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June 04, 2010

China Incremental Movement to Two Child Policy and then No Official Restrictions

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Big Chinese metropolises like Guangzhou, Shanghai and most recently Beijing are now allowing "double single" couples — or parents who are both singletons and products themselves of the one-child policy, to have two children.

This change has happened gradually and almost out of the public eye, spurred by alarmist projections of future negative population growth in wealthy hubs like Shanghai, where the fertility rate currently is 0.8 or far below the national average of 1.8.

Last year, China's wealthiest province Guangdong quietly dropped the requirement that those "eligible-to-have-two-children couples" should wait for four years before having the second one. Beijing is set to follow suit this year.


China's one-child policy little enforced (Now) -- and set to end
More than three decades after China formalized its one-child policy, the population-control program no longer applies to most Chinese and looks set to be abolished.

Launch Costs for the Spacex Falcon 9 and Competing Launch Systems

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The Spacex Falcon 9 can take 10,450 kg to LEO

Mission Type  Price*  
LEO (s/c<80% capacity to the customer orbit) $45.8M  
LEO (s/c>80% capacity to the customer orbit) $51.5M  
GTO (s/c<3,000 kg)** $45.8M  
GTO (s/c up to 4,680 kg) $51.5M  
Delta IV

The Delta IV product card is here

The Delta IV medium costs $133 million to launch up to 8,600 kg to LEO.


The Delta 4-2 costs $ 138 million to launch up to 11,700 kg to LEO.
Delta IV Payload planner guide (267 pages)

China Gives Assurances about Hydro Plans in Tibet

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China is giving assurances to India that it will not build dams that disrupt the flow of Brahmaputra river (Yarlung Tsangpo tibetan name for the river) in Tibet.

The UK Guardian had talked about the engineering plans for a megadam in Tibet.

China will be building some arrangement of dams for power generation and water management in Tibet and all over the country. It is probably more likely that China will avoid megadams for political and engineering reasons.

What would be the rationale behind such a big project? The story of the damming (and eventually diverting) the Brahmaputra can be summarised in one question: 'Who will feed China?' Beijing needs water to feed its people; needs water to produce food and electricity to run its economy. Twenty years ago, Chinese experts were led to look around for water. The answer was not far: Tibet is the water tower of Asia. About 90 per cent of the Tibetan rivers runoff flows downstream to China, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Thailand, Burma, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. Thus the idea to use Tibet's waters for Northern China was born.

An alternative proposal, known as Daduqia which 'avoids large dams altogether and takes full advantage of the 2,400m drop in altitude, but it is near the border with India and would be highly exposed if there were another conflict'

Russia Uprates Reactors for $200/kWe, Brazil Proceeding with Reactor and Japan Restarts a Reactor

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1. Russia will complete an uprate for all but one of Russia's VVER-1000s by the end of 2010. The uprates will increase the maximum capacity of eight third generation VVER-1000 reactors by 4%, resulting in 311 MWe extra generating capacity.

This is part of a larger program to increase the capacity of Russian reactors under which, Shutikov went on to mention, VVER-440 reactors will see their capacity increase by 5%. These uprates cost $200/kWe of extra generating capacity compared to $2300-$2400/kWe for the construction cost of Rostov 2.

2. Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) has begun a gradual process to bring the first reactor unit at the Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear power plant back into operation. Unit 1, a 1067 MWe boiling water reactor, was offline for scheduled maintenance when the earthquake hit. First in a series of tests will be a trial at a pressure of 3.5 MPa before another at 7 MPa. Later will be a start up to 20% power and shutdown followed by a gradual increase to power generation. Around that point the reactor could be described as back in commercial operation. Full operation of the the reactor should add over 2% to Japan's nuclear power generation.

Spacex Has Successfully Launched the Falcon 9, Falcon 9 is in orbit

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The Falcon 9 was successfully launched.
.
There is an alternative feed of the live video here (still holding for 1 hour and 11 55 minutes.)
The 50+ minute hold is due to range conditions.
The Falcon-9 is a two-stage rocket that is about 180 feet tall. The first stage consists of nine Merlin 1-C engines, the second stage has a single Merlin engine. This Falcon-9 launch plans to place into orbit a six-ton capsule known as Dragon.


The Spacex Dragon is a free-flying, reusable spacecraft being developed by SpaceX under NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program.
Here is the link to the Spacex webcast for its launch window for the Falcon 9. If all goes the Falcon9 should launch in the next 1-5 hours. There is a second launch window for this afternoon.

NASA Cassini Spacecraft Finds Two Potential Life Signatures from the moon Titan

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Two potential signatures of life on Saturn's moon Titan have been found by the Cassini spacecraft But scientists are quick to point out that non-biological chemical reactions could also be behind the observations. Microbes on Titan could eke out an existence by breathing in hydrogen gas and eating the organic molecule acetylene, creating methane in the process. This would result in a lack of acetylene on Titan and a depletion of hydrogen close to the moon's surface, where the microbes would live. Measurements from the Cassini spacecraft have borne out these predictions, hinting that life may be present.

June 03, 2010

Suggestion on dealing with the Deepwater Horizon (Mississippi Canyon 252) Oil Spill Disaster—The Friedlander Oil Chimney

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A guest column by Joseph Friedlander

(The illustrations in this article were done with the help of Sketchup and using parts of models from the 3d Warehouse (hat tip!))

Hi, folks.

On the principle of Six Degrees of Separation---the concept that any person in the world can be reached by someone who knows someone—I am indulging in a double leap of faith because of the emergency in the Gulf of Mexico. I am betting both that this idea is good and that someone who knows someone will read it and pass the idea on.
UPDATE: After cutting the riser, BP has placed a heated top hat dome over the leak. There is still leakage. The effectiveness of this procedure will be more clear over the next day or two.
Business Week reports that the current design could capture over 90% of the leaking oil. Optimization of the next day or two will determine the level of success.
END UPDATE

Deepwater horizon oil spill volume and extent from wikipedia

Bluntly, the problem may be over by the time you read this—or it may go on for a very long time indeed.

China Will Add A Lot More Hydroelectric Power including a Possible Tibet Dam Twice as Large as the Three Gorges Dam

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China is looking to add 120 gigawatts of hydroelectric power by 2015 to the current 197 gigawatts. China sees hydropower as a major part of its ambitious plan to increase use of non-fossil fuel by 15 percent, and improve the energy efficiency of its economy by 40 to 45 percent in a decade.

Chinese engineers have proposed a Tibet dam that would be over two times larger than the Three Gorges Dam.
The Tsangpo-Brahmaputra – until recently considered the last great undammed river in Tibet – will be the next focus of chinese government efforts to increase the nation's power supply. One of them is a map of planned dams showing a 38-gigawatt hydro-plant at Motuo

Prediction of When China Will Become a Developed Country

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When will China become a developed country?
First we have to consider which definition of developed country to use.
The UN HDI (Human Development Index) is a statistical measure that gauges a country's level of human development. It combines life expectancy, education, literacy and per capita GDP on a PPP basis China has good statistics for life expectancy, education and literacy. So as they catchup in per capita GDP to the lowest of the developed countries Barbados then China should be developed. China had a 77.2 HDI in 2007 and it was increasing at 0.009 per year. It would then take 14-15 years for China to exceed the 90 HDI cutoff or 2021 to 2022 with a two year lag in the UN HDI statistics. (Oct 2023 for 2021 statistics).

EEStor gets a Grid Storage Patent and Recapping Gets ARPA-E Funding for high Density Capacitor

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EEstor received a patent for large scale grid storage.

ARPA-E provided one million dollars in funding for Recapping Inc.
Pennsylvania University in conjunction with Recapping Inc. in Menlo Park, Calif., will develop a novel energy storage device — a high-energy density capacitor — based on a 3D nanocomposite structure. The device is expected to provide a cost-effective alternative to battery solutions, with added benefits of possibly delivering charge with high-power density.

HP Predicts Stacked memristors, low power CPUs could drive future data centers and Many Memristor Videos from a 2010 Memristor Conference

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EEtimes reports that Hewlett-Packard researchers are exploring ways to make their memristor the centerpiece of a future server design. In addition, the company determined low power processors such as those based on ARM cores are superior for some data center workloads. HP Labs is working on a new kind of chip called a nanostore. A nanostore is essentially a 3-D stack of processor cores married to non-volatile memory cores such as HP's memristors.

HP experiments show that early nanostores offer a factor of ten better performance for the same energy or dollars. Early work in 3-D stacks and memristors indicates that more factors better performance should be achievable.

Matthew Yglesias on China's Future Growth and Krugman on Singapore and China

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Analysis of technological progress in China and India by Peilei Fan (UN study 2008)

Matthew Yglesias at ThinkProgress wrote about China's economy and indicates that he believes that almost all of China's gains have come from shifting from low efficiency agriculture to high efficiency industry. Matthew predicts that this will continue but that China's growth will slow down dramatically well before China becomes as rich as even the poorer developed countries.

Matthew talks about China being quite a bit poorer than Costa Rica or Bulgaria on a per capita GDP basis whether you go by nominal or PPP-adjusted GDP. China is poorer than those countries now but Matthew seems to be saying that China will not catch up to them on a per capita basis.

Definitely Matthew is predicting that China will not catch up to or even get close to Barbados or Portugal on a per capita basis. The definition and list of developed countries has Barbados and Portugal as the poorest. 2010 PPP GDP per Capita Estimates

The IMF esimates of PPP GDP per capita for 2010

China          $7240
Costa Rica $10687
Bulgaria $12077
Portugal $22027
Barbados $18110
Matthew Yglesias says China slows down well before or a lot less. Say 80% or less of Barbados $15000 ish ?
Singapore $52964 (remember this when you read the review of Krugman's prediction for Singapore and what he calls the paper Tiger economies)
Taiwan $33831
South Korea $29351
Hong Kong $44840
United States $47702


On a nominal basis Barbados has $13,000 GDP per capita and China has about $4000 If China does catch up to Barbados on a per capita basis then China has an overall economy of about $18 trillion which if that happened before 2020 probably catches the US for overall economic size on a nominal basis.

China does have the shift to higher productivity industry but is also developing world class science (look at patents and scientific papers). China is increasing productivity in agriculture and industry. China is developing car manufacturing and car markets. China is moving up to regional jets. China is moving on supercomputers.

I predict that China will fully catch up on a per capita basis. China will have more than 80% of Barbados or Portugal per capita GDP before 2020. China will have per capita GDP in the range of the top 30 countries (Spain) by 2045 and to USA levels by 2060.

June 02, 2010

New Powered Rope Climber can go 10 Feet per Second with up to 1000 Pounds Which is about three times Better than the First Power Climbers from 3 Years Ago

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Atlas Devices has a new Powered Rope Ascender can climb can hold a target load capacity up to 600 pounds at a 6-feet per second rate of ascension. The lightweight ATLAS Ascender can pull a fully-loaded soldier or firefighter up a rappelling line at up to 10 ft/sec. The powerful rope not only lifts and lowers, but can tow vehicles and remotely move equipment and casualties as well, making it a valuable tool for VBSS teams. Its high-power, high-density lithium battery will allow a load to ascend 375 feet without recharging.
It is also able to recapture 10 to 15 percent of its potential energy as it descends, which can be used to recharge the battery
Previous versions of climbers had a 3 ft/sec speed and were limited to 300 pounds of lift

104 Watt EUV Light Source for 2014 Volume Production and Ramping up from 2011

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Gigaphoton (Japan) announced a 104 watt Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) light source which is a critical part for the realization of the first volume-production-worthy EUV light source target for 2011. It was made under the Laser Produced Plasma (LPP) Light Source Development Program for EUV Lithography, it is promoted by EUVA.

China's Academy of Science published a Vivek Bakshi review of the status of EUV and his bet of a Lotus car with Chris Mack if EUVL is in volume production by 2014 .

* Nikon believes that > 0.35 NA optics is needed for a two-generation EUVL tool and sees EUVL being used at the 16 nm node. To extend 193 nm lithography, Ushida proposed a "line cutting" concept along with two sets of patterns on the same mask to make double patterning cost-effective
* Nikon believes that its HVM EUVL tool will need 0.4 or higher NA. During Q&A, Nikon's Takaharu Miura pointed out the company is still working to achieve 0.4 NA with six-mirror designs in an effort to avoid an eight-mirror design, which would lose throughput because of additional reflective surfaces.

Various Insulin Pills in Clinical Trials and Targeted Nanosponge Drug Delivery is Three to Five times more Effective against Cancer Tumors

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1. There are various clinical trials for insulin pills. Being able to deliver proteins in time released pill form could provide many benefits for insulin and other conditions.

The human body is designed to digest proteins. Acids and enzymes in the gastrointestinal tract will chew up a valuable therapeutic protein as easily as they’ll tear into a bite of steak. To avoid this fate and reach the intended target, most protein pharmaceuticals are formulated for injection or intravenous infusion. As a result, large amounts of drug tend to be administered less often.

The global diabetes market exceeds $30 billion annually, with insulin sales accounting for about half of that, according to the market research firm IMS Health. If new solid doses can perform at least as well as, if not better than, existing products, they might promise new sales, lower costs of delivery, and extended patent life. Fortunately for drug developers, recombinant production can make enough insulin inexpensively for the larger doses required in oral forms.

Japan's Shimizu Corporation Proposes Solar Power MegaProject for the Moon

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The Shimizu Corporation, a Japanese construction firm, has proposed building tens of thousands of square kilometers of solar cells on the moon.
The Japanese government space agency recently proposed a $2.2 billion project to build a robotically operated moonbase by 2020. Shimizu is a multi-billion corporation with many visionary futuristist project proposals but they have actually been developing airports and bridges around Asia.
Lunar resources will be used to the fullest extent possible in constructing the Solar Belt. Water can be produced by reducing lunar soil with hydrogen that is imported from the Earth. Cementing material can also be extracted from lunar resources. These materials will be mixed with lunar soil and gravel to make concrete. Bricks, glass fibers and other structural materials can also be produced by solar-heat treatments.

The Lunar Solar Belt Configuration

1. Lunar solar cells To ensure continuous generation of power, an array of solar cells will extend like a belt along the entire 11,000km lunar equator. This belt will grow in width from a few kilometers to 400km.

IBM Makes Silicon Nanowire Transistors with 2.6 nanometer Features

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EEtimes reports that a series of functional 25-stage ring oscillators has been made by a team of researchers from the IBM Watson Research Center using silicon nanowire transistors with diameters down to 2.6-nanometers.

The use of silicon nanowire transistors is proposed to allow the continued scaling of CMOS beyond what is possible in planar fabrication. This and the nanowires for memristors from HP means that Moore's law will continue for at least 2 or 3 more decades.
Link to the word document summary of the IBM paper Gate-all-around Silicon Nanowire 25-Stage CMOS Ring Oscillators with Diameter Down to 3 nm

Carnival of Space 156 - technological stepping stones to space

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The Carnival of Space 156 is up at theSpacewriter.com.

This site provided the following (2 of the three were in the Carnival): 1. Japan had a successful liftoff of what could be the first successful deployment and operation of a solar sail.

2. An article on the X51 hypersonic flight one with info and video capture from the US Airforce.

3. The current status and background of the NASA WISE telescope hunt for cool (low temperature brown dwarf stars.


Weird warp looks at the new details we are discovering and background information about the Kuiper Belt.


June 01, 2010

How Much Gender Imbalance in a Country Before There are Societal Problems ?

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There has been concern about the sex ratio (baby boys to baby girls) in China. The sex ratio is normally about 103 to 107 boys for every 100 girls.

Recent analysis indicates that 3 million children are hidden each year in China and this action overstated the gender imbalance. China has an estimated 20 million live births and 13 million abortions each year. So the 3 million hidden children means 23 million live births. The sex ratio was estimated to be about 119 boys for 100 girls. So about 1.3 million more boys than an regular 106 boys for 100 girls ratio before the 3 million hidden children correction. How much of a problem there is in the gender ratio depends upon the gender ratio of the hidden children. Although it appears clear that more girls were hidden than boys.

USA Never Married 40-44

The percentage of men who never married in the USA is about 16-18.5% and the percentage for women is about 12%. These figures increased from 1970 when the amounts were about 3 times less, because of societal changes.

SGI Announces Hybrid Computing Platform to Deliver a Petaflop in a Single Cabinet

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SGI a global leader in HPC and data center solutions, today announced at the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC, SC10) that it has developed a breakthrough hybrid computing platform that will deliver a petaflop of performance within a single cabinet. (A petaflop is defined as a thousand trillion floating point operations per second.) This innovative platform leverages open software architecture and will scale from tens to hundreds of petaflops, enabling users to tackle the most demanding technical compute requirements

There are no technical details about this announcement beyond what is in the press release, but as information becomes available we will provide updates.

SGI (Silicon Graphics) current Altix Ice 8400 servers require 33 cabinets to scale to a petaflop.

Altix ICE 8400, with its innovative blade design, easily and affordably scales to up to 65,536 compute nodes with integrated single or dual plane InfiniBand backplane interconnect. Open x86 architecture makes it equally simple to deploy commercial, open source or custom applications on completely unmodified Novell® SUSE® or Red Hat® Linux® operating systems.

Altix ICE 8400 easily meets the needs of the world's largest supercomputing deployments. Recognized for its design win at the NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) facility at Ames Research Center, SGI helps Pleiades Supercomputer, the world's largest InfiniBand cluster, scale with an additional 32 cabinets of Altix ICE 8400 to nearly a petaflop. The system fully leverages SGI's hypercube topology to enable seamless cabinet-level upgrades without any production downtime, saving millions of core hours in the process

SGI has submitted a world record SPECmpiL_2007 result of 51.3 for Altix ICE 8400 on the SPEC MPI2007 benchmark. This eclipsed the previous record of 43.3 set by the SGI® Altix® ICE 8200 platform, and is a testament to the efficiency and scalability of Altix ICE when it comes to the MPI-driven workloads commonly found in HPC environments.

Potential Breast Cancer Vaccine Could be Just a Few Years Away

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Vincent K. Tuohy, PhD, an immunologist and researcher in the department of immunology at the Cleveland Clinic's Lerner Research Institute, and his team, supported by the National Cancer Institute, have been studying "the possibility of a vaccine that would protect women from breast cancer."

On May 30, the American researchers published their findings in the online edition of the journal Nature Medicine showing that a breast cancer vaccine to target women aged 40 and up and those with a high risk of the disease could be just a few years away.


Nature Medicine - An autoimmune-mediated strategy for prophylactic breast cancer vaccination

Human Space Travel to the Outer Solar System

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Ralph McNutt takes a detailed but flawed look at human missions to the outer solar system. He looks at using Extremely heavy lift launch vehicles (EHLLV chemical rockets) to lift about 1000 tons to low earth orbit and then scaled up versions of the Vasimr magnetoplasma rocket to move about the solar system.

There is some useful information about radiation levels in space and active electric and magnetic shields.

(H/T Ars Technica)

Chinese Hiding 3 Million Babies Each Year to Bypass One Child Policies

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The Telegraph UK and other sources are reporting that 3 million babies are hidden in China each year. This is according to research by Liang Zhongtang, a demographer and former member of the expert committee of China's National Population and Family Planning Commission.

People have been warning about problems with China having a gender imbalance (too many boys) and having a shortage of younger people (an aging population and increasing dependency ratio). Both of those problems are not as bad as earlier feared because of the cheating against the one child system.

May 31, 2010

Water Flooding Will Increase Recovery of Canadian Bakken Oil from 10% to 30% of Oil in Place

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Two years of tests at an initial pilot project in the Bakken — and more recent results from a second test — show that injecting water into formations being tapped by nearby horizontal wells with multiple fracture stimulations can help boost recovery from about 10 per cent to 30 per cent of oil in place

China has the Second and Seventh Fastest Supercomputers and Germany has Fifth and the USA has the rest of the Top Ten

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The June 2010 list of the top 500 supercomputers has been released.


1. Jaguar - Oak Ridge National Labs, Cray XT5 1.75 petaflops
2. Nebulae - China - Shenzhen
Dawning TC3600 Blade, Nvidia/Intel mix 1.27 petaflops
3. Roadrunner - DOE IBM Powercell 1.04 petaflops
4. Kraken - XT5 Tennessee 832 teraflops
5. Jugene - Germany IBM Blue Gene 825 teraflops

May 30, 2010

DNA computing circuits using libraries of DNAzyme subunits

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Nature Nanotechnology - DNA computing circuits using libraries of DNAzyme subunits

Biological systems that are capable of performing computational operations could be of use in bioengineering and nanomedicine, and DNA and other biomolecules have already been used as active components in biocomputational circuits. There have also been demonstrations of DNA/RNA-enzyme-based automatons, logic control of gene expression, and RNA systems for processing of intracellular information. However, for biocomputational circuits to be useful for applications it will be necessary to develop a library of computing elements, to demonstrate the modular coupling of these elements, and to demonstrate that this approach is scalable. Here, we report the construction of a DNA-based computational platform that uses a library of catalytic nucleic acids (DNAzymes), and their substrates, for the input-guided dynamic assembly of a universal set of logic gates and a half-adder/half-subtractor system. We demonstrate multilayered gate cascades, fan-out gates and parallel logic gate operations. In response to input markers, the system can regulate the controlled expression of anti-sense molecules, or aptamers, that act as inhibitors for enzymes.

New Method for Producing Bulk Quantitites of Graphene

Researchers from Rice University and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology unveiled a new method for producing bulk quantities of one-atom-thick sheets of carbon called graphene.

* dissolve graphite in chlorosulphonic acid, a common industrial solvent.
* dissolve as much as two grams of graphene per liter of acid to produce solutions at least 10 times more concentrated than existing methods.
* Using the concentrated solutions of dissolved graphene, the scientists made transparent films that were electrically conductive and produced liquid crystals
* In liquid crystals, the individual sheets align themselves into domains, and having some measure of alignment allows you to flow the material through narrow openings to create fibers
Nature Nanotechnology - Spontaneous high-concentration dispersions and liquid crystals of graphene

NHK Japan is Promising Functional Holographic TV by 2016 and Will Work With Korea to Present 2022 World Cup With 3D Holography

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Japan is banking on its reputation for technological innovation to win hosting rights for the 2022 World Cup and a plan to 550 billion yen (about US$6 billion and most of that is for the World Cup and not directly on the 3D holographic TV technology).
Basically Japan is promising true 3D television and images that do not require glasses and full court 3D experience (pretty close to holodeck like) by 2022. They will be using 60 to 100 million pixels of resolution to create the 3D effect. They demonstrated a 33 million pixel system in Las Vegas in 2009.
The high-tech projects include images being beamed onto giant 3-D hologram-style flatbed screens, translation earpieces for fans of different nations to converse with each other, and devices to instantly capture information by pointing at players on the pitch. The bidding team has enlisted the help of Keio University professor and Internet pioneer Jun Murai to help with the technology that forms the backbone of the proposal. Murai acknowledged the challenges that lie ahead, but insists the communication devices and "Full Court 3-D Vision" are more than just fantasy.


In 2009, Japan demonstrated actual electronic holography




Megaregions in Asia

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Just over half the world now lives in cities but by 2050, over 70 percent of the world will be urban dwellers. By then, only 14 percent of people in rich countries will live outside cities, and 33 percent in poor countries.

The largest and most developed mega-region is, unsurprisingly, in China. The Hong Kong-Shenhzen-Guangzhou region is home to over 120 million people and it is here where a significant chunk of China's economic boom is happening.

The case of the Hong Kong-Shenzhen-Guangzhou region is exemplary: three very strong financial centers, with their own relative independence and history and openly encouraged, promoted and enhanced by the Beijing government. This is now the leading growth engine for China's economic future.

China Has an Innovation That Would Make All High Speed Trains Non-Stop

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By using connector cabins to embark and disembark a high speed train never needs to fully stop at a station.

Boarding a Train


The passengers at a station embarks onto to a connector cabin way before the train even arrives at the station. When the train arrives, it will not stop at all. It just slows down to pick up the connector cabin which will move with the train on the roof of the train.

While the train is still moving away from the station, those passengers will board the train from the connector cabin mounted on the train's roof. After fully unloading all its passengers, the cabin connector cabin will be moved to the back of the train so that the next batch of outgoing passengers who want to alight at the next station will board the connector cabin at the rear of the train roof.