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Discussion in 'The Mainboard' started by All_Luck, Feb 10, 2012.
I DONT BELIEVE IN ANY OF THIS PRAISE JESUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My sister's going to be published for the first time. Will be in Cell Metabolism
Infographic of the Day: It's a Small World, Afterall
This map shows exactly where are the most remote places in the world.
If you're wondering how "close" two places are, a geographic map doesn't help much anymore. If the airports are good--or if there's a bullet train nearby--hundreds of miles might as well be down the street. Point being, "distance" is now really a function less of geography, than of the transport networks we've invented.
Which is why researchers at the European Commission's Joint Research Centre in Ispra, Italy, and the World Bank, created this gorgeous map. They first created a model, which calculated how long it would take to travel from a given point, to the nearest city of 50,000 people or more; the model includes rail, road, and river networks.
Then they plotted these results on a color coded map: The brighter an area, the closer it is to a big city; the darker it is, the further out it is. (The blue lines above represent oceanic shipping lanes.)
As the New Scientist reports:
Plotted onto a map, the results throw up surprises. First, less than 10% of the world's land is more than 48 hours of ground-based travel from the nearest city. What's more, many areas considered remote and inaccessible are not as far from civilization as you might think. In the Amazon, for example, extensive river networks and an increasing number of roads mean that only 20% of the land is more than two days from a city--around the same proportion as Canada's Quebec province.
The most remote place: Tibet, parts of which are as much as three weeks away from a city--with the journey comprising 20 days on foot.
20 days on foot?
I assume the model they are using takes out private transportation, as you could fly with a jet and helicopter to get anywhere in the world in 24 hours
"the model includes rail, road, and river networks."
Interesting article in the NY Times yesterday
Why Bilinguals Are Smarter
By YUDHIJIT BHATTACHARJEE
Published: March 17, 2012SPEAKING two languages rather than just one has obvious practical benefits in an increasingly globalized world. But in recent years, scientists have begun to show that the advantages of bilingualism are even more fundamental than being able to converse with a wider range of people. Being bilingual, it turns out, makes you smarter. It can have a profound effect on your brain, improving cognitive skills not related to language and even shielding against dementia in old age.
This view of bilingualism is remarkably different from the understanding of bilingualism through much of the 20th century. Researchers, educators and policy makers long considered a second language to be an interference, cognitively speaking, that hindered a child’s academic and intellectual development.
They were not wrong about the interference: there is ample evidence that in a bilingual’s brain both language systems are active even when he is using only one language, thus creating situations in which one system obstructs the other. But this interference, researchers are finding out, isn’t so much a handicap as a blessing in disguise. It forces the brain to resolve internal conflict, giving the mind a workout that strengthens its cognitive muscles.
Bilinguals, for instance, seem to be more adept than monolinguals at solving certain kinds of mental puzzles. In a 2004 study by the psychologists Ellen Bialystok and Michelle Martin-Rhee, bilingual and monolingual preschoolers were asked to sort blue circles and red squares presented on a computer screen into two digital bins — one marked with a blue square and the other marked with a red circle.
In the first task, the children had to sort the shapes by color, placing blue circles in the bin marked with the blue square and red squares in the bin marked with the red circle. Both groups did this with comparable ease. Next, the children were asked to sort by shape, which was more challenging because it required placing the images in a bin marked with a conflicting color. The bilinguals were quicker at performing this task.
The collective evidence from a number of such studies suggests that the bilingual experience improves the brain’s so-called executive function — a command system that directs the attention processes that we use for planning, solving problems and performing various other mentally demanding tasks. These processes include ignoring distractions to stay focused, switching attention willfully from one thing to another and holding information in mind — like remembering a sequence of directions while driving.
Why does the tussle between two simultaneously active language systems improve these aspects of cognition? Until recently, researchers thought the bilingual advantage stemmed primarily from an ability for inhibition that was honed by the exercise of suppressing one language system: this suppression, it was thought, would help train the bilingual mind to ignore distractions in other contexts. But that explanation increasingly appears to be inadequate, since studies have shown that bilinguals perform better than monolinguals even at tasks that do not require inhibition, like threading a line through an ascending series of numbers scattered randomly on a page.
The key difference between bilinguals and monolinguals may be more basic: a heightened ability to monitor the environment. “Bilinguals have to switch languages quite often — you may talk to your father in one language and to your mother in another language,” says Albert Costa, a researcher at the University of Pompea Fabra in Spain. “It requires keeping track of changes around you in the same way that we monitor our surroundings when driving.” In a study comparing German-Italian bilinguals with Italian monolinguals on monitoring tasks, Mr. Costa and his colleagues found that the bilingual subjects not only performed better, but they also did so with less activity in parts of the brain involved in monitoring, indicating that they were more efficient at it.
The bilingual experience appears to influence the brain from infancy to old age (and there is reason to believe that it may also apply to those who learn a second language later in life).
In a 2009 study led by Agnes Kovacs of the International School for Advanced Studies in Trieste, Italy, 7-month-old babies exposed to two languages from birth were compared with peers raised with one language. In an initial set of trials, the infants were presented with an audio cue and then shown a puppet on one side of a screen. Both infant groups learned to look at that side of the screen in anticipation of the puppet. But in a later set of trials, when the puppet began appearing on the opposite side of the screen, the babies exposed to a bilingual environment quickly learned to switch their anticipatory gaze in the new direction while the other babies did not.
Bilingualism’s effects also extend into the twilight years. In a recent study of 44 elderly Spanish-English bilinguals, scientists led by the neuropsychologist Tamar Gollan of the University of California, San Diego, found that individuals with a higher degree of bilingualism — measured through a comparative evaluation of proficiency in each language — were more resistant than others to the onset of dementia and other symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease: the higher the degree of bilingualism, the later the age of onset.
Nobody ever doubted the power of language. But who would have imagined that the words we hear and the sentences we speak might be leaving such a deep imprint?
Yudhijit Bhattacharjee is a staff writer at Science.
Next generation of doping. Gene manipulation. Can't be tested for without muscle biopsy.
how did I miss this thread?
MIT Scientists discover that memories are stored in individual neurons in Mice; likely in Humans
This is fascinating.
Very much. @DwightSchrute posted it here
Posted this in the space thread, here is an extraodinary project my step father works on. The National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence National Laboratory in Livermore, Ca. houses a laser system 60x the energy than any previous laser system. Its aim is to create 'star power' on Earth. 192 laser beams deliver energy to a target about the size of a pencil eraser and can create temperatures up to more than 100 million degrees and pressures more than 100 billion times the earth's atmosphere. Because of the intense conditions, it can only be fired once every 8 hours, however, a second project is underway to fire the laser about 13x/second (though I can't remember the name).
Gets going around 4m
NIF: The "Crown Joule" of Laser Science
The National Ignition Facility (NIF) is the world's largest laser. NIF's 192 intense laser beams can deliver to a target more than 60 times the energy of any previous laser system. NIF became operational in March 2009 and is capable of directing nearly two million joules of ultraviolet laser energy in billionth-of-a-second pulses to the target chamber center.Three football fields could fit inside the NIF Laser and Target Area Building.
When all that energy slams into millimeter-sized targets, it can generate unprecedented temperatures and pressures in the target materials—temperatures of more than 100 million degrees and pressures more than 100 billion times Earth's atmosphere. These conditions are similar to those in the stars and the cores of giant planets or in nuclear weapons; thus one of the NIF & Photon Science Directorate's missions is to provide a better understanding of the complex physics of nuclear weapons (see National Security). Researchers can also explore basic science, such as astrophysical phenomena, materials science, and nuclear science (seeUnderstanding the Universe). NIF's other major mission is to provide scientists with the physics understanding necessary to create fusion ignition and energy gain for future energy production (see Energy for the Future).NIF encompasses three interconnected buildings: the Optics Assembly Building, the Laser and Target Area Building, and the Operations Support Building (see Virtual Tour). Inside the Optics Assembly Building large, precision-engineered laser components are assembled under stringent cleanroom conditions into special modules called line replaceable units, or LRUs, for installation into the laser system.Laser Bay 2, one of NIF's two laser bays, was commissioned on July 31, 2007.The Laser and Target Area Building houses the 192 laser beams in two identical bays. Large mirrors, specially coated for the laser wavelength and mounted on highly stable ten-story-tall structures, direct the laser beams through the "switchyards" and into the target bay. There they are focused to the exact center of the ten-meter-diameter, concrete shielded, one-million-pound target chamber. Construction of all the buildings and supporting utilities was completed in September 2001. All 192 enclosures for laser beams were completed in 2003.
Operation of NIF's extraordinarily energetic laser beams requires that everything in the beam's enclosures remain perfectly clean at all times. Any bit of debris, oil, or other wayward material could cause the intense light to damage the optics (see Optics). The space inside the beam enclosures typically exceeds the cleanliness of a semiconductor or pharmaceutical manufacturing plant.Extraordinary Precision
Every NIF experimental shot requires the coordination of up to 60,000 control points for electronic, high voltage, optical, and mechanical devices—motorized mirrors and lenses, energy and power sensors, video cameras, laser amplifiers, and diagnostic instruments. Achieving this level of precision requires a large-scale computer control system as sophisticated as any in government service or private industry (see Integrated Computer Control System). The meticulous orchestration of these parts will result in the propagation of 192 separate nanosecond-long (billionth of a second) bursts of light over a one-kilometer path length. The 192 separate beams must have optical pathlengths equal to within nine millimeters so that the pulses can arrive within 30 picoseconds (trillionths of a second) of each other at the center of the target chamber. Then they must strike within 50 micrometers of their assigned spot on a target the size of a pencil eraser. NIF's pointing accuracy can be compared to standing on the pitcher's mound at AT&T Park in San Francisco and throwing a strike at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, some 350 miles away. Because the precise alignment of NIF's laser beams is extremely important for successful operation, the requirements for vibrational, thermal, and seismic stability are unusually demanding. Critical beampath component enclosures (generally for mirrors and lenses), many weighing tens of tons, were located to a precision of 100 microns using a rigorous engineering process for design validation and as-installed verification.Why Are There 192 Beams?
Imagine trying to squash a water balloon with two hands. No matter how hard you try to spread your fingers evenly over the surface of the balloon, it will still squirt out between your fingers. Many more fingers would be needed to compress the balloon symmetrically. Earlier high-energy lasers were used to study the conditions required to compress tiny spherical capsules to fractions of their initial diameter while still maintaining the capsule's symmetry—a crucial requirement if NIF is to achieve fusion ignition. NIF's designers arrived at 192 focused spots as the optimal number to achieve the conditions that will ignite a target's hydrogen fuel and start fusion burn.A Variety of Experiments
Not all experiments on NIF need to produce fusion ignition. Researchers are planning many other types of experiments that will take advantage of NIF's tremendous energy and flexible geometry in non-ignition shots. Non-ignition experiments will use a variety of targets to derive a better understanding of material properties under extreme conditions. These targets can be as simple as flat foils or considerably more complex. By varying the shock strength of the laser pulse, scientists can obtain equation-of-state data that reveal how different materials perform under extreme conditions for stockpile stewardship and basic science. They also can examine hydrodynamics, which is the behavior of fluids of unequal density as they mix.NIF experiments also will use some of the beams to illuminate "backlighter" targets to generate an x-ray flash. This allows detailed x-ray photographs, or radiographs, of the interiors of targets as the experiments progress. In addition, moving pictures of targets taken at one billion frames a second are possible using sophisticated cameras mounted on the target chamber. These diagnostics can freeze the motion of extremely hot, highly dynamic materials to see inside and understand the physical processes taking place (see Diagnostics). As construction of the 48 "quads" of four beams each proceeded, many shots were already being performed using the first quad of beams (see NIF Early Light). Following NIF's completion and dedication in 2009, experiments using all 192 laser beams demonstrated NIF's ability to create the conditions needed for ignition experiments beginning in 2010.Technicians adjust the target positioner inside the NIF Target Chamber.
New Technologies Make NIF Possible
Amplifying NIF's beams to record-shattering energies, keeping the highly energetic beams focused, maintaining cleanliness all along the beam's path, and successfully operating this enormously complex facility—all required NIF's designers to make major advances in existing laser technology as well as to develop entirely new technologies (see The Seven Wonders of NIF). Innovations in the design, manufacture, and assembly of NIF's optics were especially critical (see Optics).
James Cameron Now at Ocean's Deepest Point
Explorer-filmmaker reaches Mariana Trench on deepest ever solo sub dive.
A shipboard crane lowers Cameron's sub into the Pacific around 2 a.m. Monday, local time.Photograph by Mark Thiessen, National Geographic
Cameron lowers himself into the sub for the Challenger Deep mission. Photograph by Mark Thiessen, National Geographic.Ker Thanfor National Geographic NewsPublished 6 p.m. ET, March 25, 2012
As of 5:52 p.m. ET Sunday (7:52 a.m. Monday, local time), James Cameron has arrived at theMariana Trench's Challenger Deep, members of the National Geographic expedition haveconfirmed.
His depth on arrival: 35,756 feet (10,898 meters)—a figure unattainable anywhere else in the ocean.Reaching bottom, the National Geographic explorer and filmmaker typed out welcome words for the cheering support crew waiting at the surface: "All systems OK."Folded into a sub cockpit as cramped as any Apollo capsule, the National Geographic explorer and filmmaker is now investigating a seascape more alien to humans than the moon. Cameron is only the third person to reach this Pacific Ocean valley southwest of Guam (map)—and the only one to do so solo.Hovering in what he's called a vertical torpedo, Cameron is likely collecting data, specimens, and imagery unthinkable in 1960, when the only other explorers to reach Challenger Deep returned after seeing little more than the silt stirred up by their bathyscaphe.After as long as six hours in the trench, Cameron—best known for creating fictional worlds on film(Avatar, Titanic, The Abyss)—is to jettison steel weights attached to the sub and shoot back to the surface. (See pictures of Cameron's sub.)Meanwhile, the expedition's scientific support team awaits his return aboard the research ships Mermaid Sapphire and Barakuda, 7 miles (11 kilometers) up. (Video: how sound revealed that Challenger Deep is the deepest spot in the ocean.)"We're now a band of brothers and sisters that have been through this for a while," marine biologist Doug Bartlett told National Geographic News from the ship before the dive."People have worked for months or years in a very intensive way to get to this point," said Bartlett, chief scientist for the DEEPSEA CHALLENGE program, a partnership with the National Geographic Society and Rolex. (The Society owns National Geographic News.)"I think people are ready," added Bartlett, of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, California. "They want to get there, and they want to see this happen."(Video: Cameron Dive Is an Exploration First.)Rendezvous at Challenger DeepUpon touchdown at Challenger Deep, Cameron's first target is a phone booth-like unmanned "lander" dropped into the trench hours before his dive.Using sonar, "I'm going to attempt to rendezvous with that vehicle so I can observe animals that are attracted to the chemical signature of its bait," Cameron told National Geographic News before the dive.He'll later follow a route designed to take him through as many environments as possible, surveying not only the sediment-covered seafloor but also cliffs of interest to expedition geologists."I'll be doing a bit of a longitudinal transect along the trench axis for a while, and then I'll turn 90 degrees and I'll go north and work myself up the wall," saidCameron, also a National Geographic Society explorer-in-residence. (Listen:James Cameron on becoming a National Geographic explorer.)Though battery power and vast distances limit his contact with his science team to text messaging and sporadic voice communication, Cameron seemed confident in his mission Friday. "I'm pretty well briefed on what I'll see," he said.(Video: Cameron Dive First Attempt in Over 50 Years.)Bullet to the DeepTo get to this point, Cameron and his crew have spent seven years reimagining what a submersible can be. The result is the 24-foot-tall (7-meter-tall)DEEPSEA CHALLENGER.
Engineered to sink upright and spinning, like a bullet fired straight into the Mariana Trench, the sub can descend about 500 feet (150 meters) a minute—"amazingly fast," in the words of Robert Stern, a marine geologist at the University of Texas at Dallas.Pre-expedition estimates put the Challenger Deep descent at about 90 minutes. (Animation: Cameron's Mariana Trench dive compressed into one minute.)By contrast, some current remotely operated vehicles, or ROVs, descend at about 40 meters (130 feet) a minute, added Stern, who isn't part of the expedition.Andy Bowen, project manager and principal developer of the Nereus, an ROV that explored Challenger Deep in 2009, called the DEEPSEA CHALLENGER "an extremely elegant solution to the challenge of diving a human-occupied submersible to such extreme depths.""It's been engineered to be very effective at getting from the surface to the seafloor in as quick a time as possible," said Bowen, of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, who also isn't part of the current expedition.And that's just the idea, the DEEPSEA CHALLENGE team says: The faster Cameron gets there, the more time for science. (Read more about DEEPSEA CHALLENGE science.)Pursuing speed and science in tandem makes the DEEPSEA CHALLENGERtest dives—and even the Mariana Trench mission—perhaps as unorthodox as the sub itself.Typically "you conduct a sea trial for a vehicle, you pronounce it fit for service, andthen you develop a science program around it," Cameron said before heading to the trench. "We collapsed that together into one expedition, because [we were] fairly confident the vehicle would work—and it is."Techno TorpedoNow, at the bottom of the trench, the sub's custom-designed foam filling and the pressure-resistant shape of the "pilot sphere"—are helping protect Cameron from the equivalent of 8 tons pressing down on every square inch (1,125 kilograms per square centimeter). (Video: how sub sphere protects Cameron.)Among the sub's tools are a sediment sampler, a robotic claw, a "slurp gun" for sucking up small sea creatures for study at the surface, and temperature, salinity, and pressure gauges.While that might sound like a gearhead's paradise, Cameron knows he'll "have to be able to prioritize.""Is my manipulator working properly? Do I still have room in my sample drawer? And do I still have the ability to take a [sediment] core sample? ... I only have [tools for] three sediment cores available on the vehicle, so I have to choose wisely when to use them."By contrast, the sub's multiple 3-D cameras will be whirring almost continually, and not just for the benefit of future audiences of planned documentaries."There is scientific value in getting stereo images," Cameron said, "because ... you can determine the scale and distance of objects from stereo pairs that you can't from 2-D images."But, Scripps's Bartlett said, "it's not just the video." The sub's lighting of deepwater scenes—mainly by an 8-foot (2.5-meter) tower of LEDs—is "so, so beautiful. It's unlike anything that you'll have seen from other subs or other remotely operated vehicles."(Video: Cameron Dive Is an Exploration First.)The Search for LifeRight now it's a mystery what Cameron is seeing, sampling, and filming at depth, in part because so little is known about the Challenger Deep environment.The only glimpses scientists have had of the region, via two ROV missions, showed a seafloor covered in light gray, silky mud.Cameron may be detecting subtle signs of life—burrows or tracks or fecal piles—said DEEPSEA CHALLENGE biological oceanographer Lisa Levin, also of Scripps, who's monitoring the expedition from afar.If the water's clear, she added, Cameron may be seeing jellyfish or xenophyophores—giant, single-celled, honeycomb-shaped creatures already filmed in other areas of the Mariana Trench. (See "Giant 'Amoebas' Found in Deepest Place on Earth.")"If we get lucky," Cameron said before the dive, "we should find something like a cold seep, where we might find tube worms." Cold seeps are regions of the ocean floor somewhat like hydrothermal vents (video) that ooze fluid chemicals at the same temperature as the surrounding water.Earlier this month, during a test dive near Papua New Guinea, Cameron brought back enormous shrimplike creatures from five miles (eight kilometers) down. At 7 inches (17 centimeters) long, the animals are "the largest amphipods ever seen at that kind of depth," chief scientist Bartlett said. "And we saw one on camera that was perhaps twice that size."At Challenger Deep depths, though, the calcium animals need to form shells dissolves quickly. It's unlikely—though not impossible—that Cameron is finding shelled creatures, but if he does, the discovery would be a scientific jaw-dropper.Even if he uncovers "a rock with a shell limpet or some kind of bivalve in the mud"—such as a clam, perhaps—"that would be exciting," Scripps's Levin said.Aliens of the AbyssExpedition astrobiologist Kevin Hand, of NASA, imagines that the life-forms Cameron might be encountering could help fine-tune the search for extraterrestrial life.For instance, scientists think Jupiter's moon Europa could harbor a global ocean beneath its thick shell of ice—an ocean that, like Challenger Deep, would be lightless, near freezing, and home to areas of intense pressure. (See "Could Jupiter Moon Harbor Fish-Size Life?")By studying the wavelengths of light, or spectra, reflected off life-forms and sediments brought up by Cameron, Hand should get a better idea of which minerals are needed for life in such an environment. This, in turn, might help him design a space probe better able to detect signs of life on Europa."There's an old adage in geology that the best geologist is the one that's seen the most rocks," said Hand, a National Geographic emerging explorer."I think astrobiology could have a similar adage, in that our best capability for finding life elsewhere—and knowing it when we see it—will come from having a comprehensive understanding of all the various extremes of life on Earth."And for UT Dallas's Stern, DEEPSEA CHALLENGER's rock-sampling capability offers the opportunity to better understand our planet's inner workings."Challenger Deep is the deepest cut into the solid Earth," Stern said, "and this gives us a chance to see deeper into the Earth than anywhere else."Once the trench-dive data, specimens, and imagery have been analyzed, National Geographic magazineplans to reveal the full results in a special issue on next-generation exploration in January 2013."A Turning Point"By returning humans to the so-called hadal zone—the ocean's deepest level, below 20,000 feet (6,000 meters)—the Challenger Deep expedition may represent a renaissance in deep-sea exploration.While ROVs are much less expensive than manned subs, "the critical thing is to be able to take the human mind down into that environment," expedition member Patricia Fryer said, "to be able to turn your head and look around to see what the relationships are between organisms in a community and to see how they're behaving—to turn off all the lights and just sit there and watch and not frighten the animals, so that they behave normally."That is almost impossible to do with an ROV," said Fryer, a marine geologist at the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics & Planetology.In fact, Cameron is so confident in his star vehicle that he started mulling sequels even before the trench dive.Phase two might include adding a thin fiber-optic tether to the ship, which "would allow science observers at the surface to see the images in real time," he said. "And phase three might be taking this vehicle and creating a second-generation vehicle."DEEPSEA CHALLENGE, then, may be anything but a one-hit wonder. ToBartlett, the Mariana Trench expedition could "represent a turning point in how we approach ocean science."I absolutely think that what you're seeing is the start of a program, not just one grand expedition."Rachael Jackson of National Geographic Channels International contributed reporting to this stor
awesome thread imo
Glad you brought the article I found over here, I was too lazy to find this thread and post it here originally, where it belonged. Love this thread and the space thread
I'm actually really excited for Cameron to come back up and all of his findings and video and science to come out in the public. It's going to be really cool.
I wonder if something like this, a privately funded, "impossible" expedition will spur others on to other attempts? Maybe into space or back down to the sea floor. I hope so.
TL;DR: Graphene becoming commercialised; battery going to last as 3 times as long as any other battery on the market; it's at least 16% lighter and can be up to 50% lighter based on scale, and at least two times the capacity of traditional graphite anodes used in lithium ion batteries.
Implications: longer lasting and large capacity storage for renewable energies like solar and wind; electric cars become more viable, cheaper, etc., eventually used in laptops and smartphones for longer battery life and shorter charging eventually
Graphene gets commercialised in new battery tech
Wonder-material graphene, a honeycomb lattice of carbon just one atom thick, is finally set to appear in a commercial product thanks to an agreement between California Lithium Battery and the Argonne National Laboratory.
Discovered by Hans-Peter Hoehm in 1962, graphene was relatively unknown until Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov from the University of Manchester carried out a series of eye-raising experiments on the substance. Thanks to their work, for which they earned the 2010 Nobel Prize for Physics, graphene was found to have a wide range of remarkably properties which promise to revolutionise the electronics industry.
Graphene has been suggested as a means ofimproving the performance of transistors, boosting the capacity of lithium-ion batteries by a factor of ten, as a way of creating an 'optical diode' for terabit-speed optical communications and even convincing electrons to move at the speed of light.
All these potential applications have one thing in common, however: they're confined to the laboratory. Despite years of research and numerous claims of a breakthrough in one field or another, graphene remains the stuff of scientific papers rather than commercial products.
At least, until now.
Energy storage specialist California Lithium Battery (CLBattery) has announced that it has begun work to commercialise a third-generation lithium-ion battery based on technology created at the Argonne National Laboratory. The result: a battery which promises to last three times as long as anything else on the market.
The secret lies in Argonne's silicon carbide battery anode material, which replaces the graphite anode traditionally used in lithium-ion batteries. While silicon carbide had previously been discounted for use in lithium-ion batteries due to its instability, Argonne researchers discovered that applying graphene to the anode - a process it calls graphitisation - resulted in a material with twice the lithium-ion capacity of graphite alone.
Using graphitised silicon carbide as an anode, Argonne claims, results in a direct reduction in weight of the combined anode and cathode by 16 per cent - or, alternatively, an increase in capacity for the same weight. The technologypromises to scale with future battery technologies, too, up to a potential 50 per cent weight reduction.
Sadly, while CLBattery is forging ahead with a commercial implementation, it's going to be a while before your laptop or smartphone sees the benefit. The company's first product built around the technology is designed for use in grid energy storage and electric vehicle applications.
Following the technology's release over the next two years, however, it's likely that Argonne will be looking to licence its invention to other manufacturers - including gadget makers. With the promise of increased longevity and a choice of reduced weight or boosted capacity, it could well prove the first real success for the miraculous graphene.
Man with no pulse: How turbines can replace a heart
3 million sheets of that stuff per millimeter. Nano-tech is gonna advance our technological capabilities so much
I have no clue of what im reading, can someone dumb it down for me?
They're trying to artificially recreate conditions within the sun to enable fusion (where two elements are fused together to create a heavier one).
Another article on it.
Asked my step-father about this yesterday and he thinks they're setting the shots that high because they're not getting the results yet that they should at lower rates. They'll just need to tweek some things.
The lab is working on another project called LIFE (Laser Inertial Fusion Engergy) to basically to the same thing but where they can fire the laser 13 times a second, as opposed to once every 8 hours.
damn science, you scary
How is it powered?
Boy we are living in some exciting ass times
And so many people are unaware of the awesome things we are accomplishes, shame
Exactly. And the rate of discovery is absolutely mind-blowing compared to the rest of history too; we have revolutionary breakthroughs almost daily in every field of science
Looks like two external lithium ion batteries. Here's a long article about it if anyone's interested.
I always wondered why they kept trying to recreate a pulse instead of trying continuous flow seeing as the moving parts behind recreating a pulse is what led to the short lifespan of the artificial hearts
On the subject of lasers, I worked on the facility that hosts the Hyperion 3. It creates 1 MV (1,000,000 V) of DC to create the necessary heat for peeling the silicon wafers. I have close up pictures if anyone is interested.
Silicon wafers sliced to 10% conventional bulk with Hyperion 3
March 14, 2012 - Marketwire -- Twin Creeks Technologies, semiconductor and solar cell manufacturing equipment supplier, debuted its first commercial wafer production system that reduces solar module and semiconductor device wafers by up to 90%.
The tool uses proton induced exfoliation (PIE) to generate monocrystalline wafers that are less than 1/10th the thickness of conventional wafers. This eliminates excess silicon material below the active substrate, using atoms as a scalpel to cleave wafers. Hyperion embeds a uniform layer of high-energy protons, which are hydrogen ions, into monocrystalline wafers to a depth of up to 20um. When heated, this new layer expands, cleaving the top surface from the donor wafer to form an ultra-thin wafer that is otherwise identical to the original. The ultra-thin wafer is then further processed into solar modules or semiconductors. Creating wafers with PIE eliminates the kerf, or wasted silicon from mechanical slicing.
Hyperion is compatible with various monocrystalline wafers, including germanium, gallium nitride (GaN), sapphire and silicon carbide (SiC) for power electronics and light-emitting diodes (LEDs).
Initial applications have focused on crystalline silicon solar cells, with the process expertise gained from these installations being used for new applications, such as CMOS sensors. Hyperion notes that cost reductions are achieved from reducing the silicon used, as well as eliminating wafer saws, furnaces, and crystal pullers.
Hyperion wafers are thin enough to be bendable, opening opportunities in flexible electronics and solar modules.
Twin Creeks' intellectual property for creating and handling ultra-thin wafers as well as producing finished solar cells can be licensed to Twin Creeks customers. The company, in collaboration with the state of Mississippi, has built a commercial demonstration plant in Senatobia, Mississippi where Twin Creeks and its customers can fine-tune processes for generating ultra-thin solar modules and wafers with Hyperion.
Twin Creeks Technologies provides manufacturing equipment for thin crystalline wafers for the solar and semiconductor industries. Learn more at www.twincreekstechnologies.com.
not an article, but really interesting
I am sure it has been discussed somewhere before, but Raymond Kurzweil's The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology is a good book on technology advances. He also practices as a futurist and comments on bad assumptions made in the past (flying cars), his previous erroneous guestimates, and since it was written in 2005 you can see things he called correctly and incorrectly recently.
Single molecule circuit controlled through quantum interference
Ars Technica is not a bad resource to follow on twitter as well. http://twitter.com/#!/arstechnica
Single molecule circuit controlled through quantum interference
By Matthew Francis | Published about 6 hours ago
Quantum interference has been observed in other molecules, but only at very low temperatures.
In typical electronic devices, temperature is the primary physical variable that controls conductivity. Resistance tends to increase with temperature. However, things are different on the nanoscale. Even at room temperature, the energy difference between quantum levels within a molecule can be much larger than the thermal energy. This means it is possible, in principle, to manipulate the wave function of electrons in a way that tunes the conductive properties of a material on the molecular level.
In a newly published experiment, Constant M. Guédon et al. managed to promote destructive quantum interference between electrons in a single molecule, reducing the molecule's ability to conduct current in the process. They compared the conductive properties of molecules that have an identical primary structure, but have differences in their electronic quantum states. In a molecule where the electrons interfered destructively, it suppressing the flow of electric current. This experiment opens up the possibility of room-temperature molecular devices based on quantum interference.
The researchers' procedure involved depositing five different but chemically-related molecules onto a gold substrate. The molecules, being long chains, create a brush-like layer on top of the gold, with each molecule acting as a wire. An atomic-force microscope (AFM) coated in gold acts as a second electrode. The current flows between the substrate and the AFM through the molecules.
The conductive properties of the molecules depend on whether they are linearly-conjugated or cross-conjugated. Linearly-conjugated means electron orbitals offer only one path for transport across the molecule. In contrast, cross-conjugated molecules effectively offer two paths of different lengths. This latter type exhibits destructive quantum interference. Because the paths are of different lengths, the electron wavefunctions overlap. The effect is to throttle electron flow across the molecule, reducing conductivity.
In the system used by Guédon et al., linearly-conjugated molecules and cross-conjugated molecules differ only in the presence or absence of a small additional structure (an anthraquinone unit, for the chemistry buffs in the audience). The linearly-conjugated molecules exhibited conductivity approximately 100 times larger than their cross-conjugated cousins, even though the energy levels are effectively identical between the two types. In other words, the difference in electron transport isn't from the orbital structure, but from quantum interference.
While many previous nanoscale experiments based on quantum interference require very cold temperatures, this result was obtained at room temperature. Thus, Guédon et al. have shown in principle that molecular electronic devices based on quantum interference may be operated under ordinary conditions, with large changes in conductivity due simply to small chemical differences.
Nature Nanotechnology, 2012. DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2012.37 (About DOIs).
We talked about this in my class the other day. Some kids project was to basically make people stronger without being detected. He probably just jacked this article.
Sure, I'd like to see them.
where do I invest, this seems like the plastics of the future
Saw one scientist come down pretty hard on Raymond's writing and predictions because they are basically what he wants to happen
It basically is. Pretty much going to be the next silicon. just a matter of where the "Graphene Grassland" or "Graphene Galaxy" ends up being located in the USA (my dubbed terms, copyright Dwight Kurt Schrute) . My bets are on it just completely taking over Silicon Valley since it's going to completely revolutionize computers and electromagnetism systems
Right, so are we going to a see a start up company that manufactures this stuff?
Well the article I posted is basically illustrating exactly that; a company is going to be using it for commercialized batteries, mainly for power grids and EVs. They may eventually use them for laptops and smartphones in a few years
There will be many current and new companies that jump on the EV technology/power storage. This could not only be used for the batteries inside the car but possibly for storage that could be used at EV charging stations; the greenest EV charging stations are hooked up to a battery back up, renewable energy system (usually PV). The new batteries, if truly revolutionary, would change the face of off grid systems that are powered generally by solar PV or wind power.
good, I'm tired of burning dinosaurs to get where I'm going.
I assume the company that came up with this stuff has the patent on it for a while though
10 Billion Earth-Like Planets May Exist in Our Galaxy
About 40 percent of red dwarf stars may have Earth-sized planets orbiting them that have the right conditions for life.Red dwarfs – which are smaller and cooler than our sun – are extremely common, making up 80 percent of stars in the galaxy. Their ubiquity suggests that there are tens of billions of possible places to look for life beyond Earth, with at least 100 such planets located nearby.The new estimate comes from a team of astronomers using the European Southern Observatory’sHARPS planet-hunting telescope to look at a sample of 102 nearby red dwarfs over a six-year period. The telescope checked for a characteristic wobble from the star, indicating that at least one planet was tugging on it while orbiting around.The search found nine planets with between one and 10 Earth masses, including two in the habitable zone, possibly giving them the right temperature to have liquid water. Because red dwarfs don’t produce as much heat as our sun, their habitable zones occur much closer to the star.Larger planets, about the size of Jupiter, were found around less than 12 percent of red dwarfs, suggesting they are rarer than small rocky worlds.
Until recently, astronomers could only guess at the number of stars with planets around them. Now, with the more than 700 confirmed exoplanets, researchers finally have enough data to begin homing in on the true number.A previous team suggested that one quarter of sun-like stars have an Earth-sized planet around them, while another group estimated that one planet exists for each of the hundred billion stars in our galaxy.Astronomers hope to someday build a telescope capable of directly imaging the light from an extrasolar planet and see if they contain the telltale chemicals of life, such as oxygen or methane.
To me, it's basically just a matter of time until we find life out there.
Nothing would stop them from selling that technology to the different EV and battery manufacturers though. They would stand to make more money doing that probably.
Long but well worth the read. Holy shit if this can work. This was actually published in Nov 2011 too, why have I now just heard of it
DRACO: Death to the Virus
In a paper published 27 July , researchers from MIT reported successful tests in mice with a new drug that holds the promise of being a cure to all viruses. The drug, DRACO (Double-stranded RNA Activated CaspaseOligomerizer), works as a “broad-spectrum” antiviral, killing virus-hijacked cells by targeting double-stranded RNA produced in the viral replication process. DRACO proved successful against all 15 viruses tested “including rhinoviruses that cause the common cold, H1N1 influenza, a stomach virus, a polio virus, dengue fever and several other types of hemorrhagic fever.” We may expect results from cell trials against AIDS within the next 12 months.DRACO is but one broad-spectrum therapeutic being developed as part of a project called PANACEA (Pharmacological Augmentation of Nonspecific Anti-pathogen Cellular Enzymes and Activities) headed by Dr. Todd Rider, senior staff scientist in MIT Lincoln Laboratory’s Chemical, Biological, and Nanoscale Technologies Group.I met with Dr. Rider in the food court of the MIT co-op bookstore early on a weekday. He had already finished tending to his mice and, after we chatted, he rose to declare that he off to do “real work”… writing grant proposals to keep his research alive.
Could you give us a broad overview of the Panacea project?
Sure. We’ve come up with a broad-spectrum antiviral that we call DRACO, Double-stranded RNA Activated Caspase Oligomerizer (I love acronyms), and it’s basically designed to detect any long double stranded RNA, so we’ve created chimeric proteins where one end will detect the chimeric RNA — the double-stranded RNA — and then the other end will trigger apoptosis, or cell suicide. So the net effect is that these DRACO molecules can go inside all the cells in your body, or at this moment, inside all the cells in a mouse, and if they don’t find anything, then they don’t do anything. But if they find a viral infection, if they find a viral double-stranded RNA, then that will activate the back ends to trigger cell suicide, and that will kill the infected cell. That terminates the infection.
So there wouldn’t be a difference between DNA Viruses and RNA Viruses?
It works with both. We’ve tested it on both. All known viruses make double-stranded RNA, and that’s true from the literature and also true from our experiments. So here (indicating illustration) the viruses we tested included a couple DNA viruses, and it worked quite nicely against those. Others in the literature are also known to make quite a bit of double-stranded RNA. Other DNA viruses, like pox viruses and herpes viruses, also make double-stranded RNA.
Has it been tested on each family of virus?
It’s been tested on these families of viruses so far (indicating paper). There are a gazillion viruses, so we’re working our way through them as quickly as we can. It’s been tested on several very different families so far.
My understanding is that viruses usually kill the cell anyway, but retroviruses usually do not. I don’t know how viruses cluster. Are there any odds at all that there would be a retrovirus that clusters too tightly in a certain organ where it [triggered cell death by DRACO] would cause a lesion?
Virtually all viruses will kill the host cell on the way out. Of the hand-full that don’t, your own immune system will try to kill those infected cells. So we’re really not killing any more cells with our appraoch than we already have been. It’s just that we’re killing them at an early enough stage before they infect and ultimately kill more cells. So if anything this limits the amount of cell death.
So that’s not really a legitimate fear.
It shouldn’t be.
How far along are you and how far away are you from human trials?
Unfortunately quite a long way. We’ve done a number of tests in mice. We need to do more testing in mice. Of course, MIT is not a pharmaceutical company. There’s only so far we can take it at MIT. We’re hoping to license it to some pharmaceutical company, and they would carry to larger-scale animal trials. Usually the FDA wants to see a lot of mouse trials, which we’ve done already; and then a lot of trials in, say, rabbits or guinea pigs, and then trials in monkeys before they approve human trials. So, if a licensee takes this, if we have funding for it, it still might take a decade or so before it really is available for humans.
So how’s the funding working now?
We have funding from NIH [National Institutes of Health].
And can you take it up to monkey here [at MIT]?
We may be able to take it into further animal models here, but mice are the easiest thing to use. We have a lot of mice. We’re also limited by funding. We only haved NIH funding at the moment, and we only have enough funding for about 1 person, and we have 4 people total, counting me, working at the moment, so we’ve split the funding four different ways…
Has anybody reached out to you?
Nope. Not so far.
When I first read about this I thought this was an amazing story, that this would be front-page news in a couple of hours. Weeks later, I was thinking this must not have been a true story. That’s when I looked it up again and saw that it was indeed on the MIT site. What’s the relative lack of interest. There haved been articles, but I feel this is definitely front-page material.
Well thank you. On the funding front, I think there’s a ton of funding for very basic research — not applied research, trying to cure something, but basic research — Let’s go study this virus, see how this virus works in a little more detail. There’s a ton of NIH funding for that. On the applied front, if you are ready for human trials — so you’re 10 years more advanced than we are now — then there are government agencies and companies that will take it and take it to that final step. But in that long gap in between there’s very very little funding out there. So we’ve been struggling for all of 11 years now just working to get funding, and at the moment we’re just barely limping along.
This is a subset of PANACEA, right? Can you describe PANACEA?
PANACEA is a family of broad-spectrum anti-pathogen treatments. We’ve tested some others, we’ve tried to get funding for others. This [DRACO] is the one that is furthest along.
What are some of the others that look promising?
We have a number of others. [DRACO] is a broad-spectrum antiviral. We have other broad-spectrum antivirals. We also have other PANACEA treatments that we’ve adapted to go after other things. Like for bacteria. And of course there are antibiotics, but for bacteria that are resistant to existing antibiotics, such as tuberculosis, malaria… so we can adapt this to pathogens other than viruses. We’ve done some initial experiments, we just can’t get funding for that so far.
Do you foresee any potential wild-cards in the human trials?
It’s always difficult to tell what will happen. I hope that there won’t be. We’re always concerned that there will be some toxicity or other unforeseen problems. We’ve been very pleased every step of the way in the cell testing. We’ve tested in a number of different human cell types representing many different organs; human lung cells, human liver cells, all kinds of different human cells, as well as a variety of animal cells. We haven’t seen any toxicity or any other strange effects in any of those cell types. In the mice we were again very concerned about toxicity, and we haven’t seen any toxicity in the mice. We inject the mice with very high doses of the stuff daily for a number of days, and they seem fine. We let them move for a while, eventually we dissected them, looked at the tissues. All the tissues were fine, there’s no organ damage or anything. It’s always possible something unexpected could come up further down the road in monkies or in humans. We certainly hope not. But I think there is enough flexibility in the concept that even if there were a problem, there are ways to redesign the constructs that we have to overcome any potential problems.
That might also speak to the production cost. Is it fairly low production cost if, say, it was to be mass-produced in the future?
These are produced in bacteria, and at the moment I really don’t know what the ultimate production cost would be. We produce on a very small scale, barely enough for our mice. Of course cells eat a lot less DRACO than mice do. So if we’re producing for cells, that’s a very small quantity, but just a few flasks of bacteria will produce enough to last us for a while. But once you scale this up to a large-scale production large-scale animal trials or human trials, hopefully the cost would go down. I don’t know exactly what the cost would be.
Do you envision the final end-plan to be people with DRACO in their medicine cabinet, or more like penicillin today?
If it’s safe I’d like to see it used as much as possible for as many different things as possible. I would guess that if it were approved for human use by the FDA, initially they would be conservative enough that they would only want to see it used in very dire cases, just in case there are interesting side-effects or something, and it’s only to people with ebola or HIV that’s become resistant to other drugs who would get this. If this proved to be safe in those cases, then I would hope that they’d approve it for wider use against more common pathogens, perhaps all the way down to the common cold. And if it really is safe, then maybe you’d just pop a DRACO pill any time you felt a cold coming on.
How long does it stay in the system? It’s obviously not a vaccine –
Right. In cells it lasts at least for a couple of weeks, possibly longer. In the mice it lasts for at least 2 days. We have a lot of data in the paper showing it will persist in mice for at least 48 hours at fairly high doses in the tissues. This is really about trying to optimize that. There are a lot of tricks we can use to try to make it last longer if necessary. And if this stuff is truly completely safe, then you can give it prophylactically. You could even concievably give someone the gene for the DRACO so that their cells would just permanently produce the DRACO, and they would naturally be resistant to almost everything.
Oh, wow. That’s an amazing idea.
I feel like this is something that should be fast-tracked. We have all this planning in regards to epidemics. There is all kinds of scare that we’re ripe for an epidemic.
Perhaps we will be [approached with funding offers] in the future, but so far we haven’t been. We’ve really struggled along for the past 11 years, barely getting enough funding to stay alive.
So this has been on the table, at least as an idea, for 11 years?
Right. We just got good data from the mouse trials and published that, but 11 years ago we started engineering the DRACOs. Genetic engineering was a bit more primative in those days, so it took us a while to actually produce these things. Then it took us a while to produce and test them in cells. We ultimately tested against 15 different viruses in cells. As I said, we were kind of limping along for funding for much of that time, so we could only work on it when we had funding to work on it. For some fraction of our time, we had funding to work on it. Eventually, we were able to test against the 15 different viruses in cells in 11 different cell types. And then we had funding to do some mouse trials, got data, and then we got published.
If you get a cold this winter… are you going to be tempted?
I’m not tempted by colds. I’ve had very bad stomach viruses and I’ve been tempted to give myself the stuff to see what would happen.
You don’t think you’ll do that, though?
It wouldn’t be enough anyway. We only produce enough for mice, and for a human you require a much larger dose than for a 20 gram mouse.
Gonna need a lot of that stuff to work in humans but it's interesting nonetheless, especially since I'm in a virology course