Railguns and lasers

An 8 megajoule railgun is working This could lead to higher velocity and longer range weapons. Key to practicality is power generation and storage like superconducting engines or nuclear power. A powerful pulse generator is used for this railgun. The prototype fired at Dahlgren is only an 8-megajoule electromagnetic device, but the one to be …

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Third proposed UK ideas factory project

There is a need for a high level instruction language and a computer compiler that translates commands in this language into instructions for the ‘nano-assembler’. Translate build instructions to specific pick and place actions for a SPM or other accurate pick and place tool. An ambition to assemble molecules and materials under atomically precise control …

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Skewed risk perceptions: How you say it matters

A WHO discussion of skewed risk perceptions Positive or negative framing? Striking changes in preference can result from framing the risk in either positive or negative terms, such as lives saved or lives lost, rates of survival or mortality, improving good health or reducing risks of disease Relative or absolute risks? Although relative risks are …

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World Health Organization estimates 3 million killed by outdoor air pollution

The World Health Organization (WHO) says 3 million people are killed worldwide by outdoor air pollution annually from vehicles and industrial emissions, and 1.6 million indoors through using solid fuel. Most are in poor countries. One study says 7-20% of cancers are attributable to poor air and pollution in homes and workplaces. Wikipedia discusses air …

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Environmental causes of avoidable forms of cancer

The National Cancer association has listed the percentage of avoidable cancers with different environmental causes. Proportion of cancer deaths caused by different avoidable cancers Causes Percent 1981(US)* Percent 1998(UK)** Tobacco 25-40 29-31 Diet 10-70 20-50Medicines 0.3-1.5 Brian WangBrian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. …

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Metagenetics advance sequencing all microbes in a termite for better biofuels

Sequencing the genomes of microbial ecosystems could lead to better biological machines. Scientists are sequencing the genomes of entire microbial communities in the hope of uncovering new genes and organisms that can create fuel, mine metals, or clean up superfund sites. Known as metagenomics, the field relies on studying bits of DNA from a variety …

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UK Proposal for sub-angstrom precision computer controlled actuators

Another proposed project from the UK Ideas factory to create reconfigurable computer controlled actuators with sub-nanometer to sub-angstrom precision. We propose a scheme to revolutionise the synthesis of nanodevices, nanomachines, and, ultimately, functional materials via the positional assembly of molecules and nanoscale building blocks. Computer-directed actuators will be used to drive (with sub-nanometre to sub-Angstrom …

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Bacteria resistant artificial skin

Skin cells genetically engineered to be resistant to bacteria could reduce infections and improve chances of survival among burn victims. A patient’s skin cells, genetically modified and grown in a test tube, could provide the next generation of artificial skin. As a first step in creating such replacement skin, scientists in Cincinnati have engineered bacteria-resistant …

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Breakthrough Diabetes one injection cures mice for four months

From Biosingularity, and Canada’s National post, word of breakthrough near cure for diabetes In a discovery that has stunned even those behind it, scientists at a Toronto hospital say they have proof the body’s nervous system helps trigger diabetes, opening the door to a potential near-cure of the disease that affects millions of Canadians. The …

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NSF looking for Grand Challenges for Engineering

We can submit our challenges for friendly AI, molecular nanotechnology, large scale quantum computers, and mass producible thorium liquid fluoride reactors to the NSF. The NSF is looking for the greatest technological challenges of the next century — a nine-month process that could give birth to new research initiatives. The project, called the “Grand Challenges …

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EU’s energy plan

EU’s energy and climate plan has a 20% carbon reduction target by 2020. The plan has three main areas a truly free internal energy market, where users have their choice of suppliers among all European suppliers; an accelerated shift to low-carbon energy, by increasing the share of renewable sources in the energy mix to 20% …

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