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  1. Elon Musk taunts Tesla critics as stock soars to new highs Tesla, valued at $250 billion, is the world's most valuable automaker. Enlarge Tesla 145 with 86 posters participating Tesla's stock leapt above $1,400 for the first time on Tuesday morning—a nearly 50 percent increase over the price just a week earlier. As of publication time, Tesla's stock has slumped a bit to around $1,380. That's still more than the stock was worth at any time before today and a six-fold jump from Tesla's share price a year earlier. The primary villains in Tesla's mythology are "shorts": investors who short-sell the company's stock in hopes of profiting from a falling price. CEO Elon Musk has regularly taunted these critics about the company's rising stock price. On Sunday, Musk gleefully announced that Tesla was selling "limited edition short shorts" on its website. The shorts are red with gold trim, with a small Tesla logo on the side. "S3XY" is emblazoned across the back in large type. The shorts cost "only $69.420," Musk wrote. As I write this on Tuesday morning, the shorts are sold out. Tesla's latest rally was kicked off by strong delivery numbers, announced last week, for the second quarter. Tesla's deliveries were about 5-percent lower than their level a year earlier. Ordinarily, that would be nothing to celebrate. But it's a strong showing compared to other car companies, most of which saw quarterly sales decline by double digits, year over year, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Last week, Tesla became the most valuable car company on Earth when its market value blew past Toyota. Wall Street now values Tesla at $250 billion, compared to $205 billion for Toyota. That despite the fact that Tesla's manufacturing capacity is a small fraction of its established rivals. Tesla sold around 360,000 cars in 2019. Toyota sold 10.7 million. But Tesla has big expansion plans. The company recently opened a factory in China and has plans to open a German factory in the next couple of years. Rumors indicate that Tesla is close to announcing a fourth factory in Texas. Tesla will need more manufacturing capacity to build the company's growing lineup of vehicles, including the Model Y—introduced earlier this year—the Cybertruck, and an updated edition of Tesla's Roadster sports car—both due out in the next year or two. Elon Musk taunts Tesla critics as stock soars to new highs
  2. Elon Musk urges SpaceX to consider Starship as the top priority After successfully completing Crew Dragon's maiden manned flight to the International Space Station, SpaceX now wants to shift gears and prioritize other projects. As picked up by CNBC, the founder and CEO of SpaceX, Elon Musk, wrote a company-wide email urging employees to primarily focus on the Starship initiative henceforth. Musk asked his employees to consider devoting "significant time” to accelerate progress "dramatically and immediately" on the project. “Please consider the top SpaceX priority (apart from anything that could reduce Dragon return risk) to be Starship,” he stated in the email. Since day one, the Starship project has been SpaceX's bold initiative to make space travel and the inhabitation of other planets a tangible reality. While we are beyond Musk's initial planned window to put the iconic stainless steel rocket in orbit, that is not to say that the company has not been working on the project at all. Back in April, SpaceX released a user guide for the Starship rocket encapsulating its various configurations, and claimed that the project is "expected to allow for space-based activities that have not been possible since the retirement of the Space Shuttle and Space Transportation System or have never been possible before." Furthermore, SpaceX is regularly carrying out test runs of Starship's various prototypes. On May 30, despite the SN4 prototype's explosion on the test stand, preparations for testing the SN5 prototype at Boca Chica, Texas, are already underway. Elon Musk urges SpaceX to consider Starship as the top priority
  3. Welcome to Muskville — Inside Elon Musk’s plan to build one Starship a week—and settle Mars "I think we need, probably, on the order of 1,000 ships." Enlarge / Three barrels welded together are lowered onto a pressure dome for SN2 at the South Texas Launch Site this week. 265 with 119 posters participating, including story author BOCA CHICA BEACH, Texas—How badly does Elon Musk want to get to Mars? Let me tell you a story. On Sunday, February 23, Musk called an all-hands meeting at the South Texas site where SpaceX is building his Starship spacecraft. It was 1am. At an hour when most Americans were throwing down their last shots before closing time, at home in bed, or binge-watching The Office before it leaves Netflix, Musk brought his team together. He wanted to know why the Starship factory wasn’t humming at all hours. Why steel sheets weren’t getting welded into domes and fuel tanks, why tanks were not being stacked into rockets, why things weren’t going as fast as he wanted. Musk always wants to go fast. He will not live forever, and the money may eventually run dry. He knows this. One day, the window to spread humanity to Mars may close, but Musk doesn’t know when. So he needs to squeeze through before the window shuts. To really accelerate, his bleary-eyed engineers and technicians responded, they needed enough employees to assign workers to particular stations within the burgeoning factory, allowing each person to specialize. This would require a lot more hands that could build things. “I said, ‘OK no problem,’” Musk recalls. “I said, ‘You can hire people—just know your reputation is on the line. Don’t bring your brother-in-law who can’t ever get a job. Not that person, OK? You’re going to be responsible for them. Everyone’s got their relatives that they know at the family gathering who, man, I sure as hell wouldn’t want to work with that person. Don’t bring that person. Bring the person who you’d put your reputation on the line for.’” SpaceX had held a much publicized “career day” in early February, and the company hired several dozen new employees. By contrast, this Starship factory’s scale-up would be all word of mouth. And it would happen immediately. Musk told his team members they would have a recruitment gathering just 12 hours later, at 1pm that Sunday. They would have another one on Monday at 1pm and then again at 8pm. Long lines of people showed up, family members and friends, mostly local. Cars and trucks jammed the roadside up and down Boca Chica Highway. At 11pm on Monday night, SpaceX was still hiring. All told, the company added 252 people to its South Texas Launch Site on that Sunday and Monday. It doubled the workforce, just like that, to more than 500 workers. Most of the new hires, even those who had inked contracts at midnight, were told to report for work the next morning. A year ago, perhaps a dozen or so people worked on site. Soon, the Texas factory will probably be SpaceX’s largest location outside of its headquarters in Hawthorne, California. Elon Musk will spend money to go fast, and in South Texas he is proving it. In a matter of weeks, SpaceX has built a small city down here, hard by the Rio Grande River. It is all rather astonishing. And maybe, just maybe, this new Muskville really will serve as a launch pad to the first city on Mars. Meet the chief engineer This past weekend, following the hiring spree, I visited the company’s facilities at Musk’s invitation. My tour included a visit to the launch pad. You may have seen the video footage of a Starship prototype known as Serial Number 1 (SN1) blowing apart during a pressurization test. This happened the night before my arrival. Engineers had loaded liquid nitrogen into the vehicle’s fuel tanks to determine their ability to hold very cold liquids at high pressure. The answer: not very well. Starship SN1 test failure. Bent, blackened, and charred, steel wreckage was strewn about the site. At first glance, it looked bad. But upon closer inspection, not all seemed lost. The launch tower for the vehicle appeared largely undamaged. The ground systems and fuel tanks that support Starship on the pad were located behind a berm and bore only a few scars from rocket shrapnel. SN1 was never destined to fly, anyway. The plan for this vehicle, had it survived the pressurization test, was to install a Raptor engine and perform a static test firing. If everything looked just right on this test, Musk might have greenlighted a test with three Raptor engines. But probably not. The attitude of engineers working on the program boiled down to this: it sucks to lose SN1, but the next vehicle in line is already outpacing it. SN2 will soon be ready for tank testing. Not that Musk felt particularly happy about losing a Starship. On Saturday and Sunday, he huddled with his engineers inside the University of Texas’ Stargate building, at the periphery of the company’s South Texas footprint. A year ago, the few rooms SpaceX leased on the building’s second floor were the only facilities on site aside from a few construction trailers. Now it is merely the front door. SpaceX has taken over the entire building, turning it into a mix of offices and storage. On Sunday afternoon, I met Musk inside a Stargate conference room where he sat at a long table, wearing an “Occupy Mars” T-shirt and drinking a Diet Coke. First image of article image gallery. Please visit the source link to see all 9+ images. “Well, I just had a lot of talks with the team about that today,” he said of the SN1 failure. “It’s what you might call the thrust puck—there’s an inverted cone where we mount the three sea-level engines. In fact, it’s drawn on that whiteboard over there.” He walked up to the whiteboard and pointed to a frowning face. “This is my drawing,” he said with a smirk. Then, with a dry-erase marker in hand, Musk proceeded to lecture about rockets. “There’s a sad face because we have an inverted cone,” he said. “It’s such a dumb design. It’s one of the dumbest things on the whole rocket because it’s heavy, expensive, and unreliable.” , the SN1 failure boiled down to bad welds in a weak section of Starship near the engine. When exposed to pressure, the welds burst. Musk was not happy because he had not heard about this specific issue, in this section of Starship, before the test failure. Do you think Musk addressed that with his team? Yeah, he addressed that. “We sent out a note to the team that this was badly designed, badly built, and badly checked,” he said. “That’s just a statement of fact. I met with the whole quality team, and I said, ‘Did you think that that thing was good?’ They said, ‘No.’ I told them that, in the future, you treat that rocket like it’s your baby, and you do not send it to the test site unless you think your baby’s going to be OK. They said that they did raise the concern to one of the engineers. But that engineer didn’t do anything. ‘OK,’ I said, ‘then you need to email me directly.’ Now they understand. If you email me directly, and if I buy off on the risk, then it’s OK. What’s not OK is they think that the weld is not good, they don’t tell me, they take it to the pad and blow it up. Now I have been clear. There’s plenty of forgiveness if you pass me the buck. There is no forgiveness if you don’t.” Enlarge / Elon Musk, SpaceX chief engineer. NurPhoto/Getty Images What you need to understand about Musk is that he is the chief engineer of SpaceX—and that’s not a courtesy title. Musk previously told me that at the very beginning of SpaceX, no great engineers would take the job, and what’s the point of hiring someone to be chief engineer who isn’t great? So he became the chief engineer of SpaceX. Almost every technical rocket decision made at SpaceX comes to him eventually. Especially the hard ones. He has spent many, if not the majority, of his days since December in South Texas. During Christmas, employees there say, he worked all-nighters alongside them to get the dome structure and the welds right for SN1. Yet Musk has not been spending so much of his time in South Texas just to build a Starship. Rather, he’s trying to build a production line for Starships. He wants to build a lot of them. And fast, always fast. “Production is at least 1,000 percent harder than making one of something,” he said. “At least 1,000 percent harder.” Musk should know. He lived through “production hell” at Tesla in 2017 and 2018, building up factories, changing processes, spending many sleepless nights and going through all manner of mental agony. Now, Tesla is making as many as 10,000 cars a week. He wants to implement a similar system in South Texas. Musk, in fact, aims to reach a point where the company builds a Starship a week by the end of this year. And after that? Maybe they’ll go faster. SpaceX is designing its factory here to build a Starship every 72 hours. Listing image by Eric Berger The knuckle seamer In addition to hiring, SpaceX has rapidly expanded its facilities in South Texas in recent months. The company has built two large windbreaks, which will essentially serve as “high bays” for stacking the Starship vehicle. In just the last six weeks, SpaceX completed construction of two football-field sized tents and is working on a third. Although they are huge, the tents were not quite tall enough for SpaceX’s needs. So the first two are stacked on a single row of sea vans, the intermodal containers used to ship material around the world. Eventually, SpaceX plans to cut windows in the sea vans and make offices. Because the third tent needs to be even higher, it is stacked on a double row of sea vans. Musk wants a linear flow through the tents, whereby rocket parts come into one end of the factory and move from station to station until large chunks of Starship end up in a high bay for stacking into a vehicle. The process of building a Starship on site begins with large “barrels.” Each of these is about two meters tall and nine meters in diameter. To make a barrel, a length of 301 full hard stainless steel is unspooled, cut once, and welded along this seam into a cylinder. In an unpressurized state the barrels are cumbersome, as each weighs nearly 1,600kg. To construct the outer skin of Starship, 17 barrels are stacked and welded together, with a nose cone on top. As of Saturday, since manufacturing operations began in Boca Chica about 11 months ago, the company has built 50 barrels. But the process is accelerating. The company can now make two barrels a day, and it aims to reach a production cadence of four barrels a day. The first of the big new tents, erected in January, is filled with tank domes for the SN2 and SN3 vehicles. Pressurized domes are difficult because they cap off the ends of fuel tanks and must hold chilled rocket propellant—in Starship’s case, methane—and liquid oxygen at high pressures. So they must be made with care. The current process for building a pressure dome takes about a week; 1 or 2 days to tack up and fit steel sheets, 4 days to weld the sheets together, and 1 to 2 days for X-ray inspections and repairs. But in Muskville, taking a week to make a dome is way too slow. So Musk has challenged his team to find ways to go faster, to cut production time, and to improve weld qualities. He has let his engineers engineer. And they think they’re close to a solution for dome welding with a tool called a “knuckle seamer.” They built a prototype in the second tent. First image of article image gallery. Please visit the source link to see all 9+ images. The knuckle seamer looks something like a giant zipper that articulates over the front and back of a dome, like a taco shell around its filling. On the front, the seam to be welded is designed to line up along the zipper, which clamps down for a precise fit. Then, in about 10 minutes, an automated torch will trace down the length of the curve, providing a precise weld. Following this, the dome is rotated to bring the next seam into view. Other engineers have built an in-house, shielded machine to X-ray the welds. Presently, an X-ray team shows up, quarantines a work area, the premises are vacated, and then radiation tests look for imperfections. With this new X-ray machine, SpaceX hopes to compress a process that can take a day down to a few hours. This is all happening so fast. These machines existed only in the minds of engineers four weeks ago. The tent they’ve installed them in for testing was built less than three weeks ago. Musk has always had a knack for hiring brilliant young engineers, and those in the Boca Chica tents were mostly in their 20s, busting their tails for the boss. Willingly. Why? Because Musk empowers them to go fast, do cool things, and, very soon, to see their machines fly. Absolutely mad Why the hell does Elon Musk need to build so many Starships, anyway? Because he’s actually serious about settling Mars. It’s not a joke. It’s not a con for more government money (although Musk won’t turn that down). No, Mars is the raison d’être for SpaceX. And now, in South Texas, Musk is getting close enough to Mars that he can almost taste its red dirt. Let’s just step back for a moment to acknowledge how nuts this is. Starship is only the upper stage for SpaceX’s Super Heavy rocket, but it is arguably the most novel spacecraft ever built. No one has ever built a fully reusable rocket, and the second stage that goes into space is the hardest part. SpaceX remains a long way from making the interior of Starship habitable for humans on a journey to Mars. But even building a fully reusable vehicle that can lift 150 tons into low Earth orbit would be a marvel. That’s more throw capacity than the Apollo Program’s Saturn V rocket had. And Musk wants to build one of these each week. Compare that to NASA and its Space Launch System, the big rocket that the space agency has been developing for a decade and for which Boeing only recently completed a single core stage. This core stage is about 15 meters taller than Starship but lacks its complexity. NASA will, in fact, toss each SLS core stage into the ocean after a single use. And Boeing doesn’t have to make the engines, as the rocket uses 40-year-old space shuttle main engines. Despite this, and with nearly $2 billion in annual funding from NASA, Boeing’s stretch goal for building core stages is one to two per year... some time in the mid-2020s. SpaceX’s stretch goal is to build one to two Starships a week, this year, and to pare back construction costs to as low as $5 million each. “That’s fucking insane,” I said. “Yeah, it’s insane,” Musk replied. “I mean, it really is.” “Yeah, it’s nuts.” “As I look across the aerospace landscape, nobody is doing anything remotely like this,” I said. “No, it’s absolutely mad, I agree,” Musk said. “The conventional space paradigms do not apply to what we’re doing here. We’re trying to build a massive fleet to make Mars habitable, to make life multi-planetary. I think we need, probably, on the order of 1,000 ships, and each of those ships would have more payload than the Saturn V—and be reusable.” Musk has thought about this a lot, obviously. “The point at which one says the goal is to make life multi-planetary, it means that we need to have a self-sustaining city on Mars,” Musk said. “That city has to survive if the resupply ships stop coming from Earth for any reason whatsoever. Doesn’t matter why. If those resupply ships stop coming, does the city die out or not? In order to make something self-sustaining, you can’t be missing anything. You must have all the ingredients. It can’t be like, well this thing is self-sustaining except for this one little thing that we don’t have. It can’t be. That’d be like saying, ‘Well, we went on this long sea voyage, and we had everything except vitamin C.’ OK, great. Now you’re going to get scurvy and die—and painfully, by the way. It’s going to suck. You’re going to die slowly and painfully for lack of vitamin C. So we’ve got to make sure we’ve got the vitamin C there on Mars. Then it’s like, OK, rough order of magnitude, what kind of tonnage do you need to make it self-sustaining? It’s probably not less than a million tons.” Enlarge / SpaceX will need to send many, many ships to settle Mars. SpaceX That’s not a precise number, of course. It’s a rough estimate. But Mars settlers will need vast quantities of stuff. The settlers will need to build an entire industrial base to mine the Red Planet, and there are many steps in mining. To make consumer products requires a huge infrastructure base to refine and shape materials. “I’ll probably be long dead before Mars becomes self-sustaining, but I’d like to at least be around to see a bunch of ships land on Mars,” Musk said. A machine to build a machine SpaceX engineers and technicians in Boca Chica needed eight months, from last April through November, to build the first Starship prototype, MK1. (It blew its top, too.) But the workers in South Texas only needed a month, from late January to late February, to assemble SN1. And SN2 is following only about two weeks behind SN1. “The problem with the MK1 stuff was that I didn’t have my eye fully on the ball, because I was still taking care of a lot of Tesla stuff,” Musk said. “Now Tesla, I think, is in a good situation here, so that’s why I’m pretty much camped out in Boca. The MK1 was a failure not because the rocket failed at low pressure, but because we failed to build a production line.” Now he has built the production system. It’s not finished. It’s not perfect. But it’s starting to pay dividends. The factory is beginning to flow linearly, from one station to another. And after last week’s flurry of hiring, the company has the workers it needs to produce rockets one after another. “If you’re just trying to make one of something, it can all basically just be made by the engineering team,” he said. “But if you want to actually make something at reasonable volume, you have to build the machine that makes the machine, which mathematically is going to be vastly more complicated than the machine itself. The thing that makes the machine is not going to be simpler than the machine. It’s going to be much more complicated by a lot. Things need to be translated into instructions that the average person can understand. You can’t have somebody with an engineering master’s degree from MIT hand-making every single part. It’s not possible. There just aren’t enough. MIT’s not graduating enough people.” So Musk is making the machine to make the machine. Musk has brought lessons learned from Tesla’s assembly line so workers do not burn out. They will work three 12-hour days and then have a four-day weekend. Then they’ll work four 12-hour shifts with a three-day weekend. Thus, with four shifts, the Boca Chica site can operate at full capacity 24 hours a day, seven days a week. SpaceX is throwing in hot meals every three to four hours, for free. The company is building toward a critical test flight later this spring, a hop to about 20km that will prove the Starship vehicle can fly in a controlled manner and safely return to Earth. After this, Musk has set an aspirational goal of flying an orbital mission—maybe with SN5 or SN6, he really doesn’t know—before the end of 2020. Despite the velocity at which SpaceX is moving, this seems unlikely, because SpaceX has yet to build its Super Heavy rocket. This is the mammoth, reusable first stage that will kick Starship into orbit. It will be powered by as many as 37 Raptor engines. This sure seems like a lot of engines, but the Falcon Heavy has shown the way, flying successfully with 27 Merlin engines of its own. Enlarge / If the Falcon Heavy can fly with 27 engines—can 37 be that hard? SpaceX “If we’re making tanks for the ship, the booster’s just a longer tank with more engines on the base and no heat shielding,” Musk said. “We’ll bring it back and land it just like the Falcon 9. We’ll make the booster using the same domes and cylinder sections that we do for the ship. If you build a ship line, you’re kind of building the booster line anyway. The only thing that really changes is the aft dome where you’re transferring thrust load into the booster. You’ve got like 31 engines, potentially 37—that thrust dome obviously has to be unique, relative to the rest of the vehicle. It would use the same, or similar legs, as the ship. It’s less complicated in that it doesn’t need any heat shielding, but more complicated on the engine side.” Let’s be honest: it’s pretty darn complicated. But the one thing SpaceX has shown over the last two decades is an increasing competence in building rockets. When it comes to innovation in rocket science is there anyone better in the world? Probably not. Just iterate, baby I’ve spoken with plenty of the earliest engineers who worked at SpaceX, and almost all of them have noted that Musk tackles the hardest engineering problems first. For Mars, there will be so many logistical things to make it all work, from power on the surface to scratching out a living to adapting to its extreme climate. But Musk believes that the initial, hardest step is building a reusable, orbital Starship to get people and tons of stuff to Mars. So he is focused on that. He knows he won’t get Starship right at first. He employs some of the smartest engineers on this planet, and they’re still, in many ways, fumbling toward solutions for the extremely hard problem of getting a super-large vehicle out of Earth’s gravity well into orbit—then to land it and fly it again. Musk has come to believe the only way to realistically achieve this is through trial and error, by iterating closer and closer to the right design. The hardest part of any rocket is the engine. And SpaceX is almost there with the Raptor engine iterations. “We’ve done this with Raptor,” he said. “Like, we’re on Raptor engine 23 or something, Maybe 24. It’s lighter, cheaper, better in almost every way than Raptor version one, which sucked and blew up, basically. One of about six or seven Raptors that blew up, I’ve lost count.” The point is, Raptor is now in a good place. The next step involves building a spaceship with the tanks and plumbing to harness the power of six Raptor engines. The first two Starships have blown up during pressurization tests, but with each new iteration of Starship, Musk and his band of engineers are learning. “A high production rate solves many ills,” he said. “If you have a high production rate, you have a high iteration rate. For pretty much any technology whatsoever, the progress is a function of how many iterations do you have, and how much progress do you make between each iteration. If you have a high production rate then you have many iterations. You can make progress from one to the next.” None of this is cheap. Boca Chica is a fairly remote location to ship materials into. And the company has gone really fast, sparing few expenses. How long can it go like this, and how is he paying for all of this? Musk declined to offer specifics. “We’re just paying for it internally,” he said. Then he paused and added, “Success is not assured.” It is not. But when it comes to space and automobile production, history has shown that Musk pushes through difficult financial and technical challenges. The Falcon 1 rocket failed three times before it finally reached orbit. Tesla faced bankruptcy on several occasions. Musk has always pulled through. He now flies the most powerful rocket in the world, the Falcon Heavy, and the most cost-efficient (and only) reusable orbital rocket, the Falcon 9. Tesla is the world’s biggest electric car company. Enlarge / No, the sign isn't real. Aurich Lawson / Eric Berger Even so, maybe you think Elon Musk is going to fail in his Mars ambitions. Any reasonable person might. This kind of thing makes the Apollo Program look like child’s play, and the Moon Landing is regarded as perhaps the most significant technical achievement of the 20th century. But should we really be working on a repeat of Apollo half a century after we already did it? Maybe we should reach higher and further. Walking through those tents in South Texas, amid the bustle of those workstations, surrounded by rolls of stainless steel, it becomes easier to believe that we should and that we can. The place feels the way a US Navy shipyard must have felt in the weeks after Pearl Harbor—insanely busy but also purposeful. These kids and swarms of recently hired technicians are fighting against impossible odds every day, and they’re determined to win. Don’t tell them it can’t be done. They’re not having any of that in Muskville. Source: Inside Elon Musk’s plan to build one Starship a week—and settle Mars (Ars Technica) (To view the article's image galleries, please visit the above link)
  4. Elon Musk lended public support to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey who’s being pressured to step down by an activist investor. “Just want to say that I support @Jack as Twitter CEO. He has a good heart,” Musk tweeted, using a heart emoji because that’s how middle-aged billionaires communicate. Jack Dorsey On Friday it was reported that Paul Singer, the billionaire founder of Elliott Management, took a stake in Twitter with the intent of making a number of changes at the micro-blogging platform. Elliott has a more than $1 billion stake in Twitter, according to CNBC, and has nominated four new board members. Bloomberg reports that Twitter executives met with representatives from Elliott Management for the first time last week. Dorsey was absent, even though he was the main topic of conversation. One change Elliott hopes to make is the removal of Dorsey, who’s been accused of being inattentive to Twitter’s earnings potential as he splits his time as CEO of Square where 85 percent of his wealth resides. The Twitter / Square CEO has also been criticized for moving too slowly, with a preference for talking instead of doing. Dorsey hasn’t helped himself by saying he’d like to temporarily move to Africa this year. Dorsey’s return as CEO of Twitter in July 2015 was met with advice from Elon Musk. “I wouldn’t recommend running two companies,” said the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX. Twitter shares have since fallen 6.2 percent, while Facebook’s have gained more than 121 percent, according to Bloomberg. Musk and Dorsey were last seen bromancing each other at a company meeting in January, where Musk was projected onto a giant screen in front of thousands of Twitter employees. “If you were running Twitter,“ Dorsey asked, “what would you do?” Musk’s response was get rid of the bots. Others want to get rid of the CEO, which just might happen. Source
  5. Bill Gates bought a Porsche, and then Elon Musk talked trash about him Apparently, the Porsche Taycan prompted Musk’s ire Photo by Ryan Manning / The Verge Bill Gates bought an electric car. But while he’s given Tesla credit for pushing other carmakers to go electric, it does seem notable that he didn’t buy from the company that pushed the innovation. He bought a Porsche Taycan. Someone alerted Elon Musk to this development, of course. And that got us a bitchy tweet from Musk: “My conversations with Gates have been underwhelming tbh.” It’s true that Musk likes beef; after all, he’s made cracks about Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. (Actually, it seems like Musk and Bezos have a lively rivalry going.) But the Gates fight strikes me as different — precisely because Musk’s dismissal of him is so broad. Both Musk and Gates are admirers of Nick Bostrom, the Swedish philosopher who has warned in his 2014 book Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies that machine intelligence could surpass human intelligence. Both men have appeared on The Big Bang Theory. Perhaps significantly, though, Musk is frequently compared not to Gates, but to Apple’s late CEO, Steve Jobs. The Taycan is also something of a sore spot for Musk, even though it has a smaller range than Tesla’s comparable vehicles. But the Taycan Turbo set the “four door electric sports car” lap record at Germany’s Nürburgring. (Though Musk has suggested on Twitter that the use of “Turbo” by Porsche is a misnomer.) And, apparently in response, Musk announced Tesla would run a Model S around the track. In November, Musk also picked a fight with Top Gear, a TV show that depicted a Taycan beating a Model S in a race. Source: Bill Gates bought a Porsche, and then Elon Musk talked trash about him (The Verge)
  6. Why customers love Tesla despite its many mistakes "They're not the little guy any more," journalist Kirsten Korosec says. Enlarge JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images/Aurich Lawson Journalist Ed Niedermeyer remembers the exact moment he became a Tesla skeptic: Memorial Day weekend 2015. That's when Niedermeyer traveled to the Tesla Supercharger facility in Harris Ranch, California to see Tesla's first (and, it turned out, only) battery-swap facility. At a live demo two years earlier, Tesla CEO Elon Musk had shown a Model S getting a replacement battery pack in 90 seconds—compared with four minutes to refuel a conventional car. Now that the technology was available to the public, Niedermeyer wanted to see it in action. "I was down there three or four days," Niedermeyer told Ars recently. "There was a ton of traffic and a ton of lines for the Superchargers." Some people faced multi-hour waits. Tesla brought in spare Superchargers powered by diesel generators to speed things along. But the battery-swap facility stayed closed. A few weeks later, Elon Musk announced that Tesla wouldn't expand the service because it was "not very popular." That explanation made no sense to Niedermeyer. "There was definitely demand there," Niedermeyer says. He talked to a number of Tesla owners who regularly traveled between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Some would have gladly paid a premium for the battery swap service if it had been available. But at least on that weekend, it wasn't. So what was going on? Niedermeyer believes Tesla was cynically gaming California's system of Zero Emission Vehicle credits. In 2013, California started giving automakers extra credit for selling electric cars that could recharge in 15 minutes or less. Supercharging isn't fast enough to qualify. Battery swapping is. But crucially, automakers didn't have to prove that customers were actually using fast charging capabilities. As long as a carmaker could demonstrate that vehicles were theoretically capable of rapid charging, they got extra credits—even if most customers never used the capability. Niedermeyer estimates that Tesla reaped tens of millions of dollars in extra credit revenue with this gimmick (Tesla didn't respond to emails seeking comment on this). "That's when I decided it's worth digging in," Niedermeyer told me. "Companies don't just do something like this once." Elon Musk's "hype campaign" In recent years, Niedermeyer has emerged as one of Tesla's most insightful and dogged critics. And in August, Niedermeyer published . Drawing on previous reporting and offering some fresh scoops, the book offers a skeptic's perspective on the upstart electric carmaker. Enlarge BenBella Books Niedermeyer identifies 2013—the year Musk demoed the Model S's battery-swap capabilities—as a turning point. That was the year the Model S started selling in significant volumes. Tesla earned its first quarterly profit and the stock soared to record levels. In response, Niedermeyer writes, Musk "embarked on a hype campaign that continually ratcheted up Tesla’s ambitions and set him apart from anyone else in the public sphere. His wild-eyed production targets, seemingly impossible technological promises, goofy sense of humor, and relentless pursuit of media coverage quickly turned into a runaway train." For example, in 2013, Musk claimed that solar panels and batteries would allow SuperCharger stations to continue operating even if the electric grid went down. "Even if there’s a zombie apocalypse, you’ll still be able to travel throughout the country using the Tesla supercharging system," Musk quipped. Yet three years later, in 2016, Musk tweeted that while Tesla had "some" solar panels "installed already," that "full rollout" of solar panels depended on a forthcoming upgrade to SuperCharger technology. According to Niedermeyer, "only a half-dozen or so" of the first 800 supercharger stations had "solar panels of any kind" by June 2017. Tesla didn't respond to my email asking how many SuperCharger stations have solar panels today, but there still seems to be a lot of stations without them. In October 2016, Musk announced that all new Tesla vehicles would have hardware necessary for full self-driving, and he predicted that it would take about two years to release the necessary software. Yet three years later, Tesla is still struggling to master self-driving in parking lots. Musk continues to claim that full self-driving is less than two years away, but that's still hard to believe. "A lot of those things do come to pass" Hamish McKenzie, author of the 2018 book , argues we shouldn't overlook Tesla's accomplishments. "What's kind of amazing is even though he's missing all the deadlines, a lot of those things do come to pass," McKenzie tells Ars. Tesla has missed self-imposed deadlines for shipping each of its new car models. But the vehicles did eventually ship and customers have generally been happy with them. Enlarge Dutton / Penguin Group It's not surprising that McKenzie would have a more positive take on Tesla than Niedermeyer. In January 2014, he left a job as a journalist for Pando to become Tesla's lead writer, and he worked there for a little over a year. He wrote Insane Mode after leaving Tesla; today he is co-founder of the technology startup Substack. McKenzie acknowledges that Musk has repeatedly made unrealistic predictions about how quickly technologies could be developed. "I don't have insight into whether or not it's a deliberate strategy," he told me. "I think he believes the things he says when he says them." On some level, making unrealistic promises is an inherent part of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs need to convince a bunch of people—customers, employees, investors, and others—to take risks on a new and untested company. That inherently means predicting success even though failure is a likely outcome. That's especially true when someone is starting a car company. The most likely outcome for a car startup is bankruptcy, as a number of Tesla's electric car rivals have demonstrated in recent years. "It's crazy that Tesla exists as a car company," McKenzie told me. And, he said, it's even more crazy that Tesla succeeded as an electric car company—something most people dismissed as wildly impractical when Tesla was founded in 2003. One way to interpret Musk's behavior over the last 15 years—making unrealistic promises, delaying payments to suppliers, taking deposits long before products and features are ready to ship—is that he's just doing what it takes to get a new car company off the ground. Getting Tesla to where it is today has required raising billions of dollars from investors, and the company skated at the edge of bankruptcy several times over the last 15 years. If Musk had been less shameless about using hype and boundary-pushing gimmicks to get investors and customers in the door, Tesla could easily have plunged into the abyss. jump to endpage 1 of 2 Many customers are happy to cut Elon Musk slack Enlarge VCG/VCG via Getty Images Despite Musk's checkered track record for delivering on his promises, the fact remains that Tesla has a lot of satisfied customers. That's true even for a group of customers who have personally paid a steep price for one of Musk's so far unkept promises: purchasers of the "full self-driving" package. Tesla didn't just promise full self-driving capabilities in October 2016; the company began pre-selling a self-driving software package to customers for $3,000 or more. Customers who bought this package in 2016, 2017, or 2018 have gotten little or nothing for their money. While Tesla has released major new features like Navigate on Autopilot and Smart Summon, these upgrades have also gone to customers who only purchased the basic Enhanced Autopilot package during the same time period. Yet when I talked to some of them about the situation in October 2018, I was surprised to find most weren't upset about it. Elon Musk "usually always delivers, but his deadlines aren't always the most accurate," Model 3 owner Charles Scott told me. Scott recognized that Musk operated on "Elon time" and was unlikely to develop full self-driving technology as quickly as he claimed. But Scott said that he would enjoy seeing the technology improve over time. In his mind, paying for the full self-driving package before it was ready was "sort of like getting an early ticket to the show." Scott's viewpoint wasn't universally shared. Another customer who bought the full self-driving package with his Model S in October 2016 told me that he had taken Tesla's optimistic marketing at face value and felt burned after two years without anything to show for it. But most of the people I talked to for that 2018 story were still happy Tesla customers. And that's been true more broadly: despite a string of broken promises, Tesla has an enthusiastic and growing customer base. Tesla also continues to enjoy the confidence of Wall Street. In its most recent fundraising round, Tesla raised $2 billion from public markets without breaking a sweat. It's not hard to see why. For all its faults, Musk and Tesla have accomplished amazing things over the last 15 years. Tesla really has accelerated the transition to electric vehicles by demonstrating how to build electric cars people want to buy. Tesla's vehicles are both environmentally responsible and fun to drive. Given that overall record of accomplishment, customers are willing to cut Musk a lot of slack on some of Musk's specific promises. It's hard to have rational discussions on the Internet In a reasonable world, people could acknowledge both Tesla's huge contribution to advancing electric vehicle technology and the significant ways it has fallen short of its own hype. Unfortunately, the modern Internet is not a reasonable place. The centrifugal force of social media has turned online discussion of Tesla—like most other topics—into an angry, polarized flamewar. Tesla has long been known for its enthusiastic fan base, but their ranks have swelled in recent years. Today there's an entire ecosystem of news sites, online forums, and YouTube channels devoted to pro-Tesla advocacy. Opposing them are a community of Tesla skeptics that has organized around the hashtag TESLAQ—a "Q" is conventionally added to a company's stock ticker after it has gone bankrupt. Enlarge / Ed Niedermeyer Sharad Vegda "The people who tweet about [Tesla] the most are basically in one camp or the other," Niedermeyer says. True believers from the pro- and anti-Tesla camps scour the Internet looking for evidence that Tesla is poised for either bankruptcy or for spectacular success. "You get people believing the most absurd conspiracies." While Niedermeyer aligns more with the Tesla skeptics, he's frustrated by the amount of groupthink exhibited on both sides of the debate. "For a lot of people there is nothing more important than Tesla," he says. But "there are so many important lessons to be learned that have resonance way beyond Tesla." For example, one of Niedermeyer's core insights is that Tesla is trying to apply the freewheeling culture of a Silicon Valley startup to the car industry. That's a problem, Niedermeyer argues, because efficient car manufacturing requires a high degree of regimentation. A software company can easily revert a bad change in the next version. But a bad manufacturing decision can easily lead to millions of dollars in waste. Musk learned this lesson the hard way when he tried to pioneer a new style of manufacturing that made more extensive use of automation. The result was a fiasco. "Excessive automation at Tesla was a mistake," Musk said of the Model 3 production process in April 2018. "Humans are underrated." Critics argue that Tesla would have made fewer mistakes if it had listened more to experts over the years. On the other hand, if Tesla's founders had listened to experts, they might not have started Tesla in the first place. Most experts in 2003 would have said that it wasn't practical to start a new American car company—and especially not an electric car company. But Tesla's founders did it anyway. They made a lot of mistakes—but they also gained invaluable knowledge that helped make Tesla what it is today. "Reporters are going to question the company" Enlarge Tesla Unfortunately, online discussions of Tesla rarely delve into deep questions about the company's engineering feats or business culture. Rather, they tend to range from the banal to the conspiratorial. Tesla critics, for example, seem to be perpetually convinced that the company is on the verge of bankruptcy. For several months in late 2018 and early 2019, people tweeted about rumors that a secret, pending investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission was preventing Musk from raising more capital. Then Tesla easily raised $2 billion in May 2019 and these rumors evaporated. At the same time, many Tesla fans are convinced that all criticism of their beloved company is bankrolled by short-sellers or competitors. And these suspicions aren't always wrong—some Tesla critics are openly short selling the stock. But these suspicions are often wrong. Niedermeyer says that contrary to Tesla's insinuations, he's never had a financial stake in Tesla's success or failure. It doesn't take ulterior financial motives to explain why journalists spend time reporting on Tesla and uncovering the company's missteps. Kirsten Korosec is a reporter at Techcrunch and Niedermeyer's co-host (along with writer and Internet personality Alex Roy) on a popular automotive podcast called the Autonocast. While Niedermeyer is the podcast's resident Tesla skeptic, Korosec plays the role of a straight-shooting traditional reporter. Talking with Ars, she argued that reporters who cover Tesla critically are often just doing their job. Tesla has "become a symbol of innovation and the little guy, but they're not the little guy any more," she says. "They employ 40,000 people." Korosec pointed out that Tesla has largely brought heightened media scrutiny on itself. Tesla has long eschewed conventional advertising, relying instead on media coverage to help drive attention and sales. "When you open the door to that, you have to expect that reporters are also going to question the company," she argued. "That's our job. Our job is to ask questions." Often that means highlighting cases where Tesla hasn't lived up to Musk's grandiose pronouncements. But at the same time, we shouldn't lose sight of the big picture. Despite a number of broken promises, Tesla has accomplished an incredible amount over the last 15 years. And today, there's every reason to believe we—customers, Internet enthusiasts, journalists, and curious onlookers alike—will have plenty more Tesla to talk about for the foreseeable future. Correction: this story originally implied that early "full self-driving" customers have gotten software upgrades not available to those who didn't buy the package at the time, but that was mistaken. Source: Why customers love Tesla despite its many mistakes (Ars Technica)
  7. Elon Musk, Man of Steel, reveals his stainless Starship "Honestly, I'm in love with steel." First image of article image gallery. Please visit the source link to see all images. BOCA CHICA BEACH, Texas—Elon Musk spoke about his vision of a brighter future for humanity on Saturday evening, in South Texas. Musk acknowledged that there are a lot of problems here on Earth, and it is important for those to get fixed. But it also is important to give people hope for the future, and sense of optimism. He believes the exploration of space, and human expansion into the Solar System, provides this kind of a hopeful vision. And so, beneath a big Texas sky full of stars, he offered hope in the form of a large spaceship. Mere hours after a team of SpaceX engineers, technicians, and contractors completed assembly of a prototype of the Starship vehicle, Musk revealed it to the world. He did so in an open-air shipyard, hard by the Rio Grande River, where he intends to build dozens if not hundreds of Starship spacecraft. The prototype loomed behind Musk as he addressed a crowd of a few hundred people, including employees, local residents from Brownsville and surrounding towns, as well as members of the media. Earlier, as the Sun dipped below the horizon, reddish hues glinted off the Starship's surface. As night fell and Musk climbed onto a small dais, it rose tall, dark and imposing. "This is the most inspiring thing that I have ever seen," said Musk, dressed in a black blazer, t-shirt, and jeans, of the towering spaceship. The crowd cheered. In the moment, Mars seemed a little closer than it had before. Progress Three years ago, Elon Musk took the stage in Guadalajara, Mexico, to share the full scope of his Mars ambitions for the first time. He spoke of building a large, interplanetary spaceship—it was not yet named Starship— and a large rocket booster with dozens of engines that would carry 100 people to Mars at a time. At the time, it seemed audacious, mad, and brilliant at the same time. But mostly the vision seemed like science fiction. Standing in a field in South Texas on Saturday night, it felt a little more like science, and a little less like fiction. Three years ago, the idea of flying 37 engines on a single rocket seemed fanciful. And then, in early 2018, the company launched with Falcon Heavy with 27 engines. Three years ago, the notion of landing and re-flying a large rocket multiple times seemed distant. But now SpaceX has done this dozens of times. But most futuristic of all seemed the notion of a 50-meter tall spaceship that could launch into space, fly on to the Moon or Mars, and return to Earth. And yet this was what Musk put on display with the Starship Mk 1 vehicle. Soon, perhaps within one or two months, it will launch to an altitude of 20km. Simultaneously, the company is building a second prototype, Mk 2, in Cocoa, Florida. It will start work on a third version in Texas later this fall, and so on. Each design will iterate on the last. Engineers will look for ways to shave mass—the Mk 1 prototype weighs 200 tons, and SpaceX would like to eventually cut the overall mass to 110 tons to maximize Starship's lift capacity. Ultimately, a slimmed-down Starship should be able to lift 150 tons of payload into low-Earth orbit, Musk said. Its first orbital flight, launched by a big booster named Super Heavy, could come next year. This payload capacity is more than any other launch system built before, and would be especially remarkable given that SpaceX has designed both the booster and Starship to be fully reusable. "A rapidly reusable orbital rocket is only barely possible given the physics of Earth," Musk said. Man of steel During the presentation, Musk offered several updates on changes to Starship's design. However he spent the most time discussing the use of stainless steel as the skin of the vehicle. "Stainless steel is by far the best design decision we have made," he said. Yes, Musk said, steel is heavier than carbon composite or aluminum-based materials used in most spacecraft, but it has exceptional thermal properties. At extremely cold temperatures, stainless steel 301 does not turn brittle; and at the very high temperatures of atmospheric reentry, it does not melt until reaching 1500 degrees Centigrade. Starship therefore requires only a modest heat shield of glass-like thermal tiles. Elon Musk Starship presentation. Another benefit is cost, which matters to a company building Starships on its own dime, with the intent to build many of them. Carbon fiber material costs about $130,000 a ton, he said. Stainless steel sells for $2,500 a ton. "Steel is easy to weld, and weather resistant," Musk added. "The evidence being that we welded this outdoors, without a factory. Honestly, I'm in love with steel." NASA watches NASA has followed the progress of Starship from afar, investing almost nothing in a vehicle that has the potential to revolutionize human spaceflight—as well as to dramatically bring down the costs of launch. On Friday, the eve of Musk's Starship presentation in Texas, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine even splashed some cold water on the proceedings. Bridenstine noted that SpaceX was one of NASA's partners in the commercial crew program, intended to launch astronauts to the International Space Station. "NASA expects to see the same level of enthusiasm focused on the investments of the American taxpayer," Bridenstine said of SpaceX's apparent zeal for Starship. "It's time to deliver." Asked about this, Musk replied that the company is only investing about 5 percent of its human resources into developing Starship. The bulk of the company's 6,000 employees are working on the Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft to be used for the commercial crew program, he said. A timeline After the event, as the hour approached 11pm local time, Musk offered some additional insight during an interview with Ars. Seated alongside the company's principal Mars development engineer, Paul Wooster, Musk expounded upon his timeline for going to the Moon and Mars. "It depends on whether development remains exponential. If it remains exponential, it could be like two years," Musk said of landing on the Moon. A cargo trip to Mars could happen by 2022, due to the availability of launch windows, he added. "I mean these are just total guesses, as opposed to checking a train schedule." First image of article image gallery. Please visit the source link to see all images. SpaceX is funding the Starship project with its own money. Some of that comes from positive cash flow from satellite launches. The company has also raised nearly $1 billion from private investors in recent months, and it has also received an undisclosed payment from Japanese Billionaire Yusaku Maezawa as the first customer for a mission to lunar orbit and back. "I think we're able to see a path to getting the ship to orbit, and maybe even doing a loop around the Moon," Musk said. "Maybe we need to raise some more money to go to the Moon or landing on Mars. But at least getting the Starship to an operational level in low Earth orbit, or around the Moon, I feel like we're in good shape for that." Life support A common question about Starship is how the company plans to keep people alive on board the vehicle when it is flying crew instead of cargo missions. SpaceX has some experience with life support after developing the Crew Dragon spacecraft for NASA. "We definitely have learnt a lot, and we would do it differently," Musk said. "The Dragon life support system is not really all that renewable. It's basically mostly expendable." For example, Dragon uses lithium hydroxide as a "scrubber" to remove carbon dioxide exhaled by humans, producing lithium carbonate and water as byproducts. This is perfectly adequate for four people for four days, and perhaps could even be used for short missions around, and to the surface of the Moon. But using Starship to go to Mars would require six months for a journey there, and up to 2.5 years for a roundtrip mission. With as many as 100 people on board the vehicle, that would require a regenerative life support system that will, Musk acknowledged, "take a bit of work." Urgency Earlier this month, the senior Senator from Alabama, Richard Shelby, offered a congratulatory tweet to NASA. "Good news," Shelby wrote, noting agency technicians had joined five structures together that make up the core stage of the Space Launch System. "This is the first time since the Apollo program that a rocket of this size has been joined together—a milestone accomplishment," Shelby added. Four rocket engines must still be attached to the core stage before it is complete. But then, finally, the key component of NASA's mammoth rocket should be ready to undergo ground-based testing. To be sure, NASA and the core stage contractor, Boeing, are to be commended for a technical achievement. However, one might reasonably ask what took so long to get to this point. In the spring of 2014, I visited the Michoud Assembly Facility, based in southern Louisiana. Already, technicians were building barrels for the Space Launch System rocket's core stage. And NASA was investing tens of millions of dollars to modernize Michoud to produce the rocket. At the time, an aerospace analyst for the Rand Corporation, Peter Wilson, explained that, "They’re throwing the money into this program, into places like Michoud, to make it very expensive to change course." NASA has not changed course. And after at least 5.5 years, during which time NASA has spent more than $10 billion on the SLS rocket, they are finally almost done assembling that first core stage, consisting of two large fuel tanks, four main engines, and all of a rocket's associated plumbing. One answer to the question of why this has taken so long, and required so much money, is that there has been a lack of urgency. Large complex development programs—like, say, super heavy lift rockets—work best with low levels of funding during the design phase, a spike during development, and then diminished funding during flight production. Instead, after Congress created the SLS rocket program with a baseline of about $2 billion a year, it kept funding at more or less flat levels plus inflation. This is great strategy for creating and sustaining jobs, but a poor way to go about rocket development. SpaceX's Starship prototype, fabricated in a field in South Texas in five months, offers a counter example to what a sense of urgency can accomplish. The SLS rocket core stage, consisting of four space shuttle main engines, measures 64.6 meters tall, with a diameter of 8.4 meters. The Starship Mk1 vehicle is 50.0 meters tall, with a diameter of 9.1 meters. So they are roughly the same size. Neither is the complete rocket. On the launch pad, the SLS will have two very large side-mounted solid-rocket boosters, derived from the space shuttle. And Starship is actually the upper stage of SpaceX's next-generation rocket, Super Heavy. By itself, the SLS core stage cannot get to orbit. In fact, according to physicist Scott Manley, without its side-mounted boosters a fully-fueled SLS core stage cannot even lift off the launch pad. The SpaceX Starship prototype, with three Raptor engines instead of a full complement of six, also cannot get to orbit. But it should be able to reach at least 25 to 30km, said Manley, who has a popular rocket science YouTube channel. The SLS rocket remains a couple of years from its maiden flight. Starship, however, will likely make a 20km flight in November, Musk said. Perhaps the biggest difference between the two new rockets is the velocity of their development. The SLS core stage, which uses heritage technology from the space shuttle, including its main engines, has taken at least 5.5 years to build, and billions of dollars. Starship Mk 1 didn't even exist until this spring, and it may leap off the pad before year's end. The appears to underscore the value of urgency and clarity of purpose. At SpaceX the urging comes from the top. As Musk said of schedules on Saturday night, "tight is right, long is wrong." And Starship has a clear exploration purpose as well, allowing humans to settle other worlds, and fuel optimism in humanity's future. Listing image by Trevor Mahlmann for Ars Source: Elon Musk, Man of Steel, reveals his stainless Starship (To view the article's image galleries, please visit the above link)
  8. Tesla Inc. committed a series of violations of the National Labor Relations Act in 2017 and last year, a judge ruled Friday. The electric-car maker illegally threatened and retaliated against employees, according to Amita Baman Tracy, an administrative law judge in California. A tweet that Elon Musk sent in May 2018, which suggested employees who chose to join a union would give up company-paid stock options, was among the incidents the judge ruled were in violation of the law. Musk wrote: “Nothing stopping Tesla team at our car plant from voting union. Could do so tmrw if they wanted. But why pay union dues & give up stock options for nothing? Our safety record is 2X better than when plant was UAW & everybody already gets healthcare.” Nothing stopping Tesla team at our car plant from voting union. Could do so tmrw if they wanted. But why pay union dues & give up stock options for nothing? Our safety record is 2X better than when plant was UAW & everybody already gets healthcare. — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 21, 2018 The judge’s order calls for Tesla to offer reinstatement and back pay to a fired, pro-union employee, and to revoke a warning issued to another union supporter. The ruling also calls for the company to hold a meeting at its assembly plant in Fremont, Calif., that Musk must attend. Either he or an agent with the labor board must read a notice to employees informing them that the NLRB concluded that the company broke the law. Representatives for Tesla, which had denied wrongdoing, didn’t immediately comment. The ruling was issued in response to complaints filed by the United Auto Workers union. The judge’s ruling can be appealed to NLRB members who are presidential appointees based in Washington, a prospect that all sides have suggested is basically inevitable. “This will be appealed no matter what I decide,” Tracy said at one point during the trial last year in Oakland. The NLRB is limited in its ability to punish companies found to have violated labor law. While the agency can require that companies reinstate and pay back wages to workers who were illegally fired, it can’t assess punitive damages or hold executives personally liable for violations. Still, the judge’s ruling against Tesla offers grist to UAW supporters in making their case to workers and elected officials in California who have sought to tie electric-vehicle subsidies to companies’ workplace practices. “This entire trial is an infomercial in an effort to place Mr. Musk and the company in a negative light,” Mark Ross, a Tesla attorney, said at the start of the proceedings in June 2018. Source
  9. (Reuters) - Silicon Valley billionaire Elon Musk tweeted here late on Sunday that he had "just deleted" his Twitter account, while also changing his Twitter display name to "Daddy DotCom". Sunday, June 16 was Father’s Day in the United States and the Tesla Inc chief has a history of being playful with his Twitter account, one of corporate America’s most-watched. In February, Musk briefly changed his display name to “Elon Tusk” and added an elephant tag to his account. Musk has previously been accused by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for disclosing misleading corporate information about Tesla on Twitter. Under a settlement with the regulator, he is required to have a securities lawyer to review tweets that have material information about the company before publishing. Source
  10. Elon Musk confirms SpaceX is building multiple Starships He tweets that the company is building them at different sites to see if one is better than the other. Elon Musk says that SpaceX is building Starships at two sites. Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images It turns out that SpaceX is working on not one, but two Starships at the same time. "SpaceX is doing simultaneous competing builds of Starship in Boca Chica Texas & Cape Canaveral Florida," SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk said in a tweet Tuesday. Musk then answered a few questions on Twitter, saying that the competition will help SpaceX figure out which location is better for building -- and that the answer might be both. In November, Musk changed the name of its Big Falcon Rocket to Starship. Meanwhile, SpaceX is working on its Starlink mission to bring broadband to the world, starting with the launch of 60 satellites into orbit. The launch, which was rescheduled because of high winds Wednesday, is supposed to take place Thursday. Source
  11. The AchieVer

    Elon Musk reaches deal over tweets

    Elon Musk reaches deal over tweets Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES Image captionElon Musk has not hidden is contempt for the markets regulator in the US The US financial markets regulator has resolved its row with Tesla chief executive Elon Musk over his use of Twitter. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) accused Mr Musk of breaching a court order to not share information which could impact the financial markets, without pre-approval. Earlier this month a judge ordered the SEC, Tesla and Mr Musk to come to an agreement, rather than sending the matter through the courts. That agreement, made public today by the SEC, adds greater clarity to the restrictions on Mr Musk’s communications, on Twitter or elsewhere. It states that Mr Musk may not, without approval of Tesla’s legal team, share information about: The company's financial condition, statements, or results, including company earnings or guidance on its financial future; Any potential or proposed mergers, acquisitions or related business deals; Production numbers or sales or delivery numbers that differ from what the company’s official statements have already stated; Or new or proposed business lines that differ from what the firm does already, which the SEC characterized as "vehicles, transportation, and sustainable energy products”; Details on regulatory findings that have not already been made public. Neither Mr Musk, nor Tesla, has yet commented on the agreement. Costly tweeting Mr Musk found himself the subject of the SEC’s ire after tweeting, last August, that he planned to make Tesla a private company and that he had the “funding secured” to do so. That message - later characterised as being a joke - ended up being extremely costly. US authorities ordered Tesla and Mr Musk to each pay a $20m (£15.2m) fine and forced Mr Musk to relinquish his role as chairman for three years. Mr Musk and Tesla also agreed to implement new oversight on the 47-year-old’s Twitter habit. However, in February he tweeted that Tesla would make “make around 500k” cars in 2019. The SEC argued that this constituted a previously undisclosed projection in breach of the agreement. Mr Musk later added a clarification, and argued that the numbers were already public. He then said: "Something is broken with SEC oversight." It was not the first time Mr Musk has displayed his disapproval of the regulator. "I want to be clear,” he told CBS 60 Minutes in December. "I do not respect the SEC." News of the latest settlement saw Tesla’s stock rise modestly in after-hours trading on Friday. However, the price has dropped sharply this week due to Tesla posting worse-than-expected earnings on Thursday. Source
  12. Elon Musk says Tesla will make a leaf blower, for some reason The CEO is a hammer and even life's littlest annoyances are nails. Elon has an idea for some extra Tesla parts. Tesla Motors, screenshot by Antuan Goodwin/CNET When most of us are faced with the mundane irritants of daily life, like traffic or loud yard appliances, the best antidote is a rich mindfulness practice. But if you happen to be Elon Musk, the solution seems to be throwing tons of cash and young engineersat fixing whatever bothers you. It appears the Tesla founder and CEO or some of his many acquaintances were recently annoyed by a particularly loud leaf blower. On Tuesday evening Musk tweeted, apparently apropos of nothing, that "Tesla is going to develop a quiet, electric leafblower." It smacks a bit of Musk's 2016 tweet that launched The Boring Company: "Traffic is driving me nuts. Am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging..." It's unclear if quiet leaf blowers could be a whole new product line for Tesla, or something more like the limited run of "not flamethrowers" that were sold to raise money for The Boring Company. Tesla didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. In response to later tweets Tuesday, Musk added that an electric leaf blower has "been suggested by many, externally & internally (to Tesla)." Of course, there are electric leaf blowers already on the market, but Musk says he just might have the parts lying around: "We can probably just repurpose Model 3 HVAC parts. Not a big deal." Source
  13. Tesla gets restraining order on short-seller who photographed employees A strange new development in Elon Musk’s war with Tesla short-sellers Photo by James Bareham / The Verge Tesla has hit one of its prominent Twitter critics and short-sellers of the company with a restraining order — the same person who recently spotted and photographed a Model 3 being filmed by Tesla ahead of a planned “autonomy investor day” on April 22nd. The company was granted the temporary restraining order by the Alameda County Superior Court in California on Friday, which was first spotted by PlainSite.org. It’s not clear if the restraining order has been served. Tesla claims California resident Randeep Hothi “stalked, harassed, and endangered” three of its employees who were driving the Model 3 on a Bay Area highway this past week. The company says Hothi “pursued these employees on the public highway for about 35 minutes, variously driving ahead of, beside, and behind them, and swerving dangerously close to the vehicle.” Tesla claims Hothi even swerved close enough to the Model 3 that the car’s crash avoidance safety feature was triggered. THE SHORT-SELLER “STALKED, HARASSED, AND ENDANGERED” TESLA EMPLOYEES, THE COMPANY SAYS The carmaker also claims that, in February, Hothi struck one of its employees while trespassing and surveilling the company’s Fremont, California factory. It says Hothi didn’t stop and “fled the scene.” Hothi has to stay at least 100 yards away from Tesla’s Fremont factory or the employees named in the restraining order. He also has to stay 10 yards away from any Tesla vehicle with manufacturer plates within five miles of the factory. The order is effective until May 7th, when a hearing is scheduled. Neither Tesla nor Hothi responded to requests for comment. Posting under the username @skabooshka, Hothi published images of the Model 3 on Twitter on Thursday. He noted there were cameras mounted to the rear and inside the car, and theorized that the Model 3 was being filmed for Monday’s event. He claimed he saw the car violate speed limits, and noted it performed simple tasks like lane changes, implying Tesla might misrepresent the footage at Monday’s event. Hothi is, according to his Twitter account, one of many Tesla short-sellers. Short-sellers are people who bet money that a company’s stock price will go down. The ones who focus on Tesla have built a thriving community on Twitter, where they collaborate around the hashtag #TSLAQ to try and identify what they believe is fraudulent activity by the company and its CEO, Elon Musk. MUSK HAS A LONG HISTORY BATTLING TESLA SHORTS Musk has a long history taunting people who short Tesla’s stock. He’s promised to “burn” them a number of times over the past few years, and he and his companyeven previously doxxed one of the most prominent anonymous short-sellers on Twitter, a user with the name @MontanaSkeptic. By filing for the restraining order on Friday, and including the information about @skabooshka’s Model 3 tweets, Musk’s company has again outed one of its most prominent short-sellers. Tesla says Hothi’s actions go beyond photographing the Model 3 test. In its original petition for the restraining order, Tesla said Hothi “has a history of trespassing at Tesla’s facilities,” and that he “unlawfully” took photos and videos of those places and uploaded them to Twitter. Hothi and other Tesla short-sellers often post photos and videos of employee parking lots in an effort to estimate whether the company is operating at full production. They also photograph parking lots that Tesla uses to hold inventory, which they say offers insight into how much demand there is — or isn’t — for the company’s cars. Much of their crowdsourced research winds up on the website tslaq.org. Shortly after PlainSite made the restraining order public, Musk replied to a 2018 tweet accusing Hothi as the person behind the @skabooshka account. That tweet links to a document on an image hosting site that accuses Hothi of attacking Tesla because his brother allegedly works for Volkswagen. “This is extremely messed up. @VW, what’s going on?” Musk wrote. (Last August, the Wall Street Journal reported that Musk emailed Volkswagen Group’s CEO asking if “a Volkswagen employee was criticizing Tesla on Twitter, using a fake name.” Musk told the Journalthat “Diess replied saying it was the guy’s brother. That’s pretty much it.”) “I will not rest. This is my promise,” the @skabooshka account posted Saturday evening. “Tesla is a zero. @elonmusk will go to prison.” Source
  14. Elon Musk on Tesla's Autopilot: In a year 'a human intervening will decrease safety' Elon Musk reckons Tesla has already won the race for fully autonomous vehicle technology. Tesla CEO Elon Musk reckons autonomous driving technology is so advanced that within a year humans would be worse off taking over a vehicle's control. Musk made the prediction in an interview with MIT researcher Lex Fridman, who published a recent study on "driver functional vigilance" when using Tesla Autopilot. Musk boasted that Telsa's technology was "vastly ahead of everyone", which would include Waymo and GM-backed Cruise Automation, and that "right now this seems like game, set and match". He believes Tesla's technology is almost at the point where allowing humans to steer the vehicle would be more dangerous than relying on Autopilot. "I think it will become very, very quickly, maybe even towards the end of this year – but I'd say, I'd be shocked if it's not next year at the latest – that having a human intervene will decrease safety," predicted Musk. His vision is that once Autopilot is proven to be 200 percent safer than a human driver, allowing the human to take control would increase danger. Musk goes on to compare self-driving cars to elevators, which once upon a time required an elevator operator. "Now no one wants an elevator operator because the automated elevator stops at the floors and it's much safer than the elevator operator," said Musk. The rate of improvement in self-driving car capabilities was "exponential", according to Musk, who argued that there'd be no need for camera-based monitoring of the driver. Fridman questioned Musk about why Tesla allows drivers to use Autopilot in a much broader range of driving conditions compared with the Cadillac Super Cruise system, which the researcher found was "very constrained" and "much narrower" than the operational design domain (ODD) employed in Tesla's system. Fridman commented that Tesla is allowing drivers to use its self-driving capabilities "basically anywhere". However, Musk clarified that drivers can use it "anywhere that [the vehicle] can detect lanes with confidence". "Frankly it's pretty crazy allowing people to drive a two-ton death machine manually," said Musk. "That's crazy, like, in the future people will be like, 'I can't believe anyone was just allowed to drive one of these two-ton death machines, and just drive it wherever they wanted…'. It's going to seem like a mad thing in the future that people were driving cars." The Tesla boss is a lot more upbeat about self-driving technology than Ford CEO Jim Hackett who this week said the company "overestimated the arrival of autonomous vehicles. Ford still plans on releasing a self-driving car in 2021 but "its applications will be narrow, what we call geofenced, because the problem is so complex". Musk brushed aside questions about Tencent Keen Security Lab's research demonstrating that small objects, such as stickers, could trick a Tesla to drive into oncoming traffic. "It's very easy to block that by having anti or negative recognition. If the system sees something that looks like a matrix hack, exclude it. It's such a easy thing to do," said Musk. "People have no idea about neural nets, you know, they probably think it's a fishing net or something." Source
  15. The SEC says Elon Musk is in ‘blatant violation’ of securities fraud settlement The commission reiterated its request for Musk to be held in contempt of court Monday The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) says Elon Musk hasn’t made a “good faith” effort to comply with the settlement the two sides reached last yearover fraud charges related to his attempt to take Tesla private, according to a new court filing. The SEC reiterated its request Monday to have Musk held in contempt of court over a February 19th tweet that the commission says is a “blatant violation” of the settlement. Last week, Musk called the SEC’s contempt request an “unconstitutional power grab” and said that the tweet in question didn’t contain information that affected Tesla’s stock price. The two sides and the court have until March 26th to decide whether to hold a hearing to air out their differences. The SEC said Monday that it believes no such hearing is necessary because the facts of the case are not in dispute. THE SEC SAYS MUSK HASN’T GOTTEN HIS TWEETS ABOUT TESLA APPROVED BY AN IN-HOUSE LAWYER — A KEY TERM OF THE SETTLEMENT At the heart of the SEC’s argument is that Musk was supposed to have his public communications about Tesla — tweets included — pre-approved by a designated in-house lawyer as part of the settlement agreement signed last September. The SEC asked the court on February 25th to hold Musk in contempt for the February 19th tweet where he said Tesla will make “around 500,000” cars in 2019. The commission says this was “demonstrably material and inaccurate” because it went against Tesla’s own predictions for 2019, which were issued in late January. But the commission also learned from Tesla that Musk’s tweet had not been pre-approved by the in-house counsel in charge of reviewing his public communications, which it argues violates the terms of the settlement. In its filing on Monday, the SEC points to the fact that Tesla admitted, following the publication of that tweet, that the unnamed lawyer took “immediate response” to work with Musk to issue a correction — implying both that it was wrong and that Musk hadn’t followed the rules of the settlement. “Had Musk simply complied with the Court’s order and Tesla’s Court-ordered Senior Executives Communications Policy, the Designated Securities Counsel presumably would have caught his misstatement on the front end, and Musk would not have again disseminated inaccurate information about Tesla to 25 million people,” the SEC wrote Monday. MUSK’S CORRECTION, WHICH WAS WRITTEN WITH TESLA’S LAWYERS, HELPS PROVES HE VIOLATED THE SETTLEMENT, THE SEC SAYS The whole point of including this language in the settlement was to prevent Musk from tweeting off-the-cuff remarks that affected Tesla’s stock price, like he did last August when he said he had “funding secured” to take Tesla private at a share price of $420. A subsequent investigation by the SEC found that Musk had only held cursory talks with Saudi Arabia’s Sovereign Wealth Fund about putting up the billions of dollars necessary to pull off such a feat, and therefore was far from having any funding secured when he published that tweet. Musk eventually abandoned the go-private attempt in late august. But the announcement temporarily boosted the company’s value in the stock market, and also cost traders who bet against Tesla’s stock price thousands of dollars. The SEC sued him for securities fraud, and the two sides quickly reached a settlement. In addition to a $20 million fine, and the removal of Musk from his post as chairman of Tesla, the SEC’s settlement dictated that any of his public communications that could impact the company’s stock had to be approved. On Monday, the SEC said it wasn’t just the February 19th tweet that Musk didn’t get approved — it was every other tweet he’s published about Tesla since the settlement went into effect in mid-December, including ones about everything from Tesla’s refund policies, to the company’s pricing, to its plans for the Gigafactory in China, and more. “Musk’s unchecked and misleading tweets about Tesla are what precipitated the SEC’s charges, and the pre-approval requirement was designed to protect against reckless conduct by Musk going forward,” the commission wrote in its response Monday. “It is therefore stunning to learn that, at the time of filing [the request to hold Musk in contempt], Musk had not sought pre-approval for a single one of the numerous tweets about Tesla he published in the months since the Court-ordered pre-approval policy went into effect.” THE SEC SAYS IT’S “STUNNING TO LEARN” THAT MUSK HASN’T GOTTEN ANY OF HIS TESLA TWEETS PRE-APPROVED BEFORE PUBLISH The SEC isn’t just taking a stab in the dark here, either. Before it originally asked the court to hold Musk in contempt, the commission had asked Tesla to explain what happened before and after the February 19th tweet. It learned from Tesla that the in-house lawyer in charge of reviewing his communications was not pre-approving any of his tweets, and was only attempting to work with Musk to correct potentially material statements after the fact. The SEC tried to shoot down on Monday other arguments Musk has made against being held in contempt. In his response filed last week, Musk argued that there was room in the language of the settlement for him to use his own discretion as to what information was material or not to Tesla’s stock price. On Monday, the SEC said Musk never specifically identified “any language in the order or the Tesla Policy that grants him such discretion.” And as for Musk’s claim that the SEC settlement could be seen as a restriction on his right to free speech — a point he made during a December interview with 60 Minutes, where he also said he does “not respect the SEC” — the commission argued Monday that submitting written statements for pre-approval doesn’t mean Musk is prohibited from speaking. “As long as a statement submitted for pre-approval is not false or misleading, Tesla would presumably approve its publication without any restraint on Musk,” the SEC wrote. “And if the proposed statement is false or misleading, then any restraint on Musk’s speech would be constitutional even if it involved state action.” Source
  16. Elon Musk denies being in contempt of court Elon Musk has denied that a tweet about Tesla placed him in contempt of court. In February, he tweeted about Tesla's production ambitions, suggesting that in 2019 the carmaker would make 500,000 vehicles. However, he had previously agreed a settlement with the US financial regulator which restricted his use of social media to talk about the firm. This was following tweets about taking Tesla private, which upset investors and which he later retracted. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had asked the courts to hold him in contempt for violating the settlement following his tweet on 19 February. He later posted a second tweet clarifying that he expected deliveries for the year would be around 400,000 as previously estimated. In court documents Mr Musk's lawyer argues that "there is no basis to issue contempt sanctions against him". The tweet in question was "celebratory and forward-looking" the document continues, and was posted after markets had closed. It says that Mr Musk has curtailed the number of tweets he posts both generally and concerning Tesla, and this is proof that he is complying with the order. It also notes that there was no "meaningful" price reaction or a change in the volume of trade of Tesla's shares following the tweet. Source
  17. Elon Musk announces Tesla's CFO departure during earnings call The news sent shares prices dropping by 5.9 percent in late trading. Xinhua News Agency/Getty Images With a few minutes to go before Telsa's quarterly earnings call ended, Elon Musksurprised investors with news that chief financial officer Deepak Ahuja will be leaving the company. His role will be replaced by Tesla's vice president of finance, Zach Kirkhorn. Ahuja is retiring -- for the second time, reports Reuters. The news caused stocks to drop by as much as 5.9 percent in late trading, even as the earnings call promised lower prices of its Model 3 sedan with a new Model Y version. It's not the first time the electric car maker has seen high profile departures. Last September saw both chief accounting officer Dave Morton and head of human resources Gabrielle Toledano leaving to similar effect on Wall Street, as shares tanked by as much as 10 percent then. All is not doom and gloom, as the company did say that it's possible to post a profit in the first quarter of this year. Source
  18. Elon Musk jokes about Rick and Morty defense system for Teslas Let's just say other drivers will think twice before denting your car. "Keeping Summer safe" is a pretty bloody reference for Elon Musk to make. Adult Swim Tesla's Elon Musk knows his Rick and Mortyepisodes. On Saturday, Musk tweeted about the Adult Swim animated show -- with a rather grim reference. "Tesla Sentry Mode will play Bach's Toccata and Fugue during a robbery (and keep Summer safe)," the billionaire tweeted. Let's break down that sentence. Musk tweeted about Sentry Mode a few days ago, on Jan. 22, when a Tesla owner tweeted about a dent and wished the car featured "360 (degree) dash cam feature while parked." And a Tesla owner's wish is Musk's command, apparently, as he responded, "Tesla Sentry Mode coming soon for all cars with Enhanced Autopilot." Will Sentry Mode actually play Johann Sebastian Bach's iconic Toccata and Fugue, that famed-from-horror-movies classical tune you may think of as Dracula's theme? What exactly Sentry Mode entails is still mysterious. A Tesla rep told me in an email that the company wasn't ready to say more than what Musk tweeted. Engadget has surmised that Sentry Mode will feature "always-on dash cam function or will switch on automatically when it senses a blow or break-in to the vehicle." When asked about timing for the vehicle surveillance feature, Musk said on Friday he expected a "rough beta in two to three weeks." The Rick and Morty comment refers to a more violent form of vehicle protection. In a second-season episode of the show, Rick and Morty go inside the microverse battery of the Space Cruiser, and leave teenage Summer alone in the ship. Rick instructs the ship to "keep Summer safe," which it does, to bloody results. If you remember the slice-and-dice scene from 1997's Cube ... yeah, like that. Let's hope that Musk limits Sentry Mode's reaction to damage or theft to classical music, not Rick-style vengeance. And yes, the term "Sentry Mode" is likely to sound familiar to Marvel fans -- Iron Man uses the term for a feature that allows for remote-operation of his Mark XLIII armor. Rick and Morty writers are back at work, but there's still no date for the show's return. Source
  19. Our Tesla Model X pulled into a small parking lot behind an old kitchen cabinet store and came to a stop on a metal lift. Moments later, Elon Musk's vision for how to beat traffic congestion began to take shape. The lift slowly lowered our car into O'Leary Station, a circular hole Musk's Boring Company had dug in the parking lot in Hawthorne, California. A handful of Boring Company employees were gathered around the rim of the station, watching our descent. The lift settled at the bottom of the pit, and looking through the windshield the other three journalists and I saw what we'd come for — Musk's first tunnel, a 1.14-mile route built to experiment with underground transportation technology. Elon Musk wants the world to embrace electric cars, even if Tesla goes bankrupt Musk, the CEO of Tesla (TSLA) and SpaceX, had previously described the Boring Company, his tunnel business, as a hobby business that started as a joke. In 2016, a frustrated Musk said he planned to start digging tunnels to carve alternative routes to Los Angeles' congested highways. Why sit on a highway above ground when you could speed ahead under the ground? Now the joke has turned into something very real. The billionaire entrepreneur has started to deliver on his talk of offering a "weird little Disney ride in the middle of LA." Our Model X inched forward. It was fitted out with special protruding wheels that held the SUV in place between the tunnel walls. A Tesla sits at an entrance to the Boring Company's test tunnel. Red lights atop the tunnel suddenly turned green. The Model X jolted forward and we were off. The trip was bumpy at times as we jostled against the tunnel. The narrow space made the low speeds — we traveled mostly at 35 mph — feel faster. It felt like an amusement park ride. After about two minutes, the car emerged from the tunnel into a large pit in the parking lot of SpaceX. We walked out of the pit into the shadow of a medieval tower that Musk constructed as a tribute to Monty Python and the Holy Grail. In November, the Boring Company even advertised for a job for a watchtower guard. "We need a knight to yell insults at people in a French accent," Musk tweeted, a nod to a scene in the 1975 film. To mark the opening of the tunnel, Musk and the Boring Company threw a private party in the parking lot Tuesday night. It included a knight yelling insults, s'mores lit with flamethrowers and a speech from Musk. Aside from its quirky name and unusual job openings like "vice president of digital dancing," the Boring Company is attempting serious projects in Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington. The Boring Company has dug an entrance to its test tunnel in a corner of SpaceX's parking lot. Musk's 'eureka moment' Musk expressed confidence in the projects in a conversation with reporters Tuesday. "For me it was a eureka moment," he said of his first ride in the tunnel. "It was a epiphany, it's going to damn well work." The initial tunnel cost about $10 million, not including the cost of the tunneling machine and research and development. Musk expects a 15-fold improvement in tunneling speed as the Boring Company improves its digging machines. SpaceX launched 64 satellites in record-breaking mission But the company has encountered some setbacks recently. In November, it scrapped plans to develop another tunnel in Los Angeles following a lawsuit from neighborhood groups. Instead, it's focusing on a tunnelfrom the Los Feliz, East Hollywood or Rampart Village neighborhoods to Dodger Stadium. Eventually, Musk hopes to build a tunnel network throughout Los Angeles. In Chicago, the Boring Company was selected in June to tunnel a route from downtown to O'Hare Airport. But a contract hasn't been finalized yet, according to a spokesman for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Key details like the exact route and pricing remain unclear. In Washington, the Boring Company started to dig a square hole in a downtown parking lot this year. The site has been silent in recent months, aside from a covering over the hole. The tent-like structure collapsed this fall and was then removed. The Boring Company is working through an environmental review with regulators before it can build the route to Baltimore. The Boring Company's 1.14-mile tunnel is designed to test new transportation technologies. 'It's hard to understand what's real and what's not' Musk's ambitious projects have left nearby residents unsure what to think. The developers of a condo building next door to the Washington site told CNN they've debated if they could advertise proximity to a future Boring Company station as a selling point. Ultimately, they decided to hold off formally promoting the station. "It's the kind of thing that feels so far fetched it's hard to recognize it as an imminent reality," said Brook Katzen, senior vice president of development at Urban Investment Partners. "We don't want to sell homes based on a glimmer of hope." Weed, whiskey, Tesla and a flamethrower: Elon Musk meets Joe Rogan Tanner Woodford, executive director of the Design Museum of Chicago, which is a few floors above where the downtown Boring Company station would go, has been watching to see what Musk does next. "It's hard to understand what's real and what's not," Woodford said. "He could tell me he's putting a Christmas tree on Mars next week and I'd think that's about right. I have no idea what he's capable of." Musk acknowledged Tuesday that the Boring Company is a work in progress. "We're obviously at the early stages here. This is a prototype. We're figuring things out," he said. "I think there is a path to alleviating traffic congestion in cities." Musk presented an updated version of the Loop, the form of transportation he initially plans to use in the tunnels. The plan is to eventually shift some projects to Hyperloops, the high-speed capsule in a vacuum tube that Musk envisions whisking passengers from Washington to New York in 29 minutes. For now, Musk is focused on the Loop in which autonomous electric vehicles, such as the Tesla Model 3 or the unreleased Model Y, would transport passengers. Private vehicles (not just Teslas) would also be allowed in Musk's tunnels, provided they're outfitted with deployable tracking wheels that rub against the walls to hold vehicles in place. "This is not meant to be some walled garden or something that's special just for Tesla," Musk said. source
  20. Impressive, right? Here's the footage of the full run: Musk has since clarified that an actual, passenger-carrying hyperloop won't have that slightly dystopian strobe effect going on - that's just for testing. And the acceleration also wouldn't be so dramatic in a passenger version - this test tube is only 1.2 km (0.75 miles) long, and so the acceleration had to happen incredibly fast. In larger designs, the acceleration would be spread out comfortably, so passengers wouldn't even feel it while sipping a glass of wine in their sleek cabins. The hyperloop system works by using magnets to shuttle a levitating pod through a tube that contains a partial vacuum - allowing pods to accelerate without friction to speeds that would be impossible with air resistance. It was inspired by pneumatic mail tubes used more than 100 years ago. According to calculations, a fully-functioning hyperloop could reach speeds of more than 1,200 km/h (746 mph), which would rival commercial airplanes. Prototype hyperloop set-ups have already been built in Nevada and California, and full-scale models are proposed to connect New York City and Washington DC, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, as well as Paris and Amsterdam, in the coming years. There's even talk of taking hyperloop technology underwater, which would mean that cross-continental travel could be possible. If this is the future of travel, we're all in. https://www.sciencealert.com/elon-musk-just-shared-footage-of-a-hyperloop-accelerating-to-200mph-and-holy-crap?perpetual=yes&limitstart=1
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