What Crawled Up Your @ss?

Something strange is crawling this way. Where it stops, nobody knows.

This robot moves like a worm, inching its way up the rectum and around the entire colon… It’s meant to serve as an alternative to traditional colonoscopy, an uncomfortable procedure in which a physician snakes a thin, flexible colonoscope through the large intestine to look for signs of colon cancer and other diseases. A small, controllable robot equipped with a camera and tools to collect tissue samples could do the same job, with less discomfort…

Several research groups have built prototypes of colonoscopy robots, each with their own ick factor. There are “legged” capsule robots and “treaded” capsule robots. This one, developed by the Rentschler Research Group at the University of Colorado, Boulder, falls in the “worm” robot category. It has three body sections that scrunch up and expand, propelling it along the intestine in a peristaltic motion. Each body section of the robot contains three shape memory alloy (SMA) springs, which compress and expand, and are cooled by forced air flow. It can move 15 centimeters in 6 minutes. ___ https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-human-os/robotics/medical-robots/a-colonoscopy-robot-and-other-weird-biomedical-tech-from-the-ieees-biggest-robotics-conference

At that rate, it might take all day to get the job done. Back to the drawing board, fellas.

A robot video extravaganza

Should We Build Factories in Space?

Some things can be better built in outer space than on a planetary surface.

What is it that justifies the expense of doing these things in low Earth orbit?” says William Wagner, director of the University of Pittsburgh’s McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, which will conduct biomedical research on the International Space Station (ISS).

Here are some technologies that might merit the “made in space” label.

Fiber-optic Cable

Made from fluoride glass, a kind of fiber-optic cable called ZBLAN could have as little as one-tenth the signal loss of silica-based optical fibers.

But quality ZBLAN fibers are hard to make on Earth. As the molten glass is stretched into fibers as thin as fishing line and then cooled, tiny crystals sometimes form, which can weaken signals. Microgravity suppresses the formation of these crystals, so fibers made in space would carry more data over longer distances.


There are 120,000 people waiting for an organ transplant in the United States alone. “Most will never see one, there is such a shortage,” says Eugene Boland, chief scientist at Techshot, which wants to print human hearts in space.

… Printing hearts and other organs in microgravity could be done using pure bioinks. “The cylindrical shape extruded from the nozzle is maintained, so you can build a more fragile 3D structure that would allow cells in the gels to secrete their own matrix and strengthen up,” says Wagner. And the printed layers fuse together without forming the striations seen in constructs printed on the ground, Boland says.

Metal Alloys

Outer space is the perfect place to make metal alloys. Microgravity allows the metals and other elements to mix together more evenly.

… Making these alloys involves melting highly reactive magnesium with other elements such as calcium and zinc, keeping the melted materials in a vacuum for a long time so the elements mix evenly, and then cooling it all down.

On Earth, impurities settle to the bottom, and the upper layer oxidizes to form an unusable skin. Both have to be thrown out. Even the usable middle layer has pores and pockets of unmixed elements and must be further processed to make a quality material. None of these problems occur when alloys are manufactured in microgravity.


What Techshot and nScrypt want to do with human organs, Israeli food-tech startup Aleph Farms plans to do with meat. The two-year-old Rehovot-based company grows cultured beefsteaks that look and taste like the real thing. “While other companies use only muscle cell, we also grow connective tissue, blood vessels, and fat cells, which lets us make beefsteaks instead of patties,” says Yoav Reisler, external relations manager at the company.

In September, the company teamed up with Russian company 3D Bioprinting Solutions to create the first tiny piece of meat on the ISS. It isn’t a huge technical advance, but it could feed astronauts on long-term crewed missions, as well as future space settlers as they set up a permanent base.
___ https://spectrum.ieee.org/aerospace/space-flight/4-products-that-make-sense-to-manufacture-in-orbit

Other Miscellaneous topics of interest:

Urban Heat Island Effect

Temperature readings from ground stations in many regions have risen over the past century. A study of these surface stations in 2012 revealed that many stations were submitting aberrant readings due to urban build-up close to the temperature sensors. As errant readings make their way into the temperature record — and from there into climate models — an erroneous impression of climate reality can emerge into the public consciousness.

The urban heat island effect (UHI) has been denied by the climate orthodoxy, or declared irrelevant when the high priests are backed into a corner. The excerpt below is from a recent research article (h/t Judith Curry).

Urban encroachment may affect stations that were formerly in appropriate locations. Airport locations and general urbanization are the most important sources of problems with historical temperature records…

In a large city, air temperatures can be as much as 12°C higher than the nearby rural areas. Consequently, these higher urban temperatures increase energy demand, raise air pollution levels, and cause heat-related illnesses and even death…

As urban areas grow to megalopolis sizes, they may actually affect the local climate, instead of only being a perturbation of it. The causes of the UHI can be broadly divided into two classes, active and passive heat sources. Active heat sources include power generation and utilization, heat associated with transportation, air conditioning exhausts, industrial waste heat, fires, and others. Passive sources include impervious cover, pavements, building and housing surface structures, roofing materials, among others __ https://www.researchgate.net/publication/336708502_Current_Perspectives_to_Environment_and_Climate_Change_Vol_2

Climate has always been dynamic and chaotic. Multiple natural overlapping and interacting climate cycles affect the unfolding climate that we experience and record for further analysis. Ocean oscillations are important and are ultimately driven by the interaction of solar variation with terrestrial oceans and atmosphere. In fact, solar variation plus ocean oscillations explain far more climate variation than any greenhouse gas concentrations.

The first thing to note is that CO2 lags Temperature, and therefore cannot possibly be driving Temperature, another point that absolutely invalidates CO2-based global warming theory. Many scientists say that the lag is about 800 years, but a rigorous cross-functional statistical analysis (sliding the CO2 data back and forth relative to the Temperature data, looking for the highest degree of correlation) by Dr. Jeffry Glassman (Link) gives 1073 years as the delay. The lag is believed to be related to the time constant for ocean mixing of deep ocean water with the surface. As the temperature increases, and the oceans warm, CO2 is less soluble in water and it bubbles into the atmosphere increasing its concentration. __ https://climateilluminated.com/history/climate_history.html

Climate models are not science. When they are fed erroneous data and bad assumptions, they are worse than wrong. They are destructive to the human project and take humans backward and downward.

When Will Paul Krugman’s Reputation Recover?

A first-pass answer is never. Remember when just after the 2016 election, Krugman predicted that global markets would crash and never recover — just because Donald Trump had been elected US President? Here it is again to refresh your memory:

Paul Krugman: The Economic Fallout

By Paul Krugman
2016-11-09T00:42:44-05:00 12:42 AM ET

It really does now look like President Donald J. Trump, and markets are plunging. When might we expect them to recover?

Frankly, I find it hard to care much, even though this is my specialty. The disaster for America and the world has so many aspects that the economic ramifications are way down my list of things to fear.

Still, I guess people want an answer: If the question is when markets will recover, a first-pass answer is never.

So we are very probably looking at a global recession, with no end in sight. I suppose we could get lucky somehow. But on economics, as on everything else, a terrible thing has just happened. __ NYT

We can all be thankful that Mr. Krugman’s candidate lost.

It has been a long time since Paul said much that was rational, of course. Sometimes we all need a reminder from the past to keep the man’s current ramblings in perspective. Those maniacal, shifty eyes? He started that decades ago, long before Trump’s election.

Since Mr. Krugman’s prediction of doom, US markets have set dozens of new highs.

Record oil production in the US Gulf of Mexico

Record levels of oil and gas production from both offshore and onshore oil fields continue to drive much of the US economic boom. China-dependent economies around the world, on the other hand, are beginning to sour. Particularly those economies that are gambling on grid-scale wind and solar energy.

A new report by consulting giant McKinsey finds that Germany’s Energiewende, or energy transition to renewables, poses a significant threat to the nation’s economy and energy supply.

One of Germany’s largest newspapers, Die Welt, summarized the findings of the McKinsey report in a single word: “disastrous.”

“Problems are manifesting in all three dimensions of the energy industry triangle: climate protection, the security of supply and economic efficiency,” writes McKinsey.

… But McKinsey issues its strongest warning when it comes to Germany’s increasingly insecure energy supply due to its heavy reliance on intermittent solar and wind. For three days in June 2019, the electricity grid came close to black-outs.

“Only short-term imports from neighboring countries were able to stabilize the grid,” the consultancy notes.

As a result of Germany’s energy supply shortage, the highest observed cost of short-term “balancing energy” skyrocketed from €64 in 2017 to €37,856 in 2019.

“It can be assumed that security of supply will continue to worsen in the future,” says McKinsey.

Renewables are causing similarly high price shocks in other parts of the world including Texas, Australia, and California. __ https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2019/09/05/renewables-threaten-german-economy-energy-supply-mckinsey-warns-in-new-report/#461a8558e482

Even doomers are beginning to comprehend that wind & solar are big trouble — the bigger the investment and commitment to the intermittent unreliables, the bigger the trouble.

Because wind and solar farms get a guaranteed price for 20 years, they have no need to innovate, do research, or please customers, who paid them 176 billion euros for electricity with a market value of just 5 billion euros from 2000-2016. This is money that taxpayers could have used to build bridges, energy efficient buildings, or renovate schools, which would create even more jobs than the wind and solar industry claims so they can tout themselves as good for society, perhaps they aren’t so great when you look at other ways and jobs that could have been created with all the subsidies (Vernunftkraft 2018). __ http://energyskeptic.com/2019/germanys-renewable-energy-program-energiewende-is-a-big-expensive-failure/

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2 Responses to What Crawled Up Your @ss?

  1. bob sykes says:

    The only things that justify manufacture in space are those that are literally impossible to make on Earth. The launch and landing costs of materials and the costs of building and operating factories in space mean that break even sales prices of the objects on Earth probably must exceed $100,000 per lb or perhaps even $1,000,000 per lb.

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