Many CPUs have been used in space craft, space stations and other such probes. Such CPUs must be highly reliable, and very durable. The temperatures in space, even with heaters, can vary widely. The radiation that a system is exposed too can be immense. So when designing one of these systems designers don't always use the latest and greatest microprocessor. They use a chip that has been tried and tested. That they KNOW will work.
A CPU for use in space must first be MIL-STD-883 (usually Class M or S, ground based is B). This means it has met the over 100 tests that the Department of Defense has developed to insure reliable operation. These tests include: thermal, mechanical, AC electrical and DC electrical tests as well as sampling requirements for individual wafer inspections.
Most CPUs that pass come from the center of a wafer. This eliminates edge defects and generally makes for a more radiation resistant device.
Also note that MOST spacecraft use many CPUs. Either for redundancy or to split tasks. Being able to separately control EACH component of a spacecraft is very important. This would be impossible if one CPU controlled them all. With each sub-system powered by its own CPU the sub-systems can be better controlled for power management and fault tolerance. (for example if one CPU dies it only would disable one instrument, not the whole spacecraft)
Matts-Åke Belin has a job title that might sound a little foreign to an American ear, but one that’s very important in his home country of Sweden: traffic safety strategist. He holds that position with the Swedish Transport Administration, where he has been one of the key architects of the policy known as Vision Zero. Since approved by the Swedish parliament in October 1997, Vision Zero has permeated the nation’s approach to transportation, dictating that the government manage the nation’s streets and roads with the ultimate goal of preventing fatalities and serious injuries.
It’s a radical vision that has made Sweden an international leader in the area of road safety. When Vision Zero first launched, Sweden recorded seven traffic fatalities per 100,000 people; today, despite a significant increase in traffic volume, that number is fewer than three. To compare, the number of road fatalities in the United States is 11.6 per 100,000.
Recently Belin was in New York to speak at a Vision Zero symposium organized by the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives. New York City, under the Bill de Blasio administration, has adopted a policy it calls Vision Zero, although it is not strictly adherent to the Swedish approach. I sat down with Belin to discuss cultural differences between Sweden and the United States, the inevitability of human error on the street, the responsibility of the road engineer for safety, and the loneliness of the New York pedestrian. The interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
I pull off my Converse and step into a pair of rather ordinary-looking brown leather sandals.
I begin to walk slowly around the room, and that's when I experience the most peculiar sensations. The sound of my footsteps changes, and suddenly my lower legs feel lighter and longer. My knees feel looser, and I begin to raise them higher and higher as I walk. My walking speed increases until it's all I can do not to break into a trot. I feel slimmer, stronger, and full of energy. These are unlike any shoes I have ever worn.
Such footwear sounds fantastical, but these shoes are just one of a number of new experiments revealing how the noises we make have an immediate and profound effect on the way we experience our bodies, on our emotions and our behaviour. The trick here is not in the shoes themselves, but in the way they change the sound of my footsteps.
Each weekday morning here, hundreds of commuters in the municipality of Furesø get on their bikes for the one-hour ride into Copenhagen.
They can ride quite fast on the first stretch of trail, a straight path between quiet forest and noisy roads. Later, bikers pass blocks of drab council housing and a lake area with lots of geese before arriving in the bustle of the Danish capital. Here, the path is thick with cyclists, not just the long-distance commuters but also girls with flowers on their bike baskets and parents hauling kids in bicycle trailers.
This is Route C95, also known as the Farum route, one of two cycling “super highways” that have recently opened here. They’re part of a fast-growing network of bike infrastructure targeted specifically at suburban commuters, featuring smooth pavement, good lighting, separation from traffic, safe road crossings, rain shelters, and air pumps. A total of 28 routes with 467 km (290 miles) of cycle paths are planned. Eleven of these will be ready by the end of 2018.
It won’t surprise anyone to hear that Copenhagen, world famous for its bicycling culture, is up to something big with bikes. What’s less well known is how Copenhagen’s latest innovation happened. It’s a remarkable story of regional cooperation, forged by one big city and 21 of its smaller suburban neighbors, who came together around a common vision for moving commuters from using their cars to riding their bicycles.
“Cyclists know no borders,” says Furesø Mayor Ole Bondo Christensen, who is an avid bicyclist himself. “For them, a coherent and reliable infrastructure is important no matter which municipality they pass through.”
Faculty members often chafe at high overheads, because they see them as eating up a portion of the NIH budget that could be spent on research. And lack of transparency about how the money is spent can raise suspicions. “Sometimes faculty feel like they’re at the end of the Colorado River,” says Joel Norris, a climatologist at the University of California, San Diego. “And all the water’s been diverted before it gets to them.”
Nature compared the negotiated rates, as provided by the US Department of Health and Human Services, to the actual awards given to more than 600 hospitals, non-profit research institutions and universities listed in RePORTER, a public database of NIH funding (see ‘Overheads under the microscope’). The analysis shows that institutions often receive much less than what they have negotiated, thanks to numerous restrictions placed on what and how much they can claim. Administrators say that these conditions make it difficult to recoup the cash they spend on infrastructure.
In addition, new administrative regulations have meant that universities have had to increase their spending, even as federal and state funding for research has diminished. “We lose money on every piece of research that we do,” says Maria Zuber, vice-president for research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, which has negotiated a rate of 56%.
But many worry that the negotiation process allows universities to lavish money on new buildings and bloated administrations. “The current system is perverse,” says Richard Vedder, an economist at Ohio University in Athens who studies university financing. “There is a tendency to promote wasteful spending.”
What are indirect costs?
Indirect costs — often called facilities-and-administrative costs — are expenses that are not directly associated with any one research project. This includes libraries, electricity, administrative expenses, facilities maintenance and building and equipment depreciation, among other things.
The United States began reimbursing universities for indirect costs in the 1950s, as part of a push to encourage more research. An initial cap was set at 8%, but that had risen to 20% by 1966, when the government began to allow institutions to negotiate their rates. Institutions were assigned to negotiate with either the US Department of Health and Human Services or the Office of Naval Research, depending on which supplied the bulk of their research funding. And the agreed rate holds across all federal funders, irrespective of where the negotiations took place.
A common misconception is that indirect-cost rates are expressed as a percentage of the total grant, so a rate of 50% would mean that half of the award goes to overheads. Instead, they are expressed as a percentage of the direct costs to fund the research. So, a rate of 50% means that an institution receiving $150 million will get $100 million for the research and $50 million, or one-third of the total, for indirect costs. But there are multiple caps that lower the base amount from which the indirect rate is calculated, or that limit the amount of money that a research institution can request. So very few institutions receive the full negotiated rate on the direct funding they receive.
Energy storage is a key to the deployment of large scale renewable energy. Unfortunately, apart from pumped hydro, grid-scale energy storage is usually too expensive. Oncor recently made a proposal for the Texas grid (there are three major interconnect regions in the US with Texas having its own grid) that makes sense by saving more than generating costs. It seems Oncor isa wires company and its scheme will save on transmission and delivery costs.
It is just a proposal at this point, but an interesting one.
Note - energy storage is usually rated in terms of the power it can deliver rather than the total energy stored. Total energy storage is usually listed, but for network operators balancing loads in real-time available power is the important metric.
Since a low point of Hong Kong’s property market in 2003, average house prices have increased by more than 300 percent, according to data from the Centa-City Index, which is compiled by the real estate agency Centaline and the City University of Hong Kong.
Helping propel this rise has been Hong Kong’s thriving economy, which significantly expanded over the last 10 years after the rapid growth of China. Strong demand from wealthy mainland Chinese and limited land supply have also helped to prop up prices, although this effect has slowed since the government put into effect a series of cooling measures, like additional taxes paid on property purchases.
First-time buyers now dominate the market, spurred on by the ultracheap interest rates.
“The mortgage rate is below 2 percent, so it is very attractive for the buyers,” said Patrick Wong, a property analyst at BNP Paribas.
Adhikari's accomplishments are rooted in more than his own determination and wit; they also draw on support from the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), an organization based a world away in the picturesque Italian seaside town of Trieste. Set up in 1964 by Pakistani physics Nobel laureate Abdus Salam and Italian physicist Paolo Budinich, it aims to advance theoretical physics in the developing world. Salam, who died in 1996, wanted the centre to be “a home away from home” for researchers from the poorest regions of the world. After they passed through the ICTP's programmes of training and research, he hoped that alumni would establish scientific communities in their home countries, rather than settling abroad as so many scientists did. Adhikari, who completed the ICTP's one-year postgraduate-diploma programme in 1998, is one of the institute's success stories.
Adhikari is hardly the only one. In the 50 years since it was established, the ICTP has trained more than 100,000 scientists from 188 countries through its workshops and courses. Researchers who studied there have contributed to major discoveries in fields ranging from string theory and neutrino physics to climate change, and have racked up a trophy cabinet of academic prizes, including shares in a pair of Nobels. Most physicists credit the institute with stemming the brain drain and bolstering academia in the developing world. The institute is “widely admired”, says Martin Rees, an astrophysicist at the University of Cambridge, UK, and former head of the Royal Society in London, who hopes that it will “inspire the creation of similar institutions covering other scientific fields”.
The ICTP has evolved over time. What started out as a small project focused narrowly on Salam's discipline — high-energy physics — has morphed into a broader programme. In 1998, the institute expanded its brief to include mathematics and Earth-systems physics, including climate and geophysics, and in 2014 it added quantitative life sciences. The institute is still changing. In the past two years it has opened satellite campuses in Brazil, Mexico and Turkey, and it is currently establishing branches in Rwanda and China. Plans to expand into more countries and disciplines are being considered.
Graduate level science and beyond requires much more local intensity and person to person focus than MOOCs and other online mechanisms provide.