Grain dynamics make perfectly flat copper films impossible        
(with video) Misalignments between grain boundaries in nanocrystalline copper films lead to surface roughening in the form of nanoscale ridges and valleys, meaning perfectly flat metal films do not exist.
          New technique creates long carbon nanotubes out of thin air        
Electrolysis using atmospheric CO2 produces novel CNT "wool" while fighting climate change.
          Nanopatterning technique records structural colour at low cost        
New method combining nanoimprint and optical patterning allows long-term archiving of information in an obsolescence-proof form.
          Nanopatterning technique records structural colour at low cost        
New method combining nanoimprint and optical patterning allows long-term archiving of information in an obsolescence-proof form.
          Smaller is better for inertial nanosensors        
Flash: Decreasing the size avoids stiction, allowing greater sensitivity and reliability.
          Photonic nanostructures by design        
Wrinkle lithography and computer-based calculations are a winning combination for making quasi-random structured surfaces.
          NanoVelcro microchips for prenatal testing        
New non-invasive technique could be a safer alternative to amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling.
          Protein-capturing nanoparticles boost immune response to cancer        
(with video) Coupled with radiotherapy, the new approach helps fight secondary tumours outside of the irradiated area.
          New nanostructured device boosts infrared spectroscopy        
Flash: More efficient light trapping means greater molecular sensitivity.
          Magnetic freestyle nanoswimmer could make biomedical nanobot        
Two-arm device can quickly propagate through viscous fluids like those found in the human body.
          SUNY Leads the Way to 21st Century Innovation        
Over the past decade, New York’s Upstate, Central, and Western regions have been transformed from retired industry into technical paradises.  From the entrepreneurial and medical hubs in the greater Buffalo region to the biomedical advancements and investments taking place in the Rochester/Syracuse area to the nanotechnology revolution in the Mohawk Valley continuing east to the […]
          Get almost any EBOOK for free.        

They say that reading book gives loads of fun. More oftenly, they are the best friends of any person. most reliable or trustworthy.Reading a book is fun, but when you forget it at home, are bored at work, looking to get ahead on your reading for your online bachelor degree class, or are just curious to get a sneak peek at whatever you ordered from Amazon, online book sites can be handy too. Below is a list of over 100 free (and legal) sites to find great literature for download.

  • The classics
          Browse works by Mark Twain, Joseph Conrad and other famous authors here:
Classic Bookshelf: This site has put classic novels online, from Charles Dickens to Charlotte 
The Online Books Page: The University of Pennsylvania inPhiladelphia hosts this book search and database.
Project Gutenberg: This famous site has over 27,000 free books online.
Page by Page Books: Find books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and H.G. Wells, as well as speeches from George W. Bush on this site.
Classic Book Library: Genres here include historical fiction, history, science fiction, mystery, romance and children’s literature, but they’re all classics.
Classic Reader: Here you can read Shakespeare, young adult fiction and more.
Read Print: From George Orwell to Alexandre Dumas to George Eliot to Charles Darwin, this online library is stocked with the best classics.
Planet eBook: Download free classic literature titles here, from Dostoevsky to D.H. Lawrence to Joseph Conrad.
The Spectator Project: This project at Montclair State University in New Jersey features full-text, online versions ofThe Spectator and The Tatler.
Bibliomania: This site has more than 2,000 classic texts, plus study guides and reference books.
Online Library of Literature: Find full and unabridged texts of classic literature, including the Bronte sisters, Mark Twain and more.
Bartleby: Bartleby has much more than just the classics, but its collection of anthologies and other important novels made it famous. has a huge selection of novels, including works by Lewis Carroll, Willa Cather, Sherwood Anderson, Flaubert, George Eliot, F. Scott Fitzgerald and others.
Free Classic Literature: Find British authors like Shakespeare and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, plus other authors like Jules Verne, Mark Twain, and more.

  • Textbooks
If you don’t absolutely need to pay for your textbooks, save yourself a few hundred dollars by reviewing these sites.
Textbook Revolution: Find biology, business, engineering, mathematics and world history textbooks here.
Wikibooks: From cookbooks (handy for those enrolled inonline bachelor’s degree programs for culinary arts!) to the computing department, find instructional and educational materials here.
KnowThis Free Online Textbooks: Get directed to stats textbooks and more.
Online Medical Textbooks: Find books about plastic surgery, anatomy and more here.
Online Science and Math Textbooks: Access biochemistry, chemistry, aeronautics, medical manuals and other textbooks here.
MIT Open Courseware Supplemental Resources: Find free videos, textbooks and more on the subjects of mechanical engineering, mathematics, chemistry and more.
Flat World Knowledge: This innovative site has created an open college textbooks platform that will launch in January 2009.
Free Business Textbooks: Find free books to go along with accounting, economics and other business classes.
Light and Matter: Here you can access open source physics textbooks.
eMedicine: This project from WebMD is continuously updated and has articles and references on surgery, pediatrics and more.
  • Math and Science
          Turn to this list to find books about math, science, engineering and technology. This site has "thousands of full-text free books,"  including a large                      amount of scientific essays and books.

Free online textbooks, lecture notes, tutorials and videos on mathematics: NYU               links to several free resources for math students, even those outside of New York!

Online Mathematics Texts: Here you can find online textbooks like Elementary                           Linear Algebra and Complex Variables.

Science and Engineering Books for free download: These books range in topics from nanotechnology to compressible flow. Find over 1800 math, engineering and science books here.

Free Tech Books: Computer programmers and computer science enthusiasts can find helpful books here.

  • Children's Book
Even children’s books are now available online. Find illustrated books, chapter books and more.
byGosh: Find free illustrated children’s books and stories here.
Munseys: Munseys has nearly 2,000 children’s titles, plus books about religion, biographies and more.
International Children’s Digital Library: Find award-winning books and search by categories like age group, make believe books, true books or picture books.
Lookybook: Access children’s picture books here.
Philosophy and Religion
For books about philosophy and religion, check out these websites. has music ebooks, cooking ebooks, and over 150 philosophy titles and over 1,000 religion titles. Here you’ll find works by Rene Descartes, Sigmund Freud, Karl Marx, David Hume and others.
Free Books on Yoga, Religion and Philosophy: Recent uploads to this site include Practical Lessons in Yoga andPhilosophy of Dreams.
The Sociology of Religion: Read this book by Max Weber, here.
Religion eBooks: Read books about the Bible, Christian books, and more. This is especially useful for those pursuingonline bachelor’s degrees in Christian Studies.

          10 Teknologi Masa Depan.!!        
Manusia akan segera memasuki masa depan.
Teknologi bergerak sedemikian cepatnya sehingga dalam waktu tidak lama lagi seluruh dunia akan berubah besar-besaran. Teknologi-teknologi baru yang sedang dikembangkan benar-benar revolusioner, hal-hal yang nyaris tidak pernah terbayangkan sebelumnya oleh para ilmuwan dan hanya ada dalam khayalan-khayalan manusia.

Di suatu hari nanti, manusia mungkin bisa hidup ratusan tahun tanpa mengenal penyakit, memiliki kecerdasan yang genius, dan pergi bertamasya ke luar angkasa.

Ini adalah beberapa teknologi revolusioner yang diperkirakan akan merubah seluruh dunia :
1. Mesin-mesin Cerdas Seukuran Atom, Nanoteknologi
2. Zaman Manusia-manusia Super, Rekayasa Genetika
3. Energi terdahsyat di Alam Semesta, Fusi Nuklir
4. Regenerasi Wolverine, Stem Cell
5. Komputer Kuantum
6. Baju Menghilang Harry Potter, Metamaterial
7. Space Elevator, Tangga Menuju Bintang-bintang
8. Scramjet
9. Hidup Ratusan Tahun, Resveratrol.
10. Penyatuan Manusia dan Mesin, Singularitas.

1. Mesin-mesin Cerdas Seukuran Atom, Nanoteknologi
“Coal and diamonds, sand and computer chips, cancer and healthy tissue: throughout history, variations in the arrangement of atoms have distinguished the cheap from the cherished, the diseased from the healthy. Arranged one way, atoms make up soil, air, and water. Arranged another, they make up ripe strawberries. Arranged one way, they make up homes and fresh air; arranged another, they make up ash and smoke”.Eric Drexler, Engines of Creation

Nanoteknologi adalah segala teknologi masa depan yang memungkinan manusia memanipulasi partikel-partikel super kecil yang besarnya nyaris seukuran atom! Nanometer sendiri adalah ukuran 1/semilyar meter, atau nyaris ketebalan rambut dibelah 50.000. Itulah kedahsyatan teknologi nano.

Tujuannya adalah menciptakan material-material baru masa depan, bahkan mesin-mesin dan robot-robot seukuran partikel. Material-material itu akan bisa lebih kuat dari intan, super ringan, tahan panas dan dingin dengan skala yang ekstrim, mampu menghantarkan listrik lebih baik, lebih tahan lama, ramah lingkungan dan seterusnya.

Kemungkinan aplikasinya benar-benar dahsyat dan akan merubah seluruh dunia. Bayangkan bila kita bisa menciptakan berbagai material baru yang lebih keras dari intan, dan jauh lebih ringan dari baja. (Carbon nanotubes, sp2 bond). Kita bisa menciptakan kerangka super kuat untuk mobil, pesawat terbang, atau bangunan dan jembatan. Dengan bobotnya yang lebih ringan, semua mobil dan pesawat juga akan lebih hemat energi.

Kita bisa menciptakan baju anti kusut dan tahan noda. Kita juga bisa menciptakan robot berukuran bakteria, nanobots, dan memasukanya ke dalam tubuh manusia. Fungsinya bisa dari menyembuhkan penyakit, menghancurkan sel-sel kanker, bahkan memperkuat tubuh manusia (Feynman, ”Swallowing the Doctor”). Nanobots ataupun nanoparticles bahkan nantinya diperkirakan juga akan bisa kembali menutup lubang ozon.

Dengan komponen seukuran nano, kita bisa membuat supercomputer sebesar kotak korek api, dan media penyimpanan data yang menyimpan jutaan gigabyte informasi tentang umat manusia dan seluruh alam semesta, sebesar seujung kuku.
Bagaimana teknologi ini bisa dilakukan? Karena mikroskop super-canggih yang dapat melihat atom sudah ada sejak 1981, Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM), dan Atomic Force Microscope (AFM, 1986).
2. Era Manusia-manusia Super, Rekayasa Genetika

“Human genetic engineering has the potential to change human beings' appearance, adaptability, intelligence, character, and behaviour. It may potentially be used in creating more dramatic changes in humans”.
Wikipedia Genetic Engineering.

Manusia telah berhasil memetakan gennya dalam proyek raksasa “The Human Genome Project”. Dengan data ini manusia mempunyai peta informasi untuk mengeksplorasi fungsi dan potensi dari tiap gen dalam tubuh manusia. Mulai dari gen yang menentukan bentuk fisik manusia, gen penyebab kanker, gen yang membentuk ingatan, gen yang menciptakan kecerdasan, bahkan gen khusus yang mengatur proses penuaan.

Ini nantinya akan memungkinkan dilakukannya rekayasa genetika untuk menciptakan manusia-manusia masa depan yang sangat unggul. Manusia dengan kesehatan sempurna, terbebas dari penyakit, berumur lebih dari 100 tahun dan mempunyai kecerdasan mendekati genius.

Bayangkan bila manusia menemukan gen spesial yang membuat Einstein menjadi genius. Lalu gen itu bisa ditransfer ke seluruh umat manusia. Atau keunggulan fisik David Beckham, atau bahkan kharisma John F. Kennedy.

Tapi rekayasa genetika tidak hanya untuk manusia, tapi juga bisa untuk tumbuhan dan hewan ternak. Rekayasa genetika bisa menciptakan padi dan gandum jenis baru dengan hasil panen yang berkali-kali lipat. Kita juga bisa menciptakan daging sapi yang lebih empuk dan gurih. Kita bahkan juga bisa menciptakan tanaman dan hewan konsumsi dengan nilai gizi yang unggul.

3. Energi Terdahsyat di seluruh Alam Semesta, The Power of the Stars

“What would fusion mean? Endless, cheap energy. Amazing Star Trek, space travel possibilities. Fame, fortune, and undoubtedly a Nobel or two for the lucky scientist”.

The Observer, Desember 2000

Matahari, setiap detiknya, mengeluarkan energi sebesar seluruh energi yang digunakan seluruh umat manusia sepanjang sejarahnya. Energi plasma hidrogen raksasa sebesar 380 Milyar-milyar Mega-Watt (380^26 MW), per detiknya. Inilah energi yang dikenal sebagai energi Fusi Nuklir (Nuclear Fusion), The power of the Sun. Dan para ilmuwan dunia sedang berusaha mendapatkannya.
Dan ini adalah energi yang membuat bintang-bintang raksasa di alam semesta terbakar selama milyaran tahun. Energi terdahsyat, di seluruh alam semesta.

Sebuah percobaan besar sedang dilakukan di kota kecil Cadarache di ujung selatan Perancis dalam sebuah proyek bernama ITER. Disini atom Deuterium dan Tritium dilebur dengan panas mencapai 150 juta derajat Celcius, nyaris 10 kali panas inti Matahari. Wadah peleburannya dilindungi oleh medan magnet Tokamak sehingga tidak meleleh.

Hebatnya adalah bahwa Deuterium bisa dihasilkan dari air laut biasa, dan Tritium dibentuk dari Lithium yang bisa didapat dari batu alam. Energi terdahsyat di seluruh alam semesta dari Air dan Batu alam.

Kalau para ilmuwan ini berhasil menciptakannya, maka seluruh dunia akan mempunyai sumber energi baru yang dahsyat menggantikan minyak bumi. Energi ini akan begitu besar dan efisien, tidak terbatas, sangat murah, serta ramah lingkungan.

(Note : penggunaan nanoteknologi dalam sel photovoltaic tenaga surya, nanocrystal, juga dikatakan memiliki potensi energi super besar yang mampu menggantikan minyak bumi).

4. Regenerasi Wolverine, Stem Cell
Bayangkan bila penyakit jantung dan diabetes bisa disembuhkan secara sempurna, orang lumpuh bisa berjalan, dan orang buta, bisa melihat kembali.

Anda pernah melihat seekor cecak, yang bisa menumbuhkan kembali ekornya yang putus dengan sempurna? Atau jika anda penggemar komik ”X-Men”, anda pasti tahu tokoh superhero bernama Wolverine. Saat tubuhnya tertusuk pisau atau tertembus peluru, dia dapat menyembuhkan lukanya dengan nyaris seketika. Ia dapat meregenerasi seluruh sel-sel tubuhnya dengan sempurna, secara instan.
Tapi itu cuma khayalan. Ada sejenis cacing bernama “planarian worm”, yang banyak hidup di laut maupun sungai, yang mampu menumbuhkan ulang bahkan nyaris seluruh tubuhnya.

Planaria, terutama spesies Schmidtea mediterranea, mampu meregenerasi utuh tubuhnya, bahkan bila tinggal sepotong kecil saja tubuhnya yang tersisa, sampai 1/300 bagian. Dan bila kepalanya dihilangkanpun, dia akan menumbuhkan kembali kepalanya dengan sempurna.

Bagaimana jika manusia bisa melakukan itu nantinya? Jika kita dapat secara langsung mengganti semua sel-sel tubuh kita yang rusak dengan sempurna dan tanpa cacat. Para ilmuwan telah nyaris mencapai keajaiban itu. Teknologi biologi molekular bernama Stem Cell, atau Sel Induk. Ini adalah sel paling dasar dari tubuh manusia, yang bisa berubah, atau dirubah, menjadi sel atau organ apapun di tubuh manusia.

Bila anda memiliki penyakit jantung, maka sel jantung itu bisa diganti dengan stem sel dan jantung anda akan berfungsi normal kembali. Bila anda mengalami kebutaan, sel retina anda bisa diganti dengan sel baru dari sel induk dan anda akan bisa melihat kembali.

Jika anda menderita penyakit yang berhubungan dengan fungsi otak seperti stroke, alzheimer atau parkinson, maka sel otak anda yang rusak, bahkan jaringan pusat otak cerebral cortex, bisa diganti dengan stem cell. Dan kalau anda menderita diabetes, maka stem cell akan menyelamatkan anda dengan meregenerasi sel pankreas penghasil hormon insulin.

Stem Cell benar-benar membawa revolusi besar dalam kesehatan umat manusia.

5. Komputer Kuantum

Bayangkan sebuah komputer masa depan, yang kecepatannya ribuan kali lebih cepat dari supercomputer tercepat sekarang. Ribuan kali lebih cepat dan efisien dari IBM ”Roadrunner” di Los Alamos yang kecepatannya mencapai 1.7 petaflops (1 petaflop = 10^15 operasi per detik).

Inilah kedahsyatan komputer kuantum. Komputer ini begitu dahsyat karena diciptakan memakai fenomena keajaiban dunia kuantum, Superposition dan Quantum Entanglement.

Dalam pemecahan kode misalnya (kriptografi), untuk memecahkan kode yang digitnya sampai 140, komputer biasa akan memerlukan waktu milyaran tahun untuk memecahkannya. Tapi dengan komputer kuantum, ini bisa dipecahkan hanya dalam waktu beberapa puluh menit saja.
Dengan komputer ini manusia juga akan bisa memprediksikan cuaca di bumi dan gejala-gejala alam lain yang sangat kompleks dengan sangat akurat berbulan-bulan sebelumnya, seperti gempa bumi dan tornado. Dan tentu saja ini akan makin merevolusikan lagi kecepatan pengembangan seluruh teknologi canggih yang ada sekarang.

6. Jubah Menghilang Harry Potter, Metamaterial
“The announcement last November of an "invisibility shield," created by David R. Smith of Duke University and colleagues, inevitably set the media buzzing with talk of H. G. Wells's invisible man and Star Trek's Romulans”.
MIT Technology Review

Hanya beberapa tahun yang lalu, seluruh ilmuwan ternama dunia masih yakin bahwa tidak ada satupun material di dunia ini yang bisa membuat manusia menghilang. Itu benar-benar tidak mungkin, karena itu melanggar semua hukum alam yang diketahui manusia. Tapi mereka semua salah..
Metamaterial, menjadi salahsatu bahan yang ramai dibicarakan. Bahan ini bisa membuat sesuatu, menjadi tidak terlihat. Sebuah baju yang menggunakan teknologi ini bisa membuat pemakainya ”menghilang”, seperti jubah ajaib dalam ”Harry Potter”.

Sebuah pesawat tempur dengan bahan metamaterial akan jadi tidak terlihat, bukan sekedar tidak terlihat radar seperti teknologi ”Stealth”, tapi benar-benar tidak terlihat mata seperti alat cloaking device dalam Star Trek.

Ini bisa dilakukan misalnya dengan menciptakan material artifisial yang mampu membelokkan radiasi elektromagnetik, demikian pula dengan cahaya, yang pada dasarnya adalah radiasi elektromagnetik. Bahannya bisa seperti timah dan plastik yang diatur dalam struktur pola tertentu.

Metamaterial akan membelokkan cahaya, mengelilingi obyek yang diselimutinya dan berkumpul kembali di ujungnya, seperti air sungai mengelilingi sebuah batu. Dalam penelitian terakhir di Perdue University mereka menggunakan jarum-jarum khusus yang akan membelokkan cahaya melampaui obyek yang diselubungi sementara obyek di belakangnya akan terlihat.

Material ini sedang diteliti di seluruh dunia termasuk di MIT, University of California Berkeley, Duke University, dan Caltech di LA.

7. Space Elevator, Tangga Menuju Bintang-bintang
Space elevator atau Tangga Luar angkasa adalah seperti lift yang sangat tinggi dari bumi menuju ke orbit bumi di luar angkasa, 35.000 kilometer tingginya. Dengan lift ini perjalanan ke orbit bumi akan menjadi lebih mudah, dan murah.
Banyak orang berharap, bahwa program ruang angkasa yang tadinya berhenti sampai di bulan karena sangat mahal, akan bisa dimulai lagi. Dan mungkin impian manusia untuk pergi ke Mars, akan terwujud.

Lift ini awalnya hanya berupa khayalan, tapi ternyata dengan ditemukannya sebuah teknologi baru, hal ini menjadi sangat memungkinkan diwujudkan. Teknologi itu adalah Carbon nanotube, material baru yang dikatakan lebih kuat dari intan dan lebih ringan dari baja.

Hal ini nantinya akan memungkinkan dimulainya era baru dalam penjelahajan ruang angkasa.

8. Memasuki Era Hiper-Sonik, Scramjet
Scramjet akan menjadi salahsatu revolusi terbesar dalam sejarah transportasi dunia. Pesawat tempur tercanggih di dunia sekarang, F/A-22 Raptor milik Amerika berkecepatan maksimal Mach 2, atau 2 kali kecepatan suara. Pesawat penumpang Scramjet, akan membawa anda terbang dengan kecepatan 10 kali kecepatan suara, Mach 10.
Penerbangan dari New York ke Tokyo yang sekarang ditempuh dalam waktu 18 jam yang panjang dan melelahkan, akan ditempuh Scramjet, hanya dalam 120 menit.

Scramjet tidak perlu memakai bahan bakar roket biasa yang mahal dan berat, bahan bakarnya menggunakan hidrogen cair yang dicampur penyedotan oksigen langsung dari atmosfer (air-breathing scramjet engine). Pembakaran hidrogen dan oksigen pada kecepatan supersonik inilah yang akan mengakselerasikan kecepatannya.

Ini akan membuat penerbangan dari satu tempat ke tempat lain di seluruh dunia menjadi super cepat.

9. Fountain Of Youth, Resveratrol
Mungkin, nantinya kita bisa menemukan sesuatu yang memungkinkan kita hidup ratusan tahun. Tapi para ilmuwan mungkin telah menemukannya, sesuatu yang dinamakan “Sirtuin”, Silent Information Regulator 2 (Sir2) proteins dan resveratrol, zat antioxidan yang ternyata banyak ditemukan dalam buah anggur merah (Jadi sering-seringlah makan buah anggur.)

Tapi para ilmuwan juga telah menciptakan sesuatu yang bahkan lebih kuat dari resveratrol yaitu sebuah obat dengan kode, SRT1720.

“SRT1720 is a thousand times more potent than resveratrol, meaning that it could be taken in smaller doses. A person would have to drink hundreds of glasses of wine to get the same health benefits from resveratrol. Resveratrol will pretty soon look like ancient technology,"
David Sinclair, a biologist at Harvard Medical School

10. Singularitas.

Suatu hari nanti, akan datang suatu masa dimana melalui rekayasa genetika seluruh manusia akan mempunyai fisik dan kecerdasan yang nyaris sempurna.
Lalu dengan kemajuan teknologi komputer, komputer kuantum dan nanoteknologi memungkinkan manusia memasukkan Quantum Computer berukuran partikel ke dalam otaknya dan menggunakan partikel-partikel nano untuk makin memperkuat tubuhnya. Ini adalah hal yang dinamakan Singularitas. Penyatuan antara biologi manusia dengan teknologi.

          Could Nanotechnology Save Print Yellow Pages?        
Technological evolution continues to change our everyday lives, and the speed of changes over the last two decades has caused an acceleration of impacts to traditional forms of business. Nowhere is this more evident than in the impact to usage of printed yellow pages directories. Once the mainstay for locating businesses, many consumers now treat […]
          Supreme Court Decides Myriad Case: Synthetic DNA Held Patentable & Implications for Nanotech        
Today the Supreme Court rendered its decision in the landmark Myriad case, holding that naturally occurring DNA segments are not patentable, but synthetic DNA segments are patent eligible based on the patent eligibility requirement of 35 U.S.C. 101...
By: Foley & Lardner LLP
          SpireX2 12025N7L4 Lüfter        
Das neue SpireX2, einberufen von Spire, stellt einen neuen Lüfter mit einem Keramiklager und spezieller Nanotechnologie vor. Im folgenden eine kurze Vorstellung, was der Lüfter taugt.(...)
          Co kogo boli(d)?        

Kirił Żurenkov, Sergiej Mielnikov, Władimir Tichomirov – o psychologicznym efekcie upadku czelabińskiego meteorytu.


Eksplodujący w Czelabińsku meteoryt nie tylko przyniósł miliardowe straty oraz spowodował traumę u ponad tysiąca ludzi, ale i rozbudził w społeczeństwie nowe fobie. „Ogoniok” zbadał ów fenomen.

Mało kto o tym wie, ale czelabiński meteoryt wybuchł równo 100 lat po innym unikatowym wydarzeniu astonomicznym – „wielkiej procesji meteorytów 1913 roku” – z niewielką różnicą wynoszącą sześć dni: „wielka procesja”, kiedy to po niebie nad północną półkulą przemknęły dziesiątki meteorytów, miała miejsce 9 lutego, a czelabiński meteoryt spadł 15 lutego. I tak, w owym 1913 roku, „Ogoniok” poprosił pisarzy i malarzy Sankt-Petersburga, aby opowiedzieli o tym, czego się najbardziej obawiają. W rezultacie wydany został „straszny” numer – prawdziwa encyklopedia fobii początku XX wieku: Wrubel i Wasniecow narysowali wodników i diabły, a Gieorgij Iwanow napisał opowiadanie o zjawie złego Birona, która nawiedziła Petersburg. Co ciekawe, w numerze nie było ani słowa o rzeczach naprawdę niebezpiecznych – ani o przyszłych rewolucjach i wojnach, ani o katastrofach w kosmosie. Łatwo to wytłumaczyć: na początku ubiegłego stulecia nauka wpajała ludziom spokój oraz pewność, tak jak wszelkiego rodzaju mistyka – strach przed niepojętym.

Dziś sytuacja zmieniła się o 180 stopni: wampiry i pozostała hołota przekształcili się w idoli nastolatków, natomiast osiągnięcia nauki wzbudzają u ludzi autentyczny strach. Okazuje się, że wraz z poszerzaniem naszej wiedzy na temat otaczającego nas świata poszerza się także i lista zagrożeń, przy czym wielu z nich zwykły człowiek, nie posiadający specjalistycznego wykształcenia, nie potrafi nawet ich sformułować. Nie rozumie, ale boi się. Wystarczy przypomnieć sobie masową histerię związaną z uruchomieniem Wielkiego Zderzacza Hadronów albo oczekiwanie na globalną katastrofę klimatyczną związaną z nieuchronnym końcem świata, spowodowanym upadkiem asteroidy, przepowiedzianym przez Majów. Nawet nanotechnologią, którą lansował pięć lat temu ówczesny premier, okazała się źródłem tajemniczego zła, niszczącego organizmy żywe na poziomie molekularnym. Dodatkowo wspólnym lejtmotywem wszystkich tych niepokojów stało się przekonanie, iż „uczeni nas okłamują”. Jak widać, czelabiński meteoryt spadł na dobrze przygotowaną glebę.

Gdyby coś podobnego miało miejsce w czasach sowieckich, na wybuch w atmosferze nikt nie zwróciłby uwagi, jak zdarzyło się to w lipcu 1949 roku, kiedy na niebie nad Czelabińskiem wybuchł jeszcze jeden, kunaszakskij, meteoryt. Wtedy w gazetach zamieszczono maleńką notkę, obywatele pomruczeli i zapomnieli. Albo, na przykład, czy ktokolwiek pamięta o tym, że 15 lat temu na niebie nad Syberią wybuchł bolid, a moc wybuchu wynosiła 20 bomb atomowych, zrzuconych na Nagasaki? Jednak obecny czelabiński wybuch ludzie zapamiętają na długo, a to wszystko dzięki kamerom samochodowym, które nagrały zdarzenie we wszystkich możliwych ujęciach. Nagrania trafiły do Internetu, w ślad za tym w sieci pojawiły się żarty i przeróbki na temat meteorytu - całymi wiekami ludzie, starając się uchronić przed strachem, wyśmiewali jego przyczynę - a potem jedna za drugą rodzić się zaczęły "teorie spiskowe". "Informacja od Ministerstwa Sytuacji Nadzwyczajnych: to nasz bombowiec, - pisano na czelabińskich stronach internetowych. - Pilot doleciał do przedmieść, a sam zginął w powietrzu". Dlaczego meteoryt zostawiał za sobą ogon, podobny do ogona paliwa rakietowego? - pytała pewna gazeta federalna. - Dlaczego wybuch meteoryta podobny był do wybuchu rakiety samolikwidującej?" Dziennikarzom na swoim blogu wtórował także członek Rady Dumy Państwowej Władimir Żirinowski, przypuszczający, iż na Czelabińsk napadli Amerykanie. Wkrótce na temat utworzenia niejakiej nowej obrony przeciwmeteorytowej wypowiedziano się i na korytarzach rządowych.

Wystraszeni ludzie nie przyjmują argumentów uczonych, objaśniających to, że ludzie, z zasady, nie mogą kontrolować nawet 90% asteroidów i komet, przelatujących w bezpośredniej bliskości od nas. Oto kilka liczb: każdego miesiąca w atmosferze Ziemi mają miejsce wybuchy - z energią do 300 ton trotylu - niewielkich bolidów. Raz na 10 lat do atmosfery planety przedostają się meteoryty z energią 50 kg trotylu, natomiast takie obiekty, jak asteroidy lub podobne tunguskiemu meteorytowi, odwiedzają nas raz na tysiąc lat.

Tak więc, patrząc na cały ten informacyjny szum wokół meteorytu, warto zapytać samego siebie: czy aby nie oszukujemy się, tak jak nasi przodkowie 100 lat temu? Może bać się trzeba nie kamieni spadających z nieba, ale czegoś bardziej realnego, co już stoi u naszego progu?

Tłum karmi się pogłoskami. Ekspertyza

Wydarzenia ekstremalne, w rodzaju upadku meteorytu w Czelabińsku, na które ludzie nie są całkowicie przygotowani, wyzwalają, oczywiście, nastroje paniczne. Uwidacznia się to w pierwszej kolejności w tak zwanych zagrożonych grupach ludności i ich stanie fizycznym: zaostrzają się choroby chroniczne, zwiększa się liczba samobójstw, wśród ludzi niezrównoważonych psychicznie nasilają się objawy maniakalne. W podobnych przypadkach rozpowszechniają się także różne wieści, na przykład tak zwane pogłoski-straszaki oraz pogłoski agresywne, jak miało to miejsce w Czelabińsku. Upadek meteorytu objaśniano nie tylko przyczynami naturalnymi: utwierdzano się w przekonaniu, że jest to dzieło - jednym razem - rosyjskich żołnierzy, a innym - amerykańskich. Tego rodzaju wiadomości pokazują "paniczny tłum", w którym reakcja następuje po kręgu - ludzie zarażają się nawzajem emocjami. Nieprzygotowanemu człowiekowi trudno jest przeciwstawić się takim nastrojom: może będzie mu później do śmiechu albo wstyd, ale w momencie reakcji kolistej zachowuje się irracjonalnie. Jeśli pogłoski zaczynają się intensyfikować (co w tym przypadku, na szczęście, się nie zdarzyło), to "paniczny tłum" może przekształcić się w "agresywny", którym kieruje już nie strach, lecz gniew. 

Aby zapobiec pojawieniu się "panicznego" lub "agresywnego tłumu", należy zniszczyć pogłoski w zarodku - nazywa się to odstrzałem pogłosek. Takie coś mogłoby przydać się i w Czelabińsku. Można, powiedzmy, zorganizować dowolny atak na pogłoski: wprost ogłosić, że informacja nie jest zgodna z rzeczywistością, ale nie zawsze prowadzi to do oczekiwanych rezultatów. Lepiej działa atak skrzydłowy, kiedy, nie wspominając o pogłosce albo jej temacie, oferuje się ludziom informację przeciwną ze względu na treść. Dla przykładu, w 1986 roku w stolicy jednego z bliskowschodnich krajów rozpowszechniła się pogłoska o tym, że przy państwowej granicy zebrały się wojska wroga. Aby zniszczyć pogłoskę, grupa dziennikarzy, współpracująca z psychologami, zrobiła serię reportaży, w których ukazywano pomyślne życie ludzi rejonów przygranicznych. W ten sposób, poprzez transmisję pośredniej pozytywnej informacji, pogłoska o nieprzyjacielu została "zdławiona".

Ciekawe, że formowanie się "panicznego tłumu" w niewielkim stopniu zależy od nacjonalności oraz kultury. Strach warunkowany jest raczej epoką historyczną - na przykład, w średniowieczu masową panikę wywoływały czarownice. Dzisiaj lęki są inne: jest, dla przykładu, lęk przed skażeniem radioaktywnym, katastrofą lotniczą albo przed asteroidami, które jakoby mogły zderzyć się z Ziemią. Wraz z upływem czasu zmieniają się także źródła pogłosek: jeśli wcześniej upowszechniali je, powiedzmy, taksówkarze, handlowcy albo babcie, siedzące w bramach, tak dzisiaj to informacja z Internetu przyczynia się do "wciągnięcia" do paniki czy agresji. Na nią ludzie na razie nie mają odporności, wszak Internet to stosunkowe nowe medium. Miejmy nadzieję, że z czasem taka "odporność" się wykształci.

Strach jak pandemia. Doświadczenie

W przeciągu ostatnich lat ludzkość cierpiała naraz na kilka ogólnoświatowych fobii.

Problem 2000

W przededniu nowego tysiąclecia użytkownicy komputerów na całym świecie obawiali się tak zwanego "problemu 2000". Rzecz w tym, że w starym zabezpieczeniu programu było przyjęte oznaczać rok nie czterema, lecz zawsze dwiema cyframi (na przykład, nie 1991, a 91). Wielu więc martwiło się, iż daty w komputerach po prostu się wyzerują - mogłaby to być sytuacja krytyczna, na przykład, dla programów finansowych. W niektórych krajach na rozwiązanie "problemu 2000" wydano ogromne pieniądze. Jednakże później specjaliści krytykowali pomysł i nawet przekonywali, że problem nie był wart takiego rozdmuchania.
Świńska grypa
Masowy wybuch tej choroby miał miejsce w 2009 roku i zmusił WHO do zwiększenia stopnia groźby pandemii do maksimum - 6. stopień. W ten sposób epidemia grypy stała się pierwszą pandemią (czyli epidemią w skali całego kraju lub nawet kilku krajów) od 40 lat. Cały świat obiegła panika: w niektórych państwach i regionach wprowadzono nawet stan wyjątkowy. Jednak później, kiedy strach zmalał, WHO zarzucono rozdmuchiwanie niepotrzebnych lęków oraz to, że całe partie zakupionej szczepionki zostały niewykorzystane.  
Koniec świata

Jedna z najbardziej masowych fobii owładnęła światem pod koniec zeszłego roku: na 21 grudnia (według drugiej wersji - na 23) został "wyznaczony" koniec świata. W mediach powoływano się na kalendarz Majów, który akurat kończył się na tym dniu. Wielu z tych, którzy uwierzyli w przepowiednię, próbowali nawet schronić się w specjalnych miejscach na Ziemi - w szczególności na szczycie Bugarach we Francji (z powodu niezwykłej formy  uważany jest przez zwolenników mistycznych prądów oraz ufologów za bazę UFO). Uczeni, w tym specjaliści od Majów, wszystkie te pogłoski obalili, a koniec świata nie nastąpił.


Fobia antyazbestowa na świecie zaczęła się jeszcze w latach 70. XX wieku i od tamtej pory nabiera obrotów. Dla przykładu, w 1999 roku Komisja Europejska przyjęła dyrektywę, zgodnie z którą w krajach UE zakazywano używania azbestu oraz wyrobów z azbestu, począwszy od 1 stycznia 2005 roku, a w Londynie nawet dzisiaj działa "Ruch na rzecz zakazania azbestu". Eksperci jednakże uściślają, że istnieją dwa rodzaje azbestu. Pierwszy, amfibolowy, w rzeczywistości jest niebezpieczny i zakazany, a drugi, chryzotylowy (który zresztą wydobywany jest w Rosji), nie przynosi szkody - oczywiście, przy kontrolowanym używaniu.


Tahir Bazarow, psycholog, profesor MGU

Ludziom potrzebne są wydarzenia. Sam chciałbym zrozumieć, jak to możliwe, że w epoce sieciowych organizacji i wykształcenia nagle takie zainteresowanie względem końca świata. Według mnie, ludzie potrzebują cudów, ale dobre cuda nie przychodzą do głowy. Chciałoby się cudów takich armagedońskich, apokaliptycznych, coś kończących. Mam pewną hipotezę: rzecz w tym, że zakończenie jest zawsze najbardziej skomplikowane, ludzie umieją zaczynać, podoba im się zaczynać cokolwiek. Ale naprawdę niewielu udaje się zakończyć, tak więc oni oczekują tego, aż się samo skończy.

Źródło: kanał telewizycjny "Дождь".
Set Godin, autor książek o marketingu

Ludzie działając, zasadniczo orientują się na strach, nadzieję oraz miłość. Każdy marketingowiec z sukcesami, w tym także i politycy, czerpią korzyści co najmniej z jednej z tych podstawowych potrzeb. Na prykład, Rudolf Giuliani (eks-mer Nowego Jorku, który otrzymał stanowisko dzięki hasłom walki z przestępczością) był, niewątpliwie, kandydatem, pracującym ze strachem. Ciekawie jest zastanawiać się nad tym, jak określone kategorie są związane z różnymi emocjami. I tak, lekarze, otrzymujący pieniądze za obserwacje medyczne, pracują w biznesie, zbudowanym na strachu, podczas, gdy onkolodzy sprzedają nadzieję.

Źródło: prywatny blog Seta Godina.
Michaił Winogradow, psychiatra
Obserwuje się duże rozpowszechnienie aerofobii w związku ze znaczną ilością katastrof lotniczych. Są też natręctwa - lęk przed zarażeniem się wszelkiego rodzaju chorobami, strach przed ciemnością, zamkniętymi pomieszczeniami, wysokością. Lęk przed samotnością zaczął się wysuwać na przód, ponieważ ludzie zaczęli tracić więzi rodzinne oraz wartości i duża liczba starszych ludzi pozostaje w starym miejscu zamieszkania, podczas gdy młodzież wyjeżdża. Strach przed otwartą przestrzenią. Oczywiście, fobie transportowe w dużych miastach, a zwłaszcza w Moskwie - strach przed jazdą metrem.
Źródło: "Komsomolskaja prawda".
Autor: Kirił Żurenkov, Sergiej Mielnikov, Władimir Tichomirov.
Źródło: (wgląd: 17.03.2013).
Data publikacji: 25.02.2013.

          Military Packages Puttechnology to the Test-details        
Military Packages Puttechnology to the Test by Kate Bertrand Contributing Writer Nanotechnology, scent-embedded polymers, biodegradable films, edible packaging and RFID drive next-generation packaging. No one has more challenging requirements for food and drug packaging than the military. Packaging for products sold to the Armed Forces must stand up to everything from desert heat to being … Continue reading Military Packages Puttechnology to the Test-details
          today's leftovers        
  • Linux desktop market share hit an all time high in July, according to one measure [Ed: According to a Microsoft-connected firm]

    In June of 2016, Linux market share on the desktop according to their statistics hit over 2% for the first time. People were sceptical, but it seems it has mostly stayed above that 2% mark. In May of this year it did dip down to 1.99%, but as of July it recorded the highest yet at 2.53%.

  • Razor- the next generation bare-metal provisioning software

    When you have a machine with just BIOS (basic input-output system) on it, one way to load an Operating system is to use a bootable thumb drive, similar to the way you work with a laptop. However, installing OS on remote systems in data centers that are present in remote locations might not be feasible. Installing an operating system over the network directly to the computer’s hardware is known as bare metal provisioning.

    A network boot screen in a network is similar to the one displayed below that shows up only when both the new gods and old gods are content to give us something known as Preboot Execution Environment (PXE).

  • Automotive Grade Linux New UCB 4.0 & New Member Karamba

    There were two announcements about Automotive Grade Linux (AGL). Karamba Security, a provider of cybersecurity solutions for connected and autonomous vehicles, today announced that it has joined the Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) Project and The Linux Foundation to help develop its cybersecurity best practices. AGL released the latest version of the AGL infotainment platform, Unified Code Base (UCB) 4.0, which includes support for SmartDeviceLink integration, Speech Recognition APIs, secure Over-the-Air Updates (SOTA) and improvements to the App Framework and Software Development Kit (SDK).

  • Cylon – Arch Linux Distribution Maintenance Program/Tool

    Cylon is a menu driven small shall script which basically gives you an idea to manage/maintain the Arch Linux and it’s derivatives by offering fourteen categories with variety of applications (hassle free application installation), which helps you to compete your day to day operation very smoothly.

    The script provides updates, maintenance, backups and system checks utilities for an Arch based Linux distribution like Manjaro, Antergos, Chakra, etc.,.

  • Red Hydrogen phone gets a video preview: It’s big—very big

    Many were confused earlier in July when Red, makers of ultra high-end 4K and 8K cameras for Hollywood, announced it was making an Android smartphone.

    Dubbed Red Hydrogen, the phone's substantial $1,595 price tag was accompanied by all manner of lofty promises about shattering "the mould of conventional thinking" and "nanotechnology." The phone supposedly had a "holographic" display, too.

          Nanoproduits : déjà parmi nous        
Si besoin était, le diaporama du magazine Forbes consacré aux produits issus de la nanotechnologie confirme la réalité de ses applications concrètes. Chewing-gums au chocolat, rendus possible par la présence de nanocristaux assurant l’élasticité de la gomme tout en conservant l’arôme du chocolat ; crème faciale à base de buckyballs (nanotubes (...)
          Enjeux 2006, année de transitions        
Nanotechnologies, bataille entre "OS lourds" contre "tout internet" et nouveaux réseaux communicants sont quelques-uns des enjeux 2006 mis en avant par Cyril Fiévet.
           Folic acid conjugated chitosan nanoparticles for tumor targeting of therapeutic and imaging agents         
Vllasaliu, Driton and Casettari, Luca and Bonacucina, Giulia and Cespi, Marco and Filippo Palmieri, Giovanni and Illum, Lisbeth (2013) Folic acid conjugated chitosan nanoparticles for tumor targeting of therapeutic and imaging agents. Pharmaceutical Nanotechnology, 1 (3). pp. 184-203. ISSN 2211-7385
          Stephen Chou        
Joseph C. Elgin Professor of Engineering
Professor of Electrical Engineering
B412 Engineering Quadrangle

          Nathalie de Leon        
Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering
B320, Engineering Quadrangle

          Trump’s proposed 2018 budget takes an ax to science research funding        

Some programs see increases, but most face sharp cuts

Science & the Public
budget document

BUDGET BLUEPRINT  The Trump administration’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2018 calls for sharp cuts to many federal science agencies and programs. Research on climate and clean energy would be especially hammered.

Tornadoes in the southeast, Earth’s magnetic field and obesity might not seem to have much in common. Well, now they do.

Under President Donald Trump’s 2018 budget proposal, federal research spending into all three areas — and many others — would decline abruptly. The president delivered his budget request to Congress on May 23, presenting the sharpest picture yet of his administration’s priorities for federal science spending. Some science and technology programs within agencies would see their funds increase, but the administration recommends extensive cuts to basic research overall. The request greatly expands on the “skinny budget” the administration released in March (SN: 4/15/17, p. 15).  

Total federal research spending would be slashed by about 17 percent, Rush Holt, CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said in a conference call with reporters. “If the White House budget plan were to become law, it would devastate America’s science and technology enterprise.” 

For many science agencies and programs, the outlook appears stark. Some examples:

  • The National Science Foundation, which funds research in all fields of science and engineering, would face an 11 percent cut.
  • The U.S. Geological Survey’s budget would be cut by 15 percent.
  • The National Institute of Standards and Technology, where research includes cybersecurity and nanotechnology, would face a 23 percent cut.
  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s primary research arm, which investigates weather, climate and ocean resources, would be cut 32 percent.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Science & Technology would be cut by 37 percent.
  • The budget proposes a 16 percent cut for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, the largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences.
  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would take a 17 percent cut.
  • Food and Drug Administration funding (not including revenue from user fees) would be cut by 30 percent.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service would fall 22 percent.
  • And, as expected, the National Institutes of Health’s budget would be slashed 22 percent.

Those numbers don’t mean much just yet — they are just a starting point for a long and winding route through the political process. But the details do provide more information about what programs and areas of research could be in trouble.

Story continues after table

Budget request fiscal year 2018

The president's proposed 2018 budgets for select science agencies (in $ billions) 

Agency2017 enacted budget2018 budget proposalChange 2017 to 2018
Science & Technology0.710.45-37%
National Cancer Institute5.694.47-21%
National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Disease4.913.78-23%
Earth Science1.921.75-9%
Planetary Science1.851.934.5%
Oceanic and Atmospheric Research0.510.35-32%
National Weather Service1.121.06-6%
DOE (Office of Science)5.344.47-16%
USDA-Agricultural Research Service1.270.99-22%
Source: OMB, AAAS
† Does not include user fees

NSF’s grant programs, for example, would lose $776 million, dropping the overall budget from $7.5 billion to $6.65 billion. As a result, the agency estimates that in fiscal year 2018, the proposed funds would support about 8,000 new research grant awards, about 800 fewer than in 2016. Among the NSF-funded programs facing potentially severe reductions are clean energy research and development and the Ocean Observatories Initiative, an array of marine and seismic sensors scattered across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans that is  expected to provide some of the most detailed ocean measurements to date (SN: 10/19/13, p. 22). The project would see its NSF funding slashed by 44 percent.

A bright spot: The request leaves funding flat for LIGO, which discovered gravitational waves in 2016 (SN: 3/5/16, p. 6). Planned, continued upgrades to the project’s laser interferometer systems are still on, NSF director France Córdova said May 23 at a budget presentation at NSF headquarters in Arlington, Va. NSF has invested about $1.1 billion in the project. “It was the biggest investment NSF has made to date, and it was a big risk,” Córdova said.

Many in the scientific community say the proposed cuts would significantly undermine the nation’s global leadership role in advancing science. And they doubt the administration’s argument that the private sector would make the necessary investments in basic science research.

“Candidly, shareholders are not interested in funding research, which tends to be costly, very long-term and very risky,” said retired aerospace executive Norman Augustine during the AAAS conference call. “Research is a public good.… The rewards tend to go to the public as a whole, and therefore research really warrants government support.”

Funding for DOE’s energy programs, including research into efficiency and renewable energy, would fall about 60 percent. One of those programs, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, would be eliminated. The administration defends phasing out the roughly $300 million ARPA-E, which funds research on risky but promising energy technologies, by saying the private sector is “better positioned” to finance such research.

Within the DOE Office of Science, the biological and environmental research program, which studies climate modeling among other things, faces the steepest cut — 43 percent, a drop from $612 million to $349 million. High-energy physics research would see an 18 percent reduction, but the program for advanced scientific computing would get an 11 percent bump.

Environmental research would suffer at NOAA, with the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research facing sweeping cuts. Funding for climate research would drop 19 percent, weather and air chemistry research 25 percent and ocean, coastal and Great Lakes research by 49 percent. Programs potentially shuttered include:

  • Air Resources Laboratory, which researches air chemistry, mercury deposition and the movement of harmful materials through the atmosphere.
  • VORTEX-Southeast, a tornado detection and warning program for the southeastern United States.
  • The Marine Mammal Commission, an independent agency formed in 1972 to help protect marine animals and their habitats.

At USGS, the roughly $1.9 million geomagnetism program would be zeroed out. It monitors changes in Earth’s magnetic field, providing data that help NOAA and the U.S. Air Force track magnetic storms due to solar activity. Such storms can disrupt radio communication, GPS systems and, if severe enough, the electric power grid. The agency’s Climate and Land Use Change program, renamed the Land Resources program, would see a 24 percent cut. Most of the funding for a carbon sequestration research program, about $8 million, would be eliminated, with the rest, about $1.5 million, being redirected to the energy and minerals program. That division would see about a 2 percent increase overall.

Health programs and biomedical research would face big challenges under Trump’s budget. At CDC, $1.2 billion would be slashed from the agency’s overall budget. The request proposes cutting $163 million from the agency’s chronic disease prevention programs, which aim to reduce incidence of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity. Prevention programs for domestic HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases and tuberculosis face a $183 million decrease in funding.

NIH’s overall budget would fall from the enacted 2017 level of $34.6 billion to $26.9 billion. Some of the most striking cuts:

  • National Cancer Institute — $1.2 billion
  • National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute — $672 million.
  • National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases — $1.1 billion.
  • National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases — $421 million.

Congress, however, recently boosted NIH funding — at least for fiscal year 2017 — providing an additional $2 billion over the next five months.

That’s an important reminder that many of the programs facing extensive reductions or elimination have allies on Capitol Hill, a potentially comforting thought for those alarmed by the president’s request. “We’re counting on Congress to, once again, say no to these recommendations,” Mary Woolley, president of the health and medical research advocacy group Research!America, said in the AAAS conference call.

Not all science agencies or programs are threatened. For instance, NASA’s planetary science division would see a funding bump. The final 2017 spending agreement, which Congress recently passed, had already increased the division’s budget from $1.63 billion to $1.85 billion. In Trump’s proposal, that number is nudged even higher, to $1.93 billion. As expected, the administration supports a flyby mission to Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons. The president has requested $425 million for the project, a 55 percent increase from the 2017 enacted level of $275 million.

“We’re pleased by our top-line number of $19.1 billion, which reflects the president’s confidence in our direction and the importance of everything we’ve been achieving,” said NASA acting administrator Robert Lightfoot.

But the agency would lose about 9 percent of its earth science budget, slightly more than expected. Grants for earth science research would be cut, and NASA’s Carbon Monitoring System, which Congress directed the space agency to form in 2010, would be axed. Five space-based earth science projects would also be eliminated. Those projects are meant, in part, to provide data to help understand various aspects of Earth’s climate and how it is changing.

Trump’s budget proposal will not get passed by Congress unchanged. Still, the administration’s lack of support for basic federal research overall has alarmed many scientists and their supporters.  

“Science research has been the source of improvements in public health, in our energy, in our quality of life, in our agriculture and ability to feed ourselves and the world,” said Holt. “What we see is not just a reduction in government programs. What we see is a failure to invest in America.”

Colloidal Silver Featured in the Wall Street Journal

The powers of colloidal silver have been heralded for thousands of years only to be quieted by penicillin and other bacteria killers conjured up in the pharmaceutical labs, given Latin names and used to fight every bacterium originated disease known to man.
The results of shunning this natural nano-si5A8zed (nano = one billionth of a meter) antibiotic has been that diseases have evolved to have a resistance to the man made antibiotics and now scientist are scrambling to find replacements for the antibiotics that have survived less than 100 years.
There are critics that hypothesize that the large pharmaceutical companies are pressuring the regulatory agencies to prevent nano-sized silver products from being sold directly to the public without the giants taking their cut. Websites have sold silver nanoparticles in solution known as colloidal silver without the ability to mention what the product will cure or testimonials from those that have had positive results.
Wall Street Journal announces that the War Against Germs Has Silver Lining.
Curad USA, makers of hospital bandages lined with nano-silver particles now has released Curad Silver Bandages for the home use instead of a Band-aid. Curad claims that silver reduced bacterial growth like Staph. aureaus, E. coli, E. hirae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Samsung Electronics has introduced a refrigerator and new laundry washing machine that uses silver ions to sanitize the laundry and eliminate 99% of odor causing bacteria (sold at Lowes and Best Buy). Plank, a Boston company, has launched a new soap for Yoga users that lists silver as the main active ingredient. 5A8The company has a toothpaste and shampoo in R&D that is imbued with silver.
Asia has become the largest consumer of products that uses the nano-silver as a antimicrobial ingredient. Colloidal silver is known to kill virus, is it possible they are guarding against bird flu?
While some agencies strive to prevent you from buying colloidal silver online, the EPA is clear that we NOW have silver in our drinking supply and has, for health purposes established a daily reference dose for silver in drinking water at 350 micrograms (u.g) and a critical dose at 1400 u.g. In contrast, international health bodies, such as the World Health Organization, have not established such standards for silver since its toxicity is very low.
Silver becomes more active against microbes when its made into small particles because they can cover more surface area when they come into direct contact with bacteria, according to Andrew Maynard, physicist and chief scientific adviser for studies on Emerging Nanotechnologies underway at Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington.
Adidas, and Polartec have licensed silver coated nylon fabric known as X-Static (Noble Biomaterials Inc.) to incorporate antimicrobial silver in athletic and outdoor clothing for their ability to kill odors and promote thermal properties. Brooks Sports sells a line5A7 (HVAC) of socks, caps and shirts that use silver to differentiate them from all others.
ARC Outdoors uses silver infused fabric from NanHorizon Inc. to produce antimicrobial socks for the U.S. military. SmartSilver is brand of odor-eliminating underwear, stocking caps and gloves that kills bacteria on contact using nano-silver. ARC sells to Wal-Mart, Bass ProShops, Cabelas and wants to expand to hospital products such as sheets and surgical scrubs.
Sharper Image has introduced a plastic food storage container that is infused with nano-silver particles that they claim will keep food fresher, longer.
So what diseases will colloidal silver display benefits for? Bacteria and virus are known to be killed by silver suspended in a liquid of nanoparticle size called colloidal silver. In addition to the bacterial growths like Staph. aureaus, E. coli, E. hirae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa mentioned by Curad and Maynard, yeast, fungus and virus have all died in tests using colloidal silver. So is yeast infection a yeast? Yes. Is ringworm a fungus? Yes. Is acne caused by bacteria? Yes. Is sinusitis caused by a bacteria infection? Yes. Is silver used in infants eyes? Yes. Is silver used for burn victims? Yes. Is colloidal silver an immune system support? Yes. Will colloidal silver be the answer for bird flu? Is bird flu a virus?

Article Source:
          Quả Bóng Đá C60 và Ống Nano Carbon        

LTS: Tiến sĩ Trương Văn Tân là một cộng tác viên thường xuyên của mạng Được biết anh là một chuyên gia về vật liệu học (Materials Science) và polymer. Hơn mười năm qua anh nghiên cứu về polymer (plastic) dẫn điện và gần đây ống nano carbon. Trong bài viết nầy anh Tân giới thiệu sơ lược về nền công nghệ nano và vật liệu nano. Nhận thấy tầm quan trọng của nền công nghệ nano, Ban Biên Tập xin trân trọng giới thiệu bài viết nầy đến bạn đọc gần xa và nhất là đến các nhà khoa học tương lai của Việt Nam.

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Cách đây mười năm cụm từ "công nghệ nano" (nanotechnology) ít được người biết đến, nhưng ngày hôm nay nó trở thành một thuật ngữ quen thuộc ở mọi giai tầng trong xã hội hiện đại. Người làm kinh tế hay chính trị cũng thường đề cập đến nano dù người nói lẫn người nghe lắm khi vẫn không biết đích xác là gì. Nano là tiếng gọi tắt của nanometer (ký hiệu nm, 1 nm = 10-9 m hay là 0.000000001 m) [1] là một đơn vị đo lường ở thứ nguyên nguyên tử hay phân tử. Công nghệ nano liên quan đến việc lợi dụng những hiện tượng ở đơn vị nanometer để thiết kế vật liệu và vật chất với những chức năng đặc biệt ngay từ thang (scale) nguyên tử hoặc phân tử. Người ta gọi đây là phương pháp thiết kế "từ dưới lên" (bottom-up method) khác với phương pháp thiết kế thông thường "từ trên xuống" (top-down method) đang được lưu dụng [2]. Nhà vật lý học nổi tiếng Richard Feynman đã từng tiên đoán phương pháp "từ dưới lên" trong một bài thuyết trình năm 1959 qua câu nói vừa nghiêm túc vừa hài hước "There's plenty of room at the bottom" (Có rất nhiều chỗ trống ở miệt dưới). Lời dự đoán thiên tài nầy cho biết vùng tận cùng "miệt dưới" của nguyên tử và phân tử vẫn còn là những vùng phì nhiêu bát ngát chờ đợi con người đến thao túng khai hoang!

Tuy nhiên con người phải chờ đến 40 năm mới nhìn thấy sự bùng nổ của nền công nghệ nano chủ yếu sử dụng phương pháp "từ dưới lên". Nền công nghệ nầy đang có tác động mạnh lên nền công nghệ "cổ điển" hiện tại và cũng là một động lực của những công trình nghiên cứu đa ngành (multi-discipline) bao gồm vật lý, hóa học, vật liệu học, sinh học, toán học, tin học v.v... Đây là một cuộc cách mạng kỹ nghệ của loài người ở thế kỷ 21. Nó sẽ mang lại cho nhân loại những thay đổi khoa học kỹ thuật mang tính đột phá và có tầm ảnh hưởng sâu xa trong sinh hoạt xã hội, văn hóa, kinh tế hơn cả cuộc cách mạng kỹ nghệ ở thế kỷ 18.

Đàng sau bức bình phong công nghệ nano là những vật liệu nano. Trong những vật liệu nầy xuất hiện hai dạng carbon: phân tử fullerene C60 có hình dạng trái bóng đá và ống nano carbon (carbon nanotube). Sự phát hiện của hai dạng carbon ở thập niên 80 và 90 ở thế kỷ trước có một trùng hợp thời điểm với sự ra đời và phát triển của công nghệ nano. Việc khám phá fullerene và ống nano carbon là tập hợp của nhiều sự kiện ngẫu nhiên. Gọi là ngẫu nhiên nhưng thật ra là những kết quả hết sức ngoạn mục phản ảnh một tinh thần làm việc miệt mài nhưng vẫn phóng khoáng lạc quan, một tư duy phân tích bén nhạy nhưng không xơ cứng giáo điều của nhà khoa học.

Hiện nay, hằng trăm trung tâm nghiên cứu lớn nhỏ về công nghệ nano được thành lập khắp nơi trên thế giới đứng đầu là Mỹ, Nhật Bản, Âu Châu, Trung Quốc với kinh phí toàn cầu trong vài năm tới sẽ tăng đến hằng chục tỷ USD mỗi năm. Đối với một số nước công nghệ nano và bộ môn fullerene/ống nanocarbon là ưu tiên quốc gia cho các đề án nghiên cứu và triển khai. Trong bài viết nầy chúng ta hãy nhìn xem có thật sự là con người đang đi vào một cuộc cách mạng khoa học kỹ thuật mở ra một thời đại hoàng kim công nghệ chưa từng có trong lịch sử nhân loại. Và có thật sự là nền công nghệ silicon của thế kỷ 20 đang từ giã "cuộc hí trường" để được thay thế bởi nền công nghệ carbon.

Quả bóng đá C60

Năm 1985, một nhóm nghiên cứu bao gồm Harold Kroto (University of Sussex, Anh Quốc) và Sean O'Brien, Robert Curl, Richard Smalley (Rice University, Texas, Mỹ) khám phá ra một phân tử chứa 60 nguyên tử carbon, viết tắt là C60. Giáo sư Kroto là một nhà nghiên cứu hóa học thiên văn. Vào thập niên 70, ông đã có một chương trình nghiên cứu những chuỗi dài các nguyên tử carbon trong các đám mây bụi giữa các vì sao (interstellar dust). Ông liên lạc với nhóm của Curl và Smalley và dùng quang phổ kế laser của nhóm nầy để mô phỏng điều kiện hình thành của các chuỗi carbon trong các đám mây vũ trụ. Họ không những có thể tái tạo những chuỗi carbon mà còn tình cờ khám phá một phân tử rất bền chứa chính xác 60 nguyên tử carbon. Sự khám phá C60 xoay hướng nghiên cứu của nhóm nầy từ chuyện tìm kiếm những thành phần của vật chất tối (dark matter) trong vũ trụ đến một lĩnh vực hoàn toàn mới lạ liên hệ đến khoa vật liệu (Materials Science). Năm 1996, Kroto, Curl và Smalley được giải Nobel Hóa học cho sự khám phá nầy.

Trước C60 người ta chỉ biết carbon qua ba dạng: dạng vô định hình (amorphous) như than đá, than củi, bồ hóng (lọ nồi), dạng than chì (graphite) dùng cho lõi bút chì và dạng kim cương (Hình 1). Sự khác nhau về hình dạng, màu mè, giá cả và cường độ yêu chuộng của nữ giới giữa than đá, than chì và kim cương thì quả là một trời một vực. Tuy nhiên, sự khác nhau trong cấu trúc hóa học lại khá đơn giản. Như cái tên đã định nghĩa, dạng vô định hình không có một cấu trúc nhất định. Trong than chì các nguyên tố carbon nằm trên một mặt phẳng thành những lục giác giống như một tổ ong. Cấu trúc nầy hình thành những mặt phẳng nằm chồng chất lên nhau mang những electron pi di động tự do. Than chì dẫn điện nhờ những electron di động nầy. Trong kim cương những electron pi kết hợp trở thành những nối hóa học liên kết những mặt phẳng carbon và làm cho chất nầy có một độ cứng khác thường và không dẫn điện.

Hình 1: Tám loại carbon theo thứ tự từ trái sang phải: (a) Kim cương, (b) Than chì, (c) Lonsdaleite, (d) C60, (e) C540, (f) C70, (g) Carbon vô định hình (h) Ống nano carbon (Nguồn: Wikipedia).

Sự khám phá của C60 cho carbon một dạng thứ tư. Sau khi nhận diện C60 từ quang phổ hấp thụ Kroto, Curl và Smalley bắt đầu tạo mô hình cho cấu trúc của C60. Trong quá trình nầy các ông nhanh chóng nhận ra rằng các nguyên tố carbon không thể sắp phẳng theo kiểu lục giác tổ ong của than chì, nhưng có thể sắp xếp thành một quả cầu tròn trong đó hình lục giác xen kẻ với hình ngũ giác giống như trái bóng đá với đường kính vào khoảng 1 nm (Hình 1d và 2). Phân tử mới nầy được đặt tên là buckminster fullerene theo tên lót và họ của kiến trúc sư Richard Buckminster Fuller. Ông Fuller là người sáng tạo ra cấu trúc mái vòm hình cầu với mô dạng lục giác (Hình 3). Cho vắn tắt người ta thường gọi C60 là fullerene hay là bucky ball.

Hình 2: Quả bóng đá phân tử C60 với đường kính vào khoảng 1 nm.

Hình 3: Kiến trúc sư Richard Buckminster Fuller và mái vòm hình cầu với mô dạng lục giác.

Trong việc quyết định trao giải Nobel, Viện Hàn Lâm Khoa Học Thụy Điển đã quên mất công lao của giáo sư Eiji Osawa. Ông là người đầu tiên đã tiên đoán sự hiện hữu của C60. Tôi tình cờ gặp ông tại một cuộc hội thảo khoa học chuyên ngành. Cũng như phần lớn các giáo sư người Nhật Bản khác, giáo sư Osawa là một người khả kính, điềm đạm và khiêm tốn. Khi tôi gợi chuyện C60 và giải Nobel, ông mở nụ cười hiền hòa tâm sự "Không được Nobel tôi tiếc lắm chứ vì C60 là đứa con khoa học của tôi mà. Tôi tiên đoán C60 vào năm 1970 khi tôi vừa mới được bổ nhiệm Giảng Viên tại Đại Học Hokkaido. Vì tôi viết bằng tiếng Nhật và đăng bài báo cáo của tôi trên tạp chí Kagaku (Hóa Học) năm 1970 [3] nên không được các đồng nghiệp quốc tế lưu ý đến. Một năm sau tôi viết lại thành một chương cho một quyển sách giáo khoa, cũng bằng tiếng Nhật". Tôi hỏi "Nếu thầy đã tiên đoán như vậy thì tại sao thầy không làm một thí nghiệm để kiểm chứng". Ông bộc bạch "Theo sự tính toán của tôi thì năng lượng hoạt tính của phản ứng tạo ra C60 rất cao. Tôi không thể hình dung được một chất xúc tác nào có thể hạ thấp năng lượng hoạt tính để phản ứng có thể xảy ra. Nhưng tôi đã hình dung được cấu trúc của nó trong một lần tôi nhìn đứa con trai của tôi đùa giỡn với trái bóng đá trong công viên gần nhà. Tôi cũng không nghĩ ra một phương tiện vật lý như dùng laser hoặc tia có năng lượng cao như nhóm Smalley đã làm để kích động phản ứng. Hơn nữa, ở thời điểm đó tôi mới vừa làm Giảng Viên nên cần phải tạo một dấu ấn nào đó trong phân khoa. Tôi cảm thấy việc tổng hợp C60 quá nhiều khó khăn nên đành chọn một hướng nghiên cứu khác". Có một điều làm cho ông được an ủi phần nào là trong bài diễn văn nhận giải Nobel Kroto, Curl và Smalley đã đề cập đến thành quả tiên phong của ông. Ông đã gởi tặng tôi bài báo cáo khoa học mang tính lịch sử nầy (Hình 4).

Hình 4: Tựa đề bài báo cáo "Họ chất thơm siêu đẳng" (Super-aromaticity) viết vào năm 1970 [3] và quả bóng đá C60 trong bài viết.

Như giáo sư Osawa đã trình bày, ở điều kiện và nhiệt độ bình thường việc tổng hợp C60 là một việc bất khả thi trên phương diện nhiệt động học (thermodynamics). Vì là một nhà hóa học thiên văn, Kroto tiếp cận vấn đề bằng một phương thức khác. Tháng 9 năm 1985, trong thời gian làm việc tại Rice University ông dùng tia laser của Curl và Smalley bắn vào than chì để tái tạo sự tương tác của các tia vũ trụ và carbon trong không gian. Trong phổ ký khối lượng (mass spectrography) của các sản phẩm tạo thành xuất hiện hai đỉnh rất to chỉ định C60 và C70. Một bất ngờ nhưng Kroto, Curl và Smalley biết ngay đây là một khám phá đổi đời "kinh thiên động địa". Khi tia laser bắn vào một vùng nào đó của vật chất thì sẽ nâng nhiệt độ vùng đó lên cao hằng ngàn độ, thậm chí hằng chục ngàn độ. Ở nhiệt độ cao những chướng ngại nhiệt động học không còn là vấn đề và sự tạo thành C60 trở nên rất thuận lợi.

Việc khám phá C60 đã làm chấn động hầu hết mọi ngành nghiên cứu khoa học. Đặc biệt đối với môn hóa học hữu cơ nó đã tạo ra một nguồn sinh khí mới cho ngành nghiên cứu quá cổ điển nầy. Sự khám phá có tầm quan trọng hơn sự khám phá cấu trúc vòng nhân benzene của Kekule gần 150 năm trước. Benzene đã mở ra toàn bộ ngành hóa học của hợp chất thơm (aromatic compounds). C60 đã mở ra ngành "Hóa học fullerene" đi song song với sự phát triển của ngành công nghệ nano hiện nay.

Kroto, Curl và Smalley chỉ cho biết sự hiện hữu của C60, nhưng tổng hợp C60 cho việc nghiên cứu và ứng dụng phải đợi đến năm 1990 khi Krätschmer và Huffman đưa ra phương pháp tổng hợp với một sản lượng lớn. Nhờ vào phương pháp nầy đến năm 1997 đã có hơn 9000 hợp chất dựa trên fullerene được tổng hợp, hơn 20 000 báo cáo khoa học đăng trên các tạp chí chuyên ngành. Những người nghiên cứu hóa hữu cơ thường có nhiều nỗi ám ảnh và niềm đam mê đối với những cấu trúc phân tử đối xứng và cấu trúc lồng (cage structure), nên fullerene trở thành một lĩnh vực nghiên cứu mầu mỡ trong bộ môn nầy. Họ tổng hợp những fullerene cao hơn C60 như C70 (70 nguyên tử carbon, hình bóng bầu dục), C84 (84 nguyên tử carbon, hình quả đậu phọng). Họ kết hợp những nhóm chức (functional group) để chức năng hóa (functionalization) fullerene, gắn fullerene vào polymer để tổng hợp những dược liệu hay vật liệu cho áp dụng quang điện tử.

Lịch sử fullerene lâu đời hay non trẻ tùy vào hai cách nhìn khác nhau. Nghiên cứu fullerene thật ra rất ngắn chỉ hơn 20 năm kể từ ngày phổ ký khối lượng của Curl và Smalley cho biết sự hiện diện của C60 và C70, nhưng sự hiện hữu của fullerene có lẽ còn sớm hơn sự xuất hiện của loài người. Nó có trong những đám mây bụi trong vũ trụ, mỏ than, bồ hóng từ những ngọn nến lung linh hoặc những nơi khiêm tốn hơn như ở lò sưởi than, cái bếp nhà quê đen đui đủi vì lọ nồi... Người ta không tìm được C60 vì hàm lượng rất nhỏ và thường bị than vô định hình phủ lấp.

Khi màn bí mật C60 được vén mở, người ta nghĩ ngay đến những áp dụng thực tiễn của C60. Người ta kết hợp C60 với potassium (K) để tạo ra chất siêu dẫn hữu cơ ở nhiệt độ 18 K (-255 °C). Một số nhà nghiên cứu sinh học hy vọng có thể dùng C60 điều chế dược phẩm trị liệu bịnh AIDS. Trong vật lý, rất nhiều đề nghị áp dụng C60 để chế tạo những trang cụ (device) quang điện tử trong công nghệ cao. Tuy nhiên, trên mặt áp dụng các nhà khoa học thường mắc phải một căn bệnh chung là "lạc quan quá độ". Cấu trúc tròn trịa, đối xứng của C60 đã được tạp chí Science tôn vinh là "phân tử của năm 1991", nhưng cái xinh đẹp hấp dẫn không phải lúc nào cũng đưa đến kết quả thực tiễn hoàn mỹ.

Hai yếu tố làm C60 giảm tính thực tế là: (1) giá cả quá cao (giá cho 1 gram là vài trăm USD hoặc cao hơn cho tinh chất, so với giá vàng vào khoảng $10/g) và (2) C60 không hòa tan trong dung môi rất bất lợi cho việc gia công. Những hồ hởi ban đầu trong cộng đồng nghiên cứu khoa học dành cho fullerene bị dập tắc nhanh chóng vì những trở ngại nầy. Thậm chí ngay trong công nghệ "thấp", chẳng hạn dùng C60 như một chất phụ gia (additives) cho dầu nhớt làm giảm độ ma xát vẫn không địch nổi về giá cả và hiệu quả của những chất phụ gia thông thường. Tuần báo The Economist có lần phê bình "Cái công nghệ duy nhất mà quả bóng bucky đã thực sự cách mạng là sản xuất những bài báo cáo khoa học" (The only industry the buckyball has really revolutionized is the generation of scientific papers)!

Nhưng viễn ảnh của C60 trong áp dụng công nghệ không đến nổi tăm tối như các nhà bình luận kinh tế đã hấp tấp dự đoán. Sự kiên trì của những người làm khoa học lúc nào cũng cho thấy một niềm lạc quan của "những tia sáng ở cuối đường hầm". Gần đây công ty Nano-C (Mỹ) tuyên bố khả năng sản xuất hằng tấn C60 cho giới công nghệ. Một nhà máy thí điểm tại Nhật đang có khả năng chế tạo 40 tấn hằng năm và sẽ lên đến vài trăm tấn khi nhà máy được nâng cấp. Phương pháp sản xuất hàng loạt sẽ làm giảm giá C60 đến mức $5/g và có thể $1/g trong một tương lai không xa. Đây là một bước nhảy vĩ đại so với những năm đầu ở thập niên 90 khi người ta chỉ thu lượm vài miligram C60 ở mỗi lần tổng hợp khó khăn và giá cho mỗi gram có lúc lên đến $1500/g. Nhà sản xuất dự đoán nhu cầu C60 sẽ tăng nhanh trong vài năm tới cho việc chế biến dược liệu, dầu nhớt cao cấp và mỹ phẩm trang điểm.

Câu chuyện cô bé Lọ Lem mãi mãi là một câu chuyện tình làm thổn thức nhiều con tim trẻ. Cô bé bị bà mẹ ghẻ hành hạ lúc nào cũng phải quét dọn lò sưởi nên mặt mũi dính đầy lọ nồi. Bà Tiên với chiếc đũa thần biến nàng thành một tiểu thư đài các được trang điểm cực kỳ diễm lệ để dự những buổi khiêu vũ của chàng hòang tử độc thân đa tình. Có lẽ nàng được trang điểm với những mỹ phẩm chứa C60, nàng sẽ đeo những chuỗi kim cương carbon vô giá. Nhưng sau nửa đêm nàng sẽ trở lại cô bé đầy lọ.... Nhìn từ quan điểm của hóa học carbon, chuyện tình khi đượm tính khoa học có thể làm thất vọng nhiều tâm hồn lãng mạn nhưng tất cả chỉ là câu chuyện carbon ở những trạng thái khác nhau!

Trở lại thực tế của thế kỷ 21. Khả năng áp dụng fullerene trong công nghệ cao liên quan đến quang học và quang điện tử đang được tích cực khảo sát ở nhiều cơ quan nghiên cứu trên thế giới. Tạp chí Journal of Materials Chemistry xuất bản một số đặc biệt tổng kết những thành quả mới nhất của nghiên cứu fullerene [4]. Một trong ứng dụng có tầm quan trọng đặc biệt là đặc tính photovoltaic của C60 tức là khả năng biến năng lượng mặt trời thành điện còn gọi là pin mặt trời. Loại pin nầy được chế tạo từ C60 và polymer dẫn điện (electrically conducting polymers). Mặc dù hiệu suất chuyển hoán năng lượng vẫn chưa bì kịp pin mặt trời silicon đang được phổ biến trên thương trường, loại pin mặt trời hữu cơ nầy sẽ cho những đặc điểm không có ở silicon như dễ gia công, giá rẻ, nhẹ, mỏng và mềm.

Ống Nano Carbon

Kroto vì niềm đam mê tái tạo những chuỗi carbon dài trong các đám mây bụi vũ trụ tình cờ phát hiện fullerene. Ngẫu nhiên nầy được nối tiếp với ngẫu nhiên khác. Sáu năm sau (1991), tiến sĩ Sumio Iijima một nghiên cứu viên của công ty NEC (Nhật Bản) cũng vì niềm đam mê tìm hiểu fullerene lại tình cờ phát hiện qua kính hiển vi điện tử ống nano carbon - "người em họ" của C60 [5]. C60 có hình dạng quả bóng đá, nhưng ống nano carbon (gọi tắt: ống nano) giống như một quả mướp dài với đường kính vài nanometer (nm) và chiều dài có thể dài đến vài trăm micrometer (10-6 m), vì vậy có cái tên gọi "ống nano" (Hình 1h và 5). Với đường kính vài nm ống nano carbon nhỏ hơn sợi tóc 100 000 lần. Chỉ trong vòng vài năm từ lúc được phát hiện, "người em họ" cho thấy có rất nhiều ứng dụng thực tế hơn C60. Cấu trúc hình ống có cơ tính (mechanical properties) và điện tính (electrical/electronic properties) khác thường và đã làm kinh ngạc nhiều nhà khoa học trong các cơ quan nghiên cứu, đại học và doanh nghiệp trên thế giới. Ống nano có sức bền siêu việt, độ dẫn nhiệt cao (thermal conduction) và nhiều tính chất điện tử thú vị. Với một loạt đặc tính hấp dẫn nầy nhiều phòng nghiên cứu đã phải chuyển hướng nghiên cứu từ C60 sang ống nano.

Hình 5: Ống nano carbon

Việc chế tạo ống nano có thể thực hiện bằng cách phóng điện hồ quang (arc discharge) hoặc dùng laser (laser ablation) trên một vật liệu gốc chứa carbon hoặc phun vật liệu nầy qua một lò ở nhiệt độ 800 - 1200 °C (chemical vapour deposition, CVD). Hình thành ống carbon không phức tạp nhưng tạo ra những ống nano giống nhau cùng đặc tính trong những đợt tổng hợp khác nhau và sau đó tinh chế để gạn lọc tạp chất đòi hỏi những điều kiện vận hành một cách cực kỳ chính xác. Tùy vào điều kiện chế tạo và vật liệu gốc người ta có thể tổng hợp ống nano một vỏ (single-wall carbon nanotube, SWNT), vỏ đôi (double-wall carbon nanotube, DWNT) và nhiều vỏ (multi-wall carbon nanotube, MWNT). MWNT là một tập hợp của SWNT giống như con búp bê Nga (Russian doll) (Hình 6). Ống nano được Iijima phát hiện đầu tiên thuộc loại MWNT. Richard Smalley (Rice University) một lần nữa đã phát huy tài năng của mình qua phương pháp laser để chế tạo SWNT với hiệu suất rất cao. Phương pháp nầy đã được thương mãi hóa để sản xuất SWMT cho công nghệ. Giá cho SWNT và DWNT tinh chế vẫn còn rất cao ở mức $500/g. MWNT dễ tổng hợp hơn SWNT nên giá ở mức $100/g. Gần đây Mitsui (Nhật Bản) có thể sản xuất 120 tấn MWNT/năm cho nhu cầu công nghệ với giá $75/kg.

Hình 6: Ống nano carbon nhiều vỏ (MWNT) chụp bằng kính hiển vi điện tử. Khoảng cách giữa hai vỏ là 0.34 nm và đường kính của vỏ ngoài cùng là 6.5 nm [5].

Người ta đã định được độ bền (strength) và độ cứng (stiffness, Young's modulus) của ống nano. Kết quả thí nghiệm cho thấy ống nano bền hơn thép 100 lần nhưng nhẹ hơn thép 6 lần. Như vậy, có thể nói là ống nano là một vật liệu có cơ tính cao nhất so với các vật liệu người ta biết từ trước đến nay. Tuy nhiên, một vấn đề lớn hiện nay cho các nhà vật liệu học (materials scientist) là làm sao xe những ống nano thành tơ sợi (nanotube fibres) cho những ứng dụng thực tế mà vẫn giữ được cơ tính tuyệt vời cố hữu của các ống nano tạo thành. Nhóm nghiên cứu của giáo sư Ray Baughman (University of Texas, Mỹ) [6] đã phát minh ra một quá trình xe sợi ống nano cho ra sợi với cơ tính cao hơn thép và tương đương với tơ nhện (spider silk). Tơ nhện được biết là một loại tơ thiên nhiên có cơ tính cao nhất trong các loại tơ sợi. Kinh nghiệm cho thấy một con ruồi bay với tốc độ cao nhất vẫn không bao giờ làm thủng lưới nhện. Nếu sự kiện nầy được phóng đại vài chục ngàn lần để sợi tơ nhện có đường kính bằng cây bút chì, sợi tơ có thể kéo ngừng lại chiếc phi cơ 747 đang bay trên không!

Mặc dù độ cứng của sợi ống nano do nhóm Baughman làm ra chỉ bằng 1/10 độ cứng của từng ống nano riêng lẻ, sợi Baughman vẫn chưa phải "siêu cứng" nhưng đã hơn hẳn Kevlar [7] về sức bền và nếu điều kiện sản xuất hàng loạt cho phép nó có thể thay thế Kevlar dùng trong những chiếc áo giáp cá nhân chống đạn trong tương lai. Quá trình xe sợi của nhóm Baughman chứng tỏ khả năng chế tạo sợi ống nano với những cơ tính vĩ mô càng lúc càng gần đến cơ tính ở thang phân tử. Quá trình nầy đã kích động nhiều nhóm nghiên cứu khác trong cuộc chạy đua chế tạo ra một loại sợi siêu cứng, siêu bền và siêu hữu ích chưa từng có trong lịch sử khoa học kỹ thuật.

Với dạng hình ống dài và cơ tính lý tưởng, ống nano carbon được cho vào các loại polymer (plastic) để tạo những sản phẩm nano-composite [8]. Thật ra, composite dùng những chất độn (filler) có hình dài để tăng cơ tính không phải là những gì mới lạ. Từ 6000 năm trước nhân loại đã trộn bùn với rơm để làm gạch. Ở những vùng sâu vùng xa người dân vẫn còn dùng đất sét và rơm để làm tường. Hiện tại, chất độn kim loại hay ceramic là những vật liệu phổ biến được dùng trong polymer để tăng cường cơ tính thay thế kim loại. Người ta tin rằng ống nano carbon sẽ là một chất độn "tối thượng" cho polymer nano-composite. Vài phần trăm ống nano carbon có thể gia tăng độ bền, độ cứng và độ dai (toughness) của polymer (plastic) lên nhiều lần. Các công ty chế tạo ô tô đang triển khai polymer nano-composite cho các bộ phận xe hơi. Đặc điểm của các composite nầy là nhẹ và bền chắc. Công ty ô tô GM (Mỹ) dự trù sẽ dùng 500 tấn ống nano/năm trong vòng vài năm tới. Một cơ tính khác của ống nano đang được khảo sát hiện nay là đặc tính làm giảm sốc (shock damping), chống rung [9]. Tính chất rất quan trọng nầy sẽ mang đến những ứng dụng dân sự lẫn quốc phòng.

Điện tính và đặc tính điện tử của ống nano đã thu hút nhiều sự chú ý của các nhà vật lý và thiết kế điện tử vi mạch. Nhờ ở dạng hình ống và các electron tự do pi trong ống, các electron tự do có thể tải điện nhưng ít chịu sự phân tán electron (gọi là ballistic conduction). Sự phân tán electron là nguyên nhân điện trở gây ra sự phát nhiệt thường thấy ở chất bán dẫn hay kim loại. Nói một cách khác, ống nano có khả năng tải điện hữu hiệu vì ít phát nhiệt.

Công nghiệp điện tử được xây dựng và phát triển dựa vào kỹ thuật thu nhỏ. Transistor là một linh kiện chính trong các mạch điện. Phương pháp "từ trên xuống" đã được áp dụng để thu nhỏ transistor có độ to khoảng vài cm ở thời điểm phát minh (năm 1947) cho đến ngày hôm nay thì đến bậc nanometer; vài triệu lần nhỏ hơn. "Định luật" Moore (Moore's law) cho biết rằng cứ mỗi hai năm mật độ của các transistor được nhồi nhét vào một silicon chip sẽ tăng gấp đôi nhờ vào kỹ thuật chế biến thu nhỏ và đặc tính của silicon. Định luật đã đúng hơn 40 năm qua kể từ năm 1965 và cũng sẽ tiếp tục đúng trong vòng 10 năm tới. Lúc đó đặc tính thu nhỏ của silicon sẽ đến một mức bảo hòa và dừng lại ở một kích thước nhất định nào đó. Độ nhỏ nhất có thể đạt được của một silicon chip là 180 nm và cũng là giới hạn trong kỹ thuật làm chip hiện nay. "Độ lớn" 180 nm rất nhỏ (nhỏ hơn sợi tóc 500 lần) và hiệu năng tải điện của silicon càng giảm vì càng nhỏ sự phát nhiệt càng cao. Tuy nhiên 180 nm vẫn còn rất to so với đường kính vài nm của ống nano. Ở kích thước nầy ống nano vẫn còn có thể tải điện mà không sợ phát nhiệt. Như vậy, đặc tính tải điện không phát nhiệt và khả năng tạo thành các linh kiện điện tử như diode và transistor của ống nano ở kích thước phân tử chỉ ra một hướng nghiên cứu mới là nano-điện tử (nano-electronics) nối tiếp vai trò thu nhỏ của vi đi
          Boston Tech Watchlist: PillPack, Onshape, Placester, Meta, Northeastern        
This week in Boston tech, we’re tracking the latest on PillPack, Placester’s first acquisitions, more money for Onshape, a Boston-area hire by Silicon Valley augmented reality startup Meta, and a nanotech manufacturing program at Northeastern University. Read on for details. —Onshape appears to have tacked on $25 million to an earlier $80 million equity funding […]
          Is Space the Place? Trying to Save Humanity by Mining Asteroids        

2015 was a good year for outer space. Star Wars: Episode VII came out, NASA started hiring astronauts again, SpaceX successfully launched and returned a rocket, and the U.S. Congress passed the SPACE Act of 2015—a bill that gives any American who extracts resources from an asteroid legal rights to the bounty they reap. Since no one has yet mined an asteroid this legislation might seem premature, but it’s essential to the future of two Silicon Valley asteroid mining companies. That’s right, they already exist. They’re just waiting for humans to start colonizing space.

Reporters Katie Gilbert and Annie Costakis talk to Daniel Faber, the founder of Deep Space Industries, about his dream: to build the space equivalent of Home Depot, as well as fueling stations and manufacturing plants. They also explain a few of the untested theories behind asteroid mining.

We wanted to know more about the history of space dreaming and space colonies, so we talked to Patrick McCray, a historian of science and technology and the author of The Visioneers: How a Group of Elite Scientists Pursued Space Colonies, Nanotechnologies, and a Limitless Future. He says utopian space visions have long filled the heads of scientifically minded dreamers, especially when life on Earth isn’t going so well.


Show Clock:

00:03 Introduction
01:26 Will asteroid mining save us?
12:40 Who were the visioneers?


Hosts: Michal Meyer and Bob Kenworthy
Guest: Patrick McCray
Reporters: Katie Gilbert and Annie Costakis
Producer: Mariel Carr
Associate Producer: Rigoberto Hernandez


"Boop" By Podington Bear, courtesy of the Free Music Archive.

Additional music courtesy of the Audio Network. 


          Episode 67: Baseball        

After several long, cold months baseball season has finally begun! From Philadelphia, the home of 2008 World Series Champions, we bring you a show straight from the ballpark. Chemical Agent: Anabolic steroids.


00:00 Opening Credits

00:32 Introduction

01:02 Chemical Agent: Anabolic Steroids

03:24 Chemistry in Your Cupboard: Hot Dogs

06:04 Feature: Is That Nanotechnology in Your Bat?

10:40 Closing Credits


Special thanks to Ari Daniel Shapiro and Jennifer Dionisio for researching this show. Additional credits available at

          Episode 13: The Nanoscale        

You’ve heard the hype—but what’s nanotechnology really all about? Today’s show is an investigation into the current reality and the future potential of nanotechnology.


00:00 Opening Credits

00:31 Introduction

01:32 Element of the Week: Carbon

03:08 Conversation with George Whitesides

07:51 Mystery Solved! Damascus Steel

10:49 Quote: Richard Smalley

11:08 Closing Credits


Special thanks to Chi Chan for researching this show. Additional credits available at

          Obama, Crichton & My Birthday        
I normally don’t write something too personal, I find that those that do end up sounding too pretentious. But on November 4, 2008 three significant things happened.

On this date I hit a milestone – I turned 30.
I thought turning 30 would somehow change me, affect me in some way, but it didn’t. I can’t say I feel more mature or even wiser. But for some strange reason I feel more proud, proud enough to tell people I’m 30. In fact, being thirty is not that bad, it’s not the end of the world, I mean, Mark Twain published his first short story, Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog when he was 30. And Danish novelist Hans Christian Andersen published his book of fairy tales when he was 30. I have published a novel but hopefully like them I can keep writing and perhaps publish many more.


I’m not American but just seeing Barack Obama elected President of the United States was overwhelming. I’m not going to spend too much time on how significant this was, millions have done a far better job of this, but I will say this is not only great for the United States but also for the entire world. Obama is the son of a white Kansas mother and a black Kenyan father. He was raised in Asia and has a half-Indonesian sister. His middle name is Middle Eastern. He is all of us. Only time will tell whether he lives up to all our hopes and dreams, but this is a step in the right direction.


I was shocked to hear the death of author Michael Crichton. In my teens I was introduced to his books by my brother. I remember reading them and being completely immersed in his world, whether they be about alien viruses or the 19th century gold heist in London. There was something about them; they were both ambitious and entertaining. He made science digestible! What made him stand out amongst all the great writers was that he wasn’t afraid to write a different kind book: Jurassic Park (dinosaurs), Timeline (time travel), Prey (nanotechnology), Rising Sun (Japanese/American relations) and so on. His books were controversial, yes, but at least they made us think. I can’t tell you how excited I would get just hearing that he was coming out with a new book. Just the thought of what other worlds or journeys he would take us on gave me goose bumps.

Michael Crichton inspired me to become a writer and for that I am forever indebted to him.

          Super Bainite: Super Strong Steel        
Super bainite, a surprisingly-strong steel, is the subject of this week's Naked Scientists. We discover how it's made in the metallurgical equivalent of a pizza oven, why it makes the best bearings and how, even when it's full of holes, it also makes great armour. In the news, a nanotechnological tool to unblock blood vessels, a dust cloud that's disappeared around a nearby star and have we found the Higgs? Plus, can your cutlery affect the flavour of food?
          The Science of Solar: Photovoltaics        
Shedding some light on new advances in solar technology, this week's Naked Scientists explores how nanotechnology can boost solar cell efficiency and how flexible photovoltaics can be rolled up - and rolled out - to help power military operations. In Kitchen Science we reveal how to make your very own solar cell from some old electronics, and in this week's news, the gene combination that's perfect for tuberculosis, the methane time-bomb ticking off the Siberian coast, the first human writing and how doctors are knocking migraines on the head with a magnet.
          The Science of the Seriously Small        
This week, we're studying the science of the seriously small - nanotechnology. We'll find out how tiny, flexible electronics could be implanted under the skin to restore lost sensation, and how tiny protein covered silicon "diving boards" can show us how superbugs evade antibiotics. Also, how sheets of carbon just one atom thick can be used to read the entire human genome in just a couple of hours, and how nanotech "motherships" can deliver exactly the right amount of drug, directly to where it's needed. Plus, the plant genome that could solve the food crisis, how our fingerprints help us to feel fine textures, and how a new way to make LEDs could slash our household bills. And, as if that wasn't enough, in Kitchen Science Dave will be looking for silver in soot!
          The Naked Scientists in LA        
The Naked Scientists hit Hollywood for a special show all the way from California. We meet the cream of Californian scientists from the University of California at LA and at San Diego to find out why designing ocean-going robots is like giving birth; what some dust-covered 50-year old experiments can reveal about the origins of life, and why your friends and even their friends, can affect your weight. We discover the work of the Population Institute, who use radio soap-operas to inspire better family planning. Plus, we find out why plants get jetlag, how nanotechnology can help foil terrorist attacks and we visit the Naked Cafe to discuss the Big Bang over coffee. In Kitchen Science, Ben and Carlos Camara generate x-rays from sticky tape!
          Your Questions and Answers        
New techniques to test for Down's Syndrome and oesophageal cancer feature in this week's Naked Scientists, along with the nanotechnology that may let you climb walls like spider man! We also take on your science questions and find out if it's possible to shoot a satellite, what keeps the Earth's core so hot, and how you can pass through fire unharmed! Plus, in a back-to-basics Kitchen Science - Dave makes drops of milk bounce out of his tea!
          The Science of Nanotechnology        
Picking apart some miniature morsels of science this week are David Carey, who provides the big picture on the world of nanotechnology, Donald Fitzmaurice describes how DNA may be used as scaffolding for the next generation of computer chips, we breach the boundaries between physics and biology as Stephen Webb discusses how new microscopes can see developing cancers at the nano-scale, and Neal Morgan explains how nanoparticles are stamping out stinky socks. Also on the show, Jim Clark digs up the ancestors of T. rex, and in Kitchen Science Derek and Dave dish the dirt on how gravy thickens.
          Recursive Self-Improvement        
Submitted by Eliezer_Yudkowsky • 14 votes • 54 comments

Followup toLife's Story Continues, Surprised by Brains, Cascades, Cycles, Insight, Recursion, Magic, Engelbart: Insufficiently Recursive, Total Nano Domination

I think that at some point in the development of Artificial Intelligence, we are likely to see a fast, local increase in capability - "AI go FOOM".  Just to be clear on the claim, "fast" means on a timescale of weeks or hours rather than years or decades; and "FOOM" means way the hell smarter than anything else around, capable of delivering in short time periods technological advancements that would take humans decades, probably including full-scale molecular nanotechnology (that it gets by e.g. ordering custom proteins over the Internet with 72-hour turnaround time).  Not, "ooh, it's a little Einstein but it doesn't have any robot hands, how cute".

Most people who object to this scenario, object to the "fast" part. Robin Hanson objected to the "local" part.  I'll try to handle both, though not all in one shot today.

We are setting forth to analyze the developmental velocity of an Artificial Intelligence.  We'll break down this velocity into optimization slope, optimization resources, and optimization efficiency.  We'll need to understand cascades, cycles, insight and recursion; and we'll stratify our recursive levels into the metacognitive, cognitive, metaknowledge, knowledge, and object level.

Quick review:

  • "Optimization slope" is the goodness and number of opportunities in the volume of solution space you're currently exploring, on whatever your problem is;
  • "Optimization resources" is how much computing power, sensory bandwidth, trials, etc. you have available to explore opportunities;
  • "Optimization efficiency" is how well you use your resources.  This will be determined by the goodness of your current mind design - the point in mind design space that is your current self - along with its knowledge and metaknowledge (see below).

Optimizing yourself is a special case, but it's one we're about to spend a lot of time talking about.

By the time any mind solves some kind of actual problem, there's actually been a huge causal lattice of optimizations applied - for example, humans brain evolved, and then humans developed the idea of science, and then applied the idea of science to generate knowledge about gravity, and then you use this knowledge of gravity to finally design a damn bridge or something.

So I shall stratify this causality into levels - the boundaries being semi-arbitrary, but you've got to draw them somewhere:

  • "Metacognitive" is the optimization that builds the brain - in the case of a human, natural selection; in the case of an AI, either human programmers or, after some point, the AI itself.
  • "Cognitive", in humans, is the labor performed by your neural circuitry, algorithms that consume large amounts of computing power but are mostly opaque to you.  You know what you're seeing, but you don't know how the visual cortex works.  The Root of All Failure in AI is to underestimate those algorithms because you can't see them...  In an AI, the lines between procedural and declarative knowledge are theoretically blurred, but in practice it's often possible to distinguish cognitive algorithms and cognitive content.
  • "Metaknowledge":  Discoveries about how to discover, "Science" being an archetypal example, "Math" being another.  You can think of these as reflective cognitive content (knowledge about how to think).
  • "Knowledge":  Knowing how gravity works.
  • "Object level":  Specific actual problems like building a bridge or something.

I am arguing that an AI's developmental velocity will not be smooth; the following are some classes of phenomena that might lead to non-smoothness.  First, a couple of points that weren't raised earlier:

  • Roughness:  A search space can be naturally rough - have unevenly distributed slope. With constant optimization pressure, you could go through a long phase where improvements are easy, then hit a new volume of the search space where improvements are tough.  Or vice versa.  Call this factor roughness.
  • Resource overhangs:  Rather than resources growing incrementally by reinvestment, there's a big bucket o' resources behind a locked door, and once you unlock the door you can walk in and take them all.

And these other factors previously covered:

  • Cascades are when one development leads the way to another - for example, once you discover gravity, you might find it easier to understand a coiled spring.
  • Cycles are feedback loops where a process's output becomes its input on the next round.  As the classic example of a fission chain reaction illustrates, a cycle whose underlying processes are continuous, may show qualitative changes of surface behavior - a threshold of criticality - the difference between each neutron leading to the emission of 0.9994 additional neutrons versus each neutron leading to the emission of 1.0006 additional neutrons.  k is the effective neutron multiplication factor and I will use it metaphorically.
  • Insights are items of knowledge that tremendously decrease the cost of solving a wide range of problems - for example, once you have the calculus insight, a whole range of physics problems become a whole lot easier to solve.  Insights let you fly through, or teleport through, the solution space, rather than searching it by hand - that is, "insight" represents knowledge about the structure of the search space itself.

and finally,

  • Recursion is the sort of thing that happens when you hand the AI the object-level problem of "redesign your own cognitive algorithms".

Suppose I go to an AI programmer and say, "Please write me a program that plays chess."  The programmer will tackle this using their existing knowledge and insight in the domain of chess and search trees; they will apply any metaknowledge they have about how to solve programming problems or AI problems; they will process this knowledge using the deep algorithms of their neural circuitry; and this neutral circuitry will have been designed (or rather its wiring algorithm designed) by natural selection.

If you go to a sufficiently sophisticated AI - more sophisticated than any that currently exists - and say, "write me a chess-playing program", the same thing might happen:  The AI would use its knowledge, metaknowledge, and existing cognitive algorithms.  Only the AI's metacognitive level would be, not natural selection, but the object level of the programmer who wrote the AI, using their knowledge and insight etc.

Now suppose that instead you hand the AI the problem, "Write a better algorithm than X for storing, associating to, and retrieving memories".  At first glance this may appear to be just another object-level problem that the AI solves using its current knowledge, metaknowledge, and cognitive algorithms.  And indeed, in one sense it should be just another object-level problem.  But it so happens that the AI itself uses algorithm X to store associative memories, so if the AI can improve on this algorithm, it can rewrite its code to use the new algorithm X+1.

This means that the AI's metacognitive level - the optimization process responsible for structuring the AI's cognitive algorithms in the first place - has now collapsed to identity with the AI's object level.

For some odd reason, I run into a lot of people who vigorously deny that this phenomenon is at all novel; they say, "Oh, humanity is already self-improving, humanity is already going through a FOOM, humanity is already in a Singularity" etc. etc.

Now to me, it seems clear that - at this point in the game, in advance of the observation - it is pragmatically worth drawing a distinction between inventing agriculture and using that to support more professionalized inventors, versus directly rewriting your own source code in RAM.  Before you can even argue about whether the two phenomena are likely to be similar in practice, you need to accept that they are, in fact, two different things to be argued about.

And I do expect them to be very distinct in practice.  Inventing science is not rewriting your neural circuitry.  There is a tendency to completely overlook the power of brain algorithms, because they are invisible to introspection.  It took a long time historically for people to realize that there was such a thing as a cognitive algorithm that could underlie thinking.  And then, once you point out that cognitive algorithms exist, there is a tendency to tremendously underestimate them, because you don't know the specific details of how your hippocampus is storing memories well or poorly - you don't know how it could be improved, or what difference a slight degradation could make.  You can't draw detailed causal links between the wiring of your neural circuitry, and your performance on real-world problems.  All you can see is the knowledge and the metaknowledge, and that's where all your causal links go; that's all that's visibly important.

To see the brain circuitry vary, you've got to look at a chimpanzee, basically.  Which is not something that most humans spend a lot of time doing, because chimpanzees can't play our games.

You can also see the tremendous overlooked power of the brain circuitry by observing what happens when people set out to program what looks like "knowledge" into Good-Old-Fashioned AIs, semantic nets and such.  Roughly, nothing happens.  Well, research papers happen.  But no actual intelligence happens.  Without those opaque, overlooked, invisible brain algorithms, there is no real knowledge - only a tape recorder playing back human words.  If you have a small amount of fake knowledge, it doesn't do anything, and if you have a huge amount of fake knowledge programmed in at huge expense, it still doesn't do anything.

So the cognitive level - in humans, the level of neural circuitry and neural algorithms - is a level of tremendous but invisible power. The difficulty of penetrating this invisibility and creating a real cognitive level is what stops modern-day humans from creating AI.  (Not that an AI's cognitive level would be made of neurons or anything equivalent to neurons; it would just do cognitive labor on the same level of organization.  Planes don't flap their wings, but they have to produce lift somehow.)

Recursion that can rewrite the cognitive level is worth distinguishing.

But to some, having a term so narrow as to refer to an AI rewriting its own source code, and not to humans inventing farming, seems hardly open, hardly embracing, hardly communal; for we all know that to say two things are similar shows greater enlightenment than saying that they are different.  Or maybe it's as simple as identifying "recursive self-improvement" as a term with positive affective valence, so you figure out a way to apply that term to humanity, and then you get a nice dose of warm fuzzies.  Anyway.

So what happens when you start rewriting cognitive algorithms?

Well, we do have one well-known historical case of an optimization process writing cognitive algorithms to do further optimization; this is the case of natural selection, our alien god.

Natural selection seems to have produced a pretty smooth trajectory of more sophisticated brains over the course of hundreds of millions of years.  That gives us our first data point, with these characteristics:

  • Natural selection on sexual multicellular eukaryotic life can probably be treated as, to first order, an optimizer of roughly constant efficiency and constant resources.
  • Natural selection does not have anything akin to insights.  It does sometimes stumble over adaptations that prove to be surprisingly reusable outside the context for which they were adapted, but it doesn't fly through the search space like a human.  Natural selection is just searching the immediate neighborhood of its present point in the solution space, over and over and over.
  • Natural selection does have cascades; adaptations open up the way for further adaptations.

So - if you're navigating the search space via the ridiculously stupid and inefficient method of looking at the neighbors of the current point, without insight - with constant optimization pressure - then...

Well, I've heard it claimed that the evolution of biological brains has accelerated over time, and I've also heard that claim challenged. If there's actually been an acceleration, I would tend to attribute that to the "adaptations open up the way for further adaptations" phenomenon - the more brain genes you have, the more chances for a mutation to produce a new brain gene.  (Or, more complexly: the more organismal error-correcting mechanisms the brain has, the more likely a mutation is to produce something useful rather than fatal.)  In the case of hominids in particular over the last few million years, we may also have been experiencing accelerated selection on brain proteins, per se - which I would attribute to sexual selection, or brain variance accounting for a greater proportion of total fitness variance.

Anyway, what we definitely do not see under these conditions is logarithmic or decelerating progress.  It did not take ten times as long to go from H. erectus to H. sapiens as from H. habilis to H. erectus. Hominid evolution did not take eight hundred million years of additional time, after evolution immediately produced Australopithecus-level brains in just a few million years after the invention of neurons themselves.

And another, similar observation: human intelligence does not require a hundred times as much computing power as chimpanzee intelligence.  Human brains are merely three times too large, and our prefrontal cortices six times too large, for a primate with our body size.

Or again:  It does not seem to require 1000 times as many genes to build a human brain as to build a chimpanzee brain, even though human brains can build toys that are a thousand times as neat.

Why is this important?  Because it shows that with constant optimization pressure from natural selection and no intelligent insight, there were no diminishing returns to a search for better brain designs up to at least the human level.  There were probably accelerating returns (with a low acceleration factor).  There are no visible speedbumps, so far as I know.

But all this is to say only of natural selection, which is not recursive.

If you have an investment whose output is not coupled to its input - say, you have a bond, and the bond pays you a certain amount of interest every year, and you spend the interest every year - then this will tend to return you a linear amount of money over time.  After one year, you've received $10; after 2 years, $20; after 3 years, $30.

Now suppose you change the qualitative physics of the investment, by coupling the output pipe to the input pipe.  Whenever you get an interest payment, you invest it in more bonds.  Now your returns over time will follow the curve of compound interest, which is exponential.  (Please note:  Not all accelerating processes are smoothly exponential.  But this one happens to be.)

The first process grows at a rate that is linear over time; the second process grows at a rate that is linear in its cumulative return so far.

The too-obvious mathematical idiom to describe the impact of recursion is replacing an equation

y = f(t)


dy/dt = f(y)

For example, in the case above, reinvesting our returns transformed the linearly growing

y = m*t


y' = m*y

whose solution is the exponentially growing

y = e^(m*t)

Now... I do not think you can really solve equations like this to get anything like a description of a self-improving AI.

But it's the obvious reason why I don't expect the future to be a continuation of past trends.  The future contains a feedback loop that the past does not.

As a different Eliezer Yudkowsky wrote, very long ago:

"If computing power doubles every eighteen months, what happens when computers are doing the research?"

And this sounds horrifyingly naive to my present ears, because that's not really how it works at all - but still, it illustrates the idea of "the future contains a feedback loop that the past does not".

History up until this point was a long story about natural selection producing humans, and then, after humans hit a certain threshold, humans starting to rapidly produce knowledge and metaknowledge that could - among other things - feed more humans and support more of them in lives of professional specialization.

To a first approximation, natural selection held still during human cultural development.  Even if Gregory Clark's crazy ideas are crazy enough to be true - i.e., some human populations evolved lower discount rates and more industrious work habits over the course of just a few hundred years from 1200 to 1800 - that's just tweaking a few relatively small parameters; it is not the same as developing new complex adaptations with lots of interdependent parts.  It's not a chimp-human type gap.

So then, with human cognition remaining more or less constant, we found that knowledge feeds off knowledge with k > 1 - given a background of roughly constant cognitive algorithms at the human level.  We discovered major chunks of metaknowledge, like Science and the notion of Professional Specialization, that changed the exponents of our progress; having lots more humans around, due to e.g. the object-level innovation of farming, may have have also played a role.  Progress in any one area tended to be choppy, with large insights leaping forward, followed by a lot of slow incremental development.

With history to date, we've got a series of integrals looking something like this:

Metacognitive = natural selection, optimization efficiency/resources roughly constant

Cognitive = Human intelligence = integral of evolutionary optimization velocity over a few hundred million years, then roughly constant over the last ten thousand years

Metaknowledge = Professional Specialization, Science, etc. = integral over cognition we did about procedures to follow in thinking, where metaknowledge can also feed on itself, there were major insights and cascades, etc.

Knowledge = all that actual science, engineering, and general knowledge accumulation we did = integral of cognition+metaknowledge(current knowledge) over time, where knowledge feeds upon itself in what seems to be a roughly exponential process

Object level = stuff we actually went out and did = integral of cognition+metaknowledge+knowledge(current solutions); over a short timescale this tends to be smoothly exponential to the degree that the people involved understand the idea of investments competing on the basis of interest rate, but over medium-range timescales the exponent varies, and on a long range the exponent seems to increase

If you were to summarize that in one breath, it would be, "with constant natural selection pushing on brains, progress was linear or mildly accelerating; with constant brains pushing on metaknowledge and knowledge and object-level progress feeding back to metaknowledge and optimization resources, progress was exponential or mildly superexponential".

Now fold back the object level so that it becomes the metacognitive level.

And note that we're doing this through a chain of differential equations, not just one; it's the final output at the object level, after all those integrals, that becomes the velocity of metacognition.

You should get...

...very fast progress?  Well, no, not necessarily.  You can also get nearly zero progress.

If you're a recursified optimizing compiler, you rewrite yourself just once, get a single boost in speed (like 50% or something), and then never improve yourself any further, ever again.

If you're EURISKO, you manage to modify some of your metaheuristics, and the metaheuristics work noticeably better, and they even manage to make a few further modifications to themselves, but then the whole process runs out of steam and flatlines.

It was human intelligence that produced these artifacts to begin with.  Their own optimization power is far short of human - so incredibly weak that, after they push themselves along a little, they can't push any further.  Worse, their optimization at any given level is characterized by a limited number of opportunities, which once used up are gone - extremely sharp diminishing returns.

When you fold a complicated, choppy, cascade-y chain of differential equations in on itself via recursion, it should either flatline or blow up.  You would need exactly the right law of diminishing returns to fly through the extremely narrow soft takeoff keyhole.

The observed history of optimization to date makes this even more unlikely.  I don't see any reasonable way that you can have constant evolution produce human intelligence on the observed historical trajectory (linear or accelerating), and constant human intelligence produce science and technology on the observed historical trajectory (exponential or superexponential), and fold that in on itself, and get out something whose rate of progress is in any sense anthropomorphic.  From our perspective it should either flatline or FOOM.

When you first build an AI, it's a baby - if it had to improve itself, it would almost immediately flatline.  So you push it along using your own cognition, metaknowledge, and knowledge - not getting any benefit of recursion in doing so, just the usual human idiom of knowledge feeding upon itself and insights cascading into insights.  Eventually the AI becomes sophisticated enough to start improving itself, not just small improvements, but improvements large enough to cascade into other improvements.  (Though right now, due to lack of human insight, what happens when modern researchers push on their AGI design is mainly nothing.)  And then you get what I. J. Good called an "intelligence explosion".

I even want to say that the functions and curves being such as to allow hitting the soft takeoff keyhole, is ruled out by observed history to date.  But there are small conceivable loopholes, like "maybe all the curves change drastically and completely as soon as we get past the part we know about in order to give us exactly the right anthropomorphic final outcome", or "maybe the trajectory for insightful optimization of intelligence has a law of diminishing returns where blind evolution gets accelerating returns".

There's other factors contributing to hard takeoff, like the existence of hardware overhang in the form of the poorly defended Internet and fast serial computers.  There's more than one possible species of AI we could see, given this whole analysis.  I haven't yet touched on the issue of localization (though the basic issue is obvious: the initial recursive cascade of an intelligence explosion can't race through human brains because human brains are not modifiable until the AI is already superintelligent).

But today's post is already too long, so I'd best continue tomorrow.

Post scriptum:  It occurred to me just after writing this that I'd been victim of a cached Kurzweil thought in speaking of the knowledge level as "exponential".  Object-level resources are exponential in human history because of physical cycles of reinvestment.  If you try defining knowledge as productivity per worker, I expect that's exponential too (or productivity growth would be unnoticeable by now as a component in economic progress).  I wouldn't be surprised to find that published journal articles are growing exponentially.  But I'm not quite sure that it makes sense to say humanity has learned as much since 1938 as in all earlier human history... though I'm quite willing to believe we produced more goods... then again we surely learned more since 1500 than in all the time before.  Anyway, human knowledge being "exponential" is a more complicated issue than I made it out to be.  But human object level is more clearly exponential or superexponential.

          derekz2 on Recursive Self-Improvement        

From a practical point of view, a "hard takeoff" would seem to be defined by self-improvement and expansion of control at a rate too fast for humans to cope with. As an example of this, it is often put forward as obvious that the AI would invent molecular nanotechnology in a matter of hours.

Yet there is no reason to think it's even possible to improve molecular simulation, required to search in molecular process-space, much beyond our current algorithms, which on any near-term hardware are nowhere near up to the task. The only explanation is that you are hypothesizing rather incredible increases in abilities such as this without any reason to even think that they are possible.

It's this sort of leap that makes the scenario difficult to believe. Too many miracles seem necessary.

Personally I can entertain the possibility of a "takeoff" (though it is no sure thing that it is possible), but the level of optimization required for a hard takeoff seems unreasonable. It is a lengthy process just to compile a large software project (a trivial transformation). There are limits to what a particular computer can do.

          Eliezer_Yudkowsky on Recursive Self-Improvement        

Ben, that would indeed be the path of humanity's future, I expect, if not for those pesky computers - and the possibility of nanotech and uploading - and all the other interesting things that would happen long before another ten cycles of the flesh.

          Eliezer_Yudkowsky on Recursive Self-Improvement        

John: Given any universe whose physics even resembles in character our current standard model, there will be limits to what you can do on fixed hardware and limits to how much hardware you can create in finite time.

But if those limits are far, far, far above the world we think of as normal, then I would consider the AI-go-FOOM prediction to have been confirmed. I.e., if an AI builds its own nanotech and runs off to disassemble Proxima Centauri, that is not infinite power but it is a whole lot of power and worthy of the name "superintelligence".

          Endo Pills - 10        
Informação cientifica de ação rápida

Ano 2 N° 10

Curso de Especialização em Endocrinologia - PUC

Instituto Estadual de Diabetes e Endocrinologia Luiz Capriglione

Prof.: Luiz César Povoa

Ricardo Martins Rocha Meirelles

Editores: Rosa Rita Santos Martins e Isabela Bussade

Editores Associados: Walmir Coutinho, Edna Pottes e Claudia Pieper

Composição Gráfica: Wallace Margoniner

Chegamos ao final do segundo ano do Endopills. Neste período tivemos sempre em mente o objetivo do Dr. Luís César Povoa: um folhetim feito pelos alunos para os alunos com o objetivo de fornecer informações sobre trabalhos a serem publicados ou recém-publicados. Com o tempo fizemos algumas modificações, como a introdução de um caso clínico, artigos de revisão e atualizações. Com este número encerro minha colaboração com o Endopills, com a certeza de que nada contribui mais para o crescimento de uma idéia do que a sua renovação, assim a partir do próximo número a edição estará sob a responsabilidade da Dra. Isabela Bussade. Agradeço a todos os alunos que nestes dois anos colaboraram com o sucesso deste trabalho.

Rosa Rita dos Santos Martins


Uma mulher de 45 anos com história de falência ovariana prematura (POF) desde os 35 anos e hipotireoidismo diagnosticado aos 40 anos faz terapia de reposição hormonal diária com 2mg de estradiol e 2,5 mg de medroxiprogesterona. Tem cariótipo normal e Ultra-som transvaginal também normal. Sua densidade mineral óssea é adequada. Na história familiar duas irmãs gêmeas dizigóticas, uma delas também com diagnóstico de POF e uma terceira irmã com 30 anos em tratamento para infertilidade e um irmão com dificuldades de comportamento, sem especificar quais.

Pergunta-se: Com essa história familiar qual conduta você recomendaria?

a) suspender a medicação e realizar a prova de LH-RH.

b) repetir o cariótipo.

c) pesquisar, por técnica de biologia molecular, mutações do gene FMR1.

A resposta e discussão estão no final do Endopills.



A maioria das candidatas à prevenção do câncer de mama não aceita usar o tamoxifeno por perceberem uma relação custo-benefício desfavorável. Atualmente os risco potencias para este câncer são: história familiar, idade, atipia celular em biópsia de nódulos benignos e fatores reprodutivos. Seria importante avaliar aquelas em que o risco é realmente elevado para o risco de câncer de mama. A densidade mamográfica, fator de risco mais importante, não é rotineiramente empregado. Os níveis plasmáticos de estrogênio e androgênio, densidade óssea, ganho de peso, idade da menopausa e história de fratura são também potencialmente importantes, mas não têm sido usados em um modelo compreensivo de predição de risco, devido à falta de validação em estudos prospectivos. Um grupo colaborativo de Prevenção do Câncer de Mama se reuniu para examinar criticamente e, por análise multivariada, os fatores de risco que poderiam ser selecionados usando o material clínico já existente para indicar quais mulheres se beneficiariam do uso preventivo do tamoxifeno. Santem, R. et al. Critical assessment of new factors for breast cancer: considerations for development of an improved risk prediction model. Endocrine-Related Cancer, 14(2) 167-187, 2007.

Vicente Lopes da Silva Júnior (R1)


Citrato de clomifeno (CC) é uma droga chave prescrita na infertilidade anovulatória, porém estudos recentes indicam que a metformina também pode induzir ovulação em pacientes com SOP. Stefano Palomba e cols da Universidade de Magna Graecia, na Itália, compararam a eficácia da metformina com o clássico tratamento com CC. Foram incluídas no estudo pacientes com SOP e infertilidade anovulatória, pareadas para idade e IMC. Não houve diferença estatística no sucesso da indução da ovulação entre metformina e CC (55,4% vs 59,8%), no número de gestações por ciclo ovulatório (10,8% vs. 11,2%) e no número de abortos (19,5% vs 26,3%). A taxa cumulativa de gestações (62,9% vs 48,6%) também não variou significativamente. Entretanto, houve diferença nas respostas clínicas. O tempo médio para a primeira gravidez com o uso de metformina foi de sete meses e de cinco meses nas pacientes em uso de CC. A taxa de gravidez por ciclo ovulatório foi constante para metformina; enquanto que mais de 70% das gestações ocorreram durante os primeiros três ciclos do tratamento com CC. O estudo demonstrou que ambas, metformina e CC, são tratamentos eficazes para infertilidade em pacientes com SOP. Estudos mais longos são necessários para determinar se a metformina pode ter um resultado clínico melhor, embora seja reconhecida a ação mais rápida do CC. Palomba S et al. Clomiphene Versus Metformin for Ovulation Induction in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Barbieri J Clin Endocrinol Metab.2007; 92: 3399-3401.

Aline Pereira Pedrosa (R1)


Em humanos os mecanismos moleculares envolvidos no recrutamento e ativação do folículo ovariano que controlam a reprodução feminina, menopausa e doenças como falência ovariana prematura (POF), são pouco compreendidos. Estudos prévios sugerem que o inibidor 1B quinase ciclina dependente poderia retardar o crescimento do ovócito e o desenvolvimento folicular. Singareddy Rajareddy, Kui Liu e cols têm estudado o desenvolvimento ovariano controlado pela p27 em camundongos através da hipótese de que a p27 suprimiria o recrutamento e a ativação folicular e promoveria a morte folicular. Os pesquisadores descobriram que camundongos com a p27 ausente (p27 -/-) tinham a ativação de folículos pós-natais acelerada e o dobro de folículos recrutados em relação aos camundongos p27+/+. A ausência de p27 nos ovários causou ativação prematura do “pool” de folículos primordiais e impediu a morte folicular maciça que normalmente ocorre antes da maturação sexual. Ativação excessiva do “pool” folicular em camundongos p27-/- deixou estes ovários amplamente exauridos de folículos no início da vida adulta, causando POF. Os autores estudaram exaustivamente os mecanismos moleculares envolvidos no controle do desenvolvimento folicular por mecanismos diversos nas diferentes etapas do desenvolvimento ovariano e concluíram que o gene p27 é importante na determinação do desenvolvimento ovariano dos mamíferos. Desta forma, o estudo fornece uma idéia sobre o papel das mutações genéticas que causam infertilidade e defeitos na folículogênese. Rajareddy S, Reddy P, Du C, et al. p27kip1 (Cdkn1b) controls ovarian development by supressing follicle endowment and activation, and promoting follicle atresia in mice. Mol Endocrinol. 21(9):2189-2202.

Carolina Preissler (C1) e Caroline Wust do Nascimento Gaya (C1)


Em estudo pioneiro de como o peso corporal pode afetar a assiduidade escolar, pesquisadores da Universidade da Pensilvânia apontaram o sobrepeso infantil como um grande fator de risco de ausência escolar em relação aos alunos com peso corporal normal. O estudo envolveu mais de 1000 estudantes de 4ª, 5ª e 6ª séries de escolas da Filadélfia e determinou que o índice de massa corporal (IMC) é um fator determinante significativo do não comparecimento escolar, assim como idade, etnia, nível socioeconômico e sexo, considerados formalmente como os quatro principais preditores. Verificou-se ainda que alunos com sobrepeso faltam em média 20% mais que os demais com peso normal. Segundo os autores o que os mantém longe da escola, mais do que as questões de saúde são o estigma e a intimidação que essas crianças sofrem. Novos trabalhos devem explorar esse aspecto danoso que acompanha o sobrepeso. As taxas de obesidade na infância triplicaram nos EUA nos últimos 25 anos. Além dos 4 indicadores tradicionalmente descritos, verificou-se que a combinação de sexo masculino e pior nível socioeconômico aumentaram consideravelmente a ausência escolar, contudo, o IMC se tornou o melhor indicador de falta de assiduidade do que os 4 indicadores já descritos. Essa pesquisa foi apoiada pelo National Institute of Health, e seus achados se encontram disponíveis na edição de agosto do jornal Obesity e também no endereço eletrônico .

Carlos Eduardo Santos (R1)


Uma deficiência de tiamina (vitamina B1) pode ser a chave dos problemas vasculares em pacientes diabéticos tanto do tipo 1 quanto do tipo 2 da doença. A incidência do diabetes vêm aumentando e um dos problemas dessa patologia é sua associação com complicações micro vasculares com dano ao rim, a retina e aos nervos periféricos e complicações macro vasculares, tais como a doença cardíaca. Em um artigo publicado na revista Diabetologia, foi citado que a concentração de tiamina no plasma do sangue estava 76% diminuída no tipo I diabético e 75% no tipo 2. Estudos passados tinham considerado a atividade normal desta enzima e supunham níveis normais de tiamina quando de fato a atividade da enzima era normal devido às quantidades aumentadas de duas proteínas THTR-1 e RFC-1 que ajudam a transportar a tiamina em glóbulos vermelhos. Os níveis aumentados destas proteínas era uma resposta direta pela deficiência de tiamina no corpo. Os autores concluíram que a baixa concentração de timina é prevalente em pacientes com diabetes tipo 1 e 2, associado a um clearence aumentado da tiamina. Thornalley, J. et al. High prevalence of low plasma thiamine concentration in diabetes linked to a marker of vascular disease. Diabetologia, Volume 50 (10): 2164-2170, 2007

Nathalia Fernandes dos Santos (C1 )



Um novo estudo do Centro para controle e prevenção de doenças (CDC) mostra que a prevalência da diabetes cresce 5% anualmente desde 1990, e que esta tendência de incidência coincide com os dados de prevalência, de acordo com os registros apresentados na 67a Sessão Científica Anual da Associação Americana de Diabetes. Segundo a Dra. Linda S. Geiss, M A, chefe do serviço de vigilância de diabetes (Diabetes Program, Center of Disease Control and Prevention), este aumento está intimamente relacionado com o crescimento da obesidade e se os sistemas de saúdem quiserem resistir ao fardo crescente do diabetes, precisam aprimorar esforços preventivos. O diabetes pode levar a complicações fatais ou severamente debilitantes, como doenças cardíacas, cegueira, doença renal e amputações. O diabetes tipo 2, que responde por 90 a 95 % de todos os casos diagnosticados de diabetes, envolve resistência insulínica - a incapacidade do organismo de usar adequadamente a sua própria insulina e costumava ocorrer principalmente em adultos, acima do peso e com 40 anos ou mais, entretanto como crianças e adolescentes vem se tornando cada vez mias inativos e com peso acima do normal este quadro tem ocorrido em pessoas mais jovens. O estudo usou os dados de 1963 a 2005 de um levantamento de saúde nacional, para obter taxas de prevalência e incidência para idade e seus desvios-padrão. Foram identificados três períodos distintos na taxa de diabetes existente na população em um determinado tempo: 1963 a 1975, entre 1975 e 1990 e de 1990 a 2005. Neste último período a incidência de novos casos de diabetes aumentou de 4 a 7,7 por 1000 (5,1% anualmente). Os autores dão várias hipóteses para explicar as diferenças nas incidências, entre elas a observação da contribuição da obesidade crescente para a ascensão do diabetes iniciada em 1990. Todos os dados desse trabalho podem ser acessados pelo site

Mariana Aparecida Machado Teixeira (C 1)


Inicialmente pensada como uma forma rara de hipertensão, atualmente o hiperaldosteronismo primário é uma causa bem definida de elevação da pressão arterial, correspondendo a 5-13% dos pacientes hipertensos. O tratamento visa à redução da morbimortalidade associada com hipertensão e dano cardiovascular. Originalmente, o hiperaldosteronismo não era suspeitado, a menos que o paciente apresentasse hipertensão e hipopotassemia espontânea. Atualmente, sabemos que a maioria dos pacientes não apresenta essa hipopotassemia. A identificação dos casos está baseada na dosagem de aldosterona e da atividade da renina plasmática. Um teste positivo deve ser confirmado com teste de supressão com sobrecarga oral de sódio para avaliar secreção autônoma. A etapa final do diagnóstico consiste em diferenciar entre os sete subtipos do hiperaldosteronismo primário, já que o tratamento varia de acordo com cada subtipo. O adenoma produtor de aldosterona (APA) e o hiperaldosteronismo bilateral idiopático são os subtipos mais comuns. A adrenalectomia unilateral em pacientes com APA ou hiperplasia adrenal unilateral resulta em normalização da hipocalemia; nas formas bilaterais de hiperaldosteronismo primário a adrenalectomia unilateral raramente corrige a hipertensão e os pacientes devem ser tratados com antagonistas do receptor mineralocorticóide. Primary aldosteronism: renaissance of a syndrome. Clinical Endocrinology 66(5): 607-618, May 2007.

Rachel Gazzola Giovanella (C2)



A Nanotecnologia permite aos cientistas trabalharem com produtos e substâncias tão pequenas que são medidas em nanoescala, com o tamanho equivalente a bilionésima parte do metro. Por exemplo, a espessura de uma folha de papel e do cabelo humano equivalem, respectivamente, a 100.000 e 80.000 nanômetros. Esta nova e promissora tecnologia vêm despertando grande interesse no mundo científico e industrial. Em 1990, aproximadamente 1000 publicações científicas foram identificadas, ao passo que em 2002 o número de publicações nessa área subiu para 22.000. Esse crescimento exponencial foi resultado de grandes descobertas e investimentos da qual vem resultando numa intensa e contínua modificação dos produtos que deverão ser regulamentados pelo FDA. Desta forma, a partir de julho deste ano, o FDA, através da então denominada “Força Tarefa em Nanotecnologia”, liderada pelo Dr. Von Eschenbach, passou a apresentar como objetivo direcionar e regularizar cientificamente o desenvolvimento desta nova tecnologia, liberando assim um relatório de recomendações sobre os benefícios e riscos da tecnologia em nanoescala. Este grupo tem como responsabilidade formar e manter um programa de desenvolvimento e pesquisa para desvendar o grande potencial da nanotecnologia, facilitando a transferência desta nova tecnologia para os produtores de modo a promover o crescimento da economia, empregos e outros benefícios públicos, além de desenvolver recursos educacionais para suportar a infra-estrutura e as ferramentas necessárias para o avanço dessas pesquisas. As substâncias em nanoescala geralmente têm propriedades químicas, físicas e biológicas diferentes que modificam suas características eletro-magnéticas, interferindo significativamente nas atividades químico-biológicas, o que lhe conferem superioridade de ação. Estudos em laboratórios determinam que a superfície de área por unidade de volume (massa) e a carga elétrica (+/-) são os principais determinantes das interações biológicas . Assim, quaisquer modificações no tamanho ou mudança na carga elétrica de uma determinada substância podem determinar grandes diferenças de interação. Por exemplo, vesículas lipídicas, carregadas positivamente, têm a capacidade de induzir edema cerebral, ao contrário daquelas neutras ou negativamente carregadas. Modificações da superfície de materiais como surfactantes e polímeros biocompatíveis (PEG) têm sua toxicidade reduzida in vitro e alterada a sua meia-vida e deposição tecidual in vivo. Desta forma, as interações biológicas são influenciadas particularmente pela composição físico-química de substâncias em nanoescala, bem como pela superfície de área independentemente da sua massa. Organizar e desenvolver estudos usando a farmacocinética, fisiologia e características como tipo, tamanho, carga elétrica e superfície das partículas em nanoescala será particularmente útil para a compreensão geral das suas interações biológicas. Por isso, o FDA terá que treinar e capacitar membros que deverão ter vastos conhecimentos na área de farmacologia, toxicologia, biologia, física, química e medicina para regulamentar as decisões a serem aprovadas por esse órgão na área de nanotecnologia. Uma das grandes dificuldades para a regulamentação das nanosubstâncias se encontra no fato dos testes in vitro serem incapazes de determinar real segurança, uma vez que avaliam um único ou poucos tipos celulares. A detecção e estudo dos materiais em nanoescala em certos produtos necessitam de equipamento altamente sofisticados, caros e de mão de obra extremamente especializada, que parecem estar pouco disponíveis até o momento. Eles vem sendo desenvolvidos e estudados não só na área de farmacologia como também nas áreas de materiais médicos, indústria alimentícia e cosmética. Desta forma, o FDA e as 22 outras agências federais que fazem parte da NNI (National Nanotechnology Initiative) não estão medindo esforços para a realização de pesquisas e programas de desenvolvimento para o estabelecimento de coordenadas para o uso eficaz e seguro dessa promissora forma de tecnologia, que parece ser indispensável para a criação de novas abordagens diagnósticas e terapêuticas na área de biomedicina assim como também nas áreas cosméticas e da indústria alimentícia. Veja o relatório completo no site

Cátia Ferreira de Araújo



A história familiar da paciente sugere a presença nessas mulheres da pré-mutação ou da mutação do Sítio Frágil do Cromossomo X, que ocorre em 3.3% nas formas esporádicas de POF e em 12% a 16% dos casos familiares. A pré-mutação é definida como a presença de 56 a 199 repetições dos nucleotídeos CGG na região não traduzida 5' do gene FMR1 (Fragile X Mental Retardation Syndrome), mapeado na região Xq27.3. Mais de 200 repetições resultam na síndrome completa do Sítio Frágil de X nos filhos do sexo masculino. Esta síndrome cursa com retardo mental, comportamento autismo like, macroorquidismo e um fácies característico no sexo masculino. As mulheres portadoras podem ser clinicamente normais e do mesmo modo que as portadoras da pré-mutação apresentar menopausa precoce. O diagnóstico é feito pela pesquisa por Biologia Molecular do número de repetições CGG descritas acima. A história de um irmão com dificuldades de comportamento torna obrigatório o aconselhamento genético nessa família, principalmente na irmã em tratamento para infertilidade. Case studies from The Endocrine Society's Clinical Endocrinology.

Cristiane da Rocha Azevedo (C1)
          Endo Pills - 2        
Informação cientifica de ação rápida - Ano 1 N°2

Curso de Especialização em Endocrinologia - PUC
Instituto Estadual de Diabetes e Endocrinologia Luiz Capriglione

Prof.: Luiz Cesar Povoa (A45)
Ricardo Martins Rocha Meirelles (A35)
Editor: Rosa Rita Santos Martins (A31)
Editores Associados: Walmir Coutinho (A19), Edna Pottes (A32)
Composição Gráfica: Wallace Margoniner

Pílulas da Experiência

Conhecimento e Cultura

A Universidade vem se preocupando com transmissão do conhecimento especifico, se esquecendo da cultura. O exercício da medicina exige cultura. O Dr. Hans Graft (A25), hoje pesquisador de renome internacional é um exemplo disto.

Quarteto Graf: O Quarteto Graf foi formado em 1963, por ocasião dos Festivais de Música em Curitiba, que ocorriam anualmente em janeiro. Mais tarde seus componentes: Christiano – violino, Ulrike – viola, Hans – violino e Joachim – violoncelo, seguiram caminhos diferentes. Christiano é físico, professor sênior da UFPR, Ulrike é musicista, professora de musica da EMBAP (piano e viola), Hans é médico, professor da FEPAR. Todos foram fortemente influenciados em sua formação pela mãe Esther Graf. No dia 25 de janeiro de 2003, foram celebrados os 90 anos da construção do Templo da Igreja Luterana, construída pelo Pastor Carlos Frank na Rua Inácio Lustosa. A lembrança forte da figura do avô Pastor Frank, que também era músico, fez nascer com entusiasmo a idéia coletiva do Quarteto Graf voltar a sua formação original. Nesta 12a. apresentação do Quarteto Graf, é uma honra participar da abertura do XII Encontro Brasileiro de Tireóide – Junho 2006

(Luiz César Povoa –A45)


I – Detectando o uso ilícito de esteróides

Expectadores da última olimpíada de inverno em Turino, Itália, observaram recordes mundiais realizados por atletas naturalmente habilidosos que treinaram seus corpos e habilidades durante anos de muito trabalho, para ter suas conquistas. Provavelmente, isso foi na maior parte verdade, mas o trabalho de alguns farmacêuticos como Don H. Catlin, M.D., da Universidade da Califórnia – Los Angeles (UCLA) é estar atento para sinais de atletas que usaram esteróides para melhorar sua performance, dando aos seus corpos uma vantagem extra. Para desempenhar bem seu trabalho, ele diz que necessita da ajuda de endocrinologistas.

Ele disse aos participantes da conferência dos escritores da sociedade de endocrinologia em dezembro: “Atualmente a endocrinologia é realmente fundamental no auxílio a detecção de drogas nos atletas, pois é um campo onde muitos avanços da medicina se realizam, e estes são potenciais avanços para trapaças no esporte”.

O uso ilícito de esteróides não é novidade. A história é cheia de exemplos memoráveis de atletas que estavam utilizando drogas proibidas e subseqüentemente perderam a chance de fazer parte da história do atletismo.

A atenção pública ao abuso de drogas no esporte surgiu em 1988 quando o canadense Ben Johnson foi punido com a perda da medalha de ouro e o recorde dos 100 metros rasos, por utilizar esteróides anabolizantes (stanazolol). Esta droga já era conhecida há algum tempo, mas era difícil detectar em testes até aquele momento.

A lista de esteróides é grande e não há testes laboratoriais para todos eles. Além da dificuldade de detectar todas essas substâncias, as autoridades têm um trabalho ainda mais difícil, pois os atletas podem usar esteróides que já existem no organismo, como a testosterona e espectrômetros de massa não podem diferenciar uma da outra, então é preciso utilizar outros métodos.”. Isto significa desenvolver testes de diferenciá-las. “Nós precisamos de muitos gráficos e tabelas para embasar nossa afirmação”, diz o Dr. Catlin. “Basicamente, atletas “espertos” podem ainda usar estas substâncias hoje e não serem detectados, mas nós estamos um pouco melhor.”

Infelizmente, os atletas podem comprar todo tipo de esteróides, na internet, pois são vendidos como suplementos desde de 1994. Dr. Catlin diz que isso trouxe pessoas não qualificadas para esta área, e a falta controle de qualidade.

Num certo sentido, o problema está piorando com o surgimento de designers de esteróides como o norboletone e outro com pequenas quantidades de norboletone e gestrinome.

Os operadores do Mercado Negro estão operando com um consórcio de químicos, laboratórios e sistema de distribuição e, assim que os cientistas desenvolvem um teste laboratorial para detecção, a droga desaparece e uma nova toma lugar. Uma das drogas mais perigosas que aumentam a performance é o uso de eritropoetina, que alguns atletas usam para produzir quantidades excessivas de hemácias e aumentar a oferta de oxigênio aos músculos. Outro hormônio suspeito de abuso é o GH, para o qual também não existe teste adequado para detecção.

Olhando no horizonte, está o problema do “gene-dopping”. Nós poderíamos manipular os genes e fabricar super-atletas.

O nome das substâncias que fazem patê da lista anti-doping pode ser encontrada no texto integral: Dettecting illegal steroids. Catth Kristiansen. Endocrinews, March 2006, 10-12.

Aline Moreira Nabuco de Oliveira (R1)

II – Esteróides anabolizantes: atração fatal?

Apesar do seu uso implicar em suspensão temporária ou definitiva, atletas olímpicos, ciclistas profissionais e até jóqueis, já tiveram teste positivo para esteróides anabolizantes. Contudo, o uso dessas substâncias não é mais exclusivo de atletas profissionais tendo uma incidência de uso em torno de quatro por cento entre colegiais norte-americanos, valor este comparável à utilização de outras substâncias ilícitas, como: crack (3,6%) ou heroína (1,6%).

O uso desses esteróides ocorre por seus feitos anabolizantes, particularmente aumento de massa muscular magra com intuito de melhorar a performance atlética. Entretanto, esteróides também apresentam ações androgênicas, exacerbando características sexuais masculinas. Usuários dessas drogas buscam maximizar os efeitos anabólicos e minimizar os efeitos colaterais androgênios, porém todas as substâncias são derivadas da testosterona e, portanto, combinam ambos os efeitos.

Esteróides anabolizantes também afetam o comportamento e o sistema nervoso central, através de neurônios portadores de receptores par androgênios. O abuso dessas medicações pode provocar euforia, depressão, ansiedade, paranóia e atitudes violentas. Estes efeitos podem ocorrer durante o uso ou até mesmo durante a retirada dessas substâncias.

Ainda não se tem uma posição concreta se os esteróides causariam dependência, pois seu uso repetido pode ocorrer pela melhoria física e de desempenho atlético que eles produzem. Todavia, sintomas que caracterizam a dependência como tolerância e abstinência estão freqüentemente presentes entre seus usuários.

O potencial dos esteróides em levar o vício certamente depende da quantidade, freqüência, tipo de esteróide e da susceptibilidade individual, devendo-se ter em mente que os efeitos dessas drogas não se limitam à massa muscular.

Este texto foi publicado pr Ruth I Wood, Keck School of Medicine University Soutern Califórnia Los Angels, CA, USA e pode ser acessado pelo site:

Miguel Madeira (R1)

III – Tireoidite pós-parto

Tireóide pós-parto é uma inflamação da glândula tireóide que geralmente ocorre no período de um ano após o parto. Ocorre em 5/100 pacientes após o parto. E existem usualmente duas fases da doença: hipertireoidismo e hipotireoidismo.

Na fase do hipertireoidismo a glândula é agredida e libera grande quantidade de hormônio (T3 e T4) no sangue. Essa fase dura cerca de dois a quatro meses, podendo ocorrer: perda de peso repentina, aumento dos batimentos cardíacos, nervosismo, sudorese, sensibilidade ao calor.

A Tireóide pode ser danificada por meses e se ela não retornar ao normal ocorrerá a segunda fase: hipotireoidismo. Essa fase pode durar até um ano, com diminuição progressiva dos hormônios tireoidianos. Muitas mulheres com hipotireoidismo têm bócio e sintomatologia como: ganho ponderal inexplicado, cansaço, pele seca ou unhas quebradiças, queda de cabelo, sensibilidade ao frio.

Os fatores de risco para tireoidite pós-parto são: história pessoal ou familiar de problemas da Tireóide (por exemplo: Doença de Graves) e história prévia de tireoidite.

Algumas mulheres que desenvolvem hipertireoidismo após o parto retornam ao normal em poucos meses sem passar pela secunda fase de hipotireoidismo. A maioria, entretanto passa pela secunda fase. Dentre essas mulheres, cerca de 1/5desenvolvem hipotireoidismo permanente em três a quatro anos.

A tireoidite pós-parto é diagnosticada pela sintomatologia já descrita e pelos níveis T4 livre, TSH, valores de captação de iodo radiativo e níveis de anticorpos anti tireoidianos.

O tratamento deve ser realizado com endocrinologista especialista em tiróide. O trabalho original pode ser consultado em (Hormone & You, Pospartum Thyroiditis, Pacini, F et al., J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metabol., 2006)

Tatiana Batista Gonçalvez (R1)

IV – Revisão sobre a qualidade de vida nos pacientes com distúrbios benignos da tireóide

A importância de resultados relatados por pacientes tais como a qualidade de vida é cada vez mais reconhecida na pesquisa clínica. A fim de render resultados válidos, as propriedades da medida dos questionários que avaliam qualidade de vida, devem ser completamente investigadas. Um aspecto de tal processo de validação é a demonstração satisfatória, isto é que o questionário abrange todos os aspectos relevantes. Toquil Watt e cols revisaram os estudos que relatam as conseqüências dos distúrbios da tireóide e apresentaram a freqüência de aspectos identificados e sintomas clássicos da tireóide, a fim de avaliar se tais publicações são relevantes para pacientes com tireoideopatia.

Uma busca sistemática foi executada no Medline, Cinahl e na base de dados da Psycinfo e as listas de referências dos artigos relevantes foram citadas. Identificados setenta e cinco estudos. De acordo com estes estudos, os pacientes com doença tireoidiana não tratada sofrem com larga gama de sintomas e têm grande prejuízo na qualidade de vida a curto e longo prazo. Seis questionários sobre qualidade de vida para pacientes com distúrbios da tireóide foram identificados. Geralmente, os dados que suportam a validade destes questionários foram escassos. De acordo com a literatura disponível, a qualidade de vida de pacientes com tireoideopatia é prejudicada na fase não tratada e continua assim, em muitos pacientes, durante algum tempo. Os estudos que exploram sistematicamente a importância da variedade dos aspectos dos pacientes com distúrbios tireoidianos se ressentem da falta de um questionário detalhado, específico e validado sobre sua qualidade de vida. O texto completo pode ser obtido em Torquil Watt e cols. “Quality of life in patients with benign thyroid disorders. A review”. European Journal of Endocrinology, Vol 154, Issue 4, 501-510

Paula Sobral Perricelli (C1)

V – Hormônios, mulheres e câncer de mama

O câncer de mama é uma das neoplasias malignas mais comuns nas mulheres americanas, principalmente para aquelas que tiveram a menarca cedo (antes dos 12 anos) ou menopausa tardia (após 55 anos).

É mais freqüente nas mulheres mais velhas, naquelas que não tiveram filhos ou o tiveram após 30 anos de idade, e também as que fizeram reposição hormonal combinada (estrogênios e progestágenos) por mais de 5 anos (sabemos que o estrogênio e os progestágenos podem causar um crescimento do tecido mamário mais rápido que o normal).

A forma mais comum de fazer o diagnóstico é pelo exame físico da própria mama ou através da mamografia, USG de mama, aspiração por agulha fina e Core biopsy (consegue colher um pedaço de tecido do nódulo). Pacientes com história familiar de câncer deverão fazer uma mamografia anual antes dos 40 anos, mesmo sem sintomas.

O tratamento depende do tipo e do estágio do câncer e tipicamente inclui: cirurgia, radioterapia, quimioterapia, terapia hormonal, ou a combinação de todos. Atualmente outras drogas tais como anastrazole, letrazole e examestaze vêm sendo utilizadas. Todas essas terapias afetam o útero e os ossos.

O tamoxifen também pode ser usado para prevenir o câncer em pacientes com risco de desenvolver câncer da mama.

O texto completo, editado por Lorraine Fitzpatrick e Richard Santem pode ser acessado no site

Joana Rodrigues Dantes Pereira (R1)

VI – Obesidade infantil: Quem é o responsável?
As últimas duas décadas tem mostrado um aumento de três vezes na prevalência da Obesidade infantil nos EUA, e um aumento concomitante na lista de comorbidades. Freqüentemente, a falta de informação dos pais sobre a importância de uma dieta saudável e níveis de exercícios apropriados de suas crianças é considerada como sendo a causa.

É a obesidade infantil simplesmente um resultado de escolhas de pais desinformados? Eles precisam freqüentemente trabalhar em múltiplos empregos, limitando a supervisão da criação depois da escola ou na hora das refeições, e não podem sempre dar as crianças boas escolhas para uma vida saudável.

As forças dos alimentos industrializados atrás desta epidemia podem ultrapassar o controle mesmo dos pais interessados. Porções de alimento estão crescendo e “Fast-Food” altamente calóricos são mais disponíveis que as alternativas sadias. A indústria alimentar tem desempenhado papeis principais em disseminar esta epidemia.

Meninos progressivamente diminuem seu gasto energético após a puberdade e meninos não ficam atrás. Entre as muitas causas de imobilidade estão: a falta de educação física mandatória nas classes de aula e ausência de ginásio esportivo em muitas escolas novas e parques públicos e ruas inseguras. Enquanto a atividade aumentada por si só não pode substituir uma dieta não apropriada, exercícios podem ajudar manter a perda de peso e melhorar a saúde por diminuir a resistência insulínica.

Diferenças genéticas e metabólicas existem entre indivíduos e grupos étnicos. Crianças afro-americanas são mais resistentes a Insulina e tem menor gasto energético em repouso que caucasianos. Estudos familiares indicam uma influência genética definida no ganho de peso com alguns mais afetados que outros.

Medicações e Tratamento Cirúrgico.

Das medicações disponíveis, somente Orlistat é aprovada, nos Estados Unidos, para crianças maiores que 10 anos. A perda de peso em menos que 10%, não parece suficiente para a maioria dos obesos, mas mesmo uma perda de 10% pode melhorar a saúde metabólica. Medicamentos também só vão agir se houver mudanças de hábitos diários. Outra questão levantada neste artigo é sobre qual será a conduta em termos de duração de tratamento. Quando medicamentos mais eficazes forem desenvolvidos tenderá a ser aceito uma vida de medicação iniciada antes da puberdade e continuada pelas décadas seguintes para tratar uma condição adquirida, do mesmo modo que tratamos Diabetes ?

Alternativamente, deve a cirurgia de Bypass gástrico, que em muitos (mas nem todos) promove tratamento eficaz, ser a norma numa idade jovem?

Discussão sobre o futuro e sobre um consenso produzido por um comitê internacional sobre prevenção de obesidade será publicado no The J. of Clinical Endocrinology & Medicine, 2006 e no site

Ana Lúcia Marinho Vinagre (C1)

VII – Bexaroteno aumenta captação de raioiodo nas metástases do carcinoma diferenciado de tireóide

As opções de tratamento das metástases do tumor diferenciado de tireóide são limitadas pela captação reduzida de I-131, tornando essencial o desenvolvimento de estratégias que aumentem esta captação. Já foi sugerido que os retinóides têm efeito de aumentar a captação de iodo in vitro e em humanos. Até o presente dia, entretanto, só existem estudos com ácido 13-cis-retinóico em humanos. Este é um estudo prospectivo intervencionista com objetivo de estudar o efeito de 6 semanas de tratamento com Bexaroteno (ativador do receptor retinóide X) na captação do I-131 em pacientes com tumor tireoideano diferenciado metastático.

Selecionados 12 pacientes com metástases de tumor tireoideano diferenciado e captação insuficiente de I-131. Estes pacientes receberam 300 mg de Bexaroteno por dia, durante seis semanas. Antes e após a intervenção, a captação de I-131 foi medida através de cintilografia de corpo inteiro e tomografia com emissão de fótons (SPECT) 3 dias após 185 MBq de I-131.

O tratamento com Bexaroteno induziu a captação de I-131 em metástases de 8 dos 11 pacientes (um paciente morreu de causas não relacionadas ao estudo). Entretanto, este aumento de captação só era perceptível no SPECT e tinha correspondência incompleta com as metástases visualizadas pela tomografia computadorizada. Portanto, as conclusões do estudo são de que o Bexaroteno aumentou parcialmente a captação de I-131 pelas metástases de tumores tireoideanos diferenciados e que a relevância clínica deste achado pode ser limitada pela resposta heterogênea de diferentes metástases em cada paciente e pela baixa captação de I-131. O texto completo pode ser lido em Ying Y Liu e cols. Bexarotene etastase uptake of radioiodide in metastases of diffentiated thyroid carcinoma.

European Journal of Endocrinology, 154 (4):525-531,2006

Leandro Kasuki Jomori de Pinho (R1)

VIII - Duas perspectivas na etiologia e tratamento da disfunção erétil – Uma questão de coração ou de cérebro?

A disfunção erétil é uma desordem extremamente comum, sendo apenas uma das várias queixas sexuais dos homens. Os melhores dados epidemiológicos sugerem que um em cada três adultos do sexo masculino sofre de algum grau de disfunção erétil. A prevalência e a severidade da disfunção aumentam com a idade, apesar de não haver idade na qual é “normal” ter disfunção erétil.

O mecanismo molecular de uma ereção envolve múltiplas vias, mas se acredita que a principal seja a via do ácido nítrico-guanosina cíclica (GMPc). O óxido nítrico (ON) é produzido a partir de L-arginina, reação catalizada pela enzima óxido nítrico sintetase. O ON entra na célula do músculo liso e se liga à guanilato-ciclase (GTP). A enzima fosfodiesterase tipo 5 (PDE-5), dentro da célula muscular lisa, metaboliza GMPc em 5´GMP, o qual inibe a ereção. Os agentes orais atualmente disponíveis usados para tratar disfunção erétil atuam através da inibição seletiva da PDE-5. Portanto, eles previnem a quebra do GMPc e amplificam qualquer sinal que aumente o pênis.

Opções terapêuticas para disfunção erétil incluem terapia sexual, terapia hormonal, medicações orais, medicações penianas e acessórios (externos ou implantáveis cirurgicamente). Estes agentes atuam através da inibição da PDE-5. A eficácia e os efeitos colaterais destes medicamentos são similares. A maior diferença entre eles é a farmacocinética, com alguns tendo uma meia-vida maior que outras.

Hormônios cerebrais e neurotransmissores do sistema nervoso central desempenham um importante papel nas ereções penianas normais. Perturbações destes hormônios e neurotransmissores comumente causam disfunções sexuais e eréteis.

Testosterona é necessária para a libido normal e para ereções quantitativa e qualitativamente normais. Estudos em humanos e animais indicam que a testosterona facilita (diretamente ou através de seus metabólitos) a vasodilatação peniana normal e a tumescência em resposta ao estímulo sexual. Além disso, a testosterona pode sincronizar as respostas penianas e do sistema nervoso central ao estímulo sexual.

Hormônios cerebrais como prolactina e melanocortina modulam as funções sexual e erétil. A prolactina tende a inibir as funções sexual e erétil, e alguns pesquisadores propuseram que elevações pós-orgasmo deste hormônio induzem saciedade sexual e refratariedade ao desejo sexual e ereções.

As melanocortinas são peptídeos derivados da propiomelanocortina (POMC) e são largamente expressas no sistema nervoso central e em vários tecidos periféricos. Melanocortinas inibem o apetite e estimulam o comportamento sexual através do receptor da melanocortina-4..

Os neurotransmissores centrais – como dopamina, noradrenalina e serotonina – modulam as funções sexual e erétil. Estudos em animais têm demonstrado que dopamina e noradrenalina estimulam agudamente a função sexual masculina. Serotonina geralmente inibe ereções, apesar de a estimulação de alguns receptores de 5-hidroxitriptamina poderem aumentar as ereções. Em humanos, antidepressivos serotoninérgicos (como paroxetina, fluoxetina, citalopram e sertralina) são associados à disfunção erétil em até 30% dos homens, mas antidepressivos dopaminérgicos e noradrenérgicos (como bupropiona) ou agonistas seletivos da hidroxitriptamina 5 a1 (como mirtazapina) causam menos disfunção e podem até melhorar a função erétil.

O endocrinologista pode se envolver na avaliação inicial dos pacientes com disfunção erétil ou dos pacientes refratários aos inibidores da fosfodiesterase. Os clínicos devem avaliar cuidadosamente evidências clínicas e bioquímicas de hipogonadismo (isto é, testosterona livre calculada baixa e testosterona sérica fracamente ligada). Um estudo para reposição de testosterona deve ser considerado para homens com disfunção erétil e baixos níveis de testosterona séricos. Homens com disfunção erétil e níveis de testosterona baixos raramente respondem à monoterapia com testosterona, mas a combinação de testosterona exógena com um vasodilatador peniano como um inibidor oral da fosfodiesterase pode ter efeito sinérgico. Se possível, o endocrinologista deve também descontinuar medicações que elevam os níveis cerebrais de serotonina ou níveis séricos de prolactina. No futuro, poderá haver novas terapias neuroendócrinas para disfunção erétil, como agonistas seletivos da melanocortina.

Informações complementares sobre as diferenças de ação da testosterona em pacientes jovens e idosos, sobre outros hormônios e sobre tratramentos alternativos podem ser obtidos no artigo. Jarrow. J. P.; Amawalte, B. D. “Two Pespectives on the etiology and treatment of erectile disfunction. A matter of the heart and the brain” Endocrin Neuws (2006):8-11.

Paloma Nehab Hess (C1)

IX – Hormônios relacionados aos adipócitos de origem cerebral – Funções e regulações

Há 30 anos atrás, o cérebro já era reconhecido como um importante sítio de biossíntese de peptídeos. Atualmente são identificados mais de 50 neuropeptídeos. O AGE Pearse propôs que muitos peptídeos sejam comuns ao intestino e ao cérebro, sendo um exemplo o hormônio Grelina. Diante deste contexto, é intrigante que hormônios peptídicos específicos dos adipócitos, como a Leptina, tenham atraído pouca atenção como prováveis neurotransmissores ou neuromoduladores.

A Leptina representa um exemplo diante da imensa família de fatores secretados por adipócitos (adipocinas). Nesta família encontramos outros fatores (Resistina, Adiponectina), o novo fator adiposo induzido pelo jejum (FIAF, Visfatina, Vaspina) e o fator de crescimento de células nervosas.

Os receptores de Leptina são amplamente distribuídos no cérebro dos roedores e dos seres humanos. Isso nos levou Michael Wilkinson a sugerir que muitos destes receptores, excetuando os localizados no hipotálamo basal, seriam apenas acessíveis a um ligante derivado do tecido cerebral, se não à Leptina de origem cerebral. Este autor demonstrou, posteriormente, que os cérebros de ratos expressavam o RNA mensageiro (RNAm) da Leptina, e que a imunorreatividade da Leptina poderia ser localizada com a ajuda de marcadores neuronais com o Neu N e Ocitocina. As investigações in vivo demonstraram que a Leptina é secretada pelo cérebro humano.

Entretanto, o insucesso na detecção do RNAm da Leptina em cérebro de murine tem influenciado profundamente no conceito atual de sua fisiologia. Todos os efeitos centrais desta adipocina são tidos como resultantes da Leptina periférica circulante entrando no cérebro, provavelmente por mecanismo de transporte saturado, e se ligando a receptores de Leptina. A difusão da aceitação desta visão, baseada apenas em dados obtidos em cobaias, negligencia os achados relativos a outras espécies sugestivos de que a Leptina de origem cerebral pode ter propriedades neurotransmissoras, neuromoduladoras ou neurotróficas.

O autor estendeu suas hipóteses originais para incluir outras adipocinas e os seus resultado sugerem que as adipocinas derivadas do cérebro devem ser consideradas como possíveis neurotransmissores, fatores tróficos e como indicadores de lesão cerebral. Os hormônios relacionados aos adipócitos de origem cerebral representam um novo campo intrigante de investigação. Seu trabalho completo pode ser lido no trabalho de Michael Wilkinson, The Endocrinologist (2006), 79:10.

Beatriz Ohana Marques C. de Carvalho (C1)

X – Medicina do futuro

Nanotecnologia: Ferramentas e moléculas minúsculas (texto original de Cathy Kristiansen)

Uma das fronteiras mais excitantes na pesquisa biomédica é a nanotecnologia, pela qual cientistas estão desenvolvendo e construindo as menores ferramentas químicas, para detectar e tratar doenças. Nanopartículas, nanoestruturas, nanotubos, nanocamadas, e assim por diante, se referem a materiais e dispositivos que estão na escala molecular e até atômica. Enquanto que a tecnologia de hoje pode identificar tumores com tamanho de 1 bilhão de células, a nanotecnologia pode identificar crescimento de apenas 100.000 células, e eventualmente uma única molécula no interior da célula. A nanotecnologia pode também capturar movimentos rápidos incríveis, ajudando cientistas a medir reações biológicas sub-celulares que são muito rápidas para serem detectadas com as ferramentas atuais.

Pesquisadores estão trabalhando em muitas frentes para desenvolver e colocar a nanotecnologia em uso. Entre os objetivos com relevância para a endocrinologia estão os seguintes:

• Encontrar um caminho para terapias de grupos individuais de células de sustentação tumoral, ligantes, ou receptores e evitar danificar células não relacionadas. Primeiro, entretanto, pesquisadores precisam entender melhor as vias de sinalização celulares, porque muitas moléculas pequenas de drogas interagem com múltiplas vias.

• Melhorar a restauração óssea, por exemplo pela implantação de nanocamadas de metal para realçar como a superfície óssea interage com o osso, ou nanotexturando o metal para liberar componentes químicos que o corpo reconhece, prevenindo rejeição.

• Planejar matrizes de moléculas injetáveis que se agruparão em ares danificadas e servir de molde para a formação de tecido normal.

• Encontrar uma maneira de garantir a liberação controlada de fatores de crescimento normais na ordem correta – a qual deve ser primeiro descoberta pelos sensores da nanotecnologia.

O mapa da nanomedicina assim como a Aliança pela Nanotecnologia no Câncer poderão se encontrados no texto original.

Em seu guia para aplicação da nanotecnologia e nanociência, NIH menciona que “muitas áreas da biomedicina se beneficiarão da nanotecnologia, incluindo sensores para uso em laboratórios, a clínica, e dentro do corpo humano; novas formulações e vias para remessas de drogas; e materiais biocompatíveis para uso em implantes.”

Durante os próximos 5 anos, a nanotecnologia trará avanços brilhantes na detecção precoce, imagem molecular, avaliação da eficácia terapêutica, terapêutica multifuncional, e a prevenção e controle do câncer. Apesar da nanotecnologia parecer tão promissora, muitos cientistas avisam que ainda há muitos obstáculos antes que a pesquisa possa ser transformada em produtos ou técnicas utilizáveis. “Nós queremos ter um otimismo razoável, mas um olhar crítico para qualquer uma dessas novas tecnologias.” Dr. Schloss adverte. “Biologia é complexa. Nós ouvimos sobre balas mágicas antes que curassem o câncer ou outras doenças que nunca tiveram sucesso.”

Para mais informação sobre a NIH Nanomedicine Roadmap Initiative, visite Para saber mais sobre NCI’s Alliance for Nanotechnology in âncer ou se cadastrar para receber emails dos novos desenvolvimentos, visite Informações gerais sobre os programas nanotecnológicos da NIH estão disponíveis na

Camila Mont-Serrat (C1)

XI – Hot Topics

GH causa câncer?

Evidências circunstanciais ligando GH e câncer tem recentemente levantado interesse quanto ao uso da terapia com GH. O efeito poderoso antiproliferativo e anti-apoptótico do mediador do GH, o IGF-1, poderia contribuir para condições favorecendo tumorogênese.

No artigo publicado Jenskins e colaboradores, os autores avaliaram várias evidências quanto a influência potencial do GH/IGF-1 no desenvolvimento de câncer, incluindo estudos de câncer “de novo” e recorrente em pacientes em terapia com GH e pacientes portadores de acromegalia. A evidência citada apóia associação de níveis elevados GH com câncer, mas os autores concluem que evidências para doses fisiológicas de GH aumentando a incidência de tumorogênese são limitadas, e os riscos potenciais do simples retorno dos níveis GH para o normal são provavelmente menores. Os autores, entretanto, dão ênfase a acompanhamentos mais longos.

Neste mesmo assunto, comentários de Holly e Perks questionam se o assunto foi abordado de forma correta. Estes autores dão ênfase à importância de fatores ambientais internos e externos no desenvolvimento do câncer e concluem que dando IGF-1 se alteraria o ambiente interno. A questão importante é a terapia com GH vai alterar ambiente interno permitindo mais neoplasias pré-clínicas se tornarem cânceres? Correntemente não há resposta fácil para esta questão.

O artigo completo pode ser consultado na revista Clinical Endocrinology 64(2), February 2006.

.Michelle Telles Bravo (C1)
          THE END OF THE FUTURE: Peter Thiel Essay On the Failure of Innovation        


Modern Western civilization stands on the twin plinths of science and technology. Taken together, these two interrelated domains reassure us that the 19th-century story of never-ending progress remains intact. Without them, the arguments that we are undergoing cultural decay — ranging from the collapse of art and literature after 1945 to the soft totalitarianism of political correctness in media and academia to the sordid worlds of reality television and popular entertainment — would gather far more force. Liberals often assert that science and technology remain essentially healthy; conservatives sometimes counter that these are false utopias; but the two sides of the culture wars silently agree that the accelerating development and application of the natural sciences continues apace.

Yet during the Great Recession, which began in 2008 and has no end in sight, these great expectations have been supplemented by a desperate necessity. We need high-paying jobs to avoid thinking about how to compete with China and India for low-paying jobs. We need rapid growth to meet the wishful expectations of our retirement plans and our runaway welfare states. We need science and technology to dig us out of our deep economic and financial hole, even though most of us cannot separate science from superstition or technology from magic. In our hearts and minds, we know that desperate optimism will not save us. Progress is neither automatic nor mechanistic; it is rare. Indeed, the unique history of the West proves the exception to the rule that most human beings through the millennia have existed in a naturally brutal, unchanging, and impoverished state. But there is no law that the exceptional rise of the West must continue. So we could do worse than to inquire into the widely held opinion that America is on the wrong track (and has been for some time), to wonder whether Progress is not doing as well as advertised, and perhaps to take exceptional measures to arrest and reverse any decline.

The state of true science is the key to knowing whether something is truly rotten in the United States. But any such assessment encounters an immediate and almost insuperable challenge. Who can speak about the true health of the ever-expanding universe of human knowledge, given how complex, esoteric, and specialized the many scientific and technological fields have become? When any given field takes half a lifetime of study to master, who can compare and contrast and properly weight the rate of progress in nanotechnology and cryptography and superstring theory and 610 other disciplines? Indeed, how do we even know whether the so-called scientists are not just lawmakers and politicians in disguise, as some conservatives suspect in fields as disparate as climate change, evolutionary biology, and embryonic-stem-cell research, and as I have come to suspect in almost all fields? For now, let us acknowledge this measurement problem — I will return to it later — but not let it stop our inquiry into modernity before it has even begun.


When tracked against the admittedly lofty hopes of the 1950s and 1960s, technological progress has fallen short in many domains. Consider the most literal instance of non-acceleration: We are no longer moving faster. The centuries-long acceleration of travel speeds — from ever-faster sailing ships in the 16th through 18th centuries, to the advent of ever-faster railroads in the 19th century, and ever-faster cars and airplanes in the 20th century — reversed with the decommissioning of the Concorde in 2003, to say nothing of the nightmarish delays caused by strikingly low-tech post-9/11 airport-security systems. Today’s advocates of space jets, lunar vacations, and the manned exploration of the solar system appear to hail from another planet. A faded 1964 Popular Science cover story — “Who’ll Fly You at 2,000 m.p.h.?” — barely recalls the dreams of a bygone age.

The official explanation for the slowdown in travel centers on the high cost of fuel, which points to the much larger failure in energy innovation. Real oil prices today exceed those of the Carter catastrophe of 1979–80. Nixon’s 1974 call for full energy independence by 1980 has given way to Obama’s 2011 call for one-third oil independence by 2020. Even before Fukushima, the nuclear industry and its 1954 promise of “electrical energy too cheap to meter” had long since been defeated by environmentalism and nuclear-proliferation concerns. One cannot in good conscience encourage an undergraduate in 2011 to study nuclear engineering as a career. “Clean tech” has become a euphemism for “energy too expensive to afford,” and in Silicon Valley it has also become an increasingly toxic term for near-certain ways to lose money. Without dramatic breakthroughs, the alternative to more-expensive oil may turn out to be not cleaner and much-more-expensive wind, algae, or solar, but rather less-expensive and dirtier coal.

Warren Buffett massively capitalized on both of these trends with his $44 billion investment, most made in late 2009, in BNSF Railway — making it the largest non-financial company in the Berkshire Hathaway portfolio. Understandably, the Oracle of Omaha proclaimed “an all-in wager on the economic future of the United States” and downplayed any doubts he might have harbored. For present purposes, it suffices to note that 40 percent of railroad freight involves the transport of coal, and that railroads will do especially well if the travel and energy consumption patterns of the 21st century involve a regression to the past.

In the past decade, the unresolved energy challenges of the 1970s have broadened into a more general commodity shock, which has been greater in magnitude than the price spikes of the two world wars and has undone the price improvements of the previous century. In the case of agriculture, at least, technological famine may lead to real old-fashioned famine. The fading of the true Green Revolution — which increased grain yields by 126 percent from 1950 to 1980, but has improved them by only 47 percent in the years since, barely keeping pace with global population growth — has encouraged another, more highly publicized “green revolution” of a more political and less certain character. We may embellish the 2011 Arab Spring as the hopeful by-product of the information age, but we should not downplay the primary role of runaway food prices and of the many desperate people who became more hungry than scared.

Warren Buffett massively capitalized on both of these trends with his $44 billion investment, most made in late 2009, in BNSF Railway — making it the largest non-financial company in the Berkshire Hathaway portfolio. Understandably, the Oracle of Omaha proclaimed “an all-in wager on the economic future of the United States” and downplayed any doubts he might have harbored. For present purposes, it suffices to note that 40 percent of railroad freight involves the transport of coal, and that railroads will do especially well if the travel and energy consumption patterns of the 21st century involve a regression to the past.

In the past decade, the unresolved energy challenges of the 1970s have broadened into a more general commodity shock, which has been greater in magnitude than the price spikes of the two world wars and has undone the price improvements of the previous century. In the case of agriculture, at least, technological famine may lead to real old-fashioned famine. The fading of the true Green Revolution — which increased grain yields by 126 percent from 1950 to 1980, but has improved them by only 47 percent in the years since, barely keeping pace with global population growth — has encouraged another, more highly publicized “green revolution” of a more political and less certain character. We may embellish the 2011 Arab Spring as the hopeful by-product of the information age, but we should not downplay the primary role of runaway food prices and of the many desperate people who became more hungry than scared.

Let us now try to tackle this very thorny measurement problem from a very different angle. If meaningful scientific and technological progress occurs, then we reasonably would expect greater economic prosperity (though this may be offset by other factors). And also in reverse: If economic gains, as measured by certain key indicators, have been limited or nonexistent, then perhaps so has scientific and technological progress. Therefore, to the extent that economic growth is easier to quantify than scientific or technological progress, economic numbers will contain indirect but important clues to our larger investigation.

The single most important economic development in recent times has been the broad stagnation of real wages and incomes since 1973, the year when oil prices quadrupled. To a first approximation, the progress in computers and the failure in energy appear to have roughly canceled each other out. Like Alice in the Red Queen’s race, we (and our computers) have been forced to run faster and faster to stay in the same place.
Taken at face value, the economic numbers suggest that the notion of breathtaking and across-the-board progress is far from the mark. If one believes the economic data, then one must reject the optimism of the scientific establishment. Indeed, if one shares the widely held view that the U.S. government may have understated the true rate of inflation — perhaps by ignoring the runaway inflation in government itself, notably in education and health care (where much higher spending has yielded no improvement in the former and only modest improvement in the latter) — then one may be inclined to take gold prices seriously and conclude that real incomes have fared even worse than the official data indicate.

This dismal and straightforward conclusion tends to be obscured by a range of secondary issues, which are important but do not really change the larger point about trends since 1973:

Mean incomes outperformed median incomes (inflation-adjusted in both cases), and there was a trend towards greater inequality. Median incomes rose by only 10 percent. Mean incomes rose by 29 percent, which works out to a glacial pace of only about 0.7 percent per year — much slower than in the preceding four decades.
Non-wage benefits, mostly health care, increased by about $2,600 per worker, for an additional 0.2 percent per year since 1973. So if the U.S. government has underestimated inflation by only 0.9 percentage points per year, then mean wages and benefits have been completely stagnant.
Corporate profits increased from 9 percent to 12 percent of GDP — again, a significant but easily exaggerated shift.
Women were hired in the 1980s and men were fired in the 2000s.
College graduates did better, and high-school graduates did worse. But both became worse off in the years after 2000, especially when one includes the rapidly escalating costs of college.
The era of globalization improved living standards by making labor and goods cheaper, but also hurt living standards through increased competition for limited resources. Free-trade advocates tend to think that the first effect dominates the second.
Economic progress may lag behind scientific and technological achievement, but 38 years seems like an awfully long time.

The economic future looked very different in the 1960s. In his 1967 bestseller The American Challenge, Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber argued that accelerating technological progress would widen the gap between the United States and the rest of the world, and that by 2000, “the post-industrial societies will be, in this order: the United States, Japan, Canada, Sweden. That is all.” According to Servan-Schreiber, the difference between the United States and the rest of Europe would grow from a difference of degree into a difference of kind, comparable to the difference between Europe and Egypt or Nigeria. As a result of this steady divergence, Americans would face less pressure to compete:

In 30 years America will be a post-industrial society. . . . There will be only four work days a week of seven hours per day. The year will be comprised of 39 work weeks and 13 weeks of vacation. With weekends and holidays this makes 147 work days a year and 218 free days a year. All this within a single generation.
We need to resist the temptation to dismiss Servan-Schreiber’s space-age optimism so that we can better understand how the consensus he represented could have been so terribly wrong — and how, instead, for many Americans, the Fourth Commandment (“Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy”) has been effectively forgotten.
Like technology, credit also makes claims on the future. “I will gladly pay you a dollar on Tuesday for a hamburger today” works only if a dollar gets earned by Tuesday. A credit crisis happens when earnings disappoint and the present does not live up to past expectations of the future.

The current crisis of housing and financial leverage contains many hidden links to broader questions concerning long-term progress in science and technology. On one hand, the lack of easy progress makes leverage more dangerous, because when something goes wrong, macroeconomic growth cannot offer a salve; time will not cure liquidity or solvency problems in a world where little grows or improves with time. On the other hand, the lack of easy progress also makes leverage far more tempting, as unleveraged real returns fall below the expectations of pension funds and other investors

This analysis suggests an explanation for the strange way the technology bubble of the 1990s gave rise to the real-estate bubble of the 2000s. After betting heavily on technology growth that did not materialize, investors tried to achieve the needed double-digit returns through massive leverage in seemingly safe real-estate investments. This did not work either, because a major reason for the bubble in real estate turned out to be the same as the reason for the bubble in technology: a mistaken but nearly universal background assumption about easy progress. Without fundamental gains in productivity (presumably driven by technology), real-estate values could not go up forever. Leverage is not a substitute for scientific progress.

The technology slowdown threatens not just our financial markets, but the entire modern political order, which is predicated on easy and relentless growth. The give-and-take of Western democracies depends on the idea that we can craft political solutions that enable most people to win most of the time. But in a world without growth, we can expect a loser for every winner. Many will suspect that the winners are involved in some sort of racket, so we can expect an increasingly nasty edge to our politics. We may be witnessing the beginnings of such a zero-sum system in politics in the U.S. and Western Europe, as the risks shift from winning less to losing more, and as our leaders desperately cast about for macroeconomic solutions to problems that have not been primarily about economics for a long time.

The most common name for a misplaced emphasis on macroeconomic policy is “Keynesianism.” Despite his brilliance, John Maynard Keynes was always a bit of a fraud, and there is always a bit of clever trickery in massive fiscal stimulus and the related printing of paper money. But we must acknowledge that this fraud strangely seemed to work for many decades. (The great scientific and technological tailwind of the 20th century powered many economically delusional ideas.) Even during the Great Depression of the 1930s, innovation expanded new and emerging fields as divergent as radio, movies, aeronautics, household appliances, polymer chemistry, and secondary oil recovery. In spite of their many mistakes, the New Dealers pushed technological innovation very hard.

The New Deal deficits, however misguided, were easily repaid by the growth of subsequent decades. During the Great Recession of the 2010s, by contrast, our policy leaders narrowly debate fiscal and monetary questions with much greater erudition, but have adopted a cargo-cult mentality with respect to the question of future innovation. As the years pass and the cargo fails to arrive, we eventually may doubt whether it will ever return. The age of monetary bubbles naturally ends in real austerity.

On the political right, we are seeing a quiet shift from the optimism of Jack Kemp to the pessimism of Ron Paul, from supply-side economics to theTea Party, and from the idea that we can combine tax cuts with more spending to the idea that money is either hard or fake. A mischievous person might even ask whether “supply-side economics” really was just a sort of code word for “Keynesianism.” For now it suffices to acknowledge that lower marginal tax rates might not happen and would not substitute for the much-needed construction of hundreds of new nuclear reactors.
We have seen that even the simple question of whether a technology slowdown has occurred is far from straightforward. The critical question of why such a slowdown seems to have occurred is harder still, and we do not have the space to tackle it fully here. Let us end with the related question of what can now be done. Most narrowly, can our government restart the stalled innovation engine?

The state can successfully push science; there is no sense denying it. The Manhattan Project and the Apollo program remind us of this possibility. Free markets may not fund as much basic research as needed. On the day after Hiroshima, the New York Times could with some reason pontificate about the superiority of centralized planning in matters scientific: “End result: An invention [the nuclear bomb] was given to the world in three years which it would have taken perhaps half a century to develop if we had to rely onPatrick Ndungu (now at University of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa) will be speaking at Drexel University on Friday August 19, 2011 at 12:30 in Disque 109.

Some Interesting Perspectives on the Integration of Nanomaterials with Energy and Water Treatment Technologies

As part of various key concerns in a developing economy, clean energy and access to potable water are an integral part of most strategic visions for sustainable socio-economic development. Of particular interest is the search for greener energy solutions that includes R&D into hydrogen energy technologies, and devices that utilize solar energy. Whilst clean water concerns centre on indigenous, cost-effective, and relatively simple technologies that can be easily deployed in remote or off-grid areas. Within this framework, this presentation will look at the evolution of a select body of work that has focused on the integration of carbon Nanomaterials into systems for hydrogen storage, fuel cells, and photo-catalytic materials for water treatment.

          Open Notebook Science Talk at HUBbub 2011        
On April 6, 2011 I presented at the HUBzero Conference in Indianapolis on "Open Notebook Science: Does Transparency Work?".
This presentation will first describe Open Notebook Science, the practice of making the laboratory notebook and all associated raw data available to the public in real time. Examples of current applications in organic chemistry - solubility and chemical reactions - will be detailed. Key details of the current technical implementation will be described and possible applicability to nanotechnology projects will be explored. Finally, the implications for Intellectual Property protection, claims of priority, subsequent publication in peer reviewed journals and the eventual automation of the scientific process will be explored.
The organizers did a great job in making the recording available as either a video or audio podcast.

I learned a great deal at the conference about how researchers from various fields use the HUBzero software to manage and share their data. As described on their website:
HUBzero® is a platform used to create dynamic web sites for scientific research and educational activities. With HUBzero, you can easily publish your research software and related educational materials on the web.
Although the system is not primarily designed for completely Open sharing, I did get the impression that for some applications there was significant interest in making data and processes more Open. There is certainly an enthusiastic user community around HUBzero - check out the recordings for some of the other talks here.

          ONS Solubility Challenge Book cited in a Langmuir nanotechnology paper        
An interesting application of the data from the Open Notebook Science Solubility Challenge has recently been reported in Langmuir: "Enhanced Ordering in Gold Nanoparticles Self-Assembly through Excess Free Ligands" by Cindy Y. Lau, Huigao Duan, Fuke Wang, Chao Bin He, Hong Yee Low and Joel K. W. Yang (Feb 24, 2011).

The context is as follows, and the reference is to Edition 3 of the ONS Solubility Challenge Book.
Although to our best knowledge there lacks literature value of OA solubility in the two solvents, the 10-fold better solubility of 1-otadecylamine (sic), the saturated version of oleylamine, in toluene than hexane is in line with our hypothesis.(33) This increased solubility caused the OA molecules that were originally attached to the AuNPs to gradually detach from the AuNPs, which is supported by our observations in poor AuNP stability and surface-pressure isotherms.
This is a nice application of solubility to understand and control the behavior of gold nanoparticles. It is in line with some of the applications I discussed at a recent Nanoinformatics conference, where I think there is a place for the interlinking of information between solubility and nanotechnology databases.

I have to admit that it is somewhat ironic to see this citation in Langmuir, given the controversy about a year ago (post and FF discussion) regarding the citation of non-traditional literature.
          Sex in the hip, modern sense        
by Barry Fest

Hello my darling darlings. (I apologize for the wanton, profligate, nay promiscuous familiarity, but I have been affecting iconoclasm of late and am now given to routine sarcasm.)

If you have been following my story, then you know that for the past year or so I have been in exile from my home. The imposer of said exile is my wife, Dr. Wharton-Stone.

(Writing that last sentence has reminded me that I need to call her. I have been apprised casually -- by our mutual friend and accountant, Chili Nigro -- that Dr. Wharton-Stone and her entourage were leaving town to escape the chilly Belverton Autumn, and I thought I might get a few nostalgic nights' sleep in my own bed.)

I have been making shift abode-wise here, in my office at the Belverton University Press, where I toil in the daytime as executive editor. Also during said exile, I have been the object of desire of one Racine, the Belverton University Dean of Intercourse. A provocative woman who has made my libido her own, personal toy. I have been devising a fictive work - an alibi, if you will - for an erotic conjunction with said Dean. My plan is a simple one: gratify my desire in the flowering pink dermis of Dean Racine, and lie about it to my wife.

To make this lie the very best fictive work possible, I have enlisted the aid of Mike, a 55 year-old Starbucks barista and former New York literary agent. Mike has given me a great deal of his time, but recently we have been on the "outs," particularly after I revealed to him my plan to tell my wife the alibi myself. Mike is opposed on principle to the self-telling of fictive works, and has insisted that I submit my effort to professional lie-tellers in the Belverton area.

I have elected not to do so, owing to the time it would take and the notorious insistence of professional lie-tellers on giving notes to the authors of fictive works.

But Mike was adamant. "Why Junior, I wouldn't pay four bits for a self-told fictive work," he grumped at our last meeting.

Whilst musing over this dilemma in the solitude of my office, I found myself the object of an attack by none other than the Texan president of these Gorgeous States. Somehow, the president caught wind of my intention to cheat and lie about it, and denounced me in a national press conference to stunned reporters who -- in spite of the scientifically-proven popularity of this blog -- reacted as if they had never heard my name. A moment later I was visited by two FBI agents - the avuncular, male Cubby and the cold-eyed female Slund.

Both wore sensible shoes.

When last I wrote, Cubby and Slund were seated in front of my desk, grilling me. Slund, smoking a long series of unfiltered cigarettes, and Cubby, smiling and attempting to convince me that physical affection is a poor foundation upon which to build a male-female "relationship." (I believe that is still the vogue term).

Slund, breast-festooned but belligerent, now joined Cubby in his paean to the platonic.

"But getting back to the point," she said, apparently recalling me from some airy tangent of my creation or theirs, "have you had any non-erotic experiences? With this Dean of Intercourse, I mean. She wasn't born a Dean of Intercourse. She must have been a real person with real feelings at some point. Say, from birth until she found herself unable to fit in, and learned that boys would pay more attention if she brought them a superficial kind of joy."

She drew on her cigarette, as if it were my turn to speak. But it was a ruse. No sooner had I opened my mouth to reply than she continued.

"What about the crossword puzzle fantasy Agent Cubby described?" she asked. "Or the beach fantasy? Have you ever taken the time to walk on the beach with a lady, holding hands? Perhaps some children run by giggling and flying a kite, A kite with a streaming paper tail. And the two of you just watch them. Happy, but with a teary kind of wonder at the miracle of life and sunshine."

I opened my mouth to reply again, and again I was too slow.

"Because, you know," she said, "children are the future of our nation."

"It takes a village to raise a child," injected Cubby.

"An entire village," added Slund.

These words conjured a startling image in my mind; an image of a horde of hicks pointing sagely at a green slate held by a toddler in baggy short pants. I was tempted to dwell upon it, but I resisted and focused instead on answering Agent Slund's question.

"Hmm ..." I said, as is my wont in a ponder, "I don't believe I ever have indulged the puzzle fantasy ... or the beach one ... or the villagers one ..."

"Whoops!" said Cubby. "The village with the child isn't exactly a fantasy. It's more of a ..."

"Pragmatic expectation," finished Slund.

"We really think you should give one of those fantasies a shot," smiled Cubby. "That or a similar non-tactile fantasy would really help us close the book on this little fix you've gotten yourself into."

"Really? Wholly non-tact-"

"And that's the message we've been assigned to bring you," he said. "It's what the president wants you to know. Lookit. We all know marriages break up sometimes. A good, wholesome person like yourself runs into a secular progressive with an eye for the genitalia and bang! Next thing you know you've had a weekend of drunken humping. Let's do a thought experiment. Now, in this experiment a guy a lot like you - working hard, no recent hugs from Mrs. Fest - goes off to Vegas, gets drunk, and gets married to a showgirl in one of those little vanity churches. Filthy, from a Saddleback Church point-of-view, but the way this guy sees it, he's being perfectly loving and caring. Hey. We get it. It's not like this is Northern Ireland."

I was trying to picture what he meant by that when he continued.

"And as for non-tactile ... well, let's say that you meet the right woman, you do some puzzle fantasy, some beach fantasy, and maybe you hold hands."

"Hold - um ... "

"Hands can be erotic," he asserted with a gravity so sudden I could not help but doubt its sincerity.

"Let's face it, Fest," said Slund, staring at the empty space three inches in front of the top edge of my desk, "you know as well as we do that this is in your own best interest."

"It is?"

"Of course," she said, sucking her cigarette slowly and looking no higher than my tie. "One day you'll be confined to an iron lung or hospital bed."

"Happens to everyone," chimed in Cubby. "And when it does you don't want to have to give up sex, do you?"


"Sex in the hip, modern sense," said Cubby. "The sense where there's no touching. That's why we think you should come up with a skin-independent strategy for romance now, Barry. Think about it - " he leaned forward suddenly. "Let's say you're giving the Dean of Intercourse these hourlong orgasms all the cougars are wanting now that they've dumped the first husband. Let's say you're giving them to her on a regular schedule, so they don't interfere with her other empowerment activities. And let's say she loves your technique, and you love it that she loves it, and all is happy here in Campusville. Then just when you're thinking nothing can go wrong, boom! You get hit by a crane or your elevator crashes and you end up in traction. No more hourlong consortiums for the Dean of Intercourse, unless ..."


"Unless she can find some young teacher here at the university, or some staff physician - maybe yours - to take your place in the cougar-thrilling department. But, but, you're right, she'll at least be there when you've recovered enough to get back in the saddle. Unless ... "

"You get the point, don't you, Fest?" asked Slund. "Start planning for your future as an invalid. Start preparing for it now and maybe you can save yourself some humiliation and heartache while you lie there with nothing better to do than stare at a gameshow and blow your nose and remember the little squeals you'll never hear again."

"But doesn't it seem," I began, "Doesn't it seem, in that situation, that I would have no choice at all?"

"The puzzle, Barry!" Cubby exhorted. "Get that crossword-puzzle routine down and as long as you're conscious, you'll have it to remember and re-enact."

"Permit me to interject," I said. "You said before ... I know you said that according to the crossword puzzle narrative I'm allowed to bite her gently on the neck."

"That's right."

"How would I manage such a maneuver in an iron lung?"

Slund waved the smoke away from her face. "So she has to push the mirror away and bend over," she coughed. "Use your imagination."

"Actually, it's ideal," smiled Cubby. "You can't do a crossword puzzle all by yourself if you're convalescing - "

"Well - "

"Big convalescing," Cubby amended. "Like if you have third degree burns over more than eighty percent of your body from trying to swim across lava, or if both your arms and all your fingers have been crushed in a vicious mugging. You can't work the pencil yourself, so your better half works it for you. Like in the old days."

"Hm," I said. "That plan sounds rather worked-out. As if you'd thought of every intricacy in advance."

"Well," said Cubby, with more mirth than a smile might evidence but less than a laugh might, "this has come up a lot in the last eight years, Barry. A lot more than you might think."

"That's right, Fest," lectured Slund. "There's nothing about the second-hand yuppie fantasy that says the bed you do the crossword puzzle in can't be a hospital bed."

"Whoa," said Cubby, losing his smile and turning again to Slund. "There it is again. The snide tone."


"Yeah. What's with the 'second-hand' stuff, Slundy? It's like suddenly you don't want to believe in the crossword puzzle fantasy anymore."

"I want to believe! It's you who's behaving as if something's wrong with second-hand items," said Slund. "Personally, I love used things."

She looked over to me as if seeking an endorsement. I could feel my head bobbing up and down.

"Indeed," I said. "How can one know if an item is any good unless it has been owned first by someone else? It is the very ideology of antiquing."

Slund widened her eyes at Cubby while stabbing an index finger in my direction. "Exactly!" she exclaimed.

I felt a sense of winning, victory, nay triumph at this sudden alliance forged with Bad Cop. But an alliance with Bad Cop has its disadvantages; viz., the irritation of Good Cop.

"Well, Barry," said the chastened Cubby. "You should know that the fictive work you've been writing and re-writing and probably even rehearsing ..." he paused here for a moment to search my face with his eyes," ... that fictive work is out, even if you self-tell."


Those last words were rivets in my consciousness. Only slowly did it occur to me why. Yes, the words "fictive work" and "self-tell" seemed distinctly, positively, nay outrageously out-of-place in the argot of the two federales. But these were not unfamiliar terms of art to me. I had heard the terminology before, and often, from Mike the Barista. Mike, the former literary agent and my former collaborator cum editor.

They were preparing to leave. Cubby flipped his notebook shut and tucked it into his jacket. Slund ground the last half-inch of her cigarette into my Persianesque rug and reached for the flat valise beneath her chair.

I could resist no longer. As they rose to go, the man inside me, the Americano, the scion of generations of Fests who had proclaimed "don't tread on me," or, to be precise, don't tread on me often, felt rise an animating ire.

It made me stand. It made me speak.

"H-halt," I stammered. I was shaking with my own gall. The two agents turned to me.

"Malt what?" asked Slund.

"You said 'self-tell,'" I said to Cubby. He looked vacant.

His eyes scanned my face and then stopped abruptly, as if he could see his secrets -- or one of them -- written on my lower eyelids.

He no longer smiled.

"What is that supposed to mean, Mr. Fest?" interrupted Slund. "What are you inferring from those remarks?" She twisted her head on its axis and looked at Cubby without moving her eyes. "From those careless remarks?"

I was suffering the courage of the already-damned. "What I infer," I braved, bolded, nay couraged, "is that you two agents of the federal government have been surveiling this very office. Or perhaps even Starbucks. Perhaps," I mused, "you surveil all Starbucks."

Cubby began to sputter. He started to speak, then at the last moment turned to Slund, who fixed him with her button-eyes gaze. Yes, fixed him, snugly, the way a harpoon might fix a tuna. Cubby swallowed and shrugged.

Slund turned to me. "Watch the tone, skel," she said. "We can still run you in."

I swallowed. "Run me -- ?"

"Don't worry, Barry," said Cubby. He had his old smile back, which I confess I found reassuring after the skel-talk of his partner. "We're not bugging your office or Starbucks or anyplace else. For one thing, it's against the law, and for another, well ..."

"You're dull," said Slund.

"Sorry," said Cubby. "Agents don't like to talk about it much, but when it comes to taking a surveillance assignment we're pretty picky about who it is we have to listen to for hours on end, and, well, after you've listened to a bunch of guys talk about whacking out another bunch of guys, listening to you talk for months about some lie you want to tell your wife so you can have sex with a colleague is ... well ..."

"It's dull," said Slund.

"All that happened, Barry, is that somebody came forward," said Cubby. "Not a bad person. Not a rat fink. Just a concerned citizen. Nobody we had to, you know --"

"Beat with a rubber hose," injected Slund.

"Just somebody the President knew from the old days, somebody who'd worked with him on his memoirs of owning a baseball team. The President heard his story -- your story -- and took a special interest. And now that you've been warned -"

"- You've been warned," finished Slund. "Don't make us come back here with the local authorities."

Cubby stuck out his hand for me to shake, as if putting the period on the end of Slund's threat. I shook it resignedly, already wondering whom I might know who knew in turn the president of these Robust States.

I considered offering my hand to Agent Slund, but as I made a nascent motion to do so she fixed me again with a forbidding stare, dropping my hand to my side like the shards of an exploded skeet.

They left. I followed them to the door, half expecting the fraternal Cubby to turn to me one last time and smile, but it was not to be. All I had was the backs of their heads all the way down the deserted hallway to the front door.

I stepped back into my office. The deserted hallway. I looked at my watch. Five minutes past six. I sat down in the comfortable chair, still warm from throbbing bottom of Agent Slund.

I could not quell my fulminating thoughts; speculations on the identity of the so-called "concerned citizen" who, as the street-smart pundits phrase it, ratted me out to the man. Of course, it did not escape my considerations that Slund and Cubby were dissembling; that they had, in fact, used nanotechnology (or something else beyond the ken of intellectuals) to eavesdrop on every university press in America.

I frowned. My rectum clenched like a pugilist's fist. If they were lying about eavesdropping, then, perhaps, it was all a lie. Perhaps, far from finding my amorous adventures dull, they found them arousing, exciting, nay intriguing. Perhaps ...

I sighed.

Of course the FBI was not surveilling my office. Who else, besides myself and Mike and the Dean of Intercourse -- the ravishing, anti-establishment Racine -- even knew of the plan? Aside from all of the people who read this blog, that is. Does the FBI read this blog? And if it does, why would Cubby confect a "concerned citizen" with which to mislead me?

Perhaps ... I thought ... Perhaps I am mistaken. A number of our conversations were had in the very commerce-tumescent Starbucks that employs Mike, and where he is surrounded by his fellow baristas, students pretending to be freelance writers, and loud men on cellphones. What about that girl ... what is her name? April. Yes, April. The barista with the sadistic laugh and the predatory appetite for sexual gratification?

No, she couldn't be a concerned citizen.

Let's see. Someone who helped the President with his memoirs. Who --

Forgive me if my deliberations seem to have been unbearably long for what must have been for you, the reader of this text, an almost immediate surmise; to wit, that the traitor in my company was none other than my confidante, Mike the Barista! Mike! My friend, my ... dare I think it ... my less-educated, same-sex soul-mate?

But as I relived our last tete-a-tete, I recalled a certain, shall we say, judgmentalism leaping from Mike's tone and temperament. A kind of distancing, as they say in horserace politics. He clearly did not approve of my contemplated shennanigans, even as he was attempting to help me make them real.

The epiphany roiled me. I balled my hand into a thing that could punch. I looked down at the arm to which that hand was attached and I knew that, were it not for the adiposity of my dermis, I would have seen veins dilate. And with that knowledge came the mental image of Mike's strangulation at the hands of beefy Sicilians.

I am a civilized man, but the image left me warm as Xmas.
Copyright 2007 Dan Roentsch

           Nanotechnology Changing the Status Quo in the Health Care Industry         
Morse, Jeffrey. National Nanomanufacturing Network. (2009) Nanotechnology Changing the Status Quo in the Health Care Industry. NNN Newsletter, 2 (9).
           Business Opportunities in Nanotechnology: Impacts of the Economic Slowdown         
Morse, Jeffrey. National Nanomanufacturing Network. (2009) Business Opportunities in Nanotechnology: Impacts of the Economic Slowdown. NNN Newsletter, 2 (8).
           ‪ Bytesize Science‬ - ‪Nanotechnology Today‬: ‪Fuel Cells, Buckyballs and Carbon Nanotubes‬         

           ChemMatters: Episode 1 - Nanotechnology's Big Impact        

          Publication: Les Cahiers du RMES        
Les derniers Cahiers du RMES viennent d'être publiés. Dedans, vous y trouverez un article d'Alain De Neve (Chercheur à l'Institut Royal de Sécurité et de Défense), de Joseph Henrotin (Rédacteur en chef de DSI) - Alain et Joseph sont par ailleurs tous deux mes "collègues" au sein de la toute récemment créée mais déjà prometteuse Alliance Géostratégique - ainsi qu'un article d'André Dumoulin (Professeur à l'Ecole Royale Militaire).

J'y publie également (en temps que membre de l'Institut Royal des Relations Internationales, décidément ça fait beaucoup de représentants de tous les Centres Royaux de notre petite Belgique dans une seule publication...) un article sur le Jihad en Allemagne, et plus particulièrement sur la filière ouzbèke (Union du Djihad Islamique) qui a considérablement accru la menace terroriste malgré des moyens limités.

Voici le sommaire:

Djihad en Allemagne : La Connexion Ouzbèke
Par Thomas Renard

La presse écrite francophone de Belgique et la PESD
Par André Dumoulin

Les ré(é)volutions du caméléon. Combat futur et formation des structures de force entre Transformation, guerres hybrides et nouvelles formes d’application des conceptions de techno-guérilla
Par Joseph Henrotin

Military USes of Nanotechnology: An Overview of Trends in Investments, Expected Outcomes and Potential Impacts on Arms Control Regimes
Par Alain De Neve
          Smoke without Worry        
Advances in Nanotechnology Lead to Healthy Cigarette

Nanotechnology has paved the way for a healthy cigarette -- one whose filter can absorb every impurity and release small doses of oxygen to the smoker, which doctors say will keep the smoker alive on average 5-10 years longer than a non-smoker.
This technology reportedly cost Big Tobacco $1-$2-billion dollars to develop and was years in the making. It is code-named "Last Laugh." It is expected to reap big rewards for Big Tobacco, which saw its fortunes decline dramatically when it was sued by several states in the '90s for malfeasance.
Essentially, the space-age filter is made of micro fibers, which can convert--or invert--toxins into pure oxygen. This has even health nuts taking notice.
"It will allow former smokers to return to their first love, smoking. It will allow lifelong non-smokers to finally puff up. It will allow us to market to grade-schoolers now," said Chief Technological Officer, Bill Wade.
"Really, the only thing about smoking that will stay the same is the smell," Wade said. "We found smokers are very nostalgic about the smell, so we didn't mess with it."
Wade said the smell of cigarettes will now be associated with "health" and "longevity," instead of the more negative associations of the past.
          Skóry zniszczone płynem do naczyń i innymi "wynalazkami"        
Płyn do naczyń jest do naczyń!
Mydło do twarzy jest twarzy!
Zmywacz do paznokci jest do paznokci!

Wszyscy o tym wiemy, a jednak próbujemy :) W przypadku nawet małego przybrudzenia obuwia, skórzanych mebli, torebek i innej galanterii czy tapicerek samochodowych wielu z nas bez zastanowienia sięga po to co pod ręką ... BŁĄD! Może to w efekcie prowadzić do nieodwracalnych zmian i uszkodzeń skóry. 

Skóry obuwnicze, meblowe, galanteryjne wymagają środków stworzonych z myślą o ich specyfice. Inwestując w dobre buty lub inne skórzane przedmioty kup co najmniej 2 produkty, dzięki którym unikniesz problemów - jeden do bezpiecznego czyszczenia skór, drugi do jej odżywienia i zabezpieczenia.  Jeżeli zaopatrzysz się w dobre jakościowo środki, ich wydajność sprawi, że będą służyły przez kilka sezonów, a uniwersalność pozwoli tymi samymi środkami czyścić i pielęgnować buty, meble i galanterię.


Tarrago Shampoo - sucha pianka do czyszczenia skór. Produkt odpowiedni do wszystkich skór gładkich, zamszu, nubuku, ubrań, toreb, obuwia, kurtek, mebli i tapicerek.

Tarrago Nano Cream - krem, balsam do pielęgnacji i ochrony skór gładkich, licowych. Produkt o wysokich wartościach odżywczych. Działa wodoodpornie, tworząc jednocześnie barierę dla brudu. Krem zawierający nowej generacji oryginalny wosk pszczeli, Technologia oparta na rewolucyjnej nanotechnologii znacznie zwiększa wodoodporny efekt.

Ku przestrodze publikujemy kilka wiadomości od naszych Klientów:

Zniszczyłam botki z nubuku koloru czarnego (zalałam odplamiaczem przez co powstały białe plamy). ... Serdecznie proszę o pomoc. Jest to odplamiacz do tkanin w proszku jednak był już wymieszany z wodą.

Zniszczylam buty, bo próbowałam je czyścić wodą z octem (sposób znaleziony w internecie). Jest gorzej niż było. Mogę coś zrobić normalnymi środkami?

Posiadam buty z nubuku - farbują mi skarpetki. Aby sobie z problemem poradzić próbowałem już kilku sposobów - ocet, lakier do włosów, szampon do włosów, woda z cytryną ... nic nie pomaga. Ratunku.

Dwa lata temu kupiłam nowy komplet skórzany. Kilka dni temu został w jednym miejscu  porysowany długopisem i wyczyszczony Cifem. Spowodowało to przebarwienie ...

Chciałbym prosić o poradę. Poplamiłem obuwie czymś tłustym. Zastosowałem domowym sposobem płyn do naczyń, który niestety zniszczył mi buty doszczętnie. Zostały zacieki. Buty później próbowałem zaprać sporą ilością wody, niestety zacieki pojawiły się już na całej ich powierzchni.

Bardzo proszę o pomoc. Buty zapastowałam tanią pastą i jest tragedia. Próbowałam to naprawić płynem do naczyń, cifem i zmywaczem do paznokci. Jest jeszcze gorzej. Da się coś zrobić?

Pani w sklepie poradziła mi, żeby czyścić buty detergentem. Umyłam je Ludwikiem i wyglądają beznadziejnie.

Mam oryginalne nowe emu. W trzech miejscach na przodzie kapnął mi olej - plamy są wielkości 2 zł i mniejsze. Zrobiłam błąd i próbowałam zmyć to płynem do naczyń.

Prosiłbym o poradę odnośnie usunięcia z nubuku plamy z rybiego tłuszczu. Pierwszym odruchem było użycie wody z ludwikiem, ale efekt był żaden. Potem ktoś doradził mi, żeby użyć benzyny ekstrakcyjnej, po której niestety jest trochę gorzej - kontur plamy jest bardziej rozmyty.

Witam, mam kanapę 3osobową i dwa fotele ... Odbarwiła się mi skóra po lakierze do paznokci (na jednej części kanapy), czym przywrócić jej dawny wygląd?

 Witam serdecznie! Szukam preparatu, który zamaskuje odbarwienie powstałe po zmywaczu do paznokci

Mam białą kanapę, ubrudziła się, chciałem wyczyścić zwykłym mydłem, ajaxem, proszkiem do prania ... jest gorzej niż było. Jak to naprawić?

Meble uszkodzone zmywaczem do paznokci oraz acetonem i zwykłym mydłem. Czy balsam pomoże?

To tylko mały wycinek tego, co znajdujemy w naszej skrzynce mailowej. To istna plaga! Treść wiadomości od różnych użytkowników bywa niemal identyczna, a zdarza się, że pokrywa się w 100%, co świadczy o tym, że schemat działania często jest identyczny.

Mądrzy ludzie mawiają, że dobrze uczyć się na błędach ... ale czy stoi coś na przeszkodzie, by uczyć się na cudzych błędach? To chyba optimum :)

Wnioski wyciągnijcie sami.

          Call for "The Best in China" for SOFTWARE 2007, the world's premier C-level software industry event        
David on IT Outsourcing in China
blog, e-newsletter , XML content/news feed & AvantGo channel (for PDAs & smartphones)
Wednesday, 20 December 2006
Dateline: Beijing, China

"China's Leaders in Outsourcing & Software Innovation"

In early May the Sand Hill Group will continue it's successful annual C-level industry conference series with SOFTWARE 2007.  The event will be held in the heart of Silicon Valley, with an expected attendance of 2,000 or so.  A PDF describing this event is available at the Yahoo Group for this blog/e-newsletter; you can also contact me directly to request a copy of the PDF, but please put "PDF" (without quotation marks) somewhere in the "Subject" line (although I much prefer that you access the PDF from the "Files" section at the Yahoo Group).

We're not necessarily looking for firms that are truly innovative themselves, but firms that can help American ISVs (independent software vendors) innovate.  If your firm has an innovative product (or product line), we'd like to hear from you:  We're not limiting "The Best in China" to outsourcing firms.  But outsourcing firms are rarely innovative.  There are exceptions:  In the early days of the graphical web, firms like Presence, Organic, Digital Planet, CKS.  And the various services arms of IBM still pioneer in many ways and across the spectrum.  Yet, there are plenty of firms with their primary development centers in China that help U.S. firms with their innovation-driven endeavors, such as Startech (in our case, for example, with the most advanced Linux-based telecommunications architecture, both hardware and software) or Augmentum (in their case, for some of their "SIGCHI"-ish developments ranging from kiosks to site development; BTW, Startech is making a major push in this space as well -- and taking it a few steps further, with a major focus on the entertainment industry given our L.A.-based technical support team lead by Caltech and Stanford CS grads ... and don't be fooled by our web site since we're somewhat operating in stealth mode until next month).  Bottom line:  If your IT outsourcing or engineering services outsourcing firm helps U.S. firms with their innovation-driven endeavors, then we'd like to hear from you.

Although the "China Pavilion" at SOFTWARE 2007 is still a work-in-progress, we're very confident that we will get the blessing of MOST, China's Ministry of Science and Technology.  Hey, it's all about guanxi in China.  However, we're reaching out to Torch members directly and also to selected software parks, i.e., those housing the best and brightest firms in China.  Think zPark, DLSP, SPSP, among others.

We're not sure if we're going to pick a "Top Ten" or a "Top Twelve"; this will be determined based upon the quality and quantity of the submissions that we receive.

We're also going to try to arrange for some FTF (face-to-face, in person) time with Steve Ballmer and Marc Benioff, both keynoters at SOFTWARE 2007.  Steve, of course, is CEO of Microsoft and Marc is CEO of, the leading SaaS player.  Marc is a first degree connection of mine on LinkedIn and Steve B. might remember me from my days at Microsoft.  (What happened wasn't a pretty picture, but it ultimately led to a lot of changes at a money-losing Microsoft division.)  At the very least, perhaps photo opportunities in front of our China pavilion; at the very best, 15-60 minutes to discuss the future of software and outsourcing in China with two industry stalwarts.  FTR, this is something that I'm going to attempt to arrange independently of support from the Sand Hill Group (they have too many other issues to deal with).  No promises regarding Steve B. or Marc B., but I'll do my best.

There is a nominal cost associated for participation in the "Pavilion."  Selected firms will have to pay between US$3,500 and US$4,000 (depending on whether we choose ten or twelve firms).  This is to cover expenses, nothing more.  Perhaps local software parks or municipal governments will help with partial funding as they have in the past, although this is out of our hands and we don't want to get involved with too much administrivia.

For mechanicals, we will have a 20' x 10' pavilion (really two adjacent 10' x 10' booths).  The "Best" will be highlighted on a banner and one representative from each selected firm will be allowed to "man" the pavilion.

If your firm is interested in giving this a shot, let me know ASAP.  Your firm will be required to demonstrate that they are helping American ISVs innovate -- or that your firm itself is truly innovative.  After having held two senior positions in the two largest U.S.-focused, China-based IT outsourcing firms, I know that some firms may be attempted to pile on BS.  However, this time I will not be so easily fooled, so it's important to make your best case.  And to make it real.

BTW, size does NOT matter.  Smaller firms are welcome, perhaps even preferred.  And although the focus in on enterprise applications, embedded-focused firms are definitely in play.  Innovation is the key.  If you're another one of the gazillion firms in China offering L10N/G18N or manual software testing, don't bother applying.  But if you have innovative products or can assist American ISVs in their innovation and R&D processes, then you're a prime candidate for this event.

Expect a lot of media coverage, too -- although we can't promise anything.  We will also try to arrange for site visits to Stanford, PARC (where the PC was essentially created), IBM Almaden (arguably the world's leading research center in nanotechnology), Google, perhaps some others.  (We're open to suggestions.  Possibilities include Microsoft's Silicon Valley campus, the headquarters for Oracle, HP, Yahoo, EBay, Sun, Intel, Cisco, Apple, AMD, EA, Adobe, Symantec, and dozens/hundreds of Web 2.0 leaders.  Let's face it, Silicon Valley is the center of the IT universe.)

To be considered for "The Best in China," please drop a message to me at:  thebestinchina <at> gmail <dot> com.  (Do NOT reply to this message.)  Send/provide as much supporting evidence as you can; prove that you are indeed one of "The Best in China."  The application deadline is 15 January, but the sooner, the better.  If great firms can be found before the 15 January deadline, we'll likely run with said firms.  Godspeed and good luck ...

David Scott Lewis
Senior Vice President
Startech Global Corporation (the outsourcing hub for Tsinghua University, China's MIT)
Beijing, China & Los Angeles, California

P.S.--Expect a fascinating main stage "debate" on the innovativeness of China versus India versus Israel (and perhaps versus the U.K. or Russia).  I will be debating the issue on behalf of China.  I have some ammo that will make Indians squirm in their chairs.  When it comes to R&D and engineering services outsourcing, China beats India.  No comparison.  And I have proof -- proof that I will share during the panel discussion. (access to blog content archives in China)
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          For Space Design Competition, NASA Teams Up With...LEGO?        
NASA has had all sorts of collaborators in its 54-year history. Universities have helped NASA advance the study of science. Non-profit organizations have helped NASA promote education. And industries such as aerospace and nanotechnology have benefited from NASA's research (as well as NASA's contracts). NASA broke its own mold last year when it partnered with Microsoft to create a Mars rover landing simulation for the Xbox. Now NASA is getting itself another non-traditional partner: the toymaker, LEGO.
          Corsa Nanotech Ice Axe        
Corsa Nanotech Ice Axe

Corsa Nanotech Ice Axe

When aluminium may not cut it but steel seems like overkill try a hybrid. The Corsa Nanotech uses innovative Sandvik Nanoflex® steel alloy (20% lighter than normal steel and up to 60% stronger) attachments on the pick and spike to drastically increase the strength and durability of these points without significantly increasing the weight. Well-suited for classic alpinism but thanks to the steel attachments it can also be used on icy and hard snow where the properties of steel become desirable. 7075 aluminum alloy single-curve bent shaft with the aggressive Sandvik Nanoflex spike offers a maximum range of comfortable positions for posting and anchoring. Sandvik Nanoflex offers exceptional strength for the most demanding requirements. Its advanced material structure is based on nanotechnology which results in enhanced mechanical properties for improved performance. Benefits for the user: Extreme strength for minium weight - Superior toughness for enhanced durability - Excellent robustness for improved safety.  

          Nanotechnology : Prospects in Bangladesh        
An workshop on ‘Nanotechnology and Its Prospect in Bangladesh’ was organized recently by Dhaka University and Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET). Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina addressed the program and expressed all out support for the progress of nanotechnology in Bangladesh. Nanotechnology is the manipulation of matter on an atomic and molecular scale. The […]
          Green News for 4/13/09        

Photovoltaic Installation Underway at Times Square Eco-Billboard ...
Check out some progress photos after the jump of what will soon be New York City's first 100 percent green-powered electronic billboard. ... green literacy, Green LITES, green living, green living blog, Green Living Technologies, green loan programs, green lofts, green logistics, green luxury condo, green luxury properties, green Manhattan, green Manhattan office space, green materials, green MEP, green merchandising, green MetroCard, green mixed-use, green moving company ...
greenbuildingsNYC -

Industrial Nanotech Showcases Nanotechnology-Based Coatings in NYC ...
Industrial Nanotech, Inc. (Pink Sheets: INTK) announced today that the Company's patented Nansulate® nanotechnology-based coatings will be showcased in a green technology show house currently being renovated in Brooklyn, New York by Eco Brooklyn. The house highlights best ... Nansulate® HomeProtect Clear Coat will be used on the exposed brick walls to offer insulation without reducing the interior living space and allowing the natural look of the brick to show through. ... - Nanotechnology News Feed -

Perceptive Travel Blog » Blog Archive » Green Living from a Travel ...
By liz
Tim has been writing about environmentally friendly travel way before it was in vogue to do so, so it was great to read more about his ways of green living and traveling. Excerpts from the interview: Earth Promise: What was your first, ...
Perceptive Travel Blog -

Earth Day Info: The 411 on 4/22 -
By Steve Uydess
Discovery Green Park in Houston is hosting Earth Day Houston, "A green living festival focused on the merits of mindful, sustainable living while educating and encouraging Houstonians to preserve, conserve and enhance [the] city and ... -

Tags: green living ideas, green living, Earth Promise, green technology, photovoltaic, green building, green Manhattan office space, green logistics, sustainable living

          Link Dump 12-16        

Not much to say today, but we’ve got plenty of the finest CS and engineering links around! Read about how nanotechnology and chemical engineering may lead to the end of laundry. Especially in the winter when weather gets cold, well-greengineered … Continue reading

The post Link Dump 12-16 appeared first on Get Real.

          Comment on Nanotechnology – old or new? by Nano materials world market        
Great article, I really enjoyed reading it.
           Field-assisted nanopatterning of metals, metal oxides and metal salts         
Liu, Jun-Fu and Miller, GP. (2009) Field-assisted nanopatterning of metals, metal oxides and metal salts. Nanotechnology, 20 (5). 055303. ISSN 09574484
          Regenerative Medicine Wipes Out Degenerative Diseases        

Once nanotechnology, stem cell research, and genetic engineering were able to converge upon the same laboratories it became clear that a wide variety of deadly and debilitative diseases share their origin: damaged or failing tissues, organs and bodily systems.  Some are chronic due to aging, others are more acute, but they have correlated pathologies after all.  The interrelationships between the biggest 20th century killers of humankind became astonishingly clear, as did the road to the regenerative medicine to cure nearly all of them.RespiroVik4.jpg

Category: Biotechnology
Year: Beyond
Tags: technology, future, health, medicine, biochemistry, genetics, genetic, engineering, nanotechnology, nanomedicine, regenerative, nanotech, stem, cells, aging, disease, space, exploration, ocean, colony, colonies
          Beta’s Eyes        

At some point in the not-so-distant future, somewhere on planet Earth…

Beta Bogdanovsky’s Italian Cācio-model translator spoke with a decidedly male monotone, and had the vocabulary, albeit in 13 languages, of a 3rd grader. Her dog’s translator was nearly as well spoken. Then again, Tóse was a smart dog, an Illyrian sheepdog whose eyes expressed more care than those of most people, and he almost certainly had the capacity to communicate on levels beyond the short sentences programmed into his collar.

“Iz vee NEH tuh,” she said in Bulgarian to a rotund bearded man blocking access to the window seat next to him. A roundish silver and gold box hung from a beaded chain around her neck, and a small bas-relief profile of the Roman god Mercury spoke the Greek, “Syghnomi.”

Excuse me.

The man’s posture shifted to make way even before he looked up, and when he did lift his head he was eye to eye with Tóse. Expressionlessly he made a symbolic attempt to scoot his plastic bags out of the aisle, and Beta sided into the seat, setting her gear on the floor between her feet. Tóse sat on his haunches in front of them both. Beta wondered why it was that people could not seem to rein it in in crowded public places and on trains.

As the ARMA Speed Tram pulled away from the passenger bay, the lights in the tramcar faded slightly as they always did between stations, and Beta closed her eyes and relaxed her neck, as she always did when she was commuting. Bitoli was five stops from the sea, as the tram tunneled through the Korab and Pindus Mountains, and then there were six more on the other side of the water before reaching Monopoli. This trip would be an opportunity to shut her eyes for approximately 2 hours, which was a very good thing, because Beta’s eyes were very tired.

Category: Technology
Year: Beyond
Tags: future, fiction, nanotechnology, contact, lenses, cell, phones, italy, albania, macedonia, bulgarian, greek, translator, animal, speed, train, tram, light, rail, scenario, science
          Looking Back: How the Nanobama Administration Accelerated Technology        

Ever since buckyballs were discovered in 1986, an event that liberated nanotechnology from being an on-paper-only concept and graduated it into a hands-on (or at least electron microscope-on) practice, nanotechnology has been gaining momentum exponentially, despite aggressive anti-tech litigation.

In 2009 the EPA was sued by a collection of tech corporations for failing to enforce federal restrictions on the import and development of carbon nanotubes imposed one year earlier, and for completely failing to make any laws whatsoever regarding other similar carbon-based materials or those of other metals like titanium-dioxide and silver. Although the EPA was cleared of any wrong-doing, the following year three more laws were initiated, and several companies and research facilities were fined.

But then, in 2010, President Obama reversed the ban on stem cell research enacted by former president George W. Bush, stating, “The potential benefits greatly outweigh the moral dilemma. It is not for me to say whether God would have us utilize a dead fetus. But I do believe God would ask us to help to save the sick and dying, if there was any way we could.”

In his famous 2012 re-election speech that earned him the nickname Nanobama, he said:

Category: Technology
Year: 2014
Tags: nanobama, obama, barack, nanotech, nanotechnology, carbon, nanotubes, cnts, tech, technology, bucky, fuller, buckminster, r, balls, fullerenes
          The Canadiens organization goalie situation in 2017-18.        
With Carey Price and Al Montoya, the Canadiens are set in goal at the NHL level.  It should also be crowded in the crease in the minors with Zach Fucale, Charlie Lindgren and now Michael McNiven battling for icetime in the AHL, with one seemingly destined for the ECHL.

As fans, we're now driven to pronounce on what will happen this season and beyond.  Here are my wishes in that regard.

1) OHL late-bloomer phenom Michael McNiven gets his first taste of pro and lots of rubber playing with Brampton in the ECHL, which are announced soon to be moved to Brossard.

2) Zachary Fucale and Charlie Lindgren split duties in Laval, where the stands are overflowing, and it’s a clash of titans, both are at the top of the league in goaltending stats.  Trade supplicants beat a path to our door with their piddly offerings of first-round picks and Clayton Kellers and Anthony Manthas.

3) Carey Price is having a no-contest Vézina season, he's so head and shoulders above the competition, while a rash of injuries hits the league’s goaltenders. We begrudgingly trade Al Montoya to the Senators for a second, a third, a fifth and Thomas Chabot. Al promptly dislocates a hip when Fishface Borowiecki falls on top of him trying to knee Auston Matthews in the tympanic membrane. The Senators finish 12th in the conference.  And lose big in the draft lottery.

4) Garth Snow, in a panic to secure his job and sign John Tavares for life, can’t watch idly as his team sinks in the standings and settles at the very bottom. He trades Anthony Beauvillier and a first-round pick to the Canadiens for prospect Hayden Hawkey, since he thinks the kid’s name has a nice ring to it, and is just the kind of trickery he needs to sell seats in Brooklyn.

John Ledecky, picking at the remains of this trade, asks good ol’ Garth “You made sure that draft pick was lottery-protected, uh?”

“Flatternry-prorated?” queries a befuddled Garth Snow.

“You arrogant ass,” cries Ledecky, verily observing his investment implode and contemplating a future of baby blue uniforms, being noogied by Bonhomme Carnaval and having to be a good sport about it, and Berlitz French lessons, “you’ve killed us!”

5) Carey causes a province-wide meltdown when he jiggifies his transverse groinary process, and needs to take a month “or so” off to rest and rehab. In his stead, Charlie provides a Martin Jones-like performance, solidifying the Jennings for the Canadiens.

6) Hayden Hawkey having chosen to remain in the NCAA rather than jump with both feet into the Chernobyl that is the Islanders, Garth Snow tries to engineer an elaborate multi-team trade whereby he can wheedle his now-traded 1st-round pick and likely the top lottery pick back from the Canadiens, and obtain a goalie in the process, to at least rise in the standings and make the situation somewhat tenable, maybe have his first not be the first overall but have the Canadiens end up with the 10th pick or so.

But when the dust clears, Garth Snow somehow has obtained Mathieu Garon and David Aebischer, and the Canadiens his first-round picks through 2028. A haggard, unsteady Snow, mopped in sweat as he faces the media, borrows a page from the Claude Julien Big Book of Lies and says “I’d need to see a replay to comment. I haven’t see the replay…”

7) Having claimed ‘general lassitude’, John Tavares takes personal leave to play in the Seoul Olympics for Team Canada. There, he’s witnessed wearing a Canadiens ballcap and bro’ing down with Carey Price, who’s been assigned to the Canadian team for ‘conditioning purposes’. The gold medal they earn over a dispirited group of KHL All-Stars and Alex Ovechkin proves Carey is ready to return to NHL action.

8) At the June draft, in the seventh round, the Canadiens pick little-known Salvador Saint-Sauveur from les Saguenéens de Chicoutimi. The gangly kid didn’t have a great season in terms of Wins and GAA, but saw a lot of rubber with a great Sv%, and his coaches rave about his athleticism and competitiveness.

Later that summer, during a celebrity golf tournament, Salvador is partnered with Patrick Roy and two nuns in a foursome. At the thirteenth hole, Saint Patrick lends the kid his new nanotech driver for him to have a swing, and as the handoff occurs, they are struck by lightning. Miraculously, both are unharmed. “It’s a miracle”, Soeur Liette confirms.

Except that Salvador, who used to have brown eyes, now has a steely blue, confident, some might say cocky glare, and Patrick’s baby-blue eyes are now brown.
          Dataism: Getting out of the 'job loop' and into the 'knowledge loop'        
From deities to data - "For thousands of years humans believed that authority came from the gods. Then, during the modern era, humanism gradually shifted authority from deities to people... Now, a fresh shift is taking place. Just as divine authority was legitimised by religious mythologies, and human authority was legitimised by humanist ideologies, so high-tech gurus and Silicon Valley prophets are creating a new universal narrative that legitimises the authority of algorithms and Big Data." Privileging the right of information to circulate freely - "There's an emerging market called Dataism, which venerates neither gods nor man - it worships data. From a Dataist perspective, we may interpret the entire human species as a single data-processing system, with individual humans serving as its chips. If so, we can also understand the whole of history as a process of improving the efficiency of this system... Like capitalism, Dataism too began as a neutral scientific theory, but is now mutating into a religion that claims to determine right and wrong... Just as capitalists believe that all good things depend on economic growth, so Dataists believe all good things - including economic growth - depend on the freedom of information." Our unparalleled ability to control the world around us is turning us into something new - "We have achieved these triumphs by building ever more complex networks that treat human beings as units of information. Evolutionary science teaches us that, in one sense, we are nothing but data-processing machines: we too are algorithms. By manipulating the data we can exercise mastery over our fate." Planet of the apps - "Many of the themes of his first book are reprised: the importance of the cognitive revolution and the power of collaboration in speeding the ascent of Man; the essential power of myths — such as religion and money — in sustaining our civilisations; and the inexcusable brutality with which our species treats other animals. But having run out of history to write about, Harari is forced to turn his face to the future... 'Forget economic growth, social reforms and political revolutions: in order to raise global happiness levels, we need to manipulate human biochemistry'... For the moment, the rise of populism, the rickety architecture of the European Union, the turmoil in the Middle East and the competing claims on the South China Sea will consume most politicians' attention. But at some time soon, our societies will collectively need to learn far more about these fast-developing technologies and think far more deeply about their potential use." also btw...
  • Preparing for our Posthuman Future of Artificial Intelligence - "By exploring the recent books on the dilemmas of AI and Human Augmentation, how can we better prepare for (and understand) the posthuman future? By David Brin." (omni o)
  • The Man-Machine Myth - "Beliefs inspired by the cybernetic mythos have a quasi-theological character: They tend to be faith-based."
  • Unsettling thought of the day
  • Each technological age seems to have a "natural" system of government that's the most stable and common... Anyway, now we've entered a new technological age: the information age. What is the "natural" system of government for this age?

    An increasing number of countries now seem to be opting for a new sort of illiberal government - the style of Putin and the CCP. This new thing - call it Putinism - combines capitalism, a "deep state" of government surveillance, and social/cultural fragmentation.

    It's obviously way too early to tell, but there's an argument to be made that Putinism is the natural system of government now. New technology fragments the media, causing people to rally to sub-national identity groups instead of to the nation-state.

    The Putinist "deep state" commands the heights of power with universal surveillance, and allies with some rent-collecting corporations. Meanwhile, IF automation decreases labor's share of income and makes infantry obsolete, the worker/soldier class becomes less valuable.

    "People power" becomes weak because governments can suppress any rebellion with drones, surveillance, and other expensive weaponry. Workers can strike, but - huge hypothetical assumption alert! - they'll just be replaced, their bargaining power low due to automation.

    In sum: Powerful authoritarian governments, fragmented society, capitalism, "Hybrid warfare", and far less liberty.
  • The Totalitarian - "Putinist models seem to curtail personal freedom and self-expression. Chases away innovation class. In the long run this makes them unable to keep up with more innovative, open societies. But innovative open societies are also fissiparous in the long run. They need a strong centralized, even authoritarian, core. To wit the big democracies also have deep states, just ones that infringe on domestic public life less than Putinist do. Automation makes mass citizenry superfluous as soldiers, workers or taxpayers. The insiders' club is ever-shrinking. Steady state of AI era is grim. One demigod and 10 billion corpses/brain-in-jars depending on humanism quotient of the one. The three pillars for this end state are strong AI, mind uploading/replication, and mature molecular nanotechnology."
  • Capitalism and Democracy: The Strain Is Showing - "Confidence in an enduring marriage between liberal democracy and global capitalism seems unwarranted."
  • So what might take its place? One possibility[:] ... a global plutocracy and so in effect the end of national democracies. As in the Roman empire, the forms of republics might endure but the reality would be gone.

    An opposite alternative would be the rise of illiberal democracies or outright plebiscitary dictatorships... [like] Russia and Turkey. Controlled national capitalism would then replace global capitalism. Something rather like that happened in the 1930s. It is not hard to identify western politicians who would love to go in exactly this direction.

    Meanwhile, those of us who wish to preserve both liberal democracy and global capitalism must confront serious questions. One is whether it makes sense to promote further international agreements that tightly constrain national regulatory discretion in the interests of existing corporations... Above all... economic policy must be orientated towards promoting the interests of the many not the few; in the first place would be the citizenry, to whom the politicians are accountable. If we fail to do this, the basis of our political order seems likely to founder. That would be good for no one. The marriage of liberal democracy with capitalism needs some nurturing. It must not be taken for granted.
  • G20 takes up global inequality challenge - "Even before the final communiqué is drafted for the annual G20 summit the leaders of the world's largest economies already seemed to agree on their most pressing priority: to find a way to sell the benefits of globalisation to an increasingly sceptical public. As they arrived in the Chinese city of Hangzhou over the weekend, many were on the defensive amid a welter of familiar complaints back home: frustratingly slow growth, rising social inequality and the scourge of corporate tax avoidance."
  • "Growth drivers from the previous round of technological progress are fading while a new technological and industrial revolution has yet to gain momentum," Mr Xi said at the start of the G20, adding that the global economy was at a "critical juncture".

    "Here at the G20 we will continue to pursue an agenda of inclusive and sustainable growth," Mr Obama said, acknowledging that "the international order is under strain".

    Mr Xi, whose country has arguably benefited more than any other from globalisation, struck a similarly cautious note in a weekend speech to business leaders. In China, he said, "we will make the pie bigger and make sure people get a fairer share of it".

    He also recognised global inequity, noting that the global gini coefficient — the standard measure of inequality — had raced past what he called its "alarm level" of 0.6 and now stood at 0.7. "We need to build a more inclusive world economy," Mr Xi said.
  • G20 leaders urged to 'civilise capitalism' - "Chinese president Xi Jinping helped set the tone of this year's G20 meeting in a weekend address to business executives. 'Development is for the people, it should be pursued by the people and its outcomes should be shared by the people', Mr Xi said... Before the two-day meeting, the US government argued that a 'public bandwagon' was growing to ditch austerity in favour of fiscal policy support. 'Maybe the Germans are not absolutely cheering for it but there is a growing awareness that 'fiscal space' has to be used to a much greater extent', agreed Ángel Gurría, secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development."
  • Martin Wolf calls for basic income, land taxation & intellectual property reform: Enslave the robots and free the poor
  • The rise of intelligent machines is a moment in history. It will change many things, including our economy. But their potential is clear: they will make it possible for human beings to live far better lives. Whether they end up doing so depends on how the gains are produced and distributed. It is possible that the ultimate result will be a tiny minority of huge winners and a vast number of losers. But such an outcome would be a choice not a destiny. A form of techno-feudalism is unnecessary. Above all, technology itself does not dictate the outcomes. Economic and political institutions do. If the ones we have do not give the results we want, we must change them.
  • From the Job Loop to the Knowledge Loop (via Universal Basic Income) - "We work so we can buy stuff. The more we work, the more we can buy. And the more is available to buy, the more of an incentive there is to work. We have been led to believe that one cannot exist without the other. At the macro level we are obsessed with growth (or lack thereof) in consumption and employment. At the individual level we spend the bulk of our time awake working and much of the rest of it consuming."
  • I see it differently. The real lack of imagination is to think that we must be stuck in the job loop simply because we have been in it for a century and a half. This is to confuse the existing system with humanity's purpose.

    Labor is not what humans are here for. Instead of the job loop we should be spending more of our time and attention in the knowledge loop [learn->create->share]... if we do not continue to generate knowledge we will all suffer a fate similar to previous human societies that have gone nearly extinct, such as the Easter Islanders. There are tremendous threats, eg climate change and infectious disease, and opportunities, eg machine learning and individualized medicine, ahead of us. Generating more knowledge is how we defend against the threats and seize the opportunities.
  • What's more scarce: money, or attention? - "Attention is now the scarce resource."

          Imaging Nanotechnology Revolution        
nano technology
Lead author of the study, Wenge Yang of the Carnegie Foundation's high-pressure synergistic Consortium explained: "the only way to see what will happen in such a sample when under pressure is to use high-energy x-rays produced from Sygchrotro sources. Synchrotrons can provide very coherent x-rays for advanced 3-D imaging with dozens of nanometers of resolution. This is different from the incoherent imaging test that is used for medical examination that has the spatial distribution of micron. The high pressures have radically changed many properties of matter. "

The team found that the average motifs of bent waves--diffraction patterns--the same Crystal using a different sample of alignments in orchestration, and using an algorithm developed by researchers at the London Centre for nanotechnology, can compensate for the distortion and improving the spatial resolution of the two sizes.

"The problem of distortion of the wave is proportional to the prescription glasses for the diamond anvil cell to correct the vision of the coherent x-ray imaging system," noted Ian Robinson, head of the London Group.

Researchers in a single crystal of 400-nanometer (. 000015 inch) of gold by about 8,000 times the pressure at sea level, to 64,000 times that pressure, which is about the pressure in the Earth's upper mantle, the layer between the outer core and crust.

The Group conducted the imaging experiment the Advanced Photon Source, Argonne National Laboratory. Will compress the gold nanocrystal and found, as expected, that the ends of the Crystal becomes sharp and strained. But to their surprise, the executives who disappeared from further compression. The crystal grows a rounder figure in higher pressure, implying an unusual plastic-like flow.

"Nanogold particles are very useful materials," Yang noted. "It is about 60% stiffer in comparison with other micron particle size and could prove to be fundamentally improved to build improved electrodes, nanoscale molecular coatings, and other advanced engineering materials. The new technique will be critical to progress in these areas. "

"Now that it has solved the problem of distortion, the entire construction sector nanocrystal under pressure can be approached," said Robinson. "The scientific mystery of why Nanocrystals under pressure is somehow up to 60% stronger than bulk material can be soon collapsed.

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          Un substrat universel pour les semi-conducteurs (Techno-Science)        
Malgré leurs propriétés attrayantes, de nombreux semi-conducteurs ne peuvent être utilisés par manque de substrats adaptés. Des chercheurs du Laboratoire nanotechnolgies et nanosystèmes et du...
          Do we need help making sensible decisions?        
Every time I see a news report of a plane crash, wherever it is in the world, my mind races forward to any flight I might have to take in the coming months and whether I might just drive or take the train instead. Am I paranoid?

If I am, then a lot of other people are too. In the year after 9/11, many Americans chose to drive rather than take domestic flights. Understandable, but unfortunately it wasn't such a great decision: an extra 1600 people died in road accidents that year as a result - that's six times the number who died in the hijacked aircraft.

We might think we know what we're doing when we take these kinds of decisions, but we generally don't. At times of risk, when we feel threatened or fearful, emotion overrides reason and we end up making rather poor choices. Can we do anything about that?

A lot of researchers think we can - that we can be helped to counteract our instinctive reaction to a risky situation and reason our way to a better choice (see our How to keep your head in scary situations feature).

What do they have in mind? One idea is to present statistics about, say, health risks, in ways that don't leave people cold - for example, put them in the context of a narrative. "Feel the numbers", as one expert puts it, so we can connect with them more easily when emotions are running high.

That's all very well when you've grown up viewing numbers as abstract entities in a world of their own. Time to rethink the way we teach mathematics, then.

Another example of how people could be "helped" in their decisions about risks comes from some remarkable findings by a team at Yale Law School.

These show that the single most important factor in determining how we judge the risks of issues such as nuclear power, nanotechnology, vaccination and climate change is the degree to which we share the cultural world-view of the person giving us the information. If they have different values or political sympathies to us, we are predisposed to reject their arguments, irrespective of what we thought previously. It's all about the messenger, in other words.

On the surface it sounds to me like a good idea to use insights like these in public policy to steer people towards wiser judgements.

This taps into something of a zeitgeist: both the Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and David Cameron, leader of the Conservative party in the UK, have recently sought the advice of two University of Chicago professors whose recent book, Nudge, describes ways governments might "nudge" people into doing things that are good for them, or for society. For example, introduce automatic enrolment in pension and organ donation schemes unless people opt out (inertia means most people stay in).

[You can give the Nudge authors your own suggestions here].

But this kind of "libertarian paternalism" is not to everyone's taste because it involves a degree of manipulation. It's one thing for a government to intervene to stop people harming others, quite another for it to intervene to stop them harming themselves, particularly if the nudging is undisclosed. Is that what government should be for?

It seems to me this is a debate we shall need to have, especially as we learn more about the way people respond to risks. Of course, there are some smart things societies could do without government intervention – such as demand that the media report shocking or traumatic news in a more balanced way. That includes us!

Psychologists have known for some time that we seriously overestimate our chances of dying in a knife attack or plane crash because the extensive use of graphic media coverage makes it so much easier for us to bring such events to mind, a phenomenon known as the "availability rule".

On the other hand, we tend to underestimate our chances of getting diseases because these are usually only reported as statistics. Many researchers claim this bias is the root of much of our poor decision-making. As one of them puts it, we aren't rational enough to be exposed to the modern press.

Until any of these changes happen, the best thing is to stop watching the TV and reading the newspapers. Not the science magazines, though – where else would you get such evidence-based advice as to stop reading the newspapers?

And a final thought, for those who are uncomfortable with any attempt to "nudge" us into better decision-making, remember that in this regard we are already seriously handicapped. If anything, translating good science into nudges could help us choose more wisely than ever before.

Michael Bond, New Scientist consultant
          Neuroscience teaches spooks new tricks        
Functional neurological imaging isn't up to mind reading or lie detection yet, but combining it with other neurological techniques might hold hope for sensing people's psychological states and intentions. And neuropsychopharmacology might lead not only to new tools to enhance human cognition, but also to new drugs that could degrade performance of opponents in battle.

So concludes a National Research Council in a new report for the US Defense Intelligence Agency, titled "Emerging Cognitive Neuroscience and Related Technologies". It's basically a neuroscience update for spooks, briefing them not just what their side could use, but the other side - "the bad guys" - might do.

Mind-reading and lie-detection tools are at the top of any savvy spook's shopping list, but the panel says not to expect them soon. So far, they write that "insufficient high-quality research has been conducted to provide empirical support for the use of any single neurophysiological technology, including functional neuroimaging, to detect deception". But they recommend trying combined approaches "such as imaging techniques and the recording of electrophysiological, biochemical and pharmacological responses".

The rapid progress of functional neuroimaging should be monitored for other potential applications. The panel urges intelligence agencies and the Pentagon to consider possibilities of "enhancing cognition and facilitating training" to make smarter spooks and soldiers.

They also urge further study on what functional imaging can reveal about "states of emotion; motivation; psychopathology; language; imaging processing for measuring workload performance; and the differences between Western and non-Western cultures". Interestingly, the panel says that some evidence points to a relationship between culture and brain development, and urges more research on the matter.

Drug development could be a wild card as our models of brain function improve, especially if nanotechnology leads to drugs that bypass the blood-brain barrier. The promise is more precise delivery of drugs and ways to improve human brainpower. But the report also warns of chilling perils in what it calls the "degradation market" - drugs that impair rather than enhance thought processes.

Instead of firing bullets at the enemy, troops could spray them with a drug that would slow their reaction times or dull their thoughts. "The concept of torture could also be altered," the report says, if "there could be technique developed to extract information from a prisoner that does not have any lasting side effects".

And it's not just drugs. The report mentions that tDCS (transcranial direct current stimulation) may delay people's response when they are lying, according to a small study of 15 people conducted last year in Italy.

The report says US officials should know what potential enemies might do. But after Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, will other countries could not be blamed for worrying about the US.

Jeff Hecht, contributor

          Energy efficiency blogs on 08 July 2013        

SolarCity and Energy Efficiency | The Energy Collective
By StephenLacey
After SolarCity shifted its energy efficiency strategy and pulled back from doing residential retrofits in-house, the solar services behemoth is moving straight into intelligent efficiency.
The Energy Collective - The world's...

Is the U.S. Cowardly in Its Approach to Energy Efficiency? -
By Michael Todd
There's a raft of national benefits to being more energy efficient that don't need to invoke climate or politics.
Pacific Standard. Smart Journalism....

June-July Public Policy Tracker: Energy Efficiency Funding ...
By John Otterbein
The spring 2013 legislative sessions have once again breezed by! This Policy Tracker focuses on the recent developments in energy efficiency policy in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. Good News, Bad News for Energy Efficiency ...
Energy Efficiency Matters

Efficiency Research and Energy Consumption | The Energy Collective
By MaxLuke
Last week energy analyst Thomas Gerke wrote an article where he made an argument that research and development is an ancillary clean energy policy at best, and a distraction at worst. But it's much more complicated than that.
The Energy Collective - The world's...

Is The United States Becoming More Energy Efficient? - Peak Oil News
By admin
Peak Oil News and Message Boards is a community and collaboration portal about energy-related topics.
Peak Oil News and Message Boards

An Outsider Looking In… - Bard College
By Serafina Zeringo
So do you know a lot about energy efficiency?” Uh no, no actually I don't know anything about energy efficiency policies or energy efficiency or what I'm doing here… That is how my first two weeks at NEEP felt. Between writing bill summaries, ...
The Bard CEP Eco Reader

Renewable Energy Potential in Eritrea |
By Renewable Energy Energy Efficiency Partnership
The Belesa plant runs at low efficiency, due to aged generating equipment, A lack of maintenance, and high voltage drops in the distribution system. CAPACITY CONCERNS. Eritrea is facing acute shortages of modern energy services, ...

Renewable Energy Potential in Djibouti |
By Renewable Energy Energy Efficiency Partnership
With distribution and transmission losses in the region of 16%, the potential for efficiency improvements in the electrical power sector are evident. The promotion of energy efficiency in the residential sector has also been identified as a key ...

Turn Off the Lights to Save Money and Extend the ... - Bounce Energy
By Vernon
A good rule of thumb for an energy efficient home has been that if you are going to be out of room for 15 minutes or more, then turn the lights off. Shorter than 15 minutes, you can leave them on. The trick is that this rule varies depending on the ...
Bounce Energy Blog

Renewable Energy Potential in Equatorial Guinea |
By Renewable Energy Energy Efficiency Partnership
Renewable Energy Potential in Equatorial Guinea · LinkedIn · Email Print Share. Written by: Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Partnership on July 7, 2013. ENERGY SOURCES. Total installed electricity capacity (2008): 31 MW. Thermal: ...

Renewable Energy Potential in Republic of Congo |
By Renewable Energy Energy Efficiency Partnership
ENERGY EFFICIENCY. The Republic of the Congo has many important energy resources which are far from being completely exploited. Only 3.6% of the potential hydroelectric energy is currently being used as fossil fuels are still the most ...

World record in silicon integrated nanophotonics - More energy ...
Researchers of the Institute of Electrical and Optical Communications Engineering (INT) at the University of Stuttgart and the Institut für Mikroelektronik Stuttgart (IMS CHIPS) achieved a new world record in the energy efficient integration in ...
Nanotechnology Now Recent News

Save energy, save money : News :
By Dustin Bonk
MARQUETTE -- Energy efficiency kits save homeowners money by conserving energy. Kerry Noble at Home Evaluation Services in Marquette says installing certain items is good for your home and for your wallet. Low flow shower heads ...
Upper Michigan's Source - TV6 News

President Obama Touts Renewable Energy, Efficiency in Climate Plan
By RealEstateRama
WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 3, 2013 – (RealEstateRama) — President Obama announced on June 25 his climate action plan, which includes significant goals related to renewable energy and energy efficiency. The plan directs the U.S. ...

Dartblog: "Jim Kim Is Saving the World"
By Joseph Asch '79
SE4ALL, co-chaired by UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon and World Bank president Jim Yong Kim, aims to achieve universal energy access, double the use of renewable energy and improve energy efficiency by 2030 (see Update 83).

shaheen tours affordable housing communities, touts clean energy ...
By New Hampshire RealEstateRama
Berlin, NH – July 5, 2013 – (RealEstateRama) — U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) toured affordable housing communities today in Conway and Berlin and commended their investments in clean energy and energy efficiency measures ...

Clean Energy Industry Could Grow Greatly Under Carbon Plan ...
By Natural Resources Defense Council
Already supporting more than 400,000 workers, the energy efficiency economy is made up of private industry and government agencies, can be found across red states and blue states, big cities and small towns. It employs workers retrofitting ...

Smart Grid: The 'social building:' using social media to save energy
While Smart Meters are now providing data that can allow consumers to pinpoint prime targets for energy efficiency measures, making sense of all that data is not as simple as collecting it, which could pose an obstacle to consumers' ability to ...

Why can't we talk about energy conservation in Nova Scotia? - Rabble
By rabble staff
Efficiency Nova Scotia, the conservation agency funded by your power bill, is reporting good progress as the public buys into the notion of saving both energy and money. The province-wide electricity load has been cut by 4.3 per cent so far ...

£400 million spent on energy in South West Devon – huge potential ...
By Sophia Wildman-Gurung
This is an independent assessment of current energy consumption and opportunities for energy efficiency and renewable energy generation across the area.” Said Kate Royston Chair of the SWD CEP. The study has provided some surprising ...
Transition Town Totnes

Healthy Home Builders | The Examiner News
By Pat Casey
Donovan further explained that the energy-efficiency building materials he uses are way above building code standards for insulation, wall thickness and roof quality. Passive solar energy will be used to heat water, and geothermal technology ...
The Examiner News

Combined Heat-Energy Power System Can Cut Emissions - Care2 ...
By Kit B.
Combined heat and power (CHP) systems could play an important role in that plan by raising energy efficiency and reducing energy waste. And through a flexible framework, CHP systems could cut emissions from power plants, which now ...
Care2 News Network

Obama Climate Change Plan and Carbon Emissions | The Energy ...
By JEMiller_EP
In addition to expanding on the scope of previous plans that would increase clean energy supplies, energy efficiency, and reduce high global warming potential gases, the President now recommends better preparing the country for future ...
The Energy Collective - The world's...

          Military & Aerospace Electronics        
Military & Aerospace Electronics editorial covers topics such as Navigation/Guidance, Avionics, Missile Systems, Communication Systems, Electronic Warfare, Simulation/Training Systems, Unmanned Vehicles, Nanotechnology, Biometrics, Homeland Security, Shipboard Electronics, Reconnaissance Equipment and other relevant topics to military professionals in organizations such as the Department of Defense (DOD), NASA, FAA, CIA, FBI, NSA, Defense Contractors, Prime Contractors, Subcontractors/Integrators, Electronics Manufacturers, Defense Systems Vendors, and R&D, among others.

Request Free!

          A Nanotech-Powered AIDS-Killing Condom Is Closer than Ever        
Correctly used, condoms do a damn good job of preventing STDs (and pregnancy!). But nobody's gonna say no to an improvement that ups those odds. Say, a condom coated in antiviral gel that kills up t0 99.9% of HIV, genital herpes, and human papillomavi...
          Green Power        



                 GREEN POWER 

              bio nanotechnology

Menurut Bill McKibben seorang jurnalis dan aktivis perubahan iklim:

  • Dunia akan hancur jika CO2 di udara mencapai 565 Gigaton Karbon
  • Cadangan Bahan Bakar Minyak dunia, bisa menghasilkan 2795 Gigaton
  • Secara Matematis sederhana, angka 565 Gigaton Karbon akan tercapai dalam 16 tahun kedepan dengan kondisi polusi seperti saat sekarang

Berdasarkan fakta di atas, kini saatnya untuk berperan serta mengurangi emisi karbon dari kendaraan, gunakanlah Green Power bio-nanotechnology.

Green Power bio-nanotechnology adalah zat aktif berasal dari bahan semi alami  sebagai penurun emisi gas buang karbon ±50% yang ramah lingkungan . 

Green Power bio-nanotechnology memiliki banyak manfaat hebat, yaitu

Mengurangi dari timbulnya endapan karbon, mengurangi asap knalpot sehingga mengurangi polusi udara dari emisi gas buang kendaraan bermotor ±50%. 

  • Bahan aktif pada Green Power akan membersihkan kotoran-kotoran pada tangki bahan bakar, filter, dan saluran bahan bakar sehingga mesin menjadi lebih halus dan terawat.
  • Kinerja mesin menjadi lebih efisien dan ringan sehingga mesin kendaraan menjadi lebih awet.

Dengan memakai Green Power, tarikan mesin menjadi lebih kuat dan cepat

Jika ditambahkan Green Power, nilai oktan bahan bakar akan naik:
- bensin premium akan setara dengan pertamax.
- pertamax akan setara dengan pertamax plus 
- solar biasa akan setara dengan solar super setara CETANE 57/ 60.

Dengan memakai Green Power jarak tempuh menjadi lebih jauh karena proses pembakaran menjadi lebih sempurna

Cara Penggunaan:
Teteskan Green Power ke dalam tangki bahan bakar kendaraan dengan takaran 2 tetes per liter bahan bakar (bensin, solar)

Ukuran Tangki
Full tank 30 liter diisi ½ botol (2 ½ tutup botol)
Full tank 60 liter diisi 1 botol

          Nanoscale Design of Materials for the Capture and Storage of Renewable Energy, Aug 25        
Tremendous progress in the cost-effective conversion of solar and wind energy into electrical power brings about a new challenge: the massive (seasonal-scale) storage of energy.

We focus on using computational materials science, spectroscopies including ultrafast and synchrotron, and advances in materials chemistry, to create new catalysts for CO2 reduction and oxygen evolution.

I will discuss recent advances including a new high-activity OER catalyst and a low-overpotential CO2 reduction catalyst based on field-induced reagent concentration. I will also touch on related materials design problems in optoelectronics, including the design of composite organic-inorganic materials for photon-to-electron and electron-to-photon conversion.

Ted Sargent is University Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Univ of Toronto. He holds the Canada Research Chair in Nanotechnology and also serves as Vice President - International for the University of Toronto. He is founder and CTO of InVisage Technologies Inc. of Menlo Park. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada; a Fellow of the AAAS "...for distinguished contributions to the development of solar cells and light sensors based on solution-processed semiconductors;" and a Fellow of the IEEE "... for contributions to colloidal quantum dot optoelectronic devices He received the B.Sc.Eng. (Engineering Physics) from Queen's University in 1995 and the Ph.D. in ECE (Photonics) from Toronto in 1998.
          Business Game Changers Radio with Sarah Westall: Nanotechnology – Disrupting Military, Energy, Aerospace, Medicine, and More        
EpisodeNanotechnology is changing the world in ways that 20 years ago we thought were impossible. It’s transforming many industries and creating new ones. Largely because of nanotechnology, many believe the world will have more new inventions in the next 5 years than we have had over the last 100 years. The progress and innovation that we will see is likely only comparable to perhaps the wheel, the industrial age brought on by the printing press, or maybe even the Internet.   See the r ...
          Premium Smartphone by RED at US$1,200 Comes with Holographic Display         
The Red Digital Cinema Camera Company (RED), a U.S.-based manufacturer of digital cinematography and photography cameras, announced on July 6, 2017 the launch of high-end smartphone it called Hydrogen One. The flagship feature of the premium phone, projects the maker, is referred to as ‘holographic display’. According to a recent press release by the company, the phone is equipped with nanotechnology that will help users make a seamless transition across 2D content, 3D display, holographic multi-view content, and a host of interactive games. Display Technology Never Seen Before With Immersive Audio Experience Hailed as a breakthrough in display technology, Jim Jannard, founder of RED, the features’ description can’t be put in words, but is a thing to experience and revel in by the users. The innovative display is different from all earlier technologies tried before, like the ones offered by stalwarts Google and Samsung on its phones, which typically comes equipped with latest 3D view. Hydrogen One possesses a 5.7-inch display and is modular in nature, with the functionality to scale up with attachments, similar to those found in Moto Z line or the Essential Phone. However, the defining feature will be a unique image capture capability. In addition, the smartphone with the help of an algorithm converts stereo sound into a sort of multi-dimensional audio, enhancing the immersive experience for the user. Design and Price Subject to Change According to the company, the shipment of the phone will start early in 2018 and currently can be preordered. The aluminum version is prices at US$1,195 and above, while titanium variant boasts of a higher price of US$1,595. The features, however, are not fixed and even the design is subject to change, disclosed the company. All the preorders may not get fulfilled due to constraints in production of displays. Moreover, the prices can’t be guaranteed at the time of the release. Until the exact specifications are revealed, the high-end phone may end as just another android, albeit with significant advancements, believes media and technology experts. 

Original Post Premium Smartphone by RED at US$1,200 Comes with Holographic Display source Twease
          Need to Automate Industrial Systems Propel demand for Photoelectric Sensors        
In many industries, the use of technology in some form becomes imperative to detect the presence or absence of an object. The use of photoelectric sensors is common in various industries to detect barcode levels on mount and sense bottles without a label. These sensors are also used in multi-level parking facilities to detect the positioning of cars. Due to these factors, the demand for photoelectric sensors is anticipated to be on the rise in the coming years. Industrial automation is one of the primary factors for the soaring demand for photoelectric sensors worldwide. These sensors allow increased process efficiency in chemicals, manufacturing industries, and automotive, thus driving their demand. Photoelectric sensors offer a host of advantages. These have the ability to function over large distances and sense non-metallic objects. For these reasons, photoelectric sensors are extensively used in semiconductor devices, logistics, packaging, and other areas. The increasing demand for retro reflective photoelectric sensors for object sensing and glass sensing is driving this market. Moreover, the high reliability of these sensors is fueling their adoption across several industries. The introduction of nanotechnology has been identified as a key growth opportunity for vendors in the global market for photoelectric sensors. The use of nanotechnology enables the manufacture of minuscule photoelectric sensors, which are barely visible. For instance, Pepper+ Fuchs recently launched R2 Series Ultra-Small Sensors, which provides glass optical surface resistance for environmental contaminants, chemicals, and abrasions. As such, the high resistance leads to greater signal strength, greater visibility over dark materials, and better and consistent detection. The compactness of these sensors make them ideal for print and paper, material handling, and other general purpose applications. In 2015, Europe stood as the leading region for photoelectric sensors. The region is expected to maintain its dominance in the market in the forthcoming years. The increasing demand for industrial automation is anticipated to the primary factor driving the growth of the Europe photoelectric sensors market. Building automation is another factor driving the Europe photoelectric sensors market. Furthermore, the deployment of photoelectric sensors in parking spaces and elevators is expected to further augment the demand for these devices in the future.

Original Post Need to Automate Industrial Systems Propel demand for Photoelectric Sensors source Twease
          Three Major Factors Impacting Development of Global Microscopy Devices Market        
Microscopes have been into existence for a long time and have evolved as well as diversified for a number of purposes owing to growing exploratory and general academic research. New interests in a number of areas such as that of atomic scale semiconductor arrangement and nanotechnology have brought in new needs for the mediums employing microscopes. The most swiftly developing market employing these cutting-edge microscopes comprises the industrial segment.  The top factors influencing the growth of the global microscopy devices market are: Introduction of Quantum Dots, a Key Growth Opportunity: There a number of trends seen in the global microscopy devices market. The introduction of quantum dots technology within the industry of semiconductors is a key opportunity seen in the market for microscopy devices. Another significant trend is the trend of miniaturization. This will present a prime opportunity to the cutting-edge microscopy devices scanning probe microscopes, scanning electron microscopes, and transmission electron microscopes. A number of companies, for instance, United Microelectronics and Samsung are predicted to introduce ultra-nano chips shortly. This will in return generate new demand for cutting-edge microscopy devices. Increasing Product Innovation by Key Plays to Propel Market Growth: The increasing activities of research and development in a number of applications areas and the increasing number of product innovations by the major players dominant in the market will stimulate the growth of the market for microscopy devices. For instance, Hitachi High-Technologies has launched an advanced TEM that operates even under room lights. In addition, FEI Company, which has its headquarters at Oregon has also introduced the new ASPEX CleanCHK analyzer specifically designed to be used within the automotive industry.  Soaring Costs of Advanced-Technology Microscopy Devices to Inhibit Market Growth: Though, the market for microscopy devices is poised to grow in the coming years, still the complex parts of the cutting-edge microscopy devices may inhibit the adoption of these devices. Furthermore, the soaring costs of the advanced technology microscopy devices may also restrain the penetration of these devices in the coming years. This is owing to the fact that though a number of small companies and private research institutes globally are in dire need of these devices, still they are not able to afford them. This is majorly because of the dearth in funding causing lower adoption of these devices in a number of research institutes relying on corporate as well as federal funding.

Original Post Three Major Factors Impacting Development of Global Microscopy Devices Market source Twease
          Global Nanocoatings Market to Gain Impetus from Rising Application in Automobiles        
The global market for nanocoatings has been witnessing an exponential increase in its valuation. The growing application of coatings in automobiles and medical devices is having a positive influence on this market. The eco-friendliness of nanocoatings is also adding significantly to its rising popularity, fueling the demand for nanocoatings across the world. North America Dominates Global Nanocoatings Market North America leads the global market for nanocoatings. In 2012, the regional market accounted for more than 40% of the overall market. The increasing demand for nanocoatings from the medical and healthcare industry is boosting the North America market for nanocoatings. Analysts predict this regional market to maintain its position over the next few years. Asia Pacific, on the other hand, is anticipated to record the fastest growth in the worldwide nanocoatings market in the near future. The extensive rise in the automotive industry and the electronics market in this region is likely to fuel the demand for nanocoatings in this region. The markets for nanocoatings in Europe and the Rest of the World are also expected to report significant growth in the coming years. The rising awareness pertaining to environmental benefits nanocoatings offer compared to traditional coatings are projected to increase the demand for them in Europe. The increasing government initiatives to promote eco-friendly chemicals is stimulating the market for nanocoatings in the Rest of the World. Global Market for Nanocoatings Exhibits Fragmented Nature The global market for nanocoatings is highly competitive and fragmented in nature and is dominated by small market players. Leading companies such as Buhler PARTEC GmbH, P2i Ltd., Nanogate AG, Nanophase Technologies Corp., Bio-Gate AG, and Nanofilm Ltd., together account for a meager share of approximately 10% in the overall market. Cima NanoTech Inc., Eikos Inc., Integran Technologies Inc., Inframat Corp., and Nanovere Technologies LLC are some of the other prominent producers of nanocoatings in the global market.

Original Post Global Nanocoatings Market to Gain Impetus from Rising Application in Automobiles source Twease
          Rapid Rise in Electrical and Electronics Industry to Fuel Demand for Carbon Nanotubes        
The global market for carbon nanotubes has been experiencing an exponential surge in its market valuation. The increasing demand for carbon nanotubes from the polymers, energy, electrical and electronics, and other end-use industries is boosting this market remarkably. Single-wall nanotubes and multi-wall nanotubes are the key products available in this market. The multi-wall carbon nanotubes segment enjoys a higher demand than the single-wall carbon nanotubes segment in the global arena. Asia Pacific to Maintain Dominance in Worldwide Market for Carbon nanotubes Asia Pacific leads the global carbon nanotubes market. The regional market accounted for a share of more than 40% in the overall market in 2014. The extensive growth of the medical and healthcare industry, the energy sector, and the electrical and electronics market has fueled the demand for these nanotubes significantly in this region. Analysts project this trend to continue in the coming years, ensuring the future dominance of this market. China, South Korea, India, Taiwan, and Japan are leading the Asia Pacific carbon nanotubes market. Here is a snapshot of the performance of other regional markets. North America has acquired the second position in the global carbon nanotubes market. Over the next few years, the North America market for carbon nanotubes is likely to experience a sturdy rise on account of the growing demand for these nanotubes from the electrical and electronics as well as chemical industries in this region. Analysts expect Europe market for carbon nanotubes to witness steady growth in its market share in the coming years, owing to the presence of a number of established end-use industries of carbon nanotubes. The Middle East and Africa and Latin America are projected to register a sluggish increase in their shares over the next few years. Arkema SA, Carbon Solutions Inc., Showa Denko K.K., CNT Co. Ltd., Klean Commodities, Hyperion Catalysis International Inc., Korea Kumho Petrochemical Co. Ltd., Nanocyl S.A., and Southwest Nanotechnologies Inc. are some of the leading enterprises operating the worldwide carbon nanotubes market.

Original Post Rapid Rise in Electrical and Electronics Industry to Fuel Demand for Carbon Nanotubes source Twease
          Prime Factors Fuelling Fire Alarm Equipment Market, Introduction of Compulsory Health Safety Guidelines a Major Factor        
Owing to the rising frequency of security problems and fire accidents¸ the fire alarm equipment market has experienced maturity in the past few years globally. However, due to the ongoing innovations in product and technology, the market keeps on expanding constantly. There are numerous types of fire alarm equipment and systems introduced in the market including heat detectors, smoke detectors, flame detectors utilized in private buildings, public buildings, industrial settings, and commercial spaces. Fire alarm equipment is utilized in warehouses, chemical factories, airports, theaters, drilling platforms, churches, office building, pumping stations, large-scale garages, apartments, sewage plants, and museums, among others. The key factors stimulating the market for fire alarm equipment are mentioned as follows: The increasing demand from the construction industry for fire alarm equipment is a key growth factor but is dependent on the factor that the modern buildings and new constructions for housing and public facilities use the latest technology of fire detection systems. The introduction of the compulsory health safety guidelines is also a prime factor propelling the growth of the market.  Various nations’ judicial needs such as the Building Code of Australia and the Fire Protection Association within the U.S have made the installation of fire detection equipment compulsory. These include smoke alarms and fire alarms. This factor majorly fuels the fire alarm equipment market. A number of strict government regulation have ensured the security and safety of laborers employed within numerous industries.  The penetration of cutting-edge technologies including human machine interface (HMI), wireless sensory networks, nanotechnology, and smart buildings have also immensely taken part in the expansion of the market for fire alarm equipment.  The increasing awareness about fire prevention and protection amongst the population has also greatly fuelled the demand for fire alarm systems.  Thus, all of these factors are poised to bring in new opportunities for the growth of the market, augmenting market growth. However, the absence of adequate control and compliance may restrain the development of the market for fire alarm equipment in the coming years. The prominent players dominant in the market are TYCO, Protec Fire Detection, Siemens, Johnson Controls, Bosch Security Systems, United Technologies Corporation (UTC), Honeywell, London Security, and Mircom Group of Companies, among others.

Original Post Prime Factors Fuelling Fire Alarm Equipment Market, Introduction of Compulsory Health Safety Guidelines a Major Factor source Twease
          Research Studies Validate Large-spectrum Applications of Nanocellulose in Industry-level Water Purification         
Nanotechnology and a variety of nanomaterials have witnessed a huge rise in popularity over the past few years. From being at the forefront of research activities to understand their efficacy, a variety of nanomaterials have reached the stages of finding actual usages in several applications.   Over the past few years, the vast technical and financial support from research organizations and government initiatives for exploring the usage of nanocellulose has been a primary driver for the overall development of the global nanocellulose market. The use of nanocellulose in a a variety of end-use industries has been on a constant rise owing to the contribution of the material in reducing the global carbon footprint as it is a renewable source. The huge socio-economic benefits of the substance are expected to lead the global nanocellulose market on a flourishing growth path over the years to come. Nanocellulose, the material derived from plant cellulose or wood pulp, offers excellent thermal, rheological, mechanical, and structural benefits over other nanomaterials and cellulose-based substances. Known commonly as cellulose, the shape of nanocellulose varies from thread-shaped to ribbon-shaped to short rod-shaped, depending on the manufacturing process and source. Nanocellulose is used for a variety of applications, ranging from the use in oilfield chemicals to blocking of oxygen in packaging films. Recently, certain experiments conducted at industrial levels have reinstated the utility of nanocellulose filters for industry-level water purification purposes. In a series of tests undertaken in two Spanish factories and Spanish factories, nanocellulose filters have proven to be highly effective. This factor has subsequently increased the popularity of nanocellulose filters in industrial circles and is expected to drive the nanocellulose market for years to come. From small-sized nanocellulose filters, the size of the nanocellulose filters was further scaled up. The small-sized filters were used to check their efficiency for low-volume usage and then for the purification of water from public and industrial waterworks for understanding its positive impact on the health of humans, animals, and the environment. The nanocellulose filters were used to prove their efficiency at leather goods factory, a water company, and a water treatment plant. 

Original Post Research Studies Validate Large-spectrum Applications of Nanocellulose in Industry-level Water Purification source Twease
          Scientific Studies are Questioning the Effect of Nanosilver on Environment and Living Organisms        
Nanotechnology has been widely marketed as one of the most promising fields of technology of present times as it has the potential of producing products that will have applications in several industries from personal care, chemicals and materials, paints and coatings, cosmetics, and water disinfection. Nanotechnology has also been considered to be a field that will redefine growth dynamics of several end use industries and enable several products to be more effective than ever before. Several nanomaterials are under the research and development phase while a number of nanomaterials have also found their way to actual use in a variety of products. One of such prominent nanomaterials that has been observing a huge rise in popularity over the past some years and is finding applications in a variety of products is nanosilver. Nanosilver is nothing but the nano-form of silver particles. Silver, which has been extensively used as an antibiotic since ancient periods, shows remarkably unusual chemical, physical, and biological properties at nanoscale. Researchers have confirmed the superior physical and antibacterial properties of nanosilver and the material has seen a substantial rise in production and usage in a vast variety of commercial products over the past years. In fact, nanosilver is currently the only nanomaterial that is being used in medicinal applications. Owing to the strong antibacterial properties of the material, it is used for coating a variety of textiles as well as certain medical implants. It is also used for treating wounds or as a contraceptive. However, with the rising use of nanosilver across a variety of commercial products, the concern of release of the material in the environment and the potential of such a scenario being a threat for the health of the environment as well as all living creatures has surfaced.  Several studies have shown that owing to the nanostructure of the material, it can penetrate living cells and cause damage to them. This potential toxicity of the material has prompted scientists to undertake an increased number of research studies aimed at unearthing the major positive and negative risks of including nanosilver across a larger set of applications. 

Original Post Scientific Studies are Questioning the Effect of Nanosilver on Environment and Living Organisms source Twease
          Nanocoatings Market Cashes In On Restrictions to VOCs in Traditional Paints and Coatings        
Nanotechnology is considered the next big thing for the industrial world. With the several great technologies that the term ‘nanotechnology’ groups together and the several advancements that are making it increasingly more sophisticated with every passing day, nanotechnology is soon expected to be at the core of several developments across all major industries across the globe in the coming years. A vast numbers of nanoparticles have been under production on a large scale in the past few years and are being increasingly seeing adoption across several applications.  A large number of newer nanoparticles are expected to enter the market in the coming years and nanotechnology, as a combined industry for the several specialty segments it currently covers and shall cover in the future, will be a big part of the technological world soon.  One offshoots of nanotechnology is especially enjoying huge attention at current times and is expected to see flourishing growth in the future years - the field of nanocoatings.  Nanocoatings have several benefits over conventional paints and coatings owing to their features such as such as high resistance to chemicals and temperature, dirt repellence, hydrophilic, anti-microbial, anti-fingerprint, anti-fouling, self-cleaning properties, and easy-to-clean nature. Nanocoatings are currently observing huge demand from industries such as plastic, glass, metal, ceramics, textiles, automobiles, among others. As coatings and paints are a major part of every finished product around us, either for the purpose of safety, decoration, or protection, the market for coatings and paints sees huge demand as end-industries expand. Despite of the continuous rise in demand, the market for conventional paints and coatings has been under scrutiny in the past few years owing to the high volatile organic compound (VOC) content of several highly popular paints and coatings in the market. Owing to the severe impact of VOC on the environment, several rules and regulations have come into action that restrict the use of products that can possibly lead to high rates of emission of VOCs.  Nanocoatings, which are comparable, or even better, in terms of usability to conventional coatings, and comprise innovative particles that can reduce the amount of VOCs in the final product are rapidly cashing in on the restrictions that are limiting the adoption of a variety of traditional paints and coatings. With the introduction of more such innovative nanoparticles in the paints and coatings industry, the nanocoatings market will see growth at an even better pace in the future years.

Original Post Nanocoatings Market Cashes In On Restrictions to VOCs in Traditional Paints and Coatings source Twease
          Nanotechnology Now Making Accurate Assessment of microRNAs Possible        
It is interesting how research activities aimed at the detection and treatment of deadly diseases such as a variety of cancers are progressing on the global front. With the integration of latest technological advances from the field of nanotechnology, the field of cancer detection and treatment has become even more sophisticated in the past few years. Development of a new technology for detecting the presence of disease biomarkers have raised the hopes of making detection of cancer possible from a simple finger prick test. Researchers at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have developed a technology for detecting disease biomarkers in the form of nucleic acids. As nucleic acids are the building blocks of all living organisms, this new progress can have an impact on detection and treatment of a variety of diseases, especially a number of cancers, not only in humans but other living creatures as well. Researchers of the technology are calling the discovery as the potential first line of noninvasive detection for the diagnosis of anything from cancer to Ebola virus. Though the technology is currently in its early stages, the researchers are hopeful that it would eventually allow performing diagnostic tests with the help of a few drops of blood from a simple finger prick. The new technique makes use of nanotechnology for determining whether a particular target nucleic acid sequence is present within a substrate and quantify it if it is present with the help of an electronic signature. If the sample consists the sequence the testers are looking for, it will form a double helix with a probe provided by the diagnostic technology and a clear signal about a disease can be seen. If the sequence is not present, there is no signal. Researchers behind the new technology have said that by simply counting the number of signals, one can determine how much of the target is present in the sample. Nucleic acids have sequences of chains bases in the range of a few to some millions. The order in which these bases are found can be strongly tied to their functions, even over short distances. Thus, these sequences can be used as direct indicators of what is happening inside living cells or tissues. The study of microRNA biomarkers has been undergoing for several years but their accurate detection has been a real challenge owing to their tiny structures. With nanotechnology, the accurate detection of these structures has become possible, and so has the hopes of easier and more accurate diagnosis of diseases.

Original Post Nanotechnology Now Making Accurate Assessment of microRNAs Possible source Twease
          Nano-enabled Packaging in Food and Beverages Gaining Increasing Popularity         
It is interesting how advances in technology are blended with everyday life, making it simpler, safer, and interesting. Nanotechnology is one such field of technology that has been vastly exploited across several areas and is observing huge investments for research and development of newer applications. Nanotechnology has significantly benefitted the development of several industries, and have made products and services even more sophisticated, point in case is the packaging industry, especially the one that assists the food and beverages industry.  Nano-enabled packaging refers to the specialized area of packaging involving nanomaterials such as nanosilver, nanoclay, titanium nitride, etc. Studies have shown that nano-enabled packaging helps in keeping food products and beverages fresh for longer durations as compared to traditional packaging done with the help of plastic, paper, or other composite materials. Nanotechnology can help packaging materials in possessing anti-microbial, fire resistant properties, as having the advantage of being less permeable to gases.   Currently, the food and beverage industry uses two different types of nano-enabled packaging technologies: active packaging and intelligent packaging.  Several segments of the global food and beverages industry have started utilizing nano-enabled packaging techniques. Products such as meat, fruits and vegetables, prepared foods, bakery, and a variety of beverages can be seen conveniently packaged in nano-enabled packaging these days.  The popularity of food products and beverages packed with the help of a variety of advanced packaging techniques has significantly increased in the past few years. This trend has developed several growth opportunities for the nano-enabled packaging market. Over the coming years, as more advanced and reliable nanomaterials will enter the market, nano-enabled packaging is expected to become even more advanced and will see adoption on a wider scale. However, the scrutiny that surrounds the overall effect of nanoparticles on human as well as environmental health, is expected to limit the growth of the nnao-enabled packaging market to a certain extent as well. Like many other fields being affected by nanotechnology, the field of packaging can also see significant benefits if the science of nano particles is applied in the right way.  Some of the key vendors currently operating in the global nano-enabled packaging market are Amcor Limited, Klckner Pentaplast, Bemis Company, Inc., and Tetra Pak International S.A.

Original Post Nano-enabled Packaging in Food and Beverages Gaining Increasing Popularity source Twease
          U.S. Department of Agriculture Develops ‘Bio-Oil’ from Agricultural Wastes        
Rapidly increasing demand for food and limited availability of non-renewable natural resources has boosted the growth of the global biotechnology market. Favourable regulatory scenario has further augmented the market growth. However, the ethical issues related to clinical trials, coupled with long research and development lead time might restrain the growth of the market. The global biotechnology market has a huge opportunity to grow with the emergence of biosimilars and growing application of biotechnology in medical sciences. Cloning, stem cell technology, and nanotechnology are expected to define the future outlook of the market. The global biotechnology market is broadly categorized into biopharmacy, bioagriculture, bioindustrial, and bioservices. In 2011, the biopharmaceuticals segment dominated the market owing to increase in government funding, widespread technological advancements, and availability of cheap labour in developing economies. Growing demand for food in developing countries is expected to boost the market. Bioseeds offer greater benefits compared to conventional seeds and hence, will register exponential growth during the forecast period. This will propel the growth of the bioagriculture segment.  Scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have developed a process to produce ‘bio-oil’¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬- a crude fluid from agricultural wastes. Crude bio-oil is produced through pyrolysis. The process refers to chemical decomposition of plants and other organic matter at a very high temperature. The technique, termed as "tail-gas reactive pyrolysis," better known as TGRP, has the potential to improve the bio-oil and transform it into finished biofuels. The raw biomass material contains non-food-grade plant matter collected from agricultural or household wastes such as wood, switchgrass, and animal manures. Using these materials, bio-oils are produced at an accelerated rate with the help of a new high-output mobile processing unit.  TGRP is a crucial step towards achieving the ultimate goal of producing cleaner bio-oils.

Original Post U.S. Department of Agriculture Develops ‘Bio-Oil’ from Agricultural Wastes source Twease
          Invisible Wires Developed by Stanford Scientists to Boost Solar Cell Efficiency Drastically        
Efficiency in the solar industry has grown by leaps and bounds, all thanks to the intensive research and development initiatives undertaken by researchers around the world. The rising efficiency in the solar power market has helped to make solar cheaper and accessible in different parts of the world. Another latest innovation called ‘invisible wires’ is promising to improve solar cell efficiency significantly. Scientists at Stanford have discovered how to construct the electrical wiring on top of solar cells almost invisible to the incoming light. This innovative design deploys silicon nanopillars to conceal the wires. This technology is projected to boost the efficiency of solar cells dramatically. The finding related to this research has been published in the journal ACS Nano. This technology is expected to lead to a new paradigm in the design and fabrication of solar cells. According to the lead author Vijay Narasimhan, by deploying nanotechnology they have developed an innovative way to manufacture the upper metal contact pretty much invisible to incoming light. He further said that their new technique has the potential to significantly boost the efficiently and lower the cost of solar cells. The team created nanosized pillars made of silicon that tend to tower above the gold film and direct the light before it reaches the metallic surface. Making these silicon nanopillars was a one-step chemical process. Besides silicon, this innovative technology can be used with other semiconducting materials for a majority of applications such as light emitting diodes, photo sensors, displays, transparent batteries, and solar cells. According to Cui, the Co-director of the Department of Energy’s BAPVC, with a majority of optoelectronic devices, one typically constructs the semiconductor and the metal contacts separately. Their results display a new paradigm in which these components are designed and fabricated collectively to make a high-performance interface.

Original Post Invisible Wires Developed by Stanford Scientists to Boost Solar Cell Efficiency Drastically source Twease
          Plastic Bags Transformed With Nanotechnological Recycling        
ADELAIDE, Australia, September 27, 2013 (ENS) - University of Adelaide nanotechnology researchers have developed a process for turning waste plastic bags into a high-tech nano-material with multiple uses. The innovative technology uses plastic grocery bags to make carbon nanotube membranes. These sophisticated and expensive materials have a variety of potential advanced applications, including filtration, sensing, […]
          Nanotechnology Clothing to Render More Heat to Wearers        
The cold spell in the U.S. has only reminded people that clothing is meant to keep wearers warm. A team of scientist from Stanford University has taken this function of clothing to a whole new level, so much so that their invention could possibly make a significant dent in the consumption of global energy.  The scientists have developed a high-tech fabric with a rather complex concept. The textile is coated with a network of miniscule, invisible metallic wires which will not be felt by the wearers. With the help of these wires, the garment’s thermal properties will be boosted without compromising on the functionality of the apparel.  The restraint of regular clothing is this: although it manages to minimize the amount of heat that is lost through air or contact, it is unable to capture the radiant body heat which humans naturally emit.  With the help of a kind of electromagnetic energy, a Mylar overcoat manages to contain body heat but makes it rather uncomfortable for the wearer owing to the fact that the material fails to breathe. The researchers, in a recent paper on the topic, explain that in a Mylar coat, the aluminum film and plastic sheet are not vapor permeable.  Nanotechnology - often called the science of tiny things - is the solution to this problem. Fabrics coated with nanotechnology have already been used to make clothing block sunlight, shed water, and kill microbes. The scientists at Stanford reveal that by coating fabrics with silver nanowires in a chemical bath, the kind of clothing produced will help the human body trap its natural heat but still allow the fabric to breathe just like uncoated fabrics. This nanowire coated fabric can also be washed easily.

Original Post Nanotechnology Clothing to Render More Heat to Wearers source Twease
          A New Nano Device for Blood Analysis        
A new sensor has been developed by a team of researchers at the Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education of Ensenada, Baja California (CICESE). This research has been conducted in the area of Nano-Optics. This sensor is based on the properties of light to carry out blood analysis thereby, enabling the health specialists and physicians to get accurate and exact information. The development of this sensor has been allowed to obtain a patent and its publication has been permitted in several journals.  The leader of Nano-optics at CICESE has explained that the main challenge in the area of health is to come up with healing techniques that quick and have immediate impact. Simple assessment techniques like CBC require many hours and sometimes even several days. Another problem being faced is the issue of the absence of personalized diagnosis. This sensor not only provides accurate information but it can also be used at home in the future. The researchers are working on two main aspects, the first being, the development of a sensor that uses the principles of optics at a nanoscale and the second, how the fluid can be inserted in these dimensions. The basic challenge is to create a portable lab on a chip that has the capacity to make individualized measurements. According to a physicist, the ITESM researchers were interested in this sensor and applied it into the development.  The device involves the application of structures that blend a liquid in motion containing the sample to be analyzed; so that more of it can reach the place where the real measure by sensing is taking place.  Interestingly, such sensors were developed in the sixties and are not a new technology. However, this needs to be exploited. A scientist at CICESE has stated that the main contribution of the research team has been the realization of its potential and the incorporation of the current methods that include the principles of nanotechnology and optics.

Original Post A New Nano Device for Blood Analysis source Twease
          How To Save the World        
How to Save the World: 
The Biggest Risks Humanity Faces 
and How to Militate Against Them 
by Building a New Democratically-Oriented 
Global Techno-Social Fabric

(Last week I had the opportunity to spend a few days brainstorming with my friends at the Economic Space Agency, an unusual and fascinating California startup organization.  Among our technical conversations we also touched here and there on some of the major social issues facing humanity as it moves forward into the era of radically advanced technologies.  This article summarizes some of the ideas we tossed around.)

I generally tend to be an optimist, including about advanced technology and about the future potential for human and transhumanist growth.  I think we’re going to create superhuman thinking machines and that some of us will merge with them and explore incredible new forms of mind, society and embodiment and experience.  I think we will create radical material abundance that will end the era of working for a living, and end disease and death.

I also think, though, there may be some serious downs as well as ups on the way to this radiant future.  And there’s also a nontrivial risk that one of the downs takes us so far down as to prevent the amazing positive futures I envision from actually coming to pass.

“Saving the world” as I mean it involves both the positive and negative aspects — making the world better by improving things dramatically, but also, preventing terrible things from happening and destroying the beautiful things we already have.

On the positive side, there is a great diversity of human values around the world, but there is also some commonality.  Nearly all of us have an innate sense of joy, and want to feel joyful.  Nearly all of us have some sense of compassion, and want others around us to feel joyful as well.   Nearly all of us want to be able to choose key aspects of our lives, and/or to have our families and communities able to choose key elements of their own paths.  And many  of us would like to grow beyond our current limitations, becoming more successful and more helpful and exploring new horizons.  And fortunately, it appears likely that a variety of advanced technologies, currently already emerging, are going to be able to promote these positive values to an unprecedented degree.  Computer networking, AI, biotech, nanotech, blockchain…

And on the negative side, the list of risks we face is also well known.  There’s the risk of natural disaster — comets hitting the Earth and so forth.   There’s the risk of human-encouraged natural catastrophe — global warming causing an unforeseen chemical reaction in the oceans leading to massive release of poison gas, or some such.   There’s the risk Nick Bostrom worries about in his book “Superintelligence” — that superhuman AIs will decide the molecules comprising humans can be more aesthetically or effectively used for some utterly nonhuman purpose.  There’s the risk of World War III between nation-states.

And then there’s the risk I think is actually the most worrisome — the risk that disaffected people, shut out of the centers of the world economy via radical economic inequality and/or political restrictions, leverage advanced technology to cause massive destruction.  Which then creates a negative and chaotic global political situation, in which all sorts of destructive technologies get born (including maybe the ones Bostrom worries about).

One thing I’m going to explain here is why I think this risk is a serious one — and then, what sort of things I think can be done to mitigate the risk.   And the solutions I’m going to suggest are things that we really should do anyway, for a whole host of reasons.

My logic here will involve a few decent-sized leaps, but I don’t think they’re insanely huge ones. You'll have to judge for yourself ;-)

When Robots Take The Jobs, Who Will Give Basic Income to the Residents of the Congo?

Let’s suppose that AI and robotics and associated technologies keep on advancing impressively, so that the need for human labor in the economy keeps on decreasing.  Then what happens to the people whose efforts are no longer needed in the labor force?   In the developed world, we already see a strong movement toward universal basic income, which is pretty much the only rational and compassionate solution to the situation.  But what about the developing world?   Who will give universal basic income to the citizens of, say, the Congo or Central African Republic, when the developed-world economy has advanced sufficiently that outsourcing to the citizens of these nations doesn’t make any economic sense?

One possibility is that developed-world philanthropists or governments rise to the occasion and distribute universal basic income throughout the world.   But I don’t have much faith this will happen.

One issue is that even the wealthiest philanthropists don’t have the funds to make a huge difference.   Suppose Bill Gates gave half his wealth to supply Africa with universal basic income.   30 billion dollars would give 30 dollars to each African for one year.   This is just not enough.   No small set of good-hearted individuals is wealthy enough to make a real dent here.  The whole class of super-wealthy individuals is rich enough to make a dent, but few of them care as much as the celebrated handful of billionaire philanthropists like Gates, Zuckerberg and Buffett.

Another issue is that, in developed democracies like the US, average voters are typically very unhappy with foreign aid.   Average Americans vastly overestimate the amount of foreign aid that the US government currently gives out, and they tend not to like it.   When the US gov’t first starts giving out universal basic income, it’s not going to be enough to keep everyone happy.  Average voters are not so likely to want to diminish their monthly payment in order to help faraway people with strange cultures and belief systems.

It could happen that, due to advancing technology, supplying basic needs becomes SO cheap that it becomes politically unproblematic to supply a universal basic income globally.  This might be the case if, for instance, we had a sudden breakthrough in molecular nanotechnology leading to fairly general-purpose, low-cost molecular assemblers.  This would be awesome.  But to be frank, I’m not counting on it.  I’m sure these technologies will come, but they may come only a few years or a decade or two AFTER the technology that obsoletes outsourcing and leaves developing-world citizens economically stranded.

The (Extreme and Nasty) Qualitative Nature of Global Inequality Today

For folks living in developed nations, it’s hard to get a sense of the extent to which people in the worse-off portions of the developing world feel (and are) left out of the modern world economy.   (I’ve gotten a little bit of insight into this via frequent visits to Ethiopia, where I’ve been co-running an AI and robotics outsourcing shop since 2013.  But I’m sure I still don’t have a full feel for these things, to the extent that I would if I’d grown up there.)

Let me try to give a vague flavor of the situation.   If you live in sub-Saharan Africa, the odds are that even if you can afford a smartphone, you can’t afford a lot of data minutes.  Unrestricted viewing of, say, educational videos is not an option.

You aren’t all that likely to be able to afford university tuition (if you do well on the exams at the end of high school, you have a good chance; but if you miss that one opportunity, your chance is probably nixed for life).

If you want to start a business, good luck saving a couple thousand US dollars in seed funding.  As soon as you save a few hundred dollars, odds are fairly high that some relative in a remote village will have a genuine urgent need for funding to pay for critical medical care.  Your choice may be to spend your savings to help your great-aunt, or else to be responsible for her death.

Do you want to use your hard-won savings to fly to some foreign tech hub to show your prototype to some investors?  Good luck getting a visa.  Sometimes it’s possible but it’s extremely chancy.  (I have had many failures trying to bring my Ethiopian AI researcher colleagues to Hong Kong, Canada and the US on temporary visitor visas or work visas.  These are people with advanced degrees in science and technology, and work history in AI software development.   Occasionally it succeeds; often the immigration departments reject the applications with no reason given.)

If you've managed to buck the odds and scramble like hell to gain the needed skills, maybe you can work online for overseas customers, doing consulting and saving money for your future that way.   Well, except the e-work websites may well not be set up to allow you to register any payment method available to you on their sites.    If you do manage to register, you'll get paid 1/10 the amount of folks in the developed world for doing exactly the same work, because of the country of residence indicated on your profile on the site.   And oh, then you  may find that your country's government decides to shut down the Internet for a week or two here or there (as I write this, Ethiopia has just shut down its whole country's internet for a week to try to avoid high school students cheating on their final exams) -- they don't seem to care what this will make your international customers think of your reliability!

Some folks in the developing world fight through all these factors to achieve great or modest success.   Many do not, despite having plenty of smarts and despite putting in MUCH more effort than the average, reasonably successful US, Western European or Chinese citizen.

The situation in, say, the former Soviet republics or the less well-off countries in Southeast Asia or South America is not as extreme as in sub-Saharan Africa.  But for many people it is qualitatively the same.   Why do you think there are so many Filipino women willing to leave their spouses and children to work as domestic helpers in Hong Kong for US$600/month, half of which they’ll send home to their families?  Why do you think there are so many attractive, college-educated young Eastern European women, willing to sell themselves as mail-order brides to unattractive, dull middle-aged men in the US or Western Europe?

What’s at issue here is not economic equality per se — almost nobody I know is upset that some people are richer than others.  There are differentials in ability and willingness to work that naturally lead to differences in wealth and income, at the current state of technological development.  And almost nobody wants to wipe out all the impact of history on wealth — nearly everyone wants to be able to pass along some of what they create or earn during their lives to their children, for example.  What’s at issue here is the ability to participate in a reasonably full way in the world economy.  In other words, those developing-world citizens I know who are discontented with their role in the world economy (i.e. nearly all of them) are not discontented with the fact that there is an economic game with a competitive aspect to it, nor are they disgruntled with sour grapes that they have lost the game.  They are discontented that, by dint of the nations they happen to have been born in, they are essentially disqualified from playing the game.  They have to fight a hard battle with low odds, often entailing great personal and family sacrifices, just to get on the playing field of the international tech economy.

I’m aware that life can be tough all around.   Even the super-wealthy can find life a struggle each day, as newspaper tabloids amply document.  I was raised middle class, nowhere near wealthy, and have worked quite hard all my adult life, with numerous ups and downs both personally and career-wise, some quite traumatic.  I’m pretty contented now and I’m grateful for both the situation I was born into and various opportunities I’ve made and happened into.  But I’ve seen close friends, also middle-class living in the developed world, commit suicide due to the difficulty of fighting through unfairly stacked competition and stultifying bureaucracy to realize their dreams.  Human psyche and human culture involve suffering everywhere on the planet; and in some ways I feel like folks in the developing world have more satisfying lives than their materially wealthy counterparts, due to the rich and warm social fabric they so often weave.  Complexities abound in nearly all human situations.  But none of these complexities takes away the prevalence, unfairness or danger of the gross inequity in the current world situation.

Minimizing the Odds of Massive Inequality Leading to Global Catastrophe

OK, so radical inequality of opportunity is prevalent and it sucks.  Now take the next step, and realize that: In spite of these factors, there are more and more highly educated young people in the developing world, with understanding of advanced technology.  Even the poorest nations are now equipped with computers and networks, and with biological lab equipment, and with universities teaching advanced science and engineering.

It’s not hard to see what sorts of risks this situation leads to.  If global inequality keeps increasing, and we have an increasing population of people who are largely shut out of the excitingly advancing global tech economy — but with significant access to modern education and technological tools — what do you think is likely to happen?

As technology advances, it takes fewer and fewer people, with less and less intelligence and know-how, to create more and more destruction.  This is true with computer hacking, it’s true with drones and robots, it’s true with biotech, and it will soon be true with nanotech.

What we need to do, to prevent global wealth inequality and advanced technology from adding up to produce global catastrophe, is increase equitability of opportunity.  We need to enable everyone in the world to have the opportunity to really play the modern global economic-social game.  We need to all be in this together, on a basic level, or else, we’re likely to squander our chance to create radical abundance for all via destroying ourselves in a maelstrom of foolishness, selfishness and violence.

I don’t mean to give the impression that the ONLY reason radical global inequality of opportunity is bad, is its strong potential to lead to widespread destruction.  According to my own morals, this sort of radical inequality of opportunity is intrinsically a rotten thing, regardless of the risk it poses to global safety.   I favor joy, growth and choice for all sentient beings, inasmuch is possible, and radical global inequality obvious is crappy on all three counts (it badly hurts joy, growth and choice, calculated in total across the globe).   I’m just highlighting, in this particular essay, one among the many nasty implications of this sort of inequality: its reasonably high likelihood of fostering a situation in which vast numbers of humans get killed and nasty futuristic technologies get developed in the chaotic aftermath.

Technology is not the whole solution here; this is a human psychology and culture problem as well as a technology problem.  But I do believe that appropriate deployment of appropriate technologies can help create a context in which culture is more likely to evolve in a way that mitigates these problems.

What technologies do we need?  We need technologies that encourage a democratic global social fabric.  That make it easier for people all around the world to connect with each other, to create media of all sorts for sharing with each other, to transact economically and emotionally with each other.  That make it less and less practical for governments and large corporations — with their tendency toward impersonality and inertia — to clog, prohibit or pervert exchanges between individuals and the formation of ad hoc or persistent social networks of various sizes and types.

Six Critical Technologies for Enabling a Positive Future

Fortunately these objectives can viably be achieved by a menu of technologies already in development to various extents.

The following would be a good start:

  1. Mesh networks, so that Internet access is outside the control of large corporations and governments, and in more direct control of the people
  2. Decentralized production of low-cost hardware.   When we can 3D print the smartphones that enable the mesh network, in relatively low-cost local factories, then we’ll be in a pretty exciting position.
  3. Machine translation, for both text and voice, that handles all the world’s languages.   This is an area where my own research on artificial general intelligence may have a transformative role to play.
  4. A social-network infrastructure that is widely used, that leverages machine translation and mesh networks, and that is out of the control of governments and corporations.
  5. A decentralized, peer-to-peer economic exchange mechanism that is widely used and understood, operating on the mesh and requiring only prevalent low-cost hardware.  Blockchain technologies provide an obvious basis here, including the new tech and ideas my friends at the Economic Space Agency are working on.
  6. Videos, games, augmented reality, virtual reality, biofeedback, neurofeedback and AI interaction systems that are oriented toward helping people understand themselves and each other better.  

Regarding the last point, another way to say it is: We need meaningful media that will help people grow, and help them come together, and help them confront the world’s difficult problems with love rather than hate — and we need this media distributed in a democratic and decentralized way rather than via advertising or propaganda dominated media channels.  If provided with the technology to create and disseminate meaningful media, the people of the world will, in my estimation, most probably do so.  There will be lots of less-meaningful media alongside, to be sure.  But if media is more strongly separated from the desire of governments to spread propaganda and the desire of corporations to maximize profit, then the more positive and growth-oriented sides of humanity will have more chance to self-organize into powerful new configurations.

These mechanisms would not automatically, magically make universal basic income spread globally.  But they would make it far more likely.  They would create massively richer, more positive interaction and interoperation between the developed and developing world economies.  They would lead to the flourishing of creative new economic and social networks, including many oriented toward environmental, social and spiritual benefit.  Rather than relying  on governments or corporations, or majority vote in corporate media dominated democracies, to spread the bounty from technological progress widely — these tools would foster self-organization of decentralized mechanisms enabling individuals and small groups to reach out to other individuals and small groups and engage them in positive and mutually beneficial interactions.

Think About It ...

Do we need all of the above to avert catastrophe?  Not necessarily.

Would the development of all this necessarily avert catastrophe?  Not necessarily.

But the more of this we can get, the more of a global “level playing field” we’re going to have, and the more of a sense we’re going to have that we’re all in this together.

Development and deployment of this set of technologies would constitute a revolution, but not the violent kind.  We don’t need to overthrow the world’s governments (though some are bound to get overthrown in the next couple decades anyway) and we don’t need to eliminate all the big corporations.  What we need to do is to build new networks that join people together directly, in parallel to governments and corporations, and ultimately subverting their power and influence.

With the above set of technologies, we would have a medium within which all sorts of new social, economic and cultural network would form.  These would not lead to complete economic or social equality, and would not eradicate all the problems of the world.  But they would go a long way toward enabling everyone on the planet to participate fully in the ongoing techno-social revolution.  A world dominated by such technologies would be one in which positive new tech would have a higher odds of getting developed - including biotech that heals rather than biotech that kills, and AI that loves us rather than AI that repurposes all our molecules.

It’s complicated.  But it’s not more complicated than building Google, Baidu, the Internet, self-driving cars, New York or Beijing, or pulling off the Human Genome Project.  Humanity can solve very complicated problems, when it focuses even a quite modest subset of its attention.

Think about where we, as a society, are focusing our technology development efforts.  Google and Tesla are great companies, for example.  But how ultimately important is more effective online ad placement, and better creation of luxury cars?   Why is our economy and society organized so that so many of the best educated brilliant minds on the planet are focusing their attention on such things?   Of course, Google’s work on ads is funding its work on life extension (Calico); and Tesla’s work on luxury cars is funding its work on better batteries, which has very broad application.   In general — in spite of the developed world focusing the majority of its economy on the creation of things that exacerbate inequality and appeal to the more selfish, shallow human emotions — we are still getting amazing and important things done.

But it’s not clear that getting the important stuff done as a side-effect of building frivolous things to enrich or amuse the most wealthy is going to be good enough.

It may be that we really need some more direct focus on technologies with strong direct potential for global good.

Think about it.

          The Tech-Startup Attractor: Musings on the Thiel Fellowships, Singularity University, and the value of good old-fashioned universities        

This Business Insider article on the outcome so far of the Thiel Fellowship experiment is interesting, though not surprising..

As you may recall, Peter Thiel launched the Thiel Fellowship program as a "20 under 20" initiative, with a stated aim of showing that - for bright ambitious youth anyway -- college is not necessary and is in many ways not the best way to spend 4 years of one's young adulthood.   The Thiel Fellows were each given $100K over 2 years, with a goal of supporting them in pursuing their own thoughts, dreams and visions....

As the Business Insider article reports, as the Fellowship experiment has continued for a few years, it has evolved a bit ... in the beginning it seemed like it was going to focus broadly on ambitious and brilliant youth with all sorts of creative new ideas and direction, and on giving them space to flesh out their thinking without needing to worry about paying the bills ... but it seems to have gravitated more toward a sort of "social network for young entrepreneurs", focusing mostly on young people with tech business projects reasonably likely to create near-term profit ... including many who are already having significant business success.   And the main value-add of the program is coming out to be, not the cash stipend, but rather the social network to which the Fellowship gives access.

All of which is great, and surely moves technology and business and society forwards a bit.   However, it does not whatsoever show that dropping out of college is a great path forward for youth in general.   What it shows is more like: IF you are young and want to start a tech biz based on an idea that appears to the Silicon Valley tech community to have significant near-term financial potential, THEN dropping out of school and into an extremely influential social network (well-connected with a host of high-net-worth individuals and impactful tech companies and VC funds etc. etc.) is a damn good idea, if you get the opportunity...

Well, yeah....  But this doesn't really say much about the pluses or minuses of going to college or getting a college degree if you DON'T have the opportunity to get rapidly embraced by a world-class social network like this...

I'm not especially an apologist for the contemporary university system, which annoys me in many ways, with  (among other problems) its focus on rote learning, its obsession with dividing knowledge into irrelevant disciplinary bins, and its tendency to squelch individual and group creativity.   

On the other hand, I have to admit that universities are the one area in human society that has consistently, over a long period of time (nearly a millenium!), provided an environment in which learning new things and developing radical new ideas is generally encouraged, apart from the short-term reward that such learning and ideas may bring.   All the egregious flaws of the university system aside, this is not to be scoffed at.

Society gives all of us a lot of pressure to pursue short-term reward in various ways, and on various levels.   Even as universities come to focus more on career-preparation majors, and professors are pushed to pull in grant funding rather than work on obscure  or out-there topics that funding agencies ignore -- still, compared to the other aspects of our society, universities seem by far the MOST supportive of learning and creation and invention not tied to short-term reward.

Of course there are non-university institutions that out-do universities in this regard, but they are small and scattered and end up not being accessible to most people.

Of course, nearly anyone in the developed world can find other ways to spend their time learning and creating, without enrolling in university.   But we are all susceptible to various social pressures, so -- even with all the information and communities available on the Internet -- it is still valuable to have a physical environment where learning and creation are core to the mission and vibe.

One point I often end up making in conversations about AI is that every one of the "deep neural net" algorithms being used by big tech companies these days, was invented by university professors and published in the academic literature.   Then the big tech companies took these (often via hiring said professors or their grad students) and implemented them more scalably and got amazing practical results.   But the core deep learning algorithms were invented in the university setting not the tech company setting, and they were invented alongside thousands of other algorithms, none of which had widely obvious commercial value at the time they were invented.   Many of these other algorithms will never prove practically valuable; some may ultimately prove far more valuable than deep neural networks.

Quantum computing obviously is the same way.  Where was quantum theory developed?  And where were the original ideas underlying quantum computing worked out?  Where are the speculative designs and lab experiments and math papers being done today, that are laying the groundwork for the quantum computers we'll have in our compute clouds 15-25 years from now ... for the Quantum Processing Units (QPUs) we'll have in our smartphones and smartwatches, in our robots' brains, maybe implanted in our own brains.   Hint: mostly not in venture-funded startups, nor in the labs of big tech companies...

The Thiel Fellowships are a cool program, but they don't seem to be fostering the kind of wide-ranging intellectual exploration and concept creation that universities -- in their screwed-up, contorted and semi-archaic way -- have so often fostered.   Rather they seem to be fostering some young people to do what Silicon Valley does best -- take ideas already formed by other folks and commercialize and market them, make them scalable and slick.   I don't want to discount this sort of work; I love my Android phone and Macbook and Google Search and all that too....   But this is a very particular sort of pursuit, and the fact that getting embedded in an awesome social network is more useful than university for this sort of thing, is pretty bloody obvious, right?

I see some parallels with how Singularity University (the non-degree granting educational organization, founded by Ray Kurzweil and Peter Diamandis and others in Silicon Valley) has developed.   While I'm currently an advisor for SU's AI and robotics track, I'm not that intensively involved with the organization these days.    However, I was fairly heavily involved with SU when it was founded, and before it was founded. 

The initial legwork for putting SU together was largely done by Amara Angelica (who runs for Ray) and Bruce Klein, who at the time was working for me as President of Novamente LLC.   I was paying Bruce a modest salary for his Novamente work, which covered his basic bills while he spent 6 months doing social networking trying to put together the founding meeting for Singularity University.   The founding meeting -- which I ended up not attending as I was busy with so much other stuff -- was a big success ... Ray Kurzweil and Peter Diamandis shared their vision wonderfully and recruited the needed founding donations from the various individuals Bruce and Amara and their colleagues had gathered together (with help from Ray and Peter as well) ... and SU was off to the races ...

When Bruce and Amara and I were first talking about SU, however, our discussions had a pretty strongly Singularitarian vibe.   We were talking about how to radically accelerate progress toward AGI, mind uploading, Drexlerian nanotech, radical longevity, and so forth.   And in the first couple years of its existence, SU was fairly much in this vein, though already a bit more "startup bootcamp" oriented than we had been thinking.

Looking at SU now, it's awesome for what it is -- but it's become far more focused on short-term hi-tech business opportunities than it initially seemed would be the case.   SU has done a heap of good for the world, by bringing future-minded entrepreneurs and others from all around the world together, to social network with Silicon Valley tech leaders and brainstorm on how to create new startups using advanced tech to improve the world. 

And much as with the Thiel Fellowship, I believe the  main value-add SU has ended up providing to its students is the social network.   Definitely, for a future-oriented business executive or scientist from Quatar or China or Bolivia or Ethiopia, the chance to get to know dozens to hundreds of Silicon Valley and international tech-biz geeks can be pretty priceless...

Perhaps much of what we see in both the Thiel Fellowship and Singularity University cases is merely the power of the "tech startup attractor" for programs based in Silicon Valley.    Silicon Valley is damn good at tech startups, and is not necessarily equally good at providing alternative means of giving young people broad education or space to wild-mindedly create new ideas ... nor at encouraging people to make huge leaps toward the Singularity in ways that don't promise short-term business success.... 

Of course, Silicon Valley doesn't have to be everything -- it's a big world out there, with lots of wealth and brilliance and capability in so many different places -- and it's incredibly impressive what things like the Thiel Fellowship and Singularity University are contributing to the world.   But the relatively small role these sorts of things play in the bigger picture of what's going on on the planet, should also not be lost sight of...

So far, universities are still pretty damn useful, in terms of providing environments for young people to learn how to learn, and space for young people to create and grow without the world's usual pressures.... 

And so far, the challenge of directing significant resources to really ambitious Singularitarian goals like AGI, mind uploading and Drexlerian nanotech, has yet to be met....   We are moving toward these goals anyway, and progress is excitingly fast by historical standards.   Yet it seems to me that we could be progressing faster and in many ways more beneficially and interestingly, if not for the tendency of more visionary initiatives to get sucked into attractors related to short-term profit-seeking.... 

And it's also clear to me, that, in our current path toward a radically better future, good old traditional universities are continuing to play a very central role, in spite of all their archaic peculiarities.  I would love for far better modes of social organization to emerge, but this process is still underway; and currently the Silicon Valley tech-startup network -- with all its diverse and fascinating manifestations -- is more a complement to traditional universities than an alternative...

          Wild-ass shit: P-adic physics, p-adic complex probabilities and the Eurycosm         
(some fairly out-there technical/cosmic musings/speculations …)

This post is best read while listening to 1:39:55 and onwards of

I have been skimming (not yet carefully reading) some bits and pieces of the radically imaginative physics theories of Matti Pitkanen.   Among other innovations, he founds his physics theories on p-adic analysis rather than conventional differential and integral calculus.   Pitkanen has been looking at p-adic physics for  a long time; but in recent years various applications of p-adic math to physics have gotten more mainstream, with a large number of researchers jumping into the fray.

Inspired by a vague inkling of some of Pitkanen’s ideas, this afternoon I started thinking about the possibility of developing a notion of p-adic uncertainty.   Among other things, I have in mind Knuth and Skilling’s elegant derivation of probability theory from basic axioms regarding lattices and orders, and my sketchy ideas about how to extend their derivation to yield Youssef-style complex-valued probabilities.  

Now, one of Knuth and Skilling’s initial assumptions is the existence of a valuation mapping elements of a lattice of events into real numbers.   So, it becomes natural to wonder – what happens if one replaces this assumption with that of a valuation mapping elements of a lattice of events into p-adic numbers?  

Perhaps some variant of their symmetry arguments follows through … it seems at least plausible that it could, since the p-adic numbers also have field structure, and also have continuity.  

If so, then one would obtain a concept of p-adic probability, with an elegant foundation in symmetries.  

Extending this argument to complex numbers, one would obtain a p-adic analogue of Youseff-ian complex probability.  

One key difference between p-adic numbers and real numbers is ultrametricity – p-adic numbers obey a strong triangle inequality of the form

d(x,z) <= max{ d(x,y), d(y,z) }

Conceptually, ultrametricity can be modeled via drawing a tree structure with the elements of the ultrametric space at the leaves.  The distance between x and y then corresponds to the number of levels one has to go up in the tree, to form a path between x and y.

If one arranges the elements of one’s event lattice in a hierarchy, one can naturally define an ultrametric distance between the lattice elements using this hierarchy.   Intuitively, it seems that p-adic probability might provide a way of quantifying “size” of lattice elements that correlates with this sort of hierarchical distance.

Viewed in this way, and making all sorts of thinly-substantiated conceptual leaps, one is tempted to think about ordinary probability as heterarchical probability, and p-adic probability as hierarchical probability.  Or in the complex case: heterarchical vs. hierarchical complex probabilities.

It’s not immediately obvious why physics would make use of hierarchical rather than (or along with?) heterarchical complex probabilities.   But with a bit of funky lateral thinking, one can imagine why this might be so.

For instance, it seems to be the case that if one looks at the distribution of distances among sparse vectors in very high dimensional spaces, ultrametricity generally holds to within a close degree of approximation.   This suggests that if one embeds a set of sparse high-dimensional vectors into a lower-dimensional metric space, one may end up doing some serious injustice to the metric structure.   On the other hand, if one embeds the same set of sparse high-dimensional vectors into an ultrametric space, one may preserve the distance relations more closely.   But any ultrametric structure one imposes on finite datasets, if it’s going to have reasonable mathematical properties, is going to be equivalent to the p-adic numbers.  

So, suppose the set of events in our universe is viewed as a sparse set of events drawn from a much higher-dimensional space --- then projected into some sort of smaller space to form our universe.   It follows then that, to preserve something of the metric structure that our universe has when embedded in the original higher-dimensional space, we want to model our universe as having ultrametric structure.  But if we also want our universe to have some nice reasonable symmetries, then we end up with a p-adic structure on our universe, rather than a traditional real metric structure.

And finally – I mean, since we’re already way out on a latticework of extremely flimsy and weird-looking ambiguously-dimensional limbs, we may as well go all-out, right? – this would appear to bring us back to my modest proposal that our universe can be viewed as embedded in some broader eurycosm.   If our universe is embedded in some “wider world” or “eurycosm” which is viewed as very high dimensional (perhaps as an approximation of some sort of nondimensional structure), then one would appear to have the beginning of an argument as to how a p-adic foundation for physics would emerge.

It’s also worth noting that a finite non-dimensional structure can be turned into a high-dimensional structure via tensorial linearization – so that, to the extent we can describe a eurycosmic order via Boolean descriptors, we can also describe it via very high-dimensional vectors.    So we have a path from any logical description of a eurycosm, to a picture of our universe as a sparse set of high-dimensional vectors, to a picture of our universe as an ultrametric low-dimensional embedding of these vectors, to a p-adic foundation for physics…

And that, dear friends, is some hi-fi fuckin’ sci-fi !!!!

(I mean ... conspiracy theories about the Rothschilds or the Reptilians or whatever just can’t compete, in my not so humble opinion…)

The question, a la Max Born, is if it’s crazy enough to be (after appropriate fleshing out and tweaking, yadda yadda) pointing in the vague direction of some sort of useful truth…

(“Truth?  What is truth?”)

--> This was a fun post to write – it was written on a flight from the Milken conference in Singapore, where I served on a panel about the future of AI in Asia, back home to Hong Kong.  After blowing much of the Milken audience’s minds with videos of OpenCog-controlled Hanson robots and rather obvious observations about the imminent obsolescence of humanity and the potentials of nanotech, femtotech and superintelligence … I needed to plunge a bit into deeper questions.   Mathematics gives us intriguing, amazing hints at aspects of superhuman realms; though of course superhuman minds are likely to create new cognitive disciplines far beyond our concept of mathematics….


Wszystkie one leżą u podstaw tego, co można nazwać „kapitałem naturalnym”. Kapitał naturalny to wszystkie dobra, które wytwarzają inne organizmy żywe, ale także wszystkie mechanizmy Natury, bez których życie człowieka nie byłoby możliwe lub byłoby bardzo utrudnione. Są to dobra, których człowiek sam nie wytwarza, a które można przynajmniej częściowo wycenić. Wstępna grupa 39 banków podpisała Deklarację Kapitału Naturalnego. Dokument ten definiuje ów kapitał jako „ziemskie zasoby naturalne (gleba, powietrze, woda, flora i fauna), oraz usługi ekosystemu z nich wynikające, które czynią życie ludzkie możliwym”.


Zgodnie z deklaracją, aktywa te są warte biliony dolarów każdego roku, ale nie są odpowiednio wycenione przez światowy system gospodarczy. Pytanie brzmi, dlaczego w wycenę tego kapitału nie włączyć samego człowieka, jak i innych czynników, które powinny się znaleźć w jego definicji? Wartość tych dóbr należy traktować jako kapitał, którego udziałowcami są wszyscy ludzie. Nie musieliśmy na to pracować, a zatem zaoszczędziliśmy czas, energię i pieniądze.


Co z reguły robi się z zaoszczędzonymi funduszami? Inwestuje je w coś innego. Często podnoszony jest argument, że wprowadzenie dochodu gwarantowanego wytworzy jeszcze większe patologie i uzależni społeczeństwo od władzy. Argument ten wynika stąd, że do tej pory wszyscy traktują dochód gwarantowany jako typowe świadczenie socjalne. Oparcie światowej ekonomii na „kapitale naturalnym” oznaczałoby korzystanie z środków w ramach tego kapitału, niejako niezależnie od obecnych modeli gospodarczych. Żeby to zrozumieć właściwie, trzeba się zastanowić nad jedną kwestią: wygranych w Lotto. W ostatnim czasie jedna osoba wygrała rekordową w historii Polski kwotę prawie 37 milionów złotych, puszczając trzy zakłady na „chybił trafił”. Praca tego człowieka ograniczyła się do wypowiedzenia zdania: „Trzy na chybił trafił” i zapłacenia za owe zakłady. Wygrywając taką kwotę, człowiek ten zapewnił sobie dostatnie życie dla siebie i swojej rodziny, do końca życia. Mając ponad 30 mln złotych netto, można przez 500 lat żyć za 5000 złotych miesięcznie lub przez 100 lat za 25 000 złotych. Plus dodatkowy dochód z tytułu pracy, jeśli ów człowiek nie zrezygnuje z aktywności zawodowej.


Nie wiemy kim jest ta osoba. Być może bez tej wygranej i tak doskonale radzi sobie w życiu. Ktoś, kto sobie nie radzi i potrzebowałby tych pieniędzy o wiele bardziej, być może nigdy takiej, bądź zbliżonej kwoty nie wygra. Pytanie brzmi więc: dlaczego nie robimy nic, by loteryjność ludzkich losów choć trochę uregulować, opierając korzystanie z dóbr materialnych na „kapitale naturalnym”, którego nie wypracowaliśmy sami, a bez którego nie moglibyśmy funkcjonować? Jeśli dla minister Elżbiety Bieńkowskiej 6000 złotych, to kwota, za którą może pracować „złodziej lub frajer” i nie da się z tego wyżyć, to ustanówmy dochód gwarantowany na poziomie 5000 złotych netto dla każdego. W końcu 5000 złotych to o 1000 złotych mniej, a więc świadczenie jeszcze bardziej „głodowe” w rozumieniu Bieńkowskiej.


Kluczowe jest tu także uświadomienie sobie innej kwestii. Ray Kurzweil przewiduje, że
w ciągu 30 lat dojdzie do 3 sytuacji:

  • Między 2030 a 2040 rokiem inteligencja niebiologiczna osiągnie poziom przewyższający człowieka miliard razy.
  • Do roku 2045 nanotechnologia pozwoli tworzyć żywność i inne przedmioty
    „z powietrza”.
  • Do roku 2045 nasza inteligencja ulegnie zwielokrotnieniu dzięki bezprzewodowemu łączeniu naszej kory mózgowej z mocą obliczeniową chmury.

Kapitał naturalny jest czymś, z czego wszyscy powinni korzystać od zawsze. Wszystko co mogliśmy zrobić z tymi środkami w przeszłości, przepadło. Jeśli za 30 lat nanotechnologia będzie w stanie stworzyć każde dobro materialne w zasadzie z niczego, bez wydatkowania naszej pracy i energii, to pieniądz przestanie istnieć. Dochód gwarantowany będzie więc wypłacany do czasu wprowadzenia na masową skalę „nanobotów”. Im szybciej się to stanie, tym mniej pieniędzy trzeba będzie przeznaczyć na takie świadczenie. Dlaczego więc nie wykorzystać choć części tych zasobów w okresie przejściowym, między teraz a stworzeniem sztucznej inteligencji oraz implementacją nanotechnologii?


Szczęsny Górski stwierdza, że:

"W ujęciu koncepcji kredytu społecznego zauważa się, że dobra w coraz mniejszym stopniu powstają dzięki osobistej pracy ludzkiej, a w coraz większym – dzięki bogactwom naturalnym, energii i technologii. Właśnie za opracowania wykazujące dominujący wpływ tego ostatniego czynnika, Robert Solow otrzymał ekonomicznego Nobla. Nawiasem mówiąc C. H. Douglas pisał o tym ok. 30 lat wcześniej. Trzeba teraz zauważyć, że bogactwa naturalne i technologia stanowią wspólne dziedzictwo wszystkich obywateli – wspólny kapitał, w którym każdy ma swoją cząstkę, z samej racji bycia potomkiem poprzednich jego dziedziców i pomnożycieli. Jest to tak samo naturalne jak to, że ktoś dziedziczy majątek czy akcje po rodzicach. A będąc akcjonariuszem, ma się prawo do dywidendy od narodowego kapitału, niezależnie czy się aktualnie pracuje czy nie. Prawie wszyscy na tym by korzystali. Przemysł i handel miałyby większe obroty, bezrobotni mieliby pokrycie choćby części swych podstawowych potrzeb, matki mogłyby łatwiej decydować się na osobiste odchowanie dzieci. Cała gospodarka byłaby lepiej „ukrwiona” przez ten dodatkowy kredyt. Straciliby tylko ci, którzy obecnie przywłaszczają sobie – poprzez podatki – społeczną dywidendę od przyrostu realnego bogactwa, tj. oprocentowanie jego finansowego odpowiednika, który sami wykreowali z nicości.


Gdy widzimy bogatego człowieka, z portfelem pełnym akcji, z których ma dywidendę, jest to dla nas zupełnie normalne. Gdyby poszedł do pracy to nawet bylibyśmy źli, bo ma przecież swoje akcje i nie powinien zabierać pracy mniej zamożnym. Więc dlaczego nas oburza myśl, że człowiek zwykły, który nie chce, chce mniej, lub całkiem nie może pracować zarobkowo, miałby skromnie żyć z dywidendy? Jest przecież także akcjonariuszem majątku narodowego. Istnieje wiele rodzajów pracy, społecznie ważnej, pożytecznej, zwiększającej potencjał narodowy tj. kredyt realny, za którą nikt nie płaci np. praca matek w rodzinach, uczenie się, uprawianie sztuki i sportu dla własnego rozwoju, opieka nad słabszymi. Zdrowy, normalny człowiek nie może długo wytrzymać bez pracy. Nie można chyba przykrawać ogólnych rozwiązań społecznych według stylu życia społecznego marginesu? Natomiast praca zarobkowa bywa szkodliwa dla zdrowia, dla osobowego rozwoju jej wykonawcy; może być pośrednio czy bezpośrednio szkodliwa społecznie. Trzeba więc odróżnić pracę od zarobkowego zatrudnienia. Zauważmy też, że część płatnego zatrudnienia nie wiąże się ze wzrostem realnej zasobności społeczeństwa a nawet je wręcz zubaża."


Artykuł 25 Powszechnej Deklaracji Praw Człowieka mówi wyraźnie:

"Każdy człowiek ma prawo do stopy życiowej zapewniającej zdrowie i dobrobyt jego i