David Kirkpatrick

April 30, 2010

Debut CD from B.o.B. is on the streets

Filed under: Arts, et.al., Media — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:05 pm

This has been a big music week around here in terms of events to hit. I was especially pleased to get an invite to the official release party of B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray this past Tuesday. Barely had the chance to meet the man of the hour — he had to get ready to be on stage that night, but it was a great event. Much thanks to Sylvia, Warner Music, K104 and the House of Blues.

For more about B.o.B., here’s his official website.

Here’s an image from the event:

Release party for "B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray" on April 27, 2010

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April 28, 2010

Wednesday video fun — er, just wow

Filed under: et.al., Media — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:17 am

This might possibly be the most dangerous thing you’ll see a human being do that doesn’t involve any explosive devices.

Just wow.

(Hat tip: Deadspin)

April 26, 2010

$713 million

Filed under: Business, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:48 pm

That’s how much Microsoft lost in Q3 with its Online Services Division. (Read: Bing)

From the link:

During Microsoft’s fiscal third quarter, which ended March 31, the Online Services Division, or OSD, reported a 12 percent increase in revenue, which rose to US$566 million on the back of higher advertising revenue. That wasn’t enough to offset a surge in operating expenses during the period. The division’s quarterly loss grew by 73 percent to $713 million, compared to a loss of $411 million during the same period last year.

OSD includes Microsoft’s online advertising business, the Bing search engine, and its various MSN websites.

April 24, 2010

Saturday video fun — H.R. Pufnstuf

Filed under: Arts, et.al., Media — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:21 pm

Get some microdot and enjoy

April 22, 2010

New negative-index metamaterial for invisibility cloaks and more

Here’s news on a new artificial optical material with applications for invisibility cloaking tech and more.

From the first link:

Caltech-led team designs novel negative-index metamaterial that responds to visible light

Uniquely versatile material could be used for more efficient light collection in solar cells

IMAGE: Arrays of coupled plasmonic coaxial waveguides offer a new approach by which to realize negative-index metamaterials that are remarkably insensitive to angle of incidence and polarization in the visible range….

Click here for more information.

PASADENA, Calif.—A group of scientists led by researchers from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) has engineered a type of artificial optical material—a metamaterial—with a particular three-dimensional structure such that light exhibits a negative index of refraction upon entering the material. In other words, this material bends light in the “wrong” direction from what normally would be expected, irrespective of the angle of the approaching light.

This new type of negative-index metamaterial (NIM), described in an advance online publication in the journal Nature Materials, is simpler than previous NIMs—requiring only a single functional layer—and yet more versatile, in that it can handle light with any polarization over a broad range of incident angles. And it can do all of this in the blue part of the visible spectrum, making it “the first negative index metamaterial to operate at visible frequencies,” says graduate student Stanley Burgos, a researcher at the Light-Material Interactions in Energy Conversion Energy Frontier Research Center at Caltech and the paper’s first author.

“By engineering a metamaterial with such properties, we are opening the door to such unusual—but potentially useful—phenomena as superlensing (high-resolution imaging past the diffraction limit), invisibility cloaking, and the synthesis of materials index-matched to air, for potential enhancement of light collection in solar cells,” says Harry Atwater, Howard Hughes Professor and professor of applied physics and materials science, director of Caltech’s Resnick Institute, founding member of the Kavli Nanoscience Institute, and leader of the research team

What makes this NIM unique, says Burgos, is its engineering. “The source of the negative-index response is fundamentally different from that of previous NIM designs,” he explains. Those previous efforts used multiple layers of “resonant elements” to refract the light in this unusual way, while this version is composed of a single layer of silver permeated with “coupled plasmonic waveguide elements.”

Surface plasmons are light waves coupled to waves of electrons at the interface between a metal and a dielectric (a non-conducting material like air). Plasmonic waveguide elements route these coupled waves through the material. Not only is this material more feasible to fabricate than those previously used, Burgos says, it also allows for simple “tuning” of the negative-index response; by changing the materials used, or the geometry of the waveguide, the NIM can be tuned to respond to a different wavelength of light coming from nearly any angle with any polarization. “By carefully engineering the coupling between such waveguide elements, it was possible to develop a material with a nearly isotopic refractive index tuned to operate at visible frequencies.”

This sort of functional flexibility is critical if the material is to be used in a wide variety of ways, says Atwater. “For practical applications, it is very important for a material’s response to be insensitive to both incidence angle and polarization,” he says. “Take eyeglasses, for example. In order for them to properly focus light reflected off an object on the back of your eye, they must be able to accept and focus light coming from a broad range of angles, independent of polarization. Said another way, their response must be nearly isotropic. Our metamaterial has the same capabilities in terms of its response to incident light.”

This means the new metamaterial is particularly well suited to use in solar cells, Atwater adds. “The fact that our NIM design is tunable means we could potentially tune its index response to better match the solar spectrum, allowing for the development of broadband wide-angle metamaterials that could enhance light collection in solar cells,” he explains. “And the fact that the metamaterial has a wide-angle response is important because it means that it can ‘accept’ light from a broad range of angles. In the case of solar cells, this means more light collection and less reflected or ‘wasted’ light.”

“This work stands out because, through careful engineering, greater simplicity has been achieved,” says Ares Rosakis, chair of the Division of Engineering and Applied Science at Caltech and Theodore von Kármán Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering.

###

In addition to Burgos and Atwater, the other authors on the Nature Materials paper, “A single-layer wide-angle negative index metamaterial at visible frequencies,” are Rene de Waele and Albert Polman from the Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter Institute for Atomic and Molecular Physics in Amsterdam. Their work was supported by the Energy Frontier Research Centers program of the Office of Science of the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek, and “NanoNed,” a nanotechnology program funded by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs.

Visit the Caltech Media Relations website at http://media.caltech.edu.

The party of “no” pulls gun …

… shoots foot.

Here’s a bad procedural move by the GOP today:

Senate Republicans on Thursday blocked an effort by Democrats to start debate on legislation to tighten regulation of the nation’s financial system, and the two sides traded bitter accusations about who was standing in the way of a bipartisan agreement.

There is some political jujitsu going on right now, and the GOP stands to lose a lot more than the financial reform debate.

Also from the link:

The majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, asked Republicans to agree to begin debating the measure, which would impose a sweeping regulatory framework on Wall Street and big financial institutions. But the Republican leader, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, objected, saying Democrats were pre-empting negotiations to reach a deal.

McConnell has a great point about negotiations, but his policy of all-out obstruction against all things Democrat in the legislature is working against him here. The Dems are very happy to force the GOP to block this move and substantially raise the floor of compromise. The longer the GOP opposes debate on the bill, the more the party appears to be in the pocket of Wall Street.

Fast forward to November and you’ll find a lot of ads hammering this point home to an electorate very, very sick of Wall Street and all things existing in the rarefied air of high finance. The economy is likely still going to be in the tank by the time election day rolls around and the GOP stands to gain, maybe gain a lot. The one thing it does not need is to be saddled with a tangible partnership with those evil-doers on Wall Street. And that is what has already started with today’s move.

Here’s the New Republic’s Jon Chait three days ago on why the Dems eagerly anticipated this move:

Chris Dodd says the Senate is going to hold a vote on his bill Wednesday or Thursday. Republicans still say they can muster 41 votes in opposition. The ideal for Democrats would be to have the whole GOP vote to filibuster the bill, then have a huge debate, and then have one or more Republicans defect and pass the bill anyway. Then you get an accomplishment and a chance to expose the GOP as carrying water for Wall Street.

The new $100 bill

Filed under: Business, et.al., Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:43 pm

Here’s the latest in dead president fashion:

[CNOTE]

And more detail from the link:

The Treasury Department unveiled what it calls “the next generation one hundred,” a redesigned $100 bank note to stay ahead of counterfeiters. The new $100 notes will be available on Feb.10, 2011.

The old bills will continue to be accepted until they wear out.

The familiar portrait of Benjamin Franklin remains in the usual spot. But a historical reference to the quill used by the Founding Fathers appears superimposed over phrases of the Declaration of Independence and a 3-D security ribbon crossing the center capture attention. The images on the ribbon move as the bill is tilted. It’s all designed to thwart attempted fakes.

Nanotech improving computer memory

Through magnetic nanodots. As the article covers, this advancement is in RAM.

From the link:

Using magnetic nanodots in the vortex state, researchers have designed a new kind of non-volatile memory that could offer increased speed and density for next-generation non-volatile random access memories (RAM). The new design takes advantage of magnetic vortices’ ability to store binary information as positive or negative core polarities, which can be controlled by simply changing the frequency of the rotating vortex cores of the nanodots.

The new technique, called frequency-controlled magnetic vortex memory, was developed by a team of researchers, B. Pigeau, et al., from France, Germany, and the US. Their study is published in a recent issue of .

As the researchers explain, the concept of using magnetic nano-objects to store binary information for magnetic RAM has previously been investigated, but it’s been difficult to find a mechanism to reverse the magnetization inside individual nano-objects. Here, the researchers achieve this reversal by using microwave pulses in combination with a static magnetic field. In this scheme, large and small rotating core frequencies are associated with positive and negative core polarities, respectively. In a positive core polarity, the core is parallel to the applied magnetic field, while in a negative core polarity, the core is antiparallel to the applied magnetic field. An extremely sensitive magnetic resonance force microscope (MRFM) is used to address the  of magnetic nanodots’ vortex core rotations, allowing the researchers to control the polarity states of individual nanodots.

Quantum computing improvement

This is the first quantum computing post in a couple of months. This is a promising finding.

The release:

Bizarre matter could find use in quantum computers

Rice physicists: Odd electron mix has fault-tolerant quantum registry

IMAGE: From left, Rice physicist Rui-Rui Du, graduate students Chi Zhang and Yanhua Dai, and former postdoctoral researcher Tauno Knuuttila (not pictured) have found that odd groupings of ultracold electrons could…

Click here for more information.

HOUSTON — (April 21, 2010) — There are enticing new findings this week in the worldwide search for materials that support fault-tolerant quantum computing. New results from Rice University and Princeton University indicate that a bizarre state of matter that acts like a particle with one-quarter electron charge also has a “quantum registry” that is immune to information loss from external perturbations.

The research appeared online April 21 in Physical Review Letters. The team of physicists found that ultracold mixes of electrons caught in magnetic traps could have the necessary properties for constructing fault-tolerant quantum computers — future computers that could be far more powerful than today’s computers. The mixes of electrons are dubbed “5/2 quantum Hall liquids” in reference to the unusual quantum properties that describe their makeup.

“The big goal, the whole driving force, besides deep academic curiosity, is to build a quantum computer out of this,” said the study’s lead author Rui-Rui Du, professor of physics at Rice. “The key for that is whether these 5/2 liquids have ‘topological’ properties that would render them immune to the sorts of quantum perturbations that could cause information degradation in a quantum computer.”

Du said the team’s results indicate the 5/2 liquids have the desired properties. In the parlance of condensed-matter physics, they are said to represent a “non-Abelian” state of matter.

Non-Abelian is a mathematical term for a system with “noncommutative” properties. In math, commutative operations, like addition, are those that have the same outcome regardless of the order in which they are carried out. So, one plus two equals three, just as two plus one equals three. In daily life, commutative and noncommutative tasks are commonplace. For example, when doing the laundry, it doesn’t matter if the detergent is added before the water or the water before the detergent, but it does matter if the clothes are washed before they’re placed in the dryer.

“It will take a while to fully understand the complete implications of our results, but it is clear that we have nailed down the evidence for ‘spin polarization,’ which is one of the two necessary conditions that must be proved to show that the 5/2 liquids are non-Abelian,” Du said. “Other research teams have been tackling the second condition, the one-quarter charge, in previous experiments.”

The importance of the noncommutative quantum properties is best understood within the context of fault-tolerant quantum computers, a fundamentally new type of computer that hasn’t been built yet.

Computers today are binary. Their electrical circuits, which can be open or closed, represent the ones and zeros in binary bits of information. In quantum computers, scientists hope to use “quantum bits,” or qubits. Unlike binary ones and zeros, the qubits can be thought of as little arrows that represent the position of a bit of quantum matter. The arrow might represent a one if it points straight up or a zero if it points straight down, but it could also represent any number in between. In physics parlance, these arrows are called quantum “states.” And for certain complex calculations, being able to represent information in many different states would present a great advantage over binary computing.

The upshot of the 5/2 liquids being non-Abelian is that they have a sort of “quantum registry,” where information doesn’t change due to external quantum perturbations.

“In a way, they have internal memory of their previous state,” Du said.

The conditions needed to create the 5/2 liquids are extreme. At Rice, Tauno Knuuttila, a former postdoctoral research scientist in Du’s group, spent several years building the “demagnetization refrigerator” needed to cool 5-millimeter squares of ultrapure semiconductors to within one-10,000th of a degree of absolute zero. It took a week for Knuuttila to simply cool the nearly one-ton instrument to the necessary temperature for the Rice experiments.

The gallium arsenide semiconductors used in the tests are the most pure on the planet. They were created by Loren Pfieiffer, Du’s longtime collaborator at Princeton and Bell Labs. Rice graduate student Chi Zhang conducted additional tests at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee, Fla., to verify that the 5/2 liquid was spin- polarized.

###

Study co-authors include Zhang, Knuuttila, Pfeiffer, Princeton’s Ken West and Rice’s Yanhua Dai. The research is supported by the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation and the Keck Foundation.

Is graphene pliable?

Looks like more so than carbon nanotubes. This attribute is key to using the material in electronic devices such as actuators, valves in labs-on-a-chip and electronic paper.

From the link:

Physicists at UC San Diego and Boston University think so. In a paper published in the journal Physical Review B, the scientists say the propensity of graphene—a single layer of  arranged in a — to stick to itself and form carbon “nanoscrolls” could be controlled electrostatically to form a myriad of new devices.

Unlike carbon nanotubes—cylindrical molecules of pure carbon with novel properties that have become the focus of much of the attention of new application in electronics and materials development— nanoscrolls retain open edges and have no caps.

“As a result, nanoscrolls can change their shape and their inner and outer diameters, while nanotubes cannot,” said Michael Fogler, an associate professor of physics at UCSD and the first author of the paper.

April 21, 2010

Earth Day turns forty

And Avatar comes out on DVD. (BTW — don’t shy away from the DVD or Blu -ray just because it’s not in IMAX 3D. I caught a pre-street of the DVD over the weekend and it was great.)

Here’s a link more appropriate for Earth Day.

The release:

Expert commentary on Earth Day’s 40th anniversary

Presented in Sustainability: The Journal of Record; Environmental Justice; and Ecopsychology

New Rochelle, NY, April 21, 2010— In recognition of Earth Day’s 40th anniversary, publisher Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. (www.liebertpub.com) will provide complimentary online access to its journals in the field of sustainability, including Sustainability: The Journal of Record; Environmental Justice; and Ecopsychology through May 15. Each journal provides cutting-edge information about sustainability initiatives, the relationship between mankind and nature, and the protection of our citizens and our planet.

In this month’s issue of Sustainability: The Journal of Record (www.liebertpub.com/sus), Ray Anderson, the Founder and Chairman of Interface, reflects on “Earth Day, Then and Now.” “In the Green” reports on what a number of organizations and institutions are doing to commemorate this auspicious anniversary, including Major League Baseball, Walt Disney Studios, Dow Chemical Co., and Northwestern University. The Journal documents the implementation of sustainability programs in higher education and business, and provides the central forum for academic institutions, the business community, foundations, government agencies, and leaders of green-collar endeavors to learn about one another’s progress and programs and foster collaborations for attaining mutually supportive objectives.

Environmental Justice offers a provocative view of “Earth Day at the Crossroads of Sustainability and Justice,” with contributions by Editor-in-Chief Sylvia Hood Washington, PhD, MSE, MPH, University of Illinois at Chicago, David Naguib Pellow, PhD, University of Minnesota, and Kristen Schrader-Frechette, PhD, University of Notre Dame, among others.

Now in its third year, Environmental Justice (www.liebertpub.com/env)explores the adverse and disparate environmental burden impacting marginalized populations and communities all over the world.

Articles in Ecopsychology (www.liebertpub.com/eco), edited by Thomas Joseph Doherty, PsyD, explore the relationship between environmental issues and mental health and well-being, and examine the psychological, spiritual, and therapeutic aspects of human-nature relationships, concern about environmental issues, and responsibility for protecting natural places and other species.

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Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. is a privately held, fully integrated media company known for establishing authoritative peer-reviewed journals in many promising areas of science, medicine, biomedical research, and law, including Industrial Biotechnology, Environmental Engineering Science, andBiosecurity and Bioterrorism. Its biotechnology trade magazine, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN), was the first in its field and is today the industry’s most widely read publication worldwide. A complete list of the firm’s 60 journals, books, and newsmagazines is available at www.liebertpub.com.

The downside of Google’s Chrome OS?

Filed under: Business, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:04 pm

Privacy issues. I consider privacy the big bugaboo of cloud computing in general, and the simple nature of Google’s Chrome operating system and the company’s penchant for (really its corporate raison d’etre) data mining the potential for serious abuse of user data is there.

I don’t have a problem with all data mining and I certainly understand what Google does and why. I absolutely love the Chrome browser and recommend it for everyone, and I use Gmail for a number of secondary email accounts, but I’m not even close to ready to trusting all my data to a cloud controlled by Google, or any other entity for that matter.

From the link:

The naming scheme is no accident. It reflects Google’s ambition to create an operating system that is all but indistinguishable from the browser. Gone will be the normal files, directories, and applications. Instead, Chrome OS will put Google’s cloud computing infrastructure–services and applications delivered over the Internet from its vast array of servers–at the heart of practically everything you do. Within a few years, Chrome OS could become the planet’s simplest, fastest, and safest environment for personal computing. But there’s a catch: it will also make Google the gatekeeper of your personal information. It could let Google delve further into your data to make its online advertising business more profitable than ever.

There is one upside — your “backup” data is located in your computer, so when it craps out the real data still resides on Google’s servers and isn’t lost. That alone might make the Chrome OS attractive to some people.

Also from the link:

Google’s engineers have explained that Chrome OS will use your computer’s hard drive as a cache, making copies of whatever you’re working on so that you won’t burn up your netbook’s wireless data plan (or your batteries). All that personal data will be encrypted, so you won’t need to worry if you happen to lose the machine. And if for some reason your computer gets corrupted–perhaps by a virus–you’ll be able to wipe it and start over without losing any work at all, since your data is stored in the cloud.

Lowering the cost of thin-film solar

Yesterday I blogged about an efficiency breakthrough in thin-film solar cells, and now here’s more news on a cost breakthrough. I’m going to quote myself from the earlier post, “I keep hammering on the same point, but cost and efficiency in combination are the key to making solar a commercially viable option.” Be sure to hit the solar link in the “Interesting Blog Topics” box over on the sidebar for all my solar power blogging.

From the second link:

Advance made in thin-film solar cell technology

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Researchers have made an important breakthrough in the use of continuous flow microreactors to produce thin film absorbers for solar cells – an innovative technology that could significantly reduce the cost of solar energy devices and reduce material waste.

The advance was just reported in Current Applied Physics, a professional journal, by engineers from Oregon State University and Yeungnam University in Korea.

This is one of the first demonstrations that this type of technology, which is safer, faster and more economical than previous chemical solution approaches, could be used to continuously and rapidly deposit thin film absorbers for solar cells from such compounds as copper indium diselenide.

Previous approaches to use this compound – which is one of the leading photovoltaic alternatives to silicon-based solar energy devices – have depended on methods such as sputtering, evaporation, and electrodeposition. Those processes can be time-consuming, or require expensive vacuum systems or exotic chemicals that raise production costs.

Chemical bath deposition is a low-cost deposition technique that was developed more than a century ago. It is normally performed as a batch process, but changes in the growth solution over time make it difficult to control thickness. The depletion of reactants also limits the achievable thickness.

The technology invented at Oregon State University to deposit “nanostructure films” on various surfaces in a continuous flow microreactor, however, addresses some of these issues and makes the use of this process more commercially practical. A patent has been applied for on this approach, officials said.

“We’ve now demonstrated that this system can produce thin-film solar absorbers on a glass substrate in a short time, and that’s quite significant,” said Chih-hung Chang, an associate professor in the OSU School of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering. “That’s the first time this has been done with this new technique.”

Further work is still needed on process control, testing of the finished solar cell, improving its efficiency to rival that of vacuum-based technology, and scaling up the process to a commercial application, Chang said.

Of some interest, researchers said, is that thin-film solar cells produced by applications such as this could ultimately be used in the creation of solar energy roofing systems. Conceptually, instead of adding solar panels on top of the roof of a residential or industrial building, the solar panel itself would become the roof, eliminating such traditional approaches as plywood and shingles.

“If we could produce roofing products that cost-effectively produced solar energy at the same time, that would be a game changer,” Chang said. “Thin film solar cells are one way that might work. All solar applications are ultimately a function of efficiency, cost and environmental safety, and these products might offer all of that.”

The research has been supported by the Process and Reaction Engineering Program of the National Science Foundation.

Related technology was also developed recently at OSU using nanostructure films as coatings for eyeglasses, which may cost less and work better than existing approaches. In that case, they would help capture more light, reduce glare and also reduce exposure to ultraviolet light. Scientists believe applications in cameras and other types of lenses are also possible.

More work such as this is expected to emerge from the new Oregon Process Innovation Center for Sustainable Solar Cell Manufacturing, a $2.7 million initiative based at OSU that will include the efforts of about 20 faculty from OSU, the University of Oregon, Portland State University and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Organizers of that initiative say they are aiming for “a revolution in solar cell processing and manufacturing” that might drop costs by as much as 50 percent while being more environmentally sensitive. In the process, they hope to create new jobs and industries in the Pacific Northwest.

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More cancer-fighting nanotech

Filed under: Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:26 am

Research has found carbon nanotubes can help the body’s immune system fight cancer. Hit this link for all my cancer-related nanotechnology blogging.

From the first link:

Carbon nanotubes boost cancer-fighting cells

New Haven, Conn.—Yale University engineers have found that the defects in carbon nanotubes cause T cell antigens to cluster in the blood and stimulate the body’s natural immune response. Their findings, which appear as the cover article of the April 20 issue of the journal Langmuir, could improve current adoptive immunotherapy, a treatment used to boost the body’s ability to fight cancer.

Adoptive immunotherapy involves extracting a patient’s blood so that the number of naturally occurring T cells (a type of white blood cell) can reproduce more effectively in the laboratory. Although the body produces its own tumor-fighting T cells, they are often suppressed by the tumor and are too few to be effective. Scientists boost the production of T cells outside the body using different substances that encourage T cell antigens to cluster in high concentrations. The better these substances are at clustering T cell antigens, the greater the immune cell proliferation. Once enough T cells are produced, the blood is transferred back into the patient’s body.

The Yale team had previously reported the unexpected effect that carbon nanotubes had on T cell production. They found that the antigens, when presented on the surface of the nanotubes, stimulated T cell response far more effectively than coating other substrates such as polystyrene in the antigens, even though the total amount of antigens used remained the same.

Now they have discovered the reason behind the increased stimulation. They found that the antigens cluster in high concentrations around the tiny defects found in the carbon nanotubes.

“Carbon nanotube bundles resemble a lymph node microenvironment, which has a labyrinth sort of geometry,” said Tarek Fahmy, associate professor of chemical engineering and biomedical engineering at Yale and senior author of the paper. “The nanotube bundles seem to mimic the physiology and adsorb more antigens, promoting a greater immunological response.”

Current adoptive immunotherapy takes weeks to produce enough T cells, but lab tests showed that the nanotubes produced the same T cell concentration in just one-third the time, Fahmy said.

Carbon nanotubes can cause problems, such as an embolism, when used in the body. But this isn’t the case when they are used in blood that has been extracted from the patient, Fahmy said. Next, the team will work on a way to effectively remove the carbon nanotubes from the blood before it is returned to the patient.

“We think this is a really interesting use of carbon nanotubes. It’s a way to exploit the unique properties of this material for biological application in a safe way.”

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Other authors of the paper include lead author Tarek Fadel, Michael Look, Peter Staffier, Gary Haller and Lisa Pfefferle, all of the Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science.

Latest NASA satellite image of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano

Filed under: et.al., Media, Science — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:21 am

Here you go:

Caption: The MODIS instrument on NASA’s Terra satellite captured a visible image of the ash plume (brown) drifting south and east from Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland at 11:55 UTC (7:55 a.m. EDT).

Credit: NASA’s MODIS Rapid Response Team

For more information, here’s the full release accompanying this image.

April 20, 2010

Controlling the electronic properties of graphene

News from Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt on plasmonics in graphene.

The release:

Graphene: What projections and humps can be good for

Investigators from Hanover and Braunschweig measure how the electronic properties of graphene can be controlled with purposefully used roughnesses

This release is available in German.

IMAGE: A residual interaction with the SiC substrate causes the formation of the six-fold satellite reflex structure.

Click here for more information.

At present, graphene probably is the most investigated new material system worldwide. Due to its astonishing mechanical, chemical and electronic properties, it promises manifold future applications – for example in microelectronics. The electrons in graphene are particularly movable and could, therefore, replace silicon which is used today as the basic material of fast computer chips. In a research cooperation, scientists of Leibniz University Hanover and of the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) have now investigated in which way a rough base affects the electronic properties of the graphene layer. Their results suggest that it will soon be possible to control plasmons, i.e. collective oscillations of electrons, purposefully in the graphene, by virtually establishing a lane composed of projections and humps for them. The results were published in the current edition of the New Journal of Physics.

The structure of graphene itself is fascinating: It consists of exactly one single, regular layer of carbon atoms. To manufacture this incredibly thin layer absolutely neatly is a great challenge. A possible method to recipitate graphene extensively on an insulating substrate is epitaxy, i.e. the controlled growth of graphene on insulating silicon carbide. For this purpose, a silicon carbide crystal is heated in vacuum. Starting from a specific temperature, carbon atoms migrate to the surface and form a monoatomic layer on the – still solid – silicon carbide. An important question for later applications is, how defects and steps of the silicon carbide surface affect the electronic properties of the graphene grown on it.

Within the scope of a research cooperation between PTB and Leibniz University Hanover, the influence of defects in the graphene on the electronic properties has been investigated. During the investigations, special attention was paid to the influence of the defects on a special electronic excitation, the so-called plasmons.

By different sample preparation, first of all silicon carbide crystals with different surface roughness and, thus, with a different concentration of surface defects were investigated, on which, subsequently, graphene formed. The influence of the defects on the plasmon excitations was then investigated by means of low-energy electron diffraction (SPA-LEED) and electron loss spectroscopy (EELS).

The process revealed a strong dependence of the lifetime of plasmon on the surface quality. Defects, as they are caused on step edges and grain boundaries, strongly impede the propagation of the plasmons and drastically shorten their lifetime. Here it is remarkable that the other electronic properties of the plasmons, in particular their dispersion, remain largely unaffected.

This opens up interesting possibilities for the future technical application and use of plasmons (the so-called “plasmonics”) in graphene. By selective adjustment of the surface roughness, different graphene ranges could be generated in which the plasmons are either strongly dampened or can propagate almost unobstructedly. In this way, the plasmons could be conducted along “plasmon conductors” with low surface roughness specifically from one point of a graphene chip to another.

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Original publication:
T. Langer, J. Baringhaus, H. Pfnür, H. W. Schumacher and C. Tegenkamp:
“Plasmon damping below the Landau regime: the role of defects in epitaxial graphene”.
New Journal of Physics 12, 033017 (2010).
http://iopscience.iop.org/1367-2630/12/3/033017/

Now here’s a plan we can all get behind …

Filed under: et.al., Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:30 pm

… a self-piloting flying car.

Via KurzweilAI.net:

DARPA announces plans for self-piloted flying car
Physorg.com, Apr. 19, 2010

DARPA announced that it is inviting proposals to tackle its latest project: Transformer X, a “vertical takeoff and landing roadable air vehicle” ready for testing by 2015.

It would have a maximum payload capacity of 1,000 pounds so that it can carry four passengers and their gear, be capable of flying itself automatically, achieving an altitude of 1,000 feet, and traveling 250 miles on a single tank of fuel.


The Terrafugia Transition roadable aircraft, tested last year, lacks autopilot and off-road features.


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Nanophotonic technology and solar cell efficiency

Fascinating research on the upper limit of light absorption by solar cells. Utilizing nanophotonic technology and thin-film solar cells, the efficiency is given an impressive boost. I keep hammering on the same point, but cost and efficiency in combination are the key to making solar a commercially viable option. Throw in some short-term government subsidies (I know, I know) and we are getting close to that sweet spot.

From the link:

But things have changed since the 1980s, not least because it is now possible to make layers of silicon much thinner than the wavelength of the light they are expected to absorb and to carve intricate patterns in these layers. How does this nanophotonic technology change the effect of light trapping?

Today, Zongfu Yu and buddies at Stanford University in California, tackle this question and say that nanophotonics dramatically changes the game.

That’s basically because light trapping works in a different way on these scales. Instead of total internal reflection, light becomes trapped on the surface of nanolayers, which act like waveguides. This increases the amount of time the photons spend in the material and so also improves the chances of absorption.

Because of the geometry of the layers, some wavelengths are trapped better than others and this gives rise to resonances at certain frequencies.

What Yu and co show is that by designing the layers in a way that traps light effectively, it is possible to beat the old limit by a substantial margin.

Also from the link:

Physicists have long known that thinner solar cells are better in a number of ways: they use less material and so are cheaper to make and the electrons they produce are easier to collect making them potentially more efficient. Now they know that light trapping is more effective in thinner layers too.

Twitter and advertising

Yep, they’re going there.

I may not completely enjoy the experience, but it’s an overdue move.

From the link:

Twitter is finally taking off the training wheels and moving into the world where real businesses tread with the launch today of its first advertising model .

The microblogging phenomenon has long avoided coming up with a business plan or even talking about one. Just last October, Twitter CEO Evan Williams told an audience at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco that the company wanted to focus on developing the site , instead of on a business model.

But the time has come for Twitter to figure out how to make money over the long haul.

It’s a decision that makes the company look less like a grand hobby and more like an actual business , said Rob Enderle, an analyst with the Enderle Group.

But, will the masses revolt?

From the link:

Now that Twitter has begun to display ads–pardon me, Promoted Tweets–in users’ search results, the big question is how millions of loyal Twitter fans will respond. Reaction on the micro-blogging site has been muted thus far–more questions than commentary, actually–and it’s apparent that most users haven’t seen the new ads yet.

According to a blog post by Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, the ad program will be rolled out gradually, with Promoted Tweets (such as the Starbucks (SBUX) example below) appearing atop some Twitter.com search result pages.

Of course, the very idea of product-pitching tweets won’t sit well with a good number of Twitter users, who’ve grown accustomed to the ad-free (and unprofitable) service.

NASA’s Terra spacecraft image of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano

Here’s the latest from NASA on Eyjafjallajökull:

Satellite image of Iceland and volcano

On Monday, April 19, 2010, the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) instrument onboard NASA’s Terra spacecraft obtained this image of the continuing eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano. Image credit: NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team

Hit the link for more information, a larger version of the image and additional posts with more images from the eruption.

One massive 3D printer

Filed under: Arts, Business, Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:48 am

I”ve been doing a lot of blogging about the SculptCAD Rapid Artist Project lately, and that project involves artists creating digital sculpture using 3D modeling software and then printing the artwork with a 3D printer. These works were limited in size to something you could wrap your arms around.

This 3D printer is many orders of magnitude larger than any I’ve ever encountered. Very cool, and with very interesting potential uses.

From the second link:

3D printer could build moon bases

3D printer could build moon bases

An Italian inventor, Enrico Dini, chairman of the company Monolite UK Ltd, has developed a huge three-dimensional printer called D-Shape that can print entire buildings out of sand and an inorganic binder. The printer works by spraying a thin layer of sand followed by a layer of magnesium-based binder from hundreds of nozzles on its underside. The glue turns the sand to solid stone, which is built up layer by layer from the bottom up to form a sculpture, or a sandstone building.

The D-shape printer can create a building four times faster than it could be built by conventional means, and reduces the cost to half or less. There is little waste, which is better for the environment, and it can easily “print” curved structures that are difficult and expensive to build by other means. Dini is proving the technology by creating a nine cubic meter pavilion for a roundabout in the town of Pontedera.

Hit the second link for video of a 3D printer in action.

April 19, 2010

SETI to release radio data on search for extraterrestrial life

Hot from today’s inbox, news from SETI that tremendously expands the brainpower brought to bear on its massive collection of radio telescope data.

The release:

SETI Institute Announces Public Availability of Radio Telescope Signal Data in Latest Milestone for Director Dr. Jill Tarter’s 2009 TED Prize Wish to Enlist all Earthlings in Search for Extra-terrestrial Intelligence

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., April 19 /PRNewswire/ — SETI Institute, an interdisciplinary scientific organization that explores the nature of life throughout the universe, announced that starting today it will make large quantities of astronomical radio telescope data accessible to astronomers and other scientists as part of an effort to build a global community of searchers for evidence of extra-terrestrial intelligence.

Today’s announcement represents the latest milestone in SETI Institute’s mission to facilitate mass collaboration in the search for civilizations beyond earth.  The radio telescope data will be released by setiQuest, a program formed in 2009 after SETI Institute Director Dr. Jill Tarter was awarded the 2009 TED Prize, whose benefits included $100,000 and the assistance of the global TED community to help realize her “One Wish to Change the World.”  Accepting the prize, Dr. Tarter asked the TED community to “empower Earthlings everywhere to become active participants in the ultimate search for cosmic company.”

After months in development, the setiQuest program has reached the point where it is able to invite the global scientific community to access radio signal data collected by SETI Institute’s Allen Telescope Array (ATA).  Commissioned in 2007, the Allen array is operated jointly by SETI Institute and the University of California at Berkeley. It is a “Large Number of Small Dishes” (LNSD) telescope array designed to conduct surveys for both conventional radio astronomy by the university, as well as for SETI Institute’s research.

SETI Institute analyzes the ATA radio data in real time with special software to detect technological signals from a distant extra-terrestrial civilization.  The process is analogous to listening to one hundred million radios, each tuned to a different channel and attached to an antenna that is highly sensitive to just one millionth of the sky, to find faint signals.

To date, SETI Institute’s methods have focused on the search for what are called narrowband signals. One of the benefits of opening the ATA data to the global scientific community is to invite development of techniques to analyze broadband signals.

The radio telescope data will be made available through setiQuest’s website, www.setiquest.org, in the form of files containing streams of data samples from specific targets in space. Data can be accessed by registered participants in the setiQuest program.  SETI Institute hopes that by making the ATA data widely available, scientists around the world will develop new and innovative ways to process the massive quantities of radio signals streaming from space every second.

SETI Institute search programs have processed data in real time and discarded it shortly after the observation. They are capturing these new data sets to invite the public to expand the search. Now, setiQuest will provide a day’s worth of ATA data each week, and will leave the data on its website for up to six months.

While astronomers and specialists with experience in digital signal processing (DSP) may by the likely initial population of scientists and technologists with an interest in setiQuest, the program welcomes scientists and technologists of all disciplines.  Those interested in learning how they can be part of the setiQuest project can find more information at www.setiQuest.org.

For more details of the progress of Dr. Tarter’s TED Prize wish, visit http://www.tedprize.org/jill-tarter/.

About SETI Institute

The mission of SETI Institute is to explore, understand and explain the origin, nature and prevalence of life in the universe. At SETI Institute biologists, physicists, chemists, astronomers, ecologists, planetary scientists, geologists, engineers, technologists, and educators join forces in the quest to find life elsewhere. This includes the search for potentially inhabited planets in our Solar System and beyond, laboratory and field investigations of the origins and early evolution of life, and studies of the potential of life to adapt to future challenges on Earth and in space. For more information about SETI, visit www.seti.org.  For information about setiQuest, visit www.setiquest.org.

Source: TED Conferences

An invisibility cloak flaw

To date all the invisibility cloak tech blogging I’ve done has covered the rapid development of this branch of science. Here’s some virtual ink on the other side of the cloaking coin.

From the second link:

Since then, Baile Zhang and buddies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, have been busy looking for the weak point in this idea and now think they’ve found it. Today, they point out that carpet cloaks have a flaw that makes the objects within them detectable.

The problem, they say, is that isotropic cloaks cannot work perfectly. Here’s why. Light can be thought of as a series of wavefronts each with a certain amount of energy. Ordinarily, the direction of energy propagation is at right angles to these wavefronts.

However, in an invisibility cloak, this perpendicular relationship becomes distorted as the light waves are steered. That’s what an anisotropic material does. But an isotropic material cannot do this–the energy always propagates at right angles to the wavefronts. This limitation means that isotropic materials cannot hide objects in the way Pendry suggests.

Zhang and co go on to prove their assertion by tracing a ray that passes through the kind of isotropic carpet cloak that Pendry suggested. What they’ve discovered will shock carpet cloakers all over the world.

According to Zhang and buddies, carpet cloaks don’t hide objects, they merely shift them to one side by an amount that is just a bit less than they are high. Crucially the effect depends on the angle at which you are looking. So when illuminated at an angle of 45 degrees, an object 0.2 units tall appears laterally shifted by 0.15 units.

If Zhang and co are correct, this could be a substantial blow for isotropic carpet cloaking. It means that the carpet cloaking effect has a limited angle of view.

Google Replay charts popularity of tweets

Filed under: Business, et.al., Media, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:10 pm

Very interesting idea and useful from a number of perspectives — as a snapshot of public interest at  set point in time, marketing, historical archive … well, you get the idea.

From the link:

Realizing the historic value of these commentaries and first-hand accounts, Google has begun archiving every tweet in what it calls “Replay”—a search function that presents in bar-chart-form the popularity of tweets through a period in time and lists associated tweets for you to browse chronologically.

To access Replay, perform a Google search, choose “Show options…” This reveals a toolbar on the left; click “Updates.” A graph will appear denoting the popularity of that phrase or keyword at that point in time. By hovering over the graph, you can zoom in to a more specific time of day and read the tweets that were sent in that time period.

Anti-tobacco forces remain overwrought

Those opposing tobacco use would be very happy to see the plant somehow disappear from the planet. Failing that a global ban on smoking would suffice, I’m sure. And then there’s that pesky nicotine that addicted smokers and ex smokers crave. Hmm, what to do about that? Let’s attack the efforts that offer nicotine to people in a form other than tobacco products to save the children.

I don’t smoke cigarettes and never have, but I do smoke the occasional cigar and I have a pretty healthy collection of pipe tobacco aging gracefully so I do have something of a dog in the fight, but my libertarian side really gets worked up at all the nanny-statism and “we know what’s good for you” going on out there. With this November’s vote coming up wouldn’t it be an odd turn of events that it might be easier to smoke marijuana than smoke a bowl of G.L. Pease’s “Haddo’s Delight” in California?

Not to discount the possibility of kids being hurt by these products — that’s why the adults around those kids should act like adults and keep them out of reach — take a look at the amount of consumption required to start causing problems. If a kid can get into a product like this to that extent I’m going to bet nicotine poisoning is the least of that kid’s unconscious worries.

From the first link:

Tobacco company’s new, dissolvable nicotine products could lead to accidental poisoning

Candy-like appearance and flavorings may increase appeal to infants and youth

Boston, MA – A tobacco company’s new, dissolvable nicotine pellet–which is being sold as a tobacco product, but which in some cases resembles popular candies–could lead to accidental nicotine poisoning in children, according to a new study from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), the Northern Ohio Poison Control Center, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The researchers also say the candy-like products could appeal to young people and lead to nicotine addiction as well.

The study appears in an advance online edition of the journal Pediatrics on April 19, 2010 and will appear in a later print issue.

In 2009, the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company launched a dissolvable nicotine product called Camel Orbs, which according to the company’s promotional literature contains 1 mg nicotine per pellet and is flavored with cinnamon or mint. The company also introduced Camel Strips (to contain 0.6 mg nicotine per strip) and Sticks (to contain 3.1 mg nicotine per strip).

It appears that the product is intended as a temporary form of nicotine for smokers in settings where smoking is banned. However, the potential public health effect could be disastrous, particularly for infants and adolescents, said Professor Gregory Connolly, lead author of the study and director of the Tobacco Control Research Program at HSPH.

Ingestion of tobacco products by infants and children is a major reason for calls to poison control centers nationwide. In 2007, 6,724 tobacco-related poisoning cases were reported among children five years of age and under. Small children can experience nausea and vomiting from as little as 1 mg of nicotine.

“This product is called a ‘tobacco’ product, but in the eyes of a 4-year-old, the pellets look more like candy than a regular cigarette. Nicotine is a highly addictive drug and to make it look like a piece of candy is recklessly playing with the health of children,” said Connolly.

The researchers computed, based on median body weight, how much nicotine ingestion would lead to symptoms of poisoning in children: A one-year-old infant could suffer mild to moderate symptoms of nicotine poisoning by ingesting 8 to 14 Orbs, 14 Strips or 3 Sticks; ingesting 10 to 17 Orbs, 17 Strips or 3 to 4 Sticks could result in severe toxicity or death. A four-year-old child could have moderate symptoms by ingesting 13 to 21 Orbs, 14 Strips or 4 Sticks and could suffer severe toxicity or death by consuming 16 to 27 Orbs, 27 Strips or 5 Sticks. The researchers report that a poison control center in Portland, Oregon, a test market for Orbs, reported a case in which a three-year old ingested an Orbs pellet.

R.J. Reynolds claims that Orbs packaging is “child resistant,” but the researchers say adults could unknowingly leave the pellets out in the open where children could easily access them. The researchers also say that the candy-like appearance and flavoring and ease-of-use of the product could appeal to children.

###

“Unintentional Childhood Poisonings Through Ingestion of Conventional and Novel Tobacco Products,” Gregory N. Connolly, Patricia Richter, Alfred Aleguas Jr., Terry F. Pechacek, Stephen B. Stanfill, Hillel R. Alpert, Pediatrics, online April 19, 2010.

Harvard School of Public Health (http://www.hsph.harvard.edu ) is dedicated to advancing the public’s health through learning, discovery, and communication. More than 400 faculty members are engaged in teaching and training the 1,000-plus student body in a broad spectrum of disciplines crucial to the health and well being of individuals and populations around the world. Programs and projects range from the molecular biology of AIDS vaccines to the epidemiology of cancer; from risk analysis to violence prevention; from maternal and children’s health to quality of care measurement; from health care management to international health and human rights. For more information on the school visit:http://www.hsph.harvard.edu

Virtual 3D display case

This tech called pCubee is just amazing. If you have any experience in working with 3D scanned objects, the utility is obvious and possibilities are very exciting. This is the first generation of a brand new world in display.

From the link (and hit the link for video):

Researchers have developed a five-paneled LCD cube that gives users the appearance that something is inside, allowing them to rotate the unit and look at an object in three dimensions. Called pCubee, it’s the result of two years of work by students at the University of British Columbia.

“If it’s AutoCAD or 3D modeling objects, instead of looking at them on a regular desktop monitor, you can look at them inside the cube,” said Ian Stavness, a Ph.D. student at the University of British Columbia. He said that it could also be useful for museums to use for virtual showcases. The three-dimensional effect will only work, though, if 3D data for the object is available.

(Hat tip: SculptCAD)

April 18, 2010

The latest on the SculptCAD Rapid Artist Project

Here’s the official announcement of the project:

SculptCAD Rapid Artists to Debut at Society of Manufacturing Engineers Rapid 2010 Conference and Exposition

Inaugural Sculpture Exhibit Will Showcase the Convergence of Art and Technology

DALLAS, TX–(Marketwire – April 12, 2010) –  SculptCAD Rapid Artists, an experimental project launched by SculptCAD, a provider of sculptural/CAD design and reverse engineering services, announced its upcoming debut at the 2010 Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) RAPID Conference and Exposition (SME RAPID 2010), to be held on May 18-20 at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, California. For the first time ever, SME RAPID 2010 will host an exhibit dedicated to the convergence of art and technology. Titled “Art’s Newest Medium: Rapid Prototyping Applied to Contemporary Visions of Sculpture,” the exhibit will feature the works of 15 SculptCAD Rapid Artists members who are exploring the use SculptCAD digital 3D modeling software to create art.

“This inaugural exhibit marks the first time that the SME RAPID Conference and Exposition has been open to fine art,” said Nancy Hairston, Founder and President of VanDuzen Inc. — the parent company of SculptCAD, and a SculptCAD Rapid Artists sculptor. “I applaud the vision of the SME RAPID 2010 conference leaders in welcoming SculptCAD Rapid Artists and its ground-breaking approach to art in the 21st Century.”

“SME is always on the lookout for cutting-edge, rapid manufacturing applications to enhance the value of our program,” said Gary Mikola, SME show manager. “SculptCAD Rapid Artists is a perfect fit. We’ve received strong interest from registered attendees and participants, and as a result we’re also offering technical sessions that support the visual Contemporary Art Gallery.”

Launched in October 2009, SculptCAD Rapid Artists’ mission is to expose career fine artists, previously unfamiliar with digital techniques, to 3D software, 3D scanners, and Rapid Prototype (RP) output. Members of SculptCAD Rapid Artists include sculptors, painters, and installation artists who work in materials ranging from marble to rubber to wood. Using computer technology to fuel the creative process, SculptCAD Rapid Artists is challenging conventional perceptions of art in the physical realm.

Digital sculptures created by SculptCAD Rapid Artists members benefit the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (Arts Magnet) in Dallas. Many of the participating artists are alumni of Arts Magnet. All exemplify an innovative spirit consistent with the contemporary vision of the extraordinary Dallas Arts District.

At SME RAPID 2010, Nancy Hairston will give a Fine Arts track presentation titled, “Rapid Artists – Experiment in Artists Immersed in Rapid Technologies for the First Time.” Scheduled on May 19 at 10:00 a.m., Nancy’s presentation will report on the potential that SculptCAD Rapid Artists is unleashing.

About SculptCAD Rapid Artists
SculptCAD Rapid Artists is an experimental project launched by SculptCAD, a leading provider of sculptural/CAD design and reverse engineering services. Dedicated to the creation of fine art, SculptCAD Rapid Artists’ mission is to explore and expand the use of computer technology to design and produce works of sculpture utilizing 3D software, 3D scanning, and 3D printing. Artists can create having freedom from the constraints of physical media, and can make art faster using digital tools. Digital also offers artists the ability to make multiple versions and editions of their work, print art on-demand, and enable collectors to purchase and download art online. SculptCAD Rapid Artists was founded in October 2009 and is based in Dallas, Texas. For more information about how SculptCAD Rapid Artists is changing perceptions of art in the physical world, visit http://www.sculptcadrapidartists.com.

About SculptCAD
SculptCAD specializes in time compression technologies for 3D design and manufacturing. These technologies include reverse engineering, 3D visualization, 3D modeling, rapid prototyping, rapid manufacturing, digital sculpting and CAD surfacing. SculptCAD serves a number of industries including fine art, housewares, medical, aerospace, packaging, product and toy manufacturing, and inspection. SculptCAD is a division of VanDuzen Inc., a rapid digital solutions company. Based in Dallas, Texas, VanDuzen is the parent company of two other divisions: MedCAD andVouch Software.

About Nancy Hairston
President & CEO, VanDuzen Inc.
Ms. Hairston brings 17 years of experience as a traditional sculptor and digital technologist to the pursuit of integrating 3D technologies in the creation and manufacture of sculptural products. Receiving a BA in Sculpture from Loyola University in New Orleans, Ms. Hairston began a career in 3D modeling with Alias | Wavefront / Silicon Graphics , in 2000, Ms. Hairston joined SensAble Technologies, and was instrumental in designing and implementing the “rapid” digital product development process between the United States and Asia for major American manufacturers. She founded VanDuzen Inc. in 2002, whose divisions – SculptCAD and MedCAD – work with major manufacturers to develop a variety of products, from toys to housewares to medical devices using Rapid technologies. In 2009, VanDuzen Inc. developed Vouch Software, which detects safety hazards in children’s products. VanDuzen Inc. is based in Dallas, Texas.

About The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME)
Founded in 1932, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (www.sme.org) is the premier source for manufacturing knowledge, education and networking. Through its many programs, events and activities, SME connects manufacturing practitioners to each other, to the latest technology and the most up-to-date processes spanning all manufacturing industries and disciplines, plus the key areas of aerospace and defense, medical device, motor vehicles, including motorsports, oil and gas and alternative energy. A 501(c)3 organization, SME has members around the world and is supported by a network of technical communities and chapters worldwide.

Hit this link for all posts on the SculptCAD Rapid Artists Project.

Carbon nanotubes and new states of matter

Now this is some fascinating research on carbon nanotube properties.

From the link:

“For the first time, fields of study relating both to cold atoms and to the nanoscale have intersected,” Lene Vestergaard Hau tells PhysOrg.com. “Even though both have been active areas of research, cold atoms have not been brought together with nanoscale structures at the single nanometer level. This is a totally new system.”

Hau is the Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Harvard University. Along with colleague J.A. Golovchenko, and graduate students Anne Goodsell and Trygve Ristroph, who are in her lab at Harvard, Hau was able to set up an experiment that allows for the observation of capture and field ionization of cold atoms. Their work can be found in : “Field  of Cold Atoms near the Wall of a Single Carbon Nanotube.”

And:

“When the electron is pulled in, it goes through a tunneling process,” Hau explains. “It has to go through areas that are classically forbidden. The process is quantum mechanical. We can observe the interaction of the atom and the nanotube as the electron is trying to tunnel, and this offers us a chance to peek at some of the interesting dynamics that happen at the nanoscale.”

Another possibility is that this combination of cold atoms with  could lead to new states of matter. “Since we now know how to suck atoms into orbit at such high spin rates, it could lead to a new state of cold-atomic matter that could be super interesting to study,” Hau points out.

Practical applications?:

Practically, this new system has potential as well. “We could make very sensitive detectors,” Hau says. “Things like ‘atom sniffers’ that detect trace gases could be an application for this work. Additionally, the possibility of single nanometer precision means super high spatial resolution. This system could be used in interferometers — interferometers built on a single chip and based on , which would be of importance for navigation, for example.”

For the raw material, here’s the release the linked article sprung from.

“iSpecs” patent application from Apple …

… is already giving me a headache.

The conceit behind the patent app is a pair of glasses you attach an iPhone, iPod or similar Apple device to watch video in high-def equivalent 3D. Just imagine the neck strain of having the weight of an iPhone resting on the bridge of your nose for an extended period of time, not to mention the eyestrain.

I wonder if this patent application entered the system on April 1, or maybe Navin Johnson is now an Apple engineer.

(All blockquotes are from the first link.)

Here’s a look at an illustration of the concept:

And here’s a little more detail:

Apple has filed a patent application for electronic video spectacles that will allow wearers to watch films in 3D on the inside of the glasses. Fans have already nicknamed the gadget iSpecs.

Users would attach their , iPod, or other device to the spectacles, which have a special lens that can split the image into two frames — one for each eye — and then project the image onto the spectacles. The two images would create a stereoscopic effect since they would appear to have been taken from slightly different angles, and this would simulate 3D.

According to the patent application (number 20100079356) the images would be equivalent to high definition in quality, and sensors inside the spectacles would detect the precise location of the wearer’s eyes to ensure the image is projected at exactly the right place and is comfortable to watch.

NASA image of Eyjafjallajökull volcano ash cloud

Filed under: et.al., Science — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:23 am

I do space images fairly often, here’s an image from space of the ash from the Eyjafjallajökull volcano eruption in Iceland:

Caption: NASA’s Terra satellite flew over the volcano on April 16 10:45 UTC (6:45 a.m. EDT) and the MODIS instrument captured a visible image of Eyjafjallajökull’s ash plume (brown cloud) stretching from the UK (left) to Germany (right).

Credit: NASA/MODIS Rapid Response Team

Here’s a link to the release with more information on the image.

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