Kudos to Elon Musk for His Hyperloop Proposal

I have to say that I am very impressed with plans for the Hyperloop transportation system that were released today by Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors. This may not turn out to be the future of public transportation, but I do appreciate the fact that Musk has taken the time to address a problem and come up with what seems at first glance to be serious, well-though out and technically feasible.

The idea was born out of Musk’s disappointment with plans for a California light rail system which he felt was too slow, too expensive, and too disruptive.

A summary description of the Hyperloop is given in the abstract of a 57-page pdf document that was released today.

Hyperloop consists of a low pressure tube with capsules that are transported at both low and high speeds throughout the length of the tube. The capsules are supported on a cushion of air, featuring pressurized air and aerodynamic lift. The capsules are accelerated via a magnetic linear accelerator affixed at various stations on the low pressure tube with rotors contained in each capsule. Passengers may enter and exit Hyperloop at stations located either at the ends of the tube, or branches along the tube length.

The initial project proposed is a transportation link in California between Los Angeles and San Francisco which would consist of a raised steel tube raised on pylons which would be covered in solar arrays that would provide power to the system (Musk says the solar panels will produce far in excess of the power needed to run the system).

The majority of the route would follow the existing I-5 interstate highway and would be positioned in the median between the north and southbound traffic lanes. The projected travel time between LA and SF is 35 minutes as opposed to 1 hour and 15 minutes by air, 5 1/2 hours by car, and 2 1/2 hours by the proposed new rail system. The ticket price is estimated to be $20 one-way which compares to around $80 for an air fare, $105 for the rail link, and $60 by car (gasoline cost)

The whole proposal document which goes into a good deal of logistical and technical detail can be read at http://www.teslamotors.com/sites/default/files/blog_images/hyperloop-alpha.pdf

One of the interesting things about the proposal released today is that Musk has put it out there as “an open source transportation concept” (he says he his too busy with his Tesla Motors, and Space-X businesses to work on it as a commercial project), and he is encouraging the public to contribute to discussing it and coming up with improvements on the released plans.

My purpose here is not to provide a technical or economic critique of the Hyperloop — I just find it refreshing to see a serious proposal for an alternative way of doing things that seems to have been carefully thought out. Driving home in the car this evening I listened to a radio report about the Hyperloop which was rather dismissive and almost derisory, which I found disappointing.

I’m impressed that Elon Musk has had taken the initiative here to step forward not just with a critique of a current public policy proposal, but a serious solution to do things better using innovative technology. I hope that the idea is taken seriously, and that it spurs careful examination by discussion among decision-makers around the world. I hope it can help lead to the implementation of better transportation solutions.

  • John De Herrera

    “Elon Musk, Hyperloop transportation system”
    An excellent proposal for low cost, long distance transportation. I am a member of the Monorail Society and in favor of that system. The Hyperloop and the Monorail both lack the ability to carry heavy cargo containers. A new Monorail, does have more cargo capability. Both systems elevate the rail above ground traffic and make the system safer than ground rail, see E-Cat Powered Monorails! jdh

    • Iggy Dalrymple

      I doubt Musk was thinking of heavy cargo but air bearings will support very loads.

    • Roger Bird

      I think that some people may have their attention so fixated on one proposal that they can’t see the obvious superiority of another proposal. I GREATLY prefer the monorail system. And thank you, John De Herrera. It is so obviously safer that I simply can’t understand why anyone can’t see that [that was a figure of speech. I know why they can’t see that. They have their attention fixated on another system.]. A monorail system avoids so many problems. The mass/weight of a train system is AGAINST safety. The mass/weight of a monorail system PROMOTES safety. And hyperloop, forget about it! (Said with a Brooklyn accent.) Too many engineering if’s and maybe’s. A hyperloop system would also be boring beyond belief. A monorail system would be very fun. A train system, not so much, since one is not elevated.

    • RichyRoo

      The hyperloop is not a new idea and its not a practical idea, its just a thought bubble and the only reason its getting any attention is Elon Musk’s name attached to it.
      If monorails were practical they would have been built, they havent ego they arent.

  • Roger Bird
  • artefact

    MFMP launches new charity for expansion of Live Open Science

    http://coldfusionnow.org/mfmp-launches-new-charity-for-expansion-of-live-open-science/

  • LEVI Strauss

    Palosi’s husband has a contract for a billion dollars on the bullet train construction. Think she’s going to let it be derailed? Not while she has Obama in her pocket.

  • Roger Bird

    Something interesting. I guess those gnomes have developed LENR:

    http://tinyurl.com/greenland144

    Roger

  • Roger Bird

    Iggy, is this call to end the ethanol mandate include the 10% ethenol in gasoline that supposedly helps the gasoline burn better? [And the ethenol subsidies, that has got to stop.]

    • Iggy Dalrymple

      I don’t think ethanol can survive in the US marketplace without a subsidy. I don’t know exactly how the subsidy works except it involves a huge fear in both political parties of upsetting the farm lobby. I do know that regular gasoline is heavily taxed and I believe that the ethanol component is tax-free.

      I know that most small engine mechanics urge owners to avoid ethanol-gasoline.

      • Roger Bird

        The old method of reducing carbon monoxide [called M???] was deadly and 10% ethanol does that without killing people and it also helped to make for smaller droplets for better burning and so higher gas mileage. At least that is my understanding. That exhausts what I know about the subject, excuse the pun, really.

        • Iggy Dalrymple

          So how does my ethanol-free gas do that? It cost $3.77/gal. I only use it in my riding mower. Most chainsaw and boaters also use it.

          • Roger Bird

            “At least that is my understanding. That exhausts what I know about the subject,”

          • Thinks4Self

            Simple answer it doesn’t have anything to reduce CO emissions.

            MTBE and Ethanol reduce CO emissions by adding extra oxygen, which is part of their chemical make up, to the combustion process.

        • Thinks4Self

          I think you are referring to Methyl Tert-Butyl Ether aka MTBE (C5H12O).

          • Roger Bird

            That would be the one. Tell us about it. And don’t think for yourself; tell us what it really is. (:->)

            • Thinks4Self

              It was used to replace lead in gasoline as an anti-knocking agent. When Colorado decided to mandate oxygenated fuels it was one of the options initially used at a 15% concentration. It was discontinued due to vapor locking problems as well as it’s propensity to end up in ground water if spilled or leaked due its high solubility in water. I believe it is currently banned in about half of the states for use as motor fuel due to its ability to make ground water unpotable in very low concentrations.

              • Roger Bird

                Thank you, Thinks. And 1/2 the states mean that no oil company would use it, I surmise.

  • Roger Bird

    Thinks4Self apparently isn’t thinking for himself: “But we don’t because they take it out of state to lower the on-hand supply and justify the price.” They don’t take it out of state in order to justify a higher price in state. They take it out of state because they can get a better price out of state. If they didn’t take it out of state, then people where they are taking the gasoline would be paying a much higher price than we do. This evens out the price. This sort of thing is not a conspiracy, unless you call the free market a conspiracy. They are not going to do anything that will hurt their bottom line. To do so would be business suicide.

  • xy

    There are inventors claiming all kinds of disruptive technologies. All kinds of free energy stuff, nano stuff. I wonder why some of them does not fully open source. Actually, they would become pretty rich anyway. And they might not need to become rich at all as they would trigger a paradigm shift to the whole society. It all seems like a game when UNLESS someone does not leave the old rules behind the change is not going to happen.

    Anyway, there’s one thing — open sourcing implies that the right man and his company, the inventor, won’t be able to progess with another big thing and take control to disrupt the old industries. However, if the people would disrupt, than he doesn’t have to. However there’s always a risk that the old industry owners would take over the open sourced stuff.

    Think of it.

    • Iggy Dalrymple

      OK, I thought of it. Bill Gates didn’t open source and change did happen. Same with Henry Ford, Edison, Wright Bros, Jobs, Musk,etc, etc

      • Bernie Koppenhofer

        +1

    • fortyniner

      Some are open sourcing, such as the ‘Joule Thief’ people:

      http://lightworkersxm.wordpress.com/free-energy-2/

      I have no idea whether this is real, I’m just posting the link as an example (although the videos are intriguing).

      • Roger Bird

        The coils thingie is very interesting. It is either a scam or “violating” “known” “laws” of physics, I think. And I don’t see how it is a scam. I sure hope other people will chime in on this one.

        • artefact

          The Joule Thiefs are interesting but are not OU (afaik).
          They can repair dead batteries, they can light up LEDS and CFLs with lower power they normaly need to start glowing. They can use more of the stored energy in batteries and I think you don’t have to care about the pre-resistor for leds.

  • georgehants

    It is getting near September when we will be taking out to Ghana again a quantity of water filters of our own and donated by kind people.
    We also take large supply’s of paracetamol, plasters and antiseptic cream etc.
    Pencils, children’s books. etc.
    There is no affordable availability of these items in the villages.
    None of these things can be sent as the corrupt customs make sure they go missing etc.
    British Airways must be thanked for allowing free baggage on these items.
    I put this up in response to those individuals on page who think that a capitalist system in the 21st century is the best way to continue.
    Many main-line charities are corrupt in the percentage of collections that find there way to the needy.
    While the rich and powerful and many of us enjoy a prevailed existence many even in our own country’s do not.
    I am not clever enough to have a ready made full-proof answer but like with science I have a very open-mind dominated by a desire to improve the World and will happily look at all possible solutions without Dogma.
    http://www.safewatertrust.com/

    • Bernie Koppenhofer

      georgehants…..great job, congratulations on your efforts.

  • georgehants

    Toxicologist says NAS panel ‘misled the world’ when adopting radiation exposure guidelines
    Toxicologist Edward Calabrese reviews how a linear dose-response approach to ionizing radiation exposure was adopted and offers evidence supporting his view that 2 geneticists suppressed evidence to keep the NAS from considering a non-linear model.
    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-08/uoma-tsn081313.php

  • artefact

    NI-Week:

    Cravens demo a puzzle for onlookers

    http://coldfusionnow.org/cravens-demo-a-puzzle-for-onlookers/

    • Sanjeev

      Simple and beautiful demo. This can be easily made into a coffee warmer desk toy which can keep your coffee warm for a week…if you wanted to. I would have started there, small and curious applications. Strangely Mr Cravens does not want to commercialize his tech, in spite of possessing a patent on a CF device (a rare thing).

      Another thing to note is that general people are mostly curious if not brainwashed by media and skeptic negativity.

    • Tom59

      If Dennis would only offer this to some Physics Departments to study it…
      Dennis – no change of mind?

  • Nixter

    Elon Musk is similar to Rossi in that he will not patent his ideas because doing so would do more harm than good to his ability to leverage his innovations. Musk makes it clear that he cannot, will not, risk his IP by giving away his secrets in Patents.

    See this Ted Talks segment, the URL starts the video at 14mins2secs which is where he talks about it very briefly.

    http://youtu.be/IgKWPdJWuBQ?t=14m2s

    His reasons for this are explored in more detail elsewhere.

    Elon Musk Refuses To File Patents At His High-Tech Private Space Company

    http://www.businessinsider.com/why-some-companies-are-not-filing-patents-2013-3

    ELON MUSK: “If We Published Patents, It Would Be Farcical”

    http://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musk-patents-2012-11

    • Bernie Koppenhofer

      Nixter….Thanks for the videos, the first of Musk is great about patents but the hovering rocket is amazing.

    • Boris Ivanoff

      Elon Musk is similar to Rossi except that Musk is a billionaire and is now on his third round of massive success and widely accepted and used services.

      Rossi is… well, he’s Rossi!

      • Bernie Koppenhofer

        The billionaire factor is very important.

  • Bing

    In a semi-vacuum wouldn’t the pods be scrapping along the the sides? At 700 mph even the slightest curve would be slamming it into the wall. Friction is a good thing for a car trying to hold a corner. Here there is no friction.

    Imperfections in the not quite perfectly aligned tube would make for a rough ride. The air ride suspension would have to be 360 degrees around the pod and smart enough to know what was coming up. Not saying it isn’t possible. I have not read the entire proposal, so maybe he has this covered.

    • Jim

      When you have a high speed turn on the highway, you get a bit of a grade. There is no reason not to angle the track at those spots where the tube changes direction. The passengers likely won’t feel anything anymore than they will in a car when the road angles and changes direction.

    • fortyniner

      There would also be potential problems during acceleration and deceleration when the speed was not enough to create the air cushion, so perhaps side wheels or maglev would be used at lower speeds.

      If depressurisation in the tunnel was lost (earthquake, power failure, mechanical failure etc) the capsule would come to a VERY abrupt stop, and (at best) passengers would be trapped in the tubeway unless there was an escape/rescue tunnel like the one in the UK-France ‘eurotunnel’. There seems to be quite a lot that could go wrong, but probably no more than in mass air transport. The consequences of an accident would be generally pretty similar too.

  • BroKeeper

    Back-in-the-day (cough, cough) in the early 70’s when I serviced Mosler Pneumatic Teller Transaction machines I remember envisioning this concept adapted to carrying people within a straight subterranean tunnel from New York to Los Angeles. Propelled not only with the aid of huge blowers at either end, with intermittent air baffles, the pull of gravity would aid in the acceleration of the modules halfway and aid in its deceleration on its incline.
    The idea was a bust from start. Cost would have been prohibitive; impractical in earthquake prone areas and an engineering nightmare (the center may reach the molten mantle – ouch!), etc.
    Now with the introduction of new material, energy and designs I can see the new potential. With the advent of new lightweight, strong and diversified characteristics of carbon and silicon based grapheen technologies new exoskeleton structures, super capacitor batteries, super conductors for magnetic elevation, and super fast computers would bring the physical concepts to reality; — and of course, multiple 1MW E-Cats providing the power.
    Now after 50 years these possibilities can be brought to fruition by notable companies with vision and knowhow as to the likes of courageous and innovative brain trusts of Dean Kamen’s Deka team and Andrea Rossi’s Leonardo Corp. (a little promo here). The realities are beginning. Hang on.

    • Kim

      Your vision was true.

      We can have anything we want, but we must focus as a people
      to bring it to fruition.

      If our vision is clouded by the money conduit, it will deteriorate
      rapidly.

      And I see the tracks being laid in the words of this man directly
      into the money conduit.

      Sad

      Respect
      Kim

      • BroKeeper

        Kim,
        My apologies for any offense taken from my poor attempt at the tongue-in-cheek promo comment.
        Wish you a better day. 🙂

  • Roger Bird

    One poster pointed out that the switch to steam engines was an increase in usable power several orders of magnetude greater than muscle power. For the first 100 years, this benefitted the few and not so much the many. Then for some unknown reason (to me), the benefits spread to everyone else.

    In my lifetime I have seen women enter the workforce. It should have increased everyone’s wealth: more workers, more productivity, more goodies for everyone, everyone happier. That did not happen. Why? My wife puts it in a nutshell: “I work hard so I deserve more goodies.” We seem to be more competitive than ever, much more alienated, and owning monster TV screens doesn’t seem to make people happier.

    As I have said numerous times, real happiness comes from within, and economic happiness will be the result of keeping our desires (and spending) in check and increasing our income. LENR will cause disruptions, but when the dust settles, economic happiness will depend upon discriminating between needs and wants and knowing that desires/wants are the monsters that eat happiness. People currently suffering from a lack of need fulfillment will be happier in the LENR Age. Those suffering from a lack of desire fulfillment will continue to be miserable with alienation, competition, boredom, lack of sleep, health issues, etc. etc. And some meanie head powers that be will not be doing it to us; we will be doing it to ourselves.

    • BroKeeper

      You are so right on, Roger. Happiness begins with making right choices and relationships – not things. Things can enhance happiness when shared. Although, sharing our innovations with others to make their physical lives less disruptive can provide means for better choices to share with others. The pneumatic train can bring people closer together separated by great distances. Thanks!

  • Adrian Ashfield

    It is really pathetic the number of comments I have seen, particularly on other blogs, from people that fail to grasp the difference between Musk’s proposal and the various vacuum tube ideas of the past.

    The pod is not a tight fit in the tube, the displaced air mainly flows around it. You have to have a low pressure environment (equivalent of 150,000 feet) in order to go that fast without excessive energy requirements or shock wave problems. The air bearing support is the best solution to keep the cost of the tube low. Think what maglev would cost.

  • Blanco69

    Low pressure tubes where vehicles run on cushions of err.. air? Doesn’t seem like the most elegant solution to me. However, I applaud Mr Musk for throwing the idea out there.

    • Roger Bird

      Let us not forget that 1/2 hour from San Francisco to LA is 700 miles per hour, in a high frequency and strength earthquake zone. I would much rather be 35,000 feet above the ground when that happens than going close to the speed of sound in the groun. I am going to have to say that I won’t be investing in or donating to or encouraging that idea.

      • Felix Fervens

        Without any statistics on what size quake the tube systems would be built to survive, what safeguards were engineered to slow or stop pods in emergencies, how many passengers might be vulnerable at any one time you jump immediately to, if you will pardon the expression, pathoskepticism? The statistic we do have is how very very rare large quakes are in a given area–much rarer than air crashes.

        The tube is certainly safer than driving that distance, which thousands do regularly.

        • MikeP

          How many car occupants are on about 40 mi of freeway (about 35 minutes of throughput), plus the number of air passengers departing in a peak 35 minute window. That’s the capacity a tube system would need to be designed for. It also would determine the number of passengers vulnerable at any given time.

          Designing in safeguards will add a lot to the cost (just think of the ultimate cost of the BART system in SF). After all, if somebody is hurt on the tube system, the courts will not consider the fact that the tube is safer than the alternatives and that more people would have been hurt if the tube never existed.

          By the way, I remember ideas (with a number of variations) like this being proposed when I was a kid, way too many moons ago. It is not a new idea, but revisiting options periodically is IMHO a very good thing to do. Just don’t tell me that it’ll cost $20 one way (in order to justify building it) when it winds up costing $200 or $2000. And don’t hide 99% of the cost in subsidies so that it looks like it’s costing $20 when it is in fact a lot more.

          • julius

            The ultimate solution is a personal flying spaceship.

      • Sean

        I agree 100% with Roger. As one who had muscle cars the high speed hovercrafts, interest in trains that are high speed (HST). Trains are only secure with a 1 1/2″ Flange that you pray do not creep up and over the top of the rail. The ground is still there covered with obstacles to hit. Also unknown earth movements and conditions. Anything traveling over 100MPH can make use of the air and fly. All other modes should stay below 100MPH. There for I say as a Pilot of many many hours, without incident, you are a lot safer in the air. Speed and altitude is my best friend. I shudder looking down at the ground hogging stuff moving around. Anyway lets hope for the ECAT power plant for my next generation air transport.

  • Nicholas Payne

    Interesting, but not a terribly new idea http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crystal_Palace_atmospheric_railway

    Good luck to him. Can you invest by paypal?

  • georgehants
  • philippefx

    Was thought since 1970 in Switzerland :
    http://www.swissmetro.ch/en
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swissmetro

    But the project dead because lack of founding and political support.

    Maybe the time is here ?

    But it’s not a “new” ideas 🙂

    • Iggy Dalrymple

      Neither was his idea of electric car. Some dream, some do.

  • Pekka Janhunen

    Has someone succeeded to open hyperloop-alpha.pdf? It reports damaged file to me.

  • Tom59

    A similar project exists in Switzerland since several years. There the tube is underground.
    http://www.swissmetro.ch/en

  • Joe Shea

    Unfortunately, I heard on Coast-to-Coast AM tonight (in about the 01:40 hour) the author of Peak Oil saying Andrea Rossi’s claims were not cre3dible since he had been convicted of fraud… It was sad to hear, and also wrong!

    • Roger Bird

      No, Joe, it’s good. We don’t want Big Oil becoming aware of the danger until it is too late.

      • Iggy Dalrymple

        I expect that Big Oil is well aware of LENR, but don’t yet take it too seriously. It’s what Big Oil doesn’t know, that will hurt them.

  • Roger Bird

    When you say that science has committed a crime against humanity by not immediately embracing LENR, which scientist are you referring to? Or do you mean all scientists? If so, we could take them all out and execute them. Better yet, we could simplify our task and just execute everyone who wears glasses. Such talk is bigotry. Not all scientists are involved in a cover-up. Very few are. All of the rest are acting appropriate to their authority figures and their belief systems, and we have not yet presented them with evidence that their authority figures or their belief systems are to be abandoned.

    OilPrice.com perhaps is not an authority figure for a lot of people, but it is for some people, or else they would not be thriving. And an article in their magazine has made it clear that LENR is real and that society will soon be changing radically and dramatically. So have heart and patience and know that you can put away your pitchfork.

    • Warthog

      Which scientists?? High-energy physicists. In particular those who have actively participated in the “back-room politics” to deny any and all funding to LENR research, including interfering with the PRIVATE funding process. And yes, they HAVE done great damage to real and honest science by insisting that “theory” must outweigh “experiment” in determining what is real. And since this sub-group of science has (since WWII and especially since the A-bomb development) ascended to the pinnacles of power in the science political process (i.e. places like DOE, DOD, and various foundations) they, more than any other group, represent “all science” to the general public.

      • julius

        Exactly !
        “The scientists” as an homogenic group of people does not exist.
        Some scientists are motivated by money, some by truth (or knowledge), some by other things I don’t (or can’t) think about.

    • Jim

      The evidence for the prosecution will start with the body count: the number people who have died and will die and have been and will be physically, emotionally and mentally stunted because the advent of wisely available, inexpensive energy was delayed by 24+ years so that certain scientists, science administrators and science advisers could maintain material, financial and social status benefits.

      I’m thinking tens of millions of unnecessarily dead, short-lived, short, poor and poorly educated human beings. You know, the two legged kind, hair, fingers, hearts, feelings, dreams, the whole works. Tens of millions, their lives treated like waste.

      There’s a place for compassion and a place for justice.

      I think the situation warrants being a little pi$$ed.

      The lesson definitely needs to be learned, learned well, and learned once and for all.

      If a few scientismists have to squirm a little in the process, well gee whiz.

  • Sergio

    Actually, if I remember correctly, Tesla himself wanted to use such a low pressure tube system for transportation. The idea seems to have been inspired from there…

  • glhf

    In a world where hypocrisy is laid bare, a congressional lobbyist would open a kickstarter campaign for a few hundred thousand which could help make this happen.

    • CHARLES(SWVA)

      A few hundred thousand wouldn’t buy the necessary start-up reams of paper.

      • glhf

        That’s not how a lobbyist works, you pay him the few hundred thousand and he gets legislations passed that make companies billions http://www.policymic.com/mobile/articles/31783/monsanto-protection-act-highlights-special-interests-behind-legislative-process

        • Iggy Dalrymple

          “you pay him the few hundred thousand and he gets legislations passed that make companies billions”

          Especially if the legislation contains a key green buzz phrase, like “sustainable renewable”. This is what caused the stupid ethanol subsidies to be passed, causing food prices to accelerate even faster than gasoline.

          • Thinks4Self

            We shouldn’t be feeding livestock corn anyway, there isn’t enough protein in it. We should be feeding them hemp seed and hemp seed cake (the mush left over from squeezing hemp seeds for their oil).

            Ethanol did not cause the price of food to go up the price of diesel did, diesel is used in every step of the growing process from tilling and planting to harvest and transport. We turn about as much corn into corn chips as we use for ethanol. So you could blame it on Taco Bell’s Loco Doritos Tacos or more accurately blame it on exporting Alaskan oil to Japan as well as exporting refined gasoline to South America.

            • Iggy Dalrymple

              Food crops require land. Subsidized ethanol pushes corn to hog too much land. Scarce land drives up food prices.

              Subsidized ethanol makes growing corn so profitable that many farmers abandon growing food crops.

              http://www.aei-ideas.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/cornoil1.jpg

              • Thinks4Self

                Your graph proves my point. When you factor in the ongoing drought in the Midwest United States, the failed rice crops in Asia over the last couple of years, the big sell off of beef last year and the ever increasing price of diesel due to refineries choosing to produce more gasoline per barrel than diesel the split is explained.

                When you crack a barrel of oil there is some control over what you get. The refineries are choosing to make more gasoline than diesel because they can export the excess refined gasoline to South America for more money than they can sell it in the US. By doing this they artificially inflate the price of diesel due to planned scarcity. The whole XL Pipeline is part of this strategy. If built the majority of the oil and its refined products will go to South America not the US market. They are currently reversing direction on oil pipelines near Kansas to do the very same thing for oil out of Colorado, Kansas and Wyoming. Here in Colorado we are a oil exporter we burn no foreign oil here. Currently our excess is sent out via tanker car. We should have lower prices than many other states across the nation due to over abundance, we have our own refinery. But we don’t because they take it out of state to lower the on-hand supply and justify the price. If the US did not allow domestically produced oil to leave our fuel prices would drop. dropping the price of fuel would drop the price of everything.

              • Thinks4Self

                Also land in not the issue:

                http://blog.heritage.org/2012/07/09/usda-gives-millions-to-farmers-who-arent-actually-farming/

                The US has almost 430 million acres of farmland, about 300 million acres of which is used to grow crops every year. The other 130 million acres lies fallow.

                • Iggy Dalrymple

                  Should Congress end ethanol subsidies? Yes: It drives up food prices, stifles economic recovery
                  Merced Sun-Star
                  ~~~~
                  Want Cheaper Food? End the Ethanol Mandate – Reason Magazine
                  ~~~~
                  Democrats and Republicans Support Harmful Ethanol Subsidies thedailybeast
                  ~~~~
                  Biofuel demand in US driving higher food prices The Guardian
                  ~~~~
                  Adding ethanol to gas “raises food costs.” – PolitiFact
                  ~~~~
                  Ethanol Production Wastes Corn – NYTimes
                  ~~~~
                  Ethanol Lobbyist Admits Subsidies Designed to Raise Corn Prices the FreeBeacon
                  ~~~~
                  More Evidence That It’s Time to Dump Ethanol USNews
                  ~~~~
                  The Hidden Cost of Ethanol Subsidies PJ Media
                  ~~~~
                  Here is how the Ethanol subsidy scam is screwing Americans – IBTimes
                  ~~~~
                  Ethanol Blamed for Record Food Prices | MIT Technology Review
                  ~~~~
                  Paying more for food? Blame the ethanol mandate – CNN
                  ~~~~
                  Battling Ethanol-Propelled Food Prices – ABC News
                  ~~~~
                  Fuel Vs. Food: Ethanol Helps Boost Meat Prices : NPR
                  ~~~~
                  Corn cost puts ethanol mandate in question – USATODAY

                • Thinks4Self

                  If you search long and hard enough I’m sure almost everyone of those sources also have stories stating that Cold Fusion/LENR is complete fantasy and that hot fusion is just around the corner.

                  You can’t believe everything you read unfortunately. With a commodity like corn there are many factors involved, including subsidies which in my opinion should be abolished. As the price of oil has increased ethanol production has increased. But the price of fuel didn’t drop, due to manipulation by the oil companies, export your excess and the price stays the same and/or increases depending on other factors. Or you can just produce less which is the case for diesel. As ethanol has been adopted Big Oil has manipulated the price of diesel. I can only surmise it was done in order to blame ethanol for the increase in food cost and hopefully makes us give up on it.

                  http://www.utahbiodieselsupply.com/fuelprices/dieselfuelmonthlytrended-jan2011.jpg Current average cost is approx $3.56 a gallon. Which is about double the price of the day the ethanol subsidy passed.

                  Fuel costs for farming, for transportation of feed and livestock as well as bringing livestock and crops to market greatly affect the price of food. Everything to do with food production relies on diesel. If you really want to drop the price of food in the US legalize industrial hemp. Farmers and ranchers will grow their own fuel and feed on their own land. Ethanol production will soon switch over to cellulose, the technology is maturing quickly. What will they blame the high price of food on then?

              • Warthog

                UH. FYI, corn IS a “food crop”. Producing additional corn for ethanol INCREASES the overall food supply. You apparently forget or don’t know that only the carbohydrate fraction of corn is used in the production of ethanol. The fat and protein fractions enter the food chain in many different forms. But the bottom line is that growing more corn yields more total food available.

                • Iggy Dalrymple

                  If ethanol is so great why does Big Guv have to mandate it.

                  I’ll tell you why! Because no one wants it but the corn farmers. Ethanol can’t make it on its own merits. Food stamps for farmers.

                • Thinks4Self

                  So Iggy do you think a industry with over over 500+ billion dollars annual volume is just going to give up 10% of its volume on its own? Ethanol is a threat to their bottom line.

  • GreenWin

    I agree with Admin here… Elon is following the lead of his titular company; innovate. Interestingly something similar was tried more than a century ago in New York City, by a guy named Alfred E Beach. While Beach relied entirely on pneumatics, Musk suggests a mag-lev, rail gun approach. http://www.nycsubway.org/wiki/Beach_Pneumatic_Transit

    Should Elon opt for LENR instead of expensive, high maintenance PV, the cost of the project will drop even further. Thank goodness there are still innovative, courageous entrepreneurs in our world. They may be the key to human survival.

    • Iggy Dalrymple

      When P.T.Barnum’s longtime “Human Cannonball” resigned, Mr Barnum said, “Frank, I’ll sure miss you. It’ll be very difficult to find a man of your caliber.”

    • Roger Bird

      But all of the leftist utopians in this forum want to cut all of the entrepreneurs down to size and make us all equal. Despite my massive ego, er, I mean intellect, I am not the equal of Elon Musk with regard to these kinds of matter.

      • Stanny Demesmaker

        Sure Roger, but aren’t we all equal already ? in Slaves working for the 1% 🙂

        This strikes me so odd, we have the capacity to give everyone on this planet a descent place to live, food, health care but we don’t do it ? People are innovative by nature, the system isn’t that important as long as you care about the people around you.

        • Iggy Dalrymple

          That’s a new one on me. Does that mean we’re entitled to reparations?

          • Roger Bird

            LOL

    • fortyniner

      GW, you’ve overlooked the fact that pneumatic ‘railways’ had been built in the UK nearly 40 years before the The Broadway Pneumatic Underground Railway even broke ground! The London Pneumatic Dispatch Company was formed in 1861 to transport the mail in such a system. Pneumatic propulsion of a wheeled carriage on rails was also used in 1864 at the Crystal Palace in London but was more of a novelty than a practical proposition.

      http://www.ianvisits.co.uk/blog/2012/11/26/londons-lost-pneumatic-railways/

      • CHARLES(SWVA)

        The drive-in window at my bank has one of those (two-way at that). The had to install it to deal with my huge deposits and my children’s withdrawals.

        • georgehants

          I remember those in our local dept. store in the 1950,s.
          I used to love watching it whisk the cash away.

          • Iggy Dalrymple

            I always wondered why we couldn’t travel in capsules through regular pipelines. Keystone people-line…if it was 2-way, it could transport the unemployed to 0bama’s only job-creator.

          • atanguy

            Yes,that is called a bank this days.

  • Felix Fervens

    Please vote out of office any California bureaucrat who supports the current costly dinosaur bullet train proposed (with $35 million per mile contract for track going to the husband of Sen. Feinstein) over the Musk system.

    Now that this plan is public it is time to shove it under the noses of every public official in California, perhaps having them sign a pledge to support or face the voters’ wrath.

    • atanguy

      Yep! All those Europeans,Japanese and Chinese should throwaway their bullet trains…

  • Bob Greenyer

    I agree – and I particularly like the open approach to developing disruptive technologies that have the potential to benefit a broad swathe of population.