9 Alternative Methods of Transit For the Future


When it comes to futuristic transportation, self-driving cars are just the beginning. Whether traveling by ground, water, or air, the ways we might get around in the future are approaching the stuff of sci-fi fantasy. These projects are worth keeping an eye on (though some are more likely to actually happen than others).


Is there nothing Tesla exec Elon Musk can't do? It seems that his vision of a superfast train system that can speed you from LA to San Francisco in just 30 minutes is soon becoming a reality, thanks to a series of competitions being held by SpaceX. With linear induction motors and air compressors that help you glide on an air cushion at an astounding 760 mph, Hyperloop also promises to be cheaper, quieter, and potentially much faster than a maglev train.


China is already planning to implement this innovative solution to urban congestion and pollution. The beauty of Transit Explore Bus is that it makes use of already existing infrastructure in Beijing, with two lane-wide “straddling buses” that can transport up to 1400 individuals and travel up to 40 mph. The buses roll above highways on track lines 7 feet above street level and positioned between lanes of traffic, thus allowing passengers to hop on and off at elevated bus stops with ease.


Imagine being sucked through a frictionless tube from New York to Beijing in two hours. Using superconducting maglev trains at speeds up to a little over 4000 mph, ET3 Global Alliance's pod could be 50 times faster than electric trains. It puts a whole new spin on the possibilities of super-fast transport, not to mention other lifestyle areas including global backpacking and even long-distance dating!


Die-hard bikers, relax: You won't be left out in the future of public transit. Google has already invested $1 million in Shweeb, a human-powered monorail system employing bicycle pods. The project was one of 150,000 ideas submitted to Google's Project 10^100 in 2010. While we're still eagerly anticipating Shweeb's first planned location, you can already pedal your way up to 28 miles/hour at Agroventures in New Zealand—on your own steam, of course.


Who wouldn't covet the freedom of water-jetting around the Maldives at a leisurely 3.5 knots, and in their own UFO-shaped yacht? Especially when amenities include a vegetable garden and running track on deck, as well as an underwater viewing platform below? If you don't feel like exhausting the electric motor to power your home, you can also opt for alternative energy sources via solar panels and wind/water turbines attached above and below the main UFO disc. In addition, there's a water generator that can be used for converting rain and seawater into fresh drinkable water. Sounds like smooth sailing to us.


This personal submarine designed by engineer Graham Hawkes applies the latest aircraft technology to transform you into an explorer of the boundless ocean. DeepFlight Dragon holds up to two individuals and has a system that handles decision-making, allowing for users to pilot the craft without much training. Once underwater, the Dragon hovers and glides around easily due to its stable quadcopter drone technology. Its super-efficient energy source—a tiny 15 Kilowatt-hour battery pack—lasts six hours between charges. All of this fun doesn't come cheap: DeepFlight Dragon has a hefty price tag of $1.5 million. Even though DeepFlight's stabilization software is still being tweaked and tested, we're already prepping a Spotify playlist for a first joyride.


Expect to beat traffic by flying above it on your daily work commute on this flying motorbike. Based on the same flying principles as a tandem-rotor Chinook helicopter, movement is controlled through motorcycle-like handle grips. According to creator Chris Malloy, the Hoverbike should be able to reach an estimated height of more than 10,000 feet and reach an airspeed of 173 mph. Easy rider, indeed.


For those with a family, this flying car might be a better bet than the Hoverbike. Described by Boston-based company Terragfugia as "a four-seat hybrid with wings" driven by a 300-hp engine and two rotating 600-hp "pods," the TF-X will still fit in your garage. Terrafugia also claims that the TF-X will have a top airspeed of 200 mph with a range of 500 miles and an average lifespan of eight to 12 years.

That said, Terrafugia has yet to pinpoint a release date—but its main competitor, AeroMobil, is expected to launch its own flying vehicle in 2017 (though there will likely be a postponement due to a recent test flight crash). The most successful contender might actually turn out be PAL-V Europe NV's two-seat hybrid car and gyroplane, which successfully completed a maiden flight back in 2012, and just nabbed an exclusive patent in India.


Here's your chance to finally joyride through the skies like Rocket Man, Iron Man, or a Jetson—or, if you're scared of heights, Martin Jetpack can also be flown unmanned via remote control. If you actually decide to go solo pilot, no worries; one of the safety features includes a ballistic parachute that opens as low as 20 feet above the ground. Martin expects to have a "personal jetpack" on the market by 2017 at $200,000 a pop.

6 Things Americans Should Know About Net Neutrality

Net neutrality is back in the news, as Ajit Pai—the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and a noted net neutrality opponent—has announced that he plans to propose sweeping deregulations during a meeting in December 2017. The measures—which will fundamentally change the way consumers and businesses use and pay for internet access—are expected to pass the small committee and possibly take effect early in 2018. Here's a brief explanation of what net neutrality is, and what the debate over it is all about.


Net neutrality is a principle in the same way that "freedom of speech" is. We have laws that enforce net neutrality (as we do for freedom of speech), but it's important to understand that it is a concept rather than a specific law.


Fundamentally, net neutrality is the principle that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should not be allowed to prioritize one kind of data traffic over another. This also means they cannot block services purely for business reasons.

To give a simple example, let's say your ISP also sells cable TV service. That ISP might want to slow down your internet access to competing online TV services (or make you pay extra if you want smooth access to them). Net neutrality means that the ISP can't limit your access to online services. Specifically, it means the FCC, which regulates the ISPs, can write rules to prevent ISPs from preferring certain services—and the FCC did just that in 2015.

Proponents often talk about net neutrality as a "level playing field" for online services to compete. This leaves ISPs in a position where they are providing a commodity service—access to the internet under specific FCC regulations—and that is not always a lucrative business to be in.


In 2014 and 2015, there was a major discussion of net neutrality that led to new FCC rules enforcing net neutrality. These rules were opposed by companies including AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon. The whole thing came about because Verizon sued the FCC over a previous set of rules and ended up, years later, being governed by even stricter regulations.

The opposing companies see net neutrality as unnecessary and burdensome regulation that will ultimately cost consumers in the end. Further, they have sometimes promoted the idea of creating "fast lanes" for certain kinds of content as a category of innovation that is blocked by net neutrality rules.


In support of those 2015 net neutrality rules were companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Netflix, Twitter, Vimeo, and Yahoo. These companies often argue that net neutrality has always been the de facto policy that allowed them to establish their businesses—and thus in turn should allow new businesses to emerge online in the future.

On May 7, 2014, more than 100 companies sent an open letter to the FCC "to express our support for a free and open internet":

Over the past twenty years, American innovators have created countless Internet-based applications, content offerings, and services that are used around the world. These innovations have created enormous value for Internet users, fueled economic growth, and made our Internet companies global leaders. The innovation we have seen to date happened in a world without discrimination. An open Internet has also been a platform for free speech and opportunity for billions of users.


Ajit Pai, who was one of the recipients of that open letter above and is now Chairman of the FCC, quoted Emperor Palpatine from Return of the Jedi when the 2015 rules supporting net neutrality were first codified. (At the time he was an FCC Commissioner.) Pai said, "Young fool ... Only now, at the end, do you understand." His point was that once the rules went into effect, they could have the opposite consequence of what their proponents intended.

The Star Wars quote-off continued when a Fight for the Future representative chimed in. As The Guardian wrote in 2015 (emphasis added):

Referring to Pai's comments Evan Greer, campaigns director at Fight for the Future, said: "What they didn't know is that when they struck down the last rules we would come back more powerful than they could possibly imagine."


The Star Wars quotes above get at a key point of the net neutrality debate: Pai believes that net neutrality stifles innovation. He was quoted in 2015 in the wake of the new net neutrality rules as saying, "permission-less innovation is a thing of the past."

Pai's statement directly contradicts the stated position of net neutrality proponents, who see net neutrality as a driver of innovation. In their open letter mentioned above, they wrote, "The Commission’s long-standing commitment and actions undertaken to protect the open Internet are a central reason why the Internet remains an engine of entrepreneurship and economic growth."

In December 2016, Pai gave a speech promising to "fire up the weed whacker" to remove FCC regulations related to net neutrality. He stated that the FCC had engaged in "regulatory overreach" in its rules governing internet access.

For previous coverage of net neutrality, check out our articles What Is Net Neutrality? and What the FCC's Net Neutrality Decision Means.

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This AI Tool Will Help You Write a Winning Resume

For job seekers, crafting that perfect resume can be an exercise in frustration. Should you try to be a little conversational? Is your list of past jobs too long? Are there keywords that employers embrace—or resist? Like most human-based tasks, it could probably benefit from a little AI consultation.

Fast Company reports that a new start-up called Leap is prepared to offer exactly that. The project—started by two former Google engineers—promises to provide both potential minions and their bosses better ways to communicate and match job needs to skills. Upload a resume and Leap will begin to make suggestions (via highlighted boxes) on where to snip text, where to emphasize specific skills, and roughly 100 other ways to create a resume that stands out from the pile.

If Leap stopped there, it would be a valuable addition to a professional's toolbox. But the company is taking it a step further, offering to distribute the resume to employers who are looking for the skills and traits specific to that individual. They'll even elaborate on why that person is a good fit for the position being solicited. If the company hires their endorsee, they'll take a recruiter's cut of their first year's wages. (It's free to job seekers.)

Although the service is new, Leap says it's had a 70 percent success rate landing its users an interview. The rest is up to you.

[h/t Fast Company]


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