January 31, 2015

Hickman's multi-year epic and altering the Marvel Universe

Jonathan Hickman has been writing a multi-year comic book epic at Marvel comics. The Avengers and New Avengers has been great plot and character driven stories.

It is culminating in a new Secret Wars series. There are spoilers related to what has been written and there is a collection of the information that is online about what is expected to happen.

"Secret Wars" set to fundamentally alter the Marvel and Ultimate Universes.

Secret Wars is the finale to his three-year Avengers epic

US Army Future Vertical Lift helicopter reinvention prototypes will be flying in 2017

Future Vertical Lift (FVL) is a program to develop a family of helicopters for the United States Armed Forces. Four different sizes of aircraft are to be developed. They are to share common hardware such as sensors, avionics, engines, and countermeasures. FVL is meant to develop a replacement for the Army's UH-60 Black Hawk, AH-64 Apache, CH-47 Chinook, and OH-58 Kiowa helicopters. The precursor for FVL is the Joint Multi-Role (JMR) helicopter program, which will provide technology demonstrations planned for 2017. The Army plans to acquire as many as 4,000 aircraft from the FVL program.

The U.S. Navy is a partner to the Army on the effort, so a derivative of FVL may be used in the Navy's MH-XX program to replace the service's MH-60S/R helicopters.

The Army wants to reinvent the very idea of rotorcraft, with a new propulsion concept. After the flight tests and technology development, JMR will end and a Request for Proposals (RFP) will be issued open to all companies to begin the projected $100 billion FVL effort. Demonstrators developed under JMR will be "X-planes" to demonstrate some key technologies, but they won't have production-representative engines or real mission systems architecture; JMR will show off technologies to enable Army rotary-wing aviation to make the next leap in speed, lift, protection, and interoperability under FVL for the 2030s. The program is intentionally slow paced to avoid past program failures.

Although requirements are still being refined, the notional concept for a new aircraft must reach speeds of 230 kn (260 mph; 430 km/h), carry up to 12 troops, operate in "high-hot" conditions at altitudes of 6,000 ft (1,800 m) and temperatures of 95-degrees Fahrenheit, and have a combat radius of 424 km (263 mi) with an overall unrefueled range of 848 km (527 mi).

Boeing-Sikorsky vision for the JMR. Boeing-Sikorsky plans to produce three variants from the X2, including the JMR technology demonstrator. Boeing-Sikorsky Graphics

Bell V280. Bell and Lockheed are making the other 2017 prototype.

Carnival of Space 390 - Milky Way may have a huge stable wormhole

The Carnival of Space 390 is up at Photostospace

Universe Today - The Entire Milky Way Might Be a Huge Wormhole That’s Stable and Navigable

According to the team, a collaboration between Indian, Italian, and North American researchers at the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) in Italy, the central halo of our galaxy may harbor enough dark matter to support the creation and sustenance of a “stable and navigable” shortcut to a distant region of spacetime – a phenomenon known as a wormhole. They believe wormholes could exist in most spiral galaxies.

Artist rendering of a wormhole connecting two galaxies. Credit: Davide and Paolo Salucci.

Arxiv - Possible existence of wormholes in the central regions of halos

The Meridiani Journal - Kepler discovers three super-Earth exoplanets orbiting nearby star

Last week was a good one for exoplanet enthusiasts, with yet more news relating to how other worlds are now being found by the thousands, and that there may be many habitable planets out there. Now there’s already another discovery being announced of three more planets almost the same size as Earth, all orbiting a nearby star.

The star, EPIC 201367065, is a red M-dwarf star cooler than our Sun and about half the size and mass. Only 150 light-years away, it is one of the 10 closest stars known to have transiting exoplanets.

Cartoon illustration depicting how the three newly-found planets’ shadows (right side) can be seen as eclipses from Earth (left side) as they transit in front of their star. Image Credit: K. Teramura, UH IfA.

Dwave Systems will be commercially releasing a new 1152 qubit quantum annealing system in March 2015

Dr. Colin P. Williams [CPW], Director of Business Development and Strategic Partnerships for D-Wave Systems provided answers in an email interview with Nextbigfuture.

1. How is Dwave doing with the 2048 qubit system ?

[CPW] D-Wave is making fantastic progress in fabricating ever-larger processors. In fact, we will be releasing our new 1,152-qubit “Washington” processor in March of this year. So we’re all very excited about that. However, size (i.e., qubit-count) is not the only aspect of the processor that has been improved. We have also lowered the noise and stretched the energy scale of the qubits (making them inherently more quantum mechanical), and we have strengthened our ability to create chains of qubits (making it easier to program the processor by locking qubits together to change the effective topology of the chip). Our initial performance tests have gone really well, and we are seeing some very exciting performance from the new processor. We are now perfecting new benchmark problems and new performance metrics that more clearly showcase the innate capabilities of the Washington system. These studies, and more, will be rolling out later in the year. So stay tuned for that.

Previously Nextbigfuture reported that Dwave has shown a chip with 2048 physical qubits. This is the same chip but only 1152 qubits will be active.

2015 could be year of LENR breakout and legitimacy. Cold Fusion vindication possible

Russian Prof Parkhomov claims to have replicated Rossi E-Cat and Parkhomov and published fully open research. Others are racing to replicate and extend the work.

Prof Alexander Parkhomov of Lomonosov Moscow State University has published a paper describing his successful replication of the E-Cat, based on the available information about it. The paper is in Russian; there is a link and commentary and video in English on E-Cat World. Parkhomov's results are more modest, but the energy output of his cloned E-Cat claimed to be up to 2.74 times as great as the input.

Here is a translation of the Russian Parkhomov report

Others are racing to replicate and extend the open work

E-catworld has seen the work of Martin Fleischmann Memorial Project, Brian Ahern, and Jack Cole as examples of efforts now attempting to build on the work of Parkhomov (in different ways) — and he is aware of another serious attempt in the planning stages. He is sure there are more efforts underway, probably behind closed doors, at least for now

If results can be shown to be consistently repeated, and the levels of energy gain are shown to be beyond the realm of chemical reactions, then 2015 could be the year where we finally see LENR breaking out in the world, even if we don’t get anything more revealed from Rossi and Industrial Heat.

NOTE- Nextbigfuture has information on the Brian Ahern work which cannot be published at this time. Nextbigfuture has been in correspondence with Brian Ahern for a few years.

Here is the Parkhomov report with pictures

Parkhomov Conclusions

Experiments with the analogs of Rossi's high temperature thermal generators , chrged with a mixture of nickel and lithium aluminum hydride, have shown that by heating of temperatures of 110 C or higher the produced energy is greater than the energy consumed.

The level of ionizing radiation during the functioning of the reactor is not observably greater tahn the background radiation. The density of the flux of neutrons is not higher than 0.2 neutrons/cm2 s

Perovskite top layer could boost solar to over 30% efficiency and cut overall costs in half

The power conversion efficiency of silicon photovoltaics has been stuck at 25 percent for 15 years but cheap tandem solar cells could affordably boost efficiency.

One cost-effective way to improve efficiency is to build a tandem device made of silicon and another inexpensive photovoltaic material, he said.

“Making low-cost tandems is very desirable,” McGehee said. “You simply put one solar cell on top of the other, and you get more efficiency than either could do by itself. From a commercial standpoint, it makes a lot of sense to use silicon for the bottom cell. Until recently, we didn’t have a good material for the top cell, then pervoskites came along.”

Perovskite is a crystalline material that is inexpensive and easy to produce in the lab. In 2009, scientists showed that perovskites made of lead, iodide and methylammonium could convert sunlight into electricity with an efficiency of 3.8 percent. Since then, researchers have achieved perovskite efficiencies above 20 percent, rivaling commercially available silicon solar cells and spawning widespread interest among silicon manufacturers.

When the Stanford group added perovskite to silicon solar cells whose efficiency was already 17 percent, for example, they measured a much smaller increase in power output, to 17.9 percent.

Even so, perovskites could be a boon for the solar industry. The researchers believe that perovskite-silicon cells will convert over 30 percent of the energy in sunlight into electricity. Such a boost would cut the number of solar panels for some installations almost in half, greatly lowering installation costs.

Not improving nuclear power for low carbon electricity is taking a lottery ticket strategy to climate change

To achieve the goal of limiting global temperature increases to just 2 degrees Celsius (°C) by the end of the century, a halving of global energy-related emissions by 2050 will be needed. A wide range of low-carbon energy technologies will be needed to support this transition, including nuclear energy.

Nuclear energy is a mature technology that the current largest source of low carbon electricity in the OECD countries. Why do nothing to improve and extend the leading low carbon electricity solution and only work on hockey stick ramping of wind and solar ? This is the equivalent of not working on getting promotions at your job and developing your career but exclusively depending upon lottery tickets. At the very least it is like starting a new startup company. In which case you should start it on the side while still having your career. Then switch to the startup when it has totally replaced your regular wages.

International Energy Agency Key findings:

* Nuclear power is the largest source of low-carbon electricity in OECD countries and second at global level. Nuclear can play a key role in lowering emissions from the power sector, while improving security of energy supply, supporting fuel diversity and providing large-scale electricity at stable production costs.
* In the 2D scenario, global installed capacity would need to more than double from current levels of 396 GW to reach 930 GW in 2050, with nuclear power representing 17% of global electricity production.
* The near-term outlook for nuclear energy has been impacted in many countries by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant (NPP) accident. Although the accident caused no direct radiation-induced casualties, it raised concerns over the safety of NPPs and led to a drop in public acceptance, as well as changes in energy policies in some countries.
* However, in the medium to long term, prospects for nuclear energy remain positive. A total of 72 reactors were under construction at the beginning of 2014, the highest number in 25 years.
* Nuclear safety remains the highest priority for the nuclear sector. Regulators have a major role to play to ensure that all operations are carried out with the highest levels of safety. Safety culture must be promoted at all levels in the nuclear sector (operators and industry, including the supply chain, and regulators) and especially in newcomer countries.

40% drag on global GDP growth will increase chances for Stagnant Lost Decades

McKinsey has projected the effect of regular aging based on current demographic trends for the countries of the world out to 2065.

The potential for diminished growth varies considerably among countries. In the developed world, Canada and Germany (-52%) are poised for the biggest drops in GDP growth rates. Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Russia, and Brazil (-60to -75%)are most at risk in developing countries.

India -27%
China -30%
United States -34%
Japan -36%

Since 2007, Europe underperformed Japan's "lost" 1990s decade. The aging drag increases the chance of lost low performance decades

Magnetic Graphene could lead to multifunction devices

A team of physicists at the University of California, Riverside has found an ingenious way to induce magnetism in graphene while also preserving graphene’s electronic properties. They have accomplished this by bringing a graphene sheet very close to a magnetic insulator – an electrical insulator with magnetic properties.

“The magnetic graphene acquires new electronic properties so that new quantum phenomena can arise. These properties can lead to new electronic devices that are more robust and multi-functional.”

The finding has the potential to increase graphene’s use in computers, as in computer chips that use electronic spin to store data.

The magnetic insulator Shi and his team used was yttrium iron garnet grown by laser molecular beam epitaxy in his lab. The researchers placed a single-layer graphene sheet on an atomically smooth layer of yttrium iron garnet. They found that yttrium iron garnet magnetized the graphene sheet. In other words, graphene simply borrows the magnetic properties from yttrium iron garnet.

(a) Magnetic hysteresis loops in perpendicular and in-plane magnetic fields. Inset is the AFM topographic image of YIG thin film surface. (b) Optical image (without top gate) and (d) schematic drawing (with top gate) of the devices after transferred to YIG/GGG substrate (false color). (c) Room temperature Raman spectra of graphene/YIG (purple), graphene/SiO2 (red), and YIG/GGG substrate only (blue).

Physical Review Letters - Proximity-Induced Ferromagnetism in Graphene Revealed by the Anomalous Hall Effect

January 30, 2015

Science experiments confirms environmental effects caused Football Deflation

The first detailed, experiments have been performed on how atmospheric conditions might have reduced the air pressure in footballs used by the New England Patriots in their victory over the Indianapolis Colts nearly two weeks ago.

Most or all of the deflation could be explained by environmental effects.

A scientific study to simulate the game day conditions during the AFC Championship game to determine how temperature and rain affected the pressure within the football. In conclusion, we saw up to a 1.95 PSI reduction in pressure just from weather conditions alone.

Findings support the fact that due to the rainy conditions and a 25°F decrease in the footballs’ temperatures, it is expected that the footballs would experience a pressure decrease of about 1.82 ps

But wait did not Bill Nye the science guy say that temperature effects were not enough ? All academics who said this did a sloppy job with the Ideal guy law or did not account for all conditions.

“This [Headsmart] analysis looks solid to me,” said Max Tegmark, a professor of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who reviewed the paper at The Times’s request. “To me, their measurements mean that there’s no evidence of foul play.

The full report is here

New family of light-converting materials points to cheaper, more efficient solar power and LEDs

Engineers are shining new light on an emerging family of solar-absorbing materials that could clear the way for cheaper and more efficient solar panels and LEDs.

The materials, called perovskites, are particularly good at absorbing visible light, but had never been studied in their purest form: as perfect single crystals.

Using a new technique, researchers grew large, pure perovskite crystals and studied how electrons move through the material as light is converted to electricity.

The team used a combination of laser-based techniques to measure selected properties of the perovskite crystals. By tracking down the ultrafast motion of electrons in the material, they have been able to measure the diffusion length—how far electrons can travel without getting trapped by imperfections in the material—as well as mobility—how fast the electrons can move through the material.

Science - Low trap-state density and long carrier diffusion in organolead trihalide perovskite single crystals

Los Alamos growing high-efficiency perovskite solar cells

Researchers revealed a new solution-based hot-casting technique that allows growth of highly efficient and reproducible solar cells from large-area perovskite crystal.

The researchers fabricated planar solar cells from pervoskite materials with large crystalline grains that had efficiencies approaching 18%, among the highest reported in the field of perovskite-based light-to-energy conversion devices. The cells demonstrate little cell-to-cell variability, resulting in devices showing hysteresis-free photovoltaic response, which had been a fundamental bottleneck for stable operation of perovskite devices.

Example of perovskite solar cells from another maker

Science - High Efficiency Solution-Processed Perovskite Solar Cells with Millimeter-Scale Grains

Diamond can replace silicon for computer chips for faster, lighter and simpler devices

Diamond can run 5 times hotter than Silicon without degrading in performance and is more easily cooled (with 22 times the heat transfer efficiency of silicon), can tolerate higher voltages before breaking down, and electrons (and electron-holes) can move faster through them. Already, semiconductor devices with diamond material are available that deliver one million times more electrical current than silicon or previous attempts using diamond.

Diamond-based semiconductors are capable of increasing power density as well as create faster, lighter, and simpler devices.

Akhan Semi, in collaboration with Argonne National Laboratory, has developed a series of advancements that allows us to manufacture standalone diamond materials, deposit diamond directly on processed silicon, fabricate complete diamond semiconductor devices, as well as attach diamond material to other electronics materials.

Diamond wafer technology is producing thinner and cheaper devices already in use in information technology, the military and aerospace applications. In addition, diamond semiconductor will have a major impact on the consumer electronics, telecommunications and health industries, among many others, starting as early as 2015.

Thin diamond film materials are able to alter the electronic properties and form device structures that are over a thousand times thinner than the leading silicon counterpart in addition to the previous state-of-the-art in diamond but with also increased performance, allowing the trend of smaller, faster, and more functional to continue.

The Miraj Diamond™ platform resulted from the marriage of two scientific breakthroughs: the ability to deposit nanocrystalline diamond films at relatively low temperatures and a doping process that makes NCD into a good semiconducting materia

Israel armored personnel carrier has more armor than Merkava Tank

Israel designs its tanks and armored carriers with a high focus on soldier survivability. Namer is an Israeli armored personnel carrier based on a Merkava tank chassis. They weigh 60 tons. They have a crew of 3 and can carry 12 soldiers. Top speed is 40 mph and it has a range of 310 miles.

The US armored personnel carriers are typically 13 to 27 tons (M113, Stryker, Bradley fighting vehicle).

Namer has been designed for survivability and rapid repair, with modular armor, V-shaped belly armor pack, and NBC protection.

According to Brigadier general Yaron Livnat, they are more heavily armored than the Merkava IV: "The weight saved by eliminating the turret was 'reinvested' in beefing up the armor."

From 2015 onwards, it is planned for them to begin to be equipped with a Trophy active protection system. The Trophy system is an automatic shotgun like system that can defeat rocket propelled grenades.

January 29, 2015

China stole the F35 stealth but did not make a compromised fighter

At least twice since 2007 Chinese hackers have stolen data on the F-35 from the developers’ poorly-guarded computer servers.

China's J-31 jet lacks many of the features that were included in the F-35 that were made for the US Marines obsession with jumpjets. War is Boring also explains why the history of the Harrier and why it was also terrible.

Compromised fighters are not built for maximum speed, acceleration and maneuverability

The J-31 does not have a lift fan or even a space for a lift fan. This allowed Chinese engineers to optimize the new plane for speed, acceleration, maneuverability and flying range — and to add good pilot visibility and a second rearward engine — instead of having to build the plane around a pretty much useless vertical-takeoff capability that slows it down, limits it to one motor and blocks the pilot’s view.

The F35 fighter is the aerodynamic equivalent of a lobbed brick, totally outclassed by the latest Russian- and Chinese-made jets.

The F35 has failed in a 2008 RAND battle simulation.

Fighter bombers were a dumb compromise but the Marine jump jet obsession is nuts

The trend toward merging functions began with fighter bombers. This might make some sense in rare missions or for some small air forces. Dedicated fighters are better in dog fights than fighter bombers. Pure bombers are better for bombing than fighter bombers.

Don't mix functions and requirements just because it can barely work. Specialization and a fleet of pure fighters and pure bombers allows for superior optimization

You want cheaper smartphones so Foxconn will use robots to make them

Foxconn makes many of the worlds smartphones and tablets. They make Apple iPhones and iPads. They also make some android smartphones. The CEO of Foxconn has indicated that he wants to make a lot of robots to reduce the hiring of workers. Currently Foxconn has 1.3 million workers. They are one of the largest private employers in the world.

Pricing pressure on their smartphone products means they will be a leader in automating manufacturing. There would be more room for human manufacturing jobs if people did not want cheaper products. Also, there is the competition to deliver less expensive products.

There is overall competition to provide cheaper goods and services and a big part of providing it will be with robotic automation and process improvement. In other decades lower costs were provides were provided with innovations like assembly lines and outsourcing of work.

Labor costs had more than doubled since 2010, when the company faced intense media scrutiny following a spate of worker suicides.

Taiwan's Foxconn Technology Group, the world's largest contract electronics manufacturer, will cut its massive workforce.

"We've basically stabilized (our workforce) in the last three years," Special assistant to the chairman and group spokesman Louis Woo said. When asked if the company plans to reduce overall headcount, he responded "yes".

Revenue growth at the conglomerate tumbled to 1.3 percent in 2013 and only partially recovered to 6.5 percent last year after a long string of double-digit increases from 2003 to 2012.

In 3 more months Apple will have enough cash to buy Chevron

Apple has $178 billion in cash and cash equivalents.
Apple made $18 billion in profit in the 3 months of 2014.

Chevron is trading at $196 billion.

Apple seems on track to continue massive iPhone sales in China through 2015. Apple 74.5 million iPhones in the 4th quarter of 2014 worldwide.

By the end of the year, Apple is on track to being able to purchase Walmart ($239 billion) for all cash.

Samsung only has a market valuation of $227 billion. Of course South Korea would never permit that purchase and anti-trust laws would also block it.

Currently there are only sixteen of the top US companies that are too expensive for Apple to buy for cash If Apple keeps up the profit pace and maintains margins then by the end of 2016 all companies below $340 billion in valuation would be a possible cash purchase.

Former Bank of China Advisor expects China GDP growth to rebound to 7.5% in 2017 or 2018

Li Daokui, professor at Tsinghua University’s School of Economics and Management and a former adviser to the People’s Bank of China, said he believes growth in China's economy is now nearing its low point, adding that he expects growth rates to pick up within a year or two.

“I believe we’re now at the bottom of a u-shape,” Mr. Li said at a Ministry of Foreign Affairs briefing for journalists. He said his forecast was for 7.2% year-over-year annual growth in 2015, rising to 7.5% by 2017 or 2018.

Most economists expect Beijing to set an annual-growth target for 2015 of 7.0% during its annual legislative session in March, when the government lays out policies for the year.

Spacex Heavy Animation Video showing reuse

When Falcon Heavy lifts off later this year, it will be the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two. Thrust at liftoff is equal to approximately eighteen 747 aircraft operating simultaneously.

Animation shows the Spacex heavy boosters returning

USA unable to keep secrets, it should sell military tech to China and come out ahead

Recently it was confirmed that a data breach of 50 terabytes (data of five Libraries of Congress) already took place in 2007 at the prime subcontractor Lockheed Martin. Chinese hackers have successfully obtained data on the B-2 stealth bomber, the F35 jet, the F-22 jet, space-based lasers, missile navigation and tracking systems, as well as nuclear submarine/anti-air missile designs.

China will eventually perfect the J-20 and J-31, however—it is just a matter of time. “They are going get there one day, make no mistake,” the senior official said. “It won’t be tomorrow or the next day, but the fact this place is debuting now should tell you something about China’s commitment.”

The US has had problems keeping military and other secrets as seen by the Snowden and Wikileaks cases.

If the USA sold military planes to China, then China would of course reverse engineer them and fully utilize them in their own planes. However, the US makers could also arrange for China to be a primary source of parts for the planes.

The F35 is on top in the picture and J31 is on bottom

China's airplanes and airplanes parts are less than half the cost of US manufacturers.

$400 billion has already been spent developing the F35 and it is expected to cost another $600 billion to $1 trillion to buy more F35 planes and operate them.

Arranging for China to buy the planes would also increase the market size for US production.

January 28, 2015

USA SM-3 and Russia S500 Deployment of Continental Range Anti-ICBM systems

The RIM-161 Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) is a ship-based missile system used by the US Navy to intercept short-to intermediate-range ballistic missiles as a part of Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System. Although primarily designed as an anti-ballistic missile, the SM-3 has also been employed in an anti-satellite capacity against a satellite at the lower end of low Earth orbit. The SM-3 is primarily used and tested by the United States Navy and also operated by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.

On 13 June 2002, the United States withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and recommenced developing missile defense systems that would have formerly been prohibited by the bilateral treaty. The action was rationalized under the need to defend against the possibility of a missile attack conducted by a rogue state. The next day, the Russian Federation promptly dropped the START II agreement, intended to completely ban MIRVs.

The new SM-3 capabilities are :
Operational range Block IIA ~2500 km (1350 nautical miles)
Flight ceiling Block IIA ~1500 km (933 miles)
Speed Block IIA ~4.5 km/s

Lockheed is pushing for funding for the development of an ER (extended range) version of the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) to counter maturing threats posed by hypersonic glide vehicles adversaries may employ, namely the Chinese WU-14, to penetrate the gap between low and high-altitude missile defenses.

US hit another post-1973 oil production record and oil storage space is shrinking worldwide

China will pass Europe in nominal GDP this year

The likely near term situation for when China will pass the exchange rate adjusted GDP for the USA and the collective GDP of Europe is becoming clearer based upon statistical method changes and more clearly apparent currency and GDP projections for the five years. Last month Nextbigfuture had forecast that China would pass Europe on nominal GDP in 2016 but now the accelerated decline the Euro seems to indicate a 2015 date for the pass.

December 16, 2014, China was expected to adjust its GDP based upon accounting changes and a new business census. This should boost China's (including Hong Kong and Macau) GDP to about 13.7 trillion in 2015. However, China's currency also weakened by 3% against the US dollar. The business census boosted China's GDP by about 4%. The accounting changes are still expected this year and would boost China's GDP by 10%. China's 2015 GDP should be about 13.3 trillion.

Most analysts are now expecting the Euro to have parity (trade 1 to 1) with the US dollar before the end of this year (2015).

Just last month the projections was for weakening through 2017 but the weakening is happening faster
2014 1.24 US dollars to 1 Euro
2015 1.15 US dollars to 1 Euro [now 1.0 US dollar to 1 Euro]
2016 1.05 US dollars to 1 Euro
2017 0.95 US dollars to 1 Euro

The European Union had (28 countries) a GDP of 13.07 trillion Euros at the end of 2013. The Euro could head to 0.75-0.90 US dollars to 1 Euro which it was back in 2001.

Ukraine upgrading and replacing T64 IFV tank variant and heavy lift cargo plane

Ukraine is usually the 4th largest arms exporter in the world and is currently in a war with Russia. Russia is the second largest arms exporter in the world.

Ukraine has renewed development of heavy infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) based on the T-64 main battle tank (MBT), Ukroboronprom has announced.

The Kharkov Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau had previously created prototypes of a new IFV based on the T-64 but work is understood to have ceased some years ago.

Now the firm has resumed development of the heavy IFV in order to ready the designs for serial production. According to Ukroboronprom, this work could be completed in time to allow for mass production to begin before the end of the year.

Instead of the 125 mm armed main turret of the T-64, a new IFV turret has been added to the vehicle. Boasting an impressive amount of firepower, the original prototype features a turret armed with a ZTM-1 30 mm automatic cannon and a 7.62 mm machine gun. Two anti-tank missiles are mounted on the left-hand side of the turret, while two banks of three grenade launchers are attached to the front of the turret. In addition, the commander's hatch on the roof of the turret features a cupola armed with a twin GSh-23 mm cannon and a 30 mm automatic grenade launcher.

The T-64 IFVs armour protection has also been increased with the incorporation of Nozh ('Knife') advanced dynamic protection system (explosive reactive armour - ERA), although a defensive aid suite (DAS) was not known to have been installed on the original prototype.

Ukraine is restarting the development of a heavy infantry fighting vehicle based on the T-64 MBT chassis. Ukroboronprom hopes to be ready to begin serial production of the IFV, if ordered by Ukraine, this year. Source: Ukroboronprom

Basic Science Shows Graphene has long term potential to triple the efficiency for solar power

Studies have hinted that graphene can also be used as a photovoltaic material, turning light into electricity. Using a cutting-edge spectroscopic method, scientists at EPFL and collaborators have demonstrated that by absorbing a single photon, graphene can generate multiple electrons that have enough energy to drive an electrical current.

Until now, graphene’s potential for efficient light-to-electricity conversion was not well understood. This is a challenging task as this conversion takes place on a femto-second scale (10^-15 sec; a quadrillionth of a second), too fast for conventional techniques to detect electron movement. To overcome this obstacle, Jens Christian Johannsen from Marco Grioni’s lab at EPFL, with colleagues at Aarhus University and ELETTRA in Italy, employed a sophisticated technique called “ultrafast time- and angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy” (trARPES). The experiments were carried out at the world-renowned Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxford.

With this method, a small sample of graphene is placed in an ultra-high vacuum chamber. The graphene is then hit with an ultrafast ‘pump’ pulse of laser light. This excites the electrons in graphene, “raising” them to higher energy states where they can actually drive an electrical current. While the electrons are in those states, the graphene sample is hit with a time-delayed, ‘probe’ pulse that literally takes a snapshot of the energy each electron has at that moment. The sequence is repeated rapidly for different time points, like a stop-motion movie, and captures the dynamics of the electrons in a live-action sequence.

NanoLetters - Tunable Carrier Multiplication and Cooling in Graphene

January 27, 2015

Confirmation that China stole F35, F22 and B2 stealth bomber secrets as early as 2007

Der Spiegel published a new tranche of documents provided to the German weekly magazine by the former U.S. National Security Agency contractor, Edward Snowden. The documents are the first public confirmation that Chinese hackers have been able to extrapolate top secret data on the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter jet. According to sources, the data breach already took place in 2007 at the prime subcontractor Lockheed Martin

The fifth generation F-35 Lightning II is the most advanced fighter jet currently in production in the world. Experts have long argued that the design of China’s newest stealth fighter, the J-31, as well as the Chengdu J-20 fighter jet, are in parts influenced by the F-35.

Chinese F-35 espionage effortsfocused on acquiring the radar design (the number and types of modules), detailed engine schematics (methods for cooling gases, leading and trailing edge treatments, and aft deck heating contour maps) among other things. 50 terabytes of data specific to the F-35 joint strike fighter program were stolen.

The Chinese hackers were also successful in obtaining data on the B-2 stealth bomber, the F-22 jet, space-based lasers, missile navigation and tracking systems, as well as nuclear submarine/anti-air missile designs.

Nextbigfuture has long agreed with the aviation experts who say that J31 copied the F35

China has also reverse engineered Russian plane technology

NASA JPL making helicopter drones for Mars exploration

NASA Jet Propulsion Lab is making a Mars Helicopter drone. It is a proposed add-on to Mars rovers of the future that could potentially triple the distance these vehicles currently drive in a Martian day, and deliver a new level of visual information for choosing which sites to explore.

The helicopter would fly ahead of the rover almost every day, checking out various possible points of interest and helping engineers back on Earth plan the best driving route.

Scientists could also use the helicopter images to look for features for the rover to study in further detail. Another part of the helicopter's job would be to check out the best places for the rover to collect key samples and rocks for a cache, which a next-generation rover could pick up later.

Google Fiber accelerating its expansion

Google Fiber is expanding to 18 cities across four major metropolitan areas — Atlanta, Nashville, Charlotte, and Raleigh-Durham.

Google also noted that it is continuing to explore options for bringing fiber to Phoenix, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, and San Jose and would have more updates on those cities this year.

Google Fiber charges $70 per month for gigabit Internet service and $120 for a television and Internet bundle in its the Kansas City market.

India nearing completion of a Predator Drone copy and a stealth bomber drone

Rustom-2 is an unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) developed by India on the lines of the American Predator drones. Various reports indicate the Rustom-2 has been flying since 2014. US Predator drones first file in 1994 and in service by 1995.

The AURA will be a stealth UCAV, capable of releasing missiles, bombs and precision-guided munitions. India's combat drone would be a stealthy flying-wing concept aircraft with internal weapons and a turbofan engine. The UCAV's design is similar to Northrop Grumman's B-2 Spirit.

The AURA will cruise at medium altitude and will be capable of carrying two or more guided strike weapons with on-board sensors for targeting and weapon guidance. The flight control system and data link packages of Aura (unmanned combat aerial vehicle) will be designed and developed jointly by ADA and Defence Electronic Application Laboratory.

The AURA first flight is expected to be 2015-2016 and it should be introduced in 2018-2020.

NASA’s Dawn Spacecraft Captures Best-Ever View of Dwarf Planet Ceres

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has returned the sharpest images ever seen of the dwarf planet Ceres. The images were taken 147,000 miles (237,000 kilometers) from Ceres on Jan. 25, and represent a new milestone for a spacecraft that soon will become the first human-made probe to visit a dwarf planet.

"We know so little about our vast solar system, but thanks to economical missions like Dawn, those mysteries are being solved," said Jim Green, Planetary Science Division Director at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

At 43 pixels wide, the new images are more than 30 percent higher in resolution than those taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope in 2003 and 2004 at a distance of over 150 million miles. The resolution is higher because Dawn is traveling through the solar system to Ceres, while Hubble remains fixed in Earth orbit. The new Dawn images come on the heels of initial navigation images taken Jan. 13 that reveal a white spot on the dwarf planet and the suggestion of craters. Hubble images also had glimpsed a white spot on the dwarf planet, but its nature is still unknown.

This animation of the dwarf planet Ceres was made by combining images taken by NASA's Dawn spacecraft on Jan. 25. The spacecraft's framing camera took these images, at a distance of about 147,000 miles (237,000 kilometers) from Ceres, and they represent the highest-resolution views to date of the dwarf planet.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL

787 Enables faster direct international travel and true revolution will come with widespread discount international flying

Chinese airlines are planning regular direct flights from silicon Valley to Beijing. The flights will take 12 hours instead of typical 16 hour flights now.

United is using Boeing 787-9 for service between Los Angeles and Melbourne, Australia.

At a distance of 7,920 miles (6,855 nautical miles), the Los Angeles-Melbourne route is the world's longest with regular Dreamliner service. The 787-9's extended range is 8,550 miles compared with the 787-8's 8,200 miles.

There are also new direct flights from North America to India.

Boeing 787s and Airbus A350s are opening up direct Europe to US routes between secondary cities.

The 787 is enabling discount international airlines. The impact will be greater when more 787s are in service to allow for more flights per day. Norwegian airlines is an example of airline using 787s for direct flights from smaller airports like Oakland in the San Francisco bay area.

I have flown a 787 Dreamliner direct from Oakland to Stockholm. The cabin is more comfortable and the flight with Norwegian airlines was cheaper.

Spacex and Boeing should fly manned crews to the space station starting in 2017

American spacecraft systems testing followed by increasingly complex flight tests and ultimately astronauts flying orbital flights will pave the way to operational missions during the next few years to the International Space Station. Those were the plans laid out Monday by NASA's Commercial Crew Program officials and partners as they focus on developing safe, reliable and cost-effective spacecraft and systems that will take astronauts to the station from American launch complexes.

According to Boeing, the company’s schedule calls for a pad abort test in February 2017, followed by an uncrewed flight test in April 2017, then a flight with a Boeing test pilot and a NASA astronaut in July 2017.

SpaceX said they anticipate a pad abort test in about a month, then an in-flight abort test later this year as part of its previous development phase. An uncrewed flight test is planned for late 2016 and a crewed flight test in early 2017.

SpaceX and Boeing have both completed the first milestones in their plans to send humans into space. SpaceX's goal is to fly over 50 Falcon 9 missions before attempting the first crewed launch in early 2017. Those missions will accommodate four crew members with space for cargo.

Tweel, the never flat Airless Tire, is being used commercially for John Deere riding mowers

The Tweel is an airless tire design concept developed by the French tire company Michelin. Its significant advantage over pneumatic tires is that the Tweel does not use a bladder full of compressed air, and therefore it cannot burst, leak pressure, or become flat. Instead, the Tweel assembly's inner hub connects to flexible polyurethane spokes which are used to support an outer rim and these engineered compliant components assume the shock-absorbing role provided by the compressed air in a traditional tire.

John Deere and Michelin Tweel Technologies announced the new MICHELIN X TWEEL TURF for commercial ZTrak mowers. The new MICHELIN X TWEEL TURF is an airless radial tire sold exclusively for John Deere ZTrak 900 Series models with 54-, 60- and 72-inch deck sizes. Unlike traditional pneumatic tires, the MICHELIN X TWEEL TURF virtually eliminates tire downtime and is nearly maintenance free.

The X TWEEL TURF has the same dimensions and bolt pattern as a standard 24x12x12 tire, and features automotive rubber technology, allowing the tread to last up to three times longer than standard turf tires.

Michelin opened a dedicated tweel-producing factory in Piedmont, South Carolina, in the 4th quarter of 2014.

UC Irvine can unboil an egg by untangling proteins which will lower biotech costs for cancer treatment and food production

UC Irvine and Australian chemists have figured out how to unboil egg whites – an innovation that could dramatically reduce costs for cancer treatments, food production and other segments of the $160 billion global biotechnology industry, according to findings published today in the journal ChemBioChem.

“Yes, we have invented a way to unboil a hen egg,” said Gregory Weiss, UCI professor of chemistry and molecular biology & biochemistry. “In our paper, we describe a device for pulling apart tangled proteins and allowing them to refold. We start with egg whites boiled for 20 minutes at 90 degrees Celsius and return a key protein in the egg to working order.”

Chembiochem - hear-Stress-Mediated Refolding of Proteins from Aggregates and Inclusion Bodies

US navy looks at next generation SSNX submarines and 200 mile range torpedoes

The U.S. Navy is starting early preparation work to design a new nuclear attack submarine to replace the Virginia-class boats (SSN-774) in the 2030s. The new attack boat would become operational in 2044 after the last Block VII Virginias are built.

nine years to identify, design and demonstrate the new technologies the new attack boat will need.

Johnson said that he has formed a small team to work on a five-year plan to begin to do some of that work. The team will consult with industry and will identify the threat environment and technologies the submarine will need to operate against in the 2050 plus timeframe, Johnson said.

One of the areas Johnson has already identified as critical for SSN(X) is integration with off-board systems. Vice Adm. Mike Connor, said that future submarine weapons for both the Virginia and the future SSN(X) would be networked extremely long-ranged weapons.

They will integrate with off-board systems so future Virginia boats and the SSN(X) can employ networked, extremely long-ranged weapons. A torpedo propulsion system concept from the Pennsylvania State University could allow a torpedo to hit a target 200 nmi (230 mi; 370 km) away and be guided by another asset during the terminal phase. Targeting information might also come from another platform like a patrol aircraft or an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) launched from the submarine.

January 26, 2015

Elon Musk plans for 4000 toaster sized micro-satellite network for global internet

Elon Musk has proposed a network of some 4,000 micro-satellites to provide broadband Internet services around the globe. SpaceX is partnering with Google and Fidelity Investments, which are investing $1 billion for a 10 percent stake in the endeavor. Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic and Qualcomm, meanwhile, are investing in a competing venture called OneWeb, which aims to build a similar network of micro-satellites.

Satellite technology has advanced, bringing the cost of deployment down significantly. Toaster-sized micro-satellites can be launched dozens at a time, and don’t have to operate at very high orbits, reducing launch costs, but they can deliver performance comparable to larger, older satellites at higher altitudes.

The speed of light is 40 per cent faster in the vacuum of space than it is for fiber. Elon plans to use optical lasers to communicate between the micro-satellites.

Elon will have 60 people working on the space Internet project initially and that could rise to 1,000 in a few years.

Russia starting five nuclear submarines this year and hope to have 16 by 2020

Russia will add five nuclear submarines in 2015 and by 2020 is hoping to add at least 16 new nuclear submarines to its Northern and Pacific fleets.

The USA will add two nuclear submarines this year.

The most lethal new subs are those of the Yuri Dolgoruky class, also known as the Project 955 Borey class. Construction of the Dolgoruky has been a protracted affair — the ship was laid down at the Sevmash military shipyard in Severodvinsk in 1996 but not launched until 2007. Sea trials began in 2009, but development of the ship's primary weapon, the Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), itself has been fraught with problems. It was only in 2014 that the submarine submerged with a full load of 16 ICBM.

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 245

The Carnival of Nuclear Energy 245 is up at Fukushima Commentary

Forbes- The moon is a planet. A minor planet.

In our Solar System, there are 28 planets of all sizes within the orbit of Pluto. Major planets. Minor planets. Dwarf planets. And the Moon is one of the minor planets.

Here are many small, or minor, planets in our Solar System, some are even larger and more complex geologically than Mercury. Io, a very small planet, is the most geologically active planet in our Solar System – volcanoes are erupting constantly from its highly differentiated and heated mantle. Source: NASA

US nuclear triad will cost $348 billion over the next decade to maintain

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that over the 2015–2024 period, the Administration’s plans for nuclear forces would cost $348 billion, an average of about $35 billion a year, and an amount that is close to CBO’s December 2013 estimate of $355 billion for the 2014–2023 period. (Both estimates are given in nominal dollars; that is, they include the effects of inflation.) Although the two estimates of total costs are similar, projected costs for nuclear programs of both the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Energy (DOE) have changed. Over the next 10 years, CBO estimates, DoD’s costs would total $227 billion, which is about $6 billion (or 3 percent) more than the 10-year estimate published in 2013, and DOE’s would total $121 billion, which is about $13 billion (or 9 percent) less than CBO’s 2013 estimate.

A nuclear triad refers to a nuclear arsenal which consists of three components, traditionally strategic bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs). The purpose of having a three-branched nuclear capability is to significantly reduce the possibility that an enemy could destroy all of a nation's nuclear forces in a first-strike attack; this, in turn, ensures a credible threat of a second strike, and thus increases a nation's nuclear deterrence.

The full 7 page report is here

DARPA developing super-motorcycle with two wheel drive and quieter than normal conversation

The SilentHawk is a DARPA funded motorcycle for special forces.

What makes the bike so good for special forces is the hybrid electric engine. For normal use, traveling far from sensitive areas, the bike can use diesel, gasoline, or jet fuel, scavenging fuel as need be on missions far from base. When needed, the electric part of the engine ensures that the bike runs silent—or nearly so. DARPA’s goal is for the silent mode to ring in at 55 decibels. That's quieter than a normal conversation. The bike's louder mode could reach up to 75 decibels, which is slightly louder than the average vacuum cleaner.

SilentHawk is based on Alta Motor’s RedShift MX bike. Last year, Logos tested RedShift bikes with their new hybrid-electric engine. Now, for Phase II of testing, Logos says they plan “to proceed with an aggressive Phase II program plan, with the goal of developing and testing the first operational prototype in only 18 months.”

Special Forces toyed with the electric Zero MMX external link concept a couple years ago, but ditched it due to battery concerns

DARPA developing code for drone wolf pack teams of six or more

The U.S. military’s investments in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) have proven invaluable for missions from intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) to tactical strike. Most of the current systems, however, require constant control by a dedicated pilot and sensor operator as well as a large number of analysts, all via telemetry. These requirements severely limit the scalability and cost-effectiveness of UAS operations and pose operational challenges in dynamic, long-distance engagements with highly mobile targets in contested electromagnetic environments.

DARPA’s Collaborative Operations in Denied Environment (CODE) program aims to overcome these challenges by developing algorithms and software that would extend the mission capabilities of existing unmanned aircraft well beyond the current state-of-the-art, with the goal of improving U.S. forces’ ability to conduct operations in denied or contested airspace. CODE researchers seek to create a modular software architecture that is resilient to bandwidth limitations and communications disruptions, yet compatible with existing standards and capable of affordable retrofit into existing platforms.

DARPA’s Collaborative Operations in Denied Environment (CODE) program aims to develop algorithms and software that would extend the mission capabilities of existing unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) well beyond the current state of the art, with the goal of improving U.S. forces’ ability to conduct operations in denied or contested airspace. CODE would enable mixed teams of unmanned aircraft to find targets and engage them as appropriate under established rules of engagement, leverage nearby CODE-enabled systems with minimal supervision, and adapt to situations due to attrition of friendly forces or the emergence of unanticipated threats—all under the command of a single human mission supervisor. CODE envisions improvements that would help transform UAS operations from requiring multiple people to operate a single UAS to having one person able to oversee six or more unmanned vehicles simultaneously

China's navy is about 70% modernized now and will be about 85% in 2020

China's navy will have 70% modern ships in 2015 and this will increase to about 85% modern ships in 2020 This is up from less than half modern in 2010.

Modern Chinese ships are respectable in terms of size and capabilities. However, they are still inferior in size and capabilities to the equivalent american ship.

China's submarine capabilities are becoming far more capable with nuclear powered subs.

China will have four Type-094s submarines and two next-generation Type-096 submarines by the year 2020. The advanced nuclear-powered attack and ballistic missile submarines, according to Focus Taiwan News, citing Russian Military Observer, can carry 80 sea-based intercontinental ballistic missiles and 250 to 300 nuclear-armed missiles.

EU firms have been helping China's naval modernization by supplying new ship engines. German-designed engines chosen for their low noise levels power virtually all non-nuclear Chinese submarines and several classes of Chinese frigates deployed in the South China Sea, where Beijing has a host of territorial disputes, analysts say.

Citing the co-production deal signed in France, Chang said: “China uses the name of civil purchase to purchase French helicopter engines, and they shift those engines into military helicopters.”

Various cruise missiles and anti-ship missiles in China''s arsenal are a concern to the US Navy.

A Chinese website stated that the PLAN is going to build a 110,000 ton aircraft carrier, essentially a larger version of the Liaoning. Other sources report new carriers would have an an overall length of 320 meters and a planned displacement of 85,000 tons.

Форма для связи


Email *

Message *