October 26, 2007

More on safer and more effective muscle enhancement

Two new classes of experimental drugs shown to have powerful muscle-building capabilities--selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs) and myostatin inhibitors--have been added to the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) list of prohibited substances for 2008.

I had discussed the myostatin inhibitor drug

I believe that there is nothing wrong with safe muscle enhancement. Unlike steroids it will improve the health of most of those who use it. Preventing deterioration of muscle in the elderly. There are some people have the activated genes which causes myostatin inhibition and there is no indication that their health is bad or that their life expectency is less.

Here is an article that describes current underground use of IGF-1 and myostatin inhibitors

IGF-1 LR3 Benefits:

Stimulates muscle growth and has been shown to benefit the heart (a muscle).
Encourages the absorption of Chondroitin Sulfate and Glucosamine Sulfate (also found in Velvet Antler).
Regenerates nerve tissue
Helps burn fat, increase protein transport into cells, and reduce protein breakdown
Improves the production of white blood cells
Decreases LDL Cholesterol

So to recap, IGF-1 provides almost permanent muscle-creating, muscle-repairing, and anti-aging benefits.

In 2004 the leading experts on the subject admitted that this gene therapy could already be in use, and that the technology and knowledge is such that the process to deliver it isn’t complicated.

Being able to deliver genetic modification to every cell

A review of research for using gene therapy to enhance humans

Back in 2002, University of Pennsylvania gene therapy researcher Lee Sweeney studied ways to treat muscular dystrophy and the general frailty that comes with aging. In his lab, he inserted a gene called IGF-1 into the muscles of mice. The IGF-1 gene effect is being mimicked by the new myostatin inhibitors.

"The good this can bring to people with muscle disease and the elderly far outweighs the potential downside from an athletic standpoint," he says, "so I think it's going to have to be dealt with."

China currency update

Jim Rogers, chairman of Beeland Interests Inc. and a former partner of George Soros, said yesterday the yuan may quadruple in the next decade. If it did then the yuan would be at 1.8 to 1.9 to the US dollar. China's economy would be at 13 trillion US dollar even if there was zero growth. I have noted that I expect China's economy to pass the United STates on an exchange rated basis before 2020.

Non-deliverable forward contracts show traders are betting the yuan will reach 7.0070 in 12 months, a gain of 6.9 percent from the spot rate, and 6.95 by the end of 2008.

The government should revalue the yuan by as much as 20 percent, according to a report circulated inside the National Development and Reform Commission, Market News International said.
This would put the exchange rate at 6 to 1. China's economy next year would be almost equal to Japan on an exchange rate basis.

The Center for Responsible Nanotechnology has an article about China and quotes some papers discussing China's weaknesses

Any business or country has vulnerabilities. China is not unique in this regard.

In terms of things built on sand, the same could be said of any technology or business startup. Google had and continues to have vulnerabilities, but fast growth and momentum are powerful assets.

High growth companies can do things and are given money and business deals because of their fast growth. The most recent example is Facebook. They got $240 million for 1.6% of the company from Microsoft.

This is more than Facebooks 2007 revenue. The $240 million likely funds Facebook through their IPO, when Facebook will get even more money and will be able to further strengthen their actual business and revenue and profit generation.

Year and year China is getting $40-70 billion/year in Foreign Direct Investment.
Keep that up for 3 decades + and a lot of that is not a "pyramid scheme".

The longer you can keep it going then the more the sand can be turned into cement.

As for China fooling foreign investors. Profits for foreign companies in China are booming. The promise is being realized.

China's middle class is rapidly expanding. So domestic supporters are being "fooled" with real lifestyle and economic gains.

China does not need to force its military budget to the percentage levels of the Soviet Union. They have enough deterrence and even if China's economy is twice the size of the USA. The US military will not be shrinking. It would be idiotic to build more military to try and win a military conflict with the USA or Russia or China. They all have reached military critical mass and more stuff will not win the day. A
completely new technological and strategic approach is another story, but just bigger budgets is not the measure.

The evidence that I have seen shows that Chinese leaders have a rational future vision for China and by and large are trying to make choices for the good of the nations future. There are problems and they are being addressed.

It is in the interest of all people to want China, USA, Russia, India and the other nations to succeed and continue to succeed.

Just as in the last century the US can be the big winner but that does not mean the UK, Canada or others have to lose.

Economic competition can and should be win-win.

It would be in the interest of the USA to help China fix its problems with the environment and corruption. Big unrest and loss of central control in China could make us long for the days of only having unrest in the middle east.

October 25, 2007

Simplest universal turing maching

There is now a proof that the simplest universal turing machine has 2 states 3 colors

This kind of machine would be a simpler and easier target for those working on molecular computing

Turing machines in wikipedia

Universal Turing machines in wikipedia. A turing machine that can simulate all other turing machines

Mathematically modelling to speed DSL 200 times to 250 mbps

A Melbourne PhD student has developed technology to make broadband internet up to 200 times faster without having to install expensive fibre optic cables.

Harnessing the potential power of telephone lines and DSL broadband, the technology will deliver internet speeds up to 250 megabits per second, compared with current typical speeds of between one and 20 megabits per second.

Dr John Papandriopoulos, who has patent applications for the technology being processed in the US and Australia.

Dr Papandriopoulos' research, which took a year to complete, uses mathematic modelling to reduce the interference that slows down downloading.

Future Robosapien variant with infrared location

the makers of Robosapien is partnering with a company that will help them to add location awareness to new robot products starting in 2009

How the robotic location is done using infrared

“Evolution’s technologies are revolutionizing the way we interact with robots and consumers will be truly amazed when they see what these products can do,” said Davin Sufer, Chief Technical Officer of Wowwee. “Together we plan to create an entirely new category of products to match the excitement and interactivity of video games, with blazing speeds and real-time action.”

The product initiatives are the result of a strategic partnership between the two companies involving 18 months of research and development to design an innovative positioning and tracking system that will enable a robot to autonomously interact with people, environments, other robots and objects with pinpoint accuracy and control.

Another possible diabetes cure

Diabetes seems to have been cured in one person using pig cell transplant

October 24, 2007

China Yuan and economy update

China's taken six years to achieve 40 percent of a 20-year target of quadrupling per-capita GDP by 2020 with an increase to 16,084 yuan this year (2007).

The yuan rose to as much as 7.4834 versus the dollar from 7.4926 yesterday, heading for the biggest weekly gain in five weeks. It has climbed more than 10 percent versus the U.S. currency since the end of a fixed exchange rate in July 2005 and fallen 7 percent against the euro.

There's debate in China on the merits of a stronger currency, which would ease trade tensions and the inflow of cash by making exports more expensive. A report circulated last week within the National Development and Reform Commission, the top planning agency, called for a 15 percent to 20 percent one-off revaluation

China's economy, the biggest contributor to global growth, grew 11.5 percent in the third quarter, adding pressure for faster currency appreciation and higher borrowing costs to curb inflation and asset bubbles.

I have predicted that China's will pass the USAs economy on an exchange rated basis in 2018 plus or minus 3 years.
My prior article with an earlier prediction of 2020 for China's economy passing the USAs

About 9 billion per year for 20-30 years to eradicate malaria

The time may be upon us now to start a program (which would really get deployed in 2012 after the latest malaria vaccines have undergone wider trials), to eradicate malaria

Eradication would not be cheap. A back-of-the-envelope estimate suggests it would cost about $9 billion a year for two or three decades to make and distribute the necessary vaccines, drugs and equipment. But that compares with $3 billion a year indefinitely, merely to contain the problem—not to mention the economic damage done by the disease. Big ideas have to await the right time to be realised. But for malaria that time may be now.

October 23, 2007

Leaded gasoline linked to increased violent crime

The NY Times discusses an interesting study that connects the removal of lead from gasoline with the drop in violent crime

Has the Clean Air Act done more to fight crime than any other policy in American history? That is the claim of a new environmental theory of criminal behavior.

In the early 1990s, a surge in the number of teenagers threatened a crime wave of unprecedented proportions. But to the surprise of some experts, crime fell steadily instead. even low levels of lead can cause brain damage that makes children less intelligent and, in some cases, more impulsive and aggressive. She also discovered that the main source of lead in the air and water had not been paint but rather leaded gasoline — until it was phased out in the 1970s and ’80s by the Clean Air Act, which took blood levels of lead for all Americans down to a fraction of what they had been.

Reyes found that the rise and fall of lead-exposure rates seemed to match the arc of violent crime, but with a 20-year lag — just long enough for children exposed to the highest levels of lead in 1973 to reach their most violence-prone years in the early ’90s, when crime rates hit their peak.

The correlation is across different states and countries who stopped using leaded gasoline at different times.

Here is the actual report

If this large an effect is true, it could also mean that the other toxins from fossil fuels could also be resulting in behavioral change that goes along with the health damage and death.

Copper doped Computer memory should be selling in a few years

Arizona State University’s Center for Applied Nanoionics (CANi) has a new take on old memory, one that promises to boost the performance, capacity and battery life of consumer electronics from digital cameras to laptops. Best of all, it is cheap, made from common materials and compatible with just about anything currently on the market.

This persistant memory would compete with NRAM and MRAM which are planned new types of persistant nonvolatile random access computer memory.

“In using readily available materials, we’ve provided a way for this memory to be made at essentially zero extra cost, because the materials you need are already used in the chips — all you have to do is mix them in a slightly different way,” said Michael Kozicki, director of CANi.

Most memory today stores information as charge; in the binary language of computers, this means that an abundance of charge at a particular site on a chip translated as a “one,” and a lack of charge is translated as a “zero.” The problem with such memory is that the smaller its physical size, the less charge it can reliably store.

Resistance-based memory, on the other hand, does not suffer from this problem and can even store multiple bits on one site. Moreover, once the resistance is set, it does not change, even when the power is switched off. (persistent memory)

Researchers have been approaching the problem from two directions, either trying to leapfrog to the next generation of memory, or refining current memory. CANi took both approaches, amping up performance via special materials while also switching from charge-based storage to resistance-based storage.

Robotic Car: Darpa Urban Challenge starts Nov 3, 2007

The DARPA Urban challenge for robotic cars starts Nov 3, 2007 in Victorville, California

The National Qualification Event will take place at the same location, October 26-31, 2007 with 35 competitors.

Direct information from Kitegen

One of my readers (Joseph) correctly pointed out that the energy from wind goes up by the cube of wind speed. This means being able to consistently access winds that were five times faster than current winds would make enable 125 times more power to be accessed.

Kitegen system

I also have been emailing with the Kitegen people. A mountain peak in the center of the Kitegen system would get in the flight path of the aerofoils. So one of the better ways to get to higher and faster winds would have to be some kind of elevated plateau. Ironically the coal industry removes mountain tops to get at coal so a similar process could be used to get at the best wind if needed. Alternatively existing plateaus could be found.

The Kitegen system would cut out at 25m/s like other wind generators. However, a Kitegen could go to a lower height and slower wind if the top wind goes over 25m/s. Kitegen could therefore have a higher percentage of its time near the current 25 m/s maximum.

Currently 80 meter wind turbines (3MW-6MW) access winds that are about 4.6 m/s in speed. 20-25 m/s winds would be 70-125 times more powerful than the current wind speeds.

100 MW Kite Gen power plants, not much larger than the illustrated example, are estimated to deliver a cost of energy produced lower than 0.03 Euro per kWh. A Kitegen system that was place at higher elevation could access winds 2-3 times stronger for 8 to 27 times more power than a Kitegen at a lower altitude.

Better recycling plants planned for the UK

BY 2011 all the broken kettles, potato peelings, smashed glass, holey socks, margarine pots, dirty tissues, light bulbs and pet litter thrown away by the 1.4 million people who live in Lancashire, UK, will be whisked away to two recycling plants near Preston.

Conventional recycling handles about 50% of household waste. The new plants would handle 70% and eventually 85% of household waste.

Mechanical biological treatment plants (MBTs) aim to "mine" all waste. But they have struggled to convert the organic-rich mush into a marketable product. The problem with composting it, a seemingly obvious solution, has been contamination.

Using a patented process for decontaminating and separating waste, the Lancashire plants will transform this goo into high-grade compost. What's more, burning the methane produced by the bacteria that feed on this waste will fuel the plant and return electricity to the national grid.

The two Lancashire plants are in the early stages of preparation and will be run by the Australian company Global Renewables (GRL), whose first plant in Sydney was up and running in 2004. Companies like GRL are fast becoming the commercial face of a trend towards "zero waste" a future in which every last gram of waste is reused and landfill is a thing of the past.

As waste enters the plant, workers wearing protective gear sift through it by hand to remove most of the 3 per cent of waste deemed toxic, such as kidney dialysis tubing, paints, gas cylinders, asbestos, computers and car batteries. The remaining organic-rich matter is then piped to a percolator, which washes and aerates it, removing specks of glass, metal and plastics and dissolving some carbon.

The carbon-rich liquid is then fed to a digester, where anaerobic bacteria break it down to produce methane. In Lancashire, the methane will be used to generate 25,000 megawatt hours of electricity each year, which will run the plant, with any excess going to the national grid.

The solid residue, meanwhile, is composted for a couple of months. Initially, GRL plans to use it to plant 100,000 trees a year to rehabilitate old industrial land. To go mainstream though, the compost will need to be sold widely, which could be hard.

The International Biochar Initiative, a group of scientists, policymakers and farmers, believes that organic-rich waste can be used to make a biofuel whose by-product is both a soil improver and a carbon sink.

The Lancashire recycling project is a 25 year deal worth more than A$5 billion (£2 billion) over the full term

Potential Method for large scale production of graphene for electronic devices

The main method for producing graphene currently involves peeling sheets from a chunk of graphite using sticky tape – a technique that is too awkward to be of use to electronics manufacturers. Graphene has the potential to be used for electronics and to replace silicon with faster and more efficient processing.

Scott Gilje and colleagues from the California NanoSystems Institute at the University of California, US, have developed an alternative method for making graphene, which they believe their spraying method has the potential for the large scale deposition of graphene for use in electronic devices.

First they spray a solution of graphite oxide powder – a compound studied since 1860 – onto silicon chips heated to 150 °C. On contact, the liquid evaporates, leaving flat graphite oxide sheets behind. Treating these sheets with a reducing agent called hydrazine removes the oxygen and hydrogen to leave double sheets of graphene

Millimeter Korean bloodstream robot

A robot, smaller than one millimeter, has been built by Korean scientists to travel through blood vessels

Once inside a blocked artery, it is able to release drugs to dissolve blood clots, which are often the cause of heart attacks.

The robot has three short front legs and three longer back legs which are attached to a central rectangular body.

By attaching grafted heart muscle to the legs, the scientists found the legs would bend as the muscle cells contracted. The cells get their energy from sugar in the patient's blood.

That means the robot does not need an external power supply, which are often heavy and cumbersome, if not impractical.

Because the robot's three front legs are shorter than the back legs, they bend inwards as the heart muscles contract, creating a difference in friction that pushes the robot forward.

Using cells from the patient's own body – perhaps grown from stem cells – would also reduce the likelihood of the body producing an immune reaction, which might destroy the tiny robot before it could clear a blockage.

University of Sask Space Design team almost wins 2007 Space elevator games

It appears that no one won the Space elevator games competition for 2007. I previewed the competition.

The University of Saskatechwan's Space Design team came closest to winning.

Their fastest run was 54 seconds. We’re not sure exactly how quick that was as we need to measure the ribbon. This will be done tomorrow. But we’re sure that the ribbon was not 108 meters, and therefore there was no way they could have met the 2 m/s requirement. But the runs were spectacular. They actually picked up speed in a few runs the higher they climbed. It looks like they have some work to do on their tracking software, but I’m sure they’re going to be taking care of that. They greatly increased their speed over last year (approximately double) and are fulfilling NASA’s and Spaceward’s goal of advancing the state of the art.

Next up is the Oct. 27-28 lunar lander competition

The Xprize cup site is here

The two competitors for the 2007 lunar lander prizes are:
Acuity Technologies is led by Robert Clark, who founded the company in 1992. The team, which has previously designed unpiloted aerial vehicles for the Department of Defense, hopes that the lightweight craft they have concocted will give them an advantage in the Challenge.

Armadillo Aerospace is powered by John Carmack, founder of id Software. They are the only team to fly a vehicle in last year's Challenge, arguably giving them a lunar leg up on the rocket rivalry. Additionally, they have backed that view by repeat flights throughout the year of hardware to shake out control procedures and the technology itself.

The competition is divided into two levels. Both teams will have one entry in each level. Armadillo still hopes to bring their two different vehicles, Pixel in Level Two, and "the MOD" in Level One. Acuity is building two substantially similar vehicles, called "Tiger" and "Cardinal". Organizers are confident that one of these teams will win at least one of the prizes this year.

Here are the basics:

Level 1 requires a rocket to take off from a designated launch area, rocket up to 150 feet (50 meters) altitude, and then hover for 90 seconds while landing precisely on a landing pad nearly 330 feet (100 meters) away. The flight must then be repeated in reverse - and both flights, along with all of the necessary preparation for each, must take place within a two and a half hour period.
Level 2 requires the rocket to hover for twice as long before landing precisely on a simulated lunar surface, packed with craters and boulders to mimic actual lunar terrain. The hover times are calculated so that the Level 2 mission closely simulates the power needed to perform a real lunar mission.

October 22, 2007

Intermediate systems from now to nanofactories

At, Jamais Cascio, CRN's new Director of Impacts Analysis, discusses factors that will describe the ecosystem for nanofactories.

The factors are:
1. Designs
2. Distribution methods for nanofactories
3. Distribution methods for products
4. Distribution methods for "toner"
5. Physical reliability
6. Physical safety
7. Health and safety evaluations
8. Knowledgeable users
9. Ways to avoid abuse
10. Political support
11. Economic support
12. Market acceptance

I think we can get an idea about the markets and ecosystem by looking at existing 2d and 3d systems. 3D systems already have machines for rapid prototyping and rapid manufacturing and full blown factory machines and robotic assembly. There are also the reprap project and 3D printers for desktops.

The next generation of 2D printers should be out next year in the form of memjet printers.
wireless wall mounted printer
Wireless wall mounted printer

A wireless Wall-Mounted Printer That Doubles as a Picture Frame, and a Desktop Printer That Does the Same from furniture designer Ransmeier & Floyd.

The wall mounted printer patents are from the makers of memjet, a 60 ppm printing technology.

Silverbrook Research''s prototype Memjet inkjet printer outputting 60 pages per minute should be on sale in 2008. Memjet printers in 2008 will print at a blisteringly fast 60 ppm for documents and 30 ppm for photos and will start at about $200. They believe within five years (by 2013)they will have the capability to do color office documents at 120-150 ppm and full-page photos at 60-75ppm.

The $4995 3d Desktop printer will be available in 2008 as well.
The 3D desktop printer takes up 25 x 20 x 20-inch space, and weighs about 90-pounds, while the maximum size of printed objects is 5 x 5 x 5-inches, and Desktop Factory says per-cubic-inch printing costs will hover somewhere around $1. The Desktop Factory 3D printer builds robust, composite plastic parts that can be sanded and painted when desired. Their goal by 2011 is to have their 3D printer below $1000.

Instead of using a high end laser to draw the image we went with a simple halogen lamp. Instead of using a bed of powder in which to draw the image we used a drum just like in a copier or printer. The drum is coated with a thin layer of powder upon which we draw the image of the part, layer by layer, with our halogen lamp. Then we use heat and pressure to bond each of the layers as the object is built.

The current market leaders in 3d systems are Z Corp and Stratasys. There are over 5
million licenses in the CAD software environment in 2007 and growth continues at better than 20% per annum. AutoDesk and Solidworks are the leaders in CAD software. Alibre and Rhino make lower cost 3D CAD software. Google’s acquired of SketchUp, a 3D software company.

The projected growth in volume of cheap 3d desktop printers is:
1. sales of hundreds of units in 2008 to a plan of 3500 in 2009.
2. In 2010, a price point of roughly $2,000 and somewhere between 20,000 – 30,000 units.
3. In 2011, with a price below $1000 and enter the consumer space. They believe they will sell over a 100,000 units a year and have a business with a quarter of a billion dollars in revenue and a product /consumable margin that’s just north of 50%. Consumables will comprise almost 70% of the revenue at that point we will also
have a strong EBITDA margin that’s somewhere in the mid 20s.

If these targets can be met then perhaps 20% of CAD engineers and hobbysists would own and nearly all would have access to a 3D printer by 2015 and service bureaus (Kinkos) and stores (Walmart, Costco) could provide access to low and some high end machines. The cost of supplies would need to come down a lot as well from $1 per cubic inch. There would also need to be some common applications for consumers to need to make something frequently using a 3d printer. Some things that are inefficiently held in a wide range of inventory. Keys would be interesting but having common printers would make physical keys somewhat obsolete.

-Costume jewelry and design accessories could have some possibilities.
-parts for other products (headphones, plug in adapters etc...)
-interfaces and accessories for phones, laptops and other devices
-fashion modifications (skins etc...) for mass produced devices.

Eventually the range of materials and the costs could drop enough to displace regular manufacturing and distribution methods.

Other early areas of adoption will be in places where delivery of regular products is more costly. Polar, mountain, military and underwater expeditions.

Where is inventory to expensive ? Too many items in the catalog? Too hard to deliver?

Where are there new applications from rapid gratification? New design and fashion trends. More personalization.

Another big breakthrough would be to have fabrication systems at Walmart, costcos, Ikeas, Home Depots, auto shops, radio shack, best buy to displace significant inventory of parts and accessories.

A Zprinter310 plus, 450 and 510 printers from Zcorp have a 3d print speed of (prices $20,000-50,000 as of 2007):
Build Speed: 2 - 4 layers per minute
Layer Thickness: User selectable at the time of printing; 0.0035”-0.008” (.089-.203 mm)
So from about 6 minutes per centimeter to 1.3 minutes per centimeter of thickness

Stratasys makes units that are 1 to 2 refrigerators in size and use industrial thermoplastics.

It seems likely that 3d printers will also adopt multiple rows of MEMS nozzles (for those 3d systems that are using variants of inkjet printing). This will speed up the printing of layers.

There are several other technologies for rapid prototyping.

An analysis of intermediate points from now until nanofactories would be to look at order of magnitude improvements in speed and resolution. A combination of something 10 times faster and 10 times higher resolution would need 100 thinner layers in the same time.

Another area to look at projecting is existing atomically precise or nearly atomically precise manufacturing methods.
3d microfabrication
atomic layer deposition also known as Atomic layer epitaxy
Chemical vapor deposition
Self assembly

Those systems will be used to make better tool tips, small parts or building blocks which then feed into a system for putting those to use as parts or as components of system to bootstrap a more precise system.

Samsung shows the world's first 30-nanometer 64-gigabit NAND flash memory device

Samsung, the world's largest maker of computer memory chips, unveiled a 64-gigabit NAND flash memory chip based on finer process technology using circuit elements that are 30 nanometers wide.

Samsung touted the development of the chip as a world first and said the new chip marks the eighth straight year that memory density has doubled and the seventh straight year that the nanometer scale has improved for NAND flash. The company said it plans to begin production of the chip in 2009.

Last year the company announced 32-gigabit NAND flash memory chip based on 40-nanometer process technology. Production of that chip will begin 2008. The bulk of Samsung's flash memory chips in 2007 are produced using 50-nanometer process technology.

Microsoft concedes greater access to software required by the EU

Under Monday's settlement, Microsoft said it would allow open-source software developers access to inter-operability information for work-group servers used by businesses and other large organisations.
Other technology companies using this information will only have to pay a €10,000 ($14,300) one-off fee rather than a percentage of revenues from any software developed as a result. Also, the EC imposed lower royalties for other uses of the software, reducing it from 5.95 per cent to 0.4 per cent.

While only affecting software for so-called "workgroup" servers, widely used but low-value software that manages jobs such as printing from networked computers in an office, the decision is the first tangible result of Microsoft's defeat before the European Court of First Instance, Europe's highest court, last month.

In 2004 Microsoft was fined €497m for market abuse. It was also fined €280.5m in 2006 for failing to comply with the 2004 decision. Ms Kroes said the Commission would now rule "as soon as possible" on whether and how much to fine Microsoft for failing to comply until today with a March ruling that it had overcharged for information.

UK Ideas Factory funding approved through 2010

2.5 million pounds of funding for the UK Ideas Factory projects has been officially approved

The Ideas Factory online discussion was here