What The Heck Is A HYPERLOOP? (Ali No. 19)

When my grandmother was a girl at the turn of the last century, it would take her all day to travel just 20 miles to Youngstown from her farm outside Columbiana, Ohio. She told me the airplane was one of the most important innovations in her life.

Few things are as fundamental to modern life as getting where you need to go. Now we could be on the brink of another revolution in transportation: the hyperloop.

Picture sitting in a pod inside a nearly airless tube that stretches aboveground for hundreds of miles. Electric motors inside the 11-foot tube accelerate the pod out of the station and slow it down before arrival. Powerful magnets in the tube levitate your pod so you can hurtle friction-free to your destination at nearly the speed of sound.

A lacework of hyperloop transit tubes could spread across the country, mounted high above the ground on pylons and roofed with solar panels to power the system. Distant cities could become as convenient to visit as the local supermarket. And some of the environmental insult that comes from car and plane exhaust could be swept from the skies.

Advocates tout shorter travel times and lower costs than traditional mass transit systems, such as California’s high-speed rail project that’s currently estimated to cost $64 billion.

Well, that’s the promise, anyway.

Hyperloop transportation is more theoretical than practical, although that’s not stopping engineers, students and tech visionaries from pushing to make it a reality. Earlier this year, more than 1,000 university students competed in a two-day contest to design passenger pods. And two rival startups are racing to build the first hyperloop tube as soon as 2018. If they succeed, we could end up with the best of both worlds: spacious suburban living with quick access to once-distant cities for jobs and culture.

And it could start to happen within the next decade.
Musk’s very big idea

The hyperloop is the brainchild of Elon Musk, famous tech visionary and CEO of electric car company Tesla Motors and SpaceX, which aims to build reusable rockets that could ultimately help us colonize other worlds. Musk thinks big.

Four years ago, he suggested a “fifth mode of transportation” — after planes, trains, cars and boats — that would run in a loop between cities and, he hoped, eventually reach hypersonic speeds.

Musk didn’t just float the idea for the world to ponder. He assembled a team of engineers from Tesla and SpaceX who spent almost nine months roughing out hyperloop tube and pod designs and plotting a route between San Francisco and LA. Their 58-page paper, released in August 2013, offered the vision of making the 380-mile trip in just 35 minutes.

“The Hyperloop (or something similar) is, in my opinion, the right solution for the specific case of high-traffic city pairs that are less than about 1500 km or 900 miles apart,” Musk wrote in the paper.

But Musk also said he’s plenty busy running both Tesla and SpaceX, and hoped the designs would inspire others to pick up the challenge.

So far, two companies have.

Soon boarding?

That initial design concept envisioned hyperloop capsules levitating on pressurized air, like pucks on an air hockey table.

The rival hyperloop companies are keeping Musk’s general approach, including a compressor at the front of each pod to pull the tube’s thin air out of the way. But some things look different. Wider pods will be less claustrophobic, and magnetic levitation looks more promising for floating the pods.

The companies share Musk’s ambitions, though.

“In 30 years, there will be a network of hyperloop systems,” says Rob Lloyd, CEO of Hyperloop One (formerly known as HyperlinkTechnologies) in Los Angeles. “They will carry people. They will carry freight. This will be like the backbone for the physical world.” Lloyd thinks hyperloops are good for 50- to 500-mile trips.

So far, Hyperloop One has raised more than $90 million. Its board includes co-founder and venture capitalist Shervin Pishevar; former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina; and Peter Diamandis, who started the nonprofit X Prize Foundation, which runs big-money competitions to solve big-world problems.
In May, Hyperloop One conducted its first open-air test in North Las Vegas, Nevada. Earlier this month, the company said it could connect the 300 miles between Stockholm and Helsinki in 28 minutes. It expects to open its first full-scale hyperloop in 2020 and to have two more by 2022.

Rival Hyperloop Transportation Technologies has even grander plans that would supplant subways, too. “I think we are the ones for the public transport system — the metro substitute and city-to-city connector,” says CEO Dirk Ahlborn.

HTT’s designs are the crowdsourced effort of more than 100 engineers and other technologists collaborating around the country. Last year, it announced plans to build a prototype five-mile hyperloop in central California. It should be open to the public by the end of 2018 or early 2019, Ahlborn says. After that, HTT expects to begin full-scale construction. “I think the first ones finished will be in Asia, India, Indonesia, Africa or the Middle East,” he says.

Not so fast

Skeptics think Musk’s vision will have trouble standing up to real-world difficulties. “Once you get down to specifics — the homes that’ll be taken out and the businesses disrupted — the costs go up,” says Brookings Institution analyst Robert Puentes.

And Alon Levy, a mathematician at the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, frets hyperloops will be a “barf ride” as the pods follow curves around and over obstacles. Building a straighter track costs a lot more.

Advocates counter they can cut costs with solar and wind energy, and say the pods’ regenerative braking will pump energy back into batteries. HTT thinks it can convince real estate developers to help pay for hyperloop construction costs, since nearby houses and office space will rise in value.

“The moment you can have a public transport system that’s not a liability, but generating income, it only makes sense to switch over,” says Ahlborn.

Stephen Shankland (@stshank), a CNET senior writer, tries not to take sides in the religious battles over text editors and video compression standards.

This story appears in the summer 2016 edition of CNET Magazine.

PortMiami joins big-ship era

PortMiami officially joined the Neopanamax era Saturday when the MOL Majesty — a vessel too big to fit through the original Panama Canal — became the first ship to arrive at the port after transiting the newly expanded canal.

To a soundtrack of Kool & The Gang’s Celebration and a water canon salute, the arrival of the Majesty was as much a celebration of Miami’s $1.3 billion in port improvements to accommodate bigger ships as it was a culmination of Panama’s nine-year locks project.

“It’s a wow day for Miami,” said PortMiami Director Juan Kuryla as super post-Panamax cranes plucking cargo from the Majesty loomed in the background. The Majesty, which transited the canal from the Pacific to the Atlantic on July 4, is part of the fleet of Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, a Japanese company.

“That we have the mayor [Carlos Gimenez], the Panama Canal administrator, the chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission, the president of Florida East Coast Railway and so many shipping line executives here speaks to the importance of the day and the importance of having 50-feet deep water,” Kuryla said.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article88674172.html#storylink=cpy

20 things only those who relocate will understand


If you have ever relocated miles away from home to a place where cultures, languages and food are so different from yours, you’ll share the same pain as me listed below. If you are going to relocate soon, check out my Relocation corner and you might be able to find the information you need and salvage your sanity a little.

Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 11.39.53 PM

1. You Suddenly Realise You are on your own

Freedom! No one to answer to, no one cares if you pick up your socks off the floor if you do your laundry every week if you party all night and get hangover all weekend. First, few months might be liberating but after which, you’ll start craving for routine and familiarity in your life.


2. You are sick and the only one who cares is a Skype away

Vice versa. You may have a loved one sick and you wish you…

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Ornette Coleman Double Quartet: Free Jazz

Happy you fixed reblog, especially for Ornette Coleman

Jazz You Too

The Ornette Coleman Double Quartet “Free Jazz” 1961

Alto Saxophone — Ornette Coleman
Bass — Charlie Haden, Scott La Faro
Bass Clarinet — Eric Dolphy
Drums — Billy Higgins, Ed Blackwell
Trumpet — Freddie Hubbard
Trumpet [Pocket] — Don Cherry
Written-By — Ornette Coleman

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DART police officer among those killed in Dallas

A Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) police officer was among five police officers shot and killed last night during a sniper attack in Dallas.
Brent Thompson
Photo: Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Seven other police officers and two civilians were wounded in the attack, which occurred during a demonstration against the shootings of black men by police in Louisiana and Minnesota earlier this week, the Dallas Morning News reported this morning.

DART Police Officer Brent Thompson, 43, was killed during the protest, DART officials said in a post on the agency’s website. Thompson is the first DART officer killed in the line of duty since DART formed a police department in 1989. He joined the department in 2009.

Among the wounded police officers, three are DART officers and they are expected to recover from their injuries, according to DART. No other DART employees working in downtown Dallas during the protest or shooting were injured.

DART services in downtown Dallas were suspended following the shooting. The agency was evaluating its operating plans for today. It will post updates on DART.org and via Twitter @dartmedia or by email update service at http://www.DART.org/rideralerts.

“As you can imagine, our hearts are broken. This is something that touches every part of our organization,” DART officials said in the website post.

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) this morning released the following statement from its Chairwoman Valarie McCall and Acting President and Chief Executive Officer Richard White:

“It was with a very heavy heart that the American Public Transportation Association and its transit members learned about the shooting in Dallas last night. We mourn the loss of innocent life and send our prayers and thoughts to the officers, including the DART officers, and their families.

“We have reached out to the Dallas Area Rapid Transit to extend our condolences on behalf of the public transportation industry.”