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Archive for the ‘transportation’ category: Page 355

Jul 15, 2015

A jet engine powered by lasers and nuclear explosions?

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, transportation

Lasers vaporize radioactive material and cause a fusion reaction — in effect, a small thermonuclear explosion (credit: Patent Yogi/YouTube)

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Jul 7, 2015

The Hyperloop is much closer than people realize

Posted by in category: transportation

Science-fiction is becoming reality.

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Jun 18, 2015

A Futurist Looks at Where Cars Are Going — Quentin Hardy | The New York Times

Posted by in categories: driverless cars, transportation

Eric Larsen heads research in society and technology at Mercedes-Benz Research and Development in Sunnyvale, Calif. He says that while vehicles will be shared, Americans are not likely to give up their own cars.

“We don’t think people will give up their own cars. Americans like to do everything in the cars. They eat in cars, they drink in cars, they have entertainment in cars and they change clothes in cars — people who leave the office at lunch and sleep in their cars, or wait in their cars for an hour at a time for their children. Driving is really the distracting thing we do in cars.” Read more

Jun 16, 2015

Elon Musk: The World’s Raddest Man By Tim Urban | Wait But Why

Posted by in categories: business, energy, engineering, solar power, space travel, sustainability, transportation

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Tim Urban, of Wait But Why, recently received a phone call from Elon Musk’s staff asking if he would like to write about the automotive, aerospace, and solar power industries through personal interviews with Elon Musk and his teams. Tim Urban said yes, and the first three of essays / articles are already posted on his site.

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Jun 15, 2015

SpaceX just launched a Hyperloop pod-racing competition By Sean O’Kane | The Verge

Posted by in categories: business, sustainability, transportation

“SpaceX just announced an official contest open to university students and independent engineering teams. The company will release detailed rules, criteria, and tube specifications in August. … The challenge will be to build “human-scale pods” to be tested on the Hawthorne, California test track that will be built next to the SpaceX headquarters, but the company is careful to note that no humans will ride in the pods. All the designs submitted must be open source.”

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Jun 12, 2015

So, Uber Just Released Its Own Videogame — Davey Alba Wired

Posted by in categories: business, entertainment, fun, media & arts, transportation

Uber, the multibillion-dollar on-demand rides company, wouldn’t be able to execute its global grand plan without the million drivers who have offered rides on its platform. Over the past five years, the company has relied on myriad tactics to lure new drivers in and keep them happy: rallies, ads, word-of-mouth, even a quarterly magazine. Now it’s trying another strategy: a videogame.

The company today released UberDRIVE, an iOS game that essentially mimics what it’s like to drive for Uber. Players “pick up” passengers and drive them from point A to point B. The more efficient the route they choose, the more points they can rack up in the game. If players earn consistently high ratings, they can unlock new cars and explore new areas of the city. The game also includes fun facts on important landmarks in the city, as well as a “trivia mode” where riders quiz drivers (the player) on certain destinations on the map. At launch, the game only includes a virtual San Francisco, though it’s available to play nationwide. If the game is successful, Uber says it will add new cities to the app soon. Read more

Jun 3, 2015

Elon Musk Rebuffs Critics with Fundamentals

Posted by in categories: business, economics, environmental, government, innovation, policy, science, solar power, space, transportation

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“If he was paid by the oil and gas industry lobby he couldn’t have written a more favorable article for them.”—Elon Musk

Video & Article on Criticism about Incentives

May 28, 2015

Increase Gas Tax as Cartel Price Rises

Posted by in categories: economics, energy, geopolitics, transportation

It’s been awhile since the cost of gasoline topped $4 in the U.S. The national average hit $4.11 on July 11, 2008 and came close in May 2011 at $3.96. On New Years Day 2015, I drove through the night from Chicago to Boston. Despite the cold weather, the economics of fuel made it the best day for a road trip in years. I bought gas at a Pilot service station just off the Ohio Turnpike at $1.92/gallon. For me, it seemed like a bargain. Yet, 23 states charge less for gasoline than Ohio.

gas_price_2014-2015Now, at the end of May 2015, gas is rebounding from that low. Drivers on Memorial Day weekend faced the highest cost for gasoline of the year so far.

It’s tempting for politicians to advocate using tax breaks to smooth price spikes. With energy often surpassing the expense of food and rent and with so many individuals using fuel to make a living, reducing user fees or taxes during periods of very high fuel cost seems like the humane thing to do.

It seems humane, but it has the opposite effect. In fact, it is deeply punitive! That’s because the cost of gas is not an act of nature, nor even of free market economics. It is a product of cartels, special interests, conflict and FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt). Offering relief during price spikes sustains demand while doing absolutely nothing to increase supply. This, in turn, exacerbates the spike, creates shortages for critical services and transfers enormous sums of money from consumers to producers. In effect, it is a free gift for producer nations.

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Apr 24, 2015

To be a Space Faring Civilization

Posted by in categories: astronomy, cosmology, human trajectories, innovation, science, space, space travel, transportation

Until 2006 our Solar System consisted essentially of a star, planets, moons, and very much smaller bodies known as asteroids and comets. In 2006 the International Astronomical Union’s (IAU) Division III Working Committee addressed scientific issues and the Planet Definition Committee address cultural and social issues with regard to planet classifications. They introduced the “pluton” for bodies similar to planets but much smaller.

The IAU set down three rules to differentiate between planets and dwarf planets. First, the object must be in orbit around a star, while not being itself a star. Second, the object must be large enough (or more technically correct, massive enough) for its own gravity to pull it into a nearly spherical shape. The shape of objects with mass above 5×1020 kg and diameter greater than 800 km would normally be determined by self-gravity, but all borderline cases would have to be established by observation.

Third, plutons or dwarf planets, are distinguished from classical planets in that they reside in orbits around the Sun that take longer than 200 years to complete (i.e. they orbit beyond Neptune). Plutons typically have orbits with a large orbital inclination and a large eccentricity (noncircular orbits). A planet should dominate its zone, either gravitationally, or in its size distribution. That is, the definition of “planet” should also include the requirement that it has cleared its orbital zone. Of course this third requirement automatically implies the second. Thus, one notes that planets and plutons are differentiated by the third requirement.

As we are soon to become a space faring civilization, we should rethink these cultural and social issues, differently, by subtraction or addition. By subtraction, if one breaks the other requirements? Comets and asteroids break the second requirement that the object must be large enough. Breaking the first requirement, which the IAU chose not address at the time, would have planet sized bodies not orbiting a star. From a socio-cultural perspective, one could suggest that these be named “darktons” (from dark + plutons). “Dark” because without orbiting a star, these objects would not be easily visible; “tons” because in deep space, without much matter, these bodies could not meet the third requirement of being able to dominate its zone.

Continue reading “To be a Space Faring Civilization” »

Apr 5, 2015

This Is Big: A Robo-Car Just Drove Across the Country

Posted by in categories: disruptive technology, driverless cars, human trajectories, robotics/AI, transportation

— WiredAutonomous car from Delphi drives on Treasure Island in preparation for a cross-country trip from San Francisco to New York City in San FranciscoAn autonomous car just drove across the country.

Nine days after leaving San Francisco, a blue car packed with tech from a company you’ve probably never heard of rolled into New York City after crossing 15 states and 3,400 miles to make history. The car did 99 percent of the driving on its own, yielding to the carbon-based life form behind the wheel only when it was time to leave the highway and hit city streets.

This amazing feat, by the automotive supplier Delphi, underscores the great leaps this technology has taken in recent years, and just how close it is to becoming a part of our lives. Yes, many regulatory and legislative questions must be answered, and it remains to be seen whether consumers are ready to cede control of their cars, but the hardware is, without doubt, up to the task. Read More