June 29, 2007

Nanoimprinting lithography improved

Nanoimprinting lithography (NIL) is a simple pattern transfer process that is emerging as an alternative nanopatterning technology to traditional photolithography.

NIL already has been applied in various fields such as biological nanodevices, nanophotonic devices, organic electronics, and the patterning of magnetic materials. Researchers at Berkeley have taken this process one step further by demonstrating that direct nanoimprinting of metal nanoparticles enables low temperature metal deposition as well as high-resolution patterning. This approach has substantial potential to take advantage of nanoimprinting for the application in ultralow cost, large area printed electronics.

Nanoparticle nanoimprinting process. (A, B) Dispensing nanoparticle solution on SiO2/P+ Si wafer. (C, D) Pressing PDMS nanoimprinting mold on nanoparticle solution under 5 psi pressure at 80°C. (E, F) Removal of mold and induce nanoparticle melting on hot plate at 140°C. The magnified view shows the SAM protected nanoparticles suspended in organic solvent. (Reprinted with permission from American Institute of Physics)

The process eliminates the need of intermediate polymer nanoimprinting steps for dry etching or vacuum deposition" says Grigoropoulos. "We effectively used a metal nanoparticle solution as a precursor to use the solution processable form of the metal component for the nanoimprinting process, thereby eliminating the need to exceed the bulk metal melting temperature. The nanoimprinted nanoparticles can be transformed into conductive and continuous metal films by low-temperature nanoparticle melting."

Boron nanotubes provide radiation shielding and more

Boron nanotubes can provide strong, light weight, cost effective radiation shielding for space and fusion reactors

Compared to CNTs, boron nanotubes have some better properties such as high chemical stability, high resistance to oxidation at high temperatures and are a stable wide band-gap semiconductor. Because of these properties, they can be used for applications at high temperatures or in corrosive environments such as batteries, fuel cells, super capacitors, high-speed machines as solid lubricant."

Space radiation is qualitatively different from the radiation humans encounter on Earth. Once astronauts leave the Earth's protective magnetic field and atmosphere, they become exposed to ionizing radiation in the form of charged atomic particles traveling at close to the speed of light. Highly charged, high-energy particles known as HZE particles pose the greatest risk to humans in space. A long-term exposure to this radiation can lead to DNA damage and cancer. One of the shielding materials under study is boron 10. Scientists have known about the ability of boron 10 to capture neutrons since the 1930s and use it as a radiation shield in geiger counters as well as a shielding layer in nuclear reactors.

1000 times more useful molecules for nuclear magnetic resonance quantum computing

A new technique for dynamic nuclear polarization that is more than twice as effective as previous versions.

“Our N@C60 fullerene molecules have a nitrogen atom in their very centre with a nuclear spin and an electron spin. We want to use both spins to store quantum information as they can each point up or down. Then each molecule will be a quantum computer with two qubits.”

The researchers needed to have both of the spins in the molecule pointing up at the beginning of the quantum computation. They made the electron spin point up by using a strong magnetic field over 150,000 times the strength of the Earth’s magnetic field, (8.6 tesla) and a low temperature (–270°Celsius or 3° kelvin), but still the nuclear spin had about a fifty-fifty chance of pointing up or down.

“We used the fact that the electron was already pointing up to make the nuclear spin do the same,” said Morley. “This increased the number of useful molecules by over one thousand times.”

This technique has drawn great interest from scientists working on nuclear magnetic resonance, because one thousand times more useful molecules could greatly shorten the time it takes to perform an NMR experiment.

Zyvex splits into four businesses

Zyvex restructured into four businesses: Zyvex Instruments, Zyvex Performance Materials, Zyvex Labs, and Zyvex Asia.

Zyvex Instruments, LLC commercializes nanotechnology to address real-world applications with high growth potential. The company has a proven seven-year track record of providing tools, instrumentation, and applications to the semiconductor and advanced research markets. The company’s flagship product, the Zyvex nProber™, is an 8-positioner nanomanipulator system designed and optimized to electrically probe sub-100 nanometer features on the most advanced semiconductor devices.

Zyvex Performance Materials, LLC, which was announced in April, leverages Zyvex’s long-standing reputation as an industry leader in nanomaterials applications, as well as its existing nanomaterials patents, proprietary methods, core technologies, and revenue-generating customer base. The company’s NanoSolve® products deliver enhanced mechanical and electrical properties in polymers by selectively incorporating the intrinsic properties of carbon nanotubes into composite materials for the Sporting Goods, Aerospace, Defense, and Automotive industries.

Zyvex Labs, LLC is engaged in R&D to develop next generation MEMS-based instruments and to commercialize atomically precise manufacturing.

Zyvex Asia, LLC, which is based in Singapore, will provide R&D support to the Zyvex Group of companies, and commercialize nanotechnology in Asia

Nerva nuclear rocket derivative proposed for orbit to moon missions

Steve Howe and the Center for Space Nuclear Research (CSNR) suggests using a Nerva like nuclear rocket stage to go from orbit to the moon It would enable 40% more cargo to be delivered on each trip. Previous work, including a NASA study, have suggested that it would cost only $2.5 to $3 billion to develop the nuclear rocket technology. This would be recovered by saving two trips to the moon.

Center for Space Nuclear Research articles

Steve Howe interview on nuclear space

Looking at nuclear thermal propulsion

Improving nuclear thermal performance (pdf) with oxygen afterburner or lasers for higher temperatures Although no performance gain is detailed it sounds like a 50% boost in ISP and thrust could be achieved.

Steve Howe performed a 2005 survey of old nuclear thermal research

A 2004 roundtable discussion on nuclear space propulsion

Conferences on nuclear space power and propulsion

Mars mission studies that also considered nuclear thermal The old tested performance of nuclear thermal was ISPs of about 800. Most new studies suggest ISP of 925 would be very achievable. Russian NTR fuel elements would allow ISP of 960+.

A 2005 NASA presentation on nuclear thermal Systems with ISPs of 1010 considered.

Wikipedia on different kinds of nuclear thermal rockets The solid core reactor is the one that was experimentally developed and which is the type being discussed. There are higher performing liquid and gas core versions.

The closed cycle (gas core) nuclear thermal engine actually has much more in common with the solid-core design, but this time limited by the critical temperature of quartz instead of the fuel stack. Although less efficient than the open-cycle design, the closed-cycle design is expected to deliver a rather respectable specific impulse of about 1500-2000 seconds (15–20 kN·s/kg).

Nuclear salt water rocket, 10,000ISP with high thrust

Calculations show that this rocket would have both very high thrust (1.3 x 107 N, for one design) and a very high specific impulse (66 kN·s/kg for the same design), a rare combination of traits in the rocket world.

The nuclear salt water rocket in more detail

Nanostructures near 10 nanometers are created

The University of Pennsylvania scientists used transmission electron beam ablation lithography to "carve" nanostructures from thin sheets of gold, silver, aluminum and other metals.

The researchers said TEBAL provides a more dependable method for producing quality versions of such microscopic devices, while also permitting simultaneous, real-time atomic imaging of the devices as they are made.

Traditional techniques for building nanodevices employ electron beam lithography but also require the use of polymers and chemicals. Typical results are closer to 50 nanometers and are rarely as small as 10 nm.

Physics Professor Marija Drndic said "Reliably and consistently fabricating devices at the sub-10-nanometer scale from the top down is generally still challenging, but our technique offers a route to this regime."

The research was published in the journal Nano Letters.

Experimental adding and removal of hydrogen from a molecule

New Scientist reports a single hydrogen atom has been snipped off a molecule and then added back on again, marking the first time a single chemical bond has been broken and reforged in a controlled, reversible way.

Update: The work was done at 4.7 degrees kelvin

Update 2: some points from Robert Freitas This is good research but it was not mechanical so not mechanosynthesis. The donation step was site specific but not positionally controlled.

The team first used their STM to locate a methylaminocarbyne (CNHCH3) molecule that was fixed to a platinum surface.

Then they turned up the voltage, increasing the flow of electrons. That was enough to break one bond – between the molecule's nitrogen and hydrogen atom – but not to disturb any of the other bonds, leaving a molecule of methylisocyanide (CNCH3).

To reverse the process, the group simply bathed the sample in hydrogen gas. The platinum surface catalysed the splitting of the hydrogen molecules into their hydrogen atoms, which reacted with nitrogen in the methylisocyanide molecule to re-form methylaminocarbyne.

This kind of reversible alteration could be used in molecular electronics, says Yousoo Kim at the Surface Chemistry Laboratory in Wako, Japan, who carried out the experiment with colleagues.

Abstract of the original paper which describes the work

Reversible Control of Hydrogenation of a Single Molecule

Satoshi Katano,1 Yousoo Kim,1* Masafumi Hori,1,2 Michael Trenary,3 Maki Kawai1,2*
Low-temperature scanning tunneling microscopy was used to selectively break the N-H bond of a methylaminocarbyne (CNHCH3) molecule on a Pt(111) surface at 4.7 kelvin, leaving the C-H bonds intact, to form an adsorbed methylisocyanide molecule (CNCH3). The methylisocyanide product was identified through comparison of its vibrational spectrum with that of directly adsorbed methylisocyanide as measured with inelastic electron tunneling spectroscopy. The CNHCH3 could be regenerated in situ by exposure to hydrogen at room temperature. The combination of tip-induced dehydrogenation with thermodynamically driven hydrogenation allows a completely reversible chemical cycle to be established at the single-molecule level in this system. By tailoring the pulse conditions, irreversible dissociation entailing cleavage of both the C-H and N-H bonds can also be demonstrated.

1 Surface Chemistry Laboratory, RIKEN, 2-1 Hirosawa, Wako, Saitama 351-0198, Japan.
2 Department of Advanced Materials, University of Tokyo, 5-1-5 Kashiwanoha, Kashiwa, Chiba 277-8651, Japan.
3 Department of Chemistry, University of Illinois at Chicago, 845 West Taylor Street, Chicago, IL 60607–7061, USA.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: (M.K.); (Y.K.)

Theoretical work on hydrogen abstraction tool by Ralph Merkle

Computational chemistry study of hydrogen abstraction

Part of larger molecular assembly toolset and work

Yousoo Kim page

June 28, 2007

Taking space based solar power to the megawatt level

The cheapest launch for a moderate sized payload is the
Dnepr rocket. It costs $10 million and can launch 4500 kg to LEO. $2222/kg. They are flying now and there are 150 more until 2020.

Dnepr rocket

We can either user light thin film solar cells or we can use thin film reflectors to concentrate onto high efficiency cells.

Thin film solar cells on Kapton can be 1250+ W/kg.

Record power density 4300 W/kg AMO (1367 W/m²) Gossamer Thin Film CP1 Polyimide/Amorphous Silicon (CP1/a-Si:H)

There are 20kg deployment booms for 400 square meters. 12kg of the CP1/a-Si:H can provide 50kw of power. The present cost estimate for CP1/a-Si:H solar is $250 per Watt at the deployed array level.

The cost of the 250 kW (250,000 Watts) rigid cell solar power arrays for the International Space Station was $600M. This is comaparable to a cost of $62M for a 250 kW CP1/a-Si:H solar array with Ultra-lightweight deployment. A $600M CP1/a-Si:H solar array, of equal cost to the ISS solar array, would provide 2.4 MW (2,400,000 Watts) of power with cost reductions for space fabricated for Aluminum/Graphite composite tri-beam truss beam structural elements.

CSG solar makes the thin film solar At the end of 2006, the solar production capacity is 20-25 MW.

CSG solar plant

Mantech International bought SRS technologies which had license the CP1 and CP2 technology.

If one were going to try to use CP1/a-Si:H as the major part of solar space power, then some financial arrangement would be required to boost production and reduce unit costs.

We should look at develop improvements to make lighter, bigger and cheaper inflatable booms.

NOTE: I had thought that magnetic inflation might have some advantages in weight etc... Plus I thought that magnetic inflation and the new very large space bubble ideas had the potential to make very large structures without assembly. But now that I have looked more at compressed gas and the other methods, those other methods
are not needed for this early stage and are probably still inferior and also not working at this time. Those ideas may be worth a look in the future and may be worth
developing but are not relevant to near term planning.

Or using the thin film reflectors onto the 40% efficient Spectrolab cells.

11 grams/square meter of kapton with a layer of reflective aluminum 4.4kg for a 400 square meter of reflective surface. $30/square meter in low volumes for aluminized kapton Perhaps get the price to $10/square meter or less in higher volumes of aluminized Kapton.
880kg for a 8,000 square meter sheet of kapton with aluminum (if all the light is reflected onto 40% efficient solar cells.

1366W/M**2 * 40% * 8,000 is 4MW.

Systems in the 2.4-4MW systems could be deployed. The reflector options seems like it would be the cheaper option to me.

Using 20kg deployment boom for 400 square meters.
4.4 kg for reflector material for 400 square meters.
20 kg for the Spectrolab concentrator cells and power modulation and other electronics and station keeping gear or truss.
218 KW from 400 square meters onto 40% efficient cells for about 44kg.
If a lightweight station keeping method could be produced. then you could have 100 of those systems launched with each Dnepr rocket. A total of 21 MW could be contained in each $10 million Dnepr launch if the supporting and deployment systems and structures can be kept light enough. $400K (40,000 square meters @ $10/meter) for load of aluminized Kapton reflector. Pricing for the Spectrolab cells ? Pricing for the deployment booms? Pricing for power and voltage converters and power beaming equipment and other electronics ? Price and weight for station keeping equipment ?

Use power for solar ion tugs or send power to other satellites.
Supply power to the ISS. It only has a few hundred KW.
Supply power to Bigelow’s hotels.
Supply power for military satellites.
Trial power beaming for lunar surface vehicles and missions.
New wave of communication satellites need 50 to 100 KW of power.
Supply power to costly earth based niches. Supply the really high peak power niches.
Perhaps power to remote islands, ships and facilities. Certain mobile military or commercial applications where the flexibilty of supply beamed power from space would make sense.

When supplying power to other satellites and space missions, there would be considerations of how best to supply that power. What form of power? Reflecting concentrated light to another satellites solar cells would increase power. New satellites could have boostable power designs, which could make it cheaper for them to operate at lower power levels at other times. Providing peak or top up power for when satellites need to operate more of their equipment.

A survey would need to be performed of existing and planned satellites which are power limited in their operations and need more power which a space power satellite could provide power. Also, a survey of planned space missions that could need more power. The ISS seems like a place that could perform more experiments and operations with boosted power. The ISS and other NASA missions could be the anchor customer. Three or more space power satellites would be needed to provide constant power beaming coverage.

For unusual ground operations, what are the high margin needs and what is the best way to provide the power.

Might be able keep the overall first system project to under $100 million. The thin film solar option could get pricy for the best thin films at about $600 million.

Power a fleet of solar ion tugs and momentum transfer tethers (the tugs and things will reduce costs fo LEO to GSO and L2). Provide a network of small power beaming satellites for space power infrastructure.
As the volume increases to 1 GW, the prices should get reduced (learning curve, improvements, economies of scale).

Reduce the size and weight and costs of deployment systems and the secondary electronics and support structures. Then start competing for supplying peak power for earth based power grid.
Supply 100+GW from space and use some it to power mining and processing industry on the moon (mostly robotic). The bootstrapping would be highly advanced at that point and we would be well on our way to going towards to building habitable infrastructure and providing most of the supplies from space based sources.


Tethers for boosting from LEO and/or Ion drive tugs.

Ultra-Light Amorphous Silicon Cell for Space Applications

Market Potential of CP1/a-Si:H Thin Film Solar Cells for Space and HAA Applications pdf Solar power for current space satellites is a billion dollar market.

High altitude platforms for communication and other services

Geoffrey Landis' paper on reinventing the solar power satellite

Space solar power public comment site that is hosted by the Space Frontier Foundation to assist the National Security Space Office study on Space-Based Solar Power development.

Space-Based Solar Power: An Opportunity for Strategic Security: a power point file

Check out the 9th carnival of space

The 9th carnival of space is up at the planetary society blog

My article about the rapid progress in lasers Advancednano reports on which can be used in laser launch arrays.
Some of the other articles:

Paul Gilster over at Centauri Dreams really makes you think about the challenges we face with interstellar travel.

Pamela Gay of Star Stryder explains how lenses of a different size altogether can make invisible objects in the universe visible.

James Watt at Surfin' English explains just a few of the very, very many ways that spaceships can have bad days.

Clark Lindsey of the Space Transport News Blog points out that technical revolutions happen slowly, and that we may be in the middle of one right now.

Tony Darnell of AstronomyBuff muses on the future of liquid mirrors for big telescopes.

100-Lumen XLamp LEDs Available in Volume Quantities

Cree, Inc. (Nasdaq:CREE), a market leader in LED solid-state lighting components, today announced commercial availability of XLamp(r) LEDs with minimum luminous flux of 100 lumens at 350 mA. XLamp LEDs are the first LEDs to be available in volume with this level of performance. This advance sets a new standard in lighting-class LED brightness and efficiency. They achieve over 80 lumens/watt in white light.


XLamp LEDs have now achieved a 100% improvement in performance over the past 17 months. They can deliver either 25% greater brightness with improved efficacy, or they can deliver up to 55% greater brightness at the same efficacy when compared to the previous generation of XLamp LEDs.

XLamp® XR-E LEDs provide the light foundation for a new line of high-performance outdoor lighting fixtures, THE EDGE™ by Beta LED™. THE EDGE line of LED luminaires is designed for street, parking lot, parking garage, walkway and building-mounted applications.

the overall lighting efficiency is higher than compact flourescent which usually max out at 60 lumens/watt The best flourescent tubes can go up to 104 lumens/watt.

Conventional incandescent light bulbs are typically in the 10 to 20 lumens per watt range, while compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) range from 50 to 60 lumens per watt.

The company Cree achieved 131 lumens/watt with LED lighting in 2006

Getting to the best LED lighting would get overall lighting efficiency up to 22%. Up from the 2-3% efficiency of incandescent and 7-10% of typical CFL and 15% efficiency of the best flourescents.

Lighting accounted for approximately 9% of household electricity usage in the United States in 2001. CFL can save 60-80%. LED could go up to 90% saving or another 50% beyond CFL.

Dwave Systems Quantum computer Update June, 2007

This pdf discusses a recent presentation by Geordie Rose, CTO of Dwave Systems The main thing is that Dwave believes that they are still on track to release a commercial system May, 2008 that will be one hundred times faster for certain business relevant problems. This would probably be the 512 qubit machine. The 1024 qubit machine would follow up. The dispute on quantumness of the system is ongoing and will not be resolved until May 2008 or later into 2008 and 2009 in my opinion.

June 27, 2007

New Mice stem cells mean 10 years to large clinical trials

"Finding a type of mouse stem that so closely resembles the human stem cells will accelerate the delivery of health benefits from stem cell research."

When asked how far away the first applications might be, Prof Pedersen said: "We're talking five years. Those would be very early studies that involve a human individual. I think we can envisage larger scale clinical trials occurring within a decade."

Phase change ovonic memory 2012 market share

Phase change memories (perfect RAM) are forecast to capture 5.5 percent of the NOR flash market by 2012.

I have covered phase change ovonic memory before. It is 500 times faster than regular Flash memory

Trapped charge memories increasing from less than 1 percent now to 30 percent of the NAND flash market in 2012. The flash memory market is projected to be $56.5 billion market in 2012

Self assembled Peptides for medicine: more SENS 3 abstracts

Using the mammalian visual system as a model, we showed that a designed self-assembling peptide nanofiber scaffold created a permissive environment not only for axons to regenerate through the site of an acute injury, but also to knit the brain tissue together, demonstrated by the return of lost vision.

Bleeding can be stopped in less than 15 seconds, in multiple tissues as well as a variety of different wounds, using a self-assembling peptide, demonstrating the first time that nanotechnology has been used to stop bleeding in a surgical setting for animal models that does not rely on heat, pressure, platelet activation, adhesion, or desiccation to stop bleeding.

Fulerene derivatives used to extend lifespan in mice

We have recently shown that a fullerene (C60) derivative (C3) with catalytic superoxide dismutase mimetic) properties extended the lifespan of mice, and had broad anti-aging effects. Chronically treated old mice had less impairment in learning and memory and a lower incidence of cancer. Treated mice also exhibited fewer aging changes in many tissues including kidney, brain, lymphocytes, and muscle, and demonstrated better mitochondrial metabolic function in brain and muscle. We have subsequently identified additional C60 derivatives that have differing antioxidant efficacy and biophysical properties, and are in the process of studying how these compounds might allow us to probe the contribution of different species of ROS to the aging process. Our data suggest that fullerene-based antioxidant synthetic enzymes (synzymes) may prove valuable as both research tools and interventions for oxidative stress in aging and age-related pathology.

Evidence that cryonics may work

Deep hypothermia can result in reversible arrest of neurological activity. The anatomical basis of mind is preserved much longer than six minutes in the absence of oxygen. Cryogenic vitrification can potentially preserve the anatomical basis of mind for many thousands of years. If future science is capable of rejuvenation, then future science should also be capable of reviving, curing and rejuvenating humans who were cryopreserved using cryonics technologies.

Engineering a blastema: steps toward regenerating a limb

One important lesson we have learned from salamanders is that the first step in successful regeneration is the process whereby limb cells revert to an embryonic state (dedifferentiation) and form the regeneration competent cells of the blastema. The process of dedifferentiation proceeds through a series of discrete steps, many of which we have identified. A second lesson is that the progeny of connective tissue fibroblasts control growth and pattern formation during regeneration, and therefore a major challenge is to understand how fibroblasts dedifferentiate to give rise to blastema cells. Finally, the success of regeneration is dependent on the early interactions between dedifferentiated fibroblasts and keratinocytes of the wound epidermis. Given that we can now identify the regeneration-competent cells and the critical interactions between those cells, it is possible to engineer a regeneration blastema so as to induce scar-free wound repair and regeneration in humans.

When Nature isn't wise: evolutionary medicine and human enhancement by Sandberg and Bostrom

We develop a heuristic, inspired by the field of evolutionary medicine, for identifying promising human enhancement interventions. The heuristic incorporates the grains of truth contained in "nature knows best" attitudes while providing criteria for the special cases where we have reason to believe that it is feasible for us to improve on nature. We apply this heuristic to suggested repairs of ageing damage, examining when it gives us a green light, where caution might be needed and where we need more data.

A selection SENS 3 Abstracts: stem cells and cancer fighting

Abstracts for the Sept 2007 SENS (Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence / Life Extension) conference are online

Will stem cell-based tissue replacement work in the old?

This presentation will describe steps for deciphering the molecular mechanisms by which age-specific inhibitory culprits of tissue repair exert their negative influence on stem cells. Additionally, we provide evidence that embryonic stem cell-derived factors indirectly enhance and rejuvenate the regenerative potential of satellite cells endogenous to old skeletal muscle, thus, delineating new promising venues for enhancing the regenerative outcome of cell replacement therapies in the old.

Stem cells dividing, sister chromatids choose fate: old stays, young moves on

We observed extraordinarily high frequencies of cells segregating older versus younger DNA to the daughter cells. Furthermore, this DNA inheritance asymmetry correlated with asymmetric cell divisions yielding daughters with divergent fates. Daughter cells inheriting the older templates exhibited a stem-like immature phenotype, whereas daughters inheriting the newer templates showed a more differentiated phenotype. These data provide compelling evidence of the Immortal DNA phenomenon in muscle regeneration and suggest that it may be more common in stem cell self-renewal than previously assumed. We propose that the Immortal DNA hypothesis be revisited as pertains to aging, cancer and development, and suggest implications for the SENS.

Efficacy of cancer vaccines to prevent cancer in the elderly

These results suggest that therapeutic immunization based on the activation of the innate immune response, may be most effective at old age, but that preventive immunization, based on activation of native T cells should start at young age, when adaptive immune responses are still inducible.

Engineering anti-cancer T cells

Whilst the process of using engineered T cells is currently complex and limited in application it is potentially a general approach which can be simplified and used to treat a broad range of cancers.

Specific targeting of therapeutic stem cells for cardiovascular disease

These proof-of-principle studies provide the groundwork for human clinical trials of bispecific antibody-targeted autologous SC for therapy of acute myocardial infarction and chronic myocardial ischemia. Application of this generally applicable targeting technology to other applications of SC therapy will be discussed.

Youth maintenance and postponing human ageing in [current] reality This is basically that if you use the current best present standard for health maintenance you should be able to stay healthy for 20 years longer than most people do now.

Studies show that years of healthy life expectancy increase approximately the same measure as the life expectancy. There are many possibilities to postpone the accumulation of damage in reality, sometimes even by several years for a single intervention.

There are three directions for youth maintenance and postponing aging changes at present:

- Taking into account risk factors (predictors) of all-cause mortality or mortality for main age-related diseases and decreasing their influence.
- Paying attention to own discomfort and using preventive measures.
- Using medicines that are effective for age-related diseases.

Our field studies have shown that it is possible to postpone the time when a certain level of aging changes (or a disease) develops up to 20 years. The obstacles to postpone ageing for several years in a country are mostly political and less scientific at present.

Therapeutic applications of human stem cells - prospects and challenges

Embryonic stem (ES) cells derived from 6-8 day old human embryos offer the most therapeutic potential as these cells are capable of generating every cell and tissue type in the human body. If we can control the differentiation of ES cells, then cell replacement for profound human disorders such as Parkinson�s disease, insulin-dependent diabetes, heart disease, stroke, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, spinal cord damage, and macular degeneration could become standard new therapies. This presentation will examine the state of the art in the development of stem cell therapies and outline some of the technical and ethical considerations as we progress toward clinical and research application of human ES cells.

Bone marrow stem cell therapy: a major breakthrough for chronic diseases and anti-aging

The procedure and the positive clinical results of using bone marrow stem cells for a variety of conditions will be presented, as well as some of the theory behind how and why this treatment will soon become widely available since these stem cells are legal, ethically correct, and cost-effective while providing better results than conventional therapy for a whole host of different diseases.

Have we reached the point for in vivo [in organism] rejuvenation?

Considering the reversibility of cell potency and aged-phenotype, the next logical step toward the goal of organismal rejuvenation is to test the possibility of inducing the pluripotent state in somatic cells in vivo. Such an approach will not only provide enough autologous stem cells to replace old cells as in standard replacement therapy, but may also have the additional beneficial effects of (i) reversing the possible aged-phenotype of iPS and (ii) rejuvenating non- or slow-turnover tissues that otherwise would benefit less from standard replacement therapy.

Nanowires for imaging and more

New Scientist reports on nanowires suspended in an invisible "force field" of laser radiation could soon be peering into biological samples, taking
low-cost snapshots of viruses and proteins with unprecedented resolution.

The team's prototype can already scan objects with a resolution of 100 nanometres, allowing it to capture the features the size of those on a silicon chip. The researchers believe they should be able to refine the device so that it will ultimately have a resolution of tens of nanometres.

Here is the Peidong Yang's nanowire photonics page

In a demonstration of the nanowire light source's fluorescence mode, a nanowire in the grip of an infrared beam was touched to a fluorescent bead causing the bead to fluorescence orange at the contact point. Figure a shows the experimental set up with the pair of beads on the right as control; b is a bright-field optical image of the beads, with the nanowire in contact with the leftmost bead; c is a color CCD fluorescence image showing green light emission from the nanowire and the orange emission from the bead; d is a control image of the same beads with infrared radiation but no trapped nanowire; and e is digital subtraction of d from c. (Image: Peidong Yang, Jan Liphardt, et. al.)

Nanowire expert Peidong Yang received the National Science Foundation's (NSF) 2007 Alan T. Waterman Award Yang has created one of the nation's leading laboratories for the study of nanowires.

Yang led the development of a nanowire laser that fires ultraviolet light. He and his colleagues grew the wire as part of an array using novel, efficient techniques. (Image: Nicolle Rager Fuller, National Science Foundation)

"Nanowires represent a rich family of functional materials," said Yang. "It is now possible to design and synthesize nanowires with quite complex structures based on progress made in the past couple of years. This type of control in nanostructural engineering has generated a rich collection of fascinating properties and functionalities, including nanoscale lasers, nanowire-based transistors, sensors and solar cells. These nanowire materials will have a particularly significant impact in areas such as energy conversion and solid-state lighting."

Chemist Peidong Yang, the winner of the National Science Foundation's 2007 Alan T. Waterman award, and his colleagues have grown arrays of zinc oxide and gallium nitride nanowires. (Image: Peidong Yang, University of California, Berkeley)

MIT Technology Review discusses Peidong Yang's work to use nanowires to guide stem cell growth

Bed of nails: Embryonic stem cells cultured on an array of silicon nanowires (above) can grow and develop into muscle cells. The mouse cells in this scanning electron microscopy image are about 10 microns across.
Credit: University of California, Berkeley

Electrical stimulation by nanowires, says Griffith, may "go into a collection of different kinds of cues for controlling cell behavior."

Nicholas Kotov, a chemical engineer at the University of Michigan, is developing retinal implants that connect to neurons using carbon nanotubes.

Harvard's Lieber cautions that Yang's group has not yet demonstrated an active electrical interface between the cells and nanowires, as he did with neurons and as Kotov and others have done with carbon nanotubes.

Yang says that turning on the electricity is his group's next step. "This is the first preliminary data that these nanowire interfaces with cells are okay," he says. He hopes further research will demonstrate that the nanowires, acting as electrodes and chemical-delivery vehicles, can be used to direct stem-cell fates.

Peidong Yang's research group website

News on Peidong Yang's research

Nanowerk also covers this nanowire work

Rob Eason, of the Optoelectronics Research Centre at the University of Southampton, UK, was impressed by the research. 'The combination of these separate topic areas - growth and characterisation of nonlinear nanowires, optical tweezing, parametric frequency conversion, scanning near field microscopy, and subwavelength measurement - represents some kind of hero experiment,' Eason told Chemistry World. 'Individually each of these topics is a subject in itself, and so in combination is a tour-de-force in my view.'

Nanowerk also had this article on the work

Virginia Tech College of Engineering researcher Yong Xu is trying to reach 1 nanometer resolution for optical imaging using metamaterials

Sun and IBM supercomputer pricing.

Pricing for the new IBM Blue gene/p is 10 to 15 cents per megaflop

This is $1.3 million for each of 13.6 teraflop racks of 32 processor boards in volume. $1.6 million in lower quantities.

216 of the racks is about $272 million for 2937 teraflops.

Sun's Constellation in the 500 teraflop version costs US$29.6 million of a total $59 million to build Constellation, and $29.4 million for operational costs.
The full 1.7 petaflop version would probably cost $90 million to build.

So $50,000 to $100,000 per teraflop of supercomputer performance.

The Nvidia Tesla is in the range of $3000-6000 per teraflop.

IBM and SUN announce petaflop supercomputers

Nvidia Tesla details

Nvidia tesla impact on computational chemistry

What it would take to reach a zettaflop

Install services before and head off slums from forming

Small and large cities in asia and africa need to anticipate their growing populations and migrants from the countryside. It is much easier and cheaper to install services beforehand on "minimally serviced land" than to retrofit existing shanty towns and slums.

It is easier to raise the standard of living and health and education services of people living in cities than in the countryside.

China has been underestimating the rate of urbanization

Nanoparticles hitchhike on red blood cells could stay 120 days in the body

Researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara have discovered that attaching polymeric nanoparticles to the surface of red blood cells dramatically increases the in vivo lifetime of the nanoparticles. The research, published in the July 07 issue of Experimental Biology and Medicine, could offer applications for the delivery of drugs and circulating bioreactors.

“Attachment of polymeric nanoparticles to red blood cells combines the advantages of the long circulating lifetime of the red blood cell, and their abundance, with the robustness of polymeric nanoparticles,” said Mitragotri. “Using red blood cells to extend the circulation time of the particles avoids the need to modify the surface chemistry of the entire particle, which offers the potential to attach chemicals to the exposed surface for targeting applications.”

The researchers say that it may be possible to keep the nanoparticles in circulation for a relatively long time, theoretically up to the circulation lifetime of a red blood cell – which is 120 days – if the binding between particles and the red blood cells is strengthened. The methodology is applicable to drugs that are effective while still attached to a red blood cell, although the researchers say that slow release from the red blood cell surface is also feasible.

Mitragotri says “this mode of prolonging particle circulation has significant implications in drug delivery, potentially leading to new treatments for a broad variety of conditions such as cancer, blood clots and heart disease”. Dr. Steven R. Goodman.

Polymer nanoparticles attach to red blood cells and remain in circulation for prolonged times. Unattached nanoparticles are rapidly cleared by body's immune system. Credit: Image prepared by Mr. Peter Allen, UCSB. Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine

2007 World Wealth Report

The number of HNWIs in the world increased 8.3 percent in 2006 to 9.5 million and the number of ultra high net worth individuals (Ultra-HNWIs2) grew by 11.3 percent to 94,970.

HNWI financial wealth is expected to reach US$51.6 trillion by 2011, growing at an annual rate of 6.8%.

USA has 2.92 million HNWI ($1 million in liquid assets)
The wealth report is a pdf that is at this location. You need to register to download it

200620052004Wealth Amount
532US$30B+ Forbes list (which mainly catches owners
674932US$10B+ of public assets, can underestimate some
167124102US$5B+ like CTO of Cisco, who may be billionaire
946793691US$1B+ from cisco stock + large startup positions)
940082007500US$160M+ (my own estimate)
95,0008540077500US$30M+ (UHNW, ultra high net worth class)
(e)930,000820000745000US$5 to 30M
8.6M 7.8M7.4M US$1-5M Global number, US number 33% (2.6 million)
9.5M 8.7M8.2MUS$1M+ Global number, US number 33% ( 2.6 million)
~26M~24M~22MUS$500K-1M doesn't include primary residence, (estimate)

For the 5 million net worth level, estimates for household net worth at this level or higher is about 1.14 million (Spectrem) in the US alone. So about 3 million worldwide.

Global direct real estate transaction volumes reached US$682 billion in 2006, up 38 percent from 2005.

Sources of wealth for the rich and how much money it takes to be rich

June 26, 2007

IBM, SUN announcing new petaflop supercomputers

IBM, Sun announcing petaflop class supercomputers

IBM and Sun Microsystems are providing details of their separate supercomputer offerings at the 2007 International Supercomputer Conference in Dresden.

Sun microsystems petaflop machine will be called "the Constellation" From development information in 2005, the new Sun architecture system uses Sun Fire x86, 64-bit (now called x64 within the industry) servers with 10,480 AMD Opteron processor cores, totaling more than 50 trillion floating point operations per second (teraFLOPS). The computer also includes Sun and NEC storage technologies and NEC's integration expertise as well as ClearSpeed's Advance accelerator boards.

Sun's Constellation promises to deliver nearly 2 petaflops of performance.

It features 82 SunFire blade servers, two Sun Magnum ultra-dense switches, an Infiniband host interface (with 288 ports), next-generation Mellanox HCA (high-contrast addressing) and a Sun Fire X4500 storage cluster with 480TB per rack.

The core switch supports up to 3,456 nodes, and each custom rack supports 48 server modules, chief architect Andy Bechtolsheim said.

The Constellation also features Solaris, Linux, OpenMPI, Open InfiniBand interfaces and management, x64 Computing Architecture, and InfiniBand DDR interconnect. Its compute speed is estimated at 1.7 petaflops, and it will store up to 10 petabytes of data, Bechtolsheim said.

The heart of the Sun constellation is the switch

Code-named Magnum, the switch comes with 3,456 ports, a larger-than-normal number that frees up data pathways inside these powerful computers. "We are looking at a factor-of-three improvement over the current best system at an equal number of nodes," said Andy Bechtolsheim, chief architect and senior vice president of the systems group at Sun.

The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) at the University of Texas is currently preparing a Constellation system. If TACC can get enough Barcelona chips from Advanced Microsystems by October 15, its system will land near the top of the next Top 500 Supercomputers list, Sun says. The TACC system will provide a peak performance of around 500 teraflops, or 500 trillion operations a second.

The Sun system will cost about $59 million, while the IBM supercomputer runs between $1.3 million and $1.7 million for each server in the system cluster.

IBM will introduce the Blue Gene/P system—that will eventually replace the L system, said Herb Shultz, a product marketing manager for IBM's Deep Computing division.

The Blue Gene/P system looks to offer three times the computing power of IBM's previous Blue Gene supercomputer. The system now offers a scale ranging from 1 petaflop to 3.5 petaflops when fully configured with 256 server racks.

IBM will use its own Power Architecture with the Blue Gene/P system. Each Blue Gene chip will use four PowerPC 450 processing cores. The chip offers top clock speed of 850MHz and can perform 13.6 billion calculations per second. The current crop of Blue Gene chips are dual-core chips with a clock speed of 700MHz.

The older and new Blue Gene chips use the same thermal envelope, and the newer supercomputer offers greater performance while using about 20 percent more power.

The new Blue Gene chips also offer more memory and SMP (symmetric multiprocessing), which is designed to support multithreaded software applications. The new supercomputer also offers a new interface, which will make writing applications for the system easier for developers. (The supercomputer's operating system is based on Linux.)

A typical Blue Gene/P system board will hold 32 microprocessors, and the average 6-foot rack server will hold 32 of these boards, which gives the system more than 4,000 processing cores per server rack.

A 72-rack Blue Gene/P system with 294,912 processing cores will achieve the 1 petaflop of computing performance, Shultz said. A 216-rack cluster offers 3 petaflops of performance.

Cnet has some more info on the IBM Blue Gene/p

The most expensive part of a supercomputer is the memory

Nvidia's deskside supercomputer for teraflops of power for a few thousand dollars Nvidia will be scaling up this offering and significantly improving it for later this year and next year with double precision floating point.

More on the Nvidia teraflop offerings and potential impact

What it would take for zettaflop computing

China is building three petaflop computers by 2010

Japan is building a 10 petaflop machine by 2011

Other petaflop projects including the completed MDGrape3

Flash memory improving faster than Moore's law will accelerate larger database searches

Other things going faster than Moore's Law
which includes gene sequencing costs

system integration

100 KW solid state lasers being assembled

Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has entered the integration and test phase for the Joint High Power Solid State Laser (JHPSSL) Phase 3 program after exceeding all demonstration requirements for the first gain module, or building block, that forms the core of its 100 kW solid-state laser system. This is four months after the 67 kilowatt solid state laser was announced.

Manufacturing has begun in the new facility, which was designed specifically to produce high-power gain modules beginning with the JHPSSL Phase 3 program. Altogether, there will be 32 gain modules in the company's 100 kW JHPSSL Phase 3 demonstrator.

"This means that Northrop Grumman has designed a 100 kW solid-state laser system that can be efficiently manufactured," said Alexis Livanos, corporate vice president and president of Northrop Grumman's Space Technology sector. "We are gratified by the great confidence shown in our design and analysis for this powerful laser system."

The first gain module demonstrated under the program produced a power level of more than 3.9 kW, operated for 500 seconds at 20.6 percent efficiency, according to Mike McVey, vice president of Directed Energy Systems for Northrop Grumman's Space Technology sector.

"Our design for the JHPSSL Phase 3 laser includes design features needed for future systems," noted McVey. "We are making major improvements in size, weight and power in the Phase 3 laser compared with the system we demonstrated in the last phase."

Note: the 20.6% efficiency would mean that you need to supply 5 times the power to the lasers to get a particular amount of laser energy.

I have had several articles on using arrays of solid state lasers to launch vehicles into space and to accelerate vehicles that are already in space.

Laser arrays for space launch can be like the modular components of the internet infrastructure. Highly utilized tiered system that can be built modularly and incrementally.

Laser and magnetic launch

Putting the breaks on laser mirrors and all photonic propulsion

Using 67KW solid state lasers to send a vehicle to Mars in 10 days

BTW something that I will submit for the next carnival of space which I think is some of my best ideas on space yet.
What I think is a workable system to get space based solar power scaled up, cheaper, and identifying the best niches to supply power and grow space infrastructure

Laser focus world report from 2004 on the details of the technical details for the solid state laser

Northrop Grumman's slab laser uses a single master oscillator to pump parallel power-amplifier stages. Each power amplifier includes four diode-pumped neodymium-doped slabs in a series and is designed to generate 12.5 kW. [the new system has 32 modules] Beams from the amplifiers are tiled on the output aperture where adaptive optics adjust the wavefront to achieve high power. Scaling is by adding parallel amplifier chains.

Adaptive optics sense the output wavefront, then adjust the phase of the master oscillator output for each chain to keep the outputs of all chains in phase. As of May, Northrop has demonstrated that one of the diode-driven slab stages can produce 4.5 kW, well above the minimum needed. Scaling to 100 kW would require adding six parallel chains and combining their outputs.

A 2002 discussion of solid state laser costs. The key is getting cost down for diodes.

McKearn predicts the cost will go down from current [2002] levels of $70 to $100 per watt down to $5 per watt during the next several years. [In 1997], he said, “a single 100 kw laser would have used three times the world’s yearly production of diodes.”

Page 21 of this pdf on the laser industry indicates that in 2006 the price of solid state laser diodes is $30/watt So the diodes for the 100KW laser are about $3 million.

So if price trends continue, then $10-15/watt in 2010 for high power laser diodes.

Laser focus world article surveying the diode laser market

More on the laser marketplace from Laser focus world


Slope efficiency

Definition: differential power efficiency of a laser

An important property of an optically pumped laser is its slope efficiency (or differential efficiency), defined as the slope of the curve obtained by plotting the laser output versus the pump power. Usually, this curve is close to linear, so that the specification of the slope efficiency as a single number makes sense. However, quite nonlinear curves can occur under various circumstances, e.g. as a consequence of three-level characteristics of the gain medium or thermal effects.

Ceramic Laser Boasts 82 Percent Slope Efficiency Diode-pumped Yb:Y2O3 laser believed to be most efficient ever.

Lasers with Nonlinear Input-Output Characteristics

The slope efficiency of a laser is an often used quantity, but there are actually plenty of cases where such a specification makes no sense – simply because there is no linear relation between pump power and output power

June 25, 2007

Practical route to room temperature superconductors

Here is a pdf of a paper "Route to Room-Temperature Superconductivity from a Practical Point of View" by A. Mourachkine of the University of Cambridge

This chapter presents analysis of experimental data which allow one to draw a conclusion about components and the structure of a potential room-temperature superconductor. The two essential components of a roomtemperature superconductor are large organic molecules (polymers, tissues) and atoms/molecules which are magnetic in the intercalated state. This conclusion is fully based on experimental facts known today, and does not require any assumptions about the mechanism of room-temperature superconductivity. This, however, does not mean that to synthesize a room-temperature superconductor is an easy task.

From a technical point of view, superconductors only become useful when they are operated well below their critical temperature—one-half to two-third of that temperature provides a rule of thumb. Therefore, for an engineer, a room-temperature superconductor would be a compound whose resistance disappears somewhere above 450 K. Such a material could actually be used at room temperature for large-scale applications. At the same time, Tc ∼ 350 K can already be useful for small-scale (low-power) applications. Consequently, unless specified, the expression “a room-temperature superconductor” will further be used to imply a superconductor having a critical temperature Tc ≥ 350 K.

The benefits [of room temperature superconductors] would range from minor improvements in existing technology to revolutionary upheavals. All devices made from the room-temperature superconductor will be reasonably cheap since its use would not involve cooling cost. Energy savings from many sources would add up to a reduced dependence on conventional power plants. Compact superconducting cables would replace unsightly power lines and revolutionize the electrical power industry. A world with room-temperature superconductivity would unquestionably be a cleaner world and a quieter world. Compact superconducting motors would replace many noisy, polluting engines. Advance transportation systems would lessen our demands on the automobile. Superconducting magnetic energy storage would become commonplace. Computers would be based on compact Josephson junctions. Thanks to the high-frequency, high-sensitivity operation of superconductive electronics, mobile phones would be so compact that could be made in the form of an earring. SQUID (Superconducting QUantum Interference Device) sensors would become ubiquitous in many areas of technology and medicine. Room-temperature superconductivity would undoubtedly trigger a revolution of scientific imagination. The effects of room-temperature superconductivity would be felt throughout society, including children who might well grow up playing with superconducting toys.

According to the first principle of superconductivity, superconductivity requires electron pairing. Indeed, the electron pairing is the keystone of superconductivity.
Therefore, in quest of compounds that superconduct above room temperature, one should first look at materials which tolerate the presence of Cooper pairs at high temperatures. Fortunately, it is known already for some time that the Cooper pairs exist in some organic compounds at and above room temperature.

Ontario coal or nuclear part II has follow up details on the local politics in Ontario to stop coal energy usage and replace it with natural gas or nuclear

I had an article about Ontario's attempts and plans to phase out coal or clean it up a lot

Being Rich and the Wealthy

The wealth of the world’s richest people is likely to have increased 11% to $37 trillion (€27 trillion) last year on the back of a sharp rise in asset values, according to calculations by Financial News.

Financial News has calculated that the steep climb in asset values last year will have produced an increase of this order, which is 37% higher than the annual 8% growth rate achieved over previous years.

The Spectrem Group shows that the number of households in the U.S. worth $5 million or more rose 23% in 2006, to a record 1.14 million — passing the million mark for the first time. This is likely up to 1.3 million in 2007.

The Federal Reserve Board, relying on its own surveys of consumer finance, says in [2006] there were 1.4 million households worth [$5 million]. Why is Spectrem’s number lower? Because its survey doesn’t include primary residences in calculating net worth, while the Fed does.

The group says in 2006 there were now 9 million households in the U.S. worth $1 million or more, while the number of affluent households — those with $500,000 or more — grew to 15 million in 2006, up 9% from 2005.

How much money does it take to be considered “rich” today?

The SEC has proposed a new definition for “accredited investor” — someone rich enough to invest in private investment pools without needing protection from government regulators. To invest in hedge funds today, investors need to have $1 million in net worth (including the value of their primary residence), or income of at least $200,000 for individuals or $300,000 for households. The SEC has proposed raising the bar, requiring investors to have $2.5 million in investible assets.

A Speed dating group has their definition of rich as well.

25 or below $200,000+
26 to 30 $300,000+
30+ $500,000+

If they don’t need salaries, invested assets of $1 million or more or a trust of $4 million or more will count.

A SmartMoney article disputes the advice of the millionaire next door (book) The Millionaire next door talks about saving taking little risk to become a millionaire when you are quite old.'s take:
To enter the nation's top 1%, you need more than $5 million. And if you get there, you'll have plenty of newly-arrived company: The number of U.S. "pentamillionaires" has quadrupled in the past 10 years, to more than 930,000. Indeed, 70% of the nation's big family fortunes are less than 13 years old, according to research and marketing firm The Harrison Group. And the people who amassed them are, first and foremost, entrepreneurs — risk takers for whom wealth is a byproduct of pursuing their passion. The vast majority (of newly wealthy people) — 80% — either started their own business or worked for a small company that saw explosive growth.

The Merrill Lynch and Cap Gemini Wealth report lists business ownership sale as the top source of wealth, then income (high salary and savings), then inheritance and then investment performance (ie stock trading or buying and selling real estate) and stock options. In the USA, the main source is income.

Projecting future wealth

Household income distribution in the USA from wikipedia

Affluence and extreme affluence in the USA from wikipedia

Worldwide distribution of household wealth

Toyota planning a bigger version of the "Prius" in 2009

The new hybrid will offer better riding quality due to its larger size and engine displacement of 2 to 3 liters. The Prius uses a 1.5-liter engine. If launched in 2009, the new model will likely follow the introduction of a third-generation Prius, which is expected in later 2008 or early 2009. The Nikkei adds that the annual sales target for the new model is 100,000 units and and compares with Toyota's total hybrid sales of 310,000 last year. The extra sales would go some way to help Toyota reach its target to sell a million hybrids a year by the early 2010s.

One reason for the success of the Prius, which accounted for half of Toyota's hybrid sales last year, is that car ownership conferred impeccable environmental credentials
(green image)

Implicit learning and effective anticipation

Wired has an article on accurate athletic anticipation which can be called field sense or perceptual ability or what Wayne Gretzky can see on the hockey ice

Comparing experts to amateurs in tennis, experts knew what would happen with the direction of a tennis serve roughly a third of a second earlier.

What separated the pros from everyone else was the ability to pull directional information out of the early stages of a swing and therefore to predict a split second earlier where to head. This fraction of time is game- changing. A serve going 120 miles per hour takes approximately a third of a second to travel the 60 feet from baseline to service line. This means that an expert, who doesn't have to wait until contact, has twice as long to move, plant his feet, and swing.

Proving that anticipation mattered was one thing. The big question was, could it be taught? Farrow wanted to try, but he would be careful to not make the same mistake he had made with himself. He instructed some of the players from each group not to worry about predicting the direction of the serve but, instead, to focus on estimating its speed. The exercise was intended to force receivers to notice things like the angle of the racket head and the twist of a server's shoulders relative to his hips — all kinematic cues that also contribute to a serve's direction. Best of all, the connections would happen unconsciously. "It's called implicit learning," Farrow says. "We're getting them used to watching for the right stuff, things like more-spin-equals-less-speed, but they don't even know that they're doing it."

Farrow then tested the speed-prediction group against one that had been traditionally coached on service returns and another control group that had received no coaching. At the end of the day, the players who'd been told to predict the ball's speed showed a small but significant improvement, anticipating the serve correctly an extra 5 percent of the time. More startling: The traditionally coached group didn't improve at all.

Farrow has turned into a one-man band of perceptual training, transferring his tennis experience to volleyball, basketball, cricket, and other sports. It's the culmination of an idea that originated 50 years ago, when a psychologist named Clarence Damron flashed slides of defensive plays at high school football players and then tested their ability to identify the maneuvers from the sidelines. Students who had watched the slides were better at guessing correctly, leading Damron to conclude that a boy could learn to be a lineman the same way he learned chemistry: by memorizing which elements and conditions led to a particular reaction.

Even now, the few people who do try to train vision often don't bother to figure out which skills are crucial.

Because of this, Farrow spends a lot of time simply trying to determine what it is experts see that amateurs don't. Among other things, he uses an eye-motion tracker to record where virtuoso players are looking during clutch situations, such as when passing under pressure from multiple defenders coming from different directions.

Farrow has created a video database of hundreds of critical decision-making moments, which he projects life-size onto a blank wall at the Crows training center. Players watch the simulations, which are from the point of view of the kicker, and "pass" the ball to the player they think is in the best position — literally kicking it at the wall.

Where players are getting better at reading serves, they are also also being taught how to hide their intentions. The result has been a kind of athletic arms race, the ability to read shots driving a corresponding need for better fakes.

These kind of dynamics can also be related to futurist society and technology predictions. Being able to analyze and determine earlier when certain events will occur and when the odds are shifting is a very useful advantage. A more regimented and scientific approach would be useful in determining how people can become better predictors. This means that predictions need to be tracked and analyzed.

China's cleaner energy tech

Over half of the 630 GW of power China will be adding by 2020 is planned to not be coal.china will go from generating 600 GW in 2006 and planning 1230 GW by 2020

155GW of hydro power to be added from 2007-2020.
Gas fired power plants to have risen to 85 GW, or 6.9 per cent of total installed capacity.
30 more GW of nuclear capacity by 2020
Trying to add 120GW of renewable power (mostly wind)

China is doing some stuff with biofuels as well, but has concerns about food security. By 2020 they want green energies to account for 15 percent of all transportation fuels.
They made only one million tonnes of ethanol fuel in 2005 but by 2010 China's ethanol-fuel production may reach as high as 10 million tonnes, local press reports say. China has agreed to invest in a $5.5 billion biofuels project on the islands of New Guinea and Borneo. According to The Wall Street Journal, one million hectares (2.5 million acres) have been reserved for the eight-year plan, which would convert tropical forest for oil palm, sugar, and cassava plantations. China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC), Indonesia's Sinar Mas Group, and Hong Kong Energy (Holdings) Ltd. are funding the project. (so they pay other countries to convert food production to biofuel production).

China's Suntech's (solar energy) revenue and profits are growing strongly. Sales in 2006 rose to $598.6 million, more than doubling 2005 revenue, while net income rose by from 30.6 million in 2005 to 106 million last year. Revenue this year will likely hit $1 billion.

Suntech, longer term, is going to be the Honda Civic of the industry," said Jeff Osborne, an analyst at CIBC World Markets. "My fundamental belief is that 80 to 90 percent of the market, long term, will be a commodity product and the Chinese and Taiwanese are going to dominate that (commodity) sector."

Alternative energy is becoming big business in China. In the past two years, several Chinese solar companies--such as Nanjing's Sunergy, JA Solar Holdings and Solarfun Power Holdings--have held initial public offerings in the U.S. Suntech did it first, in late 2005; because of the IPO, founder Zhengrong Shi is one of the richest men in the country.

Chinese manufacturers have also begun to expand into the market for solar water heaters. Meanwhile, The Jiangsu province has linked up with the Cleantech Network and Tsinghua University to create a clean-tech industrial park.

Cnet reports, Suntech is developing cost advantages:

A silicon solar cell costs about $2.90 to make, he says. Established manufacturers, who buy silicon under long-term contracts, have to put about $1.50 worth of silicon into the cell. That leaves about $1.40 to cover other expenses. (Solar cells are then wired together into solar panels, which you see on roofs, but the bulk of the manufacturing costs are associated with the cells).

Under its new long-term contracts, Suntech will be able to put out cells for around $2.20: $1.50 for silicon costs and 70 cents for other expenses. That extra margin will either feed profits or, more likely, help the company in price wars.

CIBC World Markets' Osborne identified other cost advantages for Chinese companies. Labor costs for a Chinese company amounts to about 4 percent to 6 percent of revenue. For a U.S. company, labor amounts to about 10 percent of revenue. Research and development in China comes to about 1.5 percent of revenue; for the U.S. it's closer to 10 percent. The Chinese government also gives companies based there income tax holidays.

Meanwhile, domestic demand could start to build, giving local manufacturers an edge. The Chinese government has begun to impose regulations to increase the amount of renewable energy consumed in China. Now, Suntech sells roughly 10 percent of its solar panels to China, but 90 percent of these are then re-exported to the West.

Suntech's stated goal, after all, is to triple manufacturing capacity in about three years as well as to move into new product areas like thin film and solar roof tiles