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Colorado Company Says It Plans To Test Hyperloop Transport System

timothy posted about a year ago | from the pie-in-the-tube dept.

Transportation 258

Freshly Exhumed writes "Elon Musk's dream of a hyperloop transport system seems to be closer to reality than he anticipated. Hyperloop transportation, referred to by Musk as a "cross between a Concorde, a railgun, and an air hockey table", is a tubular pneumatic transport system with the theoretical capability of carrying passengers from New York to L.A. in about 30 minutes at velocities near 4,000 miles per hour, while maintaining a near-continuous G force of 1. Colorado-based company ET3 is planning to build and test its own version of such a hyperloop system, Yahoo reports." A more critical article would point out that the numbers presented seem absurdly optimistic; $100 for a 4,000mph cross country trip may be "projected," but construction of a cross-country train tube is a long way off, and so are ticket sales.

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Why would you build this in an earthquake zone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44276733)

Wouldn't the east coast make more sense?

Re:Why would you build this in an earthquake zone? (1)

kylegordon (159137) | about a year ago | (#44276777)

Only if your target market is the East coast and you don't foresee the need to test against such scenarios...

Re:Why would you build this in an earthquake zone? (1)

lesincompetent (2836253) | about a year ago | (#44276823)

Why would you build a high-speed train line instead?

Re:Why would you build this in an earthquake zone? (1)

Provocateur (133110) | about a year ago | (#44276819)

True, it was the astronomical costs that prevent building high speed rail projects on the East Coast, much less a DC-to-NY high speed commuter. Man, if Musk can push a DC-to-NY commuter line, this would make that NY-to-LA dream more attractive.

And about that earthquake concern, they still built that rail line project in LA anyway, that's been beneficial to residents.

Re:Why would you build this in an earthquake zone? (3, Informative)

CastrTroy (595695) | about a year ago | (#44277015)

Yeah, but DC to NY is already a pretty short trip. Only 1 hour 10 in a plane, and it has rates starting from $156 (source, new Google maps). The problem with air travel is the security lines. If they could get rid of that, at least for short commuter flights, then flying would be much more enjoyable. The road trip time is 3 hours 43 minutes. Which isn't short, but easily something you could do if you needed to go there and back in the same day. A reasonable speed train (doesn't even have to be that fast) could probably do the trip in 2-3 hours if there wasn't a thousand stops. And trains don't have crazy security checks. Most of the time you can just walk right on 10 minutes before the train leaves. Something like this just isn't needed as it wouldn't take appreciably less time.

Re:Why would you build this in an earthquake zone? (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year ago | (#44277081)

Seems to me a terrorist attack in a tunnel would be more crippling than one one a plane. It's probably not as big of a target though because 1) only the people on that train are in danger and 2) choking important infrastructure doesn't have nearly the "shock and awe" affect that terrorist go for,like crashing planes into things.

Re:Why would you build this in an earthquake zone? (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about a year ago | (#44277193)

1 hour 10 in a plane

3 hrs in the airport.

Re:Why would you build this in an earthquake zone? (2)

Lehk228 (705449) | about a year ago | (#44277195)

also getting molested by TSA

Re:Why would you build this in an earthquake zone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277495)

also getting molested by TSA

Wouldn't be so bad if they hired hot chicks to do the molesting. But, no. Even fat, ugly people think they have a right to these jobs.

Re:Why would you build this in an earthquake zone? (1)

AmazingRuss (555076) | about a year ago | (#44277557)

Nobody else wants to hire big fat ugly people.

Re:Why would you build this in an earthquake zone? (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#44277891)

They could even charge a premium for that service and make the TSA self-funding. Maybe even return money to the government. More proof that bureaucracies have no imagination.

P.S. Don't forget an equivalent service for the ladies. Let's not be sexist here (or pass up any business opportunities, like the cosmetics companies that didn't market to black women for years).

Discovery channel? (1, Funny)

julesh (229690) | about a year ago | (#44276771)

Is there a documentary I could watch that will give me some idea of the absurd disaster scenarios somebody has invented for this technology?

Re:Discovery channel? (3, Funny)

avgjoe62 (558860) | about a year ago | (#44277387)

I understand that the investigative documentarians at SyFy already have an expose, TubeShark-aggedon, in production.

Trans continental railway (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44276775)

The cost to build something like this could be bounded on the lower end by the cost to build the trans-continental railway (a mammoth undertaking), and it pretty much has no upper bound. The TCR made ample use of cheap freed slave and immigrant labor, whereas something like this would be overwhelmed in the current day and age by excessive government regulations, EPA blockages, prevailing wage laws, OSHA, etc. Put quite simply, it cannot happen and if it could, $100 per ticket would not even begin to pay for it.

Re:Trans continental railway (3, Insightful)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#44276977)

The TCR made ample use of cheap freed slave and immigrant labor

Why do you think it wouldn't be accurate robots building this thing, end-to-end?

Re: Trans continental railway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277531)

Politicians and Unions would make sure that robots would never see the light of day on something like this, despite that probably being the only way it could ever be economically built.

Welcome to Americas continuing stagnation.

Re: Trans continental railway (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#44277783)

For a track designed to handle these speeds, automated construction systems could be the only thing accurate and reliable enough to build it. Also, I don't see how unions would ever enter into the equation providing that you don't hire the blue collars into your new company in the first place.

Re: Trans continental railway (1)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | about a year ago | (#44277837)

Who would remain to pay the 100$ tickets if robots did all the jobs?

Re: Trans continental railway (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#44277909)

Politicians and Unions would make sure that robots would never see the light of day on something like this

That probably explains why all construction work in the US is done by guys with shovels. Imagine the efficiency improvements if they could use backhoes, trucks, tunnel boring machines, etc.

Re: Trans continental railway (1)

91degrees (207121) | about a year ago | (#44277921)

Politicians would be happy to have a US based tech company build the tools to build this. The hyperloop construction unions don't exist yet. The railway worker unions might object but there's a limit to how much they can do, and even with a largely automated construction process, this would require a substantial workforce. I think their jobs are pretty secure.

Re:Trans continental railway (3, Informative)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#44277045)

The transcontinental railway and most other railways it the USA made use of free (federally granted) land. The cost of land for a new right of way after industrial development would be enormous. You could estimate that cost by asking one of the major US rail carriers how much it would cost to buy or lease their right of ways. Buying is probably off the table entirely. They won't sell and without changes in federal law, can't be forced to sell.

Re:Trans continental railway (1)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | about a year ago | (#44277277)

The cost of land for a new right of way after industrial development would be enormous.

Uhh .... underground mean anything to you?

Re:Trans continental railway (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277423)

Yes, true, underground. But of course there is maintenance. And maintenance access ways. And roads to get to those maintenance access ways. And buildings with security perimeters around those access ways. All of which are above ground. You don't think for a minute that there wouldn't be access hatches for maintenance at a minimum of every ten miles do you? BTW, this type of "hyperloop" is sort of a silly name for something postulated and described in Robert Heinlein's fiction many many years ago as a ballistic tube.

Re:Trans continental railway (4, Insightful)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#44277473)

Yeah, it means even more expensive.

Re:Trans continental railway (2)

danbert8 (1024253) | about a year ago | (#44277559)

Yes, installing a new cross country underground tube should be no problem at all to get done right? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keystone_Pipeline [wikipedia.org]
Oh wait...

Re:Trans continental railway (2)

leonardluen (211265) | about a year ago | (#44277575)

property rights in many places extend underground and would still require a lot of above ground infrastructure and access ways for maintenance purposes.

Re:Trans continental railway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277095)

Robotics... Build the line using computerized robotics. Human costs? Minimal. Up-front costs? Substantial, but depreciable.

Re:Trans continental railway (3, Insightful)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year ago | (#44277103)

They could use the NYS Thruway model. "We'll only charge tolls until the road is paid off. And then just keep raising tolls long after the road is paid off."

Re:Trans continental railway (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year ago | (#44277141)

Technically I think tickets could be considered tolls.

Re:Trans continental railway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277727)

It's a popular plan. Illinois does the same thing.

How much did I sleep last night? (2, Funny)

BLToday (1777712) | about a year ago | (#44276789)

It's already 3000 AD? Time to go shopping for my Lucy Liu bot and Slurm.

Yes, and Howard Hughes had a dream (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44276809)

of a Spruce Goose. And? Every time Musk says something we latch on to it and hype it. Besides, I'm sure the progress of 3D printing means we'll be able to 3D print ourselves at the destination. After all, the first modems only had 300 baud, look how fast they are now, therefore anything is possible. Especially when comparing two completely different things.

Re:Yes, and Howard Hughes had a dream (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277133)

The thing about geniuses is that they have 100 great ideas every day, one of which may prove to be practical. Musk has proven his genius and vision. What about you? Hughes? Not so much a genius as an entrepreneur/exploiter. He didn't come up with many novel/new ideas, but he had an ability to see which ones to exploit. That isn't to say that he didn't contribute to tech in his time, but compared to others, he was small potatoes... :-)

Hughes demonstrated his genius. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277729)

Building his own radio transmitter at 11.
Aptitude for flying (at 14), math, engineering (auditing Caltec).

Despite injuries and OCD (likely) he built a huge company, and many subsidiaries.

Send packages first (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44276815)

Let's see how fast it gets fresh salmon from Seattle to Kansas. Build a six inch wide tube or something. If that works out, then maybe think about humans.

Train accidents are bad enough already. 4000 mph? Would there even be anything left for the NTSB to sift through? What happens if the tube decompresses? Musk has some great ideas; but I think he's gone off the rails on this one.

Re:Send packages first (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44276857)

Musk has gone off the deep end a while ago, he's like George Lucas; who is going to challenge him now? Like Lucas, he might have made one or two good things in the past, now like every human being, he's slowly going nuts. He is in his 40s after all, it's not like the human brain magically improves at that age. He's just as likely to be insane, delusional and senile as anyone else.

Re:Send packages first (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#44277153)

Musk has gone off the deep end a while ago, he's like George Lucas; who is going to challenge him now?

Anybody he asks to invest in his next project. How many billions has he sunk into Tesla Motors so far without generating positive cash flow? They just suck up more investor money each year.

Re:Send packages first (4, Insightful)

JakeBurn (2731457) | about a year ago | (#44277237)

Tesla Motors? You mean the only car company that got government loans and has already made enough money to pay them off early? You mean the same Tesla Motors that posted a quarterly PROFIT in May?

Re:Send packages first (1)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | about a year ago | (#44277287)

With government subsidies in addition to the loans?

Tesla Motors has not made a profit in any normal government-less sense of the word.

Re:Send packages first (3, Interesting)

ATMAvatar (648864) | about a year ago | (#44277311)

That's not entirely true. Tesla had its first profitable quarter this year [yahoo.com] , though admittedly that was due to selling emissions credits pushing them into the black. Over time, the company has continually driven down the cost of production, and you can see from the financials that revenue and gross profit is growing, so it looks promising that it might finally be able to stand on its own soon.

Re: Send packages first (3, Informative)

iamhassi (659463) | about a year ago | (#44277021)

They've only been dreaming of pneumatic tubes for 180 years or so, but they've never gone further than bank drivethrus and some buildings. Even something like the mail, that you would think would benefit greatly from pneumatic tubes compared to planes and vehicles, hasn't switched over. Truth is pneumatic tubes are great for short distances, but when you have them run over miles there's too many complications, if it breaks down you can't just hop off, you're stuck in a tube 100 miles from rescue. That's why we have been dreaming of it forever and had the technology for a hundred years but even countries with the money and means built bullet trains instead. We'll probably see Star Trek teleporters before pneumatic tubes http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pneumatic_tube [wikipedia.org]

Are ET3 and Musk actually connected? (2)

Mt._Honkey (514673) | about a year ago | (#44276821)

The ET3 website [et3.com] looks like some kind of scam. They are offering to sell licenses for their amazing technology for only $100! I've seen it listed on several articles about Musk's plans, but I suspect that some lazy journalist just googled some shit and found that page.

Does anyone know if Musk actually has a company working on this technology?

Sounds legit. Ater all, what could go wrong? (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about a year ago | (#44276893)

Compressed air. Constant 1G acceleration. Underground tunnels. No problem!

Re:Sounds legit. Ater all, what could go wrong? (1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | about a year ago | (#44277013)

you know....you experience 1G of acceleration every moment of your life.

Re:Sounds legit. Ater all, what could go wrong? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about a year ago | (#44277075)

Yeah, but the seats would have to be oriented in such a way that the acceleration was down. So you'd have to be lying on your back. And then, they'd have to somehow flip you around so your feet would face the other way, so you could handle the 1g deceleration for the other half of the ride. They could put you in roller coaster restraints, and just have you sit normally, but I don't think most people would enjoy that kind of ride. even if it is only half an hour. I could see Six Flags putting this out as a "ride" before it became a serious travel option.

Re:Sounds legit. Ater all, what could go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277159)

you do realize that a standard automobile undergoes high acceleration and deceleration (and turning) than 1G?
does your car have roller coaster restraints?

Don't confuse acceleration and speed.

Re:Sounds legit. Ater all, what could go wrong? (1)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | about a year ago | (#44277329)

No, standard cars don't. The best acceleration you can get in high end street cars is about 1G, but very few do that under any circumstance. The limit is the friction between rubber and road.

One of the standard performance measurements is 0-60 mph which is 88 fps. 10 seconds is a standard dividing line between slugs and ok, 5 seconds is very good but not exceptional. 5 seconds is 17.6 fpsps, which is 1/2 G. As far as I know, the fastest street cars do it in about 3 seconds, which is close to 1G.

Re:Sounds legit. Ater all, what could go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277781)

only 1 G?

Nearly every car can reach 3Gs without a problem - just apply the brakes.

Most can accelerate at 1G under power...

Re:Sounds legit. Ater all, what could go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277887)

Floor the brake from 60MPH. Average car can stop in under 130ft, and that puts you right around 1G.

Considering how simple as they are, brakes are so much more efficient than engines at what they do.

Re:Sounds legit. Ater all, what could go wrong? (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year ago | (#44277203)

Oh, I dunno, lets do some maths...
We don't know how much it will weigh, but lets just assume that loaded with passangers it weighs about as much as your average locomotive without any train cars attached... so 150 tons.
Traveling at 4000 miles per hour at peak speed...
and that comes out to about 57 tons of TNT going off if it impacts something.

On the bright side, if anything went wrong, you'd never know. I believe your nervous system has been calculated at under 600mph.

Re:Sounds legit. Ater all, what could go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277097)

0 to 4000 mph in 1 second. Splat !.. Welcome to flat land, your portal into a two dimensional world... Or have you ever dreamed of becoming bumper sticker we have a solution for you!

Re:Sounds legit. Ater all, what could go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277217)

it's not compressed air - it's mag-lev in a vacuum tube.

Re:Sounds legit. Ater all, what could go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277275)

It's not a truck, it's a series of tubes. Let me send you an internet.

If this was possible... (0)

Rod Beauvex (832040) | about a year ago | (#44276907)

Why hasn't this already been developed in another country, like Japan or Germany or France? The US isn't exactly a bastion of technological development.

Re: If this was possible... (2)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | about a year ago | (#44276945)

Since when?

Re: If this was possible... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44276979)

Since America landed a robot on mars using a rocket powered sky craine.

Re:If this was possible... (2, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | about a year ago | (#44277049)

While it's true the US has been losing its edge in technological development, what other countries have really stepped up and filled that space? What country has developed usable electric cars, for instance? What country has developed private spaceflight? What country developed the internet? Smartphones?

The US is definitely going down in a lot of ways, but no one else seems to be shining in technological innovation either; everyone else either does only manufacturing or continues the use and development of a highly-mature technology. I just don't see any groundbreaking innovation coming from anywhere else. When the US collapses, things aren't going to progress very quickly in technology.

Re:If this was possible... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277363)

Japanese developed usable electric cars if you define usable by affordable and available to the population, unlike the Teslas. USA gave a try earlier in our century, but it was killed by your greed and capitalist system (see the documentary "who killed the electric car").

Private spaceflight occurs mainly in Russia. They were also the first to have a usable space station up there (skylab was a bad joke). NASA are experts in developing and sending probes and robots, I give you that. But again, greed and paranoia impedes NASA and I don't see much space development in the near future of the USA. Which is sad, really, because competition from the USA would drive Russia or China big time to improve its presence in space, maybe even getting another space race?

The USA developed the basics of the Internet backbone, but look at the current customer situation (which is all that matters, really), you can have 100mbps symmetrical in Japan, Slovakia, Estonia for 10-15$/month. In the USA you can have 10mbps with a 300GB cap for 40$/month. Again, your greed impedes innovation. A lot, most, of the optic fiber dropped in the oceans are operated by foreign countries.

The problem with innovation is that it is driven by passion or competition. Since passion is limited by a small budget, most of the time, only competition can bring up things. Companies do it either to improve their countrie's image (see HTC) or to be the richest company(See Samsung), it doesn't matter. If one country does something innovative, other countries will follow and try to beat them. See the smartphone market, for example.

Re:If this was possible... (2)

Grishnakh (216268) | about a year ago | (#44277591)

Private spaceflight occurs mainly in Russia.

I thought Russia's industry was a state-owned company that was spun off into a private entity. That's not exactly the same as a private company building itself up from nothing. They're also having a lot of problems [universetoday.com] .

The USA developed the basics of the Internet backbone, but look at the current customer situation (which is all that matters, really), you can have 100mbps symmetrical in Japan, Slovakia, Estonia for 10-15$/month. In the USA you can have 10mbps with a 300GB cap for 40$/month. Again, your greed impedes innovation. A lot, most, of the optic fiber dropped in the oceans are operated by foreign countries.

This is all totally irrelevant: we're talking about technical innovation here, not business plans and operations. I could go start my own ISP, but that doesn't make me an innovator, it makes me someone who bought some off-the-shelf equipment and put it into use. It's great those other countries are providing internet service so cheaply, and I wish our ISP situation here wasn't so fucked up, but they're not innovators, just like your local car mechanic is not an innovator in the realm of automotive engineering. The innovators are the people/companies who designed and engineered the equipment those ISPs use, and while a lot of that has moved to Asia in recent years, much of the original design work (such as the Ethernet standards) was done by American companies. Dropping an optical cable into the ocean doesn't take innovation, it just requires buying an optical cable from someone and renting a boat. Laying transoceanic cables is a mature technology (they've been doing that for many decades now), and you're not an innovator of optical cables when all you do is buy it from someone else.

As far as HTC and Samsung, there's not all that much innovation going on there; they make Android (and Windows) phones, so they're getting their software from someone else, namely Google and MS, both American companies, and all the ICs they use are mostly designed by American companies.

Re:If this was possible... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277809)

Google yes. MS no - Most of the software comes from India, China, Japan.

Re:If this was possible... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277819)

Japan, Slovakia, and Estonia is like 2% of the infrastructure needed for internet covering the US, hince why its expensive, and even then its 40 bucks a month for a 25mb pipe

its not greed, wire cost money fucknuts, when your country is the size of New Jersey its pretty fucking easy to do

Re:If this was possible... (1, Informative)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about a year ago | (#44277381)

> What country has developed usable electric cars, for instance?

Japan.

> What country developed the internet?

Any country that is deploying fiber broadband nationwide. (Hint: Not the USA)

> Smartphones?

Finland & Korea, mostly.

This may be Elon Musk's dream, but... (4, Informative)

Are You Kidding (1734126) | about a year ago | (#44276921)

credit for the invention belongs to Dr. Joseph V. Foa who was awarded US Patent 3213802 for a "train in a tube" in 1965. This was the basis for a number of years of research into the concept at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the 1960s.

Re:This may be Elon Musk's dream, but... (4, Interesting)

whit3 (318913) | about a year ago | (#44277583)

credit for the invention belongs to Dr. Joseph V. Foa who was awarded US Patent 3213802 for a "train in a tube" in 1965. This was the basis for a number of years of research into the concept at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the 1960s.

It's far older than that, of course. Isambard Bunuel was tinkering with 'atmospheric railway' hardware a century and a half ago. Patents issued in Britain, 1838.

Re:This may be Elon Musk's dream, but... (4, Funny)

sociocapitalist (2471722) | about a year ago | (#44277587)

Sounds like a bit of a pipe dream to me...

Re:This may be Elon Musk's dream, but... (4, Informative)

joe_frisch (1366229) | about a year ago | (#44277853)

Yes! I remember this idea from when I was growing up in the early 70s. Nothing wrong in principal, but there are the same practical difficulties today that there were 50 years ago. You need an enormous (read expensive) high vacuum system. Switching "tracks" is very difficult at those speeds, the switch sections would need to be tremendously long. Tubes need to be point to point and follow very smooth curves - probably means very deep underground construction. Mostly point to point connections means that you need a lot more length of tubes than you would need for rail. The high speeds limit the minimum train separation and limit throughput - or you need to accept possibly horrendous multi-train wrecks.

  While the system can recover the kinetic energy when it decelerates, it still needs a very high peak power output. The energy storage requirements if it is done onboard on the train are very difficult. If the energy is stored on the surface, then you either need active accelerating track (very expensive / length), or some way to transfer the power to the train (its much too fast for cantenary pickups).

You could in principal build something like this, but the capital costs would be huge. Consider the expected costs of the California high speed rail system - and that is just simple tracks on the surface.

I'd really love to see something like this (and have wanted to see it since I was a kid), but I just don't think its practical.

Re:This may be Elon Musk's dream, but... (2)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year ago | (#44277911)

Yes! I remember this idea from when I was growing up in the early 70s.

Yep. Some TV science fiction movies were even made featuring it back then: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genesis_II_(film) [wikipedia.org]

An elaborate "Subshuttle" subterranean rapid transit system was constructed during the 1970s, due to the vulnerability of air transportation to attack. The Subshuttles utilized a magnetic levitation rail system. They operated inside vactrain tunnels and ran at hundreds of miles per hour. The tunnel network was comprehensive enough to cover the entire globe. The PAX organization inherited the still-working system and used it to dispatch their teams of troubleshooters.

. . . created and produced by . . . Gene Roddenberry . . .

Another stupid Musk idea (0, Troll)

macsimcon (682390) | about a year ago | (#44276929)

He's got a lot of stupid ideas: A new transportation system that would cost billions to build, would be completely uneconomical for patrons to use, and has a high risk of death with even the slightest malfunction at 4,000 MPH. An electric car which costs nearly $100,000 and is likely to lack the necessary infrastructure to use over long distances for years, if ever. A money transfer system which acts like a bank, but whose customers have no FDIC protections, but lots of horror stories. A private space agency which couldn't make it without government subsidies and assistance. YEAH, he's the NEW Steve Jobs all right!

Re:Another stupid Musk idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44276997)

Oh boy, the slash geeks are trembling with rage now. You can't say stuff like that around here. It's like treason. All you need to make the nerd rage complete is if you say that 3D printing is just a hobby-level nuisance and will never be a Star Trek replicator in the home.

Re:Another stupid Musk idea (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#44277289)

The usefulness of 3D printing has already been shown. I can already buy solid plastic parts built on 3D printers that cost less than molded parts (in small quantities). Having one in your home still isn't practical for most people because most people would not be able to amortize the costs, but it's easy for a small manufacturing company to do. With with another factor of 2 price reduction, which seems likely to happen, you will be able to replace just about any broken plastic part from just about any product cheaper than you could have another one shipped from the OEM. Or you could send a scan of the broken object, or several pictures taken from several angles, to a local shop that owns 3D modeling software that can reconstruct the original unbroken object and print it for you to pick up. They could be as common as supermarkets. They could be IN supermarkets.

Re:Another stupid Musk idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277377)

"The usefulness of 3D printing has already been shown."

WHICH "3D printing"? People conflate everything together into one dream machine that doesn't exist.

" I can already buy solid plastic parts built on 3D printers that cost less than molded parts (in small quantities)."

So *you* aren't the one actually using and maintaining the machine? So you're not using it in the home? Like I said.

" you will be able to replace just about any broken plastic part from just about any product cheaper than you could have another one shipped from the OEM"

You assume that people would still want to repair the product. You assume a lot.

1) That the products won't have improved as well in the meantime so they break even less.

2) That the product won't have improved so much no one will want to repair the old one.

3) The the product is repairable. How many people do you know with the tools, skills and time to actually go through the whole "identify the part, order the right one, and know how to do the repair"?

4) You assume that only plastic parts will break?

5) The people that do this kind of repair are a tiny, tiny part of the population, I assure you.

6) Hobby-level stuff like RC helicopters already have all the spare parts available.

7) You assume the part you are making is 100% compatible. Is it the same material? The same tolerances? Are the rest of the parts in the product never going to fail now? If one part broke, it's likely the product is either poorly engineered in which case why fix it, or it has reached the end of life, in which case you'll just be ordering another part in not too long...

8) Everything is going "solid state". What plastic parts do you see breaking so much that 3D printing needs to be everywhere?

I like to dream too, but come on, be realistic.

Re:Another stupid Musk idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277027)

WOW! I guess a haters got to hate.

Re:Another stupid Musk idea (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year ago | (#44277219)

A new transportation system that would cost billions to build, would be completely uneconomical for patrons to use, and has a high risk of death with even the slightest malfunction at 4,000 MPH.

I'm not convinced that it would be uneconomical.

The cost of actual transport would be in the production of acceleration and overcoming losses from friction. The idea lends itself to believe it will experience very low amounts of friction. So how much energy is required to accelerate 4 tons (figure pulled from my ass, but these would be 6 passenger "capsules") to 4000 MPH, and how much does that energy cost in practice?

Quick reasoning in my head suggest far less than $100 to accelerate a 4-ton capsule to 4000 MPH, for it certainly seems reasonable that an average american car (also 4 tons) could accelerate to 40 mph and then stop at least 100 times on a single tank of gas (which is less than $100.)

The primary costs would clearly be in recurring maintenance. The recurring cost of maintenance is an engineering and initial investment problem.

Re:Another stupid Musk idea (2)

deanklear (2529024) | about a year ago | (#44277801)

A new transportation system that would cost billions to build, would be completely uneconomical for patrons to use, and has a high risk of death with even the slightest malfunction at 4,000 MPH

This sounds like someone complaining about the airplane in 1905. Part of progress is failure, and since we just dropped three to five trillion dollars on the Iraq War, let's hear a little bit less how expensive government subsidies for science are.

If we had spent just one third of what we wasted in Iraq on something like a national rail transportation, we could have created hundreds of thousands of jobs that trained people in high-level construction and engineering, strengthened our air transportation system by focusing on longer haul routes and going to fewer but larger planes (which are safer and more fuel efficient), and perhaps even reintroduced more freight service to more areas to reduce long-haul trucking, which reduces smog, traffic, and wear on our bridge infrastructure.

Besides, if Elon Musk were the new Steve Jobs, he'd be fussing over pixels on a touch device. We already have plenty of people doing that. I'm ready for some actual innovation, thanks.

TFA: "ET3's Hyperloop-like project " (1)

Baldrson (78598) | about a year ago | (#44276943)

Come on -- TFA even says, "ET3's Hyperloop-like project".... Musk still hasn't announced what his "hyperloop" actually is and, no, Rand Corp and not even Gerard O'Neil in his book "2081" called the evacuated tube EM levitation system "hyperloop".

Re:TFA: "ET3's Hyperloop-like project " (1)

slew (2918) | about a year ago | (#44277599)

ET3 ~ evacuated tube propulsion
Hyperloop ~ pneumatic tube but with magnetic propulsion (air pressure would keep "cars" from colliding instead of being used to pull the cars along)

Musk should be strapped to the front end (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44276949)

I am sure I am not the only person who is tired of
hearing about this South African scam artist Musk.

Musk is a bullshitter and a scam artist. Look at Paypal
and its wonderful skirting of bank regs which has allowed
innumerable riopffs to occur; look at the Tesla with its comically short range.
Wake up and and see the reality that what Musk is about is Musk and not anything
which is actually useful and worthwhile.

Re:Musk should be strapped to the front end (1)

r2kordmaa (1163933) | about a year ago | (#44277151)

Duh, a businessman in the end is aways about the businessman, what did you expect? That doesnt mean these endavours are not worthwhile. Paypal ripoffs, seriously? In paying over internet ripoff is an inherent risk no matter how you do it, paypal is a pretty good product nonetheless. Tesla - yeah electric car range cant beat gas, so? It sells, what else do you want, nobody says you have to buy one. And you forgot SpaceX, first private company to build their own orbital rocket on their own budget, if that is not a huge achievment what is? Sure Musk did very little of it, the real work is done by the engineers. But no engineer can do good work if there are no men like Musk finding funds, making contracts and bringing engineers together.

Re:Musk should be strapped to the front end (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277241)

Paypal ripoffs, seriously? In paying over internet ripoff is an inherent risk no matter how you do it, paypal is a pretty good product nonetheless.

You conveniently ignored the fact that Paypal is not subject to regulations which
make using a bank much less likely to result in an unpleasant ending.
Based on your obvious bias and laughably inadequate attempt at reasoning,
you are a Musk fanboy and you might even BE Musk. But you certainly
are not an unbiased intelligent observer.

Re:Musk should be strapped to the front end (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277817)

You conveniently ignored the fact that Paypal is not subject to regulations which
make using a bank much less likely to result in an unpleasant ending.

It's registered and regulated as a bank in the EU and Australia. (Walks like a duck etc.).
Maybe the problem is with the US banking laws being too lax?

$100 (2)

sribe (304414) | about a year ago | (#44276993)

Yeah, sure. Assuming you can get the Federal Government to build the whole thing so that you only have to cover marginal operating costs instead of amortizing construction costs into the price, and each seat is filled every time, and you count in 1950's dollars ;-)

Re:$100 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277087)

Yeah, sure. Assuming you can get the Federal Government to build the whole thing so that you only have to cover marginal operating costs instead of amortizing construction costs into the price, and each seat is filled every time, and you count in 1950's dollars ;-)

Stop waging wars around the world and stop building a surveillance state and oh look all those funds could now be used to build one of the greatest engineering projects of all time.

Re:$100 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277611)

It won't help.
The large military and surveillance infrastructure employs a lot more people than a project like that ever will.

Anyway, at the moment, for the next 30-50 years, safety concerns will be "terrorist attacks", followed distantly by the natural and more dangerous ones like, hurricanes and earthquakes.

Or this? (1)

mmontour (2208) | about a year ago | (#44277019)

The words 'Elon Musk' and 'Loop' make me think of the Lofstrom [wikipedia.org] variety, not underground tunnels.

I met the ET3 guy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277025)

This vacuum tube transport idea has nothing to do with Elon Musk. It's a small group of irrational dreamers with an office in Colorado who don't have a realistic plan, and pop up once in a while with some random publicity. This is one of those times.

Math doesn't seem right (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277041)

Nearly 3000 miles of travel, at up to 4000 mph, in 30 minutes?

Re:Math doesn't seem right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277397)

You have to get to that speed, and slow to a halt too.

Re:Math doesn't seem right (4, Funny)

mooingyak (720677) | about a year ago | (#44277491)

Nearly 3000 miles of travel, at up to 4000 mph, in 30 minutes?

It's a fast 4000 mph, not a normal 4000 mph.

Risky business (1)

r2kordmaa (1163933) | about a year ago | (#44277091)

He certainly pulled off Paypal, Tesla is doing quite well and SpaceX is a revolution in space transport industry(price wise). That is one hell of a track record. Sure risky busness pays off well - if you succeed. But keep taking risks and one day you fail, I hope he has a good contingency plan.

Re:Risky business (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277361)

Musk has two contingency plans for his first big risky failure

First) massive piles of cash he is making or has made off of previous sucesses that are making or have made extremely masssive piles of cash.

Second) one failure on a risky venture when you have shown yourself capable of a number of risky sucesses means that people are still going to be willing to invest in your next risky venture after your first failure.

 

Re:Risky business (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year ago | (#44277457)

Lets not forget that after initial startup, he rarely then sinks any more of his own money in. He will let the project die if it cannot attract investors, which is actually the right course of action.

Perhaps it can reach speeds approaching 4000mph .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277115)

But you can be sure government regulations will dictate 55 mph max!

More proof stuff gets done in CO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277149)

Although I bet the first route is Golden to DIA.

Gimme two (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277269)

ANYTHING to get me off Hwy 36...

Cost of Right-of-way is the killer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277383)

Technical issues aside (and I see a lot of technical issues if we're talking top speeds of 2000-4000 miles per hour) the real killer for this would be the right-of-way. The costs of the California high-speed rail is in the billions because most of the line will cut through densely populated areas. Even with the use if Eminent Domain the state has to pay prevailing rates for the land seizures and that is some expensive land. Running a line from New York to LA is going to cut through a lot of expensive land, too. Not to mention the two mountain ranges it would have to negotiate. The best routes there are already taken by highways and drilling through mountains is neither cheap nor easy.
signed BeBrown
I'm not anonymous, I just hate log-ins

hope it doesn't get funding (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277413)

the idea is ridiculous - even if you remove construction costs - maintenance will be huge considering the potential safety issues, being on the ground makes it much more susceptible to problems. Way way more than $100 per head.

even if it was just hauling goods - what happens locally when something happens at 4000mph

it is not a new concept and now is not the time for this, go build ur model if u like but let's hope no government morons go wow.

Already done .. (1)

bd32322 (571576) | about a year ago | (#44277487)

in futurama ... nothing new to see here

So... (1)

koan (80826) | about a year ago | (#44277585)

How much energy is released on impact by a large mass travelling 4000 MPH?

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277749)

almost 5 Libraries of Congress.

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