I have very fond memories of riding a similar ride to this one in the mid to late 70s when I was much younger. I loved this ride. Of course, it’s nearly, if not completely, impossible to find this ride anymore in the US because, I’m sure, it’s “too dangerous.” There are attractions similar to this at Oktoberfest which is always fun to watch those who’s have a liter or two of beer riding.
For those who’ve never seen or ridden one, essentially, it’s a cylinder. Riders enter and stand against the wall. The ride starts spinning and once it reaches a certain speed, the floor drops away, leaving the riders hanging on the wall. Pure physics.
This recent NY Times article about the quest to build a flying Taxi service is interesting but doesn’t address some of the less thought about questions when moving from the ground to the air.
In the real world, and not the imagined one of Silicon Valley, all air traffic is controlled by Air Traffic Control (ATC) making sure that all planes operating in controlled air spaces are accounted for and aware of other traffic in the area. Much like the highway system, in the sky there are lanes of traffic that planes generally fly on.
Inside Silicon Valley’s 10-year quest to make soaring above a crowded city street as easy as calling an Uber.
If we ignore the large commercial airlines that most people are familiar with and think about the private airplanes like Cessna or Piper, when operating under Visual Flight Rules (VFR), the planes do have more leeway on where to fly, but generally will follow a specified flight plan when flying cross country. This is because in the air, it’s easier to get lost or disorientated then when driving on I-10, for example.
So the question becomes under what rules will flying taxis operate under? If they would be required to essentially be a replacement for helicopters then the idea of them being Taxis where you wave down a passing one is no longer a “taxi” replacement. It will not be, as these investors would have you believe, as easy as calling an Uber.
It will be that you will have a set time to depart, flight plans will need to be filed and there will be a set destination. Nothing as quick and easy as calling an Uber.
Now, some may argue that these flying cars are essentially large drones, but even today, drones have sever limits on how they can be operated (if not fully practiced by the public in general). For example, because of the private/public air space, drones should not be flown above 400 feet. In many countries, it’s illegal to fly drones above crowds of people (being that if the batteries fail or the device needs to make an emergency landing, it won’t come down on top of someone). While it’s easy to say, okay, 350 – 400 feet is good enough for a flying taxi, these certainly won’t be permitted to operate within cities and especially not in downtown New York, for example.
So to be usable, you’ll still need to call an Uber to get to the landing pad for the flying taxi, which, in a large metropolitan area, would at best be on top of a building or in an open field. And at that point, why not just let the Uber take you the rest of the way.
The other issue will be emergency procedures. Airplanes fly above ground level (AGL) at certain minimums to avoid ground bases obstacles and, in case of engine failure, power loss, or emergency event, the time to try and get a controlled landing as safely as possible. If Air Taxis were flying down 5th avenue in New York City, as futurists envisioned, any single emergency event would put many lives at stake from above.
While I’m not negative on the development of the technology, these are, at best, a new generation of helicopters that may provide cheaper and quicker short hop ability. For example, a flying taxi hub is being built in central Florida to take passengers from Lake Nona to Tampa in 30 minutes. That trip, by car, is about an hour and half. However, remember, the flight is 30 minutes, but I’m suspecting there will be time on each end, so at best, it’ll be about an hour total time (get to terminal, wait for taxi, board taxi, ATC flight clearance, etc, take off, fly, landing, etc). It’s still faster, yes, but once you get there, you’ll then need to get another taxi/Uber to take you to your final destination.
The distance you will be able to take these taxis will be limited by weight and battery life, so while a lot of people say by 2023 we’ll be zooming around in air taxis are probably, as usual, being a bit aggressive. And a lot of the development and promise focuses on autonomous vehicles doing the flying.
I.e. without a pilot (although, lets be honest, there’s no way in hell the government will license this for public use without a backup pilot on board)., so would you trust it enough right now to be a passenger?
Maybe in the future, when autonomous cars have fully shown the capability to drive us without us paying attention., but that’s not going to be 2023…probably not until at least 2030 at best.
The new generation of air taxis will change the helicopter business, that’s for sure, but will they become a societal change for the future? Maybe about as much as the Segway was.
The Atlantic has an article about a new cookbook by Sam Sifton that throws out the traditional recipe in favor of a less ridged structure. They pull this quote from the book for Teriyaki Salmon With Mixed Greens:
Turn your oven to 400°F or so, and while it heats, make a teriyaki sauce with soy sauce cut with mirin, plus a healthy scattering of minced garlic and ginger. It should be salty-sweet. Then put your salmon fillets on a lightly oiled, foil-lined baking sheet, skin-side down. Paint them with the sauce and roast them in the top of the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, painting them again with the sauce at least once along the way. Slide the finished salmon onto piles of mixed greens and drizzle with remaining sauce. Cooking’s not difficult. It’s just a practice.
I’ve often said that recipes are guides, not rules, but this feels more like a technical challenge from The Great British Bake Off more so than a “recipe.”
The one issue I would have with this example is the “healthy scattering of minced garlic and ginger.” Too much of either of those can make the whole meal go south pretty quickly, so while, as the pulled quote says, “Cooking’s not difficult. It’s just a practice.”
One has to wonder how many times you’ll need to spoil the salmon before you get it right.
When the sliced bread was first sold, it was advertised as “the greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped”.
So, if something is amazing, you can say that it’s the best thing since sliced bread. But if something is really amazing, you should probably say it’s the best thing since bread was wrapped.
Sliced bread was, temporarily, banned in 1943 due to World War II.
The toaster, in case you’re interested, pre-dates sliced bread with the first electric toaster being introduced in 1893. The pop-up toaster, however, was introduced at around the same time as sliced bread. Kids had to wait an another 36 years, until 1964, for Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts.
I don’t get to read much of The New York Times, but this article [pay walled] from last week caught my eye. Elizabeth Dias travels to Sioux Center, Iowa to discover why white evangelical Christians continue to support Donald Trump.
One of the points of the article is how the people interviewed often they mention that the United States was founded as a Christian nation.
It was not.
Our nation was founded on the principles of religious freedom where people could practice any religious they believed in. But the freedom of religion also means the freedom to choose no religion. The word “God” is not used in the constitution because while our founding fathers may well have had religious belief, they also had a keen awareness that the government should not be tied to religion so that from then and into the future the freedom of religious beliefs shall forever be guaranteed.
Before you bring up the whole, “In God we Trust” on our money, that phrase was added to the money during the Civil War and should not be used to justify that we are a Christian nation.
In the United States, you have the freedom to be a Christian. Or a Catholic. A Baptist. Or even a Muslim. If you’re not sure you believe in any of those, you’re free to be Agnostic. In fact, in our nation, you can even be an Atheist. The freedom everyone has makes us stronger as a nation.
But we get to the crux of the article and then there is this quote:
White Americans are hardly losing their freedoms, but let’s be clear, this quote clearly shows that the word “Freedom” is thrown around to cover up the true words people want to say…because it sounds more patriotic, more American.
Freedom is not a Ball Mason Jar filled with pickled onions where you need to take some of your onions to give to someone else. Freedom is an unlimited resource that all Americans should have, should protect and should respect of everyone they meet. That’s patriotic. That’s American.
But she continues:
People do not judge you because you are a hard working Caucasian-American. People judge you for how you treat other people. I agree, if a wife believes that her place is to support her husband, her belief should be supported. But if a wife believes that she wants to start her own business, or run for Mayor of her hometown or even be a US Congresswoman, then in no way should she be prohibited from trying doing so.
What’s right for you, does not make it right for everyone.
However, if we try to define what “Freedom” means given this perspective, we are lost because Freedom is not what is at danger for evangelical Christians.
Nobody is forcing them to stop getting married, nobody is stopping them from reproducing and having kids. Nobody is stepping in to close their churches. And nobody is stopping them from living their life as they choose.
Yet, freedom is presented in terms of racial equality and in terms of women’s rights.
For evangelical Christians, does Freedom equate to being part of the racial majority? While I’m quite confident that every evangelical Christians will profess that they are not racist, but one can only wonder about the concern about “Caucasian-Americans…becoming a minority. Rapidly.”
One can wonder if evangelical Christians are worried that once Caucasian-Americans become a minority, the majority race will treat them the same way Caucasian-Americans treat minorities today.
But here’s the thing, when you look at the rhetoric about losing their freedom, one can only come to one conclusion.
Freedom, as defined by evangelical Christians and the Trump Republican platform, is about their right to control others and dictate what they can and can’t do.
They are against LGBTQ. These people should not be allowed to marry.
They are against abortion. Nobody should be allowed to get an abortion.
They are against interracial marriages. You should only marry within your race.
Freedom, you see, is about their right to control and dictate the morals everyone should be required to live by.
You start allowing LGBTQ people to marry or allow abortions to happen, then you’re taking away freedom from evangelical Christians.
The Democratic Convention is done and Joe Biden is the official candidate for President. The journey to this point was a long, crowded primary season with an amazing twenty individuals vying for the Presidency.
Then, after a few states held their primaries, in steps Michael Bloomberg to the fray. He spent an ungodly amount of money in his bid to win the Democratic ticket in the hope to take on Trump in the general election. He reportedly spent $550 million dollars and ended up with just 44 delegates. It, at least, won him a short speech during the convention.
To my thinking, Bloomberg made one big mistake.
I have to wonder how Bloomberg felt about his chances of winning the ticket. It was believed that Joe Biden’s slow start was the tipping point for Bloomberg to enter the race. Was Bloomberg’s goal to win the nomination or, at a minimum, get Donald Trump out of the office. Like many people, I suspect he wanted the first, but would take the second.
And here’s the mistake he made. Bloomberg, a self professed person who was a Democrat, and Republic, and an Independent, should have run on the Republican ticket. Meaning, he should have run directly against Trump in the primaries.
Trump’s Republican party is so far right, Bloomberg could have easily positioned himself as a moderate Republican and might have been much more successful. Being well funded, his run on the Republican ticket would have required Trump to spend an inordinate amount of money to compete against him.
In the end, Bloomberg might not have won the Republican nomination, but he could have hurt Trump by depleting a large chunk out of his reelection funds. Trump did not get 100% of the delegates in the primaries. Bloomberg might very well have won a lot more delegates.