November 28, 2015

Startup Humai targets uploading human minds within 30 years

Australian startup Humai wants to enable the uploading of human minds into computers within 30 years

They want to be able to resurrect humans through Artificial Intelligence

Humai is an AI company with a mission to reinvent the afterlife. We want to bring you back to life after you die.

We’re using artificial intelligence and nanotechnology to store data of conversational styles, behavioral patterns, thought processes and information about how your body functions from the inside-out.

This data will be coded into multiple sensor technologies, which will be built into an artificial body with the brain of a deceased human. Using cloning technology, we will restore the brain as it matures.

* first collect extensive data on their members for years prior to their death via various apps
* After death, the company will cryogenically freeze members’ brains until the technology is fully developed, at which point the brains will be implanted into an artificial body.
* The artificial body functions will be controlled with your thoughts by measuring brain waves. As the brain ages we'll use nanotechnology to repair and improve cells. Cloning technology is going to help with this too

Bill Gates, other billionaires and the governments of the USA, China, India and other countries will fund multi-billion dollar clean energy fund

Bill Gates will announce the creation of a multibillion-dollar clean energy fund on Monday at the opening of a Paris summit meeting intended to forge a global accord to cut planet-warming emissions, according to people with knowledge of the plans.

The fund is meant to pay for research and development of new clean-energy technologies. It will include contributions from other billionaires and philanthropies, as well as a commitment by the United States and other participating nations to double their budget for clean energy research and development, according to the people with knowledge of the plans, who asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss the fund.

The announcement of the fund, which has the joint backing of the governments of the United States, China, India and other countries, the people said, is intended to give momentum to the two-week Paris climate talks.

In July, Mr. Gates wrote: “If we create the right environment for innovation, we can accelerate the pace of progress, develop and deploy new solutions, and eventually provide everyone with reliable, affordable energy that is carbon free. We can avoid the worst climate-change scenarios while also lifting people out of poverty, growing food more efficiently and saving lives by reducing pollution.”

Scientists generally agree that preventing the worst effects of climate change requires limiting the temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius, and that doing so requires the biggest emitters to cut emissions 80 percent by 2050 and all countries to essentially eliminate them by the end of the century. Unfortunately, while we can make progress with today’s tools, they cannot get us to an 80 percent reduction, much less 100 percent. To work at scale, current wind and solar technologies need backup energy sources—which means fossil fuels—for windless days, long periods of cloudy weather, and nighttime. They also require much more space; for example, to provide as much power as a coal-fired plant, a wind farm needs more than 10 times as much land.

These are solvable problems. If we create the right environment for innovation, we can accelerate the pace of progress, develop and deploy new solutions, and eventually provide everyone with reliable, affordable energy that is carbon free. We can avoid the worst climate-change scenarios while also lifting people out of poverty, growing food more efficiently, and saving lives by reducing pollution.

If climate change is a serious problem then we need serious solutions like scaled nuclear power

Peter Thiel makes the case in the NY Times for policy to get aligned to enable new nuclear designs to be used to reduce the emissions associated with climate change

Speaking about climate change in 2013, President Obama said that our grandchildren will ask whether we did “all that we could when we had the chance to deal with this problem.”

So far, the answer would have to be no — unless he seizes this moment. Supporting nuclear power with more than words is the litmus test for seriousness about climate change. Like Nixon’s going to China, this is something only Mr. Obama can do. If this president clears the path for a new atomic age, American scientists are ready to build it.

We still lack a plan to fund and prototype the new nuclear reactors that we badly need.

While politicians prepare a grand bargain on emissions limits that future politicians are unlikely to obey, a new generation of American nuclear scientists has produced designs for better reactors. Crucially, these new designs may finally overcome the most fundamental obstacle to the success of nuclear power: high cost. Designs using molten salt, alternative fuels and small modular reactors have all attracted interest not just from academics but also from entrepreneurs and venture capitalists like me ready to put money behind nuclear power.

However, none of these new designs can benefit the real world without a path to regulatory approval, and today’s regulations are tailored for traditional reactors, making it almost impossible to commercialize new ones.

Value of technology is unlocked incrementally so we will adapt and work with machines and automation

James Bessen wrote Learning by doing. Bessen returns to Marx’s 19th-century weavers to prove that as humans work with new technologies over the long term, they improve them and boost their own fortunes in the process. So, yes, when the power loom was invented, in 1785, it shifted weaving from farms to factories, instantly increasing productivity yet leaving workers’ wages flat for decades, as Marx noted. But he failed to predict what happened next: From 1860 to 1890, weavers’ pay more than doubled.

The value of any technology is unlocked incrementally, Bessen argues, perhaps over a generation, through on-the-job learning. Weavers working with early power looms produced two and a half times as much cloth per hour as their predecessors who used handlooms; 80 years later, they produced 50 times as much. It’s therefore the adopters and adapters of a technology—not its inventors—who create much of its value.

Faster Adaptation is needed

Wages don’t rise until the skills needed to operate a technology are standardized and able to be easily taught to workers. Once power looms matured and factories became more uniform, weavers could credibly threaten to take their skills elsewhere—and command more money as a result. Bessen offers several recommendations to speed up skills training in modern times: increased investment in community colleges, vocational education, and retraining programs for displaced workers, along with company-sponsored training and development programs that help workers learn new skills and gain experience with new technologies.

Reject the obsession with job-eliminating technology in favor of a focus on complementarity. Help workers acquire new skills, and craft an industrial policy that focuses as much on adoption as on creation.

ATMs increased bank teller and banking jobs

Consider the ATM, a classic example, supposedly, of technological progress that has all but eliminated a white-collar job. In fact, Mr. Bessen shows, the number of bank tellers working in the U.S. has risen since the 1970s, when ATMs were introduced. How could that be? The average bank branch used to employ 20 workers. The spread of ATMs reduced the number to about 13, making it cheaper for banks to open branches

Meanwhile, thanks in part to the convenience of the new machines, the number of banking transactions soared, and banks began to compete by promising better customer service: more bank employees, at more branches, handling more complex tasks than tellers in the past.

Online banking is also trying to shift effort to the user with more self service combined with automation.

Medicine has a constant need for new technologies and skills

Another job category that has grown rather than shrunk as a result of technology: licensed practical nurses, or LPNs. Many in the medical profession expected computerized medicine to eliminate LPNs, who were thought to lack the skills needed to run new, sophisticated machines. Instead, developments like lasers and advanced endoscopy made it possible to perform minimally invasive surgery at short-stay clinics, which have multiplied in the past three decades, creating jobs and raising wages for licensed practical nurses. “The effect of technology on jobs is simply more dynamic and more complicated than many people recognize,” Mr. Bessen writes.

Hyperloop one mile test track targets mid-2016 and hyperloop pod competition

SpaceX will construct a one-mile test track adjacent to their Hawthorne, California headquarters. They have invited teams will to test their human-scale pods during a competition weekend at the track, currently targeted for June 2016. The knowledge gained here will continue to be open-sourced.

The hyperloop test track will be 1-mile long, 6 feet in diameter and can have a 99.8% vacuum environment.

Hyperloop pod teams will be can select pressures from 0.02 psi (~99.8% vacuum) to 14.7 psi (pressure at sea level).

It will take between 15-30 minutes to pump the pressure down to 0.02 psi.

Hyperloop pod competition rules have been published.

US Citizens can own the resources from asteroids that they obtain

President Obama signed the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act (H.R. 2262) into law. This law recognizes the right of U.S. citizens to own asteroid resources they obtain and encourages the commercial exploration and utilization of resources from asteroids.

“This is the single greatest recognition of property rights in history,” said Eric Anderson, Co-Founder and Co-Chairman, Planetary Resources, Inc. “This legislation establishes the same supportive framework that created the great economies of history, and will encourage the sustained development of space.”

Peter H. Diamandis, M.D., Co-Founder and Co-Chairman, Planetary Resources, Inc., said, “A hundred years from now, humanity will look at this period in time as the point in which we were able to establish a permanent foothold in space. In history, there has never been a more rapid rate progress than right now.”

Overview of regenerative dentistry and stem cells for dental applications

Teeth are the most natural, noninvasive source of stem cells. Dental stem cells, which are easy, convenient, and affordable to collect, hold promise for a range of very potential therapeutic applications. We have reviewed the ever-growing literature on dental stem cells archived in Medline using the following key words: Regenerative dentistry, dental stem cells, dental stem cells banking, and stem cells from human exfoliated deciduous teeth. Relevant articles covering topics related to dental stem cells were shortlisted and the facts are compiled. The objective of this review article is to discuss the history of stem cells, different stem cells relevant for dentistry, their isolation approaches, collection, and preservation of dental stem cells along with the current status of dental and medical applications.

Regenerative capacity of the dental pulp is well-known and has been recently attributed to function of dental stem cells. Dental stem cells offer a very promising therapeutic approach to restore structural defects and this concept is extensively explored by several researchers, which is evident by the rapidly growing literature in this field. For this review article a literature research covering topics related to dental stem cells was made and the facts are compiled.

Human dental stem cells that have been isolated and characterized are:

  • DPSCs.(Dental pulp stem cells)
  • SHED.(Stem cells from human exfoliated deciduous teeth)
  • Stem cells from apical papilla (SCAP).
  • Periodontal ligament stem cells (PDLSCs).

Blue skied neptune size exoplanet around red dwarf GB 3470b that is 100 light years away

A team of astronomers have used the LCOGT network to detect light scattered by tiny particles (called Rayleigh scattering), through the atmosphere of a Neptune-size transiting exoplanet. This suggests a blue sky on this world which is only 100 light years away from us. The result was published in the Astrophysical Journal on November 20 (and is available on ArXiV).

They observed several transits of GJ 3470b, a warm Neptune analog around an early M dwarf, in four different bands with the LCOGT and Kuiper telescopes.

Transits occur when an exoplanet passes in front of its parent star, reducing the amount of light we receive from the star by a small fraction. When the orbit of an exoplanet is aligned just right for transits to occur, astronomers can measure the planet’s size at different wavelengths in order to generate a spectrum of its atmosphere. The spectrum then reveals the substances present in the planet’s atmosphere, and therefore its composition. This measurement is most often performed using infrared light, where the planet is brightest and most easily observed. During the last few years, researchers have been probing the atmospheres of several small exoplanets with large ground and space-based telescopes, but have found it challenging to determine their composition using this method. This is either because the planets have clouds (which obscure the atmosphere) or because the measurements were not sufficiently precise.

At four times the size of the Earth, GJ 3470b is a transiting exoplanet closer in size to our own planet than to the hot Jupiters (about 10 times the size of the Earth) which so far make up the majority of exoplanets with well-characterized atmospheres. Astronomers led by Diana Dragomir of the University of Chicago have followed up on a discovery by a different group, whose results tentatively hinted at the presence of Rayleigh scattering in the atmosphere of GJ 3470b. Dr. Dragomir’s team acquired and combined transit observations from all of LCOGT’s observatory sites (Hawaii, Texas, Chile, Australia and South Africa) to conclusively confirm the detection of Rayleigh scattering for GJ 3470b.

Arxiv - Rayleigh Scattering in the Atmosphere of the Warm Exo-Neptune GJ 3470b

November 27, 2015

China has upgraded anti-drone and mortar laser weapon

On November 7, 2015, a CCTV newscast showed that China is making great progress in this new weapons area, showing images of a laser weapon, the Low Altitude Guardian II (LAG II), destroying airborne targets at a military test site.

It is China's most powerful laser weapon in the public domain (there are reports of more powerful but classified anti-satellite lasers), the LAG II is built by the Chinese Academy of Physics Engineering and Jiuyuan High Tech Equipment Corporation. Similar in size to the U.S. Marines' Ground-Based Air Defense Directed Energy On-The-Move, it is mounted on a wheeled, towed carriage that carries its turret, power components, which can be pulled by a light truck.

The USA, China, Russia and Israel are known to have active military laser programs.

Looks similar to 30 KW laser weapon the US has on the USS Ponce

Rideables and electric scooters

The Solowheel takes some time to learn but it won the Wired rideable review. However, the Wired reviewer would not commute with any of these handsfree scooters.

The reviewers at Slate had a lot more trouble and never got over the learning curve. The reviewers at Slate really enjoyed folding electric scooters. However, electric scooters and electric bikes are not street legal in New York. However, electric scooters and electric bike are permitted in California.

Solowheel motor is made from the world's leading N45 magnet and 270 stator material. Its operating power is increased by 50% in comparison to the previous generation, achieving a maximum output of 1800W. In addition to being powerful, the motor is designed to be quiet and energy-efficient.

Solowheel uses the highest-quality batteries available. The intelligent battery management system independently controls the working status of every battery cell and ensures safe, stable and efficient performance.

Bending Machines Fact vs Fiction

Unison has installed and commissioned the world’s largest and most powerful all-electric pipe bending machine, at the Norwegian offshore and maritime services company, Westcon Yard AS. Capable of generating a colossal 660,000 Nm of continuous, servo-controlled torque, the custom-designed machine will be used for precision bending of thick-walled carbon steel pipes up to 10 inches (273 mm) in diameter.

Bending machine fact

Bending machine fiction

Editing sperm stem cells could be the safest approach to genetically editing humans

One scientist who thinks he knows how to safely genetically edit humans is Jinsong Li, a biologist at the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences. Earlier this year, Li managed to use CRISPR to edit a gene that causes eye cataracts in mice, creating healthy newborn animals with “100 percent” success.

The way Li’s team did it was to avoid embryos, and instead edit “spermatogonial” stem cells growing in his lab. These are the factory cells that make sperm. By gene editing mouse sperm cells first, and then using corrected sperm to make embryos, Li’s mice came out perfect every time.

Li, who is part of the large Chinese delegation travelling to Washington, says he is convinced that embryo editing “is unacceptable” and that correcting sperm cells is “the only possible strategy.”

Of course, edited sperm would only help prevent genetic diseases passed along by the father. Yet some scientists agree that sperm may be the most practical avenue for making designer people. “It could turn out to be a very good option,” says George Church, a professor at Harvard University and one of the inventors of the CRISPR technology.

Refrigerating liquids with a laser

University of Washington researchers figured out how to make a laser refrigerate water and other liquids under real-world conditions. Researchers used an infrared laser to cool water by about 36 degrees Fahrenheit — a major breakthrough in the field.

The discovery could help industrial users “point cool” tiny areas with a focused point of light. Microprocessors, for instance, might someday use a laser beam to cool specific components in computer chips to prevent overheating and enable more efficient information processing.

Scientists could also use a laser beam to precisely cool a portion of a cell as it divides or repairs itself, essentially slowing these rapid processes down and giving researchers the opportunity to see how they work. Or they could cool a single neuron in a network — essentially silencing without damaging it — to see how its neighbors bypass it and rewire themselves.

As they are cooled by the laser, the nanocrystals developed by the UW team emit a reddish-green “glow” that can be seen by the naked eye.Dennis Wise/ University of Washington

PNAS - Laser refrigeration of hydrothermal nanocrystals in physiological media

Biomedical imaging at one-thousandth the cost using mathematical modeling and a cheap sensor

Mathematical modeling enables $100 depth sensor to approximate the measurements of a $100,000 piece of lab equipment.

The system uses a technique called fluorescence lifetime imaging, which has applications in DNA sequencing and cancer diagnosis, among other things. So the new work could have implications for both biological research and clinical practice.

“The theme of our work is to take the electronic and optical precision of this big expensive microscope and replace it with sophistication in mathematical modeling,” says Ayush Bhandari, a graduate student at the MIT Media Lab and one of the system’s developers. “We show that you can use something in consumer imaging, like the Microsoft Kinect, to do bioimaging in much the same way that the microscope is doing.”

MIT researchers have developed a new biomedical imaging system that harnesses an off-the-shelf depth sensor such as Microsoft’s Kinect. The coloration of these images depicts the phase information contained in six of the 50 light frequencies the system analyzes.

Optica -Blind and reference-free fluorescence lifetime estimation via consumer time-of-flight sensors

China has a successful sixth hypersonic glide vehicle test

China carried out a sixth flight test of its new high-speed nuclear attack vehicle on Monday designed to defeat U.S. missile defenses or carry out global strikes.

The ultra-fast maneuvering strike weapon known as the DF-ZF hypersonic glide vehicle was launched atop a ballistic missile fired from the Wuzhai missile test center in central China’s Shanxi Province, according defense officials.

The vehicle separated from its launcher near the edge of the atmosphere and then glided to an impact range several thousand miles away in western China, said officials familiar with details of the test.

The DF-ZF flight was tracked by U.S. intelligence agencies and flew at speeds beyond Mach 5, or five times the speed of sound.

A US report (annual report of the congressional U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission) indicates the DZ-ZF could be ready by 2020, and a ramjet-propelled cruise missile by 2025. It is thought that China would use nuclear-armed hypersonic vehicles in its retaliatory strike capabilities, while conventional warheads could be delivered over long-distances.

The CASIC Kuaizhou-1 mobile solid-fuel space launch vehicle and its transporter, which could form the basis for a strike system using a version of the DF-ZF hypersonic manoeuvring vehicle. Source: Chinese internet

Janes reports that as with previous tests, this one was launched from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre in Shanxi Province, where China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) tests most of its long-range missiles.

The key advantages of a boosted hypersonic manoeuvring vehicle are that it can radically change its trajectory to avoid missile defences and has 'gliding' capabilities that give an extended range over that of a conventional ballistic missile warhead.

While a hypersonic manoeuvring strike vehicle could be nuclear armed, it is also likely that China plans such warheads to perform non-nuclear precision strike missions, such as arming a next-generation anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM).

It is likely that the DF-ZF test vehicle is being launched by a booster based on the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) DF-21 medium-range ballistic missile and could arm a future version of this missile. However, it could also arm a version of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) DF-26. Both the DF-21 and DF-26 use 'first-generation' warheads that could be succeeded by a more manoeuvrable DF-ZF-based hypersonic warhead.

The high rate of testing for the glide vehicle is an indication China has placed a high priority on the weapon program and that it is making rapid progress.

The Chinese conducted earlier flight tests on June 7, and on Jan. 9, 2014, Aug. 7, 2014, and Dec. 2, 2014

China Space Flight reported the flight path of the hypersonic test.

German regulators have approved a relatively simple technical fix for Volkswagens CO2 emission cheating

The German Federal Motor Transport Authority has approved a relatively simple technical fix for the Volkswagen emission issues.
  • A "flow transformer" will be fitted directly in front of the air mass sensor on the 1.6-litre EA 189 engine. This is a mesh that calms the swirled air flow in front of the air mass sensor and will thus decisively improve the measuring accuracy of the air mass sensor. The air mass sensor determines the current air mass throughput, which is a very important parameter for the engine management for an optimum combustion process. In addition, a software update will be performed on this engine. The time needed for the implementation of the technical measures is expected to be less than one hour.
  • The 2.0 litre engines will get a software update. The pure labour time for this measure will be around half an hour.

Advances in engine development and improved simulation of currents inside complex air intake systems, in combination with software optimisation geared towards this, it has been possible to produce a relatively simple and customer-friendly measure.

The objective for the development of the technical measures is still to achieve the applicable emission targets in each case without any adverse effects on the engine output, fuel consumption and performance. However, as all model variants first have to be measured, the achievement of these targets cannot yet be finally confirmed.

Cambridge holographic technology adopted by Jaguar Land Rover

A ‘head-up’ display for passenger vehicles developed at Cambridge, the first to incorporate holographic techniques, has been incorporated into Jaguar Land Rover vehicles

Cambridge researchers have developed a new type of head-up display for vehicles which is the first to use laser holographic techniques to project information such as speed, direction and navigation onto the windscreen so the driver doesn’t have to take their eyes off the road.

The technology – which was conceptualised in the University’s Department of Engineering more than a decade ago – is now available on all Jaguar Land Rover vehicles. According to the researchers behind the technology, it is another step towards cars which provide a fully immersive experience, or could even improve safety by monitoring driver behaviour. Cars can now park for us, help us from skidding out of control, or even prevent us from colliding with other cars. Head-up displays (HUD) are one of the many features which have been incorporated into cars in recent years.

Alongside the development of more sophisticated in-car technology, various companies around the world, most notably Google, are developing autonomous cars. “We’re moving towards a fully immersive driver experience in cars, and we think holographic technology could be a big part of that, by providing important information, or even by encouraging good driver behaviour,” said one of the technology’s developers, Professor Daping Chu of the University’s Department of Engineering, who is also Chairman of the Centre for Advanced Photonics and Electronics (CAPE).

Fast growing AquAdvantage Atlantic Salmon approved by FDA for human consumption after 20 years of review

Genetically engineered AquAdvantage Atlantic salmon grow to twice the size of an normal Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) over the same time. The FDA approved the AquAdvantage as the first genetically engineered animal to be approved for human consumption in the United States.

AquaBounty’s driving force is the belief that modern genetics, married with land-based recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS), can spur a radically more responsible and sustainable way of growing Atlantic salmon.

The innovative faster growing AquAdvantage Salmon, which would shorten production cycles by half and drastically reduce feed costs, could finally make land-based fish farming economically viable.

Courtesy of Kruger Kaldnes RAS and Veolia Water Technologies

The Greenest Fish Farming Method —Land-Based Aquaculture

The second innovation driving AquaBounty’s vision is the development of land-based recirculating aquaculture systems, or RAS for short. While farming salmon in sea cages is less expensive and less technologically complex than a land-based farm, land-based salmon farming eliminates many of the environmental problems with net-pen farms. Sea cages are susceptible to a number of hazards such as violent storms, predators, harmful algal blooms, jellyfish attacks, and the transmission of pathogens and parasites from wild fish populations passing close to the sea cages. All of these hazards can cause significant fish losses over the course of the 32-36-month production cycle.

Some fish farmers, research scientists and engineers looked at the technology used in public aquarium facilities and human waste-water treatment facilities with the idea that the technology could be applied to large-scale commercial seafood production on land. Over the last 30 years, the technology to farm fish on land has come a long way. So much so that some fish farmers are developing large RAS facilities to grow a variety of species, from salmon, trout and sturgeon to perch, shrimp and even lobster.

20 years to approve fish where similar fish ended being bred anyway. Do we really care about feeding the world's hungry or making nutritious food cheaper for the poor ?

The landmark decision by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) releases the ‘AquAdvantage’ salmon from two decades of regulatory limbo — but it could also revitalize an industry that has waited a long time for any sign that its products might make it to market.

“It opens up the possibility of harnessing this technology,” says Alison Van Eenennaam, an animal geneticist at the University of California, Davis. “The regulatory roadblock had really been disincentivizing the world from using it.”

AquAdvantage fish produce extra growth hormone, allowing them to grow to market size in 18 months, rather than the usual 3 years. In the time since AquaBounty first filed for approval, fisheries have bred conventional salmon that grow just as fast, says Scott Fahrenkrug, chief executive of Recombinetics, an animal-biotechnology firm in St Paul, Minnesota.

A growth hormone-regulating gene from a Pacific Chinook salmon and a promoter from an ocean pout were added to the Atlantic's 40,000 genes. These genes enable it to grow year-round instead of only during spring and summer. The purpose of the modifications is to increase the speed at which the fish grows, without affecting its ultimate size or other qualities.

Commercial aquaculture is the most rapidly growing segment of the agricultural industry, accounting for more than 60 million tons in 2012, versus 90 million tons of wild-caught fish. That year, aquaculture output exceeded beef output for the first time. While land-based agriculture is increasing between 2% and 3% per year, aquaculture has been growing at an average rate around 9% per year since 1970. As of 2011, salmon aquaculture produced 1.9 million tons of fish

Donate to SENS as the best way to support antiaging research and possibly achieving radical life extension within 20 years

Donate to SENS life extension research. SENS Research Foundation is trying to develop a world free of age-related disease.

SENS research emphasizes the application of regenerative medicine to age-related disease, with the intent of repairing underlying damage to the body's tissues, cells, and molecules. Our goal is to help build the industry that will cure the diseases of aging.

China will unify the army, navy, air force and strategic missile corps under one command

Chinese President Xi Jinping announced a major overhaul of China’s military to make the world’s largest army more combat ready and better equipped to project force beyond the country’s borders.

Under the reorganization, all branches of the armed forces would come under a joint military command, Xi told a meeting of military officials in Beijing, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. Bloomberg in September reported details of the plan, which may also seek to consolidate the country’s seven military regions to as few as four.

This will emulate the military structure of the United States.

China will unify the army, navy, air force and strategic missile corps under one command.

The command system is seen as necessary to improve communications and coordinate modern forces across the various arms of the military. The organizational changes would aid China’s shift from a land-based military to one able to project force far from its coastline.

The plan also seeks to tighten the Communist Party’s grip over the 2.3-million-member military, with Xi insisting the People’s Liberation Army maintain "correct political direction” and stressing "the Communist Party of China has absolute leadership of the armed forces," Xinhua reported.

China's navy has been the most visible demonstration of the modernization drive, with advanced Chinese warships participating in anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden and extracting nationals from conflict zones in Libya and Yemen. On Thursday, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that China was in talks with Djibouti about building logistical facilities to help resupply military vessels operating off the East African coast.

November 26, 2015

Will World War 3 have a lot of similarities to World War 1 and the Russian-Ottoman wars of the 1700s and 1800s

Russia's President Vladimir Putin is meeting his French opposite number, Francois Hollande, Thursday evening, as France seems keener than ever to bring Russia in from the cold to join its anti-Islamic State (IS) coalition force.

The meeting is going ahead as Russia and Turkey are embroiled in tit-for-tat recriminations over the downing of a Russian fighter jet by Turkish military this week and whether it occurred in Turkish or Syrian airspace.

One of Hollande's most immediate wishes is trying to seal the porous border between Turkey and Syria, which seems to have been a route followed by many IS fighters. This move has already been backed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

France seems to be taking the doctrine of "my enemy's enemy is my friend" more seriously than other Western powers.

After the tragic attacks in Paris which killed 129 people, Hollande has hardened his stance on the fight against IS and pledged an additional 600 million euros ($636 million) on additional security spending.

France and Russia (and many other countries) were allies in World War 1 against the Ottoman Empire, German Empire, Austria Hungary and Bulgaria.

The pre-World War 1 Ottoman Empire included Turkey and much of Syria and much of Iraq.

The Ottoman Empire was also known as the Turkish Empire, Ottoman Turkey or Turkey. It was founded in 1299 by Oghuz Turks under Osman I in northwestern Anatolia. After conquests in the Balkans by Murad I between 1362 and 1389, the Ottoman sultanate was transformed into a transcontinental empire and claimant to the caliphate. The Ottomans ended the Byzantine Empire with the 1453 conquest of Constantinople by Mehmed the Conqueror

Stainless magnesium could be mass produced and it would weigh half as much as aluminum

Researchers led by a team at UNSW Australia have used the Australian Synchrotron to turn the discovery of an ultra-low density and corrosion-resistant magnesium alloy into the first step toward mass-producing ‘stainless magnesium’, a new high-strength, lightweight metal, paving the way for cars, trucks and aeroplanes that can travel further distances on less petrol.

The magnesium-lithium alloy weighs half as much as aluminium and is 30 per cent lighter than magnesium, making it an attractive candidate to replace these commonly used metals to improve fuel efficiency and greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport vehicles.

Australian researchers formed a protective surface layer for magnesium that can be considered similar to the way a layer of chromium oxide enables the protection of stainless steel.

‘Many similar alloys have been created as researchers seek to combine the incredible lightness of lithium with the strength and durability of magnesium to develop a new metal that will boost the fuel efficiency and distance capacity of aeroplanes, cars and spacecraft.

‘This is the first magnesium-lithium alloy to stop corrosion from irreversibly eating into the alloy, as the balance of elements interacts with ambient air to form a surface layer which, even if scraped off repeatedly, rapidly reforms to create reliable and durable protection.’

Professor Ferry, senior author of the paper led by Dr Wanqiang Xu also from UNSW, says this excellent corrosion resistance was observed by chance, when his team noticed a heat-treated sample from Chinese aluminium-production giant, CHALCO, sitting, inert, in a beaker of water.

‘To see no corroded surfaces was perplexing and, by partnering with scientists on the Powder Diffraction (PD) beamline at the Australian Synchrotron, we found the alloy contains a unique nanostructure that enables the formation of a protective surface film.

‘Now we’ve turned our attention to investigating the molecular composition of the underlying alloy and the carbonate-rich surface film, to understand how the corrosion process is impeded in this “stainless magnesium”.’

The transport sector accounts for 90 megatonnes (90 billion kilograms) of greenhouse gas emissions in Australia each year, or 16 per cent of Australia’s total; road vehicles account for 77 megatonnes and aviation eight tonnes.

They plan incorporate new techniques into the mass-production of this unique alloy in sheets of varying thickness, in a standard processing plan. Stainless magnesium could be as durable as steel but far lighter.

Nature Materials - A high-specific-strength and corrosion-resistant magnesium alloy

World War 3 Trending on Twitter as Russia and Turkey continue Talking Tough

Use of the phrase "World War 3" picked up after a Russian fighter jet was shot down by Turkey near its border with Syria on Tuesday. It has been tweeted more than 21,000 times over the past week.

Despite the alarmist nature of the trend - and the seriousness of recent world events - a quick glance at the phrase shows that it has spiked in popularity in the past. Pope Francis, for instance, has warned about a "piecemeal" World War Three on several occasions dating back to last year. The attacks in Paris earlier this month also prompted another wave of online panic.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Ankara will not apologise to Russia for shooting down a Su-24 bomber jet.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin described the Turkish attack as a "stab in the back" carried out by "accomplices of terrorists."

Russia claims flight data shows that the Su-24s never entered Turkey, and were attacked while performing legitimate maneuvers over Syria.

On Tuesday, Turkish F-16s shot down a Russian Su-24M Fencer bomber. One of the pilots has been confirmed dead by Russian authorities, shot by rebel ground units after ejecting.

Russian President Vladimir Putin described the incident as a "stab in the back, carried out against us by accomplices of terrorists."

Russian Su-24s are flying more missions around Syria

Investment brings wealth and peace to Africa

Due to the urgent need to feed the 8.2 million people Ethiopia says are suffering from the drought, the Addis Ababa-Djibouti line opened ahead of schedule on 20 November.

The first train to travel along the nearly 800km track delivered more than 3,000 tonnes of grain from Djibouti port to drought-affected areas. The United Nations says more than 15 million people will be in need of emergency food aid by the beginning of 2016.

The ERC says the railway will completely transform the way humanitarian assistance is delivered, in a country regularly affected by drought. "The trains will deliver bulk quantities of food aid very close to drought-affected people. It will do this in a matter of a few hours," says ERC technical adviser, Muluken Mesfin.

Ethiopa is importing up to 2 million tonnes of grain as an emergency measure

"One thousand five hundred trucks a day leave Djibouti port for Ethiopia," says the chairman of the Djibouti Port Authority, Abubaker Hadi. "It is projected there will be 8,000 a day by 2020. This is not feasible. That is why the railway is so desperately needed."

Mr Getachew agrees: "It can take trucks two to three weeks to reach Addis from Djibouti. They break down all the time and the road gets congested. Once it is fully operational the railway will cut the journey to about five hours, as the trains will travel at 120 km/h. This will save money as well as time."

Chinese track
The Chinese-built track runs parallel to the abandoned Ethio-Djibouti railway, built more than 100 years ago by France for Emperor Menelik. Costing some $3bn (£2bn), it starts at sea level in Djibouti. It then makes its way through Ethiopia's dramatic, challenging terrain until it reaches Addis Ababa, about 2,500m above sea level.

Mr Getachew expresses bewilderment at the World Bank and Western donors such as the European Union, who, he says, were reluctant to fund the railway project. "I think the road lobby was too strong. We ended up with the Chinese, who are not only constructing the railway, but providing most of the funding too."

The railway network will eventually be electrified, powered by renewable energy

Potential for peace

The economic potential of Ethiopia's planned 5,000km rail network is obvious. But the railway might do a whole lot more, both in terms of regional integration and maybe even peacemaking.

Railways are being constructed all over Africa. The East African Railway Master Plan hopes to revive existing lines in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, eventually extending them to Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and Ethiopia.

Mr Getachew hints at another potential role. He shows me how the Addis-Djibouti line lies close to Ethiopia's border with Somaliland, which declared independence in 1991 but has not been recognised internationally.

There has long been talk of linking Ethiopia with Somaliland's underused and underdeveloped Berbera port, which is 854km by road from Addis Ababa.

A railway could also bring wealth to Somalis, suggests Mr Getachew. Somalia has the longest coastline in Africa, and has rich fish stocks. But Somalis are not keen on eating fish.

"Ethiopians have two fasting days a week when we only eat fish. As a landlocked country, we only have Nile perch and tilapia. As our economy grows, at about 10% a year, demand increases for more variety. This could be a win-win situation."

One day a Pan African railway will extend from the Red Sea in Djibouti all the way across Africa to the Atlantic Ocean. A few wars will have to end first.

November 25, 2015

China is funding research into genetic modification of animals as a national priority and is setting up large animal cloning factories

Chinese Geneticist Lei Qu wants to increase goatherd incomes by boosting how much meat and wool each animal produces.

Once the goat team began to deploy CRISPR, their progress was rapid.

Nature Scientific Reports - Generation of gene-modified goats targeting MSTN and FGF5 via zygote injection of CRISPR/Cas9 system

The research is just one of a recent flurry of papers by Chinese scientists that describe CRISPR-modified goats, sheep, pigs, monkeys and dogs, among other mammals.

Japanese cow for Wagyu (Kobe) beef

Dozens, if not hundreds, of Chinese institutions in both research hubs like Beijing and far-flung provincial outposts have enthusiastically deployed CRISPR.

Genetic modification of animals is a priority area for the Chinese Academy of Sciences

Boyalife Group plans to build the world’s largest cloning factory. They plan to start producing clones of Japanese cows in 2016. They have 200 million yuan ($31 million) in funding.

The factory will be a partnership between a Boyalife subsidiary, two domestic research institutions, and Sooam Bitotech Research Foundation from South Korea.

They have bio-pharmaceutical objectives and they want to provide for China's growing demand for meat.

They are cloning dogs for improved trained dogs for airport security, customs and other special missions.
Cloned dogs are also for expensive high end pets.

They are want to produce more high-quality beef and top horses for racing.

The plan is for one hundred thousand cow embryos is the first year and then scaling up to millions.

Google loon will test internet delivery across the United States

Google parent company Alphabet is planning to test high-altitude balloons to deliver Internet coverage across the United States.

The Internet giant has asked the Federal Communications Commission for a license to test experimental radios that use wireless spectrum in the millimeter bandwidth in all 50 states and in Puerto Rico, according to heavily redacted documents filed with the FCC and uncovered by Business Insider. The documents do not mention Project Loon by name.

Alphabet did not respond to a request for comment.

Project Loon comes out of the secretive Google X laboratory for experimental projects such as driverless cars that is run by Alphabet. Project Loon's balloons circle the earth at altitudes twice as high as commercial aircraft, helping mobile operators extend wireless networks into more sparsely populated or remote terrains without running fiber optic cable or building cell towers.

Project Loon announced in October that it was teaming up with Indonesia's three largest wireless carriers in 2016 to test the balloons in the world's fourth most populous country, where two-thirds of the citizens don't have Internet access.

Technology investor and former Google employee Chris Sacca said his team at Google "played around with this."

"Consider how much of the US still has zero data access," he said on Twitter. "Worthy project."

DARPA improving memory with brain implants

Volunteers who got electrical arrays implanted in their brains are seeing improvements in their memory, DARPA said. The project, called Restoring Active Memory (RAM), could help people suffering from traumatic brain injury. People who were undergoing brain surgery and volunteered to get electrode implants saw improvement in their scores on memory tests, DARPA said. They received small electrode arrays placed in brain regions involved in the formation of declarative memory, according to DARPA. That’s the type of memory we use to remember lists, as well as spatial memory, according to the agency.

Researchers were able to capture signals coming from the brain during the process of memory formation and recall. The goal is to improve memory by using targeted electrical stimulation, which could help people with memory problems — including those with traumatic brain injuries

In another study, a 28-year-old man who was paralyzed more than a decade ago became the first person to “feel” physical touch through a prosthetic hand.

This is part of the $300 Million in Funding for The White House BRAIN Initiative

Flatcam is a grid array of lenless pinholes and replaces the camera lens with computation

How thin can a camera be? Very, say Rice University researchers who have developed patented prototypes of their technological breakthrough.

FlatCam, invented by the Rice labs of electrical and computer engineers Richard Baraniuk and Ashok Veeraraghavan, is little more than a thin sensor chip with a mask that replaces lenses in a traditional camera.

Making it practical are the sophisticated computer algorithms that process what the sensor detects and converts the sensor measurements into images and videos.

Traditional cameras are shrinking, driven by their widespread adoption in smartphones. But they all require lenses – and the post-fabrication assembly required to integrate lenses into cameras raises their cost, according to the researchers.

Arxiv - FlatCam: Thin, Bare-Sensor Cameras using Coded Aperture and

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