February 22, 2014

First tape-out with TSMC’s 16nm FinFET and ARM’s 64-bit big.LITTLE Processors

Another important milestone was reached recently for TSMC and ARM when the teams taped out at the end of December 2013 (see block diagram) the first 64 bit ARMv8 processors in a big.LITTLE configuration on TSMC’s leading edge manufacturing process, 16nm FinFET. Why is this important? Not only is this the 2nd tape out under TMSC and ARM’s multi-year, multi-node collaboration agreement, which dates back to early 2012, but it yet again proves that best-in-class solutions for TSMC’s Open Innovation Platform® (OIP) can be achieved. Additionally the combination of big.LITTLE processing in a leading edge FinFET process will continue to ensure the TSMC/ARM partnership will set the pace on delivering new experiences available on mobile devices.

TSMC’s 16FinFET process offers significant improvement over 28HPM for high end mobile computing and networking. Since designs could gain over 40% faster speed at the same total power, or alternatively reduce over 55% in total power at the same speed over 28HPM, it made sense to use this process to implement a more complex test chip with ARM’s Cortex-A57 and Cortex-A53

Snapshot of fast changing situation in the Ukraine, Russia's interest and a background of political corruption

Abandoned by his own guards and reviled across the Ukrainian capital but still determined to recover his shredded authority, President Viktor F. Yanukovych fled Kiev on Saturday to denounce what he called a violent coup, as his official residence, his vast, colonnaded office complex and other once impregnable centers of power fell without a fight to throngs of joyous citizens stunned by their triumph.

The pro-European argument is actually a shorthand for various political discontents, including a growing anger at the domination of the country's economy by the president's crony oligarchs, a lack of rule of law and a constitution that concentrated power in the president.

Different sectors of society have invested competing hopes in the protests that broke out in November, triggered by President Viktor Yanukovych's decision to pull out of a deal with the EU and IMF that would have led to closer integration with Europe. Yanukovych chose instead a $15bn credit line and gas subsidies from Moscow. The first protesters were largely young middle-class students and liberals. The breaking up of that protest drew in an older, more nationalistic group, some of whom had served in the old Soviet army.

The veterans from the Afghanistan war have been able to organize the younger fighters. They were successful in raiding weapon depots.

Ukraine is a nation of 46 million. 20% are of Russian descent.

Ukraine's Future

Ukraine is far from out of the woods. Talk of secession by the Crimea and the country's east is still doing the rounds and one scenario being discussed is the annexation of Crimea by Russia. This would be a repeat performance of the occupation by Russian forces of Abkhazia in 2008 and could lead to an alarming confrontation between Moscow and whatever future government emerges in Kiev. Yesterday Russian "delegates" were in Kharkiv as Crimean political figures called for "protection". It is possible the threat of a fracturing Ukraine is being deliberately stage-managed. Much will hinge on whether Russia stays on the sidelines.

One of Vladimir Putin's key regional policies is the creation of a Eurasian Union which is due to be inaugurated in 2015. Critics say this is an effort to pull back together various bits of the old Soviet Union in a new regional bloc and Putin is keen for Ukraine to be a cornerstone of his new grouping. From the Kremlin's point of view, the EU deal and last week's EU mediation – much like Nato's flirting with Georgia, which contributed to the Russian-Georgian conflict in 2008 – represents a serious incursion into Moscow's backyard. While Moscow appeared to back compromise to end the violence, perhaps because it has no desire for a civil war on its borders, a key question is how far Moscow would allow Ukraine to drift away from its sphere of influence.

Cheap, low power, high resolution 3D LIDAR chips that eliminate mechanical parts are coming and will help enable better self driving cars and more independent robotics

A new military LIDAR chip shows promise for faster and more precise aerial mapping—doing in minutes what used to take day. In 2012, 20 hours of helicopter flight time were needed to map 370 square kilometers to a resolution of one meter. A new LIDAR (light detection and ranging) 3-D imaging system could perform the same job in 30 minutes and with higher resolution.

LIDAR systems fire lasers and detect returning photons, using the timing of those return trips to measure distance and thus make 3-D images. At the heart of the new imaging system is a microchip bearing the largest-ever array of pixels that detect just one photon apiece—more than 16,384 pixels in all. The array of pixels, when paired with optical lenses, allows imaging of wider areas. “Arrays of these single-photon detectors are able to map wide areas very quickly,” Fried says.

In today’s airborne LIDAR systems, individual detectors are much less sensitive; and they are mechanically moved along with the laser that emits the light to capture a wider field of view.

Part of the Angkor Wat LIDAR scan

Tokyo and Seoul show that areas around Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong will go from 15% to 60% of China's population

South Korea tried to control the size of Seoul half a century ago. In Seoul's first Basic Urban Plan, in 1966, its population was expected to grow from three to five million by 1985. But it hit that target in 1970. Now half of the population of South Korea is in Seoul. South Korea's government could not fight the unstoppable force of urban concentration.

China's urbanisation will continue to unfold in the major centres where the jobs are. Today, only about 15 per cent of China's population lives in its top three urban regions: the Yangtze River Delta, Pearl River Delta and greater Beijing.

In Japan, almost 60 per cent of the population lives in its top three economic regions. China will also need concentrated urban development for an efficient economic structure, to compete with the likes of South Korea and Japan.

60% of China's population will be nearly 900 million people up from less than 200 million today.

While Korea has failed to curtail population growth in greater Seoul, it has succeeded in distributing such growth away from the centre. Seoul's population peaked in 1990 and stabilised at 10 million while the adjacent Gyeonggi region has continued to grow. Seoul is surrounded by almost 30 smaller cities in Gyeonggi, the engine for greater Seoul's growth.

China’s bullet trains facilitate market integration and mitigate the cost of megacity growth

By 2015 China plans to extend the network to 19,000 kilometers (about 11,800 miles), with a mixture of new and existing infrastructure. On the dedicated high-speed lines, trains can exceed 300km/h (186mph); secondary lines allow travel between 200 and 299 km/h (124-185mph); and existing lines that have been upgraded permit some high-speed travel.

Bullet trains now carry twice as many passengers each month than the country’s domestic airlines, and have an annual growth rate of 28%.

A 2013 World Bank report, the scale of China’s high-speed railway network is supported by its densely populated city centers, affluent consumers’ growing purchasing power, and traffic congestion on other travel modes. Other key factors include China’s low construction costs, lax environmental rules and strong government support — both financial and political — for high-speed rail.

A 2013 study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), “China’s Bullet Trains Facilitate Market Integration and Mitigate the Cost of Megacity Growth,” looks at the impact of high-speed rail on real-estate prices in second-tier cities near Chinese megacities such as Beijing.

Continuing improvement in oil well fracturing methods increases production level by 20% and nearly halves the time to complete some steps in well creating

Schlumberger announced the introduction of the BroadBand Sequence* fracturing technique, which enables sequential stimulation of perforation clusters in wells drilled in unconventional reservoirs. This new technique sequentially isolates fractures at the wellbore to ensure every cluster in each zone is fractured resulting in greater production and completion efficiency compared to conventional methods.

The BroadBand Sequence fracturing technique has enabled customers in South Texas to increase production from new completions in unconventional reservoirs by more than 20%. It has also reduced well completion time by up to 46% in plug-and-perf operations by stimulating longer intervals compared with conventional methods. In addition, this technology was applied to a well in South Texas for a refracturing operation, which resulted in double the production with a fourfold increase in flowing pressure.

BroadBand Sequence is the first release of a family of BroadBand completion technologies aimed at maximizing well productivity in unconventional reservoirs.

February 20, 2014

Intelligent Alien Life Could Be Found by 2040

SETI researcher is predicting good odds for detection of alien life by 2040

By 2040 or so, astronomers will have scanned enough star systems to give themselves a great shot of discovering alien-produced electromagnetic signals, said Seth Shostak of the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute in Mountain View, Calif.

"I think we'll find E.T. within two dozen years using these sorts of experiments," Shostak said.

Seth gave a talk at the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts. “Finding Cosmic Company: A Transformative Event of the 21st Century”

Watch live streaming video from niac2014 at

Atomtronic Progress - Bose Einstein condensate can display memory

While pursuing the goal of turning a cloud of ultracold atoms into a completely new kind of circuit element, physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have demonstrated that such a cloud—known as a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC)—can display a sort of "memory."

The findings, featured as the cover article of the Feb. 12, 2014, issue of Nature, pave the way for a host of novel devices based on "atomtronics," an emerging field that offers an alternative to conventional electronics.

Just as electronic devices manipulate the flow of electrons, atomtronic devices manipulate the flow of atoms. Since atoms have properties that are very different from electrons, atomtronic devices have the potential to go beyond the capabilities of electronics. The newfound effect of the BEC could be an important tool for constructing atomtronic devices similar to computer memory, according to the research team's leader, Gretchen Campbell.

The atomtronic circuit could be useful in applications such as rotation sensors, playing the part that gyroscopes have in spacecraft and aeroplane navigation. The devices could also some day perform rudimentary quantum computations.

And because superfluidity in atoms is analogous to the way electrons flow without resistance in a superconductor, studying the transitions in atomtronics could drive theoretical work in superconductivity, says Campbell. Still, she acknowledges that practical devices are far in the future. “We’re still in the infancy of learning how to control our systems and what we can do. But that is our hope,” she adds.

Nature - Atom circuits a step closer, Ring-shaped flow of ultracold atoms remembers how it has been stirred

New source of fresh neurons found in human brains

Last year Jonas Frisén of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, and his colleagues found that neurogenesis occurs in the hippocampi of the human brain. These structures are crucial for memory formation

Now they have found more new brain cells in a second location – golf-ball-sized structures called the striata. These seem to be involved in many different functions, including in learning and memory. These particular aspects, related as they are to the hippocampi, lead Frisén to speculate that these new brain cells may also be involved with learning. "New neurons may convey some sort of plasticity," he says, which might help people learn and adapt to new situations.

Micro and Nano delivery platforms can change the way we administer therapy to allow for precise drug delivery over months and deliverying large molecules through body barriers

Tejal Desai and researchers at University of California, San Francisco describe current nano- and microfabrication techniques for creating drug delivery devices. They first review the main physiological barriers to delivering therapeutic agents. Then, they describe how novel fabrication methods can be utilized to combine many features into a single physiologically relevant device to overcome drug delivery challenges.

The barrier function of the epithelia has important implications for drug delivery. Epithelial tissues compartmentalize the body into cavities and are composed of specialized cells that are sealed together by tight junction proteins in the intercellular space. The paracellular pathway around the cells is one of the main routes for drug diffusion. However, the tight junction pores are small and are approximately 0.5–2 nm, while the hydrodynamic volumes of conventional therapeutics range from few to several hundred nanometers. Therefore, the tight junctions are a major barrier to drug delivery, particularly for large molecular weight therapeutics. In order to deliver large molecules systemically, hypodermic needle injections are administered which have several disadvantages including: low patient compliance, accidental needle-sticks, and the associated medical personnel costs.

There was a 30 slide presentation. I saw a version of this talk at the Foresight Nanotech Technical conference.

New Device Architectures:
– containing both therapeutic payloads and biophysical cues
– that can gain access to biological barriers
– combine affinity
- based + size and shape + surface properties

• Enable our ability:
– to time the release multiple drugs
– to deliver in a controlled manner
– to house engineered cellular "factories"
– To facilitate tissue integration and bioadhesion

Carnival of Space 341

The Carnival of Space 341 is up at Phototospace.

The Meridiani Journal - New evidence for possible flowing water on Mars

Recurring slope lineae” (RSL) at Palikir Crater on Mars. Click for larger version. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Universe Today - Experts Question Claim Tunguska Meteorite May Have Come from Mars

Oil sands to lead Canadian construction activity

Canada's oil sands production is expected to double to 3.8 million barrels per day by 2025. New oil sands expansion is expected to start in 2016 and it will expand capacity by 50% when these projects begin production after 2019.”

An IHS study, Oil Sands Economic Benefits: Today and in the Future, seeks to quantify the economic impact of oil sands. It finds that oil sands production supported more than 478,000 direct, indirect and induced Canadian jobs in 2012 (3 percent of all jobs in the country) and contributed C$ 91 billion of Canadian gross domestic product (GDP).

Among the study’s key findings on the economic contributions of oil sands in 2025:

* Jobs from oil sands are expected to grow 58 percent from today, representing a total of 753,000 jobs, equivalent to 5 percent of total Canadian employment in 2012.
* The contribution of oil sands to Canadian GDP is expected to nearly double to C$ 171 billion in 2025, comparable to adding an economy the size of Saskatchewan today to Canada.
* A more than 100 percent increase in government revenues from the total effect of oil sands investment in Canada, from C$28 billion in 2012 to C$61 billion in 2025. The federal share of revenue (C$28 billion) would be roughly equivalent to what the federal government spent on healthcare transfers to provinces in 2012.

Facebook paid the value of all NBA teams for WhatsApp

Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion ($4 billion cash, $12 billion stock, $3 billion in restricted stock grants that vest over 4 years. Whatsapp has 55 employees.

The average NBA franchise is worth (equity plus debt) $634 million, up 25% over last year. Collectively the 30 teams are worth $19 billion versus $400 million in 1984 when there were 23 teams.

The average value of the purchase was more on a per employee basis than any sports contract for any professional sports.

Tesla Motors CTO reveals the secrets of their successful electric car

Tesla Motors CTO revealed some key reasons for their successful electric car.

* Superchargers and integrated manufacturing.

Superchargers allow us to charge the Model S more than twice as fast as other cars. To do that kind of charging, everything has to be working in perfect synchrony. The cooling system; the electronics that are talking to the charger; the connection to the grid. That whole thing has to work as a system flawlessly. If we outsourced the charger, or outsourced those other pieces, we couldn’t innovate as quickly. We couldn’t roll out things anywhere near as fast.

* digital controllers for the electric motor allows control of the motor with software. This provides vital flexibility.

* Tesla can perform wireless updates.

Last year two Model Ss caught fire after drivers ran over objects in the road. Tesla sent out a software patch that raised the height at which the cars travel on the highway. There have been no car fires since.

* Ten thousand small batteries are cheaper but were an engineering challenge

* Batteries are not most of the cost of an electric car. For the Roadster [Tesla’s first car], the battery was already down below half the cost. Now we’re down to a quarter of the cost in most cases. Tesla on track to getting to costs that will allow us to make a $35,000 car [the cost of the GM Volt] with a greater-than-200-mile range. It doesn’t require some mythical invention. All the pieces are fundamentally there.

February 19, 2014

pCell wireless broadband with cubic centimeter sized cells around antennas for massively shareable wireless spectrum

Steve Perlman, the serial Silicon Valley entrepreneur who brought us OnLive and WebTV, has announced a new wireless broadband technology called pCell.

The technology will enable full-speed wireless broadband to every mobile device, regardless of how many users are using the same wireless spectrum at once, Perlman promises.

Artemis Networks, has been working on the technology for a long time. Perlman first disclosed the technology, formerly known only as DIDO, a few years ago and is now launching it.

The new pCell technology will enable mobile data users to enjoy fast internet with no congestion, no dead zones, and no weak signals, according to Artemis. With pCell, mobile networking will feel like you’re on a fiber optic network, the company says.

The technology is compatible with standard LTE (Long-Term Evolution) devices such as the iPhone and Android mobile phones.

Google in talks to bring Google Fiber to 34 cities in 9 metro areas

Google Fiber — Internet that’s up to 100 times faster than basic broadband has started early discussions with 34 cities in 9 metro areas around the United States to explore what it would take to bring a new fiber-optic network to their community.

These cities are led by people who have been working hard to bring faster Internet speeds and the latest technologies to their residents. Google believes these are communities who will do amazing things with a gig. And they are diverse -- not just geographically, but in the ways they’ll give us opportunities to learn about the wide range of challenges and obstacles that communities might face in trying to build a new fiber network.

Google will be working closely with the mayors and staff from each of these 34 cities. Google will walk through details about the Google study and about the fiber-ready checklist, and answer any questions they have. After that, Google will be working closely with the cities over the next few months as Google work on their study and they work on their checklist. Then, the completed checklist items will be due to us on May 1.

If Google expands to all 34 cities, it would serve about 10 percent of U.S. consumers.

- Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe
- San Jose, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Palo Alto
- Atlanta, Avondale Estates, Brookhaven, College Park, Decatur, East Point, Hapeville, Sandy Springs, Smyrna
North Carolina
- Charlotte, Carrboro, Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham, Garner, Morrisville, Raleigh
- Portland, Beaverton, Hillsboro, Gresham, Lake Oswego, Tigard
- Nashville-Davidson
- San Antonio
- Salt Lake City

Halfway from 1990 to 2038

We are now halfway from 1990 to 2038.


Important events of 1990 include the Reunification of Germany, the separation of Namibia from South Africa, Desert Shield, the formal beginning of the Human Genome Project (finished in 2003), the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope, and the Baltic states declaring independence from the Soviet Union. Also in this year, Nelson Mandela was released from prison, and Margaret Thatcher resigned as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom after over 11 years.

President George H. W. Bush started the first Gulf War. It would end in Feb 1991.

The Soviet Union would end in 1991.

In the fall of 1990, Tim Berners-Lee created the first web server and the foundation for the World Wide Web; it would be released to the public in 1991. 1990 also saw the official decommissioning of the ARPANET, the forerunner of the Internet system.

The world population was 5.26 billion and World GDP was 27.5 trillion in 1990 dollars.

Purchasing power parity GDP. China nominal GDP was $390 billion

Eric Drexler's Engines of Creation book was written in 1986.

Eric Drexler's MIT dissertation would be finished in 1991 Nanosystems would be published in 1992.

February 18, 2014

Superthin Gallium Arsenide solar power could displace silicon solar power as installation costs stay stubbornly high

The world has the capacity to manufacture over 40 Gigawatts of solar panels each year, the vast majority of them silicon-based. And it's easy to see why: our expertise with processing the material has led to a staggering drop in costs, making photovoltaics (PVs) much more cost-competitive than just about anyone had predicted.

But that manufacturing innovation hasn't been matched on the basic research side; it's been over a decade since the last time anyone set a new efficiency record for silicon cells. And, even as manufacturing costs have dropped, the cost of support equipment and installation has remained stubbornly high and is an ever-increasing slice of the total price of PV systems.

Teams have figured out how to make extremely thin layers of GaAs. Harry Atwater's group at Caltech has developed a process that allows them to peel hundreds of thin layers off a large aggregate of the material, much like individual graphene sheets can be peeled off a block of graphite. The end result is an extremely thin film of GaAs (he passed some samples around to the audience).

John Rodgers, who works at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, grows thin layers of GaAs separated by a thin sacrificial layer. When the sacrificial layer is etched away, you're left with a collection of thin GaAs chips; the silicon wafer they were grown on can then be recycled, cutting down on the costs significantly. A plastic stamp can then pick up the chips and "print" them onto just about any surface, including one pre-patterned with wiring.

February 17, 2014

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 196

The Carnival of Nuclear Energy 196 is up at the Energy Reality Project.

Oxford Nanopore delivers on promised MinION gene reader that is about the size of a flash drive

Nanopore sensing technology can be miniaturised into a portable device for electronic single molecule sensing. This is possible because of recent advances made by Oxford Nanopore in using new polymers to form robust, long lasting bilayers on its proprietary arrayed sensing chip.

The MinION isn't for sale yet—at this time the company is making prototypes available to a selected people in the genome sequencing field. It will cost $1000 for a down-payment.

The MinION™ system is a disposable device that contains the sensor chip, ASIC and nanopores that are needed to perform a complete single molecule sensing experiment. Plugging directly into a laptop or desktop computer through a USB port, it is a self-contained device to deliver real-time experimental data.

The MinION device is adaptable for DNA sequencing, protein sensing and other nanopore sensing techniques.

Structure and function of Cas9 protein have been revealed and will enable engineering improvements to the genome editing CRISPR-Cas9 system

Two teams worked closely to reveal the structural details of the Cas9 complex and to test their functional significance. Their efforts revealed a division of labor within the Cas9 complex. The researchers determined that the Cas9 protein consists of two lobes: One lobe is involved in the recognition of the RNA and DNA elements, while the other lobe is responsible for cleaving the target DNA, causing what is known as a “double strand break” that disables the targeted gene. The team also found that key structures on Cas9 interface with the guide RNA, allowing Cas9 to organize itself around the RNA and the target DNA as it prepares to cut the strands.

Identifying the key features of the Cas9 complex should enable researchers to improve the genome-editing tool to better suit their needs.

“Up until now, it has been very difficult to rationally engineer Cas9. Now that we have this structural information, we can take a principled approach to engineering the protein to make it more effective,” says Zhang, who is also a co-founder of Editas Medicine, a company that was started last year to develop Cas9 and other genome-editing technologies into a novel class of human therapeutics.

The potential is there for bacteria and other microbes to be genetically engineered to perform a cornucopia of valuable goods and services, from the production of safer, more effective medicines and clean, green, sustainable fuels, to the clean-up and restoration of our air, water and land. Cells from eukaryotic organisms can also be modified for research or to fight disease.

An international collaboration that used x-ray crystallography to produce 2.6 and 2.2 angstrom (Å) resolution crystal structure images of two major types of Cas9 enzymes. The collaboration then used single-particle electron microscopy to reveal how Cas9 partners with its guide RNA to interact with target DNA. The results point the way to the rational design of new and improved versions of Cas9 enzymes for basic research and genetic engineering.

The crystal structure of SpyCas9 features a nuclease domain lobe (red) and an alpha-helical lobe (gray) each with a nucleic acid binding cleft that becomes functionalized when Cas9 binds to guide RNA.

Underground coal gasification must also have carbon capture and storage

Trials of UCG (Underground Coal Gasification) under way globally from China to Queensland, and South Africa to Canada, the stakes are high. Not least for the atmosphere. Without a way to capture all the carbon and store it out of harm's way, it could raise the world's temperature by 10 degrees or more.

In the past decade, the focus has been on shale gas: methane tightly trapped in tiny pores and fractures in shale, a sedimentary rock made up of mud and clay mixed with minerals such as quartz. Capturing that gas required two crucial new technologies. Horizontal drilling launched from conventional vertical wells can penetrate for up to 3 kilometres along shale beds. And hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, blasts high-pressure water into the shale to fracture the rock and release the gas. As well as opening up the shale, these technologies open the door to a wide range of alternative sources of methane. They can release methane trapped within coal seams, for example, notably in the coalfields of Wyoming and Montana. Methane is often produced as seams develop, as the coal becomes compacted and heated deep underground. The gas has always been the bane of coal mining, but if collected and pumped to the surface, it becomes an asset.

GE Could be selling magnetic refrigerators by 2020 that are 20-30% more efficient than todays fridges

GE researchers describe how they built their breakthrough magnetic refrigeration system. The technology, which is projected to be 20 percent more efficient than current refrigeration systems, could be inside your fridge by the end of the decade. It is using water based fluid to transfer heat, not chemical refrigerants. That significantly lowers any harm to the environment and makes the recycling of old refrigerators simpler. "This is a big deal," says Venkat Venkatakrishnan, a leader of the research team. "We are on the cusp of the next refrigeration revolution."

High dielectric constant enables Superconducting Meissner Transition at 77 degrees celsius or 170 degrees fahrenheit

Superconductors.ORG reports high Tc has been advanced to 77 Celsius (170F, 350K) with the discovery of the compound Tl7Sn2Ba2MnCu10O20+. This exceedingly high transition temperature (Tc) was achieved by substituting manganese into the titanium atomic sites of the 65 Celsius superconductor announced in January 2014. This substitution increases the dielectric constant (K) of the anion in the "light" region of the H212 structure by two orders of magnitude.

Two examples of the Meissner transitions which consistently appeared near 77C in more than a dozen magnetization tests2. This is the 17th material found to display superconductivity above room temperature.

The graph below shows how Tc increases in the H212 structure as the dielectric constant (K) increases exponentially. As dioxides, silicon has a K of only 4, while titanium is near 100 and manganese has a colossal K near 10,000. The rise in Tc occurs despite the planar-weight-ratio (PWR) declining with progressively heavier elements (see right side of graph). Normally Tc goes down as PWR goes down.

India projected to get back above 5% in GDP growth while trying to control inflation

India forecast a faster acceleration in economic growth than analysts had estimated, a prediction facing risks from interest-rate increases to quell inflation and expenditure curbs by the government.

Gross domestic product will rise 4.9 percent in the 12 months through March 31, compared with the decade-low 4.5 percent in the previous fiscal year, the Statistics Ministry said in New Delhi yesterday. The median of 24 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey had been 4.7 percent. The projection may be revised upward later and the final growth rate is unlikely to be less than 5 percent, Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said in a statement e-mailed today.

India last month joined nations from Brazil to Turkey in raising interest rates, striving to stem the fastest inflation in Asia and shield the rupee from a reduction in U.S. monetary stimulus that’s hurt emerging-market assets. Opinion polls signaling that the general election due by May could lead to an unstable coalition government are adding to risks.

The rupee, down about 15 percent versus the dollar in the past year, strengthened 0.2 percent to 62.29 per dollar

February 16, 2014

Apple may look to acquire or partner with Elon Musk and Tesla

Adrian Perica is a very busy man. Over the past 18 months, the mergers and acquisitions chief at Apple has been scouring the globe looking for deals, snatching up everything from search engines and data analytics to mapping software and motion tracking chips.

Such a buying spree has ignited fierce speculation in tech circles and on Wall Street about Apple's future ambitions, especially as smartphone and tablet sales start to slow. Most of that speculation has centered on wearable technology or perhaps a souped-up upgrade of Apple TV.

Adrian Perica met with Musk and "probably" Apple CEO Tim Cook at Apple's Cupertino headquarters last spring.

"While a megadeal has yet to emerge (for all of its cash, Apple still plays hardball on valuation), such a high-level meeting between the two Silicon Valley giants involving their top dealmakers suggests Apple was very much interested in buying the electric car pioneer," the report said.

"I know this is radical and potentially 'transformative' but this would radically alter Apple's growth profile," Ahmad wrote. "In Elon Musk, you could strike up a partnership and obtain a new iconic partner to lead Apple's innovation drive."