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Hyperloop has constructed their first passenger pod, things are getting real

(NEWS) Hyperloop has made its first passenger car bringing us closer to actualizing the hyperloop system.

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The (public) transportation race

Ever since Elon Musk’s 2013 open source reveal of the SpaceX Hyperloop design concept, it’s been a race against time to see who’ll come up with the first viable Hyperloop system.

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And yesterday, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies announced the construction of its first full-sized passenger capsule.

Hyper-what

If you’re unfamiliar with Hyperloop, the so-called ‘fifth mode of transportation,’ you might be picturing a claustrophobic pod you have to climb into and lay flat in.

In reality, though, this “capsule” will be about 100 feet long, nine feet in diameter, and it will seat between 28 and 40 passengers, depending on the desired layout.

It will also zip around at speeds up to 760 miles per hour.

How is that possible?

Basically, it operates within a pneumatic tube.

A Hyperloop system is akin to a grounded airplane.

Both are designed to move through exceptionally low-pressure environments, and both take advantage of lower friction to reach super high speeds.

The scheme

The race-winning Hyperloop system should ideally be super fast, super quiet, and super energy-efficient.

It may also be autonomous.

And HTT hasn’t forgotten about safety – on the contrary, the company has prioritized a “passenger first approach to guarantee that safety,” says CEO Dirk Ahlborn, as evidenced by their construction of the passenger pod so early on.

Coverage map

But what the world really cares about is where they’ll be able to see this pod in action. Eventually, HTT and all other Hyperloopers want to see national and international networks of Hyperloop lines connecting all the big cities, just like airlines do today.

But first we need a test run.

The first route should cover an area where it makes sense to shuttle people back and forth really fast and really frequently.

Global business

HTT plans to build a five-mile test track between Los Angeles and San Francisco, and they’ve signed a deal with Slovakia to develop a Hyperloop line between Vienna, Bratislava, and Budapest.

The company is also working on a line between the two biggest cities in Slovakia, Bratislava and Kosice.

This 250 mile trip would take about four and a half hours in a car, but a Hyperloop pod could get you there in an estimated 25 minutes.

Connecting the world

As the world gets smaller, we may have to rethink what globalization means.

The ideas of “national” and “international” may begin to get fuzzier.Click To Tweet

Especially as we travel across countries like they’re neighborhoods, do business physically in multiple nations each day, and think more and more of the world, not a small part of it, as our home base.

#HyperloopHype

Staff Writer, Natalie Bradford earned her B.A. in English from Cornell University and spends a lot of time convincing herself not to bake MORE brownies. She enjoys cats, cocktails, and good films - preferably together. She is currently working on a collection of short stories.

Tech News

Facebook starts handing out merit badges like we’re Girl Scouts

(TECH NEWS) Facebook offers merit badges to users, and it’s pretty neat, but we’re also rolling our eyes.

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According to some Facebook Group administrators, Facebook has today rolled out merit badges. So far in the wild, we’ve spotted “Conversation Starter” which praises the admin (or user) for starting engaging posts that got the conversation going.

We have asked numerous users if they’ve seen these badges, and so far it appears that only one badge has been rolled out, potentially with more on the way. Upon logging into the group where you have earned a badge, you’ll see a notification at the top of the feed informing you of your new badge (get out your vest, it’s time to start collecting them all)!

The merit badge that you’ve earned shows up in your profile when other group members (where you’ve earned the merit badge) click on your face:

Currently, when an Admin posts in the group, it still only has their Admin badge next to their name, not the “Conversation Starter” or other badges lined up next to it, but if a regular group member has posted something engaging, the badge appears next to their name (it may be a one-badge-limit so far, maybe hold off on buying a Girl Scout vest for your badge collection):

Lastly, users apparently do have control over the display of whichever neato merit badges we eventually earn or collect:

There is no word on what the ultimate plan is or what merit badges will be awarded, and it appears to be limited to Facebook Groups at the present.

We’ve reached out to Facebook for comment and will update the story as we learn more. For now, if you want a badge, you can at least get a “Conversation Starter” badge in Facebook Groups, so go get ’em – we’ll soon know which other badges we can earn slash collect slash compete for slash game.

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Slack video messaging tool for the ultra lazy (or productive) person

(TECHNOLOGY) Courtesy of a company called Standuply, Slack’s notable lack of video-messaging options is finally addressed.

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slack video updates

Slack — the popular chat and workflow app — is still going strong despite its numerous technical shortcomings, one of which is its notable lack of native video or audio chat. If you’re an avid Slack user, you might be interested in Standuply’s solution to this missing feature: video and audio messaging.

While it isn’t quite the Skype-esque experience for which one might hope when booting up Slack, Standuply’s video messages add-on gives you the ability to record and send a video or audio recording to any Slack channel. This makes things like multitasking a breeze; unless you’re a god among mortals, your talking speed is significantly faster than your typing, making video- or audio-messaging a viable productivity move.

The way you’ll record and send the video or audio message is a bit convoluted: using a web browser and a private Slack link, you can record up to five minutes of content, after which point the content is uploaded to YouTube as a private item. You can then use the item’s link to send the video or audio clip to your Skype channel.

While this is a fairly roundabout way of introducing video chat into Slack, the end result is still a visual conversation which is conducive to long-term use.

Sending video and audio messages may feel like an exercise in futility (why use a third-party tool when one could just type?) but the amount of time and energy you can save while simultaneously responding to feedback or beginning your next task adds up.

Similarly, having a video that your team can circle back to instead of requiring them to scroll through until they find your text post on a given topic is better for long-term productivity.

And, if all else falls short, it’s nice to see your remote team’s faces and hear their voices every once in a while—if for no other reason than to reassure yourself that they aren’t figments of your overly caffeinated imagination.

At the time of this writing, the video chat portion of the Slack bot is free; however, subsequent pricing tiers include advanced aspects such as integration with existing services, analytics, and unlimited respondents.

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Tech News

This phishing simulator tests your company’s (lack of) readiness

(TECHNOLOGY) Phishero is a tool which tests your organization’s resistance to phishing attacks. Pro tip: Most companies aren’t ready.

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phishing simulator

In the wake of any round of cyberattacks, many organizations question whether they’re prepared to defend themselves against things like hacking or other forms of information theft. In reality, the bulk of workplace data thievery comes from a classic trick: phishing.

Phishing is a catch-all phrase for a specific type of information theft which involves emailing. Typically, a phishing email will include a request for sensitive data, such as a password, a copy of a W-4, or an account’s details (e.g., security questions); the email itself will often appear to come from someone within the organization.

Similar approaches include emailing a link which acts as a login page for a familiar site (e.g., Facebook) but actually stores your account information when you sign in.

Luckily, there’s a way for you to test your business’ phishing readiness.

Phishero, a tool designed to test employee resistance to phishing attacks, is a simple solution for any business looking to find any weak links in their cybersecurity.

The tool itself is designed to do four main things: identify potential targets, find a way to design a convincing phishing scheme, implement the phishing attack, and analyze the results.

Once Phishero has a list of your employees, it is able to create an email based on the same web design used for your company’s internal communications. This email is then sent to your selected recipient pool, from which point you’ll be able to monitor who opens the email.

Once you’ve concluded the test, you can use Phishero’s built-in analytics to give you an at-a-glance overview of your organization’s security.

The test results also include specific information such as which employees gave information, what information was given, and pain points in your current cybersecurity setup.

Phishing attacks are incredibly common, and employees – especially those who may not be as generationally skeptical of emails – are the only things standing between your company and catastrophic losses if they occur in your business. While training your employees on proper email protocol out of the gate is a must, Phishero provides an easy way to see how effective your policies actually are.

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