Elon Musk has been pitching cheap tunnels from The Boring Company to big names

Elon Musk—CEO of Tesla, SpaceX, and The Boring Company—has been pitching his new tunnel-boring capabilities to curious elected officials as …
A map of a potential location for a tunnel through Australia's Blue Mountains.
Enlarge/ Plans for a potential tunnel connecting Sydney, Australia, to the West.

Elon Musk—CEO of Tesla, SpaceX, and The Boring Company—has been pitching his new tunnel-boring capabilities to curious elected officials as well as the director of CERN (the organization that owns and operates the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland).

Just a month after Musk opened up his first, rather rugged test tunnel under the SpaceX campus in Hawthorne, California, the CEO has been on Twitter floating prices and talking projects.

Last week Jeremy Buckingham, a member of Parliament in New South Wales’ Upper House, asked Musk on Twitter, “How much to build a 50km tunnel through the Blue Mountains and open up the west of our State?” Musk replied, “About $15M/km for a two-way high-speed transit, so probably around $750M plus maybe $50M/station.”

About $15M/km for a two way high speed transit, so probably around $750M plus maybe $50M/station

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 16, 2019

In his original tweet, Buckingham tagged Mike Cannon-Brookes, an Australian billionaire who co-founded Atlassian. Cannon-Brookes was involved with a bet in 2017 that led to Tesla deploying the world’s largest battery in South Australia.

According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), senior engineering and tunneling experts are incredibly skeptical of Musk’s prices. They said that including ventilation and emergency egress locations in the mountainous region would increase the cost, as would “geotechnical conditions and integration with the wider transport network.”

Musk himself has said that traditional tunnels can cost up to $1 billion per mile in heavily populated areas. An estimate of $15 million/km or roughly $24 million/mi would represent a significant and ground-breaking technological change, the likes of which The Boring Company hasn’t demonstrated yet. At a press briefing in December, Boring Company representatives showed off the next steps in modifying boring machines to improve on the cost of boring. But these machines were still demonstration projects as of December 18.

Such a tunnel would have to conform to the operating model that Musk outlined when he opened his first tunnel in Hawthorne in December—that is, it would be a tunnel that exists exclusively for electric vehicles. Owners of electric vehicles could drive into the tunnel, and people who don’t own electric vehicles would, theoretically, catch rides in electric vehicles for hire managed by the owner of the tunnel. (Musk said in December that The Boring Company would be willing to own and operate the transportation networks that it builds or it would turn them over to the entity that commissioned the network, depending on circumstances.)

Musk has said that restricting the tunnels to all-electric vehicles is key to reducing the cost of tunneling. He reasons that the diameter of the tunnel can be somewhat smaller since electric vehicles don’t need as much airflow as internal combustion vehicles. (And a smaller tunnel diameter means less muck to haul out and fewer materials needed to reinforce the structure.)

No CERNtainty of this partnership

Plans for the Future Circular Collider.
Enlarge/ Plans for the Future Circular Collider.
CERN

On Monday morning, Musk made a second informal pitch. He tweeted in response to an MIT Technology Review article about the Future Circular Collider, a project by CERN to build a new particle collider that’s four times bigger than the current Large Hadron Collider.

“Director of CERN asked me about Boring Co building the new LHC tunnel when we were at the @royalsociety,” Musk tweeted. “Would probably save several billon [sic] Euros.”

Director of CERN asked me about Boring Co building the new LHC tunnel when we were at the @royalsociety. Would probably save several billon Euros.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 21, 2019

This month, CERN released a Conceptual Design Report outlining a series of high-performance particle colliders housed in a tunnel that is 100km (62mi) in circumference. According to MIT Technology Review, the Future Circular Collider could be completed as soon as 2040. Absent a lower Boring Company bid, researchers have estimated that the tunnel alone would cost €5 billion ($5.7 billion) to build.

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SpaceX Will Build Prototype Mars Rockets In Texas, Not California

Last week, the Times reported that Elon Musk’s SpaceX was canceling plans to build its biggest rockets at the Port of Los Angeles, and shifting …

From Texas Standard:

It’s not often that the Los Angeles times covers news with a Texas slant, but this time, it was somewhat unavoidable.

Last week, the Times reported that Elon Musk’s SpaceX was canceling plans to build its biggest rockets at the Port of Los Angeles, and shifting production to South Texas. The story got lots of play in Southern California where it was considered something of a blow to the region’s dream of becoming the epicenter of the next wave of space exploration. And it was seen as a victory for Texas – one of California’s economic rivals.

SpaceX already has a launch facility in Boca Chica, near Brownsville, and Steve Clark, a staff writer at the Brownsville Herald says the facility was initially expected to host 12 launches a year once completed. When Musk attended the site’s groundbreaking in 2014, he hinted that Boca Chica could have an even higher-profile role in SpaceX plans.

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“He did say something about the possibility that the first person to depart Earth for Mars could actually leave from Boca Chica,” Clark says.

The Starship Hopper project – the one moved from Los Angeles to Texas – is the first prototype of SpaceX’s Mars initiative. The prototype vehicle will be built at Boca Chica. But development of the overall Starship Mars project remains in California.

Clark says the economic impact of Starship Hopper on South Texas is unclear, but that traffic to the Boca Chica site has increased. He says tourists are posing with the rocket prototype.

Texas likely got the nod to build these rockets because it would have been logistically more complicated to build them in California and then transport them to the Texas launchpad.

Written by Shelly Brisbin.

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Elon Musk’s Boring Company could help build CERN’s next-generation LHC tunnel

The project is yet to be greenlit, but if a recent tweet from SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk is any indication, The Boring Company could play a part …

The European Organization for Nuclear Research, more commonly known as CERN, recently published an ambitious proposal to build what could only be described as a mammoth accelerator that’s nearly four times as long and up to six times more powerful as its 27-km Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which studies the tiniest particles that make up all matter, dark matter, and infamously, black holes. The project is yet to be greenlit, but if a recent tweet from SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk is any indication, The Boring Company could play a part in the construction of the ambitious project.

In a tweet on Monday, Musk noted that the director of CERN had been quite interested in the tunneling technologies of The Boring Company, which could play a part in saving costs for the construction of the agency’s next-generation particle collider. Musk noted that by using The Boring Company’s tunnels, the project would likely save “several billion Euros.”

Director of CERN asked me about Boring Co building the new LHC tunnel when we were at the @royalsociety. Would probably save several billon Euros.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 21, 2019

The particle physics laboratory, which operates in a site near Geneva, Switzerland, outlined its plans for the 100-km LHC successor, dubbed as the “Future Circular Collider” (FCC), last Tuesday. The FCC is expected to replace the LHC, whose most notable success so far has been the discovery of the Higgs boson, a previously-theoretical particle that gives mass to all matter. Since the discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012, though, CERN’s Large Hadron Collider has not been able to discover any new particles of the same significance. This, according to Gian Francesco Giudice, CERN’s theory department head, highlights a need to push collider technologies forward.

“Today, exploring the highest possible energies with bold projects is our best hope to crack some of the mysteries of nature at the most fundamental level,” he said, according to Nature.

The possibilities that could be unlocked by a project as ambitious as the Future Circular Collider could easily come from a sci-fi tale. It would not be an exaggeration to state that the FCC would enable physicists to open the door to as-yet-unknown physics, while helping answer a number of notable questions about the universe. First off, the FCC would help CERN scientists study the Higgs boson more extensively — something that is not possible with the LHD. The project is also expected to allow scientists to explore topics such as dark matter and antimatter.

The size of the FCC compared to the LHD. (Photo: CERN)

An artist’s image depicting particles colliding. (Photo: CERN)

CERN’s Future Circular Collider is expected to be four times as large and up to six times more powerful than its predecessor. (Photos: CERN)

While the possibilities presented by CERN’s proposed 100-km particle collider are vast, the Future Circular Collider does have its fair share of drawbacks — the most notable of which is the cost of the entire project. CERN’s report on the FCC estimates that the project’s tunnels alone would cost €5 billion ($5.7 billion) to build. Another €4 billion ($4.6 billion) is expected to be required for the first collider (which will collide leptons), while €4 billion ($4.6 billion) would likely be needed for the final collider (which is designed to collide protons). Provided that the ambitious project does not meet any substantial difficulties in its construction, the FCC could be operational by 2040.

This is where The Boring Company’s technologies could come in. The tunneling startup, after all, aims to reduce the costs of tunneling through optimizations in the digging process. So far, The Boring Company is only involved in projects involving transportation, such as the construction of the high-profile downtown Chicago-O’Hare high-speed transport line. The cost savings presented by The Boring Company’s tunnels were particularly evident when Elon Musk revealed the cost of the startup’s mile-long test tunnel in Hawthorne, CA last December. During his presentation, Musk noted that the Hawthorne tunnel cost $10 million to construct. This is far more affordable than traditional tunneling costs, which cost most U.S. local and state governments an average of $200-$500 million dollars per mile.

Granted, the requirements for CERN’s 100-km tunnel would be far more than demanding than the otherwise straightforward tunnels that The Boring Company will construct in the immediate future. That said, the rather generous timeframe for the Future Circular Collider would also give The Boring Company some time to further refine and optimize its tunneling technologies. For now, though, the prospect of CERN’s next-generation LHD’s tunnels being dug by The Boring Company would remain an idea that would only get more plausible over time.

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Elon Musk: Boring Co. Could Help Dig New CERN Particle Collider

On Tuesday, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) unveiled a plan to build the Future Circular Collider (FCC), a massive particle …

The LHC is currently the most powerful particle accelerator in the world, but the FCC would be 10 times as powerful and feature a tunnel four times as long. Musk didn’t immediately reply to a request for clarification about whether the “new LHC” he mentioned in his tweet is the FCC, which was discussed in the article he was replying to and which will require a new tunnel.

CERN expects to spend about €5 billion ($5.6 billion) on the cost of civil engineering for the tunnel, and in his tweet, Musk asserted that having the Boring Company dig the tunnel would “probably save several billon [sic] Euros.”

In other words, he thinks his company could potentially cut the tunneling costs by more than a third.

Lengthy Debate

That could be a huge cost savings for CERN, but it’s hard to say whether the Boring Company could meet Musk’s expectations. After all, its only completed project so far is a 1.14-mile-long demonstration tunnel in Los Angeles — it has yet to complete anything near the scale of the FCC.

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Grimes calls Azealia Banks a “narc” in leaked text message correspondence

Last week, a judge ordered Grimes and Azealia Banks to preserve all Twitter, Instagram, and text message conversations relating to Elon Musk’s “420” …

Last week, a judge ordered Grimes and Azealia Banks to preserve all Twitter, Instagram, and text message conversations relating to Elon Musk’s “420” tweet. Now, after Musk’s attorneys attempted to discredit her as a witness, Banks has chosen to share her correspondences with Grimes for the entire world to see.

First a quick refresher: Musk, the billionaire founder of Tesla, sent out a tweet in early August falsely claiming that he had secured funding to take his company private at $420 a share. Apparently, Musk thought the number would amuse his girlfriend, Grimes, who had taught him the meaning of 420 in marijuana culture. Later that month, Banks revealed that she’d spent a harrowing weekend like “a real [life] episode of Get Out” with Grimes at Musk’s house, right when the infamous tweet was sent. Banks told Business Insiderthat she saw Musk “scrounging for investors” after tweeting, and alluded on Instagram that he may have written the message while on acid.

The tweet cost Tesla billions of dollars in valuation, and Musk is now facing a lawsuit from several of the company’s investors.

Musk’s legal team had hoped to prevent Banks from testifying in the suit. “She is a ‘veteran of long and nonsensical beefs [having] feuded with everyone from Sarah Pain to Nick Cannon,’ Musk’s lawyer Dean Kristy argued in a legal filing. “She remains a ‘Twitter villain even after being banned from the service’; she went on a rant on Instagram ‘that began as a delirious critique of colonial wealth and racial privilege, [and] became a vaguely eugenicist denigration of Musk as a caveman.’”

In response, Banks suggested she has “plenty more dirt to spill on Elon,” adding, “This is going to get extremely ugly. I may be a lot of things but a liar is not one of them. Elon will learn very soon who is more powerful of us two.” Now, Banks has shared her text message correspondence with Grimes dating back to August 16th, 2018 — nine days after Musk’s “420” tweet.

In the text messages (via reddit), Grimes repeatedly refers to Banks as a “narc”, and both women trade insults about the other’s physical appearance.

Grimes and Azealia Banks text message correspondence (1/4), via Banks' InstagramGrimes and Azealia Banks text message correspondence (1/4), via Banks' Instagram

Grimes and Azealia Banks text message correspondence (1/4), via Banks’ Instagram
Grimes and Azealia Banks text message correspondence (2/4), via Banks' InstagramGrimes and Azealia Banks text message correspondence (2/4), via Banks' Instagram

Grimes and Azealia Banks text message correspondence (2/4), via Banks’ Instagram
Grimes and Azealia Banks text message correspondence (3/4), via Banks' InstagramGrimes and Azealia Banks text message correspondence (3/4), via Banks' Instagram

Grimes and Azealia Banks text message correspondence (3/4), via Banks’ Instagram
Grimes and Azealia Banks text message correspondence (4/4), via Banks' InstagramGrimes and Azealia Banks text message correspondence (4/4), via Banks' Instagram

Grimes and Azealia Banks text message correspondence (4/4), via Banks’ Instagram

Banks previously apologized to Musk for “all the painful events you’ve endured” and encouraged him to “just speak to me directly bc This is getting out of hand.” However, in a later Instagram message, she accused Musk of “hack[ing] my phone, my computer, my website, have a PI wait on my block, stalk my social media, have failed attempts to poison me etc etc etc.”

Azealia Banks' response to Elon Musk (1/4)Azealia Banks' response to Elon Musk (1/4)

Azealia Banks’ response to Elon Musk (1/4)
Azealia Banks' response to Elon Musk (2/4)Azealia Banks' response to Elon Musk (2/4)

Azealia Banks’ response to Elon Musk (2/4)
Azealia Banks' response to Elon Musk (3/4)Azealia Banks' response to Elon Musk (3/4)

Azealia Banks’ response to Elon Musk (3/4)
Azealia Banks' response to Elon Musk (4/4)Azealia Banks' response to Elon Musk (4/4)

Azealia Banks’ response to Elon Musk (4/4)

We’ve reached out to representatives for Banks and Grimes for more information.

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