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Monday, September 7, 2020

Refining Automated Contact Tracing

 The Australian Government launched a contact tracing App, COVIDSafe, that records "close contacts" - people who have been close to each other for 15 minutes. 

This type of contact tracing will miss contacts where infection is acquired from a contaminated surface several hours after an infected person has left a location. 

From "How long does the novel coronavirus live on different surfaces?" - 

An example may be a bus where surfaces become contaminated by an infected passenger early in the morning, then passengers who travel on the same bus in the afternoon become infected due to contact with contaminated surfaces. 

The bus could have a bluetooth beacon device that uniquely identifies the bus. Passengers' phones running the COVIDSafe App could record the fact that they have travelled on the bus as they get on. 

If anyone who was on the bus tests positive to Covid-19, the COVIDSafe App data will show not only who they have been near for 15 minutes, but also places they have been where they may have acquired the infection - or where they may have contaminated surfaces where other people may later become infected. 

Finding 3 or 4 people who test positive for Covid-19 who have been on the same bus, even if not at the same time, will provide evidence of transmission via contaminated surfaces - which is more informative than the existing COVIDSafe App that can only identify contacts who have been near to each other. 

These "bluetooth beacon devices" could be placed anywhere: in elevators in apartment blocks and offices, near ATMs and at the entrances of cafes, restaurants and bars, etc. 

Suitable microprocessors for building "bluetooth beacon devices" are readily available, easy to program, and are inexpensive. 

The development and construction of the "bluetooth beacon devices" would create jobs. 

See for example -

"ESP32 BLE + Android + Arduino IDE = AWESOME

and this tutorial video on YouTube -

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Innovation vs Coronavirus

There is a risk of covid-19 infections spreading in enclosed spaces via microdroplets.
Covid-19 transmission occurred through the air in a crowded and poorly ventilated space
Covid-19 transmission occurred through the air in a crowded and poorly ventilated space

Coronavirus spreads through the air as aerosol

The letter, led by internationally recognised air quality and health expert Lidia Morawska from the Queensland University of Technology, makes an appeal for public health organisations like the WHO to address the "overwhelming" research on the dangers of microdroplets.
Technology and innovationn may assist making enclosed spaces - buses, trains, cafes, and so on - safer.
  • An air filtration unit can remove microdroplets from air.
  • Fitting the air filtration unit with an anti-viral mechanism, such as an ultraviolet lamp may enhance its ability to remove coronavirus contamination.
  • A sensor capable of detecting coronavirus particles installed in the air intake of an air filtration unit would allow it to serve like a "smoke detector" - warning people of the need to evacuate a contaminated room. 

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Discussion of Hydrogen - Boron 11 fusion

University of New South Wales researchers led by Emeritus Professor Heinrich Hora have made important breakthroughs recently in developing clean nuclear energy technology.
When a proton (a Hydrogen nucleus) fuses with a Boron-11 nucleus it produces 3 alpha particles (Helium nuclei).
That's it. No radioactive fuels. No radioactive waste.

See "Pioneering technology promises unlimited, clean and safe energy" for a recent University of New South Wales report.
Hydrogen Boron-11 fusion
Hydrogen Boron-11 fusion

April 4, 2011: Overturned scientific explanation may be good news for nuclear fusion

"Researchers have been developing reactors to slam hydrogen at high speeds into boron-11, a collision that yields high-energy helium nuclei, or alpha particles. Those alphas then spiral through a tunnel of electromagnetic coils, transforming them into a flow of electrons, or electricity."

June 12, 2020: Ultra-Fast High-Precision Metallic Nanoparticle Synthesis using Laser-Accelerated Protons

The technique of using high-energy lasers to accelerate hydrogen (aka protons) is finding wide application beyond fusion with Boron11.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

The Moomba CCS Project from 2008 to 2020

Santos announced a project for storing carbon dioxide in its Moomba gas fields in 2007.

Santos - PM Kevin Rudd, Moomba CCS Project, September 2008

The project has again been floated in 2020.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Japanese clean coal project


By Tetsuo Satoh | 

Construction has begun on the third step of a project to demonstrate the world’s first integrated coal-gasification fuel-cell (IGFC) combined cycle power plant with CO2 capture. The five-year, $73.3-million project is a collaboration of the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO; Kawasaki City; and Osaki CoolGen Corp. (Hiroshima Prefecture, both Japan; IGFC technology has the potential to reach a 55% thermal efficiency (higher heating value; HHV).
The IGFC demonstration project is composed of three steps (diagram): (1) the demonstration of oxygen-blown integrated coal-gasification combined-cycle (O2-blown IGCC), which was completed in March 2019; (2) the demonstration of O2 -blown IGCC with CO2 separation and capture, which started in December 2019; and (3) the demonstration of IGFC with CO2 separation and capture.
clean coal
For the first step, a 170,000 kW-class demonstration test facility was constructed within the grounds of the Osaki Power Station of The Chugoku Electric Power Co. During the demonstration tests, coal particles were used to operate a 1,300°C-class gas turbine, while using the heat generated to operate a steam turbine for combined-cycle power generation. The performance, operability, reliability, and economic feasibility as a coal-fired power generation system was verified. The targeted thermal efficiency of 40.5% HHV was achieved for an O2-blown IGCC using a 100°C-class gas turbine. They are forecasting a net thermal efficiency of approximately 46% will be achieved for a commercial plant that uses a 1,500°C-class gas turbine. Based on these results, they are expecting to reduce CO2 emissions by about 15% compared to ultra-supercritical (USC) pressure pulverized-coal-fired power generation.
To demonstrate the second step, construction work on the CO2-capture unit was completed last summer, and testing started in December 2019 and will continue through 2020. Meanwhile, construction has also begun on the third step, in which the fuel cell will be added to the O2-blown IGCC to demonstrate the complete IGFC with CO2 capture, which should begin late 2021 and run through 2022. Ultimately, the project aims to achieve a net thermal efficiency of approximately 47%, while capturing 90% of the CO2, and a 40% of transmission end efficiency when applied to a 500-MW-class commercial unit.

Friday, February 14, 2020

The shape of the cosmos

Serrendipity in viewing the following three videos on YouTube in this sequence conjures an unlikely but curiously intriguing thought...

1. The 1995 Hubble photo that changed astronomy

2. Why does light slow down in water?

3. A Miraculous Proof (Ptolemy's Theorem) - Numberphile

The first video shows images of the early universe as it existed over 14 billion years ago.
Hubble image of the Big Bang
Hubble image of the Big Bang

The second video provides a possible explanation for why the light from 14 billion years ago is only now arriving at the Hubble Space Telescope... namely that the light may have travelled quite slowly through the material existing in the early universe (just as it travels more slowly through water) while the outer parts of the expanding universe zipped off at a faster pace.

The third video gives a perplexing suggestion for the Hubble Space Telescope seeing the early universe no matter which direction it is pointing.

If the Hubble Space Telescope pointing in one direction viewed the early universe as a small bubble, then it might have been that when pointed in the opposite direction it would view the outer edges of the universe that had travelled ahead of the Milky Way galaxy as the universe expanded.

Curiously the Hubble Space Telescope viewed the earliest components of the universe no matter which direction it pointed.

The third video describes a process for creating one specific isomorphism of a geometrical structure.
"Reflection" - one type of transformation
"Reflection" - one type of transformation - "it will keep his elephant-ness"

"our inversion is a completely different animal"
"our inversion is a completely different animal"
  • Points on the transform circle go to themselves. Points outside the circle go to points inside the circle. 
  • Lines through the centre of the transform circle go to themselves. Lines not through the centre become circles through the centre.
    Lines through the centre go to themselves
    Lines through the centre go to themselves
  • Circles inside the transform circle but not through the centre go to circles that are outside the transform circle. 

The latter mapping for circles inside the transform circle -in particular for those that are increasingly near to the centre- go to ever more distant circles outside the transform circle.

This is a description that uncanningly matches Hubble Space Telescope's images of the early universe.

Instead of seeing a miniature bubble in only one direction that represents the early universe, what the Hubble Space Telescope sees is a vast uniformly distant bubble that light has travelled for 14 billion years from all directions to reach it.

Perhaps the Hubble Space Telescope's image is of Aladdin's Shoe.
The view containing the Elephant has been subjected to an abstract mathematical transformation?

Friday, January 3, 2020


Scott Morrison has failed to develop a plan for phasing out thermal coal exports and for phasing out vehicles running on fossil fuels.

Simply claiming "you can't shut these down overnight" is a nonsense answer.

IEA - World Energy Outlook, 2019 - Thermal Coal Demise
IEA - World Energy Outlook, 2019 - Thermal Coal Demise

A plan for phasing out both thermal coal exports and vehicles running on fossil fuels is straightforward.

Australia has seen how such plans work. It implemented one in phasing out vehicles that ran on leaded petrol.
  1. Announce a date for the ban on new vehicles that use leaded petrol. 
  2. Announce a date for the ban of the supply of leaded petrol. 
The period to the date of the first ban sees a burst of investment for the supply of fuel and of vehicles to use the new energy source.

The period to the date of the second ban allows for the gradual retirement of all vehicles using the fuel being replaced, and for winding down the supply chain for that fuel.
From a paper by Troy Whitford, Fuel Mandates have a History of Success and a Lesson for Bio Fuels Implementation. Australian Policy and History, April 2010.
"In 1981, Australian state and federal transport ministers met to address pollution problems. Driving the shift towards unleaded petrol were vast environmental and health concerns.

During the 1980s, automobile associations were critical of the introduction of unleaded fuel. The RACV opposed the implementation believing it was too costly. The oil industry was cynical, too, arguing the introduction of unleaded fuel did not follow from a technological breakthrough but rather a decision by ministers. Without doubt, the position taken by oil companies, automobile associations and other stakeholders regarding unleaded fuel changed over time.

Despite opposition to unleaded fuel, the Transportation Council adopted a program to mandate unleaded petrol by 1985. The implementation policy for unleaded fuel was undertaken in stages. Initially, regulations were made calling for all new motor vehicles made after January 1986 (manufactured within Australia or imported) to meet the new fuel requirements. The policy then called for a complete phase out of unleaded fuel by 2002. Prior to the national mandate, states had led the way on unleaded fuel of which NSW took the lead. The decision to mandate was essential for implementing unleaded fuel. It forced car manufacturers, oil producers and consumers to make the transition."