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.

Hungary’s Internet Tax Cancelled after Mass Protests

It hasn’t been a very long time since Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orban, proposed the Internet Tax. This wasn’t well received by the internet dwellers or anyone else, and huge protests arrived almost instantaneously.

It started to escalate for real on Sunday 8-days ago as large-scale protests began and demonstrators hurled old computer parts at the headquarters of Mr Oban’s ruling Fidesz party. The demonstrations continued throughout the week and on Tuesday thousands of protesters marched across Budapest’s Elisabeth Bridge in a protest against the new law proposal.

The citizens were both afraid of the financial burden as well as the restriction on freedom of speech and access to information that comes with it. The EU also condemned the law, because it was a unilateral measure applied to a global phenomenon.

If the law had passed, it would have cost 150 forints per Gigabyte of data traffic, that is about £0.40. The government tried to calm the protesters during last week by adding a cap of 700 forints per month for individuals and 5000 forints for companies; that wasn’t received any better than the original proposal.

The new law proposal was finally cut on Friday. It was clear to Viktor that he had lost the battle against the best-organised community in the country, the internet, while fueling the political competition with free ammunition.

Thanks to BBC for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of BBC

 

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