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June 07, 2014

Nanotruss for super lightweight and superstrong material are also very useful for catalysis

Julia Greer, professor of materials science and mechanics, has made more progess with the fractal nanotruss—nano because the structures are made up of members that are as thin as five nanometers (five billionths of a meter); truss because they are carefully architected structures that might one day be used in structural engineering materials.

Greer's group has developed a three-step process for building such complex structures very precisely. They first use a direct laser writing method called two-photon lithography to "write" a three-dimensional pattern in a polymer, allowing a laser beam to crosslink and harden the polymer wherever it is focused. At the end of the patterning step, the parts of the polymer that were exposed to the laser remain intact while the rest is dissolved away, revealing a three-dimensional scaffold. Next, the scientists coat the polymer scaffold with a continuous, very thin layer of a material—it can be a ceramic, metal, metallic glass, semiconductor, "just about anything," Greer says. In this case, they used alumina, or aluminum oxide, which is a brittle ceramic, to coat the scaffold. In the final step they etch out the polymer from within the structure, leaving a hollow architecture.

"Having full control over the architecture gives us the ability to tune material properties to what was previously unattainable with conventional monolithic materials or with foams," says Greer. "For example, we can decouple strength from density and make materials that are both strong (and tough) as well as extremely lightweight. These structures can contain nearly 99 percent air yet can also be as strong as steel. Designing them into fractals allows us to incorporate hierarchical design into material architecture, which promises to have further beneficial properties."


Strong and stiff and materials comprised of mostly air are well on their way to commercialization. In this World Economic Forum Discussion, Caltech materials scientist Julia Greer talks about their use in "hierarchal design," and the impact it will have on increased efficiency and the prominence of solar cells.



Science - Nanoframe Catalysts

The catalytic properties of materials depend strongly on their microscopic structure, with the atomic-level chemistry and structure directly influencing the activity and durability of the catalyst. However, these microscopic properties can be difficult to understand and control. Furthermore, most efficient catalysts contain substantial amounts of precious metals, rendering them prohibitively expensive. The search for efficient, inexpensive catalysts has, therefore, been challenging. On page 1339 of this issue, Chen et al. report the synthesis of a new class of electrocatalysts built from platinum-nickel nanocrystals. Their Pt3Ni nanoframes have more than 22 times the catalytic activity of conventional platinum/carbon catalysts at 0.9 V, yet contain about 85% less precious metal.

Bussard EMC2 Fusion Project Publishes on Arxiv With Results Confirming Central Premise of Polywell Fusion

EMC2 Fusion reports experimental results validating the concept that plasma confinement is enhanced in a magnetic cusp configuration when beta (plasma pressure/magnetic field pressure) is order of unity. This enhancement is required for a fusion power reactor based on cusp confinement to be feasible. The magnetic cusp configuration possesses a critical advantage: the plasma is stable to large scale perturbations. However, early work indicated that plasma loss rates in a reactor based on a cusp configuration were too large for net power production. Grad and others theorized that at high beta a sharp boundary would form between the plasma and the magnetic field, leading to substantially smaller loss rates. The current experiment validates this theoretical conjecture for the first time and represents critical progress toward the Polywell fusion concept which combines a high beta cusp configuration with an electrostatic fusion for a compact, economical, power-producing nuclear fusion reactor.

(H/T Talk Polywell)

The present experimental result is a major step toward a Polywell fusion reactor in that it validates the conjecture that high energy electron confinement is improved in a high β plasma. However, two additional measurements are needed to estimate the performance of a Polywell fusion reactor. The first is to quantitatively determine the loss rate. The second is to measure the efficiency of ion acceleration by electron beam injection.

In summary, the present experimental results demonstrate for the first time that high β plasma operation can dramatically improve high energy electron confinement in the magnetic cusp system. This result validates the central premise of the Polywell fusion concept which uses high energy beam injected electrons to create an electrostatic potential well for ion acceleration and confinement. The current plan is to extend the present work with increased electron beam power to sustain the high β plasma state and to form an electrostatic well. If the deep potential well can be formed and the scaling of the electron beam confinement is found to be favorable, as conjectured by Grad and others, it may be possible to construct a compact, low cost, high β fusion power reactor based on the Polywell concept.





Improved Heat Shield Materials are key to more reusability and details on the 3D printing of the SuperDraco Engines

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk answered questions following the Dragon V2 spacecraft public reveal in Hawthorne California May 29th 2014.

Dragon V2 in the crew configuration it can take 7 passengers and I think something around, if you really cram stuff in, around a ton of pressurized cargo and 2-3 tons of unpressurized cargo.

The Tesla S can take 7 passenger as well.

Spacex is aiming for 10 flights without any significant refurbishment for the Dragon v2. The thing that will have to be refurbished is the main heat shield. Further improved heat shield [later versions of PICA-X] would mean Spacex could aim for 100 reusable flights.

Heat Shield Material started with NASA PICA and Spacex has improved it Three Times

PICA-X v3 is capable of about a kilowatt per square cm, with is a crazy amount, and sustain that for quite a while, in fact is really [limited?] not by the recession rate, but by the conduction of the heat to the back the tile and then potentially damaging the heat shield support structure.

PICA-X v3 can take 5000 degrees F and double the kinetic energy of mach 25 re-entry.

@ 12:20 "Think of the heat shield like a brake pad. The better that material technology is the more uses it can go through. Just like a brake pad on a car eventually it has to be replaced"



There is a full transcript here

June 06, 2014

China's generation 3.5 and beyond nuclear reactors

China has a bunch of different pressure water nuclear reactors under development and breeder reactors and a pebble bed reactor and molten salt reactors.

In December 2012, first concrete was poured for the HTR-PM demonstration power plant, a 200 MW commercial demonstration plant based on the HTR-10. The small HTR-PM units with pebble bed fuel and helium coolant are 2x105 MWe reactors, so that they can retain the same core configuration as the prototype HTR-10. The twin units, each with a single steam generator, will drive a single steam turbine.

As of the end of 2013, the civil work for the underground part of nuclear island buildings had been completed. The main components, including reactor pressure vessels, core internals and steam generators are being fabricated by domestic manufacturers. A fuel factory that will supply 300,000 fuel elements each year to the HTR-PM is also being built in northern China. According to the project schedule HTR-PM is expected to be commissioned in 2017.


Haptic feedback and Augmented Reality can accelerate skill learning

Georgia Tech has been trying to develop wearable devices that will provide coaching and training to more rapid training of skills and tasks.

Haptic Feedback from a Wearable Glove can speed up musical instrument learning and other manual skills

Repeated buzzing from the glove creates a muscle memory that enables a wearer to learn to play a song with far less practice than it would take without haptic stimulation. They have also studied the glove’s effect on people with spinal cord injuries and found that it can help them regain some sensation and dexterity in their hands. The researchers are now beginning experiments to test whether haptic gloves can teach braille typing and stenography—evidence that the technology could impart not just patterns but also language.


Microlearning

They have developed microlearning with Google Glass, which is an update and enhancment of things like audio books.

They ported SMARTSign to Google Glass. Throughout the day, the user gets notifications of available micro lessons. When users have a spare minute they can find a video of a sign in their timeline on Glass. After the short video plays, the user is asked to select the equivalent concept in English from a multiple-choice test. Depending on how the user performs, that sign will be replayed more or less often in the future rotation of videos, until the user demonstrates familiarity with the sign. If they have more time, users can ask for more sign videos.

A person can learn 10 new signs while waiting in line to board an airplane. By using Glass to lower the barrier for parents learning sign, they hope to help deaf children acquire language skills by having their language more accessible to them in their homes.

Elon Musk's Tesla will Need Hundreds of Giga Battery Factories

Through scale alone, Tesla hopes the gigafactory will bring down battery costs by 30%. A $175 per kWh battery would be "very competitive" with even a mass market vehicle, Langan writes.

Musk put things in even more stark terms: [Tesla Motors] won't be able to function at all if it doesn't build a gigafactory — and [Tesla] will ultimately need hundreds [of Gigabattery Factories] of them. "We can’t figure out any other way to scale," the Wall Street Journal's Cassandra Sweet quoted Musk as saying.

There are advances in battery technology. Lithium Sulfur and better lithium ion anodes and cathodes that can up the energy density and bring down costs towards $50 per kwh.

Hundreds of factories would be producing 100 Terawatt hours per year of batteries

Tesla Cost of Ownership is Already Very Good Relative to Regular Gas Cars

There is cost of ownership analysis here

About $10,000 to 13000 cheaper over 5 years and $20,000 to 30000 cheaper over ten years



Spacex targets reusing the Dragon V2 ten times before refurbishment and targets hundreds of flights per year by 2030 and thousands per year by 2035

Elon Musk describing upgrades to the ship that could allow Dragons to fly up to 10 times without significant refurbishment

Musk doesn't want SpaceX to simply become an orbital taxi service, however. His dreams are far grander: to transform the way in which space exploration is conducted, opening up the final frontier to widespread and affordable use. Musk's vision doesn't end in Earth orbit but rather stretches all the way to the frozen deserts of Mars.

The key is reusability. Musk said the crewed Dragon is designed to land softly back on Earth and be rapidly turned around for another flight — possibly on the same day.

"The reason that this is really important is that, apart from the convenience of the landing location, is that it enables rapid reusability of the spacecraft," Musk said. Just reload the propellants and fly it again. This is extremely important for revolutionizing access to space, because as long as we continue to throw away rockets and spacecraft, we will never have true access to space; it will always be incredibly expensive," he added. "You can imagine a scenario where … if an aircraft was thrown away after each flight, nobody would be able to afford to fly. Or very few, only a small number of government customers. The same is true with rockets and spacecraft." If SpaceX's engineers can pull it off, the crewed Dragon will launch on a Falcon 9 rocket that's also fully reusable. This past April, the first stage of a Falcon 9 maneuvered to a soft "landing" on the ocean, refiring its engines and extending four landing legs before hitting the water intact.

SpaceX's goal is to to recover a Falcon 9 first stage with a touchdown on land by the end of the year. The company would then re-launch the stage next year on a demonstration flight. The company's engineers are also working on the more difficult problem of trying to recover the Falcon 9's second stage, which reaches a much higher altitude.

Musk predicted that instead of flying into space a handful of times per year as we do now, humans would eventually be able to fly to space multiples times per day. "I think 20 years for thousands of flights," Musk said in response to a question about increasing annual launch rates. "And I think we could probably get to the hundreds-of-flights level in 12 to 15 years."



China looking seriously at creating artificial islands that near the scale of Manhattan as they also literally level Mountains for City Space

A new floating city designed by AT Design Office and the Chinese construction firm CCCC, is slated to begin development on a pilot scale next year.

“When the client came to us and talked about this project, I couldn’t believe it was true until I saw their technology,” says Anthony Phan, an architect at AT Design Office. CCCC, which commissioned the design, is currently building a 31-mile long bridge between Hong Kong and Macau using the same type of floating modules that will make up the new city.

Large prefab blocks join together to form the base of the 10-square kilometer island [Manhattan is 59 square kilometers], which will be filled with everything you'd expect on land. In theory, residents could spend all of their time in the new city.

“People won’t need to commute for jobs on land,” says Phan. “Work, apartments, entertainment and parks are all provided in the floating island.”

A large Chinese property investment firm is reviewing the design now and expected to begin testing some of its components in 2015.


China is among the countries which have built the most artificial land; from 1949 to 1990s, the total area of land reclamations from sea of China was about 12,000 km2 Land reclamation, usually known as reclamation, and also known as land fill (not to be confused with a landfill), is the process of creating new land from ocean, riverbeds, or lake. The land reclaimed is known as reclamation ground or land fill.

Tokyo Bay, Japan had 249 square kilometers reclaimed, including the entirety of Odaiba artificial island.

The largest artificial islands from reclaimed land.


Ford and Samsung on track for lithium ion batteries for 70% of the car line up and regenerative braking and mild hybriding for all

Ford and Samsung have a dual-battery system combines a lithium-ion battery with a 12-volt lead-acid battery that could enable regenerative braking technology in non-hybrid vehicles for greater fuel savings.

Dual-battery system research combines lithium-ion with lead-acid batteries enabling regenerative braking and greater fuel savings

Ford and Samsung SDI research new ultra-lightweight lithium-ion battery concept that could one day render traditional lead-acid batteries obsolete

Leveraging innovation in consumer electronics batteries may lead to reductions in size and weight of automotive batteries, as well as increased efficiencies and capability

Ford Motor Company and Samsung SDI, an affiliate of Samsung Group, today announced research on different levels of hybrid technology that could one day be produced in high volume on non-hybrid vehicles for greater fuel savings.

The result of a 10-year research effort, the dual-battery system combines a lithium-ion battery with a 12-volt lead-acid battery that could enable regenerative braking technology in non-hybrid vehicles for greater fuel savings.

“We are currently expanding our Auto Start-Stop technology across 70 percent of our lineup, and this dual-battery system has the potential to bring even more levels of hybridization to our vehicles for greater energy savings across the board,” said Ted Miller, senior manager, Energy Storage Strategy and Research, Ford Motor Company. “Although still in research, this type of battery could provide a near-term solution for greater reduction of carbon dioxide.”

Currently available on Ford’s hybrid vehicles, regenerative braking enables the battery to capture up to 95 percent of the electrical energy normally lost during the braking process for reuse. The system works in conjunction with Ford’s Auto Start-Stop, which seamlessly turns off the engine when a vehicle stops to save fuel. An advanced battery then powers vehicle accessories and systems in place of the engine until the driver begins to release the brake pedal, which restarts the engine.

Light-weighting battery technology

Ford and Samsung SDI also are researching a longer-term ultra-lightweight lithium-ion battery that could one day render traditional lead-acid batteries obsolete. The research advances lithium-ion battery technology currently available on Ford’s electrified vehicles.


Supplying all power to air conditioning and electronics with about 2-4 kWh

There is an analysis of the power used for air conditioning in a car. A car with 5-10% of the battery energy storage capability of a regular hybrid or electric car could have enough power to have all air conditioning and electronics in the car run on the batteries. If this was combined with a square meter of solar panels there would be advantages in terms of never running out of basic power supply whenever you are by any car.

Mild hybriding can save 10-27% of the fuel used in a car. It depends upon the type of car or truck.

An across the board boost of 10% in fuel efficiency in the United States (if it included cars that are on the road now) would mean 2 million barrels per day in fuel saving. It would take about 7 years to get to about half of all the miles driven with fleet replacement with all cars having more efficiency.

Google internet satellites, balloons and drones will make help those in the world paying too much under monopoly internet providers

Google plans to launch 180 satellites could provide significant competition in the developing world and rural areas. Google also still plans to deploy stratospheric balloons and long duration drones to provide internet.

Google has about 70-80% of all ecommerce ad revenue in the world. So the more internet there is and the more internet ad revenue there is then the more money Google makes.

Project Loon balloons travel approximately 20 km above the Earth’s surface in the stratosphere. Winds in the stratosphere are stratified, and each layer of wind varies in speed and direction. Project Loon uses software algorithms to determine where its balloons need to go, then moves each one into a layer of wind blowing in the right direction. By moving with the wind, the balloons can be arranged to form one large communications network.

The effect of competition could be powerful. Google’s entry into municipal fiber markets has tended to drive down prices and improve service offerings from existing ISPs, according to some analyses.

if Google could beam Internet connectivity to countries [or states or counties in the United States] that have only a single ISP—often one controlled by a government—and very high prices for Internet connectivity, “that could be a game changer for a huge swath of the globe,” says Rob Faris, research director at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard.

LPP Fusion Indiegogo Update

Scientists at LPP Fusion, led by Chief Scientist Eric Lerner, are just one step away from technically proving out dense plasma focus fusion and you a few thousand other people can help for the final push. They are already 49% of the way to the $200,000 they needed for a few key experiments with 24 days to go in the crowdfunding effort.

There is no evidence for poverty or middle income traps and development policy should reflect this reality

Country income classifications, with their division into
low ( less than $1,036),
middle ($1,036–$12,625), and
high ( over $12,625) are arbitrary.

$1.25 and $2 poverty lines are also arbitrary.

1. There is no natural grouping of economies based on GNI per capita.


2. Country income status does not correlate with trend breaks or end points in anything else we care about.

Out of all of the potential variables out their covering health, education, components of national output, the environment, and everything else there are some indicators that suggest some sort of break somewhere near the low- or middle-income cutoffs, but it would be fair to say that’s by luck not design.


SOURCE - Charles Kenny, Center for Global Development

June 05, 2014

Efficient room temperature polariton laser could advance intrachip and interchip optical interconnects

University of Michigan researchers have demonstrated a new, practical and potentially more efficient way to make a coherent laser-like beam using polaritons. This is the first room-temperature electrically pumped polariton laser (other electrically pumped polariton lasers typically operate at cryogenic temperatures).

This is most real-world ready polariton lasers ever developed. It represents a milestone like none the field has seen since the invention of the most common type of laser – the semiconductor diode – in the early 1960s, the researchers say. While the first lasers were made in the 1950s, it wasn’t until the semiconductor version, fueled by electricity rather than light, that the technology took off.

This work could advance efforts to put lasers on computer circuits to replace wire connections, leading to smaller and more powerful electronics. It may also have applications in medical devices and treatments and more.

The researchers didn’t develop it with a specific use in mind. They point out that when conventional lasers were introduced, no one envisioned how ubiquitous they would become. Today they’re used in the fiber-optic communication that makes the Internet and cable television possible. They are also in DVD players, eye surgery tools, robotics sensors and defense technologies, for example.

A polariton is part light and part matter. Polariton lasers harness these particles to emit light. They are predicted to be more energy efficient than traditional lasers. The new prototype requires 250 times less electricity to operate than its conventional counterpart made of the same material.


Laser Focus World - The device is gallium arsenide (GaN)-based. The work could advance intrachip and interchip optical interconnects (the lasers can potentially be integrated into semiconductor-based photonic chips), and may also have applications in medical devices and treatments.

A polariton is a quasiparticle consisting of a combination of a photon and an exciton (which itself is an electron-hole pair). Polariton lasers harness these particles to emit light; they are predicted to be more energy efficient than traditional lasers. The new prototype requires 1000 times less electricity to operate than its conventional counterpart made of the same material. The beam emitted by the device is ultraviolet and very low power (less than a microwatt).

The paper, "Room Temperature Electrically Injected Polariton Laser," will be published online in Physical Review Letters on June 10, 2014.

DARPA has demonstrated Gekko-like wall crawling

DARPA’s Z-Man program has demonstrated the first known human climbing of a glass wall using climbing devices inspired by geckos. The historic ascent involved a 218-pound climber ascending and descending 25 feet of glass, while also carrying an additional 50-pound load in one trial, with no climbing equipment other than a pair of hand-held, gecko-inspired paddles. The novel polymer microstructure technology used in those paddles was developed for DARPA by Draper Laboratory of Cambridge, Mass.

Historically, gaining the high ground has always been an operational advantage for warfighters, but the climbing instruments on which they’re frequently forced to rely—tools such as ropes and ladders—have not advanced significantly for millennia. Not only can the use of such tools be overt and labor intensive, they also only allow for sequential climbing whereby the first climber often takes on the highest risk.

China and Russia plan a nuclear energy future - Six new nuclear reactors per year planned in China and Russia has over 20 nuclear reactors for export construction

The Chinese government has said many times since the end of 2013 that it will build more nuclear power plants in the coastal areas of eastern China without compromising the region's safety.

On May 16, the National Development and Reform Commission, the National Energy Administration and the Ministry of Environment Protection disclosed a program, saying that they will press forward with the construction of safe and efficient nuclear power plants, which they said are one of the country's important energy sources.

Chinese nuclear power plants, both those operational and those under construction, will have a combined power capacity of 58,000 megawatts (MW) by 2015, which will further appreciate to 88,000 MW by 2020.

China will start six new reactors every year from 2015 to 2020.

China will put 640 billion yuan (US$103.6 billion) into the nuclear power industry before 2020, with 480 billion yuan (US$77.7 billion) spent on building facilities, including 70 billion yuan (US$11.3 billion) in 2014, according to the China Nuclear Energy Association.

Currently, China has 21 reactors in operation, in addition to 28 units under construction

Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography hopes for hitting 10 nanometer node in 2016 and hopes to lower cost by six times for the 5 nanometer node

The latest extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography systems are making about 28 wafers per hour or 100 wafers per day with a 40 W light source in pilot tests. The progress is significant but falls far short of a production target of up to 200 wafers per hour for the systems upon which ride many of the hopes of the semiconductor industry.

ASML chief technology officer Martin Van den Brink reported the results achieved over the last three months, raising hopes for a handful of EUV proponents at the annual Imec Technology Forum here. The systems could be available as early as 2016 in time for the 10 nanometer node, Van den Brink said, but it's a nail biter at best, given the many challenges ahead.



Softbank $2000 Companion robot for 2015 will test many social issues such as Learning your families habits and technical ones like Cloud Artificial Intelligence

Japanese firm Softbank has unveiled a robot called Pepper, which it says can read human emotions.

It uses an "emotional engine" and a cloud-based artificial intelligence system that allows it to analyse gestures, expressions and voice tones.

The firm said people could communicate with it "just like they would with friends and family" and it could perform various tasks.

It will go on sale to the public next year for 198,000 yen ($1,930; £1,150).

"People describe others as being robots because they have no emotions, no heart," Masayoshi Son, chief executive of Softbank, said at a press conference.

The machine will be on display starting Friday at Softbank retailers.

* This robot is part of wave of new higher capability and affordable robots for home and business

Softbank has a high target of making this robot able to independently babysit children and attend to elder care. If they can actually succeed with those a large part of those capabilities then that would mean potentially over 100+ million in unit sales over many years and broad global societal impact. It does not seem capable of that level of success now, so part of it is getting enough initial traction and filling certain capability niches to gain momentum.




Softbank has a 48 page pdf presentation.



Drugs reveals cancer tumors to the immune system and drastically increases survival rates in human trials

The drug nivolumab stops tumors from camouflaging themselves from the immune system appears to significantly boost survival rates in people with a form of lung cancer that is almost incurable unless removed surgically before it spreads. Some people who received the drug have seen their tumours disappear completely.

One way that cancer cells evade the immune system is by interacting with a molecule on the surface of white blood cells called PD-1. Nivolumab blocks PD-1 so tumour cells can't interact with it. This reawakens the immune system, allowing it to attack the cancer.

The two-year survival rate of the group [with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) – the most common form of the disease, accounting for 85 per cent of all cases. Participants received either 1, 3, or 10 milligrams of nivolumab per kilogram of bodyweight daily for up to 96 months] on nivolumab was more than double that in a group given standard therapies. "We found 1 in 4 patients alive at two years, compared with 1 in 10 for conventional chemotherapy," says Michael Giordano, head of oncology development at Bristol-Myers Squibb, the company behind nivolumab.

Liver cancer vaccine effective in mice

Tweaking a protein expressed by most liver cancer cells has enabled scientists to make a vaccine that is exceedingly (90%) effective at preventing the disease in mice.

Alpha-Fetoprotein, or AFP – normally expressed during development and by liver cancer cells as well – has escaped attack in previous vaccine iterations because the body recognizes it as "self," said Dr. Yukai He, immunologist at the Medical College of Georgia and Georgia Regents University Cancer Center.

Liver cancer is among the fastest-growing and deadliest cancers in the United States with a 17 percent three-year survival rate. Vaccines help direct the immune system to attack invaders by showing it a representative substance, called an antigen, that the body will recognize as foreign, in this case, AFP for liver cancer.

In a process called antigen engineering, He tweaked AFP just enough to get the immune system to recognize it but still keep the AFP expressed by liver cancer cells in the bull's eye, he and his colleagues report in the journal Hepatology.

AFP is expressed by about 80 percent of most common liver cancer cells but not typically by healthy adults. For cancer to flourish, cells must revert to an immature state, called dedifferentiation, which is why liver cancer cells express a protein during development and why the immune system can recognize AFP as "self."

Journal Hepatology - Epitope-optimized alpha-fetoprotein genetic vaccines prevent carcinogen-induced murine autochthonous hepatocellular carcinoma

June 04, 2014

Extreme Regenerative Medicine

A recent infographic looking at radical life extension mentioned head/body transplants.
Nextbigfuture has looked at that in detail.



Surgical Neurological International - HEAVEN: The head anastomosis venture Project outline for the first human head transplantation with spinal linkage (GEMINI)

* a head of a monkey was transplanted in the 1970s but the spinal cord could not be repaired at the time
* Spinal cords have been regrown in rats.
* In 2000, guinea pigs had spinal cords surgically cut and then protected with PEG chemical (like what is proposed here) and they had over 90% of spinal nerve transmission restored with a lot of mobility and function restored

Graphics related possible paths to Radical Life Extension

A series of infographics has been released this month by the design firm Art Lebedev. They lay out the possible end of death or at least radically longer lives along seven broad lines of research.

Again the best way to donate some affordable funds in the area of radical life extension where those funds can make the most difference is with SENS. Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence is the eventual elimination of age-related diseases and infirmity by repeatedly reducing the state of senescence in the organism [fixing the accumulating age damage that we know about before it becomes diseases we cannot cure]. The SENS project consists in implementing a series of periodic medical interventions designed to repair, prevent or render irrelevant all the types of molecular and cellular damage that cause age-related pathology and degeneration, in order to avoid debilitation and death from age-related causes


Ukraine vs Russia is a battle of top ten arms exporters and will determine the best battle weapons for those with a limited budget

Russia was the 2nd largest arms exporter for the period 2008-2012, accounting for 26% of world deliveries and Ukraine was the 9th largest exporter with 2% of world deliveries.

Pro-russian forces with cheap missiles shot down an $11 million helicopter and killed 14 Ukrainians.

The Russia-Ukraine conflict could remain a long term action with Russian agents and supporters getting military supplies from Russia against the Ukrainian forces that are getting built up.

This would be a conflict of industrialized militaries mostly avoiding the use of heavy tanks and bombers by choice or tactic. However, the irregular units can have the best portable missiles that can be affordably used.

Unlike the United States' wars there are economic pressures that require the weapons and the conflict to be affordable. However, both sides are weapons makers and have the technology and manufacturing capability to innovate and adapt based on the conflict. The United States overspent hundreds of billions to trillions on weapons systems used in Iraq, Afghanistan and other wars but it did not matter so the US rarely develops more cost effective solutions.

Ukraine is shifting to putting cheap and effective military systems at risk for close air support

The Aero L-39 Albatros is a high-performance jet trainer aircraft developed in Czechoslovakia.


The Aero L39 can be purchased for about $200,000

Armament

Up to 284 kg (626 lb) of stores on two external hardpoints
2× wingtip fuel tanks

Maximum speed: 750 km/h (405 knots, 466 mph) at 5,000 m (16,400 ft)
Range: 1,100 km (593 nmi, 683 mi)(internal fuel)


L-59 Armament

Guns: 1 × GSh-23L cannon in underfuselage pod
Hardpoints: 4 underwing hardpoints with a capacity of inner hardpoints 500 kg (1,100 lb) capacity, outer hardpoints 250 kg (550 lb)

L-139 Albatros (About $500,000)
Revised version with western avionics and 17.99 kN (4,045 lbf) Garrett TFE731-4-1T engine. Single prototype built.



L-159 (costs $13 million)
Further modernised advanced trainer/combat aircraft with more modern, western avionics and Honeywell F124 engine

Exosuit dives to 300 meters and is basically a wearable submarine

The Exosuit, a next-generation atmospheric diving system that will allow divers to explore marine environments at a depth of 1,000 feet, is going on public display for the first time from February 27 through March 5. The 6.5-feet-tall, 530-pound hard-metal suit will allow divers the dexterity to perform tasks such as imaging marine animals in their natural habitat with high-resolution underwater cameras while providing protection from the ocean's pressure.

The Exosuit was designed and constructed by Nuytco Research Ltd.

The Exosuit is a successor to the JIM suit, an atmospheric diving suit that in 1979 took American oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle to a depth of 1,250 feet off the coast of Oahu.

Marine archaeologists normally wear scuba gear to explore underwater sites in person, but the time that divers can spend at depth is limited by the dangers of decompression sickness, or the bends. For deep wrecks, researchers rely on remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) carrying cameras and sonar to scan an area, or large and expensive craft like the Alvin submarine that explored the wreck of the Titanic in 1986.

The $1.5 million Exosuit falls somewhere in between. "It's basically a wearable submarine," says Phil Short, a diving specialist on the planned mission to Antikythera. "The pressure inside is no different from being in a submarine or in fresh air. We can go straight to the bottom, spend 5 hours there and come straight back to the surface with no decompression."



The suit is made from an aluminium alloy, with articulated joints that permit divers to move their arms and legs freely. An umbilical cable from a ship supplies it with power for horizontal and vertical thrusters, and a rebreather that scrubs toxic carbon dioxide from exhaled air, giving 50 hours of life support. The cable also carries voice, video and data links. In the event of an emergency, a battery can power everything but the thrusters, including a back-up communication system.



Nissan To Launch Plug-In Hybrids by 2016 and all major carmakers are focused on plug in hybrids from 2015 to 2020

Plug-in hybrids will clearly be all the rage among carmakers for the next couple of years. While the number of high-volume battery-electric vehicles today can be counted on one hand--BMW i3, Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model S--virtually every global automaker now has plug-in hybrids planned for launch between 2015 and 2020.

Nissan plans to start of plug-in hybrid production remains slated for late 2015, presumably coming to market in one or more model-year 2016 vehicles.

Andy Palmer, Nissan's head of global product development, declined to comment on specific models or vehicle types, he noted that Nissan sees a "natural dividing line" between battery-electric and plug-in hybrid powertrains, based on vehicle weight.

Batteries are suitable to power vehicles weighing 1,750 kg (3,850 lbs) or less, he said. Above that weight, plug-in hybrids simply make more sense on a cost and capability basis.

Nissan's electric vehicles are likely to remain in the compact to mid-size passenger car segment, or smaller--along with more specialized vehicles like the Nissan e-NV200 electric delivery van that just entered production in Spain.

Plug-in hybrids, on the other hand, could be used in mid-size or larger crossover utility vehicles, larger sedans, and luxury vehicles from Infiniti.

Foreground cosmic dust negates the BiCEP2 gravitational wave result and reexamination shows the Inflationary theory is too flexible and is untestable

When a team of cosmologists announced at a press conference in March that they had detected gravitational waves generated in the first instants after the Big Bang, the origins of the Universe were once again major news. The reported discovery created a worldwide sensation in the scientific community, the media and the public at large. [SOURCE - Nature, written by Paul Steinhardt]

According to the team at the BICEP2 South Pole telescope, the detection is at the 5–7 sigma level, so there is less than one chance in two million of it being a random occurrence. The results were hailed as proof of the Big Bang inflationary theory and its progeny, the multiverse. Nobel prizes were predicted and scores of theoretical models spawned. The announcement also influenced decisions about academic appointments and the rejections of papers and grants. It even had a role in governmental planning of large-scale projects.

The BICEP2 team identified a twisty (B-mode) pattern in its maps of polarization of the cosmic microwave background, concluding that this was a detection of primordial gravitational waves. Now, serious flaws in the analysis have been revealed that transform the sure detection into no detection. The search for gravitational waves must begin anew. The problem is that other effects, including light scattering from dust and the synchrotron radiation generated by electrons moving around galactic magnetic fields within our own Galaxy, can also produce these twists.

The BICEP2 instrument detects radiation at only one frequency, so cannot distinguish the cosmic contribution from other sources. To do so, the BICEP2 team used measurements of galactic dust collected by the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe and Planck satellites, each of which operates over a range of other frequencies. When the BICEP2 team did its analysis, the Planck dust map had not yet been published, so the team extracted data from a preliminary map that had been presented several months earlier. Now a careful reanalysis by scientists at Princeton University and the Institute for Advanced Study, also in Princeton, has concluded that the BICEP2 B-mode pattern could be the result mostly or entirely of foreground effects without any contribution from gravitational waves. Other dust models considered by the BICEP2 team do not change this negative conclusion.

Arxiv - Toward an Understanding of Foreground Emission in the BICEP2 Region

Elon Musk and Tesla may do something fairly controversial with their electric car patents like release some of them

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, in expressing surprise other automakers haven't made big commitments to electric cars, said Tuesday he's thinking of doing something "fairly controversial" regarding the company's patents. The surprising statement made at Tesla's shareholder meeting raised questions about whether he may be thinking of a particularly bold act, such as releasing some of Tesla's patented technology in order to foster further electric car development.

Tesla, he said, sold 22,500 cars last year and is on target to sell 35,000 this year because of key advantages, including longer range per charge than its electric car competitors.

No other automakers, he says, have taken electric cars as seriously. Most are doing what is "minimally required" under rules for non-polluting cars and abandon those projects altogether when the regulations are eliminated.

"I was hoping other companies would engage in more serious electric-car programs," he says. He says he applauds efforts to make electric cars better, like a longer range being promised for Nissan's Leaf. He says he applauds attempts to get to long ranges on mass-market priced cars even before Tesla, which expects to field a more moderately priced car -- around $35,000 -- in a couple of years. It will have a range per charge of about 200 miles.

The $5 billion battery pack gigafacility that will allow Tesla to ramp up production of the "affordable Tesla," Musk said that final site selection will not be made until the end of the year.

Graphene Nanoplatelets double the tensile strength of epoxy composites

Haydale, a developer of a unique plasma functionalization process for nanomaterials, has announced the publication of research showing its functionalized graphene nanoplatelets (GNP) significantly improve the nanoreinforcement of resin. The research, conducted by the Material Science Department at AeroSpace Corporation, has been published in the Journal of Applied Polymer Science.

Note : haydale.com but website not working for me now

The report states significant strength improvements in toughened epoxy composites. The reported increases are over 2x in tensile strength and modulus of an epoxy composite using a number of HDPlas™ O2-functionalized GNP, manufactured by Haydale. The addition of increasing amounts of GNP resulted in strength increases of over 125% and toughness improvements of 100% over that of similarly cured, unreinforced material.

The Haydale plasma functionalisation process has the potential to offer the tailored functionalization of graphene nanomaterials whilst maintaining structural integrity thus eliminating a key barrier to the commercialization of graphene.

In March, 2014, South Wales-based specialists Haydale are set to try to raise £10m when they start trading shares on London’s alternative market next month. The move follows a push to commercialise graphene as the incredibly versatile material begins to be used in manufacturing.

Cornell Researchers estimate 100 million planets able to support complex life in the Milky Way

There are some 100 million other places in the Milky Way galaxy that could support complex life, report a group of university astronomers in the journal Challenges. They have developed a new computation method to examine data from planets orbiting other stars in the universe.

Their study provides the first quantitative estimate of the number of worlds in our galaxy that could harbor life above the microbial level.

* Complex life doesn’t mean intelligent life – though it doesn’t rule it out or even animal life – but simply that organisms larger and more complex than microbes could exist in a number of different forms.

* This study does not indicate that complex life exists on that many planets. We’re saying that there are planetary conditions that could support it.

* Origin of life questions are not addressed



Challenges - Assessing the Possibility of Biological Complexity on Other Worlds, with an Estimate of the Occurrence of Complex Life in the Milky Way Galaxy


June 03, 2014

Argentina and Russia starting up nuclear reactors in 2014 and Russia has $100 billion in nuclear reactor orders

1. Argentina's newest nuclear power reactor, Atucha 2, is expected to reach criticality and be connected to the grid within sixty days. It is a 745 MWe pressurized heavy water reactor (PHWR) with borated heavy water.

2. Russia should start up three new reactors this year at home, and another in India, said state company Rosatom in an official meeting with prime minister Dmitry Medvedev. The company said its order book for the next ten years is approaching $100 billion.

China GDP growth about 7.5% this year and slowing to 6% range the next few years

Nomura Securities raised its GDP target to 7.5% from 7.4%. It’s not a major jump, but it is a move in the right direction. China investors have been waiting for any sign of momentum since 2012.

“We do not believe a recovery is sustainable in the medium term and continue to expect growth to slow to 6.8% in 2015,” wrote Zhiwei Zhang, Nomura’s senior economist in Hong Kong. Zhang cited inflation going up to 3.2% next year, limiting the scope of any future policy easing.

Meanwhile, the current property sector slowdown is structural due to over investment, said Zhang. The property market is the top risk, but a correction has started and this will likely be exacerbated in 2015 as the over-supply problem in second and third tier cities may worsen.

Below is my new long term prediction for China's economy. It is a slightly less than what I thought 6 months ago and mainly I changed the projection on the currency exchange. I think China will only slowly increase the strength of its currency.


Year GDP(yuan) GDP growth USD/CNY 


2011     47.2   9.2        6.3     
2012     53     8.0        6.2     
2013     59     7.6        6.05    
2014     66     7.5        6.1    
2015     72     6.8        5.8   
2016     79     6.5        5.6    
2017     87     6.5        5.4  
2018     95     6          5.3    
2019    105     6          5.2  
2020    113     6          5.0   
2021    123     5          4.9    
2022    133     5          4.8   
2023    142     5          4.7    
2024    154     5          4.6   
2025    167     5          4.5     
2026    180     5          4.4      
2027    195     5          4.3
2028    210     5          4.2     
2029    230     5          4.1   
2030    255     5          4.0   


Pioneer in Synthetic Biology discusses how to be a successful innovator

George Church helped revolutionized the study of DNA by exponentially reducing the cost of sequencing it. George Church came up with an idea he called "multiplexing" to sequence dozens to millions of pieces of DNA simultaneously—processing them all in the same tube—rather than one at a time, which had been the accepted method.

George McDonald Church is an American geneticist, molecular engineer, and chemist. He is Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, Professor of Health Sciences and Technology at Harvard and MIT, and founding core member of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. He is widely regarded as a pioneer in personal genomics and synthetic biology. Church has co-authored more than 290 publications and 50 patents. Church is or has been involved in founding many very successful (13 biotech) startups.

Over many decades George Church has shown a pattern of inspiration and persistence that became a creative habit.

"I'll drop something for a while, a year or maybe several years, and then pick it up again," he says. "I think that's the way successful innovators work. They keep juggling ideas, keeping them in the air, in the back of their mind, to inspire them or enable new recombinations."

He devotes most of his energy to encouraging his team to innovate.

"A lot of people can't be bothered with innovation," he says. "It's a nuisance, in certain ways. It usually brings a lot of anxiety and other problems—the kinds of things that prevent the average person from setting aside the time and taking the risks." But for Church's lab, there's no alternative, he says. It's the only way forward.

China makes graphene reinforced aluminum that is up to 58% stronger than regular aluminum alloys and uses just 0.3% graphene

Graphene-reinforced aluminum matrix nanocomposites were successfully synthesized through ball milling and powder metallurgy. The tensile strength and yield strength of graphene-reinforced aluminum matrix nanocomposites are remarkably enhanced by adding graphene nanoflakes(GNFs). Importantly, the ductility properties are remained excellently, which is firstly found in the second phase reinforced metal matrix nanocomposites. The microstructures were observed by OM, SEM and TEM method. And the tensile properties were tested.The results show that graphene nanoflakes are effectively dispersed and well consolidate with aluminum matrix, however, chemical reactions are not observed. The original structured characteristics of graphene nanoflakes are preserved very well. The average tensile strength and yield strength of nanocomposite are 454MPa and 322MPa, respectively,which are 25% and 58% higher than the pristine aluminum alloy at a nanofiller mass fraction of 0.3%, while the ductility increases slightly. The relevant mechanisms of strengthening and toughening enhancement are discussed on the base of 2D and wrinkled structured properties of graphene nanoflakes.

The tensile strength and yield strength of graphene-reinforced aluminum matrix nanocomposites are remarkably enhanced by adding graphene nanoflakes (GNFs), they reported in their paper in the Journal of Materials Engineering.

Importantly, the ductility properties are remained excellently, which is firstly found in the second phase reinforced metal matrix nanocomposites. The microstructures were observed by OM, SEM and TEM method. … The results show that graphene nanoflakes are effectively dispersed and well consolidate with aluminum matrix, however, chemical reactions are not observed. The original structured characteristics of graphene nanoflakes are preserved very well. The relevant mechanisms of strengthening and toughening enhancement are discussed on the base of 2D and wrinkled structured properties of graphene nanoflakes.

US Congress funds hypersonic missile after China's WU-14 hypersonic strike vehicle test

The US Congress approved funding last week for the Pentagon’s advanced hypersonic missile program and expressed concerns over China’s recent test of an ultra high-speed strike vehicle designed to deliver nuclear warheads through U.S. missile defenses.

The House fiscal year 2015 defense authorization bill approved $70.7 million for the Army’s hypersonic missile as part of the Pentagon’s conventional prompt strike program.

The Senate, in its version of the fiscal year 2015 defense bill, also authorized $70.7 million for hypersonic weapons.

The Chinese hypersonic glide vehicle is a ballistic missile-launched system that glides and maneuvers to its target at speeds up to Mach 10, around 7,611 mph.

The current House bill funding is focused on an Army program called the Advanced Hypersonic Missile that was first tested in 2011. The Army said the missile is capable of traveling at Mach 5, or 3,600 miles per hour or greater. In the 2011 test, the missile flew 2,500 miles from Hawaii to the Kwajalein Atoll of the Marshall Islands in 30 minutes.

If the second Army missile test goes well, the Pentagon will begin studying whether the weapon can be deployed on a submarine, the House report said, recommending a third test for the missile.

Another U.S. system is the Hypersonic Technology Vehicle, a glider that failed two tests and is facing opposition from some congressional defense authorizers.

The Carnegie Endowment says it is unclear whether the WU-14, the Pentagon's designation for China's hypersonic glider, is simply an improved version of China's notorious "carrier killer" -- the DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile, which has a range of about 900 miles -- or a much more ambitious design rivaling Washington's Advanced Hypersonic Weapon.

Since the WU-14 test, American pundits have pushed the possibility that the high speed of Chinese boost-glide weapons could defeat U.S. missile defenses in East Asia, which protect both land-based military installations and aircraft carriers at sea. This fear has probably been overstated, however. Although hypersonic gliders re-enter the atmosphere at breakneck speeds, they are slowed by air resistance and are generally not as fast as ballistic missiles by the time they reach their targets. They would, therefore, probably be less effective at breaking through U.S. missile defenses around the Western Pacific than the conventional ballistic missiles that Beijing already has in droves.

While Chinese boost-glide missiles might struggle to defeat the missile defenses around compact targets, such as U.S. military bases in Asia, they could easily bypass the wide-area defenses based in Alaska and California that are designed to protect the U.S. homeland. Thus, if over the next decade or so China were to develop accurate boost-glide missiles capable of reaching the United States, key military assets -- such as satellite uplinks, communication hubs, and ships in port -- could become vulnerable to conventional attack for the first time. Protecting them through point defenses, burial, or redundancy might be possible, but it would also be extremely expensive.

Raptor robot runs at 28.58 mph, faster than any human but a bit slow than Cheetahbot

Raptor is a fast-running biped robot developed by MSC Lab, KAIST. It has two under-actuated legs and a tail inspired by velociraptors. The Raptor robot runs at a speed of 46 km/h on a treadmill with off-board power. Tail-assisted pitch control provides stability over high obstacles. For more information about Raptor robot, email jpark21@kaist.ac.kr or visit http://msc.kaist.ac.kr

Inspired by dinosaurs, Raptor is a fast-running biped robot developed by the MSC Lab at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). It has two under-actuated legs and a tail inspired by velociraptors, providing stability over high obstacles.

The Raptor robot runs at a speed of 46 km/h (28.58 mph) on a treadmill with off-board power. That’s faster than the fastest human, the Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt, whose top speed has been estimated at 43.92 km/h — but not as fast as Boston Dynamics’ Cheetah, at 47 km/h (29.2 mph).





Gas Dwarf Planets 1.7 to 3.9 times the size of the Earth at Stars with 50% more metal rich gas

The planets of our solar system come in two basic flavors, like vanilla and chocolate ice cream. We have small, rocky terrestrials like Earth and Mars, and large gas giants like Neptune and Jupiter. We're missing the astronomical equivalent of strawberry ice cream - planets between about one and four times the size of Earth. NASA's Kepler mission has discovered that these types of planets are very common around other stars.

New research following up on the Kepler discoveries shows that alien worlds, or exoplanets, can be divided into three groups - terrestrials, gas giants, and mid-sized "gas dwarfs" - based on how their host stars tend to fall into three distinct groups defined by their compositions.

"We were particularly interested in probing the planetary regime smaller than four times the size of Earth, because it includes three-fourths of the planets found by Kepler. That's where you'll find rocky worlds, which are the only kind that we would consider potentially habitable," says lead author Lars A. Buchhave of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA).



June 02, 2014

Fan Produced Live Action Akira Project

The Akira Project is a crowd-sourced, non-profit project meant to create a live action fan trailer of AKIRA, the renowned manga-turned-anime film from the late 1980′s; a stunning example of both mediums as art forms. While Hollywood has been working on a live-action Akira movie for a few years now fans wanted to take a shot at making our own adaptation. A chance to stick as close to the source material as possible. A chance to do Akira Justice.

They launched an Indiegogo campaign in July 2012 as part of a crowd sourcing effort to make this project come to life. Many people contributed not just financially but offered their time and talent to help the production that was shot in Montreal, Quebec from November 2-5th 2012. It became a global endeavour, filled with adventures and hurdles, involving more than 40 artists in 12 different countries.

After a year and a half in post-production, they are proud to present the project to Akira fans the world over. It has done justice to the timeless work of Katsuhiro Otomo and look forward to, someday, seeing the full scope of the Akira story translated to the big screen as a live-action.





Dwave Systems and Google are trying to find Quantum Supremacy

Dwave Systems has known for about three years that is substantial quantum entanglement in their systems. They have been able to show this entanglement on much larger systems [than a recently publish 8 qubit result] and obtained similar results. So Dwave Systems knows there is substantial entanglement in these types of systems. Right now they are trying to characterize how to use it to gain what Google calls ‘quantum supremacy’. Geordie Rose has commented that there has been very good progress on that [finding quantum supremacy]…

Not even the people who built the 512 qubit and 1024 qubit Dwave Quantum computing systems know exactly how it works and what it can do. That’s what Google's Hartmut Neven is trying to figure out, sitting in his lab, week in, week out, patiently learning to talk to the D-Wave. If he can figure out the puzzle—what this box can do that nothing else can, and how—then boom. “It’s what we call ‘quantum supremacy,’” he says. “Essentially, something that cannot be matched anymore by classical machines.” It would be, in short, a new computer age.

SETI will likely find intelligent life in the next 20 years if it exists predicts Seth Shostak

Answers about Intelligent Alien Life should come within 20 years, astronomers told members of a Congressional science committee. A three-way race is under way to learn if life exists elsewhere in the solar system or beyond, Seth Shostak, senior astronomer with the California-based SETI Institute, said during a hearing before the House Science and Technology Committee.

Dan Werthimer, who directs Berkeley’s new SETI Research Center, summarized current efforts to search for extraterrestrial intelligence at a May 21 hearing of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

At the invitation of committee chairman Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), Werthimer and astrobiologist Seth Shostak of the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif., described current projects to find intelligent life on other planets and how NASA’s Kepler space observatory is contributing to this effort. They also reviewed the newest projects, such as “eavesdropping SETI,” and the latest tools, including the Allen Telescope Array in northern California now operated by the SETI Institute.

If intelligent alien life exists we will find it within two decades, thanks to advances in Computer power speeding up our search of star systems, says the SETI Institute's senior astronomer Seth Shostak. Previous searches have covered a few thousand star systems "at most" and it is likely that we would need to scour "a few million" before we were successful, he said in an interview with Popular Mechanics. But advances in computer technology have sped up the search and will continue to do so. Seth Shostak's best guess is that we'll succeed in the next two decades is based on the fact that with improvements in digital electronics and computers - which are getting better and cheaper, following Moore's law - we will be continually sifting through the sky faster. And you can extrapolate how fast we'll be able to search, assuming we have the money, in the next decade or two.

Three main ways to search for alien life

1. So far, most efforts -- and funding -- to find extraterrestrial life have focused on Mars and potential life-bearing moons in the outer solar system.

“At least a half-dozen other worlds (besides Earth) that might have life are in our solar system. The chances of finding it, I think, are good, and if that happens, it’ll happen in the next 20 years, depending on the financing,” Shostak said.

2. A second initiative scans the atmospheres of distant planets for telltale signs of oxygen or methane, gases which, on Earth, are mostly tied to life. These searches likewise could yield results in the next two decades, Shostak added.

3. The third project hunts for technologically advanced aliens that are sending radio or other signals out into space. The idea behind the Search of Extraterrestrial Intelligence, or SETI, is to eavesdrop on signals that are deliberately or accidentally leaked from another world.



Summary of Nuclear Fusion Projects

Lawrenceville Plasma Physics (LPP Fusion) has been very public about their experiments.

LPP Fusion is about 46% of the way to a $200,000 fund raising goal. So another 109,000 more

They had a review by three independent researchers.

The committee of researchers was led by Dr. Robert Hirsch, a former director of fusion research for the US Atomic Energy Commission and the Energy Research and Development Agency. Other members of the committee were Dr. Stephen O. Dean, President of Fusion Power Associates and former director of fusion Magnetic Confinement Systems for the Department of Energy; Professor Gerald L. Kulcinski, Associate Dean for Research, College of Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison; and Professor Dennis Papadopoulos, Professor of Physics, University of Maryland. The committee was organized by Dr. Hirsch at the request of Mr. Alvin Samuels, an investor in LPP’s effort, to give an objective assessment of the program. Neither Mr. Samuels nor LPP had any control over the committee’s conclusions.

The full 7 page review is here

If the physics issues outlined herein can be satisfactorily resolved, it is conceivable that the DPF concept could be developed into a viable, economic, and environmentally attractive electric power source for not only civilian power but also for military purposes. LPP’s projection of very small (about 5MW) units would be an advantage relative to most other fusion concepts. To date, LPP personnel have not given extensive consideration to the engineering of a DPF power reactor. This is appropriate in the committee’s opinion, because without the successful resolution of existing issues, a DPF reactor will not be possible. Having said that, the committee does not see any fundamental roadblock to power system viability.

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I do not know that LPP will succeed but it seems like a cheap $200K to help them get through their next set of experiments.

General Fusion in Vancouver has its funding with Jeff Bezos and the Canadian Government. (As of 2013, General Fusion had received $45 million in venture capital and $10 million in government funding)

IEC Fusion (EMC2 fusion) has its Navy funding (about $2-4 million per year)

As of August 15, 2012, the Navy had agreed to fund EMC2 with an additional $5.3 million over 2 years to work on the problem of pumping electrons into the whiffleball. They plan to integrate a pulsed power supply to support the electron guns (100+A, 10kV). WB-8 has been operating at 0.8 Tesla

Tri-alpha energy has good funding.
As of 2014, Tri Alpha Energy is said to have hired more than 150 employees and raised over $140 million, way more than any other private fusion power research company. Main financement came from Goldman Sachs and venture capitals such as Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's Vulcan Inc., Rockefeller's Venrock, Richard Kramlich's New Enterprise Associates, and from various people like former NASA software engineer Dale Prouty who succeeded George P. Sealy after his death as the CEO of Tri Alpha Energy. Hollywood actor Harry Hamlin, astronaut Buzz Aldrin, and Nobel Prize Arno Allan Penzias figure among the board members. It is also worth noting that the Government of Russia, through the joint-stock company Rusnano, also invested in Tri Alpha Energy in February 2013, and that Anatoly Chubais, CEO of Rusnano, became a member of the Tri Alpha board of directors

Helion Energy/MSNW has some University funding ( a couple of million or more per year) and NASA has funded one of their experiments

Lockheed is well funded

ITER is well funded
National Ignition facility is well funded.

Commercialization Date targets

Lawrenceville Plasma Physics - 4 years commercial after net energy gain proved. Say two years to prove net energy gain. Then 2019-2021 for a commercial reactor (2021 if we allow for 2 years of slippage). Could lower energy costs by ten times.

General Fusion 2020 (targeting 4 cents per kwh)

Helion Energy 2022 (about 5 cents per kwh and able to burn nuclear fission waste)

Lockheed Compact Fusion 2023

Tri-Alpha Energy (previously talked about 2015-2020, but now likely 2020-2025)

EMC2 Fusion (?? No information for the last few years. US Navy is funding the work at a few million dollars per year)

Muon Fusion - Research in Japan and at Star Scientific in Australia



China has problems and in a show of political insecurity blocks Google services since last week

China has reportedly blocked all Google services days before the 25th anniversary of the military clampdown on the student protest centered around Beijing's Tiananmen Square.

Cnet.com, citing a Chinese news website, reported Monday that Chinese users have found Google's services to be inaccessible since last week.

Google will launch a network of 180 internet access satellites but will still develop complementary internet drones and high altitude balloons

The Wall Street Journal reports that Google is planning to spend more than $1 billion on satellites that will offer internet access worldwide from space. The publication's sources say that Google will begin with 180 small satellites that will orbit the Earth at a lower altitude than most other craft, before possibly expanding the fleet in the future.

They are expected to launch starting in 2019.

Google has been hiring new staff from satellite companies in an effort to get its space internet scheme off the ground. The project is reportedly being run by Greg Wyler, who founded satellite startup O3b Networks. O3b, in whom Google has invested, has been experimenting with 1,500-pound satellites, but people familiar with the project say the devices Google intends to use will weigh less than 250 pounds. The WSJ's sources say the costs for the venture could top $3 billion as Google makes tweaks to the network and revises the number of satellites it needs to offer internet in unconnected parts of the world.

There are about 8 internet satellites.

There are about 32 active satellites for the Global Positioning system.

Top 1% and top 0.01% income statistics from tax data

The World Top Incomes Database statistics for the USA are here.

Top 1% income share-including capital gains          22.46%
Top 0.01% income share-including capital gains             5.47%
Top 10% minimum income level (family /household)      114,000 Real 2012 US Dollars
Top 5% minimum income level (family /household)       161,000 Real 2012 US Dollars
Top 1% minimum income level (family/household)        394,000 Real 2012 US Dollars
Top 0.01% minimum income level (family/household)  10,250,000 Real 2012 US Dollars (16068 families)
Top 1% average income                               1,021,761 Real 2012 US Dollars
Top 0.01% average income                           21,569,156 Real 2012 US Dollars
Top 1% average income-including capital gains       1,264,065 Real 2012 US Dollars
Top 0.01% average income-including capital gains   30,785,699 Real 2012 US Dollars




June 01, 2014

Number of millionaire households in 2020 projected to be over 66 million which would be about double the 33 million in 2011

Deloitte and Oxford Economics had a count and projection of wealthy households in 2011. The total wealth of millionaire households in the 25 economies included in this study is forecast to grow from $92 trillion in 2011 to $202 trillion in 2020.

The aggregate wealth of millionaire households in the U.S. in 2020 will likely reach $87 trillion, from $39 trillion in 2011.

The worldwide number of millionaire households is projected to head to over 66 million by 2030 up to about double from 33 million in 2011.


Previously we had the estimates of individual wealth.

At the end of 2013, there were just over 13 million HNWIs in the world. The United States of America had the highest number of HNWIs (just over 4 million) of any country.