May 24, 2014

Megaregions USA, Europe and China

Mega-regions have been defined as the extended networks of metropolitan centers and the surrounding areas that include layers of relationships in environmental systems, infrastructure systems, economic linkages, settlement pattern and land use, and shared culture and history. In the US, 10 mega-regions have been proposed by the Regional Plan Association (2006). They include the Northeast, Piedmont Atlantic mega-region, the Florida mega-region, the Gulf Coast, the Great Lakes, the Texas Triangle, the Cascadia, Northern California, the Southern California and Arizona Sun Corridor. Most of the rapid population growth, and an even larger share of its economic expansion, is expected to occur in these 10 or more emerging mega-regions, with each mega-region spanning multiple state and regional boundaries, and covering thousands of square miles. The increasingly linked metropolitan areas and the increasingly decentralized nature of the U.S. economy led the Regional Plan Association to promote the mega-region as a key framework for economic analysis and urban policies.

There are a dozen regional powerhouses in the US economy.

Similar mega-regions have been identified in EU. Europe’s largest mega-region spans Amsterdam-Rotterdam, Ruhr-Cologne, Brussels-Antwerp and Lille. Other mega-regions include the British mega-region, the Italian mega-region, Greater Paris and the Euro-Sunbelt mega-region.

China’s mega-regions, together with metropolitan cities, become the engine for economic development, and the target areas for regional and national policies. Apart from the three giant mega-regions—Capital Economic Zone, Pearl River Delta and Yangtze River Delta—which account for a large share of the country’s economic output, several other inland mega-regions are also emerging and developing. These 10 mega-regions as identified by China’s National Development and Reform Commission, cover around 20% of the total area of China, and include more than half of national population (census 2000 data) and 52% of GDP

We have reviewed the Bohai megaregion aka the Capital Economic Zone which includes Beijing and Tianjin aka the Jing-Jin-Ji region.

There is an update to the planning around Beijing.

One Operator is able to Fly Four Drones and increasing drone reliability for commercial domestic airspace usage

UAVs are "a mainstay," said Ryan Hartman, senior vice presidents of Programs at Insitu, owned by Boeing. Over the next 25 years, he said, "Technology will have evolved to the point where we'll be operating unmanned systems in the national airspace safely and responsibly."

Insitu demonstrated the launch and recovery of a 45-pound ScanEagle UAV that launches from a catapult and can fly 24 hours on less than a gallon of fuel.

The ScanEagle has flown 800,000 hours since being introduced 10 years ago, much of that time carrying out surveillance in Iraq and Afghanistan. This month, Boeing sent U.S. Marines in Afghanistan their first Blackjack, a larger version of the ScanEagle that can carry more surveillance equipment.

Insitu has a unique business model compared with rivals. Rather than selling systems to customers, it leases them out, and it also provides the operators.

May 23, 2014

Dwave Quantum Annealing 1000 qubit chip and other improvements

Wired provides a thorough history of the Dwave Quantum Annealing Computer but also provides an update on the 1000 qubit processor and improvements to the system.

Dwave's 512 qubit chip was tested as being 3600 times faster than some off the shelf optimizer software on a regular workstation and even with a customized optimizing algorithm.

What about Dwave's speed issues? “Calibration errors,” Geordie Rose (CTO of Dwave) says. Programming a problem into the D-Wave is a manual process, tuning each qubit to the right level on the problem-solving landscape. If you don’t set those dials precisely right, “you might be specifying the wrong problem on the chip,” Rose says. As for noise, he admits it’s still an issue, but the next chip—the 1,000-qubit version codenamed Washington, coming out this fall—will reduce noise yet more. DWave plans to replace the niobium loops with aluminum to reduce oxide buildup. “I don’t care if you build [a traditional computer] the size of the moon with interconnection at the speed of light, running the best algorithm that Google has ever come up with. It won’t matter, ’cause this thing will still kick your ass,” Rose says. Then he backs off a bit. “OK, everybody wants to get to that point—and Washington’s not gonna get us there. But Washington is a step in that direction.”

So it is OK to wait for the world poor to get richer and have cleaner energy over decades for soot but not OK to wait on spending ten times more money for Carbon dioxide fixes ?

Ff the maximum reductions on methane and black carbon pollutants were put into place, there would be only a "modest" reduction in average global warming of 0.16 degree Celsius (0.28 degree Fahrenheit) by 2050. It would also prevent the premature deaths of about 2 million per year.

Previous estimates have put the reduction closer to 0.5 C, or 0.9 F.

However both analysis are not in disagreement because the 0.16 degrees is improvement after assuming all of the world poor countries keep getting richer and fixing their air pollution as western countries did.

The newer research used a model that assumed existing trends in pollution control would happen regardless of any additional policies. So as incomes rise and cookstoves get cleaner and put out less black carbon, for example, the base-line model assumed this trend would continue until the end of the century.

They also took into account the fact that generally, as incomes go up, air pollution decreases. This has happened in the United States and Europe, and their model assumed it will happen elsewhere as well.

This means they assume China fixes air pollution from 2014 to 2050 as much as the US did from 1954 to 1990 automatically.

This means they assume that India, Africa and poor countries do solve most of the extreme poverty of less than $1.25/day and people switch to cleaner cookstoves.

The CO2 policy recommendations take 40 years longer to achieve the black carbon policy benefits.

I thought the temperature problem was claimed to be a time critical emergency. So it is OK to wait for changes associated with rising incomes over decades to provide a 0.5 degree celsius improvement but not ok to wait for more costly CO2 policy.

Wealth Inequality data problems

Financial Times claims significant and possibly deliberate errors or falsehoods in the Picketty wealth inequality data.

There seems to be little consistent evidence of any upward trend in wealth inequality of the top 1 per cent. Their wealth share declines from after the first world war to around 1980 and is pretty constant thereafter. The best guess for a consistent series would be a figure close to 20 per cent in 2010. In fact, the ONS Wealth and Assets Survey, which is now three waves old and consistently measures the share of the top 1 per cent has a much lower estimate, at 12.5 per cent, which should be the best current estimate of that wealth share. That is less than half prof Piketty’s estimate.

There is also little consistent evidence of any upward trend in wealth inequality of the top 10 per cent. Top 10 per cent wealth appears to have fallen from around the time of the first world war until about 1980. There was a gentle rise in the 1990s (largely because of fast-soaring equity prices which are very concentrated among the rich), but inequality then fell again after the millennium and remained stable. My best guess for a number consistent with this data would be around 52 per cent in 2010, but note should again be taken of the ONS data, which is specifically designed to measure wealth. It puts the concentration in the top 10 per cent in each of its three waves at 44 per cent, well below Prof Piketty’s own estimate.

Picketty claims he did it to smooth the data, but that he made all of his excel data available and hopes to improve the data and analysis.

Elon Musk tweets about $10 billion no-compete contract awarded to ULA and then the hiring of the procurement officer as a Vice President

Elon Musk appears to have taken to his official Twitter account to accuse a former Air Force official of having "likely" accepted a bribe to grant the exclusive black sat launch contract to United Launch Alliance.

The National Legal and Policy Centre (NLPC) article reported on Roger Correll's time as a procurement official for the Air Force, where he was in charge of getting launch services from private companies. Just before his retirement in January this year, he oversaw the deal that gave ULA, a Boeing and Lockheed joint venture, the contract for 36 future blastoffs. The NLPC article also reported Correll's appointment had now been given the job of veep for government acquisition and policy at Aerojet Rocketdyne, which supplies rocket engines to ULA

Elon Musk is tweeting about it.

Engineering of Beam Direct Conversion for Ion Beams from 1982

[A paper from 1977] Practical systems for beam direct conversion are required to recover the energy from ion beams at high efficiency and at very high beam power densities in the environment of a high power, neutral injection system.

Such an experiment is now in progress using a 120 kV beam with a maximum total current of 20 A. After neutralization, the H+ component to be recovered will have a power of approximately 1 MW. A system testing these concepts has been designed and tested at 15 kV, 2 kW in preparation for the full power tests. The engineering problems involved in the full power tests affect electron suppression, gas pumping, voltage holding, diagnostics, and measurement conditions. Planning for future experiments at higher power includes the use of cryopumping and electron suppression by a magnetic field rather than by an electrostatic field. Beam direct conversion for large fusion experiments and reactors will save millions of dollars in the cost of power supplies and electricity and will dispose of the charged beam under conditions that may not be possible by other techniques.

In 1982, Journal of Fusion Energy April 1982, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 131-143 Experimental results from a beam direct converter at 100 kV


A direct-energy converter was developed for use on neutral-beam injectors. The purpose of the converter is to raise the efficiency of the injector by recovering the portion of the ion beam not converted to neutrals. In addition to increasing the power efficiency, direct conversion reduces the requirements on power supplies and eases the beam dump problem. The converter was tested at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory on a reduced-area version of a neutral-beam injector developed for use on the Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor at Princeton. The conversion efficiency of the total ion power was 65 ±7% at the beginning of the pulse, decaying to just over 50% by the end of the 0.6-s pulse. Once the electrode surfaces were conditioned, the decay was due to the rise in pressure of only the beam gas and not to outgassing. The direct converter was tested with 1.7 A of hydrogen ions and with 1.5 A of helium ions through the aperture with similar efficiencies. At the midplane through the beam, the line power density was 0.7 MW/m, for comparison with our calculations of slab beams and the prediction of 2–4 MW/m in some reactor studies. Over 98 kV was developed at the ion collector when the beam energy was 100 keV. When electrons were suppressed magnetically, rather than electrostatically, the efficiency dropped to 40%. However, a better designed electron catcher could improve this efficiency. New electrode material released gas (mostly H2 and CO) in amounts that exceeded the input of primary gas from the beam. The electrodes were all made of 0.51-mm-thick molybdenum cooled only by radiation. This allowed the heating by the beam to outgas the electrodes and for them to stay hot enough to avoid the reabsorption of gas between shots. By minor redesign of the electrodes, adding cryopanels near the electrodes, and grounding the ion source, these results extrapolate with high confidence to an efficiency of 70–80% at a power density of 2–4 MW/m. Higher power may be possible with magnetic electron suppression.

Training to rewire the brain to enable the coordination needed for Bruce Lees One inch Punch

Popular Mechanics looks at the physics of Bruce Lees One Inch Punch

Although Bruce Lee’s fist travels a tiny distance in mere milliseconds, the punch is an intricate full-body movement. According to Jessica Rose, a Stanford University biomechanical researcher, Lee’s lightning-quick jab actually starts with his legs.

"When watching the one-inch punch, you can see that his leading and trailing legs straighten with a rapid, explosive knee extension," Rose says. The sudden jerk of his legs increases the twisting speed of Lee’s hips—which, in turn, lurches the shoulder of his thrusting arm forward.

As Lee’s shoulder bolts ahead, his arm gets to work. The swift and simultaneous extension of his elbow drives his fist forward. For a final flourish, Rose says, "flicking his wrist just prior to impact may further increase the fist velocity." Once the punch lands on target, Lee pulls back almost immediately. Rose explains that this shortens the impact time of his blow, which compresses the force and makes it all the more powerful.

Lee has to synchronize each segment of the jab—his twisting hip, extending knees, and thrusting shoulder, elbow, and wrist—with incredible accuracy. Furthermore, each joint in Lee’s body has a single moment of peak acceleration, and to get maximum juice out of the move, Lee must layer his movements so that each period of peak acceleration follows the last one instantly.

So coordination is key.

The supplementary motor cortex handles the coordination between the muscles of the limbs, which close-range punches rely on. The altered white matter allows for more abundant or complex cell connections in that brain region. Training rewires the brain to enable the coordination.

China did not turn on some of the pollution control technology that was already built until recent air pollution protests. It adds over $16 billion/year to electricity prices

Cleaning up the air pollution from coal, still leaves the mining deaths, solid and liquid waste, and the transportation deaths. Plus the mitigation technologies increase the operating costs and lower the efficiency of the plants.

There are 84 different pollutants in coal pollution so there is a lot of different technology needed to control the air pollution

China continues to build a lot of coal plants and for the last 10-20 years China has built modern coal plants that have the latest pollution mitigation technology. Why did they not turn on pollution control until recent protests about air quality. It would have added over 0.4 US cents per kwh to the costs for one of the technologies and more for each of the other pollution control technologies. China is making about 4000 billion kwh/year of electrical power from coal power. So 0.4 cents per kwh is $16 billion/year.

A Planners Guide to Selecting Clean Coal Technologies is a World Bank book that covers the costs and issues for putting in coal plant pollution mitigation.

The cost to operate the ESP mitigation (power and plant operation effects is about 0.3-0.5 cents per kwh.) So coal plants electricity costs go up about 10%. This is for just one of pollution control technologies (but the most important in terms of preventing air pollution deaths because particulates are the most deadly. However, you still want to stop the smog and the ozone and the mercury and the 80 other pollutants.

Quantum assisted GPS would be one thousand times more accurate than any existing GPS and other high potential DARPA projects

DARPA director Arati Prabhakar highlighted four technology projects in her recent testimony (19 page PDF) to the Senate Appropriations Committee look like a list of insider favorites.

New Frontiers

Consistent with our mission to prevent technological surprise by creating it, DARPA continues to invest across a wide range of fields where we see promising research that could lead to powerful technology capability. These investments are the seeds of what my successors, perhaps 5,10, or 15 years from now, will be describing to you as technology revolutions

Atomic GPS one thousand times more accurate than any current GPS with a prototype expected by 2019

The Global Positioning System, or GPS, which DARPA had an important but limited role in developing, is a great tool but maintaining it as a satellite system is increasingly costly. A modern GPS satellite can run into the range of $223 million, which is one reason why the Air Force recently scaled back its procurement.

DARPA doesn’t have an explicit program to replace GPS, but the DARPA-funded chip-scale combinatorial atomic navigation, or C-SCAN, and Quantum Assisted Sensing, or QuASAR, initiatives explore a field of research with big relevance here: the use of atomic physics for much better sensing. If you can measure or understand how the Earth’s magnetic field acceleration and position is effecting individual atoms (reduced in temperature), you can navigate without a satellite. In fact, you can achieve geo-location awareness that could be 1,000 times more accurate than any system currently in existence.

The British military is investing millions of pounds in a similar technology. Researchers associated with the project forecast that they will have a prototype ready within five years.

A drone with a quantum compass wouldn’t require satellite navigation, which would make it much easier to fly and less hackable.

The World Competition for skilled workers

Canada is in fifth place among OECD members for attracting immigrants, based on data collected up until 2012, even though it attracted 258,000 new permanent residents, or a gain of 4%, in 2012 alone.

Compare that to the U.S., which drew in 1.03 million more people in the same year, although 3% fewer than in 2011. Germany leap-frogged into second place from eighth position in 2009, attracting nearly 400,000 immigrants in 2012, up 38%. Filling out the top 10 were the U.K., in third place, Spain in the fourth spot, followed by Italy — coming after Canada — then Australia (about 150,000), France, Switzerland and Sweden.

Since the European Crisis, Spain has been selling cheap citizenship. Buy a house for 250,000 euros in Spain and you can a get a citizenship which gives you full access to the European Union.

May 22, 2014

Climate change spending is already more than one Manhattan project every year or 7 times DARPA annual budget

The Manhattan Project employed more than 130,000 people and cost nearly US$2 billion (about $26 billion in 2014 dollars). Over 90% of the cost was for building factories and producing the fissile materials, with less than 10% for development and production of the weapons. Research and production took place at more than 30 sites across the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada.

DARPA has around 240 (about 140 technical) directly managing a $3 billion budget. These figures are "on average" since DARPA focuses on short-term (two to four year) projects run by small, purpose-built teams.

DARPA biggest successes were being a major part of developing the internet, Global positioning satellites, Speech translation, stealth planes, and Gallium Arsenide.

From 1989 to 2008 it is conservatively believed that $79 billion was spent by the US government on climate change research, administration, foreign aid, tax breaks and education (public relations).

Up to 2008, the EU Framework 7 programme includes €1.9 billion on direct climate change research. Framework 6 ran to €769 million. If we take all the Annex 1 countries, the sum expended must be well over $100 billion.

The global carbon trading markets are at about $60 billion in 2014.

The Whitehouse report on climate change spending proposes a budget of $21.4 billion.

The President’s 2014 Budget proposes over $21.4 billion for climate change activities. This amount is $1.2 billion , or 5 percent, lower than the 2013 enacted level for climate change programs, activities, and related tax policies.

Russia could build eight nuclear reactors for Iran

Russia could sign an agreement this year to build eight new reactors for nuclear power plants in Iran, state-run Russian news agency RIA reported on Thursday, citing a source it did not identify.

Russia built Iran's only operating nuclear power reactor, at the Bushehr plant.

A Japanese court Wednesday refused to let two nuclear reactors restart operations in western Japan, saying their risk assessment is too optimistic and safety measures insufficient despite lessons from the Fukushima disaster.

Nextbigfuture thanked by the LPP Fusion project

Scientists at LPP Fusion, led by Chief Scientist Eric Lerner, are just one step away from technically proving out dense plasma focus fusion and you a few thousand other people can help for the final push. They are already 37% of the way (over $73000) to the $200,000 they needed for a few key experiments with 24 days to go in the crowdfunding effort.

LPP Fusion is currently 2 slots behind getting on the featured list of IndieGoGo. This means IndieGoGo will provide us with press and we will be in their newsletter that reaches thousands.

The secret...Everyone needs to comment once per day at the Indiegogo LPP Fusion project.

Success would be better than doubling NASA's budget and 100,000 times cheaper than one year of double NASA budget

Lawrenceville Plasma Physics has thanked and the Nextbigfuture community.

The Nextbigfuture community have been early contributors to this key energy project and we have helped to get the word out on social media.

A few thousand people can change the course of the future

If this project is successfully fully funded and then leads to a successful experiment, then Nextbigfuture and the Nextbigfuture community will have been a significant part of creating a better future for space technology and energy.

LPP needs about 5000 more people to donate on average about $25 each or fewer people with larger average donations.

The Battle of Thermopylae was fought between an alliance of Greek city-states, led by King Leonidas of Sparta, and the Persian Empire of Xerxes I over the course of three days, during the second Persian invasion of Greece. It changed the course of history. It is remembered for the 300 Spartans at the battle. However, it was a Greek force of 7000 men at the start. Later the bulk of the Greek army was dismissed and 300 Spartans, 700 Thespians, 400 Thebans and perhaps a few hundred others, most of whom were killed fought to the end. They died making history but you can help make the future for a few dollars.

Relatively Painless Money Saving Ideas to free up money to possibly change the world

You can rent two movies from Redbox instead of going to the theater and donate the savings.

Switch out of cable or satellite television and use Netflix and a HDTV antenna.

Use voice over internet phone services like OOMA or only use a mobile phone and no landline.

For Self Driving car future, Traffic tickets are a trivial $6.5 billion for the USA vs $100 billion from relieving traffic jams another $100 billion from few deaths and injuries and 4 times more road capacity for larger cities and a potential 30% Urban GDP boost

A highly popular article on Slashdot and Reddit Futurology makes note that the Google driverless car has not gotten a traffic ticket after driving 700,000 miles.

Local government revenue in the USA was $1.73 trillion in 2014.

So the traffic tickets make up 0.38% of the local government revenue.
Self driving cars could save $500 billion in the USA from avoided crashes and traffic jams and can boost city productivity by 30% of urban GDP after a few decades enabling larger and denser cities.

So traffic tickets are 1.2% of the $500 billion from avoided crashes and traffic jams in the US. It is even less worldwide with more crashes and traffic jam costs.

It is 0.15% of the 30% of urban GDP.

In 2010, there were an estimated 5,419,000 crashes, killing 32,885 and injuring 2,239,000 in the United States.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 33,561 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2012, up 3.3 percent from 32,479 in 2011. In 2012, an estimated 2,362,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes, up 6.5 percent from 2,217,000 in 2011.

In 2012, the average auto liability claim for property damage was $3,073; the average auto liability claim for bodily injury was $14,653.

In 2012, the average collision claim was $2,950; the average comprehensive claim was $1,585.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says in 2010 that the cost of medical care and productivity losses associated with motor vehicle crash injuries was over $99 billion, or nearly $500, for each licensed driver in the United States.

All car crash costs in the USA are estimated at $400 billion per year.

In 2013, worldwide the total number of road traffic deaths remains unacceptably high at 1.24 million per year

First Work Place Injury from nanoparticles

A 26-year-old female chemist formulated polymers and coatings usually using silver ink particles. When she later began working with nickel nanoparticle powder weighed out and handled on a lab bench with no protective measures, she developed throat irritation, nasal congestion, “post nasal drip,” facial flushing, and new skin reactions to her earrings and belt buckle which were temporally related to working with the nanoparticles. Subsequently she was found to have a positive reaction to nickel on the T.R.U.E. patch test, and a normal range FEV1 that increased by 16% post bronchodilator. It was difficult returning her to work even in other parts of the building due to recurrence of symptoms. This incident triggered the company to make plans for better control measures for working with nickel nanoparticles. In conclusion, a worker developed nickel sensitization when working with nanoparticle nickel powder in a setting without any special respiratory protection or control measures.

Micron sized particles of Nickel are also deemed to harmful. So having problems at the nano scale seems to be not surprising.

Europe plans to use Smartphone ARM chips and GPUs to make an exaflop supercomputer that is 30 to 50 times more energy efficient than the best supercomputers today

Since October 2011, the aim of the European project called Mont-Blanc has been to design a new type of computer architecture capable of setting future global HPC standards, built from energy efficient solutions used in embedded and mobile devices. This project is coordinated by the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) and had a budget of over 14 million, including over 8 million Euros funded by the European Commission. Two years later, the European Commission granted additional 8 million Euro funds to extend the Mont-Blanc project activities until September 2016.

This three year extension will enable further development of the OmpSs parallel programming model to automatically exploit multiple cluster nodes, transparent application check pointing for fault tolerance, support for ARMv8 64-bit processors, and the initial design of the Mont-Blanc Exascale architecture.

The MONTBLANC project brings together leading researchers from Spain, the UK, France, Italy and Germany with the aim of delivering supercomputers that could revolutionise the way we work. These new machines would be built around 'exascale processors' – processors that can carry out in the order of 10 to the power of 18 (1, followed by eighteen zeroes) operations a second.

These new processors won't just deliver higher performance – some nine orders of magnitude faster than your existing desktop or laptop processor – but they will also consume less energy. According to Mr Ramirez, the processors that the MONTBLANC project is using will consume between 15 and 30 times less energy that the systems we use today.

1 Megawatt of power costs about $1 million per year to keep running. A supercomputer that needed 100 megawatts of power would cost $100 million per year. The current largest supercomputers (in China and the USA) need 20-30 megawatts.

Mont Blanc High Performance Blade Server

World Aquaculture production increased by 10 million tons in 2012 compared to 2010

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) reports around 80 million tonnes of fish were caught "wild" in 2011-12 and global aquaculture production set another all-time high at more than 90 million tonnes, including nearly 24 million tonnes of edible plants like seaweeds. In total, the world harvested an extra 10 million tonnes of aquatic food in 2012 compared to the previous year, says the report.

Global fisheries and aquaculture production totalled 158 million tonnes in 2012 - around 10 million tonnes more than 2010.

An estimated 1.3 billion tonnes of food are lost per year -- to about one-third of all food produced. This figure includes post-harvest fish losses, which tend to be greater in small-scale fisheries.

If you want to get rid of Alzheimers, Heart Disease and Cancer for good then we will have to fix aging

Aubrey de Grey talks about antiaging medicine.

Here are key points

If you want to get rid of Alzheimers, Heart Disease and Cancer for good then we will have to fix aging.
Those aging diseases will only get totally cured by fixing aging.
The best way to fix aging is to constantly fix the damage from aging.

Cars with normal maintenance last about 10-20 years but some cars look like they did when they were built and function like new. Those are super well maintained vintage cars.

The human body is the same and with the right maintenance can be kept going with like new function.

We can replace the heart, lungs and other organs.
The brain we cannot replace but we can replace brain cells at a certain rate and have them incorporate into the brain while maintaining memories and personality.

We can also remove accumulated junk and plaques that the body is not removing on its own.

Radical longevity will not cause exponential population growth. Population growth rates are higher in countries with lower life expectancy. There are globally 350,000 births per day and 150,000 deaths per day and 100,000 of the deaths are from aging.

We could eliminate 50,000 deaths per day by giving everyone clean water, nutritious food, unsafe child birth and eliminate the health problems of poverty.

May 21, 2014

Boeing CEO wants Incremental Progress so that Future Moonshot Projects from Elon Musk, Google or others will kill Boeing instead of a self inflicted failed Dreamliner project

Boeing Co. Chief Executive Jim McNerney said the plane maker aims to emulate the product strategy of Apple Inc. by developing future passenger jets in incremental steps, rather than once-a-generation "moon shots" that carry too much risk.

This is a reaction to the difficulties in building the advanced 787 Dreamliner, which suffered years of delays and cost overruns.

Boeing today is looking to mimic incremental product development trends in the auto and consumer electronics sectors. "We want to be more like Apple," he said.

Both Boeing and rival Airbus Group NV have been stung by problems in developing all-new planes, and both are unlikely to introduce clean-sheet designs before the end of the next decade. Boeing over the last two years has opted to revamp its two best-selling commercial jets, the single-aisle 737 and the widebody 777, rather than build all-new replacements. Airbus has taken a similar approach with upgrading its A320.

Google with its Solve for X program is a great believer in Moonshots

Moonshots live in the gray area between audacious projects and pure science fiction; instead of mere 10% gains, they aim for 10x improvements. The combination of a huge problem, a radical solution, and the breakthrough technology that might just make that solution possible is the essence of a Moonshot.

Great Moonshot discussions require an innovative mindset--including a healthy disregard for the impossible--while still maintaining a level of practicality.

Metformin could help make Rapamycin life extension safe

Aside from a food intake in laboratory mice that’s about 40 percent fewer calories than normal, however, it’s been found that another way to activate this pathway is with rapamycin, which appears to have a significant impact even when used late in life. Some human clinical trials are already underway exploring this potential.

A big drawback to long-term use of rapamycin, however, is the increase in insulin resistance, observed in both humans and laboratory animals. The new research identified why that is happening. It found that both dietary restriction and rapamycin inhibited lipid synthesis, but only dietary restriction increased the oxidation of those lipids in order to produce energy.

Rapamycin, by contrast, allowed a buildup of fatty acids and eventually an increase in insulin resistance, which in humans can lead to diabetes. However, the drug metformin can address that concern, and is already given to some diabetic patients to increase lipid oxidation. In lab tests, the combined use of rapamycin and metformin prevented the unwanted side effect.

“If proven true, then combined use of metformin and rapamycin for treating aging and age-associated diseases in humans may be possible,” the researchers wrote in their conclusion.

This could be an important advance if it helps us find a way to gain the apparent benefits of rapamycin without increasing insulin resistance. It could provide a way not only to increase lifespan but to address some age-related diseases and improve general health. We might find a way for people not only to live longer, but to live better and with a higher quality of life.

Fighting aging thinks FDA medical regulation is blocking even better life extension approaches from being funded and developed.

Nextbigfuture notes that even using approved and affordable metformin for health improvement and life extension is very, very difficult. I have tried to ask doctors to allow metformin use but they will not prescribe it for off label purposes.

May 20, 2014

Thailand has its 18th attempted or actual coups since 1932

The people of Thailand are all too familiar with coup d'etats. There have been at least 18 actual and attempted military takeovers since Thailand became a constitutional monarchy in 1932.

The last one was in 2006 when the military sent tanks onto the streets before ousting then Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, the brother of Yingluck, who is now living in exile to avoid a corruption conviction he claims is politically motivated.

Within hours of declaring martial law, Gen. Prayuth announced he would be leading a new security task force, the Peace Keeping Command Center (PKCC). The task force's advisory committee also includes chiefs of the navy, air force and national police, he said

Carnival of Space 354

Hover Bike on sale for $85000 with 2017 target delivery date

Aerofex is taking Aero-X Hoverbike pre-orders today, with expected delivery “in 2017.” The target price is $85,000, with a refundable $5,000 deposit.

Basically, all open-rotor craft are unstable, finicky beasts that require a lot of skill to pilot. This is why you can’t just point a helicopter in the direction you want to go — there are all sorts of different forces at play that need to be controlled and counteracted at the same time, thus the helicopter’s massively complex controls. Merely leaning left or right, like on a motorcycle, isn’t enough — unless you have some clever technology that helps keep the hoverbike stable.

Aerofex says it’s solved the coupling problem, has filed the relevant patents, and thus — if all goes well — the Aero-X will be the first safe and easy-to-use hoverbike on the market.

In January 2012, Aerofex presented its recent work at the American Helicopter Society Future Vertical Lift Conference in San Francisco. The technology discussed utilizes ejector dynamics to augment the thrust and control of ducted-fan aircraft. The goal of the effort is to simplify vertical flight, in this case by eliminating the complexity of cyclically-variable rotors.

It will fly up to 10 feet off the ground at 45 miles per hour. It’s a hovercraft that rides like a motorcycle - an off road vehicle that gets you off the ground.

The Aero-X can be adapted for unlimited outdoor uses: surveying, search and rescue, border patrol, disaster relief, aerial agricultural, ranching, and much more.

China and the Russia Ukraine Conflict - Update natural gas deal signed

A German proverb says: When two people are fighting, the third one wins. Observers believe this is the case with China as Russia is entangled in a conflict with the West over Ukraine.

The Ukrainian crisis has certainly strained Russia's relations with the West. Sanctions have been imposed on Moscow, and the US and other European countries are planning to slap more on it. Western countries are also trying to reduce their dependence on Russian gas - at least for the long term.

As a result of the rapidly deteriorating relations between Russia and the West, the governmment in Moscow is moving closer towards Beijing.

Russia is close to signing a decades-long contract to supply natural gas to China at a price that would value the deal at about $400 billion, according to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

Medvedev’s boss Vladimir Putin arrives in Shanghai today to try and complete an agreement after more than 10 years of talks. The stumbling block has been price, but with Putin facing trade and financial sanctions from the U.S. and European Union after he annexed Crimea from Ukraine, a deal is seen as probable.

The fact is that Russia and China have been negotiating this deal for many years, but there hasn't been any breakthrough due to Beijing's objection to the gas price. But it seems that Russia is now willing to make concessions.

Russia is now forced to lower the gas price, estimates the Berlin-based expert.

UPDATE : China and Russia signed the natural gas pipeline deal on the 21st.

Russian news agencies said the contract called for supplies of 38 billion cubic meters of gas a year, which would imply a price of about $350 per thousand cubic meters [about 10% less than Europe], at the low end of what Gazprom currently charges export clients. Gazprom provides 30% of Europe's gas, around half of which flows through Ukraine. Gazprom needs the higher price it receives for exports to Europe to compensate for the much cheaper price it charges in its domestic market, where gas is subsidized. Last year Gazprom made 2.1 trillion rubles ($60 billion) from the 174 billion cubic meters it sold to Europe, a far higher price than it charges for domestic sales. It made just 794 million rubles from domestic sales of 243 billion cubic meters of gas.

China may make as much as $25 billion in advance payments under the contract to invest in the necessary infrastructure, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told reporters today.

Russia will invest $55 billion in the pipeline and the Siberian fields to feed it, Putin said, while China, responsible for a pipeline on its territory, will spend at least $20 billion, he said.

Russia and China will start talks on a second pipeline to the west of the initial route, Miller said.

Mr. Miller said the price in the China deal "is a commercial secret," Russian news agencies reported.

According to media reports, China has the potential to become one of the largest importers of Russian gas in the coming years. By the end of the decade, China could cover up to one-third of its gas demand from Russia, allowing Moscow to compensate for any potential gas blockade to Western Europe.

Russia will have to pay to build the pipeline. The previous pipeline to Europe was paid for by the Europeans.

Gazprom plans to build a $22 billion pipeline to China able to carry as much as 38 billion cubic meters (1.34 trillion cubic feet) annually after years of false starts. The company may begin supplying China in 2019 to 2020.

May 19, 2014

Drone container ships can have some cost savings for minimum parking valet crews at major ports and rapid piracy response teams

Rolls-Royce (RR/) Holdings Plc is designing unmanned cargo ships.

Rolls-Royce’s Blue Ocean development team has set up a virtual-reality prototype at its office in Alesund, Norway, that simulates 360-degree views from a vessel’s bridge. Eventually, the London-based manufacturer of engines and turbines says, captains on dry land will use similar control centers to command hundreds of crewless ships.

Drone ships would be safer, cheaper and less polluting for the $375 billion shipping industry that carries 90 percent of world trade, Rolls-Royce says.

The company’s schematics show vessels loaded with containers from front to back, without the bridge structure where the crew lives. By replacing the bridge -- along with the other systems that support the crew, such as electricity, air conditioning, water and sewage -- with more cargo, ships can cut costs and boost revenue, Levander said. The ships would be 5 percent lighter before loading cargo and would burn 12 percent to 15 percent less fuel, he said.

Crew costs of $3,299 a day account for about 44 percent of total operating expenses for a large container ship, according to Moore Stephens LLP, an industry accountant and consultant.

Unmanned ships are currently illegal under international conventions that set minimum crew requirements, said Simon Bennett, a spokesman for the London-based International Chamber of Shipping, an industry association representing more than 80 percent of the global fleet.

Nextbigfuture proposed solutions to problems of Drone Container ships

* have minimum crews operate as parking valet crews to hop onto the ship just outside the territorial waters of a port that requires minimum crews.

* Use some cost savings to fund rapid security deployment teams [mercenaries] to retake any pirated ship or hacked drone ship. A pirated ship can only get about 500 miles in one day

Why do so many Proposed "Solutions to World or National Problems" Suck even in the Design Phase ? Or Fail to solve the stated problem after implementation ?

Why are there so many plans that are proposed and then often poorly implemented that do not solve the stated problems or the solutions are terrible and insanely expensive ?

Get beyond the controversial problem statement to the shape of the proposed solutions after tens of trillions of dollars and decades and see how much is or is not solved.

For Climate Change, the big UN IPCC proposed solution is to stabilize [flatten at current levels of nearly 40 billion tons per year of CO2] levels of greenhouse-gas emissions would require investments of about $13 trillion through 2030.

It also noted that reducing emissions would reduce the rate of economic growth (as a result of such factors as higher energy prices). But it would do so by, on average, less than a tenth of a percentage point per year between now and 2100. Switching from fossil fuels to low-carbon sources of energy will cost $44 trillion between now and 2050.

* $13 trillion or nearly $1 trillion every year is the ante (poker reference) to get started

The Global project proposal costs are based on hitting planned budgets and before delays and cost overruns

With the reduced GDP growth and costs running past 2100 it will hundreds of trillions of dollars.

* The plan will not be saving any glaciers or ice caps. The goals would be to reduce temperature increases out to 2100 and not bring temperatures down until well past 2300.

Get millions of times more bang for your buck by backing LPP fusion

Scientists at LPP Fusion, led by Chief Scientist Eric Lerner, are just one step away from technically proving out dense plasma focus fusion and you a few thousand other people can help for the final push. They are already 25% of the way to the $200,000 they needed for a few key experiments.

Success would be better than doubling NASA's budget and 100,000 times cheaper than one year of double NASA budget

Success would have more impact than efforts to double NASA's space budget to 1% of all US tax dollars [increase from $18 billion per year to $36 billion].

Dense plasma focus fusion would enable vastly superior space propulsion. This would even be the case if the focus fusion system was not yet at commercially ready capability. If the system only ran for minutes or hours and at one hundredth of the commercial power design, this would still be 100 times better than advanced ion drive.

Focus fusion need two hundred million times less budget than the IPCC climate mitigation proposal and success would be lower energy costs instead of higher so positive GDP growth effects instead of negative

The U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said that efforts to stabilize levels of greenhouse-gas emissions would require investments of about $13 trillion through 2030. It also noted that reducing emissions would reduce the rate of economic growth (as a result of such factors as higher energy prices). But it would do so by, on average, less than a tenth of a percentage point per year between now and 2100. Switching from fossil fuels to low-carbon sources of energy will cost $44 trillion between now and 2050.

IPCC wants $13 trillion to fight climate change up to 2030 and another $31 trillion from 2031 to 2050

The U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said that efforts to stabilize levels of greenhouse-gas emissions would require investments of about $13 trillion through 2030. It also noted that reducing emissions would reduce the rate of economic growth (as a result of such factors as higher energy prices). But it would do so by, on average, less than a tenth of a percentage point per year between now and 2100.

Switching from fossil fuels to low-carbon sources of energy will cost $44 trillion between now and 2050.

Aside from delays in action, many other factors will increase costs. Costs will go up if countries don’t all work together. They’ll also increase if technologies don’t work as expected. The most glaring example has to do with technology for capturing and storing carbon dioxide. According to the IPCC, if this technology can’t be deployed, the cost of stabilizing greenhouse-gas levels will more than double.

May 18, 2014

Interesting Economic Impact before China catches the US on per capita income

Interesting economic milestones will be achieved before China catches the US on per capita income.

* Since China has over 4 times the US population, when the top 20% of China's population have more than twice as much per capita income as some at the 50 percentile level. Therefore before China gets to half the per capita income of the USA China will have a population subset which matches the US in numbers and income.

* China will dominate the luxury goods and tourism markets in raw numbers

* If China's yuan appreciates by double versus the US dollar over 2018-2027 then China would move from one quarter the US per capita income in 2018 to one half US per capita income even if GDP growth levels were equal. Such a move would mean that China would have the GDP of a combined United States and European Union.

Projections still call for China to become the world's biggest luxury-goods market by 2020, according to a report by Fortune Character Institute reported by

Reports that call for China to become the world's largest luxury market by 2020 are far from new. A 2012 report by McKinsey explained that China had become a leading luxury market by 2010 and could become a dominant force by 2020.

According to the report:

Affluent consumers will remain an elite minority, making up only 6 percent of the population in 2020. (In the United States in 2010, more than half of the population earned at least $34,000.) But that 6 percent will translate into about 21 million affluent households, with 60 million consumers.

McKinsey further estimated that more than 75% of China's urban population will earn between 60,000 yuan and 229,000 yuan, or roughly $9,800 to $37,000, each year by 2022. If the yuan appreciated by 20% over the eight years then it would be US$11,700 to $44,400.

China's urbanization plan anticipates that by 2020 urban residents will make up 60 per cent of the total population, compared to 53.7 per cent in 2013 — while urban permanent residents will comprise 45 per cent, compared to 36 per cent in 2013. China will have about 900 million in the cities by 2020. So 775 million will be in the 60,000 to 229,000 yuan income range. 60 million will be above that range.

Widespread Adoption of Proven policy measures could halve smoking and achieve other targets to prevent 43 million deaths between 2010 and 2025.

A new international study led by Imperial College London has estimated how achieving globally-agreed targets for six important health risks between 2010 and 2025 will reduce deaths caused by the big-four chronic diseases: cancers, diabetes, lung disease and cardiovascular disease (mainly heart disease and stroke).

The study shows that the big-four chronic diseases killed over 28 million people in 2010, a number that is projected to increase to 39 million in 2025 if no new action is taken.

If the six risk factor targets are achieved, the risk of dying prematurely from chronic diseases in 2025 will go down by 22 per cent for men and by 19 per cent for women compared to their 2010 levels. This corresponds to preventing more than 37 million deaths between 2010 and 2025, including 16 million deaths amongst those who are younger than 70 years and whose deaths are considered premature.

The current global targets include a 30 per cent reduction in smoking levels, a 10 per cent reduction in alcohol consumption and a 30 per cent reduction in salt in food. The research found that achievement of some targets had bigger impacts than others, with reductions in smoking and blood pressure producing the greatest benefits.

If a more ambitious target of halving the levels of smoking is achieved alongside the other targets, the risk of dying prematurely from the big-four would be reduced by nearly 25 per cent in men – the desired global target – and by 20 per cent in women. This corresponds to averting nearly 43 million deaths between 2010 and 2025.

Study lead author, Dr Vasilis Kontis from Imperial College London’s School of Public Health said: “Our study demonstrates that the tobacco use target should be more ambitious. Reducing the prevalence of smoking by 50 per cent by 2025 is feasible based on proven policy measures, and should become a global target to avoid millions of premature deaths

The Lancet - Contribution of six risk factors to achieving the 25×25 non-communicable disease mortality reduction target: a modelling study

Matter creation using lasers experiment designed based upon 80 year old theory with a photon photon collider - actual experiements in about one year

Physicists have discovered how to create matter from light -- a feat thought impossible when the idea was first theorized 80 years ago. In just one day over several cups of coffee in a tiny office, three physicists worked out a relatively simple way to physically prove a theory first devised by scientists Breit and Wheeler in 1934. Breit and Wheeler suggested that it should be possible to turn light into matter by smashing together only two particles of light (photons), to create an electron and a positron -- the simplest method of turning light into matter ever predicted. The calculation was found to be theoretically sound, but Breit and Wheeler said that they never expected anybody to physically demonstrate their prediction.

Nature Photonics - A photon–photon collider in a vacuum hohlraum

China evacuates over 3000 Chinese nationals after two are killed and dozens injured in anti-China Protests in Vietnam

Five ships will join in the evacuation of Chinese nationals from Vietnam after more than 3,000 fled the nation following deadly anti-China riots there last week over a Chinese oil rig deployed in nearby contested waters.

Police and security officers in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi and in southern Ho Chi Minh City halted anti-China protests Sunday, unlike the previous weekend when similar protests were permitted. Authorities in one-party Vietnam rarely allow public demonstrations, but nationalist, China-related protests sometimes prove an exception.

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 209

The Carnival of Nuclear Energy 209 is up at Yes Vermont Yankee

Atomic Insights - Existing nuclear plants are valuable and worth saving

Many currently operating nuclear plants are in danger of being permanently shut down due to temporary conditions including low, but volatile natural gas prices, improperly designed markets that fail to recognize the value of reliable generating capacity, quotas and mandates that result in certain types of electrical generators receiving direct monetary payments in addition to wholesale market prices, and insufficient recognition of nuclear energy as a near zero emission power source.

The US has been here once before; during the 1990s natural gas prices went through a lengthy period of sustained low prices and several nuclear plants were closed only part way through their useful life. During the period from 2004-2009 the remaining nuclear plants minted cash as natural gas prices inexorably rose from the 1990s price of $2 per MMBTU to remain above $5 per MMBTU for five straight years with a peak monthly price for electrical power generators in excess of $12 per MMBTU in June 2008.

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