SpaceX launches … Tesla updates its terms and conditions … Elon Musk sighs. It’s the free edition of Musk Reads #275, and we want to welcome you to Thanksgiving week! To celebrate the arrival of the holiday season, we’re discounting Musk Reads+ annual memberships by 40%.
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Last week, Musk Reads+ members heard from space industry expert Rand Simberg on why Safe Is Not an Option for NASA sending humans into space. This week, members will hear from Starlink user Johnny S. about whether SpaceX’s service really can connect homes in rural areas.
Musk quote of the week: “Earth is ~4.5B years old, but life is still not multiplanetary and it is extremely uncertain how much time is left to become so.” — Elon Musk tweeted on November 24, rehashing his favorite talking point with an ominous twist. Read more on Inverse.
SpaceX: Defending the dinosaurs
On November 24, NASA and SpaceX made great strides in interplanetary defense, which isn’t something at the top of your priorities until an asteroid comes down and destroys your species.
Falcon 9 helped pull NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART, spacecraft across the sky and into orbit. NASA intends for the spacecraft to redirect the 530 feet-in-diameter asteroid moon Dimorphos between September 26 and October 1, 2022. Although NASA’s planetary defense officer Lindley Johnson said that there is currently no “significant asteroid impact threat to Earth,” the mission to slightly alter Dimorphos’ orbit is a huge first step towards redirecting an unlikely, but still potentially devastating, event. Why not, right?
In other SpaceX news…
- Starlink hopefuls living in India might want to hold off on a purchase — Starlink does not currently have a license to operate in the country despite hoping to reach “200,000 connections by the end of 2022.” Without government authorization, that may never happen!
- SpaceX is hiring a bartender (but I feel like Musk is the type of guy who only drinks blue vodka shots)
Tesla: New terms, conditions, and accountability
Most Tesla news this week was minor, but a lot of it affects customers still waiting for their purchased Tesla products. Someone leaked another Musk email, this one telling employees to stop pushing for car deliveries and focus on reducing cost. If you’re still waiting for your vehicle delivery, this might not exactly come as good news, and it’s no guarantee that Tesla will avoid a sprint like last quarter, but it seems to be Musk’s current mindset.
Also this quarter, Gigafactory Berlin is allegedly set to receive government approval this week, with the rumor mill also claiming that Tesla already produced five Model Ys in the factory, according to the German publication Automobilwoche.
Although the validity of those claims remains to be seen, a confirmed change in Tesla is the current state of Full Self-Driving terms and conditions. Now, Tesla will collect “image data” (video) from a vehicle’s internal and external cameras following a collision or other “serious safety risk.”
On Twitter, Musk affirmed that this change was spurred by users supposedly “doing something stupid and then trying to blame Tesla,” adding a frustrated “(sigh)” to his message. Perhaps equally as frustrating as user error, companies that make beta software with life-altering consequences available for purchase (sigh).
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Cyber Monday, Musk style…
Cyber Monday is here! Be sure to check out Inverse’s Cyber Monday Hub for the latest up-to-date discounts on products across the internet. We’ve picked out a few of our Musk-related favorites below.
Shirts to wear:
Some cool stuff you might like:
- LEGO’s incredible NASA Apollo Saturn V rocket kit
- Celestron’s amazing StarSense Explorer telescope
- A 3D-printed SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket model
Books you should read:
- Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future
- Liftoff: Elon Musk and the Desperate Early Days That Launched SpaceX
… and more stories from Musk’s world
T-minus the internet
A ranked list of everything Musk-related and online, handpicked weekly with bionic precision.
10. YouTuber HyperChange made a vlog documenting Tesla’s Gigafactory Austin’s ongoing construction, complete with drone footage. “This is Texas,” the drone operator said.
9. And this is the Tesla motor that fell under CleanTechnica writer Jacek Fior’s vehicle. This is the link.
8. Many are claiming that EV startup EdisonFuture’s new EF1-T electric solar pickup truck is a Cybertruck knockoff, but I don’t really see it! It looks more like it’s about to grow eyes, a conscience, and appear as an extra in Cars 4: Four More Cars. The two trucks do have one thing in common, though. Neither is available for purchase yet.
7. Luxury phone case (a booming market) company, Caviar, is now selling $3,220 busts of Elon Musk made from melted Tesla Model 3 aluminum. If they sell out, just buy the company’s $6,750 Tesla iPhone case instead.
6. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Eco Resilience Games group has created an augmented reality game where young players fight harmful algae bloom in Lake George. It ain’t much, but it’s honest work.
5. Ambient noises on Mars reveal its core to planetary scientists. Much like Brian Eno reveals mine.
4. Speaking of, Earth’s ambient sounds are pretty great, too, for both scientific and recreational purposes. For the latter, just listen to Jana Winderen’s field recordings, which push Earth’s deepest waters up to you. Enjoy the Arctic bloom.
3. Humanoid robot Ai-Da performed an original, algorithmically-generated poem and ode to Dante at the University of Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum. Great, another poet with bangs.
2. The scrappy and smart DIY rocket program, Copenhagen Suborbitals, is crowdfunding to help send an amateur astronaut to the Kármán line on a rocket they will build themselves. “We believe that spaceflight should be available to anyone who's willing to put in the time and effort.”
1. And a piece of Musk history: Hey, remember when Elon Musk said that artificial intelligence was a “demon” and now he’s releasing beta, artificial intelligence-using software to the general public he hoped to protect? No? Oh. The year was 2014…
The ultra-fine print — This has been Musk Reads #275, the weekly rundown of essential reading about futurist and entrepreneur Elon Musk. I’m Ashley Bardhan, assistant to Musk Reads.
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