|Volume 14, Number 8 – 4/30/11FUTURE FACTS – FROM THINK LINKS|
DID YOU KNOW THAT…
The early universe, in its first fractions of a second, may have had only one dimension.A growing number of scientists suspect that the magnetic pole shift that seems to be underway may be the real culprit behind climate change.Bolivia is set to pass the world’s first laws granting all nature equal rights to humans.Virgin Galactic is ready to hire three space pilots; qualified applicants, please apply.
by John L. Petersen
Presentation in Berkeley Springs
I’m giving a new talk on Wednesday night here in Berkeley Springs at the Fairfax Coffee House about what I see coming this way in the next three years. Do come if you can.
Fairfax Coffee House www.fairfaxcoffeehouse.com
23 Fairfax Street
Berkeley Springs, WV 25411
Wednesday, May 11th @ 6:30 PM:
Futurist John L. Petersen – Transitioning The Next Three Years
Futurist John Petersen from The Arlington Institute has just returned from a number of particularly meaningful learning experiences, including taking part in a week-long workshop with Drunvalo Melchizedek in Sedona, AZ. He brings some new — and rather surprising — perspectives about what appears to be on our horizon for the next three years along with a number of new personal meditative approaches that are specifically designed to help one to transcend the increasing global disruption that almost all indigenous groups believe will dominate the next three years. Using a new PowerPoint presentation, John will discuss what he learned from both the workshop and two extended personal conversations with Drunvalo and will talk about preparing for the coming shift.
John’s always interesting sessions often fill the room, so come early for dinner to guarantee a good seat.
Radioactivity from Japan
The Tokyo Electric Power Company is now saying that it will take nine months or more to secure the Fukushima Daiichi power facility from the meltdown that it is experiencing. As I’ve said here earlier, it’s been hard for me to figure out exactly where truth resides in all of the excited reporting coming from all directions. This much seems clear: a great deal (more than 100 tons) of radioactive material began to be discharged onto the land, sea and air. Exposed fuel rods in empty, cracked cooling pool may soon release 130 tons of uranium directly into the environment. Some of the reactors were dramatically out of control and melting down. TEPCO Confirms Reactor 4 Spent Fuel Pool Is Now An Uncontrolled, Open Air Fission Process.
Here’s an informative, but critical, assessment of a number of aspects of the distribution and potential impact of the radioactive plume. Radioactive Currents and Winds The radioactive particles (not radiation) are being carried around the world, primarily in the northern hemisphere. The reach of this fallout is quite extensive. Europeans have already been warned to avoid drinking milk or eating vegetables due to high radiation levels and significant radiation levels have been measured in some areas of the western US. Radiation Found In San Francisco, CA Tap Water – Rainwater Radiation 18,100% Above Drinking Water Limit (There’s an interesting, animated forecast of the airborne distribution of the particles near the end of this piece.) For data on increasing radioactive iodine levels over time in various cities across the entire U.S. Both Korea and Singapore, among other countries, have measured increased radiation in their food. Japanese imported vegetables in Singapore ‘radioactive.
In the sea near the plant, the radiation increased to the highest level ever seen in history: Level of Radioactivity in Seawater near Fukushima Plant Near Hitting Record. The dispersion into the ocean, though concentrated in relatively narrow areas, is modeled to be extending quite far out to sea. Fukushima Daiichi Radioactive Seawater Model
To the question of what should be done about all this, there are essentially conventional and unconventional approaches. Here is a conventional assessment from CNN: Radiation safety: What you should know. There are a number of unconventional approaches, here’s one from Tom Kenyon and the Hathors. Protection and Healing from Radiation Poisoning, Neurotoxins, Bacteria and Viruses.
There has been a great deal of commentary about the truth – or shortage of it – that is being promulgated by governments and nuclear industry leaders about this event. The Japanese government has admitted that they have been both manipulating and withholding information to contain potential “panic” – which strangely seems to always be the only way that governments think that informed citizens will respond. It’s as though they can handle the information, but believe that we can’t. Perhaps they’re simply acting out of an inability to provide citizens with either effectively useable information or protection. Just guessing.
So, do you think this lack of transparency will result in a better long-term solution? If the continuing situation in the Gulf of Mexico since the capping of the blown oil well is any indication, then we’re almost certain to find out in the coming months and years that this accident was much more dangerous to life than we have been led to believe. The Gulf of Mexico is Dying: A Special Report on the BP Gulf Oil Spill
On the bright side, let me point you to this extraordinary effort to muster a global virtual choir that is cataloged as a TED talk. A virtual choir 2,000 voices strong: Eric Whitacre on TED.com. I almost had tears in my eyes after watching this as it represented, in tangible and concrete ways, more so than anything that I have seen, the coming together of many people from across the planet to do something beautiful – in concert (literally and figuratively!). I think this is an early indicator of what will become a cascade of new and innovative initiatives spawned in the coming months to use the Web as the launch and enabling infrastructure for synchronized, very effective projects – all aimed a accomplishing a specific, global good. I hope they are wildly successful.
Filtering the Social Web to Present News Items – (New York Times – April 24, 2011)
News events as varied as the commercial jet landing in the Hudson River and the uprisings in Egypt have demonstrated that people armed with cellphones – not professional reporters – are often the first source of breaking news, uploading Twitter posts, photos and video to the Web. At least three web start-ups aim to help journalists and others collect and filter all this information. For example, using the Storify Web site, people can find and piece together publicly available content from Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, YouTube and other sites. They can also add text and embed the resulting collages of content on their own sites. During a private test period, reporters from The Washington Post, NPR, PBS and other outlets used the service.
Amazon to Let Libraries Loan Kindle Books – (Market Watch – April 20, 2011)
Online retailer Amazon will allow readers to check out Kindle books for free at more than 11,000 U.S. libraries. It will offer the service through OverDrive, a content provider for public and educational libraries, and it will be available later this year. In addition to Amazon’s Kindle device, the arrangement will also let users read checked-out books on any device with Amazon’s Kindle app, including computers, Apple Inc.’s iPad and devices running Google Inc.’s Android operating system.
Drone Strikes Prompt MoD to Ponder Ethics of Killer Robots – (Guardian – April 17, 2011)
The growing use of unmanned aircraft in combat situations raises huge moral and legal issues, and threatens to make war more likely as armed robots take over from human beings, according to an internal study by the UK Ministry of Defence. The report warns of the dangers of an “incremental and involuntary journey towards a Terminator-like reality”, referring to James Cameron’s 1984 movie, in which humans are hunted by robotic killing machines. It says the pace of technological development is accelerating at such a rate that Britain must quickly establish a policy on what will constitute “acceptable machine behavior”.
Did Early Universe Have 1 Dimension? – (Science News – April 20, 2011)
Did the early universe have just one spatial dimension? That’s the mind-boggling concept at the heart of a theory that University at Buffalo physicist Dejan Stojkovic and colleagues proposed in 2010. They suggested that the early universe – which exploded from a single point – was one-dimensional (like a straight line) before expanding to include two dimensions (like a plane) and then three (like the world in which we live today). The theory, if valid, would address important problems in particle physics. Now, Stojkovic and Loyola Marymount University physicist Jonas Mureika describe a test that could prove or disprove the “vanishing dimensions” hypothesis.
New Theory Claims that Time is Not the 4th Dimension – (Daily Galaxy – April 26, 2011)
Einstein never interpreted time “t” as a fourth dimension of space. Space is not 3D + T, space is 4D. 4D space is a medium of quantum information transfers. Scientists at the Scientific Research Centre Bistra in Ptuj, Slovenia, theorize that this Newtonian idea of time as an absolute quantity that flows on its own, along with the idea that time is the fourth dimension of spacetime, are incorrect. They propose to replace these concepts of time with a view that corresponds more accurately to the physical world: time as a measure of the numerical order of change. the researchers’ view suggests that it’s more correct to imagine spacetime as four dimensions of space. In other words, as they say, the Universe is “timeless.”
GENETICS/ HEALTH TECHNOLOGY/ BIOTECHNOLOGY
Disposable Medical Camera is the Size of a Grain of Salt – (Singularity Hub – April 11, 2011)
Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration recently reported the development of a camera with a lens attached that is 1 x 1 x 1.5 millimeters in size, which is the size of a grain of salt. At about a cubic millimeter in size, this camera is right at the size limit that the human eye can see unaided. Typical endoscopes cost around $25,000-30,000 so they must be reused many times. It’s no wonder that hospitals charge more than $2,000 per endoscopy. This, however, would change if the camera was cheap enough to throw away. What makes this device a landmark in camera technology is that it is right on that uncomfortable verge of becoming invisible to the naked eye. The good news is we can expect to see this or similar camera technology find its way into very compact electronic devices, making the two-way wrist TV of Dick Tracy fame a very near reality. The bad news is that this type of camera technology could usher in a surveillance society that would put the current Orweillian UK, with its 69 CCTV cameras for every 1,000 people, to shame.
First Eye Grown from Stem Cell in Mice – (Daily Tech – April 7, 2011)
Yoshiki Sasai, study leader from the RIKEN Centre for Developmental Biology in Kobe, Japan, and a team of researchers, have used embryonic stem cells from mice to create a rudimentary eye using an optic cup, which is a structure that holds light-sensitive cells and neurons required to see properly. The optic cup is responsible for forming the retina. The team then cultured a floating cluster of embryonic stem cells, and the cells required to make the eye took shape on their own. The result was a 2mm diameter eye, which is the size of an eye of an infant mouse.
Music Training May Provide Lifelong Boost in Brain Functioning – (Kurzweil AI – April 21, 2011)
Researchers at the University of Kansas Medical Center have found evidence suggesting that studying a musical instrument, which requires years of practice and learning, may create alternate connections in the brain that could compensate for cognitive decline as we get older. The study recruited 70 healthy adults age 60 to 83 who were divided into groups based on their levels of musical experience. The three groups of study participants included individuals with no musical training; with one to nine years of musical study; or with at least 10 years of musical training. The results suggest a “strong predictive effect of high musical activity throughout the lifespan on preserved cognitive functioning in advanced age,” the researchers concluded.
Functioning Synapse Created Using Carbon Nanotubes Might Be Used in Brain Prostheses or Synthetic Brains – (Science Daily – April 22, 2011)
Researchers the University of Southern California have made a significant breakthrough in the use of nanotechnologies for the construction of a synthetic brain. They have built a carbon nanotube synapse circuit whose behavior in tests reproduces the function of a neuron. Alice Parker, one of the lead researchers said, “We wanted to answer the question: Can you build a circuit that would act like a neuron? The next step is even more complex. How can we build structures out of these circuits that mimic the function of the brain, which has 100 billion neurons and 10,000 synapses per neuron?”
Decline of Honey Bees Now a Global Phenomenon, says United Nations – (Independent – March 10, 2011)
Declines in managed bee colonies, seen increasingly in Europe and the US in the past decade, are also now being observed in China and Japan and there are the first signs of African collapses from Egypt, according to a report from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). Without profound changes to the way human beings manage the planet, they say, declines in pollinators needed to feed a growing global population are likely to continue. “The fact is that of the 100 crop species that provide 90% of the world’s food, over 70 are pollinated by bees…Bees underline the reality that we are more, not less, dependent on nature’s services in a world of close to seven billion people.”
Scientists’ Research Warns Humanity May Be Facing ‘Vortex of Death’ – (Helium – March 22, 2011)
In 1915, Russian scientist Alexander Chizhevsky found that the rise and fall of solar activity-interacting with the earth’s magnetic field-causes mass changes in human’s perspective’s, moods, emotions and behavioral patterns. Building on Chizhevsky’s analysis, Raymond Wheeler from the University of Kansas applied a numerically weighted ranking system during the 1930s to separate wars and even individual battles assessing them on length and severity. When the 11-year solar cycle peaked, so did human unrest, uprisings, rebellions, revolutions and all-out wars between nations. Shortly after the sun entered its next active peak during late 2010, the news was filled with rising dissent in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. It spread to Syria, Libya, Iran and China. Europe was not immune: general unrest arose in the UK and France, Greece had extended riots, Spain felt under pressure, and even the U.S. saw angry mobs rise up in the state of Wisconsin.
About Geomagnetic Reversal and Poleshift – (Watchers – March 15, 2011)
And here is another article coming in from a somewhat different angle that discusses the effects of shifts in the earth’s magnetic field. A growing number of scientists are starting to worry that the magnetic pole shift that seems to be underway may be the real culprit behind climate change. Not man made air pollution, not the sun, not the underground volcanic activity heating up the oceans, but the slow beginning of a pole shift that has been thought to destroy entire civilizations in the past and be one major factor in mass extinctions. Not only is this accelerating magnetic pole shift affecting the weather, it is having major effects on geopolitics. These magnetic shifts are not only capable of causing massive global super storms, but can cause societies, cultures and whole countries to collapse, even go to war with one another.
Recycling – Flash Mob Style – (You Tube – March 21, 2011)
Watch behavioral reinforcement in process. It’s going viral.
Wind and Waves Growing Across Globe- (PhysOrg – March 25, 2011)
Oceanic wind speeds and wave heights have increased significantly over the last quarter of a century according to a major new study undertaken by Australian National University Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Young. The study used recently developed satellite data to investigate trends on a global scale for the first time. Off the southern coast of Australia, the highest one percent of waves have increased in height from approximately five metres to almost six metres over the last 20 years. Extreme conditions are where we are seeing the largest increases, but mean conditions are also going up.
Ozone Holes and Torrential Rainfall – (Extinction Protocol – April 22, 2011)
The ozone hole over Antarctica has been rearranging rainfall patterns throughout the Southern Hemisphere for decades, a new modeling analysis shows. The idea that losing ozone in the cold stratosphere over the South Pole could affect weather in the lower atmosphere all the way to the warm equator means Earth’s changing climate system is even more complicated than most everyone thought. The modeling study, published in the recent online issue of the journal Science, revealed that thinning of the ozone layer leads to a poleward shift in a strand of strong winds known as the westerly jet. Moving this jet stream pulls the storm track and other atmospheric circulation features farther south.
Overdue ‘Megathrust’ Earthquake Might Trigger Tsunami and Hit North-west Coast – (Helium – April 25, 2011)
Fears that a mega-thrust quake like the type that struck Japan on March 11, 2011 are mounting among leading American geologists. A superquake is long overdue in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States and when-not if-it hits it will trigger a massive tsunami that will virtually wipe out many of the cities on the northern West Coast. According to the London Times, the cracking Juan de Fuca plate slips about every 240 years generating a megaquake of magnitude eight or higher. The last superquake along the Cascadia fault occurred more than 300 years ago. Following the average, the Pacific Northwest is 60 years overdue for a major to great quake.
Scientists Find Evidence of New Phase of Matter in Superconductor Pseudogap – (Daily Tech – March 2011)
Scientists are working hard to find ways to make superconductors operate at much warmer temperatures, but certain unanswered questions have been standing in their way for decades. One of the most pressing unanswered questions is called the “pseudogap.” A Stanford team is studying the energy gap that occurs when a superconductor warms to the temperature where it is no longer able to superconduct. The puzzle is that the electrons in this gap phase aren’t superconducting and scientists don’t know what they are doing.
Single-electron Transistor Allows for Nanoscale ‘Etch A Sketch’ Designs of Ultra-dense Memories – (Kurzeil AI – April 19, 2011)
A University of Pittsburgh-led team has created the SketchSET (sketch-based single-electron transistor), the first single-electron transistor made entirely of oxide-based materials. It consists of an island formation that can house up to two electrons. The number of electrons on the central island can be 0, 1, or 2. Wires extending from the transistor carry additional electrons across the island. A property of the oxide materials is ferroelectricity, allowing the transistor to act as a solid-state memory. A computer memory based on ferroelectric state would be able to retain information even when the processor is powered down.
Dialing with Your Thoughts – (Technology Review – April 12, 2011)
A new brain-control interface lets users make cell phone calls by thinking of the number-research that could prove useful for the severely disabled and beyond. The system relies on electroencephalogram (EEG) electrodes on the scalp to analyze electrical activity in the brain. An EEG headband is hooked up to a Bluetooth module that wirelessly sends the signals to a Nokia N73 cell phone, which uses algorithms to process the signals. The brain-computer interface is almost 100% accurate for most people after only a brief training period.
Governments Gamble With Nuclear Plant Insurance – (The China Post – April 25, 2011)
It’s illegal to drive a car without sufficient insurance, yet governments around the world choose to run over 440 nuclear power plants with hardly any coverage whatsoever. Japan’s Fukushima disaster, which will leave taxpayers there with a massive bill, brings to the fore one of the industry’s key weaknesses – that nuclear power is a viable source for cheap energy only if it goes uninsured. The cost of a worst-case nuclear accident at a plant in Germany, for example, has been estimated to total as much as €7.6 trillion ($11 trillion), while the mandatory reactor insurance is only €2.5 billion. The situation in the U.S., Japan, China, France and other countries is similar. Tepco, the operator of the Fukushima plant, had no disaster insurance.
Scientists Discover Wild Solar Energy Effect, Allows Power Without Cells – (Daily Tech – April 15, 2011)
A breakthrough in alternative energy at the University of Michigan promises solar power – without the expensive cells. Light has two components — magnetism and electricity. All solar cells currently utilize the electric effects of light. The magnetic nature of photons was dismissed as too weak to be of any use. But when light passes through a strongly insulating material, its normally weak magnetic output is profoundly multiplied and a relatively strong magnetic field results. In fact, the field is 100 million times stronger than previously expected -s strong enough to produce the kind of large magnetic effect needed for power generation.
Electric Vehicle Movement is Reaching Critical Mass – (Daily Tech – April 14, 2011)
In the early 1900s electric vehicles were extremely popular, outselling gas vehicles in some areas until the advent of mass production. With the arrival of modern engine designs, electric vehicles quickly faded from the mind of the auto industry and the public. In the 1960s interest in electric cars once again rose, with concepts like the 1967 Comuta from Ford Motor Company. This time, EVs may prevail; that will require better, less expensive batteries and plentiful, fast charging stations. Both are in the works.
How the Air Car Works – (How Stuff Works – no date)
Here is a good introduction to vehicles powered by compressed air, including the benefits, drawbacks, a brief analysis of the pollution they generate and information on the current state of production. See also the website of Engineair Pty Ltd, based in Melbourne, Australia is a company focusing on the development of air motor technology based on a unique rotary piston concept: click here.
The Ethanol Catastrophe – (Slate – March 10, 2011)
Biofuels aggravate global warming and cause hunger. Why won’t the U.S. stop subsidizing them? The United States spends about $6 billion a year on federal support for ethanol production through tax credits, tariffs, and other programs. Thanks to this financial assistance, one-sixth of the world’s corn supply is burned in American cars. That is enough corn to feed 350 million people for an entire year.
Mothers’ Pesticide Exposure Linked to Kids’ IQ – (NPR – April 21, 2011)
Scientists report that children exposed before birth to a common class of pesticides can have lower IQ levels when they reach school age. The pesticides, known as organophosphates, are widely used in agriculture. The new data come from three independent studies. Children whose mothers had the highest pesticide levels during pregnancy had IQs 7 points lower than those with little or no exposure. The effect on developing brains is similar to high lead exposure.
TSA Patdown Leaves 6-Year Old in Tears, Gov’t Defends Actions – (Daily Tech – April 14, 2011)
Just how far the U.S. government is willing to invade individuals’ privacy in the name of counterterrorism was highlighted by a recent incident at a Kentucky airport. A 6-year-old girl named Anna Drexel was just returning home from vacation, with her parents Selena and Todd Drexel. As they passed through the security screening checkpoint, to her parents’ alarm, Anna was pulled aside for a special “modified” search. The search left the child confused and in tears. Alarmed by what was unfolding, the parents surreptitiously videotaped the incident on a cell phone, posting it on YouTube as a warning to parents.
TRENDS OF GOVERNANCE
Detainees’ Lawyers Can’t Click on Leaked Documents – (New York Times – April 26, 2011)
Anyone surfing the Internet this week is free to read leaked documents about the prisoners held by the American military at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to print them out or e-mail them to friends. Except, that is, for the lawyers who represent the prisoners. Hours after WikiLeaks, The New York Times and other news organizations began publishing the documents online, the Justice Department informed Guantánamo defense lawyers that the documents remained legally classified even after they were made public. Because the lawyers have security clearances, they are obligated to treat the readily available files “in accordance with all relevant security precautions and safeguards” – handling them, for example, only in secure government facilities. The prohibition for Guantánamo lawyers has serious implications, said Mr. Margulies, who wrote a book on Guantánamo and has represented five prisoners there. Decisions about who gets released have been influenced by politics and public pressure as much as by legal standards, he said.
Cloud Computing’s Tipping Point – (Information Week – April 16, 2011)
Private clouds promise maximum control and strong security, while commercial cloud services are fast and flexible. Government agencies are adopting both, as well as hybrids. The private cloud vs. public cloud debate is rapidly giving way to new models where agencies tap on-demand IT resources from a variety of cloud platforms – private, commercial, hybrid, software as a service – based on what best suits their needs. There are few technology trends the U.S. government is embracing with such fervor as the cloud. Half of federal agencies will be in the cloud within 12 months, according to our new cloud computing survey.
Bolivia Eshrines Natural World’s Rights with Equal Status for Mother Earth – (Guardian – April 11, 2011)
Bolivia is set to pass the world’s first laws granting all nature equal rights to humans. The Law of Mother Earth, now agreed by politicians and grassroots social groups, redefines the country’s rich mineral deposits as “blessings” and is expected to lead to radical new conservation and social measures to reduce pollution and control industry. The country, which has been pilloried by the US and Britain in the UN climate talks for demanding steep carbon emission cuts, will establish 11 new rights for nature. Controversially, it will also enshrine the right of nature “to not be affected by mega-infrastructure and development projects that affect the balance of ecosystems and the local inhabitant communities”.
CONTACT AND THE EXPLORATION OF SPACE
Virgin Galactic Hiring Space Pilots – (AV Web – April 13, 2011)
Virgin Galactic put out a call for pilot-astronaut applicants this week, as the company ramps up to offer tourism flights into space. Virgin is ready to select three candidates, one to start now and the others to come on board as needed. The pilots will participate in the ongoing test-flight program for WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo in Mojave and later will help launch commercial operations and train new pilots at Spaceport America in New Mexico.
NSA Document Admits ET Contact – (UFO Digest – April 25, 2011)
On October 21, 2004, the NSA approved for release to the public a portion of their NSA Journal Vol. XIV No. 1. This is a report of a presentation given to the NSA by Dr. Howard Campaigne regarding the decoding of extraterrestrial messages that had been received “form outer space”. Apparently these messages had actually been received via the Sputnik satellite, but no one had any idea how to decode them at the time. At some time, unspecified in the document, Dr. Howard Campaigne and some other NSA super mathematicians in the crypto department had been given the task of decoding the messages. There were a total of 29 messages to be decoded. Here is a link to the document published in the NSA Journal and released by the NSA on their web site: click here (pdf).
Affordable Rental Housing Scarce in U.S. – (Washington Post – April 25, 2011)
The share of renters who spend more than half their income on housing is at its highest level in half a century and it’s no longer just low-income tenants who are feeling the pain, according to a Harvard University study. About 26% of renters – or 10.1 million people – spent more than half their pre-tax household income on rent and utilities in 2009. That’s because incomes slipped dramatically from their peak at the start of the decade even as rents kept rising. In a report to Congress, the Obama administration acknowledged in February that financing to build high-end rental properties is more readily available. For every 100 extremely low-income American families, only 32 adequate rental homes are available. A separate study released in February by the Department of Housing and Urban Development concluded that higher-income families who are struggling with shrinking incomes are competing for a limited amount of affordable rental housing, further driving down already low vacancy rates.
NEW TOOLS/NEW PROCESSES
Self-healing Rubber, Plastics Inspired by Nature – (Daily Tech – April 6, 2011)
Dr. Anke Nellesen and team, at the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology, have developed processes that emulate the caoutchouc tree hevea brasiliensis and plants that conduct latex, such as the Weeping Benjamin. Millions of years of evolution have created a unique response to wounding in these trees. When attacked by insects or suffering mechanical damage, the trees emit a thick mess of latex particles. Mixed in with those particles are capsules of the protein hevein. When the latex reaches the wound, the hevein capsule breaks and the protein is released. Active, it links the latex, closing the wound. The first applications are being explored in the automotive industry including a self-repairing muffler suspension.
Self-healing Polymers Fix Scratches Using Light Rather Than Heat – (Kurzweil AI – April 21, 2011)
Self-healing polymers that fix scratches using light rather than heat have been developed by a team of researchers in the United States and Switzerland. These “metallo-supramolecular polymers” are capable of becoming a supple liquid that fills crevasses and gaps left by scrapes and scuffs when placed under ultraviolet light for less than a minute. When the light is switched off, the material re-assembles and solidifies again and its original properties are restored.
Graphene Transistors Self-Cool – (Daily Tech – April 4, 2011)
Future computers may not need a heat-sink – their thermal electric properties result in net-cooling effect. Researchers at the University of Illinois have found that graphene appears to self-cool. Graphene is somewhat like a miniature “fence” of carbon and behaves like a semiconductor, despite being made of organic atoms. The team found that the resistive heating (“waste heat”) effect in graphene was weaker than its thermo-electric cooling effect at times. Therefore graphene circuits may not get hot like traditional silicon-based ones. Further, as the heat is converted back into electricity by the device, graphene transistors may have a two-fold power efficiency gain, both in ditching energetically expensive fans and by recycling heat losses into usable electricity.
Graphene Paper Stronger than Steel – (Kurzweil AI – April 22, 2011)
A research team at the University of Technology Sydney has successfully milled raw graphite to reform it into nano-structured configurations, which are then processed into sheets as thin as paper. Compared to steel, the prepared graphene paper is six times lighter, five to six times lower density, two times harder with 10 times higher tensile strength, and 13 times higher bending rigidity. The researchers foresee the use of graphene paper in the automotive and aviation industries, allowing the development of lighter and stronger cars and planes that use less fuel and generate less pollution.
Meditation May Help the Brain Reduce Distractions – (Kurzweil AI – April 22, 2011)
Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School and MIT have found that positive effects of mindfulness meditation on pain and working memory may result from an improved ability to regulate alpha rhythms to deal with an often overstimulating world. Because mindfulness meditation – in which practitioners direct nonjudgmental attention to their sensations, feelings and state of mind – has been associated with improved performance on attention-based tasks, the research team decided to investigate whether individuals trained in the practice also exhibited enhanced regulation of the timing and intensity of alpha rhythms. at the end of the eight weeks, those who completed the mindfulness meditation training made faster and significantly more pronounced attention-based adjustments to the alpha rhythm than the non-meditators did. “This result may explain reports that mindfulness meditation decreases pain perception,” says Catherine Kerr, PhD, co-lead author of the report.
FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH – articles off the beaten track which may – or may not – have predictive value.
Happiest Places Have Highest Suicide Rates Says New Research – (Phys Org – April 11, 2011)
A new research paper titled Dark Contrasts: The Paradox of High Rates of Suicide in Happy Places uses U.S. and international data, which included first-time comparisons of a newly available random sample of 1.3 million Americans, and another on suicide decisions among an independent random sample of approximately 1 million Americans. The research confirmed a little known and seemingly puzzling fact: many happy countries have unusually high rates of suicide. This new research found that a range of nations – including: Canada, the United States, Iceland, Ireland and Switzerland, display relatively high happiness levels and yet also have high suicide rates. The researchers adjusted for clear population differences between U.S. states including age, gender, race, education, income, marital status and employment status. Even so, there was still a very strong correlation between general happiness levels and suicide rates.
JUST FOR FUN
Cecelia Webber – Flowers and Butterflies from Human Nudes – (Design Boom – no date)
In a reverse version of the paintings of Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1527 – 1593), artist Cecilia Webber uses images of the human body as visual building blocks to create highly detailed flowers and butterflies.
A Week in the Life of the Milky Way – (Daily Mail – April 19, 2011)
Watch a time-lapse video of our galaxy taken from atop Spain’s highest mountain, El Teide. Among the highlights is a sequence of clouds rolling peacefully in front of the viewer like ocean waves. At around 32 seconds into the video is a unique view of our galaxy through the filter of a sandstorm that had blown in from the Sahara.
A FINAL QUOTE…
Too often we forget that genius, too, depends upon the data within its reach, that even Archimedes could not have devised Edison’s inventions. – Ernest Dimnet
A special thanks to: Thomas Bergin, Dennis Bumstead, Bernard Calil, Jackie Capell, Kevin Clark, Kevin Foley, Chas Freeman, Ursula Freer, Kurzweil AI, Diane Petersen, Petra Pieterse, Abby Porter, T. Roberts, Winston Smith, Joel Snell, Gary Sycalik and all of you who have sent us interesting links in the past. If you see something we should know about, do send it along – thanks.
Edited by John L. Petersen
A Vision for 2012: Planning for Extraordinary Change
by John L. Petersen
Former senator and presidential candidate Gary Hart has said “It should be required reading for the next President.”
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