Archive for June 17th, 2013

June 17, 2013

Joey Skaggs

Joey Skaggs (b. 1945) is an American prankster who has organized numerous successful media pranks, hoaxes, and other presentations. He is considered one of the originators of the phenomenon known as ‘culture jamming’ (subverting media culture).

Skaggs has numerous aliases including: Kim Yung Soo, Joe Bones, Joseph Bonuso, Giuseppe Scaggioli, Dr. Joseph Gregor, and the Rev. Anthony Joseph. When not pranking the media, Skaggs earns his living by painting, making sculptures and lecturing.

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June 17, 2013

Mark Dery

shovelware

Mark Dery (b. 1959) is an American author, lecturer and cultural critic. He writes about ‘media, the visual landscape, fringe trends, and unpopular culture.’ From 2001 to 2009, he taught media criticism and literary journalism in the Department of Journalism at New York University. In 2000, he was appointed Chancellor’s Distinguished Fellow at the University of California, Irvine. In 2009, he was awarded a scholar-in-residence position at the American Academy in Rome.

He identifies his politics as ‘unrepentantly leftist’ and his religion as the parodic Church of the SubGenius. Dery’s books include ‘The Pyrotechnic Insanitarium: American Culture on the Brink’ and ‘Escape Velocity: Cyberculture at the End of the Century.’ He edited the anthology ‘Flame Wars: The Discourse of Cyberculture’ and wrote the monograph ‘Culture Jamming: Hacking, Slashing, and Sniping in the Empire of Signs.’ His essay collection ‘I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts: Drive-By Essays on American Dread, American Dreams’ was published in 2012.

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June 17, 2013

StarTram

startram

StarTram is a proposal for a maglev space launch system. The initial Generation 1 facility would be cargo only, launching from a mountain peak at 3 to 7 km (1.9 to 4.3 mi) altitude with an evacuated tube staying at local surface level; it has been claimed that about 150,000 tons could be lifted to orbit annually. More advanced technology would be required for the Generation 2 system for passengers, with a longer track instead gradually curving up at its end to the thinner air at 22 km (14 mi) altitude, supported by magnetic levitation, reducing g-forces when each capsule transitions from the vacuum tube to the atmosphere.

American physicist James R. Powell invented the superconducting maglev concept in the 1960s with a colleague, Gordon Danby, also at Brookhaven National Laboratory, which was subsequently developed into modern maglev trains. Later, Powell co-founded StarTram, Inc. with Dr. George Maise, an aerospace engineer was at Brookhaven from 1974 to 1997, with particular expertise in reentry heating and hypersonic vehicle design.

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June 17, 2013

Vactrain

vactrain

A vactrain (or vacuum tube train) is a proposed, as-yet-unbuilt design for future high-speed railroad transportation. It is a maglev line run through evacuated (air-less) or partly evacuated tubes or tunnels. The lack of air resistance could permit vactrains to use little power and to move at extremely high speeds, up to 4,000–5,000 mph (6,400–8,000 km/h). At that speed, the trip between London and New York would take less than an hour, supplanting aircraft as the world’s fastest mode of public transportation.

Travel through evacuated tubes allows supersonic speed without the penalty of sonic boom found with supersonic aircraft. The trains could operate faster than Mach 1 without noise. However, without major advances in tunnelling and other technology, vactrains would be prohibitively expensive. Alternatives such as elevated concrete tubes with partial vacuums have been proposed to reduce costs. In 2010, researchers at Southwest Jiaotong University in China began developing a vactrain to reach speeds of 1,000 km/h (620 mph), intended to be completed in 2020.

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