Future

Elon Musk's Latest Transportation Innovation a Literal Pipe Dream

Introducing the Hyperloop, which is not the name of a power-up in a kart-racing video game

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Next project: Suicide booths
Credit: Futurama

What do you get when you combine a Concorde, a rail gun, and an air hockey table? Potentially a throw-away joke on Futurama, but also SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk's latest idea, called a Hyperloop.

Musk has referenced this mysterious creation, a city-to-city high-speed transportation system to beat all high-speed transportation systems, before. But yesterday he tweeted that he would actually be unveiling a design in August and would be looking for feedback.

Exactly what the Hyperloop is remains unclear at the moment, but the description suggests a high-speed pneumatic tube transportation system. Allegedly it would allow travel between San Francisco and Los Angeles in minutes and between coasts in an hour. According to Yahoo, Musk is planning to build a three-mile test track that's supposed to operational by the end of the year.

The amusing part of this project would be the possibility of rendering California's expensive high-speed rail boondoggle obsolete. You can watch Musk trash California Gov. Jerry Brown's baby for being too slow and too expensive while describing the Hyperloop here.

Skimming through some preliminary speculation of the Hyperloop here and there, there's some of the same sort of "This could replace cars" misguided thinking that informs high-speed rail supporters. Being able to get from Los Angeles to New York in an hour would be awesome if it happens. But it's still a fixed-destination system that gates where people can travel to, rather than liberates, like roads. Airlines should be terrified of this innovation if it works, but I'm rather skeptical about how much road traffic it might replace.

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  1. I’ll believe it when I see it, and even then I won’t believe until someone builds it without a government backed loan or special tax break.

    1. …”and even then I won’t believe until someone builds it without a government backed loan or special tax break.”

      Musk’s your boy! The guy has made a career of dipping into the public pocket.

      1. Right- that is his entire MO. He will present this pipe dream to voters and get billions for it.

        1. TRAINZ HYPERLOOOOPZZ!!!

        2. I just keep imaagining Musk as Harold Hill pushing his genuine bona-fide electrified six-car monorail Hyperloop.
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEZjzsnPhnw

  2. If Elon Musk can bring me one step closer to living in a Jasper Fforde novel, I’m 100% down with that.

    1. Or Heinlein. The roads must roll.

    2. After this he’s restarting the Crimean War.

      1. Yeah but I’ll be busy banging the non-blind version of Mr Rochester so that’s cool too.

  3. I’m going to build my own Hyperloop… with hookers, and blackjack!

    1. Not without government oversight, you aren’t, fella!

  4. What? My Intertubials is now a reality? Excellent. But he’s thinking too small. Pneumatic tubes should connect every commercial establishment and every residence, and should handle cargo as well as passengers.

    1. Are now a reality. The excitement got to me.

  5. Daily Mail has pictures.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sci…..NUTES.html
    Sad how the Brits to cover American news better than American media.

    1. From the article:
      “The tech entrepreneur claims that his hyperloop super train could be three to four times faster than a ballet train like this one from the East Japan Railway”

      See? The problem is Reason has been spelling it wrong all this time! Who is going to oppose a dancing train?

      Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sci…..z2ZEH1F0uT

    2. Um…

      600 mph ain’t gettin you from coast to coast in an hour.

      1. But you can accelerate longer on a longer trip.

  6. Suicide booths would be a better and more achievable innovation.

    1. “You are now dead. Thank you for using Stop and Drop, America’s favorite Suicide Booth since 2008.”

    2. Next up, the Orgasmatron, Agony Booths, and Disintegration Chambers.

    3. Ooh, what about a suicide booth with built in resomation disposal system.

      It’s earth friendly! Not only are you getting rid of your carbon footprint but you’re being disposed of in a green and efficient way. I’ll take a very large federal grant now thank you.

      1. Does it produce Soylent Green?

        1. It’s made from People!!!

        2. Hmmm…

          *jots notes on cocktail napkin, strokes chin thoughtfully*

          Why yes, yes it does.

          1. You’re welcome.

    4. Until you get the first murder-by-suicide-machine case. Then the victim’s family would sue the manufacturers followed by Eric Holder filing a civil rights suit.

    5. You think that this technology does not have such an application?

  7. there’s some of the same sort of “This could replace cars” misguided thinking that informs high-speed rail supporters

    I thought Segways already changed the way we live and commute. Weren’t we supposed to design our cities around them?

    1. Oh, good one.

    2. It was the greatest invention ever, I seem to recall reading.

      1. It’s revolutionized mankind!

        1. Especially when mankind is on one of those Segway tours.

        2. Well, Disney World parking lot attendants, at any rate.

      2. So great the inventor sold if off to some rube and went on his merry way.

        1. So great the inventor sold if off to some rube and went on his merry way off a cliff.

          That’s better.

  8. Yea, protect a nation-wide tube from terrorists looking for gory crash results…….

    1. Sadly, this. Gigantic engineering projects that are fragile to terror attacks are a non-starter these days. Same goes for a space elevator, I fear.

      1. You know, how vulnerable is a space elevator to terror attacks? Don’t most models for space elevators involve the mass being supported from some geosynchronous counterweight? If so, how major would it be to knock down the lower parts, which is all terrorists would likely be able to accomplish?

        1. sever the ground supports and watch as your counterweight goes zinging off to Mars (or the Sun, or whatever it’s aimed at when the supports are severed)

          1. Is that how it works? Does the line have that kind of tension? Sounds like a lot of energy would be bound up that way.

            I could swear I read something about space elevators not working that way. With the line being lowered from space by an object in a stable orbit in the first place.

            Auric, you’re the expert in space stuff, what do you think?

            1. A space elevator would necessarily be somewhat balanced between gravity and inertial force.

              1. Clearly, someone needs to test the concept by building one. I’ll wait in this thread until then.

            2. My understanding is that it would be under extreme tension, because the main technical obstacle is to build it with something light and strong enough.

            3. Auric, you’re the expert in space stuff, what do you think?

              Ahem. He admitted today that he can’t even dress himself.

              1. Exactly. Which proves that he’s a genius, right?

              2. He admitted today that he can’t even dress himself.

                Whoa, I admitted that I let someone dress me in exchange for sex.

                1. They still make Garanimals, you know.

                  1. This is just like you guys all assuming I am unable of cooking because I choose to pay others to do that for me.

                    1. You just match Brown Bear shirt with Brown Bear pants.

            4. The counterweight would be past the point of the geosynchronous orbit because you want some tension on the cables, and so you need to get the center of mass of the system at least a little past GEO.

              Basically, Shoot and Scruff are right. Though you could always have some thrusters in place to use in this event until you can reconnect the cables.

              And you’re right about building it by lowering a cable. But as you do that you need to move your counterweight further and further out to keep the center of mass near GEO (since the cable weight is now further in).

              1. Okay, so the short answer is that the system can be made reasonably secure from terrorist attack, assuming limited technological options for the terrorists, anyway.

                1. You could also help secure it by building it in the middle of the ocean and immediately shooting down any aircraft that gets within 100 nm without permission.

                  We all know the first space elevator is going to be a massive multi-national governmental project, right? Crashing a plane into it would be about as easy as crashing a plane into an active US aircraft carrier (navy pilots excluded, of course).

                2. Well it could be made safe in the sense that there wouldn’t necessarily be catastrophic effects from a terrorist attack. Making is safe from attacks, even those that could render it inoperable is another thing.

                  AND, get high enough and sever the cable up there. Sever it at synchrous orbit and you’ve got a length of cable falling that is long enough to nearly wrap around the world. Then you have to worry about *exactly* how heat resistant the cable is.

                  1. The first few chapters of Alastair’s Reynolds’s novel, Chasm City, deal with the effects of a snipped space elevator. It’s pretty severe, but not world killing.

                    Decent novel, set in his Revelation Space universe.

                    1. That world was not “alive” in the sense that Earth is. It was only inhabited in one small area of the planet, without an ecosystem.

                    2. SPOILER

                      Mickey,

                      The space elevator went boom on Sky’s Edge, which was fairly lush throughout, IIRC. Most of the flashback scenes were set in jungle environments.

                      Most of the novel though, took place on Yellowstone, which was pretty much only inhabited within the Chasm.

                      I really want someone to turn this series into either a movie or miniseries.

          2. It would have to be beyond geo orbit for that to happen(at geo, it is orbiting, and below geo it would have to be supported by the elevator.).

  9. Bad ideas from 1869…Today!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B…..ic_Transit

  10. Mongo no understand…something to do with where choo-choo tubes go?

  11. Hahaha! I’m working on a matter transporter that will cut the coast to coast transit time to 10.5 milliseconds. I only have a few more kinks to work out and it will be ready for a live demo.

    By the way, the rumors about my dog not surviving a recent test are bullshit. It wasn’t even my dog.

    1. You’re welcome to use my dog for your next attempt. He chewed open a gel pen on my bed and pillows this morning.

      1. My dog did that to my living room carpet. Luckily gel pens use very water-soluble ink which also responds well to bleaching. I got most of it up with plain water and then dabbed up the remaining tint with diluted bleach.

        I told Nicky if he did that again, he’d be going for a ride in the transporter.

    2. Behold! Transported from there to here!

      [holds up a ZipLock bag full of blood-colored liquid]

      The molecules tend to shift during the transmatter… event. But they were transported in dog form and they clearly were…

    3. Next time you should cryogenically freeze your test subjects. Encased in ice, they’ll get there in sound shape and you’ll get a higher survivability rate.

    4. I have ethical qualms about teleportation. You should focus your energies on wormholes.

      1. Is it the uncertainty about the identity of what is produced at the other end that bothers you? Hey, what does it matter if your cells were replaced one at a time and it took less than a second instead of an entire decade to accomplish? It’s still you!

          1. Mieville covered this best in Kraken.

        1. The Prestige had a good take on it as well. Why destroy the original?

    5. Just make sure there are no flies in your apartment when you test it.

  12. Next project: Suicide booths

    About time. We’re already 6 years behind on that one.

    1. You know who else advocated for suicide booths?

        1. No, he had a big issue with those. He threatened to blow up an entire planet if they kept using them. Probably reflects some childhood trauma.

          1. Probably that time he stole his stepdad’s antique car while blasting the Beastie Boys.

            1. Oh, was that in Star Trek: 90210?

            2. A truly epic misuse of a great song. Only Abrams could use such a good song so inappropriately.

            3. Well, he almost drove off the great cliffs of Iowa.

              1. The Eugenics Wars were a hell of a conflict….

                1. I read somewhere recently where a book or comic book was going to cover the Eugenics Wars.

                  1. That would be awesome… Well, at least until they managed to take a great concept and kill it.

      1. Gene Roddenberry?

      2. Bender seems to be on both sides of this issue.

        1. I like that Bender scams the suicide booth. That sealed the pilot for me.

    2. Apropos of nothing, the following phrase popped in my head: death flannels.

      1. Good name for a retro grunge band.

        1. Grunge metal!

      2. I kinda thought of Segway.

  13. Well, I’m confused now. I was under the impression that moving at velocities that high causes problems to occupants (like supersonic jet pilots blacking out), but then I remembered that astronauts in orbit move at vastly faster speeds. What am I thinking, problems with angularity and rapid changes in direction?

    1. There would be no changes in direction. They would simply clear a perfectly straight line path using eminent domain, declaring the entire area blighted.

      1. Oh, there will be changes in direction. Every two-bit mayor will want a say in what destinations this thing visits. I can see the project scotched or so badly attenuated by local bureaucracies trading favors for access that it ends up slower and more expensive than air travel.

        1. “Every two-bit mayor will want a say in what destinations this thing visits”

          And if he can deliver five votes, moonbeam will make damn sure it stops there!

        2. Every two-bit mayor will want a say in what destinations this thing visits.

          We’re gettin a MONORAIL!

    2. Velocity is not a problem. Acceleration is.

      You can go 1000 mph without an issue. Just don’t go from a dead stop to it in a 1 second.

      Pilots blacking out would be to turning too sharply, which is just acceleration again.

      1. Obviously, we’ll just legislate and employ inertial dampeners.

        1. Which never go offline, even when they rest of the ship (including artificial gravity) do!

          1. Fucking stupid show in many respects. I like it, but I have to say this as I phase modulate out of trouble again.

            1. That’s really a problem with basically any sci-fi show. If you’ve got inertial dampeners, OK, go ahead and do all this sub-light maneuvering that you want. But the second it’s off, don’t even rotate the ship or your whole crew is going to be splotches on the walls.

              1. I can handle all sorts of outlandish science fiction or even fantasy. Provided that it’s internally consistent. TV science fiction is notoriously bad in that regard.

                1. Yeah, I actually don’t have a problem with the concept of the dampeners. It makes the story work better, and is pretty inline with the other types of tech that are available. But if you don’t have them working, use real physics.

                  I really like Stargate, but one episode has a literal “we need to reverse the polarity”… I had to cringe at that.

                  1. Most filmed scifi has atrocious science. Like, to the point of being cringe-worthy. We’ve all just ignored it, though. There are authors who get it right, but on film? Forget about it. The forces involved are so vastly greater than anything anyone has ever experienced that the audience has no frame of reference.

                  2. Sure, why not? It’s an obvious convention if you want to set a story within a galaxy of interacting intelligences. While it’s certainly possible to do that within modern physics, FTL is really necessary if you want to compress time from world to world.

                    Ditto things like transporters. Just so long as some made-up physics cover them and they’re handled with some consistency.

                    1. Ditto things like transporters. Just so long as some made-up physics cover them and they’re handled with some consistency.

                      Like, say, your teleporters aren’t suddenly capable of transporting you across two empires/civilizations to your enemies homeworld instantly, when they have always been a in-system thing (rendering ships almost pointless)?

                    2. You mean like in the end of Battlefield Earth? Now that’s science!

                    3. Oh, was that in Young Star Trek Holmes?

              2. I don’t understand why they just don’t limit the ships to some reasonable STL acceleration, like .01g or something.

                Look, you’ve got magic FTL that can be used anywhere so you don’t *need* hugely powerful STL engines. .01g get you from Earth to Mars in like a month – cut away during the trip or if its an emergency just FTL there.

                This ‘can accelerate a huge starship at 1000g’ thing just means the rest of us are wondering why you even bother with phasers. Just point the arse-end of the starship at the planet and threaten to turn on the engine.

      2. It’s not the speed that kills you. It’s the sudden stop.

    3. Acceleration’s the problem, not velocity.

    4. The problem is acceleration and deceleration. If you do it too fast, the passengers will be paste on one of the walls. However, once up to speed you’re fine…as long as you don’t stop too quickly.

      It’s the same problem with space travel. Absent, say, an Alcubierre Drive, if you want to get up to 99% of light speed, it’s going to take you a long time because no human can survive going up to that speed quickly.

      1. And this is why I nearly failed my intro physics course years ago, because I didn’t read the material.

      2. The humans could survive an acceleration to light speed fairly quickly (in astronomical terms). It would take a bit under a year to get to light speed if you were accelerating at 1g. Humans could pretty easily handle 2gs, which would now be about 6 months. Compared to the travel time between stars, even at light speed, that’s still pretty quick.

        1. Excellent, Auric, you have outposted me. Which is for the best, since I barely know what I’m talking about.

          I was wondering how many gs we could handle over the long term. Two seems a bit much for six months. Not like we’ve tested that, of course.

          1. I didn’t say it would be fun, but take a 150 pound person and now they are only 300. We’ve got plenty of 300 pound people that prove you can carry that much weight on a body. It would be harder to pump blood, so you might have to avoid too much strenuous exercise.

            Plus when you return to a 1g environment you now can destroy these puny weak creatures.

            1. No, you keep accelerating slowly until you get to 5G. Then you destroy those puny creatures with your giant bones and hardened organs.

              1. Of course, you hit upon the point that some science fiction authors have–genetically and/or technologically enhance the astronauts before sending them out.

                1. Oh, no no no. I’m going for a more Fremen strategy. Don’t enhance them before sending them out. Just allow the weak ones to die, yielding only hardy survivors, absolutely dedicated to my space empire.

                  1. Better send a shitload of people then, because I bet a huge percentage just die.

                    1. Well, yeah. What’s the problem?

              2. I think you mean you keep jerking slowly until you get to an acceleration of 5gs.

                (Yes, jerk is the correct term for a change in acceleration)

                1. Hey Auric, the Jerk Store called, and it’s all out of you.

                  (I was fully aware that changes in acceleration are called jerk, you jerk.)

                  1. That was for Mr. Scared-Of-Candy…

                    Which I just realized may be due to a childhood trauma.

                2. (Yes, jerk is the correct term for a change in acceleration)

                  Rowr. Sexy.

        2. You live at 2gs for a year and see how you like it. The obvious solution is to accelerate at 1g, thereby giving yourself normal “gravity”, and when you get within a year of the destination, to decelerate at 1g, again giving yourself normal “gravity”. The problem is the time in between. Which, for nearby stars, could be 40 years.

          Alistair Reynolds gets into this in the Revelation Space series with the Ultras.

          1. If you can get up to the point where relativistic effects are dramatic, the trip is a lot closer to two years for the passengers.

            That’s a big if, of course.

          2. There’s a series that went off the rails. The third book was almost unreadable while the first was quite enjoyable.

            1. No shit. And Chasm City is fucking incredible. But Absolution Gap was almost terrible. Reynolds just did not know how to wrap that shit up. The Inhibitors went from “holy shit they’re terrifying” to cartoon evil in the course of one book.

              1. Completely agree. I threw AG across the room with great force. What a ridiculous end to an interesting series.

                Although the idea of a gigantic tracked cathedral endlessly circling an ice world has a certain Gothic appeal. Kind of like the rest of the series, not that I think about it.

                I’d love to see the stories in Galactic North hit the big screen.

          3. But go fast enough and your time slows down, so it doesn’t feel like 40 years.

      3. I’ve seen the math on this. It’s about a year of 1g acceleration to get to light speed–discounting for the moment all of the issues with traveling that fast. That could be adjusted down some for relativistic effects, too, at least for those on the ship.

      4. Star Trek taught me you can jump from dead stop to Warp 9 almost instantaneously. So you are a liar, Epi.

        1. But warp speed isn’t “normal” physics.

        2. If you are moving the space that the people are inhabiting instead of the people through space, it doesn’t really matter.

          1. Killazontherun| 7.16.13 @ 1:22PM
            “If you are moving the space that the people are inhabiting instead of the people through space, it doesn’t really matter.”

            Do not confuse ‘Star Trek’s’ warp drive with the an Alcubierre Metric Drive.

            ‘Star Trek’ uses and travels through “sub-space” to work, they do not move the space the ship is in.

            1. If that hasn’t been retconned yet, it soon will be.

        3. Also, ships in warp speed and knock each other out of warp speed with few detrimental effects, at least until the Juggernaut starts pummeling the Enterprise with torpedoes.

          ST:ID, caressing the lofty peaks of the franchise.

          1. Battlestar Galactica had the physics win over Star Trek. Once a ship hits warp speed, you have no idea where they went.

        4. Oh yeah? Tachyon field, biatch!

    5. It’s not how fast you are going, or in which direction, it’s the speed of acceleration (or deceleration). When you do a nice slow brake from 55 mph to dead stop over 15 seconds and several hundred feet you feel little change. But slam on the brakes when travelling 55, hoo boy.

    6. High *accelerations* do that, not high velocities.

      1. And that was meant for someone else.

        1. High velocities won’t be fun either, in our world. At speeds close to c, collisions with molecules get interesting.

  14. Potentially a throw-away joke on Futurama

    Uhm, an homage to the Jetsons.

  15. As long as it takes off like the launch sequence for California Screaming. Needs more loops and corkscrews though.

    1. Try King’s Dominion’s Volcano

  16. So, like a linear induction roller coaster?

  17. It sounds a whole lot like the super high speed transport from Niven’s A world out of Time.

  18. How many people want to go from LA to SF on a given day? Enough to justify all these fantasies of rails and tubes and such?

    As dumb as a regular old train would be, this can’t even make any stops in between.

    1. I dunno. I could telecommute to LA most of the time if I had the option to be in office in under an hour if shit hit the fan, but that wouldn’t be daily travel.

      1. I think more telecommuting all around is the solution to most transpo problems. 90% of my job is answering email and going to meetings where I stare off into space and dream about beating everyone else in the room with giant jelly dildo nun-chucks.

        1. We’re about to replace our office PBX with an IP based solution. I’ll be able to plug my desk phone into any router with WAN access and it’ll operate like I’m at my desk. At that point my office presence is pointless and I’m currently living 15 minutes by car/30 by bike if needed in office. I’d be delighted to start wearing jeans and a tshirt again instead of slacks and a button up.

        2. Telecommuting is awesome. I just go into the office every few months for corporate events so everybody knows I’m alive.

          1. I can’t work from home. Because I end up not working and playing Borderlands and getting stoned and reading my Kindle out on the deck in the sun.

            1. Not a problem for me, but I understand how it is for some people.

              I have a room in my house dedicated to work.

              Also, I don’t have a results-only work environment – I work for a consulting company, so I have to bill my hours.

              1. A consulting firm?

                Sounds like you have a NO RESULTS environment, amirite?

        3. I go into the office max 3 times a week. We ran out of space and started sharing cubes. This week I’m only in the office today and Thursday. It is so fucking awesome I can’t even…

        4. Thanks for that, SF. Now I shan’t be able to concentrate at my next meeting…giant jelly dildo nun-chucks indeed.

          1. What they lack in striking power they make up in homopanic.

            1. To properly deploy them, scream “IMMA GONNA FUCK YOU! IMMA GONNA FUCK YOU!” during the attack.

              1. For some strange reason, I imagined Kanye West doing that.

                1. I’ve been told by many people that I remind them of an older, fatter, balder, poorer, whiter, shorter, and diabetic Kayne West.

          2. Boston Creme, if you want to do some real damage.

            1. Is Anita Bryant attending your meetings?

    2. Are you sure? Looking at the (admittedly rough) mock-up, it seems like throwing arms onto the main track isn’t impossible. They’d need to do something to seal it off from the air column, but presumably that’s a problem with the design as it stands.

      1. Negative pressure. You can’t drop anything on the tracks.

    3. Well, that would depend just how cheap and convenient it was to do so. If it was fast and cheap enough, people would start doing it just to get a bagel in the morning.

    4. How many people want to go from LA to SF on a given day?

      Just on Southwest Airlines, if you combine LAX/BUR/ONT/SNA airports as LA and SFO/OAK/SJC as SF, there are 119 flights scheduled this Thursday from LA-SF.

      At 180 people per flight, that’s 21,420 people, and that’s just one airline.

  19. So how much is welfare queen Musk planning on shaking down taxpayers for this venture?

    1. Hey, that battery car is only giving him tax dollars at $7500/per! How do you expect him to live on that?

    2. Do I see the makings for a grand compromise between the Teams, why yes! Every oil pipeline that gets built has to have a pneumatic tube riding directly on top of it it. GOP gets its pipeline, Democrats get their public transportation, the tax payers will get their screwing, environmentalist will get their confusion about how the world works embiggened even more.

  20. OT:
    Bloomberg News writes that Korean pilots ‘don’t do visual approaches’:
    “Former Asiana Pilots Say Manual Flying Secondary to Automation”
    http://www.sfgate.com/business…..667588.php
    Interesting point in the article: US pilots learn on small planes and small airports. Korea has few of either.

    1. Interesting. I know at least at DCA the default is visual approach unless the weather calls for ILS. Good thing the only international flights in there are Canadian!

    2. Which pilots?
      Sum Ting Wong?
      Wi Tu Low?
      Ho Lee Fuk?
      or Bing Dang Ow?

      1. Those guys are driving for a Chinese bus line now.

  21. Yeah, a Popular Mechanics cover, nothing else.

    Also, on any cross country routes every municipality is going to want the thing to stop there, which defeats the whole purpose of super high speed. And the routing will be a political football.

    At most this is going to suck a few million for feasibility studies (USDOT), and be shelved. Good work if you can get it, and live with yourself afterwards.

    1. “How do you sleep at night?”

      “On top of a pile of money, with many beautiful women.”

      1. Somewhat apropos.

        1. “Upon closer inspection, these are loafers.”

    2. Just route it between National League cities, so you can see whichever team Yasiel Puig and the Dodgers are playing that day.

  22. But if it’s not a bullet train, how will it receive funding? Where’s the government oversight? And most importantly, Jerry Brown hasn’t signed a single…document…

  23. Not better than flying cars, but better than hoverboards.

  24. Hyperloops sound okay, but I just want a thing-longer. When is anyone going to invent that!?

    1. The fing-longer was casually in last week’s episode. I really liked that bit.

  25. Maybe it’s like the transportation system between cities described in “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress”? A tube in vacuum which follows an orbital path between NY and LA. That would get you across the US pretty fast.

  26. The first link can run from Santa Clarita to Modesto, or maybe Tampa to Orlando.

    1. I think I voted against the latter. Sorry about that.

  27. “The amusing part of this project would be the possibility of rendering California’s expensive high-speed rail boondoggle obsolete”

    Obsolete . . . you keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    1. HSR is *already* obsolete. It was outcompeted decades before it was born by cheap airfare and cheap cars.

    2. Musk’s plan will have no effect on HSR. Congress will still try to fund it because of SI money and votes. As Dick Jones famously said ” I had a guaranteed sale with HSR. Renovation program. Spare parts for 25 years. Who cares if it worked or not?”

    3. It will be worse since not only will we have to contend with trying to keep HSR funding under control, now Musk will be asking for government money as well.

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