December 04, 2010

Carnival of nuclear energy 30

The Carnival of nuclear energy 30 is up at Yes Vermont Yankee

Dan Yurman had looked at China's increasing nuclear build.

Other savings advantages (beyond low labor costs) are possible by simplifying reactor design, and lowering materials input. Building a reactor with less materials and fewer parts lowers nuclear costs directly and indirectly. Decreasing core size per unit of power output also can contribute a cost advantage. Direct saving relate to the cost of parts and matetials, but fewer parts and less material also means less labor is required to put things together, since there is less to put together. In addition a small reactor core structure, would, all other things being equal, require a smaller housing. Larger cores mean more structural housing expenses.

In order to keep the American and European economies competitive, the United States and Europe must adopt a low cost, factory manufactured nuclear technology. Molten Salt nuclear technology represents the lowest cost approach, and is highly consistent with factory manufacture and other cost lowering approaches. Couple to that the outstanding safety of molten salt nuclear technology, the potential for dramatically lowering the creation of nuclear waste, and the obstacles to nuclear proliferation posed by molten salt nuclear technology, and we see a real potential for keeping the American and European economies competitive, at least as far as energy costs are concerned.

Charles Barton at Nuclear Green discusses American and European begin to develop low cost innovative nuclear plans in order to compete with the lower nuclear construction cost in China and asia

I also had written an article about China's nuclear build and the exporting of cheap reactors and how that could solidify the high end projections of the WNA for 2030.

A Feb 2009, McKinsey report (234 pages) that suggested what China could do for a greener economy. It looks like China will move even faster on several aspects of electrical generation than the report recommends. China is building out nuclear, hydro and wind power faster than the report talked about. The McKinsey plan does suggest making all cars in China electric by 2020. has 11 predictions for 2030 has 11 predictions for 2030

1. By 2030, learning a second language will no longer be necessary.

A tiny computer that fits in your ear, and translates what you hear into your own language? It’s not farfetched at all. In fact, all the requisite technology exists today, and all that’s missing is for someone to connect the dots.

NBF - Google is doing a lot with real time voice translation and displays in glasses could provide additional augmented information. Need to clarify how good this will get in a prediction. A gold standard would be as good as UN translators or actually replacing or supplementing UN translators.

2. By 2030, thousands, perhaps millions, of people will have a life expectancy of 150 years.

Aubrey de Grey says: I think we have a 50% chance of achieving medicine capable of getting people to 200 in the decade 2030-2040. Presuming we do indeed do that, the actual achievement of 200 will probably be in the decade 2140-2150 - it will be someone who was about 85-90 at the time that the relevant therapies were developed.

NBF - funding dependent. A lot more money has to go towards true life extension.

Printable Quantum dot LED Displays

QD Vision and LG Display have just announced a joint development agreement focusing on electroluminescent quantum dot LED (QLED) nanotechnology, which promises to sweep all display technologies before it, including OLED. QLED promises energy efficient displays that offer brighter, richer colors, can be printed on ultra-thin, transparent or flexible substrates and manufactured cheaply.

QD Vision and Solvay are pursueing printable quantum dots

A printable electroluminescent platform based on quantum dot technology from QD Vision could enable new general-illumination and pixelated-display products. OLED, as an industry, is looking at a $1 billion market this year. QD Vision is several years away from commercial EL products. The company did demonstrate a 4-inch-diagonal monochrome display at the SID conference this year. But the company needs to add more partners to the QLED ecosystem and further refine the efficiency of the emissive material before commercial products debut.

QD Vision has been more publicly focused on photoluminescence (PL) or optical stimulation of its quantum dots in LED-based solid-state-lighting (SSL) applications, the company is also working on electroluminescence (EL) or electrically-stimulated applications. The company is partnering with plastics and chemistry specialist Solvay to develop a printable platform for EL display and general illumination applications.

QD calls the EL concept a quantum dot LED (QLED), and the similarity to the organic light-emitting diode acronym (OLED) is probably no coincidence. Long term, QD Vision believes that quantum dots make a better choice in planar lighting than the organic emissive material in OLEDs – in terms of better light output, a richer color gamut, and a simpler manufacturing process.

QD Vision is in the earliest of stages of commercial products based on quantum dots. The company is supplying the technology to Nexxus Lighting for use in an LED retrofit light bulb. But the company has been working on EL applications behind the scenes primarily driven by government contracts.

MIT Technology Review reviewed Quantum dot display technology

Juniper predictions on wireless for 2011

Juniper's top 10 wireless predictions for 2011.

1. Surging Mobile Data Traffic
2. Augmented Reality to Enhance Mobile Games and Retail
3. Cloud-Based Operating Systems are Launched
4. Mobile Banking will become a “must-have” when opening a new account
5. Mobile Devices Begin to Replace Credit Cards
6. Mobile Handsets Become Even More Sensitive
7. Mobile Lottery Tickets Sales to Soar Fueled by Deployments in US, Europe, and China
8. Mobile-Specific Threats Lead to Demand for Mobile-Specific Security
9. Buyouts take Social Purchasing to a New Level (NBF Note the Groupon buyout by Google did not happen)
10. More Vendors Develop a “GreenHeart”

Cleantech predictions for 2011

Dallas Kachan predicts Greentech for 2011

1. Sustained worldwide VC investment in cleantech in 2011
* Kleiner Perkins may be looking to scale back its cleantech investing
* plenty of capital being allocated for cleantech in 2011. Another $500 million has just been announced from the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS). Hony Capital in China is closing in on a new 10 billion RMB ($1.5 billion) fund, and there’s a new €9b ($12.4b) NER300 fund for cleantech in the EU. And that’s just three of dozens announced in the last month.

December 03, 2010

Heartland Robotics still promising to revolutionize manufacturing gets $20 million in more funding

Heartland Robotics has raised $20 million in funding

Heartland Robotics was founded in 2008 by iRobot co-Founder and former Director of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Rodney Brooks, with the goal of introducing a new generation of robots to improve productivity in manufacturing environments. “Our robots will be intuitive to use, intelligent and highly flexible. They’ll be easy to buy, train, and deploy and will be unbelievably inexpensive. Heartland Robotics will change the definition of how and where robots can be used, dramatically expanding the robot marketplace,” explained Dr. Brooks.

Paul Maeder, General Partner at Highland Capital Partners, said “Heartland’s vision for improving the competitiveness of American manufacturing through innovative robotic technology is compelling for manufacturers and important for America.

Brooks has spoke of how a world dominated by the Wal-Mart style of business (which he says relies heavily on cheap Chinese labor) might assimilate new types of robotics into the workforce and eliminate the need to outsource. Brooks was the key technical innovator behind the Roomba

Heartland Robotics is believed to be making robots that are more dexterous and have better vision recognition than the Obero robot while also making them much more cheap and reliable

Tata reveals Indica Vista electric car with 150 mile range on one charge with a price around $10,000 and an electric truck

Tata Motors used the Thailand International Motor Expo 2010 as the venue to introduce an electric car based on its Indica Vista and a variant based on the Ace pickup.

The Indica Vista EV is powered by a super-polymer lithium-ion battery that promises 200 km on a single charge and an acceleration of 0 to 100 kph in 10 seconds. The EV is the first product from the Tata Motors European Technical Centre (TMETC) and Mijo Grenland/Innovation of Norway — TMETC has a 70 per cent stake in the Norwegian company. This is the first time the EV has been seen in the Southeast Asian market.

Gizmag - The Tata Indica Vista EV hits the market early in 2011, carries four people, has excellent performance and can run 150 miles on a charge. Most importantly, the EV is based on a best-selling, mass-market car from the Indian market where it sells for less than US$9000 and its performance in the recent Future Car Challenge verifies its extreme energy efficiency.

This kind of car has the range and cost and carrying capacity to make proposed plans for India and China to go all electric vehicles by 2020 feasible. The remaining hurdles are to be able to make enough batteries or capacitors with comparable cost for about 500 million cars and trucks and to build out the charging system.

Iraqi oilfield target is raised and production should have significant ramping within 3 years

ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell have raised their target for oil production from Iraq's West Qurna-1 oilfield by about 22 per cent to more than 2.8 million barrels per day (bpd), a volume equal to the total output capacity of Abu Dhabi.

If all the oilfields for which Iraq has awarded contracts were developed according to plan, its production capacity could reach 13 million bpd "some time after 2017", Mr Ciszuk calculated. That would exceed Saudi Arabia's 12 billion bpd capacity to pump crude.

But most analysts predict the path of Iraqi oil development will be much slower than the ministry's plans, not least because of construction bottlenecks. IHS Global forecasts a "best-case scenario" of 6 million bpd by 2020.

The adjustment follows extensive reservoir appraisal and surveying work on the oilfield in the year since the Iraqi oil ministry awarded a 20-year contract to the companies to develop the field, which is among the largest in the Middle East.

The resulting increase in estimated reserves at West Qurna contributed a large portion of the 24 per cent upward revision in Iraq's total oil reserves to 143 billion barrels that the oil ministry announced in October. A reappraisal of reserves at another field, Zubair, contributed most of the rest.

Production from Iraq´s prized West Qurna Stage 1 oil field should more than triple to 750,000 barrels a day in three years time. The US State department report shows that so far Iraqi oil production has fallen about 100,000 barrels per day from the best levels of 2010. Oil production in November was 2.31 million barrels per day and exports were 1.79 million barrels per day. Exports were off 200,000 barrels per day from the best levels of 2010.

Carbon nanotube polymer stronger than Kevlar

Researchers at Northwestern University have nanoengineered a new kind of fiber that could be tougher than Kevlar.

The group have created a high performance fiber from carbon nanotubes and a polymer that is remarkably tough, strong, and resistant to failure. Using state-of-the-art in-situ electron microscopy testing methods, the group was able to test and examine the fibers at many different scales — from the nano scale up to the macro scale — which helped them understand just exactly how tiny interactions affect the material’s performance. Their results were recently published in the journal ACS Nano.

“We want to create new-generation fibers that exhibit both superior strength and toughness,” said Espinosa said. “A big issue in engineering fibers is that they are either strong or ductile — we want a fiber that is both. The fibers we fabricated show very high ductility and a very high toughness. They can absorb and dissipate large amounts of energy before failure. We also observed that the strength of the material stays very, very high, which has not been shown before. These fibers can be used for a wide variety of defense and aerospace applications.”

Previous work by Espinosa in 2008 was to use irradiation to strengthen carbon nanotubes and to precisely measure the strength of fibers

Rewriting Moores Law with faster improvement in computer speed using IBM silicon photonics

Jason Perlow claims that Moore’s Law is going to have to be completely re-written — instead of microprocessor technology doubling its performance every two years, we’ll be looking forward to ten to twenty fold increases in computational power, at a bare minimum, every five years.

This would mean over ten years that computer speed would improve 100 to 400 times instead of 32 times.

Onchip photonics at very low power are what is required to enable zettaflop computing with systems that are relatively similar to what exists today. After that another re-architecting will be required to achieve more speed. Memristors for faster memory and memory that is beside the logic at a low level will also provide faster computing over this period. Memristor computing could also enable more gains from three dimensional computing structures. Memristors and photonic communication could enable yottaflop computing.

10 Megawatt wind turbines 2011-2013 and 15 Megawatt wind turbines by 2020

There are two major efforts to push conventional horizontal wind turbine technology to its limits.

The Norwegian company Sway will build a 10 Megawatt wind turbine (533-feet tall) capable of powering 2,000 homes all by itself by 2011 and then test it for two years before building more. Enova, a public agency owned by Norway’s petroleum and oil industry ministry, is helping fund the project, which is expected to cost $67.5 million to build.

Eleven Spanish companies join forces on the Azimut Project to develop a 15-MW offshore wind turbine using 100% Spanish technology by 2020

A 7 MWe wind turbine is 413 feet tall.

A 15 MWe relatively conventional horizontal wind turbine would then be expected to be about 688 feet tall.

Two World financial center in New York is 645 feet tall

The Trump tower is 664 feet tall

China spending $511 billion to build up to 245 nuclear reactors

According to Michael Kruse, consultant on nuclear systems for Arthur D. Little, the Chinese are ready to spend $511 billion to build up to 245 reactors.

American Competitiveness - Stephen Chu and Others Sound the Alarm

Stephen Chu (energy secretary) sounded an alarm with Is the Energy Race our new “Sputnik” Moment? (30 page presentation)

For over a century, America has led the world in innovation.
Today, that leadership is at risk.

In the last 15 years, Chu said, China has gone from 15th place to 5th in international patents and from 14th place to 2nd place in published research articles. Of fifty or so nuclear reactors under construction around the world, thirty are in China. China just surpassed the U.S. with the world's fastest supercomputer, has a 220-mph rail line that is the fastest in the world, and has broken ground on a rail network almost four times larger than the next most developed rail country, France

China has installed the highest voltage and capacity, lowest loss HVDC (800kV) and HVAC (1,000 kV) lines, and plans an integrated HVDC/HVAC backbone.
• Broken ground on 30 nuclear reactors out of ~ 50 world-wide.

Recently China is raising its 2020 nuclear generation target to about 114 GWe. This would be more than the United States unless the united states builds (or uprates) about 14 GWe of new nuclear power.

There are many more figures from a report-
Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited: Rapidly Approaching Category 5 (2010) a report on American Competitiveness by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS)

Thirty years ago, ten percent of California’s general fund went to higher education and three percent to prisons. Today, nearly eleven percent goes to prisons and eight percent to higher education.

China is now second in the world in its publication of biomedical research articles, having recently surpassed Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, France, Canada and Spain.

The United States now ranks 22nd among the world’s nations in the density of broadband Internet penetration and 72nd in the density of mobile telephony subscriptions.

In 2009, 51 percent of United States patents were awarded to non-United States companies.

The World Economic Forum ranks the United States 48th in quality of mathematics and science education.

Of Wal-Mart’s 6,000 suppliers, 5,000 are in China.

There are sixteen energy companies in the world with larger reserves than the largest United States company.

December 02, 2010

Carbon nanotubes Blacker Than Black for better planet searches

NASA engineers now developing a blacker-than pitch material that will help scientists gather hard-to-obtain scientific measurements or observe currently unseen astronomical objects, like Earth-sized planets in orbit around other stars.
"This is a technology that offers a lot of payback," said engineer Leroy Sparr, who is assessing its effectiveness on the Ocean Radiometer for Carbon Assessment (ORCA), a next-generation instrument that is designed to measure marine photosynthesis. "It's about 10 times better than black paint" typically used by NASA instrument designers to suppress stray light, he said.

The technology works because of its super-absorption abilities. The nanotubes themselves are packed vertically much like a shag rug. The tiny gaps between the tubes absorb 99.5 percent of the light that hits them. In other words, very few photons are reflected off the carbon-nanotube coating, which means that stray light cannot reflect off surfaces and interfere with the light that scientists actually want to measure. The human eye sees the material as black because only a small fraction of light reflects off the material.

Blacklight Power announces independent replications of energy generation and a light emission that they claims confirms hydrinos

Blacklight Power announced three replications of their work and claims regarding hydrinos. Blacklight Power still is not generating any commercial electricity and has not widely distributed any test systems for more open verification of extraordinary claims.

Greentechmedia - the latest extraordinary claim of Blacklight Power
BlackLight Power is back, and it says it can generate electricity for $25 a kilowatt (capital cost for the system, versus $800-6000/kw for natural gas and nuclear power plants). A public demo is slated for 2011

1. BlackLight Power announced that CIHT (Catalyst-Induced-Hydrino-Transition) technology has been independently confirmed by Dr. K.V. Ramanujachary, Rowan University Meritorious Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry

2. An expanded team of scientists and engineers at Rowan University completed a thorough year-long series of additional testing of the thermal systems following the announcement and release of their validations in October 2008 and August 2009. Using BLP’s proprietary solid-fuel chemistry capable of continuous regeneration, independently formulated and tested fuels generated on-demand energy greater than that of combustion at power levels of kilowatts. Furthermore, when using BLP’s chemical process, Rowan University professors reported a net energy gain of up to 6.5 times the maximum energy potential of these materials from known chemical reactions.

3. Blacklight Power announced the replication of the extraordinary high-energy light emission below 80 nm from hydrogen at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA). These results, previously thought to be impossible based on past theory, are predicted to be from the formation of hydrinos.

How long to hit the Verizon LTE extra charges for mobile data ? And LTE compared to Wimax and HPSA+

PC Magazine - Verizon's new 4G LTE network is so fast that you can use up your entire 5GB, $50 monthly allotment in 32 minutes

PC Mag tests maxed out at an impressive 21Mbps. If you were downloading 5GB at that speed, it would only take you 32 minutes. Since the LTE network currently has almost nobody on it, I got average speeds around 15Mbps; Verizon estimates you'll be able to get around 8.5Mbps with a loaded network.

DARPA funds non-volatile logic and bioagent detection chip and brings in Terrafugia on the flying Hummer

1. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has launched a $65M program to develop a four person flyable and roadable vehicle. Terrafugia, Inc., developer of the Transition® Roadable Aircraft, or “Flying Car”, is the largest subcontractor to one of two winning teams, led by AAI Corporation and comprised of other Textron companies.

The vehicle will be able to travel 280 miles by land and air, using vertical take-off and landing to increase access to difficult terrain, and automating flight controls to enable operation by non-pilots.

Phase I of the five year, three-phase program will focus on conceptual design of both a prototype and a production vehicle. Phases II and III will focus on the design and manufacture of the prototype, which could be ready as early as first quarter 2015.

The work calls for Terrafugia's expertise in drive and flight integration, deployable flight surfaces, and automotive crash safety for an aircraft.

Direct Writing of Sub-5 nm Hafnium Diboride Metallic Nanostructures and an all electric single molecule motor

ACS Nano -Direct Writing of Sub-5 nm Hafnium Diboride Metallic Nanostructures

Sub-5 nm metallic hafnium diboride (HfB2) nanostructures were directly written onto Si(100)-2 × 1:H surfaces using ultrahigh vacuum scanning tunneling microscope (UHV-STM) electron beam induced deposition (EBID) of a carbon-free precursor molecule, tetrakis(tetrahydroborato)hafnium, Hf(BH4)4. Scanning tunneling spectroscopy data confirm the metallic nature of the HfB2 nanostructures, which have been written down to lateral dimensions of 2.5 nm. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of sub-5 nm metallic nanostructures in an STM-EBID experiment.

The Future of Metabolic Engineering – Designer Molecules, Cells and Microorganisms

Metabolic engineering - the practice of altering genes and metabolic pathways within a cell or microorganism – could one day be used to mass-produce biofuels, pharmaceuticals and other chemical products from inexpensive and renewable starting materials. (Image by Flavio Robles, Berkeley Lab Public Affairs)

In a paper published in the journal Science titled “Manufacturing molecules through metabolic engineering,” Jay Keasling discusses the potential of metabolic engineering – one of the principal techniques of modern biotechnology – for the microbial production of many of the chemicals that are currently derived from non-renewable resources or limited natural resources. Examples include, among a great many other possibilities, the replacement of gasoline and other transportation fuels with clean, green and renewable biofuels.

Keasling is the chief executive officer for the Joint BioEnergy Institute, a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) bioenergy research center. He also holds joint appointments with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), where he oversees that institute’s biosciences research programs, and the University of California (UC), Berkeley, where he serves as director of the Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center, and is the Hubbard Howe Jr. Distinguished Professor of Biochemical Engineering.

Wimax still increasing revenue and coverage

Sprint, Clearwire (the brand name of the service provided by Clear) and Time Warner Cable will roll out versions of the Clear service Wimax under their own branding by the end of the year

Clear Wimax si in New York as of November 1, Los Angeles on December 1 and will be in San Francisco before the end of the year.

Infonetics Research: WiMAX market continues to defy TD-LTE doom-sayers: 3Q10 revenue up 8% The WiMAX market is battling through a tough year, with perceptions of the technology dented by the promise of TD-LTE.

*Service providers have stated publicly (including KDDI recently in Japan) that LTE is not sufficient to address capacity issues and they intend to adopt a broad 4G strategy that includes WiFi and WiMAX as complementary technologies.

* In 12 months, from 2009 to 2010, the number of WiMAX subscribers worldwide is more than doubling, from just under 3 million to more than 7.5 million

Taiwanese skyscraper with blimps and wind power to start construction in 2012

Gixmag - Dorin Stefan's 'Floating Observatories' tower; construction begins in 2012 in Taechung, Taiwan

Dorin Stefans website

Floating Observatories" is Stefan Dorin's (from Romania) winning entry in the recent Taiwan Tower Conceptual International Competition – and in return for his US$130,000 first prize, now he has to actually build the thing. The new tower, standing more than 300 meters tall with its helium-filled observatory "leaves", will be the crown jewel of Taechung, the third largest city in Taiwan.

Standing somewhere around 390 meters tall, Stefan's "Floating Observatories" features geothermal heating and water heating in the basement, natural ventilation through the "chimney" effect, solar cells and axially mounted wind turbines around the building's core for power, fiber optic lighting for its basements, and a rainwater collection and purification system.

Scaling up world nuclear construction and uranium supply

Dan Yurman discusses China's ambitious nuclear energy program

Dan discusses the issues around scaling the workforce, supply chain and uranium.

I will review the scale of the build and the scaling up of world Uranium supply. The increase in nuclear construction is mostly not happening in Europe or the United States. Europe and the US have nearly flat energy generation growth because of slow growing economies.

I also had written an article about China's nuclear build and the exporting of cheap reactors and how that could solidify the high end projections of the WNA for 2030.

114GWe may be 7% of the 1600GWe that China should have in 2020 but China is forecast about 6500TWH (terawatt hours) for 2020 and 114 GWe would be about 800 TWH or about 12% of generation.

Bactera made with arsenic instead of phosphorous

Bacteria made from Arsenic. (H/T the Speculist)

NASA scientist Felisa Wolfe Simon will announce that they have found a bacteria whose DNA is completely alien to what we know today. Instead of using phosphorus, the bacteria uses arsenic. All life on Earth is made of six components: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur. Every being, from the smallest amoeba to the largest whale, share the same life stream. Our DNA blocks are all the same.

BBC News - Arsenic-loving bacteria may help in hunt for alien life

The first organism able to substitute one of the six chemical elements crucial to life has been found.

The bacterium, found in a California lake, uses the usually poisonous element arsenic in place of phosphorus.

The find, described in Science, gives weight to the long-standing idea that life on other planets may have a radically different chemical makeup.

Economist on China and India GDP growth race from 2010-2016

Although only a handful of economists think India’s growth will outpace China’s next year, a larger number believe it will do so this decade. The reasons are largely demographic. China’s economy cannot go on rapidly expanding once its labour force starts shrinking. Thanks to its one-child policy, introduced in 1978, the number of young Chinese (15-29-year-olds) will fall quite sharply after 2011, depriving the country’s factories of nomadic, nimble-fingered workers. Within a couple of years, Chinese youngsters will be outnumbered by their Indian peers, even though India’s population will not match China’s until about 2025.

India may also outpace China this decade for the simple reason that it is poorer, giving it more scope to catch up. India’s income per head would have to grow at 8% a year for 17 years to match the level China enjoys today. One year of faster growth does not, then, mean that India is somehow overtaking China. Rather, it is like a 5,000-metre runner doing a faster lap than the frontrunner, who is five laps ahead.

A summary of Dr. Bruce Cordell's Maslow Window Model for readers of Next Big Future by Joseph Friedlander

Hi, This is Joseph Friedlander on a guest post for Next Big Future.

Here we discuss long wave theory (56 year cycles involving booms, busts, wars, exuberance expeditions and scientific and engineering adventurism). I have spent a few days on and off looking at the site and wanted to give a digest for Next Big Future readers-- but also, to give an idea on a slight modification to the theory.

What is long wave theory?
Often called Kondratieff cycles, they are lifetime length sinusoidal waves charted against hundred year calendars. IF you believe in them you can see many correlations that otherwise are remarkable but unexplained—others dismiss them entirely.

Dr. Bruce Cordell (more on him below) has given a series of predictions concerning a potential space activity boom from 2015-2025. A 56 year energy source displacement cycle (also more on that below) may set the stage for thorium power or space solar power soon...

Dr. Cordell briefly comments on this 56 year cycle here 21st Century waves is often a participating website in the Carnival of Space.

December 01, 2010

Brian Wang on Blog Talk Radio with the Speculist Tonight talking Life Extension

Phil, Stephen, and special guest Brian Wang discuss the possibility of average life expectancy jumping up to 100, 200, or 500 -- or even older

Fast forward radio at blogtalkradio

The show starts at:

11:00 Eastern/10:00 Central/9:00 Mountain/8:00 Pacific.

An Even Bigger Century of Nuclear Energy

China is targeting 112 to 120 GW of nuclear power by itself for 2020. McKinsey indicated that China is targeting 120 GW for 2020. So the combined China, India and Vietnam target for the next 15 years is probably over 250 GW of new build.

There is a mention in the Wall Street Journal article that 46 countries could build 1000 reactors by 2030

1000 reactors for 2030 would be the high-2030 scenario from the World Nuclear Association (WNA) - Nuclear Century. The WNA lists nuclear generation targets by country. Even the high targets for China from the WNA are likely to be too low if China hits 120 GW or more by 2020, then 2030 could be 300-400 GW. If China is exporting nuclear reactors for half the price of France (40% lower for the latest reactors and even cheaper for older models) starting in 2013 then other countries could buy and build more reactors than if cheap reactors were not coming from South Korea and China. China will probably also not be as picky about which countries they build reactors.

China has been able to maintain Walmart like costs for its nuclear reactor build.

China and South Korea (and Russia) will be exporting what is currently an Asian nuclear boom around the world. Cheaper reactors that are built on time could solidify the orders that are currently the high end case.

Korea is developing MIT uprating technology that can increase the generation from existing and future reactors.

Imaging cells and inside cells and directly imaging atoms

1. Kurzwelai reports that a European consortium has developed the Megaframe Imager, an ultrafast camera capable of recording images at one million frames per second. It allows for cellular and sub-cellular imaging, neural imaging, biosensing, DNA and protein microarray scanning, automotive collision studies, and high-sensitivity astronomical observations.

Fluorescence lifetime biosensing with DNA microarrays and a CMOS-SPAD imager

Fluorescence lifetime of dye molecules is a sensitive reporter on local microenvironment which is generally independent of fluorophores concentration and can be used as a means of discrimination between molecules with spectrally overlapping emission. It is therefore a potentially powerful multiplexed detection modality in biosensing but requires extremely low light level operation typical of biological analyte concentrations, long data acquisition periods and on-chip processing capability to realize these advantages. We report here fluorescence lifetime data obtained using a CMOS-SPAD imager in conjunction with DNA microarrays and TIRF excitation geometry. This enables acquisition of single photon arrival time histograms for a 320 pixel FLIM map within less than 26 seconds exposure time. From this, we resolve distinct lifetime signatures corresponding to dye-labelled HCV and quantum-dot-labelled HCMV nucleic acid targets at concentrations as low as 10 nM.

the full paper 7 page pdf

Carnival of Space 179

The Carnival of Space 179 is up at Weird Sciences

This site provided :

What was the best way to use the Saturn V to reach the moon in retrospect ? Lunar Surface Rendezvous and other methods would have enabled 3 times more payload to be landed on the moon and if what was landed was mining and processing equipment a facility 100 times larger could have been built than what was landed.

* The key thing is-- the Moon will stop an incoming impactor for you, give you free radiation shielding if you pile it on, and give you mine-able resources—and those resource piles and all your scrap landed boosters do not need to have their orbit maintained at the expense of fuel.

* The second expedition might land at the same site, with another module for expansion (the LASS booster) and perhaps a rover; the third might carry a small foundry kit to melt down one of the boosters (each with 13 tons of metal) and using the motors and bearings from the rover, make a much more comfortable and larger rover. Six lunar landings (the same as actually happened) would have built up quite a lunar infrastructure

* we could have brought to orbit nearly one hundred 30 ton External Tanks of the Space Shuttle to make a station 6 times the size of the ISS.

* It is not difficult to imagine mining and processing 10 to 100 times what you landed with even in the early stages.

The Vasimr 200 kilowatt plasma rocket achieved its full power milestone

Centauri Dreams looks at Brown Dwarf's

The WISE mission has received a lot of press in terms of discovering nearby brown dwarfs, but it’s clear that finding low-temperature objects is a major investigation at many Earth-bound sites as well. That includes the UKIRT (United Kingdom Infrared Telescope) Deep Sky Survey’s project to find the coolest objects in our galaxy, an effort that has paid off in the form of a unique binary system. One of the stars here is a cool, methane-rich T-dwarf, while the other is a white dwarf, the two low-mass stars orbiting each other though separated by a quarter of a light year.

My God its three times more full of stars

Astronomers have used powerful instruments on the Keck Observatory in Hawaii to detect the faint signature of red dwarfs in eight massive, relatively nearby galaxies called elliptical galaxies, which are located between about 50 million and 300 million light years away. They discovered that the red dwarfs, which are only between 10 and 20 percent as massive as the Sun, were much more bountiful than expected.

The team discovered that there are about 20 times more red dwarfs in elliptical galaxies than in the Milky Way.

The new estimate for the number of stars in the universe is 300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. (300 sextillion)

Nature - A substantial population of low-mass stars in luminous elliptical galaxies

Around one billion chinese living in cities by 2025 and almost 600 million Indians by 2030

McKinsey forecasts that China will have over one billion people living in cities by 2025 and India will have 590 million people in cities by 2030

Mckinsey Indian city report is 234 pages

* Indian cities will create 70 percent of new jobs, and these will prove a powerful magnet. MGI projects that the urban population of India will increase from 340 million in 2008 to 590 million by 2030.

* If India pursues a new operating model for its cities, it could add as much as 1 to 1.5 percent to annual GDP growth, bringing the economy near to the double-digit growth to which the government aspires.

* If India continues to invest in urban infrastructure at its current rate—very low by international comparison—gridlock and urban decay will result.

* From 2002 to 2007, India invested 5.7% of GDP on infrastructure while China invested 9.3%

TAU uncovers muscle-stem cell mechanism in aging

New research from Tel Aviv University has found that "endurance exercises," like a Central Park jog or a spinning class, can make us look younger. The key, exercise, unlocks the stem cells of our muscles.

Prof. Dafna Benayahu and her team at Tel Aviv University's Sackler School of Medicine say their findings explain for the first time why older people who have exercised throughout their lives age more gracefully. They have discovered how endurance exercise increases the number of muscle stem cells and enhances their ability to rejuvenate old muscles. The researchers hope their finding can lead to a new drug to help the elderly and immobilized heal their muscles faster.

Worms achieve longer life through more efficient energy extraction from food

Long-lived mitochondrial (Mit) mutants of Caenorhabditis elegans utilize a novel metabolism

The secret to a long life comes from how we extract energy from our food. Scientists compared one class of long-lived C. elegans, called the Mit mutants, with non-mutant wild type C. elegans. Their comparison showed significant metabolism changes, suggesting that their cellular engines had been reconfigured to run on new fuels and to make new waste products, leading to increased lifespans. The worms achieved long life through changes in how their cells extracted energy (metabolic state). Although C. elegans often is used as an animal model for human biology, more research is needed to determine if an equivalent metabolic state could be created in humans with the same results.

McKinsey Proposes a green revolution development plan for China

McKinsey - China's Green Revolution (140 pages) Feb 2009

Recommendations -
1. Get coal generated power down to 34% of electrical generation or less (costs increase to 50 billion euros per year)
2. Go 100% electric cars and vehicles by 2020 (cost 70 billion euros/year)
3. Manage waste in high emission industries (steel, cement, chemicals, coal, waste management) (15 billion euro per year cost)
4. Green Buildings and lighting (will cost 50 billion euros per year but savings will pay for upfront costs)
5. Green Ecosystem (manage agriculture and forestry)
6. Green mindset (urban and consumer behavior)
more high rises which are 10-15% more efficient and promote more public transportation

China appears to be going for a more aggressive buildout of nuclear power and hydro power than the McKinsey 2009 proposal. China is targeting 112-120 GW for 2020 for nuclear power and the 2030 target could be 300-400 GW for nuclear.

Barrons - If China boosted its goal for that year to 112 gigawatts, that would mean that the Chinese would need 64 million pounds of Uranium by then, nearly 50% of the 132 million pounds that will be produced this year, based on methodology used by consulting firm McKinsey, which thinks that the real capacity goal is higher: 120 gigawatts.

Quantum-dot-induced transparency in a nanoscale plasmonic resonator

Optics Express - Quantum-dot-induced transparency in a nanoscale plasmonic resonator (13 pages)

We investigate the near-field optical coupling between a single semiconductor nanocrystal (quantum dot) and a nanometer-scale plasmonic metal resonator using rigorous electrodynamic simulations. Our calculations show that the quantum dot produces a dip in both the extinction and scattering spectra of the surface-plasmon resonator, with a particularly strong change for the scattering spectrum. A phenomenological coupledoscillator model is used to fit the calculation results and provide physical insight, revealing the roles of Fano interference and hybridization. The results indicate that it is possible to achieve nearly complete transparency as well as enter the strong-coupling regime for a single quantum dot in the near field of a metal nanostructure.

XM25 smart gun will be deployed one per squad in Afghanistan

After years of development, the U.S. Army has unleashed a new weapon in Afghanistan -- the XM25 Counter Defilade Target Engagement System, a high-tech rifle that can be programmed so that its 25-mm. ammunition detonates either in front of or behind a target, meaning it can be fired just above a wall before it explodes and kills the enemy.

It also has a range of roughly 2,300 feet -- nearly the length of eight football fields -- making it possible to fire at targets well past the range of the rifles and carbines that most soldiers carry today.

The first XM25s were distributed to combat units in Afghanistan this month. The 12-pound, 29-inch system, which was designed by Minnesota's Alliant Techsystems, costs up to $35,000 per unit and, while highly sophisticated, is so easy to use that soldiers become proficient within minutes.

November 30, 2010

IBM promises commercial silicon nanophotonics in 2011

IBM's all silicon optical transceivers house modulators, wave guides, wavelength-division multiplexers, switches and detectors all cast the same CMOS die.

EETimes - Silicon chips will be communicating with pulses of light instead of electrical charge starting in 2011, according to International Business Machines Corp

* IBM (Armonk, N.Y.) heralded silicon nanophotonics as the enabler for future exascale processors
* IBMs CMOS silicon nanophotonics technology can meet the requirements for exascale systems, by scaling up per-chip transceiver bandwidth and integration density
* CISN technology is currently being licensed to partners, and will begin to appear in commercial transceivers starting in 2011.

IBMs press release on this technology

Wimax and Advanced LTE will be over 100 Mbps and 42 Mbps wireless in Canada now

1. Samsung demonstrated Wimax 2 at 330 megabits per second in Japan

2. The Wimax 2 specification is nearly finalized and commercial deployment is expected starting in 2012

Techonomy - Facebook founder launches Jumo a social network for charities

Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes has launched his much-buzzed-about social network, Jumo. Hughes, who left Facebook (Facebook) in 2007 to become the Obama campaign’s director of online organizing, soft-launched Jumo last March.

Jumo was designed to let users find, follow and support the causes important to them, and with 3,500 organizations on board at launch, would-be philanthropists should be able to find and follow something of interest upon joining

Chris Hughes made an introduction to Jumo at the Techonomy conference.

"We need to create a network between individuals and organizations working for public change," says Hughes, who co-founded Facebook and coordinated, the campaign's social networking site. Now he's running a website called Jumo, that's designed to apply the social graph to the non-profit world. He says his goal is to "give users a reason to connect and make it easy to connect—open opportunities for groups to better collaborate."

Super High Mileage Cars and Electric Vehicles

The Chevy Volt officially goes on sale in December, though pre-orders began this summer. Initially they're only available in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, California, Texas, Washington, D.C., and Michigan.

The Volt range extending generator runs on gas and GM is hitting hard on that feature to help lure customers from Nissan's new Leaf vehicles which will go on sale around the same time -- plug-in onlys advertised to get 100 miles per charge giving the Nissan Leaf an EPA rating of 99 miles per gallon equivalency. Volts will get more than 300 miles on a charge and full tank of gas, getting a rating of 60 miles per gallon combined. As a comparison, Toyota Prius hybrids -- which are gas only -- are rated around 50 miles per gallon. The prices of all three before applicable tax credits -- the Volt; $41,000; the Leaf about $34,000; the Prius about $22,000.

Robotic vision expert Eugenio Culurciello interviewed by Sander Olson

Here is the Eugenio Culurciello interview. Dr. Culurciello is an associate professor of engineering at Yale University. Dr. Culurviello has developed a low power FPGA chip that is specifically designed for robotic vision. The aim of Dr. Culurciello's research is to create a robotic vision system that is equivalent to human vision. The system should eventually be capable of recognizing virtually any object in real-time. This technology is already being used on experimental robots, and could eventually become a standard feature on robots. This technology should also lead to pilotless planes and driverless cars, possibly within the next decade.

Question: Your lab has claimed a breakthrough in a synthetic vision system. How does this system work?

Answer: We have essentially developed a field-programmable-array-processor (FPGA) that has been specifically designed for artificial vision. It is a specialized device, and effectively brings supercomputing power to synthetic vision. It operates about 100 times faster than a laptop computer.

Reviewing my predictions from 2006

For Space I predicted Solar sails in space 2006-2010.
Solar sail by 2010 is clearly correct. Japanese solar sail was deployed and flew in space this year. IKAROS was the world's first spacecraft designed to use solar sailing propulsion to be successfully launched

China second largest economy in straight currency conversion measures 2013-2015
China passed Japan economy this year. So this happened earlier than 2013. The Japanese economy was weaker than I thought it would be and China's economy was a bit stronger and there was a restatement of China's economy where it was found to be bigger.

China largest economy in PPP (Purchasing Power Parity) terms 2009-2012
This is on track for 2012 based on the Conference board and PPP based on Angus Maddison’s Statistics on World Population and the Penn World Tables version 6.3 provide PPPs based on previous rounds of prices, which indicate much lower price levels in China and, therefore, much higher GDP. According to these measures, China’s GDP would have been 75–80 percent of the U.S. level in 2005 and would have already surpassed the U.S. level by now.

Nanodiamond qubits and a path to large scale quantum computer systems

Arxiv - Enhancement of the zero phonon line emission from a single NV-center in a nanodiamond via coupling to a photonic crystal cavity

Using a nanomanipulation technique a nanodiamond with a single nitrogen vacancy center is placed directly on the surface of a gallium phosphide photonic crystal cavity. A Purcell-enhancement of the fluorescence emission at the zero phonon line (ZPL) by a factor of 12:1 is observed. The ZPL coupling is a first crucial step towards future diamond-based integrated quantum optical devices.

A further enhancement of the emission into the ZPL can be achieved by improving the Q-factor or by performing experiments at cryogenic temperatures. At 4 Kelvin the ZPL can be nearly Fourier-limited and about 3% of the light is emitted into the ZPL. In this case we estimate that coupling to a similar PCC with a Q-factor of 600 should allow channeling of almost 30% of the emission into the cavity mode.

In conclusion, we have demonstrated the deterministic coupling of the zero phonon line of a single nitrogen-vacancy center in a nanodiamond to a photonic crystal cavity. This is a major step towards the realization of integrated quantum optical devices. With the presented pick-and-place technique and the selective cavity tuning, even more complex systems, involving two cavities and emitters, can be assembled in a controlled way. Simple quantum gates, integrated on a single photonic crystal chip, are within reach.

Nuclear Power should close the fuel cycle and energy return on fossil fuels has a large economic impact

1. Carey King at the University of Texas at Austin tries to make a case that is common at Peak Oil websites - lower energy return on fossil fuels causes economic recessions.
The worst recessions of the last 65 years were preceded by declines in energy quality for oil, natural gas, and coal. Energy quality is plotted using the Energy Intensity Ratio (EIR) for each fuel. Recessions are indicated by gray bars. In layman's terms, EIR measures how much profit is obtained by energy consumers relative to energy producers.The higher the EIR, the more economic value consumers (including businesses, governments and people) get from their energy.

In a paper published this November in the journal Environmental Research Letters, King introduced a new way to measure energy quality, the Energy Intensity Ratio (EIR), that is easier to calculate, highly correlated to EROI and in some ways more powerful than EROI. EIR measures how much profit is obtained by energy consumers relative to energy producers. The higher the EIR, the more economic value consumers (including businesses, governments and people) get from their energy.

Stem Cells in Injured Mice Give them larger and stronger muscles for Life

Singularity Hub reports that stem cells can be used to give injured mice larger muscles for life.

Young mice with injured legs were given donor muscle stem cells from other young mice. Those injuries not only healed, but muscle mass increased 50% and muscle volume increased by an incredible 170%! Performance tests show the muscles were twice as strong as normal, and still above average when you control for size. Two years later, about the lifetime of a mouse, the legs were still bigger and stronger than normal, much to the scientists surprise.

* Instead of using stem cell transplants, they are working to use drugs that recreate the life long muscle mass increase.
* Olwin’s already tracking down the right signaling pathways, and has even had some success with dystrophic mice (that work is not yet published). Chemical signals seem better than stem cells for this application. By fooling muscles into taking the actions they would have taken had they received a transplant, Olwin is creating a possible systematic approach to treating muscle loss. You don’t need hundreds of micro-transplants, you just need one substance (or drug cocktail) that could be injected anywhere in the skeletal-muscular system.
* in studies with dystrophic mice (who are genetically induced to have MD) healthy well-connected muscle tissue did develop after stem cell transplant (that work has yet to be published).
* injury stimulates the transplant
* The transplantation process itself is still being optimized. Olwin and colleagues found that you really had to get the donor cells when they were still attached to muscle fibers. Stripping them down and culturing them (as is done with many stem cell treatments) seems to decrease effectiveness. Remarkably, only about 10 to 50 stem cells were used for each mouse. That’s a surprisingly small number of cells. Olwin says that Hall and Chamberlain are already working on performing similar transplants in dogs. Clinical work in humans could be feasible in a few years.

Science Translational Medicine - Prevention of Muscle Aging by Myofiber-Associated Satellite Cell Transplantation

IEEE Spectrum tries to hold Ray Kurzweil to a high prediction standard but does not apply that standard to themselves

IEEE Spectrum tries to hold Ray Kurzweil to a high prediction standard but does not apply that standard to themselves. Every year IEEE Spectrum tries to pick Technology winners and losers.

IEEE Spectrum says Rays clearest and most successful predictions often lack originality or profundity. And most of his predictions come with so many loopholes that they border on the unfalsifiable.

So how clear and profound are IEEE Spectrum in its picking of winners and losers ? Not clear. They do not define what means for a Technology to win. What is the standard for success. IEEE Spectrum does not specify dates on its picks. IEEE Spectrum claims a high ratio of success, yet they do not review in detail what happened from the point of prediction to the point of declared success.

IEEE Spectrum's 2010 technology picks are near term technology predictions.

Spectrum predicted winners
* Google’s Chrome operating system
* Pixel Qi’s dual-mode screen provides both e-paper readability and full-color video.
* Intrinsity's hot-rodded processor gives cellphones PC smarts.
* IBM helps Russian Railways reinvent the railroad’s data infrastructure.
* NanoGaN’s gallium nitride substrates will help manufacturers make better lasers.

Spectrum predicted losers
* D-Wave Systems’ quantum computers won’t outperform ordinary ones. (I disagree)
* NanoUV’s extreme ultraviolet light source is revolutionary, but that won’t entice chipmakers to use it.
* Cellulosic ethanol— “grassoline”—is an environmental threat rather than a panacea.
* The Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid car is imaginative, daring, and superb, but uneconomical.
* Airport security screening will go a lot faster with a new biometric system that reads passengers’ minds.

We took at a look at IEEE Spectrum's 2009 technology picks There picks in 2009 basically break down to small early stage companies are risky and more prone to failure and big companies with military backing are safer and likely to succeed if they are scaling up deployment with large financial backing this year. In spite of that method, they predicted that Intel would succeed with Larrabee GPGPU chip would be a success and the first generation Larrabee GPGPU was not released as a consumer product.

November 29, 2010

Dark Jupiter size object probably lurks at the edge of the Solar System

In a new analysis of observations dating back to 1898, Matese and Whitmire confirm their original idea: About 20 percent of the comets visible from Earth were sent by a dark, distant planet.

After examining the orbits of more than 100 comets in the Minor Planet Center database, the researchers concluded that 80 percent of comets born in the Oort Cloud were pushed out by the galaxy’s gravity. The remaining 20 percent, however, needed a nudge from a distant object about 1.4 times the mass of Jupiter.

The pattern only works for comets that come from the spherical outer Oort Cloud, which extends from about 0.3 to 0.8 light-years from the sun. Comets from the flatter, more donut-shaped inner Oort Cloud don’t create the same distinctive pattern

Asian nuclear energy boom

1. Wall Street Journal - 10 countries in Asia have nuclear energy development plans. New Delhi forecasts India will spend $175 billion to increase nuclear energy production 13-fold by 2030. China, India and Vietnam combined will build about 115,000 megawatts of nuclear generating capacity, investing more than half a trillion dollars over the next 15 years. At least 46 countries will build 1,000 reactors by 2030, creating trillions of dollars of revenue and tens of thousands of jobs across the technology, engineering, construction, materials and services supply chain.

NOTE: China is targeting 112 to 120 GW of nuclear power by itself for 2020. McKinsey indicated that China is targeting 120 GW for 2020. So the combined China, India and Vietnam target for the next 15 years is probably over 250 GW of new build.
1000 reactors for 2030 is the high-2030 scenario from the World Nuclear Association (WNA) - Nuclear Century. The WNA lists nuclear generation targets by country. Even the high targets for China from the WNA are likely to be too low if China hits 120 GW or more by 2020, then 2030 could be 300-400 GW. If China is exporting reactors for half the price of France starting in 2013 then other countries could buy and build more reactors than if cheap reactors were not coming from South Korea and China. China will probably also not be as picky about which countries they build reactors.

Wikileaks reveals China ready for reunified Korea and ready to abandon North Korea

In highly sensitive discussions in February this year, the-then South Korean vice-foreign minister, Chun Yung-woo, told a US ambassador, Kathleen Stephens, that younger generation Chinese Communist party leaders no longer regarded North Korea as a useful or reliable ally and would not risk renewed armed conflict on the peninsula

• South Korea's vice-foreign minister said he was told by two named senior Chinese officials that they believed Korea should be reunified under Seoul's control, and that this view was gaining ground with the leadership in Beijing.

• China's vice-foreign minister told US officials that Pyongyang was behaving like a "spoiled child" to get Washington's attention in April 2009 by carrying out missile tests.

Inflation in China is depreciating the Yuan

Over the most recently reported two months, the CPI-adjusted (inflation adjusted) real exchange rate of the yuan has been appreciating relative to the dollar at about a 13 percent annual rate. That would be enough to eliminate the estimated 20 to 40 percent undervaluation of the yuan in less than three.

Analysis from Edwin G. Dolan holds a Ph.D. in economics from Yale University and published at SeekingAlpha.

Using consumer prices to calculate real exchange rates has the advantage that the monthly CPI for both countries is available with a very short lag. However, many observers think that real exchange rates based on unit labor costs in manufacturing give a more accurate picture of competitiveness in international trade. Unit labor costs (ULC) take into account both changes in nominal wage rates and changes in labor productivity, and a focus on manufacturing excludes price and wage changes that affect only non-traded services. Unit labor cost data is not available as rapidly or in as much detail as consumer prices, but estimates from the World Bank suggest that Chinese unit labor costs rose at an annual rate of about 4 percent in the first three quarters of this year. Over the same period, they decreased at an annual rate of about 5 percent in United States, giving a 9 percent differential. Since the June thaw in Chinese exchange rate policy, the yuan has been appreciating at a nominal annual rate of about 6 percent. Adding nine to six suggests that the ULC-adjusted real exchange rate of the yuan has been appreciating at a 15 percent annual rate, even more rapidly than the CPI-adjusted rate.

Optical nanotube a step towards optical molecular electronics

Nature Nanotechnology - Electroluminescence from a single nanotube–molecule–nanotube junction

The positioning of single molecules between nanoscale electrodes has allowed their use as functional units in electronic devices. Although the electrical transport in such devices has been widely explored, optical measurements have been restricted to the observation of electroluminescence from nanocrystals and nanoclusters and from molecules in a scanning tunnelling microscope setup. In this Letter, we report the observation of electroluminescence from the core of a rod-like molecule between two metallic single-walled carbon nanotube electrodes forming a rigid solid-state device. We also develop a simple model to explain the onset voltage for electroluminescence. These results suggest new characterization and functional possibilities, and demonstrate the potential of carbon nanotubes for use in molecular electronics.

Nanowerk has coverage

UBC Physicists Make Atoms and Dark Matter Add Up

UBC and TRIUMF physicists have proposed a unified explanation for dark matter and the so-called baryon asymmetry--the apparent imbalance of matter with positive baryon charge and antimatter with negative baryon charge in the Universe.

The visible Universe appears to be made of atoms, and each of these atoms carries a positive baryon charge equal to total number of protons and neutrons in its nucleus.

However, since the discovery of antimatter in 1932, researchers have wondered why the Universe doesn't hold a neutral baryon charge--requiring as much negatively charged antimatter as positively charged matter. This net asymmetry of particles over antiparticles remains one of the biggest unsolved mysteries in physics.

Physical Review Letters - Unified Origin for Baryonic Visible Matter and Antibaryonic Dark Matter

Arxiv - (4 pages) Hylogenesis: A Unified Origin for Baryonic Visible Matter and Antibaryonic Dark Matter

We have presented a novel mechanism to generate dark matter and baryon densities simultaneously. Decays of a massive X1 state split baryon number between SM quarks and antibaryons in a hidden sector. These hidden antibaryons constitute the dark matter. An important signature of this mechanism is the destruction of baryons by the scattering of hidden dark matter.

A*STAR Institute Of Microelectronics and Stanford University to Co-Develop Nanoelectromechanical Relay Technology for Ultra-Low Power Applications

The Institute of Microelectronics (IME), a research institute of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), today announced a collaborative partnership with Stanford University in USA to develop nanoelectromechanical (NEM) relay technology to enable ultra-low power computation. NEMS-based integrated circuits are ideal for a wide range of emerging green electronics solutions as they eliminate leakage power, one of the leading sources of power consumption in today’s scaled devices.

The project will be jointly led by Dr Navab Singh, Principal Investigator of the Nano-Electronics Programme at IME, and Professor H.S. Philip Wong, Professor Roger Howe, and Professor Subhasish Mitra from Stanford University.

“Not only do the NEMS devices allow much greater integration density to enable even smaller form factor to be attained, these devices are also suitable for use in robust electronic systems, given their high tolerance to harsh operating environments,” said Dr Singh. “This project extends and strengthens our R and D partnership with Stanford University.”

Some nanomechanical relay research at Stanford from earlier in 2010 -
Titanium nitride sidewall stringer process for lateral nanoelectromechanical relays

This paper reports on lateral nanoelectromechanical (NEM) relays based on variations of a two- or three-mask titanium nitride (TiN) sidewall stringer process. Electrically isolated TiN perimeter beams are fabricated from stringers formed on the inside walls of polysilicon trenches, yielding 200 nm wide TiN fins and 200 nm gaps; these dimensions are 3X smaller than the resolution limit of the optical lithography tool (600 nm) utilized. The reduction in the operating voltage is about a factor of 5 compared to 600 nm wide polysilicon beams. Simple scaling could potentially enable sub-1V operation. Five-terminal NEM relays demonstrate successful switching in both directions over 1000 DC-sweep cycles with low drain bias (100 mV).

Environmental clearance for six Areva nuclear reactor project in India

India hopes to install 6 reactors each of 1650 MW that it will import from the French nuclear giant Areva in a roughly, 18 billion euro deal. The 9,900 MW Jaitapur nuclear power project to be set up in collaboration with a French firm in Maharashtra will soon become a reality albeit with some conditions.

The project involves setting up six units of 1650 MWe capacity each. The first unit is expected to be commissioned by 2017-18. It will help Maharashtra reduce its energy deficit. “Nearly 1000 hectares of land has already been acquired for the project,” Mr. Chavan said.

November 28, 2010

Stem cell spray heals burns

A spray solution of a patient's own stem cells is healing their severe burns. So far, early experiments under a University of Utah pilot project are showing some remarkable results. What was once a serious burn on Kaye Adkins foot is healing nicely now because of a topical spray. With diabetes as a complication, the small but open wound had not healed after weeks of failed treatments.

Patel says "regrowing your own skin in a bioreactor is very realistic and that's not five years away even. We start with a biological band aid and hope to end up with basically synthetic skin that's still derived from your own cells." In this dream of regenerative medicine, Patel believes we can only imagine a day when sheets of pristine skin might be available to any patient off the shelf.

Quantum rings could be billions of times more stable for quantum computers

Arxiv - Semiconductor quantum ring as a solid-state spin qubit could have relaxation times many seconds instead of nanoseconds. Nanowire rings smaller than 10nm are likely allow the production of Quantum Rings capable of durations exceeding seconds – up to 10 seconds theoretically.

The implementation of a spin qubit in a quantum ring occupied by one or a few electrons is proposed. Quantum bit involves the Zeeman sublevels of the highest occupied orbital. Such a qubit can be initialized, addressed, manipulated, read out and coherently coupled to other quantum rings. An extensive discussion of relaxation and decoherence is presented. By analogy with quantum dots, the spin relaxation times due to spin-orbit interaction for experimentally accessible quantum ring architectures are calculated. The conditions are formulated under which qubits build on quantum rings can have long relaxation times of the order of seconds. Rapidly improving nanofabrication technology have made such ring devices experimentally feasible and thus promising for quantum state engineering.

Early aging could be treated by boosting telomerase activity

Nature - Telomerase reverses ageing process Mice engineered to lack the enzyme, called telomerase, become prematurely decrepit. But they bounced back to health when the enzyme was replaced. The finding, published online today in Nature, hints that some disorders characterized by early ageing could be treated by boosting telomerase activity.

It also offers the possibility that normal human ageing could be slowed by reawakening the enzyme in cells where it has stopped working, says Ronald DePinho, a cancer geneticist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, who led the new study. "This has implications for thinking about telomerase as a serious anti-ageing intervention."

Stuxnet is a game changing weaponized computer virus

Intelligence agencies, computer security companies and the nuclear industry have been trying to analyze the worm since it was discovered in June by a Belarus-based company that was doing business in Iran. And what they've all found, says Sean McGurk, the Homeland Security Department's acting director of national cyber security and communications integration, is a “game changer.”

(H/T alfin2100)

UPDATE: Iran admits that there was cyber attack and there was an effect on their centrifuges. Iran is trying to downplay the effects Also, car bombs killed a top Iranian nuclear scientist in Tehran and wounded another.

The construction of the worm was so advanced, it was “like the arrival of an F-35 into a World War I battlefield,” says Ralph Langner, the computer expert who was the first to sound the alarm about Stuxnet. Others have called it the first “weaponized” computer virus.

Simply put, Stuxnet is an incredibly advanced, undetectable computer worm that took years to construct and was designed to jump from computer to computer until it found the specific, protected control system that it aimed to destroy: Iran’s nuclear enrichment program.

The worm was designed not to destroy the plants but to make them ineffective. By changing the rotation speeds, the bearings quickly wear out and the equipment has to be replaced and repaired. The speed changes also impact the quality of the uranium processed in the centrifuges creating technical problems that make the plant ineffective,” he explained.

In other words the worm was designed to allow the Iranian program to continue but never succeed, and never to know why.

Heterogeneous nanostructured electrode materials for electrochemical energy storage

Chemical Communications - Heterogeneous nanostructured electrode materials for electrochemical energy storage

In order to fulfil the future requirements of electrochemical energy storage, such as high energy density at high power demands, heterogeneous nanostructured materials are currently studied as promising electrode materials due to their synergic properties, which arise from integrating multi-nanocomponents, each tailored to address a different demand (e.g., high energy density, high conductivity, and excellent mechanical stability). In this article, we discuss these heterogeneous nanomaterials based on their structural complexity: zero-dimensional (0-D) (e.g. core–shell nanoparticles), one-dimensional (1-D) (e.g. coaxial nanowires), two-dimensional (2-D) (e.g. graphene based composites), three-dimensional (3-D) (e.g. mesoporous carbon based composites) and the even more complex hierarchical 3-D nanostructured networks. This review tends to focus more on ordered arrays of 1-D heterogeneous nanomaterials due to their unique merits. Examples of different types of structures are listed and their advantages and disadvantages are compared. Finally a future 3-D heterogeneous nanostructure is proposed, which may set a goal toward developing ideal nano-architectured electrodes for future electrochemical energy storage devices.

Nuclear is the least-cost, low-carbon, baseload power source

After analysing a wealth of peer-reviewed studies on market needs, technology performance, life-cycle emissions and electricity costs, the researchers (Barry Brooks and Martin Nicholson, Tom Biegler) conclude that only five technologies currently qualify for low-emission baseload generation. Of these, nuclear power is the standout solution. Nuclear is the cheapest option at all carbon prices and the only one able to meet the stringent greenhouse gas emission targets envisaged for 2050. The three Australian authors wrote in a paper published this week in international peer-reviewed journal Energy.

Cost, and the impact of carbon pricing on that cost, is analysed on the basis of 15 comprehensive cost studies published over the past decade. Similarly the carbon intensity estimates are based on 14 published studies of life cycle greenhouse emissions from electricity generation. The comprehensive range of authoritative studies analysed (including research from the International Energy Agency, Energy Information Administration, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) means that the results that emerge are reliable, comparable and representative.

Output from Iraq's West Qurna Stage 1 to triple to 750,000 barrels per day in 3 years but so far oil production and oil exports have fallen 4-10% in 2010

Production from Iraq´s prized West Qurna Stage 1 oil field should more than triple to 750,000 barrels a day in three years time, an oil official said Sunday.

The 8.6 billion barrel field, which is being developed by a consortium grouping Exxon Mobil and Shell, was among those awarded by Iraq during one its first international oil licensing rounds last year and is seen as a key part of the country´s drive to boost overall output of a resource on which it relies for 95 per cent of its foreign revenues.

The US State department report shows that so far Iraqi oil production has fallen about 100,000 barrels per day from the best levels of 2010. Oil production in November was 2.31 million barrels per day and exports were 1.79 million barrels per day. Exports were off 200,000 barrels per day from the best levels of 2010.