Elon Musk is putting his personal Tesla into Mars orbit

SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, its most powerful reusable rocket to date, might have its first launch before the end of the year after all — and it’s going to include Elon Musk’s very own Tesla.

Following reports that time was up for the launch in 2017 — it was initially been schedule for November — SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has seemingly confirmed that it will take place sometime in December. And, in true Musk style, there is more.

Musk revealed that the warhead inside the rocket will be his own Tesla Roadster( in midnight cherry colour , no less) which launch while playing Space Oddity by David Bowie.

The planned destination is Mars and, all being well, Musk said his personal vehicle will be in the planet’s orbit for “a billion years.”

Musk’s tweets appear to contradict reports from earlier the coming week that the Falcon Heavy launch wouldn’t take place until early 2018.

SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell told Aviation Week that the company is planning a static exam flame of its Falcon Heavy rocket, with all 27 Merlin engines used simultaneously, before the end of 2017. Should that proceed without any major issues, the full launch would happen weeks later.

Timing is tight, but Elon Musk is Elon Musk. It’s sure to be a fantastic spectacle.

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The Boring Co.s Initial Hat Offering raises $300K for digging in hat sales

Do you like hats? If you do, perhaps you already contributed to The Boring Company’s they are able to dig a network of underground tunnels. Since Elon Musk started selling The Boring Co. hats, featuring the logo on the front( which he once claimed devised by director J.J. Abrams ), the company has apparently sold $300,000 worth of the merch.

That’s a lot of hats: At $20 per, that’s approximately 15,000 hats sold thus far since they went on sale in October. We knew they were doing well initially, with $80,000 in marketings within the first 24 hours, but momentum seems to have continued for the comparatively boring unexciting covering.

Musk calling the thing an “Initial Hat Offering” is just the icing on the cake, and a clear dig at the recent fad for using initial coin offerings( ICOs) as a financing instrument among startups.

Now imagine you sold Boring Co. battery chargers, Elon. Or I dunno what’s more appropriate — maybe a passageway digger-shaped suppository?

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Heres our first look at Elon Musks Boring Co. LA tunnel

Elon Musk is digging a tunnel under Hawthorne near SpaceX headquarters in California, after receiving approval from city council to do so. Musk’s Boring Co. “ve already made” considerable progress on the excavate and tunnel construct, apparently, as Musk shared an image of the tunnel from the inside showing a reinforced tube that stretches off into the distance out of sight.

The tunnel features paneled walls, cables and a large upper conduit, as well as lighting and what appear to be tracks. The passageway just outside of LA is the first the Boring Co. has undertaken, but it recently received provisional approval to start excavating in Maryland, too, on a second test excavate that will potentially become part of an underground Hyperloop network.

Musk’s LA tunnel is a pilot project designed to test the feasibility of his plan to dig tunnels at a lower cost and more efficiently than current tunnel boring companies operate, with the eventual purpose of rendering cities and regions with underground passageway networks that can transport goods and services while avoiding surface obstacles and traffic.

The Boring Co. is still a long way from comply with the grand vision of constructing inter-city underground Hyperloop tubes for high-speed traveling, but it’s inducing rapid progress on its initial test digging and passageway construction, which should go some route to proving to its detractors that this is more than just a pipe dream.

The Boring Company tunnel under LA

A post shared by Elon Musk (@ elonmusk) on

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Elon Musk gets permission to begin Boring Co. digging in Maryland

Elon Musk’s week is running pretty great thus far, between satisfying the creators of Rick& Morty and now gaining granted permission to excavation even more passageways — besides the one he already got the OK to begin excavating closer to home in Hawthorne.

The new passageway will be a 10.3 -mile route that undercuts a state-owned operation of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway in Maryland, and could eventually become the anchor point for a network that would span Washington to New York, with stops in-between at urban centers in Baltimore and Philadelphia, according to the LA Times.

The Boring Company, Musk’s tunnel-digger operation, is gaining steam with a second boring machine ready to come online and start chewing away at the Earth. Maryland has offered Musk a conditional permit so he can start operations, though it’s not providing any financial support to the project at this sage. It’s probably not a huge hazard on Maryland’s part, given the limited scope of the initial project — and if this works out, they can always turn the site into a tourist attraction for the start of the world-famous underground hyperloop network.

Maryland Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn told the LA Times that the passageway truly wasn’t any different from the various utility access phases that it offer permits for all the time, so it wasn’t that complicated from a permitting perspective. Still, there’s a lot of red tape left to cut through to make a cross-state underground hyperloop an actual reality.

Musk will also have his hands full building a space airliner for super-speed terrestrial travelling, but you know what they say: Two if by underground super-low pressure capsule, three if by low-Earth orbital big f* cking rocket.

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Elon Musk gets a nod as a space pioneer from Star Trek: Discovery

Elon Musk ranks alongside the Wright Brothers and the scientist who brought warp velocity illumination to humanity, according to Star Trek: Discovery . On last night’s episode of the new CBS All-Access show, Captain Gabriel Lorca( portrayed by Jason Isaacs) listed Musk alongside the Wrights, and fictional warp drive inventor Zefram Cochrane as peers in space flight technological innovation.

Musk, a noted sci-fi fan, will probably be thrilled with the comparing and the name drop. The SpaceX founder has ambitions to make humans an interplanetary species, of course, with an initial target of establishing a colony on Mars. Musk’s SpaceX has also been refining its reusable rocket approach to launchings, which could indeed result in a paradigm shifting for how we work in space.

The reference is also interesting because of its notable omission of Amazon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos: This other space entrepreneur is such a big fan of Star Trek that he pitched and have been successful in landing a cameo in Star Trek Beyond as an alien being, but he doesn’t rate a mention from Lorca among the spaceflight pantheon.

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Tesla workers claim anti-LGBT threats, taunts, and racial abuse in lawsuits

Exclusive: A factory worker says he was harassed for being gay. A parent and son say they faced daily racial epithets. Each claims that Tesla failed to stop it

Soon after he started working on the assembly line at Tesla, Jorge Ferro said he was taunted for being gay and threatened with violence.” Watch your back ,” a supervisor advised after taunting his clothes for being” homosexual tight “, Ferro said.

The harassment didn’t stop after he reported it to a manager, and days after he made a second grievance, Ferro was penalized, according to his account. An HR representative took away Ferro’s badge, claiming that he had an “injury” that prevented him from running and saying there’s” no place for handicapped people at Tesla”, he alleged.

Tesla repeatedly failed to stop the anti-gay harassment and fired Ferro in reprisal for seeking protection, according to a wrongful termination lawsuit, the latest discrimination scandal to roil Elon Musk’s electric car company.

” It’s revolting to me ,” said Chris Dolan, Ferro’s attorney.” This is classic’ blamed the main victims ‘.”

Tesla has defended itself against charges of discrimination : There is no company on ground with a better track record than Tesla ,” it said in a statement to the Guardian.

Ferro has come forward at a time when Tesla and companies across Silicon Valley are facing widespread scrutiny over harassment, discrimination and sex misconduct. A sexual harassment scandal at Uber launched an avalanche of complaints from women in the male-dominated industry about abuse, unwanted advances, assault and pay disparities.

Tesla- world-famous for its battery-powered vehicles and Musk’s vision of self-driving technology– has furthermore faced accusations of sexual harassment and underpaying girls. A female technologist who filed a lawsuit and spoke to the Guardian about her experiences was soon after fired, depicting allegations of” clear retaliation “. Tesla has denied the claims.

In addition to Ferro’s complaint, first reported by the Guardian, three black men who worked at Tesla have also filed a recent lawsuit alleging racist abuse and harassment, including attacks using the N-word and statements like” Go back to Africa “.

Tesla did not address specific accusations, but in a series of statements called the claims “unmeritorious” and argued that it was was not responsible since the employees are contractors.

‘I had to stand up’

Ferro, 35, began as an assembly line production employee in April 2016 at the Tesla manufacturing plant in Fremont, California. Soon after he started, a superintendent who trained him, Jamar Taylor, began harassing him and taunting his sexuality, according to a lawsuit. Taylor allegedly told Ferro his clothes were” too tight- gay tight”, repeatedly taunted him about his outfits and later said he was not “welcome” because he is gay. Taylor also” went on to suggest that[ Ferro] had a lot of enemies because’ everyone suspects that[ he is] gay'”, the suit said.

Ferro became fearful when the tauntings intensified to threats of violence, including “be careful” and a warning that” something might happen to his vehicle”, according to the complaint. Ferro told plant manager Dave Rebagliati that he was gay and was facing harassment, and HR afterward removed Taylor from Ferro’s assembly line, the suit said.

The harassment didn’t stop, he said. Taylor allegedly began outing Ferro to other co-workers and continued to approach Ferro in the factory, at one point saying a new employee should not learn anything from” person like” Ferro.

The Tesla factory in Fremont, California. Photograph: Josh Edelson for the Guardian

After his second complaint to Rebagliati, on 2 August 2016, the manager decided to transfer Ferro to another assembly line row, according to the complaint.

” The steps taken by the company were woefully inadequate ,” said Dolan, arguing it was wrong to move Ferro after he complained.” It’s perceived by many to be retaliatory. It sends a message to other employees that if you complain, you’re the one who’s going to have your job changed. In essence, you’re penalizing the party who’s making the complaint .”

While training for his new undertaking, Rebagliati noticed a scar on Ferro’s wrist from an injury 16 years ago, and although Ferro said it had no effect on his chore, the manager sent him home without pay, “says hes” needed a doctor’s note before returning to work, the complaint alleged. An HR official who took away his badge said he was ” handicapped” and that no accommodations could be made, and three days later, before Ferro could have a doctor’s appointment, he was officially discontinued, according to the suit.

A doctor afterward had reaffirmed that he was able to perform his duties. Regardless, it was illegal for Tesla to fire Ferro for a perceived disability, according to Dolan.” This was merely a BS reason to kick him out of the workplace .”

Ferro declined an interview request, but said in a statement to the Guardian this week,” I knew that I had to stand up to make sure this did not happen to anyone else .”

Rebagliati and Taylor could not be reached for comment.

In response to a detailed summary of Ferro’s allegations, Tesla spokesman Dave Arnold sent a lengthy statement that did not address specific claims. The company pointed out that Taylor and Ferro were both contractors, adding,” Tesla still stepped in to try to keep these people apart from each other and to ensure a good working environment .”

The statement continued: “[ E] very lawyer knows that if they name Tesla as a defendant in their lawsuit, it maximizes the the opportunities of making advertising for their case. They abuse our name, because they know it is catnip for journalists … There is no company on Earth with a better track record than Tesla, as they would have to have fewer than zero the circumstances in which an independent judge or jury has seen a genuine suit of discrimination .”

Corporations such as Tesla, however, often have employees sign arbitration agreements, which entails employees are forced to privately resolve their discrimination objections. The spokesman declined to say if Tesla has ever permitted a discrimination claim to go before a magistrate or jury.

‘I merely couldn’t take it any more’

Owen Diaz, 49, told the Protector that he also brought a lawsuit in hopes of protecting other black employees at Tesla from abuse. He and his son Demetric, 22, both faced racial harassment and violent menaces while working in the Tesla factory, according to a discrimination objection they filed with a third former employee on Monday.

Owen Diaz and his son Demetric. Photo: Politenes of the California Civil Rights Law Group

The father and son both started working for Tesla in 2015 and were subject to daily racial epithets, including “boy”, the N-word and statements like” All you fucking niggers- I can’t stand you motherfuckers” and” Nigger, hurry up “, the lawsuit said. Employees also allegedly depicted racist and derogatory caricatures of black children.

Owen said in an interview that he was most distraught hearing his son’s supervisor, who was white, calling him the N-word:” That was likely one of the lowest points in my life .” Eventually, he said,” I only couldn’t take it any more .”

According to the lawsuit, superintendents brushed aside their complaints, with one telling Demetric,” If you don’t like how you’re treated, your time here is going to end ,” and the other telling Owen,” Why do you people take things so hard ?”

The dismissals were hurtful, said Owen.” You might as well just slap me and spew in my face .”

Both said the abuse they faced intensified after they spoke up to superintendents. Demetric was fired a week after making a complaint, allegedly for using his phone on the production line- the standard rules violation that did not lead other workers to be terminated, the complaint said. Owen was threatened with a demotion and eventually discontinue due to the ongoing abuse, according to the lawsuit, which noted that they both had good performance records.

” It was disrespectful and humbling ,” said Owen.” It was just a feeling that no person should ever have to go through .”

Their attorney Larry Organ, who first sued Tesla earlier this year in another racial discrimination example, said the conduct at the company appeared to be more egregious than similar instances he brought against the former auto plant in the same facility. Dolan also said his firm was getting an “unusually high” number of calls from Tesla employees with a wide range of discrimination complaints.

Given Musk’s ambitious statements about solving some of the world’s greatest problems, he should be able to provide a safe work environment, Organ added.

” He’s a brilliant visionary. You think that if he put his mind to this issue, it would be solved .”

Tesla’s response to the Diaz lawsuit included a detailed attack on the attorney, saying his original suit was ” period to coincide with a carefully planned media blitz in an attempt to create a disingenuous narrative that was at odds with the facts” and that the” timing of these new claims and the manner in which they are being publicized is notable, especially coming from the same attorney “.

Demetric Diaz. Photograph: Courtesy of the California Civil Rights Law Group

The statement further said the three employees worked at Tesla for” a short time and have been run for well over a year” and pointed out that they are contractors. The spokesman said Tesla was unaware of their complaints until reporters reached out the coming week.( The third-party staffing bureaux- West Valley, Chartwell and Citistaff- did not respond to requests for remark ).

Regarding the two attacks against him, Organ noted that the plaintiffs had reached out to him, adding,” They want to frame this as if it’s the greedy lawyer. Actually, what it’s really about is the racist conduct .”

Owen said he was a fan of Musk’s vision and wished the company was responding to the lawsuits with promises to change:” Don’t sweep it under the carpet and send your PR out to do injury control. Step up to the plate .”

If you have narratives to share about Tesla or discrimination in Silicon Valley, contact sam.levin @theguardian. com

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Puerto Rico governor says Lets talk after Elon Musk offers to solve the islands power crisis

Puerto Rico’s power grid has been practically demolished in the wake of hurricane Maria. It now has a once in a lifetime opportunity to rebuild and the island’s governor Ricardo Rossello wants to have a chat with Elon Musk about his recent offer to use Tesla batteries and solar power for the the job.

Only 10 percentof the island has power at the moment and, according to the Puerto Rico state-owned electric company, some communities won’t be able to turn the lights back on for four to six months.

Musk tweeted yesterday he could be the one to rebuild Puerto Rico’s electricity system using independent batteries and solar power.

“The Tesla team has done this for many smaller islands around the world but there is no scalability limit, so it can be done for Puerto Rico too, ” Musk wrote.

Governor Rossello tweeted at Musk shortly after with, “Let’s talk. Do you want to show the world the power and scalability of your # TeslaTechnologies ? PR could be that flagship project.”

Puerto Rico’s chief invention policeman Glorimar Ripoli is also on board. “As the Government’s CINO, I fully support this! Let’s construct the Puerto Rico we all want through innovation, ” she tweeted.

The real question is if this talking will turn into action.

Tesla has already shipped hundredsof its Powerwall battery systems to Puerto Rico and Tesla employees are currently busy installing them and training locals how to continue the process.

Musk also has a history of turning Twitter chats into something more. He struck a deal to build a battery plant in South Australia based on a tweet with Atlassian founder and Australian Mike Cannon-Brookes last March. Musk broke ground on the bargain last month and stands to lose $50 million if he doesn’t complete the job within 100 days.

As Musk mentioned in his tweet, Tesla has created a battery and solar power grid for other islands, like the Kaua` i Island Utility Cooperative in Hawaii and in American Samoa.

Of course, those projects were for much smaller populations than Puerto Rico. But Musk seems confident his system can scale to meet the demands of the island’s 3.4 million citizens.

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Elon pushes back Tesla Semi unveiling to focus on Model 3 and Puerto Rico

Back at the beginning of September, Elon Musk tweeted that the company would unveil its long rumored all-electric semi truck on October 26 th. He noted that it was “tentatively” scheduled, leaving the door open for a date change if need be. Turns out that was a good call.

In a tweet this afternoon, Elon says the Semi unveil date is now defined for November 16 th — a transformation of about three weeks.

The reasoning for the rescheduling? Musk mentions two things they’re concentrates on right now instead: Model 3 bottlenecks and Puerto Rico battery production.

Yesterday morning Musk offered Tesla’s assistance in rebuilding Puerto Rico’s electric system after the desolation of Hurricane Maria left merely 10 percentage of the island with power; by the afternoon, the governor of Puerto Rico was tweeting back to say he wanted to talk about it.

As for the Model 3 bottlenecks mentioned: Tesla aimed to ship around 1,500 Model 3s in the third quarter of 2017, but disclosed on Monday that they’d objective up shipping around 260. While the company pinned the shortfall on production bottlenecks, they noted that they already “understand” the underlying issues and are “confident of addressing the manufacturing bottleneck issues in the near-term” — so, presumably, tackling those issues will be a key part of these next few weeks.

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Elon Musks Neuralink wants to boost the brain to keep up with AI

Serial entrepreneur Elon Musk has a new company yes, another one focused on developing the capabilities of the brain through technological augmentation. Neuralink, the new venture, officially violated cover-up thanks to a Wall Street Journal article today, though its been known for some time that Musk was working on brain-computer interface tech as a means to help ensure humen can keep pace with the acceleratingdevelopment of artificial intelligence.

Musk at Code Conference last year brought up the prospect of a neural lace that would be surgically connected to a human brain and allow a user to interact with a computer without the bandwidth challenges that come with current input techniques, including keyboards, mice and trackpads. Hes since tweeted that he has made progress on his own exploration of the tech, and more recently rumors emerged that he was planning to found another company with this project as its focus.

Neuralink isnt going to be focused on upgrading ordinary human brainpower at first, however, according to the WSJ report. Instead, itll explore how brain interfaces might alleviate the symptoms of dangerous and chronic medical conditions.

These could include epilepsy and severe depressive disorder, according to the report. These endeavours could build on existing therapies that use electrodes in the brain to treat symptoms of Parkinsons, giving Neuralink a starting point with established science and an easier track to acceptance for human use. Clearing that lower impediment would then put up the company for its longer-term aim of human augmentation.

It may sound far-fetched, but in fact this is basically the Musk standard playbook for constructing new companies based on big ideas. Both SpaceX and Tesla employed the same model, beginning with the near-term products that werent nearly as ambitious as afterward efforts in order to crest a sustainable route to grand designs, like landing on Mars or affordable, mass-produced long-range EVs.

Musk will definitely have a full plate with Neuralink on top of Tesla and SpaceX, as well as his side venture The Boring Company, which is looking into solving urban transportation issues via tunnels. But the CEO ensure AI as a risk who are likely affect humanity at large, and his decision to pursue this potential answer likely seems as imperative to him as does the necessity of expanding our intergalactic colonial footprint, or weaning ourselves off of fossil fuels.

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Energy is the new new internet

If youre not paying attention to whats going on in energy, you should. Weve seen this movie before. Spoiler alert: Theres massive economic possibility ahead. How massive? Imagine standing in 1992, knowing that Google, Akamai, Netflix, Facebook, Amazon, eBay, BuzzFeed and Uber lay ahead.

This time its the enernet , not the internet, that will transform our lives. The tale is the same, though the players have changed.

Heres the tee up. Across the country, incumbent network providers operate highly centralized networks in their respective cities. Then, scrappy local outfits start serving the market with innovative, distributed technology. These startups create competition, and a new network emerges atop the legacy network.

That was the backdrop 30 years ago when a little thing “ve called the” internet emerged. Startups like CompuServe, AOL, EarthLink, Netcom and a host of other local ISPs kicked off the conversion from analog to digital by offering internet access over existing cable and telco networks.

Today, the actors are SolarCity, Sunrun and a host of others moving us off fossil fuels and into clean energy supported by smart equipment, services and software, offered atop existing utility networks. This time, its the enernet.

Enernet . Noun. A dynamic, distributed, redundant and multi-participant energy network built around clean energy generation, storage and delivery and serving as the foundation for smart cities .

Jigar Shah, founder of SunEdison, seeded the enernet revolution more than ten years ago. He devised a breakthrough financing model that built solar affordable and scalable. Hes the Marc Andreessen of this storyline seminal, smart and strategic.

Today, watch Elon Musk. He presented new solar roof shingles to the world a few months ago. Solar thats affordable and attractive. Plus, hes incorporating it into a game-changing home system with storage and EV charging. Think the worlds first iPhone. Musks electric car company, Tesla, is poised to be an enernet giant, the Amazon of this go-around margin-challenged in its early years, but set to move.

Lets stop acting astounded, and instead start acting .

It goes well beyond Tesla. There is a long list of enernet innovators now emerging. They are constructing nanogrids, microgrids, distributed energy resources and virtual power plant. They are creating new, intelligent build materials and smart illuminating. They are deploying new networks and intelligence that are driving down costs and improving services.

At heart, the enernet is the foundation for smart-city tech, including the Internet of Things, distributed systems, interconnected backbones and networking technologies, EV-charging services and autonomous vehicles, to name a few. These technologies will drive dramatic change and force-out us to rethink our cities, municipal services and sectors like transportation, insurance, real estate and financial services.

From the enernet evolution will come smart cities that are an order-of-magnitude smarter, healthier and safer. The new network will also present quantum leaps in energy security and emergency resilience that can stand in the face of superstorms or cyberattacks.

Hold on to your seats. Were at the early stages of something immense.

Still, I hear the seeds of fear and doubt. There is an oft-cited refrain that the transition will cost a lot and take a long time. Thats absolutely silly. We dont look back at the internet transformation from analog to digital and think, Wow, that was slow and cost a ton of fund. We should have stuck with the typewriter and landline. Fact is, it was blazingly fast and driven by the individuals who understood the expend as leveraged investment , not cost center.

Likewise, the move to clean energy will seem fast and prudent as solar and energy storage continue to scale, smart cities accelerate and prices continue their fall.

I also hear the utilities are in big trouble. Lets not be simplistic. Google didnt kill Comcast. Comcast is doing just fine. The utilities that own transmitting and distribution networks( the wires companies) have enormous value and possibility ahead. There is no way that the transition happens without the participation of these companies, and there is considerable economic upside ahead for them. Forward-thinking utilities Consolidated Edison, National Grid and others consider whats coming and are poised to thrive in the enernet world.

Sure, fossil-fuel generators and suppliers have challenges ahead, just like the content companies were challenged by newer, more flexible, cost-effective content producers. Itll be up to the management squads at these companies to de-risk the future with intelligent investment and acquisitions. Hats off to folks like David Crane, a visionary who worked to drive that transition at NRG Energy. We will see more of that type of leadership again over the next 10 years as market dynamics shift and outcomes become more obvious and urgent to the incumbents.

That said, enernet invention, like innovation in every other sector, is unlikely to originate from within the incumbents. If you dont believe me, read books like The Innovator Dilemmaby Clayton Christensen orthis articlefrom Accenture that asserts corporate innovation does not work. Unless a Lou Gerstner or Steve Jobs is at the helm of an incumbent, invention will be acquired , not grown.

This backdrop presents incredible opportunity for startups and early investors in the space. Im aroused to be part of that, and I hope that talented entrepreneurs turn their attention from the app economy to the enernet. Theres enormous upside.

As I told, weve seen this movie. Lets stop acting surprised, and instead start acting. An economic powerhouse awaits the United States. Well be thankful we chose to become a worldwide enernet leader, as this evolution generates a new kind of healthy, robust economy.

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