July 10, 2010

Namibia Expands Uranium Mines as Diamonds Lose Shine

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Namibia, stung by the collapse of the diamond industry two years ago, is trying to diversify its $8.2 billion economy by exploiting uranium deposits that are the second-biggest in Africa.

Namibia’s economy contracted 0.8 percent last year, after expanding 4.3 percent a year earlier, as mining output halved. Diamond production plunged to 929,006 carats from 2.22 million carats a year earlier

Namibian output may quadruple by 2015 as new mines are opened by companies including Extract Resources Ltd., more than doubling uranium’s contribution to the economy, according to IHN. The industry accounted for 5.6 percent of Namibia’s gross domestic product last year.

If the uranium industry increases by four times then it would be equal to 22.4% of the 2009 GDP.

Nanopatterning 6 nanometres in size and only 14 nanometres apart

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NanoNed researcher Vadim Sidorkin is the first in the world to succeed in patterning a substrate with markings only 6 nanometres in size and only 14 nanometres apart.

A spacing of 14 nanometres, would increase in the capacity of the memory chips of, for example, new generation mobile phones tenfold.
Sidorkin used a Helium Ion Microscope (HIM) to create helium beams, and was able to draw dots having a diameter of only six nanometre.

SETI has One in Ten Million Chance of Finding Extraterrestrials

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Earth has changed technology and shifted from using leaky radio signals and broadcasting radios to fiber optics and short range wireless. If aliens followed our pattern then SETI is analogous to a system of detecting teenagers who have their music set to a volume of eleven. When you do not find teenagers with megaspeakers blasting that does not mean there is no life within detection range, but just no noisy teenagers.

The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) will operate in frequency ranges often used by military radar and other communications technology. It has been shown that if Extraterrestrial Intelligences (ETIs) communicate using similar technology, then the SKA should be able to detect such transmissions up to distances of 100 parsecs (300 light years) from Earth. However, Mankind has greatly improved its communications technology over the last century, dramatically reducing signal leakage and making the Earth “radio quiet”. If ETIs follow the same pattern as the human race, will we be able to detect their signal leakage before they become radio quiet? We investigate this question using Monte Carlo Realisation techniques to simulate the growth and evolution of intelligent life in the Galaxy. We show that if civilisations are “human” in nature (i.e. they are only “radio loud” for 100 years, and can only detect each other with an SKA-like instrument out to 100 pc, within a maximum communication time of 100 years), then the probability for such civilisations accidentally detecting each other is low ( one in ten million chance), much lower than if other, dedicated communication techniques are permissible (e.g. optical SETI or neutrino communication).

HTC Vision Smartphone Will Use Tmobile HSPA+ in September 2010 and Other Future Smartphones like the HTC Emerald

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Light Reading reports that T-Mobile USA plans to launch the first smartphone for its newly upgraded evolved High-Speed Packet Access Plus (HSPA+) network in September. The HSPA+ network should have download speed of 6-10 Mbps under real world conditions. Those speeds are comparable to initial Long Term Evolution (4G) speeds.

The device will be manufactured by High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) and will run on Google's Android operating system, according to a spokesman at Deutsche Telekom AG , T-Mobile's parent. Further details about the device are not available at this time.

However, it is believed to be the HTC Vision smartphone which will have a 1 GHZ processor, 3.7 inch screen and a full QWERTY keyboard.

My Uranium and Nuclear Bets On the Oil Drum

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An article is up on the Oildrum which discusses my winning the world uranium in 2009 bet and the energy generation bet. The Oildrum article was not written by me, so Gail had a different take on the situation.

Updated Uranium predictions
      Brian Wang  Dittmar            midpoint
2010  56000 tons  45,000 tons        50,500 tons
2011  60000 tons  45,000             52,500 tons             
2012  64000 tons  45,000             54,500 tons
2013  68000 tons  45,000             56,500 tons
2014  72000 tons  45,000             58,500 tons
2015  76000 tons  45,000             60,500 tons
2016  80000 tons  45,000             62,500 tons
2017  84000 tons  45,000             64,500 tons
2018  88000 tons  45,000             66,500 tons
I am expecting the amounts to be higher, but these are my 90% confidence level for betting numbers.

July 09, 2010

Female mice can be turned "lesbian" by deleting a single gene at embryo stage

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Researchers found that disabling the FucM (fucose mutarotase) gene – which influences the levels of oestrogen to which the brain is exposed – caused the mice to behave as if they were male as they grew up.

BMC Genetics - Male-like sexual behavior of female mouse lacking fucose mutarotase

The observation that FucM-/- female mouse exhibits a phenotypic similarity to a wild-type male in terms of its sexual behavior appears to be due to the neurodevelopmental changes in preoptic area of mutant brain resembling a wild-type male. Since the previous studies indicate that AFP plays a role in titrating estradiol that are required to consolidate sexual preference of female mice, we speculate that the reduced level of AFP in FucM-/- mouse, presumably resulting from the reduced fucosylation, is responsible for the male-like sexual behavior observed in the FucM knock-out mouse.

The 42 page research paper is here

Mobile subscriptions hit 5 billion mark out of 6.9 billion people

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Ericsson estimates based on industry information, the 5 billionth subscription was added Thursday, July 8.

In the year 2000, about 720 million people had mobile subscriptions, less than the amount of users China alone has today
* 2 million additions per day
* More than 500 million 3G subscriptions
* 50 billion connected devices by 2020
* Studies show that soon 80 percent of all people accessing the internet will be doing so using their mobile device

* The subscriptions are not evenly distributed as many people in developed countries could have 2 or three subscriptions per person.

Big Weekend Expected for Fighting the Oil Leak

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A sealing cap is to be installed this weekend that will enable up to 60,000 to 80,000 barrels per day to be captured and provide accurate measurement of the flow rate.

BP could start replacing the current cap with a new sealing cap as early as Saturday. Crews need special tools to switch out the cap, so it could be three to four days until they're in a position to put the new cap on, Allen said.

Scientists have estimated 35,000 to 60,000 barrels of oil are spewing from BP's breached well each day. But Allen said once the long-term containment cap is in place, for the first time, they will have empirical data to determine the actual flow rate

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 9

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Carnival of nuclear energy number 9 is up at Atomic Insights.

Dan Yurman has an article that asks "Is Asia Rising to Dominate the Global Nuclear Industry ?"

* India plans to add 20 GWe of nuclear generating capacity over the next two decades
* Japan is aligning its nuclear industry to support exports of nuclear reactors and to respond to the competitive threat from South Korea
* Malaysia is looking into acquiring small reactors to meet its energy needs
* China is planning to increase its nuclear energy generating capacity from the current level of 9 GWe to 70 GWe by 2020
* Chinese nuclear market will increasingly be driven by national companies building new reactors using Westinghouse AP1000 technology.
* so on the build side and on the buying side it is mostly asian countries.

Robust Systems, Infrastructure and Fallback Systems

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Individuals, groups, cities, regions and nations are behind in hardening buildings and infrastructure and creatingsystem robustness.

There should be more use of hurriquake nails and blastproof wallpaper. There are also better products for combating radiation sickness and medical system/public health improvement to defend against biological or chemical attack.

A few thousand dollars per household could buy fallback systems for water, electricity, refrigeration, and cooking. Also, a few thousand could buy hurriquake nails which can be used to make a wood framed house be better able to withstand stronger winds and earthquakes (assuming proper and thorough nailing of joints.

This site has looked at various plans for improving civilization robustness.

Including looking at retrofitting for tougher buildings and taking a revised look at civil defense
This look will concentrate on steps and systems for individuals and smaller communities.

Individuals should trade or replace BBQ grills with thermoacoustic generators. (stove, electricity and fridge)

Compound 300 times more Potent for Treating Alzheimers and Grows Brain Cells in Aging Brains

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Scientists have discovered a compound that restores the capacity to form new memories in aging rats, likely by improving the survival of newborn neurons in the brain's memory hub.
Rodents treated with P7C3 for two months significantly outperformed their placebo-treated peers on a water maze task, a standard assay of hippocampus-dependent learning. This was traced to a threefold higher-than-normal level of newborn neurons in the dentate gyrus of the treated animals. Rats were used instead of mice for this phase of the study because the genetically engineered mice could not swim.

The researchers pinpointed a derivative of P7C3, called A20, which is even more protective than the parent compound. They also produced evidence suggesting that two other neuroprotective compounds eyed as possible Alzheimer's cures may work through the same mechanism as P7C3. The A20 derivative proved 300 times more potent than one of these compounds currently in clinical trials for Alzheimer's disease

Compressed Xenon Di-flouride into Metallic flouride

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Fluorine can be compressed into both a semiconductor and crystalline metal. Applications could range from an ultra-powerful oxidizer for destroying toxic microbes to super-efficient fuel cells to room-temperature superconductors.

By inserting xenon di-fluoride (XeF2, a material used to etch silicon conductors) between two diamond anvils and applying almost half-a-million atmospheres (50 GPa), the researchers produced a two-dimensional graphite-like semiconductor. The application of almost 1 million atmospheres (100 Gpa) yielded crystalline metal.

The researchers said their next step will be to synthesize the materials on a larger scale and find ways to stabilize them under ambient conditions. Applications also could include superconducting materials.

"There is theoretical work, which has not been published yet, that indicates that superconductivity may be achieved in these fluorine materials," said Yoo.

July 08, 2010

Novel Ion Trap with Optical Fiber Could Link Atoms and Light in Quantum Networks

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Diagram of a NIST ion trap that incorporates an optical fiber to collect light emitted by the ions (electrically charged atoms). Individual electrodes used to trap an ion 30 to 50 micrometers above the surface are shown in different colors surrounding a 50-micrometer-wide hole where light is collected and deposited in a fiber attached below. Credit: A. VanDevender/NIST
Physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have demonstrated an ion trap with a built-in optical fiber that collects light emitted by single ions (electrically charged atoms), allowing quantum information stored in the ions to be measured. The advance could simplify quantum computer design and serve as a step toward swapping information between matter and light in future quantum networks.

Blood Pharming Progress

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Arteriocyte's Blood Pharming program is currently working to combine multiple state of the art technologies to produce fresh units of universal-donor (Type O, RH factor negative) packed red blood cells. The company's proprietary NANEX (Nanofiber Based System) technology permits 250-fold expansion of hematopoietic stem cells that are subsequently cultured in a unique environment of nutrients and growth factor to induce differentiation into enucleated red blood cells. The resulting cell product is functionally indistinguishable from red blood cells in healthy circulation.

DARPA funded Arteriocyte with $1.95 million for the Bloodpharming project. Arteriocyte has sent off an initial shipment of their pharmed blood product to the Food and Drug Administration.

Programmable Matter By Folding

Harvard and MIT have developed programmable matter with controlled folding of smart origami. A self-folding sheet becomes an origami boat and an origami plane in a video below.

Programmable matter is a material whose properties can be programmed to achieve specific shapes or stiffnesses upon command. This concept requires constituent elements to interact and rearrange intelligently in order to meet the goal. This paper considers achieving programmable sheets that can form themselves in different shapes autonomously by folding. Past approaches to creating transforming machines have been limited by the small feature sizes, the large number of components, and the associated complexity of communication among the units. We seek to mitigate these difficulties through the unique concept of self-folding origami with universal crease patterns. This approach exploits a single sheet composed of interconnected triangular sections. The sheet is able to fold into a set of predetermined shapes using embedded actuation. To implement this self-folding origami concept, we have developed a scalable end-to-end planning and fabrication process. Given a set of desired objects, the system computes an optimized design for a single sheet and multiple controllers to achieve each of the desired objects. The material, called programmable matter by folding, is an example of a system capable of achieving multiple shapes for multiple functions.

Phonons are Particles of Heat

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MIT explains phonons. To understand how heat spreads through a material, consider that heat — as well as sound — is actually the motion or vibration of atoms and molecules:

Low-frequency vibrations correspond to sound, while higher frequencies correspond to heat. At each frequency, quantum mechanics principles dictate that the vibrational energy must be a multiple of a basic amount of energy, called a quantum, that is proportional to the frequency. Physicists call these basic levels of energy phonons.

In a sense, then, “phonon” is just a fancy word for a particle of heat.

Phonons are especially relevant in the behavior of heat and sound in crystals

Multiple Promising Nuclear Fusion Projects

I believe before 2018 there will be many viable nuclear fusion approaches that will be competing in commercial markets. More than one could achieve technical and commercial success by leveraging different niches. Just like there is more than one kind of viable form of nuclear fission. There are metal reactors in Russian submarines, Pressure Water Reactors (PWR), Boiler Water Reactors (BWR), Heavy water reactors (candu), Pebble bed reactors, Liquid flouride thorium, and various breeder reactors.

The technology takeoff point for nuclear fusion should hit by 2015 and there is even a chance for significant proof before the end of 2011. Also, once a few prove viable then the other approaches could also be more fundable and be adapted to be made viable. One of the biggest argument against all of them is Bremsstrahlung radiation, which is too much energy leaking away via microwaves. Once a few show how to overcome the problem then all of them can get tweaked if they would not already work

Carnival of Space 161 - cost and affordability of interstellar probes and Youtube version of the Carnival

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Carnival of Space 161 is up at Habitation Intention

Centauri Dreams looked at the cost of an interstellar probe

Back in the late 1960s, Freeman Dyson went to work on the question of how much an interstellar probe might cost. Extrapolating from nuclear pulse propulsion and the state of the art in spacecraft design as then understood, Dyson arrived at an estimate of $100 billion to build the craft, which translates into roughly $650 billion today. Though stark, that figure is by no means as eye-popping as one of the estimates drawn up by the original Project Daedalus team: $100 trillion in 1978 dollars.

Richard Obousy has an updated analysis and compares the cost to future GDP.

The US economy becomes able to support a Dyson-class starship costing $650 billion by the year 2085; i.e., in that year, such a cost represents 1% of GDP based on a 2% growth rate per year. A Daedalus-style craft becomes feasible no earlier than 2340. In global terms, the Dyson starship could be built (assuming the global cooperation we at present do not have) within the next few years, whereas the Daedalus class craft would have to wait until 2268. If the GDP growth is 4% then the Daedalus becomes affordable in 2099.

Dana Andrews (Andrews Space) analyzed the cost of fusion missions powered by deuterium from the outer planets, coming up with a future cost of $15 million per mission. So radically lowering the costs with better designs for interstellar probes greatly accelerates affordability.

Scalable Quantum Computer Chip Nanofabrication

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A technique that implants nitrogen vacancies into diamond at a rate of thousands per second could be the scalable technology for quantum computers.

The big advantage of these so-called nitrogen vacancies is that they're easy to see (because they can be made to emit photons) which means they can be relatively easily addressed. They are also well isolated from many types of environmental interference and so can store qubits for relatively long periods of up to several hundred microseconds

New Technique for Mass Production of Nitrogen Vacancies

* cover the diamond with a thin layer of resist, through which they then blast an array of holes using electron beam lithography.
* In the next step, they then bombard the many-holed resist with accelerated nitrogen ions. So any nitrogen ions that pass through the holes created by the electron beams end up burying themselves in the diamond layer, creating a nitrogen vacancy under each hole.
* Toyli and co have carried out a proof-of-principle experiment to create a micrometer scale 60 x 60 array of nitrogen vacancies in a thin layer of diamond. They say that this creates nitrogen vacancies at a rate of 1000 per second, orders of magnitude faster than the current technique.

July 07, 2010

Energy Secretary Steven Chu Develops Breakthrough For Optical Microscopes to See to 0.5 Nanometers

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Nature - Subnanometre single-molecule localization, registration and distance measurements Steven Chu and his co-authors Chu's method involves using two different colored lights, beams of tiny light and other techniques (feedback control etc...) to reduce the signal-to-noise ratio in optical microscopes.

Remarkable progress in optical microscopy has been made in the measurement of nanometre distances. If diffraction blurs the image of a point object into an Airy disk with a root-mean-squared (r.m.s.) size of s =  0.44λ/2NA (~90 nm for light with a wavelength of λ = 600 nm and an objective lens with a numerical aperture of NA = 1.49), limiting the resolution of the far-field microscope in use to d = 2.4s  ≈  200 nm, additional knowledge about the specimen can be used to great advantage. For example, if the source is known to be two spatially resolved fluorescent molecules, the distance between them is given by the separation of the centres of the two fluorescence images. In high-resolution microwave and optical spectroscopy, there are numerous examples where the line centre is determined with a precision of less than 10^−6 of the linewidth. In contrast, in biological applications the brightest single fluorescent emitters can be detected with a signal-to-noise ratio of ~100, limiting the centroid localization precision to sloc  ≥  1% ( ≥ 1 nm) of the r.m.s. size, s, of the microscope point spread function (PSF). Moreover, the error in co-localizing two or more single emitters is notably worse, remaining greater than 5–10% (5–10 nm) of the PSF size. Here we report a distance resolution of sreg = 0.50 nm (1σ) and an absolute accuracy of sdistance = 0.77 nm (1σ) in a measurement of the separation between differently coloured fluorescent molecules using conventional far-field fluorescence imaging in physiological buffer conditions. The statistical uncertainty in the mean for an ensemble of identical single-molecule samples is limited only by the total number of collected photons, to sloc  about 0.3 nm, which is ~3 × 10^−3 times the size of the optical PSF. Our method may also be used to improve the resolution of many subwavelength, far-field imaging methods such as those based on co-localization of molecules that are stochastically switched on in space. The improved resolution will allow the structure of large, multisubunit biological complexes in biologically relevant environments to be deciphered at the single-molecule level.

Single-Layer Graphene Nearly 100% Covering an Entire Substrate

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Arxiv - Single-Layer Graphene has covered nearly 100% of an entire substrate (13 pages)

Graphene has recently attracted a great deal of interest in both academia and industry because of its unique electronic and optical properties as well as its chemical, thermal, and mechanical properties. The superb characteristics of graphene make this material one of the most promising candidates for various applications, such as ultrafast electronic circuits and photodetectors, clean and renewable energy and rapid single-molecule DNA sequencing. The electronic properties of the graphene system rely heavily on the number of graphene layers and effects on the coupling with the underlying substrate. Graphene can be produced by mechanical exfoliation of graphite, solution approaches thermal decomposition of SiC, and chemical vapor deposition/segregation on catalytic metals. Despite significant progress in graphene synthesis, production with fine control over the thickness of the film remains a considerable challenge. Here, we report on the synthesis of nearly 100% coverage of single-layer graphene on a Ni(111) surface with carbon atoms diffused from a highly orientated pyrolytic graphite (HOPG) substrate. Our results demonstrate how fine control of thickness and structure can be achieved by optimization of equilibrium processes of carbon diffusion from HOPG, segregation from Ni, and carbon diffusion at a Ni surface. Our method represents a significant step toward the scalable synthesis of graphene films with high structural qualities and finely controlled thicknesses and toward realizing the unique properties of graphene.

3D Data Storage Progress

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Using new classes of engineered fluorescent proteins, scientists get closer to storing data at unprecedented densities. This approach has the handicap of being different from the current technology base for data storage.

Researchers are working towards holographic (three-dimensional) data storage: a chemically pure crystal composed solely of proteins that can be read and reversibly switched between at least two different states using nothing but light.

Embedded within the proper array of lasers (it would take at least two), such a crystal would represent something approaching the theoretical limit of data density in a storage medium: each bit would be represented by a single molecule.

With their latest work, Adam et al. take us a step closer to this dream, at least in the laboratory. Not only did they manage to encode and read data on chemically pure crystals of mutant descendants of fluorescent proteins originally derived from corals, but they also demonstrated that at least one of these proteins, known as IrisFP, actually has the ability to store data in four different states, versus the two different states (on and off) encoded by a traditional bit. In other words, this protein could store data in base 4 instead of base 2.

Roboticist Dennis Hong interviewed by Sander Olson

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Here is an interview of Dennis Hong by Sander Olson. Dr. Hong is a Professor of mechanical engineering at Virginia Tech who specializes in robotics. He directs the Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory (ROMELA) at Virginia Tech, which has developed a number of innovative, mobile, and versatile robots, as well as robotic components such as hands. Hong and his team are currently designing a large, sophisticated humanoid robot called Charlie Heavy. The pace of robotics development is now so rapid that the ROMELA lab is introducing new versions of its robots every year.

Question: Tell us about the Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory (RoMeLa) at Virginia Tech.

Answer: I founded RoMeLa seven years ago here at Virginia Tech as a graduate-level research laboratory. However, now RoMeLa also emphasizes undergraduate research. We currently have nine PhD students, nine masters students, two visiting professors, one post-Doc, and 30 undergraduate researchers. We initially focused on the mechanical side of robotics, but now we cover almost all aspects of robotics including dynamics, control, kinematics, design, autonomous behaviors, embedded systems, sensor development, etc.

DARPA Flying Submarine and Project to Achieve Quantum Mastery of Biology

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1. Alfin has coverage of the DARPA effort to develop flying submarines. The current goal is to fly at 70 miles per hour and dive to 150 feet.

Here is a link to a page on the FS1 (Flying Sub 1) from the Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea TV Show

Singularity University 2010 is Open

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The 2010 session of the Singularity University has opened.

I will be speaking on the nanotechnology track on July 16th. As in 2009, I will be providing an overview and update on developments in nanotechnology. The Powerpoint slides from my full talk will also be here on July 16th or 17th.
The second year of the Singularity University Graduate Studies Program (GSP) has a doubled class size to accommodate 80 of the top students from 35 nations around the globe

The Peak Oil Bet

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In 2006, Matthew Simmons and John Tierney made a bet on the average price of oil in 2010.

Their final agreement was a commitment to tabulate every closing price-per-barrel of oil for each market day of 2010, then average out those prices for the entire year from January 1 through December 31, adjusted for inflation to 2005 prices. If the year-end adjusted average comes out to $200.00 or more per barrel, Mr. Simmons wins. If it averages out to less than $200.00, Mr. Tierney wins. The winner takes the entire pot of US$10,000.00, plus interest--$5,000.00 from both parties, currently sitting in escrow.

The Oil Drum had some coverage on the bet in 2008.

Obviously with the current state of the world economy oil prices will not even rise above $100 for even one day in 2010. Simmons will lose big and Tierney will win.

Thermo-Acoustic Generator

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There is a development project for using sound based generators that are over 18% efficient at converting heat to electricity. The target is to mass produce the units starting in 2012.

* Target of 100-150 Watts electrical thermo-acoustic generator (stove, fridge, electricity) for £20 in 1 million quantities with half the wood and no smoke
* weight: 10-20kg
* 1.6 kWth for cooking and 0.75 kWth for simmering.
- Fuel: consumption 1 kg/hour, wood, dung and other bio-mass.
* fuel is placed inside the stove and burned. The fire heats compressed air that has been pumped into specially shaped pipes located inside the stove's chimney and behind the stove. The heated air begins to vibrate and produce sound waves. Inside the pipes, the noise is 100 times louder than a jet taking off. But because the pipes are stiff and do no vibrate, the sound waves have nowhere to go. So outside the pipe, people hear only a faint hum.

* The sound waves vibrate a diaphragm located at the end of the pipe. The diaphragm is attached to a coil of metal wires that sit inside a magnet. As the wire coil vibrates — about 50 times per second — it generates an electrical current, which is captured by wires and converted to the proper voltage.
* The stove has electrical sockets, where the homeowner can plug in, for example, a mobile phone for charging. Or she can sell the electricity as a phone-charging service.
* For refrigeration, the heated, compressed air is sent through a different part of the pipe, where sound waves cause the air to expand. As it expands, it cools to a temperature that can produce ice. It takes about two hours of stove use to produce enough ice that will keep the fridge cold for 24 hours. But homeowners have the option of producing more ice to sell for income.

* Across the world, two billion people use open fires as their primary cooking method. These fires have been found to be highly inefficient, with 93 per cent of the energy generated lost. And when used in enclosed spaces, smoke from the fires can cause health problems.

In August 2009 a propane fueled Score stove produced 19.5 Watts of power. This allowed it to power lights and simultaneously charge a mobile phone.

July 06, 2010

Another Projection for China Economy Passing the USA has Been Moved up from 2050 to 2020

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Stefan Karlsson is an economist from an Austrian University (now he is working in Sweden) who used to predict that China's economy would pass the United States in 2040-2050.

He has updated his prediction to 2020-2024

The new prediction is more in line with the prediction that I have been making for the last few years.

I believe that the yuan will appreciate faster than 3% per year and that China will maintain a higher annual economic growth differential over the USA. If I am correct then obviously everyone will change their mind on when China will pass the USA in the 2012-2014 timeframe.

Year GDP(yuan) GDP growth USD/CNY China GDP China+HK US GDP US Growth
2007 25.8 13 7.3 3.5 3.7 13.8 1.1 Past Germany
2008 31.4 9.6 6.85 4.6 4.8 14.3 -3.1
2009 34.2 8.9 6.83 5.0 5.2 13.9 0.7 Passing Japan
2010 37.6 10 6.5 5.8 6.0 14.0 1.5 Past Japan
2011 41.0 9 6.0 6.8 7.0 14.2 1.9
2012 44.7 9 5.6 8.0 8.2 14.4 2.1
2013 48.7 9 5.1 9.6 9.8 14.7 3
2014 53.1 9 4.7 11.3 11.5 15.2 3
2015 57.9 9 4.2 13.8 14.0 15.6 3
2016 63.1 9 3.8 16.6 16.8 16.1 3 Past USA
2017 68.1 8 3.5 19.5 19.7 16.6 3
2018 73.6 8 3.2 23 23.2 17.1 3
2019 79.5 8 3 26.5 26.8 17.6 3
2020 86 8 3 28.6 28.9 18.1 3
2021 93 8 3 30.9 31.2 18.7 3
2022 100 8 3 33.4 33.7 19.2 3
2023 108 8 3 36.0 36.3 19.8 3
2024 117 8 3 38.9 39.2 20.4 3
2025 126 8 3 42.0 42.3 21.0 3
2026 136 7 3 45.4 45.7 21.6 3
2027 146 7 3 48.6 48.9 22.3 3
2028 156 7 3 52.0 52.3 23.0 3
2029 167 7 3 55.6 55.9 23.6 3
2030 179 7 3 59.5 59.8 24.4 3

Saving 10 million Women and Children by 2015 Will Cost Around $100-200 Billion

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There was an estimate of $30 billion to save the lives of 10 million women and children but this cost estimate does not include other heathcare improvements needed to save all of those lives. The actual cost estimate is about $100-200 billion, but those programs still seem worthwhile and cost justified.

A serious omission is that the price tag does not include HSS [Health system strengthening], i.e., the costs to scale up the system-wide components, including human resources, which would allow programs to function effectively. According to the WHO estimates for the HLTF, US$185.7 billion is needed for HSS. Again, a substantial proportion of this figure is highly relevant to saving the women and children.

EPA Proposed Transport Rule Would Reduce Air Pollution and Save Tens of thousands of Lives

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By 2014, EPA modeling projects that implementation of the Transport Rule, as proposed, combined with other state and EPA actions, would reduce 2005 emissions from electric generating units in the covered states by:

- 6.3 million tons of SO2 per year
– 1.4 million tons of NOX per year

• 300,000 tons of NOX during ozone season (included in NOX estimate above)
• These reductions represent a 71% reduction in SO2 and a 52% reduction in NOX emissions from power plants from 2005 levels in the covered states.

Net 12.7 Megajoules Generated During Impact, Quench and Initial Ignition Phase Per Shot of Methane Impact Fusion

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One millimeter of diamond methane can be accelerated to 1000 kilometers per second to produce fusion. The diamond methane impact fusion work is computer simulations and research papers now. Only the initial impact and ignition have been simulated in detail, but even that part is showing net energy is generated. The diamond is charged so that it can be accelerated by a linear accelerator.

Because of the limitations of the algorithm and the nature of fusion process, our simulation is only valid in the early stages, when the alpha particle travel length is not too long, and the radiation leaking not too bad. As our goal is to fi nd an approximate ignition energy, if we see the temperatures of both electrons and ions rise to certain number, we won't worry if it could continue, because the propagating burning is a exponentially growing process. However, we can not give the total energy yield yet. There is still quite some room for improvement, because the field strength the bullet can tolerate is still a few hundred times away (over 10 GV/m)

Calculating the Energy to Produce Synthetic Diamond Bullet

It takes 20 Kilowatt hours to produce one carat of synthetic diamond
1 carat is 0.2 grams
100 kilowatt hours per gram
100 watt hours per milligram

One cubic millimeter of water would be one thousands of a cubic centimeter.
Diamond is 3.52 grams per cubic centimeter (so it weighs 3.52 times water)
One cubic millimeter diamond 3.52 milligrams per cubic millimeter
352 watt hours to produce one cubic millimeter synthetic diamond
one watt hour is 3600 joules

Therefore, 1.267 megajoules to synthesize cubic millimeter diamond bullet

Light-driven nanoscale plasmonic motors

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Nature Nanotechnology - Light-driven nanoscale plasmonic motors

A plasmonic motor only 100 nanometers in size when illuminated with linearly polarized light can generate a torque sufficient to drive a micrometre-sized silica disk 4,000 times larger in volume.

In addition to easily being able to control the rotational speed and direction of this motor, we can create coherent arrays of such motors, which results in greater torque and faster rotation of the microdisk

"When multiple motors are integrated into one silica microdisk, the torques applied on the disk from the individual motors accumulate and the overall torque is increased," Liu says. "For example, a silica disk embedded with four plasmonic nanomotors attains the same rotation speed with only half of the laser power applied as a disk embedded with a single motor." The nanoscale size of this new light mill makes it ideal for powering NEMS, where the premium is on size rather than efficiency. Generating relatively powerful torque in a nanosized light mill also has numerous potential biological applications, including the controlled unwinding and rewinding of the DNA double helix. When these light mill motors are structurally optimized for efficiency, they could be useful for harvesting solar energy in nanoscopic systems.

Ranking US Electric Power Companies by Emissions

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A new Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC) report comparing the air pollutant emissions of America’s 100 largest electric power producers offers important insights into the trends shaping the electric power industry and some of the strategies that companies are using to improve their environmental performance.

NextEra Energy (formerly FPL Group), for example, is the nation’s fourth largest electric power producer, yet its overall emissions and emission rates for CO2, SO2 and NOx are significantly lower than many of its peers. NextEra, which has rapidly expanded its wind generation capacity in recent years, ranks 86th among the 100 top power companies for its CO2 emissions rate, 77th for NOx, and 75th for SO2 emissions, based on 2008 data. Similarly Calpine, which operates natural gas-fired and geothermal power plants, is the 11th largest power producer yet ranks 87th for both its NOx and SO2 emissions rates.

The Benchmarking Air Emissions report analyzes 2008 data submitted by power plant operators to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Energy Information Administration (EIA) and other sources, focusing on CO2, NOx, SO2 and mercury emissions

Power companies using a lot of nuclear energy have been shown as among America's cleanest by the Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC) in recently published data.

July 05, 2010

Outline for Key Approaches to Reducing Usage of Coal and Oil

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62% of the world's energy usage is from coal (26%) and oil (36%).

50% of oil is used for cars and trucks. There are one billion cars and trucks in the world and we add 55-65 million each year. So getting older cars and trucks to be much more efficient can have up to twenty times larger and faster impact than rules for making more efficient new cars and trucks.

Retrofitting the older cars and trucks and motorcycles with aerodynamic shells and attachments (commercial CIY aeromodding) can reduce fuel usage by 30-100% at highway speeds.

Retrofit cars and trucks with engine modifications or overhauls to reduce fuel usage. A Honda 125 cc Innova was increased from 114 mpg to 214 mpg with an aerodynamic shell

There are several do it yourself aerodynamic modifications of Honda Civics to get 90-114 mpg.

Summarizing Deaths per TWH

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This site previously covered the number deaths per terawatt hour for all energy sources. The main reference was the Externe european energy study. Mainly those sources had deaths from accidents during mining or from the operation of the plants. Coal and oil are worse when the air pollution deaths are totally factored into the calculation. Coal is also worse if transporation deaths are included, since 40% of US rail freight is for moving coal from mines to the plants.

Energy Source              Death Rate (deaths per TWh)

Coal – world average 161 (26% of world energy, 50% of electricity) Coal – China 278 Coal – USA 15 Oil 36 (36% of world energy) Natural Gas 4 (21% of world energy) Biofuel/Biomass 12 Peat 12 Solar (rooftop) 0.44 (less than 0.1% of world energy) Wind 0.15 (less than 1% of world energy) Hydro 0.10 (europe death rate, 2.2% of world energy) Hydro - world including Banqiao) 1.4 (about 2500 TWh/yr and 171,000 Banqiao dead) Nuclear 0.04 (5.9% of world energy)

Lawrence Berkeley Labs Preforms Basic Research Towards Energy Saving Magnetic Fridges

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Fundamental research conducted at facilities like Berkeley Lab's Advanced Light Source could lead to the energy-saving technologies of tomorrow, such as a magnetic fridge. Jeff Kortright (left) and Sujoy Roy with an an endstation for soft x-ray resonant magnetic scattering and spectroscopy, which the scientists used at the Advanced Light Source's beamline 4.0.2 to learn more about the magnetocaloric effect in alloys. (Image by Roy Kaltschmidt, Berkeley Lab Public Affairs)
The idea is to use a material that exhibits a giant magnetocaloric effect, and use it as a refrigerant, like a high-tech block of ice. The giant magnetocaloric effect is where a changing magnetic field in a material causes its temperature to drop precipitously

“It’s a very promising concept. But to make it a reality, we first must learn in detail what’s happening inside materials as they undergo the giant magnetocaloric effect,” says Sujoy Roy, a physicist with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Nextera Energy AKA Florida Power and Light is the US Leader in Solar, Wind and Hydro

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Here is a 60 page presentation by the CEO of Nextera Energy (the US leader in solar, wind and Hydro).

They are also filing for uprates of their nuclear power plants. The NextEra Energy (point beach reactors) and Constellation Energy (nine mile reactor) uprates are expected to be approved by the Nuclear Regulatory commission this year and to be completed in 2012.

Nextera provides a view of expected wind and solar build in the USA to 2014.

Soft capacitor fibers using conductive polymers for electronic textiles

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Arxiv - A soft and flexible conductive polymer fiber has been made with a capacitance some 1000 times greater than an equivalent co-axial cable.

A novel, highly flexible, conductive polymer-based fiber with high electric capacitance is reported. In its crossection the fiber features a periodic sequence of hundreds of conductive and isolating plastic layers positioned around metallic electrodes. The fiber is fabricated using fiber drawing method, where a multi-material macroscopic preform is drawn into a sub-millimeter capacitor fiber in a single fabrication step. Several kilometres of fibers can be obtained from a single preform with fiber diameters ranging between 500um -1000um. A typical measured capacitance of our fibers is 60-100 nF/m and it is independent of the fiber diameter. For comparison, a coaxial cable of the comparable dimensions would have only ~0.06nF/m capacitance. Analysis of the fiber frequency response shows that in its simplest interrogation mode the capacitor fiber has a transverse resistance of 5 kOhm/L, which is inversely proportional to the fiber length L and is independent of the fiber diameter. Softness of the fiber materials, absence of liquid electrolyte in the fiber structure, ease of scalability to large production volumes, and high capacitance of our fibers make them interesting for various smart textile applications ranging from distributed sensing to energy storage

Desired Sub-5 Nanometer Graphene Nanoribbons Produced

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Sub-5-nm Graphene Nanoribbons (GNRs) are desirable for high on/off ratio field-effect transistors at room temperature.

Nature Chemistry - Etching and narrowing of graphene from the edges

Large-scale graphene electronics requires lithographic patterning of narrow graphene nanoribbons for device integration. However, conventional lithography can only reliably pattern ∼20-nm-wide GNR arrays limited by lithography resolution, while sub-5-nm GNRs are desirable for high on/off ratio field-effect transistors at room temperature. Here, we devised a gas phase chemical approach to etch graphene from the edges without damaging its basal plane. The reaction involved high temperature oxidation of graphene in a slightly reducing environment in the presence of ammonia to afford controlled etch rate (≲ 1 nm min^−1). We fabricated ∼20–30-nm-wide graphene nanoribbon arrays lithographically, and used the gas phase etching chemistry to narrow the ribbons down to <10 nm. For the first time, a high on/off ratio up to ∼10^4 was achieved at room temperature for field-effect transistors built with sub-5-nm-wide graphene nanoribbon semiconductors derived from lithographic patterning and narrowing. Our controlled etching method opens up a chemical way to control the size of various graphene nano-structures beyond the capability of top-down lithography.

July 04, 2010

Researchers Use Super-high Pressures to Create Super Battery

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Using super-high pressures Washington State University researchers have created a compact, never-before-seen material capable of storing vast amounts of energy. It is the most condensed form of energy storage outside of nuclear energy.

The researchers increased the pressure to more than a million atmospheres and forced the molecules to make tightly bound three-dimensional metallic "network structures." In the process, the huge amount of mechanical energy of compression was stored as chemical energy in the molecules' bonds.

Nature Chemistry - Two- and three-dimensional extended solids and metallization of compressed XeF2