Pages

May 21, 2011

Paper thin tablet and ereaders

A few developments were announced this week that are related to paper thin tablets, ereaders and electronics in general.

Silicon wafers (and their electronics) can be separated to a thinness of 20 to 150 microns

Asahi glass has made glass that is 100 microns thick

It is thin enough to roll into a scroll

May 20, 2011

Implant-Cleave Process Enables Ultra-thin Wafers without Kerf Loss for 60% cost saving

Implant-cleave wafering can make crystalline silicon photovoltaic wafers 2 to 12 times thinner and reduce silicon material costs by 60%

The elimination of sawing kerf loss combined with its ability to make thinner wafers of high quality make the implant-cleave wafering approach technically and economically attractive. For example, while a typical silicon usage to make a solar wafer including kerf loss is approaching 6g/W, the new implant-cleave process consumes merely 2.5g/W at its highest thickness of 150µm. Using $50/kg for the price of polysilicon, this corresponds to a 60% cost savings in silicon material. Higher savings occur when the new method's unique ability to make thinner wafers is utilized.

Comparison of fracture forces for wet chemical etched wafers.
        Thickness (µm)  Fracture force (N)

Wiresaw     230          28.6

PolyMax      85          43.0

PolyMax     100          59.7

The new wafering method cleaves rather than saws, and this fundamentally affects the amount of variation in wafer thickness and roughness during the manufacturing process. Not only are the variations much smaller than wafers that have been wire sawed, the implant and cleave physics cause a linear coupling between these variations and the wafer thickness. For example, a 150µm PolyMax as-cleaved wafer will typically have a variation of +/- 2µm and RMS roughness of 0.4µm, but a 20µm PolyMax wafer will show thickness variation of less than +/- 0.2µm and RMS roughness of 0.06µm. This strong thickness-variation interdependence is what enables the method's ultra-thin thickness roadmap

Videos of water proof sand

Two years ago we discussed water proof sand and how it will be used to turn deserts green

Waterproof sand – or as German scientist Helmut F. Schulze calls it – hydrophobic sand, a nanotechnology wonder seven years in the making.

By simply laying down a 10-centimeter blanket of DIME Hydrophobic Materials sand beneath typical desert topsoils, the new super sand stops water below the roots level of the plants and maintains a water table, giving greenery a constant water supply. 3000 tons/day is already being produced. 1 ton of silicate coated sand would probably be good for 10 square meters. 4 days of production to cover one square kilometer. More factories will be needed made to scale this up to address the water crisis in the Middle East, Africa, India and China.

With new hydrophobic sand in place, traditional watering of desert plants five or six times a day can be reduced to one watering, saving 75 per cent more water, a precious resource that is dwindling across the Arab Peninsula.

One of the advantages of the hydrophobic sand, Schulze said, is that while it allows aerobic activity to move upward from the soil, it prevents underground desert salinity deposits from passing through to plant roots above; salt is corrosive and kills plants.

Implanted electrodes enable a paraplegic man to stand, regain leg use

A study involving the application of continual direct electrical current — via implanted electrodes — at varying frequencies and intensities to the part of the spinal cord that controls movement of the hips, knees, ankles and toes has enabled a paralyzed man to stand and take steps on a treadmill

Summers also voluntarily can move his toes, ankles, knees and hips on command. With harness support and therapist assistance, he can make repeated stepping motions on a treadmill. He can stand up on his own and remain standing and bearing weight for up to four minutes at a time. With periodic assistance, he can stand for up to an hour.

Lancet - Effect of epidural stimulation of the lumbosacral spinal cord on voluntary movement, standing, and assisted stepping after motor complete paraplegia: a case study

New technique could enable creation of a variety of fiber-based electronic and photonic devices

Samples of materials that have been made into fibers in the lab of MIT’s Yoel Fink. The initial material is made into a 'preform,' in the lower portion, which is then heated and drawn out like taffy into a fiber from the top, preserving the arrangement of materials within the structure.
Photo: Greg Hren/RLEM


Researchers at MIT have succeeded in making a fine thread that functions as a diode, a device at the heart of modern electronics. This feat — made possible by a new approach to a type of fiber manufacturing known as fiber drawing — could open up possibilities for fabricating a wide variety of electronic and photonic devices within composite fibers, using a variety of materials.

PNAS - Fiber draw synthesis

Lawrenceville Plasma Physics reviews the details of their work on the new switches for their fusion energy project

Getting switches to work exactly right is critical for the Lawrenceville Plasma Physics dense plasma focus fusion project

This site also reviewed how reliable switches are important for the exact timing that is needed and to achieve the desired power levels.

LPP’s long-awaited new switch design was successfully tested in mid-May, after some improvements to the design. The switch consisted of solid copper plates, with a larger spark gap (to hold off higher voltages) and a much more robust spark plug

They tested the new switch three times at 40 kV and three times at 45 kV, getting no flashovers and getting perfect, on-time firing in one case at each voltage. While we may need some additional fine tuning, we are confident enough in this design to order the remaining 11 switches (plus some spares). To monitor all twelve switches and LPP’s instrument suite, we purchased two additional oscilloscopes which are already in operation, bringing the total number of available oscilloscope channels to 24.

Eurocopter X3 hybrid helicopter achieves 267 mph speed

Eurocopter X3 achieves a speed of 430 kilometers per hour (267 mph) Future helicopters incorporating the X3 configuration will offer customers about 50 percent more cruise speed and range at very affordable costs, therefore defining the future of high productivity rotary-wing aircraft.

Asahi Glass has made glass that is 100 microns thick

AGC (Asahi Glass Company) has developed 100 microns (0.1 mm)-thin sheet glass manufactured using a float process for use in next-generation displays, lighting, and touch panel screens. AGC claims it to be the world’s thinnest.


Using the zombie apocalypse at the CDC to get people interested in Disaster Preparation

Dr. Ali Khan wrote about the Zombie Apocalypse on the emergency preparedness blog of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The article has ten times the traffic for one week every day.






China Social Security System and its Social Security Fund

The social security system in China is based upon guidelines issued by the central government, although the specifics and administration of the system is managed at the local level.

All over urban China social insurance is broken down into five distinct categories. These are:

1. Pension
2. Medical insurance
3. Unemployment insurance
4. Maternity insurance
5. Occupational injury insurance

Total assets of China's social security fund increased nearly tenfold over the past 10 years, as the government strives to keep high investment returns amid the country's high inflation.

The fund's total assets rose to 856.69 billion yuan ($131.7 billion) in 2010, up from 80.51 billion yuan in 2001, the National Council for Social Security Fund (NCSSF) announced Thursday. The total assets of the fund are to reach 1 trillion yuan by the year's end and 1.5 trillion yuan by 2015 through sounder and refined management.

Cost of buying and operating 2443 F35s is estimated to be $1.3 trillion

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (Stealth multirole fighter) program is now projected to cost $1.3 trillion dollars to operate and maintain over its 30-year lifetime

Ashton Carter, under-secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, said that the new $133 million price per aircraft was not affordable.

Lawmakers Want Backup Plan After Carter Calls JSF Costs 'Unaffordable'

The Pentagon's top arms buyer this week called current cost projections for the Joint Strike Fighter "unaffordable," triggering a bipartisan group of senators to demand a Defense Department contingency plan for how tactical air forces would be modernized should the F-35 program collapse under the weight of its forecasted $1.3 trillion price tag.

The United States intends to buy a total of 2,443 F35 aircraft. The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a family of single-seat, single-engine, fifth generation multirole fighters under development to perform ground attack, reconnaissance, and air defense missions with stealth capability. The F-35 has three main models; one is a conventional takeoff and landing variant, the second is a short take off and vertical-landing variant, and the third is a carrier-based variant.

May 19, 2011

From 72 tons of house to 12 tons in a Broad Group Skyscraper

Humanity is currently using 60 billion tons of material per year. About 7 billion tons of ores, 13 billion tons of fossil fuels, 20 billion tons of construction material and 20 billion tons of biomass Construction materials can be used 6 times more efficiently by having new construction shift from residential houses to more radically new construction methods of the China Broad Group skyscraper. The units in a Broad Group Skyscraper would be much faster to build and would be more affordable.

Consumer Uses of Industrial Minerals in the San Francisco Bay Area—Houses to Interstates (8 pages)

Construction and manufacturing minerals are the least recognized of the world’s minerals. An average US house contains 60 tons of concrete products, 7 tons of gypsum (wallboard), 5 tons of sand, gravel, and stone, and 0.1 ton of glass (Kesler, 1994).

The Changsha Broad Air Conditioning Company has unveiled designs for the 200-storey Sky City tower, a sustainable mixed use project. At 666 meters tall, the building will house 1.2 million square meters (12 million square feet) of space for residential apartments, retail, offices, restaurants, schools and a myriad of other facilities. The building will be manufactured in a factory and assembled on the construction site. Additionally, the tower will have the capacity for 70,000 to 110,000 residents. It will use 400 kilograms (1000 pounds of material per square meter). 480,000 tons of building. Even with reducing the occupancy by half so that units are 1320 square feet instead of 660 square feet the amount of material is 12 tons per person for 40,000 people. The Broad Group building also includes offices and retail shopping. Instead of being 6 times more efficient with material it is more like 8-10 times, since it is replacing 72 tons of house and the extra buildings for offices and shops. It is 20 times more efficient if the higher occupancy levels are used.


Humanity Can and Must Do More with Less: UNEP Report

Humanity is currently using 60 billion tons of material oer year. About 7 billion tons of ores, 13 billion tons of fossil fuels, 20 billion tons of construction material and 20 billion tons of biomass


By 2050, humanity could consume an estimated 140 billion tons of minerals, ores, fossil fuels and biomass per year – three times its current appetite – unless the economic growth rate is "decoupled" from the rate of natural resource consumption, warns a new report from the United Nations Environment Programme.

(174 page report) Decoupling Natural Resource Use and Environmental Impacts from Economic Growth

Powerpoint presentation on Decoupling Natural Resource Use and Environmental Impacts from Economic Growth (32 pages)

There is new skyscraper and high rise construction technology in China that uses less cement and can enable a 666 story building to be assembled in 4 months. This factory produced construction system would be 6-20 times more efficient with construction material than residential houses in the United States.

China will have 21% of a 100 trillion global construction market for 2011-2020.

The World’s Smallest 3D Printer

A research project at the Vienna University of Technology (TU Vienna) could turn futuristic 3D-printers into affordable everyday items.

The basic principle of the 3D-printer is quite simple: The desired object is printed in a small tub filled with synthetic resin. The resin has a very special property: It hardens precisely where it is illuminated with intense beams of light. Layer for layer, the synthetic resin is irradiated at exactly the right spots. When one layer hardens, the next layer can be attached to it, until the object is completed. This method is called “additive manufacturing technology”. “This way, we can even produce complicated geometrical objects with an intricate inner structure, which could never be made using casting techniques”, Klaus Stadlmann explains. He developed the prototype together with Markus Hatzenbichler.

US Geological Survey will create an updated assessment of the Bakken Oil Formation

The US Geological Survey National Oil and Gas Assessment will begin in October 2011 and include a new assessment of the Bakken oilfield in North Dakota. Depending on funding, it is expected to take two years to complete. Drilling and production will continue while the USGS conducts its assessment update.

The 2008 USGS assessment estimated 3.0 to 4.3 billion barrels of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil in the U.S. portion of the Bakken Formation, elevating it to a “world-class” accumulation. The estimate had a mean value of 3.65 billion barrels.

Progress to commercialization of gene therapy

Human Gene Therapy Journal - The success of gene therapy will depend on the ability to advance viral delivery vectors to commercialization

At an ever-increasing pace, there is promising news regarding clinical results using investigational gene therapy products is emerging, including several exciting advances with recombinant adeno-associated virus (AAV).

Yuan and coworkers present an improved and simplified method for generating producer cell lines that yield large amounts of AAV and exhibit stable growth, in "A Versatile Adeno-Associated Virus Vector Producer Cell Line Method for Scalable Vector Production of Different Serotypes."

They report improvements and simplifications to previously reported HEK293 based producer cell lines. In this system AAV vector generation can be supported using a replication-deficient E1-deleted adenovirus, because HEK293 cells already contain the adenoviral E1 gene, resulting in highly efficient production of AAV vectors (more than 50 trillion vector genomes per CF10 Cell Factory). This new technology further broadens options for large-scale vector production in a safe and scalable manner.

Researchers create nanopatch for the heart

Engineers at Brown University have created a nanopatch for the heart that tests show restores areas that have been damaged, such as from a heart attack. Credit: Frank Mullin/Brown University

Engineers at Brown University and in India have a promising new approach to treating heart-attack victims. The researchers created a nanopatch with carbon nanofibers and a polymer. In laboratory tests, natural heart-tissue cell density on the nanoscaffold was six times greater than the control sample, while neuron density had doubled. Results are published in Acta Biomaterialia.

This is different from research at Columbia university where a heart patch was created

Stratoshield - simple and low cost mitigation of global warming

The cost to construct a Stratospheric Shield with a pumping capacity of 100,000 tons a year of sulfur dioxide would be roughly $24 million, including transportation and assembly. Annual operating costs would run approximately $10 million. The system would use only technologies and materials that already exist—although some improvements may be needed to existing atomizer technology in order to achieve wide sprays of nanometer-scale sulfur dioxide particles and to prevent the particles from coalescing into larger droplets. Even if these cost estimates are off by a factor of 10 (and we think that is unlikely), this work appears to remove cost as an obstacle to cooling an overheated planet by technological means.


HIGH-FLYING BLIMPS, based on existing protoypes, could support a hose no thicker than a fire hose (above) to carry sulfur dioxide as a clear liquid up to the stratosphere, where one or more nozzles (below) would atomize it into a fine mist of nanometer-scale aerosol particles.


The Case for more resources transformational technology rather than spending money to master hiding waste

Currently many countries are looking to spend many billions of dollars to research and implement carbon sequestration. What does the end state of this option look like ? In many decades we will have spent trillions of dollars to pipe carbon dioxide into the ground and we could have energy that is still dirty but where we sweep the dirt underneath the carpet. The world economy is maybe two to four times as big but fifty billion to 100 billion tons of man-made carbon dioxide is piped underground. Tens of billions will be spent on further research to develop the capability to store carbon dioxide underground at an affordable cost. More research and effort will be put into making sure that this massive hiding of carbon dioxide does not cause unintended harm from gas explosions.


Nuclear fusion and factory mass produced deep burn fission are solutions that have some technical risk and the research and the deployment effort for society might be somewhat comparable. The risks for the development are over estimated. There are benefits from lesser successes with nuclear fusion. Transmutation - cheaper ways to close the fission fuel cycle, space applications that are far easier than replacing coal as a cheap but clean energy source. For factory mass produced deep burn fission there are benefits as we get closer to factory mass production of components and as we work up to deeper and deeper burn (use more of the fissionable material from 5% up to 100%).

The end state of successful development of transformational technology (like nuclear fusion or factory mass produced deep burn fission) is a society that has a sustainable energy production that is hundreds of times larger. It is a society that can use those techonologies to open up the solar system to human exploration and colonization.

99 cent Trimensional App turns the iPhone 4 into a 3D scanner

The world's first 3D scanner for iPhone is here. Instantly capture 3D models of yourself, friends, and family, and share the amazing results with the world. Trimensional uses both the screen and the front-facing camera on your iOS device, detecting patterns of light reflected off your face to build a true 3D model. 3D scanners usually start at around US$3,000. The app also works on the iPad 2 Wi-Fi and 4th generation iPod touch, and is available through iTunes.

Three Dimensional Invisibility in the Visible Spectrum

(a) Colored oblique-view electron micrograph of the polymer reference (top) and carpet cloak (bottom) structures (fabricated on glass substrate and coated with 100 nm gold). The scale bar corresponds to 10 µm. (b) Corresponding focused-ion- beam cuts of nominally identical structures. The scale bar corresponds to 2 µm. (c) and (d) are true-color optical micrographs of the structures in (a) taken with an optical microscope under circularly polarized illumination at 700-nm wavelength. Note the identical distortions due to the bump in both structures in (c) when inspected from the air side (serving as a control experiment). When inspected from the glass-substrate side in (d), the reference structure (top) still shows pronounced dark stripes. In sharp contrast, the stripes essentially disappear for the cloaking structure (bottom). (e) and (f) are ray-tracing calculations corresponding to (c) and (d), respectively.

Optics Letters - Three-dimensional polarization-independent visible-frequency carpet invisibility cloak (5 pages)

We miniaturize all features in a previously introduced polarization-independent three-dimensional carpet invisibility cloak by more than a factor of two. This leads to operation wavelengths in the visible. The structures are characterized by electron and optical microscopy. In contrast to our previous work at infrared wavelengths, we can directly measure two-dimensional images at visible frequencies, perform control experiments from the backside, and we can compare the images with theory. We find excellent agreement. Furthermore, we study the wavelength dependence in the range from 900 nm down to 500 nm. Cloaking action deteriorates as the woodpile stop band at around 575 nm is approached.

The minute invisibility cloak produced by Fischer and Ergin is smaller than the diameter of a human hair. It makes the curvature of a metal mirror appear flat, as a result of which an object hidden underneath becomes invisible. The metamaterial placed on top of this curvature looks like a stack of wood, but consists of plastic and air. These “logs” have precisely defined thicknesses in the range of 100 nm. Light waves that are normally deflected by the curvature are influenced and guided by these logs such that the reflected light corresponds to that of a flat mirror.

“If we would succeed again in halving the log distance of the invisibility cloak, we would obtain cloaking for the complete visible light spectrum,” says Fischer.

May 18, 2011

New Switches for Lawrenceville Plasma Physics appear to work as designed


Lawrenceville Plasma Physics dense plasma fusion project provided an update They tried out the new more robust switches and they fired at 45kV yesterday. 45 kilovolts was the target voltage level. The design seems sound. Analysis continues today.

Switch problems have been at the heart of delays with Lawrenceville Plasma Physics. They need full voltage which they now appear to have and reliable firing of all 12 switches at the same time. They have to be able adjust the firing to eliminate any early beams.

FP Generation fusion project was funded and built prototypes

Schematic of MIX-8 device using Octahedral Electromagnet

FP Generation was first formed in 2005 by two Columbia graduate students in the department of Applied Physics. In April of 2009, FPG raised $3 million in series A financing from two leading cleantech venture funds to demonstrate the viability of the MIX concept for net fusion power generation. After some initial theoretical, computational and design work, and a meeting of the technical advisory board in September 2009, FPG hired a team of physicists, engineers and technicians, and built a lab in Woburn, MA, 10 miles north of Boston.

As of April, 2011, FPGeneration is running out of funds to carry on the research. After two years of operations, our VCs have decided the technology is looking more like an extended research project than what they had signed up for initially. Unfortunately, in the absence of additional investment, this technology will be mothballed.

The MIX machine construction was completed by May 2010, but by the fall of that year it became clear that there were fundamental problems with the approach. In November, the team invented the MARBLE concept; this new device seems to solve the problems inherent in the MIX design. FPG built a prototype, which has been running since March 2011.

Henry Markram Human Brain Emulation Presentation

Here is a Henry Markram presentation about the human brain emulation project and its plausability The project is one of six projects that could be funded with up to one billion euros. Exascale supercomputers (supercomputers with exaflop performance) should be sufficient for whole human brain emulation using multi-level simulation.



Epson has 300 Dots per inch electronic paper for 9.68 inch displays

E Ink Holdings and Epson today announced the joint development of a 300-dpi electronic paper device with razor-sharp text and images for ePaper Document Readers. Combining E Ink's high-resolution ePaper display and Epson's high-speed display controller platform, the new device will enable the world's highest resolution ePaper tablets. With sharply improved readability and ease-of-use the ePaper Document Reader is expected to catch on in business and education settings where huge amounts of data have to be processed, as well as in countries that use character-based text, including Japan and China.

The newly developed 300-dpi ePaper displays measure 9.68 inches on the diagonal and have 2,400 x 1,650 pixels.

Status of nuclear reactors that should complete in 2011 through 2013

The Indian Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR), under construction at Kalpakkam, near Chennai, is “a unique reactor” which does not require water for emergency cooling of its nuclear fuel core in the case of an accident, said Baldev Raj, Director, Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR) at Kalpakkam. The 500 MWe PFBR will be commissioned in 2012. The project is running several months behind a previously scheduled Sept, 2011 start date.

Besides the PFBR, two Commercial Fast Breeder Reactors (CFBRs) of 500 MWe each would be built at Kalpakkam and their construction would begin in 2017. There was no leakage of sodium for the past 14 years in the Fast Breeder Test Reactor (FBTR) at Kalpakkam, which was a forerunner to the PFBR. Although 75 kg of sodium was spilled in the FBTR prior to that, there was no fire, Mr. Chetal said.

Summary of the Human Brain Project and using multi-level simulation to reduce the computing challenges

Today, simulating a single neuron requires the full power of a laptop computer. But the brain has billions of neurons and simulating all them simultaneously is a huge challenge. To get round this problem, the project will develop novel techniques of multi-level simulation in which only groups of neurons that are highly active are simulated in detail. But even in this way, simulating the complete human brain will require a computer a thousand times more powerful than the most powerful machine available today. This means that some of the key players in the Human Brain Project will be specialists in supercomputing. Their task: to work with industry to provide the project with the computing power it will need at each stage of its work.

The Human Brain Project has been officially selected as one of the finalists for the EU’s FET Flagship Program. The goal of the project, proposed by a Consortium of European Universities, is to create a simulation of the human brain – an achievement that promises to revolutionize not only neuroscience, medicine and the social sciences – but also information technology and robotics.

This May 4, in Budapest, the EU officially selected the Human Brain Project as one of six finalists who will compete for funding under its new FET Flagship Program. The program could provide the winners with up to a billion euros of funding for at least ten years of research.

The principle goal of the Human Brain Project is to build a European research facility that will simulate the human brain and exploit the results. The thirteen universities, research institutes and hospitals leading the project will each be responsible for one specific research niche, coordinating the activities of hundreds of other universities and hospitals in Europe and around the world

Exoplanet Gliese 581d is super-earth sized habitable planet atmosphere may be warm enough for liquid water

Arxiv - Gliese 581d is the fi rst discovered terrestrial-mass exoplanet in the habitable zone

It has been suggested that the recently discovered exoplanet GJ581d might be able to support liquid water due to its relatively low mass and orbital distance. However, GJ581d receives 35% less stellar energy than Mars and is probably locked in tidal resonance, with extremely low insolation at the poles and possibly a permanent night side. Under such conditions, it is unknown whether any habitable climate on the planet would be able to withstand global glaciation and / or atmospheric collapse. Here we present three-dimensional climate simulations that demonstrate GJ581d will have a stable atmosphere and surface liquid water for a wide range of plausible cases, making it the fi rst confi rmed super-Earth (exoplanet of 2-10 Earth masses) in the habitable zone. We nd that atmospheres with over 10 bar CO2 and varying amounts of background gas (e.g., N2) yield global mean temperatures above 0 C for both land and ocean-covered surfaces. Based on the emitted IR radiation calculated by the model, we propose observational tests that will allow these cases to be distinguished from other possible scenarios in the future.

BBC News - Exoplanet near Gliese 581 star 'could host life'

Concrete Canvas

Concrete Canvas was covered back in 2005 in Wired.

BBC News - Concrete Canvas allows aid teams to construct solid structures in emergency zones quickly and easily. It is a fabric shelter that, when sprayed with water, turns to concrete within 24 hours.

* It is available in 5, 8 and 13 millimeter thicknesses.

* It is ceramic and will not burn

* Once hydrated it remains workable for 2 hours and hardens to 80% strength in 24 hours. Accelerated or retarded formulations can be produced as specified.

* It uses 95% less material than conventional concrete

* It can be used for fast shelters, roofing, retaining walls, basement lining, weed inhibition, flood defense, water tanks and many other applications

The Concrete canvas website

400 Billion wandering planets in the Milky Way

Free-floating planets may be more common in our Galaxy than stars.

BBC News - Japanese astronomers claim to have found free-floating "planets" which do not seem to orbit a star. They say they have found 10 Jupiter-sized objects which they could not connect to any solar system. They also believe such objects could be as common as stars are throughout the Milky Way. Using a technique called gravitational microlensing, they detected 10 Jupiter-mass planets wandering far from light-giving stars. Then they estimated the total number of such rogue planets, based on detection efficiency, microlensing-event probability and the relative rate of lensing caused by stars or planets. They concluded that there could be as many as 400 billion of these wandering planets, far outnumbering main-sequence stars such as our Sun

Nature - Unbound or distant planetary mass population detected by gravitational microlensing

Nature - So many lonely planets with no star to guide them

Scattered about the Milky Way are floating, Jupiter-mass objects, which are likely to be planets wandering around the Galaxy's core instead of orbiting host stars. But these planets aren't rare occurrences in the interstellar sea: the drifters might be nearly twice as numerous as the most common stars.

Cost Effectiveness of more Nuclear Powered Navy Ships

Congressional budget office report - The Cost-Effectiveness of Nuclear Power for Navy Surface Ships (28 pages)

The U.S. Navy plans to build a number of new surface ships in the coming decades, according to its most recent 30-year shipbuilding plan. All of the Navy’s aircraft carriers (and submarines) are powered by nuclear reactors; its other surface combatants are powered by engines that use conventional petroleum-based fuels. The Navy could save money on fuel in the future by purchasing additional nuclear-powered ships rather than conventionally powered ships. Those savings in fuel costs, however, would be offset by the additional up-front costs required for the procurement of nuclear-powered ships.

There were previous Navy analysis of nuclear power for navy ships back in 2008

The Navy analysis compared individual ships equipped with the two types of power plants without regard to the phased introduction of ships into the fleet. The Navy study did not account for the fact that even if oil prices were assumed to grow quite rapidly, the potential savings from moving to a nuclear-powered fleet would accrue largely in the future—because the new ships would require decades to be fully phased in to the fleet. Nor did the Navy’s study account for the time value of money—the analysis did not compare costs calculated in terms of their present values. If it was, indeed, cost-effective to gradually shift a class of ships to nuclear power, the savings would increase as more nuclear ships were built over time. However, under CBO’s present-value approach, the savings in fuel costs associated with the ships that entered the fleet in later years were heavily discounted because the savings accrued so far into the future.

A nuclear navy would be able to economically operate at a faster tempo as there would be almost no incremental fuel penalty for running the ships at a high capacity. The nuclear ships are also faster and able to keep up with the nuclear aircraft carriers and submarines.

Henry Markram and the Human Brain Project are in talks with EU for $1.61 billion to achieve human brain emulation by 2024

Henry Markram, a neuroscientist at the École Polytechnique Fédérale in Lausanne, Switzerland, has assembled a team of nine top European scientists for the research effort to build a computer model of a human brain. The Human Brain Project is in discussion with the EU for a £1billion (US$1.61 billion) grant.

‘This is one of the three grand challenges for humanity. We need to understand earth, space and the brain. We need to understand what makes us human.’ Markram told Germany's Spiegel magazine.

The scientists and researchers working with the Human Brain Project believe that if they secure the funding, they will be able to replicate mankind's most vital organ in 12 years.

Markram was interviewed at this site in 2009

Markram also was critical of an IBM claim of cat scale brain emulation.

The Blue brain project page

Summary of the goals and method of the Human Brain Project. They plan to use multi-level simulation to reduce the computing challenge of the simulation

Human Brain project website

In a presentation from June 2010, Markram makes that case that multilevel simulation will enable brain emulation with exascale supercomputers



May 17, 2011

New NVIDIA Tesla M2090 GPU has 512 cores and 665 Double Precision Gigaflops

NVIDIA today unveiled the Tesla™ M2090 GPU, the world's fastest parallel processor for high performance computing. It is equipped with 512 CUDA® parallel processing cores, the Tesla M2090 GPU delivers 665 gigaflops of peak double-precision performance, enabling application acceleration by up to 10x compared to using a CPU alone.

The HP ProLiant SL390 G7 4U server which can house eight M2090 cards (about 5.2 teraflops) and two CPUs.

Orbital-Independent Superconducting Gaps in Iron Pnictides

Journal Science - Orbital-Independent Superconducting Gaps in Iron Pnictides

A potentially path to room temperature superconductors comes from a theoretical view of how electron orbital pairing in a class of materials known as ferropnictides which provide a new road to high transition temperature superconductivity. A high transition temperature superconductivity of up to 55K (-218C) in ferropnictides was first observed in 2008. However, this behavior is not predicted from standard electron pairing based on lattice vibrations. Therefore, an alternate explanation was needed. If other materials are discovered to have several entangled orbitals near Fermi level, they may have the potential to show even higher transition temperature superconductivity due to orbital pairing. “For example,” he adds, “if the transition temperature approaches room temperature, superconducting wires for lossless electronic transportation and storage will quickly be deployed worldwide.”

Stem cell study could pave the way to treatment for age-related muscle wasting

af, Schemes describing how dorsal and transversal views of somites shown throughout the manuscript were acquired at the confocal microscope. ab, general view and scheme of a 3.5 day old chick embryo. c, Confocal images stacks (0.63 μm steps) were acquired through the ectoderm and the entire thickness of somites from immunostained and glycerolclarified embryos (white transparent volume). Dorsal views (e) are projections of stacks of confocal images. Transverse views were made by visualizing the stacks of confocal images at a 90° angle (red volume in c). The thickness of the transverse views was set at 10 μm (d). NT: Neural Tube; Sm: Somite; No: Notochord; DML: Dorso Medial Lip of the dermomyotome; TZ: Transition Zone; My: Myotome.

A team led by developmental biologist Professor Christophe Marcelle has nailed the mechanism that causes stem cells in the embryo to differentiate into specialised cells that form the skeletal muscles of animals’ bodies. The scientists published their results in the British journal Nature

Nature - Neural crest regulates myogenesis through the transient activation of NOTCH

Artificial tissue promotes skin growth in wounds

Top left, a tissue scaffold with pores visible. Clockwise, schematic diagrams showing cross-sections microstructured tissue templates.

Improved tissue grafts designed by Cornell scientists will promote vascular growth and could hasten healing, encourage healthy skin to invade the wounded area and reduce the need for surgeries. Dermal templates were engineered in the lab of Abraham Stroock, associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Cornell with Dr. Jason A. Spector, assistant professor of surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College, and an interdisciplinary team of Ithaca and Weill scientists.

DNA Computation

Researchers at New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences have outlined a method for storing programs inside DNA that simplifies nanocomputing—computation at the molecular level. Co-authored by Jessie Chang and Dennis Shasha, Stored Clocked Programs Inside DNA: A Simplifying Framework for Nanocomputing (Morgan and Claypool) describes how to build millions of DNA programs from which instructions can be peeled away one at a time from each program in synchrony

Technology hiring is back

There are reports of significant increases in hiring by technology companies in the United States

* It's a money war for engineers
* there is poaching of talent
* The number of tech-related jobs in San Francisco is near its record 34,000 in 2000
* Entrepreneurs and venture capitalists foresee growth in wireless apps, online gaming and clean tech
* A surge in tech hires in California could portend an upturn for the overall U.S. economy

Diamond Aerogel could be followed by more forms of diamond with the right pressure and temperature combinations

A diamond aerogel has been hammered out of a
microscopic anvil. Image by Kwei-Yu Chu/LLN


Follow up on nano-crystalline diamond aerogel

A Livermore team created a diamond aerogel from a standard carbon-based aerogel precursor using a laser-heated diamond anvil cell. The Livermore team has provided more pictures and information on their work.

* The new form of diamond has a very low density similar to that of the precursor of around 40 milligrams per cubic centimeter, which is only about 40 times denser than air.

* The success of this work also leads the team to speculate that additional novel forms of diamond may be obtained by exposing appropriate precursors to the right combination of high pressure and temperature.

Intel rewrites Atom road map

EEtimes - Intel pledged to rewrite its road map to focus on lower power processors, delivering 22 and 14nm versions of its Atom processor in the next three years.

Sharpening the Nanofocus - Nanoantenna as a bridge between plasmonics and biochemistry

Scanning electron microscopy image showing a palladium nanoparticle with a gold antenna to enhance plasmonic sensing. (Image courtesy of Alivisatos group)

Such highly coveted technical capabilities as the observation of single catalytic processes in nanoreactors, or the optical detection of low concentrations of biochemical agents and gases are an important step closer to fruition. Researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), in collaboration with researchers at the University of Stuttgart in Germany, report the first experimental demonstration of antenna-enhanced gas sensing at the single particle level. By placing a palladium nanoparticle on the focusing tip of a gold nanoantenna, they were able to clearly detect changes in the palladium’s optical properties upon exposure to hydrogen.

Nature Materials - Nanoantenna-enhanced gas sensing in a single tailored nanofocus

USC researcher discusses building artificial neurons

USC researcher Dr. Alice Parker and her team at USC have created a rudimentary neural circuit composed of carbon nanotubes. This circuit can emulate certain aspects of a biological synapse. Although it is vastly simpler than a biological neuron, this nanotube circuit represents the first step towards the eventual creation of a fully functional artificial neuron. In an interview with Sander Olson, Dr. Parker discusses the future of artificial neural circuits and "brainlike" computers.


Alice Parker

Question: Your team at USC has developed a neural circuit. Tell us about that.
The circuit is composed of carbon nanotubes, and essentially converts one analogue waveform signal to another. These output signals are lower in amplitude than the input signals and longer in duration. This circuit is designed to roughly approximate certain aspects of the behavior of a neuron, the synapse, but it is vastly simpler and less capable than an actual biological synapse.

Nuclear Power is globally scalable if it does not follow rules made up by the anti-nuclear side

Derek Abbott (Australian) wrote “Is nuclear power globally scalable?” to be published in a Future Proceedings of the IEEE. He claims that nuclear power is not scalable globally.

Abbot Claim Land and location: One nuclear reactor plant requires about 20.5 km^2 (7.9 mi2) of land to accommodate the nuclear power station itself, its exclusion zone, its enrichment plant, ore processing, and supporting infrastructure.

Why this is wrong - Many nuclear reactors can be situated on the same piece of land. Most of the land can be used for other purposes. There is no reason it cannot be used for many other purposes other than housing people. If nuclear power replaced coal then the large land areas of coal plants can be re-purposed for nuclear power.

Nautilus Minerals Ocean Floor Mining Company Update

1. 36 page presentation on Nautilus Minerals from Jan, 2011


* They are developing the ability to extract high grade material on one deposit and move to the next deposit 100kms away and extract ore in a matter of days

* they will be able to extract ore with minimal overburden, stripping and waste

* They are using robots to drill one mile below the ocean surface

* some of their deposits have over 30% copper

* They have been able to discover a new mineralized system every three days

* Production plan for Solwara project off of Papua New Guinea- 1.3 million tons/year containing 80,000 tonnes Cu and approx 150,000 – 200,000oz gold

* they are about 19 months from first ore

Off Topic - Arnold Schwarzenegger fathers a child out of wedlock

Schwarzenegger confesses to fathering baby with house staff member, but explains that child is destined to bring down SkyNet in 2031. (George Takei twitter)


The Governator is now the inseminator.

Schwarzenegger proves that he really is part of the Kennedy clan

MIT proves that simpler systems can have faster improvements in performance

A new study by researchers at MIT and other institutions shows that it may be possible to predict which technologies are likeliest to advance rapidly, and therefore may be worth more investment in research and resources.

The researchers found that the greater a technology’s complexity, the more slowly it changes and improves over time. They devised a way of mathematically modeling complexity, breaking a system down into its individual components and then mapping all the interconnections between these components.

Carnival of Space 197

NiliFossae cracks on Mars and the search for life on Mars

The Carnival of Space 197 is up at Steve's Astrocorner

Weird Warp looks at deep fractures that have been found around the giant Isidis impact basin on Mars.

This area called NiliFossae is of interest to scientists because telescopes on Earth measured an increase in methane in Mars’s atmosphere over this area. This could mean life or it could be geological. Some of these incisions are up to 500 meters deep and probably formed at the same time as the basin formed.

NASA confirms they are working on Widom Larsen theory experiments but not Rossi Replication

New Energy Times Dr Dennis Bushnell (chief scientist at NASA’s Langley Research Center) wrote “We [NASA Langley] are NOT doing a Rossi Replication attempt although we are using/ had planned to use H2 and Nickel. We are doing experiments to verify, or not, the W-L [Widom Larsen ] theory.”

Dr Dennis Bushnell, chief scientist at NASA’s Langley research center told New Energy Times today that NASA is attempting a low-energy nuclear reaction replication.

“Our experiments are based upon the earlier Piantelli-Focardi work, which were some of the better bits extant,” Bushnell wrote. “But we are trying to core down on the theory, as well as utilize it for system optimization. We are not trying to do a net energy demo at all, we are simply trying to make sure there is a valid theoretical understanding.”

Bushnell told New Energy Times that their LENR experimental approach is based on the nickel-hydrogen research of Francesco Piantelli, retired from the University of Siena, and Sergio Focardi, retired from the University of Bologna.

The theory NASA is evaluating is the “Ultra-Low-Momentum Neutron Catalyzed Theory of LENRs” developed by Allan Widom and Lewis Larsen.

Widom Larsen theory and a presentation of NASA Langley was discussed here earlier in 2011

2 Trillion dollar Infrastructure plan for the United States

Infrastructure 2011 by the Urban Land Institute and Ernst and Young (90 pages)

The United States is falling dramatically behind much of the world in rebuilding and expanding an overloaded and deteriorating transportation network it needs to remain competitive in the global marketplace, according to a new study by the Urban Land Institute. The report lends global perspective to an issue addressed last fall by a panel of 80 experts led by former transportation secretaries Norman Y. Mineta and Samuel K. Skinner. That group concluded that as much as $262 billion a year must be spent on U.S. highways, rail networks and air transportation systems.

As Congress debates how much should be spent and where to find the money, China has a plan to spend $1 trillion on high-speed rail, highways and other infrastructure in five years. India is nearing the end of a $500 billion investment phase that has seen major highway improvements, and plans to double that amount by 2017. Brazil plans to spend $900 billion on energy and transportation projects by 2014.

The United States, the institute report concludes, needs to invest $2 trillion to rebuild roads, bridges, water lines, sewage systems and dams that are reaching the end of their planned life cycles.

Zubrin provides more explanation of his Space Falcon Heavy Mars Plan

Book cover for Zubrin's previous plan to go to Mars

Robert Zubrin new Mars mission proposal could be accomplished with three Falcon-9 Heavy launches.

1) deliver to Mars orbit an unmanned Dragon capsule with a kerosene/oxygen chemical rocket stage of sufficient power to drive it back to Earth. This is the Earth Return Vehicle.

2) deliver to the Martian surface an 11-ton payload consisting of a two-ton Mars Ascent Vehicle employing a single methane/oxygen rocket propulsion stage, a small automated chemical reactor system, three tons of surface exploration gear, and a 10-kilowatt power supply, which could be either nuclear or solar. The Mars Ascent Vehicle would carry 2.6 tons of methane in its propellant tanks, but not the nine tons of liquid oxygen required to burn it. Instead, the oxygen could be made over a 500-day period by using the chemical reactor to break down the carbon dioxide that composes 95% of the Martian atmosphere. Using technology to generate oxygen rather than transporting it saves a great deal of mass and provides power and unlimited oxygen once the crew arrives.

3) Send a Dragon capsule with two astronauts to Mars. The capsule would carry 2,500 kilograms of consumables—sufficient, if water and oxygen recycling systems are employed, to support the two-person crew for up to three years

Robert Zubrin's ultralight Mars Mission proposal has generated some controversy. Over at NASASpacefight forum people have been debating the proposal. The main problems have to do with the Dragon's capsules small size and issues regarding microgravity and radiation.

Note: In the original Wall Street Journal article. Zubrin made the case that it was worthwhile to go to Mars at ten times lower cost with a not perfectly safe system using volunteers because the national choice for the other 90 billion could be used to save hundreds of thousands of lives. The Mars case was justified for uplifting of humanity but we had to go at a low cost. Volunteers would understand the risk.

Dr Zubrin has posted his answers.

In answer to some of the objections raised in this forum, you may note the following:

1. There is no need for zero gravity exposure. Artificial gravity can be provided to the crew by tethering the Dragon off the TMI stage, in the same way as is recommended in the baseline Mars Direct plan.

2. Cosmic ray radiation exposure for the crew is precisely THE SAME as that which would be received by those on any other credible Mars mission, all of which would use the 6 month Conjunction class trajectory to Mars, both because that is the point of diminishing returns (the "knee of the curve") where delta-V trades off against trip time, and because it is uniquely the trajectory that provides a 2-year free return orbit after launch from Earth. Assuming the baseline mission, the total cosmic ray dose would be no greater than that already received by a half dozen cosmonauts and astronauts who participated in long duration missions on Mir or ISS, with no radiation induced health effects having been reported. (Cosmic ray dose rates on ISS are 50% those of interplanetary space. The Earth's magnetic field does not shield effectively against cosmic rays. In fact, with a crew of 6, the current planned ISS program will inflict the equivalent of 30 man-years of interplanetary travel GCR doses on its crews over the next decade. This is an order of magnitude more than that which will be received by the crew of the mission proposed here. ) There are enough consumables on board to provide shielding against solar flares.

China will export nuclear reactors to Vietnam, Pakistan, Malaysia and others

China plans to build second-generation nuclear power plants in neighbouring countries, including Vietnam, Pakistan, Malaysia and others. At the same time, it wants to increase domestic civilian nuclear production six-fold by 2020. It has tightened security after Fukushima.

After 13 years of development, the CNNC last year successfully developed a new reactor, which has a power generating capacity of 1 gigawatt that provide enough power for 831,000 households on the mainland, Tian said. And it is at least 5 per cent more efficient compared to the original French technology, with a lifespan of 60 years. China wants to focus on exporting its nuclear technology to its neighbours, including Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Pakistan (in the latter, it has already built two 0.3GW reactors).

May 16, 2011

Robert Zubrin's Proposes using three Space Falcon Heavy Launches to send two people to Mars by 2016


1. Wall Street Journal - Robert Zubrin updates his Mars mission plans with the Spacex Falcon Heavy.

SpaceX's Falcon-9 Heavy rocket will have a launch capacity of 53 metric tons to low Earth orbit. This means that if a conventional hydrogen-oxygen chemical rocket upper stage were added, it could send 17.5 tons on a trajectory to Mars, placing 14 tons in Mars orbit, or landing 11 tons on the Martian surface.

Dwave system has first Commercially Available Quantum Computer

Dwave systems is offering the first commercially available quantum computer. 128 qubits.

I had Long Now bet offered since 2006.

There will be a quantum computer with over 100 qubits of processing capability sold either as a hardware system or whose use is made available as a commercial service by Dec 31, 2010

So it appears that would have been missed by 5 months (unless Google or someone else paid Dwave some money last year.

I was told in an email from Geordie Rose, CTO of Dwave Systems that the sale to Lockheed Martin took place November, 2010.

D-Wave has introduced a computing system built around a new kind of processor. This system is called the D-Wave One. It is unlike any other you may have programmed in the past.

The processor in the D-Wave One – codenamed Rainier – is designed to perform a single mathematical operation called discrete optimization. It is a special purpose processor. When writing applications the D-Wave One is used only for the steps in your task that involve solving optimization problems. All the other parts of your code still run on your conventional systems of choice.

ORNL energy harvesters transform waste into electricity

Billions of dollars lost each year as waste heat from industrial processes can be converted into electricity with a technology being developed at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The high-efficiency thermal waste heat energy converter actively cools electronic devices, photovoltaic cells, computers and large waste heat-producing systems while generating electricity, according to Scott Hunter, who leads the development team. The potential for energy savings is enormous.

Hunter's technology uses cantilever structures that are about 1 millimeter square in size. About 1,000 of these energy converters can be attached to a 1-inch square surface such as a computer chip, concentrated photovoltaic cell or other devices that generate heat. Although the amount of electricity each device can generate is small - 1 to 10 milliwatts per device - many arrays of these devices can be used to generate sizable amounts of electricity that can power remote sensor systems or assist in the active cooling of the heat generating device, reducing cooling demands.

New solar product captures up to 95 percent of light energy

Efficiency is a problem with today's solar panels; they only collect about 20 percent of available light. Now, a University of Missouri engineer has developed a flexible solar sheet that captures more than 90 percent of available light, and he plans to make prototypes available to consumers within the next five years.

Journal of Solar Energy Engineering - Theory and Manufacturing Processes of Solar Nanoantenna Electromagnetic Collectors


Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing 2011 Report

Urbee Hybrid car, first 3D printed car. It two-passenger hybrid car

Wohlers Associates, Inc. today announced the publication of Wohlers Report 2011, an annual global study on the additive manufacturing (AM) and 3D printing state of the industry. (270 pages)

The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of revenues produced by all additive manufacturing products and services in 2010 was 24.1%. In 2009, the industry declined by 9.7%. The CAGR for the industry's 23-year history is an impressive 26.2%.

Wohlers Associates conservatively forecasts industry-wide growth to be $3.1 billion by 2016 and $5.2 billion by 2020.

HP discovers memristor mechanism and hasten the replacement of flash memory

Synchrotron x-rays probed the memristor in a 100 nanometer region with concentrated oxygen vacancies (right, shown in blue) where the memristive switching occurs. Surrounding this region a newly developed structural phase (red) was also found to act like a thermometer revealing how hot the device becomes when read or written.

EETimes - senior HP Fellow Stanley Williams says they have discovered that an electric field and a current act together to enable a memristor memory device that can both be switched very rapidly and hold its state indefinitely.

* In testing, they have switched these devices over 30 billion times and counting, with no degradaton in their ability to retain information

Not only does an applied voltage drive the migration of oxygen vacancies in the device, but at the same time there is a current that heats it up to about 300 degrees Celsius—just enough to turn the amorphous film into a crystalline film

Foresight at Google early registration ends May 17th

Foresight@Google
25th Anniversary Conference & Reunion Weekend
Google HQ in Mountain View, CA
June 25-26, 2011

Early registration prices end May 17th, in less than 48 hours:
Before May 17th 11:59 PM $225
After $300
Senior Associate membership + Banquet ($75) is $325

If you signup because of nextbigfuture please email
Desiree D. Dudley, Director of Development and Outreach
desiree@foresight.org to let her know.

Foresight's 25th Anniversary will kick off with a keynote presentation by James R. Von Ehr. Von Ehr is founder of Zyvex, the world's first successful molecular nanotech company.

The conference will feature four panel discussions on:

• The Scientific Challenges of Truly Transformative Nanotech
• From Research to Application: How to turn innovation into success?
• Funding, Development & the Valley of Death: Transcending entrepreneurial challenges
• Jumpstarting a Career in Nanotech: How to make your move

Scott Aaronson comments on the Dwave Nature paper that provides evidence of quantum annealing

Scott Aaronson has commented about the Dwave paper that was published in Nature. (Quantum annealing with manufactured spins)

In the new work, they apply an annealing operation to eight coupled qubits arranged in a 1D chain, then plot the probability of a particular basis state as a function of time, by running the experiment over and over and stopping it at various intermediate points. They then look at the dependence of the probability-versus-time curve on a third parameter, the temperature, and claim that they can explain the curve’s temperature dependence by a numerical simulation that assumes quantum mechanics, but not by one that assumes classical simulated annealing.

Interview with Energy Catalyzer's Partner Ampenergo in the United States

Three E-cats without insulation and one insulated. Text in blue indicates hydrogen inlet, main heater, auxiliary heater and water inlet. Foto: Giuseppe Levi

Nyteknik - Under a new agreement, a newly formed company, Ampenergo, will receive part of the royalties on all sales of licenses and products built on the energy catalyzer in the Americas.

The founders of Ampenergo are Karl Norwood, Richard Noceti, Robert H Gentile and Craig Cassarino.

Two of them also founded the consulting firm LTI – Leonardo Technologies Inc. – which for 10 years has been working on contracts amounting to several millions of dollars for the U.S. Defense and Energy departments, and with a recent contract with DOE amounting to 95 million dollars.

Robert H Gentile was also Assistant Secretary of Energy for Fossil Energy at the Department of Energy during the early 1990’s (02/26/90 - 06/29/91).

Craig Cassarino, vice president of Ampenergo, was interviewed by Nyteknik.

North Dakota Oil Production 359589 Barrels per day in March, 2011

North Dakota had a record for daily oil production of 359589 barrel per day in March 2011.

The switching location of a bipolar memristor: chemical, thermal and structural mapping

Three-dimensional steady-state heat transfer simulation. (a) Temperature map for an x–y slice taken through the middle of a 2 nm high and 100 nm wide cylindrical uniform heat source located directly on top of the bottom electrode (i.e. 1 nm above the surface of the bottom electrode, illustrated in right inset). Left inset shows a top view of the full device including membrane window. (b) Temperature contours for T = 760 K) along x–y slices for three different positions of heat source: directly on top of the bottom electrode (red, and the same as in panel a); exactly between top and bottom electrode (green) and directly below top electrode (blue). The x–y position for the cylindrical heat source is the same for all cases and shown with a black circle in both panels. (c) and (d) Similar temperature contours along an x–z slice (c) and y–z slice (d) going through the center of the conductive channel for three different positions of heat source. The heat source position in each case is indicated by the colored rectangle within the junction.

Nanotechnology journal - The switching location of a bipolar memristor: chemical, thermal and structural mapping (7 pages)

BBC News coverage - HP researchers have shown for the first time where the current switching process happens in memristors, and how heat affects memristors. Memristors have the potential to be a strong competitor to flash memory in about five years.

Memristors are memory resistors promising a rapid integration into future memory technologies. However, progress is still critically limited by a lack of understanding of the physical processes occurring at the nanoscale. Here we correlate device electrical characteristics with local atomic structure, chemistry and temperature. We resolved a single conducting channel that is made up of a reduced phase of the as-deposited titanium oxide. Moreover, we observed sufficient Joule heating to induce a crystallization of the oxide surrounding the channel, with a peculiar pattern that finite element simulations correlated with the existence of a hot spot close to the bottom electrode, thus identifying the switching location. This work reports direct observations in all three dimensions of the internal structure of titanium oxide memristors.

Personal Computers, Smartphones and tablets

Gartner - The installed base of PCs reached 1.4 billion in 2010 and will increase to 2.3 billion by 2015. Despite competing mobile devices (e-readers, media tablets, smartphones), the installed base of mobile PCs in the home will grow by an average of 23.1% between 2010 and 2015.

The worldwide smartphone market is expected to grow 49.2% in 2011 as more consumers and enterprise users turn in their feature phones for smartphones with more advanced features. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, smartphone vendors will ship more than 450 million smartphones in 2011 compared to the 303.4 million units shipped in 2010. Moreover, the smartphone market will grow more than four times faster than the overall mobile phone market. There should be around two billion smartphones by 2015 (based on about 500 million smartphones shipping in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015).

There will be about 300 million tablets in 2015 There should be over one billion tablets by 2020.

Tablets, Smartphones and Robots of 2015 and 2020

Gartner projects that the number of tablets will increase from about 17 million at the end of 2010 to 294 million (over 16 times more) by 2015.

There will be a new class of robot that uses a tablet or smartphone as its head launching in 2011 and 2012. iRobot which makes millions of vacuuming robots and military robots will be launching Ava which uses a tablets for its eyes and ears and for communication.

I think that this and other new types of robots (Heartland robotics affordable robotic arm, Lunabot an once piece Ava with simple arms) will cause the professional service robot category to rapidly expand and the overall population of robots to greatly increase above the projections of the 2010 International Federation of Robotics.



World Robotics forecasts that projects for the period 2010-2013: about 11.4 million units of service robots for personal use to be sold.

China's online population reaches 477 million

China Daily - - The number of Internet users in China reached 477 million as of end of March while websites registered with the authorities had climbed to 3.82 million as reported by Wang Jianwen, deputy head of the Telecommunications Administration Bureau. The number of people using the Internet in China rose to 457 million at the end of 2010, up 73.3 million from a year earlier, according to an earlier report issued by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC).

Adding 20 million every three months means that China should end 2011 with 537 million internet users.

Eliminating Bubbles from superconducting material raises Tc closer to room temperature

The more bubbles there are then the lower the critical temperature of the superconducting material

Superconducting Science and Technology journal - Bubble formation within filaments of melt-processed Bi2212 wires and its strongly negative effect on the critical current density

Most studies of Bi2Sr2CaCu2Ox (Bi2212) show that the critical current density Jc is limited by the connectivity of the filaments, but what determines the connectivity is still elusive. Here we report on the role played by filament porosity in limiting Jc. By a microstructural investigation of wires quenched from the melt state, we find that porosity in the unreacted wire agglomerates into bubbles that segment the Bi2212 melt within the filaments into discrete sections. These bubbles do not disappear during subsequent processing because they are only partially filled by Bi2212 grains as the Bi2212 forms on cooling. Correlating the microstructure of quenched wires to their final, fully processed Jc values shows an inverse relation between Jc and bubble density. Bubbles are variable between conductors and perhaps from sample to sample, but they occur frequently and almost completely fill the filament diameter, so they exert a strongly variable but always negative effect on Jc. Bubbles reduce the continuous Bi2212 path within each filament and force supercurrent to flow through Bi2212 grains that span the bubbles or through a thin Bi2212 layer at the interface between the bubble and the Ag matrix. Eliminating bubbles appears to be a promising new path to raise the Jc of Bi2212 round wires.

8 page article

May 15, 2011

Time magazine blog refers to Deaths per TWH and US Coal Industry pushes bills to lower safety and delay pollution controls (Replacement of missing article)

Bryan Walsh, ecocentric at Time magazine blog, On Earth Day, Contemplating the Human Cost of Energy

In fact, the blood cost is another way to calculate the energy equation: blood per kilowatt. Mark Fulton, the managing director and global head of Climate Change Investment Research at DB Climate Change Advisors, introduced me to the concept at the Fortune Brainstorm Green conference earlier this month. When we evaluate different forms of energy, we shouldn't only take into account the financial price or even just the environmental cost, but the damage to human health and well-being as well.

And the results are a bit surprising, as Seth Godin [Seth Godin article is a reference to my Deaths per TWH article] made clear in this illuminating post from a month ago. Coal is by far the deadliest source of energy per unit of power—both because of the risk to miners (especially in developing nations like China) and to all of us through air and water pollution. Oil comes in next, while natural gas remains perhaps surprisingly low. Lower still is wind and rooftop solar, which is dangerous mostly because installers might fall off a roof while putting in panels. And at the bottom is nuclear power, which causes 0.04 deaths per terawatt/hour of electrical power, although the full toll from Fukushima still remains to be seen.

Proof that I was right about rooftop solar having real risks. Which are still minor compared to coal, oil and gas. But not zero

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 52

ANS Nuclear Cafe has the 52 nd carnival of nuclear energy. It is the one year anniversary of nuclear energy carnivals.

United States Still on track for 6-8 new nuclear reactors

Cool Hand Nuke - Six reactors are underway in the USA. The CEOs of Duke, Southern, and Luminant, who will build six new reactors, have gone on record that the Fukushima crisis is not slowing down their projects.

Duke Energy is moving ahead with the license application for the twin Westinghouse AP1000 reactors the utility plans to build at the William States Lee III site in Gafney, SC. The plants will be completed by 2022.

Southern (NYSE:SO) plans to build two Westinghouse AP1000 reactors at its Vogtle site in Georgia.

Luminant CEO David Campbell said April 29 the utility expects a license from the NRC to build two new 1,700 MW reactors from Mitsubishi at the Comanche Peak site starting in 2013. Construction of the twin reactors, which would be first of a kind for the PWR design, would be completed in five-to-seven years.