‘Hyperloop’ Could Send People From L.A. To San Francisco In 30 Minutes

Hyperloop Promises Los Angeles to San Francisco Travel in Minutes

It might not be long before people are being whisked from Los Angeles to San Francisco in an underground pipeline akin to the tubes drive-up banks use. The wild idea comes from Elon Musk, who has or has had high stakes in PayPal, Tesla Motors and SpaceX. Here’s what Musk told PandoDaily:

“How would you like something that never crashed, was immune to weather, that goes three or four times as fast as the bullet trains we have now or about twice the speed of an aircraft, that would get you from downtown L.A. to downtown San Francisco in under 30 minutes and it would cost you much less than any other type of transportation.”

There’s been a lot of futuristic means of travel proposed in the past — flying cars, hover boards and teleporting, to name a few — but with billionaire backing, this idea seems like it’s actually on track. Get ready for the fifth form of transportation, folks; one that blows planes, trains, automobiles and boats out of the water. Here’s a few reasons why:

  • It’s solar powered.
  • It leaves leave as soon as you arrive “so there is no waiting for a specific departure time,” according to Musk.
  • It’s better than a bullet train: capsules will be propelled as fast as 4,000 miles per hour, but passengers will be exposed to the G-forces of an ordinary car ride.
  • Musk wants to keep the invention open source, and not apply patents to it.

[via Smithsonian magazine]

PayPal Galactic Makes Buying Stuff On Your Space Trip Easy

PayPal Galactic
paz.ca/Flickr

So you’re on your way to Mars and forgot to pay a bill back on Earth. Before today, there would really be no way to do that, what with interplanetary currency still undefined. No problem. Now, on its 15th anniversary, PayPal announced the launch of PayPal Galactic and there is indeed a way to make universal space payments.

“Trips to Mars, the moon, even orbit will require we provide astronauts and astro-tourists with as many comforts from home as possible, including how to pay each other,” said astronaut/author Buzz Aldrin in an announcement made with PayPal President David Marcus reported by Laboratory Equipment.

PayPal Galactic addresses concerns of the SETI Institute and Space Tourism Society about how to prepare and support the future of space commerce. Working with PayPal, leaders in the space industry will address real life questions ranging from what currency will look like in a cash-free interplanetary society to the evolution of risk and fraud management.

“Whether it’s paying a bill, even helping a family member on Earth, we’ll need access to money. I think humans will reach Mars, and I would like to see it happen in my lifetime,” said Aldrin.Right now the need for PayPal Galactic exists, with astronauts manning the International Space Station year-round. “Within five to 10 years the earliest types of ‘space hotels’ and orbital and lunar commerce will be operational and in need of a payment system,” said John Spencer, founder and president of the Space Tourism Society.

Yet another good reason why space travel will happen in your lifetime; Buzz Aldrin, 83, is banking on it.

Cyber Monday 2012: Our Favorite Airfare And Entertainment Deals

Cyber Monday is the newfangled cousin of Black Friday, when the Internet bursts with the money-saving deals that Black Friday offers in stores the Friday before.

Cyber Monday is probably best known for deals on tech and electronics, but the online shopping extends to airfare and other travel deals, as well. In fact, Gadling has already covered the best hotel deals for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Here’s a sampling of the best airfare and entertainment deals we’ve found to celebrate Cyber Monday. Find any awesome travel deals, yourself? Let us know in the comments.
Air Deals
LAN and TAM: Up to 40% off flights to Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Cathay Pacific: Up to 15% off flights, plus a prize drawing in which 30 passengers are selected to win 10,000 Asia Miles.
Vayama: Special Cyber Monday rates on international airlines such as China Airlines, Emirates, El Al, Korean Air, TACA, AirEuropa and more.
PayPal airfare matching: From now until December 31, PayPal will match prices for airfare you purchase, if you find that the tickets are advertised for a lower price at any merchant within 30 days of purchase. If, say, you buy tickets for $200 and the price goes down to $150, PayPal will simply pay you the difference, with a maximum $1,000 total and $250 payout per item.
StudentUniverse: Planning to offer up to $65 off certain flights to locations like Latin America, South Pacific, within the U.S. and more.
Other Travel Deals
MSC Cruises: Offering special “Cyber Monday Sale” rates on select 7-night, round-trip Caribbean cruises from Fort Lauderdale, beginning at $399.
Mauiva AirCruise: If you want something rather untraditional, you can try a sky version of a cruise with Mauiva. They’re offering 20% off select departures as part of a Cyber Monday sale.
Crested Butte ski package: Airfare to Crested Butte Mountain Resort in Colorado and 41% off the regular season rate, starting at $649 for four nights of lodging and three days of lift tickets (plus taxes and resort fees).
Goldstar deals on entertainment: Cyber Monday offers include 20% off all Goldstar gift certificates, 40% off Cirque du Soleil’s “IRIS” in L.A., 38% off the “Radio City Christmas Spectacular,” 60% off the Snowbomb Tahoe Platinum Card – which grants four lift tickets, ski rentals and two free nights at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno – and more.
Extra Tips
Check out airlines that have had Cyber Monday deals in past years: Many Cyber Monday deals aren’t announced until the day-of, so start by checking out airlines that have worked in the past. These include American Airlines, JetBlue, Frontier, Southwest and AirTran.

Follow them on Twitter: Often, airlines update Twitter with their most by-the-minute deals. Try following @Delta, @AmericanAir, @VirginAmerica, @SouthwestAir and @JetBlueCheeps.


[Image credit: Flickr user Mike Miley]

Future Of Space Travel Is Here, Next Month Anyway

Tony stark space travelIf all goes according to plan, privately owned, space travel company SpaceX will send an unmanned capsule, launched from its own Falcon rocket, to dock with the International Space Station on April 30. It will be the first time a privately owned spaceship docks with a space station in orbit and it will mark a new era of private, manned space travel.

Under the watchful eye of NASA, the program might quickly get the United States back in space, while being mindful of budgetary concerns.

NASA‘s International Space Station program, along with our international partners, will take a look at the readiness of both the station and SpaceX for the mission,” NASA officials said, according to an article in Forbes. “If all is go, then SpaceX will be given a green light for an April 30 launch.”

Called the Commercial Crew Development Program, NASA’s goal in a round of grants last year was “to accelerate the availability of U.S. commercial crew transportation capabilities and reduce the gap in American human spaceflight capability. Through this activity, NASA also may be able to spur economic growth as potential new space markets are created,” the space agency said in a press release at the time.The lion’s share of those grants, $92 million, went to Boeing for development of their front-runner CST-100 spacecraft that uses existing materials and technology that is safe and affordable. The CST-100 is planned to carry up to seven people or a combination of people and cargo and is to be compatible with a variety of existing expendable launch vehicles. That vehicle is slated to fly in 2015, following two test flights earlier that year.

SpaceX began work on that concept too. Their version, called Dragon, is slated to fly next month.

The seven-seat Dragon spaceship will be unmanned for April’s operation, but the next goal for SpaceX is to send a crew to the International Space Station so NASA does not have to rely on Russian technology, currently priced at about $400 million per ride. Dragon costs about $115 million.

“My vision is for a fully reusable rocket transport system between Earth and Mars that is able to re-fuel on Mars – this is very important – so you don’t have to carry the return fuel when you go there,” SpaceX (and PayPal) founder Elon Musk told the BBC.


Flickr photo by mr.skeleton

Take fifty bucks off any $250 Southwest flight with Paypal

Paypal seems to be trying to get some clout in the financial market. Last week I found a deal where they were offering 50$ off NWA flights booked with their proprietary online money tool. Unbeknownst to this blogger, it looks like they also kicked off the same promo for Southwest Airlines passengers. You need to book before March 27th, and the logistics all work in the same way that the NW deal does.

Check out Southwest’s promo page for additional info.

What they don’t mention on the site is if there are any restrictions on date of travel, so for now you might be able to get away with booking tickets late in the year using the code. So if you need to book anything through the summer (say, for the Fourth of July) when ticket prices are higher, you can plan ahead and jump on this deal now.

If you decide to wait in hopes that the ticket prices will go down, you’re playing a risky game. Tourist and traveler season is over the summer and you’re going to have a hard time finding tickets at reasonable rates. Best book your tickets now.

See Paula? Not all WN news is bad.