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Coming soon to cities: one transit app to rule them all

If someone living in Logan Square, the hip Chicago neighborhood in the northwest side of the city, wants to head out to the suburb of Naperville one day to pay a visit to her family without taking a car, she has a multi-step journey ahead of her. She could get on the Chicago L’s Blue Line, which would deposit her downtown, where she could either walk 15 minutes or catch a bus to Union Station. Or, if she felt like it, she could hop on Divvy, the city’s bike share system and ride all the way to the station. Still, she’d have to buy a separate ticket for the commuter rail line out to the suburbs.

It’s far from an impossible trip, but juggling multiple transit services requires paying for multiple passes and having a working understanding of the timing of everything: If this passenger wanted to time her L trip and bus transfer to put her at Union Station right when her train out to Naperville was getting ready to depart, she’d have to know exactly when to leave home in order to make that happen.

Cubic Transportation Systems, a company that’s working with the Chicago Transit Authority, as well as Transport for London and the Metropolitan Transit Authority of New York, has developed an app that would essentially do all that for her.

[Image: courtesy Cubic Transportation Systems]

On this new app, which will roll out in Chicago–as well as Boston, Los Angeles, and New York City–in the coming months, a user can access a mobile version of every local transit operator’s ticketing service. In Chicago, that might be Ventra–which works with the L and the city’s bus network–alongside Metra, the commuter rail operator. In New York, passengers could access digitized Metrocards, which pay for the subways and buses, as well as mobile commuter rail tickets, and Boston’s would work similarly. In Los Angeles, the city’s 26 different services are all supported.

Below the different mobile passes, a passenger could enter their location and see a snapshot of all the available transit options near to them. A down-to-the-second tracker will let her know when the next bus or subway will arrive at the nearest station, and Cubic is also integrating with local bikeshare systems to map nearby docking stations and how many bikes are available (soon, people will also be able to pay for bikeshare on the app).

App users can also add favorites, if they tend to use certain lines or transit systems more than others, says Robert Sprogis, Cubic’s global director of product for mobile.

The app, called Cubic Mobile for Travelers, encapsulates a lot of the energy around streamlining and re-prioritizing public or car-free transportation for users. Uber, for instance, recently announced that it will be displaying public-transit data on its app as well as integrating with some bikeshare options, and other apps, like Transit, which displays public-transportation departure times, also is beginning to incorporate bikeshare. However, Cubic takes it a step further by incorporating mobile payments and ticketing–often a sticking point in multi-modal journey planning.

[Image: courtesy Cubic Transportation Systems]

For local bus and subway systems, which often use swipe cards and turnstiles to collect payments, the Cubic app acts as something as a mobile ticketing kiosk. Users can either save their credit card info on the app or connect with existing mobile payment options like Apple Pay to purchase one-time transit passes or top up their multi-use passes. “If you drop down below a certain value on your card, you have the option to set up automatic payments to refill it,” Sprogis says.

How commuter rail tickets are managed on the app is slightly different. Often, rail services require that passengers purchase and display a visual ticket that conductors then check for on board. For that, app users can purchase a ticket in the app, which pops up as a full-screen image, whose background slowly and subtly shifts color. “The whole purpose of that is to eliminate fraud–it proves I haven’t just taken a screen grab of another ticket or photoshopped one,” Sprogis says.

The Chicago Ventra app, which Cubic also developed and launched in 2015 as something of a pilot for this new app, essentially does all of this already, and according to Mike Gwinn, CTA’s director of revenue and fare systems, has been very popular, but it will be replaced with the new Cubic platform in the coming months to offer more capabilities.

While Chicago has been an important testing ground for the technology, “this app is designed to have global capabilities,” Sprogis says. While it will look different in each region that incorporates it–the local transit authorities all give input on the specific designs of the app–it will essentially have the same function wherever it is deployed. That does not mean, however, that if you live in Los Angeles and travel to Chicago, you can use the same app for both cities–for now, Sprogis says, each city will have a unique apps that all must be downloaded separately

Because the app aggregates and streamlines payments for all transit taken along a single journey, there are obvious implications for fare adjustments according to income or other indicators. But Sprogis emphasizes that the respective transit authorities that Cubic is partnering with are the ones who ultimately decide if they will use the system to implement fare-capping or other equity measures.

Matt Cole, VP of Cubic Transportation Systems, is hopeful that they will, and he also has another overarching hope for the rollout of this new app: That it begins to shift urban dwellers away from private car dependency and back onto transit systems. “There’s just not enough space for everyone to travel in low-occupancy vehicles,” he says. By designing an app that takes the scramble of organizing different payment methods and the gamble of guessing bus and train arrival times out of the equation, he hopes that soon transit will feel as seamless as hopping in a car.

Artists and illustrators respond to Trump’s immigration policies

In a week of head-spinning news, these images make clear the tragedies being wrought by the Trump administration.

Days after Trump signed an executive order to end family separation, in response to immense public backlash, thousands of children remain in custody of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, with a cruel and increasingly uncertain future of if, and how, they’ll be reunited with their asylum-seeking parents. The parents are being detained and prosecuted as criminals for unauthorized immigration under the administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy. As of yesterday, the Trump administration’s message, sprawled clear as day and quite literally against the back of Melania Trump, was that the Trump administration could not care less.

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Team finds hidden state of matter in superconductive alloy

Using the physics equivalent of strobe photography, researchers have used ultrafast spectroscopy to visualize electrons interacting as a hidden state of matter in a superconductive alloy.

It takes intense, single-cycle pulses of photons—flashes—hitting the cooled alloy at terahertz speed—trillions of cycles per second—to switch on this hidden state of matter by modifying quantum interactions down at the atomic and subatomic levels.

“We are creating and controlling a new quantum matter that can’t be achieved by any other means.”

And then it takes a second terahertz light to trigger an ultrafast camera to take images of the state of matter that, when fully understood and tuned, could one day have implications for faster and heat-free quantum computing, information storage, and communication.

The discovery of this new switching scheme and hidden quantum phase was full of conceptual and technical challenges.

To find new, emergent electron states of matter beyond solids, liquids, and gases, today’s condensed matter physicists can no longer fully rely on traditional, slow, thermodynamic tuning methods such as changing temperatures, pressures, chemical compositions, or magnetic fields, says Jigang Wang, professor of physics and astronomy at Iowa State University and a faculty scientist at the US Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory.

“The grand, open question of what state is hidden underneath superconductivity is universal, but poorly understood,” Wang says. “Some hidden states appear to be inaccessible with any thermodynamic tuning methods.”

The new quantum switching scheme developed by the researchers (they call it terahertz light-quantum-tuning) uses short pulses of trillionths of a second at terahertz frequency to selectively bombard, without heating, superconducting niobium-tin, which at ultracold temperatures can conduct electricity without resistance. The flashes suddenly switch the model compound to a hidden state of matter.

In most cases, exotic states of matter such as the one described in this research paper are unstable and short-lived. In this case, the state of matter is metastable, meaning it doesn’t decay to a stable state for an order of magnitude longer than other, more typical transient states of matter.

The fast speed of the switch to a hidden quantum state likely has something to do with that.

“Here, the quantum quench (change) is so fast, the system is trapped in a strange ‘plateau’ and doesn’t know how to go back,” says Wang, corresponding author of the paper in Nature Materials. “With this fast-quench, yet non-thermal system, there’s no normal place to go.”

A remaining challenge for the researchers is to figure out how to control and further stabilize the hidden state and determine if it is suitable for quantum logic operations, Wang says. That could allow researchers to harness the hidden state for practical functions such as quantum computing and for fundamental tests of bizarre quantum mechanics.

It all starts with the researchers’ discovery of a new quantum switching scheme that gives them access to new and hidden states of matter.

“We are creating and controlling a new quantum matter that can’t be achieved by any other means,” says Wang.

Source: Iowa State University

The post Team finds hidden state of matter in superconductive alloy appeared first on Futurity.

McDonald's looks to address plastic straw problem

McDonald's has announced its intention to test alternatives to plastic straws in several markets

Single-use plastic straws are a massive environmental problem. In the US alone, around 500 million straws are used every day, and according to a 2017 survey plastic straws are the 11th most commonly found trash in the ocean. The problem has recently started to enter the public consciousness with calls for bans of the ubiquitous plastic drinking tubes. At least one major source of the problem has heard these calls, with McDonald’s committing to find more environmentally-friendly alternatives.

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Category: Environment


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Facebook will let group admins charge for membership

The social media giant has announced that it is piloting a subscription-based program that will allow group admins to charge users $4.99 to $29.99 per month for access to special sub-groups. The company says it’s doing this after feedback from some group admins that it takes them a lot of time and effort to maintain their groups:

Group admins build safe and supportive communities that people come back to every day. We know that admins invest their time and energy to maintain their groups, and some have told us that they would like tools to help them continue to invest in their community and offer more to members. Today, we’re piloting subscriptions with a small number of groups to continue to support group admins who lead these communities.

We hear from group admins that they’re looking for ways to help them earn money to deepen engagement with their members and continue to support their communities. Many admins do this today by creating an additional subscribers-only group that sits alongside their existing group, and rely on additional tools to track and collect payments. Subscription groups were created to make it easier for admins to provide these experiences with built-in tools, and to save them time so they can focus on offering members-only content.

Be aware that Facebook is only piloting this program with a small, select number of groups. Once they understand how group members feel about subscription fees, they’ll decide on whether to expand the program more widely.

design employment • Nike Air Max saturday periods generation next honours 2018

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sketching • Adidas Shoes Gray pledges unrivalled comfort and ease underf

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Facebook wants you to read your messages by touch

Forearmed is forewarned: The Purdue wearable includes 24 vibrating devices which can alter the location and ...

As part of Facebook’s ongoing quest to be first to capitalize on The Next Big Thing in Technology (whatever it turns out to be), the social media juggernaut has written a check for some Purdue College research into haptic technology that can not only alert you to new messages through your skin, but read them too.

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Category: Wearables


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6 things to know about Juneteenth and why it matters more than ever

Today is Juneteenth, also known as Juneteenth Independence Day or Freedom Day, which commemorates the emancipation from slavery in the United States. In honor of the day, and the critical turning point it represents, we rounded up six facts:

  • As historian Henry Louis Gates explains in this post, Juneteenth (a portmanteau of sorts of June and 19th) marks the day in 1865 when the Union Army’s Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger landed in Galveston, Texas, and declared that all slaves were now free.
  • This event happened two years after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, but Lincoln’s freeing of the slaves was only on paper, and the ongoing Civil War prevented freedom from becoming a reality as many plantation owners withheld the news.
  • Juneteenth marked a turning point in the fight to free fellow humans from the bonds of slavery, and African Americans in Texas celebrated it as a day of freedom. There were other options for an official holiday marking the end of slavery, including September 22, which was the day in 1862 when Lincoln issued his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation Order on January 31, the date the 13th Amendment passed Congress in 1865 and officially abolished the institution of slavery. However, it was Juneteenth that stuck.
  • In 1979 Texas became the first state to make Juneteenth an official holiday. Now the day more widely represents the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans.
  • While it’s not an official national holiday, Juneteenth is now a state holiday or a day of observance in most states and the District of Columbia, with only Hawaii, Montana, New Hampshire, and the Dakotas holding out. For those that do celebrate, parades will take place around the country, including in New York, Texas, and Philadelphia, and communities across the country will host barbecues and picnics to celebrate the historic event.
  • This year, many are also calling for a day of action as a reminder that the struggle for equality and racial justice is far from over.

For more ideas on how to celebrate freedom, head here.

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