The Evacuated Tube Transport (ETT) system (U.S. Patent 5950543, assigned to ET3.com, Inc.) would take passengers from New York to Beijing in just two hours. Advocates of Evacuated Tube Transport (ETT) claim it is silent, cheaper than planes, trains, or cars and faster than jets.
How it would work: put a superconducting maglev train in evacuated tubes, then accelerate using linear electric motors until the design velocity is attained. Passive superconductors allow the capsules to float in the tube, while eddy currents induced in conducting materials drive the capsules. Efficiency of such a system would be high, as the electric energy required to accelerate a capsule could largely be recaptured as it slows.
The maglev tubes are permanently maintained at near vacuum conditions, and the capsules are inserted into and removed from the tubes through airlocks at stations along the route. After the capsules are accelerated to the design velocity (some 4,000 mph or 6,500 km/h), they coast for the remainder of the trip.
While tubes could be networked like freeways, with capsules automatically routed along their trip, local and long-distance trips would require separate maglev tubes to avoid unreasonable scheduling delays.
Members of the ET3 consortium have worked with parties in China, where they say more than a dozen licenses for the company have been sold.
Archive for April 17th, 2012
Posted by Xeno on April 17, 2012
Posted by Xeno on April 17, 2012
Natalie Wolchover – Even the most die-hard skeptics among us believe in magic. Humans can’t help it: though we try to be logical, irrational beliefs — many of which we aren’t even conscious of — are hardwired in our psyches. But rather than hold us back, the unavoidable habits of mind that make us think luck and supernatural forces are real, that objects and symbols have power, and that humans have souls and destinies are part of what has made our species so evolutionarily successful. Believing in magic is good for us.
That’s what psychology writer Matthew Hutson argues in his new book, “The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking” (Hudson Street Press, 2012), released Thursday (April 12). Hutson scoured decades of research by psychologists in order to identify the supernatural beliefs we all naturally share, and to discover why the tendencies evolved in the first place. Here’s the proof that you — yes, you — engage in what Hutson calls “magical thinking,” and why.
Mojo and cooties
In a 2008 auction, an anonymous bidder spent $5,300 for actress Scarlet Johansson’s snotty handkerchief. While most people wouldn’t waste their savings on soiled celebrity memorabilia, Hutson said almost everyone is guilty of attaching undue significance to objects associated with people they idealize. We generally agree that John Lennon’s famous white piano is more valuable than an identical piano with no notable origin, for instance, and we would much rather wear our best friend’s jacket than the jacket of a serial killer, even if both garments have been thoroughly cleaned. Why do we intuitively think objects carry people’s essences?
Scientists think the gut feeling evolved in our ancestors as a primitive method of germ avoidance. “The theory is that belief in essences is based on our fear of germs and tainted substances,” Hutson told Life’s Little Mysteries. “We didn’t always know what germs were, of course, but it made sense to be aware of whether someone sick touched your food before you ate it, or wore a jacket before you did. It makes sense to be wary of an object’s provenance, because the evolution of that sense would have increased a person’s chance of survival.”
Not knowing how germs worked, our awareness of the history of our food, clothing and other objects generalized to include positive associations as well as negative ones. We evolved the belief that not just cooties, but positive mojo, too, can rub off on us. …
Posted by Xeno on April 17, 2012
On March 13, Ralph Blumenthal and I published a story about a case from Chile which has since sparked considerable controversy. The official UAP research organization in Santiago, known as the CEFAA (Committee for the Study of Anomalous Aerial Phenomena), had provided information about an anomaly caught on multiple video tapes during an air show at the nearby El Bosque Air Base on Nov. 5, 2010.
Gen. Ricardo Bermúdez, Director of the CEFAA, first showed one of the videos — the same one we released — during his lecture at the International UFO Congress in Phoenix last February. “Seven spectators located in different places, each with his own camera, filmed the flybys. In the seven videos, the same thing appeared,” he told the audience. His lecture is now posted at the CEFAA website.
I interviewed the general just before his Phoenix presentation, having been tipped off about the case after contacting the CEFAA a few days earlier. “Something anomalous was there, and our astronomers, who are non-believers, said it’s an object,” he told me. “When it approaches, there is an intelligent maneuver demonstrated. What it is remains unknown, but we are not finished with the analysis.”
Experts in Chile examined the footage, which comes from digital cameras and cell phones, and ruled out conventional explanations. “We have studied this case in different ways,” said Bermúdez in his lecture. “First we gave all the films it to our astronomers. They proceeded with their own software and system. Second, we gave the film to the air force specialists, the Air Photogrammetric Service. They used their own procedures. Third, we at the CEFAA made an internal analysis with our own specialists.”
And he added: “We will continue making an analysis and hope we can arrive at a scientific conclusion as soon as possible.”
Among the Chilean analysts, Alberto Vergara, an expert in digital imaging, stated that “When we examine the whole scene frame by frame, we have been able to realize that [the object] has, apparently, moved at a speed far superior to any flying object of known manufacture. Therefore it is worthy of continuing to investigate its origin.”
Perhaps Blumenthal and I asked too many provocative rhetorical questions and did not stress enough that this investigation is continuing, as Bermúdez and Vergara stated. And now the search for the “scientific conclusion” has been given new life. After the story broke, photo analysts and investigators from several countries approached the CEFAA and asked if they could study the videos. A few, because of their qualifications, have already begun detailed, independent work on the case. They will remain anonymous for now. Further questions, some of which have been raised in response to our story, will be addressed by them during this process.
In accordance with the wishes of the scientific team in Chile and these new analysts, General Bermúdez will not be releasing any more videos now, so that the public can be fully informed and maximum understanding achieved when the full package is released. Those involved agree that the new studies should be completed first.
The CEFAA is committed to the resolution that everyone is requesting, but it will take time. No, the organization is not trying to hide anything; I have full access to this investigation and will monitor it as it develops. It is clear to me why Bermúdez isn’t going to prematurely toss the videos out onto the Internet to be played with by unqualified people — especially after what happened with the first clips.
Skeptics caused quite a stir by taking it upon themselves to do their own “analysis” of the video clips and then to declare, with bravado, that the object of concern was simply a bug. Often this involved misquoting or misrepresenting me and the CEFAA in accompanying text. The question of qualifications aside, these individuals were handicapped by one even more overwhelming problem: Tthey were working without the necessary data required to make a proper analysis, and, most importantly, they were looking at video clips pulled from only one of the multiple cameras.
“The existence of more than one video, taken by different people at different distances catching the same scene, inclines us to believe this is not just a bug,” Bermúdez told me last week. “We do not owe anything to anyone on this, because we are interested only in the science. However, we will give further details when these other studies are completed.” …
If you are interested in the science, release all the videos. Otherwise, by releasing only one video, you make us think this is a big scam, like you are afraid to be embarrassed. Right now the most logical explanation is a lot of bugs flying around and getting on multiple cameras and you think it is one single UFO with amazing abilities. Show us otherwise. Thanks.
Posted by Xeno on April 17, 2012
Justice Department officials have known for years that flawed forensic work might have led to the convictions of potentially innocent people, but prosecutors failed to notify defendants or their attorneys even in many cases they knew were troubled.
… the Justice Department reviewed only a limited number of cases and focused on the work of one scientist at the FBI lab, despite warnings that problems were far more widespread and could affect potentially thousands of cases in federal, state and local courts.
As a result, hundreds of defendants nationwide remain in prison or on parole for crimes that might merit exoneration, a retrial or a retesting of evidence using DNA because FBI hair and fiber experts may have misidentified them as suspects.
In one Texas case, Benjamin Herbert Boyle was executed in 1997, more than a year after the Justice Department began its review. Boyle would not have been eligible for the death penalty without the FBI’s flawed work, according to a prosecutor’s memo.
The case of a Maryland man serving a life sentence for a 1981 double killing is another in which federal and local law enforcement officials knew of forensic problems but never told the defendant. Attorneys for the man, John Norman Huffington, say they learned of potentially exculpatory Justice Department findings from The Washington Post. They are seeking a new trial.
Justice Department officials said that they met their legal and constitutional obligations when they learned of specific errors, that they alerted prosecutors and were not required to inform defendants directly.
The review was performed by a task force created during an inspector general’s investigation of misconduct at the FBI crime lab in the 1990s. The inquiry took nine years, ending in 2004, records show, but the findings were never made public.
In the discipline of hair and fiber analysis, only the work of FBI Special Agent Michael P. Malone was questioned. Even though Justice Department and FBI officials knew that the discipline had weaknesses and that the lab lacked protocols — and learned that examiners’ “matches” were often wrong — they kept their reviews limited to Malone.
But two cases in D.C. Superior Court show the inadequacy of the government’s response.
Santae A. Tribble, now 51, was convicted of killing a taxi driver in 1978, and Kirk L. Odom, now 49, was convicted of a sexual assault in 1981.
Key evidence at each of their trials came from separate FBI experts — not Malone — who swore that their scientific analysis proved with near certainty that Tribble’s and Odom’s hair was at the respective crime scenes.
But DNA testing this year on the hair and on other old evidence virtually eliminates Tribble as a suspect and completely clears Odom. Both men have completed their sentences and are on lifelong parole. They are now seeking exoneration in the courts in the hopes of getting on with their lives.
Posted by Xeno on April 17, 2012
The biggest buzz at Sunday’s Coachella music festival in California wasn’t for a hot new DJ or indie-rock band. It was for Tupac Shakur, the rapper who died more than 15 years ago and “performed” Sunday night alongside Snoop Dogg and producer Dr. Dre.
Internet video of the Sunday evening show became an instant sensation on Monday morning. That response is helping push the possibility of a virtual Tupac tour in coming months.
The rapper’s ghostly image was created by Digital Domain Media Group Inc., the visual-effects house responsible for making the virtual versions of Brad Pitt that populated 2008′s “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” The movie won the Oscar for visual effects.
Representatives for Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg plan to discuss logistics for a tour involving the two performers and the virtual Tupac, according to a person familiar with the discussions.
One option would be a tour in stadiums, involving other hip-hop stars, including Eminem, 50 Cent and Wiz Khalifa. Alternately, they could stage a more limited tour, featuring only Dre, Snoop Dogg and the virtual Tupac, in smaller arenas. …
Via Wall Street Journal