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Inventor and “god emperor” of the nerds Elon Musk is attempting, with his HyperLoop project, to do for mass transit what he’s already done for cars, spaceships, and hair. Musk recently unveiled a video of a Hyperloop test pod achieving speeds of 201 MPH inside a near-vacuum tube, a good omen for a larger version of the vehicle that will eventually carry passengers. But, as always, people had questions.
Impressive, 140 character explanation on how the thing stops please?— Darryl Samuel (@ItchGrid) August 28, 2017
How could Elon Musk, mighty brain-genius and human Big Bang Theory, possibly explain, in the space of a single 140-character tweet, the ingenious technical details of his next-generation transport system’s complex, proprietary stopping mechanism? This seems like a big, unreasonable, completely impossible ask for America’s foremost—
Brakes— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 28, 2017
Oh. Well, sure. When you put that way.
Despite Musk’s hilarious, nonchalant response to the skeptics, there are still those who criticize the Hyperloop for being, essentially, a worse version of an idea that has existed in Japan and Europe for decades.
A genius, has invented an inferior version of a technology piloted in Japan in the 60s and adopted in Europe starting by '81. https://t.co/gwyCM80T39— Jacob Bacharach (@jakebackpack) August 28, 2017
Musk believes the Hyperloop could reach speeds of 800 MPH, given a longer tunnel. The one used in this week’s test was less than a mile. We’ll see how his claims bear out in the next year or so, starting with a test of SpaceX’s pusher sled inside the tube. Don’t forget the brakes!
Will run the SpaceX pusher sled later this week and see what it can do— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 28, 2017
Jay Hathaway is a former senior writer who specialized in internet memes and weird online culture. He previously served as the Daily Dot’s news editor, was a staff writer at Gawker, and edited the classic websites Urlesque and Download Squad. His work has also appeared on nymag.com, suicidegirls.com, and the Morning News.