If you've ever traveled from the East Coast to the West Coast by plane, then you know it makes for a long, long flight. Even in the first class seats, a full day of flying is just too much.
All of that may soon be changing, and once again Elon Musk (Space-X, Tesla Motors, PayPal) may be the personality behind a massive change. Shifting the paradigm is a term I've heard over the years; disrupting industries is another.
Regardless of how you label his efforts, Elon Musk is serving up civilization-altering ideas using technology that already exists. Some say he is Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Howard Hughes, all wrapped into a modern forty-two-year-old package.
So what's happening now? Simply put, Elon is doing it again.
For nearly a year he has been promising to reveal a high-tech option to California's planned high speed railway. The current plan calls for a super-fast train (built by 2029) to travel from San Francisco to Los Angeles in under three hours at speeds just over 200 miles per hour.
What's wrong with that? From Elon's perspective: everything!
Elon believes he could build what he calls The Hyperloop for 1/10th the cost. He also says it would easily make the same trip in under 45 minutes, would be Earthquake and weather proof, and could run entirely on solar power.
I know, I know. It's impossible, right?
Don't be so quick to judge. Elon Musk has already performed not one, not two, but three industrial miracles that have already changed our world.
He first thought it would be a great idea if there were a way to send money over the internet to any country in the world, without involving all sorts of complications like banks and Brinks trucks. PayPal now does exactly that and more.
Elon then decided that world governments were not doing nearly enough to improve the cost and methods of moving mankind into space. And so was born Space-X, a company that has revolutionized the entire space industry, both in affordability and in technological progress. Next up, according to company leadership: a permanent colony on Mars!
Of course, we also don't want to forget Elon's Tesla Motors. Even as a dozen solar car players have struggled or folded, Tesla has successfully brought long-range electric cars to market. Their Model S currently has customer waiting lists that are months long, and Consumer Reports called it the best car--not the best electric car--that they have ever rated.
Not bad for a tiny South African boy with science fiction dreams.
Today, Elon promises to release his plans for the Hyperloop, a 21st-century transportation system that is believed to consist of individual pressurized cars traveling inside an evacuated tube, likely using reverse polarity to keep the traveling compartments soaring, friction-free, above a magnetic rail.
If a can't-miss personality exists today, it's Elon Musk. And the fact that he's releasing his Hyperloop idea to the public, patent free, suggests that he's serious about displacing our current long-distance travel methods. He says if no one can successfully place the Hyperloop into mainstream use, he will do it himself as soon as electric cars are in every driveway and as soon as Mars has a human colony settled and growing.
Knowing Elon, we might want to think about selling our airline stocks.
Watch the news today for the big release. In the meantime, you can learn more about The Hyperloop transport system here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/inventor-entrepreneur-elon-musk-to-share-design-for-super-high-speed-travel-monday/2013/08/12/b4c355ce-0321-11e3-bfc5-406b928603b2_story.html