October 29, 2016

Hormone injection for men has been shown to be 96% effective as contraception

A hormone injection has been shown to be a safe and effective method of contraception - for men.

US researchers say the jab was almost 96% effective in tests on around 270 men who were using it, with four pregnancies among their partners.

However, a relatively high number developed side effects, including acne and mood disorders.

Researchers have been investigating potential for male hormonal contraceptives for around 20 years.

They have all been looking for an effective way of suppressing sperm production without causing unpleasant or unbearable side effects.

Because men constantly produce sperm, high levels of hormones are needed to reduce levels from the normal sperm count of over 15 million per millilitre to under one million/ml.

Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism - Efficacy and Safety of an Injectable Combination Hormonal Contraceptive for Men

It looked at men aged 18-45 who had been in monogamous relationships for at least a year - and whose partners had agreed to take part.

The men's sperm counts were checked at the beginning of the study, to ensure they were normal.

They then had two hormone injections (progesterone and a form of testosterone) every eight weeks, and were monitored for up to six months until their sperm count fell to under a million.

They were then asked to rely on the jab, which they continued to have at the same interval, as their only form of contraception during the efficacy stage of the study, which lasted for up to a year.

Once they stopped having the injections, they were monitored to see how quickly their sperm counts recovered.
Eight men had not recovered their normal sperm counts a year after the study ended.

The researchers stopped taking on new participants in 2011 after concerns were raised about side effects such as depression and other mood disorders, as well as muscle pain and acne.

Such side effects caused 20 men to drop out of the study and were reported by many others.

DARPA making robotic co-pilot for helicopters and all other planes

ALIAS ( ircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System) can fly a military helicopter and then move into another aircraft and fly that too— and ALIAS is not human.

Driverless cars may have been making headlines of late, but DARPA’s ALIAS program has also been making great strides in the development of “digital pilot” technology.

The brainchild of the legendary institution DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), ALIAS easily drops into an aircraft and becomes an invisible, automated co-pilot for a human pilot.

Lockheed’s ALIAS kit is about the size of a small briefcase, meaning a pilot can easily plug it into the aircraft. In a way, it amps up its own smarts and by linking the aircraft to a controller on the ground.

Remarkably, the same ALIAS smart tech can fly both rotary-wing and fixed-wing aircraft.

After the mission, the pilot can easily pull the kit from the helo and then take that very same kit over to a fixed wing aircraft.

The ALIAS tech has built upon five decades of plane automation. And it also leverages cutting-edge innovation for drones.

From takeoff through to landing, ALIAS can help with an entire mission. If something unexpected happens, like a system failure in flight, then ALIAS could support handling it or even address the problem itself. ALIAS could constantly monitor the health of the aircraft and enhance the maintenance, response and safety of the aircraft.

DARPA Program Director Dr. Daniel Patt explained.

“It has the brains to figure out how to fly the aircraft by itself,” he said, gesturing to the tablet in his hands. “This tablet actually talks to that system, talks to the brains of ALIAS…”

“The brain has learned and it knows how to fly the aircraft, how to hold the aircraft in a perfectly still hover inside a tiny one foot box, it will beat the performance of a human pilot… If you tell the aircraft to crash into the ground it won't let you do that,” he said. “It will keep you safe.”

ALIAS uses a software backbone designed with open interfaces along with a pilot-operated touchpad and speech recognition software. Pilots can use a touch screen or voice command to direct the aircraft to perform functions autonomously.

For instance, various check-list procedures and safety protocols such as engine status, altitude gauges, lights, switches and levers, can be more rapidly, safely and efficiently performed autonomously by computers.

“This involves the routine tasks that humans need to do but at times find mundane and boring. The ALIAS system is designed to be able to take out those dull mission requirements such as

Tesla utility scale storage Powerpack 2 has twice the energy density and lower cost than previous Powerpack

This September Tesla Motors began shipping version 2 of our Powerpack system. With a new energy module and power electronics, Powerpack 2 provides twice the energy density and a more seamless integration into multiple levels of the grid. Powerpack 2 is also now matched with a new inverter, designed by Tesla and manufactured at the Gigafactory. It is the lowest cost, highest efficiency and highest power density utility-scale inverter on the market. It also significantly simplifies the installation process of the entire Powerpack system by integrating a number of previously independent components into the inverter itself.

The Tesla inverter paired with the Powerpack 2 allows storage to be available to the utility industry at price points and with functionality previously unknown. The combined system is now a cost-competitive alternative to other traditional utility infrastructure solutions such as building larger substations, bigger wires and more power plants. Furthermore, the Powerpack system interface and software controls give utilities and grid operators high fidelity control, allowing for better energy management and dispatch, which improves grid performance, efficiency and reliability at a low cost.

The benefits of this pairing are already being seen in projects such as Southern California Edison’s Mira Loma substation and the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative. The Powerpack systems for these two projects are being built now at our Gigafactory and, when deployed later this year, will be the two largest lithium ion battery storage installations in the world.

To date, nearly 300 MWh of Tesla batteries have been deployed in 18 countries, and we anticipate the impact and growth rate of energy products around the world to be far greater than that of electric vehicles alone. As we continue to innovate, scale and reduce costs of commercial and grid-scale systems, we will significantly accelerate the adoption of renewable energy sources to power our world, ultimately getting us to 100% renewable energy grids.

Powerpack 2 by Tesla will have twice the energy capacity of the previous generation – 200 kWh.

The lower cost was represented on Tesla’s online quoting tool last month when it significantly reduced the price of its commercial inverter by 19%, as well as the price of the Powerpack by 5%.

F-35 is off track on units shipped until end of 2017 with repair and supply chain quality issues

Shipments of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter aircraft slipped during the third quarter and the firm will miss 2016 targets

F35 shipments slipped to 10 units during the third quarter, down from 12 in the third quarter last year. A company official cited lower-tier supplier-issues for the shortfall, notably "out-of-spec" deliveries of (coolant) insulation tubes, which affected several aircraft.

The problem is serious enough that Lockheed Martin must repair existing aircraft in the field, and the slowdown will cause it to miss its 53-unit 2016 delivery target. Lockheed Martin is not expected to be back on schedule with F-35 shipments until the end of 2017

F-35 already had over 51% cost overruns.

F-35 acquisition costs will be over $400 billion

Operating costs for the 60 years planned usage of the F-35 is $1.12 trillion.

Proxima B was not expected to have sunspot activity but observations show it has a 7 year cycle

Our Sun experiences an 11-year activity cycle. At the solar minimum, the Sun is nearly spot-free. At solar maximum, typically more than 100 sunspots cover less than one percent of the Sun's surface on average.

A new study finds that Proxima Centauri undergoes a similar cycle lasting seven years from peak to peak. However, its cycle is much more dramatic. At least a full one-fifth of the star's surface is covered in spots at once. Also, some of those spots are much bigger relative to the star's size than the spots on our Sun.

"If intelligent aliens were living on Proxima b, they would have a very dramatic view," says lead author Brad Wargelin of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA).

Astronomers were surprised to detect a stellar activity cycle in Proxima Centauri because its interior is expected to be very different from the Sun's. The outer third of the Sun experiences a roiling motion called convection, similar to water boiling in a pot, while the Sun's interior remains relatively still. There is a difference in the speed of rotation between these two regions. Many astronomers think the shear arising from this difference is responsible for generating the Sun's magnetic activity cycle.

In contrast, the interior of a small red dwarf like Proxima Centauri should be convective all the way into the star's core. As a result, it shouldn't experience a regular cycle of activity.

"The existence of a cycle in Proxima Centauri shows that we don't understand how stars' magnetic fields are generated as well as we thought we did," says Smithsonian co-author Jeremy Drake.

Understanding stellar magnetic activity of stars is relevant to studies of exoplanets because starspots and flares can mimic or obscure the signatures of planets and may affect those planets’ habitability. This latter subject is especially interesting in light of the recent discovery of an exoplanet orbiting in the habitable zone of our Sun’s nearest neighbor, Proxima Centauri. Proxima b has a minimum mass of about 1.3 times that of the Earth and an orbital period of 11.2 days with a semi-major axis of only 0.049 AU, about one-eighth Mercury’s orbital radius. A key factor in planetary habitability is the effect on the atmosphere of X-ray/UV radiation and the stellar wind which are ultimately driven by the stellar magnetic field

Arxiv - Optical, UV, and X-Ray Evidence for a 7-Year Stellar Cycle in Proxima Centauri

Stars of stellar type later than about M3.5 are believed to be fully convective and therefore unable to support magnetic dynamos like the one that produces the 11-year solar cycle. Because of their intrinsic faintness, very few late M stars have undergone long-term monitoring to test this prediction, which is critical to our understanding of magnetic field generation in such stars. Magnetic activity is also of interest as the driver of UV and X-ray radiation, as well as energetic particles and stellar winds, that affect the atmospheres of close-in planets that lie within habitable zones, such as the recently discovered Proxima b. We report here on several years of optical, UV, and X-ray observations of Proxima Centauri (GJ 551; dM5.5e): 15 years of ASAS photometry in the V band (1085 nights) and 3 years in the I band (196 nights), 4 years of Swift XRT and UVOT observations (more than 120 exposures), and 9 sets of X-ray observations from other X-ray missions (ASCA, XMM-Newton, and three Chandra instruments) spanning 22 years. We confirm previous reports of an 83-day rotational period and find strong evidence for a 7-year stellar cycle, along with indications of differential rotation at about the solar level. X-ray/UV intensity is anti-correlated with optical V-band brightness for both rotational and cyclical variations. From comparison with other stars observed to have X-ray cycles we deduce a simple empirical relationship between X-ray cyclic modulation and Rossby number, and we also present Swift UV grism spectra covering 2300-6000

October 28, 2016

China and Philippines reclaiming land for four islands near Davao as China leverages the world largest dredging fleet

China and the Philippines were planning to build four artificial islands.

The four new artificial islands appear to be planned around Davao. They will be developed for mixed-use, business and residential purposes along the coastline under a P39-billion reclamation project that city government plans to undertake with a major private developer.

The joint venture agreement was signed by the city government and Mega Harbour Port and Development Inc. last month.

“There will be no relocation because President Duterte does not want to remove the people in the area,” said Councilor Danilo Dayanghirang, chair of the city council’s committee on finance and ways and means.

A Chinese state-owned company said to have been involved in Beijing's island-building in the South China Sea signed a deal to construct islands in a mega project in Davao.

CCCC Dredging will create four artificial islands totalling 208 hectares of reclaimed land in Davao, the port city on the southern island of Mindanao where Duterte was mayor

Beijing’s South China Sea land reclamation work has reportedly resulted in 2,900 acres of land reclaimed over a period of roughly 20 months, from early 2014 to August 2015. Here, perspective is important: of the other countries to reclaim land in the South China Sea, Vietnam has reclaimed 80 acres, Malaysia has reclaimed 70, the Philippines has reclaimed 14 and Taiwan has reclaimed approximately eight over various length of time. China has managed to create more than 17 times more land in 20 months than all of the other claimants combined over the past 40 years, accounting for 95 percent of all artificial land in the Spratlys.

The main driving force of China’s reclamation has been a fleet of new dredgers, including the technologically advanced self-propelled cutter-suction dredger (CSD) Tianjing, which is capable of dredging and reclaiming land at a rate of 4,500 cubic meters an hour. These dredgers simply did not exist 15 years ago, yet now China can deploy dozens of them simultaneously in the South China Sea.

Once again, China’s rapid development has enabled it to muster a level of effort that smaller neighbors simply cannot match, even collectively, permanently altering geography in the Spratlys.

directed investments into the Chinese dredging industry that have seen China’s dredging capacity more than triple in the past 15 years and given China a valuable new tool for building not only islands in the South China Sea, but also much of the port infrastructure needed for its Maritime Silk Road.

Investment in new dredging technologies greatly increased as China sought to close the technological gap with leading dredging countries. The first result of this investment was the import of three foreign TSHD’s: Xin Hailong, Tongtan and Wanqingsha, all with 12,888 m3 hoppers.

Xin Hailong

Within several years, China had already increased its domestic TSHD-building technology and capacity considerably, and in 2010 completed construction on the 18,343 m3 Tongcheng, which is also capable of dredging in up to 85 meters of water. Largely based on Tongcheng’s design, China’s Tongtu launched in 2012, bringing China’s domestic TSHD size record to 20,000 cubic meters. Between 2005 and 2012, China produced at least 20 TSHDs with hopper sizes of 9,000 m3 or more.

A significant technological gap still remains between Chinese dredgers, which tend to be heavier and therefore less efficient; and leading foreign dredgers, which have continually expanded to include a 46,000 m3 TSHD developed by Jan de Nul.

China’s largest accomplishment in dredge-building came in 2010, with the launching of Tianjing, China’s first self-propelled CSD, and also Asia’s largest self-propelled CSD and the world’s third largest.

This 120-meter-long ship can dredge up to 4,500 m3/h, more than 100,000 m3 of material a day, at a maximum depth of 30 meters, and travel at speeds of up to 12 knots. Tianjing also boasts a total installed power of 25,760 kilowatts. However, while the large CSD certainly represents a Chinese technological breakthrough, it was not solely the product of Chinese design, but rather the cooperative efforts of SJTU and Vosta LMG, a German company that also built the Ursa, a 115 meter-long self-propelled CSD

The growth of China’s dredging industry so far has been impressive, more than tripling capacity and going from fifth to first globally (in aggregate capacity) in 10 years (2000–10).

Anti-Aging Startup Raises $116 Million With big VCs and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Backing

Unity Biotechnology said Thursday that it attracted support for the Series B funding round from traditional biotech investors including Fidelity Management and Research Co., Arch Venture Partners, Partner Funds Management and Venrock. The San Francisco-based startup is also backed by Bezos Expeditions, the investment arm of Amazon.com Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos.

The companies goal is 25 years (2041) from now, people coming of age grow up in a world where it’s considered relatively normal to have an extended average lifespan, and more profoundly, it’s an era where osteoarthritis and age-related eye diseases are only things you read about in books.

“We don’t expect people to be living to 150 years, even in the wildest version of success,” he said. “But we do expect people to live free of a variety of chronic diseases.”

While ambitious, David says the biotech startup is grounded in serious science. Unity focuses on so-called senescent cells in the body that have stopped dividing. Studies have shown that senescent cells are associated with chronic inflammation and accumulate in the same areas where age-related diseases appear, such as aching joints, degenerating eyes and diseased hearts, David said.

Unity plans to start human trials in the next 12 to 18 months, beginning with eye diseases, including glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration, and osteoarthritis, according to Leonard. The company’s drug will be injected locally into the eye or joint to wipe out the senescent cells.

David and Chief Executive Officer Keith Leonard previously co-founded Kythera Biopharmaceuticals Inc., a maker of treatments for double chins and male pattern baldness. They sold the company to Allergan Plc for $2.1 billion in June 2015. David is also a partner at Arch Venture Partners, which invested in this round.

Unity is part of a wave of new companies chasing after the fountain of youth. Calico, a subsidiary of Google parent Alphabet Inc. founded in 2013, has partnered with biotechnology firm AbbVie Inc., though it has been secretive about what it’s working on. Elysium Health is another startup that’s already selling a dietary supplement that it claims will help with metabolic processes such as cellular detoxification and DNA repair.

New Horizon Probe has finished transmitting pictures 15 months after the Pluto Flyby

Having traveled from the New Horizons spacecraft over 3.4 billion miles, or 5.5 billion kilometers (five hours, eight minutes at light speed), the final item – a segment of a Pluto-Charon observation sequence taken by the Ralph/LEISA imager – arrived at mission operations at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, at 5:48 a.m. EDT on Oct. 25. The downlink came via NASA’s Deep Space Network station in Canberra, Australia. It was the last of the 50-plus total gigabits of Pluto system data transmitted to Earth by New Horizons over the past 15 months.

“The Pluto system data that New Horizons collected has amazed us over and over again with the beauty and complexity of Pluto and its system of moons,” said Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator from Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. “There’s a great deal of work ahead for us to understand the 400-plus scientific observations that have all been sent to Earth. And that’s exactly what we’re going to do—after all, who knows when the next data from a spacecraft visiting Pluto will be sent?”

Because it had only one shot at its target, New Horizons was designed to gather as much data as it could, as quickly as it could – taking about 100 times more data on close approach to Pluto and its moons than it could have sent home before flying onward. The spacecraft was programmed to send select, high-priority datasets home in the days just before and after close approach, and began returning the vast amount of remaining stored data in September 2015.

A video produced by New Horizons scientists. Made from more than 100 New Horizons images taken over six weeks of approach and close flyby, the video offers a “trip” to Pluto. It starts with a distant spacecraft’s view of Pluto and its largest moon, Charon – closing the distance day by day – with a dramatic “landing” on the shoreline of Pluto’s informally named Sputnik Planum.

Top Pluto Pictures

Glacial Floes

Jagged Ice Shorelines and Snowy Pits

Blue Skies

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft captured this high-resolution, enhanced color view of Pluto’s largest moon, Charon, just before closest approach on July 14, 2015. The image combines blue, red and infrared images taken by the spacecraft's Ralph/Multispectral Visual Imaging Camera (MVIC); the colors are processed to best highlight the variation of surface properties across Charon. Scientists have learned that reddish material in the north (top) polar region – informally named Mordor Macula – is chemically processed methane that escaped from Pluto’s atmosphere onto Charon. Charon is 754 miles (1,214 kilometers) across; this image resolves details as small as 1.8 miles (2.9 kilometers).

Israeli company Aquarius Engines claims a revolutionary combustion engine with twice the efficiency and only costs $100

Aquarius' Engines integrated power system is composed of a revolutionary combustion engine and a dedicated electricity generator with an exceptionally high power-to-weight / size ratio.

Aquarius’ Engines unique patented one-cylinder design has only one moving part - as opposed to conventional engines - simplifying manufacturing processes and production costs.

The invention from Israeli-based Aquarius Engines is currently being discussed by France's Peugeot, the firm said. Aquarius says the cost of the engine will be as low as $100 (92 euros).

According to the firm, the engine can allow cars to travel more than 1,600 kilometers (990 miles) on a single tank of fuel, more than double current distances.

Such efficiency is vital as countries seek to reduce carbon dioxide emissions -- a main cause of climate change. Car engines are a major source of CO2 emissions. Aquarius's technology works by stripping back the traditional engine under the bonnet.

It replaces the combustion engine with its multiple pistons thrusting up and down with a single piston that goes side-to-side. It has fewer than 20 parts and a single action, the company said. In tests by the German engineering company FEV, the Aquarius engine's efficiency was more than double that of traditional engines.

The engine would work best as part of a plug-in hybrid system, with manufacturers looking at "the idea of putting a smaller, inexpensive, range extender" alongside a battery and motor.

But he said Aquarius's radical design, and the changes it would require to manufacturing lines, might make companies in a risk-averse industry hesitant.

The technology can also be used to make more efficient back-up generators and other products, the company says. Aquarius is currently seeking its third round of funding and is aiming for $40-50 million.

Franco Gonzalez, senior technology analyst at the IDTechEx analysis firm, said Aquarius was entering the competition late and playing "catch up".

"Automotive companies take seven to 10 years to implement a new technology," he said.

"So Peugeot would need to accelerate their implementation very, very fast to at least catch up to what Tesla, BYD, Nissan and other companies supporting the electric car model are achieving."

Nextbigfuture notes that there are many other substantial niches for a super-efficient, light, simple and cheap engine.

October 27, 2016

AI Market is projected to grow from $8 billion today to $47 billion by 2020 and IBM is betting big on Watson AI

IBM has invested billions of dollars in its Watson business unit, created at the start of 2014, which now employs an estimated 10,000 workers. Its big-ticket marketing push includes clever television ads that feature Watson trading quips with famous people like Serena Williams and Bob Dylan. And Watson, after a slow start, has shown its mettle by assisting in daunting tasks like diagnosing cancer.

The market — defined as A.I.-related hardware, software and services — is predicted to surge from $8 billion this year to $47 billion by 2020, predicts IDC, a research firm.

Today, the A.I. business, experts say, resembles the internet in the mid-1990s: a thing on its own that eventually will be built into all kinds of products and services. “That’s where we’re headed — A.I. everywhere,” said Frank Gens, IDC’s chief analyst.

All the major technology companies are investing aggressively in A.I. software, including companies beyond IBM like Salesforce, SAP and Oracle that focus on business customers.

But consumer internet companies with large cloud computing businesses, analysts say, are most likely to build the equivalent of operating systems for A.I. — the so-called platforms on which most developers write applications. Amazon, Google and Microsoft are the front-runners.

The securities research arm of the Swiss bank UBS estimates that Watson may generate $500 million in revenue this year and could grow rapidly in the years ahead, possibly hitting nearly $6 billion by 2020 and almost $17 billion by 2022.

World Nuclear Energy in 2016 and plans through 2050

Here is a 32 page report on world nuclear energy performance as of 2016 and it has a special Asia update

The International Energy Agency 2DS (2°C Scenario, Figure 2) envisages a substantial increase in the contribution from nuclear energy, rising to 7000 TWh by 2050 – enough to supply about 17% of global electricity in a world where consumption has doubled. Because the availability and scalability of some technologies in 2DS remain unproven, the World Nuclear Association’s Harmony vision sets higher targets for nuclear power: 25% of electricity in 2050, which is estimated to require construction of 1000 GWe of new nuclear capacity when retirements are taken into account. One possible pathway to this target would be to build 10 GWe a year between 2015 and 2020, step this up to 25 GWe per year to 2025 and then 33 GWe per year to 2050. Industry performed at this level in 2015, adding 9.875 GWe of new capacity and prompting the IEA to state: “Progress and construction times in 2015 show the long-term 2DS targets to be more achievable than previously thought.”

The Chinese nuclear program continued to deliver predictable series construction of large reactors. In 2015 new units were connected to the grid at Fangjiashan, Fuqing, Hongyanhe, Ningde, Changjiang, Fangchenggang and two at Yangjiang. Construction started on two new units at Fuqing and another two at Hongyanhe

According to the Chinese government's Energy Development Strategy Action Plan, 2014-2020 it will cut reliance on coal fired generation and promote the use of low-carbon energy, confirming the 2012 target of 58 GWe of nuclear online by 2020, with 30 GWe more under construction.

The plan called for the "timely launch" of new nuclear power projects on China's eastern coast and for feasibility studies for the construction of inland plants. It said that efforts should be focused on promoting the use of large pressurized water reactors (including the AP1000 and CAP1400 designs), high temperature gas-cooled reactors (HTRs) and fast reactors.

India's overall goal is to have 14.5 GWe of nuclear generating capacity online by 2024, compared to 6219 MWe in early 2016.

Helium encased in a carbon fullerene buckyball is proposed as a possible room temperature superconductor

Arxiv - The role of electron-vibron interaction and local pairing in conductivity and superconductivity of alkali-doped fullerides. The route to a room-temperature superconductor

Researchers investigate the competition between the electron-vibron interaction (interaction with the Jahn- Teller phonons) and the Coulomb repulsion in a system with local pairing of electrons on the triply degenerate lowest unoccupied molecular orbital (LUMO). The electron-vibron interaction radically changes conductivity and magnetic properties of alkali-doped fullerides AnC60, which should be antiferromagnetic Mott insulators: we have found that materials with n = 1, 2 and A = K, Rb are conductors but not superconductors; n = 3 and A = K, Rb are conductors (superconductors at low temperatures), but with A = Cr are Mott insulators; n = 2, 4 are nonmagnetic Mott insulators. We have shown that superconductivity, conductivity and insulation of these materials have common nature. Based on the alkali-doped fullerides they propose a hypothetical material with a significantly higher critical temperature using the model of superconductivity with the external pair potential formulated in another paper (Arxiv - BCS theory with the external pair potential)

Consideration of a hypothetical substance, where interaction between (within) structural elements of condensed matter (molecules, nanoparticles, clusters, layers, wires etc.) depends on state of Cooper pairs: an additional work must be made against this interaction to break a pair. Such a system can be described by BCS Hamiltonian with the external pair potential term. In this model the potential essentially renormalizes the order parameter: if the pairing lowers energy of the structure the energy gap is slightly enlarged at zero temperature and asymptotically tends to zero as temperature rises. Thus the critical temperature of such a superconductor is equal to infinity formally. For this case the effective Ginzburg-Landau theory is formulated, where the coherence length decreases as temperature rises, the GL parameter and the second critical field are increasing functions of temperature unlike the standard theory. If the pairing enlarges energy of the structure then suppression of superconductivity and the first order phase transition occur.

Baidu creates Deepbench benchmarking tool to help hardware makers build faster Deep Learning hardware

Baidu Research announced DeepBench, the first open source benchmarking tool for evaluating deep learning performance across different hardware platforms.

The announcement was made during a presentation by Greg Diamos and Sharan Narang of Baidu Research’s Silicon Valley AI Lab.

DeepBench is an open source benchmarking tool that measures the performance of basic operations involved in training deep neural networks. These operations are executed on different hardware platforms using neural network libraries. Deepbench is available as a repository on github.

The primary purpose of DeepBench is to benchmark operations that are important to deep learning on different hardware platforms. Although the fundamental computations behind deep learning are well understood, the way they are used in practice can be surprisingly diverse. For example, a matrix multiplication may be compute-bound, bandwidth-bound, or occupancy-bound, based on the size of the matrices being multiplied and the kernel implementation. Because every deep learning model uses these operations with different parameters, the optimization space for hardware and software targeting deep learning is large and underspecified.

DeepBench attempts to answer the question, “Which hardware provides the best performance on the basic operations used for training deep neural networks?”. Baidu specify these operations at a low level, suitable for use in hardware simulators for groups building new processors targeted at deep learning.

DeepBench uses the neural network libraries to benchmark the performance of basic operations on different hardware. It does not work with deep learning frameworks or deep learning models built for applications. We cannot measure the time required to train an entire model using DeepBench. The performance characteristics of models built for different applications are very different from each other. Therefore, we are benchmarking the underlying operations involved in training a deep learning model. Benchmarking these operations will help raise awareness amongst hardware vendors and software developers about the bottlenecks in deep learning training.

DeepBench is an attempt to accelerate the development of the hardware foundation for deep learning, by helping hardware developers optimize their processors for deep learning applications, and specifically, for the “training” phase in which the system learns through trial and error.

Types of Operations in Deep Bench

Dense Matrix Multiplies

Dense matrix multiplies exist in almost all deep neural networks today. They are used to implement fully connected layers and vanilla RNNs and are building blocks for other types of recurrent layers. Sometimes they are also used as a quick way to implement novel layer types for which custom code doesn't exist.

Superconducting ring generators are core technology enabling a planned mach 5 Hypersonic commercial business jet

There are several patents around the superconducting turbo electric bypass machine that will enable more powerful engines to drive a mach 5 hypersonic commercial business jet.

HyperMach new design has a top speed of Mach 5 at 80,000 feet and 7,000-nm range. They are busy developing and testing the critical technology built into the SSBJ’s 76,000-pound-thrust H-Magjet 5500-X hybrid turbofan ramjet engines. Lugg said the company holds “major patents” for its “revolutionary propulsion technology,” which includes a superconducting turbo power core ring to generate the aircraft’s high electrical power requirements.

The most powerful current fighter jet engines produce about 43,000 pounds of thrust

“The first engine stage produces more than 10 megawatts of power, driving the electromagnetic compressor and bypass fans,” he noted. “There are five turbine stages in H-Magjet, all producing multi-megawatts of power.”

Supersonic-Magnetic Advanced Generation Jet Electric Turbine (S-MAGJET), the majority of electric power produced off the power turbine via the superconducting ring generators is directed forward through a proprietary electric power management system to run the electric bypass fans and the electric compressor. This electrical independence of the bypass fan from the multi-stage axial compressor raises overall efficiency of the engine by 70% alone.

Switched reluctance, fully superconducting, integrated ring turbine motor, generator gas turbine, engine stage (ssrgts)

A superconducting integrated ring turbine motor generator gas turbine engine stage of the present invention includes a combination of turbine vanes, rotors and blisk assemblies that prevent temperatures during operation from interfering with the extraction or control of power generation processes. The engine stage includes a ring having an evenly spaced array of aerodynamic vanes affixed on the inside or outside of the ring. The vanes are spaced apart by a nonmagnetic armature assembly spacer ring.

Fully advanced superconducting segmented turbo-electric rotormachine (fasster) (US Patent)

Disclosed is a high-power, fully-superconducting electric machine and major subcomponents including a dual (twin) superconducting, counter rotating, sub-scale bypass fan machine, 13-stage switched reluctance turbo-motor, electric compressor, annular ion-plasma combustor with electromagnetic electrodes, and a five stage superconducting counter-rotating turbine power generation machine which is capable of developing 2.5 MW per stage.

Hypersonic aircraft

A supersonic aircraft having unique structural, geometrical, electromagnetic, mechanical, thermal and aerodynamic configuration is described. Its design characteristics maximize aerodynamic performance, speed, efficiency, comfort and range in the operational affect of carrying passengers over long distances at very high flight speeds and Mach numbers, generally above Mach 4.0+. It has fully integrated-mated fuselage twin engine nacelle structures which reduce and stabilize wave drag, wherein engines sit forward of the sonic boom electrode swept aerospace but are integrated right through the sub-wing, the aero-spike and inlet just above the top surface of the central wing, and above and the major wing mating join, attached via a massive composite titanium keel structure, through the central wing box and fuselage.

Hypersonic advanced generation jet electric turbine

The examples provided herein, including any summary of above summary of example aspects, serves to provide a basic understanding of the present disclosure. Such summary is not an extensive overview of all contemplated aspects, and is intended to neither identify key or critical elements of all aspects nor delineate the scope of any or all aspects of the present disclosure. Its sole purpose is to present one or more aspects in a simplified form as a prelude to the more detailed description of the disclosure that follows. To the accomplishment of the foregoing the one or more aspects of the present disclosure include the features described and example pointed out in the claims. A system, method, and methods of assembly and manufacturing a hypersonic jet electric turbine is provided.

Details of Patents

SonicBlue's conceptual design for its superconducting ring motor positions two concentric rings: (i) the inner ring, which will constitute the rotating component (the rotor) and, when in motion, will be maintained in plane with the outer ring by magnetic levitation; and {11} the outer ring (the stator), which will be stationary. Both rings will be made from advanced materials, primarily lightweight metal alloys, titanium and carbon nano-tube reinforced composite. The inner ring body will consist of fan blades and/or compressor blades as a perimeter ring structure. The fan blades or compressor blades will be attached at the inner fan ring and the tips will be attached to the perimeter ring. The fan blades and compressor blades at the perimeter ring structure will incorporate passive thermal cooling passages that will lead to a cooling medium reservoir in the hub. The circumference of the inner ring (the rotor) will contain several sets of superconducting induction coils (two separate sets of coils for levitation and one set for propulsion) and passive thermal cooling passages surrounding the induction coils. The outer ring (the stator) will hold the motor's cryogenically cooled, high-power, superconducting electromagnets, and will also hold the levitating and positioning Halbach Arrays (consisting of neodymium-iron-boron permanent magnets).

A cryogenic cooling system will provide coolant to the superconducting electromagnets in the outer ring; and the outer ring will be surrounded by a highly efficient insulating material, such as a silicon carbide aerogel composite. The outer ring will also have contact strips coated with a polymer that has a low coefficient of friction to provide rotor support during startup; to constrain out-of-plane, in-plane and shear loads outside of the design criteria; and to ameliorate the effects of contact between the rings due to operational anomalies such as foreign object damage. In addition, the contact strips will be part of a mechanism that will hold the fan or compressors in place during storage and at other times when the fan is not intended to be rotating.

This non-superconducting ring motor architecture in the rotor has been selected as an alternative design approach being proposed because of the technical challenges of providing cryogenic cooling to the rotating inner rings whereby the bypass fan(s) and/or compressor blades attach In the exo- skeleton FASSTER engine architecture. Superconductors are used in the stator which are induced by an electrical current from the three STRGs in the turbine to power these fan and compressor stages through induction. The ring motor design is a high speed, switched reluctance permanent magnet ring motor that according to past engineering and FEA analysis provides very high power densities, very close in performance in terms of power density at the 15,000 RPM selected by SonicBlue in the segments electric compressor and is very close to being competitive with the superconducting STRG technology under development SonicBlue. There are permanent magnet architectures perpendicular to the permanent magnet drive or propulsive PM arrays which make up the magnetic levitation architecture in the fan and compressor section. This architecture is propulsed by superconducting electromagnets in the stator housed in the exo-skeleton

Current technology in ring motor designs can only create shear pressures in the range of 4.1 Ibs./sq. in. The SonicBlue design concept, which uses superconducting electromagnets and computer-controlled pole activation, will be designed to develop shear pressures at the interface of the stator ring and the rotor ring in the range of 16.0 to 20.0 Ibs./sq. in., as much as four and a half times greater than the forces that are currently achieved in the traditional ring motor designs. Those increased shear pressures will enable the SonicBlue design to achieve significant power Gains and meet torque loadings equal to mechanically non-segmented designs.

SonicBlue's magnetic levitation system for supporting and positioning the rotor within the plane of the stator is based on the Indutrack maglev train technology developed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the 1990s. The Indutrack technology is completely passive, relying only on the forward motion of the train to achieve magnetic levitation. Although the Indutrack technology is heavy and bulky in application and does not need to take into account any issues of cooling (because the magnetic coils of the track are only active when the train is over them, cooling is not an issue), it is simple in design, robust in other applications, has no moving parts or control system, provides maximum levitating force at low speeds and appears readily adaptable to the SonicBlue MAGJET turbine application. The SonicBlue design uses two rows of neodymiun-iron-boron permanent magnets arranged in parallel Halbach Arrays around each inner edge of a channel in the stater's outer ring; and opposing and corresponding arrays of small induction coils located in each of the outer edges of the circumference of the rotor (separate from the induction drive coils) inside the outer perimeter of the stator channel.

SonicBlue has chosen to use 3G superconducting ribbon to create the magnetic field in the outer ring of the motor that will drive the rotation of the inner ring. Although the use of superconducting ribbon creates issues of thermal management (see the Thermal Management discussion below) and adds weight (e.g., coolant storage tank, compressor, pumps and valves), it enables the SonicBlue design to generate an extremely high electromagnetic field at the outer ring, thus generating 4 to 5 times the rotational torque of a conventional ring motor. The

SonicBlue design concept calls for an array of coils of superconducting ribbon in the outer ring, with the coil cores being parallel to the axis of rotation of the rotor. The geometry of the coils, pole count and flux density will be determined so as to reach the power density and horsepower specified as design points for the 44" diameter superconducting ring motor application at 2.5 MW. The superconducting ring motor will drive the bypass fans and the compressors. This is baseline for the first electric turbo compressor stage. Smaller electric machines are devised reducing in size for the next eight electric compressor stages. The electric machine architecture is up to 87" for the first of two counter rotating bypass fan stages, each at 9.4 MW. Total turbo electric power is 27.0 MW, putting the final engine design In Λ/+3 at approximately 31,000 lb. thrust class

The main advantage of magnetic coils over permanent magnets in an aerospace application of a superconducting ring motor or ring generator is that magnetic coils do not have an intrinsic limit to the amount of power that can be produced, i.e., the amount of power being produced by the coils is directly related to the amount of current the coil can handle from a generation source. The amount of magnet flux that can be produced by a permanent magnet, however, is limited by the inherent magnetic characteristics of the magnetic material used in the magnet and its physical size. Copper coils could be utilized instead of permanent magnets or superconducting coils, but copper coils cannot support the energy density requirements for high horsepower ring motor and ring generation ratings without substantial loss of efficiency, and produce power levels ultimately in the 40+ megawatt class. Superconducting wire coils (made from advanced materials such as yitritium/noblum) will add design complexity, bulk and weight; but such materials, because they enable the coils to generate much greater power densities and therefore greater horsepower, will produce higher thrust to weight ratios than alternative technologies and thus counter the otherwise adverse impacts on the design (such as weight penalty for cryocoolers to keep superconducting electromagnets within cryogenic operating conditions) that arise from their use.

Over the past 10-20 years research has focused on increasing jet engine performance while reducing engine weight and reducing the costs associated with engine production and maintenance. In particular, government and military funded programs have focused on using ceramic components for the hot section of gas turbine engines to allow for higher turbine inlet temperatures and, therefore, higher thermal efficiencies. In addition, research is focusing on a truly integrated engine and airframe propulsion system in which the engine casing becomes a part of the airframe. This would allow for a dramatic weight reduction in overall weight and an increase in engine performance. However, these development programs have focused on 70 year old gas turbine technology.

In addition, the DOD and Armed Services are now demanding significant increases in electric output from turbine flight engines. For example, there are now requirements for the generation of up to 2-5 megawatts of electrical power that is needed to power on-board directed energy weapons and all electric aircraft subsystems. Currently, US Air Force requirements for future unmanned and manned systems are demanding propulsion capabilities which can sustain supersonic speeds as in Mach 1.5-3.5 across a complete flight regime, lift-off to landing, and deliver high power energy weapons with all electric sub-systems for aircraft function. Future aircraft concepts are demanding in excess of 1.0 megawatt of power which current turbine engine companies cannot deliver off of their present engine designs, largely because they are restricted by the reduction performance of gear boxes, drive shafts and the generator added on as an additional component which is not made by the OEM engine supplier.

In traditional gas turbine engines, the combustor/propulsor, dynamic components are designed to be in tension with heavy axial drive shafts (or spools), and gear boxes. These systems are quite heavy and typically limit the thrust to weight ratios to not more than 7 to 1.

Hypermach commercial supersonic business jet redesigned for full mach 5 hypersonic speed which gets attention of the US military

HyperMach Aerospace is about halfway through a two-year program to validate crucial technologies for both its newly renamed HyperStar supersonic business jet (SSBJ) and the airplane’s hybrid turbofan ramjet engines being developed by sister company SonicBlue Aerospace. Richard Lugg, who heads both companies, told AIN that 2016 and 2017 are “pivotal years” for its SSBJ, which was previously known as the SonicStar.

Nextbigfuture has summarized and linked to the key Hypermach - Sonicblue engine patents for the superconducting engine innovations

Additionally, HyperMach has once again revised the aircraft’s preliminary performance and specifications upward, to a top speed of Mach 5 at 80,000 feet and 7,000-nm range. In late 2012, it boosted the SSBJ’s top speed estimate to Mach 4.5 and range to 6,500 nm from its original Mach 3.6 and 6,000 nm, when it announced the project at the 2011 Paris Airshow.

It also increased the size of the airplane in late 2012 to seat up to 36 passengers from the initial 20; it has not made any further changes to the basic configuration since then. The updated and now-current HyperStar design has a larger swooped delta wing, redesigned V tail and a pair of more powerful engines, compared with the original design. Both the larger fuselage, which will now carry center tanks, and wing allow for more onboard fuel that in turn helps to stretch the airplane’s range.

Hypermach going bigger and hypersonically faster instead of going home

Deep Learning works great because the Universe, physics and the game of Go are vastly simpler than prior models and have exploitable patterns

Quote from Sunset Boulevard movie - I *am* big. It's the *pictures* that got small.

How is deep learning solving problems that seem to have an incredibly huge space of possible solutions ? The actual number of possible solutions is vastly smaller than earlier estimates. Deep Learning is useful and powerful but it is also that the problems were not as big or as hard as researchers feared when they were unsolved.

Last year, Deep Learning AI accomplished a task many people thought impossible: DeepMind, Google's deep learning AI system, defeated the world's best Go player after trouncing the European Go champion. The feat stunned the world because the number of potential Go moves exceeds the number of atoms in the universe, and past Go-playing robots performed only as well as a mediocre human player.

But even more astonishing than DeepMind's utter rout of its opponents was how it accomplished the task.

"The big mystery behind neural networks is why they work so well," said study co-author Henry Lin, a physicist at Harvard University. "Almost every problem we throw at them, they crack."

The answer is that the universe is governed by a tiny subset of all possible functions. In other words, when thelaws of physics are written down mathematically, they can all be described by functions that have a remarkable set of simple properties.

So deep neural networks don’t have to approximate any possible mathematical function, only a tiny subset of them.

Not only do Lin and Tegmark’s ideas explain why deep learning machines work so well, they also explain why human brains can make sense of the universe. Evolution has somehow settled on a brain structure that is ideally suited to teasing apart the complexity of the universe.

To put this in perspective, consider the order of a polynomial function, which is the size of its highest exponent. So a quadratic equation like y=x2 has order 2, the equation y=x24 has order 24, and so on.

Obviously, the number of orders is infinite and yet only a tiny subset of polynomials appear in the laws of physics. “For reasons that are still not fully understood, our universe can be accurately described by polynomial Hamiltonians of low order,” say Lin and Tegmark. Typically, the polynomials that describe laws of physics have orders ranging from 2 to 4.

The laws of physics have other important properties. For example, they are usually symmetrical when it comes to rotation and translation. Rotate a cat or dog through 360 degrees and it looks the same; translate it by 10 meters or 100 meters or a kilometer and it will look the same. That also simplifies the task of approximating the process of cat or dog recognition.

China Xi Jinping now has core leader title which was like Mao and Deng Xiaoping and he is moving to stay leader past 2022

China‘s Communist Party gave President Xi Jinping the title of “core” leader on Thursday, putting him on par with past strongmen like Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, but it signaled his power would not be absolute.

The “core” leader title marks a significant strengthening of Xi’s position ahead of a key party congress next year, at which a new Standing Committee, the pinnacle of power in China, will be constituted.

Since assuming office almost four years ago, Xi has rapidly consolidated power, including heading a group leading economic reform and appointing himself commander-in-chief of the military, though as head of the Central Military Commission he already controls the armed forces.

Deng coined the phrase “core” leader. He said Mao, himself, and Jiang Zemin were core leaders, meaning they had almost absolute authority and should not be questioned.

Judging by recent past precedent, Xi should step down at the 2022 congress after a decade at the top, but speculation in leadership circles has swirled that he may try and stay on, perhaps giving up the post as president but remaining as party leader, the more senior of the posts

China will create four artificial islands near Mindanao for the Philippines

A Chinese state-owned company said to have been involved in Beijing's island-building in the South China Sea signed a deal to construct islands for rival claimant the Philippines as its President Rodrigo Duterte visited last week.

CCCC Dredging will create four artificial islands totaling 208 hectares of reclaimed land in Davao, the port city on the southern island of Mindanao where Duterte was mayor, the Beijing Youth Daily reported.

The islands will spread along eight kilometers of coastline and be used for government buildings, commercial spaces, residences, ports and industry in a project to be completed by 2019, it added.

UPDATE - More details on China's dredging fleet and the Philippine island deal and plans

The four new artificial islands appear to be planned around Davao. They will be developed for mixed-use, business and residential purposes along the coastline under a P39-billion reclamation project that city government plans to undertake with a major private developer.

Russia has test fired an ICBM with a hypersonic glider warhead

Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces has test fired a RS-18 intercontinental ballistic missile on October 25, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense. Russian military analysts believe that the launch was a test of a new hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV), the YU-71, also known as Project 4202, a warhead purportedly capable of penetrating any missile defense shield.

Senior Russian defense officials have repeatedly stated that Russia’s defense industry is working on fielding hypersonic weapon system capable of penetrating advanced missile defense systems by the early 2020s. One of the major difficulties remains the YU-71 HGV’s accuracy since engineers have so far been unsuccessful in developing functioning missile control system, according to a Russian defense industry source. Missile scientists also need to develop new materials that can withstand temperatures of 1,500˚C, generated by speeds of Mach 5 and above.

The hypersonic gliding phase enables the YU-71 HGV not only to maneuver aerodynamically and perform extreme evasive moves and also extends the range of the missile.

The YU-71 could eventually be mounted on Russia’s new super-heavy thermonuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missile, the RS-28 Sarmat. With its 10 heavy or 15 (some sources say 16) lighter warheads

The Russian Defense Ministry announced at the beginning of 2016 that the Strategic Missile Forces would test-launch a total of 16 ICBM throughout the year, with 14 dedicated to testing new missiles and warheads including the RS-28 Sarmat

A-10 Fighter supporters have defeated the US Air Force leadership by delaying A-10 retirement indefinitely

The Air Force was planning to start mothballing the A-10 fighter in 2018 and retirement of all A-10s by 2021. But last month Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James said that the retirement of the A-10 would likely have to be delayed further as the military continues to rely on the low-and-slow attack plane for close-air support (CAS) missions flown against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. Even more telling, the Air Force Material Command (AFMC) is bringing the depot line for A-10 maintenance and repair back up to full capacity.

The A-10 is a heavily armed and armored attack plane with a long loiter time—and the GAU-8 Avenger 30-millimeter gatling gun that holds 1,350 armor-piercing rounds and is significantly more useful than a stealthy, fast, software-laden fighter like the F-35 for close air support.

To keep the A-10 fleet of 283 aircraft flying, Hill Air Force Base in Utah, where most of the A-10 maintenance and repair work is done, is continuing to prepare for increased capacity. According to Aviation Week, the A-10 division at Hill has improved the aircraft availability rate from about 63 to 68 percent in the past year, accounting for 87,000 flight hours worldwide in fiscal year 2015.

The Air Force has been pressured by a group in Congress with widespread public support to keep the A-10 fleet maintained and flying CAS missions until an adequate replacement has been realized.

Norwegian Airlines approvals for more US routes delayed to protect US airlines from competition like $69 one way trips to Europe from US east coast

The Norwegian business model is made possible by the Boeing’s Dreamliner 787. the model is to have long-haul toures with discounted rates and the promise of a comfortable journey.

The Dreamliner is built using unprecedented techniques. Boeing says it is 20 percent more fuel efficient than previous models which, in an industry where fuel makes up a third of total costs, is a huge cost-saving measure for any airline over the plane’s lifetime.

Norwegian has taken delivery of four of the new aircraft this year and expects nine in 2017. By the end of the decade it will take on 11 more.

In 2012 Norwegian placed the largest single European aircraft order in history for 222 new planes including 122 Boeing 737s, and 100 A320s from rival aircraft manufacturer Airbus. The new 737 and A320 are also new super fuel efficient models.

The longer range means more direct routes. This has been a huge success for Norwegian as passengers mostly avoid extra transfer through hubs.

Norwegian’s explosive growth has positioned the airline as Europe’s third largest low-cost carrier, flying 400 routes to more than 130 destinations in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, Thailand, the Caribbean and the US. Last year 26 million passengers opted for Norwegian’s low-cost offers and the airline expects the 11 percent growth seen last year to continue as it opens more routes in the coming years, with Canada, South America and South Africa all on the cards.

This pace of growth should see them double in size every 6 years.

Norwegian has been locked in battle with the US aviation authorities over approval to operate flights from the US. Norwegian has been waiting for more than a year for approval from the UK subsidiary, and from its Irish one an unprecedented three years.

The typically routine request is usually concluded within two months. But Norwegian has failed to win approval from the US over concern that competition from the new entrant would hit local airlines.

What the US fears is that Norwegian will offer $69 one way tickets from the East coast of the USA to Europe will crush US carriers.

Nyseth is adamant that the approval will come through after the US general election next month.

“There is no way that they can deny Norwegian the approval. If they could, they would have done it by now,” he says.

Marine megadrone will have all the weapons, sensors of an F-35 and do everything a manned F-35 can do except displace the F-35 budget

The US Marines want a lot from the MUX drone platform which they plan to have operational capability by 2026. The future platform is a Group 5 which is the largest class of military drone. It will be equipped to fight from sea as well as land.

Lt Gen Davis says this future drone will not be a competitor with the Corps’ new F-35B Lightning II 5th-generation fighter but a collaborator, able to team with the aircraft on mission.

However, the megadrone will have AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles, AIM-9X Sidewinder missil and all of the weapons that an F-35 will carry, maybe even the sensors the F-35 will carry.

Ultimately they want an unmanned aircraft that can do everything a manned aircraft can.

He wants to see a tech demonstration flight of the MUX by 2018 and early operational capability for the system by 2024.

The megadrone may end up replicating all capabilities of the F-35 and be provide 7 days a week and 24 hour a day support. However, any superior duplication with a lower priced system will not mean cancelling or displacing the trillion(s) of dollars of F-35 budget. This is likely because the military-industrial complex would then prevent the megadrone from being built.

The military–industrial complex (MIC) is an informal alliance between a nation's military and the defense industry which supplies it, seen together as a vested interest which influences public policy. The term is most often used in reference to the system behind the military of the United States, where it is most prevalent and gained popularity after its use in the farewell address of President Dwight D. Eisenhower on January 17, 1961

New molecule may help fight obesity by converting 'bad' fat to 'good' fat

Research suggests that activation of a chemical called Beta-LGND2 by the estrogen receptor Beta (ER-Beta) reduces obesity and metabolic diseases in mice by converting bad fat (white fat) to good fat (brown fat). This is significant as brown fat increases metabolism and may facilitate weight loss.

"Although there is a general misperception that obesity is not a life-threatening condition, obesity is the underlying cause for several diseases that could result in mortality," said Ramesh Narayanan, Ph.D., M.B.A., a researcher involved in the work from the Department of Medicine and Director of the Center for Cancer Drug Discovery at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, Tennessee. "Safe and effective treatment for obesity is highly needed, and targeting ER-β might be one of the strategies to safely combat obesity."

To make their discovery, Narayanan and colleagues used three groups of mice. One group was fed with normal rodent diet, while two groups were fed with high-fat diet (HFD) to make them obese. One of the two HFD-fed groups was treated with vehicle, while the other HFD-fed group was treated with beta-LGND2. Beta-LGND2-treated mice were significantly leaner than the other mice fed an HFD. Beta-LGND2-treated mice had higher body temperature and oxygen consumption, indicating higher metabolism rate.

Faseb Journal - Pharmacologic activation of estrogen receptor β increases mitochondrial function, energy expenditure, and brown adipose tissue

Powerful rocket missions to Mars in 30 days one way and fast mission to other solar system destinations

ProjectRho has round trip space mission times based on three types of rocket missions and three levels of constant acceleration.

It is a table of mission parameters calculated by Jon C. Rogers for the book Spaceship Handbook.

Six trajectories are listed

Three impulse (rocket) types and three constant acceleration brachistochrone types.

"Impulse" means the spacecraft makes an initial burn then coasts for months, which is a standard rocket mission.

Impulse trajectory I-1 is pretty close to a Hohmann (minimum delta V / maximum time) orbit, but with a slightly higher delta V.

Impulse trajectory I-2 is in-between I-1 and I-3 (it is equivalent to an elliptical orbit from Mercury to Pluto, the biggest elliptical orbit that will fit inside the solar system).

Impulse trajectory I-3 is near the transition between delta V levels for high impulse trajectories and low brachistochrone trajectories (it is a hyperbolic solar escape orbit plus 30 km/s).

Brachistochrone (maximum delta V / minimum time) trajectories are labeled by their level of constant acceleration: 0.01 g, 0.10 g, and 1.0 g.

Elon Musk of Spacex talked about achieve 30 days on a one way trip to Mars with the Interplanetary Transport system. This would be the Impulse Trajectory I-2, with with about 52 km per second delta V.

I think to achieve the 30 day one way trip time, Spacex would be assembling an even larger rocket system in orbit using multiple trips from Earth to a staging area for Mars.

Constant acceleration could be achieved with an antimatter catalyzed fusion propulsion system like Positron Dynamics is developing

15 days one way to Mars with a constant 0.01 G acceleration and deceleration.

6 days one way to Mars with a constant 0.1G acceleration and deceleration.

2 days one way to Mars with a constant 1G acceleration and deceleration.

Positron Dynamics is looking at antimatter catalyzed fusion for propulsion.

* within 2 year they want to make 6U cubesat that they will use to test the propulsion in space. It will be generating 100s of watts
* the propulsion will have delta V of 1 to 10 km/second
* Later systems will have more delta V and enable cubesats and small satellites to stay in orbit for years instead of days

* the cubesats with propulsion will enable very low orbit internet satellites

* in the 2020s if things go well they will be able to scale to 10 km/second to 100 km/second with 10-100 kilogram payloads for small probe exploration of the solar system
* Later beyond 2030, they will have regenerative isotopes for a lot more power and achieve ten million ISP and several kilonewtons of propulsive force
* could enable 1G acceleration and deceleration propulsion which would 3.5 weeks to Pluto

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