July 30, 2011

Reversible arithmetic logic unit

The n-bit quantum adder

Arxiv. Reversible Logic Arithmetic logic unit design proposal

Quantum computer requires requires quantum arithmetic. The sophisticated design of a reversible arithmetic logic unit (reversible ALU) for quantum arithmetic has been investigated in this letter. We provide explicit construction of reversible ALU effecting basic arithmetic operations. By provided the corresponding control unit, the proposed reversible ALU can combine the classical arithmetic and logic operation in a reversible integrated system. This letter provides actual evidence to prove the possibility of the realization of reversible Programmable Logic Device (RPLD) using reversible ALU.

REversible Computing at wikipedia
Reversible computing is a model of computing where the computational process to some extent is reversible, i.e., time-invertible. A necessary condition for reversibility of a computational model is that the transition function mapping states to their successors at a given later time should be one-to-one. Reversible computing is generally considered an unconventional form of computing.

There are two major, closely-related, types of reversibility that are of particular interest for this purpose: physical reversibility and logical reversibility

Probably the largest motivation for the study of technologies aimed at actually implementing reversible computing is that they offer what is predicted to be the only potential way to improve the energy efficiency of computers beyond the fundamental von Neumann-Landauer limit of energy dissipated per irreversible bit operation.

Two Ukrainian coal mine accidents have 27 deaths and 10 are still missing and the US has had 14 miner deaths in 2011

1. Rescue workers have found seven more bodies at two Ukrainian coal mines where accidents occurred, raising the death toll to 27.

The accidents in the eastern regions shocked the country and highlighted the dangers of the nation's mining industry. It is believed to be one of the world's most dangerous because of outdated equipment and disregard for safety regulations.

The government said Saturday that Friday's pre-dawn blast at the Suhodilska-Eastern mine in the Luhansk region killed 20 workers, including one body found Saturday. Investigators suspect the accident was caused by an explosion of methane.

In the Donetsk region, rescue workers at the site of an elevator collapse found four more bodies Saturday, raising the death toll there to seven.

Ten people are still missing.

Carnival of Space 208

Carnival of Space 208 is up at ZME Science

Weird warp - The farthest and largest Amount of water has been found in a quasar in the form of vapour. The quasar is one of the most powerful objects in the universe with energy output of 1000 trillion suns. The power of the quasar comes from matter that spirals into the centre where there is a supermassive black hole 20 billion times the mass of our sun.

Discovery News - Radio astronomers have longed for a telescope with a full square kilometer of collecting area. (That's 247 acres!) Now, as it comes closer to reality, they are trying to decide where to put it. The Square Kilometer Array (SKA) project is an international collaboration with the ambitious goal of building the largest, most sensitive radio telescope by the mid-2020's.

July 29, 2011

Nsolv has a solvent based approach to the oilsands that uses no water and 85% less energy

N-Solv Corporation holds patents for proprietary technology for in situ solvent extraction of bitumen from oil sands. The process uses no water and 85% less energy than Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD). They have been awarded with $10.5 million by the Canadian government.

UPDATE - Technology Review has coverage

With conventional techniques, oil prices have to be above $50 to $60 per barrel—as they have been for several years—for oil sands to be economical. Smith says that with the solvent process, oil sands are still economical even if oil is $30 to $40 per barrel.

Korean Candu restarts after refurbishment

Unit 1 at the Wolsong nuclear power plant in South Korea has been restarted following the completion of a refurbishment of the pressurized heavy water reactor (PHWR). It marks the first time that a Candu-6 reactor has been successfully dismantled, retubed and restarted. The 679 MWe reactor to operate for a further 25 years. It took 839 days to refurbish (started in 2009).

Safe births, safe cooking and universal vaccination would save over 10 million lives per year

WHO estimates that better use of existing preventive measures could reduce the global burden of disease by as much as 70%.

Safe births, safe cooking and universal vaccination would save over 10 million lives per year. The means of delivering these three things are with very simple and cheap technology, processes and education.

1. Safe births can save 2.6 million lives per year. There are various non-profit, UN, Gates Foundation and other efforts targeted at this goal.

- Clean birth kits (a razor blade to cut the umbilical cord and some other cheap supplies to prevent infection through the cord) could save 950,000 lives per year.

- trained midwives could help get clean birth kits out trained midwives could save another 2.6 million lives

Could 100 Kilometer high towers usher in the next space age?

A private European organization has a proposal for creating 100-300 kilometer high multipurpose towers. The towers would be composed of moveable lighter-than-air rings stacked upon each other. Modules would be added from the bottom up and filled with a light gas. Shuttles within the shaft could take people and payloads to the top, slowly but inexpensively. In an interview with Sander Olson, Patrick Vankeirsbilk describes how the first towers could become operational within a decade, and could be used both for tourism and for getting payloads inexpensively into space.

Patrick Vankeirsbilck
Question: How did the concept of the Spaceshaft originate?
The concept only emerged within the past five years or so. I was approached by a business partner who worked on offshore oil platforms. He was working on buoyant structures in the ocean, which he transposed into buoyant structures in the atmosphere. He called this concept SpaceShaft, and we believe that this concept could provide an inexpensive way to lift structures into space, using current technology.

July 28, 2011

Yale finds cause of age related memory loss and finds it may be reversible

A new study published July 27 in the journal Nature shows that the neural networks in the brains of the middle-aged and elderly have weaker connections and fire less robustly than in youthful ones. Intriguingly, note the scientists, the research suggests that this condition is reversible.

Education is a key determinant of population growth

Future trends in global population growth could be significantly affected by improvements in both the quality and quantity of education, particularly female education. Projections of future population trends that do not explicitly include education in their analysis may be flawed, according to research published in the journal Science.

The research reinforces earlier findings that the level of formal education achieved by women is, in most cases, the single most important determinant of population growth. More educated women generally have fewer children, better general health, and higher infant survival rates. Education also appears to be a more important determinant of child survival than household income and wealth. The study also found that if concerted efforts were made to fast track education, the global population could remain below 9 billion by 2050. Thus the global population outlook depends greatly on further progress in education.

An Unexpected Clue to Thermopower Efficiency

An n-type semiconductor on top of a p-type semiconductor creates a vertical electric field (E, green arrow), while diffusion creates a depletion layer near the junction (orange), where the electric field is strongest. Heating one end of the device creates a heat gradient at right angles to the electric field (del T, red arrow). Electrons and holes moving in these fields are forced into loops of current, and a magnetic field is generated “sideways” (B, blue arrow), at right angles to both electric and thermal fields.

Berkeley Lab scientists and their colleagues have discovered a new relation among electric and magnetic fields and differences in temperature, which may lead to more efficient thermoelectric devices that convert heat into electricity or electricity into heat. Berkeley Lab scientists find that uneven temperature can lead to electronic whirlpools and sideways magnetic fields. The new effect that has been discovered has been overlooked by the thermopower community, and can greatly affect the efficiency of thermopower and other devices.

Physical Review B - Electrothermally driven current vortices in inhomogeneous bipolar semiconductors

Trojan Asteroid Shares Earth Orbit around sun and Pluto has a fourth moon

1. Astronomers studying observations taken by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission have discovered the first known "Trojan" asteroid orbiting the sun along with Earth.

Trojans are asteroids that share an orbit with a planet near stable points in front of or behind the planet. Because they constantly lead or follow in the same orbit as the planet, they never can collide with it. In our solar system, Trojans also share orbits with Neptune, Mars and Jupiter. Two of Saturn's moons share orbits with Trojans.

The asteroid is roughly 1,000 feet (300 meters) in diameter. It has an unusual orbit that traces a complex motion near a stable point in the plane of Earth's orbit, although the asteroid also moves above and below the plane. The object is about 50 million miles (80 million kilometers) from Earth. The asteroid's orbit is well-defined and for at least the next 100 years, it will not come closer to Earth than 15 million miles (24 million kilometers)

Nature - Earth's Trojan Asteroid

Insect Virus Holds the Key to Safer Stem Cell Therapy and could enable genetic engineering to help cancer patients

Genetically modified human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and derived neurospheres. Using IBN’s BV-RMCE technique, a transgene (EGFP) was inserted into the AAVS1 locus on chromosome 19 in hESCs. Long-term expression of this gene was obtained in both hESCs and derived cell progenies. Cells derived from genetically modified hESCs can be used for transplantation in cell-based therapy.

The future of regenerative medicine lies in harnessing the potential of the human body to renew and repair itself. Now, scientists at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN), the world’s first bioengineering and nanotechnology research institute, have developed a new genetic engineering technique that promises safer stem cell therapy for cancer patients. Using an insect virus, the team of researchers successfully inserted a therapeutic gene into a safe site in the DNA of human embryonic stem cells without compromising the functionality of the engineered cells.

Besides saving energy a switch to LED lights can be used to enable gigabit per second Li-Fi that can be ten times cheaper than Wi-Fi

Siemens researchers have improved on their own record for wireless data transfer using white LED light. (back in 2010) In collaboration with the Heinrich Hertz Institute in Berlin, they have achieved a data transfer rate of up to 500 megabits per second (Mbit/s), significantly bettering the previous record of 200 Mbit/s. Wireless data transport by means of light paves the way for new applications in the home as well as in industry and transportation.

* The researchers used an Ostar LED, one of the brightest LEDs on the market, which can be modulated at such a frequency that data transfer rates of up to 500 Mbit/s are possible.

* The resulting changes in brightness remain imperceptible to the human eye. The receiver is a photodetector which converts the light signals into electrical pulses.

* Known as VLC (Visible Light Communication), this form of data transfer has a variety of potential applications.

New Scientist -
"There are around 14 billion light bulbs worldwide, they just need to be replaced with LED ones that transmit data," says Haas. "We reckon VLC is a factor of ten cheaper than Wi-Fi." Because it uses light rather than radio-frequency signals, VLC could be used safely in aircraft, integrated into medical devices and hospitals where Wi-Fi is banned, or even underwater, where Wi-Fi doesn't work at all.

Eight Projects Funded for the Gates Foundation Reinvent the Toilet Challenge

The Water, Sanitation & Hygiene program of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recently challenged 22 universities to submit proposals for how to invent a waterless, hygienic toilet that is safe and affordable for people in the developing world and doesn’t have to be connected to a sewer. Eight universities were awarded grants to “reinvent the toilet.”
• Address the failures of the 18th-century toilet, which is not meeting the current needs of 2.6 billion people who lack access to sanitation

• To generate innovation among a wider research and development community

• Devote funding and attention to the need for a new toilet

• Generate innovation among a wider research and development community

• Support upstream research and development of a
toilet that:
-Is hygienic and sustainable for the world’s poorest populations
-Has an operational cost of $0.05 per user, per day
-Does not discharge pollutants, but instead generates energy and recovers salt, water and other nutrients
-Is designed for use in a single family home

• Create a toilet that does not rely on water to flush waste or a septic system to process and store waste

Solar Portopotty

A scientist from California Institute of Technology developed solar-powered portable toilets for a self-power wastewater treatment solution to some of the sanitation issues of some developing countries. Sunlight powers an electrochemical reaction with human waste in water that generates microbe-killing oxidants and releases hydrogen gas.

Environmental scientist and engineer Michael Hoffmann believes that his “Self-Contained, PV-Powered Domestic Toilet and Wastewater Treatment System” concept, will be beneficial for developing countries, especially in Africa.

Mr. Hoffman received a $400,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to build the project. The grant will be used to complete the initial design, development, and testing of the sustainable system.

More Efficient Sun-free photovoltaics

Using new nanofabrication techniques, MIT researchers made these samples of tungsten with billions of regularly spaced, uniform nanoscale holes on their surfaces. In their TVP system, this type of photonic crystal serves as a thermal emitter, absorbing heat and then—because of its surface structure—radiating to the PV diode only those wavelengths that the diode can convert into electricity. The inset shows a digital photo of the full 1 cm-diameter sample, illuminated by white light. The color suggests the diffraction of white light into green as a result of the surface pattern.

A new photovoltaic energy-conversion system developed at MIT can be powered solely by heat, generating electricity with no sunlight at all. While the principle involved is not new, a novel way of engineering the surface of a material to convert heat into precisely tuned wavelengths of light — selected to match the wavelengths that photovoltaic cells can best convert to electricity — makes the new system much more efficient than previous versions.

They used a slab of tungsten, engineering billions of tiny pits on its surface. When the slab heats up, it generates bright light with an altered emission spectrum because each pit acts as a resonator, capable of giving off radiation at only certain wavelengths.

In this novel MIT design, input heat from an energy source raises the temperature of the tungsten photonic crystal, which transmits radiative heat at selected wavelengths to the PV diode. A second photonic crystal—mounted on the face of the PV diode—lets through heat at wave- lengths that the diode can convert into electricity and reflects the rest back to the tungsten photonic crystal, where it is reabsorbed and reemitted. Electricity from the PV diode passes to an electronic circuit that adjusts its voltage to match the external device being powered.

Prototypes of their micro-TPV power generator are "pretty exciting," says Celanovic. The devices achieve a fuel-to-electricity conversion efficiency of about 3%—a ratio that may not sound impressive, but at that efficiency their energy output is three times greater than that of a lithium ion battery of the same size and weight. The TPV power generator can thus run three times longer without recharging, and then recharging is instantaneous: just snap in a new cartridge of butane. With further work on packaging and system design, Celanovic is confident that they can triple their current energy density. "At that point, our TPV generator could power your smart phone for a whole week without being recharged," he says.

Carnival of Space 207

1. ZME Science - Beautiful exoplanet aurorae 1000 times brighter than on Earth

2. Docmadhattan - Brian May, astrophysicist: a little review of research activity of Queen's guitarist.

In 1972 and 1973 two papers signed by Mr.May are be published: MgI Emission in the Night-Sky Spectrum and An Investigation of the Motion of Zodiacal Dust Particles (Part I), written with Mr.Hicks and Mr.Reay. May and collegues are interestend in zodiacal light, in particular in MgI spectrum, near the 5183.62 Å wavelength. The importance of this kind of studies is that the MgI and MgII formation is one feature in the interaction between atmosphere and star radiations

July 27, 2011

Antimagnets: Controlling magnetic fields with superconductor-metamaterial hybrids

Arxiv - Antimagnets: Controlling magnetic fields with superconductor-metamaterial hybrids

Magnetism is very important in science and technology, from magnetic recording to energy generation to trapping cold atoms. Physicists have managed to master magnetism - to create and manipulate magnetic fields- almost at will. Surprisingly, there is at least one property which until now has been elusive: how to 'switch off' the magnetic interaction of a magnetic material with existing magnetic fields without modifying them. Here we introduce the antimagnet, a design to conceal the magnetic response of a given volume from its exterior, without altering the external magnetic fields, somehow analogous to the recent theoretical proposals for cloaking electromagnetic waves with metamaterials. However, different from these devices requiring extreme material properties, our device is feasible and needs only two kinds of available materials: superconductors and isotropic magnetic materials. Antimagnets may have applications in magnetic-based medical techniques such as MRI or in reducing the magnetic signature of vessels or planes.

Technology Review has coverage

A metamaterial is a bizarre substance with properties that physicists can fine tune as they wish. Tuned in a certain way, a metamaterial can make light perform all kinds of gymnastics, steering it round objects to make them seem invisible. This phenomenon, known as cloaking, is set to revolutionise various areas of electromagnetic science. But metamaterials can do more. One idea is that as well as electromagnetic fields, metamaterials ought to be able to manipulate plain old magnetic fields too. After all, a static magnetic field is merely an electromagnetic wave with a frequency of zero.

Metamaterials for emitted blackbody radiation with efficiency beyond natural limits

A designer metamaterial has shown it can engineer emitted "blackbody" radiation with an efficiency beyond the natural limits imposed by the material’s temperature, a team of researchers report in Physical Review Letters. Illustration shows design of the infrared metamaterial absorber. (a) Top view of a single band metamaterial absorber unit cell. (b) Schematic of a dual-band metamaterial absorber. (c and d) Perspective view for single and dual-band metamaterial absorbers. Credit: Physical Review Letters

A designer metamaterial has shown it can engineer emitted "blackbody" radiation with an efficiency beyond the natural limits imposed by the material's temperature, a team of researchers led by Boston College physicist Willie Padilla report in the current edition of Physical Review Letters.

A "blackbody" object represents a theorized ideal of performance for a material that perfectly absorbs all radiation to strike it and also emits energy based on the material's temperature. According to this blackbody law, the energy absorbed is equal to the energy emitted in equilibrium.

The breakthrough reported by Padilla and colleagues from Duke University and SensorMetrix, Inc., could lead to innovative technologies used to cull energy from waste heat produced by numerous industrial processes. Furthermore, the man-made metamaterial offers the ability to control emissivity, which could further enhance energy conversion efficiency.

Physical Review Letters - Taming the Blackbody with Infrared Metamaterials as Selective Thermal Emitters

Piantelli Cold Fusion Work

Cold Fusion Now has an english translation of new cold fusion research by Piantelli. The name of Piantelli’s company is Nichenergy.

The italian coverage on Piantelli is here

* Older units worked continuously for months and produced 2× to 4× energy gain, but the actual energy balance was higher, as the cells reached self-sustaining mode.

* Several unnamed third parties have confirmed that the older units worked in self-sustaining mode for long periods of time.

* Several of these older units were recently reactivated. After some maintenance they turned on easily and produced 2× to 3× energy gain, but they haven’t yet been pushed to high excess energy levels.

* New units with new fuel should be completed in about two months, and are expected to produce 200× energy gain

* The new units will be tested gradually in several steps of increasing power, beginning from a few hundred watts up to high levels of power on the order of kilowatts.

* The scale-up will take as long as is necessary. Smaller devices will be ready for sale first.

* No catalyst is necessary. The trick is in the preparation of the nickel.

* Piantelli has a theory that doesn’t require exotic reactions, but can be explained using known physics and mathematics. A semi-complete theory has been provided to the University of Siena and will be published shortly. The complete theory will probably be disclosed after the first commercial units have been sold.

3D printing UAVs from design to flight in days

New Scientist - a team led by Andy Keane and Jim Scanlan of the University of Southampton, believes that 3D printing will soon allow uncrewed aircraft known as drones or UAVs to go from the drawing board to flight in a matter of days. No longer, they say, will one design of UAV be repeatedly manufactured on a production line. Instead, designers will be able to fine-tune a UAV for each specific application – whether it be crop spraying, surveillance or infrared photography – and then print a bespoke plane on demand.

Keane's team set out to see how quickly they could design a 1.5-metre-wingspan, super-low-drag UAV, print it and get it airborne. A UK-based 3D-printing firm, 3T RPD of Greenham Common, Berkshire, joined the venture, agreeing to print the UAV out of hard nylon. The budget for the Southampton University Laser Sintered Aircraft (Sulsa) was £5000 (US$8000), which imposed a number of design constraints.

The electric-powered aircraft, with a 2-metres wingspan, has a top speed of nearly 100 miles per hour, but when in cruise mode is almost silent. The aircraft is also equipped with a miniature autopilot developed by Dr Matt Bennett, one of the members of the team.

Graphene Nanocomposite a Bridge to Better Batteries

Berkeley Lab researchers assembled alternating layers of graphene and tin to create a nanoscale composite. First a thin film of tin is deposited onto graphene. Next, another sheet of graphene is transferred on top of the tin film. This process is repeated and the composite material is then heated to transform a tin film into a series of pillars. The change in height between graphene layers improves the electrode’s performance and allows the battery to be charged quickly and repeatedly without degrading.

Researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have created a graphene and tin nanoscale composite material for high-capacity energy storage in renewable lithium ion batteries. By encapsulating tin between sheets of graphene, the researchers constructed a new, lightweight “sandwich” structure that should bolster battery performance.

Energy and Environmental Science - Multilayer nanoassembly of Sn-nanopillar arrays sandwiched between graphene layers for high-capacity lithium storage

Prototype tools for mass producing nanostructures to launch in Singapore using roll to roll nanoimprinting

One of the square plastic films bearing nanometer-sized patterns being rolled out of the prototype roll-to-roll UV nanoimprinter - Roll-to-roll processing will allow such unique plastics to be manufactured on a large scale.

Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), is ready to put roll-to-roll nanoimprint manufacturing. This manufacturing process can easily and quickly mass produce films and surfaces with nanometer-scale textures for a host of new applications in biomedical devices, optical films, plastic electronics and flexible solar cells.

R2R nano imprinting can form optical films for flat panel displays, anti-reflective coatings for solar cells, and other textured products in mass quantities on large-area pieces, and at a high speed. "With this method we can merge nanoimprint technologies into real-world applications and on an industrial scale," explained Dr Low Hong Yee, an IMRE senior scientist who heads the team developing the roll-to-roll nanoimprint technology. Nanoimprint technology produces nanometer-sized structures of greater complexity using fewer processing steps, while minimizing wasted materials. It has evolved from the semiconductor industry's lithography technology to a platform process technology that can be adapted to a wide range of applications.

Brandeis lab's artificial cilia spur new thinking in nanotechnology

Artificial cilia exhibit spontaneous beating

In a recent paper published in the journal Science, Associate Professor of Physics Zvonimir Dogic and colleagues present the first example of a simple microscopic system that self-organizes to produce cilia-like beating patterns. The findings also open a door for the development of one of the major goals of nanotechnology — to design an object that’s capable of swimming independently.

Cilia, tiny hair-like structures that perform feats such as clearing microscopic debris from the lungs and determining the correct location of organs during development, move in mysterious ways. Their beating motions are synchronized to produce metachronal waves, similar in appearance to “the wave” created in large arenas when audience members use their hands to produce a pattern of movement around the entire stadium.

Due to the importance of ciliary functions for health, there is great interest in understanding the mechanism that controls the cilias’ beating patterns. But learning exactly how cilia movement is coordinated has been challenging.

Science - Cilia-Like Beating of Active Microtubule Bundles

Terrapower traveling wave reactor design changed to be more buildable

A recent design for a nuclear reactor known as a traveling wave reactor looks similar to some conventional nuclear designs, but the way it operates is very different. Credit: Terrapower

Technology Review - Terrapower, a startup funded in part by Nathan Myhrvold and Bill Gates, is moving closer to building a new type of nuclear reactor called a traveling wave reactor that runs on an abundant form of uranium. The Terrapower reactor would burn up all of the actinides (uranium, plutonium). Most of the uranium that it uses would not need to be enriched.

The company has changed its original design to make the reactor look more like a conventional one. The changes would make the reactor easier to engineer and build. The company has also calculated precise dimensions and performance parameters for the reactor. Terrapower expects to begin construction of a 100-megawatt demonstration plant in 2016 and start it up in 2020. It's working with a consortium of national labs, universities, and corporations to overcome the primary technical challenge of the new reactor: developing new materials that can withstand use in the reactor core for decades at a time. It has yet to secure a site for an experimental plant—or the funding to build it.

In the new design, the heat is always generated in about the same area within the reactor core—near the center. As a result, it's easier to engineer the systems to extract and use the heat to generate electricity.

One challenge with this design is ensuring that the steel cladding that contains the fuel in the fuel rods can survive exposure to decades of radiation. Current materials aren't good enough: for one thing, they start to swell, which would close off the spaces between the fuel rods through which coolant is supposed to flow. To last 40 years, the materials would need to be made two to three times more durable, Terrapower says.

Terrapower's next steps include finalizing the design and finding partners to build the plants. It's been in talks with organizations in China, Russia, and India. Gilleland says the company expects to have an announcement about partners within the next few months

July 26, 2011

Fixing Black Carbon / Soot pollution will save lives and reduce global warming

The Center for Biological Diversity today notified the Environmental Protection Agency of its intent to file a lawsuit against the agency for its failure to take action to reduce black carbon, a potent global warming pollutant. Last year, the Center filed a formal petition asking the EPA to set water-quality criteria for black carbon, or soot, to help protect sea ice and glaciers under the Clean Water Act. Today’s notice of intent to sue urges the agency to respond promptly to the Center’s petition.

NBF - Supports effort to control, reduce and eliminate black carbon (soot). Some of the most effective interventions are cheap soot free cookers for India that would avoid the equivalent of one ton of CO2 for $6. It could also avoid a loss of a disability-adjusted life year (DALY) for $600 by preventing disease from indoor air pollution.

Black carbon (soot) is not a gas but a particulate — a component of soot emitted by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels and biomass. By some estimates, emissions from black carbon vie with methane as the second largest contributor to global warming after CO2 emissions. The largest source of black carbon in developed countries such as the United States is diesel fuel.

Black carbon is generally thought to have both a direct warming effect (by absorbing incoming solar radiation in the atmosphere and converting it to heat radiation) and an indirect warming effect (by reducing the reflectivity of snow and ice). Yet it has not been addressed by international or national global warming regulations. Depending on the region, the atmospheric residence time for black carbon emissions from different regions varies between 4.6 to 7.3 days — in other words, it stays in the air for a period of days to weeks instead of more than a hundred years, as is the case with CO2.

Growing ‘Epidemic’ of Heart Attacks, Strokes, Cancer, Diabetes Threatens China’s Economic and Social Well-Being

The World Bank reports that based on current trends, the Chinese can expect to live only 66 “healthy years” (years free from disease and disability), ten years less than in some leading G-20 countries

Non-communicable chronic diseases (NCDs) are the leading cause of death in China, accounting for close to 70 percent of the disease burden and over 80 percent of the 10.3 million deaths caused by all diseases annually. The four leading NCDs in China are cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), diabetes, cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPDs).

NCD mortality in China is higher than in other leading G-20 countries: for stroke it is four to six times higher than in Japan, the United States and France, and for COPD mortality is about 30 times as high as in Japan.

From 2010 to 2030, the total years lost due to NCD morbidity and mortality are expected to increase significantly. Population aging could compound the NCD burden by at least 40 percent by 2030 if effective measures are not taken to prevent and control NCDs and promote healthy aging.

The 48 page report Toward a Healthy and Harmonious Life in China: Stemming the Rising Tide of Non-Communicable Diseases was prepared in coordination with the Chinese Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization, based on assessments conducted by the World Bank in 2008-2010.

The number of cases of cardiovascular diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, diabetes and lung cancer among Chinese people over 40 will double or even triple over the next two decades if effective prevention and control strategies are not implemented.

China's GDP update

China's Gross domestic product (GDP) rose by 9.5 percent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2011, tapering off slightly from the 9.7-percent growth posted in the first quarter and 9.8 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

According to preliminary statistics, the country's GDP reached 20.45 trillion yuan (3.175 trillion U.S. dollars) in the first six months, up 9.6 percent year-on-year.

China's yuan is currently at 6.44 to one US dollar. It was as high as 6.43 intraday. China's currency has moved up as the US debt crisis has remained unresolved.

China had US$3.175 trillion in the first half of the year.
6% inflation in the second half of the year and 9.2% GDP growth would mean 22.03 trillion yuan in the second half of 2011. This would be a total of 42.5 trillion yuan of GDP for 2011.

If the currency strengthened to 6.1 yuan per USD. Then China's GDP for 2011 would be 6.97 trillion. Including Hong Kong would put China's GDP 7.2 trillion in 2011.

Operations Research determines cost effective vaccination strategies for the US and China to save billions and over 70,000 lives

Chinese health officials were considering a program of catch-up vaccinations for children who had not been vaccinated at birth, but were reluctant to commit funds to a widespread hepatitis B catch-up vaccination program until analysis confirmed its cost-effectiveness.

The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) determined that it would be cost effective to expand free catch-up vaccination to all children in China under the age of 15. China began implementation of the catch up vaccinations in 2009.

Structureless Space Telescope (SST) for Science Applications

Structureless Space Telescope® (SST) for Science Applications (27 pages, 2008)

– 30-meter diameter optical telescope using extensions of current technology
– 88 free-floating mirrors controlled in orbit and attitude in all 3 axes by light pressure from a set of Control Lasers

– System is relatively near-term -- i.e., GEO demonstration mission with 10-meter diameter in 5.5 years from ATP and 30-meter Operational System in 8.5 years from ATP
– Estimated total cost ~ $2.7 billion
• Includes NRE, ground testing, LEO Demos, GEO Demo/Back-Up mission, Operational System development (1 FOV), build, test, launch, ground segment, and the first year of operations.

$30 million would validate the concepts and get the components up to a suitable technological readiness.

North Dakota sets record Oil Production in May of 361438 barrels per day

North Dakota oil production set a record of 361438 barrels per day in May. They overcame issues with flooding that was slowing production increases.

Siemens Water purification unit generates its own energy

A new biological water purification facility developed by Siemens generates enough methane gas to power its own operations.

It also produces much less sludge than conventional systems. The pilot facility for this process, which is located at a site run by Singapore’s Public Utilities Board, has been operating in an energy- neutral manner since June 2010. Now, the city state is building a much larger pilot facility – one that will process 300 times more effluent than its predecessor, or about as much sewage water as is produced by around 1,000 people.

Clinical trial of molecular therapy for muscular dystrophy yields significant positive results

A molecular technique originally developed at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has taken one step closer to becoming a treatment for the devastating genetic disease Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

The novel treatment uses strips of genetic code – called antisense oligonucleotides – to restore the function of a defective dystrophin gene. In a study published July 25, 2011 in the journal The Lancet, researchers from the U.K., U.S. and Australia demonstrated that a phase Ib/IIa trial of the approach restored production of the critical muscle protein missing in patients with the progressive neuromuscular condition.

Japanese muon research and muon catalyzed fusion research

Muon-catalyzed nuclear fusion.
(1) A beam of negatively charged muons is produced and injected into a mixed fuel of deuterium and tritium, (2) resulting in the creation of many muonic tritium atoms (tµ). As muons are 207 times heavier than electrons, the muon orbits the nucleus at a much closer distance to the nucleus than electrons. Thus, tµ atoms are extremely small. (3) As the tµ atoms have no electric charge, they readily collide with deuterium atoms without being affected by repulsive electrical force. These collisions produce dtµ molecules, which consist of a muon, a deuterium nucleus and a tritium nucleus. (4) Similar to tµ atoms, dtµ molecules are extremely small. When d–t nuclear fusion occurs in these small molecules, large amounts of energy are released, accompanied by the production of α particles (helium nuclei) and neutrons. (5) The muon is freed and recycled in subsequent nuclear fusion reactions. (6) About 1% of the liberated muons, however, become stuck to helium nuclei.

Japan has active research towards commercial muon catalyzed fusion.

Japan is still working on upgrading their muon research facilities. However, they are repairing some damage from the earthquake

The new Muon Science Facility (MUSE) now under construction at J-PARC in Tokai, Japan, will produce intense muon beams with fluxes several orders of magnitude higher than at present muon facilities allowing many novel experimental studies that were statistically not feasible until now. The investigation of the nuclear properties of unstable nuclei using muonic atom X-ray spectroscopy would become a unique tool to increase our knowledge of the nuclear structure far from stability, i.e., the nuclear charge distribution and the deformation properties of nuclei. Muonic atom spectroscopy has been successfully used for many years to determine the nuclear charge distribution.

July 25, 2011

Australian Star Scientific Claims to be close to Sustainable Muon Catalyzed Fusion

Scientists have been producing nuclear fusion reactions from muon catalysed fusion for decades – just not consistently, or in sufficient volumes for it to be considered a viable energy source – until now. Star Scientific Limited is perfecting a world-first technique to economically produce pions, and hence muon catalysed fusion, in a CONTROLLED and SUSTAINED way. They are developing a method to efficiently and consistently produce pions (which immediately decay to become muons) in their hundreds and thousands, meaning the loss of some muons is of no consequence.

(H/T Talk Polywell)

UPDATE - This one I am willing to place in the fraud category until they produce evidence. I have zero evidence to support their claim of a pion production process that is 300 times better in terms of energy to produce the pions. No pictures of the facilities or the device for producing pions and no papers that describe what is being done. Even Rossi (controversial energy catalyzer/cold fusion) shows the device as it is supposed to be working and writes some technical descriptions.

A 22 page presentation that describes traditional pion production (2009)

Japanese work on muon catalyzed fusion was described here in 2009

Energy input versus output is an issue with plasma fusion, not muon catalysed fusion. Plasma fusion consumes 18 times more energy than it produces. The Star Scientific system requires very little energy to run, which means 99% of the energy liberated by the fusion reaction is available for use.

They are claiming that they have a low energy input pion factory. If 100 times more heat is produced than the energy input, then the heat can be converted to electricity that is 30 times more than the input energy.

Muon catalyzed fusion at wikipedia

Stephen Horvath has been working on Muon catalyzed fusion for decades.

In 1989, after extensive discussions with General Electric, in Schenectady, New York, Stephen was invited to secretly test the second prototype reactor at their facility.

The next step for Stephen was to design an enhanced reactor. In 1998, he formed Star Energy as the patent holder and developer of the final stage of the fusion development. He began assembling the requisite testing equipment and enlarged system to produce a commercial device to demonstrate energy release via muon-catalysed fusion.

Star Scientific was formed in 2004 and has been performing 'final testing' since 2004.

Cloak could hide the wake of a submarine or a ship and make them more quiet and energy efficient

In the computer simulation, a slow-moving cloaked sphere leaves no wake at all as it moves downward (inset, left), while the cloak still reduces the turbulence behind the sphere at faster speeds (inset, middle and right).

Physics World - a pair of physicists in the US have proposed a new type of material that lets water flow around an object as if it were not there at all. The design, which has yet to be built, could boost the energy efficiency of ships and submarines – and even prevent them from being detected. "

The latest design, put forward by Urzhumov and Smith in a paper due to be published in Physical Review Letters, could be called a water cloak, or more accurately a "fluid-flow cloak". It is based on the same theory that gave us previous cloaks, namely transformation optics. In the same way that the equations of general relativity show how gravity can warp space–time, so the equations of transformation optics can show how materials with unusual properties can warp the path of light – or indeed other waves, such as sound or water.

Arxiv - Fluid flow control with transformation media (4 pages)

Apple closes in on being the most valuable company in the world

Apple has a valuation of $369 billion (as the stock price closes on $400 per share) At $449 per share (if Exxon Mobil remained shares were flat), Apple would be the world's most valuable company.

Apple is worth more than Microsoft ($235 billion) and Intel ($122 billion) combined.
Apple is close to the value of Google ($199 billion) and Walmart ($187 billion) combined.

Apple is 12% away from the valuation of Exxon Mobile ($416 billion, the most valuable American Company).

Universal Donor Immune Cells

One of the latest attempts to boost the body’s defenses against cancer is called adoptive cell transfer, in which patients receive a therapeutic injection of their own immune cells. This therapy, currently tested in early clinical trials for melanoma and neuroblastoma, has its limitations: Removing immune cells from a patient and growing them outside the body for future re-injection is extremely expensive and not always technically feasible.

Weizmann Institute scientists have now tested in mice a new form of adoptive cell transfer, which overcomes these limitations while enhancing the tumor-fighting ability of the transferred cells.

Blood Journal - Redirected tumor-specific allogeneic T cells for universal treatment of cancer

Gleevec treatment reduces amyloid plaque in mice brains and half of Alzheimers cases are preventable through lifestyle change and preventing chronic conditions

1. The plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease may arise in the liver, not the brain as commonly thought, according to a study published in The Journal of Neuroscience.

Researchers found that three genes that protected mice against plaque deposition in neurons were correlated with expression of the genes in the liver, where the plaques are also produced. However, there was no such correlation between the activity of the genes in the brain and plaque deposition there.

Mice were given the cancer drug Gleevec, which reduces production of beta amyloid plaques. Gleevec treatment greatly reduced beta amyloid levels in the mice, including the brain.

“In a week, that reduced the amount of amyloid in the brain by 50 percent,” Sutcliffe said. “We know that about a 20 percent increase in amyloid in mice will cause them to develop Alzheimer’s disease-like symptoms. 50 percent is a whopping reduction.”

Apparently Novartis will not fund the research and clinical trials for applying Gleevec to Alzheimer's. Scripps is fundraising to pay for the clinical trials.

Peripheral reduction of β-amyloid is sufficient to reduce brain β-amyloid: Implications for Alzheimer's disease

Google may not have to pay that much in historical damages to Oracle but the licensing fees will add up for Android

Unwired - In a few years, every Android device maker may have to pay an average $10 licensee fee to Apple, Microsoft, Nokia, RIM, HP and Oracle. That’s $60 per device only for the rights to put Android OS on it.

The actual situation is more complicated based on whether someone could pay one of the companies that already has enough cross-patent agreements. A manufacturer might be able to get enough coverage by paying one or two of the big patent holders once or twice.

Google approach seems to be push forward on their own IP (get more patents) and scoop up other patents when it’s cost-effective.)

China high speed rail accident kills at least 38 and injures 192

Chinese authorities face growing public fury over the high-speed train crash that killed at least 38 people and injured 192, with the disposal of wreckage and attempts to control coverage of the incident prompting allegations of a cover-up.

Doubled rates of hydrogen production is an advance to energy of surplus wind and solar power

Scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's Center for Molecular Electrocatalysis and Villanova University designed a nickel-based complex that more than doubled previously reported hydrogen gas production rates and increased the energy efficiency of the reaction. Additionally, the team found that adding water to the reaction significantly increased the reaction speed. As a result of the discoveries, researchers are closer to finding energy storage solutions for surplus energy generated from green technologies.

Future food security requires accelerating the rate of wheat yield improvement

Australian CSIRO researchers are working to avert future food security catastrophes we must accelerate the rate of wheat yield improvement.

Locating genes of agricultural importance within the complex wheat genome is challenging but possible using new high-tech equipment such as that being developed by the High Resolution Plant Phenomics Centre (HRPPC) in Canberra.

Engine that mixes gas and diesel has 75% less NOx and Soot pollution and 20-35% more efficient than standard diesel

An award-winning University of Wisconsin-Madison student hybrid vehicle will become a showcase for advanced fuel technology that harnesses the advantages of both diesel and gasoline. The team vehicles will emit 75 percent fewer greenhouse gases. RCCI engines can achieve efficiencies of between 20 and 35 percent better than with standard diesel engines, which are themselves about 20 to 30 percent more efficient than gasoline engines.

Mechanical engineering professor Rolf Reitz is perfecting a new mixed-fuel technology that harnesses the advantages of both diesel and gasoline.

The process, called reactivity-controlled compression ignition (RCCI), involves two separate fuel injections: First, gasoline is swept into the engine with fresh air, with which it mixes uniformly. Then, a diesel fuel is injected, dispersed finely enough that it ignites under compression.

MIT improves the energy density of lithium air batteries with carbon electrodes that are 90% porous instead of 70%

MIT researchers have found a way to improve the energy density of a type of battery known as lithium-air (or lithium-oxygen) batteries, producing a device that could potentially pack several times more energy per pound than the lithium-ion batteries that now dominate the market for rechargeable devices in everything from cellphones to cars. Further work is still needed to translate these basic laboratory advances into a practical commercial product.

The work is a continuation of a project that last year demonstrated improved efficiency in lithium-air batteries through the use of noble-metal-based catalysts. The new work creates carbon-fiber-based electrodes that are substantially more porous than other carbon electrodes, and can therefore more efficiently store the solid oxidized lithium that fills the pores as the battery discharges.

Energy and Environmental Science - All-carbon-nanofiber electrodes for high-energy rechargeable Li–O2 batteries

Hollow carbon fibers with diameters on the order of 30 nm were grown on a ceramic porous substrate, which was used as the oxygen electrode in lithium-oxygen (Li–O2) batteries. These all-carbon-fiber (binder-free) electrodes were found to yield high gravimetric energies (up to 2500 W h kg discharged−1) in Li–O2 cells, translating to an energy enhancement about 4 times greater than the state-of-the-art lithium intercalation compounds such as LiCoO2 about 600 W h kg electrode−1). The high gravimetric energy achieved in this study can be attributed to low carbon packing in the grown carbon-fiber electrodes and highly efficient utilization of the available carbon mass and void volume for Li2O2 formation. The nanofiber structure allowed for the clear visualization of Li2O2 formation and morphological evolution during discharge and its disappearance upon charge, where Li2O2 particles grown on the sidewalls of the aligned carbon fibers were found to be toroids, having particle sizes increasing (up to about 1 μm) with increasing depth-of-discharge. The visualization of Li2O2 morphologies upon discharge and disappearance upon charge represents a critical step toward understanding key processes that limit the rate capability and low round-trip efficiencies of Li–O2 batteries, which are not currently understood within the field.
Gravimetric Ragone plot comparing energy and power characteristics of CNF electrodes based on the pristine and discharged electrode weight with that of LiCoO2. Source: Mitchell et al.

July 24, 2011

Supersoldier 2020 will have exoskeleton, robot helpers, pathogen immunity, some doctor assisted regeneration,

The new Captain America movie is out this weekend, so we take a look at the actual developments and research for enhancing soldiers in real-life.

Supersoldiers of the 2020s will be a little bit Iron man with HULC and XOS exoskeletons. They will have some wall crawling (Spiderman like) capability from the Z-Man program (attachable pads with magnets and microsplines).

They will be using a lot more ground and flying robot support. They will have flying hummers.

They will have better guns with better range, smart bullets/grenades when needed and computers and sensors to improve the accuracy of soldiers and snipers.

They will have medical enhancement to be resistant to infections and to allow them to be restored from more severe injuries.

There will also be safer SARM steroids and myostatin inhibitors which should allow safe and effective enhancement of physical strength for millions of people (soldiers and civilians). It will be like today where people use steroids and some training dedication to get closer to the top tiers of athletic performance and top athletes use them to get to record breaking performance except there will not be the negative side effects (or far fewer side effects) and more people will use them.

Supersoldier 2020s Exoskeleton and Robots

HULC (lowerbody) exoskeleton Army’s field tests and trials, probably in 2014 or 2015, will be followed by widespread commercial production of powered exoskeletons. The Deployment of exoskeletons in commercial sectors will probably remain quite limited for another decade or so, due to their high cost (more than $25,000 per suit). There will be about 11,000 exoskeletons by 2020.

They help a soldier to life 200 pounds without strain, currently need about 1000 watts of power. The HULC can assist speed marching at up to 7 mph reduces this somewhat; a battery-draining "burst" at 10mph is the maximum speed. A soldier with a pack would normally go at 3 mph maximum and cover 10-12 miles in a day. A better power supply would allow the burst mode to be used more and speed to be 10 mph and coverage to be 200 miles in day. Soldiers could also carry lightweight foldable electric scooters on their exoskeleton that would enable 60-100 mph on roads. If the bike had motocross like capabilities it could still go about 30-60 mph on rougher terrain.

The full body XOS exoskeleton will be about two to four years behind the HULC exoskeleton. They need to get the power requirements down by three times and cut the weight in half. A higher energy density power supply could enable better performance. Superconducting engines and other improvements could enable better exoskeletons.

If the controversial Rossi cold fusion system panned out and the extra weight and size was reduced, there could be superior power for exoskeletons and robots.

There are fast cheetah robots that are under developments.