High speed travel

Comment on Lifeboat foundation facebook page to a link to

[ 8/11/20 ]

High speed train travel in vaccuum tubes is a very old idea. I wrote about it 30 years ago.

As others have noted, velocity is not the issue. As the Monty Python Galaxy song says, we’re already doing 900 miles per hour (with respect to the center of the earth) just standing still on the surface of the earth.

Acceleration is the issue.

The starting and stopping accelerations are easy to modulate.

The really tricky ones are earthquake induced oscillations. The G forces from those would not be good for human bodies.

Thus to be really safe, a hyperloop type system need to be a primary tube at least 12m in diameter, with the vacuum tubes suspended in the middle with very fast actuators capable of reducing any seismic displacement to survivable G forces for passengers.

So it is doable, once we have fully automated manufacturing, but isn’t really an option in the current money based (scarcity based) paradigm of thinking.

To get world wide networks of high speed vacuum train travel requires manufacturing in space, and then assembly on earth. And to power them requires harvesting solar power in space, then bringing it down as microwaves to high efficiency rectennae systems. (The critical issues are around managing the earth’s heat energy budget – so it gets complex, and requires active management of solar input to avoid climate change, etc.)

All of that is relatively trivial once we have fully automated manufacturing systems on the moon, as without an atmosphere it is easy to use linear motors to accelerate mass from the moon’s surface to orbital speeds (unlike the earth, where the atmosphere imposes speed limits).

To make the creating of technologies like that safe, we need to have global cooperation between multiple levels of diverse agents here on earth. Not global control by any level of hidden minority, but actual, real, multi-level cooperation between multiple levels and classes of diverse independent agents.

Without such a cooperative base, the creation of the technologies above would (in any form of competitive environment), eventually and necessarily lead to our extinction.

Competitive systems necessarily reduce complexity to the lowest available spaces on the complexity landscape. We are too inventive to survive all out competition.

Real freedom, as in the ability to explore new dimensions of complexity, can only exist (with any reasonable probability of long term survival) in contexts that are fundamentally cooperative.

We all need to accept that freedom necessarily results in exponentially increasing diversity, and we need to respect and accept all such diversity that is not a direct and unreasonable threat to existence (acknowledging that all knowledge necessarily contains multiple classes of fundamental uncertainty – so some degree of uncertainty and risk is a given in all situations).

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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