Nextbigfuture Highlights Weeks 33-38

This is the fifth set of highlights for Next Big Future for 2009.

Here is the link to the highlights for weeks 20-32

Here is the link to the highlights for weeks 13-19

Here is the link to the highlights for weeks 7-12.

Here is the link to the highlights for weeks 1-6

Nuclear Fusion
1. The Mr Fusion scenario which considers the huge societal impact if there is near term success in achieving energy costs that are 10-100 times lower using nuclear fusion.

The four highlights are update articles to the leading possibilities for breakthroughs with nuclear fusion.

2. IEC bussard fusion has received $8 million in funding which should be enough to fund all the work over the next two years. It is expected from a statement in an interview on this site by Dr. Nebel who is leading the IEC fusion project work that the work over the next two years should be sufficient to determine if IEC fusion is viable for transforming commercial energy production or not.

3. Here is an update on Lawrenceville plasma fusion fusion work.

4. The Lawrenceville work is based on previous dense plasma focus fusion work, which is reviewed here.

5. General fusion will leverage computer technology for controlling the pistons and systems that they will be using to try to generate commercial nuclear fusion.

Propulsion Based on Exploiting Mach’s Effect
6. The first nextbigfuture article on mach’s effect propulsion which has an interview with Paul March

7. A second article with answers to various questions in comments on mach effect propulsion.

8. Mach Effect investigation could be a path to the unification of general relativity and quantum mechanics. Here is links to abot 20 hours of Stanford lectures on General relativity and another 20 on quantum mechanics plus a short video from one of the investigators of mach’s effect for potentially revolutionary propulsion. It is useful to understand the details of General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics to be able to judge the quality of an attempt at unification and the possible impact of unification of those two areas.

If Mach’s effect can be used for propulsion as envisioned then what has been envisioned in terms of space travel in capabilities in Star Trek and even possibly wormholes for Faster than light travel and communication becomes possible. The work is based on solid General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics and understanding of inertia and the experiments are being carefully conducted. Success development would be a candidate for one of the greatest accomplishments of humanity.

9. John Cramers retrocausal experiments are reviewed.

According to Paul March from a Talk Polywell comment: Dr. Cramer’s retrocausal experiment should be completed by the end of this year (2009). And if verified it would buttress Dr. Woodward’s M-E (Mach Effect) arguments and provide a path to finally merging GRT (General relativity) with QM (Quantum Mechanics).

10. Here is an article with a collection of videos where the nobel prize winning genius (and legendary science educator) Richard Feynmann explains various topics in physics. Having a better understanding of physics allows one to understand how the Mach Effect and other candidates for creating effective and powerful space propulsion could work and could be possible.
11. The series of videos from the University of Stanford on General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics and the collection of videos from Richard Feynmann are an example of importance fully leveraging the internet to transform education to make education lower cost and more effective.

Materials and Construction Breakthroughs
12. MIT has found the molecular DNA of concrete. Concrete is the most common building material that humanity uses. It will be huge to be able to tune the properties of concrete in a scientific way with accurate computer models instead of using trial and error.

13. Manufactured Titanium is about to become eight times cheaper

14. There are over two thousand dams have critical needs for repair in the United States that are near population centers.

15. German researchers make steel velcro.

Nuclear Fission Energy
16. IAEA conference reviews all of the new methods for reducing the time it takes to build a nuclear reactor.

17. Japan working towards large scale extraction of uranium from seawater.

18. Hyperion power generations uranium hydride reactor has about 122 orders and has a complete unit cost of $2000/kw.

19. Sandia is designing a factory mass produced nuclear fission reactor.

20. Bruce Bueno de Mesquita method for very accurate predictions of world political events.

21. Bruce Bueno de Mesquita predicts the failure of the upcoming Copenhagen climate conference.

22. Texas instrument CTO predicts .

23. Nvidia’s CEO predicts GPGPUs that are 570 times faster than today.


24. A Singularity University presentation by me, Brian Wang, on the topic of the latest developments in Nanotechnology

25. ACS Nano reports that a step toward high throughput continuous nanoimprinting has been made. Nanoimprinting could eventually achieve 2 nanometer features. Currently this higher volume method is at about 50-300 nanometer features. Roll to roll printing of newspapers is at 25 meters per second and is about 1 meter wide. This would be up to 10,000 times faster than printing 100 wafers per hour using advanced lithography and one line of semiconductor fabrication equipment.

26. A research team engineered surface-modified nanodiamond particles that successfully and efficiently delivered DNA into mammalian cells. The delivery efficiency was 70 times greater than that of a conventional standard for gene delivery

27. Chris Phoenix suggests tweaking DNA Nanotechnology to make centimeter sized objects

If DNA-tagged molecular shapes (whether made of DNA with Rothemund staples, or Schafmeister polymers, or whatever) were allowed to self-assemble to a DNA framework, and then zinc or light (or whatever reagent) were added, then the shapes could bond quite strongly into a single large strong precise molecule. The molecule could be highly crosslinked, and thus stronger and stiffer than most protein, and certainly stronger and stiffer than just plain DNA. How big could the molecule be? Well, let’s not forget IBM’s recent announcement of plans to template entire computer chips with surface-attached DNA. That implies that the molecule – a single, engineered molecule – could be centimeter-scale!

28. Chris Phoenix also had a suggestion to use parallel DNA assembling frameworks to speed up DNA nanotechnology fabrication.

29. Carbon nanotube roundup.

* From MIT, a new technique for growing carbon nanotubes should be easier to integrate with existing semiconductor manufacturing processes.

* Researchers at Cornell University have made a photovoltaic cell out of a single carbon nanotube that can take advantage of more of the energy in light than conventional photovoltaics. Carbon nanotube photovoltaics can wring twice the charge from light.

* An international team studying the effects of friction on carbon nanotubes claims that friction can be cut in half when carbon nanotubes are aligned lengthwise rather than transversely.

30. CNANO technology has EPA approval for its carbon nanotube factory. The approval results from the Pre-Manufacturing Notice (PMN) filed by CNano for the MWNTs produced at its 500 tons per year facility in Beijing, China.

Technology Mixed Bag

31. Supercaviting submarines could enable vessels that go 110 mph.

32. Sanswire stratellite could enable new blimps to replace orbital satellites.

33. A portable tunnel detector that works down to 75 meters which would revolutionize border security technology.

34. A proposal for a more inexpensive magetic space launch system, which could launch payloads for about $6/kg.

Transhuman and super-medicine
35. The results of a major study on the ethics of human enhancement

36. Usain bolts record and the limits of physical enhancements via gene therapy

37. Tissue engineering advance.

38. Paralyzed rats are able to run on a treadmill and very promising anti-obesity treatment is proven on mice.

39. Many products and services are cheap and plentiful such as inexpensive but good enough video cameras. Cheap, plentiful and good enough can evolve into true abundance a few products and services at a time.

40. There is work to adapt plants to survive on Mars and the moon. Such plants and the methods used could also enable highly productive plants to grow on earth’s deserts.

41. A review of Norman Borlaug, who was a key part of the first green revoltion and the history and expectations for increased agricultural productivity.

1968 rice Yields: Tall conventional rice plant used before 1968 grew in 140-180 days and yielded between 0.6 and 1.4 tons per acre.

1997 Rice Yields: Privatization and dwarf rice have enabled China to raise rice yields rapidly to about 1.6 tons per acre — close to the world’s best figure of two tons

2008 Modern rice grows in 110-140 days, produces 100 seeds per panicle, and yields between 2.4 and 4.0 tons per acre.

By the year 2020 it is believed the world’s rice crop will increase by an additional 60 percent.

42. An ambitiuos project to re-engineer photosynthesis in rice, led by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). this should enable rice plants that can produce 50% more grain using less, fertilizer and less water.

43. Technology and economic growth are entering Africa

44. Optical quantum computer and traped ion quantum comptuers.

Life Extension, Stem Cells, Anti-aging and Synthetic life

45. Venter’s team is on the verge of creating synthetic life.

46. Gene sequencing of the human genome is on track to be $300-2000 by then end of 2010.

47. Genescient will have anti-aging products fully tested by the end of 2009 and presumably on the market to the public in 2010.

48. A guide to startups working on life extension.

49. Aubrey de Grey on why the Methusalirity (reaching the point where life is extended more than one year for every year that passes) will have a more profound impact on humanity than a Technological Singularity (where machines surpass human intelligence).

50. SENS 4 anti-aging conference coverage part 1.

51. SENS 4 anti-aging conference coverage part 2.

52. SENS 4 anti-aging conference coverage part 3.

53. SENS 4 anti-aging conference coverage part 4.

54. Liposuction fat leftovers are easily converted into potent stem cells