Archive for the Travel Category

Self Drive/Electric Cars? – No I Don’t Think So!

Posted in America, Britain, Environment, European Union, Human Rights, Insanity, Modern World, News, Traffic, Travel with tags , , , , on 25/01/2016 by floroy1942

At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas the main accent seems to be on driverless cars as people become more and more fascinated by them. We are hearing pundits say that they are the transport of the future, but to be honest I doubt it, at least not in the form currently envisaged. It’s just like the electric car that many people say will be the main mode of transport in the coming years. Sorry but I don’t believe a word of it.



First of all, let us take the driverless car that is supposed to revolutionize our future transport system. Can you honestly believe that in cities like New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Beijing and all the other major cities in the world known for their massive traffic jams, that people will travel around these cities in a driverless car. Not a chance.

With a human at the wheel a vehicle will get through dense traffic far quicker than if it is automated. All such cars must have certain safeguards built into the system to prevent us humans from being hurt in an accident, so you will never see an automated vehicle pushing its nose into a stream of traffic at a junction for example. To get through traffic jams today you have to be cheeky, or you will never reach your destination, and that is something automated cars are not good at.

They may be fine for travelling from Madrid to Paris or from New York to Las Vegas for example, but that is not something the majority of people do every day. In cities and towns most people use the car to get to and from work so it is clear that will be the main usage, and I just don’t see the driverless cars catching on for this purpose.

To me what is far more likely is a completely automated system of  passenger transport with no cars on the road at all. It would be like an automated taxi service where you call up a small automated vehicle, give it a destination and it takes you there. Just like in the sci-fi movies.



When it comes to electric vehicles I think they are even more unlikely in great numbers. The electricity generating companies in many parts of the world are currently struggling to satisfy the power requirements of major cities across the globe, and yet, people think that electric vehicles as a mode of transport will take off. I can tell you now that ain’t likely to happen folks.

Even if we had only fifty thousand electric vehicles in London the power companies would not be able to keep pace with the demand, and that applies across the world. As we all know, electric cars are severely limited in their range due to the necessity of recharging the batteries, and the simple fact is we do not have sufficient power generation resources to have millions of electric vehicles charging every day.

But this is not all, for what do we do with the car batteries when they are no longer needed? They are not exactly environmentally friendly are they, and as electric cars have accidents or get scrapped what do we do with the batteries?

Last but not least, has anyone worked out the pitfalls with car insurance in these scenarios? No! I thought not!!!

I’m afraid that when it comes to the all-electric vehicle the demands will be too much, and don’t forget the massive electricity bills you will have to pay each month.

Flying CarThere is just one more mode of transport that is circling in the background, and that is the flying car. This I find totally impractical for the simple reason that every owner would be required to follow a course to obtain a flying licence. But more to the point, such a thing would be very dangerous. Can you imagine cars taking off and landing on roads and flying willy-nilly across the skies. It would be impossible to maintain a flight plan system for car drivers which would mean chaos, and they would be falling out of the skies like leaves from a tree.

It all sounds very fine, but none of this will come to proper fruition now or in the future. The future will be a lot different. Who knows, we may run out of oil first, and then we will end up back in the Middle Ages.


Is It Really Possible To Live On Mars?

Posted in America, Environment, Health, Insanity, Life in the Universe, Modern World, News, Space, Travel, USA with tags , , , , on 25/10/2014 by floroy1942
Going To Mars

Going To Mars?

I have read with some interest the reports on sending people to live on Mars, and the experiments currently taking place in Hawaii. Although I am not a scientist, it makes me wonder if we are not going too far. The idea that six people could live a sustained life on the Red Planet for many years seems just a bit too ambitious.

Mars Habitat Trial In Hawaii

Mars Habitat Trial In Hawaii

Consider what it would be like. You live in a small habitat (1,000 sq.ft.) with five other people with basically no-where to go. No bars, cinema’s, local shops, parks or even family. You can go outside but only when wearing a spacesuit, and once you get outside what can you do, basically nothing except go for a stroll. In the first few months there will be all sorts of experiments to keep you busy, but when they are finished, what then? You are doomed to spend the rest of your life on this planet because you can’t get back to Earth. I think the average person would go crazy after a few months of this.

Inside The Dome

Inside The Dome

The current experiments in Hawaii are looking at how people will react to one another when cooped up in a single habitat with nowhere else to go. So far there have been two missions of four months each, and two more are planned, one of eight months and one of a year. These experiments will give a good idea of how people react to each other in a small space over a given period.

Cosmic Rays - Earth Is Protected By Its Magnetic Field

Cosmic Rays – Earth Is Protected By Its Magnetic Field

The first challenge will be to get there and still be in sufficient good health to be able to build your habitat. Experience has already shown that prolonged exposure to cosmic radiation, which is everywhere in space, is detrimental to health. NASA has already learnt this from I.S.S. astronauts who stayed on the space station for prolonged periods. Experts consider the longest time a man can be in space is 400 days, and for a woman it is less at 320 days. The strength of cosmic rays is determined by the sun which goes through periods of high and low activity. The more activity the less the rays will penetrate our solar system. The time taken to reach Mars is anything from 131 to 225 days depending on the orbits of Earth and Mars.

So this begs the question, what affects will the cosmic radiation have on the Mars astronauts? Prolonged exposure to cosmic rays will cause radiation sickness and cancer. Will they be fit enough to get out of their capsule and begin building their habitat, or will they even survive long enough to get there? All questions no-one seems to have an answer for.

Let us presume they make it to the landing site, for then comes the next big challenge i.e. building their home. In a Mars atmosphere this could take weeks, and in the meantime they will have to live in their capsule or ship. One would presume that earlier spacecraft had been sent to the planet stuffed with building parts, tools and of course food and water. One can only hope that the craft carrying them will land near enough to those supplies. Imagine if something goes wrong and they land perhaps ten or a hundred earth miles from the supply craft. That could be a disaster. The one thing never to be forgotten is that with any plan, something can always go wrong.

Oxygen Scrubber As Used In Submarines

Oxygen Scrubber As Used In Submarines

Given that everything goes to plan, the habitat is built and they move inside, what then? They are forced to rely on man-made equipment that must keep them alive until either they die of radiation sickness and cancer, old age, or just maybe space science makes sufficient advances to bring them back in maybe ten or twenty years. So far as the habitat is concerned, they will have to rely on oxygen scrubbers to provide them with this necessity and they do work for long periods, like in submarines, but would they last for years on end? Everything has a life when it eventually wears out or something breaks.  Any breakdown in the oxygen system would be catastrophic, for the repair shop is not just around the corner.

ISS Meal - Yummy!

ISS Meal – Yummy!

The next thing that comes to mind is food. Current plans showing the proposed housing unit does not seem to show any space for plants. If that is the case then growing their own vegetables is out of the question. The inhabitants may have to rely on so-called space rations like they use in the space station. I can’t imagine spending the rest of my life eating goo from a plastic bag. Can you?

ISS Supplies En Route

ISS Supplies En Route

People living on Mars will also require regular supply rockets in order to keep them alive. Anything can interrupt this which would condemn these people to die. A rocket failure, a tracking failure, even an economic crisis that would prevent such an expensive endeavour, for expensive it would be.

Launch Failure

Launch Failure

Allowing for the twenty four minute delay in radio transmissions to Mars, I can imagine the faces of the Mars crew to hear that their next supply ship has crashed on the launchpad. I for one would certainly not volunteer for something like this and I don’t think any sane person would. There are many experts who are of the opinion that this project is impossible from a practical viewpoint and it may be cancelled, but we will have to wait and see.

Moon Landing

Moon Landing

There is a saying; “Don’t run before you can walk”, which seems to aptly describe this current endeavour. It would make more sense to try this on the moon before attempting to put people on Mars. At least it doesn’t take ten months for anything to get there, communication is much better and it would not be as expensive. Most important though, is that it would be possible to retrieve people if the whole experiment went wrong. Perhaps someone should give this some thought.


How Pathetic Can You Get?

Posted in Britain, England, Insanity, Justice, Modern World, News, Politics, Travel, UK, USA with tags , , , , on 04/10/2014 by floroy1942
Unfortunate Number Plate For Argentina

Unfortunate Number Plate For Argentina

I have been reading today about the mess that the BBC Top Gear team have gotten themselves into whilst filming in Argentina. It seems they have now been thrown out of the country, and for what; A car number plate! It would seem someone made an unfortunate choice when choosing a Porsche for the show to be filmed in Argentina, because it had the number plate H982 FKL!

It appears that someone spotted this and linked it to the failed 1982 invasion of the Falkland Isles by Argentina, which eventually started an uproar in the country culminating in the team having to abandon three cars and get out as quickly as possible.

Car Damage From Rocks Thrown

Car Damage From Rocks Thrown

The BBC has been accused of using that specific number plate as a provocation but Andy Wilman, executive producer for Top Gear, said on Thursday: “Top Gear production purchased three cars for a forthcoming programme; to suggest that this car was either chosen for its number plate, or that an alternative number plate was substituted for the original is completely untrue.”

All three cars used by the presenters, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May were pelted with rocks, and even the support vehicle used by the rest of the crew. According to reports the cars were abandoned at the roadside, and the production team escorted to the airport where they boarded a plane out of the country.

Top Gear Team

Top Gear Team

It is not the first time the Top Gear presenters have been involved in controversy, there have been many such episodes in the past. Perhaps that is why the programme is so popular all across the world. Jeremy Clarkson has been hauled up in front of the bosses on several occasions for verbal gaffs during a show. But I have to say, I like the show very much because it does not bow down to the ‘holier than thou’ pundits of this world.

It is true that the subject of the Falklands is a very touchy subject in Argentina because they claim the islands belong to them. Their invasion in 1982 failed dismally when Margaret Thatcher sent a task force to unseat them. Once that decision was taken their army didn’t stand a chance.

Our Hero's

Our Hero’s

The whole episode was only a means of distracting the Argentinian people from the state of the country under the then military dictatorship. For the last few years the current president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has been using the same tactic to distract the people from the current economic hardship the country is suffering.

Every now and then she bleats to anyone who will listen that the Falklands are Argentinian territory and they want them back. Most of this has happened since large amounts of oil were found beneath the waters around the islands. Either way, she will not get them.

The Top Gear team are once again in hot water and I am sure David Cameron will get a visit from the Argentinian Ambassador in the days to come. How this will end is anyone’s guess.


Driver-less Cars and Something No-one Has Thought of Yet.

Posted in America, Britain, England, Environment, Europe, Modern World, News, Traffic, Travel, UK with tags , , , , on 19/08/2014 by floroy1942

I was sitting here reading about driver-less cars being allowed on roads in the United Kingdom, and a thought struck me (No, it didn’t hurt).

There seems to be one aspect of driver-less cars that no-one seems to have thought out yet. How do you insure such a car?

Suppose you are reading the newspaper behind the wheel of your trusted driver-less car and there is a failure on a circuit board somewhere and you hit another car?

My thought was, who pays for the damage to the other guys car, and  yours. Most will think, “Oh it will be my insurance”, but, when the circuit failure is found you may not be the one to get the bill.

Now the big question comes, if there is an electronic failure with the car that leads to an accident, who pays, your insurance or the car manufacturer?

The insurance companies have a lot of work on their hands rewriting their policies for accidents when it come to this new phenomenon, and I think it will be tricky.

Either way, if you buy one – Good Luck!


Has Walmart Started Its Own Airline?

Posted in America, Britain, Europe, Germany, Insanity, Modern World, News, Obesity, Overweight, Travel with tags , , , , on 24/02/2014 by floroy1942

As you peruse the following pictures you can be forgiven for imagining the headline to be true.

Did You Say All Refills Are Free?

Did You Say All Refills Are Free?

Thank God For The Seat Belt Extensions

They Are Bought And Paid For, Why Shouldn’t I Show ‘Em Off?

Why Do I Always Get The Seat Next To Someone Like This?

Stewardess:” I have no idea where he’s flying to Captain. He hasn’t moved from that seat for the last Year.”

I…Er…. Sorry Words Fail Me!

I can hardly wait for Walmart to expand into rail and shipping.


Winter’s Coming!

Posted in America, Britain, England, Europe, European Union, Germany, Insanity, Travel, UK, USA with tags , , , , on 22/11/2013 by floroy1942

It’s that time of the year when we can expect snow and more importantly, black ice. Here are some of the crazy antics people get up to when driving in such conditions. To finish off, some tips on how to drive on ice and snow.

You have to wonder how some of these people ever got a driving licence

And finally, a little advice of how to cope in winter driving.

Good luck to all if you have to drive in such conditions.


Nonsense Time – English Humour!

Posted in America, Britain, England, Europe, Modern World, Travel, UK, USA with tags , , , on 17/07/2013 by floroy1942

If there is one thing that shines out as a British benefit to the world it is their humour. Every culture has its own brand of humour, but none have been exported all across the globe like that of the British.

The following was sent to me by a friend and I would like to share it with you. All were reported in the British press at one time or another, and have been collected together by some unknown person who receives my thanks. Enjoy:

From the British Newspapers: 

Commenting on a complaint from a Mr. Arthur Purdey about a large gas bill, a spokesman for North West Gas said, ‘We agree it was rather high for the time of year. It’s possible Mr. Purdey has been charged for the gas used up during the explosion that destroyed his house.’ (The Daily Telegraph)

Police reveal that a woman arrested for shoplifting had a whole salami in her underwear. When asked why, she said it was because she was missing her Italian boyfriend. (The Manchester Evening News)

Irish police are being handicapped in a search for a stolen van, because they cannot issue a description. It’s a Special Branch vehicle and they don’t want the public to know what it looks like. (The Guardian)

At the height of the gale, the harbour-master radioed a coast guard and asked him to estimate the wind speed. He replied he was sorry, but he didn’t have a gauge. However, if it was any help, the wind had just blown his Land Rover off the cliff. ( Aberdeen Evening Express)

Mrs. Irene Graham of Thorpe Avenue, Boscombe, delighted the audience with her reminiscence of the German prisoner of war who was sent each week to do her garden. He was repatriated at the end of 1945, she recalled. “He’d always seemed a nice friendly chap, but when the crocuses came up in the middle of our lawn in February 1946, they spelt out ‘Heil Hitler’.” ( Bournemouth Evening Echo) 

There can be no doubt that even London Underground train drivers have a sense of humour when broadcasting messages over the train’s tannoy system:

A list of actual announcements that London Tube train drivers have made to their passengers…

1) ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, I do apologize for the delay to your service. I know you’re all dying to get home, unless, of course, you happen to be married to my ex-wife, in which case you’ll want to cross over to the Westbound and go in the opposite direction.’

2) ‘Your delay this evening is caused by the line controller suffering from E & B syndrome: not knowing his elbow from his backside. I’ll let you know any further information as soon as I’m given any.’

3) ‘Do you want the good news first or the bad news? The good news is that last Friday was my birthday and I hit the town and had a great time. The bad news is that there is a points failure somewhere between Mile End and East Ham, which means we probably won’t reach our destination.’

4) ‘Ladies and gentlemen, we apologize for the delay, but there is a security alert at Victoria station and we are therefore stuck here for the foreseeable future, so let’s take our minds off it and pass some time together. All together now…. ‘Ten green bottles, hanging on a wall…..’.’

5) ‘We are now travelling through Baker Street … As you can see, Baker Street is closed. It would have been nice if they had actually told me, so I could tell you earlier, but no, they don’t think about things like that’.

6) ‘Beggars are operating on this train. Please do NOT encourage these professional beggars. If you have any spare change, please give it to a registered charity. Failing that, give it to me.’

7) During an extremely hot rush hour on the Central Line, the driver announced in a West Indian drawl: ‘Step right this way for the sauna, ladies and gentleman… unfortunately, towels are not provided.’

8) ‘Let the passengers off the train FIRST!’ (Pause ) ‘Oh go on then, stuff yourselves in like sardines, see if I care – I’m going home….’

9) ‘Please allow the doors to close. Try not to confuse this with ‘Please hold the doors open.’ The two are distinct and separate instructions.’

10) ‘Please note that the beeping noise coming from the doors means that the doors are about to close. It does not mean throw yourself or your bags into the doors.’

11) ‘We can’t move off because some idiot has their hand stuck in the door.’

12) ‘To the gentleman wearing the long grey coat trying to get on the second carriage — what part of ‘stand clear of the doors’ don’t you understand?’

13) ‘Please move all baggage away from the doors.’ (Pause..) ‘Please move ALL belongings away from the doors.’ (Pause…) ‘This is a personal message to the man in the brown suit wearing glasses at the rear of the train: Put the pie down, Four-eyes, and move your bloody golf clubs away from the door before I come down there and shove them up your  @rse sideways!’

14) ‘May I remind all passengers that there is strictly no smoking allowed on any part of the Underground. However, if you are smoking a joint, it’s only fair that you pass it round the rest of the carriage.’

My sincere thanks to the anonymous person who collected these stories that we can all have a bright moment.


Need A New Car? Try Walmart!

Posted in America, Insanity, Modern World, Traffic, Travel, USA with tags , , , , on 15/07/2012 by floroy1942

By now Wal-Mart customers are world famous for their fashion sense, but what about the cars they drive? If you are in the market for a budget priced car you might want to try Wal-Mart.

Unique Trunk Design


Missing Fender, No Problem

With Special Safety Seat

Unique Design


Own You Own Camper


Body Needs A Little Work


Missing Door Handle – No Problem


Can Also Be Used For Washing The Car


Special Security System Installed


Wide Angle Rear Mirror Included


Guess My State!


Airbag May Be Inoperative!


‘Get You Home’ Feature Built In



Wide Tyres Fitted


Pickup Anyone?


Wipers Extra!


 It’s nice to know that cheap cars are available for those that need them, and as we all know, Wal-Mart is something special in the design of clothes. Let us hope they never expand into other fields like aircraft, trains and shipping.

My thanks to the anonymous photo donor.


Now Bus Drivers Hold the Olympic Games To Ransom

Posted in Britain, England, Modern World, Ransom, Traffic, Travel, UK with tags , , , , on 17/05/2012 by floroy1942

The gaze of the whole world will be on Great Britain and London in a few weeks time and it should be every Brit’s desire to make the event pass off smoothly, but what do we get? Yet another example of the greed in today’s society unfolding as now London’s bus drivers threaten to strike for more pay during the Olympic Games. They are one of a long list of public transport workers who have threatened to strike either before, or during the games, which start in just a few weeks.

The bus drivers are complaining that they should receive an extra bonus of £500 for working during the games over and above their normal wage and overtime payments. They say that London Underground, London Overground, Docklands Light Railways, Network Rail and Virgin will all receive between £500 to £900 pounds in extra payments and they feel they should receive the same. Who will be next, street cleaners, bin-men, traffic wardens, parking attendants, shop assistants, hotel bellhops and people walking their dog? The list is endless and its too ludicrous for words.

There will be an estimated 800,000 people travelling on the London bus network for the duration of the games, but that doesn’t give these money grabbing parasites the right to hold the country to ransom just so they can earn more beer money, and the same goes for all the other transport workers!

The Famous London Double-Decker

There are around 20,000 bus employees involved, and a £500 bonus for all would cost approximately £10 million, which you can figure will immediately be passed on to passengers in higher fares, as will the bonuses received by other transport workers.

These people know how vital their role will be in getting olympic visitors to their various destinations, and they know they hold all the aces, so this is just sheer profiteering at the expense of the public and the nation. The sticking point at the moment is that Transport for London (TfL), the company responsible for the buses say the drivers are all hired by 21 private firms so it not them who can decide.

Kavanagh In Action

The Unite Union’s regional secretary for London, Peter Kavanagh, said: “With 72 days left until the Games begin and a strike ballot under way, it’s astonishing that bus operators are still doing zero to resolve this dispute and TfL is refusing to get involved. Passengers should direct their anger at TfL and the bus companies. Their behaviour is a massive dereliction of duty to London”. He added, “If bus workers take strike action up to and during the Olympic Games the bus companies and TfL will be to blame.” Bullshit!

There can be little doubt that all the transport workers in London in general have held the nation to ransom in order to get an unjust payment over and above their normal salary and overtime bonuses at a time when the pride of the nation is at stake. These idiots are directing their wrath at the bus operator which has clearly stated that is has nothing to do with the rates of pay of drivers employed by private companies, but this doesn’t seem to sink in.


Leon Daniels Of TfL

Leon Daniels, TfL’s managing director of surface transport, said: “London bus drivers are employed by private bus companies and their pay and conditions are set by those companies. If bus drivers are required to work additional hours they are always paid overtime accordingly.”

The idea that you do your job on a daily basis for a fair day’s pay seems to have evaporated over time. In my opinion, just because the bus and train systems in London are going to be busier than usual does not entitle any of these vermin to an extra bonus. When is the next demand for a bonus going to come? Perhaps when we have extra visitors during the Queen’s Golden Jubilee celebrations, or the next European Football Cup or World Cup.

Is this now going to be the pattern for the future? If it is, then pretty soon even the rich will not be able to afford to ride on the trains and buses in London. Whatever happened to national pride and the idea of gracious hospitality? I find it really sad, and a fine example of the petty greed and self-interest that is so prevalent in today’s society.


The Future of Transportation

Posted in Britain, Modern World, Travel, UK, USA with tags , on 28/10/2011 by floroy1942

From his first hesitant steps to the high-speed trains and supersonic airliners of today, man has made a giant leap in transportation, but where do we go from here?

Centuries Old Transport Method

Man walked on his own two feet for thousands of years until he learnt to master and ride the beasts of the fields, then came the invention of the wheel. After that, there was little progress until 1769 when Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot created a steam-powered tricycle that was able to carry a person. It was of little use due to problems with maintaining steam pressure and water supply, but did indicate the way of the future. Thirty-eight years later in 1807, Nicephor Niepce created the first internal combustion engine, which strangely enough, he fitted to a boat.

The World’s First Motorised Transport – 1885

In the same year, a Swiss inventor called Francois Isaac de Rivaz built his own engine for a road vehicle. There were other inventors of the same period working on similar systems, but none were put to practical use. It was not until Karl Benz, widely recognised as the father of modern road transport, came along with his four-stroke gasoline engine in 1885, that the first practical automobile reached the road. Since then, this basic concept has undergone ceaseless revision, until today, we have vehicles for a multitude of purposes that can travel at great speeds on land.

Stephenson’s’ Rocket 1825

Our rail travel can be traced back to the work of George Stephenson, born in Wylam, Northumberland, England who, inspired by various pioneers in the field, built the first workable steam engine in 1825. This workhorse served mankind successfully for more than one hundred years, but in the 1960’s most countries converted fully to electric trains because they proved to be more more efficient.

Modern HST Train

The use of electricity to power rail locomotives was found to be less polluting, but also allowed greater speeds to be achieved. This led to the current generation of HST (High Speed Trains), such as the German ICE and the French TGV, which travel at speeds up to 250kph in many countries.

The First Free Balloon Flight – Paris – 1783

Air travel began on the 21st of November 1783, when two Frenchman, Jean-Francois Pilatre de Rozier and Francois Laurent d’Arlandes, made the first untethered manned balloon flight in Paris. Air travel remained stagnated until the beginning of the industrial age, when on December 17th 1903, the Wright Brothers made the first powered flight in the now legendary Wright Flyer, which heralded in the age of powered flight for all.

Frank Whittle Runs His Jet Engine – 1937

Since these lowly beginnings, man has leapt ahead on the ground and in the air, and we have now reached the current supersonic age. This was due mainly to the invention of the modern jet engine by Frank Whittle, an Englishman, who first had the idea of a practical turbo-jet engine in 1928. His first working model was unveiled in 1937. Man now had the means with which to go faster and faster, and therefore, jet engines have powered both aircraft and cars in a bid to set new records.

Grace and Beauty – Concorde

Innovation brought us supersonic aircraft, fast cars and super-fast trains. We can now travel at speeds the early inventors not only thought impossible, but if achieved, would kill us. Such is the progress man has made in transportation in just a century. We have almost reached the pinnacle of development in these three basic areas, but is it all to end here? Not likely!

Scientists are continuously looking for new ways to propel us around the planet, and even as you read this, work is going on behind the scenes to allow us to go even faster.

Airbus Concept Scramjet Airliner

Now there is speculation that the next generation of airliners will have a new propulsion system – The Scramjet. The USA is currently carrying out tests with this technology, which if successful, could be used for our future airliners and allow them to fly at speeds of 4500mph (Mach 6). This would mean a London to Sydney trip lasting only 2 hours! There are however drawbacks, in that due to the enormous pressures during acceleration, passengers would be required to wear some form of G-Suit.

Japanese Maglev Slows Using Air Brakes

We have already proven that trains no longer need steel wheels and tracks on which to run with the invention of the Maglev Train (Magnetic Levitation). The first true Maglev train ran in the 1980’s in Birmingham in the UK. In 2003 a Japanese Maglev Train reached a mind-boggling speed of 581kph (World Record), however, if this technology will ever become commonplace world-wide is open to debate due to problems associated with it, like constantly maintaining the critical distance between the vehicle (magnets) and guideway, plus having sufficient magnetic shielding to protect passengers with heart pacemakers, computer hardrives and even credit cards. Some countries, mainly Japan and China, do have regular Maglev routes.

Aerotrain Concept

Where the Maglev train uses magnetic fields to generate a friction-free ride, thinking seems to be turning more to aerodynamics for the future. The Aerotrain as it is called, relies on generating a cushion of air under itself not by magnets, but by utilizing the same principles that keep an aircraft in the air. It is currently under development in Japan and would reach speeds of 350kph.

Maglev Speed Record:

The Future of Road Transport?

Future road travel is already ‘in the works’ so to speak, with the idea being to hand over much of the vehicles controls to a computer. This could mean we all travel in ‘Road Trains’ on motorways with speed, distance, braking etc all being fully automatic. It is hoped this concept will prove to be a solution to the daily deadlock in some cities. Eventually it is envisaged that you would step into your transport ‘pod’, dial your destination, and the whole trip will be fully automated while you sit back and read the newspaper.

Heathrow Pod System:

Heathrow Pod System in Action

A forerunner of this system was inaugurated recently at Heathrow Airport in London. It is called Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) and carries passengers to and from the car park area to whatever terminal they need at the press of a button. The system is fully automated and run by computers and a system of lasers. It is highly likely that this could be the beginning of a whole new concept for the future of road and ‘rail’ transport. I guess we will have to wait and see!


The Hybrid Car. Not What I Expected!

Posted in Britain, England, Environment, Europe, Germany, Modern World, Traffic, Travel, UK, USA with tags , , , on 07/08/2011 by floroy1942

The hybrid car has been trumpeted by many manufacturers as the replacement for the normal petrol or diesel cars we now drive. I tried one, but I have to say, it was not what I anticipated.

The New 'Baby' Lexus CT200h

I test drove a hybrid car and was surprised to learn it only runs on its electric motor up to 25mph, after that the combustion engine takes over.

The salesman told me that was normal with all hybrid cars and my immediate reaction was; what use is that? We probably spend much less than 5% of our time driving below 25mph except in the town or city, where it may go up to 15%. The second thing that surprised me was the range, just 2 miles on full electric. Not really a lot of good!

Honda Hybrid

In my ignorance, I always thought you could drive normally on the batteries so long as they had a charge, and then switch to the combustion engine when the batteries were flat and so charge them up. Silly me!

A rather unnerving point about driving an electric car is the lack of noise. Two youths on a bicycle pulled across the road in front of me and they clearly had not heard my approach. Maybe these cars should be fitted with a constantly blown vazulu so you can warn pedestrians of your approach.

Best To Find A Hotel !

I must say, the hybrid does have one major advantage over an all electric car, at least you don’t have to stop every few miles and wait around for twelve hours while the darn batteries charge. It can’t be very nice to be stuck miles from a charging point and have to call the breakdown service to get you to it. It also struck me as somewhat of a surprise to learn that should your batteries wear out on an electric car, replacements could set you back around 7000. Wow!

You Just Need A Longer Cable!

As I have previously mentioned in posts, I am afraid the all electric car is a non-starter when it comes to replacing the combustion engine, but it seems the hybrid is not much better. In fact, the product does not live up to all the hype. I think manufacturers need to start thinking about an electric car with normal performance, but has a combustion engine backup.


Associated Post:

RyanAir Is At It Again!

Posted in Britain, England, Europe, Modern World, Spain, Travel, UK with tags , , , , , , on 12/06/2011 by floroy1942

I suppose its not all that unusual for businesses to screw their customers where possible these days, but Micheal O’Leary of Ryanair has got it down to a fine art. It has just been announced that he intends to increase the baggage charges for flights on his aircraft. While he always boasts his fares are the cheapest, he is always finding new ways to get more money out of the weary traveller.

Video on Ryanair – Worth watching:

His latest announcement concerns baggage charges (again) as he is raising the price of placing baggage in the hold of the aircraft by another £5, but its just for the holiday season, as if that makes it acceptable. This is all on top of a standard 12 % increase in fares across the board. Air travel is becoming more expensive due to the ever increasing price of oil on the international market.

King Of The Hill When It Comes To Shafting His Customers

The new charges for baggage go on weight as usual, with a £20 levy on bags up to 15 kgs and between 15-20 kgs it goes up to £30, and that’s each way! With the new tariffs being applied only for the holiday season Ryanair has been accused of sheer profiteering, and that is something I for one agree with.

My wife travelled to Denmark recently on Ryanair from Malaga airport, and found out the real horrors of travelling with this airline. Firstly, you cannot even carry a book for the journey in your hand along with your carry-on bag, the book must go in the bag. So there is no point in doing any duty-free shopping unless the items you buy are small enough to go in your hand baggage. So far as your suitcase is concerned, for every kilogram (or part of one) over the 20 kilo limit you pay an extra 20 per kilo, and that’s not even counting a second suitcase!

Malaga Airport Check-in

My wife’s bag was, according to the check-in scales, just 21.5 kilo’s so she was forced to remove some t-shirts which I had to bring home. We had to use the scales at the adjacent check-in desk which was not in use, and finally got to the required 20 kgs. When we put the suitcase back on the Ryanair scales it still read 21kgs so I pointed out the discrepancy to the attendant and she finally accepted the case at no extra charge. The damned scales used by Ryanair were reading one kilo higher than the others at surrounding check-in desks! Not what I would call very honest, so how many passengers had been fleeced for the extra weight charge?

Just The Bare Essentials

O’Leary knows damned well that people going on holiday cannot fit all their clothes for one or two weeks into their hand baggage, and who can get away with just 15 kgs when going on holiday? He is looking for any excuse to charge more, in fact it was reported last year that he was looking into charging passengers £1 to use the toilets on the aircraft.

He also looked into ‘standing room only’ flights with special ‘seats’ that would allow twice as many passengers to be carried in a vertical position. Thankfully, this idea was quashed by the FAA who ruled that it was unsafe.

Standing Seats Ryanair Style:

Money, Money – I Love It!

There can be little doubt that before long, O’Leary’s feverish brain will dream up another money-making scheme to fleece yet more cash from passengers using the airline, and people will just have to smile and pay up.

O’Leary has been quoted as saying:  “At the moment the ice is free, but if we could find a way of targeting a price on it, we would”. I guess that just about sums up the man and his attitude to business. He doesn’t care a jot for criticsm aimed his way, which only goes to prove he has a thick skin.


A related video that will give you a good laugh:

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