Perhaps now, having announced its commitment to produce the 7E7 “Dreamliner” one day before the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brother’s pioneering flight at Kitty Hawk (a clever attempt to link the 7E7 with milestones in the history of flight?), Boeing will let us know whether its previous commercial aviation proposal was actually a big bluff. We’re talking here about the Sonic Cruiser, whose primary selling point was increased speed for shorter trips. Under the bluff scenario, Boeing lulled Airbus into thinking Boeing would use the Sonic Cruiser mainly to appeal to a few higher-paying customers , and thereby largely cede international mass transportation to Airbus’s under-development A380, a 555-passenger jumbo jet that is more efficient than the venerable Boeing 747. Now, it turns out Boeing is going to build an aircraft that can provide nimble, efficient, international point-to-point service between many small-city pairs, while the A380 will be limited by size and passenger numbers to serve only the biggest hubs. (For more on what makes the 7E7 tick, read TR Senior Editor David Talbot’s article, “Boeing’s Flight for Survival.”)
Walt Gillette, a key 7E7 vice president, insisted to Talbot in an interview last year that no bluffing was involved. And that’s probably true–the Sonic Cruiser made sense during a booming economy with high-paying passengers, conditions that no longer prevail. On the other hand, the best poker players never show the hands they won by bluffing.
Going bald? Lab-grown hair cells could be on the way
These biotech companies are reprogramming cells to treat baldness, but it’s still early days.
Tonga’s volcano blast cut it off from the world. Here’s what it will take to get it reconnected.
The world is anxiously awaiting news from the island—but on top of the physical destruction, the eruption has disconnected it from the internet.
A horrifying new AI app swaps women into porn videos with a click
Deepfake researchers have long feared the day this would arrive.
Our brains exist in a state of “controlled hallucination”
Three new books lay bare the weirdness of how our brains process the world around us.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.