MOAPA, Nev. — Hyperloop technology, which promises to transport people and goods at speeds of up to 600 miles an hour, has long seemed too good to be true. But one company says it has cleared an important step toward commercializing it by moving two of its employees through a test system.Virgin Hyperloop became the first company to conduct a human test of the technology on Sunday at its 500-meter test track in the desert north of Las Vegas. The two volunteers, wearing casual street clothes, were whisked in a pod that was levitated by magnets inside a vacuum tube to 107 m.p.h. in 6.25 seconds.- Advertisement – The ability to move people safely at this stage of the technology’s development is not that important, said the company’s chief executive, Andres de Leon. “We’re testing the program from an engineer’s point of view, not from that of a marketer’s.”In the Netherlands, Hardt, a 35-employee hyperloop company, has built a 30-meter track that lets the company test its levitation, propulsion and lane-switching technologies. The company has teamed up with Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam to research the feasibility of a hyperloop linking major airports in the Netherlands, France, Germany, Belgium and Britain. “This is a step of historical significance,” said Jay Walder, the company’s chief executive, pointing to 20 months of planning. “I don’t think you can overstate it. This is a moonshot moment. I have no doubt this will change the world.”Whether it becomes a giant leap for mankind is still unclear.Virgin’s test might be as symbolically important as it is crucial to the technology’s ultimate success. While the pod traveled at a much slower speed than what proponents of hyperloops claim the technology is capable of, company officials described it as a safety milestone.- Advertisement – Many experts are skeptical that the technology will live up to its grand promises or be economically viable.A truck striking the tube could shut the system down, said Carlo Van de Weijer, the general manager of the Netherlands’ Eindhoven AI Systems Institute. As the system aged, it would require expensive maintenance. Hyperloops also might not be able to transport as many people or goods as its proponents claim because individual pods would need to slow down to enter spur tracks.“Every breakthrough starts with a strange idea,” Dr. Van de Weijer said. “But not every strange idea is a breakthrough.”Like high-speed rail systems, hyperloop companies will have to acquire expensive rights of way, said Juan Matute, deputy director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.The tubes that carry hyperloop pods will need to be very straight for high-speed travel, and turns will have to be very wide. Once routes are set, acquiring every needed parcel of land could become a nightmare. “If a route has been picked, there are no alternatives,” Mr. Matute said. “Airlines do not have this problem.”Still, some government officials and hyperloop entrepreneurs are determined to pursue the technology. Virgin Hyperloop, which has doubled its work force to 300 over the last two years and has raised over $400 million, has selected West Virginia as the site for a certification center and a six-mile test track. The modern hyperloop concept was first described in 2012 by Elon Musk, the top executive of SpaceX and Tesla. He offered up the idea to anybody who wanted to exploit it, and neither he nor his companies are working on hyperloops.Virgin Hyperloop, which counts Richard Branson’s Virgin Group as a minority investor, is one of several companies looking to commercialize the technology, which they hope will eventually move passengers between cities, and cargo to and from ports.If it functions as advertised, travel time could be cut significantly — a trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco could, for example, take less than an hour.Mr. Walder has intimate knowledge of transportation systems, having served as the head of New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Transport for London. Mr. Walder claimed that hyperloop technology could be the first new mass transit system in a century.“The U.S. Interstate Highway System, which began in 1956, cannot be the end of our imagination in terms of how we move around,” he said. With hyperloop, “we can have a fundamentally different transportation system.”Unlike trains, which run on fixed schedules, hyperloop pods would function more like smart elevators. Artificial intelligence would adjust destinations, the number of pods that travel in a convoy and departure times based on demand. The test also gives a sense of reality to an otherwise abstract sci-fi-like construct. “You can show the most elegant diagram but at the end of the day what is important is, will people ride it? This is an example of a picture worth a thousand words,” Ms. Luchian said. The riders sat in molded seats covered in white vegan leather, housed inside the all-white carbon fiber-clad pod.While the G-forces on the pod were three times that of an airplane, “it was much smoother than I expected,” said Sara Luchian, 37, one of the test riders and the company’s director of passenger experience. And unlike an airplane, there were no lateral forces that would have caused the pod to sway, she said. It has several projects in planning stages: a route between Pune and Mumbai in India; another between Jeddah and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia; and one connecting Chicago, Columbus, Ohio, and Pittsburgh.“We’re highly positive and very intrigued with the possibilities for hyperloop,” said Thea Ewing, a director for the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission.The council estimates that over 30 years, a hyperloop connecting those cities would displace 1.9 billion car and truck trips, reduce carbon emissions by 2.4 million tons and generate $300 billion in economic benefits.Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, a company based in Los Angeles and Dubai, has built a 320-meter test track in Toulouse, France, and is designing a 1,000-meter test track for Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. It has also formed a partnership with a container operator at the port of Hamburg to design a system to move cargo. “It felt not that much different than accelerating in a sports car,” said Josh Giegel, 35, the company co-founder and the other volunteer rider.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – Hyperloop companies have been encouraged by government findings that the technology is feasible. In 2019, the U.S. Department of Transportation put the Federal Railroad Administration in charge of developing standards and regulations for hyperloops.In Europe, several hyperloop companies have created a technical committee to develop standards, which they hope will be adopted by the European Union.After Mr. Giegel and Ms. Luchian entered the capsule, it was pushed into a decompression chamber to await the creation of a vacuum. At that point, the gate valve opened and the pod entered the tube, ready for the test.Virgin’s successful human tests could give true believers in the technology a psychological boost. The company’s executives believe that the system will be commercialized by the end of the decade. But it’s the movement of cargo that Hardt is developing first. “It’s less risky and it’s easier for stakeholders if we don’t emphasize passengers,” said the company’s chief commercial officer, Mars Geuze. “It’s easier to take the smaller steps.”Two other companies, TransPod in Toronto and Zeleros in Valencia, Spain, are also working to develop hyperloop systems. “This technology could be the transition to the future we all want,” Mr. Giegel said. “Today we went from infancy to adolescence.” “The No. 1 question I get from investors is, ‘Is it safe enough to ride?’” said Mr. Giegel. “We’re everyday people, we’re not astronauts. This shows that it’s safe, and observers can take this back to their investors and interested municipalities.”
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Government must solve border crisis Long considered a political talking point, the immigration crisis poses both a humanitarian issue and security threat.The former can be ascribed to those fleeing violence, poverty and government corruption, while the latter arises from gang-members looking to terrorize.Frequent headlines illustrate each reality and have been exploited by both parties to gain popular support in addressing their preferred priorities.Brutal trafficking conditions by unconscionable smugglers are heart-wrenching, as is the separation of children from their parents upon arrival. Moreover, gang-related murders and the infiltration of drugs is equal cause for resentment. The only reason that would merit the recent 35-day government shutdown is the incapacity of our representatives to solve the problem.Mirroring these immigrant factions, past reform bills have failed over the competing interests of amnesty and border security, mutually exclusive, in that improperly vetted immigrants gaining citizenship is not secure and motivates further smuggling. Meanwhile, a steady flow of caravans gives resonance to the request for a largely symbolic wall, which would be better positioned along Mexico’s southern border.Attenuating illegal entries would then free resources to hire more immigration judges while temporary legal status is granted to illegal migrants.If our government is unable to resolve an issue pertinent to public safety and welfare and distracts from foreign aid initiatives that could treat the problem’s source, then perhaps it shouldn’t remain open past this three-week spending bill.Stephen DansereauAlbany I’m writing in response to Mr. Belardo’s Feb. 8 letter and his diatribe against “dumb liberals” and the identification requirements to enter federal facilities. I thank Mr. Belardo for his service in World War II, but he has the facts of the ID requirements all wrong. In the aftermath of 9/11, measures were introduced in Congress to enhance our national security. In 2005, both houses of Congress were controlled by the GOP and the president was George W. Bush.They passed the requirements that go into full effect in 2020. In 2020, it will be necessary to have enhanced identification to board a domestic airliner, enter a federal building, among other things. New York state was one of a few states that complied with the new rules by offering enhanced IDs early on. Sorry to correct you Mr. Belardo, but you are barking up the wrong tree. Thomas BensonSchenectady Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionDems focused on downstate interests Distressed about the state of the countryI’ve been watching the news and seeing how completely malfunctioning our government has become in the last few years that it’s absolutely heartbreaking. Don’t dictate what’s defined as murderIn response to Elizabeth Lerner’s Feb. 7 letter, I ask where her authority to define murder for the rest of us comes from? The law? It was once legal to beat slaves. Jim Crow was the law of the land in the south. Nazi Germany provided for the legal elimination of undesirable or those afflicted with mental-health issues. So the legal argument does little to bolster a moral stance.But then, I was astonished to read her definition of the abortion we are all talking about as the “removal of immature non-breathing, non-conscience (sic) cells.Science clearly has third-trimester fetuses as viable, feeling living human beings. For Ms. Lerner to cling to that outdated, minimalist definition of a baby is both ignorant and appalling, considering we are talking about a child’s execution.There’s no medical reason for a late-term abortion to occur other that the convenience of the mother. That does not qualify as “health care.” I can only react in horror at the level of indoctrination it takes to justify killing living babies and making it out to be some sort of right. Killing a bald eagle egg is a crime, but killing a child in vitro is “reproductive health care.”Patrick WalshGuilderland In his Jan. 30 letter I think Howard Schlossberg doth protest too much about New York state Democrats largely representing New York City and downstate interests.When you look at the type of agenda that the governor and his Democratic allies in the Legislature have pushed in the past few weeks, it’s clear there is no real upstate agenda for Mr. Schlossberg’s Democratic Party. There’s no greater example of that than the governor’s proposal to rip over $60 million in state funding from the budget for our upstate towns and villages that depend on that funding to provide services and keep taxes down.Late-term abortion, giving free taxpayer dollars for college tuition to illegal aliens, and further eroding our Second Amendment civil rights are just some of the other low-lights of a downstate-driven agenda of Mr. Schlossberg’s Democratic Party, which is drunk with power and cares very little for upstate New York’s values or economy. Just wait until they pass the single-payer, government-run socialized medicine plan and legalizing marijuana, which is next on their agenda.With the Democrats’ agenda, thousands have already left the state. If Mr. Schlossberg is the last one left upstate after the Democrats have their way with our economy and way of life, please make sure he turns the lights off.Joanne Hwaszcz Schenectady Inmate pay raise is moral and practicalThe Gazette’s Feb. 8 editorial attacking state legislation (A.1275, S.3138) to raise wages for prisoners is wrong on several fronts. First of all, the prison minimum is proposed to be raised only to $3 per hour. It’s now as little as 10 cents, a fact that was not mentioned in the editorial. Leadership of the Department of Corrections knows management and security depend as much on incentives as coercion. I have no strong opinion on any of our presidents since Clinton, but the actual Congress and Senate are nothing but schoolyard bullies posturing to each other with no care for the country itself or the people.For years, the reality television shows have made us look like fools to the world. But now our politicians are the joke.A lot of television shows claim to be non-biased, but the only television shows I watch that truly follow that are Kelly & Ryan Live, The Talk and David Muir. I was listening the other day to my music library of my favorite songs and two of them made me contemplate these days. One was a song from a movie I saw when I was 14 called “One Tin Soldier,” from The Legend of Billy Jack in 1971.A Disney movie, Pocahontas with the song, “Colors of the Wind” in 1995. They made me almost weep because both time periods made me dwell on what is going on currently.I know comics used to make a joke of this saying, “Why can’t we all just get along?” Why can’t we? Kathryn HardingSchenectadyMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesCuomo calls for clarity on administering vaccineEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motorists As a religious volunteer in the prison system for seven years, I saw how incentives can be effective.Opportunities for compensated work, education classes, better living quarters and other elements give inmates a reward for good behavior, reducing the burden and risk to guards and civilian staff, visitors and volunteers.Correctional Industries (CorCraft) provides skill development for inmates, but unfair compensation. CorCraft produces furniture for public agencies at below-market prices and returns a healthy profit to the State treasury. Perhaps taxpaying private sector furniture makers deserve a playing field that is not so drastically tilted toward the prison competitor paying its workers 65 cents per hour on average. Raising the wage would be fairer to these companies and their workers as well. Like a lot of good legislation, the Assembly/Senate bill is not only practical, it’s morally correct.As we observe Black History Month, we should reflect on the abusive systems of slavery, mass incarceration and injustice that have characterized so much of minority workers’ experience in the American economy over the centuries. The time for “corrections” is overdue. Gordon BoydSaratoga Springs Don’t fault libs for ID requirements
The pension fund specifies that there should be no exposure to emerging markets.It also has a preference for managers with experience with institutional clients based in the Netherlands.The assets are to be managed actively, with a core style, and the benchmark for the mandate is to be the MSCI World Index.Applicants should have at least €750m in assets under management (AUM) for this asset class and a minimum of €7.5bn in AUM overall.Performance should be stated gross of fees to the end of September.A strict requirement for responding asset managers, according to the details of the Quest, is compliance with regulatory reporting and solvency (VEV) calculations as demanded by the Dutch Central Bank (DNB) under the new financial assessment framework (nFTK), which went into force at the beginning of 2015.The IPE news team is unable to answer any further questions about IPE Quest tender notices to protect the interests of clients conducting the search. To obtain information directly from IPE Quest, please contact Jayna Vishram on +44 (0) 20 3465 9330 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. A pension fund subject to Dutch law is searching for an investment manager to run a €60m all/large-cap equities mandate, according to a search on IPE Quest.The search has a deadline of 23 October at 5pm, just one week from today.The pension fund is located in Europe, the search shows, though additional information supplied shows managers responding will have to comply with Dutch law.The mandate is for global developed-market equities.
Sunderland head coach Gus Poyet is hoping to spring a surprise during the remaining days of the summer transfer window. Reports from Italy suggest the Black Cats have signed Inter Milan’s Argentina international winger Ricky Alvarez on a season-long loan deal, although sources on Wearside were insisting on Thursday morning that was not the case. However, Press Association Sport understands Alvarez is very much on the radar as Poyet attempts to put the finishing touches to his summer rebuilding programme. He has given little away about the men who remain in his sights, but told the Sunderland Echo: “We’re moving, we’re moving very fast because it’s getting close. I’m confident we’ll be doing something. “You’re going to be surprised.” Sunderland have spent much of the summer attempting to lure Liverpool’s Fabio Borini back to the Stadium of Light after his successful loan spell last season, but an increasingly frustrated Poyet indicated at the weekend that he would have to turn his attention elsewhere if he did not get a positive answer soon. Indeed, the club has also expressed an interest in Lille’s former Chelsea striker Salomon Kalou as a potential alternative. The left-hand side of midfield remains a major focus, as does central defence, where the Black Cats have been linked with Celtic’s Virgil van Dijk in recent days. Press Association