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July 31, 2010

China Becomes Second Biggest World Economy

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China has overtaken Japan to become the world's second-largest economy

China came close to surpassing Japan in 2009 and the disclosure by a senior official that it had now done so comes as no surprise. Indeed, Yi Gang, China's chief currency regulator, mentioned the milestone in passing in remarks published on Friday.

China's economy expanded 11.1 percent in the first half of 2010, from a year earlier, and is likely to log growth of more than 9 percent for the whole year, according to Yi.

China has averaged more than 9.5 percent growth annually since it embarked on market reforms in 1978.

The economist magazine has a feature on the growing power and wages of the chinese workforce.

Average monthly wages increased 17.3% in 2009 for chinese workers.

the Movie Inception and a Seperate Discussion of Lucid Dreaming Details

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The most basic of plot summaries for the move Inception: Dominic Cobb (Leo DiCaprio) is a master of his art, paid handsomely by well-funded businessmen to extract information from people's brains. But his latest job is something different - he must plant a thought in someone's head in such a way that they believe it was their own. Almost impossible apparently, even with the best team in the business around him - Arthur (Joseph Gordon Levitt) is Cobb's right-hand man, Eames (Tom Hardy) is a forger who can take on different identities in the dream world, Yusef (Dileep Rao) is the chemist and Ariadne (Ellen Page) the architect. The much-vaunted trailer put particular emphasis on the stunning visuals which are enought to wow even the most hardened cinema-goer

I have seen the movie and it is very good for action, plot, acting, effects, pacing, script and for concepts and contemplation of the mind and relationships.

Wikipedia discusses the real world of lucid dreaming. A lucid dream is a dream in which the sleeper is aware that he or she is dreaming. A lucid dreamer can actively participate in and manipulate imaginary experiences in the dream environment. Lucid dreams can seem extremely real and vivid, depending on a person's level of self-awareness during the lucid dream. A lucid dream can begin in one of two ways. A dream-initiated lucid dream (DILD) starts as a normal dream, and the dreamer eventually concludes it is a dream, while a wake-initiated lucid dream (WILD) occurs when the dreamer goes from a normal waking state directly into a dream state, with no apparent lapse in consciousness. Lucid dreaming has been researched scientifically, and its existence is well established


I have personally experienced wake-initiated lucid dream and dream-initiated lucid dream back when I was in high school and early university. I was able to initiate them about 10% of the time for about three years. I could have dreams and then realize that I was dreaming, which might cause me to wake up and then I could re-initiate the dream as a wake-initiated lucid dream but then have control.

Eventually I abandoned lucid dreaming because it effected the quality of sleep and because of a series of nightmares which I could not use lucid dreaming to control. I will discuss what wikipedia describes about lucid dreaming, out of body experiences and sleep paralysis and compare it to my own experience. I will not refer any more to the movie Inception (other than an embedded trailer) as a close comparison and analysis would involve too many spoilers.

Single-Nanobelt Electronic Nose: Engineering and Tests of the Simplest Analytical Element

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ACS Nano - Single-Nanobelt Electronic Nose: Engineering and Tests of the Simplest Analytical Element

Electronic instruments mimicking the mammalian olfactory system are often referred to as “electronic noses” (E-noses). Thanks to recent nanotechnology breakthroughs the fabrication of mesoscopic and even nanoscopic E-noses is now feasible in the size domain where miniaturization of the microanalytical systems encounters principal limitations. Here we describe probably the simplest and yet fully functioning E-nose made of an individual single-crystal metal oxide quasi-1D nanobelt. The nanobelt was indexed with a number of electrodes in a way that each segment of the nanobelt between two electrodes defines an individual sensing elemental “receptor” of the array. The required diversity of the sensing elements is “encoded” in the nanobelt morphology via longitudinal width variations of the nanobelt realized during its growth and via functionalization of some of the segments with Pd catalyst. The proposed approach represents the combined bottom-up/top-down technologically viable route to develop robust and sensitive analytical systems scalable down to submicrometer dimensions.


Nanowerk discusses the applications that the researchers expect and their long term vision

Kolmakov notes that the potential applications for this sensor device are are numerous and include stand alone truly microscopic detectors and analyzers which can be part of RFID tags (radio-frequency identification devices), smart phones, military devices (micro vehicles), medicine etc.

The researchers' vision is to be able to grow 'smart' sand – imbed a battery, simple circuitry and reporter all on to the same nanostructure.

Progress Towards Greater Atomically Precise Manipulation

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Richard Palmer, Peter Sloan and Sumet Sakulsermsuk of the University of Birmingham, UK, have demonstrated using electrons to break the chemical bonds holding chlorobenzene molecules to the silicon surface up to 10 nanometres from the tip. They placing an STM (scanning tunneling microscope) stylus just above a tiny pit in the surface of a silicon wafer, causing electrons from the tip to burrow down and travel as a quantum wave within the material, avoiding surface defects that would otherwise obstruct them.

Philip Moriarty of the University of Nottingham, UK, says the result is an excellent piece of fundamental science, but points out that the electrons travel in all directions from the stylus tip and cannot be directed to influence specific atoms. He and his colleagues are working instead on creating and breaking single chemical bonds directly with an atomic force microscope, which is normally used to measure interatomic forces.


Moriarty has a five year project to experimentally test the computational chemistry work of Robert Freitas and Ralph Merkle on basic capabilities with molecular tooltips. The experimental work takes time to set up with practical difficulties of getting a molecularly perfect diamond surface.

Physical Review Letters - Nonlocal Desorption of Chlorobenzene Molecules from the Si(111)-(7×7) Surface by Charge Injection from the Tip of a Scanning Tunneling Microscope: Remote Control of Atomic Manipulation

July 30, 2010

NIST Arrays Are Step Toward Mass Production of Nanowires

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Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have cultivated many thousands of nanocrystals in what looks like a pinscreen or "pin art" on silicon, a step toward reliable mass production of semiconductor nanowires for millionths-of-a-meter-scale devices such as sensors and lasers.

NIST researchers grow nanowires made of semiconductors—gallium nitride alloys—by depositing atoms layer-by-layer on a silicon crystal under high vacuum. NIST has the unusual capability to produce these nanowires without using metal catalysts, thereby enhancing luminescence and reducing defects. NIST nanowires also have excellent mechanical quality factors


Oldest Man in Japan Dead for 30 years Like Norman Bates Mother

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BBC News reports that when officials went to congratulate Sogen Kato on his 111th birthday, they uncovered mummified skeletal remains lying in his bed. Mr Kato may have been dead for 30 years according to Japanese authorities. The family had received 9.5 million yen ($109,000: £70,000) in widower's pension payments via Mr Kato's bank account since his wife died six years ago, and some of the money had recently been withdrawn.

It is an interesting case of real life mimicking the Alfred Hitchcock directed movie Psycho, where Norman Bates had the skeletal remains of his mother and acted as if she was alive.

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 12

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The Carnival of Nuclear Energy 12 is up at Idaho Samizdat

This site provided two articles:
Stealth nuclear fusion company Tri-alpha Energy has raised another $50 million.

My predictions for Kazakhstan uranium production for 2010 to 2015. And the new 2010, 2011 Kazakhstan uranium production bets with Dittmar.

Covering Roads Cost Perspective

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There is a criticism of the idea to cover roads as being too costly at $3 million per acre.

I had indicated further into the article ways to reduce the cost of covering the roads by using street lamps and telephone polls and existing two story and taller buildings to support the EFTE covering awning. This would reduce the amount of labor for the raised supports so that just the roof portion would need to be built and afixed to the existing supports. I also suggested that higher volume production could reduce costs and that alternative lower costs materials may be investigated.

July 29, 2010

Domed Cities Can Make Cities Dwellers Healthier and Safer

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By Alvin Wang and Brian Wang
This is a follow up to a recent article about updating proposals for Domed cities. Previously the case was made for improved feasibility with existing covered areas and domes in the 30-40 acre ranges and with costs of $400 million to 1 billion. There is also new strong teflon material (EFTE) which is 100 times lighter than glass and which can lower costs by 4 times. It was also shown that Domed Cities can reduce heating and cooling costs and energy usage by over 90%.

Domed cities will enable every day to have moderate temperature and no rain or snow and no ice formation. Current trends show the elderly population will rise dramatically, obesity will rise unless there are changes and about 3 billion people will be added to city populations in existing or new cities over the next 30 years. Domed Cities will be made far more walkable than current cities and enable citizens to be more active which will reduce obesity and eliminate traffic deaths and accidents. Ice and rain are a factor in about half of all of the more severe falls. Falls on ice and snow are 5 times more likely to result in a fracture. Falls still occur indoors now so falls will still occur but increased risks factors from more slippery surfaces can be removed. Also, many new cities will be in places like China and a well designed domed city can be used to reduce air pollution, which kills 1 person out of every thousand in China.

Currently increased health risks and lower safety and more risk of property damage are handled by society with higher insurance costs and higher costs for fixing people and property after the damage has occurred. Actually building things that are safer and healthier by design is a cheaper way to go. Also, prevention actually saves the lives and prevents the injuries.

There are ways to achieve each individual benefit of domed cities through other means but as these first two articles are pointing out doming cities is a cost effective way to achieve many benefits.

Urban Design for Reduced Obesity

Obesity rates can be reduced by making the entire domed city very easy for walking and bicycling and only having light electric pods or Segway like vehicles. Good weather on all days means that there is no days on which weather would discourage activity.


Dome City Urban Planners Should Look to Designs Like Florence with Piazzas and old Roman styles that are Walking Friendly

The historic center of Florence was 11 square kilometers in size. This was a size that was very suited to walking and minimally assisted transportation.
Bejing Airport Terminal Three is 2900 meters long, is an example of a place where people move across larger areas now without cars. Masdar City has no cars. People can live comfortably in cities like Hong Kong and Manhattan without owning cars.


Graphene Under Strain Creates Pseudo-Magnetic Fields Equivalent to more than 300 Tesla

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In this scanning tunneling microscopy image of a graphene nanobubble, the hexagonal two-dimensional graphene crystal is seen distorted and stretched along three main axes. The strain creates pseudo-magnetic fields far stronger than any magnetic field ever produced in the laboratory
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and a professor of physics at the University of California at Berkeley, reports the creation of pseudo-magnetic fields far stronger than the strongest magnetic fields ever sustained in a laboratory – just by putting the right kind of strain onto a patch of graphene.

Describing their experimental discovery, Crommie says, “We had the benefit of a remarkable stroke of serendipity.”


“We have shown experimentally that when graphene is stretched to form nanobubbles on a platinum substrate, electrons behave as if they were subject to magnetic fields in excess of 300 tesla, even though no magnetic field has actually been applied,” says Crommie. “This is a completely new physical effect that has no counterpart in any other condensed matter system.”

Automotive XPrize Finalists that Advance to the Final Validation Phase

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Edison2 is the Mainstream unofficial winner
The Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE, a $10 million competition to inspire a new generation of super fuel efficient vehicles, announced today the Finalist teams who have survived all on-track testing at Michigan International Speedway (MIS), and who now move into a Validation stage before prize money will be awarded this September.

What began as a field of 136 vehicles from 111 teams has now been narrowed to an elite group of nine vehicles from just seven teams that have proven they can meet the strictest requirements of this competition, including the ability to achieve at least 90 MPGe on the way toward the ultimate 100 MPGe requirement and to survive grueling dynamic safety and range tests


The Alternative tandem class unofficial winner is the X-tracer Etracer

Edison2 is the Mainstream unofficial winner

Call your Representative Today in the US Congress to Vote No on NASA’s Authorization bill H.R. 5781

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Bill HR 5781 Would authorize 5 times more money to buy trips on Russian Soyuz than for developing commercial alternatives like Spacex

If you are a US citizen then look up your representative at this link.

Carbon Nanotube Polymers Used to Enhance Protection Against Bullets by 20-50%

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Currently 1.5-5% carbon nanotubes can be used improve protection against bullets by 20-50%. This is described in this patent for Lockheed Martin

There is also work to use carbon nanotubes to enhance the protection of E-glass.

Safety of Nanomaterials That Will Soon Have a Big Impact on the Construction Industry

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Science Daily covers the ACS Nano paper by Alvarez and co-authors Jaesang Lee, a postdoctoral researcher at Rice, and Shaily Mahendra, now an assistant professor at the University of California, Los Angeles.

They note that nanomaterials will likely have a greater impact on the construction industry than any other sector of the economy, after biomedical and electronics applications. They cite dozens of potential applications. For example, nanomaterials can strengthen both steel and concrete, keep dirt from sticking to windows, kill bacteria on hospital walls, make materials fire-resistant, drastically improve the efficiency of solar panels, boost the efficiency of indoor lighting and even allow bridges and buildings to "feel" the cracks, corrosion and stress that will eventually cause structural failures.

* 41 percent of all energy use in the U.S. is consumed by commercial and residential buildings, the potential benefits of energy-saving materials alone are vast.

* The time for responsible lifecycle engineering of man-made nanomaterials in the construction industry is now, before they are introduced in environmentally relevant concentrations

ACS Nano - Nanomaterials in the Construction Industry: A Review of Their Applications and Environmental Health and Safety Considerations

US Nuclear Reactors 395.15 Terawatt hours for first half of 2010 and China Starts Building Two More Reactors

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1. For June 2010, nuclear generation was 68.3 billion kilowatt-hours compared to 69.4 billion kWh in June 2009. The average capacity factor for June 2010 was 94.2% compared to 95.7% in June 2009. Following last month’s trends, year-to-date 2010 nuclear generation is 0.8% behind the same period in 2009 but is slightly higher than the same period for the record year in 2007. The first half of the year has seen 395.15 TWH of generation for nuclaer power in the USA.

White Graphene and Other Graphene Developments at Rice University

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Hexagonal boron nitride sheets may help graphene supplant silicon for electronics.

What researchers might call "white graphene" may be the perfect sidekick for the real thing as a new era unfolds in nanoscale electronics.

But single-atom-thick layers of hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN), the material under intense study at Rice University's world-class Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, are likely to find some macro applications as well.

Researchers in the lab of Pulickel Ajayan, Rice's Benjamin M. and Mary Greenwood Anderson Professor in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and of chemistry, have figured out how to make sheets of h-BN, which could turn out to be the complementary apple to graphene's orange.


Nano Letters - Large Scale Growth and Characterization of Atomic Hexagonal Boron Nitride Layers

Hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN), a layered material similar to graphite, is a promising dielectric. Monolayer h-BN, so-called “white graphene”, has been isolated from bulk BN and could be useful as a complementary two-dimensional dielectric substrate for graphene electronics. Here we report the large area synthesis of h-BN films consisting of two to five atomic layers, using chemical vapor deposition. These atomic films show a large optical energy band gap of 5.5 eV and are highly transparent over a broad wavelength range. The mechanical properties of the h-BN films, measured by nanoindentation, show 2D elastic modulus in the range of 200−500 N/m, which is corroborated by corresponding theoretical calculations.

July 28, 2010

High-Ion Energy Data in Other Experiments Provides Dense Plasma Fusion Credibility and There Is Worldwide DPF Collaboration

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Lawrenceville Plasma Physics fusion project update and details from the June 22 ICOPS conference.

J. P. Appruzese and his colleagues at the Naval Research Laboratory noted in their presentation at ICOPS that several experiments with pinching machines had achieved ion energies above 10-20 keV, with the highest being the 200 keV previously reported from the big Z-machine at Sandia National Laboratory. Appruzese also mentioned LPP’s results with the DPF as a further example. He pointed out that such high ion energies could be used for fusion with advanced fuels—in his example, D-He3.

Kazakhstan Uranium Projection to 2015 and a new Bet

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Kazatomprom has a page which describes the uranium mines that they plant to open.

The World Nuclear Association page on Kazakhstan describes the development status and production of the mines.
The first quarter of 2010 has already had production figures released. Those figures are 4060 tons of Uranium.

Also, each of the pages on affiliated companies describes joint ventures uranium commitments and expected tonnage and some indication of schedules.
I have compiled that information to recreate what happened in 2009 on a mine by mine basis and projected out to 2015.

I have a new set of bets with Michael Dittmar. This time on uranium production in Kazakhstan.

The predictions and the bet is for the uranium production of the country of Kazakhstan.
So not just Kazatomprom, although that is most of the production.
Again we use the World Nuclear Association numbers of uranium production when reported.

       Brian Wang      Dittmar               Midpoint
2010   16500 tons      15000 tons            15750 tons
2011   18000 t or more 17,999.9 tons or less 18000 tons

Three more quarters like the first quarter and increased ramping of mines to get another 260 tons will mean the betting figure is right. 11,690 tons from the second, third and fourth quarter will mean that I win 2010.

China Energy Mix Now, 2015 and 2020

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Here is a 15 page clean energy report on China.

From these and other sources that quote China's National Energy Plans here are projections for 2015 and 2020.

                        2009      2015         2020
--------------------------------------------------------------
 Coal (billion tons)  1.8           2.7         3.4 
 Oil  (megatons)    405           500         563 
 Gas (billion cu m)  89           260         300 

 Power capacity(GW) 874          1350       1600 
 Electrical output 3715 TWH      5400 TWH  6500 TWH

 Coal,Oil, Gas    652 GW         900 GW     1000 GW
                 3000 TWH       4100 TWH    4600 TWH 
 
 Hydro            196 GW         250 GW       320 GW
                  615.6 TWH      780 TWH     1000 TWH

 Wind              16 GW          90 GW       150 GW
                   26 TWH        140 TWH      250 TWH

 Nuclear power      9 GW          39 GW        86 GW
                  65.7 TWH       280 TWH      580 TWH

Graphene Expert Boris Yakobson interviewed by Sander Olson

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Here is the Boris Yakobson interview by Sander Olson. Dr. Yakobson is a materials science professor at Rice University, which was the University which initially discovered buckyballs and had key discoveries in the development of buckytubes and nanotubes. Dr. Yakobson has done groundbreaking research on both graphene and graphane, which is graphene modified by hydrogen atoms. Graphene and graphane have considerable potential in structural materials, as future electronic devices, nanosensors, long distance, high-efficiency power lines, and hydrogen storage mediums. Dr. Yakobson already has several patents related to making heterojunction transistors out of carbon nanotubes.
Dr. Yakobson graphane work was covered here in May


Zyvex Performance Materials describes many existing products that use carbon nanotubes.





Question: Your research lab has recently made a breakthrough with graphane.
Answer: Through computational modeling, we have found very interesting physical properties in hybrid structures of graphEne, which consists of a one atom thick sheet of carbon, with graphAne, which is hydrogenated graphene. Graphane is an insulator, so the hybrid in two dimensions has tunable electronic properties. Since this material can be assembled in a variety of desirable ways, it opens up possibilities for utility as quantum dots, interconnects, and their further architectures.

Progress in Reverse Engineering Brains with Detailed Macaque Monkey Brain Map

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There is a landmark paper entitled “Network architecture of the long-distance pathways in the macaque brain” (an open-access paper) by Dharmendra S. Modha (IBM Almaden) and Raghavendra Singh (IBM Research-India) with major implications for reverse-engineering the brain and developing a network of cognitive-computing chips.

Understanding the network structure of white matter communication pathways is essential for unraveling the mysteries of the brain's function, organization, and evolution. To this end, we derive a unique network incorporating 410 anatomical tracing studies of the macaque brain from the Collation of Connectivity data on the Macaque brain (CoCoMac) neuroinformatic database. Our network consists of 383 hierarchically organized regions spanning cortex, thalamus, and basal ganglia; models the presence of 6,602 directed long-distance connections; is three times larger than any previously derived brain network; and contains subnetworks corresponding to classic corticocortical, corticosubcortical, and subcortico-subcortical fiber systems. We found that the empirical degree distribution of the network is consistent with the hypothesis of the maximum entropy exponential distribution and discovered two remarkable bridges between the brain's structure and function via network-theoretical analysis. First, prefrontal cortex contains a disproportionate share of topologically central regions. Second, there exists a tightly integrated core circuit, spanning parts of premotor cortex, prefrontal cortex, temporal lobe, parietal lobe, thalamus, basal ganglia, cingulate cortex, insula, and visual cortex, that includes much of the task-positive and task-negative networks and might play a special role in higher cognition and consciousness.

Box Spring Mattresses Might Be Increasing Your Cancer Risks - From Swedish Misleader of the Year 2004

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Following many years of public assertions and cocksure, blatant warnings of numerous negative health effects allegedly caused by electromagnetic fields, associate professor Olle Johansson has been awarded the title "Misleader of the year 2004". (H/T to reader XPT)

Olle Johansson receives the award as one of the most prominent representatives of the far too many scientists who, to draw attention to themselves and funding for their own activities, disseminate worry among the public in mass media by presenting unsubstantiated hypotheses as established facts. According to VoF, Johansson's own research pertaining to electromagnetic fields is of low quality.

What is meant by low quality in this context needs an explanation. In controversial risk issues, nine criteria are often used (A. B. Hill, Proc R Soc Med 58, pp. 295-300, 1965) as the basis for claiming, for instance, that a specific environmental factor indeed causes a disease. The components of Olle Johansson's activities which concern electromagnetic fields, mobile phones and radiofrequency waves do not fulfill these criteria. This conclusion is also shared by the Swedish Research Council in the report "Research on health effects due to electromagnetic fields" (November 1, 2004, in Swedish), where it is emphasized that the research by Olle Johansson has a weak basis both theoretically and methodologically. In addition the Nordic radiation protection authorities have in a consensus communication noted that scientific evidence for dangers from mobile phones is lacking.


Journal of Pathophysiology - Sleep on the right side—Get cancer on the left?

Scientific American has a common language version of that research paper. The cancer rate is 10 percent higher in the left breast than in the right. This left-side bias holds true for both men and women and it also applies to the skin cancer melanoma.

* Futons used for sleeping in Japan and Japan sees no left side bias for cancer
* 2007 study in Sweden conducted between 1989 and 1993 that revealed a strong link between the incidence of melanoma and the number of FM and TV transmission towers covering the area where the individuals lived
* As we slumber on a metal coil-spring mattress, a wave of electromagnetic radiation envelops our bodies so that the maximum strength of the field develops 75 centimeters above the mattress in the middle of our bodies. When sleeping on the right side, the body's left side will thereby be exposed to field strength about twice as strong as what the right side absorbs.

The Wars Would Be Less Expensive if the US and Europe did not Fund Both Sides, Alternatives Need for Imported Narcotics

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The United States provides billions of dollars each year to terrorists in Afghanistan and is funding the intelligence agency in Pakistan who work with the Taliban with drug money and is causing the destabilization of Mexico with the US demand for imported narcotics. 44% of illegal drugs are bought by North America and 33% is bought by Europe. The global drug trade generated an estimated US$321.6 billion in 2003 and that money goes to criminals and terrorists. A policy by Europe and North America to manage and supply the drugs internally would cut international demand by 4 times. The moral issues needs to be set aside for the practical and pragmatic need to handle the problems internally instead of exporting the problems. It is for the economic reasons (cost of wars and other government costs) and the strategic reasons. The faster solution is to stop or dramatically reduce IMPORTED narcotics with whatever policies would be effective.

The failing drug policies of the United States also have extra costs being the reason for a large fraction the imprisonment of 2.3 million people.

Drug related and alcohol related crime
2002 in U.S. about a quarter of convicted property and drug offenders in local jails had committed their crimes to get money for drugs, compared to 5% of violent and public order offenders. Among State prisoners in 2004 the pattern was similar, with property (30%) and drug offenders (26%) more likely to commit their crimes for drug money than violent (10%) and public-order offenders (7%). In Federal prisons property offenders (11%) were less than half as likely as drug offenders (25%) to report drug money as a motive in their offenses.

Of the adult US population, at least 75% are drinkers; and about 6% of the total group are alcoholics. In groups which are almost 100% drinkers, the alcoholism rate is about 8%. Many reports state that about 73% of felonies are alcohol-related. One survey shows that in about 67% of child-beating cases, 41% of forcible rape cases, 80% of wife-battering, 72% of stabbings, and 83% of homicides, either the attacker or the victim or both had been drinking


Here is a congressional report on - Afghanistan: Narcotics and U.S. Policy

Opium poppy cultivation and drug trafficking have eroded Afghanistan’s fragile political and economic order over the last 30 years. In spite of ongoing counternarcotics efforts by the Afghan government, the United States, and their partners, Afghanistan remains the source of over 90% of the world’s illicit opium.

United Nations officials estimated that the export value of the 2008 opium poppy crop and its derived opiates reached over $3 billion, sustaining fears that Afghanistan’s economic recovery continues to be underwritten by drug profits. The trafficking of Afghan drugs also appears to provide financial and logistical support to a range of extremist groups that continue to operate in and around Afghanistan, including resurgent Taliban fighters and some Al Qaeda operatives. Although coalition forces may be less frequently relying on figures involved with narcotics for intelligence and security support, many observers have warned that drug-related corruption among appointed and elected Afghan officials creates political obstacles to progress.

In March 2009, Obama Administration Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Ambassador Richard Holbrooke called U.S. counternarcotics efforts in Afghanistan to date “the most wasteful and ineffective program I have seen in 40 years in and out of the government.”

Terrafugia Reveals Next Generation Flying Car

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Terrafugia has released specifications and computer graphics of its next generation flying-car design.
* automotive crash safety features
* a touch-screen interface
* improved wing design
* folding mechanism can be activated from inside the vehicle



Position and momentum can be predicted more precisely than Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle and Provide a Measurement of Entanglement

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A group of scientists from LMU and the ETH in Zurich, including Professor Matthias Christandl, has now shown that position and momentum can be predicted more precisely than Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle would lead one to expect, if the recipient makes use of a quantum memory that employs ions or atoms. The results show that the magnitude of the uncertainty depends on the degree of correlation (“entanglement”) between the quantum memory and the quantum particle. “The result not only enhances our understanding of quantum memories, it also provides us with a method for determining the degree of correlation between two quantum particles”, says Christandl. “Moreover, the effect we have observed could yield a means of testing the security of quantum cryptographic systems.” (Nature Physics online, July 25, 2010)

Nature Physics - The uncertainty principle in the presence of quantum memory

July 27, 2010

Molecular Cellular Automata Achieves 700 bits of Parallel Processing

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We covered work with a superthin computer just two molecules thick can solve complex problems and, somewhat like the human brain, can evolve to improve and perform many operations simultaneously. This is significant progress on molecular computing with molecular switches that is highly parallel and using cellular automata.

Foresight has coverage of this work

we have realized 700 bits parallel processing using cellular automaton for the first time in the world.

This is a significant advancement from our 16 bit parallel processing which was achieved in 2008. This invention may be in coherence with the Feynman’s vision…We can solve some problems which computers will take more than the age of this universe. We did it in 6-10 minutes.

Nanowick Removes Heat at 550 Watts per Square Centimeter Which is Better than Conventional Chip Cooling

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International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer - Characterization of evaporation and boiling from sintered powder wicks fed by capillary action

The thermal resistance to heat transfer into the evaporator section of heat pipes and vapor chambers plays a dominant role in governing their overall performance. It is therefore critical to quantify this resistance for commonly used sintered copper powder wick surfaces, both under evaporation and boiling conditions. The objective of the current study is to measure the dependence of thermal resistance on the thickness and particle size of such surfaces. A novel test facility is developed which feeds the test fluid, water, to the wick by capillary action. This simulates the feeding mechanism within an actual heat pipe, referred to as wicked evaporation or boiling. Experiments with multiple samples, with thicknesses ranging from 600 to 1200 μm and particle sizes from 45 to 355 μm, demonstrate that for a given wick thickness, an optimum particle size exists which maximizes the boiling heat transfer coefficient. The tests also show that monoporous sintered wicks are able to support local heat fluxes of greater than 500 W cm−2 without the occurrence of dryout. Additionally, in situ visualization of the wick surfaces during evaporation and boiling allows the thermal performance to be correlated with the observed regimes. It is seen that nucleate boiling from the wick substrate leads to substantially increased performance as compared to evaporation from the liquid free surface at the top of the wick layer. The sharp reduction in overall thermal resistance upon transition to a boiling regime is primarily attributable to the conductive resistance through the saturated wick material being bypassed.

The team says they expect commercial coolers utilizing the tech to hit the market within a few years

China Hydro Power Now to 2020 and China Air Pollution Now

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1. China is likely to expedite approving hydropower projects from the second half of this year, or face missing its ambitious renewable energy target after cutbacks in the past five years, local media said.

China has set a goal to utilize renewables to supply 15 percent of its primary energy demand by 2020, and two-thirds of it will come from hydropower. At present, China has 197 GW of hydropower generation capacity, roughly 23 percent of the country's total. Coal fires about three quarters of China's total electricity.

For Those Concerned about Overpopulation - Iran is Now Paying for More Babies

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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad inaugurated a new policy on Tuesday to encourage population growth, dismissing Iran's decades of internationally-acclaimed family planning as ungodly and a Western import.

The new government initiative will pay families for every new child and deposit money into the newborn's bank account until they reach 18, effectively rolling back years of efforts to boost the economy by reducing the country's once runaway population growth.

The plan is part of Ahmadinejad's stated commitment to further increase Iran's population, which is already estimated at 75 million. He has previously said the country could support up to 150 million.

Under the new plan each child born in the current Iranian year, which began March 21, will receive a deposit of $950 in a government bank account. They will then continue to receive another $95 every year until they reach 18. Parents will also be expected to pay matching funds into the accounts.

10 million people are estimated to live under the poverty line. Iran's official unemployment rate is about 10 percent

60 Minutes Growing Body Parts From Human Cells Videos

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60 minutes had a segment on regenerative medicine

Huffington post had coverage of a recent update on Growing Body Parts From Human Cells.

Space Elevator Games Power Beaming Competition Delayed to March or April of 2011

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The Space elevator games power beaming competition has been delayed again. This time to March or April of 2011.

The winner (Lasermotive) of the 2009 laser beaming/climber competition has a new video which is embedded below.

The Lasermotive team and company announced new sponsors.

The co-inventors of the modern space elevator concepts Yuri Artsutanov and Jerome Pearson will appear at this year’s Space Elevator Conference, to be held in Redmond, Washington (August 12-15).

These are the guys that postulated the Space Elevator as a tensile structure (as opposed to Tsiolkovsky’s ‘tower’) - something that, with the discovery of carbon nanotubes, might actually be possible to build.


China is Planning a large Heavy Lift Rocket

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The Long March 5 can have 10.64 MN of thrust and 25 tons to low earth orbit

10.64 MN (long march) = 1,086 tons of thrust. This is a multi-rocket configuration.

China is planning to develop rocket engines that could generate 600 tons of thrust and five could be combined to 3000 tons of thrust. This is likely about as powerful (90%) as the Energia. The Russian Energia rocket had 32 MN of thrust and could lift 100 tons to low earth orbit. The Energia had a core thruster, so it could act as a second stage. 32 MN (meganewtons) divided by 9.8 N/kg (or 9.8 kN/T) yields 3,300 metric tons of thrust. Thanks to Goatguy for the corrections and calculations.

The Saturn V (used for the moon missions) had 34,020,000 N of thrust in the first stage and had two other stages.

Dome over a new tourist City Using Epcot Business Model for Geodesic Ecodream city

By Alvin Wang and Brian Wang

Vote for the idea of Domed Cities at the GE Ecomagination competition


Over a series of articles (I will link in the other articles as they are written) we will be showing that dome cities can be made profitably and that they can provide energy efficiency and other benefits. This article provides some examples of large EFTE structures that provide climate control for the interior structures and current largest examples of geodesic domes. An EFTE Geodesic dome can probably be brought down to $3-5 million per acre in cost. However, even $10-20 million per acre domes can be very profitable. Domes can make buildings inside more economical by reducing the need to heat or cool them. The Dome themselves can leverage atmospheric and other effects to maintain constant internal climate and generate power. The domes can use vents and can have a large chimney for airflow and even more temperature control.

This proposed project combines and updates the EPCOT dreams of Walt Disney and the Geodesic domes of Buckminster Fuller with Masdar city scale proof of ground breaking sustainable technology. It is compatible with Jack Welch's idea to be number one in whatever GE does. This will prove out city 2.0 tech for the next 2 billion urban inhabitants.

There are other model planned cities like Masdar city and dozens of green city project in China where entirely new cities are being made to prove out new designs and approaches. A model domed city would not have opposition from existing residents like any plan for a domed city over an existing city. Even small unique 5 acre domes like the Eden Project in the UK have significant tourism, but a dome with a one kilometer radius would be taller than the Burj Dubai and would have far more tourists. Epcot has about 11 million tourists each year.

The first dome should be designed for large events with the largest covered stages and auditoriums. China spent $44 billion on the 2008 Beijing Olympics and $45 billion on the 2010 Shanghai expo. Masdar City is a $22 billion project. A one kilometer tall domed city would be about $5-10 billion for a geodesic dome and some other unique structures. Extra should be spent in order to guarantee more revenue. Like the world Expo there should be partners and tenants for the internal pavillions.

The O2 (millenium ) dome is a 365 meters diameter dome structure that cost $1 billion and covers 26 acres. It houses O2's Entertainment Avenue and arena. However, it is not the greatest tourist attraction in the world. The scale of this domed city proposal would make it a massive tourist attraction and a key piece of a regional development plan. - The Beijing Olympics had 5 million overseas tourists and 120 million domestic

- Shanghai expo is expecting 70-100 million tourists.

- Macau built up Casinos that are larger than the Strip in Las Vegas and has 20-30 million tourists per year and has about $15 billion per year in revenue.

As a spinoff, this project would develop and prove the construction techniques for a geodesic dome of this size and prove the energy efficiency benefits for the city domes that follow. Buildings inside would not need to have the extra costs for climate control or to worry about any storm damage as the dome can withstand any hurricane and other weather.

China's thirty other planned city projects and Masdar city projects are also designed to prove out techniques that can be adapted to improve existing cities.


The Khan Shatyry entertainment center opened on July 5, 2010 in Astana, Kazakhstan. It is the tallest Tensile structure in the World and is mostly made of EFTE (the strongest teflon). The $400 million costs include the tent and 7 stories of facilities inside and a concrete base. It covers about 37 acres, so the cost is about $11 million per acre of buildings and tent cover.

The 150m-high (500 ft) tent has a 200m elliptical base covering 150,000 square meters. Underneath the tent, an area larger than 10 football stadiums, will be an urban-scale internal park, shopping and entertainment venue with squares and cobbled streets, a boating river, shopping centre, minigolf and indoor beach resort. The roof is constructed from ETFE suspended on a network of cables strung from a central spire. The transparent material allows sunlight through which, in conjunction with air heating and cooling systems is designed to maintain an internal temperature between 15-30°C in the main space and 19-24°C in the retail units, while outside the temperature varies between -35 to +35°C across the year


July 26, 2010

Nuclear Fusion company Trialpha energy Has Raised another $50 million

Tri-alpha energy has reportedly raised another $50 million. Tri-alpha energy is a stealth company that is pursuing commercial nuclear fusion using field reversed configuration colliding beam fusion.

Carnival of Space 164 - solar sails and earth sized exoplanets and a new biggest star

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Update for a missed submission:
Cheap Astronomy presents the second of its epic two part podcast series on stellar archaeology.

1. Centauri Dreams sends "The Solar Sail in Context":

This is one of four pieces I wrote this past week covering one aspect or another of the Second International Symposium on Solar Sailing, which wrapped up on Thursday in Brooklyn. One intriguing presentation that I cover here has to do with the use of solar sails as hybrid technologies in a future fusion mission.

Kitegen had to Abandon Another Site But Its 3 Megawatt Prototype at Sommariva Perno Should be Flying in August 2010

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Kitegen is a system for generating wind power from kites. It has faced a lot of bureaucratic and fund raising intrigue in Italy. It is featured at the Italian pavillion at the World Expo in Shanghai.

At Sommariva Perno - at the landfill at Cascina the magician the Kitegen Stem (3 megawatt) prototype will be built. It will use high altitude wind. It should be flyingin August or September of 2010.

If the first kitegen stem prototype is successful, then five stems will be installed. Those five would generate about 15 megawatts.

The council of Roero on Thursday, April 29, said yes to the Kitegen testing. The Kitegen invention was considered among the 20 most innovative ideas in the world at the climate summit in Copenhagen.

Indications of room-temperature superconductivity reported from India

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Arxiv - Indications of room-temperature superconductivity at a metal-PZT interface 5 pages (H/T superconductors.org)

From the University of Bengal, India -
We report the observation of an exceptionally large room-temperature electrical conductivity in silver and aluminum layers deposited on a lead zirconate titanate (PZT) substrate. The surface resistance of the silver-coated samples also shows a sharp change near 313 K. The results are strongly suggestive of a superconductive interfacial layer, and have been interpreted in the framework of Bose-Einstein condensation of bipolarons as the suggested mechanism for high-temperature superconductivity in cuprates.


Japan's new ambassador to China Thinks 4-5 Yuan to US Dollar is Inevitable Within Several Years

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Uichiro Niwa, Japan's new ambassador to China, said Monday he personally thinks an exchange rate of 4-5 yuan per dollar is inevitable in several years.

"The trend of a strengthening yuan is unstoppable," Niwa said, referring to the current rate of 6.7 yuan to the dollar.

The ambassador-to-be made the comments at a news conference at the Japan National Press Club before assuming the post at the end of the month

A rise to 5 yuan per dollar would be an appreciation of more than 35 percent from its current value of 6.78 per dollar. The yuan increased 21 percent between July 2005 and July 2008.

The 71-year-old ambassador said he will focus on realising a free trade agreement (FTA) between Japan and China.

Video of Panel Discussion of Advanced Space Propulsion

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Newspace 2010 had a panel discussion on advanced space propulsion. (Parabolic Arc provides a summary and the youtube link of the one hour discussion is embedded below)

Approaching Warp Speed: Advanced Space Propulsion

Bruce Pittman (Moderator) – NASA Ames Space Portal
Franklin Chang-Diaz – CEO and President, Ad Astra Rocket Company
Leik Myrabo – CEO, Lightcraft Technologies, Inc.; Research Associate Professor, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Steve Howe – Director, Center for Space Nuclear Research
Vince Teofilo – Lockheed Martin

Franklin Chang-Diaz Ad Astra Rocket Company

– VASIMR - plasma rocket
– Fusion and plasma physics and magnetic mirrors
– First experiments done at MIT in the early 1980s
– VX-50 – 50 kilowatt test bed where they verified most of the controlling physics of the device
– About 2004-05 – NASA decided to shut down its advanced propulsion program to support other efforts
– A “virtual massacre” occurred
– Convinced NASA to privatize the project – formed the Ad Astra Rocket Company in 2005
– Space Act agreement with NASA
– Able to bring in large sums of money to make the project possible
– VX-100 – VASIMR experiment 100 kilowatts
– Finished experiment in 2007
– VX-200 – fully integrated prototype inside of a vacuum chamber
– Last September, fired the engine at 200 kilowatts
– Next step – ISS test – signed an agreement with NASA in December 2008
– VF-200 – VASIMR Flight 200 kilowatts
– Will tests VF-200 in mid-2014
– Develop a space tub that allows them to work in LEO, lunar orbit and possibly Mars missions – using only solar power
– Larger rockets will be tested on the moon

Leik Myrabo CEO, Lightcraft Technologies, Inc.

– Showed video of a laser-powered lightcraft – funded by FINDS group
– Lifting small payloads to orbit using ground-based power
– Formed Lightcraft Technologies Inc.
– $10 million – put 1 kilogram cargo into suborbital trajectory
– Looking to locate in Las Cruces, New Mexico
– Beamed energy propulsion – vehicle is a power converter
– Multiple concepts being pursued around the world
– Doesn’t think that chemical rockets will be dropped more than 10-15 percent
– Beamed propulsion could cut costs by factors of 10s or 100s or even 1000s
– Phased approach – 1 kilogram to 10 kilograms to 100 kilograms
– High-level work between U.S. and Brazilian air forces to develop technology
– Economic, technical and political obstacles to beamed propulsion
– Point-to-point travel possible with beamed propulsion – anywhere in the world in 45 minutes
– Replace system of jumbo jets with lightcrafts

Steve Howe Director, Center for Space Nuclear Research

– Based in Idaho Falls, Idaho
– RTGs – used since the 1960s – Apollo and deep space missions
– Working on radioisotope thermal rocket
– Mars hopper – hop 10 kilometers every five days with a small payload
– Liquify carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and use it to power the propulsion systems
– Working on nuclear thermal rocket
– Can no longer have radioactive material in exhaust
– Shifting to a tungsten-based fuel
– Trying to produce a lower mass, high propulsion rocket for space
– Nuclear thermal rockets could open up the Solar System for robotic and human exploration

White Awnings over Roads - Made with a Shade to Enhance the White Roof Solution

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White roof research has shown

* white roofs create an additional 20 percent energy savings by cutting cooling costs
* 360,000 square miles (less than 1 percent of the world’s land surface, 230 million acres) covered by urban rooftops and pavement were a white or light color, enough sunlight would be reflected back into space to delay climate change by about 11 years
* People in the shade in some sunny areas are 10 or more degrees cooler

Creating awnings or special shade structures like the Kansas City Live! roof cover would provide the reflection over roads without causing glare for drivers. A more advanced version of this would use the structure as a platform for solar power and smart road enabling devices.

I have submitted this idea to the GE Ecomagination challenge. I will provide a link for readers to vote in support of this and other ideas in the Ecomagination challenge. Here is the link to vote for this idea at the GE ecomagination challenge.

I have followed up with a case for geodesic domes over communities.



The Kansas City Live! structure was made out of EFTE which can last for 50-200 years. It cost about $1.8 million and covers about 29,000 square feet or two thirds of an acre.

The EFTE weighs one hundred times less than glass and can be 24-70% of the cost.

Costs for awnings over roads, parking lots and buildings and dark areas could be reduced by using street lights and telephone polesas the anchor points to reduce costs.

There are more inexpensive forms of PVC and any large scale implementation could examine ways to reduce costs.
If another 230 million acres could be covered by awning at $1000 per acre in volume then $230 billion cost would be offset by carbon offset 25-31 gigatons and reduced heating costs ($735 million/year.

Research Paper With Details on Kepler Finding Mostly Neptune and Smaller Planets

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This is a followup the article about the announcement of 700 planet candidates from the first couple of months of the space telescope Kepler's operation.

BTW: NASA Watch is pissed that the co-investigator of the Kepler Mission made the first release of Kepler results at the private TED presentation in a foreign country where only people paying thousands of dollars could attend and where the public finds out weeks later when the video gets to the internet.

Characteristics of Kepler planetary candidates based on the first data set: the majority are found to be Neptune-size and smaller (29 pages)

In the spring of 2009, the Kepler Mission commenced high-precision photometry on nearly 156,000 stars to determine the frequency and characteristics of small exoplanets, conduct a guest observer program, and obtain asteroseismic data on a wide variety of stars. On 15 June 2010 the Kepler Mission released data from the first quarter of observations. At the time of this publication, 706 stars from this first data set have exoplanet candidates with sizes from as small as that of the Earth to larger than that of Jupiter. Here we give the identity and characteristics of 306 released stars with planetary candidates. Data for the remaining 400 stars with planetary candidates will be released in February 2011. Over half the candidates on the released list have radii less than half that of Jupiter. The released stars include five possible multi-planet systems. One of these has two Neptune-size (2.3 and 2.5 Earth-radius) candidates with near-resonant periods

July 25, 2010

the First Techonomy Conference August 4-6

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I will be at the first Techonomy conference on August 4-6, 2010 in Tahoe.

Techonomy is technology and economy. It isorganized activities related to the invention, development, production, distribution and consumption of technology-enhanced goods and services that a society uses to address the problem of scarcity and to enhance the quality of life.

Techonomy draws its inspiration from the ‘creative capitalism’ of Bill Gates, the ‘eco-pragmatism’ of Stewart Brand, the ‘big history’ of David Christian, and Bill Joy’s recent work on the economics of large-scale innovation.

The Techonomy founders are David Kirkpatrick, Peter Petre, and Brent Schlender each spent the last twenty years as senior writers and editors at Fortune Magazine, where they led the magazine’s technology coverage during most of that period


They have partnered with 100 people foundation

I will be liveblogging the first two days.

Note: there is another event called Techonomy that is about online communities and startups which is not related to this.