Monday, January 31, 2011

Islamic Revolt

Underlying the uprising in Tunisia and the ongoing massive agitation in Egypt is the rise of the Islamic middle class who quite rightly object to having their aspirations throttled by authoritarian corruption and economic monopolies.  Such was the self emulating martyr in Tunisia who was no illiterate peasant but was a well educated young man and the pride of a well to do family who sacrificed to see him into university.

They can go on the internet and see free peoples at work everywhere improving their lives under governments that have slowly learned to just get out of the way.  It is only amazing that it took this long to get up their courage to hit the bricks.

This is a true revolt against tyranny.  The middle class is not been advanced in these countries and they will try a new political system to get it all to work.

At the same time, the lesson of Iran in which one secular tyranny was replaced by a Islamic tyranny has not been lost either.  The Army everywhere will oppose such and the democratic process is likely to actually suppress the likes of the Muslim brotherhood. It will still be nervous times.

Whatever the outcome, all governments in the Islamic world have been put on notice that they must provide freedom for the middle class to breath and contribute to the political life of their countries.

None of this has anything to do with radical Islam although they will struggle to take advantage of it just as the communists used to do in days of yore.  In Egypt, Mubarak did the obvious and rounded up all the Muslim Brothers leadership and put them in jail to wait out the revolt.  Unfortunately, they were all since sprung and the prison was also emptied.

To really ride out the revolt he would have to establish a transition electoral program to divert the energy into electing a representative government.  Doing that has been problematic because autocrats never see their way to provide a truly workable constitution and the result is usually deeply flawed. Recall Russia’s constitution which still keeps real power away from the elected representatives long after the original group of thugs went to their graves.

Ideally, Mubarak and the army can be the midwife to a constitutional assembly whose first order of business is to provide a constitution.   That way the army and Mubarak can be the guarantors of a successful transition and the block to the rise of specific factions undemocratic in their objectives such as the Muslim Brotherhood.  Of course the problem in Pakistan is that the army has been both undemocratic in its inclinations and a sponsor of the worst radicalism.  Thus such a role must be transitional.

Far more importantly, the genie is out of the bottle.  Whatever the actual outcome, the middle class has discovered it has the power to challenge the autocrat and demand representative government through the modern ability to communicate with cell phones and twitter. Governments can stall but they cannot control the dialogue at all.

We now live in a world in which those secret bribes paid to your bros’ secret bank account can become known to all your fellow citizens.

The only solution for the autocrats is to implement representative government as quickly as possible.  Otherwise, mob rule will challenge them constantly.

Analysis - Egypt's Al Jazeera bans channel's key role

By Andrew Hammond
CAIRO | Sun Jan 30, 2011 5:47pm EST

(Reuters) - Egypt's decision on Sunday to close the offices of Al Jazeera illustrates the leading role the Arabic broadcaster has taken in reporting unprecedented popular revolts against Arab rulers.

Egypt has often harassed the Qatar-based channel since it began in 1996, setting off a revolution in Arab media in the face of state-controlled information, but it had never before tried to shut down its operations completely.

But the channel led the coverage of a Tunisian uprising when it began in late December and toppled Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali on January 14, even though it was already banned from the North African country.

Then, sensing that Tunisia's example would set off copycat movements elsewhere, the channel charted mobilisation in Egypt that led to huge protests in the past week demanding the end of President Hosni Mubarak's rule.

"Al Jazeera saw the gravity of the situation," said Shadi Hamid of the Brookings Institute in Doha, referring to the two revolts. "They saw it was going to be big before other people did and that it would stand as one of the historic moments in Arab history."

Arab governments have often closed the offices of the channel, which helped put tiny Gulf state Qatar on the map and boosted its status as a leader of regional diplomacy.

A major oil and gas power, Qatar employs vast resources to back the channel. This month it began a stack of secret documents revealing embarrassing Palestinian Authority concessions to Israel in peace talks. Emad Gad of the Al Ahram Strategic and Political Studies Centre said the effort to smother Al Jazeera was the last effort of a dying authoritarian system to control events in the traditional heavy-handed manner.

He cited the government's move to completely shut off the Internet and mobile phone lines on Friday in an effort to stop people gathering.

"Is cutting the Internet or the mobile network in 2011 a solution? This is equivalent to that. It's the behaviour of a dictatorial state breathing its last," Gad said.

Social media and mobile phone technology have also been cited as playing a major role in the street mobilisations of the past month, which touched Yemen and Jordan too.


Having ignored the protests for five days, Egyptian state TV has now focussed on the disorder that erupted after state security forces withdrew from the streets on Friday rather than ongoing protests against Mubarak.

On Sunday state TV -- which like other Arab official outlets has tried to modernise to keep up with the Qatari trend-setter -- sniped against the station saying only a handful of protesters were in central Cairo, "in contrast to the tens of thousands Al Jazeera talked about."

But Al Jazeera carried images from a still camera of crowds gathering throughout the day at Tahrir Square. The station also has a live channel whose transmission Egypt tried to block on its Nilesat satellite last week.

"We should have taken steps before with this channel since it has caused more destruction than Israel for Egypt," governor of Minya province, Ahmed Diaeddin, raged on state TV. "I call for the trial of Al Jazeera correspondents as traitors."

Salah Issa, editor the state-owned weekly al-Qahira, said Islamists often said to dominate Al Jazeera's editorial line were driven by a vendetta against Mubarak.

"It's managers think they are creating a revolution, first in Tunisia, now in Egypt," he said.

Saudi-owned Al Arabiya has been more conservative in covering the Arab uprisings -- less proactive in covering the protests in the early stage and quicker to promote a return to stability once concessions are offered.

As'ad AbuKhalil, a politics professor in the United States, wrote on his popular blogsite Egyptian and Saudi media were both trying discredit the protest movement.

Breaking Network Bottlenecks

It is a simple enough trick, but it simply alternates random node data transfer with data transfer to an as yet unheard from node.  Inevitably bottleneck nodes get the necessary special attention and the overall network will naturally speed up.

I am surprised this has not been thought of before since the problem is obvious and obvious overcome by addressing it more often.  It has likely been invented many times already.

Breaking bottlenecks

A new algorithm enables much faster dissemination of information through self-organizing networks with a few scattered choke points.

Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office

September 24, 2010

A new algorithm spreads information (red) much more efficiently in networks characterized by sparse connections between densely interlinked clusters.

Graphic: Christine Daniloff
January 11, 2011

As sensors that do things like detect touch and motion in cell phones get smaller, cheaper and more reliable, computer manufacturers are beginning to take seriously the decade-old idea of “smart dust” — networks of tiny wireless devices that permeate the environment, monitoring everything from the structural integrity of buildings and bridges to the activity of live volcanoes. In order for such networks to make collective decisions, however — to, say, recognize that a volcano is getting restless — they need to integrate information gathered by hundreds or thousands of devices.

But networks of cheap sensors scattered in punishing and protean environments are prone to “bottlenecks,” regions of sparse connectivity that all transmitted data must pass through in order to reach the whole network. At the 2011 ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms, which took place in New Orleans the weekend of Jan. 9, Keren Censor-Hillel, a postdoc at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and Hadas Shachnai of Technion – Israel Institute of Technology presented a new algorithm that handles bottlenecks much more effectively than its predecessors.

The algorithm is designed to work in so-called ad hoc networks, in which no one device acts as superintendent, overseeing the network as a whole. In a network of cheap wireless sensors, for instance, any given device could fail: its battery could die; its signal could be obstructed; it could even be carried off by a foraging animal. The network has to be able to adjust to any device’s disappearance, which means that no one device can have too much responsibility.

Without a superintendent, the network has no idea where its bottlenecks are. But that doesn’t matter to Censor-Hillel and Shachnai’s algorithm. “It never gets to identify the bottlenecks,” Censor-Hillel says. “It just copes with their existence.”

Consistent inconsistency

The researchers’ analysis of their algorithm makes a few simplifying assumptions that are standard in the field. One is that communication between networked devices takes place in rounds. Each round, a device can initiate communication with only one other device, but it can exchange an unlimited amount of information with that device and with any devices that contact it. During each exchange, it passes along all the information it’s received from any other devices. If the devices are volcano sensors, that information could be, say, each device’s most recent measurement of seismic activity in its area.

It turns out that if you’re a sensor in a network with high connectivity — one in which any device can communicate directly with many of the others — simply selecting a neighboring device at random each round and sending it all the information you have makes it likely that every device’s information will permeate the whole network. But take two such highly connected networks and connect them to each other with only one link — a bottleneck — and the random-neighbor algorithm no longer works well. On either side of the bottleneck, it could take a long time for information to work its way around to the one device that communicates with the other side, and then a long time for that device to bother to send its information across the bottleneck.

Censor-Hillel and Shachnai’s algorithm works by alternating communication strategies from round to round. In the first round, you select a neighboring device at random and send it all the information you have — which, since it’s the first round, is limited to the measurement that you yourself have performed. That same round, however, other devices may contact you and send you their information. In the second round, you don’t just select a neighbor at random; you select a neighbor whose information you have not yet received. In the third round, you again select a neighbor at random. By the end of that round, since every device on the network forwards all the information it has, you’ve received not only the measurements performed by the devices you contacted, nor just the measurements performed by the devices that contacted you, but measurements performed by neighbors of your neighbors, and even neighbors of neighbors of neighbors. In the fourth round, you again select a device whose information you haven’t received; in the fifth, you select a device at random; and so on.

“The idea is that the randomized steps I take allow me to spread the information fast within my well-connected subset,” says Censor-Hillel. But in the alternate rounds, each device tracks down the devices it hasn’t heard from, ensuring that information will quickly reach all the devices, including those that communicate across the bottleneck.

According to Alessandro Panconesi, a professor of computer science at Sapienza University of Rome and an expert on network analysis, the devices on ad hoc networks tend to have limited computational power and battery life, so the algorithms they execute must be very “lightweight.” The new algorithm is “an interesting contribution,” Panconesi says. “It’s a very simple, locally based algorithm. Essentially, a node in this network can wake up and start operating by using this algorithm, and if every node in the network does the same, then essentially you give communication capability to the entire network.” He points out that the current version of the algorithm, in which, every round, every device sends all the information it’s received, wouldn’t be practical: “The algorithm is very expensive in terms of the information that it needs to exchange.” But he believes that developing a less bandwidth-intensive version is “not unlikely.” “I’m optimistic,” he says.

Censor-Hillel agrees that “a major thing for future work would be to actually get practical bandwidth.” But for the time being, she’s collaborating with assistant professor of applied mathematics Jonathan Kelner and with CSAIL grad students Bernhard Haeupler and Petar Maymounkov to develop an algorithm that performs even better in the idealized case of unlimited bandwidth. “It’s a major improvement,” she says.

Richard Dell on Space Fusion

The take home from this industry insider is that over unity fusion is likely to happen in the next couple of years.  I concur for the same reasons.  This weeks demonstration of twenty times unity will turn out to be a very useful form of fusion energy but specifically limited to producing heat.  The forms we are referring to will produce high energy plasma and an energy takeoff that is mostly electrical which is way more flexible.

His focus here is to tap such energy to drive an impulse motor space craft.  Recall that it is only necessary to sustain a one g thrust on a continuous basis to go to the nearby stars on a long trip.  However, the same system puts everything within the solar system a few weeks away.  Thus a fusion reactor and a one g thruster rigged up as a space craft completely opens up the solar system to us.

The image gives us some of the present design concepts.  I think that we need a prime space lifter to haul components out of the gravity well and that everything else must be assembled there.  A fusion based lifter would make it practical.

It is great to see folks getting excited about space travel again.

JANUARY 05, 2011

Here is the Richard Dell Jr interview. Mr. Dell believes that he and his team have developed a method for generating fusion power which is appropriate for providing the propulsion for exploring and colonizing space. He is confident that this approach could lead to spacecraft capable of flying to the moon and landing on it, and returning to earth using a single craft without jettisoning any stages or equipment. This technology could also be used to send humans to mars in only 2 months. His company, which is still largely in stealth mode, plans on generating short term revenue by selling more efficient satellite maneuvering thrusters to the satellite industry. Mr. Dell is confident that breakeven fusion power generation will be demonstrated within the next 3 years.

Highlight answers from Mr Dell in this the interview: 

This technology will change everything. By 2020, we could be actively implementing commercial settlement and/or tourist expeditions to Mars.

2011 or 2012 will be the year of small scale fusion

This system will have ten times the propulsive thrust of a George Miley IEC fusion propulsion proposal 

5 weeks to Mars with Helium 3 version of the fusion spaceship

In the 98 pager there is a description of being able to use the IEC in jet mode for propulsion. 

Way down the development path would be big fusion rockets like this

The ships that are designed 

IEC Fusion Ship I
500 MT
Isp =16,000
Thrust = 1028 Newtons

IEC Fusion Ship II
500 Mt
Isp = 35,000
Thrust = 4369 Newtons

But near term are progressively better propulsion units that start with satellite maneuvering thrusters that are ten times better than today’s Hall thrusters.

IEC power units can be added in series to develop higher power units such as required for deep space propulsion -- Magnetically Channeled Spherical Array, MCSA

High Power Operation
Eliminates Grid Structure
Increase Energy Confinement Time

They are tuning the IEC configuration for space propulsion

If they pulse it up to several thousand amps then it is OK if IEC only has scales by cubing the power instead of to the fifth power to get to 25 Megawatts.

A 7 page paper- Magnetically-Channeled SIEC Array (MCSA) Fusion Device for Interplanetary Missions

Question: Tell us about how you became involved with Dr. Miley

Answer: Several years back I was a Program Manager for a small, family owned company. While I worked there I became very interested in developing an Advanced Aerospace Research Center and began to make contact with a variety of physicists, technologists and foundations. The Arlington Institute and the Institute for Advanced Studies in Austin introduced me to Dr. Miley, about four years ago this March. I am truly grateful to the principals of both of these Institutes and I confess that I owe them a debt of gratitude more than I could possible ever repay.

So, we all shared at least one thing in common, that the problem with a young person out in the middle of a cornfield in Indiana is the same problem for the young person in the slums of LA - they have had their frontier taken away from them. Think about that. America has always had a frontier. We lost it for a couple decades, it was given back to us briefly from ’69 to ’72 and then it disappeared again. It’s time to give our young people back their frontier. They want it, they need it, it offers an economic engine of unparalleled capabilities for our young people and our Nation.

And so our little loosely organized group is focused on three areas, energy, the environment, and space. The thrust I’d prefer to discuss first is SPACE, the commercial development of manned and unmanned space technologies that enable and expedite exploration and settlement of our Moon and Mars and to do so in this century. Let that sink in. This century. OK? So we hope to begin next generation development of technologies that facilitate this objective using intellectual property that stands the test and muster of our intellectual property analysis as well as showing feasibility in data and testing at the same time. The combination of the two is the fulcrum.

98 page technical presentation from 2009 by George Miley 

There has been advances since the presentation but the solidity of the technical basis can be seen.

Question: In a minute I want to ask you more about your intellectual property, but first, tell me more about the device you call an LTV?

Answer: Lunar Transit Vehicle. Moon and back safely, carry six people plus two pilots/attendants or two pilots and a good bit of gear. Nothing new here, except the Miley IEC technology and hybrid of airbreathing MHD hybrid IEC is an application which we believe we can now amplify in terms of propulsive thrust by 10 times. We want to develop larger prototypes of fusion powered propulsion systems that would allow a single stage re-usable rocket/spacecraft to fly to and land on the moon, recover regolith samples, do valuable science, offer some entertaining tourist sights, and return to earth safely. We are confident that our aneutronic fusion space propulsion system could be a key factor in opening up space and creating a thriving space industry. I’m actually hoping with this interview to get some attention from the folks I heard some kid describe recently as the “Space Barons”. Space-Barons, if you want the next stage of propulsion, if you want seven or eight week flights to Mars, we are here and open for business.

Question: Where is the intellectual property coming from?

Answer: We have a commercialization agreement with Dr. George Miley and his Nuclear Plasma Laboratory organization known as NPL. We created a joint venture to explore a novel form of liquid sodium borohydride fuel cell, and I am developing a program for IEC Propulsion. What we all want to see is improvements in the Inertial Electrostatic Confinement (IEC) prototypes as we build larger and better. We have been conducting extensive R and D as well as doing commercialization assessments through our cooperative efforts with M-CAM. The past four years of diligence on a variety of space-related energy technologies may soon pay off.

Question: What’s M-CAM?

Answer: Well, I mentioned intellectual property diligence before, and having learned the M-CAM system I am still quite utterly blown away when I try to imagine what it was like to do diligence on technology *AND* intellectual property assessment before this kind of capability was available. M-CAM takes all the voodoo out, and the best antiseptic is applied, complete illumination. Without the M-CAM team and their software, the past four years of diligence and groundwork on a whole variety of space-related energy technologies could never have paid off.

Question: Back to the technology, how closely are you collaborating with Dr. Miley?

Answer: We have been working with him for the past four years, and we hold him in the highest regard. We have an extraordinary working relationship with him, and now that Bussard has passed away, Dr. Miley needs to be the pivotal figure for aneutronic fusion propulsion research. George is trying to create a fusion program that burns aneutronically, without magnets, and that burns a relatively inexpensive fuel. This is what we need to get to Mars and back in less than two months, and with some excellent inherent shielding of 99% of cosmic radiation. Shielding can deal with the 1% we can’t filter out, the worst of the stuff, the metallic ions.

Question: What are the main technologies that you are developing?

Answer: There are two primary technologies that George’s people are developing. They are modifying current IEC designs to increase plasma flow and pressure. They are also developing a novel form of airbreathing hypersonic spaceplane with an IEC. This is called airbreathing MHD-IEC hybrid. The other is an injection of IEC with a unique device to enable a vehicle to do a horizontal liftoff and then proceed to LEO. By using these two technologies, we can develop a highly efficient single-stage-to-orbit vehicle that can operate both within and outside of the atmosphere. It could lift off from earth, land on the moon and come back, without jettisoning any stages or equipment. This work is beyond the theoretical and is now solidly in the realm of applied practical science.

Question: What fuel source will this fusion drive consume?

Answer: Initially it will use Proton-Boron 11. The ideal fusion fuel is Helium 3, which is found in abundance on the moon. PB11 is nearly as good, and requires minimal shielding from radiation. So we will initially use PB11, and switch to HE3 when it becomes available, or when the Russians let us have more, hahaha.

Question: You’re joking about the Russians, right?

Answer: ‘Not at all’, or perhaps ‘yes and no’ would have been better. The ‘rumor on the street’ to explain why the Russians took He3 off the market is because they have an He3 reactor, big project…a project incidentally I would have liked to see take root in Southwest Virginia.

Question: OK, back to Space, what are the size and weight parameters of this proposed fusion powered spacecraft?

Answer: It is all very preliminary, so I can only provide ballpark estimates. George did some incredible simulation work to lay out the metrics, published them over 15 years ago, btw. So imagine a 500 metric ton spacecraft outfitted with a certain number of IEC fusion propulsion devices. With PB11 fuel, it could lift off from earth, and reach Mars in eight weeks or less. Using HE3 fuel, it could get to Mars in only five weeks. These reactors would be small enough to be placed on a spacecraft the size of a standard commercial jet.

Question: How much funding is your program receiving? When will the first prototype IEC drives be unveiled?

Answer: Both of those questions involve proprietary knowledge which I am not interested in doing in this interview. I can, say, however, that all of our funding is from private sources - we aren't currently looking for any Government funding. We have been informally working on this for the past four years, and we hope to be going public with more details in mid 2011.

Question: Are you collaborating with any other fusion groups, such as EMC2 or General Fusion?

Answer: Developing partnerships and closing on funding agreements is where we are. We are interested in creating entrepreneurial partnerships which play to the key values of our strategy. and bring more business to our company, while supporting efforts that move and advance our technology and commercialization capabilities. So we are open to collaborating with other companies and we wish the groups you referred to the very best of luck in 2011.

Question: How will your company generate revenue in the short term?

Answer: Current satellites maneuver based on Hall thrusters, which are ion thrusters capable of providing small amounts of thrust. Dr. Miley has developed a new propulsion technique that provides an ultra-maneuverable thruster that can provide an order of magnitude more thrust than an equivalent Hall thruster. We see strong short term Return On Investment (ROI) by selling this thruster to the satellite industry.

Question: When will we see breakeven fusion power generation?

Answer: We are confident that breakeven will be demonstrated within the next 24 to 36 months by someone. I predict that 2011 or at the very least, 2012 will be remembered as the "year of small scale fusion"- there are just way too many people building fusors out there and for those who would prefer to keep the djini in the bottle, sorry, but it’s bound to happen, and it sure looks to many of us that it could be sooner than anyone expects.

Question: How long will the research phase continue?

Answer: This project will be over 5-7 years, but will see economic returns way before the program is finished. We’re looking for the two year returns, not the three year returns. This will be primarily servicing the small satellite sector initially, unless we can wake one of the Space-Barons out of their “chemical-engine hypnosis”. But ultimately this will be geared for deep space capabilities with manned missions within the solar system.

Question: Will this system be safe? Are there any radiation issues with these systems?

Answer: To call these systems minimally radioactive is a disservice. Less radiation will be generated than exists in background space. These systems are completely safe. When I first became acquainted with these technologies almost five years ago I first asked what were the implications in terms of counter-terrorism and I was delighted to find that all IECs work basically the same, if containment is lost, it is like blowing out a candle. It would be more dangerous to blow up a refrigerator than one of our reactors.

Question: How will this technology change the world in the next decade?

Answer: This technology will change everything. By 2020, we could be actively implementing commercial settlement and/or tourist expeditions to Mars. There is no silver bullet for jump-starting the commercial space industry except fusion. The demand for Space is there, we’ve all seen it. We are confident that within a decade we will have developed all of the infrastructure and commercial breakthroughs necessary to enable the rapid manned occupation of the Moon and Mars.

Question: How can someone get in contact with you to discuss this program?

Answer: I would prefer to receive email on this topic to my home email address, so you can publish the following : omega dot arimathea at gmail dot com.

Ad astra!

Eliminating Left Hand Turns

These studies will have areal impact on street design and planning.  The bottom line is that left hand turns are hugely inefficient during periods of heavy traffic and need to be diverted into right turn loops.  The saving on fuel experienced by myth busters is actually a shocking result and informs us just how much fuel is spent idling while waiting for a traffic signal.

Fundamentally we need to stop catering to the left hand turn and spend of making the alternates work well.  This means improving the available right hand turn corridors so that the traffic can use it smoothly.  It may seem an inconvenience to drivers who want to go left but we now know better and should we think on it, idling in a left hand turn lane while waiting for a traffic opening has always been problematic.

The direct saving in both fuel usage and accident rates provide a direct incentive to reengineer all such busy streets and theirs feeders.  I know from experience that there are plenty of locations were doing a right hand turn is not particularly practical and this will take time to fix if it can be done.

Yet beginning with the easy ones will allow us to educate the public.

Obviously this clearly applies to heavily traveled streets and not your typical residential street network.  however, fixing all this will impact on a lot of residential streets to some degree.

JANUARY 10, 2011

Superstreets are thoroughfares where the left-hand turns from side streets are re-routed, as is traffic from side streets that needs to cross the thoroughfare. In both instances, drivers are first required to make a right turn and then make a U-turn around a broad median. While this may seem time-consuming, the study shows that it actually results in a significant time savings since drivers are not stuck waiting to make left-hand turns or for traffic from cross-streets to go across the thoroughfare.

* a 20 percent overall reduction in travel time compared to similar intersections that use conventional traffic designs

* superstreet intersections experience an average of 46 percent fewer reported automobile collisions – and 63 percent fewer collisions that result in personal injury

US motor vehicle deaths by year

2005   43,443  
2006   42,642 
2007   41,059
2008   37,261 
2009   33,808  

About 90-115 people die every day in vehicle crashes in the United States

Worldwide an estimated 1.2 million people are killed in road crashes each year and as many as 50 million are injured. Projections indicate that these figures will increase by about 65% over the next 20 years unless there is new commitment to prevention.

There is the potential that widespread superstreet adoption would save several thousand lives per year in the USA and a few hundred thousand lives worldwide.

The paper is called Operational Effects of Signalized Superstreets in North Carolina.

Mythbusters showed that only using right turns saves gas
The myth was setup from the perspective of a delivery truck driver. Several locations within the San Francisco area were setup as delivery points, then two routes were derived. The first route was a more “logical” route trying not to favor right turns. This route had eight left turns, four right turns, and a total distance of 5.2 miles. The second route tried to exclude as many left turns as practical. The “right turn” route was 6.8 miles long, had one left turn and twenty-three right turns. Each route visited each stop in the same order.

The MythBusters concluded that right turns were indeed more efficient in their test. While the route favoring right turns was a longer distance and took a longer amount of time, it used only 4.0 gallons of fuel compared to 6.8 gallons of fuel on the “control” route.

No Left Turn: ‘Superstreet’ Traffic Design Improves Travel Time, Safety

Release Date: 01.10.2011

Filed under Releases

The so-called “superstreet” traffic design results in significantly faster travel times, and leads to a drastic reduction in automobile collisions and injuries, according to North Carolina State University researchers who have conducted the largest-ever study of superstreets and their impacts.

Superstreets are surface roads, not freeways.  It is defined as a thoroughfare where the left-hand turns from side streets are re-routed, as is traffic from side streets that needs to cross the thoroughfare. In both instances, drivers are first required to make a right turn and then make a U-turn around a broad median. While this may seem time-consuming, the study shows that it actually results in a significant time savings since drivers are not stuck waiting to make left-hand turns or for traffic from cross-streets to go across the thoroughfare.

"Superstreet" traffic designs result in faster travel times and significantly fewer accidents, according to the new study.
“The study shows a 20 percent overall reduction in travel time compared to similar intersections that use conventional traffic designs,” says Dr. Joe Hummer, professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering at NC State and one of the researchers who conducted the study. “We also found that superstreet intersections experience an average of 46 percent fewer reported automobile collisions – and 63 percent fewer collisions that result in personal injury.”

The researchers assessed travel time at superstreet intersections as the amount of time it takes a vehicle to pass through an intersection from the moment it reaches the intersection – whether traveling left, right or straight ahead. The travel-time data were collected from three superstreets located in eastern and central North Carolina, all of which have traffic signals. The superstreet collision data were collected from 13 superstreets located across North Carolina, none of which have traffic signals.

The superstreet concept has been around for over 20 years, but little research had been done to assess its effectiveness under real-world conditions. The NC State study is the largest analysis ever performed of the impact of superstreets in real traffic conditions.

A paper on the travel time research is being presented Jan. 24 at the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. The paper is co-authored by Hummer, former NC State graduate students Rebecca Haley and Sarah Ott, and three researchers from NC State’s Institute for Transportation Research and Education: Robert Foyle, associate director; Christopher Cunningham, senior research associate; and Bastian Schroeder, research associate.

The collision research was part of an overarching report of the study submitted to the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) last month, and is the subject of a forthcoming paper. The study was funded by NCDOT.

NC State’s Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering is part of the university’s College of Engineering.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Rogue Cancer Gene Discovered

This fills in the details on the recent announcement regarding the ability to halt metastasis.  The direct cause of metastasis is identified and isolated.  Interrupting the errant gene will halt metastasis cold.

The quick message is that we suddenly know what we are doing here.  Thus metastasis is plausibly curable.

Ending metastasis will not actually kill an actual cancer but it certainly can allow protocols that tame the problem.  The mere fact that random spread is halted allows known dangers to be reduced and possibly stabilized without fear that it is a waste of time.  Most patients actually die from the spread rather that the initial problem.

Again there is continuing good news on the cancer front.

Rogue cancer gene' discovered
2011-01-24 16:25

London - British scientists have discovered a "rogue gene" which helps cancer spread around the body and say blocking it with the right kind of drugs could stop many types of the disease in their tracks.

Researchers from the University of East Anglia said their findings could lead within a decade to the development of new medicines to halt a critical late stage of the disease known as metastasis, when cancer cells spread to other parts of the body.

The culprit gene, called WWP2, is an enzymic bonding agent found inside cancer cells, the researchers explained in their study, published in the journal Oncogene on Monday.

It attacks and breaks down a naturally-occurring protein in the body which normally prevents cancer cells from spreading.

In tests in the laboratory, the UEA team found that by blocking WWP2, levels of the natural inhibitor protein were boosted and the cancer cells remained dormant.

Better understanding

Surinder Soond, who worked on the study, said it was a "novel and exciting approach to treating cancer and the spread of tumours which holds great potential".

"The challenge now is to identify a potent drug that will get inside cancer cells and destroy the activity of the rogue gene," said Andrew Chantry of UEA's school of biological sciences, who led the research.

He said this was "a difficult but not impossible task" and one that would be made easier by the better understanding of the biological processes gained in this early research.

Chantry said in a telephone interview the findings mean drugs could be developed in the next 10 years that could be used to halt the aggressive spread of many forms of cancer, including breast cancer, brain, colon and skin cancer.

If a drug was developed that deactivated WWP2, he said, conventional therapies such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy could be used on primary tumours with no risk of the disease taking hold elsewhere.

He said his team is now working with other scientists to try to design a drug which could interrupt the gene's activity.

A New Measure of Intelligence

In fact, it is in mathematics that the two types of ‘intelligence’ are so clearly evident.  And any of you who have been tracking my musings know that my strength has always been pattern recognition.   That has meant for me that I could never rely on memory and often when stuck in the middle of an exam to use a result supposedly remembered, I found it easier to redo the result from first principles.   Thus one found worked proofs of calculus results in the margins.

Long after it was so important I became aware of memory methods that I could well have used to effect.  Someday, I may take the time out to use those methods to develop a working knowledge of half a dozen separate languages just for fun.  With the tools I am now aware of, I think I could do it painlessly.

This item spells out the two types of apparent intelligence.  I think what it really means is that some folks have an exceptional talent in organizing memory which they work at perfecting and then rely on to pass IQ tests, providing a faux measure of intelligence.  Some other folks happen to work at pattern recognition and this is simply not rewarding enough and it is poorly taught.  My own talent in that direction held up because I believed I had something strange known as mathematical talent and given the opportunity I practiced it early enough to properly strengthen it.

Yet I know to day that the aces in my undergrad class were certainly memory mavens.  Yet their chances of producing good original work depended on recognizing patterns in the material that could be exploited.  That was the great equalizer.  Anyone can master a subset of knowledge and become a leading expert.  To take the pool of knowledge and produce something completely new is a different tale altogether.

As an aside, my recently published paper does expand the foundations of number and mathematics in a major way for the first time in two centuries.  I have other fundamental patterns to introduce in physics, chemistry and economics.  This Blog and my manuscript introduce a wide range of minor patterns worth dwelling on.

The take home is that the teaching of pattern recognition needs to be advanced and encouraged everywhere and IQ tests need to be done in two parts to test the two separate skills.

A new measure of intelligence: Big-picture thinking trumps narrow-minded expertise

(NaturalNews) Observing the various realms of science, medicine, experts and world events, I've come to the conclusion that our modern definition of "intelligence" (IQ) is seriously lacking. The label of "high IQ" is typically assigned to those who are experts in narrowly-defined fields such as disease pathology, pharmacology, particle physics, mathematics or other so-called "hard science" areas. And yet, it's not uncommon to see a high-level mathematics professor with an IQ of 175 chowing down on a processed hamburger laced with toxic chemical additives, while wearing clothes washed in carcinogenic mainstream laundry detergent.

The professor may be brilliant in mathematics, in other words, but he's unknowingly bathing his entire body in cancer-causing chemicals at the same time.

Not too bright.

Similarly, a typical conventional doctor thinks he knows about health, but he buys breakfast cereals made with genetically modified corn and doesn't even know that GMOs are bad for your health. A quantum physics professor wears antiperspirant deodorant and cologne products that contain powerful cancer-causing chemicals that are absorbed right through the skin. A pharmacist who is an expert in the world of drugs and synthetic chemicals has no clue that the common mineral zinc is crucial for proper immune function.

Highly-intelligent architects for some reason don't question the collapse of the WTC 7 building on 9/11 even though the official explanation of the collapse violates the laws of physics (a subject in which architects are well-versed). Chemists don't consider the chemistry of the toxic shampoos they put on their hair every day. Nor do many scientists think realistically about the toxicity of mercury fillings or the fluorosilicic acid ("fluoride") dumped into the public water supply. I could go on...

The point of all this is that there exists a huge gap in practical intelligence among the so-called "smartest" people in our society. I've spoken with countless doctors and conventional health care providers who are brilliant in their own fields and yet don't even know the basics of nutrition. So how can it be that a guy is so smart he can be the world's best brain surgeon, but when he goes home at night, he bathes his own brain and body in a sea of toxic chemicals consumed as additives in his processed food dinner?

Most people can't assimilate the big picture

What's lacking in these so-called "smart" people is the ability to see the bigger picture by assimilating information from a large number of seemingly unrelated sources. Or, stated in another way, even some of the most high-IQ people around can't see the big picture because they get lost in the details.

Your typical oncologist, for example, almost certainly can't hold an intelligent conversation about nutritional therapies to support immune function because he only thinks of antioxidants as "interfering" with the toxicity of his cancer poisons. Likewise, a typical virologist persistently looks at viruses as the cause of disease but forgets that viruses are opportunists which can only propagate when the terrain is sufficiently vulnerable. Thus, the best defense against invading microorganism is to change the terrain (the person being infected) rather than to try to rid the immediate area of all viruses.

Memorization is not intelligence

See, the very concept of "intelligence" in our society is way off the mark. It isn't intelligent to be able to memorize and regurgitate a huge number of facts and figures, yet this is precisely the measure of academic aptitude assessed in modern educational systems -- especially in law school and medical school. To function as a crude human database of facts and figures is not very useful in an age where handheldcomputers and mobile computing devices can do the same thing.

But what computers and search engines can't accomplish -- something that is uniquely reserved for intelligent species -- is the ability to assimilate information into a larger picture. It is, in other words, the ability to "connect the dots" and see patterns and trends in what might seem like chaos to others.

My favorite physicist Richard Feynman ( was an especially gifted pattern assimilator. He was able to look far beyond the conventional boundaries of particle physics and grasp many of the non-intuitive interconnections between matter, energy and the nature of reality itself.

On a more practical level, people like Gerald Celente and even Alex Jones are also phenomenally gifted pattern assimilators. It's not that they are ridiculously good at remembering a lot of facts and figures in one very narrow area of science or knowledge; rather it's the fact that these types of people are able to see patterns in world events and thereby interact with the world around them at a far higher level of understanding than most other people.

Whereas a typical journalist sees a headline that says, "GMO restrictions called unscientific" and thinks it's merely a story about how un-educated GMO opponents are, a more intelligent "pattern assimilator" person sees the same headline and understands the far deeper meaning it holds: That the GMO propaganda campaign is being framed in the language of "science" as a way to label reasonable opponents of GMOs as being somehow uneducated or stupid. But behind the fake science curtain, it's really just gimmicky marketing and a profit-driven agenda.

The pattern behind all that, of course, is the agenda to control the world's food supply and, soon thereafter, charge monopoly prices for seeds (TM) that farmers used to be able to save for free.

A few people are able to see the story behind the story. These people are the "meta-analyzers" of the world around them. They have what I call a "wide angle view" (a big picture view) where they can bring in observational data from a very large data set of observable events in order to infer greater understanding of the world around them.

Here are just a few of the many pattern assimilators who are better known:

Gerald Celente can see the big picture of world finance. He sees the signs of the slipping value of the dollar, the leveraged debt of world banks, the actions of the Fed, the Wall Street bailouts, the news propaganda from the financial sector, and so on -- and from all that, he correctly infers that a global debt bubble is approaching catastrophic collapse.

Many of his colleagues, on the other hand, even though they may achieve high scores on an IQ test, are scribbling away with their noses buried in the arcane mathematics of derivatives calculations, and they miss the big picture because their minds are too narrowly focused on a tiny slice of what's really happening. When the big financial collapse comes, they will be caught with their pants down, holding their pencils in their hands.

Author John Perkins is also another big-picture genius, in his own way, for being able to see the patterns of government actions on a global scaled. He's the author of the popular book "Economic Hit Men" (and also "Hoodwinked"), and he sees patterns in the world that nearly everyone else misses. You can see my interview with Perkins, by the way, at:

On the nutrition front, Dr Richard Kunin is one of the most remarkable pattern assimilators you'll ever find. ( Here's a genius the world has largely overlooked.

Alex Jones is one of the more astonishing assemblers of patterns out of chaos. His ability to see the underlying patterns behind world events is truly amazing, and whether you agree with his conclusions or not, his mind is able to amass an extraordinarily large amount of data from many sectors (health freedom, police state actions, legislative efforts and so on) and then identify patterns that most other people would miss. You can find Alex on

Seeing the bigger picture doesn't make you any more popular

This list is by no means exhaustive. There are many genius-level pattern assimilators in our world. They are rarely recognized for their talents, however. If anything, those who "get" the big picture are often derided or criticized for doing so. Connecting too many dots, it seems, is dangerous for your reputation. Those who have the most success in the sciences (in particular), are the ones who keep their heads down and focus on their own tiny little corner of study without asking any of the really big questions like, "Hey, where did this grant money really come from?"

I consider myself something of a pattern assimilator, as I see patterns from one area of knowledge often reflected in another. For example, if our global economy is like a world body, what would fit the definition of a cancer tumor engaged in angiogenesis? The answers iscorporations, because corporations hijack their own supply of resources (much like cancer tumors build a new blood supply), then grow to a large and dangerous size at which point they begin to replicate and set up branch offices all over the world where the tumor cycle is repeated. And just like cancer tumors, corporations ultimately threaten the lives of their hosts.

As an avid reader and student of human history, psychology and even quantum mechanics, I feel competent to discuss the history of philosophy as much as, say, the modern-day repeating of patterns of tyranny from World War II.

The most promising and fascinating area of human discovery about to be achieved, in my opinion, relates to the superposition of quantum physics and human consciousness. This will result in a paradigm-shattering shift in understanding the nature of our reality, with ripple effects that resound throughout our modern world. Once Earth's people come to realize, for example, that matter is consciousness (and that all consciousness is connected), the implications will require profound rethinking of things such as compassion for animals, religious beliefs and self identity. This is the really exciting stuff that's headed our way.

But we'll never get to a higher understanding of consciousness if we remain "experts" limited to our tiny alcoves of knowledge. To really function as intelligent members of a race that has been advertised as "advanced," we must expand not just the depth of our knowledge but the breadth of our understanding.

And that, of course, means understanding the interconnectedness of our being-ness. It is the interconnectedness that really matters, quite literally (ahem).

Let us hope that more members of the human species can learn to recognize the interconnectedness among not just people, plants and animals, but at another level the interconnectedness of mind, matter and energy, too. To gain understanding of this interconnectedness is -- to paraphrase quite a number of scientists and philosophers from human history -- to become closer to God. He who can see all interconnectedness in life and the cosmos is, of course, God Himself.

To see and recognize the patterns in the reality we apparently inhabit is, in my view, the most important next step necessary for the advancement of human intelligence. Importantly, this advancement cannot come from the sciences alone. It must involve a so-called "quantum leap" in consciousness.