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August 07, 2010

Techonomy Sylvia Earle Talked about Oceans

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Sylvia Earle talked about the Oceans at Techonomy.

Earle's work has been at the frontier of deep ocean exploration for four decades. Earle has led more than 50 expeditions worldwide involving more than 6,000 hours underwater. As captain of the first all-female team to live underwater, she and her fellow scientists received a ticker-tape parade and White House reception upon their return to the surface. In 1979, Sylvia Earle walked untethered on the sea floor at a lower depth than any other woman before or since. In the 1980s she started the companies Deep Ocean Engineering and Deep Ocean Technologies with engineer Graham Hawkes to design and build undersea vehicles that allow scientists to work at previously inaccessible depths. In the early 1990s, Dr. Earle served as Chief Scientist of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. At present she is explorer-in-residence at the National Geographic Society.

Sylvia Earle is a dedicated advocate for the world's oceans and the creatures that live in them. Her voice speaks with wonder and amazement at the glory of the oceans and with urgency to awaken the public from its ignorance about the role the oceans plays in all of our lives and the importance of maintaining their health.

"We've got to somehow stabilize our connection to nature so that in 50 years from now, 500 years, 5,000 years from now there will still be a wild system and respect for what it takes to sustain us." Sylvia Earle

August 06, 2010

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 13

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1. Rod Adams at Atomic Insights has Lew Hay, CEO of NextEra Energy, Explains the Need for Nuclear Energy

Lew Hay has written an op-ed for the most recent issue of Bloomberg BusinessWeek titled A New Dawn for Nuclear that lays out the need for new nuclear energy, the reasons why he and his well qualified planning staff know that traditional "renewables" cannot do the job, and the reasons why he and his fellow utility executives are pressing hard for consistent policies that enable and encourage nuclear energy investments. Rod Adams, publisher of Atomic Insights, explains why he agrees with that assessment
.

2. YesVermontYankee discusses why she loves nuclear.

Nuclear power truly has the ability to change the earth, and improve the lives of poor people and save the lives of women and children. There is really nothing else like it.

Prosperity is good for making people's lives longer and richer, and allowing women to participate in the greater business of the world.

The fact is: prosperity and electricity use go together. As you can see, prosperity and electricity increase together on average as a straight line, especially in the 0 to $15,000 per capita region


Spacex talks Falcon X Heavy for 125 tons of heavy lift and Falcon XX for 140 tons and Nuclear Thermal interplanetary Rockets


Elon Musk and Spacex had mentioned plans for BFR (Big F**ing Rocket) and the Merlin 2 rocket engine back in 2005. Now there are details of the designs for the Merlin 2 and the Falcon X, Falcon X heavy and Falcon XX rockets.
* Falcon 9 with one successful trial launches 10 tons into orbit.
* A planned "Falcon 9 Heavy" will launch 30 tons
* Falcon X will launch 38 tons into orbit
* Falcon X Heavy 125 tons
* Falcon XX for up to 140 tons but no engine out ability to carry on mission with one engine out.
* Spacex has plans for interplanetary flight
* SpaceX thinks early unmanned cargo missions might best be carried out using "Hall thrusters" (highly efficient ion drive)
* SpaceX considers that a "nuclear thermal" rocket, able to deliver much higher thrust-to-weight ratio and thus shorter journey time than solar/ion engines, is the answer for manned ships.
* a piloted mission to Mars by 2020-2025 can be accomplished if we start building and testing hardware now
* SpaceX’s long-discussed Merlin 2 Lox/rocket propellant-fueled engine, capable of a projected 1.7 million lb. of thrust at sea level and 1.92 million lb. in a vacuum
* Spacex plans a larger Raptor engine

Stephen Hawking's Warning: Abandon Earth—Or Face Extinction

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Even if the human race manages not to push itself to the brink of nuclear extinction, it is still a foregone conclusion that our aging sun will expand and swallow the Earth in roughly 7.6 billion years.

So, according to famed theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, it's time to free ourselves from Mother Earth. "I believe that the long-term future of the human race must be in space," Hawking tells Big Think. "It will be difficult enough to avoid disaster on planet Earth in the next hundred years, let alone the next thousand, or million. The human race shouldn't have all its eggs in one basket, or on one planet. Let's hope we can avoid dropping the basket until we have spread the load."

Finally, between the next thousand years or so that Hawking says it will take man to make the planet uninhabitable and the billion years it will take for the sun to turn our planet into an arid wasteland, there is always the chance that a nearby supernova, an asteroid, or a quick and painless black hole could do us in.
This is the same message that I gave in my reflections on David Christians big history talk at Techonomy.

Ultrafast Gates for Single Atomic Qubits

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A team of physicists has achieved ultrafast “switching” time in an operation central to quantum information processing, changing the state of a single trapped ion in less than 50 picoseconds (10-12, or trillionths of a second) with more than 99 percent reliability. That is the fastest time on record – by a factor of about 1,000—for ion “gates,” which may serve as a key component of an eventual quantum computer

The paper will appear in the Physical review letters

Taiwan Considers Adding Ten Nuclear Reactors to Reduce Coal Usage and Germany Looks to Extend Nuclear to 2042

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1. Taiwan Power Co., the island's biggest electricity producer and monopoly grid operator, is considering adding as many as 10 reactors to existing nuclear power plants to cut its reliance on coal and gas.

Strain-Gated Piezotronic Logic Nanodevices for nanorobotics, microfluidics and more

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Georgia Institute of Technology has created logic circuits that can be used as the basis of nanometer-scale robotics and processors. The logic circuits are not as fast as those currently in use and based on CMOS. The researcher see the applications of the CMOS and nanowire technologies as being complementary. “The strain-gated logic devices are designed to interface with the ambient environment, which is associated with low-frequency mechanical actions, and the aim and targeting applications are different from those of conventional silicon devices which aim at speed.” Envisaged applications include nanorobotics, transducers, micromachines, human-computer interfacing, and microfluidics (where tiny channels carry various liquids, usually to be mixed for reaction tightly controlled ways).

The group intends to join the new strain-gated transducers to sensors and energy-drawing components they have previously prepared also from zinc oxide nanowires to make “self-sustainable, all-nanowire-based, multifunctional self-powered autonomous intelligent nanoscale systems

Advanced Materials Journal - Strain-Gated Piezotronic Logic Nanodevices

We present the first piezoelectric triggered mechanical-electronic logic operation using the piezotronic effect, through which the integrated mechanical actuation and electronic logic computation are achieved using only ZnO nanowires (NWs). By utilizing the piezoelectric potential created in a ZnO NW under externally applied deformation, strain-gated transistors (SGTs) have been fabricated. Using the SGTs as building blocks, universal logic components such as inverters, NAND, NOR, and XOR gates have been demonstrated for performing piezotronic logic calculations.


Carnival of Space 165 - Habitable Zone and Kepler Exoplanets

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The Carnival of Space 165 is up at Cumbrian Sky

Weird Warp discusses the habitable or goldilocks zone of solar systems.

Techonomy - High School Student Erika DeBenedictis - Automatic Piloting the Low Energy Gravity Manifolds to Go Anywhere in the Solar System

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Erika DeBenedictis is a high school student who wrote a prototype software system that would allow a spacecraft to autonomously calculate and fly low-energy orbits.

Erika is one of ten winners of the Intel Science contest who were at the Techonomy conference.
The Interplanetary Superhighway is based on a mathematical concept known as invariant manifolds (the tubes).

One may be able to travel large distances in the Interplanetary Superhighway without any propulsion. However, this may not always be the case. This is because the manifolds are actually in phase space which includes both position and velocity. Thus for true intersection to occur, the velocities must also match. Since the manifolds more frequently intersect in position space than in phase space, a change in velocity may be required. The energies required by the trajectories to travel on the Interplanetary Superhighway are typically cheaper propulsively than standard transfers. But this may require much longer time.


The full writeup is 22 megabytes and takes some time to download.

Techonomy - a Conversation With David Gelertner

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David Gelertner was writing about the concept of Lifestreams back in 1995 and 1996 and predicted the modern internet in the book Mirror Worlds in 1991.

A lifestream is a time-ordered stream of documents that functions as a diary of your electronic life; every document you create and every document other people send you is stored in your lifestream. The tail of your stream contains documents from the past (starting with your electronic birth certificate). Moving away from the tail and toward the present, your stream contains more recent documents --- papers in progress or new electronic mail; other documents (pictures, correspondence, bills, movies, voice mail, software) are stored in between. Moving beyond the present and into the future, the stream contains documents you will need: reminders, calendar items, to-do lists.

You manage your lifestream through a small number of powerful operators that allow you to transparently store information, organize information on demand, filter and monitor incoming information, create reminders and calendar items in an integrated fashion, and "compress" large numbers of documents into overviews or executive summaries


August 05, 2010

Techonomy Cities as Solutions

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Cities as Solutions

Discussion leaders:
Stewart Brand, Whole Earth Discipline
Saskia Sassen, Columbia University
Padmasree Warrior, Cisco

Moderator: Rik Kirkland, McKinsey & Company

Urbanization history :
1800 3% in cities
1900 14%
2008 50%
2050 80%

Getting the most dense urbanization and do it right is the best way to enable wealth.

700 million more people in 10 years. 100s of new cities.
Padma - How do we deliver medical and other services to the city.
$100-150 billion/year market within the next ten years.
How do you make them smarter cities
How do you revitalize the existing cities
Working on a city in south Korea and with developments in USA too.
30% more energy efficient.

Techonomy- Reinventing Industry The Techonomic mindset at work

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Reinventing Industry: The Techonomic Mindset at Work
Speakers:
K. Venkatesh Prasad, Ford
Padmasree Warrior, Cisco


Moderator: David Kirkpatrick
500 million commuter hours per week. 4 times that for the world.
Get the internet to work at mobile speeds for passengers. Ford thinking of the vehicle as a platform. There are one billion cars and trucks now.
There was not that much that I found interesting in the talk. there was some more discussion of some improvements to Fords strategy and processes. Using one platform for their cars and putting tophats or the variable part of the car.

Techonomy - Moving from an Oil based to Bio-based Society

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Bio-based Society
Speaker:
Steen Riisgaard, Novozymes A/S
Joined by: Steve Jurvetson, Draper Fisher Jurvetson
Steen Riisgaard- A lot of the worlds products is based upon cheap oil. We need to replace oil at its low price but without its high cost.
Projection of $232 billion biofuel and bioproducts industry in 2020.
First we need to develop the sugar platform. Sugar produced with cheap processes and renewable sources. Biofuels are the volume driver to enable other products.
90% of oil is burned and 10% is used for chemicals.
Brazil wants to export 10% of world oil demand using biofuel

Techonomy - Reinventing Sustenance: Feeding a world of 9.4 billion people

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Reinventing Sustenance: Feeding a world of 9.4 billion people
Speakers:
Raoul Adamchak, UC Davis Student Farm/Agricultural
Sustainability Institute
Fred Pearce, New Scientist
Prabhu Pingali, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation


Moderator: Vijay Vaitheeswaran, The Economist

First Green revolution - we doubled food production and tripled water usage
So the new revolution needs to increase efficiency. We can feed ten billion people now but we need to reduce the resource usage of agriculture.

Prabhu Pingali - first green revolution showed that technology alone was not enough. We need to also invest in infrastructure (roads, irrigation etc...) and also policies that incentivize the farmer.

More productive agriculture enables people to become wealthier and more urban and greater wealth and health has led to lower population growth.
Pearce is not concerned with genetically modified food.
Prabhu Pingali - GM crops have to look at a total risk perspective. Compare it to food grown with pesticides.

Techonomy - Reinventing Life Sciences: Realizing the full potential of the New

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Reinventing Life Sciences: Realizing the full potential of the New Biology

Speaker: Stephen Quake, Stanford University
Introduced by: Rodney Pearlman, RPM Pharma

Joined by: Brook Byers, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
Susan Desmond-Hellmann, UCSF

fluidic integrated circuits, formulator device (2004),
Now microfluidic LSI (2002-2007)
Fluidigm corporation was set up to monetize microfluidic work

New findings promising for 'transformation optics,' cloaking

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Researchers have overcome a fundamental obstacle in using new "metamaterials" for radical advances in optical technologies, including ultra-powerful microscopes and computers and a possible invisibility cloak.

The metamaterials have been plagued by a major limitation: too much light is "lost," or absorbed by metals such as silver and gold contained in the metamaterials, making them impractical for optical devices

Recipes For Limb Renewal

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Scientists are seeking the recipe for regrowing a missing limb.

Molecular biologist Ken Muneoka, who studies limb development and regeneration at Tulane University, in New Orleans, is exploring how a digit loss that can be repaired differs from one that can’t. Working with mice, his team has discovered that cells release bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) at regeneration-capable amputation sites but not at sites that fail to regenerate. The researchers also determined that treating a normally nonregenerative amputation site with these growth factors enables the wound to grow a replacement digit. And they found that mice in different stages of development—newborn versus embryonic, for example—utilize different BMPs to promote regeneration (Development 2010, 137, 551). BMP production is turned on by MSX genes, whose expression increases during regeneration of mouse digits, as well as during regeneration of tadpole tails and zebrafish fins, according to Muneoka.


Newts' ability to regenerate tissue replicated in mouse cells by scientists

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Now scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine have taken a big step toward being able to confer the regenerative capacity of Newt's and Salamanders on mammalian muscle cells; they accomplished this feat in experiments with laboratory mice in which they blocked the expression of just two tumor-suppressing proteins. The finding may move us closer to future regenerative therapies in humans — surprisingly, by sending us shimmying back down the evolutionary tree.

Techonomy - The Future of Currency

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The Future of Currency
Discussion leaders:
Hill Ferguson, ZONG
Scott Guilfoyle, PayPal
Christopher Kay, Citi
Bill Sheedy, Visa
Moderator: Mark Anderson, Strategic News Service


Currency - instrument of trust in a transaction
Currency at wikipedia. and Foreign exchange markets

Zong is a mobile payments business.

Zong's largest customer is Facebook with facebook credits.

The model is for Zong to allow a one click charge to your phone bill or to a credit card.

Techonomy - Reinventing Fire: How business can lead us beyond fossil fuels

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Reinventing Fire: How business can lead us beyond fossil fuels
Presentation by: Amory Lovins, Rocky Mountain Institute
Joined by: John McDonald, Chevron
Moderator: Peter Petre

Need to look not just as technology and policy but also design and strategy.
Shifting of peak oil from supply to demand

Winning the oil endgame - (2004) elimate oil usage in the US by 2040s.
Triple efficiency cars, trucks and planes would payback in 1 to a few years.

Hypercar SUV. (2000)
Toyota 1/x (2007)
Bright Idea van
One interesting point is that Amory touts the buildout of solar and wind power in China and then disparages the Chinese command economy building a lot of nuclear power.

I have previously written about how Amory Lovins distorts nuclear energy.
Amory pushes "micropower", which is mostly diesel, biomass and natural gas of small and big sizes. Natural gas has 4 deaths per TWH (Externe source). So 2500 Twh (to displace nuclear power) would be 10,000 deaths per year. The diesel (oil) portion is 35 deaths per TWH. The biomass about 10 deaths per TWH (35,000 deaths per year if diesel was the main source). The blended rate of deaths per TWH from micropower is over 12 deaths per TWH. Far higher than the 0.65 deaths per TWH calculated by Externe for nuclear power. Even if the micropower deaths per TWH was cut in half for lower distribution losses the number is still far higher. Diesel and natural gas are not renewable. Over 75% of the power that Lovins is talking about is diesel, natural gas and biomass.

Techonomy - Reinventing Financial Markets

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Reinventing [financial] Markets
Speakers:
J. Doyne Farmer, Santa Fe Institute
Duncan Niederauer, NYSE Euronext
Barry E. Silbert, SecondMarket


Moderator: Justin Fox, Harvard Business Review

What is wrong about financial markets today ?
trust has been destroyed
Nothing new is being created other than products
the public markets are closed to companies below a certain size

We really do not understand how to predict and prevent a collapse

We need a private enterprise solution
Cost of running a company has been allowed to run amock and that is suffocating the smaller companies. The job creation engine will kick into gear when we enable the smaller companies to get access to the public markets.
No solutions in the financial reform bill except for a 20 page section of an office of financial research 

Perspective on Techonomy - Commentary: John Hagel, Deloitte Center for the Edge

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Techonomy is trying to get a movement going. A bias toward action.

There is a lot of opportunity in the 5 exabytes of data but there is also danger. Danger of ignoring tacit knowledge. It is more about the how and less the what and the why.

Tacit knowledge cannot be accessed without trust based relationships.
This leads to a third element which is talent development.
How do you foster talent development on the job and lifelong learning

Another movement in play around the world. Growth of religious fundamentalism. Choices to response :
1. Ignore it
2. Fight it
3. Engage it. But to engage must understand,
John Hagel is for engaging.

Techonomy - Managing the Unmanageable: The New Empowered Workforce

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Liveblogging the Techonomy conference - Managing the Unmanageable: The New Empowered Workforce

Speakers: 
Vineet Nayar, HCL Technologies
Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn
Rajeev Singh-Molares, Alcatel-Lucent
Moderator: David Kirkpatrick
Tweet your questions to : @TCMTQA


Vineet wrote the book Employees First and Customers Seconds (google book link). HCL Technologies has 64000 employees in 26 countries and is a competitor to Wipro and Infosys.

Any employee can create a ticket related to how the company is managed and how the executives is operating. The manager has to ensure it get answered, but only the employee can close the ticket as resolved.

August 04, 2010

Reflections on David Christians Techonomy Talk

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David Christian had an interesting talk with a Big History view of the universe. He had the long view of the universe, life on earth, humanity and human civilization. His point was that the collective intelligence of humanity can be used to make a civilization with a smaller environmental footprint while still making everyone happy.

Techonomy - Reinventing the Economy - Combination, Complexity and Value

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Reinventing the Economy: Combination, complexity and value
Speaker: Brian Arthur, Santa Fe Institute


all of the complexity in the world has arisen from combining simpler things

Economist used to have a view that the economy exists stand alone and then inventions and technology are originated (the economists did not know how) and then they were integrated into the economy

Later study - technology are created from simpler objects (pre-existing technology).
Discusses the lunar landing as the sum of multi-stage rocketry, space capable enclosures for keeping astronauts alive, orbiting and other capabilities


I am finding nothing useful in what he is saying

Techonomy - Stewart Brand - Why We Should All Think Like Engineers

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Q - What does a Biologist know about being an engineer ?

A - I [Stewart Brand] have the genes of an engineer. My father and brother were engineers and I was bit by the hacker bug early.

Q- Reinventing Infrastructure

Bridge is infrastructure, river is also infrastructure.

Radio spectrum is infrastructure but so is the environment

We are terraforming the planet but doing it badly, we should do terraforming well

Tweet your questions to:
@TCMYQA

Techonomy - Reinventing Intelligence

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Reinventing Intelligence: Why collective learning makes humans so different
Speaker: David Christian, Macquarie University
Introduced by: Brent Schlender

David Christian, WCU visiting professor at seoul
Understanding humans : like ants on elephants
Scholarship of humanity - we do not have a whole view.
Failed attempts to define and understand humanity
1964 - humans as tool users (Louis and Merry Leaky)
Jane Goodall (showed chimps and Gorillas, crows using tools)

Man the Hunter?
Many other primates hunt

Techonomy Plenary Session - Philosophy and Turning the World to a Techonomic Direction

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What will cities of the future look like
Unleash collaborative energies and capabilities of everyone
Need new ideas for climate and global growth ?
Enough water, resouces and energy
Recycle waste
Energy with less environmental impact
Imagine a clean future
Technology and Innovation in all things
Techonomy = Technology (invention) and economics
The three founders (David Kirkpatrick, Brent Schlender and Peter Petre) and Bill Joy was a key advisor. Partnering with 100 people and Intel.
Kaplan creating Techonomy courses and integrating into business courses.
Challenges (resource depletion, climate change, etc...)


Techonomy World Economic Forum Pre-conference Workshop

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The Techonomy conference has a pre-conference workshop on 'How to Measure the impact and transformational power of technology ?

They have presented a networked readiness index to rank all countries with a single metric on information, communication technology

The World Economic Forum's Networked Readiness Index (NRI) measures the propensity for countries to exploit the opportunities offered by information and communications technology. It is published annually. The NRI seeks to better comprehend the impact of ICT on the competitiveness of nations. The NRI is a composite of three components: the environment for ICT offered by a given country or community, the readiness of the community’s key stakeholders (individuals, businesses, and governments) to use ICT, and finally the usage of ICT amongst these stakeholders.

The World Economic Forum together with INSEAD publishes the Global Information Technology Report, which makes use of the index.


The topic was presented and there was some open discussion about network security and how able a situation in a country supports innovation beyond the hardware level (how much censorship etc...)

Liveblogging the Techonomy Conference Today and Tomorrow

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I will be liveblogging the Techonomy conference (Technology and Innovation) conference today and tomorrow.

I will start at about noon today.

Besides high powered speakers there are many high powered attendees a list of some of them is below.

Program for the Singularity Summit 2010 in San Francisco August 14 and 15

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Here is the program for the Singularity Summit

Day 1: The Future of Human Evolution
8:00 AM - 9:00 AM Registration starts. Breakfast served outside the hotel by Boudin 
9:00 AM - 9:05 AM Sean McCabe: Introduction 
9:05 AM - 9:40 AM Michael Vassar: The Darwinian Method 
9:45 AM - 10:25 AM Gregory Stock: Evolution of Post-Human Intelligence 
10:25 AM - 11:00 AM Coffee Break 
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM Ray Kurzweil: The Mind and How to Build One 
12:05 PM - 12:40 PM Ben Goertzel: AI Against Aging 
12:40 PM - 2:10 PM Lunch: Served by Boudin outside the hotel 
2:10 PM - 2:45 PM Steven Mann: Extending ourselves with technology 
2:50 PM - 3:20 PM Mandayam Srinivasan: Replacing our bodies 
3:25 PM - 4:10 PM Brian Litt: The past, present and future of brain machine interface 
4:15 PM - 4:45 PM Demis Hassabis: Combining systems neuroscience and machine learning: a new approach to AGI 
4:50 PM - 5:15 PM Coffee Break 
5:20 PM - 5:45 PM Terry Sejnowski: Reverse-engineering brains is within reach 
5:50 PM - 6:15 PM Dennis Bray: What Cells Can Do That Robots Can't 
6:15 PM - 7:00 PM Sejnowski/Bray debate: Will we soon realistically emulate biological systems? 
7:00 PM Closing 

Roller Painting Large Area Solar Cells

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Advanced Functional Materials - Annealing-Free High Efficiency and Large Area Polymer Solar Cells Fabricated by a Roller Painting Process

Polymer solar cells are fabricated by a novel solution coating process, roller painting. The roller-painted film - composed of poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) and [6,6]-phenyl-C61-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM) - has a smoother surface than a spin-coated film. Since the roller painting is accompanied by shear and normal stresses and is also a slow drying process, the process effectively induces crystallization of P3HT and PCBM. Both crystalline P3HT and PCBM in the roller-painted active layer contribute to enhanced and balanced charge-carrier mobility. Consequently, the roller-painting process results in a higher power conversion efficiency (PCE) of 4.6%, as compared to that for spin coating (3.9%). Furthermore, annealing-free polymer solar cells (PSCs) with high PCE are fabricated by the roller painting process with the addition of a small amount of octanedi-1,8-thiol. Since the addition of octanedi-1,8-thiol induces phase separation between P3HT and PCBM and the roller-painting process induces crystallization of P3HT and PCBM, a PCE of roller-painted PSCs of up to 3.8% is achieved without post-annealing. A PCE of over 2.7% can also be achieved with 5 cm2 of active area without post-annealing.

August 03, 2010

AMD is Preparing 16 core Bulldozer Chip for 2011

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AMD has new Bulldozer core design planned as the basis for our next generation AMD Opteron processors

Bulldozer is — a brand new design featuring up to 8 cores for client products and up to 16 cores for server products. Bulldozer will feature a new floating point unit that can support up to 256-bit floating point execution, which will boost the performance for technical applications that rely on floating point math. There will be some new software instructions that will be supported, allowing for greater performance and flexibility, but, it will be backwards compatible so you won’t need to change anything to start using the processor. We will be introducing this processor in 2011, and as we get closer we’ll get more granular on the actual availability.


Wikipedia entry for the AMD bulldozer


Time Magazine Reviews Indications of a Buidup to a Regional War Involving Israel, Iran, Syria, Hamas and Hizballah

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Should a new war break out, Israel is determined to strike a devastating blow more quickly than it did during the last conflict, in which it failed in its objective of destroying Hizballah.

Israel has publicly warned that it would destroy Lebanese civilian infrastructure and that Syria, as Hizballah's armorer, would not be off-limits. Iran, Syria, Hamas and Hizballah — have deepened their alliance, raising the possibility of any one of those groups joining the fray should any of the others come under attack from Israel or the U.S. The potential triggers for a new round of hostilities have multiplied, as has the danger of them going off in sequence as a result of the ties between some of the key players.


Lebanon and Israel engaged in a violent cross-border battle during which five people were killed, sparking fears that tensions between the two countries could spiral out of control.

Details on How Superconducting Wire Will Achieve Widescale Commercialization by 2015


A 31 page presentation by Superpower Inc at the Applied Superconductivity Conference, Washington D.C., August 1 - 6, 2010 described the details of their plan to achieve broad commercialization of superconducting wire.

They indicate that they are at $400/kA-meter at 77K, but they are hitting the $100/kA-meter price at the temperature of 30 Kelvin.

The price targets at operating field and temperature are

* < $ 100/kA-m* For commercial market entry (small market)
* < $50/kA-m* For medium commercial market
* < $25/kA-m* For large commercial market

Grossmont Formation in Alberta Canada With 318 Billion Barrels of Oil in Place Could Start Producing in 2013 to 2015

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Canada's next big resource play could very well turn out to be The Grosmont, a bitumen-rich heavy-oil resource in the Grosmont formation of northern Alberta.

The formation and its potential has been known to the energy industry since the 1970s, but the technology to develop it was never available. Even today, commercial exploitation remains a challenging proposition, due to the heavy and high viscosity of the bitumen trapped in the reservoir.

But the current environment of stronger oil prices coupled with the latest advancements in drilling, completion and production technologies could add up to what it takes to crack this old nut.

Versant Partners analyst Mark Friesen is among those who believe The Grosmont has a very good chance of being developed, likely within in the next three to five years.

Reaction Engines of the UK Who is Developing the Skylon Spaceplane Has a Video of a Proposed Mission to Mars

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The latest REL movie on Project TROY was completed in May, 2010. The Company has devised a Mars mission scenario where SKYLON is used as the launch vehicle to Earth orbit. The aim of the movie is demonstrate how a feasible, affordable, practical and safe mission to Mars can be achieved using SKYLON to enable a team of explorers to land at three sites and explore over 90% of the surface. This mission architecture also creates the infrastructure to support further missions. The Project TROY movie shows what a Mars mission would look like and how it would be constructed and performed.

We have interviewed Richard Varvill, the Technical Director and Chief Designer at Reaction Engines Limited. Reaction Engines Limited is a UK company that is developing a fully reusable launch system called skylon. Skylon is an unpiloted reusable spaceplane that will have a hybrid jet/rocket engine and take off from an airport to achieve orbit. Mr. Varvill believes that Skylon could begin flight testing by 2020, and may eventually reduce launch costs to as low as $5 million per flight

Richard Varvill answered some follow up questions as well.

We track the progress of Reaction engines and the skylon related projects and examine the technological innovations that they are attempting with lightweight systems, heat exchangers and other work.


China Qinshan Reactor is 3 Months Ahead of Schedule and Could Start in 2010

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China's Qinshan nuclear power plant has put its 650,000-kw expansion power generator unit into test run and connected it to the national electric power grid on Sunday, three months earlier than expected.

Previously we had reviewed the nuclear reactors that were expected to start in 2010

Nuclear Power Reactor Details - LINGAO 3 (Ling Ao II Phase 2) (China)
Connected to Electricity Grid 2010/08/31 
Net Capacity 1000 MWe 
Commercial Operation 2010/12/15 
Construction Started 2005/12/15 


Nuclear Power Reactor Details - QINSHAN 2-3 (China) Connected to Electricity Grid 2010/12/28 2010/10/1 Net Capacity 610 MWe Commercial Operation 2011/03/28 2010/12/28 Construction Started 2006/03/28

Recorded Future is a Search Engine for Future Events

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Recorded Future is a search engine for future events. Search is only one aspect of its temporal analytics engine. It can also be used for competitive intelligence research, brand monitoring, and researching a person. Recorded Future has investment from Google and the CIA.

What Does Recorded Future Do?

1. Scour the web

We continually scan thousands of news publications, blogs, niche sources, trade publications, government web sites, financial databases and more

2. Extract, rank and organize

We extract information from text including entities, events, and the time that these events occur. We also measure momentum for each item in our index, as well as sentiment.

3. Make it accessible and useful

You can explore the past, present and predicted future of almost anything. Powerful visualization tools allow you to quickly see temporal patterns, or link networks of related information
.

Refined Estimate of the Size of the BP Oil Spill at 4.1 millon barrels into the Gulf of Mexico

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Based on new pressure readings, data, and analysis, the U.S. scientific teams charged by National Incident Commander Thad Allen with determining the flow of oil from BP’s leaking well have refined their estimates of the oil flow prior to the well being capped on July 15.

Today’s estimates, which draw heavily on recent oil reservoir modeling and on pressure readings of a closed system, are the most accurate to date and have an uncertainty of plus or minus approximately 10 percent.

Recent measurements and modeling also show that, as a result of depletion of the hydrocarbon reservoir, the daily flow rate decreased over the 87 days prior to the well’s closure. Based on these measurements and modeling, the scientific teams estimate that, at the beginning of the spill, 62,000 barrels of oil per day were leaking from the well.

Overall, the scientific teams estimate that approximately 4.9 million barrels of oil have been released from the well. Not all of this oil and gas flowed into the ocean; containment activities conducted by BP under U.S. direction captured approximately 800,000 barrels of oil prior to the capping of the well.
Therefore, 4.1 million barrels of oil leaked into the Gulf of Mexico.

This would make it smaller than the Lakeview Gusher of 1910 and 1911 off of California and perhaps smaller than the Gulf War oil spill (where Iraq destroyed Kuwait oil infrastructure before retreating in the first Gulf War)

The BP spill would be about 20% larger than the Ixtoc I Gulf of Mexico spill of 1979-1980.

August 02, 2010

Stretchy Scaffold Helps Grow Organs and Wounds Heal and Separate Work for Helping Joints Grow

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A stretchy new fabric made by linking together the proteins found in muscle tissue could provide a scaffold for growing new organs. It could also be used as a coating for bandages to help wounds heal quickly and with less scarring. The fabric was made in the laboratory of Kevin Kit Parker, a professor at Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Science.

When the body grows new tissue, cells secrete fibronectin--a strong, stretchy type of protein that acts as a supportive scaffold. The shape and structure that fibronectin adopts directs the subsequent growth of new cells, giving the resulting tissue the correct form.

Parker's team creates the fabric by depositing fibronectin molecules on top of a water-repelling polymer surface. This causes the proteins, which are normally bundled up, to unravel. Next, the protein layer is stamped onto a dissolvable, water-attracting polymer sheet on top of a piece of glass. Adding water and warming the mixture to room temperature makes the proteins link together to form the fabric. It also dissolves the polymer so that the fabric can be peeled away and collected.

Google Android Smartphone Sales Pass Apple iPhone Sales in the USA

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Sales of Google Android phones in the U.S. are rising so quickly, the devices have outsold Apple handsets for the first time on record. New smartphone subscribers choosing Google phones accounted for 27 percent of U.S. smartphone sales, the Nielsen Company will announce this morning, nudging past the 23 percent share held by Apple. But Android isn’t just a U.S. phenomenon: Canalys today estimates that Android handset sales grew 886 percent worldwide from the year ago quarter.

A Crippling Cyber Attack on the United States Would only Cost $100 Million and Take Two Years to Deploy

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A $100 million project over two years would be enough for crippling cyber attack on the United States, according to Charlie Miller, who spent five years with the US National Security Agency under then-director Michael Hayden.

"I already knew it was easy, but now I know in detail how easy it would be," said. "We are certainly very vulnerable."

Miller described the 100-million-dollar price tag as a bargain compared to how much money is spent on cyber defense.

He crafted a broad strategy to target smart grids, banks, communications and all other aspects of a nation's technology infrastructure.

The cyber army would number about a thousand soldiers ranging from elite computer commandos to basic college trained geeks, according to the plan.


Itec Maverick Flying Car

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There is another fabric wing flying car, the ITEC Maverick. It should be commercially available within one year.
This flying car is similar to the Parajet flying car and almost identical to the Atair two-person paragliding buggy called Chimera, which has a propeller at the back and powered wheels.
As a car alone, the vehicle’s performance is pretty impressive. Its 140 hp, fuel-injected, 16-valve Subaru EJ22 engine sends it from 0 to 60mph in 3.9 seconds, it has a top speed of 90 mph (145 km/h), and the whole rig weighs less than 1,000 pounds (454 kg).

When it’s time to fly, the Maverick’s central telescopic mast raises and acts as a wing spar for its chute, properly known as a ram-air wing. The flip of a switch diverts engine power from the rear wheels to the rear-mounted five-blade propeller, which propels the car across the ground, up to its take-off speed of 40mph (64km/h). Thanks to its ram-air wing design, the Maverick can take flight in only 300 feet (91 meters).

Once in the air, the vehicle’s electronic fly-by-wire system allows the pilot to steer it with the steering wheel, just like they would on the ground. According to I-TEC, existing sport pilots can learn to fly the Maverick within 12 hours. A dash-mounted Garmin GPS allows for both aerial and ground-based navigation. In flight mode, it has a maximum payload of 330 pounds (150 kg).

Lawrenceville Plasma Physics Has Captured a Picture of a Plasmoid in their Dense Plasma Focus Fusion Project

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On our first day of full functioning with the ICCD, we got our first picture of a plasmoid on shot 14. (This was a relatively small shot with a late pinch due to too much fill gas, or too little current for the gas. The current was 600 kA with 20 torr fill.) The image , Figure 1, slightly contrast-enhanced, is taken directly side-on, perpendicular to the axis of the device through the quartz view window.

The dark rectangular shadows at the top are two of the 3/8-inch cathode rods. The bright line across the image, separating the light from the dark areas, is the plasma sheath.

The plasmoid, the bright spot, can be seen at the tip of the twisted and kinking pinch column. The image gives evidence of the kinking which we and others feel leads to the plasmoid formation. It also gives a maximum radius for the plasmoid of about 700 microns. The plasmoid itself is smaller, and is buried within the bright spot.

Unfortunately we are still learning to use the software, and some data within the spot was lost when the image was saved. In addition, the ICCD observes the plasmoid in UV light, so may not be able to see all the way into the densest parts. We are working to get better images in the future


Stanford Has a Process to Make Solar Power Production More Than Twice as Efficient to as High as 60% efficient

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Caption: A small PETE device made with cesium-coated gallium nitride glows while being tested inside an ultra-high vacuum chamber. The tests proved that the process simultaneously converted light and heat energy into electrical current.Credit: Photo courtesy of Nick Melosh, Stanford University

Stanford engineers have figured out how to simultaneously use the light and heat of the sun to generate electricity in a way that could make solar power production more than twice as efficient as existing methods and potentially cheap enough to compete with oil. The new process excels at higher temperatures. Called 'photon enhanced thermionic emission,' or PETE, the process promises to surpass the efficiency of existing photovoltaic and thermal conversion technologies.

This heat from unused sunlight and inefficiencies in the cells themselves account for a loss of more than 50 percent of the initial solar energy reaching the cell.

Until now, no one had come up with a way to wed thermal and solar cell conversion technologies.

Inception Infographic

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An infographic has been produced which helps to explain the plot of the movie Inception. This can be considered a spoiler and the graphic is after the jump. However, if you would not be unable or were unable to follow the plot on your first viewing without the graphic then it would not be a spoiler as it is just an aid to understanding the movie.

History and Future of US and China GDP

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This is an update of a historical comparison of the GDP of China and USA that was done in 2008.

China adjusted its 2009 GDP to 34.05 trillion yuan

The U.K.'s National Institute of Economic and Social Research forecast in a report released in late July that China will eclipse the U.S. in 2019. It assumed China to grow 11.6 percent this year and 8 percent on average afterwards, and the U.S. 3.1 percent and 3 percent respectively.

GDP figures for 2009 from the Worldbank

The latest national economic census found the chinese economy was worth 31.4 trillion yuan in 2008, head of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) Ma Jiantang said at a briefing, or around 4.6 billion dollars based on the current exchange rate.
IMF GDP estimates made in 2008 for 2008 through 2013

Currency history can be examined here at oanda.com

China revised GDP growth in 2006 for 1973-2004 with the 2005 economic survey.

Year GDP(yuan) GDP growth.. Yuan/USD. China GDP  US GDP  Japan  China%of US
2000  9.92           8.4    8.27      1.20       9.76    4.65    12.3%
2001  10.6           8.3    8.27      1.32      10.1     4.09    13.1%
2002  11             9.1    8.27      1.45      10.42    3.90    13.9%
2003  13            10.0    8.27      1.64      10.92    4.23    15.0%
2004  15.9          10.1    8.27      1.92      11.68    4.58    16.4%
2005  18.31          9.9    8.1       2.23      12.42    4.53    18.0%
2006  20.94         10.7    7.97      2.67      13.2     4.34    20.2%
2007  24.66         11.9    7.6       3.38      13.8     4.38    24.5%
2008  31.4           9.6    6.83      4.59      14.3     4.87    32%
2009  34.1           9.1    6.83      5.03      14.3     5.07    35%  
2010e 38            10.5    6.65      5.71      14.6     5.3     39%
2011e 42             9.6    6.49      6.47      14.9     5.6     43.4%

Including Hong Kong and Macau would bring China to 45% of the US GDP in 2011.

Carbon nanotubes and Graphene for Stronger ETFE Domes and to Add Circuits and Electronics

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This site has been writing recently about ETFE and its widespread use in new architecture and proposing its use for domes over cities and canopies over roads. Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene, ETFE, a kind of plastic, was designed to have high corrosion resistance and strength over a wide temperature range. Technically ETFE is a polymer, and its systematic name is poly(ethylene-co-tetrafluoroethylene). ETFE could be combined with carbon nanotubes or graphene to get 40% or more improvement in structural strength. Incorporating graphene into a polymer so that 0.1% of the weight of the composite material is graphene can make the material 31-53% stronger.

Making the ETFE stronger with a composite is not necessary now and is currently expensive because of the low production volumes and high costs of carbon nanotubes and graphene. However, the production volumes and costs are expected to fall drastically over the next few years with larger carbon nanotube and graphene factories.

Cast iron is about 85% stronger than copper. Steel and titanium can be 5-15 times stronger than cast iron.

August 01, 2010

11 Million Beam Pens for Massively Parallel Lithography and Could Lead to Desktop Nanofabrication

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The Northwestern University has developed beam pen lithography technology which offers a means to rapidly and inexpensively make and prototype circuits, optoelectronics and medical diagnostics and promises many other applications in the electronics, photonics and life sciences industries.

Using beam-pen lithography, the researchers patterned 15,000 replicas of the Chicago skyline (featuring the Willis Tower and the John Hancock Center) simultaneously in about half an hour. Each skyline pattern is made up of 182 dots, with each dot approximately 500 nanometers in diameter, like each pen tip. The time of light exposure for each dot was 20 seconds. The current method allows researchers to make structures as small as 150 nanometers, but refinements of the pen architecture likely will increase resolution to below 100 nanometers. (Although not reported in the paper, the researchers have created an array of 11 million pens in an area only a few centimeters square.)

Beam-pen lithography is the third type of "pen" in Mirkin's nanofabrication arsenal. He developed polymer-pen lithography (PPL) in 2008 and Dip-Pen Nanolithography (DPN) in 1999, both of which deliver chemical materials to a surface and have since been commercialized into research-grade nanofabrication tools that are now used in 23 countries around the world.

Like PPL, beam-pen lithography uses an array of tiny pens made of a polymer to print patterns over large areas with nanoscopic through macroscopic resolution. But instead of using an "ink" of molecules, BPL draws patterns using light on a light-sensitive material.


Geodesic Domes and ETFE Pricing

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There are various companies that provide geodesic dome kits and systems. Natural spaces is one of them.
The Natural Spaces Domes Building System is the only dome building system specifically adapted to the 5 different climatic regions of the United States. We are long time members and supporters of EEBA, The Energy and Environmental Building Association. Our involvement in over 1000 domes along with the EEBA guides has given us the information we need to adapt our dome system to the 5 major climatic regions:
Cold, Warm-Dry, Warm-Moist, Hot Humid and Marine Coastal.


We knew we wanted to drastically increase the energy efficiency of our dome so that it didn't meet just the minimum code requirement for 1979 (or even 2003). Now we build 15" to 21" thick dome shell systems with r-values from 44 to 71


Natural spaces uses the Superlok sleeve for connecting parts of the dome.

Superlok is made from very heavy gauge steel with an extra thick zinc plating to make it rust proof. What we were looking for was a connector that was self aligning and so simple to put together that any "novice" dome builder could do it. We didn't want you to have to do any of the assembly of the strut hardware up on the scaffolding. With our system all you do is slip the sleeve tongue into the hub slot and pound a hardened, 4 inch plated bolt "pin" in place, securely locking the two together. That's it. No coming back to tighten, no re-aligning, no adjusting. The next step is just moving on to the next strut.

More Pictures of Buildings Made With ETFE

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Interface magazine looked at the inside of the Eden Project Greenhouse (ETFE Geodesic domes) and the Radclyffe School which has a ETFE roof.
These pictures show that it can be very pleasant inside a well designed ETFE dome.

ETFE and Fabric Architecture for Large Scale Shade

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A presentation included pictures of the Bangkok airport and how they use a fabric cover to reflect sunlight and control the temperature beneath it.
This structure was made of PTFE and glass but the principles would still apply for ETFE and other materials. The shape of the structure traps more of the heat near the roof and enables the floor and bottom half to be cool. The airport structure covers about 1 million square feet which is 23 acres.

Suvarnabhumi Airport has the world's third largest single-building airport terminal (563,000 square metres / 6,060,000 square feet). Only about 16% of it is the fabric cover areas.

A recent cost quotation for just an ETFE roof is the 20.9 million Canadian dollars Hightex group replacement of the BC Place Stadium roof.

Hightex Group plc (AIM:HTIG), a leading designer and installer of large membrane roofs and façades worldwide, is delighted to announce that it has been awarded a contract to supply the entire retractable roof and the fixed façade for the BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. When completed, this roof will be the largest cable supported retractable roof in the world. The projected area of the retractable portion of the roof is approximately 6,700m², requiring a total of approximately 13,400m² of membrane material.

The new roof is part of the revitalization of the BC Place Stadium, which remains the home of the BC Lions. Once completed, the stadium will also host the first season of the Vancouver Whitecaps as a Major League Soccer Franchise in 2011. The existing pneumatic dome is to be dismantled and replaced with a partially fixed, partially retractable fabric roof as well as a transparent membrane facade.