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Google Transportation Technology

Those Magnificent Googlers and Their Flying Machines 53

theodp writes "To paraphrase Sean Parker: "Flying your fleet of planes using NASA-discounted fuel isn't cool, you know what's cool? Flying your fleet of planes using zero-cost fuel." Having piqued CEO Larry Page's interest with its solar and battery-powered aircraft, Solar Impulse is partnering with Google to promote its goal of circumnavigating the globe in 2015, a Green Movement take on Wiley Post's 1933 achievement."
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Those Magnificent Googlers and Their Flying Machines

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  • by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Thursday September 19, 2013 @09:30AM (#44892967) Journal
    As fat, spoiled Westerner, I am all for it as long as there's conventional fuel backing up the redeye I'm traveling on.
    • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday September 19, 2013 @01:28PM (#44895091) Journal

      Can we NOW put the "do no evil" bullshit to bed since TFA points out the fat cat CEOs of Google were flying on fuel that the American taxpayer was footing the bill for? If that would have been Cook or Ballmer pulling that shit the pitchforks would already be out and screams for a fraud investigation would be heard across the net, so fair is fair and I think an investigation is called for to see what other bills they may be sticking the American people. Of course since the DoJ was defanged ages ago its doubtful anybody will say boo to Google but at least it would be brought to the attention of the public.

      As for solar planes? The problem is that even the best solar cells simply can't generate enough power to make it viable, the cells just haven't reached the level of efficiency required to get the job done. There is a reason why nobody has been able to truly replace internal combustion engines and that is the amount of energy per pound is unmatched by anything we've come up with so far,IIRC the closest we have come up with is hydrogen but it has 10 times less energy per pound than gas. Until we can come up with much more efficient solar cells and electric motors it'll always be a novelty.

      • >Can we NOW put the "do no evil" bullshit

        It's "Don't be evil", not "Do no evil". It would be ludicrously impossible for any publicly-owned and traded corporation to achieve the latter, while within the realm of possibility for the former.

        • Well WTF do you call their billionaire CEOs handing American public the bill for their Lear jet? fucking charity? I don't give a shit HOW you word it, its douchebag behavior and their sorry asses need to be brought before a court, have to pay ten times what they got in fines, and if there was ANY justice left in this country somebody would be going to jail.

          Of course that is ignoring the truth of this country, if a poor man steals $500 he gets 10 years, if a rich man steals 500 million he get an awards ban

  • by jabberw0k ( 62554 ) on Thursday September 19, 2013 @09:44AM (#44893075) Homepage Journal
    Didn't I just read that circumnavigation was no longer considered a moral or medical necessity?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 19, 2013 @09:44AM (#44893077)

    Solar Impulse is doing all the work.

    Google is just using this for publicity for their products.Yahoo! or Facebook could just as easily been the "partner".

    So let's concentrate on the folks who are doing the real innovation here, shall we? Instead of getting sucked into the PR horseshit like the little lemmings we are.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 19, 2013 @10:04AM (#44893219)

    It really pisses me off that these billionaires like to get these sweet deals at our expense and have the nerve to blame us when we unemployment is high.

    The billionaires are getting richer and in the meantime, our wages are stagnant at best or are going down - and it doesn't matter how hard you work or what your educational background is.

    Those people rigged the game in their favor and then make it sound like it's our fault. And then you have people who go out and protest to allow the game to be further rigged in the billionaires' favor - Tea Party.

    The numbers ARE showing that the billionaires are getting the bulk of the pie and it's all because they've rigged the system. I went and did the right thing and went to school - a state school - got a graduate degree because more education is always better, right?! and I'm worse off. And yet assholes like those people get cheap Jet A subsidized by you and me.

    Remember that when you hear Rush, Hannity, or some other Fox News/Talk Radio asshole condemn the progressives for wanting wealth redistribution and for acting on class warfare.

    Yeah, there's wealth redistribution all right - from the poor slobs like us to the billionaires - and it's NOT because they work harder or are smarter. They CHEAT!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      By government subsidized, they mean that they're paying NASA's cost. Given the (tenuous) science work they're doing for NASA with thier aircraft, this is a)normal b) appropriate and c) necessary at Moffet. Does it really make sense to have a private entity at a government airfield just to sell fuel to one customer? No, hence a). Do you really want to pay some corporation a passthrough on the government's dollar when your government is paying for R&D out of a government airfield? No. Hence b) and c), tha

    • by Richy_T ( 111409 )

      Here's how your left wing wealth redistribution works:

      Politician to voter#1: One for you, one for me.
      Politician to voter#2: One for you, one for me.
      Politician to voter#3: One for you, one for me.
      Politician to voter#4: One for you, one for me.

      And so forth.

    • by Richy_T ( 111409 )

      Oh, and where were Google getting their cheap fuel from?

      NASA, a *government* agency.

      Getting any clues yet?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Oh, and where were Google getting their cheap fuel from?

        NASA, a *government* agency.

        Getting any clues yet?

        So what's your point? The billionaires rig the game. Government doesn't work for us little people, but for them. Government is their bitch and moving money to the big shots. Just look at what happened after the economic meltdown: they got billions from the taxpayer and we little people got the shaft.

        Are you honestly that naive to think your vote means anything?

        This is what happens, little person, they control BOTH parties, they are the ones who pick the candidates, and then we little people go to the poll

        • by Richy_T ( 111409 )

          My point is that the answer to government created problems is not more government.

          • The solution to problems created by the goverment is usually to govern the goverment, a process excellently facilitated by democracy.

            In this case it seems a bit fiddly, since the US is so large and has its particular voting system, but had this happened in a smaller country I imagine that there would be an inquiry followed, in a year or two, by new laws, banning this kind of government favour to companies.

            I would however not be surprised if this kind of thing is not already illegal. How much government yo
          • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

            My point is that the answer to government created problems is not more government.

            Indeed, the answer to government-created problems is better government, not more government or less government. If your legislators are of the opinion that government is always the problem, it will be. Just don't vote for those candidates. Since you seem to be a guy who wants small government, I'm guessing you're part of why the politicians in office are governing badly.

        • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

          It's a shame that guy's not logged in, and that I don't have mod points, it was a good comment, but this was incorrect:

          We've have one of the most unjust economic systems in over a hundred years no thanks to enablers such as yourself. And you know what eventually happened? See the 1930s, bub.

          Actually, after WWI it was much worse.The 1920s looked like now, only worse. Citation:

          On the day before the coal strike was due to begin, the Attorney-General secured from a Federal judge in Indianapolis an order enjoini

    • by Meyaht ( 2729603 )
      That is a very well done AC troll. Good job. On the off chance that you believe any of what you said, I've got one piece of advice for you: When the well runs dry, the survivors move to where the water is.
      • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

        That is a very well done AC troll.

        Well, congrats to him for being modded +4 insightful. If I were moderating he'd be at +5, tool.

        When the well runs dry, the survivors move to where the water is.

        Where might that be, and how are the downtrodden to get there? History is repeating itself, fool. Read this history of the 1920s [virginia.edu] (required reading in a general studies undergrad history class I took in 1978, it's a very good read). The same shit is happening now. Then, it was Bolsheviks. Now, it's terrorists. Now you

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Its a great achievement and all, but only for the record books. I don't think there is any conceivable way that a the technology could ever result in a real world passenger/cargo solar powered aircraft. They simply don't have the durability, capabilities & reasonable maintenance necessary. Even (possible) aircraft with low fuel consumption high surface area like that Aeroscraft zeppelin in development probably wouldn't be able to completely power their flight using solar. If solar panels are made li

  • by RogueWarrior65 ( 678876 ) on Thursday September 19, 2013 @10:31AM (#44893429)

    Nobody gives a crap about some unwieldy gossamer solar-powered plane that's built solely as a publicity stunt. If Google really wants to change the world, they need to focus their resources, brains and dollars, on making the über battery.

    • If Google really wants to change the world, they need to focus their resources, brains and dollars, on making the über battery.

      And you somehow think this won't be part of that?

      Publicity stunt or no, it means Google is helping fund research into both solar and the required batteries. At which point they should be entitled to all of the publicity this will generate.

      It's basic research and some of these "never been done before" stunts which actually help push things forward.

      • Bah. People, companies, organizations, etc have been trying to solarize vehicles for decades and it always winds up being a reality check in engineering disguised as a publicity stunt. Oooo look! They built a solar powered car that can be driven across Australia! Big whoop. Nobody would ever use it for anything practical. Bottom line is that all manner of sci-fi gadgets, robots, flying cars, interstellar spacecraft, jet packs, etc. are all hampered by the lack of a power source the size of a brick tha

    • As the electronics payloads continue to be more and more miniaturizable, even unwieldy gossamer aircraft become a viable platform.
      • For one zero-percent body-fat freak of humanity. Wake me when you can pack a hundred or more people with all their luggage in it and fly across the pond at the same speed and cost or better as that of a 777.

    • by Viceice ( 462967 )

      Erm. Google already HAS changed the world. What they are doing now is using their success to help push the frontiers of Science, to make Science cool again. How is this not a good thing?

      • Putting resources towards medical research is one thing but publicity stunts are pointless. Until a solar panel can power a fully loaded Ford F-150 for 400 miles, I'm not interested. And why wouldn't they take that money and use it as VC funding for people who don't want to work for Google. Or fund things like the X-Prize but with practical real-world goals.

  • If they want to equal Wiley Post's achievement, they have to do it with one eye.

  • The truth is that the fuel that they are getting is not NASA, but NSA discounted fuel. That is a slight and subtle difference. The fact is that NSA gets much more data from Google, than NASA and the real sponsor needs also to be pointed out.

e-credibility: the non-guaranteeable likelihood that the electronic data you're seeing is genuine rather than somebody's made-up crap. - Karl Lehenbauer