Physicists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have developed a new method for the automated production of plutonium-238, which will increase its production eightfold.
Previously, a radioactive isotope was mainly needed for nuclear weapons, and now it is used for medical sterilization, artistic restoration, power supply of spacecraft systems and other peaceful purposes. After the end of the Cold War, many governments scaled back their national production programs, although need in radioisotope preserved. ORNL researchers have been making it by hand, but recently figured out how to automate the process..
To do this, they form neptunium-aluminum oxide granules. Neptunium is also a radioactive metal element, and if the granules are further irradiated, the so-called neptunium-238 is created, which quickly decays and forms usable 238Pu.
According to scientists, partial automation of production will increase the annual production of plutonium from 50 g to 400 g. Additionally, the reduction of manual operations reduces the level of potential risks..
Chinese scientists have also made incredible progress in transforming atoms. They were able to turn copper into an analogue of gold.
text: Ivan Malichenko, photo: Oak Ridge National Lab
EU finance ministers to consider legislative proposal for the release of a public digital currency and unified regulation of the crypto market.
In the text of the preliminary version of the document, the countries included in the block are invited to develop a common approach to cryptocurrencies, including the possibility of banning high-risk projects. EU finance ministers can discuss this project on Friday, which will allow it to be adopted at the next meeting on December 5.
The main provisions of the bill relate to the issues of strengthening the regulation of cryptocurrencies throughout the European Union, which may contribute to toughening countries’ policies in relation to them. In addition, the text of the document invites the ECB and other EU central banks to study the prospects for issuing their own digital currencies, including by considering specific steps in this direction..
However, in the future, the possibility of making amendments and changes to the existing edition is not excluded..
This bill became a consequence of the fact that many EU countries expressed their negative attitude to Facebook’s plans to release Libra, and the French government and Germany supported the development of their own alternative.
Unique Heating, Cooling and Hot Water Solutions for Multi-Storey Buildings
Scientists have developed a prototype of a hybrid device that can not only reduce the temperature in a building by 12 °C without electricity, but also heats the water due to sunlight.
Heating and air conditioning systems are among the main consumers of electricity. Therefore, researchers are improving radiation cooling systems. and heating for light renewable energy sources. Now a team at State University of New York at Buffalo has combined the two concepts in one device..
To create it, the researchers installed a heat emitter in such a way that heat from the room was collected from both sides of the panels and transferred into the open space in the form of infrared waves. They positioned the thermal emitter vertically between a pair of V-shaped mirrors. In the course of experiments, the device reduced the temperature inside the test setup by more than 12 °C in direct sunlight and at least 14 °C in simulated night time.
The system uses mirrors consisting of 10 thin layers of silver and silicon dioxide, which selectively interact with waves of different lengths. They reflect mid-infrared waves from the emitter, absorbing visible and near-infrared rays. This improves the efficiency of the device as it prevents the sun from neutralizing the cooling effect..
Since the system reflects only part of the radiation, the team decided to use the absorbed energy to the advantage. During tests, researchers were able to use it to heat water up to 60 °C.
The current prototype is only 0.7 m long.In the future, scientists plan to scale the device to the size of the roof.
Researchers have created biocompatible, biodegradable and edible fiber from natural gel that can have many medical uses.
The team of scientists from the University of Campinas used conventional agar-agar made from seaweed as the main material for the optical fiber. The wire they created with a diameter of 2.5 mm has six cylindrical holes of 0.5 mm along the inner axis. They are located around a solid core and prevent light scattering due to the difference between the refractive indices of the gel and air..
Waveguide parameters can be adjusted by changing the composition of natural gelatin, the shape and size of the cores for holes during pouring.
Tests have shown that the gel undergoes structural changes under the influence of temperature, humidity and pH. This allows it to be used for optical sensing, the creation of biocompatible optical sensors, disposable Petri dishes, various devices for operations, research and localized drug delivery..
Scientists are experimenting with other materials, for example, recently the Finns made fiber from cellulose.
Patrick Stanley “Decentralized App Ecosystem on Blockstack” | Blockstack Summit 2017
All Blockstack solutions will be connected in the vastness of the App.co site. The store will open up a world of technical possibilities built on the blockchain for users.
The Blockstack team, whose main activity is focused on creating networks of decentralized applications, announced the launch of their own marketplace, called App.co. Within its walls, users will be able to find 138 applications designed to work in ecosystems, in which the technical ideas of the team have been embodied..
In the future, the Blockstack team, thanks to cooperation with application developers, plans to continue to popularize technical solutions developed using the blockchain. The work will take place in different directions. Already, applications for various purposes have been added to App.co: from games to developer tools.
Interest in blockchain developments is growing day by day. Earlier, we wrote about Microsoft's attempts to create a working environment for the Azure Blockchain Workbench team..
Game Development VS Programming VS Web Development
Educational portal GeekBrains has announced the opening of a recruitment program for a curriculum in the basics of web development, cybersecurity and creating games in Java, designed for 11 high school students–17 years old who are interested in this area and want to work in this area.
The courses will keep children busy on vacation, providing them not only with exciting leisure time, but also with all-round development, and parents will be given confidence in the future of the child. Programming trains logic, creative thinking, the skill of solving practical problems and the habit of working for a result.
As part of a Java game development course, students will come up with a storyline, code, and run a cross-platform 2D role-playing game. When teaching the basics of web development, schoolchildren will develop a website about their favorite game, superhero or musician, master the programmer’s tools.
In the course on the basics of IT security, children will be taught how to prevent threats and resist hacker attacks. At the end of the training, they will have a competition to find vulnerabilities..
In the classroom, students will be able to communicate with each other, develop together and translate ideas into final projects. Duration of each program is three months. Paid training.
ABBYY has integrated AI into its new text recognition system, which allows it to independently determine the peculiarities of handwriting or printing on individual images.
Although programs for translating scans into an editable file appeared in the last century, their main problem was recognition by comparing elements a snapshot with a set of symbols in their database. Therefore, when processing images with minor changes, often the wrong letters were displayed, which required proofreading and manual correction of errors.
Russian developer ABBYY solved this problem using neural networks. The presence of AI elements in the recognition system allows it to work like a human brain, determining the individual characteristics of the spelling of letters. At the same time, it does not wait for the database to be updated, but independently compares the sets of scanned characters with those already known, and expands the list of possible spellings. Details can be found in patent.
This speeds up the processing of scans with imperfections, documents with displaced lines, poorly printed elements, and images with hieroglyphs, Arabic script.
However, competition in this market continues to intensify. In May, Amazon also introduced a new Textract service AI-powered document processing that fully automates data entry.
A Potentially Habitable Super Earth Has Been Discovered
Found the first planet outside the solar system, which has not only water, but also the necessary temperature conditions to support life.
K2-18 orbits a cool dwarf star 110 light years away in the constellation Leo. It is eight times heavier than Earth and has a different composition of the atmosphere. Given the high level of activity of the red dwarf, the conditions on it are likely more hostile., as it must be exposed to strong radiation.
Although this exoplanet will not be able to become a new home for humanity, the discovery brings us closer to answering the fundamental question about the uniqueness of the Earth..
In their work, a team of astronomers at University College London used archival data from 2016 and 2017 from the Hubble Space Telescope and developed open source algorithms to analyze the starlight that passed through the atmosphere of K2-18b. The results showed the presence of water vapor, hydrogen and helium. Researchers believe other molecules, including nitrogen and methane, may also be present in the atmosphere, but further research is needed to find them..
K2-18b was discovered in 2015 and is one of hundreds of super-earths – planets with masses between Earth and Neptune – found by the Kepler spacecraft. Scientists believe many of these super-Earths will be found over the next few decades, as they are the most abundant type of planet in our galaxy, and red dwarfs are the most common stars..
Recall that last year NASA announced that it will begin to look for signs of advanced forms of extraterrestrial life..
text: Ilya Bauer, photo: ESA / Hubble, M. Kornmesser, video: YouTube / NASA Goddard
Two South Korean companies Macrogen and Bigster have announced a partnership. In an unexpected turn of events, the news that the development team also includes specialists from North Korea. Previously, there were not many joint projects of the two countries in the scientific community..
The joint efforts will focus on the development of a blockchain platform that will facilitate the transfer and storage of genome data. Through this platform, organizations hope to offer a safe and sustainable method of handling genetic information. Macrogen believes that the human genome — it is one of the most important research topics in health care.
Individual genome data can enable physicians to improve their work efficiency (in particular, diagnostics) and improve the techniques of treating their patients. Also, work in this area will allow pharmaceutical companies to develop new drugs and therapeutic drugs..
Although genetic information is widely used in health care, its confidential nature, including details such as the biological characteristics of individuals, requires special conditions for the storage and transmission of data. Macrogen claims that they need cryptographic and non-cryptographic methods of protection against hacking in order to work. Confidentiality risks are assigned a special role.
Working on the basis of blockchain, based on decentralization and distribution of data will eliminate the risks of accidental changes or hacking of genetic information. Given the confidential nature of such data, the biotech company decided to use a consortium a model whereby participation in the blockchain is limited to key parties such as pharmaceutical companies, research organizations, genomic analysis groups, and hospitals. The Seoul firm believes this model will be easy to expand for further management..
We’ve previously written about how nuclear medicine can help fight diabetes..
text: Evgeniya Likhodey, photo: Bloomberg
South Korea to create blockchain-driven free trade zone
490+ kilometers per hour | Bugatti Chiron | Speed record
Bugatti has unveiled the fastest passenger car to date, which can accelerate to 490 km / h, but for this the engineers had to redesign and reinforce the wheels.
Initially, the Chiron could not reach its maximum, because at speeds over 480 km / h, the wheels overheated due to strong centrifugal force and a tire load of about 7 tons, from which they were torn apart. However, the designers decided not to look for another rubber, but to strengthen the tires. and redesign the vehicle to reduce drag and eliminate downforce from both sides.
As a result of tests at the Volkswagen Ehra Lessein proving ground in Germany, the pilot managed to accelerate to 490 km / h, installing a new world record. The track itself was perfect for testing, but it took more than five hours to clean it up at this speed. Although at the finish the windshield was littered with smudged insects.
Despite the huge potential of the Bugatti Chiron, future owners will not be able to fully realize it, as the cars sold will be limited to 440 km / h. However, hardly anyone will try to accelerate to this speed, if only due to the lack of a suitable track..
As a reminder, Lamborghini unveiled its first hybrid supercar Si in September.án, which will be the most powerful and fastest car of the company.
text: Ilya Bauer, photo: Bugatti, video: YouTube / Top Gear
Mechanical engineers at Pennsylvania State University have created a fluid membrane that allows large objects to pass through and traps small objects. The material is self-regenerating, stabilized, has many properties of the cell membrane and is the complete opposite of a conventional filter..
The simplest example of a filter is a sieve. If sugar and peas are poured into it, then it detains larger objects. The invention of the Pennsylvania scientists works the other way around. The principle of operation of a liquid membrane is based on kinetic energy, which is usually proportional to size, to achieve the desired reversing effect. After passing the object, the shape is completely restored like a layer of surface tension on the top of the glass.
The liquid membrane looks like a regular bubble blowing ring. It is based on water and many other components, and the first prototypes consisted partially of soap. In the course of further research, the content was greatly changed. Thanks to this, the membrane has now become stronger, and also received antibacterial properties and the ability to neutralize odors. Now it can function for a long time and even blocks certain gases..
The team believes the invention can be used in a surgical procedure to protect against infection. This is especially important in areas of natural disaster or in war zones, where there may not be special facilities for operations..
French scientists have also made breakthroughs in the field of medicine. They learned to detect cancer in five years before its active phase.
UK government commissioned a study to assess the cost-effectiveness of a solar power plant in geostationary Earth orbit.
When solar panels are operated on the planet’s surface, their overall efficiency is significantly reduced due to a number of physical factors. They do not generate electricity at night, they do not work well in cloudy weather, without special mechanical systems, their power fluctuates depending on the angle of incidence of rays during the movement of the Sun during the day, some of which are absorbed by the atmosphere. All of these factors disappear when the panels are installed in space..
The UK space agency was interested in such an opportunity and instructed the consulting company Frazer-Nash to study the issue. The research team will study not only the feasibility of the project from the financial side, but also the specific technical features of construction, possible solutions to maximize efficiency, as well as the impact on the country’s energy sector.
All the necessary technologies to create a space solar power plant have existed since the 80s of the last century, but until now such projects have been postponed due to the complexity of implementation and high costs. That changed in early 2019 when China announced it was designing a space facility. for converting solar energy into electrical energy, with its subsequent transfer using a laser or microwaves to the Earth.
Frazer-Nash Consultancy will work with space organizations, energy companies and scientific institutions to determine the best way to transfer the energy produced in orbit to the surface. In case of a positive assessment, the government plans to implement the project until 2050.
text: Ilya Bauer, photo: University of Oxford, Frazer-Nash Consultancy
The inventor of jet wings, Yves Rossi, developed an autonomous take-off and landing system that allowed him to rise vertically from the ground for the first time..
Before the launch took place in the air, and the pilot had to fall out of the plane or helicopter each time before starting to fly on his own..
Recently, Yves Rossy teamed up with a Swiss engineering team to develop a self-balancing runway system, as well as more powerful Jetcat P550 jet engines on the wings, which provide enough thrust for vertical ascent at speeds of up to 180 km / h..
During an open demonstration over the lake, he was able to take off without any problems and softly landed on the platform, while looking completely relaxed. However, Rossi said that landing on the second flight was a little more difficult than the first, making him a little anxious..
The inventor said he will continue to improve his system so that anyone can get off the ground and soar in the air like a bird..
Recall that earlier the company Jetpack Aviation announced that it is developing a prototype flying Speeder motorcycle equipped with jet engines, which will be able to reach speeds of more than 240 km / h..
Why Blockchain Matters More Than You Think – Jack Ma, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Vitalik|Simplilearn
In 2018, the Federal Service for Intellectual Property (Rospatent) will consider almost 300 patent applications for blockchain solutions. The head of the service Grigory Ivliev told reporters about this during his press conference..
For comparison, last year the department reviewed 18 patent applications for blockchain technologies, and only one of them was satisfied by the service, the official said.. «This year we have to consider already 285 applications related to these technologies.», — said Ivliev.
According to him, when Rospatent began to implement online registration of the transfer of intellectual property rights, develop online payments for state fees, payments for transactions with intellectual property, the service realized that there are blockchain technologies that respond to the priority problems of the market.
A group of engineers presented a new autonomous robot that can disinfect even large and crowded rooms using ultraviolet light.
The joint development of Bucharest Robots, Asociatia Suport and the Romanian State Department of Emergency Situations is a mobile device with UV lamps mounted on top. UVD Robot functions completely autonomously and is programmed using a special tablet.
According to the developers, the UV spectrum used kills most viruses, bacteria, fungi and other pathogenic microorganisms. This allows you to effectively disinfect even large rooms with many people, which are often difficult to disinfect with traditional methods..
When used in hospital wards or operating rooms, the robot also helps protect personnel from infection. The first devices are already were admitted to several departments of Romanian medical institutions.
Disinfection is far from the only field of application of autonomous devices in medicine. Since last year, robots have already started helping nurses with a heavy and unskilled part of their work.
text: Ilya Bauer, photo: State Department of Emergencies