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October 30, 2014

Uranium from seawater using metal organic frameworks

Metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) are many times lighter than proteins, while still capable of achieving similar local structure. A protein that absorbs one uranium atom extracts less than one-tenth of one percent of its final mass. A MOF cage offers similar three-dimensional connectivity as the protein, but weighs around 100 times less and may have multiple binding sites. MOFs absorbed slightly more than 20 percent of their mass in uranium. The 2013 research won an award.

Enzymes and proteins can have an unusual affinity for specific molecules. The researchers suspected that they could use the three-dimensional structure of the metal-organic frameworks to produce a binding pocket similar to those of the enzymes or proteins. They could then create a more efficient, lightweight version of a molecule that mimics the structure and function of the protein or enzyme.




Roger Shawyer still believes Emdrive will Scale to hundreds of Newtons per kilowatt

Roger Shawyer made a presentation of the controversial EMdrive. At the IAC 2014 conference in Toronto, Roger Shawyer stated that 8 sets of test data have now verified EmDrive theory. These data sets resulted from thrust measurements on 7 different thrusters, by 4 independent organisations, in 3 different countries.


The NASA experiments did not show power scaling with higher Q. Shawyer is combining the data from several different organizations.

The NASA work needs to be replicated multiple times.

More work and testing is needed to validate any mathematical model. The phenomena needs more proof and get an understanding and validated models. Scaling of the effect needs to be proven as well.

EMDrive thrust does not seem to scale with higher Q with these tests


Network of defibrillator drones could boost heart attack survival from 8% to 80%

Graduate student Alec Momont of TU Delft has designed an unmanned, autonomously navigating mini aeroplane that can quickly deliver a defibrillator to where it is needed. A network of such drones could significantly increase the chance of survival following a cardiac arrest: from 8% to 80%.

When the emergency services receive a cardiac arrest call, this unmanned, autonomously navigating aeroplane can quickly deliver a defibrillator to the emergency scene. Via a livestream video and audio connection, the drone can also provide direct feedback to the emergency services and the persons on site can be instructed how to treat the patient. The drone finds the patient's location via the caller's mobile phone signal and makes its way there using GPS. The drone can fly at around 100 km/h, weighs 4 kg and can carry another 4 kg.

Some 800,000 people suffer a cardiac arrest in the EU every year, and only 8% survive,’ Momont explains. 'The main reason for this is the relatively long response time of the emergency services (approx. 10 minutes), while brain death and fatalities occur within 4 to 6 minutes. The ambulance drone can get a defibrillator to a patient inside a 12 square kilometer zone within one minute. This response speed increases the chance of survival following a cardiac arrest from 8% to 80%.


The ambulance drone arrives at the scene in no time, on-board defibrillator, real-time instructions provided by the emergency operator.

China fielding its submarines with nuclear missiles

China is expected to pass a military milestone this year when it sets a different type of sub to sea—a “boomer,” carrying fully armed nuclear missiles for the first time—says the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence, or ONI.

Chinese already has nuclear-powered submarines and hunter killer submarines.

China has fulfilled its four-decade quest to join the elite club of countries with nuclear subs that can ply the high seas.

China’s boomer patrols will make it one of only three countries—alongside the U.S. and Russia—that can launch atomic weapons from sea, air and land.


Small, safer pressurized water thorium nuclear reactor design

A team at the University of Cambridge and Georgia Institute of Technology are exploring whether the element thorium could help to meet the new design's fuel needs. As well as being three to four times more abundant than uranium, thorium could potentially produce electricity more fuel efficiently and therefore more cheaply.

The aim of the overall project, initiated by the US Department of Energy, is to design a power plant whose size would be reduced and safety enhanced by breaking with convention and integrating the main heat exchangers inside the secure pressure vessel where the nuclear reactions take place. This innovation gives the design its name: Integral Inherently Safe Light Water Reactor (I2S-LWR).

If all goes to plan, construction of the first I2S-LWRs could begin in around 10 years, making deployment of nuclear power more practical, more cost-effective and more publicly acceptable worldwide."

The I2S-LWR, which could also be constructed off-site, module by module, and then quickly assembled on site, would be suitable for deployment worldwide.

They used 3D printing to explore a model of the reactor design.


Google Deepmind team working on Neural Turing Machine

Arxiv - Google Deepmind researchers have extended the capabilities of neural networks by coupling them to external memory resources, which they can interact with by attentional processes. The combined system is analogous to a Turing Machine or Von Neumann architecture but is differentiable end-to-end, allowing it to be efficiently trained with gradient descent. Preliminary results demonstrate that Neural Turing Machines can infer simple algorithms such as copying, sorting, and associative recall from input and output examples.

A Neural Turing Machine (NTM) architecture contains two basic components: a neural network controller and a memory bank.


Neural Turing Machine Architecture. During each update cycle, the controller network receives inputs from an external environment and emits outputs in response. It also reads to and writes from a memory matrix via a set of parallel read and write heads. The dashed line indicates the division between the NTM circuit and the outside world.

Giant Plasmene Nanosheets, Nanoribbons, and Origami could lead to new optical effects like invisibility cloaks

ACS Nano - Giant Plasmene Nanosheets, Nanoribbons, and Origami

Monash University researchers have developed Plasmene— in analogy to graphene—as free-standing, one-particle-thick, superlattice sheets of nanoparticles (“meta-atoms”) from the “plasmonic periodic table”, which has implications in many important research disciplines. Here, they report on a general bottom-up self-assembly approach to fabricate giant plasmene nanosheets (i.e., plasmene with nanoscale thickness but with macroscopic lateral dimensions) as thin as ∼40 nm and as wide as ∼3 mm, corresponding to an aspect ratio of ∼75 000. In conjunction with top–down lithography, such robust giant nanosheets could be milled into one-dimensional nanoribbons and folded into three-dimensional origami. Both experimental and theoretical studies reveal that our giant plasmene nanosheets are analogues of graphene from the plasmonic nanoparticle family, simultaneously possessing unique structural features and plasmon propagation functionalities.