DON'T REPLY ABOUT MY INTENTIONS IN GIVING IT.
It's often helpful to read another's words in the context of what they wrote them in. This shortens the length and monotony of the conversation, making it more engaging and fruitful for all. Even though the overall accuracy may be increased a small amount, harping on differences occurring from context only comes off like nitpicking.
"When power is no longer governed by scarcity?"
To me, that means that the power to operate things is somehow (either by physics or by government/elite control) limited and thusly labeled by you as scarce. If I am incorrect in this interpretation of your words, please stop reading here.
In the context of your sentence, I interpreted it to mean that your ultimate goal was to operate those things (as it always is whether people realize it or not) and not to worry about what term is used for the substance needed to operate them.
Therefore, to operate them, one needs power. However, before one can obtain power (the use of energy over time - which is NOT a problem for our society today), one must have abundant enough supplies of energy resources from which to create said power. You see, saying your car gets 50 miles per gallon so you can drive to work means nothing unless you have also identified how many gallons you have in the tank. If you don't have enough gas, the end goal cannot be reached.
The corollary, which I was eluding to in my original reply, would be to not care if you get 50 mpg or 5 mpg because there are ways to make abundant gas on your trip. (an analogy, not a specific example) In other words, I took your inexact question to the logical root problem and then provided a solution.
I, perhaps errantly, assumed that you would understand this and realize that I was saying, in essence, the energy, force, work and power can all be abundant if my instructions were followed. Instead, you chose to jump on the fact that I used a different word. This is frustrating in much the same way as arguing with a 4 year old on who said what to start a fight.
In a scientific discussion with technical details, accuracy is a necessity but in a casual conversation, many conversational shortcuts are taken to facilitate interest in place of boredom. It is this reason that I did take minimal offense to you saying that you chose your words carefully. By you saying that, you are telling me that I am trying to change the question, which I was not. I was clarifying it to a root issue (for MY accuracy's sake) without actually mentioning that you had used the wrong term.
So, hopefully that will show you that I was not fostering a hit piece.
Regarding the 'tunnel effect'. That, again, was a case of brevity that you misunderstood. I had explained that friction (and thus wasted power) would be increased. When I referenced it later, I was still in the same context of that topic so I simply put an arbitrary label on that explanation. This is a common practice in casual and even non-critical scientific conversations. It is also common practice to confront someone on correcting words as accusing them of misunderstanding the original statement. This is seen a argumentative sarcasm and is viewed as arrogant, regardless of intent. That is what your response came off as. Either way, there is no scientific 'tunnel effect' to my knowledge unless the science community has recently held a conference on my recent post. (that was a joke JICYWW)
Your statement that friction is not increased (or can become insignificant) by the increased speed is incorrect. Whatever you can do in a tunnel, you can do to surface transportation so saying that it could be placed in an evacuated tube or similar is beside the point. In both cases, whatever friction you have acting to slow the train (by air, wheels or magnetics) will increase linearly (at least) with speed. In doing so, you will lose more total momentum by any method to increase speed and this will have to be made up in order to return to the surface at the other end. Traveling through a Gravity Train tunnel qualifies as such a method.
There will be an overall increase in benefits to people, however, because of the time it takes to travel. What I was suggesting was to weigh that against the massive costs associated with such a system. Since you'll probably argue this point, I will present 3 such cases.
Short distance: If we use a tunnel of 1-20 miles, we can see the following parameters. The angle of descent into the tunnel will be insignificant and gains from this venture will be indistinguishable from friction. Comparing these non-existent gains against the cost of digging a 20 mile tunnel is a no-brainer, i.e. ludicrous.
Medium distance: If we use a tunnel of 500 miles... The angle will still be minimal but the gains will be measurable. Every method of reducing friction costs a comparable amount of money to the total benefits. Due to this, evacuate tube build and maintenance will be expensive and a compromise on friction reduction will be used. So, we will have some friction and that means we will have a terminal velocity. This now means the the 43 minute benefit is also compromised significantly. Weighing this reduced benefit against what would be arguably the most ambitious project in human history (again to my knowledge) at the highest cost also seems to fail.
Long distance: Digging a tunnel of very large distances to cross through the Earth very deep at all very quickly runs the risk of reaching the molten core's outer layers. This would end the venture immediately. Not only that, but as with the other two cases, successful completion would only get you travel from one point on the globe to one other point. This is hardly of any value at all to people wishing to travel from/to other points.
So, while the idea of such a system sounds fun, in reality it is completely unrealistic. This is not a critique of you suggesting it but of the promoters actually thinking it may be worthwhile. Again, it certainly is not a hit piece for me to have stated as such.
My original reply was intended to incite a discussion on how to get the "things" (as I referred to them above) done abundantly without being saddled with the scarcity of anything in the chain. Such solutions aboud all around us if people were only aware of them. Unfortunately, there are many out there that don't want these to become common knowledge. You cite the case of traveling from NY to Philly in 43 minutes. Let's see if I can suggest a way you could agree with for doing that which would also be much much much cheaper than both a Gravity Train (GT) or current methods.
That distance is about 100 miles as the crow flies. With a GT, that would mean about 100 miles of tunnel and lots of expense in evacuation to cover leaks and airlocks. With a car, that would require a super highway where an average speed of 140 mph. Doable, but not practical. The same goes for air travel but speeds would need to be much higher because boarding and deboarding would probably take at least 40 minutes. This leaves two solutions.
Maglev train is one solution but it comes with tremendous expense. There's the magnetics along the entire route plus a massive concrete infrastructure to support the massive train cars. It would be a benefit though, as long as it was from/to the exact points the traveler desired. This limitation still adds 10-30 minutes to most travelers' trip, again making the average speed way too high.
A Skytran system, however would allow start and stop points of any location in either city, which would incur no extra delays. Combine this with an average speed of 150 mph and non-stop travel point to point and your requirements are met. Cost? It's less cost than any method listed above... by 3-20 times. Check it out if you want. www.skytran.us .
This is one example I have for transportation. I mentioned it because you referenced traveling with the GT. There are similar examples that solve every other crisis people have today. Let me know if you're interested in any others. That they exist in hiding is the reason I originally mentioned that people need to know of them.