Elon Musk Pretends To Be All Crunchy Granola Johnny Appleseed But Spies On The World With Spy Satellites That Can Read Your Newspaper From Space
SpaceX to Launch Secret Spy Craft MissionBy Dana Hull
Mission is first time Falcon 9 will carry U.S.’s X-37B vehicle
Air Force base says Irma is forecast to be 900 miles away
QuickTake: Evolution of the Space Race
The forecast for the next mission by Elon Musk’s rocket company SpaceX is cloudy -- and not just because of the weather.
Space Exploration Technologies Corp. is slated for its 13th Falcon 9 launch of the year Thursday, from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The mission is shrouded in at least two mysteries: the purpose of the payload it’s carrying for the U.S. military, and its chances of going off without a hitch amid a weather system ahead of Hurricane Irma.
A day after pummeling Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, Irma is forecast to be about 900 miles southeast of the launch site during Thursday’s take-off, according to the nearby Patrick Air Force Base. The base said on its website Wednesday that thick clouds expected from a separate storm are a concern and estimated a 40 percent to 60 percent chance of launch Thursday. There’s also a Friday back-up window.
If SpaceX is able to overcome weather issues, the company will for the first time carry a U.S. Air Force space drone that’s conducted highly classified missions in orbit for more than a year at a time. This will be the fifth mission for the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, an autonomous spacecraft about 20 percent of the size of the retired Space Shuttle.
For years, the Air Force has refused to say what the 11,000-pound vehicle built by Boeing Co. does. The most recent X-37B mission ended in May after more than 700 days circling the Earth.
SpaceX’s launch Thursday is scheduled to take place between between 9:50 am and 2:55 p.m. local time, SpaceX said in a press kit. It’ll then attempt to land the first stage of the rocket on land for reuse.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket won U.S. Air Force certification for national security space missions in May 2015, breaking a lock long-held by United Launch Alliance, a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin Corp. Each of the first four missions for the X-37B involved the Atlas 5, a United Launch Alliance rocket.
An X-37B is only launched once every few years, so the program itself won’t have a major financial impact on SpaceX, said Brian Weeden, the director of program planning for the Secure World Foundation, a space policy think tank.
“However, it could help increase the Air Force’s comfort level with launching national security payloads on SpaceX in general, which could be a significant source of revenue in the future,” Weeden wrote in an email.
Contracts for military launches include satellites that let troops communicate on battlefields and are estimated to be valued at about $70 billion through 2030. In May, SpaceX launched a rocket carrying NROL-76, a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office.
SpaceX plans to fly 20 to 24 missions in 2017 for customers that include the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and commercial satellite operators. The Hawthorne, California-based company has contracts with NASA valued at $4.2 billion to resupply the International Space Station using an unmanned Dragon spacecraft and to ultimately ferry astronauts there with a version of Dragon that is capable of carrying crews.
Musk, SpaceX’s CEO, saw his net worth rise by about $4 billion after SpaceX’s latest fundraising round valued the company at around $21 billion. The 46-year-old also runs electric-car maker Tesla Inc.
— With assistance by Justin Bachman
Elon Musk, Larry Page, Vinod Khosla Are
"Psychopaths" say SXSW Experts
Crazy at the wheel: psychopathic CEOs are rife in Silicon Valley, experts say
Attributes of a psychopath can be good for running a business, says SXSW panel, but weak HR departments and investors can enable bad behavior
Studies show a high prevalence of psychopaths among high-level executives in a corporate environment, compared to the general population. Photograph: Allstar/LIONS GATE/Sportsphoto Ltd./Allstar
There is a high proportion of psychopathic CEOs in Silicon Valley, enabled by protective investors and weak human resources departments, according to a panel of experts at SXSW festival.
Although the term “psychopath” typically has negative connotations, some of the attributes associated with the disorder can be advantageous in a business setting.
“A true psychopath is someone that has a blend of emotional, interpersonal, lifestyle and behavioral deficits but an uncanny ability to mask them. They come across as very charming, very gregarious. But underneath there’s a profound lack of remorse, callousness and a lack of empathy,” said forensic and clinical psychologist Michael Woodworth, who has worked with psychopathic murderers in high security prisons, on Tuesday.
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“They have certain characteristics like fearless dominance, boldness and a lack of emotion. Many successful presidents have scored highly [on the psychopathy scale],” said Woodworth.
According to recent studies there’s a high prevalence of psychopathy among high-level executives in a corporate environment: 4-8% compared with 1% in the general population.
This makes sense, according to Silicon Valley venture capitalist Bryan Stolle because “it’s an irrational act to start a company”.
“You have to have a tremendous amount of ego [and] self-deception to embark on that journey,” he said. “You have to make sacrifices and give up things, including sometimes a marriage, family and friends. And you have to convince other people. So they are mostly very charismatic, charming and make you suspend the disbelief that something can’t be done.”
However, the positive attributes are accompanied by manipulation.
“One of the main things that makes them extremely difficult to organisations is their willingness to manipulate through deception,” said Jeff Hancock, a Stanford social scientist who studies psychopathy.
“Psychopaths will handpick people they can use as lackeys or supporters, such as someone in HR they can have in their wheelhouse,” said Woodworth.
Because they are the founders and leaders they tend to get protected by HR. This reinforces the behaviour
Jeff Hancock, Stanford social scientist
However, when a psychopath isn’t getting his or her way, they lose their veneer of charm. “When things aren’t happening the way they thought they were going to happen, they tend to completely flip and resort to bullying,” said Stolle.
At that point, according to Hancock, their “mask of sanity falls off”.
“Because they are the founders and leaders they tend to get protected by HR,” added Strolle. “This reinforces the behaviour.”
He cited Uber and the allegations of sexual harassment made by former employee Susan Fowler as an example of a company with an HR department that’s “gone in the wrong direction”.
It’s not just HR departments that enable psychopaths, but investors.
“When you’ve made an investment in an entrepreneur, you protect them. Everything is riding on that person. You are tied to them and now you have to keep ignoring the behaviour unless it gets so terrible you can’t,” said Stolle.
Having a psychopath within a company can lead to poor employee retention, said Hancock, referencing FBI research that found that departments managed by psychopaths decreases productivity and morale in the team.
“Eight to 14 people could be lost because of one psychopath. That’s the real cost of having something like that in your organization, especially if there’s an HR coverup,” he added.
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Hancock has developed software to analyse the social media posts of public figures to see how they rate on the psychopathy scale thanks to identifiers in written language. “There tends to be an emotion deficit, they tend to use few words related to anxiety but a lot of hostile language,” he said, adding that they write in a way that’s disfluent and difficult to understand.
Psychopaths also find it difficult to modulate their language for different settings for example a private message versus a public post. Because they are more interested in themselves than others, they tend to refer to other people a lot less than non psychopaths.
This means that text-based communication is a much better way to communicate with someone you suspect is a psychopath, since it strips away their non-verbal distractors, such as charm and confidence.
“Text based communications improve your chances of not being manipulated as they are verbally not very skilled,” said Hancock. “You can smoke them out in an online context.”