The Strategy Of Nuclear Deterrence 

General Martin E. Dempsey, the outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently introduced the latest version of the “National Military Strategy of the United States of America.” The unremarkable title and relatively quiet roll-out of this document mask some of the significant conclusions the President’s top military advisers have come to, namely, “global disorder has significantly increased while some of our comparative military advantage has begun to erode.” While malicious state and nonstate actors and technology competitions are nothing new on the international stage, one conclusion the Joint Chiefs of Staff came to is somewhat surprising: that there is a “growing” risk of “war with a major power.” Additionally, the Joint Chiefs of Staff expect that “future conflicts between states may prove to be unpredictable, costly, and difficult to control.” Likewise, the National Intelligence Council believes that “the employment of new forms of warfare such as cyber and space warfare” will allow states to “escalate and expand future conflicts beyond the traditional battlefield.” So not only is there a growing risk of the United States being involved in a war with a major power, but the number and type of potential crises that could spark a war is rising. That answers the question of “why” the threat environment is unpredictable. The subsequent question then is, “what should we do about it?”

The Joint Chiefs of Staff ranked their priorities in this unpredictable world and one mission stood out above the rest. The number one priority as defined by the President’s top military advisers is sustaining and modernizing the U.S. nuclear triad of bombers, submarines, and missiles.  The current administration, as well as previous ones, has determined rightly that ensuring the United States possesses a flexible and resilient nuclear force now is the best hope for deterring existential threats both now and in the uncertain future. Nuclear weapons can help deter the only existential-level threats facing the United States in ways that conventional, economic, or political power alone cannot.

According to Matthew R. Costlow, a Policy Analyst at the National Institute of public policy explains how nuclear deterrence and assurance, arms control, nonproliferation, Russian and Chinese defense strategy, and nuclear terrorism are all interconnected.  This recognition is not, as some critics have claimed, anachronistic thought coming from long-slumbering Cold Warriors. It is a clear-eyed admission of reality that is, while unpleasant, supremely necessary. A recently-released report titled “Project Atom,” which surveyed four of the leading think-tanks on this issue, shows there is remarkable agreement across most of the ideological spectrum. All four think tanks concluded that all three legs of the nuclear triad should not only be retained, but modernized. Critics at this point may concede that nuclear weapons are necessary for America’s defense, but claim current modernization plans are “unaffordable” and just as much deterrent effect could be squeezed out of a smaller nuclear force. Advocates of this position point to President Obama’s pledge in Berlin in 2013 to seek up to a one-third cut in deployed U.S. nuclear weapons. What proponents of further nuclear cuts fail to realize, however, is that President Obama’s pledge was not a call for unilateral U.S. disarmament, but rather a proposal for negotiated nuclear reductions with Russia. Little more than seven months after the speech, Russian troops occupied Crimea, and Russia now rejects further negotiations. Alas, the unpredictability of international relations remains a cruel constant.

As for the affordability of U.S. nuclear modernization plans, new research shows that U.S. nuclear forces will indeed be affordable as the U.S. defense budget shifts to accommodate upcoming expenses. Again, it is a matter of ranking military priorities, and U.S. military leaders agree that the modernization of U.S. nuclear forces ranks right at the top. While the U.S. nuclear force is the top military priority, this does not mean it is silver bullet that can address every security threat facing America today, it was never meant to. Just as tanks are useless against cyber-attacks and artillery cannot defend satellites in space, U.S. nuclear weapons have defined roles for limited missions, namely: deterring massive attacks on the United States, defeating an enemy and limiting damage should deterrence fail, deterring attacks on our allies and assuring them of our capabilities, and limiting coercion by state and non-state actors. Deterrence, as a strategy, is not fool-proof and guarantees nothing. But every presidential administration, Republican and Democrat alike, since the dawn of the atomic age has recognized the immense value U.S. nuclear weapons have in deterring catastrophic attacks and affecting the behavior of international leaders. Choosing not to modernize U.S. nuclear forces or cutting their numbers drastically will result in a less adaptable force in an international system that enforces one rule ruthlessly: evolve or die. Like debates in Washington D.C. always seem to do, conversation will inevitably gravitate towards the question of affordability in a tight budget environment. Yet, this is at best a secondary issue. The real question is, what priority should we give U.S. nuclear modernization in an uncertain and unpredictable world? The answer: number one.



As per Carole N. House and John M. House Nanotechnology, Drones, and 3D Printing are the cornerstone for the Future of Soldier Efficiencies. The Soldier has always been and will always remain the basic element of the U.S. Army. Soldiers define the Army and carry out every mission the Army conducts. Therefore, enhancing Soldier efficiency should be a cornerstone of capabilities development in the Army today and into the future. The importance of Soldier efficiency will only grow as a smaller segment of American society serves in uniform. Without capitalizing on technological advancements to improve efficiency, the Army runs the risk of having missions exceed capabilities because the number of Soldiers available will always be a finite number. Austere environments at a port of entry into a hostile environment will emphasize this need even more. The need for Soldier efficiencies to improve power, speed, and understanding is clear. Several developments in the near future should enhance the efficiency of the future Soldier over that of today’s men and women in uniform. Soldier cognition, logistics sustainability, performance enhancement, and nanotechnology provide opportunities for improved efficiency over today.

Soldier Cognition
Battlefield awareness or situational understanding has been improving since humanity developed a telescope. The ability of Soldiers to see farther and process information quickly will continue to improve thanks to unmanned aerial systems and information technology enhancements. Handheld or arm-mounted personal data systems will provide Soldiers greater access to information than ever before. While the original Land Warrior system never reached its potential, miniaturization of electronics and improvements in power will enhance the ability of a Soldier to remain connected to the mission command and intelligence networks that will overlay the battlefield. The Nett Warrior project, successor to Land Warrior, continues to integrate the promise of digital communications and tracking into increased operational effectiveness. Although Nett Warrior currently faces issues such as battery power and communications, increased battery performance and signal capabilities through the use of repeaters will only contribute to this system’s effectiveness and its future mass fielding by 2025. A recent media report indicated that DARPA plans to implant a computer hard drive in a person’s brain to enhance memory or to help injured Soldiers regain memory function. However, if successful, it does not take a great leap of mind to consider the possibility of improved network efficiency of Soldiers with the ability to connect with mission command or intelligence systems without the aid of an input device such as the eye. If instead of looking at a plan or map and having to derive its meaning a Soldier can simply have the information available on a hard drive, efficiency of operations order transmission and understanding should improve. Conceivably orders could instantly be in a Soldier’s memory without the risk of information loss or misunderstanding. The knowledge will simply be immediately available. A Soldier’s ability to assimilate directly into the Joint Battle Command-Platform (JBC-P) through Nett Warrior holds major implications for operational communications when augmented by the ability to integrate a human brain into mission command devices. Digital colloids, effectively shapeshifting nanoparticle clusters that could store up to 1 terabyte of data within a tablespoon of liquid, will gradually pave the way toward “wet computing.” The Defense Advanced Research Project’s (DARPA) neurosignaling technological advancements are already facilitating mind control of technology in 2015. Manipulation permitted by neurosignals compounded by the massive information capacity of digital colloids portends an incredible future interoperability between human brains and digital systems. In effect, by 2025, Nett Warrior-geared Soldiers will be experimenting with the ability to control such digital systems as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and communications through thought. Continued investigation into neurosignaling and bio-hard drive integration technology will most likely be in a developmental stage in 2025, preparing for future fielding into the general force structure. UAVs are present today. Battlefield surveillance and precision strike missions are well known. Improved power capabilities will allow smaller unmanned systems to carry more sensors or weapons over greater distances and for longer periods than in the past. Solar and thermal energy harvesting and battery power enhancements (e.g. the use of carbon nanotubes and sulfur in lithium-ion batteries to increase energy storage and transfer speed) will lead to increased sustainability and redundancy of power sources, mitigating current time and range limitations of UAV sorties. Improved network capability will enable the individual Soldier to interact with unmanned aerial systems to a greater degree than today. When the individual Soldier can look around or over an obstacle such as a building or natural obstacle, then detect, and finally attack an enemy, efficiency will improve, as such Soldiers will be able to defeat an enemy while remaining in relative safety during reconnaissance and even exploitation by indirect fire. However, unmanned aerial systems will also play a major role in enhancing logistics support.

Logistics Support
Unmanned systems in the air or the ground should be able to transport supplies in the not too distant future. and several other commercial industries worldwide are researching the possibility of using small, unmanned systems to deliver orders. If can do this, the U.S. Army should also be able to package supplies for delivery on the battlefield without having to risk a Soldier in a truck exposed to enemy fire and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Delivery to exact locations with Global Positioning System (GPS) guidance will reduce the problems of large stockpiles of supplies and reduce the possibility of delivery to the wrong location. A robotics system using a GPS for navigation will negate the need for a Soldier trying to read a map while driving down a road at night and trying to avoid an IED or other type of ambush. Larger unmanned aerial systems should be able to carry larger quantities of supplies and even potentially conduct aerial medical evacuation (medevac) without risking a manned helicopter. Issues remain with medical care while in transit, of course. Nonetheless, it may be more efficient to use a robotic system for a short-range medevac to remove a Soldier from a dangerous environment to a location near him or her where quick transfer to a manned system is possible with a reduced risk for the evacuation crew. Another major logistics effect of UAVs will be the projection of voice, data, video, and digital communications in remote locations. Facebook’s Initiative is currently working to provide Internet access to isolated areas through Wi-Fi-beaming drones. Over the next 10 years, drones will increasingly provide telecommunications access by providing internet capability in austere environments. The Army will be able to use this capability for mounted aerial repeaters to facilitate long-distance radio communications for initial entry, highly mobile patrols, forward elements, and even for isolated personnel. An even greater impact on logistical support will come from 3D printing. 3D printing offers the advantages of speedy, customized production on demand in remote locations and with minimal waste products. As 3D printing technologies continue to improve so that a printer can produce a multitude of repair parts from a few generic materials, this will reduce the need to carry thousands of lines of small repair parts and even basic tools. As long as the materials on hand used for the printing have the required strength and characteristics for the required equipment task, an operator could produce a needed part or tool on demand without having to wait for resupply. Inherent in this logistical transformation is a great amount of research and development by the Army over the next 10 years to assess and prepare every piece of equipment in the Army supply inventory for assimilation into a 3D printing-based supply system. This includes building a catalog of the digital design files for every reproducible item as well as testing the durability of each piece in its 3D-printed form. Such a capability would dramatically reduce time of delivery and greatly increase unit readiness and self-sufficiency. This sufficiency will also diminish the vulnerability of units to enemy attacks on their lines of communication. Combining such replication capability with small, unmanned aerial systems for delivery and repair parts will improve maintenance and operational efficiency dramatically.

Human Performance Enhancement
Besides increasing the efficiency of his mission command and logistical tasks, emerging mechanical and nanotechnology will continue to heighten the individual Soldier’s physical capabilities. Exoskeleton system development by 2025 will likely be in its early stages of enhancing human performance. Two current Department of Defense initiatives will drive the creation of this technology: DARPA’s Warrior Web program and the Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) for Special Operations Command. The Warrior Web program focuses on creating a flexible, low-powered suit that responds to physical stress and the user’s movements to mitigate chronic injuries and reduce the physical burden of the load upon the operator. The TALOS suit is more comparable to a human tank than the more subtle Warrior Web suit. TALOS is specifically engineered for a solution to protect the lead member of a squad who enters a room and is most vulnerable to small arms fire and explosives in close quarters. The ability to carry more weight provided by these exosuits will greatly increase performance efficiency in traveling long distances over rugged terrains with minimized physical hardship. Increased power to physical tasks combined with less need for recovery due to less physical stress and fewer injuries will help make each individual Soldier a kind of “superman.” Additionally, the suits will enable cognitive improvement by helping Soldiers to carry the electronic and power systems for mission command and situational awareness needed over longer distances than today and in terrain that is more difficult. Though situational awareness and battery power are major obstacles currently standing in the way to a working prototype, enhancements over the next 10 years in heads-up display graphical depiction, like that in Google Glass, and battery power will fix much of these challenges. Nanotechnology also offers some promising advancements in human performance in healing and combating disease.

The Army’s Institute for Soldier Nanotechnology (ISN) at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT) provides the opportunity for the Army to be at the forefront of nanotechnology development. Current initiatives include enhanced fibers and materials, medical care, physical ballistic protection, chemical and biological detection and protection, and integration of nanotechnology systems. Capabilities in these areas will improve Soldier efficiency. Materials that provide enhanced physical comfort will help ensure Soldiers focus on their missions and not their personal needs. However, the most critical developments will be in survivability measures. Enhanced medical care will keep Soldiers on the battlefield when otherwise they could succumb to wounds or other injuries. Nanotechnology is providing scientists insight into functionality of human immune systems at an incredible level of detail to monitor the effects of chosen treatments. Additionally, the ISN is developing breakthrough Rapid Reconstitution Packages (RRPs) of lyophilized (i.e. freeze-drying) medicine and vaccinations that can then be stored for years in a compact, powder form. Nanotechnology has also led to incredible developments in wound treatment and healing. Carbon nanotube patches mimic organic tissue when placed on damaged human organs and encourage speedy and strong growth of new tissue.16 Nanofibers in gels used to fill wounds will help to maintain a good level of hemostasis and facilitate less traumatic healing processes, especially if the ISN is successful in using the nanofibers as sensors during healing to trigger release of helpful drugs directly into the body. Nanofibers will also be able to act as sensors as part of a Soldier’s uniform, providing basic vital signs and injury data into the established reporting infrastructure, perhaps the Nett Warrior system. RRPs and nanotechnology-facilitated treatment and monitoring of injuries will greatly increase first medical responder capabilities and greatly increase survivability against injury and disease during operations in remote locations. Improved protection from blast and ballistic projectiles will reduce injuries and enable a smaller force to remain in action longer. Nanotechnology will enable construction of personal protective equipment and vehicle armor that control ballistic energy dissipation to a much greater extent than seen today. Bio-inspired protective joints will also provide effective defense against daily wear on burdened joints and blunt trauma in harsh conditions. Chemical and biological protection through nano-enhanced hazard material detection will again reduce injuries and enable Soldiers to continue to operate when others would have to evacuate an area. The integration of nanotechnologies will support the capabilities noted here but also should enhance the capabilities associated with Soldier cognition and logistics support. These same enhancements affecting materials should reduce the weight of systems that support improved cognition. Improvements in materials and protection will enable logistics systems to operate in hostile environments over greater distances. Augmented by formations of healthy Soldiers, the Army of 2025 looks to be one of strong individuals able to work efficiently in all daily Warrior Tasks and largely self-sufficiently for extended periods of time.

Technological enhancements in the near future if combined with innovative operational concepts provide the opportunity to improve Soldier efficiency dramatically. Whether in Soldier cognition, logistics support, or nanotechnology, the opportunities are close at hand. Integrating digital systems functionality, unmanned aerial systems, 3D printing, exoskeletons, and nanotechnologies into the individual Soldier’s mission requirements and capabilities will provide the desired efficiencies.

End Notes
1. ADS Inc. (2014). Enhancing warfighter readiness with cutting edge, COTS C4ISR supply chain management. Retrieved from… Office of the Director, Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E). (2015, January). FY14 army programs: Nett warrior. FY 2014 Annual Report, 131-132. Retrieved from

2. McGarry, B. (2015, March 19). After terminator arm, DARPA wants implantable hard drive for the brain. News. Retrieved from…

3. Solon, O. (2014, July 28). Liquid hard drive could store 1TB data in a tablespoon. Wired. Retrieved from

4. Phillips, C. L., Jankowski, E., Krishnatreya, B. J., Edmond, K. V., Sacanna, S., Grier, D. G., … Glotzer, S. C. (2014, October 14). Digital colloids: Reconfigurable clusters as high information density elements. Soft Matter, 10(38), p. 7468-7479. Retrieved from

5. Phillip, A. (2015, March 3). A paralyzed woman flew an F-35 fighter jet in a simulator – using only her mind. The Washington Post. Retrieved from…

6. Sandhana, L. (2013, November 25). New wave energy wants to put power plants in the sky. Gizmag. Retrieved from; Liu, C., Gillette, E.I., Xinyi, C., Pearse, A. J., Kozeri, A. C., Schroeder, M. A.,… Rubloff, G.W. (2014, November 10). An all-in-one nanopore battery array. Nature Nanotechnology, 9(2014), 1031-1038. Retrieved from; Zhang, S. (2013, January 20). Liquid electrolyte lithium/sulfur battery: Fundamental chemistry, problems, and solution. Journal of Power Sources, 231(2013), 153-162. Retrieved from

7. Barr, A. & Bensinger, G. (2014, August 29). Google is testing delivery drone system. The Washington Street Journal. Retrieved from…

8. Alexander, D. (2014, April 5). U.S. Navy testing more sophisticated pilotless helicopters. Reuters. Retrieved from…

9. Lavars, N. (2014, March 26). Facebook successfully tests its internet-beaming drones. Gizmag. Retrieved from

10. Pirjan, A. & Petrosanu, D. M. (2013). The impact of 3D printing technology on the society and economy. Journal of Information Systems & Operations Management, Winter 2013, 1-11. Retreived from

11. DARPA. (n.d.). Warrior web. DARPA Biological Technologies Office. Retrieved from; Magnuson, Stew. (2015, January 28). SOCOM’s “Iron Man” suit faces major technological hurdles. National Defense Magazine. Retrieved from

12. DARPA, n.d.; Schechter, E. (2014, December 4). DARPA is getting closer to an Iron Man suit. Popular Mechanics. Retrieved from…

13. Magnuson, 2015

14. Strange, A. (2013, August 14). Google Glass video shows off turn-by-turn directions. PC Magazine. Retrieved from,2817,2423068,00.asp

15. Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies (ISN). (n.d.). Strategic Research Areas. Massachusetts Institute of Technology Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies. Retrieved from

Making Co-Housing Trendy 

In cities with rapidly rising rents, foreclosed hotels and office/ industrial buildings have steered the creation of hotel-like spaces that may also house the young or the penniless masses.  You can have a few hundred housemates in an abandoned office building that is turning into one of the world’s largest experiments in co-living, designed in response to London’s insane rents. Inside, residents will have private space to sleep, storage, and a bathroom. A kitchenette may or may not be shared. But they’ll also have access to 12,000 square feet of shared living space, including full kitchens, a library, a spa, a “secret garden,” and a theater. “The idea is that we provide a compact but well-designed living space where you can have all of your basics. … It’s really your crash pad,” says Reza Merchant, CEO of The Collective, the London startup that is developing the building along with several other co-living spaces around the city. “The wealth of amenity space is the modern form of the living room.”
If you want to have a dinner party, for example, you can book a room for that. “It’s the whole sharing economy phenomenon when you share things with other people you get a lot more bang for your buck,” he says. “How often are you going to have a 15-person dinner party? You don’t have that every night, so if you share that with other people, you can have access to all these amazing living spaces that you wouldn’t otherwise have.”It’s designed to be something that someone in their twenties or thirties can afford as London rents which have doubled in the past decade keep soaring. Depending on the neighborhood, the co-living spaces The Collective is building can be 15%-40% cheaper than renting a typical apartment.”At the moment, people earning less than £40,000-£50,000 a year don’t have the option of renting a flat in a decent location,” Merchant says. “So they’re forced at the moment to rent rooms in often illegally converted houses.” Merchant, who is 26, is also convinced that millennials prefer living in communities. “I think if you look at our generation, there’s a shift toward wanting to be part of a community and share experience with their peers,” he says. “The whole concept of sharing is much more acceptable today than it was previously. So on the one hand, people actually prefer to share. On the other hand, there are simply no options.”

The building is designed to be suitcase-ready and is a little like living in a millennial-filled hotel. “We change the linen, we clean the rooms, we have an on-site concierge, we fully furnish the rooms, even down to the knives, the forks, the TV, so that people can show up with their bag and they’re ready to live,” Merchant says. “That’s very much part of the psyche of the millennial generation. They don’t want to own material possessions.” When it opens in 2016, the building will be one of several massive co-living spaces The Collective is planning for London. PLP Architecture, which designed the space, also has plans for another big project, a 30-story skyscraper with co-living on the top and co-working for startups on the bottom.The Collective isn’t the only company to attempt co-living spaces, but there’s still questions about whether the business model works. Campus, a startup from Silicon Valley, notably failed at the same thing. Others, like a new co-living space in Brooklyn, have been criticized for charging rents that aren’t much better than a studio in the area. Still, more are being planned. Overall we think that the growing interest in co-living is a logical reaction to the housing affordability crisis many cities face. There is a massive issue in big cities like London, San Francisco and New York where the lifeblood of these economies simply cannot afford to live affordably. In short this idea is long over due as when you have such an acute issue for what is such a key part of the economy, the market will inevitably come up with solutions.

By Naved Jafry & Garson Silvers

Ref: A Peters

Tragedy Of The Homeless 

Every year over 70 million rural migrats are moving into urban centers around the world. Unfortunately most of them land up  into the slums of their new cities.  In such a situation can the buy-one-give-one model work for housing? Imagine if every slumdweller or homeless family on earth had their fully paid home. Thanks to our new social concious buyers Many such projects and proposals are well under way to make that a reality. Buy A Luxury Condo or home, Give A Slum Dweller A New Home is a reality and is launched one of the first partnership in the U.S. and India. Buy a new luxury condo in San Diego, and you can help build a home for a family currently living in a slum in Manila or Mumbai. The philosophy and the social impact behind this has inspired many developers a one-for-one real estate gifting model,” says Pete Dupuis, who co-founded World Housing with his business partner Sid Landolt in 2013, beginning with a development in Vancouver.


The business model is simple in theory: Real estate developers donate a portion of their marketing budget to the nonprofit, and then the nonprofit creates local factories that build low-cost homes in the developing world. Each home, which can cost about $5,000 in a place like Manila or Mumbai, is part of a bigger neighborhood with a playground, community garden, and other common areas. “Our mission at World Housing is to create social change by connecting the world to be a better community, so the idea of ‘community’ is foundational to how we think, design, and create our homes,” says Dupuis. In Cambodia, where the nonprofit has been building homes for the last two years, they’ve partnered with Cambodia Children’s Fund to help provide services like health care, nutrition, and education for residents.The team’s new project in Manila was inspired in part by a trip Dupuis took to a slum called Smokey Mountain, where about 300,000 people live in shacks in a landfill. “The abject poverty has left a lasting impression on how I saw the world,” he says. “However, the one thing I discovered was the welcoming and hopeful nature of the people there. One of my best memories was playing a game of pool in the middle of a slum, on a table reconstructed from garbage. The people made me feel like part of their family and I made a promise to myself that when World Housing opened we would return to help the people there.”

In India, anyone who buys a condo or house at any of its new developments in and near Mumbai, Houston and Tanzania called micro Cities will help change the lives of a family locally. The Bosa condo development in San Diego will fund 64 homes in Manila, housing 300 people.
The condos, which will be available in 2017, are polar opposites of the simple houses under construction in Manila, with amenities like ocean views, a pool and sauna, and even potentially an indoor dog run. But the developer thinks that buyers will respond to the idea of doing good as an added perk. “We hope to set a new norm in residential development and inspire buyers, who will be the driving force in building this community,” says Nat Bosa, president of Bosa Development, the company behind Pacific Gate. Companies such as Zeons Realty which builds off the grid Micro-Cities also donates to the local community in which it starts any project.  “We believe it will attract domestic and international buyers, so it is a natural progression for the company to expand its philanthropic footprint within the community it does business,” Garson Silvers says CEO for Zeons. World Housing has housed 2,000 people so far, and hopes to reach 30,000 by 2020. Bosa believes the model may start to spread in the development community. “As the industry continues to grow we believe this model of giving will also grow,” he says. “There’s nothing more powerful than having owners and developers see the physical impact they are having on a global scale. They are affecting lives in the most profound way.”

By Naved Jafry

Reference : A. Peters

New Hope For Life Extension



More than 50 sheep and pigs have been implanted with human-animal hybrid embryos. In 2014, 429 people died while on the organ transplant waiting list. But human organs are being grown inside sheeps and pigs in a bid to save the lives of those on organ donation waiting lists. More than 50 sheep and pigs have been implanted with human-animal hybrid embryos with the aim of them developing into fully functional human hearts, livers and other major organs. Although these techniques have yet to arrive in Britain, the Government’s animal research advisers are expected to make them legal when the first full guidelines are published this week, The Times reported. The experiments rely on a cutting-edge fusion of technologies, including recent breakthroughs in stem cell biology and gene editing techniques.  By modifying genes, scientists can now change the DNA in pig or sheep embryos so they are genetically incapable of forming a specific tissue. Then, by adding stem cells from a person, they hope the human cells will take over the job of forming the missing organ, which could then be harvested from the animal for use in a transplant operation.  


British Government’s animal research advisers expected to legalise techniques. Scientists change the animal DNA so they are genetically incapable of forming a specific tissue. Human stem cells are then injected to the embryo and form the organ. Daniel Garry, a cardiologist who leads a chimera project at the University of Minnesota, said: ‘We can make an animal without a heart. ‘We have engineered pigs that lack skeletal muscles and blood vessels.’The US research was carried out at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland. Twenty livestock have been impregnated in the past year while a further three pregnancies are said to have taken place in other countries. But there are fears that the hybrids will make the animals too human, developing patches of human hair, human reproductive cells or higher intelligence. Other kinds of human-animal chimeras are widely used in scientific research, including mice given a human immune system. The NHS has previously said human-animal chimera technology could save hundreds of lives every year.  

By Naved Jafry & Garson Silvers

Are Emerging Markets Outpacing Developed Nations In Sustainaible Investments ?


Emerging economies attracted record levels of clean energy investment last year, surpassing investment in wealthier nations for the first time ever, according to a new report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). In 2014, the 55 developing nations studied in the Climatescope report brought in $126 billion in clean energy investment — up $35.5 billion, or 39 percent, from 2013 levels. These countries installed a total of 50.4 gigawatts of new clean energy capacity last year — up 21 percent from 2013. In another first, renewable energy capacity deployed in emerging markets surpassed the amount deployed in wealthier OECD countries. Furthermore, the majority of investment did not stem from OECD countries. Rather, it was investment from developing countries to other developing countries, which jumped to $79 billion in 2014, up from $53 billion in 2013.

China played a major role. Last year, China added 35 gigawatts of new renewable generating capacity on its own, which is more than the clean energy projects built last year in the U.S., Britain and France combined. Large hydropower projects were not included in the report’s clean energy calculations. Instead, the authors focused on solar, wind and other clean energy technologies that can be deployed more rapidly. These findings are notable ahead of high-stakes climate talks in Paris next week, where there’s expected to be a strong focus on how much capital wealthier countries should transfer to lesser-developed countries to address the threat of climate change. “In advance of Paris, the good news highlighted in this report is that emerging markets truly can attract investment in clean energy,” Ethan Zindler, head of U.S. research at BNEF, wrote in an email. “The perhaps even better news is that this is being driven less by concerns about climate change than other factors.” Technology cost declines coupled with abundant natural resources have made renewables the lowest-cost energy option in many countries, he said. Solar PV costs, for instance, have dropped 15 percent year over year. This has made solar competitive with fossil-fuel generation, especially in sunny places with high electricity prices. According to GTM Research, average global PV system installed costs are expected to fall another 40 percent in the coming years, from $2.16 per watt in 2014 to $1.24 per watt by 2020.

For many emerging economies, the adoption of renewables is also tied to energy security. In many cases, countries rely on imports of coal and gas, and in some cases oil, which are vulnerable to price volatility and supply disruption. As demand has increased, multilateral development banks have also become more adept at financing clean energy projects in emerging economies. The World Bank, the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and others have led successful investment initiatives separate from United Nations-led efforts. Renewable energy is still expected to be a strong focus at the upcoming U.N. climate talks, however. A separate report released this week by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) found that scaling up renewable energy to 36 percent of the global energy mix by 2030 would result in half of all emissions reductions needed to keep global warming below the 2 degree Celsius threshold. Energy-efficiency measures could make up the other half. To achieve a 36 percent share of total energy renewable energy adoption would have to increase sixfold from current levels. That would require global investment to reach $500 billion per year in the period leading up to 2020, and more than triple to $900 billion from 2021 to 2030. In 2014, overall clean energy investment totaled $310 billion, according to BNEF. Many stakeholders argue that rich countries that have benefited from decades of unrestrained fossil-fuel use have an obligation to financially support decarbonization efforts around the world. Disagreement over the responsibilities of “have” countries and “have-not” countries has played a role in derailing previous attempts to reach a global climate-change agreement.
According to Zindler, the BNEF Climatescope report helps to reframe the discussion.  Of the $126 billion invested in emerging markets, he noted that approximately 70 percent took place in China. Factoring in the remaining “BRIC” nations — Brazil, Russia and India — the total comes to more than $100 billion. With the addition of “middle-income” nations, the total rises further. So while the report shows that clean energy adoption can expand on its own today without a big international push, “the very least developed countries still account for just a tiny sliver of overall investment,” said Zindler. “I’d argue that the study suggests that the simple ‘have’ versus ‘have-nots’ dichotomy that often gets set up — with nations such as China and India putting themselves in the ‘have-nots’ category — probably requires a bit more nuance,” he added. “The largest emerging market nations along with others in the ‘middle-income’ category are achieving real results, largely without the help of an international pact. But the poorest nations still lag behind.”

By N.Jafry & G. Silvers

Reference : J.Pyper, Bloomberg Energy Finance


This Bike Path Paved With Solar Panels Shows That All Streets Could Double As Power Sources. If we want it, the road could literally be paved to a renewable energy future. A pilot test of the technology turned out a great success.
One year after a bike path outside Amsterdam was plastered with custom solar panels, it’s generating more power than predicted—and the designers are convinced that it’s proof that networks of solar-covered roads could eventually be a viable energy source.
While typical rooftop solar panels are cheaper to build and can pump out more power, the SolaRoad team argues that pavement could add valuable real estate as roofs start to fill up. In the Netherlands, there’s more available space on roads than all rooftops combined. Solar panels on rooftops are a no-brainer and fortunately the application is growing rapidly, says Sten de Wit from the SolaRoad consortium, adding that some cities are also experimenting with solar panels next to highways. If we can additionally incorporate solar cells in road pavements, then a large extra area will become available for decentralized solar energy generation without the need for extra space … and just part of the roads which we build and use anyway. Though the prototype was pricey, and the team doesn’t yet know what the final cost will be, they’re aiming for it to pay for itself over about 15 years of use. A solar-paved street could ultimately be cheaper than something made of asphalt or concrete.

 For cities and agencies responsible for building and maintaining roads—mainly governmental agencies—this is an interesting proposition if the total cost of ownership (sum of costs and benefits from energy production) of such a road over the life cycle would be comparable to or lower than with current roads,” says de Wit. “With SolaRoad we are developing such a road. 

The pavement could power streetlights, electric cars, or just send power into the local grid. After a year of testing, the road is generating about 70 kilowatt-hours per square meter a year, the upper range of what the researchers predicted was possible in the lab—that’s enough to about power a house three houses. (The effects of pollution, shading by passing cyclists, and other factors are difficult to assess in the lab, says de Wit. It turned out their initial estimates seem now too pessimistic.) For people riding by on bikes, the path looks and works no differently than the rest of the bike network. “Most people do not even notice the difference with a regular bike road,” he says. “That is exactly what we aim to achieve: roads doing whatever they have to do to be a proper road, while harvesting solar energy on the fly. As they work on finalizing their design for bike paths, the researchers are ultimately focused on making it strong enough to handle traffic on streets and highways. “The real potential of this innovation lies in application on regular roads,” says de Wit.  These roads have by far the largest area, all over the world.

By Naved Jafry & Garson Silvers