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People in China absolutely love Elon Musk + NASA is worried about space pirates

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(Sino community) People in China Absolutely Love Elon Musk

EXCERPTS: People in China have a new obsession: Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, The New York Times reports. From tech entrepreneurs to anybody riled up to fight the establishment, the billionaire has gained massive appeal.

“He can fight the establishment and become the richest man on Earth — and avoid getting beaten down in the process,” Jane Zhang, founder of a Shanghai-based blockchain company, told the newspaper. “He’s everybody’s hope.”

Chinese social networks are flush with mentions of the billionaire, referring to him as the “Silicon Valley Iron Man,” “King of Mars,” and “Rocket Man,” according to the Times.

[...] To them, Musk embodies an industry unbounded by regulation and middlemen. “China doesn’t have Silicon Valley madmen anymore,” Suji Yan, an entrepreneur and investor in Shanghai, told NYT. Higher ups in the tech industry “have all become cardboard cutouts.” (MORE - details)

RELATED (Forbes): ‘Liftoff’ Offers Inside Look Into SpaceX’s Desperate Early Days

(space community) NASA is worried about pirates: Space telescope pirates

INTRO: NASA’s new space telescope has had a rough go. Name a problem, and this telescope—meant to be the most powerful of its kind, a worthy successor to the famous Hubble—has faced it: poor management, technical errors, budget overruns, schedule delays, and a pandemic. So, naturally, the people responsible for the telescope’s safety are now thinking about pirates.

Yes, pirates.

The topic came up at a recent meeting about NASA’s James Webb space telescope, named for a former administrator of the space agency. Later this year, the telescope will travel by ship to a launch site in South America, passing through the Panama Canal to reach French Guiana. Webb, with a mirror as tall as a two-story building and a protective shield the size of a tennis court, is too large for a plane. Its departure date will be kept secret, someone said at the meeting, to protect against pirates who might want to capture the precious cargo and hold it for ransom. Christopher Conselice, an astrophysicist at the University of Manchester who attended the meeting, was at first baffled by the concern because, well, pirates, but it quickly clicked.

“Why would you announce that you’re going to be shipping on a certain day something that is worth over $10 billion,” he explained to me, “that you could easily put in a boat” and sail away with?

When Conselice tweeted about the meeting, other scientists responded with jokes about swashbucklers and starrrs. But the playful commentary carried a hint of unease. The James Webb space telescope has taken far longer to develop than anyone anticipated; after more than 20 years of work, it’s finally supposed to launch in late October. This is the homestretch. There are many more realistic circumstances that could derail the mission than marauders at sea, but for a project that has been through so much—for a telescope that was initially supposed to launch in 2007, the year the first iPhone was released—pirates might as well happen too... (MORE)

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