January 18, 2014

Vertical Farming getting more energy with 68 percent efficient LEDs

New Scientist provides an update on vertical farming projects

From Singapore to Scranton, Pennsylvania, "vertical farms" are promising a new, environmentally friendly way to feed the rapidly swelling populations of cities worldwide.

In March, the world's largest vertical farm is set to open up shop in Scranton. Built by Green Spirit Farms (GSF) of New Buffalo, Michigan, it will only be a single storey covering 3.25 hectares, but with racks stacked six high it will house 17 million plants. And it is just one of a growing number.

Vertical farms aim to avoid the problems inherent in growing food crops in drought-and-disease-prone fields many hundreds of kilometres from the population centres in which they will be consumed. Instead, Dickson Despommier – an ecologist at Columbia University in New York City who has championed vertical farms since 1999 – suggests that food should be grown year-round in high-rise urban buildings, reducing the need for the carbon-emitting transport of fruit and vegetables.

China and other countries getting more per capita income means more trade and more inventions for the world

Charles Kenny is a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development. He has an essay in the Washington Post that is adapted from his new book, “The Upside of Down: Why the Rise of the Rest Is Good for the West.” Charles Kenny agrees with economist Arvind Subramanian that in 2030 the world will have four major economic players: China will be the heavyweight, followed by the United States and European Union, with economies about half as large, and then India close behind.

Penn World table 8.0 has information for 2011. Extrapolation indicates the China passes the US on a PPP basis in 2013 or 2014

There are some real economic costs related to losing the top spot in the GDP rankings, but they are small and manageable. The dollar might lose its dominance as the currency of choice for central bank reserves and trading, and some predict that will increase the cost of U.S. borrowing and exporting. In fact, the dollar share of global reserves has already fallen from about 80 percent in the 1970s to about 40 percent today, with the euro and the renminbi gaining ground, but there isn’t much sign that that has spooked global markets.

The upside to the United States of losing the top GDP spot is immense. The country’s declining economic primacy is mainly a result of the developing economies becoming larger, healthier, more educated, more free and less violent. And there is little doubt the United States benefits from that. Just over the past few years, for example, U.S. export markets in Asia, Africa and Latin America have grown rapidly. Three-fifths of America’s exports go to the developing world, and that suggests that about 6 million Americans are employed providing goods and services to emerging markets. As the developing world gets richer, it will import more — and create more jobs here.

The rest of the world is also inventing more stuff, from modular building techniques in China to new drug therapies and low-water cement-manufacturing processes in India to mobile banking applications in Kenya. We can benefit from those inventions as much as we already benefit from foreign innovators coming to the United States.

America’s tenure on top is ending because much of the world is becoming more like America in many ways: richer, more democratic, more secure. The world increasingly shares aspirations, priorities and attitudes similar to ours. This is a success story for U.S. stewardship of the global economy.

Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source Find New Form of Quantum Matter that is a 3D version of Graphene

The discovery of what is essentially a 3D version of graphene – the 2D sheets of carbon through which electrons race at many times the speed at which they move through silicon – promises exciting new things to come for the high-tech industry, including much faster transistors and far more compact hard drives. A collaboration of researchers at the U.S Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has discovered that sodium bismuthate can exist as a form of quantum matter called a three-dimensional topological Dirac semi-metal (3DTDS). This is the first experimental confirmation of 3D Dirac fermions in the interior or bulk of a material, a novel state that was only recently proposed by theorists.

“A 3DTDS is a natural three-dimensional counterpart to graphene with similar or even better electron mobility and velocity,” says Yulin Chen, a physicist from the University of Oxford who led this study working with Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source (ALS) . “Because of its 3D Dirac fermions in the bulk, a 3DTDS also features intriguing non-saturating linear magnetoresistance that can be orders of magnitude higher than the materials now used in hard drives, and it opens the door to more efficient optical sensors.”

“A 3DTDS system could provide a significant improvement in efficiency in many applications over graphene because of its 3D volume,” Chen says. “Also, preparing large-size atomically thin single domain graphene films is still a challenge. It could be easier to fabricate graphene-type devices for a wider range of applications from 3DTDS systems.”

In addition, Chen says, a 3DTDS system also opens the door to other novel physical properties, such as giant diamagnetism that diverges when energy approaches the 3D Dirac point, quantum magnetoresistance in the bulk, unique Landau level structures under strong magnetic fields, and oscillating quantum spin Hall effects. All of these novel properties can be a boon for future electronic technologies. Future 3DTDS systems can also serve as an ideal platform for applications in spintronics.

A topological Dirac semi-metal state is realized at the critical point in the phase transition from a normal insulator to a topological insulator. The + and – signs denote the even and odd parity of the energy bands.

Journal Science - Discovery of a Three-Dimensional Topological Dirac Semimetal, Na3Bi

Full 24 page paper on Arxiv

US Watts Bar unit 2 reactor should be completely constructed in 2015 and generating power in 2016

TVA's (Tennessee Valley Authority) newest nuclear power plant should be generating electricity within the next two years.

With 3,300 employees and contractors working around the clock at the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant, TVA is confident the second reactor at the Spring City, Tenn., plant should be licensed by the end of 2015.

Despite earlier delays and cost overruns, the new head of the Watts Bar program says the $4 billion project is on schedule and within the budget TVA adopted two years ago after failing to meet initial projections. Mike Skaggs, senior vice president for TVA, said construction of the second reactor at Watts Bar is now 82 percent finished and work is continuing on installing and testing key systems for the reactor.

How feasible is Elon Musk's idea to establish a colony on Mars in the 2020s?

Philip Metzger, NASA, answers the question on Quora

Philip manages a NASA lab that develops tech for "living off the land" on the Moon or Mars or asteroids. That includes mining and processing local resources like water ice or oxygen extracted from soil minerals. Elon has sent his people to visit my lab several times to start up a collaboration with us on these technologies. Philip believes it is completely feasible. No miracle inventions are required. No new physics. Just straightforward engineering and a modest budget for the development cost. Philip's personal opinion (not representing the views of NASA or the federal government) is optimistic. Elon's organization has demonstrated efficiency, creativity, and sustained drive. He has super smart people working for him. He knows what is required to be successful. He is doing all the right things.

Dolly Singh used to work at Spacex in talent acquisition.

Dolly knows Elon — well. Elon's obsession with Mars is no PR scam, but something the folks at SpaceX are giving their blood and sweat to achieve.

You have no idea how much design and planning is already underway.

Dolly wouldn't deny he has an extremely healthy dose of ego, and seems to be enjoying the limelight of late but Mars is about legacy for him and his dedication and passion for that mission is one no one who actually knows him would ever question.

Bloggers and the public have first amendment protection against defamatiojn lawsuits just like journalists

A federal appeals court ruled Friday that bloggers and the public have the same First Amendment protections as journalists when sued for defamation: If the issue is of public concern, plaintiffs have to prove negligence to win damages.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a new trial in a defamation lawsuit brought by an Oregon bankruptcy trustee against a Montana blogger who wrote online that the court-appointed trustee criminally mishandled a bankruptcy case.

Standards set by a 1974 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Gertz v. Robert Welch Inc., apply to everyone, not just journalists.

January 17, 2014

Aluminum body Ford F150 marks a big shift to aluminum and lightweight cars and trucks

The 2015 Ford F150 debuted Monday with an aluminum body at the Detroit Auto Show, weighing 700 pounds less than the old one. This would be 12% lower weight. Ford Chief Operating Officer Mark Fields acknowledged that working with aluminum was more expensive than steel.

Ford earns about $11,000 on a pickup truck sale compared with $5,000 for a car. The F-Series trucks account for nearly half of Ford’s North American profits, he said, and the company can’t afford a misfire.

Ford lent out the aluminum body F150 to test how lightweight aluminum alloys would hold up on the job, at a gold mine, an energy utility and a construction firm. They lent out the trucks in a test program — without telling the companies what was being tested. Ford eventually took some of the trucks back and tore them apart, looking to see how they withstood the rigors of the rugged worksites. It then made some changes, such as making the inner surface of the tailgate thicker for extra protection.

Ford has sold 33 million F-Series trucks since 1948, and at least 11 million are still on the road, the company said. In 2013, Ford sold 763,000 F150 trucks in the U.S.

Ford increased the amount of high-strength steel in the frame, from 23% to 77%, to give the vehicle rigidity and improve its handling.

Quark Matter in the Asteroids of our Solar System: Evidence for a Game-Changing Space Resource

Small Very Fast Rotating (VFR) asteroids (bodies with rotation periods as short as 25 sec) are consistent with a population of strange asteroids [with quark dark matter] with core masses of order 10^10 – 10^11 kg.. Those would then be sources of millions of tons of antimatter for future spaceships.

The author commented at nextbigfuture.

He has written is a new paper : Quark Matter in the Solar System: Evidence for a Game-Changing Space Resource (Marshall Eubanks)

Macroscopic quark matter nuggets are an alternative explanation for Dark Matter (DM) consistent with the observational constraints on this mysterious cosmological component. Such quark matter theories have strong implications in the formation, development and current behavior of the Solar System, as primordial quark nuggets orbiting the Galaxy would be subject to capture during planetary formation, leading to the retention of condensed quark matter in the centers of the Sun, planets and asteroids today, a possibility that needs to be taken seriously in Solar System Research.

As quark nuggets are expected to have a minimum mass set by their physics of their formation, any sufficiently small asteroid with a quark matter core would be a strange asteroid, with a high bulk density and strong gravitational binding. Small strange asteroids would be the easiest nugget hosts to detect observationally, and the most accessible source of quark matter once detected. Solar System observations of small Very Fast Rotating (VFR) asteroids (those with rotation periods ≤ 1/2 hour) support the quark matter nugget hypothesis. If VFR asteroids are assumed to be bound by quark matter cores, the inferred core mass range peaks at ∼10 billion kg, consistent with the stable quark matter mass range predicted by the detailed theory of Zhitnitsky an
d his colleagues.

As there is a prospect that quark nuggets could be used to produce large amounts of antimatter, the economic benefit from even a single ultra-dense strange asteroid could be little short of astounding. If some of the Near-Earth Objects (NEO) are indeed strange asteroids they would truly constitute a game-change resource for space exploration. It is likely that the quark nugget theory will either be rapidly refuted using Solar System observations, or become a focus of space exploration and development in the remainder of this century

Debating geoengineering and nuclear

Commenter Sebtal made the following comment on my Al Gore article. I interpreted Al Gore's statements in the Guardian UK. Al is against geoengineering and does not want to support adding nuclear power. Although Al did support nuclear power for decades while in elected office. Al changed his position when he wanted to get in front of the green movement with his Inconvenient Truth movie and book in 2006.

1. Personally I [Sebtal] agree [with Al Gore], I [Sebtal] think Geo-engineering is a complete non-starter. If you think the compensation arrangements around BP/Moccando are slightly fraught, Imagine the arguments you could have over "your geo-engineering experiment co-incided with my drought which killed x, thousand people, so we are entirely justified with the cruise missile strike that blew it up" kind of arguments you could have around this.
Geo-engineering is a complete non-starter.

Nextbigfuture -So the only ones allowed to geoengineer are those who mix their chemicals in with the coal that they burn ?

Coals used as boiler fuels or for coking require less than 10% ash content. So when we burn 7 billion tons of coal you can have up to 700 million tons of ash. Other impurities are nitrogen and sulphur that are chemically reduced during coalification to the gases ammonia (NH4) and hydrogen sulphide (H2S), which become trapped within the coal. However, most sulphur is present as the mineral pyrite (FeS2), which may account for up to a few per cent of the coal volume. Burning coal oxidizes these compounds, releasing oxides of nitrogen (N2O, NO, NO2, etc.) and sulphur dioxide (SO2), notorious contributors to acid rain.

It is ok to burn another billion or 4 billion tons of coal to go along with the 8 billion tons every year now and along with it flouride or mercury or sulfur if they are found in some ratio in the coal deposits. It is not just pure coal but coal and a few tens of millions of tons of other material.

Mercury (Hg) 0.10±0.01 ppm
Arsenic (As) 1.4 – 71 ppm
Selenium (Se) 3 ppm

Part per million for coal right now means 8000 tons.
Burning billions of tons of oil and natural gas are ok too because those are for other purposes.

Wind Power is directly blocking wind. If it is scaled to displace all coal power it will have a big climate effect

The general word circulation model simulations that some climatic effects at maximum wind power (18-67 terawatt) extraction are similar in magnitude to those associated with a doubling of atmospheric CO2. We are now at 290 Gigawatts of wind, which makes about 450 TWh. Wind is heading to 1.2 Terawatts by 2030 which would be about 1800 TWh. This is one of the primary proposed solutions. If Wind were to completely displace coal power say in 2050, it would have to be scaled to about 15 TW.

22000 TWh for electricity now. 6 times that amount for all energy uses (heat, transportation industry)
41% of electricity from coal. 8800 TWh from coal now. Increasing by 40% or so by 2035 and 70% by 2050.

Fast Electric space sail Uranus entry probe mission

The solar wind electric sail is a novel propellantless space propulsion concept. According to numerical estimates, the electric sail can produce a large total impulse per propulsion system mass. Here we consider using a 0.5 Newton electric sail for boosting a 550 kg spacecraft to Uranus in less than 6 years. The spacecraft is a stack consisting of the electric sail module which is jettisoned at Saturn distance, a carrier module and a probe for Uranus atmospheric entry. The carrier module has a chemical propulsion ability for orbital corrections and it uses its antenna for picking up the probe's data transmission and later relaying it to Earth. The scientifi c output of the mission is similar to what the Galileo Probe did at Jupiter. Measurement of the chemical and isotope composition of the Uranian atmosphere can give key constraints for diff erent formation theories of the solar system. A similar method could also be applied to other giant planets and Titan by using a fleet of more or less identical electric sail equipped probes.

Centauri Dreams has coverage They note we would learn much about flying and navigating an electric sail during the testing and implementation of the Uranus mission.

A demonstrator electric sail mission, then, is designed to keep costs down and reach its destination as fast as possible, with the interesting spin that, because we’re in need of no gravitational assists, the Uranus probe will have no launch window constraints. As defined in the paper on this work, the probe would consist of three modules stacked together: The electric sail module, a carrier module and an entry module. The entry module would be composed of the atmospheric probe and a heat-shield.

The probe would get up to a speed of 100 kilometers per second which is about six times faster than Voyager 1.

January 16, 2014

Boosting intelligence through embryo screening with sequencing analysis for intelligence genes would also increase economic output, reduce crime, unemployment and poverty in the next generation

Wired reported that BGI (used to be Beijing Genomics Institute) expect that within a decade their research into intelligence genes will be used to screen embryos during in vitro fertilization, boosting the IQ of unborn children by up to 20 points. Based on studies of twins, siblings, and adoption, contemporary estimates put the heritability of IQ at 50 to 80 percent, and recent studies that measure the genetic similarity of unrelated people seem to have pushed the estimate to the high end of that range.

Three years into the project, a team of four geneticists is crunching an initial batch of 2,000 DNA samples from high-IQ subjects, searching for where their genomes differ from the norm. Soon Zhao plans to get thousands more through Renmin—his former high school—as well as from other sources around the world. He believes that intelligence has a genetic recipe and that given enough samples—and enough time—his team will find it.

Steve Hsu theorizes there are as many as 10,000 different locations in the genome where a mutation can affect IQ. According to Hsu’s rough model, all humans carry a few hundred of those 10,000 possible mutations, and each mutation has a tiny negative cost to IQ, on the order of half an IQ point.

If this is right, then the difference between a brilliant 150-IQ person and an average 100-IQ person comes down to DNA typos at perhaps 100 of those 10,000 places.

Hsu is confident that through embryo screening during IVF, any genetic markers for intelligence that their team discovered would inevitably be used to select for more intelligent babies. Children tend to fall within a spread of 13 IQ points above and below the average IQ of their parents. But sometimes the apple can fall twice as far from the tree—that is, two parents with 100 IQs producing a child with an IQ of 126. Hsu puts the chance of such a positive outlier at around 2 or 3 percent, and it depends mostly on which sperm meets which egg.

If parents use IVF to conceive, then a genetic test—an extension of the screening tests for genetic diseases that are already routinely done on embryos—could let them pick the smartest genome from a batch of, say, 20 embryos (but it could 50 or more embryos).

Steve Hsu hopes progressive governments will make this procedure free for everyone. The benefits from increased economic output, decreased welfare and criminality rates, etc. far outweigh the costs.

Steve Hsu has a 17 page presentation on his views on intelligence.

we are close to non-destructive sequencing of human gametes and zygotes by sequencing 10-20 cells.

A new Invitro fertilization method lowers the cost by 30 times to $250.

Whole genome Sequencing costs are now below $1000 and heading towards $100 or less.

Shifting IQ by 20 points should drastically lower crime, poverty, unemployment and other social ills in the next generation

In order to really figure out intelligence we will have to figure out the brain. If people are interested in curing brain diseases like Alzheimers and Schizophrenia then through should be interested investigating the brain and genetics.

Google will be the GE of the internet of things era

The Economist makes the case that Google is positioning itself to be an inventor and re-inventor of hardware. Google will also be the GE of the internet age.

The common factor shared by GE’s early products was electricity, something businesses were then just learning to exploit. With Google’s collection of hardware businesses, the common factor is data: gathering and crunching them, to make physical devices more intelligent.

Google bought Nest Labs, a maker of sophisticated thermostats and smoke detectors for $3.2 billion. This it Google's second largest purchase after Motorola mobility.

Paul Saffo of Discern Analytics, a research firm, argues that Google is already adept at profiting from the data people generate in the form of search queries, e-mails and other things they enter into computers. It has been sucking in data from smartphones and tablet computers thanks to the success of Android, and apps such as Google Maps. To keep growing, and thus to justify its shares’ lofty price-earnings ratio of 33, it must find ever more devices to feed its hunger for data.

Packed with sensors and software that can, say, detect that the house is empty and turn down the heating, Nest’s connected thermostats generate plenty of data, which the firm captures. Tony Fadell, Nest’s boss, has often talked about how Nest is well-positioned to profit from “the internet of things”—a world in which all kinds of devices use a combination of software, sensors and wireless connectivity to talk to their owners and one another.

IF Google can merge and integrate all of its pieces
* Massive search and data capabilities (software massive scaling advantages and superior data centers)
* Vastly superior mapping and layers of location data
* robotics
* self driving cars
* smart homes, smart buildings via smart devices and sensors
* Android devices
* Google glass and other wearables

German Supreme court allows utility to sue German government for nuclear reactor shutdown and a separate Russian nuclear deal

1. The forced closure of RWE's Biblis nuclear power plant after the Fukushima accident was unlawful, the German Supreme Administrative Court has ruled. The utility is now likely to sue for considerable damages.

Plant owner RWE can now sue for compensation over the loss of the Biblis units as an asset. The plant has two reactors, Biblis A and B, which are pressurized water reactors rated at 1167 MWe and 1240 MWe respectively and which had been licensed to operate until 2019 and 2021 just two months before the shutdown order. The company has previously said it suffered losses of over €1 billion ($1.3 billion) in 2011 alone due to the Biblis shutdown.

The same shutdown orders hit Germany's other nuclear operators, EOn, Vattenfall and EnBW, although EnBW is 45% owned by the Green-governed state of Baden-Wurttemburg and is not contesting the shutdown or appealing a ruling that upheld the fuel tax. EOn and Vattenfall have doubts about the legality of the shutdown order, but have chosen not to pursue the matter in court, industry group Deutsches Atomforum told World Nuclear News. Instead the companies are contesting the constitutionality of the 2011 amendment to the Atomic Act which redrew operating periods for remaining reactors. Another set of questions on the fuel tax have now been referred by German courts to the European Court of Justice. Sweden-owned Vattenfall is contesting the shutdown via international arbitrartion.

2. Russia has agreed to build two new reactors in Hungary, supply their fuel and train staff for their operation. It has also agreed to provide a loan for construction of the units. The first new unit is to be commissioned in 2023.

China has designed a 1400 MWe version of the Westinghouse AP1000 and China has the rights to export the reactor

The basic design of the CAP1400 nuclear reactor has been approved. The CAP1400 is an enlarged version of the Westinghouse AP1000 pressurized water reactor.

China plans to build large numbers of the CAP1400 in China.
China has 'independent intellectual property rights' over the design and will explore exporting it to other countries.

Site preparation is well already underway for two demonstration CAP1400 units at Huaneng Group's Shidaowan site in Shandong province. This site is part of a larger Rongcheng Nuclear Power Industrial Park, at which the prototype HTR-PM (pebble bed) small modular reactor is already under construction. Another 19 of the 210 MWe units could follow.

Waste heat engine finally moving to next commercialization phase

Cyclone Power Technologies developer of the all-fuel clean-tech Cyclone Engine,announced today that it has completed the in-house development and testing phase of its Waste Heat Engine (the WHE-DR) and, as planned, has transitioned the next commercialization and manufacturing phases of the program to The Ohio State University's Center for Automotive Research (CAR).

The Waste Heat Engine is designed to run on heat as low as 500ºF from many different external sources of “wasted” heat such as:

* Commercial or small-scale industrial ovens or furnaces
* Landfill and industrial gas flares
* Engine exhaust – from vehicles or power generators
* Biomass combustion – dry, vegetative waste materials

The commercialization schedule has slipped a few years.

Al Gore does not think climate change is urgent enough to need any experiments at geoengineering or to build nuclear power. He is willing to wait for clean tech and solar and wind

Al Gore does not think the climate change problems are urgent enough to start building more nuclear power or to make any attempt at geoengineering. It is ok to wait for as long as it takes for clean technology and solar and wind to get ramped up. Nuclear energy can clearly help reduce the use of coal energy decades earlier but it is not important to use nuclear to save lives lost to air pollution from coal or to reduce CO2 which is still projected to increase for the next 2 decades at least.

This is my interpretation of Al Gore's statements in the Guardian UK. It is based on his statements and simple deduction.

Al Gore says climate change could wreck the world by 2100.
However, he does not want to use any geoengineering because we can only put pollution from coal, oil, natural gas and industry into the air. We are not allowed to attempt to put anything else that might counter act those effects.
We must allow the one known to be experiment of 36 billion tons per year of CO2 to be put into the atmosphere to only be turned around by slowly reducing CO2 emissions. No other solution should be attempted.

The problem is not urgent enough for him to support building nuclear power. He only supported nuclear power when he represented Tennessee or in the VP position.

It is a big enough problem for him to make movies and books about it, but not a big enough problem for him to want any other solutions than clean tech and solar and wind power. We are safe to wait for those solutions.

We can spend tens of trillions and decades to build those solutions out. We can only speed up those solutions by giving tens of trillions more to companies that he supports and approves.

I followed up this article with more on the geoengineering and nuclear energy debates

Clean energy index has recovered to 40% of 2008 levels and clean energy investments are down from 2011 levels

Global trends and returns from "clean energy". Bloomberg New Energy Finance shows the decreasing investment and the drop in value of the New Energy index (down to about 40% of pre 2008 crash levels when the general stock indexes had recovered.)

Global investment in renewable energy fell 12 percent in 2013 to $254 billion. This was the second decline in renewable investments since 2011’s record-high $318 billion.

Ceres investments wants another $27 trillion to be invested into clean energy over the next 36 years (to 2050) $100 trillion is expected to be invested into energy over that time.

Al Gore does not think the climate change problems are urgent enough to start building more nuclear power or to make any attempt at geoengineering. It is ok to wait for as long as it takes for clean technology and solar and wind to get ramped up.

BP projects world economy and energy to 2035

BP has its World Energy Outlook to 2035

Primary energy demand is projected to increase by 41% between 2012 and 2035, with growth averaging 1.5% per annum (p.a.). Growth slows, from 2.2% p.a. for 2005-15, to 1.7% p.a. 2015-25 and just 1.1% p.a. in the final decade.

They are expecting world GDP to triple.

According to BP Wind and solar need until about 2025-2030 to possibly pass nuclear power if there is low growth in nuclear power.

Global investment in renewable energy fell 12 percent in 2013 to $254 billion. This was the second decline in renewable investments since 2011’s record-high $318 billion. Investors and climate-policy advocates including hedge-fund billionaire Tom Steyer and former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin called for changes to financial markets that would boost investment. Financing must double by 2020 and double again to $1 trillion by 2030. They have a target of 30% from renewable energy by 2020, but this is not detailed. "Renewable energy" is often lumped in with hydro power and biofuels. They do not look at other ways to get clean energy (like with nuclear). They just have a plan for trying to get four times more money for $36 trillion of the roughly $120 trillion that will be spent on energy.

"Future of East Asia" conference cancelled at this time

"the future of East Asia" is cancelled at this time

Which mines will generate Russia's expected new Uranium production ?

Russia will nearly triple its production of natural uranium in the next two years, the head of the country's state-run nuclear corporation Rosatom said Thursday. Sergei Kiriyenko said at a meeting with President Vladimir Putin that Russia had in recent years been producing some 3,000-3,200 metric tons of uranium annually. "In 2015, we will reach 8,400 tons [a year], and the prime cost will be completely different," Kiriyenko said.

It is not clear which will generate the Russian uranium.

Start of uranium production in the deposit “Budenovskoye” is 2009. Attainment of project capacity in 3000 tons by 2015 year. Assuming 50-50 joint venture then this would be 1500 tons per year in 2015 if plans are met.

AtomRedMetZoloto (ARMZ) took Uranium One private.

Russia AtomRedMetZoloto (ARMZ) is their uranium mining company and they have tended to overpromise and underdeliver. However, the big mining projects would be Elkon, Khiagda and the two joint venture project in Kazakhstan

Nuclear power is still triple wind and solar power in 2013, because megawatts and megawatt hours are different

I have a comment spammer who is copying and pasting some lies about solar, wind and nuclear energy.

He [nowforthetruth] claims that wind and solar power already have huge power generation.

World Nuclear power is still triple the power generated from wind and solar.

World wind power was about 519 TWh (terawatt hours in 2012)

World wide Solar power produced 110 TWh in 2013

Germany had a one month record for solar power generation in July 2013 of 5.1 TWh.

For the OECD which includes almost all developed countries the electricity generation for 2013 up to October, 2013 was as follows

An implanted brain computer interface chip could re-activate a paralyzed human arm for the first time

MIT Technology Review reports that a brain computer interface chip control the patient’s actual arm with a system called functionalelectrical stimulation (FES). This will send signals to as many as 18 arm and hand muscles to allow the subject, who is paralyzed from the neck down, to perform tasks such as eating and nose-scratching.

“This will be the first time someone has hooked up a BCI to an FES device,” says Daniel Moran, a neuroscientist at Washington University at St. Louis who is not involved in the study. “They’re putting the whole system together.” The surgery may occur this or next year, according to Case Western researchers.

Beginning in mid 2008, with the agreement of Cyberkinetics, a new, fully academically-based IDE [Investigational device exemption (IDE)] application (for the “BrainGate2 Neural Interface System”) was developed to continue this important research. In May 2009, the FDA provided a new IDE for the BrainGate2 pilot clinical trial. [Caution: Investigational Device. Limited by Federal Law to Investigational Use.] The BrainGate2 pilot clinical trial is directed by faculty in the Department of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School; the research is performed in close scientific collaboration with Brown University’s Department of Neuroscience, School of Engineering, and Brown Institute for Brain Sciences, and the Rehabilitation Research and Development Service of the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs at the Providence VA Medical Center. Additionally, in late 2011, Stanford University joined the BrainGate Research Team as a clinical site and is currently enrolling participants in the clinical trial. This interdisciplinary research team includes scientific partners from the Functional Electrical Stimulation Center at Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland VA Medical Center. As was true of the decades of fundamental, preclinical research that provided the basis for the recent clinical studies, funding for BrainGate research is now entirely from federal and philanthropic sources.

Finally the sub-$1000 sequencing of a genome and chip sequencing and nanopore sequencing trying to get to sub$100 genome sequencing

The Illumina HiSeq X™ Ten is the world’s first system to deliver full coverage genomes for less than $1,000. Purpose-built for large-scale human whole genome sequencing, it enables population-scale sequencing of tens of thousands of samples per year with high-quality, high-coverage SBS data, delivering a comprehensive catalog of human variation within and outside coding regions.

The less than $1000 cost is about 3 to 4 times less than what Illumina customers were experiencing in 2013. Many companies were claiming far prices at or near $1000 but those might not have being reading as thoroughly.

Building on the proven performance of Illumina SBS technology, HiSeq X Ten utilizes a number of advanced design features to generate massive throughput. Patterned flow cells, which contain billions of nanowells at fixed locations, combined with a new clustering chemistry deliver a significant increase in data density (6 billion clusters per run). Using state-of-the art optics and faster chemistry, HiSeq X Ten can process sequencing flow cells more quickly than ever before – generating a 10x increase in daily throughput when compared to current HiSeq® 2500 performance.

The HiSeq X Ten is sold as a set of 10 or more ultra-high throughput sequencing systems, each generating up to 1.8 terabases (Tb) of sequencing data in less than three days or up to 600 gigabases (Gb) per day, per system, providing the throughput to sequence tens of thousands of high-quality, high-coverage genomes per year.

The HiSeq X™ Ten, composed of 10 HiSeq X Systems, is the first sequencing platform that breaks the $1000 barrier for a 30x human genome. The HiSeq X Ten System is ideal for population-scale projects focused on the discovery of genotypic variation to understand and improve human health. (Photo: Business Wire)

Illumina announced the immediate availability of a transformative addition to its industry-leading next-generation sequencing portfolio with the launch of the NextSeq 500 System. The new sequencer packs high-throughput performance into an affordable desktop form factor, enabling researchers to perform the most popular sequencing applications in less than a day. The NextSeq 500 System is priced at $250,000.

Cost per genome to sequence up to April 2013

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 191

The Carnival of Nuclear Energy 191 is up at Deregulatetheatom.

Canadian Energy Issues looks at why Germany has some of the dirtiest and most expensive electricity in the European Union when it has the most wind and solar power.

How is that possible, you ask, given that Germany also has the most wind turbines and solar panels in the EU? It is possible because wind turbines and solar panels cannot run an electricity system. They are mostly for show. Their sheer inefficiency and unreliability makes them by necessity very visible all over the country: to get even minuscule amounts of electricity from wind and sun, you have to overbuild wind turbines and solar panels. Lots of people see them.

German electricity became dirtier in 2013, even more so than in 2012. That is because more nuclear power plants were taken offline. Look at the chart “Germany power generation and CO2 emissions” again. See how CO2 trended up when nuclear started trending down after 2010? Well, nuclear trended down further in 2013. According to the Iron Rule of Power Generation, when a 24/7 source of electricity comes out of a grid, another 24/7 source will take its place. Wind and solar are obviously not 24/7 sources. But coal is. That is what has taken nuclear’s place in Germany.

But German households are still paying top dollar for all those wind turbines and solar panels. People in Germany pay about twice as much for electricity as people in France (France gets about 80% of their electricity from nuclear power. This must be galling, especially in light of the fact that, in December, the coldest and darkest month of the year, German wind turbines stood still essentially for days, according to this Die Welt article.
Graph fixed - thanks to Goat guy

January 15, 2014

Flash Storage in 2013 and what to expect in 2014

Solid State Drives steadily developed in 2013 but, really, the action was elsewhere, with SSDs being a maturing technology with, for example, NAND density increases enabling matching more product/pricing variations to market niches, and faster 12Gbit/s SAS interface products being introduced.

Still, there were a few highlights:

* sTec brought out a 2TB SAS SSD in January, the s840,
* Micron pushed out a number of SSDs in the year, such as updating its P400M SATA product with a 6Gbit/s SAS interface,
* HGST intro’d 12Gbit/s SAS interface SDDs (SSD100MR) in April,

There was one other big flash technology development in 2013; SMART Storage announced it had stuffed flash chips into a memory DIMM-type module, using Diablo Technologies IP, and so arrived at flash on a server's memory bus with access latency below that of PCIe flash.

Micron is transitioning to 20nm now with a 16nm process starting production samples in 2014.

Micron expects to commence 3D NAND production sample shipments before mid-2014, perhaps as early as by April. But volume production won’t take place until 2015. Samsung heavily publicised its 3D_VNAND technology but production doesn’t actually look to start production in 2014.

Russia plans to nearly triple uranium production within 2 years

Russia will nearly triple its production of natural uranium in the next two years, the head of the country's state-run nuclear corporation Rosatom said Thursday.

Sergei Kiriyenko said at a meeting with President Vladimir Putin that Russia had in recent years been producing some 3,000-3,200 metric tons of uranium annually.

"In 2015, we will reach 8,400 tons [a year], and the prime cost will be completely different," Kiriyenko said.

McKubre of SRI International is interviewed about Brillouin Energy which is a competitor to Rossi in the controversial low energy nuclear reactions

PESN interviewed Mike McKubre of SRI International about Brillouin Energy's "Controlled Electron Capture Reaction. After all his years of experience and knowledge he has accumulated in the field of LENR, he speak both with a high degree of confidence and humorous candor. He is not at all bashful about tackling some of the most controversial subjects in the industry.

Startup Siluria can upgrade natural gas into a gasoline equivalent that is half the price of gasoline

If new catalysts work as well in a large, commercial scale plant as they do in tests, Siluria says, the company could produce gasoline from natural gas at about half the cost of making it from crude oil—at least at today’s cheap natural-gas prices. If Siluria really can make cheap gasoline from natural gas it will have achieved something that has eluded the world’s top chemists and oil and gas companies for decades. Indeed, finding an inexpensive and direct way to upgrade natural gas into more valuable and useful chemicals and fuels could finally mean a cheap replacement for petroleum.

Natural gas burns much more cleanly than oil—power plants that burn oil emit 50 percent more carbon dioxide than natural gas ones. It also is between two and six times more abundant than oil, and its price has fallen dramatically now that technologies like fracking and horizontal drilling have led to a surge of production from unconventional sources like the Marcellus Shale. While oil costs around $100 a barrel, natural gas sells in the U.S. for the equivalent of $20 a barrel.

China's leadership is promoting genetically modified food to get the people to accept higher yielding modified crops and animals

Yesterday nextbigfuture reported that China was producing 500 cloned pigs per year and genetically modifying most of them.

In October, 2013, caught between rising pressures to increase its food resources and popular skepticism over allowing more genetically modified food, China’s government began stepping up a public-relations campaign that could pave the way toward full approval for commercial production of these politically sensitive crops.

In 2013, the agriculture ministry and other state agencies rolled out a series of statements and publicity events loudly backing the safety of GMO food, ranging from research on cucumbers to taste tests for rice.

Fronted by appointed heavyweight academics, the ministry stated that there hasn’t yet been any healthy safety issues irrefutably linked to GMO food. GMO foods “undergo rigorous pre-market safety assessment” and GMO yields were far higher than conventional crops, it said.

The last point is arguably of growing importance to China. The world’s most populous nation is facing, for the first time in 10 years, the possibility that its rice production may be falling. While China’s overall grain harvest this year is likely to remain robust, imports of key grains including corn – around 95% of which are genetically modified strains coming from the U.S. – have been surging since 2010.

China currently permits the commercial production of GMO tomatoes, cotton, papaya and bell pepper. It allows the import of GMO corn, soybean, canola and cotton for use in animal feed and other non-human consumption. In November 2009, the Ministry of Agriculture granted bio-safety certificates – which allow for domestic field trials – for two pest-resistant varieties of GMO rice and one variety of corn.

In January 2014, China's "father of hybrid rice", Yuan Longping, says he is working with researchers on rice that has been genetically modified.

January 14, 2014

Continuing problems from Coal but still no urgency to add Nuclear energy to help renewables end the reign of King Coal

The chemical in last Thursday’s West Virginia spill was 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, known as MCHM. The leak at the Elk River storage facility came from a ruptured tank storing this chemical, which is used to wash coal.

No charges have been filed against Freedom Industries, the company that owns the plant, but the United States attorney’s office has already begun an investigation into the spill.

Over 300,000 people have not been able to use their drinking water for 6 days.

North Dakota November Oil Production at 973280 barrels of oil per day

North Dakota added another 28000 barrels of oil per day to reach 973280 barrels of oil per day for the month of November, 2013.

North Dakota seems likely to have reached the 1 million barrels of oil per day level in December, 2013

To help balance US budget, active duty soldiers going from 570,000 today to 420,000 in 2019 and technology modernization is also out

Forbes and other sources are reporting on the the budget cut impacts on the US military. The sequestration provisions of the 2011 Budget Control Act are the big problem for the US military today, because savings goals can only be met in the near term by reducing funding for training and technology. The Army plans to trim its active-duty headcount from 570,000 soldiers in 2010 to 420,000 in 2019, but it costs money to remove people from the service, and that limits the Army to reductions of 20,000 personnel each year (Army Times reports that up to 2,000 captains and majors will be selected for separation from the service this spring alone).

Army leaders have been forced to compensate for the slow pace of personnel reductions in meeting sequestration goals by making oversized reductions in training and technology. But they have to be careful with how much training gets cut because the United States is still at war in Afghanistan and could soon be at war somewhere else, so the biggest cuts have fallen on modernization of technology.

Move over Rossi. Blacklight Power is claiming megawatts from their super-controversial hydrino process and devices

BlackLight Power, Inc. (BLP) today announced that it has produced millions of watts of power with its breakthrough Solid Fuel-Catalyst-Induced-Hydrino-Transition (SF-CIHT) patent pending technology in its laboratories.

Blacklight Power and its founder Randell Mills have a long history of making claims. They disappeared for a while after failing to commercialize the technology back in about 2009. Then they resurfaced in May of 2012. More of the history is below.

Using a proprietary water-based solid fuel confined by two electrodes of a SF-CIHT cell, and applying a current of 12,000 amps through the fuel, water ignites into an extraordinary flash of power. The fuel can be continuously fed into the electrodes to continuously output power. BlackLight has produced millions of watts of power in a volume that is one ten thousandths of a liter corresponding to a power density of over an astonishing 10 billion watts per liter.

The power-producing system catalytically converts the hydrogen of the H2O-based solid fuel into a non-polluting product, lower-energy state hydrogen called “Hydrino”, by allowing the electrons to fall to smaller radii around the nucleus. The energy release of H2O fuel, freely available in the humidity in the air, is one hundred times that of an equivalent amount of high-octane gasoline. The power is in the form of plasma, a supersonic expanding gaseous ionized physical state of the fuel comprising essentially positive ions and free electrons that can be converted directly to electricity using highly efficient magnetohydrodynamic converters. Simply replacing the consumed H2O regenerates the fuel. Using readily-available components, BlackLight has developed a system engineering design of an electric generator that is closed except for the addition of H2O fuel and generates ten million watts of electricity, enough to power ten thousand homes. Remarkably, the device is less than a cubic foot in volume. To protect its innovations and inventions, multiple worldwide patent applications have been filed on BlackLight’s proprietary technology.

This breakthrough transformational power technology can be witnessed in a live demonstration hosted by BlackLight of on January 28th at 11 AM.

$20 smartphones and $35 tablets will ensure more than one smart device for everyone and everyone will also have broadband access

Ericsson released a global mobility report in November 2013.

In Q3 2013, total mobile subscriptions were around 6.6 billion. By the end of 2019, they are expected to reach around 9.3 billion. Global mobile broadband subscriptions passed 2 billion in 2013, and are predicted to grow 4 times by 2019, reaching 8 billion. Mobile broadband will gain a larger share of total broadband subscriptions in many markets, complementing fixed broadband, and in certain segments replacing it. As coverage is built out it is increasingly common for users to replace fixed broadband with mobile broadband. The majority of mobile broadband devices are, and will continue to be, smartphones.

India had 150 million people with smartphones in 2012 and this should increase to about 330 million in 2016.

Vietnam will have 33 million middle class and affluent consumers by 2020 and breakthrough to where personal product consumption takes off

The middle and affluent class will double in size in Vietnam and Myanmar between now and 2020, according to a publication by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

Consumers in these two Southeast Asian countries are also among the most optimistic in the world—more optimistic than even their counterparts in China, India, Indonesia, and other fast-growing emerging markets.

More than 90 percent of all consumers in Vietnam and Myanmar, for example, believe that their children will have a better life than they themselves. By comparison, the share of consumers who share that belief is more than 20 percentage points lower in China, India, and Indonesia.

By 2020, there will be more than 30 million middle and affluent consumers in Vietnam and about 10 million in Myanmar.

January 13, 2014

India's government is guaranteeing 800 million people about 5 kilograms of subsidized food per month for each person

India passed the National Food Security Act (NFSA), guaranteeing access to subsidized food to nearly 70% of the 1.2 billion population. In an unprecedented experiment, the central government is now legally bound to provide each of over 800 million people — just shy of the combined populations of the U.S. and the European Union — 5 kg of subsidized food grains every month. (The poorest receive more, and states also run their own food-subsidy programs.)

The program, if successful, could give a major boost to the ruling Congress Party ahead of national elections this spring. The problem, critics say, is that the landmark legislation relies on an unwieldy network of farmers, buyers, storage facilities and sellers to provide some 60 million tons of subsidized grains each year.

According to a recent study, in fiscal 2011–12, over 500 million Indians received 51.3 million tons of subsidized food, or more than 10 times the amount of direct food aid delivered by the World Food Programme in 2011. But in 2005 the government estimated that nearly 60% of its grain did not reach beneficiaries because of theft, corruption and difficulties identifying the needy. More recent studies show that has improved somewhat, but over 17% of Indians are still undernourished, according to the 2013 Global Hunger Index.

The law is expected to cost the government about $20 billion in fiscal 2013–14 as it rolls out across India. That’s a moderate increase over what the government has already been spending on food programs.

Critics do not think India should be doing this with a weak currency and large fiscal deficit.

Many East Asian nations [China] dramatically reduced poverty not through government handouts but by liberating the private sector and creating jobs.

China cloning on an 'industrial scale' using human technicians instead of machines

BBC News reports that BGI (Beijing Genomics Institute) has the world's largest centre for the cloning of pigs. The technology involved is not particularly novel - but what is new is the application of mass production. The first shed contains 90 animals in two long rows. They look perfectly normal, as one would expect, but each of them is carrying cloned embryos. Many are clones themselves. The facility produces an astonishing 500 cloned pigs a year: China is exploiting science on an industrial scale.

Two technicians insert a fibre-optic probe to locate the sow's uterus.
A third retrieves a small test-tube from a fridge: these are the blastocysts, early stage embryos prepared in a lab. In a moment, they will be implanted.

The team can do two implantations a day. The success rate is about 70-80%.

SRF Continues its Fight Against Aging (Part 3)

Guest article by Jason Hope

The SENS Research Foundation, or SRF, continues its original mission to “change the way the world researches and treats age-related disease.” Today, the organization performs SENS-related research, education and public relations aimed at improving acceptance and interest in regenerative medicine. SENS believes it is possible to create a world free from age-related disease and they think it could happen in our lifetime.

SENS is the acronym for Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence. The foundation dedicates its efforts to reducing senescence, which is the deterioration of health associated with aging, to negligible levels. SENS believes senescence is an engineering problem, solved not by voodoo or a magic bullet, but through organized collaboration between the scientific community, policymakers, and the public. SRF works to foster this collaboration in a way that permanently ends the debilitating signs of aging that cause misery and early death.

SENS Research Foundation is a research-focused, outreach organization. They participate in a variety of activities, such as summits, general advocacy and speaking engagements. It’s their goal to inform the public and policymakers about using a damage-repair approach to ending age-related disease.

The End of Aging is Near (Part 2)

Guest article by Jason Hope.

Despite all the advances in medical science, man has yet to cure any age-related diseases. Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other illnesses continue to ravage our bodies while we grow old, despite the best efforts of our doctors and mountains of medicine.

The SENS Research Foundation, or SRF, hopes to change all that. Through continued collaborative research, education and outreach, SENS will continue to build the industry that permanently eradicates old-age diseases. SRF establishes a path that leads us from where we are today, a time where the scientific community has the wherewithal to lay out a detailed plan like this one, to a tomorrow when prototype therapies reduce the signs of aging in laboratory mice. Because mice experience many of the same aging processes as humans do, negligible senescence in humans is possible.

Reaching for negligible senescence through anti-aging strategies has real-world applications that go far beyond reducing wrinkles and sagging skin in old people. Age-related illnesses, like heart disease, cancer and diabetes are debilitating and expensive. The increases in cost and decrease of quality of life will become more profound as a growing number of people live longer. Without a clear-headed approach to negligible senescence, the aging process will cripple an increasing population worldwide.

Nextbigfuture ranks second on the internet in Science Authority

Technorati Authority is calculated based on a site’s linking behavior, categorization and other associated data over a short, finite period of time. A site’s authority may rapidly rise and fall depending on what the blogosphere is discussing at the moment, and how often a site produces content being referenced by other sites.

The new Authority calculation differs from the past version, which measured linking behavior over a longer 6 month timeframe. Links in blogrolls don’t count towards Authority.

Nextbigfuture today ranks number 2 in the topic of Science, just behind Universe Today and ahead of NASASpaceflight.com

Nextbigfuture is also 17th in the Green topic and is ranked 304th on overall authority.

January 12, 2014

Carnival of Space 336

The Carnival of Space 336 is up at Photos to Space

Universe Today - If you’re looking for something truly unique, then check out the cosmic menage aux trois ferreted out by a team of international astronomers using the Green Bank Telescope (GBT). This unusual group located in the constellation of Taurus includes a pulsar which is orbited by a pair of white dwarf stars. It’s the first time researchers have identified a triple star system containing a pulsar and the team has already employed the clock-like precision of the pulsar’s beat to observe the effects of gravitational interactions.

Universe Today - NASA announced today that the Obama administration has approved NASA’s request for an extension of operations for the International Space Station for an additional four years to 2024. This means work on board the orbiting laboratory will continue at least for another decade.

Power climbers are getting lighter and stronger

Since MIT spinout Atlas Devices’ flagship product, the Atlas Powered Rope Ascender (APA), first hit the market in 2007, it’s been touted by media as a real-world version of Batman’s famed utility-belt grappling gun: At the pull of a trigger, the handheld device can hoist two people about 30 stories up a rope in 30 seconds.

The latest version, released in 2010, dubbed the APA-5 — developed with funding from the Office of Naval Research’s Tech Solutions Program — weighs roughly 20 pounds and can lift up to 600 pounds at speeds of up to several feet per second.

Originally, for instance, when power ascension was more novel, users requested an ascension pace of 10 feet per second. But Atlas found that as soon as you maneuver over, say, more dangerous terrain or over edge of a wall, going that fast could mean crashes and injuries. So for some customers that operate in dangerous terrain, they compensated with slower speeds, but a higher lifting capacity — which was, in fact, beneficial, Ball says. The device can also now be submerged in water for maritime use.

Innovation also occurs at the material level, Ball says. For example, Atlas recently made the switch to more advanced ropes that have higher tensile strength, with smaller diameters. “To carry a 200-foot section of rope was up to 15 pounds; now it’s closer to 8 pounds,” Ball says. “We’re always trying to find better ways to accomplish things.”

Audi has a nearly production ready book sized brain for self driving cars

Technology Review reports that Audi showed a book-sized circuit board computer at CES 2014 (Consumer Electronic Show) capable of driving a car could help the technology reach the mass market.

Audi claims the computer, called zFAS, represents a significant advance in automation technology because it is compact enough to fit into existing vehicles without compromising design.

Several different Audi vehicles equipped with zFAS drove themselves onto the stage during the presentation, and a new concept car designed to showcase it was also introduced.

The car, called the Audi Sport Quattro Laserlight, is capable of what Ulrich calls “piloted driving” but betrays no outward sign of being different from a conventional vehicle.

“At CES one year ago, the trunk of the demo cars was still full of cables and electronics,” said Audi’s chief technical officer, Ulrich Hackenberg, about the company’s automated driving technology. “The prototype period is almost over. Now it’s time to get ready for serious production.

Long and mid-range radar systems, several video cameras, a laser scanner, and ultrasonic distance sensors on the front and sides of the car are all small enough to be hidden from view.

Hands free: The Audi Sport Quattro Laserlight concept car features compact sensor and computing technology that lets the car pilot itself.

Low-cost materials could make storing hours of power from a wind farm economically feasible

Harvard University researchers say they’ve developed a new type of battery that could make it economical to store a couple of days of electricity from wind farms and other sources of power. The new battery, which is described in the journal Nature, is based on an organic molecule—called a quinone—that’s found in plants such as rhubarb and can be cheaply synthesized from crude oil. The molecules could reduce, by two-thirds, the cost of energy storage materials in a type of battery called a flow battery, which is particularly well suited to storing large amounts of energy.

The energy storage materials account for only a fraction of a flow battery’s total cost. Vanadium, the material typically used now, costs about $80 per kilowatt-hour. But that’s high enough to make hitting the $100 target for the whole system impossible. Michael Aziz, a professor of materials and energy technologies at Harvard University who led the work, says the quinones will cut the energy storage material costs down to just $27 per kilowatt-hour. Together with other recent advances in bringing down the cost of the rest of the system, he says, this could put the DOE target in reach.

Studies indicate that one to two days' worth of storage is required for making solar and wind dispatchable through the electrical grid. To store 50 hours of energy from a 1-megawatt power capacity wind turbine (50 megawatt-hours), for example, a possible solution would be to buy traditional batteries with 50 megawatt-hours of energy storage, but they'd come with 50 megawatts of power capacity. Paying for 50 megawatts of power capacity when only 1 megawatt is necessary makes little economic sense.

Liquid energy: Novel energy storage materials flow from the white containers shown here into a fuel-cell like device in the foreground, where they generate electricity.

Nature - A metal-free organic–inorganic aqueous flow battery

US Wind Power subsidies are paused but they continue for the ten years after construction

the Wind Production Tax Credit (PTC) will expire on Jan. 1, 2014, but it will keep going for the first ten years of operation after the wind power was constructed. So the recently constructed wind power will keep getting subsidized

The PTC is a $0.022 per kilowatt-hour tax credit on the power that new wind farms in the United States generate for the first 10 years of their operation. These farms have to be “under construction” in 2013 to receive the credit, which is different than how it worked over the law’s prior 20-year history.

The average cost for US wind power producers is
8.6 cents per kilowatt hour

For new US nuclear power (about 4 new nuclear plants are being built)
it is 10.8 cents per kilowatt hour (the older nuclear is a lot cheaper since most of the cost for nuclear is the cost of making and financing the plant)

For new coal plants it is
10.0 cents per kilowatt hour (older coal and natural gas are a little bit cheaper but most of their cost is the current price of the coal or natural gas)

For new natural gas plants is is
6.7 cents per kilowatt hour

Canada's former Defence minister Paul Hellyer and his ten years of alien craziness

Paul Theodore Hellyer (90 years old) is a Canadian engineer, politician, writer and commentator who served as Canada's Defence minister and has a publicly declared belief in aliens.

His belief in aliens seems to be a mix of the TV show Stargate SG1 (1997-2007) and the 1997 movie Men in Black.Hellyer apparently missed the project Bluebook TV series of of 1978 and 1979 or he would likely have come out as a believer in aliens before 2004.

Hellyer’s beliefs include the following details:

* Most aliens come from other star systems, although there are some living on Venus, Mars and Saturn’s moon.
* There have been four species of aliens visiting our planet for thousands of years.
* There are between two and twelve total species of aliens (although some place the number closer to 80). Some look just like humans, while others appear more like the creatures portrayed in popular culture.
* Most alien species have benevolent intentions toward humanity, although a handful have ulterior motives.
* One alien species, known as the “Tall Whites” is working with the U.S. Air Force in Nevada and has been known to pass for humans in public.
* The “federation” of alien species has vowed not to intervene in human affairs unless they are invited to.
* The federation is disappointed in the way humans have treated the planet.
* Aliens technology is far more advanced. They have given us LED lights, microchips and Kevlar vests, but would be far more helpful if we weren’t warmongers.
* the aliens get here via a portal in the Andes mountains in Peru

He says he has never met an alien, but has seen a UFO near his cabin on Ontario’s Lake Muskoka.

In early September 2005, Hellyer made headlines by publicly announcing that he believed in the existence of UFOs. On 25 September 2005, he was an invited speaker at an exopolitics conference in Toronto, where he told the audience that he had seen a UFO one night with his late wife and some friends. He said that, although he had discounted the experience at the time, he had kept an open mind to it. He said that he started taking the issue much more seriously after watching ABC's Peter Jennings' UFO special in February 2005.

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