July 09, 2016

Battalion of real Israeli soldiers using networked computer combat simulations to test new weapons like GPS guided mortars

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) held its largest [battalion level] ever battle simulation against Hezbollah using its newest, most cutting edge weapons systems.

The simulation included soldiers from the Golani Brigade, the IDF 7th Tank Brigade, a tactical drone unit, IDF combat engineers and more.

The majority of the new fighting systems being tested out in these simulators are still works in progress, and are top secret. However, one of the systems which are allowed to be written about is the "Spark". The "Spark" is a next generation anti-tank missile which is expected to replace the "Gil" missile which is currently in used by the IDF. There are many benefits to the "Spark" which include an upgraded targeting system and a considerable reduction in weight, thereby enabling greater ease of maneuverability by ground forces.

There was also the testing of a brand new, first of its kind precision GPS guided mortar, a command and control ground forces system which enables ground forces to coordinate directly with air force pilots in the air, and small observation balloons which are expected to be used by all ground forces in the coming years.

The soldiers trained taking over Hezbollah controlled villages, and fought against Hezbollah platoons – but via giant plasma screens, keyboards, joysticks, virtual reality goggles, and various other simulators. It was like a giant war videogame, with over 150 soldiers online, around the clock, for two days.

The simulators which were used in the drill were developed by Ground Forces Command programmers, many of whom are 19-year-old "computer geniuses," and were based on games such as Call of Duty and Battlefront. However, the graphics and 3D imagery in these simulators would put even the most advanced videogames to shame.


Carnival of Space 466

Carnival of Space 466 is up at Everyday Spacer

The Space writer - Juno arrives at Jupiter and the team creates a cinematic view that evokes ancient earth history. The Spacewriter explores that video and its meanings.

Planetaria - Does Pluto have a subsurface ocean? New research says probably

"Nextbigfuture - 23 light years away is a brown dwarf (W0607+24) which is a source of radio emissions. According to a research paper published July 4, this substellar object showcases quiescent radio emission, making it one of the most radio-faint, ultra-cool dwarfs yet detected. The discovery of this process in this nearby object could be crucial for our understanding of this process in ultracool dwarfs in general.

The object is less than two billion years old, has a maximum mass of about 0.055 solar masses and a radius approximately of 0.1 solar radii.

Nextbigfuture - Simulations suggest Saturn's moon Titan might have non-water based life

A team of researchers at Cornell University has built and run a simulation that showed prebiotic reactions could possibly occur on the surface of one of Saturn's moons, Titan, suggesting the possibility of life evolving in a place where it is too cold for water to be a factor. The team describes the simulation they created in response to the discovery (by the Huygens probe) that polymers such as polyimine might have already developed on the moon's surface.

Recent evidence has suggested that some chemical reactions could lead to types of life forms where there is no water, which further suggests that it may exist outside of what is now considered the habitual zone.

Hostess And Twinkies saved by Automation And Firing 95% Of The Union Workforce

Hostess, the producers of Twinkies went bust, twice, as a result of heinously bad union arrangements.

The most recent investors who bought it out of bankruptcy did not in fact buy “the company.” They bought just some of the assets. By buying the Hostess assets out of bankruptcy, Apollo and Metropoulos took them on free of employee benefits and other labor obligations that had weighed down the company.

They went from local bakeries and delivery routes to a much more concentrated production system and delivery into warehouses.

Employing people is a cost. And when that cost rises, fewer people are going to be employed.

In 2012, the end appeared nigh for the humble Twinkie, the yellow sponge cake and American icon: A trend toward healthy eating and a bitter union brawl had forced its baker into bankruptcy.

Now, Hostess Brands is back with a vengeance, with new plans to become a publicly listed company and return to a market that had once left it for dead. The deal, announced Tuesday, would give the maker of Twinkies, CupCakes and Ding Dongs a market value of roughly $2.3 billion.



The sweets giant has in recent years staged a remarkable revival, spearheaded by a billionaire turnaround artist and promoted in company marketing as “the sweetest comeback in the history of ever.”

The company just five years ago had 8,000 employees — 75 percent of whom were represented by unions — the company now says in filings that it has a “streamlined employee base” of roughly 1,170 workers. That workforce is the shadow of a once-vast empire, which shortly before its troubles totaled 22,000 workers across more than 40 bakeries.

The company has invested $130 million to upgrade production lines and industrial ovens in its three core bakeries in Indianapolis; Emporia, Kan.; and Columbus, Ga. Its other bakeries have disappeared

Japan making steel 20-30% lighter and 25% stronger than the toughest high-tensile steel at the same price

Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal has developed an automotive steel sheet that is 20-30% lighter and 25% stronger than the toughest high-tensile steel now on the market, hoping to help carmakers build more fuel-efficient, safer vehicles.

The company is conducting verification tests and will start marketing the product around 2020 for use in vehicle frames, chassis and other components.

Currently, the highest grade of cold-rolled steel offered by major steelmakers has a strength of 1,180 megapascals. Nippon Steel's new, lighter material has a strength of 1,470 megapascals.

By improving the heat treatment process and adding alloy elements, Nippon Steel improved both strength and ease of rolling. The material is resistant to cracks from the stamping process.

The company hopes to keep the price flat with current top-of-the-line offerings.

The material is not as light as aluminum alloy or plastic reinforced with carbon fiber. But its price is only a third to half that of aluminum -- with processing costs factored in -- and about 1/20 that of carbon-fiber plastic.

Automakers are scrambling to meet increasingly tight fuel-economy regulations worldwide by employing lighter materials in vehicles. Nippon Steel thinks its new product fits the bill -- at a reasonable price.



China completes 500 meter radio telescope which is 2.5 time the area of the Arecibo scope

Covering an area the size of 30 football pitches, China’s Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) was officially completed this week, making it the largest radio telescope in the world.

The telescope is larger than the Puerto Rico's Arecibo Observatory, which is 300 meters in diameter. It will also be 10 times more sensitive than the steerable 100-meter telescope near Bonn, Germany, he said.

Work on the 1.2-billion-yuan (180 million U.S. dollars) FAST project began in 2011.

The huge disc was assembled from 4450 individual triangular panels

O’Brien says FAST will enable more-detailed studies of pulsars: ultra-dense collapsed cores of exploding stars. “We may even find [more] pulsars outside our own galaxy,” he says. “It will also allow us to survey hydrogen in very distant galaxies, detect molecules in space, search for natural radio wave emissions from planets orbiting other stars and help in the search for radio signals from extraterrestrial civilizations.”



What is in store for us : Ai and the future

Julia Bossmann, Foresight Institute discusses AI and the future.

Discusses the recent conquering of GO with AI. She notes how this success was more than ten years sooner than many expected.

Policy is an Alphago neural network trained to make reasonable moves based upon supervised learning of 100,000 games.

Value network is an Alphago neural network built from tens of millions of games to be able to determine what winning positions are.
The value scoring of positions was previously believed to be impossible.

Alphago used policy to reduce the breadth of search
Alphago used value network to reduce the depth of the search for good moves.

Alphago also uses fast rollouts to play a few thousand games to determine statistics for which moves are good.

The Alphago program is improving by several GO ranking levels every few months.



Julia gives more examples of the AI lawyer that helps get out of parking and other traffic tickets.

Discusses the self driving cars.

AI uses for finding disease cures.

Still it will not be a utopia.

10 million truck driving jobs will go away.

Julia discusses a post-work society.

If you cannot sell time anymore, then you only have ownership and rent or gains from ownership



Age of Em when robots rule the Earth

I am at the Recession Generation unconference.

Robin Hanson is speaking on his new book - The Age of Em: Work, Love and Life when Robots Rule the Earth

Robin is talking about a world where human Brain emulation works.

What would be needed

  • Massive computers
  • Superhigh resolution scan of the brain
  • Model each cell types in the brain

Robin will avoid arguing about whether it can happen, how it will happen etc..

He will focus on what happens if it happens. What is and not what should be.


Robots as Files

Robots as software files are immortal
Computer files can be transmitted around the world
Robots can kill nature and not die
Many copies can be made if robots are files


With many copies, then wages fall to subsistence levels
The economy can grow faster. Economy can double every month
Humans retire, investments double every month

EMS will select for the few hundred most productive humans
Starting point would be peak human

EMS make short term copies to do tasks

Nextbigfuture has covered Robin Hansons EM world work before

Ohio Replacement submarine program track to first sub in 2021

The Navy will present an updated Ohio [submarine] Replacement Program (ORP) cost estimate to the Defense Department later this summer.

On the cost reduction side, Jabaley said the Navy and industry are developing a Submarines Unified Build Strategy (SUBS) to find efficiencies in materiel acquisition and ship construction schedules between ORP and the Virginia-class attack submarines.

A 2014 cost estimate put the program’s average follow-ship cost — ships two through 12, not including the typically most-expensive lead ship – at $5.2 billion, squarely in between the mandatory threshold of $5.6 billion and the target objective of $4.9 billion. Jabaley added that the 2014 cost estimate put the non-recurring costs – engineering work and building facilities to produce the subs – at $17.4 billion. Updated figures will be publicly released after the DAB approves the Milestone B decision

The first ORP submarine is scheduled to begin construction in 2021 and enter service in 2031.

  • X-shaped stern control surfaces (hydroplanes)
  • Sail-mounted dive planes
  • Electric drive
  • Off-the-shelf equipment developed for previous submarine designs (Virginia-class SSNs), including a pump-jet propulsor, anechoic coating and a Large Aperture Bow (LAB) sonar system.
  • The boats may also be equipped with a Submarine Warfare Federated Tactical System (SWFTS), a cluster of systems that integrate sonar, optical imaging, weapons control et

Workers stand pose for a photo in the four-tube “quad-pack” built for the U.S. Ohio Replacement-class and U.K. Successor-class. General Dynamics Electric Boat Photo via US Navy

Dating site for relationship cheating, cheated members with 95% fake women accounts

Only 5% of Ashley Madison (cheating data site) site members were real women. More than 75% of the site's customers were convinced to join by an army of 70,000 fake fembot accounts. The accounts were created in dozens of languages by data entry workers...told to populate these accounts with fake information and real photos posted by women who had shut down their accounts on Ashley Madison or other properties owned by Ashley Madison's parent company, Avid Life Media.

Ashley Madison promised the men discreet affairs with willing women, but 95% of the women were fake.

Dating site for relationship cheating... cheated members

In related revelations, professional wrestling is fake.


CEO Rob Segal and President James Millership—finally opened up to the public about where the company is going. Millership admitted that the company used fembots and swore not to use them again: "My understanding is that bots are widespread in the industry, but they are no longer being used, and will not be used, at Avid Life Media and Ashley Madison." Segal claimed in an interview with The New York Times that the site now has roughly 16 percent real female members, which would be a considerable jump from what executives estimated privately last year. He provided no evidence to back up this claim.

Airvinci Personal ducted fan helicopter and drones could enable the flying car future

The Airvinci personal ducted fan helicopter and drones could enable the flying car future. The unmanned heavy cargo drone version looks like a good way to commercially ramp up to true personal flight. If Amazon or other internet ecommerce companies use this for 120 kg deliveries then it will be the path to the flying car future.

The Airvinci Helicopter has a diameter of less than 7ft, fitting easily inside an average garage or on a standard-sized trailer

The duct around the rotor systems increases their efficiency, allowing their size to be decreased while still achieving the same technical characteristics as much larger rotor systems. No time is wasted removing components for storage and transport. With vertical take-off and landing there is no need for a runway. This is a unique advantage especially in urban areas, where you can take off from your driveway and land in a regular parking lot.

A full prototype looks set for 2017.

Target prices look reasonable
Drone $65k
Helicopter $100k

Diameter: less than 6ft
Payload 260lbs
Weight: 200lbs
Range: min. 70km (miles)
Flight time: minimum 1hr and targeting 3 hours or more for commuting 60 miles each way
Speed: 70km/hr
Power: 56hp
12,500 ft (3,800 m) altitude capability

The prototype engines for the drone put out around 28 hp (21 kW) each












Robotic carryon suitcase can be ridden like a mini-segway

Olive Robotics has the world's first intelligent suitcase that can communicate with your smart phone and share its weight and position. It has a self-locking system with NFC technology help your baggage security everywhere. It can see you through its 3D vision sensor and follow you when you are walking.

It has nimble movement using two-wheel self-balancing active locomotion system help you to be faster and also It can be a scooter-case and able to carry you. It is your personal robotic companion during the travel.

Olive is the brainchild of Iran-based Ikap Robotics, and although it may look like a standard piece of luggage, it has a Segway-like, self-balancing auto-locomotion system that maintains stability while riding on two wheels by using 3D accelerometers and gyroscopes. With an in-built stereoscopic camera, it can build up a visual map of its surroundings and follow its owner using skeleton tracker algorithms that is claimed to allow Olive to distinguish individuals even in crowded environments.






Nextbigfuture is the world's top science news blog per Alexa

Alexa ranks Nextbigfuture as the world number 1 science news blog according to viewership. Nextbigfuture is 13th overall in any internet science news site.

We now have over 3 million page views per month. Thanks to the readers and commenters of Nextbigfuture.









July 08, 2016

Big Data versus Cancer

Scientists develop a catalog of 1000 tumors with their alterations and drug sensitivities

There are thousands of scientific papers dedicated to a particular type of tumor, a particular gene, a type of specific molecular lesion or the effect of a particular drug. However, there are very few examples of publications that integrate these four concepts (type of tumor, gene alteration and drug) in a significant amount of samples. An article published in Cell, in collaboration with the group of Dr. Manel Esteller, Director of the Epigenetics and Cancer Biology Program at the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), ICREA researcher and Professor of Genetics at the University of Barcelona, provides us with this important source of information.

The researchers started from 1,000 cancer cell lines derived from 29 different cell types and different organs to simultaneously obtain their genetic alterations (mutations and copy number of genes), epigenetic alterations (DNA methylation) and expression alterations, confronting them with their different sensitivity to 265 antitumor drugs. It should also be noted that the results were validated in 11,000 additional human tumor samples obtained from surgical removals.

Example of an epigenome derived from a tumor sample included in study. Green fluorescence signals indicate a loss of epigenetic signal, while red indicates a gain of epigenetic signal. Nearly half a million points of epigenetic information in the human g




Journal Cell - A Landscape of Pharmacogenomic Interactions in Cancer

Light used to make gold crystal nanoparticles

A team of University of Florida researchers has figured out how gold can be used in crystals grown by light to create nanoparticles, a discovery that has major implications for industry and cancer treatment and could improve the function of pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and solar panels.

Nanoparticles can be “grown” in crystal formations with special use of light, in a process called plasmon-driven synthesis. However, scientists have had limited control unless they used silver, but silver limits the uses for medical technology. The team is the first to successfully use gold, which works well within the human body, with this process.

“How does light actually play a role in the synthesis? [This knowledge] was not well developed,” said David Wei, an associate professor of chemistry who led the research team. “Gold was the model system to demonstrate this.”

Gold is highly desired for nanotechnology because it is malleable, does not react with oxygen and conducts heat well. Those properties make gold an ideal material for nanoparticles, especially those that will be placed in the body.


The influence of plasmonic hotspots on Au nanoprism growth

Nature nanotechnology - Polyvinylpyrrolidone-induced anisotropic growth of gold nanoprisms in plasmon-driven synthesis

Transatomic technical paper shows its molten salt reactor would reduce waste by 53-83% depending upon level of enrichment used

Transatomic Power Corporation has released technical information on the design of its molten salt reactor (MSR), which it says offers multiple advantages over existing generation technologies.

The technical white paper (22 pages) issued by the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company outlines how its 1250 MWth reactor design - the TAP MSR - uses the properties of its liquid fuel to increase fuel utilization while decreasing the overall amount of waste produced.

Transatomic published the white paper after the US Department of Energy awarded it a $200,000 grant under its Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) Nuclear Energy Voucher pilot program. The funding will enable the company to perform high-fidelity modelling of the design in partnership with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).

Transatomic is developing a next-generation Molten Salt Reactor (MSR) based on technology first demonstrated at ORNL in the 1960s, and has been completing reactor core performance analyses as part of its technology development work. The company released results that show promise for an economical power plant that can generate carbon-free baseload power and even extract energy from traditional nuclear reactors’ so called “spent fuel.”

Traditional “light water” nuclear reactors, named for the material that they use to control their nuclear chain reactions, are limited in the amount of energy they can extract from their solid uranium fuel. The Transatomic design, which instead uses a liquid uranium-salt mixture, does not have the same performance constraints as light water design.

For nuclear energy to be a viable source of baseload power, new nuclear reactor designs must address existing concerns about waste storage by increasing fuel utilization and reducing overall waste production. This paper outlines the ways in which the Transatomic Power 1250 MWth molten salt reactor design takes advantage of its liquid fuel in order to address these challenges. By employing continuous fission product removal and core geometry modification, the TAP MSR achieves more than twice the fuel utilization of light water reactors (LWRs). When using 5% enriched uranium – the maximum enrichment readily available in the current supply chain – this increased efficiency leads to an approximate 53% waste reduction compared to LWRs. Using higher enrichments, up to the 20% Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) limit, this reduction reaches 83%.

The TAP MSR design takes advantage of its liquid fuel to allow for more than twice the fuel utilization of light water reactors, leading to an approximately 53% reduction in waste when using 5% enriched uranium, the maximum enrichment readily available in the current supply chain. Using higher enrichments, up to the 20% LEU limit, this reduction reaches 83%. These accomplishments represent major leaps forward, inverting commonly-held beliefs about the nature of nuclear technology, and enabling nuclear energy to be a viable source of carbon-free baseload power.







Zero point energy plays an important role in the stability of nanomagnets

So-called "zero-point energy" is a term familiar to some cinema lovers or series fans; in the fictional world of animated films such as "The Incredibles" or the TV series "Stargate Atlantis", it denotes a powerful and virtually inexhaustible energy source. Whether it could ever be used as such is arguable. Scientists at Jülich have now found out that it plays an important role in the stability of nanomagnets. These are of great technical interest for the magnetic storage of data, but so far have never been sufficiently stable. Researchers are now pointing the way to making it possible to produce nanomagnets with low zero-point energy and thus a higher degree of stability.

At about a nanometer, a billionth of a meter in size, quantum effects come into play. They make it harder, for example, to stabilize magnetic moments. Researchers worldwide are looking for suitable materials for magnetically stable nanomagnets so that data can be stored safely in the smallest of spaces.

Stable means that the magnetic moments point consistently in one of two preassigned directions. The direction then codes the bit. However, the magnetic moments of atoms are always in motion. The trigger here is the so-called zero-point energy, the energy that a quantum mechanical system possesses in its ground state at absolute zero temperature. "It makes the magnetic moments of atoms fluctuate even at the lowest of temperatures and thus works against the stability of the magnetic moments", explains Dr. Julen Ibañez-Azpiroz, from the Helmholtz Young Investigators Group "Functional Nanoscale Structure Probe and Simulation Laboratory" at the Peter Grünberg Institute and at the Institute for Advanced Simulation. When too much energy exists within the system, the magnetic moments turn over and the saved information is lost.

"Our calculations show that the zero-point magnetic fluctuations can even reach the same order of magnitude as the magnetic moment itself", reports Ibañez-Azpiroz. "This explains why the search for stable nanomagnets is so difficult". There is, however, also a counterpart to this, in the form of an energy barrier, which the moment must overcome as it rotates. The height of the barrier depends on the material it is made from.

The Jülich researchers investigated how quantum effects influence magnetic stability in detail using particularly promising materials from the class of transition metals. From their results they have established guidelines for the development of stable nanomagnets with low levels of quantum fluctuations. Their chart showing the suitability of different elements should serve as a construction kit for combining complex nanomagnets made from several different atoms.

Artistic depiction of the magnetic fluctuations (blue arrows) of a single atom (red ball) lying on a surface (gray balls).
Copyright: Reprinted with permission from Nano Lett., DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.6b01344. Copyright 2016. American Chemical Society


Nanoletters - Zero-Point Spin-Fluctuations of Single Adatoms

Microsoft and University of Washington researchers set record for DNA storage by storing 200 megabytes of data

Researchers at Microsoft and the University of Washington have reached an early but important milestone in DNA storage by storing a record 200 megabytes of data on the molecular strands.

Previously researchers at Harvard recorded 5.3 megabits of information in DNA in 2012. They did record many, many times at a density of 700 TB per gram.

The impressive part is not just how much data they were able to encode onto synthetic DNA and then decode. It’s also the space they were able to store it in.

Once encoded, the data occupied a spot in a test tube “much smaller than the tip of a pencil,” said Douglas Carmean, the partner architect at Microsoft overseeing the project.

Think of the amount of data in a big data center compressed into a few sugar cubes. Or all the publicly accessible data on the Internet slipped into a shoebox. That is the promise of DNA storage – once scientists are able to scale the technology and overcome a series of technical hurdles.

Digital data from more than 600 basic smartphones can be stored in the faint pink smear of DNA at the end of this test tube. Photo by Tara Brown Photography/University of Washington.

Defense Expenditures of NATO Countries 2016

NATO defense spending is pretty much the same in 2016 as it was in 2015. This is down form the 2009-2012 level, which was about 10% higher.

Most members are spending 0.9 to 1.2% of GDP on defense.

Estonia, Greece, Poland, and the UK spend from 2.0% to 2.38% of GDP.

The USA spends 3.61% of GDP in 2016 which is down from 5.29% of GDP in 2009.







DARPA making second TERN drone with goal of Predator scale airpower and recon on every ship

DARPA gave contractor Northrop Grumman just under US$18 million to build the second of its Tactically Exploited Reconnaissance Node UAV.

What DARPA wants out of the project is an unmanned drone that can launch from a ship, deliver weapons, and return, using the kind of space devoted to helicopters rather than needing an aircraft carrier.

The first deployments of TERN would be for reconnaissance, but eventually DARPA wants the craft to be able to carry 600 pounds' worth of ordnance with a range of about 900nm (1,670km). TERN must be able to land vertically on a rolling deck in Sea State 5 conditions, meaning waves between 2.5m to 4m tall.

It would decrease the US military’s reliance on expensive land-based air strips. A capacity to launch and retrieve aircraft on small ships would reduce the need for ground-based airstrips, which require significant dedicated infrastructure and resources. Land-based airstrips are also more vulnerable to enemy missiles, and frequently create tension​ with local populations.



China's middle class emerging as the world's consumption engine will be over half of all online shopping by 2018

Before the late 1990s China barely had a middle class. In 2000, 5 million households made between $11,500 and $43,000 (annual income of 75,000-280,000 yuan) a year in current dollars; today 225 million do. By 2020 the ranks of the Chinese middle class may well outnumber Europeans (50 million more households should become middle class). This stunning development has boosted growth around the world and transformed China. 80% of the chinese middle class own property.

Though China’s population as a whole is ageing, the middle class is getting younger. Nearly half of all people living in cities are under 35: they are eight times more likely than country-dwellers to be university graduates; and most are treasured and entitled only children, with no memory of a time when their country was poor.

Last year Chinese people took 120 million trips abroad, a fourfold rise in a decade. Only 4 percent of the Chinese population hold a passport, compared to 35 percent of Americans — but that 4 percent spends almost $200 billion overseas annually, more than any other nation, according to Goldman Sachs. China's urban middle class dominates tourism spending, and Goldman Sachs expects 12 percent of the population to hold a passport within a decade. This will likely mean a tripling of Chinese tourists and 5-10 times the overseas spending.

The Chinese government may be ruthless towards its critics, but at least it lets its people make money. So long as they keep out of politics, they can say and do pretty much what they want.

Scratch the surface, however, and China’s middle class is far from content. Its members are prosperous, but they feel insecure. They worry about who will look after them when they grow old; most couples have only one child, and the public safety-net is rudimentary. They fret that, if they fall ill, hospital bills may wipe out their wealth. If they own a home, as 80% of them do, they fear losing it; property rights in China can be overturned at the whim of a greedy official. They worry about their savings, too; banks offer derisory interest rates and alternative investments are regulated badly or not at all. No Ponzi scheme in history ensnared more investors than the one that collapsed in China in January.



Bloomberg has an article about What China's Middle Classes Really Earn — and Spend


July 07, 2016

20 times more sensitivity gravity sensor will transform oil discoveries

Neos and Lockheed Martin are building a unique gravity sensor, which is so advanced that it could find a 10-meter tall hill buried 1 km below the earth's surface. The technology could find an armored truck full of gold 20 m below the earth, purely by sensing the effect the bullion imparts on the local gravity field.

The new technology, called Full Tensor Gradiometry (FTG) Plus, has 20 times the sensitivity and 10 times greater bandwidth than current gravity gradiometers. Lockheed Martin is building the prototype specifically to detect natural resources from aircraft owned and operated by Neos.

"FTG Plus transforms what we can do and what we can see from the air," said Jonathan Faiman, chairman of Neos. "Remote sensing is going to dominate the exploration market, and with this sensor Neos will have the most advanced in the world. It will enable us to image resources cleaner, quicker and at a lower cost to our customers."


Lockheed Martin builds multiple versions of gravity gradiometer instruments, like those (top center) used in Full Tensor Gradiometer (FTG) systems.

USDA predicts global food insecurity will drop to 6% of world population from 17% today

US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has predicted that by 2026 6% of the world population will inadequate access to food which would be down from 17% today

USDA-ERS’s new International Food Security Assessment model is a demand-oriented framework that includes information on domestic prices, consumer responsiveness to changes in prices and incomes, and food quality differences by income groups. Given projections for lower food prices and rising incomes, food security for the 76 low- and middle-income countries included in this demand-oriented framework is expected to improve through 2026. The share of the population that is food insecure is projected to fall from 17 percent in 2016 to 6 percent in 2026. The number of food-insecure people is projected to fall markedly, 59 percent, to 251 million in 2026 which matches the decline in the intensity of food insecurity, at the aggregate level.

This roughly matches the decline in the distribution gap, the amount of food needed to allow all food-insecure people to reach the nutritional target of 2,100 calories per person per day. The similar rates of decline for the two measures indicates no worsening in the intensity of food insecurity, at the aggregate level, for those people considered to be food-insecure.

At the regional level, the greatest improvement in food security is projected for Asia, where the share of population food insecure falls from 13 to 2.4 percent and the number of food-insecure people falls 80 percent between 2016 and 2026. In 16 of the region’s 22 countries, less than 5 percent of the population is projected to be food insecure in 2026. The number of food insecure people in the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region is projected to fall by half over the next decade; the share of population that is food insecure falls from 14.6 percent in 2016 to 6.4 percent in 2026. Strong gains are expected throughout the region with the sole exception of Haiti, where improvement is expected to be relatively modest.

Sub-Saharan Africa’s (SSA) food security situation is also projected to improve, but at the slowest rate of all the regions. The number of food-insecure people is projected to fall by 36 percent and the share of population that is food insecure falls from 29 to 15 percent. In 29 of the 39 countries included in this region for this study, 20 percent or less of the population is projected to be food insecure in 2026. Improvement in food security is also projected for North Africa, which is the most food secure among all the regions in the study. The share of population food insecure falls from 2 percent in 2016 to 0.6 percent in 2026.





India, the most populous country in the region, dominates Asia’s improving outlook for food security, as grain consumption jumps 33 percent due to expectations of rapid per capita income growth of 6.8 percent per year. Recent economic growth in India was bolstered by declining oil prices and government investment in infrastructure.

The most food-insecure countries in the region are North Korea, Yemen, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan. Of this group, Afghanistan, starting from a relatively food-insecure position, is projected to realize the greatest improvement: from 38 percent of the population classified as food insecure in 2016 to less than 13 percent in 2026. The improvement is driven by the downward trend (1.2 percent per year) in the price of wheat, the staple crop. In addition, per capita income is projected to increase 3.2 percent per year. North Korea, while projected to improve, will remain the most food-insecure country in the region, with 30 percent of the population consuming below the nutritional target.

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