Friday, April 30, 2010

Center for Nanoscale Materials

This sequence of images demonstrates how nanoparticles linked to antibodies induced cell death in cancerous cells when researchers applied a light source. From the top row: cancer cells after no light, damaged cells 30 minutes after light and cell death 90 minutes after light. Image credit: Nanobio Interface Group at the Center for Nanoscale Materials (E. Rozhkova and I. Ulasov)

Argonne National Laboratory - Richard Wottrich attended a workshop and tour at the Center for Nanoscale Materials today at the Argonne National Laboratory in Argonne, IL USA. The sessions were limited to 20 participants from companies such as Nanophase Technologies Corporation, Cabot Microelectronics, NanoScale Corporation, Dendritic Nanotechnologies and Elevance Renewable Sciences.

Two presentations were made by the CNM’s Nanobio Interfaces Work Group:

Elena A. Rozhkova presented a review of their results and experiments in electron paramagnetic resonance and its application to treatments in cancer.

Elena V. Shevchenko presented a review of their results and experiments in 2- and 3-D nanoparticle assembly and its application to self-replicating crystalline tiling, lattices and applications thereof.

CNM is an extraordinary resource that presents opportunities for basic and advanced research, experimentation and commercialization of new nanotechnology concepts. Corporations interested in the dynamic interaction between CNM and appropriate funding sources should contact Richard Wottrich for further discussion.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Let Them Eat ... Wind

America’s schizophrenic psychosis regarding energy will doom us to losing leadership in Alternative Energy unless we wake up. We all want cheap gasoline and low heating bills, but are not prepared to pay for sustainable energy sources. We would rather that some Third World country despoil their soil rather than drill in our own backyard. NIMBYism is alive and well.

The Obama administration just approved the nation’s first offshore windmill farm, the Cape Wind project. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar approved the 25-square-mile section of Nantucket Sound for a 130 wind mill farm that will provide enough power for 200,000 homes in Massachusetts.

But it took nearly 10 years of fighting to arrive at this point, as everyone from the Kennedy family to local Native American tribes and the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound have fought hand over fist to stop the project. Now that the project has the go ahead there are already groups vowing to file additional law suits. It may be another 5 to 10 years before this project is completed.

I have been in many European cities that have windmill farms. In particular Copenhagen comes to mind, where the sea panorama has a necklace of wind mill towers strung down the coast. Not only are these wind farms not intrusive, they actually add interest to an otherwise flat seascape. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

And that is the problem really. If wealthy home owners are able to defeat any energy project just because they personally do not like it, then what kind of a national energy policy does that bespeak for America?

Richard Wottrich

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Professor Esther Duflo Wins John Bates Clark Medal

Esther Duflo, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has won the John Bates Clark medal, given to promising economists under the age of 40. Duflo, a 37-year-old native of France, is the Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics at MIT and a director of MIT’s Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL). Duflo has pioneered methods of analyzing antipoverty programs worldwide to uncover and determine effective ways to combat poverty.

In conjunction with Harvard University's Kennedy School and Stephen Ryan at MIT, for example, a program was implemented in India where certain teachers were given cameras with time and date stamps. They were instructed to take pictures of their students each morning and afternoon. Teacher absences in these schools dropped overnight and student test scores increased as a result.

In another notable study, Duflo, together with Banerjee and J-PAL’s executive director, Rachel Glennerster, found that the rate at which families in northern India will immunize their children jumps from about 5 percent to nearly 40 percent when parents are offered a small bag of lentils as an incentive.

Duflo founded the Poverty Action Lab in 2003, along with MIT colleagues Abhijit Banergee and Harvard economist Sendhil Mullainnathan.

In recognition of Duflo's accomplishments and humanitarianism, Centercut is delighted to add Esther Duflo to its Centercut Clear Thinker list of notable people who think out of the box.

Richard Wottrich

Friday, April 23, 2010

Sustainability of Humans & World Hunger

Sinhagad Fortress, near Pune, India (Photo:RLW - click on picture)

All this talk about sustainability and alternative energy is rather moot if we cannot even feed the people we have on earth. Over one billion people suffer from chronic hunger, lack of potable water and extreme poverty globally. And these people have children who suffer along with them - the very definition of a living hell on earth.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest private charitable foundation in the world and it targets these basic problems head on. In 2009 its endowment was worth roughly $33.5 Billion. Warren Buffett has committed to contribute the bulk of Berkshire Hathaway stock to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which should add another $30 billion.

Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, joined representatives of the governments of the United States, Canada, Spain, and South Korea at the U.S. Department of the Treasury today to launch a global trust fund to help the world’s poorest farmers grow more and earn more so they can lift themselves—and their countries—out of hunger and poverty.

Initial contributions to the fund total nearly $900 million, including a $30 million commitment from the foundation. Proposed by the G20 last year after the economic crisis and rising food prices pushed the number of hungry people to 1 billion, the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program is a concrete step to translate $22 billion in food security pledges into action.

“Investing in small farmers is an incredibly effective way to combat hunger and extreme poverty—history has proved it many times,” said Gates, whose foundation has committed $1.5 billion to date to agricultural development. “The launch of this fund is an important step forward, but only a first step. Other countries meeting at the European, G8 and G20 summits in June, and at the U.N. Summit in September should join the four founding partners and make good on their pledges. If we all sustain focus until the job is done, hundreds of millions of people will lead better lives.”

This is worth tracking - worth helping - worthwhile...

Richard Wottrich

Monday, April 19, 2010

FloDesign's wind turbine

(Click on image)

FloDesign Wind Turbine Co. has developed new wind power technology that will shape and shake the industry for years to come.