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March 13, 2010

IBM Work on 3D chip stacking will take Moore's Law to 2025

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Last week, IBM, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH) signed a four-year collaborative project called CMOSAIC to understand how the latest chip cooling techniques can support a 3D chip architecture.

Unlike current processors, the CMOSAIC project considers a 3D stack-architecture of multiple cores with a interconnect density from 100 to 10,000 connections per millimeter square. Researchers believe that these tiny connections and the use of hair-thin, liquid cooling microchannels measuring only 50 microns in diameter between the active chips are the missing links to achieving high-performance computing with future 3D chip stacks.

The CMOSAIC project description

The CMOSAIC project is a genuine opportunity to contribute to the realization of arguably the most complicated system that mankind has ever assembled: a 3D stack of computer chips with a functionality per unit volume that nearly parallels the functional density of a human brain. CMOSAIC's aggressive goal is to provide the necessarily 3D integrated cooling system that is the key to compressing almost 10^12 nanometer sized functional units (1 Tera) into one cubic centimeter with a 10 to 100 fold higher connectivity than otherwise possible. Even the most advanced air-cooling methods are inadequate for high performance 3D-IC systems where the main challenge is to remove the heat produced by multiple stacked dies in a 1-3 cm3 volume, each layer dissipating 100-150 W/cm2.


Aquasar Ten Teraflop Supercomputer



Aquasar press release

To solve the cooling challenge, the team is leveraging the experience of IBM and ETH in the development of Aquasar, a first-of-a-kind, water-cooled supercomputer. Similar to Aquasar, the team plans to design microchannels with single-phase liquid and two-phase cooling systems using nano-surfaces that pipe coolants—including water and environmentally-friendly refrigerants—within a few millimeters of the chip to absorb the heat, like a sponge, and draw it away. Once the liquid leaves the circuit in the form of steam, a condenser returns it to a liquid state, where it is then pumped back into the processor, thus completing the cycle.

"As we will demonstrate with ETH in the Aquasar project, employing microchannels carrying liquid coolants offers a significant advantage in addressing heat-removal challenges, and this should lead to practical 3D systems," said Bruno Michel, manager advanced thermal packaging, IBM Research - Zurich. "Water as a coolant has the ability to capture heat about 4,000 times more efficiently than air, and its heat-transporting properties are also far superior." Chip-level cooling with a water temperature of approximately 60°C is sufficient to keep the chip at operating temperatures well below the maximally allowed 85°C. The high input temperature of the coolant results in an even higher-grade heat as output, which in this case will be about 65°C.



Aquasar--the new supercomputer, which will be located at the ETH Zurich and is planned to start operation in 2010, will reduce overall energy consumption by 40%. The system is based on long-term joint research collaboration of ETH and IBM scientists in the field of chip-level water-cooling, as well as on a concept for "water-cooled data centers with direct energy re-use" advanced by scientists at IBM's Zurich Lab.

The water-cooled supercomputer will consist of two IBM BladeCenter® servers in one rack and will have a peak performance of about 10 Teraflops


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March 12, 2010

Polymer Tin Sulfur Lithium Ion Battery With Five times Better Energy Density than Commercial Lithium Ion Batteries

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Journal Angewandte Chemie - A High-Performance Polymer Tin Sulfur Lithium Ion Battery

A tin-sulfur lithium ion battery has an energy density value of the order of 1000 W h kg-1, which is five times higher than those of conventional batteries that containing intercalated materials (see picture). Replacement of the conventional liquid electrolyte with a polymer membrane brings improvements in the fabrication and safety of the battery
They report demonstrating a specific energy of the cell on the order of 1,100 Wh kg-1.

Greencarcongress - Researchers at the Università degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza have developed a novel polymer tin sulfur lithium-ion battery that takes advantage of the high theoretical specific energy and energy density of the lithium-sulfur battery chemistry (2,500 Wh kg-1 and 2,800 Wh L-1 respectively, earlier post), while avoiding the shortcomings that have hindered commercialization of this type chemistry



Rather than taking the more conventional approach of using a sulfur cathode and a lithium metal anode, Jusef Hassoun and Bruno Scrosati have developed a lithium-metal-free battery, using a carbon lithium sulfide composite as the cathode and a tin carbon composite anode.

The team notes that “the road to a practical lithium–sulfur battery is still long”; optimization of the electrode morphology and cell structure are needed to further improve the cycle life and the rate capability

3 pages of supplemental information

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Life Extension Roundup

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1. Rejuvenation Research Journal - life span can be extended in old mice by transplant of a young thymus.

The Thymus is source of T-cells, which are your active immune system.

Rejuvenating your immune system would improve health and lifespan.

2. Fighting Aging.org - Rapamycin, an immunosuppressant which extends the life of older mice to a signicant level effects long term memory formation



3. Fighting Aging.org -mitochondrial uncoupling research shows promise for increasing health and lifespan

Repair of damaged mitochondria throughout the body should have a far greater effect on longevity than any change to metabolism that merely slows the accumulation of damage - and such repair technologies are comparatively close to fruition.

4. Fightaging.org looks at progess in stem cell science

Progress is being made to the goal of low-cost and reliable sources of specific cell populations, and ways to quickly generate those sources from a patient's own cells.

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Oral Contraceptives Reduce Death Rate by 12% in Large UK Study

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British Medical Journal - Oral Contraceptives lowers death rate in those 50 and older from all causes

* 46,112 women observed for up to 39 years
* 1747 deaths occurred in never users of oral contraception and 2864 in ever users. Compared with never users, ever users of oral contraception had a significantly lower rate of death from any cause (adjusted relative risk 0.88, 95% confidence interval 0.82 to 0.93).
* They also had significantly lower rates of death from all cancers; large bowel/rectum, uterine body, and ovarian cancer; main gynaecological cancers combined; all circulatory disease; ischaemic heart disease; and all other diseases.
* Pill users had higher rates of violent deaths.
* The estimated absolute reduction in all cause mortality among ever users of oral contraception was 52 per 100 000 woman years.





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MIT Researchers Say Using Wind Turbines for 10% of Power, Would Heat the World by 0.15 Degrees Celsius Over 60 Years

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In a paper published online Feb. 22 in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, MIT Researchers (Wang and Prinn suggest) that using wind turbines to meet 10 percent of global energy demand in 2100 could cause temperatures to rise by one degree Celsius in the regions on land where the wind farms are installed, including a smaller increase in areas beyond those regions. Their analysis indicates the opposite result for wind turbines installed in water: a drop in temperatures by one degree Celsius over those regions. The researchers also suggest that the intermittency of wind power could require significant and costly backup options, such as natural gas-fired power plants.

The researchers indicate that more research and experiments are needed to confirm their findings. The logic seems simple and straight forward. Directly interfering with wind on a sufficiently large scale effects the climate of the atmosphere. Their next step is to address how to simulate ocean-based wind farms more accurately. They plan to collaborate with aeronautical engineers to develop parameters for the climate model that will allow them to simulate turbines in coastal waters.


Previous studies have predicted that annual world energy demand will increase from 14 terawatts (trillion watts) in 2002 to 44 terawatts by 2100. In their analysis, Prinn and Wang focus on the impact of using wind turbines to generate five terawatts of electric power.

Using a climate model developed by the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research, the researchers simulated the aerodynamic effects of large-scale wind farms — located both on land and on the ocean — to analyze how the atmosphere, ocean and land would respond over a 60-year span.

The researchers observed that the surface air temperature over the wind farm regions increased by about one degree Celsius, which averages out to an increase of .15 degrees Celsius over the entire global surface.



Temperature increase occurs because the wind turbines affect two processes that play critical roles in determining surface temperature and atmospheric circulation: vertical turbulent motion and horizontal heat transport. Turbulent motion refers to the process by which heat and moisture are transferred from the land or ocean surface to the lower atmosphere. Horizontal heat transport is the process by which steady large-scale winds transport excessive heat away from warm regions, generally in a horizontal direction, and redistribute it to cooler regions. This process is critical for large-scale heat redistribution, whereas the effects of turbulent motion are generally more localized.

In the analysis, the wind turbines on land reduced wind speed, particularly on the downwind side of the wind farms, which reduced the strength of the turbulent motion and horizontal heat transport processes that move heat away from the Earth’s surface. This resulted in less heat being transported to the upper parts of the atmosphere, as well as to other regions farther away from the wind farms. The effect is similar to being at the beach on a windy summer day: If the wind weakened or disappeared, it would get warmer.

In contrast, when examining ocean-based wind farms, Prinn and Wang found that wind turbines cooled the surface by more than one degree Celsius. They said that these results are unreliable, however, because in their analysis, they modeled the effects of wind turbines by introducing surface friction in the form of large artificial waves. But they acknowledge that this is not an accurate comparison, meaning that a better way of simulating marine-based wind turbines must be developed before reliable conclusions can be made.

FURTHER READING
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics - Potential climatic impacts and reliability of very large-scale wind farms
Meeting future world energy needs while addressing climate change requires large-scale deployment of low or zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emission technologies such as wind energy. The widespread availability of wind power has fueled substantial interest in this renewable energy source as one of the needed technologies. For very large-scale utilization of this resource, there are however potential environmental impacts, and also problems arising from its inherent intermittency, in addition to the present need to lower unit costs. To explore some of these issues, we use a three-dimensional climate model to simulate the potential climate effects associated with installation of wind-powered generators over vast areas of land or coastal ocean. Using wind turbines to meet 10% or more of global energy demand in 2100, could cause surface warming exceeding 1 °C over land installations. In contrast, surface cooling exceeding 1 °C is computed over ocean installations, but the validity of simulating the impacts of wind turbines by simply increasing the ocean surface drag needs further study. Significant warming or cooling remote from both the land and ocean installations, and alterations of the global distributions of rainfall and clouds also occur. These results are influenced by the competing effects of increases in roughness and decreases in wind speed on near-surface turbulent heat fluxes, the differing nature of land and ocean surface friction, and the dimensions of the installations parallel and perpendicular to the prevailing winds. These results are also dependent on the accuracy of the model used, and the realism of the methods applied to simulate wind turbines. Additional theory and new field observations will be required for their ultimate validation. Intermittency of wind power on daily, monthly and longer time scales as computed in these simulations and inferred from meteorological observations, poses a demand for one or more options to ensure reliability, including backup generation capacity, very long distance power transmission lines, and onsite energy storage, each with specific economic and/or technological challenges

The full 9 page pdf paper

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Large Hadron Collider to shut down for a year to fix construction flaws

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The Large Hadron Collider will shut down for a year to fix construction flaws.

Dr Steve Myers, a director of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), which built the collider, said the machine will close at the end of a 2011. The faults will delay the machine reaching its full potential of 14TeV for two years. Lack of sufficient quality control is blamed.



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March 11, 2010

Dusty Plasma Based Fission Fragment Nuclear Reactor

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Dusty Plasma Based Fission Fragment Nuclear Reactor (7 page pdf)

We propose an innovative nuclear power generation system design using dusty radioactive (fissile or not) material plasma as a fuel. The fission fragments or decay products accelerated during the disintegration process to velocities of 3-5% of the speed of light are trapped and collected in a simple combination of electric and magnetic fields resulting in a highly efficient (90%), non-Carnot, DC power supply. In a conventional nuclear reactor this high kinetic energy of the fission fragments is dissipated by collisions to generate heat, which is converted to electrical power with e±ciencies of no more than 50%. Alternatively, the fission fragments produced in our dusty plasma reactor can be used directly for providing thrust. The highly directional fission fragment exhaust can produce a special impulse of one million seconds resulting in burnout velocities several thousand times those attainable today. Previous concepts su®ered from impractical or inadequate methods to cool the fission fuel. In this work the heating problem is overcome by dividing the solid fuel into small dust particles and thereby increasing the surface to volume ratio of the fuel. The small size of the fuel particle allows adequate cooling to occur by the emission of thermal radiation.




Further improvements in nuclear propulsion system efficiency beyond nuclear-electric (NEP) are possible. The fission process accelerates the fission fragments to velocities between 3-5% of the speed of light, far faster than the 0.027% achieved by NEP, which uses a conventional nuclear reactor to convert the kinetic energy of the fission fragments into heat, the heat into electricity, and the electricity back into Xe ion kinetic energy with eficiencies much less than 40%. In the fission fragment reactor, the high-speed fragments are used directly as the rocket exhaust after charge neutralization. Therefore the fission fragment rocket can produce a specific impulse (Isp) greater than one million seconds.

Previous concepts su®ered from impractical or inadequate methods to cool the fission fuel. In this work the heating problem is overcome by dividing the solid fuel into small dust particles and thereby increasing the surface to volume ratio of the fuel. The small size of the fuel particle allows adequate cooling to occur by the emission of thermal radiation.

In direct conversion the kinetic energy of the charged fission fragments is extracted by deceleration in an electrostatic field to directly produce electrical energy bypassing the Carnot thermodynamic cycle. Thus energy conversion efficiencies achievable with direct conversion methods approach 90%. In the case of propulsion, the fission fragments are used as the rocket exhaust after charge neutralization. The usual performance criterion for rocket propulsion is specific impulse (Isp), which is the exhaust velocity divided by 9.8 m/s2. The fission fragment rocket could produce Isp of 10^6 seconds compared to 350-450 s for chemical rockets or 3000-10000 s for ion engines. As a result, burnout velocities several thousand times those attainable today would be possible.

In our concept of a fission fragment reactor , the fuel consists of a cloud of nano-particle dust (< 100 nm diameter) composed of fissile material. This configuration of the fuel allows the fission fragments to escape from the fuel particle with a high probability. In addition, the large surface to volume ratio of the fuel particles enables them to transfer heat effectively by radiation directly into the space environ- ment. The fuel particles and the fission fragments in the core of the reactor form a dusty plasma cloud. The significant difference in both the energy per charge and the mass per charge ratios between the fuel particles and the fission fragments allows the fissile dust to be electrostatically or magnetically contained within the reactor core while the more energetic fission fragments are extracted for power or thrust. The electrical conversion unit is in the exhaust chamber, which operates on the principle of direct collection of charged particles. Another interesting feature of this system should be noted: by adjusting the strength of the magnetic mirror, the system can be adjusted to produce either high Isp thrust or electrical power or both. Field strengths between 0.33 and 0.63 Tesla-meters are required, which can be achieved with current magnet technology.


Scaling Chapline's moderator mass by 0.25 therefore, resulted in a 6 ton moderator, to which we added 2 tons for radiators and liquid metal cooling, 1 ton for magnets, power recovery, and coils, for a dry weight of 9 tons. Supposing an engineering and scientific payload of another ton, gives us an order-of-magnitude estimate of a 10 ton spacecraft. A 10 year trip to the gravitational lens point 550AU distant from the sun, would take a delta-V of about 2% the speed of light. We assumed that the fission fragments had an exhaust velocity of 0.05 c (Isp=1.5 million), to obtain a fuel fraction 3% that of the rocket. We then added the mass of the fuel to the mass of the rocket to get the total mass, and multiplied by the acceleration implied by the mission profile to get the thrust required. This thrust had to be provided by fission fragments, which gave us the power level of the reactor, assuming some 46% of the fragments provided thrust. From these considerations we could estimate the power required by the fission fragment rocket to enable various missions.

A 10 year mission to the 550AU gravitational lens point would require only 180kg of nuclear fuel, and a 350MW reactor power, well within the calculated thermal limit of 1GW. A 30 year trip to the Oort cloud at 0.5 Ly is more strenuous, requiring a 5.6 GW reactor. And a 50 year trip to Alpha Centauri, 4 Ly distant, is probably not feasible, requiring a 208 GW reactor, and consuming 240 tons of fission fuel.

Fission fragment reactors have several substantial benefits over other reactor designs including higher electrical efficiency and higher specific impulse thrust. Previous designs had difficulties with keeping the reactor core cool, which we propose to overcome by using dusty plasma fuel.


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Millionaires and Billionaires

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Forbes released their list of billionaires for 2010

This year the World's Billionaires have an average net worth of $3.5 billion, up $500 million in 12 months. The world has 1,011 10-figure titans, up from 793 a year ago but still shy of the record 1,125 in 2008. Of those billionaires on last year's list, only 12% saw their fortunes decline.

U.S. billionaires still dominate the ranks--but their grip is slipping. Americans account for 40% of the world's billionaires, down from 45% a year ago.

The U.S. commands 38% of the collective $3.6 trillion net worth of the world's richest, down from 44% a year ago.

Of the 97 new members of the list, only 16% are from the U.S. By contrast, Asia made big gains. The region added 104 moguls and now has just 14 fewer than Europe, thanks to several large public offerings and swelling stock markets.


Spectrem Group affluent market insights finds that US millionaires have partially recovered from the financial crisis

* U.S. Millionaires Grow 16% to 7.8 Million in 2009 after a sharp decline in 2008.
* Households Worth $5 Million or More Increase 17% to 980,000.
* In addition to the millionaire groups, the broader affluent population, those with a net worth of $500,000 or more (NIPR), grew by 12% in 2009 to 12.7 million.




Cap Gemini and Merrill Lynch World Wealth Report 2009
World Wealth Report on the situation at the end of 2008.


• At the end of 2008, the world’s population of high net worth individuals (HNWIs) was down 14.9% from the year before, while their wealth had dropped 19.5%. The unprecedented declines wiped out two robust years of growth in 2006 and 2007, reducing both the HNWI population and its wealth to below levels seen at the close of 2005.

• Ultra-HNWIs suffered more extensive losses in financial wealth than the HNWI population as a whole. The Ultra-HNWI population fell 24.6%, as the group’s wealth dropped 23.9%, pushing many down into the ‘mid-tier millionaire’ pool.

• The global HNWI population is still concentrated, but the ranks are shifting. The U.S., Japan and Germany together accounted for 54.0% of the world’s HNWI population in 2008, up very slightly from 53.3% in 2007.
China’s HNWI population surpassed that of the U.K. to become the fourth largest in the world. Hong Kong’s HNWI population shrank the most in percentage terms (down 61.3%).

• HNWI wealth is forecast to start growing again as the global economy recovers. By 2013, we forecast global HNWI financial wealth to recover to $48.5 trillion, after advancing at a sustained annual rate of 8.1%. By 2013, we expect Asia-Pacific to overtake North America as the largest region for HNWI financial wealth.

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Sandia's In-Zinerator Concept For Transmuting Unburned Nuclear Fuel

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Fusion Transmutation of Waste: Design and Analysis of the In-Zinerator Concept (2006, Sandia report, 102 pages)

The separation and transmutation of transuranics is part of a solution to decreasing the volume and heat load of nuclear waste significantly to increase the repository capacity. A fusion neutron source can be used for transmutation as an alternative to fast reactor systems. Sandia National Laboratories is investigating the use of a Z-Pinch fusion driver for this application. This report summarizes the initial design and engineering issues of this “In-Zinerator” concept. Relatively modest fusion requirements on the order of 20 MW can be used to drive a sub-critical, actinide-bearing, fluid blanket. The fluid fuel eliminates the need for expensive fuel fabrication and allows for continuous refueling and removal of fission products. This reactor has the capability of burning up 1,280 kg of actinides per year while at the same time producing 3,000 MWth. The report discusses the baseline design, engineering issues, modeling results, safety issues, and fuel cycle impact.



A scoping level analysis of a transmutation reactor driven by Z-Pinch fusion has been initiated. The “In-Zinerator” concept burns up long-lived actinides from light water reactor waste in a subcritical blanket driven by high energy fusion neutrons. Significant power is produced while at the same time providing a repository benefit by transmuting actinides into shorter-lived fission products that produce much less radioactive heat.

A D-T fusion target yield of 200 MJ fired once every ten seconds will be adequate to design a reactor capable of transmuting 1,280 kg of actinides per year while at the same time producing 3,000 MWth. This defines the requirements of a Z-Pinch pulsed power fusion source for use as a transmutation reactor. It also provides guidance to the Z-Pinch experimental program at Sandia National Laboratories as to what extrapolations from current capabilities will be required to enable this mission application. This research has focused on the design of the transmutation blanket surrounding a future Z-Pinch fusion source. The fusion source initiates a burn and energy multiplication in the blanket which contains actinides in a fluid fuel form.

The In-Zinerator effectively converts actinides into fission products. Figure 1 shows the effectiveness of transmuting actinides for 50 years. The blue line shows the total heat production from 64 metric tons of actinides. The green line shows the heat production from the sum of the all the fission products produced as a result of fissioning the 64 metric tons of actinides. After 10 years of cooling the heat load is decreased by a factor of 10, and after 50 years the heat load is reduced by a factor of 500.

The integration of the In-Zinerator design in the fuel cycle was also of interest in this work. The In-Zinerator support ratio in the fuel cycle is 1:5, meaning that one In-Zinerator will be required for every 5 light water reactors in order to burn up the transuranic actinides as fast as the light water reactor fleet produces them. The current fleet of light water reactors would then require about 20 In-Zinerators, each producing 1,000 MWe to stabilize transuranic levels. Although it is too early to estimate the cost of the In-Zinerator, an economic analysis was performed to set the goals in comparison to the cost of transmuting actinides using a FR (fast reactor) fleet.

Due to the better support ratio offered by the In-Zinerator, this concept can cost up to 25% more than a FR and still be competitive. Whether FRs or In-Zinerators are used, reprocessing and transmutation are likely to add at least 2.0 mil/kWh to the cost of nuclear power across the entire fleet.

UREX Reprocessing

UREX reprocessing is used for about 10% of existing nuclear waste. This process is used in France, Japan, Russia and the UK.

Tritium Breeding

One of the constraints on the choice of the actinide mixture was to
contain Li for breeding of tritium. It has long been a goal of fusion reactor designs to use the intense neutron flux to breed tritium from the 6Li(n,t)4He reaction. With the proper design, it is easy to provide enough 6Li to generate sufficient tritium to sustain the fuel supply for the fusion targets. Natural Li contains 7.5% 6Li and 92.5% 7Li, but it can be enriched or depleted to get to a desired tritium breeding ratio (ratio of bred tritium to burned up tritium). The goal for this work was to design a blanket with a tritium breeding ratio (TBR) of 1.2 to allow for some loss in processing. However, it should be noted that a much smaller TBR will be required for an actual plant to minimize tritium leakage to the environment.

Unburned Fuel from Existing Light Water Reactors


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Analysis of Wealth of Those Living Around Washington DC

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Six of ten richest counties and twelve of the top 25 richest counties are around Washington DC

http://www.washingtonian.com/articles/coverarchive/1933.html

Between 1980 and 2005, the government’s spending in Washington escalated from $4 billion to $52 billion.



Loudoun county in 2006 had 183,900 "everyday millionaires" whose net worth is between $2 million and $10 million;

24,887 "Rich But Don’t Know It" types who are worth between ten and fifty million;

7,200 "really rich" who are worth between a hundred and five-hundred million annually; and

about 500 "tycoon rich" lobbyists, lawyers and owners of contracting firms whose net worth was nearing a billion.





The key is not the number of federal employees. (although there are a large number of high salary government jobs) Someone can make a lot of money when functions are spun out from government agencies and they have a company which the government pays to do the work

What about contractors? New York University's Paul C. Light estimates about 7.6 million people earned their paycheck through federal government contracts in 2005, a 50 percent increase since 2002. That increase in contractors doesn't seem to be trimming the number of full-time government jobs, either. The civil service workforce increased over that period, too, though not nearly as dramatically. Taxpayers paid $400 billion to federal contractors in 2007, double what they paid in 2000. Less than half those contracts were won with competitive bidding.

And lobbyists? The Washington Post reports that the number of registered lobbyists in Washington doubled between 2000 and 2005, to nearly 35,000. Not coincidentally, federal outlays increased over that period from $1.79 to $2.29 trillion. The government put more money on the table, so firms were willing to pay more lobbyists higher salaries to go snatch a piece of it

As for federal employees, according to the Bureau of Labors Statistics, as of January 2007, there were 284,000 federal employees living in the Washington, D.C. area, up from 268,000 in 2000. The Cato Institute's Chris Edwards estimates that in 2005, the average federal employee made $106,579 per year including benefits, about twice as much as the average person makes in the private sector. Federal wage are also rising at about twice the rate they are in the private sector.

Share of GDP for the US and Loudoun County from Government Contracts

In 2000, the US GDP was $9.8 trillion and $208 billion was federal spending on all government contracts. 2.1% of the economy. $160 billion on defence or 1.64%.
In 2007, the US GDP was $14.1 trillion and $457 billion was federal spending on all government contracts. (figures from fedspending.org) 3.24% of the economy. $312 billion on defence or 2.2%.



There are websites for searching government contracts awarded by county

Loudoun county economy was $8 billion in 2000. 0.511 billion or so of that from defence contracts alone. (6.4% of the county economy in 2000 from defence contracts. Four times the national average.)

In 2007, Loudoun had a gross county product of almost $16 billion for a population of 285,000 $1.72 billion in defence contracts (10.75% of the county economy in 2007. Five times the national average.)

The dependence on defence contracts could reduce. Say you had started your company in the 1980s or 1990s. Initially you could have almost all of your business from big government contracts, but then over time while that might still be a significant business you would diversify and win as much non-government business on top of your original government work.

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Google Translate Progresses to the Real Time Global Voice Translating Phone

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Google Translate is an automatic translator -- that is, it works without the intervention of human translators, using state-of-the-art technology instead. Most commercial machine-translation systems in use today have been developed using a rule-based approach, and require a lot of work to define vocabularies and grammars. Our system takes a different approach; we feed the computer billions of words of text, both monolingual text in the target language, and aligned text consisting of examples of human translations between the languages. We then apply statistical learning techniques to build a translation model.

If you're learning English, you can click the speaker icon to hear a spoken version of your translation. This feature is currently only available for short translations to English.

A free application works on phones that run Google's Android operating system. The voice translation and voice recognition and having the device speak phrases different langauges is still limited to a few languages.

The Android phone also has Search using written gestures and search by voice

There is a google translate blog



Translation can be Integrated with Google Goggles

This video showcases the potential of integrating Google's machine translation and image recognition technologies.

Google Goggles analyzes cellphone photos, matching against a database of more than a billion online images, including photos of streets from teh Street View service.



Text Translation on Google Translate


Google Translate currently supports translation between any of these 52 languages

Afrikaans
Albanian
Arabic
Belarusian
Bulgarian
Catalan
Chinese (Simplified)
Chinese (Traditional)
Croatian
Czech
Danish
Dutch
English
Estonian
Filipino
Finnish
French
Galician
German
Greek
Haitian Creole (ALPHA)
Hebrew
Hindi
Hungarian
Icelandic
Indonesian
Italian
Irish
Japanese
Korean
Latvian
Lithuanian
Macedonian
Malay
Maltese
Norwegian
Persian
Polish
Portuguese
Romanian
Russian
Serbian
Slovak
Slovenian
Spanish
Swahili
Swedish
Thai
Turkish
Ukrainian
Vietnamese
Welsh
Yiddish

The Global Real Time Voice Translating Phone is an Objective and Predition of Ray Kurzweil


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Optically driven nanoelectromechanical oscillators

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An illustration of the nanoelectromechanical oscillator, with the cantilever on the far right. The inset is a tilted 3-D profile of the structure, which shows the silicon dioxide posts.

Cornell researchers are a step closer to creating extraordinarily tiny sensors that can instantly recognize harmful substances and bacteria in air or water.

The researchers, led by professor of applied and engineering physics Harold Craighead, made a device just 200 nanometers thick and a few microns long with an oscillating cantilever hanging off one end. (A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter; a micron is one-millionth of a meter.) They identified exactly how to tune its sensitivity -- a breakthrough that could lead to advanced sensing technologies.

"The big purpose is to be able to drive arrays of these things all in direct synchrony," said first author Rob Ilic, a research associate at the Cornell NanoScale Science and Technology Facility. "They can be functionalized with different chemistries and biomolecules to detect various pathogens -- not just one thing."

The cantilever is like a diving board that resonates at distinct frequencies. In past research, the team has demonstrated that by treating the cantilever with different substances, they can tell what other substances are present. For example, E. coli antibodies attached to the cantilever can detect the presence of E. coli in water.

Journal of Applied Physics - Theoretical and experimental investigation of optically driven nanoelectromechanical oscillators




The actuation of biologically functional micro- and nanomechanical structures using optical excitation is an emerging arena of research that couples the fields of optics, fluidics, electronics, and mechanics with potential for generating novel chemical and biological sensors. In our work, we fabricated nanomechanical structures from 200 and 250 nm thick silicon nitride and single crystal silicon layers with varying lengths and widths ranging from 4 to 12 μm and 200 nm to 1 μm, respectively. Using a modulated laser beam focused onto the device layer in close proximity to the clamped end of a cantilever beam, we concentrate and guide the impinging thermal energy along the device layer. Cantilever beams coupled to chains of thermally isolated links were used to experimentally investigate energy transport mechanisms in nanostructures. The nature of the excitation was studied through steady-periodic axisymmetric thermal analysis by considering a multilayered structure heated using a modulated laser source. Results were verified by finite element analysis, which was additionally implemented for the solution of steady-periodic and transient thermal, as well as steady thermoelastic problems. These theoretical investigations, coupled with our experimental results, reveal that the complex dynamics underpinning optical excitation mechanisms consists of two disparate spatial regimes. When the excitation source is focused in close proximity to the structure the response is primarily thermal. We show that as the source is placed farther from the clamped end of the structure, the thermal response progressively fades out, indicating the possibility of mechanical wave propagation. Understanding the excitation mechanisms may be useful for applications including compact integration of nanophotonic elements with functionalized nanomechanical sensors for ultrasensitive biochemical analysis.


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Ecomotors Opposed-Piston Opposed-Cylinder Engine Could make Class 8 Trucks 45% More Fuel Efficient

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Ecomotors Opposed-Piston Opposed-Cylinder Engine could make class 8 trucks 45% more fuel efficient Ecomotors has a goal to demonstrate, in 2010, the automobile industry's first 5-passenger car capable of 100 mpg on the EPA highway cycle.

Greencarcongress reports - With a two-module application configured at the appropriate power level (to deliver a combined 480 hp), the opoc unit could deliver about 45% better fuel efficiency compared to a conventional heavy-duty diesel engine in a Class 8 truck, the company suggests, while delivering emissions at the US Tier 2 Bin 5 level (the 50-state level in the US for diesel light duty vehicles).

With no valvetrain, the opoc engine has 40% less friction than conventional valve-controlled engines. The engine design features 90% cylinder scavenging, a high-pressure fuel injection system, and an electrically controlled turbocharger, allowing it to run higher levels of EGR. Four features allow the opoc engine to achieve that high 90% scavenging:

* Asymmetric port timing
* Circumferential ports
* Uni-flow air charging
* Electronically-controlled turbocharging

This patented design creates a ground-breaking internal combustion engine family that will run on a number of different fuels, including gasoline, diesel and ethanol. The engine operates on the 2-cycle principle, generating one power stroke per crank revolution per cylinder. It comprises two opposing cylinders per module, with a crankshaft between them, and each cylinder has two pistons moving in opposite directions. This innovative design configuration eliminates the cylinder-head and valve-train components of conventional engines, offering an efficient, compact and simple core engine structure. The result is an engine family that is lighter, more efficient and economical, with lower exhaust emissions compared with conventional designs. Here you can see this revolutionary 2-stroke engine in operation, which helps to illustrate the simplicity, elegance and compactness of its design.



Advantages:

* Lightweight with high power density produces more than 1 hp per pound of engine weight
* Low emissions
* High fuel economy
* Simplicity of design for manufacturing efficiency, economy and operating durability
* 50-percent fewer parts than a conventional engine, straightforward assembly
* no cylinder heads or valve train
* uses conventional components, materials and processes
* Inherently low noise and vibration
* all engine forces counteract each other runs as a fully balanced 4-cylinder 4-stroke engine

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Superinsulation Riddle Solved

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IEEE Spectrum reports researchers have recently worked out a theory of how superinsulation works at microscopic scales

In 2008 a team of physicists from Argonne National Laboratory, in Illinois, and other institutions stumbled upon an odd phenomenon. They called it superinsulation, because in many ways it was the opposite of superconductivity. Now they’ve worked out the theory behind it, potentially opening the doors to better batteries, supersensitive sensors, and strange new circuits.

They say that superinsulation, like superconductivity, is caused at low temperatures by electrons that form what are known as Cooper pairs. In a superconductor the pairs move together collectively, which means there is no resistance to impede the flow of current. In a superinsulator, on the other hand, the Cooper pairs repel one another, and thus prevent any current from flowing. So far the theory and experiments have been confined to thin films of titanium nitride.

Chilling a thin film of titanium nitride to nearly absolute zero results in the electrical resistance increasing by 100 000 times its original level.

A device made from superconductors and superinsulators might lose no heat at all during operation.




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Carbon Nanotube Speakers Could Be Powered by Lasers

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A UT Dallas team’s study published in the Journal of Applied Physics expands the extraordinary capabilities of nanotechnology to include laser-powered acoustic speakers made from assemblies of carbon nanotubes.

The study confirms earlier research that carbon nanotubes that are stretched into sheets and electrically powered can produce intense sound, but researchers at UT Dallas’ Alan G. MacDiarmid NanoTech Institute have made some important advancements.

Although prior studies demonstrated that sheets of carbon nanotubes can produce sound when heated with alternating electrical current, the UT Dallas researchers have found that striking tones can be generated by vertical arrays of nanotubes, called forests, which resemble black velvet.

The team also discovered that high-quality sound can be generated when nanotube sheets or forests are struck with laser light that is modulated, or “altered,” in the acoustic frequency range.



With laser excitation, no electrical contact with the nanotube speaker is required, making the speakers wireless.

“Speakers made with carbon nanotube sheets are extremely thin, light and almost transparent,” Kozlov said. “They have no moving parts and can be attached to any surface, which makes the surface acoustically active. They can be concealed in television and computer screens, apartment walls, or in the windows of buildings and cars. The almost invisible strands form films that can ‘talk.’”

In addition to filling a room with sound from invisible speakers, nanotube speakers could easily cancel sound from the noisiest neighbor or dim the roar of traffic rushing past a neighborhood, using the same principles as current sound-canceling technologies.

“The sound generation by nanotube sheets can help to achieve this effect on very large scales,” Kozlov said.

Journal of Applied Physics - Sound of carbon nanotube assemblies

Strong thermo- and photoacoustic responses have been detected for aligned arrays of multiwalled carbon nanotube (MWNT) forests and solid drawn MWNT sheets. When heated using alternating current or a near-IR laser modulated in 100–20 000 Hz range, the nanotube assemblies generated loud, audible sound, with higher sound pressure being detected from the MWNT sheets. An evaluation of nonlinear distortions of the thermoacoustic signal revealed a highly peculiar behavior of the third and fourth harmonics produced from forests grown on silicon wafers. The peculiarities were especially pronounced for short forests and can be associated with the heat transfer from the MWNT layer to the substrate. For both types of nanotube assemblies, the acoustic signal’s amplitude varied with frequency approximately by the power low fp. The power factor p was found to be unexpectedly high for short forests probably due to heat loss to the substrate. The observed peculiarities can be used for the characterization of the prepared MWNT assemblies. The dependencies can also be helpful for evaluating the properties of thermal interfaces, in particular, those based on carbon nanotubes.

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March 10, 2010

Sundrop Fuels Claims Twice as Much Fuel from Biomass and Sun Catalyix Claims Efficient artificial photosynthesis

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1. Sundrop Fuels, a startup based in Louisville, CO, says it has developed a cleaner and more efficient way to turn biomass into synthetic fuels by harnessing the intense heat of the sun to vaporize wood and crop waste Its process can produce twice the amount of gasoline or diesel per ton of biomass compared to conventional biomass gasification systems, the company claims.



2. With one bottle of drinking water and four hours of sunlight, MIT chemist Dan Nocera claims that he can produce 30 KWh of electricity, which is enough to power an entire household in the developing world.

Sun Catalytix was awarded $4 million in government funding through the new ARPA-E agency



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A New Charging Method Could Greatly Reduce Battery Recharge Times

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A new charging method that should be capable of charging a Lithium-ion battery in a fraction of the time needed when using traditional methods.

This charging method uses an additional applied oscillatory electric field. Our simulation results show that this charging method offers a great reduction in the average intercalation time for Li+ ions, which dominates the charging time. The oscillating field not only increases the diffusion rate of Li+ ions in the electrolyte but, more importantly, also enhances intercalation by lowering the corresponding overall energy barrier.



These simulations suggest a new charging method that has the potential to deliver much shorter charging times, as well as the possibility of providing higher power densities.

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