Thursday, November 6, 2014

Robotics Industry is far smaller than Global Outsourcing

Information technology industry body Nasscom said the global business process management (BPM) spend will grow at six-seven per cent annually till 2020 resulting in significant opportunities for the sector. Global BPM spend, which stands at $130 billion across different sectors in 2013, are likely to grow to $233 billion by 2020, it said. 

The global industrial robotics market was valued at USD 28.93 billion in 2013,growing at a CAGR of 6.2% from 2014 to 2020 and is estimated to reach USD 44.48 billion in 2020.

[Boston Consulting Group] Spending on robots worldwide is expected to more than quadruple from just over $15 billion four years ago to about $67 billion by 2025—a 10.4 percent.

There will be about 16 million new college educated people being added every year from now to 2030.About ten million per year will be added from China and India.

"Direct Writing" of diamond patterns from graphite a potential technological leap

A new technique uses a pulsing laser to create synthetic nanodiamond films and patterns from graphite, with potential applications from biosensors to computer chips.

"The biggest advantage is that you can selectively deposit nanodiamond on rigid surfaces without the high temperatures and pressures normally needed to produce synthetic diamond," said Gary Cheng, an associate professor of industrial engineering at Purdue University. "We do this at room temperature and without a high temperature and pressure chamber, so this process could significantly lower the cost of making diamond. In addition, we realize a direct writing technique that could selectively write nanodiamond in designed patterns."

The ability to selectively "write" lines of diamond on surfaces could be practical for various potential applications including biosensors, quantum computing, fuel cells and next-generation computer chips.

The technique works by using a multilayered film that includes a layer of graphite topped with a glass cover sheet. Exposing this layered structure to an ultrafast-pulsing laser instantly converts the graphite to an ionized plasma and creates a downward pressure. Then the graphite plasma quickly solidifies into diamond. The glass sheet confines the plasma to keep it from escaping, allowing it to form a nanodiamond coating.

"These are super-small diamonds and the coating is super-strong, so it could be used for high-temperature sensors," Cheng said.

This illustration depicts a new technique that uses a pulsing laser to create synthetic nanodiamond films and patterns from graphite, with potential applications from biosensors to computer chips. (Purdue University image/Gary Cheng

Nature Scientific Reports - Direct Laser Writing of Nanodiamond Films from Graphite under Ambient Conditions 

The researchers made the discovery while studying how to strengthen metals using a thin layer of graphite and a nanosecond-pulsing laser. A doctoral student noticed that the laser was either causing the graphite to disappear or turn semi-transparent.

"The black coating of graphite was gone, but where did it go?" Cheng said.

Subsequent research proved the graphite had turned into diamond. The Purdue researchers have named the process confined pulse laser deposition (CPLD).

The research team confirmed that the structures are diamond using a variety of techniques including transmission electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction and the measurement of electrical resistance.


Synthesis of diamond, a multi-functional material, has been a challenge due to very high activation energy for transforming graphite to diamond, and therefore, has been hindering it from being potentially exploited for novel applications. In this study, we explore a new approach, namely confined pulse laser deposition (CPLD), in which nanosecond laser ablation of graphite within a confinement layer simultaneously activates plasma and effectively confine it to create a favorable condition for nanodiamond formation from graphite. It is noteworthy that due to the local high dense confined plasma created by transparent confinement layer, nanodiamond has been formed at laser intensity as low as 3.7 GW per square centimeter, which corresponds to pressure of 4.4 GPa, much lower than the pressure needed to transform graphite to diamond traditionally. By manipulating the laser conditions, semi-transparent carbon films with good conductivity (several kΩ per Sq) were also obtained by this method. This technique provides a new channel, from confined plasma to solid, to deposit materials that normally need high temperature and high pressure. This technique has several important advantages to allow scalable processing, such as high speed, direct writing without catalyst, selective and flexible processing, low cost without expensive pico/femtosecond laser systems, high temperature/vacuum chambers.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Hello Next Big Future!

Dear loyal NBFers,

Recently, Brian mentioned in a post that he'd like to give Next Big Future a redesign and that part of the redesign would include updating the commenting system. At SolidOpinion we're well aware of how important commenting is to Next Big Future. In fact, commenting may be the most important part of NBF. NBF and the NBF commenting community were part of the inspiration behind the creation of SolidOpinion, so you can imagine how excited we are to work with the NBF community.
We'd like to take an opportunity to introduce ourselves through this post and encourage dialogue as we work to bring you the best possible platform for the site's redesign in the coming week. We've been paying close attention to the discussion around the switch and realize a lot of users have misgivings about switching from Disqus. The concerns that have been voiced thus far have been valid and thoughtful. So, we'd like to take an opportunity to respond to some of the questions users have had about us and talk a bit about how we plan to benefit the NBF community.

Top 10 Community Concerns:
1. Will we lose our old Disqus profiles and comments? (Honk, GoatGuy, Others)
A)  No, NBF users will retain all historical comments and users will have their existing screen names.  Note: At the moment it will be necessary to sign in to SolidOpinion and create a profile in order to comment on the mirror site. Users who choose to do so will have their Disqus comments imported into this profile once the final integration takes place on the main site. Users who do not wish to make a profile will have their screen names and comments automatically carried over as well.
2. Will we have the ability to quickly edit our comments? Why the redacted should it cost points? (Anthropic, GoatGuy, Others)
A)  Comment editing is available, quick, and does not cost points. (Note: we are limiting the impact of the point system)
3. Gamification does not suit the NBF community. Lots of fluff, it's unnecessary. (Uzza, Others)
A)  We have a lot of features and are implementing only those features which will enhance the NBF community. No fluff, we promise.
4. Is it all about ignoring other commenters? Customizing what they see? This is balkanization like cable news. (Publiseur, Others)
A)  The platform is set up so that the highest rated comments and the highest ranking commenters will rise to the top and guide the discussion. SolidOpinion is not a "pick and choose" commenting platform that allows individuals to sort what they see; rather it's a community based pulpit that gives additional exposure to those comments and commenters ranked highest in the community. We have the option for single users to ignore individual commenters but that function will not be present in the NBF integration.  
5. Are you trying to turn us (the commenters) into a revenue stream? (Honk)
A)  Though we are compatible with micro-transactions, that kind of environment does not suit the NBF community. Don’t worry Honk, we’re not going to start digging in your pockets. Instead, we're providing a better revenue generation avenue than Disqus does through targeted ads at the bottom of the page.
6. Monetized micro-transactions look like a scam. (Honk)
A)  Micro-transactions are available, however, they will not be an apparent aspect in the SolidOpinion integration of NBF. No NBF user will EVER be required to make a micro-transaction. We want to employ tools that enhance the community, not detract from it.
7. Acclimate us. Take us on a journey. Don't push us off a cliff. (IKNOW)
A)   We will provide open a/b testing through this mirror site to introduce NBF users to SolidOpinion. This will be a great way for us to internalize your feedback and provide fixes, as well as provide a place for NBF users to experience the comment system before a full integration. We (SolidOpinion) are also here to answer any and all questions or comments, directly.
8. I like the ability to push high-ranking comments to the top. (Anthropic)
A)  So do we. The SolidOpinion system on NBF will be set up to display the highest ranking comments and comments from the highest-ranking users at the top. Users have the ability to grow their rank by earning points through positive participation, thus getting their own comments featured more frequently as an incentive.
9. I like having moderation in place. (Anthropic)
A)  We have a multi tiered moderation approach meaning blacklists for certain vitriolic or offensive words, human moderators, and community moderation ability.
10. No emojis – for the love of God. (Paul451)
A)  Emojis are an optional function and – like all the SolidOpinion functions – can be enabled/disabled by Brian. We will be launching without Emojis.

SolidOpinion benefits we'd like to highlight:
Your input so far has been invaluable and we hope to hear more. In the meantime we'd like to take a moment to highlight a few of the ways our platform will help enhance the NBF community.
  • Reputation building and incentives through the point system.
    • Users gain points in SolidOpinion when they participate. Those points decide a user's rank and higher ranking users (like GoatGuy) are given increased ability and moderation capability.
    • Comments from higher ranking users will be featured more prominently, helping provide direction to the community discourse. Think of it like giving GoatGuy a microphone.
    •  Lesser-ranked commenters have be able to earn increased status and ability by gaining points. This incentivizes positive participation which is good for the community, reduces moderation costs, and rewards NBF’s most influential members for their contributions.
  •  Increased moderation functionality.
    • This cuts costs and keeps the NBF community a safe, accessible place. Better moderation encourages new users to join the conversation and reinforces the contributions of existing members.
  • Functionality that suits the NBF community.
    • We have a lot of functionality. Some functionality works for certain sites and some functions don’t. What we will provide that isn’t currently available on Disqus – yet very applicable to NBF – are things like video and picture embedding in-line and the ability to annotate another user's comment. This provides a cleaner conversation space for those who would like to post videos and pictures while not linking out to another site. This is good for Brian’s traffic and good for the community’s expressive ability.
    •  If there is functionality you don’t like – tell us. If there is functionality you’d like to see – tell us. Unlike Disqus we don’t force a “one size fits all” solution on a community. We’re here to provide tools that help the discussion.
  • Community building support from SolidOpinion.
    • We are the best at what we do – build communities. We use researched-backed methods to help encourage growth based on each individual community’s needs. This is good for Brian, good for NBF users, and good for future NBFers as well.

Thanks for taking the time to read a little about SolidOpinion. We'd like to invite you to continue to visit the MirrorNBF site and comment, as we'll be posting the same content from the main site on this mirror. Please lend us your thoughts, recommendations, and questions about the platform in the comment section of any article and we'll get back to you as soon as possible. Or, reach out by emailing our community developer, Clint at We look forward to the dialogue as we work to bring you the best possible comment system in the coming weeks.

The SolidOpinion Team

Buying about $8 trillion of foreign assets and companies will prevent Chinese Yuan from strengthening 5 to 1 until about 2045

According to the most recently published data, in 2011 total deposits held in these institutions by corporations, individuals and other entities amounted to 80.9 trillion yuan ($13.3 trillion)—70% more than China's GDP. (In the U.S. in 2014, M2—consisting of total demand deposits, savings deposits and small time deposits—was 35% less than U.S. GDP).

If and when full yuan convertibility occurs, a significant share of these yuan balances (perhaps 10% or more) will diversify into other foreign assets, especially dollar assets. Buying up foreign assets on a major scale means flooding the market with yuan, putting downward pressure on its value. And as long as China maintains an annual current account surplus—currently about $190 billion—some of it will further boost demand for foreign assets, thereby further weakening the yuan's exchange rate.

These three factors mean that the yuan's value is likely to stabilize toward the lower end of the 16 cents to 20 cents range. That said, so long as China's unusually high savings rate persists—about 40% of GDP compared with less than 10% in the U.S.—so too will large surpluses recur in its current account.

Charles Wolf of Rand Predictions Summarized

HSBC expects yuan to be a top three currency for trade settlement in 2015 and fully convertible by 2018

* Wolf expects China will buy $2 trillion initially in foreign assets (companies, properties etc...) around 2018 with full convertibility

* China will continue to have a surplus and will buy more assets $100-200 billion per year ($1-2 trillion per decade)

It will likely take about 30 years for China's savings rate to get to the 10% range

If Wolf is right then it will be about 2045 before China's yuan strengthens beyond 5 to 1 to the US dollar.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Global CO2 emissions will be over 40 billion tonnes in 2014 and are 58% higher than in 1990 which is the base year of the Kyoto Protocol

Carbon dioxide emissions, the main contributor to global warming, are set to rise 2.5% in 2014 - reaching a record high of 40 billion tonnes.

Key facts and figures:

* CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuel are projected to rise by 2.5 per cent in 2014 - 65 per cent above 1990 levels, the reference year for the Kyoto Protocol - China, the USA, the EU and India are the largest emitters – together accounting for 58 per cent of emissions.

* China’s CO2 emissions grew by 4.2 per cent in 2013, the USA’s grew by 2.9 per cent, and India’s emissions grew by 5.1 per cent.

* The EU has decreased its emissions by 1.8 per cent, though it continues to export a third of its emissions to China and other producers through imported goods and services.

* China’s CO2 emissions per person overtook emissions in the EU for the first time in 2013. China’s emissions are now larger than the US and EU combined. 16 per cent of China’s emissions are for goods and services which are exported elsewhere.

*CO2 emissions are caused primarily by burning fossil fuels, as well as by cement production and deforestation. Deforestation accounts for 8 per cent of CO2 emissions.

* Historical and future CO2 emissions must remain below a total 3,200 billion tonnes to be in with a 66 per cent chance of keeping climate change below 2°C. But two thirds (2,000 billion tonnes) of this quota have already been used.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuel burning and cement production increased by 2.3% in 2013, with a total of 9.9±0.5 GtC (billion tonnes of carbon) (36 GtCO2) emitted to the atmosphere, 61% above 1990 emissions (the Kyoto Protocol reference year). Emissions are projected to increase by a further 2.5% in 2014. In 2013, the ocean and land carbon sinks respectively removed 27% and 23% of total CO2 (fossil fuel and land use change), leaving 50% of emissions into the atmosphere. The ocean sink in 2013 was 2.9±0.5 GtC, slightly above the 2004-2013 average of 2.6±0.5, and the land sink was 2.5±0.9 GtC slightly below the 2004-2013 average of 2.9±0.8. Total cumulative emissions from 1870 to 2013 were 390±20 GtC from fossil fuels and cement, and 145± 50 from land use change. The total of 535±55GtC was partitioned among the atmosphere (225±5 GtC), ocean (150±20 GtC), and the land (155±60 GtC).

The growth of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for 2013 was 3.3%. The fossil fuel carbon intensity of the economy declined (improved) by -1.0%yr-1. The 2014 projection of 2.5% growth is based on the world GDP projection of 3.3% made by the International Monetary Fund and our estimate of improvements in the fossil intensity of the economy of -0.7%.

In 2013, global CO2 emissions were dominated by emissions from China (28%), the USA (14%), the EU (28 member states; 10%) and India (7%). Growth rates of these countries from 2012 to 2013 were 4.2% for China, 2.9% for the USA, −1.8% for the EU28, and 5.1% for India. The per-capita CO2 emissions in 2013 were 1.4 tonnes of carbon person-1yr-1 (5.1 tCO2) for the globe, 4.5 (16.4 tCO2) for the USA, 2.0 (7.2 tCO2) for China, 1.9 (6.8 tCO2) for the EU28, and 0.5 (1.9 tCO2) for India.

Of the total emissions from human activities during the period 2004-2013, about 44% accumulated in the atmosphere, 26% in the ocean and 30% on land. During this period, the size of the natural sinks has grown in response to the increasing emissions, although year-to-year variability of that growth is large.

The ocean sink is estimated by using observations for the period 1990-2000, and an ensemble of seven global ocean biogeochemistry models for the trend and variability. The models were normalized to the observed mean ocean sinks for the 1990s. Models were forced with meteorological data from the US national Centers for Environmental Prediction and atmospheric CO2 concentration. In addition, three observation-based estimates of the ocean sink were used to provide a qualitative assessment of confidence. In 2013 the ocean sink is estimated to have removed 29% of total (fossil fuel plus net land-use change) CO2 emissions.

The land sink is calculated as the residual of the sum of all sources minus the sum of the atmosphere and ocean sinks. An independent estimate of the consistency of the residual land sink is obtained by estimating the land sink from 10 dynamic global vegetation models. In 2013 the land sink is estimated to have removed 23% of total (fossil fuel plus net land use change) CO2 emissions.

China released its climate change goals for 2020

China has pledged to reduce its carbon emission intensity, namely emissions per unit of GDP, by 40 percent to 45 percent by 2020 from the 2005 level. It will also aim to bring the proportion of non-fossil fuels to about 15 percent of its total primary energy consumption. By the end of last year, China had reduced carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by 28.56 percent from 2005, which was equivalent to saving the world 2.5 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, Xie said.

NBF - China is targeting to reduce emissions per unit of GDP by 12-17%. If China increases GDP by 7% per year then GDP would increase by 50% from 2015 to 2020. Achieving 17% reduction would still mean 33% more emissions or about 4 billion tons of carbon or 14.7 billion tons of CO2. CO2 weighs 3.67 time more than carbon. 

At the end of 2013, China's consumption ratio of non-fossil energy to primary energy stood at 9.8 percent. Forest growing stock had increased by 1.3 trillion cubic meters from 2005 to two trillion cubic meters, seven years ahead of schedule, according to the official.

In the first nine months of 2014, China's energy consumption per unit of GDP dropped by 4.2 percent year on year and carbon intensity was cut by about 5 percent, both representing the largest drops in years, he said.

Other targets include increasing forest coverage by 40 million hectares within the next five years.

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U.S., Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates hit ISIS in Syria

The U.S. and five Arab countries launched airstrikes Monday night on Islamic State group targets in Syria, expanding a military campaign into a country whose three-year civil war has given the brutal militant group a safe haven.

Using a mix of manned aircraft — fighter jets and bombers — plus Tomahawk cruise missiles, the strikes were part of the expanded military campaign that President Barack Obama authorized nearly two weeks ago in order to disrupt and destroy the Islamic State militants, who have slaughtered thousands of people, beheaded Westerners — including two American journalists — and captured large swaths of Syria and northern and western Iraq.

U.S. officials said the airstrikes began around 8:30 p.m. EDT, and were conducted by the U.S., Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates. The first wave of strikes finished about 90 minutes later, but the operation was expected to continue for several more hour

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Carnival of Nuclear Energy 227

The Carnival of Nuclear Energy 227 is up at Hiroshima Syndrome

Forbes James Conca - First American Nuke Plant In 21st Century To Open Soon

Tennessee Valley Authority’s Watts Bar 2 Nuclear Generating Station is in the final phase of construction in preparation for its start-up next year. Watts Bar 2 will be the first nuclear power plant to come online in the U.S. in this century, the first of five commercial nuclear reactors under construction. It is expected to produce over 700 billion kWhs of extremely low-carbon electricity over its life, at an actual cost of only 6 ¢ per kWhr.

Nextbigfuture - Batteries play an important role in everyday life. Scientists and technology. companies constantly are seeking ways to improve battery life and efficiency. Now, for the first time using a water-based solution, researchers at the University of Missouri have created a long-lasting and more efficient nuclear battery that could be used for many applications such as a reliable energy source in complicated applications such as space flight and military applications.

The battery uses a radioactive isotope called strontium-90 that boosts electrochemcial energy in a water-based solution. A nanostructured titanium dioxide electrode (the common element found in sunscreens and UV blockers) with a platinum coating collects and effectively converts energy into electrons.

Nextbigfuture - Two UAE reactors should be operational by 2020 and Saudi Arabia could complete twelve nuclear reactors from 2022-2034

If you liked this article, please give it a quick review on ycombinator or StumbleUpon. Thanks

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