I'll get the tedious bit out of the way first.
Back to the bit that alarms me.
Much of the breathless discussion of elevators is conducted by the same folks who discuss something quite important to me: cheap rocket launches. These people are clearly unable to sanely evaluate engineering propositions. In short, they are dreamers or crackpots.
(An aside: researchers who are developing carbon nanotube materials are most definitely not crackpots. That's R&D, which is a great thing. It's common for folks working on new materials to suggest outlandish uses. That's fun and harmless so long as they concentrate at their day job which is figuring out how to make the material in the first place. CNT materials, if developed, are likely to be as popular as carbon fiber is today, and find all sorts of good uses.)
Anyway, here's the bit I don't like at all: how is someone who does not know a thing about engineering (my mom, for instance) supposed to tell the difference between me and one of the aforementioned crackpots? I'm working on an upcoming post which will suggest that hot water first stages and a little aerodynamic lift could cut LEO launch prices by a factor of about 2. Like the aforementioned folks, I don't work in this industry, and am unlikely to. My suggestions are unlikely to be picked up by others in the industry. Why am I burning my valuable time on this stuff?
The answer is that I find the engineering entertaining, and I post the bits that I do because I think they might be entertaining to a small group of people who I don't bump into day-to-day. Part of the entertainment is the thought that if I noticed something really useful, I'd act on it. But it's just a thought. I like to think I have a reasonably good sense of the difficulty of making technical progress in a few fields, this one included. Frankly, I decline to make the big investment here (i.e. change careers) because I think the difficulty is too high. It is rocket science, after all.