Hyperloop is Coming to Europe

With Elon Musk’s Hyperloop currently stalled on US soil, a crowdsourced engineering project could bring the ‘mass transit system of the future’ to three European countries. Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) has agreed a deal in Slovakia which aims to connect three European capital cities via Hyperloop tracks: Slovakia’s Bratislava will be the central point in a route that runs from Vienna, Austria to Budapest in Hungary, according to Engadget.

The total length of the proposed Hyperloop track is estimated to be around 160 miles – the distance between Vienna to Bratislava is approximately 35 miles, while Bratislava to Budapest is just over 100 miles – which, end-to-end, could transport passengers in around 20 minutes. The plan even has the potential to expand beyond the three proposed cities, with an additional line running to Košice in Bratislava.

While the proposal is just that at the moment, the first step will be to assess the viability of creating a three-city, high-speed Hyperloop route.

HTT is also responsible for the planned Hyperloop test track in California, an initiative that has recently suffered delays. The crowdsourced group – a collaboration between scientists, engineers, and designers, all donating their time to help make Hyperloop a reality – is still hoping to have the California track functional by 2018.

Migaloo Your Way To a Mobile Private Island

The opportunities for the super wealthy to indulge their exotic tastes seems pretty endless, from purchasing a premier league club to the finest penthouse architecture; anything is possible for your average Mr B Gates. A private mobile island, on the other hand, must be in the mind of an ideological dreamer, or is it?

A company by the name of Migaloo, not to be confused with Magaluf, is offering what is described as a “Private floating habitat based on semi-submersible platforms” The business touts its piece de resistance in the form of a floating habitat by the name of “Kokomo Island” Which sounds quite like a track from the Beach Boys, this concept man-made construction has a length of 117 meters which is approximately 383 feet long, which is spacious.

Below are illustrations in the form of a video, as you can see, it’s pretty luxurious and the amenities include the following.

  • Private owners penthouse 80 M above sea level
  • jungle deck (whatever this is) with palm trees and vertical gardens
  • Garden deck with al-fresco outdoor dining,
  • spa deck with spa and beauty saloons,
  • 2 beach clubs including beach gym,
  • underwater dining saloon
  • (shark-feeding station (Unless your attached to your arms)
  • heli deck & massive storage for tender & toys (would not need to worry if you have attempted to cuddle a shark)

The company also boasts a chance to purchase a “Private Submersible Yacht” and a video is below to convey this.

So far the company has not managed to sell any man-made islands which leads to a suspicion concerning the legitimacy of the Austrian based company with an idea so expansive as this one.  The idealism of inhabiting your own pop up base would certainly appeal to large corporations who would like to register their ventures in far-flung corners of the globe which benefit from favourable tax legislation, just imagine if say Amazon’s new address was somewhere in the north Atlantic.

Whether we will see pop up islands in the future remains to be seen, as the old saying goes, I will believe it when I see it, and by this I mean in real life, not a computer simulation.

Thank you migaloo for providing us with this information.

Three Austrian Men Receive First Bionic Hands

Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to make the world’s first bionic man. The well-known quote spoken during the opening sequence of The Six Million Dollar Man is not science fiction anymore.

The world’s first bionic reconstructions have been performed on three Austrian men to help them regain their hand function. This technique enabled the newly amputated patients to control prosthetic hands using their minds and once again perform various tasks that most people take for granted.

These weren’t just crazy people having their arms replaced with bionic ones but rather victims of serious nerve damage. In order to be fitted for the prosthetic hands, the three men had to undergo preliminary surgical work where leg muscle was grafted into their arms to improve signal transmission. Once this was healed, sensors placed on the arm allowed the men to learn how activate the muscle after which a virtual hand was mounted to their arm.

The process took about nine months just for the cognitive training and all three men had their new bionic hands mounted and in use. Amazing. But getting a new hand is really that. You have to learn to use the new limb from scratch and it took several more month for the men to get full control of the new hands.

Prior to the new hands, the three men scored an average of 9 out of 100 points in the tests shown in the video below, with the new hand they increased this score to 65. Further, the men reported less pain and a higher quality of life after the operation. Science when it’s best.

Thanks to NewScientist for providing us with this information.

21 Countries And Rising Have Joined Anti-NSA UN Resolution Discussions

RT reports that 21 countries have joined in draft discussions at the UN for an anti-NSA resolution to be passed. In the discussions are the following nations: Argentina, Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, France, Germany, Guyana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Norway, Paraguay, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Uruguay and Venezuela. The resolution seeks to condemn indiscriminate and extra-territorial surveillance and rectify that with independent oversight of all electronic monitoring.

The resolution was proposed earlier this week by Germany and Brazil, two of the largest and most vocal critics of the USA’s global spying operations. While the document does not single out the USA or NSA specifically, the rhetoric is clearly a direct attack on the NSA’s exposed global surveillance practices.

The draft resolutions states that UN members are “deeply concerned at human rights violations and abuses that may result from the conduct of extra-territorial surveillance or interception of communications in foreign jurisdictions.” and that “illegal surveillance of private communications and the indiscriminate interception of personal data of citizens constitutes a highly intrusive act that violates the rights to freedom of expression and privacy and threatens the foundations of a democratic society.”

Image courtesy of Joshua Lott / Getty Images / AFP

Snowden’s Asylum Options: 1 Withdrawn 10 Rejected 10 Pending

According to reports by RT.com Snowden’s options for political asylum are rapidly evaporating. The NSA whistleblower has withdrawn his application for Asylum to Russia after they told him he could only have asylum if he stopped “damaging” the USA, a condition he was not prepared to agree to. Furthermore Finland, Brazil, Poland, India and Germany all rejected his asylum claim outright stating they were not willing to accept him. Spain, Norway, Italy, Ecuador and Austria also rejected Snowden’s asylum request on the grounds that he had to be already inside the country for it to be processed. These rejections bring the total numbers of rejections to 10, and with the single withdrawal, 11 of Snowden’s options have already been vaporised.

So what options are left for the NSA whistleblower? Well he still has Bolivia, China, Cuba, France, Iceland, Ireland, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Switzerland and Venezuela left to reply. Of those ten remaining options China says it is not aware of the request and France has denied ever receiving such an Asylum request and since they also recently blocked a Bolivian Jet from flying through their airspace because of suspicions that Edward Snowden was onboard it could easily turn out that France will reject the request too.

As of writing the most likely nations to accept seem to be Venezuela and Bolivia after they both expressed anti-USA sentiments and stated their willingness to protect Snowden.

Image courtesy of the Guardian

Bolivian Jet Grounded Over Claims Snowden Is Onboard, UN Complaint Ensues

Bolivia’s president Evo Morales was flying back from Russia where he was attending an energy summit when his plane was forced to land in Austria. The reason? Italy, France, Spain and Portugal had all refused to allow his jet to pass through their airspace on the justification that they believed NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was onboard. After being forced to land in Vienna Austria the plane was searched by Austrian officials and it was revealed that Edward Snowden was not on the plane. Furthermore Evo Morales strongly refuted such claims stating that these were rumours made up by the U.S government. Additionally other Latin American leaders are furious over the whole situation stating Evo Morales was “kidnapped by imperalism”.

Bolivia’s UN Envoy is now stepping in to file complaints against the USA, Austria, Italy, France, Portugal and Spain describing the event as “An act of aggression and violation of international law” as the USA desperately tries to bring Edward Snowden into their custody. Bolivia’s UN Envoy member Sacha Llorrentty Soliz told press in New York that the decision to search the plane almost definitely originated in the USA. With Bolivia and Venezuela both pledging their support to Edward Snowden in recent times it is likely the U.S government will try and do anything against them to stop Edward Snowden reaching their territories.

Image courtesy of AFP Photo/Patrick Domingo

Snowden Releases List Of Countries Contacted For Political Asylum Requests

While it is now relatively common knowledge that the famous internet surveillance NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is stuck in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, it hasn’t been well documented where he was seeking political asylum up until now. We’ve known he has been in talks with Ecuador, but with that starting to unfold who else has he been trying to seek political asylum with? Well surprisingly his options aren’t as limited as you might think. According to an official statement made by the whistleblower organisation WikiLeaks Edward Snowden has applied for political asylum in the following nation-states:

  • Austria
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • China
  • Cuba
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • India
  • Italy
  • Ireland
  • The Netherlands
  • Nicaragua
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Russia (where he is situated now)
  • Spain
  • Switzerland
  • Venezuela

Surprisingly, Ecuador is now off the list after President Correa seems to be bowing to American pressure. He has gone from pledging his support to Snowden at all costs to saying that he now offered Snowden help “by mistake”. It is also worth noting that Russia have also refused to offer Edward Snowden political asylum unless he stops releasing documents that are harming the USA.

Edward Snowden is currently seeking asylum on the grounds of persecution risk if he is forced to return back to the USA.

We will be sure to keep you updated with how this goes for Edward Snowden. He is easily becoming one of the most important figures of our generation.

Image courtesy of the Guardian