August 02, 2014

Hamas planned a big invasion and bombing and kidnapping terror attack via dozens of tunnels

The Hamas tunnels were part of one elaborate attack scheme.

According to captured Hamas documents, on Rosh Hashanah of this year (starting September 24), up to 200 Hamas gunmen were to pour out of each of the dozens upon dozens of terror tunnels, many of which we now know exit inside or very near to Israeli civilian communities.

While the Hamas plan is in scope grand beyond achievability, there is no doubt that an attack of that scale would have resulted in many Israeli casualties, and possibly a number of abductions.

Many of the tunnels uncovered over the past week were found to contain holding rooms where presumably Hamas intended to hide kidnapped Israelis.

A number of the Hamas fighters captured by Israel in recent days have confirmed that the plan was real, and said they had been promised by their leadership that the mass coordinated assault would begin the ultimate defeat of the Zionist enemy.

Israel’s war on Gaza, and in particular the focus on destroying the terror tunnels, severely disrupted Hamas’ plans, which the prisoners said had required some 12 years of preparations.

Israeli soldier in a Hamas tunnel

The planned Hamas Tunnel attacks would have been like scaled up versions of the 2008 Mumbai attack of Pakistan against India.

Have we medicated away some autistic geniuses like Paul Dirac ?

Gregory Benford describes [at Centauri Dreams] an evening he had with Paul Dirac, Stephen Hawking and Martin Rees. It is very interesting and discusses the great scientists attitude to science fiction and the value of it to them. It also discussed how Dirac made his greatest discovery.

Paul Dirac won a Nobel in 1933 for the first relativistic theory of particles, the Dirac equation and predicted antimatter. “The great papers of the other quantum pioneers were more ragged, less perfectly formed than Dirac’s,” my friend Freeman Dyson had said to me when I [Benford] was in graduate school. Freeman had taken Dirac’s Cambridge quantum mechanics course as a precocious 19-year-old. Of Dirac’s discoveries, Freeman said, “His papers were like exquisitely carved marble statues falling out of the sky, one after another. He seemed to be able to conjure laws of nature from pure thought.”

Freeman Dyson considers Paul Dirac as an intellectual hero.

Dirac was a slight man and autistic, widely known as hard to draw out. He said this concentration proved crucial to his success as a theoretical physicist, for he could remain focused on a problem for a long time. He also could order information about mathematics and physics in a systematic way, employing his visual imagination and determination. Decades later, I [Gregory Benford] saw medical practice focus on this supposed disorder, “fixing” it with drugs and therapy. How many geniuses have we lost this way ?

Benford asked Dirac how he concentrated solely on his research. “I don’t talk,” he said with admirable brevity and a smile. He also said he only stopped work on Sunday, when he took long strolls alone. He had struggled to find the Dirac equation for months, getting nowhere, then took his usual Sunday walk—and the entire solution came to him when he was crossing a small bridge. He hurried to a nearby pub, asked for lunch and wrote the equation on the back of the menu so he would not forget. He seldom looked directly at anyone, but this time he stared me in the eye. “There it was, out of nowhere.”

China will make massive City of Los Angeles scale coal bases to consolidate coal processing and keep air pollution from cities but it will put out even more CO2

China has announced the closure of more than 1,700 small, inefficient mines in the next year, while planning up to 70 new coal-fired plants, most of them at large coal bases like Ta Shan. In the population centers of the coast, coal is being phased out: coal use in Hebei, the province that surrounds Beijing, will be reduced by half by 2017, the government says.

China is moving its coal operations westward into the interior and away from most of the population on the eastern coast.

To move all that electricity from the interior of the country to the coast, Beijing will invest nearly half a trillion dollars in ultra-high-voltage transmission lines built along west-to-east “power corridors.” Earlier this year the world’s largest UHV line started transmitting electrons from Hami, in Xinjiang Province, more than 1,500 miles east to Shanghai.

So far, 12 of China’s 34 provinces have pledged to implement absolute coal consumption targets, and six have said they will reduce their coal use by 2017, with greater Beijing cutting coal use by 50% in the next 3 years. If successful, these measures could reduce CO2 emissions by 700 million tons (MT) in 2017 and 1,300 MT in 2020

China is erecting huge industrial complexes in remote areas to convert coal to synthetic fuel that could make the air in its megacities cleaner. But the complexes use so much energy that the carbon footprint of the fuel is almost double that of conventional coal and oil.

The facilities, which resemble oil refineries, use coal to make liquid fuels, chemicals, power and "syngas," which is like natural gas but extracted from coal. The fuels and electricity are then transported to China's big cities to be burned in power plants, factories and cars.

Currently 16 coal base sites are being built and many are operational. One being constructed in Inner Mongolia will eventually occupy nearly 400 square miles—almost the size of the sprawling city of Los Angeles.

Being Lucky Summarized

Being lucky can be summarized as

1. Be observant (so you can spot opportunities)
2. Be relaxed. Anxiety makes you miss observing things
3. Go out of your way to meet new people and try new things
4. Believe that you are lucky

August 01, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy will have around a $100 million opening weekend and very good reviews

Guardians of the Galaxy is soaring at the Friday box office for a possible $95 million-plus North American debut, far more than expected and marking another sizeable victory for Marvel Studios as it launches a new franchise outside of the Avengers series.

Rotten Tomatoes has critics 92% positive and the audience is 96% positive

Guardian of the Galaxies 2 has already been greenlighted and is set for 2017.

The Great Recession Probably Caused 7000 to 10000 excess suicides in the USA but saved lives by reducing car travel

In the United States, the suicide rate, which had slowly risen since 2000, jumped during and after the 2007-09 recession. A new book [The Body Economic: Why Austerity Kills] estimates that 4,750 ‘excess’ suicides — that is, deaths above what pre-existing trends would predict — occurred from 2007 to 2010. Rates of such suicides were significantly greater in the states that experienced the greatest job losses. Deaths from suicide overtook deaths from car crashes in 2009.”

From 2007 to 2014 there have likely been 7000 to 10000 excess suicides.

In the latest year for which there are good numbers, 2011, there were about 38,000 suicides in America, compared to 32,000 motor vehicle deaths and 15,000 homicides.

The numbers are interesting and suicide needs to be reduced. However, boiling the ocean to cook fish is not a good idea. Suicide deaths are not a justification for trillion in economic stimulation.

July 31, 2014

Japan makes superconducting tapes able to hold 100000 amps and UK researchers trap a 17.6 tesla field

1. The National Institute for Fusion Science (NIFS), of the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) in Japan, has achieved an electrical current of 100,000 amperes, which is by far the highest in the world, by using the new idea of assembling the state-of-the-art yttrium-based high-temperature superconducting tapes to fabricate a large-scale magnet conductor.

Using the state-of-the-art yttrium-based high-temperature superconducting tapes which have been developed and produced in Japan through the new thinking that simply stacks the tapes, NIFS manufactured a conductor of exceptional mechanical strength.

For the conductor joints, which are important for the production of the large-scale coils, NIFS developed low-resistance joint technology through collaborative research with Tohoku University.

As a result of the prototype conductor test, at the absolute temperature of 20 degrees Kelvin (minus 253 degrees Celsius) the electrical current exceeds 100,000 amperes.

The overall current density exceeds 40 A/mm2 including the jackets, and this value is of practical use for manufacturing large-scale fusion reactor magnets.

This result is of global importance. The team uses 54 yttrium-based high-temperature superconducting tapes. Each tape is 10 mm in width and 0.2 mm in thickness.

Urban future - World 54% urban today, 66% urban in 2050 and 85% urban in 2100

The 2014 revision of the World Urbanization Prospects by UN DESA’s Population Division notes that the largest urban growth will take place in India, China and Nigeria. These three countries will account for 37 per cent of the projected growth of the world’s urban population between 2014 and 2050. By 2050, India is projected to add 404 million urban dwellers, China 292 million and Nigeria 212 million.

Today, 54 per cent of the world’s population lives in urban areas, a proportion that is expected to increase to 66 per cent by 2050. Projections show that urbanization combined with the overall growth of the world’s population could add another 2.5 billion people to urban populations by 2050, with close to 90 percent of the increase concentrated in Asia and Africa, according to the United Nations report.

Nextbigfuture thinks the world will be even more urban than the UN projections.
* Vehicle to vehicle communication and self driving cars can eliminate traffic jams
* Factory mass produced skyscrapers can lower the cost of buildings.

These kinds of technologies will lower the cost and the downsides of cities.

Mega-cities with more than 10 million people are increasing in number

The report notes that in 1990, there were ten “mega-cities” with 10 million inhabitants or more, which were home to 153 million people or slightly less than seven per cent of the global urban population at that time. In 2014, there are 28 mega-cities worldwide, home to 453 million people or about 12 percent of the world’s urban dwellers. Of today’s 28 mega-cities, sixteen are located in Asia, four in Latin America, three each in Africa and Europe, and two in Northern America. By 2030, the world is projected to have 41 mega-cities with 10 million inhabitants or more.

Tokyo remains the world’s largest city with 38 million inhabitants, followed by Delhi with 25 million, Shanghai with 23 million, and Mexico City, Mumbai and São Paulo, each with around 21 million inhabitants. Osaka has just over 20 million, followed by Beijing with slightly less than 20 million. The New York-Newark area and Cairo complete the top ten most populous urban areas with around 18.5 million inhabitants each.

Whole genome sequencing could save $30 billion by preventing one third of neonatal ICU visits

Nearly 13% of all babies in the U.S. are preemies, a 20% increase since 1990. A 2006 report by the National Academy of Sciences found that the 550,000 preemies born each year in the U.S. run up about $26 billion in annual costs, mostly related to care in NICUs. That represents about half of all the money hospitals spend on newborns. But the number, large as it is, may understate the bill. Norman J. Waitzman, a professor of economics at the University of Utah who worked on the National Academy report, says the study considered just the first five years of the preemies' lives. Factor in the cost of treating all of the possible lifelong disabilities and the years of lost productivity for the caregivers, and the real tab may top $50 billion. These were estimates using 2005 data. Current costs are two times or more greater.

Doctors estimate that as many as one third of all newborns admitted to neonatal intensive care units in the U.S. suffer from genetic diseases.

A ballpark estimate is that genetic sequencing and repairing (or embryo selection) would then save about $30 billion.

The diagnostic and therapeutic promise of whole-genome sequencing is finally blossoming—at least for babies. Most diseases that afflict adults are caused by a complex array of genetic and environmental factors. But genetic diseases are the leading cause of death in infants, and many are caused by a single-gene mutation. These “monogenic” diseases include well-known conditions such as cystic fibrosis, sickle-cell anemia, and Tay-Sachs disease, as well as thousands of exceedingly rare illnesses that each afflict no more than a handful to a few hundred individuals in the world. This uniqueness makes them very difficult to diagnose clinically, but because they are relatively simple genetically, they are, in theory, easy to diagnose with gene sequencing. Additionally, the cost and time involved has dropped exponentially in the past decade, and bioinformatics software has become much better at matching genetic mutations to known symptoms and conditions. It makes sense, then, that sick babies should be among the first to benefit from the technology.

Renewed hope for EmDrive with NASA validation ... is this a Chicago Pile moment ?

We are getting new Star Wars movies. Blacklight Power is back and claiming they have made breakthroughs which overcome past problems.

The Chicago Pile was the first artificial nuclear reactor. The first man-made self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction was initiated in CP-1 on 2 December 1942, under the supervision of Enrico Fermi. Fermi described the apparatus as "a crude pile of black bricks and wooden timbers." Made of a large amount of graphite and uranium, with "control rods" of cadmium, indium, and silver, unlike most subsequent reactors, it had no radiation shield and no cooling system.

A Chicago Pile moment is when a radical new technology achieves technological takeoff.

I have background on what EmDrive would mean below from articles in 2009. Success and validation that aligns with what is believed about EmDrive means powerful mainly static thrust. It would be an alternative way to achieve effects that would mimic antigravity. It would enable super efficient planes, better flying cars, and cloud city like applications in a full expression of a mature EmDrive. In the nearer term it would be better satellite propulsion.

a US scientist, Guido Fetta, has built his own propellant-less microwave thruster, and managed to persuade Nasa to test it out. The test results were presented on July 30 at the 50th Joint Propulsion Conference in Cleveland, Ohio. Astonishingly enough, they are positive.

The Nasa team based at the Johnson Space Centre gave its paper the title "Anomalous Thrust Production from an RF [radio frequency] Test Device Measured on a Low-Thrust Torsion Pendulum". The five researchers spent six days setting up test equipment followed by two days of experiments with various configurations. These tests included using a "null drive" similar to the live version but modified so it would not work, and using a device which would produce the same load on the apparatus to establish whether the effect might be produced by some effect unrelated to the actual drive. They also turned the drive around the other way to check whether that had any effect.

Last year a Chinese team built its own EmDrive and confirmed that it produced 720 mN (about 72 grams) of thrust, enough for a practical satellite thruster. Such a thruster could be powered by solar electricity, eliminating the need for the supply of propellant that occupies up to half the launch mass of many satellites. The Chinese work attracted little attention; it seems that nobody in the West believed in it.

US Shale oil production increased by 33% or 642,000 barrels per day in North Dakota and Texas

Crude oil production in the North Dakota section of the Bakken shale formation of the Williston Basin averaged 1.1 million barrels per day (b/d) in June, according to Bentek. This is up 28.9% from the monthly average seen in June 2013. In another of the nation's predominant oil shale plays, the Eagle Ford in Texas, production averaged 1.4 million b/d last month, a 37.6% increase from June 2013.

Oil production from shale formations in North Dakota and Texas increased by more than 33% in June, according to Bentek Energy, an analytics and forecasting unit of Platts. June Production from north Dakota and Texas oilshale are up 642,000 Barrels per day from one year ago.

"Bentek estimates that internal rates of return on drilling and carrying costs exceed 65% in the Eagle Ford and 50% in the Bakken*," Weixel said. "To the average producer that means for every $1 million they sink into drilling a well, they can expect to recover at least $1.5 million in crude oil, liquids and natural gas over the course of a year."

Activity in the Wolfcamp shale is expanding and, by as early as 2017, could overtake the Bakken in tight oil spending, according to analysis on the West Texas play from Wood Mackenzie.

Wolfcamp capital expenditures are expected to eclipse $12 billion during this year as rigs ramp up, ranking the Wolfcamp third behind the Bakken and Eagle Ford. That total is equal to about 80% of what will be spent in the Bakken this year.

Crude and condensate production from the play is expected to average 200,000 b/d during the year and reach 700,000 b/d by the end of the decade.

North Dakota oil production in May, 2014 was 1.039 million barrels per day.

Venter Human Longevity Company hires Google Translate Chief Data Scientist to help analyze the ten of thousands of genome sequences to enable life extension

—Human Longevity, Inc. (HLI), a genomics and cell therapy-based diagnostic and therapeutic company focused on extending the healthy, high performance human life span, announced they have hired Franz Och, Ph.D., an expert in machine learning and machine translation as the company’s Chief Data Scientist. Och comes to HLI from Google where he was Distinguished Research Scientist and the Head of Google Translate.

He will develop new computational tools and algorithms to translate the bio data into actionable insights—like developing personalized medicine, early diagnosis, cures for killers like cancer and heart disease, and eventually stem cell therapies.

Venter's team will sequence tens of thousands of genomes every year.

The firm will also sequence the genomes of the trillions of microbes that live on and inside the body—bacteria, viruses, and fungi—and integrate that into the data. The hope is that the resulting torrent of genetic information could hold the key to preventing disease and slowing aging—if someone can figure out how to decipher the massive database. Or more accurately, teach a machine to do it.

Blacklight Power published other university validation and claims 700 joules released in half a millisecond in ten millionth of liter. Power density 100 billion watts per liter

Blacklight Power has been putting out a lot of videos and audio interviews.

There is a July 29th audio interview. Sterling Allan, the host of Greater Things on the Rense Radio Network interviewed Mills for 43 minutes.

5:50 into the interview claims 700 joules released in half a millisecond in ten millionth of liter. Power density 100 billion watts per liter in the form of light

200 times the energy of burning hydrogen from hydrinos

Auger (mechanical system) feeds the fuel droplets into the roller electrodes. 1000 times household current causes the hydrinos to explode.

A very small quantity of highly conductive H2O-based solid fuel powder was loaded in to a hopper and gravity fed into the auger overhead of the rollers that were electrified with about 5V, 15,000A. The high current flow ignited the gravity fed fuel to produce 0.5 ms pulses of brilliant light having power and power densities of one million watts and 100 billion watts per liter, respectively. White light shows that the plasma is the same temperature as the Sun. The optical power can be converted to electricity using commercially available solar cells

The ignition thresholds are 5 V, 15,000 A. The energy to achieve ignition is about 5 J, and the light energy released is over 500 J per ignition. The 500 J is released in 0.5 ms corresponding to an optical power of 1 MW. With an ignition frequency of 2000 Hz, the optical power is at 100% duty cycle and the average ignition power is 5 J X 2000 Hz = 10 kW. Thus, the duty cycle of the 75 kW peak ignition power is 10/75 = 13%. The overall power balance is 10 kW input and 1 MW light output that can be converted conservatively to 400 kW electrical output.

Concentrator solar cells operate at 40% efficiency with sunlight. With our spectrum-adjustable light source, the efficiency should be higher. The energy to achieve ignition is about 5 J, and the light energy released is over 500 J per ignition. So, a self-running system is easily achievable with our current performance. BlackLight has signed contracts with three engineering companies to design and fabricate a generator capable of outputting scalable electrical output in the range of 250 kW to 10 MW comprising modular, scalable components of an optical distribution system and photovoltaic cell stack.

A prior interview the claim of the scalable power modules being commercialized soon (10-17 minutes in this other interview). They have high speed video of the explosion a fast supersonic expanding plasma for the first couple of centimeters. But less than 1% is converted as pressure. 99% is light. There is a shockwave which causes 10% increase in atmospheric pressure.

Auburn University Associate Professor has a write up that replicates a Randell Mills Blacklight power experiment that is evidence for the production of hydrinos. Hydrinos are fractional energy states of hydrogen theorized by Mills.

University of Illinois Professor validated the solid fuel as well

Study shows China high speed rail boosts business productivity by 10% and boosts tourism

The World Bank has a 120 page study of the Regional Economic Impact Analysis of High Speed Rail in China.

There is also a 29 page step by step guide.

Recent research carried out by a World Bank team shows that at the current stage of development, transport projects such as high speed rail can trigger significant agglomeration benefits in China. For example, all being equal, halving the economic distance within the coastal region Guangdong was estimated to lead to a 10% rise in average business productivity. Given the current level of data and professional skills base, the report recommends that China broadly follow the UK model to assess the high-speed rail’s impacts on business productivity.

The existing data sources cannot yet support a robust quantification of the impact on jobs. However, as expected in the theoretical models, business operations in the service industries as well as the management and sales departments of other industries have been adapting rapidly to the significantly raised accessibility - in particular, trip frequencies of the existing travelers have increased sharply. Passenger surveys indicate a substantially higher percentage of business-related travelers on high speed rail than on conventional rail (e.g. 17% greater share for Changchun-Jilin and 11% for Beijing-Shanghai) and an overall high proportion of business travelers (e.g. 40% for Changchun-Jilin and 63% for Beijing-Shanghai of all HSR passengers). The report recommends that the evidence base be built up through business interviews using the methodology developed by the study team and tested in the two case study areas.

The tourism survey has shown that the tourism industry has experienced a rapid transformation: the tourist trips have been increasing rapidly at major attraction sites on the lines. On the other hand, improved accessibility by high speed rail enables some tourists to spend fewer nights. More surveys and data collection are required to understand the changes in trip-making, tourist expenditure, and over-night stay patterns.

July 30, 2014

Thailand moving ahead with high speed rail plans that will eventually be part of a high speed rail network from China to Laos, Malaysia and Singapore

Thailand's military government approved a massive budget to upgrade the country's railways including high-speed rail that would eventually link with China as part of an eight-year plan to improve infrastructure. The junta approved 741.46 billion baht ($23.3 billion) to build two high-speed train routes that will connect Thailand's industrialized eastern seaboard with its northern and the northeastern borders.

They plan for a 737-kilometer line from northeastern Nong Khai province to Map Ta Phut in eastern Rayong province, and a 655-kilometer line from Chiang Khong in northern Chiang Rai province to Ban Phachi in central Ayutthaya province.

The junta's high-speed trains will travel at 160 kilometers (99 miles) per hour, slower than proposed by the ousted government, and will eventually "provide links to the north to China and Laos and down to Malaysia and Singapore," said Soithip, who is also the acting transport minister.

China has deepened economic ties with many Southeast Asia countries despite tensions over Beijing's claims to most of the South China Sea. Rail links that extend deep into the region would boost trade and other commerce with China, the world's No. 2 economy.

The construction of the two routes, from Nong Khai in the northeast and Chiang Khong in the north, will start in 2015 and should be completed by 2021.

Adaptive Material with self tracking of the sun Could Cut the Cost of Solar in Half to 4 cents per kwh

Glint Photonics is developing a novel solar concentrator in which an embedded liquid layer provides passive and automatic optical alignment to the incident sunlight, adjusting the optical properties of the concentrator to track the position of the sun. This “self-tracking” functionality is actuated by the sunlight itself, and doesn’t require any control system. It results in high-concentration optics with a wide effective acceptance angle, eliminating the requirement for precise alignment that has so-far limited concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) systems in delivering high efficiency conversion at low system cost. The self-aligning CPV module maintains the simple mounting characteristics of traditional flat-plate PV, and may be placed on standard low-precision trackers or even in stationary configurations. The design permits wide manufacturing tolerances, as the concentrator can automatically compensate for misalignment and manufacturing variability in the optical components. The concentrator itself is designed to be extremely low-cost, due to low material usage and simple manufacturing.

Small lenses focus sunlight onto an adaptive material that helps track the movement of the sun.

Glint's products will lower the cost of solar energy, improve the performance of cameras, enable agile lightweight optics in the infrared, and more.

A new material, combined with a cheap tracking system, could unleash the promise of concentrated solar power. A material with optical properties that change to help it capture more incoming sunlight could cut the cost of solar power in half, according to Glint Photonics.

Glint’s adaptive material greatly reduces the cost of a tracking system used in some types of solar power. It changes its reflectivity in response to heat from concentrated sunlight in a way that makes it possible capture light coming in at different angles throughout the day.

It’s well known that focusing sunlight makes it possible to use smaller, cheaper solar cells. But this is usually done with lenses or mirrors, which must be moved precisely as the sun advances across the sky to ensure that concentrated sunlight remains focused on the cells. The equipment required for that and the large amount of steel and concrete needed to keep the apparatus steady makes the approach expensive.

Glint’s light concentrator has two parts. The first is an array of thin, inexpensive lenses that concentrate sunlight. The second is a sheet of glass that serves to concentrate that light more—up to 500 times—as light gathered over its surface is concentrated at its edges.

Glint’s CEO Peter Kozodoy says solar power from its devices could cost four cents per kilowatt-hour, compared to eight cents per kilowatt-hour for the best conventional solar panels.

Elon Musk talks vertical take off and landing electric supersonic commercial jets

Elon Musk talks Tesla, Spacex and vertical take off and landing elerctric supersonic commercial jets.

* new software will allow Tesla electric car owners to name their cars
* 2 minute in there is video of a reusable rocket test
* rapidly and completely reusable rockets would lower costs by 100 times
* rapidly and completely reusable rockets would enable Mars colonies
* Spacex plans to get human rated in 2-3 years
* Tesla electric car patents were made open source (Elon frames it is helping to save the world)

World Bank will try to help India double its GDP growth rate from 4.8% to 9.6% and try to help Vietnam find steps to become an industrialized country in a single generation

1. The World Bank Group will bring increased financial and knowledge resources to help India return to the path of sustained high growth needed to bring prosperity to millions, especially the poor living in the lower income states. The World Bank Group will be ready to provide financial support worth $15-18 billion over the next three years. Discussions with the Prime Minister and other officials focused on the government’s plans to re-ignite growth by investing in infrastructure to create jobs; providing quality education and skills training to 8 million young people who enter the labor force each year; and better equipping the 10 million people who leave rural areas for towns and cities each year for jobs.

“The government is committed to introducing key reforms, which are critical to India achieving its full economic potential,” said Kim. “They have identified infrastructure development and job-oriented skill development as the deep drivers of growth. The World Bank Group is ready to support these development initiatives with financing, as well as knowledge and capacity building, that is informed by global experience.”

India potentially can double its growth rate and accelerate poverty reduction, said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim during a visit to the country

2. Vietnam and the World Bank Group announced that they have agreed to conduct a joint study that will recommend policy actions to greatly increase economic growth in Vietnam in the coming years, putting it on a path to become a modern, industrialized country in a generation. The study will identify the changes Vietnam needs to make to build sustainable and inclusive growth and join the ranks of high-income countries.

Vietnam Prime Minister Dung and Kim of the World Bank announced the study in Hanoi, where they also signed credit agreements for five new projects totaling US$876 million. In addition, Kim announced the World Bank Group will provide Vietnam with over $3.8 billion in concessional financing through IDA, the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries, in the next 3 years.

The study will look at the steps Vietnam needs to take to become a modern, industrialized country in a single generation

A Working theory of high temperature superconductors finds magnetism as the quantum glue and is able to predict properties

Physicists have identified the “quantum glue” that underlies a promising type of superconductivity — a crucial step towards the creation of energy superhighways that conduct electricity without current loss.

Superconductivity arises when two electrons in a material become bound together, forming what is called a Cooper pair. Groundbreaking experiments performed by Freek Massee and Milan Allan in Davis’s group were analyzed using a new theoretical framework developed at UIC by Morr and graduate student John Van Dyke, who is first author on the report. Their results pointed to magnetism as the force underlying the superconductivity in an unconventional superconductor consisting of cerium, cobalt and indium, with the molecular formula CeCoIn5.

“For a long time, we were unable to develop a detailed theoretical understanding of this unconventional superconductor,” said Morr, who is principal investigator on the study. Two crucial insights into the complex electronic structure of CeCoIn5 were missing, he said: the relation between the momentum and energy of electrons moving through the material, and the ‘quantum glue’ that binds the electrons into a Cooper pair.

PNAS - Direct evidence for a magnetic f-electron–mediated pairing mechanism of heavy-fermion superconductivity in CeCoIn5

Brian Ahern discusses nanomagnetism, superconductors and low energy nuclear reaction

Interview with Dr. Brian Ahern. Dr. Ahern is a physicist with an undergraduate degree from MIT whose later work focused on exploring BCS-theory and superconductivity. In 2012, he issued an in-depth report on nano-scale cold fusion for the Electric Power Research Institute. Earlier this year the open-source Martin Fleischman Memorial Project added Brian to their global-coalition of researchers and experimentalists who are working to bring an open-source cold fusion solution to the world. He was also a featured lecturer at this year’s 2014 MIT LENR Colloquium – an annual event hosted by Drs. Mitchell Schwarz & Peter Hagelstein. His presentation focused on the relationship between excess heat and nano-magnetism.

There is a summary of the topics in this talk.

0.min-10.min: Brian’s thesis on high-temperature superconductors; Brian’s interest in LENR; Keith Johnson; technical problems inherent to high-temperature superconductors; distorted electron orbitals and cooperative oscillatory modes; Stanislaw Ulam’s model of non-linear anharmonic oscillators

10.min-20.min: Energy localization; Arata and nano-particles; new energetics at nano-scale; nano-particles and anharmonic collective modes; collective vortex-like orbital effects; super-ferromagnetism at the nano-scale; Don Hotson and the Dirac Sea; magnetic vortices as negative-energy transducers/transformers

July 29, 2014

Billionaire investor in Amazon Nick Hanauer makes a strong case for higher minimum wage

Most major social movements have seen their earliest victories at the state and municipal levels. The fight over the eight-hour workday, which ended in Washington, D.C., in 1938, began in places like Illinois and Massachusetts in the late 1800s. The movement for social security began in California in the 1930s. Even the Affordable Health Care Act—Obamacare—would have been hard to imagine without Mitt Romney’s model in Massachusetts to lead the way.
Sadly, no Republicans and few Democrats get this.

Capitalism, when well managed, is the greatest social technology ever invented to create prosperity in human societies. But capitalism left unchecked tends toward concentration and collapse. It can be managed either to benefit the few in the near term or the many in the long term. The work of democracies is to bend it to the latter. That is why investments in the middle class work. And tax breaks for rich people like us don’t. Balancing the power of workers and billionaires by raising the minimum wage isn’t bad for capitalism. It’s an indispensable tool smart capitalists use to make capitalism stable and sustainable. And no one has a bigger stake in that than zillionaires like us.

The Hanauer family, started in Germany selling feathers and pillows. They got chased out of Germany by Hitler and ended up in Seattle owning another pillow company. Three generations later, I [Nick Hanauer] benefited from that. Then I got as lucky as a person could possibly get in the Internet age by having a buddy in Seattle named Bezos.

China builds first 330 mile high speed rail segment for Turkey, As Turkey and other countries follow China's approach to infrastructure

On Friday, Turkey inaugurated its long-awaited high-speed rail link between Istanbul and Ankara, cutting the 533km (330 mile) journey between the two cities from a typical seven hours to three and a half.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was on board for the maiden voyage and hailed the 250km/h link, which cost $4.1bn, as vindication of his infrastructure policies as he campaigns for re-election ahead of polls next month, on 10 August.

Turkish State Railways (TCDD) has said that $45bn would be allocated for rail in the 14 years to 2023. It hopes to build 10,000km of new high-speed line and 4,000km of new conventional line by then. In January TCDD announced that it would invest almost half of its 2014 budget – $860m – in high-speed rail projects.

California has plans for high speed rail that would cost at least $64 billion for 800+ miles between San Francisco and LA. California and Federal ARRA funds are available to complete a 130-mile (209 km) initial segment from Fresno to Bakersfield in the Central Valley by 2017. The LA to San Francisco build is not expected to complete before 2033 and it is not likely to be completed.

Dwave Systems has government, commercial and intelligence customers lining up for quantum computers

D-Wave deployed what was considered the first commercial quantum computer in 2011. A handful of D-Wave’s quantum computers are now being used by Google, NASA and Lockheed Martin for artificial intelligence, image recognition and machine learning.

D-Wave now has a pipeline of government, commercial and intelligence customers waiting for the company’s faster quantum computers, which will start rolling out later this year, said CEO Vern Brownell.

The company will release faster processors over the next two years that will be central to the new quantum computers, Brownell said. The company currently offers the D-Wave Two, which financial analyst firm Sterne Agee in March estimated had a list price “north of $10 million.”

D-Wave last week received US$28 million in funding from new and existing investors, including Goldman Sachs and BDC Capital. The investment will be used to boost internal software development efforts, but there is room for more funding, Brownell said. The goal is to take the company public in a few years, Brownell said.

D-Wave has 1,152-qubit chips in its lab right now, and hopes to double that to a 2,000-qubit processor next year.

Alternative Nuclear fusion projects Tri-alpha Energy, General Fusion and Helion Energy featured in Nature

Tri Alpha is testing a linear reactor that it claims will be smaller, simpler and cheaper — and will lead to commercial fusion power in little more than a decade, far ahead of the 30 to 50 years often quoted for tokamaks.

The ITER tokamak is mired in delays and cost overruns. The facility, being built in Cadarache, France, is expected to be the first fusion reactor capable of generating an excess of energy from a sustained burn of its plasma fuel. But it looks set to cost as much as US$50 billion — about 10 times the original estimate — and will not begin its first fuelled experiments before 2027, 11 years behind schedule.

Over the past decade and a half, mavericks have launched at least half a dozen companies to pursue alternative designs for fusion reactors. Some are reporting encouraging results, not to mention attracting sizeable investments. Tri Alpha itself has raised $150 million from the likes of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and the Russian government's venture-capital firm, Rusnano.

Tri-alpha Energy has started to let its employees publish results and present at conferences. With its current test machine, a 10-metre device called the C-2, Tri Alpha has shown that the colliding plasmoids merge as expected2, and that the fireball can sustain itself for up to 4 milliseconds — impressively long by plasma-physics standards — as long as fuel beams are being injected. Last year, Tri Alpha researcher Houyang Guo announced at a plasma conference in Fort Worth, Texas, that the burn duration had increased to 5 milliseconds. The company is now looking for cash to build a larger machine.

Nature magazine editorial support aneutronic fusion research and specifically says Lawrenceville Plasma Physics should get government funding

In a July 23 editorial, Nature magazine has joined the calls to redirect fusion funding to aneutronic fusion—fusion that produces no radioactive waste. Speaking of the difficulties facing the ITER tokamak program, the editorial urged that, “Given these realities, the prudent course for the world’s funding agencies would be to support research into alternative fusion fuels, such as deuterium-helium-3, or proton-boron-11—which require higher temperatures to ignite, but produce very few neutrons—as well as alternative reactor designs that would be simpler, cheaper and more in line with the kind of plant that power companies might buy.”

Nature specifcally urged that one of the projects that should be considered for government funding is “Lawrenceville Plasma Physics in Middlesex, New Jersey, which is trying to exploit a configuration known as a dense plasma focus to build an extremely compact reactor that does not emit neutrons.” LPP, now known as LPPFusion, Inc, was one of only two projects that the editorial cited as examples of worthy projects, the other being the University of Washington effort of Thomas Jarboe and his group.

China real estate market correcting but not imploding

Wall Street Journal - Will China's property bubble trigger a financial crisis? Concern is high this year thanks to deteriorating sales figures and reports of large price cuts. But China really is different. Though a correction is coming, the consequences will be more manageable than common sense might suggest.

This information was written by Mr. Huang. He is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a former country director for the World Bank in China.

No real property market existed in China until housing was privatized more than a decade ago. Then came the 2008 global financial crisis and Beijing's credit expansion, after which Chinese land prices surged five-fold, triggering commensurate increases in property prices and other asset values. In other words, the market was trying to establish appropriate prices for an asset whose value was previously hidden by socialist fiat (a pattern also seen a decade ago in Russia).

Instead of a bubble, therefore, China's sharp property-price increases could represent the real value of land in a densely populated country. If so, they would signal the Chinese economy's financial deepening, not the imminent onset of a financial collapse.

A main concern is that China has allowed housing construction to outpace requirements, especially in second- and third-tier cities, so prices will fall. But the correction may not be destabilizing because long-term trends in Chinese property prices don't fit the typical pattern of a bubble.

Turned off google video display ads

I generally do not have sound turned on but I was made aware of loud ads.
Also, there was one complaint of malware.
I have adjusted settings and contacted the ad network providers to try to prevent these problems.
If this is still happening and you can which ad (the company or product being advertised), then comment below and I will try to specifically block that advertiser.

Israel plans a longer campaign to find and destroy Gaza tunnel network

Signaling an escalation of Israel's Gaza operation, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Israelis Monday to be ready for a "prolonged" war. After three weeks of bloodshed, both Israel and Hamas are holding out for bigger gains and a cease-fire remains elusive.

US News has an analysis of the rocket situation and the Gaza tunnels.

Theodore Postol, a professor at MIT and an expert on rocket and missile technology as a part of global security, points to the sharp disparity in death tolls on either side of this fight.

“There is no doubt at all that the rockets have caused tremendous amounts of disruption to Israeli society. No doubt at all,” he says. “They rarely do much damage, but they occasionally hit something.”

Tallies of the death count as a result of Hamas’ constant barrage of rockets since 2001 do not exceed 30. Postol attributes the low casualty rate to the millions of dollars Israel has poured into developing an early warning system. Israelis – depending on their location – have between 15 seconds and a minute to get to the omnipresent bomb shelters throughout the country. Rocket attacks in 2012 demonstrated the first publicly announced use of Israel’s new Iron Dome missile shield, though Postol says that likely has little to do with protecting Israelis.

However, Palestinians have become adept at sneaking in and developing rockets. The Qassam class of rockets carry a small warhead weighing 10 to 20 pounds and can be built in a basement employing a fuel made from sugar and potassium nitrate, Postol says. Others, such as the larger Grad class of weapons, are made of components that resemble household and plumbing products, making them more easy to smuggle into the country. Hamas has also recently begun deploying the much more lethal and long-range Fajr-5 rockets, an Iranian-made weapon that is capable to reaching targets as far away as 50 miles. Its 200-pound warhead can inflict widespread damage that far outweighs its smaller and more improvised predecessors.

“Hamas hasn’t killed a smaller number of Israelis than Gazans for lack of trying,” says Schneider, who has previously lived in Israel. “Hamas is firing at school buses, at schools, factories, community centers. They are launching their rockets at literally every community within Israel.”

Israel’s ability to warn its own citizens about an impending attack does not release the culpability of Hamas for trying to kill Israelis, he says.

No nation, anywhere, would accept an unrelenting indiscriminate barrage of rockets,” Schneider adds. “Can you imagine this country, or any other country, accepting nine, or 90, or 900 rockets without responding, and responding in force?”

For years, Hamas has constructed an "underground Gaza," while investing nothing in the welfare of "upper Gaza." The Israeli military has discovered 36 Hamas-dug tunnels, but estimates there are many more.

On the eve of its incursion into the Gaza Strip, Israel agreed to an Egyptian outline for a cease-fire to restore calm. It was only after 13 militants from the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades penetrated Israel in an attempt to launch a terrorist attack in Kerem Shalom that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) got the green light to begin a ground assault. And it was only then that soldiers discovered there was an underground Gaza just like there was an aboveground Gaza, and that the Hamas movement had invested an enormous amount of resources into constructing that underground Gaza.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was very wary of defining his precise objectives to end Operation Protective Edge. Instead, both he and his government are making do with more general goals, such as “removing the rocket threat” and ''restoring quiet to the citizens of Israel.” It was only following the failed infiltration operation and during the UN-sponsored five-hour humanitarian cease-fire that it became clear how pressing and urgent the tunnel threat really was, and that it could pose an even greater threat to Israel than Hamas’ rockets.

US provided $121 billion in mostly military aid to Israel and $25 billion to train and arm Iraq and over $26 billion to train and arm Afghan forces

Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II. To date, the United States has provided Israel $121 billion (current, or non-inflation-adjusted, dollars) in bilateral assistance. Almost all U.S. bilateral aid to Israel is in the form of military assistance, although in the past Israel also received significant economic assistance. Strong congressional support for Israel has resulted in Israel receiving benefits not available to any other countries; for example, Israel can use some U.S. military assistance both for research and development in the United States and for military purchases from Israeli manufacturers. In addition, U.S. assistance earmarked for Israel is generally delivered in the first 30 days of the fiscal year, while most other recipients normally receive aid in installments, and Israel (as is also the case with Egypt) is permitted to use cash flow financing for its U.S. arms purchases. In addition to receiving U.S. State Department-administered foreign assistance, Israel also receives funds from annual defense appropriations bills for rocket and missile defense programs.

Israel has a strong military that has defeated the combined armies of the Arab countries.

Iraqi Army that was trained and equipped by the United States at a cost of more than $25 billion, but which experienced a drop-off in training after the American withdrawal in 2011 and has been greatly handicapped by Mr. Maliki’s push to appoint commanders based more on political loyalty than military skill. A military assessment of Iaq forces had several conclusions

* Iraqi forces had the ability to defend Baghdad, but not necessary hold all of it, especially against a major attack. Already, the capital has been targeted by ISIS car bombs.

* General Dempsey noted the while Iraqi security forces had stiffened and were capable of defending Baghdad, they were not capable on their own of launching a counteroffensive and reversing the ISIS gains.

* only approximately half of Iraq's military units are capable of being advised by American commandos, and many units have been infiltrated by either Sunni insurgent informants or Shiite militia members backed by Iran. Iraqi forces loyal to embattled Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki are so dependent on the Shiite militias, as well as advisers from Iran's paramilitary Quds Force that American advisers could face safety risks if they are assigned to train certain units.

James M. Dubik, a retired Army lieutenant general who oversaw the training of the Iraqi Army in 2007 and 2008, said that Iraq’s security forces could make gains against ISIS even if only half its divisions were effective, but that an advisory effort was very important.

July 28, 2014

Hobbit : Battle of the Five Armies and other Comic-con 2014 Trailers

Telsa Motors prepares factory for Model X SUV and better batteries for the mass market hopeful Model 3

Tesla Motors has a backlog of customers waiting for its Model S sedan. Tesla has ceased production at its assembly plant becauase they are retooling the car factory for the forthcoming launch of its new Model X sport-utility vehicle. SUVs (and crossover models) passed a milestone in May by outselling sedans in the American market for light vehicles (36.5% to 35.4%). Tesla's hopes for a mass appeal breakthrough will be its third product line, which it will start selling in 2017.

At a starting price of around $35,000, a third of the cost of a top-range Model S, Tesla wants the car to compete against the BMW 3-Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedans. With the Model 3 Tesla also hopes to settle once and for all concerns about the limited range and long charging times of electric cars. The Model 3 is expected to almost match the nearly 300-mile range of the bigger Model S. But it will probably not take so long to charge up. To do that and hold the selling price down won’t be easy. Industry analysts believe that the 85 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery now used in the Model S costs Tesla almost as much as the $35,000 at which it plans to sell its smaller sedan.

The Model 3 will use a next-generation smaller, lighter and cheaper lithium pack. Tesla’s new “gigafactory” that will open somewhere in the south-western United States will also drive down manufacturing costs.

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 219

The Carnival of Nuclear Energy 219 is up at Hiroshima Syndrome

Jim Conca at Forbes - Nuclear-Renewable Mix Is Just What The EPA Ordered

The not-for-profit Energy Northwest in WA State is exactly what the EPA’s new carbon rules are supposed to encourage - a diverse mix of non-fossil fuel generating systems that operates over 90% of the time and emits less than 20 gCO2/kWhr for between 4.7 - 5.2¢/kWh, now and for the next 30 years.

Home Depot to sell 3D printers

Home Depot has signed an agreement with 3D printer company MakerBot to sell its line of Replicator machines. The consumer-grade, desktop MakerBot Replicator 3D printers will initially be part of a pilot program in 12 stores located in California, Illinois and New York.

MakerBot said both its printers and 3D scanning technology will be showcased in specific demo areas in the Home Depot stores and that trained MakerBot retail staff will be on hand to provide information about the products.

MakerBot's scanners allow solid objects to be transposed into a 3D computer-aided design image that can then be used to print out an object.

Customers will also be offered free 3D-printed items to take home with them, including adjustable wrenches, electrical outlet covers and drink cups.

Carnival of Space 364

The Carnival of Space 364 is up at Photos to space

Universe Today - The winged Dream Chaser mini-shuttle under development by Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC) has successfully completed a series of risk reduction milestone tests on key flight hardware systems thereby moving the private reusable spacecraft closer to its critical design review (CDR) and first flight under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program aimed at restoring America’s indigenous human spaceflight access to low Earth orbit and the space station.