Tag Archives | Elon Musk

What Is Subsidized and What Is Not Subsidized

New York Times technology columnist Farhad Manjoo recently touted electric cars—Tesla, actually—as a case where government regulations can have an economically beneficial effect by promoting innovation. “Researchers who study regulation and its effects on business said there have been numerous instances in which regulation speeds along, rather than impedes, technological progress.” After all, we wouldn’t […]

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The Future Will Be Different, But Will We Be the Same?

The Future of Human Augmentation and Performance Enhancement In most of our science fiction and our projections of the future, everything has changed—we have robots, flying cars, artificial intelligence, warp speed, laser swords–but we remain pretty much the same. Humans of the future are exactly the same physically and mentally as humans today. In science […]

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Knowledge Is Power

Matthew Boulton, of the 18th Century engineering firm Boulton & Watt, once boasted of his company’s steam engines, “I sell here, sir, what all the world desires to have: power.” He and James Watt had demonstrated the ultimate meaning of Francis Bacon’s famous dictum “Knowledge is power.” Watt’s knowledge of the science of energy made […]

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Elon Musk’s Ticket to Nowhere

There’s a fine line between “visionary billionaire” and “huckster,” and Elon Musk just soared right over it. On Tuesday, Musk gave an overview of SpaceX’s plans, such as they are, for a rocket transportation system that would colonize Mars. All of this is pure Elon Musk, his by-now familiar pattern of distracting from an immediate, […]

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The Era of “Green Energy” Hype

Two of Elon Musk’s companies, SolarCity and Tesla, have made an initial agreement to merge. The logic of the conglomeration seems to be entirely based on the idea of combining SolarCity’s rooftop solar panels with Tesla’s Powerwall battery storage. “SolarCity is going all in on a strategy that some analysts say is ahead of its […]

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The Autopilot Fiasco Could Crash Tesla’s Master Plan

Elon Musk just unveiled part two of his “master plan” for Tesla, but somehow instead of seeming ambitious and visionary, it seems a bit delusional. The most immediate and practical parts of the new plan consist of doing what others are also doing, like working on electric buses. But Musk also doubles down on his […]

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Elon Musk Is Revolting

Elon Musk, the PayPal co-founder who used his fortune to start a trio of “visionary” companies—Tesla, Solar City, and SpaceX—recently went beyond pitching the supposed virtues of his own technology and called for a broader social revolt aimed at taking down his rivals. Complaining that a “carbon tax” intended to fight global warming was being […]

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Five More Things Environmentalists Got Wrong

I wrote recently about seven big failed environmentalist predictions, from global cooling to the population bomb (which the New York Times, always on the cutting edge, has just noticed was a complete bust). But it’s not only the big scientific theories they’ve gotten wrong. When science gets harnessed for a political cause, it tends to […]

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Labor-Sucking Devices

Electric cars never really made any sense. They are cloaked in the sanctimony of the green movement, because they don’t use nasty fossil fuels like gasoline. Instead, they use electricity, which is sent out through power lines from big power plants, which generate this electricity—how? Oh yes, by burning fossil fuels like oil, coal, and […]

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