April 23, 2014

Designs for 10 nanometer FinFETs will be presented in June and discussions and research for the 7 nanometer node will also be shown

The newly released program of the VLSI Technology and Circuits conference shows both historic advances and struggles ahead in silicon. The June event will include an early look at a 10 nm FinFET process as well as a discussion of a pile of new technologies all potentially arriving at the 7 nm node.

One paper will demonstrate a way to build silicon photonics in bulk CMOS. A Sony paper will describe a novel curved imager. Neither Intel nor TSMC plan to deliver major papers on their next-generation process technologies at the Honolulu event.

IBM, GlobalFoundries, and Samsung along, with STMicroelectronics and UMC, will describe a 10 nm logic process with the tightest contacted poly pitch (64 nm) and metallization pitch (48 nm) ever reported in FinFETs on both bulk and silicon-on-insulator substrates, according to the program. It uses "intensive" multi-patterning and various self-alignment processes in 193i lithography.

The 10 nm disclosure will come weeks after Samsung announced it licensed a 14 nm FinFET process to GlobalFoundries, which both will use in their merchant foundries.

US Crude oil production increased by 59,000 barrels per day over the previously reported week

US all liquids and US crude oil production continued to increase.

Israel making Iron Dome missile defence enhancements

Rafael is looking at a number of enhancements to the Iron Dome missile defence system as a result of lessons learned over recent engagements. Since its first successful interception on 7 April 2011, the Iron Dome has engaged more than 700 rockets with an official success rate at greater than 80% (some sources put this figure at 89%).

The Iron Dome's concept of operation has changed somewhat since its first engagements, as the operators have learned to have faith in the system. "In the beginning, the IAF [Israeli Air Force] fired two missiles against every inbound target, but now the confidence of the decision-maker has changed and they no longer need to do that," he said.

"There is something in the pipeline, both in terms of hardware and software improvements [to the Iron Dome]. I can't say exactly what these are or when [they might be rolled out], but we are in a kind of race [with the Palestinian rocket firers] and we always need to update [the system] to increase the probability of a kill," he said.

The IDF has released few technical details about the Iron Dome. Rafael has only confirmed that the missile's guidance system uses a 'radar seeker', and that the weapon's lethal payload is a 'special warhead'. Whatever the proposed hardware and software improvements turn out to be, it is clear that the need for Iron Dome is only set to increase in coming years.

April 22, 2014

"Environmentalist" says the public are morons and hopes a lot of people die to get a teachable moment but ignores actual deaths and lack of teachable moments

Brad Keyes at Climate Nuremberg calls himself a science communicator.

Brad says the following-
As a communicator myself, I’d like nothing better than for thousands of middle-class white people to die in an extreme weather event—preferably one with global warming’s fingerprints on it—live on cable news. Tomorrow. The hardest thing about communicating the deadliness of the climate problem is that it isn’t killing anyone. And just between us, let’s be honest: the average member of the public is a bit (how can I put it politely?) of a moron. It’s all well and good for the science to tell us global warming is a bigger threat than Fascism was, but Joe Q. Flyover doesn’t understand science. He wants evidence. Cognitologist C. R. R. Kampen thinks the annihilation of a city of 150,000 people might just provide the teaching moment we need.

Those numbers of people have died before in energy and environmental situations.

The Banqiao dam broke 1975 and killed 170,000 people. This has not changed hydro-electric dam construction in China or anywhere in the world.

Energy kills millions of people every year.

Energy Source              Death Rate (deaths per TWh) OLD

Coal – world average               161 (26% of world energy, 50% of electricity)
Coal – China                       278
Coal – USA                         15
Oil                                36  (36% of world energy)
Natural Gas                         4  (21% of world energy)
Biofuel/Biomass                    12
Peat                               12
Solar (rooftop)                     0.44 (less than 0.1% of world energy)
Wind                                0.15 (less than 1% of world energy)
Hydro                               0.10 (europe death rate, 2.2% of world energy)
Hydro - world including Banqiao)    1.4 (about 2500 TWh/yr and 171,000 Banqiao dead)
Nuclear                             0.04 (5.9% of world energy)

Brad is looking at global warming which is a "problem" that cannot prove deaths now.
Meanwhile Climate Nuremberg ignores the 7 million deaths per year from air pollution.

Those air pollution deaths include hundreds of thousands of white people in Europe and the United States. Where is the attention from "global warming environmentalists" ? Where is the teachable moment ?

There are already more widescale differences in intelligence, health and lifespan than moderate Transhuman scenarios

Gizmag has an interview with some professors who specialize in analysing possible Transhuman enhancement and in particular the ethics of it. They posit scenarios under the assumption that things are equal now in terms of intelligence and lifespan.

Kevin Warwick, Professor of Cybernetics at the University of Reading, tells Gizmag that it will be important for people to consider what they are getting themselves into and what exactly they want to achieve.

Steve Fuller is the Auguste Comte Chair in Social Epistemology in the Department of Sociology at the University of Warwick.

Fuller agrees that such unintended consequences are the main consideration required when thinking about enhancement. "If, say, your memory is successfully enhanced, consider how else this might change your way of living and your relationship with people." Warwick reiterates this point by asking, "With superintelligence, what would the enhanced folk do with the stupid unenhanced?"

Currently many of the "superintelligent" are those without brain damage. Currently the environment and health make people stupider. Those without damage have enhanced intelligence by comparison

48% of children in India are stunted. Diseases can leave brain damage when they do not kill. This reduces IQ points by 11-20 on average across the country. This makes India more poor. Providing improved public health to prevent malaria and other diseases that cause brain damage and providing needed micronutrients. If this happens over the next 5-10 years then 50% of their children would not have the stunting and brain damage problems. This could be a 20 point (1.5 standard deviation boost) to half of 60% of the worlds children. So 20 point boost to 45 million every year.

However, 30-35% of the worlds population (in Africa and Asia, but also in lower percentages in South America) had stunting and other brain damage.

About 8.5 percent of U.S. non-incarcerated adults have a history of TBI, and about 2 percent of the greater population is currently suffering from some sort of disability because of their injury. In prisons, however, approximately 60 percent of adults have had at least one TBI—and even higher prevalence has been reported in some systems.

What do current smarter people do with stupid people ? Try to avoid the 7-10% of them who cause trouble with crime ? Pay more taxes for the higher rates of unemployment and other societal issues

Higher intelligence is correlated with better social outcomes

Shifting IQ by 20 points should drastically lower crime, poverty, unemployment and other social ills in the next generation

General Fusion TED talk

Our energy future depends on nuclear fusion, says Michel Laberge. The plasma physicist runs a small company with a big idea for a new type of nuclear reactor that could produce clean, cheap energy. His secret recipe? High speeds, scorching temperatures and crushing pressure. In this hopeful talk, he explains how nuclear fusion might be just around the corner.

In another recent interview, Michel Laberge said it could take about ten years to get to commercial power generation

A transcript of the talk is at this link

Some quotes from Michael Laberge

Fusion is often criticized for being a little too expensive. Yes, it did cost a billion dollars or two billion dollars a year to make this progress. But you have to compare that to the cost of making Moore's Law. That cost way more than that. The result of Moore's Law is this cell phone here in my pocket. This cell phone, and the Internet behind it, cost about one trillion dollars, just so I can take a selfie and put it on Facebook. Then when my dad sees that, he'll be very proud. We also spend about 650 billion dollars a year in subsidies for oil and gas and renewable energy. Now, we spend one half of a percent of that on fusion. So me, personally, I don't think it's too expensive. I think it's actually been shortchanged, considering it can solve all our energy problems cleanly for the next couple of billions of years.

Now magnetic and laser fusion are pretty good machines. They are awesome pieces of technology, wonderful machines, and they have shown that fusion can be done. However, as a power plant, I don't think they're very good. They're way too big, way too complicated, way too expensive, and also, they don't deal very much with the fusion energy. When you make fusion, the energy comes out as neutrons, fast neutrons comes out of the plasma. Those neutrons hit the wall of the machine. It damages it. And also, you have to catch the heat from those neutrons and run some steam to spin a turbine somewhere, and on those machines, it was all a bit of an afterthought. So I decided that surely there is a better way of doing that.

China and Japan plan on using more coal power

Currently, Japan’s nuclear reactors have been idled for safety checks. And as a result, 10 power companies consumed a record breaking 5.6 million metric tons of coal in January, 2014 which is 12% more than January 2013. Japan is even hopping on the U.S. “clean coal” band wagon. Japan wants to improve on the latest gasification technologies that will make carbon emit less carbon into the atmosphere.

Japan's energy plan is to use nuclear power again. Japan will turn on most of the existing nuclear reactors over the next 5 years and build some new ones in the next two decades. Japan's commitment to nuclear is bit less than going to 50% nuclear in the pre-Fukushima plan. The reduction is being filled by coal and natural gas.

China will close 1,725 small-scale coal mines over the course of 2014. The closures are part of China’s effort to reduce CO2 levels in the atmosphere, and cut massive pollution problems in cities like Beijing. But they are more of a PR move than a step towards greener pastures. China hopes to cap its total coal production at 4.1 billion metric tons by 2015, but that is actually up from 3.7 billion metric tons in 2013.

Coal is far more deadly than other energy sources because of the air pollution it causes.