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literature

Meeting Standards

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Isaac found the boss touring his glamorous new Ultrafactory. "Sir, could I get a minute of your time?"

Crassus Mink pulled off his thousand-dollar sunglasses to inspect Isaac. "Shouldn't you be in Florida?"

"Yes, sir, I was at Cape Kennedy this morning. The static test fire went perfectly." Normally the man paying for a rocket launch would be there to watch the crucial tests, but Isaac's boss was a busy man. Isaac added, "I want to make a last appeal about replacing the payload."

"You don't like my Roadster?" asked Mink, grinning. He greeted three of the battery factory's employees by name.

"I love it, sir. I just don't think we should be launching your car into space. Just because this is the test flight for the BigMass Heavy, doesn't mean the payload should be..."

"Frivolous?"

"Lacking scientific or economic value. Why not a chunk of ice, or CubeSats, or that EmDrive prototype?"

Mink patted Isaac's shoulder. "That reminds me: give me a dollar." When the engineer did, Mink told him, "I'm selling you that car. Congratulations. How far would you say it'll travel?"

"With that orbit? Practically forever. Billions of miles, at least."

"On one battery charge! Think, Isaac. Why would I invest so heavily in the Ultrafactory when the batteries aren't making money, and launch your brand new car instead of satellites?"

Isaac's brow furrowed. "As a joke about efficiency? It will get basically infinite MPG equivalent."

"Even if you count the rocket fuel!" said Mink. "You're a rocket guy. To you, good design is about how much mass you can fling. But here on Earth there are laws about the minimum MPG for the average car a company sells."

They reached a door. The boss flung it open to reveal a gleaming workshop that was filled with a single SUV. It boasted six doors and enough tailpipes for a church organ.

"I call it the Roadbreaker," said Mink. "Gas-guzzlers are what sell, and what have the highest profit margin. Instead of making batteries, we're going to sell these, and fling one electric Roadster into the sky each year. Our average efficiency will soar to the stars! We'll be ecological saints."

"Sir?" said Isaac, blinded by all the chrome. "You're an evil genius."

"We'll go far together, I think," said the boss. "While we're at it, how about I show you what my tunnel-drilling project is really about?"

"Does it involve the Yellowstone supervolcano, sir?"

Mink only grinned.
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© 2018 - 2019 KSchnee
The real reason for the Falcon Heavy test flight. Written just after watching the real thing.
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Nitrinoxus's avatar
Nitrinoxus|Hobbyist Writer
Much as I admire Elon Musk as an innovator, I won't lie -- there are days that I'm not entirely sure he isn't an evil genius, cornering the market on batteries and electric vehicles in the lead-up to launching a doomsday beam into orbit that annihilates every petrol station in the world.
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KSchnee's avatar
KSchnee|Professional Writer
Somebody commented elsewhere that the Hyperloop technology is closely related to mass driver tech, something you'd want to have for asteroid mining or asteroid movement. Ie. it's a quiet way of doing some of the early research.

I think Musk is in bed with the government, and he's acting unhinged lately. But I can forgive a lot from a man who is funding his own space program, one that in some ways is better than NASA's.
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Nitrinoxus's avatar
Nitrinoxus|Hobbyist Writer
Regarding his wacky behavior of late -- and admittedly, I may be projecting a bit here -- I always kinda got the impression that Mr. Musk was a high-functioning autistic. He looks at the world in a different way than most people seem to, gets inspiration from the most peculiar intersections of different mundane things, and it's been said often that his abnormal behavior goes hand-in-glove with the innovative genius that got him where he is; I don't have any firm proof that he is, nor am I qualified to offer a diagnosis of ASD (beyond being on the spectrum myself, insofar as that counts as a qualification), but let's just say that I would not be surprised in the slightest to learn that he is.
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KSchnee's avatar
KSchnee|Professional Writer
It's possible, yeah. With someone who's at the extreme edge of performance in some field, it's tough to tell the difference between genius and madness, if there is one.
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Core1948's avatar
Core1948|Hobbyist General Artist
Too real
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