1. cartomancer says

    Is there a standard SI unit of hatred that we could use to make meaningful comparisons?

  2. consciousness razor says

    I guess I have about 0.0018 of a congress worth of hate for Elon Musk. Or 180 microcongresses, if you prefer.

    1 microcongress (US) = 1.437 x 10^-61 Fred Rogers

  3. wzrd1 says

    I don’t hate the man at all. I’m utterly indifferent to him, his life, his health, his family and everything else about him.
    So, he makes “cheap” rockets, which cost more than a life up by Russia. OK, good for him, his scientists and engineers are quite bright!
    So, he makes a fairly cool roman candle car, good for him and his engineers. Pity that a few burst into flames that did greatly resemble roman candles laid horizontally, but hey, that’s life in high energy batteries!
    So, he has a boring machine, a bit smaller than other boring machines and is excruciatingly boring, as he’s entirely failed to bore a hole to anywhere meaningful or even vaguely useful.

    So, in my part of the world, he’s really a nothingburger, flash and smoke on the news and objectively, overall, a flash in the pan of life and utterly not impacting my life in any way.
    Well, until the jerkoff decided to flout the law, then force an entire government to give in to him. I remember when we arrested people for insurrection and even treason, now we embrace and worship the bastards that’ll kill untold tens of thousands of people.
    Still, I do have to look at things objectively. I’ve killed badder and smarter than him just this morning when I wiped my ass. If we’re fortunate, reality and life will bite him squarely on the ass and he can enjoy COVID-19 along with his work force. If not, perhaps it can be arranged to place him and Trump into an air tight room and admire their mutual sucking of every atom of oxygen from the room.

    Seriously though, until the whole break the law and endanger an entire region thing happened, I frankly was indifferent to him. That is the antithesis to hatred or love, they’re not opposites, as you actually care enough to hate or love and frankly, beyond that health threat, I’d still not give a shit if he lived, died or stayed an idiot.

  4. drivenb4u says

    Thanks for introducing me to this youtuber PZ, I’ve been watching his videos since you shared the last one – good stuff! Yours, not so much.

  5. stroppy says

    Well, in a country that contains Martin Shkreli, Stephen Miller, (Trump, of course), and on and on… No sure where I’d put some guy who comes off like he’d be unsuccessfully marketing Calvin Klein metrosexual perfumes as a cure for covid-19. I give him a solid “meh” for be a somewhat colorful buffoon.

    Musk — life imitating cartoon.
    Wile E. Coyote — cartoon imitating life, apparently.

  6. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Whether I will hate him depends on whether he manages to transport astronauts safely to and from the ISS–’cause you better believe if he doesn’t, SpX will be gone, and NASA will take the blame.

  7. captainjack says

    My take:
    The disgust of seeing dog shit in the middle of a sidewalk < 1 Musk < The disgust of stepping on the dog shit. The difference depends on the last asshole thing I know he did.

  8. wzrd1 says

    Bollocks. Our youngest was admitted to the hospital last night. She’s stable and on O2.

  9. Mark says

    If genius is acting like an obnoxious child and sticking one’s nose into viral news stories for the purpose of self-promotion, then he’s a super genius. Where ever there’s a major event, he’ll be there to offer to save the day, then fizzle out on his efforts and attack anyone who questions his actions. He reminds me so much of Trump.

  10. says

    Hate him all you like, but he is the major force in the push to wean the world off oil powered personal transport. As an engineer I find his antics … fascinating … to watch from a safe distance.

  11. Jazzlet says

    wzrd1 I hope your lass doesn’t get any worse, is soon able to get enough oxygen from room air and is back home quickly.

    I don’t hate Musk, I do dislike his self-important putting himself into all sorts of situations where he has no business, and I do hope it’s him along with all the others putting cash before people that get COVID-19, rather than any of the rest of us doing the right thing as best we can, even though I know it’s not likely.

  12. Mark says

    @lofty — “I find his antics … fascinating … to watch from a safe distance.” Three-ring circuses are no longer fascinating. And I give the credit to the engineers, not the promoter. Teslas practically sell themselves, especially with social media influencers doing most of the work now. Musk’s main purpose is to promote his bad business models, like the Boring Company and Hyperloop. He’ll profit from them, but the cities and states offering to back the projects will waste the tax payer’s money when the projects never come to fruition. He’s looking for deals in which 80% of construction costs will be covered by taxpayers. It’s legalized fraud because he’ll profit from them regardless of the outcomes.

  13. says

    @Mark, we can agree to disagree on the value of his various projects. As for his engineers, without Musk they wouldn’t have a place to work where there’s so much innovation allowed. The Boring Company is only bad if you think of it as a side show. I see it as a model for cities to return surface streets to walking and cycling, Personal pods whizzing about underground is infinitely better than crowded diesel buses inching along crowded streets, spreading disease as they go.

    You really need to be an engineer to appreciate what he’s doing. A biologist will never see it.

  14. gtmoogle says

    I pity him in some ways, sure. He’s got an ego problem and obsession issues, and a persecution complex to top it off. He’s a capable engineer, with the money to fulfill his grand ambitions (which, thankfully, are at least pretty respectable), if only everyone would stop getting in his way with all that petty ‘worker compensation’ and ‘SEC laws’ and ‘fickle investors’ stuff.

    Is he an insufferable media whore? I guess, but I mostly hear about his antics through people complaining about them.

    Would I rather him have a billion dollars than any politician, lawyer, stock trader, televangelist? Hell yes. I and most of his investors (I’m not one) wish he’d shut up and just get useful tech made (that his employees invent, while he occasionally helps troubleshoot issues). Sometimes having a competent engineer as a head manager to make often arbitrary decisions helps deal with organizational snafus. Tesla wasn’t even his company, he bought into it. He didn’t invent electric cars or rockets, but he convinced people to put money into them instead of Johnson & Johnson asbestos baby powder, or yet another stock trading fund. I’ll give him credit for that.

    The media circus isn’t why he’s popular. His success is. As soon as tesla and spacex fail, he’ll disappear. I don’t want them to, because the products they’re selling have some real benefits. The buffoon show is just what we have to deal with with a troubled, partially unhinged personality. So yeah, I’ve got a bit of pity, I wouldn’t want to be him and I straight up couldn’t handle his workload.

    But despise him? You’d have to buy in to the media circus even more than he does for that.

  15. hemidactylus says

    I surely don’t despise Gates and Pinker as much as you do, but at this point I might despise Musk far more than you do.

    When he was pontificating about us living in a simulation because cool video games I rolled my eyes. He watched The Matrix too. He’s profound. His evil AI tangent, though interesting because Terminator, Battlestar Galactica, and The Matrix (again sold on movies in popular imagination) is pretty much kicked to the curb effectively by Pinker. His underground hamster tubes from Logan’s Run and a bank near you are underwhelming. Landing the reusable rockets was kinda cool. Kudos to that.

    But then he turned multiple corners: calling a hero a pedo because hurt pride, saying fiduciary irresponsible things on Twitter (reminds me of South Park spoof of Alec Baldwin unfiltered on “Shitter”). Then the recent COVID related BS. He graduated to king of the assholes for me. If he’s a genius it’s at being a douchebag. Fuck him. I despise the POS. Fight me. You can’t despise him more than I do PZ.

  16. John Morales says

    Wow. I could barely get through the intro to that video. That sufficed.

    (Ah well, at least the caster picked an appropriate nym)

  17. Snarki, child of Loki says

    Elon Musk has inspired the philosophical question best known as the “modern trolley problem”, in which a Tesla self-driving car is about to run over some pedestrians.

    The solution to the “modern trolley problem” is

    Shoot Elon Musk twice.

  18. John Morales says

    megryan, that’s surely a pretty special hell…

    From your 2010 link:
    “He now has to pay her legal fees for their numerous court battles (thanks to California law) — so far, about $4 million, and in addition to household and child-related expenses, gives her $20,000 monthly for “clothing, shoes and other discretionary items.””

  19. Ridana says

    I always get Elon Musk mixed up with Larry Ellison. Probably because they both remind me of, er, Ellis (Hart Bochner) from Die Hard.

  20. microraptor says

    Mark @12: He’s Trump with better hair and the ability to speak in complete sentences.

  21. mailliw says

    You don’t need to be a genius to build rockets.

    As a rocket scientist acquaintance of mine once put it: “Rocket science isn’t that difficult, you only need Newtonian physics”.

  22. mailliw says

    @Ridana I always get Elon Musk mixed up with Larry Ellison.

    We don’t hear so much from Larry nowadays. Still in his heyday he managed to persuade at lot of people that his product was the best on the market despite there being no important differences between it and the competition. Still, I wonder if his boys and girls will ever get round to fixing Oracle’s deeply flawed locking and concurrency strategy?

  23. Ridana says

    Ironically Ellison is now on Tesla’s board, sez Wiki. :)

    He occasionally crops up in my awareness because he donated the building where I get my eyes looked after, and in the lobby there’s a huge portrait of the philanthropist as a younger man, when he looked a bit more like Elon (whose first name also reminds me of L. Ron You-know-who).

  24. mailliw says

    Musk is a visionary.

    As former German chancellor Helmut Schmidt said “Wer Visionen hat, soll zum Arzt gehen” (Those who have visions should see a doctor).

    With Musk’s recent outbursts about Covid-19, is he planning on calling his latest model the Tesla Vector?

  25. Howard Brazee says

    Musk is a real asshole with very nice toys.

    That said, there are so many real hateful people who do real harm to this world that he’s down on my hate list.

    And if my wife wins the lottery, I would buy one of his toys.

    I like that video’s mention of Iron Man. Comic superheroes push the idea of real competent good guys fighting real competent bad guys with real people being helpless. No wonder we have so many people who believe in conspiracies and are ready to blame most anybody for our problems.

  26. specialffrog says

    @lofty: you know Musk didn’t found Tesla, right? He bought a stake in it and then forced the founder out. I assume using his family’s apartheid-era SA money.

    And the boring company represents the future of transit as much as the monorail from the Simpsons.

  27. Kagehi says

    Will say the same thing here I did on the video’s comment thread – Elon Musk is Justin Hammer, not Tony Stark. If there are any Tony Stark types out there they are a) underpaid, b) don’t have millions, and b) part of the vast DIY communities, who 1) don’t have the resources to build an Iron Man suit, but 2) do, have, and could, as long as it was run using an Arduino, and/or made of cardboard, or someone magically dropped all the shit needed to make one for real in their lap, and they had 10 years to work on it, not 10 days. Then, you have the “Hammer” types, who, like Elon, are spectacular at self promotion, but whose highly paid “expert” scientists, who world for him and do all the thinking, couldn’t make a suit that worked at all.

    Also, I would make a minor complaint about the videos mention of Batman. Batman is more, I think, the DIYer. Maybe the comics portray him as more than that, or not, but I seem to remember that even in there he had “other people” build his tech, using huge messes of his money to pay them to develop it, and his “genius” amounted to, “Here is what I want, and what it needs to do.”, with a bit if, “Yeah, sure, I know enough to fix/repair/program some of it, if it breaks while using it.” But, even his “lab” such as it is, seems to be mostly focused on either a) investigation, or b) training, with a few occasional cases of, “Yeah, I had this idea, and all this cool tech I bought, from people who know how to build that sort of shit themselves, helped me make it.”

    This is a major contrast to Stark, who literally scavenged parts, and built his first suit in a cave, and could probably rebuild civilization from dirt in six months, if he found himself in a wasteland, without even a 9 volt battery.

    Just a minor quibble, but even in this, Batman is more “believable” than, ironically, either Iran Man, or Elon Musk. lol

  28. says

    @specialffrog, durr, of course I know that. Without Musk, Tesla would just be another California hotrod shop converting a few dozen cars a year. Without Musk there wouldn’t be a million electric cars roaming the planet. Without Musk, there wouldn’t be a giant multi million dollar battery in my state that has paid for itself in little over two years. Hate him or not, Musk attracts talented engineers and makes disruptive things happen.

    As for boring tunnels, the jury is out on whether ordinary people prefer fast clean personal transport to their inner city destinations, or being stuck in traffic jams enveloped in choking exhaust fumes. Trump voters and all that. As for monorails, cartoon or not, they are no more flexible than regular rail and so are doomed to be minor solutions to the transport problem.

  29. John Morales says


    As for boring tunnels, the jury is out on whether ordinary people prefer fast clean personal transport to their inner city destinations, or being stuck in traffic jams enveloped in choking exhaust fumes.

    The jury is not out on whether it scales; it doesn’t.

  30. says

    Anyone working on the idea of a personal transport that can attach to each other to form “trains” and use special express lanes/rails lines?

  31. Kagehi says

    @35 Not the “rail” part, but that is a kind of.. iffy proposition, outside of a city specifically designed to have a rail run straight to your house. Yeah, maybe you could make something that could “link in”, but.. its a non trivial problem, with way more moving parts (figuratively or otherwise) than either a standard rail system, or other “personal transports”. That said, the rest of what you are asking is, literally, the idea that has existed for decades with self driving cars, special lanes for them, and the ability of them to talk to each other, and merge into groups, all moving at optimal speeds – and, you don’t need some funky system that transitions between a road and a rail (or a bloody tube).

  32. says

    @John Morales, as long as there are plenty of wealthy customers willing to pay for the service, it’ll take off. Poor people can ride their bikes.

  33. mvdwege says

    Kagehi @36 wrote:

    the idea that has existed for decades with self driving cars, special lanes for them, and the ability of them to talk to each other, and merge into groups, all moving at optimal speeds

    That idea is almost 2 centuries old. It’s called a train. Or when it runs as light rail sharing the road, a tram.

    And to forestall the obvious objections: self-driving car lanes do not extend everywhere either. They in fact extend nowhere at all. Whereas trains, trams and (trolley) buses exist already, and extending access to them for the same cost as building special car lanes is, I wager, a lot more effective.

    And the fact that regular roads open to privately operated vehicles do mostly exist is a poltical choice.

  34. mvdwege says

    Last sentence is not complete.Of course I meant roads open to private vehicles extending to almost every front door. And while I’m amending anyway: publicly financed almost without exception.

  35. Kagehi says

    @39 The question was if someone was working on a system of “personal transports”, which did this. The answer, using your example, would then, even when talking about Musk’s nonsense, be, “No”. Why? Because it would exclude the “personal” part of the equation. Oh, and the question was not, “Do we have such?”, it was, “Do you know anyone working on such a thing?”

  36. mvdwege says

    @41 I was not commenting on the point of “is there another useless billionaire techbro to fanboi over”. I was commenting on the fact that the very idea of self-driving cars is stupid. We already have semi-autonomous transport. It’s time we invest in that, not in techbro pie-in-the-sky dreams.

  37. logicalcat says

    Another lefty who should have followed his own advice and listened to experts. CPAPs are a form of ventilators. Donating them is fine and even if not its a well meaning mistake since CPAPs are a form of ventilator. This video explains the whole ventilator fiasco.

    And yes I know this doctor is an Elon Musk fan. He’s still not wrong. I am definitely not a Musk fan. Everything else in the video posted by PZ is spot on. Dumb ass thinks hes Tony Stark, except Tony Stark has writers to write him out of his self destructive behavior. Someone needs to inform Musk that in real life being Tony Stark is not a good thing at all.

  38. entropy says

    Can someone explain to me why you hate Elon so much? I really don’t get it. I’m fine with basically whatever you say as long as it’s factual and not about twitter bullshit.