Originally published 08/21/2013
Elon Musk, a serial entrepreneur who was a co-founder of PayPal and the electric car company Tesla Motors, sent people in California into a tizzy on Monday when he released a white paper outlining a hypothetical high-speed transportation system called the Hyperloop.There were a number of curious questions about the Hyperloop, which Mr. Musk’s white paper claims will be able to travel at up to 800 miles an hour and transport people from San Francisco to Los Angeles in 30 minutes. While physicists agree that technically, on paper, this is possible, economists seem to agree that technically, on paper, the price tag of $6 billion is impossible.
Originally published 02/11/2013
Richard White, Margaret Byrne Professor of American History at Stanford University, is author, most recently, of Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America.Speaking in New Haven in 1860, Abraham Lincoln told an audience, “I am not ashamed to confess that 25 years ago I was a hired laborer, mauling rails, at work on a flat-boat—just what might happen to any poor man’s son.” After his death, Lincoln’s personal trajectory from log cabin to White House emerged as the ideal American symbol. Anything was possible for those who strived.