October 08, 2016

Multi domain concept is the army, drones and cyber capabilities projecting power into the air and sea

Over the last 25 years, land forces (armies) have been high-demand consumers of joint force capabilities, operating beneath an umbrella of air and maritime supremacy. If the joint force is to succeed, the land force must now give as well as receive and be a capable supporter of operations in other domains.

The US Army can use land-based M109 Paladin 155mm self-propelled howitzers or the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) truck-based rocket launcher to go after enemy ships, which he analogized as killing the enemy’s archer rather than dealing with the arrows when it comes to protecting ground troops ashore or naval forces operating in the littorals.

Army Gen. David Perkins, commanding general of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), said today at a panel at the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual meeting and exposition that simply using air forces to amplify the capability of ground or maritime forces is no longer sufficient.

“If we constrain ourselves (to two domains), the enemy can fracture us,” he said.
“If you take a look at what’s going on in Ukraine and other places, they are fracturing our way of war by using other domains. You can see separatist forces being able to gain air superiority via the land, without even an air force. We’ve seen them be able to take down large land forces with a combination of electronic warfare, cyber, autonomous systems, drones, et cetera – not with a close-in battle. So what we’ve said, what we have to do is come up with a very difficult-to-fracture concept.”

US Navy new Ford Carrier is already 2 years late and is delayed again with no new delivery date

The US Navy’s expensive new Ford aircraft carrier will miss the Navy’s November delivery deadline.

That’s the latest slip for the $12.9 billion USS Gerald R. Ford, which is being built at Huntington Ingalls Industries. The carrier was originally expected to be delivered in 2014 but has been beset by delays, cost overruns and technological problems with unproven systems.

In June and again in July, two of Ford’s electricity-generating main turbines experienced issues. Capt. Thurraya Kent, a spokeswoman for the assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition, said the problem originated with a voltage regulator, but she did not provide additional details on the failure.

The Navy is developing an in-place fix for the turbine generators, Kent said, adding that they are not associated with the Ford’s nuclear reactor plant.

It “wouldn’t be prudent” to provide a new delivery date, Kent said, adding that testing continues on the ship’s systems.

Russia suspending and withdrawing from US nuclear agreements including reduction of weapons grade plutonium

Russia has suspended its 2000 agreement with the USA to reduce their surplus weapons-grade plutonium. The two countries were each required to dispose of 34 tonnes of weapons grade plutonium under a weapons reduction agreement signed in June 2000. They reconfirmed the deal in 2010, but President Barack Obama's FY2017 budget submission proposes a "dilution and disposal" approach as enabling the material to be disposed of sooner, at lower cost and with lower technical risks than conversion to mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel.

The Russian government has "suspended" a 2013 agreement with the USA on nuclear energy research and development and "terminated" another, signed in 2010, on cooperation in the conversion of Russian research reactors to low-enriched uranium fuel.

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October 07, 2016

Steve Wozniak thinks Artificial Intelligence will not be as threatening as feared and will have far more benefits

Steve Wozniak does not think that greater than human intelligence Artificial Intelligence will be a human economy killer or a human killer in general.

At one point I had concerns about AI because if you replace brains and then all of a sudden companies with people lose money and the machines do everything for us and we have no jobs left, I thought that way and then I totally reversed myself for a lot of reasons. One being that Moore’s law isn’t going to make those machines smart enough to think really the way a human does.

Another is when machines can out think humans they can’t be as intuitive and say what will I do next and what is an approach that might get me there. They can’t figure out those sorts of things.

Wozniak thinks the biggest impact on humanity in the next couple of decades will come from areas that we can apply artificial intelligence. Wozniak is leaving out biotech and quantum computers because he is not close enough to those areas.

Virtual reality is another area that Wozniak thinks will be big.

He thinks machines might become independent thinkers. But if they do, they’re going to be partners of humans.

Next generation Columbia submarines will have quieter electric drive, cost about $5 billion each and become operation 2030 through 2041

The Columbia class submarine program, previously known as the Ohio replacement program (ORP) or SSBN(X) program, a program to design and build a new class of 12 ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) to replace the Navy’s current force of 14 Ohio-class SSBNs. The Navy has identified the Columbia class program as the Navy’s top priority program. The Navy wants to procure the first Columbia-class boat in FY2021 and the 12 subs would come into service from 2030 to 2041 if the project runs as planned

The estimated total acquisition cost of the Columbia class program is about $97.0 billion in constant FY2016 dollars, including about $12.0 billion in research and development costs and about $85.1 billion in procurement costs

The Navy in January 2015 estimated the average procurement cost of boats 2 through 12 in the Columbia class program at about $5.2 billion each in FY2010 dollars, and is working to reduce that figure to a target of $4.9 billion each in FY2010 dollars. Even with this cost-reduction effort, observers are concerned about the impact the Columbia class program will have on the Navy’s ability to procure other types of ships at desired rates in the 2020s and early 2030s.

Funded WFIRST space telescope will use Gravitational microlensing to complete the survey of exoplanets down to ten times smaller than the earth starting in mid-2020s

The Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) is a future infrared space observatory. On February 17, 2016, WFIRST was formally designated as a mission by NASA.

In fiscal year 2014, Congress provided $56 million for WFIRST, and in 2015 Congress provided $50 million.The fiscal year 2016 spending bill provided $90 million for WFIRST. The WFIRST mission entered the "formulation phase" in February 2016.

WFIRST is on a plan for a mid-2020s launch. The total cost of WFIRST is expected at more than $2 billion; NASA's latest estimate is around $2.0 billion in 2010 dollars, which corresponds to around $2.7 billion in real year (inflation-adjusted) dollars

Objectives of WFIRST

The science objectives of WFIRST aim to address cutting edge questions in cosmology and exoplanet research, including:

Answer basic questions about dark energy, complementary to the ESA EUCLID mission, and include:
Is cosmic acceleration caused by a new energy component or by the breakdown of general relativity on cosmological scales ?
If the cause is a new energy component, is its energy density constant in space and time, or has it evolved over the history of the universe?

WFIRST will use three independent techniques to probe dark energy:

  1. Baryon acoustic oscillations
  2. Observing distant supernovae
  3. Weak gravitational lensing

Complete a census of exoplanets to help answer new questions about the potential for life in the universe: How common are solar systems like our own? What kinds of planets exist in the cold, outer regions of planetary systems? – What determines the habitability of Earth-like worlds? This census makes use of a technique that can find exoplanets down to a mass only a few times that of the Moon:
Gravitational microlensing

Gravitational microlensing will also enable a survey of rogue exoplanets that are not around stars.

When one star in the sky appears to pass nearly in front of another, the light rays of the background source star become bent due to the gravitational "attraction" of the foreground star. This star is then a virtual magnifying glass, amplifying the brightness of the background source star, so we refer to the foreground star as the lens star. If the lens star harbors a planetary system, then those planets can also act as lenses, each one producing a short deviation in the brightness of the source. Thus we discover the presence of each exoplanet, and measure its mass and separation from its star. This technique will tell us how common Earth- like planets are, and will guide the design of future exoplanet imaging missions.

More than 20 planets have been discovered from the ground using this technique. The WFIRST microlensing survey will detect many more such planets, including smaller mass planets since the planet "spike" will be far more likely to be observed from a space-based platform. This will lead to a statistical census of exoplanets with masses greater than a tenth of the Earth's mass from the outer habitable zone out to free floating planets. The results from the WFIRST microlensing survey will complement the exoplanet statistics from Kepler, and will provide answers to questions about planet formation, evolution, and the prevalence of planets in the galaxy.

WFIRST will have two instruments. The Wide-Field Instrument (WFI) is a 288-megapixel camera with a 0.28 square degree field of view providing multi-band near-infrared (0.7 to 2.0 micron) imaging using a HgCdTe focal-plane array with a pixel size of 110 milliarcseconds. It includes a grism for wide-field slitless spectroscopy and an integral field spectrograph for small-field spectroscopy. The second instrument is a high contrast coronagraph covering shorter wavelengths (0.4 to 1.0 micrometers) using novel starlight-suppression technology. It is intended to achieve a part-per-billion suppression of starlight to enable the detection of planets only 0.1 arcseconds away from their host stars.

Most of the stars and planets in the universe are outside solar systems and in between galaxies

Giant galaxies like the Milky Way are thought to form after smaller galaxies smash together. That suggests that hundreds of satellite galaxies would orbit our own, leftovers of the ones that formed our galaxy. But, so far, astronomers have found only about 50.

The new galaxy, named Virgo I, is the latest satellite to be discovered. It appeared as a team led by Daisuke Homma and Masashi Chiba of Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan, searched the sky with a new camera on the giant 8.2-meter Subaru Telescope in Hawaii.

“Virgo I might be the faintest galaxy,” Chiba says. It emits about half as much light as Segue 1, another satellite of the Milky Way and the previous faint-galaxy champ. A single bright star in our galaxy outshines all of Virgo I’s stars put together.

The WFIRST space telescope will do a lot to survey exoplanets down to ten times smaller than the earth and to find more hidden galaxies. WFIRST is covered in the linked nextbigfuture article

The Milky Way, as seen from the ISS NASA/Reid Wiseman

Many galaxies, stars, planets and objects have remained unseen.

As many as half of all stars in the universe lie in the vast gulfs of space between galaxies, an unexpected discovery made in a new study using NASA rockets. These stars could help solve mysteries regarding missing light and particles that theory had suggested should exist, scientists say. The stars were ejected from their birthplaces by galaxy collisions or mergers.

Some estimations suggest up to 100,000 times more rogue planets than stars in the Milky Way.

Arxiv - A New Milky Way Satellite Discovered In The Subaru/Hyper Suprime-Cam Survey

We report the discovery of a new ultra-faint dwarf satellite companion of the Milky Way based on the early survey data from the Hyper Suprime-Cam Subaru Strategic Program. This new satellite, Virgo I, which is located in the constellation of Virgo, has been identified as a statistically significant (5.5 sigma) spatial overdensity of star-like objects with a well-defined main sequence and red giant branch in their color-magnitude diagram. The significance of this overdensity increases to 10.8 sigma when the relevant isochrone filter is adopted for the search. Based on the distribution of the stars around the likely main sequence turn-off at r ~ 24 mag, the distance to Virgo I is estimated as 87 kpc, and its most likely absolute magnitude calculated from a Monte Carlo analysis is M_V = -0.8 +/- 0.9 mag. This stellar system has an extended spatial distribution with a half-light radius of 38 +12/-11 pc, which clearly distinguishes it from a globular cluster with comparable luminosity. Thus, Virgo I is one of the faintest dwarf satellites known and is located beyond the reach of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. This demonstrates the power of this survey program to identify very faint dwarf satellites. This discovery of VirgoI is based only on about 100 square degrees of data, thus a large number of faint dwarf satellites are likely to exist in the outer halo of the Milky Way.

Ultra-thin quantum LEDs could accelerate development of quantum networks

Researchers have developed all-electrical ultra-thin quantum LEDs, which have potential as on-chip photon sources in quantum information applications, including quantum networks for quantum computers.

Ultra-thin quantum light emitting diodes (LEDs) – made of layered materials just a few atoms thick – have been developed by researchers at the University of Cambridge. Constructed of layers of different ultra-thin materials, the devices could be used in the development of new computing and sensing technologies. The ability to produce single photons using only electrical current is an important step towards building quantum networks on compact chips.

The devices are constructed of thin layers of different materials stacked together: graphene, boron nitride and transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs). The TMD layer contains regions where electrons and electron vacancies, or holes, are tightly confined. When an electron fills an electron vacancy that sits at a lower energy than the electron, the energy difference is released as a photon, a particle of light. In the LED devices, a voltage pushes electrons through the device, where they fill the holes and emit single photons.

A computer built on the principles of quantum mechanics would be both far more powerful and more secure than current technologies, and would be capable of performing calculations that cannot be performed otherwise. However, in order to make such a device possible, researchers need to develop reliable methods of electrically generating single, indistinguishable photons as carriers of information across quantum networks.

Nature Communications - Atomically thin quantum light-emitting diodes

39 megawatt Solar powered desalination plant runs a hydroponic greenhouse to grow 17000 tons of tomatoes per year

Sundrop has technology that integrates solar power, electricity generation, fresh water production and hydroponics.

Sunshine and seawater. That’s all a new, futuristic-looking greenhouse needs to produce 17,000 tonnes of tomatoes per year in the South Australian desert.

It’s the first agricultural system of its kind in the world and uses no soil, pesticides, fossil fuels or groundwater.

The farm’s solar power is generated by 23,000 mirrors that reflect sunlight towards a 115-metre high receiver tower. On a sunny day, up to 39 megawatts of energy can be produced – enough to power the desalination plant and supply the greenhouse’s electricity needs.

A conventional greenhouse uses groundwater for irrigation, gas for heating, and electricity for cooling.

There is no need for pesticides as seawater cleans and sterilises the air, and plants grow in coconut husks instead of soil.

Seawater is piped 2 kilometres from the Spencer Gulf to Sundrop Farm – the 20-hectare site in the arid Port Augusta region. A solar-powered desalination plant removes the salt, creating enough fresh water to irrigate 180,000 tomato plants inside the greenhouse.

Bill Gates identifies top 4 global priorities - Affordable energy and Quality Education for all, vaccine for HIV and cures for neurodegerative disease and prevent future epidemics

Top four technologies and goals that Bill Gates thinks should be prioritized to have the best positive global impact

  1. Provide everyone on earth with affordable energy without contributing to climate change.
  2. Develop a vaccine for HIV and a cure for neurodegenerative diseases.
  3. Protect the world from future health epidemics, which might be more infectious than Ebola and more deadly than Zika.
  4. Give every student and teacher new tools so all students get a world-class education.

New Alaskan oil discovery boost Alaska oil reserves by nearly double and should begin production by 2022

New oil discovery nearly doubles the oil reserves of Alaska.

A new oil field has been found on Alaska’s north coast. Dallas-based Caelus Energy LLC says the field could contain as much as 6 billion barrels of crude, and that one day it could produce 200,000 barrels per day (bpd).

They expects to be able to extract between 1.8 billion and 2.4 billion barrels from the discovery, probably using barges built along the Gulf Coast, then towed to Alaska and permanently sunk in the bay to create man-made drilling islands

As much as 40 percent of the find, or 2.4 billion barrels, is estimated as recoverable, the company said. That compares with the state’s proved reserves of 2.86 billion barrels in 2014, almost 8 percent of the U.S. total

Alaska’s oil output has been gradually declining, to 483,000 barrels a day last year from a peak of more than 2 million barrels a day in 1988, Energy Department data show.

The development will cost between $8 billion and $10 billion over the life of the project, which could be brought into operation by the fall of 2022.

Oil is in the Smith Bay holdings

With an estimated 6-10 billion barrels of oil in place, Smith Bay ranks as one of the world’s largest oil discoveries in recent years, and the largest on Alaska’s North Slope in four decades. The Smith Bay development has the potential to provide 200,000 barrels/day of light oil to the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), which would increase TAPS throughput by 40 percent (based on 2016 flow rates) and extend the pipeline’s long-term viability by reducing the average viscosity of its oil.

The estimates are based on the two wells drilled last winter and existing 126 square miles of 3D seismic. Exploratory well Caelus-Tulimaniq #1 (CT-1) and step-out Caelus-Tulimaniq #2 (CT-2) targeted a large Brookian submarine fan complex in Smith Bay, spanning more than 300 square miles along the North Slope region. The fan was successfully drilled and logged in both wells, encountering an extension of the accumulation 5.25 miles northwest of the CT-1 discovery at the CT-2 location. Gross hydrocarbon columns in excess of 1,000 feet were encountered in each well, with CT-1 and CT-2 logging 183 and 223 feet of net pay respectively.

Extensive sidewall coring and subsequent lab analyses confirm the presence of reservoir-quality sandstones containing light oil ranging from 40-45° API gravity.

Caelus is currently planning an appraisal program, which includes drilling an additional appraisal well and acquiring new 3D seismic survey over outboard acreage.

Caelus owns a 75 percent working interest ownership in 26 lease

October 06, 2016

Gallium nitride devices can reduce the volume by 6000 times compared to silicon devices

Nextbigfuture interviewed Alex Lidow CEO of Efficient Power Conversion They have technologies based on gallium nitride that are faster, more efficient, and lower cost than silicon-based devices. Their goal is to replace silicon in power, analog, and eventually digital applications.

This first article will discuss gallium nitride in general and the application of LIDAR. A follow up article will discuss the application of gallium nitride in data centers, medical application, power transfer and other applications

At APEC 2016, EPC showcased more than 25 applications where GaN is Changing the Way We Live. In the video below, Alex Lidow, CEO, takes a “walk through our booth,” showing eGaN FETs and ICs in a wide range of applications including single stage 48 V to POL DC-DC conversion, a 700 W 1/8th Brick DCX, RF amplifier for MRI medical equipment, wireless power transfer, LED lighting, class-D audio, LiDAR mapping, and envelope tracking.

Today's eGaN® FET’s ability to switch ten times faster than the aging power MOSFET gives LiDAR systems superior resolution and faster response time. The sharp switching transitions that are possible with eGaN FETs enable greater accuracy. These characteristics enable new and broader applications for LiDAR such as real-time motion detection for video gaming, computers that respond to hand gestures, and fully autonomous vehicles.

Gallium nitride can have switching speeds 10 to 100 times faster. For LIDAR faster speed means more accuracy.

Light travels about one foot in one nanosecond. Picosecond switching speed can mean theoretical accuracy down to 200 microns.

Near term gallium nitride can rise and fall in 100 picoseconds for 2 centimeter resolution.

Better an more accurate LIDAR can be used to make stage 4 autonomous self driving cars.

LIDAR needs to switch 10 to 20 amps of current and send out a pulse of 30000 photons. Gallium nitride can do it but silicon cannot.

LIDAR can directly detect the primary threats to self driving cars and cameras would only be used for reading road signs.

Gallium nitride can make of the LIDAR smaller. Currently 10-20% of the size but potentially 6000 times smaller.

Side Effects of Antiaging drug Rapamycin can be managed with lower doses and appears to improve the immune system, restore vitality and delay heart disease and dementia

Nearly a decade of research showing that Rapamycin makes mice live up to 60% longer, scientists are trying it out as an anti-aging drug in dogs and humans.

Researchers at the University of Washington's Dog Aging Project gave rapamycin to 16 dogs and imaged their hearts.

"It started to function better. It started to look like a more youthful heart," said Matt Kaeberlein, co-director of the Dog Aging Project, who has presented this research at conferences but hasn't yet published it.

Those dogs took rapamycin for only 10 weeks.

A prescribed rapamycin to a very sick dog that had a stroke. A month after his stroke, the dog was so weak, he had to be fed by hand and carried everywhere.

But rapamycin changed all that, Anderson and Godfrey said.

"The third day after taking rapamycin, he could eat on his own. By the seventh day, he was walking on his own," Anderson said.

Sixteen months later, the dog who had been given two months to live is still alive, and while clearly old, he's still active and able to run around the yard.

A 13 year old dog was getting old and achy and losing stamina. Within days of taking the drug the dog was able run for hours, whereas before, just a 30-minute walk would tire him out.

A 14 year old Tibetan terrier given low doses of Rapamycin looks and acts younger than his 14 years, which would be around 80 or 90 in human years. There have been no side effects.

Rapamycin to tiny monkeys called marmosets and hasn't see any negative side effects for them.

Rapamycin combined with Metformin also seems to have lower side effects

China's nuclear energy production increased over 20% in August, World adds 9 new reactors in 2016 to reach 450 operational reactors

China's power consumption in August rose 8.3 percent from a year ago because of increased cooling demand due to high temperatures.

China's power consumption reached 563.1 billion kilowatt hours (kwh) in August, said Zhao Chenxin, spokesman for the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

Power consumption totalled 3.89 trillion kwh in the first eight months of 2016, up 4.2 percent from the same period last year.

China's manufacturing sector unexpectedly expanded in August, with the official Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) rising to 50.4, the fastest pace in nearly two years.

Monthly imports in August also unexpectedly rose for the first time in nearly two years and industrial output increased at the fastest rate in fives years.

The rapid rise in August power consumption reversed the recent negative growth in thermal power production, with power generated from coal and natural gas rising 7.7 percent from a year ago in August, the NRDC's Zhao said.

Hydropower output climbed 5.8 percent while nuclear power production increased 20.1 percent during August.

The NDRC also approved 25 fixed-asset investment projects in August with a total value of 196.6 billion yuan ($29.48 billion), which are mainly transportation, water conservancy and energy projects.

Most of Japans reactors are still shutdown

Major breakthrough in transistor size by creating gate only 1 nanometer long

For more than a decade, engineers have been eyeing the finish line in the race to shrink the size of components in integrated circuits. They knew that the laws of physics had set a 5-nanometer threshold on the size of transistor gates among conventional semiconductors, about one-quarter the size of high-end 20-nanometer-gate transistors now on the market.

Some laws are made to be broken, or at least challenged.

Schematic of a transistor with a molybdenum disulfide channel and 1-nanometer carbon nanotube gate. (Credit: Sujay Desai/UC Berkeley)

Transmission electron microscope image of a cross section of the transistor. It shows the 1-nanometer carbon nanotube gate and the molybdenum disulfide semiconductor separated by zirconium dioxide, an insulator. (Credit: Qingxiao Wang/UT Dallas)

Science - MoS2 transistors with 1-nanometer gate lengths

Analysis of nearest Rocky Exoplanet Proxima B suggests it is an ocean planet with 120 miles of water covering the whole world

A rocky extrasolar planet with a mass similar to that of the Earth was recently detected around Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to our sun. This planet, called Proxima b, is in an orbit that would allow him to have liquid water on its surface, thus raising the question of its habitability. In a study to be published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, an international team led by researchers at the Marseille Astrophysics Laboratory (CNRS / Aix-Marseille Université) has determined its dimensions and properties of its surface, which actually favor its habitability . She said the planet could be of the "ocean planet" with an ocean covering its entire surface, and a similar water than some icy moons around Jupiter or Saturn. The researchers also show that Proxima b composition might look like that of Mercury, with a metal core with two-thirds of the mass of the planet. These results provide the basis for future studies to determine the habitability of Proxima b.

Proxima Centauri, the star nearest the sun, has a planetary system consisting of at least one planet. By analyzing and supplementing earlier observations that such a discovery was recently made, marking the field of exoplanet research. These new measures have shown that this planet, named Proxima Centauri b - or simply Proxima b -, has a mass close to that of the Earth (1.3 times the latter) and orbits its star at a distance of 0, 05 astronomical units (one tenth of the Sun-Mercury distance). Contrary to what one might think, as little distance does not imply a high temperature on the surface of Proxima b. As Proxima Centauri is a red dwarf, its mass and radius correspond to only one-tenth of the Sun, and its brightness is a thousand times smaller than our star. At such a distance, b Proxima is therefore in the habitable zone of its star. It is likely to harbor liquid water at its surface and therefore to harbor life forms.

Diagram mass-radius comparing the positions of several exoplanets known to those in the solar system planets. The curves correspond to specific compositions used in the model of internal structure. The existing area of Proxima b is drawn in gray and takes into account the uncertainty of its mass and its different possible compositions

Arxiv - Possible Internal Structures and Compositions of Proxima Centauri b (5 pages)

International Fusion project head says cost estimates now at a realistic 18 to 22 billion Euro which means past lowball estimates were lies or wild guesses

Oct 6 Construction of an experimental nuclear fusion reactor in southern France is in full swing as the cost estimate has ballooned to nearly four times the original estimate, but the ITER project's new head says new forecasts are realistic.

The seven partners in the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) - Europe, United States, China, India, Japan, Russia and South Korea - launched the project 10 years ago with a 5 billion euro ($5.6 billion) cost estimate and plans to heat the first plasma by 2020 and achieve full fusion by 2023

In May, new ITER chief Bernard Bigot - former head of French nuclear state agency CEA - told a French newspaper ITER would be delayed by more than a decade and incur another 4 billion euros of cost overruns, with the first test of its super-heated plasma not before 2025 and its first full-power fusion not before 2035.

"For the first time, we have a reliable estimate ... In the past there was no realistic schedule, no detailed appreciation of the cost ... It was much underestimated," said Bigot, who succeeded Japan's Osamu Motojima as ITER head early last year.

The running cost of the ITER organisation plus the domestic agencies in the partner countries is about 200 million euros per year. Any delay to the project automatically increases the cost by that much.

Partner countries contribute about 80 percent of the value of the project in kind, it is difficult to give precise cost estimates. "This is the source of the inaccuracy when we try to compile the total number," he said.

"If all partner countries had European levels of cost and bureaucracy and you extrapolate based on European costs, it would be at the higher end of the range ... Cost could be up to 22 billion euros at the maximum," he said.

Construction at the ITER site in rural Cadarache got under way in 2013-14, but has accelerated from April-May 2015 onwards.

"We have seen more progress in the last six months than in the last three years," Coblentz said.

Laurent Schmieder, head of construction at ITER, said by 2019 the building that will house the so-called tokamak fusion reactor will be complete. The cost of the buildings alone at the complex will be about 2 billion euros, he said.

ITER is designed to produce approximately 500 MW of fusion power sustained for up to 1,000 seconds (compared to JET's peak of 16 MW for less than a second) by the fusion of about 0.5 g of deuterium/tritium mixture in its approximately 840 m3 reactor chamber. Although ITER is expected to produce (in the form of heat) 10 times more energy than the amount consumed to heat up the plasma to fusion temperatures, the generated heat will not be used to generate any electricity

So the goal is to demonstrate significant net power gain but only the follow on projects would be a prototype of a commercial reactor.

US General see future battlefield like Terminator Judgement Day where all units use extreme guerilla war tactics and high technology

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley says in the future battlefield, if you stay in one place longer than two or three hours, you will be dead.

* units will be in constant motion
* There will no clear front line, no secure supply lines, no big bases
* enemy drones and sensors constantly on the hunt for targets (like Terminator Hunter Killers)
* Army destroying enemy sensors, air defenses, and land-based anti-ship missiles to open paths for the rest of the joint force.

Soldiers will fight with everything from rifles and tanks to electronic jammers, computer viruses, and long-range missiles striking targets on the land, in the air, and even at sea

Russia, China and other countries are catching up to the US with long-range precision-guided missiles, linked by wireless networks to long-range sensors — such as drones and satellites — that provide targeting data. Backed by more conventional weapons such as mines, warships, jets, and tanks, these threats create an Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) zone that US forces enter at high risk. The Army’s new Multi-Domain Battle concept, calls for prying open A2/AD networks with simultaneous, coordinated attacks against every possible weak point in all domains — land, sea, air, space, cyberspace, and the electromagnetic spectrum.

To avoid being detected and targeted by precision weapons, soldiers — and Marines and even ships — must split into small units and keep either on the move or under cover. Static bases will be sitting ducks, and supply convoys will be so dangerous that they might be entirely automated, so units will be largely on their own, purifying their own water and 3D-printing spare parts for broken gear.

October 05, 2016

Molecular Nanotechnologists win Nobel Prize in Chemistry for developing molecular machines

Three pioneers in the development of nanomachines, made of moving molecules, were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry on Wednesday.

Bernard Feringa was the first person to develop a molecular motor; in 1999 he got a molecular rotor blade to spin continually in the same direction. Using molecular motors, he has rotated a glass cylinder that is 10,000 times bigger than the motor and also designed a nanocar.

A tiny lift, artificial muscles and miniscule motors. The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2016 is awarded to Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Sir J. Fraser Stoddart and Bernard L. Feringa for their design and production of molecular machines. They have developed molecules with controllable movements, which can perform a task when energy is added.

The development of computing demonstrates how the miniaturisation of technology can lead to a revolution. The 2016 Nobel Laureates in Chemistry have miniaturised machines and taken chemistry to a new dimension.

The first step towards a molecular machine was taken by Jean-Pierre Sauvage in 1983, when he succeeded in linking two ring-shaped molecules together to form a chain, called a catenane. Normally, molecules are joined by strong covalent bonds in which the atoms share electrons, but in the chain they were instead linked by a freer mechanical bond. For a machine to be able to perform a task it must consist of parts that can move relative to each other. The two interlocked rings fulfilled exactly this requirement.

The second step was taken by Fraser Stoddart in 1991, when he developed a rotaxane. He threaded a molecular ring onto a thin molecular axle and demonstrated that the ring was able to move along the axle. Among his developments based on rotaxanes are a molecular lift, a molecular muscle and a molecule-based computer chip.

Bernard Feringa was the first person to develop a molecular motor; in 1999 he got a molecular rotor blade to spin continually in the same direction. Using molecular motors, he has rotated a glass cylinder that is 10,000 times bigger than the motor and also designed a nanocar.

“Molecular machines,” the world’s smallest mechanical devices, may eventually be used to create new materials, sensors and energy storage systems, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said in announcing the prize.

“In terms of development, the molecular motor is at the same stage as the electric motor was in the 1830s, when scientists displayed various spinning cranks and wheels, unaware that they would lead to electric trains, washing machines, fans and food processors,” the academy said.

The three scientists — Jean-Pierre Sauvage, J. Fraser Stoddart and Bernard L. Feringa — will share equally in the prize of 8 million Swedish kronor, or about $930,000.

Scientists claim maximum human lifespan is 115 years despite records of person living to 122 years and 164 days

Nature study claims maximum human lifespan is 115 years in spite of Jeanne Calment living to 122 years.

The 115-year claim is too much for Prof James Vaupel, the director of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research.

He described the study as a dismal travesty and said scientists had in the past claimed the limit was 65, 85 and 105 only to be proven wrong over and over again.

He said: "In this sorry saga, those convinced that there are looming limits did not apply demography and statistics to test hypotheses about lifespan limits—instead they exploited rhetoric, deficient methods and pretty graphics to attempt to prove their gut feelings.

"[This study] adds nothing to scientific knowledge about how long we will live."

Jeanne-Louise Calment, the oldest person who ever lived, enjoyed 2.2lbs of chocolate a week. There is no indication that Calment had anything like a semi-optimal lifestyle for longevity. Calment was wealthy.

Wealthy people live ten or more year longer.

Only a fraction of the world's population has lived in conditions where extreme longevity had a remote possibility.

There are three people living now who are over 116 years of age.

Almost all the verified longevity cases are from the developed countries of the 20th century.

The country must have had enough stability and medical and census system to track the lives of people over 115-125 years.
The country needs to have people not in extreme poverty or with conflict and other life shortening situations.

Longevity enhancing conditions are becoming very common and the record keeping has improved.

Nature - Evidence for a limit to human lifespan

US Army mounting combat lasers ranging from 2 kiloWatts to 60 kiloWatts on different sized trucks

The US Army has already experimented with a 10-kilowatt laser on a heavy truck, Boeing’s High Energy Laser – Mobile Demonstrator (HEL-MD), which could shoot down mortar rounds in flight. Lockheed is scaling up the truck-mounted laser to 60 kiloWatts, Boeing has scaled its laser down to 2 kW: still powerful enough to shoot down small drones, compact enough to fit in the Army’s eight-wheel-drive Stryker armored vehicle. (This Stryker also mounts radio jammers to scramble drones’ control links). Boeing is upgrading the Stryker mounted laser to 5 kilowatts for testing early in 2017.

8 wheel Stryker with 5 kilowatt laser

Lockheed is upgrading the 10 kiloWatts laser on this large truck to 60 kiloWatts

Liveuamap has pictures of the Stryker with 5 kilowatt laser, which will test in January 2017

Remote control self driving kits will be added to the Abrams tank and other General Dynamics armored vehicles

General Dynamics Land Systems, maker of the Abrams tank and the Stryker armored fighting vehicle, is teaming up with Kairos Autonomi, a company whose kits can turn virtually anything with wheels or tracks into a remote-controlled car.

Kairos seat robot that works a car’s controls just as a human would, and can be installed in about 20 minutes. The other leaves the seat free but takes several hours to install. No, it’s not autonomous driving — but it is here today and the military can put it on vehicles it already owns.

The Pronto4™ Uomo installs in less than 10 minutes and weighs less than 50 lbs

Pronto 4 Uomo

The Pronto4™ Agnostic Autonomy System successfully enables optionally unmanned vehicle navigation on the Earth's surface by providing a universal retrofit kit for existing ground vehicle or surface vessel platforms. This compact, modular-constructed hardware system is capable of installation anywhere in the field in a four-four-four process — a four-person team can install four backpack-sized modules in four hours. With the Pronto4™, you can have a superior, affordable, optionally unmanned solution right now.

The simplicity of the Pronto4™ allows any existing vehicle or vessel with a steering wheel to be retrofitted in the field instead of taking the vehicle out of the field and adapting it in the factory. Also, retrofitting in the field keeps the existing vehicle supply chain in place, leveraging current assets and preventing a replacement of the vehicle. The modular construction of the Pronto4™ permits field component exchange and local storage of auxiliary parts as well. These benefits reduce the total cost of ownership for the vehicle.

Pronto 4

The military has already installed Kairos kits on disposable vehicles to create moving targets for shooting practice. But GDLS is now working to fit them onto heavier combat vehicles

Boeing fears Spacex Raptor engine - CEO vows to put humans on Mars before Spacex but needs over $60 billion for Space Launch System

Boeing Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg sees a commercial space-travel market with dozens of destinations orbiting the Earth and hypersonic aircraft shuttling travelers between continents in two hours or less. And Boeing intends to be a key player in the initial push to send humans to Mars, maybe even beating Musk to his long-time goal.

“I’m convinced the first person to step foot on Mars will arrive there riding a Boeing rocket,” Muilenburg said at the Chicago event on innovation, which was sponsored by the Atlantic magazine.

Like Musk’s SpaceX, Boeing is focused on building out the commercial space sector near earth as spaceflight becomes more routine, while developing technology to venture far beyond the moon. The Chicago-based aerospace giant is working with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to develop a heavy-lift rocket called the Space Launch System for deep space exploration. Boeing and SpaceX are also the first commercial companies NASA selected to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station.

Muilenburg sees space tourism closer to home “blossoming over the next couple of decades into a viable commercial market.” The International Space Station could be joined in low-earth orbit by dozens of hotels and companies pursuing micro-gravity manufacturing and research.

Boeing is the main partner paid by NASA to build the Space Launch System

Nextbigfuture noted yesterday that if Spacex achieved even a small part of what Elon Musk and Spacex have promised with the Interplanetary Launch System, Spacex would kill funding for the Space Launch System

Spacex and Elon Musk are developing the Interplanetary Transport System, the Raptor engine and the Falcon Heavy on spec. Spacex is mostly self-funding the initial development of those systems.

Elon Musk is spending tens of millions per year on developing his Mars colonization plans and the hardware for it.
This will scale up to $200-300 million per year by 2018 or so.

Space Launch System received $2 billion in the latest fiscal year 2016 annual budget.

The SLS has gotten US$9.8 billion (2011-16) and will get over $40 billion until 2025 and Boeing and partners could receive a total of over $60 billion for full Space Launch System development.

The Block 1 SLS which hopes to have a first mission in 2018 can lift 70 tons to low earth orbit. A Block 1B SLS plans to be able to launch about 100 tons to low earth orbit around 2022.

IF Space Launch System flies late in 2018, Boeing and its partners will have spent over $14 billion to get to its first launch. This is for a system that is reusing a lot of Space Shuttle technology and systems and following a design that is similar to the Saturn V.

Spacex Raptor Engine is test firing and the engine would be three times more powerful than the Merlin 1D engine

The Spacex production Raptor engine goal is specific impulse of 382 seconds and thrust of 3 MN (~310 metric tons) at 300 bar.

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