google Moto-x will allow customers to choose 2000 design options to customize and personal the smartphone

The Google Moto X will let customers choose from more than 2,000 combinations of colors, accents and other design options for their phones in colors and textures ranging from woodgrain to bright teal.

Reviews indicate that the Google Motorola is a competitively priced solid android smartphone.

Equipped with a 10-megapixel "Clear Pixel" RGBC sensor and LED flash, Motorola says its new device can snap pictures with speed. It goes on to tout the Moto X's ability to grab 75 percent more light than competing smartphone cameras. That should result in lower shutter times and clearer images under dark conditions.

Google will boost Starbucks Wifi speed by 10 to 100 times and copper telephone wires can transmit at gigabit per second speeds

1. Google will team up with Starbucks to bring faster, free WiFi connections to all 7,000 company-operated Starbucks stores in the United States over the next 18 months. When your local Starbucks WiFi network goes Google, you’ll be able to surf the web at speeds up to 10x faster than before. If you’re in a Google Fiber city, we’re hoping to get you a connection that’s up to 100x faster.

2. New technology can blast gigabit-per-second data speeds across age-old twisted-pair copper telephone cables—at least at distances from a telephone pole to a house, says Alcatel-Lucent.

In theory, such technology could be crucial to speeding up global Internet access. Of the 580 million broadband subscribers in the world, 55 percent have copper connections—though that figure is 33 percent in the United States, where most people get their broadband from the same coaxial cable that delivers their TV, according to Dell’oro, a telecommunications market research firm.

Nitrogen fixing bacteria will enable all plants to get nitrogen without fertilizer

A major new technology has been developed by The University of Nottingham, which enables all of the world’s crops to take nitrogen from the air rather than expensive and environmentally damaging fertilizers.

Nitrogen fixation, the process by which nitrogen is converted to ammonia, is vital for plants to survive and grow. However, only a very small number of plants, most notably legumes (such as peas, beans and lentils) have the ability to fix nitrogen from the atmosphere with the help of nitrogen fixing bacteria. The vast majority of plants have to obtain nitrogen from the soil, and for most crops currently being grown across the world, this also means a reliance on synthetic nitrogen fertilizer.

Professor Edward Cocking, Director of The University of Nottingham’s Centre for Crop Nitrogen Fixation, has developed a unique method of putting nitrogen-fixing bacteria into the cells of plant roots

Energy Return for nuclear energy

Life cycle energy and greenhouse gas emissions of nuclear energy: A review by Lenzen is fairly frequently quoted for its energy return analysis of nuclear energy. Lenzen had calculated nuclear energy return at 3-10 times the energy input.

Lenzen assumes nuclear plants have an operating life of 25-45 years. Many nuclear plants are heading to extended operations of 60-80 years.
Lenzen assumes that enrichment is at 2 to 2.5 times more costly in electrical energy than it is. They then scale up the energy costs with other factors.
Lenzen converts his numbers to kwh of energy needed per kwh hour generated but does not have a clean breakdown of the input energy contributions. Lenzen then converts it do carbon dioxide contribution based on some greenhouse gas intensity of whole economy.

Lenzen is easily 6 times too high in the energy costs on those factors. I think the nuclear energy return is at 60 and will be increasing with more efficient enrichment, more efficient operation and other improvements like annular fuel.

The Lenzen paper talks favorably about the Storm van Leeuwen and Smith work.

Storm van Leeuwen and Smith is biased.

Almost all of the EROI literature is littered with academics with an agenda. They do a lot of referencing each others work.

There was a 15 page critique by Dones that explained problems with Storm van Leeuwen and Smith greenhouse gas and energy analysis.

Latest Longevity Science Results - Metformin increases lifespan in Mice and Rapamycin suppresses cancer tumors

The newest longevity studies show that
* Metformin increases lifespan in Mice by 5.83% when started in middle age mice
* Reveratrol improves health but is not showing a significant increase in lifespan
* Rapamycin suppresses cancer tumors, Rapamycin life extension is because the mice do not die early from cancer

1. Long-term treatment with the type 2 diabetes drug metformin improves health and longevity of male mice when started at middle age, reports an international team of scientists led by researchers at the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes Health. The study, which tested two doses of the drug in the male mice, found the higher dose to be toxic in the animals. Scientists emphasized that considerably more research is needed before the implications of metformin for healthy aging are known for humans.

The study, headed by Rafael de Cabo, Ph.D., of the NIA’s Intramural Research Program, was published in the July 30, 2013 issue of Nature Communications.

In this study, researchers found male mice on a 0.1 percent metformin treatment had a 5.83 percent increase in lifespan compared to control group mice on a standard diet with no metformin. The 1 percent metformin treatment had the opposite effect. These mice had a 14.4 percent shorter lifespan compared to the control group, likely due to kidney failure. The lower metformin dose did not seem to cause any negative effect on the renal system.

A battery of tests performed with male mice taking 0.1 percent, 1 percent, or no metformin starting at middle age, revealed a clear health benefit of the 0.1 percent treatment.

600 Skyscrapers over 60 stories are under construction or in planning stages now which could double the over 60 story skyscrapers

The world’s cities are in the midst of a skyscraper boom, and not with just tall buildings, but with ones officially designated as “supertall.” Nearly 600 buildings of at least 200 meters—or about 60 stories high—are either under construction or in the planning stages. That would almost double the number that height within the next 10 years. Now only three skyscrapers are above 500 meters, or more than 1,600 feet. By 2020, there are expected to be 20 more.

Better and faster elevators make taller skyscrapers more practical
One of the key factors limiting how high buildings can go is the weight of steel elevator cables. If they stretch much beyond 1,600 feet, they’re at risk of snapping under their own weight. But a Finnish company has developed a cable it calls UltraRope, which is made of carbon fiber and weighs almost half as much. UltraRope, say engineers, will make a 300-story building possible.

More Mixed Use Skyscrapers
Growing upward is seen as a wiser, more sustainable option than sprawling outward. Since residential and retail spaces require narrower floor plates than offices, mixed-use buildings can go higher with the same amount of material. And skyscrapers with a lot of tenant options are a lot easier to fill. In 2000, only five of the 20 tallest buildings in the world were mixed-use; by 2020, only five won’t be.

What is "Business as Usual" in terms of now to 2030 ? 2050 ?

A small blog listed Nextbigfuture among three optimistic future related blogs (Singularity Hub and KurzweilAI are the two others). He lists six blogs that are pessimistic about the future.

One of the pessimistic blogs is collapse of industrial civilization which has a sample article that proposes that a collapse will be well underway by 2047 (collapse of agriculture, collapse of economies and global trade, limited nuclear exchanges from Pakistan bombs getting into the hands of extremists) and virtually complete collapse by 2087 (only pockets of survival at the poles, the rest of the world uninhabitable because of the runaway heating). Collapse of Industrial Civilization looks silly in its doomer extremism. There are affordable technological options such as stratoshield that can be used in the event of climate change becoming a lot more serious. There are many other affordable and simple options to mitigate and reduce temperature changes (white roofs, dealing with soot).

Our Finite World is written by Gail Tverberg who one the main people at the

Bubble Fusion could be real. Prior Oak Ridge Debunking shown to be seriously flawed

Bubble fusion is the theory that nuclear fusion can be induced by rapidly collapsing bubbles in certain fluids. According to a new investigative report [by New Energy Times, Steven B. Krivit] into Oak Ridge National Laboratory records, a highly publicized finding from 2002 that cast the controversial tabletop nuclear fusion experiment into doubt has itself been cast into doubt.

In fact, the reporter who examined the Oak Ridge document dump also found possible vindicating evidence that might have supported some of the embattled researchers—including lead author Rusi Taleyarkhan, now at Purdue University.

The Pro-bubble Fusion paper from 2002

In the 2002 paper, "Evidence for Nuclear Emissions During Acoustic Cavitation," Taleyarkahan and his five co-authors fired neutron pulses into collapsing bubbles of the solvent acetone. When the acetone contained the isotope deuterium, they said they also observed statistically significant traces of both neutrons (beyond the flux of neutrons going into the experiment) as well as the radioactive isotope tritium. Both are hallmarks of nuclear reactions of some kind, whether fusion or not.

Oak Ridge labs claimed the 2002 paper was wrong

Technical reports posted on the Oak Ridge website in 2002 (one of which is now archived on New Energy Times's site) claimed to contradict Taleyarkhan's controversial findings. At the time, publications such as the New York Times and the news pages of Science provided a platform for the non-peer-reviewed critiques, sometimes without a Taleyarkhan rebuttal.

July 31, 2013

DARPA funds $1 million to design better zpinches and dense plasma focus electrodes

The Z-pinch is a plasma configuration that occurs when a pulsed high current arc discharges between two electrodes, causing a plasma column to implode under its own self-generated magnetic pressure. Over the years, researchers have had difficulty predicting and understanding its behavior.

DARPA is interested in using Z-pinches to make compact neutron sources. However, DARPA's applications require more neutrons than are produced by the current state-of-the-art dense plasma focus (DPF) experiments.

To increase the neutron yield on these devices, Schmidt's team in the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's Engineering Directorate is using a model of the DPF Z-pinch to optimize the electrode design. Previous Z-pinch modeling took a fluid approach that averaged physical quantities over many particles, washing out beam formations and other important effects. Instead of using a fluid approach, the team developed the first fully kinetic model of a DPF plasma that enables physical quantities to be tracked at the particle level. This model predicts more accurate neutron yields, allowing it to be used as a design tool.

"Modeling these plasmas fully kinetically was a real breakthrough in understanding how they work and predicting their behavior," said Schmidt, an applied plasma physicist working in the Engineering Directorate. "DARPA's $1 million award will allow us to apply this new simulation capability to a larger DPF and to push the neutron yield on these devices to even higher levels."

Team members will model various DPF electrode designs and optimize the design for high neutron yield. They also will conduct experiments in North Las Vegas using a National Security Technologies DPF that has 1 megajoule of stored energy, 250 times greater than the one they are currently using at LLNL.

This time-lapsed rendering illustrates the formation of an umbrella-shaped plasma sheath (purple) being pushed down the length of a cylindrical electrode, eventually collapsing inward on itself to create a tremendously dense region (white). Simultaneously, an ion beam (green) is timed to pass through the device as the plasma collapses in on itself, which accelerates the beam particles. Image: Kwei Chu/LLNL

Physical Review Letters - Fully Kinetic Simulations of Dense Plasma Focus Z-Pinch Devices

Saving a lot of expenses and extreme early retirement

People could look to new 3D printing to save money but there are likely many conventional ways to save money that they could choose.

There are also ways to aggressively pursue early retirement.

It may be unorthodox to retire at age 50 but not impossible. It may take unorthodox strategies to execute though. For many, it may be worth the effort since there are multiple benefits of retiring early.

1. Save substantially more. There are only two ways to save more – increase earnings and cut spending. The current savings rate in the U.S. of 3.7% won’t cut it. In order to retire early, the mantra needs to be “save as much as you can and spend the minimum” following the lead of the proponents of the early retirement extreme movement who live on 25% of their income and save 75%.

2. Drastically reduce major expenses in retirement. When looking to cut expenses, housing and taxes should be at the top of the list. Housing costs typically take up to 30 – 35% of an average household budget. Moving to an inexpensive part of the country such as Spokane, Washington, Modesto, California, or Knoxville, Tennessee, while downsizing at the same time is a huge cost save. Also, move to a state with low state taxes. Reduced housing costs and lower taxes eliminates the necessity of about $575k in retirement assets for most typical americans.

If you were being ripped off overpaying for iphone docks or are willing to use 3D printed Orthotics then 3D printers can save a lot of money

A Michigan University researchers feels the typical family can already save a great deal of money by making things with a 3D printer instead of buying them off the shelf.

The big savings are for things like orthotics (custom insoles for shoes), iPhone docks, IPad stands and showers heads.

The likely scenario is that the prices of certain things where we are being ripped off will drop in price.

Pearce and his team chose 20 common household items listed on Thingiverse (a catalog of free designs).

Then they used Google Shopping to determine the maximum and minimum cost of buying those 20 items online, shipping charges not included.

Next, they calculated the cost of making them with 3D printers. The conclusion: it would cost the typical consumer from $312 to $1,944 to buy those 20 things compared to $18 to make them in a weekend.

Open-source 3D printers for home use have price tags ranging from about $350 to $2,000. Making the very conservative assumption a family would only make 20 items a year, Pearce’s group calculated that the printers would pay for themselves quickly, in a few months to a few years.

Rice lab creates sub-10-nanometer graphene nanoribbon patterns

Rice University shows how water makes it practical to form long graphene nanoribbons less than 10 nanometers wide.

And it’s unlikely that many of the other labs currently trying to harness the potential of graphene, a single-atom sheet of carbon, for microelectronics would have come up with the technique the Rice researchers found while they were looking for something else.

The discovery by lead author Vera Abramova and co-author Alexander Slesarev, both graduate students in the lab of Rice chemist James Tour, appears online this month in the American Chemical Society journal ACS Nano.

A bit of water adsorbed from the atmosphere was found to act as a mask in a process that begins with the creation of patterns via lithography and ends with very long, very thin graphene nanoribbons. The ribbons form wherever water gathers at the wedge between the raised pattern and the graphene surface.

ACS Nano - Meniscus-Mask Lithography for Narrow Graphene Nanoribbons

Robotic Lawn Mowers

For lawn mowing, there's already several robotic solutions.

* Honda sells the Miimo
* a company called LawnBott offers a variety of lawn bots
* Friendly Robotics has a bunch of really friendly looking mowing robots.
* Husqvarna is a company with a long history in the grasscutting biz. Husqvarna also has deep experience with robotic lawnmowers; it introduced the first consumer model in 1995. Now it sells two: the Automower 230 ACX ($2700) and the Automower 265 ACX ($3700).

All of these systems tame your turf with a minimum of human oversight.

Robotic mowers are a rarity on American lawns, though they are popular in Europe, where landscaping services are particularly expensive.

Scientists implant false memories in mice so the movies Inception and Total Recall should have more accurately starred Mickey Mouse

A group of neuroscientists say that they’ve identified a potential mechanism of false memory creation and have planted such a memory in the brain of a mouse.

Like us, mice develop memories based on context. When a mouse returns to an environment where it felt pain in the past, it recalls that experience and freezes with fear. Tonegawa’s team knew that the hippocampus, a part of the brain responsible for establishing memory, plays a role in encoding context-based experiences, and that stimulating cells in a part of the hippocampus called the dentate gyrus can make a mouse recall and react to a mild electric shock that it received in the past. The new goal was to connect that same painful shock memory to a context where the mouse had not actually received a shock.

First, the team introduced a mouse to a chamber that it had never seen before and allowed it to explore the sights and smells: a black floor, dim red light, and the scent of acetic acid. In this genetically modified variety of mouse, neurons in the hippocampus will produce a light-sensitive protein when they become active. Because only the neurons involved in the mouse’s experience of this chamber became sensitive to light, these cells were essentially labeled for later reactivation.

There was a reddit question and answer with the MIT neuroscientist Steve Ramirez who did the work of implanting memories into mice

Non-invasive brain to brain communication to allow a human to mentally control movement of a rats tail

Harvard researchers have created the first noninvasive brain-to-brain interface (BBI) between a human and a rat. The interface allows the human to control the rat’s tail. This is computer mediated telepathy and remote control of another body from someone elses brain.

The human BCI has an accuracy of 94%, and that it generally takes around 1.5 seconds for the entire process — from the human deciding to look at the screen, through to the movement of the rat’s tail.

More accurate brain mapping is needed to achieve more precise and complex control

Transcranial focused ultrasound (FUS) is capable of modulating the neural activity of specific brain regions, with a potential role as a non-invasive computer-to-brain interface (CBI). In conjunction with the use of brain-to-computer interface (BCI) techniques that translate brain function to generate computer commands, we investigated the feasibility of using the FUS-based CBI to non-invasively establish a functional link between the brains of different species (i.e. human and Sprague-Dawley rat), thus creating a brain-to-brain interface (BBI). The implementation was aimed to non-invasively translate the human volunteer’s intention to stimulate a rat’s brain motor area that is responsible for the tail movement. The volunteer initiated the intention by looking at a strobe light flicker on a computer display, and the degree of synchronization in the electroencephalographic steady-state-visual-evoked-potentials (SSVEP) with respect to the strobe frequency was analyzed using a computer. Increased signal amplitude in the SSVEP, indicating the volunteer’s intention, triggered the delivery of a burst-mode FUS (350 kHz ultrasound frequency, tone burst duration of 0.5 ms, pulse repetition frequency of 1 kHz, given for 300 msec duration) to excite the motor area of an anesthetized rat transcranially. The successful excitation subsequently elicited the tail movement, which was detected by a motion sensor. The interface was achieved at 94.0±3.0% accuracy, with a time delay of 1.59±1.07 sec from the thought-initiation to the creation of the tail movement. Our results demonstrate the feasibility of a computer-mediated BBI that links central neural functions between two biological entities, which may confer unexplored opportunities in the study of neuroscience with potential implications for therapeutic applications.

US Student Loans are more than China’s Total External Debt

Google Android is the New Windows

The Google Android of today has many parallels to Microsoft Windows 95 of 1995.

* Android is a growing platform with endless form-factor diversity (or fragmentation, depending on how you look at it) and strong OEM support, just like Windows has had and still enjoys.

* Android’s flexibility for users and developers created an explosion in app variety, but also an unruly app store with a growing issue with malware. The same was true of Windows during the early days of the Internet.

Perhaps the most important point of the Android and Windows comparison is that of longevity. Windows has been around since 1985. Hardware-based operating systems last.

Just as computers have changed since 1985, so has Windows. And smartphones and tablets will change, too. But we still have PCs, and we’ll still have smartphones and tablets in a decade. Android is currently using a similar strategy to Microsoft’s Windows play to take over the hottest two segments in hardware and software.

July 30, 2013

Bain's list of eight trends to 2020

Bain forecasted eight Trillion-Dollar Growth Trends to 2020. (44 page pdf)

Macro trend: The next billion consumers. The rising wealth of emerging economies will continue to bring a broader range of consumption goods to huge numbers of new consumers. More of them will cross the critical annual household income threshold of $5,000, planting them in the ranks of the “global middle class” and enabling more discretionary spending. Although still considerably poorer than the middle-class consumers in the advanced economies, their vast numbers and increasing ability to devote more income to a broader range of goods and services will create an enormous new market. Estimated contribution to global GDP by 2020: $10 trillion.

Macro trend: Old infrastructure, new investments. In the advanced economies, renewed economic vitality will require refurbishing and expanding critical infrastructure, much of which was built more than a half-century ago. But with public finances under strain, the job will increasingly present opportunities for public-private partnerships. In emerging economies, continued infrastructure development will be needed to accommodate growth and lay a foundation for future expansion. Estimated contribution to global GDP by 2020: $1 trillion.

Bain estimates world assets will be $900 trillion in 2020 from $600 trillion in 2010 and Bain expects Disruption from Nanotech, AIm, Biotech, Robotics and Ubitquitous Connectivity

Bain and Company’s Macro Trends Group (32 page pdf) set out to understand how underlying capital trends will influence the longer-term global investment environment by investigating how the quantity and scale of assets on the world balance sheet have evolved over time. We discovered that the relationship between the financial economy and the underlying real economy has reached a decisive turning point. The rate of growth of world output of goods and services has seen an extended slowdown over recent decades, while the volume of global financial assets has expanded at a rapid pace. By 2010, global capital had swollen to some $600 trillion, tripling over the past two decades. Today, total financial assets are nearly 10 times the value of the global output of all goods
and services.

Their analysis leads us to conclude that for the balance of the decade, markets will generally continue to grapple with an environment of capital superabundance. Even with moderating financial growth in developed markets, the fundamental forces that inflated the global balance sheet since the 1980s—financial innovation, high-speed computing and reliance on leverage—are still in place. Moreover, as financial markets in China, India and other emerging economies continue to develop their own financial sectors, total global capital will expand by half again, to an estimated $900 trillion by 2020 (measured in prevailing 2010 prices and exchange rates). More than any other factor on the horizon, the self-generating momentum for capital to expand—and the sheer size the financial sector has attained—will influence the shape and tempo of global economic growth going forward.

Guaranteed minimum income, robots taking human jobs and financing early retirement

Guaranteed minimum income (GMI) also called minimum income, is a system of social welfare provision that guarantees that all citizens or families have an income sufficient to live on, provided they meet certain conditions. Eligibility is typically determined by citizenship, a means test and either availability for the labour market or a willingness to perform community services. The primary goal of a guaranteed minimum income is to combat poverty. If citizenship is the only requirement, the system turns into a universal basic income.

Guaranteed minimum income is usually a repackaging of communism. Attempts to create communism or strong socialism have had failed implementations.

There has long been concerns that technological change will cause unemployment. However there is an expectation that greater than human AI (or superior to human robotics) would be developed which would then be feared to cause a final complete unemployment for all people.

This develop would then be used as a justification for universal basic income.

The world has $223 trillion in global wealth. So let us look at confiscating and redistributing all wealth.

Equal distribution of all of the worlds wealth would give each person $31,000 in assets.
If people were able to get 5% return would provide people with $1550 per person per year. Normally you need to only take about 2% of assets in order to leave some growth in the principle and to overcome inflation. This would leave $600 per person per year. This does not seem to be enough.

North America is in the best shape with about $150,000 of assets per person. Using the 2% drawdown would provide $3000 per person per year.

Skyscrapers and the Tower of Babel

Tall buildings inviting accusations of hubris is as old as the Tower of Babel.

The skyscraper index, which places the completion – or the proposal, it's not entirely clear – of a "world's tallest" tower as the sign of an incoming recession or financial crisis.

Careful statistical study has found that the height of buildings can not be used to accurately predict recessions or other aspects of the business cycle, but that GDP can predict the height of building construction.

All the record-setting buildings seem to have been equally useless, no matter how seductive their architecture. In the late 1940s, eight very tall skyscrapers in Europe were built, the tallest in the continent for three decades. They didn't coincide with any crisis, any financial exuberance, though their steel frames caked in pseudo-historical ornament immediately evoked 1910s New York. They were, respectively, housing towers, a university, a couple of ministries, a hotel and a "palace of culture"; the point was to build them, not what went in them, but in the process, the skyscraper stopped being stacked speculation.

The US had no new tallest buildings after 1973 but still had recessions in 1980, 1981, 1990, 2001 and 2007

There are thousands of skyscrapers and many that are not quite as tall that follow the tallest sometimes cost more than the tallest. Yet where is the correlation to recessions when dozens are completed each year ?

Modern resuscitation science will soon allow doctors to reanimate people up to 24 hours after their death according to doctor who is over twice as good at reviving cardiac arrest patients

Death is not a fixed moment in time. Brain cells can take many hours to die. It is a misconception even among doctors that the body dies all at once. We are only a little dead when even an hour after the heart has stopped.

Raising the dead may soon become medical reality. According to critical care physician Sam Parnia, modern resuscitation science will soon allow doctors to reanimate people up to 24 hours after their death.

In the past decade we have seen tremendous progress. With today's medicine, we can bring people back to life up to one, maybe two hours, sometimes even longer, after their heart stopped beating and they have thus died by circulatory failure. In the future, we will likely get better at reversing death. We may have injectable drugs that slow the process of cell death in the brain and other organs. It is possible that in 20 years, we may be able to restore people to life 12 hours or maybe even 24 hours after they have died. You could call that resurrection, if you will. But I still call it resuscitation science.

There is no generally enforced standard of care. In some communities in the United States, survival rates after resuscitation are as low as close to 0 percent. In general, we are better at rescuing people who suffer cardiac arrest in hospitals. But even in this group the average now in the US is 18 percent. The United Kingdom has 16 percent and I assume German hospitals have a similar rate.

Parnia: Here in Stony Brook we had a 21 percent survival rate when I first arrived. Now, two years later, we are at 33 percent. In the first quarter of this year, our latest available data shows that we reached 38 percent, which likely puts us among the top hospitals in the US. Most, but not all of our patients, get discharged with no neurological damage whatsoever.

Race to $100 genome sequencing

Entrepreneurs and scientists are pursuing the ability to sequence an entire human genome for around a $100 price tag. Sequencing is a way of "reading" DNA molecules -- two strands twisted together to form that famous double helix. The entire human genome contains roughly 3 billion molecular base pairs, which researchers study to find variations that might play a role in the development of diseases. Right now it typically costs $1,000 to $4,000 to map out an individual's genome. (Specialized sequencing -- for, say, a cancer patient -- often costs more.)

Since 2007, the cost of genome sequencing has been in free-fall, dropping by as much as 90% several years in a row.

Dozens of startups are trying to carve off their chunk of a genetic testing market that UnitedHealthcare estimates could reach $25 billion annually by 2021.

Innovations like "ion torrent" sequencing, created by a startup acquired in 2010 by Life Technologies, aim to slash costs. Sequencing has traditionally been done optically, by flooding DNA snippets with chemicals called reagents that contain one of DNA's four bases. Every base has only one match; when a base finds a match, a light flashes. The sequencer sees it and records the base.

With the Ion Proton System -- a $100,000 machine that can sit on top of a table -- it's not light that's being recorded, but changes in pH balance. The DNA snippets being sequenced are attached to tiny beads sitting in as many as a billion tiny wells on a custom-designed semiconductor chip. The chip is flooded with DNA nucleotides, and when a base snaps into place, a hydrogen ion is released and recorded.

July 29, 2013

Quantum Internet Search Application

Seth Lloyd is proposing the first quantum app, or q-app, which he calls 'Quantum Machine Learning for Big Quantum Data

Seth Lloyd's q-app (pronounced "quapp") encodes Google-like queries with q-bits that enable quantum computers to not only perform real-time searches through even the most gigantic databases, but which also insures their absolute privacy, since attempts to eavesdrop on the query by the search engine provider would disturb the delicate q-bit's superposition of states

Lloyd has tried to get commercial funding to develop his q-app, but has so far failed to convince any venture capitalist to fund his project. The reason, he claims, is that his q-app insures that the search engine would not be able to store the user's queries to add to the reams of information they already store about each of their users.

"The VCs say that the search-engine business model is to learn everything they can about their users, so my q-app goes against the very core of their business," said Lloyd.

To prove that it will work, and hopefully attract some brave VC to fund its development, Lloyd is revealing the details of how his q-app makes real-time searches through the biggest conceivable databases. And after losing control of the technology that he claims to have invented, which he says D-Wave is currently using without paying him royalties, this time he has patented his Quantum Machine Learning q-app.

Nextbigfuture has an article about Seth Lloyds technical papers on his Quantum machine learning.

More Hyperloop Speculation Before Elon Musk Provides his Official Hyperloop Details

Extremetech speculates on the Elon Musk Hyperloop transportation system Elon Musk comment was that the Hyperloop will be a “cross between a Concorde and a railgun and an air hockey table.

Acoustic Wave Hyperloop Theory

A research group that levitated arbitrarily shaped objects in acoustic waves. This technique involves an acoustic phenomenon called standing waves — essentially, waves that are held in place by interference. If you imbue these waves with enough power (volume) and hit just the right frequency, you can levitate an object. Standing waves, as the name implies, don’t move — but Björn Smedman and Charles Alexander both theorize that, if you pump these waves into a loop (which we assume the Hyperloop is), and change up the acoustic parameters slightly, then it might be possible to carry vehicles on the edge of these waves as they travel around the loop.

By hitching a ride on the peak of a sound wave, you only really have to deal with drag caused by air density (linear), which is much less than drag caused by air velocity (square).If you pump enough power into the acoustic wave (i.e. increase the amplitude), the air density increases but the relative air velocity drops. In effect, the vehicle in the wave is stationary, in reference to its surroundings. Eventually, as the sound wave gets stronger and stronger, you achieve almost adiabatic travel — travel that loses no energy at all to the environment via drag or friction.

In theory, this process is so efficient that solar panels on top of the loop (a very large surface area!) can power the system. The acoustic waves, traveling continuously around the loop, would effectively act as energy storage.

Kazakhstan uranium production up 9% in first half of the 2013 compared to 2012

Around 5,590 tons of uranium was produced in Kazakhstan in second quarter of 2013, which exceeds the same period of 2012 by 9 percent.

Kazakhstan produced 10,569 tons of uranium in the first half of 2013. The World Nuclear Association reports 58,394 tons of uranium produced for 2012. Kazakhstan produced 21317 tons of uranium in 2012. Kazakhstan is on track to produce over 23000 tons of uranium in 2013.

World uranium production seems to be on track to 62000-63000 tons for the year in 2013

Some licenses, certifications and approvals are still needed for construction of the 838 meter Sky City skyscraper

The Binshui New City management committee said that construction of the 838-metre Sky City - which developers plan to build in a record-breaking seven months - would not proceed until "relevant legal procedures" were met, Xinhua reported.

The panel said nine domestic construction experts had studied the project, including its structure and quake resistance, but an examination of plans for its construction, and its firefighting facilities, and applications for licences were still under way.

A spokeswoman for Broad group said the company was still proceeding with applications for the necessary certificates and licences. She said that it was only doing site work and the project was not in the construction phase.

Developers say Sky City, which would be made of "prefab" steel modules built off site, would be able to accommodate 30,000 people with flats, a school, hotel, hospital and offices, as well as an 8,000-square-metre garden.

Broad Group president Zhang Yue said that 3,000 workers would do assembly work at the construction site for three months while 20,000 would finish manufacturing in four months in factories.

If all goes to plan, the skyscraper will be crowned the world's tallest building - 10 metres taller than the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

Super high-rise buildings usually take years to build using conventional techniques. The Burj Khalifa took 47 months to build.

There are many critics, haters and opponents to the Skycity project and Broad Group.
* within China there are allies (political) of other builders who would lose business to Broad Group if Broad Group had runaway commercial success with construction methods that are faster and lower cost
* there are those who represent workers who would lose work to a more efficient pre-fabrication process
* some City officials could see fewer payoffs for buildings that are put up in months instead of years

* There are China critics who want to see China fail and who want view the construction of an audacious skyscraper as a sign that China has overextended
* There are those who hate any departure from traditional methods

Close to having a blood test for diagnosing Alzheimers

Researchers believe they are closer to developing a blood test that could diagnose Alzheimer's.

A technique published in the journal Genome Biology showed differences in the tiny fragments of genetic material floating in the blood could be used to identify patients.

The test was accurate 93% of the time in trials on 202 people.

One of the main goals of Alzheimer's research is to find ways of detecting the disease earlier.

It starts years before symptoms appear and it is thought that future treatments will need to be given before large parts of the brain are destroyed. This will require new ways of testing for the condition.

The team at the Saarland University, in Germany, analysed 140 microRNAs (fragments of genetic code) in patients with Alzheimer's disease and in healthy people.

They found 12 microRNAs in the blood which were present in markedly different levels in people with Alzheimer's. These became the basis of their test.

Genome Biology - MicroRNAs circulate around Alzheimer's disease

Genome Biology - A blood based 12-miRNA signature of Alzheimer disease patients

51 page pdf - A blood based 12-miRNA signature of Alzheimer disease patients

Quantum Computing Boosted Artificial Intelligence

Quantum computers of the future will have the potential to give artificial intelligence a major boost, a series of studies suggests.

Algorithms developed so far for quantum computers have typically focused on problems such as breaking encryption keys or searching a list — tasks that normally require speed but not a lot of intelligence. But in a series of papers posted online this month on Arxiv Seth Lloyd of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge and his collaborators have put a quantum twist on AI.

The team developed a quantum version of 'machine learning', a type of AI in which programs can learn from previous experience to become progressively better at finding patterns in data. Machine learning is popular in applications ranging from e-mail spam filters to online-shopping suggestions. The team’s invention would take advantage of quantum computations to speed up machine-learning tasks exponentially.

EETimes - Seth Lloyd is proposing q-app (pronounced "quapp") encodes Google-like queries with q-bits that enable quantum computers to not only perform real-time searches through even the most gigantic databases, but which also insures their absolute privacy, since attempts to eavesdrop on the query by the search engine provider would disturb the delicate q-bit's superposition of states.

Programs running on future quantum computers could dramatically speed up complex tasks such as face recognition.

Quantum Leap

At the heart of the scheme is a simpler algorithm that Lloyd and his colleagues developed in 2009 as a way of quickly solving systems of linear equations, each of which is a mathematical statement, such as x + y = 4. Conventional computers produce a solution through tedious number crunching, which becomes prohibitively difficult as the amount of data (and thus the number of equations) grows. A quantum computer can cheat by compressing the information and performing calculations on select features extracted from the data and mapped onto quantum bits, or qubits.

Carnival of Space 312

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 167

The Carnival of Nuclear Energy 167 is up at Yes Vermont Yankee

Canadian Energy Issues - NRDC feigns outrage over 1.2 billion tons of carbon from oil sands in Canada; supports 50 times as much carbon from gas-fired generation in America posted by Steve Aplin at Canadian Energy Issues

Atomic Insights - Galen Winsor was a hands-on nuclear expert in the fullest sense of the phrase. Before irrational radiation protection rules were imposed, he and his colleagues directly handled used fuel. They limiting their exposure time and depended on just one of the “time, distance and shielding” trifecta of radiation protection. According to his story, Winsor and his colleagues knew enough about the material that they were handling to prevent most skin burns, but they had a job to do and did not allow a desire to lower doses below the level of immediate risk to impede their successful accomplishment.

$250,000 Slingatron Kickstarter

The Slingatron is a mechanical hypervelocity mass accelerator that has the potential to dramatically increase flight opportunities and reduce the cost of launching payloads into earth orbit, thus helping to make humanity a truly spacefaring species. The Slingatron technology can be incrementally grown in performance and size to ultimately launch payloads into orbit. Our Kickstarter project goal is to build and demonstrate a modular Slingatron 5 times larger in diameter than the previous existing Mark 2 prototype. It will be used to launch in our laboratory a 1/4 pound payload to 1 kilometer/sec. That is about 2,237 mph! If launched straight up at that speed, a payload would reach an altitude of about 51 km, neglecting air resistance. This Kickstarter project is an important next step in the development of the Slingatron because it will provide vital technical information, practical experience, and cost data on what will be required to build a full-scale Slingatron orbital launch system in the future.

The Slingatron does not replace rockets. It complements rockets, freeing them to launch what they launch best. Slingatron is best suited to launch bulk materials such as water, fuel, building materials, radiation shielding, g-load-hardened satellites, etc. into orbit. It cannot launch people or very delicate equipment due to high acceleration (g) loads experienced during the launch cycle. However, bulk materials will account for the majority of mass launched into orbit if we are ever going to establish a major presence in space, whether those materials are launched from the Earth or from the Moon.

Hyperv Technologies is also working on a version of nuclear fusion and minirailguns

Here is a 3 page paper on an orbital launch slingatron

Nextbigfuture had coverage of small scale army funding of the potential of Slingatrons back in 2006

An artist's concept for a full scale Slingatron space launcher about 200-300 meters in diameter. The spiral track is mounted on support pylons which contain drive motors and counterweight flywheels. Payload assemblies are prepared for launch nearby.

July 28, 2013

Silicon carbide cladding would increase nuclear power and increase safety

The greatest damage to the Fukushima complex, and the greatest release of radiation, may have been caused by explosions of hydrogen gas that built up inside some of the reactors.

That hydrogen buildup was the result of hot steam coming into contact with overheated nuclear fuel rods covered by a cladding of zirconium alloy, or “zircaloy” — the material used as fuel-rod cladding in all water-cooled nuclear reactors, which constitute more than 90 percent of the world’s power reactors. When it gets hot enough, zircaloy reacts with steam to produce hydrogen, a hazard in any loss-of-coolant nuclear accident.

A team of researchers at MIT is developing an alternative that could provide similar protection for nuclear fuel, while reducing the risk of hydrogen production by roughly a thousandfold. Tests of the new cladding material, a ceramic compound called silicon carbide (SiC), are described in a series of papers.

Cross-section view of the proposed silicon carbide cladding for nuclear fuel rods. The fuel pellets are in the center, shown as a gray crosshatch. Then, after a thin layer of inert helium gas, the three layers of cladding are shown in black (solid SiC), green (composite material made up of SiC fibers infused with SiC), and blue (another solid layer of SiC). IMAGE COURTESY OF MUJID KAZIMI AND YOUHO LEE

China's TCL has $999 ultra high definition 4K 50 inch LED TV

TCL (The Creative Life), the third largest TV brand in the world, announced their fall product line-up for the US headlined by the 50" edge-lit LED 4K Ultra HD TV launching in September aggressively priced at $999 MSRP.

50" Edge LED 4K Ultra HD TV

Launching in September, TCL's 50" LED Ultra HD TV features next-generation 4K technology and combines stunning 3840x2160 resolution with SRS TruSurroundHD sound to provide consumers with a true home theater experience. The 50" 4K LED UHD TV brings spectacular picture quality with four times the resolution of Full HD (1080p). TCL's 4K TV will upscale all of your favorite HD content - TV shows, sporting events, and movies (both Blu-rays & DVDs) to 4K to provide enhanced picture quality with sharper detail and contrast. The advanced 120Hz CMI (Clear Motion Index) refresh rate displays fast motion sports and action scenes with clarity and smoothness The 5,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio provides brilliant color and contrast. It features an ultra-thin bezel with a modern gunmetal gray finish, housed in a sophisticated slim frame design. Four HDMI® inputs allow users to connect to satellite or cable, DVD/Blu-ray players, gaming consoles, and other devices at the same time. As an MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link) enabled TV, users can effortlessly connect smart phones or tablets to the TV to display content while simultaneously charging the device.

Russian supply ship docks with orbiting space station

An unmanned cargo ship has docked at the International Space Station to deliver nearly 3 tons of supplies, Russia's space agency said.

The Progress 52 spacecraft docked smoothly with the orbiting station Saturday, shortly after being launched from Russia aboard a Soyuz rocket.

Russia's RIA Novosti news agency said the mission returned to the short 6-hour course to the space station.

The previous supply mission took two days to rendezvous with the station.

Mixed reports and Chinese media attacks on the Sky City skyscraper shows China skyscraper politics and how afraid competitors are of Broad Group success with factory mass production and the economic impact

There is a lot of politics around the China Broad Group factory mass produced skyscraper. If Broad Group succeeds with the successful construction of an over 200 story skyscraper at about 30% lower cost than other competitors in China, then Broad Group will have a lot of momentum towards their goal of gaining over 30% of the world commercial building market. This would mean getting over 50% of the China commercial building market. This is why the attacks on the China Broad Group skyscraper have been so intense and why there are powerful opponents trying to delay the project with regulatory approval barriers.

There are mixed reports from China and Hong Kong as to whether all approvals are in place for the Broad Group 202 (or 208 story according to the South China Morning Post) story Sky City skyscraper.

[SCMP] Sky City, a 208-storey skyscraper in Changsha, the capital of Hunan province, aims to be the world's tallest building when it is completed in April 2014. At 838 metres, it is expected to be 10 metres taller than the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Developer Broad Group held a groundbreaking ceremony on July 20, 2013. The building is slated to open in May or June 2014.

Broad Group spokeswoman Zhu Linfang disputed a Xinhua report that the company's plan to build the world's tallest building in just seven months had not received approval from Hunan's Department of Housing and Urban-Rural Development.

The Xinhua report noted that no work was taking place at the site of the 838-metre Sky City following a ground-breaking ceremony on Saturday, raising doubts about whether the project could be completed by April.

Spacex Falcon 9.1.1 is an upgraded reusable test rocket and Spacex completes mission duration test of the upgraded Falcon 9

Spacex has successfully tested upgrades of nine Merlin 1D engines, arranged in their new octagonal placement on the core stage. This will increase the payload capability of the Falcon 9 to over 29,000 pounds to Low Earth Orbit (LEO).

Spacex confirmed on July 14, 2013.

“The booster’s nine Merlin 1D engines fired for approximately three minutes, simulating what the booster may experience in flight before stage separation.

“The recently tested booster is the first stage for SpaceX’s upcoming next-generation Falcon 9 demonstration flight for MDA and their CASSIOPE mission. The same updated design will apply to all Falcon 9 flights moving forward.

The new 43×17 foot diameter fairing – that will debut during the CASSIOPE mission – is also set to ship to the site shortly.

Mr. Mueller also noted that the debut v1.1 launch from Space Launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E) is currently targeting September 5.

Octogonal engine configuration

US crude oil production reached 7.55 million barrels per day to the highest level since 1989

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