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July 23, 2011

Parajet Skycar deliveries set for 2012

Parajet skycar deliveries are now scheduled for 2012

The Parajet SkyCar in “fly mode” is suspended by the latest ram-air wing and capable of take-off from a field or airstrip in less than 200 metres. It will be easier and safer to fly than any other aircraft, as it has no pitch control and therefore impossible to stall or dive. Should the engine fail, the pilot would simply glide down into the nearest field or strip of sandy desert.

Parajet Skycar and Terrafugia Transition's roadable plane were delayed from 2010

Longer-Baseline Telescopes Using Quantum Repeaters

Arxiv - Longer-Baseline Telescopes Using Quantum Repeaters (14 pages)

We present an approach to building interferometric telescopes using ideas of quantum information. Current optical interferometers have limited baseline lengths, and thus limited resolution, because of noise and loss of signal due to the transmission of photons between the telescopes. The technology of quantum repeaters has the potential to eliminate this limit, allowing in principle interferometers with arbitrarily long baselines.

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 62

The Carnival of Nuclear Energy 62 is up at Idaho Samizdat

Atomic Insights - A little radiation can delay cancer until after you are dead

There is an article titled Toward Improved Ionizing Radiation Safety Standards from the July 2011 issue of Health Physics, a peer-reviewed journal about radiation safety.

The article explains in clear, but scientific terms, how radiation at low average levels can result in increasing the latency period of cancer development past the end of a natural lifespan. We all have the potential for developing cancer, but we also have finite lives. Dr. Raabe’s research has led him to the conclusion that low average doses of radiation that might add up to a substantial cumulative dose do not kill off cancer cells, but they delay the ability of those cells to do any real damage until after their host organism is dead from other causes anyway.

Revised list of technologies for a mundane singularity

This site has looked at a Mundane Singularity before and often about getting to higher rates of economic growth and wealth.

Previously I talked about a Mundane Singularity with how much :
1. Economic abundance
2. Radical life extension
3. Physical and Cognitive enhancement
4. Blood Stream Robots
5. Supermaterials
6. Open Access to space
7. Pollution elimination
8. Computer Advancement
9. Shape changing functional devices like utility fog

Here is the new list that includes technologies or policies that have current active projects. For example, Broad Groups factory mass produced high rises replaces printed buildings using layers of additive concrete. Broad Group has more resources and appears on track to getting a lot of commercial success.

1. Pro-growth Policies
2. Energy Efficiency - superconductors, thermoelectrics, improved grid
3. Energy Revolution - Mass produced fission, fusion, and maybe cold fusion
4. Additive manufacturing
5. Not so mundane - neuromorphic chips, quantum computers, photonics
6. Automated transportation (leading to robotic cars and planes)
7. Urbanization MegaCities
8. Urbanization Broad Group skyscrapers, Tata flat packed buildings
9. Robotics
10. Hyperbroadband
11. Supermaterials
12. Improve medicine and public health
13. Space
14. Synthetic biology and recombineering
15. Sensors everywhere
16. Education transformed and accelerated innovation
17. Supersmartphones, exoskeletons and wearable systems

1. Pro-growth Policies

McKinsey talked about policies to get the economic growth of the USA up to 3.5%-5% per year. These various policies also can be adapted and applied to other countries as well.


* adopt best practices systematically across industries (and across countries)
* adopt the next wave of innovation (life RFID for end to end supply chain)
* adopt practices for faster response to customer needs

* Drive productivity gains in public and regulated sectors (20% of the economy and 5-15% productivity gap with private sector)

* Reinvigorate innovation economy (data driven business decisions, cloud computer, application of advances in biology and life sciences.)

* Develop the talent pool to match the economy of the future and harness full capabilities of population. [This will be discussed more in transforming education and accelerating innovation]


* Build 21st century infrastructure [this is also talked about in Energy efficiency, urbanization sections and hyperbroadband]

* Enhance the competitiveness of business and regulatory environment

* Embrace the energy productivity challenge

* Harness the regional and local capabilities to boost growth and productivity


July 22, 2011

Google Plus Rumored to be Open to the Public July 31, Google Plus Games Platform Soon and Oracle Lawsuit Damages denied

1. According to Google's own help document the addition of gaming to the service might not be that far away. But early adopters of Google+ hoping to escape the Hand of Zynga shouldn't despair just yet, and here's why. Game updates will have their own separate stream.

2. Google's new social service will throw open the doors to the entire public on July 31, 2011. At this point, the news is merely rumor

China Aquaculture up to 53.5 million tons in 2011

I see fishing developnig to the state we have with farms and ranches. Managed human dedicated ecosystems. There are almost no wild cows or buffalo but there are plenty on ranches.

In 2004, the total world production of fisheries was 140 million tonnes of which aquaculture contributed 45 million tonnes, about one third. The growth rate of worldwide aquaculture has been sustained and rapid, averaging about 8 percent per annum for over thirty years, while the take from wild fisheries has been essentially flat for the last decade. The aquaculture market reached $86 billion in 2009.

RadioAstron is the biggest radio telescope in space

RadioAstron, a Russian radio telescope intended to be the biggest radio telescope in space, has started touring the Earth for the first time.

The main scientific goal of the mission is the study of astronomical objects with an angular resolution up to a few millionths of an arcsecond. This is accomplished by use to the satellite in conjunction with ground-based observatories and interferometry techniques.

The RadioAstron project's exceptional sensitivity could allow the connected telescopes to peer into black holes and resolve the event horizon, the point at which nothing -- not even light -- can escape a black hole's immense gravitational grasp.

When tied together, RadioAstron's telescopes have a resolution of 7 microarcseconds. That's thousands of times better than the Hubble Space Telescope, which has a peak resolution between 0.05 and 0.1 arcseconds.

An arcsecond is swath of the sky measuring less than three one-thousandths of a degree.

But Hubble observes the universe in visible, ultraviolet and near-infrared light, while the RadioAstron mission will unveil the unseen cosmos emitting radio waves.

UNC researchers find variants of Cytosine DNA base that are modifed by Tet Proteins

For decades, scientists have known that DNA consists of four basic units -- adenine, guanine, thymine and cytosine. In recent history, scientists have expanded that list from four to six. Now researchers from the UNC School of Medicine have discovered the seventh and eighth bases of DNA.

These last two bases – called 5-formylcytosine and 5 carboxylcytosine – are actually versions of cytosine that have been modified by Tet proteins, molecular entities thought to play a role in DNA demethylation and stem cell reprogramming.

The discovery could advance stem cell research by giving a glimpse into the DNA changes – such as the removal of chemical groups through demethylation – that could reprogram adult cells to make them act like stem cells.

Basic DNA bases
1. adenine
2. guanine
3. thymine
4. cytosine
Variant bases of cytosine
5. 5-methylcytosine (methyl group is tacked onto a cytosine)
6. Tet proteins can convert 5 methylC (the fifth base) to 5 hydroxymethylC (sixth)
7. 5-Methylcytosine to 5-Formylcytosine
8. 5-Methylcytosine to 5-Carboxylcytosine


Science - Tet Proteins Can Convert 5-Methylcytosine to 5-Formylcytosine and 5-Carboxylcytosine

GPFS Scans 10 Billion Files in 43 Minutes

IBM GPFS Scans 10 Billion Files in 43 Minutes (28 pages)

By using a small cluster of ten IBM xSeries® servers, IBM's cluster file system (GPFS™), and by placing file system metadata on a new solid-state storage appliance from Violin Memory, IBM Research demonstrated, for the first time, the ability to do policy-guided storage management (daily tasks such as file selection for backup, migration, etc.) for a 10-billion-file environment in 43 minutes. This new record shatters previous record by factor of 37. GPFS also set the previous record in 2007

July 21, 2011

Rossi Self Sustaining One Megawatt Energy Catalyzer Reactor

PESN - In most of the tests performed on the E-Cat (Energy Catalyzer), a constant input of energy has been utilized. The reason a constant input has been used up to this point, is due to the tendency of the output of the system to increase rapidly when in a self sustaining mode. If the output cannot be reduced, the system can go out of control. Problems with self-sustained operation are being resolved.

Here is a comment on this topic from Rossi's blog, "The Journal of Nuclear Physics."

The E-Cats were working making steam WITHOUT energy input. This is why you see us so focused (me and Stremmenos). The 1 MW plant, probably will work mostly without energy input, I suppose, because we are resolving the safety issues connected.

Eric Drexler will have a new book in 2012 called Radical Abundance

Radical Abundance will integrate and extend several themes that Eric Drexler touched on in his Metamodern blog The book has a wide scope in both its content and intended audience, addressing scientists, a general reading audience, and thought leaders in the policy arena.

The topics include:

* The nature of science and engineering, and the prospects for a deep transformation in the material basis of civilization.
* Why all of this is surprisingly understandable.
* A personal narrative of the emergence of the molecular nanotechnology concept and the turbulent history of progress and politics that followed
* The quiet rise of macromolecular nanotechnologies, their power, and the rapidly advancing state of the art
* Incremental paths toward advanced nanotechnologies, the inherent accelerators, and the institutional challenges
* The technologies of radical abundance, what they are, and what they will enable

China and Russia working on fast neutron reactors

1. China's experimental fast neutron reactor has been connected to the electricity grid.

The sodium-cooled, pool-type fast reactor has been constructed with some Russian assistance at the China Institute of Atomic Energy (CIEA), near Beijing, which undertakes fundamental research on nuclear science and technology. The reactor has a thermal capacity of 65 MW and can produce 20 MW in electrical power. The CEFR was built by Russia's OKBM Afrikantov in collaboration with OKB Gidropress, NIKIET and Kurchatov Institute.

Beyond the pilot plant, China once planned a 600 MWe commercial scale version by 2020 and a 1500 MWe version in 2030 but these ambitious ideas have been overtaken by the import of ready-developed Russian designs.

A new discovery paves the way for using super strong nanostructured metals in cars

Super strong nanometals are beginning to play an important role in making cars even lighter, enabling them to stand collisions without fatal consequences for the passengers. A PhD student at Risø DTU has discovered a new phenomenon that will make nanometals more useful in practice.

Recently, a young PhD student from the Materials Research Division at Risø DTU took research a step further by discovering a new phenomenon. The new discovery could speed up the practical application of strong nanometals and has been published in the highly esteemed journal ”Proceedings of the Royal Society” in London in the form of a paper of approx. 30 pages written by three authors from Risø DTU.

Recovery by triple junction motion in aluminium deformed to ultrahigh strains

Whole Genome Sequencing costs $2000 in research and $4000 commercially

llumina's HiSeq 2000 genetic sequencing instrument. — Provided by Illumina

Illumina dropped the price of human genome sequencing to $4000 in May, 2011

The new price is for individuals who are part of a group of at least 50 people who are sequenced for research purposes using Illumina's HiSeq machines at the company's laboratory in Sorrento Valley or facilities operated by partners, the National Center for Genome Resources in Santa Fe, N.M., and the Genomic Medicine Institute in Seoul, South Korea. Groups of 10 to 49 will be charged $5,000 for each sequence, Illumina said.

Basic Roadmap to Kardashev Level Two

image by Steve Bowers, this power collection swarm consists of thousands of elements in inclined orbits, each with a slightly different ascending node and pericenter. This arrangement ensures the elements never come close to each other. The various orbits form a toroid shape, surrounding the star.

Kennedy quote - Some people see things as they are and say why? I dream things that never were and say why not

Tom Murphy, associate professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego, peak oil/doomerLimit to Growther is writing at theOildrum about how absurd it is to have 2.3% world GDP growth for 1300 years because humanity would need to become Kardashev level 3.

He just makes the statement that Kardashev level one, two and three are more and more absurd using some charts and not looking at how to do it.

Here I summarize some of how to do get to Kardashev level two.
Getting to Kardashev level two can be easy.
If we end up with a lazy Kardashev level two. Other solar systems make close (within about one light year) passes of our solar system every million years or so.
If humanity chooses to stop or slow growth at Kardashev level two that will a choice for them at that time. A Kardashev level two civilization can then migrate over to other solar systems and keep splitting to get to Kardashev level three.

We can get to 1-10% of Kardashev level one by staying on the planet and leveraging factory mass produced deep burn nuclear with ocean uranium supplies and using aerostat directed solar. Bubbles for collecting and focusing solar power make a Dyson swarm very light weight.

Ten Technologies that should have a big impact on Green house gas Emissions


1. China Broad Group making “Can be built” factory mass produced high rises and skyscrapers. Deployment of 5 times improved energy efficiency by 2020 with many partners (30% of new construction) would save 400 million tons of CO2 per year

2. Black Carbon free cookers for 700 million households would save 18% of black carbon soot. Equal to about 10% (3 billion tons) of today’s CO2 in warming effect. Current target is 100 million households by 2020 for the equivalent of about 400 million tons of CO2 per year in warming reduction.

July 20, 2011

Windows could lose PC dominance by 2013 or 2014

Steve Ballmer stated and Andy Lees confirmed that Microsoft views iPad and other tablets as “just PCs”.

Windows continues to be dominant with 84% of units sold in the last quarter, the growth belongs to tablets which captured about 90% of it. If Windows remains marginal on tablets, the “PC market” will likely tip away from Microsoft in two years (depending on how quickly Apple can build iPads.)

Windows 8 may help get Microsoft some tablet share

Insights from GE path to commercialization of new nanomaterials

MIT Technology Review - several of the General Electric's nanomaterials are ready for commercialization, and GE is focusing on manufacturing and processing.

"Ideally, you just tweak the existing system to make it better," says Ruud. This worked for one of the nanotechnologies in the company's portfolio, a superhydrophobic coating that sheds water very well and will improve the efficiency of steam-turbine blades. When investigating ways of making these coatings over large areas, the GE researchers found that they could use the same high-temperature spray process they use to make other coatings, just by making a few relatively simple changes.

New Interview with Aubrey de Grey at Hplus Magazine

Dr. Aubrey de Grey is a pioneering theoretical scientist in the field of human aging (biogerontology). H+ Magazine interviews Aubrey

H+: SENS describes a whole battery of medical treatments that could theoretically defeat the aging process. These treatments range from relatively simple ones like injecting people with enzymes that can break down tough wastes inside of cells, to highly advanced ones like genetically altering trillions of somatic cells in full grown adults. Considering the differential technical challenges, what SENS therapies will most likely become available first, and which will be developed last?

AdG: Some of them are already pretty close: probably the closest is in fact not the enzyme therapy you mention, but the use of vaccines to eliminate extracellular aggregates (especially amyloid). But when we consider the others, actually I wouldn’t like to make the call, because the hardest ones are the ones that the SENS Foundation and I are prioritizing in terms of the early research. In other words, we’re hoping that they will start to catch up with the easier ones. I suspect that the challenge of genetically modifying a high proportion of cells by somatic gene therapy will have been largely solved before we complete the development of all the genes that we want to introduce.

Los Alamos discovery makes biomass cellulose five times easier to attack which could unlock switchgrass biofuel

Los Alamos has found a potential key for unlocking the energy potential from non-edible biomass materials such as corn leaves and stalks, or switch grass. A potential pretreatment method that can make plant cellulose five times more digestible by enzymes that convert it into ethanol, a useful biofuel.

GE's Holographic Storage Tech Enabling 500GB Discs Steps Closer to Commercialization

A prototype holographic drive system designed by GE researchers in the Applied Optics Lab at GE Global Research in Niskayuna, NY.

GE’s research team has successfully demonstrated a micro-holographic material that can support data recording at the same speed as Blu-ray discs. GE plans to start sampling the new discs and optical drives to interested parties in the coming months.

GE’s breakthrough material, when used in a disc, will match the capacity of 20 single-layer Blu-ray discs, 100 DVDs or the hard drive of most laptop computers. Ultimately, the team is working toward micro-holographic discs that can store more than 1TB of data

Caltech Researchers Create the First Artificial Neural Network Out of DNA

Caltech researchers are the first to have made an artificial neural network out of DNA, creating a circuit of interacting molecules that can recall memories based on incomplete patterns, just as a brain can.

"The brain is incredible," says Lulu Qian, a Caltech senior postdoctoral scholar in bioengineering and lead author on the paper describing this work, published in the July 21 issue of the journal Nature. "It allows us to recognize patterns of events, form memories, make decisions, and take actions. So we asked, instead of having a physically connected network of neural cells, can a soup of interacting molecules exhibit brainlike behavior?"

Nature - Neural network computation with DNA strand displacement cascades

New Gene Therapy to Reverse Heart Failure Ready for Human Clinical Trials

Reporting in the online July 20 issue of Science Translational Medicine, cardiology researchers have demonstrated feasibility, the long-term therapeutic effectiveness and the safety of S100A1 gene therapy in a large animal model of heart failure under conditions approximating a clinical setting.

Cardiac dysfunction (from a heart attack) was reversed in this pre-clinical heart failure model in the pig by restoring S100A1 levels in practically the same setting as in a patient is remarkable and will pave the way for a clinical trial.

Using high-magnetic fields researchers managed to suppress decoherence

Scientists have taken the next major step toward quantum computing, which will use quantum mechanics to revolutionize the way information is processed. Using high-magnetic fields, Susumu Takahashi, assistant professor at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, and his colleagues managed to suppress decoherence, one of the key stumbling blocks in quantum computing.

Nature - Decoherence in crystals of quantum molecular magnets

Transforming C60 molecules into graphene quantum dots

Scientists from the A*STAR Institute of High Performance Computing and the National University of Singapore have now developed a technique that collapses spherical carbon nanostructures down into perfectly formed quantum dots—structures useful for electronics because of their ability to trap single electrons.

The carbon atoms in graphite are arranged into stacked sheets that are weakly bound to one another. A single layer, referred to as graphene, can be peeled from bulk graphite using adhesive tape. The properties of graphene differ radically from the bulk material because it is only one atom thick, and so scientists are keen to harness this potential in a form compatible with existing optical and electronic devices. Small, regular-shaped graphene nanostructures called quantum dots, for example, could open up new possibilities in such applications.

Quantum dots, at just a few nanometers in diameter, can influence the flow of current at the single-electron level. However, making lots of quantum dots all with the same dimensions, and therefore with the same electronic properties, has proved to be tricky. The researchers came up with a simple solution: they took a hollow spherical form of carbon known as a ‘buckyball’—which is composed of 60 carbon atoms and always has the same shape—and fragmented it to produce uniformly sized quantum dots of graphene

Nature Nanotechnology - Transforming C60 molecules into graphene quantum dots

700 million black carbon free cookers would save over one million lives per year, reduce birth defects and reduce global warming

PNAS - Association of selected persistent organic pollutants in the placenta with the risk of neural tube defects

Pregnant mothers who are exposed to pesticides and smoke are as much as four times more likely to give birth to infants with serious birth defects.

Neural tube defects, or NTDs, are brain and spinal cord defects with the most common of them occurring when the spinal column does not close during the first trimester and results in nerve damage and paralysis. They are common and can occur in one of every 1000 live births in the United States.

Zhu and his team examined fetuses from four rural counties in northern Shanxi province. Here, NTDs occur at a much higher rate of 14 out of 1000 births.

Black Carbon Free cookers could eliminate indoor coal air pollution

Ramanathan estimates that “providing alternative energy-efficient and smoke-free cookers and introducing transferring technology for reducing soot emissions from coal combustion in small industries could have major impacts on the radiative forcing due to soot.” Specifically, the impact of replacing biofuel cooking with black carbon-free cookers (solar, bio, and natural gas) in South and East Asia is dramatic: over South Asia, a 70 to 80% reduction in black carbon heating; and in East Asia, a 20 to 40% reduction.

DARPA project seeks immortality, suspended animation

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is offering money to researchers looking at identifying and controlling timing mechanisms in cells, including those of the human body. The "Biochronicity" programme will find a way to understand and predict "temporal features of biological systems". After two years, DARPA hopes to move to Phase II, which aims to conduct Live Fire Tests. Should the research prove practicable, it could be used to put injured soldiers into effective suspended animation.

These fundamental advancements in the understanding of timing in biology can be translated into major breakthroughs in trauma care on the battlefield by accessing the mechanisms that control biological time to improve patient outcomes, for example, by lengthening the window of opportunity for medical and treatment interventions.

It could also make it possible to put astronauts into hibernation before firing them at Mars or other planets, or even - perhaps - to offer hugely extended human lifespan:

July 19, 2011

Off topic - Wendy Deng Profile

The UK Guardian has a profile of Wendi Deng (wife of Rupert Murdoch who defended him from someone attempting to Rupert with a pie

Deng is a former school volleyball champion in China's southern city of Guangzhou. In keeping with her keen interest in physical fitness, Deng, worked at a Los Angeles gymnastics academy (in the 1990s) where she acted as a liaison between the gym's Chinese coaching staff and parents of the children who attended.

Defkalion makes more Rossi Energy Catalyzer announcements

ECat World - A reporter from XanthiPress, a Greek news site based in Xanthi, conducted an interview with Alexandros Xanthoulis, President of Defkalion Green Technologies

The Greek interview is here through google translate

Gates Foundation Launches Effort to Reinvent the Toilet

Flush toilets are unavailable to the vast majority in the developing world, and billions of people lack a safe, reliable toilet or latrine. More than a billion people defecate in the open. Nearly 40 percent of the world’s population does not have proper sanitation.

The foundation also announced $42 million in new sanitation grants that aim to spur innovations in the capture and storage of waste, as well as its processing into reusable energy, fertilizer, and fresh water. In addition, the foundation will support work with local communities to end open defecation and increase access to affordable, long-term sanitation solutions that people will want to use.

Genetically engineered stem cells help repair heart tissue in Mice and one dose gene therapy protects arteries from atherosclerosis and high cholesterol in rabbits

1. Genetically engineered human cardiac stem cells helped repair damaged heart tissue and improved function after a heart attack in a mouse study.

Ten weeks after investigators implanted the genetically engineered human stem cells into mice, tissue repair and function, as measured by the heart’s ability to pump blood, was twice that of controls. This improvement persisted for at least 20 weeks after implantation.

“This study brings us one step closer to a clinical application for stem-cell therapy,” said Sadia Mohsin, Ph.D., lead author of the study and post-doctoral research scholar at San Diego State University in California. “Since patients with heart failure are normally elderly, their cardiac stem cells aren’t very healthy. We were able to modify these stem cells, obtained from heart failure patients, to be healthier so that they could be transplanted into the heart and survive and thrive.”

Researchers used cardiac stem cells from patients receiving mechanical assist device pumps to help their failing hearts. They then genetically engineered the cells to express a protein, known as Pim-1, which naturally occurs in response to heart damage. Using molecular technology, they attached this protein to another, derived from jellyfish, which glows fluorescent green so that Pim-1 expression was clearly visible.

New Graphene Discovery Boosts Oil Exploration Efforts, Could Enable Self-Powered Microsensors

Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed a new method to harvest energy from flowing water. Led by Rensselaer Professor Nikhil Koratkar, the study sought to explain how the flow of water over surfaces coated with the nanomaterial graphene could generate small amounts of electricity. Using a small sheet of the graphene coating, seen above as a dark blue patch connected to gold contacts, the research team demonstrated the creation of 85 nanowatts of power.

Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed a new method to harvest energy from flowing water. This discovery aims to hasten the creation of self-powered microsensors for more accurate and cost-efficient oil exploration. Nanoengineered Graphene coating harvests energy from flowing water which powers microsensors used to detect underground oil and gas. The research team demonstrated the creation of 85 nanowatts of power from a sheet of graphene measuring .03 millimeters by .015 millimeters.

Nanoletters - Harvesting Energy from Water Flow over Graphene



Photonic neuron may compute a billion times faster than brain circuits

The project uses fiber-optic devices that make ultrafast calculations with photons of light instead of the electrons used by electricity-based computers circuits. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Princeton University - Paul Prucnal, a Princeton professor of electrical engineering, is leading a collaboration between researchers at the University and Lockheed Martin, the aerospace and defense technology corporation, to develop a "photonic neuron," a device that uses fiber-optic circuits that transmit information a billion times faster than a human neuron.

If the project is successful, the new technology could allow for computer circuits that are capable of making nearly instantaneous calculations in life-or-death situations, such as locating a terrorist from a radio signal or deciding whether to eject a fighter pilot from a jet. It might also allow speedy processing of huge amounts of data, such as the video signals that currently guide the movements of robotic cars or scans of genetic data for clues to fighting diseases.

India plans to start exporting nuclear reactors and Indian Tumalapalli has 150,000 tons of uranium

1. India is offering its indigenous 220 and 540 megawatt heavy water reactor designs for export, although no specific customers have been identified.

"Only Canada, China, France, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and the United States export nuclear reactors. India may join this group in the near term," the Congressional Research Service (CRS) said in its latest report 'Nuclear Energy Cooperation with Foreign Countries Issue for Congress.'

July 18, 2011

Hydrogen may be key to growth of high-quality graphene

Graphene grains come in several different shapes. Hydrogen gas controls the grains' appearance.

A new approach to growing graphene greatly reduces problems that have plagued researchers in the past and clears a path to the crystalline form of graphite's use in sophisticated electronic devices of tomorrow.

Findings of researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory demonstrate that hydrogen rather than carbon dictates the graphene grain shape and size.

ACS Nano - Role of Hydrogen in Chemical Vapor Deposition Growth of Large Single-Crystal Graphene

Maverick Calgary Quantum company Ingenuity touts ‘breakthrough’ technologies

A Calgary-based research and development company says it has developed a number of “breakthrough” technologies that would reduce costs in the oilpatch while at the same time being environmentally-friendly. Derya Yinanc, chief executive and chairman of Quantum Ingenuity Inc., said the company is in negotiations with “multiple major energy firms.”

Quantum Ingenuity has achieved breakthroughs in clean coal technology, sustainable hydrogen production, and sustainable ethylene and acetylene production.

Quantum Ingenuity has done research work in the areas of heavy oil upgrading and refining, biodiesel production, heavy oil transportation, methanol fuel cells and heavy oil extraction.

Room temperature, room pressure upgrading has the potential to revolutionize the industry.

Burt Rutan designed roadable plane for Scaled Composites

Aviation Week - Burt Rutan, who retired in April, has unveiled a roadable plane design.

The Model 367 BiPod is a two-seat, hybrid-electric roadable aircraft. Originally conceived as a rapid, low-cost electric testbed, the effort evolved into a flying car and was accelerated to allow Rutan, a long-time advocate of personal electric aircraft, to see the vehicle completed before his retirement.

Scaled Composites press release on the Model 367 BiPod

Scaled Composites Model 367 Bipod pages

Sierra Sciences working towards antiaging via Controlling Telomere Length

Sierra Sciences is is a company devoted to finding ways to extend our healthspans and lifespans beyond the theoretical maximum of 125 years. They believe aging can be controlled
by controlling telomere length. Relengthening telomeres may possibly rejuvenate cell function to a healthy pre-senescent state.

Telomere Length Therapy

So what about us? Can we insert the telomerase gene into all of our cells and extend our lifespan?

Inserting the gene directly into our DNA, through the use of viral vectors, is not a viable option. The main problem with this approach is that inserting genes into cells often causes cancer. That's because the gene gets inserted into our chromosomes at random sites, and if the wrong site is chosen, the gene can interrupt and disable cancer suppressor genes or turn on cancer-inducing genes. And you only need one out of the hundred trillion cells in your body to become cancerous in order to kill you.

Fortunately, the telomerase gene already exists in all our cells. That's because the DNA in every one of our cells is identical: a skin cell, muscle cell, and liver cell all contain exactly the same genetic information. Thus, if the cells that create our sperm and egg cells contain the code for telomerase, every other cell must contain that code as well.

Stem cell breakthrough heralds new era of therapy development

Scientists at the Universities of Glasgow and Southampton have uncovered a new method for culturing adult stem cells which could lead to the creation of revolutionary stem cell therapies for conditions such as arthritis, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.

The research, funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the University of Glasgow and published in the journal Nature Materials, shows how a new nanoscale plastic can cheaply and easily solve a problem which has previously made the expansion of stem cells for therapeutic purposes impossible.

Nature Materials - Nanoscale surfaces for the long-term maintenance of mesenchymal stem cell phenotype and multipotency

July 17, 2011

Geoneutrinos confirm that half of the heat from the earth's interior is from the decay of Uranium and thorium

A main source of the 44 trillion watts of heat that flows from the interior of the Earth is the decay of radioactive isotopes in the mantle and crust. Scientists using the KamLAND neutrino detector in Japan have measured how much heat is generated this way by capturing geoneutrinos released during radioactive decay.

Nature Geoscience - Partial radiogenic heat model for Earth revealed by geoneutrino measurements

The Earth has cooled since its formation, yet the decay of radiogenic isotopes, and in particular uranium, thorium and potassium, in the planet’s interior provides a continuing heat source. The current total heat flux from the Earth to space is 44.2±1.0 TW, but the relative contributions from residual primordial heat and radiogenic decay remain uncertain. However, radiogenic decay can be estimated from the flux of geoneutrinos, electrically neutral particles that are emitted during radioactive decay and can pass through the Earth virtually unaffected. Here we combine precise measurements of the geoneutrino flux from the Kamioka Liquid-Scintillator Antineutrino Detector, Japan, with existing measurements from the Borexino detector, Italy. We find that decay of uranium-238 and thorium-232 together contribute  TW to Earth’s heat flux. The neutrinos emitted from the decay of potassium-40 are below the limits of detection in our experiments, but are known to contribute 4 TW. Taken together, our observations indicate that heat from radioactive decay contributes about half of Earth’s total heat flux. We therefore conclude that Earth’s primordial heat supply has not yet been exhausted.

Development of Porous Aluminum “Aluminum-Celmet” can increase battery capacity by 50-200%

Aluminum Celmet magnified 40 times

Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd., having newly developed its porous aluminum “Aluminum-Celmet,” has set up a small-scale production line at Osaka Works (1-1-3 Shimaya, Konohana-ku, Osaka) to accelerate development efforts toward mass production of the new material.

Aluminum-Celmet can be used to improve the capacity of lithium-ion secondary batteries and capacitors. The positive electrode current collector in a conventional lithium-ion secondary battery is made from aluminum foil, while the negative electrode current collector is made from copper foil. Replacing the aluminum foil with Aluminum-Celmet increases the amount of positive active material per unit area. Sumitomo Electric’s trial calculations indicate that in the case of automotive onboard battery packs, such replacement will increase battery capacity 1.5 to 3 times. Alternatively, with no change in capacity, battery volume can be reduced to one-third to two-thirds. These changes afford such benefits as reduced footprint of home-use storage batteries for power generated by solar and other natural sources, as well as by fuel cells.

Breakthrough in the creation of massive numbers of entangled qubits

Olivier Pfister, a professor of physics in the University of Virginia's College of Arts & Sciences, has just published findings in the journal Physical Review Letters demonstrating a breakthrough in the creation of massive numbers of entangled qubits, more precisely a multilevel variant thereof called Qmodes.

Pfister and researchers in his lab used sophisticated lasers to engineer 15 groups of four entangled Qmodes each, for a total of 60 measurable Qmodes, the most ever created. They believe they may have created as many as 150 groups, or 600 Qmodes, but could measure only 60 with the techniques they used.

Each Qmode is a sharply defined color of the electromagnetic field. In lieu of a coin toss measurement, the Qmode measurement outcomes are the number of quantum particles of light (photons) present in the field. Hundreds to thousands of Qmodes would be needed to create a quantum computer, depending on the task.

Physical Review Letters - Parallel Generation of Quadripartite Cluster Entanglement in the Optical Frequency Comb

Scalability and coherence are two essential requirements for the experimental implementation of quantum information and quantum computing. Here, we report a breakthrough toward scalability: the simultaneous generation of a record 15 quadripartite entangled cluster states over 60 consecutive cavity modes (Q modes), in the optical frequency comb of a single optical parametric oscillator. The amount of observed entanglement was constant over the 60 Q modes, thereby proving the intrinsic scalability of this system. The number of observable Q modes was restricted by technical limitations, and we conservatively estimate the actual number of similar clusters to be at least 3 times larger. This result paves the way to the realization of large entangled states for scalable quantum information and quantum computing.

Arxiv - Parallel Generation of Quadripartite Cluster Entanglement in the Optical Frequency Comb (11 pages - including supplemental information)

Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) have developed a platform technology for monitoring single-cell interactions in real-time

Probing the cellular niche environment and signalling using cells engineered with an aptamer sensor. Aptamer sensors that bind to signalling molecules (PDGF in this case) are covalently attached to the surface of cells

Nature Nanotechnology - Cell-surface sensors for real-time probing of cellular environments

The ability to explore cell signalling and cell-to-cell communication is essential for understanding cell biology and developing effective therapeutics. However, it is not yet possible to monitor the interaction of cells with their environments in real time. Here, we show that a fluorescent sensor attached to a cell membrane can detect signalling molecules in the cellular environment. The sensor is an aptamer (a short length of single-stranded DNA) that binds to platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) and contains a pair of fluorescent dyes. When bound to PDGF, the aptamer changes conformation and the dyes come closer to each other, producing a signal. The sensor, which is covalently attached to the membranes of mesenchymal stem cells, can quantitatively detect with high spatial and temporal resolution PDGF that is added in cell culture medium or secreted by neighbouring cells. The engineered stem cells retain their ability to find their way to the bone marrow and can be monitored in vivo at the single-cell level using intravital microscopy.


Tata Group to sell Ikea-like flat packed 'Nano' house for Rs 32,000 (US$720)

India's Tata group will sell a flat-pack house that costs just $700 and can be built in a week.

The Tata group , maker of the $2,500 Nano car, said that the 20-square-metre (215-square-foot) home comes from a pre-fabricated kit that includes doors, windows and a roof.

"We have already prepared two-three different designs based on discussions with users and are gathering more feedback," Sumitesh Das, the head of the project at Tata, told reporters in Hyderabad on Friday.

Tata already has a housing division and develops land and properties.
$300 house discussions, ecodomes and ecoshells

There has been a lot of recent discussions around the idea of $300 houses for the developing world

Factory mass produced houses for the developing world could help to accelerate the improvement of conditions for the worlds poor. Previously there have been ecodome $3200 houses for the poor.

The Eco-Dome is a small home design of approximately 400 square feet (40 sq. meters) interior space. It consists of a large central dome, surrounded by four smaller niches and a wind-scoop, in a clover leaf pattern.

Domes for the world (DFTW) is trying to build ecoshell houses in the developing world

According to a recent United Nations’ report, meeting the housing needs of mass urban migration will require the construction of 96,000 homes a day between now and 2030. According to the UN, our world has 1.6 billion people living in substandard housing and 100 million homeless. During the next thirty years, those living in slums will increase to nearly two billion unless action is taken.

A June 2010 Conference of the UN Centre for Human Settlements reported that our planet now includes 100 million homeless – mostly women and children. And the problem is not just homelessness. At least 600 million people, in developing world cities, live in shelters that are life threatening or health threatening. Every day some 50,000 die as a result of poor shelter, polluted water and inadequate sanitation. India is one of the few developing countries that has tried to count its homeless, finding more than 2.3 million. Western Europe, on the other hand, counts just 6,300 homeless. The percentage of squatter housing, almost always substandard and likely to be headed by women, also shows housing problems in developing countries, especially in cities. Some 5.5 percent of Turkey's households are squatters but 23.3 percent of all households in the capital of Ankara are squatters. In Peru, 5.6 percent of all households are squatters, but 8.1 percent of households in the capital of Lima are squatters.

DFTW constructs simple, thin-shell concrete Domes called “EcoShells.” Built to last over 500 years, EcoShells are impervious to bugs, mold and rot. They are fire-proof and withstand even the most severe hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes.

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 61

The 61st Carnival of Nuclear Energy is up at ANS Nuclear Cafe

Neutron Economy covers an IAEA review of Fukushima. The notes were prepared by Steve Skutnik about a recently attended talk by Randy Beatty of the IAEA, who gave the Agency’s perspective on the Fukushima disaster.

-The 50-mile evacuation order by Jaczko was wrong. The presentation had some numbers to prove this. A 20-30 km radius implemented by the Japanese was completely appropriate.

Air measurements conducted around the area of the plants indicate that much of the plume containing radioactive materials traveled northwest (i.e., due to wind); doses outside the main plume spread to the northwest were found to be relatively negligible. Likewise, with the exception of the plume "tail" in the northwest, nearly all of the elevated dose rates in air were concentrated within a radius of 30 km from the plant, calling into question the logic of NRC Chairman Jazcko's order for Americans within 50 miles (around 80 km) to evacuate.


Map of air dose plume release from Fukushima. Red: 9-91 microSv/hr, Orange: 9.5-19 microSv/hr, Yellow: 3.8-9.5 microSv/hr, Green: 1.9-3.8 microSv/hr, Blue: 1.0-1.9 microSv/hr, Indigo: < 1.0 microSv/hr (Image credit: IAEA)


As is clear from the evacuation zone map, the Japanese evacuation order of 20 km with a deliberate evacuation of Iidate and Katsurao prefectures appears to be based upon a sound evaluation of the measured exposure rates. Additional precautions in place (e.g., staying indoors and prophylactic measures such as distributing potassium iodine tablets) were implemented in areas within the 30 km radius.

Overly conservative evacuations based upon marginal risks (i.e., outside 20-30 km) place an additional burden upon already strained emergency resources (shelters, medical facilities, etc.) while giving little additional benefit. Even under the best of circumstances (which clearly was far from the case here), broad evacuation orders can result in tremendous hardship; the gains from evacuation must therefore be balanced against the additional burdens imposed.

- The IAEA believes the hydrogen explosion in Unit 4 may have been due to a joint exhaust from Unit 3

- No evidence of fuel uncovering was found in physical examinations or the water chemistry of Unit 4

During the crisis, some speculated based upon limited data (little to no actual instrument data from the pool was available due to the lack of power) that the water levels have precipitously dropped; NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko even (now infamously) speculated that the pools had gone "completely dry." Jaczko was wrong again.

However, recent images taken of the spent fuel in Unit 4 by the IAEA indicate that the fuel appears to be intact and undamaged; thus an uncovering of the fuel in Unit 4 appears to be extremely unlikely.

- Estimates for the total time the fuel was uncovered was generally only a few hours – i.e., we had gaps in cooling of anywhere between 6-12 hours, but fuel uncovering only seems to have occurred for a few of those. Still, pretty remarkable at how fast things progressed once this happened

- While TRU was reported being found, evidence has been scarce and inconsistent.