October 25, 2014

Comparing Electric Car Monthly Lease Costs with Apple iPhones with Family Plans

It is possible to find electric cars with monthly lease costs of $69-99 per month. These are usually leftovers from a prior year. Early in 2014, some Mitsubishi dealers went as low as $69 per month (for 24 months), with $2,100 down, on the 2013 I-MiEV. Currently there have been deals on Fiat 500e's in the $99 per month range.

Some total costs of ownership calculations add about $120 per month to drive an electric car 1000 miles per month with electricity at 11 cents per kwh.

This would be about $220 per month for those lower lease cost situations and the operating costs (not including license and insurance).

The Smart ED for $99 a month: Get 'em while they're hot. (Jim Motavalli photo)

TMobile has $100 per month family plans for 4 lines. Purchasing 4 Apple iPhone 6 pluses would be $749 each. This would $3000 versus a typical $2000 downpayment for the electric car lease. The $100 family plan also would have another $11 per month or so of taxes and charges.

Ocean current changes responsible for some ice ages and climate effects

Rutgers researchers have found that circulation of the ocean plays an equally important role in regulating the earth’s climate as the atmosphere.

In their study, the researchers say the major cooling of Earth and continental ice build-up in the Northern Hemisphere 2.7 million years ago coincided with a shift in the circulation of the ocean – which pulls in heat and carbon dioxide in the Atlantic and moves them through the deep ocean from north to south until it’s released in the Pacific.

The ocean conveyor system, Rutgers scientists believe, changed at the same time as a major expansion in the volume of the glaciers in the northern hemisphere as well as a substantial fall in sea levels. It was the Antarctic ice, they argue, that cut off heat exchange at the ocean's surface and forced it into deep water. They believe this caused global climate change at that time, not carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

The ocean conveyor transports water and heat through the deep ocean basins. Credit: NASA

Science - Antarctic Role in Northern Hemisphere Glaciation

China could maintain longterm GDP growth in the 5-6% range with successful reforms

One analysis of China's economic reform concludes that China could still achieve 6% GDP growth in 2020. However, if economic reform fails then China would slow to 3% per year GDP growth or worse.

We conclude that the overhaul is well conceived and showing movement, and that if fully implemented can sustain growth at 6% through 2020,” Rosen told the Global Markets Forum. “Keeping GDP at or above 6% though 2020 delivers a $14.4 trillion Chinese GDP, which supports $10 trillion in two-way financial flows and a Chinese trade deficit thanks to greater imports. That’s great for the region and great for the global outlook.”

Rosen has been analyzing China’s economy for about two decades, first at the Peterson Institute, then at the White House/National Security Council and most recently at the Rhodium Group, a research and advisory group he co-founded.

Avoiding the Blind Alley: China’s Economic Overhaul and Its Global Implications (192 pages) offers new insights on the changing profile and prospects of what will soon be the world’s largest economy. Written by Daniel H. Rosen, the report clarifies the ambitions of China’s economic reform program, assesses the progress China has made in implementing reforms, and forecasts the economic impacts the program will have on China and the world.

October 24, 2014

Tesla has sold fifty thousand model S electric cars

The Tesla Model S sold its 50,000th car almost as fast as the far cheaper Nissan Leaf

The Tesla S has starting price of $70,000-plus and compare that the Leaf's base MSRP is just a bit over $30,000 before its 2013 price cut.

Nissan sold its 50,000th Leaf a total of two years and two months after introducing the EV to dealerships.

The Model

10 Teraflops per FGPA chip and 100 GFlops per watt

Altera Corporation is a pioneer of programmable logic solutions and enabling systems. They are a leader with FPGAs.

The field-programmable gate array (FPGA) is a semiconductor device that can be programmed after manufacturing. Instead of being restricted to any predetermined hardware function, an FPGA allows you to program product features and functions, adapt to new standards, and reconfigure hardware for specific applications even after the product has been installed in the field—hence the name "field-programmable". You can use an FPGA to implement any logical function that an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) could perform, but the ability to update the functionality after shipping offers advantages for many applications.

Altera has the Industry’s Highest Performance FPGAs and SoCs

Ground breaking HyperFlex architecture
2x the core performance of prior generation high-performance FPGAs
Over 10 TeraFLOPs of single-precision floating-point DSP performance
over 4x processor data throughput of prior-generation SoCs

Stratix 10 FPGAs offer the most power-efficient technologies

* 70% lower power than prior generation high-end FPGAs and SoCs
* 100 GFlops per Watt of single-precision floating point efficiency

In theory, 10 thousand Stratix FPGA chips could provide 1 petaflop of peak performance using only 10 kilowatts of power.

Altera applies trigate transistor technology to FPGAs.

In February 2013, Altera and Intel Corporation jointly announced that the next generation of Altera’s highest performance FPGA products would be produced using Intel’s 14 nm 3-D Tri-Gate transistor technology exclusively. This makes Altera the exclusive major FPGA provider of the most advanced, highest performance semiconductor technology available.

China plans to have 95% broadband coverage by 2015 at 20-100 Mbps

Kitty Fok, IDC China Managing Director, talked about “Broadband China” project and Chinese government’s strategy to support local integrated-circuit (IC) industry.

* The 13th Five-Year Plan, starting in the Year of the Monkey (2016), will emphasize connectivity. The company aims to control more than 10% of the worldwide market by 2018.

* By the end of the Year of the Goat (2015), China aims to have 95% of the country wired for broadband, including rural areas and the 10 largest cities.

* By the end of 2017 China should have one billion smartphone users.

* Annual smartphone and tablet sales will be around 600 million and annual PC and laptop sales will be about 60 million

Russia and Iran take double hits from lower oil prices and sanctions

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil is at $81 per barrel. Brent crude oil is at $86 per barrel. Previously there up in the $105-115 per barrel range. Prices a few years ago were as high as $130 per barrel.

Iran and Russia are particularly hammered by lower oil prices. Both have sanctions placed on their ability to trade oil. Those sanctions lower the price that they can get for oil even more than the lower market price.

Only six buyers are still allowed to take crude from Iran - - China, India, Japan, South Korea, Turkey and Taiwan -- down from 21 before the restrictions went into effect in mid-2012.

Saudi Arabia also has very low costs for its oil production. Saudi Arabia can take the long view and let lower oil prices eventually reduce higher cost oil production.

In Depth and Detailed Analysis about the Future at Nextbigfuture

Reddit can be useful. It does promote content, although their main function is to have on Reddit discussions about other internet content.

Various sub-reddits behave differently and have different people running them.

However, the systems are inherently biased.

The subreddits will gain their popularity using the content of certain websites but then they will choose to turn upon them for a different selection of content.

The Science subreddit chose to switch to more science journal content. Reddit and the subreddits have their own audience and they are free to choose how they run their site.

Reddit Futurology False Accusations

Reddit Futurology moderators have claimed that Nextbigfuture tweeted out reddit links for vote manipulation.

Previously there was a link on my blogroll to reddit which had the domain results for nextbigfuture.

Readers could go down the nextbigfuture results and support nextbigfuture articles that appeared on reddit.

This link has now been removed because apparently having fans that actually would do that is a bad thing.

Also, my personal reddit account named nextbigfuture (I was not hiding anything) is stealth banned at Reddit, so I cannot defend myself there.

I would also note that the four month Reddit Futurology ban happened to coincide with my posting an article which linked directly to Reddit in support of the Indiegogo campaign for LPP Fusion. Nextbigfuture supports the actual funding of future technology. I was then notified via google+ comment that was not cool and there are apparently over a dozen rules of Reddit about what you are and are not supposed to do. Plus there are unwritten rules, soft bans and shadow bans.

So now readers of nextbigfuture like the one above are submitting nextbigfuture titles with a link to the first of 8 links in my article. It was the primary topic.

Graphene Sensors from DARPA will be used to understand Brain from the neurons on up

New technology funded by DARPA’s RE-NET program enables monitoring and stimulation of neurons using optical and electronic methods simultaneously

Understanding the anatomical structure and function of the brain is a longstanding goal in neuroscience and a top priority of President Obama’s brain initiative. Electrical monitoring and stimulation of neuronal signaling is a mainstay technique for studying brain function, while emerging optical techniques—which use photons instead of electrons—are opening new opportunities for visualizing neural network structure and exploring brain functions. Electrical and optical techniques offer distinct and complementary advantages that, if used together, could offer profound benefits for studying the brain at high resolution. Combining these technologies is challenging, however, because conventional metal electrode technologies are too thick (over 500 nm) to be transparent to light, making them incompatible with many optical approaches.

DARPA has created a proof-of-concept tool that demonstrates much smaller, transparent contacts that can measure and stimulate neural tissue using electrical and optical methods at the same time.

Conventional metal electrode technologies (top left) are opaque, obstructing views of underlying neural tissue. DARPA’s RE-NET program has developed new graphene sensors that are electrically conductive but only 4 atoms thick—hundreds of times thinner than current contacts (top middle). Their extreme thinness enables nearly all light to pass through across a wide range of wavelengths. Placed on a flexible plastic backing that conforms to the shape of tissue (bottom), the sensors are part of a proof-of-concept tool that demonstrates much smaller, transparent contacts that can measure and stimulate neural tissue using electrical and optical methods at the same time (top right).

Nature Communications - Graphene-based carbon-layered electrode array technology for neural imaging and optogenetic applications

October 23, 2014

Carnival of Space 376

The Carnival of Space 376 is up at the Urban Astonomer

Universe Today - ‘Death Star’ Ocean? Seven Moons That Could Host Huge Hidden Liquid Reservoirs

Newly released data from the Cassini spacecraft suggests there are big liquid reservoirs underneath the surface of Mimas, a moon of Saturn.

A global layer of liquid water thick enough to decouple the crust from the mantle is believed to be present on Titan, Europa and, with less certainty, Callisto, Ganymede and Triton. A magma ocean is thought to be present on Io. Geysers have been found on Saturn's moon Enceladus, possibly originating from about 10 kilometers (6.2 mi) deep ocean beneath an ice shell.

The asteroid Ceres appears to be differentiated into a rocky core and icy mantle and may harbour a liquid-water ocean under its surface.

Not enough is known of the larger Trans-Neptunian objects to determine whether they are differentiated bodies capable of possessing oceans, although models of radioactive decay suggest that Pluto, Eris, Sedna, and Orcus have oceans beneath solid icy crusts at the core-boundary approximately 100 to 180 km thick.

There is the hypothesis that Uranus and Neptune possessing hot, highly compressed, supercritical water under their thick atmospheres.

Science - Constraints on Mimas’ interior from Cassini ISS libration measurements

Universe Today - Moons of Confusion: Why Finding Extraterrestrial Life may be Harder than we Thought

China stockpiling Genetically Modified Crops in event of a Future Agricultural crisis

378 Chinese groups employing thousands of scientists are engaged in Genetically Modified Crop research. The government will have spent some $4 billion on GMOs by 2020. Researchers are using the latest modification technologies and drawing from high-throughput genomic analysis of thousands of crop strains, accelerating the pace of discovery.

China is building a storehouse of genetically modified crop strains for future use.

* there are large scale field trials
* there are vast storehouses of GMO seeds
* billions are being spent on GMO research

Elon Musk Solar Scaling plans could enable solar power to go from unsubsidized 18 cents per kwh to 9 cents

Solar panel costs are not as important now, it is balance of system costs. Although having higher efficiency panels reduces the size of the solar installation which reduces balance of system costs.

Home solar is dominated by Solar City and Vivint which together are half of the US residential market SolarCity climbed from 28% to a record 36% share of the U.S. residential installer market from the first to the second quarter of 2014, according to new data from GTM Research. Over the same period, Vivint Solar nearly doubled its market share to 15%

Solar City scaling from unsubsidized 18 cents per kwh to 9 cents per kwh

In sunny states like California, solar power from Solar City is at an unsubsidized 18 cents per kwh. However, is subsidized which brings it down to 12-15 cents per kwh for many locations. This is cheaper than the lowest tier of PG and E electricity at 15.5 cents. There are four pricing tiers and they increase and usage increases and go up to about 25 cents per kwh. In 15 years, Solar Cities scaling and technology plans could bring the unsubsidized price of home solar electricity down to about 9 cents per kwh. This would be lower than the average price of US electricity at 12 cents per kwh. Elon Musk also plans to provide batteries for power storage so that the solar power does not burn off as heat at the feeder stations on the one way power grid.

China Cuts 2020 Target for Offshore Wind Power by 60%

China slashed its forecasts for offshore wind power by 60 percent, an acknowledgment that installations are being held up by the cost and complexity of the technology.

The nation is expected to install about 2,000 megawatts of capacity by 2015 and 10,000 megawatts by 2020, the National Energy Administration estimates. That’s less than the ambition in 2011 to generate 5,000 megawatts of power from offshore turbines by 2015 and 30,000 megawatts by 2020, enough for 32 million homes.

The estimates if they hold true would mark the first time China has missed one of its goals for renewable energy and is a setback for the $15 billion industry, which is seeking to produce a clean supply of electricity from one of nature’s most reliable energy sources.

Worldwide the fastest growing energy sources are
1. Coal (Since 1995, over 15,000 TWh added worldwide)
2. Natural gas (Since 1995, over 10,000 TWh added worldwide)
3. Hydro (Since 1995, over 1500 TWh added worldwide, up to 3663 TWh in 2012)

In 2011, 438TWh was produced by wind power.

World energy consumption in tons of oil equivalent

Age of Ultron Trailer

Get your first look at Ultron trying to tear apart Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and the rest of the world in the first official teaser trailer for Marvel's "Avengers: Age of Ultron," in theaters May 1, 2015.

Over 500 exo-comets studied around Beta Pictoris which is 63 light years away

The HARPS instrument at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile has been used to make the most complete census of comets around another star ever created. A French team of astronomers has studied nearly 500 individual comets orbiting the star Beta Pictoris and has discovered that they belong to two distinct families of exocomets: old exocomets that have made multiple passages near the star, and younger exocomets that probably came from the recent breakup of one or more larger objects.

Beta Pictoris is a young star located about 63 light-years from the Sun. It is only about 20 million years old and is surrounded by a huge disc of material — a very active young planetary system where gas and dust are produced by the evaporation of comets and the collisions of asteroids.

Artist impression of exocomets around Beta Pictoris

Nature - Two families of exocomets in the β Pictoris system

Vanadium Flow Battery Fix the Grid for High Levels of Solar Power

Imergy Power has a new generation of vanadium flow batteries that dramatically lowers the cost and increases the performance and flexibility of energy storage systems for utilities, renewable energy projects, microgrids, and commercial and industrial customers.

The ESP30 series has a power capability of up to 50 kilowatts (kW) and can store up to 200 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity. The power and capacity of the ESP30 make it well suited for a variety of demanding energy storage applications, including peak shaving, demand response, energy shifting, renewable energy firming, and microgrid or back-up power.

It is the first battery from Imergy to use secondary sources of vanadium like mining slag, fly ash, and other environmental waste. As a result of this technology and other developments, Imergy will be able to lower the cost of its flow batteries from $500 per kilowatt hour, already an industry benchmark, to under $300 per kilowatt hour.

The ESP30 operates within a far wider temperature range than lithium ion or other storage solutions and is air-cooled. The storage duration can be extended by increasing electrolyte concentration and volume. Built in a modular fashion from replaceable components, the ESP30 has a lifetime that is effectively unlimited.

Vanadium has is a special material with four different oxidation states. A single element can act as a battery so it does not wear out.

Vanadium utility grade batteries could be placed by the feeder stations to enable shifting of the power generated by solar power on homes by four hours. 4 billion kwh of vanadium batteries could be used to enable the intermittent power of solar energy in the USA which is generated at the wrong time for when consumers need to use it to the right time. These batteries can be completely discharged without damage. Lithium ion and other batteries only last a certain number of charge and discharge cycles and cannot be fully discharged without damage.

There is also over a billion tons of Vanadium in the flyash coal waste that has accumulated over decades. 10 kilograms of vanadium is needed for every kwh of battery. So 40 million tons would be needed for 4 billion kwh. If 100 million houses in the USA had 4 kilowatts of solar power, then that would produce a peak of 400 Gigawatts but the energy generation would be at best be for about 6 hours during the day on sunny days.

Imergy's process does not require highly pure Vanadium. They can handle more contaminated vanadium, which is cheaper and easier to get from the flyash.

Genetic Optimization Like picking cards for your poker or bridge hand

Bill Hsu is a scientific advisor to BGI (formerly, Beijing Genomics Institute) and a founder of its Cognitive Genomics Lab. He is an expert on the genetics of intelligence and what might be possible for enhancing intelligence via genetics. His insight also represents what is possible for genetically enhancing other characteristics.

There are positive correlations between narrow abilities. This suggests that an individual who is above average in one area (for example, mathematical ability) is more likely to be above average in another (verbal ability). They also suggest a robust and useful method for compressing information concerning cognitive abilities.

Normal random genetic can mean that someone can still be very, very good at physics but poor at verbal communication or at least not a genius at communication. However, there were still people like Carl Sagan who was a genius at science and an excellent communicator.

Arguments against the probable effectiveness of genetic cognitive enhancement are like the arguments against radical life extension, they are based upon non-enhanced examples of today. If you get to pick the cards for your poker or bridge handsthen clearly the bad options can be avoided. The games are different than being dealt random cards.

Bill Hsu believe super-intelligence via genetic enhancement might be a distant prospect, but smaller, still-profound developments are likely in the immediate future. Large data sets of human genomes and their corresponding phenotypes (which are the physical and mental characteristics of the individual) will lead to significant progress in our ability to understand the genetic code—in particular, to predict cognitive ability. Detailed calculations suggest that millions of phenotype-genotype pairs will be required to tease out the genetic architecture, using advanced statistical algorithms. However, given the rapidly falling cost of genotyping, this is likely to happen in the next 10 years or so. If existing heritability estimates are any guide, the accuracy of genomic-based prediction of intelligence could be better than about half a population standard deviation (meaning better than plus or minus 10 IQ points).

Each one-point increase in a country’s average IQ, the per capita GDP was $229 higher. It made an even bigger difference if the smartest 5 percent of the population got smarter; for every additional IQ point in that group, a country’s per capita GDP was $468 higher. A population wide boost of 10 IQ points would be a 10-15% economic boost to countries like the USA.

There are some results which suggest that the genetic basis of intelligence involves 20 times more genes than the genetic basis of height. This means that more genomes will need to be studied to properly genetically decode intelligence. The new CRISPR gene modification method seems up to the challenge of genome engineering and being able to make thousands of genetic modifications. Also, the means of delivering into the body are being vastly enhanced with progress towards surgical nanorobots.

Arxiv - On the genetic architecture of intelligence and other
quantitative traits [30 pages]

Container ship almost twice as long as Titanic and larger ships to come

The Ultra Large Container Vessels (ULCV) will take over shipping routes between Asia and Europe, as smaller containerships are no longer seen as competitive when it comes to unit costs, compared to behemoth Maersk Line Triple-E 18,000 TEU ULCV, says industry analyst Alphaliner. The Triple-E container ship is almost twice as long as the Titanic. They are lover 5 times longer than an Airbus 380.

This year's new class of container ship, the Triple E. It has gone into service June, 2013 it is the largest vessel ploughing the sea. Each contains as much steel as eight Eiffel Towers and have a capacity equivalent to 18,000 20-foot containers (TEU).

If those containers were placed in Times Square in New York, they would rise above billboards, streetlights and some buildings. They would fill more than 30 trains, each a mile long and stacked two containers high. Inside those containers,
you could fit 36,000 cars or 863 million tins of baked beans.

Bigger ships are more fuel efficient to move the same amount of cargo. Over the next 15 years about $2 trillion will be spent on new ships and upgraded ports for the shipping industry.

Offshore ports and 384 Container Floating Loading Units for handling supercontainer ships

There is a new wave of 18,000 container superships. The size and other improvements allow 40% less oil to be used per container.

Venice has an offshore-onshore port project.

Cassette Loading Unit - containers for holding smaller containers

* New cargo unit loading up to 384 TEUs (containers);
* Highest TEUs handling process efficiency if combined with high speed cranes;
* If loaded on a Mama Vessel it can get to whatever kind of port, regardless of shallow water or other nautical restrictions, ensuring the highest flexibility without affecting the overall system performances;
* No lashing required;
* Cassettes have only to float, not to sail.

October 22, 2014

World GDP should double by 2030 and World Trade, Shipping, Ports and Supply Chain will match

According to the Global Marine Trends 2030 report, China will continue to grow, prosper and evolve into the role of a dominant world superpower, particularly with regards to the commercial maritime shipping industry. In fact, it has been widely suggested that the Chinese shipping industry will likely own and operate up to 25 per cent of the world’s commercial shipping fleet, by the year 2030.

In order to meet the rising demand from China and the other prospering nations in the emerging and developed world, the shipping industry is expected to increase its transport capacity from nine billion tonnes a year to between nineteen billion and twenty-four billion tonnes a year. In doing so, the world’s container ship fleet will double its current carrying capacity to 450 million gross tonnes, by the end of 2030.

In 2008, about 13 percent of world freight exports from more than 200 countries ($2.1 trillion out of $16 trillion) were bound for the United States. Of this amount, 55 percent was oceanborne cargo, 20 percent was air cargo, and about 25 percent was carried by land modes of transportation.

China will see the largest growth in commercial fleet ownership, rivalling Greece and the rest of the European countries combined. China will become the world’s primary maritime market, leading in seaborne trade, shipbuilding and vertically integrated ownership and ship management. The economic development of India follows closely behind China, and it is expected to become a giant driver of global trade in an order of magnitude similar to China.

A leading European shipping line has ordered 20 ships for 2015 with a capacity of 18,000 Twenty Foot Equivalent Units (TEU). This is the equivalent of a continuous lane of heavy goods vehicles from Rotterdam to Paris.

Here is a 36 page presentation of Global Marine Trends 2030.

Turkey will build a third nuclear reactor and Japan continues slow process to approve restarts

1. Turkey said it plans to build a third nuclear power plant by 2018 or 2019. Turkey has two ongoing nuclear projects. One to be built in Mersin by Akkuyu Nuclear with an agreement signed between the governments of Turkey and Russia in May 2010. The second project will be built through a Turkey-Japan cooperation in Sinop, the article said.

2. Japan's newly appointed trade minister, Yoichi Miyazawa, said on Tuesday that he would continue with the policy of seeking to restart nuclear reactors deemed safe by the atomic regulator. Miyazawa, speaking to reporters, also said he would move toward restarting Kyushu Electric Power Co's Sendai plant in southwestern Japan.

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe has endorsed the restart of the nuclear reactors at Kyushu Electric's Sendai power plant in southern Japan

Injection Of Brain Nerve Cells Into Spine Helps Paralyzed Man Walk

BBC News reports that a paralysed man has been able to walk again after a pioneering therapy that involved transplanting cells from his nasal cavity into his spinal cord.

BBC One's Panorama programme had unique access to the project and spent a year charting the patient's rehabilitation.

Darek Fidyka, 40, from Poland, was paralysed after being stabbed repeatedly in the back in the 2010 attack.

He said walking again - with the support of a frame - was "an incredible feeling", adding: "When you can't feel almost half your body, you are helpless, but when it starts coming back it's like you were born again."

Cell Transplantation Journal - Functional regeneration of supraspinal connections in a patient with transected spinal cord following transplantation of bulbar olfactory ensheathing cells with peripheral nerve bridging

The Future of Work - Work at Uber or Drive for Uber

Uber is an interesting case study in the future of work. Uber is a company that is now valued at more than $18 billion where they use technology to enable the crowdsourcing of paid car rides. As of September 16, 2014, the UBer service was available in 45 countries and more than 100 cities worldwide.

Uber aggressively expanding across the globe, moved in to an 88,000-square-foot space at 1455 Market St. four months ago. That space has room for 600 people, and the company has leased an additional 132,000 square feet in the same building, but has not yet moved in.

Typical of Silicon Valley startups those who work at Uber have 80 to 100 hour work weeks.

Uber has tens of thousands of drivers. Several times this year, drivers have organized and protested the company's practices, in cities like New York, Santa Monica and San Francisco. Today (Oct 22) there is a multi-city protest, which will take place in front of Uber's various offices from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. EST, in cities across the country including Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and even across the pond in London. Uber drivers have a handful of issues with the company, including Uber’s reduced fares, Uber’s tipping policy, the five-star rating system, and driver safety and with Uber setting policy with no driver input.

Why is their Undercounting of Ebola ? Because it would be wrong to risk lives for an accurate count

The Journal Science - Scienceinsider discusses the science, statistics and disease situation and methodology behind the estimate of 2.0 to 2.5 times undercounting of Ebola cases and Ebola deaths.

As the Ebola epidemic unfolds, underreporting appears to be getting worse.

In August, the World Health Organization said that the reported Ebola numbers "vastly underestimate" the epidemic's magnitude. WHO’s situation updates frequently point out gaps in the data.

A fall in the rate of increase in official Liberia numbers reflects a deterioration in the ability of overwhelmed responders to record accurate epidemiological data.

Sierra Leone reports 49 new cases per day and 20 deaths. This does not appear to have the 2.0 to 2.5 correction factor

BBC News also was using an underreporting adjusted estimate of 12000 Ebola deaths.

Nextbigfuture had also estmimated 12000 Ebola deaths based on the fact that there is underreporting.

Lockheed has built its first Compact Fusion Test Machine and fired 200 Test Shots

Lockheed Martin made a lot of news when they revealed their compact nuclear fusion project last week with promises of commercial nuclear fusion within ten years.

Recent criticism has forced project leader McGuire to provide more technical and project details. MIT Technology Review reports on the skepticism and critics of the Lockheed Martin approach. Ian Hutchinson, a professor of nuclear science and engineering at MIT and one of the principal investigators at the MIT fusion research reactor, says the type of confinement described by Lockheed had long been studied without much success.

McGuire acknowledged the need for shielding against neutrons for the magnet coils positioned inside the reactor vessel. He estimates that between 80 and 150 centimeters of shielding would be needed, but this can be accommodated in their compact design. Researchers contacted by ScienceInsider say that it is difficult to estimate the final size of the machine without more knowledge of its design. Lockheed has said its goal is a machine 7 meters across, but some estimates had suggested that the required shielding would make it considerably larger.

Lockheed has built its first compact fusion machine and has carried out 200 shots during commissioning and applied up to 1 kilowatt of heating, but McGuire declined to detail any measurements of plasma temperature, density, or confinement time—the key parameters for a fusion plasma—but said the plasma appeared very stable. He said they would be ramping up heating over the coming months and would publish results next year.

Lockheed has had a team of five to 10 people for the past 4 years and hopes to expand the team now that the project is in the open. This scale of project is about $1 million per year.

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

IEEE panel agree Moore's Law via Lithography scaling will be dead by 2035 and explore Beyond CMOS

An IEEE symposium panel concluded that "there is no chance that it (Moore's law) will continue until 2035".

Moore’s Law is not dead, but it has clearly reached old age, and no fundamental technology has emerged to replace it. Whatever comes next is likely to challenge old assumptions both for technologists and society at large.

That was one of the conclusions from an IEEE symposium here here exploring the 20-year technology horizon.

October 21, 2014

Factoring in underreporting there might be 12000 deaths from Ebola

For $10,000 you can get a real magnetic hoverboard to glide over conductive surfaces

Hendo has a kickstarter for a magnetic hoverboard that can glide over conductive surfaces and you can have one for $10,000.

While their hoverboard is primarily intended to be self-propelled, the actions which stabilize it can also be used to drive it forward by altering the projected force on the surface below.

Currently, this surface needs to be a non-ferromagnetic conductor. Right now they use commonly available metals in a simple sheets, but they are working on new compounds and new configurations to maximize our technology and minimize costs.

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 231

1. Robert Rock [President, Environmentalists for Nuclear, Canada] at Linkedin - Is Germany's Green turning Brown ?

Robert Rock looks at the effect of Germany's Energiewende.

The Energiewende has cost German citizens more than € 100 billion euros. That cost continues to grow. The environment minister believes that it will cost over € 1 trillion euros over the next two decades. In the future, the cost gets even worse for Germany, as Siemens estimated in 2011 that the lifetime cost of the Energiewende through 2050 will be € 4.5 trillion euros.

In addition, to the issue of rising costs which are substantial, Germany is also displacing whole villages to be able to mine more coal. A recent example of this is Proschim in the east.

2. James Conca at Forbes - A Working Nuclear Fusion Reactor In Three Years? Really?

Lockheed Martin claimed a design breakthrough in nuclear fusion reactors that will revolutionize energy production on planet Earth and fit in my garage. I hope so.

Superconducting magnetic coils inside a compact fusion reactor. Source: Lockheed Martin

Braintree Founder has $100 million fund for quantum-leap discoveries to Rewrite Civilizations Foundations

Bryan Johnson, founder of Braintree Inc., has launched a $100 million venture fund to pursue groundbreaking ideas.

Mr. Johnson was getting his MBA at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business when he launched credit card software company Braintree, which sold last year to eBay Inc. for $800 million. Although he stepped down as CEO in 2011, Mr. Johnson still owned part of the company.

Today, Johnson wants to use OS-level thinking to redefine medical discovery and cure aging; recreate the biological toolset of our existence; become a multi-planetary species; reinvent global transportation infrastructure; enhance our minds; safely create advanced machine intelligence; and produce abundant clean energy.

The OS Fund invests in entrepreneurs working towards quantum-leap discoveries that promise to reinvent the operating systems of life.

October 20, 2014

World’s Thinnest Electric Generator

Researchers from Columbia Engineering and the Georgia Institute of Technology report today that they have made the first experimental observation of piezoelectricity and the piezotronic effect in an atomically thin material, molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), resulting in a unique electric generator and mechanosensation devices that are optically transparent, extremely light, and very bendable and stretcha

Piezoelectricity is a well-known effect in which stretching or compressing a material causes it to generate an electrical voltage (or the reverse, in which an applied voltage causes it to expand or contract). But for materials of only a few atomic thicknesses, no experimental observation of piezoelectricity has been made, until now. The observation reported today provides a new property for two-dimensional materials such as molybdenum disulfide, opening the potential for new types of mechanically controlled electronic devices.

Ultimately, Zhong Lin Wang notes, the research could lead to complete atomic-thick nanosystems that are self-powered by harvesting mechanical energy from the environment. This study also reveals the piezotronic effect in two-dimensional materials for the first time, which greatly expands the application of layered materials for human-machine interfacing, robotics, MEMS, and active flexible electronics.

An atomically thin material, molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), shown, could be the basis for unique electric generator and mechanosensation devices that are optically transparent, extremely light, and very bendable and stretchable.—Image courtesy of Rob Felt/Georgia Tech

Nature - Piezoelectricity of single-atomic-layer MoS2 for energy conversion and piezotronics

Conference Board Forecasts China's annual GDP growth will be 5.5% for 5 years and then 3.9% for five. Other economists think this is overly pessimistic

The Wall Street Journal reports on a Conference Board forecast of China's GDP growth over the next ten years.

The Conference Board forecasts that China’s annual growth will slow to an average of 5.5% between 2015 and 2019, compared with last year’s 7.7%. It will downshift further to an average of 3.9% between 2020 and 2025, according to the report.

Tomorrow China will reports their third quarter GDP growth. China's economy is forecast to have grown 7.2 percent in the July-September period, according to a Reuters poll.

Lightbridge will test their metallic nuclear fuel in Canada

Lightbridge on Monday announced a pact with Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. to carry out a key test for the McLean-based company's nuclear fuel technology.

The initial agreement with Atomic Energy of Canada (AECL) entails fabricating samples of the fuel and irradiating them in a research reactor. The work represents "the most critical phase of fuel testing and demonstration" prior to testing in a commercial reactor.

Work at AECL's Chalk River, Ontario, facility is slated to begin later this year.

China ready for Thursday unmanned sample return mission from the moon

The Chang'e 5-T1 mission is set to blast off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan, China, on 23 October. It will fly around the back of the moon and return to Earth on October 31st.

It's a precursor to a more advanced mission planned for 2017. This future mission will send a lunar orbiter that will release a lander to touch down on the moon's surface and collect 2 kilograms of soil and rock.

Chang'e 5-T1 will test China's heat-shield technology

China's 2017 target is to land on the moon, scoop up some rocks and soil, and bring it all back to Earth (Image: CNSA)

Isaac Asimov described How People Get New Ideas

Technology Review printed a 1959 essay that Isaac Asimov contributed to research project. The original essay was published with permission of Asimov Holdings.

How do people get new ideas ? How are can productive creativity be maximized ?

What is needed is not only people with a good background in a particular field, but also people capable of making a connection between item 1 and item 2 which might not ordinarily seem connected.

The history of human thought would make it seem that there is difficulty in thinking of an idea even when all the facts are on the table. Making the cross-connection requires a certain daring. Any non-daring cross connection becomes merely “corollary of an old idea.”

It is only afterward that a new idea seems reasonable. To begin with, it usually seems unreasonable. It seems the height of unreason to suppose the earth was round instead of flat, or that it moved instead of the sun, or that objects required a force to stop them when in motion, instead of a force to keep them moving, and so on.

Eccentric but not a crackpot

A person willing to fly in the face of reason, authority, and common sense must be a person of considerable self-assurance. Since he occurs only rarely, he must seem eccentric (in at least that respect) to the rest of us. A person eccentric in one respect is often eccentric in others.

Consequently, the person who is most likely to get new ideas is a person of good background in the field of interest and one who is unconventional in his habits. (To be a crackpot is not, however, enough in itself.)

October 19, 2014

Updated Prospects for Commercial Nuclear Fusion

Commercialization Targets for Nuclear Fusion Projects

LPP Fusion (Lawrenceville Plasma Physics) - the target is to make LPP Fusion with a commercial system 4 years after net energy gain is proved. The hop is two years to prove net energy gain. Then 2019-2022 for a commercial reactor (2022 if we allow for 3 years of slippage). They could lower energy costs by ten times.

Lockheed Compact Fusion has a target date of 2024 and made big news recently with some technical details and an effort to get partners.

Helion Energy 2023 (about 5 cents per kwh and able to burn nuclear fission waste)

Tri-Alpha Energy (previously talked about 2015-2020, but now likely 2020-2025)

General Fusion 2023 (targeting 4 cents per kwh)

EMC2 Fusion (Released some proven physics results, raising $30 million)

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