Showing posts with label Physics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Physics. Show all posts

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Casimir Effect

English: Illustration of the Casimir effect.
English: Illustration of the Casimir effect. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Engineers Unveil First Casimir Chip That Exploits The Vacuum Energy
One of the strangest effects to arise from the quantum nature of the universe is the Casimir force. This pushes two parallel conducting plates together when they are just a few dozen nanometres apart. ..... So instead of being hindered by uncontrollable Casimir forces, the next generation of microelectromechanical devices should be able to exploit them, perhaps to make stictionless bearings, springs and even actuators.
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Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Moon Does Not Have Water

Full Moon view from earth In Belgium (Hamois)....
Full Moon view from earth In Belgium (Hamois). Français : Pleine Lune vue de la Terre en Belgique à Hamois. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
But it has energy.

Moon has enough helium-3 to power Earth for five millenniums
25 tons of helium-3 per year will more than suffice to meet mankind’s energy needs....... On Earth, helium-3 is measured in grams, while its reserves on the Moon are estimated at 500,000 tons.
Helium-3 - Wikipedia Hydrogen-1 and helium-3 are the only stable nuclides in existence that contain more protons than they have neutrons.... a light, non-radioactive isotope of helium with two protons and one neutron .... sought for use in nuclear fusion research ..... The abundance of helium-3 is thought to be greater on the Moon (embedded in the upper layer of regolith by the solar wind over billions of years ..... The helion, the nucleus of a helium-3 atom, consists of two protons but only one neutron, in contrast with two neutrons in common helium ..... Its hypothetical existence was first proposed in 1934 ..... Helium-3 is proposed as a second-generation fuel for nuclear fusion in hypothetical fusion power plants, but such plants are still very early in their development -- especially since the first generation has not entered service anywhere, yet.

Helium-3 is a very rare gas with the potential to fuel clean nuclear fusion power plants. However, one of the problems is that the nearest supply of helium-3 is on the Moon.
Lunar Helium-3 as an Energy Source - The Artemis Project
Jun 27, 1999 .... The total supply in the U.S. strategic reserves of helium is about 29 kg ..... In their 1988 paper, Kulcinski, et al. (see ref note below), estimate a total of 1,100,000 metric tonnes of He3 have been deposited by the solar wind in the lunar regolith. Since the regolith has been stirred up by collisions with meteorites, we'll probably find He3 down to depths of several meters. ..... The highest concentrations are in the lunar maria; about half the He3 is deposited in the 20% of the lunar surface covered by the maria...... To extract He3 from the lunar soil, we heat the dust to about 600 degrees C....... We get most of the other volatiles out at the same time, so we'll be heating up the rocks anyway. (To get the oxgyen out, we'll turn up the furnace to about 900 deg C
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Friday, September 10, 2010

2D Space Time

Technology Review: Why Spacetime On The Tiniest Scale May Be Two-Dimensional: The latest thinking about quantum gravity suggests that spacetime is two-dimensional on the smallest scale. .... nobody is quite sure whether the terms 'space' and 'time' have any reasonable meaning at this scale..... there is a growing number of indicators (evidence is too strong a word) that point to that conclusion...... recent work in loop quantum gravity, high temperature string theory, renormalization group analysis applied to general relativity and other areas of quantum gravity research, all hints at a two dimensional spacetime on the smallest scale. In most of these cases, the number of dimensions simply collapse in a process called spontaneous dimensional reduction as the scale reduces ..... one of time and one of space

This space time talk reminds me of when I was at a Science House MeetUp months and months back (Thank you FBI, I no longer show up for Science House MeetUps) and this super smart Indian guy was going on and on about ridiculously small structures. And I remember putting in my word to suggest just like we found nuclear energy at the nucleus level, perhaps there are stores of energy at even smaller scales.

My Talk On Social Media At The Science House MeetUp
The Science House MeetUp
Obama's Got Momentum: He Could Defy History In November

James Jorasch who runs Science House later gently nudged me in the direction of algae. There is a lot of clean energy that can be tapped at the algae level, we don't have to go that small, he seemed to suggest.

Although this 2D space-time talk is quite speculative at this point.

In The News

Google Voice Blog: Fast Access To Google Voice With Android Widgets
Wall Street Journal: Digits: ‘Censored’ Gone; Craigslist Could Go Before Congress:adult services listings, which critics say had become an online red light district..... the House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing on domestic minor sex trafficking ..... shutting down adult services “makes it less easy and less convenient and less normative to buy a child online for sex.”

Wall Street Journal: Digits: Online Measurement Creates A Muddle For Web Journalists: there is such a cacophony of information that it “impedes editorial decision-making” .... Chartbeat .. gives a minute-by-minute picture of what people on a site are reading, searching for, and so on. ..... Talking Points Memo .... news of Al and Tipper Gore’s divorce was doing better than news about the Rolling Stone profile of General Stanley McChrystal, so editors quickly moved the Gore item to a more prominent spot ..... the Daily Beast site: In October of last year, Nielsen measured the audience at 1 million; comScore counted 2.2 million; and the Daily Beast itself said it saw 4 million.

Wall Street Journal: Digits: Analysis: The H-P Suit Against Mark Hurd: his severance could be worth more than $35 million.

Wall Street Journal: Digits: Apple’s Review Guidelines: ‘We Don’t Need Any More Fart Apps’

New York Times: Bits: Betaworks And The Times Plan A Social News Service: that is being developed in collaboration with The New York Times. ..... TweetDeck, a popular desktop client for Twitter, and Web tools like, a URL shortener, and Chartbeat, a real-time Web analytics service. ..... The Times Company, which participated in Betaworks’ most recent round of financing ...... “From the Times’s perspective, we think this is a really interesting way for a company like ours to foster an entrepreneurial culture through a start-up” ..... So far this year, has unshortened more than 30 billion clicked links .... Bitly.TV

New York Times: Bits: SAP Looks To Benefit From The Oracle Tempest:To most in the technology industry, Larry Ellison’s latest adventure — the rapid-fire hiring of Mark V. Hurd, ousted Hewlett-Packard chief executive, and the resulting Silicon Valley fireworks — is entertainment......McDermott called the Sun purchase “Oracle’s wild move into hardware.” ..... “What Apple has done in the consumer space, we’ll do in business applications,” he said.

New York Times: Bits: Ex-Sun Chief Gets Healthy With New Venture: “leverage technology in pursuit of better health.” .... the company will develop software and services to help people keep track of their health information and to create direct links between patients and health care providers.

New York Times: Bits: Apple Lifts Restrictions For App Approvals: In an about-face, Apple announced Thursday that it would change some of the strict and perplexing rules for developers ....Earlier in the year reports circulated that the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission were negotiating who could begin making antitrust inquiries to Apple over its stringent App Store restrictions.

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Tech, Women, Diversity

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...Image via Wikipedia
Often when Fred Wilson puts out a blog post where he links to about four different blog posts, I know it is one of those posts that is asking for a reply blog post, sometimes to echo the sentiment, sometimes to express a disagreement, often just to give further momentum to a great topic. Today is the turn of women in technology.

This whole debate reminds me of the creationism debate. My take has been religion and science deal with two different levels of reality. Religion is a belief system. Those beliefs do not have to follow the laws of physics, and many of them don't. Jesus walking on water makes sense in religion, does not make sense in science. I am not going to think you are a prude for believing that.

Religion has to be looked at in the religious realm. Science inhabits the scientific realm. And there are intersection points, like when Galileo was harassed. When Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, many people in Nepal did not believe. The moon is a god. The guy probably climbed some hill, and thinks he is on the moon, that was the sentiment.

Gender is as big a topic in sociology as gravity is in physics. It is big. It is all pervasive. Just because we don't think about it much does not mean gravity is not active every waking hour, and while we are down.

There are many - they tend to be white men for some reason - who argue technology is neutral to your background. You can be any gender, any cultural background, it does not matter. They are lying. Or they are ignorant. Some of them are evil. They are invested in persisting the status quo.

Even where meritocracy can be shown to exist, those with the merits and the skills and the intellect stand on centuries of favoring one kind of people over another kind of people. And that is when there are not outright sexist informal and formal structures in place.

Gender and technology: there are many intersection points.

Equality is something that has to be proactively sought. I don't think sexism is in the interests of men. A healthy male female ratio in the workplace and at the various leadership levels has to be attempted. This is not a male versus female issue. There are those - men and women - who are on the right side of history, and there are those who are on the wrong side. We should get more people to come over on to the right side. We have to constantly be evangelizing.

Fred Wilson: XX Combinator
Tereza Nemessanyi: XX Combinator
Brad Feld: The Discussion About The Lack Of Women In Tech
Eric Ries: Why Diversity Matters (The Meritocracy Business)

When you visit Fred's blog post, make sure you don't miss out on the action in the comments section.
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Monday, April 20, 2009

Stephen Hawking Has Taken Sick

I was not around when Newton was around, I was not around when Einstein was around, I missed those dudes by a few centuries combined in passing, but I have been around when Stephen Hawking has been around, and the thought gives me tickles.

My introduction to Hawking was through his book, A Brief History Of Time. I first read it during my Class 10 year, which ordinarily would have been the sophomore year of high school in the American system, except I went to this school in Kathmandu founded by the British, and we did both the Nepali high school thing - high school ended after 10, not 12 years - and the British O and A Levels (a guest speaker one day talked of "A Levels and B Levels," this top doctor dude), long story short, we would end up having 13 years of school. We got told that really prepared us for college. And the O and A Levels came by way of the Cambridge University Board. Hawking was a professor there. That's stretching it, but still. (My Relationship With Ashton Kutcher)

I understood the book during the first reading. It read like a novel, I was able to follow all its concepts: that same year I also read Ted Sorensen's Kennedy, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez' One Hundred Years Of Solitude. I have been claiming my physics smarts ever since. Around the same time I came face to face with the anti-Madhesi prejudice warps that existed and exists to this day in Nepal and when it came my way by way of the school administration, it felt like waking up to gravity, something fundamental, something that had been around a while, something now whose presence I felt acutely, but lacked any vocabulary to express, more, lacked any power to do something about it. The power was to come two decades later when I threw myself into the Madhesi Kranti in Nepal from the safety of New York City.

I acquired a physics like fascination for social reality. Before I got hit by the social gravity, I wanted to be a medical doctor, that was the first thing I wanted to be in life. Then I realized I don't need a microscope to see germs, I could see them with my naked eyes.

I feel like I am both a high school and a college dropout. I was emotionally absent the final three years of high school, and the final four years of college: I did five years, it is called changing your major too many times.

Group Dynamics

And Hawking speaks to me more today than ever before. Well, I am a tech startup guyperson.

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