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March 12, 2011

IAEA rates japan incident 4 On 0 to 7 scale, Three Mile Island 5,Chernobyl 7

A report on radiation levels and how much above background it is


There is economic loss at the Japan plant but no one will die from radiation. There is no core meltdown.

The radiation is less than 1 REM per day. It takes 600 REM to kill

BP oil spill had deaths and more damage.

The natural gas line explosion in urban San Bruno more deaths


Discovery of the Coolest Known Brown Dwarf - 69 light years away and 30 degrees celsius

We have used multi-epoch images from the Infrared Array Camera on board the Spitzer Space Telescope to search for substellar companions to stars in the solar neighborhood based on common proper motions.

Through this work, we have discovered a faint companion to the white dwarf WD 0806-661. The comoving source has a projected separation of 130'', corresponding to 2500 AU at the distance of the primary (19.2 pc). If it is physically associated, then its absolute magnitude at 4.5 μm is ~1 mag fainter than the faintest known T dwarfs, making it a strong candidate for the coolest known brown dwarf. The combination of M 4.5 and the age of the primary (1.5 Gyr) implies an effective temperature of ~300 K and a mass of ~7 M Jup according to theoretical evolutionary models. The white dwarf's progenitor likely had a mass of ~2 M sun, and thus could have been born with a circumstellar disk that was sufficiently massive to produce a companion with this mass. Therefore, the companion could be either a brown dwarf that formed like a binary star or a giant planet that was born within a disk and has been dynamically scattered to a larger orbit.

Battle to stabilise earthquake reactors - Fukushima Daiichi unit 1

Attention is focused on the Fukushima Daiichi and Daini nuclear power plants as Japan struggles to cope in the aftermath of its worst earthquake in recorded history. An explosion has been seen at the site and seawater is now being injected to the plant

Tepco - Plant Status of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station


Press Release (Mar 12,2011)
Plant Status of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (as of 1PM March 12th )


All 6 units of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station have been shut down.
Unit 1(Shut down)
- Reactor has been shut down and steam in reactor has been cooled by
isolation condenser, but it is now stopped. Because pressure level in
reactor containment vessel is increasing, following the national
government instruction, we are implementing a measure to reduce the
pressure of the reactor containment vessels in order to fully secure
safety.
Reactor water level is decreasing, we will continue injecting water step
by step.

Unit 2(Shut down)
- Reactor has been shut down and we continue injecting water by Reactor
Core Isolation Cooling System. Current reactor water level is lower than
normal level, but the water level is steady. Following the national
government instruction, we are preparing to implement a measure to reduce
the pressure of the reactor containment vessels in order to fully secure
safety.

Unit 3(Shut down)
- Reactor has been shut down and we continue injecting water by Reactor
Core Isolation Cooling System. Following the national government
instruction, we are preparing to implement a measure to reduce the
pressure of the reactor containment vessels in order to fully secure
safety.

- Currently, we do not believe there is any reactor coolant leakage inside
the reactor containment vessel.




Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Station all shutdown

Tokyo Electric reports the four Fukushima Daini reactors were shutdown

UPDATE- Despite being shutdown -there are still preparations being made for a pressure release.

Carnival of Space 188

Carnival of Space 188 is up at Aartscope

March 11, 2011

Japan is working to contain radiation at the Fukushima reactors with controlled filtered venting

Several nuclear reactors in northeast Japan shut down during today's massive earthquake in Japan. Work is ongoing to stabilise three reactors at Fukushima Daiichi continues into the morning. An International Atomic Energy Agency announcement at 4.20am confirmed the work to restore power using mobile power supplies. There is increase pressure at unit 1 and said that this would be relieved by a controlled venting operation, "which will be filtered to retain radiation within containment.

Compass Summit follow up to Techonomy

There will be a new conference called the Compass Summit which is an outgrowth of the Techonomy conference which I attended in August of 2010

Compass Summit will take place Oct. 24-26 at the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA.

Compass Summit is created by four of the original founders of Techonomy in an effort to expand and evolve the original program we debuted at Lake Tahoe in 2010. Compass is a broader and more focused look at what’s possible and what’s important when leaders contemplate solutions to some of the big, global challenges and economic opportunities facing their organizations and our society.

The team includes Brent Schlender and Peter Petre, two of the key editorial voices that designed the Techonomy manifesto and program; Carolyn Jones, the creative director who orchestrated the experience of the conference and produced all the video and educational materials from the conference; and Michael Christman, the executive producer. Participants who relished that inaugural effort should take a close look at the Compass Summit program and philosophy to see how we have both remained true to our original ideas, and taken them to the next level.

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 43

The Carnival of Nuclear Energy 43 is up at the Areva blog

The latest updates on the Japanese nuclear power stations are at ANS Nuclear cafe

Nuclear Green covered the SmAHTR from oak ridge national lab

ORNL has recently published a 125 page report detailing a SMR (small reactor) called Small modular Advanced High-Temperature Reactor (smAHTR) based on the liquid salt graphite moderated reactor design.

SmAHTR is a 125 MWt, integral primary system FHR concept . . . The design goals for SmAHTR are to deliver safe, affordable, and reliable high-temperature process heat and electricity from a small plant that can be easily transported to and assembled at remote sites. The initial SmAHTR concept is designed to operate with a core outlet temperature of 700°C, but with a system architecture and overall design approach that can be adapted to much higher temperatures as higher-temperature structural materials become available. The SmAHTR reactor vessel is transportable via standard tractor-trailer vehicles to its deployment location . . . .


Andrea Rossi starting a one year study of Nickel-Hydrogen Cold Fusion technology at the University of Bologna and possible replication in the United States

Pure Energy Systems News - Other researchers are interested in the Nickel-Hydrogen Cold Fusion technology, new calorimeter tests are forthcoming, media announcements are on the way, and a year long testing program at the University of Bologna has started. With a demonstration of the one megawatt system in the USA in the works (before it is shipped to Europe) and the opening of the one megawatt plant in Greece by late October, 2011.

Andrea Rossi stated -

We are now making a R&D work with the University of Bologna. It will last one year, during which we will make throughly tests. The resulta will be published at the end of the research. In the meantime we will start up our plant of 1 MW we have to deliver to our Customer in Greece. After that, our product will be in the market.

Hypersonic vehicle news

1. The U.S. Air Force has called for work on a "prompt global strike" capability to focus on development of a hypersonic glider to be fired from a heavy bomber, not from rocket boosters as previously planned.

The Air Force is eying the Mach-20 Falcon Hypersonic Test Vehicle as the basis for the new strike missile. “Our focus is on boost-glide capabilities, including the Hypersonic Technology Vehicle concept,” Maj. Gen. David Scott said this week. “We have no plans for conventionally armed sea-based missiles such as a [Navy] Conventional Trident modification or conventionally-armed ICBMs.”


NASA's Robot Airplane Practices for In-flight Refueling

Aerial refueling could keep drones such as the NASA's Global Hawk airborne for up to a week. Now two drones have taken a record-setting step toward that future by flying as close as 40 feet apart during a test on Jan. 21.

A Northrop Grumman Proteus test aircraft and a NASA Global Hawk engaged in their aerial courtship at a nose-bleeding altitude of 45,000 feet. That test helped human engineers better understand and reduce the risks leading up to the first autonomous aerial refueling of two Global Hawks in the spring of 2012

DARPA developing microscale radio transmitters and another program for light weight optics

1. Most military RF transmitters today use large, fixed-voltage power converters to supply conditioned power to the semiconductor power amplifier, DARPA officials explain. This is barrier to higher levels of microsystem integration. DARPA is developing a radio transmitter that generates radio signals efficiently through the DC power supply of the transmitter. They want the new RF transmitter integrated as a monolithic integrated circuit or system-in-package module that relies on a monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) power amplifier that is integrated with a dynamic-voltage power supply and control circuit.

Saudi Arabia day of rage fizzles

LA Times - A call for protests in Saudi Arabia that had been talked about for weeks drew only a handful of people Friday, allowing the kingdom to keep at bay for now the waves of political unrest that have battered the Middle East and North Africa.

In the end, the "day of rage," organized on Facebook and by word of mouth, fizzled. No protests occurred in any Saudi cities except for a small demonstration in Al-Ahsa in restive Eastern province, said Maj. Gen. Mansour Turki of the Interior Ministry. Turki said he did not know if any arrests were made in connection with the Al-Ahsa protest. Human-rights activists did not return phone calls seeking comment on the events.

High Temperature Superconductor for energy storage, transformers, cable, generators and motors

2G HTS Applications Developments (62 pages)

Superpower inc is working on :

1. 2G HTS SMES (High Temperature Superconductor superconducting magnetic energy storage)
2. FCL (Fault Current Limiters) Transformer
3. FCL (Fault Current Limiters)Module Development
4. HTS (High Temperature Superconductor) Cable
5. HTS (High Temperature Superconductor) Generators and Motors

Japan reports 500 missing and 300 dead from the worlds Fifth largest earthquake since 1900

The latest reports are 500 missing and 300 dead in Japan from the worlds fifth largest earthquake since 1900.

The World Nuclear Association, the main nuclear industry body, said Friday that it understood the situation at Japan's Fukushima plant after a massive earthquake was under control, and water was being pumped into its cooling system.

UPDATE: Santa Cruz Harbor dock was destroyed by a tsunami from the Japan earthquake

Financial impact of the japanese earthquake

Re-insurance companies have seen their shares fall in anticipation of the payouts for the costs of rebuilding after the Japanese 8.9 earthquake. Early estimates are that the costs will be in the $30 billion range. There were scenarios put out years ago of a superquake to hit Tokyo and Japan calling back a trillion invested overseas and causing problems for the US market and interest rates. So far this does not appear to be the scale of what has happened.

David Cohen, a Singapore-based analyst at regional economic commentators Action Economics, said "In the short term, the damage could even knock off almost 1% of the country's GDP, Longer-term though, it will balance out, through the rebuilding exercise which will be positive for growth will all the construction taking place. It could turn positive in about 12 months."

Japan has a massive 8.9 earthquake with hundreds killed and energy impacts

1. ANS nuclear cafe is tracking reports on the nuclear power stations in Japan.

World nuclear news has a report

The magnitude 8.9 quake hit at 2.46pm, centred offshore of the Sendai region, which contains the capital Tokyo. Serious secondary effects followed including a significant tsunami and a major fire at a fossil fuel installation. The quake comes just two days after one of magnitude 7.3 also offshore in the same general region.

The Japan Atomic Industry Forum (JAIF) issued a notice saying all reactors in the north-eastern part of Japan had shut down automatically. It noted that the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (Nisa) had said no damage to nuclear power plants had been reported as of 3.16pm. Japanese prime minister Naoto Kan made a statement on television in which he noted that there was no indication of any radioactive release.

March 10, 2011

Researchers have developed a form of ultra-low-power digital memory that is faster and uses 100 times less energy

Three parallel memory bits with carbon nanotube electrodes (false color image based on topographic profile from atomic force microscopy). The middle bit is in the “off” state, the other two are “on”. The silicon dioxide substrate is shown in blue. | Image courtesy Eric Pop

A team of researchers have developed a form of ultra-low-power digital memory that is faster and uses 100 times less energy than similar available memory.

Science Express - Low-Power Switching of Phase-Change Materials with Carbon Nanotube Electrodes

Ultrafast ten to 200 picosecond switching of photonic entanglement

(a) Entangled photon-pair source and test apparatus for ultrafast switching.
(b) The single-photon switch.


Arxiv - Ultrafast switching of photonic entanglement at 200 picoseconds with the potential for 10 picosecond switching.

To deploy and operate a quantum network which utilizes existing telecommunications infrastructure, it is necessary to be able to route entangled photons at high speeds, with minimal loss and signal-band noise, and—most importantly—without disturbing the photons’ quantum state. Here we present a switch which fulfills these requirements and characterize its performance at the single photon level; it exhibits a 200-ps switching window, a 120:1 contrast ratio, 1.5 dB loss, and induces no measurable degradation in the switched photons’ entangled-state fidelity (less than 0.002). Furthermore, because this type of switch couples the temporal and spatial degrees of freedom, it provides an important new tool with which to encode multiple-qubit states in a single photon. As a proof-of-principle demonstration of this capability, we demultiplex a single quantum channel from a dual-channel, time-division-multiplexed entangled photon stream, effectively performing a controlled-bit-flip on a two-qubit subspace of a five-qubit, two-photon state.

Biomaterials for the Feeder-Free Culture of Human Embryonic Stem Cells and Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Scientists at a Taiwan university have achieved a breakthrough in cell rejuvenation by injecting four genes into a mature cell, which resets the cell's bio-clock to a state similar to fertilization They managed to induce fibroblast cells to split into pluripotent stem cells, which are similar to embryonic cells.

Chemical Review - Biomaterials for the Feeder-Free Culture of Human Embryonic Stem Cells and Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Nanodiamond-drug combo significantly improves treatment of chemotherapy-resistant cancers


Cancers can become resistant to standard chemotherapeutic drug. Nanodiamonds have been used deliver the chemotherapeutic drug doxorubicin to cancer cells, a route that bypasses the pumps and inhibits the growth of chemoresistant tumors. [CREDIT: C. BICKEL/SCIENCE TRANSLATIONAL MEDICINE]

Northwestern University - Chemotherapy drug resistance contributes to treatment failure in more than 90 percent of metastatic cancers. Overcoming this hurdle would significantly improve cancer survival rates.

In studies of liver and breast cancer models in vivo, Ho and a multidisciplinary team of scientists, engineers and clinicians found that a normally lethal amount of a chemotherapy drug when bound to nanodiamonds significantly reduced the size of tumors in mice. Survival rates also increased and no toxic effects on tissues and organs were observed.

Journal Science Translational Medicine - Nanodiamond Therapeutic Delivery Agents Mediate Enhanced Chemoresistant Tumor Treatment

Algeria will start tapping 1000 trillion cf of natural gas and Korea starts up the Shin Kori nuclear reactor

1. Algeria, already a major exporter of oil and natural gas, could become an even bigger exporter in the coming years as it develops up to 1,000 trillion cubic feet of natural gas trapped in shale rock more than 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) below the surface.

The EIA list of countries based on proven reserves of natural gas in 2010 If the Algeria reserves were proven then that would move them up to third or fourth in the world for natural gas reserves.


Researchers discover drug that stops progression of Parkinson's disease in mice

Researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine have discovered a drug that stops the progression of the degenerative illness in mice and is now being tested on humans.

“Drugs currently used to treat Parkinson’s disease just treat symptoms; they do not stop the disease from getting worse,” said senior author Curt Freed, MD, who heads the division of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology at the CU School of Medicine. “We’ve now discovered that we can prevent the progression of the disease by turning on a protective gene in the brain.

March 09, 2011

US Decline - some interesting points by Zakaria

Time - It's not that America's democracy doesn't work; it's that it works only too well. American politics is now hyperresponsive to constituents' interests. And all those interests are dedicated to preserving the past rather than investing for the future. There are no lobbying groups for the next generation of industries, only for those companies that are here now with cash to spend. There are no special-interest groups for our children's economic well-being, only for people who get government benefits right now. The whole system is geared to preserve current subsidies, tax breaks and loopholes. That is why the federal government spends $4 on elderly people for every $1 it spends on those under 18. And when the time comes to make cuts, guess whose programs are first on the chopping board. That is a terrible sign of a society's priorities and outlook.

The US is too efficient in doing the wrong things. The future has no money for lobbying.

Update on Follistatin, Myostatin, and selective androgen receptor modulators

Researchers at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Ohio have gained funding to carry out a clinical trial injecting a virus carrying a gene called follistatin which stimulates muscle growth

Jerry Mendell M.D. and Brian Kaspar PhD have been awarded a US$600,000 grant by the US charity Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy. The money will be used to manufacture the clinical grade viruses and conduct the clinical trial which is due to start in 2011. The gene therapy approach has been successfully tested in monkeys and involves blocking the protein myostatin with follistatin. Myostatin is a protein produced by muscle cells that prevents the muscles from growing bigger and stronger
.

Veteran sniper of World War 2 still has skills

Army sniper veteran Ted Gundy, 85 years old, hit a target at 300 yards three times out of three using a 1903 A4 replica sniper gun. (the same he used in the war).

Officers taught him how the Army’s custom made Remington 700 works and explained how a 1,000 yard shot can be achieved. It involves a second sniper, called a spotter, judging the wind. He shot three impressive head shots all within five inches of each other.

He seems ready for The Old Mans War

More Billionaires in BRIC than in Europe

The US still has 413 billionaires with a total net worth of $1,500bn and the the Brics countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China – had 301 billionaires, 108 more than in the previous year, and one more than Europe.

In 2011, Forbes counts 1210 billionaires in the world with a total net worth of $4.5 trillion.

Carlos Slim remains number one with $74 billion.

Carlos could be 1 to 3 years from getting to over $100 billion. He has indicated that he will donate to charity in a major way as Bill Gates and Warren Buffet have. Mexico's Carlos Slim Helu added $20.5 billion to his fortune.

Koroteev at the heart of Russia's Megawatt nuclear reactor for space plans

The role of space power in solving prospective problems in the interests of global safety, science and social economic sphere by А.S. Koroteev President of Russian Academy of Cosmonautics 2010 (19 pages)

The presentation discusses nuclear power sources for space up to 1 megawatt for flying to Mars, moon base power and for orbital tugs.

Koroteev also wrote "New stage in the use of atomic energy in space "

VASIMR plans for the 5-10 years, a path to 6 megawatt systems


VASIMR VX-200 Performance and Near-term SEP Capability for Unmanned Mars Flight was presented at the Future In-Space Operations (FISO) Workshop

Ad Astra has demonstrated 60% propulsion system efficiency (DC to jet power) at an Isp of 4800 seconds and an input power of 220 kW DC

• The ratio of mass to power (alpha) of solar arrays and thrusters establishes the payload fraction achievable for SEP

• Concentrator solar arrays are essential to achieving alpha values low enough for SEP to be attractive for unmanned Mars flights

• In the near term (five years?), a combined array + thruster alpha of 20 kg/kW seems within reach, at power levels on the order of hundreds of kW

Rooting the Nook into a basic $190 color, wifi, android tablet

The Nook Color, which was designed mainly for reading books and magazines, is about half the size of an iPad or a Xoom. It weighs about 30% less. It runs on WiFi, but not 3G. It has an absolutely superb screen. And, once you've unlocked the software, it runs many Android applications, from email to news readers. It can also run the Amazon Kindle app.

Minimag for near term interstellar transportation

The full "Use of Mini-Mag Orion and superconducting coils for near-term interstellar transportation" paper is available for free online (2007, 9 pages)

I had previously suggested avoiding the 1000 Terawatt laser of the interstellar minimag by predeploying the fuel along the path of the minimag.


Pacman gobbling up dots

Programmable Molecular Robots can choose different branches and not just move in straight line

Nanoletters - A Programmable Molecular Robot

We have developed a programmable and autonomous molecular robot whose motion is fueled by DNA hybridization. Instructions determining the path to be followed are programmed into the fuel molecules, allowing precise control of cargo motion on a branched track.

The molecular machine made of synthetic DNA moves between track locations separated by 6nm. The robot, a short strand of DNA, follows instructions programmed into a set of fuel molecules determining its destination, for example, to turn left or right at a junction in the track. The DNA robot can be programmed to choose among different branches of a molecular track, rather than just move in a straight line (previous walkers have moved in a straight line).

US Senate passes patent reform bill which would transition the US to First to file

The America Invents Act, originally titled the Patent Reform Act, cleared the Senate by a vote of 95 to five

The America Invents Act transitions the United States to a first-inventor-to-file system. This will simplify the application system and bring it in line with the nation’s trading partners. It will reduce costs and improve the competitiveness of American inventors seeking protection in the global marketplace.

The America Invents Act establishes the opportunity for third parties to submit information related to a pending application for consideration by a patent examiner. By allowing prior art to be submitted and explained, patent examiners will have a valuable tool to use to grant only high quality patents. The Patent Reform Act also creates a “first window” post-grant opposition proceeding, open for nine months after the grant of the patent, to allow challengers to weed out patents that should not have been issued.

Bill Gates Energy Talk at TED 2010 and TED Talk in 2011 on State budgets

Bill Gates is the chairman of the 30 person company TerraPower LLC. They recently completed a basic design for a reactor that theoretically could run untouched for decades on spent nuclear fuel. Now the company is seeking a partner to help build the experimental reactor, and a country willing to host it.

A traveling-wave reactor would start with a little bit of uranium 235 but most of the fuel would be uranium-238.

In Bill Gates 2011 talk: State Budgets

I wanted to share some of what I’ve been learning about state budgets. I got interested in them because states supply most of the money for public education in the United States. What I’ve been learning, though, is that states are under increasingly intense budget pressure, and not just because of the aftereffects of the economic recession, although that has made things worse.

There are long-term problems with state budgets that a return to economic growth won’t solve. Health-care costs and pension obligations are projected to grow at rates that look to be completely unsustainable, unless something is done.
In Bill Gates 2010 Energy TED Talk (Innovating to Zero, video embedded below) he said:

The deadline for the world to cut all of its carbon emissions is 2050. He suggested that researchers spend the next 20 years inventing and perfecting clean-energy technologies, and then the next 20 years implementing them. The world's energy portfolio should not include coal or natural gas, he said, and must include carbon capture and storage technology as well as nuclear, wind and both solar photovoltaics and solar thermal power.

NASA and the makers of the VASIMR Plasma rocket sign a new deal

Ad Astra Rocket Company and NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) have signed a Support Agreement to collaborate on research, analysis and development tasks on space-based cryogenic magnet operations and electric propulsion systems currently under development by Ad Astra. The Support Agreement is the fourth entered into by the parties under an “Umbrella” Space Act Agreement, executed in December of 2007.

March 08, 2011

A pro-Intelligence Explosion case from Richard Loosemore and Ben Goertzel

One of the earliest incarnations of the contemporary Singularity concept was I.J. Good’s concept of the “intelligence explosion,” articulated in 1965 and it one where a process of being able to make recursively improving intelligences is achieved.

Anders Sandberg listed out a partial list of potential bottlenecks:
1. Economic growth rate
2. Investment availability
3. Gathering of empirical information (experimentation, interacting with an environment)
4. Software complexity
5. Hardware demands vs. available hardware
6. Bandwidth
7. Lightspeed lags

Clearly many more can be suggested. But which bottlenecks are the most limiting, and how can this be ascertained?”

Richard Loosemore and Ben Goertzel try to address the seven listed points.

Cholesterol link to immune system and a molecular switch can turn on cancer vaccines

1. A study by Edinburgh University scientists found when the body succumbs to a viral infection a hormone in the immune system lowers cholesterol. It may be possible to use cholesterol lowering drugs to also boost the immune system. A new treatment could help overcome the problems associated with antibiotic resistance, as it enhances the way the body responds to an infection, instead of focusing on attacking the infection itself.

U.S. Census Bureau Delivers California's 2010 Census Population Totals

The U.S. Census Bureau today released more detailed 2010 Census population totals and demographic characteristics

ARPA-ED $90 million proposal by the White House

Winning the Education Future - The Role of ARPA-ED (16 pages)

To address the under-investment in learning technology R and D, the President’s FY2012 budget proposes to invest $90 million to create an Advanced Research Projects Agency for Education (ARPA-ED). ARPA-ED will fund projects performed by industry, universities, or other innovative organizations, selected based on their potential to create a dramatic breakthrough in learning and teaching.

Robert Bradbury who invented the matrioshka brain concept has died

Sentient Developments - Robert Bradbury passed away suddenly and unexpectedly last weekend of a massive hemorrhagic stroke at the age of 54.

Transhumantech also reported this unfortunate news.

A matrioshka brain is a hypothetical megastructure proposed by Robert Bradbury, based on the Dyson sphere, of immense computational capacity. It is an example of a Class B stellar engine, employing the entire energy output of a star to drive computer systems. This concept derives its name from Russian Matrioshka dolls

MRAM data storage with 500 picosecond response

Commercial MRAMs have been on the market since 2005. They are, however, still slower than the competitors they have among the volatile storage media. Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) has a new special chip connection, in association with dynamic triggering of the component, reduces the response from – so far – 2 ns to below 500 ps. This corresponds to a data rate of up to 2 GBit (instead of the approx. 400 MBit so far). Power consumption and the thermal load will be reduced, as well as the bit error rate.

UCLA researchers use 'nano-Velcro' technology to improve capture of circulating cancer cells

'Nano-Velcro' microfluidic chip - A integrated chip for detecting circulating tumor cells in blood collected from prostate cancer patients. (Image credit: Dr. Libi Zhao and Xiaowen Xu)

Circulating tumor cells, which play a crucial role in cancer metastasis, have been known to science for more than 100 years, and researchers have long endeavored to track and capture them. Now, a UCLA research team has developed an innovative device based on Velcro-like nanoscale technology to efficiently identify and "grab" these circulating tumor cells, or CTCs, in the blood.

Computronium is claimed to be unobtanium

Quantum Computer researcher Suzanne Gildert claims that computronium is unobtanium.

Computronium is defined by some as a substance which approaches the theoretical limit of computational power that we can achieve through engineering of the matter around us. It would mean that every atom of a piece of matter would be put to useful work doing computation. [Note: right here I have an issue, because if there are limitations using all matter for computation that just changes the theoretical limit but computronium would still exist as it is defined as the best that is possible] Such a system would reside at the ultimate limits of efficiency, and the smallest amount of energy possible would be wasted through the generation of heat.

Additive Layer Manufacturing printing of a bicycle with no metal by the makers of the Airbus jets

EADS, the European aerospace and defence group, has unveiled the world’s first bike that uses a revolutionary new manufacturing process which demonstrates the potential to transform manufacturing around the globe.

Known as the ‘Airbike’, it is a bike with a difference. Made of nylon but strong enough to replace steel or aluminium, it requires no conventional maintenance or assembly. It is ‘grown’ from powder, allowing complete sections to be built as one piece; the wheels, bearings and axle being incorporated within the ‘growing’ process and built at the same time. The Airbike can be built to rider specification so requires no adjustment.

Deficiencies in the SENS Approach to Rejuvenation

Alcor - Deficiencies in the SENS Approach to Rejuvenation by Ben Best

Aubrey de Grey asserts that aging is the result of seven kinds of damage – and that technologies that repair all seven types of damage will result in rejuvenation. His seven-fold program for damage repair is called SENS: “Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence”. Dr. de Grey asserts that repairing aging damage is a more effective approach than attempting to slow or prevent aging, and I agree with him. Being an ardent supporter of SENS has not stopped me from simultaneously being a critic of aspects of his program that I think are flawed or deficient. I will attempt to outline some of my criticisms in simple language, assuming that my readers have some knowledge of basic science.

Two SENS strategies cannot justly be described as damage-repair, in my opinion. To protect mitochondrial DNA from free radical damage he wants to make copies of mitochondrial DNA in the nucleus – and import the resulting proteins back into the mitochondria. I would call this an attempt to slow or prevent aging – it cannot be called repair.

Global Health Risks

World Health Organization - Global Health Risks report from 2009 (70 pages)

The leading global risks for mortality in the world are high blood pressure (responsible for 13% of deaths globally), tobacco use (9%), high blood glucose (6%), physical inactivity (6%), and overweight and obesity (5%). These risks are responsible for raising the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancers. They affect countries across all income groups: high, middle and low. The leading global risks for burden of disease as measured in disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) are underweight (6% of global DALYs) and unsafe sex (5%), followed by alcohol use (5%) and unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene (4%).

World life expectancy would go up by about seven to ten years if all of the primary global health risks were eliminated. Life expectancy in high income countries would go up by about 2 to 3 years.

March 07, 2011

Superconducting Magnets for Grid-Scale Storage and superconducting wire projection to 2016

MIT Technology Review - Superconducting Magnets for Grid-Scale Storage Swiss-based engineering firm ABB outlined plans for a 3.3 kilowatt-hour proof-of-concept SMES prototype. ABB is collaborating with superconducting wire manufacturer SuperPower, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and the University of Houston as part of the $4.2 million ARPA-E grant. The group's ultimate goal is to develop a 1-to-2-megawatt-hour commercial-scale device that is cost-competitive with lead-acid batteries.

Latest presentation from Superpower inc on superconducting wire.

For Superconducting Magnet Energy Storage (SMES) to compete with lead-acid batteries and other technologies, SMES systems may need to be significantly larger than the 1-to-2-megawatt-hour devices envisioned by ABB. They may need to offer tens of megawatt hours of storage, Luongo says, "and the cheaper the other technologies get, the farther out that crossover point gets."

India will generate 25.5 TWH in the 12 months ending Mar 31, 2011

India will generate 25.5 TWH from nuclear power in the year ending Mar 31, 2011 This was an increase of 35% over 18.8 TWH generated in the prior year.

This was largely due to higher availability of uranium from France, Russia and Kazakhstan under inter-government agreements. Areva of France has supplied NPC 300 tonnes uranium for Rajasthan Unit-2, which is operating above 100 per cent capacity. India has entered into long-term uranium supply agreements with Russia and Kazakhstan. NPC’s installed capacity from 19 reactors is 4,680 Mw.

Carnival of space 187

The Carnival of space 187 is up at cheapastro

Urban Astronomer notes that in 11 days time (March 18m 2011), Mercury will gain a new satellite in the form of the MESSENGER spacecraft. MESSENGER's mission is to study and map Mercury, giving detailed information on its magnetic field and the mineral composition of its surface.


National IQ and the movie social network

IQ scores are normalised for a mean of 100 and standard deviation of 15 (Weschler). - 1 in 270 have an IQ score over 140. If the standard deviation is 16 SD (Stanford-Binet) then genius would be 1/161) If a country had a mean of 107.5 then it has shifted by a half of a standard deviation to the right and scores over 140 would happen 1 in 61 times.

The movie Social network had a quote at the beginning.

Did you know there are more people with genius IQs living in China than there are people of any kind living in the United States?

Even with a mean score of 105, China would have 1 in 102 geniuses. 1.34 billion people would mean 13.4 million geniuses. China has 4.3 times the population of the USA. 11 IQ points over the mean is a rarity of 4.3. A mean national IQ of 129 is needed to have 1 in 4.3 people be a genius.

China should have more geniuses than all of the people in Cambodia or the Czech Republic.

China has more geniuses than the population of any single state except California, Texas, New York or Florida

About 200-400 people out of 1.5 million annual test takers get perfect SAT scores.

The purpose of Richard Lynn book (The Global Bell Curve: Race, IQ, and Inequality Worldwide) is to discuss the controversial topic of race and intelligence. It follows Lynn's 2006 book Race Differences in Intelligence.

* East Asian (Chinese, Japanese, Koreans) (Average IQ of 105)
* Europeans (Average IQ 100)
* South East Asians (Average IQ 87)
* North African (Average IQ of 84)
* Africans (Average IQ of 67–80)
* Australian Aborigines (Average IQ of 62)

New weight loss discovery moves us closer to 'the Pill' for obesity by reducing Klotho protein

An important discovery in mice may make a big difference in people's waistlines thanks to a team of Harvard scientists who found that reducing the function of a transmembrane protein, called Klotho, in obese mice with high blood sugar levels produced lean mice with reduced blood sugar levels. This protein also exists in humans, suggesting that selectively targeting Klotho could lead to a new class of drugs to reduce obesity and possibly Type 2 diabetes for people.

Dietary and genetic evidence for enhancing glucose metabolism and reducing obesity by inhibiting klotho functions

Photodetectors using Carbon nanotubes hundreds of times faster than before with picosecond resolution


Carbon nanotubes are promising elements for optoelectronic components. However so far there were no electronic methods to analyze the ultra fast optoelectronic dynamics of the nanotubes. A team of physicists headed by Professor Alexander Holleitner from the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) has now come up with a new method to directly measure the dynamics of photo-excited electrons in nanoscale photodetectors. This new measurement technique is about a hundred times faster than any existing method. It allowed the scientists headed by Professor Alexander Holleitner to measure the precise speed of electrons. In the carbon nanotubes the electrons only cover a distance of about 8 ten-thousandths of a millimeter or 800 nanometers in one picosecond.

Quantum control of proximal spins using nanoscale magnetic resonance imaging

Arxiv - Quantum control of proximal spins using nanoscale magnetic resonance imaging

MIT Technology Review -
Mike Grinolds et al at Harvard University have cracked the problem of increasing qubits using MRI (magnetic resonance imaging, previously stuck at about 7 qubits). They have shrunk the business end of a magnetic resonance machine to the size of a pinhead. They've done it by placing a powerful magnet at the scanning tip of an atomic force microscope. In this way, they can create a powerful magnetic field gradient in a volume of space just a few nanometres across. That allows them to stimulate and control the magnetic resonance of single electrons. They've tested their device on so-called nitrogen vacancies in diamond. These are created by burying single atoms of nitrogen in thin sheets of diamond. Quantum physicists are fascinated with these vacancies because they are well protected from the outside world and so stable, and are easy to see by the photons they emit.

Quantum control of individual spins in condensed matter systems is an emerging field with wide-ranging applications in spintronics, quantum computation, and sensitive magnetometry. Recent experiments have demonstrated the ability to address and manipulate single electron spins through either optical or electrical techniques. However, it is a challenge to extend individual spin control to nanoscale multi-electron systems, as individual spins are often irresolvable with existing methods. Here we demonstrate that coherent individual spin control can be achieved with few-nm resolution for proximal electron spins by performing single-spin magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which is realized via a scanning magnetic field gradient that is both strong enough to achieve nanometric spatial resolution and sufficiently stable for coherent spin manipulations. We apply this scanning field-gradient MRI technique to electronic spins in nitrogen-vacancy (NV) centers in diamond and achieve nanometric resolution in imaging, characterization, and manipulation of individual spins. For NV centers, our results in individual spin control demonstrate an improvement of nearly two orders of magnitude in spatial resolution compared to conventional optical diffraction- limited techniques. This scanning-fi eld-gradient microscope enables a wide range of applications including materials characterization, spin entanglement, and nanoscale magnetometry.

US deficit for the month of February, 2011 was $223 billion. Annual deficits for 2007


US deficit for the month of February, 2011 was $223 billion

The U.S. federal budget deficit for fiscal year 2007 was about $161 billion, or 1.2% of gross domestic product and the deficit was $248 billion in fiscal 2006.

Modern Bridge and infrastructure inspection methods and the need for faster, more frequent and more efficient inspection

This is the Hesco portable linear accelerator system for high energy x-ray inspection of concrete in bridges. This is an overview of the market in infrastructure inspection and the current high energy x-ray examination system.


Click on the picture to expand the table of concrete inspection techniques

Diagnosis Evaluation and repair of deteriorated concrete bridges (2004, 184 pages)

The US economy is supported by a vast network of transportation infrastructure facilities in the form of highways, railroads, waterways, transit ways, pipelines etc. The worth of this infrastructure is estimated to be around $2.5 trillion. In the US there are about four million miles of paved roads and highways and 575,000 bridges. Statistics from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) indicated that approximately 230,000 bridges are either functionally obsolete or structurally deficient and are in need for immediate rehabilitation requiring a total investment of $70 billion. In another study, (FHWA) estimated that: nearly half of the bridge inventory is deficient due to either structural or traffic inadequacies; a $90 billion backlog of bridge maintenance exists; traffic congestion wastes 1.4 billion gallons of gas and 1.2 billion person-hours each year; and transportation delays add $7.6 billion annually to costs in the US. It is estimated that $78B will be spent over the next 20 years in major rehabilitation of bridges

Future of Power Electronics

Research Needs and Opportunities in Power Electronics by MIT at APRA-E (46 pages)

Advances in power electronics are needed in:
* Inverters and rectifiers ac ↔ dc
* dc-dc converters dc ↔ dc

Greencarcongress- Transphorm has a gallium nitride dc to dc converter with over 99% efficiency

Transphorm says that its solutions cut energy waste by 20% and simplify the design and manufacturing of a wide variety of electrical systems and devices, including motor drives, power supplies and inverters for solar panels and electric vehicles.

Thunderbolt - a new FireWire

EEtimes takes a lengthy (2 web page) look at Intel's Thunderbolt communication technology.

Conclusion -
Thunderbolt will no doubt get more backing from top-tier PC, display and disk drive makers. But it remains to be seen whether it will provide sustained impact or, like FireWire, flame out.

I think it definitely looks like a niche Firewire scale system.

Nuclear power displacing coal in the USA and Russian reactor starting in India now and Belrussia in 2017 and 2018

1. A Tennessee Valley Authority plan designed to guide decision making recommends greater use of nuclear power, natural gas and renewable resources and less reliance on coal in the next two decades.

Android Tablet market shares for Samsung Galaxy, Barnes and noble Nook, Dell Streak

Steve Jobs claimed a high tablet market share at the IPad2 rollout

Many have said (iPad) is the most successful consumer product ever launched. Over 90% market share and our competitors were flummoxed.”

There are difficulties determining how many tablets

Ycombinator has a debate about the claims.

There will be hundreds of competing tablets in 2011 and there will be a whole range of screen size and form factor options from Android tablets and a constant stream of releases. Apple has introduced the iPad 2 and it looks solid but it will have fend off many current and new competitors that will have a faster cycle of releases and updates. Quadcore tablets using updated Nvidia chips should be available by the fourth quarter of 2011.

Android tablets can also allow swappable batteries, USB and other connections, dual monitors, tablet or smartphone docking stations, better cameras and open memory additions. Android tablets will also be able hit all of the price points from $50 up to $1500. Note: I expect that the price of used iPad 1.0 will by in the $100-200 range in 3 months on eBay when many choose to unload them for iPad 2.0. Annual releases of new iPads and new Android tablets will mean that perfectly usable used tablets will be dirt cheap from 2012 onwards. Children may end up getting those kinds of sub-$100 devices in 2-3 years instead of the current devices like Leapster or etch and sketch.

Apple will be able to maintain a solid niche and segment and they retain stronger market share than Macs did during the worst of the PC wars, but Apple is strategy is to accept smaller market share with an integrated product where they do not license out their operating system.

X-ray scanner for infrastructure inspection confirmed as feasible using nuclear fusion prototype

Lawrenceville Plasma Physics (LPP) has confirmed that the current nuclear fusion prototype can be configured to generate sufficient high energy X-rays for an x-scan spinoff.

LPP March 3, 2011 report (4 pages):

Measurement of intense, high-energy X-rays from the electron beam through 6” of metal demonstrate the technical feasibility of X-Scan spin-off technology

New experiments this month have demonstrated for the first time that the main spin-off technology of our research, the X-Scan instrument to inspect roads, bridges, and other major infrastructure, is technically feasible with a DPF similar to our FF-1. While this is only a laboratory demonstration, far from a commercial product, the new experimental evidence indicates that such a commercial product is feasible, given adequate engineering funding. In our view, this considerably increases the chances that LPP will have a profitable product, even before the development of Focus Fusion.

March 06, 2011

Cargill will have a kite sail on a 30,000 ton cargo ship

Cargill has signed an agreement with SkySails GmbH and Co. KG (SkySails) to use wind power technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the shipping industry. SkySails, based in Hamburg, has developed innovative, patented technology that uses a kite which flies ahead of the vessel and generates enough propulsion to reduce consumption of bunker fuel by up to 35 percent in ideal sailing conditions.

The sail will be on cargo ship that is up to 30,000 tons. In 2008, a 10,000 ton cargo ship had a sail added. The Beluga group is also building two 20,000 ton ships that will also use sails.

New generation of optical integrated devices for future quantum computers


(a) Schematic representation of a 4×4 MMI integrated chip. (b) Simulation of classical light propagation in the device shown schematically in a.

A research group led by scientists from the University of Bristol has demonstrated the quantum operation of new components that will enable compact circuits for future photonic quantum computers.

Nature Communications - Multimode quantum interference of photons in multiport integrated devices

Silver-Diamond Composite Offers Cooling Capabilities for Electronics

GTRI researcher Jason Nadler displays a sample of thin silver-diamond composite material. (Credit: Gary Meek)

Researchers at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) are developing a solid composite material to help cool small, powerful microelectronics used in defense systems. The material, composed of silver and diamond, promises an exceptional degree of thermal conductivity compared to materials currently used for this application.

Colorectal Cancer Statistics and recommendations

Click for a larger image

The American cancer society has a 32 page report on colorectal cancer.

The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2011 about 141,210 people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer and about 49,380 people will die of the disease in the US. In both men and women, colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the third leading cause of cancer death. The majority of these cancers and deaths could be prevented by applying existing knowledge about cancer prevention and by increasing the use of established screening tests.

Sigmoidoscopy, followed by colonoscopy if a polyp or tumor is found, can identify 70% to 80% of individuals with advanced lesions and is associated with a 60% to 80% reduction in colorectal cancer mortality for the area of the colon within its reach.70-72 Results of a recent clinical trial indicate that a single sigmoidoscopy screening between the ages of 55 and 64 years reduces colorectal cancer incidence by 33% and mortality by 43%.

China taking steps to boost domestic consumption

China has a new scheme that will:

1. raise wages, focusing especially on rural workers, whose incomes are about 30 percent of what city dwellers earn. The aim is to not only boost consumption but alleviate that growing and problematic wage gap.

2. China will deemphasize the manufacturing sector in favor of the more labor-intensive services sector, which will allow slow growth, thus reducing inflationary pressures while maintaining all-important job creation

3. They will push spending by providing a social safety net. Stephen Roach, an economist and nonexecutive chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia, figures that China’s current public pension system provides a mere $470 of retirement funds for the average Chinese worker – clearly not enough to encourage families to spend their income.

Roach predicts these three policies will be enough to raise private consumption in China to 42 percent - 45 percent of GDP by 2015, up from 36 percent today; that compares with 70 percent of GDP in the U.S. This could be excellent news for the U.S. and for Europe, which make and produce many of the consumer goods that Chinese citizens want.