All posts in “Spacex”

Elon Musk is donating a lot more money to the GOP than he is to the Dems

Someone send a submarine to rescue Elon Musk’s reputation.

It turns out the Tesla and SpaceX CEO has donated seven times as much to money to Republicans than Democrats since the beginning of 2017, according to Federal Election Commission data reviewed by HuffPost

Overall, Musk gave $88,900 to Republicans and $13,300 to Democrats, including more than $50,000 to a fundraising committee run by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican who doesn’t exactly hold the most enlightened views on climate change. 

That’s pretty strange company for Musk to keep, considering how deeply he purports to care about our climate. 

What’s Musk’s reason for donating so much money to the GOP? Days ago, the CEO attempted to defend himself against reports he gave nearly $40,000 to Protect the House, a political action committee that’s trying to maintain Republican control of the House, by explaining that the recipients of his donations would be “willing to listen” to him.

Yes, without those donations, Republican lawmakers would see Elon Musk’s name come up on their phones, roll their eyes, and ignore the call of a man worth around $20 billion. 

But now Musk has access. He can call up Republicans and say, “Hey, maybe don’t separate small children from their families?” Apparently, that’s a better way to spend your money than, you know, helping the campaigns of Democrats who might replace them. 

If the Democrats lose the midterm elections, it would be an absolute disaster for pretty much everyone except men like Elon Musk. The GOP has shown no desire to actually stop Trump’s train of incompetence and corruption, because, well, tax cuts and regulatory rollbacks. And if it keeps going at its current pace, no amount of humanitarian spending can undo the damage the party can unleash with another four years in power. 

Oh, and in case you were wondering, Elon Musk, in the grand tradition of wealthy men who love their money but don’t want to feel bad about it, classifies himself as an “independent.”

Figures.

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British rescuer threatens legal action against Elon Musk following ‘pedo guy’ tweet

Tesla and Space X CEO Elon Musk could face legal action from a British diver who he publicly called 'pedo guy.'
Tesla and Space X CEO Elon Musk could face legal action from a British diver who he publicly called ‘pedo guy.’

Image: Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images

If you’re the billionaire founder of several publicly traded companies, here’s an easy PR strategy: Never tweet. It’s not worth it.

Elon Musk may soon learn this lesson the hard way now that a British diver who helped rescue 12 Thai boys from the treacherous depths of a cave threatened Musk with a lawsuit on Monday. 

The threat comes only one day after Musk went on a Twitter rant, culminating in the Tesla and SpaceX CEO accusing the British rescuer of being a pedophile in a now-deleted tweet.

The rift between the British diver — Vern Unsworth — and Musk started heating up last week after the rescuer said in a television interview that he believed Musk’s interest in the cave rescue mission was a “PR stunt.”

Unsworth added that Musk’s mini-submarine strategy “had absolutely no chance of working” despite the billionaire’s claims on Twitter.

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In a Twitter rant on Sunday, Musk attacked Unsworth, referring to the rescuer as a “pedo,” a slang term used to describe pedophiles.

In the now-deleted tweet, Musk also requested video of the cave rescue, then promised proof that his rescue mission strategy with the miniature submarine would have actually worked: 

Never saw this British expat guy who lives in Thailand (sus) at any point when we were in the caves. Only people in sight were the Thai navy/army guys, who were great. Thai navy seals escorted us in — total opposite of wanting us to leave.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 15, 2018

You know what, don’t bother showing the video. We will make one of the mini-sub/pod going all the way to Cave 5 no problemo. Sorry pedo guy, you really did ask for it.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 15, 2018 

Only a few hours after his series of unhinged tweets, Musk deleted them. But that hasn’t been enough to satisfy Unsworth, who had reportedly been working around the clock in Thailand to save the 12 Thai kids and took offense to Musk’s self-appointed involvement.

“It’s not finished,” Unsworth said on Monday in a new interview with 7 News Sydney. When asked if he would consider taking legal action against Elon Musk, Unsworth answered, “Yes.”

The BBC reports Unsworth played a key role in the rescue effort, contrary to Elon Musk’s claims, and that Unsworth was one of the first people to travel into the caves in the first days after the boys went missing. The British diver reportedly helped recruit top international cave rescue experts for the mission as well.

Musk, who has recently made a habit of arguing with critics on Twitter, has been fiercely defending his involvement in the rescue mission. 

Last week, before the boys were successfully retrieved, Thai official Narongsak Osotthanakorn, who was in charge of the rescue mission’s command center, said that Musk’s miniature submarine was “not practical with our mission” though he thought the submarine was “technologically sophisticated.”

Musk responded by saying Mr. Osotthanakorn was “not the subject matter expert.” Major news outlets have reported otherwise.

As for how the feud between the British rescuer and Musk ends, it remains to be seen. Unsworth told AFP news that he will make a decision about whether to take legal action against Musk after flying back to the UK this week. Tesla shares fell in the wake of the controversy.

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Thai cave rescue saga shows how Elon Musk’s narcissism gets the best of him

Elon Musk’s kid-size submarine may have gone unused. But his efforts to help with the rescue of the Thai soccer team trapped in a cave were definitely useful for anyone trying to understand what motivates his eccentric genius.

Elon Musk has literally offered to move mountains in order to help save 12 children and their soccer coach on the other side of the world. 

His actions, the social media response, and his own defense of his involvement in the Thai cave saga, have prompted two big questions about the controversial inventor and mogul.

What was Elon really after in all of this? And what drives him to do the possibly maddening, certainly meddling, and often amazing, things that he does? 

The answer, of Musk’s own admission, is that he “might” be a narcissist who justifies his actions with the thought that he is contributing to the greater good. But it’s that same conviction that also gets Musk into the messy, unflattering positions, in which he so frequently finds himself these days.

The story of a Thai boys’ soccer team trapped in a flooded cave took an odd turn on July 4 when Elon Musk offered his services to help on Twitter. He did so in response to a plea for help from the Twitterverse. His initial answer was humble yet earnest, and he deferred to the efforts of the Thai government.

But then he sprung into action, commissioned the development of a whole new piece of technology, basically live-tweeted the construction and testing of the “kid-size submarine,” and deployed it to Thailand as a backup — where the rescuers ultimately didn’t end up using it.

That should have been the end of it; Musk, beneficent billionaire, really put his best foot forward. And while the tech wasn’t useful in that specific instance, it was appreciated and impressive. Ultimately, I thought, as of 10 a.m. Tuesday morning, it’s a good thing that there is a person in the world willing to move heaven and earth to save children. He was even willing to not take (much) credit.

But then, at 10:03 a.m., Musk went on a weirdly defensive Twitter rant in response to reports that his tech was ‘not practical.’ He provided email evidence that the mini-sub was both sanctioned and praised by rescuers. He insisted that it would be useful in the future. And he lamented that being labeled a “billionaire” was basically a slur. 

Elon, this was a win for you. You had managed to avoid making this rescue about you. What were you thinking?

The saga of the mini-sub left me wondering: what were Elon’s motivations for getting involved? This is a question on a lot of people’s minds. Since Musk first started working on possible rescue solutions, people on Twitter have been alternately lambasting him for egotistical busy-body-ness, and praising him for the big brains and surely huge sum of money he devoted to literally saving children. Several people I spoke with, and many people on Twitter, even seem to think it was all a publicity stunt. 

I was never in the publicity stunt camp. As I’ve watched Elon’s involvement begin and then deepen and then implode, I’ve come to believe he genuinely wanted to help, and also can’t resist an engineering challenge. He also probably believed that he really could make a difference. And, he had the financial and braintrust resources to make it happen; clearly, he’s the kind of guy that when he says jump, those around him say, “how high?”

Up until this morning, he managed to (mostly) stay above the fray about his motivations. His tweets had consisted of practical updates and demonstrations of the mini-sub. And, erm, some odd statements about the natural splendor of Thailand.

But then, the BBC and multiple news outlets published that Thai rescuers criticized the mini sub as “not practical.” And Musk’s Twitter tone changed.

Although he had previously said that his team hadn’t been useful “yet,” apparently allegations that the actual tech wasn’t useful — and that his help wasn’t wanted — was the last straw. 

The rant changed how I viewed the story. Even if Musk really had wanted to help, his publishing of the emails and negation of the “not practical” narrative added a gross look-at-me, give-me-credit sheen to his efforts that hadn’t overtly been there before. It had been about getting credit, after all. 

It’s easy to see why reports that his invention wasn’t useful pushed that Initiate Egotistical Tweet Storm button — the kind of Twitter storms that Musk has been more famous for lately than his world-changing inventions. The allegations that everything he’d done had been useless was too much for him — and one tweet shows why.

Over the weekend, Musk tweeted “If I am a narcissist (which might be true), at least I am a useful one.”

This tweet shows that Musk’s defense for what some would call narcissism, what others would call ambition-and-brains-in-action, is that he is ultimately doing good in the world. 

For Musk, that’s why it’s ok to skirt normal construction regulations in order to dig tunnels beneath Los Angeles. That’s why it’s okay to launch driverless cars that sometimes get in crashes. That’s why it’s okay to push your factory workers to the brink. That’s what gives him the confidence to think he might have answers that rescuers on the ground don’t. And that’s why it’s good and necessary to insist that some of the world’s top engineering talent work around the clock on a national holiday and weekend to create an extremely niche and timely piece of technology. It’s all for the greater good; it’s all “useful.”

This is an attitude that permeates much of the tech world in general: It wants to disrupt the way things are, and cut through government bureaucracy, because it believes in the conviction that it is making the world a better place — and that it knows better than the people standing in its way.

With many companies, this is problematic. The advent of Uber has jeopardized the livelihoods of cab drivers, and even caused suicides, so that getting a ride can be cheaper and easier for millennials. There are countless other examples of how tech “innovation” can hurt more than it helps.

But with Musk, the scope of his contributions means that that narrative may not be exactly the same. In Beverly Hills, I saw the preferred luxury car transform from a gargantuan, climate change-causing Range Rover, to a clean, lean, Tesla. That has trickled downmarket to nearly every other luxury car-maker. Electric vehicles are starting to replace luxury gas-guzzlers, and it might be thanks to Musk’s narcissism; he believed that he was the guy who could make an electric car cool, before every other automaker would do so. 

He is also, apparently, doing all of this to support what he believes to be the future of the human race on Mars. Even if you think that’s ridiculous, it definitely falls under the umbrella of the “greater good.”

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Then again, that egotism has also been responsible for a lot of Musk’s behavior that people most routinely criticize. He lashes out at the press when  he doesn’t like what reporters they write about him, which makes him look egotistical and petty. He has dismissed concerns about the way he treats his employees, which has made him appear cruel. Now, that same narcissism gave him the confidence to push ahead on the invention in less than a week of a mini-submarine that could save lives in the future. But the anger-tinged egotism also totally changed the narrative from one of Musk just trying to help, to one of Musk trying to take credit in the midst of a crisis. 

Elon Musk does not deserve the credit for rescuing the Thai boys — that, even Musk has acknowledged, goes to the actual rescuers. 

But maybe some appreciation is still due our generation’s alternately benevolent or volatile billionaire with, clearly, a bit of a God complex — fueled by a narcissistic motivation that both enables his greatness, and causes him to turn around and shoot himself in the foot, at least in the court of public opinion.

In Greek tragedy, every hero has a fatal flaw; the driving quality that formulaically pushes the story forward, and leads to the hero’s downfall. Elon Musk’s tweets, inventions, and tweets again, follow a formula as predictable as any ancient play.

And, it sure is fun to watch.

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Elon Musk tweets photos from cave where Thai soccer team is trapped

Me. It's about me.
Me. It’s about me.

Image: Brian Lawless/getty

Elon Musk is here to save the day, even though it’s probably not necessary

The CEO of Tesla and SpaceX was  — if his Twitter and Instagram accounts are to be believed — in Thailand on Monday touring the cave where a team of 12 soccer players, aged 11 to 16, became stuck with their coach on June 23. Musk says he’s there to help, and you better believe he brought his kid-sized submarine with him. 

Importantly, as of the time of this writing, eight of the 13 trapped people have already been saved by the heroic actions of rescue divers and support teams. Musk, who has been documenting his efforts to build the aforementioned sub to possibly help in the rescue, still clearly felt like he had something to offer. 

“Just returned from Cave 3,” tweeted the CEO. “Mini-sub is ready if needed.”

“Thailand is so beautiful,” he added.

Musk also acknowledged the hard work of the rescuers on the ground. Which, yes. 

Five people remain trapped in the cave, and according to the New York Times, the plan is to rescue them on Tuesday. 

No word on whether Musk and his kid sub will play a role. 

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Elon Musk is building a ‘kid-size submarine’ to rescue Thai kids trapped in cave

Elon Musk and SpaceX are working to rescue Thai soccer team trapped in cave.
Elon Musk and SpaceX are working to rescue Thai soccer team trapped in cave.

Image: Joshua Lott/Getty Images

Elon Musk is coming to the rescue.

The tech leader, along with SpaceX and Boring Company engineers, have been working with cave experts in Thailand to rescue the boys’ soccer team of 12 that’s been stuck in a cave system since June 23.

On Saturday, Musk tweeted an updated rescue plan, which essentially involves constructing “a tiny, kid-size submarine” that he plans to fly to Thailand.

Musk began his Saturday updates by discussing an “escape pod design” and “an inflatable tube with airlocks.” But as the day progressed, he settled on the idea of a mini-submarine.

“Primary path is basically a tiny, kid-size submarine using the liquid oxygen transfer tube of Falcon rocket as hull,” Musk tweeted. He claims that two divers will be able to carry the creation, and its size will allow it to fit through narrow gaps to navigate the cave system.

Musk was sure to share his admiration for the brave kids trapped in the cave and the team of divers that’s been working to rescue them and provide them with oxygen over the past few days.

When asked about the timeline of submarine construction, Musk, who was in Los Angeles working with the SpaceX team, explained he plans to complete construction in around eight hours and fly the sub to Thailand, which will take another 17 hours.

In another tweet Musk went on to describe more of the submarine’s features, which include four handles on the front and rear and several air tank connections.

In true Elon fashion, he also joked that he would add an MP3 player to help reduce stress. Though honestly, you can never truly tell when this man is joking, can you?

Musk has been following the story of the soccer team, tweeting his thoughts and offering to assist the Thai government in any way he could over the past week.

But time is ticking. One rescue diver, Petty Officer Saman Gunan of the Royal Thai Navy, died on Thursday. In addition, intense rain that could contribute to further flooding is expected to continue.

If Musk’s past social media updates are any indication of what’s to come, we have faith he’ll keep us all posted about the submarine’s progress.

Way to step up, Elon.

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