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October 31, 2014

Virgin Galactic Spaceship 2 crashed

SpaceShipTwo's pilot ejected as disaster struck and suffered moderate to severe injuries, it has been revealed. His co-pilot was killed in the crash.

Virgin Galactic's spacecraft SpaceShipTwo has crashed during a test flight following what the firm has called a 'serious anomaly.'

One of the two pilots on board is reported to have died and the other has suffered 'major' injuries during the incident over the Mojave in Calfornia.

It is not yet clear what the "serious anomaly" which happened during the flight was.

An eyewitness has reported that the craft exploded after the rocket was ignited - although this has not been confirmed.


Another candidate for inexpensive cancer detection blood tests

A Hong Kong scientist who invented a simple blood test to show pregnant women if their babies have Down syndrome is now testing a similar technology for cancer.

Yuk Ming “Dennis” Lo says screening for signs of cancer from a simple blood draw could cost as little as $1,000. The test works by studying DNA released into a person’s bloodstream by dying tumor cells.

The prenatal tests work by searching for fetal DNA present in a pregnant woman’s blood. Decoding that DNA can determine whether the baby has too many or too few chromosomes, problems that cause birth defects.

Both Lo and scientists at Johns Hopkins recently used a technique nearly identical to the one used in the prenatal tests to demonstrate that they could scan a person’s blood for evidence of genes that are duplicated, missing, or rearranged, something that is a hallmark of cancer cells.

PNAS - Noninvasive detection of cancer-associated genome-wide hypomethylation and copy number aberrations by plasma DNA bisulfite sequencing

China will become a nuclear triad power this year

A nuclear triad refers to a nuclear arsenal which consists of three components, traditionally strategic bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs). The purpose of having a three-branched nuclear capability is to significantly reduce the possibility that an enemy could destroy all of a nation's nuclear forces in a first-strike attack; this, in turn, ensures a credible threat of a second strike, and thus increases a nation's nuclear deterrence.

Russia and the United States possess nuclear forces consisting of land-based missiles, ballistic or long-range cruise missile submarines, and strategic bombers or long-range tactical aircraft.

China is expected to pass a military milestone this year when it sets a different type of sub to sea—a “boomer,” carrying fully armed nuclear missiles for the first time—says the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence, or ONI.


China can launch cruise missiles from its HK6 strategic bomber and China has had land based nuclear missiles for a few decades.

HK6 bomber

HP 3D Printer will be ten faster, cheaper with 5 micron precision

Hewlett-Packard finally is making a big bet on 3D printing. Although HP is targeting a crowded market, the company’s inkjet technology — announced today — looks so revolutionary to analyst Terry Wohlers that he predicts “it could even put some other companies out of business.”

HP’s Multi Jet Fusion TM technology can offer new levels of part quality, 10 times faster and at breakthrough economics relative to similar systems in the marketplace today. These breakthroughs can power the widespread adoption of 3D design and hardware innovation , creating the opportunity for a digital transformation of manufacturing as widespread and profound as the way HP’s Thermal Inkjet solutions changed traditional printing.

HP hasn’t yet announced prices for its machines, which will be tested with key customers for much of 2015 and won’t be widely available for sale until early 2016. But Nigro said that he’s most interested in reaching big industrial users and service bureaus that carry out jobs for small businesses, rather than focusing on the low-end consumer or hobbyist market. Many industrial 3D printers are priced at $150,000 to $500,000 apiece, and Nigro signaled that HP will probably aim its efforts toward the low end of that band.

HP 3D print heads can operate 10,000 nozzles at once, while tracking designs to a five-micron precision.

October 30, 2014

Uranium from seawater using metal organic frameworks

Metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) are many times lighter than proteins, while still capable of achieving similar local structure. A protein that absorbs one uranium atom extracts less than one-tenth of one percent of its final mass. A MOF cage offers similar three-dimensional connectivity as the protein, but weighs around 100 times less and may have multiple binding sites. MOFs absorbed slightly more than 20 percent of their mass in uranium. The 2013 research won an award.

Enzymes and proteins can have an unusual affinity for specific molecules. The researchers suspected that they could use the three-dimensional structure of the metal-organic frameworks to produce a binding pocket similar to those of the enzymes or proteins. They could then create a more efficient, lightweight version of a molecule that mimics the structure and function of the protein or enzyme.




Roger Shawyer still believes Emdrive will Scale to hundreds of Newtons per kilowatt

Roger Shawyer made a presentation of the controversial EMdrive. At the IAC 2014 conference in Toronto, Roger Shawyer stated that 8 sets of test data have now verified EmDrive theory. These data sets resulted from thrust measurements on 7 different thrusters, by 4 independent organisations, in 3 different countries.


The NASA experiments did not show power scaling with higher Q. Shawyer is combining the data from several different organizations.

The NASA work needs to be replicated multiple times.

More work and testing is needed to validate any mathematical model. The phenomena needs more proof and get an understanding and validated models. Scaling of the effect needs to be proven as well.

EMDrive thrust does not seem to scale with higher Q with these tests


Network of defibrillator drones could boost heart attack survival from 8% to 80%

Graduate student Alec Momont of TU Delft has designed an unmanned, autonomously navigating mini aeroplane that can quickly deliver a defibrillator to where it is needed. A network of such drones could significantly increase the chance of survival following a cardiac arrest: from 8% to 80%.

When the emergency services receive a cardiac arrest call, this unmanned, autonomously navigating aeroplane can quickly deliver a defibrillator to the emergency scene. Via a livestream video and audio connection, the drone can also provide direct feedback to the emergency services and the persons on site can be instructed how to treat the patient. The drone finds the patient's location via the caller's mobile phone signal and makes its way there using GPS. The drone can fly at around 100 km/h, weighs 4 kg and can carry another 4 kg.

Some 800,000 people suffer a cardiac arrest in the EU every year, and only 8% survive,’ Momont explains. 'The main reason for this is the relatively long response time of the emergency services (approx. 10 minutes), while brain death and fatalities occur within 4 to 6 minutes. The ambulance drone can get a defibrillator to a patient inside a 12 square kilometer zone within one minute. This response speed increases the chance of survival following a cardiac arrest from 8% to 80%.


The ambulance drone arrives at the scene in no time, on-board defibrillator, real-time instructions provided by the emergency operator.