Category Archives: Transportation

13 NEW RULES FOR AIR TRAVEL

In the last year, I have made ten trips that required air travel. I have flown something like 100,000 miles and spent roughly the entirety of my adult life in layovers. If I had kids, I would have forgotten what they looked like. I am registered to vote in The Sky because I spend more than 50 percent of my time there. I am literally writing this on my phone from gate E4 of Miami International Airport.

In my travels, I have come to realize that many people seem to expect flying to be a tolerable—even enjoyable—experience. These people are wrong. Flying sucks, but it’s the price we pay to be able to get anywhere in the world in a matter of days. Let’s be honest—if the fastest way to get to Europe was twelve hours in a wooden crate with holes poked in it, people would still do that, and then they’d tell their friends that they’ve always found JetBlue to stack crates more efficiently than United.

With that in mind, here are some ways to make the whole experience a little smoother. I’m not talking about better food or more leg room—remember, flying is shitty, and we’re not going to fix that. We’re just trying to get through the whole process without murdering each other. Continue reading

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COULD THIS BE THE WORLD’S FIRST NUCLEAR-POWERED AIRLINER? (NO.)

On January 5, 2011, I wrote the following:

“Designer” is a dangerous term, because it usually means some crazy person with ridiculous ideas who then makes CAD drawings or actual mock-ups of his crazy ideas and yet, for some goddamn reason, I appear to be the only person to notice that said idea is crazy.

That was 65 months ago, and it still holds true. “Designers” with no actual science knowledge or reality filter of any kind are the bread and butter of this blog, whether it’s a transparent toaster or a whole bunch of bullshit cooking tools or a pedal-powered submarine or magnetic roads or a rocket that doesn’t exist or a redesigned bicycle or concept cars or a fridge that tramples every law of physics it comes across like a hormonal bull in a sexy china shop. And that’s like a third of the total posts under my “design” category.

But people take these seriously. People write newspaper articles breathlessly extolling the virtues of a moon elevator or solar panels in space or a rocket that will take us to Alpha Centauri, powered only by kale, even though the crackpot that thought it up has no qualifications other than being able to make pretty 3D renderings on his computer.

And that brings us to this.

BBC_-_Future_-_Could_this_be_the_first_nuclear-powered_airliner_

There’s an old adage that any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered with a “no.” That’s not going to change here. Let’s dive in.

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4 REASONS SOLAR ROADWAYS ARE FUCKING STUPID

The idea of solar roadways has been around for a while, and I haven’t said anything about it because I thought it was self-evident how stupid it was. I was wrong. The Indiegogo page raised $2.2 million and recently, prototypes have been built, to much applause from the environmentally-minded. So now, instead of just being a moronic idea, this is a moronic idea that a lot of people are giving a lot of money to. And since I am sick and tired of the collective societal delusion surrounding this FLAMING GARBAGE PILE OF AN IDEA, I’ve decided to point out the myriad flaws with it.

Solar_Roadway_panels_only_1_580_435 Continue reading

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THREE REASONS THIS ROCKET WON’T SEND US TO MARS

Ever been to the website Elite Daily?  If you haven’t, don’t bother.  Home of such journalistic masterpieces as “Zayn Malik Isn’t Worried About Leaving One Direction Because His Fiance Is Hot As F*ck” and “Man Given 18 Months To Live Says Cannabis Oil Cured His Cancer,” it’s a long-running stream of feel-good drivel that’s generally harmless.  Sometimes they veer out of the world of hot-button cultural issues like “Starbucks Is Coming Out With A S’mores Frappuccino In Time For Summer” and into the realm of science.  Like this headline here.

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TRANSPORTATION IDEAS THAT WON’T WORK (BECAUSE OF SCIENCE): PART 3

I’ll keep this one short.

A company named Innowattech (innovation + watt + tech.  Get it?) wants to put piezoelectric pads under railways to harvest electric energy from passing trains.  Trains roll over the pad, the pads compress, electricity happens, and eco-conscious morons the world over collectively cream their pants because we’ve MAGICALLY GOTTEN ENERGY WHENCE THERE ONCE WAS NONE. Continue reading

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