Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Slurry Tubes

Hot and cold running commuters.
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Imagine trying to empty a bucket full of cherry pips into a pot.

Some pips will drop out of their own free will, while others will clump together and take a bit more encouragement, eventually blobbing out all at once in a nasty mess.

Similarly, public transport is kind of clumpy.

What we need is more fluidity.

Now imagine the same bucketful of pips, only now, fill it with enough water to put the pips into suspension.

Now you should be able to pour the pippy slurry into your pot with the greatest of ease. If you were of a more adventurous bent, you might even be able to create an elaborate system of pipes and tubes in order to transport your cherry-pip suspension to any of a number of locations. You might even be able to pressurise your delivery mechanism, thus increasing your overall bandwidth (and resulting in far more pips per second than using alternate methods)

Were you to cut the bottom off your delivery pot and replace it with a sieve-like device, you can even separate your pips from their transmission medium with the minimum of fuss.

Now imagine turning up at the local transit terminal, getting into an individual pod marked with your preferred location, closing the door and then feeling the sensation of being hoisted into a transit vat, among thousands of others.

You listen intently as the vat is flooded with the suspensive liquid (probably water, but no one knows), the whole thing gets pressurised, and then the floor opens up, and thousands of pods get sluiced through a particular A-to-B pipe, travelling at incredible speeds before ending up in another transit terminal at your preferred location hundreds of miles away.

zen_tom, Aug 14 2006

[link]






       Does this pod have transparent walls?
hippo, Aug 14 2006
  

       If you like - positives are that it might look cool, negatives are that it might scare the heebejeebies out of anyone looking in/outside whilst in transit.   

       There will be the occasional collision, albeit relatively soft ones considering the speeds involved, and that everything will be going in the same direction - but it might be disconcerting looking around you and seeing other pods streaming themselves around you as you all hurtle through some manky tube on your way to work. (Yes it would be nice to have nice clean, futuristic tubes, but I imagine in practice, they'd probably end up looking like much of the rest of the transport system - i.e. rank)
zen_tom, Aug 14 2006
  

       Slurry pipes are already used by the coal industry.   

       First you find a coal deposit somewhere cheap to work. Oh! Look! There's Coal under that Native American Reservation! Get your lawyers to analyze the relevent treaties, nope! no mention of coal! File a claim using the 1872 mining act. Pay for it with change found under the seat of your limo. Ok, now the coal is yours! And just for grins take the water from the nearby aquifer as well. Now build a nice coal fired power plant just outside of the reservation, Make sure it is upwind. Now sue the tribe for access rights to your coal and water, which is under their land. Dig a huge open pit mine. Drill gigantic wells. Run a pipeline from your mine to your powerplant. Sue for eminent domain if anyone's trailer or squash and corn patch is in the way. Now you just grind the coal up, mix with the pure clean water from the aquifer and pump to your power plant. At the plant filter out the bigger chunks and dump the rest in the nearest river. Burn the coal, let the smoke blow over the reservation, and deliver the power to the cities far far away. Then just pile the money up in huge heaps and roll around in it cackling.
Galbinus_Caeli, Aug 14 2006
  

       I can see you've done this before, [G_C].
pertinax, Aug 14 2006
  

       //positives are that it might look cool, negatives are that it might scare the heebejeebies out of anyone looking in/outside whilst in transit//

I think if you look carefully [zt], those are all positives.
hippo, Aug 14 2006
  

       We have Coal Pits (from whence the lovely slurry eminates) but no Cherry Pits. British cherries grow on trees you see, so there's no need to go digging underground for them.

<pedant> Actually cherries have stones, oranges and Gladys Knight have pips. </pedant>
DrBob, Aug 14 2006
  

       Thankyou [DrBob] for pointing out the peculiarities of the UK's cherry industry (cherry trees in the US having all been chopped down over the ages by presidents eager to prove their earnest truthfulness, forcing the US industry to utilise Arabian Rock Cherries to meet the demands of domestic cherry consumption) and yes, we have pips, stones but not pits. Although, recent exploratory digs in the Welsh highlands have discovered vast seams of prosthetic limbs, the first Arm Pits being due to open in 2008 or thereabouts.   

       This idea however, has nothing to do with any of those things - the pips/stones/pits in question being an illustrative device designed to best explain the conveyance of hard round things in a 'soup' (if you will) of sloshy liquidy stuff - resulting in a 'slurry'. The benefits of which are rapid, no-fuss transportation from one location to another along predefined routes. Similar in many ways to existing public transport systems, only without quite so many moving parts - the major benefit being efficiencies with regards to expense.
zen_tom, Aug 14 2006
  

       I like this idea, because it would not be too crowded since nearly everyone would be too claustrophobic to get in their little coffin and hear the whacks and thuds of other coffins on the ouside as they jodtle their way along.   

       It might be a good way to move goods.
bungston, Aug 14 2006
  

       What happens if your pod springs a leak (no reference to Wales intended)?
DrBob, Aug 14 2006
  

       Leaky pod = unpleasant transport goo asphyxia. On the up side - they're very well put together, and centralised nodes mean that in the event of untimely demise, your case will be treated by a team of hard-nosed professionals who will have seen it all before - thus saving embarrassment and sloppy post expiry service.
zen_tom, Aug 14 2006
  
      
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