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July 17, 2010

BP Well Pressure Rises so There appears to be No Other Leaks

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Pressure inside the well rose slowly yesterday to 6,720 pounds per square inch from 6,700 pounds per square inch at the start of the day, an encouraging sign that the well may have escaped damage following an April 20 explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig.

HULC Exoskeleton Undergoing Army Testing and REX Exoskeleton for Wheelchair Users

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1. Lockheed Martin has received a $1.1 million contract from the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Center for test and evaluation of its next-generation HULC advanced robotic exoskeleton, designed to augment Soldiers' strength and endurance, as well as reduce load carriage injuries.

Sharp Electronics Has a Triple Layer 100GB on a Single Blu ray Disc

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Sharp Corporation will introduce the VR-100BR1 triple-layer Blu-ray Disc media (write-once) that conforms to the BDXL™ format specification, the new multi-layer recordable Blu-ray Disc format, a world first. These new Blu-ray Discs will be available in Japan beginning July 30, 2010.

This disc media product conforms to the new BDXL™ format specification that extends the storage capacity of Blu-ray Discs to 100GB, twice the 50GB storage capacity of existing dual-layer discs

July 16, 2010

NASA WISE space telescope has Found 20 Brown Dwarf Stars and 25,000 New Asteroids

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WISE has observed more than 100,000 asteroids, both known and 25,000 previously unseen. Most of these space rocks are in the main belt between Mars and Jupiter. However, some are near-Earth objects, asteroids and comets with orbits that pass relatively close to Earth. WISE has discovered more than 90 of these new near-Earth objects. The infrared telescope is also good at spotting comets that orbit far from Earth and has discovered more than a dozen of these so far.

The first release of WISE data, covering about 80 percent of the sky, will be delivered to the astronomical community in May of next year

WISE has spied hundreds of potential brown dwarfs - stellar objects that are bigger than a planet but much smaller than a star - and confirmed the existence of 20 of them, including some of the coldest ever known.

July 15, 2010

Drones for Search and Ruscue and Stealth UAVs

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1. UAVs could be used to save lives by flying search-and-rescue (SAR) missions in the nation's large national parks.

Brigham Young University took a commercially available propeller-driven plane with a 1.2-metre wingspan, optimised for low-speed flight, and adapted it to both fly and search autonomously. Their idea is to provide SAR teams with a cheap alternative to helicopters, and one that can be used even in the perilous weather conditions that can ground helicopter-led rescue missions


The Recipe for Longevity

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A complex network of genes, in combination with a low-calorie diet and exercise, appears to be a key factor in a long life expectancy.

The researchers have discovered that long life involves a network of some 750 genes. A third of these play an important role, particularly in the ability of cells to generate energy from food. Experiments have shown that in mice, for example, the presence or absence of these genes can change life expectancy from 350 to 900 days. iIn order to live longer, we should meet only 80% of our food needs

Nanoscopic bead technology could speed drug discovery by Ten Thousand times and drug development by years

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Lab-on-Bead uses tiny beads studded with "pins" that match a drug to a disease marker in a single step, so researchers can test an infinite number millions of possibilities for treatments all at once. When Lab-on-Bead makes a match, it has found a viable treatment for a specific disease - speeding up drug discovery by as much as 10,000 times and cutting out years of testing and re-testing in the laboratory.

Advancing Towards a Universal Flu Vaccine

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A universal influenza vaccine — so-called because it could potentially provide protection from all flu strains for decades — may become a reality because of research led by scientists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.

The prime-boost approach opens a new door to vaccinations for influenza that would be similar to vaccination against such diseases as hepatitis, where we vaccinate early in life and then boost immunity through occasional, additional inoculations in adulthood. In experiments with mice, ferrets and monkeys, the investigators used a two-step immunization approach to elicit infection-fighting antibodies that attacked a diverse array of influenza virus strains. Current flu vaccines do not generate such broadly neutralizing antibodies, so they must be re-formulated annually to match the predominant virus strains circulating each year. A durable and effective universal influenza vaccine would have enormous ramifications for the control of influenza, a disease that claims an estimated 250,000 to 500,000 lives annually, including an average of 36,000 in the United States.


Journal Science - Induction of Broadly Neutralizing H1N1 Influenza Antibodies by Vaccination

Vaccination with plasmid DNA encoding H1N1 influenza hemagglutinin (HA) and boosting with seasonal vaccine or replication-defective adenovirus 5 (rAd5) vector encoding HA stimulated the production of broadly neutralizing influenza antibodies


BP Test at Least Temporarily Has Stopped All of Oil

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Retired Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen said the cap could possibly shut the well, but might also be used only to block the flow during emergency situations like a hurricane, when BP's surface containment effort would be suspended.

BP Plc conducted pressure tests on its blown-out Gulf of Mexico well on Thursday and said no oil was leaking into the ocean for the first time since the accident began in April.

As part of the test, BP shut off the valves to a newly placed containment cap. Initial results early on in the test showed that the cap had completely contained the flow from the ruptured deep-sea well, BP said.

July 14, 2010

Liquid armour and Kevlar Better than Just Kevlar at Bullet Stopping

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A bullet hits traditional Kevlar (L) and the new liquid armour (R). In the tests, scientists used a large gas gun to fire ball bearing-shaped metal bullets at over 300 metres per second into two test materials - 31 layers of untreated kevlar and 10 layers of kevlar combined with the shear-thickening liquid
A liquid armour has been shown to stop bullets in tests carried out by UK scientists at BAE systems in Bristol. The Kevlar with the liquid works much faster and the impact isn't anything like as deep.

The researchers have combined this "shear-thickening" liquid with Kevlar to create a new bullet-proof material. The company is keeping the chemical formula of the liquid a secret, but it works by absorbing the force of the bullet strike and responding to it by becoming much thicker and more sticky. The BAE scientists describe it as "bullet-proof custard".


Bechtel Joins mPower Modular Nuclear Reactor Project with 2020 Deployment Target

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Babcock & Wilcox (B&W) and Bechtel have entered into a formal alliance to design, license and deploy Bechtel's mPower 125 MWe modular reactor design

The mPower is an integral PWR designed to be factory-made and railed to site. The reactor pressure vessel containing core and steam generator is thus only a few metres in diameter. It will have a "conventional core and standard fuel" enriched to 5%, presumably with burnable poisons, to give a five-year operating cycle between refuelling. This is intended to provide a low-cost approach to plant operations. B&W notes that nuclear security and near-term management of used fuel would be improved through the underground containment design that will store fuel for the planned 60-year life of the plant. The mPower reactors are targeting 3 year construction times.

Life Extension Foundation Funds Granulocyte Anti-Cancer Therapy for $800000

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Dr. Zheng Cui, of the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, developed a colony of mice with super-charged granulocytes and those mice could withstand virulent cancer.

When Dr. Cui administered healthy, potent granulocytes to mice with cancer that couldn’t be treated by other known therapies, he cured them. Dr. Cui also found that a similar cancer-killing activity is present in the granulocytes of some healthy humans. Based on these findings, Dr. Cui proposed a novel therapeutic concept for treating human cancers. In his proposal, healthy humans who possess a high level of cancer-killing activity can be identified by a unique laboratory assay and be used as granulocyte donors. The donor granulocytes can be specifically collected by an established procedure and be infused into cancer patients to treat the diseases. This therapy worked exceptionally well in preclinical studies. Dr. Cui who showed in laboratory experiments that immune cells from some people can be almost 50 times more effective in fighting cancer than in others. What that means is that these super-charged granulocytes can be harvested from healthy young donors and infused into cancer patients with curative intent.

No one stepped forward to fund a clinical study to see if this new therapy could cure cancer

* The Life Extension Foundation learned that this potential cancer cure was not being funded, it immediately made a $200,000 grant to fund the study at the South Florida Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Transplant Institute

* In January of this year, Dr. Maharaj, Director of the South Florida Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Transplant Institute, notified the Life Extension Foundation that progress was being slowed because expected funding sources had dried up. Life Extension responded with another grant of $600,000 to further advance what could be a cure for cancer

What Is Real 4G cellphone Communication Technology

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Emerging mobile technologies Wimax and LTE and HSPA+ are advanced 3G or proto-4G but are not real 4G

4G will be technically defined by what the ITU qualifies as IMT-Advanced (with IMT 2000 being 3G), neither LTE nor WiMAX look to actually be 4G.

802.16m (802.16m Advanced Air Interface with data rates of 100 Mbit/s mobile & 1 Gbit/s fixed is an in progress standard) and LTE-AdvancedA will make the grade as true 4G.

LTE Advanced is a preliminary mobile communication standard, formally submitted as a candidate 4G systems to ITU-T in the fall 2009, and expected to be finalized in 2011. It is standardized by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) as a major enhancement of the pre-4G 3GPP Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard. A first set of 3GPP requirements on LTE Advanced has been approved in June 2008. Besides the peak data rate 1 Gbit/s that fully supports the 4G requirements as defined by the ITU-R, it also targets faster switching between power states and improved performance at the cell edge. LTE Advanced introduces multicarrier to be able to leverage ultra wide bandwidth, up to 100 MHz of spectrum supporting very high data rates. One of the important LTE Advanced benefits is the ability to leverage advanced topology networks; optimized heterogeneous networks with a mix of macros with low power nodes such as picocells, femtocells and new relay nodes.
Here is some more info about LTE advanced.

North Dakota Oil Production for May 2010 at 296423 Barrels Per Day

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North Dakota's oil production for May was at another new record of 296423 barrels per day.

The May production was 9,189,101 barrels which is the first time that monthly North Dakota production topped 9 million barrels.

Key Advance in Understanding ‘Pseudogap’ Phase in High-Tc Superconductors

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This pattern shows the tunneling potential of electrons on oxygen atoms “north” and “east” of each copper atom (shown embedded in the pattern) in the copper-oxide layer of a superconductor in the pseudogap phase. On oxygen atoms north of each copper, the tunneling potential is strong, as indicated by the brightness of the yellow patches forming lines in the north-south direction. On oxygen atoms east of each copper, the tunneling potential is weaker, indicated by less intense yellow lines in the east-west direction. This apparent broken symmetry may help scientists understand the pseudogap phase of copper-oxide superconductors.

Scientists have discovered a fundamental difference in how electrons behave at the two distinct oxygen-atom sites within each copper-oxide unit, which appears to be a specific property of the non-superconducting pseudogap phase. The research — described in the July 15, 2010, issue of Nature — may lead to new approaches to understanding the pseudogap phase, which has been hypothesized as a key hurdle to achieving room-temperature superconductivity.

Battery research could lead to Recharging that is Ten to Thirty Times Faster for Cell phones and Electric Cars

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Adding a bit of graphene to battery materials could dramatically cut the time it takes to recharge electronics.

Today, a typical cell phone battery takes between two and five hours to fully recharge. Researchers think using new battery materials with graphene could cut recharge time to less than 10 minutes.

Drug mitigates toxic effects of radiation in mice

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Investigators at the University of North Carolina (UNC) Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center have found that oral treatment of mice with a drug that inhibits enzymes involved in cell division caused certain groups of bone marrow cells to temporarily stop dividing (which they termed ‘pharmacological quiescence’ or PQ). Several decades of work have shown that cells which are not dividing are resistant to agents that damage DNA, like radiation. Workers in the Sharpless lab were then able to show that the induction of PQ immediately before or up to 20 hours after radiation exposure were able to protect mice from a lethal dose of radiation. PQ protected all the normal cells of blood, including platelets, red cells and white cells.

“We believe this study is really exciting. We have identified a simple, non-toxic pill that decreases radiation toxicity even when given after radiation exposure. We believe this approach could be of use in humans who are accidentally or intentionally exposed to lethal doses of radiation,” said Sharpless, who is an associate professor of medicine and genetics at UNC’s School of Medicine.


Journal of Clinical Investigation - Mitigation of hematologic radiation toxicity in mice through pharmacological quiescence induced by CDK4/6 inhibition

July 13, 2010

Regeneration and orthotopic transplantation of a bioartificial lung

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Nature Medicine - Doctors at the Harvard Medical School have used stem cells to construct a miniature lung, which functioned for up to six hours when transplanted into a rat

About 2,000 patients now await a donor lung in the United States. Worldwide, 50 million individuals are living with end-stage lung disease. Creation of a bioartificial lung requires engineering of viable lung architecture enabling ventilation, perfusion and gas exchange. We decellularized lungs by detergent perfusion and yielded scaffolds with acellular vasculature, airways and alveoli. To regenerate gas exchange tissue, we seeded scaffolds with epithelial and endothelial cells. To establish function, we perfused and ventilated cell-seeded constructs in a bioreactor simulating the physiologic environment of developing lung. By day 5, constructs could be perfused with blood and ventilated using physiologic pressures, and they generated gas exchange comparable to that of isolated native lungs. To show in vivo function, we transplanted regenerated lungs into orthotopic position. After transplantation, constructs were perfused by the recipient's circulation and ventilated by means of the recipient's airway and respiratory muscles, and they provided gas exchange in vivo for up to 6 h after extubation.

China could Displace Tennessee as the Home of the Fastest Computer by November 2010

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China is expected to dethrone Tennessee as the home of the world’s fastest computer by November, a top U.S. Energy Department official said Monday.

That’s when China’s Nebulae supercomputer in Shenzhen reaches peak performance, said U.S. Energy Undersecretary Steven Koonin. But planned upgrades of the Cray Jaguar computer at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory should help America regain the lead by 2012, he said. The DOE announced this spring that Oak Ridge National Laboratory will receive $122 million over the next five years to establish a Nuclear Energy Modeling and Simulation Energy Innovation Hub to test materials, processes and equipment used in the 104 U.S. nuclear reactors


* 2.3 petaflops for the Oak Ridge Cray Jaguar supercomputer now

* 2.98 petaflops is the theoretical capacity of China’s Nebulea supercomputer in Shenzhen

Lawrence Livermore should have its 20 petaflop ibm blue gene/Q (Sequoia) computer in 2012.

Sequoia will consume around 6 megawatts, yielding an energy efficiency ratio of over 3,000 MFLOPS/watt*. That represents a 7X improvement over the Blue Gene/P generation (440 MFLOPS/watt*), and is even better than the Cell-based Roadrunner system at Los Alamos (587 MFLOPS/watt*). For a starker comparison, the 1.6 petaflop Opteron-based Jaguar supercomputer installed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory uses about 8.5 megawatts (188 MFLOPS/watt*).When Sequoia arrives in the first half of 2011, space is going to be at a premium in the lab's Terascale Simulation Facility

Japanese solar sail successfully rides sunlight

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An unmanned probe riding a solar sail through space has felt its first accelerating push from sunlight in a successful test of its novel propulsion system

"The small solar power sail demonstrator 'Ikaros,' which successfully deployed its solar sail, was confirmed to accelerate by [the] solar sail receiving solar pressure," JAXA officials said in a July 9 update. "This proved that the Ikaroshas generated the biggest acceleration through photon during interplanetary flight in history."

OECD Nuclear Generation 731 TWH for First Four Months of 2010

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January through April electricity generation numbers for the OECD


The US nuclear fleet has been running at 94-96% availability in June.

University of Cambridge Breakthrough Could Lower the Cost of Superconducting Devices and Increase Current Capacity

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A new approach to producing high-temperature superconductors could drive down the cost of MRI scanners and protect infrastructure during energy surges.

Engineers at the University of Cambridge used new techniques to manufacture high-temperature superconducting materials, producing samples that can carry record quantities of electrical current for their type and size. The Cambridge team have developed a technique to manufacture large single grains of bulk superconductors.

The breakthrough has improved the effectiveness of yttrium barium copper oxide (YBCO) and a related family of superconducting materials. It raises the prospect of more powerful and affordable samples that could have huge benefits in a number of fields.

EPA Renewable Fuel Production Targets

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Greencarcongress.com - EPA renewable (biofuels) production targets for 2011 have been announced.

The annual renewable fuel volume targets are to keep the industry on track to reach an overall level of 36 billion gallons in 2022. The total target is about 16.5 billion gallons for 2011 for the USA. The 2011 target is for almost 8.5% of US fuel to be renewable fuel.

Variable Practice for Motor Skills is Better Than Constant Practice

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Variable practice leads to better retention than constant practice. Variable practice structure is one in which a motor task can be randomly interleaved with trials of other motor tasks.

Instead of just shooting free throws, mix in some dribbling drills or three point shots and layup practice.

New Model Predicts the Organization of Nanoparticles

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Journal Science - Step-Growth Polymerization of Inorganic Nanoparticles
Currently, no model exists describing the organization of nanoparticles. This work paves the way for the prediction of the properties of nanoparticle ensembles and for the development of new design rules for such structures. It will enable the development of controls for creating larger structures for memory storage and optical waveguides.

Self-organization of nanoparticles is an efficient strategy for producing nanostructures with complex, hierarchical architectures. The past decade has witnessed great progress in nanoparticle self-assembly, yet the quantitative prediction of the architecture of nanoparticle ensembles and of the kinetics of their formation remains a challenge. We report on the marked similarity between the self-assembly of metal nanoparticles and reaction-controlled step-growth polymerization. The nanoparticles act as multifunctional monomer units, which form reversible, noncovalent bonds at specific bond angles and organize themselves into a colloidal polymer. We show that the kinetics and statistics of step-growth polymerization enable a quantitative prediction of the architecture of linear, branched, and cyclic self-assembled nanostructures; their aggregation numbers and size distribution; and the formation of structural isomers.


July 12, 2010

Solar Power Is Helping to Reduce Coal Usage at a Small Coal Plant

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A 49 MW coal plant now has 6.8 acres of concentrated solar mirrors to help heat the plant and reduce coal usage by 900 tons.

The first ever hybrid solar-coal power plant is now operating at Unit 2 of the Cameo Generating Station near Palisade in Colorado. The demonstration project is expected to cut the use of coal at the power plant by around two or three percent, and could be scaled up to cut it by 10 percent.

The solar energy heats the circulating oil to about 300°C (575°F). The heated oil is then fed to a heat exchanger where the heat is transferred to water to heat it to around 200°C (407°F) before it enters the boiler. Having hotter water entering the boiler means less coal is needed to heat it and produce the steam that turns the turbine to generate electricity

China is Stockpiling Uranium and the Ukraine has Increased Nuclear Generation

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1. China is buying unprecedented amounts of uranium, signaling that prices are poised to rebound after three years of declines.
The nation may purchase about 5,000 metric tons this year, more than twice as much as it consumes, building stockpiles for new reactors, according to Thomas Neff, a physicist and uranium- industry analyst at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. Prices will jump by about 32 percent next year, the most since 2006, RBC Capital Markets said

Uranium will climb to an average $55 a pound next year as demand erodes supplies, according to Adam Schatzker, a metals analyst at RBC in Toronto. Max Layton, at Macquarie Bank Ltd. in London, forecasts it will climb to $56.25 next year and $60 in five years.

Spot trades of uranium oxide totaled 20.9 million pounds this year. (About one seventh of overall annual demand of 69,000 tons

China’s demand for uranium may rise to 20,000 tons a year by 2020. China plans to boost nuclear power 85 gigawatts in 2020. India will need about 8,000 tons as it quadruples capacity to 20 gigawatts
.

July 11, 2010

Breakthrough Will Enable Remote Detection of hidden explosives, chemical, biological agents and illegal drugs

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Science Daily - A major breakthrough in remote wave sensing by a team of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute researchers opens the way for detecting hidden explosives, chemical, biological agents and illegal drugs from a distance of 20 meters.

The new, all-optical system, using terahertz (THz) wave technology, has great potential for homeland security and military uses because it can "see through" clothing and packaging materials and can identify immediately the unique THz "fingerprints" of any hidden materials."We have shown that you can focus a 800 nm laser beam and a 400 nm laser beam together into the air to remotely create a plasma interacting with the THz wave, and use the plasma fluorescence to convey the information of the THz wave back to the local detector," explains Dr. Zhang.


Nature Photonics - Broadband terahertz wave remote sensing using coherent manipulation of fluorescence from asymmetrically ionized gases

China has a Catalyst to Convert Shale Oil Directly into Transportation Fuel

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Greencarcongress.com - China has identified a catalyst—NiMoW—for the hydrotreating of the diesel distillate fraction from Fushun shale oil to produce a product that can be directly used as a transportation fuel.

In China, reserves of oil shales account for about 500,000 billion tons. It is distributed mainly in Fushun, Liaoning province, Huadian, Jilin province, and Maoming, Guangdong province... However, the shale oils produced from oil shales contain a considerable amount of heteroatomic compounds, especially unsaturated hydrocarbons, which may cause many troubles, such as, instability of fuel during its transportation or storage...Catalytic hydrotreating may be considered as the only convenient way to remove heteroatomic compounds from shale oil. However, many papers showed that severe process conditions were needed during catalytic hydrotreating of shale oils. The concentrations of heteroatomic compounds in shale oils could be reduced, but they were still too high to be used as a transportation fuel. Denitrogenation was more difficult than desulfurization for shale oils.


That quote from the article is probably some kind of typo (500,000 billion= tons ?). It is difficult to nail down a clear estimate of the oil shale in China. One issue is the huge difference between proven reserves or economically developable at the time. Below are some other estimates.

Wikipedia lists China's oil shale at 32 billion tons.

There was an estimate of 3.3 trillion barrels of oil shale in world. 2.6 trillions barrels oil shale in the USA.

World Energy Council - Between 2004 and 2006 China undertook its first national oil shale evaluation, which confirmed that the resource was both widespread and vast.

According to the evaluation, it has been estimated that a total oil shale resource of some 720 billion tonnes is located across 22 provinces, 47 basins and 80 deposits
.

Energy & Fuels Journal - Catalytic Hydrotreating of the Diesel Distillate from Fushun Shale Oil for the Production of Clean Fuel