Bookmarked Running Twitter Isn’t Rocket Science. It’s Harder – Clive Thompson – Medium (Medium)

In the near future, Musk and his engineers may yearn for the days when their hardest job was merely landing reusable rockets.

I feel like I have read so much on Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter:

For me, Clive Thompson captures things best, explaining how working with all the variables to land a rocket is still a far cry from the complexity of grappling with 400 million Twitter users.

Grappling with the behavior of 400 million Twitter users? Hoo boy.

The complexity is absolutely mind-bending, particularly given all the diversity of human parties involved. You’ve got celebrities with massive followings; people passively surfing Twitter for news; advertisers looking to find useful audiences; shit-stirrers and political actors posting misinfo and disinfo; a silent majority of Twitterfolk who never post at all, and just lurk; foreign agents looking to mess with global politics; friends looking to mostly follow friends; people looking to hate-follow opponents; political figures using Twitter to reach their public; botmasters running legit bots; botmasters running bots that skirt the edge of legitimacy. That’s just a thoroughly incomplete list, generated off the top of my head. But the point is, these users all have very different desires, often opposed to others’ desires. Whoever runs Twitter has to thread the needle on all those clashing goals.

Liked Elon Musk and the Kingdom of Bull by Ian Bogost (

Musk has introduced a new tenor to bullshittery, one that Harry Frankfurt did not anticipate. Most bullshitters can’t close the gap between pretense and reality even if they wanted to. Bullshit used to mean what’s neither true nor false. Now it describes a state where anything, no matter how absurd, has the potential to be true. Call your flamethrower guy. Buy a social network. It’s no big deal—unless it is.

Bookmarked The history of the electric car is longer than you might think – RN – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) (

When Labor announced its plan to boost the number of electric cars in Australia over the next decade, an election campaign battleground opened up.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison accused his rival of wanting to “end the weekend when it comes to his policy on electric vehicles”; Bill Shorten returned fire by accusing the Government of running a “scare campaign”.

But electric cars aren’t new — they’ve been around for more than a century.

Joey Watson and Stan Correy unpack the recent discussion about the increase of electric cars in Australia. They explain that we have had electric cars before and wonder if the answer is in parts, rather than vehicle manufacture.
Bookmarked When Elon Musk Tunnels Under Your Home by Alana Semeuls (The Atlantic)

The billionaire is drilling for futuristic transit under Los Angeles. He didn’t have to ask the neighbors first.

Alana Semuels explores the intricacies associated with Elon Musk’s boring project in Los Angeles. She highlights the many ways in which innovation is able to bypass the rules and regulations that hamper the development of public infrastructure. For me this is highlighted by fifty year plan associated with transport in Melbourne. I agree with Semuels’ that it would be better to see such time and money spent supporting the state, rather than endlessly trying to circumvent it.


Vicky Warren feels like she’s been attacked from all sides lately. Across the street from her rental apartment in the working-class Los Angeles County city of Hawthorne, noisy planes take off and land at all hours, diverted to the local municipal airport from wealthier Santa Monica, where neighbor complaints have restricted air traffic. On the other side of her apartment, cars on the 105 Freeway sound the frustration of L.A. traffic. She’s even getting assailed within her walls: Termites have invaded so completely that she can’t keep any food uncovered. Flea bites cover her legs; rats are aggressively attacking the boxes she has stored in her garage. So Warren was disappointed, but not surprised, to learn that invaders are coming from underground, too.

I talked to a dozen people who live along the tunnel’s route, and most said they hadn’t witnessed any extra noise or traffic. But none had been informed ahead of time that a private company would be digging a tunnel beneath the street. Some only learned about the tunnel in mid-2018—not when the digging started, in 2017—because the company purchased a dilapidated house on 119th Place for nearly $500,000 in cash.

Yet, in many ways, the tunnel is a triumph of privatization. Plans to extend the Los Angeles Metro system under the Sepulveda Pass first went on the ballot in 2016, after years of planning; the project itself won’t be completed for decades, because of federal and state regulations. Musk just needs to find the money. Since the Boring Company is private, it is able to avoid the years of tedious environmental reviews required when the government tries to build transit. It is also exempt from “Buy American” requirements necessary for projects that receive federal funding. This allows the company to try a new technology much faster than if the government got involved. Musk’s SpaceX was able to lower the cost of space travel through private rocketry, and the Boring Company hopes to do the same for tunneling, a spokesman told me.

Musk seems more interested in finding a convenient test site for a bold idea, one that he believes leapfrogs existing technological options, rather than doing the tedious work of improving an old system.

Liked Opinion | What Elon Musk Should Learn From the Thailand Cave Rescue (

Just because you’re a successful tech mogul doesn’t mean you know how to rescue kids trapped underground.

Tufekci also takes this discussion further on Twitter:

Replied to

Surely about the myth of Musk. Was just strange how it all came about, but maybe I am a cynic 🤷‍♂️
Bookmarked Elon Musk is building a ‘kid-size submarine’ to rescue Thai kids trapped in cave by Nicole Gallucci (Mashable)

What is there Musk cannot do? The myth continues.
Bookmarked Tesla: The brilliant company that may meet a spectacular end (The New Daily)

Elon Musk has a beautiful vision for Tesla: Shift the world to clean-powered vehicles, and do it with giant charisma and cool factor.

What other car company would call their fast-acceleration option “ludicrous mode,” and their eco-mode “chill mode”? What other car company is launching the fastest production car ever? What other car company installs a disco mode that makes the car dance?!

Tesla is brilliant at making their cars extremely desirable. If I could find $100,000 and a place to charge it, I’d get one of their Model S sedans in a heartbeat.

While at the Canberra #EdTechTeam Summit, Amy Burvall introduced the activity of creating a playlist that represented somebody. This was about using the meaning within the songs, rather than understanding the actual person. My table chose Elon Musk. Another participant chose Bowie’s Star Man, I suggested The Smith’s Stop Me If You Think You Have Heard This One Before. I think this captures what Watters describes as the myth of Musk. On the one hand you cannot help be amazed, but on the flipside, these stories are full of unfulfilled promises.
Liked Tesla Looked Like the Future. Now Some Ask if It Has One. (New York Times)

“There is a huge part of Tesla that is simply presentation and not substance, and Elon is a master at messaging,” said Karl Brauer, a senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book. “The problem is the reality is starting to stack up, and that’s a reality of accidents the cars have had, quality issues, and massive misses on Model 3 production numbers. You add all that up and there’s a real question about whether this company can deliver what it promises.”