November 27, 2014

Scaling and testing geoengineering

There were some meetings and papers considering how to scale and test geoengineering. The papers did not consider iron sequesteration in the ocean. The 120 ton experiment of placing iron sulphate in the ocean was an Eddy scale experiment off of the coast of British Columbia Canada.

Ocean mesoscale Eddies are 10 to 500 kilometers across. (6 to 300 miles)

About two ago ago, an ocean fertilisation test, fertilizing around 120 tonnes of iron sulphate off Canada's coast. Satellite images confirmed the claim by the Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation that the iron spawned an artificial plankton bloom as large as 10,000 square kilometers. Now it appears that the fish catch in the area was boosted by over 100,000 tons. Pink salmon mature in two years. Salmon can add a pound a month if they are well fed in the ocean. 2013 had the largest pink salmon run in 50 years.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) has completed compilation of preliminary values for the 2013 commercial salmon fishery. Powered by a record pink salmon harvest of 219 million fish, this year’s harvest ranks as the second most valuable on record. At $691.1 million, 2013 is only exceeded by the 1988 harvest value of $724 million. In addition to setting a record for pink salmon, the total number of salmon harvested also set a new record at 272 million fish. There should be many more of these iron sulphate experiments at Eddy scale. They boost the amount of fish in the ocean. Human action is reducing the levels of iron in the ocean so this work restores those levels.

There also should be more focus on deep ocean science. The ocean covers most of the earth and has a larger impact on the climate and ecosystem than than the land. Atmospheric tests are also important but the ocean needs more scientific focus. There is not enough money invested in studying the deep ocean. Currently it has mainly been rare studies that hitch along with ocean going vessels.

Other geoengineering roadmaps and study summary

There is a summary of a portfolio of possible field experiments on solar radiation management (SRM) [geoengineering] and related technologies. The portfolio is intended to support analysis of potential field research related to SRM including discussions about the overall merit and risk of such research as well as mechanisms for governing such research and assessments of observational needs. The proposals were generated with contributions from leading researchers at a workshop held in March 2014 at which the proposals were critically reviewed.

The proposed research dealt with three major classes of SRM proposals:
1. marine cloud brightening
2. stratospheric aerosols
3. cirrus cloud manipulation.

The proposals are summarized here along with an analysis exploring variables such as space and time scale, risk and radiative forcing. Possible gaps, biases and cross-cutting considerations are discussed. Finally, suggestions for plausible next steps in the development of a systematic research programme are presented.

Mapping of experiment types and classes of models (red lines) to physical scales illustrates the breadth and complexity of solar geoengineering research. No single model or experiment can bridge the gap from smallest to largest scale. For example, microphysical models describe aerosol processes at scales of nanometres and cloud drops and ice crystals at micrometre to millimetre scale. Clouds (ranging from 10 to 1000 m) are addressed by large eddy simulation models and more generally by cloud resolving models. Mesoscale models and general circulation models (GCMs) have similar physics, but mesoscale models can be nested to provide high-resolution simulations that cannot be matched by GCMs. Chemistry can be built into dynamic models (typically mesoscale models and GCMs) or simulated in off-line chemical-transport models. The different types of field experiments, particularly process studies, scaling tests and climate response tests could bridge gaps between scales reducing the uncertainty of large-scale predictions of the risks and efficacy of SRM.

November 26, 2014

Impenetrable barrier to ultrarelativistic electrons in the Van Allen radiation belts

A team led by the University of Colorado Boulder has discovered an invisible shield some 7,200 miles above Earth that blocks so-called “killer electrons,” which whip around the planet at near-light speed and have been known to threaten astronauts, fry satellites and degrade space systems during intense solar storms.

The barrier to the particle motion was discovered in the Van Allen radiation belts, two doughnut-shaped rings above Earth that are filled with high-energy electrons and proton

Scientists have discovered an invisible shield roughly 7,200 miles

Nature - An impenetrable barrier to ultrarelativistic electrons in the Van Allen radiation belts

3D Printing of Reduced Graphene Oxide Nanowires

3D printing of reduced graphene oxide (rGO) nanowires is realized at room temperature by local growth of GO at the meniscus formed at a micropipette tip followed by reduction of GO by thermal or chemical treatment. 3D rGO nanowires with diverse and complicated forms are successfully printed, demonstrating their ability to grow in any direction and at the selected sites.

The first digital animal will be open source nematode worm funded by kickstarter

OpenWorm is an open source project dedicated to creating a virtual C. elegans nematode in a computer.

The bot's artificial brain has the same number of cells as a real nematode brain, and they are connected up in exactly the same way. But instead of a fluid tubular body animated by 95 muscles, WormBot has a plastic body and two wheels. It does not eat, defecate, reproduce or die. That will be left to its future sibling, WormSim, which will be a cell-for-cell digital copy of the worm, living inside a computer.

A nematode has 959 cells each of which has also been mapped. Its network of 302 neurons connect via 6393 synapses – its connectome – and link to the worm's 95 muscles at 1410 junctions.

Independent researcher Tim Busbice launched the OpenWorm project on Kickstarter. He has already created WormSim's brain and musculature, linked them up, and is busy dropping it into virtual water to start fine-tuning its first strokes – a nematode worm swims by undulating its 1-millimetre-long body. Sensory organs will come next. The worm should be ready for testing by next year. For an investment of $49, Kickstarter backers will get their own WormSim to play with on their computers

Complex, reliable and modular synthetic biology networks will enable biosensing cancer and other applications

Individual biological circuit componentss can have precise and predictable responses but those outcomes become less predictable as more such elements are combined.

A team of researchers at MIT has now come up with a way of greatly reducing that unpredictability, introducing a device that could ultimately allow such circuits to behave nearly as predictably as their electronic counterparts.

There are many potential uses for such synthetic biological circuits, Del Vecchio and Weiss explain. “One specific one we’re working on is biosensing — cells that can detect specific molecules in the environment and produce a specific output in response,” Del Vecchio says. One example: cells that could detect markers that indicate the presence of cancer cells, and then trigger the release of molecules targeted to kill those cells.

It is important for such circuits to be able to discriminate accurately between cancerous and noncancerous cells, so they don’t unleash their killing power in the wrong places, Weiss says. To do that, robust information-processing circuits created from biological elements within a cell become “highly critical,” Weiss says.

Nature Biotechnology - A load driver device for engineering modularity in biological networks

USA crude oil production could surpass Saudi Arabia in 2015

US crude oil production increased to 9.077 million barrels per day. USA oil production is within about 500,000 barrels per day of Saudi Arabia oil production. Saudia Arabia and Russia are trying to curb over production to try to defend the oil price.

The Elite 0.01% will be flying supersonic again in 2019

The supersonic Concorde passenger jet had its last flight in November, 2003.

The Aerion supersonic businessjet could lead the re-emergence of supersonic commercial aviation. New technology will make the planes a lot more fuel efficient and there has been work to reduce the sonic booms.

The Aerion AS2 is a Mach 1.6 supersonic business jet under development by Aerion Corporation, the leader in commercial supersonic technology. The AS2 design is the product of more than a decade of research into enabling technologies to make supersonic flight efficient and practical. Key among them is the development of a supersonic natural laminar flow wing. It should be about twice as expensive as a Gulfstream business jet.

A supersonic natural laminar flow wing differs from earlier supersonic designs, such as the Concorde’s modified delta wing. It is relatively straight (low sweep), wide and very thin, allowing the wing to achieve laminar flow over as much as 90 percent of its surface. Laminar flow reduces skin friction drag, which can reduce overall airframe drag by as much as 20 percent, allowing for lower fuel consumption and longer range.