February 07, 2015

NASA Emdrive experiments have force measurements while the device is in a hard vacuum

The Eagleworks team obtained EMDrive experimental force measurements in the torsional pendulum in a hard vacuum (~5.0x10^-6 Torr).

Paul March included their last null-thrust test that ran the RF amp at 10.0Adc while its RF power was being dissipated in a 100W, 50 ohm dummy load positioned in place of the test article on the torque pendulum (TP), a picture of the new heat shields for our torque pendulum's upper and lower torsion springs, (more belts and suspenders to mitigate thermal drifts in the TP baseline), the reversed test setup drawing and the best reversed thrust plot obtained just before or during when our second and last 120W max RF amplifier was dying from internal corona discharges around its RF output circulator.

China's $4 trillion Seedfunding for Global Infrastructure Buildout

China will be leveraging its $4 trillion in reserves to provide low interest financing for high speed rail, export of Chinese nuclear reactors, factories and property development.

China is offering to fill the worlds infrastructure gap. This will enable all of the developing world to follow the China economic development plan. In a few decades, they will have no shortfall in transportation, industry, modern buildings, energy plants, energy grid and other infrastructure needs. China will also help them finance it. China will also have progressively richer trading partners who have ports, roads and rail and warehouses to build or buy what China needs or wants to sell.

China will build a global prosperity network.

People look at China's massive domestic construction of the last few decades and are amazed at the scale. China will further expand domestic construction to get to 90-95% urbanization and will have 3-5 times the construction externally for the entire world. This global construction will be in full bloom around 2040-2060. China will be completing dozens of nuclear reactors every year. The high speed rail network will stretch across Europe, Asia and Africa. There will also be a separate South America network.

The $4 trillion is just the seed financing to get the first phases rolling for the global transformation. This is following the money for futurist prediction. $4 trillion is a lot of money to follow.

There are trillions of dollars needed to build a shortfall of global infrastructure. China is going to try to finance and build as much as possible. It will solve the problem for decades of how will China still have high levels of investment driven GDP growth. Notice- Electricity is half of the need. China will fill this with nuclear exports in the 2020s and beyond

Factories, properties, rail, ports and high speed rail will be first

Boosted by President Xi Jinping's Silk Road belt and road initiatives, China is currently in negotiations with 28 nations, most of which are along the trade route. Should discussions bear fruit, a network of over 5,000 km is on the cards.

The Silk Road economic belt and the 21st century maritime Silk Road are a land-based belt from China via Central Asia and Russia to Europe; and a maritime route through the Strait of Malacca to India, the Middle East and East Africa

China exporting another Nuclear reactor To Argentina and Japan is edging to restarts

1. China and Argentina have agreed to cooperate on the construction of a Chinese-designed Hualong One reactor in the South American country.

The agreement aims for the signing of a framework contract for the project between CNNC and NASA by the end of 2015; for a commercial contract to be signed by the end of 2016 and a financing agreement also before the end of 2016.

In 2012, CNNC's ACP1000 and CGN's ACPR1000 were 'merged' into one standardised design - the Hualong One.

Full scale mach 5.5 cruising Sabre engine on track for 2019

The Reaction Engines team are expanding in staff and activities to complete the SABRE demonstrator programme, with delivery on track for 2019. The company has relocated to larger premises on Culham Science Centre; consolidated its two manufacturing subsidiaries to a single new location in Didcot; and is recruiting across the company, ready for the design, manufacture and testing of the full SABRE engine cycle. This growth phase has also included the purchase of new, bespoke equipment which will enable Reaction Engines to manufacture its proprietary SABRE pre- coolers in-house, at full scale.

The key development activities over the first year of this programme have centred on intakes and combustion systems. This activity includes the recently completed Preliminary Requirements Review development milestone, and has been 50% funded by Reaction Engines' private capital. Matching funding has been provided by the UK Space Agency, through the European Space Agency. With the UK Government's commitment of £60m and private capital secured towards the next steps in this development phase, the Reaction Engines team are positive that a full static demonstration of the SABRE engine is achievable before the end of the decade, marking the greatest advance in propulsion since the jet engine.

Sixth Generation Super Hornet Could Give up on Being Stealthy

State-of-the-art stealth technology may be less effective against increasingly modern, next-generation air defenses. Newer technologies for air defenses allow them to detect on multiple frequency bands, network to one another through faster processing speeds and track approaching aircraft at further and further distances.

Russia and China are already working on new networked air defenses coupled with new radars operating in the UHF and VHF-bands that threaten to neutralize America’s massive investment in fifth-generation fighters. Fighter-sized stealth aircraft are only optimized to perform against high-frequency fire control band radars operating in the Ku, X, C and portions of the S-band

The US navy F/A-XX next gen fighter program is analyzing technology and will soon be building prototypes. Mass production will likely be around 2030.

The next generation fighter will gain access primarily by suppressing enemy air defenses.

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.”

There are near term efforts such as the ongoing initiative to outfit 170 F/A-18E/F Block II fighter jets with a next-generation infrared sensor designed to locate air-to-air target in a high-threat electronic attack environment.
Infrared search and track, or IRST, system, is a long range sensor that searches for and detect infrared emissions, Navy officials said. Slated to be operational by 2017, the system can simultaneously track multiple targets and provide a highly effective air-to-air targeting capability.

February 06, 2015

Beijing getting new airport with largest terminal building

Beijing plans to spend around US$14 billion to build a new airport. It will be completed in 2018.

The new airport will have four runways in its first phase and would handle nearly as many passengers as the existing Beijing Capital Airport. The plans have provisions for three additional runways as needed. As many as 142 million passengers a year are expected to travel via Beijing by 2020. The Beijing New Airport Terminal Building will be part of the expanded airport.

Building Design online has reported that the terminal will measure 700,000 sq m (7,534,737 sq ft)

In 2014, Atlanta was the busiest airport in the USA and the World with 72 million passengers. Beijing is expected to have double those number of passengers in 2020.

Architect Zaha Hadid is working with airport specialist ADPI on plans for a major new terminal in Daxing, Beijing, that will accommodate 45 million passengers per year.

Metrology tools to 1.5 nanometers and nanopatterning to 7 nanometers

As continued progress of Moore's Law approaches the next two semiconductor technology nodes, 11 nanometers and 7 nanometers, new metrology instruments — a kind of fine-scaled ruler — is needed to succeed. Since these rulers need to be as much as 10 times more fine than the semiconductors they are measuring the current rulers could have nixed Moore's Law continued progress.

The previous finest scale rulers today were spaced at four nanometers — invented by aBeam Technologies Inc. in cooperation with the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab using e-beam lithography, atomic layer deposition, and nano-imprint. For the new standard, extending Moore's Law to seven nanometers, Argonne National Laboratory pitched in with aBeam and LBNL to create the finest metrology tool in the world, at 1.5 nanometers.

Designed psuedo-random 1.5 nanometer test patters (left) and a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) image of it (right)
(Source: aBeam Technologies)

aBeam Technologies has high pattern fidelity down to 7 nanometers.

Scanning electron microscope images of gratings (a) on a nanoimprint template and (b) after imprinting and pattern transfer into silicon

Ceres from 90,000 miles away

NASA's Dawn spacecraft, on approach to dwarf planet Ceres, has acquired its latest and closest-yet snapshot of this mysterious world.

At a resolution of 8.5 miles (14 kilometers) per pixel, the pictures represent the sharpest images to date of Ceres.
After the spacecraft arrives and enters into orbit around the dwarf planet, it will study the intriguing world in great detail. Ceres, with a diameter of 590 miles (950 kilometers), is the largest object in the main asteroid belt, located between Mars and Jupiter.

This animation showcases a series of images NASA's Dawn spacecraft took on approach to Ceres on Feb. 4, 2015 at a distance of about 90,000 miles (145,000 kilometers) from the dwarf planet.

Update on EMDrive work at NASA Eagleworks

There is information from Paul March on the testing of the controversial EMDrive at NASA Eagleworks. Paul commented on the NASA spaceflight forum.

Experimental Thrust is at 50 micronewtons but need at least 100 micronewtons to go to Glenn Research Center (GRC) for a replication effort in the next few months

The NASA Eagleworks Lab is still working on the copper frustum thruster that was reported on last summer at the AIAA/JPC. They have now confirmed that there is a thrust signature in a hard vacuum (~5.0x10^-6 Torr) in both the forward direction, (approx. +50 micro-Newton (uN) with 50W at 1,937.115 MHz), and the reversed direction, (up to -16uN with a failing RF amp), when the thruster is rotated 180 degrees on the torque pendulum. However they continue to fight through RF amplifier failures brought on by having to operate them in a hard vacuum with few $$$ resources to fix them when they break, so the desired data is coming along very slowly. They are still working on obtaining enough data though that will allow us to go to Glenn Research Center (GRC) for a replication effort in the next few months. However that will only happen if they can make the thrust signature large enough since the GRC thrust stand can only measure down to ~50uN, so we have to get the thrust signature up to at least 100uN before they can go to GRC.

Replication of Energy Catalyzer explodes and Rossi 1 megawatt E-Cat is in a 400 day endurance test

An attempt by the Martin Fleischmann Memorial Project to replicate E-Cat, Andrea Rossi's alleged cold fusion reactor, ended explosively yesterday after the reactor heated to over 1,000C.

MFMP's Project Dog Bone is aiming at producing large amounts of excess heat as claimed by Rossi, professor Alexander Parkhomov of Lomonosov Moscow State University and independent US researcher Jack Cole.

Parkhomov has published open and detailed experimental procedures and results.

Nextbigfuture described the Parkhomov results and the race to replicate that has been triggered.

The reactor can be seen cracking apart with a loud bang three hours 47 minutes into the embedded video.

A 1 MW e-cat plant is currently under test at a customer's facility.

For 400 days of operation, a maximum cumulative total of 35 days can have stoppages to make improvements, adjustments and maintenance. The operation is intended for 24 hours/day, 7 days/week.

Spacex will try again to land first stage on barge and progressing on Dragon V2 capsule return as well

SpaceX will make a second attempt at a historic rocket landing on a floating platform in the ocean on Sunday, Feb 8.

If all goes as hoped, SpaceX will have a very busy 2015. The commercial space company could launch as many as 17 rockets, including a mid-flight test abort of the Dragon capsule to demonstrate its in-flight crew escape system.

SpaceX is preparing for the first of two critical abort tests for the firm’s next generation human rated Dragon V2 capsule as soon as March. The SuperDraco engines are located in four jet packs around the base. Each engine can produce up to 120,000 pounds of axial thrust to carry astronauts to safety. The ultimate goal is fully propulsive landing of the Dragon V2 capsule.

SpaceX Dragon V2 pad abort test flight vehicle. Credit: SpaceX

Ultrastrong low-density steel with large ductility that are better than Titanium alloys

Nature - Brittle intermetallic compound makes ultrastrong low-density steel with large ductility

Although steel has been the workhorse of the automotive industry since the 1920s, the share by weight of steel and iron in an average light vehicle is now gradually decreasing, from 68.1 per cent in 1995 to 60.1 per cent in 2011. This has been driven by the low strength-to-weight ratio (specific strength) of iron and steel, and the desire to improve such mechanical properties with other materials. Recently, high-aluminium low-density steels have been actively studied as a means of increasing the specific strength of an alloy by reducing its density. But with increasing aluminium content a problem is encountered: brittle intermetallic compounds can form in the resulting alloys, leading to poor ductility. Here we show that an FeAl-type brittle but hard intermetallic compound (B2) can be effectively used as a strengthening second phase in high-aluminium low-density steel, while alleviating its harmful effect on ductility by controlling its morphology and dispersion. The specific tensile strength and ductility of the developed steel improve on those of the lightest and strongest metallic materials known, titanium alloys. We found that alloying of nickel catalyses the precipitation of nanometre-sized B2 particles in the face-centred cubic matrix of high-aluminium low-density steel during heat treatment of cold-rolled sheet steel. Their results demonstrate how intermetallic compounds can be harnessed in the alloy design of lightweight steels for structural applications and others.

The Korean researchers have already teamed with POSCO, one of the biggest steel makers in the world to see if the new kind of steel they have come up with might be usable in cars or even airplanes. The first step will be to see if the process is scalable, and if so, if it can be used to produce the new low-density steel at a cost that is competitive with conventional steel—the researchers are optimistic because all of the ingredients are low cost metals.

Annealed microstructure of high-specific-strength steel (HSSS). Fine FeAl-type B2 precipitates form during annealing in between the B2 stringer bands in steel matrix. The specimen was annealed for 15 min at 900C. Credit: Hansoo Kim . Annealing of cold rolled Fe–10%Al–15%Mn–0.8%C–5%Ni (weight per cent) high-specific-strength steel.

Room-temperature tensile properties of HSSS compared with selected metallic alloys of high specific strength

Sandia progressing to cost effective production of billions of thermoelectric nanowires

Improved efficiency in nanowires would increase the use of thermoelectric materials. They’re already used in some sensors, and vehicle manufacturers hope they can harvest heat from exhaust systems to power vehicle sensor systems, Yelton said. Decreasing the power needed to run a vehicle’s operating system could reduce battery and alternator weight and perhaps eliminate some power-generating equipment, trimming vehicle size and weight.

Sandia’s paper describes how the team created thermoelectric nanowire arrays with uniform composition along the length of the nanowire and across the spread of the nanowire array, which potentially can include hundreds of millions of nanowires. In addition, they created nanowire crystals of uniform size and orientation, or direction. Uniform composition improves efficiency, while orientation is important so electrons, the carriers of energy, flow better.

The team used a cost-effective method called room-temperature electroforming, which is widespread in commercial electroplating. Electroforming deposits the material at a constant rate, which in turn allows nanowires to grow at a steady rate. The method produced wires 70-75 nanometers in diameter and many microns long.

Graham Yelton and Sandia National Laboratories colleagues have developed a single electroforming technique that tailored key factors to better thermoelectric performance: crystal orientation, crystal size and alloy uniformity. Yelton is among Sandia’s researchers who published a paper, “Using Galvanostatic Electroforming of Bi1-xSbx Nanowires to Control Composition, Crystallinity and Orientation,” in the Jan. 28 edition of the Materials Research Society’s MRS Bulletin. (Photo by Randy Montoya)

Journal of Materials Research - Using galvanostatic electroforming of Bi1–x Sb x nanowires to control composition, crystallinity, and orientation

February 05, 2015

Lithium ion capacitors and advanced thermoelectrics will expand the use of hybrid and electric cars

A lithium-ion capacitor (LIC) is a hybrid type of capacitor out of the family of the supercapacitors. Activated carbon is used as cathode. The anode of the LIC consists of carbon material which is pre-doped with lithium ion. A lithium-ion capacitor is a hybrid electrochemical energy storage device which combines the intercalation mechanism of a lithium ion battery with the cathode of an electric double-layer capacitor (EDLC). The packaged energy density of an LIC is approximately 20 Wh/kg generally four times higher than an EDLC and five times lower than a lithium ion battery. The power density however has been shown to match that of EDLCs able to completely discharge in seconds.

IDTechEx predicts that lithium-ion capacitors (supercabatteries) will be combined with advanced thermoelectrics to make a breakthrough for electric and hybrid vehicles.

So far thermoelectrics have been a failure in cars -- for instance, after 20 years of research BMW was only able to achieve about one tenth of the theoretical maximum -- about 3 percent, according to Harrop. But in 2014 the Japanese maker of giant construction vehicles, Komatsu KELK, was able to prove that 1.5KW could be recovered with thermoelectric innovations that doubled their efficiency to 7.5 percent. IDTechExj predicts that thermoelectric energy harvesting will become commonplace on commercial busses and hybrid cars by 2018. The largest vehicles will take advantage of the technology first, because they generate enough heat to make thermoelectrics useful.

By 2025 IDTechEx predicts 9 million hybrid electric cars will use thermoelectrics and by 2030 hybrids will continue to outsell pure electric vehicles simply because they do not produce enough heat to take advantage of the advanced thermoelectric materials available by then.

Conventional gas powered cars, which will still be outselling hybrids and pure electrics in 2030, will also be taking advantage of thermoelectrics to power the heater, ventilation motors and other electric-powered accessories in even convention gas guzzlers.

3D printed metamaterial can cause energy gain

Hao Xin, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, has discovered synthetic materials which might one day be used to build microscopes with superlenses and even ‘shields’ which could render military equipment and people invisible to the naked eye.

Xin uses metamaterial building blocks and 3D printing to create startling results.

These metamaterials, which can be made via 3D printing from plastics, metals, and a variety of other substances, look a bit like porous plastic balls, tubes, and tiny copper wire circuit boards, but it’s their specialized geometrical patterns which give them their amazing properties. The metamaterial structures can bend waves of energy in unheard of ways so that they exhibit a property called ‘negative refraction.’

One of the biggest problems with metamaterials is that they produce energy loss. The waves decay as they pass through the artificial material,” Xin says. “We have designed a metamaterial that retains negative refraction but does not diminish energy.”

The synthetic material constructs do more than prevent energy loss. Xin says they actually cause energy gain, and at least in the case of microwaves, intensify the strength of waves as they passed through this novel material via embedded, battery-powered tunnel diodes and the advantages of micro-nanofabrication techniques.

Nature Communications - Microwave gain medium with negative refractive index

DARPA robot can learn tasks from Youtube video and a neural net can understand video 20 times faster than a human

A startup called Clarifai is offering a service that uses deep learning to understand video.

The company says its software can rapidly analyze video clips to recognize 10,000 different objects or types of scene. In a demo given last week at a conference on deep learning, Clarifai’s cofounder and CEO Matthew Zeiler uploaded a clip that included footage of a varied alpine landscape. The software created a timeline with graph lines summarizing when different objects or types of scene were detected. It showed exactly when “snow” and “mountains” occurred individually and together. The software can analyze video faster than a human could watch it; in the demonstration, the 3.5 minute clip was processed in just 10 seconds.

Clarifai is offering the technology as a service and expects it to be used for things like matching ads to content in online videos or developing new ways to organize video collections and edit footage.

Robot can learn tasks by watching Video

DARPA funded researchers recently developed a system that enabled robots to process visual data from a series of “how to” cooking videos on YouTube. Based on what was shown on a video, robots were able to recognize, grab and manipulate the correct kitchen utensil or object and perform the demonstrated task with high accuracy—without additional human input or programming.

“The MSEE program initially focused on sensing, which involves perception and understanding of what’s happening in a visual scene, not simply recognizing and identifying objects,” said Reza Ghanadan, program manager in DARPA’s Defense Sciences Offices. “We’ve now taken the next step to execution, where a robot processes visual cues through a manipulation action-grammar module and translates them into actions.”

Another significant advance to come out of the research is the robots’ ability to accumulate and share knowledge with others. Current sensor systems typically view the world anew in each moment, without the ability to apply prior knowledge.

University of Maryland computer scientist Yiannis Aloimonos (center) is developing robotic systems able to visually recognize objects and generate new behavior based on those observations. DARPA is funding this research through its Mathematics of Sensing, Exploitation and Execution (MSEE) program. (University of Maryland Photo

USA arming Ukraine likely to trigger Russia to sell thousands of surface to air missiles

The USA is moving towards sending weapons to Ukraine.

Putin and the Russians may have intentionally shot down the Malaysian commercial jet. This would have been a warning that they could proliferate their missile technology to Al Qaeda or ISIS. The Russians may have shoulder launched missiles which can down commercial jets at cruising altitudes of 30,000 feet. Definitely 15000 feet is doable for shoulder launched. The Russians can compact the BUK missile system for smaller trucks and lower the costs. The Russian can flood the world with tens of thousands of such systems.

Military planes are designed to take on the threat of surface-to-air missiles. They are typically equipped with countermeasures that release one of two types of decoys: chaff, a cloud of metallic material that can confuse radar-guided missiles like the SA-11 Buk believed to have brought down MH17, or chemical flares to distract heat-seeking missiles.

These anti-missile systems can help save a plane — but they're not infallible, and they're not designed for the massive global fleet of commercial aircraft.

Israel’s Ministry of Defense announced in February that it successfully tested something called the Commercial Multi-Spectral Infrared Countermeasures (C-MUSIC) system, which uses laser technology and thermal imaging to jam incoming threats. The system, however, only protects against shoulder-launched heat-seeking missiles and not the radar-guided missile that reportedly hit MH17.

Man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS or MPADS) are shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles (SAMs). The neweset Russian MANPADS can reach commercial jet cruising altitude.

Russian have medium range Buk missiles

Russian have advanced beyond the 1980s style SA24 for shoulder launched

Current Russian models range from the SA-24 Igla-S – an advanced shoulder-launched system that’s easily as good as the latest models of the Stinger – to the long-range S-400, which is capable of intercepting ballistic missiles or bringing down aircraft over 250 miles away.

Wreckage of the Malaysian jet

February 04, 2015

India $100 billion defense upgrade programme and bigger procurement over next ten years

India, the second most populous nation in the world, is in the midst of a $100-billion defense upgrade program. India cleared proposals worth nearly $3.5 billion in June. In the last half of 2014, $19 billion in military procurement was approved.

India is the world's largest arms importer with the United States recently overtaking Russia as its biggest arms supplier.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has been pushing for greater indigenisation of the military industry as India imports around 70 percent of its defense hardware.

India is indigenously building six submarines for the navy and purchasing 8,356 Israeli guided missiles as well as 12 Dornier aircraft.

Project 15B destroyers will retain the same hull as 15A Kolkata-class destroyers, but there will be significant changes in the superstructure that will improve the ships stealth characteristics, it will incorporate a flush deck, include better sound and infrared suppression systems and more sophisticated weaponry such as: Nirbhay land-attack cruise missiles, hypersonic BrahMos-II anti-ship missiles and Barak 8-ER SAMs. They will operate two helicopters, and are expected to displace approximately 8,000 tonnes at full displacement (500 tonnes more than 15A)

India will spend $250 billion in the next decade procuring military hardware. They will upgrade its Soviet-era military and narrow the gap with China, which spends $120 billion a year on defence

India Prime Minister Modi boosted defence spending by 12 per cent to around $37 billion for the current fiscal year and approved plans to allow more foreign investment into local industry to jump-start production.

Navy Carrier drone selection in 2015 and first flight 2018

The United States Navy's Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) program is to develop an aircraft carrier-based unmanned aerial vehicle to provide an unmanned intelligence and strike asset to the fleet. The UCLASS will be "an autonomous aircraft capable of precision strike in a contested environment, and it is expected to grow and expand its missions so that it is capable of extended range intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, electronic warfare, tanking, and maritime domain awareness. After the selection in 2015, a prototype Uclass drone should be flying in 2018 and should be deployed about 2022-2023. The program is funded in the most recent 2016 Pentagon budget proposal.

One of four designs will be selected in 2015:

1. Northrop Grumman is offering a design based off their X-47B demonstrator

Grumman X-47B

2. Lockheed Martin is offering the Lockheed Sea Ghost

Lockheed Seaghost

3. Boeing is offering a design that may be based off the Phantom Ray

Boeing Phantom Works has studied a UCLASS design featuring moderate stealth capabilities and long endurance. Image: Boeing

4. General Atomics is offering the Sea Avenger, a naval version of their original land-based Avenger.

Anode-less lithium ion battery could last twice as long at 1200 Wh per liter

Solid Energy Systems is developing "Anode-less" battery designs with ultra-thin metal anode improves the cell-level energy density by 50% compared to graphite anodes and 30% compared to silicon-composite anodes.

It would be a new kind of lithium-ion battery that could let portable electronics such as smartphones and smart watches last twice as long between charges.

The secret to boosting energy storage lies in swapping the conventional electrode material—graphite—for a thin sheet of lithium-metal foil, which can store more lithium ions.

Battery makers have been trying to use lithium-metal electrodes in batteries for decades, with only limited success. SolidEnergy seems to have solved a couple of key problems, which have caused such batteries to either stop working after a few charges or burst into flames

One atom thick silicene transistors created

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin's Cockrell School of Engineering have created the first transistors made of silicene, the world’s thinnest silicon material. Their research holds the promise of building dramatically faster, smaller and more efficient computer chips.

Made of a one-atom-thick layer of silicon atoms, silicene has outstanding electrical properties but has until now proved difficult to produce and work with.

Deji Akinwande, an assistant professor in the Cockrell School’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and his team, including lead researcher Li Tao, solved one of the major challenges surrounding silicene by demonstrating that it can be made into transistors —semiconductor devices used to amplify and switch electronic signals and electrical power.

a, Ball-and-stick model of the buckled standalone silicene honeycomb lattice composed of two slightly vertically displaced hexagonal sublattices (colour 1 and colour 2). b, Scanning tunnelling microscopy image of the prototypical silicene

Buckled honeycomb lattice structure of silicene

Nature Nanotechnology - Silicene field-effect transistors operating at room temperature

February 03, 2015

Pentagon funding new X-plane fighters, 6th gen fighter and carrier based stealth drone

The Aerospace Innovation Initiative is to develop prototypes for the next generation of air dominance platforms, X-plane programs. They will also work on a next-generation engine. The F-35 joint strike fighter was billed as one plane that can fit the needs of the Air Force, Navy and Marines, the next-generation fighter will instead be two planes that share common parts.

The Xplane prototypes would be precursors to a “sixth-generation” successor to the Air Force’s F-22 Raptor air-superiority fighter

Upcoming budgets will fund promising new technologies and capabilities, including unmanned undersea vehicles; sea mining; high speed strike weapons; an advanced new jet engine; rail gun technology; and high energy lasers.

The announcement of the initiative could also be a warning shot at Lockheed Martin, whose F-35 is just now gearing up to go operational. If the company doesn't keep costs down on the program, Callan said, the Pentagon could consider moving future funding for F-35 procurement over to this next-generation system.

The Pentagon is funding
1. “sixth-generation” stealth fighters
2. a new Air Force stealth bomber
3. a new Navy carrier-based stealth drone.

Jordan has a 24 hour Guantanamo Bay solution

The Guantanamo Bay detention camp, also referred to as Guantánamo, G-bay or GTMO (pronounced 'gitmo'), is a United States military prison located within Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, which fronts on Guantánamo Bay in Cuba. At the time of its establishment in January 2002, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld said the prison camp was established to detain extraordinarily dangerous persons, to interrogate detainees in an optimal setting, and to prosecute detainees for war crimes. Detainees captured in the War on Terror, most of them from Afghanistan and much smaller numbers later from Iraq, the Horn of Africa and South Asia were transported to the prison.

As of January 2015, 122 detainees remain at Guantanamo.

Jordan has a 24 hour Guantanamo Bay solution

Sky News Arabic reports prisoners Jordan planned to swap with ISIS are to be executed tonight. Jordan had said they would hang all of its ISIS captives if Jordan airman hostage is dead.

Jordan will have no more ISIS prisoners as the transition is made into Take no Prisoners War

US healthcare spending not efficient before Affordable care and not efficient after

The U.S. health-care system was among the least efficient in the developed world two years before major changes from Obamacare began to go into effect.

America’s health-care system ranked 44th of 51 nations assessed by Bloomberg, in terms of per person spending, life expectancy and health-care cost as a percentage of the economy. It’s an improvement from 46th of 48 last year, yet Serbia, Turkey and China still scored better.

Singapore, with the top ranking, spent $2,426 per person and had a life expectancy of 82.1 years in 2012, the most recent year for which data are available. In comparison, the U.S. shoveled cash into health care -- $8,895 per person, per year -- and Americans are expected to live for 78.7 years.

There’s a lack of accountability among Americans, according to policy experts. “We keep protecting individuals from the health-care costs that come from the fact that we don’t have healthy lifestyles,” Cindy Gillespie, a senior managing director at the law and policy firm McKenna Long and Aldridge LLP. “We haven’t accepted that people have an element of personal responsibility around their health.”

All OECD countries have universal (or quasi-universal) health coverage for a core set of health services and goods, except Mexico and the United States. Following the 2004 reforms in Mexico, the proportion of the population covered has grown rapidly to reach nearly 90%. In the United States, where 15% of the population was still uninsured in 2011, the Affordable Care Act will further expand health insurance coverage, from January 2014.

The burden of out-of-pocket spending creates barriers to health care access in some countries. On average, 20% of health spending is paid directly by patients; this ranges from less than 10% in the Netherlands and France to over 35% in Chile, Korea and Mexico

The OECD had a 2013 comparison of global healthcare systems (213 pages long)

Update on Shackleton Energy Moon Mining

There are billions of tons of water ice on the poles of the Moon. Shackleton Energy plans to extract lunar water ice, turn it into rocket fuel and create fuel stations in Earth's orbit. Just like on Earth you won't get far on a single tank of gas, what we can do in space today is straight-jacketed by how much fuel we can bring along from the Earth's surface. Our fuel stations will change how we do business in space and jump-start a multi-trillion dollar industry.

Nextbigfuture previously reported on Shackleton Energy in 2011, when they had a crowdfunding attempt.

Shackleton Energy claims its lunar ice program will cost less than one-tenth of the Apollo program, generates revenue within 4 years and breaks even within 12 years. They claim they can make moon mining happen with $10 billion.

The Economist magazine had a feature on the moon mining effort and Bill Stone. Dr Stone founded the Shackleton Energy Company (SEC) to process water on the Earth’s Moon into oxygen and hydrogen for rocket fuel. It can cost around $16,000 per kilo to send supplies like fuel into low Earth orbit. Transporting fuel to the Moon would cost at least five times as much, says Jeffrey Hoffman, a space-flight expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who is familiar with SEC. The ability to produce fuel in space, he thinks, would slash the cost of missions from placing geostationary satellites to interplanetary travel."

Graphene Aerogel batteries are ten times smaller with the same power

Korean researchers have successfully developed sponge-like graphene aerogel electrode material using graphene and a polymer. This is a graphene battery. The newly-developed battery is ten times as small as existing ones, but can show the same product performance.

A research team headed by Park Ho-seok, professor of the School of Chemical Engineering at Sungkyunkwan University, announced on Feb. 1 that it has succeeded in developing a very porous graphene aerogel electrode material by combining polyvinyl alcohol and graphene.

Studies on developing high-capacity and rapidly-chargeable batteries are underway worldwide. It is necessary to compress devices in order to supply energy in extreme conditions. However, when existing graphene-based batteries are compressed by 30 percent, product performance suffers owing to the destruction of the inside structure.

After inducing a chemical reaction between polyvinyl alcohol and graphene in a state of solution, the research team was able to develop a graphene aerogel electrode material that is easily compressed and highly durable, thanks to a great number of pores inside. Aerogel, which is called the lightest solid, is a porous ultralight material. An estimated 90 to 99.9 percent of the material is composed of air, and pores smaller than 100 nanometers form a 3D web.

Advanced Functional Materials - Reversibly Compressible, Highly Elastic, and Durable Graphene Aerogels for Energy Storage Devices under Limiting Conditions

China's first nuclear powered submarine designed from reverse engineering toy submarines

Huang Xuhua, China's chief submarine designer, has told Shenzhen Satellite Television that China's Type 091 Han-Class nuclear-powered submarine was designed and developed based on two toys from the United States.

After Huang took over the position as chief designer of the Type 091 submarine from Peng Shilu in 1983, he argued that the linear-shape design is no longer suitable for nuclear-powered submarines which operate at high speeds and at depths of up to 300 meters. Since each tangent plane of the hull is round in a streamlined water-drop shape, Huang believes the boat will be subject to minimum friction or drag while maintaining stability at great depths.

The 4,500/5,500-ton Type 091 was the first nuclear-powered submarine (SSN) class deployed by the China's People's Liberation Army Navy.

The Han-class have gone through major upgrades and numerous refits since their commissionings. Their initial design and weapons appear to be inadequate for confronting modern warships.It is believed that long refits have often meant that these submarines have spent more time in port than out at sea, greatly affecting their operational capacity. The boats have six 533 mm torpedo tubes and carry 20 torpedoes. Alternatively, they can carry 36 mines in their tubes. The Han class is capable of firing sub-launched variants of the C-801 anti-ship missile as well as a range of indigenous and Russian torpedoes or mines.

Changzheng 6, China's only Type 092 nuclear-powered and water-drop shaped submarine

China's second aircraft carrier construction start reports have been deleted

There was a report from the Global Times and that was report was referred to by WantChinaTimes that China was nearing the construction phase for its second aircraft carrier.

The Washington Post reported that the Global Times article and social media references to the start of construction for the second aircraft carrier have been deleted.

The government in Changzhou, in eastern Jiangsu province, boasted Sunday on social media that a local firm had won a contract to supply electrical cabling for the carrier. It later deleted the post, but not before it had been widely circulated. A report in a local newspaper was also withdrawn.

It remains unclear whether the new aircraft carrier will be conventionally or nuclear powered, though according to the Voice of Russia, China intends to have two conventionally-powered aircraft carriers to accumulate the necessary experience to boost the PLA Navy's offshore attack capabilities.

Photo of the first Chinese aircraft carrier

February 02, 2015

China spending to build 40,000 miles of global high speed rail compared to Obamacare or US War costs

Thirty-eight countries and regions worldwide plan to build high-speed rail lines and work mostly with China on the construction of those high speed rail lines. A global (across Asia, Europe, middle east and Africa) high speed rail network with total length of 93,000 kilometers (58000 miles), or 8.5 times the total length of high-speed railways operating in China is planned. It was forecast that by the year 2030, 60% of the planned rail lines (40,000 miles) would be completed.

China plans to build 34,600 km of high-speed railways in the country. The Chinese government has also negotiated agreements to build 34,700 km of high-speed railways for other countries, including 26,300 km allocated for the "Silk Road Economic Belt" and "21st Century Maritime Silk Road" initiatives.

The potential market for Chinese high-speed railway construction companies is approximately 69,400 km [43000 miles) in overall high speed track length, or 15 trillion yuan (US$2.4 trillion) in total investment, of which, train sales account for 1-1.5 trillion yuan (US$160-$240 billion).

China global high speed rail will boost trade, economic and politic ties to 38 countries throughout Europe, Asia and Africa.

When Obama pitched the healthcare law to Congress, he said it would cost "around $900 billion" over 10 years. But his statement was misleading because the way the law was designed, the major spending provisions didn't kick in until 2014. A new CBO (Congressional Budget Office) analysis [starting on page 121 of 184 page document] finds that between fiscal years 2016 and 2025, spending on the law's expansion of Medicaid will cost $920 billion and insurance exchange subsidies will cost nearly $1.1 trillion. The major spending provisions, taken together, will total $1.993 trillion.

CBO and JCT currently estimate that the ACA’s coverage provisions will result in net costs to the federal government of $76 billion in 2015 and $1,350 billion over the 2016–2025 period. Compared with the projection from last April, which spanned the 2015–2024 period, the current projection represents a downward revision in the net costs of those provisions of $101 billion over those 10 years, or a reduction of about 7 percent.

China plans naval and air force bases on the six islands and reef in South China Sea

China's land reclamation efforts in the disputed South China Sea may eventually become the nation's first island chain, allowing the nation to contain the US military facilities in Australia according to the Japan Military Review, a defense magazine based in Tokyo.

The blueprint drawn by the Ninth Design and Research Institute of the state-run China State Shipbuilding Corporation indicates that the PLA plans to build both naval and air force bases on the six islands and reefs under its control in the South China Sea. China is said to be constructing an airfield on Johnson South Reef which is about 3,200 kilometers away from the northern coast of Australia. From there, the PLA's H-6 strategic bombers with a combat radius of 1,800 kilometers could potentially launch an attack against Australia.

China is building ‘airstrip capable’ island.

February 01, 2015

Google is working on nanoparticle for finding cancer and fake skin for testing communication

Hidden away inside a world-class life sciences lab on Google's campus, doctors are trying to change the way people think about their health.

Google has been working on magnetic nanoparticles that would seek out cancer cells in the bloodstream and report back to a smart wristband.

Google is using light signals to talk to the wristband through the superficial veins on the underside of the wrist. Of course, shining lights through the skin means factoring in a range of skin types and colors, and so Google's scientists have built fake arms with "the same autofluoresecence and biochemical components of real arms." Thus the fake skin

China to get Russian Su-35s 4+ generation fighter starting in 2017 or 2018

China is likely to receive the first batch of Su-35 fighters from Russia between 2017 and 2018, if the contract can be signed this year, according to Kanwa Defense Review, a Chinese-language military magazine based in Canada.

Russia has decided to sell only 24 Su-35 fighters to China. Since some of those fighters will be deployed to the tactical training center in Guangzhou, the article claims that fewer than 24 Su-35 are going to serve with frontline units of the PLA Air Force. At the same time, Su-30MKKs from those three regiments are likely to be transferred to other air force units.

The Sukhoi Su-35, aka Super Flanker, is a designation for two separate, heavily upgraded derivatives of the Su-27 'Flanker'. They are single-seat, twin-engine supermaneuverable multirole fighters, designed by Sukhoi.

Russia is supplying 'standard' Su-35s to China.

Some rate the Su-35s as a 4++ generation fighter. It about par with the fifth-generation fighter across all characteristics (except stealth technology).

China plans to develop every Silk road country and pledges using $4 trillion in reserves to drive overseas expansion of industry, nuclear and rail

China's two domestic High Speed Rail (HSR) manufacturers, China North Railway (CNR) and China South Railway (CSR), now control the country's entire HSR market.

By 2014, just six years after the launch of China's first HSR passenger service, there was 16,000 km of tracks, connecting most major cities.

However, building more than half of the world's total HSR lines in ten years is just the beginning, as there are plans to add another 16,000 km of track by 2020.

Not just satisfied with domestic expansion, China has been ambitiously extending its influence beyond its borders.

China lowered production costs while higher labor efficiency helped shorten delivery time for one train to 12 months, compared with between 18 and 22 months required by foreign manufacturers.

There are trillions of dollars needed to build a shortfall of global infrastructure. China is going to try to finance and build as much as possible. It will solve the problem for decades of how will China still have high levels of investment driven GDP growth

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