My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica

Saturday, July 4, 2015

University of Texas at Austin Semi-Liquid Battery – Liquid Gel Batteries in Smartphones means Battery life measured in years and not hours

“The greatest significance of our work is that we have designed a semiliquid battery based on a new chemistry. The battery shows excellent rate capability that can be fully charged or discharged almost within one minute while maintaining good energy efficiency and reasonable energy density, representing a promising prototype liquid redox battery with both high energy density and power density for energy storage”

Assistant Professor Dr. Guihua Yu at the University of Texas at Austin discussing his develpement of a Semi-Liquid Battery

Finally, at long last, the developement of Batteries is finally getting some much needed push by scientists in the Research World into the 21-st Century.

A research team from the University of Texas at Austin has recently developed a Semi-Liquid Battery that has the power density of a super-capacitor and can potentially replace Li-Ion Batteries as reported in the article “Semiliquid battery competitive with both Li­ion batteries and supercapacitors”, published 23 May 2015, Physorg.

The team consisting of Assistant Professor Dr. Guihua Yu, along with Dr. Yu Ding and Dr. Yu Zhao recently published their research in an issue of the Journal Nano Letters. The battery, which was specifically designed for use in Hybrid Electric Vehicles and Renewable Energy Storage systems, is composed of a liquid cathode (+), a solid lithium anode (-) and a liquid ferrocene electrolyte.

The result is a Battery that not only can replace Li-Ion Batteries due to their similar voltage but has a storage capacity of a super capacitor and maintains this performance over multiple charge/recharge cycles. Because of its liquid nature, this won't be coming to smartphones anytime soon.

So what makes this Liquid Battery stand out?

University of Texas at Austin Semi-Liquid Battery – Performance by the Numbers

The Researchers semi-liquid battery when constructed looks like your typical Lead Acid battery as shown below.

The properties of their semi-liquid battery are also impressive:

1.      1400 W/L Power Density
2.      40 Wh/L Energy Density
3.      137 mAh/g Power Storage Capacity
4.      80% of capacity after 500 charge/recharge cycles

These figures for Power Density compares well with Super-capacitors and the Energy Density compares very well most state­of­the­art redox flow batteries and lead­acid batteries, lagging a little behind the performance of Li-Ion Batteries. These figures are best illustrated on the graph below.

The Energy Density is great for Renewable Energy Storage and Backup Battery Systems. If their semi-liquid battery were used as a replacement for Li-Ion Batteries in All-Electric Vehicles, it would improve the All-Electric Vehicles range. They'd also be able to accelerate quicker due to the Higher Power Density, which implies an incredibly high current discharge to power the motors of the vehicle.

Liquid Gel Batteries in Smartphones – Battery life measured in years and not hours

Work, however, still need to be done on Lithium Ion Anode, which gradually breaks down over time into the solution ferrocene solution to quote Dr. Guihua Yu at the University of Texas at Austin:  “The potential weakness of this battery is the lithium anode in terms of long­term stability and safety. More advanced lithium anode protection is required to fully suppress self­discharge”.

Zinc and magnesium further down in the Electrochemical Series are possible replacements, to quote Dr. Guihua Yu at the University of Texas at Austin: We suppose that other metals like zinc and magnesium may also function as the anode for such a battery as long as the electrolyte compatibility is resolved. We also expect that other organometallic compounds with multi­valence­state metal centers (redox centers) may also function as the anode, which eventually would make the battery fully liquid”.

Increasing the solubility of the ferrocene in order to increase the Energy Density is a possibility. Liquid Batteries may one day make smartphone, Tablet and smartwatch batteries that have massive capacities measured in years not days stored in a safe liquid-gel format. Until then, this is progress towards Battery Storage measured in years and months and not just days and hours.

Here’s the link:

Friday, July 3, 2015

@MIT's Successful Production of Synthetic Spider Silk - How Mithrail, Sutures and Wedding Dresses can be made from Spider Silk

“Our goal is to improve the strength, elasticity, and toughness of artificially spun fibres by borrowing bright ideas from nature”

MIT Post-doctoral student Shangchao Lin commenting on MIT's successful production of Synthetic Spider Silk using transgenic bacteria and Computational Modeling Software

Researchers have finally done what what’s originally thought only a Spider can do.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology by successfully used transgenic bacteria to make synthetic Spider Silk as reported the article “Spider Silk made without the spiders”, published May 28, 2015 by Michelle Starr, CNET News.  

Their work, published in the Nature Communications Journal marks the successful synthesis of Spider Silk in a laboratory setting. Other scientists such as Professor Randy Lewis of  Utah State University since August 2012 has been using transgenic goats to produce milk laden with spider proteins in the hopes of making Spider Silk.

Another researcher Dr. My Hedhammar of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences working with a Japanese startup Spiber has reported on May 2013 of their success in producing clothing based on synthetic Spider Silk from Transgenic Escherichia Coli Bacteria as reported in my blog article entitled “USTAR produces Spider Silk From Transgenic Silkworms and Japanese Spiber from Transgenic Escherichia Coli Bacteria - Spider Silk's big trend in Fabrics which means I’m Out Ciara and Nikki Minaj Style”.

More recently in May 2015, a team led by Dr. Emiliano Lepore at the University of Trento in Trento, Italy coaxed some Pholcidae Spiders to produce Spider Silk infused with CNT (Carbon Nanotubes) as reported in my blog article entitled “University of Trento feeds Pholcidae spiders with Carbon nanotubes and graphene – Spider Silk Stronger than Kevlar suggests different mechanism for Synthetic Silk Production”.

The interest is understandable; Spider Silk is super-strong yet lightweight. At 6/10 the density of high-grade steel, it’s far stronger and less like to fracture unlike Kevlar, making it the perfect material to make Bullet-proof vests. Less obvious applications are in making sutures for cuts, after-surgery stitching of patients and even a drug delivery mechanism, as the body readily absorbs spider proteins without any ill effects.

So how has MIT's team improved upon what seems to be a field of interest for many scientists? Apparently with the help of simulation software.

MIT’s Transgenic bacteria to produce Synthetic Spider Silk – Computational Modellin in Time saves Nine

The MIT Team, like Dr. My Hedhammar of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, also used transgenic bacteria to produce their Spider Silk proteins. However, their approach was to do simulation using Computational modelling tools to simulate the Spider Silk proteins and how best to combine them to make Spider Silk.

By using simulation software, they not only determined the best combinational ratio of Spider Silk proteins but how to combine them to spin them into Spider Silk of varying grades. This is important as the process of extracting the hydrophobic and hydrophillic Spider Silk proteins can be scaled up to an industrial manufacturing scale.

Doing it the old-fashioned way using trial-and-error would have taken months as there are hundreds of proteins that make up Spider Silk. The Computational modelling software made the work easier, allowing the team to try out a huge range of molecules and determine what ratio of Spider Silk proteins as well as what combinations best produce the type and grade of Spider Silk that they required.

For example, Spider Silk that can be used for suture has to be much softer, at least 60% water-soluble and less brittle and able to bio-degrade while close to the patient's skin. Spider Silk needed to make fabric for clothing or bullet-proof vests needs to a lot sturdier, wash proof, waterproof and able to withstand bullets in the case of bullet proof vests.

Simulation was then followed up by lab testing, with the Spider Silk proteins being combined in the ratios and combinations as recommended by the Computational modelling software. The resulting Spider Silk fibers thus far are not as strong as original Spider Silk. But the fact that they now know how to vary the type and grade of Spider Silk using computational modeling software means that they can also use these real-world measurements.

Thus Spider Silk with CNT or even Diamond Nanothreads based on the research of Chemistry professor John Badding at Penn State University as reported in my blog article entitled “Penn State University’s Carbon Nanothreads – How to make Carbon Nanothreads using Oak Ridge National Laboratory Pressure Cooker” are quite possible.

Mithrail, Sutures and Wedding Dresses may be the next big trend when Spider Silk starts being mass-produced!

Facebook’s Study of SSD's – The Hotter they are, the Faster they Fail as CNT, Quartz, Silicene as Diamonds are Forever Storage

SSD's are slowly taking over from Spinning Hard-drives.

Still, being someone who has had experience with my Thumb Drive failing as detailed in my Geezam blog article entitled “How to recover Data from your Damaged Thumb Drive or ZIP
Archive”, I cannot help but wonder if the same is not true for SSD's being as they’re based on the same NAND (Not AND) technology.

Well, a surprising new study from Facebook suggest that it's not frequent use that determines how long SSD last but the temperature as reported in the article “Want your SSD to Last? Keep it cool, says new study from Facebook”, published June 23, 2015 By Brad Bourque, DigitalTrends

According to their study published entitled Flash Memory Failures in the Field at Facebook Facebook revealed that the found that the SSD Drives that ran the hottest tend to fail the quicker than those that ran at lower temperatures.

Facebook’s Study of SSD – The Hotter they are, the Faster they Fail

Facebook is in the perfect situation to notice this, as they run and maintain their own Server farms made up of hundred of SSD connected together in massive RAID configurations.

SSD are indeed made of the same flash memory but specially designed to endure more read/write operations before the cell that make up the NAND memory modules begin to fail. When this occurs, the cell has experience burnout and at that point, the cell cannot coherently store Data.

As a home user, you wouldn't notice this, unless you constantly engage in activities that read and write Data to your Hard-drive, such as doing a lot of graphics-intensive Games like those described in my Geezam blog article entitled “How to connect Xbox One controller to any Computer or Laptop”.

In an Enterprise Server setting like Facebook's own Server farm where they host the counts of millions of persons worldwide, their SSD undergoes hundreds of read/write operations daily, so they were in the perfect position to do this study. As the SSD's fail, they have to quickly backup Data and replace the SSD with new ones as cell that have incoherent Data can affect Data Integrity.

During the Early detection phase of the operation of a SSD when it first starts to fail, the memory controller tracks Data loss. It then earmarks which cells are not coherently reading/writing Data, mitigating against Data failures for a while. Eventually, as more and more of the SSD's cells begin to fail, the entire drive is replaced before it becomes de-coherent.

If you have Data backed up on External Hard-drives that are SSD’s as recommended in my Geezam blog article “How to do Physical Backup using DVD and CD and a Listing of the best software Burning DVD and CD’s” they will be safe once you keep the External SSD Stored in a cool place.

SSD Makers need Cooling Systems – CNT, Quartz, Silicene as Diamonds are Forever Storage

Hopefully manufacturer's of SSD's for use in Server settings like Samsung and Hitachi will read this study and explore the use of better cooling Systems.

One such I’d recommend is as Dr. James E. Smith Jr of the UAH (University of Alabama in Huntsville) and his team's implementation of a Passive Cooling System for Processors using 3M's Fluorinert FC-72 as described in my blog article entitled “UAH Graduate Students use 3M's Fluorinert FC-72 in Passive Cooling System – Gaming Rigs and Data Centers Noiseless Cooling Systems upgrade”.

Most likely, it can be modified to cool SSD’s as well, thereby extending their lifespan and potentially reducing read/write errors. 

By then, other more permanent forms of storage would have been developed that have a longer lifespan and are unaffected by temperature, possibly based on CNT (Carbon Nanotubes), Quartz Crystal or even Silicene as explained in my blog article entitled “@UTAustin at Austin develops Silicene Transistors - How to grow Silicene and Group 4 Super-conducting Processors and Batteries on Silver Spoon” as Diamonds are forever!  

Ohio State University and Heat Reduction using Magnetic Fields - How Heat, Sound, Radiation and Magnetism in Paramegnetic and Diamagnetic materials are related

“This adds a new dimension to our understanding of acoustic waves. We've shown that we can steer heat magnetically. With a strong enough magnetic field, we should be able to steer sound waves, too”

Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Ohio State Dr. Joseph Heremans, who is also an Ohio Eminent Scholar in Nanotechnology 

All forms of energy be it electromagnetic, heat, sound, magnetic and even nuclear can be used to cause an effect on the other. But I would have never imagined magnetic fields can have an effect on heat and sound, despite their energetic connection.

Researchers from Ohio State University led by Dr. Wolfgang Windl in a groundbreaking study have demonstrated that it is possible for a magnetic field to affect heat and even sound as reported in the article “Researchers prove magnetism can control heat, sound”, published May 28, 2015, Physorg.

The research, performed by Professor of mechanical engineering at Ohio State, Dr. Joseph Heremans used a 7 Tesla MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) on a small sample of a semiconductor material indium antimonide that had been chilled down to ­268 degrees Celsius (­450 degrees Fahrenheit). It was while doing this experiment that they discovered that the strong magnetic field reduces the effect of heat on the indium antimonide circuit by 12%.

To figure out why this occurred, Dr. Wolfgang Windl and his team from Ohio State University borrowed time on the Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) Oakley cluster at Ohio State University to model the diamagnetic moment of electrons within the non-magnetic cluster of atoms in a macromolecular structure of indium antimonide.

Based on their results, it implies that this may be true for ANY material that is diamagnetic i.e. has no magnetic moment and cannot be magnetized. Heat in diamagnetic materials is affected by magnetic field and can be reduced by a strong magnetic field, suggesting magnetic fields can one day be used in specialized cooling circuits or even a magnetic refrigerator.

It also implies that sound and possibly even radiation, being as they are closely related to heat being as both are can be produced by vibration of atoms, can also be affected by magnetic fields.

So if that's possible, it is safe to say that sound and heat are the same with radiation as a close cousin? And if so, what's the connection to magnetism?

Ohio State University and Heat reduction using Magnetic fields - How Heat, Sound, Radiation and Magnetism are related

Heat, often considered Waste Energy as it typically is recycled in manufacturing processes to be used elsewhere in a Process Plant e.g. Bauxite mining, is closely related to sound, as a heating effect often can be cause by sound.

A heating effect can be cause by conduction, convection and radiation. Convection is really a special case of conduction using air molecules, so it's really radiation and conduction.

Radiation connection to heat is clear cut and is usually created by and causes a heating effect. Microwave radiation exciting molecular bonds from a ground Vibrational/Rotational state to an excited Vibrational/Rotational state as explained in my blog article entitled “General Electric Research Team develops Portable Microwave Calorie Counter - Counting Calories one Water and Fat Molecule at a time”.

IR (Infra Red) radiation, which is just above microwaves in the spectrum band and UV (Ultra Voilet) radiation, which is above violet in the visible light spectrum, is also created by and causes a heating effect. So there is a clear connection between heat and electromagnetic radiation.

It is therefore possible that heat is connected to sound via conduction or radiation or both. Add to this the observation that both sound waves and heat result in the vibration of atoms and cause a heating effect as well as radiation to be possibly produced. Radiation can also cause atoms to vibrate, creating sound and heat.

This is best illustrated by the diagram below.

Please note that the sound may be a very low or very high frequency sound that cannot be heard by the human ear which has a range of 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz. Thus sound, which is a compression wave of vibrating atoms, can also be seen as the transmission of heat energy and that sound and heat may in fact one and the same.

So, using De Broglie Wave-Particle Duality Theory, in much the same way photons can be seen as the elementary particles that transmits electromagnetic radiation energy, possibly there may be an elementary particle that transmits heat and sound energy, being as they are ALL manifestations of Vibrational and Rotational energy.

According to the paper, these elementary particles are called phonons and it these particles that the magnetic field was able to affect, causing the reduction of the heating effect by 12%.

So how did the magnetic field affect phonons? And if it can affect phonons which are connected to the vibrational energy of heat, sound and radiation, what about photons? Can a magnetic field also affect photons?

Paramagnetic and Diamagnetic materials – Heating and Cooling effect of Magnetic Fields

Dr. Wolfgang Windl and his team from Ohio State University examined all possible responses that a non-magnetic cluster of atoms in a macromolecular structure could have to a rapidly rotating external magnetic field whose polarity is constantly changing.

They realized that the only response that non-magnetic cluster of atoms in a macromolecular structure could have to a magnetic field was a diamagnetic response.

That is, the external magnetic field would cause an e.m.f (Electromotive Force) and electrical current to be generated based on the direction of the Magnetic Field as indicated by Ampere's Right Hand Rule or the Left Hand Rule.

This electric field generates a magnetic field that opposes the external magnetic field as described by Lenz's Law, which is really a special case of magnetic repulsion in diamagnetic materials.

This electrical current may cause a minor heating effect as it flows through the conductor, but is would be less pronounced as heating effects are more a phenomenon of paramagnetic materials such as Iron and Steel as explained in my Geezam blog article entitled “Samsung declares 2015 Year of Wireless Smartphone Charging becoming an Industry Standard”.

The heating effect is more obvious for paramagnetic materials than diamagnetic materials, which usually experience little or no heating effect. In fact, this heating effect in paramagnetic materials is the basis for Induction cooking and even devices such as the Miito Induction Kettle as explained in my MICO Wars blog article entitled “US$100 Miito Induction Kettle on Kickstarter heats Water quickly in any container”. 

Diamagnetic materials oppose the external magnetic field and usually do not experience a heating effect. This can be seen clearly in the video as the reason why Stainless Steel and Iron pots are used for cooking and not Copper, which is diamagnetic and also a good conductor.

So if paramagnetic materials experience a heating effect, do diamagnetic materials experience a cooling effect?

Density Function Theory at Ohio Supercomputer Center - Year of Simulation time for Magnetic repulsion of Heat

In order to determine if a magnetic field had an effect on phonons in diamagnetic materials as noticed in the experiment, Dr. Wolfgang Windl and his team decided to use a quantum mechanical modeling Theory known as DFT (Density Function Theory) using the  Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) Oakley cluster at Ohio State University.

DFT allows the researchers to determine the distribution of electrons within a non-magnetic cluster of atoms in a macromolecular structure around the vibrating atoms when an external magnetic field is present.  The idea is that the magnetic field would cause the electrons to be aligned to the magnetic field when an external magnetic field is applied.

If the material is paramagnetic, the electrons align in such as way as to create a magnetic field that has opposite polarity and hence is attracted to the external magnetic field.  If the material is diamagnetic, the electrons align in such as way as to create a magnetic field that has the same polarity and hence is repelled by the external magnetic field.

This change in magnetic field to opposite polarity or same polarity as the external magnetic field is referred to as the paramagnetic moment or diamagnetic moment respectively.

In short, just in the same way a paramagnetic moment appears to accelerate the heating effect in paramagnetic material like iron and stainless steel by accelerating the motion of phonons, the diamagnetic moment should, in theory, be observed to decelerate the heating effect in diamagnetic material like copper and salt water by decelerating the motion of phonons.

The Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) Oakley cluster at Ohio State University is a HP/Intel Xeon system. It has some 8,300 Processors that can achieve a peak performance rate of 154 Teraflops or 154 float point calculations per second. Because of the scale of the computation it took Dr. Wolfgang Windl and his team from Ohio State University 1.5 million CPU hours or basically 62500 CPU hours or 171.23 CPU years of simulated time.

To quote doctoral student Nikolas Antolin, who is a part of Dr. Wolfgang Windl, they actually got a lot of help from the OSC, quote:  “OSC offered us phenomenal support; they supported our compilation and parallel threading issues, helped us troubleshoot hardware issues when they arose due to code demands, and moved us to the Lustre high­performance file system after we jammed their regular file system”.

After a really long coffee and donut break, the DFT Model produced a huge amount of data, which was processed through OSC's high-throughput parallel file system.  Eventually they'll have the answer to the questions they seek; why heat flees in the face of a very strong magnetic personality!

Future Research – Magnetic Field to deflect Sound and Radiation for Star Trek’s Deflector Shield

Hopefully their future investigations into using magnetic fields to deflect sound waves, which is a logical implication of this research will yield similar positive results. Hopefully they’ll extend this to radiation, as magnetic fields must also have an effect on them as well.

After all, if a strong magnetic field reduces a heating effect in a non-magnetic cluster of atoms in a macromolecular structure, it should also follow that:

1.      Sound can be reduced or deflected by using a strong Magnetic field
2.      Radiation can be reduced or deflected by using a strong Magnetic field

The effect on heat by sound has already been demonstrated by Computer engineering major Viet Tran and electrical engineering major Seth Robertson of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia using their equiptment to put out a fire using a directed low bass sound as explained in my blog article entitled “Portable Sound Fire Extinguisher - George Mason University Engineering Graduate Students extinguish Fires using DARPA Research”.

In that article, my theory was that the sound created standing waves by matching the vibrational and rotational energy needed for the oxygen molecules to break their covalent bonds and lose electrons in order to react chemical and cause combustion. Thus, the sound waves makes the oxygen molecules unreactive.

If this is true, then a magnetic field should also have the same effect on sound, being as sound and heat are a manifestation of the same vibrational and rotational phenomenon of atoms and sound is just a travelling compression wave. A strong enough magnetic field should be able to stop all vibrations in an oncoming compression wave made up of air molecules and dissipate or even deflect an oncoming sound wave.

I'm not sure what effect it would have on photons.

But potentially, being as light is travelling standing wave made up of a magnetic and electrical moment that are orthogonal to each other, it might cause a beam of light to be totally stopped in its tracks, once the magnetic field is sufficiently strong based on the Right Hand Rule or the Left Hand Rule.

Assumedly, it would imply that light near a Magnetar, a neutron Star with a spinning ferrous plasma cloud as described in my blog article entitled “Binary Black Holes and 48th Magnetar Westerlund 1-5 - Magnetic Personality in Space as Black Holes feed on Stars” it might also have radiation trapped in a complex bottle made up of both gravity, which is already known to bend light and a very strong magnetic field.

This is already groundbreaking stuff that may not only lead to the development of a Magnetic Refrigerators but also the development of deflector shield arrays for future spacecraft to protect them debris in Outer Space.

Excited to see what more this groundbreaking study by Dr. Wolfgang Windl and his research team at Ohio State University can reveal!

Sungkyunkwan University and Tohoku University create Self-Replicating Nanostructures - How DNA dances with Wolves Petri Dish points to Organic Computers

It's already possible to make nanoparticles and in some cases, fashion them into microscopic tools. But self-replicating nanomaterials in my book, borders on the realm of sci-fi and as far as I knew, wasn't possible.

Researchers at Sungkyunkwan University and Tohoku University, however, have demonstrated that it is possible, using Nature's own self-replicating molecule, DNA (Deoxy-Ribonucleic Acid) to create self-replicating geometric designs for basic machines as reported in the article “Self-replicating nanostructures made from DNA”, published May 28 2015 by Heather Zeiger, Physorg.

The researchers involved are again a long list of researchers representing a collaboration between
Sungkyunkwan University and Tohoku University in Japan:

1.      Dr. Junghoon Kim
2.      Dr. Junwye Lee
3.      Dr. Shogo Hamada
4.      Dr. Satoshi Murata
5.      Dr. Sung Ha Park 

This is the same Tohoku University in Japan that did a study on mice and deterrmined that a liquid diet as reported in my blog article entitled “Tohoku University in Japan Studies Powdered Food Diet in Mice – Great for Active Teenagers and Millennials, not so for Baby Boomers”.

I'm not surprised that they used DNA to build self-replicating molecules, as its complex macromolecular structure lends it readily to storing information on a molecular level. DNA is the building block of Chromosomes, which is made up of a pairs of chromatid molecules.

Each Chromosome is composed of DNA molecules that are structured in organized combinations of nucleotide bases called Adenine (A), Guanine (G), Cytosine (C) or Thiamine (T) in helix shaped ladder-like structure.

Each nucleotide base is only attracted to another nucleotide base via weak electrostatic forces called Hydrogen bonds, created when Hydrogen is covalently bonded to an atomic nucleus that has a stronger positive attraction for the negative electrons in the covalent bond. As such, because of the shape of each nucleotide base, Adenine (A) can only bond with Thiamine (T) and Guanine (G) can only bond with Cytosine (C).

Groups of three (3) of these nucleotide bases representing a single amino acid is called a Codon.

These Codon representing an Amino Acid when combined represent a protein molecule of various length. It is these complete sets of Codons representing a protein molecule that are called Genes.

Groups of these Genes make up the Chromatids in a Chromosome. Groups of these Chromosomes are what compose a Genome, the complete set of instructions to produce all the proteins needed to make a living organism.

Given this knowledge, it's a great place to start on the road towards making self-replicating nano-machines, even it if does involving using nature's materials instead of fabricating our own.  

So how did the researchers at Sungkyunkwan University and Tohoku University achieve this incredible feat?

Sungkyunkwan University and Tohoku University create self-replicating Nanostructures

The researchers designed two (2) sets of DNA T-motifs using DNA. The DNA T-motifs, labeled r1 and r2, had functional domain referred to as Alpha or Beta domains.

Alpha and Beta domains represent the different shapes of the Hydrogen bonding between nucleotide bases Adenine (A) and Thiamine (T) that involves only two (2) Hydrogen bonds and the Hydrogen bonding between Guanine (G) and Cytosine (C) that involves only three (3) Hydrogen bonds.

These different Hydrogen bonds are the Alpha and Beta domains that the researcher are referring to, as nucleotide bases Adenine (A), which can only bond with Thiamine (T) and Guanine (G) which can only bond with Cytosine (C).

Just in case there was a need for a longer DNA molecule, the researchers also created an extension motif. 

The researchers, realizing that the inherent Hydrogen bonds meant that only certain nucleotide bases would bond with certain nucleotide bases, created twelve (12) units of the r1 DNA T-motifs and another twelve (12) units of the r2 DNA T-motifs by cutting off certain lengths of a particular DNA molecule from a particular plant or animal.

No doubt they use enzymes to do this and took care to cut the DNA molecules in such a manner that all of them were sufficiently long enough so that they'd be able to coil upon themselves into a closed loops or circles.

They also made sure that these strands of DNA had a reactive section at the end with nucleotide base that could react EXCLUSIVELY with the appropriate nucleotide bases at its opposite end i.e. it could react to form a closed loop or circle.

Thus the r1 DNA T-motifs could only react with other r1 DNA T-motifs with the same nucleotide bases at the opposite end or with itself. The r2 DNA T-motifs could only react with other r2 DNA T-motifs and the extension motif with the same nucleotide bases at the opposite end.

How to get DNA to dance in the Windmills of your Petri Dish - Invader single strands of DNA do the Tango

Then the researchers did something else which thought was pretty clever.

The designed some of the r1 DNA T-motifs so that one half of the double helix of the DNA molecule was slightly longer, resulting in strand of nucleotide bases possibly three (3) nucleotide base units or a Codon longer than the end of the DNA molecule.

The result was r1 DNA T-motifs and r2 DNA T-motifs that had an extra single strand protrusion when a circle was formed, which the researchers called a toehold. This toehold extended from the end of a close loop or circle and was able to react with other nucleotide bases that matched according to the shape of their Alpha or Beta domains i.e. Hydrogen bonds.

When this occurred, the researchers referred to closed loop or circle as being fertilized i.e. being able to self-replicate and produce more copies of itself. This is exactly what happened, as when the researchers introduced complimentary invader single strands of DNA, it reacts to the toehold and eventually beaks off from the original ring.

As these pieces break off, the electrostatic forces of attraction between nucleotide bases Adenine (A), which can only bond with Thiamine (T) and Guanine (G) which can only bond with Cytosine (C), cause them to intertwine into another r1 DNA T-motifs or r2 DNA T-motifs.

This process resulted in the r1 DNA T-motifs or r2 DNA T-motifs self-assembling into another close loop or ring, thanks to the presences of an opposite end that can only react EXCLUSIVELY with the appropriate nucleotide bases at its opposite end.

DNA-based Nanoparticle self-replicating machines – Research points to the development of Organic Computers

Interestingly, the self-assembly pathway occurs in one of two (2) ways:

1.      Exponentially
2.      Fibonacci Sequence

Apparently the invader single strands of DNA were tailored so as to match the r1 DNA T-motifs and r2 DNA T-motifs and the self-assembly pathway was dependent on the type of invader single strands of DNA introduced in solution.

To verify that this was actually taking place as per design, the researchers used AFM and absorbance studies to determine the average concentration of Rings at each phase.

Then when they added the invader single strands of DNA, they studied the individual phases using gel electrophoresis and extraction of the results from each phase. In so doing, they confirmed that the rings had replicated as a result of toehold-mediated strand displacement instead of residual r1 DNA T-motifs and r2 DNA T-motifs self-assembling.

Dr. Junghoon Kim self-replicating DNA motifs were proven to self-replicate without the need for cellular structure involving enzymes, mRNA or tRNA. This study demonstrates the feasibility of making self-assembling nanostructures from DNA only.

It also points out a mechanism by which DNA can be used to create nano-structures based data encryption sequences to build an organic computer that can do complex mathematical operations e.g. cracking complex data encryption in minutes, that would take silicon based computers years to calculate.

This may be the first tentative steps to not only creating nanoparticle self-replicating machines but also organic computers designed to solve complex mathematical problems that their silicon and even quantum based counterparts cannot solve in real-time.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

FTC's Claro Jamaica-Digicel Jamaica 2011 Merger – FTC’s Fair Competition Act powerless as Privy Council beckons

The Claro Jamaica-Digicel Jamaica 2011 Merger Legal fight with the FTC isn't going away any time soon.

The FTC (Fair Trading Commission), which has been argueing the legality of the merger of Claro Jamaica and Digicel Jamaica, has been given leave by the Court of Appeal to take their case to the Privy Council as reported in the article “FTC takes Digicel/Claro matter to Privy Council”, published Sunday, June 14, 2015, The Jamaica Observer.

The FTC, via the attorney-at-law by Dr Delroy Beckford, had issued a Notice of Motion for Leave to Appeal to the Privy Council on Friday January 9th 2015, appealing the decision laid down by the Court of Appeal on Friday December 19th 2015 as reported in the article  “FTC taking Digicel/Claro merger to Privy Council”, published Monday, January 19, 2015 BY PAUL HENRY, The Jamaica Observer.

In their Judgment, the Court of Appeal had upheld that Section 17 of the Fair Competition Act does not have any bearing on the Claro Jamaica-Digicel Jamaica 2011 Merger, as there was no evidence of collusion in the agreement i.e. it wasn't being planned, merely a natural consequence of competitive forces in Jamaica.

Also, any subsequent agreement between Digicel and Claro Jamaica after the Minister of Science and Technology had signed off on the deal cannot be reviewed by the FTC, being as that is due to private negotiations between the two (2) Telecom Providers and was not being encouraged by Parliament.

The Court of Appeal also upheld the FTC's arguement that they had jurisdiction over the Telecommunications Industry, despite having previously ruled on Friday December 19th 2015.

So if this is conclusion of the Appellate Court, why is the FTC still pursuing their case against Telecom Provider Digicel?

Claro Jamaica-Digicel Jamaica 2011 Merger – FTC’s Fair Competition Act powerless against Telecom Mergers

The Claro Jamaica-Digicel Jamaica 2011 Merger was approved by then Prime Minister Bruce Golding in August 2011, finally becoming official on March 1, 2012  as reported in my Geezam blog article entitled “CLARO's Freeness ends 5th January 2012 – Digicel’s Bigger, Better with Data and Cloud”. 

Albeit more of a swap between Claro's owner America Movil and Digicel Caribbean for operations in Honduras and El Salvador, most Jamaicans, unaware of the size of the companies involved, chose to assume that Digicel had taken over Claro, not realizing that Jamaica was just a small part of billionaire Carlos Slim Helu's massive Latin American empire!

The FTC, acting on behalf of many Jamaicans who had complained of having unceremoniously lost their Claro service, took Digicel to court claiming that the merger did not benefit Jamaicans and was anti-competitive in nature as reported in my blog article entitled “Digicel to shut down CLARO's Voice Network in HSDPA+ Push - The Louisiana Purchase of Spectrum”.

The FTC, after conducting an investigation into the 2011 merger, then filed a claim in the Supreme Court in 2011 claiming that the Claro Jamaica-Digicel Jamaica 2011 Merger would not be beneficial to customers as reported in the article “FTC has no jurisdiction over Digicel, Claro merger ­ Appeal Court”, published Wednesday December 31, 2014 by Barbara Gayle, The Jamaica Gleaner

They also claimed to have the jurisdiction to make their claim under the Fair Competition Act, even though the Claro Jamaica-Digicel Jamaica 2011 Merger fell more under the Telecommunications Act of 2000 at that time.

However, the FTC claimed that they intervene via the Fair Competition Act because of the section of the Fair Competition Act that speaks to  “non­-collusive agreements and mergers in the Telecommunications sector where these are having or are likely to have an anti­-competitive effect” that gave them leeway to take action.

At the time, the Supreme Court had ruled in 2012 in favour of the FTC, upholding their claim that they had the jurisdiction to intervene in the 2011 merger via the Fair Competition Act. This ruling was made even though they did not have explicit permission under the Telecommunications Act as reported in the article “FTC opposes Digicel/Claro merger”, published Wednesday, December 28, 2011 by Paul Henry, The Jamaica Observer.

Digicel represented by Attorney-­at­-law Georgia Gibson­Henlin, soon appealed that Supreme Court Decision. On Friday December 19th 2015, the Court of Appeal overturned the Supreme Court’s ruling in 2012, stating that FTC using the Fair Competition Act, had no jurisdiction over the Telecommunications Act and thus could not intervene in the 2011 merger.

So what happened during the showdown in December 2014? The arguments presented may surprise you a bit.

Claro Jamaica-Digicel Jamaica 2011 Merger – Court of Appeal rules in Digicel’s favour

Back then in December 2014, FTC's attorney-at-law by Dr Delroy Beckford was at the time joined by Telecom Provider LIME's attorney-at-law Denise Kitson, QC in their legal battle.LIME had been granted permission to join in the matter as an interested party and prepared arguments to assist the FTC's Case.

Attorney­-at­-law Georgia Gibson­-Henlin and Michael Hylton, QC, representing Telecom Provider Digicel, faced off on the others side!

Denise Kitson, QC, had argued that Section 73(2) of the Telecommunications Act meant that any Jamaican or interested party within Jamaica, including a competing Telecom Provider, could refer the agreement to the FTC, thereby giving the FTC jurisdiction in the 2011 merger.

Attorney­-at­-law Delroy Beckford, representing the FTC, pointed out that the section of the Fair Competition Act that speaks to “non­-collusive agreements and mergers in the Telecommunications sector where these are having or are likely to have an anti­-competitive effect” was not meant to lock out the FTC, but gave them the right to intervene on behalf of any Jamaican or interested party within Jamaica who made an application to the FTC complaining about the negative effects that the Claro Jamaica-Digicel Jamaica 2011 Merger was having on them.

Digicel's attorney, Michael Hylton, QC, however, argued to the Court of Appeal that the Supreme Court Judge had erred in assuming that the FTC, via their all-encompassing Fair Competition Act, had jurisdiction in any Telecom Merger related matter. As the OUR (Office of Utilities Regulation) was the regulator for the Telecom Sector under the Telecommunications Act, they should have been the ones to make the referral or consultation as the interested party within Jamaica to the FTC.

This so that the FTC could become involved in judging whether the Claro Jamaica-Digicel Jamaica 2011 Merger was likely to have an anti­-competitive effect upon the Telecoms Sector and the people of Jamaica!

However, that had not been the case, as the FTC was acting as a guardian of the people of Jamaica, and not on behalf of the regulator, who as the most relevant interested party, should have been the main interest in the anti­-competitive effect of the 2011 merger.

Thus, in the absence of any action form the OUR as the regulator, the Claro Jamaica-Digicel Jamaica 2011 Merger was a legitimate business transaction.

The Court of Appeal Ruling – FTC disagrees paving the way for Privy Council

The Appellate Court agreed with Digicel, stating that they'd met all the GOJ (Government of Jamaica) requirements that would make the deal legally binding.

They had gotten permission and approval from the Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Phillip Paulwell and based on that approval, had entered into an agreement with Oceanic Digital Jamaica, at the time owned by America Movil, to sell their interest in the Claro Jamaica company to them.

Since the agreement to merge Claro Jamaica with Digicel Jamaica was recognized by the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining and complied with the Telecommunications Act, it did not fall within the Fair Competition Act.

Also, within the Telecommunications Act was there no provision that restricted the right for entities to merge. The Appeals Court Judge also acknowledged Supreme Court Justice Sinclair Haynes as correct in stating that the transfer of Telecom License implied that a merger had indeed occurred.

Under the Telecommunications Act, mergers are acknowledged and recognized but there is no provision under the Fair Competition Act that recognizes mergers.

Thus, since there was no provision under the Telecommunications Act as it related to restricted the right for entities to merge and mergers were not explicitly mentioned as being apart of the FTC’s prevue in the Fair Competition Act, the FTC's could not intervene.

This was even if they'd received complaints from members of the Public who believe that the Claro Jamaica-Digicel Jamaica 2011 Merger was likely to have an anti­-competitive effect upon the Telecoms Sector and the people of Jamaica.

As for the implication that there was some collusion between Claro Jamaica and Digicel Jamaica or even America Movil and Digicel Caribbean, the FTC could not act.  Section 17 of the Fair Competition Act is aimed at allowing the FTC to go after collusive conduct, none of which had appeared in the action between any of the two (2) parties mentioned above.

To quote the judgement handed down by the Court of Appeal on Friday December 19th  2015: “It could not have been the intention of Parliament that an agreement which meets the minister's approval should be subject to section 17(3) of the Fair Competition Act and that only agreements under section 17 (4) are exempt. As Mr Hylton rightly urged, it would have been a commercial absurdity to find otherwise”.

The Privy Council – History on the side of the FTC but Bigger, Better Network can still win

So now that a month later on the Court of Appeal has changed their mind and given leave for the FTC to take their appeal to the Privy Council, it'll probably be by the end of 2015 before a ruling comes from the Privy Council.

They’ll be argueing if they can intervene in the Claro Jamaica-Digicel Jamaica 2011 Merger based on Section 17 of the Fair Competition Act, especially if it appears that collusion had taken place resulting in an anti-competitive action that affected the Jamaican customer.

Most likely, they'll rule in favour of the FTC and LIME Jamaica, as the Privy Council usually rules in favour of Governments.

Being as this is a landmark case, such a ruling would garner a great deal of fame for the Justices sitting on the Privy Council.

But it’s good to note that LIME is a part of this ruling and thus will end up having their agreement heard before the Privy Council. Being as Lime is a competitor; this will make the Appeals Case look more like a Civil Suit involving two (2) competing rivals rather than one involving a Government Executive Agency vs. a Multi-National Company.

So instead of looking like a case of a multi-national unjustly taking advantage of a Caribbean country, which would make this a high profile case, it looks more like a Trade Dispute. This might make the Queen’s Council Judges in the Privy Council wonder if this was more suited for the CCJ (Caribbean Court of Justice) than Her Majesty’s Court of Final Arbitration.

Thus the case, albeit potentially a landmark ruling, would not garner much fame for the Law Lords, many of who are seeking to cement their legacy by writing wrongs created by Britain’s Colonial Past in their Days of Empire.

Thus, they’ll probably rule in Digicel's favour, seeing as they have been expanding their 3G Network and have been making more “4G” related products affordable to Jamaicans, such as the Digicel Zero as described in my blog article entitled “Digicel launches Digicel Zero - How @Digicel_jamaica is testing VoLTE vs @WhatsApp's Free Voice Calling to boost smartphone sales”.

Thus, albeit history is on the FTC's side, they might lose this historic case to the Bigger Better Network. That’s because over time since 2011 when the case first came to light, Digicel Jamaica’s actions have decidedly had a positive effect on Jamaica and have increased competition, resulting in the lowering of prices for various Telecoms Products in Jamaica and the Caribbean.