News services should have special sections set aside just for Elon Musk-related news.
Musk was very happy that the test launch of the SpaceX Starship ended with an explosion. It sounds bad, but the way rocket engineering works is the debugging phase always involves explosions and crashes at launch sites. This particular rocket actually did pretty well, lasting four minutes in the air after not blowing up on the launch pad. Blowing up while on the launch pad is really tragic. You really want your rocket to get away a little.
SpaceX is happy because it wants to make corrections to the system before launching a rocket like this with a human crew. This rocket was always set for self-destruction. There was never any intention of recovering it. The rocket was considered expendable, and more are being built. SpaceX will use data from the failed launch to tweak the new construction.
I’m sure Musk, a very public pothead, was pleased as punch he could put on such a big fireworks show on April 20.
Also on 4/20, Musk started removing those blue check marks on confirmed accounts on Twitter unless the owners ponied up $8 a month. Even the Pope lost his blue check mark. Oprah Winfrey. Bill Gates.
In other Musk news, he’s threatening to branch out more, this time into AI. This news comes about the same time we’re learning that Google is consolidating its AI ventures to form a scary thing to be called DeepMind. It sounds like something appropriate for a horror movie. I’m thinking of “Village of the Damned.”
Still, as scary as the name is, after seeing how much Musk has messed up Twitter, I have a lot more confidence in Google’s ability to create a useful and benign AI subsidiary. I’m afraid Musk will try to figure out how to use his company to take over the world. I remember he promised to get rid of bots on Twitter. Now I suspect he just meant other people’s bots. His bots will be just fine. By the way, one name he’s giving his AI project is TruthGPT, which also sets off some red flags. Exactly where is the truth going to come from? Too grandiose, in any case.
I’m afraid Musk is a little too close to the Brain in “Pinky and the Brain.”
I wanted to achieve world domination at one time. I think I was about 12. But I didn’t really want to control the world; I just saw doing so as an alternative to being controlled by it. I figured since everyone was controlling me at that age, maybe I should control them back for a while. There was nothing malevolent about it. Who knows, maybe that’s how Musk feels, too. Maybe his Rosebud moment was being assigned too much homework by his Social Studies teacher, same as me.
Earlier, I went through a phase where I just wanted to disengage from the world by means of electronics. The idea was amazingly similar to what actually has ended up happening. I’m now hooked up to the world by a cell phone permanently set on Do Not Disturb, and I can read thousands of books whenever I want. The books are stored on the cloud. I’m sure Bill Gates went through this phase.
All that was part of the vision. Also, electrodes in my muscles would make them twitch from time to time, so I could get exercise without having to leave my chair. The electrodes would be used in the “driver’s” seat of a self-driving e-vehicle, which would need no windows. It would just drive me to Chicago if I wanted to be there. Or, I don’t know, Philadelphia — like, maybe I wanted a Philly cheesesteak. Or, maybe I want my e-vehicle to roll up to the edge of the Grand Canyon. That would be so cool. I haven’t gotten that deal yet, but I’m still hoping. Also, like Matt Damon in “The Martian” and Ted Kaczynski at his cabin, I dreamed of recycling my waste to grow potatoes. That has also eluded me. Turns out potatoes are harder to grow than that. Who knew?
Getting back to the blown-up Starship. “Rapid unscheduled disassembly” is how SpaceX described the boom. I love this and whomever came up with it. I want them to be an honored national treasure. They should get a medal.
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Read more of the Apr. 26-May 2, 2023 issue.