September 24, 2016

Hybrid material opens the door to new possibilities in graphene applications

Many scientists consider graphene to be a wonder material. Now, a team of researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has succeeded in linking graphene with another important chemical group, the porphyrins. Porphyrins are well-known because of their striking functional properties which for example play a central role in chlorophyll during photosynthesis. These new hybrid structures could also be used in the field of molecular electronics, catalysis or even as sensors.

Hardly any material is currently receiving as much attention in research as graphene. It is flexible, extremely thin and transparent, while at the same time it has very high tensile strength and conducts electricity, ideal prerequisites for a wide variety of application areas. However, using graphene to capture solar energy or as a gas sensor requires other specific properties as well. These properties can be achieved by fusing functional molecules with the carbon layer.

In previous research, scientists were primarily concerned with wet-chemical methods for attaching the molecules to the surface of the material. Together with his colleagues, Molecular Engineering at Functional Interfaces Professor Wilhelm Auwärter decided to take a different approach: They were able to link porphyrin molecules to graphene in a controlled manner in an ultra-high vacuum using the catalytic properties of a silver surface on which the graphene layer rested. When heated, the porphyrin molecules lose hydrogen atoms at their periphery and can thus form new bonds with the graphene edges.





Nature Chemistry - Fusing tetrapyrroles to graphene edges by surface-assisted covalent coupling


Journey to center of icy moons

Masahiro Ono, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Journey to the Center of Icy Moons; Robert Mueller, NASA Kennedy Space Center

NASA NIAC update starts at about 26 minutes in the video.






Electrostatic glider update

The environment near the surface of airless bodies (asteroids, comets, Moon) is electrically charged due to Sun's photoelectric bombardment. Charged dust is ever present, even at high altitudes (dust fountains), following the Sun's illumination. We envisage the global scale exploration of airless bodies by a gliding vehicle that experiences its own electrostatic lift and drag by its interaction with the naturally charged particle environment near the surface. This Electrostatic Glider (E-Glider) lifts off by extending thin, charged, appendages, which are also articulated to direct the levitation force in the most convenient direction for propulsion and maneuvering. It thus carries out its science mission by circumnavigating the small body, and it lands, wherever it is most convenient, by retracting the appendages or by thruster/anchor.






September 23, 2016

F35A caught fire prior to takeoff and others have crumbling insulation but what do you expect at $150 million each ?

An F-35A Joint Strike Fighter preparing for a training mission at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, caught fire just before takeoff, according to the Air Force.

The Air Force F-35A Lightning II, assigned to the 56th Fighter Wing, experienced what the service said was a “ground emergency” at about 12:20 p.m. eastern Friday at the base, according to a statement.

Seven of the stealthy fifth-generation fighters have been at Mountain Home since Sept. 10 to use the base’s range for surface-to-air training, the statement said.

The Air Force said the cause of fire is under investigation.

Last week, the Air Force ordered a temporary stand-down of 13 out of 104 F-35s in the fleet “due to the discovery of peeling and crumbling insulation in avionics cooling lines inside the fuel tanks,” according to a statement at the time.

Two additional aircraft, belonging to Norway and currently stationed at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, have also been affected.


These are on top of all of the software and other problems which would require F35s to run away from combat and have other planes come to its rescue, since it “will need support to locate and avoid modern threats, acquire targets, and engage formations of enemy fighter aircraft due to outstanding performance deficiencies and limited weapons carriage available (i.e., two bombs and two air-to-air missiles).”

The Block 3i aircraft lacks the ability to employ its cannon because the software needed for it is a Block 3F development and has yet to be completed.

Autonomous drones swarms of 10-40 drones will support marines and will only be required to ask humans - May I airstrike them now ?

US Marines could soon get a squadron of small autonomous drones constantly overhead, providing full surveillance and instant airstrikes on demand.

The squad on the ground will not need a dedicated drone operator; the whole aim of autonomy is not to add to their workload. Control will be via tablet or smartphone, or an earbud with an audio link “similar to the Apple Siri app.”

Under this arrangement, all the data processing is done onboard the drones. Rather than sending a constant stream of video footage requiring a full-time operator to review and interpret, the drones pick out items of interest and provide “immediate alerts and battlefield intelligence (to threatened squads).” The drones will also carry out Blue Force tracking so they can tell which individuals on the ground are friendly and which may be hostiles.

Autonomy means the drones do not need to be in constant communication with the operator or each other, and can work where communications are jammed or intermittent. In fact, the report says that communications “are required only when lethal force is a factor.” In other words, the drones only need a human in the loop to give the order to fire weapons. Apart from that they do everything themselves.

The drone swarm — the military prefer the term “squadron” — will initially comprise between 10 and 40 aircraft. These will be of several different types: Some will carry sensors (visual, thermal, or even acoustic are suggested), some will have jamming or communications payloads, others will carry weapons.

The current RQ-11 Raven tactical drone has an endurance of about 90 minutes; the new drones will stay in the air for 12 hours at a time.

Additional drones could be launched to join the squadron as the original members run low on juice, so it would be possible to maintain a continuous presence 24-7 if need be. According to the report, a three-person ground crew should be enough to launch, recover, refuel and re-arm the drones.



Drones will have a payload, between two and 12 kilos which means about a ten foot wingspan for 12 hour endurance.

AeroVironment Switchblade (aka kamikaze drone) has a warhead of less than half a kilo and has proven highly effective.

The Navy is known to be working on a range of prevision micro-munitions with laser or GPS guidance. Raytheon has already demonstrated its laser-guided Pike missile weighing less than a kilo which can hit precision targets from a mile away.

Quantum Computing AI-driven robotics so that one human worker can do the work of four

Kindred is using Quantum Computing AI-driven robotics so that one human worker can do the work of four.

Kindred has many of the top quantum computing and deep learning artificial intelligence experts in Canada on its team.

CEO is Geordie Rose who is CTO of Dwave Systems.
CTO is Suzanne Gildert, a former D-Wave researcher.
Graham Taylor is on the Kindred patent. Graham leads the Machine Learning Research Group at the University of Guelph. He studied at the University of Toronto under Geoff Hinton. Hinton works for Google and co-invented Boltzmann machines in 1985.

In the Kindred system an operator wears a head-mounted display and an exo-suit of sensors and actuators carries out everyday tasks. This is somewhat like motion capture for animation but instead it is biometric action data captured for AI analysis and learning.


Data from the suit and from other external sensors is then analyzed by computers in the cloud and used to control distant robots. The data could also be used to train machine learning algorithms that would allow the robots to imitate the operator’s actions autonomously.

Arm, hand, leg and body data is captured.
The suit has chemical and biometric sensors, and EEGs and MRI devices to capture brainwaves.

The robot is envisioned as a 1.2-meter tall humanoid, possibly covered with synthetic skin, with two (or more) arms ending in hands or grippers, and wheeled treads for locomotion. Cameras on its head would stream high-definition video to its simian operator, while other sensors might include infrared and ultraviolet imaging, GPS, touch, proximity and strain sensors, and even a radiation detector.

The system can also used for teleoperation. The system looks to go beyond prior simple feedback teleoperation to something more like Avatar and enhanced with AI automation.

Kindred will analyze the information using “deep hierarchical learning algorithms” such as a conditional deep belief network (CDBN) or a conditional restricted Boltzmann machine (CRBM), a type of powerful recurrent neural network.

Dwave Systems says that the operation of its system is “analogous to a … restricted Boltzmann machine,” and that its research team is “working to exploit the parallels between these architectures to substantially accelerate learning in deep, hierarchical neural networks.” In 2010, Geordie Rose co-authored a paper that claimed a quantum computer could perform some types of machine learning applications more efficiently than software on a traditional computer.

Kindred patent - A method of deriving autonomous control information involves receiving one or more sets of associated environment sensor information and device control instructions. Each set of associated environment sensor information and device control instructions includes environment sensor information representing an environment associated with an operator controllable device and associated device control instructions configured to cause the operator controllable device to simulate at least one action taken by at least one operator experiencing a representation of the environment generated from the environment sensor information. The method also involves deriving autonomous control information from the one or more sets of associated environment sensor information and device control instructions, the autonomous control information configured to facilitate generating autonomous device control signals from autonomous environment sensor information representing an environment associated with an autonomous device, the autonomous device control signals configured to cause the autonomous device to take at least one autonomous action.

105 page Kindred quantum AI robotics patent



Swedish researchers edit healthy human embryos

Scientists in Sweden have become the first to edit the genetic material in healthy human embryos.

Fredrik Lanner is attempting to edit genes in human embryos to learn more about how the genes regulate early embryonic development. He hopes the work could lead to new ways to treat infertility and prevent miscarriages. He also hopes to help scientists learn more about embryonic stem cells so they can someday use them to treat many diseases.

The fear is that Lanner's work could open the door to others attempting to use genetically modified embryos to make babies.

Lanner is initially planning only to study the modified embryos for the first seven days of their growth and would never let them develop past 14 days. The potential benefits could be enormous, he argues.


Fredrik Lanner (right) of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and his student Alvaro Plaza Reyes examine a magnified image of an human embryo that they used to attempt to create genetically modified healthy human embryos.
Rob Stein/NPR

2020 predictions Internet of things devices is around 20 to 30 billion

Gartner forecasted that 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, up 30 percent from 2015, and will reach 20.8 billion by 2020. In 2016, 5.5 million new things will get connected every day.

Gartner estimates that the Internet of Things (IoT) will support total services spending of $235 billion in 2016, up 22 percent from 2015.

The predicted number of devices in 2020 not including smartphones, tablets and computers are down to the 20-30 billion range from earlier predictions of 50 billion to 1 trillion.



Flexible optical non-volatile memory

A precisely matched combination of a semiconducting polymer and photoactive molecules allowed the production of a highly efficient optical memory element. It is configured to save and delete information using light and not an electrical circuit as usual. One cell composed of such memory elements can store up to 256 times more information than existing memory elements.

These cells use the advantages offered by organic electronics. They are relatively simple to manufacture, flexible and useful, for example, in the manufacture of wearable electronics, electronic paper and other advanced electronic devices based on the organic semiconducting materials.

Organic nanomaterials are attracting a great deal of interest for use in flexible electronic applications such as logic circuits, displays and solar cells. These technologies have already demonstrated good performances, but flexible organic memories are yet to deliver on all their promise in terms of volatility, operational voltage, write/erase speed, as well as the number of distinct attainable levels.

They report a multilevel non-volatile flexible optical memory thin-film transistor based on a blend of a reference polymer semiconductor, namely poly(3-hexylthiophene), and a photochromic diarylethene, switched with ultraviolet and green light irradiation. A three-terminal device featuring over 256 (8 bit storage) distinct current levels was fabricated, the memory states of which could be switched with 3 ns laser pulses. We also report robustness over 70 write–erase cycles and non-volatility exceeding 500 days. The device was implemented on a flexible polyethylene terephthalate substrate, validating the concept for integration into wearable electronics and smart nanodevices.

The molecules’ fast response to a 3-nanosecond laser pulse matches modern electronics. Another benefit of the DAE molecules is that the number of molecules that are switched in reaction to the light can be precisely controlled—a key requirement for improved data density in multi-level storage.

The devices they have fabricated so far are laboratory prototypes, and thus are relatively large at 1 square millimeter. The researchers are already looking at shrinking and encapsulating the memory. They are also looking at roll-to-roll manufacturing and ink-jet printing.



Nature Nanotechnology - Flexible non-volatile optical memory thin-film transistor device with over 256 distinct levels based on an organic bicomponent blend


Paris Climate Change Agreement on track to come into effect by the end of this year

1. The Paris Climate Change Agreement crossed the first of two thresholds required for it to enter into force after 31 governments yesterday formally submitted their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession.

It is expected to cross the second threshold - ratification by countries representing a total of 55% of global emissions - later this year.
Sixty countries representing 47.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions have now joined the agreement

A further 14 countries, representing 12.58% of emissions, have committed to joining the agreement in 2016, "virtually assuring" that it will enter into force this year

Entry into force will transform the climate action plans, or Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), submitted by nations in the run up to the Paris conference into Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Governments will also be obligated to take action to achieve the two temperature limits enshrined in the agreement.

Nuclear power will play a part in many countries' decarbonisation plans. World Nuclear Association director general Agneta Rising said last week the nuclear industry can achieve the momentum required to create an additional 1000 GWe of new capacity by 2050 needed to meet increasing global energy demand whilst ensuring climate goals can also be achieved.

The contribution that each individual country should make in order to achieve the worldwide goal are determined by all countries individually and called "nationally determined contributions" (NDCs). Article 3 requires them to be "ambitious", "represent a progression over time" and set "with the view to achieving the purpose of this Agreement". The contributions should be reported every five years and are to be registered by the UNFCCC Secretariat. Each further ambition should be more ambitious than the previous one, known as the principle of 'progression'. Countries can cooperate and pool their nationally determined contributions. The Intended Nationally Determined Contributions pledged during the 2015 Climate Change Conference serve—unless provided otherwise—as the initial Nationally determined contribution.

The level of NDCs set by each country will set that country's targets. However the 'contributions' themselves are not binding as a matter of international law, as they lack the specificity, normative character, or obligatory language necessary to create binding norms. Furthermore, there will be no mechanism to force a country to set a target in their NDC by a specific date and no enforcement if a set target in an NDC is not met.

Not part of the Paris Agreement (and not legally binding) is a plan to provide US$100 billion a year in aid to developing countries for implementing new procedures to minimize climate change with additional amounts to be provided in subsequent years.

In early March 2016, the Obama administration gave a $500 million grant to the "Green Climate Fund" as "the first chunk of a $3 billion commitment made at the Paris climate talks

2. The restart of Japan's nuclear power reactors is "critical" to the success of the country's energy policy, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Japan's idling of its entire fleet of nuclear power plants after the accident left a gap of some 30% in electricity supply. This gap has been filled with expensive, imported fossil fuels. By the end of 2013, import dependence had risen to 94% from 80% in 2010. Meanwhile, annual emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) from power generation had increased by 110 million tonnes. Electricity prices increased by 16% for households and 25% for industry. By the end of 2015, just two reactors had been restarted and accounted for 0.9% of Japan's electricity generation that year, compared with nuclear's share of 25.3% in 2010.

To date, five Japanese reactors have been given final approval to restart, although two of these have remained offline due to a legal challenge. Another 20 reactors are moving through the restart process, which has been prioritized to bring on the most-needed reactors first, in the localities and prefectures more supportive of restart.

In April 2014, the government adopted the fourth Strategic Energy Plan (SEP) and, based on that plan, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry prepared the 2015 Long-Term Energy Supply and Demand Outlook to 2030, which was adopted in July 2015. This outlook assumes Japan's nuclear generating capacity will partially be restored, reaching 20%-22% of electricity supply by 2030. The country also announced plans in late 2015 to reduce CO2 emissions by 26% from 2013 to 2030.


Advanced Candu reactors for China will be able to use recycled uranium from light water reactors

Canada and China have agreed to form a new joint venture to develop to market and construct the Advanced Fuel Candu Reactor (AFCR) in China. The deal was signed by Canada's SNC-Lavalin, China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and Shanghai Electric. The reactor reuses used fuel from light water reactors.

The joint venture company is expected to be registered in mid-2017. This would be followed by the formation of two design centres - one in Canada and the other in China - to complete the AFCR technology. SNC-Lavalin said this could lead to the construction of the world's first two ACFR units in China and "possible subsequent builds in China and around the world".

The AFCR is described as "a 700 MW Class Generation III reactor based on the highly successful Candu 6 and Enhanced Candu 6 (EC6) reactors with a number of adaptations to meet the latest Canadian and international standards." The reactor features a heavy-water moderator and heavy-water coolant in a pressure tube design and can use both recycled uranium and thorium as fuel. Candu reactors can be refueled online.
Units 1 and 2 of the Qinshan Phase III nuclear power plant in China use the Candu 6 pressurized heavy water reactor technology, with Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) being the main contractor of the project on a turnkey basis.

The Candu 6 reactors should be modified to become full AFCRs.

The AFCR efficiently uses RU (recycled Uranium) from the spent fuel of LWR (light water reactors)

Current CANDU reactors, as a result of favorable reactor core physics characteristics and on-power fuelling, use approximately 30% less natural uranium per each kilowatt-hour of electricity as compared to PWR designs.

The AFCR uses advanced fuels specifically direct use of recycled uranium (DRU) fuel or low enriched uranium/thorium (LEU/Th) fuel. DRU fuel represents a gradual transition from NU-based fuels that are used in current CANDU 6 reactors. DRU fuel is similar to the already proven natural uranium equivalent (NUE) fuel in that it is composed of RU, from reprocessed pressurized water reactor (PWR) spent fuel but has a slightly higher fissile content (contains about 0.95%wt. 235U) than the NUE fuel.

The AFCR, although specifically designed for DRU and LEU/Th fuels, retains the ability to easily adapt to various fuel cycle options, such as NU, NUE and Pu/Th.

The DRU fuel is recycled uranium (RU) based fuel, arranged in a 43-element CANFLEX fuel bundle. The nominal enrichment of the RU is 0.95 wt% 235U to achieve a target burnup of 10,000 MWd/tHE.

The low-enriched uranium (LEU) and thorium (Th) fuel is a heterogeneous combination of the constituent fuels arranged in a 43-element CANFLEX fuel bundle. The fuel is designed to achieve a target burnup of 20,000 MWd/tHE.

Adopting alternative fuel cycles such as NUE, DRU, and LEU/Th significantly improves the uranium utilization rates while meeting nuclear power generation requirements. In fact, an AFCR twin-unit plant using DRU fuel would save approximately 10,000 tonnes of natural uranium over its 60-year design life.

AFCR Generation III enhancements include:
•  Extended plant life of 60 years
•  Increased operating and safety margins
•  Advanced fuel design
•  Robust design against internal and external events
•  Inherent accident resistance
•  Enhanced safety features for extended station blackout
•  Enhanced core damage prevention features and severe accident response
•  Advanced fire protection system

Reactivity control in the AFCR is a triple layer of defence that ensures reactor shutdown at all times (no loss of shutdown event)




Robot will finally automate sewing in the garment industry

A new robot by Sewbo could automate the feeding of fabric into sewing machines. Zornow has created a process by which a robotic arm guides chemically stiffened pieces of fabric through a commercial sewing machine.

Sewbo has used an industrial robot to sew together a T-shirt, achieving the long-sought goal of automation for garment production. Sewbo’s technology will allow manufacturers to create higher-quality clothing at lower costs. It will shorten supply chains and lessen the long lead times that hamper the fashion and apparel industries, helping to reduce the complexity of today’s intricate global supply network.

Despite widespread use in other industries, automation has made little progress in clothing manufacturing due to the difficulties robots face when trying to manipulate limp, flexible fabrics.

Sewbo avoids these hurdles by temporarily stiffening fabrics, allowing off-the-shelf industrial robots to easily build garments from rigid cloth, just as if they were working with sheet metal. The fabric panels can be easily molded and welded before being permanently sewn together.

The water-soluble stiffener is removed at the end of the manufacturing process with a simple rinse in hot water, leaving a soft, fully assembled piece of clothing. The stiffener can then be recovered for reuse.

Machines already play a large part in clothing manufacturing. Fabrics can be woven by machines, and then cut into pieces by computer-controlled cutting machines. There are also a few small items like dress shirt collars and cuffs that can be machine-sewn, according to North Carolina State University textiles and apparel researcher Cynthia Istook. But humans still have to put all of the pieces of fabric together, guide them through a sewing machine, and then pass them onto the next assembly line station.




Robot Sewing Demonstration from Sewbo, Inc. from Jon Zornow on Vimeo.

September 22, 2016

China claims to have successfully developed quantum radar and can easily detect stealth planes

The 14th Institute of China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC) has successfully developed China's first quantum radar system last month, Xinhua News Agency reported. The system, which is based on the technology of single photon detection, counts as yet another major milestone for China in quantum research.

The quantum radar system was developed by the Intelligent Perception Technology Laboratory of the 14th Institute of CETC. Researchers completed experiments on quantum detection and target scattering characterization. In the target detection experiment, conducted in a real atmospheric environment, the detection ability of the system was proven to be over 100 kilometers.

According to a Sept. 8 report by Mingbao Daily, the theoretical basis of the quantum radar is that an object will change its quantum properties after receiving photonic signals. The quantum radar can easily detect stealth aircraft and is highly resistant to becoming jammed. Military experts have stated that once a stealth aircraft is located by the radar, it stands little chance to escape the strikes of air defense missiles.

The radar can allegedly detect objects at range of up to 62 miles.

There has been scientific analysis around quantum radar

A quantum radar device could detect microwave reflections that would normally be swamped by the noisy background radiation. It would contain two devices capable of interconverting visible light with microwaves, a capability that exists with current technology. First the top converter couples two entangled beams, a microwave one (red wavy line) and a visible one (red straight line); then the microwave reflection is converted to visible light that interferes with the initial visible beam in the detector.

Quantum entanglement scheme previously demonstrated for visible photons into the microwave regime could boost radar performance.

Short range radar can detect stealth aircraft but not with very good accuracy Traditional limitation of VHF and UHF-band radars is that their pulse width is long and they have a low pulse repetition frequency [PRF]—which means such systems are poor at accurately determining range. As Mike Pietrucha, a former Air Force an electronic warfare officer who flew on the McDonnell Douglas F-4G Wild Weasel and Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle once described to me, a pulse width of twenty microseconds yields a pulse that is roughly 19,600 ft long—range resolution is half the length of that pulse. That means that range can’t be determined accurately within 10,000 feet. Furthermore, two targets near one another can’t be distinguished as separate contacts.

Signal processing partially solved the range resolution problem as early as in the 1970s. The key is a process called frequency modulation on pulse, which is used to compress a radar pulse. The advantage of using pulse compression is that with a twenty-microsecond pulse, the range resolution is reduced to about 180 feet or so.

China Experimenting With Catapult Launched Carrier Aircraft

China has stepped up development of Catapult-Assisted Take-Off But Arrested Recovery (CATOBAR) operations for its carriers, with the appearance of a Shenyang J-15 Flying Shark carrier-borne fighter with CATOBAR apparatus and continued construction of supporting land-based infrastructure.

In mid-September photos surfaced online of a J-15 with what appears to be a catapult launch bar on its nose wheel. These are used to couple the aircraft to the catapult of the carrier during the launch sequence, and would be the latest indication that China’s rumored third aircraft carrier will utilize the CATOBAR system of aircraft launch and recovery.

It is not clear whether this aircraft is a new-build prototype for the CATOBAR J-15, or one of the six original J-15 prototypes modified with a new nose wheel. Also noteworthy is that this J-15 is powered by the indigenous Shenyang-Liming WS-10 Taihang turbofan. Although already in widespread use with China’s land-based J-11 fighters, the Chinese engine has never gone to sea during trials and operations on China’s current sole aircraft carrier, Liaoning.




All production J-15s have so far been powered with the Russian AL-31 turbofans, and although some of the six J-15 prototypes have been seen flying with the WS-10, these aircraft were re-engined with AL-31s when they took part in the shipboard trials since they began in 2012.

Developing its own CATOBAR system, and fitting it on China’s future aircraft carriers will enable the PLAN to operate a well-rounded carrier air wing that includes force multipliers such as Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft, which tend to be heavier and use less-powerful, but more efficient engines.

US Marines want laser armed version of VTOL Xplane

LightningStrike is the first aircraft in history designed to demonstrate the following:

  • Distributed hybrid-electric propulsion ducted fans
  • Innovative synchronous electric-drive system
  • Both tilt wing and canard for vertical take-off and landing
  • High efficiency in both hover and high-speed forward flight

Aurora Flight Sciences was recently awarded a six-month $2.9M contract from NASA for continued development of the company’s D8 aircraft, an ultraefficient subsonic commercial airliner. The contract is provided to begin the process of defining X-Plane requirements and associated research needed to enable the D8 aircraft.

The D8 is a commercial aircraft concept that enables substantial efficiency improvements within the next decade; by entry into service the D8 will be over 50% more fuel efficient than current best-in-class aircraft while simultaneously reducing airline operating costs.

The US Marines are interested in a laser armed version of an Aurora drone. The LightningStrike uses a hybrid electric distributed propulsion system. A Rolls-Royce AE 1107C turboshaft engine drives three Honeywell generators, which produce a total of three megawatts of electrical power.

It has excess power for other uses while the aircraft is in cruise mode the lift fans only use one megawatt.



China's debt problem is currently estimated at $2 trillion

Bad debts in the Chinese banking system are ten times higher than officially admitted, and rescue costs could reach a third of GDP within two years if the authorities let the crisis fester, Fitch Ratings has warned.

China debt and banking problem is described at the Telegraph UK from a Fitch Ratings report

The agency said the rate of non-performing loans (NPLs) has reached between 15pc and 21pc and is rising fast as the country delays serious reform, relying instead on a fresh burst of credit to put off the day of reckoning.

It would cost up to $2.1 trillion to clean up this toxic legacy even if the state acted today, and much of this would inevitably land in the lap of the government.

The damage eclipses losses during the global financial crisis in Britain and the US, where the direct costs of bank rescues were roughly 8pc of GDP. It would be closer to the trauma suffered by Ireland, Greece, and Cyprus when their banking systems collapsed, but on a vastly greater scale.

Michael Pettis has been looking at China's debt situation for many years. Pettis says, "The conclusion is inexorable. Beijing must find a way of generating domestic demand without causing China’s debt burden to surge, which basically means it must rebalance the economy with much faster household income growth than it has managed in the recent past, and it must begin aggressively writing down overvalued assets and bad debt to the tune of as much as 25-50% of GDP without causing financial distress costs to soar. Everything else is just froth.

Pettis calculated that if we believe debt is equal to 240% of GDP, and is growing at 15-16% annually, and that debt-servicing capacity is growing at the same speed as GDP (6.5-7.0%), for China to reach the point at which debt-servicing costs rise in line with debt-servicing capacity Beijing’s reforms must deliver an improvement in productivity that either:

Causes each unit of new debt to generate more than 5-7 times as much GDP growth as it does now, or
Causes all of the assets backed by the total stock of debt (which we assume to be equal to 240% of GDP) to generate 25-35% more GDP growth than they do now.




Credit reached 243pc of GDP by the end on last year, double the level in 2008. Banking system assets have grown by $21 trillion over that time, 1.3 times greater than the entire US commercial banking nexus.

Fitch estimates that the ratio will jump to 253pc this year, and 261pc next year.

The credit addiction is becoming increasingly dangerous for two reasons. The efficiency of credit has collapsed. Fitch estimates that each new yuan of credit generates just 0.3 yuan of economic growth, down from 0.8 before the Lehman crisis.



Wave Computing has 30X faster deep learning training and 10-100X better performance

Wave Computing was founded with the vision of delivering deep learning computers with game-changing computational performance and energy efficiency. Their objective is to enable businesses to analyze complex data in real-time with more accurate results through a fluid discovery and improvement in Deep Neural Network (DNN) development and training with our family of computers.

Wave developed a novel Dataflow Processing Unit (DPU) architecture as part of a strategy to natively support a new wave of dataflow model based deep learning frameworks such as Google’s TensorFlow and Microsoft’s CNTK.

Wave’s family of deep learning computers achieves its best-in-class DNN training and inference performance through its native support of dataflow model based deep learning frameworks, its CPU-less high bandwidth shared memory architecture, and DPU’s 16,000+ parallel processing elements power and massive memory bandwidth. This results in a family of computers that delivers more than 10x improvement in compute performance for DNN training and more than 100x improvement in performance for DNN inference.

They have a custom chip for accelerating the TensorFlow algorithm Google developed and designed its own ASIC to run.




Singularity University going global with about 50 international chapters #gsummit

Singularity University is a Silicon Valley think tank that offers educational programs and a business incubator. It was founded in 2008 by Peter Diamandis and Ray Kurzweil at the NASA Menlo Park in California. The focus is on exponential technology and creating companies that positively impact a billion people.

Singularity University is going global by opening up international chapters headed up by alumni of the Singularity education and entrepreneurship programs.

Singularity University will be supporting and guiding the efforts in each chapter.

SingularityU Community Chapters are a first step towards supporting SingularityU innovation ecosystems. They build community. With a strong community foundation, there are opportunities to do much more to support innovation in the region. Chapters facilitate networking through local and regional events, host competitions, welcome new alumni, and enable meaningful connections and activities. Each Chapter is created by alumni volunteers. A list of current SingularityU Chapters can be found here. In 2016, local chapters are organizing themselves within the new framework of SingularityU Global. Many are launching this year, hosting Global Impact Challenges, Salons and other events.

Why is Singularity University expanding globally ?
Real change happens on a local level. Singularity University believes in the power of our alumni community to change the world.

SingularityU Global was created to support its alumni community in carrying out the Singularity University mission by creating a country-wide strategy to deliver local products, programs, innovation hubs, campuses and accelerators. We are trusting our alumni to leverage, build and grow the SingularityU Global brand so that together we can find solutions and solve the world’s global grand challenge.

About 50 global chapters


European space telescope survey finds 400 million more stars in a section of the milky way previously known to have 700 million star

The Milky Way has been mapped in greater detail than ever before. And a first quick look indicates that our home galaxy is larger in extent than scientists had thought before, says Gisella Clementini, an astronomer at the Astronomical Observatory of Bologna in Italy.

Today, at the European Space Astronomy Centre in Madrid, the European Space Agency (ESA) released the first data from its €750 million Gaia star-mapping mission. The new catalog contains sky positions for 1.1 billion stars, 400 million of which have never been seen before. For many stars, the positional accuracy is 300 microarcseconds—the width of a human hair, seen from a distance of 30 kilometers—positions that will help astronomers better determine the 3D layout of the galaxy. “This is far better than anything we’ve ever had before,” says project scientist Timo Prusti of ESA’s science and technology center ESTEC in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. “It’s a milestone.”

A second data release, planned for late 2017, will include even more accurate positions—in some cases up to 10 microarcseconds, or a human hair at a distance of 1000 kilometers. The second release will also contain distances and motions for all 1.1 billion stars, says astronomer Anthony Brown of Leiden University in the Netherlands, who chairs a 450-member consortium of Gaia data analysts. In addition, Gaia will discover tens of thousands of new star clusters in the Milky Way, and yield accurate positional data for about a million remote galaxies. “Future facilities like the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, the James Webb Space Telescope, and ESA’s Euclid satellite, will gratefully exploit the Gaia catalog,” Brown says.

The Milky Way is a barred spiral galaxy that has a diameter usually considered to be about 100,000–120,000 light-years but may be 150,000–180,000 light-years. The Milky Way has been estimated to contain 100–400 billion stars. The new survey would suggest the higher end of size and numbers of stars is likely correct.



In the future, Gaia is also expected to discover new asteroids in our solar system and thousands of Jupiter-like planets orbiting other stars.

Astronomers dream of an infrared counterpart to Gaia, which would be able to peer through the Milky Way’s dust cloud into its very center, and also would excel at detecting and measuring faint red and brown dwarf stars in the solar neighborhood.



US will not numerically match China's submarines at $2.7-4 billion a piece

The National Interest discusses the US Navy concern about matching the number of Chinese and Russian submarines.

The US currently has a fleet of 53 attack submarines—which is technically in excess of its 48-boat requirement—as the Russian undersea force reemerges from its post-Cold War dénouement and the Chinese fleet grows rapidly. Worse still, the Navy’s submarine force is expected to shrink to only 41 attack boats in 2029. Indeed, from Congressional testimony, it is apparent that the Navy is likely to raise its requirements for the number of attack submarines in the fleet.

To eventually rebuild to just the minimum 48-boat requirement will take decades at the current build rate. The fleet will not reach a sustained 48 submarine level until 2042. The Navy—using a plan called Submarine Unified Build Strategy (SUBS)—hopes to save enough money by generating efficiencies to continue to build two Virginia-class SSNs per year even as construction starts on the first Ohio Replacement Program (soon to be formally named the Columbia-class) SSBN in fiscal year 2021. “The current program of record says that the Navy will build two submarines every year,” Jabaley said. “If there is no Ohio Replacement that year, then it’s two Virginias. If there is an Ohio Replacement that year, then it’s one Ohio Replacement and one Virginia.”


The Ohio replacement submarines will cost about $4 billion each if they do not end up costing way over their budget.


The new Virginia class submarines builds are about $2.7 billion each.

So getting back to 48 submarine navy will take until the 2030s or 2040s if the US can increase the submarine build rate from 2 per year to 3 subs per year. The US built about one submarine was built per year from 1990-2011.

If the USA and China become Economic and Technological peers then military parity will evolve over the next decade or two

The USA had a decades long cold war against the Soviet Union. The USA was always more than 1.6 times as large economically compared to the Soviet Union.

In 1961, a new redenominated Soviet ruble was issued. It maintained exchange parity with the Pound Sterling until the dissolution of the USSR in 1991. After a new leadership, headed by Leonid Brezhnev, had come to power, attempts were made to revitalize the economy through economic reform. Starting in 1965, enterprises and organizations were made to rely on economic methods of profitable production, rather than follow orders from the state administration. By 1970, the Soviet economy had reached its zenith and was estimated at about 60 percent of the size of the USA in terms of the estimated commodities (like steel and coal). In 1989, the official GDP of the Soviet Union was $2,500 Billion while the GDP of the United States was $4,862 Billion

The USA was the stronger country but the Soviets were competitive with US military technology.



The collapse of the Soviet Union and the US introduction of precision weapons enabled the US to have a vast military dominance from 1990 to today.



China is still behind the USA in several technological areas. In particular with large airplane engines and with aircraft carriers.

However, the gap is closing and China is competitive with the United States on overall scientific research budgets.

Europe was able to mount a program to create Airbus and become competitive with Boeing and has continued to match Boeing airplane technology.

There is no reason to think that the US will be able to create a sustainable military dominance like the 1990 to 2015 period while China is an economic and scientific research peer.

Any leads will be temporary and copied by the other.


China is still projected to average 4-6.5% GDP growth for the next decade while the USA is projected to be at 1-3% growth.

China has surpassed the USA on purchasing power GDP and will likely surpass the USA on nominal GDP in the 2025-2030 timeframe.



Nuclear energy costs in China, USA and Europe

The IEA-NEA Nuclear Energy Roadmap 2015 estimates China’s average overnight costs of approximately USD 3,500/kW are more than a third less than that in the EU of USD 5,500/kW. Costs in the US are about 10% lower than the EU, but still 30% higher than in China and India, and 25% above South Korea

In its main scenario, 2050 assumptions for overnight costs of nuclear in the United States and European Union are estimated to decline somewhat, reaching levels closer to those in the Republic of Korea, while costs in Asia are assumed to remain flat.In China it is estimated that building two identical 1000 MWe reactors on a site can result in a 15% reduction in the cost per kW compared with that of a single reactor







UK Stable Molten Salt Reactor Design

The Stable Salt Reactor is a proposed molten salt reactor project in the UK that could be three times cheaper than a conventional nuclear reactor.

Ian Scott came out of retirement in 2013 to found Moltex Energy LLP.

Stable Salt Reactors build on the Fundamental safety and simplicity of breakthrough molten salt fuel in standard nuclear fuel Essentially tubes.
  • The fuel salt is Held in vented tubes. Venting is safe in our reactors Because the dangerous fission products form steady compounds, not gases.
  • The tubes are bundled into fuel assemblies similar to Those in a conventional PWR. These Are Held in the support structure qui forms the reactor modules.
  • The tank is filled with a molten salt coolant safe, qui is not pressurized like gas or water coolants in today's power reactors and not violently reactive with air and water like sodium in today's Fast Breeder reactors. A second similar salt coolant system takes heat from the primary coolant salt to steam generators Kept well away from the reactor.
  • Refuelling is simple: Fuel assemblies are simply Moved sideways out of the core and REPLACED with fresh fuel assemblies. This results in a near on-line refueling process.
  • The Entire building is easy, with no high pressure systems, FEW moving parts, and no Pressure Vessel Needing specialist foundries.
  • The reactor is cooled by natural air Continuously flow, complete security Giving contre Overheating year in accident situations


Essentially, the reactor core of the Stable Salt Reactor is closed cooking pan, only half of it filled with molten salt coolant. The liquid fuel is not mixed with the larger amount of molten salt, but contained in an array of tubes in the middle (red). The blue tubes in the outer region are the boiler tubes that take the heat out of the reactor core. These tubes and the core, separated by a ring of ‘bafflers’ that create a flow path, cooperate in creating a convection flow that does not need additional pumping.

Scott figures $30 million will buy his design the time it needs to win first-stage regulatory approval. The Moltex reactor builds off molten-salt technologies developed at the U.S. Oak Ridge National Laboratory that were abandoned because they couldn’t be used militarily.

Unlike in conventional reactors, the Moltex unit doesn’t need a high-pressure containment vessel. That makes it much simpler and cheaper to build, according to Jon Brooking, technical manager at WS Atkins Plc, which calculated that some capital costs of building the plant would be in the range of 909 pounds ($1,200) to 2,515 pounds for each kilowatt of capacity, with the most likely cost being 1,414 pounds.

Moltex estimated its stable salt reactor could provide energy at a levelized cost of 29 pounds a megawatt-hour -- less than a third of the 125 pounds a megawatt-hour that Electricite de France’s new plant at Hinkley Point will cost, according to data compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Two versions of Stable Salt Reactor are under development today, each making a different contribution to a clean, low cost and sustainable low carbon energy system.

Global Workhorse Reactor and Waste Fuelled Fast Reactor

Low enriched uranium fuel
Cheap and safe enough for global rollout
Future versions can breed Their Own fuel from abundant thorium

Consumes plutonium and actinides from the Global Workhorse SSR and from today's solid fueled reactors
Waste less radioactive than uranium ore after-300 years
Simplified patented technology reprocessing economically





The Rich do not need genetic enhancement for unfair advantages

Embryonic gene editing holds the promise of dramatically enhancing people by making them healthier and more resistant to disease throughout their lives. It also has the potential to make them much smarter, stronger and faster.

Despite these possible benefits, Americans are wary of editing embryos, even if the focus is on using the technology solely to reduce their children’s risk of serious disease, according to a Pew Research Center survey about the broader field of “human enhancement.”

The poll shows a divided public, with half (50%) saying they would not want to use gene editing to lower their own baby’s chances of developing a major ailment and roughly the same share (48%) saying they would use the new technology in this context.



Will technology leave the poor further behind while the rich become immortal superhumans, focus group participants wondered.

“I just started to think about ‘I, Robot’ and those type of movies where you have people out of control just because they [have] all these superpowers all of a sudden,” a 38-year-old black man in Baltimore told Pew.

There was a Washington Post article Poor kids who do everything right do not do better than rich kids who do everything wrong

Inequality starts in the crib. Rich parents can afford to spend more time and money on their kids, and that gap has only grown the past few decades. Indeed, economists Greg Duncan and Richard Murnane calculate that, between 1972 and 2006, high-income parents increased their spending on "enrichment activities" for their children by 151 percent in inflation-adjusted terms, compared to 57 percent for low-income parents.


The most ambitious study of educational inequality to date, Whither Opportunity? analyzes how social and economic conditions surrounding schools affect school performance and children’s educational achievement. The book shows that from earliest childhood, parental investments in children’s learning affect reading, math, and other attainments later in life. Contributor Meredith Phillip finds that between birth and age six, wealthier children will have spent as many as 1,300 more hours than poor children on child enrichment activities such as music lessons, travel, and summer camp. Greg Duncan, George Farkas, and Katherine Magnuson demonstrate that a child from a poor family is two to four times as likely as a child from an affluent family to have classmates with low skills and behavior problems – attributes which have a negative effect on the learning of their fellow students. As a result of such disparities, contributor Sean Reardon finds that the gap between rich and poor children’s math and reading achievement scores is now much larger than it was fifty years ago

Even poor kids who do everything right don't do much better than rich kids who do everything wrong. Advantages and disadvantages, in other words, tend to perpetuate themselves. A paper from Richard Reeves and Isabel Sawhill, presented at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston's annual conference explains the research.


US Senate Committee approves $19.5 billion 2017 budget for NASA

Members of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee passed a bipartisan bill authorizing $19.5 billion for NASA. The bill includes wording to have a crewed Mars mission by 2041. It also requires NASA to send astronauts on private rockets to the International Space Station from U.S. soil — regardless of shifting political winds.

The $19.5 billion authorized for fiscal 2017 under the NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2016 is the same amount approved by House appropriators and slightly more than the $19.3 billion approved by members of the Senate Appropriations Committee. It's not clear when the Senate bill will reach the floor, where it's expected to pass.

Under the Senate bill, NASA would have an official goal of sending a crewed mission to Mars within the next 25 years, the first time a trip to the Red Planet would be mandated by law.



• Direct NASA to continue working on the Space Launch System and Orion multi-purpose vehicle that are the linchpins of a planned mission to send astronauts to Mars by the 2030s. The bill includes specific milestones for an uncrewed exploration mission by 2018 and a crewed exploration mission by 2021.

• Require development of an advanced space suit to protect astronauts on a Mars mission.

• Continue development of the Commercial Crew Program designed to send astronauts to the space station — no later than 2018 — on private rockets launched from U.S. soil.

• Expand the full use and life of the space station through 2024 while laying the foundation for use through 2028.

• Allow greater opportunities for aerospace companies to conduct business in Low Earth Orbit

September 21, 2016

General Atomics looks to adopt DARPA's Gremlin Drone launch from C-130 effort to MQ-9 Reaper

General Atomics Aeronautical displayed its proposal for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA's) Gremlin programme, to develop the ability to air launch and air recover a small unmanned aircraft system (SUAS) from a C-130 transport aircraft, at the annual Air Force Association (AFA) symposium.

General Atomics Aeronautical showed its proposal for DARPA's Gremlin effort, to develop a small UAS that can be air-launched and air-recovered by a C-130 transport aircraft, at AFA 2016. (IHS/Geoff Fein)




Mach Effect Propulsion Theory Updates

Theory of a Mach Effect Thruster I

The Mach Effect Thruster (MET) is a propellant—less space drive which uses Mach’s principle to produce thrust in an accelerating material which is undergoing mass—energy fluctuations. Mach’s principle is a statement that the inertia of a body is the result of the gravitational interaction of the body with the rest of the mass-energy in the universe. The MET device uses electric power of 100 - 200 Watts to operate. The thrust produced by these devices, at the present time, are small on the order of a few micro-Newtons. Researchers give a physical description of the MET device and apparatus for measuring thrusts. Next they explain the basic theory behind the device which involves gravitation and advanced waves to incorporate instantaneous action at a distance. The advanced wave concept is a means to conserve momentum of the system with the universe. There is no momentun violation in this theory. We briefly review absorber theory by summarizing Dirac, Wheeler-Feynman and Hoyle-Narlikar (HN). They show how Woodward’s mass fluctuation formula can be derived from first principles using the HN-theory which is a fully Machian version of Einstein’s relativity. HN-theory reduces to Einstein’s field equations in the limit of smooth fluid distribution of matter and a simple coordinate transformation.

It is shown that if Mach’s Principle is taken seriously, and the inertia of a body can be described as the interaction of the body with the rest of the universe, then the advanced and retarded fields transmitted between the particle and the universe can be used to explain the thrust observed in the Mach Effect drive experiments. This idea was originally put forward by one of the authors, James Woodward. The idea of inertia being a gravitational effect was first postulated by Einstein. In fact Mach’s principle was the foundation on which Einstein’s general relativity was based


Theory of a Mach Effect Thruster II

According to Einstein, General Relativity contains the essence of Mach’s ideas. Mach’s principle can be summarized by stating that the inertia of a body is determined by the rest of the mass-energy content of the universe. Inertia here arises from mass-energy there. The latter, was a statement made by John Wheeler in his 1995 book, Gravitation and Inertia, coauthored by Ciufolini. Einstein believed that to be fully Machian, gravity would need a radiative component, an action-at-a-distance character, so that gravitational influences on a body from far away could be felt immediately. In 1960’s, Hoyle and Narlikar (HN) developed such a theory which was a gravitational version of the Absorber theory derived by Wheeler-Feynman for classical electrodynamics and later expanded upon by Davies and Narlikar for quantum electrodynamics. The HN-field equation has the same type of mass fluctuation terms as in the Woodward Mach effect thruster theory. The force equation, used to predict the thrust in our device, can be derived from the mass fluctuation. We outline a new method for deriving the force equation. We present new experimental tests of the thruster to show that the thrust seen in our device is not due to either heating or Dean Drive effects. Successful replications have been performed by groups in Austria and Canada, but their work is still pending in the peer review literature.

New Theoretical Results for the Mach Effect Thruster

Einstein believed that his general relativity theory contained the essence of Mach's ideas. That a mass is determined by the rest of the mass-energy content of the universe. Inertia here arises from mass-energy there. The latter, an opinion shared by John Wheeler. Einstein believed that to be fully Machian, gravity would need a radiative component, an action-at-a-distance character, so that gravitational influences from far away could be felt immediately by a particle. Hoyle and Narlikar in the 1960's developed such a theory which was a gravitational version of the Absorber theory derived by Wheeler–Feynman for classical electrodynamics. Hawking in 1965 showed that the mass, from the advanced wave integral in the Hoyle Narlikar theory, was divergent. It can be shown that the advanced wave integral is finite when the cosmic event horizon, due to the acceleration of the universe, is taken into consideration. The HN-theory is directly related to the mass fluctuation equations in the Woodward Mach effect thruster theory. The connection between the theories will be made clear, also presented is new experimental data from the past 6 months.

Mach’s Principle, Action at a Distance and Cosmology

Hoyle and Narlikar (HN) in the 1960’s developed a theory of gravitation which was completely Machian and used both retarded and advanced waves to communicate gravitational influence between particles. The advanced waves, which travel backward in time, are difficult to visualize and although they are mathematically allowed by relativistic wave equations, they never really caught on. The HN theory reduced to Einstein’s theory of gravity in the smooth fluid approximation and a transformation into the rest frame of the fluid. Hawking in 1965 pointed out a possible flaw in the theory. This involved integrating out into the distant future to account for all the advanced waves which might influence the mass of a particle here and now. Hawking used infinity as his upper time limit and showed the integral was divergent. We point out that since the universe is known to be expanding, and accelerating, the upper limit in the advanced wave time integral should not be infinite but is bounded by the Cosmic Event Horizon. This event horizon He represents a barrier between future events that can be observed and those which cannot. We show that the advanced wave integral is finite when H c e , is used as the upper limit of the advanced wave integral. Hawking’s objection is no longer valid and the HN theory becomes a working theory once again

Mach Effect Thrusters would not violate over unity energy production

Mach Effect Thrusters (Mets) And “Over-Unity” Energy Production

Woodward and Hearn routinely hear a criticism of METs based upon an argument that claims: if a MET is operated at constant power input for a sufficiently long time, it will acquire enough kinetic energy to exceed the total input energy of operation. Assuming this argument to be correct, critics assert that METs violate energy conservation as the ratio of the acquired kinetic energy to total input energy exceeds “unity.”

Contrary to this “over-unity” assumption, this argument is based on flawed physics and, consequently, wrong. The fact that the argument applies to all simple mechanical systems (in addition to METs) should have alerted critics to their mistake. But it didn’t. So, a dumb idea that should have been quickly buried is still with us. The purpose of this essay is to carry out a long overdue burial.

In brief, the “over-unity” argument asserts that a constant input power into a MET will produce a constant thrust (force). This, in turn, produces a constant acceleration of any object to which the MET is attached. The constant acceleration produces a linearly increasing velocity of the object. The kinetic energy of the object, however, increases as the square of the velocity. This means that at some point, the kinetic energy of the object will exceed the total input energy used to produce the thrust as that only increases linearly with time. Critics then claimed that this purported behavior constituted violation of energy conservation and proposed it as a fatal critique of Mach Effect thrusters. Note, however, that the argument applies to all systems where a constant thrust produced by a constant input power produces motion.

Velocity is not an invariant quantity as it depends on the motion of the observer as well as any velocity ascribed to motion in some other reference frame. The principle of relativity precludes singling out any particular observer as privileged over all others


Exotic Space Propulsion including Mach Propulsion and EMDrive will be discussed at Space Studies Institute conference

The Estes Park Advanced Propulsion Workshop, 20-22 September 2016, organized by the Space Studies Institute (SSI), will feature presentations by NASA Eagleworks scientist Paul March and Prof. Martin Tajmar, chair for Space Systems at the Dresden University of Technology, who last year presented an independent confirmation of the anomalous EmDrive thrust.

Other notable participants include Prof. James Woodward and Prof. Heidi Fearn, both from California State University, Fullerton, and Prof. David Hyland from Texas A and M University.

The 3-day conference will address at most 6 concepts for a breakthrough in propulsion. They are devoting a half-day per concept. The half-day is broken into theory and experiment sessions for the concept. The concept will be investigated on both grounds, with substantial give-and-take between the audience and the concept presenter, verbally and on the whiteboard.

The theory session will allow us to understand how the concept departs from existing theory of general relativity or electrodynamics. However, we are willing to entertain concepts with compelling experimental demonstrations for which there is yet no solid theory.

The experiment session will allow us to understand how to experimentally verify the concept, and the mechanism by which it could solve either the fuel or time-distance problems. However, we are willing to entertain concepts with compelling theoretical aspects well-rooted in known physics, for which concrete experiments could be contemplated.

They will moderate a disciplined and respectful interchange, working toward a goal of common understanding, while still “kicking all the tires” of rigorous peer-review.

The presentations and the discussions for the concept sessions will be recorded in a proceedings, along the lines of the Dirac birthday volume by Mehta, and other similar proceedings. We feel the technical discussion is an important part of the technical program to preserve. The intention is to create a conference proceedings that meets expected standards of peer-review

There is a lively discussion on EMdrive related at NASA Spaceflight forums

Chan Zuckerberg Initiative announces $3 billion investment to cure disease

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has put $3 billion toward their goal of helping cure, prevent and manage all diseases in their children's lifetime.

The money comes from the $45 billion organization Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan started last year to advance human potential and equality. The project will bring together teams of scientists and engineers “to build new tools for the scientific community” Priscilla Chan said on stage at an event in San Francisco.

Part of the $3 billion will go to a $600 million investment in Biohub, a new physical location that which will unite researchers from Stanford, Berkeley, and UCSF with elite engineers to find new ways to treat disease.

The USA spends 50x more on treating people who are sick than curing diseases so people don’t get sick.

Cori Bargmann, a neuroscientist from The Rockefeller University and the new head of Chan Zuckerberg’s science program, came out to explain how the $3 billion will be spent.

The majority of deaths are caused by heart disease, infectious disease, neurological disease, and cancer, so those are the areas where the program will concentrate its efforts.

The CZS will focus on building “transformational technologies” that could drive significant leaps in treatment and prevention. Zuckerberg said “It’s actually pretty easy to imagine what new tools we need to develop to make progress on the four major disease categories”.

The $3 billion investment will be spent over the next decade. For some perspective, it's worth noting that the fiscal 2016 budget for the National Institutes of Health is more than $31 billion.


Thought Controlled Nanoscale DNA Robots and micron scale wireless neural dust brain monitoring will combine for ultraprecise control of nanobots

There are three emerging technologies that will interact to enable precise release of medication based on conditions in the brain.

1. DNA nanobots with metal nanoparticles (this already can release drugs in living things based on EEG monitored conditions)
2. Neural dust for ultra-precise sensor readings
3. Deep learning for identifying patterns in sensors

DNA nanobots

In August, Nextbigfuture reported that Ido Bachelet's team used a series of steps to enable human thoughts to control DNA nanobots inside cockroaches.

The team recorded EEG patterns which were recognized online by an algorithm
This in turn controlled the state of an electromagnetic field.
The field induces the local heating of billions of mechanically-actuating DNA origami robots tethered to metal nanoparticles, leading to their reversible activation and subsequent exposure of a bioactive payload.

Future techniques that build upon this prototype could be helpful for schizophrenia, depression or other mental disorders, in that the drugs only activate when a patient’s brain waves show signs of abnormality.

DNA nanobots are controlled by two locks, each one a special strand of DNA called an aptamer that binds to a target molecule—a receptor on the surface of cancer cells, for example. When the aptamer locks onto the target, the clamshell unzips, delivering the payload.


“These nanorobots are the first system that approaches real arbitrary control of therapeutic molecules,” wrote the Israeli team in the paper. But they require us to find specific molecular targets — present in diseased but not normal states — for the robot to bind to. That’s already hard for cancer. For mental disorders, it’s nearly impossible.

The algorithm can be trained to track brain states that underlie ADHD or schizophrenia or otherwise be modified to suit your needs, explains study author Sachar Arnon to New Scientist. For example, if EEG detects signs of a burgeoning depressive episode, it could trigger DNA robots to expose anti-depressants briefly to counteract symptoms before they become full-blown. This way, the brain isn’t perpetually bathed in mind-altering drugs even when they’re not needed.

For the system to work as planned, the team envisions a hearing-aid-like EEG device that continuously and inconspicuously monitors brain activity. When abnormalities occur, it triggers a wearable — for example, a smartwatch, glasses or jewelry — to create the electromagnetic fields required to expose the drug.

Wireless Neural dust down to millimeter cubes and can go to 50 micron cubes for ultra precise mind computer interfaces and neural monitoring

Berkeley neural dust researchers have already shrunk them to a 1 millimeter cube – about the size of a large grain of sand – contain a piezoelectric crystal that converts ultrasound vibrations from outside the body into electricity to power a tiny, on-board transistor that is in contact with a nerve or muscle fiber. A voltage spike in the fiber alters the circuit and the vibration of the crystal, which changes the echo detected by the ultrasound receiver, typically the same device that generates the vibrations. The slight change, called backscatter, allows them to determine the voltage.







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