17 July 2022 in Industry


He pays himself a trip as an astronaut, builds electric cars, competes with NASA to conquer space, wants to connect computers directly to our brains, buys Twitter to become the world’s most influential politician, and then has second thoughts because his partners get nervous and threaten to pull out: this is Elon Musk, a self-loving, multi-billionaire blowhard, convinced he is funny and irresistible, as threatening as nuclear war. So one has to understand who he is and what he is doing. As for wondering why, unfortunately, it seems that it is a category that even he is not very interested in.

The Fall of the Berlin Wall, on 9 November 1989, was a seminal event in world history that not only marked the fall of the Iron Curtain – and the beginning of the collapse of communism – but also the beginning of the Age of Globalisation, i.e. the progressive affirmation of that historical, economic and geopolitical phenomenon characterised by the constant – and apparently unstoppable – growth of total interchange, the main effect of which is the increasing economic and cultural standardisation of the entire world and the progressive elimination of those who uphold the value of differences.

Unfortunately, the Fall of the Wall brought an end to an era characterised by the primacy of the ideologies that were the daughters of the First Industrial Revolution: Enlightenment thought, the bourgeois ideals of Locke, Voltaire and Rousseau, the fruits of the Hegelian social reading, Karl Marx’s reading of capitalism and, consequently, of the emancipation of the poorest, and the reaction to it, articulated in strongly nationalist and dictatorial phenomena. Children of this new epoch are great entrepreneurs who, like Elon Musk, strike the collective imagination with the boastful display of power derived from the management of enormous capital, regardless of the ability to generate broader thinking.

This is why we deal with him: ours is an attempt to make sense of his actions and to understand whether he is truly innovative or, rather, the extreme offshoot of medieval militarism. Watching him speak, Francisco Goya’s famous phrase, which also became the title of one of his famous paintings, comes to mind: ‘The sleep of reason begets monsters’[1]. The first thing to note is the profound difference between him and Steve Jobs, with whom Musk is often compared. Jobs’ philosophy is that it is essential to stay hungry, to be rebellious, to never lose the power of curiosity (‘stay hungry, stay foolish’[2]). Musk does not want to discover new frontiers, but to make money with new technologies that already exist. He wants to show us that he can also make money with things (like the space race), which until now have only been a black hole of costs without reimbursement[3].

Asperger’s syndrome

Ecologist Greta Thunberg, one of the world’s most famous autism sufferers[4]

On 9 May 2021, Musk said on a TV talk show: “Tonight I will go down in history as the first person with Asperger’s syndrome[5] to present Saturday Night Live. Or at least the first to admit it”[6]. He added: “When I speak I often have to add ‘I mean it’, because I have little variation in the pitch of my voice, and I often don’t make eye contact with cast members. I know I say or post strange things, but that’s how my brain works. To anyone who has offended, I just want to say that I have reinvented electric cars and will send man to Mars. Did you also think I would be a normal, laid-back guy?” [7]. This statement, which could be interpreted as a eulogy of diversity, seems rather a well-timed media move[8].

About 20 per cent of Aspergers have an above-average IQ, and 75 per cent of Aspergers have a fixation that becomes a passion and a professional skill[9]. The show has been broadcast in more than 100 countries, from Australia to the UK, and is having a major effect on public perception, especially now that Musk is facing criminal charges against him in connection with the privatisation of the Tesla car industry[10]. An anti-political and officially rebellious media strategy, which takes the form of his attacks against ‘everyone and everything, from Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, through individual officials, to Covid regulations, trade unions and even the use of pronouns’[11]. When it comes down to it, he has endorsed Trump[12], to whom he would like to give back the right to speak on Twitter[13]; he has conspiracy and denialist positions on the pandemic, and he cultivates links with the likes of Peter Thiel and technology sects such as QAnon, only to contradict himself and declare that ‘the extremely rich pay the right’[14]. and this after proclaiming himself ‘socially liberal and fiscally conservative’[15].

What emerges is a portrait of a very arrogant loudmouth, constantly assertive, and chasing cheap endorsements, peddling contentless slogans about the salvation of humanity, good only for creating ephemeral electoral consensus – as when, in 2018, he described himself as a ‘utopian anarchist of the kind described by Iain Banks’[16], a Scottish science fiction author who wrote of an anarcho-socialist spacefaring civilisation called Culture, which has no money, no poverty, no wage labour, no police, no prisons, no standing army, but has almost infinite abundance of basic necessities[17].

When it comes to facts, Musk has donated to both parties: $542,000 to the Democrats and $574,500 to the Republicans[18]. “Many of the politicians to whom he has donated have been state legislators from California, where Tesla was formerly based, and from Texas, where SpaceX has long maintained launch and rocket testing facilities”[19]. “SpaceX spent about $9.7 million on lobbyists, while Tesla spent $5.5 million”, pointing out that the former company makes money from government contracts[20]. If Musk now invokes the right to freedom of thought, he will accept that, quoting the Italian politician Giulio Andreotti, it seems fair to comment that ‘to think wrong is a sin, but many times one is right’.

Space X: strategies and prospects

When he promises to take man to Mars, Musk is talking about his company SpaceX[21] which, according to the NGO Sunlight Foundation, is above all a huge lobbying operation[22]. An operation that began in May 2012, when SpaceX, ten years after it was founded, put a Dragon cargo capsule into orbit, demonstrating that it was ready to deliver cargo to the International Space Station[23]. To do so, it spent more than $4 million to convince politicians that its rockets are cheaper and more efficient than the government’s Space Shuttle[24]. The strategy is clear: Musk’s only possible customers are state agencies and the military, so it is them he has to convince. Similarly, his Tesla cars sell mainly thanks to heavy tax breaks, and his SolarCity projects need local government licences[25]. Musk is certainly not a proponent of the primacy of politics (quite the opposite), and he treats politicians as lackeys ready to do anything for any amount of money, as Mark Twain wrote almost two centuries ago[26].

The money he spends on lobbying hides the fact that Musk, despite his public display, does not have enough money to turn his projects into commercial successes under free industrial competition – and after all, industries such as Boeing pay even more to keep politicians in a good mood[27]. Hence his interest in political activism and populism: to save money. Like when he joined FWD.us[28], the Silicon Valley group, from which he later exited in 2013, which lobbied for more immigration to the US – a lobby that Musk thought he could exploit to his own advantage, and he was very wrong[29]. At this point, given the evidence, all that remains is to forage a large group of his own lobbyists.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX got its first contract only after winning a civil lawsuit against the Pentagon, thanks to which it obtained a copy of the military space contracts and uncovered the tens of billions of dollars of unnecessary military spending paid to ULA United Launch Alliance (a collaboration between Boeing and Lockheed Martin), which for 106 launches got 350 million dollars per rocket, against SpaceX’s offer of 100 million dollars per launch. Until 2030, the budgeted expenditure was $80 billion, which has been drastically reduced since Musk started obtaining contracts for at least 36 launches in 2013[30]. ULA is now under investigation and has to lay off 25% of its workforce[31].

All this with a Musk at the beginning of his experience – which is why critics fear the power he could achieve if he really buys Twitter[32]: Elon Musk “is opening up a kind of new battlefield in Washington’s technology wars” – new in that “up until now it has been a low-intensity battle, but Musk’s acquisition of Twitter will transform Twitter’s role into a highly confrontational political tool”. And again: ‘Social media, and Twitter in particular, tend to dominate political debates[33]. But it is a double-edged sword: soon ‘Musk will discover that the nastiness about SpaceX and Tesla will now be about Twitter. This is not necessarily a bad thing and you can use it to your advantage, but you have to be aware of this dynamic’[34]. To obviate possible negative consequences, Musk now has enough money to be able to hire influential politicians in his company, often taking them away from ULA[35].

In principle, and according to Musk’s official statement, his satellite network should only serve to enable global communication and free access to the internet for everyone and everywhere – in order to foster freedom of speech without censorship. His network will consist of thousands of miniaturised satellites that will cooperate with terrestrial transceivers and, among other things, will be used by SpaceX for exploratory, scientific and military purposes: the total cost, over a ten-year period, has been estimated at around $10 billion[36]. In order to obtain exclusivity, Musk is lobbying the Federal Communications Commission to reject an offer from Dell Technologies and Dish Network, which want to provide a 5G wireless service thanks to Starlink satellites[37].

Relations with Peter Thiel, QAnon and the ‘PayPal Mafia’

Elon Musk and Peter Thiel[38]

QAnon, seen on the surface, is a kind of new conspiracy religion that has been circulating in the United States since October 2017 on the website 4chan, according to which there is a mythical globalised deep state, organised in a fictitious worldwide network, made up of Hollywood celebrities, billionaires and Democratic politicians dedicated to paedophilia and Satanism, against which Donald Trump has led a kind of crusade, aimed at exposing its occult plots, in order to establish a mysterious New World Order[39]. Underpinned by apocalyptic biblical imagery, pushing on the anti-statist streak of many Americans, the theory has found wide adherence among older Republican voters, right-wing extremists and exponents of New Age spiritual movements, producing an articulate system of fake news concerning political figures Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton – which is contrasted with Trump as the spiritual saviour of the homeland[40].

QAnon’s followers have spread almost everywhere, in Latin America and Europe, and have seized the opportunity offered by the pandemic to attract No-Vax conspiracists and various lunatics: a fact that in October 2020 necessitated the removal from Facebook and Instagram of all accounts, groups and profiles associated with it. This has not weakened the sect: some of its most publicly profiled exponents participated in the siege of Capitol Hill during the ratification session of Joe Biden’s election as president. Many observers fear that, with Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, the exile from the social networks of the No-Vax, QAnon worshippers, neo-Nazis and Donald Trump may come to an end[41]. Even now, on Twitter, Musk is seen as the champion of conspiracists, along with Vladimir Putin[42].

Recently, QAnon created the cryptocurrency The Trump coin, which is presented as the currency that in the near, undefined future will take the place of Bitcoin[43]. According to QAnon, Musk is also preparing his own alternative cryptocurrency, called BitVex[44]. A lie. BitVex is not linked to QAnon or Musk, even though many of its customers are No-Vax, openly supported by the South African billionaire[45]. If one is looking for an ideal referent for Musk, then there is only one credible name, and that is Peter Thiel[46]. Thiel, born on 11 October 1967 in Frankfurt, a graduate of Stanford University in philosophy and then in law[47], one of the few billionaires to have declared himself openly gay[48], is considered the ideologue of the American New Right (i.e. of so-called Trumpism beyond Trump) [49]. Two successful new fascists openly competing with each other: ‘A source who has spoken to both states that Musk thinks Thiel is “a sociopath” and Thiel considers Musk “a fraud”. Musk and Thiel, while collaborating, are fundamentally opposed: Musk is an extroverted, eccentric risk-taker, while Thiel is a cautious introvert”[50].

Thiel, an active Trump supporter and donor, is known as the ‘grey eminence of Silicon Valley’ (i.e. the pivot between technological and political power), and among his main followers is Jack Dorsey, one of the founders of Twitter[51], who decided to leave his creature when he was forced to ban the former president from his own social network[52] after the attack on Capitol Hill[53]. Perhaps the idea of buying Twitter and expressing increasingly radical positions stems from the influence exerted on him by Thiel[54], a proponent of an anti-democratic revolution motivated by his conviction that ‘the establishment and globalisation have failed, that current immigration policies despoil the middle class, and that the country must dismantle federal institutions’[55].

At the root of it all is a rejection of the foundations of the American spirit: ‘a project to reverse the thrust of progress, at least in the way liberals interpret it’, accused of allowing digital giants to restrict the freedom of expression of the extreme right, moreover propounded by a man who sits on the board of Meta (Russia’s Facebook) and who jokingly advised Musk to buy Coca-Cola to put cocaine in it[56]. A man who has been the inspiration for all the members of the so-called PayPal Mafia, i.e. that group of entrepreneurs (like Musk), who first worked for PayPal, and then went independent and founded industrial and financial empires such as Tesla Motors, LinkedIn, SpaceX, YouTube, Yelm, et cetera[57]. PayPal was founded as a start-up in 1998 to provide an electronic alternative to analogue forms of payment. It was an epoch-making revolution: in 1999, PayPal was launched by Confinity as a money transfer service; in March 2000, Confinity merged with the online bank founded by Musk (X.com), which was renamed into PayPal and the following year was listed on the NYSE at $13 per share[58].

Back row from left: Jawed Karim, co-founder Youtube; Jeremy Stoppelman CEO Yelp; Andrew McCormack, managing partner Laiola Restaurant; Premal Shah, CEO of Kiva; 2nd row from left: Luke Nosek, managing partner Founders Fund; Kenny Howery, managing partner Founders Fund; David Sacks, CEO Geni and Room 9 Entertainment; Peter Thiel, CEO Clarium Capital and Founders Fund; Keith Rabois, VP BIz Dev at Slide and Youtube Investor; Reid Hoffman, Founder Linkedin; Max Levchin, CEO Slide; Roelof Botha, partner Sequoia Capital; Russel Simmons, co-founder of Yelp[59]: the famous PayPal Mafia picture[60]

When, in the summer of 2002, PayPal was taken over by eBay (with a valuation of $23 per share, to the tune of $1.5 billion), chaos broke out: all of PayPal’s technicians and managers quit, because they did not want to work for a master[61]. The 24 executives who left are now called the PayPal Mafia, because they continue to collaborate secretly and occasionally have their picture taken in an English pub by gangsters[62]. Six of them (Peter Thiel, Elon Musk, Reid Hoffman, Luke Nosek, Ken Howery and Keith Rabois) have become billionaires[63]: Jawed Karim designed PayPal’s real-time anti-fraud system, then founded, together with PayPal engineers Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, the site YouTube, abandoned by Chen to become Facebook’s first employee; Jeremy Stoppelman joined as an engineer and became vice president of Engineering. After that, he joined eBay and founded the online review site Yelp in 2004; David Sacks is the most eclectic: he went to Hollywood and produced and financed the film ‘Thank You for Smoking’, then founded the site Geni.com and conceived Yammer, later acquired by Microsoft for 1.2 billion. Now Sacks is vice president of Microsoft Office.

Peter Thiel, the architect of PayPal’s success with his Confinity, in 2003 founded Palantir and then, in 2005, Founders Fund, the venture capital company that invested in SpaceX, Airbnb, Facebook, Yelp and LinkedIn; Reid Hoffman, after PayPal, invested in Facebook, Zynga, Flickr, Digg, Care.com, Last.fm. and many other successful start-ups; Luke Nosek co-founded Thiel Founders Fund; Ken Howery, joined Thiel as vice president of private equity Clarium Capital and co-founded Popexpert, an online learning platform; Keit Rabois went on to LinkedIn, then Slide and the e-payment company Square; Max Levchin founded Slide and then HVF. He has been president of Yelp since 2004, in 2015 he became CEO of Affirm and of Glow, a fertility monitoring app that helps people improve their chances of conception; Roelof Botha, after negotiating the sale of PayPal, joined venture capital giant Sequoia Capital as a partner, where he has remained ever since; Russel Simmons founded Yelp with Jeremy Stoppelman and, in 2012, launched Learnirvana, a web tutor for learning foreign languages.

Twitter user Elon Musk…

The future is now[64]

This group of friends constitutes a major novelty on the stage of world politics, industry and finance. No more secret groups like freemasonry or masquerading as associations like the Trilateral Commission or the Bilderberger Group. No political parties, no common holding company or association of industrialists: just a group of friends with an ideologue (Peter Thiel) and a formidable common heritage, built by supporting one another, to which is added an absolutely obvious global political project, which beguiles through the personal success of those who propose it, and neo-neon through the eventual solutions to the problems of the community – it is the last frontier of individualism, which suggests, to those who are not part of it, the lukewarm satisfaction of being able to worship their idols and enjoy an almost unlimited apparent freedom.

This power group does not need the Fifth Power (the press), because social networks have taken its place and, the eventual purchase of Twitter, would provide Musk with immense and, indeed, supranational and global power. At the time of writing, it is by no means certain that the purchase will take place, or that there may be any surprises[65]. In any case, Musk, Thiel and the others know how to use this tool: over the years, with his tweets, Elon Musk has attacked those who stood in his way, mocked celebrities, ridiculed their strategies[66], made the value of certain assets rise or fall, triggered lawsuits and even initiated political debates on laws: all of which have given him such popularity that he is now one of the most followed users.

The South African billionaire not only influenced the prices of various cryptocurrencies with his tweets, but also used the platform to change the share price of his company par excellence: in 2018 he got into trouble with the Securities and Exchange Commission – which accused him of fraud, fined him $40 million and ordered him never to tweet information about the company again without first obtaining the approval of the company’s lawyers[67] – for tweeting that he was considering privatising Tesla, leading to a surge in the share price[68]. The judge concluded that Musk knowingly made false statements[69] in order to obtain an illicit financial benefit[70].

When Musk decides to make a bid to buy Twitter, he does not talk about how much he can gain from it, but about ‘democratisation’, and makes it clear that accounts such as Donald Trump’s will be readmitted and, therefore, the production of propaganda campaigns based on false statements will be considered as an expression of freedom of thought. When it comes to turnover, Thiel and Musk share the same opinion: Twitter’s revenue comes from advertising and the sale of personal data – a stingy business[71]: ‘At the moment Twitter is not profitable. To evaluate it, we have to look at the price/sales ratio, which is 7.3x – which means that an investor pays $7.3 for every $1 in sales’[72]. Future prospects? Not bright: ‘Although Twitter posted revenue growth of 36% in 2021, it “only” reached $5.08 billion and almost all of that came from advertising (89%). That’s a lot of eggs in one basket, with interest rates rising and a potential recession looming over advertising’[73]. A basket for which Musk has borrowed $46.5 billion, or 900% of Twitter’s turnover[74]. Why does he do it?

The Elon Musk would-be owner of Twitter

Elon Musk (left) and Saudi Prince Al Waleed: partners in Tesla, adversaries on Twitter[75]

On 13 May 2022, Musk announced that he had changed his mind and would no longer buy[76]. The announcement caused Twitter’s shares to plummet ‘by up to 20% in pre-market’[77]: According to Twitter’s lawyers, this is illegal: “Twitter’s legal department just called to complain that I violated their non-disclosure agreement by revealing that the sample size of the check on fake accounts is 100!”[78]. But these are skirmishes between financial sharks – we are more interested in analysing the meaning of the operation, whether it happens or not, and to do this we need to understand Twitter.

First consideration: despite Musk’s claims, Twitter is not a digital marketplace. Unlike other platforms it privileges information sharing over community, becoming a space for millions of shouting citizens, but not a public square where people gather and discuss[79]. In 2017, a study found that the female gender is insulted every 30 seconds[80], especially black women[81]. Another peculiarity of Twitter is the ease with which it creates fake news in order to spread disinformation[82].

Second consideration: Elon Musk’s demagogic arguments in favour of freedom of speech do not solve the fundamental question… Freedom of speech for whom? Who decides what is acceptable and what is not? Twitter’s website reads, “In October 2018, we published the first public and comprehensive archive of data on state-sponsored information operations. Since then, we have shared 37 datasets on attributed platform manipulation campaigns from 17 countries, with over 200 million Tweets and nine terabytes of media”[83]. By the end of December 2021, there were a total of 3465 permanently removed Twitter accounts in six countries (Mexico, China, Russia, Tanzania, Uganda and Venezuela) [84].

Third consideration. If one takes Musk’s claims at face value, one of his ideas is to share the social media algorithms with the public, making people believe that publishing unchecked trivia is communication and represents the reality of the majority of humanity. A lie: repeated research shows that Twitter’s algorithms amplify reactionary and violent tweets, as well as those claiming the existence of conspiracies. It is not the algorithm that decides, but the human being who runs it. This is why statements such as those made by Musk on 14 April 2022 are worrying: ‘I believe that [Twitter, ed] has the potential to be the platform for freedom of expression around the world, and I believe that freedom of expression is a social imperative for a functioning democracy. I now realise that in its current form the company will be able neither to thrive nor fulfil this social imperative’[85]. Let us explain further: the contradictory statement takes into account the fact that Musk, at the same time, wants to please American white supremacists, Russian nationalists, but also the partners who put their money into Tesla – namely the Saudi prince al-Waleed bin Talal al Saud and other Arab dignitaries, who regard freedom of expression and white supremacism as the devil[86]. One wonders if, in the sudden rethink about the Twitter purchase, there is not the realisation that they have made a serious political mistake.


The idea behind Neuralink[87]

But Elon Musk has no time to deal with the effects of his own mistakes. A few hours later, he is already busy on another front – that of Neuralink, the project to connect the brain directly to the computer, in order to drive machinery with thought and receive data directly into the mind, without having to read it. A project that certainly has positive implications: ‘what may happen in the next few years we cannot yet predict. But I would say that we are beginning to see very positive aspects. Let’s think about what tomorrow’s rehabilitation could be, when we will be able to have devices capable of compensating for important neurological deficits. The first results are already before our eyes: there are interfaces between the brain and the computer that allow people who have lost the use of their limbs, for example, to control the switching on of a house light, to move a wheelchair, or even allow those who have lost the use of their voice to speak’[88].

The moral boundaries of this project, however, are terrifying: ‘The use of these technologies will have to be monitored very carefully. We are talking about the fusion of flesh and electronics, a fusion that could be much closer and more complete than we can foresee. There are brain areas involved with important emotional and cognitive functions, and especially with control of the will. Science fiction has accustomed us to this to some extent. Let us take a concrete example: the computer sends signals to the brain. Will the subject know that they are impulses from outside, or will he perceive them as coming from him?” [89].

It thus becomes difficult to distinguish between oneself and the machine – an even more extreme version of the addiction that many people already have to video games: ‘Once connected to a computer, we may not understand whether it is we who are thinking something or whether this something has been induced in us by the machine. We are in a very complex field, because indeed some research tells us that sometimes we are not even aware of the choices that our own brain makes’[90]. And here we are again at the focal point: if it is only one person, Elon Musk, who decides what a computer connected to our brain ‘thinks’, is it not legitimate to think that the human brain, just as it does with video games, does not begin to live by the speed and rules of the computer it is connected to? [91]

This science-fictional neuro-tech project is called Neuralink, and it is a company founded in San Francisco in 2016[92] that focuses on developing implantable neural interfaces[93]. Its team, according to Elon Musk, plans to develop by the end of this year a device to be implanted in the brain to help people with particular brain injuries, such as those caused by a stroke[94]. This interface will give the brain the ability to connect wirelessly with the cloud, with computers, and with other brains that have the interface in question, creating a flow of information between the individual brain and the outside world that is perceived as its own thoughts[95]. At least, Musk admits that this technology makes people cyborgs[96].

The project envisages a brain implant for everyone within ten years: to those who ask how the interactive data will be established and by whom it will be managed, he replies evasively: ‘it depends on the regulatory approval times and how well our devices work on people with disabilities’[97]. To prepare the implants, Musk has hired many famous neuroscientists[98]. Until July 2019, Neuralink has received $158 million in funding (two thirds of which was paid for by Musk) and employed 90 people[99], announcing the start of human trials in 2020[100]. That last third of the money comes from the Pentagon, which has been funding attempts to robotise its soldiers for years[101]. But things are not going well, it seems that the Neuralink implant killed the macaques it was tested on[102].


Tesla Model-S[103]

Tesla, the electric car for all, is the project that has made Elon Musk famous more than any other, helping to provide him with a kind of public investiture as the saviour of humanity. How appropriate this is is highly debatable: what is certain is that, behind the myth of the electric car, lies a profound reordering of world balances – no more soft hand with the Arab countries, the new giants are India and China. Let’s leave aside the dispute over the reliability of Tesla’s mechanical vehicle and its Autopilot guidance system[104], as well as the Boombox system[105]: theoretically they make the car drive itself, but at the moment of danger the human should be so quick of reflexes as to foresee the danger seconds in advance to switch from automatic to manual.

Let us focus on the heaviest and most damaging problems for the environment: the impossibility of disposing of used lithium batteries, fires in the event of overheating, the assumption of new investments in nuclear energy and the laying of new electricity grids on entire continents in order to be able to offer users the oceanic amount of electricity they need[106] – something that is unfeasible at present, both in terms of cost and the effects of the enormous electromagnetic fields involved. Already lithium batteries make the other vehicles in use by mankind today look like harmless objects[107]: batteries are like enriched uranium, they pollute for eternity, sometimes spontaneously catch fire, explode, and are polluting even when they are working well[108] and even when they have not yet been assembled and are in some storage warehouse[109].

These are not rumours, but facts, as Tesla has already experienced serious accidents. On 31 July 2021, a battery caught fire, destroying a factory and creating a toxic cloud in the urban area of Melbourne[110]. On 28 September 2019, a factory in Nevada exploded due to the explosion of an experimental lithium battery[111], in a summer in which there were several fires in battery factories in China[112]. On 20 October 2020, in Oregon, the battery of a Tesla Model 3 exploded due to a driving accident[113], and burnt down an entire building[114]: ‘if a defect occurs, there can be serious consequences. The battery burns and can explode. Toxic gases can be released, which can be fatal. Fires caused by lithium-ion batteries are fought with difficulty and the fire spreads quickly. Firefighters are often left with no choice but to protect their neighbours’[115].

We can hope that safer batteries will be produced, but in the meantime, Teslas are a death trap: ‘Nashua Fire Department stated that “Fire crews were on site for a long time to complete the extinguishment”. Also deserving attention is the fact that, the Tesla Model S resumed fire six days after the first fire was extinguished’[116]. as Tesla itself admits: ‘extinguishing a burnt battery can take up to 24 hours. Due to a potential re-ignition of the fire, after a Model S has been involved in a water immersion, fire or collision incident that has compromised the high-voltage battery, leave the vehicle in an open area at least 50 ft (15 m) from any hazards”[117]. Think what will happen to the first such incident in an underground car park of a shopping centre, especially considering the fact that a lithium-ion battery fire does not immediately spread flames and is silent, so it is likely that a car fire will spread to several others before anyone realises what is happening[118]: ‘During an electric vehicle fire, more than 100 organic chemicals are generated, including some incredibly toxic gases such as carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide, both of which are deadly to humans’[119].

To sum up: Elon Musk is a successful shark, and that makes him popular. He has managed to become very rich by selling environmentally damaging products as if they were environmentally friendly, expensive missiles as if they were cheap, projects to turn humans into robots as if they were fighting for freedom of expression. Needless to bother George Orwell: Musk does not want to become Big Brother – but the secret thinking machine that spawned and controls him.


[1] https://www.arteworld.it/sonno-ragione-genera-mostri-goya-analisi-completa-dellincisione/

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InBp9qp_B38

[3] https://www.glistatigenerali.com/innovazione_occupazione/insostenibile-irrequietezza-musk/ ; https://www.glistatigenerali.com/imprenditori_trasporti/elon-musk-e-il-sogno-della-conquista-di-marte/

[4] https://www.fr.de/ratgeber/gesundheit/asperger-syndrom-daran-erkennen-sie-form-autismus-zr-12753483.html

[5] Asperger’s syndrome is named after the Austrian paediatrician Hans Asperger who in 1944 identified a category of children who shared certain behaviours: ‘lack of empathy, poor ability to form friendships, one-sided speech, intense absorption of a particular interest, clumsy movements’.  Asperger observed that these children could talk endlessly about their favourite topics and dubbed them ‘little professors’. In 1994, in Edition 4 of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, known as the DSM, Asperger’s syndrome was included in the pervasive developmental disorders and soon became known as ‘high-functioning autism’. In reality, the specific diagnosis of Asperger’s as of 2013, with the publication of the latest edition of the Dsm, no longer exists. The term, however, has remained in use and refers to autistic people who do not have intellectual and language disabilities. The Dsm 5, i.e. the latest edition of the Dsm, has in fact unified all the various forms of autism into a single diagnosis, i.e. autism spectrum disorder. This means that both the more severe forms and the milder forms that are closer to so-called neurotypicality, i.e. non-autistic persons, fall within the same diagnosis’.

[6] https://www.repubblica.it/esteri/2021/05/09/news/elon_musk_asperger-300167922/

[7] https://www.repubblica.it/esteri/2021/05/09/news/elon_musk_asperger-300167922/

[8] https://www.grupposandonato.it/news/2022/aprile/disabilita-intellettiva-autismo-cause-sintomi-differenze

[9] http://www.centropermano.it/asperger-aspie/

[10] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/elon-musk-politics-republican-vote-b2082287.html

[11] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/elon-musk-politics-republican-vote-b2082287.html

[12] https://www.marca.com/en/lifestyle/us-news/2022/05/19/62859764268e3e417a8b45dd.html ; https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/elon-musk-politics-republican-vote-b2082287.html

[13] https://www.repubblica.it/tecnologia/2022/05/10/news/elon_musk_twitter_trump-348964882/ ; https://www.wired.it/article/musk-trump-twitter/ ; https://www.ft.com/content/6817cce1-1439-4053-9e1f-8b1a64ddf78d  ; https://www.rainews.it/video/2022/04/repubblicani-usa-alla-corte-di-musk-elon-twitter-freedom-trump-bannato-boicotta-uso-truth-dfb70bf0-2d2c-46a6-bf8b-a53d8de31a8d.html

[14] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/elon-musk-bernie-sanders-twitter-b1957625.html

[15] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/elon-musk-political-views-democrat-republican-b2064834.html?fr=operanews

[16] https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1008120904759402501

[17] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/elon-musk-politics-republican-vote-b2082287.html

[18] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/elon-musk-politics-republican-vote-b2082287.html

[19] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/elon-musk-politics-republican-vote-b2082287.html

[20] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/elon-musk-politics-republican-vote-b2082287.html

[21] https://www.spacex.com

[22] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/elon-musk-politics-republican-vote-b2082287.html

[23] https://www.nasa.gov/exploration/commercial/cargo/spacex_launch.html

[24] https://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/13/science/space/13shuttle.html

[25] https://qz.com/493152/elon-musks-politics-are-as-enigmatic-as-his-businesses/

[26] https://gutenberg.org/ebooks/3178

[27] https://qz.com/493152/elon-musks-politics-are-as-enigmatic-as-his-businesses/

[28] https://st.ilsole24ore.com/art/cultura/2013-09-29/prova-silicon-valley-143022_PRN.shtml

[29] https://qz.com/493152/elon-musks-politics-are-as-enigmatic-as-his-businesses/

[30] https://www.politico.com/story/2016/05/elon-musk-rocket-defense-223161

[31] https://www.politico.com/story/2016/05/elon-musk-rocket-defense-223161

[32] https://www.politico.com/news/2022/04/25/elon-musk-is-buying-into-a-new-kind-of-fight-in-washington-00027654

[33] https://www.politico.com/news/2022/04/25/elon-musk-is-buying-into-a-new-kind-of-fight-in-washington-00027654

[34] https://www.politico.com/news/2022/04/25/elon-musk-is-buying-into-a-new-kind-of-fight-in-washington-00027654

[35] https://www.politico.com/news/2022/04/25/elon-musk-is-buying-into-a-new-kind-of-fight-in-washington-00027654

[36] https://it.insideover.com/guerra/cose-il-sistema-starlink-il-jolly-di-kiev-che-puo-cambiare-la-guerra.html

[37] https://www.politico.com/news/2022/04/25/elon-musk-is-buying-into-a-new-kind-of-fight-in-washington-00027654

[38] https://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musk-peter-thiel-the-founders-paypal-story-book-review-2022-2?r=US&IR=T

[39] https://www.valigiablu.it/qanon-teoria-complotto-trump/ ; https://www.valigiablu.it/qanon-teoria-complotto-trump/

[40] https://www.valigiablu.it/qanon-teoria-complotto-trump/ ; https://www.valigiablu.it/qanon-teoria-complotto-trump/

[41] https://www.wionews.com/world/exile-of-anti-vaxxers-qanon-loyalists-can-end-with-musks-takeover-of-twitter-475454


[43] https://www.huffingtonpost.it/blog/2022/05/31/news/adesso_i_qanon_battono_anche_moneta_il_trump_coin-9498883/

[44] https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/elon-musk-deep-fakes-promote-new-bitvex-cryptocurrency-scam/

[45] https://www.ilfoglio.it/esteri/2020/05/12/news/cosi-elon-musk-ha-preso-la-via-complottista-contro-il-virus-317762/

[46] https://www.ilfoglio.it/tecnologia/2022/05/03/news/dietro-alla-passione-di-musk-per-twitter-c-e-peter-thiel-guru-del-trumpismo-3963602/

[47] https://www.britannica.com/biography/Peter-Thiel

[48] https://web.archive.org/web/20180902012028/https://www.axios.com/peter-thiel-got-married-over-the-weekend-1513306233-29abae6d-fa70-4939-b15e-0d0042986700.html ; https://www.npr.org/2016/07/21/486966882/i-am-proud-to-be-gay-tech-investor-peter-thiel-tells-gop-convention?t=1655455880560

[49] https://www.filosofico.net/libertinismo.htm ; https://www.ilfoglio.it/tecnologia/2022/05/03/news/dietro-alla-passione-di-musk-per-twitter-c-e-peter-thiel-guru-del-trumpismo-3963602/

[50] https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/13/books/review-contrarian-peter-thiel-silicon-valley-max-chafkin.html

[51] https://www.ilfoglio.it/tecnologia/2022/05/03/news/dietro-alla-passione-di-musk-per-twitter-c-e-peter-thiel-guru-del-trumpismo-3963602/

[52] https://www.wsj.com/articles/jack-dorsey-has-second-thoughts-11610667168 ; https://www.wsj.com/articles/twitter-ceo-defends-trump-ban-but-voices-concern-over-precedent-11610594324 ; https://www.cnet.com/news/politics/twitter-ceo-jack-dorsey-says-banning-trump-was-the-right-decision/ ; https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-shadow-crew-who-encouraged-elon-musks-twitter-takeover-tesla-jack-dorsey-11651260119

[53] https://www.wsj.com/media/TrumpvTwitter.pdf

[54] https://www.ilfoglio.it/tecnologia/2022/05/03/news/dietro-alla-passione-di-musk-per-twitter-c-e-peter-thiel-guru-del-trumpismo-3963602/

[55] https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2022/04/inside-the-new-right-where-peter-thiel-is-placing-his-biggest-bets ; https://www.ilfoglio.it/tecnologia/2022/05/03/news/dietro-alla-passione-di-musk-per-twitter-c-e-peter-thiel-guru-del-trumpismo-3963602/

[56] https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1162218267932446724 ; https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1519480761749016577

[57] https://business24tv.it/2021/09/21/ecco-come-paypal-mafia-ha-conquistato-il-mondo/

[58] https://business24tv.it/2021/09/21/ecco-come-paypal-mafia-ha-conquistato-il-mondo/

[59] https://business24tv.it/2021/09/21/ecco-come-paypal-mafia-ha-conquistato-il-mondo/ ; https://digitalflow.it/paypal-mafia/

[60] https://business24tv.it/2021/09/21/ecco-come-paypal-mafia-ha-conquistato-il-mondo/ ; https://digitalflow.it/paypal-mafia/

[61] https://business24tv.it/2021/09/21/ecco-come-paypal-mafia-ha-conquistato-il-mondo/ ; https://digitalflow.it/paypal-mafia/

[62] https://fortune.com/2007/11/13/paypal-mafia/

[63] https://business24tv.it/2021/09/21/ecco-come-paypal-mafia-ha-conquistato-il-mondo/ ; https://digitalflow.it/paypal-mafia/

[64] https://business24tv.it/2021/09/21/ecco-come-paypal-mafia-ha-conquistato-il-mondo/

[65] https://twitter.com/elonmusk

[66] https://www.cnbc.com/2022/04/23/elon-musk-tweets-that-he-confronted-bill-gates-about-shorting-tesla.html

[67] https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2018-226

[68] https://www.investopedia.com/news/musk-memo-clarifies-plans-take-tesla-private/

[69] https://www.cnbc.com/2022/04/16/elon-musk-funding-secured-tweets-ruled-false-new-court-filing-suggests.html

[70] https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/USCOURTS-cand-3_18-cv-04865/pdf/USCOURTS-cand-3_18-cv-04865-7.pdf

[71] https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/120114/how-does-twitter-twtr-make-money.asp ; https://d18rn0p25nwr6d.cloudfront.net/CIK-0001418091/947c0c34-ca90-4099-b328-a6062adf110f.pdf

[72] https://simplywall.st/stocks/us/media/nyse-twtr/twitter/news/by-numbers-musk-isnt-buying-twitter-inc-nysetwtr-for-its-ear?blueprint=1986368&utm_source=yahoo&utm_medium=finance_user&utm_campaign=integrated-pitch

[73] https://simplywall.st/stocks/us/media/nyse-twtr/twitter/news/by-numbers-musk-isnt-buying-twitter-inc-nysetwtr-for-its-ear?blueprint=1986368&utm_source=yahoo&utm_medium=finance_user&utm_campaign=integrated-pitch

[74] https://simplywall.st/stocks/us/media/nyse-twtr/twitter#future

[75] https://www.news9live.com/technology/app-news/saudi-prince-rejects-musks-43-billion-twitter-takeover-bid-tesla-ceo-responds-with-sly-dig-164837

[76] https://www.open.online/2022/05/13/twitter-elon-musk-accordo-sospeso/

[77] https://www.open.online/2022/05/13/twitter-elon-musk-accordo-sospeso/

[78] https://www.open.online/2022/05/15/elon-musk-twitter-accordo-riservatezza/

[79] https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/2056305120926622 ; https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/1369118X.2014.902984?needAccess=true

[80] https://mashable.com/article/amnesty-study-twitter-abuse-women

[81] https://www.colorlines.com/articles/new-study-confirms-black-women-are-most-abused-group-twitter

[82] https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/snickers-dick-vein-dont-let-this-flop-podcast-1343163/ ; https://www.tweetgen.com

[83] https://blog.twitter.com/en_us/topics/company/2021/-expanding-access-beyond-information-operations-

[84] https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/info-tech/social-media/twitter-removed-3465-accounts-related-to-state-linked-information-operations/article37821590.ece

[85] https://www.wired.it/article/elon-musk-ha-comprato-twitter/

[86] https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/how-saudi-prince-alwaleed-bin-talal-al-saud-mocked-by-elon-musk-ended-up-backing-him-2950567

[87] https://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-elon-musk-neuralink-20170421-htmlstory.html

[88] https://www.neuromed.it/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/bass-ris-neuromed-news-marzo-giugno-2021.pdf

[89] https://www.neuromed.it/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/bass-ris-neuromed-news-marzo-giugno-2021.pdf

[90] https://www.neuromed.it/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/bass-ris-neuromed-news-marzo-giugno-2021.pdf

[91] https://www.wsj.com/articles/elon-musk-launches-neuralink-to-connect-brains-with-computers-1490642652 ; https://www.theverge.com/2017/3/27/15077864/elon-musk-neuralink-brain-computer-interface-ai-cyborgs

[92] https://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-elon-musk-neuralink-20170421-htmlstory.html

[93] https://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-elon-musk-neuralink-20170421-htmlstory.html

[94] https://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-elon-musk-neuralink-20170421-htmlstory.html

[95] https://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-elon-musk-neuralink-20170421-htmlstory.html

[96] https://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-elon-musk-neuralink-20170421-htmlstory.html

[97] https://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-elon-musk-neuralink-20170421-htmlstory.html

[98] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-10/elon-musk-s-brain-tech-startup-is-raising-more-cash

[99] https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/16/technology/neuralink-elon-musk.html

[100] https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/16/technology/neuralink-elon-musk.html

[101] https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/16/technology/neuralink-elon-musk.html

[102] https://www.wired.it/article/neuralink-elon-musk-scimmie-esperimenti-accusa-cervello-computer/

[103] https://www.drivek.it/tesla/model-s/

[104] https://www.politico.com/news/2022/04/25/elon-musk-is-buying-into-a-new-kind-of-fight-in-washington-00027654

[105] https://www.politico.com/news/2022/04/25/elon-musk-is-buying-into-a-new-kind-of-fight-in-washington-00027654

[106] https://www.agi.it/economia/news/2021-09-25/musk-difende-il-nucleare-futuro-nel-solare-13977990/

[107] https://www.asecos.com/stoccaggio-batterie-ioni-di-litio.html

[108] https://www.asecos.com/stoccaggio-batterie-ioni-di-litio.html

[109] https://www.asecos.com/stoccaggio-batterie-ioni-di-litio.html

[110] https://www.gazzetta.it/motori/la-mia-auto/31-07-2021/tesla-fuoco-mega-impianto-accumulo-australia-colpa-una-batteria-13-tonnellate-42066399537.shtml

[111] https://www.gazzetta.it/motori/la-mia-auto/28-09-2019/auto-elettriche-fuoco-bisarca-carica-tesla-3402862490899.shtml

[112] https://www.gazzetta.it/motori/la-mia-auto/28-09-2019/auto-elettriche-fuoco-bisarca-carica-tesla-3402862490899.shtml

[113] https://www.newsauto.it/notizie/incidente-auto-elettrica-tesla-esplosione-batteria-abitazione-incendio-2020-291395/

[114] https://www.newsauto.it/notizie/incidente-auto-elettrica-tesla-esplosione-batteria-abitazione-incendio-2020-291395/

[115] https://www.tesla.com/sites/default/files/downloads/2016_Model_S_Emergency_Response_Guide_it.pdf pag.22

[116] https://www.sicurauto.it/news/auto-elettriche-ibride/una-tesla-riprende-fuoco-dopo-6-giorni-dallincidente/

[117] https://www.tesla.com/sites/default/files/downloads/2016_Model_S_Emergency_Response_Guide_it.pdf pag.22

[118] https://www.sicurauto.it/news/auto-elettriche-ibride/le-auto-elettriche-saranno-bandite-dai-parcheggi-sotterranei/

[119] https://www.bedsfire.gov.uk/Community-safety/Road-safety/Fire-in-Electric-Vehicles.aspx ; https://www.sicurauto.it/news/auto-elettriche-ibride/le-auto-elettriche-saranno-bandite-dai-parcheggi-sotterranei/

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