The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

We Can Dream, Can't We?

Let me clearly state at the outset of this post that I am no engineer and do not have degrees in economics nor have I headed up grandiose projects (successfully or otherwise) and I am sure I will get many things wrong. Still, nothing (not even these personal limitations in knowledge and experience) ever stops me from commenting.

By now you have heard something, somewhere about this "Hyperloop" idea.

And, now, the Hyperloop...

The above link takes you to a story, a laudatory (for the most part) evaluation of a concept that promises to be better and cheaper than the high speed rail concept. I cannot say it will work, or not work, but it does have some intriguing concepts built into it that have high plausibility.

His concept paper can be found here.

Imagine a tube on "stilts" running some 350 miles between Los Angeles and San Francisco sitting above the median on Interstate 5. Actually, imagine two tubes, I guess, since you would need separate tubes for each direction. Maybe 4 tubes at some point if you want the "passenger plus vehicle" type envisioned also. Inside these tubes, capsules (or "pods") which would travel at speeds approaching supersonic containing the passengers.

It's a fascinating concept. And fraught with problems, I suspect, not envisioned by Elon Musk... the man who built Tesla Motors and SpaceX... or dismissed as minor obstacles.

It's those "minor obstacles" which end up increasing cost by huge orders of magnitude. Things like environmental impact studies, lawsuits by well-intentioned (and not so well-intentioned) parties concerned with safety and environment. (Not mentioned is the disruption of traffic during construction, for just one minor example)

I believe I was 10 or younger (back in the mid-50's) when I first began reading about the transportation systems of the future: the flying cars, the automated highways, rocket-planes, and so on. Great concepts that pretty much ignored the realities of bureaucracy and human nature's natural disinclination to accept rapid change. None of these have come to pass. Neither have the domed cities or the flat rate electricity supply (the latter based on widespread nuclear powered electrical generation units).

Who knows? Maybe it will happen.

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