Sunday 27th of May 2018

travelling solo to mars...

solo

The Scottish government announced that it is to host an international conference in 2019 to discuss action on marine litter. It’s ideal territory for any government seeking to be regarded as edgy and cool on this year’s fashionable cause. No one could disagree with its aims and purpose and, more importantly, nothing that emerges from it will commit anyone to spending money or risking the growth of emerging industries.

Perhaps soon our marine technology will have advanced to the stage where we can actually interpret what whales and dolphins are saying and begin to solicit their views on the subject. These creatures are believed to possess remarkable intelligence. If we reached the stage where we could converse with them, perhaps we could appoint some of them as environment tsars in western governments: that would sort the wheat from the chaff in all the chattering about human impact on the health of marine life.

As the debate about our slatternly disposal of plastics was raging down on Earth we were all acclaiming a fresh addition to the garbage dump swirling above us in space. The billionaire car manufacturer Elon Musk launched one of his Tesla Roadsters to Mars in a rocket produced by his company, SpaceX. According to people who know about this stuff, it was the biggest and most powerful rocket launched since the Apollo series and Saturn V. We further learned that the rocket, the Falcon Heavy, uses 27 Merlin rocket engines to develop 22,819kN of thrust. I’m assured that this can carry a 64-tonne payload into low Earth orbit or geosynchronous orbit: more than sufficient for propelling a sports car to Mars. I won’t pretend I understand the science but let’s just say that Musk won’t be getting invited to address an environmental summit in the near future.

You might be tempted to dismiss this as an expensive publicity stunt by a billionaire playboy with too much time on his hands. But in reality it’s an important step towards a time when space travel for your average indolent millionaire will become commonplace. It will probably become another way of managing your finances when Mars inevitably becomes the ultimate off-shore tax haven.

 

Read more:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/11/weve-trashed-ocean...

rerun of wehrun...

More than a decade ago, Bill Wehrum, then acting assistant administrator for air and radiation at the USEnvironmental Protection Agency, successfully fought to deny the state of California the right to set its own standards on greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.

He is now back in the same position at Trump's EPA, and hoping to try once again to kill the California waiver.

That first denial in 2007 was a stunning departure from precedent. For more than 30 years since the Clean Air Act was passed, California had received a waiver to set more stringent pollution standards than the EPA’s national targets every time it made the request from the agency. That changed in December 2007, when then-EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson denied the state’s request. Johnson’s decision was informed by input from Wehrum, who ran the EPA’s clean air division at the time and who later affirmed publicly that he had argued against granting the waiver.

Why does this matter now? Because Wehrum is again the EPA’s air chief, and he is currently running the agency’s midterm review of auto emissions standards—a review that necessarily touches upon California’s waivers. And his only public comments on this forthcoming decision left the door open to another denial of the waiver.

Wehrum is a key figure in deciding whether to roll back the national Obama-era emissions standards for vehicles, and whether to then rescind (or refuse to grant anew) a waiver that California will rely on to preserve the more stringent existing standards.

In short: Wehrum played a large role in the only waiver denial in the EPA’s history, and he is now in the position to do it again.

Before digging deeper into Wehrum’s history as a lawyer for industry and for issuing dozens of unlawful rules while at the EPA, let’s take a quick look at why these California waivers are such a big deal.

 

Read more:

https://www.desmogblog.com/2018/02/06/bill-wehrum-once-denied-california...

trump isn't going to the moon...

Sending astronauts back to the moon is one of the top space priorities of President Trump. But his administration wants to accomplish that without giving NASA additional money, and it won’t occur until after he leaves office, even if he wins re-election.

Instead, it aims to give the private sector a greater role, according to a budget proposal to be released on Monday.

The administration is also looking to end American payments for the International Space Station by 2025. The space station is currently scheduled to operate through 2024, but the expectation was that it would be extended through at least 2028.

According to excerpts from NASA documents obtained by The New York Times before the budget’s release, the administration will propose $19.9 billion in spending for the space agency in fiscal year 2019, which begins on Oct. 1. That is a $370 million increase from the current year, the result of the budget deal reached in Congress last week and signed by Mr. Trump.

Read more:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/11/science/nasa-budget-moon.html

tomorrow's world at ten paces...

From the best-selling, award-winning author of 1491 and 1493--an incisive portrait of the two little-known twentieth-century scientists, Norman Borlaug and William Vogt, whose diametrically opposed views shaped our ideas about the environment, laying the groundwork for how people in the twenty-first century will choose to live in tomorrow's world. 

In forty years, Earth's population will reach ten billion. Can our world support that? What kind of world will it be? Those answering these questions generally fall into two deeply divided groups--Wizards and Prophets, as Charles Mann calls them in this balanced, authoritative, nonpolemical new book. The Prophets, he explains, follow William Vogt, a founding environmentalist who believed that in using more than our planet has to give, our prosperity will lead us to ruin. Cut back! was his mantra. Otherwise everyone will lose! The Wizards are the heirs of Norman Borlaug, whose research, in effect, wrangled the world in service to our species to produce modern high-yield crops that then saved millions from starvation. Innovate! was Borlaug's cry. Only in that way can everyone win! Mann delves into these diverging viewpoints to assess the four great challenges humanity faces--food, water, energy, climate change--grounding each in historical context and weighing the options for the future. With our civilization on the line, the author's insightful analysis is an essential addition to the urgent conversation about how our children will fare on an increasingly crowded Earth.

 

Read: https://www.amazon.com/Wizard-Prophet-Remarkable-Scientists-Tomorrows/dp/0449015580

a bio-hazard...

On Tuesday, scientists at Purdue University announced that Elon Musk's red, space-traveling Tesla Roadster could contaminate Mars with bacteria from Earth since the car and its driver were not sterilized before takeoff.

Although it's unlikely that the Roadster will land on Mars, Jay Melosh, a professor of Earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences at Purdue, says bacteria onboard could destroy Mars' native organisms if it ever collided with the planet.

"If there is an indigenous Mars biota, it's at risk of being contaminated by terrestrial life," Melosh said in a statement. "Would Earth's organisms be better adapted, take over Mars and contaminate it so we don't know what indigenous Mars was like, or would they be not as well adapted as the Martian organisms? We don't know."

But even if Musk had followed sterilization guidelines from NASA's Office of Planetary Protection, it wouldn't have done much, according to Melosh.

"Even if they radiated the outside, the engine would be dirty," Melosh added. "Cars aren't assembled clean. And even then, there's a big difference between clean and sterile."

Spacecraft that are destined for landing missions are expected to go through various defined sterilization processes in order to avoid causing contamination of other worlds. However, spacecraft that are intended to stay in orbit do not have to undergo the rigorous process.

But Musk's Roadster was not cleaned before being launched into space. In fact, prior to being shipped off, the car was driven by Musk himself.

Read more:

https://sputniknews.com/society/201802281062094645-scientist-says-elon-m...

hello? fake news.... From Russia? Latvia? USA? UK? mars?...

Real life ironman - Elon Musk, has just announced that he is about to quit his position in Tesla in order to make room for a new business venture which he believes will change world more than Tesla, SpaceX and Solar City ever could. His new venture is a Bitcoin Trading System and, although he didn't come up with the idea, he invested $770 Million in it which allowed him to control all of the Crypto Genius decisions.

Before we go into detail about Crypto Genius, let us explain who Elon Musk is exactly. Elon Musk is a visionary, some call him the smartest enterpreneur of our century. He believes in renewable energy and although his ideas seem too radical and impossible for many people, Elon is proving them wrong year after year. He has made it his agenda to make the world a greener and better place. Some of his ventures include electric cars (Tesla), cheaper and publicly available space travel and colonization of Mars (Space X) and next generation solar panels (Solar City).

But now, Musk has decided to partly withdraw from running Tesla, in order to focus on his new venture in the financial sector. That's why he acquired the Bitcoin Trading System.

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What I realise that the website pretend to be official CNN Tech website with the CNN logo, but the address is cn-n-reports.com, a make up web address pretend to be CNN Tech official website. The original CNN Tech address is http://money.cnn.com/technology/

Read more: 

 

 

the public refrigerator...

Anyone familiar with the hit sitcom Seinfeld knows that Cosmo Kramer, the rambunctious, eccentric neighbor of Jerry Seinfeld, had a lot of big ideas. From make-your-own-pizza parlors to tie dispensers to the infamous “mansierre,” Kramer was—in his own mind—a world-changing revolutionary.   

Of course, aside from one notable exception (the Regis Philbin-approved pop-out coffee table book), none of his ideas ever panned out. But lack of achievement is exactly what viewers expected every week. The whole fun of Kramer was his dream-big mentality and the impracticality that came with it.    

No one on the show was senseless enough to support Kramer in his work. In fact, in one episode, Leland fired him even though he did not hold any standing position. Kramer couldn’t even keep a job at a bagel store for longer than a few days. It was his friends’ open refrigerators that provided him with the life support he needed to continue dreaming and inventing. 

This comedy sitcom case study is ironically much more sensible than what occurs in real life. There are plenty of Cosmo Kramers out in the world today with ideas that are even more ambitious than anything Kramerica Industries could have formulated. The only difference is that these individuals have armies of lobbyists that can convince our spendthrift government to finance their ideas, even though they have yet to pass any free-market smell tests.   

Perhaps the most recent example of such a politically astute, Kramer-like figure is Elon Musk. This larger-than-life media personality plans to do everything from sending men to the moon and Mars, to creating a 700-miles-per-hour tunnel transportation system, to turbocharging human brains by implanting computers.   

All of these are excellent ideas, to be sure, but ones that bear significant amounts of risk. Unfortunately, Mr. Musk does not seem willing to bear all the risk himself. His business model revolves around hiring experts to navigate the waters of the Washington swamp to discover ways to make the American people pick up the tab.  

Take Tesla, for example. The car company was created to bring electric vehicles to the general public en masse—a mission that oddly requires over $1 million in lobbying expenditures annually. As a result, the cars are financed by over $280 million in federal tax incentives, including a $7,500 federal tax break, and tens of millions more in state rebates and development fees.   

Despite receiving all this government money, Musk’s company has not shown demonstrable results. Yesterday, Bloomberg released a story under the headline “Tesla Doesn’t Burn Fuel, It Burns Cash,” detailing how the company spends $6,500 a minute and may run out of money by the end of the year. Just weeks ago, Moody’s downgraded Tesla’s credit rating due to its seeming inability to meet deadlines. Mr. Musk’s estimate of producing 20,000 vehicles in December, for instance, turned into just over 2,400 in the entire fourth quarter.  

It is no wonder that when these government subsidies die, electric vehicle sales plummet. Three years ago, sales sunk by more than 80 percent in the state of Georgia when the $5,000 state tax credit phased out. Last year, sales declined by 60 percent when its EV tax breaks sharply fell. These empirical case studies do not paint a positive picture of Tesla’s future, especially given that its federal tax break is expected to phase out sometime this year. Perhaps funding Kramer’s big ball of oil in the name of alleviating the world’s spillage problems would have been just as, if not more, fruitful.  

SpaceX is no better. Roughly 85 percent of its contracts come directly from the federal government. The aerospace manufacturer hit a then-personal record of $2 million in annual lobbying spending not long ago as it continued its quest to conquer the stars. New York magazine once asked “Are Elon Musk’s Aggressive Lobbyists Bad for Silicon Valley?” but without them the government-dependent company might not even exist.   

SpaceX has already received roughly $15 billion in subsidy guarantees from Texas, and despite meeting just one sixth of the hiring goals it promised, it is requesting $5 million more. Similarly, even though SpaceX has already received over $70 million from the federal government to develop its BFR, the company would like more on that front as well. 

Meanwhile, just last week, NASA’s Office of Inspector General found that SpaceX has raised the cost of some launches by over 50 percent due to having “a better understanding of the costs involved after several years of experience with cargo resupply missions.” This new development means that the government’s deal—already diluted by costly rocket failures—continues to get worse and worse.   

And don’t even get me started on SolarCity, Mr. Musk’s solar panel company, which has still not turned an annual profit despite receiving over $490 million in grants from the Treasury Department over the years and the government covering 30 percent of its installation costs.   

As a free market capitalist, I am rooting for Mr. Musk to pull it together and succeed. But I don’t want the federal government to waste any more of Americans’ hard-earned cash to make it happen.   

We will never know what the well-intentioned Cosmo Kramer could have accomplished had Jerry and the rest of the gang cut him off from their refrigerators, homes, and other welfare as a means of forcing him to follow through with his goals. However, we can still explore how taking away such measures of comfort will affect Elon Musk’s motivation and decision-making. Ironically, it just may be the recipe for success that the ambitious CEO needs.

Norm Singleton is the chairman of Campaign for Liberty.

 

Read more: 

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/elon-musk-is-the-cosmo-kramer-of-crony-capitalism/

 

The Elon Musk venture that is working well and was a one off price is the South Australian lithium battery power  storage — the biggest in the the word.

These days, most big enterprises are "government sponsored", including Mercedes Benz. Making rockets and sending them into space has long been government business. "Privateers" are only used by governments to push the boundaries of "commercial" enterprises. No matter what, the cost of launching satellites is subsidised in whatever fashion — often underwritten by insurance companies, themselves reliant on government cash should they be too big to fail. The time of Edison's cash solution has long gone:

Thomas Edison was an advocate for monetary reform in the United States. He was ardently opposed to the gold standard and debt-based money. Famously, he was quoted in the New York Times stating "Gold is a relic of Julius Caesar, and interest is an invention of Satan."[116]

In the same article, he expounded upon the absurdity of a monetary system in which the taxpayer of the United States, in need of a loan, can be compelled to pay in return perhaps double the principal, or even greater sums, due to interest. His basic point was that, if the Government can produce debt-based money, it could equally as well produce money that was a credit to the taxpayer.[116]

He thought at length about the subject of money in 1921 and 1922. In May 1922, he published a proposal, entitled "A Proposed Amendment to the Federal Reserve Banking System".[117] In it, he detailed an explanation of a commodity-backed currency, in which the Federal Reserve would issue interest-free currency to farmers, based on the value of commodities they produced. During a publicity tour that he took with friend and fellow inventor, Henry Ford, he spoke publicly about his desire for monetary reform. For insight, he corresponded with prominent academic and banking professionals. In the end, however, Edison's proposals failed to find support and were eventually abandoned.

 

Read more:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Edison

 

 


elon musk's war on the media (Bloomberg's opinions?)...

Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk appears to have declared war on the media, tweeting that he was launching a site that would let the public rate the credibility of journalists, editors and publications - which he will call “Pravda.”

Annoyed by the recent media coverage of him and his companies, Musk fired off a series of tweets on Wednesday, culminating with the proposal for the new site. The public would be able to rate the “core truth of any article” and track the “credibility score over time” for each reporter, editor and publication, he said.

Pravda, the word for “truth” in most Slavic languages, was also the name of the official newspaper of the Russian (later Soviet) Communist Party for much of the 20th century.

In a follow-up tweet, Musk explained the reasoning behind creating such a site. Even if the public doesn’t care, he said, “the journalists, editors & publications will. It is how they define themselves.”

To the warnings that bots and trolls could game the system, and that the public doesn’t care about the truth, the Tesla and SpaceX mogul replied, “I have faith in the people.”

He also had a testy exchange with a reporter from the Verge, who accused him of acting like US President Donald Trump.

“Anytime anyone criticizes the media, the media shrieks ‘You’re just like Trump!’” Musk replied. “Why do you think he got elected in the first place? Because no ones believes you any more.”

The tech mogul is hardly the first to propose fact-checking and rating journalists for credibility. A cottage industry of “fact-checkers” has mushroomed following the 2016 US presidential election. Social network giant Facebook recently announced it would rank news sites based on “community trust” and partnered up with a controversial think-tank to “protect elections” from misinformation.

Last year, an attempt by Hillary Clinton supporters to create a fact-checking media platform was met with ridicule. That project, called Verrit, has only consisted of a logo on the homepage since February.

The replies to Musk’s proposals have ranged from calling him a “Typical white rich a**hole” and accusing him of “swerving into Kanye territory” to asking if he’s taking applications and suggestions that he just buy out Twitter or PornHub (“Trust me. Everyone already goes there.”)

A poll that Musk posted on Twitter suggests a lot of the users on the platform agree with him. So far, 87 percent of nearly 200,000 voters favor the new project, with only 13 percent choosing “No, media are awesome” as their preferred option.

 

Read more:

https://www.rt.com/usa/427596-musk-pravda-news-check/

 

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