April 26, 2014

Thousands of ant like robots have been magnetically controlled and coordinated to build tower structures -Full control of ant like builder robots

Wong-Foy has written software to choreograph the movement of over 1,000 tiny robots in a complex circulating pattern. That shows it should be possible to have them work in large teams, he says. SRI’s microworkers are simple: just small magnetic platforms with simple wire arms on top. They can move only when placed on a surface with a specific pattern of electrical circuits inside. Sending current through the coils beneath exerts a force on the magnets and steers the robots around.

Wong-Foy, a senior research engineer at SRI, has built an army of magnetically steered workers to test the idea that “microrobots” could be a better way to assemble electronics components, or to build other small structures.

Wong-Foy’s robotic workers have already proved capable of building towers 30 centimeters long from carbon rods, and other platforms able to support a kilogram of weight. The robots can work with glass, metal, wood, and electronic components. In one demonstration, they made a carbon truss structure with wires and colored LEDs mixed in to serve as the lab’s Christmas tree.

The devices can move at 35 cm/second (1.2 feet per second).

Rod robots, Glue robots and ultraviolet light for curing the glue work together.

Watch the full amazing video

Microscale 3-D Printing that mixes inks with living cells to semiconductors and have already formed a complex network of blood vessels which is key for fabbing larger organs

What if 3-D printers could use a wide assortment of different materials, from living cells to semiconductors, mixing and matching the “inks” with precision?

Jennifer Lewis, a materials scientist at Harvard University, is developing the chemistry and machines to make that possible. She prints intricately shaped objects from “the ground up,” precisely adding materials that are useful for their mechanical properties, electrical conductivity, or optical traits. This means 3-D printing technology could make objects that sense and respond to their environment. “Integrating form and function,” she says, “is the next big thing that needs to happen in 3-D printing.”

Last year, Lewis and her students showed they could print the microscopic electrodes and other components needed for tiny lithium-ion batteries. Other projects include printed sensors fabricated on plastic patches that athletes could one day wear to detect concussions and measure violent impacts. Most recently, her group printed biological tissue interwoven with a complex network of blood vessels. To do this, the researchers had to make inks out of various types of cells and the materials that form the matrix supporting them. The work addresses one of the lingering challenges in creating artificial organs for drug testing or, someday, for use as replacement parts: how to create a vascular system to keep the cells alive.

Top: Inks made of silver nanoparticles are used to print electrodes as small as a few micrometers.
Bottom: As in the other 3-D printing processes, the operation is controlled and monitored by computers.

IBMs heated tip etching system will revolutionize chip prototyping

IBMs microscopic 3D printer is being licensed to Zurich startup SwissLitho AG, which calls it the NanoFrazor -- a play on words between the English word razor and the German word for "milling machine," frase. The NanoFrazor, which behaves like a nanometer resolution milling machine, outperforms e-beams in many ways but costs a fraction of the price -- around $500,000, as opposed to to e-beams, which cost from $1.5 million to as much as $30 million.

"The NanoFrazor is great for rapid prototyping of all sorts of applications," Rawlings told EE Times. "It runs open loop in order to achieve scan speeds of millimeters per second and uses a specialized heated tip, mounted on a bendable cantilever, that is 700 nanometers long, but just 10 nanometers in radius at its tip."

Line width accuracy is 10 nm, but 3D depth accuracy is one nm, while reading back the measured depth of patterns has sub-nanometer accuracy. IBM hopes to be prototyping tunneling field-effect transistors (FETs) in III-V and graphene materials by the end of 2014, using a lithographic transfer technique.

IBM is also experimenting with using its 3D printing techniques in quantum computing applications where it will create patterns to control and manipulate light on-chip in ways not possible with traditional lithography. It claims one of the unique properties of the system for quantum prototypes is that 3D patterns can be formed to guide light around smooth corners, thereby reducing light scattering problems in lightguides.

Previously Nextbigfuture covered that IBM used the Nanofrazor system to etch a microscopic magazine cover just 11-by-14 microns (small enough to fit 2,000 on a single grain of salt). The National Geographic Kids will be receiving the Guinness World Record for smallest magazine cover at the show, which took IBM's 3D printer just 10 minutes to create.

The heated tip of the 3D printing mechanism is 700 nanometers long but just 10 nanometers at its tip and can be positioned with nanometer resolution.(Source: IBM)

Superconducting Qubit Array could be a non-Dwave quantum computer approach that is nearly ready to scale

A new five-qubit array from UCSB’s Martinis Group is on the threshold of making a quantum computer technologically feasible to build

“Even the best state-of-the-art [quantum computer] hardware is unreliable. Our paper shows that for the first time reliability has been reached.”

While the Martinis Group has shown logic operations at the threshold, the array must operate below the threshold to provide an acceptable margin of error. “Qubits are faulty, so error correction is necessary,” said graduate student and co-lead author Julian Kelly who worked on the five-qubit array.

“We need to improve and we would like to scale up to larger systems,” said lead author Rami Barends, a postdoctoral fellow with the group. “The intrinsic physics of control and coupling won’t have to change but the engineering around it is going to be a big challenge.”

a, Optical image of the integrated Josephson quantum processor, consisting of aluminium (dark) on sapphire (light). The five cross-shaped devices (Q0–Q4) are the Xmon variant of the transmon qubits30, placed in a linear array. To the left of the qubits are five meandering coplanar waveguide resonators used for individual state readout. Control wiring is brought in from the contact pads at the edge of the chip, ending at the right of the qubits. b, Circuit diagram. Our architecture uses direct, nearest-neighbour coupling of the qubits (red/orange), made possible by the nodal connectivity of the Xmon qubit. Using a single readout line, each qubit can be measured using frequency-domain multiplexing (blue). Individual qubits are driven through capacitively coupled microwave control lines (XY), and frequency control is achieved through inductively coupled d.c. lines (Z) (violet). c, Schematic representation of an entangling operation using a controlled-phase gate with unitary representation UCZ; (I) qubits at rest, at distinct frequencies with minimal interaction; (II) when brought near resonance, the state-dependent frequency shift brings about a rotation conditional on the qubit states; (III) qubits are returned to their rest frequency.

Nature - Superconducting quantum circuits at the surface code threshold for fault tolerance

April 25, 2014

Spacex provides more information on a soft water landing and goals of lowering costs by ten times

After flying to the edge of space, a spent SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket booster successfully returned to Earth, deployed its landing legs, and hovered for a moment. The ability, known as a soft landing, could allow the company to dramatically reduce the cost of spaceflight and one day land rockets on Mars.

Because it came down at a spot in the Atlantic Ocean, SpaceX’s rocket had nothing solid to land on. It crashed into the ocean and was lost to large waves from a storm before the company could get a boat out to recover it. But in the next few months, SpaceX hopes to reproduce the achievement.

“We expect to get more and more precise with each landing. If all goes well, I am optimistic that we can land a stage back at Cape Canaveral at the end of the year,” said entrepreneur and SpaceX founder Elon Musk, during a press conference Apr. 25 in Washington D.C.

By recovering the spent stages, SpaceX predicts it could reduce the cost of their launches, currently around $60 million per flight, by as much as 70 percent. Ultimately they target reducing costs by about ten times.

SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell talks at the event last summer and discussed the price points for a reusable Falcon 9. The comments begin at the 13:17 mark.

“If we get this right, and we’re trying very hard to get this right, we’re looking at launches to be in the 5 to 7 million dollar range, which would really change things dramatically,” Shotwell said.

The full transcript of the talk is here

Spacex is developing a reusable launch vehicle where really the only cost associated with that vehicle - the non recurring, excuse me the initial investment in the stages themselves but the cost of fuel and the mission operations. So if we get this right - and were trying really hard to get this right - "we're looking at launches to be in the five to seven million dollar range , which would really change things dramatically.

From a commercial perspective Falcon Heavy, it's an over-sized vehicle. Its got more capacity than folks in this room need - unless we wanna put two of the biggest satellites on this vehicle and fly them both to GTO. That would yield a pretty respectable price for folks. But what we are really trying to do is, push the bounds of technology with respect to size of launch vehicles, and see if we can put some really interesting things into the solar system and hopefully land some things on Mars as well. This will be the largest vehicle flying since the Saturn moon rockets. We're sandbagging the GTO-numbers, actually analytically it looks like were gonna take 19 tons to GTO. But we're being conservative, with the 12 metric tons. And this will be - hopefully - a vehicle that takes many things to Mars.

"Will space travel be as ubiquitous as air travel? [SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell] does not think it will be as ubiquitous. She does not believe the costs will ever get quite as affordable as air travel. But it will increase thousands of thousandfold. Right now the cost to get to the ISS - to LEO - is 67 million dollars per seat and we'd like to see space travel, we'd like to see folks going be able to get to Mars for a couple of hundred thousands, maybe half a million Dollars.

IBM uses heat silicon tip to eatch a magazine cover so small that 2000 could fit on a grain of salt

IBM scientists invented a tiny “chisel” with a heatable silicon tip 100,000 times smaller than a sharpened pencil point. Using this nano-sized tip, which creates patterns and structures on a microscopic scale, it took scientists just 10 minutes and 40 seconds to etch the magazine cover onto a polymer, the same substance of which plastics are made. The resulting magazine cover measures 11 × 14 micrometers, which is so small that 2,000 could fit on a grain of salt.

Advanced Materials - Probe-Based 3-D Nanolithography Using Self-Amplified Depolymerization Polymers (2014)

3D patterning by means of probe-assisted thermal decomposition has been achieved on phthalaldehyde polymer films with 1 nm vertical resolution and 40 nm lateral resolution. Highly efficient patterning is enabled by a self-amplified depolymerization mechanism. Pixel writing speeds on the order of microseconds are demonstrated.

Lipid coated DNA nanodevices survive immune system and pave the way for smart anticancer DNA nanorobots

Scientists at Harvard's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering have mimicked viral tactics to build the first DNA nanodevices that survive the body's immune defenses. Lipid-coated DNA nanodevices closely resemble those viruses and evade the immune defenses of mice.

The results pave the way for smart DNA nanorobots that could use logic to diagnose cancer earlier and more accurately than doctors can today; target drugs to tumors, or even manufacture drugs on the spot to cripple cancer.

"We're mimicking virus functionality to eventually build therapeutics that specifically target cells," said Wyss Institute Core Faculty member William Shih, Ph.D., the paper's senior author. Shih is also an Associate Professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School and Associate Professor of Cancer Biology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (Go to the Dana Farber website here).

ACS Nano - Virus-Inspired Membrane Encapsulation of DNA Nanostructures To Achieve In Vivo Stability

Exaflop computer project for Super programmed trading of the $5 trillion foreign exchange market is now hiring

Previously we reported taht John Fitzpatrick was 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.

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.

Exascale Power Company signed an agreement April 16, 2014 to locate the facility in the MidAmerica Industrial Park in Pryor, Oklahoma. They plan to come to market fully six (6) years before any competitor and bring 2000 jobs to Oklahoma in the next 6 months and they are now hiring.

Their commodity cloud computing price is 2 cents per core hour, less than Google at 4 cents, and Amazon at 9 cents, with data center reliability, and the ability to perform much larger computational tasks than any other computer system in the world.

They have an SEC filing.

Google and NASA will make smarter flying spheres with kinect sensors

Remember in "Star Wars" when Luke Skywalker deflects lasers from a floating orb with his lightsaber? Google and NASA are planning a floating sphere.

The floating robots, or SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites) will roam around the International Space Station equipped with Google’s Project Tango technology.

There are three SPHERES currently aboard the ISS, each one with its own propulsion and power systems contained in a free-flying satellite about the size of a volleyball.

Right now, they use ultrasound and infrared technology to navigate their way around. It’s not exactly the most advanced system, which is where Google comes in. In February, the company unveiled Project Tango, its initiative to put 3-D mapping technology inside of an Android smartphone.

April 24, 2014

Solar power has a long way to go to be a cheap environment savior

Paul Krugman declares that environmental salvation will be cheap. This is based upon the IPCC saying that estimated reduction in economic growth would be around 0.06 percent per year [IF all nations began following IPCC energy, transportation and efficiency recommendations immediately, All of the countries of the world begin mitigation immediately, there is a single global carbon price, and all key technologies are available].

The National Review shows more of the flaws. Between 2007 and 2012, the same period during which solar capacity grew tenfold, global coal consumption rose by the equivalent of more than 10 million barrels of oil per day. Meanwhile, in 2012, the contribution of global solar production was equivalent to roughly 400,000 barrels of oil a day.

Put another way, over the past half decade or so, just the growth in coal use is equal to about 25 times the contribution now being made by all of the world’s solar projects. And the coal-fired power plants that have been built over the past few years are likely to run for decades.

Since 1985, global electricity production has been growing by an average of about 450 terawatt-hours per year. The International Energy Agency expects global electricity use to continue growing by about that same amount every year through 2035.

Lawrenceville Plasma Physics Presentation

Lawrenceville Plasma Physics (LPP) should be launching their crowdsourcing effort in May, 2014.

They need to get their Tungsten electrode and then later switch to a berrylium electrode.
If successful with their research and then commercialization they will achieve commercial nuclear fusion at the cost of $400,000-1 million for a 5 megawatt generator that would produce power for about 0.3 cents per kwh instead of 6 cents per kwh for coal and natural gas.

LPP’s mission is the development of a new environmentally safe, clean, cheap and unlimited energy source based on hydrogen-boron fusion and the dense plasma focus device, a combination we call Focus Fusion.

This work was initially funded by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and is now backed by over forty private investors including the Abell Foundation of Baltimore. LPP’s patented technology and peer-reviewed science are guiding the design of this technology for this virtually unlimited source of clean energy that can be significantly cheaper than any other energy sources currently in use. Non-exclusive licenses to government agencies and manufacturing partners will aim to ensure rapid adoption of Focus Fusion generators as the primary source of electrical power worldwide.

Space Based Solar power need robotic assembly in space and reusable rockets for viability

Aviation Week has a review of Space Based Solar power projects.

IEEE spectrum indicates that Japan's Space Agency has a roadmap for a 1 Gigawatt space based solar power system in 2031.

All of the old space based solar power designs are not workable. They are too big and too heavy.

Reusable rockets and the Spacex Heavy will help make launches cheaper, but it is robotic assembly in space that will have more impact.

Spiderfab will use robots to assemble structures in space. Spiderfab on orbit assembly can reduce the mass of space structures by 30 times.

Also, the space based power should be used in space and not sent back down to earth. Only space based mirrors to reflect light to large solar farms on earth make sense. See the end of this article for the space based mirror system. Space based mirror only launch ultra thin and light inflatable mirrors (no power conversion, no energy storage, no lasers or masers to transmit the power etc...) and have them redirect sunlight to ground based solar farms at night. Efficiency is the ground based systems efficiency. Can be done at lower orbit 600 miles up with 12 or more satellites. Helps ground based solar get around the storage issue at night. So it does not involve beaming power over large distances which has not been achieved.

This will enable solar power arrays with over 120 watts per kilogram. This is needed for fast solar electric interplanetary missions. Spiderfab can also enable solar sails that are over 1000 meters in diameter.

Watch live streaming video from niac2014 at livestream.com

Japan will boost GPS accuracy to about 1-3 centimeters of error instead of up to 10 meters currently

Mitsubishi Electric is ready to launch the first commercial, nationwide, centimeter-scale satellite positioning technology. The Quazi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS), will augment Japan’s use of the U.S.-operated Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite service. By precisely correcting GPS signal errors, QZSS can provide more accurate and reliable positioning, navigation, and timing services.

To correct the errors, a master control center compares the satellite’s signals received by the reference stations with the distance between the stations and the satellite’s predicted location. These corrected components are compressed from an overall 2-megabit-per-second data rate to 2 kilobits per second and transmitted to the satellite, which then broadcasts them to users’ receivers.

In QZS-1 trial tests, the average accuracy is about 1.3 centimeters horizontally and 2.9 cm vertically.

To carry out highly precise satellite positioning, distances from the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan's GNSS-based control stations are calculated using data from these control stations. Information used to accurately search for one's current position (centimeter level augmentation information) is transmitted by QZS.

By utilizing surveying technologies, positioning can be accomplished with an error of several centimeters. However, if the longitude and latitude coordinate system that serves as the standard was a national datum built via surveying with old technologies, it is not always the case that this system will have a high degree of accuracy. And because this takes place via satellites, there is a time lag of approximately 10 seconds until the augmentation information is created and transmitted. The augmentation may be delayed, and positioning results may be negatively impacted, in cases such as sudden ionospheric disturbance.

Some start to get over environmental denial.

Scientists are admitting that it is too late to prevent carbon dioxide from getting to levels where 2 degrees of warming can be prevented according to climate models. The entire approach of asking for costly economic sacrifices

Countries have delayed action for so long that the necessary emissions cuts will have to be extremely sharp. In April 2014, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that if we want to stay below the 2°C limit, global greenhouse-gas emissions would have to decline between 1.3 percent and 3.1 percent each year, on average, between 2010 and 2050.

The fastest that any country has ever managed to decarbonize its economy without suffering a crushing recession was France, when it spent billions to scale up its nuclear program between 1980 and 1985. That was a gargantuan feat — emissions fell 4.8 percent per year — but the country only sustained it for a five-year stretch.

April 23, 2014

Designs for 10 nanometer FinFETs will be presented in June and discussions and research for the 7 nanometer node will also be shown

The newly released program of the VLSI Technology and Circuits conference shows both historic advances and struggles ahead in silicon. The June event will include an early look at a 10 nm FinFET process as well as a discussion of a pile of new technologies all potentially arriving at the 7 nm node.

One paper will demonstrate a way to build silicon photonics in bulk CMOS. A Sony paper will describe a novel curved imager. Neither Intel nor TSMC plan to deliver major papers on their next-generation process technologies at the Honolulu event.

IBM, GlobalFoundries, and Samsung along, with STMicroelectronics and UMC, will describe a 10 nm logic process with the tightest contacted poly pitch (64 nm) and metallization pitch (48 nm) ever reported in FinFETs on both bulk and silicon-on-insulator substrates, according to the program. It uses "intensive" multi-patterning and various self-alignment processes in 193i lithography.

The 10 nm disclosure will come weeks after Samsung announced it licensed a 14 nm FinFET process to GlobalFoundries, which both will use in their merchant foundries.

US Crude oil production increased by 59,000 barrels per day over the previously reported week

Israel making Iron Dome missile defence enhancements

Rafael is looking at a number of enhancements to the Iron Dome missile defence system as a result of lessons learned over recent engagements. Since its first successful interception on 7 April 2011, the Iron Dome has engaged more than 700 rockets with an official success rate at greater than 80% (some sources put this figure at 89%).

The Iron Dome's concept of operation has changed somewhat since its first engagements, as the operators have learned to have faith in the system. "In the beginning, the IAF [Israeli Air Force] fired two missiles against every inbound target, but now the confidence of the decision-maker has changed and they no longer need to do that," he said.

"There is something in the pipeline, both in terms of hardware and software improvements [to the Iron Dome]. I can't say exactly what these are or when [they might be rolled out], but we are in a kind of race [with the Palestinian rocket firers] and we always need to update [the system] to increase the probability of a kill," he said.

The IDF has released few technical details about the Iron Dome. Rafael has only confirmed that the missile's guidance system uses a 'radar seeker', and that the weapon's lethal payload is a 'special warhead'. Whatever the proposed hardware and software improvements turn out to be, it is clear that the need for Iron Dome is only set to increase in coming years.

April 22, 2014

"Environmentalist" says the public are morons and hopes a lot of people die to get a teachable moment but ignores actual deaths and lack of teachable moments

Brad Keyes at Climate Nuremberg calls himself a science communicator.

Brad says the following-
As a communicator myself, I’d like nothing better than for thousands of middle-class white people to die in an extreme weather event—preferably one with global warming’s fingerprints on it—live on cable news. Tomorrow. The hardest thing about communicating the deadliness of the climate problem is that it isn’t killing anyone. And just between us, let’s be honest: the average member of the public is a bit (how can I put it politely?) of a moron. It’s all well and good for the science to tell us global warming is a bigger threat than Fascism was, but Joe Q. Flyover doesn’t understand science. He wants evidence. Cognitologist C. R. R. Kampen thinks the annihilation of a city of 150,000 people might just provide the teaching moment we need.

Those numbers of people have died before in energy and environmental situations.

The Banqiao dam broke 1975 and killed 170,000 people. This has not changed hydro-electric dam construction in China or anywhere in the world.

Energy kills millions of people every year.

Energy Source              Death Rate (deaths per TWh) OLD

Coal – world average               161 (26% of world energy, 50% of electricity)
Coal – China                       278
Coal – USA                         15
Oil                                36  (36% of world energy)
Natural Gas                         4  (21% of world energy)
Biofuel/Biomass                    12
Peat                               12
Solar (rooftop)                     0.44 (less than 0.1% of world energy)
Wind                                0.15 (less than 1% of world energy)
Hydro                               0.10 (europe death rate, 2.2% of world energy)
Hydro - world including Banqiao)    1.4 (about 2500 TWh/yr and 171,000 Banqiao dead)
Nuclear                             0.04 (5.9% of world energy)

Brad is looking at global warming which is a "problem" that cannot prove deaths now.
Meanwhile Climate Nuremberg ignores the 7 million deaths per year from air pollution.

Those air pollution deaths include hundreds of thousands of white people in Europe and the United States. Where is the attention from "global warming environmentalists" ? Where is the teachable moment ?

There are already more widescale differences in intelligence, health and lifespan than moderate Transhuman scenarios

Gizmag has an interview with some professors who specialize in analysing possible Transhuman enhancement and in particular the ethics of it. They posit scenarios under the assumption that things are equal now in terms of intelligence and lifespan.

Kevin Warwick, Professor of Cybernetics at the University of Reading, tells Gizmag that it will be important for people to consider what they are getting themselves into and what exactly they want to achieve.

Steve Fuller is the Auguste Comte Chair in Social Epistemology in the Department of Sociology at the University of Warwick.

Fuller agrees that such unintended consequences are the main consideration required when thinking about enhancement. "If, say, your memory is successfully enhanced, consider how else this might change your way of living and your relationship with people." Warwick reiterates this point by asking, "With superintelligence, what would the enhanced folk do with the stupid unenhanced?"

Currently many of the "superintelligent" are those without brain damage. Currently the environment and health make people stupider. Those without damage have enhanced intelligence by comparison

48% of children in India are stunted. Diseases can leave brain damage when they do not kill. This reduces IQ points by 11-20 on average across the country. This makes India more poor. Providing improved public health to prevent malaria and other diseases that cause brain damage and providing needed micronutrients. If this happens over the next 5-10 years then 50% of their children would not have the stunting and brain damage problems. This could be a 20 point (1.5 standard deviation boost) to half of 60% of the worlds children. So 20 point boost to 45 million every year.

However, 30-35% of the worlds population (in Africa and Asia, but also in lower percentages in South America) had stunting and other brain damage.

About 8.5 percent of U.S. non-incarcerated adults have a history of TBI, and about 2 percent of the greater population is currently suffering from some sort of disability because of their injury. In prisons, however, approximately 60 percent of adults have had at least one TBI—and even higher prevalence has been reported in some systems.

What do current smarter people do with stupid people ? Try to avoid the 7-10% of them who cause trouble with crime ? Pay more taxes for the higher rates of unemployment and other societal issues

Higher intelligence is correlated with better social outcomes

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

General Fusion TED talk

Our energy future depends on nuclear fusion, says Michel Laberge. The plasma physicist runs a small company with a big idea for a new type of nuclear reactor that could produce clean, cheap energy. His secret recipe? High speeds, scorching temperatures and crushing pressure. In this hopeful talk, he explains how nuclear fusion might be just around the corner.

In another recent interview, Michel Laberge said it could take about ten years to get to commercial power generation

A transcript of the talk is at this link

Some quotes from Michael Laberge

Fusion is often criticized for being a little too expensive. Yes, it did cost a billion dollars or two billion dollars a year to make this progress. But you have to compare that to the cost of making Moore's Law. That cost way more than that. The result of Moore's Law is this cell phone here in my pocket. This cell phone, and the Internet behind it, cost about one trillion dollars, just so I can take a selfie and put it on Facebook. Then when my dad sees that, he'll be very proud. We also spend about 650 billion dollars a year in subsidies for oil and gas and renewable energy. Now, we spend one half of a percent of that on fusion. So me, personally, I don't think it's too expensive. I think it's actually been shortchanged, considering it can solve all our energy problems cleanly for the next couple of billions of years.

Now magnetic and laser fusion are pretty good machines. They are awesome pieces of technology, wonderful machines, and they have shown that fusion can be done. However, as a power plant, I don't think they're very good. They're way too big, way too complicated, way too expensive, and also, they don't deal very much with the fusion energy. When you make fusion, the energy comes out as neutrons, fast neutrons comes out of the plasma. Those neutrons hit the wall of the machine. It damages it. And also, you have to catch the heat from those neutrons and run some steam to spin a turbine somewhere, and on those machines, it was all a bit of an afterthought. So I decided that surely there is a better way of doing that.

China and Japan plan on using more coal power

Currently, Japan’s nuclear reactors have been idled for safety checks. And as a result, 10 power companies consumed a record breaking 5.6 million metric tons of coal in January, 2014 which is 12% more than January 2013. Japan is even hopping on the U.S. “clean coal” band wagon. Japan wants to improve on the latest gasification technologies that will make carbon emit less carbon into the atmosphere.

Japan's energy plan is to use nuclear power again. Japan will turn on most of the existing nuclear reactors over the next 5 years and build some new ones in the next two decades. Japan's commitment to nuclear is bit less than going to 50% nuclear in the pre-Fukushima plan. The reduction is being filled by coal and natural gas.

China will close 1,725 small-scale coal mines over the course of 2014. The closures are part of China’s effort to reduce CO2 levels in the atmosphere, and cut massive pollution problems in cities like Beijing. But they are more of a PR move than a step towards greener pastures. China hopes to cap its total coal production at 4.1 billion metric tons by 2015, but that is actually up from 3.7 billion metric tons in 2013.

Coal is far more deadly than other energy sources because of the air pollution it causes.

America's Middle Class is no longer the Richest in the World. The Richest Middle Class is in Canada

America's middle class is no longer the richest in the world.

Median per capita income was $18,700 in the United States in 2010 (which translates to about $75,000 for a family of four after taxes), up 20 percent since 1980 but virtually unchanged since 2000, after adjusting for inflation. The same measure, by comparison, rose about 20 percent in Britain between 2000 and 2010 and 14 percent in the Netherlands. Median income also rose 20 percent in Canada between 2000 and 2010, to the equivalent of $18,700. Other income surveys, conducted by government agencies, suggest that since 2010 pay in Canada has risen faster than pay in the United States and is now most likely higher. Pay in several European countries has also risen faster since 2010 than it has in the United States.

Per capita gross domestic product — continue to show that the United States has maintained its lead as the world’s richest large country. But those numbers are averages, which do not capture the distribution of income. With a big share of recent income gains in this country flowing to a relatively small slice of high-earning households, most Americans are not keeping pace with their counterparts around the world.

Three broad factors appear to be driving much of the weak income performance in the United States.

1) Educational attainment in the United States has risen far more slowly than in much of the industrialized world over the last three decades, making it harder for the American economy to maintain its share of highly skilled, well-paying jobs.

2) Companies distribute less money to the middle class and poor. More money goes to top executives.

3) Canada and Western Europe have more policies to redistribute more to the middle class and poor.

The top half of the USA is still wealthier.

Hong Kong Section of High Speed rail delayed two years to 2017

The South China Morning Post reports there is a two-year delay in the completion of the HK$67 billion high-speed railway connecting Hong Kong with Shenzhen and Guangzhou.

Zheng Tianxiang, a provincial policy adviser involved in several infrastructure projects - said the delay would "definitely affect" the pace of the Pearl River Delta's integration.

A plan to streamline travel time to no more than an hour between each of the economically powerful delta region's cities is at the centre of the Guangdong government's development blueprint. Local authorities believe this will create capital and prompt a flow of talent to help the region upgrade its economy.

"For this to happen, all sections of the key infrastructure projects must be completed and connected synchronously. If one part gets delayed, the whole plan will be affected," Zheng said.

Zheng said the delay would affect the profitability of the rest of the rail link. The section between Guangzhou and Shenzhen is already open but ridership is low because most potential customers want to come to Hong Kong instead of Shenzhen.

World’s fastest elevators will go 45 miles per hour in 2016 and travel 95 floors in 43 seconds

Hitachi said Monday it will deliver two units of the world’s fastest elevator to a Chinese skyscraper set to open in 2016.

The elevators, to be installed in the Guangzhou CTF Finance Center, have a speed of 1,200 meters per minute and will be able to travel the 440 meters between the first and the 95th floors in about 43 seconds. The elevators will travel at 72 kph (45 mph)

The Japanese maker will deliver a total of 95 elevators to the 530-meter-tall building in Guangzhou, southern China.

The two world’s fastest elevators employ technologies to prevent vibrations and noises. Highly heat-resistant materials allow their emergency brake systems to operate at temperatures over 300 degrees Celsius, Hitachi said.

In fiscal 2013, elevator sales in China accounted for about 60 pct of the world’s total.

Hitachi held 15 pct of the Chinese elevator market in fiscal 2012, the second-largest share. It aims to increase orders further by demonstrating its technical edge.

Taipei 101 has elevators that go 37.7 mph.

Estimate of 10,000 Dwarf Planets with about 400 candidates so far

The upper and lower size and mass limits of dwarf planets have not been specified by the IAU. (International Astronomical Union) There is no defined upper limit, and an object larger or more massive than Mercury that has not "cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit" would be classified as a dwarf planet. The lower limit is determined by the requirements of achieving a hydrostatic equilibrium shape, but the size or mass at which an object attains this shape depends on its composition and thermal history. The original draft of the 2006 IAU resolution redefined hydrostatic equilibrium shape as applying "to objects with mass above 5×10^20 kg and diameter greater than 800 km", but this was not retained in the final draft.

Empirical observations suggest that the lower limit will vary according to the composition and thermal history of the object. For a body made of rigid silicates, such as the stony asteroids, the transition to hydrostatic equilibrium should occur at a diameter of approximately 600 km and a mass of some 3.4×10^20 kg. For a body made of less rigid water ice, the limit should be about 320 km and 10^19 kg.

Estimates are that up to 200 dwarf planets may be found when the entire region known as the Kuiper belt is explored, and that the number may exceed 10,000 when objects scattered outside the Kuiper belt are considered. More than 100,000 Kuiper Belt Objects over 100 km (62 mi) in diameter are believed to exist.

Unnamed trans-Neptunian objects with an absolute magnitude brighter than +1 (and hence a diameter of ≥838 km assuming a geometric albedo of ≤1) are to be named under the assumption that they are dwarf planets.

Mike Brown currently has a list of 82 probable "probably" plutoids. There is also a list of 264 possible objects. Asteroids are not considered.

The terms for varying degrees of likelihood are:
Near certainty: Sufficient confidence to say these must be in hydrostatic equilibrium even if predominantly rocky.
Highly likely: Estimated/measured to be over 600 km. The size would have to be "grossly in error" or they would have to be primarily rocky to not be dwarf planets.
Likely: Estimated/measured to be over 500 km. Uncertainties in measurement mean that some of these will be significantly smaller and thus doubtful.
Probable: Estimated/measured to be over 400 km. Expected to be dwarf planets if they are icy and that figure is correct.

April 21, 2014

Quantum tunneling between two plasmonic resonators links nonlinear quantum optics at 245 terahertz

Singapore researchers have successfully designed and fabricated electrical circuits that can operate at hundreds of terahertz frequencies, which is tens of thousands times faster than today’s state-of-the-art microprocessors.

This novel invention uses a new physical process called ‘quantum plasmonic tunnelling’. By changing the molecules in the molecular electronic device, the frequency of the circuits can be altered in hundreds of terahertz regime. The new circuits can potentially be used to construct ultra-fast computers or single molecule detectors in the future, and open up new possibilities in nano-electronic devices.

A focused electron beam (in yellow) was used to characterise the structures and to probe the optical properties of two plasmonic resonators bridged by a layer of molecules with a length of 0.5 nm. (Image credit: Tan Shu Fen, National University of Singapore)

Science - Quantum Plasmon Resonances Controlled by Molecular Tunnel Junctions

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 205

The Carnival of Nuclear Energy 205 is up at the Atomic Power Review.

Canadian Energy Issues - IPCC, meet Johannes Kepler; like you, he faced dogma, peer pressure, and criticism. Here's how he responded.

On the occasion of the discovery of the planet Kepler 186f, Steve Aplin urges the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to be more like the newly discovered planet's namesake, Johannes Kepler, in its assessment of nuclear energy as a way to reduce emissions of man-made carbon dioxide. The original Kepler laboured under illusions for years before accepting what his data and critical faculties told him: that planets travel about the sun in elliptical, not circular orbits. The IPCC labors under much worse illusions about the alleged risks of nuclear.

AT and T announces 1 Gigabit "Paper Fiber" but reduces capital spending

[Via DSLReports] Ever since Google Fiber came on the scene, AT&T's response has been highly theatrical in nature. What AT&T would have the press and public believe is that they're engaged in a massive new deployment of fiber to the home service. What's actually happening is that AT&T is upgrading a few high-end developments where fiber was already in the ground (these users were previously capped at DSL speeds) and pretending it's a serious expansion of fixed-line broadband.

AT&T today announced that the company is "eyeing" 100 potential target cities as locations they may deploy faster 1 Gbps "Gigapower" service. According to the company's press release, this "major initiative" will target 100 "candidate cities and municipalities" across 21 metropolitan areas nationwide. Those users could then get AT&T's $70-$100 per month 1 Gbps service, currently only available in a very small portion of Austin, Texas.

The press release admits as much if you look carefully. "This expanded fiber build is not expected to impact AT&T’s capital investment plans for 2014," notes AT&T. That's what they noted last year, and will surely say the same thing next year. In fact, AT&T's been reducing their fixed-line CAPEX each year. What kind of major 1 Gbps broadband expansion doesn't hit your CAPEX? One that's either very tiny, or simply doesn't exist.

China looks to buy 8 more AP1000 nuclear reactors and is accelerating nuclear reactor approvals

Westinghouse is in talks to sell eight more AP1000 nuclear Reactors to China for about $24 billion.

China currently has 20 nuclear power reactors online, with another 28 under construction, as it seeks to reduce its reliance on costly and polluting fossil fuels to generate electricity. Sun Qin, chairman of major nuclear plant operator China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC) recently told Reuters another 20 nuclear reactors may be built within the next six years.

Nuclear installed capacity currently stands at 15.69 GW. China had 15 nuclear power generating units in operation with a total installed capacity of 12.54 GW in October 2012. China turned on some reactors in 2013. China produced 110.7 Terawatt hours of electricity in 2013 from about 14 GWe of nuclear reactors.

In 2012, Worldwide 85 GWe of installed solar photovoltaic power produced about 110 Terawatt hours. Therefore, the 14 GWe of nuclear power in China matched the worldwide power generation of solar power in 2012.

CORRECTION on solar power generated:
Solar-electric power production was 104.5 TWh in *2012* http://www.energies-renouvelables.org/observ-er/html/inventaire/pdf/15e-inventaire-Chap01-Eng.pdf - page 6). Installed capacity grew from 70 to 100 GW during the year: http://i1.wp.com/cleantechnica.com/files/2014/04/world-solar-power-capacity.png Thus the average installed capacity was 85 GW, giving a capacity factor of 14%. The best you can expect from flat plate photovoltaic is about 25%, due to night, sun elevation angle, and weather. Bad locations like Germany will do worse. Tracking concentrators and solar thermal with storage can reach higher levels, but non-moving panels don't capture a high percentage because the Sun moves and they don't.

Average capacity in 2013 was (99.7 + 136.7 GW)/2 = 118.2 GW.

Nuclear, Wind, Hydro and Solar are all better energy sources than fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas) in terms of death per terawatt hour and the environment.

The eight new Westinghouse reactors will be built at four locations including Sanmen, in the coastal Zhejiang province, and Haiyang in northeastern Shandong province, where another four Westinghouse AP1000 reactors are under construction.

Any suggestions and volunteers for an overhaul of the nextbigfuture website ?

Are there any suggestions and volunteers for an overhaul of the nextbigfuture website ?

The User Interface needs to be overhauled.
Currently the site resides on blogger.com.

If a good custom template could be created that might resolve some issues quickly.

Ideally the URLs of the old articles should be preserved. Although if there were big gains from not keeping the old URLs so that could be considered.

Migrating to another platform can also be considered.

The goal would be to increase readership and improving the experience while maintaining or increasing revenue.

Help and suggestions would also be helpful for improving the social media (facebook, twitter, google+) experience as well.

Being able to split the article feeds by major topic would also be good.

Another idea would the viability of a kickstarter for the redesign and to set up an ad free, subscription option.

Please provide feedback in the comments below.


April 20, 2014

Ethanol is bad for the environment overall and is increasing the cost of food for 500 million poor people

James Conca at Forbes reports that the International Institute for Sustainable Development estimates that the CO2 and climate benefits from replacing petroleum fuels with biofuels like ethanol are basically zero (IISD). They claim that it would be almost 100 times more effective, and much less costly, to significantly reduce vehicle emissions through more stringent standards, and to increase CAFE standards on all cars and light trucks to over 40 miles per gallon as was done in Japan just a few years ago.

In 2000, over 90% of the U.S. corn crop went to feed people and livestock, many in undeveloped countries, with less than 5% used to produce ethanol. In 2013, however, 40% went to produce ethanol, 45% was used to feed livestock, and only 15% was used for food and beverage

If Calico can deliver me an added 40 years of healthy life then Google has my Ok to chip my head with their search and advertising

Cynthia Kenyon’s team found that modifications to a gene called daf-2 resulted in doubling the lifespan of the worms, from two weeks to four; another gene, daf-16, kept them youthful despite their extended ages. Cynthia has joined the Google life extension company Calico.

Subsequent research, by other scientists, have shown that similar genes control lifespan and aging in fruit flies, mice, and possibly even humans. Changing the genes slows aging and increases resistance to age-related diseases such as cancer, heart failure, and protein-aggregation disease.

In coming to Calico, Kenyon joins former Genentech chief executive and current Calico CEO Arthur Levinson; former Roche chief medical officer Hal Barron; Robert Cohen, a senior oncologist at Genentech; and David Botstein, the former director of the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics at Princeton University.

World Bank preparing to implement plans to eliminate extreme poverty by 2030

The World Bank has a 30 page document that is the beginning of their plan to help eliminate extreme (less than $1.25 per day) poverty The document is called Prosperity for all.

To end extreme poverty, the vast numbers of the poorest – those earning less than $1.25 a day – will have to decrease by 50 million people each year until 2030. This means that 1 million people each week will have to lift themselves out of poverty for the next 16 years. This will be extraordinarily difficult. This can be the generation that ends extreme poverty.

Growth alone is unlikely to end extreme poverty by 2030, says the paper, because as extreme poverty declines, growth on its own tends to lift fewer people out of poverty. This is because, by this stage, many of the people still in extreme poverty live in situations where improving their lives is extremely difficult.

The three keys are more jobs for people in extreme poverty, more social safety nets and sustainable green development.

In the last several months, the Bank Group has begun to implement a strategy to improve its effectiveness as a development institution and align its work to the goals. Changes under way include cutting costs, realigning personnel, streamlining some processes, and encouraging closer collaboration among teams and among the various arms of the Bank Group.

Starting in July, the Bank Group will have communities of experts focusing on bringing “global solutions to local problems,” said Kim at his Spring Meetings opening press conference. The Bank Group will retain a strong presence in the countries where it works.

The Development Committee said it expects the Bank Group’s new structure “should lead to better global knowledge sharing to benefit all client countries, and to strengthening its role in support of South-South and regional cooperation.”

It also welcomed the Bank Group’s plans to increase financing capacity from $45 billion to $50 billion a year today to more than $70 billion within a decade.

Helium Ion milled double layer graphene is the thinnest porous nanomembrane and can be used for waterproof material and gas separation

Researchers have produced a stable porous membrane that is thinner than a nanometre. This is a 100,000 times thinner than the diameter of a human hair. The membrane consists of two layers of the much exalted ”super material” graphene, a two-dimensional film made of carbon atoms.

Researchers not only succeeded in producing the starting material, a double-layer graphene film with a high level of purity, but they also mastered a technique called focused ion beam milling to etch pores into the graphene film. In this process, which is also used in the production of semiconductors, a beam of helium or gallium ions is controlled with a high level of precision in order to etch away material. The researchers were able to etch pores of a specified number and size into the graphene with unprecedented precision. This process, which could easily take days to complete, took only a few hours in the current work. “This is a breakthrough that enables the nanofabrication of the porous graphene membranes,” explains Ivan Shorubalko, a scientist at Empa that also contributed to the study.

The ultra-thin graphene membrane may one day be used for a range of different purposes, including waterproof clothing. “Our membrane is not only very light and flexible, but it is also a thousand fold more breathable than Goretex,” says Kemal Celebi. The membrane could also potentially be used to separate gaseous mixtures into their constituent parts or to filter impurities from fluids. The researchers were able to demonstrate for the first time that graphene membranes could be suitable for water filtration. The researchers also see a potential use for the membrane in devices used for the accurate measurement of gas and fluid flow rates that are crucial to unveiling the physics around mass transfer at nanoscales and separation of chemical mixtures.

The membrane can thus permeate tiny molecules. Larger molecules or particles, on the other hand, can pass only slowly or not at all. “With a thickness of just two carbon atoms, this is the thinnest porous membrane that is technologically possible to make,” says PhD student Jakob Buchheim, one of the two lead authors of the study.

Science - Ultimate Permeation Across Atomically Thin Porous Graphene

Elon Musk and Spacex plan to recover and refly a first rocket stage in 2015

According to Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX's vice president of mission assurance, the next Falcon 9 launch scheduled for May will also try for a water recovery.

The next step, assuming sea crews are unable to recover the rocket from Friday's launch, is to return a first stage to a precision touchdown on land and determine what might be necessary to prepare it for another flight.

Musk hopes SpaceX can recover a Falcon 9 booster this year and fly a used first stage for the first time in 2015.

SpaceX plans to clad the rocket's single-engine upper stage with a heat shield with an eye toward reusing it as well. The company has not disclosed a timetable for a potential recovery of the second stage.

"We don't have to just recover it," Musk said. "We have to show that it can be reflown quickly and easily, where the only thing you [have to do] is reload propellant."

Here are the estimated costs for one use and partially reusable and more reusable Spacex rockets.

One use Falcon 9 rocket launch cost $1,862/lb
One use Falcon Heavy launch cost $1000/lb
The above costs are from Wikipedia and the Spacex website.

First stage reusable Falcon 9 launch cost $1200/lb
First stage reusable Falcon Heavy launch cost $600/lb

The cost of fuel and the Spacex rockets has been repeated a few times.

Musk reiterated the origin of the SpaceX production model, saying fuel is only 0.3 percent of the total cost of a rocket, with construction materials accounting for no more than 2 percent of the total cost, which for the Falcon 9 is about $60 million.

Musk said that a rocket's first stage accounts for three-quarters of its total price tag, so a vehicle with a reusable first stage can be produced at far less cost — assuming the hardware is fully and rapidly reusable.

A reusable rocket stage would be able to launch about 80% of the cargo of a one use rocket. The weight of fuel is needed to fly the stage back and the extra weight of landing legs and other modifications for reuse have to be carried.

Two launches with second reusing the first stage.
Capital cost - 1.25 times the cost of one full rocket.
0.6% for fuel
Launch cargo 1.6 times the cargo of one rocket.
78% of the cost of a single use rocket

Three launches with reuse of the first stage twice.
Capital cost - 1.5 times the cost of one rocket
0.9% for fuel
Launch cargo 2.4 times the cargo of one rocket
62.5% of the cost of a single use rocket

50% of the cost with five launches and four reuses of the first stage [$930 per pound for the 9 v1.1 and $500 per pound for the heavy]

Reusable first stage falcon heavy [with about twenty reuses] can get down to about $350/lb [one third the one use price].

Reusable (about fifteen times) Falcon 9 rocket launch cost all stages reusable $100/lb [all three stages of a falcon heavy, should get to about ten times cheaper]

Tissue engineered vagina's function normally over eight years

Researchers from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem and the Metropolitan Autonomous University in Mexico City biopsied cells from the women and were able to use a biodegradable scaffolds to then build the vagina in the lab. The organs were then implanted in each patient.

A woman with MRKH will often not develop a uterus or a full vagina, though external genitalia is unaffected by the disorder, which often means the syndrome is not diagnosed until the patient is in her late teens. Before the study, patients were limited to surgical options to recreate that vaginal canal. The disorder affects approximately one in 4,500 female births, according to the National Institutes of Health. Therefore the condition effects over 500,000 women. There were about 131 million births in 2013. Therefore about 14400 births had this condition.

A research team led by Anthony Atala, M.D., director of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s Institute for Regenerative Medicine, describes in the Lancet long-term success in four teenage girls who received vaginal organs that were engineered with their own cells.

“This pilot study is the first to demonstrate that vaginal organs can be constructed in the lab and used successfully in humans,” said Atala. “This may represent a new option for patients who require vaginal reconstructive surgeries. In addition, this study is one more example of how regenerative medicine strategies can be applied to a variety of tissues and organs.”

New Technology Generates Lab-Grown Organs

In the eight years after the original operation, researchers found that the subjects reported normal sexual function and that the engineered organs remained structurally and functionally normal.

The Lancet - Tissue-engineered autologous vaginal organs in patients: a pilot cohort study

China will have over 88 gigawatts of nuclear power by 2020 according to head of China Nuclear Energy Association

China's nuclear power installed capacity, including that in operation and under construction, is predicted to top 88 gigawatts by 2020, said Zhang Huazhu, head of the China Nuclear Energy Association (CNEA), a national industry organization.

Nuclear power will play a bigger role in improving the country's energy structure, coping with climate change and controlling air pollution.

China's estimate for nuclear power in 2020 was about 40 Gigawatts back in 2007 and then it increased to about 80-100 GW before Fukushima. Estimates went down to about 50-55 GW but estimates for nuclear power in China by 2020 have been increasing again. There was a pause in new nuclear reactors that were approved. However, construction continued mainly uninterrupted. Prior to 2008, the government had planned to increase nuclear generating capacity to 40 GWe by 2020 (out of a total 1000 GWe planned), with a further 18 GWe nuclear being under construction then. However, projections for nuclear power then increased to 110 GWe by 2020, 200-350 GWe by 2030 and 500+ GWe by 2050. Following the Fukushima accident and consequent pause in approvals for new plants, the target adopted by the State Council in October 2012 became 60 GWe by 2020, with 30 GWe under construction.

China now has a politically and economically problem with massive air pollution. China will have mostly built out all of the hydro power that they have available early in the 2020s. Nuclear power is a primary air pollution free power source that China can scale out.

If China heads to 300 GWe of nuclear power by 2030 this would generate about 2400 TWh of electricity.

Three more mini-Plutos found and six others are being tracked out of thousands of dwarf planets that are expected

Last week astronomers reported the discovery of 2012 VP113 – nicknamed "Joe Biden" after the vice president, or VP, of the US. This potential dwarf planet was spotted on the outer fringes of the solar system, in a region called the inner Oort cloud. Days later, the same team reported two more potential dwarfs, known as 2013 FY27 and 2013 FZ27.

Both of these objects are in the Kuiper belt, a grouping of relatively small bodies beyond the orbit of Neptune that is also home to Pluto and three other known dwarf planets. Astronomers suspect the Kuiper belt is littered with dwarfs, but many either reflect too little light or are too distant to have been visible in previous sky surveys.

Nextbigfuture previously covered the discovery of VP113 (Biden dwarf planet)

Nature - At 450 kilometres across, 2012 VP113 is about half the size of Sedna. If, as scientists expect, it is made mostly of ice, then its gravity probably pulls it into a spherical shape. This would qualify it as a dwarf planet under the revised rules of planethood drawn up by the IAU in 2006.

FZ27 sits 50 astronomical units away from the sun, on the far edge of the Kuiper belt (1 AU is Earth's distance from the sun). At about 600 kilometers wide [this would be larger than Palles the second largest asteroid], the object is probably massive enough for it to have become nearly round under its own gravity – one of the criteria for being classified as a dwarf planet. The other recently discovered object, FY27, is probably about 1000 kilometers [this would be larger than Ceres the largest Asteroid] across and was found roughly 80 AU from the sun.

This list of dwarf planets out in the Kuiper and inner Oort cloud is now outdated

Carnival of Space 350

The Carnival of Space 350 is up at Cosmoquest

Universe Today - A new visualization of data from a nuclear weapons warning network, to be unveiled by B612 Foundation CEO Ed Lu during the evening event at Seattle’s Museum of Flight, shows that ”the only thing preventing a catastrophe from a ‘city-killer’ sized asteroid is blind luck.”

Universe Today - Could life thrive in the devastated rock left behind after a meteorite impact? A new study hints that possibly, that could be the case. Researchers discovered what they think are geological records of biological activity inside of Nördlinger Ries, a crater in Germany that is about 15 miles (24 kilometers) wide.

Various Number One Box Office Movie in the Country did have uploading of consciousness and AGI

Transcendence bombed with just $4.82 million. That's a bit lower than Source Code, and about on par with decade-old sci-fi disasters Stealth ($4.8 million) and The Island ($4.2 million). It's also a fraction of other recent Depp movies like Dark Shadows and The Lone Ranger ($9.7 million each). For the weekend, it could earn less than $12 million.

Based upon the trailers, Transcendence is about Johnny Depps character uploading himself.

Spoiler Alert

There is use of uploading in the lot of successful movies.

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