Undermining

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For the second day in a row, I have slept through my prime blogging hour — and it made me really late to work yesterday (good thing I have an “in” with the boss, who let me make it up by staying late). Today I am meeting with my accountant right at 10 to begin the year-end process, so I am going to have to be disciplined in my approach to today’s entry and everything else about my morning routine. Ha!

Na Ki’o and I (well, he slept through most of it) just watched a segment on CBS This Morning on Elon Musk’s test tunnel in the Los Angeles area, where he is piloting his plan to put cars underground to avoid traffic congestion. You can watch for yourself here. Or not.

I have not paid as much attention to Elon Musk as many others have, although it’s hard, these days, to avoid him in the news. He comes across as mercurial, and I’ve lost track of whether he’s lost control of his own company. He also strikes me as big on ideas and iffy on follow-through. Maybe he is a genius; he’s clearly a thinker; but I’m not sure that translates into business acumen or even the ability to follow up any given project with the thoroughness required.

I think my sister Terri at one point envisioned purchasing a Tesla Model 3 electric car, the one that was supposed to be affordable. I mean, “affordable” always depends on the spender’s definition, but the problem with this particular product is that there are plenty of people waiting to toss their money at it — and no product for them.

As near as I can tell, his production has never ramped up to mass market speed, and now his attention seems to have moved elsewhere. AND, there are several other cars coming on the market that may actually be more affordable while offering a road-worthy range of electric miles.

(I was trying to decide the other day if my Nissan Leaf would be a good commuter car for a daily trip to Crested Butte and back, and I’m not sure how well it would serve someone in a cold winter. You could get there, but you might have to go without any heat, other than in the seat and steering wheel, which is a non-starter for Lynn. And while I didn’t have any problem with it last (not much of a) winter, the inside of my windshield is fogging up and/or icing over pretty much as soon as the sun goes down, and I can use up a lot of e-miles just getting from downtown Gunnison to home with the rather ineffective defrost blasting on high. But it does keep the car warm.)

When I was trying to figure out solar for the roof of our new house, which we are trying as hard as we can to make un-solar friendly (the lot itself leans southwest, so the house does as well, which isn’t as good as due south or even southeast, and then I lowered the roof pitch and there’s a gable in the way), I wondered to Lena at Nunatak about solar shingles, which I have been told several times just aren’t the way to go (but they look so cool).

She immediately assumed I was talking about Tesla’s shingles, which I didn’t even know existed. Once again, they seem to be cutting edge (still relative in the realm of “affordable”), but he hasn’t managed production to meet demand.

I told Lena I thought Tesla was long on promise and short on delivery, and I would never consider one of their products.

His space plans seem all over the map, and now he’s digging tunnels under L.A. while by-passing regulatory studies and even notification to people living directly above his tunnel. (He assures us they notified everyone; CBS reports that many people had no idea the project was happening until it happened.)

Not that I live anywhere where traffic is a problem (although I can fume with the best of them when an endless procession of cars makes crossing Main Street on my bike difficult), but I don’t know that I see me taking a tunnel option even if it were offered. The walls in his test tunnel seemed very close, and my claustrophobia took a marked turn for the nasty once I tried CPAP for sleep apnea.

(SpongeBob and Patrick define claustrophobia as the fear of Santa Claus and then proceed to attempt to torment Squidward. Which could easily be a future blog post: this human need to further traumatize people once they have confessed their phobia to others.)

To get back to Mr. Musk (how on Earth do I segue back from that diversion?), I’m not sure I agree with him on his tunnel vision. I know tunnels exist under some cities, but I can’t imagine every place is suitable for boring. In fact, I knew someone years ago who abruptly lost his job near Colorado Springs when the multi-million-dollar drill being used to generate a tunnel became lodged in the ground. Apparently there was nothing for it but to walk away from the project, abandoning the drill, which for all I know is still stuck in the ground.

Musk’s vision, as illustrated on CBS, shows people getting tired of being in traffic and suddenly summoning an elevator to lower them into the tunnel system. That seems just like the turbo-lift in Star Trek, that somehow moved both vertically and horizontally, taking you very close to your intended destination without any apparent regard for infrastructure.

I mean, that should make it cool, right? But just like I never understood the Brady house layout (Nancy Gaylen tells me the X Files can address that for me), I don’t know where in the Enterprise all these turbo-shafts resided (vertical I get; horizontal, not so much) — and now I am having trouble wrapping my head around how Elon Musk’s Marvelous Tunnel Travel will really improve all our lives.

Although I’m not sure I need to worry; like the company namesake, Nicola Tesla, the ideas seem to come far more furiously than the mundane follow-through needed not just to make them a reality, but to then bring them to the masses as promised.

And look at me: I have managed to bring some sort of (scattered) semblance of a blog post to my many, many masses of readers today, and — unless I run into someone I need to talk to on the way to work — I shouldn’t keep my accountant waiting. Isn’t that great?

Have a good day, everyone.

 

 

 

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