The Future Of Transportation

Grind for February 27th, 2019
“No man goes before his time – unless the boss leaves early.”

Groucho Marx


The Headline

Boeing jet makes emergency landing in Bangladesh after attempted hijacking

The Grind

A passenger flight on its way to Dubai was forced to make an emergency landing in Chittagong, Bangladesh Sunday after an attempted hijacking.

The suspect, a 25-year-old Bangladeshi, had entered the cockpit with a pistol and demanded to speak with the prime minister. He claimed he had a bomb.

Airline officials, who suspected the gun was fake, told the man they were taking him to see the prime minister.

The Details

A swarm of emergency responders and military commandos surrounded the plane when it touched down in Chittagong.

Authorities safely evacuated all 147 passengers and 7 crew members and demanded the suspect surrender. The suspect was shot and killed after firing his pistol at police.

“There was no other way out,” said Major General Motiur Rahman. “Our commandos had to act swiftly.”

At least one commando referred to the hijacker as a “terrorist,” but reports suggest he was a depressed individual suffering from marital problems.

No terrorist groups have claimed responsibility for the incident.

The Implication

While this obviously was not a 9/11 style attack, the incident calls into question the security measures in Bangladesh.

A man with a pistol was able to board a plane, enter the cockpit, and make demands. I would hope in the United States he would have been caught by TSA long before boarding.


The Headline

Superconductor patent filed by US military could change everything

The Grind

The US Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday reported a Navy scientist’s application for a superconductor that operates at room temperature.

If the invention works as described, it could revolutionize everything from transportation to computing.

The Background

The term conductor describes a material that can be used to transfer electricity from point A to point B (such as aluminum, gold, and copper).

Thanks to the laws of physics, you always lose a bit of energy during transmission.

The term superconductor refers to a material that can move electricity without losing any energy. Unfortunately the only superconductors we have now only work if kept at very low temperatures (we’re talking -95° F or lower).

The Details

The patent application, filed by Salvatore Cezar Pais, describes a superconductor that works in normal temperatures.

Potential applications include:

— Lossless energy storage (i.e. batteries that never die)

— The transportation of renewable energy without loss

— Magnetic levitation trains

If it works, the superconductor would almost certainly speed up the advent of quantum computers – a success widely expected to revolutionize artificial intelligence and healthcare.

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