Elon Musk's Newest Tunneling Machine Has a Name, and It's Seriously Clever

The Boring Company gets literary.

Getty Images / Mark Brake

Elon Musk revealed on Twitter late Wednesday night that the Boring Company is about to add a second tunneling machine to its tiny fleet, and it’s got a name. In keeping with Musk’s earlier pronouncement the machines would be named for things in poems and plays, the new machine is an homage to a Robert Frost poem.

As Musk tweeted, the new machine will be Line-Storm, which sounds pretty badass even before one starts unpacking the allusions. It joins Godot, the first machine, which is named for the eternally delayed title character in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. While that name was a tongue-in-cheek acknowledgment of just how slowly the tunneling machine moves — it has famously “raced” a pet snail — this reference is a little less obvious.

Line-Storm's older sibling Godot

The Boring Company

“A Line-storm Song” is one of 32 poems in Frost’s 1913 collection A Boy’s Will, his largely autobiographical debut work. It’s a love poem, in which Frost’s narrator describes a rainstorm over a country road. While the storm washes away hoofprints on the road and leaves the nearby flowers too wet for the bees to visit, the narrator hopes that his relationship with his lover can endure any hardship. As the poem twice says, and as Musk quotes in his tweet, the narrator asks his lover to join him “and be my love in the rain.”

Musk doesn’t offer any further hints on why he picked the name Line-Storm beyond the reference to that specific line, so there’s not yet one definitive interpretation as to his thinking here. But one possible explanation is that, while Godot was a bit of self-deprecation, Line-Storm is a more earnest homage to the theme of perserverance in the face of long, seemingly impossible odds. That’s something Musk has needed more than once, given the lofty goals he has set for SpaceX, Tesla, and now the Boring Company, whose ultimate goal is to redefine urban infrastructure as we know it and possibly set the stage for the hyperloop.

There’s no specific timeline for when Line-Storm will make its debut, nor any sense of how it affects the Boring Company’s larger plans. Musk described the venture earlier this year as more a hobby and a way for him to relax than a proper company like SpaceX or Tesla, so for now the focus remains squarely on snail-racing and Frost-referencing — not that there’s anything wrong with that.

If you liked this article, check out this video on the nerdy way Elon Musk comes up with the names for his inventions.

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