Elon Musk Unveils Details for 800 MPH Hyperloop Super “Train”

Hyperloop Concept

It’s been sometime since Elon Musk first made mention of the hyperloop. The announcement of the 800 mph ultra high-speed super “train” made big news last year when Musk first mentioned the concept, but we haven’t heard any more details since then. That is until yesterday when Musk released the details of his futuristic concept that cover some of the questions concerning the proposed system.

The key advantages of a tube vs. a railway track are that it can be built above the ground on pylons and it can be built in prefabricated sections that are dropped in place and joined with an orbital seam welder. By building it on pylons, you can almost entirely avoid the need to buy land by following alongside the mostly very straight California Interstate 5 highway, with only minor deviations when the highway makes a sharp turn.

Hyperloop Passenger CapsuleThe comparison made to rail is important to note. This concept only began in the first place as a response to California’ s proposed high-speed rail system. Musk believes the project to be among the most costly and least efficient high-speed transport system, and not innovative enough to represent the silicon valley region.

When the California “high speed” rail was approved, I was quite disappointed, as I know many others were too. How could it be that the home of Silicon Valley and JPL – doing incredible things like indexing all the world’s knowledge and putting rovers on Mars – would build a bullet train that is both one of the most expensive per mile and one of the slowest in the world?

Hyperloop-Alpha

The rail system being referenced is estimated to reach over $100 billion in total cost, meaning that the solar-powered hyperloop would be four times as fast and ten times cheaper than this proposal. One innovation will make this even simpler to use than any currently proposed public transport systems, and that is the ability to also transport personal cars. With this idea, a passenger would simply drive their car into the large pod and drive off at the destination, no messing with rental cars or buses.

There must however, be a downside to every story, and this one is no different. With his time being absorbed by CEO duties at both Tesla Motors and SpaceX, Musk has noted it is unlikely that he will be able to build the system himself. By releasing these plans to the public, he hopes that someone with the resources and know-how will be able to carry the idea forward. In a brief glimpse of hope, Musk hinted that if the idea is not picked up initially, he may build a prototype in the 3-5 year range more than likely.

What is the future of public, high-speed transportation?  Do you think we’ll ever see a hypertube type system in place?

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Over 100,000 People Enlist to Colonize Mars

A group over 100,000 people have submitted applications for a one-way trip to colonize Mars in 2022.This means that they are willing to forfeit everything that they know and love for a chance to be the first humans to travel to and cosmoscolonize an alien planet.

There’s something in that concept that’s majestic and kind of poetic, in a way that they are writing human history and taking huge risks to do so. Mars One is behind the project, and when asked on their FAQ, “Why go to Mars?” they responded as follows.

Why did Columbus travel west? Why did Marco Polo head east? Because it is that pull, that unknown, that prospect of adventure that compels humans to seek new frontiers to explore.

It does seem a part of the human condition to explore the unknown, and there are certainly viable reasons for expanding human life to other planetary bodies, but is it even possible, and will Mars One actually be able to pay for such a mission?

The not-for-profit organization plans to fund the $6 billion mission “by making it the biggest media spectacle in history”. This includes reality shows that will follow the astronauts’ eight year training that will teach them medical Mars Oneprocedures, construction and repair, and gardening techniques among many other necessary skills.

 

 

 

These shows will continue as the explorers land and begin developing a livable habitat. I would certainly watch that over the reality t.v. that is currently available, but I’m doubtful that it would be enough to fund the mission. They do have other sources from donations, merchandise sales, application fees, investors, and so on, but let’s just hope that it is enough to get this idea off of the ground.

There are other companies and even universities that are working on similar concepts. Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX has mentioned future plans for “Martian bases” and has already made significant progress in private spaceflight.

Would you sign-up to colonize Mars? If the answer is yes, sign-up, applications are still being taken.

Pale Blue Dot – Carl Sagan

This video to the voice of Carl Sagan explores the vastness of space in comparison to the relative insignificant size of this pale blue dot called Earth. Sagan continues to illustrate the beauty and importance of the pale blue dot through the movements of life.

This dot is the only known vessel for life that is known in this universe, and that fact alone inspires pride and respect for our home… however long we may stay here.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Thick of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors, so that in glory and triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fragment of a dot.

 

Bill Hicks – It’s Just a Ride

Just a Ride

The amazing comedian Bill Hicks paints a philosophical painting of life, simplifying all the complexities and subtexts of human interaction into a simple statement, “It’s Just a Ride”. This Bill Hicks piece inspires goodwill, social responsibility, and inner exploration.

Here’s what we can do to change the world right now… to a better ride – Take all that money that we spend on weapons and defense each year, and instead spend it feeding, clothing, and educating the poor of world, which it would many times over; not one human being excluded, and we can explore space together… both inner and outer, together forever in peace.

I have recently discovered Bill Hicks and his material which I highly recommend to fans of comedy, honesty, and provocative thought.

 

First Magnetically Levitating Futuristic Public Transportation Coming Soon

A California based company called Skytran, in cooperation with NASA, is developing the first magnetic levitation (maglev) public transportation system . The futuristic system, developed by Researchers at the NASA Ames Research Center, is comprised of two-seat pods containing a magnet which interacts with a coiled foil in the rail causing the pod to “float” on a cushion of air. This provides not only a smoother ride, but a quieter one as well compared to taxi, bus, and rail.

designed to reduce urban traffic congestion, skytran would provide a greener, less expensive, faster, and more comfortable alternative to cars and bus lines through the use of personal two-seater pods in a point-to-point service which travelers can use to reach specific destinations

Sky Tran

Plans are to eventually outfit the guideways with solar panels which will result in a nearly energy net neutral system. In addition, construction costs are far less than conventional public transit since the guideways are built vertically and will cause smaller and fewer construction zones. The pods are high-speed and can reach up to 150 mph, but will travel closer to 50 mph in city areas.

sky-tran station

Finding a pod will be a lot easier than calling for a taxi and cost about the same. You can request and schedule pods via a smartphone app that lets you enter the pick-up and destination locations beforehand.  The boarding platform will be located on a side ‘acceleration line’ track that prevents traffic jams.

The first of these systems is scheduled to be constructed in Tel Aviv, Israel by 2015 with other future locations in India and Indonesia in consideration.

Images courtesy of designbloom

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Lab Grown Stem Cells Give Sight to Blind Mice

Photoreceptor cells were taken from a lab-grown retina and successfully implanted into mice with degenerative blindness. Researchers at UCL Institute of Ophthalmology have confirmed the successful adoption of the cells into the host eye.

The researchers injected roughly 200,000 of the cultured cells into living mouse retinas where they not only took root but remained present six weeks after implantation and formed the necessary neural connections to communicate visual data to the brain.

Bline Mouse

Apparently the process is still about five years away from human trials, but stem-cell treatments and other advanced medical technologies including nano and bio-technology are beginning to thrive.

Slowly but surely, we’re taking control of our biology. Our future is a time when disease, disability, and even death could be prevented.

 

 

Charlie Chaplin – The Greatest Speech Ever Made

In this speech from The Great Dictator, Charlie Chaplin encompasses the goodness of humanity. In what is truly the greatest speech ever, Chapman incites feelings of unity, compassion, and altruism in a way that gives you an intense jolt of hope.

We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness — not by each other’s misery.

 

I truly believe this speech can affect everyone in a positive way.

If you enjoyed this as much as I did, share it with those you love and spread the happiness. This kind of feeling can be infectious and bring someone a brief moment of beauty.

South Korea Is Home to First Virtual Supermarket

If you dread your weekly grocery store trip, then you will love this new virtual supermarket concept that just opened South Korea. Homeplus (Tesco) has developed this concept to reduce the time and hassle of shopping, thus freeing up valuable time for whatever your heart desires. It works with your smartphone via a specific app. You simply scan the items you want, and walk to the front to pay where your items are waiting for you, or you can even choose to have them delivered.

“Products will be delivered at a time chosen by consumers, and delivery fees will range from 1,000 won ($0.92) to 4,000 won depending on the hour of the day,” Sunny Jung, an official at Homeplus.

I would absolutely pay them extra if they would put them away for me and straighten up my pantry… just saying.

virtual-store

One of the coolest things is that you can shop anywhere by reordering what you need through your phone. You could search for the item in your history or simply scan the barcode. The smartphone market is booming and this seems like a good fit for the time.

As things continue to progress with technology and it becomes ubiquitous in our everyday lives, I don’t think physical stores will be needed in the future. For the time being though,virtual supermarkets could go a long way to saving space utilized by retail grocery stores. Check out the video below from Homeplus for some interesting tidbits.