That being said, I agree that the tone of the article is a bit too harsh for my taste, but then again Linux Torvalds is revered here for this kind of tone. It's always good to think outside of the box and bring new ideas to the table. Even if they're dead ends, they keep the brains working, if only to form counter proposals.
N.B.: american friends, pretty please, consider including metric values alongside imperial, I have no idea what 1030feet means. Fortunately we have google for unit conversion...
Oh, and a pound is about half a kilogram. I won't expect you to remember all the stupid volume units, but those three tiny conversions are worth knowing.
How is that statement relevant here? The criticism being responded to was that he doesn't know the basics of engineering. The response was there's significant evidence he knows a lot about engineering (and his employees who looked at this proposal probably know more). It doesn't matter whether he's good at everything.
edit: fixed typo and added emphasis
Because in real life (as opposed to, say, Star Trek), aerospace engineering and civil engineering ain't the same ballpark, ain't the same league, and ain't even the same flipping sport. 
 with apologies to Pulp Fiction.
He may strike out, he may not. If he fails it's not going to be because his first paper over-reached or because he's unable to gather smart-enough experts with better civeng software.
So far, its not clear that he is attempting anything with Hyperloop other than what he is demonstrated to be very good at: selling ideas.
Its particularly clear, though, that the one thing he isn't trying to sell Hyperloop as yet (and may not be at all) is an actual project/business, as opposed to just a reason to not support CA HSR.
Why the CEO of a company selling currently selling high-end electric cars and working to expand the reach of electric cars in the market might want to sell an alternative to a project designed primarily to reduce automobile road trips (which incidentally reduces the need for automobiles) in California by improving mass transit on both the major intrastate long-distance corridor and the connecting regional/commuter mass transit systems -- either as a real system that doesn't do as much to reduce automobile demand (and even relies on transporting autos to provide door-to-door connectivity) or as a phantom system to derail the existing proposal -- is pretty obvious.
Hyperloop doesn't need to be successful as mass transit -- or even ever have $1 spent toward building it -- to succeed for Musk.
While selling ideas isn't a bad skill I think you're underselling his ability to execute, somewhat.
Personally, I feel that Musk's "list of biggest risks to Tesla" has many items before "CA HSR". By the time it's built Tesla will either be (at least) a countrywide success, or not.
Not my intent; I think SpaceX and Tesla both show Musk can execute in engineering quite well when his energy is behind it (or, equivalently, that he is good at putting his energy in places where he can execute.)
Part of that is the ability to sell ideas to (among others) investors, without which he wouldn't have the ability to execute.
With regard to hyperloop, Musk has been very visibly not putting the kind of intent-to-execute behind it that he has with other endeavors, making his selling ideas skill the most relevant part of his ability to execute, but I certainly did not mean to fail to recognize his ability to execute.
> Personally, I feel that Musk's "list of biggest risks to Tesla" has many items before "CA HSR".
Probably. But tossing out a "I don't plan to build this, but it would be better" diversion is a pretty low-cost way of derailing the threat. It doesn't have to be the biggest or most immediate threat to be worthy of that, from a rational viewpoint.
> By the time it's built Tesla will either be (at least) a countrywide success, or not.
This presumes HSR (including the regional/commuter transit improvements that go with that project, and are some of the earlier investments) has no effect on the market for electric cars until its fully built out. I'd question that assumption.
But my point still holds, because you're good at making rockets
and electric carcs doesn't automatically make you an expert in
high speed train infrastructure, so I don't really think that's a
Now, Musk may have an answer to the issues, but he certainly didn't present them. The fact that there is no obvious resolution suggests that either Musk didn't think of them or he intentionally omitted the answer (both are damning)
No, thermal expansion criticism is not careful enough. See my comment:
When making an argument, sometimes it is good to make an assumption and then prove the assumption is false... sometimes it is just a straw man.
The tube will be supported by pillars which constrain the tube in the vertical direction but allow longitudinal slip for thermal expansion as well as dampened lateral slip to reduce the risk posed by earthquakes. In addition, the pillar to tube connection nominal position will be adjustable vertically and laterally to ensure proper alignment despite possible ground settling. These minimally
constrained pillars to tube joints will also allow a smoother ride.
A civil and mechanical consulting engineer  who also has put some code on Github and writes a blog.
> Why does he feel like he gets to talk down to someone who has sent rockets into space, on the subject of engineering?
Probably because, unlike Musk, he actually has professional qualifications in the kind of engineering at issue on the points on which he is criticizing Musk's proposal.
 See, e.g., http://www.codeproject.com/Articles/582981/A-Coder-Interview...