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Elon Musk Admits He Is Too Busy To Build Hyperloop 253

Posted by timothy
from the if-you-can-bear-through-the-intrusive-ads dept.
DavidGilbert99 writes "It sounded like the future — a 600mph train taking people from San Francisco to Los Angeles in just 30mins. In fact it sounded like a future too good to be true. And so it seems to have proven. As Alistair Charlton at IBTimes reports, Elon Musk, the man behind PayPal, Tesla and Space X has admitted that Hyperloop is a step too far and he should never have mentioned it in the first place — 'I think I shot myself in the foot by ever mentioning the Hyperloop. I'm too strung out.' Oh well, let's hope SpaceX works out a bit better ... " Considering that SpaceX has already sent materials to the ISS and retrieved the capsule, it seems to have worked out pretty well so far.
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Elon Musk Admits He Is Too Busy To Build Hyperloop

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  • Page Not Found (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @09:15AM (#44509135) Journal

    Great article!

  • Elon Musk... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ecuador (740021) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @09:16AM (#44509147) Homepage

    I get the feeling that if we had about a dozen Elon Musks we would be living in the 2010's version we see in 40 year old sci-fi films...
    Ok, the Hyperloop is a bit too much (for now), but the work he's done with Tesla and SpaceX is amazing. And don't forget he had PayPal back when it was a good thing!

    • Re:Elon Musk... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by h4rr4r (612664) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @09:21AM (#44509221)

      I am 100% sure of it.
      You can say a lot things about Mr.Musk, but he is taking risks with his own money that everyone might one day profit from. As opposed to the usual route of billionaires which seems to be taking risks with everyone elses money so that they can profit from it.

    • by JWW (79176)

      Why can't Elon delegate some of this work? He doesn't need to be involved in every aspect of everything. I'd be willing to help with Hyperloop ;-) if he asked.

      Now if the issue isn't really the time needed, because there are plenty of talented people that could work on this, but the cost then I can be convinced that perhaps the technology to make this really work is just a bit out of the reach of feasibility at this time.

      But damn, the hyperloop concept is really cool. I'd have liked to see work progress o

  • by rudy_wayne (414635) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @09:16AM (#44509149)

    Maybe he could . . . you know . . . hire somebody to build it for him rather than doing it himself.

    and nice 404 link.

    • Re:He's too busy? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @09:29AM (#44509313) Journal
      Delegation often doesn't work for endeavours like that. He'll delegate it to someone else (or more likely: a team of executives), and they will certainly push work and decisions even further down the chain until you end up with a typical corporate managerial quicksand geared to kill any innovative idea. Compare that with a driven, visionary, smart and in-control CEO, who knows when to step in and has the authority to do so (and knows how to make his middle managers sit up straight when ordered, too). Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, people like that who are not afraid to take charge of the nitty-gritty, even if they do not always get it right. It's a rare combination of talent and influence, which cannot be delegated... unless he finds the next Jobs and gives him carte blanche.
      • Re:He's too busy? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by hedwards (940851) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @09:38AM (#44509415)

        Why wouldn't it work? Is he personally qualified to design and build this thing on his own? Somehow I doubt that.

        • Re:He's too busy? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by h4rr4r (612664) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @09:45AM (#44509517)

          No, but he is motivated to get people to do it.

          Instead of endless meetings where "None of Us is as Dumb as All of Us" is the order of the day he can step in and push the project forward. Once you start delegating you will have layers and layers of delegation and nothing gets done. Welcome to Corporate America.

          • by hedwards (940851)

            If you hire competent executives and managers rather than a friend of a friend, you can get that.

            I'm guessing this is either a case of NIH or an admission that the idea won't work in any sort of reasonable time frame. What's more, this is an idea that is likely to compete with SpaceX in the long run.

            • by h4rr4r (612664)

              No matter how great these folks are once an organization gets to some size this stuff starts happening. At some point instead of working for Exciting Company A you get people thinking they work for Tribe B of Exciting Company A.

              • by hedwards (940851)

                And there's something wrong with that? That's the natural result of enthusiasm. What's more, when you have divisions as diverse as this, they are more like Tribe B of Exciting Company A. You're not going to get a lot of coordination.

                • by h4rr4r (612664)

                  Of course there is. It kills companies.
                  Like you said no coordination and far worse petty fights designed to just hurt the other "tribes".

                  This is what killed the microsoft KIN for instance. That company is basically the classic example of this situation.

            • If you hire competent executives and managers rather than a friend of a friend, you can get that.

              It's a shame Musk doesn't know how to hire competent people.

              I'm guessing this is either a case of NIH or an admission that the idea won't work in any sort of reasonable time frame.

              That's Musk. No vision, not willing to take risks, and the sort of NIH guy who would never dream of building on something like the AC Propulsion tzero [wikipedia.org].

              What's more, this is an idea that is likely to compete with SpaceX in the long run.

              I know that some people have described San Francisco as inhabited by people who are not from this world, but I still think different modes of transportation are appropriate, depending on whether you want to go to SF or outer space.

            • Re:He's too busy? (Score:5, Insightful)

              by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @10:38AM (#44510177)

              If you hire competent executives and managers rather than a friend of a friend, you can get that.

              Good people don't have a big "G" printed on their forehead. They are hard to recognize, and hard to hire (they are usually busy). Building a good team is even harder. Smart, capable people often have big egos, like to be in charge, and are often direct and abrasive. Good people that work well on one team often fail when put on another team with different dynamics. You cannot be successful by just throwing together a bunch of "good people" and then walking away.

          • The same corporate America you think is competent enough to ruin the world?

            I agree with this version. In my experience big corporations are clueless and their customer lists are very valuable as they are under served. Don't get me started on how much money I've made off former EDS clients. If I could get the SAP chump list I'd be set for life.

          • by OakDragon (885217)
            You're thinking of government.
            • by h4rr4r (612664)

              Indeed it is an example of this.
              Private companies are exactly the same. My company works with a lot of big companies and their schedules for the tiniest change can be weeks or months. We often end up billing them more and make changes on our end because that is easier for them.

        • No more than Steve Jobs personally designed and built the iPhone. However, Steve Jobs was still the driving force behind Apple's domination of the mp3 player and, later, the smartphone markets up until Android began to take over.

      • He has 5 kids. Hopefully he'll pass on his positive traits and his kids will multiply Musk's achievements.

        • by wagnerrp (1305589)
          Or, they will call themselves the Pentaverate, and conspire to rule the world from behind the scenes.
  • Correct Link (Score:5, Informative)

    by OzPeter (195038) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @09:19AM (#44509177)

    Elon Musk Admits he is Too Busy to Build Hyperloop [ibtimes.co.uk]

    The editors should be paying me to do their homework.

  • by Pedestrianwolf (1591767) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @09:21AM (#44509207)
    This just completely shattered my illusions of Elon Musk as a real life Tony Stark.
  • by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @09:24AM (#44509267) Journal

    I wonder if he realized all the people "on his side" pushing trains would turn around once it got started and put tens to hundreds of millions in lawsuits in the way about environmental studies, hiring union people, and anything else they can think up, not coincidentally buying time for people to throw up apartments in the way, or cram warehouses in the way full of old machinery, all of which must be bought at vastly overinflated government condemnation appraisals.

    More stories from Washington, and bankrupting Detroit in this month's issue of Actual Tales From Actual Freakin' Reality.

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      Go pound sand you idiot.

      Not everyone pushing trains is like that nor are most people like that.

    • by Bucc5062 (856482)

      Eminent Domain comes to mind to solve property issues. Seems to be working for the Keystone pipeline companies. There is a value in upgrading rail travel to the 21st Century, but it will take a better partnership between Government's ability to build infrastructure and private sector's ability to exploit a structure.

      The core issue I see with trains is that the "road" and transportation mode are created by the companies, causing inefficiencies in the system. Imagine if air travel was run the same, or grou

  • by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @09:27AM (#44509285)

    Launching through cleared airspace is probably much easier than trying to secure right-of-ways for a slightly-subsonic transport through thousands of municipalities, state and federal lands, and individual property owners, not to mention likely tangles with the EPA and whatever unions might be involved. Plus, a high-profile transportation project like that might pick up TSA attention too.

    • by h4rr4r (612664) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @09:29AM (#44509315)

      If they can build a oil pipeline I fail to see how this is any different.

      Besides the entire middle of the country is nearly empty, go check it out on google earth.

      • >> differences with oil pipelines

        Oil pipelines are quiet. A 600-mph train wouldn't be. Ergo, the zone of disruption, lowered property values, health issues, etc.would be much wider for the train.

        Oil pipelines don't carry people. Trains do. With people and mass transportation come security concerns you don't see with pipelines.

        • by h4rr4r (612664) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @09:41AM (#44509449)

          A 600mph train could be fairly quiet. Design is a big part. Yes there would be some disruption.

          What security concerns? Terrorism? You mean that thing that in the USA kills less people than farm animals?

          Pipelines can also be attacked, and would actually be a better target. Look at what bursting a pipeline did just recently in the news.

          • by TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @10:00AM (#44509717)

            BTW its not a train but a capsule suspended in air by magnets in a tube. The sound it would make is probably the muffled woosh as often heard by readers of Slashdot.

            • by tlhIngan (30335)

              BTW its not a train but a capsule suspended in air by magnets in a tube. The sound it would make is probably the muffled woosh as often heard by readers of Slashdot.

              Part of the challenge is that the tube would be evacuated of most of the air too, so the whoosh would be barely audible (you can't have a perfect vacuum). The reason for this is eliminating drag - induced drag is the biggest problem at high speeds. Getting rid of the air gets rid of the largest source of energy loss in the system.

              Of course, it h

              • by Guspaz (556486) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @02:29PM (#44512855)

                No air is evacuated, that defeats the purpose of a pneumatic system like the hyperloop.

                The biggest force trying to slow down a high-speed vehicle is drag. There are two ways to eliminate the drag: either travel through a vacuum, or make the air travel at the same velocity as the vehicle. The hyperloop does the latter: it's basically a pneumatic tube, so the air is moving at the same speed as the vehicle. Such a system does not need to be completely airtight. It's also why Musk claims the Hyperloop can't crash, since the air in front of you would compress if you got closer to the car in front.

          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward

            And where are those killer farm animals located? In the very same rural fields that the trains would be passing through! You'd be bringing the people right to them!

      • by Noughmad (1044096)

        Yes, the middle of the country is empty, but you want to build rail where there will be people to use it.

        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          That is where the endpoints go. The part of the trip that needs to be at hundreds of miles per hour is the giant empty part in the middle. Done correctly with a few stops on the way that land would be greatly increased in value. People would move out to the country.

        • You want the endpoints to be where people use it. You want the noisier, space-hogging midpoints to be that big gap between Where People Are and Where People Want To Be. If it weren't for that gap, people would walk.

          • by Noughmad (1044096)

            I'm not an American, but I suppose for most people that "big" gap is between suburbs and the city center. Those gaps, also referred to as "cities", tend to not be empty.

            • by h4rr4r (612664)

              Go look at google earth.
              The big gap is all the states in the middle.
              If you drive from NYC to LA, which I have almost done, from the time you get to upstate NY until you get to California you will see not a whole lot of anything. Chicago is the only real city of any note on that route.

  • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @09:31AM (#44509329)

    Maybe DD Harriman though.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delos_D._Harriman [wikipedia.org]

  • NEVER!

    I think the reality is few people would like to strap themselves into a coffin and fly down a tube at 4000 mph considering that we can't even prevent trains from crashing in the 21st century. I mean think of how ridiculous that trains actually crash? The one in Spain crashed because it was going to fast around the corner because the driver was texting on his phone. Why would there not be simply some mechanical/electrical switch that triggers the train to slow down automatically approaching sharp co

    • by Type44Q (1233630)

      t was going to fast around the corner because the driver was texting on his phone. Why would there not be simply some mechanical/electrical switch that triggers the train to slow down automatically

      Because there'd be an equal chance of the switch failing because the guy who installed it and/or the guy who programmed the subroutine which monitored it was texting on his phone... :p

    • by mjr167 (2477430)
      People strap themselves in to small metal boxes and hurl themselves down freeways at 60+ MPH several times a day... And automobile accidents are the leading cause of death in the US. But we still do it.
    • by rasmusbr (2186518)

      Why would there not be simply some mechanical/electrical switch that triggers the train to slow down automatically approaching sharp corners?

      No reason, other than money saving and/or trying to complete the project on time by cutting corners. It's usually a bit more advanced that a simple switch, but that's besides the point. Any decent railroad has a signalling system that detects overspeed and automatically slows the train down to something like 20 mph before letting the driver speed up to the allowed speed again.

    • by luder (923306) *

      The one in Spain crashed because it was going to fast around the corner because the driver was texting on his phone.

      He was not texting, he was talking on the phone, receiving instructions from the train company about the route farther ahead (it was not a warning about the corner). But that is probably irrelevant since he was already too fast when he got the call, one minute before the crash. Even if he noticed the corner, I don't know if one minute would be enough to slow down the train to a safe speed.

    • by Areyoukiddingme (1289470) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @10:52AM (#44510405)

      Sadly, this is an example of unions run amok. Trains don't need drivers. It's entirely feasible to automate them. Look at all the automated airport shuttle trains. But in Spain, there's a union, and they make damn sure there's a driver on every train, and unfortunately, they don't police their own members so we get incompetents who cause fatal wrecks because they can't be bothered to pay attention to their meaningless makework job.

      Unions have their place, but that one is a poster child for Fox News to point to. They should be ashamed.

    • by Nemyst (1383049)
      I'm sure there was been a time where strapping yourself inside a gigantic hunk of steel with odd protrusions on either side and going off IN THE AIR at hundreds of kilometers per hour would also have sounded like entering a coffin. And yet look at where we are now.
    • by ebno-10db (1459097) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @11:04AM (#44510601)

      Why would there not be simply some mechanical/electrical switch that triggers the train to slow down automatically approaching sharp corners?

      I don't know about Spanish railroads, but the NYC subway system has had what you're talking about for many decades. For a dramatization, watch the original Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (1974) [imdb.com]. The part where the train is automatically slowed down going around the loop at South Ferry is entirely accurate.

  • by wonkey_monkey (2592601) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @10:03AM (#44509745) Homepage

    It sounded like the future — a 600mph train taking people from San Francisco to Los Angeles in just 30mins. In fact it sounded like a future too good to be true.

    A future where SF and LA are only 300 miles apart does sound a little unlikely.

  • by Panaflex (13191) <convivialdingo AT yahoo DOT com> on Thursday August 08, 2013 @11:40AM (#44511107)

    Tyrone, you know how much I love watching you work, but I've got my country's 500th anniversary to plan, my wedding to arrange, my wife to murder and Guilder to frame for it; I'm swamped.

  • by Thagg (9904) <thadbeier@gmail.com> on Thursday August 08, 2013 @01:36PM (#44512323) Journal

    Among the many problems with hyperloop is elevation changes. If you're going even 1000 miles per hour, the minimum turning radius to stay less than half a g is 25 miles. There are 4000 ft mountains between LA and SF, and either you have to build a 80 mile long tunnel through them (pretty expensive) or build a viaduct that is 2000 ft high and 100 miles long. Going around the mountains might make more sense, but you're going to end up way out to sea.

    • by ediron2 (246908)

      Engineering is about compromises. First, didn't read TFA, but 600 MPH in the summary clashes with your 1000 MPH. Did it say 'mean speed of 600', as opposed to peak speed?

      Second, a 'pinnacle' design could make this work. Think like new coasters that either have a 2nd acceleration point or reverse back to start: Go fast, then slow down, then go fast again. Modern engineering's got more than a few tricks -- mix 'em up: pod accelerates at each end, undergoes inductive breaking in as few spots as possible,

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