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March 25, 2006

Other tech: Data transmitted at a record 2.56 terabits per second

German and Japanese scientists recently collaborated to transmit a data signal at 2.56 terabits per second over a 160-kilometer link (equivalent to 2,560,000,000,000 bits per second or the contents of 60 DVDs) the researchers bettered the old record of 1.28 terabits per second held by a Japanese group. By comparison, the fastest high-speed links currently carry data at a maximum 40 Gbit/s, or around 50 times slower.

March 24, 2006

Other tech: Wind turbine basics

Here is some information about optimal wind turbine power generation. Wind Turbines are limited by what is called the Betz law. Simply put, if you capture 100% of the energy available in the wind, you stop the wind. The Betz limit says that essentially, if you capture 59.6% of the energy in the wind, that is the best compromise between stopping the air and forcing it to go around your machine.

More windpower basics

Wind power figures from around the world and more about wind power

There is a $24 billion proposal to create a 10 Gigawatt on offshore wind farms and a large power grid for bringing the electricity in and to allow for extra grid capacity to allow for efficient sharing of electricity in Europe

other tech: Electricity from waves and motion

Electricity generated from waves and motion by using low friction ferrofluid. Ferrofluid over a magnet is 40 times slippier than ice. Jeffrey Cheung of Rockwell Scientific in Los Angeles has generated at least 0.3 watts from a ocean buoy even in very calm waters. One hope is that in three years this could be scaled up to generate megawatts from the ocean current.

Other tech: Gravity field generation in Europe

If confirmed, a gravitomagnetic field of measurable magnitude (one thousands of the earths gravity) was produced for the first time in a laboratory environment. These results may open up a new experimental window on testing general relativity and its consequences using coherent matter. The field was generated by a rapidly spinning superconducting disc.
The full paper is here and a press release is here

Nanotube Electronics: IBM makes full transistor circuit with a carbon nanotube

A functioning processor on a carbon nanotube has been created by IBM scientists, offering the possibility of terahertz processors in hybrid nanotube silicon devices in 5-10 years. The IBM researchers created a type of logic device called a ring oscillator. It consisted of 12 bi-metal field effect transistors laid along the 18 micrometre length of the nanotube.

Other tech: RFIDs

Widescale monitoring that is in the works now.
China is looking to use RFIDs to track 13 billion chickens.

Recent RFID pricing is 7.2 cents per tag in orders of 10 million China is issuing RFID identity cards.

This site has discussed RFID technology before

Even without molecular nanotechnology...by applying moore's law to RFIDs. In 20 years, RFIDs are 1000 times more powerful for the same price or 1000 times cheaper.

March 23, 2006

Future of military Technology discussion

Author and Pentagon advisor John Arquilla believes that today's big-weapon systems are wrong for modern battle and for future battle

Some of the main points:



how many British submarines did it take to pen up the entire Argentine navy? Two. The Exocet missile proved the slow-moving capital ship's vulnerability. Today, the Chinese aren't developing aircraft carrier battle groups, but brilliant sea-going mines that know how to maneuver, supersonic anti-ship missiles -- which means the Falklands War on steroids -- and super-cavitation torpedoes, which create a bubble of air in front of the torpedo, letting them move at hundreds of knots per hour. The Chinese have an explicit "swarming" doctrine that can best be characterized as sea power without a navy.


You can create space defenses that don't require offensive capabilities. ANGELS -- Autonomous Nanosatellite Guardian for Evaluating Local Space is under development. They're autonomous nano-satellites. ANGELS will allow us to move satellites to safer locations and be able rapid ability to reconstitute space assets.


Insurgents and terrorists: understanding the enemy as a system and trying to pull that system apart. Deny them the web would slow them down a lot. Data-mine Net exchanges within Iraq. For more security we will have to give up some privacy.

I think he is correct that the US military budget should be more efficient. Bigger air craft carriers are not needed. $100 billion or more of spending on large systems should be re-purposed.

Also, the chinese capabilities would cause problems for the US navy and armed forces but new US beam weapons, rail guns and sonic defences means that I think the US would still win. But there is no need to fight China. So why bust the bank trying to do that? Neither side would decisively win. Nuclear deterrent.

March 22, 2006

Other tech: 32 Gigabyte Flash drive

Samsung has introduced a 32-gigabyte (GB) NAND flash-based solid state disk (SSD) for about $500. Last year (2005) a 16-gigabyte drive cost $900. This drive reads 3 times faster than a regular magnetic hard drive and writes 1.5 times faster. Samsung project SSD will account for 30% of the global laptop market as the price of a 32-gigabyte SSD will fall from the current 500 dollars to 200 dollars in 2008. The Flash drives require only 5% of the power needed for today's hard disk drives. They are projected to hit storage capacities of 100GB by next year. The larger capacity drives would probably cost about $1000 next year while the 32GB drives would fall to about $320.

Carbon nanotube Televisions can be made, but will they be cheap enough

Improvements in the cost and performance of LCDs and plasma televisions is reducing interest in carbon nanotube televisions Work is still being done, but improvements in other technology is making it difficult for the new technology to impact the market.

Gene Therapy without using viruses to get genes to cells



Gene Therapy goal: deliver desired genes to cells to either cure disease or improve body functions such as stronger muscles. Gene therapy has the potential to enhance human performance and cure diseases.

Problem: Viruses used for gene delivery occasionally cause severe immune responses.

The novel lipid molecule created at UC Santa Barbara has a tree-shaped, nanoscale headgroup and displays unexpectedly superior DNA-delivery properties.

Background: Lipids are molecules with two parts, a water-liking "headgroup" and oily tails that assemble together to avoid water. Lipids, along with carbohydrates and proteins, constitute the main structural material of living cells.

Combination Molecular machine created

This is progress achieved via advanced chemistry towards more complex molecular machinery.

A pair of light activated molecular pliers has been joined to a pair molecular flippersThe result is the first example of one molecular machine controllably driving the action of another, say the researchers. “The next step is to integrate multiple molecular machines" into much bigger devices, says Kazushi Kinbara, who developed the tiny contraption with colleagues at the University of Tokyo, Japan. “That project is now in progress.”

A related advance was already highlighted on this site. Molecular motor rotates object 10000 times its size

March 20, 2006

Other tech: robots

Here is a summary of recent advances in regards to robotics. Some have been mentioned before on this blog, but are summarized here.

New consumer robots. Furry robot horse that can be ridden $300

Robotic pack mule, 4 legs, stable, able to carry over 40 kilograms

100 times more powerful artificial robot muscle

Currently, robotic muscles move 100 times slower than ours. New research could make robotic muscles 1,000 times faster than human muscles -- with virtually no extra energy demands and the added bonus of a simpler design. Conjugated polymers can actuate on command if charges can be sent to specific locations in the polymer chain in the form of "solitons" (charge density waves).

Fastest industrial robot can now move 200 parts per minute

Tree climbing robots

Better, more sensitive robotic grips

Another summary of new robots and robotic developments

Computational Chemistry advance: 100 times more accurate

James Sims of NIST and Stanley Hagstrom of IU announced a new high-precision calculation of the energy required to pull apart the two atoms in a hydrogen molecule (H2). Accurate to 1 part in 100 billion, these are the most accurate energy values ever obtained for a molecule of that size, 100 times better than the best previous calculated value or the best experimental value. This advance could be useful for creating better computer simulations for molecular nanotechnology. The algorithmic improvement to get faster or more accurate solutions is adapted to use parallel processing (about 140 processors used for the calculation over a weekend).

More computer systems are being developed that will help take advantage of this kind of algorithmic advance. 1000 processors via FPGAs for $100,000 later this year and next.

Intel is promising hundreds of processor cores within ten years.


Backgroun on supercomputer architectures
1. vector processors that can execute particular types of mathematical problems very quickly. (traditional Cray type machines)
2. large numbers of regular processors typically placed in a large number of networked computers. (Big Blue type supercomputers)
3. field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), chips that can be reconfigured on the fly to run specific programs very quickly.
4. Multithreaded chips

Details on the algorithmic advance:
The calculation requires solving an approximation of the Schrödinger equation, one of the central equations of quantum mechanics. It can be approximated as the sum of an infinite number of terms, each additional term contributing a bit more to the accuracy of the result. For all but the simplest systems or a relative handful of terms, however, the calculation rapidly becomes impossibly complex. Precise calculations have been done for systems of three components but this is for four. Their calculations were carried out to 7,034 terms. Two earlier algorithms were merged. They also developed improved computer code for a key computational bottleneck (high-precision solution of the large-scale generalized matrix eigenvalue problem) using parallel processing. The final calculations were run on a 147-processor parallel cluster at NIST over the course of a weekend.

Computational Chemistry advance: 100 times more accurate

James Sims of NIST and Stanley Hagstrom of IU announced a new high-precision calculation of the energy required to pull apart the two atoms in a hydrogen molecule (H2). Accurate to 1 part in 100 billion, these are the most accurate energy values ever obtained for a molecule of that size, 100 times better than the best previous calculated value or the best experimental value. This advance could be useful for creating better computer simulations for molecular nanotechnology. The algorithmic improvement to get faster or more accurate solutions is adapted to use parallel processing (about 140 processors used for the calculation over a weekend).

More computer systems are being developed that will help take advantage of this kind of algorithmic advance. 1000 processors via FPGAs for $100,000 later this year and next.

Intel is promising hundreds of processor cores within ten years.


Backgroun on supercomputer architectures
1. vector processors that can execute particular types of mathematical problems very quickly. (traditional Cray type machines)
2. large numbers of regular processors typically placed in a large number of networked computers. (Big Blue type supercomputers)
3. field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), chips that can be reconfigured on the fly to run specific programs very quickly.
4. Multithreaded chips

Details on the algorithmic advance:
The calculation requires solving an approximation of the Schrödinger equation, one of the central equations of quantum mechanics. It can be approximated as the sum of an infinite number of terms, each additional term contributing a bit more to the accuracy of the result. For all but the simplest systems or a relative handful of terms, however, the calculation rapidly becomes impossibly complex. Precise calculations have been done for systems of three components but this is for four. Their calculations were carried out to 7,034 terms. Two earlier algorithms were merged. They also developed improved computer code for a key computational bottleneck (high-precision solution of the large-scale generalized matrix eigenvalue problem) using parallel processing. The final calculations were run on a 147-processor parallel cluster at NIST over the course of a weekend.