Is Tesla’s Elon Musk Throwing A Hail Mary For The SolarCity Deal?

Tesla’s Elon Musk tweeted on Friday that he would pay SolarCity’s debt if it came to that. It was in response to a tweet from David Tayar asking about Tesla assuming SolarCity’s obligations after the presentation on the SolarCity acquisition on November 1. There are major concerns about the merger due to SolarCity’s negative (and increasing) cash flows and therefore its ability to service its debt (and then becoming an obligation to Tesla).

This is compounded by the concern that Tesla may not be legally obligated to pay for the debt (even though Musk says they will be one company) since there is language in at least one of Tesla’s filings with the SEC that “the Company and its Subsidiaries shall not guarantee or otherwise become directly liable for any Indebtedness of SolarCity and (b) the Company and its Subsidiaries shall not permit SolarCity to guarantee or otherwise become directly liable for the Indebtedness of the Company or its Subsidiaries.” This is from an 8-K filing on August 1 and you have to go to the EX-10.1 portion to find it.

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Elon Musk Is Treating Mars Like It’s a Moore’s Law Problem. It’s Not

Moore’s Law is a product of Silicon Valley, as is the tendency to misapply—with overreaching drama—it to various capital-P Problems. The September, 2013, issue of Time featured a cover story raising the tantalizing question “Can Google Solve Death?” And yet people are still turning up dead. Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, announced a $3 billion effort “to […]

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Elon Musk Critic Sues Tesla, Says Musk’s ‘Agents’ Hacked His Twitter

In a bizarre series of events, a former employee of an energy sector services company has claimed that staff or “agents” from the car manufacturer Tesla hacked his Twitter account.

The complaint, reported by The Daily Kanban, is written by attorneys representing one Todd A. Katz, and oil executive, and comes after Tesla filed its own lawsuit against Katz, claiming he impersonated Telsa’s CEO Elon Musk in an email.

According to the complaint, Katz runs a Twitter account with the username “@ValuationMattrs,” which he’s used to criticize Musk and Tesla for various things, including the company’s planned merger with SolarCity Corporation, Musk’s solar energy company. Indeed, much of the document rants about Musk’s business decisions, before actually getting into any sort of formal allegation.

But on August 4, the day after Katz allegedly sent an email to Tesla CFO Jason Wheeler while purporting to be Musk, “Tesla and its agents, on information and belief, accessed Katz’s Twitter account, @ValuationMattrs, without authorization from Katz,” the complaint reads.

At 3:25 PM, a person logged into this account from an IP address used by the two Best Buy electronic stores closest to Tesla’s factory in Fremont, California, which are around seven and 11 miles away respectively, according to the complaint.

As the complaint points out, both of these stores allow potential customers to handle and try out various electronic devices, including Apple iPhones, with an internet connection.

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Elon Musk And Friends Are Spending Millions To Break Out Of The Matrix

Fans of the Wachowskis’ The Matrix films may remember the trilogy’s final suggestion (as far as critics could tell) that humanity’s struggle to escape its own virtual world may take a very, very long time. Thankfully, a number of tech titans are dedicating millions to finding a way out of the techno-reality they’re creating.

Elon Musk and at least one other future-facing donor are reportedly spending millions to establish escape routes from the indistinguishably realistic and Matrix-like virtual world that awaits us all–or which, according to Musk, may have already arrived. The UK’s Independent noted yesterday that new information from Sam Altman, who heads up the powerful Y Combinator and founded the non-profit OpenAI with Musk, suggests that Musk isn’t the only one pouring cash into a virtual contingency plan.

As a recent New Yorker profile of Altman explains, “people in Silicon Valley have become obsessed with the simulation hypothesis, the argument that what we experience as reality is in fact fabricated in a computer.” As a result, a second “tech billionaire” is now putting their money where their (hopefully real) mouth is by paying scientists to find the simulation’s emergency exit.

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Why Elon Musk’s Mars Vision Needs ‘Some Real Imagination

When Elon Musk introduced earthlings last month to his vision for cities on Mars, his 90-minute remarks fired up imaginations everywhere—except on Mars. For now.

Kim Stanley Robinson has done as much as anyone to bring the idea of colonizing Mars into the mainstream. The writer entwined knowledge, reasoning, and imagination into his landmark Mars trilogy—Red Mars (1992), Green Mars (1993), and Blue Mars (1996).

And to Robinson, Musk’s Martian future looks a lot like other people’s familiar past.

“Musk’s plan,” he said, “is sort of the 1920s science-fiction cliché of the boy who builds a rocket to the moon in his back yard.”

An edited transcript of an interview follows:

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A Kink in the Hyperloop

One person who’s confident about the company’s prospects is the author of the Forbes article that put it on the map, Bruce Upbin, who in May joined the company as its vice-president of strategic communications.* Pishevar, who has said that he expects there to be a working passenger hyperloop, somewhere in the world, by 2021, insists that the company is stronger than ever, and he shrugs off the suit, which is ongoing, as a speed bump he doesn’t spend much time thinking about. “I think this idea is bigger than any one person, including myself, and in many ways this is a movement, and anyone that begins to feel like they’re indispensable, or that they’re bigger than the idea, doesn’t fit the culture anymore.” He mentioned famous founder schisms at other tech companies. “The people that we sometimes start our journeys with are not the people we end the journeys with.”

But in Silicon Valley, traditional venture capitalists have for the most part steered clear of the company, finding it too speculative, capital-intensive, and long-term to meet their investing criteria. (An exception, Vinod Khosla, told me he was “only a token investor.”) “Most people thought it was not a scam but a fantasy,” says a seasoned Valley insider who knows the players and who allows that Pishevar’s enthusiasm is genuine: “He believes this bullshit.” The lawsuit hasn’t helped. “No one was taking it seriously. Now it’s like, Who are these clowns?

“He reminds me of Voltaire,” says Kara Swisher, co-founder of Recode and a fan of Pishevar’s, referring to the philosophe’s ever-sunny Candide.“People get attacked and there’s war, and he’s like, ‘All for the best, in the best of all possible worlds.’ ” As we walked around the neighborhood near the company headquarters, Pishevar stopped to hand a few crumpled bills to a homeless man on a crate, and pointed out a retro typeface on the old Sears building. “When I look at cities now, I don’t see them in the present,” he said. “This is the decaying infrastructure of our existing cities. Years from now, none of this is going to be here. New cities are going to rise.”

Maybe the best thing going for hyperloop the concept — if not Hyperloop the company — is that Musk has not abandoned the idea. At last summer’s Code conference, a month before the lawsuit was filed, he said: “I think if the companies that are trying to make it happen now, if for whatever reason that doesn’t work out, then I think, you know, I’ll, I might do something myself in the future.”

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