It’s a pretty fine line between nuts and genius

And I think Elon Musk has now crossed over that line:

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk claimed that there is only a “one in billions” chance we are not living in a Matrix-style computer simulation at Recode’s annual Code Conference this week.

“The strongest argument for us being in a simulation probably is the following: Forty years ago we had Pong. Like two rectangles and a dot. That was what games were,” said Musk.


Now, 40 years later we have photorealistic, 3D simulations with millions of people playing simultaneously, and it’s getting better every year. Soon we’ll have virtual reality, augmented reality.

If you assume any rate of improvement at all, then the games will become indistinguishable from reality, even if that rate of advancement drops by a thousand from what it is now. Then you just say, okay, let’s imagine it’s 10,000 years in the future, which is nothing on the evolutionary scale.

So given that we’re clearly on a trajectory to have games that are indistinguishable from reality, and those games could be played on any set-top box or on a PC or whatever, and there would probably be billions of such computers or set-top boxes, it would seem to follow that the odds we’re in base reality is one in billions.   Read more »

The crony capitalism of electric cars

Eric Peters discusses the crony capitalism of Elon Musk:

If Elon Musk’s various projects are so fabulous, why do they all need government “help”?

Musk will tell you all about the virtues of his Tesla cars. They are sleek and speedy. This is true. But they are also very expensive (the least expensive model, the pending Model X, will reportedly start around $35K, about the same price as a luxury sedan like the Lexus ES350).

The real problem with Tesla cars is that no one actually buys them. Well, not directly.

Their manufacture is heavily subsidized — and their sale is heavily subsidized. Either way, the taxpayer is the one who gets the bill.

On the manufacturing end, Tesla got $1.3 billion in special “incentives” from the state of Nevada to build its battery factory there. This includes an exemption from having to pay any property taxes for the next 20 years. Another inducement was $195 million in transferable tax credits, which Tesla could sell for cash. California provides similar incentives, including $15 million to “create jobs” in the state.

Tesla does not make money by selling cars, either. It makes money by selling “carbon credits” to real car companies that make functionally and economically viable vehicles that can and do sell on the merits — but which are not “zero emissions” vehicles, as the electric Tesla is claimed to be.

Laws in nine states require each car company selling cars in the state to sell a certain number of “zero emissions” vehicles, else be fined. Since only electric cars qualify under the law as “zero emissions” vehicles — and the majority of cars made by the real car companies are not electric cars — they end up having to “purchase” these “carbon credits” from Tesla, subsidizing Tesla’s operations.

The amount Tesla has “earned” this way is in the neighborhood of $517 million.

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Billion in subsidies to Tesla, the biggest corporate bludgers in the world

Any business that relies on corporate welfare and subsidies for its customers is no business at all. The shame is that Elon Musk has gotten wealthy off the back of billions of subsidies.

Los Angeles entrepreneur Elon Musk has built a multibillion-dollar fortune running companies that make electric cars, sell solar panels and launch rockets into space.

And he’s built those companies with the help of billions in government subsidies.

Tesla Motors Inc., SolarCity Corp. and Space Exploration Technologies Corp., known as SpaceX, together have benefited from an estimated $4.9 billion in government support, according to data compiled by The Times. The figure underscores a common theme running through his emerging empire: a public-private financing model underpinning long-shot start-ups.

“He definitely goes where there is government money,” said Dan Dolev, an analyst at Jefferies Equity Research. “That’s a great strategy, but the government will cut you off one day.”

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Don’t make him angry. You won’t like it when he’s angry

cows4me wants a cow video, he gets a cow video

Aerial view of SpaceX’s Grasshopper rocket taking off