February 27, 2016

Precision guided mini-grenade guns and smart rifles that turn any soldier into a sharpshooter

The precision grenade launching XM25 destroys the value of cover. Built-in targeting lasers, infrared sights and a ballistic computer calculate the exact location of the target so the weapon can fire a projectile precisely past it. The 25mm round — essentially a precision-guided mini-grenade — waits to detonate until it has passed whatever cover the target had and can strafe its unprotected side. It will blow up above a trench or foxhole, on the far side of a wall or barricade.

The Army, typically, calls this the “Counter Defilade Target Engagement System” (CDTE), defilade being a military term of art that boils down to “cover.” Built by OrbitalATK, the XM25 is officially a “new start” program in the fiscal 2017 budget. Initial per-unit cost of the early models ranging from US$30,000 to $35,000. The army will be fielding about 1000 per year.


The XM25 is not the only technology with the potential to put a precision-guided weapon in the infantryman’s hands. “If you want to build a smart firearm, it’s available on the market,” retired Maj. Gen. Robert Scales, former commandant of the Army War College, notes. “There’s an outfit in Austin, Texas called TrackingPoint,” he said, which makes a lightweight gunsight that calculates the trajectory to the target and fires when the gun is in the precisely right position to hit, compensating for any unsteadiness in the hand of the shooter. “You pull the trigger, and you just hold it on the target until the dot turns green and the gun fires by itself.”



With TrackingPoint, “an untrained shooter can hit within a half-inch of his or her aimpoint at 1,000 yards, nearly an order of magnitude more accurate than world-class shooters,” Scharre wrote in a December study for the Center for a New American Security.

TrackingPoint bolt-action systems cost between $12,995 and $27,500 and are available in .338 Lapua Magnum, 300 Winchester Magnum and 308 Winchester. Semi-automatic systems cost between $7,495 and $18,995 and are available in 7.62 NATO, 5.56 NATO and 300WM.



In March 2014, the company TrackingPoint revealed their smart scope was being integrated onto the M2010 sniper rifle. The Army purchased six systems in January 2014 for testing and the networked scope and guided trigger had been added to the platform.


There’s also a DARPA project called EXACTO — EXtreme ACcuracy Tasked Ordnance — that developed a laser-guided bullet that can change course in mid-flight. “This allows extreme accuracy at long range, including against moving targets,” Scharre wrote. However, EXACTO has the downside that each individual bullet requires precision-guidance electronics, while TrackingPoint combines a smart gunsight with regular, inexpensive bullets.

Precision-guided bullets like TrackingPoint and EXACTO aren’t quite as revolutionary as precision-guided grenades, since even smart bullets can’t bypass cover the way the XM25 can. Nevertheless they could make better shots out of everyone from elite snipers to supply clerks, giving them a better chance to survive. They could also let troops kill their targets with fewer rounds and fewer chances of shooting innocent civilians, a major concern in modern wars. And they could achieve these real-world results for much less than a new aircraft.

Graphene 'moth eyes' to power future smart technologies

New ultra-thin, patterned graphene sheets will be essential in designing future technologies such as 'smart wallpaper' and Internet-of-things applications


  • New ultra-thin, patterned graphene sheets will be essential in designing future technologies such as 'smart wallpaper' and internet-of-things applications
  • Advanced Technology Institute uses moth-inspired ultrathin graphene sheets to capture light for use in energy production and to power smart sensors
  • Graphene is traditionally an excellent electronic material, but is inefficient for optical applications, absorbs only 2.3% of the light incident on it. A new technique enhances light absorption by 90%.

New research published today in Science Advances has shown how graphene can be manipulated to create the most light-absorbent material for its weight, to date. This nanometre-thin material will enable future applications such as 'smart wallpaper' that could generate electricity from waste light or heat, and power a host of applications within the growing 'internet of things'.

Using a technique known as nanotexturing, which involves growing graphene around a textured metallic surface, researchers from the University of Surrey's Advanced Technology Institute took inspiration from nature to create ultra-thin graphene sheets designed to more effectively capture light. Just one atom thick, graphene is very strong but traditionally inefficient at light absorption. To combat this, the team used the nano-patterning to localise light into the narrow spaces between the textured surface, enhancing the amount of light absorbed by the material by about 90%.
Solar cells operate by absorbing light first, then converting it into electricity. The most efficient cells needs to do this absorption within a very narrow region of the solar cell material. The narrower this region, the better the cell efficiency. The ability to strongly absorb light by these structures could pave the roadmap to higher cell efficiencies. CREDIT University of Surrey

Scientific Advances - Ultra-broadband light trapping using nanotextured decoupled graphene multilayers

India trying to reform to reach its economic growth potential

India’s robust growth rate is likely to level off in the coming year and could drop to as low as 7 per cent in an “increasingly grim” world economy, according to Arvind Subramanian, the government’s chief economic adviser.

Releasing India's annual economic survey on Friday ahead of next week’s budget, Mr Subramanian said India had the potential in the medium term to grow at 8-10 per cent a year — matching the rates of China and east Asia’s “tigers” in previous decades.




Hypersonic missiles will be operational in the 2020s and hypersonic spyplanes in the 2030s

By 2020, the Air Force is likely to have operational hypersonic missile prototypes ready for a program of record and testing to develop an operational unit, said Maj. Gen. Thomas Masiello, the commander of the Air Force Research Laboratory.

By the 2030s, the technology could have expanded beyond delivering warheads at speeds faster than sound to also include hypersonic intelligence and reconnaissance flights, he said.

The Air Force, Masiello said is focusing on “deliberate, incremental progress towards maturing this technology.”

“We’re looking for more singles, base hits, versus trying to go for a home run,” he said.

Speaking at the Air Force Association Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Florida., Masiello described the efforts the service is undertaking to develop engines that could travel at or above the widely accepted hypersonic range of Mach 5.

Between 2010 and 2013, the Air Force conducted four flights of the X-51, an experimental hypersonic cruise missile. The first and fourth flights were considered a success, but the engine failed to ignite in the second test flight, and a stabilizing fin broke off during the third flight.


B52 carrying hypersonic missile (Photo: Courtesy Bobbi Zapka/Air Force Research Laboratory)

February 26, 2016

Breakthrough in understanding human skin cells paves the way for effective drugs for youthful skin

For the first time, scientists at Newcastle University have identified that the activity of a key metabolic enzyme found in the batteries of human skin cells declines with age.

A study, published online in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, has found that the activity of mitochondrial complex II significantly decreases in older skin.

This discovery brings experts a step closer to developing powerful anti-aging treatments and cosmetic products which may be tailored to counteract the decline in the enzyme’s activity levels.



Journal of Investigative Dermatology - Age-Dependent Decrease of Mitochondrial Complex II Activity in Human Skin Fibroblasts

Future Air Force fighter planes will be controlling many advanced combat UAV and jam resistant smart missiles

A new manned fighter will be defined in an era when unmanned air vehicles (UAV) are ubiquitous and unmanned combat air vehicles (UCAV) are a reality. UCAVs will not replace manned aircraft but will influence the design of the next fighters by relieving them of some missions, such as suppression/destruction of enemy air defenses or stand-in electronic attack. One argument for the Navy’s RAQ-25 carrier-based air refueling system is that it can extend both the range and life of the strike-fighter force.

Directed-energy weapons will be a real factor. Technological breakthroughs, like the Missile Defense Agency’s projects, lie within the realm of the possible. More likely, the development of a practical weapon—such as a laser capable of defending a large aircraft against missile attack—will trigger a cascade of new applications, higher production rates and engineering improvements, analogous to the rapid development of targeting pods since the late 1990s.

Small precision-guided bombs, largely autonomous after launch, are a reality: A future fighter will be designed around many small weapons rather than a pair of 2,000-lb. heavyweights.

Major airplane contractors are pushing supersonic-cruising, long-range, agile aircraft with all-aspect, wideband stealth, powered by variable-cycle engines because it is a high-margin business with formidable barriers to entry for new competitors.


Disruptive advanced nuclear design is in pre-licensing design review

Terrestrial Energy announced that it is submitting its Integral Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR) design to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) for Phase I of its pre-licensing Vendor Design Review. During the course of this review, which is an optional feedback process offered by the CNSC, Terrestrial Energy will be demonstrating that the design meets Canadian regulatory requirements in a number of technical topic areas. This is seen as the first step towards an eventual license application to build its first commercial demonstration IMSR power plant.

Terrestrial Energy CEO, Simon Irish, made the following comment regarding the engagement:

“Terrestrial Energy is entering a new phase of its development – moving ahead from reactor research and design, to engineering and regulatory compliance. This new chapter takes the Company towards the submission of a formal license application to build and operate the first commercial demonstration Integral Molten Salt Reactor plant in the 2020s.

Terrestrial Energy is developing a next-generation nuclear reactor based on its Integral Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR) technology. The IMSR represents true innovation in safety, cost and functionality. It will offer safe and reliable power solutions for electricity production, both on- and off-grid, and also energy for industrial process heat generation. These together extend the applicability of nuclear energy far beyond its current footprint. With this profile, the IMSR is capable of driving the rapid global decarbonization of the primary energy system by displacing fossil fuel combustion across a broad front. It is complementary to renewable power sources and ideal for distributed power systems on existing grids. Using an innovative design and proven Molten Salt Reactor technology, the IMSR can be brought to global markets in the 2020s. Terrestrial Energy is currently developing its IMSR commercial demonstration power plant for deployment in Canada.

Why is Terrestrial Energy's Integral Molten Salt Reactor a big deal ?
  • A molten salt 7.4 MWth test reactor was operated at Oak Ridge from 1965-1969. So no question about technical feasability
  • A conservative first IMSR design should be competitive with established power at about 3 cents per kWh
  • Later designs should be able to get lower than 1 cent per kWh
  • Design is walk away safe with passive safety systems
  • First designs would produce 6 times less nuclear waste and later designs can close the fuel cycle
  • Canada can use the first several hundred reactors to directly produce steam to profitably produce oil from the oilsands
  • Canada and Terrestrial Energy can thus use the oilsand reactors to profitably climb the learning curve before factory mass production of supersafe, super efficient and disruptively lower cost reactors
  • These system could provide 100% of global electricity demand without any emissions



First US Air Force image of B-21 Long Range Strike Bomber

The first official drawing of the U.S. Air Force's B-21 bomber has been revealed and it looks like an updated B2 bomber

Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James unveiled the artist rendering Friday based on the initial design concept.

Black, sleek, with swept-back wings and stealthy design make this aircraft look a lot like another famous bomber — the B-2 Spirit.

James seemed to hint at that during her announcement. "The B-21 has been designed from the beginning based on a set of requirements that allows the use of existing and mature technology," she said at the Air Force Association Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Florida.

James also indicated it is critical B-21 has a long-range standoff weapon and that needs to be LRSO. ALCM built for 10 yrs, been around 30 yrs.









Dr Jaeyoung Park Answers Nextbigfuture commenter questions on EMC2 fusion

Dr Jaeyoung Park is the lead of the EMC2 Fusion company. Here his are answers to questions put to him by Nextbigfuture commenters.

First a few slides describing electrostatic fusion and polywell fusion




Q1: With the scaling from WF–6 → WF–7 → WF–8 (expected), at what point will the WF series become large and powerful enough to confine deuterium-deuterium at high enough energy and time so as to demonstrate above-break-even energy production?

If you see my answers #9 & #10 in the Talk-Polywell site, it should provide good background information about this question. We plan to build a break-even machine after the next phase R&D campaign, assuming that we get the results we are hoping for in 3 years and does not run into unexpected showstoppers.

Q2: With the same WF 6 → 7 → 8 → N sequence, what have been the scaling factors thathaven't scaled to expectation (either above, or below)?

We are still evaluating the WB scaling. Now that we finally succeed in making the WB, it is now time to start testing its scaling over a wide range of parameters. Note that one of the previously discussed scaling, “Magrird or magnetic grid” scaling is found to be irreverent since we weren’t able to achieve potential well formation using magnetically insulated grids. The readers are encouraged to read my answers #3 & #7 in the Talk-Polywell site.

February 25, 2016

USA's $3 billion nuclear submarines are getting outnumbered by China and Russia' s Diesel submarines that are ten times cheaper

The commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific and Indian Oceans praised the Navy’s $2.7 billion Virginia-class attack submarines (SSNs) and stressed the value of them in surveillance and in countering Chinese and Russian naval forces.

Testifying Feb. 23 before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill, Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., commander, U.S. Pacific Command, said in response to a question from Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., the Virginia-class attack submarine “is the best thing we have” and that he “can’t get enough of them fast enough.”

Virginia class Sub

The Virginia-class SSN, built by General Dynamics Electric Boat and Huntington Ingalls Newport News Shipbuilding, is the Navy’s newest attack submarine, of which 12 are in commission, four of them stationed in the Pacific.

Harris said, “If you don’t have presence, you better have reach. That reach comes from submarines and aircraft and the like. We need the new SSBN [ballistic-missile submarine, the Ohio Replacement] in the 2020s and we need the new long-range bomber as well.”



Harris also said the United States “must invest in advanced [unmanned] underwater vehicles [UUVs] and go forward with it, not only in anti-submarine warfare and all the things that UUVs can provide us in that regard, but also in mine warfare.”

Addressing the build-up of modern submarine forces in the region, Harris said that he was concerned about the Russian and Chinese submarines as they increase in their capability.

“The Russian submarine force, in my opinion, did not take a hiatus when the Cold War ended,” he said. “So now we have the Dolgorukiy-class SSBN, now in their Far Eastern fleet. The Chinese are building the Jin-class SSBN, which has the capability — if mated with the right missile — to threaten the entire United States.

Dolgorukiy-class SSBN

Jin class sub

“I face a submarine shortage in the Pacific,” Harris said. “My requirements are not being met. That’s a function of numbers and global demand. I’m also worried about that shortfall between requirements and presence.”

Current US plan calls for the number of attack submarines to fall from 52 today to 41 in 2028 before gradually clawing back to 50 by 2044.

Major breakthrough in our understanding of pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer carries a very bleak prognosis for patients. However, a recent breakthrough by two research teams, including one at the Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont (CIUSSS-EST, Montreal) and University of Montreal, has opened the door to a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms that cause this cancer to develop.

This biomedical research conducted jointly by the groups of Dr. Frédérick Antoine Mallette (Université de Montréal / Centre de Recherche HMR) and Dr. Stéphane Richard (McGill University / Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research) and that was published in Cell Reports has shown that pancreatic tumors often lose the ability to express a small ribonucleic acid molecule called miR-137. This molecule induces a defence mechanism called cellular senescence, which keeps cancer cells in check. The loss of miR-137 works in conjunction with various mutations frequently observed in pancreatic tumours to trigger uncontrolled cell growth and then cancer.

This joint research study by doctoral student Mathieu Neault has also demonstrated that restoring normal miR-137 levels in pancreatic cancer cells has a protective effect, as doing so induces senescence and stops the cells from spreading.

In 2015, approximately 4800 people received a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, and nearly 4600 Canadians succumbed to this terrifying disease. Although this cancer is the 12th highest in terms of incidence, it is 4th highest in cancer-related mortality. Survival rates for pancreatic cancer haven't improved in the past 40 years. This is why we urgently need to clarify the mechanisms of this cancer to find new therapeutic avenues that will change these grim statistics.



Highlights
•miR-137 triggers the p53 and p16INK4A tumor suppressor pathways
•KDM4A is a target of miR-137 during Ras-induced senescence
•Loss of miR-137 contributes to the bypass of Ras-induced senescence
•Restoration of miR-137 expression induces senescence in pancreatic cancer cells

Summary

Activating K-Ras mutations occurs frequently in pancreatic cancers and is implicated in their development. Cancer-initiating events, such as oncogenic Ras activation, lead to the induction of cellular senescence, a tumor suppressor response. During senescence, the decreased levels of KDM4A lysine demethylase contribute to p53 activation, however, the mechanism by which KDM4A is downregulated is unknown. We show that miR-137 targets KDM4A mRNA during Ras-induced senescence and activates both p53 and retinoblastoma (pRb) tumor suppressor pathways. Restoring the KDM4A expression contributed to bypass of miR-137-induced senescence and inhibition of endogenous miR-137 with an miRNA sponge-compromised Ras-induced senescence. miR-137 levels are significantly reduced in human pancreatic tumors, consistent with previous studies revealing a defective senescence response in this cancer type. Restoration of miR-137 expression inhibited proliferation and promoted senescence of pancreatic cancer cells. These results suggest that modulating levels of miR-137 may be important for triggering tumor suppressor networks in pancreatic cancer.

Cell Reports - miR-137 Modulates a Tumor Suppressor Network-Inducing Senescence in Pancreatic Cancer Cells




Passive Wi-Fi at 10,000 times lower power

The upside of Wi-Fi is that it’s everywhere – invisibly connecting laptops to printers, allowing smartphones to make calls or stream movies without cell service, and letting online gamers battle it out. With Passive Wi-Fi, we can envision a true "Internet of Things" in which household devices and wearable sensors will be able to communicate using Wi-Fi without worrying about power.

The downside is that using Wi-Fi consumes a significant amount of energy, draining the batteries on all those connected devices.

Now, a team of University of Washington computer scientists and electrical engineers has demonstrated that it’s possible to generate Wi-Fi transmissions using 10,000 times less power than conventional methods.

The new Passive Wi-Fi system also consumes 1,000 times less power than existing energy-efficient wireless communication platforms, such as Bluetooth Low Energy and Zigbee.


UW computer scientists and electrical engineers have generated “passive” Wi-Fi transmissions that use 10,000 times less power than current methods.University of Washington

Passive Wi-Fi: Bringing Low Power to Wi-Fi Transmissions by Bryce Kellogg, Vamsi Talla, Shyamnath Gollakota and Joshua R. Smith of the University of Washington

Google Fiber coming to parts of San Francisco

Google Fiber will provide service to some apartments, condos, and affordable housing properties in San Francisco, using existing fiber.

By using existing fiber to connect some apartments and condos, as we’ve done before, we can bring service to residents more quickly. This approach will allow us to serve a portion of San Francisco, complementing the City’s ongoing efforts to bring abundant, high-speed Internet to the City by the Bay.

As part of Google's work in San Francisco, they want to help residents get online for the first time. One of their leading initiatives will be connecting some public and affordable housing properties to gigabit speed Internet—for free. In partnership with the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN), we’re also bringing the Digital Inclusion Fellowship to San Francisco. NTEN is accepting applications from organizations to host fellows who will teach people to set up email accounts, apply for jobs, access content across the web, and more. Through these efforts, Google hopes to make the Internet more affordable and accessible for those most affected by the digital divide.



February 24, 2016

Quantum dot solids could usher in a post-silicon era in electronics

Just as the single-crystal silicon wafer forever changed the nature of communication 60 years ago, a group of Cornell researchers is hoping its work with quantum dot solids - crystals made out of crystals - can help usher in a new era in electronics.

The team, led by Tobias Hanrath, associate professor in the Robert Frederick Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and graduate student Kevin Whitham, has fashioned two-dimensional superstructures out of single-crystal building blocks. Through a pair of chemical processes, the lead-selenium nanocrystals are synthesized into larger crystals, then fused together to form atomically coherent square superlattices.

The difference between these and previous crystalline structures is the atomic coherence of each 5-nanometer crystal (a nanometer is one-billionth of a meter). They're not connected by a substance between each crystal - they're connected to each other. The electrical properties of these superstructures potentially are superior to existing semiconductor nanocrystals, with anticipated applications in energy absorption and light emission.


Connecting the dots: Playing 'LEGO' at the atomic scale to build atomically coherent quantum dot solids.
Credit: Kevin Whitham, Cornell University


Humanoid robot has very good balance, smooth motion and seems close to handling warehouse type work

A new version of humanoid Boston Dynamics (Google - Alphabet company) Atlas, designed to operate outdoors and inside buildings. It is specialized for mobile manipulation. It is electrically powered and hydraulically actuated. It uses sensors in its body and legs to balance and LIDAR and stereo sensors in its head to avoid obstacles, assess the terrain, help with navigation and manipulate objects. This version of Atlas is about 5' 9" tall (about a head shorter than the DRC Atlas) and weighs 180 lbs.



In its last iteration, Atlas was tethered to an external power source. This version is battery powered, sleeker, quieter, and much more agile.

It navigates using Lidar and stereo sensors in its head. Sensors in its limbs keep it from tipping over. All that gadgetry lets it navigate snowy terrain, pick up boxes, and stand up after being shoved to the floor. Some of those sensors even appear to recognize QR-like codes on boxes and doors.





MFMP project publishes recipe for excess heat with low energy nuclear reactions aka cold fusion

On the LENR forum the MFMP project has published 18 steps for getting excess heat with low energy nuclear reactions (LENR aka cold fusion)

1. Bake Ni
2. Reduce Ni
3. Hydrogenate Ni
4. Mix: Ni + LiAlH4 + Li
5. Bake and vac reactor, add Nickel, vac warm, add H2, Vac
6. Heat to above Mossbauer determined Ni Debye (say 135C), pressure regulated to approx 1bar abs.
7. Hold, pressure regulated to approx 1bar abs.
8. Heat slowly to as close to Ni Curie as comfortable (Say 340C), pressure regulated to approx 1bar abs.
9. Hold, pressure regulated to approx 1bar abs.
10. Slowly lower temp to above highest known Ni Debye (Say 220C), pressure regulated to approx 1bar abs.
11. Hold, pressure regulated to approx 1bar abs.
12. Go as fast as possible through Ni Curie
13. Hold, pressure regulated to approx 0.5bar abs.
14. Cycle through 500C internal, pressure regulated to approx 0.5bar abs.
15. Hold, pressure regulated to approx 0.5bar abs.
16. Raise internal temperature to over 1200, pressure regulated to approx 0.5bar abs.
17. Drop to around 1000 and hold, pressure regulated to approx 0.5bar abs.
18. Raise internal temperature to near boiling point of Lithium
1h Thermal > x/β- emissions > Pb > IR/THz > 5h (SSM) where ‘>’ means ‘leads to’

February 23, 2016

Global military laser market will reach $4.63 billion by 2020

The global military laser market will reach $4.63 billion by 2020, according to a forecast by market research firm MarketsandMarkets. This reflects a compound annual growth rate of 8.86 percent from 2015.

"The solid-state laser market is estimated to hold the largest market share in 2015 of the military laser systems market," the report said. "The chemical laser market is projected to grow at the highest [compound annual growth rate] during the forecast period. This is due to the continuous rise in the R&D activities of military laser systems in the U.S., as well as the in the emerging economies such as India and China."

There will also be strong growth in the Middle East as laser weapons are deployed against rockets, mortar shells and unmanned aerial vehicles




Brazil plans to zap mosquitoes with radiation to halt spread of Zika virus

Authorities want to release sterilized males so that females lay inviable eggs, eradicating the Aedes mosquito that carries the virus blamed for surge in babies born with microcephaly

Brazil is planning to fight the Zika virus by zapping millions of male mosquitoes with gamma rays to sterilise them and stop the spread of the virus linked to thousands of birth defects.

Called an irradiator, the device has been used to control fruit flies on the Portuguese island of Madeira. The International Atomic Energy Agency said on Monday it will pay to ship the device to Juazeiro, in the northeastern state of Bahia, as soon as the Brazilian government issues an import permit.

"It's a birth control method, the equivalent of family planning for humans," said Kostas Bourtzis, a molecular biologist with the IAEA's insect pest control laboratory.

Brazil is scrambling to eradicate the Aedes mosquito that has caused an epidemic of dengue and more recently an outbreak of Zika, a virus associated with an alarming surge in cases of babies born with abnormally small heads.

The new epidemic threatens to scare visitors away from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in August. A Brazilian non-profit organisation called Moscamed will breed up to 12 million male mosquitoes a week and then sterilise them with the cobalt-60 irradiator, produced by Canadian company MDS Nordion, said Dr Bourtzis.

The sterile males will be released into target areas to mate with wild females who will lay eggs that produce no offspring, he said during an IAEA meeting of mosquito control experts.

Strong anti-air pollution policies would prevent 175,000 premature deaths and save $250 billion per year by 2030

Nearly 300,000 deaths over the next 15 years would be prevented by reducing air pollution, which can lead to heart attacks, lung cancer or other respiratory illnesses, a study in the peer-reviewed British journal Nature Climate Change said.

"Many people view climate change as a future problem, but our analysis shows that reducing emissions that cause warming — many of which also contribute to air pollution — would benefit public health here and now," said study lead author Drew T. Shindell, a professor of climate sciences at Duke University.

By 2030, clean energy policies could prevent about 175,000 premature deaths (with about 22,000 fewer each year after 2030) while clean transportation could prevent about 120,000 premature deaths (and about 14,000 annually thereafter), the study said.

National economic benefits are valued at about $250 billion per year.

Nature Climate Change - Climate and health impacts of US emissions reductions consistent with 2 °C

To come up with the projected savings, the study used computer simulations of future greenhouse gas emissions and the already-established effect of air pollution.

When the worldwide health and climate impacts of the reduced emissions are both factored in, the value of the long-term benefits could roughly quintuple, becoming 5 to 10 times larger than the costs, the study said.

The study notes, however, that the U.S. will have to go far beyond its current planned reductions in energy and transportation emissions to achieve the goal.

The U.S. would need to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by a whopping 40% by 2030, as compared with 2005 levels, according to the study.



Chip Knappenberger from the Center for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute, a libertarian thinktank, countered that the vast bulk of the health benefits from reducing greenhouse gas emissions as mentioned in the study would not come from reducing greenhouse gas emissions — but rather from air-quality improvements, most of which do not stem from climate-change mitigation. He added there’s little reduction in air pollution that is a direct result of reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Nextbigfuture responds to Chip of CATO. The focus should be on air pollution reduction to save hundreds of thousands of lives and save money that are 5-10 times larger than the cost of the program. It is vastly beneficial economic and public health. Any greenhouse gas emission reduction would just be an added side benefit. Any eventual targeting of significant greenhouse gas reductions will involve shifting completely to electric cars and other electric transportation and changing completely to nuclear and solar power.


US military expert proposes the US get into a contest with China over who can build bigger ships that will be in pushing matches

Jerry Hendrix believes that the next stage in the South China Sea conflict will have the Chinese Navy in ship sumo pushing matches with US Navy ships.

Jerry Hendrix is the director of the Defense Strategies and Assessments Program at the Center for a New American Security. A retired U.S. Navy captain, he is a former director of the Naval History and Heritage Command.

Ramming or “shouldering” ships at sea has been a common practice throughout the modern era. During the Cold War, Russian and American ships went “skin-to-skin” more than once, often denting or damaging each other as they contested territorial claims or protested close surveillance during critical exercises

A new chinese coast guard cutter will be over 500 feet long and displace more than 10,000 tons. The ship will be lightly armed, with two 76mm guns and other small arms, but these are not important to its true mission. This ship and its follow-on sister ships are built for one purpose: to move other ships out of the way.



There are a set of well-established rules of the road for ships at sea, rules that delineate who is to “give way” to the other when two vessels meet in order to avoid going bump in the night. But there is also an unwritten “law of gross tonnage” that recognizes that larger ships are less maneuverable and that smaller ships should maneuver to avoid them. Physics, it seems, has a place on the world’s oceans, and China intends to take advantage of some very hard science.

It is clear that China intends to use its monster white-hulled Coast Guard ships to respond to future US freedom of navigation operations by shouldering smaller U.S. Navy vessels.

Such operations would force the U.S. to either accede to Chinese demands or climb the ladder of escalation by forcibly defending themselves with arms, allowing China to play the victim of U.S. aggression. The United States should give some thought to modifying the design of the 60,000 ton afloat forward staging base ships being built in San Diego to allow them to serve as “blockers” for U.S. combatants upholding innocent passage missions.


China does have the largest container ships in the world


The Globe is more than 400 meters (1,312ft) long, the equivalent of eight Olympic-size swimming pools. It is 56.8m (186ft) wide and 73m (240ft) high, its gross tonnage is 186,000 - the equivalent of 14,500 London buses

DARPA developing truly autonomous commercial UAV quadcopters that go 45 mph with no communication to operator and no GPS

DARPA's Fast Lightweight Autonomy (FLA) aims to develop and test algorithms that could reduce the amount of processing power, communications, and human intervention needed for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to accomplish low-level tasks, such as navigation around obstacles in a cluttered environment. If successful, FLA would reduce operator workload and stress and allow humans to focus on higher-level supervision of multiple formations of manned and unmanned platforms as part of a single system.

DARPA's Fast Lightweight Autonomy (FLA) program recently demonstrated that a commercial quadcopter platform could achieve 20-meters-per-second flight (45 mph) while carrying a full load of sensors and cameras. The FLA program aims to develop and test algorithms that could reduce the amount of processing power, communications, and human intervention needed for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to accomplish low-level tasks, such as navigation around obstacles in a cluttered environment. Through this exploration, the program aims to develop and demonstrate the capability for small (i.e., able to fit through windows) autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles to fly at speeds up to 20 m/s with no communication to the operator and without GPS.





February 21, 2016

DARPA has electronic-photonic integrated chip

Recently, DARPA-funded scientists designed and crafted a breakthrough microprocessor that combines many of the best traits of electrons and photons on a single chip. The result is a remarkable and elegant hybrid microtechnology that boggles the mind for the intricate complexity of its sub-Lilliputian architecture. To appreciate the engineering acumen involved in the development of this chip and its tens of millions of resident electronic and photonic components, DARPA has produced an annotated, graphical tour of the new chip's innards.

Two DARPA programs are pushing to develop the electronic-photonic integrated chip.

Photonically Optimized Embedded Microprocessors (POEM)

The POEM program aims to address electrical communications link limitations by developing chip-scale, integrated photonic technology to enable seamless intrachip and offchip photonic communications that provide the required bandwidth with low energy/bit. The POEM program will exploit wavelength division multiplexing (WDM), allowing much higher bandwidth capacity per link, which is imperative to meeting the communication needs of future microprocessors. Such a capability would propel the microprocessor onto a new performance trajectory and impact the actual runtime performance of DoD-relevant computing tasks for power-starved embedded applications and supercomputing. The challenges in realizing POEM technology are developing CMOS and DRAM-compatible photonic links that are spectrally broad, operate at high bit-rates with very low power dissipation, and are tightly integrated with electronic drivers. Ultimately, the goal of POEM is to demonstrate photonic technologies that can be integrated within embedded microprocessors and enable seamless, energy-efficient, high-capacity communications within and between the microprocessor and DRAM. It is envisioned that POEM technology will be especially useful to military platforms where extreme performance coupled with low size, weight, and power is a necessity (e.g. UAVs, and satellites).

Power Efficiency Revolution for Embedded Computing Technologies (PERFECT) The power efficiency revolution for embedded computing technologies (PERFECT) program seeks to improve computational capability by improving power efficiency for embedded computer systems and providing more computing per watt of electrical power.




Carnival of Nuclear Energy 300

The Carnival of Nuclear energy 300 is up at Neutron Bytes

Atomic Insights - All-nuclear power grids are not only feasible, but proven and operating today

It is already well-proven that it’s possible to operate village and small town sized electrical grids using nuclear power plants designed for responsiveness, reliability, ease of operation and maintainability. The navies of the United States, Russia, Great Britain, France and China have been doing this with nuclear powered submarines and ships since as early as January 17, 1955 when the USS Nautilus first reported that it was underway on nuclear power.

Those ships contain grids that would be classified as “micro” or “mini” if they were on land. They serve not only 100-5000 residents and a wide variety of electronic or mechanical loads that need reliable, smooth power as many seconds of the day as possible but also provide the vast quantities of power required to push large vessels through the water at high rates of speed.

Shipboard power systems are able able to distill pure water from seawater and to use rejected heat for a number of useful applications like air conditioning, space heating and cooking.

Mostly because of limited production rates, excessive security requirements, and engineering choices required for maritime applications, the 100% nuclear electrical power systems used on ships so far would not be economically competitive with large scale fossil fuel plants connected to an existing grid. However, they are demonstrations that proven technology exists to supply large quantities of reliable power to remote villages, industrial sites, or small cities without needing to burn fossil fuels or construct lengthy transmission lines.

Amazon's $400 Billion Opportunity To Disrupt the Global Supply Chain with one click international shipping

Amazon is considering creating its own fleet of air freight shippers to compete head-to-head with UPS, FedEx, and the USPS. A new report suggests that Amazon's logistics ambitions could be even grander than anyone realized.

Internal company documents obtained by Bloomberg suggest that Amazon senior management reviewed a proposal to create a global logistics and fulfillment infrastructure as far back as 2013. The internal proposal, dubbed Operation Dragon Boat, illustrates a worldwide delivery system that transports goods produced by third-party suppliers from places like India and China all the way to a hypothetical home in Atlanta. This idea spans the entire shipping life cycle from the first mile to the much detested "last mile."

The initiative would yield a new business line for Amazon, known as "Global Supply Chain by Amazon," seeking to capitalize on the estimated $1 trillion in annual global cross-border e-commerce sales expected by 2020. Amazon could launch Global Supply Chain by Amazon as soon as later this year, claims Bloomberg.

The report envisioned a global delivery network that controls the flow of goods from factories in China and India to customer doorsteps in Atlanta, New York and London. The project, called Dragon Boat, is proceeding, according to a person familiar with the initiative, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. The ambitious strategy promises to turn FedEx and UPS into Amazon rivals, but also will pit the Seattle giant against Chinese counterpart Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Both companies are vying for dominance of the rapidly growing cross-border e-commerce market, which by 2020 is expected to swell into a $1 trillion industry serving 900 million shoppers, according to a June report from Accenture and AliResearch, Alibaba’s research arm.

The new business will locate Amazon at the center of a logistics industry that involves not just shippers like FedEx and UPS but also legions of middlemen who handle cargo and paperwork associated with transnational trade. Amazon wants to bypass these brokers, amassing inventory from thousands of merchants around the world and then buying space on trucks, planes and ships at reduced rates. Merchants will be able to book cargo space online or via mobile devices, creating what Amazon described as a “one click-ship for seamless international trade and shipping.”

A successful move into and execution of Global Supply Chain by Amazon could create an entirely new $400 billion business for the world's largest e-commerce site, claims Robert W. Baird analyst Colin Sebastian. For context, Amazon's 2015 sales amounted to $107 billion, the first time it surpassed $100 billion.

1. like it did with AWS and third-party listings on its website, creating a new revenue source that deals with a key cost of Amazon's own e-commerce operations could serve as an effective subsidy for Amazon and its shareholders.

2. This could lower its expenses, which in turn would lead to lower costs and a better customer experience for its customers, which would further drive sales.

This virtuous cycle is known as Amazon's Flywheel .




Even if Amazon is playing possum with its eventual ambitions in either direction, the threat that it might disrupt its current supply chain partners could serve as massive leverage as Amazon negotiates its shipping contracts with UPS and FedEx.


Russia will refit nuclear powered guided missile cruiser with mach 5 hypersonic 3M22 missiles with 2022 deployment

Russian warship Pyotr Veliky - Peter the Great - will be fitted with new-generation hypersonic 3M22 missiles in a 2019-2022 upgrade for the Russian Navy's only operational nuclear-powered cruiser, the world’s largest nuclear-propelled military vessel that is not an aircraft carrier, a shipbuilding industry source told TASS on Friday.

"The Pyotr Veliky will start repairs in the third or fourth quarter of 2019. Repairs and upgrade are due for completion in late 2022, the ship to be equipped with Zircon hypersonic anti-ship missiles," the source said.

"The missile is undergoing development testing and will enter service if it passes," the source said, without specifying the trial schedule.

Zircon's operating parameters are classified. But according to open sources, the new missile’s range may be up to 400 kilometers (250 miles_, flying five times faster than the speed of sound. Given its sheer speed, the Zircon will be extremely difficult to intercept with current missile defense technology.

The Pyotr Veliky's current main armaments are Granit anti-ship missiles and the Fort air defense missile system, a naval analogue of the S-300 system. The same-class Admiral Nakhimov cruiser is currently undergoing an upgrade and is due to reach navy ranks in 2018.

The Project 11442 Pyotr Veliky nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser is designed to sink hostile ships, destroy land targets and provide air defense for its formation. The cruiser carries the 130-mm AK-130 gun, land-attack, antiship and surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems, Kortik SAM/gun close-in weapons systems and the Vodopad antisubmarine missile/torpedo system. The ship was launched in 1989 and commissioned with the Russian Navy in 1998. It displaces 24,500 tons and measures 251 m long. It has a full power of 140,000 hp, a speed of 31 knots and a crew of 728. The cruiser carries a Kamov Ka-27 (Helix) helicopter or a derivative thereof.

the nuclear powered guided missile cruiser Pyotr Veliky

The tests of the 3K22 Zircon system are planned for completion by 2020. The system is expected to be unveiled in the air-launched and ship-based variants. Early rumors indicate the Indo-Russian BrahMos II hypersonic cruise missile may be an export variant of the Zircon (just as the BarhMos missile share many similarities with the Russian P-800 Oniks missile). The planned operational range of the BrahMos-II is about 300 kilometers and its speed is set to be around Mach 7 thanks to a ramjet engine.

The Sevmash Shipyard and the Special Machinebuilding Design Bureau (KBSM, a subsidiary of Almaz-Antei) made a deal for 10 3S-14-11442M vertical launch systems (VLS) to equip the Project 11442M Admiral Nakhimov missile cruiser being upgraded now. The contract is valued at 2.559 billion rubles ($33.5 million). Thus, the ship’s 20 inclined below-deck launchers of P-700 Granit antiship missiles (SS-N-19 Shipwreck) will be replaced with 10 VLS modules of the UKSK versatile ship-based launch system. The VLS modules will total 80. The same solution is expected to be applied to the Pyotr Veliky cruiser.


According to rumors, the Indo-Russian BrahMos II hypersonic cruise missile (pictured here at Defexpo 2014) is the export variant of the Russian 3M22 Zircon missile.

India deploying eight P-8I submarine detecting aircraft to counter dozens of Chinese submarines

As China continues to deploy new missile systems that can target any part of the United States with nuclear weapons, and submarines that can target any part of the trade routes from China, through the South China Sea, and into the Indian Ocean, India is preparing to defend its Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal.

India has detected Chinese naval ships coming close to the territorial waters of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The Chinese ships attempt to get close at least twice every three months. India is concerned that the islands are mostly undefended, and a lightning attack by the Chinese would be successful.

In response, India is deploying eight P-8I aircraft, obtained from Boeing under a 2009 deal with the United States. The aircraft will be stationed at the southern tip of mainland India in Tamil Nadu. They will serve as reconnaissance aircraft, and also will be equipped with missiles capable of neutralizing enemy submarines and warships.





India is building a satellite tracking and imaging center in southern Vietnam. Although it's billed as a civilian facility for agricultural, scientific and environmental applications, the improved imaging technology means the pictures could also be used for military purposes for both countries.

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