Elon Musk Proposes ‘Hyperloop’; Expects Others to Build It

From Modern Mythology:

California has been working up the gumption to build itself a bullet train for about five years now. It will cost tens of billions of dollars, and will be finished no sooner than 2028. A week ago, Musk proposed a solution that is not only cheaper than the proposed bullet train, but better in pretty much every conceivable way. His plan, in really stupidly simple terms, is to build a gigantic closed-circuit blowgun. Yeah, it sounds totally ridiculous, but that’s mainly because I described it in a ridiculous way. The plan itself actually makes a lot of sense.

Here’s the actually puzzling part, at least to me. Musk went ahead and proposed this wild thing, even wrote up a 52-page technical document about it, but he’s got no intention of lifting a finger to actually build it. Yes, people are constantly coming up with ways for the government to run itself better. But generally those people aren’t silicone-valley billionares who bleed money and wipe their ass with gold-plated space shuttles. What I mean is, this guy has demonstrated, repeatedly, that he can come up with huge, ridiculous, world-changing ideas, and then get people to fund them for him. And he’s just putting this one out there.

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  • atlanticus

    If he’s not paying for it, then what exactly is the difference between him and your average stoner college student on a weekend night?

    People come up with brilliant ideas ALL THE TIME…they just don’t think there’s any reason for people to take their concepts seriously (I make an exception for children in advanced engineering, physics and mathematics programs. No one has ever told them that their ideas were not important.)

    In a repressive society, only an egotist would think he was important enough to make sure that everyone knew what he’d come up with, but without the bucks to back it up, he’s just a self-important jackass.

    I wish I lived in a world where everyone who had a great idea also had the guts and the equal opportunity to share their great ideas; even more the self-confidence to actually put together a plan…the internet isn’t achieving that goal as quickly as I’d like.

    • alizardx

      His estimated net worth is $7.7B. If his idea can be done at his estimated cost, it would be profitable. Especially if it could handle most state high-speed freight transportation. Why fly for overnight delivery with Hyperloop around?

      His unwillingness to put even $100M into senior financing to put a consortium together to pay for the project makes me wonder if this is anything but an ego exercise.

      If he doesn’t take it seriously, why should we?

    • tibby trillz

      my idea, mcdonalds burgers fortified with vitamins. just crush a centrum up in the burger. im still waiting to collect millions from that idea.

      • atlanticus

        Open your own burger stand. I know a model who is hard up for work and will totally eat burgers sexily and then jog in skimpy athletic wear. I’ll shoot the commercial.

        Let’s get rich so that we too can propose gigantic projects and refuse to pay for them.

  • Yūgen

    And troll of the year goes to…

  • alizardx

    I wanted to see some of the numbers he was basing his costs on. Like where he was getting estimated per mile costs. Are there spreadsheets he didn’t post? Or did he just pull the numbers out of his ass? I suspect his cost estimates are off by a factor of at least 10. A 400 mile pressure structure cheaper than rail? WTF?

    I’ve seen his proposal described as “design fiction”, unless he can provide the analysis behind those costs, I’d agree. I’d want to see a lot more before anyone turns this into a public-sector bond issue or tries to fund it via Kickstarter. I think serious potential investors would want to see a hell of a lot more.

    • IokSotot

      Exactly.

  • Lookinfor Buford

    Wow the force is strong with the armchair QBs in this thread.. why so shallow? could it be this man is sending a subtle message to other aspiring little Musks (i.e. all of us).
    Here’s an idea. It’s got a few holes. Anyone got anything to add? Anyone agree? Anyone want to build it?
    If you really think Musk would refrain from investing with/funding a group of people who demonstrated they could make his hyperloop, or some variation, a reality, you’re not giving the guy nearly enough credit. You know, he does have a few things on his plate. He can’t do it all.