Blog Heap o' Transport Links

| All Dates |
Blog-Heap links regarding transportation and related infrastructure,
also energy, because it takes energy to transport,
and virtuality, because telepresence saves on transpresence.

Spacecraft

Sun
Billion-Dollar Four-Satellite Gravity Study
Marcia Dunn, AP Sat 2015 Mar 14, 10:04am

NASA launched four identical spacecraft Thursday on a billion-dollar mission to study the explosive give-and-take of the Earth and sun's magnetic fields.

…quartet of observatories is being placed into an oblong orbit stretching tens of thousands of miles into the magnetosphere - nearly halfway to the moon at one point. They will fly in pyramid formation, between 6 miles and 250 miles apart, to provide 3-D views of magnetic reconnection on the smallest of scales.

Magnetic reconnection is what happens when magnetic fields like those around Earth and the sun come together, break apart, then come together again, releasing vast energy. This repeated process drives the aurora, as well as solar storms that can disrupt communications and power on Earth. …

Digital Future is Now

"Iron Man" Gives 7yo Real Bionic Arm
Leon Siciliano, Telegraph UK Thu 2015 Mar 12, 7:42pm

…Alex has two favourite things, riding his bike and superheroes. But Alex has a birth defect, his right arm is only partially formed making it difficult to ride his bike. Limbitless… builds 3D-printed bionic limbs for disabled children… enlisted a fairly special friend to [give Alex his bionic arm].

[I can imagine a 7yo thinking, I know he's just an actor who plays genius inventor Tony Stark in the movies, but he brought me a real bionic arm! Don't know which is cooler, that I've got a bionic arm, or that I got it from Iron Man!]

[Video, 2:19, officevideos on YouTube]

Transport Near-Tragedy

OKC 8yo Drives 20 Miles
Rachelle Blidner , New York Daily News Thu 2015 Mar 12, 7:16pm

"A deaf 8-year-old boy went on an overnight joyride through Oklahoma City, driving 20 miles before crashing into a curb on the other side of the city Thursday…"

[He couldn't hear the sirens?]

Transport

Pump That Jack
BuddyPC, Ace of Spades Sun 2015 Mar 8, 11:00am

"I dispatched the scissors-jack altogether, and got a 2 ton hydraulic bottle jack which you simply place under the lift bracket along the frame and pump up and down. 16 bucks at evil walmart. 4-5 ton rated ones are only 29."

Wrench That Jack
Sticky Wicket, Ace of Spades Sun 2015 Mar 8, 10:53am

You know those scissor jacks that most cars come with? They have that articulated crank thingy that invariably leads to scraped bloody knuckles? Takes forever to get the car high enough to remove the tire?

Toss the crank thingy, and use a cordless impact wrench, and suitably sized socket instead. (Those universal sockets, with all the pins inside, work rather well).

Even at home, when rotating, or swapping winter/summer tires, it works better than my hydraulic floor jack.

Energy

Levin Crusades for Carbon Dioxide
Tim Cavanaugh, Wash Examiner Thu 2015 Mar 5, 8:41pm

…“My heart goes out to the people of Boston,” Levin, who is also president of the Landmark Legal Foundation, told the Washington Examiner Thursday. “It’s obvious their political leaders don’t care that they have been suffering so much this winter. They want to make energy more expensive and keep people freezing and miserable. I am hoping to start this movement in the coldest areas, the bluest areas. I want to encourage people to drive their cars more often, keep their lights on, and use more energy, which is what gives us life.”…

Okla Flag
Small US Town Holding Billions in Black Gold
Morgan Brennan & Justin Solomon, CNBC Thu 2015 Mar 5, 4:22pm

Cushing, Oklahoma, 70 miles northeast of Oklahoma City, is a sleepy town with a population just under 8,000. It's also the intense focus of every major player in the American oil market right now.

North American crude oil is pouring into Cushing, where dozens of steel storage tanks fan out from the outskirts of town, tank farms that march on for miles and connect to every major oil patch in North America through an maze of pipelines. Cushing's nickname is "The Pipeline Crossroads of the World." …

But with WTI prices plunging by half since last summer, more crude has been coming into Cushing since late 2014 than has been flowing out. And storage capacity has been filling up—fast.

Transport Disaster

Another Reason for a Pipeline
TH Media Thu 2015 Mar 5, 8:37pm

"GALENA, Ill. — At least eight railcars derailed this afternoon south of Galena, sparking a massive fire and smoke that can be seen for miles. … No injuries have been reported…."

Energy

Bald Eagle
Cresent Dunes Streamer Project
Brian Stallard, Nature World News Tue 2015 Mar 3, 3:46pm

"…the last thing you'd likely expect is for a new experimental array to literally light nearly 130 birds in mid-flight on fire. And yet, that's exactly what happened near Tonopah, Nevada last month during tests of the 110-megawatt Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project. …"

[Actually, that's just what anyone who's been paying attention would expect.]

Spacecraft

Cruz on NASA's Future
Hunter Walker and Jessica Orwig, Business Insider Mon 2015 Mar 2, 6:14pm

Ted Cruz: "We must refocus our investment on the hard sciences, on getting men and women into space, on exploring low-Earth orbit and beyond, and not on political distractions that are extraneous to NASA’s mandate. I am excited to raise these issues in our subcommittee and look forward to producing legislation that confirms our shared commitment to this vital mission."

Infrastructure Threat

Arizona Communications Shutdown
Adam Kredo, Wash Free Beacon Sat 2015 Feb 28, 6:29pm

"Cellphone, Internet, and telephone services across half of Arizona went dark on Wednesday after vandals sliced a sensitive fiber optic cable, according to those familiar with the situation…"

All too easy.

Energy

Turban O
The Fight Finally is Taken to the Oval Office
Dan Butcher, Pundit Press Tue 2015 Feb 24, 6:24pm

President Obama said on Tuesday that he vetoed the Keystone pipeline legislation because it “attempts to circumvent longstanding and proven processes for determining whether or not building and operating a cross-border pipeline serves the national interest.”

They misspelled "because he wants America destroyed."

Digital Convergence

High Schoolers Lend a Hand
Sarah Zagorski, Life News Tue 2015 Feb 24, 2:20pm

"…Remarkably, the computer science class at Brenham High School used a design on the Internet and a $1500 3D printer to build Kaedon a new hand. …"

Pancake Portraiture
Kinneir Dufort Tue 2015 Feb 24, 2:15pm

"Combining CNC (Computer Numerical Control) technology with embedded face recognition and tracking software, the system dispenses layers of batter directly onto a hot plate allowing the creation of detailed and complex images within the pancake surfaces. As the conventional pancake batter is applied it immediately starts to cook and change colour and as subsequent layers are added the different tonal qualities of the image build up. …"

Transport Disaster

Narrow Escape From Train Wreck Explosion
AP / Breitbart Mon 2015 Feb 23, 9:48pm

…Bounds grabbed his cellphone off the bed and walked into the kitchen. As soon as he did, he heard the harrowing squeal of colliding metal and looked outside into the snowstorm. Just 50 feet away, he could see a train crashing.

He bolted out the front door as fast as his bad knees could take him. He didn’t have time to grab his shoes and trudged through the snow in his socks. Temperatures were in the teens. …

As he ran, the wreckage burst into spectacular fireballs that shot into the sky. The yard was on fire and “it blew that hot oil on both sides of me, all over the house, my trucks.” …

Nature vs Transport

Freighter On Lake Erie Overcome With Global Warming
BFH, I Own the World Report Sun 2015 Feb 22, 5:36pm

"The U.S. Coast Guard and its Canadian counterpart are working to free a 647-foot freighter that got stuck in the almost completely frozen Lake Erie Wednesday near Conneaut Harbor. …"

Transport Incident

92-year-old driver hits 10 cars in parking lot
UPI / Breitbart Tue 2015 Feb 17, 3:34pm

"…92-year-old man told officers he became confused and panicked behind the wheel."

Spacecraft

Star Trek's Enterprise
NASA developing Faster-Than-Light travel?
Jonathan O'Callaghan, Daily Mail Sat 2014 Jun 14, 2:11pm

The interstellar spacecraft builds on previous designs that thoeretically allow distant travel by bending space-time… Called IXS Enterprise… Alcubierre's theory was published in 1994 and involved enormous amounts of energy being used to expand and contract space itself - thereby generating a 'warp bubble' in which a spacecraft would travel. Allowing space and time to act as the propellant by pulling the craft through the bubble would be like stepping on an escalator….

Spacecraft

Just jump out... here
Adrienne LaFrance, The Atlantic Thu 2014 Jun 5, 3:22pm

NASA Is About to Test a Mega-Parachute at the Edge of Space - If the largest ever supersonic parachute works, we'll be a step closer to putting a human on Mars.

Transport

Underpasses, Graveyards, Tunnels, and travel tips
Lynne Terry, OregonLive Thu 2014 May 29, 3:03pm

…19-year-old who held his breath while driving [through a tunnel] and fainted, causing a three-vehicle crash on U.S. 26 that injured four people….

Transport Future

Where Robocars Can Really Take Us
Brad Templeton Thu 2014 May 29, 5:44pm

how computer geeks can enable the electric car, save the planet and millions of lives using near-term A.I. to make taxis and trucks deliver, park, recharge and drive themselves.

Driverless
Ace of Spades Thu 2014 May 29, 3:18pm

[Some good, and maybe not so good, discussion of pros and cons of Driverless Cars in Ace of Spades morning comment thread 2014 May 29. Some selections follow.]

No steering wheel or brake? What could possibly go wrong?
—Zombie John Gotti

It can only go 25 mph. They haven't made a driverless car, they made a driverless golf cart.
— nnptcgrad

Very cool news overall. I can wait to put the taxi cartels out of business.
—HoboJerky

It's basically the same as turning every car into public transportation… no government would allow the software of a driverless car to not have a 'back door' to allow them to control it.
— chemjeff

Why not? We have a driverless country!
—Cicero Kaboom! Kid

brain
'Mind pilots'
Michael Franco, CNET Thu 2014 May 29, 3:08pm

…researchers hooked study participants to a cap containing dozens of electroencephalography (EEG) electrodes, sat them down in a flight simulator, and told them to steer the plane through the sim using their thoughts alone. … Seven people underwent the experiment… all were able to pilot the plane using their thoughts to such a degree that their performance could have satisfied some of the criteria for getting a pilot's license.

More like an automated golf cart... so far
Brian Womack, Bloomberg Thu 2014 May 29, 3:06pm

Google Inc. has designed its own self-driving vehicles… The vehicles will initially have a top speed of 25 miles per hour and won’t have a steering wheel, accelerator pedal or brake pedal

Transport Law

Vigilante Traffic Control?
Kerry Drew, MyFoxNY Mon 2014 May 5, 11:56am

...She posted her sign right under the DOT's parking sign in her Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, neighborhood and left a spot for people to leave comments.

"The first person wrote like, 'The mayor should hire you. This is great,'" she says. "Things like that."

Projects like Nkki's are part of a growing trend called "tactical urbanism" in which regular citizens using tactics to try to improve the urban environment without the government's help.

[IOW what people outside the Big Dependencies do all the time!]

Transport Law

Toll Trolls
Ashley Halsey III, Wash. Post Sun 2014 May 4, 12:57pm

...the Obama administration Tuesday opened the door for states to collect tolls on interstate highways to raise revenue for roadway repairs.

The proposal, contained in a four-year, $302 billion White House transportation bill, would reverse a long-standing federal prohibition on most interstate tolling....

Energy

Nellie Johnstone
Drill, Baby, Drill
ABC News Wed 2012 Nov 14, 4:17pm

Drillers in Utah and Colorado are poking into a massive shale deposit trying to find a way to unlock oil reserves that are so vast they would swamp OPEC. … "In the past 100 years — in all of human history -- we have consumed 1 trillion barrels of oil. There are several times that much here,"

Infrastructure Threat

Sandy turned off the lights, the phones, and the heat. A cyber attack could make it all happen again.
Joel Brenner, Foreign Policy Tue 2012 Nov 13, 2:18pm

…isolating the key control systems of our critical infrastructure from the Internet should be a national goal. But the trend is in the opposite direction.

Nature vs Transport

More Than A Dozen Fisker Karma Hybrids Caught Fire And Exploded In New Jersey Port After Sandy
Jalopnik Thu 2012 Nov 1, 11:26am

Fisker released the following statement: “It was reported today that several Fisker Karmas were damaged by fire at the Port of Newark after being submerged in sea water during Superstorm Sandy. We can report that there were no injuries and none of the cars were being charged at the time…. [Yes, that's warmly comforting, isn't it!]

h/t: Drudge

Energy

T. Boone Pickens Weighs In On Energy Production At Conference In Bartlesville
News on 6 Mon 2012 Oct 15, 4:38pm

"We cannot, I don't believe, be energy independent, totally, in the United States. But what I've proposed and I've worked on the Romney plan—they have a good energy plan. Obama has no plan, he has only conversation," Pickens said.

Animals and Transport

Radio Caller Says Deer Crossing Signs ‘Encouraging Deer to Cross’
Jason Howerton, the Blaze Sun 2012 Oct 14, 6:33pm

“My frustration is that, Minnesota and North Dakota Departments of Transportation would allow these deer crossing in such high traffic areas. I mean, I’ve even seen them on the interstate,” Donna began. “Why are we encouraging deer to cross at the interstate? I don’t get it,” Donna said to two stunned radio hosts. [VIDEO (slideshow/audio)]

Animals and Transport

Dog Stuck In Car Grill Survives 11-Mile Horror Ride
CBS Boston Wed 2012 Oct 3, 3:09pm

When he pulled up to a traffic light in East Providence, another driver told him there was a dog wedged in the front grill of his car. … “It had a concussion from a bang to the head (and) a small rupture in its bladder. It was a very lucky dog,”

Virtual Future is Now

Vinylmint lets you record music with anyone online
Devindra Hardawar at VentureBeat Wed 2012 Oct 3, 3:13pm

Taking the notion of online collaboration to a whole new level, VinylMint has created a cloud-based solution for musicians to jam and record in real time.

Energy

Matt Damon’s Anti-Fracking Movie Financed by Oil-Rich Arab Nation
Lachlan Markay, Heritage Sat 2012 Sep 29, 4:07pm

…presents American oil and natural gas producers as money-grubbing villains purportedly poisoning rural American towns. It is therefore of particular note that it is financed in part by the royal family of the oil-rich United Arab Emirates. … produced “in association with” Image Media Abu Dhabi, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Media … wholly owned by the government of the UAE.

Digital Future is Now

Nestle Puts GPS Devices Inside Candy Bars To Track Winning Customers
CBS Seattle Thu 2012 Sep 27, 7:01pm

Once the winning candy bar wrapper is opened, the tracking device will go off and Nestle officials will be able to find the exact location of the customer. [What could go wrong?]

Nature vs Infrastructure

sun
This Couldn't Happen Now, or Could It?
John McLaughlin at AmericanThinker.com Mon 2012 Jul 16, 2:12pm

The Solar Super Storm of 1859 -- named the Carrington Event after the amateur English astronomer who first reported it -- began as a sunspot array spotted on the morning of September 1. As Carrington watched, the spots suddenly erupted into two brilliant flares, twice as bright as the sun itself, peaking within 5 minutes and subsiding.

The following morning, brilliant aurora displays became visible over much of the world as far south as the tropics. Suddenly, telegraph systems all over Europe and North America failed as wires melted and sparks sprayed out over telegraph poles igniting widespread fires.

Digital Future is Now

Awesome 360-degree panoramas
John Koetsier at VentureBeat Fri 2012 Jul 13, 11:19am

On your phone or tablet… move your phone around in space… It’s like augmented reality, except it’s even more augmented because your phone is showing you things that aren’t there… phone becomes a moving window to the place and time in which the panorama was created… 360-degree panorama tool… when we played with these in the newsroom at VentureBeat we were soon moving our phones through the air like complete idiots … and enjoying every second of it.

Digital Future is Now

The next major design shift will be living design
Devindra Hardawar at VentureBeat Wed 2012 Jul 11, 2:52pm
“We call it ‘living design’ because the key thing that’s going to happen next…is undoubtedly the Internet of things,” Curtis said at our MobileBeat conference in San Francisco, referring to the idea that soon everything will be connected to the Internet. “The digital world is going to be louder than the real world, and it’s going to surround you, pretty tightly wrapped up,” he said. The API culture will drive the living design movement, Curtis said, which is already picking up steam. After all, once just about everything is online, companies will want to make their services easily available on a variety of devices.

Transport Future

Terrifying tininess transport
Carl Franzen at TPM Sat 2012 Jul 7, 8:23pm
Imagine a cheap, tiny, hovering aerial drone capable of being launched with the flick of a person’s wrist and able to provide manipulable 360-degree surveillance views. It’s real, it’s inspired by maple seeds [Video]

Transport Pre-Automation

Confessions of a Driving Instructor
Mac Demere at Popular Mechanics Thu 2012 Jul 5, 12:15pm
The pregnant 17-year-old came waddling out of her single-wide trailer. During the lesson she argued with my basic motoring advice: "If I can't turn right from the left lane, how can I get into Walmart?" How, indeed.

Energy

EPA requiring oil refiners to fuel that's hypothetical
Jim Angle at Fox News Mon 2012 Jul 2, 5:00pm
Federal regulations can be maddening, but none more so than a current one that demands oil refiners use millions of gallons of a substance, cellulosic ethanol, that does not exist. "As ludicrous as that sounds, it's fact," says Charles Drevna, who represents refiners. "If it weren't so frustrating and infuriating, it would be comical." …they might as well tell us to use unicorns." And yet, they still have to pay what amounts to fines… And Tom Pyle of the Institute of Energy Research says, "the cellulosic biofuel program is the embodiment of government gone wild." Refiners are at their wit's end because the government set out requirements to blend cellulosic ethanol back in 2005, assuming that someone would make it. Seven years later, no one has.
Who are the 18% who think we don't need Keystone, anyway?
Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit Mon 2012 Jul 2, 4:26pm
Once again, Barack Obama stands alone, outside the gates of common sense. Only 18% of Americans agree with Obama that the US should not approve the Keystone Pipeline.

Digital Future is Now

G
Adult film studio wants to get mitts on super-specs
Eddie Wrenn at Daily Mail Sat 2012 Jun 30, 12:00pm
'Google Glasses will be great for point-of-view porn' [Well, duh. How did you think they'd be used?] …quite what Google will think of the idea is another doesn't matter… [FIFY]
h/t: Drudge

Infrastructure Failure

a
Amazon cloud outage takes down Netflix, Instagram, Pinterest, & more
Sean Ludwig at Venture Beat Sat 2012 Jun 30, 2:01pm
An outage of Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud in North Virginia has taken down Netflix, Pinterest, Instagram, and other services. According to numerous Twitter updates and our own checks, all three services are unavailable as of Friday evening at 9:10 p.m. PT. Amazon’s service health dashboard indicates that there are power issues in its North Virginia data center, most likely caused by severe storms in the region. The outage underscores the vulnerabilities of depending on the public cloud versus using your own data centers. Independent checks by VentureBeat of Netflix, Instagram, Pinterest, and Heroku show each site not operating.

Transport Future

“Ghost” Ship Emerges from Stealth Startup, Gears Up for War
Gregory T. Huang, Xconomy Wed 2012 Jun 27, 5:41pm
Imagine a boat that moves through the water differently from any other boat in existence. It uses “supercavitation”—the creation of a gaseous bubble layer around the hull to reduce friction underwater—to reach very high speeds at relatively low fuel cost. Its speed and shape means it can evade detection by sonar or ship radar. It can outrun torpedoes. Its fuel efficiency means it has greater range and can run longer missions than conventional boats and helicopters.

Digital Future is Now

New gigapixel camera may revolutionize photography, surveillance
Jon Bardin, Los Angeles Times Wed 2012 Jun 27, 5:32pm
Engineers have created a new camera with the capability of capturing over a gigapixel of data, a resolution that is significantly better than normal human vision.

Transport Pleasures

'Car Talk' radio show: Magliozzi brothers calling it quits
Marty Padgett, Christian Science Monitor Fri 2012 Jun 15, 1:17pm
'Car Talk' will continue in reruns and as print column. But after 25 years of puzzles, puns, and other antics, 'Car Talk' will end in September.

Transport Future

Convoy of self-driving cars takes to Spanish highway
AFP/My Fox NY Wed 2012 May 30, 10:49am
A convoy of self-driving cars took to a public motorway in Spain in normal traffic, a world first, according to Swedish car maker Volvo… professional driver took the lead in a truck, and was followed by four self-driven Volvo vehicles… [Emphasis added. Not exactly self-driving. More like electronically coupled. Oh well. Progress, or a sort.]
h/t: Drudge

Spacecraft

NASA
NASA to future moon explorers: Don’t ruin our Apollo landing sites
Larry Mcshane, NY Daily News Wed 2012 May 30, 10:29am
NASA has reached an agreement with the Google X Lunar Prize competition to prevent the next wave of moon visitors from ruining historic lunar sites. …guidelines would also protect existing scientific experiments… guests vying for $30 million in prize money…. [We just need a President who will send troops up there to guard whatever we need guarded!]
h/t: Drudge

Transport Pre-Automation

City residents don't want speed cameras
Bob Secter, Chicago Tribune Fri 2012 May 25, 9:05pm
Mayor Rahm Emanuel billed his soon-to-be-launched speed camera program as being about child safety and not raising cash, but a new Tribune/WGN-TV poll shows most Chicago voters are skeptical of the mayor's rationale and don't want the devices.

Transport Tragedy

101yo killed by 91yo driver
AP/ABC Thu 2012 May 24, 7:20pm
A 101-year-old man is dead after being struck by a car driven by a 91-year-old woman as he crossed a Burbank street.

Animals and Transport

Hawk
Man Killed After Motorcycle Strikes Low-Flying Buzzard
CBS Wash DC Sat 2012 May 12, 4:14pm
Around 3 p.m on May 6, 31-year-old David Christopher Norris was riding his motorcycle on Brown Station Road, near Brooke Lane, in Upper Marlboro when the bird flew directly into his travel path....

Robots

What Could Possibly Go Wrong? U.S. Army Wants To Give War Robots More Power To 'Make Their Own Decisions'
War News Updates Sat 2012 May 12, 3:49pm
the U.S. military not only wants more robots - it wants more 'autonomous' robots, robots free to make their own decisions on the battlefield.

Energy

Vid still
FrackNation - Why and how it's being made
noteviljustwrong, YouTube Thu 2012 May 3, 12:29pm
Promotional and fund-raising video for Fracking Nation, rebutting the dangers of Fracking.
h/t: Cuz BD

Transport Future

Monorail car
Urban Transportation by Monorail
All the Auto World Tue 2012 May 1, 12:46pm

For decades, city centers and intercity roads have suffered from heavy traffic congestion and air pollution from car emissions. To diminish these effects, governments have tried to get people out of their cars and onto public transport such as trains, trams, buses and metros, as well was using non-polluting bicycles. Unfortunately, this has mostly proven to be unsuccessful. At least partly to blame here are poor connections between different modes of transport, longer traveling times and delays, as well as a lack of comfort and privacy. Designers and engineers are now exploring new public transport concepts, which are more capable of competing with the car by offering quicker, and in some cases individualized, transportation, as well as introducing a new range of personal city vehicles. [Mostly to blame is that mass transportation is not what people want! That said, there are some nice designs here. And flying cars!]

Energy

light bulb
New Clean Coal Ad Mocks #Occupy Criminal Movement
Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit Tue 2012 May 1, 10:45am

“It’s time we focused on reality instead of rhetoric.” The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity released this powerful ad recently. The group boldly mocks the #occupy criminal movement in the powerful pro-American ad. [Video]

Transport Whoops!

The day a nuclear bomb fell on South Carolina
Anthony Bond, Daily Mail (UK) Sat 2012 Apr 28, 1:16pm

At around four o’clock they decided to move from the playhouse to the side yard 200 yards away. It was a decision that kept them from becoming the first Americans killed by a nuclear weapon released on U.S. territory. Minutes later the woods behind the playhouse were destroyed by a nuclear bomb. [Sort-of]

Energy

Fishy
Environmentalists Win Fed Backing to Shut Down 4 Hydro Power Plants
Jenny Erikson, Breitbart Thu 2012 Apr 26, 2:51pm

Environmentalists have persuaded the Department of the Interior to remove four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River. These dams not only provide clean, green energy to the Klamath community, they sustain area ranches and farms with continual access to water. An environmentalist’s dream, right? But the fish! We must always put fish ahead of people!

Robots

Johnny 5 unhappy
Should Robots Be Blamed for Battlefield Mistakes?
Jesse Emspak at Discovery News Wed 2012 Apr 25, 2:51pm

"If a robot in combat accidentally kills a civilian, who is to blame? This isn't as straightforward of a question as it sounds. A team of scientists presented a study at the International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction and found that although robots don't have free will, people sometimes treat them as if they do. ..."

Johnny 5 is unhappy
The Robots That Can Be Blown Up and Keep On Detecting IEDs
Rose Pastore at PopSci Wed 2012 Apr 25, 2:48pm

An operator anywhere within 2,500 feet of the robot directs its four cameras to locate IEDs and its gripper arm to dismantle them. ...can be blown up and repaired about a dozen times before being decommissioned....

Energy

Ms Green M
Our Dangerous Dependence on Foreign Chocolate
Breitbart Fri 2012 Apr 13, 1:18pm

America is addicted to chocolate. Foreign chocolate.

A majority of us consume chocolate each day. Although the U.S. produces only 6% of the world’s cocoa, we consume more than 20%.

The threat is obvious. It’s time for government to step in and promote alternatives.

[Former Okla. Congressman Ernest Istook, chocolate-covered tongue in cheek]

Energy

Windmill
Blown in the Wind
Talk Business Tue 2012 Apr 3, 6:17pm
Mitsubishi has decided to “mothball” its Fort Smith [Arkansas] wind-turbine manufacturing that was expected to employ 400 at full production.

Officials with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries said the demand for wind turbines in North America had stagnated, with new contracts difficult to obtain. The company is also in an ongoing legal battle with General Electric related to patent claims on wind-turbine equipment.

Digital Future is Now

HMZ-T1: Sony unveils world's first 3D head-mounted display that is as immersive as 'sitting in a cinema'
dailymail.co.uk Thu 2011 Sep 1, 10:24pm

Resembling a futuristic visor, the £480 ($800) device is worn like a pair of chunky goggles and earphones in one. It is equipped with two 0.7in high definition organic light emitting diode (OLED) panels and 5.1 channel dynamic audio headphone. The gadget enables the wearer to experience cinema-like viewing, equivalent to watching a 750-inch screen from 20 metres away.... It seems unlikely that most people - or even technology enthusiasts - will want to buy a product that involves sitting alone and wearing a little helmet. [Oh, REALLY??]

Spacecraft

Space Junk Problem Is More Threatening Than Ever, Report Warns
space.com Thu 2011 Sep 1, 10:28pm

There is so much junk in space that collisions could start to increase exponentially, leading to a continuously growing pile of rubble in orbit

Digital Future is Now

Marc Andreessen on Why Software Is Eating the World
online.wsj.com Sun 2011 Aug 28, 6:39pm

My own theory is that we are in the middle of a dramatic and broad technological and economic shift in which software companies are poised to take over large swathes of the economy. More and more major businesses and industries are being run on software and delivered as online services—from movies to agriculture to national defense. Many of the winners are Silicon Valley-style entrepreneurial technology companies that are invading and overturning established industry structures. Over the next 10 years, I expect many more industries to be disrupted by software, with new world-beating Silicon Valley companies doing the disruption in more cases than not. ... Over two billion people now use the broadband Internet, up from perhaps 50 million a decade ago, when I was at Netscape, the company I co-founded. In the next 10 years, I expect at least five billion people worldwide to own smartphones, giving every individual with such a phone instant access to the full power of the Internet, every moment of every day. On the back end, software programming tools and Internet-based services make it easy to launch new global software-powered start-ups in many industries—without the need to invest in new infrastructure and train new employees. ...

Spacecraft

Space station supply ship crashes back to Earth
cbsnews.com Fri 2011 Aug 26, 9:48am

An unmanned Russian cargo ship carrying tons of supplies for astronauts on the International Space Station suffered a major malfunction after launching today and ultimately crashed back to Eart ... Ship was hauling 2.9 tons of food, fuel and supplies to space station; 2nd Russian spacecraft to be lost during launch in six days

Energy

Wealthy Liberals Target New Drilling Techniques That Heighten Natural Gas Production and Boost Jobs
biggovernment.com Thu 2011 Aug 25, 7:21pm

After scrutinizing several of the natural gas articles produced by ProPublica, the Independent Institute uncovered several "errors and exaggerations" that cast the industry in very bad light. There is, for example, a 2002 study from the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission that could not find any evidence of groundwater contamination resulting from hydraulic fracturing contrary to what was reported in ProPublica. The commission surveyed agencies in 28 states. This effort spanned the entire history of hydraulic fracturing in those states. Another key player here is the Heinz Foundation, which has expanded the number grants devoted to studying the natural gas industry. Heinz is headed up by Teresa Heinz, wife of Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) ... The slanted reporting and misinformation could come with a serious price tag

Transport Incident

Air rage businessman threatened to stab BA pilots after being refused alcohol
dailymail.co.uk Tue 2011 Aug 23, 2:52pm

PlaneA U.S. businessman who went into a drunken rage on board a transatlantic flight to the UK was arrested after allegedly threatening to stab the pilots with a shard of glass. ... 'Petrified' passengers claimed 32-year-old ... was drinking large quantities of wine and beer before raving at passengers and attacking staff. [Petrified? Really? Over a "shard of glass"? In this post-9/11 day and age?]

Transport Tragedy

Three Generations killed when tire blows
hosted.ap.org Sun 2011 Aug 21, 8:35pm

a 22-year-old woman, her mother and grandmother were killed when the family's SUV blew a tire on northbound I-95 in Wilson County, the driver lost control and the vehicle overturned.

Infrastructure Threat

Seminole County man due in court for Oklahoma IED
kjrh.com Mon 2011 Aug 15, 3:05pm

A 40-year-old Seminole County man arrested for allegedly attaching an improvised explosive device to a natural gas pipeline in Oklahoma... Daniel Wells Herriman of Konowa...

Transport Pleasures

Ford Tri-Motor will make a stop at the Bartlesville Airport
bartlesvilleradio.com Mon 2011 Aug 15, 12:26pm

A historic Ford Tri-Motor will make a stop at the Bartlesville Airport on September 15 — 18. ...played a major role in the development of safe and reliable air transportation in the United States.... manufactured on August 21, 1929....

Infrastructure Threat

No federal charges for explosive device yet
fox23.com Fri 2011 Aug 12, 6:03pm

When the FBI deactivated a ticking device on a gas line found around 11 Wednesday morning they got the gas line turned off and evacuated about 25 residents living a half mile from the danger zone. ... a crude explosive with batteries attached. The timer was set at 2. ... may have been waterlogged from the overnight storms....

More Information To Be Released On Possible Bomb Found In Okemah
newson6.com Fri 2011 Aug 12, 6:01pm

The FBI says more information will be released about a possible explosive found on a gas line in eastern Oklahoma. ... found Wednesday on a gas line in Okfuskee County by a county deputy sheriff who thought it might be a bomb because of a timer attached to it. ...

Digital Policing

London riots: Police use Flickr to help catch looters
digitaltrends.com Fri 2011 Aug 12, 5:47pm

London's Metropolitan Police have created a Flickr page, entitled "London Disorder — Operation Withern," which includes the "first of many" CCTV images of rioters suspected of looting, committing violence and other criminal acts. Police hope the public can help identify the alleged criminals and bring them into custody. ... Police also launched the Twitter hashtag #tweetalooter, which they urge citizens to use if they have information about rioters or criminal acts. ... Police aren't the only ones setting up websites to help catch looters. ...

Spacecraft

Texas drought reveals space shuttle Columbia tank debris
floridatoday.com Sun 2011 Aug 7, 12:55pm

Wreckage from shuttle Columbia was uncovered in East Texas this week, the result of a prolonged drought lowering water levels in a lake. The spherical tank, which is about four feet in diameter, is stuck in the mud alongside Lake Nacogdoches. ...part of Columbia's power-producing fuel cell system. ...thought to be either a liquid hydrogen or liquid oxygen tank.

Transport Disaster

At least 32 die in east China high-speed train crash
reuters.com Tue 2011 Jul 26, 7:29pm

At least 32 people died when a high-speed train smashed into a stalled train in China's eastern Zhejiang province Saturday, state media said, raising new questions about the safety of the fast-growing rail network. The accident occurred on a bridge near the city of Wenzhou after the first train lost power due to a lightning strike and a bullet train following behind crashed into it.... The total power failure rendered useless an electronic safety system designed to warn following trains of stalled trains on the tracks up ahead, and automatically halt them before a collision can occur.... The flagship Beijing-Shanghai high-speed rail line has been plagued by power outages, leaving passengers stranded on stuffy trains for hours at least three times since opening a month ago.

Transport Future

Israel Electric Road: Scientists Turn Traffic Into Power At Haifa's Technion Institute Of Technology
news.sky.com Thu 2011 Jul 21, 6:54pm

Scientists in Israel say they have invented a way of turning traffic into electricity. ... a road that generates power when vehicles pass over it. ... 'piezo' electricity

Terrafugia Flying Car Cleared for Landing in US
foxnews.com Thu 2011 Jul 21, 6:50pm

A flying car retailing for $227,000 could be on roads in a matter of months -- and customers are already lining up to be the first to get their hands on one, its maker claims. Just over a week ago, the Terrafugia Transition passed a significant milestone when it was cleared for takeoff by the U.S. National Highway Safety Administration. It's taken Terrafugia founder Carl Dietrich just five years to realize his dream, with some media outlets reporting that the Transition could now be on U.S. roads by the end of next year.

Energy

Hooray! Congress Is Finally Scaling Back Ethanol Subsidies! Except for Not
reason.com Thu 2011 Jul 21, 6:16pm

Thune and Klobuchar's bill takes the tax revenue gained from ending the VEETC (which, again, doesn't help ethanol producers), and dedicates most of the money to other ethanol subsidies, such as tax credits for small ethanol producers and for ethanol blender pumps to be installed at gas stations. The bill, of course, leaves in place the mandate, which is by far the biggest ethanol subsidy. Lobbyists for the American Coalition for Ethanol and the Renewable Fuels Association applaud the bill -- which tells you just about all you need to know.

Transport Business

Electric Car Maker Folds, Salinas Loses $500,000
ksbw.com Thu 2011 Jul 21, 6:51pm

A Salinas car manufacturing company that was expected to build environmentally friendly electric cars and create new jobs folded before almost any vehicles could run off the assembly line. The city of Salinas had invested more than half a million dollars in Green Vehicles, an electric car start-up company. All of that money is now gone

Transport Rights

Federal Court Rules That TSA 'Naked Scans' Are Constitutional
blogs.forbes.com Sat 2011 Jul 16, 12:09pm

D.C. Circuit ... This morning, the federal court ruled that the "naked scans" of air travelers do not violate Americans' constitutional rights. ... Judge Douglas Ginsburg writes that the advance imaging technology is not unreasonable given the security concerns on airplanes, and that people have the option to opt out for a pleasurable patdown. The court notes that some "have complained that the resulting patdown was unnecessarily aggressive," but the judges don't seem overly concerned about that. ... Good news for body scanner manufacturers Rapiscan and L-3. Bad news for those who don't like having to choose between digital nudity and frisking.

Woman Gropes TSA Agent's Breast at Security Checkpoint
myfoxny.com Sat 2011 Jul 16, 11:58am

a Colorado woman is accused of putting her hands on a TSA agent at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix. ... grabbed the left breast of the female agent ... squeezed and twisted the agent's breast with both hands ... There's no word why she touched the agent. [No, can't imagine!] now faces a felony count of sexual abuse. [Oh, goodj! Oh, wait, they don't mean TSA....]

Transport Business

Let's Face It, High Speed Rail Is Dead
newgeography.com Fri 2011 Jul 15, 8:17pm

Transportation Ray LaHood visited Europe to check out HSR there in person and came back proclaiming, "High speed rail is coming to America." The $8 billion, we were told, was a down payment, and that in little more than two decades, America's largest cities would be linked by a web of high speed trains. But as it turns out, a series of snafus and reversals has left Obama's HSR agenda on life support. ... But beyond those philosophically opposed to HSR, some high speed rail advocates have done themselves no favors either. They've resolutely backed pretty much any and every rail project regardless of whether it is potentially useful or an outright boondoggle.

Transport Threat

Stun gun found in Boston-to-NJ jet after arrival
news.yahoo.com Fri 2011 Jul 15, 8:56pm

A cellphone-size stun gun found aboard a JetBlue plane arriving from Boston did not appear intended to be used in an attack

Transport Pleasures

4 Reasons traveling is a waste of time
blog.penelopetrunk.com Fri 2011 Jul 15, 8:47pm

I'm growing sour on travel. I have always disliked it. When I was a kid my parents took us all over Europe and the Caribbean, and it really exhausted me. Now that I'm a grown up, I am better able to articulate why I think travel is a waste of time. Here are four reasons why I think the benefits of travel are largely delusional

Transport Rights

Donald Rumsfeld -- Is That a Gun In Your Pocket?
tmz.com Fri 2011 Jul 15, 9:02pm

No one is immune to the probing hands of the TSA ... including former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld ... who got the pat-down at Chicago's O'Hare airport this afternoon

New Port Richey couple says TSA search went too far
wtsp.com Fri 2011 Jul 15, 8:52pm

"It was extremely thorough, almost a violation, "says Jason Steitler as he describes how a TSA official searched him at the Greater Rochester International Airport July 6th. Steitler's disability requires he uses a wheelchair. "They did the hair then did the neck. Then they had me do a pushup in my chair, then got down into my inner thigh around my back side. It's the most thorough search [I've] had done in my life," says Steitler. ... "She's been using the phrase 'search raped' because it was that thorough. She says it was nearly to her crotch," says Steitler. "I feel the chair should have option of either scanner or searches, but automatically we're being thrown to being patted down."

Police charge mother in Nashville airport altercation
tennessean.com Fri 2011 Jul 15, 8:51pm

A 41-year-old Clarksville woman was arrested after Nashville airport authorities say she was belligerent and verbally abusive to security officers, refusing for her daughter to be patted down at a security checkpoint. ... saying she did not want her daughter to be "touched inappropriately or have her "crotch grabbed" ... After the woman refused to calm down, airport police said, she was charged with disorderly conduct and taken to jail. ... At one point, Abbott tried unsuccessfully to take a video with her cellphone. ... TSA says it will instruct screeners how to make repeated attempts to screen young children without invasive pat-downs.

Transport Disaster

'Metal coffin': 128 dead as Russia boat sinks
msnbc.msn.com Fri 2011 Jul 15, 8:56pm

Russia said there was little hope of finding any more people alive on Monday after an overloaded tourist boat sank in the Volga River, killing as many as 128 people in Russia's worst river accident in three decades.

Transport Tragedy

Girl killed in buggy accident
kentuckynewera.com Sun 2011 Jul 10, 9:44pm

An Illinois man is being held at the Christian County Jail after a tractor-trailer he was driving hit a horse-drawn buggy, killing a young Amish girl and injuring three members of her family ... being held for murder, operating a vehicle under the influence, criminal mischief and three counts of assault

Spacecraft

Reflections of the Clear Blue Sky
zillablog.marezilla.com Sat 2011 Jul 9, 4:42pm

Today the Space Shuttle Atlantis took off for the last time, as Obama has scrapped our space program in favor of using NASA to "make muslims feel good" and America will now have to hitch rides with Russia, which will now control the International Space Station. It is a sad day.

Transport Threat

Alert: Terrorists Look to Implant Bombs in Humans
abcnews.go.com Fri 2011 Jul 8, 6:35pm

Airlines are being warned by the government that terrorists are considering surgically hiding bombs inside humans to evade airport security. As a result, travelers may find themselves subjected to more scrutiny when flying in the heart of summer vacation season, especially to the U.S. from abroad. ... People-scanning machines in airports aren't able to detect explosives hidden inside humans. ... Jimmie C. Oxley, a chemistry professor at the University of Rhode Island and explosives expert, said it would be tough to carry out such an effort successfully. She said there are only so many places to hide a bomb in the body, and a suicide bomber would have to recover enough from the surgery to travel and set off the device. ... [ALL PASSEENGERS SUBJECT TO IMPROMPTU SURGERY BY TSA AGENTS]

Transport Tragedy

NY motorcyclist in helmet protest hits head, dies
news.yahoo.com Fri 2011 Jul 8, 6:30pm

ONONDAGA, N.Y. — A man riding bareheaded on one of about 550 motorcycles in an anti-helmet law rally lost control of his cycle, went over his handlebars, hit his head on the pavement and died...

Transport Threat

Bomb scares, threats hit Metro about twice daily
washingtonexaminer.com Sat 2011 Jun 25, 12:14pm

Metro has responded to 339 calls for service in the first half of 2011 involving a suspicious person, package, bomb threat or similar condition, according to the transit agency. That's almost two cases every day. ... It was not immediately clear how many — if any — of the 339 cases involved actual bombs or credible threats.

Transport Tragedy

Cops: Metal pin from dump truck killed passenger on I-95 in Greenwich - GreenwichTime
greenwichtime.com Sat 2011 Jun 25, 12:09pm

The metal object that killed a Waterbury woman while she was riding in a sport utility vehicle on Interstate 95 south in Greenwich on Saturday was a locking pin that likely flew off a one-ton dump truck, State Police said Wednesday. Investigators at Troop G in Bridgeport are trying to uncover what happened around 12:34 p.m. that led to the object smashing through the windshield of a 2003 Ford Escape and striking the victim, Sara Betancourt, who was sitting in the front passenger seat....

Transport Near-Tragedy

Mich. boy driving car to father's house hit 50 mph
google.com Thu 2011 Jun 23, 6:54pm

A 7-year-old Michigan boy barefoot and in pajamas drove a car for 20 miles, sometimes hitting speeds of 50 mph, before finally slowing down and stopping with the help of authorities.

Transport Incident

Stressed commuter goes nuts after being told to keep her voice down
dailymail.co.uk Sun 2011 Jun 19, 12:43pm

A bad case of superiority complex, maybe! There can only be one thing worse than someone talking loudly on the train ... and that's someone talking loudly on the train about how intelligent they are. Captured on a cellphone by a fellow passenger on a New York-Connecticut train is a commuter straight out of the 'do you know who I am?' school.

Transport Safety

TSA vs. private airport screeners
dailycaller.com Tue 2011 Jun 14, 5:58pm

Earlier this year, the Transportation Security Administration halted a program that allowed airports to privatize their screeners, citing safety concerns, but airport administrators say TSA stopped the program with little warning and without adequate justification.

Transport Business

3rd tour bus operator shut down after violations
cbsnews.com Sun 2011 Jun 12, 10:10am

A North Carolina-based bus company was ordered Saturday to cease operations because government inspectors say the company hires drivers who don't have the required licenses or who aren't medically examined and qualified. It was the third company ordered to shut down within a few days in a string of inspections that follows the deaths of four people in a wreck involving a bus owned by another North Carolina company.... The FMCSA earlier ordered Sky Express Inc. of Charlotte to shut down after an accident on May 31 in Virginia that killed four passengers and injured dozens of others. Within days, the government had to order the company to shut down again after investigators discovered the carrier was repainting its buses and continuing to sell tickets ... Also Saturday, the government ordered Haines Tours of Gladwin, Mich., to cease commercial bus operations after passengers were found in a luggage compartment with mattresses and pillows during a trip to Ohio. And on Thursday, regulators shut down Georgia-based JCT Motor Coach Inc. for the second time since 2009, saying the company changed its name to avoid a previous order to cease operations because of safety violations.....

Transport Incident

After 'vicious' punch-up, 76yo man arrested on Virgin flight to Barbados
dailymail.co.uk Sat 2011 Jun 11, 5:45pm

PlaneA man aged 76 and two members of his family were arrested after a 'vicious' punch-up on a plane that took cabin crew 30 minutes to break up. Derek Edmond, his daughter Zoe King and her husband Martin were on a Virgin Atlantic flight from Gatwick to Barbados when a Danish family sitting nearby accused them of being too noisy. Police said Mrs King, 46, was celebrating her birthday and she and her family had been drinking for much of the eight-hour flight.

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