Best Slashdot Comment .. Ever: "Well maybe not ever but it’s pretty good.
Does the firm (that would be Liftport - Editor) have any ideas on how to avoid tremendous death and destruction if this immensely long cable were to fall to the Earth, possibly hitting certain areas twice as badly if it were long enough to wrap more than once around?
Yes. They’re going to deploy a massive cushion [wikipedia.org] around the Earth, consisting of a total of about 5000 trillion metric tons of gas. Roughly 78% will be nitrogen, and 21% will be oxygen.
If the cable breaks, the lower half will encounter this cushion at extremely high velocities, ripping it apart and causing it to flutter harmlessly to the ground.
No news about whether or not they’ll patent the idea.