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February 12, 2011

Saudi Arabia and OPEC should lower oil prices to reduce political unrest in the middle east

Saudi Arabia and other OPEC nations should lower oil prices to reduce political unrest. The reason is that high oil prices are increasing the price for food and inflation and high costs of basic items is one of the driving forces behind the political unrest that threatens Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia and the OPEC nations are facing more unrest partially because of inflation and high food prices. If OPEC increased oil production then oil prices would go down and fertilizer ad other input on food prices.

Wall Street Journal - For Saudi Arabia, the departure of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak represents a diplomatic setback that could complicate its foreign policy across the Middle East, with repercussions stretching from Iraq to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Nanoparticles May Enhance Circulating Tumor Cell Detection

Gold-based nanoparticles can detect circulating tumor cells.

Emory University - Tiny gold particles can help doctors detect tumor cells circulating in the blood of patients with head and neck cancer, researchers at Emory and Georgia Tech have found.

The detection of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) is an emerging technique that can allow oncologists to monitor patients with cancer for metastasis or to evaluate the progress of their treatment. The gold particles, which are embedded with dyes allowing their detection by laser spectroscopy, could enhance this technique’s specificity by reducing the number of false positives.

The results are published online in the journal Cancer Research.

Light through a blocked hole via Plasmonics

A team led by Hiromi Okamoto at the Institute for Molecular Science in Okazaki, Japan, have found another way to coax photons through tiny holes – paradoxically, by obscuring the hole with a gold disc.

Nanoletters - Anomalous Light Transmission from Plasmonic-Capped Nanoapertures
We report an anomalous light transmission phenomenon for a nanoaperture on an opaque screen when the aperture is covered with an opaque cap. In conventional optics, light transmission must decrease when the aperture is capped. However, we found that light transmission is enhanced when the nanodisk is in close proximity to the aperture at a wavelength close to the plasmon resonance. This effect even occurs when the disk is larger than the aperture.

Carnival of Space 184

The Carnival of Space 184 is up at Colony Worlds

Weird warp looks at the Kepler exoplanets

February 11, 2011

China Research and Development by Acquisitions

China has been discussing and investing in innovation goals and likely investing $1.5 trillion in seven strategic industries. I will compare the large investment in seven strategic industries to the corporate strategy of companies like Cisco versus companies that perform early stage research.

The value-added output of the seven strategic industries together account for about 2 per cent of GDP now. The government has said it wants them to generate 8 per cent of GDP in 2015 and 15 per cent by 2020.

China is adopting a national strategy of mostly waiting for a technology area to start moving the needle in terms of impact on the overall economy and for a particular winning technological approach to develop and then to make huge investments to boost those industries into large sectors.

First Atomtronic sensor from a bose-einstein condensate shaped as a doughnut

This doughnut of ultracold gas spins without friction, creating a current of atoms that could be used to develop the first “atomtronic” sensors.

Physicists have developed a new type of circuit that is little more than a puff of gas dancing in laser beams. By choreographing the atoms of this ultracold gas to flow as a current that can be controlled and switched on and off, the scientists have taken a step toward building the world’s first “atomtronic” device.

In an upcoming paper in Physical Review Letters, the team reports creating this gas by cooling sodium atoms suspended in magnetic fields. The researchers then trapped the atoms in a pair of crossed laser beams and further chilled the atoms to less than 10 billionths of a degree above absolute zero. The two beams also shaped the condensate that formed at these low temperatures into a flattened doughnut with a radius of about 20 micrometers.

This site has covered atomtronics before

Vacuum has friction from an effect similar to the casimir effect

The stopping time ranges from cosmic-scale values at low temperatures to much smaller times at higher temperatures.

Physical Review A - Thermal and vacuum friction acting on rotating particles

The contribution to vacuum and thermal friction coming from magnetic polarization has been shown to be important for highly conductive materials (e.g., gold), and it can actually dominate over its electric counterpart. In contrast, it is almost
negligible in less conductive materials such as graphite.

In the Casimir effect, vacuum fluctuations of the electromagnetic field exert a force on closely spaced metal plates, a phenomenon that is well understood theoretically and detectable experimentally. Can a related effect occur for rotating systems, in which vacuum fluctuations alter the spin rate of a particle, resulting in rotational drag? Writing in Physical Review A, Alejandro Manjavacas and Javier García de Abajo of the Instituto de Óptica, Madrid, Spain, show theoretically that this should be an experimentally observable effect.

The phenomenon of vacuum friction for spinning objects is somewhat different than for the static parallel plates: the accelerating charges in a spinning conductive object interact with the vacuum fluctuations and can emit photons. Earlier work by Manjavacas and García de Abajo tackled the problem with a semiclassical model that employed the fluctuation-dissipation theorem to calculate the overall energy transfer between the spinning particle and the vacuum field. In their new calculations, they take a fully quantum mechanical approach, which not only confirms the semiclassical results but extends the results to molecular systems and magnetic interactions. In addition to their intrinsic interest, the findings may be relevant to understanding the dynamical behavior of cosmic nanoparticles such as interstellar dust and the optical spectra of rotating molecules

UPDATE: A discussion at ycombinator on this article

Economist magazine looks at 3D Printing

Three-dimensional printing makes it as cheap to create single items as it is to produce thousands and thus undermines economies of scale. It may have as profound an impact on the world as the coming of the factory did.

At the moment the process is possible only with certain materials (plastics, resins and metals) and with a precision of around a tenth of a millimetre. As with computing in the late 1970s, it is currently the preserve of hobbyists and workers in a few academic and industrial niches. But like computing before it, 3D printing is spreading fast as the technology improves and costs fall. A basic 3D printer, also known as a fabricator or “fabber”, now costs less than a laser printer did in 1985.

World nuclear generation in 2010 probably about 2640 to 2650 TWH

Previously we had looked at nuclear power generation in Russia, Ukraine and India up to about October, 2010

Russian nuclear power in 2010 produced 169.97 billion kWh, which is 4.2% more than the amount of electricity generated in 2009. Russia generated 152.8 billion kWh in 2009. The 2010 number is 17.2 billion kWh more than 2009.

Ukraine's nuclear power plants generated 89.151 billion kWh in 2010 which is 7.5% more than in 2009 when 77.9 billion kWh was generated. Ukraine had a 11.2 billion kWh increase over 2009.

Addressing some points of concern about my proposed ultralight electric vehicle plan

The US Department of Energy and the Obama administration of released a plan to get 1 million electric vehicles by 2015

I have proposed for lightweight (electric bikes and trike pod cars). It will be a cheaper and faster rollout. Cheaper since there would be less subsidy per vehicle. Also, besides subsidy carrots there would be some road toll (sticks) that would provide revenue to local or federal governments.

My proposed scheme can be introduced city by city and does not require a national program.

The plan would be to give away or heavily subsidize folding electric bikes, scooters, and lightweight pod cars that ideally cost less than $1000. This will be more affordable than $6000 subsidies for part of a hybrid. Lightweight (less than 150 pound) electric vehicles will use 20 to one hundred times less metal and batteries than an electric car. Mass deployment would not need to wait for new batteries to be developed and scaled up to supply tens of millions of cars.

People have raised issues about weather, government giveaways and government control and personal freedom.

Global data storage calculated at 295 exabytes in 2007

A study, published in the journal Science, calculates the amount of data stored in the world by 2007 as 295 exabytes.

exabyte    is  10 ^ 18 bytes or one million terabytes
petabyte   is  10 ^ 15 bytes or one thousand terabytes
terabyte   is  10 ^ 12 bytes or one thousand gigabytes or one thousand slightly compressed full length DVD quality video movies

Mubarak steps down and hands power to the military and Suleiman

# Hosni Mubarak has stood down as Egypt's president after 18 days of mass demonstrations.

* The announcement was made by Vice-President Omar Suleiman shortly after it was reported that Mr Mubarak had flown to Sharm el-Sheikh.

* Mr Suleiman said that power was being handed to Egypt's Higher Military Council.

The question now turned to how the military, Egypt's most powerful institution, will handle the transition in power. Earlier in the day, the Armed Forces Supreme Council — a body of top generals — vowed to guide the country to greater democracy.

"In these grave circumstances that the country is passing through, President Hosni Mubarak has decided to leave his position as president of the republic," a grim-looking Suleiman said. "He has mandated the Armed Forces Supreme Council to run the state. God is our protector and succor."

High-Temperature Superconducting with one tenth the diameter of current superconducting cables demonstrated at NIST

Cross-section of a high-temperature superconducting cable design invented at NIST. In the center are copper wires bundled with nylon and plastic insulation. The outer rings are a series of superconducting tapes wrapped in spirals around the copper. The cable is 7.5 millimeters in outer diameter.


A researcher at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has invented a method of making high-temperature superconducting (HTS) cables that are thinner and more flexible than demonstration HTS cables now installed in the electric power grid while carrying the same or more current. The compact cables could be used in the electric grid as well as scientific and medical equipment and may enable HTS power transmission for military applications.

Described in a paper just published online,* the new method involves winding multiple HTS-coated conductors** around a multi-strand copper “former” or core. The superconducting layers are wound in spirals in alternating directions. One prototype cable is 6.5 millimeters (mm) in outer diameter and carries a current of 1,200 amperes; a second cable is 7.5 mm in diameter and carries a current as high as 2,800 amperes. They are roughly one-tenth the diameter of typical HTS cables used in the power grid. (Standard electrical transmission lines normally operate at currents below 1,000 amperes.)

February 10, 2011

Updated list of expected new nuclear reactors worldwide

IAEA Power Reactor Information System lists dates for expected new reactors

Kudankulam-1    PWR India        1000 MWe Gross 2011/02/28
BUSHEHR 1       PWR Iran         1000 MWE Gross 2011/05/15
Shin-Wolsong-1  PWR South Korea  1000 MWe Gross 2011/05/28
Chasnupp 2      PWR Pakistan      325 MWe Gross 2011/05/31
Shin-Kori-2     PWR South Korea  1000 MWe Gross 2011/08/01
Kusankulam-2    PWR India        1000 MWe Gross 2011/08/31
Shimane 3       BWR Japan        1373 MWe Gross 2012/03/15

Qinshan 2-4     PWR China         650 MWe Gross 2012/03/28
Shin-Wolsong-2  PWR South Korea  1000 MWe Gross 2012/05/28
Atucha 2        PHWR Argentina    745 MWe Gross 2012/07/06
Watts Bar-2     PWR USA Tennessee 1218 MWe Gross 2012/08/01

Lexus uses a carbon fiber loom to use 50% less material with increased strength

In order to build the Lexus LFA with the precision our engineers demanded, first we had to innovate a more precise way to weave carbon fiber. The result—a 3D carbon fiber loom, capable of weaving carbon fiber to our exacting specifications.

3D weaving technology reduces the volume of materials used by 50 per cent and increases their strength. The automated process should also make it easier to produce a large volume of parts in the future. They hope to use this machine, and other carbon fibre manufacturing technologies, to create more efficient cars.

Free your mind - Creativity Cap for enhancing creativity from Australia

Matrix movie quote - Morpheus: I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it.

Professor Allan Snyder and Richard Chi from Sydney University's Centre of the Mind said subjects wearing the cap were able to acquire new modes of thinking and were three times as likely to solve complex problems. Brain trauma victims sometimes experience a suppression of the left temporal lobe – which, in layman's terms – frees up the right side of the brain to be more creative. Using 10-15 minutes of electrical pulses the creativity cap temporarily and safely reduces left temporal lobe activity to free the right side of the brain to be more creative for about one hour.

February 09, 2011

Picking Disruptive Technologies

China was thinking about investing $1.5 trillion into technologies that they think each one can become greater than trillion dollar contributors to their economy.

They picked
1. Alternative fuel cars
2. Biotechnology
3. Energy-Saving and Environmentally friendly Technologies
4. Alternative Energy
5. High End Manufacturing
6. Advanced materials
7. New Generation Information Technology

I would pick (for 5% or $75 billion of the money on higher return and higher risk efforts) I allocate $50 billion and hold $25 billion in reserve to fund based on what needs more or if something new comes up.

1. Extreme Life extension - rejuvenation, regenerative medicine
($10 billion)
2. Molecular nanotechnology - nanofactories - also provides nanomedicine
($5 billion)
3. Nuclear fusion (focus fusion, IEC fusion, magnetized target fusion, LENR) - major energy breakthrough and deep burn factory mass produced as a fallback
($20 billion)
4. Mach propulsion (could get the wormholes if it fully worked out)
($2 billion)
5. Superconductors - room temperature and cheap
($10 billion)
6. Lorentz force and casimir force mastery (two separate things)
($1 billion)

The Lorentz force work of Peck and others.

the Lorentz force can be used for propellantless propulsion

Launching using the lorentz force from Jupiter (which has a stronger magnetic field) can allow small objects to get to substantial fractions of light speed The small objects can be fuel pellets for larger spaceships which would fuse on impact (high enough speed and the energy of impact would cause fusion).

Passive microscale solar sails can use the Lorentz force

Peck has designed and built some spacecraft on a chip

Casimir force control is even more exotic physics.


A repulsive quantum force, opposite of casimir force, has been verified and measured.

There are efforts to use the casimr force to extract power from the vacuum

Areas of emphasis are:

1. Casimir force modulation; [now demonstrated by the University of Florida]
2. Repulsive Casimir force; [Prof Ulf Leonhardt and Dr Thomas Philbin 2007 report on theory and now this experimental work]
3. Lateral Casimir force;
4. Casimir force amplification
5. Energy issues in relation to the quantum vacuum.

DARPA has funded some projects to use the casimr force.

Joseph Zawodny, NASA Langley Research Center - Energetics, had a presentation at NASA Aviation Unleashed which considered the potential of being able to use the Casimir force to tap in to Zero point energy

7. Quantum computers - could enable superior solutions times to NP Hard problems
($2 billion)

Investigating the Performance of an Adiabatic Quantum Optimization Processor

Arxiv - Investigating the Performance of an Adiabatic Quantum Optimization Processor They are ten thousand to one million times better than classical systems for some problems.

Adiabatic quantum optimization offers a new method for solving hard optimization problems. In this paper we calculate median adiabatic times (in seconds) determined by the minimum gap during the adiabatic quantum optimization for an NP-hard Ising spin glass instance class with up to 128 binary variables. Using parameters obtained from a realistic superconducting adiabatic quantum processor, we extract the minimum gap and matrix elements using high performance Quantum Monte Carlo simulations on a large-scale Internet-based computing platform. We compare the median adiabatic times with the median running times of two classical solvers and find that, for the considered problem sizes, the adiabatic times for the simulated processor architecture are about 4 and 6 orders of magnitude shorter than the two classical solvers' times. This shows that if the adiabatic time scale were to determine the computation time, adiabatic quantum optimization would be significantly superior to those classical solvers for median spin glass problems of at least up to 128 qubits. We also discuss important additional constraints that affect the performance of a realistic system.

Latest Theoretical work by Dwave Systems shows progress to solutions of NP-Hard problems and causes one critic of their quantum computer work to partially recant

A Dwave systems, adiabatic quantum computer, critic (Chris Lee at Ars Technica) has retracted statement that Dwave was borderline fraudulent.

Geordie and friends, I am sorry. I don't know if you have a working device, but the theoretical work produced by D-Wave is sharp and a great indication that you are honestly pursuing your stated goals.

Physical Review Letters - Does Adiabatic Quantum Optimization Fail for NP-Complete Problems ?

It has been recently argued that adiabatic quantum optimization would fail in solving NP-complete problems because of the occurrence of exponentially small gaps due to crossing of local minima of the final Hamiltonian with its global minimum near the end of the adiabatic evolution. Using perturbation expansion, we analytically show that for the NP-hard problem known as maximum independent set, there always exist adiabatic paths along which no such crossings occur. Therefore, in order to prove that adiabatic quantum optimization fails for any NP-complete problem, one must prove that it is impossible to find any such path in polynomial time.

2011 Space Conference highlights transition from Government to Civilian spaceflight

The first day of the 14 Annual FAA Commercial Space Transportation Conference featured increasingly confident corporations describing their burgeoning space capabilities. Now that NASA is formally relinquishing the role of directly placing humans into orbit, the agency is focusing on general manned and unmanned space research and funding a variety of US established and startup corporations. Although these corporations have not yet shown the capacity to launch humans into orbit, conference presenters seemed to agree that the industry was nearing a "tipping point" whereby they would demonstrate the ability to put substantial manned and unmanned vehicles into orbit. During the conference sessions presenters from Boeing, SpaceEx, Virgin Galactic, Armadilo Aerospace, and Bigelow Aerospace, presented both established and innovative concepts for sending payloads into orbit. Among the most interesting concepts was Boeing's presentation of the CST 100 reusable space capsule. This capsule features inflatable, composite heatshields and can carry 7 astronauts. The Firestar corporation described the NOFBX monopropellant that is environmentally benign, safe to handle, reliable, and has a specific impulse of 320 seconds, and which has the potential to replace solid propellants. Robert Bigelow, the founder and President of Bigelow Aerospace gave a keynote entitled "Moon/Mars: China's Prospects for Ownership" in which he argued that China could ignore the 1967 Space Treaty and effectively own the moon and mars by establishing outposts on them. By developing a substantial presence on these celestial bodies, Bigelow claimed, China could effectively control them and all of their resources.



Hobby space has coverage of the conference as well

Neil of Armadillo Aerospace mentioned:
- they are working on three launch license applications simultaneously
- They will use SuperMod (the Lunar Landing Challenge legacy vehicle) for the 4 currently contracted CRuSR flights and then probably retire it.
- Sold Pixel to NASA
- Developing Super-Quad, LOX-Methane, 48" tanks for NASA. (Project M has become Project Morpheus). Probably won't pursue this route further.
- Tube Vehicle - named STIG (I didn't catch the acronym definition)
-- built all with Armadillo technology
-- very capable vehicle -> high altitude, fully recoverable, etc., meets CRuSR requirements.
-- Showed OTRAG-like clusters of Tube Vehicles.
-- A cluster could reach 500 km.
-- 3 stages of clusters could reach orbit
- SOST (sub-orbital space transport)

Bakken-like oilfields in Texas, California and other states could raise US oil production by 20-40%

By 2015, oil executives and analysts say, the new fields in North Dakota, Colorado, Texas and California could yield as much as 2 million barrels of oil a day — more than the entire Gulf of Mexico produces now. New horizontal multifrac drilling is expected to raise U.S. production by at least 20 percent over the next five years. And within 10 years, it could help reduce oil imports by more than half, advancing a goal that has long eluded policymakers.

* Bakken oilfield in North Dakota and Montana producing 458,000 barrels per day
* Eagle Ford oilfield in South Texas
* Niobrara, which stretches under Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas
* the Leonard, in New Mexico and Texas
* the Monterey, in California.

China's innovation goals for 2020

The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) has announced Innovation 2020 goals

Special emphasis is on four key areas, namely space science, information technology, energy and health.

Innovation 2020 will initiate pilot projects in 7 key areas in 2011: nuclear fusion and nuclear-waste management; stem cells and regenerative medicine; calculating the flux of carbon between land, oceans and atmosphere; materials science; information technology; public health and the environment.

Sun Tzu as a habit of the mind

Sun Tzu's Art of War is discussed at Stratblog, which makes the point that it is not teaching a body of doctrine but a habit of mind: a habit of attentive clarity out of which can come true judgment and decisive action.

A free online copy of the Art of War

President Obama and the DOE spending billions to get 1 million electric cars by 2015 versus my plan which could have 100 million electric vehicles by 2015

The US Department of Energy and the Obama administration of released a plan to get 1 million electric vehicles by 2015

Tax incentives and other measures have been proven effective in providing the additional boost needed for mainstream consumers to choose EVs. The Recovery Act established tax credits for purchasing electric vehicles ($2,500 - $7,500 per vehicle, depending on the battery capacity) and conversion kits to retrofit conventionally powered vehicles with electric vehicle capability ($4,000 per vehicle, maximum). The President has also proposed transforming the existing $7,500 EV tax credit into a more accessible and even more attractive rebate at the dealership. In addition, nearly 40 U.S. states and the District of Columbia have adopted other measures promoting electric-drive vehicle usage, including high occupancy vehicle (HOV) privileges and waived emissions inspections, as well as tax credits/rebates and preferred purchase programs.

Researchers at Harvard and MITRE produce world’s first programmable nanoprocessor with potential for 2 Terahertz switching

False-colour scanning electron microscopy image of a programmable nanowire nanoprocessor super-imposed on a schematic nanoprocessor circuit architecture. Photo courtesy of Charles M. Lieber.

Engineers and scientists collaborating at Harvard University and the MITRE Corporation have developed and demonstrated the world’s first programmable nanoprocessor. Nanowire tiles can perform arithmetic and logical functions and are fully scalable. In a significant step forward in complexity and capability for bottom-up assembly of nanoelectronic circuits, Yan et al. demonstrate scalable and programmable logic tiles based on semiconductor nanowire transistor arrays. The same logic tile, consisting of 496 configurable transistor nodes in an area of about 960 square micrometres, can be programmed and operated as a full-adder or full-subtractor circuit, and used for various other functions including multiplexers. It should be possible in future to cascade these logic tiles to realize fully integrated nanoprocessors with computing, memory and addressing capabilities.

Journal Nature - Programmable nanowire circuits for nanoprocessors


The United States will have three ten petaflop or faster supercomputers in 2012

The US Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory announced on Tuesday that it has inked a deal with IBM to build ten petaflop Mira BlueGene /Q supercomputer in 2012

The Mira machine will essentially be half of the Sequoia BlueGene / Q super that is going into Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory – another DOE lab that took the very first BlueGene/L super – next year. Sequoia will weigh in at 20.13 petaflops of aggregate, raw number-crunching power. Mira will have over 750,000 cores and more than 750TB of main memory to reach its 10-petaflops performance.

Bluegene / Q will have -
* 16-core Power A2 processors that are geared down and with special features for fast thread context switching

* The BlueGene / Q machine will put one of these Power A2 chips on a server node, with 8GB or 16GB of main memory per node (512MB to 1GB per core) running at 1.33GHz.

A Copyright trolling company is suing websites and commenters over pictures

There is a copyright trolling company that is suing websites for the maximum amount allowed under US copyright law of $150,000 per infringement and giving up their domain. They wait until a picture goes viral, then buy the rights to the picture from a newspaper and then send out lawsuits using a google search to guide them. They also sue the commenter who may have posted the image.

February 08, 2011

Broad Sustainable Building techniques and the 666 meter tall Sky City

A Chinese company developed new factory prebuilt construction that can make a 15 story building in 6 days plans to build the second tallest building in the world over 6 months. 93% of the construction work is done in the factory vs at most 40% in western countries.

The Changsha Broad Air Conditioning Company has unveiled designs for the 200-storey Sky City tower, a sustainable mixed use project. At 666 meters tall, the building will house 1.2 million square meters of space for residential apartments, retail, offices, restaurants, schools and a myriad of other facilities. The building will be manufactured in a factory and assembled on the construction site. Additionally, the tower will have the capacity for 70,000 to 110,000 residents.

They are trimming their costs to 7,000 yuan to 8,000 yuan per square meter. The company then adds its profit margin and sells its properties for around 10,000 yuan per sq m - or about half the price of properties in Shanghai outside the city center. This would convert to a 660 square foot unit costing about US$100,000. The whole building is 1.2 million square meters so this project will cost about US$1.25 to 1.46 billion and will sell for $1.83 billion. Numbeo has Shanghai cost of living and Shanghai apartment prices are currently three to six times as high to buy as these apartments would be


Lawrenceville Plasma Physics reviews the 2010 dense plasma fusion work and looks ahead in 2011

Lawrenceville Plasma Physics looks back over the entire past year’s work: how the project is progressing towards its goals, what their challenges and questions are, what they have learned, and what they still don’t know. The report is divided into five sections to cover scientific results and comparison with theory, the FF-1 device itself, instruments, simulation, and personnel—the people who make everything else happen.

Scientific Results and Theory

We started the experiment in 2009 with five scientific goals and three goals for the device itself. We will deal with the device in the next section, but in the past year, we have partially achieved two of the five scientific goals. With these goals, we aimed to confirm and duplicate the high ion energies and high densities first achieved in our Texas A&M experiments, while at the same time greatly increasing the efficiency of energy transfer into the plasmoid.

Growth of Titanium Dioxide Nanorods in 3D-Confined Spaces

Nanoletters - Growth of Titanium Dioxide Nanorods in 3D-Confined Spaces

Three-dimensional (3D) nanowire (NW) networks are promising architectures for effectively translating the extraordinary properties of one-dimensional objects into a 3D space. However, to uniformly grow NWs in a 3D confined space is a serious challenge due to the coupling between crystal growth and precursor concentration that is often dictated by the mass flow characteristic of vapor or liquid phase reactants within the high-aspect ratio submicrometer channels in current strategies. We report a pulsed chemical vapor deposition (CVD) process that successfully addressed this issue and grew TiO2 nanorods uniformly covering the entire inner surface of highly confined nanochannels. We propose a mechanism for the anisotropic growth of anatase TiO2 based on the surface-reaction-limited CVD process. This strategy would lead to the realization of NW-based 3D nanoarchitectures from various functional materials for the applications of sensors, solar cells, catalysts, energy storage systems, and so forth.

Researchers Predict Future of Electronic Devices

The e-Sheet, a virtually indestructible e-device, will be as thin and as rollable as a rubber mat.

University of Cincinnati and Industry Researchers Predict Future of Electronic Devices, See Top Ten List of Expected Breakthroughs

Society for Information Display - A Critical Review of the Present and Future Prospects for Electronic Paper.

* full-color, high-speed, low-power e-readers;
* iPads that can be viewed in bright sunlight, or
* e-readers and iPads so flexible that they can be rolled up and put in a pocket.

Alcatel Lightradio cube shaped antenna is ten times smaller than current antennas and will improve mobile coverage

The market for a lightRadio type of miniaturized base station technology is projected to explode to $16 billion in the next five years, because some of the largest carriers in the world like China Mobile, Orange and Verizon Wireless have shown interest, and are testing the technology this year. Verizon will definitely need the savings after splurging on its gigantic LTE network bet. Verizon will start field tests shortly.

Alcatel-Lucent demonstrated the "LightRadio" 3G/LTE base station - which is 2" cube. The transceiver covers 400 Mhz to 4 GHz, and offers 100% increased bitrate to cell phones. LightRadio is a full cell-service transceiver, and is a peer to existing cellular service transmission technologies.


The small, cube-shaped device is designed to complement or replace the existing large high power masts that currently supply mobile signal. The small size, power efficiency and self-contained operation will allow subdivision of cells into much smaller, even building-sized footprints. This will be critical for continuing to increase subscriber bandwidth and responsiveness.

Implantable neurochips to restore brain functions have a 3 year $1 million project



Tiny, implantable computers that would restore brain function lost to disease or injury is the goal of University of Washington research recently funded by a $1 million, three-year grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation. The Keck project is the next step in advancing the technology of miniature devices developed at the UW to record from and stimulate the brain, spinal cord and muscles.

Ares I could live on by joining with Ariane

A new rocket, named Liberty, would be much cheaper than the Ares I, because the unfinished NASA-designed upper stage of the Ares I would be replaced with the first stage of the Ariane 5, which has been launched successfully 41 consecutive times. The lower stage of the Liberty, a longer version of the shuttle booster built by ATK, would be almost unchanged from the Ares I.

February 07, 2011

China's wind, hydro, coal and other energy

t China is the world’s largest thermal (coal) power market, but now it is also the world’s largest solar, wind, nuclear and hydropower market.

* China will increase its thermal (coal ) power output capacity by 80 gigawatts in 2011
* From 2011 to 2015, China will increase its thermal power capacity by 260-270 GW
* China plans to close its nuclear fuel cycle and will build a lot of breeder reactors and offsite reprocessing to do it
* China installed wind capacity at the end of 2010 is 41.8GW (the US had 40.2 GW)
* China wind power at the end of 2011 will be 55GW and increase cumulative installed wind-power capacity to 100GW by 2015 and to 200GW of installed capacity by 2020.

Skylon spaceplane

Five papers related from Reaction Engines Limited (who are making the SKylon spaceplane) are in the January, 2011 Journal of the British Interplanetary Society (JBIS). The papers can only be seen by purchasing downloads or buying the journal (or going to a library that has the JBIS).

The papers are about SKYLON’s systems engineering processes and ideas on how SKYLON could support space stations and missions beyond low-Earth-orbit (LEO).

The papers are:

The Requirement Generation Process for the SKYLON Launch System
Mark Hempsell and Roger Longstaff

An Analysis of the SKYLON Infrastructure
Mark Hempsell

Technical and Operations Design of the SKYLON Upper Stage
Mark Hempsell and Alan Bond

The Interaction between SKYLON and the International Space Station
Mark Hempsell

A Design for an Orbital Assembly Facility for Complex Missions
Simon Feast and Alan Bond

Interesting Trivia - Tiger Mother Amy Chua is the daughter of Leon Chua who invented the memristor

Amy Chua’s paternal grandmother got rich opening factories in the Philippines. Her father, Leon Chua, Professor of Electrical Engineering at UC Berkeley, inventor of Chua’s Circuit and the concept of the memristor (Hewlett-Packard is currently gearing up for mass production of them, four decades after he dreamed them up) has received nine honorary doctorates. Her mother, a chemical engineering major, was valedictorian of her college class in Manila. The author herself holds an endowed chair at the nation’s most intellectually elite law school, Yale.

Beyond Low Earth Orbit


Human Exploration Beyond LEO by the End of the Decade: Designs for Long-Duration “Gateway” Habitats (22 page presentation)

EELV for Use for Demanding Missions - 11 page presentation

How can EELV’s support launch of demanding missions?
–Such as deployment of an Earth-Moon Lagrange point habitat

If a heavy-lift launch vehicle is available this decade, an expandable 30.5 ton habitat and departure-stage propulsion system may be launched to E-M L1,2 in a single launch and will offer 575 cubic meter (roughly half the habitable volume of ISS)

If existing (or near-future) EELVs are the available launch vehicles this decade, a 16 ton, 170 cubic meter design that uses a pair of launches of Delta IV H and LEO rendezvous/fuel transfer to reach E-M L1,2.

Perfect Graphene Nanoribbons

Angewandte Chemie International Edition - Graphene Nanoribbons by Chemists: Nanometer-Sized, Soluble, and Defect-Free

Closing the zipper: A method for the bottom-up organic synthesis of defect-free graphene nanoribbons in solution has been developed. Polyphenylene precursors with a unique kinked backbone enabled full cyclodehydrogenation in a single reaction step by an intramolecular Scholl reaction with FeCl

Klaus Müllen and a team from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz developed the process for synthesizing perfect graphene nanoribbons in solution.

11 pages of supplemental material

Engineered cells could usher in programmable cell therapies

Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) have engineered cells that could solve one of the key challenges associated with the procedure: control of the cells and their microenvironment following transplantation. Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital have engineered human mesenchymal adult stem cells to contain tiny depots that can influence the behavior of the cells and those surrounding them, including their survival, differentiation, or production of a therapeutic proteins. These depots can slowly release a variety of agents to influence the behavior of not only the cells containing the depots, but also those close to them and even much farther away. The team demonstrated this by prompting mesenchymal stem cells to differentiate into the cells that make bone.

“Ten to fifteen years from now, people will visit cell infusion centers to receive routine therapy for multiple diseases and tissue defects,” predicts Karp, who also holds appointments through Harvard Medical School, Harvard Stem Cell Institute, and the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST). For example, a person who has had a heart attack could be infused with cells that could help stimulate regeneration of new heart cells to replace those that have died and prevent eventual heart failure.

They are in the process of translating the work to animals. “If it works in vivo, it could have a significant impact globally on cell therapy."

Towards Mastery of Carbon Nanotube Growth


Carbon nanotubes could enable plastics to be manufactured that are ten times stronger than the strongest materials available today. Mastering carbon nanotube growth would enable high volume and lower cost production of longer and stronger carbon nanotubes so that the vision of using carbon nanotubes for more applications in society can be realized. Currently only about one thousand tons per year of carbon nanotubes are produced.

Here is a 109 page thesis on Carbon Nanotube growth

Larger city have a higher wage gap with the critical mass to support key technologies and industries

A University o Rochester study shows that overall up to one-third of the growth in the wage gap between the rich and the poor is driven by city size independent of workers' skills

The larger the city, the wider the wage gap among its workers. In other words, the country's largest cities, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, are home to the greatest extremes in incomes, while midsized cities experience relatively less wage inequality and rural areas the least. Larger metropolitan areas, more so than their smaller counterparts or rural areas, have experienced rapid growth in wages within all skill levels.

Universal Flu Vaccine human clinical trials reports success

UK Guardian - Oxford University human clinical trials that began in 2008 have reported successful results for a universal flu vaccine. A universal vaccine would save the time and money now needed to create vaccines to fight whatever particular virus has emerged in any year. The UK government spends almost $2 billion/year in preparing for the swine flu outbreak of last winter. There is also the potential to save the 250,000 to 500,000 lost worldwide because of the flu in a typical year. There is also the risk of flu pandemics which can kill millions in one year.

The results showed that the vaccine worked as planned. "Fewer of the people who were vaccinated got flu than the people who weren't vaccinated," said Gilbert. "We did get an indication that the vaccine was protecting people, not only from the numbers of people who got flu but also from looking at their T-cells before we gave them flu. The people we vaccinated had T-cells that were more activated. The people we hadn't vaccinated had T-cells as well but they were in a resting state so they would probably have taken longer to do anything. The volunteers we vaccinated had T-cells that were activated, primed and ready to kill. There were more T-cells in people we vaccinated and they were more activated." Gilbert has now sent her results to a scientific journal.

Hill said the trial proved two important things about the vaccine. "It showed that it was safe; and giving people flu virus in the presence of lots of T-cells induced by the vaccine was absolutely fine.

"The [traditional flu] vaccine efficacy is 70-80% of young people, but only 30-40% in old people," said Hill. "What we'll do is an efficacy trial in the elderly and try to improve that 30-40% to hopefully double that."

Hydro Turbine based Basking Shark is 40% more efficient than Conventional turbines

A new turbine design underwent 200 hours of testing at the University of Michigan's Marine hydrodynamics lab, team calculated that the prototype already improves power output of a single turbine blade by 40%. Studying the bumpy protrusions on the fins of humpback whales has already led to more efficient wind and tidal power turbines and now nature is once again the source of inspiration for a new and more efficient hydroelectric turbine. The latest source of biomimicry is the basking shark, which industrial design student Anthony Reale has borrowed from to create "strait power," a water-powered turbine generator that tests have shown is 40 percent more efficient than current designs.

Guest post by Friedlander - Eighteen Ideas For Liberty—18 Proposed Constitutional Amendments for more rapid economic development

Preamble from Brian Wang- this is a long article and it is on the topic of politics and policy. It does not relate to science and technology, so please skip this article if you do not want to read things that are not science and technology or if a libertarian take on politics and policy and things like constitutional amendments would be annoying to you. This does not represent my politics per se but I am willing to let my guest Joseph have this forum to explore a set of ideas. Joseph has contributed other articles on technology and has helped to refine the concept of the nuclear cannon for space launch.

Again a warning- if reading anything with a libertarian bias makes you angry then do not bother going any further.

Answer to the question - why is his here ? Joseph has written other technical articles for this site and we have worked together on my nuclear space cannon. Thus I am giving him leeway in his writing some other articles. ie he paid his dues.

Guest post by Joseph Friedlander
Note-- I (from this point on Joseph's writing) am not 100% about the wording of these suggested amendments--any real amendment would --but I am serious that they serve as a springboard for discussion of the issues concerned. Right now open wounds are neglected in our country. It’s time to heal them.

1. Plain English amendment--- for any such court case in which a citizen postulates that a law under which he is challenged is too complex for an ordinary citizen to understand, a statistically valid jury shall be seated with intelligence in the lower half of the population (33rd percentile—since 50% would set the bar too high for those functional citizens below average). This jury shall be given statement by statement with multiple meanings suggested by the defense. Unless there is unanimity of consensus by ALL answers of the jury that the law is plain (they all give the same answers on their tests) the law as drafted shall be suspended and returned to the legislature for rejection or redrafting. Any attempt by prosecutors to give an answer key shall result in legal disbarment for life.

Why do some countries economies grow faster ?

MIT is reporting growing acceptance of economic growth theories of César Hidalgo and Ricardo Hausman.

The standard theoretical framework for development economics was established more than 50 years ago by the MIT economist Robert Solow, who developed a mathematical model that predicts countries’ economic growth on the basis of labor and capital (the tools of production); subsequent work expanded the model to include factors such as land and human capital (expert knowledge). The model proved highly influential, ultimately earning Solow the 1987 Nobel Prize in economics.

Hidalgo argues, by lumping together a huge variety of resources under the general heading “capital,” it can obscure distinctions that are crucial to an accurate understanding of countries’ economies. In a series of papers cowritten with Ricardo Hausmann, director of the Center for International Development at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Hidalgo has argued that, indeed, the best predictor of a country’s future economic health is not the magnitude but the diversity of its production capacity.

February 06, 2011

AOL buys Huffington post for $315 million

AOL has bought the Huffington Post for $315 million.

In Dec, 2010, 24-7 Wall Street valued the Huffington Post at $150 million and as the second most valuable blog after Gawker.

This is not an impact on the future, but is a minor data point that seems to confirm the relative accuracy of the valuation estimates made by 24-7 Wall Street on private blogs. The difference between the AOL purchase price and the valuation estimate is the buyout premium.

Nanolasers grown on silicon

Schematic of a nanopillar laser monolithically integrated onto silicon, illustrating its InGaAs core and GaAs shell. The higher-bandgap GaAs shell protects carriers from non-radiative surface recombination, which is critical for room-temperature operation

Nature Photonics - Nanolasers grown on silicon

The integration of optical interconnects with silicon-based electronics can address the growing limitations facing chip-scale data transport as microprocessors become progressively faster. However, until now, material lattice mismatch and incompatible growth temperatures have fundamentally limited monolithic integration of lasers onto silicon substrates. Here, we use a novel growth scheme to overcome this roadblock and directly grow on-chip InGaAs nanopillar lasers, demonstrating the potency of bottom-up nano-optoelectronic integration. Unique helically propagating cavity modes are used to strongly confine light within subwavelength nanopillars despite the low refractive index contrast between InGaAs and silicon. These modes therefore provide an avenue for engineering on-chip nanophotonic devices such as lasers. Nanopillar lasers are as-grown on silicon, offer tiny footprints and scalability, and are thus particularly suited to high-density optoelectronics. They may ultimately form the basis of future monolithic light sources needed to bridge the existing gap between photonic and electronic circuits

Future in Space Operations Assessing solar electric propulsion, using lunar water and space based power beaming

Mark Henderson presents the plans of the Technology applications assessment team (17 pages, 5 megabytes)

1. Satellite Servicing Mission(s) (Ted Talay)
2. ISRU Lunar Mission (Paul Spudis/Bill Rothschild)
3. Space Based Solar Power Demo (Bill Rothschild)
4. Solar Electric Propulsion Vehicle (Larry Schmidt/Sonny White)
5. Propellant Depot (Wally Twichell)
6. Multi-Mission Space Exploration Vehicle (Mark Holderman)

Solar Electric Propulsion - $500 million project

Perform high power SEP demonstration
30kW solar power
Battery augmentation to facilitate 200kW short duration
Total system delta-v: ~15km/sec
System will demonstrate two high power EP engine technologies: VASIMR & Hall_or_ION
Demo will also make use of mini free flying inspection spacecraft
Utilize emerging advanced solar technologies such as DARPA’s FAST or SOLAROSA.

* Vehicle can launch to LEO on Falcon 9
* Vehicle can achieve Mars orbit
* Delta-v split between two EP technologies

HyperV magneto-inertio fusion using rail guns

HyperV Technologies is dedicated to producing the world’s first commercially viable fusion reactor technology. Our research will result in the development of a controlled hot fusion reactor that is scalable to provide between 100 MW and 2,000 MW of clean base load electric power. The flexibility of the reactor size will enhance the robustness of the global power grid by enabling reliable base load power to be widely distributed through out an existing network.

HyperV Technologies is pursuing a unique “pulsed ignition” approach to fusion that has the promise to dramatically reduce the level of complexity, reliability and maintainability of the reactors. The HyperV approach will use an array of plasma jets to drive a pulsed implosion upon centimeter sized magnetized fuel targets in microsecond timescales.