Douglas Munro, Coast Guard Hero – Intermission Story (24)

Pacific Paratrooper

Painting of Doug Munro providing support from his LCP, by Bernard D’Andrea

The United States Coast Guard was founded on a tradition of taking small boats into dangerous conditions to save lives. This skill made Coast Guard coxswains an indispensable part of the Pacific Theater  and Smitty would whole-heartedly agree.  Coast Guardsmen proved their worth time and time again as they expertly handled small landing craft in and out of almost any situation. No man better exemplifies this prowess than Douglas A. Munro.

Signalman 1st Class, Douglas Munro

Born in Vancouver in 1919, Douglas Munro attended Cle Elum High School in Washington state.  He attended the Central Washington College of Education for a year before enlisting in the Coast Guard in 1939. He spent his first two years on board the Cutter Spencer,  a 327-foot Treasury-class cutter which patrolled out of New York, and later Boston.

While on the Spencer

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IBM is using the blockchain to speed up and simplify cross-border payments

The blockchain has long been seen as a method to quicken (and cheapen) cross-borders payments, and now that movement — which includes a number of startups making moves privately — just got its highest profile advocate after IBM announced its own solution focus on banks.

The computing giant has teamed up with blockchain startup Stellar and payment company Kickex to launch a cross-border payment system for banks which uses the blockchain to “reduce the settlement time and lower the cost of completing global payments for businesses and consumers.”

Currently, international transactions take days, if not weeks, to be completed. Frustration with that has seen services like TransferWise rise, but, great as they are, they remain solutions for savvy consumers or small businesses rather than all.

A blockchain solution for banks addresses the root cause, and it could minimize the potential for errors thanks to the ledger-based system while also providing transparency and flexibility to banks.

In one example, IBM said its service could be used to connect a farmer in Samoa with a buyer based in Indonesia, while covering more than just the payment itself.

“The blockchain would be used to record the terms of the contract, manage trade documentation, allow the farmer to put up collateral, obtain letters of credit, and finalize transaction terms with immediate payment, conducting global trade with transparency and relative ease,” it said.

That’s the longer term objective but already the system is being used in 12 currency corridors between the Pacific Islands and Australia, New Zealand and the UK. It is tipped to handle 60 percent of cross-border payments from South Pacific’s retail industry within the next year and there are wider plans beyond that.

More than a dozen banks are part of the initial group working with the program, which has plans to expand into South America, Southeast Asia and other areas early next year.

“With the guidance of some of the world’s leading financial institutions, IBM is working to explore new ways to make payment networks more efficient and transparent so that banking can happen in real-time, even in the most remote parts of the world,” Bridget van Kralingen, Senior Vice President of IBM Industry Platforms, said in a statement.

The system runs on the IBM Blockchain Platform, which itself is based on the open source Hyperledger Fabric that powers IBM’s “Blockchain as a service” announced earlier this year. It is also an notable example of a public blockchain (IBM) working with a private blockchain (Stellar) since Stellar handles the actual settlement of transactions, as CoinDesk noted.

IBM recently partnered with Walmart and others to use the blockchain to improve food safety through increased transparency and traceability.

Regular ‘ol Monday on Subway

Just now on the greatest Subway in the World

Signal problems at 42nd Street and Bryant Park in Manhattan are disrupting subway service on several lines.

Subway riders who use the A, C, D, E, F, G and M trains should expect delays.

There is no B train service between Norwood-205th Street and Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue in both directions.

M trains also aren’t running between Forest Hills-71st Avenue and Broadway Junction.

Southbound D trains are stopping along the C line from 59th Street-Columbus Circle to West 4th Street-Washington Square via the F line to Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue.

Northbound D trains are stopping along the A line from West 4th Street-Washington Square to 59th Street-Columbus Circle.

Southbound F trains are stopping along the E line from Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Avenue to West 4th Street-Washington Square.

Some southbound F trains are stopping along the E line from Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Avenue to Queens Plaza then on the G line to Bergen Street.

For the latest updates visit the MTA website.

Richard Branson bets on Hyperloop One’s futuristic technology

cbc.ca

British billionaire Richard Branson placed another bet on the future with an investment in Hyperloop One, which is developing super high-speed transportation systems.

Hyperloop One said Branson’s Virgin Group would take the company global and rebrand itself as Virgin Hyperloop One in the near future.

Branson has joined the board of Hyperloop One, which will develop pods that will transport passenger and mixed-use cargo at speeds of 402 km per hour (250 miles per hour).

The company did not disclose the size of the investment.

Hyperloop technology will revolutionize transportation, but it has to get off the ground first
Toronto to Montreal in 39 minutes? Futuristic people mover zips to next stage

Hyperloop was originally conceptualized by Elon Musk. In July, Musk said he had received verbal approval to start
building the systems that would link New York and Washington, cutting travel time to about half an hour.

Last month, Hyperloop One raised $85 million US in new funding, bringing the total financing raised to $245 million US since it was founded in 2014.

Hyperloop One’s co-founders, executive chairman Shervin Pishevar and president of engineering Josh Giegel, have previously worked at Virgin Galactic.

Virgin Galactic is Branson’s space company, which in 2016, was granted an operating license to fly its passenger rocketship with the world’s first paying space tourists once final safety tests are completed.

Hyperloop One is also working on projects in the Middle East, Europe, India and Canada, according to the statement.

Hyperloop technology will revolutionize transportation, but it has to get off the ground first
Toronto to Montreal in 39 minutes? Futuristic people mover zips to next stage