Tag Archives: Jeff Bezos

Space Tourism Sucks: Billionaires in Space

It’s been over a month since billionaires Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson yeeted themselves into Space aboard their own companies’ spaceships. Over a month since society unanimously eye-rolled so violently that the Earth’s rotational speed was changed by a few nanoseconds. Over a month since everyone sarcastically said, “Good for you guys! Now what about the rest of us stuck on this planet that’s going to hell? Can we go to space too?”

Billionaire hatred has been at the forefront of the zeitgeist for a few years now, maybe more, seemingly peaking during the pandemic, and at this peak is when Bezos/Branson decided to do their “courageous” voyage out of our atmosphere. I try to be pretty impartial — billionaires are people just like you and I! — but the whole trope of them being out of touch with the scumbag proletariat seems to be true.

Lex Luthor

It doesn’t seem very hard, even with a drillion dollars, to successfully read the room and realize that maybe launching yourself to space is a bad idea. It’s not a good look. Take Bezos for example, the richest man in the world and the top candidate for future supervillain trying to rule the planet. He has to know he’s despised and making a big deal out of his spaceflight seems clueless at best, out-of-touch maybe, and downright supervillainesque at worst. Like he’s well aware he’s rich, doesn’t give a shit about the people that helped him achieve his fortune, disregards any factor of luck in his life, and if he wants to go to space as a joyride well, who the hell is going to stop him? He’s basically a capitalist god and will do whatever the fuck he wants. I’m not saying that’s how he actually is — I’m not privileged enough to know the guy — but as some armchair blogger who likes space related things, this is how he appears to the masses. And let’s not even get started on him suing NASA

Sir Dick Branson

You have to give Branson some credit at least — he seemed like he wanted to fly to space before Bezos just to shit on his ego, classic troll style — and doesn’t seem to be as well-known or disliked as Bezos. Branson comes across as slightly aloof and awkward, content to do his own thing and not be (as much of) a pompous asshole as Bezos. Bezos is the bald-headed supervillain who wants to dominate the world and Branson seems like a pretty down-to-earth respectable guy, at least as far as billionaire CEOs go.

Suborbital vs. Orbital

As a space nerd the main thing that pisses me off about these two’s spaceflight is how useless they are. Tourism is supposed to be pointless but suborbital space tourism is even more pointless. You might recall the petition circulating before Bezos’ flight urging the government to “not allow him entry back to Earth,” or something like that. While pretty damn funny, it was pointless; there was no physical way for Bezos (or Branson) not to come back to Earth! The flights were suborbital — up and down like tossing a rock into the air — and you’d have to break some rules of the universe (just little-known laws such as ‘gravity’ and ‘general relativity’) to keep his ass up there.

“There is an art to flying, or rather a knack. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.”

– Douglas Adams

Contrary to popular belief, there is gravity in space. The astronauts on the International Space Station appear weightless because they’re effectively “falling” around the Earth. Going to space is easy — just go upwards about 50 or 60 miles and you’re there — but staying in space is hard. You need to be going sideways really, really fast (about 17,500 mph fast) where falling back to Earth is really falling around the Earth, constantly missing it.

At least Branson’s spaceplane looks cool, unlike Bezos’ penis-rocket. No images of that because 1. It’s probably NSFW and 2. I don’t want Bezos/Blue Origin to sue me.

All of the circle-jerking these two made about flying into space is either missing the point or blatantly lying about their achievements; likely the latter because as space CEOs they should know the difference between suborbital and orbital flight. Maybe they’re aware they didn’t do shit and are firing up the PR-hype train to save their egos. They went up and down, up really high so they made it into space, but still just a glorified up and down joyride. It’s cool and all on its own, but let’s not pretend flying into space on a five-minute rollercoaster ride is somehow pushing the boundaries of space exploration, especially after taking more than a decade to develop their launch systems. Shouldn’t they have more to show for their time than a five-minute suborbital jaunt?

(Branson’s other company Virgin Orbital has recently launched small satellites into orbit. Sure, they can’t bring people into orbit, but at least the guy has the ability to do something useful in the spaceflight sector. It’s some more “Branson doesn’t seem that bad” compared to Lex Luthor Jeff Bezos.)

I’m all about spaceflight and have been waiting a long time for legit space tourism to become a thing. This should be good, right? It’s not stated but it’s heavily implied; space tourism should allow the everyday person to take a flight to space, not just the ultra rich. These pioneering flights into space by private companies seem to miss the mark quite a bit. In time the price should go down, but we’re still talking a ticket price of literal millions to fly into space on these vehicles. A million dollars is better than a billion dollars but still leaves space access far out of the reach of the normal person. By taking the first flight themselves, surely to show confidence in the launch vehicles, they’ve unknowingly set the precedent that space is still only for the ultra-rich/1%ers or trained astronauts. If you don’t have fuck-you money, if you’re not a god of capitalism, one of the lucky people, no, you cannot go to space. You cannot see the world from heaven because you’re not a god. You’re one of the people down here but you can pray to your overlords on their next spaceflight if you’d like. Hell, you might get a fat $0.50 raise after your next review.

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The Tesla Cybertruck…Sucks?

Elon Musk is a strange and unique individual, at least as far as billionaires go. We always seem to view most billionaires as kinda old, stuffy, and reserved people. I’m talking the Bill Gates, the Warren Buffetts, and the Jeff Bezos of the world. You never get a sense of them as a person unless you happen to read a biography about them. I know Bill Gates is a nice enough guy with how much him and his wife donate to causes that benefit society, and I know that Buffett is notoriously cheap and humble, and I get the impression that Bezos is a shrewd businessman who likes to hide in the shadows. Bezos seems like a James Bond villain if anything. These are just impressions though and I don’t know if I’m correct or not. But Elon? Elon seems to be cut from a different mold, for better or for worse even if he himself seems like a perfect Bond villain.

To get a feel for this fact all you need to do is check Elon Musk’s Twitter feed. He is a notorious shitposter that can hold his own with the best of shitposters. He seems like a normal enough person — eccentric perhaps — despite his multiple companies and his north-of-a-billion-dollar net worth. Elon also plays the meme game as well as anyone else. Does anyone remember the famous “$420, funding secured” debacle that led him into trouble with the SEC? Or the multitude of anime cat girls that Elon posts for whatever reason? He launched his Roadster into space because why not? I vaguely recall something about the WallStreetBets subreddit and Elon posting the “stonks” meme. And let’s not forget the whole Joe Rogan podcast pot smoking thing either; this incident alone seemed to solidify Elon’s presence in a sort of meme hall of fame. Hell, I even have a few pictures using this to hilarious degree.

HOTBOXIN’

Elon seems like a typical person who somehow, perhaps even due to sheer luck, was successful. One thing you have to give Elon credit for is his ability to mostly follow through with what he says, at least in the grand scheme of things. His idea with Tesla was to make electric cars popular, cool, and desirable, and to change the image of the EV for the better; this has been a success. Elon is literally trying to save the world with Tesla despite also trying to make a shit ton of money in the process. With SpaceX he is trying to revolutionize space travel by making rockets reusable, with the end goal being the colonization of Mars. In the nearly 60+ years of space travel no one has seriously attempted to make a reusable launch vehicle or land people on Mars but Musky Boi seems to be pulling off. While he over promises here and there, has notoriously unrealistic deadlines, he generally seems to do whatever crazy shit he sets out to do when he is serious about doing so. When Elon says something (or Tweets something) he is either being dead serious, joking, memeing, shitposting, daydreaming, thinking aloud, or overpromising. This is perfectly illustrated by the Tesla Cybertruck.

He had been hinting about the truck for awhile now, and while I wasn’t following the details of it, he seemed to hint that it would be a “unique” design. He called it, obviously, the Cybertruck, but everyone thought, “How ‘Cyber’ could it be? And what does that even mean?” Surely Elon was just being a bit over the top with the description to stir up hype for the new model. He also said the design was “futuristic” but once again what exactly did that mean? Everyone was well aware of Tesla’s design philosophy and seeing the model S, 3, X, and Y (yes, it does spell out S3XY, because that’s the kinda jokester Musk is) leaves you with a general idea of what to expect from the Tesla Truck. People waiting in anticipation to see what the famed Tesla Truck would look like, and it looks like this:

Stolen with love from the Tesla website.

Yeehaw.

I didn’t watch the event live and only heard about it from the multitude of memes and jokes made about the design in the following hours/days on social media, especially Reddit. It was one of those moments where I thought, “Wait, really? That is the actual truck? It has to be joke, right?” And I still feel that way actually. A part of my mind is thinking that, yes, maybe this is a joke, a cheap way to make news and for Elon to catch more headlines. Making this even more “obvious” is the fact that when demonstrating the “unbreakable windows” of the truck, the windows shattered. Twice. You can’t make this shit up even if you were trying to write a fictional comedic story. This couldn’t be the actual Tesla Cybertruck, right? In my mind, I saw this as a “joke” presentation, and after popular consumer outrage over the next few months Tesla would “redesign” the truck into some BOMBASS design where everyone sighs and says, “Whew. That’s better. Okay.”

But this is Elon we’re talking about, so who the hell knows what is going on. You have to give Elon credit for pulling off something so blatantly hideous and counterintuitive that you both question his sanity and question your own sanity. “If Elon thought this was a good idea, who is wrong here? Does he know something about what people want that even people don’t? Or is he just fucking insane?” I’m actually leaning towards the former: this is the actual Cybertruck — seriously — and Elon is betting hard on such a radical design. I’m almost certain now that Musk sees this as a way forward to differentiate the truck from other trucks. It is unabashedly utilitarian contrasting with the current truck culture that sometimes uses trucks as as much of a fashion and status symbol more so than an actual mode of transportation that has utility. The truck is also very minimalist and lacks any identifying features, besides the wonderfully hideous and angular design of the thing. It isn’t stylish at all, and this separates it from the purposefully stylish models of every other vehicle manufacturer. I find it stylish in a sort of anti-stylish way. So terribly ugly that it begins to look cool after a while.

I don’t know if I’ve drank the Elon Kool-aid too much over the past years in regards to what Tesla and SpaceX has accomplished, but I’m actually starting to come around the Cybertruck’s, uh, “unconventional” design. I mean I still find the thing hideous and atrocious, but something about it, something, is growing on me. I can’t really explain it. I picture these trucks roaming my city in a few years and just being blown away by how off the thing would appear. Most vehicles are designed in the same basic way and the only differences between brands is slight styling changes here and there. The front of a Dodge Ram. The Kia’s angled and jagged grill. I can’t even give examples because I can’t think of them really. Everything is so samey that seeing a fucking Tesla Cybertruck at all will be a shocker. If you own a Cybertruck everyone will notice.

So Elon Musk and his Tesla Cybertruck. Is it simply and example of Elon knowing what the future wants even though everyone else isn’t even aware of it? Is this terribly hideious design of the Cybertruck the best choice Tesla has ever made or will it be seen in a few years as a terrible mistake from the automaker? Is Elon just plain fucking crazy or is there something concrete behind his apparently craziness? i don’t know, but I do know that while I do find the design disgusting, even after less than a week something about it attracts me. It’s awful and angular design is starting to grown on me for some reason or another. What will the truth be in 2025 when the Cybertruck has been around for a few year. Will it be a success or a resounding failure. I don’t know, but I’m curious to find out.