June 20, 2008

Updated China economic projection

China's GDP in 2007 was 24.66 trillion yuan ($3.38 trillion) and per capita GDP was $2,556, official figures suggest.

UPDATE of this May article:
China's currency is now 6.88 yuan to 1 USD. China's GDP is now $3.78 trillion.

Hong Kong's GDP is $409 billion in 2008

Including Hong Kong and Macau China has $4.2 trillion GDP.

China reports its own military spending at about 417.8 billion yuan. [US$60.7 billion] which would put China as the fourth largest spender after the USA, France and the UK

Rand has estimated China's spending to be 33% higher than reported amounts and DoD doubles the military spending. Either adjustment would put China as the second largest military spender but well behind the USA's military spending.

The Economist magazine noted that China's national economic figures have been inaccurate but that the provincial numbers which show 10% higher growth have historically been shown to be more correct.

Stephen Green, an economist at Standard Chartered, calculates that in 2007 the combined output of the provinces was 10% more than that reported by Beijing. Their average growth rate of 13.1% was also still 1.2 percentage points higher than the revised national growth rate, although the gap has narrowed from almost three points in 2005.

Updated projection for currency, US recession and China but not with the 10% higher provincial growth numbers and the new 2007 GDP number. If growth did average 1.2% faster and US growth was weaker then China could pass the USA on an exchange rated basis in 2014. My updated likely estimate is for 2015-2018 for China's economy to pass the USA economy. The most likely years are 2016-2017. The latest exchange rate is 6.94 [6.88 June 20, 2008] yuan to 1 USD. Key factors are the pace of change in the exchange rate, the degree to which China can maintain high growth and how fast the US economy grows. As previously noted at this site: China should maintain high growth until 2020 because of the migration of 1-2% of the population each year from rural areas to urban areas. Those people over a few years provide 4 times as much gdp per capita. This provides a boost of 3-6% to the annual growth rate.

Year GDP(yuan) GDP growth Yuan per USD China GDP China+HK/Ma US GDP
2007 24.66 11.9% 7.3 3.38 3.7 13.8
Jun08 26.0 6.88 3.78 4.2 Past Germany
Oct08 26.7 6.65 4.0 4.45
2008 27.3 10.2% 6.35 4.3 4.8 14.0
2009 30.1 9.8% 5.62 5.4 5.9 14.2 Pass Japan
2010 33.7 9.5% 5.11 6.6 7.1 14.6
2011 37.0 9.5% 4.64 8.0 8.5 15.0
2012 40.6 9.5% 4.26 9.5 10.0 15.4
2013 44.2 9.0% 3.91 11.3 11.8 15.9
2014 48.2 9.0% 3.72 13.0 13.5 16.4
2015 52.0 8.0% 3.54 14.7 15.2 16.9
2016 56.2 8.0% 3.53 16.7 17.2 17.4 Passing USA
2017 60.4 7.5% 3.38 18.8 19.4 17.9 Past USA
2018 64.2 7.0% 3.20 20.9 21.5 18.4
2019 69.2 7.0% 3.09 23.0 23.6 19.0
2020 74.0 7.0% 3.0 25.2 25.8 19.6
2021 78.4 6.0% 2.9 27.2 27.8 20.2
2022 83.1 6.0% 2.9 29.4 30.0 20.8
2023 87.3 5.0% 2.8 31.5 32.2 21.4
2024 91.7 5.0% 2.8 33.7 34.4 22.0
2025 96.3 5.0% 2.7 36.1 36.8 22.7
2026 101.1 5.0% 2.6 38.7 39.4 23.4
2027 106.1 5.0% 2.6 41.4 42.1 24.1
2028 111.4 5.0% 2.5 44.4 45.1 24.8
2029 117.0 5.0% 2.5 47.5 48.2 25.5
2030 122.8 5.0% 2.4 50.9 51.6 26.3 Close to double USA

China's economy now third largest passing Germany.

Part of the reason for China's GDP growth, lower cost of infrastructure

China is planning to complete rebuilding from the recent earthquake within 3 years. This compares to longer timeframes for US rebuilding after the San Francisco earthquake (still working on the Bay bridge) and from Katrina. The replacement of the eastern span of the Bay Bridge appears like it will cost $6.3 billion and be completed in 2013. 24 years after the 1989 quake.

The rebuilding of damage from China's quake will cost a lot less than repairs in the USA. $10 billion has been set aside for repairs in China.

The new Olympic stadium (the bird nest) only cost $500 million and was completed in 52 months

China has already started demolition of unsafe structures and towns.

Beijing's new airport (the world’s largest and most advanced airport building)is larger than all five London terminals and cost an estimated $3.75 billion to construct, occupies 14 million square feet and was finished in four years. London Heathrow's Terminal 5 took nearly 20 years to build and cost at least twice as much as the one in the Chinese capital.

Chinese and Russian officials signed a $1 billion deal Friday to have Moscow build a nuclear fuel enrichment plant in China and supply uranium.

The deal calls for Russia to build a $500 million nuclear fuel enrichment plant and supply semi-enriched uranium worth at least $500 million. Earlier this year, a Russian company completed work on two 1,000-megawatt light-water reactors for China's Tianwan nuclear power plant south of Shanghai. China plans to build 40 plants by 2020, tripling the nuclear share of its power generation to 6 percent.

Westinghouse secured a $5.3 billion order from China National Nuclear in July to provide four AP1000 nuclear power reactors in Haiyang, Shandong Province and Sanmen, Zhejiang Province, both in eastern China. Four AP1000 in the USA for Florida Power and Light are contracted in 2008 for $13.7 billion, $2927/kw.

Phoenix Mars Lander Finds Water Ice

Dice-size crumbs of bright material have vanished from inside a trench where they were photographed by NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander four days ago, convincing scientists that the material was frozen water that vaporized after digging exposed it.

A link to a NASA video of the ice find

Many images at the Phoenix NASA blog

June 19, 2008

Carnival of Space Week 59

The 59th carnival of space is up at Green Gabbro on the Science blogs

Centauri Dreams talks about the improved technology for the burst of new exoplanet discoveries.

Nasa is blogging about the GLAST (Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope) mission.

25 reasons to go the moon are discussed

Check out the Carnival for much more.

Achieving a Mundane Technological Transhuman Singularity

Some people have criticized the technological Singularity and Transhumanism because of the upside being things that they do not believe can be achieved.Also, the primary technologies that are often described as enabling the Singularity and Transhumanism are Molecular Nanotechnology and greater than human intelligence general AI. There has been virtually no effort or money spent to develop diamondoid molecular nanotechnology and greater than human AGI is something that will be a rapid shift. For AGI, one can imagine the situation before Deep Blue beat Gary Kasparov in chess. A couple of years before it happened many people thought it would be long time before a computer won at chess and many were surprised when it did happen.

This site does not agree that Molecular Nanotechnology (MNT) is not achievable or that greater than human intelligence AI is not achievable. However, let us examine how some of the primary Singularity and Transhuman goals can be achieved even without Molecular Nanotechnology or greater than human intelligence AGI.

The goals, with the first blurb the term used by a critic (Richard Jones for the first three and then goals many have derided for the later goals) and goals from Eric Drexler's website related to MNT, and what follows as a more detailed description of a precise and measurable goal.
1. End scarcity : Relative economic abundance with every living person having an personal resources at the affluent level of a current US citizen. $250,000 per person per year in purchasing power parity income. [The income level that Obama would want to tax more heavily if he become President]. No shortages of any basic need water, food, medical care [equal to that which is achieving the medical results currently affordable to an affluent person now] and energy [currently a US citizen uses an average of 13,000 kwh per year for electricity and three times that for transportation and a share of industrial energy usage. So abundance is 100,000 kwh for every person and assuming a future population of 10 billion is 1000 trillion kwh.

A manufacturing and construction revolution can be achieved with printable buildings, inflatable electric cars, printable electronics and advanced automated rapid manufacturing.

Computer simulation and detailed modeling and other enabling technology will enable the revolution.

Paper stronger than cast iron made from plant cellulose is here and will make manufacturing far cheaper.

Stem cell meat factories, advanced aquaculture and vertical farming and more advanced genetically engineered food will enable an abundance of food. The vertical farming would be further enabled by the printing building technology.

Aquaculture (fish farming) already provide over half of the world's fish.

For water desalination is already very advanced and it is becoming more energy efficient and cheaper. More abundant and affordable energy helps to create more water from desalinization.

The mass produced uranium hydride nuclear reactor would be part of a relatively mundane energy abundance solution. These reactors would have far less waste since 50 times more fuel would be burned generating energy. Molten salt reactors are even more efficient and could burn 99% of the uranium and plutonium in the reactor.

Increasing the current level of nuclear power in the world by 450 times would achieve the 1000 trillion kwh level. Increasing the efficiency of so that fuel usage is reduced by 30 to 98 times and being able to use thorium as well as uranium would ensure that there is sufficient nuclear fuel for the 5-15 times more per year that would be needed. There is uranium in seawater and Japanese researchers have been able to extract kilograms of it. It would cost more but fuel costs are only a small percentage of a nuclear plants operation.

2. Eradicate death [A Jones term]: Achieving actuarial escape velocity [which is not eradicating death but radical life extension] whereby life expectancy increases at greater than one year for each year that passes. No age related disease caused deaths. An increased level of increased physical regeneration and restoration. Really bad accidents or destructive weapons would still be able to kill. Advanced technology could create a precise copy of a person, but whether this will be done for ethical and societal reasons or whether the copy is the person is not discussed. A copy of "the mind" could be created in another substrate (ie. not a flesh and blood person but a computer than simulates "the mind").

Calorie restriction mimicking drugs could be available within five years according to a leading researcher and should provide 3-13 years of increased life span

Treatments to boost the human immune system against cancer and effective and cheap early detection of cancer cells will enable a massive decrease in cancer deaths.

The SENS project has raised over ten million dollars and is launching projects for each of the seven parts of the initial program to substantial extend human lives. This would be a major first step on the actuarial escape velocity path.

Regenerative medicine is making substantial advances with stem cells, tissue generation, and increasing the regenerative capability in humans to be more like salamanders (able to regrow limbs.) This research is well funded by the US defence department with the AFIRM (Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine funded for $250 million for five years) project.

3. Eliminate the bungled mechanisms that introduce imperfections into the human body: Enhance various performance aspects of the human body. Various medical and mechanical enhancements will be discussed which will be significant advances to existing performance enhancement.

Effective and safe myostatin inhibition will likely be developed which will enable most people to become several times stronger and closer to the best levels achievable now (one in one million people already have myostatin inhibited and it is four times as effective as high doses of steroids).

Cognitive enhancement is already here and will become more effective.

Craig Venter, billionaire and enabler of new gene therapy and synthetic biology technology, has indicated that very strong cognitive enhancement is possible, desirable and a goal that he wants to achieve.

From the Eric Drexler website - things that MNT would enable.
- desktop computers with a billion processors
- inexpensive, efficient solar energy systems
- medical devices able to destroy pathogens and repair tissues
- materials 100 times stronger than steel

4. Blood stream robots or achieving the goals (cellular surgery and repair) for which blood stream robots were proposed using other means. [medical devices able to destroy pathogens and repair tissues]

Nanoparticles, existing blood stream robots and guideable containers and cellular repair are being proven and people are working to improve and deploy them.

5. Materials 100 times stronger than steel [cheap and commonly used] : Production or access to diamond and carbon nanotubes increased by 1000 times and using diamond as a primary material for house sized objects and for electronics.

Carbon nanotube production will be ramped up which will become very cheap and will be deployed widely

Very large (multi-carat) diamonds can be produced very fast since 2005 Current methods can produce, three-dimensional growth of colorless single-crystal diamond in the inch-range (~300 carat) is achievable. Large scale production and scaling up diamond creation is an active and well funded area.

6. Open access to space [within the solar system for human and robotic travel and small probes up to a significant fraction of light speed for interstellar access]

Ten near term developments for greatly improved space access were covered here

Mirrored laser arrays are achievable with refinement of current technology as is nuclear propulsion.

7. Pollution "elimination" : Reduction of pollution into the environment and nearly complete elimination of deaths caused by pollution.

The use of the uranium hydride and molten salt reactor would greatly reduce the use of fossil fuels.

This sites proposed energy plan is a fast, affordable, and low technology development risk path to eliminating fossil fuels and enabling abundant clean energy.

8. Desktop computers with one billion processors (or performance greater than one billion of todays processors)

500 cores in new teraflop chips for less than $200 for the processor.

Berkeley and Tensilica already working towards energy efficient and affordable exaflop computers for the 2015-2017 timeframe

Design conferences have been held to work out details on zettaflop computers

9. Shape changing functional devices like utility fog

Claytronics has been funded by Intel.

Precise 3 dimensional manufacturing is progressing

So how much of some of the key goals of a transhuman singularity can be achieved without fullblown molecular nanotechnology, AGI or fusion ? Quite a bit. which is why the real deal with molecular nanotechnology, AGI and fusion will be really impressive. The mundane technological singularity shows the kinds of societal shifts that will be needed in order to fully take advantage of the upside. A lot of systems and processes have to be redesigned. The mundane singularity is 100 to 1000 times faster in terms of production and various capabilities.

Miniture scanning electron microscopes on a chip

The UK's NFAB has a new sub-miniature scanning electron microscope which is a completely new concept in electron microscopy. The microscope is 5 μm long and has atomic resolution (2 Å) at 500 eV energy and 10 nA of current. The low energy means it can identify single atoms on a surface as well as being able to make holograms of large molecules.

It has patented an enabling technology* which will allow a generation of miniature scanning electron microscopes, multiple-beam lithography machines and focussed ion beam millers to be manufactured. These are currently under development and testing at Salford University and various other European Universities and nanotechnology companies under an EU-funded collaborative research grant (CRAFT).

This is not useful for actually manipulating the molecules just for looking, but cheaper and better resolution would still be nice.

They claim the microscope will have 0.01 nm resolution. Instead of firing electrons from a tungsten filament, it will shoot them from a single atom at the peak of a tiny gold pyramid with a height of around 100 nanometres. The beam will be focused as it passes through a 2 micrometer hole in a silicon chip before it hits the target below.

The electron beam itself is just 10 micrometers long in Eastham's new microscope – the beam of a standard SEM is around 60 centimetres long. The electrostatic lens used in the new SEM still contains imperfections that will limit the microscope's resolution, says Eastham, but the effect should be much smaller. Eastham's approach
produces a beam with around 100 times less energy than usual in an SEM. Cutting power consumption addresses one of the greatest costs of SEM technology, he claims.

The new design will lack the large depth of field that lets SEMs produce images with a 3D appearance, due to the design of its aperture. Eastham's team should have a prototype of the nano-SEM completed within 3 to 6 months, he says. The microscope is expected to be available for sale within two years for a cost of approximatively $195,000. Current SEMs with a resolution of 0.05 nanometers can cost around $8 million. The price would be 40 times less and the resolution would be improved by four to five times.

"It is now possible to 'aberration correct' electron optical lenses," he says, which allows the best, current, multi-million dollar SEMs to reach about 0.04 nm resolution.

Roland Piquipaille has coverage as well

Sky news coverage of the NFAB

June 18, 2008

What if Blacklight Power works in 2009 ?

Top view of the apparatus [Blacklight power is using] for scattering an electron beam from a crossed atomic or molecular beam and measuring the fifth-force deflected beam. NOTE: this is not the generator but a device for testing some of the science behind it.

Dec 11, 2008 UPDATE: Blacklight Power has signed its first commercial deal.

UPDATES: Rowan University has recently published independent validation of the Blacklight Power claims. Rowan university generated a megajoule of power beyond normal chemical reactions. Prof Jansson of Rowan University who did the work has a B.S. from MIT and Ph.D. from Cambridge.

Venture Beat has investigated the Rowan University validation.

A Phd chemist blogger is investigating as well.

MORE UPDATE: Further Rowan University confirmation has been published

Blacklight Power, a company with $60 million in funding from respected funding sources, claims to have built a 50 kw prototype power generation device.[this link is to a prior article with a picture of the generator] They claim that the device will generate power at ten times less cost than the cheapest coal, wind and nuclear power now. They are expecting to have built a factory for mass producing power generation devices in 2009 and to scale the system up to 3MW or more and down to smaller power levels. However, even more important than solving all energy problems would be that Blacklight power could then be right about Hydrinos and a fifth physical force and a possible grand theory including gravity. Their power system can be 137 times more powerful than traditional chemistry. A better power system would help many space applications and they also discuss a better ion propulsion drive. The claims are fantastic but they are looking to put out purchasable and useful systems next year.

The fifth-force acceleration based on this estimate is over twelve orders of magnitude greater. As one application, even a micro fifth-force device has great promise as a replacement for micro-ion-thrusters for maintaining the orbits of satellites.

Hydrinos are hydrogen atoms with the electrons in a theoretical lower energy state which allows 100 times more power to be generated than typical hydrogen chemistry.

They are claiming that quantum levels are not integers but that fractional subquantum levels are possible from (1/2, 1/3, 1/4, ... 1/137)

They claim that Li and NaH are catalysts for achieving these subquantum level states for hydrogen. H2 (1/p) is claimed to be stable and lighter than air and cannot accumulate in the earth's atmosphere.

Power generation with Blacklight power system

When the hydrino is created through a reaction between hydrogen and a catalyst, according to Mills, it lets go of more than enough energy to fuel electrolysis in common water, thus producing more hydrogen. The excess energy — the majority — would go to producing electricity. The only outside ingredients needed are a catalyst, to turn the hydrogen to hydrinos, and heat (which would also be generated once the reaction had started). And the hydrinos created by the process? They’re non-reactive and can be released to float up into space, as they’re lighter than helium. Or, even better, they can be processed into unique chemicals with a range of useful applications.

Schematic of the fifth force test system

For clarification, the ideas and new physics/chemistry proposed by the Blacklight people goes against current science. The highly regarded living and dead scientists (including nobel prize winners) would have to be wrong in regards to the areas of physics and chemistry effected by the Blacklight/Hydrinos/Nwe physics theories and experiments (IF Blacklight Power is right which is a series of huge IFs).

It would take a series of improbable events for Blacklight to be totally right. The device could partially work but for reasons other than the new physics and chemistry that they propose.

Chemistry that is one hundred times more powerful would have a massive effect.
New physics (especially if what was a correct Grand Unified theory) would also be huge.
New power sources.

All of the claimants in these areas have always been wrong except for Einstein, Newton and a few other instances where fundamental science changed.

Acoustic shield design for sonar invisibility

Sound shield: An acoustic cloak comprising alternating layers of sound-scattering materials should make objects invisible to sonar--and insulated from sound. In this computer-generated image, a cylinder (green circle) is coated with 200 layers of such a material, which was found to be the optimal design. Sound waves moving from left to right (their peaks and troughs are represented by red and blue lines) flow past the object and reform on the other side with no distortion.
Credit: New Journal of Physics

From Technology Review: Engineers have designed a material that redirects sounds and could be used in buildings to shield them from noises. The sound-shielding material, which, if actually made, would be the first acoustic cloaking device, could also be useful in hiding military ships and other vessels from sonar. Engineers led by José Sánchez-Dehesa at the Polytechnic University of Valencia, in Spain, have created a plan for making an acoustic shield, using alternating layers of two different materials. These materials would comprise arrays of sonic crystals--patterns of small rods made of aluminum or other materials that allow some sound waves to pass while blocking the passage of others. This is follow up work related to metamaterials that are being developed for superlenses and optical invisibility.

Sánchez-Dehesa has modeled a two-dimensional acoustic cloak but says that extrapolating his work to three dimensions should be straightforward. "We're proposing a cloak for any shape," he says. Hiding warships from sonar is one possible application. But Sánchez-Dehesa is interested in the problem of noise generally. "In principle," he says, "it's possible to make this cloak very thin," on the order of centimeters. "If we're able to design a wall to put in a house to screen external noise, it would be very nice." Cummer imagines columns for concert halls that do structural work but, acoustically, are effectively not there.

Unlike light cloaks, which can shield objects from light of only one frequency, acoustic cloaks should be able to shield an object to a broad range of frequencies. The speed of sound, however, is not a universal constant, so it should be possible to craft broadband acoustic cloaks. [Speculation: Similar principles could work for shielding against earthquake waves through the ground]

Acoustic cloaking in two dimensions: a feasible approach

This work proposes an acoustic structure feasible to engineer that accomplishes the requirements of acoustic cloaking design recently introduced by Cummer and Schurig (2007 New J. Phys. 9 45). The structure, which consists of a multilayered composite made of two types of isotropic acoustic metamaterials, exactly matches the conditions for the acoustic cloaking. It is also shown that the isotropic metamaterials needed can be made of sonic crystals containing two types of material cylinders, whose elastic parameters should be properly chosen in order to satisfy (in the homogenization limit) the acoustic properties under request. In contrast to
electromagnetic cloaking, the structure here proposed verifies the acoustic cloaking in a wide range of wavelengths; its performance is guaranteed for any wavelength above a certain cutoff defined by the homogenization limit of the sonic crystal employed in its fabrication.

They present an acoustic cloak that could be physically realizable. In brief, the proposed cloak is based on a multilayered structure consisting of two layers with the same thickness and made up of two different acoustic isotropic metamaterials. These metamaterials are built with sonic crystals (i.e. periodic arrays of sonic scatterers) based on two types of elastic cylinders that have to accomplish certain requirements on their mass density and effective sound speed. Numerical experiments based on multiple scattering method are presented to support the exact performance of the proposed cloak.
The paper is organized as follows. First, in section 2, we review the solution in the previous paper and report our approach to get the acoustic cloaking. Numerical experiments demonstrating the performance and properties of the proposed cloak are also presented and discussed. Section 3 describes the recipe to build the metamaterials needed to fabricate the multilayered cloak making it physically feasible. Finally, the work is summarized in section 4.

Jose Sanchez-Dehesa is one of the researchers that developed the new acoustic cloak design

June 17, 2008

Carbon nanotube producing companies

Surveying the carbon nanotube market, the leaders in large scale production are Baytubes, Hyperion Catalysis International and Nanocyl. Along with Bayer and Hyperion, other leading producers include France's Arkema, Belgium's Nanocyl, Iljin Nanotech in South Korea, and Shenzhen Nanotech Port in China. Japan's Mitsui has a joint venture with Hodogaya Chemical for nanotube R&D, production, and distribution. This will look at these and other competitors, some future expansion plans and the main process that is used to get to larger scale production. Expanded production will bring down the price significantly for carbon nanotubes and lower price will make more applications economical.

Baytubes are in the process of constructing a new production line of 200 metric tons that we expect to be on-stream by 2009," Schmid says. Depending on the success of that operation, the Bayertubes vision is to have 3,000 metric tons of capacity in place by 2011.

Bayertubes uses a catalytic chemical vaper deposition on a fluidized bed process to produce large scale carbon nanotubes.

Hyperion Catalysis International of Cambridge, Mass, has partnered with Nanoledge in Germany to add Baytubes to epoxy resins used in sporting equipment. Bayer also has a supply agreement with FutureCarbon, which makes solvent-based nanodispersions and concentrates for processing into other materials.

Some markets for carbon nanotubes for Bayer Material Science (baytubes)

"We have done the dispersion step and sell concentrates or plastics containing the nanotubes, typically in concentrations of 15–20% by weight," Collins says. Because nanotubes are strong, but extremely lightweight, and can be highly electrically conductive, the final loading in a plastic part may be just 2–5%, or even less.

In its more than 20 years, Hyperion has seen small- and large-scale competitors emerge; about 35 MWNT suppliers can be found on supplier lists. Along with Bayer and Hyperion, other leading producers include France's Arkema, Belgium's Nanocyl, Iljin Nanotech in South Korea, and Shenzhen Nanotech Port in China. Japan's Mitsui has a joint venture with Hodogaya Chemical for nanotube R&D, production, and distribution.

"Nanotubes are not yet a commodity, and it's not enough just to 'buy nanotubes,'" Collins remarks in reference to the emergence of importers that sell inexpensive tubes from other sources. "We manufacture and sell at an attractive price based on the volume that is purchased. It's not our intent—and we hope it's not our
competitors'—to sell product based on price. It should be based on performance."

Cnano Technology, Menlo Park, Calif., company was founded in 2006 with a plan to change the economics of nanotube production and advance applications using extremely pure nanotubes. Cnano has what it calls a "novel hybrid technology" for low-cost MWNT production and a manufacturing site in China. In July, CMEA Ventures, Pangaea Ventures, and WI Harper invested a combined $6 million in the company.

Catalytic Materials of Pittsboro, N.C., has a patented process for making high-purity MWNTs. And San Jose, Calif.-based Ahwahnee Technology claims it can supply large-scale quantities of raw, treated, or premixed MWNTs. It offers MWNT kits to enable end users to test materials.

Among the leading large-scale producers is Nanocyl, formed five years ago as a spin-off of Belgium's University of Namur. In mid-2005, it started up a 15-kg-per-day reactor, and today it has an annual capacity of 40 metric tons for industrial, specialty, and research nanotubes.

China's usage of cement

World cement usage in 2008 is 2.8 billion tons and is forecast to be 3.5 billion tons in 2012 China is using 1.3 billion tons in 2008 about 45% of the world total.

The cement usage is mainly driven by the fact that China is adding a one to one and half Los Angeles worth of city every year.

1.5%- 2% population migration from rural areas to small and large cities.
20 million to 30 million people into cities.

Building apartments, houses, roads, rail, airports, offices and factories.

China aims to increase its operational railway lines from 75,438 km in
2005 to more than 90,000 km by 2010.
So adding about 3000 km of rail per year.

Cement used for NYC subway was about 8000 cubic yards per mile. 11,260 tons per mile. (1.42 tons per cubic yard)

China has about 34,000 km of highways (2006), a number that's expected to more than double by 2020.

China now has 3.57 million km of roads, linking 88 percent villages and 98.5 percent rural towns.

About 13 million tons of cement is needed per 100,000 km of rural road. [33 pounds of cement per square yard of road, 7 yards wide, 1760 yards per mile = 203 tons per mile or 127 tons per km]

Some 270,000 km of rural highways will be built and upgraded in 2008. By comparison, 423,000 km of countryside highways were built or upgraded in 2007, a record high. So about 35 million tons of cement in 2008 and 60 million tons of cement in 2007.

The interstate highway in the US was responsible for 31% of the productivity increase in the USA after it was build and still boosts productivity

Construction non-residential buildings was two fifths of building construction in China

New construction will advance at a nine percent annual rate in real terms through 2011, continuing to outpace improvements and repairs. This trend will sustain through the next decade as China continues a high pace of economic development and industrialization. New construction also dwarfs improvements and repairs in size, accounting for over three-quarters of all construction expenditures in 2011.

China is building the equivalent of a 3 gorges dam every 2 years. They are putting dams on many other rivers. But the dam only used 10.8 million tons of cement. Less than 1% of one year's demand.

Construction expenditures in China are forecast to increase 8.8 percent annually through 2011 to ¥6.4 trillion in real (inflation-adjusted) terms. An ever expanding domestic economy, continuing endeavors to upgrade infrastructure, sustained strength in foreign investment funding, healthy demand for Chinese manufactured goods, and
further population and household growth will all work to drive construction market gains in China.

Nonbuilding construction expenditures will climb ten percent annually in real terms through 2011, fueled primarily by the government's efforts to modernize and expand China's physical infrastructure. These efforts include plans to upgrade the nation's rail system, to expand the national highway network -- known as the "7918 Network", and to enhance energy supplies through construction of new power plants such
as the Xiluodu Hydropower Plant and the Yangjiang Nuclear Power Station

Nonbuilding construction fastest growing end use

Cement consumption in nonbuilding construction will continue to post the best gains of any end-use segment, rising 6.8 percent yearly through 2010. Gains will be stimulated mainly by strong growth in China's nonbuilding construction activity. The government's continued efforts to modernize the country's infrastructure is exemplified by such massive projects as the South-North Water Diversion -- designed to redirect water to the northern plains from central and south China. This project, scheduled for completion in 2050, will result in annual cement consumption of over one million metric tons.

Nonresidential building will remain the largest end use for cement in China, growing at a 4.6 percent annual rate through 2010. Continued strength in foreign and private direct investment in commercial real estate development will help spur market gains.

Ready-mix concrete manufacturers in China will be the strongest market for cement, climbing at an annual pace of 12.9% to reach 194 million metric tons in 2008. Growth will be driven by the government's 2004 ban on onsite concrete production, enacted to help reduce environmental damage from onsite cement operations and improve the overall quality of concrete used in construction

McKinsey on China's urbanization

China's urban population will expand from 572 million in 2005 to 926 million in 2025 and hit the one billion mark by 2030. In 20 years, China's cities will have added 350 million people—more than the entire population of the United States today [17.5 million per year]. By 2025, China will have 219 cities with more than one million inhabitants—compared with 35 in Europe today—and 24 cities with more than five million people.

This site believes that China's urbanization is happening faster than official Chinese figures have indicated.

China is expecting 24 million new job seekers in cities and towns

Official figure was 577 million (44%) urban population in 2006

China was 37.7% urban in 2002 6.3% increase in 4 years. 1.6% per year increase. 21 million per year.

The Economist magazine talks about China's infrastructure splurge

Worldwide construction report

Construction machinery China is a booming business as is all construction related activity in China

China cement is more expensive than Thailand's cement

China's cement demand

China's CO2 emissions

Cement at wikipedia

Defense Science Board examining Synthetic Biology

The Defense Science Board will examine how the Defense Department could benefit from scientific breakthroughs in the field of synthetic biology.

John Young, the under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, wants DSB members to “survey” developments in biotechnology and “attempt to project transition paths from research into current and future defense applications,” according to a June 11 memo Young sent to the panel’s chairman.

The United Kingdom's Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council's released a report 'Synthetic Biology: social and ethical challenges' on June 9 2008

There is no agreed definition of synthetic biology, but it is best understood as the deliberate design of biological systems and living organisms using engineering principles.

The technological manipulation of life was first advocated at the turn of the last century and was instrumental in shaping the rise of molecular biology. However, the widespread use of the term has only occurred since the mid-2000s, as the field has emerged owing to the falling cost of gene sequencing and synthesis. The aims of synthetic biology include: 1) the production of minimal living genomes; 2) the design of interchangeable parts that can be assembled into pathways for the fabrication of novel components; 3) the construction of entirely artificial cells; and 4) the creation of synthetic biomolecules.

John Young was a witness on the 21 March 2007 hearing to receive testimony on Department of Defense counterproliferation, counterterrorism, and science and technology priorities

John Young receiving Presidential Citation at Georgia Tech on May 24, 2008

June 16, 2008

If Tiger Woods has a Cartilage Tear in his Knee

From Yahoo Sports: The surgery on meniscus in Tiger Wood's left knee in April didn’t work as well as hope. One knee expert, while obviously not privy to the medical records, watched Woods this weekend and saw trouble.

This is not a story related to a "big future", but it is science and medicine related and could have big cultural impact if Tiger Woods has lasting health problems effecting his career.

UPDATE: Tiger Woods will have season ending ACL surgery on his knee Tiger Woods apparently has a double stress fracture in his tibia and a knee that will require reconstructive ACL surgery.

Step by Step ACL reconstruction

Key steps

4. To reconstruct the ACL, it is necessary to remove all of the existing damaged ACL. This is done with a motorized device which is called a shaver.

The graft harvest.

7. After making the skin incisions, the patella tendon is identified, and the central third is harvested with a bone block at each end of the tendon. Initially, the tendon is removed from the tibial tubercle area. The graft is then passed beneath the skin and retrieved from the superior incision. Harvesting is completed.

16. The graft is then placed through the tibia, through the knee joint, and into the femoral drill hole.

17/18. Screws are placed into the bones to hold the graft in place.
Although a number of different types of tissue have been utilized to reconstruct the ACL, the most common type of ACL reconstruction involves harvesting the central third of the patellar tendon with a bone block at each end of the tendon graft. After performing a diagnostic arthroscopic examination of the knee, the central third of the patellar tendon is harvested. The remaining tendon is then repaired. After harvesting the tissue, drill guides are used to place holes into the tibia (bone below the knee) and femur (bone above the knee). By placing the drill holes at the attachment sites of the original ligament, when the graft is pulled through the drill hole and into the knee, it will be placed in the same position as the original ACL. Typically, it takes the reconstructed ligament approximately 9 months to heal.

Future Technology

Researchers have used carbon nanotubes and electricity to coax the growth of stronger, bone-cushioning cartilage.

Researchers report in the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A that they successfully grew cartilage around carbon nanotubes in their lab—and are optimistic that one day they will be able to duplicate the feat inside the human body. They may get a step closer in September, when they plan to implant carbon nanotubes in sheep joints to test—for the first time—their technique outside the lab. Researchers say they hastened new cell production by sending electrical surges through the nanotubes, which are also excellent conductors of electricity.

Webster has come a long way since his original experiments with in vitro bone tissue growth. Over the past decade, he added bladder, cartilage, central nervous system, and vascular tissue growth to his repertoire. The principle is the same in each: Growing cells are more likely to adhere to and thrive on a rough nanotube surface than on smooth bone or fraying cartilage.

"The use of nanotechnology in scaffolds to assist with regenerating cartilage is novel," says Constance Chu, director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Cartilage Restoration Program and an orthopedic surgeon specializing in cartilage regeneration and osteoarthritis, "and would be of high interest if it can eventually improve the functional properties of the regenerated cartilage."

CARBON NANOTUBE REINFORCED CARTILAGE: A cartilage-forming cell (known as a chondrocyte) interacts with carbon nanotube fibers in this image. The researchers' goal is to grow carbon nanotube-reinforced cartilage in the body that is stronger than the torn or worn cartilage it is replacing.
Courtesy of Brown University

Back to Tiger's Potential Problem
“Just so we’re clear, I have not seen Tiger’s operative reports, and I am not saying he’s done,” said Dr. Howard Luks, an orthopedic surgeon in Westchester, N.Y. who specializes in athletes. “But one has to imagine, with the amount of discomfort he’s experiencing this long after the surgery, that there are some degenerative symptoms or arthritic symptoms, or something that doesn’t respond well to pivoting, turning, and twisting.

Woods is having problems, which suggests the more serious and more difficult to treat hyaline cartilage problem, according to Luks.

There are two kinds of treatment for a cartilage tear

The most common procedure with pro athletes is called a menisectomy, which means we take out that portion of the meniscus that's torn. When you read in the newspaper that a player's meniscus has been repaired, most of the time that's not correct. It usually means that a portion of the meniscus was removed so that the knee would be functionally normal, but not anatomically normal.

Some of these tears can be repaired. The good part of the repair is that it extends the longevity of the knee's healthy function. The bad part is that it will take the player out of action for six months minimum. The blood supply to the meniscus is present throughout the outer 25 percent of it. Any tear that is in the substance of the meniscus and isn't located near the connection to the soft tissue won't heal because there's no blood supply to it.

The ongoing symtpoms include pain along the side of the knee where the meniscus is torn when he twists or flexes his knee or when there's a combination of flexing and twisting. He might have instability as well in which a piece of cartilage actually moves in the joint and gives him the feeling that his knee is going to give.

Long Term: You put the articular cartilage at risk when there's a deficit of meniscus cartilage. When the articular cartilage wears out, that's what we commonly call arthritis. When you take out meniscus, you put more load on the articular cartilage, which is more likely to wear out. But there are a lot of variables that make it hard to predict when the knee will become arthritic.

Petavision on petaflop supercomputer models human visual cortex

Just days after the announcement of the first sustained petaflop supercomputer (based on the Linpack computer standard, Japan has had a petaflop computer but not using the Linpack standard) Los Alamos researchers used PetaVision software on the Roadrunner supercomputer to model more than a billion visual neurons surpassing the scale of 1 quadrillion computations a second (a petaflop/s).

On June 9, 2008 scientists used PetaVision to reach a new computing performance record of 1.144 petaflop/s. The achievement throws open the door to eventually achieving human-like cognitive performance in electronic computers. PetaVision only requires single precision arithmetic, whereas the official LINPACK code used to officially verify Roadrunner's speed uses double precision arithmetic.

"Roadrunner ushers in a new era for science at Los Alamos National Laboratory," said Terry Wallace, associate director for Science, Technology and Engineering at Los Alamos. "Just a week after formal introduction of the machine to the world, we are already doing computational tasks that existed only in the realm of imagination a
year ago."

Based on the results of PetaVision's inaugural trials, Los Alamos researchers believe they can study in real time the entire human visual cortex--arguably a human being's most important sensory apparatus.

The ability to achieve human levels of cognitive performance on a digital computer could lead to important insights and revolutionary technological applications.
Such applications include "smart" cameras that can recognize danger or an autopilot system for automobiles that could take over for incapacitated drivers in complex situations such as navigating dense urban traffic.

Los Alamos National Laboratory's computation science team working with Roadrunner includes: Craig Rasmussen, Charles Ferenbaugh, Sriram Swaminarayan, Pallab Datta, all of Los Alamos; and Cornell Wright of IBM.

The PetaVision Synthetic Cognition team responsible for the theory and codes run on Roadrunner includes: Luis Bettencourt, Garrett Kenyon, Ilya Nemenman, John George, Steven Brumby, Kevin Sanbonmatsu, and John Galbraith, all of Los Alamos; Steven Zuker of Yale University; and James DiCarlo from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Teraflop chips for less than $2000 from AMD and Nvidia and 4 teraflop workstations for less than $8000 from Nvidia

North Dakota Bakken oil increasing 5000-7000 barrels per day each month, Saskatchewan's Bakken oil increasing too

The state (North Dakota's) Industrial Commission reports that North Dakota oil wells pumped an average of 150,578 barrels a day in April. The previous high of 147,774 barrels a day was set in August 1984. North Dakota reported 5700 more barrels of oil per day in March, 2008 March production was 143738 bopd versus February 138013 bopd.

Crescent Point Energy Trust (TSX:CPG.UN) is increasing its Bakken oil in Saskatchewan, Canada spending by $200-425 million. Crescent Point is raising its production guidance by five per cent and its distributions to investors by 15 per cent.

The Calgary-based trust said Monday the increases were due to "significant growth" in its southeast Saskatchewan Bakken resource play, better-than-expected drilling and production results in its core areas, and higher than anticipated commodity prices.

The capital budget is being increased by 89 per cent to advance development at Bakken and add production at a rate of about $25,000 per barrel of oil equivalent.

Crescent Point now expects to exit 2008 with production greater than 37,500 boe per day, and is upwardly revising its 2008 average production forecast by five per cent to 36,250 boe daily.

From the Business Week article:
North Dakota surpassed Kansas in 2006 to become the eighth-largest oil-producing state in the nation, and soon will surpass Wyoming to become seventh among oil-producing states, said Ron Ness, president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council.

North Dakota produced 45 million barrels of oil last year, up about 5 million barrels from 2006, Ness said.

Production this year likely will exceed the record of 52.6 million barrels set in 1984, said Lynn Helms, the director of the state Department of Mineral Resources.

More North Dakota oil statistics

Teraflop chips, AMD Firestream 500 cores versus Nvidia Tesla 10P with 30,000 threads

More teraflop chips are being introduced by AMD and Nvidia. AMD FireStream 9250 will be available at the end of Sept 2008 for $1999. The FireStream chips can perform "double precision" floating-point calculations at 1 teraflop of performance.

A 4x Crossfire X configuration is good for almost 5 TFlops, which means 1.2 TFlops per RV770 GPU. The R700 - the dual-GPU 4870 X2 card – is good for almost twice that performance: According to AMD, the R700 will deliver 2 TFlops per board. The AMD chips use less power than the Nvidia chips.

Nvidia is also introducing updated chips for 2008

UPDATE: The Nvidia Tesla 10P is the company's second generation, general purpose graphic processing unit for high-performance computing (GPGPU). The latest product has twice the performance of the previous generation Tesla 8 product, or 1 teraflop of computational power versus 500 gigaflops. The T10P also has more than double the memory at 4GB versus 1.5GB in the older model. Nvidia's Tesla C1060 card slips into a PCIe slot for delivering high-performance computing to workstations. The card delivers 1 teraflop of power for $1,699. The Nvidia 10P also supports double precision processing which is needed for many scientific supercomputing applications

The Nvidia chips include 1.4 billion transistors running at speeds up to 1.6 GHz. "It's one of the largest chips in mass production and unlike some processors it is not 60 percent cache," said Keane.

Nvidia is continuing to push GPGPU (Nvidia Tesla) systems for technical computing using graphics chips. The company is launching two board level products for such high-end apps, including a four GPU system in a 1U-sized rack-mounted device that delivers up to 4 TFlops at 700W. It sells for $7,995.

Nvidia is updating its year-old Cuda development environment that helps programmers modify C programs to exploit parallelism. Cuda now supports all major 32- and 64-bit operating systems and includes a number of parallel algorithms and tools. On the road map for Cuda is support for Fortran and multiple GPU systems and clusters. Nvidia is also working on support for C++ and a hardware debugger.

Nvidia describes their new Tesla 10 offerings

The Nvidia Tesla C1060 GPGPU card for $1699
Nvidia Tesla C1060

The Nvidia Tesla S1070 1U server for $8000

Evolved machines uses the Tesla processors to speed up by 130-fold against simulations with current generation x86 microprocessors. They are now engaged in the design of a rack of GPUs, which will rival the world’s top systems, at 1/100 their cost.

Simulation of a single neuron involves 200,000,000 differential equation evaluations per second, requiring approximately 4 gigaflops. A neural array engaged in sensory processing requires thousands of neurons, thus, the detailed simulation of neural systems in real time requires more than 10 teraflops of computing power.

Intel's plans
",1000000567,10005497o-2000331777b,00.htm" target=blank>Intel Larrabee chip was delayed

According to Hiroshige's Goto Weekly from Japan, there'll be 24 and 32 core variants out in 2009 and a 48 core chip in 2010.

Intel also has the 80 core Polaris chip in the roadmap pipeline.

Intel's chip roadmap

AMD new high end graphics chips will be a cheaper two chip set

AMD says its 4850 device at about 110 W and $199 will deliver about 75 percent of the performance of Nvidia's high-end GTX280 which costs $649 and dissipates 236W. AMD will claim technology leadership in two areas. Its chips will use more than 500 cores, more than double the 240 cores on the new Nvidia parts. They will also use GDDR5 memory interfaces running at about 3.2 Gbits/s or more. Nvidia will use the existing GDDR3 protocol running at up to 1.1 GHz on a 512-bit interface to deliver memory bandwidth up to about 102 Gbytes/s on some versions.

Because memory bandwidth is not increasing as fast as processing resources on the latest Nvidia architecture, some applications may find they are memory bound, said Andy Keane, general manager of GPU computing at Nvidia.

Bergman said the AMD focus on a more mainstream design will enable it to roll out this fall a version for notebook computers that consumes less than 70W. "There's no way this new Nvidia core will be in notebooks this fall," Bergman said.