In their sillier moments, the wind industry, its parasites and spruikers pitch the line that their pointless product is not only getting cheaper all the time, but go so far as to claim that wind power is already cheaper than gas and coal-fired power. Risible PR antics aside, the wind industry has always had a troubled relationship with the facts.
Now, coming to their aid in that regard is a study pulled together by the heavy-hitters hailing from the hallowed halls of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
When pressed on the facts, the wind-cultist resorts to personal attacks on their challenger’s academic cred. Up against the best and brightest that America has to offer, STT is not so sure that strategy will offer any hope to the wind industry’s already panicked spin kings in resisting the bleeding obvious.
MIT: Green Energy Can’t Work Unless You Tax Everything
The Daily Caller
25 February 2016
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have confirmed what many in the energy world already knew: Without government support or high taxes, green energy will never be able to compete with conventional, more reliable power plants.
Who needs a peep hole when a wifi network will do? Researchers from MIT have developed technology that uses wireless signals to see your silhouette through a wall—and it can even tell you apart from other people, too.
The team from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab are no strangers to using wireless signals to see what’s happening on the other side of a wall. In 2013, they showed off software that could use variations in wifi signal to detect the presence of human motion from the other side of a wall. But in the last two years they’ve been busy developing the technique, and now they’ve unveiled the obvious — if slightly alarming — natural progression: they can use the wireless reflections bouncing off a human body to see the silhouette of a person standing behind a wall.
Not only that, the team’s technique, known is RF-Capture, is accurate enough to track the hand of a human and, with some repeated measurements, the system can even be trained to recognise different people based just on their wifi silhouette. The research, which is to be presented at SIGGRAPH Asia next month, was published this morning on the research group’s website.
– CDC Says Ebola Droplets Can Only Travel 3 Feet … But MIT Research Shows Sneezes Can Travel Up to 20 Feet (Washington’s Blog, Oct 28, 2014):
Checking the CDC’s Math
This week, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) admitted that Ebola can travel through the air in aerosols, but claims that it can never go more than 3 feet.
Let’s check their math …
But the CDC itself admits that flu droplets can travel 6 feet.
Mythbusters demonstrated that sneezes can nail people some 17 feet away:
– The Only Email System The NSA Can’t Access (Forbes, May 19, 2014):
When the NSA surveillance news broke last year it sent shockwaves through CERN, the particle physics laboratory in Switzerland. Andy Yen, a PhD student, took to the Young at CERN Facebook group with a simple message: “I am very concerned about the privacy issue, and I was wondering what I could do about it.”
There was a massive response, and of the 40 or so active in the discussion, six started meeting at CERN’s Restaurant Number 1, pooling their deep knowledge of computing and physics to found ProtonMail, a gmail-like email system which uses end-to-end encryption, making it impossible for outside parties to monitor.
Encrypted emails have actually been around since the 1980s, but they are extremely difficult to use. When Edward Snowden asked a reporter to use an end-to-end encrypted email to share details of the NSA surveillance program the reporter couldn’t get the system to work, says Yen.
– Encryption is less secure than we thought (MIT News, Aug 14, 2013):
For 65 years, most information-theoretic analyses of cryptographic systems have made a mathematical assumption that turns out to be wrong.
Information theory — the discipline that gave us digital communication and data compression — also put cryptography on a secure mathematical foundation. Since 1948, when the paper that created information theory first appeared, most information-theoretic analyses of secure schemes have depended on a common assumption.
Unfortunately, as a group of researchers at MIT and the National University of Ireland (NUI) at Maynooth, demonstrated in a paper presented at the recent International Symposium on Information Theory (view PDF), that assumption is false. In a follow-up paper being presented this fall at the Asilomar Conference on Signals and Systems, the same team shows that, as a consequence, the wireless card readers used in many keyless-entry systems may not be as secure as previously thought.
– Neuroscientists plant false memories in the brain (MIT News, July 25, 2013):
The phenomenon of false memory has been well-documented: In many court cases, defendants have been found guilty based on testimony from witnesses and victims who were sure of their recollections, but DNA evidence later overturned the conviction.
In a step toward understanding how these faulty memories arise, MIT neuroscientists have shown that they can plant false memories in the brains of mice. They also found that many of the neurological traces of these memories are identical in nature to those of authentic memories.
“Whether it’s a false or genuine memory, the brain’s neural mechanism underlying the recall of the memory is the same,” says Susumu Tonegawa, the Picower Professor of Biology and Neuroscience and senior author of a paper describing the findings in the July 25 edition of Science.
– How to turn living cells into computers (Nature, Feb 13, 2013):
Genetic system performs logic operations and stores data in DNA.
Synthetic biologists have developed DNA modules that perform logic operations in living cells. These ‘genetic circuits’ could be used to track key moments in a cell’s life or, at the flick of a chemical switch, change a cell’s fate, the researchers say. Their results are described this week in Nature Biotechnology1.
Synthetic biology seeks to bring concepts from electronic engineering to cell biology, treating gene functions as components in a circuit. To that end, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge have devised a set of simple genetic modules that respond to inputs much like the Boolean logic gates used in computers.
The new molecules are known as ‘graphene fragments,’ because they largely consist of flat sheets of carbon (which are attached to zinc atoms). That makes them easier to align during deposition, which could simplify the manufacture of molecular memories. Graphic: Christine Daniloff/MIT
– Storing data in individual molecules (MIT News, Jan 23, 2013):
Moore’s law — the well-known doubling of computer chips’ computational power every 18 months or so — has been paced by a similarly steady increase in the storage capacity of disk drives. In 1980, a hard drive could store about a half-megabyte of data in a square inch of disk space; now, manufacturers are closing in on a million megabytes of data per square inch.
An experimental technology called molecular memory, which would store data in individual molecules, promises another 1,000-fold increase in storage density. But previous schemes for molecular memory have relied on physical systems cooled to near absolute zero. In the Jan. 23 online edition of Nature, an international team of researchers led by Jagadeesh Moodera, a senior research scientist in the MIT Department of Physics and at MIT’s Francis Bitter Magnet Laboratory, describes a new molecular-memory scheme that works at around the freezing point of water — which in physics parlance counts as “room temperature.”
Moreover, where previous schemes required sandwiching the storage molecules between two ferromagnetic electrodes, the new scheme would require only one ferromagnetic electrode. That could greatly simplify manufacture, as could the shape of the storage molecules themselves: because they consist of flat sheets of carbon atoms attached to zinc atoms, they can be deposited in very thin layers with very precise arrangements.
– MIT discovers a new state of matter, a new kind of magnetism (Extreme Tech, Dec 20, 2012):
Researchers at MIT have discovered a new state of matter with a new kind of magnetism. This new state, called a quantum spin liquid (QSL), could lead to significant advances in data storage. QSLs also exhibit a quantum phenomenon called long-range entanglement, which could lead to new types of communications systems, and more.
– How A Handful Of Unsupervised MIT Economists Run The World (ZeroHedge, Dec 12, 2012)
Researchers have discovered that there’s enough power in living trees to run an electric circuit.
– Electrical device plugs directly into trees for power (Mother Nature Network, Sep 10, 2012):
In today’s world of high-tech portable gadgets, iPods and cell phones, we’ve become dependent upon readily accessible electric outlets to power our devices and charge our batteries. But now researchers at the University of Washington have discovered nature’s alternative to the power outlet: living trees.
That’s right, living trees. UW engineers Babak Parviz and Brian Otis have invented an electrical device that can be plugged directly into any tree for power. “As far as we know this is the first peer-reviewed paper of someone powering something entirely by sticking electrodes into a tree,” said Parviz.
The research was based upon a breakthrough study last year out of MIT, when scientists found that plants generate a voltage of up to 200 millivolts when one electrode is placed in a plant and the other in the surrounding soil. Those researchers are already designing devices which act as forest sensors powered entirely by this new method. But until now, no one has applied these findings to the development of tree power.
– New energy source for future medical implants: sugar (MIT News, June 12, 2012):
Implantable fuel cell built at MIT could power neural prosthetics that help patients regain control of limbs.
MIT engineers have developed a fuel cell that runs on the same sugar that powers human cells: glucose. This glucose fuel cell could be used to drive highly efficient brain implants of the future, which could help paralyzed patients move their arms and legs again.
The fuel cell, described in the June 12 edition of the journal PLoS ONE, strips electrons from glucose molecules to create a small electric current. The researchers, led by Rahul Sarpeshkar, an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT, fabricated the fuel cell on a silicon chip, allowing it to be integrated with other circuits that would be needed for a brain implant.
– All Hail the Robotic Farmers and Pilots of the Future (Wired, May 1, 2012):
NEW YORK — Fighter pilot Mary “Missy” Cummings saw it coming while landing her F/A-18 supersonic jet on a Navy aircraft carrier — the world-changing disruption barreling toward the present.
Instead of landing the multi-million-dollar machine on the small deck of the ship herself in the 1990s, a computer accomplished the tricky feat for her.
“Here the computer was taking off better than I could, landing itself better than I could and doing the mission better than I ever could,” Cummings said Tuesday during the Wired Disruptive by Design business conference. “It was really humiliating. That was what used to make me better than everyone else.”
Eventually Cummings took a step back, told herself the heyday of fighter pilots was over and joined the robots. She’s now an aeronautics professor at MIT working to tackle the monotonous work of flying, farming and other industries with autonomous drones.
– LED’s efficiency exceeds 100% (PhysOrg.com, Mar 5, 2012):
For the first time, researchers have demonstrated that an LED can emit more optical power than the electrical power it consumes. Although scientifically intriguing, the results won’t immediately result in ultra-efficient commercial LEDs since the demonstration works only for LEDs with very low input power that produce very small amounts of light.
The researchers, Parthiban Santhanam and coauthors from MIT, have published their study in a recent issue of Physical Review Letters.
As the researchers explain in their study, the key to achieving a power conversion efficiency above 100%, i.e., “unity efficiency,” is to greatly decrease the applied voltage. According to their calculations, as the voltage is halved, the input power is decreased by a factor of 4, while the emitted light power scales linearly with voltage so that it’s also only halved. In other words, an LED’s efficiency increases as its output power decreases. (The inverse of this relationship – that LED efficiency decreases as its output power increases – is one of the biggest hurdles in designing bright, efficient LED lights.)
In their experiments, the researchers reduced the LED’s input power to just 30 picowatts and measured an output of 69 picowatts of light – an efficiency of 230%. The physical mechanisms worked the same as with any LED: when excited by the applied voltage, electrons and holes have a certain probability of generating photons. The researchers didn’t try to increase this probability, as some previous research has focused on, but instead took advantage of small amounts of excess heat to emit more power than consumed. This heat arises from vibrations in the device’s atomic lattice, which occur due to entropy.
“As such, it is perhaps the most promising tool for behavioral change to have come along in decades.”
– Harnessing the Power of Feedback Loops (Wired, June 19, 2011):
The premise of a feedback loop is simple: Provide people with information about their actions in real time, then give them a chance to change those actions, pushing them toward better behaviors. Photo: Kevin Van Aelst
In 2003, officials in Garden Grove, California, a community of 170,000 people wedged amid the suburban sprawl of Orange County, set out to confront a problem that afflicts most every town in America: drivers speeding through school zones.
Local authorities had tried many tactics to get people to slow down. They replaced old speed limit signs with bright new ones to remind drivers of the 25-mile-an-hour limit during school hours. Police began ticketing speeding motorists during drop-off and pickup times. But these efforts had only limited success, and speeding cars continued to hit bicyclists and pedestrians in the school zones with depressing regularity.
So city engineers decided to take another approach. In five Garden Grove school zones, they put up what are known as dynamic speed displays, or driver feedback signs: a speed limit posting coupled with a radar sensor attached to a huge digital readout announcing “Your Speed.”
– Protecting medical implants from attack (MIT News, June 13, 2011):
Millions of Americans have implantable medical devices, from pacemakers and defibrillators to brain stimulators and drug pumps; worldwide, 300,000 more people receive them every year. Most such devices have wireless connections, so that doctors can monitor patients’ vital signs or revise treatment programs. But recent research has shown that this leaves the devices vulnerable to attack: In the worst-case scenario, an attacker could kill a victim by instructing an implantable device to deliver lethal doses of medication or electricity.
At the Association for Computing Machinery’s upcoming Sigcomm conference, researchers from MIT and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst (UMass) will present a new system for preventing such attacks. The system would use a second transmitter to jam unauthorized signals in an implant’s operating frequency, permitting only authorized users to communicate with it. Because the jamming transmitter, rather than the implant, would handle encryption and authentication, the system would work even with existing implants.
The researchers envision that the jamming transmitter — which they call a shield — would be small enough to wear as a necklace or a watch. A device authorized to access the implant would send encrypted instructions to the shield, which would decode and relay them.
On the day the tsunami hit it was known that there was a meltdown going on and the cover-up is still ongoing:
Listen to the interview with the former editor of the Japan Times Yochi Shimatsu on March 12:
Radioactive byproducts indicate that nuclear chain reactions must have been burning at the damaged nuclear reactors long after the disaster unfolded
Nuclear reactors produce radioactive by-products that decay at different rates. One common by-product is iodine-131 which has a half life of about 8 days while another is cesium-137 with a half life of about 30 years.
When a reactor switches off, the iodine decays more quickly so the ratio between these two isotopes changes rapidly over a period of days. That’s why measuring this ratio is a good way to work out when the nuclear reactions terminated.
There are some complicating factors, however. The most important of these is that the ratio of iodine-131 and cesium-137 to start with depends on how long the reactor has been operating and so is not constant.
Boston Dynamics, the military engineering firm best known for its four-legged BigDog robot, has been awarded two contracts by DARPA to develop a pair of new robots: an agile humanoid called ATLAS and a speedy, animal-inspired quadruped called CHEETAH.
ATLAS looks like a headless Terminator, with a torso, two legs and two arms, all controlled by an array of servos, pistons and robotic muscles. His killer feature is lifelike agility, and will be able to tackle difficult terrain by walking upright, sidling through narrow passages and using his hands for balance, support and grip.
“ATLAS will walk like a man, using a heel-to-toe walking motion, long strides and dynamic transfer of weight on each step,” explains Rob Playter, the ATLAS principal investigator and VP of Engineering at Boston Dynamics. Dynamic agility systems will allow the robot to use his own momentum to throw or swing himself across gaps and between handholds. It’s not entirely clear why he lacks a head.
CHEETAH, on the other hand, is about pure velocity. Named after the planet’s fastest land animal, Boston’s big-cat-inspired robot will sprint faster than the quickest human athletes. It doesn’t sacrifice maneuverability though, as the robot is being designed to take tighter turns so it can zigzag to chase and evade. “It will accelerate rapidly, starting and stopping on a dime,” says Boston Dynamics in a statement.
Ramesh Raskar explains how the camera can shoot around corners
A camera that can shoot around corners has been developed by US scientists.
The prototype uses an ultra-short high-intensity burst of laser light to illuminate a scene.
The device constructs a basic image of its surroundings – including objects hidden around the corner – by collecting the tiny amounts of light that bounce around the scene.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology team believe it has uses in search and rescue and robot vision.
“It’s like having X-ray vision without the X-rays,” said Professor Ramesh Raskar, head of the Camera Culture group at the MIT Media Lab and one of the team behind the system.