super-science breakthrough compendium thread

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Re: super-science breakthrough compendium thread

Postby liminalOyster » Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:19 pm

Yeah, the part you have quoted is total garbage and we agree about wheat and nasty staple crops. But all that aside, a non-GMO tek to speed up plant reproduction cycles could have many benefits - distinct from any Dow etc crap about increased yield, etc.

The study shows that traits such as plant pathogen interactions, plant shape and structure, and flowering time can be studied in detail and repeated using the technology.

As for organic farmers, of a certain stripe, I could see that being able to test different varieties more often could, for instance, help identify natural pest resistance. I've done some limited lab work involving plant specimens that I had to grow from seed; a non chemical, non GMO way to cut up that wait time sounds appealing,
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Re: super-science breakthrough compendium thread

Postby Elvis » Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:41 am

Popular Mechanics covering what it knows best: machines. Followed by EmDrive Roger Shawyer's research webpage.

Why DARPA Is Betting a Million Bucks on an "Impossible" Space Drive

Agency responsible with filling the government's coffers with cutting-edge tech is funding a controversial drive that's based on unproven science.
By David Hambling
Nov 2, 2018


The law of conservation of momentum says that a rocket (or anything else) can't accelerate forward without some form of exhaust ejected backward. But in 1998, a British engineer named Roger Shawyer announced the seemingly impossible—he had built a closed system that could generate thrust.

Twenty years later and many scientists still call the Shawyer's EmDrive impossible, but that hasn't stopped DARPA, the Defense Department agency that funds potential technological breakthroughs of all kinds, from putting serious money behind it.

An Irritating Anomaly

Here's how the EmDrive works. Imagine you have a truncated cone—a tube wider at one end than the other—made of copper. Seal it, then fill it with microwaves. Like other electromagnetic radiation, microwaves exert a tiny amount of pressure. But because of the shape of this device, they would exert slightly more force on one end than the other. So, even though it’s a closed system, the cone would experience a net thrust and, if you had enough microwaves, it would gradually accelerate.

Build it to a large enough scale and you could revolutionize propulsion.

But all of this should be theoretically impossible, hence the skepticism hurled by respectable physicists and SGU, a skeptic website that compared the idea behind the EmDrive to someone trying to move a car forward by pushing on the dashboard.

Undeterred by the fact that it would seem to be physically impossible, independent imitators testing the EmDrive theory have nonetheless reported small but measurable thrust from their own EmDrives. These include Chinese researchers at Northwestern Polytechnic in Xi’an, NASA’s Eagleworks, and the American company Cannae, which plans to launch a commercial version into space. A German team at Dresden is evaluating the EmDrive and will report next year, though early results suggest thrust measurements could instead be stray magnetic fields.

To the physics establishment, these reports of positive thrust are an irritating anomaly, the result of experimental error and wishful thinking. But about a decade ago, before China reported its results, as the idea of a propellant-less drive began to swirl, DARPA quietly got involved, according to Shawyer.

“DARPA attended the original 2008 EmDrive meeting at the Pentagon, chaired by Joe Rouge, the then director of the National Security Space Office,” Shawyer told Popular Mechanics. “I was then invited to a meeting with DARPA at their Arlington HQ to discuss an R&D program.”

Jess Sponable, formerly a program manager at DARPA in charge of the XS-1 Spaceplane project, says that he maintained an interest in the EmDrive’s progress well before China. Although he did not fund any EmDrive programs, Sponable believes the interest in these findings is justified.

“Given the number and diversity of claims about EmDrive and other exotic physics, my opinion then and now is that DARPA should invest modest sums to experimentally assess such claims, albeit only where credible experimental evidence exists,” Sponable told Popular Mechanics.

This applies even where the underlying science is unclear or disputed, and especially if there is a risk that someone else, like China, might get there first, Sponable says.

“The DARPA mission is to embrace and advance transformational change in the U.S. military, but…we must strive to beat the other guy to the punch line and ensure there will never again be another Sputnik moment,” says Sponable. “If DARPA does not gather this evidence and publish the results, positive or negative, then who in the U.S. government will?”

More recently, Shawyer has been in discussion with Mike Fiddy, the manager behind the latest DARPA initiative, Nascent Light Matter Interactions, or NLM. This will explore new and little-understood phenomena, such as the apparent thrust generated by the EmDrive. Fiddy confirms that DARPA has previously funded work related to the EmDrive but says this is a fresh start.

“The NLM program is new and is focused on Nascent Light Matter interactions where ‘Light’ implies electromagnetic waves and not only visible light,” Fiddy told Popular Mechanics.

The Unfounded Physics of the EmDrive

DARPA's $1.3 million contract includes developing theories to reconcile the EmDrive with known physics, and the basis of such a theory already exists. Enter Mike McCulloch, a lecturer in geomatics (the math of positioning in space) at the University of Plymouth, U.K.

“McCulloch's research will model and test the interaction of light with strongly resonant cavities, and it relies on a prediction from quantum theory that accelerating objects experience a thermal background known as Unruh radiation,” says Fiddy.

McCulloch and has already published over 20 papers on his theory of Quantized Inertia, or QI. It’s also known as Modified inertia by a Hubble-scale Casimir effect (MiHsC). This is a radical theory with wide-ranging implications that affects everything from galactic rotation to Dark Energy. McCulloch has already indicated how QI could reconcile the EmDrive with existing physics.

“It would be a game changer because if we understand the thrust effect then we can enhance it.”

“I am approaching it with a sense of opportunity,” McCulloch says. "It would be a game changer because if we understand the thrust effect then we can enhance it."

His QI theory has already been met with some resistance, as it challenges some widely accepted but unproven beliefs such as the existence of dark matter. But in science, facts are always king.

Rather than the tiny forces claimed by NASA—a few micro-Newtons, or the weight of a large ant—a properly engineered EmDrive could theoretically produce hundreds of milli-Newtons (as claimed by Chinese scientists), similar to the weight of a smartphone. That will make it easier to demonstrate that the thrust is not a measuring error or some other random effect.

Rather than microwaves, the experiments to validate McCulloch’s theory will use light with one experiment traveling in a loop and another with a laser bouncing off asymmetrical mirrors. Nobody has built this type of EmDrive before, but the inventor thinks it has some advantages.

“There is no reason why EmDrive should not work at optical frequencies,” says Shawyer. “This approach would result in small EmDrive thrusters, with high specific thrust output.”

If successful, the technology could be quickly applied to station-keeping for satellites, keeping them in orbit for extended periods. McCulloch says it would cut the cost of space launches by a factor of at least ten. Instead of giant rockets and inefficient rocket boosters which waste energy lifting their fuel, spacecraft could have sleek, efficient, electrical EmDrives.

“It would make interplanetary travel easier and will make interstellar travel in a human lifetime possible for the first time,” says McCulloch.

But the doubters are still going to doubt, because that’s how science works. Unruh radiation, a key part of McCulloch’s work, is still just a theory, yet to be detected conclusively in the laboratory. As Rochester Institute of Technology astrophysicist Brian Koberlein has noted, the experimental evidence for the EmDrive is currently at the level of background noise. And, as he writes in Forbes, any theory supporting the EmDrive has a lot of work to do:

“The idea not only violates Newton’s third law of motion, it violates special relativity, general relativity, and Noether’s theorem. Since these are each well-tested theories that form the basis of countless other theories, their violation would completely overturn all of modern physics.”

McCulloch’s work will likely continue under scrutiny, with the smallest details setting off all kinds of intense debate among scientists who live and breathe this stuff. But DARPA has, for the moment, anyway, deemed the potential of a working EmDrive worthy of at least some further investigation. ... a-emdrive/

Roger Shawyer's site — many links at original:

SPR Ltd.

Home Background Benefits Theory Development Applications Future FAQ

The EmDrive

A New Concept in Spacecraft Propulsion

Satellite Propulsion Research Ltd (SPR Ltd) a small UK based company, has demonstrated a remarkable new space propulsion technology. The company has successfully tested both an experimental thruster and a demonstrator engine which use patented microwave technology to convert electrical energy directly into thrust. No propellant is used in the conversion process. Thrust is produced by the amplification of the radiation pressure of an electromagnetic wave propagated through a resonant waveguide assembly.


Latest news

July 2018

The following presentation was given at an EmDrive seminar held at Dresden Technical University on 11th July 2018. Dresden seminar July 2018

May 2018

For those who are new to the EmDrive saga, the history and background is given in an interview with the inventor here:

The interview was carried out by Mary-Ann Russon of the International Business Times, and was originally released on 14 October 2016.

September 2017

Patent GB 2493361 entitled High Q microwave radiation thruster has now been granted by the UK Intellectual Property Office.

A short note on general principles of EmDrive design and manufacture can be downloaded here:

General Principles of EmDrive design

August 2017 - EmDrive Efficiency

A short presentation on EmDrive thruster efficiency can be downloaded here.

EmDrive Efficiency

August 2017

A short presentation on Third Generation EmDrive can be downloaded here.

3G EmDrive

June 2017

An edited set of slides from a presentation made to the UK Defence Academy in February this year can be downloaded here. They give the background story to the emergence of EmDrive, and illustrate how important Global Defence applications are to the continuing development of the technology.

Shrivenham Presentation

September 2016

A slide presentation with narration, explaining the basic science behind EmDrive can be downloaded here.

August 2016

Development work is continuing on superconducting EmDrive thruster technology in co-operation with a UK aerospace company. No details of this work can be divulged at present.

However, as it is now 10 years since the completion of the original research work, the documents reporting on this work can be released, and can be accessed here.

Feasibility study technical report. Issue 2

Review of experimental thruster report

Demonstrator technical report. Issue 2

Review of DM tech report

The documents are two final technical reports and two independent reviews, and date from July 2002 to August 2006. The work was carried out for the UK government under their SMART and R&D award programmes. Documentation was shared with US government organisations.

The research was carried out concurrently with the BAE Systems Greenglow project, which was the subject of a BBC Horizon programme broadcast in March this year.

July 2015

A peer reviewed version of the IAC14 conference paper is given here: IAC14 Paper

A 5 minute audioslide presentation of the IAC14 paper, updated to include the latest test data from the University of Dresden Germany, is given here: IAC14 Audioslide (.avi 11MB)

June 2015

The full test video of one of the dynamic test runs of the Demonstrator engine has been released and is available here: Dynamic Test (.mpg 43MB) or Dynamic Test (.avi 112MB)

Notes giving an explanation of the test rig and this particular test run are given here: Notes on Dynamic Test

May 2015

A recent interview with Roger Shawyer, filmed by Nick Breeze, can be found here: 2015 Interview

January 2015

A number of research groups have asked questions on the methods of measuring EmDrive forces. A note explaining the principles can be found here: EmDrive Force Measurement

October 2014

At the IAC 2014 conference in Toronto, Roger Shawyer stated that 8 sets of test data have now verified EmDrive theory. These data sets resulted from thrust measurements on 7 different thrusters, by 4 independent organisations, in 3 different countries.
The Toronto presentation can be found here: IAC14 Presentation

August 2014

A recent interview with Roger Shawyer, recorded by Nick Breeze at the Royal Institution in London can be found here: Interview It is accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation entitled “EmDrive-Enabling a Better Future”.

July 2014

A paper entitled "Second Generation EmDrive Propulsion Applied to SSTO Launcher and Interstellar Probe" will be presented at the 65th International Astronautical Congress 2014 at Toronto in September.

October 2013

A paper entitled "The Dynamic Operation of a High Q EmDrive Microwave Thruster" and the associated poster for the recent IAC13 conference in Beijing is given here: IAC13 Paper   IAC13 Poster

November 2012

China publishes high power test results

The prestigious Chinese Academy of Sciences has published a paper by Professor Yang Juan confirming their high power test results. At an input power of 2.5kW, their 2.45GHz EmDrive thruster provides 720mN of thrust. The results have clearly been subject to extensive peer review following the NWPU 2010 paper. The measurements were made on a national standard, thrust measurement device, used for Ion Engine development. Details of the measurement system and calibration data are given in the paper. A professional English translation is given here: Yang Juan 2012 paper

September 2012

A solution to the acceleration limitation of superconducting EmDrive engines has been found. The application of this breakthrough has been described at a recent presentation, where a hybrid spaceplane provides a dramatic reduction in launch cost to geostationary orbit. A reduction factor of 130 compared to Atlas V launch costs is predicted. This will lead to Solar Power Satellites becoming a low cost, baseload, energy source. The presentation can be downloaded here: 2G update

July 2012

An English translation of the 2010 Chinese paper, together with unpublished test results have been obtained. The last line of the paper confirms that experimental thrust measurements have been made at 1kW input power. The unpublished test results show a large number of thrust measurements at input powers up to 2.5kW. The mean specific thrust obtained is close to that measured in the SPR flight thruster tests.

Note that the Chinese thruster, if deployed on the ISS, would easily provide the necessary delta V to compensate for orbital decay, thus eliminating the need for the reboost/refueling missions.

The original 2010 paper, the translation and the unpublished test results are given here:

NWPU 2010 paper

NWPU 2010 paper (English translation)

NWPU 2010 unpublished test results

June 2011

Two papers have been identified, published by Professor Yang Juan of The North Western Polytechnical University, Xi'an, China. These papers provide an independent proof of the theory of EmDrive. Abstracts of these papers are given in Chinese Paper Abstracts. The originals are written in Chinese.

August 2010

A Technology Transfer contract with a major US aerospace company was successfully completed. This 10 month contract was carried out under a UK Export Licence and a TAA issued by the US State Department. Details are subject to ITAR regulations.

June 2010

A paper was presented at the 2nd Conference on Disruptive Technology in Space Activities. See: Toulouse 2010 Paper

Earlier papers presented in a series of international conferences were:

Brighton 2005 paper

IAC 2008 paper

CEAS 2009 paper

May 2010

The Flight Thruster test programme was successfully completed. See: Flight Programme
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Re: super-science breakthrough compendium thread

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Nov 09, 2018 9:51 am

Meet the bionic mushroom that can generate electricity

By Jack Guy, CNN
Updated 3:19 PM EST, Thu November 08, 2018

B5C1A63E-FB2A-40A1-BBED-60B9C5B20860.jpeg (51.64 KiB) Viewed 160 times

The mushroom is covered with clusters of cyanobacteria and an electrode network.
(CNN) Finding clean ways to generate energy is a priority for scientists eager to reduce the world's reliance on fossil fuels. Now, a team of US researchers say they've found a way to make environmentally friendly energy using bionic mushrooms covered in bacteria.

Clusters of energy-producing cyanobacteria were attached to a typical button mushroom using 3D-printing technology, alongside an electrode network to harness the power they produce.

Cyanobacteria are common on land and in the oceans, and scientists are intrigued by their ability to turn light into energy via photosynthesis.

Cyanobacteria appear in green

Despite research projects examining how cyanobacteria could be used to make electricity, their use in power generation is limited by the fact that they cannot survive for long on artificial surfaces.

However, the mushroom provides great conditions for the bacteria to thrive, thanks to a combination of nutrients, temperature and moisture, and the scientists found they survived several days longer on the mushroom than on other surfaces.

The research was carried out by Manu Mannoor and Sudeep Joshi of the Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey. They say their research shows the possibilities of "engineered symbiosis" between organisms and nonliving materials, which they characterize as different worlds.

"What we show in this paper is an approach utilizing a multi-material 3d printing to integrate and seamlessly merge (you can also say sort of 'marrying') the 'smart' properties of these both worlds - one of biological living micro-organisms and the other of abiotic functional nanomaterials," Mannoor wrote in an email.

Their work, published Wednesday in the journal Nano Letters, could be used to generate green energy at a time of growing concern over climate change. Although one so-called bionic mushroom produces only a small amount of bio-electricity, the scientists are working to connect a number of them in an array that could power a small lamp

In addition, the team is looking into how to produce higher electrical currents using the bionic mushrooms, which would make them more useful.

The science behind the discovery fcould be used for other applications.

"As I mentioned, bacteria possess many other properties beside the electricity production," Mannoor said. "For example there are plenty bacteria in the human body that perform many functions."

"We would like to extend this approach of creating 'designer 3D bacterial nano-bionic' systems for application in biomedical field."

The Stevens Institute said in a statement that "The hybrids are part of a broader effort to better improve our understanding of cells biological machinery and how to use those intricate molecular gears and levers to fabricate new technologies and useful systems." ... index.html
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Re: super-science breakthrough compendium thread

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Nov 23, 2018 12:52 pm

Scientists just found a previously unknown part of the human brain

A brain cartographer suggests the cluster of cells appears unique to humans and may be responsible for fine motor control.

Jackson RyanNovember 22, 2018 7:39 PM PST

Neuroscience Research Australia
Thirty years ago, George Paxinos noticed an unusual assortment of cells lurking near the brain stem -- but he didn't think much of it.

Going over the region in 2018, he was once again struck by it. Now Paxinos' new research suggests that cluster of cells is definitely important. In fact, it appears to be a completely unknown region of the human brain. The early suggestion is that this bundle of neurons may be responsible for fine motor control, dictating our ability to strum the guitar, write and play sports.

Professor Paxinos is one of the world's most respected "brain cartographers". He creates atlases of human and animal brains that allow neuroscientists, brain surgeons and clinicians to get a better grasp of just what makes up the thinking boxes in our skull.

Coming back to the region that he was originally interested in before publishing his first atlas 28 years ago led to the discovery of the tiny grouping of brain cells. He's crowned the new region "the Endorestiform nucleus" because of its location at the base of the brain in the restiform body.

"One intriguing thing about this endorestiform nucleus is that it seems to be present only in the human, we have not been able to detect it in the rhesus monkey or the marmoset that we have studied," he explained.

It's location, between the brain stem and the spinal cord, is the only inkling we currently have about the brain cells function. As Paxinos has been unable to locate the same region in other apes, he guesses that it must be useful in the fine motor control that humans are so uniquely good at.

You can hear professor Paxinos discuss the finding in the video below.

However, while the structure does appear to be important, further work will be required to understand how its function relates to its form. Paxinos only journeys into the brain to craft a map so it will be up to other intrepid brain explorers to journey back to the centre of the neural bundle and learn more.

The oft-repeated line about our brains containing as many neurons as there are stars in the galaxy doesn't quite ring true -- but with some 86 billion neurons pulsing away upstairs, improving our understanding of the brain is still a mammoth task. Discoveries like this allow scientists and researchers to understand normal brain physiology, providing great insight on how or why things go wrong in pathologies such as Alzheimer's or motor neuron disease. ... man-brain/
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Re: super-science breakthrough compendium thread

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Dec 10, 2018 6:53 pm

Earth's Mysterious 'Deep Biosphere' Is Home to Millions of Undiscovered Species, Scientists Say

By Brandon Specktor, Senior Writer | December 10, 2018 02:41pm ET
Earth's Mysterious 'Deep Biosphere' Is Home to Millions of Undiscovered Species, Scientists Say
A nematode (eukaryote) in a biofilm of microorganisms. This deep-dwelling creature (Poikilolaimus sp.) was discovered in the Kopanang gold mine in South Africa, and was found 0.86 miles (1.4 km) below the surface.
Credit: Gaetan Borgonie (Extreme Life Isyensya, Belgium)
Life on Earth takes billions of shapes, but to see most of them you'll have to dig deep below the planet's surface.

For the past 10 years, that's what the scientists of the Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO) have been doing. Composed of more than 1,000 scientists from 52 countries around the world, this group of scientists maps the weird, wild life of Earth's "deep biosphere" — the mysterious patchwork of underground ecosystems that exists between Earth's surface and its core. It might sound like an unglamorous world of dirt, darkness and daunting pressure but, according to new research from the DCO, harsh conditions haven't stopped millions of undiscovered species of microbial life from evolving there since the planet's birth. [Extreme Life on Earth: 8 Bizarre Creatures]

In a statement that dubs Earth's deep biosphere a "subterranean Galapagos" waiting to be studied, DCO scientists estimate that the sheer biomass of carbon-based life lurking below our feet utterly dwarfs the amount of life roaming the Earth's surface. With about 17 billion to 25 billion tons of carbon (15 to 23 billion metric tonnes) under the planet's surface, DCO researchers estimate there is nearly 300 to 400 times as much carbon biomass underground (most of it still undiscovered) as there is in all the humans on Earth.

"Even in dark and energetically challenging conditions, intraterrestrial ecosystems have uniquely evolved and persisted over millions of years," Fumio Inagaki, a geomicrobiologist at the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology and DCO member, said in the statement . "Expanding our knowledge of deep life will inspire new insights into planetary habitability, leading us to understand why life emerged on our planet and whether life persists in the Martian subsurface and other celestial bodies."

Indeed, studying Earth's deep microbial life has already pushed the understanding of the conditions under which life can thrive. Researchers have drilled miles into the seafloor and sampled the microbiomes from mines and boreholes at hundreds of sites around the world. Data from these sites suggest that the world's deep biosphere spans roughly 500 million cubic miles (2.3 billion cubic kilometers) — about twice the volume of all the Earth's oceans — and houses about 70 percent of all the planet's bacteria and single-cell archaea.

Some of these species make their homes among the world's hottest, deepest niches. A frontrunner for Earth's hottest organism in nature is the single-celled Geogemma barossii, according to the statement. Living in hydrothermal vents on the seafloor, this microscopic spherical lifeform grows and replicates at 250 degrees Fahrenheit (121 degrees Celsius), well above the boiling point of water at 212 degrees F (100 degrees C).

Meanwhile, the record for deepest-known life so far is about 3 miles (5 km) below the continental subsurface and 6.5 miles (10.5 km) below the ocean's surface. Under this much water, extreme pressure becomes an unavoidable fact of life; at about 1,300 feet (400 meters) depth, the pressure is about 400 times greater than at sea level, the researchers wrote.

Expanding what we know about the limits of life on Earth could potentially give scientists new criteria for searching for life on other planets. If there are potentially millions of undiscovered organisms growing, thriving and evolving in the dark of our planet's crust, then our studies of biodiversity on Earth so far have, literally, only scratched the surface. ... phere.html
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