Tesla inflates… SpaceX launches... Elon Musk wants to beat Putin up. It’s the free edition of Musk Reads #289.
And for our premium subscribers — last week, you heard from Harvard University professor Jill Lepore about the ideology of "Muskism." This week, you’ll hear from Tesla Solar Roof owner Beth Parrish about how the product helped her avoid soaring gas prices.
Musk quote of the week: “Always worth reading about the many civilizations that have risen and fallen … lessons we should take to heart.” — Elon Musk tweeted on March 13. Mhm. Do those same lessons apply to Mars colonies?
Tesla: Inflation nation
Elon Musk has spent the past few days posting offensive Twitter memes and making inflammatory attempts to win Ukraine’s heart, but in terms of his companies, all is quiet on the Muskian front.
The biggest news — that Tesla and SpaceX are affected by inflation — isn’t very big at all since everything in the world happens to also be affected by inflation, but Musk’s discussion of it might be an indication of price increases and production delays.
Elsewhere, Tesla’s Full-Self Driving Beta 10.11’s release notes were leaked anonymously on March 13, and Teslarati comments that they seem to indicate “a number of critical improvements for the advanced driver-assist software.” Some highlights include an improved “creeping profile,” improved precision of vulnerable road users (VRU) (meaning the software will want to murder cyclists less), and improved detection and control for open car doors.
SpaceX: Also inflation
Hopefully, SpaceX can use this public downtime to focus on enjoying how far the company has come since its founding on March 14, 2002. Happy 20th birthday, SpaceX!
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10. As far as I can tell, Elon Musk genuinely challenged Vladimir Putin to a duel on Twitter. The prize is Ukraine. “Did you think this through?” one concerned Twitter user asked. “I am absolutely serious,” replied Musk. There are so many layers to this that make my brain explode. The richest man in the world fighting a war-mongering despot would be a fantastic political cartoon. Maybe you could even get an Adult Swim cartoon out of it. But determining a country's fate through a bizarre display of wealth and physical strength is too depressing to exist in real life.
9. If playing G.I. Joe IRL doesn’t work, the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine is raising money to build a rocket that will send Putin to Jupiter. (The money is actually going to the Ukraine army and rebuilding efforts).
8. After another breakup, the mother of two Musk babies and musician Grimes is reportedly dating whistleblower Chelsea Manning. Good for them.
7. Also, comedian and target of Kanye West’s ire Pete Davidson is scheduled to fly on Blue Origin’s fourth passenger flight. Good for him.
6. I need to recuperate from the last few things listed in today’s countdown with some pie. Thank God it’s Pi Day. Scientific American suggests a way to celebrate.
5. NASA is collecting civilian names to store on a flash drive which will “fly aboard Artemis I.” Add your name here.
4. And the NASA Tournament Lab wants you to figure out if Mars has ever had “environmental conditions that could have supported life.” The Mars Spectrometry challenge asks participants to “build a model to automatically analyze mass spectrometry data collected for Mars exploration” — the first place prize is $15,000, and the competition wraps on April 18. America’s Next Top Mars Exploration.
3. Future Mars settlers might end up farming oxygen. There’s reactive oxygen hidden in Martian soil.
2. SpaceX’s presence in Cameron County has led to a booming housing market and a bonafide case of Musk fever (murals and SpaceX-themed burgers abound), but some longtime residents question how beneficial its presence will be in the long run. They’re being priced out of their neighborhood.
1. And a piece of Musk history: Musk has never been safe from inflation, and Tesla prices have routinely risen to reflect that. In 2013, Tesla posted a blog explaining the 2013 Model S price increase. “Increasing prices on an annual basis is standard practice in the automobile industry and almost every industry for that matter,” wrote then-Vice President George Blankenship.
The ultra-fine print — This has been Musk Reads #289, the weekly rundown of essential reading about futurist and entrepreneur Elon Musk. I’m Ashley Bardhan, newsletter writer at Inverse.
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Musk Reads+ is a fully independent operation. We are not Elon Musk, nor are we employed by him. Our job is to report the events we find worthy of a story, giving you an inside look at the worlds of space rockets, electric cars, clean energy, and more. It means firsthand accounts of a SpaceX rocket launch, Tesla insights from third-party analysts, and more.