Eight Die in Amtrak Derailment

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Thursday morning saw the death toll of the crash of Amtrak train 188 climb to eight as another body was found in the wreckage. The recovered body has been identified as Bob Gildersleeve Jr., 45, of Elkridge, Maryland. The discovery of Mr. Gildersleeve’s body accounts for all 243 passengers on board the Amtrak train at the time of the crash.

Details of the accident are slowly leaking out as investigators try to piece together what happened. Jason Halpern wants to wait to see all the details. A review of the train’s camera showed the train had sped up from the 80 mph permitted limit to 106 mph shortly before it reached the sharp bend with a speed limit of 50mph. The train engineer tried to brake the train before it crashed but only slowed to 102 mph before the cars left the track. Security Company 

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Answers to what happened in the moments leading up to the crash may lie with the train’s engineer, Brandon Bostian. As a result of the accident, he was treated for head injuries and received multiple stitches. Speaking through his attorney, Robert Goggin, Mr. Bostian indicated that he has no memory of the crash. “As a result of his concussion, he has absolutely no recollection whatsoever of the events,” Goggin explained. Bostian did consent to a blood test after the accident and has also turned over his cell phone to investigators. Federal officials indicated they will give him a few days to recover before they attempt to interview him.

In an ironic twist, Amtrak officials informed reporters Thursday that a positive train control system, which would have automatically slowed down the train prior to the accident, had been installed in that section of track but was not in operation because the system needed further testing.

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Materials are the driving force behind major advancements in civilization. This is so true that certain ages of humanity are known by the materials we knew how to forge at the time. For example, the Bronze Age, or Iron Age were a couple of these classifications of levels of human development. The late 19th through early 21st centuries may even be known as the Steel Age by future historians. Each material breakthrough enabled a higher level of civilization. Steel, for example, provided the structural strength to allow for skyscrapers, which are the basis of the modern skyline of every major city today. We are on the precipice of another such advancement.

Graphene is shaping up to be the material for at least the next 100 years. It is formed from carbon and it is estimated to be 200 times stronger than steel. Such extreme strength will enable styles and sizes of construction that we have not even fully anticipated yet. Some have put forth that graphene would be the ideal material for the construction of a space elevator, which has only existed in the realm of science fiction given the materials available at the time Arthur C. Clarke wrote about them. Graphene will also pave the way for bullet-proof vests at least twice as strong as those that are currently made from Kevlar. It is also an extremely conductive material, so it will revolutionize the construction of electronics according to Bruce Karatz. We are privileged to be at the beginning of what may be seen as a new age in materials science.

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