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♦ Note From The Curator ♦
The top three articles in this issue of Elon Musk News are:
This issue features a statement from Elon Musk regarding his involvement with the current administration, Musk's endorsement of 23 guiding principles for safe A.I., SpaceX's expansion in Seattle with their new internet satellite development lab, Indiana's approval of Tesla to operate its own stores, and much more!
Thanks for being part of this community, and enjoy issue 69!
♦ Featured Quote ♦
"Advisory councils simply provide advice and attending does not mean that I agree with actions by the Administration."— @elonmusk
After deciding to buy a Tesla, often the next decision is to purchase a Level 2 charging station for faster charging at home. Safety might not be the first consideration when selecting a charging station, but safety is actually the most important thing to consider.
Zach says: Read the full statement from Elon Musk here."In December, I agreed to join the Presidential Advisory Forum to provide feedback on issues that I think are important for our country and the world. In tomorrow's meeting, I and others will express our objections to the recent executive order on immigration and offer suggestions for changes to the policy... I understand the perspective of those who object to my attending this meeting, but believe at this time that engaging on critical issues will on balance serve the greater good."
Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, and hundreds of other researchers, tech leaders, and scientists have endorsed a list of 23 guiding principles that should steer AI development in a productive, ethical, and safe direction.
The Alisomar AI Principles were developed after the Future of Life Institute brought dozens of experts together for their Beneficial AI 2017 conference. The experts, whose ranks consisted of roboticists, physicists, economists, philosophers, and more, had fierce debates about AI safety, economic impact on human workers, and programming ethics, to name a few. In order to make the final list, 90 percent of the experts had to agree on its inclusion.
At the Hyperloop pod competition, Musk announced that a hole had already been dug beneath Crenshaw boulevard adjoining SpaceX's headquarters in Hawthorne, California."It's right there, you can check it out. That's going to be the hole for the tunnel boring machine." said Musk. "We're just going to figure out what it takes to improve tunneling speed".
Though initial speculation of Musk's tunnel boring project pinned it as means to avoid traffic between SpaceX and nearby LAX airport, Musk reveals a modest and less than glamorous intention. "We're just sort of muddling along. We have no idea what we're doing. I want to be clear about that. We're going to get this machine figured out, take it apart" said Musk, noting that he's optimistic about improving the speed of tunnel boring machines by five to ten fold.
Iridium announced it was going to carpool (or rocket-pool, in this case) with NASA to get five of its NEXT satellites into space on top of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in early 2018. The five NEXT satellites will go alongside two NASA satellites.
Iridium has been contracting flights on SpaceX's rockets for a while (this will be its eighth), as has NASA. But it's the first time the two entities have shared a rocket. NASA's satellites are part of its GRACE-FO mission, which monitors the constantly shifting gravitational field around the Earth. The Iridium satellites are part of the NEXT program, which initially signed on with SpaceX to put a network of 70 communication satellites in a low-earth orbit. The additional launch will increase that number to 75.
SpaceX is committed to building up to 4,425 geosynchronous satellites with the goal of bringing low cost internet service to the entire world. They have leased an additional 40,625 square feet of space in the Redmond Ridge Corporate Center, about a 10 minute drive away from its existing 30,000 square foot office space just east of Seattle.
The new location will become a research and development lab for the internet satellite program. Each satellite will weigh 850 pounds and measure 13x6x4 feet, exclusive of solar arrays, and have an estimated service life of five to seven years.
SpaceX wants to lease 4.6 acres of land and water area along harbor berths 51 to 53. In addition to extra space, the lease agreement would permit the company to have berthing rights.
SpaceX plans at least six launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base through 2018. These need at-sea landings, so the San Pedro site will be much in demand for rocket storage. Additionally, SpaceX company officials have indicated that they intend to launch every two weeks from bases in Florida and California. Thus, the company's need to park and handle recovered space equipment makes the San Pedro expansion an important element of the company's future plans.
With the submission of a Form 8-K to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission on February 1, Tesla declared its intention to change its focus from being a car company to being something more. Changing its name is the final step in a shift away from Elon Musk's original master plan for the company, and towards a new vision for the company.
In Tesla's announcement they state: "at that time [after market close on 2/22/2017], Tesla will issue a brief advisory containing a link to the Q4 and full year 2016 Update Letter, which will be available on the Tesla IR website. Tesla management will hold a live question and answer webcast that day at 2:30pm Pacific Time (5:30pm Eastern Time) to discuss the Company's financial and business results and outlook."
The "Right to Repair", which primarily aims to force electronic manufacturers to sell replacement parts and make their diagnostic and service manuals available to independent repair shops and consumers, is gaining some traction. It is currently only in place in Massachusetts, which is why it's the only state where Tesla owners can register to access repair manuals, service documents, wiring diagrams, and part information, but Tesla President Jon McNeill now says that the automaker is working on opening the program.
After a public hearing Wednesday where several consumers and Tesla representatives expressed their concerns over the bill, they introduced a new amendment that "grandfathered in" Tesla. The house bill 1592 was then approved 9-1 in the Roads and Transportation committee earlier yesterday morning. State Rep. Ed Soliday, who introduced the bill, insisted that it had nothing to do with Tesla even though it would have been the only company affected by the change. He confirmed today that the amendment was specifically crafted to "grandfathered in" Tesla.
Three massive battery storage plants—built by Tesla, AES Corp., and Altagas Ltd.—are all officially going live in southern California at about the same time. Any one of these projects would have been the largest battery storage facility ever built. Combined, they amount to 15 percent of the battery storage installed planet-wide last year.
Ribbons will be cut and executives will take their bows. But this is a revolution that's just getting started, Tesla Chief Technology Officer J.B. Straubel said in an interview on Friday. "It's sort of hard to comprehend sometimes the speed all this is going at," he said. "Our storage is growing as fast as we can humanly scale it."
"What this was intended to do is encourage innovation in transportation technology," Musk said on race day. "To get people to do things in a way that isn't just a repeat of the past."
It's working, if judged by enthusiasm alone. "It's great to get to design something new, something that's not been done before," says Julian Gomez, from Team Codex of Oral Roberts University. His team is one of 27 that have made it this far, of the 124 that earned a spot in the first, design-focused, stage of the contest. After structural, electrical, and braking checks, and tests in a smaller vacuum chamber, only five teams earned the right to pop their pods into the hyperloop tube.
Hi! I'm Zach, the curator of this newsletter. As I'm continually inspired by Elon Musk & his companies, I come up with a lot of ideas for shirts. Every three months my team & I pick the best idea, and hire a professional to design it. You can check them all out here. Enjoy!