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February 26, 2011

Poverty in Numbers: The Changing State of Global Poverty from 2005 to 2015 by the Brookings Institute

Official global poverty estimates are only rarely produced, and when they do appear, they are out of date by the time they are published. Thus, when world leaders met in September 2010 to assess progress toward reaching the Millennium Development Goal of halving global poverty, they had to rely on poverty data from 2005.

By 2015, we will not only have halved the global poverty rate, but will have halved it again to under 10 percent, or less than 600 million people, with India and China responsible for three-quarters of the reduction in the world’s poor expected between 2005 and 2015.

Grid issues causing a reduction of wind in Chinas Energy Plans

According to a report by the State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC), unused wind-generated electricity amounted to 2.8 billion kilowatt-hours in the first six months of 2010 due to insufficient transmission capabilities and grid connection.

China needs extensive upgrades to its power grid to take advantage of the wind farms. Its wind-power resources are concentrated primarily in the provinces and regions of Northwest China, such as the Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang Uygur autonomous regions and Gansu province, while most of the energy consumption is along the heavily populated coastline, according to the 2010 China Wind Power Outlook.

Robomara 2011 - a robot marathon

The VStone company and the city of Osaka organized a robot marathon. The robots must complete 422 laps of a 100 meter course. The course is a full length marathon (26.2 miles/42.2km) and was scheduled for three days from Feb 24- 27

One of the robots won today. After 422 laps of a 100-meter track, two robots found themselves only inches apart as coming out of the final turn. The Vstone team took first place, with an autonomous robot very literally walking a thin red line to victory thanks to a head-mounted camera, finishing with time of 54 hours, 57 minutes, 50.26 seconds. Seeing as how this is the very first robot marathon, I guess that makes it a world record time too. In second place not two seconds behind was the Robot Center team, with a remote-controlled model clocking in at 54 hours, 57 minutes, 51.99 seconds.

An Advanced Lithium Ion Battery Based on High Performance Electrode Materials

An Advanced Lithium Ion Battery Based on High Performance Electrode Materials

In this paper we report the study of a high capacity Sn−C nanostructured anode and of a high rate, high voltage Li[Ni0.45Co0.1Mn1.45]O4 spinel cathode. We have combined these anode and cathode materials in an advanced lithium ion battery that, by exploiting this new chemistry, offers excellent performances in terms of cycling life, i.e., ca. 100 high rate cycles, of rate capability, operating at 5C and still keeping more than 85% of the initial capacity, and of energy density, expected to be of the order of 170 Wh kg−1. These unique features make the battery a very promising energy storage for powering low or zero emission HEV or EV vehicles.

New architecture for quantum computers based on Quantum antannae

Quantum antennae enable the exchange of quantum information between two separate memory cells located on a computer chip. (Graphics: Harald Ritsch)

The Austrian research group led by physicist Rainer Blatt suggests a fundamentally novel architecture for quantum computation. They have experimentally demonstrated quantum antennae, which enable the exchange of quantum information between two separate memory cells located on a computer chip. This offers new opportunities to build practical quantum computers.

Nature - Trapped-ion antennae for the transmission of quantum informatio

An open-system quantum simulator with trapped ions

An ion interacts with the quantum system and, at the same time, establishes a controlled contact to the environment. (Graphics: Harald Ritsch)


University of Innsbruck - Quantum simulator accessible to the world

Experimental physicists have put a lot of effort in isolating sensitive measurements from the disruptive influences of the environment. In an international first, Innsbruck quantum physicists have realized a toolbox of elementary building blocks for an open-system quantum simulator, where a controlled coupling to an environment is used in a beneficial way.

In another breakthrough in this field, a team of young scientists in the research groups of Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller at the Institute for Experimental Physics and Theoretical Physics of the University of Innsbruck and the Institute of Quantum Optics and Quantum Information (IQOQI) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences have been the first to engineer a comprehensive toolbox for an open-system quantum computer, which will enable researchers to construct more sophisticated quantum simulators for investigating complex problems in quantum physics.

February 25, 2011

Transphorm claims 90 per cent more efficient alternate to direct current conversion which could improve energy efficiency and reduce overall energy consumption by 10%

Hybrid and electric cars that are lighter and have longer range. Laptops without a converter "brick" that plugs into the wall outlet. Solar panels that lose much less energy when they link to the electrical power grid.

Those are some of the products that Transphorm, a Southern California startup that officially "emerged from stealth" Wednesday, hopes to create with its new power conversion technology. The company announced it has raised $20 million in a third round of funding led by Google Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Foundation Capital and Lux Capital, bringing its total venture funding to $38 million.

Transphorm says it has technology provides a 90 percent improvement in the efficiency of converting between alternating current to direct current electricity -- a step necessary to power everything from massive computer data centers to a plug-in hybrid.

SIMES Researchers Find Magnetic Link to High-temperature Superconductivity

The sharp, magnetized tip of the probe used in this study induces an answering field in the superconductor in a phenomenon called the Meissner Effect. The strength of the response at each point gave SIMES researchers new information about the superconducting state of the pnictide. (Image courtesy Lan Luan.)

Researchers from the Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Science, a joint SLAC-Stanford institute, have seen strong indications of a relationship between the superconductive and magnetic properties of high-temperature superconductors—a relationship long suspected but difficult to investigate experimentally. Any step toward a real understanding of high temperature superconductors is a big step right now. Today's superconductors need extreme cold to keep conducting electricity with 100 percent efficiency, but extreme cold is not cheap. If current research leads to room temperature superconductors, superconducting technologies such as loss-less power lines and levitating high-speed trains will be economically as well as technically feasible.

AMD reveals Buldozer chip details


AMD reveals details of the Bulldozer chip

The centerpiece of the “Bulldozer” module is its two tightly-linked processor cores. These cores share several high-bandwidth resources (such as the Floating Point Unit) to provide chip-multithreading (CMT) which efficiently executes multiple instruction threads in parallel. Bulldozer’s CMT provides a marked design improvement over current threading approaches which either funnel multiple instruction threads through one processor core (SMT) or replicate cores statically (CMP) – approaches with inherent constraints and performance bottlenecks.

Boston Dynamics Wins DARPA Contracts to Develop Robots that are Fast and Agile


One robot called ATLAS, a humanoid with two arms and two legs, will climb and maneuver in rough terrain to achieve human-like agility. A second robot with four legs is called CHEETAH; it will sprint faster than a human, corner like a race car and start and stop on a dime.

Building a personal version IBM Watson question answering system

It is possible to build your own Watson Jr. question-answering system, something less fancy, less sophisticated, scaled-down for personal use or business workgroup usage

As with any Do-It-Yourself (DIY) project, I am not responsible if you are not happy with your Watson Jr. I am basing the approach on what I read from publicly available sources, and my work in Linux, supercomputers, XIV, and SONAS. For our purposes, Watson Jr. is based entirely on commodity hardware, open source software, and publicly available sources of information. Your Watson Jr. will certainly not be as fast or as clever as the IBM Watson you saw on television.)


Element                Number of cores Time to answer one Jeopardy question
Single core                       1      2 hours
Single IBM Power750 server       32      less than 4 minutes
Single rack (10 servers)        320      less than 30 seconds
IBM Watson (90 servers)       2,880      less than 3 seconds

Self-Templating of Metal-Driven Supramolecular Self-Assembly: A General Approach toward 1D Inorganic Nanotubes

Chemistry of Materials - Self-Templating of Metal-Driven Supramolecular Self-Assembly: A General Approach toward 1D Inorganic Nanotubes

Penn Physicists Develop Scalable Method for Making Graphene

New research from the University of Pennsylvania demonstrates a more consistent and cost-effective method for making graphene Other methods make expensive custom copper sheets in an effort to get them as smooth as possible; defects in the surface cause the graphene to accumulate in unpredictable ways. Instead, Johnson’s group “electropolished” their copper foil, a common industrial technique used in finishing silverware and surgical tools. The polished foil was smooth enough to produce single-layer graphene over 95% of its surface area.

Chemistry of Materials - Effect of Substrate Roughness and Feedstock Concentration on Growth of Wafer-Scale Graphene at Atmospheric Pressure

February 24, 2011

If there is Regime change in Bahrain, the US Fifth Fleet could get booted out

The US has important strategic interests in Bahrain, including the US Navy's Fifth Fleet – patrolling oil shipping lanes, keeping an eye on Iran, and involved with the war in Afghanistan. But US officials also worry about Bahrain's violent response to pro-democracy demonstrators.

Nuclear Roundup - Hyperion power generation, Korean Smart Reactor, Kazakhstan uranium deal with China

1. With development of large-scale reactors in the United States slowed by constrained debt capital markets, the absence of climate legislation, low gas prices and flagging power demand, talk in the nuclear industry has shifted to next-generation reactors that are smaller, less capital-intensive and therefore more flexible. These small and modular reactors (SMRs), generally 300 MW or less, can serve remote locations, small power grids and large process heat needs, such as oil production from the Alberta tar sands.

Capacitor effect for magnetricity - magnetic field manipulates monopoles in spin ice

Capacitor effect for magnetic monopoles in spin ice. The application of a magnetic potential adds new magnetic monopoles to a crystal of spin ice which then spring apart and store magnetricity.

Researchers at the LCN have created a purely magnetic version of one of the basic effects of electronics - the storage and release of charge in a capacitor. This follows their demonstration last year of the existence of a magnetic equivalent of electricity: so-called "magnetricity".

The new research, published this week in the journal Nature Physics, describes how long lived currents of magnetic charges or "monopoles" may be created in spin ice, the special material that hosts magnetricity. The application of a magnetic field to spin ice charges up the material just like the application of an electric field charges up a capacitor. The subsequent release of the magnetic field causes magnetic currents to flow for several minutes, during which time the current can be measured and characterised in detail.

Nature Physics - Creation and measurement of long-lived magnetic monopole currents in spin ice

Speeding Up the Internet with Smart Switching

Columbia University - At its core the Internet has “waterfalls of bandwidth,” Bergman says, and should be able to handle the traffic. But traffic jams start as the volumes of information travel through narrower channels controlled by various Internet service providers.

The current optical fibers can’t recognize what kind of data is coming through; when congestion hits, they are not able to prioritize traffic.

Bergman’s alternative model would insert a sort of smart switching system—think of trains coming into a station and being routed depending on where they’re going.

Engineering Atomic Interfaces for New Electronics

Top row: An atomic image of strontium titanate with one single rare-earth (R) -oxygen layer in the middle. The structure model is shown in the middle, where red is oxygen, green is strontium, blue is titanium and yellow is the rare-earth element. The RO layer at the interface can donate electrons to neighboring atomic layers.

Bottom row: Atom-by-atom imaging and spectroscopy measurement of the electronic structure at a highly conductive interface where lanthanum oxide was inserted. The conductivity measurement shows a drastic difference in electron concentration at the interface for different R elements.


A multi-institutional team has made fundamental discoveries at the border regions, called interfaces, between oxide materials. Led by University of Wisconsin-Madison Materials Science and Engineering Professor Chang-Beom Eom, the team has discovered how to manipulate electrons oxide interfaces by inserting a single layer of atoms. The researchers also have discovered unusual electron behaviors at these engineered interfaces.

Saudi Arabia in talks to supply more oil to make up shortfall from Libya

Financial times- Saudi Arabia is considering two options to supply oil to make up for the shortfall from Libya

The first would be to boost production and send more crude through the east-west pipeline, linking the country’s largest oilfields in Eastern province with the Red Sea port of Yanbu, for shipment to Europe.

Another possibility would be a swap arrangement, whereby West African oil intended for Asian buyers is redirected to Europe, with Saudi Arabia stepping in to supply Asia.

Optical communication between cores on a chip and an operating system that can scale to thousands of cores

At MIT, a host of researchers are exploring how to reinvent chip architecture from the ground up, to ensure that adding more cores makes chips perform better, not worse.

One way to improve communication between cores, which the Angstrom project is investigating, is optical communication — using light instead of electricity to move data. Though prototype chips with optical-communications systems have been built in the lab, they rely on exotic materials that are difficult to integrate into existing chip-manufacturing processes. Two of the Angstrom researchers are investigating optical-communications schemes that use more practical materials.

Scientists create illusion of having three arms and the experience of being in someone elses body

Arvid Guterstam conducting an experiment.

Brain scientists at Karolinska Institutet (sweden) have now shown that it is possible to make healthy volunteers experience having three arms at the same time.

A related study at Karolinska is said to have resulted in people perceiving that their physical selves were located not in their own bodies, but in those of other test subjects.

Old Mans War will be made into a movie



Paramount Pictures has acquired screen rights to the John Scalzi novel series Old Man’s War, with Wolfgang Petersen attached to direct and David Self adapting the tale into a large-scale science fiction project.

Scott Stuber will produce through his Stuber Pictures banner, with Petersen also producing. The hero is a 75-year old man who, having lost the love of his life, is amenable to trading his old carcass for a younger, genetically enhanced body so that he can combine the experience of age with the strength of youth and join an outer space military coalition sent to protect human colonies in outer space. Inductees agree to leave their past lives on earth behind, and are promised land on distant human colonies if they live. Injured in battle, he’s rescued by a special-forces officer who seems to be a younger version of his wife.


Radar illusion via metamaterials

Physical Review E - Radar illusion via metamaterials

An optical illusion is an image of a real target perceived by the eye that is deceptive or misleading due to a physiological illusion or a specific visual trick. The recently developed metamaterials provide efficient approaches to generate a perfect optical illusion. However, all existing research on metamaterial illusions has been limited to theory and numerical simulations. Here, we propose the concept of a radar illusion, which can make the electromagnetic (EM) image of a target gathered by radar look like a different target, and we realize a radar illusion device experimentally to change the radar image of a metallic target into a dielectric target with predesigned size and material parameters. It is well known that the radar signatures of metallic and dielectric objects are significantly different. However, when a metallic target is enclosed by the proposed illusion device, its EM scattering characteristics will be identical to that of a predesigned dielectric object under the illumination of radar waves. Such an illusion device will confuse the radar, and hence the real EM properties of the metallic target cannot be perceived. We designed and fabricated the radar illusion device using artificial metamaterials in the microwave frequency, and good illusion performances are observed in the experimental results.

Cost efficient optical fiber networks to enable fiber to the home at 10 gigabits per second

Jing Zhang and co-workers at the A*STAR Institute of Microelectronics have now demonstrated a network scheme that considerably reduces the cost of fiber-optic installations and could make them more attractive for consumer use

A key component of any optical fiber network is the laser that transmits information down the fiber. Unlike the silicon-based electronic circuits that control the data flow through the network, these lasers are made from semiconductor materials other than silicon, which is a poor light-emitter. This makes integrating lasers with silicon electronic circuits cumbersome and expensive, and so reducing the number of lasers in the network could substantially lower the cost of connecting users to the internet.

Optics Express - 10Gbps monolithic silicon FTTH transceiver without laser diode for a new PON configuration

3D Bioprinter for printing body parts by Hod Lipson and Cornell Researcher

The technique has already been used to print repairs into real animal bones

By harnessing the capabilities of Solid-Freeform Fabrication (SFF) – also known as Rapid Prototyping (RP) – Cornel researchers can create living tissue of arbitrary 3D shapes directly from computer-aided design (CAD) data.

The "printing ink" is a cell-seeded alginate hydrogel. The alginate hydrogel is similar to that used for injection molding tissue engineering, but has been modified to be compatible with extrusion through a printing deposition tool. The material is also stiff enough to prevent material sag, hold its shape and be manipulated.

BBC News - The next step in the 3D printing revolution may be body parts including cartilage, bone and even skin.

Hod Lipson, director of the Computational Synthesis Laboratory at Cornell University, brought a 3D printer to the conference (annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science) , to demonstrate how his well-established project, named Fab@Home, is branching out into bioprinting - by creating an ear.

For the demonstration, the real cells that the group would normally use have been replaced with silicone gel in order to bioprint the shape.

Bone repaired with bioprinting (Biofabrication journal/D Cohen) The technique has already been used to print repairs into real animal bones

New Space Age Materials for a New Space Age

Ideas for Space Industrialization in the spirit of G. Harry Stine's The Third Industrial Revolution

By Joseph Friedlander

Space Products And Potential Earthly Markets.

The original Space Age (say 1958-68 and to a lesser degree all the way to 1975) was not merely the successor to the Atomic Age (immediate post WW2 say 1945-57) but the birthplace of a whole range of new materials. How often have you heard the phrase, “space age material”?

Often it was just a sales tool and had nothing to do with space engineering. Modern plastics and Teflon were actually outgrowths of pre-Second World War era technology. Tang, Pillsbury Space Food Sticks and other such products were marketing fads. Eventually the First Space Age died-- some would date it from December 1972 with the last beyond Earth orbit manned mission, some from the Apollo Soyuz mission in 1975, from the loss of even a theoretical Saturn V launch capability in December 1976, or from turning off the lunar surface ALSEP scientific packages (seismometer network) on September 30, 1977, to save a line item and a few hundred thousand dollars a year—forget the billions spent to put them there. Yes, the First (manned) Space Age lived by political funding and died from the lack of political funding, and it died with a whimper.


February 23, 2011

Union of Concerned Scientists Bias and look at nuclear subsidies but not at other energy for context

The Union of Concerned Scientists analyze the economic subsidies that nuclear power gets but implies that this is somehow unique

The Energy Information Administration shows that all energy gets subsidies and looks at that in comparison to the amount of energy generated.


Source - subsidy and support in dollars per megawatt-hour (mills per kilowatt-hour)

Subsidy and Support per
                      Unit of Production
                      (dollars/megawatthour) as of 2007

Nuclear                  1.59
Coal                     0.44  (does not include externalities like air pollution  
                                or acid rain damage)
Refined coal            29.81
Natural gas              0.25
Biomass (and biofuels)   0.89
Geothermal               0.92
Hydroelectric            0.67
Solar                   24.34
Wind                    23.37
Landfill Gas             1.37
Municipal Solid Waste    0.13
Renewables (average)     2.80  (Hydro is making it better)
Total (average)          1.65

More Mach Effect Propulsion information from the NASA Forum


What is the Mach Effect thruster pushing on? What is the relative velocity of the Far-Off Active Mass? On Earth, if you drive a car you're pushing on the ground to go faster, and it's very efficient, but it's not over-unity because the ground is at a set reference velocity and doesn't move to help you along. But if an M-E thruster is pushing on distant matter, there's no substantial difference between 0 km/s and 1 km/s, because the matter in the universe is flying all over the place. And it seems to me that in order to achieve a measurable thrust efficiency, an M-E thruster would have to preferentially interact with matter near its own velocity. Any way you slice it, the conditions seen by the thruster do not change markedly as the vehicle accelerates. In other words, the ground moves with the car."

Paul March comment and observation

The Far Off Active Mass (FOAM) particles of the causally connected universe will have a Gaussian distribution spread in its kinetic energy magnitudes as a total population ranging from the very slow to just under light speed relative to the velocity vector of the accelerated vehicle in question. However the kinetic energy distribution maximum should peak like a black body radiator and since the background temperature of the universe is ~2.7K, there isn’t going to be a lot of fast moving ions to play with. However as you've speculated here, any M-E device operating at frequency X may resonantly couple with the cosmological Gaussian kinetic energy spectrum closest to itself. It just won’t be able to interact with all of it. The proof of this idea will of course have to come experimentally.

Libya and related unrest could cause $5 a gallon and over $200 per barrel oil

Various analysts are describing possible scenarios related to oil and middle east unrest

If you are looking at the disruption of movement and production in countries such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE, you're easily talking $5 gas," says Peter Beutel, president of energy adviser Cameron Hanover.

Japanese bank Nomura outlines a scenario in which crude oil could reach an eye-popping $220 per barrel:

"If Libya and Algeria were to halt oil production together, prices could peak above $220 a barrel and OPEC spare capacity will be reduced to 2.1 million barrels a day, similar to levels seen during the Gulf war and when prices hit $147 in 2008," the Tokyo-based bank said in a note today.

Solar cells that will be able to have 50 percent efficiency and be cheaper to make

Solar array: The rectangles on this wafer are solar cells made of multiple semiconductor materials. Credit: Solar Junction


MIT Technology Review - A startup called Solar Junction says its pilot manufacturing plant is producing solar cells units that are more efficient than the best ones on the market today. The advance, based on new semiconductor materials that the company has developed, could help make a type of solar power system called concentrated photovoltaics a far more attractive way to generate electricity from the sun. They are targeting 50% efficiency and lower cost manufacturing and commercialization in 2016.

Solar junction website

Solar Junction is commercializing our proprietary Adjustable Spectrum Lattice Matched (A-SLAM™) multi-junction solar cell architecture. The A-SLAM™ architecture provides material bandgap tunability – particularly from 0.8 to 1.42 eV - to maximize the absorbed sunlight within CPV modules, thereby increasing the efficiency and energy harvested. This unique and proprietary adjustable spectrum technology is the basis of our performance leadership throughout the next decade of increasingly efficient and industry leading cells. Our technology’s capability to adapt to customer’s optics and deployment location ensures the most efficient CPV systems are installed around the world. While simultaneously enabling the industry-leading roadmap, the A-SLAM™ architecture maintains the lattice-matched paradigm, in which interatomic spacing is constant throughout the entire crystalline material stack, and has been the foundation of semiconductor and multi-junction solar cell reliability for decades. Furthermore, Solar Junction has achieved breakthroughs with our ultra-concentration tunnel junctions, allowing cells to perform optimally at 1000-1300 sun concentrations and far beyond. Solar Junction’s A-SLAM™ uniquely provides CPV system manufacturers the foundation to deliver the most efficient conversion of solar to electrical energy over 25 to 30 year project lifetimes.

Stanford researcher's new stretchable solar cells will power artificial electronic 'super skin'

The foundation for the artificial skin is a flexible organic transistor, made with flexible polymers and carbon-based materials.

Ultrasensitive electronic skin developed by Stanford researcher Zhenan Bao is getting even better. Now she's demonstrated that it can detect chemicals and biological molecules, in addition to sensing an incredibly light touch. And it can now be powered by a new, stretchable solar cell she's developed in her lab, opening up more applications in clothing, robots, prosthetic limbs and more.

February 22, 2011

Thin superconducting cables for stronger magnets and overhead wire

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 new thin superconducting cables are light enough to be used as overhead wire instead of being buried underground. The thin superconducting wire can also be used to make magnets stronger than 25 tesla.

Today's superconducting magnets contain niobium-titanium wires wound into coils that can provide at most 25 Tesla magnetic fields. Magnets made using the new high-temperature superconducting cables could give higher fields while potentially requiring less power for cooling. Such compact, high-field magnets could be used for proton cancer treatment and high-energy physics

Breakthrough Gas Separation Technology Poised to Allow Use of Up to 30% of The World’s Natural Gas Reserves

Huge underground gas reserves, up to 16-30% of the total reserves, remain unused. The natural gas in these fields is too contaminated for exploitation. With existing technology, cleaning these fields is much too costly… The contaminated gas represent more that 360 times the annual natural gas production of Shell, Exxon, and BP put together.

Armington Technologies LLC has a description of their processes

Rossi Low Energy Nuclear Reactions tested with at least 15 kilowatts of heat continuously for 18 hours

Recently a technical test of Andrea Rossi's Ni-H reactor (energy catalyzer) was conducted in which a minimum of 15 kW of heat was produced continuously for 18 hours, observed by Dr. Joseph Levi and others

Andrea Rossi claims to have developed a practical and commercial ready Cold Fusion technology that could cost around 1 cent per kilowatt hour; with the first 1 MW plant completed later this year, comprised of 125 units ganged together. It utilizes nano-nickel powder, hydrogen gas, and undisclosed (for proprietary reasons) catalysts under pressure to produce large amounts of energy.

The test took place at the University of Bologna.

A source close to the recent 18-hour test of the Rossi device gave me the
following figures. These are approximations.

Flow rate: 3,000 L/h = 833 ml/s.

Input temperature: 15°C

Output temperature ~20°C

Input power from control electronics: variable, average 80 W, closer to 20 W
for 6 hours

Notes from Jed

5°C temperature difference * 833 ml = 4,165 cal/s = 17,493 W


Navistar and EcoMotors will work together on Opposed-Piston, Opposed-Cylinder Engine for up to 50% higher fuel efficiency

Navistar International Corporation today announced it has reached a development agreement with EcoMotors International in support of the company's opoc (Opposed-Piston, Opposed-Cylinder) engine architecture.

EcoMotors International's first product targeted for commercial application is a turbo-diesel version of the innovative opposed-piston, opposed-cylinder engine. With a two-module application configured at the appropriate power level (to deliver a combined 480 hp), the opoc unit could deliver about 45% better fuel efficiency compared to a conventional heavy-duty diesel engine in a Class 8 truck. Ecomotors is trying to make engine and powertrain packages that are designed to be 15-50% more efficient, smaller, lighter, and less expensive to manufacture than conventional internal combustion engines.

Hyperwealth and Alternative Futures by Joseph Friedlander

What makes a nation, a people, a lifestyle productive of wealth?
And what would living that way feel like?

By Joseph Friedlander

Note: This is a very long article

Brian Wang has written extensively on the concept of the Mundane Singularity (Singularity lite) in analogy to beverages, which does not include the full Eric Drexler-like package of programmable active nano-robots which can work virtual miracles by assembling/dissassembling/juggling atoms at will-- but simply applying best practices (known to work stuff, applied with cunning and master-level skill) universally across a society as well as a mixture of rapid upgrading of technologies and infrastructure to achieve a super-growth effect.

Self-correcting robots, at-home 3-D printing are on horizon, says Hod Lipson of Cornell

Robots that can self-improve and machines that "print" products at home are technologies soon to become increasingly available, said Cornell's Hod Lipson

Nextbigfuture covered Hod Lipson's talk in 2010 at the foresight conference.

Hod Lipson's website is here

Factory @ Home: The Emerging Economy of Personal Fabrication (103 pages)

Temperature Dependence of Protein Folding Deduced from Quantum Transition

Arxiv - Temperature Dependence of Protein Folding Deduced from Quantum Transition The quantum transition model fits the folding curves of 15 different proteins and even explains the difference in folding and unfolding rates of the same proteins.

A quantum theory on conformation-electron system is presented. Protein folding is regarded as the quantum transition between torsion states on polypeptide chain, and the folding rate is calculated by nonadiabatic operator method. The theory is used to study the temperature dependences of folding rate of 15 proteins and their non-Arrhenius behavior can all be deduced in a natural way. A general formula on the rate-temperature dependence has been deduced which is in good accordance with experimental data. These temperature dependences are further analyzed in terms of torsion potential parameters. Our results show it is necessary to move outside the realm of classical physics when the temperature dependence of protein folding is studied quantitatively

MIT Technology Review - f quantum mechanics plays a key role in protein folding, then there can be little question of its importance in the workings of other cellular machines. It can only be a matter of time before the floodgates open for quantum biologists.


South Korea targets 1 gigabit per second internet in every home by the end of 2012 and it is part of a larger new growth engine plan

NY Times - By the end of 2012, South Korea intends to connect every home in the country to the Internet at one gigabit per second. That would be a tenfold increase from the already blazing national standard and more than 200 times as fast as the average household setup in the United States.

A pilot gigabit project initiated by the government is under way, with 5,000 households in five South Korean cities wired. Each customer pays about 30,000 won a month, or less than $27. The South Korean project is also meant to increase wireless broadband services tenfold.

Korea It Times no the korea gigabit internet

By 2013, the speed of wired and wireless Internet in Korea will be 10 times faster than now. Using this Internet network, we can watch Ultra Definition TV (UDTV), which will be 4 to 16 times clearer than existing High Definition TV (HDTV). In addition, we will also watch HD level video clips with mobile phones. We will make the world’s best converged infrastructure of wired, wireless and broadcasting systems with a guaranteed speed of 1 Gbps for wired networks and 10 Mbps for wireless networks

New technologies usher in the millimeter-scale computing era

Designed for use in an implantable eye-pressure monitor, University of Michigan researchers developed what is believed to be the first complete millimeter-scale computing system.Credit: Greg Chen

A prototype implantable eye pressure monitor for glaucoma patients is believed to contain the first complete millimeter-scale computing system.

The same researchers recently developed a millimeter scale energy harvesting system.

A 9-cubic millimeter solar-powered sensor system developed at the University of Michigan is the smallest that can harvest energy from its surroundings to operate nearly perpetually.

Rapamycin reverses a kind of congenital heart defect in mice

Congenital heart diseases affect approximately one in 100 patients, making them the most common type of birth defect and the number-one cause of pediatric deaths. Now a new study showing that the mTOR inhibitor drug rapamycin can reverse cardiac muscle damage in a mouse model of the congenital disease LEOPARD syndrome not only identifies the first possible medical treatment for this rare condition, but also demonstrates the importance of targeted therapies in managing congenital diseases.

The findings in LEOPARD syndrome may additionally provide the first glimpse of a much broader implication -- a potential mechanism for the treatment of other, more common congenital hypertrophy disorders

February 21, 2011

Google Lunar X PRIZE Announces Official Roster of Teams Competing in the $30 Million Race to the Moon

The X PRIZE Foundation announced the official roster of 29 registered teams competing for the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE, an unprecedented competition to send a robot to the Moon that travels at least 500 meters and transmit video, images, and data back to the Earth. This group of teams signifies this new era of exploration’s diverse and participatory nature as it includes a huge variety of groups ranging from non-profits to university consortia to billion dollar businesses representing 17 nations on four continents. The global competition, the largest in history, was announced in September 2007, with a winner projected by 2015.

Full-colour quantum dot displays fabricated by transfer printing

Electroluminescence image of a four-inch full-color quantum dot display with a resolution of 320 x 240 pixels. Image credit: Tae-Ho Kim, et al. ©2011 Macmillan Publishers Limited.

Nature Photonics - Full-colour quantum dot displays fabricated by transfer printing

Light-emitting diodes with quantum dot luminophores show promise in the development of next-generation displays, because quantum dot luminophores demonstrate high quantum yields, extremely narrow emission, spectral tunability and high stability, among other beneficial characteristics. However, the inability to achieve size-selective quantum dot patterning by conventional methods hinders the realization of full-colour quantum dot displays. Here, we report the first demonstration of a large-area, full-colour quantum dot display, including in flexible form, using optimized quantum dot films, and with control of the nano-interfaces and carrier behaviour. Printed quantum dot films exhibit excellent morphology, well-ordered quantum dot structure and clearly defined interfaces. These characteristics are achieved through the solvent-free transfer of quantum dot films and the compact structure of the quantum dot networks. Significant enhancements in charge transport/balance in the quantum dot layer improve electroluminescent performance. A method using plasmonic coupling is also suggested to further enhance luminous efficiency. The results suggest routes towards creating large-scale optoelectronic devices in displays, solid-state lighting and photovoltaics.

Mach Effect Derivation paper

Flux Capacitors and the Origin of Inertia (29 pages)

The explanation of inertia based on “Mach’s principle” is briefly revisited and an experiment whereby the gravitational origin of inertia can be tested is described. The test consists of detecting a small stationary force with a sensitive force sensor. The force is presumably induced when a periodic transient Mach effect mass fluctuation is driven in high voltage, high energy density capacitors that are subjected to 50 kHz, 1.3 kV amplitude voltage signal, and threaded by an alternating magnetic flux of the same frequency. An effect of the sort predicted is shown to be present in the device tested. It has the expected magnitude and depends on the relative phase of the Mach effect mass fluctuation and the alternating magnetic flux as expected. The observed effect also displays scaling behaviors that are unique to Mach effects. Other tests for spurious signals suggest that the observed effect is real.

Toward chemical propulsion of Nanocars

ACS Nano - Toward Chemical Propulsion: Synthesis of ROMP-Propelled Nanocars

The synthesis and ring-opening metathesis polymerization (ROMP) activity of two nanocars functionalized with an olefin metathesis catalyst is reported. The nanocars were attached to a Hoveyda−Grubbs first- or second-generation metathesis catalyst via a benzylidene moiety. The catalytic activity of these nanocars toward ROMP of 1,5-cyclooctadiene was similar to that of their parent catalysts. The activity of the Hoveyda−Grubbs first-generation catalyst-functionalized nanocar was further tested with polymerization of norbornene. Hence, the prospect is heightened for a ROMP process to propel nanocars across a surface by providing the translational force.

Quantum dot solar can potentially boost solar cell efficiency by three times

Stanford researchers have found that adding a single layer of organic molecules to a solar cell can increase its efficiency three-fold and could lead to cheaper, more efficient solar panels. Their results were published online in ACS Nano on Feb. 7. So far the actual efficiency is only 0.4% but the potential benefit is a lot more.

ACS Nano - Effects of Self-Assembled Monolayers on Solid-State CdS Quantum Dot Sensitized Solar Cells

Killzone 3 and Sony Playstation Move is a killer combo

Gizmag - Move turns Killzone 3 from a fantastic first-person shooter to the most immersive, visceral experience you'll find on a console today.

Largest container ship will be 16% larger and 20% less CO2and 35% more fuel efficient

Maersk Line has signed a contract for 10 of the world’s largest, most efficient container vessels with an option to buy another 20. The vessels will have a capacity of 18,000 TEU and will be delivered from Korea’s DSME shipyard from 2013 to 2015.

The new, giant container vessels will be known as Triple-E, based on the three main purposes for their creation: Economy of scale, Energy efficiency and Environmentally improved.

At 400 metres long, 59 metres wide and 73 metres tall, the Triple-E will be the largest vessel of any type known to be in operation. Its 18,000 twenty-foot container capacity is a massive 16 % larger (2,500 TEU) than Emma Mærsk.

Smallest Magnetic Field Sensor in the World by combining spin electronics and molecular electronics

Scanning tunneling microscopy (50 x 50 nm2) of organic molecules. Coloring indicates variable spin orientation. (Source: CFN)

Researchers have now succeeded in combining the concepts of spin electronics and molecular electronics in a single component consisting of a single molecule. Components based on this principle have a special potential, as they allow for the production of very small and highly efficient magnetic field sensors for read heads in hard disks or for non-volatile memories in order to further increase reading speed and data density.

Nature Nanotechnology - Giant magnetoresistance through a single molecule

February 20, 2011

A new video interview of Aubrey de Grey - Better Funding and Advocacy Can Defeat Aging



Singularity 1 o 1 interviews with Aubrey de Grey

Inflation and population adjusted decline of the music industry

Business Industry - 10 years ago the average American spent almost 3 times as much on recorded music products as they do today. 26 years ago they spent almost twice as much as they do today.

the Case for China moving the yuan over 10-15 years to reserve currency and how to invest for yuan appreciation

Der Spiegel discusses how China would like to make the yuan one of the world's anchor currencies, forcing other countries to maintain reserves of Chinese money and providing significant advantages for Beijing. Yet the country cannot continue to keep the value of its currency artificially low if it hopes to become the world's dominant economic power.

Forbes - If the yuan is appreciating at 10% a year, as Treasury Secretary Geithner suggests, then the yuan will double in value to the dollar in 7 years

The most direct way to play the yuan is to buy CYB, the ETF that will rise with the yuan, as it is solely invested in yuan forward contracts. It is sponsored by Wisdom Tree Investments, and has assets of $640 million, taking Treasury bills and using them to purchase forward contracts in the Chinese currency.

Or you could buy shares of Chinese natural resource companies like CNOOC, the oil giant, or a Chinese coal or copper producer.

Extrapolation of Kepler Telescopes incomplete data indicates at least 500 million planets in habitable zone in the galaxy

An extrapolation of the latest data from the Kepler space telescope indicates that there are at least 50 billion planets in the milky way galaxy and at least 500 million planets in the habitable zone. NASAs William Borucki and colleagues figured one of two stars has planets and one of 200 stars has planets in the habitable zone. More recent estimates of the Milky Way are that it has 400 billion stars, so one in two would mean 200 billion planets.

The Milky Way estimate on stars may not be fully adjusted for the discovery in 2009 that the Milky way is 15% wider and 50% heavier than earlier estimates.

An extrapolation from the Kepler data from 6 months ago indicated that there was over 100 million planets in the habitable zone in the milky way galaxy

Goatguy had helped with an analysis that Kepler is still only detecting a small fraction of the planets and the farther out a planet is then the lower the odds of detection by the Kepler space telescope.

Kepler is still scheduled to operate for another year and a half and the data analysis will continue for several years. Kepler will be finding more planets among the 156,000 stars that it is observing.

The estimates for the number of stars in the milky way galaxy has not been adjusted for the more red dwarf stars and more brown dwarf stars.

I think over several years it will be confirmed that there are planets in the habitable zone of 10-80% of stars and planets around almost all stars. I think there will be a lot more brown dwarf stars discovered and the number of stars in the Milky Way will be more like one trillion stars. Even at that point we will still not be seeing or detecting everything in our galaxy.

Carnival of Space 185

Carnival of space 185 is up at theSpacewriter.com

Steve's astrocorner reviews the decadal survey for where astrophysics and astronomy He looks at the Webb Space telescope and a lot more.

Metamaterial with record positive index of refraction of 38.6

Physics world - Researchers in Korea have created a new metamaterial with the most extreme positive index of refraction yet – a whopping 38.6. The metamaterial operates at terahertz frequencies and the team believes that it could find use in a number of applications including high-resolution imaging.

The refractive index of a material defines the angle through which light is bent when it travels between a material and the vacuum. Ordinary materials such as glass have refractive indices between one and three at optical frequencies, with a few materials like silicon approaching four. Over the past decade or so, physicists have been developing artificial materials with negative indices of refraction. These metamaterials bend light in the opposite direction to normal materials and can be used to make invisibility cloaks and superlenses.

While this new material has a positive index of refraction, its value is so large that it could lead to new terahertz technologies for security scanning and cancer diagnosis. The researchers also believe that the metamaterial could find use in invisibility cloaks.

Journal Nature - A terahertz metamaterial with unnaturally high refractive index