Elon Musks Hyperloop Construction Delayed

Everyone travels these days, be it for work or to see family and friends, we live in a world where going from A to B is as casual as breathing. You can fly or catch trains, drive or even hire a taxi with your phone, but there are still other ways. With the addition of  electric streetcars coming to New York, the next revolution to travel is set to be the Hyperloop.

The Hyperloop is a new train system that will use a vacuum tube to help trains reach speeds of over 700mph. Recently they announced that construction had been started with the completion date set for public access in 2018 on its test track. That was until recently when Tech Insider revealed that there may be a delay to that timeline.

In an email sent to the Student teams that are working on the pods that will shoot down the track, SpaceX (the company responsible for the Hyperloop) could have the final part of the competition, to see which pod would be best chosen for the project, happening in August (or even later). In the email, SpaceX stated,

“Our best guess for Competition Weekend is early-to-mid August, but this could move in either direction (based on construction and post-construction testing)”

With the original date set for June, the delay is minor if it still happens in August, but if is delayed even further behind then the 2018 opening gets more and more like a pipe dream with each week.

New York Going Green With Electric Streetcars

Electric cars are all the range, with Tesla dominating the market and Apple soon to enter the market. While they are expensive at the moment, electric cars are quickly becoming public transport with buses and shuttles cutting down emissions and traffic all in one go. The Netherlands started the process with their electric shuttles, and soon New York will join them.

One of the things that you associate with America is the street cars, the little red trams that run down steep roads and ring that bell as they approach. With an estimated cost of $2.5 billion, the new tram system will run between Astoria, Queens and Sunset Park, Brooklyn at around 16 miles in length. Named the Brooklyn Queens Connector (BQX for short), the new streetcar is estimated to take around three years in design with another four to build. With 7 years before you can ride the new system, 2020 will be a busy year for electric vehicles in new york.

With the average speed of the proposed streetcars being just 11.3mph, while not speedy you will get great views and reduced carbon emissions as you ride along the route shown above.

With some questioning why they are creating a new form of transport rather than adding dedicated bus routes along the waterfront, the new plans are already under fire before they even begin. What do you prefer? A new bus or do you think transport like streetcars are underrated?

Selfie Death Statistics Revealed

Most of us laugh at the selfie addicts, but there is no doubt that there are enough of them out there. In fact, the word selfie is mentioned in 365,000 facebook posts and 150,000 tweets each week alone and Instagram has over 50 million results when searching for the hashtag. That’s quite impressive, but there’s also a sad statistic when it comes to selfies and that is the one on selfie-related deaths.

With so many selfies taken every day, people are looking for that special one that will set them apart from the rest. They hang from cliffs, pose next to wild animals, and play chicken with oncoming trains. Sometimes they sadly don’t survive the attempts and become a statistical number. There hasn’t really been any general collection of these deaths up until now  and Priceonomics set out to change that. They went through three years of news archives and compiled every reported instance of a selfie-related death into a new report.

So let us get right to the numbers, at least those known to us. There can be a lot of selfie-related deaths that haven’t been reported as such. In short, 49 people have died while attempting to photograph themselves since 2014, the average age of the victims is 21 years old, and 75% of them are male.

Now, we should probably make it clear that it isn’t the selfie themselves that kill people. As far as I know, no one has died from taking their own photo yet and I don’t think anyone has managed to impale themselves on their selfie stick either. It is rather the lack of focus and dangerous places that are picked for the selfies that are the reason for the deaths. The most common reasons were falls from heights as well as drowning. Everyone should know to stay away from trains, but it looks like quite a few don’t know to do that either.

There is a clear picture of where it’s most dangerous to take selfies when we take a look at the location statistics. India is clearly ahead with 19 reported fatalities while Russia comes in on a second place with just seven deaths.

Last year it was 28 people alone that died as the result of their selfie addiction which in itself actually isn’t that much. More than double die from bee and wasp stings each year and it was also reported that up to 150 people die from falling coconuts each year. That puts it a little into perspective.

Still, you should use caution and not take unnecessary risks when you go for those special photographic memories. Keep in mind that no photo is worth your life, no matter how spectacular it might be. The below warning signs were made by a Russian site and they might be worth imprinting to memory.

Elon Musk’s Supersonic Hyperloop Opening Time Revealed

The future of tomorrow, today. Well not entirely, but it is getting closer and we know have an official time frame for the Supersonic Hyperloop train by Elon Musk and his team. The plans have long existed and they’ve come closer to reality every day. 2016 will be the year where it all starts, but it won’t be the year that we get to ride this hyperspeed train yet.

The construction of the 760mph (about 1220 km/h) Supersonic Hyperloop is set to begin within weeks where a five-mile long test track will be built around Quay Valley in Kings County, California. Elon Musk first revealed the train in a whitepaper three years ago, which isn’t that long ago. He himself won’t be actively involved in these steps of the process for the Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) company, as he’s already CEO of Tesla and SpaceX that surely keeps him more than busy.

The new Hyperloop won’t just be built around an existing town as Elon Musk is a man that thinks big. Quay Valley is a proposed 75,000-resident community that will be solar powered and placed halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. The land will be surveyed in the coming few weeks over February and March while the actual construction set to begin in the middle of 2016. So when will the public be able to ride this new supersonic train? That date is a bit further down the road, but not too far either as it will open to the public in 2018. At least that is the plan according to HTT.

Now we just need to cross our fingers and hope that it doesn’t turn into a Simpon’s styled Monorail and that it can stop better than the Falcon 9 can land. The only really sad part thing around the hyperloop is, that it is being built so far away for most of us that we don’t really have the biggest of chances to ride it.

Hyperloop Construction Begins

The hyperloop has been one of Elon Musk’s many ideas that has gathered a lot of public attention. From the Space X rockets to Tesla, Musk is known for going beyond the normal and his idea of a Hyperloop was included in that list. Now that idea is becoming a reality.

First purposed by Musk, the hyperloop would work by creating a vacuum in which you could propel a pod carrying people around the country at high speeds. So imagine all those Sci-fi movies which had you stepping into a pod and speeding into the distance? That could soon be you!

Estimated to be able to transport people from San Francisco to Los Angeles in under 30 minutes the pods could go as fast as 760mph. The first step of construction is a 5-mile test track in Quay valley, the test track won’t just be for testing, though. It is designed to be the start of the system, with analysis and improvements made all throughout 2016 and 2017, while passengers will have to wait till 2018 to get a ride on something that will leave cars and roller coasters in the dust.

The idea behind the hyperloop is simple, use our understanding of physics and transportation to create a new, cheaper, more affordable and quicker form of transportation. Imagine taking a train journey across the country and then suddenly realising before you even open your book that you’re at your destination.

All aboard The Circle Lines Giant Three-Speed Travelator

I’m not sure this concept is particularly sane, a group of architects revolutionary idea centres on replacing run of the mill trains with high-speed travelators.

According to the architecture practice NBBJ who envisage a future where trains are replaced on the line’s 17 miles of track with three speeds of travelators, the result according to them would be a “considerably quicker, more enjoyable and healthier journey”. Below is the concept artwork for this idea of three travelators which would run alongside each other at various speeds, this is from walking speeds of 3mph to a top speed of 15mph. Commuters would therefore move between three moving conveyor belts which would in theory increase their speed each time.

What is compelling is there are more than 114 million people who use the circle line each year, this makes it one of the most congested lines in London and the company reckons commuters would in theory travel faster on foot than on conventional public transport.  There are two separate narrative thought patterns when contemplating such a vision, the pro side would be a healthier and spacious environment with which to reach a destination, after all, trains are known for being hot and rather uncomfortable even at the best of times.  The negative side would be how safely you could travel on foot without injuring yourself or others, moving onto a 15 mile an hour platform would be rather interesting.

It’s radical and would require a complete redesign of the transport infrastructure, one school of thought would be as the population increases year on year, eventually public transport would reach its limit despite a drive for expansion by successive governments and alternatives would therefore need to be considered.  This concept may not be the best solution, but it would be very entertaining to Wizz to your destination, especially if you laid down for a nap while on the conveyor belts.

Thank you cityam for providing us with this information.

Podulator – A Sign of Future Transport?

James May is known for a lot of things, amongst which is the show Top Gear of which he only recently stopped hosting. Known to have a keen interest in motorised vehicles, James’s latest twitter post is of a different type of vehicle.

As seen above, James seems to be at Heathrow, advertising the future of transport displayed at Terminal 5. The pod-based system allows you to travel between the station at terminal 5 and the two based in terminal 5’s car park. The system is not a new one, with it celebrating over 1 million autonomous miles back in 2013.

Featuring 3.8 kilometers of one-way track for the pods, it’s almost like a personal train between the stations. The one comparison I can draw is with trains, but the private and personal carriage like nature reminds me of the old cabin based trains, for those who have never experienced this, think about the Hogwarts train (shown below).

With companies like Google making automated cars, we could soon see Pod like cars working on a large scale, across an entire city or maybe even a country? Could companies like Uber and your local taxi soon be replaced by automated cars which you call at the press of a button?

Thank you Ultra Global PRT for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of Ultra Global PRT and Harry Potter Wiki.

Japan Is Building An Anime Bullet Train

The UK is world-renowned for their public transport arriving 20 minutes late and charging consumers a small fortune to travel by train or bus. It’s also certainly painful to the eyes to view a 1990s rusty train spluttering down the track, but are other countries any better?

Let’s take a gander and compare a British train with that of a newly planned decorated Shinkansen bullet train. The first image is that of a standard UK train, yep pretty boring, the next image below is that of the concept design bullet train. As you can see, it’s fantastic and would be ideal to travel to work on a cold and wet Monday morning.

So why has the train operator by the name of JR West, not related to fisherman John, become slightly crazy with their design team? Well, this is in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the hit anime by the name of Neon Genesis Evangelion. In addition to this amazing design for the 500 Type Eva model, the train will also have an Evangelion-themed interior and heaps of special memorabilia for fans to buy.

It’s a pity that Japanese consumers are the only ones to be able to appreciate this stunning design, perhaps we need a little less First Capital Connect and a bit more from JR West.

Thank you to engadget, westjr and wikimedia for providing us with this information

Bitcoin ATM’s Pop Up Around Melbourne, Australia

A few months ago, there was one currency on everyone’s lips – Bitcoin. People were scrambling to make their own Bitcoin mining machines, Reddit users developed their own currency called Dogecoin and our parents and grandparents become more technology-confused than  ever before.

Since the hype has died down, I’ve just received reports from a friend of mine that Bitcoin ATM’s have just started popping up in the Central CBD of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. The image you’re looking at above is taken from the famous “Melbourne Central” shopping center and train station, allowing users to exchange, buy and sell Bitcoin all from a handy kiosk located in the middle of the hustle-and-bustle. Unfortunately a higher resolution image became impossible when Facebook Messenger was utilized as the method of communication.

We’ve seen more Bitcoin payment options pop up around the globe, with SpendBitcoins.com being developed solely to support new-age business’ supporting this advancement in technology. Some of the companies notable from this list include that of NewEgg and Expedia.

Will we see this type of currency make it into the ‘mainstream’ market? It’s really hard to say. But it’s certainly nice to see a ‘global currency’ give it a red hot go. Exchange rates are the bane of any well-traveled business person or backpacker.

Have you seen a Bitcoin ATM around your area? Let us know, we’d love to start tracking them!

Source: TweakTown.

Just a Pizza Delivery… On a Train?

Apparently you can get your pizza delivered everywhere nowadays. From ordering it at home, at work, even in a park might be a possible ordering location. However, a comedian apparently went further than that and ordered it on a train.

Though not an actual joke, comedian Chris Ramsey ordered the pizza half-way through his train journey back home, which inevitable became a Twitter phenomenon. The ordering nearly stopped before it began, as of course it was considered by most to be a joke. However, Domino’s Pizza did deliver its order to the customer even if it meant to bring it on the train. Furthermore, they insisted to add extra pizzas for everyone on the train to enjoy.

It seems that even support from fellow comedians were seen between the flood of Twitter comments. It is however to be expected since a delivery such as this one cannot be seen every day.

Finally, the pizza arrived and everyone was excited. As promised in the tweets, Chris did take a selfie with the delivery guy, which apparently was as excited as Chris was.

It is not a common opportunity to see such excitement in delivering a pizza on a train, but by the looks of it people are extremely excited to be served anywhere and everywhere. Who knows, maybe train companies will even offer pizza delivery as an option in the near future.

Thank you TheLADBible for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of TheLADBible

Scientists Predict Top Speed of 1,800 mph From Prototype Maglev Train

Modern public transport as we know it is pretty fast if you chose the right service, but if you’re in quite a rush to get to that important board meeting on the other side of the States, simply put – you’re screwed. Over at the Southwest Jiaotong University in China, scientists have been working away to overcome the problem surrounding air resistance on a moving object at super fast speeds.

The test platform that the team has come up with could theoretically see speeds of 1,800 mph or 2,900 km/h being reached by a high-speed maglev train running through a near vacuum, removing the friction that air would otherwise create. Now if you think that sounds fast, to be honest you’re not far from wrong. The fastest commercial train service that is available has a top speed of only 431 km/h and even the world record sits at only 581 km/h, making the near 3,000 km/h speeds sound absolutely ridiculous and considering the fact that you need to remove almost all the air that we breath out of the trains way, it’s not going to be a service that will be coming a town near us any time soon.

Lead scientist Dr. Deng Zigang spoke out saying, “If the running speed exceeds 400 kilometers (250 miles) per hour, more than 83 percent of traction energy will wastefully dissipate in air resistance”.

To put this into context, what Dr Zigang is saying is that as you move faster and faster through the air, the friction build up would be similar to trying to swim through treacle – no matter how hard you try, the resistance that is put upon you is too great and the only way to resolve the problem is to remove the treacle. In the case of the Maglev project, the air pressure within the prototype system is dropped around 10% that of normal atmospheric pressure at sea level, giving the scientists the thin air that they need in order to run the train at close to two times the speed of sound.

Want a little more context? A typical twenty-one and a half hour flight from the UK to Australia would take little under 5 1/2 hours, presuming the train could maintain close to top speed all the way. You could hop to see you’re mates down under, have a BBQ and be back home all in the same day.

Source: Rocketnews24

China Planning To Build Undersea Train To America

Is China planning to build a huge train network between Beijing and the United States? According to a report in the Beijing Times, yes. The report cites an expert at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, where it is said that Chinese officials are considering a route from Beijing, through eastern Siberia, across the Bering Straight and into Alaska. This would be a monumental engineering challenge, most importantly due to the 125 mile long underwater tunnel that would be required to connect the Bering Strait and Alaska. This network would span around 8,000 miles, making it 1,800 miles longer than the Trans-Siberian railroad.

“Right now we’re already in discussions. Russia has already been thinking about this for many years,” says Wang Mengshu, the engineer cited in the article.

A lot of things would have to go right for this plan to get to the realms of reality, but according to China Daily, the country does have the technology to complete a construction project of this scale. With China laying down tens of thousands of miles of new track, including a massive network of ultra-fast trains, they’re likely the best qualified in the world to understand modern rail networks and be able to put their ideas into practice.

Thank you WashingtonPost for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of WashingtonPost.

Train Conductor Kicks The Stupid Out Of Selfie Taking Hipster

Taking a selfie is a fairly harmless affair, or at least it should be. Snapping an out of focus picture of ones self in the mirror and tagging it on Facebook with endless hashtags is pretty annoying, but generally a fairly safe thing to do. Of course there are a few people out there that are keen to get a “cool” selfie, such as this moron who wanted a speeding train as his backdrop. Jared Michael thought it would be a great ideal to take a picture / video of himself next to a speeding train, really close to it actually. He stood next to the track, pulled his best hipster face and was abruptly schooled in the “real world” when a train conductors boot connected with his face.

“That train conductor must really hate hipsters!” I hear you call, but a deeper analysis is that the trusty train operator was a hero and saved this selfie addicts head from a becoming a bloody mess. He really was CLOSE to the train, so close in fact that had the boot not saved his stupid ass, he would have felt the metal protrusion on the side of the train giving him a slap instead, in which case this story would have been “Hipster beheaded by train while taking selfie”.

Standing next to a train like this is the dumbest thing I’ve seen all week and it’s only Thursday, so who knows, maybe this will be topped by something worse later in the week. Kudos to the quick thinking conductor who saved this guys life though, hopefully some of his quick thinking and common sense rubbed off onto Jared.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/Dy8Yt-P614w[/youtube]

Thank you Gizmodo for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Gizmodo.

New Reports Say The Moving Train In The Chicago Train Crash Had No Driver

The Chicago train crash which took place yesterday injured dozens of passengers after a stationary train loaded with passengers was hit in the rear by an empty train moving at about 20 miles per hour. New reports suggest that the moving train was indeed totally empty – not even a driver was onboard. The train moved along empty for about half a mile unnoticed, before plunging into the back of another train.

President of the CTA rail workers union, Robert Kelly, said he couldn’t believe this was a technological malfunction because the train needs to have a universal key for the cab door to be opened, then a second key to operate the master controller. Without a driver the train has the friction brakes activated which keeps it stationary and even if the power to the train’s engine is turned on a human operator is required to release the brakes.

The CTA say that to prevent a runaway train “dead man controls” are equipped as a fail safe. The dead man controls essentially require the driver to always have his hand pulling down the handle on the master controller which allows the breaks the remain released and the dead man switch to remain off. As soon as that handle is released (e.g it would be if there was no driver) then the engine shuts off and breaks are applied. However, in this case it appears that did not happen. Officials remain unsure whether the incident was a result of a mechanical failure or a crime.

Officials have also questioned why additional fail-safes, such as automatic break application for speeding or being on the wrong track/route, did not work. A preliminary review says there are no signs of an operator in control or signs of forced entry or vandalism.

Read more at the Chicago Tribune.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84bK3zsQ-TM[/youtube]

Image courtesy of the IBTimes

Video Shows Japanese Train Struck By Lightning, No Injuries Reported

A rather terrifying video has shown up on YouTube showing a Japanese train being struck directly by lightning as it moved into a train station. The affair was captured by YouTube user artcgate01 in Japan and has already cranked up 3 million views in 3 days.

The video shows a high speed train moving down the tracks when it is hit by lighting crossing the bridge, from about 1:15 in the video. The impact can be seen above.

The aftermath of that strike, pictured above shows a power surge/cut flaring up at the front of the train which caused the train to break down on the bridge. The incident caused delays but thankfully not a single person was injured from the whole incident.

You can check the full video below, remember from 1:15 is roughly when the lightning strikes if you aren’t interested in the build up!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmD2CxOxHbY[/youtube]

Images courtesy of Artcgate01 (YouTube)

Lian Li PC-CK101 “Train” M-ITX Chassis Review

Today we have something very special in the eTeknix office, but I’m guessing that the image above is somewhat of a giveaway in that we’re reviewing a PC chassis that looks like a train, not exactly your average black box that we normally see in our chassis review section, nor is it like any other chassis ever.

Now I’m not the biggest fan of trains, I mean I do like them but I wouldn’t class my self as an avid admirer of them (AKA, I’m hardly a train spotter). Yet when I first saw this case I believe my original words were “Oh my god, that thing looks freaking awesome!” and rightly so, since the model Lian Li had on display featured a motor that allowed it to travel up and down the track, with smoke bellowing from the chimney.

While you can purchase a special edition of this chassis that features a remote control, electric motor and 6 sections of straight track, so you can watch your creation wheel up and down in all its glory, that is unfortunately not the product we are looking at today. I hate to use the term “standard edition” but that is what we have. It features one piece of track that forms a mounting plinth and doesn’t feature the electric motor, remote control or smoke effect… but it is still a model train!

This isn’t the first time Lian Li has done something a little wild either, as we’ve seen before when they created a sea shell shaped case and even one that looks like a spider! Although they’ve never done one as fancy or as detailed as the one we are about to take a look at.

As you can see from the specifications below the chassis features Aluminum construction, supports mini-ITX motherboards and comes fitted with a 120mm fan. It is worth pointing out that while Front and Top fan’s are listed as “none”, it does in fact mean that there is no room to install one in these locations, the chassis supports one fan and it comes pre-installed.

As you can see, the PC-CK101 comes packed in a full colour box with a great image of the chassis on some more realistic looking rail lines. There is also a small picture of the chassis mounted on the included track, but lets not get too far ahead, well get to that soon enough.

In the box I found an easy to understand installation guide that shows you how to dismantle and reassemble the major components. There are also a few included screws and bolts required to get your components installed, a few cable ties, a support bracket to hold the train to the track, a USB 3.0 to 2.0 cable and a 3pin power cable for the PSU.

The last thing in the box (aside from the chassis its self) was the track / mounting plinth. It is cast from aluminum so it is strong and lightweight. It features a small brass panel which reads “Lian Li PC-CK101 2012 Special Edition”.

On the underside you can see two small holes on one of the metal strips near the middle of the base, these are used to screw the bracket to the chassis, which will help keep the train from rolling off the edge.