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Musk quote of the week: “I aspire to comedy” — Elon Musk tweeted on November 21, signaling what I hope to be an end to previous weeks filled with toilet humor and weird Bernie Sanders memes. This is a quote to unite us all; I, too, aspire to comedy.
Tesla: Ambient music is okay, harassment isn’t!
Oh boy! Let’s do good news, bad news. The good news is that Tesla’s October emails, some of which CNBC recently obtained, aren’t so bad. Although Musk is pretty trigger-happy when it comes to firing people — writing in an email that managers who fail to comply or directly question his orders will be forced to “resign immediately” — that fast-and-loose approach to employees isn’t necessarily new information.
In the emails, Musk also encourages employees to listen to music during their work hours, writing, “I very much support music in the factory, as well as any little touches that make work more enjoyable,” and “I care very much that you look forward to coming to work every day!” Aw, that’s nice.
Now the bad news, which is not so nice and involves repeated sexual harassment. Aw, that’s actually really sickening.
Tesla was sued on November 18 by former employee Jessica Barraza for forcing women employees to endure “nightmarish conditions of rampant sexual harassment” in its Fremont factory, the lawsuit alleges. Barraza claims that, although Tesla HR and managers were aware of the floor’s “frat house” culture, she and other women fended for themselves as male employees forcibly touched them and made comments like “that bitch hella thick” and “she looks like a coke bottle.” The lawsuit and its documentation of Tesla’s sexually aggressive environment are available to read as a PDF online.
Tesla has not yet commented.
SpaceX: Crashing into the future
Elon Musk did a video interview with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (and special guest Baby X) on November 17. During the video call, Musk discussed SpaceX’s Starship plans in detail and shared some new-to-the-public information, like SpaceX’s goal to conduct an orbital launch in January 2022 and Musk’s plan for physically landing on Mars.
He also answered questions covering some non-SpaceX ground, sharing his thoughts on topics like the future of Neuralink and how solar power fuels “civilization.” You can watch the hour-long interview with timestamps on YouTube.
In all his baby glory.
If you’d rather not wait until 2022 for the next SpaceX milestone, well, you don’t have to. With a launch window beginning Wednesday, November 24 Eastern time, SpaceX and NASA will be doing something that has delighted humans since the dawn of time: crashing one big thing into another big thing and making it go boom. Falcon 9 will intentionally launch NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test spacecraft “into an asteroid to see if that is an effective way to change its course, should an Earth-threatening asteroid be discovered in the future,” SpaceX shared on Twitter. Boom.
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10. Musk’s frat boy Twitter presence isn’t the best look for Tesla’s alleged frat boy workplace, but maybe, going forward, at least one crucial element will be left out of it: 69. In an essay published November 16, Vice writer Katie Way discusses why 69 is dead and Musk killed it. Rest in peace.
9. But Musk’s Twitter isn’t pure filth, and, sometimes, it’s even good. On November 19, Musk threw some flame emojis over to a user sharing information about Chios Island’s Easter “rocket war” celebration, where two rival church congregations essentially lob homemade rockets at each other until one group strikes the other’s bell tower. Do not try this at church.
8. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory gave a weather report from Mars. It’s great! As long as you’re a single grain of dust.
7. And NASA’s Perseverance rover took a close video of the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter zooming around, hanging out with all the dust. Lots and lots of dust.
5. News anchor and YouTuber Ellie in Space interviewed Neura Pod podcast host Ryan Tanaka about Neuralink and being a science ~influencer~. It’s, in a word, interesting.
4. Hey, speaking of Neuralink — what if electrical stimulation could bring your brain pleasure on demand? Haha, that would be weird. Haha, unless?
3. The under-the-radar California startup Astra has now put itself on the map. After three previous attempts to reach orbit, the company succeeded on its recent fourth try, an accomplishment Elon Musk himself called “not easy.” Yeah, I don’t know, I think I could do it.
2. Crew-2 mission member Thomas Pesquet, now on Earth, shared some genuinely fantastic photos from his months-long mission, all of which are available to see in bright, high-quality glory on Pesquet’s Flickr page. Business Insider wrote that Pesquet took over 245,000 photos from his time up above. No jokes, just vibes — these are really amazing!
1. And a piece of Musk history: Just to really hammer it into the ground, here are Elon Musk’s “69 worst tweets” from last year. 69 was resurrected just to get hammered into the ground.
The ultra-fine print — This has been Musk Reads #274, the weekly rundown of essential reading about futurist and entrepreneur Elon Musk. I’m Ashley Bardhan, assistant to Musk Reads.
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