August 15, 2015

Big Star Wars Expansions for Disneyland and Disney World

Disney’s Bob Iger announced that the company will introduce “Star Wars”-themed lands in the company’s Disneyland park in Anaheim, Calif., and Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla., during Disney’s D23 Expo on Saturday afternoon.

The Star Wars expansion will be 14 acres. California Adventure area is 67 acres. Star Wars land will be constructed north of Frontierland, on the site of the present Big Thunder Ranch and backstage areas

“We are creating a jaw-dropping new world that represents our largest single themed land expansion ever,” he said. “These new lands at Disneyland and Walt Disney World will transport guests to a whole new ‘Star Wars’ planet.

Iger said the new land will be “occupied by many inhabitants; humanoids, aliens and droids … the attraction, the entertainment, everything we create will be part of our storytelling. Nothing will be out of character or stray from the mythology.”

In the next few months, a number of new Star Wars-related additions will be appearing at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland. There will be a new location added to Star Tours – The Adventure Continues, based off of characters and locations from Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Jedi Training Academy will allow younger fans to feel the Force, with new scenarios based on Disney XD’s Star Wars Rebels. Additionally, later this year the Star Wars Launch Bay, an all-new interactive experience, will come to the Animation Courtyard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Tomorrowland at Disneyland. There will be photo opportunities, previews of new games, artifacts from the films and testimonials from the filmmakers. (Upstairs in the same building in Disneyland will be an updated Superheroes HQ, featuring your favorite Marvel characters.) And the Season of the Force, based in part on the phenomenally successful Star Wars Weekends, will be a seasonal part of both domestic parks beginning in early 2016, with exclusive food, drinks, merchandise and entertainment. At Disneyland, Space Mountain will be transformed into Hyperspace Mountain, with new effects and music. And at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, guests will experience a nightly fireworks show set to the classic Star Wars music.

There will be a cantina where fans can “run into all the droids and roaming beasts ‘Star Wars’ is known for,” including characters from the existing “Star Wars” saga and “The Force Awakens.



The Star Wars land will have two signature attractions, including a ride where fans can take the controls of the Millennium Falcon “on a customized secret mission,” and an experience that drops attendees into “a climactic battle between the First Order and the resistance.”

One “Star Wars” land will be located at Disneyworld’s Orlando-based “Hollywood Studios” theme park, and the other at Disneyland in Anaheim.




History and Future of Floating airports and modular Floating Cities

China's very large floating platforms are in the design and research phase for floating airports. Floating airports have been built in the past using pontoon structures and there are many interesting floating airport and floating city designs. The modular designs seem the most interesting.

Jidong Development, a state-owned company, is contributing most of the research funding to the joint project, local media reported. This first VLFS, being built near Beijing, would be used as a "deep sea comprehensive security base."

US Navy built a 550 meter long airstrip on pontoons in WW2

Floating airport on pontoon structures have been considered since 1920.

Japan built test airstrips when investigating the idea for Kansai International Airport



Pontoon-type VLFSs are also known in the literature as mat-like VLFSs because of their small draft in relation to the length dimensions. Very large pontoon-type floating structure is often called Mega-Floats. As a rule, the Mega-Float is a floating structure having at least one length dimension greater than 60 meters. Horizontally large floating structures can be from 500 to 5000 meters in length and 100 to 1000 meters in width, while their thickness can be of the order of about 2-10 meters.

Aircushion supported Mega-Floaters are mega floaters that are supported by an air cushion

PhD student Jan van Kessel calculated a way to make mega-floaters more resilient. Breakwaters have always sheltered large floating structures from the waves. In his thesis, entitled ‘Aircushion supported Mega-Floaters’, he presents and calculates another form of floating entirely. Not an immense barge, but rather a bottomless box, floating on a ‘cushion’ of encapsulated air. Think of a shoebox without its lid, turned upside down and placed in the water. Van Kessel shows that the forces on a floating shoebox structure are about half of those on a conventional closed barge. Besides, he argues, the use of aircushions to make things float offshore isn’t new. Forty years ago, gigantic oil storage tanks in Dubai were constructed on land, lifted by pressurised air and towed to their offshore locations, eventually sinking on the spot.

The most logical mega-floating structure needed in the near future is an offshore airstrip. A 3800 meter long runway could land any current plane. The most plausible place for this airstrip would be off the coast of Singapore, since it is a densely populated city-state that has little else to extend to other than the seas.

The mobile offshore base (MOB) idea was first seriously considered when the United States entered Operation Desert Shield (1990–91). MOB is a concept for supporting military operations where conventional land bases are not available. With the MOB concept the U.S. could have a base anywhere in the world in as little as a month. A MOB could accomodate and deploy conventional fighters and even large carge aircraft like the C-17 Globemaster III as well as landing craft.





August 14, 2015

China could build floating airstrips three times longer than US aircraft carrier by using oil platform technology and modular construction can go bigger

The Jidong Development Group (JDG), a construction company and Hainan Hai Industrial Company are proposing to build a floating sea base for multipurpose usage, such as tourism, shipping, power generation and offshore fossil fuel extraction. The floating sea base would be based in the South China Sea, for logistical support activities.

One version could be a floating airstrip platform for military purposes. It could 900 meters long. The US Navy Gerald Ford Super aircraft carriers are 330 meters long

The largest container ships are about 400 meters long.

The Prelude is an oil platform and it will be 488 meters long and displace 600,000 tons.

The Chinese platforms could be 400,000 to 1.5 million tons of displacement and could be 900 meters long.

DG's floating island designs are modular, being assembled from multiple semi-submersible hull sections. They would come in three sizes. The smaller island is 300 meters long and 90 meters wide, the medium sized island is 120 meters wide and 600 meters lond, while the larger island is 900 meters long and 120 meters wide. Assuming a hull draft of around 16 meters, full displacement of the islands could likely be around 400,000 and 1.5 million tons, respectively.





This JDG floating island island is even larger than the currently planned 900m long floating island. With a length of 2 kilometers (the cargo ship alongside it would be around 400 meters long), its large size is made possible by the modular construction of JDG's shipbuilding technology. The islands can also travel at speeds of up to 18 kilometers an hour.

Such giant bases could house battalions of marines and a wing of fighter/attack aircraft, and unlike fixed island bases, they can be redeployed away from enemy missiles.

US Air Force combat lasers for both burning out sensors and AC-130 gunships within two years and then laser pods for other aircraft

The Air Force, however, is focused on lasers for its fighters. That’s a tighter fit than gunships or bombers, so the Air Force Research Laboratory has a relatively cautious three-phase plan, AFRL commander Maj. Gen. Thomas Masiello said at the conference:

* A defensive system with “tens of kilowatts” of power called SHIELD, the Self-protected HIgh-Energy Laser Demonstration. It will be demonstrated circa 2020.
* A longer-range defensive system with 100 kilowatts of power, to be demonstrated in 2022.
* A 300-kilowatt offensive system capable of destroying enemy aircraft and ground targets at long range.

All these systems will be weapons pods or other external add-ons to existing aircraft, not “fully integrated” inside the airframe like a gun or radar, Masiello cautioned. That means radar-evading aircraft like the F-35 or F-22 couldn’t use them without sacrificing stealth. “We’re talking decades to have some sort of a 300-kw laser possibly integrated into a fighter,” he said.

1. First burn out enemy sensors and communications and vulnerable systems

In the near term to develop and field the next generation of laser defenses that will burn out, not just blind, sensors on SAMs [surface-to-air missiles] and air-to-air-missiles

SHIELD demo will also look at engaging “soft” ground targets on behalf of Lt. Gen. Heithold and Air Force Special Operations Command. “Soft” wasn’t clearly defined, but it probably means sensors, communications equipment, and other delicate but high-value systems.

2. Within two years place a combat laser on a AC-130 gunship

After SHIELD, though, it seems likely the fighter laser and the gunship laser will diverge, since the AC-130 has so much more space, weight, and power available. Special Operations is also famous for getting new technology into the field faster than the regular military, albeit in small quantities.

On an AC-130, “it is relatively easy to give up 5-10,000 pounds of weight to this,” Hehithold said. A gunship with a high-energy laser is just “a couple of years out,” he said.



While the 105 millimeter cannon on his AC-130 gunships today gives plenty of killing power. Combat lasers are pinpoint-precise and capable of dialing energy up or down to be more or less destructive as needed. Combat lasers keep firing so long as their are generators and fuel.

If the heat dissipation issues are solved, a combat laser could fire multiple shots per second for possibly hours or days. It could be days for a Navy ship with a nuclear power generator.

Berkeley Earth Calculates that 1 in 6 deaths in China are caused by air pollution or 1.6 million each year

Berkeley Earth released a study showing that air pollution kills an average of 4000 people every day in China, 17% of all China’s deaths. For 38% of the population, the average air they breathe is “unhealthy” by U.S. standards. With unprecedented detail, the sources of pollution throughout China are mapped directly from ground-level measurement.

The most harmful pollution is PM2.5, particulate matter 2.5 microns and smaller. This penetrates deeply into lungs and triggers heart attacks, stroke, lung cancer, and asthma. “Beijing is only a moderate source PM 2.5; it receives much of its pollution from distant industrial areas, particularly Shijiazhuang, 200 miles to the southwest,” says Robert Rohde, coauthor of the paper. Since the sources aren’t local, reducing pollution for the 2022 Olympics may prove difficult

Why does air pollution kill so many people it is like forcing everyone in the air polluted area in China to smoke 1.5 cigarettes every hour. This forced smoking includes babies (including premature births), elderly people, and people with lung disease or asthma.



If India boosts high school educated or higher workforce to 50% from 25% then an East Asian style manufacturing is possible by 2035

Baker Institute - Structural Change Forecasts for India: How Big of a Bang Can a Big Bang Have? by Russell Green, Ph.D and the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy (31 pages)

India’s political environment exhibits a new determination to “transform India into a global manufacturing hub,” and in the process raise manufacturing to 25% of GDP and create 100 million new manufacturing jobs. This would entail a structural change comparable to that witnessed by several East Asian countries beginning in the 1960s. The study projects a formal-sector manufacturing boom out 20 years at the sectoral level, assuming India can make the necessary reforms to initiate such a boom. Projection parameters are carefully constructed based on Indian and East Asian historical experience. The projections break out the key growth areas of formal-sector manufacturing and modern services to capture their unique characteristics. The results show large positive gains to aggregate output and employment from initiating an East Asian-style manufacturing boom in India. Reflective of the small size of formal-sector manufacturing employment currently, the government’s specific employment goals appear unattainable in the next 20 years.

Is it realistic that the Indian economy could hit Modi’s goal of creating 100 million new manufacturing jobs by 2022? No

Structural change involves shifting (India’s) economic activity — including its labor force — toward higher-productivity activities,” Green said. “Almost half of India’s labor force works in extremely low-productivity agriculture, and most of the rest works in low-productivity informal activities. The potential for welfare improvements from successful structural change strategies has always been massive, and the political environment exhibits a new determination to take the necessary steps.”

According to Green’s simulation, India’s formal manufacturing sector could grow to attain 27 percent of gross domestic product from the current 11 percent. “Two implications of these results are worth noting,” Green said. “First, the policy-change scenario forecasts that 15 percent of the workforce could be employed in high-productivity industries in the formal manufacturing sectors and modern services. As a comparison point, I have previously estimated that almost half the Indian workforce will have finished high school by 2035, double the share today. This would represent a dramatic improvement over the current workforce.

“The potential rise in education levels above current industry need raises the question of where these workers will find work that will take advantage of their improving education,” Green said. “Another way to look at the potential mismatch is via Say’s Law, which states that supply creates its own demand. It would suggest that businesses that can effectively utilize a better-educated workforce will grow faster on the back of a growing skilled labor supply. Expectations of much better educational attainment would suggest that the projections presented here may be too pessimistic.”

Green did find that Modi’s “Make In India” goals of manufacturing reaching 25 percent of gross domestic product and creating 100 million new jobs by 2022 are worthwhile for inspirational purposes but do not appear to be realistic. “The latter does not even appear realistic in a 20-year time frame,” Green said. “But nobody would be upset about achieving 75 million new manufacturing jobs, which might be realistic with the right basket of reforms.”







Rice University James Tour creates graphene tantalum non-volatile computer memory that could scale to 20 gigabytes per chip

Scientists at Rice University have created a solid-state memory technology that allows for high-density storage with a minimum incidence of computer errors.

The memories are based on tantalum oxide, a common insulator in electronics. Applying voltage to a 250-nanometer-thick sandwich of graphene, tantalum, nanoporous tantalum oxide and platinum creates addressable bits where the layers meet. Control voltages that shift oxygen ions and vacancies switch the bits between ones and zeroes.

The discovery by the Rice lab of chemist James Tour could allow for crossbar array memories that store up to 162 gigabits, much higher than other oxide-based memory systems under investigation by scientists. (Eight bits equal one byte; a 162-gigabit unit would store about 20 gigabytes of information.)

Nonvolatile memories hold their data even when the power is off, unlike volatile random-access computer memories that lose their contents when the machine is shut down.

Modern memory chips have many requirements: They have to read and write data at high speed and hold as much as possible. They must also be durable and show good retention of that data while using minimal power.

Tour said Rice’s new design, which requires 100 times less energy than present devices, has the potential to hit all the marks.

“This tantalum memory is based on two-terminal systems, so it’s all set for 3-D memory stacks,” he said. “And it doesn’t even need diodes or selectors, making it one of the easiest ultradense memories to construct. This will be a real competitor for the growing memory demands in high-definition video storage and server arrays.”


A layered structure of tantalum oxide, multilayer graphene and platinum is the basis for a new type of memory developed at Rice University. The memory device seen in this electron microscope image overcomes crosstalk problems that cause read errors in other devices. Courtesy of the Tour Group



A schematic shows the layered structure of tantalum oxide, multilayer graphene and platinum used for a new type of memory developed at Rice University. Courtesy of the Tour Group

Nanoletters - Three-Dimensional Networked Nanoporous Ta2O5–x Memory System for Ultrahigh Density Storage

Canadian Inflated tower would be 20 times taller than any current skyscrape

Canadian space company, Thoth Technology Inc., has been granted the United States patent for a inflated tower. The freestanding space tower is pneumatically pressurized and actively-guided over its base. Reaching 20 km above the planet, it would stand more than 20 times the height of current tall structures and be used for wind-energy generation, communications and tourism.

The technology offers an exciting new way to access space using completely reusable hardware and saving more than 30% of the fuel of a conventional rocket.

The press release calls it a space elevator but it is not.

The patent is here



Nextbigfuture covered inflated tower work at the University of Toronto in 2009. This is follow up to that work. Brendan Quine did the work in Toronto and is named on the patent.


There does not seem to have been any information on their website of any experimental work towards realizing the inflatable tower. They do also have plans for Mars missions, moon missions and have some actual electronic equipment products.

Magnetic field 100 times strongest magnets made with lasers and Superfluid gas

MIT physicists have created a superfluid gas, the so-called Bose-Einstein condensate, for the first time in an extremely high magnetic field. The magnetic field is a synthetic magnetic field, generated using laser beams, and is 100 times stronger than that of the world’s strongest magnets. Within this magnetic field, the researchers could keep a gas superfluid for a tenth of a second — just long enough for the team to observe it.

After cooling the atoms, the researchers used a set of lasers to create a crystalline array of atoms, or optical lattice. The electric field of the laser beams creates what’s known as a periodic potential landscape, similar to an egg carton, which mimics the regular arrangement of particles in real crystalline materials.

When charged particles are exposed to magnetic fields, their trajectories are bent into circular orbits, causing them to loop around and around. The higher the magnetic field, the tighter a particle’s orbit becomes. However, to confine electrons to the microscopic scale of a crystalline material, a magnetic field 100 times stronger than that of the strongest magnets in the world would be required.

The group asked whether this could be done with ultracold atoms in an optical lattice. Since the ultracold atoms are not charged, as electrons are, but are instead neutral particles, their trajectories are normally unaffected by magnetic fields.

Instead, the MIT group came up with a technique to generate a synthetic, ultrahigh magnetic field, using laser beams to push atoms around in tiny orbits, similar to the orbits of electrons under a real magnetic field. In 2013, Ketterle and his colleagues demonstrated the technique, along with other researchers in Germany, which uses a tilt of the optical lattice and two additional laser beams to control the motion of the atoms. On a flat lattice, atoms can easily move around from site to site. However, in a tilted lattice, the atoms would have to work against gravity. In this scenario, atoms could only move with the help of laser beams.


Observation of Bose–Einstein condensation in the Harper–Hofstadter model.

Nature Physics - Observation of Bose–Einstein condensation in a strong synthetic magnetic field

Google Research Boosts Deep Learning Detection with GPUs

GPUs are being used in neural network training and for near-real time execution of complex machine learning algorithms in natural language processing, image recognition, and rapid video analysis.

Pedestrian detection is one of those areas where, when powered by truly accurate and real-time capabilities, could mean an entirely new wave of potential services around surveillance, traffic systems, driverless cars, and beyond.

The complexity involved with real-time pedestrian detection is staggering, especially considering the range of settings, movements, other objects in a particular scene can rapidly change, interact and not just move, but in what manner pedestrians move. These are not new problems, however. Computer vision has long been a topic of research interest, and was certainly lent new possibilities with the parallel rise of GPU computing and more evolved deep neural networks.

The Google Research team expects to keep increasing the depth of the deep networks cascade by adding more tiny deep networks and exploring the efficiency-accuracy trade-offs. We further plan to explore using motion information from the images, because clearly motion cues are extremely important for such applications. Still, they say the challenge continues to rest on doing this at sufficiently high computational speeds.



August 13, 2015

Tesla Motors will raise $500 million to accelerate gigafactory batteries and the revolutionary 100 kWh utility scale battery Powerpack with $250/kWh pricing

Telsa Motors announced that it intends to offer, subject to market and other conditions, $500 million of additional shares of common stock in an underwritten registered public offering.

Elon Musk, Tesla's CEO, intends to purchase $20 million of common stock in this offering at the public offering price.

Tesla intends to use the net proceeds from this offering to accelerate the growth of its business in the United States and internationally, including the growth of its stores, service centers, Supercharger network and the Tesla Energy business, and for the development and production of Model 3, the development of the Tesla Gigafactory, and other general corporate purposes.

Tesla Utility 100 kWh powerpack has a breakthrough $250/kWh price.

Analysts had predicted batteries might reach the $350 point in 2020. However, Tesla announced the new battery prices May, 2015.

At Tesla’s price, utility-scale batteries have the potential to perform better than 2 cents per kilowatt hour where it counts the most: on the customer’s electric bill.


Zachary Shahan at Cleantechnica had a chart with some comparisons of possible near term utility scale battery product prices.


However, Ramez Naam estimates the Powerpack’s cost per kWh will be 7¢.



Reprogrammable optic chip has complete flexibility in processing of photons and is a pathway to quantum computing

Researchers from the University of Bristol in the UK and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) in Japan, have developing an optical chip that can process photons in an infinite number of ways.

It's a major step forward in creating a quantum computer to solve problems such as designing new drugs, superfast database searches, and performing otherwise intractable mathematics that aren't possible for super computers.

The fully reprogrammable chip brings together a multitude of existing quantum experiments and can realise a plethora of future protocols that have not even been conceived yet, marking a new era of research for quantum scientists and engineers at the cutting edge of quantum technologies


silicon based quantum optics lab-on-a-chip.

Journal Science - Universal linear optics

Science - The on-ramp to the all-optical quantum information processing highway

Bizarre nuclear fusion reactor in 5 years headline from Treehugger but claimed better reactor based on superconductors not expected to be ready for ten years

Treehugger has a headline "
Nuclear fusion reactor in just five years?"


The MIT design depends on getting 23 tesla superconducting magnets (currently at lab scale) scaled up for projects of this scale and beyond. The MIT researchers believe the engineering and development work on the new 23 tesla superconducting magnets could be achieved over a ten year timeframe.

It is strange that they would talk about a nuclear fusion reactor in five years if the key component advance is only hoped to be ready in ten years. There is also the details about actually getting the funding and doing the work to build would still be a very complex reactor. The main benefit is that it should be an easier project than the ITER tokamak and the planned path after ITER to get to a working commercial tokamak fusion reactor in the 2060s.


Abstract

The affordable, robust, compact (ARC) reactor is the product of a conceptual design study aimed at reducing the size, cost, and complexity of a combined fusion nuclear science facility (FNSF) and demonstration fusion Pilot power plant. ARC is a ∼200–250 MWe tokamak reactor with a major radius of 3.3 m, a minor radius of 1.1 m, and an on-axis magnetic field of 9.2 T. ARC has rare earth barium copper oxide (REBCO) superconducting toroidal field coils, which have joints to enable disassembly. This allows the vacuum vessel to be replaced quickly, mitigating first wall survivability concerns, and permits a single device to test many vacuum vessel designs and divertor materials. The design point has a plasma fusion gain of Qp ≈ 13.6, yet is fully non-inductive, with a modest bootstrap fraction of only ∼63%. Thus ARC offers a high power gain with relatively large external control of the current profile. This highly attractive combination is enabled by the ∼23 Tesla peak field on coil achievable with newly available REBCO superconductor technology. External current drive is provided by two innovative inboard RF launchers using 25 MW of lower hybrid and 13.6 MW of ion cyclotron fast wave power. The resulting efficient current drive provides a robust, steady state core plasma far from disruptive limits. ARC uses an all-liquid blanket, consisting of low pressure, slowly flowing fluorine lithium beryllium (FLiBe) molten salt. The liquid blanket is low-risk technology and provides effective neutron moderation and shielding, excellent heat removal, and a tritium breeding ratio over 1.1. The large temperature range over which FLiBe is liquid permits an output blanket temperature of 900 K, single phase fluid cooling, and a high efficiency helium Brayton cycle, which allows for net electricity generation when operating ARC as a Pilot power plant.







August 12, 2015

Reversibly, repeatedly foldable glass with displays and other electronics

Reversibly, repeatedly foldable electronics and displays have been enabled by employing engineered glass or plastics substrates, where folding deformation has been localized in thinned parts only. This design concept can further be extended to dual folding, leading to size reduction down to one quarter. Notably, the foldable electronics and displays can be implemented with no need to introduce any novel materials



Calculated strain values and experimental data as a function of gap width, W

Advanced Materials - Glass and Plastics Platforms for Foldable Electronics and
Displays (17 pages of supporting material)


Nuclear power update for Japan, Russia, China and Europe

1.
Kyushu Electric Power has begun restaringt of one of its nuclear reactors on Tuesday. This begins a Japanese government-backed process to get more atomic stations online throughout Japan, a policy supported by industry, yet largely opposed by the public.

Kyushu Electric plans to restart a second reactor in the middle of October. Next year another 11 may begin operation, according to Polina Diyachkina, an analyst who has covered Japan’s power utilities for three years at Macquarie Group Ltd.

More nuclear plants generating electricity for factories, offices and homes will reduce Japan’s import bill for fossil fuels, which contributed to four years of trade deficits that hit a record 12.8 trillion yen ($103 billion) last year.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance base forecast in June was for 26 reactors to come online over the next three years.

Japan has 43 reactors and 25 have so far applied for approval to restart. Kyushu Electric’s two reactors on Japan’s southern island of Kyushu are the first to pass post-Fukushima safety checks and overcome legal challenges.


Solar Power Industry Association Advises to China to Double its 2020 Solar Power Target

China is being encouraged by three industry groups to double the nation’s solar-power goal for 2020 to fill a gap forecast to emerge because nuclear and hydropower are due to fall short of targets.

The world’s biggest solar market needs 200 gigawatts of such capacity by then, according to a document seen by Bloomberg.

China Photovoltaic Industry Association, Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association and China Renewable Energy Society, which act as conduits between the government and industry, jointly wrote the document and advised the energy authority in the State Council.

The advice, if accepted, would boost solar installations sixfold, spurring demand for manufacturers including Trina Solar Ltd. and Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. China had about 33 gigawatts of solar power at the end of 2014.

More than 60% of the world’s solar panels are produced in China, making the currency devaluation a potentially attractive boon for many markets globally.

It is forecast that India could reach 75 gigawatts of solar power by 2022

Russian ship designers push ahead with a nuclear aircraft carrier design and a smaller non-nuclear aircraft carrier

The Nevskoye Design Bureau's CEO, Sergey Vlasov, told TASS that the corporation was pushing ahead with research into an aircraft carrier of the future entirely of its own accord, without any terms of reference from the Navy to rely on.

Vlasov speculated there may be two projects:

1. a nuclear-powered ship with a displacement of 80,000-85,000 tonnes and some 70 aircraft on board
2. a non-nuclear aircraft carrier having a displacement of 55,000-65,000 tonnes which will be able to carry 50-55 aircraft.

Earlier, Admiral Viktor Chirkov, Russian Navy commander, mentioned plans for designing large amphibious assault ships of the future capable of carrying a dozen helicopters and 450 Marines. The Defense Ministry said the first new generation amphibious assault ship will be delivered by 2020. The ship's displacement is estimated at 16,000 tonnes.

Japan, China and many other nations have the smaller flattop amphibious assault ships. They are in the 10,000 to 42,000 ton range. China is developing a 40000 ton helicopter carrier which is similar to the USA Wasp class ship. The USA has eight of those 40000 ton helicopter carrier ships.

China displayed the model of its 40,000-ton super large amphibious assault ship, known as M1, during the Sixth International Offshore Engineering Technology and Equipment Exhibition held in Beijing in April. Unlike the 28,000-ton Izumo-class, designed with five helicopter landing spots on its flight deck, the M1 has six. While the Izumo can carry a total number of 14 aircraft, how many the M1 can carry remains a mystery.

Japanese 28000 ton Izumo

Each Wasp class ship has a displacement of 40,500 long tons (41,150 t) at full load, is 831 feet (253.2 m) long, has a beam of 104 feet (31.8 m), and a draft of 27 feet (8.1 m). For propulsion, most of the ships are fitted with two steam boilers connected to geared turbines, which deliver 70,000 shaft horsepower (33,849 kW) to the two propeller shafts

US 40,000 ton Wasp class carriers

Nuclear power unit for aircraft carrier to be tested on Lider-class destroyer

In early July, a shipbuilding industry source told TASS that the nuclear power generating facility for the propulsion system of Russia's future aircraft carrier will be worked out on the Lider (Leader) class destroyer.

The Russian Navy plans in the future to obtain new aircraft carriers, but the timeframe for the construction this class of vessel is unknown. The Navy has said that a prospective aircraft carrier will be built no earlier than in 2030.

Last week Russia and France agreed to discontinue the contract for the supply of two Mistral helicopter carriers ordered for the Russian Navy in 2011.



Google's Technology Moonshots and the Costs of the Apollo Moonshot and Spacex rocket development

Google and its founders have a philosophy of targeting technology moonshots via their Solve for X projects, GoogleX, Google Labs and their other companies and major projects like
* Calico (radical life extension)
* Google Loon global high speed internet via balloons
* global internet satellite and internet drones
* self driving cars
* robotics
* low cost Android smartphones ($50 or less) for the next billion or so people
* low cost smartphone service via wifi and telecom deals
* asteroid mining
* google fiber
* urban internet via wifi from bus stops and other locations

Google have over $10 billion per year in money for research. This is likely to continue growing at 10-18% per year as Google continues to dominate internet advertising and the internet continues to grow at 10-18% per year. Google's 2015 revenue growth is about 11% per year.

Let us look at the costs of the Apollo Moonshot and Spacex rocket development.

How much was the R and D cost of the actual moonshot?

No comparable scientific project of similar scale and urgency was pursued in the U.S. until the Apollo Program of the 1960s. When President Kennedy vowed in 1961 to land an astronaut on the moon and return him to earth "within the decade," only one American (Alan Shepard) had traveled into space. The difficulties were daunting, but the number and variety of technical innovations developed for the moon mission were remarkable. To power the instruments and computer on board the spacecraft, the world's first fuel cells were invented. To fabricate the structural components of the spacecraft with sufficient precision, computer-controlled machining was conceived and implemented for the first time. Insulation barriers to protect delicate instruments from radiation, "cool suits" to keep astronauts safe during space walks, water purification systems, freeze-drying of foods, innovations in integrated-circuit design and robotics, and digital image processing (later incorporated into computer-aided tomography (CAT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)) all were technologies developed by NASA during the Apollo Program.

Presidential Support Crucial Neil Armstrong landed on the moon on July 20, 1969, just a little more than eight years after President Kennedy's speech. Five more Apollo missions landed on the moon, the only occasions on which human beings have set foot on another heavenly body. The cost: $25 billion (about $135 billion in today's money), the largest commitment of resources ever made by a nation during peacetime. At its peak, the Apollo Program employed 400,000 people. And they accomplished the impossible.

Note the two paragraphs above came from Bloomberg. FYI - The Manhattan Project began modestly in 1939, but grew to employ more than 130,000 people and cost nearly US$2 billion (about $26 billion in 2015 dollars). Over 90% of the cost was for building factories and producing the fissile materials, with less than 10% for development and production of the weapons. Research and production took place at more than 30 sites across the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada

From 2015-2024, Google's research budget will exceed the $135 billion of the initial Apollo moon program. Google revenue and research continues to grow in the 10-18% per year range. Even at 10-12% per year growth the research, Google's research budget should be over $25 billion per year in 2024. If it grows at 15% per year, the research budget would be near $40 billion per year. Global high speed internet via balloon, fiber, drone, satellite, low cost smartphones and urban wifi will help spread Google advertising everywhere.

Elon Musk and his companies and projects (Spacex, Solar City and Tesla Motors) are also accomplishing big things with highly efficient research and development.

In 2014, SpaceX released total combined development costs for both the Falcon 9 and the Dragon capsule. NASA provided US$396 million while SpaceX provided over US$450 million to fund rocket and capsule development efforts. NASA evaluated that development costs would have been $3.6 billion if a traditional cost-plus contract approach had been used.

Spacex is developing fully reusable rocket stages for only about ten million or less per launch attempt. They only attempt it when they have the margin on a customer purchased launch.

The Space Shuttle program cost $209.1 billion (in 2010 dollars)

NASA administrator James Fletcher told Congress in 1972 that the shuttle would cost $5.15 billion to develop and could be operated at a cost of $10.5 (1972 dollars) million per flight.

Actually it was (1972) $278 million per flight ($200 billion with 5.33 times inflation factors and 135 flights so 26 times more than the $10.5 million.)

Comparing Research budgets of 1970s Bell Labs to DARPA and Google Today

In 1974, AT and T's US $26 billion in revenues—the equivalent of $82 billion today—represents 1.4 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product. The next-largest enterprise, sprawling General Motors Corp., is a third its size, dwarfed by AT and T's $75 billion in assets, more than 100 million customers, and nearly a million employees.

Bell Labs is often cited as a modern the peak of technological innovation

The oft-repeated list of Bell Labs innovations features many of the milestone developments of the 20th century, including the transistor, the laser, the solar cell, fiber optics, and satellite communications. Few doubt that AT and T's R and D machine was among the greatest ever.

Bell Labs spent over $500 million on nonmilitary R and D, or about 2 percent of AT and T's gross revenues. Western Electric spent even more on its internal engineering and development operations. Thus, more than 4 cents of every dollar received by AT and T that year went to R and D at Bell Labs and Western Electric.

The US Labor department inflation adjustment is to triple 1974 dollars to get 2015 equivalent. The $500 million would then be $1.5 billion.
1974 US GDP was $1.55 trillion. US GDP is about 12 times higher today. The Bell Labs nonmilitary research is equal to about $6 billion in terms of share of US GDP.

Google is targeting Life extension, global high speed internet satellite/balloon/drone network and more with a $10 billion/year budget


They have about $70-80 billion in cash and liquidity.

Google has a research budget of over $10 billion a year.

Google's founders are trying to change the world and are targeting huge research goals. They are looking for possible game changers with their Solve for X program. They then scale up promising Solve for X solutions

DARPA's budget is and has been about $3 billion to $3.5 billion per year.

DARPA's research has also produced ground breaking results over its history

NASA has a budget of $15-20 billion per year but 80-90% of it is spent on facilities on the ground and administration and
mostly not for new ground breaking projects. Especially over the last thirty years the $300 billion of the space station and space shuttle
are discounted as mostly not enabling the next transformational thing.

The difference between Bell Labs, Google and DARPA and large research budgets at Apple, Microsoft or Samsung is the scope of the goals that are targeted.

If you spend billions of dollars making a larger iPhone or larger and more complex versions of Microsoft office with artificial intelligence paperclips then success will result in those capabilities. If you target radical life extension or lower the cost of nutritious food production or the creation of satellites or the internet then there is the possibility you could succeed.

MIT robot mimicks movement of person wearing exoskeleton

Researchers from MIT's Department of Mechanical Engineering have designed an interface that takes advantage of a human's split-second reflexes allowing a humanoid to maintain its balance and complete tasks.

Hermes can punch through drywall, smash fizzy drink cans, kick things over and karate chop things in half.

HERMES is operated by a person wearing an exoskeleton, and the reasons his reflexes are so "human" is because he is, in fact, mimicking precisely the actions of that person. When the exoskeleton wearer punches, HERMES does too.
PhD student Joao Ramos demonstrates the Balance Feedback Interface, a system that enables an operator to control the balance and movements of a robot, through an exoskeleton and motorized platform. Photo: Melanie Gonick/MIT




China yuan drops 4% in two days

August 11, 2015

Sergey Brin and Larry Page will be attempting to invent the Future with $10 billion a year in research budget

Invent is what Larry Page’s hero, Nikola Tesla, did. It is what Google Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin did in 1997, when they concocted a way to make “all the world’s information available” on the Internet. And it is what Sergey Brin wanted to do when he left to oversee Google X. While Larry Page got bogged down in bureaucracy (as Google CEO starting in 2011), Brin, in the words of one of Google’s first employees, who did not wish to be identified, was “out there inventing the future.” The employee went on to list Google X’s many accomplishments under Brin: a self-driving car; Google Glass; a contact lens that measures the glucose levels of tears; an entity called Calico, led by Arthur Levinson, with a mission of extending life.

The truth is that Larry Page suffered from Sergey Brin envy.

Most C.E.O.s who step down are pushed out, and then they prattle about wanting to spend more time with their families. Larry Page, by contrast, really does want to spend more time with Sergey Brin inventing the future.



They have about $70-80 billion in cash and liquidity.

Google has a research budget of over $10 billion a year.

DARPA's budget is and has been about $3 billion to $3.5 billion per year

NASA has a budget of $15-20 billion per year but 80-90% of it is spent on facilities on the ground and administration and
mostly not for new ground breaking projects. Especially over the last thirty years the $300 billion of the space station and space shuttle
are discounted as mostly not enabling the next transformational thing.


Update on the exaFLOP supercomputer race

The White house released a statement where they indicated the US should have an exaFLOP supercomputer in the next decade (the 2020s or it could mean by 2025).

The US is currently on track to get to an exaFLOP supercomputer by 2023.

The National Strategic Computer Initiative (NSCI), was signed by President Barack Obama in July 2015. It is an effort to build the world's first supercomputer with an exaflop of computational power.

President Obama's NSCI is an extension to existing plans announced back in November to create two pre-exascale systems being built by the Department of Energy. These two projects are already underway, and the systems being built are expected to deliver between 100-300 petaflops each. The Summit and Sierra supercomputers are expected to be completed sometime in 2017-2018.

There was also the 180 petaFLOP Aurora supercomputer targeted for 2018

China's current supercomputer is the Tianhe 2, is capable of peak 54.9 petaflops of computational power.

China is upgrading the Tianhe 2 to the Tianhe 2A in 2016 to get to 100 petaFLOPS.

China will upgrade supercomputer to 100 petaflops in 2016 instead of 2015 with applications like genomics and scramjet combustion

System designer for the multiple iterations of the Tianhe machines, Dr. Yutong Lu, revealed that the Tianhe-2 supercomputer will be receiving its upgrade in 2016. However, due to the trade restrictions, they won’t be boosting their supercomputer with more Xeon Phi cores. Rather, the novel architecture they developed will deliver the system the extra 45 petaflops it needs to continue its reign at the top of the list for the foreseeable future.

A rapt audience, including The Platform, listened to Lu during a session at the International Supercomputing Conference in Germany as Lu outlined the digital signal processor (DSP) basis for the new chips that will extend Tianhe-2A (the name of the upgraded system) within the next year instead of by the end of 2015, as was originally planned.

It will be the first 100 petaflop peak capable machine in history.

Dr. Lu has overseen the evolution of the Tianhe machines, beginning with the Tianhe-1A supercomputer, which took the world by surprise, toppling the dominant Titan system at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 2013. She told the audience this week that the team at NUDT believe in the future of heterogeneous architectures and will move ahead as planned with the upgrade leveraging this new accelerator, which one can only imagine must have already been in development at NUDT for some time if the upgraded machine can have its new chips within one year.

DARPA targets next generation vacuum tubes that will create electronics that are harder to jam

According to DARPA, vacuum electron devices (VEDs) are critical components for defense and civilian systems that require high power, wide bandwidth, and high efficiency, and there are over 200,000 VEDs currently in service.

While most VEDs in common use today (traveling wave tubes (TWTs), klystrons, crossed-field amplifiers, magnetrons, gyrotrons and others) were invented in the first half of the 20th century, ongoing, intense development efforts have produced dramatic advances in their performance and reliability.

Space-qualified TWTs are used for nearly all satellite communications and are demonstrating in-orbit mean time to failure of over ten million hours with power efficiencies greater than 70%. VED amplifiers also can exhibit wide operating bandwidths of over three octaves, and high output power levels up to thousands of watts from a single device. These characteristics make vacuum electronics the technology of choice for numerous military, civilian, and commercial radio frequency (RF) and microwave systems.”

A new program called Vacuum Electronic Science and Technology or INVEST looks to build systems that support higher operation RF signals that are “louder” and thereby harder to jam and otherwise interfere with. DARPA says higher frequency operation brings with it vast swaths of previously unavailable spectrum which opens the way to more versatile communication, data transmission and other capabilities that will be beneficial in both military and civilian environments.

The INVEST program aims to strengthen the science and technology base for new generations of vacuum tubes operating at millimeter-wave frequencies above 75 GHz.

DARPA. Millimeter wave vacuum tubes, including ones like the travelling wave tube (TWT) depicted here, amplify signals by exchanging kinetic energy in the electron beam (shown as a blue line) with electromagnetic energy (shown as a wave) in the signal. This figure represents a cutaway view of a TWT with all of the critical components: electron gun, magnetic circuit, electron collector, and the windows that keep the vacuum inside the tube while letting the signals flow in and out.





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