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October 08, 2011

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 73

1. There is a online petition at Whitehouse.gov which encourages the obama administration to: Educate the Public Regarding Nuclear Power Supporters of nuclear energy should register at Whitehouse.gov and sign the petition and encourage others to sign it via social media and websites. 4535 additional signatures are needed by October 23.

2. ANS Nuclear Cafe - "We Were Once Terrified of Fire, Too"

Steven B. Krivit notes: "The undercurrent of fear affects all matters related to this [nuclear energy] industry. It must be addressed. Doing so requires examining the risks and consequences of nuclear energy and comparing it to other energy technologies, for none is perfect." And Dr. Krivit goes on to demonstrate: "Clearly, the fears about nuclear energy are based on perceptions, imagined or engineered, and not on the consequences of actual events."

Carnival of Space 218

The Carnival of Space 218 is up at AstroSwanny

Universe Today - Last week, scientists announced findings based on data from the SPICAM spectrometer onboard ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft. The findings reported in Science by Maltagliati et al (2011), reveal that the Martian atmosphere is supersaturated with water vapor. According to the research team, the discovery provides new information which will help scientists better understand the water cycle and atmospheric history of Mars.

The animated sequence shows the water cycle of the Martian atmosphere in action:

When the polar caps of Mars (which contain frozen Water and CO2) are warmed by the Sun during spring and summer, the water sublimates and is released into the atmosphere.

Atmospheric winds transport the water vapor molecules to higher altitudes. When the water molecules combine with dust molecules, clouds are formed. If there isn’t much dust in the atmosphere, the rate of condensation is reduced, which leaves water vapor in the atmosphere, creating a supersaturated state.

Water vapor may also be transported by wind to the southern hemisphere or may be carried high in the atmosphere.In the upper atmosphere the water vapor can be affected by photodissociation in which solar radiation (white arrows) splits the water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen atoms, which then escape into space.

While the amount of water in Mars’ atmosphere is about 10,000 times less water vapor than that of Earth, previous models have underestimated the amount of water in the Martian atmosphere at altitudes of 20-50km, as the data suggests 10 to 100 times more water than expected at said altitudes.

October 07, 2011

HP plans to release first memristor memory alternative to flash and solid state drives in 18 months

HP intends to have an alternative technology to flash on the market in eighteen months, an alternative to DRAM in three to four years and, following DRAM, a replacement for SRAM, Stan Williams, Senior Fellow at HP, told the IEF2011 meeting in Seville this morning.

"We’re planning to put a replacement chip on the market to go up against flash within a year and a half," said Williams, "and we also intend to have an SSD replacement available in a year and a half."

"In 2014 possibly, or certainly by 2015, we will have a competitor for DRAM and then we’ll replace SRAM."

The 'memristor'is two-terminal non-volatile memory technology.

EEtimes - We have a lot of big plans for it and we're working with Hynix Semiconductor to launch a replacement for flash in the summer of 2013 and also to address the solid-state drive market," Williams told the audience of the International Electronics Forum.

Williams said that the memristor metrics being achieved, in terms of energy to change a bit, read, write time, retention and endurance, were so compelling that the HP-Hynix team now considered flash replacement a done deal.

General fusion getting inspections from the City of Burnaby

The mayor of Burnaby, B.C., says he’s concerned about the development of a fusion reactor in his city as revealed in a CBC News report on October 3, 2011, and wants assurance the company involved has the proper licensing and oversight.

Nuclear energy is prohibited in B.C., but that can change — although it would not be a simple process, provincial energy minister Rich Coleman.

Mayor Derek Corrigan says future testing of the project's massive plasma injector, which will heat plasma gas to one million degrees Celsius, will be monitored by local officials.

"It is the conclusion of staff that the current operation of General Fusion at the Bonneville site does not pose any risk to its neighbours or the surrounding community," Corrigan said in a statement on Thursday.

The company hopes to build the world's first commercial fusion reactor within the next three years.

The reactor would be a three-metre-wide steel sphere filled with a spinning mix of molten lead, lithium and super-heated plasma gas. The contents would be compressed with 200 computer-controlled pistons and the resulting shock waves, in theory, would produce a fusion reaction.

Moving forward, spin goes sideways

Riken - Improvements to specialized valves that separate spin and electron currents may lead to higher-density magnetic media

Building electronic devices that work without needing to actually transport electrons is a goal of spintronics researchers, since this could lead to: reduced power consumption, lower levels of signal noise, faster operation, and denser information storage. However, the generation of pure spin currents remains a challenge. Now, YoshiChika Otani and colleagues at the RIKEN Advanced Science Institute, Wako, and five other research institutes in Japan and China, have produced a large spin current in an important spintronic device called a lateral spin valve.

They Tlowered junction resistance by a factor of up to 1,000, and increased the efficiency of spin injection into the silver wire. As a result, the output voltage reached 220 microvolts, which is more than 100 times greater than that of existing devices. In addition, the research team was able to observe the injected spins rotating, of what is technically known as precessing, in response to a magnetic field along the entire length of their 6-micrometer silver wire, confirming high spin injection efficiency.

The spin valve could be further improved, says Otani, by using cobalt–iron ferromagnets, which are known to have greater spin injection efficiency than nickel–iron, with potential near-term application as sensors in high-density magnetic media.

In this lateral spin valve, a current is applied to a ferromagnetic nickel–iron contact (pink), in which spins are aligned in a particular direction. A thin layer of magnesium oxide (green) separates the contact from a non-magnetic silver wire (yellow). While both spin and charge current flow to the left (blue arrow), only spin current flows to the right (black arrow).

Nature Materials - Giant enhancement of spin accumulation and long-distance spin precession in metallic lateral spin valves

Scientists turn liver cells directly into neurons with new technique

Fully mature liver cells from laboratory mice have been transformed directly into functional neurons by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine. The switch was accomplished with the introduction of just three genes and did not require the cells to first enter a pluripotent state. It is the first time that cells have been shown to leapfrog from one fundamentally different tissue type to another.

“These liver cells unambiguously cross tissue-type boundaries to become fully functional neural cells,” said Marius Wernig, MD, PhD assistant professor of pathology and a member of Stanford’s Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine. “Even more surprising, these cells also simultaneously silence their liver-gene expression profile. They are not hybrids; they are completely switching their identities.”

The cells make the change without first becoming a pluripotent type of stem cell — a step long thought to be required for cells to acquire new identities.

Cell Stem Cell - Direct Lineage Conversion of Terminally Differentiated Hepatocytes to Functional Neurons

Notre Dame researchers make neurological disease breakthrough

Results of a study by a group of University of Notre Dame researchers represent a promising step on the road to developing new drugs for a variety of neurological diseases.

Gelatinases, a class of enzymes, have been implicated in a host of human diseases from cancer to cardiovascular conditions and in particular neurological conditions such as stroke, aneurysm and traumatic brain injury. Researchers have increasingly focused on developing potent gelatinase inhibitor drugs to treat acute gelatinase-dependent diseases.

The Notre Dame group has been investigating variants of a compound called “SB-3CT,” which shows promise as a selective and potent gelatinase inhibitor. SB-3CT has exhibited potent efficacy in animal models for a variety of neurological and cancer diseases.

Researchers engineer new way to inhibit allergic reactions without side effects

Researchers from the University of Notre Dame have announced a breakthrough approach to allergy treatment that inhibits food allergies, drug allergies and asthmatic reactions without suppressing a sufferer’s entire immunological system.

The therapy centers on a special molecule the researchers designed, a heterobivalent ligand (HBL), which when introduced into a person’s bloodstream can, in essence, out-compete allergens like egg or peanut proteins in their race to attach to mast cells, a type of white blood cell that is the source of type-I hypersensitivity (that is, allergy).

“Unlike most current treatments, this approach prevents allergic reactions from occurring in the first place,” says Basar Bilgicer, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and chemistry and biochemistry and principal investigator in Notre Dame’s Advanced Diagnostics & Therapeutics initiative

Chemistry and Biology Journal - Design of a Heterobivalent Ligand to Inhibit IgE Clustering on Mast Cells

India targets 63000 megawatts of nuclear power by 2032 and Russia Increase nuclear generation in 2011

1. Times of India - India has chalked out a largely indigenous nuclear power programme and expects to have 20,000 MW nuclear capacity on line by 2020 and 63,000 MW by 2032.

India aims to supply 25 per cent of electricity from nuclear power by 2050. India's fuel situation, with shortage of fossil fuels, is driving the nuclear investment for electricity for 2050 when 1094 GWe (Giga Watt Electricity) of base-load capacity is expected to be required.

Areva and other foreign manufacturers are in talks with India to build nuclear reactors

Walk Again Project wants to have a brain machine interface exoskeleton help a quadriplegic walk by 2014

The Walk Again Project's central goal is to develop and implement the first BMI (brain-machine interface) capable of restoring full mobility to patients suffering from a severe degree of paralysis. This lofty goal will be achieved by building a neuroprosthetic device that uses a BMI as its core, allowing the patients to capture and use their own voluntary brain activity to control the movements of a full-body prosthetic device. This “wearable robot,” also known as an “exoskeleton,” will be designed to sustain and carry the patient’s body according to his or her mental will.

The specific Walk Again Project goal is that on the opening day of the 2014 World Cup soccer tournament in Brazil, they hope to send a young quadriplegic striding out to midfield to open the games, suited up in the "prosthetic exoskeleton" they aim to build.

Pregnant mothers at risk from air pollution

A Californian-based study has looked in detail at air quality and the impact of traffic-related air pollution on premature birth. Published in BioMed Central's open access journal Environmental Health, results from this study show that traffic-related air pollution, especially polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), is associated with up to a 30% increase in premature births, and that seasonal changes and vicinity to the coast affected concentration of toxic pollutants in the air.

The study, based at the University of California, looked at 100,000 births, within a five mile radius of air quality monitoring stations. The study evaluated births spanning a 22 month period from June 2004, and used information provided by the California Department of Health about the births and the mothers, in addition to air pollution information from monitoring stations which measure concentrations of airborne toxic pollutants.

Nyteknik information on the Rossi Energy Catalyer test of October 6, 2011

Nyteknik information on the Rossi Energy Catalyzer test (8 pages)

Nyteknik has an article that describes the test

The casing enclosing the reactor was opened after completion of the test, and the invited guests was thus able to see what was inside – basically a heat exchanger with metal flanges; within it, according to Rossi, was a shielded flat reactor unit with three reactor chambers, only one of which was operating during the test.

ColdFusion Now has coverage of the test

The PESN page covering the energy catalyzer test

Wired UK has some coverage

Highlight so the Mats Lewan Nyteknik report

The E-cat model used in this test was enclosed in a casing measuring about 50 x 60 x 35 centimeters. As in previous tests heat was supposedly generated inside a reactor by a reaction between nickel powder and pressurized hydrogen in presence of unknown catalysts.

Water was fed into the E-cat from a peristaltic pump and heated to boiling temperature. The steam at the output from the E-cat was fed through an insulated hose to a heat exchanger where it was cooled down and condensed while heating a secondary circuit of water. The cool water from condensed steam was led through a hose down the drain.

Water from a tap was fed to the secondary loop of the heat exchanger. The heated output water was led through a long hose to a well outside the building.

Water temperature at the input and the output of the secondary loop was measured with thermocouples attached on the metal connections at the heat exchanger where the hoses were attached (see video) and the difference in temperature was used together with the value of the water flow to calculate the output power.
To start up the reaction and reach equilibrium, electric power was fed to a resistance inside the E-cat for about four hours, interrupted only by short intervals of self sustained mode.

The E-cat was then put in self sustained mode for almost four hours, showing no measurable signs of weakening.

The E-cat casing opened, showing the heat exchanger supposedly containing a shielded flat reactor body consisting of three reactor chambers.


Small nuclear reactors for power and icebreaking and Canadian Cigar Lake Uranium

1. Russia's commitment to civil marine nuclear power is growing. Power units for three new icebreakers are seen as the forerunners of a small reactor design for next-generation floating nuclear power plants.

The new reactor model will be based around the RITM-200 pressurized water reactor, a design developed by OKBM Afrikantov that integrates some main components into the reactor vessel and produces 55 MWe for the motor-driven propellor. The same design is foreseen as being incorporated in floating power plants. It would operate on fuel enriched to less than 20% uranium-235 and require refuelling every seven years over a 40-year lifespan.

"This is a fundamentally new nuclear power unit," said Kiriyenko, "By creating such a set-up for a new type of icebreaker, we are working on parallel technology for next-generation floating nuclear power plants."


The newest icebreaker, 50 Years of Victory, launched in 2007 (RosAtomFlot)

US crude oil production could increase by 500,000 to 1 million barrels per day each year through 2015

US crude oil production could increase by 500,000 to 1 million barrels per day each year through 2015 driven by North Dakota oil, Eagle Ford in Texas and Utica Shale.

North Dakota Bakken County Oil Update Lynn Helms (18 MB, power point -pptx) The presentation where Lynn Helms talks about the boom in North Dakota oil.

2011 North Dakota Association of Oil and Gas Producing Counties annual meeting in Medora, North Dakota.

Oil Wells drilled are increasing to 2000 per year (about double the rate of prior years.) Lynn also indicated the potential of the Tyler Formation.

The P10 scenario where there is 10 billion barrels of oil in place looks like it takes to 2013 to ramp up to that level.

With 150,000 barrels per day added in ND in 2012 and another similar amount in Eagle Ford.

Eagle Ford output had more than doubled in July and August to 160,000 barrels per day and was on track to grow five-fold by 2015 (to 800,000 barrels per day).

Utica shale also could have 24 billion barrels of recoverable oil and a similar barrel per day capacity as Eagle Ford and the Bakken.

Chesapeake Energy (major Utica Shale player) expects to increase its net liquids production by 50%, to more than 150,000 barrels a day by the end of 2012. By the end of 2015, the company expects to increase its liquids production by 150%, climbing to more than 250,000 barrels a day. Chesapeake plans to boost its rig count in the Utica shale to 10 by the end of 2011, double the current number, and said it’ll be drilling with 20 rigs by the end of 2012 and with up to 40 by the end of 2014.

And some more oil coming online in the gulf and other locations

US crude oil production could go from 5.8 million bpd to 6.5-7 million barrels per day in 2012.

US Crude oil production for the week of Sept 30, 2011 was 5.8 million bpd. This has been an increase of 300,000 bpd from last year. Net oil imports were down to 8.66 mbd and total oil (fossil fuel liquids) used was 19.1 mbd. 15.1 mbd went to crude oil refineries.

4.1 mbd of other non-crude oil supply
2.2 mbd natural gas liquids
0.9 mbd renewable fuels
0.9 mbd ethanol
1.1 mbd refinery process gain

US crude oil production could go to 7-7.5 million barrels per day in 2013.

US crude oil production could optimistically increase by 1 million barrels per day through 2015 (a more conservative but realitistic projection is an increase of 500,000 barrels per day), which would put crude oil production in the range of Russia and Saudi Arabia. The United States could definitely be leading in liquid fuel production when the ethanol and natural gas liquids is added.

The US could have 8-10 million bpd of crude oil production in 2015 and 11-14 million bpd of crude + natural gas liquids + biofuel/ethanol.

North Dakota should pass Alaska and California to be become the second biggest oil producing state after Texas in 2012 or 2013.



North Dakota has a new record of 440,000 barrels a day in August

Dickinson Press - North Dakota was producing 440,000 barrels a day in August, according to Helms.(Department of Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms ) While some counties may not produce as much as others, Helms predicted that North Dakota could produce up to 800,000 barrels a day by the end of 2011 2015 (the article said 2011 but the rest of the quote reads more like 2015. “We think it is going to go up for the next four years,” Helms said. “There is no real evidence of a slow down in this thing.”

I could see ending 2011 with 500,000 barrels a day or a date of the end of 2013 or 2014 for 800,000 where 10,000 to 15,000 barrels a day was added each month of 2013 or 2014.

I have the full presentation and it looks like the optimistic case is for 2013-2014 for 800,000 barrels per day

The United States produces 5.5 million barrels a day. Helms said North Dakota will contribute close to 15 percent of the country’s oil when it reaches 800,000 barrels a day.

“We will produce more than California and Alaska,” Helms said. “Texas will be the only state to produce more than us.”

October 06, 2011

Neuromorphic and Neurosynaptic Chips

1. A Digital Neurosynaptic Core Using Embedded Crossbar Memory with 45pJ per Spike in 45nm (4 pages) They use the chip to get 89-94% accuracy for image recognition and classification.

The grand challenge of neuromorphic computation is to develop a flexible brain-like architecture capable of a wide array of real-time applications, while striving towards the ultra-low power consumption and compact size of the human brain—within the constraints of existing silicon and post-silicon technologies. To this end, we fabricated a key building block of a modular neuromorphic architecture, a neurosynaptic core, with 256 digital integrate-and-fire neurons and a 1024X256 bit SRAM crossbar memory for synapses using IBM’s 45nm SOI process. Our fully digital implementation is able to leverage favorable CMOS scaling trends, while ensuring one-to-one correspondence between hardware and software. In contrast to a conventional von Neumann architecture, our core tightly integrates computation (neurons) alongside memory (synapses), which allows us to implement efficient fan-out (communication) in a naturally parallel and event-driven manner, leading to ultra-low active power consumption of 45pJ/spike. The core is fully configurable in terms of neuron parameters, axon types, and synapse states and is thus amenable to a wide range of applications. As an example, we trained a restricted Boltzmann machine offline to perform a visual digit recognition task, and mapped the learned weights to our chip.

Internal blocks of the core include axons (A), crossbar synapses implemented with SRAM, axon types (G), and neurons (N). An incoming address event activates axon 3, which reads out that axon’s connections, and results in updates for neurons 1, 3 and M.

Achates two-stroke opposed-piston engine has 53% thermal efficiency

Greencarcongress - Achates Power, the developer a two-stroke, compression-ignition (CI) opposed-piston (OP) engine, is presenting performance and emissions results of the Achates engine used in a medium-duty application, as well as the results of a detailed thermodynamic analysis comparing the closed-cycle thermal efficiences of three engine configurations: a baseline 6-cylinder, 4-stroke engine; a hypothetical 3-cylinder opposed-piston 4-stroke engine; and a three-cylinder opposed-piston two-stroke engine (the Achates engine).

Opposed piston Engine renaissance (By Achates Power ,17 pages, 2010)

Putin is rehabilitating the image of Brezhnev and the Brezhnev era

While many in Russia and the West see Mr. Brezhnev's reign as one of stagnant totalitarianism, for Mr. Putin's spokesman the analogy isn't a bad thing at all. "Brezhnev wasn't a minus for the history of our country, he was a huge plus," Dmitry Peskov told Dozhd, an independent Russian television network. "He laid the foundation of the economy, agriculture, etc."

This is an soviet political propoganda tactic of reinterpreting history. They are trying to say that they want Russia to return the "glory days" of Brezhnev other than the last few years of the 18 years of Brezhnev. Those days were when Russian soviet economic and military and geopolitical power was at a peak.

"A lot of people are talking about the Brezhnevization of Putin," Mr. Peskov said in the interview. "But these are people who know nothing about Brezhnev."

The Communist Party chief—who died in office after a long illness in 1982 at the age of 75—is widely remembered for bringing an era of economic and political stagnation and tension with the West that ultimately led to the Soviet Union's collapse.

In the TV interview, Mr. Peskov admitted that Mr. Brezhnev "didn't leave in time." But he said the stagnant period was only a short part of his 18-year reign, the early part of which saw strong economic growth and rising living standards. Mr. Putin's next presidency "shouldn't be confused with the late Brezhnev era," he said.

Off topic - Tiger Woods will regain number one golf ranking

I predict that Tiger Woods will regain number one golf ranking

No PGA tour golfer won more than twice in 2011.

The leading scoring average is 69.31 in 2011. Tiger was at 68.8 in 2009.

Luke Donald has the top golf ranking of 10.7 and the number two has 7.7 Tiger had golf rankings of 11-20.6 when he was winning.

NOTE- Tiger is not doing that well today. He is shooting an over par round at the Fry's golf tournament. He needs to get consistent again and win three or more tournaments in 2012.

UPDATE - Tiger Woods is leading by two shots at the Australian Open (9 under par). November 10, 2011

Rossi Energy Catalyzer Test Today

PESN - On October 6th of 2011, a very important test of Andrea Rossi's E-Cat (Energy Catalyzer) will take place in the city of Bologna, Italy. Attending the test will be invited scientists from around the world, including staff from the University of Bologna.

This test may be the most important so far, due to the fact many of the issues that remain unresolved in previous tests, will potentially be resolved. For example, one issue that remained unresolved in tests earlier this year was the issue of steam quality. In this test, the quality of steam will not be an issue. This is because the output of the E-Cat will be a closed circuit, in that the water will be turned into steam, allowed to heat a second flow of water through a heat exchanger, be recycled, and then used again. By removing this issue, the most controversial subject of debate will be eliminated.

Additional issues are also expected to be resolved by this test.

- The E-Cat module will be taken apart (except for the reactor core) so the components can be measured and weighed.

- The test will last for 12 hours or longer.

- The E-Cat module will be allowed to operate in self sustain mode -- with no input power -- for an extended period of time.

- Better measurement and data acquisition techniques will be utilized.

There is some information on a July 7, 2011 energy catalyzer test at 22passi.blogspot.com

Ridiculed Quasicrystal work wins Nobel Prize in Chemistry

An Israeli scientist who suffered years of ridicule and even lost a research post for claiming to have found an entirely new class of solid material was awarded the Nobel Prize for chemistry on Wednesday for his discovery of quasicrystals.
Three decades after Dan Shechtman looked with an electron microscope at a metal alloy and saw a pattern familiar in Islamic art but then unknown at a molecular level, those non-stick, rust-free, heat-resistant quasicrystals are finding their way into tools from LEDs to engines and frying pans.

Shechtman, 70, from Israel's Technion institute in Haifa, was working in the United States in 1982 when he observed atoms in a crystal he had made form a five-sided pattern that did not repeat itself, defying received wisdom that they must create repetitious patterns, like triangles, squares or hexagons.

Linus Pauling, a colossus of science and double Nobel laureate, mounted a frightening "crusade" against him, saying: "There is no such thing as quasicrystals, only quasi-scientists."

The head of his research group asked him to leave for "bringing disgrace" on the team.

Geithner Cites Banks' Risk-Aversion as Threat to Economy - Well D'uh

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Thursday that financial institutions in the U.S. risk holding back the economy because they are unwilling to lend.

Well D'Uh. The lack of lending to people and companies that are perfectly able to pay back the loan has been slowing the world economy for three years.

People cannot refinance mortgages even if they have the assets and monthly income to service the debt. They are locked into higher payments because of rules at the Banks or Fannie and Freddie or because of how the loan was split up. Not being able to refinance has no relationship to whether they would be able to service the new loan because they are being locked into a higher payment.

This means that money that could be used for new investments or financial activity is left in stasis. It is like financial musical chairs where no one can change chairs. The music does not start up again and the money is not allowed to move to more efficient places and projects.

Floating airship could radically reduce the cost of space accesss

A radical concept to use airships to bring cargo into space has the potential to dramatically reduce the cost of putting payload into Low Earth Orbit (LEO). The concept eschews chemical rockets in favor of a series of floating airships. Aerospace engineer John Powell has studied this idea since 1979, and in 2008 published floating to space , describing the paradigm in detail. In an interview with Sander Olson, Mr. Powell discusses how his company, JP Aerospace , is actively developing the technologies and capabilities to bring this concept to fruition. Powell believes that with sufficient development and scaleup, the cost of delivering payload to orbit could drop to as low as a dollar per pound within twenty years.
A 10 page presentation on the concept

John Powell
Question: What is the airship to orbit program, and how long has it been active?
The airship to orbit program has been going on since 1979. The basic idea consists of having an airship, a floating platform permanently moored at 140,000 feet, and another orbital airship that would travel from 140,000 feet to orbit and back. With a propulsion engine and an aerodynamic shape, such a craft could reach orbit. The ascent to orbit would be measured in days, but eventually orbital velocity should be reached. When we first began researching this concept, there were about 10 potential showstoppers to this concept, and now we are down to about 3 remaining potential showstoppers.

The 3 remaining potential showstoppers:

1. Scaling active drag reduction.
Active hypersonic drag reduction has been demonstrated in the lab for 30 years. Can we take it out in the real world and scale it up to the airship to orbit requirement?

2. Power density.
Can we achieve the necessary electrical power to mass ratio? The current trend in industry says it will happen in 5 to 7 years, but it's out of our hands.

3. Can you really build two mile long lightweight structures at the edge of space? Working on it, we will let you know.



Green Airplanes fly 200 miles at over 100 mph and use half of one gallon of fuel per passenger

NASA has awarded the largest prize in aviation history, created to inspire the development of more fuel-efficient aircraft and spark the start of a new electric airplane industry. The technologies demonstrated by the CAFE Green Flight Challenge, sponsored by Google, competitors may end up in general aviation aircraft, spawning new jobs and new industries for the 21st century.

The first place prize of $1.35 million was awarded to team Pipistrel-USA.com of State College, Pa. The second place prize of $120,000 went to team eGenius, of Ramona, Calif.

The winning aircraft had to fly 200 miles in less than two hours and use less than one gallon of fuel per occupant, or the equivalent in electricity. The first and second place teams, which were both electric-powered, achieved twice the fuel efficiency requirement of the competition, meaning they flew 200 miles using just over a half-gallon of fuel equivalent per passenger.

NASA has just announced that Pipistrel-USA's Taurus G4 aircraft won first prize in its Green Flight Challenge for practical electric aircraft (Photo: NASA)

October 05, 2011

Nissan Sets New Global Benchmark with 1.2 GPa Ultra High Tensile Strength Steel with High Formability

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. today announced the world's first Ultra High Tensile Strength Steel rated at 1.2 gigapascals (GPa). From 2013, this new, highly formable steel will be produced as steel plates for use in cold pressing structural body parts. To be deployed globally in models across the Nissan lineup, it will reduce vehicle body weight by up to 15 kilograms, representing a significant step in improving environmental impact as well as driving performance.

It is 20% stronger but will also be cheaper so it will have wide adoption.

This new breakthrough overcomes significant obstacles. Until now, high tensile strength steel involved a critical trade-off: increased strength came with increased rigidity and a consequent reduction in press formability. Maintaining quality in spot-welding has also been an ongoing challenge. Traditionally, only high tensile steel rated up to 980 megapascals (MPa) can be used in cold pressing structural body parts, requiring complex press work.

The new 1.2 GPa steel, combined with Nissan-developed advances in welding methodology, overcomes both obstacles.

Steve Jobs has died

NY Times - Steven P. Jobs, the visionary co-founder of Apple who helped usher in the era of personal computers and then led a cultural transformation in the way music, movies and mobile communications were experienced in the digital age, died Wednesday. He was 56. The death was announced by Apple.

Link to quotes from many technology leaders lauding Steve Jobs.

An article from two months ago about Steve Jobs made business cool.

Steve Jobs interviewed in 1985 where he discusses the MacIntosh and the Apple II and competing with IBM. He also discusses how to build a great company.

Robin Hanson discusses futurism

Here are three observations on futurists by Robin Hanson

1) Most folks I know who self-describe as future-oriented seem obsessed with the latest tech press releases. hey constantly circulate links on new tech gadget demos and analyses. Which might make sense if “the future” meant the next ten years. But if “the future” means the next century, this makes far less sense. Long term future oriented folk should focus on basic theory and long term trends, and pay little attention to daily tech fluctuations. Press-release-focused futurists seem more interested in affiliating with the idea that “tech is our future” than in actually understanding the future.

NBF - Deeper analysis is possible of press releases and new science announcements. It is possible to cast a wide net and determine what is potentially big enough to move the needle in terms of trajectory of the big picture.

2) Few ever gain fame in futurism on the basis of what they say about the future. Almost everyone “known” for thoughts on the future first gained status and notoriety in some other area, and then started being heard on the future. Folks who talk about the future but don’t have another status base are almost completely ignored. It seems that while positioning ourselves regarding the future, we like to affiliate with high status folks, but don’t see such future positions as conferring status.

NBF - mostly true

3) It is often said that futurists forecast big things to happen in twenty years because their careers will be done then, and they’ll suffer few consequences from mistaken forecasts. But human lifetimes are actually long enough to fit not one but three cycles of tested twenty year forecasts. People could make forecasts at age 20 that are checked at age 40, make another set of forecasts at 40 that are checked at age 60, and then make a third set of forecasts at age 60 that are checked at age 80. We could then pay special attention to the forecasts of eighty year olds who have had a good track record over three cycles of twenty year forecasts.

I will have a longer comment on Robin's third point - there can be multiple overlapping cycles.

You can predictions for twenty years in the future with major revisions every 5 or ten years or even more frequently and new predictions can be added on a rolling basis.

Femtotechnology: AB-Needles Fantastic properties and Applications

Femtotechnology: AB-Needles.Fantastic properties and Applications, 24 page paper by Bolonkin

In the article “Femtotechnology:Nuclear AB-Matter with Fantastic Properties” American Journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences. 2009, p.501-514. Bolonkin offered and considered possible super strong nuclear matter. But many readers asked about the long-term stability of the proposed nuclear matter. It is well known, the conventional nuclear matter having more than 92 protons or more than 238 nucleons become instable. In the given work the author shows that the special artificial forms of nuclear AB-Matter make it stable and give it fantastic properties.For example, by the offered AB-Needle (in this article) you can pierce any body without any damage, support motionless satellites, reach the other planets,research Earth’s interior. These forms of nuclear matter are not in Nature now, but nanotubes also are not in Nature. That is artificial matter buildable in the projected near future by human effort. AB-Matter also is not currently in existence, but research and investigation of their possibilities, stability and properties are necessary for creating them.

NOTE - carbon nanotubes (at least multi-walled carbon nanotubes) may exist in nature. However, there are unnatural materials that have been produced.

Stable Femtotech Matter

The necessary condition (prerequisite LAW) of stability the AB-Matter are the following:)
The number of protons must be less than approximately 90 into a local sphere of the radius of 3 femtometers at any point within AB-Matter.

2) The number of nucleons must be less than approximately 240 into a local sphere of the radius of 3 femtometers ( 6 femtometers diameter) at any point within AB-Matter.

3) AB-Matter contains a minimum of two protons.

That law follows from relation between attractive nuclear and repulsive electrostatic forces into nucleus. The nuclear force is short distance force (2fm), the electrostatic force is long distance. When number of protons is more than 92, the repulsive electrostatic force may become the more than nuclear force and electrostatic force may destroy the AB-Matter.

(taken from [1]). Design of AB-Matter from nucleons (neutrons, protons, etc.)and electrons.
(a) linear one string (monofilament) (fiber, whisker, filament, thread,Needle);
(b) ingot from four nuclear monofilaments;
(c) hollow multi-ingot fromnuclear monofilament;
(d) string made from protons and neutrons with electronsrotated around monofilament;
(e) single wall femto tube (SWFT) fiber with rotatedelectrons;
(f) cross-section of multi wall femto tube (MWFT) string;
(g) cross-sectionof tube;
(h) - single wall femto tube (SWFT) string with electrons inserted into AB-Matter .
Notations: 1 – nuclear string; 2 - nucleons (neutrons, protons, etc.). 3 –protons; 4 – orbit of electrons; 5 – nucleons; 6 – cloud of electrons around tube.


Dean Kamen who invented the Segway has a patent for an Inflatable Wind Turbine

An inflatable wind turbine is disclosed in a patent by Dean Kamen. The wind turbine includes comprising an inflatable portion comprising one or more blades and a device for rotatably driving the inflatable portion at a predetermined rate for a predetermined time. The inflatable wind turbine structure is made out of plastic fabric. They will be very light and easy to move around, meaning that they can be put on roofs that would otherwise be unable to support the weight of a wind turbine, or easily carried on trucks to wherever the next hurricane or tornado is supposed to occur. Currently wind turbines need ten times as much steel and concrete as a nuclear reactor to generate the same amount of power.

* Various embodiments include a wind turbine system including an inflatable portion which may include an inflatable rotor portion. An inflatable rotor, also referred to as an inflatable sail, imparts many advantages onto the system, which may include, but are not limited to, one or more of the following. The inflatable sail may be inflated and/or deflated using a control system. This makes installation of the system easier than conventional wind turbines, as well, the system may be easily transported and/or relocated. In some embodiments, the inflatable sail may be connected to a platen which may be attached to a motor vehicle and/or movable trailer and/or a moveable vehicle. In some embodiments, the system may be attached to a flat bed portion of a truck which may increase the ease of transport.

Initial reports from the DARPA 100 year Starship conference

1. Slate - The mission of the 100-Year Starship Public Symposium: to set about organizing a century-long effort to send a spaceship to another star.

The symposium was far-reaching, with presentations including “Modular Aneutronic Fusion Engine for an Alpha Centauri Mission” and “To Humbly Go ... Breaking Previous Patterns of Colonization.” The meat of the conference was hard science: the physics and engineering of propulsion.

After years of being all talk, a Japanese probe launched last year became the first to use solar sails for propulsion, making it to Venus in just over six months. James Benford, an entrepreneur who founded the company Microwave Sciences, gave one of the most focused talks of the conference, addressing the economics of microwave-driven sails. Because microwave ovens are cheap, he said, we could assemble an array of thousands of microwave ovens into an array to push sails. This was a great example of the reverse spin-off argument: It’s more likely that Earth-bound developments will make things in space feasible than that astronaut ice cream will take over the nation’s stomachs.

These two most obvious paths—solar sails and nuclear rockets—are methods that, if we spent a lot of money and time on developing them, would definitely work moderately well. But neither will ever be that good. The stars are just too far. What we really need is something radically different, a game-changer. For that, I turned to Kramer’s exotic physics session.


India has $35 Tablets Made by DataWind

India rolled out what it is calling the world's cheapest tablet computer Relevant Products/Services on Wednesday. The government is aiming the tablet, called Aakash, at college students and will offer a subsidy to drive the price down to $35. There are plans to sell it at retail for $60

EETimes - Called "Aakash" (or sky), the gadget will have Wi-Fi connectivity, cloud-based storage, 256 MB of RAM, a 32-GB expandable memory slot and two USB ports.

Both versions of the tablet will run on the Android 2.2 (Froyo) platform. Both will feature a 7-inch resistive touch screen with 800x480 resolution, weigh about 350 grams and include Wi-Fi connectivity for internet access and cloud storage.

The tablet supports formats such as DOC, DOCX, PDF and PPTX and has a standard 3.5-mm headphone jack.

Hitachi has a 3D projector that can project images onto real-world objects

Hitachi has demonstrated a 3D projector that can project images onto real-world objects. For the demo, a 3D image of a bird hatching was displayed on an artificial egg that was cradled in an artificial nest. But that’s not all. Viewers looking at the demo see the bird as a hologram, in that as the viewing angle changes, so too does the view of the image, just as it would were you to be watching a real bird. When a viewer looking at the image moves up or down or left or right, what they see changes to suit the viewing angle. And if that’s not enough, the projected image can be viewed by multiple people from multiple angles, and everyone sees it as they would were there an actual real-world object sitting there. Also, if the object is moved around a little, the system compensates for it automatically.

It is a full parallax 3D display. This technology has been shown before but the new system is improved.


Hitachi displays stereoscopic images in real space. They can be overlay stereoscopic views of real objects and can be seen by multiple people without glasses. [Stereoscopic Display Technology has developed]. This technology uses the video information from twenty-four projectors, stereoscopic display technology in real space using a combination of lenses and mirrors produce copies for half of the images. Stereoscopic images can be overlaid with a real object, and without using glasses, so you can see several people at the same time, digital signage is placed where a lot of people back and forth (digital signage ) You can view stereoscopic images that can be applied to more powerful and lower cost of various design validation, and training in skills such as manufacturing and health care can be expected to take advantage of a wide range of areas.

First comet found with ocean-like water

New evidence supports the theory that comets delivered a significant portion of Earth's oceans, which scientists believe formed about 8 million years after the planet itself.

Bergin is a co-investigator on HiFi, the Heterodyne Instrument for the Infrared on the Hershel Space Observatory. With measurements from HiFi, the researchers found that the ice on a comet called Hartley 2 has the same chemical composition as our oceans. Both have similar D/H ratios. The D/H ratio is the proportion of deuterium, or heavy hydrogen, in the water. A deuterium atom is a hydrogen with an extra neutron in its nucleus.

This was the first time ocean-like water was detected in a comet.

"We were all surprised," Bergin said.

Six other comets HiFi measured in recent years had a much different D/H ratio than our oceans, meaning similar comets could not have been responsible for more than 10 percent of Earth's water.

The astronomers hypothesize that Hartley 2 was born in a different part of the solar system than the other six. Hartley most likely formed in the Kuiper belt, which starts near Pluto at about 30 times farther from the sun than the Earth is. The other six hail from the Oort Cloud more than 5,000 times farther out.


Caption: This is the comet Hartley, as imaged by NASA's EPOXI spacecraft.Credit: Image courtesy of NASA

Nature - Ocean-like water in the Jupiter-family comet 103P/Hartley 2

A Comet may have caused a coronal mass ejection

Universe Today - the SOHO mission (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory) shows a sun-diving comet hitting the solar surface on October 1, 2011 and unexpectedly a huge explosion occurs shortly after. Are the two events related? Probably not, but solar scientists don’t know for sure. The region where the coronal mass ejection (CME) originated was on the opposite side of the Sun from the comet hit, so that is very great distance. Scientists say there is no known mechanism for comets to trigger a CME.

A coronal mass ejection (CME) is a massive burst of solar wind, other light isotope plasma, and magnetic fields rising above the solar corona or being released into space. Near solar maxima the Sun produces about 3 CMEs every day, whereas near solar minima there is about 1 CME every 5 days.

When the ejection is directed towards the Earth and reaches it as an interplanetary CME (ICME), the shock wave of the traveling mass of Solar Energetic Particles causes a geomagnetic storm that may disrupt the Earth's magnetosphere, compressing it on the day side and extending the night-side magnetic tail. When the magnetosphere reconnects on the nightside, it releases power on the order of terawatt scale, which is directed back toward the Earth's upper atmosphere.

In January 2010, this site had an article about manmade solar explosions as a future risk to humanity.

Asteroid deflection techniques for preventing a collision with the Earth could also be used to deflect a comet into the sun

Kazakhstan Ends Rise In Uranium Production To Stabilize Prices

After more than tripling its output of uranium in four years to become the world's top producer, Kazakhstan has stabilized production to around 20,000 metric tons annually in order to avoid further depressing prices, Sergei Dara, Director of Strategic Development and International Projects at Kazatomprom, the state nuclear company.

He said as long as prices remain at their current low levels, "Kazakhstan will not develop new projects and our production will remain at the current level."

But the country may still ramp it up to 25,000 tons annually--about 40% of world production--"provided that such quantities are required by the market and we are confident we will realize a fair return on our investments," he said

They expect to produce 19,800 tons of uranium in 2011 and 2012.

Bernancke and Goldman Sachs indicate US is on the Edge of Recession and Predict Europe will be in a recession through 2012

1. MSNBC - "The recovery is close to faltering." Those are the words of Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke. You can’t get much closer to the R-word these days without just coming out and saying "recession."

Central bankers typically avoid warning of impending recessions for fear of creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. But private economists caution that the Fed is virtually powerless to do anything about financial turmoil in Europe, which is roiling global financial markets. More than a year after eurozone governments and policy makers began wrestling with a widening debt problem, there are no clear solutions.

On Monday, Goldman Sachs economists trimmed their growth forecasts for Europe and told clients they expect the eurozone to fall into recession beginning in the fourth quarter and continue to flatline next year -- with full-year 2012 growth in gross domestic product of just 0.1 percent. Headwinds from Europe will slow U.S. GDP growth to just a half-percent, the Goldman economists warned.

October 04, 2011

Army and Marines seek throwable robots

The Army, Marine Corps and the Pentagon's Joint IED Defeat Organization are working to procure and deliver thousands of small, easily transportable "throwable" robots equipped with surveillance cameras designed to beam back video from confined spaces, buildings, tunnels and other potentially dangerous locations, service officials said.

They are looking for ultra-light recon robot capability to support dismounted operations in Afghanistan; combatant commanders are looking to receive an initial delivery of about 4,000 of the small robots, some of which are engineered to be thrown through a second-story window to provide "eyes" on a potentially hazardous combat situation


A Soldier throws a Recon Robotics - Recon Scout Throwbot XT robot. The barbell-shaped robot is is only 1.2 pounds, can withstand a 30-foot vertical drop and provides "eyes" or forward-positioned cameras able to capture images from dangerous locations. The device is currently being acquired by the Army's Rapid Equipping Force.

Recon robotics website.

Cortically-coupled Computer Vision for image triage

The Cortically coupled computer vision (C3Vision) system uses a computer to amplify the power of the quickest and most accurate tool for object recognition ever created: the human brain.

A subject rapidly views a small sample of photographs culled from a much larger database—as many as 10 pictures a second. The device transmits the data to a computer that ranks which photographs elicited the strongest cortical recognition responses. The computer looks for similarities in the visual characteristics of different high-ranking photographs, such as color, texture and the shapes of edges and lines.

Then it scans the much larger database—it could contain upward of 50 million images—and pulls out those that rank high in visual characteristics most highly correlated with the “aha” moments detected by the EEG.

System architecture for using EEG to bootstrap computer vision model construction. A sample set of images is taken from a database and the subject processes these images in RSVP mode while EEG is simultaneously recorded.The EEG is decoded and used to tag images in terms of how strong they grabbed the user’s attention. The images can be seen as being a small set of labeled images, some of which might be the images of interest (e.g., images of soldiers) and some of which just grabbed the users attention because of novelty (e.g., the fellow with the interesting hairstyle). These small sets of labeled images are used as training data in a transductive graphic model which operates in the features space of the image. The transductive model uses the limited training data and manifold structures in the image feature space to propagate the initial labels to the rest of the images in the database The system includes a self-tuning mechanism which enables removal of tagged by the EEG as being interesting, but that deviate from the manifold structures. For example, the image with the blue border can be interpreted as a false positive and removed based on self-tuning. The computer vision model is then used to predict the relevance (priority) scores of the rest of images in the database. Images taken from Caltech image database.

In a Blink of an Eye and a Switch of a Transistor: Cortically-coupled Computer Vision, Proceedings of the IEEE (17 pages)


Nextbigfuture Article Focus of a Whitehouse Online Petition on the Whitehouse site

There is a petition on the Whitehouse (actual United States Whitehouse site) which refers to this site Nextbigfuture.

The Petition needs 5000 signatures by October 23, 2011. The White House plans to respond to each petition that crosses the signature threshold. To cross the first threshold and be searchable within WhiteHouse.gov it must have over 150 signatures and this petition reached that level one day after this post. a petition must reach 150 signatures within 30 days. You have to register to vote for a Whitehouse online petition.

NOTE - the Official responses will be posted at this link. It basically means that some Whitehouse staff will write the official position of the administration and post it online. SO the 150 signature level and the 5000 signature level would increase the visibility of the point of view of the petition on the White House website. In this case the petition has the link to this site so it increases the visibility of link to this site. In the comments, someone was worried about Shale Gas etc... This process will not lead to any major policy change unless it was the first in twenty steps. It is mainly useful as simple litmus test if a position can get very basic levels of support.

To Email the Whitehouse.gov petition link

Email this link to your friends and family: http://wh.gov/gH0

Educate the Public Regarding Nuclear Power.

This petition is a response to the "End taxpayer subsidies for new nuclear reactors" petition.

Due to the manufactured controversy that is the nuclear reactor meltdown in Fukushima, Japan, perpetuated by a scientifically illiterate news media, the public is unnecessarily hostile to nuclear power as an energy source.

To date nobody has died from the accident and Fukushima, and nuclear power has the lowest per Terawatt hour death toll of any energy source known to man:

http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/03/deaths-per-twh-by-energy-source.html

The Obama administration should take better strides to educate the public regarding this important energy source.

SENS Foundation and the Rise of Rejuvenation Biotechnology

Mike Kope's closing speech at SENS5: SENS Foundation's progress and future goals.

SENS is an acronym for "Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence". It is best defined as an integrated set of medical techniques designed to restore youthful molecular and cellular structure to aged tissues and organs. Essentially, this involves the application of regenerative medicine to the problem of age-related ill-health. However, regenerative medicine is usually thought of as encompassing a few specific technologies such as stem cell therapy and tissue engineering, whereas SENS incorporates a variety of other techniques to remove or obviate the accumulating damage of aging. This broadly defined regenerative medicine - which includes the repair of living cells and extracellular material in situ - applied to damage of aging, is what we refer to as rejuvenation biotechnologies.

Currently, SENS comprises seven major types of therapy addressing seven major categories of aging damage

The SENS Foundation Youtube channel is here

SENS 5 conference abstracts are here



US High Speed Rail Projects May Wind Down with nothing Built

The US Senate Appropriations Committee ended the rail boosters’ hopes of getting a meaningful appropriation for high-speed rail in the new (FY 2012) fiscal year. There is a token $100 million for high-speed rail as a "placeholder" in their FY 2012 budget recommendations (a sum that is likely to be further cut in the House-Senate negotiations on the FY 2012 appropriations).

After committing $8 billion in stimulus money and an additional $2.5 billion in regular appropriations, the Administration has little to show for in terms of concrete results or accomplishments. Aside from an ongoing project to upgrade track between Chicago and St. Louis (a $1.1 billion venture that promises to offer a mere 48 minute reduction in travel time between those two cities), no significant construction has begun on any of the authorized rail projects.

Mirage effect from thermally modulated transparent carbon nanotube sheets

The single-beam mirage effect, also known as photothermal deflection, is studied using a free-standing, highly aligned carbon nanotube aerogel sheet as the heat source. The extremely low thermal capacitance and high heat transfer ability of these transparent forest-drawn carbon nanotube sheets enables high frequency modulation of sheet temperature over an enormous temperature range, thereby providing a sharp, rapidly changing gradient of refractive index in the surrounding liquid or gas. The advantages of temperature modulation using carbon nanotube sheets are multiple: in inert gases the temperature can reach over 2500 K; the obtained frequency range for photothermal modulation is ~ 100 kHz in gases and over 100 Hz in high refractive index liquids; and the heat source is transparent for optical and acoustical waves. Unlike for conventional heat sources for photothermal deflection, the intensity and phase of the thermally modulated beam component linearly depends upon the beam-to-sheet separation over a wide range of distances. This aspect enables convenient measurements of accurate values for thermal diffusivity and the temperature dependence of refractive index for both liquids and gases. The remarkable performance of nanotube sheets suggests possible applications as photo-deflectors and for switchable invisibility cloaks, and provides useful insights into their use as thermoacoustic projectors and sonar. Visibility cloaking is demonstrated in a liquid.
(a) Schematic diagram of large-area cloaking system. (b), (c) Underwater mirage effect created by 5 × 12 cm2 MWNT sheet, (P = 6.6 W).

11 pages - Mirage effect from thermally modulated transparent carbon nanotube sheets

Let's Talk iPhone

Wired had live coverage of the Apple iPhone 4S event.

We previously covered the features of the iPhone 4S

* Apple has sold 250 million iOS devices. iOS has 43% of the mobile market. Android has 33%, according to their pie chart. iOS makes up over 60% of the mobile browsing market. There are over 500,000 apps in the app store, including over 140,000 iPad-specific apps.

* 92% of Fortune 500 companies are testing or deploying iPad. This is in less than 18 months, which is unheard of. “iPad is the undisputed top selling tablet in the world,” Tim says. “Despite everybody and their brother trying to compete with iPad, 3 out 4 tablets in the US are iPads.”

* Over 80 percent of top hospitals in U.S. are now testing or piloting iPad.

Putin will push for a Eurasian Union

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin today raised the spectre of a second USSR after he proposed forming a 'Eurasian Union' of former Soviet states.

Nextbigfuture discussed Putin's ambitions last week

The plan would ally Russia with ex-Soviet nations including Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Armenia, and Azerbaijan, and would also come into competition with the Eastern Partnership, an initiative launched two years ago by Poland and Sweden.

Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan already formed an economic alliance last summer that removed customs barriers in mutual trade. They are set to introduce unified market rules and regulations starting Jan. 1, and Putin has said that Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are expected to join the group.

Many former satellite states look westward, and remain suspicious of Moscow's intentions.

Ukraine, one of the more powerful Eastern European states economically, has continued to focus its attentions on the Soviet Union, and Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych complained last month that the Kremlin was trying to coerce Ukraine into joining the collective.

Apple iPhone 4S is 7 times faster on graphics than iPhone 4

Boy Genius Report - The iPhone 4S features an upgraded Apple A5 dual-core processor, it’s twice as fast for CPU tasks, and up to 7x higher than the previous iPhone especially with graphics.

* Apple is stating battery life has increased to 8 hours.
* iPhone 4S has a brand new antenna system where the phone will “intelligently switch between two antennas” to offer up even better call quality.
* Data speeds are increased by almost 2x, now capable of upwards of 14Mbps.
* iPhone 4S is a worldphone, working on multiple carriers and networks globally.
* An 8 megapixel camera can been dropped into the new iPhone 4S, offering up 60% more pixels, with a CMOS backside illuminated sensor, offering a staggering 73% more light than the iPhone 4 sensor, and it’s 33% faster.
* It has face detection, a 2-3x increase in photo capture time over competitor’s smartphones, the iPhone 4S will take 1080p HD video with image stabilization in real-time.
* Apple is including the ability to use AirPlay Mirroring right on the iPhone 4S in addition to the iPad 2 which already supports this feature.
* iPhone 4S has Siri, a personal voice assistant for your phone, and a voice dictation feature that lets you talk to the phone which will transcribe your spoken voice to text in any text field where there is a keyboard.

The iPhone 4S will be available starting October 14th with preorders starting October 7th for the U.S., Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Japan. Sprint will be getting the iPhone and they only paid $20 billion in guaranteed sales over four years.

Engineers make power from human respiration

The same piezoelectric effect that ignites your gas grill with the push of a button could one day power sensors in your body via the respiration in your nose.

Materials Science and Engineering Assistant Professor Xudong Wang, postdoctoral Researcher Chengliang Sun and graduate student Jian Shi report creating a plastic microbelt that vibrates when passed by low-speed airflow such as human respiration.


Journal Energy and Environmental Science - PVDF microbelts for harvesting energy from respiration


Rice physicists move one step closer to quantum computer

Rice University physicists have created a tiny "electron superhighway" that could one day be useful for building a quantum computer, a new type of computer that will use quantum particles in place of the digital transistors found in today's microchips.

They describe a new method for making a tiny device called a "quantum spin Hall topological insulator." The device, which acts as an electron superhighway, is one of the building blocks needed to create quantum particles that store and manipulate data.

Arxiv - Evidence for Helical Edge Modes in Inverted InAs/GaSb Quantum Wells (4 pages)

Physical Review Letters - Evidence for Helical Edge Modes in Inverted InAs/GaSb Quantum Wells
CAPTION: In his quest to create a "topological insulator," Rice graduate student Ivan Knez spent hundreds of hours modifying tiny pieces of semiconductors in Rice University's clean room. CREDIT: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University

Mazda and Sumitomo use super strength for lighter and more efficient cars


Greencarcongress - Mazda Motor Corporation, in collaboration with Sumitomo Metal Industries, Ltd. and Aisin Takaoka Co., Ltd., has become the first automaker to successfully
develop vehicle components using 1,800 MPa ultra-high tensile steel. The super-strength steel will debut in the new Mazda CX-5 crossover SUV that will commence its global launch in early 2012.

Mazda’s new production technology uses 1,800 MPa ultra-high tensile steel to fabricate bumper beams, which fit inside the front and rear bumpers and mitigate damage in the event of a collision. The bumper bars are 20% stronger and 4.8 kilograms lighter than previous versions and are a key part of Mazda’s next-generation, lightweight and highly rigid vehicle architecture.
Mazda CX-5 SKYACTIV body.

Stronger steel and aluminum alloys and redesigning car parts to reduce weight is likely to have the most impact in reducing vehicle weight. 10% reduction in vehicle weight provides a 6-7% boost in fuel efficiency.

New Energy Times has Defense Threat Reduction Agency Report on LENR

On Dec. 12, 2006, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency held a meeting in Ft. Belvoir, Virginia, to review several controversial areas of research. Low-energy nuclear reactions were among those topics

The 57 page report is here

Summary

Low-energy nuclear reactions are showing some remarkable progress with respect to energy (excess heat) production and transmuted element detection, but experiments remain only thinly reproducible. LENR also suffers from a basic lack of understanding of the governing physics.

There is also a compelling need for a theory that can explain production rates and lead to specific electrode treatments and electrolyte compositions and predictions of reaction power, energy and products. The Widom[-Larsen] theoretical construct appears promising but lacks robust experimental verification and rigorous peer review.

The polarizing history of LENR is a detriment to expanding research efforts, and it seems unlikely that deployable/useable devices could be expected within a five- to ten-year horizon.

Since 2006 no deployable/useable devices were deployed. It has been five years since the report.

It remains to be seen if nothing gets deployed over the next five years.

Space Expedition Curacao plans to fly in 2014 for half the price of Virgin Galactic

A Formula One tycoon has teamed up with the Dutch airline, KLM, in a project which is set to rival Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic. Space Expedition Curaçao is selling tickets at $95,000 each. this is half the Virgin Galacitc price and so far 35 people have signed up for missions which would leave from the Caribbean island of Curaçao, subject to regulatory approval.

SXC will lease the Lynx spacecraft, from the California company XCOR Aerospace

October 03, 2011

Working towards Fatigue Resistance

The fittest sled dogs are actually able to repair themselves as the Iditarod race goes on.

"You take dogs out and you run them 100 miles per day today and tomorrow and the next day, and they come back, sleep, eat, do it again without having any outward sign of it mattering," Veternarian Mike Davis explains. "You would assume they're achieving homeostasis," a condition of optimal operation. "You'd never think that they're at the furthest thing from homeostasis. They're damaging tissues, depleting energy stores, their oxidative stress is through the roof, and all those things are supposed to make you crater." Yet the dogs don't crater. "What they showed us is that there is an ability to adapt to that stress in a matter of days so that it is no longer stressful," Davis says.

Davis has seen signs that even the gastric-ulcer damage appears to be under repair by the end of a marathon race. Most important, though, the dogs rebuild their glycogen stores. It's likely that they manage this miracle by literally switching much of the fuel they use from glucose to fat. No cell burnout, no lactic-acid buildup, no long-term depletion of stored glycogen

DARPA funded research into the endurance of sled dogs. Stanford researchers have developed a cooling device, now marketed by a company called Avacore Technologies, that lets athletes and soldiers cool their core body temperature the way dogs do. It's being used by college football teams at Stanford and Miami and by the San Francisco 49ers. Lance Armstrong has been drinking a sports supplement based on quercetin, a plant-based flavonoid that's supposed to increase production of mitochondria.

Joe Bielitzki (ran DARPA enhancement program) considers it likely there will be a pill, maybe in about a decade, that will allow people to do what sled dogs do. "That was the intent," he says. "That is still the hope."

6 pound Avacore cooling device. If you are training to the point of heat exhaustion then the Avacore device can let train longer and harder. When you stick your hand in it, you touch a metal plate cooled by a water bath. The device also creates low air pressure, which helps bring more warm blood to the palms, which then are cooled by the plate.

144 core chip that run 90 billion operations per seond per watt

Multi-computer chips from GreenArrays offer a combination of great computing power, small size, low energy consumption, and high value.

GreenArrays, the makers of the GA144 chip, has an OEM partnership with Schmart Board that will allow hobbyists and experimenters to use a chip with 144 cores running about 90 billion instructions per second at a total power of under one watt (typical) while running at full clip and which only uses about 14 microwatts when everything is idle.

Adapteva has a multicore chip that can run at 70 gigaFLOPs per watt.

Adapteva Delivers Multicore processor with 70 GigaFLOPS per Watt

Chip startup Adapteva has taped out a 64-core version of a multicore design on the 28nm process node, delivering 100 gigaFLOPS of performance at under 2 watts of power.

Adapteva's Epiphany Benefits

• Out-of-the box floating point C programs enables significantly faster time to market and lower development costs

• 10-100X advantage in energy efficiency compared to traditional multicore floating point processors

• Up to 5 TFLOP sustained effective performance on a single chip, enables a new set of high performance applications

• Low latency zero-overhead inter-core communication simplifies parallel programming

• Scalable architecture allows code reuse across a wide range of markets and applications


According to Adapteva founder and CEO Andreas Olofsson, this latest silicon, officially known as Epiphany-IV (it's the fourth generation of the architecture) runs at 800 MHz and is expected to achieve 70 single precision gigaFLOPS/watt, twice the efficiency of their previous design. Their fab partner, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, is expected to start churning out samples of the 64-core wonder in January 2012.

New Patent Improves Speed of DNA Analysis Researcher uses nanoparticles to make DNA Analysis 1,000 times faster

A University of Arkansas researcher has patented a process that reduces the time it takes to perform DNA analysis from hours to minutes. This development could contribute to many areas of health care and law enforcement, including diagnosing and treating disease, developing and testing new vaccines and forensic identification.

The ultimate goal of his research is to develop a credit-card-sized device to be used in a doctor’s office or at a crime scene to quickly analyze samples of DNA

Iraq on track for 3 million barrels per day by the end of 2011 and targets 4 million barrels per day for 2012

1. Wall Street Journal - Iraq's crude oil output Monday hit 2.9 million barrels a day, the highest level achieved since the U.S.-led war against Iraq in 2003, the country's oil minister said in a statement.

Abdul Kareem Luaiby said he expects output to reach some 3 million barrels a day by the end of this year.

Iraq is expected to add some 900,000 barrels a day in export capacity from southern oil terminals by the end of this year when a new floating buoy is opened. Iraq is currently exporting some 1.7 million barrels a day from its southern Persian Gulf terminals.

Iraq has signed some 11 oil field deals with international companies over the last two years. If things go as agreed with these firms, Iraq's oil output should reach at least 8 million barrels a day in 2018.

Greece Budgets Falling short of Requirements for Bailout

1. Greece will miss a deficit target set just months ago in a massive bailout package, according to government draft budget figures released on Sunday, showing that drastic steps taken to avert bankruptcy may not be enough.

The 2012 draft budget approved by cabinet on Sunday predicts a deficit of 8.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) for 2011, well short of the 7.6 percent target.

The 2012 deficit is set to meet a nominal target of 14.6 billion euros, but at 6.8 percent of GDP it falls short of a target of 6.5 percent, because the economy will shrink further.

Magnetic nanoparticles to remotely control ion channels, neurons and the mind of a worm

University at Buffalo scientists have used magnetic nanoparticles to remotely control ion channels, neurons in cell culture and even the movement of a tiny worm.

Scientists at the University at Buffalo have received $1.3 million from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to test how tiny, magnetic particles can be used to remotely control neurons in the brains of mice.

If the work is successful, the research team will have given neuroscientists a powerful, new tool: a non-invasive technique for triggering activity deep inside the brain.
Research by UB physicist Arne Pralle, (right) shown with his student, will help reveal how the brain's complicated neuronal circuitry controls behavior.

Libya Rapidly Restarting Oil Exports

Sweet Crude Reports - Libya began exporting crude oil from the eastern port of Tobruk in late September and could be producing a million barrels per day within six months.

Benghazi-based oil firm Agoco confirmed on Monday that it had started pumping oil from its eastern Sarir field slightly ahead of a planned start date of 15 September.

“We should have enough oil for a 1-million-barrel shipment from Tobruk in eight to 10 days,” Nouri Berouin said in an interview in Benghazi.

He added that only Sarir was currently producing but that the country could reach output of 800,000 to 1 million bpd within six months.

BEdigest - Libya's oil production is set to reach 500,000 bpd by early October or nearly a third of pre-war output, a senior source in the National Oil Corporation (NOC) said. OPEC member's pre-war production was around 1.6 million bpd and the resumption will help Libya's interim leaders start earning revenues badly needed to kickstart the economy after seven months of war.