21 agosto 2017

Elon Musk News - Issue 97

Elon Musk News - Issue 97
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Note From The Curator
The top three stories in this issue of Elon Musk News are:
  1. What OpenAI Victory in Dota 2 Means for the Future of eSports
  2. SpaceX nails yet another "picture-perfect landing" after sending Dragon into orbit
  3. Tesla Powerpacks are being considered by Taiwan following massive blackout
One of my favorite articles I found this week is a profile on SpaceX Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell. If you've been following Musk for a while, you're likely well aware of how he came to be the person we know today. Shotwell however is less known, and I really enjoyed reading about her background and how she came to work at SpaceX. You can find that article and much more below.

I hope you enjoy issue 97, and have an excellent Friday!

Featured Quote
"I think we have a duty to maintain the light of consciousness to make sure it continues into the future."
— Elon Musk

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SpaceX successfully conducted its 11th orbital launch of 2017, tasked with sending its Cargo Dragon spacecraft into low Earth orbit. SpaceX and NASA will now work towards a first docking attempt with the International Space Station, currently planned for August 16th. As the second stage of Falcon 9 continues to lift its Dragon payload into orbit, the first stage, 1039, made its way back to Landing Zone-1 (LZ-1) for yet another picture perfect recovery.

The launch of CRS-12 Monday saw the reuse of landing legs taken from a previously recovered Falcon 9. It also marked the first debut of what is understood as incremental improvements in the vehicle's thrust, deemed "Block 4" by Musk and the SpaceX fan community. CRS-12 will bring along approximately 6,000 pounds of cargo, with an unusually large 75% of that cargo being dedicated to to scientific research aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
A SpaceX Dragon cargo ship arrived at the International Space Station early Wednesday (Aug. 16), delivering 3 tons of supplies, experiments and even some ice cream for the orbiting lab's crew. The uncrewed Dragon spacecraft was captured by astronauts using the station's robotic arm at 6:52 a.m. EDT (1052 GMT) as the two spacecraft were flying over the Pacific Ocean, just north of New Zealand.

"Today has special significance because SpaceX-12 is the last flight on the original cargo resupply contract," NASA astronaut Jack Fischer said from the station. "And this, the 36th flight of a Dragon, stands as a testament to a burgeoning commercial industry that has become a pillar of support to NASA's — and really all of humanity's — quest to explore the universe."
Zach says: This article contains some very interesting information on SpaceX's crew dragon program! Definitely worth a read.

NASA and SpaceX hosted a post-launch conference for the successful CRS-12 mission on Monday. Dan Hartman of NASA and Hans Koenigsmann of SpaceX answered multiple questions from an audience of journalists regarding the future of SpaceX's reusability program. Hans confirmed unofficial rumors that SpaceX's Q4 2017 launch of SES-11 would utilize a flight-proven booster, likely one from a previous CRS mission. While this could mean either CRS-10 or CRS-11's first stage, the most probable core is from CRS-10, numbered 1031.

Possibly even more exciting, Hartman acknowledged that NASA and SpaceX were deep into a process of data-gathering and sharing in an effort to certify flight-proven Falcon 9s for CRS missions in the future. While the implication was that this process is ongoing, Hartman suggested that a preliminary decision could be made before the end of September for SpaceX's December 2017 launch of CRS-13, indicating that CRS-13 is a candidate for being the first NASA-sponsored reuse of a Falcon 9.
Zach says: This is a really interesting timeline put together by Bloomberg, highly worth checking out.

SpaceX just launched its 40th Falcon 9 mission and 11th rocket this year. The rapid cadence of late is worlds ahead of where the company was seven years ago, when billionaire founder Elon Musk began firing off Falcon 9s at a pace of just two a year. As launches become more routine, SpaceX is gearing up for its next major hurdle: the maiden flight of its Falcon Heavy rocket, now scheduled for November. Bloomberg has been tracking the milestones—and occasional mishaps—along the way to SpaceX's ultimate goal: sending humans to Mars.
In 2002, Shotwell went to lunch with a former colleague who had left Microcosm for SpaceX. After their meal, he offered to give her a tour of the company, during which Shotwell met Musk. They talked for three or four minutes, Shotwell recalls. "I wasn't looking for a job. I didn't have a résumé," she adds. That afternoon, she got a call asking her to apply for the vice president of business development position. She started at SpaceX shortly after as employee number 11; the company now has more than 5,000 people on staff.

Shotwell was hired to sell rockets to corporate clients interested in launching satellites but quickly expanded her responsibilities: She managed customer and mission work, financials, legal, government affairs, and sometimes found herself vacuuming SpaceX's conference rooms before client meetings. The company—and Shotwell—hit its stride in 2008, when it scored its first major contract, with NASA: a $1.6 billion deal to resupply the International Space Station.
In an attempt to improve communications, Tesla is streamlining its support contacts and even letting owners directly escalate issues to Tesla executives. You need to be a Tesla owner to access the feature and go through your 'MyTesla' account. The section appears between the referral program section and the contact section. While Elon Musk has often put emphasis on the importance of customer service, the cases that slip through the cracks get a lot of attention and often especially look bad even if they don't represent the average Tesla customer experience.

But now that Tesla owners have a relatively easy way to reach execs, and as long as they know about it, it should reduce the number of those cases. Of course, it should probably only be used as a last resort when the usual channels don't work. Otherwise, it sounds like a feature that could easily go away if abused by a few.
Last month, Tesla announced a new plan to triple its service capacity. At the core of the plan is a major expansion of its mobile service fleet with 350 new service vans (they currently have over 130 vans on the road). Tesla explains its new focus on mobile service due to the realization that 90% of the issues on its vehicles can be diagnosed remotely and then fixed by a technician coming to the owner's home or work without interfering with their schedule.

But what kind of job can they really do from those mobile service vans? We have seen examples of Tesla's mobile technicians changing tires and aligning wheels, but as it turns out, they can do much more than that. A good example is Model S owner Dominic Scaffidi who recently had his entire front seats replaced at home by Tesla's mobile service.
Tesla started pushing its latest over-the-air Autopilot software update '2017.32' for cars equipped with the second generation hardware Wednesday night. We will have to wait for the first test drives to see how the improvements perform, but Tesla also released its Auto High Beam feature to all markets with this latest update. Tesla describes the feature:

"We've added a new setting, Auto High Beam, that makes using high-beam headlights more convenient by automatically switching to low beams to avoid shining too much light at other drivers. When you enable this setting and turn your high beams on, Model S temporarily switches to low-beam headlights if traffic is detected in front of the vehicle."
Early Tesla investor Bill Lee got access to the Model 3 with a working Autopilot and he shared the first video of the Model 3 Autopilot UI engaged. It gives a good idea of the UI, but obviously, the video is too short to get an idea of how well Autopilot works on the Model 3. Though it is expected to use the same software as Model S and Model X on Autopilot 2.0 and therefore, there shouldn't be a difference.

Lee also shared a quick video of the Model 3 air conditioning controls. Tesla put a lot of thought into Model 3's AC – not only the UI to control the airflow, but also the actual vents with two intersecting planes of air for vertical control and lateral fins hidden within the dashboard for horizontal control and a clean look.
The wheels are one of the rare features that Tesla lets customers change on Model 3 during its early production. A set of 18″ aero wheels comes standard and 19″ Sport wheels are offered for a $1,500 premium. The Sport wheels seem like a no brainer compared to the aero wheels, which improve aerodynamic performance as the name suggests, but they are not for everyone aesthetically speaking.

But you can actually remove the aero caps off the wheels and now we get to see the standard 18″ wheels without the caps for the first time. It looks pretty cool. Aesthetically, it should be more pleasing for most people. Maybe it will even save $1,500 for those who didn't see the standard wheels as an option because of the caps, but who don't mind the smaller size.
Tesla is launching a new "Home Charging Installation Program" for its customers in order to simplify the logistics around the electric car buying process. Tesla confirmed to Electrek that they started offering the service in "a few key markets" in North America, which explains why not everyone is seeing the option on the online configurator. The source code for the service on the configurator references the following states (hat tip to mrfps): Nevada, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Connecticut.

After the acquisition of SolarCity last year, Elon Musk said that they plan to create a one-stop-shop where customers can buy a solar energy system, a Powerwall, an electric car, and a home charger, all at one place and have everything installed by a single team. While they don't seem to be quite there yet, it looks like the first step in this direction with Tesla taking over the logistics of installing home charging solutions.
Ben Sullins of Teslanomics has put together a Model 3 cost estimator that attempts to predict the actual vehicle cost based on one's choice of upgrades and estimated delivery date. Using a forecast model that predicts Tesla Model S and Model X sales over the next 12 months, Sullins was able to compute the availability of the federal electric vehicle tax credit in that delivery window, before applying it onto Model 3's total cost with options. It's worth noting that the cost estimator by Teslanomics does not yet take into account the dual motor all-wheel drive configuration for Model 3 which Tesla aims to produce in mid-2018.
Zach says: This beautiful video actually reached the number 1 spot on the Tesla subreddit!

The Tesla Model S is arguably the most advanced and futuristic-looking car in production today. Its 17-inch touchscreen and Autopilot features can impress even the most tech savvy millennials, but now imagine experiencing the vehicle as a person in their nineties. No need to since Model S owner Zev Carmi made an interesting video of him introducing his 97-year-old grandfather to the Model S and electric cars in general.
Tesla Energy
Taiwan recently suffered from a massive blackout that affected millions of households on the island, resulted in millions in damages, and ended up with the economy minister resigning. Now the Taiwanese government says that it is reaching out to Tesla to consider a similar solution as the massive 100 MW/129 MWh Powerpack system that Australia ordered from Elon Musk's company after they had their own power outage issues.

They also could use the energy storage capacity to ease their transition to renewable energy. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen's energy plan includes entirely replacing nuclear power with green energy by 2025. A combination of solar and wind power with energy storage will be needed to make it happen.
Wednesday, Home Depot announces a new renewable energy push at 50 of its stores in the US. They will deploy solar rooftop systems built by GE and energy storage systems built by Tesla. The hardware store chain presented the new initiatives as "converting their rooftops into solar farms". Current, a subsidiary of GE, has been contracted to build the rooftop solar systems and Tesla will install Powerpacks at 6 of those stores. The new rooftop solar projects are part of Home Depot's efforts to utilize 135 megawatts (MW) of alternative and renewable energy by 2020.
On Friday night, Elon Musk's OpenAI team took on one of the greatest eSports athletes in the world. The OpenAI-programmed bot took on Dendi, a Ukrainian Dota 2 player who's widely regarded as one of the best in the world, on the main stage at The International, the competitive video game's biggest annual competition — and absolutely crushed him. On Twitter, Musk was quick to cry victory over the best in the world.

"OpenAI first ever to defeat world's best players in competitive eSports. Vastly more complex than traditional board games like chess & Go," Musk tweeted on Friday, referring to Google DeepMind's AlphaGo defeat of the world's best players in the ancient, incredibly complex board game. The bot is absolutely remarkable — it displayed a level of dominance over a pro player that I personally have never seen in over a decade of playing and watching Dota and Dota 2.
Zach says: This NY Times piece gives an excellent look into some of the work OpenAI researchers are doing.

At OpenAI, machines are teaching themselves to behave like humans. But sometimes, this goes wrong. Researchers like Mr. Amodei are trying to get ahead of the risks. In some ways, what these scientists are doing is a bit like a parent teaching a child right from wrong.
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20 agosto 2017

Tesla Updates August 2017

Introducing 100D
New Features for Model S and Model X
Model S and Model X are the quickest and safest cars in their class and now include new standard features at no additional cost. Smart Air Suspension provides better handling, efficiency and ride comfort with automatic location-based vehicle height adjustments. In addition, new Model S and Model X 75 kWh vehicles received an over-the-air software update and now have improved performance, with the ability to accelerate from zero to 60 mph one second faster. We are also offering a new cream interior color.
Model X is now available in a new seven-seat configuration, with second and third row seats that fold flat for maximum cargo space.
Unlimited, Free Supercharging
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We recently launched the newest phase of the Tesla Referral Program, providing Tesla owners with the opportunity to give five friends free, unlimited Supercharging, along with $1,000 in credit toward a new Model S or Model X. If you're interested in purchasing a Tesla, just ask friends who currently own a Model S or Model X to learn more about their ownership experience. Check out the full program details here.
Referral Program
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19 agosto 2017

Gli articoli della settimana di Z Net Italy 19 agosto 2017

La Newsletter di Z Net Italy è settimanale. Arriva ogni sabato mattina alle 9:00 nella tua posta.

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Trump riguardo a Barcellona

scritto da Redazione il Aug 18, 2017 09:48 pm

Trump riguardo a Barcellona Di  Juan Cole 18 agosto 2017 Un attacco terroristico a Barcellona  eseguito con veicoli e che ha provocato una dozzina di morti e 100 feriti, è stato rivendicato dall'ISIL. Un altro attacco terroristico compiuto nella cittadina di Cambrils è stato sventato dalla polizia spagnola. L'organizzazione terrorista ha ripetutamente minacciato la Spagna per il suo apporto logistico […]
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Perché la Corea del Nord ha acquisito testate nucleari

scritto da Redazione il Aug 17, 2017 09:23 pm

Perché la Corea del Nord ha acquisito  testate nucleari Di Joseph Essertier 16 agosto 2017 Riassumere alcuni dei fatti storici fondamentali della Corea del Nord, può aiutare le persone a comprendere in che modo il genere umano abbia raggiunto questo punto pericoloso, dove il destino del mondo – guerra nucleare o no – può essere nelle mani di un totale […]
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Genocidio congolese

scritto da Redazione il Aug 17, 2017 08:46 pm

di Sylvestre Mido e Ann Garrison – 16 agosto 2017 E' la Settimana del Genocidio Congolese, l'anniversario dell'invasione del Congo nel 1998 da parte degli eserciti di Ruanda e Uganda, marionette degli Stati Uniti. Da allora sono morti 5,4 milioni di congolesi. La corrispondente dall'Africa Ann Garrison parla con Sylvestre Mido di Genecost dell'invasione e delle sue conseguenze a quasi […]
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Guerra catastrofica e illegale

scritto da Redazione il Aug 16, 2017 04:45 pm

di Marjorie Cohn – 15 agosto 2017 Mentre il procuratore speciale Robert Mueller seleziona due grand jury per indagare Donald Trump e i suoi associati e la casa dell'ex direttore della campagna elettorale di Trump, Paul Manafort, è perquisita, Trump ha bisogno di distrarre l'attenzione dall'indagine sulle sue presunte malefatte. La Corea del Nord ha reso disponibile proprio tale distrazione, […]
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Una nuova generazione di suprematisti bianchi

scritto da Redazione il Aug 16, 2017 03:49 pm

Una nuova generazione di suprematisti bianchi Di A.C. Thompson 15 Agosto 2017 Durante il weekend, le forze suprematiste bianche radunatesi a Charlottesville, in Virginia, per il più grande incontro di questo genere in almeno una generazione, hanno rappresentato una nuova incarnazione del movimento della supremazia bianca. I gruppi della vecchia guardia, come il Ku Klusx Klan, l'Aryan Nations e  i […]
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Le 10 principali idee sbagliate su Charlottesville

scritto da Redazione il Aug 15, 2017 07:21 pm

di David Swanson – 15 agosto 2017 Cominciamo dall'ovvio. Charlottesville, Virginia, e Charlotte, North Carolina, sono di fatto due luoghi completamente diversi. L'alluvione di interesse e buoni auspici per quelli di noi che vivono qui a Charlottesville è magnifica e molto apprezzata. Che la gente segua i telegiornali su Charlottesville, ricordate che io vivo a Charlottesville, è mi mandi i […]
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Il linguaggio della natura

scritto da Redazione il Aug 15, 2017 10:34 am

Il linguaggio della natura Di George Monbiot 14 agosto , 2017 Se Mosè  avesse promesso agli  Israeliti una terra dove fluivano secrezioni mammarie e vomito di insetti, lo avrebbero seguito a in Cananea?  Anche se questo significa latte e miele, ne dubito. Perché allora usiamo questi termini per descrivere le meraviglie naturali del mondo? Ci sono esempi dappertutto, ma illustrerò […]
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Non la prima volta per la Corea del Nord

scritto da Redazione il Aug 14, 2017 09:30 pm

di Sheldon Richman – 14 agosto 2017 Lasciate a Donald Trump minacciare di abbattere "fuoco e furia" sul popolo nordcoreano nella stessa settimana in cui il mondo ha celebrato il settantaduesimo anniversario del vendicativo bombardamento atomico statunitense di civili giapponesi. Nel caso qualcuno non avesse colto il messaggio, il Segretario alla Difesa James "Cane Rabbioso" Mattis ha avvertito che le […]
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Fuoco , furia e paura

scritto da Redazione il Aug 14, 2017 03:07 pm

Fuoco , furia e paura Di Pepe Escobar 12 agosto 2017 Fate attenzione ai mastini della guerra. Le stesse "persone" dell'intelligence che vi hanno  fatto sapere dei  neonati strappati dalle incubatrici dagli iracheni "cattivi" così come anche delle inesistenti Armi di Distruzione di Massa, stanno ora facendo circolare la teoria che la Corea del Nord abbia prodotto una testata nucleare […]
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Programmi sociali in Venezuela

scritto da Redazione il Aug 14, 2017 11:55 am

  di Steve Ellner – 12 agosto 2017 Politiche innovative, inclusione sociale e debolezza istituzionale L'elezione di Hugo Chávez a presidente del Venezuela nel 1998 da esterno alla politica con il 56 per cento dei voti attesta in larga misura la sua presa tra gli esclusi dalla vita politica, economica e culturale della nazione. La maggior parte di questi venezuelani […]
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