Daily Archives: December 17, 2013

NASA technology (77)

Spotlight on Webb Telescope Test

NASA – Dressed in a clean room suit, NASA photographer Desiree Stover shines a light on the Space Environment Simulator’s Integration Frame inside the thermal vacuum chamber at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. Shortly after, the chamber was closed up and engineers used this frame to enclose and help cryogenic (cold) test the heart of the James Webb Space Telescope, the Integrated Science Instrument Module.

> More on the Webb Telescope

The Volcker Rule Makes Us Safer, But Not Safe

Share of financial sector in gross domestic pr...

Share of financial sector in gross domestic product 1860 to 2006 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Steve Denning – Fundamentally, what’s happening is that the financial economy has become disconnected from the real economy. Back around 1970, the idea got going that the only purpose of a firm was to make money for itself and its shareholders. Four decades later, we can see that this widely shared idea has had disastrous consequences.

It has led to “bad profits” that have destroyed customer loyalty. It is responsible for massive offshoring of manufacturing, thereby destroying major segments of the US economy. It has undermined US capacity to compete in international markets. It is a key driver in the continuing growth of derivatives and the 2008 financial crisis. It lies behind the failure of companies to invest since 2008 and the lack of a self-sustaining recovery.

The financial sector is thus part of a much larger problem. more> http://tinyurl.com/ohtk78b

Market-Making Is Making Markets

Bloombger terminal keyboard, as seen by me ins...

Bloombger terminal keyboard, as seen by me inside the IT dept of a large italian life insurance business.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Matt Levine – How do you make a market? Mostly, you type it into a box on your Bloomberg and then hit a button to send it to people. For doing this you are paid a great deal of money. The world is weird, y’know?

Looseness about market-making confuses a lot of discussions of the Volcker rule, which, remember, prohibits proprietary trading but allows market-making. more> http://tinyurl.com/mqp5ygl

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Updates from SIEMENS

Siemens researcher prints Christmas trees from gas turbine steel

SIEMENS – Temperatures inside gas turbines can reach 1,400 degrees Celsius or more. The hotter, the higher the energy yield. The special steel that Rehme uses for his personal project of printing Christmas trees is a nickel alloy. It starts to melt at around 1,300 degrees Celsius and can be used, for example, for the burners in gas turbines. Steels that are even more resistant are used for the hottest turbine parts. Rehme gets the print data for his trees from the website grabcad.com.

High centrifugal forces: Heat isn’t the only thing impacting the steel
To generate electricity, turbines have to turn. And turn fast. Turbine blades also have to turn, exposing them to massive centrifugal forces that place high demands on the ductability of their materials. 3D printing with metals can’t yet meet these demands. For the little steel-hard trees, however, the technology is sufficient.

Layer by layer: The fine structure has to be ground down
If you look closely, you’ll see the printed tree’s fine structure. To make the surfaces completely smooth, 3D printed materials sometimes need to be polished at the end.

More complex shapes: Traditional processes such as casting and drilling have reached their limit
With 3D printing processes, shapes can be produced that would be impossible using any other production process. Someday it may be possible to print turbine blades with delicate internal air ducts. This would improve blade cooling, which would not only permit higher temperatures in the combustion chamber but also increase efficiency.

From square to round – More freedom in product design
This short pipe section connects two parts of a gas turbine. The fluid transition from round to square is difficult to achieve using conventional production methods. But with 3D printing, it’s easy.

Shower of sparks: Lasers fuse metal powder
The laser beam hits the bed of metal powder, releasing high energy in the form of heat and melting the metal, layer by layer. The metal then cools relatively quickly into a solid shape. If hot, liquid metal were poured into a mold, it would take longer to fully solidify and cool. This is somewhat of an advantage of conventional production methods, because slow cooling increases ductility. Researchers at Siemens CT are now working on processing techniques that would also endow printed objects with extremely high ductility – a requirement if turbine blades are ever to be printed.

We’ve come a long way since Gutenberg: Olaf Rehme analyzes a CAD model for his next printed object
When book printing was in its infancy, all printers were highly respected specialists and craftsmen. The same can now be said of 3D printing experts. Although 3D printers are already available for home use, most are suitable only for producing plastic parts. Standard devices for printing metals can already generate many shapes. But when products must withstand extreme stresses, experienced material researchers like Rehme are required to perfect the raw materials and process.

Furnace cleaner: When the printer is finished, large quantities of metal powder are left behind – and must be carefully removed
Metal powder covers the floor of the printer. The laser beam moves across the bed of metal dust and generates an initial layer of the three-dimensional object. Another layer of metal powder is then spread evenly over the object’s surface. Now the laser can print a second layer. Step by step, a complex shape is created. At the end of the process, a large amount of powder is left over that can be reused for the next printing cycle.

NSA’s virtual waste of time? Spying in ‘World of Warcraft’ is harder than you think

By Yannick LeJacq – “We know that terrorists use many feature-rich Internet communications media for operational purposes such as email, VoIP, chat, proxies, and Web forums and it is highly likely they will be making wide use of the many communications features offered by Games and Virtual Environments (GVE) by 2010,” reads one 2008 NSA document titled “Exploiting Terrorist Use of Games & Virtual Environments.”

As silly as this whole endeavor seems, video games, like many other aspects of modern life, are an increasingly ubiquitous and complex part of people’s digital existence.

In one particularly famous example of this kind of activity from 2009, an Australian “EVE Online” player made several thousand dollars by selling virtual currency he had stolen from an in-game bank. more> http://tinyurl.com/lbh5jay

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Library of Congress – H.Res. 438 [113th] Providing for consideration of the Senate amendment to the joint resolution (H.J. Res. 59) making continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2014, and for other purposes; providing for consideration of motions to suspend the … Continue reading

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CONGRESS WATCH Cole backs Ryan Budget Deal on House Floor, US Congress Summary of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 – December 10, 2013, US Congress

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CONGRESS WATCH Youth Leading the Way Panel | Shaping Our Appalachian Region Summit | KET, YouTube [VIDEO 15:04] Watch Lee County’s Story [VIDEO] Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board The Regional Challenge and Opportunity | Shaping Our Appalachian Region Summit … Continue reading

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CONGRESS WATCH Begich Provisions in NDAA Cut Pentagon Waste, Spur Investment in Alaska’s Military, US Senate Begich Urges VA to Continue Focus on Fixing Claims Backlog, YouTube [VIDEO 4:10] IAVA: Join the Movement, YouTube [VIDEO 4:06]

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CONGRESS WATCH Here’s How the Budget Deal Eases Sequestration Cuts, Bloomberg TV [VIDEO 3:50]