March 03, 2012

Boosting GDP

We recently reviewed a study that indicated that doubling the broadband speed for an economy increases GDP by 0.3%. Also, an increase of broadband penetration of 10% increased GDP by 1%.

More important to boosting the GDP of a developing country are roads (transportation), electricity/ energy, clean water, sanitation and good agriculture. Infrastructure is examined as a catalyst for developing Africa (13 pages) Also, building economic growth from education is described here.

China's overall GDP increased by about 100 times in real terms from 1952 to 2009. China's per capita income increased by about 30 times.

There are far more impactful things that can be done for developing economies.

Deng’s economic reforms started in rural China. By 1983 they had resulted in the complete de-collectivization of agriculture and in annual income growth of more than 10 percent for most farmers, who then accounted for the bulk of the total population. The new system for agriculture, the “Household Responsibility System,” allowed individual farm families (on plots leased from the local village committee) to sell on the free market whatever they could produce in excess of their plan quota sold at the official government price. It was an extremely successful incentive-based system. Until the mid-1980s, rural incomes grew much faster than urban incomes. The reverse happened most years thereafter, and by 2010 average per capita urban incomes were more than 2.8 times as high as average per capita rural incomes, perhaps a world record.

The share of agricultural employment in China today is about one-third, roughly the same as in Japan in 1960 and South Korea in 1970. The migration of agricultural surplus labor to higher-productivity jobs will continue for at least another decade, supporting high economic growth for the country as a whole.

Here is a high level review of China's GDP from 1952 to 2009

1958-59 So-called "Great Leap Forward" devastated agriculture: result was falling GDP in 1960-62.

Stem cells grown on a scaffold form new heart tissues

cientists are one step closer to creating a functioning human heart grown from a patient’s own stem cells. By seeding cells on cadaveric hearts stripped down to their underlying structure, a team of researchers led by Andrew Wan and Karthikeyan Narayanan at the A*STAR Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) have produced two different types of heart tissues, both of which will be needed to make a fully beating organ.

The researchers set out with a simple question: could the scaffold left behind in so-called ‘decellularized’ hearts guide pluripotent cells to form new heart tissues without the need for external cues? To find the answer, the researchers used the hearts of mice and removed all heart cells with a detergent solution, leaving just the extracellular matrix, a fibrous tangle made primarily of collagen protein and growth factors.
A heart with visible blood vessels and newly-formed tissues obtained by seeding a heart scaffold with stem cells © IBN 2012

Neural Implants Made of Carbon

The blind see, the lame walk, and the deaf hear: in the future, neural implants could replace destroyed sensory cells in the eye or ear – a dream come true for humanity. One of the greatest challenges yet to be addressed is designing the interface between medical technology and human tissue. In order to overcome the limitations of existing models, scientists from Forschungszentrum Jülich and eleven other institutions involved in the NeuroCare project, which kicks off on 1 March 2012, will develop novel biointerfaces made of carbon

For several years, biomedical researchers have been working on implants to compensate for damage to the nervous system caused by an accident or illness. They focus on tools that correct problems with basic cognitive abilities, such as a loss or impairment of eyesight or the ability to hear. In addition, they may also be used to treat traumatic injuries to the spine, drug-resistant epilepsies, psychiatric disorders, and chronic neurodegenerative diseases.

However, the technology is still in its infancy. What makes it so difficult to implement is primarily connecting living tissue and electric circuits, with flexible cell structures containing water on one side and rigid solid electrodes on the other side. NeuroCare therefore uses materials based on carbon as they are better suited to medical purposes than the metals or silicon conventionally used.

As part of NeuroCare, researchers experiment with devices such as biocompatible chips made of graphene in order to develop carbon biointerfaces for improved neural implants.Source: Forschungszentrum Jülich

Deformable transparent all-carbon-nanotube transistors

Applied Physics Letters - Deformable transparent all-carbon-nanotube transistors

We fabricated polymer-laminated, transparent, all-carbon-nanotube field-effect transistors (CNT-FETs), making use of the flexible yet robust nature of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs). All components of the FET (active channel, electrodes, dielectric layer, and substrate) consist of carbon-based materials. The use of a plastic substrate that is considerably thinner than those used in other flexible CNT-FETs allowed our devices to be highly deformable without degradation of electrical properties. Using this approach, flexible, transparent CNT-FET devices able to withstand a 1 mm bending radius were realized.

Physorg has coverage

The all-carbon-nanotube transistor can be crumpled like a piece of paper without degradation of its electrical properties. The new transistor is the most bendable reported to date that doesn’t experience a loss in performance.

Amerigon Thermoelectric Generator and Fast Material Testing

Amerigon revolutionized seat comfort by introducing the Climate Control Seat in 1999, the world's first thermoelectric-based cooled and heated seat. They have a thermoelectric generator that was picked as a 2012 Car and Driver 10 most promising future technologies. One-third of the energy in every gallon of the gas you burn is dumped out your exhaust pipe as waste heat. Schemes aimed at recouping some of that energy include turbocharging, turbocompounding (exhaust-driven turbines geared to the crankshaft), and the steam generators investigated by  both BMW and Honda. BMW wil be trying to use the Amerigon thermoelectric generator to improve car mileage by 5%.

Charge redistribution in piezoelectric energy harvesters

Applied Physics Letters - Charge redistribution in piezoelectric energy harvesters

Piezoelectric energy harvesting cantilevers provide a simple, compact low cost construction method for energy harvesting from vibrational sources. Beam theory predicts a linear distribution of strain along the length of the beam, but the conversion of this strain to electrical energy is dependent on the coverage of the beam with active material. In this paper, we demonstrate how re-distribution of charge within the piezoelectric leads to losses that can be as high as 25% of the potential generated power. Reducing the area coverage of the piezoelectric is shown to significantly improve cantilever power output, with the optimum coverage being two thirds.

The energy harvesting market was worth $605 million in 2010 but is predicted to reach $4.4 billion by the end of this decade. For the market to reach its true potential we need to develop the products that can guarantee a greater energy yield and drive industrial adoption of energy harvesting products

Robot Quadcopters play James Bond Theme on Instruments at TED conference

Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Science is home to some of the most innovative robotics research on the planet, much of it coming out of the General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception (GRASP) Lab. On Wednesday, Feb. 29, Deputy Dean for Education and GRASP Lab member Vijay Kumar presented some of this groundbreaking work at the TED2012 conference, an international gathering of people and ideas from technology, entertainment, and design

Flying robot quadrotors perform the James Bond Theme by playing various instruments including the keyboard, drums and maracas, a cymbal, and the debut of an adapted guitar built from a couch frame. The quadrotors play this "couch guitar" by flying over guitar strings stretched across a couch frame; plucking the strings with a stiff wire attached to the base of the quadrotor. A special microphone attached to the frame records the notes made by the "couch guitar".

These flying quadrotors are completely autonomous, meaning humans are not controlling them; rather they are controlled by a computer programed with instructions to play the instruments.

Penn's School of Engineering and Applied Science is home to some of the most innovative robotics research on the planet, much of it coming out of the General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception (GRASP) Lab.

This video premiered at the TED2012 Conference in Long Beach, California on February 29, 2012. Deputy Dean for Education and GRASP lab member Vijay Kumar presented some of this groundbreaking work at the TED2012 conference, an international gathering of people and ideas from technology, entertainment, and design.

March 02, 2012

Proposed National Goal of enabling Moore's Law of Space Launches - doubling launches every year

MSNBC - George Nield, associate administrator for commercial space transportation at the Federal Aviation Administration, thinks it's possible to double the number of permit-holding private launches every year for the rest of the decade. That exponential increase would lead to 1,280 liftoffs in 2019 — an average of 3 1/2 per day.

"Would that be possible?" Nield asked the audience during a presentation here Wednesday at the 2012 Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference. "If you recognize that every day in the United States there are more than 30,000 flights by commercial airliners, then maybe three or four rocket launches per day doesn't sound too unreasonable."

Nield is pushing for this so-called "Moore's law for launch" to become a national goal.

Study quantifies the impact of broadband speed on GDP

A new report, conducted jointly by Ericsson, Arthur D. Little and Chalmers University of Technology in 33 OECD countries, quantifies the isolated impact of broadband speed, showing that doubling the broadband speed for an economy increases GDP by 0.3%.

A 0.3 percent GDP growth in the OECD region is equivalent to USD 126 billion. This corresponds to more than one seventh of the average annual OECD growth rate in the last decade.

The study also shows that additional doublings of speed can yield growth in excess of 0.3 percent (e.g. quadrupling of speed equals 0.6 percent GDP growth stimulus)

Both broadband availability and speed are strong drivers in an economy. Last year Ericsson and Arthur D. Little concluded that for every 10 percentage point increase in broadband penetration GDP increases by 1 percent.

So a 32 times increase in broadband speed should mean a 1.5% boost in GDP.
A 1000 times increase in broadband speed should mean a 3.0% boost in GDP.
A 1,000,000 times increase in broadband speed should mean a 6.0% boost in GDP.
A 1,000,000,000 times increase in broadband speed should mean a 9.0% boost in GDP.

Terabit per second internet would be about 100,000 times faster than current 10 megabit per second internet and should mean a 5.1% boost in GDP.

Getting to affordable gigabit per second internet as exists in Hong Kong would mean about 2.1% more GDP.

Nextbigfuture Current Position on Cold Fusion

I agree that there is a lot of weird stuff going on with Rossi and Defkalion but I think that Brillouin Energy, Brian Ahern, George Miley and probably Piantelli seem credible and George Miley.

George Miley replicated the Pattison cell. Getting hundreds of watts. Miley is a major researcher in all kinds of nuclear fusion. Miley has successful developed IEC fusion and dense plasma focus fusion systems and worked with other hot fusion systems.

Robert Godes and Brillouin Energy is getting good results and I have visited his lab and spoken to him in person.

Encoding many channels on the same frequency through radio vorticity: first experimental test

Science Daily - A group of Italian and Swedish researchers appears to have solved the problem of radio congestion by cleverly twisting radio waves into the shape of fusilli pasta, allowing a potentially infinite number of channels to be broadcast and received.

To demonstrate this, the researchers transmitted two twisted radio waves, in the 2.4 GHz band, over a distance of 442 metres from a lighthouse on San Georgio Island to a satellite dish on a balcony of Palazzo Ducale on the mainland of Venice, where it was able to pick up the two separate channels.

"Within reasonable economic boundaries, one can think about using five orbital angular momentum states, from -5 (counter-clockwise) up to 5 (clockwise), including untwisted waves. In this instance, we can have 11 channels in one frequency band.

"It is possible to use multiplexing, like in digital TV, on each of these to implement even more channels on the same states, which means one could obtain 55 channels in the same frequency band," said Tamburini.

This appears to be using a form of three dimensional modulation (a new kind of polarization) to get more bandwidth.

New Journal of Physics - Encoding many channels on the same frequency through radio vorticity: first experimental test

Diagram of the monophonic audio recordings of the twisted/untwisted beams. The output of the two transmitters was adjusted to ensure the same maximum input voltage of 2 V when both channels were present, and 1 VCC max for each individual channel. The first minimum is found at about 1 cm of antenna shift for the ℓ = 1 mode (continuous line). Here the ℓ = 0 channel (marked with the symbol 'o') has a maximum and the associated audio tone is clearly audible. The same was found for the ℓ = 0 mode around the 9 cm antenna position. The inner boundaries of the two minima regions are separated in distance by half the radio wavelength. Between these positions there was a forest of minima of the ℓ = 1 mode, a phenomenon due to the sampling of the field from a finite-sized antenna. Beyond the minimum located at 9 cm, two additional alternating signal minima due to the cross-talk of the two Yagi–Uda antennae were found.

We have shown experimentally, in a real-world setting, that it is possible to use two beams of incoherent radio waves, transmitted on the same frequency but encoded in two different orbital angular momentum states, to simultaneously transmit two independent radio channels. This novel radio technique allows the implementation of, in principle, an infinite number of channels in a given, fixed bandwidth, even without using polarization, multiport or dense coding techniques. This paves the way for innovative techniques in radio science and entirely new paradigms in radio communication protocols that might offer a solution to the problem of radio-band congestion.

Already with this setup, one can obtain four physically distinct channels on the same frequency by additionally introducing the use of polarization (SAM), which is independent of OAM. A further five-fold multiplicative factor from implementing multiplexing would yield a total of 20 channels on the same frequency. The utilization of multiport techniques (e.g. MIMO) could increase the capacity further.

Steven Krivit and the troubling case of Andrea Rossi

Steven Krivit is the editor of the New Energy Times. Krivit is an authority on Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR), and has spent the past decade thoroughly and scientifically studying LENR phenomena. The entrepreneur Andrea Rossi has claimed to have invented a LENR device capable of producing far more energy than it takes in. In an interview with Sander Olson for Next Big Future, Krivit discusses the absence of scientific evidence to support Rossi's claims, the questionable nature of the demonstrations that Rossi has given, and the reasons why he is a skeptic of Rossi.

Steven B. Krivit,
Editor New Energy Times

Question 1. You have been studying Low-Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENRs) for the past decade. Are you familiar with new-energy firms such as Blacklight power and Steorn?

Yes, many years ago, I had brief conversations with Randy Mills of Blacklight Power and Sean McCarthy of Steorn. With Mills, he would not allow me to visit and see his device and interview him. With McCarthy, I was similarly constrained. In 2006 I wrote "I predict that none of us will know whether [McCarthy's] claim is valid for months, perhaps years."

I put my time and attention into research where I can either have direct access to physically observe something, or have access to quality scientific reports.

Theory of High-TC Superconductivity: Accurate Predictions of TC and Predicts Room Temperature Superconductors

Theory of High-TC Superconductivity: Accurate Predictions of TC

The superconducting transition temperatures of high-TC compounds based on copper, iron, ruthenium and certain organic molecules are discovered to be dependent on bond lengths, ionic valences, and Coulomb coupling between electronic bands in adjacent, spatially separated layers.1 Optimal transition temperature, denoted as TC0, is given by the universal expression kBTC0 = [formula] is the spacing between interacting charges within the layers, ζ is the distance between interacting layers and [ ] is a universal constant, equal to about twice the reduced electron Compton wavelength (suggesting that Compton scattering plays a role in pairing). Non-optimum compounds in which sample degradation is evident typically exhibit TC less than TC0. For the 31+ optimum compounds tested, the theoretical and experimental TC0 agree statistically to within plus or minus 1.4 K. The elemental high TC building block comprises two adjacent and spatially separated charge layers; the factor arises from Coulomb forces between them. The theoretical charge structure representing a room-temperature superconductor is also presented.

The Columb force theory accurately predicts the critical temperatures of a lot of known superconductors and it predicts that room temperature superconductors are possible.

China 2030 study from the World Bank and China Research Center

The World Bank and the Development Research Center of the State Council, the People’s Republic of China has a 468 study called China 2030 - Building a Modern, Harmonious, and Creative High-Income Society The lengthy report addresses all aspects of reform and policy. (financial reform, enterprise reform, urbanization /hukou reform, research and development, etc...)

In the next 15 to 20 years, China is well positioned to join the ranks of the world’s high-income countries. China’s policy makers are already focused on how to change the country’s growth strategy to respond to the new challenges that will come, and avoid the “middle income trap.” That is clearly reflected in both the 11th and 12th Five Year Plans, with their focus on quality of growth, structural reforms to harness innovation and economic efficiency, and social inclusion to overcome the rural-urban divide and the income equality gap.

China’s economic performance over the last three decades has been impressive. GDP growth averaged 10 percent a year, and over 500 million people were lifted out of poverty. China is now the world’s largest exporter and manufacturer, and its second largest economy.

Even if growth moderates, China is likely to become a high-income economy and the world’s largest economy before 2030, notwithstanding the fact that its per capita income would still be a fraction of the average in advanced economies.

But two questions arise. Can China’s growth rate still be among the highest in the world even if it slows from its current pace? And can it maintain this rapid growth with little disruption to the world, the environment, and the fabric of its own society? This report answers both questions in the affirmative, without downplaying the risks.

WSJ - the economist Arvind Subramanian (a China optimist) provides his review of the China 2030 study

The Economist magazine provides their take on the China 2030 study

Having the DRC’s name on the document gives China’s reformers cover. The World Bank is viewed with suspicion by hardliners, who see it as a meddler in the affairs of developing countries and a purveyor of ideas that could undermine party rule in China. With a semi-official stamp of approval on it, the report will be less easy for conservatives to dismiss as part of a Western plot. In turn, it’s believed, the DRC used the World Bank as cover in its discussions with foot-dragging bureaucrats (“Don’t blame us for these proposals, blame the bank”). At times, behind closed doors, the DRC argued for even bolder reforms than the bank itself was suggesting.

Kitegen reveals some progress with the 3 megawatt kite wind power system

Here is the english translation of a recent post from Kitegen. Success with Kitegen could lead to radical improvement in the cost and amount of energy from wind.

The original page in italian is here

Nextbigfuture's coverage from May 2011.

This is the preproduction sample of Kitegen (3 Megawatt prototype) that was being developed in 2011. It is located near a dump in the City of Sommariva Perno. Once fully operational the plant will work for 6000 hours per year and will be able to meet the electricity demand of about 30,000 households. Kitegen already has plans to build 50 machines in series, with orders coming from various parts of the world.

For a few weeks Kitegen has begun testing automatic takeoff and were collected numerous technical achievements. In one test, in particular, Wednesday Feb 15,2012 take-off occurred with just 1.5 meter / second wind on the ground.

The Stem (3 megawatt prototype stem) has followed the procedures laid down tilt for takeoff automatically allowing the kite to take flight thanks to the apparent wind generated (no need of twenty artificial mentioned in the documentation on this site) and completely unrolling the cable of 300 m.

We know that the European average wind is around 3 m / s then this exceptional result establishes that the KiteGen has the freedom to take off at any time and without aids for at least 5000 hours per year.

March 01, 2012

Electric bike production could catch up to motorbikes in 2015 with 70 million units

In 2010, the world produced 60 million motorbikes that ran on fossil fuel and 32 million electric and hybrid two-wheelers. With a near average yearly growth of 20%, electric-powered units will close the gap by 2015, both producing 70 million units individually.

Most of these are low-powered units of 200 watts fitted with reusable lead acid batteries, typically costing RMB 2,400 yuan (less than $400), the average monthly pay of a Chinese worker. They are no-frills utility vehicles chugging steadily at 20 km an hour.

The workforce typically travels 50 km a day (about 9000 miles per year) on single charge usually from home to workplace, and are said to save 150 million worker hours each day. By contrast, the US bike market is 82% for recreation with low average bike runs of 1,000 miles per year, against 12,000 miles per year driven by the American car user.

There have been about 500 to 600 million non-powered bicycle riders in China. Converting almost that entire number to electric bicycles by 2020 would see environmentally friendly transportation that has good in city commute speeds. Folding electric bikes are compatible with trains and buses.

New Envia batteries with 400 Wh/kg energy density and costing only $180/kWh could reduce the weight of batteries on electric bikes by three times.

Starkey Aerospace developing Mach 1.4 to 1.7 supersonic UAVs for $50,000 to 100,000 each

Starcor (Starkey Aerospace) is currently developing a high-efficiency, lubrication-free turbojet engine for unmanned aircraft and cruise missiles. The L-FX00 promises reduced engine weight, higher fuel efficiency, and longer time-between-overhaul than turbojet engines on the market with similar thrust output. Variants of the L-FX00 include fluidic thrust vectoring and afterburner capability.

A pilot inlet feeds air to a custom afterburning 200-lb.-thrust turbojet, which is also under development.

A goal is to further develop the engine to double the thrust again. Having a cheap UAV supersonic testbed and an even more powerful engine could lead to a larger UAV that could have the capacity to carry a person for a personal supersonic flyer.

A rendering, created by master's degree student Greg Rancourt, of the Gojett UAV. (Courtesy Ryan Starkey

Led by Colorado University assistant professor and Starcor CEO Ryan Starkey, the mini-UAV is designed to appeal to a research community that has been “disenfranchised with $100 million programs that stop and start.” Instead, for
$50,000 to $100,000, Starkey says the industry can have an affordable, test asset that “won’t end your program if you lose it.” Gojett was developed “in the spirit of the X-15,” and is aimed at rekindling the can-do spirit of the 1950s and 1960s when fast-paced progress was built on repeatable cycles of design, test, learn and re-test.

The initial vehicle is targeted at Mach 1.4 “because we think we can get there,” says Starkey, who adds that the eventual aim is a UAV capable of Mach 1.6-1.7. Measuring 1.76 meters (5.8 ft.) in length, the vehicle is configured with a 1.27-meter-span cranked delta wing. Flight-control surfaces consist of elevons and a fluidic-injection thrust vectoring system.

Starcor is also partnering with the University of Colorado at Boulder to develop a supersonic unmanned aircraft powered by one of the L-FX00 engines. GOJETT will enter prototype testing this year with the goal of setting the World UAV speed record in the 50 kg class. Small, sleek, and supersonic, GOJETT spells big news for supersonic transport research and cruise missile design.

On The Path to 1 Terabit-Per-Second Networks and Graphene based optical modulators soon to set speed records

1. As IP traffic continues to increase and the router interface rate extends beyond 100 gigabits-per-second (Gb/s), future optical networks—ones that would achieve unprecedented speeds of 1 terabit-per-second (Tb/s)—will be required to support the rapid growth of data services with different capacities and patterns on the same optical platform.

To address this issue, researchers at NTT Network Innovation Laboratories in Japan created and demonstrated a spectrally efficient, scalable elastic optical transport network architecture.

Conventional optical networks allocate fixed bandwidth to every optical path—regardless of the actual traffic volume and path length on the basis of the “worst-case design policy.” In stark contrast, the NTT researchers’ spectrum-sliced elastic optical path network, known as “SLICE,” is flexible and relies on adaptive spectrum allocation to an optical path based on the traffic volume and path length. It essentially enables allocation of only the necessary minimum bandwidth corresponding to individual requests—providing significant savings of network resources.

The bit rate per distance adaptive feature leads to significant spectral savings and increased network capacity. Elastic optical path networks make it possible to offload IP traffic to an elastic optical layer by using multi-flow optical transponders combined with elastic optical networking technology.

This reduces the number of router interfaces, while keeping router-to-wavelength cross-connect interconnections simple.

The technologies and functionality of elastic optical path networks will become a viable way to achieve highly efficient, cost-effective IP optical networks, according to the NTT researchers.

Talk OTh3B.3, “Spectrally Efficient Elastic Optical Path Networks Toward 1 Tbps Era,” Hidehiko Takara,

2. Graphene-Based Optical Modulators Poised to break speed limits in digital communication.

Henry Markram wants €1 billion to model the entire human brain

Nature - Officially, the Swiss Academy of Sciences meeting in Bern on 20 January was an overview of large-scale computer modelling in neuroscience. Unofficially, it was neuroscientists' first real chance to get answers about Markram's controversial proposal for the Human Brain Project (HBP) — an effort to build a supercomputer simulation that integrates everything known about the human brain, from the structures of ion channels in neural cell membranes up to mechanisms behind conscious decision-making.

Markram, a South-African-born brain electrophysiologist who joined the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) a decade ago, may soon see his ambition fulfilled. The project is one of six finalists vying to win €1 billion (US$1.3 billion) as one of the European Union's two new decade-long Flagship initiatives.

Rich Political Leaders in China, USA and the World

Bloomberg - the 70 richest delegates in China’s National People’s Congress have a combined net worth of 565.8 billion yuan or $89.8 billion. That’s more than 10 times the combined net worths of all the members of Congress, the Supreme Court and the President. (Their collective riches are only $7.5 billion.)

What’s more, China’s politicians are getting richer more rapidly. Last year, their combined wealth grew by $11.5 billion, or about 15%.

The Net worth of heads of state and government at wikipedia

Inflation and inferior public schools and the American Dream in New York

WSJ - Andrew Schiff says his $350,000 salary just isn’t enough. Education and housing in New York are now priced for the wealthy, not the garden variety wealthy.

What were reasonable goals defining having made it for middle class parents ?

* Being able to send children to the best schools

The problem is that in the decades since our parents generation the public school system has eroded so the best schools are private.

* A 2000+ Square foot home

It would cost at least $1.5 million to buy even a modest apartment nearby. 2000 square foot homes costs $2 to 3 million in New York.

In previous generations, the American dream was possible on one income.

The American Dream is discussed at wikipedia

Their can be an overtime comparison of purchasing power parity to achieve the American Dream.

Wealthy Individuals in China and India

WealthInsight has a study of high net worth individuals in China. They report that there are currently 1.3 million HNWIs in China with a combined wealth of US$4.3 trillion, which equates to 26% of the total wealth held in the country.

WealthInsight has a study of the wealthy in India. In 2011, there are 251,000 HNWIs in India who, together, hold a total of US$1,083 billion.

Going forward, the number of Indian HNWIs is expected to grow by 85% to reach close to 465,000 individuals in 2015. HNWI wealth is expected to grow by 97% to US$2,134 billion in 2015.

Merryl Lynch Cap Gemini Wealth Report 2011
If China and India Continued growth 12% for China and 20% for India, then CapGemini would project China to have about 660,000 HNWI and India about 230,000 HNWI in 2012

If Alcubierre warp drive was feasible there would be big radiation problems

Universe Today has the full 11 page article, The Alcubierre Warp Drive: On the Matter of Matter by the University of Sydney

The region of space behind a superluminally travelling warp bubble is almost entirely devoid of forward travelling particles, however it contains a sparse distribution of particles with greatly reduced energy. Meanwhile the region of space infront of a ship decelerating from superluminal velocity to subluminal velocity is blasted with a concentrated beam of extremely high energy particles.

These results suggest that any ship using an Alcubierre warp drive carrying people would need shielding to protect them from potential dangerously blueshifted particles during the journey, and any people at the destination would be gamma ray and high energy particle blasted into oblivion due to the extreme blueshifts for P+ region particles. While in one way journeys particles travelling towards the origin are potentially dangerously blueshifted, their supposed distance from the origin would render them too sparse to be of major concern by the time they reached the origin.

Of course if you were using this as a weapon then this problem is a feature. The blasting of radiation in front would seem to be an issue with any warp bubble approach. Although anybody that can travel at near light speeds or at superluminal speeds has a lot of power from any kinetic weapons. E=MC^2 so any mass at near light speed is kinetic energy that is several times fusion weapon power because of more efficient matter to energy conversion.

Universe Today coverage

Space is not just an empty void between point A and point B… rather, it’s full of particles that have mass (as well as some that do not.) What the research team — led by Brendan McMonigal, Geraint Lewis, and Philip O’Byrne — has found is that these particles can get “swept up” into the warp bubble and focused into regions before and behind the ship, as well as within the warp bubble itself.

Another thing the team found is that the amount of energy released is dependent on the length of the superluminal journey, but there is potentially no limit on its intensity.

“Interestingly, the energy burst released upon arriving at the destination does not have an upper limit,” McMonigal told Universe Today in an email. “You can just keep on traveling for longer and longer distances to increase the energy that will be released as much as you like, one of the odd effects of General Relativity. Unfortunately, even for very short journeys the energy released is so large that you would completely obliterate anything in front of you.”

Defkalion will stay quiet until product is certified and a review of energy projects that have failed to deliver

Defkalion is shutting down its forum. Defkalion claims that their next announcment in a few months (presumably with a press release and press conference) will be that of a successful and certified product.

Defkalion may or may not deliver in a few months or later this year or next. We will see.

Blacklight Power is many years behind delivering a commercial product based on frequent promises.

Tokomak nuclear fusion has cost a lot money and continues to cost a lot of money and is not expected to deliver commercial power for many decades.

Wikipedia on tokamak fusion

A new approach was outlined in the theoretical works fulfilled in 1950–1951 by I.E. Tamm and A.D. Sakharov in the Soviet Union, which first discussed a tokamak-like approach. Experimental research on these designs began in 1956 at the Kurchatov Institute in Moscow by a group of Soviet scientists led by Lev Artsimovich. The tokamak essentially combined a low-power pinch device with a low-power simple stellarator.

The group constructed the first tokamaks, the most successful being the T-3 and its larger version T-4. T-4 was tested in 1968 in Novosibirsk, producing the first quasistationary thermonuclear fusion reaction ever.[16] The tokamak was dramatically more efficient than the other approaches of that era, on the order of 10 to 100 times. When they were first announced the international community was highly skeptical. However, a British team was invited to see T-3, and having measured it in depth they released their results that confirmed the Soviet claims.

A pamphlet from the 1970s printed by General Atomic stated that "Several commercial fusion reactors are expected to be online by the year 2000."

Video of the Navy's BAE built Railgun Being Fired

We have had extensive coverage of the work on the US Navy railgun project The latest video is of the BAE industrialized version of the railgun. It now looks more like a navy gun instead of an industrial research project with exposed rails. They are working on a thermally managed railgun that can shoot ten shots per minute.

CS Monitor - the navy gun is firing 40 pound bullets at Mach 7. 32 megajoules is equal to 32 tons going at 100 mph. It is roughly equal to something weighing a little less than one ton going at 600 mph. The impact would be like a one ton plane colliding at just under the speed of sound.

General Atomics successfully test-fired aerodynamic rounds from its Blitzer™ electromagnetic (EM) railgun prototype for the first time in September 2010. This test demonstrated the integration and capabilities of a tactically relevant EM railgun launcher, pulsed power system, and projectile. The test was performed at the U.S. Army Dugway Proving Grounds under a contract with the Office of Naval Research, using projectiles developed by Boeing's Phantom Works in St. Charles, Mo. The projectiles were launched by the Blitzer system at Mach 5 speed with acceleration levels exceeding 60,000 gee, and exhibited repeatable sabot separation and stable flight.

Environmental OK for laser enrichment plant

World Nuclear News - The NRC has now issued its final technical Safety Evaluation Report (SER) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed GE laser uranium enrichment plant.

The GLE plant would use a laser-based process to enrich uranium up to 8% uranium-235 by weight (although nuclear power reactors normally require 3%-5% enriched uranium), with an initial planned maximum target production of six million separative work units (SWU) per year. GLE could begin preconstruction activities at GE's Wilmington site prior to the NRC licensing decision later this year. If the license is approved, GLE expects actual plant construction to begin in 2012 and to continue through to 2020. Production could begin in 2014 and peak in 2020. If granted, the license would be valid until 2052.

Laser enrichment could be 2 two 20 times more efficient that other enrichment processes.

Andrew Breitbart has died of natural causes at the age of 43

Andrew Breitbart, the controversial conservative blogger, has died of natural causes at 43

Breitbart was famous for his aggressive attacks on liberal politicians and media members and was seen as a star of the conservative blogosphere.

He worked at the Drudge Report in the 1990s before launching several of his own sites, including, and

He had a column for the conservative Washington Times and was a frequent speaker at Tea Party events.

Breitbart’s sites first published Congressman Anthony Weiner’s Twitter photos, and the pundit himself later hijacked Weiner’s resignation press conference to mock the disgraced lawmaker.

Breitbart leaves behind a wife and four children.C

February 29, 2012

Resource Efficiency and a Circular Economy could save up to 3.7 trillion

The new McKinsey report Resource Revolution: Meeting the world’s energy, materials, food, and water needs shows that the resource challenge can be met through a combination of expanding the supply of resources and a step change in the way they are extracted, converted, and used. Such resource productivity improvements, using existing technology, could satisfy nearly 30 percent of demand in 2030. Just 15 areas, from more energy-efficient buildings to improved irrigation, could deliver 75 percent of the potential for higher resource productivity.

Meeting the resource-supply and productivity challenges will be far from easy—only 20 percent of the potential is readily achievable and 40 percent will be hard to capture. There are many barriers, including the fact that the capital needed each year to create a resource revolution will rise from roughly $2 trillion today to more than $3 trillion, with additional capital requirements to pursue climate change and universal-energy-access agendas. The benefits could be as high as $3.7 trillion a year, however, if carbon had a price of $30 per metric ton and if governments removed substantial resource subsidies and taxes.

ORNL completes first phase of Titan supercomputer transition to 10 to 20 Petaflops

Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Jaguar supercomputer has completed the first phase of an upgrade that will keep it among the most powerful scientific computing systems in the world.

Acceptance testing for the upgrade was completed earlier this month. The testing suite included leading scientific applications focused on molecular dynamics, high-temperature superconductivity, nuclear fusion, and combustion.

When the upgrade process is completed this autumn, the system will be renamed Titan and will be capable of 10 to 20 petaflops. Users have had access to Jaguar throughout the upgrade process.

Greek government in test of Defkalion's technology

Nyteknik - Representatives of the Greek government on February 24 assisted at a test of Defkalion's energy technology – a potentially fierce competitor of Andrea Rossi's 'E-cat.' Meanwhile, Rossi continues to develop his technology.

In an interview with Ny Teknik, Alexandros Xanthoulis, representative of the investors, said that the test was conducted on 24 February and that it was not focused on safety, as the product is not yet ready for such tests. The focus was instead to show that there was excess heat energy released from a 'Low Energy Nuclear Reaction' and not from a chemical source. The test lasted for 24 hours and included both an empty and an active reactor, which were switched after 12 hours. Xanthoulis also said that two of the seven international groups have already carried out their tests and that the last of those tests is scheduled for late March. He did not say when or if the test results will be published.

North Dakota probably has 15,000 more barrels per day for January for 550,000 barrels per day

Bloomberg - Oil production in North Dakota may have exceeded an all-time high last month as mild weather and lower-than-normal snowfall allowed drilling to increase. The number of wells started rose to 212 in January from 181 in December and 140 a year earlier, according to a preliminary estimate from Alison Ritter, a spokeswoman for the North Dakota (BAKKNODA) Department of Mineral Resources.

The state’s output reached a record of 535,036 barrels a day in December as improved technology has made it profitable for producers to tap crude trapped in tight underground shale formations. The Bakken Shale, which extends south from Canada into North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana, is the largest contiguous oil deposit in the continental U.S.

Temperatures in December and January were 12 to 14 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the previous year, said Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland. Temperatures this month through Feb. 26 ranged 4 to 10 degrees above normal. North Dakota has received 25 inches less snow than normal, he said.

Here is an analysis of the first 60-90 days of oil production for North Dakota Bakken wells The 30 extra wells in January probably means an extra 500 barrels per day for about 15000 barrels per day more for the month. This would put North Dakota production at about 550,000 barrels per day. The actual oil production numbers will be known in about ten days. This assumes that having the same number of oil well starts would offset and production decline.

Modest hukou reform opens doors for migrant workers

WantChinaTimes - The Chinese government has relaxed its policy on household registration to allow the country's over 100 million migrant workers to apply for difficult-to-obtain residency registration permits, known as hukous, in small and medium cities. The policy also pledges to ban any new hukou policy or abolish existing ones that affect where people choose to work and enroll their children in schools. The new policy opens small and medium cities to farmers, but not the big metropolises of which many of them have dreamed.

China's State Council announced on Tuesday that migrant workers who have had legal and stable jobs, more than three years residence and have enrolled in social insurance in county-level cities will qualify to apply for hukous. The new policy excludes China's four direct-controlled municipalities and provincial-level cities, which are already densely populated, according to the Want Daily, our Chinese-language sister newspaper.

University of Washington - Between those lacking any urban designation and those with only nominal status, significantly more than 206 million people are living in Chinese cities without access to basic urban social benefits.

Chan said that the consequences of this social engineering under the hukou system is a greater income gap between rich and poor, and little growth of a middle class from rural hukou holders moving to cities.

Chan's depiction of the main components of Chinese society with respect to hukou type, location in urban (light gray) and rural (dark gray) areas. From Mao's era (left) to present day (right), Chan shows that now more people with rural hukou status are living in urban areas.

Metamaterials Boosts Electromagnetism Safely

By using exotic man-made materials, scientists from Duke University and Boston College believe they can greatly enhance the forces of electromagnetism (EM), one of the four fundamental forces of nature, without harming living beings or damaging electrical equipment.

This theoretical finding could have broad implications for such applications as magnetic levitation trains, which ride inches above the surface without touching it and are propelled by magnets receiving electrical current.

Arxiv full 19 page paper - Magnetic levitation of metamaterial bodies enhanced with magnetostatic surface resonances

Physical Review B - Magnetic levitation of metamaterial bodies enhanced with magnetostatic surface resonances

We propose that macroscopic objects built from negative-permeability metamaterials may experience resonantly enhanced magnetic force in low-frequency magnetic fields. Resonant enhancement of the time-averaged force originates from magnetostatic surface resonances (MSRs), which are analogous to the electrostatic resonances of negative-permittivity particles, well known as surface plasmon resonances in optics. We generalize the classical problem of the MSR of a homogeneous object to include anisotropic metamaterials and consider the most extreme case of anisotropy, where the permeability is negative in one direction but positive in the others. It is shown that deeply subwavelength objects made of such indefinite (hyperbolic) media exhibit a pronounced magnetic dipole resonance that couples strongly to uniform or weakly inhomogeneous magnetic field and provides strong enhancement of the magnetic force, enabling applications such as enhanced magnetic levitation

Cooling semiconductor with 50 microwatts of laser light to 4 degrees above absolute zero

Researchers at the Niels Bohr Institute have combined two worlds – quantum physics and nano physics, and this has led to the discovery of a new method for laser cooling semiconductor membranes. Semiconductors are vital components in solar cells, LEDs and many other electronics, and the efficient cooling of components is important for future quantum computers and ultrasensitive sensors. The new cooling method works quite paradoxically by heating the material! Using lasers, researchers cooled membrane fluctuations to minus 269 degrees C. The results are published in the scientific journal, Nature Physics.

“In experiments, we have succeeded in achieving a new and efficient cooling of a solid material by using lasers. We have produced a semiconductor membrane with a thickness of 160 nanometers and an unprecedented surface area of 1 by 1 millimeter. In the experiments, we let the membrane interact with the laser light in such a way that its mechanical movements affected the light that hit it. We carefully examined the physics and discovered that a certain oscillation mode of the membrane cooled from room temperature down to minus 269 degrees C, which was a result of the complex and fascinating interplay between the movement of the membrane, the properties of the semiconductor and the optical resonances,” explains Koji Usami, associate professor at Quantop at the Niels Bohr Institute.
The experiments are carried out in the Quantop laboratories at the Niels Bohr Institute. The laser light that hits the semiconducting nanomembrane is controlled with a forest of mirrors.

Nature Physics - Optical cavity cooling of mechanical modes of a semiconductor nanomembrane

Google Schmidt says future of robotic cars, personal robots and telepresence is near

Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt predicted Tuesday that rapid advances in technology will soon transform science fiction into reality - meaning people will have driverless cars, small robots at their command and the ability to experience being in another place without leaving home.

Schmidt said the introduction of books available online, Internet translation of languages and voice recognition for computers all happened much faster than anyone envisioned and that technological research into even more previously unheard of advances is progressing at a fast clip.

"People who predict that holograms and self-driving cars will become reality soon are absolutely right," Schmidt told thousands of attendees at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the planet's largest cell phone trade show.

XCOR Aerospace gets another $5 million in funding

XCOR Aerospace announced today that it recently closed a $5 million round of equity funding. The round, combined with cash on hand plus anticipated and existing contracts, should fund the company through production of its Lynx Mark I Suborbital vehicle.

The financing included participation of new and previous investors. Among them are Esther Dyson, Pete Ricketts (co-owner of the Chicago Cubs) and several top Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and former venture capitalists.

February 28, 2012

Apple Valuation, cash and revenue breakdown

Apple ended the day just short of $500 billion. Apple finished at 499.20 billion on Feb 28, 2012. Apple is up to $507 billion in valuation today.

Seekingalpha had a transcript of the January 24, 2012 Apple first quarter earnings call

Apple cash for short-term and long-term marketable securities totaled $97.6 billion at the end of the December quarter compared to $81.6 billion at the end of September quarter, a sequential increase of $16 billion. About $64 billion of the cash was offshore at the end of the December quarter.

We expect revenue to be about $32.5 billion, compared to $24.7 billion in the March quarter last year. We expect gross margin to be about 42%, reflecting approximately $60 million related to stock-based compensation expense.

Apple now likely has about $105 billion in cash. Apple could add about $40-60 billion in cash in 2012. Theoretically, Apple could buy Amazon for cash now. Apple could fairly easily afford to buy Walmart if Apple so desired (excepting the fact that Walmart is mostly held by the Walmart family).

Macrumors has a breakdown of Apple revenues over the last few years.

Romney Wins Michigan and Arizona Primaries

MIT researchers develop a new approach to producing three-dimensional microchips

MIT - Microelectromechanical systems, or MEMS, are small devices with huge potential. Typically made of components less than 100 microns in size — the diameter of a human hair — they have been used as tiny biological sensors, accelerometers, gyroscopes and actuators.

Now researchers at MIT have come up with a new approach to MEMS design that enables engineers to design 3-D configurations, using existing fabrication processes; with this approach, the researchers built a MEMS device that enables 3-D sensing on a single chip. The silicon device, not much larger than Abraham Lincoln’s ear on a U.S. penny, contains microscopic elements about the width of a red blood cell that can be engineered to reach heights of hundreds of microns above the chip’s surface.

A new approach helps researchers make tiny three-dimensional structures. Pictured are two packaged microchips, each with tiny bridges fabricated on their surfaces.

Tablets and laptops as your Television Media Center

Xconomy discusses why your next TV is a tablet.

Nothing, absolutely nothing, is going to come between the content owners and the $32 billion they earn every year in affiliate fees—that is, their cut of cable and satellite subscription revenues.

The prospect that these fees might be cut off or reduced is exactly what caused Hulu, a joint venture of Fox, NBC Universal, and Disney, to cancel its deal with over-the-top provider Boxee. And it’s why digital distributors like Netflix are having to shell out a lot more cash than they used to for content licensing deals. “As a result of these maneuvers, the current trend in the market is for less rather than more prime-time content to be openly available” over the Internet.

Wade Roush at says -

I’m laying a bet, right here and now, that the days of the television as we know it—a standalone appliance with a built-in tuner, a goofy software interface, and an incomprehensible remote control—are numbered. Five or 10 years from now, if you have a TV in your house at all, it will simply be a dumb terminal, one of several devices that can “catch” the content that you “throw” to it from your main information hub. And that hub will be your tablet.

SpaceX Dragon and Falcon 9 Assembly Now Complete for Late March or Early April Launch

Universe Today - Today SpaceX today released an image of the fully assembled Dragon capsule and Falcon 9 rocket inside their facility at Cape Canaveral. This means the first test launch of a commercially built spacecraft to the International Space Station is just a bit closer.

In a press conference earlier this month, NASA’s Mike Suffredini said SpaceX’s launch would be no earlier than March 20. “There are no big problems being worked but a lot of little things to wrap up,” he said. “I wouldn’t hold my breath, as it is a challenging date, but I would guess we’ll fly within a couple of weeks of that date. We’ll hold that date as we work towards the launch.”

Navy Begins Tests on Electromagnetic Railgun Prototype Launcher

Engineers have fired the Navy’s first industry-built electromagnetic railgun (EM Railgun) prototype launcher at a test facility, commencing an evaluation that is an important intermediate step toward a future tactical weapon for ships.

The EM Railgun launcher is a long-range weapon that fires projectiles using electricity instead of chemical propellants. Magnetic fields created by high electrical currents accelerate a sliding metal conductor, or armature, between two rails to launch projectiles at 4,500 mph to 5,600 mph.

The 32-megajoule prototype demonstrator, built by BAE Systems, arrived at NSWCDD on Jan. 30. One megajoule of energy is equivalent to a 1-ton car being thrust at 100 mph. The prototype—which now looks more like a naval weapon compared to previous lab-style launchers—is the first of two industry-built launchers to be delivered to the Navy. General Atomics is building the second launcher, scheduled for delivery in April. ONR previously relied upon laboratory-built systems to advance the technology.

Levelized Current and Future Costs of Nuclear, Solar and Fossil Fuels

There is a lengthy analysis at solar cell central of how projected costs of solar power could get to the range of costs for coal and natural gas. Two thirds of the cost of coal energy is the whatever the future cost of coal is. So future coal and fossil fuel energy prices will be determined by future commodity prices. Nuclear and solar power are dominated by the construction costs and financing so future energy costs are not tied to consumables. Although the materials used for construction are a factor.

Nextbigfuture has looked at detailed comparisons of energy costs many times.

In South Korea and China with 5% financing costs, nuclear power can get down to a price of $29-32 per MWh or 2.9 to 3.2 cents per KWh.

China, India, and other countries with high GDP growth and development are where the vast majority of new power is being built. For solar or any new power to displace an established power plant then the cost would have be below the operating costs.

Coal and natural gas can get to about $40 per MWh or 4.0 cents per KWh.

Asteroid 2011 AG5 has a one in 625 chance of hitting the earth in 2040 with the force of 100 megatons of TNT

The Asteroid 2011 AG5 is a 460 feet (140 meter) wide space rock. It may pose a hazard in 2040. Researchers are calling for deflection plan discussions.

The forty-ninth session of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space was held from 6-17 February 2012 at the United Nation Office at Vienna, Vienna International Center, Vienna, Austria.

The near-Earth asteroid 2011 AG5 currently has an impact probability of 1 in 625 for Feb. 5, 2040, said Donald Yeomans, head of the Near-Earth Object Observations Program at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

"Fortunately, this object will be observable from the ground in the 2013-2016 interval," Yeomans said. In the very unlikely scenario that its impact probability does not significantly decrease after processing these additional observations, "there would be time to mount a deflection mission to alter its course before the 2023 keyhole," he added.

Publication of 1.8 billion degree confinement set to confirm LPP's fusion lead

Lawrenceville Plasma Physics (LPP)'s team received word February 27th that their achievement of fusion reactions from ions confined at energies equivalent to over 1.8 billion degrees C was accepted by Physics of Plasmas, "the most highly cited journal devoted fully to plasma physics."

The paper, titled "Fusion reactions from over 150 keV ions in a dense plasma focus [DPF] plasmoid," also lays to rest a long-standing scientific controversy with major implications for whether the DPF is a viable source of useful fusion energy. If fusion reactions in a DPF come primarily from an unconfined beam, then the fusion yields are unlikely to scale to useful quantities of energy. On the other hand, if the fusion reactions take place primarily between ions confined within a concentrated ball of plasma (a "plasmoid"), the DPF (and LPP's technology suite) are much more promising as a clean energy source--In fact, such results would prove the DPF is the most promising and near-term of any fusion approach.

Dominance of Apple and other companies

Zerohedge makes a big deal about Apple being worth more than the entire valuation of the Retail segment of the S&P index and more than the S&P Semiconductor index They claim that having only a few big products is not sustainable. Apple is in a business where they have to continue to innovate but they can sustain with a few dominant products and services for many years. Sony was the winner in consumer electronics for over a decade with the Walkman.

The valuation of the retail is about half in Walmart $200 billion. Walmart has been up in that $200-300 billion valuation range since 1998). Walmart was even more dominant for a few years. Amazon is worth $83 billion. Home Depot is worth $73 billion and has been in that valuation range since 1998.

For many years almost all of the valuation and profit in semiconductors was in Intel and the X86 processors.

There are big winning companies that suck up all of the profits for a long time.

Microsoft has been worth about 200 to 300 billion for a couple of decades

Google has been about $200 billion since 2007.

Certain businesses are better than others. Google has achieved its success and profitability with a better online ad matching and selling system. It is mainly a one trick pony in terms of profitability. Microsoft stood on Windows and microsoft office for many years and now they get some profit from XBox.

IBM's dominance from the late 60s through the 70s and into the 80s was based on the 360 mainframe server series. Everything else was a sideshow in terms of profits.

Apple Quad Core Ipad 3 to be unveiled next week

IBM Lengthens Quantum Coherence and speeds Quantum calculations

Scientists at IBM Research (#ibmresearch) have achieved major advances in quantum computing device performance that may accelerate the realization of a practical, full-scale quantum computer. For specific applications, quantum computing, which exploits the underlying quantum mechanical behavior of matter, has the potential to deliver computational power that is unrivaled by any supercomputer today.

Using a variety of techniques in the IBM labs, scientists have established three new records for reducing errors in elementary computations and retaining the integrity of quantum mechanical properties in quantum bits (qubits) – the basic units that carry information within quantum computing. IBM has chosen to employ superconducting qubits, which use established microfabrication techniques developed for silicon technology, providing the potential to one day scale up to and manufacture thousands or millions of qubits.

IBM has recently been experimenting with a unique “three dimensional” superconducting qubit (3D qubit), an approach that was initiated at Yale University. Among the results, the IBM team has used a 3D qubit to extend the amount of time that the qubits retain their quantum states up to 100 microseconds – an improvement of 2 to 4 times upon previously reported records. This value reaches just past the minimum threshold to enable effective error correction schemes and suggests that scientists can begin to focus on broader engineering aspects for scalability.

A picture of IBM’s “3D” superconducting qubit device where a qubit (about 1mm in length) is suspended in the center of the cavity on a small Sapphire chip. The cavity is formed by closing the two halves, and measurements are done by passing microwave signals to the connectors. Despite the apparent large feature size (the cavity is about 1.5 inches wide) for this single qubit demonstration, the team believes it is possible to scale such a system to hundreds or thousands of qubits.

A picture of the Silicon chip housing a total of three qubits. The chip is back-mounted on a PC board and connects to I/O coaxial lines via wire bonds (scale: 8mm x 4mm). A larger assembly of such qubits and resonators are envisioned to be used for a scalable architecture.

NY Times - Mark B. Ketchen, manager of the physics of information group at I.B.M.’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y. “I used to think it was 50 years [for a scalable quantum computer]. Now I’m thinking like it’s 15 or a little more. It’s within reach. It’s within our lifetime. It’s going to happen.”

Note - the IBM quantum computer researcher is not counting the DWave Adiabatic quantum computer system.

February 27, 2012

Battery News Roundup

1. A record energy density of 400Wh/kg in Li-ion rechargeable batteries has been achieved by Envia.

Envia has a 40 Ah pouch cell, the new system could lower Li-ion cell costs to $180/kWh, according to Sujeet Kumar, Co-founder, President & CTO, with further reductions to come. The cells feature active materials with high specific capacity: a 300 mAh/g cathode and nano Si-C composite anode with a capacity of 1600 mAh/g. Kumar said that the results have been verified by ARPA-E at an independent cell test facility.

2. China is targeting the development of high efficiency, high-capacity (over 150 mAh/g [half the Envia system]), long life (over 2000 cycles), high safety performance cathode materials, including the Li-ion phosphate system, NMC, and LMO series. By 2015, China will add 45,000 tons per year capacity for cathode materials.

Technology Review hopes for significant new solar technology for 52 cents per watt but China Tier 2 PV Modules already at 80 to 96 cents per watt

MIT Technology Review identifies early-stage technologies that, if employed together, could reduce the cost of making solar panels to 52 cents per watt. At 52 cents per watt, assuming similar cost reductions for installation and equipment such as inverters, solar power would cost six cents per kilowatt-hour in sunny areas of the U.S.—less than the average cost of electricity in the U.S. today. Solar power in sunny areas now costs roughly 15 cents per kilowatt-hour.

This is the same kind of thinking that caused the Solyndra loan default. Solyndra was funded based on developing new technologies which were ultimately hoped to achieve lower solar power prices. However, lower prices were achieved from Chinese companies by continuous improvement of traditional solar module technology and aggressive cost reduction in terms of business scaling.

Solar PV Investor - The average price of Chinese Tier-2 crystalline PV modules fell to $0.96 per watt in January 2012, according to the latest PV module pricing report from IMS Research. Annualized price declines (ignoring seasonality) slowed to 22% in January, having exceeded 50% in December, as incentive levels were reduced in a number of major PV markets at the end of 2011.

Prices as low as $0.80/W (~€0.60/W) were recorded for Chinese Tier-2 module suppliers in January, typically for large orders from German distributors.

Solarbuzz talks about an 81 cent per per peak watt price for thin film solar

Startram could usher in era of low-cost space travel

Next Big Future has covered the Startram concept in detail before. The GEN 1 concept involves using long, evacuated tunnels to accelerate unmanned payloads to orbital velocity. In theory, this concept could bring launch costs to LEO down to $50 dollar per kilogram. A more ambitious GEN 1.5 system could would take longer and greater resources to develop but could also put humans into orbit for a similar per-kilogram cost. In an interview with Sander Olson, Startram visionary James Powell discusses why he believes that the concept is viable, and how it could be developed within twenty years for $40 billion.

James Powell

Question 1: How did the Startram concept originate?

Gordon Danby and I invented the superconducting Maglev transportation system in 1966 when we were working for Brookhaven National Laboratory. Based on our 1966 inventions, Japan has built and is operating a 300 mph Maglev passenger transport system. Subsequently, in the 1990s, I started working on how to use Maglev to launch large volumes of payloads into orbit at very low cost. I realized that traveling in evacuated tunnels with no air drag, maglev vehicles could reach orbital speeds with extremely low energy inputs. At 8 kilometers per second, it takes only 10 kilowatt hours of electrical energy per kilogram of payload. Using magnetic levitation and propulsion, spacecraft operating in a maglev can propel multi-ton payloads to orbit, albeit at high g forces. I have collaborated with a number of people on this project and we have all come to the conclusion that this concept is feasible.

100,000 Nomad planets per star would not be that helpful for interstellar colonization

Our galaxy may be awash in homeless planets, wandering through space instead of orbiting a star. There may be 100,000 times more "nomad planets" in the Milky Way than stars, according to a new study by researchers at the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC), a joint institute of Stanford University and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

If the planets were evenly distributed over a cubic light year then there would be one Pluto or larger size planet every 2200 astronomical units or one for every cubic two light week volume.

This situation would not be like islands in the Pacific Ocean for Polynesian colonization. The reason is that there is almost no friction in space. If we have a colonization ship that gets up to 5 to 20% of the speed of light, then it would make no sense to spend fuel to slow down at a nomad planet and then use the same amount of fuel to speed up again. Other consumable supplies should be carried onboard and recycled as efficiently as possible.

Apple close to $500 billion valuation and on the way to a Trillion

Apple ended the last quarter of 2011 with a net income of $13.1 billion. Apple now has a valuation of about $490 billion.

The company sold 37 million iPhones in the period ended Dec. 31, with customers snapping up the new 4S model that went on sale in October.

Seeking Alpha - analysts expect the company to grow at an annual rate of 20% over the next 5 years. S&P Equity Research predicts that Apple will increase its earnings at an annual rate of 34% over the next 3 years. Apple is expected to be trading at $1,200 a share 3 years in the future. Assuming 950 million shares outstanding, the company is projected to have a market capitalization of $1.14 trillion making it the first trillion dollar company on the planet. At current levels, although hard to believe, Apple is grossly mispriced by the market and is a bargain.

Apple drank the milkshakes of Nokia, Sony, Microsoft and Research in Motion

Apple and Google Android took over the cellphone and smartphone world markets. Apple is the one who is making 80% of the profits, even though android now has more marketshare.

It does not appear that any competitor will be able to move quickly enough to pressure Apple market share or margins before Apple can become a trillion company. Longer term there will be challenges to Apples margins.

Nokia announces 41 megapixel cameraphone for zooming without losing resolution and for oversampling

EEtimes - Nokia announces a 41 megapixel cameraphone

Nokia's new 808 PureView, with a jaw-dropping 41 Megapixel sensor. It's expected to start shipping in May with a hefty retail price of USD$585. (450 euros)

PC Mag has pictures and details of the Nokia Pureviwe 808

What can you do with 38 megapixels? You can zoom and crop. I took a shot of the Nokia booth and then zoomed in on a tiny little element, cropping it into what appeared to be a tidy image of 5 megapixels or so. That's the equivalent of a 3x lossless zoom at 5 megapixels, Nokia said. The camera has an f/2.4 aperture, which isn't as bright as HTC's new One X at f/2.0, but is still good for a cameraphone.

February 26, 2012

Rossi talks about working with Siemens on electricity generation with the energy catalyzer

Ecat World interviewed Rossi and published the notes

Rossi reported on what he considered a significant breakthrough in the area of electrical production. He said that just a few days ago Siemens AG (German engineering firm) were with him in his Bologna factory and they demonstrated a turbine that could produce electricity at 30 per cent efficiency from a steam temperature of 251 C. This is much lower than the 550 C steam temperatures that are required in conventional electrical generation. Rossi said that the E-Cat becomes unstable when working at high temperatures. He said that because of this breakthrough he feels like electrical production from the 1 MW plants could take place sooner than expected. Electricity production from the small E-Cats will still take some time according to Rossi.

Turkic races and the Situation in the Middle East

The distribution of people of Turkic cultural background ranges from Siberia, across Central Asia, to Eastern Europe. As of 2011 the largest groups of Turkic people live throughout Central Asia—Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Azerbaijan, in addition to Turkey and Iran. Additionally, Turkic people are found within Crimea, East Turkistan region of western China, northern Iraq, Pakistan, Israel, Russia, Afghanistan, and the Balkans: Moldova, Bulgaria, Romania, and former Yugoslavia.

Some 170 million people have a Turkic language as their native language, an additional 20 million people speak a Turkic language as a second language.

Uighur in Xinjiang China are Turkic.

Azerbaijanis in Iran are the largest minority to the Persians.

Turkey and Iran are intensifying a centuries long rivalry.
“I don’t think Turkey has any intent to fight Iran. In fact, it would like to avoid that at any cost,” said Turkish political analyst Soli Ozel, a professor of international relations at Istanbul’s Kadir Has University. “There are too many common interests between the two countries, although that’s never stopped them from competing fiercely in the region.”

What is most likely, Ozel said, is that Turkey and Iran will revert to the elaborate kind of diplomatic gamesmanship that has characterized the relations between these two regional powers and rivals for centuries.

“It’s all smiles between Turkey and Iran, but that’s very typical of the relationship between these two countries, which is competition and cooperation wrapped up in a total lack of trust.”

Huawei has quadcore chip that is up to 50% faster than Nvidia Tegra 3

EETimes -Huawei has announced a quadcore chip for smartphones and tablets that is 30 to 50% faster than the NVIDIA Tegra 3

Huawei sold 20 million handsets last year and could sell 60 million thus year.

The K3V2 chip will also be sold to other makers.

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