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July 07, 2012

Exoskeleton that can be worn like a glove

The ExoHand from Festo is an exoskeleton that can be worn like a glove.

Singularity Hub has coverage

The fingers can be actively moved and their strength amplified; the operator’s hand movements are registered and transmitted to the robotic hand in real time. The objectives are to enhance the strength and endurance of the human hand, to extend humans’ scope of action and to secure them an independent lifestyle even at an advanced age.

From assembly to medical therapy

The ExoHand could provide assistance in the form of force amplification in connection with monotonous and strenuous activities in industrial assembly, for example, or in remote manipulation in hazardous environments: with force feedback, the human operator feels what the robot grasps and can thus grip and manipulate objects from a safe distance without having to touch them.

Due to the yielding capacity of its pneumatic components, the ExoHand also offers potential in the field of service robotics. In the rehabilitation of stroke patients, it could already be used today as an active manual orthosis.


Wearable fabric memristors

Printed Electronics World - The seminal early work on printed memristors was carried out by Nadine Gergel Hackett at the National Institutes for Science and Technology. However, the commercialization of memristors, the basis of the human brain and the "missing" fourth fundamental passive component, was based on Hewlett Packard making arrays of them on silicon chips and integrated into these transistor circuits. Intel and others have also moved these into the commercial space but not usually by employing printing or even titanium dioxide.

Now we see a return to the larger but thin film, titanium dioxide memristors in the form of fibers, the 12-300 nm layers being variously created by thermal or plasma oxidation, RF sputtering or electrochemical deposition with more conventional printing as a route to value engineering the devices in due course.

DARPA continues investments in extreme hypersonics

Hypersonic technologies have the potential to provide the dominance once afforded by stealth to support a range of varied future national security missions.

Extreme hypersonic flight at Mach 20 (i.e., 20 times the speed of sound)—which would enable the department of Defence to get anywhere in the world in under an hour—is an area of research where significant scientific advancements have eluded researchers for decades. Thanks to programs by DARPA, the Army, and the Air Force in recent years, however, more information has been obtained about this challenging subject.

DoD’s hypersonic technology efforts have made significant advancements in our technical understanding of several critical areas including aerodynamics; aerothermal effects; and guidance, navigation and control,” said Acting DARPA Director, Kaigham J. Gabriel. “but additional unknowns exist.”

The IH program is designed to address technical challenges and improve understanding of long-range hypersonic flight through an initial full-scale baseline test of an existing hypersonic test vehicle, followed by a series of subscale flight tests, innovative ground-based testing, expanded modeling and simulation, and advanced analytic methods, culminating in a test flight of a full-scale hypersonic X-plane (HX) in 2016. HX is envisioned as a recoverable next-generation configuration augmented with a rocket-based propulsion capability that will enable and reduce risk for highly maneuverable, long-range hypersonic platforms.


July 06, 2012

Nanotech, 3-D printing and other innovations point to a coming golden era

Wall Street Journal - a mounting number of stunning discoveries, inventions and technological breakthroughs that could set off a burst of growth and wealth creation as big as any in living memory.

Michael Malone has a decent list of technologies.

I would include
* Factory mass produced skyscrapers
* Spacex and reusable low cost rockets
* Energy breakthroughs (different forms of nuclear fusion)
* Robotics - robotic cars
* Other mundane singularity technology

The fracking technology that is making available vast new sources of recoverable oil and natural gas in North America is one such breakthrough. But all across the commercial and industrial landscape, there are exciting developments:

Nanoculture: One of the truths of tech is that revolutions take longer than predicted, but they arrive sooner than we are prepared for them. That is the case with nanotechnology, the hot new science story of a decade ago.

Though it has largely disappeared from the front pages, nanotech is only now coming into its own. Breakthrough medicines; genetic research; new materials such as graphene (a lattice-sheet form of carbon used for everything from filters to computer chips); molecular electronics (extreme miniaturization, thus super-small sensors and other devices); and quantum computing (small, superfast supercomputers) have all been announced in recent months. Indeed, the range of emerging applications for nano materials is so wide-ranging and important that, together, they suggest an impending turning point in high tech as important as silicon and integrated circuitry were half a century ago.

Debate in US and Europe over the next 1% of new power generation is not that relevant

William Tucker talks about what he sees as the global warming cult versus the nuclear cult.

Much of the debate in North America and Europe ends up being how much should government subsidize wind and solar or push for another few nuclear plants. This is debating what next the 1% per year (10% for a decade) of power generation should be ? Whether that is more wind, solar or nuclear or natural gas is not that relevant.

IEA has electricity statistics for Europe and the USA (OECD)

The US could generate 5300 TWh of electricity in 2020, but more power could be obtained from existing coal and natural gas plants by running at higher capacity. That mean only about 10% new power generation might need to get built. Many of those projects are already underway. China will add about 4000 TWh of power by 2020. Over 35% of all OECD power production now.

I believe that climate change is probably happening but I do not know exactly how much. It does not matter because air pollution is more clearly a problem and should be dealt with. This also effects CO2 and other emissions and impacts.

I believe that carbon dioxide is less important than soot for the next 4 decades.

This is aligned with a UN study that shows that soot mitigation would have a 0.5 degree celsius impact by 2040 while CO2 mitigation does nothing until 2050.

Mind Controlled Robot from 1250 miles away

Extremetech - An Israeli student has become the first person to meld his mind and movements with a robot surrogate, or avatar. Situated inside an fMRI scanner in Israel, Tirosh Shapira has controlled a humanoid robot some 2000 kilometers (1250 miles) away, at the Béziers Technology Institute in France, using just his mind.

The fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) reads his thoughts, a computer translates those thoughts into commands, and then those commands are sent across the internet to the robot in France. The system requires training: On its own, an fMRI can simply see the real-time blood flow in your brain (pictured below right). Training teaches the system that a particular “thought” (blood flow pattern) equates to a certain command. In this case, when Shapira thinks about moving forward or backward, the robot moves forward or backward; when Shapira thinks about moving one of his hands, the robot surrogate turns in that direction.

To complete the loop, the robot has a camera on its head, with the image being displayed in front of Shapira. Speaking to New Scientist, it sounds like Shapira really became one with the robot: “It was mind-blowing. I really felt like I was there, moving around,” he says. “At one point the connection failed. One of the researchers picked the robot up to see what the problem was and I was like, ‘Oi, put me down!’”


Washington Plasma startup creates EUV Light Source

A University of Washington lab has been working for more than a decade on fusion energy, harnessing the energy-generating mechanism of the sun. But in one of the twists of scientific discovery, on the way the researchers found a potential solution to a looming problem in the electronics industry.

To bring their solution to market two UW engineers have launched a startup, Zplasma, that aims to produce the high-energy light needed to etch the next generation of microchips.

"In order to get smaller feature sizes on silicon, the industry has to go to shorter wavelength light," said Uri Shumlak, a UW professor of aeronautics and astronautics. “We’re able to produce that light with enough power that it can be used to manufacture microchips.”

The UW beam lasts up to 1,000 times longer than competing technologies and provides more control over the million-degree plasma that produces the light.

Zplasma believes its technology is capable of producing much brighter light than competing light sources. While conventional EUV technology is still striving to produce light at 100 watts, the Zplasma device is designed to start out at 200 watts.

They may have found that application in the microchip industry. Light produced through techniques now being considered by the chip industry generate a spark that lasts just 20 to 50 nanoseconds. Zplasma's light beam lasts 20 to 50 millionths of a second, about 1,000 times longer.


University of Washington. The lab equipment includes a small system that measures plasma for electronics applications, attached to a larger tank containing plasma for energy research. .

Japan will probably restart most nuclear reactors during 2013 and China accelerating shift to Gen III Nuclear reactors

1. Japan's top utility Tokyo Electric Power Co aims to gradually restart the nuclear reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant starting from April 2013, to curb fossil fuel costs.

Following are the company's goals for restarting the seven
reactors at the 8,212 megawatt plant, the world's biggest
nuclear complex by output. But it remains unclear if the
reactors would restart as scheduled, as the firm needs to have
the local governments' backing before restarting any of them.

         Plant name  No.      MW  Restart schedule
  Kashiwazaki-Kariwa    1   1,100        April 2013
  Kashiwazaki-Kariwa    2   1,100         Sept 2015
  Kashiwazaki-Kariwa    3   1,100         July 2014
  Kashiwazaki-Kariwa    4   1,100          Feb 2015
  Kashiwazaki-Kariwa    5   1,100          Oct 2013
  Kashiwazaki-Kariwa    6   1,356          Dec 2013
  Kashiwazaki-Kariwa    7   1,356          May 2013

2. Forbes - Because of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, China may free itself more quickly from reliance on imported nuclear-power technology, according to a Harvard scholar of global nuclear expansion.

Could mining asteroids become a trillion dollar industry?

There are approximately 1500 asteroids that are close to the earth and relatively easy to access. These asteroids contain substantial quantities of water, as well as precious metals such as platinum. The company Planetary Resources has been operating since 2010 with the primary mission of exploiting these asteroids natural resources. Planetary Resources believes that a combination of robots and satellites can be effectively used to extract both water and metals from these satellites within the next two decades. In an interview with Sander Olson for Next Big Future, Planetary Resources President and Chief Engineer Chris Lewicki discusses the plans for launching a series of satellites during the next decade to discover and analyze these satellites, with the ultimate aim of large-scale harvesting of asteroids.

Chris Lewicki

Question: How long has Planetary Resources been operating in Stealth mode?

The company has been operating since 2010, and we have been expanding and analyzing the optimum way to mine asteroids. Our mission is to apply commercial, innovative technologies that will facilitate the exploration of space.

July 05, 2012

Rapamycin and Metformin Could Work Better Together for Life Extension Without Side Effects

Rejuvenation Research Journal - Dissecting Mammalian Target of Rapamycin to Promote Longevity

Treatment with rapamycin, an inhibitor of mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) can increase mammalian life span. However, extended treatment with rapamycin results in increased hepatic gluconeogenesis concomitant with glucose and insulin insensitivity through inhibition of mTOR complex 2 (C2). Genetic studies show that increased life span associated with mTORC1 inhibition can be at least partially decoupled from increased gluconeogenesis associated with mTORC2 inhibition. Adenosine monophosphate kinase (AMPK) agonists such as metformin, which inhibits gluconeogenesis by downregulating expression of glucose-6-phosphatase and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase, might be expected to block the glucose dysmetabolism mediated by rapamycin. The search for inhibitors of the mTORC1 component Raptor may prove a productive approach to create a better mTOR inhibitor.

Fightaging has coverage about how the diabetes drug Metformin could prevent the negative side effects of Rapamycin.


New Solar Designs for Reduced Installation Costs

Technology Review - With solar panel prices falling more than 80 percent in the last few years, many solar companies are turning their attention to reducing the cost of installing them. Two leading solar companies, Solon Energy, based in Berlin, and Trina Solar, based in Changzhou, China, have announced new designs for mounting solar panels to roofs—the companies say these designs can reduce the installation time by more than half, greatly reducing labor costs. The new designs reduce or eliminate the tools and hardware needed to install solar panels, and standardize solar installations, which have largely been ad hoc, reducing the time needed to design them.

Mounting solar panels on the flat rooftops of commercial installations typically involves anchoring long metal racks to the roof to create a framework that will angle the panels toward the sun and hold them together. Installers bolt the panels to this frame, wire the panels together, and electrically ground the racks.

Trina's design gets rid of most of this metal framework. It starts with some simple changes to the solar panels themselves. Solar panels resemble framed pictures—they consist of solar cells sealed behind a piece of glass and held in place and protected by a metal frame. This frame is typically bolted to the metal rack framework that angles the panel toward the roof. Trina uses the frame of the solar panel itself to provide the framework.



Japan May Target 'Driverless driving' for early 2020s

Japan's Land, Infrastructure, Tourism Ministry will soon embark on a project to realize an "autopilot system" for automatic driving, a system for guiding motor vehicles on expressways without human assistance.

The envisioned autopilot system is expected to contribute significantly to such goals as alleviating drivers' fatigue, preventing road accidents and easing traffic congestion. It would be for vehicles referred to as self-driving cars capable of sensing their environment and navigating by themselves, with people not required to perform any mechanical operation besides choosing their destinations.

With a view to making an autopilot system a reality in the early 2020s, the ministry will launch a study panel of experts at the end of this month or later, to start full-scale discussions about a self-steering vehicle control project.

Urban world of 2025: Cities and the rise of the consuming class

A new report from the McKinsey Global Institute, Urban world: Cities and the rise of the consuming class, finds that the 600 cities making the largest contribution to a higher global GDP—the City 600—will generate nearly 65 percent of world economic growth by 2025. However, the most dramatic story within the City 600 involves just over 440 cities in emerging economies (242 cities will be in China); by 2025, the Emerging 440 will account for close to half of overall growth. One billion people will enter the global consuming class by 2025. They will have incomes high enough to classify them as significant consumers of goods and services, and around 600 million of them will live in the Emerging 440.

Reinventing services and processes is still a bigger factor than one for one automation

Better robots and AI are coming, but business process changes and better business models (Netflix and Redbox versus Blockbuster) can have more impact.

Process changes and other Job Impacts
There is concern that robots and automation displace human jobs

Better and more robots and artificial intelligence are not the only ways for humans to lose jobs

Going down the list of jobs and looking at how many people have different jobs which are the jobs that are safe from displacement ? Even if a class of jobs is not completely eliminated could demand be severely reduced ? The Bureau of Labor has jobs by occupation. There was a shift from 2007 to 2011 but most of that was from the recession.

21.4 million jobs in the USA for office administration and support. (New business systems that require fewer people. Web 2.0 companies only need a handful of people or one person to do what took hundreds only a few years ago). (down 2 million from 2007)

13.6 million jobs in the USA for sales and related work. (Automation and new sales processes) (down 700,000 from 2007)

11.2 million jobs in food preparation and serving. (Improved frozen meals, more elaborate food vending machines) (down less than 100,000 from 2007)

8.4 million jobs in production. (Automation and process re-engineering, shifts of jobs to other places - jobs still done by people but they are other people, better additive manufacturing and printable electronics and components) (down 1.7 million from 2007)

9.6 million jobs in transportation and material moving. (more local production : high rise farming, rapid prototyping and manufacturing systems) (down 1 million from 2007)

8.4 million jobs in education, training and library. (online learning like Udacity, Khan Academy, MIT recordings of the best professors.) (up 100,000 from 2007)

7.5 million healthcare practitioners and technical. (Biomarker tracking with cheap devices to catch and treat diseases early or in the developing stages. Keep people healthier and avoiding the need for more costly and people intensive intervention). (up 600,000 from 2007)

5.0 million jobs in construction and extraction (pre-fab buildings and panels). (down 1.7 million from 2007)

6.2 million Management. Re-engineering to flatten organizations and take out layers of management. Web 2.0'ing a business. Reinvent it where a lot fewer people are needed. (up 200,000 from 2007)

5.0 million Installation, Maintenance, and Repair. Redesign things where the quality is better and it does not break or does not need service or is simple to install. (down 400,000 from 2007)

Penn Researchers Improve Living Tissues With 3D Printed Vascular Networks Made From Sugar

Bioengineers can already make 2D structures out of many kinds of tissue, but one of the major roadblocks to making the jump to 3D is keeping the cells within large structures from suffocating; organs have complicated 3D blood vessel networks that are still impossible to recreate in the laboratory.

Now, University of Pennsylvania researchers have developed an innovative solution to this perfusion problem: they’ve shown that 3D printed templates of filament networks can be used to rapidly create vasculature and improve the function of engineered living tissues.



Nature Materials - Rapid casting of patterned vascular networks for perfusable engineered three-dimensional tissues

Successful businesses will be those that optimize the mix of humans, robots, and algorithms

Technology Review - In Automate This, a book due out next month, author and entrepreneur Christopher Steiner tells the story of stockbroker Thomas Peterffy, the creator of the first automated Wall Street trading system. Using a computer to execute trades, without humans entering them manually on a keyboard, was controversial in 1987—so controversial that Nasdaq pressured him to unplug from its network. Then, with a wink, Peterffy built an automated machine that could tap out the trades on a traditional keyboard—technically obeying Nasdaq rules. Peterffy made $25 million in 1987 and is now a billionaire.

Today, automated trading bots account for nearly three-quarters of U.S. equity trading by volume. Trading houses plow millions into fiber optics and microwave dishes so their algorithms can send trades a millisecond faster than the next guys'. And although the first trading robot was built 25 years ago, most of the change on Wall Street has occurred during just the last few years. When it comes to automation, we may be in the elbow of an exponential curve.

The job market was already being "hollowed out." High-wage, high-skill employment is still being created—and so are many poorly compensated service industry jobs for food preparers, home care aides, and others. It's the jobs in the middle that are disappearing: certain clerical, sales, and administrative jobs and some on factory floors.

Now a combination of growing computing power and advances in data crunching mean automation is primed to threaten not just tax preparers and travel agents but higher-rung jobs such as those in the medical and legal professions, where software can increasingly do things like analyze images and understand speech more accurately and in more contexts than ever before. Any work that is repetitive or fairly well structured is open to full or partial automation. Being human confers less and less of an advantage these days.


Robots made by Kiva Systems move product shelves on a warehouse floor. Amazon bought the company earlier this year in a step toward automating its distribution system and reducing labor costs. Kiva Systems

Observation and Measurement of a 59 million light year long Dark Matter Filament

Nature - A ‘finger’ of the Universe’s dark-matter skeleton, which ultimately dictates where galaxies form, has been observed for the first time. Researchers have directly detected a slim bridge of dark matter joining two clusters of galaxies, using a technique that could eventually help astrophysicists to understand the structure of the Universe and identify what makes up the mysterious invisible substance known as dark matter.

The presence of dark matter is usually inferred by the way its strong gravity bends light travelling from distant galaxies that lie behind it — distorting their apparent shapes as seen by telescopes on Earth. But it is difficult to observe this 'gravitational lensing' by dark matter in filaments because they contain relatively little mass.

Dietrich and his colleagues got around this problem by studying a particularly massive filament, 18 megaparsecs (58.7 million light years) long, that bridges the galaxy clusters Abell 222 and Abell 223. Luckily, this dark bridge is oriented so that most of its mass lies along the line of sight to Earth, enhancing the lensing effect, explains Dietrich. The team examined the distortion of more than 40,000 background galaxies, and calculated that the mass in the filament is between 6.5 × 10^13 and 9.8 × 10^13 times the mass of the Sun.


Dark-matter filaments, such as the one bridging the galaxy clusters Abell 222 and Abell 223, are predicted to contain more than half of all matter in the Universe. Jörg Dietrich, University of Michigan/University Observatory Munich

July 04, 2012

DARPA seeks revolutionary advances in the efficiency of robotic actuation

A robot that drives into an industrial disaster area and shuts off a valve leaking toxic steam might save lives. A robot that applies supervised autonomy to dexterously disarm a roadside bomb would keep humans out of harm’s way. A robot that carries hundreds of pounds of equipment over rocky or wooded terrain would increase the range warfighters can travel and the speed at which they move. But a robot that runs out of power after ten to twenty minutes of operation is limited in its utility. In fact, use of robots in defense missions is currently constrained in part by power supply issues. DARPA has created the M3 Actuation program, with the goal of achieving a 2,000 percent increase in the efficiency of power transmission and application in robots, to improve performance potential.

Humans and animals have evolved to consume energy very efficiently for movement. Bones, muscles and tendons work together for propulsion using as little energy as possible. If robotic actuation can be made to approach the efficiency of human and animal actuation, the range of practical robotic applications will greatly increase and robot design will be less limited by power plant considerations.



Electricity, Cement, Rail and other Measures of Chinas Economy

Looking at electricity, rail freight volume and bank loan growth as alternatives economic indicators to check against GDP growth in China.




Harvard researchers create room-temperature quantum bits that store data for nearly two seconds

Mikhail Lukin, Georg Kucsko, and Christian Latta are part of a group of Harvard scientists who were able to create quantum bits and store information in them for nearly two seconds, an increase of nearly six orders of magnitude over the life span of earlier systems. The work has a number of potential applications, including the eventual construction of a functional quantum computer.

Using a pair of impurities in ultra-pure, laboratory-grown diamonds, the researchers were able to create quantum bits and store information in them for nearly two seconds, an increase of nearly six orders of magnitude over the life span of earlier systems. The work, described in the June 8 issue of Science, is a critical first step in the eventual construction of a functional quantum computer, and has a host of other potential applications.

Science - Room-Temperature Quantum Bit Memory Exceeding One Second


Quantum Computing Company D-Wave Systems Inks Deal with Cloud Platform Leader PiCloud

PiCloud, the leader in providing easy access to conventional computing power on the cloud, and D Wave Systems Inc., the leader in commercial quantum computing technology, have announced a formal development partnership. Projects are underway to integrate the two companies' technologies.

"PiCloud is a cloud computing platform dedicated to giving every developer, scientist, and engineer in the world a supercomputer at their fingertips," stated PiCloud co-Founder Ken Elkabany.

The partnership will align the two companies' development goals. D-Wave's development library will be integrated with PiCloud's cloud platform to give developers easy remote access to both quantum and conventional computing power from within the same framework. With the thousands of cores that can be leveraged on-demand with PiCloud, developers will be able to access a new type of supercomputing / quantum computing hybrid capability from anywhere with Internet access.
Dwave has a 512 qubit adiabatic quantum computing chip and sold a $10 million 128 qubit system to Lockheed.

CERN has 5 sigma signal at 125 GeV that is probably Higgs Boson

CERN experiments observe particle consistent with long-sought Higgs boson.

Geneva, 4 July 2012. At a seminar held at CERN 1 today as a curtain raiser to the year’s major particle physics conference, ICHEP2012 in Melbourne, the ATLAS and CMS experiments presented their latest preliminary results in the search for the long sought Higgs particle. Both experiments observe a new particle in the mass region around 125-126 GeV.

“We observe in our data clear signs of a new particle, at the level of 5 sigma, in the mass region around 126 GeV. The outstanding performance of the LHC and ATLAS and the huge efforts of many people have brought us to this exciting stage,” said ATLAS experiment spokesperson Fabiola Gianotti, “but a little more time is needed to prepare these results for publication.” "The results are preliminary but the 5 sigma signal at around 125 GeV we’re seeing is dramatic.

This is indeed a new particle. We know it must be a boson and it’s the heaviest boson ever found,” said CMS experiment spokesperson Joe Incandela. “The implications are very significant and it is precisely for this reason that we must be extremely diligent in all of our studies and cross-checks."

“It’s hard not to get excited by these results,” said CERN Research

A Higgs boson is an excitation – a fleeting, grainy representation – of the Higgs field, which extends throughout space and gives all other particles their mass.

At the instant of the big bang, everything was the same as everything else, a state of symmetry that lasted no time and was immediately broken. Particles of matter called fermions emerged from the sea of energy (mass and energy being interchangeable), including quarks and electrons that would much later form atoms. Along with them came force-carrying particles called bosons to rule how they all were related. All had different masses – sometimes wildly different masses.

Using the concepts of a Higgs field and Higgs boson, the Standard Model explains why quarks, protons, electrons, photons, and a wide-ranging zoo of other particles have the specific masses they do. Oddly, however, the Standard Model can’t predict the mass of the Higgs itself. That will only be learned from experiment.

At 125-216 GeV there are two predicted decay paths in the Standard Model

The two channels involved, called the two-photon channel and the four-lepton channel for short, are certainly not the most likely decay routes, says Beate Heinemann of Berkeley Lab’s Physics Division, who is also a professor in UC Berkeley’s Department of Physics. “The probability that a 125-GeV Higgs would decay into two gamma rays is about two tenths of one percent, and the likelihood that it would decay into four muons or electrons is even smaller.

Solid State Energy Catalyzer Speculation from PESN

PESN - a new model of E-Cat (Rossi Energy Catalyzer) has been developed. It is a model that can remain stable at very high temperatures without the need for coolant. In fact, it could be considered a solid state E-Cat. This is not the official name of the new model, but it seems an appropriate description.
For those who are not aware, an extended test of around twenty high-temperature solid-state E-Cat modules is currently taking place. Each module has one reactor core producing approximately ten kilowatts of output. The units have been operating for around two months now and will continue operating for a few more weeks. It has been stated that after the test is complete, a full report and photos will be shared with PESN, and posted to the Journal of Nuclear Physics.

Rossi can precisely control the nuclear reactions taking place (being able to precisely throttle them up and down) to prevent overheating of the reactor core WITHOUT the use of a cooling liquid. The only cooling is passive (infrared heat escaping the surface of the plates), the E-Cat is throttled down significantly, and when a load is placed upon it (cooling water to be turned into steam) the nuclear reactions are throttled up.

I think "solid state" is a good term to describe the above E-Cat design. I call it "solid state" because it can operate without any moving parts (no pump to provide a flow of water), the temperature can be precisely modulated, and the unit could, in theory, operate as a stand alone device providing a heat source. If combined with a thermal photovoltaic device -- a technology that can convert infrared radiation directly into electricity -- it could become a solid state electric generator.

Tablet Shipments to Surpass Notebook Shipments in 2016

—Tablet PCs, such as Apple’s iPad, are expected to be the growth driver for the mobile PC market over the next few years. Tablet shipments will surpass notebook shipments in 2016, according to the latest NPD DisplaySearch Quarterly Mobile PC Shipment and Forecast Report. Overall mobile PC shipments will grow from 347 million units in 2012 to over 809M units by 2017.

While notebook PC shipments are expected to increase from 208M units in 2012 to 393M units by 2017, tablet PC shipments are expected to grow from 121M units to 416M units in this period, for a compound annual growth rate of 28%. A key driver for tablet PC growth is adoption in mature markets (including North America, Japan and Western Europe), which will account for 66% of shipments in 2012 and remain in the 60% range throughout the forecast period. Tablet PC shipments into mature markets will grow from 80M units in 2012 to 254M units by 2017.

Supersonic Mini-Drone Being Built

Forbes - Researchers at the University of Colorado are building the smallest supersonic jet engine ever made — and are attaching it to a 22lb UAV.

This is a follow up to nextbigfuture coverage from March, 2012 Led by Colorado University assistant professor and Starcor CEO Ryan Starkey, the mini-UAV is designed to appeal to a research community that has been “disenfranchised with $100 million programs that stop and start.” Instead, for $50,000 to $100,000, Starkey says the industry can have an affordable, test asset that “won’t end your program if you lose it.”

The initial vehicle is targeted at Mach 1.4 “because we think we can get there,” says Starkey, who adds that the eventual aim is a UAV capable of Mach 1.6-1.7. Measuring 1.76 meters (5.8 ft.) in length, the vehicle is configured with a 1.27-meter-span cranked delta wing. Flight-control surfaces consist of elevons and a fluidic-injection thrust vectoring system.

Starcor is also partnering with the University of Colorado at Boulder to develop a supersonic unmanned aircraft powered by one of the L-FX00 engines.



July 03, 2012

Physicists and biologists plan to build a dark matter detector out of DNA that is 1000 times more sensative

Arxiv - New Dark Matter Detectors using DNA for Nanometer Tracking (13 pages)

Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs) may constitute most of the matter in the Universe. While there are intriguing results from DAMA/LIBRA, CoGeNT and CRESST-II, there is not yet a compelling detection of dark matter. The ability to detect the directionality of recoil nuclei will considerably facilitate detection of WIMPs by means of "annual modulation e ect" and "diurnal modulation e ect". Directional sensitivity requires either extremely large gas (TPC) detectors or detectors with a few nanometer spatial resolution.

In this paper we propose a novel type of dark matter detector: detectors made of DNA could provide nanometer resolution for tracking, an energy threshold of 0.5 keV, and can operate at room temperature. When a WIMP from the Galactic Halo elastically scatters off of a nucleus in the detector, the recoiling nucleus then traverses thousands of strings of single stranded DNA (ssDNA) (all with known base sequences) and severs those ssDNA strands it hits. The location of the break can be identified by amplifying and identifying the segments of cut ssDNA using techniques well known to biologists. Thus the path of the recoiling nucleus can be tracked to nanometer accuracy. In one such detector concept, the transducers are a few nanometer-thick Au-foils of 1 meter by 1 meter, and the direction of recoiling nuclei is measured by "DNA Tracking Chamber" consisting of ordered array of ssDNA strands. Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) and ssDNA sequencing are used to read-out the detector. The detector consists of 1 kg of gold and 0.1 kg of DNA packed into 1 cubic meter. By leveraging advances in molecular biology, we aim to achieve about 1,000-fold better spatial resolution than in conventional WIMP detectors at reasonable cost.

Technology Review has coverage

Kazakhstan can increase uranium production to 30,000 tons by 2015

Kazakhstan can increase uranium production to 30,000 tons in 2-3 years, Novosti-Kazakhstan quoted deputy head of the Kazakh National Atomic Company Kazatomprom Nurlan Ryspanov as saying.

"Our resources and existing capacities allow achieving production of 30,000 tons of uranium or more per year," Ryspanov said on Wednesday while speaking at the 5th annual Central Asia Mining and Metallurgical Congress in Almaty.

Kazakhstan produced 19,450 tons of uranium or 35 percent of world production in 2011. Kazatomprom is also the world''s leading uranium producer.

Cooking Fuel Transition in China

Eurekalert - Despite China's booming economy, many poor individuals continue to use traditional stoves that burn low-grade solid fuels like charcoal and coal. Such stoves generate high levels of indoor air pollution that cause dire health problems, especially in women and children. These health concerns include asthma, bronchitis, and heart disease. By 2030, a new study predicts, nearly a quarter of the rural population and one-sixth of city dwellers could still be using such stoves. However, with a relatively small per capita investment, the study suggests, those values could drop to zero.

The analysis revealed that, under a business-as-usual scenario, 24 percent of the rural and 17 percent of the urban population might still depend on solid fuels in 2030. For an annual cost of just $2.39 per person, the researchers found, universal access to modern fuels could be achieved by that date in urban areas. Providing such fuels to rural areas would cost substantially more – an estimated $10.75 per person – but, Mainali notes, "the associated reductions in the adverse impacts on health and emissions of greenhouse gases, as well as general improvements in socio-economic welfare that are likely to accompany any access policies, justify such investment." Once there is access to modern fuels, he says, "the change that it brings to lives and society also changes prosperity levels and thus, in the long run, the required subsidies could be phased out or reduced."

"Analyzing Cooking Fuel and Stove Choices in China Till 2030"
Journal: Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy

24% of the soot problem is from cookers and heaters in the developing world

* 42% Open biomass burning (forest and savanna burning)
* 18% Residential biofuel burned with traditional technologies
* 14% Diesel engines for transportation
* 10% Diesel engines for industrial use
* 10% Industrial processes and power generation, usually from smaller boilers
* 6% Residential coal burned with traditional technologies

Higgs Boson Cartoon Video

Higgs Boson Explained by Cartoon
Illustrations Credit & Copyright: Jorge Cham, PHD Comics

Explanation: What is all this fuss about the Higgs boson? The physics community is abuzz that a fundamental particle expected by the largely successful Standard Model of particle physics may soon be found by the huge Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Europe. The term boson refers to a type of fundamental particle with similarities to the photon, while Higgs refers to Peter Higgs, a physicist who among others published research predicting the mechanism through which such a particle might act. The above animated cartoon explains in humorous but impressive detail why the Higgs boson is expected, and one method that the Large Hadron Collider is using to find it. Although some rumors hint that preliminary traces of the Higgs boson are already being found, even not finding this unusual particle would open the door to a new fundamental understanding of how our universe works.




Hollywood is adapting to and merging with the rising chinese and international movie markets

The Cinema of China is one of three distinct historical threads of Chinese-language cinema together with the Cinema of Hong Kong and the Cinema of Taiwan. China has restrictions on foreign movies and the content of movies. Currently, the vast majority of the Mainland-produced movies use Mandarin. Mainland films are often dubbed into Cantonese when exported to Hong Kong for theatrical runs.

As of 2010 Chinese cinema is the third largest film industry by number of feature films produced annually. In 2011 Chinese films earned 54% of a total box office of US$2.06 billion. China's box-office receipts grew 33.3 percent in 2011 and by the first quarter of 2012, it has surpassed Japan in box-office receipts by becoming the second-largest in the world.

More Big Movies and the largest movie market around 2018

Hollywood will adapt to and merge with the Chinese movie market and other international markets.

Price Waterhouse Coopers has released its 2012 annual Global Media Outlook. It’s a 5-year forecast analyzing the future of 13 industries internationally. According to the Outlook, film entertainment revenue is expected to rise more than 14-billion dollars in the next five years.

The study found shows that in 2011 North American box office spending fell nearly 4 percent. Ticket sales here dipped to their lowest levels since the mid-1990’s.
Let the Bullets Fly Poster


T-cell Vaccines Could Treat Elusive Diseases like Pneuomonia and Malaria

Technology Review - A biotech company believes it can create the first effective T-cell vaccines. If it is right, it would redefine infectious medicine.

For some infectious diseases, traditional vaccines just don't cut it. Microbes that hide inside human cells and cause chronic illness aren't stymied by the antibody response generated by the kind of vaccine available at the doctor's office. T-cell vaccines, which activate a different type of immune response, could, in theory, better prevent or control such chronic infections, but so far nobody has been successful at transitioning T-cell vaccines from the lab bench to the clinic.

A Cambridge, Massachusetts, biotech company called Genocea thinks its high-throughput method could change that. The company will begin its first clinical trial later this year, when its experimental herpes vaccine will be the first test of its claims.

Genocea's T Cell Antigen Discovery Technology: AnTigen Lead Acquisition System (ATLAS™)

Genocea's vaccine programs are built around a transformational platform for the rapid discovery of T cell antigens. T cell antigens, specifically antigens that stimulate CD4+ and CD8+ T cells,are critical to generating disease‐specific cellular immune responses and long-term T cell memory.

Crime Prediction algorithm improves police deployment to reduce property crime by 25%

Technology Review - A recent study suggests that computers could be better than seasoned police analysts at predicting when and where crime will strike next in a busy city.

Software tested in Los Angeles was twice as good as human analysts at predicting where burglaries and car break-ins might happen, according to a company deploying the technology.

When police in an L.A. precinct called Foothill division followed the computer's advice—and focused their patrols within the areas identified—those areas experienced a 25 percent drop in reported burglaries, an anomaly compared to neighboring areas.



On patrol: A computer-generated “heat map,” left, shows predicted crime activity. This is translated into patrol instructions in the form of the red boxes on the map, right. PredPo

Leap Motion will be bringing to life the precise gesture control of the movie the Minority Report and now Predictive Policing is the real life version of Pre-crime precognition. Predictive policing provides real time targeted crime prediction.


July 02, 2012

Ultrathin metallic coatings can induce quantum levitation between nanosurfaces

Applied Physics Letters - Ultrathin metallic coatings can induce quantum levitation between nanosurfaces

There is an attractive Casimir-Lifshitz force between two silica surfaces in a liquid (bromobenze or toluene). We demonstrate that adding an ultrathin (5–50 Å) metallic nanocoating to one of the surfaces results in repulsive Casimir-Lifshitz forces above a critical separation. The onset of such quantum levitation comes at decreasing separations as the film thickness decreases. Remarkably, the effect of retardation can turn attraction into repulsion. From that we explain how an ultrathin metallic coating may prevent nanoelectromechanical systems from crashing together


Two pieces of silica - one with a gold nanocoating - will experience a repulsive Casimir-Lifshitz interaction beyond a critical distance. Without the gold nanocoating, the interaction would be attractive at the same distance. Image credit: Boström, et al. ©2012 American Institute of Physics

Arxiv - Enlarged Molecules from Excited Atoms in Nanochannels (5 pages)

Research paves the way for accurate manufacturing of complex parts for aerospace and car industries

Exeter - Producing strong, lightweight and complex parts for car manufacturing and the aerospace industry is set to become cheaper and more accurate thanks to a new technique developed by engineers from the University of Exeter. The research team has developed a new method for making three-dimensional aluminum composite parts by mixing a combination of relatively inexpensive powders.

Combining these elements causes a reaction which results in the production of particles that are 600 times smaller than the width of a human hair. Around 100 nanometers in size, the reaction uniformly distributes them through the material, making it very strong.

A complex SLM part

Google earns $9.7 billion from online ads while Microsoft loses $9 billion

Microsoft took a $6.2 billion charge for the purchase of performance of aQuantive, an online advertising service that it bought in 2007 for $6.3 billion. Since it bought aQuantive, Microsoft's online division has reported losses totaling nearly $9 billion.

Google spent $3.2 billion to acquire DoubleClick, an online ad service that used to compete against aQuantive. Google last year earned $9.7 billion on nearly $38 billion in revenue, with most of the money coming from online ads.

In 2011, Google's search and advertising tools helped provide $80 billion of economic activity for 1.8 million businesses, website publishers and non-profits across the U.S.

Child Mortality for India, China and the World

World Health Organization studies on child (under 5 mortality) as of 2010.

* 7.6 million children under the age of five die every year, according to 2010 figures.
* More than half of these early child deaths are due to conditions that could be prevented or treated with access to simple, affordable interventions.
* Leading causes of death in under-five children are pneumonia, preterm birth complications, diarrhoea, birth asphyxia and malaria. About one third of all child deaths are linked to malnutrition.
* Children in low-income countries are about 18 times more likely to die before the age of five than children in high-income countries.
* Annual global deaths of children under five years of age fell to 8.1 million in 2009 from 12.4 million in 1990.
* The goal is get get the children under five deaths to 4.2 million or less in 2015.
* Children's nutrition has improved. The percentage of underweight children is estimated to have declined from 25% in 1990 to 16% in 2010. But 104 million children are still undernourished. Stunting in children under five years old has decreased globally from 40% to 27% over the same period. However, in the UN Africa Region, the number of stunted children is estimated to have increased from 45 million in 1990 to 60 million in 2010.

India's Problems

Between the mid 1980s and early 1990s significant progress was made toward reducing the child mortality levels in India, but recent data indicate that there has been stagnation in child mortality rate at an unexpectedly higher level. India's gross national income (GNI) per head has increased by 82% from US$450 in 2000 to $820 in 2006, yet the rate of decline in child mortality is only 19% from 94/1000 births to 76/1000 births. During the same period Bangladesh's GNI increased only 25%, but its child mortality dropped by 25% from 92/1000 to 69/1000.

India, with about 1.2 million deaths of neonates each year, accounts for over one quarter of all neonatal deaths in the world.

India had 1.726 million deaths for children and infants under the age of 5 in 2010. India's PPP per capita in 2010 was $1342.

The mortality rate of kids under 5 in China has decreased by 73 percent since 1991 but there were still nearly 300,000 child deaths annually. India's performance is worse than China 20 years ago. In 1991, China had per capita GDP of US$356 and a PPP GDP per capita of $894.

A 228 page study of the status of different countries efforts to improve mortality of children and mothers.

There is an 8 page study that looks at "Child mortality in India: a complex situation" Besides poverty there is also misguided social and cultural beliefs which are slowing the reduction of childhood and infant mortality.

Longevity Secrets of the Naked Mole Rat


High levels of brain-protecting protein are unique in the rodent, says Tel Aviv University researcher.


Compared to the average three year life span of a common rat, the 10 to 30 year life of the naked mole rat, a subterranean rodent native to East Africa, is impressive. And compared to the human body, the body of this rodent shows little decline due to aging, maintaining high activity, bone health, reproductive capacity, and cognitive ability throughout its lifetime. Now a collaborative of researchers in Israel and the United States is working to uncover the secret to the small mammal's long — and active — lifespan.

Researchers are working to determine whether the naked mole rat's unusually high levels of NRG-1, a neuroprotecting protein, is behind the naked mole rat's three-decade life span. Because rodents have an 85 percent genetic similarity to humans, it may hold the key to a longer and healthier life for us as well.

This research has been published in the journal Aging Cell.


China's GDP growth and per capita GDP


On a purchasing power parity basis, I believe that China has already passed the USA.

The World Bank/IMF figures for PPP are wrong based upon 2005 numbers that did not properly survey the rural areas. There are many academic studies and information from the University of Pennsylvania which supports the conclusion that the 2005 World Bank comparative study of PPP was very flawed.

On a nominal exchange rate basis I still believe China will pass the US by 2019 and possibly earlier.

Barrons - Credit Suisse lowered their growth forecasts for China to 7.7% in 2012 and 7.9% in 2013 from our prior forecasts of 8.0% and 8.2%, respectively. On a quarterly seasonally adjusted basis, they expect GDP growth to slow down further to 6.6% in the current quarter before quickening again in the second half.

Credit Suisse China economists expect an "L-shaped" growth projection despite a series of pro-growth measures recently launched by the government. They believe that China will be in a weak growth cycle (weak only by its own past standards, that is) for the next several years, featuring a weak credit cycle, a weak export cycle, and a weak property cycle.

China's GDP at the end of 2011 (including Hong Kong and Macau) was $7.8 trillion.

China has a hidden economy that is about another 10-15% of the economy. Hidden / unreported income is more common in China than in the USA.

China added GDP of 4% in the first half of 2012 and had 2% more inflation (which has the effect of altering the exchange rate conversion by boosting the GDP in RMB.)

China's GDP (including Hong Kong and Macau) is at about $8.26 trillion at the end of June 2012. The United states is at about $15.53 trillion at the end of June, 2012.

At the end of 2012, China should have moved from 50.9% (end of 2011) of US GDP to 55% of US GDP. this would not be including the hidden economies.

Renting petaflop cloud supercomputing by the hour

Google demonstrated 600,000 cores running a genomics application. Google says that Compute Engine has access to 770,000 cores — a figure that will surely grow over time. These cores are made available as Linux virtual machines (VMs), with 1, 2, 4, or 8 cores each. Each core apparently has access to 3.75GB of RAM each — and, of course, each VM is connected together using Google’s advanced networking technologies and topologies. 777,000 cores, assuming the entire Compute Engine cluster consists of 8-core CPUs, equates to 96,250 computers. The Google Compute Engine website says that an 8-core VM with 30GB of RAM costs $1.16 per hour. For 600,000 cores, you need 75,000 VMs — so, $87,000 per hour, or $2 million per day.

Cycle Computing, a high-performance computing vendor, has successfully bonded 3,809 eight-core Amazon AWS Elastic Compute 2 instances together to create a supercomputer cluster of 30,472 processor cores with 27TB of memory and 2PB of storage. The running cost — or at least the cost you’ll have to pay Cycle for dedicated access to the cluster — is just $1,279 per hour, or about four cents per core.

Latest Woodward Mach Effect Propulsion Experiment

Talk Polywell has a posting from Paul March on James Woodward latest Mach Effect propulsion work.

Woodward is now claiming that he and his associate, a Dr. Heidi Fearn at CSUF, have performed an updated analysis of the M-E derivation for the upcomming JPC conference that has a much better handle on the M-E bulk acceleration issue per his following comments posted to his e-mail distribution over this last weekend.

"There is a clean signal (SNR greater than 10) in the 2 to 3 uN range. And in the data with the frequency sweeps, there's a power spike at the beginning of the sweep that really heats the device up -- but off resonance, so there is no prompt thrust response (as one would expect were the signal a thermal effect). It's the real deal folks.

Why would I say that it's the real deal when this signal is orders of magnitude smaller than the predictions suggest it should be? Because we've found these past two weeks that those predictions are wrong. Heidi and I have been working now for a while on the JPC paper that will go with the presentation I'll do at that conference in about a month. While working on the theory section of that paper, I decided to include a section on explicit acceleration dependence of Mach effects. While writing that out, I decided to derive the prediction based on full acceleration dependence -- rather than doing the prediction the way it's been done for years. It turns out that this calculation is not difficult at all. A bit tedious for an old duffer like me; but not difficult.

SI units are really scary. Completely unintuitive for me. So catching some arithmetic errors took longer than it should have. But the end result is a prediction of 10 uN for the present system -- whereas observation is ~ 3 uN. And that with the assumption that the electrostrictive constant is the same as the piezoelectric constant. It is surely smaller. But without allowance for mechanical resonance amplification -- which is surely present. These two considerations will be largely offsetting I expect. And the resulting prediction will likely be in the uN range."

To clarify, the electrostrictive coefficient for the PZT ceramic used in Woodward's shuttler experiments is about three orders of magnitude down from the d33 piezoelectric coefficient of PZT, so his above conclusions hold up in my eyes. So what Jim needs to do next IMO is to prove to the world of physics that the Wheeler/Feynman radiation reaction force IS the mechanism that really conveys gravitational forces around the cosmos and he will have completed his M-E mission.


Off topic - My 2011 Tiger Woods Prediction almost Fulfilled

In October 2011, I predicted that Tiger Woods would regain his number one golf ranking.

Tiger Woods has won his third official PGA tournament of 2012 and is leading the one year Fedex Cup points race. He also won the unofficial Chevron World Challenge at the end of 2011.

Tiger is still fourth in the World Golf Rankings, which take into results going back two years. Two more regular wins, a win in a major or similar lack of results from him and the three golfers in front of him would likely lead to Tiger getting number one World Golf ranking. The others did better in 2010 and 2011 and will need to do more to replace the results that will be rolling off sooner.

A prior prediction was wrong that Tiger would regain the number one in 2011.

6-25 million tons of grain rot while 3000 child malnutrition deaths occur each day in India

Every day some 3,000 Indian children die from illnesses related to malnutrition, and yet countless heaps of rodent-infested wheat and rice are rotting in fields across the north of their own country.

It is an extraordinary paradox created by a rigid regime of subsidies for grain farmers, a woeful lack of storage facilities and an inefficient, corruption-plagued public distribution system that fails millions of impoverished people.

And it is an embarrassment for the government led by the Congress party, which returned to power in 2009 thanks in large part to pledges of welfare for the poor, who make up about 40 percent of the 1.2 billion population.

Ycombinator has many comments about this article.

July 01, 2012

Carnival of Space 256

The Carnival of Space is up at Christopher Crockett's blog

Would it be possible to spot the light from Earth's cities from light years away? Supernova Condensate ponders detecting extraterrestrial city lights, and the flipside of light pollution.

The arrival of a new pulsed energy device for testing in Huntsville has Centauri Dreams pondering fusion, its past and its future, in space propulsion systems. Two posts are involved - this one leads back to the first.


Carnival of Nuclear Energy 111

The Carnival of Nuclear Energy 111 is up at Yes Vermont Yankee.

Neutron Economy looks at the costs of nuclear power compared to other power sources.


Zyvex Marine Unveils Lightweight Marine Products

Zyvex Marine, a division of the world’s first molecular nanotechnology company, Zyvex Technologies, and Pacific Coast Marine announced a partnership to make the industry’s lightest and most durable doors, hatches, and other marine closures using nano-composites.

The partnership brings a significant competitive advantage to the marine market by allowing Pacific Coast Marine to offer products that feature the latest advanced materials comprised of nano-enhanced carbon fiber.

Zyvex Marine, the pioneer of the 54’ boat Piranha that weighs 8,000 pounds yet would have weighed 40,000 pounds with traditional materials, is a leader in watercraft and component manufacturing using carbon nanotube-enhanced carbon fiber materials.

Pacific Coast Marine, a leader in marine closures for nearly 30 years, worked with Zyvex during the last year to develop doors, hatches and closures for current watercraft produced by Zyvex Marine. Now recognizing greater commercial opportunities for lightweight doors and hatches on its boats, Pacific Coast Marine and Zyvex are unveiling a door that weighs 66% less than a traditional door – from 150 pounds to just 50 pounds each – and is more durable.
Rustproof door that is three times lighter than the aluminum alternative

Improved Vacuum transistors could beat silicon-based semiconductor electronics

Eurekalert - researchers at the University of Pittsburgh are proposing a new spin on an old method: a switch from the use of silicon electronics back to vacuums as a medium for electron transport—exhibiting a significant paradigm shift in electronics

"Physical barriers are blocking scientists from achieving more efficient electronics," said Hong Koo Kim, principal investigator on the project and Bell of Pennsylvania/Bell Atlantic Professor in the University of Pittsburgh's Swanson School of Engineering. "We worked toward solving that road block by investigating transistors and its predecessor—the vacuum."

The ultimate limit of transistor speed, says Kim, is determined by the "electron transit time," or the time it takes an electron to travel from one device to the other. Electrons traveling inside a semiconductor device frequently experience collisions or scattering in the solid-state medium. Kim likens this to driving a vehicle on a bumpy road—cars cannot speed up very much. Likewise, the electron energy needed to produce faster electronics is hindered.

"The best way to avoid this scattering—or traffic jam—would be to use no medium at all, like vacuum or the air in a nanometer scale space," said Kim. "Think of it as an airplane in the sky creating an unobstructed journey to its destination."

Conventional vacuum electronic devices require high voltage, and they aren't compatible with many applications. Therefore, his team decided to redesign the structure of the vacuum electronic device altogether. With the assistance of Siwapon Srisonphan, a Pitt PhD candidate, and Yun Suk Jung, a Pitt postdoctoral fellow in electrical and computer engineering, Kim and his team discovered that electrons trapped inside a semiconductor at the interface with an oxide or metal layer can be easily extracted out into the air. The electrons harbored at the interface form a sheet of charges, called two-dimensional electron gas. Kim found that the Coulombic repulsion—the interaction between electrically charged particles—in the electron layer enables the easy emission of electrons out of silicon. The team extracted electrons from the silicon structure efficiently by applying a negligible amount of voltage and then placed them in the air, allowing them to travel ballistically in a nanometer-scale channel without any collisions or scattering.

"The emission of this electron system into vacuum channels could enable a new class of low-power, high-speed transistors, and it's also compatible with current silicon electronics, complementing those electronics by adding new functions that are faster and more energy efficient due to the low voltage," said Kim.

With this finding, he says, there is the potential for the vacuum transistor concept to come back, but in a fundamentally different and improved way.


Ballistic transport of electrons in nano-void channels in silicon MOS

Nature Nanotechnology - Metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistor with a vacuum channel


China's Economic Slowdown is Exaggerated

Fortune - China's growth is slowing. But the unfolding economic debacle in the developed world is wounding China, not killing it. It has plenty more room to grow

China has a government-led deceleration, which was necessary, now has weakness in external demand added to it, and the result is not pretty. That's particularly true for companies the world over that convinced themselves that China would grow at 10% per year forever, and scaled up capacity accordingly. Expect earnings disappointments from multinationals everywhere with big China businesses to increase.

But, having said all that, it's critical not to exaggerate the current weakness. China is not in free fall. The macro issues it confronts pale in comparison with those now front and center in Europe and the U.S. Remember, first, that China can no longer accurately be characterized as an "export led" economy, so the damage the outside world can do is limited. Beijing's current account surplus as a share of its economy is now slightly less than 3%. That's down from 10% eight years ago. The unfolding economic debacle in the developed world is wounding China, but not killing it.

Remotely Activated Protein-Producing Nanoparticles

Fightaging - There was recent progress towards placing drug producing microfactories in the body. These are programmable, artificial bacteria-like entities that can be set up to manufacture specific drug compounds in response to their local environment, or to signals from outside the body such as light or ingested chemicals

Nanoletters - The development of responsive nanomaterials, nanoscale systems that actively respond to stimuli, is one general goal of nanotechnology. Here we develop nanoparticles that can be controllably triggered to synthesize proteins. The nanoparticles consist of lipid vesicles filled with the cellular machinery responsible for transcription and translation, including amino acids, ribosomes, and DNA caged with a photolabile protecting group. These particles served as nanofactories capable of producing proteins including green fluorescent protein (GFP) and enzymatically active luciferase. In vitro and in vivo, protein synthesis was spatially and temporally controllable, and could be initiated by irradiating micrometer-scale regions on the time scale of milliseconds. The ability to control protein synthesis inside nanomaterials may enable new strategies to facilitate the study of orthogonal proteins in a confined environment and for remotely activated drug delivery.


Invivo Protein Production

Female, hairless SKH-1 mice (12-wks-old), n=3, were injected with 100 μL (lipid concentration 20 μg/μL) of the particle dispersion to the hind leg. The site of
injection was then irradiated for 120 s at 400 mW/cm2 using a 365 nm light source (BlueWave 75, Dymax). Protein production was detected 1 and 24 hr post administration following intraperitoneal injection of 150 μL ViviRen

7 pages of supplemental material