back to article Elon Musk wants to get into the boring business, literally

Elon Musk has fired off a series of Tweets suggesting he wants to get into the boring business. As in boring tunnels. The serial entrepreneur seems to have been stuck in traffic and decided the best way to get out of it, in the long term, is to do what he does best: start a company to dig into the problem from a different …

  1. Kaltern

    Oh cmon, like he doesn't already have his own Tracy Island somewhere.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      If he finds Tracy Island ...

      ... problem solved.

    2. jake Silver badge

      Which reminds me ...

      ... has anybody bought Red Rock yet?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Which reminds me ...

        Yes, and I have the X-01 stored there already o:)

  2. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Elon Musk already has his own volcanic island lair...

    It's just invisible....yeah, that's it, invisible

  3. Tom 64
    Pint

    Umm

    I don't think he has tried the tube has he?

    Particularly for cars, ventilation would be a massive headache. Literally.

    I'd rather stay put thanks.

    1. AndrewV

      Re: Umm

      "Particularly for cars, ventilation would be a massive headache. Literally."

      Not if it's electric cars only. I wonder who would sell me one of those.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Umm

        "Particularly for cars, ventilation would be a massive headache. Literally."

        Not if it's electric cars only. I wonder who would sell me one of those.

        The drivers of said cars still have to breathe, which requires ventilation.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Umm

          The drivers of said cars still have to breathe, which requires ventilation.

          On a well designed tunnel without ICE vehicles, I'm sure that passive ventilation would be adequate, and powered ventilation for standby/emergency use wouldn't be either rocket science (tm) or costly.

          1. annodomini2

            Re: Umm

            The ventilation systems are for if there is a fire in the tunnel, the confined space causes a rapid build up of COx compounds and other nasties in the air, the ventilation attempts to clear these to allow occupants to escape.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Umm

        "Not if it's electric cars only. I wonder who would sell me one of those."

        1. Create supply...

        2. Create demand for that supply...

        3. Profit.

        On the other hand, every single tunnel meant for road purpose has miles and miles of ventilation shafts pumping fresh air through them. Even the smallest tunnels have massive turbine-encased fans inside, and are bored a bit taller than the traffic they carry, when they don't have ventilation shafts per se.

        I wonder how you can't enter some mines with ICE cars... but you could with an electric vehicle.

  4. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    Well, yes. Hyperloop will need tunnels, so time to look into that. And he will find that building tunnels maybe isn't exactly new (look at what the roman engineers did some 2,000 years ago, for example), but he will find that it's also far from trivial.

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      look at what the roman engineers did

      Ladies and Gentlemen, I'm proud to declare the new Cloaca Maxima transit tunnel for Silicon Valley open.

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      "And he will find that building tunnels maybe isn't exactly new , but he will find that it's also far from trivial."

      More or less trivial than building rockets?

  5. Brian Miller

    Lair in Orgegon

    Musk can go boring through Boring, OR. Don't worry about finding it, it's the redundant road sign: "Boring Oregon City"

    Don't worry about super heroes finding it. They'll be off somewhere exciting, like Los Angeles or New York.

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: Lair in Orgegon

      Musk can go boring through Boring, OR.

      The UK subsidiary would be in Dull in Perth and Kinross. And yes, it's twinned with Boring, OR, as well as Bland in New South Wales.

      1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Lair in Orgegon

        Are there any towns out there named "Collapse" or "Flooded"?

  6. DougS Silver badge

    Yeah because its so easy

    To tunnel under major cities like SF, NYC and London. Not like there isn't already a network of tunnels for subways, sewers, utilities and who knows what else - some not on any map, deep foundation piers for skyscrapers, and layers of fill since most older cities were literally built on the debris of older versions.

    Even if you say "hey if you go deep enough, its not a problem"....well, that's true, but you still have to get yourself to/from ground level. Good luck with that.

    Musk seems to be one of those guys who thinks up cool things and thinks he's so smart for coming up with something no one else ever did. People did, but decided it was too hard because of all the problems he doesn't consider until he really tries to do it. Kudos to him to try his hand at hard problems like spaceflight and starting a car company from scratch, but I think he'll meet his match with Hyperloop and definitely would if he pursues this Boring idea!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yeah because its so easy

      Even if you say "hey if you go deep enough, its not a problem"....well, that's true, but you still have to get yourself to/from ground level. Good luck with that.

      For somebody prizing himself as the lateral thinker and innovator, this "build more tunnels" idea is fairly run of the mill, merely treating the symptom. The cause of congestion is almost always a bad case of megacity, putting far too many people in close proximity, and then compounding that by centralising the work and cultural life a fair way from any accomodation, and a long way from anything affordable. If you're a top City lawyer, great, you can afford the country des-res, and a nice flat a short tube ride away. If you're more of an office prole, or the salt of the earth unskilled worker keeping the City running, then you're looking at a one hour plus commute.

      Changing the mess that we have now isn't going to happen quickly, but the key problem is that centralisation of work and culture, and a simple start would be to stop the endless building of ever higher density office in metropolitan centres - planners and developers are actively making the situation worse. Even with "mixed use" claims, the reality of (say) the Shard is that you've got perhaps 7,000 jobs on a ground space that the preceding building only had a couple of thousand, and of the 7,000, I'd imagine the number living and working in the Shard is in single digits. With London's transport network already over-capacity, it wasn't exactly a brainwave to add circa 5,000 jobs at one of the busiest transport And wherever you look, the story is the same - the Heron Tower off Bishopsgate is 46 floors, and that replaced a previous building of nine floors.

      If cities want to solve their hideous mobility challenges, then they need to start off trying to be smaller and more decentralised. How many cities are both saying and doing either?

      1. Long John Brass Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: Yeah because its so easy

        @Ledswinger

        If cities want to solve their hideous mobility challenges, then they need to start off trying to be smaller and more decentralised

        Sorry mate; But having lived in both London and a "smaller and more decentralised" city I can tell you first hand that they both suck. In London there is the ever present crush of people on the trains and the underground + the high costs for transport and living; In Auckland there is the ever present crush of people on the roads who should be in charge of anything more complicated than a pencil eraser and even present a chocking hazard for most of them, then there is the costs associated with fuel, parking on road costs etc.

        There is no Utopia I'm afraid :(

    2. Known Hero

      Re: Yeah because its so easy

      A tunnel that went all the way from south to North London would be brilliant. Skip the M25 & London traffic and deep enough to skip all the other tunnels.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Yeah because its so easy

        A tunnel that went all the way from south to North London would be brilliant. Skip the M25 & London traffic and deep enough to skip all the other tunnels.

        The estimates for the proposed Lower Thames (road) Crossing, or for Crossrail suggest to me that your solution has an indicative cost of c£40 billion. Unless you can invoke some causative effect on climate change or claim "northern powerhouse" benefits then government won't find this sort of money.

        1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

          Re: Yeah because its so easy

          Hol on a mo. This is London we are talking about. Money for transport is no problem unlike the rest of the country (or countries)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Yeah because its so easy

            This is London we are talking about. Money for transport is no problem

            Money for shit public transport is no problem. FTFY.

            I appreciate the rest of the country might think London has it good with public transport, those who routinely endure the dystopian conditions of the underground, or even the overground in many place would beg to differ.

            The nearest it has ever managed to investment in car sector transport was when Red Ken re-phased the traffic lights to slow cars down before the bearded tw@t introduced the "congestion charge".

  7. wiggers

    Yellow Pages

    Older readers will probably remember the entry for Civil Engineering in Yellow Pages. It said simply, "See Boring."

  8. Norman Nescio Silver badge

    Easy.

    Just use sufficiently powerful lasers to melt the rockface, and spray-deposit the resulting lava onto the tunnel walls to a sufficient depth to assure structural integrity.

    Problem solved, just a few minor engineering issues to deal with, like heat dissipation, where to put the excess lava (spoil), and the details of the lava-spray guns. Getting the portable power source to operate the lasers might be a bit tricky, too. I'm sure Elon can buy in the expertise needed.

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Easy.

      Bindun!

      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0061387/

      Clever, those Chinese.

    2. Shady

      Re: Easy.

      Fill the void with water - great for heat dissipation, plus, the frickin' laser beam can be mounted on sharks.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Easy.

      "Just use sufficiently powerful lasers to melt the rockface,.."

      Although I don't have any numbers, I think you'll find that relatively few tunnels are through solid rock; most long tunnels seem to encounter a variety of soils, clays and unconsolidated, or broken/fractured rock. Breaking in to underground springs and rivers is also fairly common in tunnelling.

      I'm not confident that your lasers will be able to seal and thereby support tunnels in these ground conditions.

  9. Blofeld's Cat
    Thumb Up

    Hmm...

    Hopefully one day I'll be able to drive be driven in an electric car through the tunnels of Mars.

    Definitely time for that hollowed out volcano, Elon.

  10. Buzzword

    Bridges are cheaper

    Much cheaper. But nearby residents don't like them.

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Bridges are cheaper

      Put tunnels on the bridges.

      Problems solved!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Coat

        Re: Bridges are cheaper

        Put tunnels on the bridges.

        Robert Stephenson did that in 1846, across the Menai Straits.

        Mine's the anorak.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Bridges are cheaper

          Tunnels on bridges? San Francisco's Bay Bridge has that covered.

  11. Muscleguy Silver badge

    Take a look at the land movements laterally and in terms of uplift during the recent Kaikoura earthquake in NZ. Musk had better build his tunnels well away from the San Andreas fault. Do you want to be in a tunnel or on a road when the Big One hits?

    In NZ when an earthquake of sufficient magnitude hits NZ rail has to suspend services whilst they send min on jiggers to check the integrity of the tunnels. NZ is a very hilly place and there are a lot of tunnels, so they have quite a lot of jigger stations dotted about.

    I suppose eventually the tunnels will have a drone dock and when the earthquake hits a bored tech will brush crumbs from his protruding belly and watch the feeds in a disinterested way. It will be 'progress'.

    1. Magani
      Joke

      @Muscleguy

      ...they send min on jiggers...

      You're a Kiwi, right? I can tell by the way you pronounced 'men'.

      Now say 'Fush und chups'.

      1. Rattus Rattus

        "Fush und chups"?

        What's that, some odd mix of Kiwi and German? I think you'll find the phrase is "fush end chups", or even "fush en chups".

  12. bluefin333
    Go

    Can You Dig It?

    Not sure if it was a purposeful reference to the song but it reminded me and I've been time travelling back to the 90's this morning. If you want to join me go here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGSHIidlesQ

    Turtle Soup anyone?

  13. Winkypop Silver badge
    Alert

    Lower Wacker Drive, meet

    Lower lower Wacker drive

    Men at work -->

  14. John Styles

    Why is this delusional wank being reported by anyone, accept to mock (which the Reg wins many points for essentially doing (*))?

    We are very much in Dunning-Kruger territory. Perhaps we should rename Silicon Valley Dunning-Kruger Valley, currency the Dunning-Krugerrand (aka bitco(i)n).

    (*) Talking of which, given that The Independent an online news site seems to get free publicity on the BBC New Channel's newspaper round-ups by virtue of knocking up a fake tabloid front page, can't you just mock one up, send the PDF to the BBC and have it featured?

    Or is it necessary to have rented a printing press once? What are the criteria? We have an office A1 printer if it is necessary to have used one at least once, I will gladly video the filming process and send you the A1 sheet if this is a necessary criteria.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    “It is just a hole in the ground,” he says. “It is not that hard.”

    For values of "my other profitable business involves sending people to Mars", no, it's definitely not that hard. No arguing with that.

    I wish I could come up with a company name, motto, and business plan while stuck in a traffic jam though. :'(

  16. Richard Freeman

    Another tunneler?

    Why not?

    I mean Seymour Cray (of Cray research and Cray computers fame) used to like digging Tunnels.

    Although he was visited by Elves while tunnelling, not sure who or what Elon Musk is expecting to meet....

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Another tunneler?

      I was under the impression the Cray story was apocryphal at best ...

  17. Richard 120

    X15 Flamethrower

    Comes in various colours, including -

    ISIS Hunter Orange?!?

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