November 07, 2015

Eye drops for dissolving cataracts works in dogs and in the lab on human tissue

A chemical that could potentially be used in eye drops to reverse cataracts, the leading cause of blindness, has been identified by a team of scientists from UC San Francisco (UCSF), the University of Michigan (U-M), and Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL).

Identified as a “priority eye disease” by the World Health Organization, cataracts — caused when the lenses of the eyes lose their transparency — affect more than 20 million people worldwide. Although cataracts can be successfully removed with surgery, this approach is expensive, and most individuals blinded by severe cataracts in developing countries go untreated.

Reported November 5 in Science, the newly identified compound is the first that is soluble enough to potentially form the basis of a practical eye-drop medication for cataracts.

The research group used a method known as high-throughput differential scanning fluorimetry, or HT-DSF, in which proteins emit light when they reach their melting point. At the U-M Life Sciences Institute’s Center for Chemical Genomics, the team used HT-DSF to apply heat to amyloids while applying thousands of chemical compounds.

Because the melting point of amyloids is higher than that of normal crystallins, the team focused on finding chemicals that that lowered the melting point of crystallin amyloids to the normal, healthy range.

The group began with 2,450 compounds, eventually zeroing in on 12 that are members of a chemical class known as sterols. One of these, known as lanosterol, was shown to reverse cataracts in a June paper in Nature, but because lanosterol has limited solubility the group who published that study had to inject the compound into the eye for it to exert its effects.

Using lanosterol and other sterols as a clue, Gestwicki and his group assembled and tested 32 additional sterols, and eventually settled on one, which they call “compound 29,” as the most likely candidate that would be sufficiently soluble to be used in cataract-dissolving eye drops.

In laboratory dish tests, the team confirmed that compound 29 significantly stabilized crystallins and prevented them from forming amyloids. They also found that compound 29 dissolved amyloids that had already formed. Through these experiments, said Gestwicki, “we are starting to understand the mechanism in detail. We know where compound 29 binds, and we are beginning to know exactly what it’s doing.”

The team next tested compound 29 in an eye-drop formulation in mice carrying mutations that make them predisposed to cataracts. In experiments conducted with Usha P. Andley, PhD, professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences at WUSTL School of Medicine, they found that the drops partially restored transparency to mouse lenses affected by cataracts, as measured by a slit-lamp test of the sort used by ophthalmologists to measure cataracts in humans.

Similar results were seen when compound 29 eye drops were applied in mice that naturally developed age-related cataracts, and also when the compound was applied to human lens tissue affected by cataracts that had been removed during surgery.

Gestwicki cautions that slit-lamp measures of lens transparency used in the research are not a direct measure of visual acuity, and that only clinical trials in humans can establish the value of compound 29 as a cataract treatment. He has licensed the compound from U-M, however, and Makley, a former graduate student and postdoctoral fellow in the Gestwicki laboratory, is founder and chief scientific officer of ViewPoint Therapeutics, a company that is actively developing compound 29 for human use.

Dogs are also prone to developing cataracts. Half of all dogs have cataracts by nine years of age, and virtually all dogs develop them later in life. An effective eye-drop medication could potentially benefit about 70 million affected pet dogs in the United States.

Science - Pharmacological chaperone for α-crystallin partially restores transparency in cataract models

Cataracts reduce vision in 50% of individuals over 70 years of age and are a common form of blindness worldwide. Cataracts are caused when damage to the major lens crystallin proteins causes their misfolding and aggregation into insoluble amyloids. Using a thermal stability assay, we identified a class of molecules that bind α-crystallins (cryAA and cryAB) and reversed their aggregation in vitro. The most promising compound improved lens transparency in the R49C cryAA and R120G cryAB mouse models of hereditary cataract. It also partially restored protein solubility in the lenses of aged mice in vivo and in human lenses ex vivo. These findings suggest an approach to treating cataracts by stabilizing α-crystallins.

Cataracts are the most common cause of vision loss, especially in our ever-increasing elderly population. Cataracts arise when crystallin, a major protein component of the eye lens, begins to aggregate, which causes the lens to become cloudy. Makley et al. explored whether small molecules that reverse this aggregation might have therapeutic potential for treating cataracts, which normally require surgery (see the Perspective by Quinlan). They used a screening method that monitors the effect of ligands on temperature-dependent protein unfolding and identified several compounds that bind and stabilize the soluble form of crystallin. In proof-of-concept studies, one of these compounds improved lens transparency in mice.

Older study in June, 2015 - Nature - Lanosterol reverses protein aggregation in cataracts

US nuclear plants 20 year operating extensions will benefit clean energy and environment

Dominion Resources Inc. will ask federal regulators for permission run the Surry nuclear power plant in Virginia until it's 80 years old. Extending by 20 years would keep US nuclear plants running into 2050-2075 instead of 2030-2055. If they were extended to 100 years they would be running til 2070-2095.

Dominion said in a statement Friday that it'll become the first U.S. utility to notify the Nuclear Regulatory Commission of plans to request a second license renewal for a nuclear power plant. The two Surry units' licenses expire in 2032 and 2033 and would be extended to 2052 and 2053 should Dominion's request be approved.

At least seven reactors in Pennsylvania, Virginia and South Carolina, are preparing to ask for permission to run them until they are 80 years old.

  • Exelon’s two operating reactors at the Peach Bottom plant in Pennsylvania
  • Dominion’s twin Surry reactors, near Jamestown, Va.
  • Duke’s three Oconee reactors

The consensus of the commission staff and the industry is that with appropriate analysis and monitoring, the reactors can generate huge amounts of carbon-free electricity for additional decades.

The American Physical Society has a 28 page report which indicates that there are no technical issues with another 20 year nuclear plant operating license extension

US nuclear power will still increase slightly by 2020 in spite of some closures

Despite the scheduled closure of more than 2,000 megawatts (MW) of nuclear generating capacity by 2019, scheduled additions of more than 5,000 MW of capacity between 2016 and 2020 could result in a net increase in total U.S. nuclear capacity.

Entergy Corp. announced in October its intention to close by mid-2019 the 685 MW Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station located in Massachusetts. The closure of Pilgrim could take place even earlier, as Entergy could choose to shut Pilgrim down during the plant's scheduled refueling and maintenance in 2017. In addition to the just-announced plan to close Pilgrim, the 678 MW Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station in New Jersey is also scheduled to shut down in 2019.

There are currently five new reactors under construction in the United States. Watts Bar Unit 2 (estimated 1,150 MW capacity) in southeastern Tennessee, which recently received its operating license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, is projected to begin commercial operation in 2016. The Vogtle plant in eastern Georgia and the V.C. Summer plant in South Carolina, which have both experienced significant project delays of two to three years, are each currently scheduled to begin operating two new reactors (each with 1,117 MW capacity) in 2019 and 2020.

China 2020 targets double 2010 per capita GDP, and average $300 billion per year in overseas investment

Chinese premier Li Keqiang said the country needed annual growth of at least 6.53 per cent in the next five years to meet the government's goal of establishing a "moderately prosperous society". China would aim for "medium-high economic growth" (6-7 per cent) over the next five years.

Consistent with the comprehensive reform package unveiled at the Third Plenum in 2013, the guidelines for the 13FYP provide more detail. Most were well telegraphed such as the retirement of the one-child policy, rural land reform, urbanisation measures and SOE reform.

China aims to increase investment in innovation and entrepreneurship, while also looking to raise domestic consumption. Beijing also pledged to double China's 2010 GDP and per capital income for both urban and rural residents by 2020.

China wants to boost the fertility rate so that by 2050, the labor force in China will increase by about 30 million, and the rate of the ageing will decrease 1.5 per cent.

The current fertility rate level would see a decrease in the labor force of about 150 million. China needs about 7 to 9 million more babies each year from current levels of 16 million per year.

In the next five years, China will adopt vigorous measures to promote mass entrepreneurship and innovation and the “Internet Plus” plan to encourage new technologies, businesses and industries. Innovation is the cradle of newly emerged companies and products in China. China’s UC Browser, launched in India in 2010, currently occupies the biggest share (40 per cent) of the Indian mobile phone browser market. Many Indians are using WeChat to keep in touch with their friends, in both India and China.

November 06, 2015

Russia faces dropping currency reserves, high inflation and food shortages

Russia's international reserves, liquid foreign assets managed by the Central Bank of Russia, fell by $5.4 billion to $369.2 billion in the week of Oct. 23-30, Tass, a state-owned news agency, reported Thursday. This was the official numbers and the real numbers are a lot worse. Many of the reserves may not be actually available.

Alongside the drop in international reserves, other indicators of Russia's slump included a 10 percent reduction in retail sales while inflation hovered around 16 percent.

Authorities in Russia said they were fearful of shortages when it came to basic food supplies, such as meat and cheese. The country could see a shortage of meat and dairy in 2016, according to a report released by Russian news agency Ria Novosti Wednesday, as a result of ongoing sanctions.

In 2015 US denies oil market access to its ally Canada but grants access to Iran

The US administration rejected the Keystone Pipeline which hinders the closest ally of the USA, Canada, from getting its oil to markets While the US administration previously made a deal to get Iranian oil to market

“It’s ironic that the administration would strike a deal to allow Iranian crude on the global market while refusing to give our closest ally, Canada, access to U.S. refineries,” said Jack Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institute, in a statement.

This does not impact Canada much in the near future.

The Gulf refineries have tripled their processing supplies of Canadian crude since 2010 to more than 300,000 barrels a day, according to Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates, a consulting firm based in Houston.

“The urgency for the pipeline is certainly down because oil prices are $45 and not $100 a barrel, and you are seeing a decline of investment in Canada, which means that increases in expected future growth are simply not going to be there,” Mr. Lipow said.

Other pipelines and rail have been adapted to service the movement of oil

The Seaway Crude Pipeline System (SCPS), commonly known as the Seaway Pipeline, is an oil pipeline system which transports crude oil between Cushing, Oklahoma and Freeport, Texas, and though the Texas City, Texas Terminal and Distribution System on the Gulf Coast of the United States. The Seaway is an important crude oil transfer link between two petroleum regions within the United States.

Although Seaway shipped oil north (to Cushing) for many years, in June 2012 the flow of the system was reversed to ship oil south (out of Cushing), instead.

Plans have been announced to increase Seaway's capacity to 400,000 barrels per day (64,000 m3/d) in 2013 (completed as of 11 January 2013) and, in 2014, adding 450,000 barrels per day (72,000 m3/d) additional capacity via a "twin" long-haul pipeline. As well as for an 85 miles (137 km) lateral to the ECHO crude storage facility in southwest Houston and the Port Arthur/Beaumont refining complex.

Canadian crude oil producers continue to build new markets for their expanding production. New market opportunities include Eastern Canada, the U.S. and growing economies in Asia.

Superconducting at -70 degrees celsius seems to be accepted by mainstream scientists and has triggered race for room temperature superconductor

The world of superconductivity is in uproar. Last year, Mikhail Eremets and a couple of pals from the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz, Germany, made the extraordinary claim that they had seen hydrogen sulphide superconducting at -70 °C. That’s some 20 degrees hotter than any other material—a huge increase over the current record.

Eremets and co have worked hard to conjure up the final pieces of conclusive evidence. A few weeks ago, their paper was finally published in the peer reviewed journal Nature, giving it the rubber stamp of respectability that mainstream physics requires. Suddenly, superconductivity is back in the headlines.

Today, Antonio Bianconi and Thomas Jarlborg at the Rome International Center for Materials Science Superstripes in Italy provide a review of this exciting field. These guys give an overview of Eremet and co’s discovery and a treatment of the theoretical work that attempts to explain it.

Arxiv - Superconductivity above the lowest Earth temperature in pressurized sulfur hydride

A recent experiment has shown a macroscopic quantum coherent condensate at 203 K, about 19 degrees above the coldest temperature recorded on the Earth, 184 K, in pressurized sulfur hydride. This discovery is relevant not only in material science and condensed matter but also in other fields ranging from quantum computing to quantum physics of living matter. It has given the start to a gold rush looking for other macroscopic quantum coherent condensates in hydrides at the temperature range of living matter with critical superconducting temperatures over 200K and less than 400K. We present here a review of the experimental results and the theoretical works and we discuss the Fermiology of H3S focusing on Lifshitz transitions as a function of pressure. We discuss the possible role of the shape resonance near a neck disrupting Lifshitz transition, in the Bianconi-Perali Valletta (BPV) theory, for rising the critical temperature in a multigap superconductor, as the Feshbach resonance rises the critical temperature in Fermionic ultracold gases.

Solar wind would take 7.2 billion years to erode the Martian Atmosphere

Solar wind is eroding the Mars atmosphere at about 100 grams per second. Adam Crowl has calculated it would take 7.2 billion years to remove the thin Martian atmosphere at that rate.

Artist’s rendering of a solar storm hitting Mars and stripping ions from the planet's upper atmosphere. Credits: NASA/GSFC

Gene-edited immune cells treat 1-year-old's 'incurable' leukemia

A new treatment that uses ‘molecular scissors’ to edit genes and create designer immune cells programmed to hunt out and kill drug resistant leukaemia has been used at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH).

The treatment, previously only tested in the laboratory, was used in one-year-old, Layla, who had relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL). She is now cancer free and doing well.

This breakthrough comes from GOSH and UCL Institute of Child Health’s (ICH) pioneering research teams, who together are developing treatments and cures for some of the rarest childhood diseases.

Chemotherapy successfully treats many patients with leukaemia but it can be ineffective in patients with particularly aggressive forms of the disease where cancer cells can remain hidden or resistant to drug therapy. Recent developments have led to treatments where immune cells, known as T-cells, are gathered from patients and programmed using gene therapy to recognise and kill cancerous cells. Multiple clinical trials are underway, but individuals with leukaemia, or those who have had several rounds of chemotherapy, often don’t have enough healthy T-cells to collect and modify meaning this type of treatment is not appropriate.

A team at GOSH has now used modified T-cells from donors, known as UCART19 cells, to treat a one-year-old child with an aggressive form of ALL who had unsuccessful chemotherapy and for whom palliative care was deemed the only option left.

New Charge Density wave found in superconductors

A team led by scientists at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory combined powerful magnetic pulses with some of the brightest X-rays on the planet to discover a surprising 3-D arrangement of a material’s electrons that appears closely linked to a mysterious phenomenon known as high-temperature superconductivity.

This unexpected twist marks an important milestone in the 30-year journey to better understand how materials known as high-temperature superconductors conduct electricity with no resistance at temperatures hundreds of degrees Fahrenheit above those of conventional metal superconductors but still hundreds of degrees below freezing.

The 3-D effect that scientists observed in the LCLS experiment, which occurs in a superconducting material known as YBCO (yttrium barium copper oxide), is a newly discovered type of “charge density wave.” This wave does not have the oscillating motion of a light wave or a sound wave; it describes a static, ordered arrangement of clumps of electrons in a superconducting material. Its coexistence with superconductivity is perplexing to researchers because it seems to conflict with the freely moving electron pairs that define superconductivity.

‘Totally Unexpected’ Physics

“This was totally unexpected, and also very exciting. This experiment has identified a new ingredient to consider in this field of study. Nobody had seen this 3-D picture before,” said Jun-Sik Lee, a SLAC staff scientist and one of the leaders of the experiment conducted at SLAC’s Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) X-ray laser. “This is an important step in understanding the physics of high-temperature superconductors.”

The dream is to push the operating temperature for superconductors to room temperature, he added, which could lead to advances in computing, electronics and power grid technologies.

There are already many uses for standard superconducting technology, from MRI machines that diagnose brain tumors to a prototype levitating train, the CERN particle collider that enabled the Nobel Prize-winning discovery of the Higgs boson and ultrasensitive detectors used to hunt for dark matter, the invisible constituent believed to make up most of the mass of the universe. A planned upgrade to the LCLS, known as LCLS-II, will include a superconducting particle accelerator.

Science - Three-dimensional charge density wave order in YBa2Cu3O6.67 at high magnetic fields

Nanographene charge trapping memory could make higer density flash memory

Researchers developed a method for fabricating nanographene with a density estimated at more than a trillion (10^12) nanographene islands per square centimeter. Their strategy uses a technique called plasma etching to create large numbers of defects as well as extended defects along the edges of the main defects.

The large number of charge trapping sites provided by the defects enabled the researchers to fabricate a memory device with a very competitive memory performance. One measure of large capacitance is a large memory window, which indicates that a large number of charge carriers have been trapped. Tests here revealed that the new memory has the largest ever memory window (9 volts) reported to date for a graphene-based charge trapping memory. In addition, this large memory window was maintained even after 1,000 program/erase cycles.

Overall, the researchers hope that this high-density memory will provide a path toward shrinking flash memory to even smaller scales.

"Our future research plan in this area is to realize a footprint as small as the tip of an atomic force microscope," Meng said.

Nanographene is a promising alternative to metal nanoparticles or semiconductor nanocrystals for charge trapping memory. In general, a high density of nanographene is required in order to achieve high charge trapping capacity. They demonstrate a strategy of fabrication for a high density of nanographene for charge trapping memory with a large memory window. The fabrication includes two steps:

(1) direct growth of continuous nanographene film; and
(2) isolation of the as-grown film into high-density nanographene by plasma etching. Compared with directly grown isolated nanographene islands, abundant defects and edges are formed in nanographene under argon or oxygen plasma etching, i.e. more isolated nanographene islands are obtained, which provides more charge trapping sites.

As-fabricated nanographene charge trapping memory shows outstanding memory properties with a memory window as wide as ~9 V at a relative low sweep voltage of ±8 V, program/erase speed of ~1 ms and robust endurance of over 1000 cycles. The high-density nanographene charge trapping memory provides an outstanding alternative for downscaling technology beyond the current flash memory.

Left) Atomic force microscope image of the nanographene film with a high density of nanographene islands, which provide more charge-trapping sites to increase store capacity. (Right) Structure of the nanographene-based charge trapping memory. Credit: Meng, et al. ©2015 IOP Publishing

IOP Science Nanotechnology journal - Nanographene charge trapping memory with a large memory window

Israel is asking for F-15 fighters and V22 tiltrotors

Israel has shown renewed interest in acquiring Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey tiltrotor transport aircraft and additional Boeing F-15 multirole fighters, according to information obtained by IHS Jane's .

The aircraft are being considered as part of a defence package that Israeli and US defence officials are negotiating in the wake of the deal aimed at preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

The negotiations were suspended by Israel in protest at the Iranian deal, but have resumed after Defence Minister Moshe Ya'alon visited Washington and met Defense Secretary Ashton Carter to discuss what military support the United States will provide to Israel over the next decade. The talks are expected to result in a significant increase in the USD3 billion in annual military aid that Israel currently receives, allowing it to increase the amount of US-made defence equipment it can purchase.

Earlier this year, Israel cancelled an agreement with the US to purchase V-22 Osprey tiltrotors to free up funds for more armoured personnel carriers.

Israel currently operates 25 F-15I Ra'am aircraft, a version of the F-15E Strike Eagle that was produced for it by McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) and delivered from 1998.

NBF- this makes sense unlike the other reports about an aircraft carrier

November 05, 2015

Antiproton attraction measured to be similar to protons

Researchers revealed evidence this week that the attractive force between antiprotons is similar to that between protons -- and measured it.

Specifically, the team measured two important parameters: the scattering length and the effective range of interaction between two antiprotons. This gave scientists a fundamental new way to understand the force that holds together the nuclei in antimatter and how this compares to matter.

"This is about the subtle difference in the way matter and antimatter interact with each other," said Rice physicist Frank Geurts.

Antiprotons carry the opposite electrical charge and spin that protons do. Like all matter and antimatter, both were created at the instant of the Big Bang. Physicists are still trying to understand why they see so few antiparticles in nature even though particles and antiparticles were produced in equal amounts and annihilate each other on contact.

"It could have been that antimatter didn't have the same attractive force as matter and would have helped explain how these differences, during the initial part of the Big Bang, might have resulted in antimatter not having survived in the shape of stars and planets, as matter did," Geurts said.

The find was reported in Nature on behalf of the more than 500 scientists, including Geurts, who work on the STAR experiment, part of the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory. Brookhaven's story on the discovery appears here.

The scattering length is a measurement of how particles deviate as they travel from source to destination; their paths are visible as three-dimensional traces captured by STAR (which is short for Solenoid Tracker at RHIC). The effective range indicates how close particles need to be for their charges to influence each other, like magnets.

Both are measured in femtometers. One femtometer is one-millionth of a nanometer; a nanometer is one-billionth of a meter.

CAPTION Scientists working at Brookhaven National Laboratory, including physicists at Rice University, have announced the first measurements of the attractive force between antiprotons. The discovery gives physicists new ways to look at the forces that bind matter and antimatter. CREDIT Brookhaven National Laboratory

Portable multi megavolt particle accelerators for medical and material imaging

Conventional particle accelerators are typically big machines that occupy a lot of space. Even at more modest energies, such as that used for cancer therapy and medical imaging, accelerators need large rooms to accommodate the required hardware, power supplies and radiation shielding.

A new discovery by physicists at the University of Maryland could hold the key to the construction of inexpensive, broadly useful, and portable particle accelerators in the very near future. The team has accelerated electron beams to nearly the speed of light using record-low laser energies, thus relieving a major engineering bottleneck in the development of compact particle accelerators.

"We have accelerated high-charge electron beams to more than 10 million electron volts using only millijoules of laser pulse energy. This is the energy consumed by a typical household lightbulb in one-thousandth of a second." said Howard Milchberg, professor of Physics and Electrical and Computer Engineering at UMD and senior author of the study. "Because the laser energy requirement is so low, our result opens the way for laser-driven particle accelerators that can be moved around on a cart."

CAPTION- This schematic illustrates the laser-driven electron accelerator experiment at the University of Maryland. The three images at the top directly depict three key phases of the process. At left, a laser pulse is directed into a dense jet of hydrogen gas, where it ionizes the gas to form a plasma and initiates an effect called relativistic self-focusing. (See left inset.) Electrons within the plasma are rapidly accelerated to nearly the speed of light, which produces a brief, intense flash of visible light. (See middle inset.) The accelerated ultra-short bunch of electrons continues to gain energy and then exits the plasma, where it produces intense radiation that can be used for ultra-fast, high-energy imaging applications. (See right inset) CREDIT Howard Milchberg/George Hine

Physical Review Letters - Multi-MeV Electron Acceleration by Subterawatt Laser Pulses

Solar Wind Stripping Martian Atmosphere at 100 grams per second

NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission has identified the process that appears to have played a key role in the transition of the Martian climate from an early, warm and wet environment that might have supported surface life to the cold, arid planet Mars is today.

MAVEN data have enabled researchers to determine the rate at which the Martian atmosphere currently is losing gas to space via stripping by the solar wind. The findings reveal that the erosion of Mars’ atmosphere increases significantly during solar storms. The scientific results from the mission appear in the Nov. 5 issues of the journals Science and Geophysical Research Letters.

“Mars appears to have had a thick atmosphere warm enough to support liquid water which is a key ingredient and medium for life as we currently know it,” said John Grunsfeld, astronaut and associate administrator for the NASA Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “Understanding what happened to the Mars atmosphere will inform our knowledge of the dynamics and evolution of any planetary atmosphere. Learning what can cause changes to a planet’s environment from one that could host microbes at the surface to one that doesn’t is important to know, and is a key question that is being addressed in NASA’s journey to Mars.”

MAVEN measurements indicate that the solar wind strips away gas at a rate of about 100 grams (equivalent to roughly 1/4 pound) every second. "Like the theft of a few coins from a cash register every day, the loss becomes significant over time," said Bruce Jakosky, MAVEN principal investigator at the University of Colorado, Boulder. "We've seen that the atmospheric erosion increases significantly during solar storms, so we think the loss rate was much higher billions of years ago when the sun was young and more active.”

Artist’s rendering of a solar storm hitting Mars and stripping ions from the planet's upper atmosphere. Credits: NASA/GSFC

Two jetpackers fly along side an A380 that is also flying

Armed with unguarded ambition and the vision to push boundaries beyond the unthinkable, Jetman Dubai and Emirates A380 take to the skies of Dubai for an exceptional formation flight.

A carefully choreographed aerial showcase, conducted over the Palm Jumeirah and Dubai skyline, involving the world’s largest passenger aircraft and the experienced Jetman Dubai pilots Yves Rossy and Vince Reffet.

Over the last three months, Emirates and the Jetman Dubai teams worked closely to diligently plan and coordinate every detail of this project. Click here to watch what went into making the Emirates A380 and the Jetman Dubai team formation happen.

The jetpacks use Kevlar wings and a set of engines to keep the wearers afloat in the air. The jetpacks could only run for about 10 minutes, giving Emirates a small window to film the dramatic formation flight.

Paper-based test could diagnose hepatitis B and assess male fertility for less than $1

Scientists have developed a new paper device that analyzes DNA and could rapidly and inexpensively assess disparate conditions including hepatitis B and male infertility, which together affect millions of people around the world. The test, reported in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, could be of particular help diagnosing people in low-income areas.

DNA analysis has become a valuable tool in forensic science, genetics and disease diagnosis. But carrying out such analyses requires expensive lab equipment, making its application out of reach for many people who live in resource-limited places. Advances in nanomaterials, however, could make analysis of genetic material possible at a much lower cost. David Sinton and colleagues wanted to see if they could come up with a new paper device with such nanomaterials to test DNA without the use of high-tech facilities.

The researchers made a paper-based diagnostic test out of materials that cost less than $1 per device. After only a 10-minute run, the device could detect the hepatitis B virus in blood serum at a level low enough to flag an early-stage acute infection, which is critical to help prevent its spread. It also could determine the DNA integrity of sperm — a predictor of fertility — from semen samples as accurately as current clinical methods.

Journal of the American Chemical Society - Direct DNA Analysis with Paper-Based Ion Concentration Polarization

Ultrahaptics touchable holograms and sonic levitation

Ultrahaptics has developed a unique technology that enables users to receive tactile feedback without needing to wear or touch anything. The technology uses ultrasound to project sensations through the air and directly onto the user. Users can ‘feel’ touch-less buttons get feedback for mid-air gestures or interact with virtual objects.

Touchable holograms and sonic levitation and sonic tractor beams

Ultrahaptics was founded in 2013 based on technology originally developed at the University of Bristol, UK. The company secured Seed Funding in 2014 to allow for the further development of the technology and the expansion of the engineering team. Ultrahaptics is currently engaged with tier 1 customers, from multiple markets, with their recently launched Evaluation Program.

Researchers at the Universities of Sussex and Bristol, in collaboration with Ultrahaptics, had recently annuonced a working tractor beam that uses high-amplitude soundwaves to generate an acoustic hologram that can pick up and move small objects.

The team is now designing different variations of this system. A bigger version with a different working principle that aims at levitating a soccer ball from 10 meters away; and a smaller version, targeted at manipulating particles inside the human body.

It could be developed for a wide range of applications. For example, a sonic production line could transport delicate objects and assemble them, all without physical contact. Or a miniature version could grip and transport drug capsules or microsurgical instruments through living tissue.

The researchers used an array of 64 miniature loudspeakers (driven at 40Khz with 15Vpp. The whole system consumes 9 Watts of power) to create high-pitched and high-intensity sound waves to levitate a spherical bead (of up to 4mm in diameter) made of expanded polystyrene

Asier Marzo, PHD student and lead author, levitating a polystyrene ball with soundwaves.

Schematic rendering of the working volume of previously suggested manipulator

Reports that Israel requested an aircraft carrier but it seems unlikely

Israel has provided the United States with a list of weapons that it would like to have available as part of the US aid package, Israel’s Yedioth Ahronoth revealed yesterday.

According to the newspaper the list included a modern aircraft carrier and a squadron of F-15 aircrafts as well as material assistance to support Israel’s anti-ballistic missile system, Arrow 3.

The list of arms exceeded the maximum assistance provided by the United States each year, amounting to nearly $3 billion, therefore it has been referred to US President Barack Obama before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the White House scheduled for next week, the paper reported.

NBF - This seesm unlikely.
1. Obama and Netanyahu have terrible relations
2. The US needs 11 active aircraft carriers and currently has 10. This creates gaps as the US rotates carriers for service
3. An aircraft carrier would not be that helpful to Israel. It would be operating to near to missiles that would sink it

Israel could use heavy bombers for delivering bigger bunker busters

China underreported emissions by a billion additional tonnes of carbon dioxide each year

Official Chinese data, reported by the New York Times on Wednesday after being quietly released earlier this year, suggests China has been burning up to 17% more coal each year than previously disclosed by the government.

The revelation – which may mean China has emitted close to a billion additional tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year.

This might also mean those who use China's coal and energy usage as proxies for GDP and GDP growth have underestimated the growth in China.

The new figures add about 600 million tons to China’s coal consumption in 2012 — an amount equivalent to more than 70 percent of the total coal used annually by the United States.

Jan Ivar Korsbakken, a senior researcher at the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research in Oslo, said that based on his preliminary analysis, the new data implied that China had released about 900 million metric tons more carbon dioxide from 2011 to 2013.

China burned or otherwise consumed 4.2 billion metric tons in 2013, according to the new data, and its emissions now far exceed those of any other country, including the United States, the second-largest emitter.

So if China’s emissions have been much greater than believed, researchers will want to understand where the extra carbon dioxide output ended up — for example, how it might have been absorbed in natural “sinks” like forests or oceans, said Josep G. Canadell, executive director of the Global Carbon Project, which studies the sources and flows of greenhouse-gas pollution.

“If the emissions are partially wrong,” Mr. Canadell said, “we’ll be wrong in attributing carbon sources and sinks.”

November 04, 2015

Rex Computing to deliver 25 times the energy efficiency for computers and target exaflop by 2020

REX Computing is developing a new, hyper-efficient processor architecture targeting the requirements for the supercomputers of today, and all the computers of tomorrow.

Rex Computing will be sampling its first chips in the middle of 2016 and will move to full production silicon in mid-2017 using TSMC’s 28 nanometer process.

By 2020, Rex want to have moved ot a 10nm process for a system that could scale to an Exaflop while using 10 Megawatts of power.

To do this, they are throwing out the feature creep and bloat of processors of the past 30 years, and using improvements in the world of software to greatly simplify the processor itself to only what is necessary.

In doing so, they are able to deliver a 10 to 25x increase in energy efficiency for the same performance level compared to existing GPU and CPU systems

256 Cores per chip
Scratchpad memory
A 2D-Mesh Interconnect
Revolutionry high bandwidth chip to chip interconnect

256 GFLOPs DP or 512 GFLOPs SP
at 64 to 128 GFLOPs/watt

Same performance for integer calculations.
Balanced memory bandwidth allows near-theoretical peak performance.
Extreme scalability: near limitless number of Neo chips per node.

DARPA ($100,000) and venture funding ($1.25 million) is designed to target the automatic scratch pad memory tools, which, according to Sohmers is the “difficult part and where this approach might succeed where others have failed is the static compilation analysis technology at runtime.”

Neo will be similar to tapping a cache-based system but without all the area and power overhead. Rex’s goal is to remove unnecessary complexity in the on-processor memory system and put that into the compiler instead. All of this happens at compile time, so it does not add complexity to the program itself either. The compiler understands where data will need to be at different points and it inserts it where it should go instead of leaving it in DRAM and letting the chip’s memory management units fetch it when it needs to in an inefficient big handful—and with data included that likely will not be used anyway.

“It takes 4200 picojoules to move 64 bits from DRAM to registers while it only takes 100 picojoules to do a double-precision floating point operation. It’s over 40x more energy to move the data than to actually operate on it. What most people would assume is that most of that 4200 picojoules is being used in going off-chip, but in reality, about 60% of that energy usage is being consumed by the on-chip cache hierarchy because of all of the extra gates and wires on the chip that the electrons go through. We are removing that 60%.

Even with funding, this is a risky venture. “The cost for us going to TSMC and getting 100 chips back is, after you include the packaging and just getting the dies to our door, around $250,000. They sell them in blocks with shared costs of the mask among other companies, which is how we’re getting our first prototypes made.” Before that the other costs are EDA tools. Single seats for Cadence or Synopsys software is in the several hundreds of thousands of dollars even when you’re a startup, he says.

Editas will test CRISPR gene editing in humans by 2017

Biotechnology startup Editas Medicine intends to begin tests of a powerful new form of gene-repair in humans within two years.

Speaking this week at the EmTech conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Editas CEO Katrine Bosley said the company hopes to start a clinical trial in 2017 to treat a rare form of blindness using CRISPR, a groundbreaking gene-editing technology.

If Editas’s plans move forward, the study would likely be the first to use CRISPR to edit the DNA of a person.

CRISPR technology was invented three years ago but is so precise and cheap to use it has quickly spread through biology laboratories. Already, scientists have used it to generate genetically engineered monkeys, and the technique has stirred debate over whether modified humans are next.

Editas is one of several startups, including Intellia Therapeutics and CRISPR Therapeutics, that have plans to use the technique to correct DNA disorders that affect children and adults. Bosley said that because CRISPR can “repair broken genes” it holds promise for treating several thousand inherited disorders caused by gene mistakes, most of which, like Huntington’s disease and cystic fibrosis, have no cure.

Editas picked the disease in part because it is relatively easy to address with CRISPR, Bosley said. The exact gene error is known, and the eye is easy to reach with genetic treatments. “It feels fast, but we are going at the pace science allows,” she said. There are still questions about how well gene-editing will work in the retina and whether side effects could be caused by unintentional changes to DNA.

Editas plans to deliver the CRISPR technology as a gene therapy. The treatment will involve injecting into the retina a soup of viruses loaded with the DNA instructions needed to manufacture the components of CRISPR, including a protein that can cut a gene at a precise location. Bosley said in order to treat LCA, the company intends to delete about 1,000 DNA letters from a gene called CEP290 in a patient’s photoreceptor cells.

Centre for the Study of Existential Risk is hiring postdocs

The Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, a new interdisciplinary research centre in Cambridge UK looking at transformative technologies and global risk.

They are currently recruiting for researchers (and will be recruiting again in the spring). Excellent people who would like to work with the the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk on technology, global risks and challenges - whether academics, late-stage PhDs, people with equivalent research experience in e.g. industry or policy should contact them.

Current deadline: November 12th.

Possible evidence of alternate, parallel universes

An astrophysicist says he may have found evidence of alternate or parallel universes by looking back in time to just after the Big Bang more than 13 billion years ago.

While mapping the so-called "cosmic microwave background," which is the light left over from the early universe, scientist Ranga-Ram Chary found what he called a mysterious glow, the International Business Times reported.

Chary, a researcher at the European Space Agency's Planck Space Telescope data center at CalTech, said the glow could be due to matter from a neighboring universe "leaking" into ours.
Multi-panel image showing the evolution of the data processing from the frequency
maps to the final result at the location

The thick line and diamonds indicate the spectrum of a 4◦ spot at (l, b = 83.6◦, −69.4◦) where the SNR of the residual 143 GHz emission is greater than 5 and where the 143 GHz emission is in excess of the residual at 100 and 217 GHz.

Arxiv - Spectral Variations of the Sky: Constraints on Alternate Universes (25 pages)

The properties of our observable Universe have recently been characterized in unprecedented detail through analysis of the cosmic microwave background fluctuations, a relic of the hot Big Bang. The fine tuning of parameters in the early Universe required to reproduce our present day Universe suggests that our Universe may simply be a region within an eternally inflating super-region. Many other regions beyond our observable Universe would exist with each such region governed by a different set of physical parameters than the ones we have measured for our Universe. Collision between these regions, if they occur, should leave signatures of anisotropy in the cosmic microwave background but have not yet been seen. Here, we analyze the spectral properties of masked, foregroundcleaned Planck maps between 100 and 545 GHz. We find convincing evidence for residual excess emission in the 143 GHz band in the direction of CMB cold spots which is well correlated with corresponding emission at 100 GHz. The median residual 100 to 143 GHz intensity ratio is consistent with Galactic synchrotron emission with a

spectrum. In addition, we find a small set of ∼ 2−4 degrees regions which show anomalously strong 143 GHz emission but no correspondingly strong emission at either 100 or 217 GHz. The signal to noise of this 143 GHz residual emission is at the

We assess different mechanisms for this residual emission and conclude that although there is a 30% probability that noise fluctuations may cause foregrounds to fall within 3σ of the excess, it could also possibly be due to the collision of our Universe with an alternate Universe whose baryon to photon ratio is a factor of ∼65 larger than ours. The dominant systematic source of uncertainty in the conclusion remains residual foreground emission from the Galaxy which can be mitigated through narrow band spectral mapping in the millimeter bands by future missions and through deeperobservations at 100 and 217 GHz.

Evelo Therapeutics developing microbiome based cancer therapies

Evelo Therapeutics is a new company focused on leveraging the power of the microbiome to develop novel therapies for cancer. It has with an initial capital commitment of $35 million.

Evelo is pioneering Oncobiotic™ therapeutics, a new modality in cancer therapy based on the cancer microbiome. Evelo is the first company to systematically identify, characterize and understand the biology of cancer-associated bacteria (CAB) and bacterial immune activators (BIAs™), providing new insights into cancer metabolism and immuno-oncology. The microbiome is the collection of trillions of microbes that live in and on the human body. In recent years, scientists have found that the microbiome plays a crucial role in many areas of human biology and disease.

Evelo’s Oncobiotic platform would treat cancer through unprecedented therapeutic modalities. Evelo’s novel approaches leverage tumor-microenvironment modifications that can be mediated by the microbiome to disrupt tumor metabolism and the interactions between the tumor and surrounding tissue.

This platform has four components:

1. Characterization of CAB and BIA™

2. A proprietary CAB database and computational biology platform yielding novel therapeutically relevant insights

3. Candidate optimization for specific cancer therapeutic activities

4. Proprietary in vitro and in vivo assay systems that uniquely focus on the CAB and BIA™ cancer interface

Evelo’s Oncobiotics are able to treat cancer through different mechanisms, including:
· Activation and priming of the immune system
· Disrupting the tumor microenvironment:
- by interfering with tumor metabolism
- by modifying the interaction of tumors with their surrounding cells and tissues (stroma)

The microbiome – the trillions of microbes that live on and within our body – plays a critical role in human biology and health.

Scientists are discovering the strong association between human cancers and the microbiome. Bacteria are found in most human cancers, reflecting the complex relationship between the underlying genetics of the patient and their microbiome.

The microbiome creates a specific microenvironment surrounding malignant tumors. Specific bacteria home to cancer cells and play supportive roles in tumor metabolism, tumor/cell interactions and protecting the tumor by suppressing the immune response.

Steel hard glass should be commercialized by 2021

Japanese researchers have developed a new type of glass almost as hard as steel, a breakthrough that could lead to the development of substantially tougher windows and tableware.

Thinner and lighter and stronger glass are desired for windows in buildings and cars, substrates for TFT displays, and smart-phones.

“We will establish a way to mass-produce the new material shortly,” said Atsunobu Masuno, an assistant professor at the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Industrial Science. “We are looking to commercialize the technique within five years.”

Oxide glass mainly consists of silicon dioxide, with its strength boosted by mixing in alumina, an oxide of aluminum. But it had been difficult for scientists to form glass containing a large amount of alumina because the oxide causes crystallization when the glass comes into contact with its container.

The scientists bypassed this problem by using a containerless processing technique.

The plan is to commercialize the steel hard glass within 5 years.

Ingredients pushed into the air with gas synthesize to form a new type of glass. (Provided by the University of Tokyo's Institute of Industrial Science)

Scientific Reports - High Elastic Moduli of a 54Al2O3-46Ta2O5 Glass Fabricated via Containerless Processing

Skype cofounders make ground delivery robot to make local deliveries ten times cheaper

Starship Technologies, startup with Skype cofounders, is leading the revolution in local delivery. By introducing smart, friendly robots that travel the sidewalks, Starship is aiming to ultimately make the local delivery of goods free.

Starship robots are revolutionary devices that can carry parcels or grocery bags (10 kilograms) within a 3 mile (5km) radius. Starship’s technology and approach allows us to lower the cost of local delivery by a factor of 5-10x.

It is like a smart robotic, rolling cooler.

This would be delivery in 30 minutes or less. The robots are equipped with cameras and sensors. The robot uses "integrated navigation and obstacle avoidance software," said the company, and can travel at the speed of four miles per hour. This is a 99 percent self-driving robot which in difficult situations is handled by a remote distant operator, speaking to pedestrians via speakers. The cargo bay is locked to prevent theft. By means of an app, a customer can follow the robot's progress and be given an alert when the delivery arrives. Only the app holder is able to unlock the cargo.

Gigafactory will be making battery cells by end of 2016 and Model 3 will make debut March 2016

Tesla Motors – Third Quarter 2015 Shareholder Letter indicates the Model 3 unveiling is planned for late March 2016

* In Q3, global Model S orders increased by more than 50% from a year ago, and grew at a faster pace in North America, Europe and Asia, than during Q2

* The Model X electric SUV was launched.

In addition to the unique falcon wing doors that improve vehicle access and a panoramic windshield that transforms the interior of the cabin, our internal crash testing shows that Model X should receive the best ever safety ratings for an SUV. Model X also has ludicrously fast acceleration and hospital-grade cabin air quality - all in a vehicle with an estimated EPA single charge range of up to 257 miles for the 90kWh pack option

New Tech can enable smartphones and computers that respond to real time hand signals

A mobile phone that responds to hand signals rather than the touch of a button may soon be possible thanks to technology developed by A*STAR researchers that efficiently detects three-dimensional human hand movements from two-dimensional images in real time1. Combining this technology with devices such as laptops or mobile phones can facilitate robot control and enable human-computer interactions.

Extracting correct three-dimensional hand poses from a single image, especially in the presence of complex background signals, is challenging for computers. As the computer has to determine the general position of the hand, as well as each finger, the extraction of hand movements requires the analysis of many parameters. Optimizing these parameters at the same time would be extremely computationally demanding.

To simplify these calculations, Li Cheng and colleagues from the A*STAR Bioinformatics Institute developed a model that breaks this process into two steps. First, the general position of the hand and the wrist is determined. As a second step, the palm and individual finger poses are established using the anatomy of the human hand as a guide for the computer to narrow its options. Separating the task into two steps reduces the overall complexity of the algorithm, and accelerates computations.

A*STAR researchers have developed a program that is able to detect three-dimensional hand gestures from low-resolution depth images in real time. © Michael Blann/DigitalVision/Thinkstock

International Journal of Computer Vision - Estimate Hand Poses Efficiently from Single Depth Images

November 03, 2015

Cloning and Copying path to becoming a military superpower

Scott Lang: My days of breaking into places and stealing stuff are over! What do you need me to do?
Hank Pym: ...I want you to break into a place and steal some stuff.
Scott Lang: ...makes sense.

In recent decades, China has earned an international reputation in recent decades as being the home of a prolific copycat culture. Some Western observers believe this cultural attitude towards imitation is rooted in Confucianism where followers traditionally learned by replicating masterworks and then tried to improve upon them.

An industry in which Chinese cloning has excelled to a disconcerting degree is the manufacture of weapon systems. China’s expanding military and growing assertiveness has been bolstered by weapons cloned from the arsenals of other countries. Bleeding edge U.S. aircraft including the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and Northrop Grumman X-47B unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) have Chinese counterparts that are remarkably similar. Some of the technology used in these designs was almost certainly acquired through a vigorous Chinese cyber spying campaign.

U.S. Defense officials have stated that Chinese military hackers undertaking “technical reconnaissance” have succeeded in pilfering highly classified technical documents on a number of occasions. The sensitive technical data that is known to have been compromised is now evident in the latest versions of several Chinese weapons.

Officials also suspect that China has managed to obtain valuable technical advances by making backroom deals with U.S. allies that bought American weapons. It is for this reason that the U.S. decided not to export the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor stealth fighter.

China also copied the Shenyang J-11B fighter from the Russian Su-27.

Russia continued to use Chinese money from arms sales to develop new technology, which China then stole.

China has copied US fighter jets, Predator drones, Humvees, tanks and infantry weapons.

Although Chinese clone weapons may not yet posses the quality and capabilities of the originals, several U.S. military and industry officials have expressed concern that the ongoing sophisticated cyber espionage campaign will allow China to rapidly improve their arsenal and even soon produce aircraft that will match all aspects of US fifth generation fighters like the F-22 and F-35.

China has adopted western economic systems and built up its economy. If China is able to achieve per capita income near the US level or equal to Europe then China will have a military budget that is triple the USA.

China would also be able to spend the money and effort to develop their military personnel and systems training.

With comparable military systems (lagging by only 5 years) then China would be able to match the US militarily. This would be similar to Russia being able to beat Germany in WW2. Germany did not have enough weapon system or technological superiority to match the Russian numbers.

New sensor loaded bombers will be central part of an integrated combat cloud

Power projection—the ability to deploy, sustain, and use military force overseas in support of United States national security goals—is a central mission of the US armed forces. It ideally requires unfettered access to international waterways, airspace, and regional ports and air bases. US adversaries, however, have observed the dependence of the American military on such access and have developed asymmetric technologies and capabilities to exploit the weaknesses in this method of power projection. Adversaries are deploying advanced air defenses—interceptors, surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), and radar networks—to defend their airspace and push US forces out of reach; ballistic and cruise missiles along with strike aircraft to attack US regional bases and naval forces; hardened facilities to limit damage from strikes; mobile systems to make the US targeting problem more difficult; attack submarines to interdict sea lines of communication; and cyber attacks to disrupt planning and operations. The combination of these capabilities creates what is known as the anti-access, area-denial (A2/AD) environment.

As we move further into the 21st century, we are experiencing a transition of not just time but also capability—capability that will allow for a paradigm shift in the role aircraft will play in meeting US security needs for the remainder of the century. Since the last B-2A bomber was produced in 1993 we have undergone approximately 15 Moore’s Law cycles (i.e., computer processing power doubling about every 2 Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies 18 months), resulting in an exponential increase in electronic capability with a phenomenal decrease in cost to achieve equal capability. This means that today we can incorporate sensors, processing capacity, and avionics in a single aircraft at an affordable cost to an unprecedented degree

What we previously labeled as “bombers” can play dramatically broader roles than they ever
did in the past. To capture this potential, however, requires innovative thought and shedding anachronistic concepts that aircraft can only perform singular functions and missions. The era of specialized aircraft is over, as technology has moved on and resource constraints have grown. The information age allows new aircraft to become much more than just “bombers” or “fighters” but actually sensor-shooter aircraft. When integrated with other system “nodes” in every domain—air, space, land, and sea—they will have the capability to create a “combat cloud,” a manifestation of a self-forming, self-healing intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR)-strike-maneuver-sustainment complex. The cloud has the potential to usher in an entirely new era in defense and to play a crucial role in the “third offset strategy” discussed later in this paper.

Pentagon envisions “combat cloud” as force multiplier for shrinking fleet

Self driving cars get rear ended more in minor accidents

A study performed a preliminary analysis of the cumulative on-road safety record of selfdriving vehicles for three of the ten companies that are currently approved for such vehicle testing in California (Google, Delphi, and Audi). The analysis compared the safety record of these vehicles with the safety record of all conventional vehicles in the U.S. for 2013 (adjusted for underreporting of crashes that do not involve a fatality).

Two important caveats should be considered when interpreting the findings.
* the distance accumulated by self-driving vehicles is still relatively low (about 1.2 million miles, compared with about 3 trillion annual miles in the U.S. by conventional vehicles).
* selfdriving vehicles were thus far driven only in limited (and generally less demanding) conditions (e.g., avoiding snowy areas). Therefore, their exposure has not yet been representative of the exposure for conventional vehicles.

With these caveats in mind, there were four main findings.
1. The current best estimate is that self-driving vehicles have a higher crash rate per million miles traveled than conventional vehicles, and similar patterns were evident for injuries per million miles traveled and for injuries per crash.
2. The corresponding 95% confidence intervals overlap. Therefore, we currently cannot rule out, with a reasonable level of confidence, the possibility that the actual rates for selfdriving vehicles are lower than for conventional vehicles.
3. Self-driving vehicles were not at fault in any crashes they were involved in.
4. The overall severity of crash-related injuries involving self-driving vehicles has been lower than for conventional vehicles

Humans averaged just 1.2 crashes per million kilometres during the same period compared to just over 5.5 accidents per million kilometres for self driving cars.

Self driving cars had a total of 11 accidents involving self-driving cars between 2012 and September 2015, two of which resulted in injuries. With the cars having driven about 1.9 million kilometres on public roads (the overwhelming majority by Google’s fleet).

Taking underreporting into account only brings the accident rate for normal vehicles up to around 2.5 crashes per million kilometres – less than half that of self-driving cars.

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