Saturday, December 7, 2013

IPERT Part II - Update 4

©MMXIII The PRT NewsCenter

International Personal Express Rapid Transit President & Co-Founder Ivan Workman, apparently displeased with the publicity in "A Brief Look At International Personal Express Rapid Transit" (Nov. 19, 2013), finally decided to re-contact the NewsCenter on Nov. 26, writing among other things:
For your information, the maglev & prt patents are all under my partner Roger Freely, not me, get your information right David.
Those who have been paying attention will recall Workman already stated in The 2nd Email that, "my brother and I are the inventors and patent holders for the technology". (Oh, and the patent search for Roger Freely comes up zilch too.) 

He then invoked military secrecy with the following excuse for why our LANL public information contact denied existence of IPERT:
everyone was under a confidentially agreement [sic] and you are not going to get anything from the civilian campus of Los Alamos because it is on [present tense] the military campus and the PIO doesn't release that information.
Readers will recall that Workman already revealed that "the PRT system was recently declassified by the military." So it's declassified, yet still no one can talk about it, in addition to not taking any photos or video? Does the 'confidentially agreement' prevent Workman from releasing even one diagram of a component of IPERT, which he claims is his (and sometimes Roger Freely's) own invention? 

Workman also popped up on the same day over at the Transport Innovators group, inveighing that:
The blogger did not double check with myself or my partner get all of his information correctly [sic] and yes we are operating in a stealth start up mode due to this problem of skepticism.
Three things about this Shocked, Shocked Outrage. First, after The 2nd Email, Workman failed to respond to the NewsCenter's repeated information requests which, of course, were all sweetness and light. One thing we requested was contact information for Freely; it was never provided, so we don't know how Workman could expect us to check anything with Freely.

Second, does Workman really expect us to "double check" with him on the accuracy of his own statements? Can't we trust what he says? Apparently not, given the above contradictions.

Third, it's backwards for him to claim IPERT is in 'stealth start up mode' because of skepticism, as though the skepticism came first. Workman is seeking investors to pony up millions of dollars -- and attempting to leverage it by dropping the name of a US Government scientific facility -- to copy a technology he claims exists but for which he absolutely refuses to provide a shred of evidence. Workman is the one creating skepticism.

Pretty Please Please

Workman's emails to NewsCenter are an attempt to retroactively zip his loose lips (despite having freely communicated with this reporter after learning I am a journalist covering the PRT field):
please remove everything off of your website/blogs/etc. You did not sign a NDA to disclose the information
and threatening to slap us with a cease and desist letter, as well as requesting:
Please see attached NDA and sign please.


Workman writes us that "we have been in touch with our lawyers." But IPERT's Confidentiality And Non-Disclosure Agreement is a mishmash of boilerplate written in Microsoft Word which Workman could have obtained anywhere -- plus a curious morsel of metadata. 

It tries to be a 'you sign here to cover my ass' document: "The confidential information... can be described as and includes: [lengthy list of nonspecific items], regardless of whether such information is designated as "Confidential Information" at the time of its disclosure."

Yes, we can journey back in time with just a squiggle of a pen. 

And the content is indeed boilerplate, there are 6.31 million Google results of searching on text from just one line from the NDA.

Curiouser is the NDA's Microsoft Word metadata:

Why is IPERT, "a California corporation" (reminder, one not yet registered with the State as a business entity), using a Word document based on a template authored at the King County, Washington, Department of Community and Human Services? We hope Workman didn't pay a law firm good money to draw it up. 

We doubt that the NDA even does what Workman wants it to do:

  • There is no expiry date;
  • There is no spot to date either party's signature; 
  • Workman himself has not signed -- meaning we could sign it, but so what; 
  • It covers material marked Confidential at time of disclosure (he didn't, therefore this is not applicable), or identified in writing as Confidential within 30 days after disclosure (already passed, but could explain why Workman did not sign or date it). This definition of 'confidential' conflicts with the definition above

Finally, even if I wanted to sign the NDA, Workman did not provide an address where I should mail it. 

Photos Can Lie, But These Probably Aren't

I have in my past some professional experience with photo interpretation. I've looked closely at LANL on Google Maps -- not just the more public area near the town, but the full reservation to Route 4 in the south and White Rock to the east -- and I see nothing that looks like an elevated PRT system leading away from an employee parking lot.

What in fact is remarkable about photo coverage of LANL is that ALMOST NOTHING appears to be censored in the ways things can be censored on Google Maps. No Street View of course, but you can zoom down to 50 foot resolution and see all the roads and buildings, some connected by extensive passageways

Since we are allowed to see these facilities from the sky, I don't want to hear anyone claim a maglev transit shuttle would be concealed. It would mean a PRT is more secret than a Weapons Engineering Tritium Facility.

Reference: Cryptome, "Eyeballing the Los Alamos National Laboratory," 2006 

Another Final Word

We again asked our public information contact at Los Alamos National Laboratory about all this. We received the following conclusive statement:
Los Alamos National Laboratory has no maglev transit system, never did, and has no plans to create one.
What she said LANL does have is a taxi system for folks who don't want to drive from one office to another.

Update 1 (12/9/2013)

Ivan Workman has publicly posted a response (Dec. 8) as to why PRT infrastructure can't be seen at Los Alamos on Google Maps:
As for the Maglev PRT system, when the contract was up, it was destroyed all the way down to the ground level. I know where the system was and if you knew where to look, you will still find the concrete pads where some of the stations were. Most of the stations connected to the second floor of the buildings at LANL. Most of the routing was over existing roads. Very little was at ground level. That's why you won't find much on Google earth, they did an excellent job of making sure you couldn't see that anything was really there. Standard operating procedure at LANL. When they finish a project, they usually destroy the buildings with it and then deny it's [sic] existence.
See the section Another Final Word immediately preceding. 

Update 2 (12/10/2013)
Ivan Workman has posted the following claim in the Transport-Innovators group that IPERT achieved a phenomenal speed:
We did get the system up to 825mph with a passenger on board in an jet fighter flight suit: Mr.Freely himself was the live test dummy but, realistically, most people aren't comfortable past 150mph.
The speed of sound is 761 mph. 

Update 3 (12/14/2013)
In case you wanted to know what Ivan Workman looks like

Update 4 
Workman's latest venture is something called "Living History Resorts International - Western States Living History Park." This, like IPERT, appears to exist only on LinkedIn. The project's description is accompanied by this artist depiction:

It is in fact lifted from concept illustrations of Disney's America Park

Go to Part III in the series.


  1. So, if he knows where the stations were, why not post the locations?
    How does a system that was used by thousands, remain secret?
    How does a system that supposedly forced the users to pay 2.50 per ride instead of parking near the building for free and when free taxis are now available ever gain acceptance without lots of complaints?

  2. Excellent questions. I asked #2 and #3 in Part I.


  3. I read this before part 1.

    If this system truly exists and lived up to the claims, I'd be ready to eat my shorts and put every penny in equity I have into promoting it.

    It would be amazing if such a system were developed, tested, and used by thousands to break land speed records and remain unknown while hundreds of millions (billions) of dollars were spent publicly by the Germans and Japanese to create systems that pale by comparison.

  4. That's the thing, Eric. On their own the high-speed maglev systems from Germany and Japan are marvels of passenger transport technology and with several keyboard strokes the IPERT folks have declared them to be old hat.

    It's amazing how far unrestrained promotion can get you.

  5. And the claims keep coming...

    Now the system was capable of 6.5 g's acceleration.
    $1.50 was paid per trip by employees forced to park at administration.
    All employees signed a 20 year confidentiality agreement.
    The gov't paid $200-$300 Million dollars to destroy it.

    Does anyone believe these claims?

    1. The next installment in the series is on its way.

    2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. Not to nitpick, Mr. Grant, but accounting for the elevation of 7,320 feet at Los Alamos, NM, the speed of sound is closer to 741 mph, but the point remains: the latest claim from IPERT is beyond preposterous.

    Not only is there not enough room along a 10- to 12-mile track with an unknown-length straightaway -- if the track at LANL was used, as they seem to suggest -- to get up speed and back down again (without adding jet engines or something to boost propulsion), an unmodified standard-shape structure designed for a four-person PRT vehicle wouldn't survive such an excursion.

    I don't care if Roger Freely was wearing a flight suit, a wet suit or a tuxedo. There are just too many suspicious features in these performance contentions to be believed.