March 01, 2014

Perlman's Artemis pCell Wireless real time beamforming will massively boost wireless communication speed and enable wireless power revolutin

Steve Perlman's Artemis Wireless technology will offer a solution to the "spectrum crunch" problem. From a mobile consumer's standpoint, it'll just seem like the next step in evolution from 4G to 5G - much faster, more consistent speeds, and with lower latency.

New analysis is from Imran Akbars website. I believe Imran Akbar is the VP of Motorola Solutions.

The theory behind the Perlman pCell system system is referred to as "network MIMO" or "cooperative MIMO" in the literature and "coordinated beamforming" in the 3GPP LTE-A specification, and dates back to at least 2001. Artemis has taken techniques that are being proposed for upcoming 5G systems and figured out how to solve all the engineering challenges involved, years ahead of the rest of the industry.

The last slide of the presentation at Columbia says the following:

* "pCell technology is not just limited to communications"
* the "synthesis of a tiny radio-wave bubble in real time software opens up a new wave of applications"

Wireless power transmission will be the next wave of application for real time beamforming.

February 28, 2014

Genetically modified T cells induced complete remissions in 88 percent of advanced leukemia patients treated

Investigators from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center have reported more encouraging news about one of the most exciting methods of cancer treatment today. The largest clinical study ever conducted to date of patients with advanced leukemia found that 88 percent achieved complete remissions after being treated with genetically modified versions of their own immune cells. The results were published today in Science Translational Medicine.

"These extraordinary results demonstrate that cell therapy is a powerful treatment for patients who have exhausted all conventional therapies," said Michel Sadelain, MD, PhD, Director of the Center for Cell Engineering at Memorial Sloan Kettering and one of the study's senior authors. "Our initial findings have held up in a larger cohort of patients, and we are already looking at new clinical studies to advance this novel therapeutic approach in fighting cancer."

Adult B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL), a type of blood cancer that develops in B cells, is difficult to treat because the majority of patients relapse. Patients with relapsed B-ALL have few treatment options; only 30 percent respond to salvage chemotherapy. Without a successful bone marrow transplant, few have any hope of long-term survival.

Brian Wang will be speaking tomorrow at Transhuman Visions in Piedmont- Oakland

Max More and Natasha Vita-More are the Keynote Speakers of TRANSHUMAN VISIONS 2.0 - EAST BAY, plus there’s 15 other speakers: John Smart, Zoltan Istvan, Monica Anderson, Brian Wang, Linda MacDonald Glenn, Michael Annissimov, Grace Walcott, Hank Pellissier, Gray Scott, Dr. Egil Asprem, Kevin Russell, Brad Carmack, Abelard Lindsay, Andres Watson, Gennady Stolyarov II, Wendy Stolyarov, Andrez Gomez Emilsson, and the Terra Nova Robotics Club of Pacifica.

Tickets are still available.

It is at

401 Highland Ave
Piedmont, CA 94611

Saturday, March 1, 2014 from 8:30 AM to 8:30 PM (PST)

Brian Wang will speak at 2:30 - 3:15.

Near Term Transhumanism : Intelligence enhancement

SpaceX has completed the first of three missions to qualify to launch military and spy satellites

Space Exploration Technologies Corp., the start-up rocket-maker headed by billionaire Elon Musk, moved a step closer to launching military and spy satellites this week.

The U.S. Air Force said the Hawthorne, Calif.-based company known as SpaceX has completed the first of three missions needed to qualify for carrying military and intelligence satellites, which are generally bigger and more expensive than their commercial counterparts.

The Sept. 29 liftoff of the upgraded Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., launched civilian satellites Cassiope, CUSat, Dande and Popacs into orbit, the mission nevertheless counted toward military certification, the service said in a news release.

Russia invades Crimea in the Ukraine

Ukraine accused Russia of staging an "armed invasion" of Crimea on Friday.

Russia has admitted that its troops are in Crimea in the Ukraine Eight Russian transport planes landed in Crimea Peninsula in southern Ukraine with unknown cargo.

Unidentified armed men were patrolling outside of Crimea's main airport early Friday while gunmen were also reported to have seized another airfield on the southwest of the peninsula where ethnic Russians are a majority and where pro-Moscow sentiment runs high.

Russian President Vladimir Putin this week stoked concerns that Moscow might use its military might to sway the outcome of Ukraine's three-month standoff by ordering snap combat drills near its border involving 150,000 troops and nearly 900 tanks.

Russian armored vehicles bearing the nation's tricolor rumbled across Crimea and men described as Russian troops took position at airports and a coast guard base.

Fully Rejuvanating bodies two to four times for life extension to 180-280 years

Robert Freitas work on using nanomedicine to achieve lives that only end when fatal accidents occur.

Robert had a chart that showed the improvement in life expectancy by decade and the sources.

Sanitation (1890-1915)
Vaccines (1920-1935)

Notice that none of the big three here were purposely kept from the poor in the developed countries or from the poor countries. Many poor countries still do not have good sanitation but that was not because it was kept from them. The poor countries did have it together to make the infrastructure and in some cases still have not built the sanitation infrastructure.

Also, Many vaccines had an issue getting to places without refrigeration. This is still the case in some places but there are solutions coming. Making refrigeration using wireless cell tower power and making vaccines that do not need refrigeration.

Modern medicine did pretty much fix AIDS. AIDS dropped the life expectancy in some African countries by 20 years from 60 to 40 years or less. That is now reverted back to 60 years. The AIDS cocktail of drugs is only $100/year (thanks to the Pharma companies and Bill Gates for accelerating the low cost AIDS treatment).

Note that the rate of Change in Life Expectancy soared from 0.8 to 4 years per decade during 1890 to 1900, a fivefold increase in a 10 year calendar span. The rate jumped from 2 to 6 years per decade during 1910 to 1925, a threefold increase in a 15 year calendar span. So we know it’s possible to see very rapid increases in the rate of Change in Life Expectancy, when new technology is brought to bear on the problem. In other words, history tells us that the current 2.3 year per decade rate of progress could plausibly quadruple to the “magic” 10 years per decade threshold, in the space of just 10-20 years from today, if new resources and new medical technologies are focused on improving human longevity.

Next Months launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 will have landing legs as Spacex shifts to the eventual goal reusable boosters that are many times cheaper

Universe Today - The next commercial SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that’s set to launch in March carrying an unmanned Dragon cargo vessel will also be equipped with a quartet of landing legs in a key test that will one day lead to cheaper, reusable boosters, announced Elon Musk, the company’s founder and CEO.

Blastoff of the upgraded Falcon 9 on the Dragon CRS-3 flight is currently slated for March 16 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida on a resupply mission to bring vital supplies to the International Space Station (ISS) in low Earth orbit for NASA.

“Mounting landing legs (~60 ft span) to Falcon 9 for next month’s Space Station servicing flight,” Musk tweeted, along with the up close photos above and below.

The Bitcoining of the $5 trillion Foreign Exchange Market

John Fitzpatrick and his partners are planning to spend $50 billion and use a gigawatt of energy to power an Exaflop computer data center to game the $5 trillion foreign exchange market. Foreign exchange markets are 500 times bigger than the Bitcoin market. Foreign exchange affects the price of goods and services imported and exported to other countries. Foreign exchange manipulation will affect the price that you pay when you go to buy stuff at Walmart or other stores. Gaming this system will affect what is in your wallet and bank account.

Technically it seems the plan is sound, but it is in like the Bitcoin mining arms race applied to Foreign Exchange. Bitcoin miners would get progressively more powerful computers to capture financial gains in the Bitcoin market. Previously high frequency and computer traders would use less powerful supercomputers to direct their market trading.

Now one of the players is going nuclear in the financial computer arms race.

The big participants in the foreign exchange market are not defenseless.

They are countries, big hedge funds, banks etc...

About 70% to 90% of the foreign exchange transactions are speculative. In other words, the person or institution that bought or sold the currency has no plan to actually take delivery of the currency in the end; rather, they were solely speculating on the movement of that particular currency.

Evacuation deaths in Japan in 2011 were 2911

The Mainichi said statistics from Fukushima Prefecture as of Nov. 30 show 1,605 Fukushima residents died in the prolonged evacuation of the area, compared with 1,603 in the prefecture who died in the earthquake and tsunami. Additionally, 878 indirect deaths were reported in Miyagi Prefecture and 428 in Iwate Prefecture, municipalities adjacent to Fukushima. This was a total of 2911 deaths from Fukushima evacuations.

The evacuation deaths included those unable to obtain medical care in the confusion, as well as those who committed suicide or developed fatal illnesses.

Almost 16,000 people died across Japan in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Certain technical precision matters in regards to nuclear energy and the causes of cancer.

Cancer naturally kills about 40% of the population. So getting clear signals on what is or is not a cancer problem in the third decimal place or less is a problem.

February 27, 2014

John Fitzpatrick is forming a company to make an Exaflop computer this year using 1000 megawatts of power, costing $50 billion and using Intel processors

John Fitzpatrick is in the midst of forming a company that he says will provide competitively priced commodity cloud-based services on what he’s calling the world’s first Exaflop Supercomputer.

He will use foreign currency trading as the main application.

This is the Bitcoin mining of the Foreign Exchange market

The machine will cost $50 billion. Financed with short term notes.

The datacenter is set to be in the Port of Morrow in Oregon and will based on a modular design with with 1000 MegaWatts of clean Fuel Cell Power and One ExaFlop of Intel High Performance Computing technologies inside with one Exabyte of storage.

He will have realtime dynamic modeling for constantly adjusted models.

This is to game the $5 trillion foreign exchange market.

He believes he can scale a dynamic modeling software to achieve this objective.

Is Buying healthcare for pussies and cowards ?

Whenever the subject of life extension is brought up, especially radical life extension, someone brings up the idea of "Why are you afraid of dying ? ".

Ok, Mr. Not Afraid of Dying. Do you have a healthplan ? Do you go to the doctor ? Do you ever go to a "hospital" ? It seems to me that you are afraid of dying.

The Daily Show covered the Philosophy of Russians to live Risky Lifestyle and not to be a Pussy

Russian men have a life expectancy of 62.8 years.
US men have a life expectancy of 77.4 years.

February 26, 2014

TESS exoplanet mission in 2017 and James Webb Space Telescope in 2018

The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is an Explorer-class planet finder. In the first-ever spaceborne all-sky transit survey, TESS will identify planets ranging from Earth-sized to gas giants, orbiting a wide range of stellar types and orbital distances. The principal goal of the TESS mission is to detect small planets with bright host stars in the solar neighborhood, so that detailed characterizations of the planets and their atmospheres can be performed. TESS, along with the Neutron star Interior Composition ExploreR (NICER), had been selected for launch in 2017

TESS will monitor the brightnesses of more than 500,000 stars during a two year mission, searching for temporary drops in brightness caused by planetary transits. Transits occur when a planet’s orbit carries it directly in front of its parent star as viewed from Earth. TESS is expected to catalog more than 3000 transiting exoplanet candidates, including a sample of ~500 Earth-sized and ‘Super Earth’ planets, with radii less than twice that of the Earth. TESS will detect small rock-and-ice planets orbiting a diverse range of stellar types and covering a wide span of orbital periods, including rocky worlds in the habitable zones of their host stars.

TESS stars will be 30-100 times brighter than those surveyed by the Kepler satellite; thus,TESS planets should be far easier to characterize with follow-up observations. These follow-up observations will provide refined measurements of the planet masses, sizes, densities, and atmospheric properties.

TESS will provide prime targets for further, more detailed characterization with the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), as well as other large ground-based and space-based telescopes of the future. TESS's legacy will be a catalog of the nearest and brightest stars hosting transiting exoplanets, which will comprise the most favorable targets for detailed investigations in the coming decades.

A 31 page (27 megabyte presentation, discusses the science of exoplanet discovery and the latest confirmation of 715 exoplanets.

715 Newly Verified Planets More Than Triples the Number of Confirmed Kepler Planets

NASA's Kepler Space telescope has confirmed..715 new planets... orbit 305 stars, revealing multiple-planet systems much like our own solar system. Nearly 95 percent of these planets are smaller than Neptune, which is almost four times the size of Earth.

The histogram shows the number of planet discoveries by year for roughly the past two decades of the exoplanet search. The blue bar shows previous planet discoveries, the red bar shows previous Kepler planet discoveries, the gold bar displays the 715 new planets verified by multiplicity.
Image Credit: NASA Ames/SETI/J Rowe

The histogram shows the number of planets by size for all known exoplanets. The blue bars on the histogram represents all the exoplanets known, by size, before the Kepler Planet Bonanza announcement on Feb. 26, 2014. The gold bars on the histogram represent Kepler's newly-verified planets.
Image Credit: NASA Ames/W Stenzel

Elon Musk could disrupt battery market while it enables higher electric car production and allow domination across transportion and energy

Telsa will be making a Model X crossover SUV available late this year or early 2015, followed in 2016 by the entry-level “Gen 3” platform, which Musk has said will retail for about $35,000, or half the price of a Model S. This is the car Musk is counting on to take EVs mainstream.

Musk wants Tesla to make its own lithium-ion batteries on a grand scale (30 gigawatt hours of production capacity), preferably in the United States. This could cut battery costs by up to 40%, so investors are eager for an update.

Elon plans to provide details on a proposed “gigafactory” to produce the batteries needed to make more affordable vehicles. With each Tesla capable of storing enough energy to power the average house for 3.5 days, a growing population of Tesla cars represents a significant increase in how much electricity can be held in a country's infrastructure.

Homeowners might use battery storage to further reduce their dependence on utilities and potentially sell electricity back to the grid.

While still considered too expensive for wide-scale adoption, a drastic reduction in the cost of home energy storage systems would be a “game changer,” American Electric Power Co. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Nick Akins said during an interview last year. Batteries allow customers with solar panels to store energy during the day and then tap the excess overnight when the sun goes down, lessening a homeowner's dependence on the grid.

China and Japans conflict over five small islands

Japan argues that the islands were vacant until 1895, when the Japanese government laid claim to them. Japanese nationals used and lived on them in the following decades—a fish-processing plant owned by a Japanese national once chugged away here. China did not dispute Japan’s claim to the islands during this period. Nor did China object when the United States took control of them during the occupation of Japan starting in 1945. The U.S. handed the islands back to Japan in 1972.

But since the early ’70s, China has argued that Japan seized the islands in violation of international law. China argues it owned the islands before 1895, based on some ancient Chinese texts and maps that it says show that the Chinese regarded the islands as theirs, which would mean Japan’s seizure of the islands violated China’s rights.

The international law that governs territorial disputes favors Japan. When no one occupies or controls a piece of territory, it is deemed terra nullius (“land belonging to no one”).

The rules of international law to which both sides appeal embody the power relationships that existed at the time of their emergence centuries ago. At that time, the great powers raced around the world claiming territories that were either unoccupied or occupied by native tribes. With a lot of territory to snap up, it made sense for them to implicitly agree not to contest one another’s conquests so that they could all concentrate on seizing the areas that were up for grabs.

Plans for the US Army to shrink to 440-450,000 soldiers which would be the smaller than 1999 at 479,000 and smallest since 1940

The Pentagon said on Monday it would shrink the U.S. Army to pre-World War Two levels, eliminate the popular A-10 aircraft and reduce military benefits in order to meet 2015 spending caps. The military has been ordered to be prepared to decisively win one conflict while holding off an adversary’s aspirations in a second until sufficient forces could be mobilized and redeployed to win there.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, previewing the Pentagon's ideas on how to adapt to government belt-tightening, said the defense budget due out next week would be the first to look beyond 13 years of conflict, shifting away from long-term ground wars like Iraq and Afghanistan.

The cuts come as the Pentagon is attempting to absorb nearly a trillion dollars in reductions to projected spending over a decade. A two-year bipartisan budget deal in December eased some of the pressure on the department, but still cut its planned spending by $31 billion in 2014 and another $45 billion in 2015.

The Pentagon's budget for the 2015 fiscal year beginning in October is an estimated $496 billion, about the same amount as the current fiscal year. Beginning in 2016, the department's budget is slated to assume even larger spending cuts, an event Hagel said could jeopardize national security.

Hagel said the Pentagon plans to reduce the size of the Army to between 440,000 and 450,000 soldiers. The Army is currently about 520,000 soldiers and had been planning to draw down to about 490,000 in the coming year.

A reduction to 450,000 would be the Army's smallest size since 1940, before the United States entered World War Two, when it counted a troop strength of 267,767, according to Army figures. The Army's previous post-World War Two low was 479,426 in 1999.

Google Eric Schmidt talks to Glenn Beck about Ray Kurzweil and Artificial General Intelligence

Glenn Beck has read Ray Kurzweil's books and Eric Schmidt's new book.
Glenn expects Eric to defend or discuss the broader goals of human level or greater than human level Artificial General Intelligence.

Eric in the interview speaks cautiously that AGI is really hard and we don't know many things about how or if we get there or when.

Eric feels that the overriding principle should be that computers and machines should service the interests and make things better for people.

February 25, 2014

Robot Cargo Ships could have 20-50% lower operating costs

Rolls-Royce is designing unmanned cargo ships. Control centers will command hundreds of crewless ships.

Drone ships would be safer, cheaper and less polluting for the $375 billion shipping industry that carries 90 percent of world trade, Rolls-Royce says. They might be deployed in regions such as the Baltic Sea within a decade, while regulatory hurdles and industry and union skepticism about cost and safety will slow global adoption, said Oskar Levander, the company’s vice president of innovation in marine engineering and technology.

Researchers are preparing the prototype for simulated sea trials to assess the costs and benefits, which will finish next year

The company’s schematics show vessels loaded with containers from front to back, without the bridge structure where the crew lives. By replacing the bridge -- along with the other systems that support the crew, such as electricity, air conditioning, water and sewage -- with more cargo, ships can cut costs and boost revenue. The ships would be 5 percent lighter before loading cargo and would burn 12 percent to 15 percent less fuel.

Crew costs of $3,299 a day account for about 44 percent of total operating expenses for a large container ship.

Space Elevators: An Assessment of the Technological Feasibility and the Way Forward

The International Academy of Astronautics has just published its 300+page multi-year study about Space Elevators. The conclusion was “Space Elevators Seem Feasible”.

With carbon nanotubes or graphene the Earth Based space elevators are feasible but they need millions of tons of mostly atomically precise material.

They achieve access to orbit for the cost of electricity to operate the elevator.

For a space elevator, the cost varies according to the design. Bradley C. Edwards received funding from NIAC from 2001 to 2003 to write a paper, describing a space elevator design. In it he stated that: "The first space elevator would reduce lift costs immediately to $100 per pound" ($220/kg).

The gravitational potential energy of any object in geosynchronous orbit (GEO), relative to the surface of the earth, is about 50 MJ (15 kWh) of energy per kilogram (see geosynchronous orbit for details). Using wholesale electricity prices for 2008 to 2009, and the current 0.5% efficiency of power beaming, a space elevator would require USD 220/kg just in electrical costs. Dr. Edwards expects technical advances to increase the efficiency to 2%, which would be USD55/kg.

The comparison would be to use rockets, planes, towers and skyhooks that also leverage the same nanomaterials.

Achieving fully reusable rockets made out of carbon nanotubes and graphene would enable higher payload fraction.

$20-100/kg is possible with a fully reusable Spacex Falcon Heavy.

Final Olympic Medal Count Compared to Predictions

Three weeks ago we covered some predictions for the 2014 Winter Olympics medal count. The Olympics are done

The distribution of events did make it tougher to extrapolate as Russia did far better in the last half of the games.

Russia outperformed. Russia picked up 2 to 5 extra medals (or at least higher medals) due to questionable judging.
The Netherlands did better than expected.
South Korea disappointed.

The original medal projections from Sports Myriad were: Norway 39, USA 35, Canada 30, Russia 26, Germany 23, Austria 22, South Korea 15, Netherlands 14, France 12, Switzerland 11, Sweden 10

A third of the way in Sports Myriad projections were for a final medal count would be: Norway 34, USA 31, Canada 29, Russia 28, Austria 23, Germany 21, Netherlands 18, France 13, Sweden 13, South Korea 11, Switzerland 11

Russia +7
Norway -13
USA -7
Canada -5
Netherlands +10
South Korea -7
Germany -4

Stem cell therapy could be used to help older patients recover from muscular injuries, for example from falls, or perhaps even weakness following surgery

Singularity Hub - Stem cell therapy could be used to help older patients recover from muscular injuries, for example from falls, or perhaps even weakness following surgery.

Making old stem cells as productive as young stem cells

A biological process called the p38 MAP kinase pathway, which cues stem cells to become muscle progenitor cells, seemed to account for the older stem cells’ diminished productivity. So the researchers administered a drug to safeguard the cells against that process and then allowed them to proliferate in a gooey hydrogel base.

When these stem cells were re-introduced into the elderly mice, the animals became stronger.

Nature Medicine - Rejuvenation of the muscle stem cell population restores strength to injured aged muscles

The elderly often suffer from progressive muscle weakness and regenerative failure. We demonstrate that muscle regeneration is impaired with aging owing in part to a cell-autonomous functional decline in skeletal muscle stem cells (MuSCs). Two-thirds of MuSCs from aged mice are intrinsically defective relative to MuSCs from young mice, with reduced capacity to repair myofibers and repopulate the stem cell reservoir in vivo following transplantation. This deficiency is correlated with a higher incidence of cells that express senescence markers and is due to elevated activity of the p38α and p38β mitogen-activated kinase pathway. We show that these limitations cannot be overcome by transplantation into the microenvironment of young recipient muscles. In contrast, subjecting the MuSC population from aged mice to transient inhibition of p38α and p38β in conjunction with culture on soft hydrogel substrates rapidly expands the residual functional MuSC population from aged mice, rejuvenating its potential for regeneration and serial transplantation as well as strengthening of damaged muscles of aged mice. These findings reveal a synergy between biophysical and biochemical cues that provides a paradigm for a localized autologous muscle stem cell therapy for the elderly.

Next generation Super eggs made from plant proteins for half the price of real eggs

Startup Hampton Creek’s mission is to find plant proteins that can replace eggs in spreads, sauces, baked goods, and breakfast favorites. With the help of a few million in venture funding, and an investment from Bill Gates, the company’s scientists have spent the last year scouring the world’s flora with start-up scrappiness. So far, they’ve been surprisingly successful.

22 Functions, Thousands of Plants

One of Hampton Creek’s key innovations has simply been to look at the food industry from a slightly different perspective. The company’s scientists have approached the egg not as an indivisible unit but rather as a highly optimized tool capable of all sorts of different culinary tricks. “The reason why a chicken egg is great is because it has 22 different functionalities,” Tetrick explains. But different foods use different functionalities. In mayonnaise, the egg’s powers of emulsification and coagulation are key. In baked goods, the egg has other roles: aeration, browning, binding, and texture.

Instead of finding a single plant protein that can replicate all 22 of the egg’s functions, Hampton Creek’s scientists look for plants that can satisfy the criteria for just one of these edible applications. While Yellow Pea, for instance, proved to be the perfect fit for mayo, the company’s egg-less cookie dough is made possible by a particular grain of Sorghum

Li Ka-Shing just led a $23 million investment round in Hampton Creek as the company plans a major expansion into the Asian market.

CEO Josh Tetrick sees a huge opportunity to sell his fake eggs for use in packaged baked goods where their taste (bland, in our experience) is less of a drawback, and their cost (48 percent cheaper than conventional eggs) is more of an asset. “The demand is so intense and the partnership we have with Li Ka-Shing’s group is so wildly phenomenal for us, we think it’s important for us to start by the end of this year,” says Tetrick, who will triple his staff as he spins up for the Asia expansion.

G20 and IMF predict world GDP growth of 3.7% in 2014 and 4.0% in 2015

Global growth has strengthened as expected in recent months, largely driven by advanced economies, where easier financial market conditions and gradually improving consumer and business confidence have supported growth. While emerging economies have benefited from the stronger external demand, domestic demand has remained weaker than expected in many of them, reflecting in part tighter financial conditions. Many emerging markets have come under renewed market pressure recently. While the trigger is difficult to identify, events are occurring against the backdrop of weakening emerging economy sentiment, including on China, increased risk aversion, and continued UMP tapering. While global growth is projected to continue increasing, the recovery is uneven and fragile and significant downside risks remain.

The outlook remains broadly as projected in the January WEO, assuming that the impact of the recent financial volatility is short lived. In advanced economies, less fiscal consolidation and relaxed financial conditions will support growth this year, while near-term prospects for emerging economies are broadly unchanged. Thus, global growth is projected to increase to about 3.7% percent in 2014 (from 3 percent in 2013) and 4 percent in 2015, similar to the January 2014 WEO Update.

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 197

The Carnival of Nuclear Energy 197 is up at Hiroshima Syndrome

ANS Nuclear Cafe - Persistent Prejudice Against Nuclear - Can Anything Be Done? Part 2

The second of a series by guest writer Jim Hopf. Unjustified beliefs and attitudes exist concerning nuclear power, regardless of what the scientific community says. Unjust criticism threatens the nuclear energy option and much needs be done to improve the situation.

February 24, 2014

Artificial muscles with a hundred times higher mechanical power than the same length and weight of human muscle for 7.1 horsepower per kilogram

An international team led by The University of Texas at Dallas has discovered that ordinary fishing line and sewing thread can be cheaply converted to powerful artificial muscles. The new muscles can lift a hundred times more weight and generate a hundred times higher mechanical power than the same length and weight of human muscle. Per weight, they can generate 7.1 horsepower per kilogram, about the same mechanical power as a jet engine. The powerful muscles are produced by twisting and coiling high-strength polymer fishing line and sewing thread.

The muscles are powered thermally by temperature changes, which can be produced electrically, by the absorption of light or by the chemical reaction of fuels. Twisting the polymer fiber converts it to a torsional muscle that can spin a heavy rotor to more than 10,000 revolutions per minute. Subsequent additional twisting, so that the polymer fiber coils like a heavily twisted rubber band, produces a muscle that dramatically contracts along its length when heated, and returns to its initial length when cooled. If coiling is in a different twist direction than the initial polymer fiber twist, the muscles instead expand when heated.

Compared to natural muscles, which contract by only about 20 percent, these new muscles can contract by about 50 percent of their length. The muscle strokes also are reversible for millions of cycles as the muscles contract and expand under heavy mechanical loads.

Researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas have created artificial muscles by twisting and coiling ordinary fishing line. Credit: University of Texas at Dallas

Science - Artificial Muscles from Fishing Line and Sewing Thread

Another promising nanoparticle approach to fighting cancer

Boston University is developing a targeted method for delivering drugs directly to cancer tumor cells. Colby and Ekladious are working with polymer-based nanoparticles, originally crafted by Aaron Griset (ENG’10) in 2008, that are absorbed by tumor cells, expand, and release chemotherapy drugs—like microscopic Trojan horses.

The nanoparticles design is comparable to spaghetti and meatballs. Each nanoparticle is composed of squiggly polymer chains, much like spaghetti, that intertwine and compress into smooth, compact spheres. The paclitaxel, or the meatballs, are trapped within this pasta net. When nanoparticles are in a neutral environment (pH 7), they remain stable, but when exposed to a slightly more acidic environment (pH 5), their polymer net loosens, allowing water to enter so that the nanoparticles expand to up to 10 times their original size and release the drug.

G20 pledge to increase world economic growth by 10% over current World GDP growth projections

Finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of 20 have said they will work to grow their collective gross domestic product (GDP) by an additional two percent of world GDP or about $2 trillion over five years. This would be an increase of 10-12% over projected world GDP growth that was expected for the next five years.

The 20 nations that account for roughly 85 percent of the world's economy.

"We will develop ambitious but realistic policies with the aim to lift our collective GDP by more than two percent above the trajectory implied by current policies over the coming five years," the statement said.

The goal proposed by Hockey stemmed from an International Monetary Fund paper prepared for the Sydney meeting. The IMF analysis estimated that if structural reforms were implemented, the global economy could grow by about 0.5 percentage points per year over the next five years. It forecast global growth of 3.75 percent for this year, going up to 4 percent in 2015.

The implementation of the necessary structural reforms for sustainable growth provided much fodder for the leaders in attendance over the weekend, as each nation would have develop its own plan to achieve the fiscal goals.

"If we want to have - not just job creation, but job security - then we all have a responsibility to undertake structural reform," Hockey said.

These reforms include liberalizing product and labor markets, lowering trade barriers, bringing more women into the workforce,and boosting investment in infrastructure.

Harold Ramis - Ghostbuster, Director of Groundhog day and SCTV alumni has died at age 69

The actor and writer-director, known for playing Egon Spengler in the Ghostbusters films and for directing comedies such as Groundhog Day and Caddyshack.

He also wrote Animal House and Meatballs.
He had characters on SCTV like Moe Green.

Moe Green on SCTV

February 23, 2014

Improved Single Photon Detector will enables long distance space communication with 100 times better sensitivity

Long-distance communications in space may be easier now that researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) have designed a clever detector array that can extract more information than usual from single particles of light. The NIST/JPL array-on-a-chip easily identifies the position of the exact detector in a multi-detector system that absorbs an incoming infrared light particle, or photon. That's the norm for digital photography cameras, of course, but a significant improvement in these astonishingly sensitive detectors that can register a single photon. The new device also records the signal timing, as these particular single-photon detectors have always done.

The technology could be useful in optical communications in space. Lasers can transmit only very low light levels across vast distances, so signals need to contain as much information as possible.

One solution is "pulse position modulation" in which a photon is transmitted at different times and positions to encode more than the usual one bit of information. If a light source transmitted photons slightly to the left/right and up/down, for instance, then the new NIST/JPL detector array circuit could decipher the two bits of information encoded in the spatial position of the photon. Additional bits of information could be encoded by using the arrival time of the photon.

Pulse Position Camera - This NIST device, 1.5 by 3 centimeters in outer dimensions, is a prototype receiver for laser communications enabling much higher data rates than conventional systems. Superconducting detectors in the center of the small square chip register the timing and position of single particles of light.

If China Changes its economic growth model then the US will also need to change to a new growth model

Stephen Roach says the days of Sino-US mutual dependency are nearing an end, as China strikes out on its own towards a consumer-led economy. And, if it is to prosper, the US must also find a new growth strategy.

Stephen S. Roach is a faculty member at Yale University and former chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia. An article that appeared in the South China Morning post and is copyrighted The Whitney and Betty MacMillan Centre for International and Area Studies at Yale describes Roach's view of the future of the economies of China and the United States.

In November, 2013 at the third plenum China ratified some 60 reforms. The reforms aimed at altering the behavioural norms of long-insecure Chinese families were especially important - namely, modifications in the one-child family planning and residential permit, or hukou, systems; a shift to market-based interest rates that would boost long depressed yields for Chinese savers; and a 30 per cent tax on state-owned enterprise profits that would provide funding for safety net programmes such as social security and health care.

The third plenum also established a new and powerful implementation mechanism that should be especially effective in putting these reforms into action.

Roach feels the codependent relationship between the US and China as it existed for decades will end. China is locked on a course that will transform it from surplus saving to saving absorption - no longer inclined to lend its capital to the US but increasingly focused on putting its savings to work in building a social safety net and funding the wherewithal of its own populace. Long the world's Ultimate Producer, China is now determined to emerge as a consumer, too.

Rapid advances in robot body, brain and mind

Future of robotics

Massimiliano Versace, director of the Boston University Neuromorphics Lab and CEO of Neurala, Inc., talks about the future of robotics. He specifically talks about the robot body, brain and mind. These three components are advancing rapidly to form the future of robots.

Three ingredients for useful robots are coming.

* smart minds
* powerful brains
* inexpensive bodies

Neurala has GPU based neural networks which are highly parallel, faster than CPU based systems and use cheaper chips.

Neurala has highly parallel GPU based neural networks for better AI and self driving robotics

U.S. Patent Office in February 2014 issued to Neurala, Inc. a patent that covers brain-based computational models, often called Artificial Neural Networks (ANN) running on graphic processing units (GPU). The invention is seen as an important foundation for real-time artificial intelligence and robotics applications.

Humans outperform computers in many natural tasks, including vision and language processing, because the brain efficiently processes many inputs, learns, and recognizes patterns. Computers, however, process only one input at a time on each CPU core and then make sequential calculations. Therefore, even fast CPUs cannot match the power of the human brain.

Neurala’s breakthrough, which dates back to 2006, was to see that GPUs, which were originally designed for computer games and 3D graphics, could be used to process multiple inputs simultaneously and to simulate neural networks. Cutting-edge artificial intelligence and ANNs are dramatically accelerated on GPUs, which can handle many more instructions per clock cycle than a computer’s central processing unit (CPU). As a result, ANNs that can perform interesting tasks can be written to run in real-time using a low-cost graphic processing card found in many consumer products.

“Our invention makes it possible for robots and other devices to use artificial intelligence in situations in which execution time is critical. It will be fundamental for our effort to build brains for robots that interact with the world and with humans in real-time,” said Massimiliano Versace, CEO and co-founder of Neurala.

The robot's brain processes visual information in real time, enabling it to do more than simply navigate from one spot to another. This means robots could one day be trusted to make their own decisions when navigating changing terrain on Mars. The Neurala GPU networks are already ten times faster than regular CPU based networks.

* self driving flying drones
* self driving cars
* mostly self guided ground robots

Applied for navigating robots on Mars

Surface exploration of planetary environments with current robotic technologies relies heavily on human control and power-hungry active sensors to perform even the most elementary low-level functions. Ideally, a robot should be capable of autonomously exploring and interacting within an unknown environment without relying on human input or suboptimal sensors. Behaviors such as exploration of unknown environments, memorizing locations of obstacles or objects, building and updating a representation of the environment, and returning to a safe location, are all tasks that constitute typical activities efficiently performed by animals on a daily basis. Phase I of this NASA STTR focused on design of an adaptive robotic multi-component neural system that captures the behavior of several brain areas responsible for perceptual, cognitive, emotional, and motor behaviors. This system makes use of passive, potentially unreliable sensors (analogous to animal visual and vestibular systems) to learn while navigating unknown environments as well as build usable and correctable representations of these environments without requiring a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). In Phase I, Neurala and the Boston University Neuromorphics Lab, constructed a virtual robot, or animat, to be developed and tested in an extraterrestrial virtual environment. The animat used passive sensors to perform a spatial exploration task. The animat started exploring from a recharging base, autonomously planned where to go based on past exploration and its current motivation, developed and corrected an internal map of the environment with the locations of obstacles, selected the shortest path of return to its recharging base before battery depletion, then extracted the resulting explored map into a human-readable format.

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