October 18, 2014

Personalized Cellular Therapy Achieves Complete Remission in 90 Percent of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

Ninety percent of children and adults with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) who had relapsed multiple times or failed to respond to standard therapies went into remission after receiving an investigational personalized cellular therapy, CTL019, developed at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Twenty-seven of the 30 patients in the studies achieved a complete remission after receiving an infusion of these engineered “hunter” cells, and 78 percent of the patients were alive six months after treatment.

New York Times reports that other hospitals around the country will soon test the experimental treatment in children with advanced acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Similar research, also with encouraging results, is being done at the National Cancer Institute and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Each year in the United States, acute lymphoblastic leukemia affects about 2,400 people older than 20, and 3,600 younger. It has a cure rate in adults of only about 40 percent, compared with 80 percent to 90 percent in children. About 1,170 adults die from the disease each year, compared with 270 people under age 20.

The New England Journal of Medicine - Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cells for Sustained Remissions in Leukemia

Gasoline in the $2.50 per gallon range for 2015 and possibly decades beyond

Many people ask if the imminent peak oil story is not correct then when will we pay less at the gasoline pump ? The average price of gasoline in the United States will soon be below $3 per gallon. This seems likely to hold for the next several years.

Efficiency from higher mileage and eventually more electrified cars will take decades to rollout. Increased supplies of oil and gas are getting ahead of moderated new oil and gas demand from China and India and developing countries.

On average, $75 per barrel oil means about $2.50 per gallon of gasoline in the United States. This fluctuates by state based on different taxes and California has different refinery blends.

Oil prices in the mid-80s will mean gasoline prices that are below $3. It can take some months for the prices at the pump to reflect the per barrel crude oil prices.

Financial newspaper Barrons talked about $75 per barrel oil in March, 2014. Citigroup's head of global commodity research, Edward Morse, believes the combination of flattening consumption and rising production should mean that "the $90-a-barrel floor on the world oil price over the past few years will become a $90 ceiling. Amy Jaffe (UC Davis) believes the average price could fall below $75, based in part on her view that oil-production costs are not fixed. "Research shows that costs track oil prices and not the other way around," she observes. As oil prices move lower, demand for drilling rigs and related equipment falls, lowering the cost of drilling.

Deepwater oil, shale oil, and oil sands are significant now and are increasing production.

There is a world total of 7,795 trillion cubic feet of natural gas which has energy equal to 1.5 trillion barrels of oil.

Credit: Jane Hawkey, Integration and Application Network, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (ian.umces.edu/imagelibrary/)

October 17, 2014

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 230

The Carnival of Nuclear Energy 230 is up at Areva Blog

New life for Idaho test reactor, are SMRs next? – Neutron Bytes, Dan Yurman

A nuclear test reactor built in 1959, refurbished in 1988, and shut down in 1994 will get a new lease on life. Idaho could be a site for a future SMR, but so far nobody is saying if or when.

Japanese make planar light source that is one hundred times more energy efficient than an LED

Scientists from Tohoku University in Japan have developed a new type of energy-efficient flat light source based on carbon nanotubes with very low power consumption of around 0.1 Watt for every hour's operation -- about a hundred times lower than that of an LED.

The researchers detail the fabrication and optimization of the device, which is based on a phosphor screen and single-walled carbon nanotubes as electrodes in a diode structure. You can think of it as a field of tungsten filaments shrunk to microscopic proportions.

[EETimes] The lighting panel powered by carbon nanotube field emitters stimulating a phosphor to glow will be less expensive than light-emitting diode (LED) lighting and brighter than organic light emitting diode (OLED) panels, according to Prof. Norihiro Shimoi, lead researcher at Tohoku University in Japan.

So far, Shimoi's lab has demonstrated a prototype -- similar in design to a flat version of the cathode ray tubes (CRTs) of old -- that achieves the goal of low power but has yet to be optimized to reach 60 lumens per watt.

"This prototype is designed as a lighting (illumination) lamp with very low power consumption of 1/100 against LED devices, and it will not be released until 2019," Shimoi told us.

Cheaper Superconducting Computer Chips

Computer chips with superconducting circuits — circuits with zero electrical resistance — would be 50 to 100 times as energy-efficient as today’s chips, an attractive trait given the increasing power consumption of the massive data centers that power the Internet’s most popular sites.

Superconducting chips also promise greater processing power: Superconducting circuits that use so-called Josephson junctions have been clocked at 770 gigahertz, or 500 times the speed of the chip in the iPhone 6.

But Josephson-junction chips are big and hard to make; most problematic of all, they use such minute currents that the results of their computations are difficult to detect. For the most part, they’ve been relegated to a few custom-engineered signal-detection applications.

Nanoletters - A Superconducting-Nanowire Three-Terminal Electrothermal Device

China moving ahead with Trans African Rail Line, New Silk Road part of Global Land Bridge Vision

[Global Construction Review] Earlier this year, the Chinese Railway Authority announced that it was to expand its present network, which is somewhere north of 11,000km, by almost 7,000km. This comprises 48 projects and investments in rail in the first quarter of this year increased by 9% compared with the first quarter of 2013.

China is working on the high speed rail line to Laos and another to Thailand. This would be part of a grand system that links China with Singapore to the south and, through Myanmar and Bangladesh, to India in the west.

As previously mentioned, China is talking to Russia about a high speed rail line from Moscow to Beijing. China and Russia also agreed to work together on other transport and energy schemes, including the development of heavy helicopters and a very large aircraft to rival Airbus’s A380, the exploration of two natural gas fields, more pipelines, nuclear power plants and the expansion of Russia’s Zarubino port on the Pacific coast, south of Vladivostok.

China is pushing ahead with its Development Bank. The US is opposed to it. China is trying to get South Korea and Australia to sign on. Trade between South Korea and China was $221 billion in 2011. Currently, China is South Korea's largest trading partner and South Korea is China's third largest.

LPP Fusion has installed their Tungsten Anode but Cathode Delayed

On October 10, LPPFusion team members Eric Lerner, Hamid Yousefi and Tony Ellis lifted the tungsten anode into place on top of the FF-1 dense plasma focus experimental device.

The same week, Lerner and Yousefi carefully measured an aluminum model shipped to us by Tungsten Heavy Powder, the firm producing the tungsten cathode. Due to the cathode’s complexity, THP wanted us to check the aluminum model before cutting the tungsten piece. Sure enough, a few errors were found, including excessive variation in the distance between the vanes that will carry the current filaments. THP has estimated that higher accuracy will be obtained only with slower cutting of the tungsten. This will unfortunately lead to a further two- or three- month delay in our long-delayed tungsten cathode. However, it will be worth the wait to ensure the symmetry needed for good compression of the plasma and the high density we are aiming for.

The new Tungsten anode and cathode is expected to solve an arcing and contamination problem. Solving those problems should boost the power from the boost the power produced by the LPP fusion device by fifty times.

Then they need to up the current to get a further ten times gain and then 20 times gain by going to heavier proton-boron fuel.

Opportunity to Leverage the American Lead in Space to Build New Spaceways Infrastructure

Previously Neil de Grasse Tyson called for doubling NASA's $17 billion space budget. Tyson promoted building a core fleet of launch vehicles that can be customized for a variety of missions and for a range of purposes.

China is using its lead with low cost high speed rail to gain economic and geopolitical advantage.

The US should leverage its lead in space and robotics technology to develop the Spaceways and industialize space.

The time is right for a Spaceways program because Spacex and Blue Origin are very close to getting reusable rockets. Spacex is already one of the lowest cost commercial rocket launch provider. As of March 2013, Falcon Heavy launch prices are below $1,000 per pound ($2,200 per kg) to low-Earth orbit when the launch vehicle is transporting its maximum delivered cargo weight
As of March 2013, Falcon 9.1.1 launch prices are $4,109 per kilogram ($1,864/lb) to low-Earth orbit when the launch vehicle is transporting its maximum cargo weight.

In 1956,President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Federal Aid Highway into law. With an original authorization of US$25 billion for the construction of 41,000 miles (66,000 km) of the Interstate Highway System supposedly over a 10-year period, it was the largest public works project in American history through that time.

The money for the Interstate Highway and Defense Highways was handled in a Highway Trust Fund that paid for 90 percent of highway construction costs with the states required to pay the remaining 10 percent.

A Federal Spaceways Act of 2016 might use different subsidizing models
* 90% of the lowest cost orbital rocket launch at the end of the prior year
* 80% of the second lowest cost orbital rocket launch provider with a cap of 110% of the lowest cost provider
* Feed in Tariff like that used for solar and wind power but instead of X cents per kilowatt hour, it would be Y dollars per kilogram to low earth orbit and Z dollars per kilogram to Geosynchronous orbit

A fund would have $10 billion per year in the first five years and then increasing to $15 billion in the next five years and then $20 billion for the next fifteen years. Funds would be rolled over to future years if they were not used.

Reports that China and Russia talking about $250 billion Beijing to Moscow High Speed Rail line

There are several reports that China and Russia are discussing a 4,350 mile long Beijing to Moscow high speed rail line. This would cost about $250 billion. The Beijing Times said that the line, which would be over 7,000 kilometers (4,350 miles) but cutting the Trans-Siberian railway journey from six days to two. If it were to be completed, it would be triple the length of the world's longest high-speed line which runs from Beijing to Guangzhou.

If the high speed rail connection were to extend the Beijing to Urumqi high speed rail line, then 3728 kilometers (2317 miles) of new high speed line would be needed.

Moscow is 1000 miles from Berlin.

October 16, 2014

China likely to get Russia's newest missiles, fighters, submarines and high speed rail to Europe

[Business Week] Defying the U.S. and Europe is forcing Russian President Vladimir Putin to aid his biggest rival to the east. To avert a recession, Russia is turning to China for investment, granting it once restricted access to raw materials and advanced weapons.

Russia is likely to sign contracts for the delivery of S-400 missile systems and Su-35 fighter jets to China as early as the first quarter of next year, says Vasily Kashin, a China expert at the Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies in Moscow. Russia may also supply China with its newest submarine, the Amur 1650, he says.

The Amur class submarine is one of the latest Russian submarine designs. It is advertised as an export version of the Lada class, a modernised version of the Kilo-class submarine with improved acoustic stealth, new combat systems, and an option for air-independent propulsion (AIP).

The new vessels are the fourth generation of the Kilo submarine family, with two models developed.

Reusable Rocket Economics and a $500 billion program to make space travel like the airline industry

David Akin of the University of Maryland has a 53 page presentation that looks at the economics of reusable rockets.

The primary cost drivers are refurbishment and mission operations costs. Refurbishment costs after each launch need to be ideally be kept below 3% of the vehicle cost but definitely at 6% or less for significant cost savings.
The flight rate and production rates have to be high to take advantage of the learning curve.

The 1954 airline industry was moving 5 million tons miles [? not sure if the 1954 number needs to be corrected as the 2003 number did] per year at about $80 per ton [ton mile].
The 2003 airline industry was moving 5 billion ton miles per year at about $20 per ton mile. [Akin number were incorrect]
US air industry statistics.

Right now the space industry is launching about 500-700 tons per year.

$500 billion to scale to 64 launches per day to the level of airlines in 1955

The US spends $60 billion per year on NASA, military and intelligence space programs. This means over $1.8 trillion over 30 years is what would be the expected budget. There is also the commercial space industry and international space efforts. The proposed $500 billion over 30 years would have to be carved out of the existing programs. The International Space station cost over $100 billion. The cumulative budget put into the space shuttle program was over $200 billion.

Strategically investing $500 billion (perhaps in conjunction with China, Europe, Japan and other countries) would provide high frequency reusable launches with demand like the airmail deliveries did for the airlines. It would be an investment in infrastructure like the highway system. The Earth and some orbit infrastructure is discussed but this level of effort would require orbital fuel depots and refueling and orbital and space industrialization.

The Space Review considered a program to fly to low earth orbit 64 times per day, three orders of magnitude higher than current flight rate, and evaluates its impact.
Ronald P. Menich wrote the Space Review article. Ronald worked in the Engineering Economics Group at SpaceWorks Engineering evaluating advanced ETO launch concepts for NASA and Air Force customers. He is Chief Scientist in the Pricing and Revenue Management business unit at JDA Software Group.

US Oil and Gas Fracking and Saudi Arabia oil are Financially Weakening Russia and Iran

Thomas Friedman at the New York Times discusses how lower oil prices helps Saudi Arabia and the United States and hurts Russia

The late Yegor Gaidar, who between 1991 and 1994 was Russia’s acting prime minister, observed in a Nov. 13, 2006, speech that: “The timeline of the collapse of the Soviet Union can be traced to Sept. 13, 1985. On this date, Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani, the minister of oil of Saudi Arabia, declared that the monarchy had decided to alter its oil policy radically. The Saudis stopped protecting oil prices. ... During the next six months, oil production in Saudi Arabia increased fourfold, while oil prices collapsed. ... The Soviet Union lost approximately $20 billion per year, money without which the country simply could not survive.”

Neither Moscow nor Tehran will collapse tomorrow. And if oil prices fall below $70 you will see a drop in U.S. production, as some exploration won’t be cost effective, and prices could firm up. But have no doubt, this price falloff serves U.S. and Saudi strategic interests and it harms Russia and Iran. Oil export revenues account for about 60 percent of Iran’s government revenues and more than half of Russia’s.

US oil production and natural gas production are hitting or will soon hit the highest levels they have ever been. China and India and developing countries have slower economic growth which reduces the demand for oil. Japan and Europe are going through economic problems that is reducing growth and demand in those areas and around the world.

Saudi Arabia is not cutting oil production in spite of lower oil prices in the $80 per barrel range.

Oil production is high in spite of production problems in Iraq, Libya and other countries.

US Crude oil Production is almost at 9 million barrels per day and crude oil and natural gas liquids is over 12 million barrels per day

Blog Action Day 2014 on Inequality, Financial and Life Literacy #BAD2014

About 20% of Americans have negative net worth. Their debts are greater than their assets.

A great part of this is lack of financial literacy. Other factors are lack of time management skills and making life choices that generally result in poverty.

Single mothers are more likely to be poor than married couples. The poverty rate for single-mother families in 2013 was 39.6%, nearly five times more than the rate (7.6%) for married-couple families. According to U.S. Census Bureau, out of 12 million single parent families in 2013, more than 80% were headed by single mothers.

There should be competitions with prizes (like the Xprize) to develop programs to get better results in correcting these issues.

Social safety nets that get better results in other countries should be considered and piloted.

Budgeting and [financial, life, career] planning should be raised to the level of importance as reading and writing.

EMC2 Park Presented on Polywell Fusion

Talk Polywell has the slides for Jaeyoung Park talk on Energy Matter Conversion Corporation (EMC2) research results Bussard developed this EMC2 fusion design before his death.

• Time resolved hard x-ray measurement provide the first ever direct and definitive confirmation of enhanced plasma confinement in high β cusp, a theoretical conjecture made by Grad and his team in 1950s.
• The enhanced electron confinement in high β cusp allows the Polywell fusion concept to move forward to complete the proof-of-principle test.
• If proven, Polywell device may become an attractive fusion reactor due to the following attributes
- stable high pressure operation from cusp
- good electron confinement by high β cusp
- ion acceleration and confinement by electric fusion

Polywell will not work with a charged Magrid. This was proven by Dr. Park and is currently being overlooked by analysts.
The actual key to viability is in the start-up cycle and having the ability to drive the potential well. WB proof was the key to considering adequate well depth. The next phase of testing would pursue investigation of adequate well depth.

Nature Study Says that a lot of cheap natural gas will not reduce overall global CO2 emissions

Nature - Limited impact on decadal-scale climate change from increased use of natural gas

The most important energy development of the past decade has been the wide deployment of hydraulic fracturing technologies that enable the production of previously uneconomic shale gas resources in North America. If these advanced gas production technologies were to be deployed globally, the energy market could see a large influx of economically competitive unconventional gas resources. The climate implications of such abundant natural gas have been hotly debated. Some researchers have observed that abundant natural gas substituting for coal could reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Others have reported that the non-CO2 greenhouse gas emissions associated with shale gas production make its lifecycle emissions higher than those of coal. Assessment of the full impact of abundant gas on climate change requires an integrated approach to the global energy–economy–climate systems, but the literature has been limited in either its geographic scope or its coverage of greenhouse gases. Here we show that market-driven increases in global supplies of unconventional natural gas do not discernibly reduce the trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions or climate forcing. Our results, based on simulations from five state-of-the-art integrated assessment models of energy–economy–climate systems independently forced by an abundant gas scenario, project large additional natural gas consumption of up to +170 per cent by 2050. The impact on CO2 emissions, however, is found to be much smaller (from −2 per cent to +11 per cent), and a majority of the models reported a small increase in climate forcing (from −0.3 per cent to +7 per cent) associated with the increased use of abundant gas. Our results show that although market penetration of globally abundant gas may substantially change the future energy system, it is not necessarily an effective substitute for climate change mitigation policy

Global Natural Gas supply curves. The current natural gas supply curves provided by Global Energy Assessment. Future cost reduction assumptions are documented in the Methods. These supply costs are not the actual prices in the market place

October 15, 2014

Z Machine MagLIF Fusion also making progress

Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, using the lab’s Z machine, a colossal electric pulse generator capable of producing currents of tens of millions of amperes, say they have detected significant numbers of neutrons—byproducts of fusion reactions—coming from the experiment.

For enough reactions to take place, the hydrogen nuclei must collide at velocities of up to 1000 kilometers per second (km/s), and that requires heating them to more than 50 million degrees Celsius.

Sandia’s technique is one of several that fall into the middle ground between the extremes of laser fusion and the magnetically confined fusion of tokamaks. It crushes fuel in a fast pulse, as in laser fusion, but not as fast and not to such high density. Known as magnetized liner inertial fusion (MagLIF), the approach involves putting some fusion fuel (a gas of the hydrogen isotope deuterium) inside a tiny metal can 5 millimeters across and 7.5 mm tall. Researchers then use the Z machine to pass a huge current pulse of 19 million amps, lasting just 100 nanoseconds, through the can from top to bottom. This creates a powerful magnetic field that crushes the can inward at a speed of 70 km per second.

Crushing the plasma also boosts the constraining magnetic field, from about 10 tesla to 10,000 tesla.

They heated the plasma to about 35 million degrees Celsius and detected about 2 trillion neutrons coming from each shot. (One reaction of fusing two deuteriums produces helium-3 and a neutron.) Although the result shows that a substantial number of reactions is taking place—100 times as many as the team achieved a year ago—the group will need to produce 10,000 times as many to achieve breakeven.

A schematic representation of the three critical components of the MagLIF concept. An axial current creates a Jz×BΘ force that is used to implode a gas-filled, premagnetized, cylindrical target. Near the start of the implosion, the fuel is heated by the laser. The liner compresses and further heats the fuel to fusion-relevant conditions at stagnation.

Physical Review Letters - Experimental Demonstration of Fusion-Relevant Conditions in Magnetized Liner Inertial Fusion

Lockheed Martin Compact Nuclear Fusion Reactor Concept will have 20 times more plasma is ten times smaller and targets a 100 MW prototype in 2019

The Lockheed Martin Skunk Works® team is working on a new compact fusion reactor (CFR) that can be developed and deployed in as little as ten years. Currently, there are several patents pending that cover their approach.

“Our compact fusion concept combines several alternative magnetic confinement approaches, taking the best parts of each, and offers a 90 percent size reduction over previous concepts,” said Tom McGuire, compact fusion lead for the Skunk Works’ Revolutionary Technology Programs. “The smaller size will allow us to design, build and test the CFR in less than a year.”

After completing several of these design-build-test cycles, the team anticipates being able to produce a prototype in five years. As they gain confidence and progress technically with each experiment, they will also be searching for partners to help further the technology.

Aviation Week has some technical details

Superconductors inside magnetic rings will contain the plasma.Credit : Lockheed Martin

Initial work demonstrated the feasibility of building a 100-megawatt reactor measuring seven feet by 10 feet, which could fit on the back of a large truck, and is about 10 times smaller than current reactors.

The Lockheed 100MW compact fusion reactor would run on deuterium and tritium (isotopes of hydrogen).

Instead of the large tokomaks which will take until the mid-2040s or 2050s for the first one and which will be large (30,000 tons) and expensive have one that fit on a truck. Build on a production line like jet engines.

Elon Musk says Telsa will have autonomous driving commercially ready by 2019 but about 2022 for regulators to approve

Elon Musk, chief executive officer of Tesla Motors Inc., discusses Tesla's "auto-pilot" feature, autonomous driving, government regulations, and legal liability with Bloomberg's Betty Liu.

"That will be the case at some point in the future. Like maybe five or six years from now I think we'll be able to achieve true autonomous driving where you could literally get in the car, go to sleep and wake up at your destination," Musk said. He added that it may take about three years beyond the point when the regulators will sign off on it.

Tesla will have everything redundant in their commercial autonomous driving cars. The standard for truly autonomous driving will be a lot higher than for human driving.

Musk said that a couple of years ago autonomous cars looked like they were a decade away, but the rate of improvement and progress toward the goal makes him more optimistic that it could be sooner.

With autopilot there are safety features but the responsibility for the driving remains with the driver.

Carnival of Space 375

October 14, 2014

Claimed Evidence of superconductivity near the boiling point of water

Superconductors.ORG herein reports the discovery of a new material that exhibits record superconductivity above 95 Celsius (203F, 368K). Its chemical formula is Sn5Sb5Ba2MnCu11O22+. This copper-oxide ceramic stands out among the 20 room-temperature superconductors discovered so far. Being non-toxic and non-brittle, it is RoHS compliant as well as more durable than previous formulations.

A Meissner transition above 95C appeared in more than a dozen magnetization tests of this material. The target J212 structure, like previous room-temperature discoveries, does not want to form naturally. This results in a very low volume fraction of the desired phase. Nonetheless, a diamagnetic transition in the range of 30-40 milli-Gauss is visible above the noise floor in both plots. The straight lines represent the average of the data points, skewing apart at Tc, the critical transition temperature.

With the discovery of 77C and 65C superconductors in early 2014, the importance of dielectric constant (K) in the X212 structure anion was confirmed.

The work is by Joe Eck, a private experimenter.

China's energy plan to reduce coal to 60% and use more Russian natural gas

China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) is talking about prospective national carbon market formation by 2016, with potential coverage upwards of 4 billion MTCO2. According to official NDRC estimates, a national carbon market in China could reach an aggregate value of $65 billion by 2020.

In March 2016, China is expected to announce its next five year energy plan. The fundamental levels of China’s coal consumption will continue along absolute increases, China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) Planning Board Division nonetheless recommended that the 13th Five Year Plan contain a 60% coal consumption target by 2020—a sizable decrease from 67% in 2013.

McKubre review of the their party ecat tests are in general positive

Dr. Michael McKubre is Director of the Energy Research Center of the Materials Research Laboratory at SRI International. He provides an analysis of the recent third party month long study of the energy catalyzer.

On the whole [Dr McKubre is] encouraged. Considerably more work is obviously needed to validate the adopted mode of calorimetry and support better sampling and testing. But we are given something we can sink our teeth into both experimentally and theoretically: testable fuel to products nuclear burn at temperatures that have practical, economic and social potential. These are exciting times and Rossi (and his sponsors) and the research team of Levi, Foschi, Höistad, Pettersson and Tegnér, as well as Hanno Essén, are to be commended for their tenacious pursuit of what at times must have seemed a thankless job.

Is this confidence justified by the words in the report? Is there evidence of excess heat? [McKubre] impression is “Yes” (but see below). Is this evidence unambiguous? Not as presented. Is there evidence of nuclear transformation? Yes, very clearly, but questions remain to be answered (or, in some cases, asked). Do the heat and nuclear production correlate quantitatively? Yes, possibly. Is the report perfect? No, no report is perfect, but this one is imperfect in little ways and large. There is curious inattention to detail—surprising for a document as delayed, anticipated and important as this.

Quantum Qubits with up to 99.99% accuracy and over 30 second quantum information storage

Two research teams created two types of quantum bits, or "qubits" – the building blocks for quantum computers – that each process quantum data with an accuracy above 99%.

University of New South Wales researchers led by Prof. Dzurak has discovered a way to create an "artificial atom" qubit with a device remarkably similar to the silicon transistors used in consumer electronics, known as MOSFETs. Post-doctoral researcher Menno Veldhorst, lead author on the paper reporting the artificial atom qubit, says, "It is really amazing that we can make such an accurate qubit using pretty much the same devices as we have in our laptops and phones"

Morello's team has been pushing the "natural" phosphorus atom qubit to the extremes of performance. Dr Juha Muhonen, a post-doctoral researcher and lead author on the natural atom qubit paper, notes: "The phosphorus atom contains in fact two qubits: the electron, and the nucleus. With the nucleus in particular, we have achieved accuracy close to 99.99%. That means only one error for every 10,000 quantum operations."

Dzurak explains that, "even though methods to correct errors do exist, their effectiveness is only guaranteed if the errors occur less than 1% of the time. Our experiments are among the first in solid-state, and the first-ever in silicon, to fulfill this requirement."

Nature Nanotechnology - An addressable quantum dot qubit with fault-tolerant control-fidelity

Nature Nanotechnology - Storing quantum information for 30 seconds in a nanoelectronic device

Dwave Systems shows off quantum chip with 2048 physical qubits

Dwave Systems has released pictures of a new quantum computer system chip with 2048 physical qubits. These are C16 chips — 16*16*8 = 2,048 physical qubits.

Researchers who work with DWave are just starting to provide some advance results on DWave's 1152 qubit system.

From Dwave CTO Geordie Rose, a subset of the qubits physically available on the chip are currently under test, corresponding to a 12×12 unit cell subgraph. However all the qubits can be activated, it’s just easier to use a smaller region for calibration and test. The D-Wave Three product will contain Washington-style chips. The first ones will ship in early 2015.

DWave redesigns and rebuilds each of the chips several times over the 12-24 months where they test and refine chips of a particular qubit size scale.

The next generation of chips are the 1152 qubit versions and are called the Washington generation. These are very early days for the Washington generation. Things will get a lot better on this one before it’s released (Rainier and Vesuvius both took 7 generations of iteration before they stabilized).

Fifteen Spacex Raptor Engines, Five engines per core on a three core rocket could launch 536 tons of payload

Exoscientist Robert Clark has calculated a two stage three core Spacex rocket with the proposed Spacex methane fueled Rocket Engine would enable 536 tons of payload in a single launch. Each core has 5 raptor engines for a total of 15 raptor engines.

A June 2014 talk by Tom Mueller, the head of rocket engine development at SpaceX, provided more specific engine performance target specifications indicating 6,900 kN (705 tonnes-force) of sea-level thrust, 8,200 kN (840 tonnes-force) of vacuum thrust, and a specific impulse of 380 seconds.

The Spacex Falcon heavy has three cores and has nine engines on each core as seen in this picture from the Spacex.com site. Having five engines per core would show about three engines in profile on each core.

Pictures of the Falcon Heavy engines from Spacex.

October 13, 2014

DESTAR phased array laser systems for defending against asteroids and for space exploration

A laser phased array directed energy system has been designed and simulated. Lubin and Hughes calculated the requirements and possibilities for DE-STAR systems of several sizes, ranging from a desktop device to one measuring 10 kilometers, or six miles, in diameter. Larger systems were also considered. The larger the system, the greater its capabilities.

For instance, DE-STAR 2 –– at 100 meters in diameter, about the size of the International Space Station –– "could start nudging comets or asteroids out of their orbits," Hughes said. But DE-STAR 4 –– at 10 kilometers in diameter, about 100 times the size of the ISS –– could deliver 1.4 megatons of energy per day to its target, said Lubin, obliterating an asteroid 500 meters across in one year.

The speed of interplanetary travel –– far beyond what is possible with chemical propellant rockets used today –– could be increased with this sized system, according to Lubin. It could also power advanced ion drive systems for deep space travel, he said. Able to engage multiple targets and missions at once, DE-STAR 4 "could simultaneously evaporate an asteroid, determine the composition of another, and propel a spacecraft."

Larger still, DE-STAR 6 could enable interstellar travel by functioning as a massive, orbiting power source and propulsion system for spacecraft. It could propel a 10-ton spacecraft at near the speed of light, allowing interstellar exploration to become a reality without waiting for science fiction technology such as "warp drive" to come along, Lubin said.

Lightweight Medusa nuclear pulse propulsion

Nick Stevens has a 2 minute film on the Medusa, a spacecraft that works by throwing bombs into a sail that's ahead of it.

While there are some difficulties with the design, such as hardening the elements hit by the blast, it is considered a feasible way of getting a spacecraft up to high speeds - much higher than chemical rockets, but not fast enough to reach the stars.

As usual, everything modeled and rendered in Lightwave 3d.

The Medusa design is a type of nuclear pulse propulsion which has more in common with solar sails than with conventional rockets. It was proposed in the 1990s in another BIS project when it became clear that ICF did not appear to be able to run both the engine and the ship, as previously believed.

A Medusa spacecraft would deploy a large sail ahead of it, attached by cables, and then launch nuclear explosives forward to detonate between itself and its sail. The sail would be accelerated by the impulse, and the spacecraft would follow.

Medusa performs better than the classical Orion design because its sail intercepts more of the bomb's blast, its shock-absorber stroke is much longer, and all its major structures are in tension and hence can be quite lightweight. It also scales down better. Medusa-type ships would be capable of a specific impulse between 50,000 and 100,000 seconds (500 to 1000 kN·s/kg)."

Exotic Propulsion Intiative at the Space Studies Institute

15 mn presentation from "A Matter Of Some Gravity" by Gary Hudson during the 2014 NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts Symposium (NIAC 2014).

This is the third part of Gary Hudson's presentation, detailing current research about Mach Effect conducted by physicist James Woodward at Cal State Fullerton, and funded by the Exotic Propulsion Initiative of the Space Studies Institute, aimed to show that a revolutionary type of field propulsion for interstellar travel is possible.

Donations to the Exotic Propulsion Initiative of the Space Studies Institute project will be first used to extend and replicate Professor Woodward’s provocative research findin

Gary Hudson is president of the Space Studies Institute, aerospace consultant specialized in reusable rockets (Phoenix SSTO, Percheron, Roton, DC-X...), founder of T/Space, Rotary Rocket Company, Airlaunch LLC, Pacific American Launch Systems and HMX Ltd. Founder's award-wining of the Space Frontier Foundation, inductee of the International Space Hall of Fame, Fellow ok the British Interplanetary Society, Associate fellow of the AIAA.

Space Studies has a lot of space related research. [asteroid mining, using solar system resources, space based solar power and more

Interstellar Travel talk by Kelvin Long

In 2007 Kelvin Long set up to systematically address various aspects of interstellar travel. This included the faster than light warp drives of science fiction, the grand scale world ships required for interstellar colonisation strategies and the initiation of a research study, Project Icarus. The intention along this journey has been to catalyse interstellar studies for the purpose of working towards the creation of a self-fulfilling and optimistic prophesy in space. The near-term goals of this work were to (i) regenerate the interstellar community by the injection of new energy, ideas, and initiatives and (ii) renew design capability for starship skills through educational programs. In this lecture Kelvin will set out the overall strategy, achievements to date and next steps. In particular, an interstellar design competition will be announced as well as the formation of the world's first dedicated interstellar research organization -- The Institute for Interstellar Studies. The creation of a new space company, Stellar Engines Ltd, will also be announced along with its primary goal to "connect people with knowledge". This lecture will describe what needs to be done now so that human missions to the stars are feasible by the end of the current century. Kelvin F. Long is an aerospace engineer, physicist, author and Editor of the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society.

Kelvin Long started a company Stellar Engines, that consults on aerospace projects.

Paul March Reactionless Drive Interview

Paul March is now working at the NASA Eagleworks labs with Sonny White. They made the news this year with the work on the EMdrive and Cannae drive tests.

This is an old interview of Paul March's earlier Mach Effect propulsion work. Mach Effect propulsion experiments have proven difficult to scale up.

Aerospace Engineer Paul March has been working diligently on the Mach-Lorentz Thruster project for several years. He talks about the beginning of true reactionless propulsion in the lab, as presented in his stunning STAIF 2006 experimental results.

The Mach-Lorentz Thruster project is an outgrowth of research by Dr. James Woodward, which predicts a net-directional reactionless drive thrust originating from a piezo-electric crystal resonating in a phase-locked magnetic field. The project has spawned several replication attempts including March's, and despite some negative setbacks in a European replication, March is among the American inventors seeing positive results above the experimental threshold for error.

What does all this mean? March explains that there are two interesting theoretical terms that describe the operation of the Mach Lorentz Thruster -- the first being an equation predicting highly-scalable reactionless propulsion as seen in the lab, and the second predicting wormhole effects that may create a negative mass state useful someday to stabilize a traversable wormhole.

Paul March and Andrew Palfreyman co-authored a paper on reactionless drives and the Woodward Effect entitled "The Woodward Effect" for the STAIF Conference which is scheduled for publication by the American Institute of Physics. March's commentary on this emerging branch of research are a foreshadowing of what appears to be a significant breakthrough in emerging BPP reactionless drive research.

Two video talks by James Woodward on Mach Effect, ADM Masses, Wormholes and Stargates

Mach's Principle and the Propulsion Problem

James Woodward explains several general relativity papers to explain how Mach effect could be used for propulsion for Stargates.

How one views the propulsion problem depends on how ambitious one is. The least ambitious version deals with the problem that serious deep space travel is all but made impossible by the requirement that one take along ridiculous amounts of propellant to get anywhere interesting in a reasonable amount of time. This version of the problem can be stated as: Is there a way to accelerate an object without expelling material propellant? The more ambitious version of the problem addresses the issue of whether it is possible to make practicable wormholes. These have been known since the work of Morris and Thorne in 1988 to require a Jupiter mass of negative restmass material confined in the throat of the wormhole. Mach's principle leads to the prediction of transient effects that can be used to address both versions of the propulsion problem.

These effects and their implications are briefly reviewed. An experiment designed to test for the presence of Mach effects that may be applicable to the less ambitious version of the propulsion problem is then described. The effect in question is a mass fluctuation that results when an object is accelerated while its internal energy is changing. It consists of accelerating a capacitor with a piezoelectric actuator as the capacitor is driven with an alternating voltage to produce the changing internal energy needed.

Dr. James woodward, California State University Fullerton. Fullerton, California.

Samsung makes progress to 4.6 Gigabit per second Wifi that is five times faster than the best Wifi Devices Available today

Samsung Electronics announced the development of its 60GHz Wi-Fi technology that enables data transmission speeds of up to 4.6Gbps, or 575MB per second, a five-fold increase from 866Mbps, or 108MB per second, the maximum speed possible with existing consumer electronics devices. As a result, a 1GB movie will take less than three seconds to transfer between devices, while uncompressed high-definition videos can easily be streamed from mobile devices to TVs in real-time without any delay.

Unlike the existing 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi technologies, Samsung’s 802.11ad standard 60GHz Wi-Fi technology maintains maximum speed by eliminating co-channel interference, regardless of the number of devices using the same network. By doing so, Samsung’s new technology removes the gap between theoretical and actual speeds, and exhibits actual speed that is more than 10 times faster than that of 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi technologies.

Supersonic Bose–Einstein condensate is a model black hole simulation and can model gravity and the early universe

One team used one laser to confine the BEC to a narrow tube, and another to accelerate some of it faster than the speed of sound. This fast flow created two horizons: an "outer" one at the point where the flow became supersonic, and an "inner" one further on where the flow slowed down again.

The Hawking effect comes from quantum noise at the horizon, says William Unruh at the University of British Columbia in Canada, one of the first to propose fluid-based black hole analogues. The horizons create pairs of particles of sound, or phonons. One phonon escapes the horizon, and the other is trapped inside it.

A single phonon is too weak to observe, but the phonons inside the black hole bounce back and forth between the inner and outer horizons, triggering the creation of more Hawking phonons each time, much like a laser amplifies light. Physicists call this effect a black hole laser.

"The Hawking radiation exponentially grows, it self-amplifies," Steinhauer says. "That allows me to observe it, because the amplitude has grown." In the future he hopes to improve his detectors to sense radiation from a single horizon, which could help determine whether the pairs of phonons are entangled – another predicted feature of real black holes that may have fiery consequences.

Self-amplifying Hawking radiation. The density-density correlation pattern is shown.

Arxiv - Observation of self-amplifying Hawking radiation in an analog black hole laser. (16 pages)

Progress to Preventing and Curing weak bones and muscle loss in the elderly

Frailty is a common geriatric syndrome that embodies an elevated risk of catastrophic declines in health and function among older adults.

Curing and preventing osteoporosis (severe bone loss and weakness) and sarcopenia (muscle loss and weakness) would dramatically improve the health and life of most people over the age of 60.

How common is osteoporosis [age related severe bone loss and weakness]

Worldwide, osteoporosis (weak bones) causes more than 8.9 million fractures annually, resulting in an osteoporotic fracture every 3 seconds. Osteoporosis is estimated to affect 200 million women worldwide - approximately one-tenth of women aged 60, one-fifth of women aged 70, two-fifths of women aged 80 and two-thirds of women aged 90. Osteoporosis affects an estimated 75 million people in Europe, USA and Japan. Worldwide, 1 in 3 women over 50 will experience osteoporotic fractures, as will 1 in 5 men.

There are diets and calcium supplements to reduce the amount of bone loss and weakening of bones. There are newer drugs in the pipeline to regrow bone and stop osteoporosis.

There are promising bone building drugs.

The experimental drug, romosozumab, frees the body's ability to stimulate bone production by blocking biochemical signals that naturally inhibit bone formation. It is 1.5 times to 3 times better than current drugs at regrowing bone.

There is a drug called anti-sclerostin antibody. Now in its earliest clinical trials (the first long-term study in people), the drug, McClung says, “does not inhibit bone resorption, it activates bone formation, so it is a true bone-building drug.” In rats and monkeys it has not only restored the amount of bone but also its structure, architecture and strength, thus literally curing osteoporosis in a few months.

Meanwhile a team at Columbia University has discovered that the serotonin produced in the gut prevents bone formation, and that an “investigational” drug called LP533401, developed for irritable bowel syndrome, inhibits serotonin synthesis and thereby both prevented osteoporosis from developing and cured existing osteoporosis over a six-week trial in mice and rats.

October 12, 2014

Robot Mass Unemployment Delayed as Million IPhone Building Robots at Foxconn delayed a decade or more

Foxconn is planning to install 10,000 Foxbots to produce the iPhone, and each robot can assemble an average of 30,000 devices a year. The robots, which will cost between $20,000 and $25,000 each, could turn out large savings for Foxconn, which currently employs more than 1 million workers across its various factories in China.

Foxconn will have to hire 100,000 new workers to help build the Apple iPhone 6.

In 2011, Foxconn had said they would build 1 million robots by 2014 and perhaps replace half of their workers.

Foxconn is now targeting to add some 30,000 robots annually. This will delay the mass unemployment by robots by a decade or more.

MOIRE: Game Changing 20 meter and bigger Membrane Diffractive Space Telescopes

The MOIRE Program is pursuing revolutionary technology to enable large optical apertures at a greatly reduced cost and mass of current technologies. Information here is from the Future In-Space Operations (FISO) telecon series.

Three big satellites could monitor the earth in real time with a resolution of 10 meters or better.

Membrane Optical Imager (for) Real-time Exploitation (MOIRE)

MOIRE program uses diffractive membrane optics to increase aperture
─ Provide persistent, real-time video of areas on the Earth from geosynchronous orbit
─ To achieve the desired image resolution from that distance requires a primary aperture of 10 meter (demonstration) to 20 meter (objective) in diameter

How to fix US Space Projects and Defense Programs Costs that are ten to one hundred times too high

James Wertz of Microcosm presented at the Future In-Space Operations (FISO) Working Group on Reinventing Space--Why Aren't We There?

The focus of the FISO talk is on the high costs of the US space program but the problems identified are the same reasons that the US defense programs are so expensive.

The F35 program could end up costing $1.5 trillion.

The Joint Strike Fighter program was designed to replace the United States military F-16, A-10, F/A-18 (excluding newer E/F "Super Hornet" variants) and AV-8B tactical fighter aircraft. To keep development, production, and operating costs down, a common design was planned in three variants that share 80 percent of their parts:

F-35A, conventional take off and landing (CTOL) variant.
F-35B, short-take off and vertical-landing (STOVL) variant.
F-35C, carrier-based CATOBAR (CV) variant.

According to some 2010 estimates, overruns could increase the program's total costs to $388 billion, a 50% increase from the initial price tag. Many of the program's financial and technical complications result from the Marine version of the JSF, capable of vertical take-offs and landings. The cost of each F35A was estimated at $50 million in 2002. In February 2011, the Pentagon put a price of $207.6 million on each of the 32 aircraft to be acquired in FY2012, rising to $304.15 million if research was included. In 2013, the cost of each F35A is about $125 million.

The problems also exist in other aspects of Federal procurement. The Obamacare federal government enrollment system has cost over $2 billion.

Over the last 5 years, space systems launched by the United States have cost an average of $3 billion per launch (including infrastructure costs).

Problems for US Space and how to fix it

There is a long-term need to do more in space with fewer $$$ — this is what drove the creation of the Responsive Space / Reinventing Space Conference in 2003.

Space is remarkably useful, in some cases critical, for military, civil, and science missions

Space has also become remarkably expensive
• $500 million can buy you a newly recreated Titanic ocean liner, or a smallish spacecraft

The Reinventing Space website is here

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