super-science breakthrough compendium thread

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Re: super-science breakthrough compendium thread

Postby DrEvil » Thu Jul 02, 2015 12:53 pm

coffin_dodger » Tue Jun 23, 2015 12:31 pm wrote:Interstellar 'should be shown in school lessons' BBC News 23 Jun 2015

The film Interstellar should be shown in school science lessons, a scientific journal has urged.

They say their call follows a new insight gained into black holes as a result of producing the visual effects for the Hollywood film.

cont - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-33173197

:rofl2 Hollywood is creating the scientific narrative now. :rofl2 :cheerleader:


To paraphrase someone on the internet: It should be taught in film school as an example of shitty script-writing and how nice special effects do not make a good movie. :)
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Re: super-science breakthrough compendium thread

Postby zangtang » Thu Jul 02, 2015 4:20 pm

the 'stayaloft' solar powered drone was good tho, - says I.....
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Re: super-science breakthrough compendium thread

Postby Elvis » Thu Jul 02, 2015 8:29 pm

Stayaloft™ -- sounds like a new antidepressant drug.
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Re: super-science breakthrough compendium thread

Postby justdrew » Sat Jul 18, 2015 11:10 pm

not exactly super-science but something I've been looking for for awhile now... modular prefab roadways, made from garbage pulled out of the sea... nice...

the Dutch city of Rotterdam is looking at partnering with a company called VolkerWessels to test a prototype plastic road for safety and durability. "They envision pulling waste plastic out of the oceans, and then processing it into prefabricated sections of road with integrated utility channels and drainage. The composition and structure of the plastic makes it more durable than traditional asphalt, and VolkerWessels estimates that their plastic roads should last about three times as long as traditional roads." The roads are manufactured at a factory, and then hauled in a mostly finished state to where they'll end up. This could dramatically reduce the time during which drivers are inconvenienced by road construction efforts.


here in oh-so enlighted Portland, all road repaving is being done with the blackest possible asphalt. yes, less worsen our heat island. brilliant. Stupidest thing I've ever seen. Every road resurfacing is a chance to put in light colored sun reflective material, like for instance the more durable concrete I see in lots of places, that seems to dramatically outlast shitty asphalt... At least whitewash the fucking asphalt FFS.
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Re: super-science breakthrough compendium thread

Postby coffin_dodger » Mon Jul 20, 2015 10:58 am

Not so much a breakthrough - but a direction, nevertheless...

Prof Stephen Hawking backs venture to listen for aliens BBC News 20 July 2015

Prof Stephen Hawking has launched a new effort to answer the question of whether there is life elsewhere in space.

The venture is said to be the biggest yet in support of the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence.

The ten year effort will listen for broadcast signals from a million of the stars closest to Earth.

The £64m initiative was launched by the Breakthough Initiatives group at the Royal Society in London.

Speaking at the launch, Prof Hawking said: "Somewhere in the cosmos, perhaps, intelligent life may be watching these lights of ours, aware of what they mean.

"Or do our lights wander a lifeless cosmos - unseen beacons, announcing that here, on one rock, the Universe discovered its existence. Either way, there is no bigger question. It's time to commit to finding the answer - to search for life beyond Earth.

"We are alive. We are intelligent. We must know."

Those behind the initiative claim it to be the biggest scientific search ever undertaken for signs of intelligent life beyond Earth. They plan to cover 10 times more of the sky than previous programmes and scan five times more of the radio spectrum, 100 times faster.

It will involve access to two of the world's most powerful telescopes. - the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia and the Parkes Telescope in New South Wales, Australia.

Among those involved in the search is Lord Martin Rees, the Astronomer Royal.

"The search for extra-terrestrial life is the most exciting quest in 21st-century science. The Breakthrough Initiatives aim to put it on the same level as the other ultimate scientific questions," he said.

The public will be invited to participate in efforts to find a signal from another world through the SETI@home project.

Yuri Milner, a high tech US based-billionaire and founder of the initiative said technology had developed to a point where it was possible to put listening for signs of extra-terrestrial intelligence on a proper scientific footing.

He said: "Current technology gives us a real chance to answer one of humanity's biggest questions: Are we alone?

"With Breakthrough Listen, we're committed to bringing the Silicon Valley approach to the search for intelligent life in the Universe. Our approach to data will be open and taking advantage of the problem-solving power of social networks.

Prof Hawking added that he believed the search was one of humanity's most important scientific endeavours.

"To understand the Universe, you must know about atoms - about the forces that bind them, the contours of space and time, the birth and death of stars, the dance of galaxies, the secrets of black holes," he explained.

"But that is not enough. These ideas cannot explain everything. They can explain the light of stars, but not the lights that shine from planet Earth.

"To understand these lights, you must know about life. About minds."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-33596271


Hmmm. No mention by the BBC that Yuri Milner is one of those ogrish Russians that wants to destroy us all. I wonder why they omitted that little factet, considering how rabidly Russiophobic the BBC has been lately.

Here's a little more about the philantropic Yuri - http://www.wired.com/2011/10/mf_milner/

It will be a spectacle to behold exactly how Mr Milner links the search for extraterrestial life to the power of social media, but I'm pretty certain it will ultimately serve to massively enrich him and his associates further.
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Re: super-science breakthrough compendium thread

Postby justdrew » Thu Jul 30, 2015 3:24 am

http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2015/gallium-nitride-electronics-silicon-cut-energy-0729

An exotic material called gallium nitride (GaN) is poised to become the next semiconductor for power electronics, enabling much higher efficiency than silicon.

In 2013, the Department of Energy (DOE) dedicated approximately half of a $140 million research institute for power electronics to GaN research, citing its potential to reduce worldwide energy consumption. Now MIT spinout Cambridge Electronics Inc. (CEI) has announced a line of GaN transistors and power electronic circuits that promise to cut energy usage in data centers, electric cars, and consumer devices by 10 to 20 percent worldwide by 2025.

Power electronics is a ubiquitous technology used to convert electricity to higher or lower voltages and different currents — such as in a laptop’s power adapter, or in electric substations that convert voltages and distribute electricity to consumers. Many of these power-electronics systems rely on silicon transistors that switch on and off to regulate voltage but, due to speed and resistance constraints, waste energy as heat.

CEI’s GaN transistors have at least one-tenth the resistance of such silicon-based transistors, according to the company. This allows for much higher energy-efficiency, and orders-of-magnitude faster switching frequency — meaning power-electronics systems with these components can be made much smaller. CEI is using its transistors to enable power electronics that will make data centers less energy-intensive, electric cars cheaper and more powerful, and laptop power adapters one- third the size — or even small enough to fit inside the computer itself.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change electronics and to really make an impact on how energy is used in the world,” says CEI co-founder Tomás Palacios, an MIT associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science who co-invented the technology.

< more at link >
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Re: super-science breakthrough compendium thread

Postby Luther Blissett » Mon Aug 31, 2015 2:40 pm

Uh oh.

NASA self-healing material can repair itself two seconds after being shot by a bullet

NASA’s coolest discovery yet might not be in outer space, but right here on Earth.

The space agency has found a new material with the ability to self heal from a bullet wound in just two seconds.

While they might not be able to recreate the Terminator just yet, the discovery could have applications for everything from repairing spaceships to creating ‘self-healing’ military equipment.

When one or both of the polymer layers were punctured, oxygen entered and mixed with an ingredient found inside the gel called tributylborane.
This created a reaction which caused the liquid centre to solidify and heal the wound.

“Within seconds of coming into contact with the atmosphere, it goes from a liquid to a solid,” researchers told IFLScience.

While more work is needed to further test its applications, the material is already being boasted as a possible solution to fix holes on damaged spacecrafts.

In addition to saving astronauts from the possibility of deadly situations, the material could also be used by the military for aircrafts or tankers.
The research has been published in the journal ACS Macro Letters.
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Re: super-science breakthrough compendium thread

Postby justdrew » Mon Oct 12, 2015 2:26 am

well, this is just what we urgently need, and here it is...

Canadian firm opens facility to pull carbon from air

A company with global plans to pull carbon from thin air to make fuel, while tackling climate change, opened a pilot plant in this remote western Canadian community.

Carbon Engineering, backed by Bill Gates and other investors, unveiled a test facility able to extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere using giant fans.

That carbon goes through a series of chemical processes and emerges as pellets, which can be used to make fuel—or simply be stored underground.

The company was founded in Calgary in 2009 by David Keith, a Harvard University climate scientist, with funding from private investors.

Unlike existing machines that capture carbon from smokestacks like those of coal-fired power plants, the direct air capture plant deals "with emissions from sources you just can't otherwise capture," said company chief executive Adrian Corless.

"It's now possible to take CO2 out of the atmosphere, and use it as a feed stock, with hydrogen, to produce net zero emission fuels."

The benefit of those synthesized fuels, Corless told AFP, is they can be tailor-made for use in existing systems, from petrol pumps to automobiles and airplanes.

"You don't have to re-tool the $30 trillion in (global) infrastructure now used to deliver fossil fuels," Corless said.

While alternative energies, from wind to solar, are being developed, "there's not a lot of options to power airplanes and vehicles," said Corless. "For me, this is most exciting."

"The economics are attractive," said scientist Hadi Dowlatabadi, of the University of British Columbia.

This small town north of Vancouver welcomed the company moving into an unused industrial site, and the opening was blessed by members of the aboriginal Squamish Nation as a working example of traditional teachings to take care of the world.

'Have to adapt'

"We have to adapt to the modern world," said councilor Chris Lewis.

Mark Jaccard, professor of sustainable energy at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, said the technology holds promise to reduce greenhouse gases and climate change.

"What humans really should be doing is really either not using fossil fuels—or using fossil fuels and capturing the carbon so it doesn't go into the atmosphere," Jaccard said.

Other companies around the world are experimenting with air capture, but Corless said Carbon Engineering's design is unique because it can be quickly and affordably scaled up to industrial size.

Corless said the pilot plant began operations in June and has already captured 10 tonnes of C02.

The company says it plans to use the data from the pilot plant in Squamish to design its first commercial plant by 2017, which it says will cost no more than $200 million.

"We should be in a position to be selling synthetic fuels in 2018," said Corless.

He said synthetic fuels, like fossil fuels, provide an energy source concentrated enough to power airplanes and long-haul ground transportation.
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Re: super-science breakthrough compendium thread

Postby Harvey » Mon Oct 12, 2015 3:00 am

justdrew » Mon Oct 12, 2015 7:26 am wrote:well, this is just what we urgently need, and here it is...

Canadian firm opens facility to pull carbon from air

A company with global plans to pull carbon from thin air to make fuel, while tackling climate change, opened a pilot plant in this remote western Canadian community.

Carbon Engineering, backed by Bill Gates and other investors, unveiled a test facility able to extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere using giant fans.

That carbon goes through a series of chemical processes and emerges as pellets, which can be used to make fuel—or simply be stored underground.

The company was founded in Calgary in 2009 by David Keith, a Harvard University climate scientist, with funding from private investors.

Unlike existing machines that capture carbon from smokestacks like those of coal-fired power plants, the direct air capture plant deals "with emissions from sources you just can't otherwise capture," said company chief executive Adrian Corless.

"It's now possible to take CO2 out of the atmosphere, and use it as a feed stock, with hydrogen, to produce net zero emission fuels."

The benefit of those synthesized fuels, Corless told AFP, is they can be tailor-made for use in existing systems, from petrol pumps to automobiles and airplanes.

"You don't have to re-tool the $30 trillion in (global) infrastructure now used to deliver fossil fuels," Corless said.

While alternative energies, from wind to solar, are being developed, "there's not a lot of options to power airplanes and vehicles," said Corless. "For me, this is most exciting."

"The economics are attractive," said scientist Hadi Dowlatabadi, of the University of British Columbia.

This small town north of Vancouver welcomed the company moving into an unused industrial site, and the opening was blessed by members of the aboriginal Squamish Nation as a working example of traditional teachings to take care of the world.

'Have to adapt'

"We have to adapt to the modern world," said councilor Chris Lewis.

Mark Jaccard, professor of sustainable energy at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, said the technology holds promise to reduce greenhouse gases and climate change.

"What humans really should be doing is really either not using fossil fuels—or using fossil fuels and capturing the carbon so it doesn't go into the atmosphere," Jaccard said.

Other companies around the world are experimenting with air capture, but Corless said Carbon Engineering's design is unique because it can be quickly and affordably scaled up to industrial size.

Corless said the pilot plant began operations in June and has already captured 10 tonnes of C02.

The company says it plans to use the data from the pilot plant in Squamish to design its first commercial plant by 2017, which it says will cost no more than $200 million.

"We should be in a position to be selling synthetic fuels in 2018," said Corless.



Excellent!

But unless I'm mistaken, this system as described is a perpetual motion machine. Unless they're using phlogiston to build the plants and power the fans. The other thing which bothers me, which is symptomatic is that the article takes the time to rubbish solar and wind in the context of aircraft to argue (effectively) that we can have business as usual with regard to fossil fuels. No wonder nation hopping billionaires are in favour.

I've noticed how on every forum, in every comment thread and Noisepaper article, there are appeals to back one technology over all the others, emphasising spurious statistics as to why the others are all inferior, part of a strategy of divide and rule by fossil Shtroll's (mixture of shill and troll) but also other emerging tech industries mired in 'competition logic,' when surely any total solution will be precisely multi-disciplinary, with multiple, distributed energy production methods, including this one but also all of the others and some yet to be invented. Ten tonnes is less than a drop in the ocean, but the nest is really quite large enough for many eggs.

These companies need a new logic of co-operative enabling, because they have more in common and have more to gain than by trashing each other in the face of the real opposition.

For example, if the fans are powered by solar, problem solved. But as it stands, the article is disingenuous.
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Re: super-science breakthrough compendium thread

Postby justdrew » Mon Oct 12, 2015 3:19 am

you use this process to take solar/wind/etc and make liquid fuel, while taking CO2 out of the air. While other CO2 you extract get converted into the pebble form and buried. The process runs on solar/wind/etc extending those energy sources into the spaces where liquid fuels are used.
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Re: super-science breakthrough compendium thread

Postby Harvey » Mon Oct 12, 2015 3:20 am

Another, "for example." Some years ago a smart young fella designed a system of low friction fans which would convert a hefty percentage of the thermal energy from cooling towers into additional electricity, maximising the energy we are going to burn anyway. Not surprisingly, the uptake by coal, wood and gas burning energy plants is still very low mainly due to inertia.

Now, if we could convert inertia into energy...
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Re: super-science breakthrough compendium thread

Postby Harvey » Mon Oct 12, 2015 3:27 am

justdrew » Mon Oct 12, 2015 8:19 am wrote:you use this process to take solar/wind/etc and make liquid fuel, while taking CO2 out of the air. While other CO2 you extract get converted into the pebble form and buried. The process runs on solar/wind/etc extending those energy sources into the spaces where liquid fuels are used.


Excellent, the article doesn't make that clear. Thanks.

My larger point stands, multiple distributed and competing solutions. Not competition in the narrow market sense which usually leads to a logic of "There Shall Only Be One!" but in the same way nature competes through multiple differentiated survival strategies often with co-operative/synergistic/symbiotic elements.
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Re: super-science breakthrough compendium thread

Postby Iamwhomiam » Mon Oct 12, 2015 3:49 pm

That carbon goes through a series of chemical processes and emerges as pellets, which can be used to make fuelor simply be stored underground.

justdrew » Mon Oct 12, 2015 3:19 am wrote:you use this process to take solar/wind/etc and make liquid fuel, while taking CO2 out of the air. While other CO2 you extract get converted into the pebble form and buried. The process runs on solar/wind/etc extending those energy sources into the spaces where liquid fuels are used.


This is puzzling. So the idea is we create a huge carbon footprint developing this new technology to capture CO2, and then we can use it as a fuel to burn and release the CO2? :signwhut: :shrug: Or we can use solar to make liquid fuel? It's time we tossed "fuel" into the dustbin.

Unlike existing machines that capture carbon from smokestacks like those of coal-fired power plants, the direct air capture plant deals "with emissions from sources you just can't otherwise capture," said company chief executive Adrian Corless.


WE have the technology to capture pollutants found in industrial emissions. The reason we still have smokestacks at all is because the controls are felt to be too expensive to purchase and install. But most costly is the ongoing necessary maintenance.

What we need is a dramatically radical change in manufacturing processes and consider those that are far too polluting to be unsafe and obsolete.

Capturing carbon allows the status quo to continue unabated. Overall, a very bad idea.

It would be foolish to put all our eggs into one basket. Solar is still woefully inefficient, although I praise its usage. Battery storage is improving, but still batteries burn out too quickly from constant charging.

I'm hoping someone develops solar energized fuel cells that can withstand for 20 years or more.
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Re: super-science breakthrough compendium thread

Postby Iamwhomiam » Mon Oct 12, 2015 8:02 pm

Sadly, this was in our local news:

Monolith scraps plans for Glenmont solar farm
By Larry Rulison on October 12, 2015 at 8:40 AM

Monolith Solar has scrapped plans to build a 200 kilowatt solar farm on River Road in Bethlehem after the Albany County Planning Board recommended on Sept. 17 that the project not be approved by the Bethlehem zoning board of appeals.

The use of the vacant land for a solar farm is not permitted under town zoning laws. That area is what’s known as a Rural Riverfront District that does not allow utility projects.

Monolith had sought a variance from the town ZBA arguing that the site was uniquely ideal for a solar project because the land was so flat and that it couldn’t find a similar site in the area.

Monolith, which is moving its headquarters from Rensselaer to Slingerlands, withdrew its application from the ZBA on Sept. 29. The 18-acre site where the project was proposed is currently on the market for $68,000.

Image

(There are comments denouncing the rejection due to zoning. I actually agree with the town, which is acting to protect their Hudson Riverfront properties from the commercial industrial development enveloping its northern and southern riverfront borders.

Such a facility would be far better located in the hamlet south of this site and still within the town. That area is home to an Owens Corning Fiberglas factory, a Sabic Plastics manufacturing facility and the CSX Selkirk rail yard. Here are thousands of flat acres available for development, and such a facility would fit in much better without opposition and would compliment the solar facility Owens Corning built two years ago to offset their energy costs.)
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Re: super-science breakthrough compendium thread

Postby Iamwhomiam » Tue Oct 13, 2015 12:35 pm

But there are some good solar initiatives worthy of attention, like this:

Solar-powered boat arrives in Capital Region
Published 11:30 am, Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Image
A view of the boat Solar Sal, at the Waterford Harbor Front on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Waterford, N.Y. Solar Sal, began the first ever cargo delivery in the history of the Erie Canal done entirely without fossil fuels in Lockport on September 29th. The boat is powered solar panels. Solar Sal is carrying four tons of cardboard for recycling bound for Cascades’ Mechanicville plant. The boat made a stop in Waterford before heading up to Mechanicville for its final stop and to deliver the cargo. (Paul Buckowski / Times Union)

MECHANICVILLE - Solar Sal, a solar-powered ship will arrive in the Capital Region Tuesday as it completes a trip on the Mohawk River.

The ship was loaded with cargo for a trip on the river that began last month.

http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Solar-powered-boat-arrives-in-Capital-Region-6568269.php

( The story is told in the captions of the 10 accompanying photographs )
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