December 28, 2013

CEBR makes GDP predictions out to 2028

The economic consultancy Cebr (Centre for Economics and Business Research) released its annual report The World Economic League Table. The report gives an end of year report on GDP in the 30 largest economies in the world. It also forecasts which countries will be in the ‘Top Thirty’ for 5, 10 and 15 years ahead.

This year’s report is updated to take account of the likely surplus of energy and falling oil and gas prices in the 2020s, weaker commodity prices than had previously been expected and the sell-off of some emerging market currencies in mid-2013.

Nextbigfuture disagrees with the CEBR and believes that China's currency will appreciate more quickly so that China will pass the US economy on a nominal exchange basis by 2020. The CEBR is predicting a very strong US dollar. They are predicting for the US to vastly strengthen against Germany and most other countries.

The key points of this year’s report are:

* Our latest forecasts now show China overtaking the US in 2028 to become the world’s largest economy. This is later than some analysts have suggested and reflects the continuing performance of the US as the West’s strongest economy and the slowing down of the Chinese economy.

* India overtakes Japan in 2028 to become the world’s third largest economy. Abenomics means that Japan is likely to follow a weak currency policy for the foreseeable future which means that its GDP in dollar terms gets overtaken by India earlier than we had previously expected.

Donate to SENS antiaging before the end of 2013 for a tax deduction and matching donations that multiply your donation

Supersonic business jet targeted for 2018

Spike Aerospace was founded by a small group of passionate engineers interested in international travel, and opportunities to make that faster and more efficient. They have spent the last 2 years designing a supersonic personal jet — the Spike S-512. This amazing team, with years of experience at Gulfstream, Eclipse and Airbus have designed a 12-18 passenger jet that flies at Mach 1.6 (1100 mph) — reducing flight time by 50%.

Fly Supersonic, Do More means being able to reach destinations around the world in less than half the time it currently takes. Imagine the impact on personal travel, business, investments and global opportunities if you could fly from NYC to London in just 3 hours, LA to Toyko just 5 hours or soon, London to Mumbai in just 4 hours.

Price US $60-80 million
Delivery (anticipated) December 2018

Shanghai has 2.5 micron particle air pollution 15 times worse than World health organization limit and ten times worse than for 10 micron particles

Peaking at 390 micrograms per cubic meter, more than five times the nation’s limit of 75, yesterday’s density of hazardous PM2.5 particles remained at a high level, contributing to Shanghai’s heavy pollution, the city’s environment watchdog said.

2.5 micron particles have the most health impact for increased cancer and cardiovascular impacts. They are strongly correlated to increased air pollution deaths and hospitalizations.

Due to the arrival of pollutants from north, the PM2.5 density soared to 300 micrograms by 7am from the 120 micrograms recorded at 4am, and the figure continued to rise throughout the afternoon.

The World Health Organization’s safety guideline is 25 micrograms. Shanghai was over 15 times worse than the WHO limit for PM2.5 particles.

As for the larger PM10, its concentration kept growing overnight and hit about 500 micrograms at 4pm, triple the nation’s 150 microgram limit and 10 times the density considered safe by WHO of 50 micrograms.

The city’s average air quality index over 24 hours reached its peak at 6pm with a reading of 287, indicating heavy pollution, while Qingpu District recorded an AQI of 339, or severely polluted.

The Shanghai Meteorological Bureau issued a yellow haze alert at 7:41am for the lingering smog obscuring the city’s skyline. The haze cut visibility in most districts to just 3 kilometers.

During the “London Smog” incident in 1952, levels of PM reached concentrations of 4500 µg/m3. These levels of PM were linked with human disease and death. Shanghai reached 9% of the level of the London fog. The London fog had thousand keeling over and suffocating.

December 27, 2013

Bosch has advanced start-stop coasting system for 10% fuel saving for any type of car and NASA has advanced flywheel system for automated pulse and glide for up to double fuel economy

With its new start-stop coasting function, Bosch enables drivers of vehicles with combustion engines to travel in zero-emission, noise-free, and low-resistance mode over large parts of their journey. This innovative technology stops the engine when the vehicle is in motion, so that it does not consume any fuel. Whenever the vehicle can maintain its speed simply by rolling – for instance on a gentle incline – the engine is stopped. As soon as the driver touches the gas or brake pedal, the engine starts up again.

Tests carried out by Bosch have shown that the combustion engines runs needlessly about 30 percent of the time, meaning that the vehicle could simply coast for about a third of every journey. Although these phases are not taken into account in the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), under real traffic conditions the function will give drivers a roughly 10 percent fuel saving. “The start-stop coasting function is affordable, can be combined with any type of combustion engine, and substantially reduces fuel consumption,” says Dr. Rolf Bulander, member of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH.

NASA has a more advanced flywheel system that enables automated pulse and glide driving NASA's pulse and glide system offers a 40-100 percent increase in highway gas mileage over existing internal combustion or battery hybrid systems. Drivers can use a “pulse-and-glide” driving technique, accelerating and decelerating an automobile in cycles of approximately 10-30 seconds. While this technique can be an effective way to improve fuel economy, it requires sustained attention from the driver. Innovators at NASA’s Glenn Research Center have automated the pulse-and-glide technique using a flywheel energy storage system. The pulse-and-glide flywheel presents an economical, reliable, and long-term solution to dramatically improve the gas mileage performance of internal combustion engines (ICEs). Unlike chemical batteries, which have a short life span and high replacement costs, flywheels provide the power and energy requirements necessary for a pulse- and-glide technique.

Today, thanks to double-clutch transmissions, some vehicles already have a “light” version of the Bosch coasting system on board. As soon as the drivers take their foot off the gas pedal, the system switches the engine to idle. While this means the vehicle is doing no more than rolling, it is still consuming fuel in order to keep the engine ticking over. Bosch start-stop systems, which have enjoyed success all over the world, stop the vehicle's engine altogether. The first generation of the system stops the engine only when the vehicle is completely stationary, while the enhanced start-stop system cuts the engine as soon as the vehicle is coasting to a halt – for instance at a red light. In contrast, as soon as the driver's foot is off both the gas and the brake pedal, vehicles equipped with the new start-stop coasting function stop the engine while the vehicle is in motion. That saves even more fuel. And because the engine is disengaged, the vehicle can coast for longer than it could with an overrun fuel cutoff system, for example.

Pendry and others are making progress to a Perfect lens using metamaterials

A Russian engineer Victor Veselago had theorised a lens made out of material with a negative refractive index. In 1999, John Pendry checked whether such a lens could be perfect, expecting the usual answer – that it wasn't perfect. Pendry didn't get it; the theory said it was perfect. He was astonished and so was everybody else. The mechanism of a perfect lens is very strange.

The concept of metamaterials opened up the field. A metamaterial is a material whose electric and magnetic properties are determined as much by its structure as by its chemical composition, although the structure must be on a scale much smaller than the wavelength of light you're using.

A perfect lens is very hard to realise in the lab. People have achieved sub-wavelength resolution that is more than 10 times as good as a normal lens, but it is far from being used as a microscope.

There is a halfway house that John Pendry's research team in London are working on – a light harvester. It concentrates light on a very small area. Ordinarily the area you can shrink to will be limited by the wavelength of the light you are using, as an ordinary lens is. They are using metamaterials to concentrate light onto an area less than a square nanometer. Once you do that, you have the potential to make sensors for single molecules.

CRISPR gene editing used to test and understand all human genes in the genome and other mammalian genomes

The new system, known as CRISPR, allows researchers to permanently and selectively delete genes from a cell’s DNA. In two new papers, the researchers showed that they could study all the genes in the genome by deleting a different gene in each of a huge population of cells, then observing which cells proliferated under different conditions.

“With this work, it is now possible to conduct systematic genetic screens in mammalian cells. This will greatly aid efforts to understand the function of both protein-coding genes as well as noncoding genetic elements,” says David Sabatini, a member of the Whitehead Institute, MIT professor of biology, and a senior author of one of the papers, both of which appear in this week’s online edition of Science.

Researchers created a library of about 65,000 guide RNA strands that target nearly every known gene. They delivered genes for these guides, along with genes for the CRISPR machinery, to human cells. Each cell took up one of the guides, and the gene targeted by that guide was deleted. If the gene lost was necessary for survival, the cell died.

“This is the first work that really introduces so many mutations in a controlled fashion, which really opens a lot of possibilities in functional genomics,” says Ophir Shalem, a Broad Institute postdoc and one of the lead authors of the Zhang paper, along with Broad Institute postdoc Neville Sanjana.

This approach enabled the researchers to identify genes essential to the survival of two populations of cells: cancer cells and pluripotent stem cells. The researchers also identified genes necessary for melanoma cells to survive treatment with the chemotherapy drug vemurafenib.

In the other paper, led by Sabatini and Eric Lander, the director of the Broad Institute and an MIT professor of biology, the research team targeted a smaller set of about 7,000 genes, but they designed more RNA guide sequences for each gene. The researchers expected that each sequence would block its target gene equally well, but they found that cells with different guides for the same gene had varying survival rates.

Saturn's moon Titan is covered with liquid methane lakes

Saturn's largest moon Titan is an eerie world about the size of Mercury. It is the only moon in the solar system with a thick, hazy atmosphere and the only place aside from Earth that has large bodies of liquid on its surface. But there's also one very big difference: on frigid Titan, the lakes and seas are filled with liquid such as Methane.

Radar observations were able to peer all the way to the lake's bottom, which suggests that the liquid is unexpectedly clear and pure. The results also show that it is mostly filled with methane, the main component in natural gas.

"Measurements indicate that the lake is 160 metres deep, and it alone contains by volume about 40 times more hydrocarbon liquid than Earth's global oil reservoir," says Hayes. "Together, all of Titan's visible lakes and seas contain about 300 times the volume of Earth's proven oil reserves."

Could anything be alive inside these cold but carbon-rich seas?

False colour, real smoothness (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI/Cornell)

US ends 2013 at 8.11 million barrels per day of crude oil production for two years of over 1.1 million barrels per day production increase

US crude oil production is at a level last reached in 1988.

The US had end of year crude oil production of

2011 5.851 million barrels per day
2012 6.985 million barrels per day
2013 8.111 million barrels per day

The latest weekly oil report is

Crude oil and natural gas liquids is 10.8 million barrels per day
Crude oil and all other oil liquids is 13.0 million barrels per day [12.996 million barrels per day by the weekly estimate]

December 26, 2013

Europa has 201 kilometer tall water plume

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has observed water vapor above the frigid south polar region of Jupiter's moon Europa, providing the first strong evidence of water plumes erupting off the moon's surface.
Previous scientific findings from other sources already point to the existence of an ocean located under Europa's icy crust. Researchers are not yet fully certain whether the detected water vapor is generated by erupting water plumes on the surface, but they are confident this is the most likely explanation.

The Europa and Enceladus plumes have remarkably similar abundances of water vapor. Because Europa has a roughly 12 times stronger gravitational pull than Enceladus, the minus-40-degree-Fahrenheit (minus-40-degree-Celsius) vapor for the most part doesn’t escape into space as it does at Enceladus, but rather falls back onto the surface after reaching an altitude of 125 miles (201 kilometers), according to the Hubble measurements. This could leave bright surface features near the moon’s south polar region, the researchers hypothesize.

“If confirmed, this new observation once again shows the power of the Hubble Space Telescope to explore and opens a new chapter in our search for potentially habitable environments in our solar system,” said John Grunsfeld, an astronaut who participated Hubble servicing missions and now serves as NASA's associate administrator for science in Washington. “The effort and risk we took to upgrade and repair Hubble becomes all the more worthwhile when we learn about exciting discoveries like this one from Europa.”

New system allows for high-accuracy, through-wall, 3-D motion tracking

A new system, dubbed “WiTrack”, uses radio signals to track a person through walls and obstructions, pinpointing her 3-D location to within 10 to 20 centimeters — about the width of an adult hand.

“Today, if you are playing a game with the Xbox Kinect or Nintendo Wii, you have to stand right in front of your gaming console, which limits the types of games you can play,” says Katabi, a professor of computer science and engineering and co-director of the MIT Center for Wireless Networks and Mobile Computing. “Imagine playing an interactive video game that transforms your entire home into a virtual world. The game console tracks you as you run down real hallways away from video game enemies, or as you hide from other players behind couches and walls. This is what WiTrack can bring to video gaming.”

MIT looks at the world's water needs

Water covers 71 percent of Earth’s surface — and industrial-scale desalination has operated successfully around the world for many years. Desalination costs are still high, and not everyone lives near a seacoast — so getting the water where it’s needed, when it’s needed, can be prohibitively expensive. Policymakers, farmers, business leaders, and ordinary people around the world face difficult choices and tradeoffs in meeting their basic needs for water.

In parched but wealthy regions, such as around the Persian Gulf, desalination is already the solution of choice: Saudi Arabia gets half its potable water that way, and in Dubai the figure is 90 percent, according to Leon Awerbuch, president of Leading Edge Technologies, who spoke on the first of four panels at the summit. But in less affluent regions, that may not be a viable solution.

A Micro-Muscular Break Through 1000 times stronger than human muscle

Vanadium dioxide is poised to join the pantheon of superstars in the materials world. Already prized for its extraordinary ability to change size, shape and physical identity, vanadium dioxide can now add muscle power to its attributes. A team of researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has demonstrated a micro-sized robotic torsional muscle/motor made from vanadium dioxide that for its size is a thousand times more powerful than a human muscle, able to catapult objects 50 times heavier than itself over a distance five times its length within 60 milliseconds – faster than the blink of an eye.

Vanadium dioxide crystals also undergo a temperature-driven structural phase transition whereby when warmed they rapidly contract along one dimension while expanding along the other two. This makes vanadium dioxide an ideal candidate material for creating miniaturized, multi-functional motors and artificial muscles.

Advanced Materials - Powerful, Multifunctional Torsional Micromuscles Activated by Phase Transition

Micro bimorph coils driven by a metal-insulator phase transition in VO2 function as powerful torsional muscles. Reversible torsional motion over one million cycles without degradation is demonstrated, with a superior rotational speed up to ~200 000 rpm, amplitude of 500° per mm length, and power density up to ~ 39 kW/kg.

December 24, 2013

Myostatin blocking compound boosts muscle mass by 25-50%

Researchers here have moved on past myostatin and further down the chain of signals and molecular mechanisms to find a novel place to intervene in order to boost muscle growth in mice and humans. So far results are promising: if this treatment turns out to produce few to no side-effects, it is the sort of thing that everyone could benefit from. That said, again, it doesn't address root causes of degenerative muscle loss with aging - something that needs to be accomplished in order to reliably and most effectively extend healthy life.

The new compound (BYM338) acts to prevent muscle wasting by blocking a receptor that engages a cellular signaling system that exists to put the brakes on muscle development when appropriate. But sometimes those brakes are activated inappropriately, or are stuck on.

A variety of signals can activate the receptor. Prior to development of BYM338, compounds developed to block these molecules were blunt instruments, either trapping all incoming signals (which stimulated muscle growth but also caused harmful side effects) or blocking just a single receptor activator (providing only tepid growth stimulation.) BYM338 was designed to be in the Goldilocks zone (just right.)

In the study the compound boosted muscle mass 25 to 50 percent and increased strength in animal models. Those gains were significantly superior to those of compounds that blocked a single receptor activator. Clinical trials are currently underway.

BYM338 dramatically increases skeletal muscle mass in mice, beyond sole inhibition of myostatin as detected by comparing the antibody with a myostatin inhibitor. A mouse version of the antibody induces enhanced muscle hypertrophy in myostatin-mutant mice, further confirming a beneficial effect on muscle growth through blockade of ActRII ligands beyond myostatin inhibition alone.

Nextbigfuture covered the compound earlier and that it had been given breakthrough status by the FDA

Hybrid cargo airships for moving up to 2000 ton objects

Multiple airships can be used to transport larger objects as shown here

Igor Pasternak wants to be the first to harness helium for multi-ton deliveries. He envisions thousands of 500-foot-long zeppelins capable of traversing the U.S. at speeds of more than 100 miles per hour, ferrying mining equipment to roadless stretches of Alaska and bringing organic strawberries to gourmet supermarkets in Manhattan, at a quarter the cost of a cargo plane.

The Aeroscraft could have a cargo capacity of as much as 250 tons, about three times that of the military’s C-17 transport plane. He wants to build a fleet of 24 ships, most of them large enough to transport 250 tons, and lease them to companies or governments. His estimate to build the fleet: $3 billion. He also has an design for 500 ton lift capacity.

DARPA robotics challenge results and at the end of 2014 robots should demonstrate the ability to autonomously carry out simple commands

The DARPA robotics challenge finals had the following top five finishers

1. SCHAFT from Japan, owned by Google.
2. Atlas-Ian from Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition it developed software for Boston Dynamics’ ATLAS robot.
3. CMU’s Tartan Rescue
4. A team from MIT
5. NASA JPL’s RoboSimian

Softbank which owns Sprint is close to a $19 billion deal to buy T-Mobile

Sprint Nextel Corp.'s Japanese parent company, SoftBank Corp., is reportedly close to acquiring rival T-Mobile from German communications company Deutsche Telekom in a deal that is expected to be worth more than $19 billion.

SoftBank is speaking to banks about borrowing funds for a deal, according to news reports.

Sprint has been interested in combining with T-Mobile for years and top executives from both companies have said that consolidation is needed in the U.S. wireless market to create a stronger rival against the biggest players, Verizon and AT&T.

A tie-up between Sprint and T-Mobile is expected to draw regulatory scrutiny, experts have said.

Carnival of Space 333

Could a molten salt reactor be the power source for a SHIELD helicarrier ?

Mark Warren performed a calculation that scaling up the F35-B’s thrust ratio (55,000 shp delivering 41,900 lb thrust) implies the Helicarrier carries engine(s) capable of 157 million horsepower (shp) or ~117 gigawatts output. Allocating 20% of the carrier’s gross tonnage to the power plant sets the minimum power density at 10.8 kW/kg.

A 650 MW thermal integrated molten salt reactor with a supercritical CO2 turbine would have about 400 MWe of power with about 200 tons of weight. This would be about 2 kW/kg.

There have been other molten salt designs with about 18 KW of power per liter. Those are early generation designs and the engineers believe that they can achieve 100 kW per liter. So yes an advanced molten salt reactor could provide the power for a SHIELD helicarrier.

This is interesting but also shows that advanced molten salt reactors and supercritical CO2 turbines would be so revolutionary in their power density that even fanciful engineering becomes feasible.

Molten Salt Reactor about 50 times the power density of current submarine nuclear reactors

U.S. naval reactors are pressurized water reactors, which differ from commercial reactors producing electricity in that:

* they have a high power density in a small volume and run either on low-enriched uranium (as do some French and Chinese submarines) or on highly enriched uranium (>20% U-235, current U.S. submarines use fuel enriched to at least 93%, compared to between 21–45% in current Russian models, although Russian nuclear-powered icebreaker reactors are enriched up to 90%),

* the fuel is not UO2 but a metal-zirconium alloy (c.15% U with 93% enrichment, or more U with lower enrichment),[citation needed]

* they have long core lives, so that refueling is needed only after 10 or more years, and new cores are designed to last 25 years in carriers and 10–33 years in submarines,

* the design enables a compact pressure vessel while maintaining safety.

Terrestrial Energy (of Canada) is trying to develop integral molten salt nuclear fission reactors. These nuclear reactors would have about 20-200 times less volume than conventional nuclear fission reactors. The US, Europe and China are trying to develop supercritical carbon dioxide turbines that would have 100 times less volume than regular steam turbines. The Hammer's Slammers Science fiction nuclear hovertank would be enabled with the two technologies that are under development (molten salt reactors and supercritical CO2 turbines.

By shrinking the nuclear reactor and the turbine by 100 times, plenty of other vehicles are made possible. Various nuclear ships and submarines can be revamped. Also, space bases with nuclear become more possible with one launch.

The 650 MWth IMSR (Integrated Molten Salt) reactor is about the same size as the smAHTR (125 MWth) reactor.

The smAHTR reactor is 9 meters tall (30 feet) by 3.5 meters (12 feet) in diameter.

The 220 MWth S8G reactor for the Ohio submarines is 42 feet in diameter, 55 feet long; 2,750 tons

So the IMSR with supercritical CO2 turbines would have almost 3 times as much power in an area about 16 times less area. In the range of 150-200 cubic meters and about 200-400 tons.

December 23, 2013

Use smartphone attachment for laser measurement of the size, volume, distance and GDS location of any object up to 200 yards away

Spike is the world's first laser accurate smartphone accessory, enabling you to capture, measure, map, model, share, and 3D print any object up to 200 yards away, just by taking a snapshot of it on your smartphone.

Leveraging the ikeGPS unique core technology, miniaturized, Spike puts the power of ikeGPS technology in the hands of any smartphone user.

Spike attaches to the back of your smartphone. It contains patented laser, compass, and bluetooth technology that integrates with your phone's camera and GPS.

Laser measurements are accurate to within +20 cm. Additionally, from a safe location, your integrated ike laser measures the GPS location of your assets to within +1 meter.

$250 handheld laser spectrometer food scanner will connect to your smartphone and servers in the cloud to tell you what allergens, chemicals, nutrients, calories, ingredients are in your food

TellSpec brings together laser spectroscopy, nanophotonics, and a unique mathematical algorithm in a revolutionary hand-held consumer device that can analyze the chemical composition of any food in less than 20 seconds.

The TellSpec handheld device beams a low-powered laser at the food you wish to analyze, measures the reflected light with a spectrometer, and sends the data via your smart phone, computer, or tablet to TellSpec’s servers in the cloud. Those servers use this data to deduce information about your food that is of interest to you. This information is then displayed on your computer, tablet or smart phone so you can intelligently decide if you want to buy or eat the food.

TellSpec is currently under development, after raising three times its funding goal on Indiegogo. Shipping is slated to begin in August 2014. Its US$320 price tag includes one year of free analysis of food scans, with further analyses being made available through subscription plans.

The Indiegogo campaign is still offering US$250 devices for pre-order.

You'll get a TellSpec scanner in your choice of white, red, green, or turquoise blue—and two years of unlimited analysis of your food scans. Plus you will be listed as a Gold Contributor, for helping to build a healthier world for all of us. We will send you updates on our progress and invitations to live events. This offer includes limited warranty and EULA.

TellSpec is a handheld food scanner that connects to your smartphone to inform you about allergens, chemicals, nutrients, calories, and the ingredients present in any food item.

Provinces and Federal Government haggle over $81 billion over 30 years in tax windfall from Oil Pipeline Keystone alternate

Last week, the Northern Gateway project was given a tentative green light from a federal review panel with a whopping 209 conditions. The federal cabinet has six months to decide whether it will accept the recommendations, but it has another hurdle to consider, this one constructed by Premier Christy Clark. Somebody, somewhere, is supposed to cough up British Columbia’s “fair share” of the benefits.

There is a very large pie that Ottawa, Alberta and B.C. can expect to share if the pipeline is built. When Ms. Clark laid out her “five conditions” for supporting heavy-oil projects across British Columbia, she said the province’s share under the current tax system isn’t big enough. For 18 months now, this demand has sat without anyone stepping up and offering a solution.

According to B.C., the Northern Gateway project is expected to generate a windfall of $81-billion in provincial and federal government taxation over a 30-year period. Of that total, $36-billion goes to Ottawa and $32-billion to Alberta. B.C. would land $6.7-billion – only slightly ahead of Saskatchewan’s $4-billion.

Japan politics shifts to pro-nuclear and restarting nuclear reactors

Almost three years after Fukushima, pro-nuclear officials, business leaders and utilities wielding awesome economic and political clout are regaining strength and maneuvering to tighten the noose around local government leaders who have been demanding that Japan do away with nuclear power.

Pro-nuclear candidates are winning elections for mayor over anti-nuclear candidates.

Pro-nuclear Osuma Yamada won a landslide against his opponent, who was supported by the Japanese Communist Party and ran on the platform of pulling the plug on nuclear power. Yamada’s victory was a bitter irony to his predecessor, Tatsuya Murakami. Murakami played a prominent role in efforts by local leaders around the nation to advance the idea of a nuclear phaseout through a network called “Mayors for a Nuclear Power Free Japan,” which was first organized in 2012.

December 22, 2013

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 188

New Compound designated a breakthrough therapy by the FDA. It releases the brakes from muscle growth

A new antibody could dramatically boost strength and muscle mass in patients with cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), sporadic inclusion body myositis, and in elderly patients with sarcopenia according to research published ahead of print in the journal Molecular and Cellular Biology.

“Age-related loss of muscle mass is a major contributing factor to falls, broken bones, and the loss of mobility,” says co-corresponding author David Glass of Novartis, Cambridge, MA, one of the compound’s developers, along with first author Estelle Trifilieff, also of Novartis. “This study illustrates that we may have a powerful tool to prevent muscle wasting and promote growth.”

The new compound (BYM338) acts to prevent muscle wasting by blocking a receptor that engages a cellular signaling system that exists to put the brakes on muscle development when appropriate. But sometimes those brakes are activated inappropriately, or are stuck on.

UK may build 75 Gigawatts of nuclear power by 2050

The UK government is considering building 75 gigawatt of nuclear power by 2050 from 50 nuclear reactors.

The current programme announced by ministers is to build 12 reactors to supply 16 gigawatts at five sites. The higher figure equates to more than 50 new large-scale modern reactors. The committee has been given the task of assessing the number of disposal facilities that might be required for the waste that will be produced by new nuclear power stations. It notes that the 16-gigawatt programme is only the "first tranche" and is "substantially below the 75 gigawatts upper limit being examined in [the Department of Energy and Climate Change]".

The upper limit echoes a scenario outlined by the energy department in a 2011 report, outlining its vision for a low-carbon future. It suggested 75 gigawatts of nuclear power – enough to provide 86% of UK electricity – could be brought on line by 2050. "Nuclear energy is vital for our energy security and we want it to be part of the energy mix in the future, alongside renewables and clean coal and gas," a department spokeswoman said. "It's important to model potential scenarios to plan for our future energy needs, but we haven't set any targets for the amount of new nuclear to be developed."

Open thread for December

In the comments of this article you can submit links and news that you think should discussed by other Nextbigfuture readers. You can also start discussing other topics.

Virgin Galactic may double the number of people who have been to space to over 1100 by 2016 and Branson wants to get to 45 minute trips from USA to UK

Within a year or two, the number of humans who have been to space may double, says William Pomerantz of Virgin Galactic, the company who hopes to make that happen.

Sometime in 2014, entrepreneur Richard Branson and his two children aim to be on the first commercial flight of SpaceShip Two, Virgin Galactic's rocket for propelling eight people 100 kilometers above the Earth.

To date, 542 people have been in space. Virgin has sold 660 tickets at $250,000 each, for its three-day experience which culminates in a two-hour flight, about four minutes of it floating in microgravity.

New digital modulation enables more spectrum, 4 times the distance and half the power for the next boost in wireless communication

Magnacom emerged from stealth mode claiming it has a new twist on digital modulation technology that provides big gains for any wired or wireless network. The company will license its technology on which it already has 14 US patents, all granted in less than a year.

The startup will demonstrate in a private suite at the Consumer Electronics Show an FPGA board using its technology to deliver a 10dB signaling advantage compared to QAM4096, the most powerful version of the quadrature amplitude modulation scheme widely used in communications today.

Magnacom WAM Integration is identical to QAM. It does NOT require any changes to the antennas, Radio or RF.

WAM technology is a pure digital new modulation scheme, using spectral compression that improves spectral efficiency. The spectral compression enables an increase of the signaling rate thereby affording the use of lower order alphabet, which reduces complexity. It provides inherent diversity of time and frequency domains and uses nonlinear signal shaping. The nonlinearities are handled digitally at the receiver side, allowing a lower-cost and lower-power transmitter design.

WAM is a multi-dimensional signal construction operating at the Euclidean domain breaking the orthogonality of signal construction (zero ISI in single carrier / zero ICI in OFDM) shown for the first time, to increase capacity and provide an optimal handling of nonlinear distortion, ultimately resulting in significant improvements versus todays’ legacy QAM systems, including:

* Up to 10dB system gain advantage
* Up to 400% the distance
* Up to 50% lower power
* Up to 50% spectrum savings
* Better noise tolerance
* Major increase in speed
* Lower cost and easier design
* 100% backward compatible

Global Coal usage will continue to grow at 2.3% per year through 2018 and crude oil in the USA will reach all time production high by 2016

The US Energy Information Administration has its 2014 annual energy outlook.

The EIA projected that domestic oil production would increase by an average of 800,000 barrels a day annually through 2016, nearly reaching the 1970 historic high of 9.6 million barrels a day. The increase in domestic oil production should bring the imported share of oil supplies down to 25 percent in 2016 from the current 37 percent. Just a few years ago, the country imported half of its oil supplies.

The EIA projects the world oil benchmark price over the next few years to $92 a barrel in 2017 from a 2012 average of $112 a barrel, which should translate into lower prices at the pump for consumers.

According to a separate report by the International Energy Agency, global consumption of coal is likely to continue to grow at “a relentless pace” through 2018.

The IEA projects the consumption of coal for electricity generation and heat accounted for more than three-fifths of the rise in global carbon dioxide emissions since 2000. Coal use increased by an average of 3.4 percent per year from 2007 to 2012, faster than the increase in either oil or natural gas. Consumption through 2018 is expected to increase by 2.3 percent a year, the I.E.A. said.

The agency, which represents 28 member countries, said that technology existed to make coal-fired power plants less polluting, but that a large proportion of the installations being built in emerging markets like India and Indonesia were inefficient. Using efficient technologies at these Asian plants would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by as much as all the wind turbines in Europe, the agency said.

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