August 09, 2013

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 169

1. At Nuke Power Talk, Gail Marcus talks about a recent Time magazine article on new nuclear plants that was quite favorable on the need for nuclear power, and optimistic about its prospects. She points out that they focus a lot of the article on a discussion of 2 start-ups headed by graduate students focusing on non-light water designs--the next generation of reactors from the next generation of reactor designers. However, she cautions that we shouldn't dismiss the prospects of advanced, small light water reactor designs too quickly.

2. The Hiroshima Syndrome/Fukushima Commentary - Fukushima Groundwater Contamination is Not an Actual Emergency

This past Monday, a Nuclear Regulatory Authority inspector at F. Daiichi told the Press that the contaminated groundwater problem places the station in a “state of emergency”. Is the Pacific Ocean actually being polluted? It doesn’t seem that it is. Is F. Daiichi actually in a “state of emergency”? It’s a speculative state of emergency, to be sure, but not actual.

Stiffening self assembled duplex and quadruplex stranded DNA nanofibers for bottom up nanofabrication

Researchers have fabricated a self-assembled nanofiber from a DNA building block that contains both duplex (two-stranded) and quadruplex (four-stranded) DNA. This work is a first step toward the creation of new structurally heterogeneous (quadruplex/duplex), yet controllable, DNA-based materials exhibiting novel properties suitable for bottom-to-top self-assembly for nanofabrication, including self-organization of both inorganic materials (nanoparticles) and molecular electronics components.

According to CNST Project Leader Veronika Szalai, this work will allow future integration with other programmable self-assembly methods such as DNA origami, as well as with other nanomaterial components such as quantum dots, to create new multi-functional biological-based nanomaterials.

Top: Schematic showing association of two duplex precursors into a quadruplex fiber building block. The duplex regions of the building block are shown in red and blue; the quadruplex region is shown in gray. Bottom: AFM image of quadruplex DNA nanofibers. These fibers can be 2 micrometers or more in length.

Nanoscale Research Letters - Synapsable quadruplex-mediated fibers

First Real-Time MRI-Guided Gene Therapy for Brain Cancer

Neurosurgeons at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center are among the first in the world to utilize real-time magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) guidance for delivery of gene therapy as a potential treatment for brain tumors. Using MRI navigational technology, neurosurgeons can inject Toca 511 (vocimagene amiretrorepvec), a novel investigational gene therapy, directly into a brain malignancy. This new approach offers a precise way to deliver a therapeutic virus designed to make the tumor susceptible to cancer-killing drugs.

Simulated Nuclear Exchange Between the US and China

The analysis [Federation of American Scientist] of the numbers, characteristics and deployment of the strategic nuclear forces of China and the United States presented in this study raises the question of what would be the consequences if these forces were ever used. A nuclear exchange between the United States and China is clearly a remote
possibility – a situation would have to arise that exceeded any crisis of the Cold War.

The consequences of two nuclear strike scenarios are analyzed:
1. An attack by U.S. submarine-launched ballistic missiles on China’s long-range ICBMs (DF-5A/CSS-4 Mod 2)

2. A strike by Chinese forces on cities in the continental United States

The United States has in excess of 2,000 warheads capable of hitting China on short notice. A smallp ercentage of the U.S. arsenal could be targeted against all Chinese strategic nuclear systems, Command and Control (C2) sites and major conventional military assets. Although not thought to be part of the current U.S. war plans, an even smaller percentage of the U.S. strategic nuclear arsenal could be targeted against Chinese cities to cause massive civilian and industrial damage.

China deploys an estimated 20 ICBMs capable of targeting U.S. cities. In the future, the U.S. National Missile Defense system may undermine China’s nuclear deterrent against the United States.

Technical Details from Lawrenceville Plasma Physics at Google Solve for X

This presentation is a follow up to the 10 minute presentation given previously at Solve For x Google's Fusion Brainstorming conference held on June 11, 2013 at Mountain View, CA. This is an in depth, scientific report on how Focus Fusion works and is unlike the 10 min version targeted for scientists and researchers.

The ten minute presentation has been posted at It is now the most "highly rated" of all Solve for "moonshot" proposals.

LPP Focus Fusion Report, July 15, 2013 has more details about the Google Solve for X Fusion Brainstorming conference.

Robot uses steerable needles to treat brain clots

A collaboration between Vanderbilt mechanical engineer Robert Webster and neurosurgeon Kyle Weaver has designed a special robotic system that uses tiny, steerable needles to suction out brain clots formed by intracranial hemorrhaging.

It is an image-guided surgical system. It employs steerable needles about the size of those used for biopsies to penetrate the brain with minimal damage and suction away the blood clot that has formed.

The odds of a person getting an intracerebral hemorrhage are one in 50 over his or her lifetime. When it does occur, 40 percent of the individuals die within a month. Many of the survivors have serious brain damage. So 0.8% of people will be killed by intracerebral hemorrhage and almost 1% get brain damaged by it.

Webster’s design, which he calls an active cannula, consists of a series of thin, nested tubes. Each tube has a different intrinsic curvature. By precisely rotating, extending and retracting these tubes, an operator can steer the tip in different directions, allowing it to follow a curving path through the body. The single needle system required for removing brain clots was actually much simpler than the multi-needle transnasal system.

According to the feasibility studies the researchers have performed, the robot can remove up to 92 percent of simulated blood clots. Surgeons generally agree that there is a clinical benefit from removing 25-50 percent of a clot but that benefit can be offset by the damage that is done to the surrounding tissue when the clot is removed. Therefore, when a serious clot is detected in the brain, doctors take a “watchful waiting” approach – administering drugs that decrease the swelling around the clot in hopes that this will be enough to make the patient improve without surgery.

Removing 92% or all of the clot would be a huge difference and a big clinical benefit.

Q-Glasses Could Be a New Class of Solids

A team of researchers has reported possible evidence for a new category of solids, things that are neither pure glasses, crystals, nor even exotic quasicrystals.

Q-glass, a new solid alloy that has been discovered in a rapidly cooled mixture of aluminum, iron and silicon, is neither a pure glass, a crystal, nor even a quasicrystal, according to a team of researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Argonne National Laboratory.

The solids catalog used to be pretty straightforward. Solid stuff was either a crystal or a glass. Crystals fill up space with atoms or molecules in specific, fairly rigid patterns. The positions of the atoms are fixed such that if you take any section of pure crystal and slide it up, down, in, out or sideways a given distance, it will fit perfectly in the new position. That's translational symmetry. You can also spin the crystal through certain angles and the atoms also will line up; that's rotational symmetry.

Glasses have neither symmetry. They're just a random arrangement of their components, as if you'd taken a liquid and suddenly frozen everything in place without giving the atoms a chance to get in order. Which, in fact, is how metallic glasses are made.

In the 1980s, Dan Shechtman, an Israeli then working at NIST as a guest researcher, shook up this paradigm by finding evidence for quasicrystals, a new category of solids in which the atomic composition is fixed, and the material has rotational symmetry, but weirdly not translational symmetry. There is no long-range order to the pattern of the atoms.

The new material, which the research team has provisionally dubbed a "q-glass," can be shown by X-ray diffraction to have neither rotational nor translational symmetry, just like a glass, says Levine, but regardless, the atomic arrangement apparently is not random. "As the nodule grows, every atom still knows where to go," he says.

The odd microstructure of this aluminum-iron-silicon mixture is seen in this image. The round nodules are the q-glass, not crystalline but with a well-defined chemical composition. The spherical shape indicates that they grow from an initial seed. The nodules use up iron and silicon in the mixture until the surrounding concentration of aluminum gets high enough to start forming aluminum crystals, seen as long bright lines radiating from the nodules. (Color added for clarity.)
Credit: Bendersky/NIST

Physical Review Letters - Highly Ordered Noncrystalline Metallic Phase

August 08, 2013

3-D Printing Body Parts Will Revolutionize Medicine and it is at a tipping point now

In two decades, 3-D printing has grown from a niche manufacturing process to a $2.7-billion industry, responsible for the fabrication of all sorts of things: toys, wristwatches, airplane parts, food. Now scientists are working to apply similar 3-D–printing technology to the field of medicine, accelerating an equally dramatic change. But it’s much different, and much easier, to print with plastic, metal, or chocolate than to print with living cells.

“It’s been a tough slog in some ways, but we’re at a tipping point,” says Dean Kamen, founder of DEKA Research & Development, who holds more than 440 patents, many of them for medical devices.

In labs around the world, bioengineers have begun to print prototype body parts: heart valves, ears, artificial bone, joints, menisci, vascular tubes, and skin grafts.

Three factors are driving the trend: more sophisticated printers, advances in regenerative medicine, and refined CAD software. To print liver tissue at Organovo, Vivian Gorgen, a 25-year-old systems engineer, simply had to click “run program” with a mouse. Honeycomb-shaped liver tissue is a long way from a fully functioning organ, but it is a tangible step in that direction. “Getting to a whole organ-in-a-box that’s plug-and-play and ready to go, I believe that could happen in my lifetime,” says Presnell. “I cannot wait to see what people like Vivian do. The potential is just out of this world.”

Trade Data Suggests China, US and Europe economies could be leveling off

This is a follow up to a Nextbigfuture article where a Goldman analyst posited that the world economic shocks might be over for a while.

WSJ - China's economy is showing signs of stabilizing after a six-month slowdown, adding to better global economic prospects as the U.S. steadily improves and Europe edges out of recession.

July trade data released on Thursday showed stronger-than-expected global demand for China's exports, good news for the key manufacturing sector. As important, a greater-than-expected increase in imports suggested strengthening demand in China's domestic economy.

The data followed a survey of manufacturing companies released last week that showed modest expansion in Chinese factory activity in July.

Taken together, the latest numbers indicate that China's growth may have bottomed out in the second quarter, raising expectations of steady growth in the remaining months of the year. That could help China's economy hit Beijing's 7.5% growth target for the year, following economists' concerns that it could post an embarrassing miss.

Digital Movie Theaters converted to 4K starting in 2012 and Affordable 4K home televisions are only 1 year behind

Digital movies in movie theaters project at 2K (2048×1080 or 2.2 megapixels) or 4K (4096×2160 or 8.8 megapixels). DCI-compliant DLP projectors were available in 2K only, but from early 2012, when TI's 4K DLP chip went into full production, DLP projectors have been available in both 2K and 4K versions.

The initial costs for converting theaters to digital were high: $100,000 per screen on average.

A theater can purchase a film projector for as little as US$10,000 (though projectors intended for commercial cinema use typically cost 2-3 times that figure to which had to be added the cost of a long-play system which typically also cost around $10,000, making a total of around $30,000 - $40,000) from which they could expect an average life of 30–40 years. By contrast a digital cinema playback system including server/media block/and projector can cost 2-3 times as much.

50 inch LED television with 4K of resolution will be available next month for $999.

Theaters converted starting in 2012 and home televisions are only 1 year behind.

Applied Materials roadmap to 3 nanometers through precise control of materials for FinFET scaling

Applied Materials Adam Brand made a presentation at 2013 Semicon West which laid out a roadmap to get to 3 nanometer lithography.

Precision Materials to Meet Scaling Challenges Beyond 14nm (18 pages)

Beyond 14nm, as we move to 10 and 7nm, a new fin material will be required — probably silicon-germanium (SiGe), or perhaps just pure germanium.

SiGe will take us to 7nm then a new transistor structure is needed at 5 nanometers.

FinFET created a larger surface area, mitigating the effects of quantum tunneling, both Gate All Around (GAA) FETs and vertical tunneling FETs (TFETs), would again allow for shorter gates and lower voltages

A Gate All Around essentially consists of nanowire source and drains, surrounded by a gate. A vertical TFET is similar in that it uses nanowires, but the actual method of operation is very different from conventional FETs

Precise control of materials is needed to deliver the required structure.

FinFET scaling requires precision control of materials
* CMP: precision through in-situ process control
* Dielectrics: composition tuning
* Junction: optimized activation
* Metal gate: multi Vt by metal gate composition and implant
* Metal gate: improved materials to control resistance at scaled CD
* Contact: optimized surface doping with implant + laser anneal

Extreme UV lithography could finally be commercially ready in 2015 with 13.5 nm wavelength and making 10 nm chips

Representatives from EUV machine manufacturer ASML outlined a concrete plan that will put machines into the production lines of wafer fabs. With some boosts in laser power and a few other adjustments, the company now expects the workhorse EUV machines to be ready by 2015. That should be just in time to pattern the tiny transistors in the industry’s 10-nanometer node, the generation after the next generation of logic chips.

EUV machines use 13.5-nm light to draw far finer features than today’s 193-nm lithography machines can create. But the insufficient brightness of the light source has made commercialization difficult. The dimmer the light, the longer each wafer must be exposed, and the longer it takes to make each chip.

ASML’s goal is to eventually produce 125 wafers per hour with its first production-level machine, the NXE:3300, which is shipping this year. At that rate, ASML expects that 250 watts of EUV light will be required.

In February, lithography light-source maker Cymer announced that researchers there had pushed light levels up to 55 W in one of ASML’s previous-generation machines, the “preproduction” NXE:3100. At that level of brightness, the machine would be capable of exposing 43 wafers per hou

GreenTec tries to appeal Berlin Court Forcing them to accept a molten salt nuclear reactor as one of three finalists for new energy technology

This is a follow up to a German Environmental Technology awards show trying to disqualify a dual fluid molten salt reactor from its awards and then having a Berlin Court of Appeal blocking the disqualification.

Greentec Awards do not want to accept the Berlin Court of Appeal decision that would prevent them from disqualifying the Dual Fluid Reactor GreenTec Communications GmbH puts filed an appeal against the decision.

Starting in 2008, engineers Marco Voigt and Sven Krüger under the name "Clean Tech Media Award" created the GreenTec Awards. GreenTec claims to be the "largest and most important environmental and economic prices" in Germany. They promote "ecological and economic engagement and the use of environmental technologies." Winners of the awards get no money, but get a lot of attention in the media.

A television show presents the three best candidates in the respective categories. However, in the energy category, the audience nomination was not included in the Round of Three: A majority of online participants for a project called had picked a dual-fluid reactor (DFR) decided - a molten salt reactor. It generates electricity and uses up the actinides (uranium and plutonium).

As growth slows and reforms falter, economic activity is shifting out of India

Major trade and finance hubs into India are based in Dubai, Mauritius, Singapore and Sri Lanka.


More than 40% of long-haul journeys from India go via a non-Indian hub, often in the Gulf. Indian airports no longer make grown men cry (Delhi’s is first rate), but few foreign airlines want to make them their base. Indian planes are usually serviced in Dubai, Malaysia and Singapore, reflecting a history of penal taxes in India and high customs duties on imported spare parts.

Indians go to Dubai to avoid taxes at home and because they trust its certification and inspection regime. Dubai’s ports, air links and immigration rules also make it a better logistical base than India.


About 5,000km (3,000 miles) south of Dubai lies Mauritius, an island so beautiful that Mark Twain said God had modelled heaven on it. About half its people are descended from labourers brought from India when Britain ruled both places. It is the main conduit for foreign investment into India with 30-40% of the stock of foreign capital sitting in funds domiciled in the island. A 1982 tax treaty allows investors using Mauritius to pay tax at the island’s rate (which, in practice, is zero), not the Indian rate. Foreigners also like the stability of Mauritius’s rules and its army of book-keepers and administrators. Many investors also use “P-Notes”—a kind of derivative with banks that gives them exposure to Indian shares without having the hassle of directly owning them.

25 times more power efficiency is needed for exaflop supercomputers with reasonable energy needs

An exascale system built with NVIDIA Kepler K20 co-processors would consume about 150 megawatts. That's nearly 10 times the amount consumed by Tianhe-2, which is composed of 32,000 Intel Ivy Bridge sockets and 48,000 Xeon Phi boards.

Theoretically, an exascale system – 100 times more computing capability than today’s fastest systems – could be built with only x86 processors, but it would require as much as 2 gigawatts of power.

That’s the entire output of the Hoover Dam.

Instead, HPC system developers need to take an entirely new approach to get around the power crunch, Dally said. The NVIDIA chief scientist said reaching exascale will require a 25x improvement in energy efficiency. So the 2 gigaflops per watt that can be squeezed from today's systems needs to improve to about 50 gigaflops per watt in the future exascale system.

Relying on Moore's Law to get that 25x improvement is probably not the best approach either. According to Dally, advances in manufacturing processes will deliver about a 2.2x improvement in performance per watt. That leaves an energy efficiency gap of 12x that needs to be filled in by other means.

Dally sees a combination of better circuit design and better processor architectures to close the gap. If done correctly, these advances could deliver 3x and 4x improvements in performance per watt, respectively.

20 petaflop Supercomputer for Japan in 2013 and China's 100-150 petaflop possibilities in 2014

1. Fujitsu announced that it has received an order for a new supercomputer system from Canon.. The system will be a 96-node configuration of the Fujitsu Supercomputer PRIMEHPC FX10, and will have a theoretical peak performance of 20.2 teraflops.

The system will contribute to more sophisticated analytical simulations in Canon's product development processes. The system is expected to begin operations in October 2013.

2. NCSA’s Blue Waters supercomputer is being upgraded with 12 additional Cray XK racks, each with 96 nodes. This brings the total number of Cray XK nodes to 4,152 and boosts the system’s peak performance to over 13 petaflops.

During the past six months, NCSA has seen more and more science and engineering teams modifying their codes to take advantage of the considerable computational power of the GPU accelerators offered by the XK nodes.

China's Pollution Fighting Budget Will Have to Be Bigger than its Military Budget

China will spend $275 billion over the next five years improving air quality—roughly the same as the GDP of Hong Kong, and twice the size of the annual defence budget [40% of the defence budget over the same five years]. China is also spending to clean up water pollution.

China plans to invest 2.3 trillion yuan ($375 billion) in energy saving and emission-reduction projects in the five years through 2015 to clean up its environment. This is about 54% of the projected $685 billion that China will spend on its military over 5 years. The plan, which has been approved by the State Council, is on top of a 1.85 trillion yuan investment in the renewable energy sector. Combined the energy saving and emission-reduction projects and the renewables buildup is $675 billion. China would benefit more by shifting military budget into pollution fighting. China has sufficient military and has nuclear and military to deter any attack and to meet basic military goals. China's pollution is harming its economy now and harming the health of everyone and killing upwards of 1 million people each year.

The health costs of air and water pollution in China amount to about 4.3 percent of its GDP. By adding the non-health impacts of pollution, which are estimated to be about 1.5 percent of GDP, the total cost of air and water pollution in China is about 5.8 percent of GDP.

China's economy will go from $8.5 trillion this year to about $12-20 trillion in 2018 (depending upon RMB currency appreciation). The cost to China will be $490 billion to 1.2 trillion in each of the years. It will be in the range of $3-5 trillion over the 5 year timeframe.

I think China could productively spend three to four times its military budget over five years ($2.1 - 2.8 trillion over 5 years or $420 billion to $560 billion per year) on anti-pollution measures that offset the 5.8% GDP losses.

In January 2013 the air of Beijing hit a level of toxicity 40 times above what the World Health Organization deems safe. A tenth of the country’s farmland is poisoned with chemicals and heavy metals. Half of China’s urban water supplies are unfit even to wash in, let alone drink. In the northern half of the country air pollution lops five-and-a-half years off the average life.

US Crude Oil Production could pass 9 million bpd next year and reach a new all time high in crude oil and natural gas liquid production

U.S. crude oil production increased to an average of 7.5 million barrels per day (bbl/d) in July 2013, the highest monthly level of production since 1991. EIA forecasts U.S. total crude oil production will average 7.4 million bbl/d in 2013 and 8.2 million bbl/d in 2014, both about 0.1 million bbl/d higher than forecast in last month's STEO.

Reaching 9 million bpd of crude oil would be more than any production level in the 1980s although the US did sustain a level of 8.97 million bpd throughout 1985. The highest crude oil production in the US ever was 9.6 million bpd in the early 1970s.

An absolute new all time high in US crude oil production could be achieved in 2015.

Healthier for people, more environmentally friendly and more efficient fish farming that is independent of any wild fish feedstocks

1. Australian CSIRO scientists have perfected the Novacq™ prawn feed additive. Farmed prawns fed with Novacq grow on average 30 per cent faster, are healthier and can be produced with no fish products in their diet, a world-first achievement in sustainability.

Until now, Australian prawn farmers have needed to feed their prawns with a pellet that includes some sustainably sourced fish meal or fish oil, in order to ensure that the prawns grew fast, and were a healthy and high quality product for consumers.

Novacq is an entirely natural food source based on the smallest organisms in the marine environment, the marine microbes which are the foundation of the marine food pyramid.

Production of Novacq relies on the controlled production of these marine microbes. CSIRO researchers have discovered how to feed and harvest them, and convert them into a product that can then be added to feeds as a bioactive ingredient, like a dietary supplement for prawns.

Including Novacq in the diet of farmed prawns has shown for the first time that fish meal and fish oil can be completely replaced in the prawn diet, potentially freeing the prawn aquaculture industry from reliance on wild fishery resources.

IBM has new integrated neuromorphic chip and programming architecture that will make it easier to develop brain like systems that are massively parallel

IBM has a new computer architecture, named TrueNorth, which could lead to a new generation of machines that function more like biological brains. This is DARPA SyNAPSE Phase 3.

It is a breakthrough software ecosystem designed for programming silicon chips that have an architecture inspired by the function, low power, and compact volume of the brain. The technology could enable a new generation of intelligent sensor networks that mimic the brain’s abilities for perception, action, and cognition.

IBM’s new programming model breaks the mold of sequential operation underlying today's von Neumann architectures and computers. It is instead tailored for a new class of distributed, highly interconnected, asynchronous, parallel, large-scale cognitive computing architectures.

“Architectures and programs are closely intertwined and a new architecture necessitates a new programming paradigm,” said Dr. Dharmendra S. Modha, Principal Investigator and Senior Manager, IBM Research. “We are working to create a FORTRAN for synaptic computing chips. While complementing today’s computers, this will bring forth a fundamentally new technological capability in terms of programming and applying emerging learning systems.”

IBM demonstrated that it is possible to synthesize a rich diversity of computations and behaviors. By hierarchically composing neurons or blocks of neurons into larger networks, we can begin to construct a large class of cognitive algorithms and applications. Looking to the future, by further composing cognitive algorithms and applications, we plan to build versatile, robust, general-purpose cognitive systems that can interact with multi-modal, sub-symbolic, sensors–actuators in real time while being portable and scalable. In an instrumented planet inundated with real-time sensor data, our aspiration is to build cognitive systems that are based on learning instead of programming

If Tesla can become the BMW of electric cars that would be 1.5 million cars per year and a $60 billion valuation

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk said he’s optimistic that the company can produce a $35,000 car with a 200-mile range in a few years. “I feel pretty good about it,” he said. It will take “a huge amount of work,” he said. “But no miracles are required.”

Tesla is building a nationwide network of supercharging stations—and battery swap stations it will install later this year—this could make electric cars far more practical than they are now.

One challenge to mass market electric vehicles: selling half a million cars will require more batteries than the entire laptop industry, Musk says. So we’ll need more battery factories. Tesla already uses millions of battery cells a week at its factory, which produces just under 500 cars a week.

By most estimates, the battery for the Model S cost between $42,500 and $55,250, or half the cost of the car. But Straubel indicated that it is already much lower. “They’re way less than half, actually,” he says. “Less than a quarter in most cases.” Straubel says more can be done to lower batter costs. He’s working with cell and materials suppliers to increase energy density more, and he’s changing the shape of the cells in ways that make manufacturing them easier.

Elon Musk worth about $6.6 billion

Elon Musk has 33,076,212 shares of Tesla Motors and it is trading at $153 in after hours trading. This puts Elon's Tesla value at about $4.8 billion.

Elon Musk has 20,724,991 shares of Solar City which are at $42. This puts his wealth from Solar City at $841 million.

Elon's net worth from Spacex is about $1 billion.

DARPA project for device to clean blood to prevent Sepsis

Up to $22.83M in funds to be allocated for the Battelle, NxStage and Aethlon collaboration to develop an advanced portable medical device for DARPA—and ultimately civilian—use. The device will clean blood similar to how dialysis works but instead will prevent Sepsis.

DARPA created the Dialysis-Like Therapeutics (DLT) program to develop a portable device that creates a holistic treatment for sepsis. The device is intended to remove blood from the body, separate harmful “dirty” agents from the blood and return "cleaned" blood to the body in a manner similar to dialysis treatment for kidney failure.

This funding does not include human clinical trials that may be required prior to military use and/or United States Food and Drug Administration clearance for sepsis-treatment technologies.

The problem to be confronted is more severe than is commonly known—as many as 10 percent of combat wounds result in life threatening infections that ultimately lead to septicemia and/or sepsis.

August 07, 2013

LPP fusion needs 3000 times improvement in plasmoid density so must switch to single piece Tungsten cathode

Plasmoid density needs to be increased 3000 fold and not 10,000 fold for LPP fusion net energy production

Increasing the density of the plasmoid is the “long pole” in Lawrenceville Plasma Physics fusion tent—what we need to do to get to net energy production. We know we must increase density a long way from our current results. But now it seems the goal post have moved somewhat nearer. New theoretical calculations indicate that an effect that was left out of previous calculation increases the fusion reaction rate at high magnetic fields and thus requires only about one third the plasma density we previously calculated. This reduces the improvement needed in density from about 10,000-fold to about 3,000-fold.

LPP must upgrade the cathode to a single piece of Tungsten to achieve pure high density plasma

LPP's latest round of experiments have convinced LPP that LPP will not be able to achieve the level of purity in the plasma LPP needs for high density as long as LPP has joints between metal pieces in the cathode.

Even with our very careful use of indium, sufficient contact resistance remains to cause significant vaporization of copper. So, despite the additional expense involved, LPP have decided to upgrade the cathode to a single monolithic piece of tungsten. This single piece will incorporate the cathode plate, the cathode rods and the underlying plate that attaches to the transmission plates that carry the current back to the capacitors. Thus the plate will only have a current connection outside the vacuum chamber. Both our experimental experience and materials theory indicates that vaporization from the tungsten itself should be minimized, and should fall well below the requirements we need. As far as we know, such monolithic construction is new for plasma focus device design.

They will run simulations of different designs to make sure the Tungsten cathode will not be too brittle to take the stresses.

Most Unfavorable Anthropogenic Global Warming Scenario EVER!

 A guest post by Joseph Friedlander

My [Joseph Friedlander] new Sun Explosion paper is out with Professor A.A. Bolonkin. Long term existential risk in case of a resumption of nuclear arms races with crazy dictators over the next thousand years.

If you ever wondered why someone would want to go to the Oort Cloud rather than the Kuiper belt to locate their space colony, this might explain it.

A copy of the paper is available here "Explosion of Sun"

Needed: A Way To Plot The Design Space of Space Launch Systems

Needed: A Way To Plot Design Space of Space Launch Systems
 A guest post by Joseph Friedlander on Next Big Future

I have long  admired the Pournelle Axes of political analysis which reduce the entire political map to a single graph--

Links about Pournelle Axes
And it occurred to me we need something like that to evaluate prospective launch systems.  Someone could make a thesis about an innovative way to plot the design space of hundreds of prospective systems. Note that although I speak of ships these criteria also apply to pipeline like systems like launch loops and hypersonic tethers.   My nominees for the most important criteria:

  • Mass lifted per liftoff (shipload cargo load altogether) –more is better to avoid launch window and rendezvous synodic period problems.  If we could anti-gravity levitate a 50 million ton city all in one unit at a penny a ton we could have massive space colonization now. (With something that looked like a really big offshore oil tower, with pressurization modules hanging all over it)  This is an utter fantasy but it illustrates the principle. But if we could lift 50 million tons of kilogram packages colonization would be much less easy. (Needing assembly, etc) Yet we would not have the problem of capturing a cloud of separate packages which some launch method proposals would generate.

In Praise of Large Payloads for Space by Joseph Friedlander Part 3: Uploading-- Featuring the Aldebaran 2

A guest post by Joseph Friedlander
The "In Praise of Large Payloads for Space” series continues with Part 3: Uploading--
--Featuring the ALDEBARAN 2

Thanks to reader Kai Hiwatari for jogging my elbow to finish this series!

If a simple water tank this ET could hold 2100 tons plus of water. The ALDEBARAN 2 could land 10 of these on the Lunar surface at one go.  If filled with liquid hydrogen/oxygen, (730 tons) it could land over 28 of them on the Moon—but why haul the oxygen? ?  Liquid hydrogen could go to the Moon in a load of nearly 200 such tanks.—or 180 tanks and the 2000 ton condenser plant to keep them liquid indefinitely—And the ALDEBARAN 2 has the internal volume to hold them.

         ET Length: 153.8 ft (46.9 m)
·            Diameter: 27.6 ft (8.4 m)
·           Empty Weight: 58,500 lb (26,500 kg)
·           Gross Liftoff Weight: 1,680,000 lb (760,000 kg)

ALDEBARAN  (Cole, 1960)

Japan has unveiled its helicopter aircraft carrier and continues an Aircraft carrier arms race in the Pacific

Japan on Tuesday unveiled its biggest warship since World War II, a huge flat-top destroyer that has raised eyebrows in China and elsewhere because it bears a strong resemblance to a conventional aircraft carrier.

JDS Izumo (DDH-183) is a helicopter carrier (officially classified by Japan as a helicopter destroyer) and the lead ship in the Izumo-class of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.

Though able to carry up to 14 helicopters, critics including China argue it could be modified to use as a more standard aircraft carrier.

It has the following displacement and length

19,500 long tons (19,800 t) standard
27,000 long tons (27,000 t) full load
248 meters long (814 ft)

It has helicopters now but it would be relatively easy to get vertical take off jets. The US would love to sell Japan some F35Bs.

For other operations, 400 troops and fifty 3.5 ton trucks (or equivalent equipment) can also be carried.

It cost 113.9 billion yen (for construction of first unit to date). The second helicopter carrier will be done in 2015. Each of the ships then takes two years to fully commission.

Japan also has some 7000 ton helicopter carriers

Nuclear Fusion Brainstorming Session at Google's Solve for X

LPP (Lawrenceville Plasma Physics) participated in Google’s Solve For X Fusion Brainstorming Conference in Mountainside, California. Solve For X encourages projects to solve the toughest technological challenges of our day. The participants were scientists from Lawrenceville Plasma Physics, Inc. and three other leading fusion energy research companies: Tri-Alpha Corporation, General Fusion, and a project supported by giant multinational Lockheed-Martin. Teams of three presenters from each participating company were joined by a panel of nine fusion experts from top academic and national fusion laboratories: Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, MIT, the University of Wisconsin, and UCLA.

Printable biocompatible MEMS components are ideal for medical devices and bionic arms.

Researchers at Tel Aviv University has found a way to print biocompatible MEMS components, making them ideal for use in medical devices, like bionic arms. Microelectromechanical systems, better known as MEMS, are usually produced from silicon. Researchers have developed a novel micro-printing process that works with a highly flexible and non-toxic organic polymer. The resulting MEMS components can be more comfortably and safely used in the human body and they expend less energy.

* polymer membranes are more suitable for implantation in the human body
* they are hundreds of times more flexible than conventional materials
* they use less power and could run longer on batteries for non-medical applications

Some Futurists predict the end of smartphones by about 2030

Paul Saffo predicts that robust AI-based voice recognition will enable wearable devices that mainly do not have screens to replace smartphones.

Even better versions of Apple SIRI and Google Voice over the next few years will let users discovered what they knew all along: We would much rather talk than tap. Driving directions were so much safer when spoken, allowing drivers to keep their eyes on the road. Tweet-sized quips were now uttered by AIs mimicking the voices of the celebrity dead. Even commerce will become voice-based.

Robust voice eliminates the need to design around screens, just as touch-screen technology once pushed out keypads. Communicators will shrink to the size of hearing aids, and their functionality melted into everything from eyeglasses, watches, and jewelry to vehicles and appliances. New functions such as breathtakingly accurate real-time language translation appeared (think Babel fish in Doug Adams’s Hitchhiker’s Guide), making these tiny devices essential and constant companions. Screens remained, but only as marvelous peripherals, not the center of communications activity.

Related Forecasts

Techcast is forecasting virtual reality around 2019 and more powerful virtual assistance from better AI.

There should also more robust gesture control from new versions of leap motion.

Samsung Galaxy Note III, Samsung Galaxy Mega 5.8, Samsung Mega 6.3, HTC One Maxx

The Samsung Note III should be revealed in September, 2013. The Samsung Note III should see improvements across the board as far as specs are concerned. Where the Note II has a 5.5-inch 1280 x 800-pixel display, the Note III will have a 5.7-inch 1920 x 1080 full HD display. The Note III will come with one of two processors, depending on region. One variant will include Samsung's Exynos 5 Octa eight-core chip, while the other will include Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 chip, clocked at 2.3 GHz per core. The camera will be improved from 8 megapixels to 13 megapixels.

The Galaxy Mega 5.8 and Mega 6.3 both have larger screens than the Note III, but they are lower-resolution.

HTC One Maxx will have a Qualcom's quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, HTC's BoomSound speakers, 3,200mAh battery, and improved cameras and a 5.9 inch display.

Sweden does not have enough garbage and imports it but fortunately they are paid to take garbage

Due to Sweden’s innovative waste-to-energy program and highly efficient recycling habits, the Scandinavian nation faces an interesting dilemma. They have run out of trash.

Only four percent of Sweden's waste ends up in landfills while the EPA reports over half of the waste produced by U.S. households ends up in landfills.

In order to continue fueling the waste-to-energy factories that provide electricity to a quarter of a million homes and 20 percent of the entire country’s district heating, Sweden is now importing trash from the landfills of other European countries. In fact, those countries are paying Sweden to do so.

Countries are paying Sweden to get rid of a source of fuel they themselves produced so that Sweden can continue to have the energy output they need. You don’t have to be an economist to know that’s one highly enviable energy model. Aside from the economic benefit, Sweden’s system of sustainability clearly has vast environmental benefits. Aside from traditional recycling programs, their waste-to-energy system ensures minimal environmental impact from the country’s waste.

August 06, 2013

Six Japanese nuclear reactors likely to resume operating by March next year and a total of 16 reactors by March 2015

The Institute of Energy Economics Japan says that their forecast is that the first nuclear reactor of the new batch (of about ten applicant reactors) will restart by July 2014.

Out of Japan’s 50 reactors, only two have been online since they were forcibly shut down in 2011, following the nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. With the rising costs of fossil fuel imports and the country’s strong reliance on nuclear power for its electricity supply, there is an enormous pressure to bring the reactors back online. This is in spite of the growing public disapproval of nuclear power.

With that forecast, if Japan restarts 16 reactors by March 2015, annual fossil fuel imports would have increased by 7 trillion yen [About $71 billion] by that period, as compared to March 2011. They are also predicting that Japan will reach record highs in importing liquefied natural gas (LNG), with an increase of 1.7 percent to 88.3 million tons from March 2012 to March 2014, and another 1.5 percent to 89.7 million tons from March 2014 to March 2015. At present, Japan is already the third largest importer of LNG globally.

The IEEJ says is the most likely scenario for restarts, up to six reactors would resume operating by March next year(2014) and 16 would be producing power by March 2015.

Eric Lerner of Lawrenceville Plamsa Physics Presented his project to make commercial nuclear fusion with dense plasma focus

On June 11th 2013 Eric Lerner and Lawrenceville Plasma Physics, Inc. were invited to share the latest achievements in the field of nuclear fusion energy research at Google's Solve for x Brainstorming conference. Eric explains aneutronic fusion, which produces no radioactive waste, and the device, called the Dense Plasma Focus, which could produce eco-safe, green, cheap and unlimited energy for generations to come.

Vote up the focus fusion article on reddit and on slashdot

Also, upvote the Climatecolab proposal for nuclear fusion.

Lockheed Martin, and tiny Lawrenceville Plasma Physics (still waiting on a billionaire backer) have given presentations at Solve for X on their progress towards the Holy Grail of energy. Slashdot says that Trialpha Energy and General Fusion have presented but I have not found any presentation by either of those two at Google or Solve for X. Trialpha Energy and General Fusion both have significant venture capital and/or billionaire backing.

Eric Lerner of Lawrenceville Plasma Physics presented at Google Solve for X

Eric Lerner has been active in dense plasma focus (DPF) research for over 25 years. Beginning in 1984, he developed a detailed quantitative theory of the functioning of DPF device. Based on this theory, he proposed that the DPF could achieve high ion and electron energies at high densities, suitable for advanced fuel fusion and space propulsion. Under a series of contracts with NASA'a Jet Propulsion Laboratory, he planned and participated in carrying out experiments that tested and confirmed this theory. In addition, he developed an original model of the role of the strong magnetic field effect on DPF functioning, showing that this effect could have a large effect on increasing ion temperature and decreasing electron temperature, which would reduce unwanted X-ray cooling of the plasma. Eric is a leading researcher in cosmology and astrophysics, developing original, plasma-based theories of quasars, large-scale structures and other phenomena of the Universe. In 2006 he was a Visiting Astronomer at the European Southern Observatory in Santiago, Chile. As a writer about science and technology, he is the author of over 600 articles. Mr. Lerner received a B.A. in Physics from Columbia University and did graduate work in physics at the University of Maryland.

Startup Crossbar emerges from stealth with RRam memristor memory that could beat HP to Market but will be fighting Samsung stacked Flash

Stealth startup Crossbar’s RRAM technology will deliver 20x faster write performance; 20x lower power consumption and 10x the endurance at half the die size, compared to today’s best-in-class NAND Flash memory. Since it is CMOS-compatible, it can be easily integrated into existing fabs and processes without any special equipment or materials.

RRAM, ReRAM all refer to what HP calls memristors.

According to market research firm Webfeet Research, non-volatile memory is expected to grow to become a $48.4 billion market in 2016. Crossbar plans to bring to market standalone chip solutions, optimized for both code and data storage, used in place of traditional NOR and NAND Flash memory. Crossbar also plans to license its technology to system on a chip (SOC) developers for integration into next-generation SOCs.

This new generation of non-volatile memory will be capable of storing up to one terabyte (TB) of data on a single 200mm2 chip, enabling massive amounts of information, such as 250 hours of HD movies, to be stored and played back from an IC smaller than a postage stamp. Crossbar today also announced it has developed a working Crossbar memory array at a commercial fab, a major milestone in the development of new memory technology, signaling its readiness to begin the first phase of productization.

What if the economic shocks are over mostly for now ?

What if
Europe is bottoming ?
China is bottoming ?
US real estate continues its recovery ?
The US economy starts to pick-up momentum?
The Balance Sheet Recession is completely over ?
Abenomics works in Japan and Japan does not fall apart ?

UPDATE - July economic (trade, manufacturing) numbers give support to the bottoming out / activity picking up case for China, Europe and the USA.

Goldman's Jan Hatzius has that forecast

Goldman's Jan continues to forecast a pickup in real GDP growth to 3%+ in 2014.

Barring renewed adverse shocks, we expect this pickup to set the stage for a lengthy period of above-trend growth. This is partly because we lean towards the optimistic end of the spectrum with regard to the US economy’s supply-side potential. Admittedly, labor productivity growth has disappointed in recent years, with an average gain of just 1.4% (annualized) since the start of the recovery. But as Kris Dawsey noted in Friday’s US Economics Analyst, the reason seems to lie mostly in cyclical capital spending weakness. Total factor productivity—the component of GDP growth that cannot be explained by changes in capital or labor inputs—has remained quite healthy, averaging 1% over the past four years. As capital spending rebounds, labor productivity growth should rebound as well

Now a Russian Quantum technology fund

Serial entrepreneur Serguei Beloussav, chairman of the Russian Quantum Center, hopes to emulate Bell Labs by developing breakthrough materials based on quantum technologies, which he hopes to commercialize by funding startups with his Quantum Wave Fund.

There was a already a Canadian quantum computing research center and quantum technology research fund.

You can get a lot more channels and movies than Chromecast with no monthly fee but with a few caveats

The Google Chromecast ($35) is following devices that have already been available in China and Asia for over one year.

A homegrown Chinese product could be bought for $40 in 2012 and it was sporting the latest ARM core at the time (Cortex A5). It turned any HDMI TV into a giant streaming display.

Chromecast supports YouTube, Netflix, and Google Play. Netflix costs about $9/month.

You can get a lot more channels and movies with no monthly fee but you need to pay a bit more upfront and you need a techy friend who can read some chinese to help you set it up. After that you memorize the icons to navigate and surf and pick your content.

Netflix does not have sports or live news and has a more limited selection of movies.

Here is a partial list of the icons that you would to go through to access your TVPad2 content. You can get to english movies and tv but the directory interface is chinese. The setup can be set to english but only the setup and admin would be english and you have to able to navigate the interface enough to set the admin to english.

For about $200-230 on Ebay and other sources you can get a TVPad2.

HD streamer can deliver more than 100,000 movies wirelessly with new titles that are constantly added. It is Wi-Fi ready to also allow an Internet experience. It can output to HDMI and AV (regular audio/video input).

You need to have the a wifi 802.11n router with a setting of WPA2 for the TVPad 2 to work. The WPA2 encoding is needed to get to over 300 mbps.

Highlights of the 2013 Report to the US Congress on China's Military

Here is the 2013 Report to the US Congress on China's Military.

China continues to modernize its nuclear forces by enhancing its silo-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and adding more survivable mobile delivery systems. In recent years, the road-mobile, solid-propellant CSS-10 Mod 1 and CSS-10 Mod 2 (DF-31 and DF-31A) intercontinentalrange ballistic missiles have entered service. The CSS-10 Mod 2, with a range in excess of 11,200 km, can reach most locations within the continental United States. China may also be developing a new road-mobile ICBM, possibly capable of carrying a multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle (MIRV).

The PLA Navy has the largest force of major combatants, submarines, and amphibious warfare ships in Asia. China’s naval forces include some 79 principal surface combatants, more than 55 submarines, 55 medium and large amphibious ships, and roughly 85 missile-equipped small combatants.

European Space Agency has $1.3 million study of the Skylon spaceplane as the next European Launch system in the early 2020s

Reaction Engines Ltd have signed a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) for a €1 million study into the next European Launch System.

The “Skylon-based European Launch Service Operator” contract has been finalised by the Launcher Directorate of the European Space Agency in Paris, France and work has started to study how the SKYLON spaceplane can meet Europe’s Space access demands in terms of cost, flexibility and responsiveness, from the early 2020’s.

6K video camera and 4K and 8K super high resolution television

RED Cameras has 6K (6144 x 3160 pixels) digital video cameras that can shoot 86 frames per second and cost $31,000. 6K has over 10x the number of pixels than 1080P.

There are some sample still frame captures from the 6K RED Dragon camera.

Shooting the full height and width of the RED Dragon is equivalent to taking a 19.4 megapixel still image at full motion continuously.

4K 50 inch televisions will be available in September for $999 from TCL There are other 4K TVs and there should be commericial 8K televisions soon.

Powers in Gods and Heroes in recent technology news

The AWARE series of DARPA multiple cameras show that optics and electronic sampling provide no barrier to camera information capacity. They already have 10 gigapixels and will soon have 50 gigapixels. There is a technical plan to achieve petapixel imaging (a million gigapixels). Capacity is ultimately limited by photon flux and atmospheric turbulence. There is laser beacons that can be used to counter atmospheric turbulence. Communications and processing are the current limiting factors. Cost is rapidly being reduced. This imaging can be combined with Leap Motion sensing to achieve massive super detailed (micron scale) three dimensional motion awareness. The multicameras will be placed into long duration drones.

Many Gods and heroic beings had superhuman vision or were all seeing. Heimdell the god who protected Bifrost the rainbow bridge to Asgard had supersight and was considered all seeing. Odin's ravens Huginn and Muginn were also considered to be all seeing.

August 05, 2013

Avengers 2- Age of Ultron, Agents of Shield and Batman versus Superman

1. At comic-con the title of the second Avengers movie was revealed as the Age of Ultron.

Ultron is an evil robot that has been a primary enemy of the Avengers for decades.
Age of Ultron was a ten issue series that just completed.
There are too many differences between what characters and events have taken place in the comics and the movies for the plot of Avengers 2 to closely match the comics. This is good. The Age of Ultron comics were terrible.

Hank Pym is the creator of Ultron in the comics.
Iron Man - Tony Stark - is the money and character focus of the movies.

Tony is the one who will make Ultron unintentionally.

The Avengers movie will be free to introduce Ultron and have a tightly focused and self contained battle with the Avengers. Casting notices indicate that Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are added in Avengers 2.

Legal and contractual arrangements are keeping the X-men stable of characters and villains separate from the Avengers movies. This will likely prevent Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch from being the offspring of Magneto.

2. Joss Whedon says part of the appeal of the Agents of Shield series was to shine a light on the human beings who aren't given a chance in the spotlight in most films. "The thing that appealed to me about the show from the very beginning is the idea of the people who don't have superpowers," he says. "The idea of the people who didn't get the hammer, who didn't get the super serum. The TV show is very much about that sense: 'well, what about the rest of us? How do we cope with this?'"

The mystery of just exactly how Coulson is alive will play out over the course of the first season.

I have my theory, which you can skip if you do not want a possible spoiler.

China has limited ability to project power but still has increasing global influence

China has no overseas military bases.

The United States has about 700 bases overseas with about 280,000 personnel at those bases.

Russia has bases in 12 countries with about 30,000 personnel.

Britain has about 8000 personnel in 6 countries.
France also has bases in 5 countries with 7000 personnel.

The Commonwealth of over 50 nations still are united by language, history and culture, and their shared values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. There is a movement in some member states seeks to establish a Commonwealth Union (CU) through the creation of a free trade area, visa-free travel area, common foreign policy and representation at the United Nations and Group of 20

Fast Reactor Status and a two step closed nuclear fuel cycle

the Russians have the most commercial experience with fast neutron reactors. They operated the 600 MWe BN-600 for a few decades.

Fast neutron reactors increase the burnup of fuel up to 15-20% vs 5% with LWS and the used fuel is easier to process and with a liquid pyroprocessing method can enable a closed fuel cycle (100% of fuel used).

The BN-800 fast neutron reactor being built by OKBM Afrikantov at Beloyarsk is designed to supersede the BN-600 unit there and utilise MOX fuel with both reactor-grade and weapons plutonium. It will be 880 MWe gross and have fuel burn-up of 70-100 GWd/t. [normal light water reactors now have about 50 Gigawatts per day per ton of fuel, and new LWR will have about 65 GWd/t and annular /cylinder shaped for better hear management fuel will enable older reactors to have higher burnup] Further BN-800 units were planned. China is buying two BN-800 reactors.

The BN-1200 is being designed by OKBM for operation with MOX fuel from 2020 and dense nitride U-Pu fuel subsequently, in closed fuel cycle. Rosatom plans to submit the BN-1200 to the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) as a Generation IV design. The BN-1200 will produce 2900 MWt (1220 MWe), has a 60-year design life, simplified refuelling, and burn-up of up to 120 GWd/t. Intermediate heat exchanger temperature 550°C, with 527°C in secondary sodium circuit and 510°C outlet at 14 MPa from steam generators. Lead cooling is also a possibility. Thermal efficiency is 42% gross, 39% net. It is expected to have a breeding ratio of 1.2 initially and up to 1.35 for MOX fuel, and then 1.45 for nitride fuel. Fuel burn-up is designed to progress from 14.3% to 21%. It will have 426 fuel assemblies and 174 radial blanket assemblies surrounded by 599 boron shielding assemblies. The capital cost is expected to be much the same as VVER-1200. OKBM envisages about 11 GWe of such plants by 2030, possibly including South Urals NPP. Design is expected to be complete in 2014, and tentative plans are for construction of the first unit at Beloyarsk (unit 5) from 2015 with commercial operation from 2020. A construction decision is due in 2014. It is intended to produce electricity at RUR 0.65/kWh (US 2.23 cents/kWh). This is part of a federal Rosatom program, the Proryv (Breakthrough) Project.

The SVBR-100 could be a very low cost modular fast neutron reactor with 11.4% burnup.

The IAEA has a recent review of trends with fast neutron reactors and fuel cycles (20 pages).

China long term nuclear strategy and closing the fuel cycle with fast reactor and pyro-processing

A study considers three nuclear expansion scenarios to estimate China’s future uranium demand. The first scenario is the reference case and is based on China’s current long-term nuclear power development plan, which anticipates that nuclear power will have a 20-percent share (the current world nuclear share) of the total national installed capacity by 2050. The second scenario is a high-growth scenario, which anticipates continuous nuclear expansion and a 30-percent nuclear share of installed capacity by 2050. The third scenario is the low-growth scenario, which anticipates a 10-percent nuclear share by 2050.

China has justified its decision to reprocess its spent nuclear fuel on the grounds that it needs to create a secure source of fuel for nuclear power generation, it’s worth examining how China’s access to uranium resources is expected to match up with demand in the coming decades.

These scenarios all assume that nuclear growth will take the form of additional 1 GWe pressurized water reactors (PWR) and that Generation IV reactors will be developed to the point that they are commercially deployable by 2040. The study assumes that the nuclear portion of the installed generating capacity will be 150 GWe, 300 GWe, and 450 GWe for the three different growth scenarios, respectively. These projections are comparable to those in China’s 863 Energy Plan.

Existing and planned PWRs achieve a burn-up rate of about 50 GWd/t, with a capacity factor of 85 percent. The newly designed Gen III PWRs are assumed to achieve a 65-GWd/t burn-up rate, while existing PWRs from before are
assumed to operate with a 50 GWd/t burn-up rate

The annual MOX fuel load for the CEFR is 0.5 ton and the annual MOX fuel load for one CDFR is 7.5 tons, based on an 850-MWe power level, a 100-GWd/t burn-up rate, a 33-percent thermal efficiency, and an 80-percent capacity factor. The cost of MOX fuel fabrication is $1,950 per kgHM, while the cost of traditional LEU fuel is $1,640 per kgU, assuming a natural uranium price of $100 per kilogram.

Google cofounder Sergey Brin Has a Side Business Making Burgers

The billionaire co-founder of Google, Sergey Brin, said he invested €250,000 in synthetic beef technology for animal welfare reasons.

Sergey Brin bankrolled the production of the world's first lab-grown hamburger. The internet entrepreneur has backed the project to the tune of €250,000 (£215,000), allowing scientists to grow enough meat in the lab to create a burger – as a proof of concept – that will be cooked and eaten in London on Monday.

The synthetic meat hamburger will be cooked and eaten at an event this afternoon. Among the tasters will be the Chicago-based author of Taste of Tomorrow, Josh Schonwald, and an Austrian food trends researcher, Hanni Rützler of the Future Food Studio.

Brin's money was used by a team led by physiologist Dr Mark Post at Maastricht University to grow 20,000 muscle fibres from cow stem cells over the course of three months. These fibres were extracted from individual culture wells and then painstakingly pressed together to form the hamburger that will be eaten in London on Monday. The objective is to create meat that is biologically identical to beef but grown in a lab rather than in a field as part of a cow.

"Cows are very inefficient, they require 100g of vegetable protein to produce only 15g of edible animal protein," Dr Post told the Guardian before the event. "So we need to feed the cows a lot so that we can feed ourselves. We lose a lot of food that way. [With cultured meat] we can make it more efficient because we have all the variables under control. We don't need to kill the cow and it doesn't [produce] any methane."

Carnival of Space 313

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 168

The Carnival of Nuclear Energy 168 is up at Hiroshima Syndrome.

Nuke Power Talk looks back at the history of all government regulation.

If you go back in history, most regulations that we have today started out in response to a problem. Contrary to what some believe, they didn't originate for no reason at all in the halls of Congress, or from the cubicles of government bureaucrats.

They originated to solve a problem. And in most cases, they originated because of the obvious damage that had been caused when there were no rules in place. Think about banking. Think about monopolies. Think about contaminated food. Think about discrimination.

In reality, most regulations were only put in place after people were injured or killed, or after they'd suffered financially, or after they'd been treated unfairly.

Many of the regulations probably missed the mark in some way or another. Perhaps they didn't address all the problems. Or perhaps they went too far in some respects.

Taking a knee-jerk stance against regulation is really just as short-sighted as thinking that more regulation is always better. The real point is that we need smart regulation. It is not easy to attain smart regulation in a complex and changing world, but we will never achieve that goal if we draw lines against regulation altogether.

NBF - We need to test, review and simulate regulations and verify that we are minimizing and rolling back bad regulations and determining how to achieve efficient controls.

Designs for lower cost nuclear energy

Which nine advanced nuclear reactor designs, from high-temperature gas reactors to fusion would most likely achieve any significant cost declines ?

Which four factors are most important to lower cost nuclear power :

1. Safety - no need for redundant safety systems
2. Use existing supply chains and will need less new materials
3. Modular
4. Efficient

August 04, 2013

Petapixel photography for cameras and imaging one million times beyond human vision and gigapixel television

Here is progress report on DARPAs work to achieve all seeing multicameras at the physical limit of space and time resolution. They are achieving vision 30 to 50 times beyond the limit of human vision. They have a plan and research paper on achieving petapixel imaging which would be one million times beyond human vision.

The AWARE 2 cameras were retofit with glass microcamera optics and improved and more compact electronics in April 2013. These cameras were used to image Duke commencement in May 2013 and other recent events. The AWARE-10 5-10 gigapixel camera is in production and will be on-line in August 2013. Significant improvements have been made to the optics, electronics, and integration of the camera. The AWARE series of multiple cameras show that optics and electronic sampling provide no barrier to camera information capacity. Rather, capacity is ultimately limited by photon flux and atmospheric turbulence. Communications and processing are the current limiting factors. Cost is rapidly being reduced. This imaging can be combined with Leap Motion sensing to achieve massive super detailed (micron scale) three dimensional motion awareness.

DARPA Multigigapixel camer evolution

The AWARE2 camera has evolved since its conception in 2011 and first gigapixel images in September 2011. Initial composites from the micro-cameras were based off the ray trace model, which varied from the actual camera. This caused overlap errors, uneven illumination, unregistered overlapped regions, and pointing mismatches. Auto focus, auto exposure, and live-view mode were unavailable, causing many micro-cameras to under preform. In early images dynamic range was forfeited until HDR tonemapping was added to the compositer.

Improved plastic optics are under development in order to keep the cost per micro-camera as low as possible.

The glass micro-optics image is shown below, at 100% zoom level. The edge sharpness is nearly identical to center.

They are fixing issues with edgesharpness and other image defects

The goal of this DARPA project is to design a long-term production camera that is highly scalable from sub-gigapixel to tens-of-gigapixels. Deployment of the system is envisioned for military, commercial, and civilian applications.

Ultimately, the goal of AWARE is to demonstrate that it is possible to capture all of the information in the optical field entering a camera aperture. The monocentric multiscale approach allows detection of modes at the diffraction limit. As discussed in "Petapixel Photography," the number of voxels resolved in the space-time-spectral data cube is ultimately limited by photon flux. We argue in the "gigapixel television," a paper presented at the 14th Takayanagi Kenjiro Memorial Symposium, that real-time streaming of gigapixel images is within reach and advisable

China is a solid number two country in size of economy and military spending but is still not a superpower vs US, EU or old soviet block

Worldcrunch has an article that makes the case China is still many years from becoming a superpower.

China neither is at the heart of a multilateral regime nor does it have a single significant ally. It must permanently juggle a coalition of interests — which sometimes aligns it with developing countries, sometimes with other emerging economies, and also increasingly with the developed industrial societies whose political models it rejects.

Meanwhile, since the Cold War ended, America has been working on building a coalition of the willing based on common values, rather than the coalition of interests' built-in unpredictability.

So it's only in economic terms that China can move within reach of superpower status.

The Economist forecast holds that "annual GDP growth averages for the next decade, are 7.75% in China and 2.5% in America, inflation rates average 4% and 1.5%, and the RMB appreciates by 3% a year. Plug in these numbers and China will overtake America in 2018. Alternatively, if China's real growth rate slows to an average of only 5%, then (leaving the other assumptions unchanged) it would not become number one until 2021."

World military expenditure in 2012 was estimated to have been $1756 billion, representing 2.5 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP) or $249 for each person in the world. The total is about 0.4 per cent lower in real terms than in 2011, the first fall since 1998.

High Security Physical Keys are dead. MIT student release program for 3D printing and laser cutting keys

At the Def Con hacker conference Saturday, MIT students David Lawrence and Eric Van Albert plan to release a piece of code that will allow anyone to create a 3D-printable software model of any Schlage Primus key, despite the company’s attempts to prevent the duplication of those carefully-controlled shapes. With just a flatbed scanner and their software tool, they were able to produce precise models that they uploaded to the 3D-printing services Shapeways and i.Materialise, who mailed them working copies of the keys in materials ranging from nylon to titanium.

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