Lenny Domnitser’s
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This is a static archive of the domnit.org blog,
which Lenny Domnitser wrote between 2006 and 2009.

Crushing the Dream

First of all, The Alameda-Weehawken Burrito Tunnel is hilarious, so go read it now.

Did you notice something the matter with the story’s technical merits? Spoiler warning for the physics-ignorant.

My email to Maciej Ceglowski, the author:

How does the burrito make it through the tunnel with those power
generation and braking coils under Pennsylvania? Even with the magnets
to keep the burrito off the ground and the special casing, whatever
friction remains means that the burrito will need some additional
energy to make it to New York. Braking works against that end. (Maybe
I missed something.)

His reply:

No, I think the friction situation is totally horrible, no matter how
you set it up. I put in the braking as a bravura kind of thing, to
try and distract people from thinking about it too hard…

I’ll keep trying to ignore that to most fully enjoy this passage: “Weehawken residents still recall the great blackout of 2002, when computers running the braking coils shut down and for four hours burritos traced graceful arcs into the East River, glowing like faint red sparks in the night).”

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