Neil DeGrasse Tyson Defends Elon Musk, Saying He’s “The Best Thing We’ve Had Since Thomas Edison”

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Are you on team Elon?



Neil deGrasse Tyson defended Tesla CEO Elon Musk in an interview with TMZ, calling him “the best thing we’ve had since Thomas Edison.”

Tyson defended Musk’s conduct in an interview last week with Joe Rogan in which Musk was filmed smoking marijuana. (Recreational use of marijuana is legal in California, where the interview was filmed.)

“Can they leave him alone? Let the man get high if he wants to get high,” Tyson said.

Before his interview with Rogan, Musk told The New York Times in August that marijuana hurts one’s ability to work.

“Weed is not helpful for productivity. There’s a reason for the word ‘stoned.’ You just sit there like a stone on weed,” Musk said.

Tyson also addressed the process by which Musk explored the possibility of converting Tesla into a private company, saying Musk had to be accountable to the public since Tesla is traded on public markets.

“He’s got to obey the SEC, clearly. But if he doesn’t want to obey the SEC, then he’s got to have a private company, then he can do what he wants,” Tyson said.

Musk attracted controversy in August over his statements about wanting to take Tesla private, which raised questions about the certainty of funding Musk referenced in a tweet and where exactly that funding would come from.

Fox Business and The New York Times reported that the SEC had sent subpoenas to Tesla concerning Tesla’s plans to explore going private and Musk’s statements about the process. Musk ultimately said Tesla will remain a public company.

Tyson later said he’s a fan of Musk, suggesting that he’s among the most innovative people working today.

“Count me as team Elon,” Tyson said. “He’s the only game in town. He’s the best thing we’ve had since Thomas Edison.”

4 Secrets From the Designer of Tesla’s Award-Winning Model 3

Automobile Magazine recently awarded the Design of the Year Award to the Tesla Model 3. In praise of the car, the magazine wrote, “[It’s] simple and straightforward, perfectly proportioned with minimal extraneous detailing.”

The Tesla Model 3.

“It has all been done with unmistakably good taste,” the article continues. “We have the impression that the studied simplicity of both interior and exterior will let this car age extremely well, that in 10 years it will still look contemporary and beautifully understated.”

Automobile’s Robert Cumberford sat down with Tesla’s Chief Designer, Franz von Holzhausen, to learn more about his approach to the design of Tesla’s newest sedan. Von Holzhausen previously created the Pontiac Solstice and was in charge of Mazda design in California before joining Tesla.

Here are four of the Von Holzhausen’s most fascinating quotes from his interview.

4. On the Original Design Brief for the Model 3

“It was essentially customer-driven. They saw the Model S as a great car, but there was a desire for something 10 to 20 percent smaller… We thought the $35,000 price point would work. We wanted five seats, more interior space, and to keep the fastback silhouette.”

3. What Model 3 Shares With the Model S and Model X

“For instance, we knew that flush door handles were important, but we simplified the mechanism, so they are not as costly. We kept good aerodynamics for range as well as to make the car sporty. Not silliness, just clean and sporty.”

2. On the Thinking Behind Some of Model 3’s Design Choices

“To keep the fastback profile, we eliminated the liftgate and used a normal trunk lid. To keep a faster profile, we moved the structure ahead, to make sure the [head impact criteria] were all met. The big backlight is something we had experience with on the Model X windshield.”

1. Why the Model 3 Doesn’t Have a Front Grille

“That was a long time coming. We made the early cars less distinct from rivals but slowly came to this solution of how to keep a premium sports feel friendlier and happier than the luxury S. We changed that car, too, modifying 200 to 300 parts when the S was restyled without the painted ‘shield.’”

SpaceX Hid a Second, Secret Payload Aboard Falcon Heavy, And It Sounds Amazing

Designed to last for millions of years.

Elon Musk’s personal Tesla might have gotten all the headlines during SpaceX’s historic rocket launch last week, but the Falcon Heavy also carried a second, secret payload almost nobody knew about.

Stashed inside the midnight-cherry Roadster was a mysterious, small object designed to last for millions (perhaps billions) of years – even in extreme environments like space, or on the distant surfaces of far-flung planetary bodies.

Called an Arch (pronounced ‘Ark’), this tiny storage device is built for long-term data archiving, holding libraries of information encoded on a small disc of quartz crystal, not much larger than a coin.

621 spacex tesla secret payload arch(Arch Mission)

According to Arch Mission Foundation, the California-based nonprofit behind the technology, these Archs could “preserve and disseminate humanity’s knowledge across time and space, for the benefit of future generations”.

The Arch looks like a shrunk-down DVD or Blu-ray, but its potential for data storage goes way beyond any optical discs you have in your home.

The technology, developed by physicist Peter Kazansky from the University of Southampton in the UK, can theoretically hold up to 360 terabytes of data, about the same amount as 7,000 Blu-Ray discs.

621 spacex tesla secret payload arch(SpaceX)

But even more impressive than the data capacity is the physical longevity of the medium – the first two discs, called Arch 1.1 and Arch 1.2, are said to be two of the longest-lasting storage objects ever created by humans, theoretically stable for up to 14 billion years, thanks to ‘5D data storage’ inscribed by laser nanostructuring in quartz silica glass.

The Arch 1.2 disc currently making its way through space on Musk’s Tesla Roadster at a cruising speed of some 12,908 km/h (8,021 mph) has been loaded up with Issac Asimov’s Foundation trilogy – a seminal sci-fi classic, similarly concerned with the concept of preserving human knowledge and culture in a vast, unforgiving Universe.

It’s a mission perfectly aligned with the goals of the Arch’s developers, who have named this maiden disc launch the ‘Solar Library’.

“The Solar Library will orbit the Sun for billions of years,” explains co-founder Nova Spivack.

“Think of it as a ring of knowledge around the Sun. This is only the first step of an epic human project to curate, encode, and distribute our data across the Solar System, and beyond.”

621 spacex tesla secret payload arch(SpaceX)

Subsequent launches are planned for 2020 and 2030, with the ‘Lunar’ and ‘Mars’ Arch libraries intended to send curated backups of human knowledge to the Moon and Mars – with the latter disc hoped to serve as a useful aid for colonists on the Red Planet, helping them to ‘seed’ a localised internet on Mars.

If that all sounds pretty ambitious, the ultimate goal is even more fantastic.

“By eventually connecting the Arch Libraries, and the Arch storage devices they contain, through a decentralised read-write data sharing network that spans the Solar System, we can begin to grow and share a collective decentralised library of everything humanity learns, on every planet in our Solar System, and even beyond, as we spread,” Spivack says.

Wow. Okay, so it’s one heck of a moonage daydream, but if you don’t believe it, ask yourself this: did you ever expect a Tesla Roadster would be orbiting the Sun in 2018?

Why Elon Musk’s Tesla Will Last Thousands of Years in Space, Scientifically

After at least seven years of planning and preparation, on Tuesday, SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy will finally make its maiden voyage. Though the aerospace company will attempt to land several of its boosters back on terra firma, its payload will continue along on a one-way ticket toward Mars — but how long will its sojourn around the Red Planet last?

Falcon Heavy's Tesla heading toward Mars

Let’s clear something up right off the bat: Elon Musk’s midnight cherry Roadster isn’t actually going to Mars. It’s not even going to be orbiting Mars in the way that the red planet’s two moons do. Instead, the car will be placed in a heliocentric orbit, meaning it will revolve around the sun, just like all the planets in our solar system.

“The Falcon Heavy will achieve this by using three rockets, with the first two separating after stage one of the launch,” Ben Thornber, an associate professor at the University of Sydney, writes in The Conversation. “The final rocket will then lift the Tesla Roadster up into space, where it will enter a highly elliptical orbit between the Earth and Mars. Without external interference, Falcon Heavy will remain in this orbit for thousands of years.”

The specific kind of heliocentric orbit Musk’s roadster will be traveling on is called Trans-Mars injection, meaning it will orbit the sun in a manner that will bring it close to Earth and Mars again and again. This could mean that the Tesla will be placed several million miles away from Mars, but it’ll still get to snuggle up to the planet — and ours — many times.

Of course, getting the Roadster to its final destination is the hard part. First and foremast, the Falcon Heavy has to not blow up on ascent, which is harder than it sounds. Then, it has to traverse Earth’s Van Allen belt, which is full of high-energy particles waiting to whack the crap out of it. Then, the Tesla has to cruise in deep space for about six hours to reach the finish line.

It’s a lot, but if SpaceX pulls this off, it’ll make history — again.

“We estimate it will be in that orbit for several hundred million years, or maybe in excess of a billion years,” Musk announced in a press conference yesterday.

There’s only one way to find out whether or not Musk’s Tesla will make it to Mars — watch the launch on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. Eastern.

Elon Musk Reveals What He Most Wants to Do Next at Tesla in Twitter Chat

Elon Musk spent the day after Christmas checking in with owners of Tesla cars, thanking them for their support and asking what they want his company to get to work on in 2018 and beyond. In the process, Musk dropped some major hints about what we could see next, including a specific kind of vehicle he most wants to make.


“Wanted again to send a note of deep gratitude to Tesla owners [worldwide] for taking a chance on a new company that all experts said would fail,” Musk tweeted Tuesday. “So much blood, sweat & tears from the Tesla team went into creating cars that you’d truly love. I hope you do. How can we improve further?”

Understandably, a lot of the responses focused on immediate, targeted responses to the existing Tesla vehicles, but one response focused on a future car the tweeter — and Musk himself, it turns out — would like to see: an electric pickup truck.

Musk has previously said the Model Y will be the next car the company focuses on developing after the Model 3, which itself still has the company in production hell as it seeks to ramp up production and achieve the scale necessary to fulfill orders. The reported plan for the Model Y is a more cost-efficient crossover utility vehicle with falcon-wing doors, drawing on elements of the Model 3 and the Model X.

Exactly when Tesla would be able to focus on a pickup would likely depend on when it can sort out logistics with the Model 3 and complete development of the Model Y, and there’s not yet a clear timeline for the latter. But consider 2018 to be the official first year of Tesla pickup rumors, even if we’re a ways way from seeing the reality.

Musk dropped one other hint when asked about the size of the truck, saying he wanted to include what he thinks is a “really game-changing feature.”

The rest of the requests were more incremental, with the most exciting being the prospect of intelligent windshield wipers that can respond to rain levels. Musk said this would be coming very soon.

He acknowledged the browser for the Model S and other cars is “terrible” and needs significant upgrades, which should start happening sometime in 2018.

He also promised major improvements for Tesla’s maps and navigation systems. Whether this would be part of the same upgrade that would see the improved browser is an open question, but it sounds like major updates could be coming by next spring.

Throw in some goodies with heated windows and general ability to control internal heat settings with a push of a button.

His other responses were a little less concrete, though at least the “Done” indicates Musk plans to address what sounds like what can be a pretty annoying issue with the bluetooth setup.

This proposed theft response sounds like the sort of clever, next-level automation that Musk and Tesla like to make their trademark. Whether it’s actually something to expect anytime soon is a little hard to parse from a simple “Ok,” but at least it’s on Musk’s radar.

He also said “sure” in response to this suggested feature for the app, which would inform others when the Tesla and its driver can be expected home.

And here’s a whole laundry list of features that Musk signed off on, but it ended up being the last one that really caught his eye.

Honestly, based on everything we know about Elon Musk and his love of whimsical bonus features, we can probably expect the first Tesla upgrade of 2018 to be Disco Mode. Actually, there’s still a few days left in 2017, no reason that can’t be Tesla’s final big splash.

Volvo will launch its first all-electric car in 2019 to take on Tesla – here’s everything we know.

Volvo is looking to China for the future of its electric cars.

The carmaker said Wednesday that it plans to produce its first fully electric car in China and will export it around the world.

The Swedish automaker, which is owned by the Chinese company Geely, is making a big bet on electric vehicles.

In 2015, Volvo launched its XC90, which was its first vehicle with a hybrid powertrain. And in April 2016, the company vowed that it would sell one million electrified cars by 2025.

Volvo’s first fully electric car is slated to go into production in 2019. Here’s everything we know about the car so far.

Read more. URL:

12 of the smartest things Elon Musk has said about the future of our planet.

Business Insider covers Elon Musk quite a lot , because let’s face it – he’s a visionary.

From making electric cars the standard with Tesla to making space travel affordable with SpaceX , Musk is the Thomas Edison of our time.

Here are 12 of our favorite things that he’s said about the future of the planet.

Enjoy the slideshow. URL:



Tesla unveils a battery to power your home, completely off grid

CEO of Tesla Motors, Elon Musk, landed an official message unveiling the Powerwall, a battery designed to power your home.  The message came at a convention center powered completely by renewable battery power.

The battery unit itself contains the same batteries present in the Tesla electric cars.  The 7kWh unit will ship for $3,000, while the 10kWh unit will go for $3,500 (get the big one). They will store electricity from the grid or from solar and wind generators on site and if the grid goes down, they will continue to power your home indefinitely  This feature makes them ideal for developing nations that are leap-frogging power grids completely.

Musk refers to it as changing the “entire energy infrastructure of the world.”


The batteries will begin shipping over the summer of 2015 and mount on the wall, looking like this


Here is a clip from the initial release

“Powerwall is a home battery that charges using electricity generated from solar panels, or when utility rates are low, and powers your home in the evening. It also fortifies your home against power outages by providing a backup electricity supply. Automated, compact and simple to install, Powerwall offers independence from the utility grid and the security of an emergency backup.

Powerwall comes in 10 kWh weekly cycle and 7 kWh daily cycle models. Both are guaranteed for ten years and are sufficient to power most homes during peak evening hours. Multiple batteries may be installed together for homes with greater energy need, up to 90 kWh total for the 10 kWh battery and 63 kWh total for the 7 kWh battery.”

  • TechnologyWall mounted, rechargeable lithium ion battery with liquid thermal control.
  • Models10 kWh $3,500For backup applications7 kWh $3,000For daily cycle applications
  • Warranty10 years
  • Efficiency92% round-trip DC efficiency
  • Power2.0 kW continuous, 3.3 kW peak
  • Voltage350 – 450 volts
  • Current5.8 amp nominal, 8.6 amp peak output
  • CompatibilitySingle phase and three phase utility grid compatible.
  • Operating Temperature-4°F to 110°F / -20°C to 43°C
  • EnclosureRated for indoor and outdoor installation.
  • InstallationRequires installation by a trained electrician. DC-AC inverter not included.
  • Weight220 lbs / 100 kg
  • Dimensions51.2″ x 33.9″ x 7.1″1300 mm x 860 mm x 180 mm
  • CertificationNRTL listed to UL standards

How Tesla became the most lusted after car

Showbiz-style rollout and media hysteria, rah-rah reviews and long lines to book the latest Tesla Model 3. You have to wonder what took so long for a country — where it is famously said, “If you don’t look back at your car after you park it, you’ve bought the wrong car!” — to lose its head over a car. Maybe because there wasn’t anything like this before?

America is car heaven. The US has the highest number of motor vehicles in the world (both absolute, and per capita, if you leave out minor principalities like Monaco and Luxembourg). At 809 vehicles per 1,000 people, it’s a surprise toddlers aren’t driving (Tesla may fix that too; it is working on a lithium ion battery-powered toy car for children). Learning to drive and buying the first car (and making out in it, according to some) are rites of passage in American life.Nowhere in the world are cars so sought after, car companies so revered, and car salesmen so reviled.

Into this ritualistic world comes a brash young company that many have compared to Apple -both for the fetish its founders have for a fine finished product, and the hysteria they generate among fanboys (and some girls). Last week, as Tesla‘s South Africa-born founder Elon Musk unveiled the prototype of the company’s new product, Tesla 3 -still at least 18 months away from production — an assembly of whooping Tesla employees, owners, and cheerleaders (some media among them) erupted wildly in scenes reminiscent of the kind of celebration Apple’s Steve Jobs could drum up at product launches.

Like with Apple and Jobs, Tesla and its founder already have a dedicated fan base, albeit much smaller, considering Tesla’s products are as nifty as iPhones and iPads, but only about 200 times as expensive. But with the Tesla 3, a $35,000 base-price sedan that costs almost a third of what the existing line-up of Tesla Roadster, Tesla S, and Tesla X sell for, Musk is reaching for the middle-class Joe who is already ponying up the same price range for mid-sized SUVs and cars.It sounds like an unbelievable deal, even without all the bells and whistles that Tesla puts in its fully loaded car.

Just three things among many had car buffs — particularly environmentally conscious fans — rushing online and to showrooms to book the Model 3, plonking down a $1,000 refundable deposit. Musk’s promise that even the base model would have features common with its $100,000 top-of-line Tesla — an impressive battery range of 215 miles (344km) on a charge, the highest among current major electric vehicles, a capacious interior that can seat five people comfortably, and the great love of many Americans — acceleration and speed: Zero to 60 miles (about 100km) in six seconds. All for a sticker price of $35,000. Additional features could bump it up to $42,000.

Small wonder, some 200,000 people worldwide, including in Delhi, beat a path to Tesla showrooms (or the website) to put $200 million in Elon Musk’s pocket even before the first car has been produced. “Model 3 orders at 180,000 in 24 hours.Selling price w avg option mix prob $42k, so ~$7.5B in a day . Future of electric cars looking bright!” Musk tweeted triumphantly. Two hours later, he tweeted, “Now 232k orders.”

While financial mavens calculated that Tesla could do more than $2 billion in debt equity of fering with just the deposits he will be sitting on for at least two-three years, Musk himself indicated that if production is fully realized, it would generate more than $8 billion in cash flow for Tesla, putting the long-sought but frequently underperforming electric car in the sight of the average buyers spooked by its unreliable reputation, lack of charging options, and “range anxiety.” According to Musk, not only have all those issues been fixed, but the Tesla 3 will sweep every other car off the market.


But carrying through the promises is fraught with big ifs — and risks. Although previous Tesla models have received rave reviews for design and performance, there were inevitable delays even though volumes were low for those cars. Last year, Tesla delivered little more than 50,000 cars all three models combined. The 232,000-plus orders for Tesla 3, which could go up to 5,00,000 before the hysteria subsides, will test Tesla’s assembly lines, all located in the US. Musk maintains that with any new technology, “it takes multiple iterations and it takes economies of scale before you can make it great and affordable.” He thinks Tesla can begin delivering within the 18-month timeline it has promised.

Meanwhile, what of India, now fast taking after the US as automotive heaven despite its dismal infrastructure? In a country where the mantra has long been “kitna deti hai?” (how much mileage does it give?), 346km per charge could seem like mileage heaven. But as the joke goes, how will it work if there is no power? On a more serious note, Tesla’s India problem is poor roads and lack of charging stations. Besides, where in heavens can you accelerate from one to 100km per hour in six seconds?

That hasn’t stopped Indian enthusiasts from joining the worldwide hysteria and singing “tu cheez badi hai musk musk.” Prime Minister Narendra Modi may not have succeeded in persuading Musk to set up a manufacturing facility in India, but given the size of the auto market, Tesla is certainly beating a path to India’s door -with Musk all ready to do his version of Car Seva.