Hype the Loop
Written by Dr. Klaus L. E. Kaiser
There is a new company, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies(HTT) that intends to revolutionize high speed continental travel. It’s CEO, Dirk Ahlborn, recently announced an agreement with the Slovakian government to build Hyperloops from Vienna, Austria to Bratislava, Slovakia, and from Bratislava to Budapest, Hungary. Its competitor, Hyperloop One, recently tested an open air propulsion test of a vehicle with its “Blade Runner” test rig.
The Japanese “bullet trains” going at 200 mph are like snails in comparison. The new hyper-things are envisaged to do about 760 mph. That’s even faster than modern transatlantic planes by a good measure.
So, what’s the Idea?
Well, see for yourself in the nearby picture. A kind of a sealed capsule travelling in an airtight tube that has a vacuum on the front end and, possibly, air pressure pushing the capsule on the rear end.
The above picture is found here, with the caption “Foto: Hyperloop Transportation Technologies.”
Apart from the fact that this obviously is not a “photo” but an artistic rendering of the idea, similar ideas for high speed “tube-trains” have been proposed and are being researched in the U.S. and, perhaps, elsewhere as well.
Another media outlet, derStandard.at, provides more details: According to that report, [translated from German], “The passive suspension technology does not require any energy” and “the system produces even more energy than it consumes.”
For sure this must be the Lord’s greatest gift to us humans: High speed transportation that allows travel from one end of the continent to the other in no time flat and produces energy at the same time. Energy paradise—here we come.
Safety is a Top Concern
But it’s not just speed that is on the inventors’ mind, safety is too. As well, the proponents envisage a new type of high-strength, light-weight carbon-fiber material for the system. They already have a name for it “Vibranium.”
This special (of course, also “intelligent”) material is supposed to “recognize weak points with the help of sensors.” But the real advantage (if I understand correctly) is how fast it can stop in an emergency situation, namely from 760 mph to a full stop in 6.4 seconds! A standard “Gentler E-stop” from that speed would take about 32 seconds and the “Preferred E-stop” a mere 16 seconds requiring less than 2 miles of track for that.
For comparison, modern transcontinental planes have a landing speed of roughly 150 mph, requiring approximately two miles of runway and in the order of 15 seconds to come to a complete stop (if desired). As kinetic energy goes with the square of the speed, any object traveling at five times that speed would need a deceleration force about 25 times that, even for the “preferred E-stop.”
Dear readers, it should be clear by now, these hyper-trains are intended to be able to “stop on a dime.” If you could get a bit dizzy just reading about that kind of deceleration, believe me, you would not want to be experiencing even a “gentle(r) E-stop” as it may just squish the contents of your cranium a bit. The information available in regard to this stopping technology is a bit thin, actually not available. All I can think of is a series of concrete blocks, appropriately spaced.
If you are not game to hop onto any of these futuristic hyperloop systems next time you are in town, no need to feel left out; I would never want to ride one either.
However, there is a more fundamental problem to the entire hyperloop idea.
One fundamental problem with the idea of hyperloop tube-trains for which even the leaders of these enterprises appear to lack any answer is how the hyper-loop thing is actually supposed to work. For example, HTT is engaging the public in discussions and with an “innovation challenge.” The latter is to pay for the development via future revenues from advertising inside the windowless hyperloop capsule having displays of “virtual landscapes”—mixed with advertising (talk about a captive audience!).
Currently, the enterprises are trying to entice mostly volunteers to provide labour (and capital) who are promised to earn future income via company stock or options.
In short, even the concept is so rudimentary (and, as I think unworkable) that it’s—at best—laughable. But, asderStandard.at reports, the system is “environment-friendly.”
There you have it in a nutshell: Anything, even the most outlandish ideas can get funding (including high-level political support) these days—as long as they claim to be “environment-friendly”.
Dear readers, I think your soft cranium contents will be safe for a long time to come!
Dream on you loopians, just don’t expect me to fund your crazy ideas!
Read more at: canadafreepress.com
Dr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser is author of CONVENIENT MYTHS, the green revolution – perceptions, politics, and facts
Dr. Kaiser can be reached at: email@example.com