More on the monorail crash and how it might have happened, (Via Daring Fireball) from some postings on Micechat It is possibly a user interface problem, possibly a central control problem …
From AP (via Google News)Walt Disney World monorail crash kills employee
Officials at Walt Disney World Resort were investigating what caused the first fatal accident in the 38-year history of the park’s Monorail, a one-time symbol of founder Walt Disney’s vision for future transportation.
This is not the first monorail crash
From Corrosion Source:
RAT DROPPINGS, CORROSION AND DESIGN FLAW COULD BE CAUSE OF ZOO MONORAIL CRASH
Minnesota Zoo officials believe rodent droppings could be to blame for a June monorail crash that temporarily paralyzed a Rochester minister and injured 10 others. Urea and ammonia, which are both present in rodent excrement, corroded several electrical connections in the drive that controlled the monorail train that crashed, according to a consultant’s report prepared last month. Corrosion caused the drive to fail. When that happens, a design flaw prevents the monorail’s brakes from working, according to the report, prepared for the zoo by Minneapolis-based Industrial Electric Company.
The drives – less than five years old – also were installed improperly, according to the report, allowing rats, moisture and other debris to sit on them. Zoo officials say the monorail, which is still operating, is safe. They plan to implement all of the Industrial Electric’s recommended changes by May, including reinstalling the drives, inspecting the other drives and considering a stronger braking system.
From Seattle Times: Monorail collision result of hazard created during 1988 track redesign
Two monorail cars are shown jammed together Sunday, one day after an accident near Westlake Center mall. Officials say the process of getting the two cars unstuck could take days. Each brake must be loosened, then a crane must be brought in to pull the cars apart.
For 17 years, monorail drivers managed to elude a known safety hazard — that two trains would wedge together near Westlake Center, where the dual tracks converge at a pinch point.
The run of good luck finally ended Saturday night, when the monorail system’s safety procedures broke down, and two trains sideswiped each other.
(Also a previous crash in 1971, others?).
I have now been on at least three monorails that have crashed. There have been others. No mode of transport is foolproof.
(A partial list of crashes, not counting the German Maglev crash)
From Reuters Hybrids boost Toyota and Honda car sales
Toyota Motor Corp’s Prius hybrid was Japan’s best-selling car in June while Honda Motor Co’s rival Insight ranked fourth, helping the two hybrid leaders dominate the list of top-selling models.
A few years ago student of mine (JH) estimated an S-curve (logistic curve) of growth of the hybrid market and estimated that by 2015 or so, more than half new car sales would be hybrids. Seems still on target.