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Are Personal Flying Vehicles the Future of Transport?

The flying car- it’s been a science fiction dream for as long as there’s been science fiction. It’s a notion so compelling that it’s driven countless designers to attempt to solve the inherent problems with the concept, and for most to fail spectacularly.

Rooted in the unspectacular desire to rid our daily lives of traffic and meandering, indirect roads, the flying car nonetheless conjures up images of a brighter tomorrow and safer towns and cities around the world. It’s a distant dream, or at least, it has traditionally been.

Today, more and more aerospace companies, both big and small, are investigating the possibility of the personal flying vehicle – aircraft capable of carrying single individuals or small cargo through the air autonomously, acting as a sort of air-based taxi.

Indeed, whilst the likes of Airbus have been covertly developing a PSF via their A3 venture capital division, upstart Chinese companies like eHang have launched their very own PSF drones, like the eHang 184, which closely resembling the consumer drones you’ll find hovering over public parks across the world.

The latter is capable of carrying one passenger up to 100kg and their light cargo for up to 30 minutes at a time, with a fully vertical take-off and a cruising speed of 40mph. The passenger chooses between a number of pre-determined destinations on a touchscreen located inside the cockpit and, well, away they go.

It’s not just a concept either. In Dubai, city officials have announced that the 184 will begin ferrying passengers during 2017, and the vehicle also gained permission for test flights in Nevada, where it could show up to help wealthy guests get from airport to casino, or from nightlife spot to nightlife spot.

All of which has posed many to ask the question, are personal flying vehicles the future of transport? Well, there’s some hurdles to overcome first. Namely, passenger capacity and regulatory issues. Though the ability to travel alone is appreciated, many more travel in pairs or as groups. Improving motor technology and passenger capacity would go some way to increasing the likelihood of widespread public adoption.

The other issue a more complicated one – air regulation. At the moment, there are strict laws which prohibit these kinds of vehicles in most countries and cities. It will take countless hours of flight and a great deal of problem solving before aviation authorities around the world consider letting hundreds of autonomous aircraft in the sky.

With all that said though, it seems like we’re closer than ever to the dream of the flying car – and isn’t that exciting?

How to Find the Right Transportation While Traveling

Going on vacation is supposed to leave you feeling stress-free and relaxed. There may be a few problems on the way to reaching a destination like a delayed flight or missing out on a window seat but once you settle into your hotel room, there should be nothing but smiles all around. This may not be the case though, if you end up having a difficult time getting around once you reach a place. To avoid confusion and frustration, think about your travel arrangements once you have arrived at your destination. You will probably spend plenty of time figuring out how to get to your city of choice but little time considering how you will get around once you arrive. For instance, if you are headed to Sin City, most people assume you can walk everywhere. It is true that many locations on the strip are close to one another. The length of the strip if you want to walk the most exciting part is about 3.5 to 4 miles.

That might be a nice stroll on a Sunday afternoon but in the blazing heat of the Nevada desert; it can leave you feeling worn out. You can rent a vehicle to get you from one place to another, but if you will be drinking, you do not want to find yourself in need of a Las Vegas DUI attorney or Las Vegas DUI lawyer. You also do not want to pay to have your car valet parked or worry about the strip traffic during all hours of the day and night. If you are headed to Sin City, plant to utilize a combination of taxi cabs, the monorail system, moving walkways, and buses that run up and down the strip.

Other cities are just as challenging when planning for getting around. If you are headed somewhere that parking will not be a problem, it may be better to rent a vehicle just so you are not stuck abiding by the public transportation schedule. Having a rented vehicle gives you the freedom to come and go as you please and to explore the surrounding area on your own time schedule. Renting a vehicle can add a lot of expense to your trip though, so when you can try to get around on foot or by a monorail, light rail, or subway system. If your only option will be taxi cabs, you will need to determine how frequently you will be needing a ride and figure out if that cost will be more than renting a vehicle. Some resorts supply you with enough activities and dining options so you never have to leave the property. If this is the case, just determine how you will get from the airport to the resort and then back again, and forget about the cost of renting or paying for a cab. Many of these places offer off-site excursions that take a bus of guests to a certain destination and bring them back so you can experience the local culture without having to worry about exploring on your own.

My First Trip To Las Vegas, Nevada

I remember my first trip to Las Vegas like it was yesterday. In 1998, my parents won a trip for two to Las Vegas, but with some negotiating, they were able to have me tag along. I was only thirteen years old, but I was ready for the Neon City.

We stayed at what was then known as the Flamingo Hilton and it was wonderful. The room was nice, the dining options were great, the shows were terrific and the pool area was like heaven. I vividly remember sitting on the edge of the bed watching the movie, “Fools Rush In” and listening to the song, “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis. To this day, whenever I listen to that song on my iPod, I am transported back to that bed in Vegas. I remember eating breakfast at the buffet and loving it. That was my first experience with a Vegas buffet. Today, I still eat at Vegas buffets and love them! My parents tried to get tickets to see the show, Splash, but it was sold out. Instead, we went on a timeshare tour and scored free tickets to a show called Forever Plaid. It was in an intimate theater and we had great seats. The show is no longer around, but my memories are. The pool area is as spectacular today as it was in 1998. I recently visited the pool area to see the flamingos, as I did thirteen years ago. The gardens are as lush as ever and the flamingos march around in their pink beauty.

The Bellagio was scheduled to open the week after our trip, so we did not have the chance to see the interior, but we did see the famous Bellagio fountains. The three of us were in awe and still when I see the fountains today, I am awestruck.

I remember my first visit to the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace. Caesars Palace was fabulous then and they have done a wonderful job keeping it fabulous. The Forum Shops look the same today as they did in 1998. I loved shopping then and I love shopping now.

Our family trip to Las Vegas left an impression on all of us. My parents spoke of it for years. I still feel emotional when I walk by the Flamingo. Even though I have not stayed there since then, it will always have a special place in my heart.

Yucca Mountain – The Debate Continues

In recent years and continuing on into the present there has been a debate in Congress over the use of Yucca Mountain as a repository for nuclear waste from all over the U.S. While many states are concerned with the transportation of such waste through their states, here in Nevada the last thing many of us want is nuclear waste being stored in our backyards. Living in the town of Pahrump which is just a stone’s throw from Yucca Mountain, the citizens here are naturally against having a nuclear storage facility in their backyard. In towns and cities along the route to Yucca Mountain naturally there is a concern over the routes being used to transport nuclear waste to the storage facility itself. For years now there has been a heavy debate going on in Congress, and the Environmental Protection Agency has been conducting its own investigation as to whether or not Yucca Mountain is the safest and best place to store such waste materials. In addition they have been attempting to find the quickest routes to the facility through which to transport the waste materials, without posing a potential threat to human life if a spill should take place along the way.

Most citizens in Nevada are opposed to the nuclear repository at Yucca Mountain, and many are currently suffering from the radioactive dust particles now coming to the surface in the desert as a result of erosion of the top soil, which can be dated back to the nuclear testing done both above and below ground at the Nevada Test Site just some 40 miles from the town of Pahrump. Even I personally who never had any allegeries other than to Penicillin, now are suffering from respiratory allergies, and am on daily medication for those allergies. Most physicians here believe that many of the citizens here in town who suffer from allergies who had never before been symptomatic can be directly related to the vast amount of dust particles in the air due to the almost consistent breezes and wind.

It should be noted that although some of the residents here have lived here for a long time, the town has grown over the past 6 years from a population of less than 30,000 to over 38,000, and many are younger adults and children. Pahrump had been for a long time considered a retirement community for those who worked at the Test Site and Yucca Mountain. However, in recent years there has been a large influx of younger people, many of them with small children who also have been developing allergies which they never had before moving here. It would seem at least to this observer, that adding to the problem is certainly not the answer, and if the majority of citizens living here are against such a facility for obvious reasons, the plan should be scrapped, and a new less dangerous site should be selected. I haven’t yet heard of any other state that has come forward and offered to allow such a facility to be built in their state, and it isn’t too likely that one will. Just as no one wants a prison built in their backyard, no one wants a nuclear waste dump built in their’s either. The time has come for the citizens of Nevada along with their representatives and senators to hold those in power accountable for their actions, and begin to listen to those citizens directly affected by their seemingly inept decisions.

I am not by any means opposed to providing more jobs for southern Nevadans, and the Yucca Mountain project will certainly do that, however at what cost to human health and safety? Will it be worth the risk now and in the future, that is the question, and until the government does some serious research and investigating into all the potential risks, and also takes into account the many fault lines which run through the state of Nevada, we citizens must stand firm in our insistence that they find a more suitable location for the nuclear repository.

The Wisdom of Using a Travel Planner

When making a trip to Las Vegas, there are a lot of thrills you hope to experience. You can imagine yourself taking in a show. You can’t wait to be served fancy drinks and enjoy the all-you-can-eat buffets. You’re confident you’ll hear the sound of the slot machine spilling its quarters into your waiting cup. Of course, there are a few thrills you hope not to experience. You will put your cash in a safe place to avoid being an easy target for a thief. You definitely don’t want to make the acquaintance of a Nevada DUI attorney so you will not get behind the wheel of a car after downing those fancy drinks. You will not inhale so much alcohol that you make a fool of yourself out on The Strip and have to call that same Nevada DUI lawyer to come get you out of jail. You will not blow all your money at the high stakes black-jack table when black-jack has really never been your game. You will not make advances toward every good looking person you come across.

Maybe for years you’ve heard stories from your friends about all there is to do and experience in this great city. You’ve always wanted to vacation there, but have just never had the time nor the money to do it right. Now, finally, you are in a position to make it happen. But where to begin in this town full of fun and activity? Unless you are traveling with a companion or companions who have visited Vegas on multiple occasions, perhaps the services of a trip planner might be of benefit to you and your party. Think of all the benefits a planned trip can provide to tourists.

A trip coordinator can provide visitors with an itinerary of all the can’t miss destinations Vegas has to offer. Many visitors to Vegas have a few sites they are dying to check out. Some of the legendary destinations, be that notorious wedding chapels, or celebrity restaurants, or just popular places along The Strip, are sure to be included in a provided itinerary. But even more than the common tourist traps, are cool suggestions you may never have even heard about. Some suggestions will be right in front of your nose, and some may be off the beaten path a bit.

A trip coordinator can also provide you with dependable transportation options. Navigating Vegas in a rental car can be tricky but relying on the services of a professional transportation company can be a breeze. This will take away any chance of getting lost or making a wrong turn. This will keep you from getting pulled over if you’ve had one too many of those fancy drinks. This will provide a chance for you and your friends to cruise around town in style and luxury.

A trip coordinator can also help you find great airline ticket deals. Sometimes ticket deals can even be combined with hotel and entertainment packages. Using the services of a trip coordinator could save you time and money as you figure out your total travel costs.

If a Driver-Less Autonomous Robotic Car Breaks a Traffic Law – Who Has to Pay the Fine?

Okay so, in the future there will be robotic cars which drive themselves. Your car at first may be able to drive itself on the freeway, or perhaps you already have a car which can parallel park itself. If a car parallel parks itself, and if it makes a mistake and takes out the rear tail light of the car in front of you as it is doing this maneuver, guess who has to pay? That’s right, it’s your responsibility, even though you are trusting the car to do its job.

So far, I haven’t heard of any cases of this happening, but it surely will in the future and it is something to think about – if your driverless autonomous robotic car breaks a traffic law, guess who has to pay the fine; you get to pay. Indeed, I doubt very much that such an excuse; that your robotic car broke the speed limit, or caused you to create a traffic infraction will be a legitimate excuse that any judge would care to hear.

Now then, I don’t doubt that they will hear these excuses, or you may feel that you are legitimately making a solid argument in a traffic court, but chances are you won’t win your case, nor will your lawyer most likely if you hire one.

If you don’t think this future is coming, I can tell you it is. Not only will someday you fly on an airliner which does not have a human pilot, but you may soon drive on a bus, ride on a train, or have something you ordered travel by robotic truck – that future is coming, like it or not.

In fact, there was an interesting article recently in Physorg Online Science News last month titled; “Google gets driverless car law passed in Nevada” by Katie Gatto published on the web-blog on June 24, 2011. Okay so, this was a very interesting article and a great day for human robotic engineers and AI autonomous robotic unmanned vehicles. Probably not a good day for truck drivers, limo-drivers, taxi drivers, or anyone who makes their living as a driver, pilot, conductor, or boat captain as history may one day show.

Katie’s article online makes an interesting announcement and this might even come as a shock to some people. Now then, I am not so surprised because I did attend the first DARPA Challenge robotic contest in Nevada and was quite pleased with the progress. Well, that progress continues and robotic vehicles are becoming more and more accepted it seems. Katie Gatto, in her article states:

“The Nevada state legislature has just passed has just passed a bill, Assembly Bill No. 511, that does two things. First, the law allows the Nevada Department of Transportation to create rules and regulations regarding the use of self-driving cars, so that they can be used legally on the road. The second part of the law requires the Nevada state Department of Transportation to designate areas in which these vehicles can be tested.”

This is only the start, as this new law sets precedents in the State of Nevada, and other states will look towards it in coming up with their own traffic laws with regards to robotic vehicles. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on it. If you have any interesting comments, concerns, and/or questions along this line of thinking then please shoot me an e-mail.

The Saga of the Automobile and Burma-Shave

Prior to 1925, the Burma-Vita Company, owned by Clinton Odell, was marketing a liniment concocted from ingredients imported from the Malay Peninsula and Burma. However, sales were few and the company decided to switch to a product with more demand. The result was Burma Shave, a brushless shaving cream. Clinton’s son, Allan, thought that sales could be improved through an advertising campaign using wooden signs planted along the side of the roads. Clinton did not think much of the idea but he did give Allan $200 to try it out. Allan and brother Leonard were soon posting signs along America’s roads until 7000 signs stretched across United States highways. The signs were white on red in groups of four, five or six. The last sign always read Burma-Shave. As it turned out, Allan had a great idea because the company’s sales started to increase. The signs were particularly popular with families as they kept kids occupied on long trips. The first ones to be posted were straightforward advertisements. These were followed by verses such as:

For shaving comfort / Without /A sting / That big blue tube / Has everything / Burma-Shave

Then humor was injected:

The big blue tube’s / Just like Louise / You get / A thrill / From every squeeze / Burma-Shave

Then in the late 30’s auto safety messages began to appear: Take / Your / Time / Not / Your life / Burma-Shave

and

When passing / Through school zones / Please drive slow / Let’s let our / Little shavers / Grow

or

Train approaching / Whistle squealing / Pause! / Avoid that / Rundown feeling! / Burma-Shave

There was also an attempt to educate the public against drunk driving with messages such as:

Drinking drivers / Nothing worse / They put / The quart / Before the hearse / Burma-Shave

Another topic was fire safety with:

The blackened forest / Smolders Yet / Because / He flipped / a cigarette / Burma-Shave

and

Many a forest / Used to stand / Where a / Lighted match / Got out of hand / Burma-Shave

In the late thirties, some of the signs were a take off on The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere with verses such as:

Hardly a driver / Is now alive / Who passed / On hills / At 75 / Burma Shave

and

The midnight / Ride of Paul / For beer / Led to a warmer / Hemisphere / Burma-Shave

The signs appeared in practically all of the forty-eight states except for New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada, states in which the company thought the road traffic was too light to make the signs worthwhile. The colors were changed to white on blue for South Dakota, which, by law, reserved red for official warning signs. One of the early advertising signs was:

Shaving brushes / You’ll soon see ’em / On a shelf / In some museum / Burma-Shave.

This sign together with a shaving brush and mug can be found in the Smithsonian Institution. All 600 of the signs can be found in Frank Rowsome, Jr’s book, “The Verse by the Side of the Road: The Story of the Burma-Shave Signs and Jingles.” They disappeared in the 1960’s with the advent of super highways when the high speeds made them difficult to read.

Great Golf Vacations

In recent years, golf is one sport that has been steadily growing in popularity. Men and women of all ages are now hitting the greens for fun and relaxation. It is not only a challenging sport, but it also a great way to unwind and forget about life’s daily stresses. Because of the increase in the number of golf enthusiasts, there are now many destinations where people can spend a relaxing vacation. If you have a passion for this sport, listed below are a few popular destinations that offer great recreational vacations:

Florida: The state of Florida is not just world famous for its fantastic weather and gorgeous beaches, but it is also home to over a thousand gold courses. For instance, a few of the more popular golf resorts are Eagle Creek Golf Club in Orlando, Great White Course at Doral Resort and Spa in Miami, and Pebble Creek Golf Club in Tampa Bay. The best part of this vacation in Florida is if you travel with family, there is plenty for them to see and do while you are golfing.

Mexico: Mexico is world renowned for its challenging and professional courses. A few of the popular courses include: The Flamingos Golf Club in Puerto Vallarta and El Camaleon at Mayakoba. There is so much to see and do at Mexico’s destinations that you can take the whole family for a great vacation.

Nevada: There is more to the state of Nevada than just the amazing casinos in Las Vegas. There are many challenging courses across the state. Some of the most well known resorts include: Black Mountain Golf & Country Club, The Badlands Golf Club in Las Vegas, Aliante Golf Club, and Rosewood Lakes Golf Course in Reno. As well, Angel Park Palm, Desert Pines Golf Club, Angel Park Cloud Nine Short, Angel Park Mountain, and Bali Hai Golf Club, are also very popular.

Hawaii: Each year, people from all over the world vacation in Hawaii. Its exotic scenery, warm weather, gorgeous water and great waves for surfing, and luxury hotels and resorts, make this state a popular vacation destination. Hawaii is also home to many spectacular courses such as Coral Creek Golf Course in Ewa Beach, The Poipu Bay Golf Course in Kauai, and The Ko Olina Golf Club in Oahu.

California: California is another state famous for its fantastic golf courses. Many people visit California to play on these challenging courses. A few of the well known resorts include: The Chardonnay Golf Club in Napa Valley and Furnace Creek Golf Course in Death Valley.

Arizona: The state of Arizona is home to many popular and challenging courses. For instance, Eagle Mountain near Scottsdale, Phoenix’s West Golf Club, and the Arizona National Golf in Tucson, are very popular vacation destinations.

Alabama: In this golf loving state, the FarmLinks in Sylacauga and The Kiva Dunes Golf Course in Gulf Shores are exciting and challenging courses. Alabama is well known for courses that will challenge enthusiasts.

With so many great golf vacations available, it is a great chance for enthusiasts to challenge their golfing skills in a beautiful destination. Because of the warm weather, beautiful scenery, wonderful local attractions and sights, great food, and even activities for children, you will wonder what took you so long to take such a fun, relaxing, and exciting vacation. If you have a passion for golf, check out the variety of travel deals offered on many online travel sites.

Relocation Service – Moving To Las Vegas Made Simple

Many people are kind of apprehensive about using relocation services. They worry about the handlers ruining some of their valuable accessories and furniture. However there are many well reputed relocation service providers who vouch for the correct and methodical handling of all you goods. They claim to hire only professional packing and moving personnel that can take care of your entire moving process.

So, when you are ready to make a move to Las Vegas, Nevada, using a Las Vegas relocation service is a very good idea to put into practice. In fact there is a wide choice of Las Vegas relocation providers that you can take your pick from. Quite often when it is time to select a Las Vegas relocation service company, people go ahead and look at the company’s portfolio of clientele, references and feedback from previous clients. Some people prefer to meet the company personnel one on one before they commit to making a selection of provider.

If you are looking to purchase property in Las Vegas, then your real estate agent could be of great help. Not only could he arrange the purchase of property, which is their obvious role, but a realtor could also assist you with the actual physical moving part. Some companies have this as an added service, and even if they do not they can at least put you on to the right packing and moving people from the state. They would no doubt give you the best provider, keeping their own reputation in mind when they suggest a firm.

When you make such a choice, to select a company based on the word of your real estate agent, you will no doubt be given a great service. Many a time people have so much stress in the moving stage they regret having made the decision. However, if you choose the right relocation specialists in Las Vegas, your move will be hassle free, and a pleasant one. When you let the specialists do their job you can relax and take care of other important issues that concern resettling.

If you are still confused about which provider to select, you could always go to the Las Vegas relocation center for a few suggestions. No doubt their suggestions would be unbiased as they do not offer such a service themselves, but suggest the right person for the job. If you do go to Vegas ahead of schedule for this purpose you could also look into other areas of your move when you are there, such as real estate deals, rentals or school admissions for the kids.

If you decide to use the services Las Vegas relocation service or not, it is a choice that is only dependent on your own personal point of view. However we strongly recommend you hire such a company to have a stress free moving experience. You may even enjoy the move when someone else takes over the packing and transport responsibility!

Nevada Fails to Promote Solar Energy

As the nation’s capital creates legislation that is likely to transform the landscape of America from a fossil-fuel nation toward a renewable energy nation, states like Nevada – with its abundant sunshine, wide open spaces and concentrated population located in two major cities – stand to gain.

Nevada has already heeded the call of renewables. Plans for two coal-fired generating plants in White Pine County – by LS Power and Nevada Energy – have been canceled. Another coal-fired plant near Mesquite hit the skids earlier in the year.

Cap-and-trade, which threatens to make global warming emissions incrementally more expensive over time, is one of the bigger incentives to move away from coal, oil and natural gas. But another, a $3.2-billion provision hidden away in the economic stimulus bill passed in February, gives power companies in the West access to low-cost loans via the Western Power Authority that will help extend the nation’s transmission system to incorporate renewable energies like solar.

It’s a first step toward a smarter grid, and an essential step if renewable alternatives like solar and wind farms, commonly built well outside inhabited areas, are to reach the thousands in cities who need more energy, and would prefer it clean and green.

At least, this is the conclusion reached by a new Roper survey, which shows that almost 90 percent of Americans think new home construction should offer a solar option. This is up from 79 percent a year ago, according to the study commissioned by Sharp Electronics Corp.

The $3.2 provision, introduced by Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nv.), the current Senate Majority head, solves a long-standing Catch 22: investors are reluctant to finance renewable projects unless the transmission lines exist to transport it. But investors are also reluctant to invest in transmission lines until said renewable projects are up and running.

Up to now, the solution to this dilemma has been to build more fossil-fuel plants close to existing plants and tie the plant in to existing transmission. Coal-fired plants are cheap to build, domestic coal is believed to be plentiful, and is also inexpensive, allowing builders to recoup their construction costs quite rapidly.

But let’s go back to that plentiful coal. According to a report released by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) late in 2008, coal reserves in the Gillette, Wyoming field are – thanks to reevaluation and a redefining of the term “accessible” – a scarce 6 percent of previous estimates.

Another report from 2007, which dismisses previous methods of evaluating coal reserves, suggests that actual coal reserves across the country might be much smaller than previously supposed. In effect, say some experts, the U.S. only has enough coal to last about 20 years.

In light of this, it suddenly makes sense to build a $500-million line between Las Vegas and Ely to carry solar power. And both LS Power and NV Energy, having scrapped coal plans, are going ahead with transmission planning, because Nevada – with its 2005 mandate on utilities to provide 9 percent from renewables – is finally catching up, even if four years late.

Nevada’s Senate Bill 358, which will allow NV Energy to recover conservation losses through higher rates, is another incentive to go green, even though regional enviros regard it as a utility bailout.

The 2005 law mandates utilities like NV Energy and Nevada Power to produce 20 percent of power via renewables by 2015, and 25 percent by 2025. With the new power line a go, solar energy firms like First Solar should begin flocking to Nevada’s wide open spaces and 360 days of sunshine a year any time now.