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quarta-feira, 26 de novembro de 2014

A terceira guerra mundial


Fiquem tranquilos meus filhos. Não haverá uma terceira guerra mundial. Pelo menos não o tipo de guerra que o título sugere. Travamos hoje únicamente uma guerra tecnológica. Os países desenvolvidos tem hoje bastante experiência para antever que uma terceira guerra mundial nos moldes da Segunda Grande Guerra, seria exatamete como atear fogo em sua própria casa para livrar-se de um rato. Ou matar a vaca para livrá-la dos carrapatos.

Durmam tranquilos, meus queridos amigos. Não haverá uma terceira guerra mundial.

Mas, por via da dúvidas, considerem construir um abrigo subterrâneo super-seguro, com isolamento contra infiltrações radioativas. Um gerador de eletricidade seria recomendável, bem como algumas toneladas de alimentos conservados em freezeres,  e é claro, bastante água potável, sem esquecer de um gerador de oxigênio altamente eficiente.

Execution by cannon–Iran–late 19th century


Nós, seres humanos, podemos ser qualquer coisa que nos aflore à mente, menos uma: Sermos racionais ou qualquer coisa semelhante ou algo que o valha, em atos como esse da foto.  Esta, como muitas outras imagens provam isso. Nossos  bilhões de neurônios, trilhões de sinapses nervosas e um exército de neuro-transmissores executam apenas um trabalho: Circulam pelo nosso cérebro à uma velocidade espantosa porém sem direção definida, quando se trata de assuntos como esse, de um passado distante mas cuja essencia ainda pode ser examinada, analisada.   A melhor coisa que foi “inventada” para nós é a oração e a meditação.  Isso que se vê na imagem, é tão somente um espetáculo público, nada tendo a ver com justiçamento, com penalidade. Na Idade Média era ainda pior. E pensar que temos na história da humanidade milhões de atos da mesma espécie. Estamos hoje resolvidos? Somos melhores? Aprendemos a lição?  O que se poderia fazer com esse homem que provavelmente era um assassino. Simplesmente executá-lo sumariamente por métodos comuns.  Seriam os espectadores homens sem mácula, homens íntegros, homens que havendo uma chance não fariam algo ainda pior?  O homem que seria executado era tão somente um “bode expiatório” …..   - Pensavam todos:  Com esse tipo de execução teremos a certeza que esse indivíduo morrerá sem sombra de dúvida, e então seremos expiados de qualquer culpa. Nos tornaremos homens sem mácula, sem culpa alguma….

José S de Melo


Researchers develop efficient method to produce nanoporous metals


Nanoporous metals -- foam-like materials that have some degree of air vacuum in their structure -- have a wide range of applications because of their superior qualities.

They posses a high surface area for better electron transfer, which can lead to the improved performance of an electrode in an electric double capacitor or battery. Nanoporous metals offer an increased number of available sites for the adsorption of analytes, a highly desirable feature for sensors.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) researchers have developed a cost-effective and more efficient way to manufacture nanoporous metals over many scales, from nanoscale to macroscale, which is visible to the naked eye.

The process begins with a four-inch silicon wafer. A coating of metal is added and sputtered across the wafer. Gold, silver and aluminum were used for this research project. However, the manufacturing process is not limited to these metals.

Next, a mixture of two polymers is added to the metal substrate to create patterns, a process known as diblock copolymer lithography (BCP). The pattern is transformed in a single polymer mask with nanometer-size features. Last, a technique known as anisotropic ion beam milling (IBM) is used to etch through the mask to make an array of holes, creating the nanoporous metal.

During the fabrication process, the roughness of the metal is continuously examined to ensure that the finished product has good porosity, which is key to creating the unique properties that make nanoporous materials work. The rougher the metal is, the less evenly porous it becomes.

"During fabrication, our team achieved 92 percent pore coverage with 99 percent uniformity over a 4-in silicon wafer, which means the metal was smooth and evenly porous," said Tiziana Bond, an LLNL engineer who is a member of the joint research team.

The team has defined a metric -- based on a parametrized correlation between BCP pore coverage and metal surface roughness -- by which the fabrication of nanoporous metals should be stopped when uneven porosity is the known outcome, saving processing time and costs.

"The real breakthrough is that we created a new technique to manufacture nanoporous metals that is cheap and can be done over many scales avoiding the lift-off technique to remove metals, with real-time quality control," Bond said. "These metals open the application space to areas such as energy harvesting, sensing and electrochemical studies."

The lift-off technique is a method of patterning target materials on the surface of a substrate by using a sacrificial material. One of the biggest problems with this technique is that the metal layer cannot be peeled off uniformly (or at all) at the nanoscale.

The research team's findings were reported in an article titled "Manufacturing over many scales: High fidelity macroscale coverage of nanoporous metal arrays via lift-off-free nanofrabication." It was the cover story in a recent issue of Advanced Materials Interfaces.

Other applications of nanoporous metals include supporting the development of new metamaterials (engineered materials) for radiation-enhanced filtering and manipulation, including deep ultraviolet light. These applications are possible because nanoporous materials facilitate anomalous enhancement of transmitted (or reflected) light through the tunneling of surface plasmons, a feature widely usable by light-emitting devices, plasmonic lithography, refractive-index-based sensing and all-optical switching.

Geoengineering our climate is not a 'quick fix'


The deliberate, large-scale intervention in the Earth's climate system is not a "quick fix" for global warming, according to the findings of the UK's first publicly funded studies on geoengineering.

The deliberate, large-scale intervention in the Earth's climate system is not a "quick fix" for global warming, according to the findings of the UK's first publicly funded studies on geoengineering.

The results of three projects -- IAGP, led by the University of Leeds; SPICE, led by the University of Bristol; and CGG, led by the University of Oxford -- are announced at an event held at The Royal Society, London, on 26 November 2014.

Professor Piers Forster, Professor of Physical Climate Change at the University of Leeds, and the principal investigator of the Integrated Assessment of Geoengineering Proposals (IAGP) project, said: "Our research shows that the devil is in the detail. Geoengineering will be much more expensive and challenging than previous estimates suggest and any benefits would be limited.

"For example, when simulating the spraying of sea salt particles into clouds to try to brighten them, we found that only a few clouds were susceptible and that the particles would tend to coagulate and fall out before reaching the cloud base."

In September 2009, The Royal Society published a report, Geoengineering the climate: science, governance and uncertainty. It influenced research worldwide, identified important gaps and called for a major UK funding programme into geoengineering. The IAGP and SPICE projects were funded the next year, and the CGG project followed in 2012.

IAGP is the UK's first interdisciplinary research study into the controversial issue of geoengineering. It has brought together a range of expertise -- climate modelling, philosophy and engineering -- in addition to understanding public perceptions, to assess geoengineering within wider societal values.

"Cleverly designed simulations create less necessity for real-world testing.. My favourite part of the research involved creating a virtual reality in which we tried to rescue Arctic sea ice by dumping sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere from Stratotanker aircraft flying out of Svalbard in Norway," said Professor Forster.

"Issues around monitoring and predicting the effects of our actions led to huge indecision and highlighted how challenging it would be to ever try and deploy these techniques in the real world."

Researchers working on the Stratospheric Particle Injection for Climate Engineering (SPICE) project took a different tack, but came to a similar cautionary conclusion.

Rather than running simulations, SPICE researchers used volcanoes as models to mimic the effect of a solar geoengineering proposal, in which sulphate aerosols are pumped into the atmosphere to reflect more sunlight back into space. This is a process that also naturally occurs due to particles emitted from volcanic eruptions.

Dr Matthew Watson, a reader in natural hazards from the University of Bristol, and principal investigator for the SPICE project, said: "Whilst it is clear that temperatures could be reduced during deployment, the potential for misstep is considerable. By identifying risks, we hope to contribute to the evidence base around geoengineering that will determine whether deployment, in the face of the threat of climate change, has the capacity to do more good than harm."

In addition to the feasibility of deployment, IAGP researchers organised workshops to gauge people's perceptions of geoengineering. Four public workshops were held in Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow and Norwich, and two stakeholder workshops in London, with representation from national government departments, civil society groups and industry.

The idea that geoengineering involves "messing with nature" was found to be a central theme in public discussion groups. The workshops also revealed that, of the geoengineering proposals discussed, carbon dioxide removal approaches were favoured over solar geoengineering approaches.

In both the public discussion groups and stakeholder workshops, climate change mitigation strategies, such as improving energy efficiency measures and scaling up renewable technologies, were preferred to geoengineering proposals.

Professor Forster said: "Consulting the public, policymakers and industry from the start told us that we should only consider geoengineering within the wider context of climate change mitigation and adaptation. Geoengineering is not a 'quick fix' alternative."

Dr Watson added: "Full scale deployment of climate engineering technologies will be the clearest indication that we have failed in our role as planetary stewards, but there is a point at which not deploying some technologies would be unethical."

Meanwhile, the Climate Geoengineering Governance (CGG) project is the world's first project to concentrate on the governance and regulatory challenges posed by both research and possible deployment.

The findings of the CGG project include the likelihood that cost estimates for major projects are unrealistic, and that geoengineering must be located firmly in the context of mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

Furthermore, CGG research has also unearthed a paradox: Geoengineering proposals that are technically the easiest to implement and have the quickest impact may be most difficult to govern, while those that are easiest to govern seem likely to be further away from effective large-scale deployment.

Professor Steve Rayner, the James Martin Professor of Science and Civilization at the University of Oxford, and principal investigator for the CGG project, concludes: "Take everything you hear both for and against geoengineering with a large grain of salt. Mostly it is too soon to know what any of these technology ideas would look like in practice or what would be their true cost and benefit.

"But it's almost certain that geoengineering will be neither a magic bullet nor Pandora's Box."

Additive Manufacturing: La nuova rivoluzione industriale


Il 4 dicembre alle ore 17.00 si terrà presso la Bologna Business School l'incontro dedicato alla manifattura per addizione, soluzione che sta portando a una vera e propria rivoluzione industriale.

di MIT Technology Review |

Scrivevano su The Economist della manifattura per addizione: “La diffusione della stampa 3D è destinata a cambiare profondamente il manufacturing, aprendo nuove possibilità per le imprese tradizionali e contribuendo a far nascere nuovi modelli business.”
Per chi è solito seguirci, la stampa 3-D non è una novità e i suoi effetti sulla manifattura sono reali e molteplici (vedi “Una batteria e un “orecchio bionico”: Uno sguardo alle promesse della stampa 3-D", "Fab Lab Reggio Emilia: Un assaggio di MIT", "La stampa 3D: Dall'industria al Home-Made" ed anche "La stampa 3-D sta rivoluzionando la visualizzazione dei Big Data").
Mai, prima d'oggi, un processo produttivo era riuscito a interessare settori industriali tanto differenti. Per questo motivo è bene tornare spesso su questo argomento, così da poterne approfondire la comprensione, apprenderne gli ultimi sviluppi e contribuire alla sua divulgazione.
Ebbene, proprio per parlare di Stampa 3-D, o Additive Manufacturing, vi invitiamo a partecipare all'incontro che si terrà il 4 dicembre presso la Bologna Business School. A discutere del tema “Additive Manufacturing: La nuova rivoluzione industriale”, si incontreranno diversi esperti del settore, fra cui Sandro De Poli, Country CEO di General Electric, Andrea Pontremoli, CEO di Dallara Automobili, Mauro Varretto, Direttore Tecnico di Protocast / Gruppo GE, ed Avio Mauro Antolotti, Presidente di ProtoService.

In questa occasione si parlerà del significato della manifattura per addizione, del perché la 3-D manufacturing sta scatenando una vera rivoluzione industriale e si potrà assistere ad alcuni degli aspetti caratteristici della progettazione e della produzione per stampa 3-D.

Meet The Owl With Eyes Like The Night Sky


November 20, 2014 | by Justine Alford

Photo credit: wildlife learning center

We all know it can be impossible not to immediately fall in love with cute, fluffy animals with big eyes that melt away your soul. But Zeus takes this to another level.

Zeus is a blind Western screech owl whose eyes truly look like twinkling galaxies. It's almost impossible to stop gazing into them.

His starry eyes are the result of clots of protein and blood pigment, but he also has cataracts. HIs condition is probably the result of an attack by a predator, but it's possible he also had a flying accident. He only has around 10% of his vision, so he cannot be released back into the wild and so stays at the Wildlife Learning Center in California where he receives a lot of TLC.


Snap 2014-11-26 at 13.16.25

WaveNET – the floating, flexible wave energy generator


WaveNET - a floating, flexible, modular and massively scalable wave power generation idea ...

WaveNET - a floating, flexible, modular and massively scalable wave power generation idea under testing in Scotland

Image Gallery (24 images)

Scotland's Albatern is putting a new, modular spin on renewable energy generation. WaveNET is a scalable array of floating "Squid" generator units that harvest wave energy as their buoyant arms rise and fall with the motion of the waves. Each Squid can link up to as many as three others, effectively creating a large, floating grid that's flexible in every direction. The bigger this grid gets, the more efficient it becomes at harvesting energy, and the more different wave movements it can extract energy from. Albatern's 10-year target is to have 1.25 kilometer-long floating energy farms pumping out as much as 100 megawatts by 2024.


How it works

Each Squid unit in the WaveNET array consists of a central ballast pole, surrounded by three buoyant floats that connect to the central post with linking arms. The linking arms connect to the central post with a fully articulating pump unit at each end, thus any movement of the arms as the floats move in the water causes those pumps to create hydraulic energy.

Anatomy of a WaveNET Squid

The Squid units can be connected to one another at the floatation points, and Albatern has discovered that building a large array gives you "dramatic non-linear yield improvements."

Imagine a blanket of points floating on the surface of the sea – as a wave travels through the blanket, those points are pushed together, pulled apart and moved individually along X, Y and Z axes relative to one another – and every time those points move, they're generating energy.

The Squid unit's articulating pumps

Using a common hydrostatic transmission system, the hydraulic energy pumped through all these units is gathered at a central point and converted into electrical energy through a "power take-off" module, and here the electricity can be transmitted to shore.

Unique advantages

Because the WaveNET system is set up as an array, it's able to extract energy from five of the six degrees of wave movement – pitch, roll, heave, surge and sway.

Because it's flexible and connected to the ocean floor at multiple points, it's resistant to damage from large waves because some or all of the array can be fully submerged without issue.

And because most of the action takes place underwater, the only visual impact of a WaveNET array is a group of floating yellow buoys, not unlike a mussel farm.

A small network of 6-metre squids

Scaling up

Each individual Squid unit in current WaveNET testing off the Scottish coast has a 6 meter (20 ft) tall central ballast pole, and has a generating capacity of 7.5 kW. Next up will come a 12-metre version with a 75 kW capacity, followed by a giant 24-metre Squid that can generate up to 750 kW.

With each doubling of size comes a tenfold capacity increase

a 1.25 kilometre, 5-deep grid of 24-metre units would give you 100 megawatt generation cap...

Albatern says it can build a 100-megawatt WaveNET generator within ten years using an array of 135 of the 24-metre units, with a 1250 x 250 meter total area (4101 x 820 ft). Cost of energy is estimated at £100-150 (US$160 - $235) per MWh, which is higher than other renewable energy sources such as solar and wind at this stage.

Albatern sees its immediate market in offshore businesses – oil rigs, aquaculture outfits and remote communities that are close to rough seas but far from other sources of power. But its eventual goal is to operate large grid-scale operations within the next 10 years.

Source: Albatern WaveNET.


Football players found to have brain damage from mild 'unreported' concussions


November 24, 2014

American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

There wasn't a diagnostic capability to identify mild brain injury early after the trauma until recently. In the NFL, other professional sports and especially school sports, concern has grown about the long-term neuropsychiatric consequences of repeated mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) and specifically sports-related concussive and sub-concussive head impacts.'

The images from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev JAMA Neurology study represent Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB) Permeability in Football Players (A) vs. a control group (B). The players in the pathological-BBB group (B) presented focal BBB lesions in different cortical regions including the temporal (player 4), frontal (player 5), and parietal (player 6) lobes. Both gray and white matter were involved.

A new, enhanced MRI diagnostic approach was, for the first time, able to identify significant damage to the blood-brain barrier (BBB) of professional football players following "unreported" trauma or mild concussions. Published in the current issue of JAMA Neurology, this study could improve decision making on when an athlete should "return to play."

According to Prof. Alon Friedman, from the Ben-Gurion University Brain Imaging Research Center and discoverer of the new diagnostic, "until now, there wasn't a diagnostic capability to identify mild brain injury early after the trauma. In the NFL, other professional sports and especially school sports, concern has grown about the long-term neuropsychiatric consequences of repeated mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) and specifically sports-related concussive and sub-concussive head impacts."

The paper, published by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and Soroka University Medical Center, describes a new diagnostic approach using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) for detection and localization of vascular pathology and blood-brain barrier breakdown in football players.

The images from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev JAMA Neurology study represent Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB) Permeability in Football Players (A) vs. a control group (B). The players in the pathological-BBB group (B) presented focal BBB lesions in different cortical regions including the temporal (player 4), frontal (player 5), and parietal (player 6) lobes. Both gray and white matter were involved.

"The goal of our study was to use our new method to visualize the extent and location of BBB dysfunction in football players using Dynamic Contrast-Enhanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging (DCE-MRI) on a Phillips 3-T Ingenia. Specifically, it generates more detailed brain maps showing brain regions with abnormal vasculature, or a 'leaky BBB.' "

Study participants included 16 football players from Israel's professional football team, Black Swarm, as well as 13 track and field athletes from Ben-Gurion University who served as controls. All underwent the newly developed MRI-based diagnostic.

The DCE-MRIs were given between games during the season and revealed significant damage.

Forty percent of the examined football players with unreported concussions had evidence of "leaky BBB" compared to 8.3 percent of the control athletes.

"The group of 29 volunteers was clearly differentiated into an intact-BBB group and a pathological-BBB group," Friedman explains. "This showed a clear association between football and increased risk for BBB pathology that we couldn't see before. In addition, high-BBB permeability was found in six players and in only one athlete from the control group."

Friedman also explains that not all the players showed pathology. This indicates that repeated, mild concussive events might impact some players differently than others. This level of diagnosis of individual players can provide the basis of more rational decision making on "return to play" for professionals as well amateurs of any age.

"Generally, players return to the game long before the brain's physical healing is complete, which could exacerbate the possibility of brain damage later in life," says Friedman.

A decade of research in the BGU Laboratory for Experimental Neurosurgery has shown that vascular pathology, and specifically dysfunction of the blood-brain barrier (BBB), plays a key role in brain dysfunction and degeneration, and may be an underlying cause of neurodegenerative complications after brain injuries.

The BBB is a highly selective permeable membrane that separates circulating blood from extracellular fluid. It protects the brain by preventing many dangerous substances from penetrating, and therefore is not meant to be damaged.

Medical researchers, including Friedman's group at BGU, are working to find ways to find drugs that will target the BBB and facilitate its repair, allowing for the prevention of Alzheimer's disease and other brain-related disease.

"Prof. Friedman has been able to conduct this breakthrough brain research using the state-of-the-art MRI machine donated as a result of contributions from American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU)," explains Doron Krakow, AABGU executive vice president. "We believe that with continued support, Prof. Friedman and the DCE-MRI can help render more accurate and informed decisions by athletes and others exposed to mild concussions about when to resume activities."

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Itai Weissberg, Ronel Veksler, Lyn Kamintsky, Rotem Saar-Ashkenazy, Dan Z. Milikovsky, Ilan Shelef, Alon Friedman. Imaging Blood-Brain Barrier Dysfunction in Football Players. JAMA Neurology, 2014; 71 (11): 1453 DOI: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2014.2682


Grinding machines


Rotating abrasive wheel on a bench grinder.


Pedal-powered grinding machine, Russia, 1902.

A grinding machine, often shortened to grinder, is any of various power tools or machine tools used for grinding, which is a type of machining using an abrasive wheel as the cutting tool. Each grain of abrasive on the wheel's surface cuts a small chip from the workpiece via shear deformation.

Grinding is used to finish workpieces that must show high surface quality (e.g., low surface roughness) and high accuracy of shape and dimension. As the accuracy in dimensions in grinding is on the order of 0.000025 mm, in most applications it tends to be a finishing operation and removes comparatively little metal, about 0.25 to 0.50 mm depth. However, there are some roughing applications in which grinding removes high volumes of metal quite rapidly. Thus, grinding is a diverse field.


The grinding machine consists of a bed with a fixture to guide and hold the work piece, and a power-driven grinding wheel spinning at the required speed. The speed is determined by the wheel’s diameter and manufacturer’s rating. The user can control the grinding head to travel across a fixed work piece, or the work piece can be moved while the grind head stays in a fixed position.

Fine control of the grinding head or tables position is possible using a vernier calibrated hand wheel, or using the features of numerical controls.

Grinding machines remove material from the work piece by abrasion, which can generate substantial amounts of heat. To cool the work piece so that it does not overheat and go outside its tolerance, grinding machines incorporate a coolant. The coolant also benefits the machinist as the heat generated may cause burns. In high-precision grinding machines (most cylindrical and surface grinders), the final grinding stages are usually set up so that they remove about 200 nm (less than 1/10000 in) per pass - this generates so little heat that even with no coolant, the temperature rise is negligible. '



A surface grinder.


A cylindrical grinder.

These machines include the:

  • Belt grinder, which is usually used as a machining method to process metals and other materials, with the aid of coated abrasives. Sanding is the machining of wood; grinding is the common name for machining metals. Belt grinding is a versatile process suitable for all kind of applications like finishing, deburring, and stock removal.
  • Bench grinder, which usually has two wheels of different grain sizes for roughing and finishing operations and is secured to a workbench or floor stand. Its uses include shaping tool bits or various tools that need to be made or repaired. Bench grinders are manually operated.
  • Cylindrical grinder, which includes both the types that use centers and the centerless types. A cylindrical grinder may have multiple grinding wheels. The workpiece is rotated and fed past the wheel(s) to form a cylinder. It is used to make precision rods, tubes, bearing races, bushings, and many other parts.
  • Surface grinder which includes the wash grinder. A surface grinder has a "head" which is lowered, and the workpiece is moved back and forth past the grinding wheel on a table that has a permanent magnet for use with magnetic stock. Surface grinders can be manually operated or have CNC controls. Rotary surface grinders or commonly known as "Blanchard" style grinders, the grinding head rotates and the table usually magnetic but can be vacuum or fixture, rotates in the opposite direction, this type machine removes large amounts of material and grinds flat surfaces with noted spiral grind marks. Used to make and sharpen; burn-outs, metal stamping die sets, flat shear blades, fixture bases or any flat and parallel surfaces.
  • Tool and cutter grinder and the D-bit grinder. These usually can perform the minor function of the drill bit grinder, or other specialist toolroom grinding operations.
  • Jig grinder, which as the name implies, has a variety of uses when finishing jigs, dies, and fixtures. Its primary function is in the realm of grinding holes and pins. It can also be used for complex surface grinding to finish work started on a mill.

Gear grinder, which is usually employed as the final machining process when manufacturing a high-precision gear. The primary function of these machines is to remove the remaining few thousandths of an inch of material left by other manufacturing methods (such as gashing or hobbing).

source – Wikipedia


Selenium compounds boost immune system to fight against cancer


Cancer types such as melanoma, prostate cancer and certain types of leukemia weaken the body by over-activating the natural immune system. Researchers from the University of Copenhagen have now demonstrated that selenium -- naturally found in, e.g., garlic and broccoli -- slows down the immune over-response. In the long term, this may improve cancer treatment. The findings have been published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

The immune system is designed to remove things not normally found in the body. Cells undergoing change, e.g. precursors of cancer cells, are therefore normally recognised and removed by the immune system. Unfortunately, the different cancer cells contain mechanisms that block the immune system's ability to recognise them, allowing them to freely continue cancer development.

Certain cancer cells overexpress immunostimulatory molecules in liquid form. Such over-stimulation has a negative impact on the immune system:

"You can say that the stimulating molecules over-activate the immune system and cause it to collapse, and we are, of course, interested in blocking this mechanism. We have now shown that certain selenium compounds, which are naturally found in, e.g., garlic and broccoli, effectively block the special immunostimulatory molecule that plays a serious role for aggressive cancers such as melanoma, prostate cancer and certain types of leukemia," says Professor Søren Skov, Department of Veterinary Disease Biology, University of Copenhagen.

Dissolved molecules

In this study, the researchers are focusing on the so-called NGK2D ligands. There are eight variants, of which one in particular has caught the researchers' attention, because it assumes liquid form. It is precisely the molecular dissolution that causes serious problems, once the cancer is raging. The entire bloodstream is, so to speak, infected, and the molecule is therefore used as a marker of serious illness:

"Molecules are found both on the surface of the cancer cells and dissolved in the blood of the affected person. We are now able to show that selenium compounds appear to have a very beneficial effect when it comes to neutralising the special variant of the NGK2D ligand -- both in soluble form and when the molecule is placed on the cell surface," says Professor Søren Skov.

Better drugs in future

The researchers are constantly learning more about the disease mechanisms causing aggressive cancers in the skin, blood and reproductive organs:

"The overexpression seen in cancers such as melanoma, prostate cancer and certain types of leukemia significantly impairs the immune system. If we can find ways to slow down the over-stimulation, we are on the right track. The new results are yet another small step towards better cancer drugs with fewer adverse effects," says Søren Skov.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Copenhagen - The Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. M. Hagemann-Jensen, F. Uhlenbrock, S. Kehlet, L. Andresen, C. Gabel-Jensen, L. Ellgaard, B. Gammelgaard, S. Skov. The Selenium Metabolite Methylselenol Regulates the Expression of Ligands That Trigger Immune Activation through the Lymphocyte Receptor NKG2D. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2014; 289 (45): 31576 DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M114.591537


LG G Watch R review: Second time's a charm


Gizmag reviews one of the three fashion-meets-function champions of 2014, the LG G Watch R...

Gizmag reviews one of the three fashion-meets-function champions of 2014, the LG G Watch R (Photo: Will Shanklin/

Image Gallery (21 images)

We recently took a look at two of the most stylish smartwatches around, the Moto 360 and Asus ZenWatch, but there's one more to add to that list. Read on, as we review LG's second stab at Android Wear, the round-faced G Watch R.

The G Watch R is a smartwatch with a very specific design theme. Like the Moto 360, it has a round display, but here that screen is surrounded by a large bezel with clock markings. It looks like LG was mimicking classic diving watches, like the Rolex Submariner.

The G Watch R's round display and diver watch bezel (Photo: Will Shanklin/

That body is made of black stainless steel, and ships with a matching black leather band (if you don't like it, you can swap it with any standard 22 mm strap). Watch and band both feel high-end, light and comfortable on my wrist. And at 9.7 mm (0.38-in) thick, the G Watch R is one of the thinner smartwatches we've seen.

Though the Moto 360's screen is almost round, the G Watch R is the first Android Wear watch with a fully circular display (the Moto's has a small sliver cut out at the bottom). The G Watch's screen isn't the biggest, but it looks great. And some of LG's clock faces, which complement the diver face, help to unify hardware and software.

Moto 360 (left) with the G Watch R (Photo: Will Shanklin/

The round display is also fairly sharp (246 pixels per inch), and appears to gets brighter than other Wear watches (it gives you six brightness levels to choose from, and all but "1" are pretty bright).

The G Watch R's software is exactly what you'll find on other Android Wear watches, and LG didn't add any companion apps with unique add-ons (like Motorola and Asus did). If you aren't already acquainted with what Wear watches can do, you can hit up Gizmag's Android Wear review from earlier this year.

The G Watch R is one of the thinner smartwatches around, at 9.7 mm (0.38-in) thick (Photo:...

Battery life is good: better than the Moto 360, but not quite as long-lasting as the ZenWatch.

With brightness set to "2" or "3," with typical use and always-on display, mine dropped between 5-6 percent per hour. With the always-on setting off (which pretty much kills its aesthetic), it only dipped around 3-4 percent per hour. For appearance's sake, I'd recommend using the always-on clock face and charging every night, but either way you're good to go: this is an all-day watch with room to spare.

Like most big-ticket smartwatches, the G Watch R gives you IP67 water resistance. Though it may look like a diver's watch, you won't want to take it diving in anything deeper than a 3-ft. kiddie pool.

LG G Watch R review: Second time's a charm

If smartwatches ever really take off, we might eventually have hundreds of Android Wear watches to choose from – all running the same software, and only differentiated by design. But this holiday season, we're left with just three that hit a sweet spot between tech and fashion: the Moto 360, Asus ZenWatch and the G Watch R.

The G Watch R is worth a look next to its two peers. The diving watch design is going to be a little love-it-or-hate-it but, after the original gadgety-looking G Watch (no "R" because it wasn't round), the G Watch R is a big step in the right direction for LG. This is a classy-looking timepiece with good battery life, the best smartwatch software available today, and no yellow or red flags to watch out for.

The G Watch R is the most expensive Android Wear watch to date, at US$300 (Photo: Will Sha...

One of the biggest advantages for the other two is the G Watch R's price. At US$300, it costs $50 more than the Moto 360 and $100 more than the ZenWatch. You could make a strong argument for any of them as the best smartwatch you can buy today, so it's simply going to come down to how much you fancy that unique design and fully-round screen.

The LG G Watch R is available now for $300. For a closer look at its design, you can hit up our image gallery.

Product page: LG


terça-feira, 25 de novembro de 2014

Gizmag recalls (2012) LiquidPiston 40-bhp X2 rotary engine with 75 percent thermal efficiency


The LiquidPiston X2 rotary engine boasts a thermal efficiency of 75 percent

The LiquidPiston X2 rotary engine boasts a thermal efficiency of 75 percent

OCTOBER,21,2012 by David Szondy

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The internal combustion engine (ICE) has had a remarkably successful century and a half. Unfortunately, it’s notoriously inefficient, wasting anywhere from 30 to 99 percent of the energy it produces and spewing unburned fuel into the air. Last week, Gizmag interviewed Dr. Alexander Shkolnik, President and CEO of LiquidPiston, Inc. about the company's LiquidPiston X2 – a 40-bhp rotary engine that burns a variety of fuels and requires no valves, cooling systems, radiators or mufflers, yet promises a thermodynamic efficiency of 75 percent. (Update: The engine has a goal of achieving a 57 percent brake efficiency.)

Co-founder of LiquidPiston with his father Nikolay, Dr. Shkolnik believes that the internal combustion engine is at the end of its development cycle. According to Shkolnik, after 150 years the ICE has made as many incremental improvements as it can. Many varieties of ICE, such as the Otto cycle used by petrol engines and the Diesel cycle, have had their successful points, but all fall short of being as efficient at they could be. Even what seem like very efficient engines, like the diesel, aren't as good as they might appear.

The LiquidPiston X2 rotary engine and a comparable diesel engine

“Everyone would say at first glance that the diesel engine is more efficient (than the petrol engine). The truth is that if you had both engines at the same compression ratio, the spark-ignited engine has a faster combustion process and a more efficient process. In practice, it’s limited to a lower compression ratio otherwise you get spontaneous ignition.”

LiquidPiston’s approach to the problem was to go back to the basics of thermodynamics and work forward to develop what Shkolnik calls the “High Efficiency Hybrid Cycle” (HEHC), which combines the features of the Otto, Diesel, Rankine, and Atkinson cycles.

Comparison between the Wankel and X2 engine

The idea is to compress the air in the LiquidPiston X2 engine to a very high ratio as in the diesel cycle and then isolating it in a constant volume chamber. When fuel is injected, it’s allowed to mix with the air and it auto-ignites as in a diesel engine, but the fuel/air mixture isn’t allowed to expand. Instead, it’s kept compressed in a constant volume so it can burn over an extended period, as in the Otto cycle. When the burning fuel/air mix is allowed to expand, it’s then overexpanded to near-atmospheric pressure. In this way, all the fuel is burned and almost all of the energy released is captured as work. Shkolnik calls this use of constant volume combustion “the holy grail of automotive engineering.”

Constant volume combustion and overexpansion provide an HEHC engine like the X2 with a number of benefits. Shkolnik points out that the X2 engine is exceptionally quiet because it burns all of its fuel. In current ICE engines, an alarming amount of fuel goes out the tailpipe. This not only cuts down on fuel efficiency and pollutes the air, it also makes the engine noisy. Since the X2 engine burns its fuel completely, there’s no need for complicated silencing apparatus. (Update: The engine runs quietly due to not needing poppet valves.)

The LiquidPiston engine in operation

The overexpansion used in the cycle also means that there is very little waste heat. An ICE only converts only 30 percent of its heat into work while the X2 engine has a thermal efficiency of 75 percent, so a water cooling system isn’t necessary. Water may be injected into an HEHC engine during compression or expansion for cooling, but doing so also helps to lubricate and seal the chamber and as the water cools the engine it converts into superheated steam, which boosts engine efficiency.

Shkolnik says that the X2 engine is a rotary because piston engines aren’t suitable for the HEHC and a rotary engine provides much more flexibility. Also, the use of a rotary design greatly simplifies the engine with only three moving parts and 13 major components required. That allows the X2 to be one-tenth the size of a comparable diesel engine.

The LiquidPiston X2 rotary engine

When asked whether the X2 engine isn’t just an updated Wankel, Shkolnik pointed out that though both are rotary engines, the Wankel is very different. For one thing, it uses a straightforward Otto cycle like a piston engine and operates at a much lower compression rate than the X2. In comparison, the X2 engine is almost the opposite of a Wankel. “It’s almost like the Wankel engine flipped inside-out,” said Shkolnik.

Not only does the X2 engine work on a different principle from the Wankel, but it doesn't suffer from the same limitations. The X2 engine has a better surface to volume ratio, it doesn’t have the thermodynamic limitations of the Otto cycle and it doesn't have the emissions problems of the Wankel. The Wankel has apex seals that are carried around with the rotor and need to be lubricated. To do this, oil has to be sprayed on them, which means that the Wankel is burning oil as it runs, resulting in the high emissions that have recently curtailed its use. The X2 engine, on the other hand, moves the seals from the rotor to the housing, so no special lubrication is required.

Power curve of the HEHC cycle

Another way that the X2 engine differs from the Wankel is that Shkolnik has no intention of it sharing the same fate as the Wankel, which turned into an automotive also-ran when put head to head with the ICE or hybrid electrics to power motor cars, (though he admits that the X2 engine would be an excellent range extender for hybrids). Instead, he plans to go after niche markets that can use the X2’s peculiar strengths.

One place where the X2 engine may have an advantage is in auxiliary power units (APUs). Shkolnik said that an enormous amount of diesel fuel is wasted by lorry drivers for “hotel” purposes. That is, when they stop overnight they leave their engines idling to provide power for the living amenities of their long-distance rigs. Small, lightweight diesel power units with high fuel efficiency, he believes, would be particularly attractive.

Power curve of the HEHC cycle compared to the Otto and Diesel cycles

Another area is military applications. The U.S. military has a need for APUs that can run on heavy fuels, which the X2 engine can. Also, the Pentagon is very keen on developing robots. According to Shkolnik, “you can do amazing things with robots, but ask a robot to carry this giant engine and there’s problems.” He believes that the X2 engine may be the answer to these problems. In addition, the military has need of APUs for tanks, which suffer from extremely bad fuel efficiency from idling to run electronics.

Currently, LiquidPiston is running its original X1 engine in tests, which has been built after only a year from its first design concept. This month, the company unveiled the X2, which is a more fully integrated engine with a simpler construction, at the DEER Conference in Dearborn, Michigan. Shkolnik says that the X2 will be available for partner tests in 2013 as a new round of financing is launched and he hopes to have a preproduction prototype by 2014.

Source: LiquidPiston


The story has been modified in some places to clarify some technical points.


Michelin opens first plant dedicated to production of airless tires


Michelin has announced the opening of its newest North American plant, which it says is th...

Michelin has announced the opening of its newest North American plant, which it says is the first in the world dedicated to the manufacture of airless tires

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A punctured tire is the definition of a bad day, but Michelin is taking some of the sting out as it announces the opening of its newest North American plant, which the company says is the first in the world dedicated to the manufacture of airless tires called "Tweels". The US$50 million plant will be used to make the Michelin X Tweel Airless Radial Tire and others for commercial and agricultural applications.

The Tweel is a combined tire and wheel that was introduced by Michelin as a concept in 2005. It consists of a molded-tread rubber band similar to that of a conventional tire mounted on a steel shear beam that acts as a contact patch. Between this and the hub is a series of energy-absorbing polyurethane spokes connected to an inner rim structure, which can be adjusted based on the expected loads with the tread also able to be customized.

According to Michelin, the Tweel lasts three times as long as conventional tires and has high lateral stiffness and low lateral stiffness, both of which can be adjusted independently. Unlike conventional tires, the tread can be replaced without having to replace the entire unit, so there is less waste of material. In addition, since the design doesn't need to retain air, it can be made to shed water quickly, which reduces hydroplaning. The company says that the Tweel is easy to install, damage resistant, and provides increased operator comfort.

Diagram of the Tweel

Currently, Michelin is aiming its advanced airless radial tire at the agricultural and construction markets, which suffer from significant downtimes from punctures. However, the performance of the Tweel indicates that it has applications in many other fields.

"Differentiating us from competitors, the Tweel airless radial tire is the industry’s first commercialized airless radial solution and verifies Michelin’s leadership for the next generation of mobility," says Ralph Dimenna, head of Michelin Tweel Technologies. "The Tweel airless radial tire enables Michelin to enter new markets and expand its reach in existing business segments within the low-speed application category. The industry is hungry for solutions contributing to productivity, safety and bottom lines."


Source: Michelin via The Telegraph


Guy Finds a Baby Squirrel On the Streets… What He Does Next is Beyond Amazing


This man was walking to work when he saw this little baby half dead on the ground in the Florida sun. He took her in but he had no idea what to do. He turned to the Internet for help, but he was told by others that he didn’t have enough experience to save her and ultimately, she would die. As it turns out, they were all wrong.

This man named this Southern flying squirrel Biscuits, and he found Biscuits baking in the Floridan sun. 
Biscuits was so tiny, that the man had trouble telling what it was. 
The Internet told him that Biscuits would die for sure. 
But he refused to give up hope.
And that was all Biscuit needed to survive. 
He showed love and devotion to save Biscuit’s life.
Slowly, Biscuits opened her eyes  and took the man as her new daddy. 
She also became a rebellious at time, but she was still a sweetheart. 
Her recovery is one of the cutest things. 
She also made new friend’s with the man’s dog. 
They soon became the best of friends. 
Guess, who just had dinner? 
The man hand fed Biscuits for each meal, and Biscuits soon grew up to be big and strong. 
The man felt like Biscuits was always hungry.
She was slowly turning into a beautiful flying squirrel.
He even taught her how to skateboard. 
…and help with complex Excel calculations. 
He also learned how to sail the 7 seas. 
He loved staying in the man’s breast pocket. 
Just to think that everyone gave up on Biscuits except for this man.
Now you wouldn’t have known that this squirrel was on the edge of survival. 
This is biscuits and her daddy: best friends for life.

It is amazing how a little hope can go a long way.

Source: The Meta Picture

Snap 2014-11-25 at 20.09.08