February 2009

As a founder of PayPal, Elon Musk made $250 million in an Internet minute. But then he got bored. He wanted a bigger challenge. Much bigger. So he asked himself: What are the three largest, most important, most difficult challenges of our time? The answer: solar power, space travel, and electric cars. Then he tried to tackle all three at once.


This guy sounds like an Ayn Rand hero, and he makes me feel like a total waste of air. Exactly what Is There Anything Good About Men was talking about. (Stupid lots-of-little-pages link, sorry.)

Jody commented:

I am surprised that "world peace" didn't make it to his top three challenges.

Matt commented:

Maybe beauty pageant contestants have that one sufficiently covered?

According to the article, he sees it as an issue, but part of a larger thing. He says (of getting off the planet):

“It took us millions of years to evolve into what we are, but in the last sixty years, with atomic weaponry, we’ve created the potential to extinguish ourselves. And if it’s not us, it will inevitably be something else. If not a meteorite in the relative short term, then the expansion of the sun’s corona. It will happen.”

But yeah, maybe sorting out our shit before we get the chance to fuck up other planets is a good idea?

Fraser commented:

But, but, the rapture?

...I agree about the sorting out. Our shit does need it.

Jody commented:

I think he happens to have figured out a solution to his three largest, most important, most difficult challenges, but is presenting them retrospectively so he can wow people with his goal focused achievements. Not unlike writing things on your to do list after doing them so you can have the satisfaction of ticking, or doing working sketches for your tech drawing teacher after you've come up with a design...

Well whatever, he should sort shit out for us a-sap.

Nato commented:

I think space travel is a good way to go...

Looking at technology, we're coming up with more and more powerful devices, that are smaller, easier to obtain / make, and more numerous. In the 1940s an atomic weapon was the product of years worth of a Nations R&D. Nowadays we have people making nuclear reactors in their garage. Not everyday, but it's possible. There are a lot of ways we could go down - it could be the nuclear holocaust, or it could be a virus wiping us all out, or strangelets turning the planet into goo, or scientists managing to create a black hole that eats the earth up, or robots taking over and enslaving humankind, or someone cloning a million Hitlers, or zombies (or hitler zombies?), whatever. The point is, the chances of these happening is increasing. As time tends to infinity, the chances we'll blow ourselves all up is pretty close to one.

So it's only a matter of time before the earth is obliterated in whatever way. So then the only question that really matters is whether will have been able to colonize other planets before said apocalypse. So I'm all for space travel.

Besides, I'm pretty sure sorting out the worlds problems is a bit like getting all the Chinese in the world to walk past you - they never get past you, because the population is growing quicker than they walk. My point is not to equate Asians with problems. Nope. I'm just saying there is always going to be problems with the world, or at least until it gets destroyed in whatever scenario you want to go with.