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Thread: Elon Musk

  1. #41
    Sure, but why Musk, besides the fact that his success makes him an easy target to criticize? It feels cheap to admonish the success of someone for want of something vastly greater. I concede in light of the further discussion in this thread that the man's not entirely harmless (though I remain somewhat skeptical of the idea that he is quite so influential in deluding people into false optimism about the direction capitalism is taking us).

    Although I do admit to unjustifiablely tearing into you to make my point. Sorry `bout that

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reverend Jones View Post
    Sure, but why Musk, besides the fact that his success makes him an easy target to criticize? It feels cheap to admonish the success of someone for want of something vastly greater. I concede in light of the further discussion in this thread that the man's not entirely harmless (though I remain somewhat skeptical of the idea that he is quite so influential in deluding people into false optimism about the direction capitalism is taking us).
    Well, for one, you don't have any cultlike appreciation of the Kochs. At least people recognize the antagonism there, well except maybe the residents of red states.

    Elon Musk is a talented engineer and entrepreneur, and works hard, and has many admirable qualities. He's competent at running a business. He seems like a personable fellow.

    As well, there were thousands, if not tens of thousands of people playing the entrepreneur game. People just as talented as him, who failed. People who pulled the right levers, spoke to the right people, but things just didn't work out. Elon Musk was successful, but he didn't have any special "Musk essence" that made PayPal better than every other startup. So I'm not just saying he "got lucky", because it does take a person of talent and work ethic to put the pieces together to be able to buy a lottery ticket, but that doesn't mean Elon Musk did anything to be chosen from the pool of hard working, talented people to become a billionaire.

    And it's therein that I find admiration of him skeptical. It's part of the American dream mythos. That success or failure in deed is a result of intrinsic qualities of the person. And that I'm to believe Elon's story, his life is worth paying attention to more than others simply because he won the success lottery. Most people don't really consciously pay attention to it, but when people heap praise or attention onto Elon, they're basically buying into this myth, that he's somehow a superior person with superior qualities that we should emulate. I think there are plenty of people who failed at everything that are just as admirable as he.

    Yet stuff like this exists. 20 pages too much of whatever stupid **** he does and says, as though I'm supposed to care. I don't. That type of article is pure "American Dream" myth, people disadvantaged by the system read that **** to try and get an inkling of what success tastes like. **** that, go do pushups, Elon can't help you.

    What is Elon Musk actually good for? Well, relative to other billionaires, at least his startups encourage competition, innovation, and otherwise aren't just pure rent-seeking bull****. OTOH, he is not exactly a bastion of ethical economics - just look at how he underpays high-skill workers, or abuses low-wage foreign workers, violates labor laws. He's a psychopath in all of the ways modern American CEOs are psychopaths, and holds no plaque for good behavior.

    So really what really I'm saying is, there's not that much about him to admire, or emulate. I mean, if you want to run a successful business at that scale in America today, you probably have to be that psychopathic in order to get investor money. But, that's not enough for me to act like he isn't the same kind of ****head CEO like everybody else.

    But, at least we get to pretend SpaceX will save humanity by taking us to another planet. Despite Elon being one of many actively participating in the destruction of civil life at home. Again, he's no Koch, but he's a ****ing capitalist, in the crudest sense of the term, and we need to acknowledge that it's bad.

    Quote Originally Posted by Reverend Jones View Post
    Although I do admit to unjustifiablely tearing into you to make my point. Sorry `bout that
    All good, no offense taken.

  3. #43
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    Two corrections.

    Musk isnít a talented engineer whatsoever. He is, at best, a self-taught programmer whose code was so sloppy that no professional software engineers were willing to work with him in that capacity. He doesnít really know anything about how to build the products heís selling, only that they should be built, and who the customer might be. Thatís an extremely rare and important gift, but a lot of people try to build him up like some real life Tony Stark genius inventor and that absolutely in no way even approximately represents what the real man is capable of doing.

    Second, oh my god yes he is totally a rent seeker. That was the point I was trying to get at before with the government stuff. I just didnít want to jump in right off with the negativity turned up to 11.

  4. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by Reid View Post
    As well, there were thousands, if not tens of thousands of people playing the entrepreneur game. People just as talented as him, who failed. People who pulled the right levers, spoke to the right people, but things just didn't work out. Elon Musk was successful, but he didn't have any special "Musk essence" that made PayPal better than every other startup. So I'm not just saying he "got lucky", because it does take a person of talent and work ethic to put the pieces together to be able to buy a lottery ticket, but that doesn't mean Elon Musk did anything to be chosen from the pool of hard working, talented people to become a billionaire.

    And it's therein that I find admiration of him skeptical. It's part of the American dream mythos. That success or failure in deed is a result of intrinsic qualities of the person. And that I'm to believe Elon's story, his life is worth paying attention to more than others simply because he won the success lottery. Most people don't really consciously pay attention to it, but when people heap praise or attention onto Elon, they're basically buying into this myth, that he's somehow a superior person with superior qualities that we should emulate. I think there are plenty of people who failed at everything that are just as admirable as he.
    Oh yes, this 1000%. I couldn't agree more. The man has clearly found a successful business formula that seems to be working for him (but see below), but building a cult of personality around him is not the answer! And yes, 99.999% of the hard work is done by unsung heroes, and at any rate the path to actual successful entrepreneurship is littered with people who are just as hard working or ingenious, but perhaps with more ethical qualms that hampered them from getting ahead at all costs, or simply had bad luck / timing.

    Yet stuff like this exists. 20 pages too much of whatever stupid **** he does and says, as though I'm supposed to care. I don't. That type of article is pure "American Dream" myth, people disadvantaged by the system read that **** to try and get an inkling of what success tastes like. **** that, go do pushups, Elon can't help you.
    Oooh, yeah, I remember that thing. ****ing bizarre.

    What is Elon Musk actually good for? Well, relative to other billionaires, at least his startups encourage competition, innovation, and otherwise aren't just pure rent-seeking bull****. OTOH, he is not exactly a bastion of ethical economics - just look at how he underpays high-skill workers, or abuses low-wage foreign workers, violates labor laws. He's a psychopath in all of the ways modern American CEOs are psychopaths, and holds no plaque for good behavior.

    So really what really I'm saying is, there's not that much about him to admire, or emulate. I mean, if you want to run a successful business at that scale in America today, you probably have to be that psychopathic in order to get investor money. But, that's not enough for me to act like he isn't the same kind of ****head CEO like everybody else.
    And now, about that 'rent seeking' stuff that Jon is talking about now. You know when I said that Musk had found a 'formula' for business success? I'm not one qualified to call it rent seeking or not, but to me it looks just like what Jon originally said: he's structured his companies around government incentives. Is this really something we should admire, seeing how he's basically just repackaged these incentives in the form of companies with sexy marketing and PR? My general feeling about such incentives is that they are supposed to shift the economics of a given market so that certain socially good things become financially feasible for firms in general... not to create a niche that gets immediately filled by some monolithic company on its way to carving out a monopoly for itself simply by aggressively cashing out on the incentives!

    But, at least we get to pretend SpaceX will save humanity by taking us to another planet. Despite Elon being one of many actively participating in the destruction of civil life at home. Again, he's no Koch, but he's a ****ing capitalist, in the crudest sense of the term, and we need to acknowledge that it's bad.
    Of course. There's nothing sustainable or green about abandoning earth just to colonize an even less inhabitable planet. None of it rings true, and when you think about it this way the whole thing seems kind of like a scam. I guess you could say he's helping advance the state of the art in launch vehicles, but is that really possible given how much he's trying to cut cost?

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reverend Jones View Post
    There's nothing sustainable or green about abandoning earth just to colonize an even less inhabitable planet. None of it rings true, and when you think about it this way the whole thing seems kind of like a scam.
    I'm not an Elon Musk apologist, but ????

    The idea is to colonize Mars so that, long-term, if either planet experiences some event that would extinctify humans (on that planet alone, of course), we've got our eggs in two baskets. What do you think "doesn't ring true?" It sounds like you misunderstood the idea. Whether or not you think it's a good idea is up to you, but the idea isn't to abandon Earth. And if you buy the Two Planet Species goal, then critiquing it on terms of whether or not it achieves "greenness" or "sustainability" for the Earth doesn't seem to make sense. Obviously it would be bad if the Quest to Colonize Mars left the Earth a barren, resource-stripped wasteland...

    I guess you could say he's helping advance the state of the art in launch vehicles, but is that really possible given how much he's trying to cut cost?
    Musk is helping to advance the state of the art in launch vehicles, chiefly by "how much he's trying to cut cost". Again, are they doing it as well as they could? Is it in the service of the right people? I don't know.

    I don't find it hard to believe Musk/SpaceX are being cagey, rent-seeking, unethical, poor employers, and all the rest, but I also don't find it hard to believe that Musk does think colonizing Mars is worth doing. I don't think SpaceX is a scam (to make lots of money, I assume you're saying?) in that sense, though I don't reject the arguments that the goal isn't worthwhile, or they're doing more harm than good in the service of it.

  6. #46
    Doesn't cloud cities on Venus make more sense? That seems like a better narrative arc for our species to me.

  7. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by saberopus View Post
    I'm not an Elon Musk apologist, but ????

    The idea is to colonize Mars so that, long-term, if either planet experiences some event that would extinctify humans (on that planet alone, of course), we've got our eggs in two baskets. What do you think "doesn't ring true?" It sounds like you misunderstood the idea. Whether or not you think it's a good idea is up to you, but the idea isn't to abandon Earth. And if you buy the Two Planet Species goal, then critiquing it on terms of whether or not it achieves "greenness" or "sustainability" for the Earth doesn't seem to make sense. Obviously it would be bad if the Quest to Colonize Mars left the Earth a barren, resource-stripped wasteland...



    Musk is helping to advance the state of the art in launch vehicles, chiefly by "how much he's trying to cut cost". Again, are they doing it as well as they could? Is it in the service of the right people? I don't know.

    I don't find it hard to believe Musk/SpaceX are being cagey, rent-seeking, unethical, poor employers, and all the rest, but I also don't find it hard to believe that Musk does think colonizing Mars is worth doing. I don't think SpaceX is a scam (to make lots of money, I assume you're saying?) in that sense, though I don't reject the arguments that the goal isn't worthwhile, or they're doing more harm than good in the service of it.
    Scam isn't exactly the right word. But SpaceX is a private company, and some of these long shot goals seem somewhat unlikely.

    I suppose that if the cost efficiency were improved enough, we might see more private ventures in attempting to colonize Mars. I still find that hard to believe, though. Has any scientist ever successfully argued that a Mars colony could sustain itself, given enough time? I suppose it's an open question until we try, but in don't have my fingers crossed.

    I guess the reason to have some humans living on Mars is to ensure the survival of the human species. But even if the earth suffered a nuclear holocaust, I think we'd see more humans living in it than Mars.

  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spook View Post
    Doesn't cloud cities on Venus make more sense? That seems like a better narrative arc for our species to me.
    Sort of. Venus is a lot closer. However, I think the issue is that there is a greater technological challenge to be self-sustaining on Venus.

    Further, ultimately, we do use planetary resources. It's simply a fact of life for us. There's no sense in denying it. There's not really anything worth while to extract from the Venusian atmosphere and making trips to the surface to extract material to then take into orbit would be too cost prohibitive (probably at least 50x more expensive than here on Earth).

    Now, maybe a better plan is to terraform Venus first. Because of it's close proximity, performing unmanned terraforming activities would be a whole lot less expensive then trying to terraform Mars. But then you have to contend with those who have ethical issues with terraforming...

  9. #49
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    So I guess this is relevant again after the SpaceX launch. It was interesting to watch and a show of impressive technology. And I want to congratulate the engineers at SpaceX for their achievement in making the rocket work. No, not to anyone else. No, out of the way Elon, you didn't do anything. No, you didn't. I'm talking to the engineers right now! Please move Elon, you don't deserve the credit for this.

  10. #50
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    Also getting a Chevrolet™ brand car into space - wow! What a great advertisement for Chevrolet™.

  11. #51
    Quote Originally Posted by Reid View Post
    Also getting a Chevrolet™ brand car into space - wow! What a great advertisement for Chevrolet™.
    I guess they could've sent a generic brand car into space.

  12. #52
    Or a generic brand dog or monkey.

  13. #53

  14. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reverend Jones View Post
    Of course. There's nothing sustainable or green about abandoning earth just to colonize an even less inhabitable planet. None of it rings true, and when you think about it this way the whole thing seems kind of like a scam. I guess you could say he's helping advance the state of the art in launch vehicles, but is that really possible given how much he's trying to cut cost?
    WRT this: trying to colonize another planet is a good idea. I think it's possible, even technically possible, and it's something we should absolutely put effort and resources into doing.

    Where I have a problem is, colonizing another planet is absolutely not a substitute for good policy at home. We need to remove climate change deniers from power and join the world stage in limiting climate change, and generally do our best to limit pollution and reduce wasteful consumption. At its worst colony idea can serve as a magic cure-all for these problems, that supplants the urgent need for political activism and change at home.

  15. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eversor View Post
    I guess they could've sent a generic brand car into space.
    Or, just not send a car into space at all. Or maybe some kind of Voyager robot, or something.

  16. #56
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    Yeah, why didn't they develop and send an incredibly expensive robot probe for doing... something... on this first test flight instead of Elon Musk's ego piece.

  17. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by saberopus View Post
    Yeah, why didn't they develop and send an incredibly expensive robot probe for doing... something... on this first test flight instead of Elon Musk's ego piece.
    I mean, he did the sensible capitalist thing, add to the mystique of his brand. Realistically I don't have a suggestion for what he should have done otherwise. We should just recognize it for what it actually is.

  18. #58
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    It was definitely a marketing move, and I think there's certainly plenty of ego in sending his personal vehicle, and the ongoing David Bowie association makes me wince a little bit. Really what he should have done otherwise was just like send sandbags or something, so *shrug*.

  19. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reid View Post
    Or, just not send a car into space at all. Or maybe some kind of Voyager robot, or something.
    every single time i see a clip of that space suit sitting in that car with the earth in the background i get a little angrier
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  20. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by saberopus View Post
    It was definitely a marketing move, and I think there's certainly plenty of ego in sending his personal vehicle, and the ongoing David Bowie association makes me wince a little bit. Really what he should have done otherwise was just like send sandbags or something, so *shrug*.
    Maybe sending sandbags wouldn't get the John Everyman interested in the launch like sending something nonsensical like a car. Just a thought.
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  21. #61
    Quote Originally Posted by saberopus View Post
    It was definitely a marketing move, and I think there's certainly plenty of ego in sending his personal vehicle, and the ongoing David Bowie association makes me wince a little bit. Really what he should have done otherwise was just like send sandbags or something, so *shrug*.
    Honestly, I thought it was pretty funny. Some part of it is egotism, sure, but some part of it is the guys at SpaceX/Tesla have a sense of humor. I expect others here disagree.

    There's a car floating out in space right now. A car! It's pretty incredible, and difficult to appreciate how crazy that is. I'm used to the idea of communications satellites floating out in space. But a car? That's really novel. What's next? Some old furniture? A deep fryer? Have those things been in space before?

    I think if the payload was useful, the achievement would have been less monumental. If the goal was to shoot a satellite into space, the mission would have had a purpose. But what's the purpose of shooting something completely useless into space? "Because it was there."

  22. #62
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    Pretty good marketing to say their launches are cheap enough they can waste one on a car

  23. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roach View Post
    Maybe sending sandbags wouldn't get the John Everyman interested in the launch like sending something nonsensical like a car. Just a thought.
    That's my point. If not this, it might as well have just been sandbags, so *shrug*. If all it has to be is a mass, why not accomplish these other goals as well it (stroking your ego, gaining public interest, marketing for Tesla, edit: or as Eversor says, just having fun as a company, whatever).
    Last edited by saberopus; 02-07-2018 at 04:58 PM.

  24. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eversor View Post
    There's a car floating out in space right now. A car! It's pretty incredible, and difficult to appreciate how crazy that is. I'm used to the idea of communications satellites floating out in space. But a car? That's really novel. What's next?
    I guess it's just old news to me



    only kiddddding. I think the car in space is neat, too.

  25. #65
    Quote Originally Posted by Eversor View Post
    Honestly, I thought it was pretty funny. Some part of it is egotism, sure, but some part of it is the guys at SpaceX/Tesla have a sense of humor. I expect others here disagree.

    There's a car floating out in space right now. A car! It's pretty incredible, and difficult to appreciate how crazy that is. I'm used to the idea of communications satellites floating out in space. But a car? That's really novel. What's next? Some old furniture? A deep fryer? Have those things been in space before?

    I think if the payload was useful, the achievement would have been less monumental. If the goal was to shoot a satellite into space, the mission would have had a purpose. But what's the purpose of shooting something completely useless into space? "Because it was there."
    Maybe I've been thinking in abstract terms for too long, but I couldn't care less if there was a car in space, and I hardly even noticed it when I saw it in the news.

  26. #66
    If Elon Musk really is Superman he shoulda just stuck Doomsday in there...


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  27. #67
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    Elon Musk isn't superman, he's Lex Luthor. And not even a good one; he's the ****ty Luthor from batman v superman.

  28. #68
    Quote Originally Posted by Steven View Post
    Elon Musk isn't superman, he's Lex Luthor. And not even a good one; he's the ****ty Luthor from batman v superman.
    Omg. Now that was a uniquely bad movie.

    I think I might have read it here, but the whole thing was meant to go into a lot of depth about the backstory, but... they, like, cut all that out and just left the fighting, even though it didn't make a lick of sense by then.

    And yes Mark Zuckerberg made for a rather wimpy Lex Luther.

  29. #69
    I suppose I wouldn't find the car so offputting if we weren't teetering on the edge of locking on 2* warming. Then again, at this point constructing a solar shade is probably our only salvation, so I guess the rockets are important. Or something.
    sniff

  30. #70
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    This **** isn't even original, yo.

  31. #71
    How reusable are these boosters, really? Everything I've read about the shuttle program points to spacecraft being non-reusable, even when reusability is the goal.
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  32. #72
    A few of them have already flown at least twice.
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  33. #73
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    I mean, the space shuttle was very much reusable, up to a point. If boosters can be reused even once, that's better than the current state of things.

  34. #74
    As I understand it because of the level of refitting the shuttle was considered 'refurbishable' instead of reusable. Don't remember where I read that though.
    sniff

  35. #75
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    I'm sure the Space Shuttle was exactly as reusable as Boeing/Rockwell meant it to be.

  36. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by saberopus View Post
    I mean, the space shuttle was very much reusable, up to a point. If boosters can be reused even once, that's better than the current state of things.
    To be pedantic, only the orbiter could be reused. It required several months of overhaul after each flight. Most of the shuttle's mass was not reusable, and the parts that were reusable certainly weren't reusable in a cost-saving way. SpaceX's approach is very different. Very betterer. I'm not at all cool with interplanetary capitalism, but I'd rather SpaceX build the rockets of the future than ****ing Boeing and Lockheed.

  37. #77
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    why don't we just give the F-35 program to SpaceX then?
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  38. #78
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    You couldn't give it away to Comac.

  39. #79
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    Sorry, I didn't mean that. The F-35 is such a profitable disaster that everybody wants to be involved in it, professional pride be damned.

  40. #80

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