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What Elon Musk should learn from the Thailand cave rescue • The New York Times
Zeynep Tufekci:
<p>Mr. Musk’s desire to help was commendable. But when the head of the rescue operation, Narongsak Osottanakorn, declared that Mr. Musk’s contraption was impractical for the task at hand — a task that had been completed, at that point, by some of the world’s top cave divers — Mr. Musk responded with irritation. He insisted on Twitter that leaders of the operation had in fact welcomed his assistance and that Mr. Narongsak was not the “subject matter expert.” He also expressed frustration that he was being criticized while trying to help.

Instead of venting, Mr. Musk — indeed, Silicon Valley as a whole — can perhaps see the Thai operation as a lesson. This was a most improbable rescue against the longest odds. Safely navigating 12 kids and one adult, many of whom were not swimmers, through a dangerous cave relied on a model of innovation that Silicon Valley can and should learn from.

The Silicon Valley model for doing things is a mix of can-do optimism, a faith that expertise in one domain can be transferred seamlessly to another and a preference for rapid, flashy, high-profile action. But what got the kids and their coach out of the cave was a different model: a slower, more methodical, more narrowly specialized approach to problems, one that has turned many risky enterprises into safe endeavors — commercial airline travel, for example, or rock climbing, both of which have extensive protocols and safety procedures that have taken years to develop.

This “safety culture” model is neither stilted nor uncreative. On the contrary, deep expertise, lengthy training and the ability to learn from experience (and to incorporate the lessons of those experiences into future practices) is a valuable form of ingenuity.

This approach is what allowed the airline captain Chesley Sullenberger to safely land a commercial airplane on the Hudson River in 2009 after its engines were disabled. Captain Sullenberger’s skill and composure were, of course, a credit to him personally. But they also rested on decades of training and learning in an industry that had been government-regulated and self-regulated to such a degree that hurling through the atmosphere in giant metal cans at 35,000 feet is now one of the safest ways to travel.</p>


Musk has since <a href="https://nypost.com/2018/07/15/furious-elon-musk-calls-thai-rescue-diver-a-pedo/amp/">vented even more</a>. When I <a href="https://twitter.com/charlesarthur/status/1016669993138868224">remarked on Twitter</a> that Musk's submarine seemed to me "the perfect Silicon Valley metaphor/example" (the wrong solution for the problem), I got lots of people insisting it was just right IF it had kept raining. Which was also wrong.
musk  culture  siliconvalley 
5 days ago by charlesarthur
Elon Musk revealed as one of the largest donors for a House Republican PAC | Salon.com
“The tech entrepreneur gave a hefty check to a PAC dedicated to maintaining Republican control of Congress”
tesla  elonmusk  musk  politics  salon  2018 
6 days ago by handcoding
Elon Musk pledges to fix Flint water in homes with contamination • ABC News
Roey Hadar:
<p>Musk previously offered to provide solar electricity options to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria and volunteered to send his own equipment and staff to assist in the rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach from a cave in Thailand.

But the efforts to persuade Musk to help Flint stem from a source that’s more directly connected to the Flint community.

Mari Copeny, a 10-year-old local activist known as "Little Miss Flint," tweeted she has been working with Musk’s team for over a week on coming up with a solution for Flint that he could fund.

Musk worked with Copeny earlier this month, donating at least 500 bikes meant for children in the Flint area as a way of helping a community event she had organized.

Musk's tweets come as Flint residents still grapple with the continued after-effects of the crisis. Local residents have sued local government authorities, contractors and companies tasked with maintaining the city’s water supply seeking damages. The residents’ class-action lawsuit had a hearing in federal court earlier this week.</p>

This is good - no two ways about it - but the key problem is with the infrastructure, with supply lines that are still made of lead. You cannot avoid public spending forever.
Musk  flint  water 
7 days ago by charlesarthur

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