October 13, 2015

Oversupply of oil through at least 2016

Oil prices rose on Tuesday with technical support for U.S. crude and despite a weaker demand outlook from the International Energy Agency (IEA) which is expected to keep the world oil market oversupplied for at least another year.

Brent futures for November delivery rose 38 cents to $50.24 a barrel, a 0.8 percent gain, by 11:13 a.m EDT (1513 GMT). U.S. crude rose 99 cents or 2.1 percent to $48.09 per barrel.

IEA monthly oil forecast expects oversupply until at least through 2016

* After a relatively stable month in September, crude oil price benchmarks rallied in early October on expectations of lower US output and rising tension in the Middle East. At the time of writing, ICE Brent was trading at $51.90/bbl with NYMEX WTI lower at $48.80/bbl.

* Global demand growth is expected to slow from its five-year high of 1.8 mb/d in 2015 to 1.2 mb/d in 2016 - closer towards its long-term trend as previous price support is likely to wane. Recent downgrades to the macro-economic outlook are also filtering through.

* World oil supply held steady near 96.6 mb/d in September, as lower non-OPEC production was offset by a slight increase in OPEC crude. Non-OPEC accounted for just under 40% of the 1.8 mb/d annual increase in total oil output. Lower oil prices and steep spending curbs are expected to cut non-OPEC output by nearly 0.5 mb/d in 2016.

* OPEC crude supply rose by 90 kb/d in September to 31.72 mb/d as record Iraqi output more than offset a dip in Saudi supply. A slowdown in forecast demand growth and slightly higher non-OPEC supply lowers the 2016 'call' on OPEC by 0.2 mb/d from last month's Report to 31.1 mb/d.

* OECD commercial inventories extended recent gains and rose by 28.8 mb in August to stand at 2 943 mb by end-month. Since this was nearly double the 15.0 mb five-year average build for the month, inventories' surplus to average levels widened to 204 mb.

* The onset of seasonal turnarounds in the OECD and the FSU is estimated to have curbed global refinery runs by 1.9 mb/d in September to 79.4 mb/d. Runs remained remarkably strong, particularly in Asia and the Middle East, leaving global throughputs up nearly 2 mb/d on a year ago.

Next two Avengers movies will have a combined budget of one billion dollars

The next two Avengers films, Infinity War Part One and Two, will have a combined production budget of one billion dollars.

The above the line costs, that paid to the screenwriter, director, producers and principal actors will be a cool four hundred million dollars alone.

DARPA making drones that deliver the goods and then vanish

It sounds like an engineering fantasy, or maybe an episode from Mission Impossible: A flock of small, single-use, unpowered delivery vehicles dropped from an aircraft, each of which literally vanishes after landing and delivering food or medical supplies to an isolated village during an epidemic or disaster. And it would be nothing more than a fantasy, were it not that the principle behind disappearing materials has already been proven.

Building on recent innovations in its two-year-old Vanishing Programmable Resources (VAPR) program, which has developed self-destructing electronic components, DARPA today launched ICARUS, a program driven by a vision of vanishing air vehicles that can make precise deliveries of critical supplies and then vaporize into thin air.

“Our partners in the VAPR program are developing a lot of structurally sound transient materials whose mechanical properties have exceeded our expectations,” said VAPR and ICARUS program manager Troy Olsson. Among the most eye-widening of these ephemeral materials so far have been small polymer panels that sublimate directly from a solid phase to a gas phase, and electronics-bearing glass strips with high-stress inner anatomies that can be readily triggered to shatter into ultra-fine particles after use. A goal of the VAPR program is electronics made of materials that can be made to vanish if they get left behind after battle, to prevent their retrieval by adversaries.

“With the progress made in VAPR, it became plausible to imagine building larger, more robust structures using these materials for an even wider array of applications. And that led to the question, ‘What sorts of things would be even more useful if they disappeared right after we used them?’” Olsson said. “In discussions with colleagues, we were able to identify a capability gap that we decided was worth trying to close.”

Progress in the development of vanishing polymers has opened pathways toward vanishing systems, such as air-dropped delivery vehicles.

October 12, 2015

DARPA Rapid Automated Language Toolkit

Understanding local languages is essential for effective situational awareness in military operations, and particularly in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts that require immediate and close coordination with local communities. With more than 7,000 languages spoken worldwide, however, the U.S. military frequently encounters languages for which translators are rare and no automated translation capabilities exist. DARPA’s Low Resource Languages for Emergent Incidents (LORELEI) program aims to change this state of affairs by providing real-time essential information in any language to support emergent missions such as humanitarian assistance/disaster relief, peacekeeping and infectious disease response. The program recently awarded Phase 1 contracts to 13 organizations.

“The global diversity of languages makes it virtually impossible to ensure that U.S. personnel will be able to understand the situation on the ground when they go into new environments,” said Boyan Onyshkevych, DARPA program manager. “Through LORELEI, we envision a system that could quickly pick out key information—things such as names, events, sentiment and relationships—from public news and social media sources in any language, based on the system’s understanding of other languages. The goal is to provide immediate, evolving situational awareness that helps decision makers assess and respond as intelligently as possible to dynamic, difficult situations.”

HP partnering with Sandisk to offer competing memristor memory solution against Intel / Micron 3D Xpoint

-SanDisk Corporation, a global leader in flash storage solutions, and HP announced a long-term partnership to collaborate on a new technology within the Storage Class Memory (SCM) category. The partnership will center around HP’s Memristor technology and expertise and SanDisk’s non-volatile ReRAM memory technology and manufacturing and design expertise to create new enterprise-wide solutions for Memory-driven Computing. The two companies also will partner in enhancing data center solutions with Solid State Drives (SSDs).

The technology is expected to be up to 1,000 times faster than flash storage and offer up to 1,000 times more endurance than flash storage. It also is expected to offer significant cost, power, density and persistence improvements over DRAM technologies. The SCM technology and its characteristics are intended to allow systems to employ tens of terabytes (TB) of SCM per server node for applications such as in-memory databases, real-time data analytics, transactional and high-performance computing.

This technology is focused on addressing the massive streams of data generated by the convergence of social media, security, mobility, big data analytics, cloud and the Internet of Things. The partnership aims for the companies to augment existing flash memory-based SSD product lines with this technology, providing high-performance storage solutions to enterprise data centers. It also aims to contribute to HP’s breakthrough new computing model, The Machine, which reinvents the fundamental architecture of computers to enable a quantum leap in performance and efficiency, while lowering costs and improving security.

* HP is partnering to help launch its vision of the Machine
* HP is partnering to actually get high volume Memristor technology shipping

Electromagnetic Interaction traced to Dirac Equation

An international group of physicists has traced the origin of an electromagnetic interaction to the Dirac equation, a fundamental equation of quantum physics.

The interaction couples the spin of the electron to the angular momentum of the electromagnetic field and it is responsible for a variety of phenomena in a large class of technologically important materials.

In addition to charge, electrons have spin. By understanding and using the different states achieved when an electron's spin rotates, researchers could potentially increase information storage capacity in computers, for example.

Surendra Singh, professor of physics, and Bellaiche were part of the U of A team that proposed in 2013 that the angular momentum of an electromagnetic field can directly couple to the spin of an electron to produce a physical energy. This direct coupling explains known, subtle phenomena in magnetoelectric materials and predicts effects that have not yet been experimentally observed.

“For a long time, scientists explained these effects by using only the so-called spin-orbit coupling,” Singh said. “Our paper shows that the angular magnetoelectric interaction also contributes to these effects and that this term, along with spin-orbit coupling, follows naturally from a more exact theory of electron-light. It just had been ignored for so long.”

Physical Review B - Relativistic interaction Hamiltonian coupling the angular momentum of light and the electron spin

Mass Production T-14 Main Battle Tank will be half price and get mostly declassified for potential large export market success

Russia expects serious export potential for the Armata platform, including the T-14 MBT (Main Battle Tank). Russia is planning to mass produce the T-14 and cut its price in half. Russia is following the path to replicating the export success of its T-72 tank. The T-72 was widely exported and saw service in 40 countries and in numerous conflicts. Over 20,000 T-72 tanks were built.

"If we talk about the T-14 Armata, I think the degree of classification will be removed after more trials and development work is done. The vehicle will be adopted by the Russian Ministry of Defense, get a passport image and then will be possible for sales to foreign customers," Khalitov told in TV Channel Zvezda in an interview.

A number of countries, including India and China, were interested in purchasing the T-14 Armata. The need to purchase for China makes sense, since its main battle tank, the Type 99, is a derivative of the old Soviet T-72 main battle tank, with a design that stretches back to the mid-1980s.

The Indian army operates the Soviet-built T-90, which is itself a derivative of the T-72. Delhi also uses other tanks such as the indigenously produced Arjun Mark-1 tank. These have proven unreliable at times.

The Armata uses a new type of armor, which designers say is significantly more resistant to enemy fire. On top of that, the vehicle is protected by an improved version of reactive armor, which explodes on impact to stop a projectile from reaching the main layer of armor.

The Armata is also equipped with a so-called active protection system, forming an outer perimeter of its defenses. When the system spots an enemy projectile, it fires a round to destroy it or knock it off its path.

The current version of the Armata is equipped with a remotely controlled standard-caliber 125-mm cannon, with fully automated loading, which can fire both regular shells and rockets.

Designers say that a much more powerful 152-mm cannon could be easily fitted to the Armata in the future.

The tank's modular structure also allows for quick and easy modernization of its elements and systems.

The price of the latest Russian Armata T-14 tank will be just 250 million rubles (3.7 million dollars) once it goes into mass production, according to Oleg Siyenko, CEO of Uralvagonzavod, the manufacturer of the tank.

The cost of the Armata T-14 was previously estimated at between 400 and 500 million rubles (about $6.5 million). Such a high price per unit was due to the lack of mass production, as the production of prototypes is always more expensive for the manufacturer.

The Armata will go into mass production in 2017-2018 and Russia’s armed forces will receive 2,300 T-14 tanks by 2020.

Within 80 days Elon Musk should reveal a detailed design for the Mars Colonial Transport Rocket

Elon Musk has indicated that Spacex would reveal the design for a Mars Colonial Transport Rocket by the end of the year. This means the design should be revealed within 80 days.

SpaceX began development of the large Raptor rocket engine for the Mars Colonial Transporter before 2014, but the MCT will not be operational earlier than the mid-2020s.

Musk stated that Mars Colonial Transporter will be "100 times the size of an SUV", and capable of taking 100 people at a time to Mars. Also, SpaceX engine development head Tom Mueller said SpaceX would use nine Raptor engines on a single rocket, similar to the use of nine Merlin engines on each Falcon 9 booster core. He said "It's going to put over 100 tons of cargo on Mars." The large rocket core that will be used for the booster to be used with MCT will be 10 meters (33 ft) in diameter, nearly three times the diameter and over seven times the cross-sectional area of the Falcon 9 booster cores.
Mars Colonial Transport Rocket will probably look like a supersized Falcon Heavy. Similar in size the the Space Launch system with larger side boosters and more powerful Raptor rockets

The super-heavy lift launch vehicle for MCT will lift the 100 tonnes (220,000 lb)+ payload of the MCT into orbit and is intended to be fully-reusable. The rocket has not yet been named by SpaceX. The MCT launch vehicle will be powered by the Raptor bipropellant liquid rocket engine.

Elon Musk provided information to Waitbutwhy about his vision for colonizing Mars and his expectation that humanity would colonize the solar system after conquering Mars.

When writer
Ross Andersen asked Musk about the prospect of moving beyond Mars to other places in the Solar System, Musk was optimistic: “If we can establish a Mars colony, we can almost certainly colonize the whole Solar System, because we’ll have created a strong economic forcing function for the improvement of space travel. We’ll go to the moons of Jupiter, at least some of the outer ones for sure, and probably Titan on Saturn, and the asteroids. Once we have that forcing function, and an Earth-to-Mars economy, we’ll cover the whole Solar System.”

But, he added, “the key is that we have to make the Mars thing work. If we’re going to have any chance of sending stuff to other star systems, we need to be laser-focused on becoming a multi-planet civilization. That’s the next step.”

In that way, colonizing Mars isn’t just important because we expand outward and back up the hard drive, but also because colonizing Mars turns us into a species that knows how to expand to new planets and terraform them. It builds us what is probably the most important skill a species can have if they’re to survive for a long time.

With enough time, we’ll move out to many other bodies in the Solar System, and we’ll terraform each of them into a place humans can call home.

The Solar System could become one vast world for humans. Maybe Jupiter’s moon Europa becomes known as the Solar System’s tech hub, while Saturn’s Titan becomes the place you have to move if you really want to be in the entertainment industry. Maybe some people will spend their whole lives on one heavenly body, while others will be avid travelers and brag that they’ve set foot on 12

238 age related gene deletions that can extend lifespan by up to 60% for largest single gene deletion effect

Following an exhaustive, ten-year effort, scientists at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and the University of Washington have identified 238 genes that, when removed, increase the replicative lifespan of S. cerevisiae yeast cells. This is the first time 189 of these genes have been linked to aging. These results provide new genomic targets that could eventually be used to improve human health. The research was published online on October 8th in the journal Cell Metabolism.

“This study looks at aging in the context of the whole genome and gives us a more complete picture of what aging is,” said Brian Kennedy, PhD, lead author and the Buck Institute’s president and CEO. “It also sets up a framework to define the entire network that influences aging in this organism.”

The Kennedy lab collaborated closely with Matt Kaeberlein, PhD, a professor in the Department of Pathology at the University of Washington, and his team. The two groups began the painstaking process of examining 4,698 yeast strains, each with a single gene deletion. To determine which strains yielded increased lifespan, the researchers counted yeast cells, logging how many daughter cells a mother produced before it stopped dividing.

The theoretical applications for combating aging in people could be huge, provided researchers can indeed figure out which genomic targets are amenable to alteration.

Especially when you consider how effective some of the gene deletions were. In the most stunning result of the study, which is published in Cell Metabolism, researchers found that removing a particular gene called LOS1 extended the life of the yeast by 60 percent.


•4,698 deletions tested yields the most comprehensive yeast data set on aging
•Longevity clusters center on known, conserved biological processes
•Enrichment of lifespan-extending C. elegans orthologs suggests conservation
•Genome-wide information uncovered aging pathways such as tRNA transport


Many genes that affect replicative lifespan (RLS) in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae also affect aging in other organisms such as C. elegans and M. musculus. We performed a systematic analysis of yeast RLS in a set of 4,698 viable single-gene deletion strains. Multiple functional gene clusters were identified, and full genome-to-genome comparison demonstrated a significant conservation in longevity pathways between yeast and C. elegans. Among the mechanisms of aging identified, deletion of tRNA exporter LOS1 robustly extended lifespan. Dietary restriction (DR) and inhibition of mechanistic Target of Rapamycin (mTOR) exclude Los1 from the nucleus in a Rad53-dependent manner. Moreover, lifespan extension from deletion of LOS1 is nonadditive with DR or mTOR inhibition, and results in Gcn4 transcription factor activation. Thus, the DNA damage response and mTOR converge on Los1-mediated nuclear tRNA export to regulate Gcn4 activity and aging.

Cell Metabolism - A Comprehensive Analysis of Replicative Lifespan in 4,698 Single-Gene Deletion Strains Uncovers Conserved Mechanisms of Aging

Antidrone weapons 50mm cannon, high energy lasers and radio frequency interference

Army engineers, who are seeking to adapt ongoing research to counter aerial systems that could threaten Soldiers, successfully shot down two aircraft as part of their final technology demonstration.

Although the research project began with the objective to counter rockets, artillery and mortars, the project scope was expanded to include threats from unmanned aerial threats, sometime called drones, whose use has expanded rapidly.

Although a missile-based C-RAM defense system has been selected as the technical approach for the Indirect Fire Protection Capability Increment 2 Intercept Program of Record, the gun alternative continued to mature as force-protection technologies for other potential applications.

During the final testing Aug. 19 at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, engineers shot down two Class 2 Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) using command guidance and command warhead detonation. The UAS was an Outlaw class aircraft, a product of Griffon Aerospace, and the intercept engagements occurred at over a kilometer range and about 1500 meters.

The first shoot-down at the kilometer range was a replication of the test performed April 22, in which the EAPS technology first successfully intercepted a loitering UAS. Some fire-control improvements were made after the April 22 tests, and were validated during the August 19 testing.

The second shoot down was executed at a 50 percent greater range and exceeded the EAPS demonstration objectives.

The Picatinny area-protection systems tracks both the incoming threat and interceptor, then computes an ideal trajectory correction for the interceptor to maximize probability of mission success. A thruster on the interceptor/projectile is used for course correction. The ground station uplinks the maneuver and detonation commands, while receiving downlinked assessment data.

The interceptor takes the commands and computes the roll orientation and time to execute thruster and warhead detonation. The warhead has a tantalum-tungsten alloy liner to form forward propelled penetrators for defeat of C-RAM targets, and steel body fragments to counter unmanned aerial systems. C-RAM stands for counter rockets, artillery and mortars.

TPP, TTIP and One Belt One Road

The Transpacific Partnership is mainly about adding Japan to the decades old North American Free Trade Agreement.

Tariff levels in developed countries are at about 1.5% or less.

China's average tariff is about 3.5%.

Undeveloped countries typically have tariffs of about 8-15%.

The US is trying negotiate a trade agreement with Europe. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a proposed free trade agreement between the European Union and the United States, with the aim of promoting multilateral economic growth. The American government considers the TTIP a companion agreement to the Trans-Pacific Partnership. After a proposed draft was leaked in March 2014, the European Commission launched a public consultation on a limited set of clauses and in January 2015 published parts of an overview. If an agreement is to be made, it is not expected to be finalized before 2016.

China also has trade negotiations but they are focusing on global infrastructure.

China's Belt and Road Initiative is a development strategy and framework, proposed by People's Republic of China that focuses on connectivity and cooperation among countries primarily in Eurasia, which consists of two main components, the land-based "Silk Road Economic Belt" (SREB) and oceangoing "Maritime Silk Road" (MSR). The strategy underlines China's push to take a bigger role in global affairs, and its need to export China's production capacity in areas of overproduction such as steel manufacturing.

China plan is to boost trade and economic activity by building the physical trade infrastructure via rail, ports and pipelines. They are building up the cities, factories and energy infrastructure of trade partners. They are boosting the capacity of partners to buy and consume and building the volume and speed of goods, commodities and people to move between partners.

In three days Tesla electric cars will have autopilot for highway steering and parallel parking

Tesla Motors software upgrade, version 7, will be released this Thursday. It will include autopilot features.

The autopilot will help steer the car on the highway and parallel park the car.

Tesla demonstrated many autopilot features, but the upgrade won’t include all of those, said Musk. One feature that will not be available allowed the the car to completely park itself. Last year, when Tesla launched the Model S P85D, it showed off a combination of current and future autopilot features. The Tesla Model S P85D is a high-performance, dual-motor version of the Model S.

The Tesla Model X and Model S have 12 sensors at the bottom, a front-facing camera and a rear-view mirror and a radar system. The keys to the driverless experience are the sensors, helping the vehicle to scan speed limit signs, and notify the driver when the vehicle exceeds the speed limit.

Tesla will likely debut features that are more self-driving than assisting some time in the future. ‘Valet park mode’ is one such feature that can summon the car to arrive without a driver. The autopilot features are available on all of Tesla cars, but to enable the features, customers are required to spend an additional $2,500.

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