January 24, 2015

Revamped collider and a 50 times better detector will hunt the WIMP particles in 2015

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, Europe’s particle-physics lab near Geneva, Switzerland, is scheduled to restart in March after a major upgrade. It is widely seen as the last chance in a generation to create — and thus confirm — theoretical particles known as WIMPs, or weakly interacting massive particles. A super-sensitive ‘direct-detection’ experiment, which is designed to catch naturally occurring WIMPs streaming from the heavens, is also due to start this year.

At the same time, the failure so far to glimpse WIMPs at either the LHC or through direct-detection experiments, combined with surprise signals from others, is fuelling suggestions that dark matter is made of something else. A range of alternatives that were previously considered underdog candidates now look “less exotic”, says Kevork Abazajian, a theorist who studies particle cosmology at the University of California, Irvine.

Large Hadron Collider

Russian Navy can only deploy 45 of its 270 ships

The Russian navy is on the edge of a precipitous decline in ship numbers and combat power, owing to huge industrial shortfalls that have been decades in the making. Today the Russian navy possesses around 270 warships including surface combatants, amphibious ships, submarines and auxiliaries. Of the 270 ships, just 125 or so are in a working state. And of those 125, only around 45 are oceangoing surface warships or submarines that are in good shape and deployable.

Most of the Soviet-vintage ships will decommission in the next few years as they became too old to sail safely and economically.

Gorenburg, Harvard Analyst, says the Russian shipbuilding industry could build somewhere between half and 70 percent of the vessels Moscow wants by 2020. “The earliest that Russia could build a new aircraft carrier is 2027, while new destroyers are still on drawing board, with the first unlikely to be commissioned for 10 years.

The U.S. Navy possesses some 290 warships. Pretty much all of them are well-maintained, deployable, oceangoing vessels.

China has plans to grow its navy to 351 ships by 2020 as the Chinese continue to develop their military’s ability to strike global targets.

India and Russia have agreed to fast-track the FGFA fighter jet

India and Russia agreed on 21 January to expedite their joint military programmes, particularly the delayed Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) project.

Official sources told IHS Jane's that differences persisted on the FGFA's preliminary design features despite a 10 January Russian media report claiming that the two sides had managed to resolve them following a four-year delay.

Quoting FGFA project director Andrev Marshankin, the Sputnik news agency had reported agreement between Indian and Russian officials on the specifications of the 30-tonne fighter, which is based on the Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA. Enduring Indian reservations over the FGFA programme include those over the fighter's AL-41F1 engine and its stealth and weapon-carrying capability.

India is also insistent on Russia restoring its workload in the USD10.5 billion developmental programme after recently reducing it from 25% to 13% without consulting Delhi. It is also seeking greater access to the fighter's design configuration, which it claims it is denied.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) plans on acquiring around 130 FGFA, down from an earlier projected requirement of around 220.

India and Russia have agreed to fast-track development of the Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA-derived FGFA. Source: IHS/Patrick Allen

Aragoscope is space telescope system that could achieve 1000 times higher resolution than Hubble Telescope

A new space telescope concept, named the Aragoscope after French scientist Francois Arago who first detected diffracted light waves around a disk, could allow scientists to image space objects like black hole “event horizons” and plasma swaps between stars, said Cash of CU-Boulder’s Center for Astrophysics and Space Astronomy. The novel telescope system also could point toward Earth and image objects as small as a rabbit, giving it the ability to hunt for lost campers in the mountains, he said.

The Aragoscope could provide images up to 1,000 times sharper than the Hubble Space Telescope.

A conventional space telescope is pointed at an opaque disk along an axis to a distant target. The disk boosts the resolution of the system with no loss of collecting area. It can be used to achieve the diffraction limit based on the size of the low cost disk, rather than the high cost telescope mirror. One can envision affordable telescopes that could provide 7 centimeter resolution of the ground from geosynchronous orbit or images of the sky with one thousand times the resolution of the Hubble Space Telescope.

A new orbiting telescope concept developed at CU-Boulder could allow scientists to image objects in space

January 23, 2015

UK Taranis unmanned combat aircraft demostrator likely basis for post-2030 UK airforce

Taranis is an unmanned combat aircraft system advanced technology demonstrator programme. The Taranis demonstrator is the result of one-and-a-half-million man hours of work by the UK’s leading scientists, aerodynamicists and systems engineers from 250 UK companies. The technological advances made through Taranis will also help the UKMOD and Royal Air Force make decisions on the future mix of manned and unmanned fast jet aircraft and how they will operate together in a safe and effective manner for the UK’s defences.

The UK’s post-2030 force structure may include a Taranis-like UCAV and/or an upgraded Typhoon fighter fleet A UCAV [unmanned combat air vehicle] along the lines of [the BAE Systems] Taranis is one potential element of this force mix, along with an additional buy of [Lockheed Martin F-35] Lightning II, a [Eurofighter] Typhoon life extension, or an alternative new-build manned aircraft. The Taranis technology demonstration programme (TDP) aims to develop key technologies and systems for a future operational UCAV acquisition programme.

Gallium nitride is ten times better than silicon now but could become 100 to 1000 times better to offset costs that are ten times higher

GaN field effect transistors (FETs) are now available as discrete transistors and as monolithic half-bridges, with performance 10 times better than the best commercial silicon MOSFET. But what happens when many devices are integrated to create a system on a single chip? What happens when the performance of that chip is 100 times better than silicon?

If we will look out 5 to 10 years we can easily see how a transformative change in semiconductor technology can transform our everyday world.

For the first time in 60 years, a new higher-performance semiconductor technology is less expensive to produce than the silicon counterpart. Gallium nitride (GaN), has demonstrated both a dramatic improvement in transistor performance and the ability to be produced at a lower cost than silicon. GaN transistors have unleashed new applications as a result of their ability to switch higher voltages and higher currents faster than any transistor before.

If we will look out 5 to 10 years we can easily see how a transformative change in semiconductor technology can transform our everyday world.

* no more wall sockets with wireless power transmission
* help make satellites ten times smaller
* no more colonoscopies with GaN in a pill

GaN Technology –Transforming the Future

Efficient Power Conversion (EPC), GaN Systems, Transphorm, and Panasonic are just a few of the companies working on widening the performance gap between GaN FETs from 10 times to 1000 times. As the performance gap widens and GaN technology is applied to more complex integrated circuits it will become the new building blocks for unforeseen applications.

It has previously been believed that GaN could become cheaper than silicon for performance and be a savior for Moore's Law

China has new light tank for fighting in mountains in Tibet and other western provinces

There are pictures of china's new light tank for fighting in mountainous areas. China's has issues with minorities in some of the mountain areas. China has almost 15 million Muslims who live mainly in the rugged mountains and desert basins of the northwest, on the central Yellow River Valley plains, in the southern province of Yunnan and among the city populations of the east.

The ZTQ light tanks seem to have 105-millimeter main guns. They were seen on train cars, apparently heading for China’s mountainous Tibet region. This according to the very attentive China Defense Blog, which routinely reposts the most interesting semi-official photos of Chinese weaponry.

India now expected to have 6.2% GDP growth for 2015

Analysts now expect India to grow 6.2 percent next fiscal year, a slight downgrade from the October survey's forecast of 6.4 percent, but it would still be the first time that growth has exceeded 6.0 percent since FY 2011/2012.

The poll also showed that the economy will grow 5.5 percent the current fiscal year ending in March, unchanged from the previous poll result.

India suffered its slowest phase of economic growth for a quarter century during the previous two years when it clocked consecutive growth rates of sub-5 percent. The economy is still growing far too slowly to generate enough jobs for the increasing number of people entering the labour force.

Telomere extension turns back aging by decades in cultured human cells

Researchers delivered a modified RNA that encodes a telomere-extending protein to cultured human cells. Cell proliferation capacity was dramatically increased, yielding large numbers of cells for study.

Treated cells behave as if they are much younger than untreated cells, multiplying with abandon in the laboratory dish rather than stagnating or dying.

The procedure, which involves the use of a modified type of RNA, will improve the ability of researchers to generate large numbers of cells for study or drug development, the scientists say. Skin cells with telomeres lengthened by the procedure were able to divide up to 40 more times than untreated cells. The research may point to new ways to treat diseases caused by shortened telomeres.

Telomeres are the protective caps on the ends of the strands of DNA called chromosomes, which house our genomes. In young humans, telomeres are about 8,000-10,000 nucleotides long. They shorten with each cell division, however, and when they reach a critical length the cell stops dividing or dies. This internal “clock” makes it difficult to keep most cells growing in a laboratory for more than a few cell doublings.

‘Turning back the internal clock’

“Now we have found a way to lengthen human telomeres by as much as 1,000 nucleotides, turning back the internal clock in these cells by the equivalent of many years of human life,” said Helen Blau, PhD, professor of microbiology and immunology at Stanford and director of the university’s Baxter Laboratory for Stem Cell Biology. “This greatly increases the number of cells available for studies such as drug testing or disease modeling.”

Adding back 1000 nucleotides to a 65 year old human cell would restore it to 2500 which would be close to the average 3000 length of a 35 year old

China and Russia have now both approved the $242 billion Beijing to Moscow High speed rail project

China will build a 7,000-kilometer (4,350-mile) high-speed rail link from Beijing to Moscow, at a cost of 1.5 trillion yuan ($242 billion), Beijing’s city government said on the social networking site Weibo.

The rail line seeks to facilitate travel across Europe and Asia, Beijing’s municipal government said Jan. 21 in a post on Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter. The journey from Beijing to Moscow would take “two days” on a route passing through Kazakhstan, the post said.

It will take take eight to 10 years to build.

The Simpsons Springfield will get transformed into the Elon Musk version of the future

This Sunday, Musk, the head honcho at Tesla Motors and SpaceX, will enjoy the rare experience of watching himself in a Simpsons episode called “The Musk Who Fell to Earth.” The episode was inspired by a meeting Musk had with James L. Brooks, the longtime executive producer of the show. The men were spitballing ideas, and by the end of their discussion Brooks knew he wanted Musk to play a fictionalized version of himself in the show.

NOTE - there are some spoilers for the Simpsons episode that will show on Superbowl Sunday

The episode begins, naturally enough, with Musk traveling through space in a craft of his own design. He’s taking the genius engineer version of a Sunday drive because he’s struggling to come up with new ideas. Then, by happenstance, Musk lands in the Simpson’s backyard and meets Homer. “Homer then becomes this incredible inspiration to him,” said Al Jean, the head writer and show runner for The Simpsons.

Musk forms an unlikely partnership with Montgomery Burns and seeks to electrify and modernize Springfield, while on a quest to build a model community. The cars are electric and drive themselves. There’s a Hyperloop taking people around the city at record speeds. “Burns thinks it will make him a fortune, but it turns out that he’s going to lose $50 million a quarter,” said Jean. “Musk, of course, thinks that’s fine. This leaves Burns so livid that he attempts to kill Musk.”

Microsoft’s Holographic Goggles brings the era of holographic computing

Microsoft has unveiled a head-mounted holographic computer called Project HoloLens.

Microsoft HoloLens goes beyond augmented reality and virtual reality by enabling you to interact with three-dimensional holograms blended with your real world. Microsoft HoloLens is more than a simple heads-up display, and its transparency means you never lose sight of the world around you. High-definition holograms integrated with your real world will unlock all-new ways to create, communicate, work, and play.

Project HoloLens is by far the boldest—and riskiest—move of the Nadella era. It’s not another me-too product but a truly unique experience. It’s also the kind of project that few besides Microsoft would undertake—a lavish, multiyear effort that builds on lots of in-house research, all in service of extending the reach of Windows.

Microsoft Holo lens brings holography into physical world. Now its possible to create what you think. Its easy to convert your imagination into designs. Easier to explore the places never actually being there.

According to Microsoft "The era of holographic computing is here."
Specially I like this punch line "When you change the way you see the world,you can change the world you see."

They say that Transform your world with holograms.

Holo Lens envisioned a world where technology could become more personal—where it could adapt to the natural ways we communicate, learn, and create. Where our digital lives would seamlessly connect with real life.

The result is the world’s most advanced holographic computing platform, enabled by Windows 10. For the first time ever, Microsoft HoloLens brings high-definition holograms to life in your world, where they integrate with your physical places, spaces, and things.

Russian PAK DA next generation stealth strategic bomber designs

The PAK DA is a Russian next-generation strategic bomber design, developed by the Tupolev Design Bureau. The PAK DA was planned to be a new stealthy strategic bomber and is expected to enter service in 2025–30, with the first aircraft delivery will now occur in 2023.

The PAK DA will be a less ambitious project than the American Long-Range Strike-Bomber.

General Anatoly Zhikharev has said that an unmanned strategic bomber may follow the PAK DA after 2040.

Speculation about the PAK DA design include a combat radius of around 3,500 kilometers with full payload, a loaded weight of 100 to 120 tonnes, 4 engines and the possible use of some equipment from the Sukhoi PAK FA project such as avionics and engine

The PAK DA will be equipped with advanced types of precision guided weapons, including hypersonic weapons. The bomber itself will fly at subsonic speeds. A Russian hypersonic missile is in development, but is currently only able to fly for a few seconds. Hypersonic technology is being pursued so Russia does not fall behind American development of similar weapon.

January 22, 2015

Navy Slab Solid State Lasers will scale to 300-500 Kilowatts

The Congressional Research service recently provided a Navy report of Shipboard Lasers for Surface, Air, and Missile Defense: Background and Issues for Congress.

US laser development has reached the point where lasers capable of countering certain surface and air targets at ranges of about a mile could be made ready for installation on Navy surface ships over the next few years. More powerful shipboard lasers, which could become ready for installation in subsequent years, could provide Navy surface ships with an ability to counter a wider range of surface and air targets at ranges of up to about 10 miles.

The Navy and DOD have conducted development work on three principal types of lasers for potential use on Navy surface ships—fiber solid state lasers (SSLs), slab SSLs, and free electron lasers (FELs). One fiber SSL prototype demonstrator developed by the Navy is the Laser Weapon System (LaWS). The Navy plans to install a LaWS system on the USS Ponce, a ship operating in the Persian Gulf as an interim Afloat Forward Staging Base (AFSB[I]), in the summer of 2014 to conduct continued evaluation of shipboard lasers in an operational setting. The Navy reportedly anticipates moving to a shipboard laser program of record in “the FY2018 time frame” and achieving an initial operational capability (IOC) with a shipboard laser in FY2020 or FY2021.

Northrop Slab Solid State Laser demonstrator

Laser Weapons will be mounted on various US navy ship guns

The Laser Weapon System or LaWS is a directed-energy weapon developed by the United States Navy. The weapon was installed on the USS Ponce for field testing in 2014. In December 2014 the United States Navy reported the LaWS system works perfectly, and that the commander of the USS Ponce is authorized to use the system as a defensive weapon.

The technical issues associated with the addition of LaWS (Laser Weapon System) to the Phalanx CIWS (Close in weapon system) will be somewhat different from those associated with adding a LaWS system to other weapon systems—or the provision of a “stand-alone” LaWS—they do not appear to be insurmountable. For example, a LaWS beam director might be added to the stabilized Mk 38 Mod 2 25mm gun or the Mk 46 Mod 2 30mm gun. A LaWS beam director might be added to (or even substituted for) the Mk 46 EO Sight on DDGs or added to the trainable RAM launcher. Other options may exist as well.

The Navy fiber SSL (solid state laser) effort is the Tactical Laser System (TLS)—a laser with a beam power of 10 kW that is designed to be added to the Mk 38 25 mm machine guns installed on the decks of many Navy surface ships. TLS would augment the Mk 38 machine gun in countering targets such as small boats; it could also assist in providing precise tracking of targets.

A system such as LaWS could provide graduated lethality from warning to destruction. It also could provide additional applications to minimize risk to sea base platforms and enhance sea shield capabilities against nonstate threats. If acceptable rules of engagement can be established, the advantages of graduated lethality might be extended to ships in port or entering/exiting harbors.

China's biggest reactor operator will put five nuclear reactors into operation this year

China's biggest reactor operator, China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN), will put another five reactor units into operation this year, company executives said, adding that they remain confident in the sector's growth despite approval delays.

The state-owned company, parent of Hong Kong Listed CGN Power, completed three new reactors in 2014, taking its total fleet to 11.

The company had originally planned to complete five reactors in 2014. So they were two short of that goal.

China has 22 reactors in operation and a further 26 under construction, but it will need to approve and build at least another 10 units if it is to meet its 2020 capacity target of 58-gigawatts.

This would account for about 3 percent of expected total electricity generation.

Moon Express tests its MTV-1X flying donut lunar lander

The criteria for winning the grand $20 million Google Lunar XPrize seems fairly straightforward: land on the moon, cross a distance of 500 meters and send back high-definition footage to Earth along the way. The natural solution to the problem, indeed the one that most of the GLXP competitors have envisioned, is to gently deposit a rover on the lunar surface and then let it pick its way across the required distance, dodging rocks and other moon junk along the way.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based Moon Express team, however, is taking a rather different approach. If all goes according to plan, the team's lander will make a soft, controlled landing on the moon, look around in high-definition, then lift off again. The lander will touch down a second time at a location at least 500 meters away from the first, completing the challenge and, if it does it before any of the other teams, taking home the $20 million Grand Prize

Reducing Myc gene increases lifespan of mice by 15% on average

A team of scientists based at Brown University has found that reducing expression of a fundamentally important gene called Myc significantly increased the healthy lifespan of laboratory mice, the first such finding regarding this gene in a mammalian species.

Myc is found in the genomes of all animals, ranging from ancestral single-celled organisms to humans. It is a major topic of biomedical research and has been shown to be a central regulator of cell proliferation, growth, and death. It is of such widespread and fundamental importance that animals cannot live without it. But in humans and mice, too much expression of the protein that Myc encodes has been closely linked to cancer, making it a well-known but elusive target of drug developers.

In a new study in the journal Cell, the scientists report that when they bred laboratory mice to have only one copy of the gene, instead of the normal two, thus reducing the expression of the encoded protein, those mice lived 15 percent longer on average — 20 percent longer for females and 10 percent longer among males — than normal mice. Moreover, the experimental mice showed many signs of better health into old age.

No bones about it. Young mice have good bone density whether they have two copies (top row; +/+) or one copy (bottom row; +/-) of the Myc gene. As they age, researchers found, mice with just one copy maintain better bone density and stay healthy longer.
Sedivy lab/Brown University

Journal Cell - Reduced Expression of MYC Increases Longevity and Enhances Healthspan

The Violent history of property redistribution

Some commenters about the world wealth inbalance have indicated the wish for property redistribution like what was implemented by communist China.

It should noted that Singapore achieved economic success without the death and chaos.

South Korea achieved economic success after the Korean War. The war was not part of the success but something that was overcome.

Land reform involves the changing of laws, regulations or customs regarding land ownership. Land reform may consist of a government-initiated or government-backed property redistribution, generally of agricultural land. Land reform can, therefore, refer to transfer of ownership from the more powerful to the less powerful, such as from a relatively small number of wealthy (or noble) owners with extensive land holdings (e.g., plantations, large ranches, or agribusiness plots) to individual ownership by those who work the land. Such transfers of ownership may be with or without compensation; compensation may vary from token amounts to the full value of the land.

In 1946, three years before the foundation of the People's Republic of China (PRC), The Communist Party of China launched a thorough land reform, which won the party millions of supporters among the poor and middle peasantry. The land and other property of landlords were expropriated and redistributed so that each household in a rural village would have a comparable holding.

R.J. Rummel, an analyst of government killings, or "democide", gives a "reasonably conservative figure" of about 4,500,000 landlords and better-off peasants killed. Philip Short estimates that at least one to three million landlords and members of their families were killed, either beaten to death on the spot by enraged peasants at mass meetings organized by local communist party work teams or reserved for public execution later on. Estimates abroad ranged as high as 28,000,000 deaths. In 1976 the U.S. State department estimated that there may have been a million killed in the land reform; Mao estimated that only 800,000 landlords were killed

Mass killings occurred under some Communist regimes during the twentieth century with an estimated death toll numbering between 85 and 100 million. Scholarship focuses on the causes of mass killings in single societies, though some claims of common causes for mass killings have been made. Some higher estimates of mass killings include not only mass murders or executions that took place during the elimination of political opponents, civil wars, terror campaigns, and land reforms, but also lives lost due to war, famine, disease, and exhaustion in labor camps

By 2030 Major breakthroughs will arrive for the worlds poor including eliminating polio

The 2015 annual report from the Gates Foundation reports excellent prospects on the fight against disease and hunger for the world's poor. The Bill Gates foundation is spending many billions to make it happen and they are investing in technological innovation and better planning to make it work. Previously aid organizations spent even more money but they were not as effective.

The next 15 years will see major breakthroughs for most people in poor countries. They will be living longer and in better health. They will have unprecedented opportunities to get an education, eat nutritious food, and benefit from mobile banking. These breakthroughs will be driven by innovation in technology — ranging from new vaccines and hardier crops to much cheaper smartphones and tablets — and by innovations that help deliver those things to more people.

The rich world will keep getting exciting new advances too, but the improvements in the lives of the poor will be far more fundamental — the basics of a healthy, productive life.

The world could save about 2 million newborns every year through interventions that cost less than $5 per child.

Cutting the number of children who die before age 5 in half again. In 1990, one in ten children in the world died before age 5. Today, it's one in 20. By 2030, that number will be one in 40. Almost all countries will include vaccines for diarrhea and pneumonia, two of the biggest killers of children, in their immunization programs. Better sanitation — through simple actions like hand-washing as well as innovations like new toilets designed especially for poor places — will cut the spread of disease dramatically. And we're learning how to help more mothers adopt practices like proper breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact with their babies that prevent newborns from dying in the first month after they're born. (Newborn deaths have gone down at a slower rate than deaths of older children and now account for almost half of all child deaths.) Many poor countries have built strong health care systems in the past 25 years, and in the next 15 years other countries will pick up on their ideas and provide more care — and higher quality care — for newborns and young children. Ultimately, this will mean millions of people alive and thriving who would have died.

Young blood appears to boost the longevity of mice and gets stem cells to start dividing again in older mice

Young blood seems to turn back the effects of aging, potentially with few known safety concerns in humans and, so far, with corroborated results from parabiotic aging studies in multiple labs. But scientists and ethicists still worry about the treatment being tried in people outside approved clinical trials before evidence on its safety and effectiveness is in. Unlicensed stem-cell transplants are already a booming industry, warns Mattson, and unlicensed transfusion of young blood would be even easier.

For now, any claims that young blood or plasma will extend lifespan are false: the data are just not there. An experiment to test such claims would take upwards of six years — first waiting for the mice to age, then for them to die naturally, then analysing the data. “If we had funding to do this, I'd do it. But we don't,” says Michael Conboy. Still, he adds, “I hope that someone, somewhere is.”

January 21, 2015

Yemen seems likely to go into economic collapse and chaos

Highlights on Yemen - Iranian backed Houthi contorl the capital of Yemen and a US friendly leader is no longer in control. The Houthi will like start fighting Sunni's in another province. Saudi Arabia will take away economic support for Yemen. Yemen seems likely to go into economic collapse and chaos.

After days of gunbattles in the Yemeni capital that left President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, a key U.S. ally, confined to his residence, the country appears to be at risk of fragmenting in ways that could provide greater opportunities for al-Qaeda, whose Yemeni branch claimed responsibility for directing the Paris terrorist attack this month.

Although the Houthi rebels who now effectively control the capital are at war with al-Qaeda, they are also allied with Iran and with Yemen’s former president, Abdullah Saleh. The Houthis’ rise to a dominant position may set off local conflicts that would give more breathing room to al-Qaeda’s local branch, which has repeatedly tried to strike at the United States.

The Houthi takeover, which began in September and was reinforced in recent days, has deepened sectarian and regional divisions in a poor country that has long been a sanctuary for jihadi followers. And though the latest round of fighting appeared to end Wednesday when Hadi conceded to the Houthis’ political demands, the underlying crisis will continue to fester

Next generation F/A-XX fighter should have hypersonic weapons, lasers and supersonic cruise

Northrop Grumman has stood up a pair of teams dedicated to developing a "sixth-generation" fighter for both the Navy and Air Force, years before the US Navy or Air Force intends to issue requests for information on potential replacements for current aircraft.

The Air Force and Navy have begun preliminary planning for what is referred to as next-generation air dominance, or "sixth-generation" fighters. After working together on the F-35 joint strike fighter, the two services are looking at procuring their own respective jets.

The Navy's program is dubbed F/A-XX, while the Air Force's effort is known as F-X. In September, Col. Tom Coglitore, Air Superiority Core Function Team chief at Air Combat Command, told Defense News he wants to see Milestone A acquisition activity in early fiscal 2018.

Northrop is looking at a supersonic, tailless airplane design as a potential solution. making a system optionally manned would be relatively easy Grumman.

Navy F/A-XX developers seek to engineer a sixth-generation aircraft, they will likely explore a range of next-generation technologies such as maximum sensor connectivity, super cruise ability and an aircraft with electronically configured “smart skins.

Boeing F/A XX concept

AGI Innovations secures $4 Million in Funding to develop Artificial General Intelligence - AI that can be taught and not programmed

AGI Innovations Inc, (www.AGi-3.com ) an R and D company focused on advancing Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) has secured $4 million in funding to support research on long-term AGI development. AGI is the AI discipline concerned with developing systems with human-like cognitive abilities such as general learning, reasoning, and problem solving. AGI Innovations Inc, also known as AGi3, was formed early in 2014 to continue research originally spearheaded by Adaptive A.I. Inc (a2i2), an AGI R and D company formed in 2001. On completing its first generation AGI engine in 2008, a2i2 launched.

SmartAction Company to commercialize its technology by providing automated support calls utilizing intelligent, natural language conversation (http://www.smartaction.com/resources/audio-samples).

UPDATE - Some people are dismissing the $4 million in funding. A reminder that Deepmind (artificial intelligence company focused on Deep Learning) had $50 million in funding and then was purchased by Google for $650 million. Baidu, Facebook and other companies are also in the hunt to buyout companies in artificial intelligence.

Wealth Distribution for Dummies - 3 poor people needed to balance one poor person in debt

Global wealth distribution has been in the news.

The Oxfam report is based on the credit suisse wealth report which is based upon the James Davies, Rodrigo Lluberas , and Anthony F. Shorrocks global wealth distribution analysis.

The bottom 10% have a collective negative $1.05 trillion net worth (-0.4% of $263 trillion). Each of the poorest 720 million people have an average of -$1450 in net worth per individual in the bottom 10%.

The poorest owe more than they own.
It takes three people who are almost as poor to make up for that debt.

Poorest in bottom 10%  -$1450
Poor but in 11-20%     +$250
Poor but in 21-30%     +$350
Poor but in 31-37%     +$850

wealth = real assets + financial assets – debts

The income of the poorest had very little change from 2011 data.
The wealth data changed from 2011 for the bottom 10% where the estimate went from -0.4% of $263 trillion in overall world wealth from -0.2% of 240 trillion. The top billionaires increased wealth by about 8% from 2011 to 2013.

Chart based upon 2013 wealth distribution data from Davies, Lluberas and Shorrocks

January 20, 2015

Next Generation bomber a top priority for the US Air force

The US "Long-Range Strike-B" (LRS-B) heavy bomber program is estimated to cost $55 billion to $80 billion for as many as 100 planes. The NGB was originally projected to enter service around 2018 as a stealthy, subsonic, medium range, medium payload "B-3" type system to augment and possibly—to a limited degree—replace the U.S. Air Force's aging bomber fleet. A target delivery is now in the mid-2020s. Boeing and Lockheed Martin announced they would be teaming up for the Long Range Strike Bomber program. Boeing will be the prime contractor.

The price tag is an issue, however, not least because the Pentagon says it also needs to modernize the two other elements of the strategic nuclear force: the Navy’s fleet of Ohio-class strategic submarines and the Air Force’s Minuteman 3 land-based nuclear missiles.

The combined cost would exceed $300 billion, by current estimates.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Tuesday vigorously endorsed an Air Force plan to build a next-generation strategic bomber, arguing that it would help deter nuclear war and preserve America’s global pre-eminence.

WinSun 3D printed sections of building then assembled them into a 5 story apartment

In March of last year, company WinSun claimed to have printed 10 houses in 24 hours, using a proprietary 3D printer that uses a mixture of ground construction and industrial waste, such as glass and tailings, around a base of quick-drying cement mixed with a special hardening agent.

Now, WinSun has further demonstrated the efficacy of its technology -- with a five-storey apartment building and a 1,100 square metre (11,840 square foot) villa, complete with decorative elements inside and out, on display at Suzhou Industrial Park.

The 3D printer array stands 6.6 metres high, 10 metres wide and 40 metres long (20 by 33 by 132 feet). This fabricates the parts in large pieces at WinSun's facility. The structures are then assembled on-site, complete with steel reinforcements and insulation in order to comply with official building standards.

DARPA Humanoid Atlas robotsand other DARPA bots now will have no strings for competition

A total of $3.5 million in prizes will now be awarded to the top three finishers in the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC), the final event of which will be held June 5-6, 2015.

The most significant changes to the Altas robot are to the robot’s power supply and pump. Atlas will now carry an onboard 3.7-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, with the potential for one hour of “mixed mission” operation that includes walking, standing, use of tools, and other movements. This will drive a new variable-pressure pump that allows for more efficient operation.

“The introduction of a battery and variable-pressure pump into Atlas poses a strategic challenge for teams,” said Pratt. “The operator will be able to run the robot on a mid-pressure setting for most operations to save power, and then apply bursts of maximum pressure when additional force is needed. The teams are going to have to game out the right balance of force and battery life to complete the course.”

The Atlas robot was redesigned with the goal of improving power efficiency to better support battery operation. Approximately 75 percent of the robot was rebuilt; only the lower legs and feet were carried over from the original design. (DARPA image)

Lower cost self driving cars using cameras

A new software system developed at the University of Michigan uses video game technology to help solve one of the most daunting hurdles facing self-driving and automated cars—the high cost of the laser scanners they use to determine their location.

Ryan Wolcott, a U-M doctoral candidate in computer science and engineering, estimates that it could shave thousands of dollars from the cost of these vehicles. The technology enables them to navigate using a single video camera, delivering the same level of accuracy as laser scanners at a fraction of the cost. His paper detailing the system recently was named best student paper at the Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems in Chicago.

"The laser scanners used by most self-driving cars in development today cost tens of thousands of dollars, and I thought there must be a cheaper sensor that could do the same job," he said. "Cameras only cost a few dollars each and they're already in a lot of cars. So they were an obvious choice."

Last year Oxford modified a Nissan Leaf to use off the shelf cameras for self driving. At Oxford, lasers and cameras were subtly mounted around the vehicle and taking up some of the boot space is a computer which performs all the calculations necessary to plan, control speed and avoid obstacles. Externally it's hard to tell this car apart from any other on the road. It was designed to take over driving while traveling on frequently used routes. There were three computers onboard the Oxford robocar. The iPad, the LLC (Low Level Controller) and the MVC (Main Vehicle Computer). The iPad runs the user interface and demands constant attention from the LLC

Visual Localization within LIDAR Maps for Automated Urban Driving (8 pages)

Spacex raises $1 billion from Google and Fidelity

Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) has raised a billion dollars in a financing round with two new investors, Google and Fidelity. They join existing investors Founders Fund, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Valor Equity Partners and Capricorn. Google and Fidelity will collectively own just under 10% of the company.

SpaceX designs, manufactures, and launches the world's most advanced rockets and spacecraft. This funding will be used to support continued innovation in the areas of space transport, reusability, and satellite manufacturing.

It is believed that the Spacex satellite network would have up to 4000 smaller mass produced satellites that would fly at about 700 kilometers for faster response and communication speeds.

UK Dungeness B nuclear plant will get ten year life extension until 2028

EDF Energy has announced a ten-year life extension for Dungeness B nuclear reactor. The two-unit advanced gas-cooled reactor (AGR) plant will continue generating electricity until 2028. The company has also signed new contracts supporting the ongoing operations of its UK fleet.

Dungeness B's two 545 MWe AGR reactors started up in 1983 and 1985 respectively. The plant's life extension is part of EDF Energy's strategy to keep its UK nuclear fleet in operation until at least 2023 – the date that its planned new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point C is due to be commissioned.

"This means existing nuclear can hand over directly to the next generation of nuclear power stations without the need for more fossil fuel generation," said EDF Energy CEO Vincent de Rivaz. Hinkley C is still subject to a final investment decision.

USA aircraft carriers definition means France has only other aircraft carrier

A 45,000 ton ship with a large, horizontal flight deck and up to 20 F-35B Joint Strike Fighters sure does look like an aircraft carrier. However, the USA does not want to count such carriers as aircraft carriers.

So they are defined as not being an aircraft carrier able to control an area of the sea because

* they are not nuclear powered so the planes have to share fuel with the ship
* they do not have a launch catapult so they cannot launch the anti-electronics warfare planes (although such planes could launch from land or someplace else to support the 40,000 ton carrier

An aircraft carrier is more than a ship that carries airplanes. In order to effectively employ naval aviation for power projection, an aircraft carrier and its embarked air wing must be thought of as a single combat system. This is a question of fleet design, and it is an important one. To take advantage of the carrier’s mobility (compared to airfields ashore), the design of this system requires that it be able to operate far from land-based support for at least limited amounts of time in contested environments. The design must also account for the wide range of offensive missions required of carriers, especially as “blue water” surface and submarine threats to naval forces improve.

These definitions mean that not only are the eleven "amphibious assault ships" are not aircraft carriers but only one other aircraft carrier is currently in service. The french have one nuclear powered aircraft carrier with a catapult for launching anti-electronics warfare planes. The sixteen others do not count.

This amphibious assault ship for the US marines apparently only looks like an aircraft carrier

Low dose radiation is not harmful and the US will finally take about seven years to actually figure out the effects

After about 70 years of assuming that low dose radiation was harmful, the US Department of Energy (DOE) and National Academy of Sciences have been directed to work together to assess the current status of US and international research on low-dose radiation and to formulate a long-term research agenda under a bill approved by the US House of Representatives.

18 months to make plan for long term studies on low dose radiation

The Low Dose Radiation Research Act of 2015 (HR 35) directs the two organisations to carry out a research program "to enhance the scientific understanding of and reduce uncertainties associated with the effects of exposure to low dose radiation in order to inform improved risk management methods." The study is to be completed within 18 months.

The researchers must identify current scientific challenges to understanding the long-term effects of ionizing radiation; assess the status of current low dose research in the US and elsewhere; formulate overall scientific goals for the future of US low-dose radiation research; and recommend a long-term strategic research agenda to address and overcome the identified scientific challenges. The US Secretary of Energy must then deliver a five-year research plan in response to the study's findings and recommendations.

China discusses rocket larger than US Saturn V for 2028 that could launch 130 tons

According to an earlier report by China News Service, Liang Xiaohong, deputy head of the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, disclosed that the Long March-9 is planned to have a maximum payload of 130 tons and its first launch will take place around 2028.

"China is discussing the technological feasibility and requirements of the Long March-9, and research on the solutions to some technical difficulties have started" said Li Tongyu, head of aerospace products at the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology. "Its specifications will mostly be determined by a host of factors, including the government's space plan and the nation's overall industrial capability, as well as its engine's development."

The Long March-9's diameter and height will be much larger than those of the Long March-5, and its thrust will also be much stronger, he said.

Li Jinghong, deputy chief designer of the Long March-3A at the academy, said estimates show the Long March-5 will have to use four launches to fulfill a manned mission to the moon while the Long March-9 will need only one.

The senior engineer noted that manned lunar missions will not be the sole use of the Long March-9, hinting that other deep-space exploration projects will also need the super-heavy vehicle.

"The diameter of the Long March-9 should be 8 to 10 meters, and its weight at launch should be at least 3,000 metric tons," he said

January 19, 2015

Understanding Global Wealth Distribution and raising the poor from poverty

It seems there are many people online who do not understand global wealth distribution and do not want to understand what would actually help the global poor or the poor in developed countries.

wealth = real assets + financial assets – debts

The bottom 10% of adults in the world have more debt than assets. The bottom 10% of adults have a combined negative $1.05 trillion in net worth in 2013. The estimate of this negative wealth increased from 2011 when it was negative $500 billion.

$135 billion was provided in foreign aid in 2013.
Social security and medicare in the USA was $1.3 trillion.

Some of the Weapons that make Israel a top arms exporter

Israel has averaged being the number 5 arms exporter over the last five years. Israel had a drop in arms exports in 2013. Usually Israel is exporting about $6-7 billion per year in military weapons. Israel is the number one exporter of drones. The USA produces far more drones but uses almost all of them for their own defence.

Here is a sample of the some of the equipment that Israel sells to other countries.

Bodyguard – IMI

An armored fighting vehicle that can carry six infantrymen to a variety of battlefields. According to IMI, its armor protects it from a range of threats, including gunfire, shockwaves, mines, and IEDs. IMI says that it has high maneuverability over rocks, terraces, and other obstacles up to 80 centimeters high, can transverse mud and sand and even canals up to 1.50 meters deep. It can reach speeds of 150 km/h (90 mph) on paved roads and 120 km per hour (72 mph) on dirt roads.

Single gene modification lengthen fruit flies lifespan by up to 60%

Scientists may have hit upon a new way of extending the lifespan of living organisms - by activating a gene that destroys unhealthy cells.

Researchers at the University of Bern found they were able to help flies live up to 60% longer by increasing the activity of a gene that targets damaged cells.

If this could be transferred to humans, it could extend the average lifespan of people in developed countries like the US and the UK to beyond 120 years old

* Swiss researchers gave fruit flies an extra copy of a gene known as 'azot'
* It is thought to kill cells that malfunction to help keep tissues healthy
* Tissue from flies with the extra gene grew slower, and was healthier
* The flies also lived between 50 to 60 per cent longer than normal insects
* Humans also carry the azot gene and the researchers from the University of Bern hope it could be used to develop new anti-aging treatments

Normally, there are two copies of this gene in a cell. By pasted a third copy, the scientists were able to sort out the healthier cells and nerve cells more efficiently. The result of these cellular "quality control", according to Moreno was "very exciting": The treated flies showed a healthier tissue, aging more slowly and have a longer life. "Our flies lived an average of 50 to 60 percent longer than their other counterparts," says Christa Rhiner, co-author of the study.

Azot could also slow human aging?

However, the potential of these results goes beyond the creation of Methuselah flies, the researchers say, because the azote gene is also present in the human body, the selection of healthier, Fitterer cells in the organs could in the future serve as a mechanism to slow the aging. For example, in order to counteract the increasing throughout life degeneration of tissue and nerve cells in our bodies.

Nextbigfuture covered the research paper a few days ago

Merino MM, Rhiner C, Lopez-Gay JM, D Buechel, Hauert B and E. Moreno elimination of unfit cells Maintains tissue health and Prolongs life span. Cell, 2015 (in press) DOI: 10.1016 / j.cell.2014.12.017.

Google may invest and partner with Spacex on global internet satellite network

Google is close to investing in rocket maker SpaceX, according to several people familiar with the talks, creating a formidable alliance in Silicon Valley’s accelerating Internet space race.

The purpose of a deal, which is still in the works, is to support the development of SpaceX satellites that could beam low-cost Internet around the globe to billions who don’t have it.

The price and terms Google and SpaceX are discussing couldn’t be learned although one person familiar with them said Google has agreed to value SpaceX north of $10 billion and that the size of the total round, which includes other investors, is very large.

Nextbigfuture had covered the interview where Elon Musk talked about creating a global internet network of hundreds of satellites.

Google had previously talked about launching their own network of 180 satellites (to complement their internet balloons and drones.

Elon Musk wants to use the revenue from a global internet network to fund the cost of building cities on Mars.

Yes 80 billionaires have wealth of bottom 48% but even the poorest person has the wealth of the bottom 37%

Oxfam is again taking their class warfare spin on global wealth distribution. Comparing the collective wealth of billionaires to the bottom 50% poorest.

The Oxfam report is based on the credit suisse wealth report which is based upon the James Davies, Rodrigo Lluberas , and Anthony F. Shorrocks global wealth distribution analysis.

The bottom 10% have a collective negative $1.05 trillion net worth (-0.4% of $263 trillion). Each of the poorest 720 million people have an average of -$1450 in net worth.

The slightly positive wealth of the next 1.94 billion is needed to make up for the excess debt of the poorest. So the bottom 2.664 billion people collectively have $0 net worth. So the poorest person say with a larger negative net worth with more debt would have the equivalent of the poorest 2.66 billion. Not counting the positive wealth of 4 million people would mean the total would be -$4 billion.

The person with the most debt still has less debt than the poorest 720 million and less debt even if the next 1.94 billion were to liquidate to help pay the debt of the poorest 720 million. It is also interesting to note that most of the people with the most debt exceeding their assets are people in the United States and not subsistence farmers in Africa. Poor people in the USA can rack up more debt.

January 18, 2015

Nanowire Quantum dot lasers will be components for quantum computers

Princeton University researchers have built a rice grain-sized laser powered by single electrons tunneling through artificial atoms known as quantum dots. The tiny microwave laser, or "maser," is a demonstration of the fundamental interactions between light and moving electrons.

The researchers built the device — which uses about one-billionth the electric current needed to power a hair dryer — while exploring how to use quantum dots, which are bits of semiconductor material that act like single atoms, as components for quantum computers.

Princeton University researchers have built a rice grain-sized microwave laser, or "maser," powered by single electrons that demonstrates the fundamental interactions between light and moving electrons, and is a major step toward building quantum-computing systems out of semiconductor materials. A battery forces electrons to tunnel one by one through two double quantum dots located at each end of a cavity (above), moving from a higher energy level to a lower energy level and in the process giving off microwaves that build into a coherent beam of light. (Photo courtesy of Jason Petta, Department of Physics)

Journal Science - Semiconductor double quantum dot micromaser

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 244

1. Northwest Celan Energy - Cybersecurity at Columbia Generating Station

Here comes the movie "Blackhat" to scare people about cybersecurity at nuclear plants! But before we all join the Hollywood-inflicted panic, Dean Kovacs of Energy Northwest Information Services describes some (but not all, of course) of the cybersecurity measures in place at Columbia Generating Station.

Carnival of Space 389

1. Universe Today - Some of the Best Pictures of the Planets in our Solar System

Saturn and its rings, as seen from above the planet by the Cassini spacecraft. Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute/Gordan Ugarkovic

2. Universe Today - Beagle 2: Found on Mars After An 11 Year Hunt The Beagle 2 landed in one piece on Mars but the solar power panels did not deploy, so it could not establish communications.

The Beagle-2 lander on the plains of Isidis Planitia. Credit & Copyright: HiRISE/NASA/Leicester.

Germanium ferroelectric gate could extend Moore's law past 2028

Universal memory replacing DRAM, SRAM, flash and nearly every transistor in a computer may result from their successful fabrication of a ferroelectric gate over germanium channel material, according to researchers at the University of Texas (Austin). Their successful ferroelectric gate stack holds the hope of extending Moore's Law beyond the end of the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS) circa 2028.

"We have not yet built a complete ferroelectric field-effect transistor -- or FeFET -- but we have proven that our detailed simulations on the supercomputer at the Texas Advanced Computing Center can be realized in the lab," professor Alexander Demkov told EE Times.

The ferroelectric material pictured on a germanium channel above a silicon substrate retains its polarization indefinitely making any computers built from FeFETs instant-on.
(Source: University of Texas)

Sensors linked to shotgun like systems defend against rocket propelled grenades

Trophy (aka ASPRO-A or Windbreaker) is a military active protection system (APS) for vehicles. It intercepts and destroys incoming missiles and rockets with a shotgun-like blast. Trophy is the product of a ten-year collaborative development project between the Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aircraft Industries' Elta Group. Its principal purpose is to supplement the armor of light and heavy armored fighting vehicles.

The system became operational in 2009, has since been successfully tested by live fire twice when Israeli tank patrols on the periphery of Gaza were fired on two years ago. The 2014 Gaza campaign was the first time the system is being tested in a face-to-face war against advanced Russian anti-tank rockets. In the 2006 Lebanon War against Hezbollah, missiles penetrated 22 Israeli tanks, destroying several.

The system’s sensors instantly identify a rocket or RPG heading toward it. Without intervention of the crew, the system fires pellets that detonate the rocket at a safe distance from the tank. It also informs the crew of the location from which the incoming rocket was launched, permitting counter-fire.

Rafael's ASPRO-A (a.k.a "Trophy") Active Protection System's radar (Elta EL/M-2133 WindGuard) and dummy launcher (blue) atop Merkava Mark 4 tank

Energy Harvesting output voltage increased from 7 millivolts to 1 volt will enable better wearable electronics

Piezoelectric materials such as ZnO, as well as several others, have the ability to convert mechanical energy to electrical energy, and vice versa. “ZnO nanostructures are particularly suitable as nanogenerator functional elements, thanks to their numerous virtues including transparency, lead-free biocompatibility, nanostructural formability, chemical stability, and coupled piezoelectric and semiconductor properties,” noted Yoon.

The key concept behind the group’s work? Flexible ZnO-based micro energy harvesting devices, aka “nanogenerators,” can essentially be comprised of piezoelectric ZnO nanorod or nanowire arrays sandwiched between two electrodes formed on the flexible substrates. In brief, the working mechanisms involved can be explained as a transient flow of electrons driven by the piezoelectric potential.

“When flexible devices can be easily mechanically deformed by various external excitations, strained ZnO nanorods or nanowires tend to generate polarized charges, which, in turn, generate piezoelectronic fields,” said Yoon. “This allows charges to accumulate on electrodes and it generates an external current flow, which leads to electronic signals. Either we can use the electrical output signals directly or store them in energy storage devices.”

The KAIST researchers proposed, for the first time, new piezoelectric ZnO/aluminum nitride (AlN) stacked layers for use in nanogenerators.

The researchers explored ways to improve “vertically integrated nanogenerator” energy-harvesting chips based on ZnO. They inserted an aluminum-nitride insulating layer into a conventional energy-harvesting chip based on ZnO and found that the added layer increased the output voltage a whopping 140 to 200 times (from 7 millivolts to 1 volt, in one configuration). This increase was the result of the high dielectric constant (increasing the electric field) and large Young’s modulus (stiffness).

This illustration shows stacked flexible nanogenerators (left), and a cross-sectional transmission electron microscopy image of the ZnO/AlN-stacked structure. The scale bar on the right represents 200 nm.
CREDIT: Giwan Yoon/Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology

Applied Physics Letters -Characteristics of piezoelectric ZnO/AlN−stacked flexible nanogenerators for energy harvesting application

Форма для связи


Email *

Message *