December 31, 2010

John Tierney officially has won his peak oil bet with Matthew Simmons

Matthew Simmons expected the price of oil, about $65 a barrel in 2005, to more than triple in the next five years, even after adjusting for inflation. He offered to bet $5,000 that the average price of oil over the course of 2010 would be at least $200 a barrel in 2005 dollars.

Matthew Simmons, champion of peak oil and malthusians lost the bet to John Tierney.

After the Lunar Industrial Village--- Drexlerian Sails plus Globus AsterAnt Strategy equals Solar Empire

By Joseph Friedlander

Let us suppose that we have an electrical launch facility on the Moon to export mass to the L4-L5 points in co-orbit with the Moon around the Earth.

My caption-- the Sun is in the middle of the picture, the Earth is at the 3 o'clock position relative to the Sun, the Moon is in the 2 o'clock position relative to the Earth. Note L4 and L5 at the 1 and 5 o'clock positions relative to the Sun. The Moon's mass makes these gravitational pockets in space stable orbits along the contour, like a steel ball circling a curved horn funnel in a museum display. Even a dumb mass will follow the path of least resistance. As simply as possible, you speed up to slow down (orbit expands, more distance to cover, less gravity) and you slow down to speed up (orbit contracts, less distance to cover more rapidly). The gravitational distortion of space (by the gravity fields of Sun, Earth and Moon) controls your exact direction.

Wiki caption: A contour plot of the effective potential of a two-body system. (the Sun and Earth here), showing the 5 Lagrange points. An object in free-fall would trace out a contour (such as the Moon, shown).

Personal Genome Machines and growing gene sequencing by 25 times into a $100 billion a year industry

The Personal Genome Machine (PGM), the silicon-based device is the smallest and cheapest DNA decoder ever to hit the market. It can read 10 million letters of genetic code, with a high degree of accuracy, in just two hours. Unlike existing DNA scanners the size of mainframes and servers, it fits on a tabletop and sells for only $50,000, one-tenth the price of machines already out there.

His current startup, Ion Torrent, created the PGM just three years after Rothberg dreamed up the idea; a soft launch took place Dec. 14. The device has at least one big believer: Life Technologies, a $3 billion (sales) lab equipment maker, was so impressed that it bought his company for $375 million (plus milestones worth another $350 million or so) this fall, before the machine was done

December 30, 2010

Critical clinical trials could reveal the true potential of stem cells in 2011

There will be many important clinical trials of stem cells in 2011. They will test therapies to treat paralysis and blindness could reveal the therapeutic potential of human embryonic stem cells

Microfluidic device rapidly orients hundreds of embryos for high-throughput experiment

This is a photograph of a penny next to the microfluidic device designed by Hang Lu, an associate professor in the Georgia Tech School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, to automatically orient hundreds of embryos to prepare them for research.

Researchers have developed a microfluidic device that automatically orients hundreds of fruit fly and other embryos to prepare them for research. The device could facilitate the study of such issues as how organisms develop their complex structures from single cells -- one of the most fascinating aspects of biology.

China has over 450 million internet users and will have 718 million in 2013

China said the number of Internet users in what is already the world's largest online market had jumped to 450 million -- more than a third of the country's 1.3-billion-strong population. This is up from the beginning of 2010 when it was 384 million.

More than half of China's 1.3 billion people will go online and their enthusiasm for online shopping will create a market of more than 2 trillion yuan in 2013 Based on the result of its survey for the first half of 2010, it estimates that by the end of 2010, the number of Chinese netizens will have reached 469 million, which is 35 percent of the country’s total population.

That number will rise to 718 million, which is nearly 53 percent of the total population.

Researchers have found a parallel computing algorithm that could offer quantum computer-speed performance

Researchers used an algorithm to evaluate potential speed in classical computation. Called the matrix multiplicative weights update method, it was developed from research in two mathematical fields of study, combinatorial optimization and learning theory.

The researchers showed that "for a certain class of semi-definite programs you can get not the exact answer but a very good approximate answer, using a very small amount of memory.

Scott Aaronson said that the algorithm could be used in commercial fields of computing, particularly in the field of semi-definite programming, which looks at ways of solving optimization problems. "These are very common in industrial optimization," he said.

Using an innovative argument based on polynomials over finite fields, the authors showed that IP contains PSPACE (Polynomial Space), the class of problems solvable by a classical computer using a polynomial amount of memory but possibly an exponential amount of time. PSPACE is known to encompass games of strategy, such as chess and Go. And thus, we get the surprising implication that, if aliens with infinite computational powers came to earth, they could not only beat humans at chess, but could also mathematically prove they were playing chess perfectly. Since it's not difficult to show that every IP problem is also a PSPACE problem, we obtain one of the most famous equations in CS: IP = PSPACE. This equation paved the way for many advances of a more down-to-earth nature: for example, in cryptography and program checking.

The authors have finally pinned down the power of quantum interactive proofs: they show that QIP = IP = PSPACE. In other words, quantum interactive proofs have exactly the same power as classical interactive proofs: both of them work for all problems in PSPACE but no other problems. In proving this, the authors confronted an extremely different challenge than that confronted in the earlier IP = PSPACE proof. Instead of demonstrating the power of interactive proofs, the authors had to show that quantum interactive proofs were weak enough to be simulated using polynomial memory: that is, QIP Í PSPACE.

To achieve this, the authors use a powerful recent tool called the multiplicative weights update method. Interestingly, computer scientists originally developed this method for reasons having nothing to do with quantum computing and, completing the circle, the QIP = PSPACE breakthrough is already leading to new work on the classical applications of the multiplicative weights method. This illustrates how advances in quantum and classical computing are sometimes increasingly difficult to tell apart.

Communications of the ACM : QIP = PSPACE

Additive Manufacturing gets lower costs and more capabilities

Objet, EOS, Z Corp. and 3D Systems introduce new technology at Euromold that reduces costs and boosts capability for additive manufacturing equipment.

Objet Geometries of Rehovot, Israel introduced a new family of desktop 3-D printers (Objet24 and Objet30), starting at $19,900. The company also demonstrated advanced materials featuring clear transparency, high-temperature resistance and ABS-like quality.

Objet CEO David Reis says, "Our new family of desktop 3D printers is the first high resolution 3-D printer with a low price tag and exceptional ease of use - making it ideal for office printing and opening up a new world of opportunities for designers and engineers."

The new clear material means customers can print thin, transparent parts which previously had to be outsourced to service providers.

December 29, 2010

Another successful prediction - up to 3584 cores in the Dell Poweredge C410X

Prediction Thousand+ CPU workstations- mainstream chip vendors 2009-2012

1000 CPUs (cores) from a mainstream vendor

S2050 1U, GPU Computing System

4 × 448 (1792 cores)

Specificiations at Nvidia

Form Factor 1U
# of Tesla GPUs 4
448 cores per Fermi chip

The Dell C410X allows eight Nvidia Fermi cards to be out into one server

The PowerEdge™ C410x is a 3U, 16-slot external PCIe rack chassis that can support any server with up to eight GPGPU cards. This enables massive parallel calculations that are separate from the server, which greatly enhances system performance and flexibility.

3584 cores.

Siluria Technologies making progress to catalyze the conversion of natural gas into ethylene

Siluria Technologies is working on an energy efficient and cleaner process to convert natural gas into ethylene Siluria has not yet demonstrated its method beyond the laboratory, but the company hopes to open a pilot plant in 2012 or 2013.

Ethylene is the largest global commodity chemical, with 140 million tons used annually in an industry worth $160 billion per year. Today, ethylene is produced via steam cracking, a mature technology that consumes more energy than any other chemical process, uses valuable oil resources, and is the largest contributor to greenhouse emissions in the chemical industry.

Their goal is to convert methane, the principal component of natural gas, directly into ethylene, the fundamental building block of the chemical industry. Ethylene and its derivatives, such as polyethylene, are in thousands of everyday products, including tires, medical devices, cosmetics, food packaging, anti-freeze, paints, appliances, and liquid crystal displays

They have genetically engineered a virus to convert methane to ethylene more efficiently and at a significantly lower temperature than previously possible.

Saudi Aramco discusses oil technology to access trillions of barrels of oil and Brazil plans underwater cities to access deep water oil

1. Although the current global oil reserves in place are estimated at 14 trillion barrels, only about 1.2 trillion can be recovered, said Khaled Al Buraik, executive director of the government-controlled Saudi Aramco. However, in the near future new oil technology will enable 2 trillion barrels to be accessed.

"Advanced technology in hydrocarbon production could add around two trillion barrels to the existing proven crude reserves in the near future," he said in his address, published by Saudi newspapers on Monday. 10.8 trillion barrels of oil would still await better technology to make them recoverable.

2. Traditional oil rigs will be replaced with “underwater cities” within a decade under ambitious plans being drawn up by Petrobras, Brazil’s state-owned energy group.

Airbus forecasts that 25,000 new planes will be needed by 2029

Around 25,000 new passenger planes will be needed over the next 20 years, aircraft company Airbus has forecast.

These planes will have a value of around £1,880 billion, with 10,000 of the new planes replacing older and "less-green" aircraft.

The other 15,000 will be to accommodate passenger growth, said Airbus whose planes' wings are built in the UK.

Japan plans to build offshore pilot plant to grow algae for biofuel

Nikkei reports that Tokyo Institute of Technology, Takenaka Corp. and other partners are planning to build an offshore pilot plant to grow algae for use in biofuel production. Takenaka and partners is already experimenting with growing algae in an offshore tank in the sea off Okinawa Prefecture.

Technology Predictions and smartphone and tablet news for 2011

Internet News has gathered some technology predictions for 2011

* 4G networks are going to give developers the ability to create new and better services so, for example, voice recognition on your phone will just happen in like a tenth of a second versus the three seconds it takes using Dragon Dictate on mobile device.

* There are going to be a lot more tablet devices released and Apple will probably double iPad sales in 2011. Google's partners will finally ship pads that actually work well

* PC performance improves every year, but this is one of those significant times when there's a huge increment in performance (from GPGPU and integrated graphic processing) and that usually leads to great innovation by the software guys. There will be new new media-centric applications, much better performance for things like video editing and new interfaces

* Multi-core smartphones will hit the market and enable interesting multitasking

December 28, 2010

Single-Walled Carbon Nanotube Thermopile For Broadband Light Detection

Nanoletters - Single-Walled Carbon Nanotube Thermopile For Broadband Light Detection

We designed a thermopile based on a PN doping profile engineered in a suspended film of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs). Using estimates of the film local Seebeck coefficients, the SWNT thermopile was optimized in situ through depositions of potassium dopants. The overall performances of the thermopile were found to be comparable to state-of-the-art SWNT bolometers. The device is characterized at room temperature by a time response of 36 ms, typical of thermal detectors, and an optimum spectral detectivity of 2 × 10^6 cm Hz1/2/W in the visible and near-infrared. This paper presents the first thermopile made of a suspended SWNT film and paves the way to new applications such as broadband light (including THz) detection and thermoelectric power generation.

The Largest Emerging Economies in 2015 according to the IMF

The IMF projections for the countries with the largest nominal GDP in 2015 are:

Rank Country         2010   2011   2012   2015 Annual % Status  
   * World         61,963 65,417 69,125 81,963     5.8%
   1 United States 14,624 15,157 15,824 18,029     4.3%
   2 China          5,745  6,422  7,170  9,982    11.7% Emerging
   3 Japan          5,391  5,683  5,878  6,517     3.9%
   4 Germany        3,306  3,358  3,454  3,729     2.4%
   5 France         2,555  2,591  2,665  2,945     2.9%
   6 UK             2,259  2,395  2,498  2,885     5.0%
   7 Brazil         2,024  2,193  2,327  2,789     6.6% Emerging
   8 Russia         1,477  1,678  1,867  2,499    11.1% Emerging
   9 India          1,430  1,598  1,762  2,412    11.0% Emerging
  10 Italy          2,036  2,055  2,110  2,289     2.4%
  11 Canada         1,564  1,633  1,701  1,880     3.7%
  12 Spain          1,375  1,366  1,399  1,540     2.3%
  13 Australia      1,220  1,298  1,338  1,480     3.9%
  14 South Korea      986  1,056  1,125  1,371     6.8% Emerging
  15 Mexico         1,004  1,041  1,114  1,349     6.1% Emerging
  16 Indonesia        695    777    850  1,111     9.8% Emerging
  17 Turkey           729    790    846  1,033     7.2% Emerging

Emerging Countries after Brazil, India and China

There are suggestions for emerging countries after the BRICs. (Brazil, Russia, India and China). There have been several attempts to identify the next emerging countries. They have been CIVETS, VISTA, NEXT-11 and attempts to expand or alter countries in the BRIC group.

The CIVETS (Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa) is an acronym for favored emerging markets coined in late 2009 by Robert Ward, Global Forecasting Director for the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). The term has also been used by HSBC's chief executive Michael Geoghegan. These countries are favored for several reasons, such as a dynamic and diverse economy and a young growing population.

VISTA is an acronym for Vietnam, Indonesia, South Africa, Turkey, Argentina. It is used in economics in discussing emerging markets. The concept was first proposed in 2006 by BRICs Economic Research Institute of Japan.

The Next Eleven (or N-11) are eleven countries—Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, Turkey, and Vietnam—identified by Goldman Sachs investment bank as having a high potential of becoming the world's largest economies in the 21st century along with the BRICs.

Indonesia, Vietnam, Turkey and usually South Africa are included in each of the next emerging country lists.

The Economist published its annual series called The World in 2011. the Economist was bullish on Indonesia. It predicted that, with 245 million people in 2011, Indonesia’s GDP will reach around US$806 billion, resulting in a GDP per capita of $3,280. By this figure, Indonesia’s GDP is predicted to exceed those of Turkey and the Netherlands, making Indonesia the 16th largest economic power in the world. Indonesia is forecast to have 6% per year GDP growth in 2011 and 2012.

December 27, 2010

EIA has an early release of the 2011 Annual Energy Outlook

The EIA (energy Information Administration) has an early release of an abridged version of the Annual Energy Outlook. It highlights changes in the AEO Reference case projections for key energy topics. The Early Release includes data tables for the Reference case only. The full AEO2011 will be released March 2011.

The energy intensity of the U.S. economy, measured as primary energy use (in Btu) per dollar of GDP (in 2005 dollars), declines by 40 percent from 2009 to 2035 in the AEO2011 Reference case as the result of a continued shift from energy-intensive manufacturing to services, rising energy prices, and the adoption of policies that promote energy efficiency

Iraq's Oil Production Reaches Highest in 20 Years to 2.6 Million Barrels

Iraq’s oil production exceeded 2.6 million barrels a day for the first time in 20 years, newly appointed Oil Minister Abdul Kareem al-Luaibi said at a press conference in Baghdad.

The rising output will boost Iraq’s oil exports by 5 percent to 2 million barrels a day next month, Falah al-Amri, head of the country’s State Oil Marketing Organization, said today in an interview in Baghdad.

December 26, 2010

Rumor and possible spoilers for the Avengers movie in 2012

The Avengers movie comes out in Mat 2012 and the information below could be a spoiler for that movie.

Possible spoiler warning

Skylon Hypersonic spaceplane should see major funding decision in mid-2011

Skylon is a spaceplane that is under development by reaction engines in the UK

Skylon is a design by Reaction Engines Limited for an unpiloted, airbreathing single-stage to orbit, combined cycle jet engine based spaceplane. A fleet of vehicles is envisaged; the design is aiming for reusability up to 200 times. In paper studies, costs per kilogram of payload are hoped to be below the current costs of launch, including the costs of R&D, with costs expected to fall much more over time after the initial expenditures have amortised. The cost of the program has been estimated by the developer to be about $12 billion.

The vehicle design is for a hydrogen-powered aircraft that would take off from a conventional runway, and accelerate to Mach 5.4 at 26 km using atmospheric air before switching the engines to use the internal LOX supply to take it to orbit. It would then release a 12-tonne payload, then reenter the atmosphere. The payload would be carried in a standardised payload container or passenger compartment

The UK Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills was aksed what the recent assessment he has made of the potential viability of the Skylon Spaceplane; what assessment he has made of his merits of Government support for that project; and if he will make a statement.

Claim of Superconductivity Above 0 Celsius

Superconductors.ORG (Joe Eck) claims the first observation of superconductivity above zero degrees Celsius. In repeated tests a small amount of the compound (Tl4Pb)Ba2MgCu8O13+ produced diamagnetic transitions over 277 Kelvin (see examples at page top) and resistive transitions over 276K (3C, 37F). This is the first time superconductivity has been seen above the freezing point of water. As such, once a refinement method is developed, this material could be successfully deployed in climates with year-round permafrost without any need for artificial cooling.

Sharif University (Iran) published some confirmation of Joe Ecks work with Ultra-YCBO in several peer reviewed physics journals (Physica C, European Physical Journal B)

DNA Tunneling Detector Embedded in a Nanopore

Nanoletters- DNA Tunneling Detector Embedded in a Nanopore

We report on the fabrication and characterization of a DNA nanopore detector with integrated tunneling electrodes. Functional tunneling devices were identified by tunneling spectroscopy in different solvents and then used in proof-of-principle experiments demonstrating, for the first time, concurrent tunneling detection and ionic current detection of DNA molecules in a nanopore platform. This is an important step toward ultrafast DNA sequencing by tunneling.

Scientists from Imperial College London are developing technology that could ultimately sequence a person’s genome in mere minutes, at a fraction of the cost of current commercial techniques.