The Only Thing Holding Boom Back At This Point Is, Well, Reality
October 7, 2020 4:58 AM   Subscribe

 
The whole demise of supersonic technology, especially as a transcontinental transport means, was the sonic boom while over land wreaking havoc on communities below. The problem being that a sonic boom isn't when the aircraft is merely transonic, but the entire time it's supersonic.

So of course, being named "Boom Technologies" in order to be cute, they're just leaning in to that one, aren't they?
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 5:14 AM on October 7 [4 favorites]


there has been some research into reducing the intensity of the sonic boom. I don't see if Boom is making use of this as part of their design though.
posted by jrishel at 5:29 AM on October 7 [5 favorites]


he’s pledged to make Boom’s flights carbon neutral

This isn't possible. He may be able to offset the carbon, but the flights, should there be any (is there any actual evidence of demand for supersonic passenger flights?), will be highly emissions intensive.

Leaving aside environmental concerns, given the high fuel consumption of supersonic flight, the medium-term uncertainty over oil prices and an almost certain long-term increase in same (until ultimate replacement with hydrogen fuels), this seems like an absolutely terrible time for this plane. I've no idea why anyone would want to invest.
posted by howfar at 5:36 AM on October 7 [7 favorites]


Gas turbines can burn anything that's combustible and atomizable. Maybe their plan is to start with Jet A-1 and move to hydrogen? As long as the fuel tank is in the right place for hydrogen from the start they can swap the fuel system hoses and maybe the fuel pump and it'll probably be good to go.

But yeah, I have nfi why they want supersonic flight back apart from the romanticism.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 6:13 AM on October 7 [1 favorite]


They want it for the .01%, I'd imagine. People who have their own jets, but not their own supersonic jets.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:28 AM on October 7 [4 favorites]


There are renewably-sourced Jet-1As. They can be remanufactured from bio oils/triglycerides, for example. They're just about 2-3x more expensive than petroleum fuel. The US Army has also fooled about with running biodiesel cuts as a JP-1a replacement. This also works if you're careful.
posted by bonehead at 6:29 AM on October 7 [3 favorites]



Gas turbines can burn anything that's combustible and atomizable. Maybe their plan is to start with Jet A-1 and move to hydrogen



What's the energy density of H2, even ultra-compressed (which needs more structural support=more weight)? Good luck fitting that on a plane!
posted by lalochezia at 6:30 AM on October 7 [2 favorites]


I am a (currently grounded) frequent flyer, and I know for sure that if I could afford a ticket on an SST I'd prefer to save a chunk of cash and fly business class on a regular subsonic wide-body. Less fuel consumed = less polluting, far more leg room and comfort (I've done a Concorde cabin walkthrough in a museum: it's cramped!), and—for long distances (eg. SFO-LHR) less jet lag on the west-to-east crossing. Sometimes a longer flight makes sense: stretch out, get a night's sleep, spend time working remotely using the in-flight satellite internet access. It's hardly worth jacking the price by an entire order of magnitude to shave 3 hours off an Atlantic crossing.

(Having said that, flying supersonic once is on my bucket list. Just, probably not this way.)
posted by cstross at 6:50 AM on October 7 [6 favorites]


Studies I've seen put H2 fueled planes at ~75% range of Jet-1A ones. It's not just naïve energy density either: H2 tanks are a major weight issue.
posted by bonehead at 6:54 AM on October 7 [1 favorite]


I think what you are seeing here is money backing a big case of Engineer's Disease. Outsiders who come in to aviation - a highly regulated, regimented industry with long timelines - often find out the hard way why things always take longer and cost more than you expect.

This company has built a demonstrator aircraft designed around engines they can't legally buy in large quantities. One thing the article really glosses over is that you pick an engine first and design the plane to the engine specs. This demonstrator is going to look nothing like any production aircraft they may roll out. There will not be a second demonstrator airplane that looks like this one because they don't have enough motors to build a second one. "Who'd have thought it would be so hard to get around arms trafficking rules??" is a really, really bad sign about the management of this company.

So they do not currently have an airplane that can carry passengers across the ocean. They may have a design on paper. I'm curious to know how much their profitability hinges on that magic 80-or-so business class ticket number, because I guarantee those values are not going to hold.

There's a lot of love and nostalgia among aviation geeks for the Concorde, but in reality I don't think the demand is there. It was never really there for the Concorde; its operations were subsidized as an international dick measuring contest. My guess is that this company is riding on that nostalgia but any production plane that eventually materializes isn't going to be profitable, just like the Concorde never was.
posted by backseatpilot at 6:59 AM on October 7 [23 favorites]


Concorde was economically viable, under very narrow conditions—once the British and French governments wrote off the development costs as unrecoupable and allowed their flag carriers to run them on high-demand prestige routes (LHR-JFK and CDG-JFK), in the pre-internet (pre-teleconferencing) era, and also in the pre-9/11 low security era.

Concorde died because instead of rocking up to the departures desk 40 minutes before take-off (end-to-end trip time: 4 hours) you had to allow 2-3 hours for taking off your shoes and optionally being strip-searched like the ordinary proles (end-to-end time: 7 hours, vs 9-10 hours for a cheap seat on a 747). Folks with money therefore deserted Concorde for the Gulfstream (somewhat faster than a 747, and walk straight on board via the general aviaition terminal without queuing). In the end, it was faster than a Concorde seat, about the same price, and was much more comfortable.
posted by cstross at 7:08 AM on October 7 [16 favorites]


What's the energy density of H2

Weight for weight, H₂ has 3× the energy of any other fuel at 121MJ/kg. But yes, at 70MPa (700 bar), which is a reasonable amount of compression, it would take up 4× the volume at about 8MJ/l.

I guess if it wasn't a rhetorical question, you'd have looked the answers up yourself, though.
posted by ambrosen at 7:32 AM on October 7 [3 favorites]


What's the energy density of H2, even ultra-compressed (which needs more structural support=more weight)? Good luck fitting that on a plane!

Studies I've seen put H2 fueled planes at ~75% range of Jet-1A ones. It's not just naïve energy density either: H2 tanks are a major weight issue.

The tanks are bigger and heavier because H2's volumetric density sucks but H2's gravimetric density is off the charts and has three times the energy by mass of hydrocarbons. A 20 gallon fuel tank holds 120 pounds of hydrocarbons but a H2 car only needs 30 pounds of fuel to make it that far.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 7:34 AM on October 7 [4 favorites]


There's also a lot of work going on figuring out alternative forms of storage like metal hydrides or just straight up turning it into something like ammonia and burning that instead.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 7:38 AM on October 7 [1 favorite]


sorry should have said "practical energy density" and ycpr';s comment above deals with it.
posted by lalochezia at 7:48 AM on October 7 [1 favorite]


About hydrogen-powered airliners -- Airbus released a proposal to use cryogenic (liquid) H2 (LH2, what rockets use). Seems ambitious to me, but not ridiculous.
posted by phliar at 8:11 AM on October 7 [3 favorites]


Recent work on the ammonia-as-jet-fuel thing. Seems like it'd be about as much of a pain to work with as H2, just different...
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 8:21 AM on October 7 [1 favorite]


it definitely smells of Engineer's Disease. on the other hand, given how incompetent and dysfunctional Boeing appears to be in the 21st century -- and I'm guessing most big aerospace firms are similar -- maybe this is one of those rare chances for actual "disruption"? i have a hard time being sufficiently cynical about cool new flying machines, though.
posted by vogon_poet at 8:24 AM on October 7 [2 favorites]


An interesting notion. When I see ideas like this come to fruition, I think "they see the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow." The 1% are the market to begin with. They have piles of $$ laying around. How many could you produce in a year? Kind of straight line accounting, imo. Then you can scale or sell. Both with potential advantages to the investors. The low cost of jet fuel for the foreseeable future probably won't drive innovation.

Thanks for the post.
posted by zerobyproxy at 8:46 AM on October 7 [2 favorites]


This isn't possible. He may be able to offset the carbon

That's what carbon neutral means; it's not the same as zero emissions.
posted by mark k at 9:00 AM on October 7 [6 favorites]


Between flying cars and giant freight-hauling blimps and supersonic jets, how many aviation "breakthroughs" have we seen in the last 20 years that never ended up amounting to anything?

Aside from the Space-X stuff and I guess drones, have we seen any successes?
posted by bondcliff at 9:08 AM on October 7 [2 favorites]


There's also a lot of work going on figuring out alternative forms of storage like metal hydrides or just straight up turning it into something like ammonia and burning that instead.

Turns out that if you combine hydrogen with carbon in the right way, you get a liquid with some really nice properties as an aviation fuel.

Ok, non-sarcastically, synthetic hydrocarbons seem like the way to go for aircraft that need long range. The problem is getting the carbon out of the ground. If it was extracted from the air in a process powered by wind, solar, nuclear, or other zero-carbon power, that seems like it would be pretty good in terms of net carbon.
posted by FishBike at 9:10 AM on October 7 [6 favorites]


howfar asks "I've no idea why anyone would want to invest."

Halloween Jack offers one answer: "They want it for the .01%, I'd imagine. People who have their own jets, but not their own supersonic jets."

I think cstross adds another one, especially thinking of larger numbers of fliers: "Less fuel consumed = less polluting, far more leg room and comfort (I've done a Concorde cabin walkthrough in a museum: it's cramped!), and—for long distances (eg. SFO-LHR) less jet lag on the west-to-east crossing."

That counts for an awful lot, especially for business fliers. Don't miss this part of the article:
"The jet will carry 65 to 88 passengers, with roomy seats on either side of the plane separated by a walkway, meaning everyone gets a window and an aisle seat, ideally at business-class prices." (emphases added)

There's your audience and business model.
posted by doctornemo at 9:11 AM on October 7 [3 favorites]


Before COVID I was flying 1-6x/month for work. Long haul air trips can be horrendous, outside of first class. I would love to ride something like this.

And yeah, I do get some of the historical nostalgia. Growing up on Long Island I remember seeing a Concorde swoop through the skies over our elementary school.
posted by doctornemo at 9:13 AM on October 7 [1 favorite]


The whole demise of supersonic technology, especially as a transcontinental transport means, was the sonic boom while over land wreaking havoc on communities below.

There was also the sheer engine noise when landing or taking-off (which usually happens over populated areas near airports). It apparently made normal jets seem quiet in comparison.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:18 AM on October 7 [1 favorite]


Subsonic airliners from Concorde's early days could be pretty damn loud as well. There has been a lot of development work since then on making engines quieter and more efficient. And a lot of that improvement is due to going to larger fan sections with higher bypass ratios and lower exhaust velocities. Just check our how much larger engines are today than in the 70's.

Those newer engines aren't going to work at supersonic speeds, at all, so I wonder what they're planning to use on the full size plane? Most likely would have to be a derivative of a military engine again, without most of the efficiency and noise improvements we've seen on the commercial side.
posted by FishBike at 9:24 AM on October 7 [1 favorite]


It sounds like he just made a lighter plane with the help of off the shelf military hardware. I don't see anything that indicates he's solving the issues of the Concorde and as others have noted only magnified by security changes since 9/11.

Too bad we can't use "AI" or "deep-learning" to avoid the hassle and lines of flying. I feel as if of all companies Amazon has made it its mission to automate and remove bottlenecks. Tag my bags, dump them off to me before I board and just let me walk through a full body scan. No lines, no shoes nonsense no TSA ushering you through.
posted by geoff. at 9:35 AM on October 7 [1 favorite]


I get the idea of supersonic for long haul flights. The flight from LA to Tokyo is 12 hours and that's a long time to be stuck in an airplane. Business class (or first, if you are made of money) makes it much nicer, but no faster. Spending the money to get there in less than half the time has a real appeal (although AFAIK, Boom's plan for these long haul flights is a quick refueling stop at the halfway point. This needs to be fast and hassle free or their time advantage goes out the window).

I don't know that it makes much sense for flights under sixhours or so, because once you've factored in the time at the airport at both ends, you aren't saving that much (ah, I see cstross has beaten me to this observation).
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 10:00 AM on October 7 [2 favorites]


Yeah circling for 20 minutes to land in Honolulu, taxing to take off, etc. cuts into your time significantly to the point where I wonder if it would be more feasible to do in-air refueling.
posted by geoff. at 10:11 AM on October 7 [1 favorite]


There's also a lot of work going on figuring out alternative forms of storage like metal hydrides

Metal hydrides are popular in nuclear weapons. Lithium-6 deuteride (LiH) is a shelf stable solid consisting only of atoms which can undergo fusion in the second stage of a thermonuclear weapon. An energy dense fuel to say the least, but the only practical fusion engine design so far developed is Orion. Practical, if we have the WILL to use it.

Oh, you're talking about chemical engines. How pedestrian.

Unfortunately dilithium dihydride is not stable at room temperature. Too Star Trek for this world or any other.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 10:14 AM on October 7 [5 favorites]


Simulator, complete with dashboard figurine.
posted by filtergik at 10:19 AM on October 7 [1 favorite]


When does high speed craft cross some defining line for time travel craft?
posted by filtergik at 10:35 AM on October 7 [1 favorite]


There was also the sheer engine noise when landing or taking-off (which usually happens over populated areas near airports). It apparently made normal jets seem quiet in comparison.

When I was a student, at a South West London university in the late nineties, I lived under the descent path to Heathrow.

Concorde was the only plane that could wake me out of that special super-deep, late morning, I only-went-to-bed-four-hours-ago-after-a-night-out sleep you can do when you're twenty.

Every. Time.

Honestly, I don't think people realise how loud it was in comparison to other planes. Our student house had double-glazing. Generally speaking, if you had the window shut you wouldn't hear the other planes. Even with them open, you just got used to the sound of planes overhead after a while.

Never Concorde. You always heard Concorde.

Of course now I look back on that memory with affection. Rest assured though, oh-fuck-why-am-I-awake-oh-god-I-now-feel-my-hangover student me most definitely did not appreciate it at the time.

As others have said, the issue with this won't be the engineering. It'll be the governance and logistics.

Basically the same issues as with every 'disruptor', ever. Tech is always the low-hanging fruit bit of the problem. The hard bit - as I tell every transport startup that tries to 'onboard' me in some way - is what comes after the tech. They rarely like that answer though, and slink away quietly after that.

(Don't get me wrong - transatlantic supersonic flight is on my bucket list btw. But aviation nerd bucketlists are not a functional longterm income stream, as Concorde's operators discovered)
posted by garius at 10:51 AM on October 7 [6 favorites]


It's hardly worth jacking the price by an entire order of magnitude to shave 3 hours off an Atlantic crossing.

You forgot the "For Me..." off your statement. I'd pay the difference out of pocket to get my LAX <> LHR flights to be 5-6 verses 10 hours.
posted by sideshow at 10:58 AM on October 7 [1 favorite]


I’m on my phone so I’m not gonna hunt for the relevant quotes but there were a few bits where it sounded like Boom’s theory is that we are at the point where a supersonic jet could be made to work with a better price-per-pound-hailed ratio than the Concorde ever hoped to have. I think they’re hoping to have middle-class tourists on their planes, not the 1%.

Their existing plane is a proof of concept with room for zero people who are not the pilot; I presume that if it flies it will be demonstrating that 2010s tech can come a lot closer to making supersonic flight financially sustainable than the 1960s tech in the Concorde.
posted by egypturnash at 11:04 AM on October 7 [3 favorites]


Old Timey science fiction aviation-of-the-future question:
What ever happened to the idea of ballistic air travel?
You board a 20 passenger delta wing lift body on top of an ICBM in California, that ascends and apogees over Hawaii, then falls the rest of the way to Japan and glides to the ground.
What's the rocket kerosene vs JP fuel equation?
posted by bartleby at 11:05 AM on October 7 [2 favorites]


You forgot the "For Me..." off your statement. I'd pay the difference out of pocket to get my LAX <> LHR flights to be 5-6 verses 10 hours.

In what context? Once a year for a vacation or regular as a business traveler? The only people I knew that flew Concorde with regularity, and there aren't many, were oil and gas people in the 80s who would be flying private otherwise and finance types who could actually justify having a full day of meetings by timing their flight right. Admittedly it is an extremely small sample set and none I talked to ever mentioned wanting to do it again, so I imagine it is a take it or leave it sort of thing for business travelers. In my mind as a former frequent business traveler, after I lost a day to travel the length of time I spent in the air didn't matter.
posted by geoff. at 11:29 AM on October 7 [1 favorite]


Their XB-1 rollout video hit three main points on how things have improved since Concorde: 1. Simulation (means less wind-tunnel testing). 2. Carbon composites (don't expand and contract as much with temperature changes as Al or Ti alloys). 3. Propulsion. Beyond talking about their tests of green fuels with the J85-15 engines, they didn't really say much about 3.

Huh, I just noticed that the engine link in that Bloomberg article went to RR's deal with Reaction Engines. That *can't* be what they're relying on! They don't need a SABRE for this anyway.

What ever happened to the idea of ballistic air travel?
El*n's still talking his usual big game.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 11:38 AM on October 7 [1 favorite]


(Context: grew up 20 miles west of Heathrow and just accepted that Concorde would interrupt conversation twice each day, now live in NZ and would really appreciate faster planes, but work in climate tech so paying close attention to these developments.)

In short: no.

The key question is: does the price differential over subsonic justify the time saving, so that there are enough passengers to make this a commercial success, given that the price differential will include the carbon costs.

They are claiming that new tech means they won't be so expensive. That's crap - every technology they point to also makes subsonic planes cheaper. Simulation? Yeah, Airbus and Boeing and COMAC use that too.

They are claiming that new fuels means less carbon emissions. Again, that helps subsonic more than supersonic. Their fuel burn is inherently 2-3x more per seat-km than subsonic.

They are claiming that carbon-neutral fuels will be cost-competitive with fossil fuels. Ha ha no. Current renewable aviation fuel made from waste oils and fats comes in at 2-6x cost of fossil fuel and there's only enough feedstock to replace maybe 5% of aviation fuel. Next gen renewable aviation fuel is what Boom are talking about and yes, we can convert almost any feedstock using renewable electricity to make jet fuel and yes, more scale means cheaper. Despite that, we're looking at 3-10x the cost per litre. Remember, this uses more litres per seat-km.

So I think their economics will be bad. There'll remain a substantial cost difference over subsonic and that difference is likely to increase over time as carbon costs go up.

So who are their target market? It's not the 1%, coz subsonic is good enough for us. It's not the 0.001%, coz they want their own business jets. It might be the 0.1%, but that's a pretty small market.

Oh, and those engines are going to be fucking loud, coz low-bypass and high take-off power with that wing. Again, modern technology will make this quieter than Concorde but that same technology is making subsonic jets whisper-quiet. This will still be unacceptably louder than competing subsonic jets.
posted by happyinmotion at 12:49 PM on October 7 [3 favorites]


When does high speed craft cross some defining line for time travel craft?

Once you're able to achieve positive whole integer percentages of the speed of light (in a vacuum), and we can start talking.

(That's about 10.8 million kilometers per hour.)
posted by porpoise at 1:23 PM on October 7 [2 favorites]


I feel like it would be much more productive to find a pharmaceutical answer to air travel...generally people are much more concerned about time spent enduring the travel, not the actual time it takes. It's possible that is just as hard a problem to solve, though, knocking someone out safely for 12 hours with no knock on effects isn't easy either.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 1:53 PM on October 7 [2 favorites]


I feel like it would be much more productive to find a pharmaceutical answer to air travel

Without checking, I'd swear that that's a Cheech & Chong movie.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:14 PM on October 7 [2 favorites]


those engines are going to be fucking loud

It really makes me wonder if any of them are aware of the EU aircraft noise reduction policies that went in to place 10 or so years ago. Brand new plane with brand new engines is not going to be exempt from those.
posted by backseatpilot at 2:29 PM on October 7 [2 favorites]


Boom aren't developing any engines. Both they and Virgin Galactic have deals with Rolls Royce to develop them, and RR definitely know about all the relevant laws and regulations. They may well just be taking development money from suckers, of course. Given VG's successful IPO, it seems there's plenty of that available.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 2:45 PM on October 7 [1 favorite]


I feel like it would be much more productive to find a pharmaceutical answer to air travel.

You can't knock an entire flight of passengers out for the duration of a flight, because if there's an emergency there's no way to evacuate the plane.
posted by jordantwodelta at 2:57 PM on October 7 [1 favorite]


Good point - not pharma then...some sort of SF field-induced unconsciousness? mass hypnotism?
posted by Jon Mitchell at 3:56 PM on October 7 [1 favorite]


This all sounds technically feasible, but optimistic in the finances. From the article: Bringing such a craft to market would cost hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions.

Definitely several billion. If they’re operating under an assumption that a revolutionary design will enter production for only a couple of billion dollars, they’re doomed. Bombardier, with several aircraft certification programs under its belt, tried to bring a new conventional aircraft to market for a few billion dollars. While technically successful, they went over budget by a few billion and all but killed the company trying to pay off their debts.
posted by cardboard at 4:23 PM on October 7 [2 favorites]


In what context? Once a year for a vacation or regular as a business traveler?

Regular business traveller. Well, not so regular this year.
posted by sideshow at 6:02 PM on October 7 [1 favorite]


I live under the Heathrow descent path and confirm garius' experience - you mostly stop hearing the planes, and they come over me fairly high, but Concorde made its presence felt even through double glazing. I never minded - the plane was glorious and gave me a boost of joy to see (as did the Vulcan, which was similarly noisy although not supersonic).

I went outside to watch when I heard it come over for the last time.
I stopped the car to watch the Vulcan fly over for the last time, when its path brought it over my work estate (we're under the usual flight loop from Farnborough, so we often get (got?) the air show planes).

Noisy, impractical, expensive, inexcusable, crazy, stately, beautiful. Gone. Relic of a past age.

The XB1 (and presumably Overture) has none of that gravitas or beauty, but it sounds like it does have most of the drawbacks.
posted by Ilira at 12:27 AM on October 8 [1 favorite]


There's a 15-part series on Leeham News by Bjorn Fehrm that lays out the big challanges with switching to super sonic transport:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

For me, it's part seven, which covers the very pedestrian sounding issue of air that really demonstrates the scope of the problem of going supersonic. The nut of it is that air needs to be moving slowly for combustion, so you end up speeding up a huge amount of air and then slowing it down and then putting just a faction of it to work.

He concludes that without switching to a different engine design the Boom would likely be louder than the Concord at take off, or require much longer runways.
posted by zenon at 8:47 AM on October 8 [1 favorite]


happyinmotion, perhaps their thought is that while simulation et al helps subsonic as well as supersonic, it might help supersonic a lot more, given that the advantages have already filtered into the subsonic market, but Concorde was designed and built without any of those benefits.

I have no idea if they are right. Well, I'm sure they are right to some degree, but are they right enough to make it viable? While they have a lot of smart people on their team, I also see a huge amount of tech-bro optimism where everything that is doable can be done in a couple of years if you throw enough people at it.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 9:40 AM on October 8


From link #15 above Ferhm outlines what modern tech can bring -

Modeling and computer fluid dynamics will enable the initial design to be more precise and efficient, especially around the unique additional drags, volume and lift wave, that are introduced by passing the sound barrier.

Improved materials will also make a big difference for aerodynamic heating which has historically been a major issue for all super sonic aircraft.

But then the bad news. He spends a whole bunch of time laying out how the Boom engine, called the Affinity is a 'High Specific Thrust' unit. And that ensures that the Affinity is both louder and less efficient* than the Olympus, the engine found on the Concord. So despite being 50 years old, Olympus was purpose built for air transport, and was more than twice as powerful as the Affinity engines.

All is not lost - Ferhm suggests variable cycle engines might solve the problem remaining functional at speeds needed for quiet take off while supporting supersonic flight. But these designs remain experimental.
posted by zenon at 3:49 PM on October 8


My late husband met with these guys about a job back in 2015 when there were just a few employees working out of Blake’s house. Blake told him he had to read three books:
A biography of Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance
Zero to One by Peter Thiel (founder of PayPal)
The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels by Alex Epstein, which is just as terrible as you think.

There was some weird runaround about titles and reporting structure (in a like 6 person company!) and that combined with this reading list and some other stuff I’ve probably forgotten made Blake seem like a jackass and he passed.

I am unconvinced about his commitment to the environment.
posted by jeoc at 8:48 PM on October 9 [1 favorite]


That's what carbon neutral means; it's not the same as zero emissions.

Precisely, but I should have been clearer: what I was trying to express is that, while a business operation can be carbon neutral, a flight (at least one using fossil fuels) cannot. Carbon neutral is a term that can only reasonably describe an economic activity, here used to make a claim about a physical activity.
posted by howfar at 11:36 PM on October 9


A biography of Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance, Zero to One by Peter Thiel (founder of PayPal) The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels by Alex Epstein, which is just as terrible as you think.

This is a truly hilariously awful reading list. Especially since the only demonstrably good business tip one can draw from Musk and Thiel is "get in early on PayPal", which not a piece of advice you can implement by building planes, no matter how far their speed exceeds 88mph.
posted by howfar at 11:52 PM on October 9


« Older because citrus is a delightfully chaotic category...   |   USA Election Filter - Increased Turnout and More... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments