February 07, 2014

3D printing huge objects will impact the world economy not small hobbyist crap

China is investing heavily in 3D printing, just like those in the U.S. and Europe.

In June, China announced a gigantic 3D printer, which they claimed was the world’s largest at the time, with a 1.8 meter build diameter. Basically the thing could print out a nice sized bathroom vanity if you wanted it to.

Southern Fan Co. (As Translated from Chinese), is completing a printer this month which will be able to print out metal objects approximately 6 meters, or 18 feet in diameter and 10 meters long (33 feet). The metal parts can weigh up to 300 tons.

The company will be able to print out the entire frame of just about any four wheeled automobile on Earth.

There is a 3D printer in China for large titanium parts. They are fabbing the titanium main frame of the windshield of a domestically made C919 passenger aircraft. A Huaming team used 3D printing technology to make the part. It only took 55 days and cost less than $ 200,000. Normally they would order from Europe and it would cost $ 2,000,000 for production by die forging and delivery would take up to two years.

February 06, 2014

NASA NIAC 2014 symposium - cubesat propulsion, torpor human stasis, and Pulsed Fission-Fusion (PuFF) Propulsion System

NASA NIAC 2014 symposium, thursday early afternoon session

1:00 Nathan Jerred, Universities Space Research Association, 2013 Phase I Fellow
Dual-mode Propulsion System Enabling CubeSat Exploration of the Solar System

1:30 Hamid Hemmati, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 2013 Phase I Fellow
Two-Dimensional Planetary Surface Landers

2:00 John Bradford, SpaceWorks Engineering, 2013 Phase I Fellow
Torpor Inducing Transfer Habitat For Human Stasis To Mars

2:30 Rob Adams, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, 2013 Phase I Fellow
Pulsed Fission-Fusion (PuFF) Propulsion System

Watch live streaming video from niac2014 at livestream.com

NASA NIAC -Robert Hoyt Spiderfab and Yong Bae Photonic Laser Thrusters

Robert Hoyt, Tethers, Unlimited, Inc., 2013 Phase II Fellow
SpiderFab: Architecture for On-Orbit Construction of Kilometer-Scale Apertures

Spiderfab - build in space and make structures 10 times bigger
A starshade twice the diameter to enable 16 times the earth sized planet finding capability for the same price

On orbit constructed solar array using a tension structure would be five times lighter

Young K. Bae, Y.K. Bae Corporation, 2013 Phase II Fellow
Propellant-less Spacecraft Formation-Flying and Maneuvering with Photonic Laser Thrusters

Watch live streaming video from niac2014 at livestream.com

Videos of Electric and Hybrid electric plane designs from Boeing, EADS and NASA

Technology Review - Boeing has a concept for hybrid airplanes the size of 737s, which can seat more than 150 passengers, although it’s unlikely these will come into service before 2030. EADS, the parent company of Airbus, has also developed a conceptual design for passenger airplanes that fly exclusively on electricity, although the range of these aircraft would be limited.

“A few years ago, the idea of flying an airplane on batteries was a joke,” says Marty Bradley, a principle investigator for advanced aircraft concepts at Boeing Research and Technology. While batteries and electric motors are efficient and quiet, batteries tend to be big and heavy, storing far less energy than liquid fuels.

Two things have changed. The amount of energy that batteries can store is steadily improving, and this looks likely to continue as they’re developed for use in portable electronics and electric vehicles, Bradley says. Meanwhile, the technologies needed to integrate batteries and electric motors with conventional engines are getting smaller, lighter, and more efficient. Siemens demonstrated an earlier version of its hybrid airplane in 2011, but it was too heavy to be practical. For the new plane, Siemens decreased the weight of the electric motor, power electronics, and gears by 100 kilograms to bring its cargo and passenger capacity up to the level of similarly sized small planes.

How fast electric propulsion is adopted depends mostly on the development of the batteries. EADS’s electric airplane plans call for a battery that can store 1,000 watt hours per kilogram, which is about five times more energy than a typical lithium-ion battery. New battery chemistries like lithium-air and lithium-sulfur could provide more capacity.

The lithium/air couple has a theoretical energy density that is close to the limit of what is possible for a battery (~10,000 Wh/kg). Polyplus primary Li/Air technology is nearing commercialization and has already achieved specific energies in excess of 700 Wh/kg (~ 2 Ah cells). Rechargeable Li/Air technology, also based on the protected lithium electrode, is still in development, but is expected to achieve much higher energy density than commercial Li-ion chemistry.

Three examples of the new molten air batteries were demonstrated. These are the iron, carbon and VB2 molten air batteries with respective intrinsic volumetric energy capacities of 10,000, 19,000 and 27,000 Wh/liter. These compare favorably to the intrinsic capacity of the well known lithium air battery (6,200 Wh/liter) due to the latter’s single electron transfer and low density limits.

Supersonic Electric Passenger Planes

Aviation talks about a patent for a VTOL supersonic plane. Richard Lugg is the man behind the HyperMach [Mach 4 cruise] SonicStar supersonic business jet concept. HyperMach's design has supersonic laminar flow, plasma drag and boom reduction, and superconducting electric propulsion. Lugg’s name appears on a new US patent (8,636,241, filed in 2006) for a hybrid jet/electric VTOL aircraft.

Elon Musk, the billionaire behind PayPal and SpaceX, has suggested that his next big project could be a supersonic vertical take-off passenger jet.

There is battery technology which would greatly increase the energy density (watt hours per kilogram) of batteries. This will make the supersonic electric passenger plane feasible.

Patent 8636241 - A fixed-wing VTOL aircraft features an array of electric lift fans distributed over the surface of the aircraft. A generator is (selectively) coupled to the gas turbine engine of the aircraft. During VTOL operation of the aircraft, the engine drives the generator to generate electricity to power the lifting fans. Power to the lifting fans is reduced as the aircraft gains forward speed and is increasingly supported by the wings.

Controversial Blacklight has a youtube video of their Jan 28, 2014 demonstration

Blacklight Power has uploaded a video of the demonstration on January 28th, 2014.

Here is a 2 pager of the calorimetry data They are claiming a COP of 2 and are showing a low power level.

There is some discussion at Ecat World

Nanowire nanocomputer as a finite-state machine

PNAS - Nanowire nanocomputer as a finite-state machine Fundamental limits soon may end the decades-long trend in microelectronic computer circuit miniaturization that has led to much technological and economic progress. Nanoelectronic circuits using new materials, devices, and/or fabrication methods face formidable challenges to provide alternatives for future microelectronics. A key advance toward overcoming these hurdles is achieved in this work through the construction of a nanoelectronic finite-state machine (nanoFSM) computer using “bottom–up” methods. The nanoFSM integrates both computing and memory elements, which are organized from individually addressable and functionally identical nanodevices, to perform clocked, multistage logic. Furthermore, the device density is the highest reported to date for any nanoelectronic system. Advances in logic and design in the nanoFSM are scalable and should enable more extensive nanocomputers.

IEEE Spectrum summarises the work -

Researchers have arranged a total of 180 such transistor nodes in six crossbar arrays and divided them into three separate tiles to make a finite-state machine capable of performing arithmetical operations. In one configuration, the first tile does the math, while the second tile holds one bit in memory and the third tile holds a second bit. Chemist Charles Lieber, head of the Harvard team, says more tiles can be added in a Lego-like fashion. The version the team built was a two-bit adder. Four tiles would make a four-bit adder, and so on. A four-by-four array of tiles “could function as a pretty sophisticated microprocessor,” he says.

Lieber says the nanowire device will likely surpass CMOS chips only in very specific applications that benefit from low power consumption and operate at megahertz rather than gigahertz clock rates. But Ellenbogen hopes the research will provide hints for where CMOS technology can be improved. “We think some of the approaches are more generally applicable,” he says.

Fabricated nanoelectronic chip. (A) SEM image of the final chip (scale bar, 500 μm). (B) SEM image of the inner layout of the fabricated chip as indicated in the dashed box in A. The red dashed box region corresponds to the chip’s basic three-tile circuit shown. (Scale bar, 100 μm.) (Credit: Jun Yao et al./PNAS)

Full 10 page pdf

MITRE and Harvard have a press release on their nanowire computer.

A lot of Antimatter and scooping up interstellar matter for reaction mass would enable interstellar starships with top-speed of 0.999999996 c with relativistic human lifespan trips of 20,000 light years

Nextbigfuture has covered the theoretical possibility that there could be millions of tons of antimatter hidden inside fast rotating asteroids.

Vixra - Quark Matter in the Solar System : Evidence for a Game-Changing Space Resource

Crowlspace has noted how if we did have an abundance of antimatter that big interstellar starships would be possible.

What if we use something else for reaction mass and use antimatter to energise that? And, instead of using it in a rocket, we use a magnetic scoop to draw in reaction mass from the interstellar medium? This is the Ram-Augmented Interstellar ‘Rocket’ – though technically a rocket carries all its reaction mass – and it promises high performance without all the disadvantages of exponentially rising mass-ratios. Mixing 1% antimatter into the matter flow could, in theory, produce an exhaust velocity of ~0.2 c. Scooping and energising the equivalent mass of ~100 times the mass of the starship would allow a top-speed of 0.999999996 c to be achieved, before braking to a halt using half that mass. This would allow, at 1 gee acceleration, a journey of ~20,000 light-years. The nearby stars would be accessible at a much lower antimatter budget.

Artwork of a Bussard ramjet in flight. Credit and ©: Adrian Mann

The Wealthy in Bel Air live 12 years longer than people in Watts

The City of Los Angeles has published a health indicators report

Life expectancy across the City of Los Angeles varies significantly, with a nearly 12-year difference between the areas with the highest and lowest life expectancy. Residents in the Watts [Public Use Microdata Area] have a life expectancy of 72.8 years compared to 84.7 years in the Bel Air-Brentwood-Pacific Palisades PUMA.

Elon Musk lives in Bel Air.

Wealthy people live longer than poor people and the middle class.

Elon is 42 now. When you are 42 your life expectancy is about 2 years more than the life expectancy at birth.

NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts project has a conceptual solution to asteroid threats

Watch live streaming video from niac2014 at livestream.com

NASA NIAC project has determined a conceptual solution to asteroid impacts.

Use an interceptor which separates into two parts.
First part 10 meter ahead makes a crater.

The nuclear bomb part follows but is 20 times more effective by blowing up in the crater.

The fragmentation would reduce the impact to about 0.1% of non-fragmented asteroid. Fragmentation is 1000 times better than letting the whole asteroid hit.

Earth would pass through the fragment cloud.

We have to have the assembled interceptor rocket(s) so that it would be ready to launch.

Third talk
- Superconducting active radiation shielding

February 05, 2014

NASA Institute of Advanced Concepts 2014 Conference - Update on nuclear fusion for propulsion and more

Watch live streaming video from niac2014 at livestream.com

Dwave Systems has a rapidly evolving process for creating their quantum superconducting chip and they are rapidly learning more about the algorithms and how to improve their system

Dwave CTO Geordie Rose had talked about a recent paper about whether or not Dwave was using quantum effects for its superconducting processor.

Geordie has discussed in the comments the advantages of their superconducting system and that more benchmarking is under way.

The original motivation for building superconducting processors had nothing to do with quantum computation. There were two factors.

1) Superconducting device timescales are shorter than semiconductor devices. Clocked superconducting digital circuits have been run at around 700GHz and it’s entirely feasible that you could build a complex ASIC type processor clocked at say 100GHz. For certain types of problems that type of advantage is significant.

2) You can operate superconducting chips using tiny fractions of the power that semiconducting chips consume. Studies have been done of reasonable expectations of total all-in energy cost where the same computational load could have energy needs cut by factors of about 100, even with all of the cryogenics etc.

The architecture we’ve build has both these advantages, even if you put aside scaling advantages.

As to the choice of instance types for benchmarking — this work is underway! I expect that the groups doing this research will publish some results shortly (within a few months).

China is expected to take the lead in research and development spending around 2022

Global research and development (R and D) spending is forecast to grow by 3.8 percent—or $60.0 billion—to $1.6 trillion in 2014, according to the closely watched annual forecast by Battelle and R and D Magazine. After a flat year of R and D spending in 2013, the U.S. is projected to show modest growth while China is expected to continue its two-decade upward trajectory in R and D investment.

Industry Snapshots

Life Sciences: The biopharmaceutical sector accounts for 85 percent of all expenditures in the life sciences industry that also includes medical instruments and devices, animal/agricultural bioscience and commercial life science research and testing. The global industry is forecast to have a healthy recovery after a flat 2013, increasing 3.1 percent to $201 billion in 2014. In the U.S., a small projected rebound of 2.2 percent would increase spending to about $93 million, with growth primarily coming from smaller biopharmaceutical innovators and medical device manufacturers.

Information and Communication Technologies: This industry is the largest private-sector R&D investor in the U.S., performing nearly one-third of the total, and is expected to grow by 5.4 percent to $146 billion in 2014. U.S. firms also are dominant globally and will account for more than half of the industry’s worldwide R and D expenditures of $257 billion in 2014. Cloud computing and associated technologies will remain the major R and D thrust for the foreseeable future.

China's PPP research and development spending is a bit over half of the US level and almost double the level of Japan. China is projected to pass the 30 countries of the EU in about 2019 and pass the US in about 2022 in R and D spending.

Here is the 37 page 2014 forecast report on global research.

Seal A Gunshot Wound In 15 Seconds with Injected Sponges

Working closely with Special Operations Forces medics, Revmedx developed a novel hemostatic dressing (XSTAT™ dressing) capable of stopping high-flow arterial bleeding from non-compressible wounds. The core technology behind the XSTAT dressing is mini-sponges that expand upon contact with blood -- resulting in a nearly immediate hemostatic effect without manual compression. They are incorporating this self-expanding sponge technology into a portfolio of hemostatic dressings to treat a wide range of wound types.

RevMedx’s XSTAT™ dressing was recognized with a MEDY award for the most disruptive technology at FutureMed November 2013. FutureMed is a specialized executive program by Singularity University, focused on the impact of rapidly advancing technologies on the transformation of health, and biomedicine.

The team settled on a sponge made from wood pulp and coated with chitosan, a blood-clotting, antimicrobial substance that comes from shrimp shells. To ensure that no sponges would be left inside the body accidentally, they added X-shaped markers that make each sponge visible on an x-ray image.

The sponges work fast: In just 15 seconds, they expand to fill the entire wound cavity, creating enough pressure to stop heavy bleeding. And because the sponges cling to moist surfaces, they aren’t pushed back out of the body by gushing blood. “By the time you even put a bandage over the wound, the bleeding has already stopped,” Steinbaugh says.

China and Russia added the most to their defence spending in 2013

2014 will be the first year that global defence budgets will grow overall since 2009, according to the IHS Jane’s Annual Defence Budgets Review from IHS Inc the leading global source of information and analytics. Total global defence spending in 2014 will be USD1.547 trillion up from USD 1.538 trillion in 2013 - 0.6% increase in real terms.

By 2015, China will spend more than the UK, France and Germany combined. In 2015, China is expected to spend USD159.6 billion, while the sum of the three largest Western European markets is expected to reach just USD149.0 billion. Defence budgets in the five largest Western European markets (UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain) decreased by 1.3 per cent in 2013. Regional spending totalled USD242.8 billion in 2013 and this is expected to decrease to USD237 billion by 2018 in real terms.”

IHS projections suggest that official Chinese defence spending for 2014 is likely to be in the region of USD130 billion, around 10 times the size of Taiwan’s budget. Taking adjustments for pensions and military R and D into account, Beijing’s military expenditure is now thought to account for around 9 percent of the global total.

The IHS defence budgets are not adjusted for lower wages in China or other purchasing power parity factors. They also do not include spending on actual military operations (like the US Afghanistan war) In 2012 based on purchasing power parity, China is expected to have a defence budget of $238 billion in 2015. This would be about half of the US defence budget

Top Twenty Ranking
Defence Budget   Ranking 2013
Rank   Country   $(millions)

1 USA            582,424
2 China          139,203
3 Russia          68,887
4 UK              58,854
5 Japan           56,842
6 France          53,091
7 India           46,183
8 Germany         44,688
9 Saudi Arabia    42,858
10 Korea,South    31,561
11 Brazil         29,516
12 Australia      29,444
13 Italy          27,790
14 Turkey         20,618
15 Canada         19,636
16 Taiwan         14,834
17 Spain          13,199
18 Colombia       13,190
19 Israel         13,097
20 Algeria        10,778

Source: IHS Jane’s Aerospace, Defence and Security

CVS will stop selling cigarettes

CVS Caremark will cease its sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products in all of its CVS/pharmacy by Oct. 1, 2014.

CVS will take an annual hit of $2 billion in revenue due to its decision, a sizable sum that amounts to just 1.6 percent of the company's $125 billion average yearly haul.

However, they will free up space behind the counter where the tobacco products are stored. So CVS will be able to sell other products in a good location in their stores.

The company declined to say what will take tobacco's prominent shelf place behind cash registers at the front of its stores. CVS Caremark will test some items and may expand smoking cessation products that are already sold near cigarettes. Its drugstores do not sell electronic cigarettes, devices that heat a liquid nicotine solution and create a water vapor that users inhale.

Inflatable AirBeams for Aerospace Structures

The AirBeam is a proprietary technology originally developed for aerodynamic structures then applied to military shelters and a wide range of other structures relevant to aerospace applications.

Potential Inflatable AirBeam Aerospace Applications
* Aerodynamic
- Hypersonic and Supersonic inflatable decelerators
- Inflatable Wings
- Subsonic Stabilizers

* Space
- Orbital habitat truss-work and connecting structures and tunnels
- Articulating booms for non-cooperative object capture (e.g.; spacecraft, asteroids, space debris, etc.)

* Extraterrestrial
- Lunar/planetary shelters and habitats
- Connecting structures (e.g.; tunnels between habitats)
- Shelters, construction gantry's, bridges, etc
- Liquid and gas storage containers

February 04, 2014

Elon Musk could start making superlarge Mars colonization rocket in about 2024

Elon Musk talks on CBS this morning about his Mars colonization rocket

“We’ve got to restore American ability to transport astronauts with domestic vehicles, and that’s what we hope to do in about two years.

“The next step beyond that is to maybe send people beyond low Earth orbit to a loop around the Moon, possibly land on the Moon — although I’m not super interested in the Moon personally because obviously we’ve done that and we know we can — but maybe just to prove the capability.

“Then we need to develop a much larger vehicle which would be sort of what I call a large colonial transport system. This would really be — we’re talking about rockets on a scale, a bigger scale than has ever been done before, that make the Apollo Moon rocket look small. And they would have to launch very frequently as well. [reusable]

“That’s what’s needed in order to send millions of people and millions of tons of cargo to Mars, which is the minimum level to have a self-sustaining civilization on Mars.

“We might be able to complete that [rocket] in about 10 or 12 years, and hopefully the first people we’d send to Mars would be around the middle of the next decade.

Dwave's Geordie Rose explains why the How Quantum is the D-Wave Machine? Shin et al paper is wrong

Here are two competing explanations for experiments performed on D-Wave processors.

Explanation #1. D-Wave processors are inherently quantum mechanical, and described by open quantum systems models where the energy scale of the noise is much less than the energy scale of the central quantum system.

Explanation #2. D-Wave processors are inherently classical, and can be described by a classical model with no need to invoke quantum mechanics.

The Shin et. al. paper claims that Explanation #2 is a correct explanation of D-Wave processors. Let’s examine that claim.

Russian Nuclear reactor progress and UK looking at Fast Reactors

1. World Nuclear News - The first fuel is being loaded into Russia's newest fast breeder reactor, Beloyarsk 4, in preparation for startup of the unit within months.

Beloyarsk is one of Russia's oldest nuclear power plant sites. Two prototypes of the RBMK light water graphite-moderated reactors operated at the site from the 1960s until the end of the 1980s, and are now being decommissioned. Beloyarsk 3, a 560 MWe BN-600 fast reactor, has been in commercial operation since 1981.

Beloyarsk 4 is the first-of-a-kind BN-800 unit. Construction initially began in 1986, but was subsequently put on hold and resumed in 2006. At 789 MWe, it will become the most powerful fast reactor in operation. The Beloyarsk site has also been earmarked for the future construction of two BN-1200 fast reactors, currently being developed by designer OKBM Afrikantov.

Fast neutron reactors are typically fuelled using a mixture of oxides of uranium and plutonium, and can vastly increase the efficiency of the nuclear fuel cycle by using the uranium-238 recovered from recycling nuclear fuel after use in conventional nuclear power reactors. They can also be used to burn the long-lived actinides found in high-level nuclear wastes and to dispose of ex-military plutonium.

Fast reactors feature in Russia's long-term nuclear energy plans, which envisage a move to inherently safe nuclear plants using fast reactors with a closed fuel cycle and mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel. As well as the BN series of reactors, Russia is also developing the lead-cooled BREST fast reactor, the lead-bismuth cooled SVBR and a multi-purpose fast neutron research reactor, the MBIR.

Transatomic Power molten salt nuclear reactor design that would generate 75 times more electricity per ton of uranium

Transatomic Power (TAP) is developing an advanced molten salt reactor that generates clean, passively safe, proliferation-resistant, and low-cost nuclear power. This reactor can consume the spent nuclear fuel (SNF) generated by commercial light water reactors or use freshly mined uranium at enrichment levels as low as 1.8% U-235. It achieves actinide burnups as high as 96%, and can generate up to 75 times more electricity per ton of mined uranium than a light-water reactor.

Transatomic Power has greatly improved the molten salt concept, while retaining its significant safety benefits. The main technical change we make is to change the moderator and fuel salt used in previous molten salt reactors to a zirconium hydride moderator, with a LiF-based fuel salt. During operation the fuel in the salt is primarily uranium. Together, these components generate a neutron spectrum that allows the reactor to run using fresh uranium fuel with enrichment levels as low as 1.8% U-235, or using the entire actinide component of spent nuclear fuel (SNF). Previous molten salt reactors such as the ORNL Molten Salt Reactor Experiment (MSRE) relied on high-enriched uranium, with 33% U-235. Enrichments that high would raise proliferation concerns if used in commercial nuclear power plants.

Transatomic Power’s design also enables extremely high burnups – up to 96% – over long time periods. The reactor can therefore run for decades and slowly consume both the actinide waste in its initial fuel load and the actinides that are continuously generated from power operation. Furthermore, our neutron spectrum remains primarily in the thermal range used by existing commercial reactors. We therefore avoid the more severe radiation damage effects faced by fast reactors, as thermal neutrons do comparatively less damage to structural materials.

Multi-chamber space launch gun kickstarter

Starfire Scientific is an ambitious new space launch company. They are currently developing an 8" gun propulsion launcher for high altitude sounding flights and to orbit small satellites.

Operational tests of the Starfire multi-chamber gun propulsion launcher began in 2011 and will continue throughout 2012 with commercial flights beginning soon after. They currently have a $65,000 kickstarter to get to suborbital launches.

Unlike conventional gun launchers, The Starfire launcher separates the propellant charge into several smaller charges which are fired sequentially as the vehicle moves down the bore of the launcher. This technique substantially reduces the g loadings that the vehicle experiences while still maintaining the high velocities and efficiencies of a gun launch system

February 03, 2014

Department of Transportation Announces Decision to Move Forward with Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication Technology for Light Vehicles to have 5 times fewer accidents

The U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced today that it will begin taking steps to enable vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication technology for light vehicles. This technology would improve safety by allowing vehicles to "talk" to each other and ultimately avoid many crashes altogether by exchanging basic safety data, such as speed and position, ten times per second.

The equipment is expected to only cost about $100 or less to add to any new car. Retrofitting older cars could affordably add collission warning devices. The new cars would have the systems integrated to override steering, acceleration and braking.

"Vehicle-to-vehicle technology represents the next generation of auto safety improvements, building on the life-saving achievements we've already seen with safety belts and air bags," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "By helping drivers avoid crashes, this technology will play a key role in improving the way people get where they need to go while ensuring that the U.S. remains the leader in the global automotive industry."

DOT research indicates that safety applications using V2V technology can address a large majority of crashes involving two or more motor vehicles. With safety data such as speed and location flowing from nearby vehicles, vehicles can identify risks and provide drivers with warnings to avoid other vehicles in common crash types such as rear-end, lane change, and intersection crashes. These safety applications have been demonstrated with everyday drivers under both real-world and controlled test conditions.

Google actually made a profit on its Motorola deal

Yes, Google paid $12.5 billion for Motorola Mobility in 2011. Yes, the company intends to sell much of it to Lenovo for $2.91 billion. But the simple math that yields a $9.59 billion loss is missing a few details.

First, when Google bought Motorola, it wrote off an existing loss against tax, yielding a benefit of perhaps $6.6 billion. Then Google sold Motorola's set-top box division for $2.35 billion plus stock from acquirer Arris. Add those together and Google is only $640 million out of pocket, if that. But there's more.

That $640 million bought some great assets. Google is keeping Advanced Technology and Products, the patent and innovation-generating group that's working on cool projects like the Ara modular phone. Google also acquired a substantial patent portfolio from Motorola, only a fraction of which is going to Lenovo with Motorola. Before this, Google was weak on mobile patents.

While some say those patents have low value in court, they include a number of standards-essential patents that are Google's ticket to the almost-cartel of mobile phone technology companies. They allow Google to barter with the other players and are a powerful tool for protecting Android against damaging royalty bills -- open source software and volume-linked royalties don't mix.

This deal is not a loss, nor is it a sign of a failure to use Motorola. Motorola was not a good cultural fit for Google. Larry Page got rid of those annoyances, made the Android market more competitive by providing Lenovo a brand with which to enter the U.S. smartphone market, bought off Samsung, picked up a patent arsenal and a supersmart R and D group -- and broken even in the process.

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 194

1. Nuke Power Talk - Last week, Gail Marcus reported on a couple of pieces of good news for the nuclear community coming from Europe in her blog, Nuke Power Talk. This week, she turns to the other side of the world and reports on some mostly positive signs from Asia, particularly South Korea and China. In addition, she notes that promising reports continue to come from Europe, this time from Poland.

2. Atomic Power Review - Korean Hydro and Nuclear Power Undergoes A Reset

Revelations over the last year concerning corruption and bribery, as well as falsified quality assurance certifications, have rocked the South Korean nuclear industry to the point where its public trust has been shaken and the industry has come under scrutiny from the Prime Minister herself. To address these problems with thoroughness and finality, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power has announced sweeping changes in its organization. Will Davis covers these developments on the only nuclear blog continuously monitoring and reporting on the situation in South Korea.

February 02, 2014

My favorite Superbowl commercials

Carnival of Space 339

there are an estimated 37 trillion cells in the human body

There are an estimated 37 trillion cells in the human body. This is an estimate from Annals of Human Biology journal.

They looked back over scientific journals and books from the past couple centuries and found many estimates. But those estimates sprawled over a huge range, from 5 billion to 200 million trillion cells.

The mean weight of a cell is 1 nanogram. For an adult man weighing 70 kilograms, simple arithmetic would lead us to conclude that that man has 70 trillion cells. The mean volume of a mammal cell is estimated to be 4 billionths of a cubic centimeter. (To get a sense of that size, check out The Scale of the Universe.) Based on an adult man’s typical volume, you might conclude that the human body contains 15 trillion cells.

They estimated the number of cells in the body the hard way, breaking it down by organs and cell types.

We have 50 billion fat cells and 2 billion heart muscle cells.

A healthy liver has 240 billion cells in it, for example, but some studies on cirrhosis have found the disease organ have as few as 172 billion.

Star Trek TV series rumors do not seem credible, do not expect a Star Trek TV series until 2017

There was an internet rumor of two Star Trek TV shows with plots related to future police shows. These rumors are not credible to me.

J.J. Abrams has said CBS Is ‘Not Interested’ in a new Star Trek TV series.

Sparked by the success of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. series, Abrams wasn’t optimistic about Star Trek returning to its roots on television, saying:

I have been hearing for as long as I can remember that CBS, who has the rights to the series, has just been saying they’re not interested. That’s the word I’ve been told. [A CBS Studios rep replied: “We love the Star Trek franchise, its fan base and the many possibilities for its future when the time is right.

Industry insiders speculate that CBS doesn’t want to jeopardize the current success of the rebooted film franchise by over saturating the market. With a new Star Trek film in the pipeline for 2016, fans may be waiting awhile before a new television series goes hits the airwaves.

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