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June 12, 2010

Lawrenceville Plasma Physics High Fusion Yields Confirmed and Plan for This 2010

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Tests in early June have confirmed that FF-1 is producing higher fusion yields than have been achieved with any other DPF at the same peak current.
Increasing the current by about 3 times to 2-3 million amps should result in the achievement of the desired energy production from one shot.

Suspended-animation cold sleep achieved in lab

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Dr Mark Roth and his colleagues wondered how it is that some people can enter a state of frozen suspended animation and then recover from it safely, whereas in general such a change of body temperature is deadly.

The scientists now think they may be on the track of an answer, having learned how to perform the same trick reliably with other lifeforms; in this case yeasts and nematode worms. Yeasts and worms, like humans, will normally simply die if they are chilled down past a certain point. But Roth and his colleagues have found that if the little creatures are starved of oxygen before turning on the cold, they will go into suspended animation from which they recover on warming and go on to live normal yeasty or wormy lives.

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 5 - Liquid Flouride Thorium Reactors, Energy Waste and More

UPDATE. Adding a missed article.
From Idaho Samizdat Exelon and Entergy are retreating from new nuclear reactor builds
Costs, risks, and lack of a price on carbon all play in their decisions.

1. Nuclear green Reports that an article on Liquid Flouride Thorium Reactors (LFTR) will appear in the July/August issue of the American Scientist.

The potential MSR/LFTR cost advantages are discussed. The factory based mass production of small (about 100 MWe) LFTRs is mentioned, as is the usefulness of LFTRs in providing developing nations energy at very reasonable costs.

Given the diminished scale of LFTRs, it seems reasonable to project that reactors of 100 megawatts can be factory produced for a cost of around $200 million. Boeing, producing one $200 million airplane per day, could be a model for LFTR production.
The coal2nuclear conversion idea is reported.
One potential role for mass-produced LFTR plants could be repla ing the power generation components of existing fossil-fuel fired plants, while integrating with the existing electrical-distribution infrastructure already wired to those sites. The savings from adapting existing infrastructure could be very large indeed.


Humanity Plus Summit Coverage

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The Speculist is liveblogging the Humanity Plus Summit at Harvard this weekend.

The slides for 30 presentations are at slideshare.

Details of Progress Towards Regenerating At Queen's University

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Dr. Brian Amsden, a chemical engineering professor from Queen’s University, is developing a technique wherein cells from a patient’s body would be placed on a polymer prosthetic that stimulates cell growth. After the cells had established themselves sufficiently, the prosthetic would be implanted in the patient’s body. The polymer would then biodegrade, leaving behind nothing but the patient’s own tissue.

Not unlike Dr. Jeremy Mao’s system for growing teeth, Dr. Amsden’s system involves seeding cells onto a three-dimensional scaffold that mimics the structure of the desired part. In Amsden’s case, that structure is made up of spun polymer nanofibers, each one with a diameter smaller than that of a single cell.

Already, he has succeeded in getting fibroblasts (cells that make up collagen) to grow along the length of such a scaffold, simulating a tendon or ligament.

If the Nickel-64 theory of Cold Fusion is Correct

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A recent theory for cold fusion is that deuteron stripping reactions (1935 discovery by Oppenheimer) are occuring with Nickel-64 isotope. This would produce 8 MeV for each reaction for the 1% of the nickel that is nickel-64. 80,000 eV for each atom of nickel. 1250 times more energy density by weight than any chemical reaction.

Nickel is the fifth most common element on Earth.

The Earth's crust is 75 parts per million nickel. Only iron, oxygen, silicon and magnesium are more common.

World Nickel production is about 1.42 million tons per year.

So if the Nickel-64 theory is correct and can be perfected then Nickel production would need to be increased. 1 ton of oil is equal to 7.3 barrels of oil. 11.7 million tons of oil per day is used in the world. 9000 tons of nickel that is totally used would equal that energy. 3.5 million tons of nickel per year used for perfected deuteron stripping reactions would equal all of the oil we use now.

June 11, 2010

Cold Fusion and Blacklight Power Explained as Stripping Reaction from Nickel Isotope

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There is new theory for explaining one category of LENR (Low Energy Nuclear Reactions - what was called cold fusion.) results involving nickel as the active host; and in particular the Arata-Zhang results and numerous replications.

Nickel-64 can be purchased at 95% enrichment for about $100,000 for 5 grams. The ratio of isotopes is not controversial. Can these reactions be catalyzed ? Is that what is happening with many LENR and Blacklight Power experiments ?

I say yes, but experiments can be done to confirm or falsify this theory.

This theory has been updated by Jones Beene (H/T to Froarty in the comments)
An earlier version of the theory focused on Halo Nuclei but now it does not.
The O-P effect would give 59Ni as the activated nucleus - but this has a very long half-lie - thousands of years so that does not help us very much. However, with 64Ni you get 65Ni as the activated nucleus and it has a 2.5 hr half life and decays to copper. This is the range half-life that can explain "heat after death" and also the delay in heat buildup over time.

The Oppenheimer-Phillips process, or deuteron stripping reaction, is a type of deuteron-induced nuclear reaction which depends on charge shielding. In this process, the neutron component of an energetic deuteron fuses with a target nucleus, transmuting the target to a heavier isotope while ejecting a proton. An example is the nuclear transmutation of carbon-12 to carbon-13.

Let us make the clear distinction that this is a fusion reaction, followed by beta day of the heavier nucleus. The fusion is between deuterium and nickel. The ash is a proton, and eventually a beta particle and a transmuted element (to copper). The mechanics of interaction allow a nuclear fusion interaction to take place at much lower energies than would be expected from a calculation of the Coulomb barrier between a deuteron and a target nucleus.

This is because as the deuteron approaches the positively charged target nucleus, it experiences a charge polarization where the "proton-end" faces away from the target and the "neutron-end" faces towards the target. The deuteron must be accelerated of course, but the rate of acceleration, being a function of time, is expected to be influenced by time distortion within a Casimir cavity. In this hypothesis, the Casimir cavity of 2-10 nm is required. The fusion proceeds when the binding energy of the approaching neutron and the target nucleus exceeds the binding energy of the deuteron and the trailing proton. That proton is then repelled from the new heavier nucleus. This is one indication of the reaction - hydrogen in place of deuterium - which will poison the reaction unless removed.
Copper 65 is the stable atom that results.

Nickel is about 1% Nickel 64 (although this can vary quite a bit. It is higher from certain meteorite sources.)

The energy release occurs mostly by de-excitation through γ emission of the intermediate excited Ni* compound nucleus. The characteristics of this γ emission (depending upon the levels of the excited nucleus), are very well known. This represents (on average) some 8 MeV (balance after deduction of the energy required for the "virtual neutron" formation, i.e 0,782 Mev). The remaining comes from the decay of the ground states of the radioactive intermediate species formed (59Ni, 63Ni, and 65Ni).
1% of 67 keV8 MeV is 80 keV per Nickel Atom and 1.3 keV per neutron or proton. Thus these reactions would have one thousand times the energy density of hydrogen chemical reactions.

Halo Nucleus at wikipedia.

In nuclear physics a stripping reaction is a nuclear reaction in which part of the incident nucleus combines with the target nucleus, and the remainder proceeds with most of its original momentum in almost its original direction.

Deuteron (proton and neutron) stripping reactions acting on nickel isotopes could also be part of what is happening.

Deuteron stripping example at Britannica

Robert Oppenheimer and Melba Philips in Phys rev. 1935 published the concept of deuteron stripping reactions and it is also called the Oppenheimer-Phillips process.

The Oppenheimer-Phillips process allows a nuclear interaction to take place at lower energies than would be expected from a simple calculation of the Coulomb barrier between a deuteron and a target nucleus. This is because as the deuteron approaches the positively charged target nucleus, it experiences a charge polarization where the "proton-end" faces away from the target and the "neutron-end" faces towards the target. The fusion proceeds when the binding energy of the neutron and the target nucleus exceeds the binding energy of the deuteron and a proton is then repelled from the new heavier nucleus


Update on Progress to the Eight Expermental Milestones for Dense Plasma Focus Fusion

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Focus fusion provides an update on progress on the eight goals of Lawrenceville Plasma Physics Nuclear Fusion experiments.

Milestone 1: Achieve pinch on FF1 machine

This milestone was already achieved before the last milestone update in November 2009.

Milestone 2: Achieve pinch at 25kV and 1MA, determine optimum gas pressure

In April we achieved a pinch at 30kV and 1MA. Optimizing the gas pressure is ongoing.

Milestone 3: Test theory of axial magnetic field

In March we saw clear evidence that an initial axial magnetic field increases fusion yield.


Radiation Absorbing Metamaterials Could Make Perfectly Black Stealth Planes

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Evgenii Narimanov and Mikhail Noginov and colleagues at Norfolk State University in Virginia have now created such a perfectly black metamaterial. It consists of silver wires 35 nanometres in diameter, embedded in 1-centimetre squares of aluminium oxide, 51 micrometres thick.

Nanoparticles of Tin have 60% Stronger Superconducting Properties

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Enhanced superconductivity has been observed in 1-50 nanometer sized particles of tin.
[Nanowerk coverage] Quantum effects in the tiny particles can intensify superconductivity up to 60 %, but only if a "magical" size is reached that can be predicted accurately. These results provide new starting points for superconductivity at room temperature.

Materials that carry current without loss would save a lot of energy. Superconductor are capable of doing so, however, the best superconductors first give up their resistance at a temperature below 170 degrees Celsius. The team of researchers has now succeeded in increasing the critical temperature below which a material becomes a superconductor by creating nanoparticles of a specific size.

June 10, 2010

China GDP per Capita by Provinces and its Economic Future and Superpowerdom

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Some believe that China will never become a superpower and that China's GDP growth will stall out at $10,000 per capita.

Helen Wang says -
I believe that China’s economy will continue to grow rapidly over the next 10 to 15 years. After that, it will slow down when its per capita income approaches $10,000. That will make China’s economy close to the size of the U. S. economy.


Actually if the first part is true, that China continues to grow rapidly for 12 years and there is 100% currency appreciation, then China would be at $25,000 per capita income and would be about twice the size of the US economy.This site has previously covered a Boston Consulting Group detailed analysis of China in 2020.

By 2020, half of the urban population will live in cities with over one million people. There will be 800 locations with real disposable incomes higher than in Shanghai today.

China's growth will bring close to 100 million households earning at least 60,000 yuan per year (about $9,000) into the middle- and affluent-class (MAC) segments from 2010 to 2020--roughly the same number of MAC-equivalent households as in the United States today. The increase in MAC households will double consumer spending power in nearly a quarter of China's cities and counties over the next decade.



Wikipedia has a list of Chinese administrative divisions by GDP per capita (2009)
Shanghai and Beijing are aleady over $10,000 per capita and soon Tianjin will be past the $10,000 per capita level.
Why is it believed that other provinces and cities will not be able to follow. China is at about 50% urbanization now. China is heading to 80-90% urbanization. China is damming rivers to deepen them to enable ten thousand ton barges to go inland. This and other infrastructure moves is enabling the interior to more closely match the economic development of coastal cities.

Tensilica - Berkeley Labs - Colorado Exaflop System Design

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Energy-Efficient Computing for Extreme Scale Science (10 page pdf) updates the research to making multi-petaflop and exaflop scale systems using Tensilica chips
A straw design based on 2008 Tensilica chips could theoretically achieve 200 petaflops peak with $75 million in cost and 3 megawatts of power. Next generation chips and networking available before 2015 would push the system to exaflop performance.
A many-core processor design for high-performance systems draws from embedded computing’s low-power architectures and design processes, providing a radical alternative to cluster solutions.

We have developed Green Flash, an application-driven design that combines a many-core processor with novel alternatives to cache coherence and autotuning to improve the kernels’ computational efficiency. This approach can achieve two-orders-of magnitude improvement in computational efficiency for climate simulation relative to a conventional symmetric multiprocessor (SMP) approach.

We originally estimated 10 petaflops as the sustained computational rate necessary to simulate Earth’s climate 1,000 times faster than it actually occurs. An updated estimate of the requirements for the CSU model raised that to as high as 70 petaflops—an example of the considerable uncertainty in making these estimates.

Peter Ungaro, CEO of Cray Computing, recently remarked that “Our current technologies can get us to the 10-20 petaflops range. But then to start to think about 100 [petaflops], we really need a major shift in technology.”

The proposed Tensilica exaflop system would use 20 million energy efficient Tensilica CPUs.

In our search for a radical alternative, we turned to the embedded-processor market, which successfully addresses the custom and cost issues. The industry relies on sophisticated tool chains that enable the rapid and cost-effective turnaround of power-efficient semicustom design implementations appropriate to each application.

Our design, Green Flash, leverages the same tool chains to design power-efficient exascale systems, tailoring embedded chips to target scientific applications. Rather than ask, What kind of scientific applications can run on our high-performance computing cluster? after it arrives, we have turned the question around to ask, What kind of system should be built to meet the needs of the most important science problems? This approach lets us realize the most substantial gains in energy efficiency because we essentially peel back the complexity of a high-frequency microprocessor design point to reduce waste—wasted opcodes, wasted bandwidth, waste caused by orienting architectures toward serial performance. We also change the notion of commodity from that of component-level integration of clusters to integration of commodity circuit designs within a chip for a system-on-chip.

By using hardware-software cotuning, our design enables rapid hardware design and establishes a feedback path from application programmer to hardware designer. By combining an autotuning environment for software optimization with an emulation platform based on an FPGA, we can simultaneously develop software optimizations and a semispecialized processor design. Essentially, we have not only built on proven ideas, but we have taken them in a new direction.


Here is a link to the Scidac Review of the Green Flash Design

Cray Talks Sustained Exaflop Supercomputer around 2018 but Zettaflops around 2028 need new Research

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Cray is building more support for accelerators (like GPGPUs) for regular Intel/AMD chips for their supercomputers.

Further down the road, heterogeneous processing will form the foundation of Cray exascale architectures. In 2018, the year Scott predicts Cray will have a machine that can deliver a sustained application exaflop, heterogeneous computing will likely be much more highly integrated. According to Scott, CPU-GPU hybrid processors (or the equivalent), along the lines of AMD's Fusion architecture, will be generally available and powerful enough to form the basis of HPC machines. He believes both NVIDIA and Intel will be offering their own versions of integrated CPU-accelerator chips. "That's clearly the direction to take," he asserted. "The more tightly you can couple those two different types of processors together, the better off we'll be."

EUV lithography Technology is Progressing but Timeline for 16 Nanomater Node is Still at Risk

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A 104 watt EUV light source was produced which would enable 60 wafers per hour. However pressure remains for a EUV source capable of 250-watts at intermediate focus. Indeed it is possible that for the NXE3300 production machines, due in 2012, the LPP (laser produced plasma) source could be replaced by a discharge-produced plasma (DPP) source, Ronse said. "The decision is not made yet," he said.

What if EUV is Delayed Again? Reliability of Moore's Law at Risk

What if the source energy cannot be raised or the mask inspection tools cannot find the yield-busting defects, or the resists fail to perform. Does that mean that 193-nm wavelength optical lithography can fill the gap?

Not easily, although it is being considered as a fall-back position, Ronse said. But overlay specifications become tighter so chip makers would likely need new machines and they might require quadruple patterning to squeeze extra resolution from the 193-nm wavelength. That would in turn increase the dwell time on the machine and harm productivity making the machines substantially less capital efficient.

It would seem more likely that Moore's Law and the ITRS would incur the delay in moving to 16-nm that would finally mark the end of steady scaling. In fact IMEC's Van den Hove made the point in remarks ahead of the IMEC Technology Forum that lithography-enabled scaling in 2-d is likely to slow down while being compensated for by integrated complexity in the third dimension.

0.7 Tesla Magnet with Very Even Field Could Enable Palm Sized Nuclear Magnetic Resonance

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The 0.7 Tesla magnet, developed by Federico Casanova and his colleagues at the RWTH Aachen University's department of macromolecular chemistry, is about the size of a standard D battery and weighs 500 grams.

Today bulky and expensive superconducting magnets are used to generate the strong magnetic fields (about seven tesla) needed for precision NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance). While portable magnets have been made before, the new one enables NMR measurements that are just as precise as the large commercial magnets.

The portable magnet could make possible sensitive, high-resolution NMR devices that can be taken to an archaeological dig to identify artifacts and to a factory to detect contamination in products. It could be used in doctors' offices to spot blood clots, bacteria, or cancer proteins in a patient's blood. It could also allow portable NMR machines to monitor the production of drugs and chemicals in-line instead of taking chemical samples to NMR labs for analysis. Even better magnets might be possible by fine-tuning the design, the researchers say. While the magnet's field strength is 0.7 tesla right now, increasing the outer diameter of the magnet should make it possible to generate 1.5 tesla, the researchers say. What is more, using magnets made of other materials such as neodymium, as much as two tesla could be generated.

Lawrenceville Plasma Physics Progress to Proving Scientific Feasibility of Dense Plasma Nuclear Fusion

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Tests in early June have confirmed that FF-1 (Focus Fusion 1 experimental Device) is producing higher fusion yields than have been achieved with any other DPF (Dense Plasma Fusion) at the same peak current.

The FF-1 results are as much as a factor of ten above the other results and show a sharper increase with higher current. They cannot say for sure yet if this improvement in performance is due to our use of the Axial Field Coil or to the small radius of our electrodes or both. Lawrenceville Plasma Physics (LPP) is a bit less than half way to their goal of demonstrating scientific feasibility which would involve a yield of 10,000 to 100,000 joules. If they can continue at the rate of progress of the spring, they should reach demonstrating scientific feasibility by year-end.

IMEC Introduces Software Radio Architecture that can Scale to 1 Gigabit per second and IMEC Makes Germanium Thermophotovoltaics Cheaper

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1. Imec introduces a cognitive baseband radio (COBRA) architecture targeting 4G requirements at up to 1Gbit/s throughput and multiple asynchronous concurrent streams (for instance simultaneous digital broadcasting reception and high-speed internet access). The low-cost, flexible architecture answers a new trend in wireless communication where terminals give their users ubiquitous broadband access to a multitude of services.

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Has Successful Deployed the IKAROS Solar Sail

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The IKAROS (Interplanetary Kite-craft Accelerated by Radiation Of the Sun) mission aims at verifying that a spacecraft can fly only by solar powered sail, and that thin film solar cells can generate power.

The IKAROS blog is here

And a google translation of the IKAROS blog is here.
Today's IKAROS
Solar Distance: 1.05AU
Earth Distance: 7480787km, ascension =- 157.3 °, declination =- 23.0 °
Venus Distance: 1.23AU
Attitude: spin rate = 2.5rpm, sun angle 13.3deg

June 09, 2010

China Investing in Greece and Getting a European Trade Hub and Taishan in China plans nuclear-powered growth

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1. Washington Post reports that spurred on by government incentives and bargain-basement prices, the Chinese are planning to pump hundreds of millions -- perhaps billions -- of euros into Greece even as other investors run the other way.

* The cornerstone of those plans is the transformation of the Mediterranean port of Piraeus into the Rotterdam of the south, creating a modern gateway linking Chinese factories with consumers across Europe and North Africa.

* The Chinese shipping giant Cosco assumed full control of the major container dock in Piraeus (35 year lease), just southwest of Athens. In return, the Chinese have pledged to spend $700 million to construct a new pier and upgrade existing docks.

* The Greek government, for its part, is taking on the powerful unions in a bid to ensure that the Chinese can introduce dramatic changes to increase efficiency and productivity

* The Greek government is also courting China for a bevy of other projects, including a sprawling new distribution center in the industrial wastelands west of Athens, a monorail line, five-star hotels and a new maritime theme park

* The investments here in Greece, analysts say, are part of China's plan to create a network of roads, pipelines, railroads and port facilities -- sort of a modern Silk Road -- to boost East-West trade.

* "The Chinese want a gateway into Europe," Theodoros Pangalos, Greece's deputy prime minister, said in an interview. "They are not like these Wall Street [expletive] pushing financial investments on paper. The Chinese deal in real things, in merchandise. And they will help the real economy in Greece."

Eventually the Size of the Leak Will be Precisely Known as Collection Ramps Up

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BP is collecting 15,000 barrels per day and by next week would have the capacity to collect 28,000 barrels per day.

28,000 barrels per day is higher than more recent estimates of the size of the leak. It appears that the current cap method can be scaled up so that eventually the valves can be closed and 90% of the oil can be collected. When the valves are closed then we will know how much oil was leaking based on actually collecting the 90+% of the leakage.

The amount that is collected at that point next week (or in the following weeks if the amount is over 30,000 barrels per day) would be based on the higher flow rate after the pipe was cut.

Memristor MOS Content Addressable Memory For Future High Performance Search Engines

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Arxiv - Memristor MOS Content Addressable Memory (MCAM): Hybrid Architecture for Future High Performance Search Engines

As Moore’s Law becomes more difficult to fulfill, integration of significantly different technologies such as spintronics, carbon nano tube field effect transistors (CNFET), optical nanocircuits based on metamaterials, and more recently the memristor, are gaining more focus thus creating new possibilities towards realization of innovative circuits and systems within the System on System (SoS) domain.

The memristor behaves as a switch, much like a transistor. However, unlike the transistor, it is a 2-terminal rather than a 3-terminal device and does not require power to retain either of its two states. Note that a memristor changes its resistance between two values and this is achieved via the movement of mobile ionic charge within an oxide layer, furthermore, these resistive states are non-volatile.

Large-capacity Content Addressable Memory (CAM) is a key element in a wide variety of applications. The inevitable complexities of scaling MOS transistors introduce a major challenge in the realization of such systems. Convergence of disparate technologies, which are compatible with CMOS processing, may allow extension of Moore’s Law for a few more years. This paper provides a new approach towards the design and modeling of Memristor (Memory resistor) based Content Addressable Memory (MCAM) using a combination of memristor MOS devices to form the core of a memory/compare logic cell that forms the building block of the CAM architecture. The non-volatile characteristic and the nanoscale geometry together with compatibility of the memristor with CMOS processing technology increases the packing density, provides for new approaches towards power management through disabling CAM blocks without loss of stored data, reduces power dissipation, and has scope for speed improvement as the technology matures
.

Maybe Life on Titan, Mars, Europa and Water on Triton, Enceladus and our Own Moon

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NASA's Cassini probe found signatures consistent with microbial life on Titan (one of Saturn's moon).
The main candidates for life in the solar system have been Mars, Titan and Europa. Triton and Enceladus have a reasonable case for a lot of liquid water. 600 million tons or more of ice water have been found on our own moon, which was previously believed to have no water. The discovery of a lot of water on the moon and its new solar water cycle (solar wind interacts with lunar soil to make thin layer of water.) could mean many more places could have some water which could the molecules of which could make their way to cold traps.


Methane on Mars is part of an increasingly strong case of life on Mars.

The 51 to 100 States of America Flag Pattern Generator

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A researcher looked at past flag designs that have been flown and determined the flag patterns that would be used if more states were added from 51 to 100. Slate created the flag pattern generator for six combinations based on the work of Skip Garibaldi of Emory University

Carnival of Space 157 - Lots of International Space Development Conference Coverage

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The Carnival of Space 157 is up at Out of the Cradle. This is the biggest Carnival of Space ever with over 100 links and 6 embedded videos. From Space Toilets to singing Reaching to the Moon.


A lot of the International Space Development Conference (ISDC 2010) is from Hobby Space. Here they have highlights from a talk by Geroge Whitesides who is the new CEO of Virgin Galactic.
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* Virgin Galactic has deposits from 340 people totaling over $46Million.
* Richard Branson will be on Virgin Galactic's 1st commercial SS2 flight, with Rutan and family members
* innovation in cost is an important for the space frontier as innovation in any other metric

James Dewar on NERVA style nuclear thermal launch propulsion:
* nuclear rockets could reduce cost to $100/pound or lower to LEO.


June 08, 2010

Perhaps by 2020 we will be able regenerate tendons, spinal cords or heart valves

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Queen’s University professor Brian Amsden is hoping that in about 10 years a tendon, spinal cord or heart valve will be able to regenerate itself after an injury or disease.

The chemical engineering professor, along with scientists from the University of Western Ontario and University of Toronto, is currently trying to develop microscopic polymer fibers to help rebuild human tissue and speed the healing process.

China Will Try to Put out Some Underground Coal Fires that have been Burning for Decades

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Image Creative Commons

China will spend some money and effort to put out some of their underground coal fires from now to 2012.

North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region plans to extinguish smoldering fires at nearly half of its coalfields with the problems by 2012. Smoldering coalfield fires have been raging on since 1960s due to factors including dry weather, improper coalmining practices which led to exposure of coal-bearing strata in the air, eventually leading to spontaneous combustions, Ya said. "More than 20 million tonnes of coal is wasted every year in our region due to the smoldering fires". The regional government has earmarked an annual financing of 200 million yuan ($29.3 million) from 2009 to 2012 for fighting the fires, Ya said.

According to a harnessing plan, coal threatened by fire hazards is to be dug away to stop fires from spreading, while the fires are to be covered by sand. Other materials such as slurry are also pumped to help extinguish fires underground.

Inner Mongolia produced 637 million tonnes of coal last year, ranking the first in China.

Supercentenarian Lifespan is not Fixed and Mortality is Similar to Centenarians

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The Max Planck Institute recently published a book on supercentenarians (people who live beyond 110 years of age)

The International Database of Longevity (IDL) offers detailed information on thoroughly validated cases of supercentenarians. These data are used to estimate human mortality after age 110. The procedure properly accounts for the country-specific sampling frames in the IDL. The analysis confirms that human mortality after age 110 is at at a level orresponding to an annual probability of death of 50%. No sex-speci c differences in mortality could be found, and no time trend in supercentenarian mortality between earlier and later cohorts could be detected.
There are about 400,000 centenarians in the world now. There are a confirmed 77 supercentenarians but with 50% mortality there should statistically be probably 400-600 supercentenarians. Assuming that current progress against aging is maintained (progress does no slow and there are no breakthroughs) then the expectation is for one million centenarians in 2030.

Register Today for the Best Price on the Singularity Summit Aug 14, 15 in San Francisco

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The Singularity Summit is Aug 14, 15, 2010 at Hyatt Regency, 5 Embarcadero Center, San Francisco, CA.

If you register based on this article then let them know that you were referred by Brian Wang of Nextbigfuture.

When registering and answering
How did you hear about The Singularity Summit? (check that apply) Check Other and include my name.
Pricing is
$385 until June 7th 8th
$485 until July 1st
$585 until August 1st
$685 after August 1st


Special Rates
Students receive a $100 discount on two-day tickets. Only 150 student seats available.

Metalens can Image Down to 1/80th of a Wavelength

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(a) The experimental resonant metalens on the ground copper plane. Experiments are performed in an anechoic chamber. (b-c) Signals and spectra received in the far-field after emission from central monopole with the lens (blue) and without as a control curve (red). (d) Focal spot obtained after one channel Time Reversal of (b) from the far-field: a =25 width is demonstrated in the presence of the resonant metalens (blue), no focusing without the lens (red). (e) An imaging experiment. 16 monopoles generate a subwavelength phase and amplitude profile in the near field of the lens (black points). The far-field is acquired on 8 antennas. We plot the result of the image reconstruction: a true =80 resolved image of the initial pattern is reconstructed in the presence of the resonant metalens (blue) while it is impossible without (red).
Resonant metalenses can image down to 1/80th of a wavelength. The classical diffraction limit (which was thought to be impossible to exceed less than twenty years ago) was half of a wavelength.
* losses limited the experimental focal spot sizes to one 25th of a wavelength, but using other focusing techniques may shrink the spots even further
* we prove the imaging capabilities of the resonant metalens through a simple experiment: a subwavelength profile is generated at the input of the lens using simultaneously 16 monopoles, and the far-field recorded in the anechoic chamber.An inversion procedure with predesigned filters is used to reconstruct the profile, using the knowledge of each monopole temporal signature (See e in the image above). The subwavelength profile is perfectly reconstructed and an imaging resolution of about one 80th is demonstrated through this basic experiment.



BP Collected 14,800 Barrels of Oil on June 7 and Could Increase Collection by 5000+ More Barrels Within a Week

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BP Plc's seabed containment cap collected 14,800 barrels of oil on Monday, the highest capture rate since the system was installed last week.

A drill ship now collecting the captured oil has a capacity of 15,000 barrels a day. A nearby service rig is being prepared to add another 5,000 barrels a day or more of capacity, Allen said. "That should cover the rate we have now," Allen said. BP aims to add more capacity as well, he said.

The service rig is part of an overall system BP aims to deploy by mid-June to collect oil and gas directly from a failed blowout preventer on the seabed.

ExaFLOP Supercomputer Could be As Early as 2015 and Non-CMOS ZettaFLOP Supercomputer

Oak Ridge National Labs has funded a 20 petaflop supercomputer from IBM (2011-2012) and has talked about 100-250 petaflops by 2015 and an exaflop by 2018.

If the SGI petaFLOP supercomputer in one cabinet does not turn out to be vaporware then having a 100 cabinet supercomputer system is relatively standard. 100 petaFLOPS system could exist by 2012. Another chip revision could then bring the ten fold performance boost to get to an exaflop supercomputer by 2015.

The SGI Hybrid platform offers GPU processing capabilities from NVIDIA® and ATI, as well as accelerator-based technology from Tilera®, and other peripheral component interconnect express (PCIe) based solutions. The technology will be seen in SGI products by the end of 2010.


Tilera announced the first 100 core processor in 2009. The TILE-Gx family, fabricated in TSMC's 40 nanometer process, operates at up to 1.5 GHz with power consumption ranging from 10 to 55 watts.

June 07, 2010

International Exascale Software Project

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HPCWire reviews a European project to develop exascale software.

Two current Paths to Exascale Hardware

There are a number of constraints of the architecture for exascale. One constraint is cost. Everybody says a machine can cost no more than $200 million. You're going to spend half your money on memory, so you have take that into consideration.

There are also other constraints that come into play. For example, the machine can consume no more than 20 MW. That's thought to be the upper limit for a reasonable machine from the standpoint of power, cooling, etc.

Currently there are two ways to exascale hardware. One is going to be lightweight processors. By lightweight, we mean things like the Blue Gene [PowerPC] processor. One general way to characterize this architecture is 1GHz in processor speed, one thousand cores per node, and one million nodes per system. A second path to exascale is commodity processors together with accelerators, such as GPUs. The software would support both those models, although there would be differences we'd have to deal with.

Both of the models generate 10^18 FLOPS and both have on the order of a billion threads of execution. We realize that represents a lot of parallel processing and we need to support that in some manner. That's today's view of the hardware, although clearly, that could change.

Super Acid Method for Bulk Graphene Could Drastically Lower Cost of Carbon Fiber Material

Technology Review talks about the Rice University superacid process for making large quantities of Graphene.

This method for making bulk Graphene was presented here at Nextbigfuture a week ago.

Technology Review interviewed the researchers on the potential of the process.

The process could also be used to bring down the costs of lightweight, tough structural materials made from carbon fiber. These materials have been around for decades, but they remain expensive because the processes used to manufacture them are complex and result in lost material. Instead of making pure carbon into fibers directly, as in the Rice process, the current process starts with a nitrile polymer fiber that's heated to turn it into graphite. These fibers are then woven into mats and glued together to make a bulk material. "They're used in aircraft, but not in automobiles, because the costs are too high," says Tour. "If we can do this more cheaply and get as good or better properties, there is the potential for a real advance in carbon fibers."

Verizon 4G LTE vs Sprint Wimax vs HSPA+ vs 3G in Real World Speeds

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Verizon 4G connection on a populated network should average between 5Mbps to 12Mbps in download rates and between 2Mbps to 5Mbps for uploads. Actual, achievable peak speeds in these areas float between 40-50Mbps downstream and 20-25Mbps upstream.
So in the realworld the 4G LTE is about 2 to 4 times faster than 3G+ or Wimax and 10 to 20 times faster than 3G.

Intomobile published a dataspeed showdown of the 3G and 3G+ networks

iPhone 4 vs HTC Evo 4G vs HTC Droid Incredible vs Nexus One and Some Other Smartphones

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ZDnet and tipb and many other sites provide some reviews of the new smartphones.
Here is a summary.
Phone   Apple iPhone 4   HTC Evo 4G    Droid Incredible  Nexus One   
Price    16GB $199,       $199.99       $199 with 2 yr   $529 unlocked
           32GB $299      with 2 year                    $179 with 
         /w two yr ATT                                   Tmobile

OS        iOS4            Android 2.1   Android 2.1     Android 2.1 

Data     Edge 2.5G       1x RTT          1x RTT           Edge 2.5
         HSPA 7.2        EVDO Rev A (3G) EVDO Rev A (3G)  HSPA (3G)
                         Wimax 4G

Best Coverage
Real World 1.3-1.8 Mbps  2.9 Mbps        1Mbps           1Mbps
Download

Best coverage
Real World  386kbps      500 kbps        500kbps         500kbs
Upload

Network  ATT             Sprint        Verizon          TMobile/ATT

Screen   3.5 inch        4.3 inch      3.7 inch          3.7 inch
         900X640         480X800       480X800           480X800

Rear     5.0MP, LED flash,   8 MP        8 MP             5 MP
Camera   720p HD, 30 fs   1280X720(20fs) 800X480 vid      800X480 vid 

Front      VGA              1.3 MP         no              no
Camera

Micro SD    no              up to 32GB up to 32GB       up to 32GB

FM Radio    no              yes        yes               no

Wifi hotspot no             yes        no               coming w/ Froyo

Weight       4.8 ounces    6 ounces     4.6 ounces      4.5 ounces

Processors   A4 Processor   1Ghz, 8650   1Ghz, 8650    1Ghz, 8350
                            Snapdragon   Snapdragon    Snapdragon
All have aGPS, wifi, bluetooth,

New Research on Extracting Uranium from Seawater using Self Assembled Ligands

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US scientists have devised a new way to extract uranyl ions from aqueous solutions.
There are 4.5 billion tons of uranium in seawater which is about 1000 times more than current conventional reserves.


Japan has been looking at getting large quantitites of uranium from seawater using bioengineered seaweed and previous field trials with ionized polyethylene.

Although uranium is currently extracted from solid ores such as uraninite, it also exists in large quantities as uranyl ions (UO22+) in seawater. However, due to its distinctive shape that prevents the use of conventional chelating ligands, sequestering the uranyl ion from seawater has remained a challenge.

The uranyl ion binds well with carboxylates, and encasing the ion in an apolar environment stabilises electrostatic interactions and enhances intermolecular forces explains Julius Rebek Jr at Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla. Rebek's team discovered that when three bidentate 2,6-terphenyl carboxylic acid ligands coordinate to the ion, their bulky phenyl groups form a cage around it shielding it from any water. This complex can then be extracted from solution in various ways depending on the type of medium it is in.


Steve Jobs Officially Revealed the iPhone 4

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Steve Jobs officially revealed the iPhone 4

Jobs introduced the new iPhone 4, a stainless-steel-and-glass mobile device that is nearly 25 percent thinner than the current version.

"In 2010, we are gong to take the biggest leap since the original iPhone," Jobs said. "We are introducing the iPhone 4. This is really hot. There are well over 100 new features."

* the iPhone 4 will have longer batter life, including 40 percent more talk time. Talk time will increase from five hours to seven hours per charge

* A new 5 megapixel camera records HD video (old camera was 3 megapixel)
* a gyroscope for improved rotation sensitivity

Update on Deficits and Debts

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Based on the Monthly Treasury Statement for April 2010 and the Daily Treasury Statements for May, 2010, the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) reports that the federal budget deficit was $941 billion during the first eight months of fiscal year 2010.
The January 2010 budget forecast for 2010-2020 is summarized here.

The proposed 2011 budget would increase deficits and debt.

Progress and Science of Lifelike Avatars, Robotic Simulcrums and Mind Uploads

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Image Metrics can make lifelike images of peoples faces that can be realistically manipulated in real time. The appearance and movements are perfect but such simulations cost $500,000 to construct for each person.

Project Lifelike is an effort to make computer interfaces that learn.

New Scientist has more

Researchers working on Project Lifelike are trying to integrate a camera into their digital Schwarzkopf so that it can pick up visual clues from people's body language and adapt its behaviour accordingly. Hanson Robotics is yet more ambitious. They make realistic-looking androids, and David Hanson and Mayer have discussed integrating one of Lifenaut's avatars into a robot body. "Combining a mind emulation with a physical body allows that mind to physically interact with the world, to explore and live among us," he says.

That's a step towards making a conscious machine, but to go further will require a massive, coordinated effort involving the now fragmented areas of AI research. To this end, Hanson has launched the Apollo Mind Initiative to promote collaboration between research groups, setting the goal of achieving human-level creative intelligence by 2019. His first step is to launch collaborative software for the machine intelligence community, enabling scientists to map exactly what stage research has reached and help them identify which improvements need to be made. Hanson says that the project's eventual aim is to exceed human intelligence, creating Mozart-like genius. "In a way we're looking for protégé machines," he says.

Russia Updates Energy Plans and IEA Counts $550 Billion Per Year in Global Energy Subsidies

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1. Russia's energy minister Sergei Shmatko announced new energy plans from now to 2030. The new plans forecast reduced demand growth and stretch out what was planned to be added by 2020 out to 2030.

* Russia is planning to introduce 173 GWe of new generating capacity, including 43.4 GWe of nuclear by 2030.
* A total of 78 GWe of new capacity is to be realised by 2020 under the updated plan; previously, 186.1 GWe was predicted in the same timescale.
* 16.5 GWe of nuclear capacity is earmarked for decommissioning by 2030.
* There are currently 32 power reactors in operation in Russia, with a combined capacity of some 23 GWe and generating about 152 TWh.

2. The Financial Times reports that the IEA found that world economy spends more than $550 billion in energy subsidies a year, about 75 per cent more than previously thought, according to the first exhaustive study of the financial assistance devoted to oil, natural gas and coal consumption.

BP LMRP is Capturing 11,100 Barrels of Oil per Day and Will Increase Capture As High as 20,000 Barrels per Day

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BP is now capturing 11,100 barrels of oil per day from the leak and they are adding a second ship to help process more oil. The second ship will allow BP to capture and process up to 20,000 barrels of oil per day.

The leak will not be completely stopped until BP completes drilling a relief well, can divert the oil and plug the broken well with cement, Allen said.

June 06, 2010

Printing the Active Ingredients onto Pills

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Researchers at the University of Leeds, Durham University, and GlaxoSmithKline have teamed up to create pills that can be printed.

* 99.9 percent of a pill is filler

* Printing pills means literally printing the active ingredients of a medication onto the side of a tablet. To understand the concept of "printing," think of the active ingredients as tiny droplets that can be printed onto a surface the way ink is printed onto paper, but instead of paper, it's a tablet. That means pills could be individually made for each patient to fit their medical needs and one pill could potentially hold more than one type of medication.

Time Reversal Signal Processing Could Enable 10,000 Time Amplification of Microwaves for an EMP Bazooka

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A Time Reversal Mirror to receive a short pulse of electromagnetic energy at an antenna and then shoot back toward the initial transmitter the same signal, but with its wave-form reversed in time. The technique is enabled by the use of an Arbitrary Waveform Generator, which can generate any waveform you like, including a backwards version of the waveform an antenna just received. It's a bit like responding to a given signal by playing the same signal backward, although it happens in milliseconds.

Researchers discovered a linear relationship between the number of antennas (from one to eight) used in their time reversal mirror and the resulting amplitude of the microwave pulse they generated.

Further amplification of the signal before retransmission by the mirror, using a technique called "one-bit time reversal," allowed the team to achieve 46 dB of amplification. Because decibels are represented on a logarithmic scale, that corresponds to amplification of the original signal by a factor of more than 10,000.

Sequencing the Genome for $30

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The longtime goal of a $1,000 genome is still just out of reach, a Harvard University physicist is promising an even cheaper price--the ability to sequence a human genome for just $30. David Weitz and his team are adapting microfluidics technology that uses tiny droplets, a strategy developed in his lab, to DNA sequencing. While the researchers have not yet sequenced DNA, they have successfully demonstrated parts of the process and formed a startup, GnuBio, to commercialize the technology. * Weitz's team had previously developed a way to create picoliter droplets of water, which act as tiny test tubes. The droplets can be precisely moved around on a microfluidics chip, injected with chemicals and sorted based on color.
* Smaller drops means smaller volumes of the chemicals used in the sequencing reaction. These reagents comprise the major cost of sequencing, and most estimates of the cost to sequence a human genome with a particular technology are calculated using the cost of the chemicals. Based solely on reagents, Weitz estimates that they will be able to sequence a human genome 30 times for $30.

China Makes Metamaterial Black Hole for Microwaves Now and Visible Light Next

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Chinese researchers have successfully built an electromagnetic absorbing device for microwave frequencies. The device, made of a thin cylinder comprising 60 concentric rings of metamaterials, is capable of absorbing microwave radiation, and has been compared to an astrophysical black hole (which, in space, soaks up matter and light).

An omnidirectional perfect electromagnetic absorber may have many applications in science and engineering, such as cross-talk reduction in optoelectronic devices or solar light harvesting. However, in reality, few of the actual materials come close to 100 per cent absorption of electromagnetic waves from all directions. It is possible to reach near total absorption based on existing methods, but this is generally limited to a specific range of incidence angles.

Regenerative Medicine Roadmap and the Dawn of the Age of Tissue Engineering

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click on the roadmap image to enlarge

FightAging has the Regenerative medicine roadmap and an article on the dawn of the age of tissue engineering
The PDF roadmap for regenerative medicine is a document assembled by the PhD-laden Russian volunteers at the Science for Life Extension Foundation.

This covers the large areas of interest for cell therapies: (a) removing unwanted cells, such as the growing senescent cell population in every older body, (b) adding cells where they have been lost, so as to reverse sarcopenia, for example, or replace the dying motor neurons that cause the symptoms in a number of unpleasant degenerative conditions, (c) reprogramming cells to create unlimited sources of stem cells or specialized cells to order, (d) restoring the ability for cells to regenerate damage in the body, an ability gradually lost with age, and (e) the use of larger scale tissue engineering to create new replacement organs when needed.

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 4

Nuclear Green has the fourth carnival of nuclear energy

This site noted that Russia was adding hundreds of megawatts of nuclear power for only $200 per KW using uprates of existing reactors. $200 per kilowatt is the lowest cost of new energy generation from any energy source.

Nuclear archer reviews some of the literature on superalloys for Generation IV nuclear reactor compontents.

Expected Orbital Science Competiton for Spacex Falcon 9 and Dragon and Suborbital Rockets from Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic

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(H/T to Alfin and space.com for summarizing the competing new space companies and the names of their space craft.

Orbital Sciences

Orbital has conducted 55 space launch missions since 1990 using the Pegasus (air launched system) for 40 of the launches. Pegasus can launch up to 1000 lbs into low earth orbit.

Orbital Science Taurus rocket has launched 8 times with up to 3500lbs to low earth orbit. Orbital Science also has Minotaur rockets for about 580-800 kg to low earth orbit.



2 page fact sheet on the Orbital Science Cygnus which will compete with the Spacex Dragon as an upper stage transport module.

The Taurus II is designed to lift up to 7000 kg to Low Earth Orbit (first launch planned for 2011 about 68% of the lifting capacity of the Spacex Falcon 9).