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Is Elon musk the greatest space innovator and advancer of rocketry of the 21st century?


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Poll: Is he the greatest of the 21st century so far? (11 member(s) have cast votes)

Is he tops?

  1. Yes (8 votes [72.73%])

    Percentage of vote: 72.73%

  2. No-explain why? (3 votes [27.27%])

    Percentage of vote: 27.27%

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#1
Sciencerocks

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Is Elon musk the greatest space innovator and advancer of rocketry of the 21st century? IMO I believe he is and has done more for space flight then nasa has done in the past 50 years. The reusableness of the falcon, falcon heavy and now the star ship blows anyone else away.

 

It isn't even close.

 

Probably the closes competition is from blue origin and the skylon(British).

 

 

Elon musk may very well cut space travel by 70% in overall cost and help keep humanity in space during this anti-government investment period in history.


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#2
Jakob

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I mean, He was literally sent by the All-Creator to uplift humanity to the stars. Can't get much better than that.


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#3
Outlook

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It is known that Elon Musk built and designed the rocket parts by hand using only a rock and a paperclip. The algorithms he uses to return the rockets back to earth are said to be created in his dreams so that when he wakes up, he instantly types them down for use. Currently Elon Musk is developing the equation that will consolidate quantum mechanics and general relativity.
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#4
Alislaws

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Yeah, but I don't really understand how mankind got to the moon without him there to solve all the problems that came up. 

Maybe they had a hidden captive genius somewhere that we have never heard of, who did all the rocket science before Musk took over? 

 

They definitely were not as good as musk though, because otherwise all those rockets would have been re-useable obviously. 

 

 

Also I think its great that Musk lets so many people learn from him over at SpaceX. That's real generosity. He's not just solving space, he is teaching lesser people how to solve problems on their level as well!

 

He has over 5000 students! I had a look and  I couldn't find the pricing listed anywhere, but I'm thinking of maybe spending a year watching him work like all those people do. Does anyone know how much it costs to get a job there? 


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#5
zEVerzan

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The people who work for Musk are the innovators, he just (under)pays them. He's like Edison: has a lot of resources, a lot of manpower at his disposal, builds a lasting legacy of technological advancements that aren't his but claims the credit for them because he likes to play Iron Man. If you were working for Mr. Musk, being an innovator or engineer or builder or whatever, he wouldn't return even a fraction of the respect you probably hold for him, because to him you're nothing more than a resource.

 

Although, when he called the guy who saved those kids a pedo on twitter that was a pretty sick burn. And he likes anime waifus and memes and subscribes to Pewdiepie, too. Yep, all in all I'd say Elon Musk is pretty epic. Pretty epic, my good sirs.

 

 

 

Okay sorry, in all seriousness, attributing all of Musk's achievements to his hypersupergenius alone is lame, as I've mentioned a bunch before. If you really care about and respect scientific progress, you must recognize it as the collective work of huge teams of people, standing on the shoulders of giants that came before and looking toward a common vision. I say coming up with that vision doesn't qualify anyone for full credit over a project this monumental, but I know others here will disagree.


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#6
starspawn0

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It's not easy to do what Musk does, but what he does is not the hard, technical stuff most people think. I think I shall write a post about how the general public misunderstands different types of technical skill -- I mean, really, it's like going to ask a "hospital manager" to operate on your brain, because you think he must be really good at brain surgery. This may be true of some hospital managers, but the average one probably just has an MBA and a little skill they picked up taking online courses and talking to all the right people. In contrast, an actual brain surgeon had to go through:

* An undergrad degree with good grades and good MCAT score.

* About 4 years of medical school.

* Pass various entry-level doctoral exams.

* Residency for a few years, including rotations in other areas of medicine.

* Then, they had to be "board certified", which requires passing another round of exams.

* And if they move to a different state, they may have to get certified again. This likely doesn't involve taking more exams, but it may.

Now, in defense of Musk (ignoring the trollish behavior), running the companies he does take an enormous amount of patience, ability to size people up, some ability to read and understand technical stuff, ability to talk investors into investing (a skill most people don't have; 99.99% of the population doesn't have it), and on and on.

You really do have to be a "genius" to do all those things; it's just that they aren't what people think they are.

I think this also comes down to people not appreciating how complicated it is to run a large company -- or a government.
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#7
Erowind

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Vertical landing rocketry had existed as an idea long before Musk. Same with electric cars and tunnel boring. Literally anyone on this forum could be Musk with enough money and a bachelors level of education in business. I too could direct people to do research and claim the credit for their work. I too could be a nonce that doesn't understand logistics. There's nothing special or redeeming about him. He is only "important" because he's rich and allocates money to things that techno-utopians like to see. History will forget him pretty quickly. And there will be more Musks as the century winds on.

What has Musk actually accomplished of his own merit? He's partially responsible for paypal, that's it. And to be clear any compsci engineer from that time period could have made paypal, it's not an amazing feat of intellectual prowess in the same way that something like general relatively is and people should really stop idolizing him.
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#8
Yuli Ban

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It's not easy to do what Musk does, but what he does is not the hard, technical stuff most people think. I think I shall write a post about how the general public misunderstands different types of technical skill -- I mean, really, it's like going to ask a "hospital manager" to operate on your brain, because you think he must be really good at brain surgery. This may be true of some hospital managers, but the average one probably just has an MBA and a little skill they picked up taking online courses and talking to all the right people. In contrast, an actual brain surgeon had to go through:

* An undergrad degree with good grades and good MCAT score.

* About 4 years of medical school.

* Pass various entry-level doctoral exams.

* Residency for a few years, including rotations in other areas of medicine.

* Then, they had to be "board certified", which requires passing another round of exams.

* And if they move to a different state, they may have to get certified again. This likely doesn't involve taking more exams, but it may.

Now, in defense of Musk (ignoring the trollish behavior), running the companies he does take an enormous amount of patience, ability to size people up, some ability to read and understand technical stuff, ability to talk investors into investing (a skill most people don't have; 99.99% of the population doesn't have it), and on and on.

You really do have to be a "genius" to do all those things; it's just that they aren't what people think they are.

I think this also comes down to people not appreciating how complicated it is to run a large company -- or a government.

I mentioned this very same thing before!

 

I noticed this recently, and I think it's not just Hollywood. Humans in general seem to believe what I call a "competency" fallacy, where showing competence in any way leads those who lack competence in that area to think you are more competent than you really are.

 
Like when a 12-year-old writes a shitty fanfiction and everyone around him says he's an amazingly talented writer because the most they've ever written was a high-school essay. Or when the local guitarist can play more than a few chords and people think they're the next Jimi Hendrix.
 
I think it stems from when you were a child and you saw your parents as literally knowing everything, and while you grew out of that for your parents, you still make that mistake for others. People have woefully inaccurate ideas about what "expert" means.
 
Just look at Reddit! If you can string together a competent list of facts or even opinions that look like facts, you're regarded as an amazing authority on a matter. In truth, you have basic education at the bottom (which most people have) > higher education slightly above that > college education above that (here's where you get a big drop off) > post-graduate education above that, where you're now choosing a field to specialize in and are learning the ins and outs > specialized education above that, where you're choosing an even more specialized field within that field > advanced education beyond that. Advanced education is so incredibly specialized that some people would be shocked at how you can dedicate your life for such a narrow field and still never be finished with your work.
 
TLDR: it's the difference between a "doctor" and an expert specialized in dealing with metastatic breast cancer.
 
To the layman, they're basically the same thing. Except when you're that specialized, we still think of you as being competent in more fields than just that because the idea that you can only do one thing really well seems like a waste of talent rather than the culmination of years of study (thanks to Hollywood, admittedly). And it's not like you can only do that one thing; it's just your specialization.
 
This is actually dangerous because actual experts will be ignored in lieu of those who are simply perceived as experts (sometimes due to name recognition), and if they're wrong or use too many easily debunked generalities, it can lead to a wide audience thinking the entire field is bunk or suspect as well. Or if they come across as too odd, too easily caught up in emotions, or unprepared, people who don't know what they're talking about at all will think of themselves as knowing more than the experts. Likewise, you can also do a simple Wikipedia search that barely scratches the surface of a field and think you've found a smoking gun refutation that makes you seem like an expert who's found something that the actual experts missed or covered up, gathering people for your cause and trashing scientific discourse even further. Look at how whenever mainstream news has to talk about anything to do with futuristic sci-tech, they bring out Michio Kaku (theoretical physicist) or Neil DeGrasse Tyson (astrophysicist)— even if it's involving something like speculative evolution or artificial intelligence.
 
Perhaps this dates back to our proto-human selves, where elders and chiefs genuinely did know absolutely everything necessary to learn. Specialist knowledge and experts are likely a contemporary phenomenon only arising in the past 10,000 years, if that. Thus, we have a tendency to see Jacks of All Trades as polymaths, especially if they're people we're familiar with. It's the same phenomenon you see with news writers: incredibly knowledgeable in all things until they make the mistake of writing about something in your field of expertise.

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And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#9
starspawn0

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I should also point out that Wernher von Braun was like the Musk of his era, and was an actual "rocket scientist".  People often give him a lot of credit for helping the U.S. get its space program off the ground.  

 

von Braun YouTube video



#10
Sciencerocks

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If it is so fucking easy then why didn't anyone else successful do it at this scale(NOT talking about the 1995 attempt by nasa) before Musk and why does he have an decade of leadership over the competition?

 

It is easy to insult people but reality shines through like ten suns.


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“He who dares not offend cannot be honest,” — Thomas Paine


#11
starspawn0

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I don't think anyone's insulting Musk, except in cases where it is deserved (e.g. that pedo tweet).  They just find it unseemly when people give him too much credit.



#12
zEVerzan

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If it is so fucking easy then why didn't anyone else successful do it at this scale(NOT talking about the 1995 attempt by nasa) before Musk and why does he have an decade of leadership over the competition?

 

It is easy to insult people but reality shines through like ten suns.

 

Maybe because the material conditions and technologies for this sort of thing didn't exist before recently and it was just a matter of someone deciding to assemble the pieces that were already there, when the opportunity presented itself?

Maybe it's because the profit motive disincentivizes space travel (it's expensive, super dangerous and there isn't much of a market demand for it currently) and it took someone who was idealistic and reckless enough that they'd be willing to fill a niche that opened up recently?

 

The Soviet state was what made the first and biggest strides in space travel. Once they got past dismissing the notion of scientific progress as bourgeois decadence, they INVENTED the space industry. And they did it not because there was profit in it, nor was it of any utility, but because space travel is freaking baller and they wanted to achieve something monumental for the sake of it. Imagine looking at the technology that existed in the 1950's and saying, "yeah, we could go into space with this, sure, and we will because we can."

Then the USA was like "we gotta beat em" because of course they were. Then good ol' democracy saw the American space program curtailed once there was nobody to "beat".

Right now, the first private ventures into space travel as an industry are coming forth because only now are some affluent business folks starting to see some utility in it, that if they can use the technologies that are starting to come together there is some glimmer of a far-off promise of future profit.

 

I mean there's a lot of other reasons for the big hiatus of space travel other than "Musk's a legend and is deserving of total, uncritical admiration"


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I always imagined the future as a time of more reason, empathy, and peace, not less. It's time for a change.
Attention is currency in the "free marketplace of ideas".
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#13
Outlook

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Contemporarily, there probably will be no more singular great persons in the sciences but rather a great team that build on each others strength and weaknesses to innovate and conduct experiments.

It's just a reality of the time we live in. Long are the days of Heisenberg and Einstein, who could conduct a small experiment or write a paper that would revolutionise their fields. Now we have to build a particle collider the size of a city and then use an elite team of researchers from the world's top universities in order to make adequate progress, such as finding the Higgs Boson.
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#14
Erowind

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Contemporarily, there probably will be no more singular great persons in the sciences but rather a great team that build on each others strength and weaknesses to innovate and conduct experiments.

It's just a reality of the time we live in. Long are the days of Heisenberg and Einstein, who could conduct a small experiment or write a paper that would revolutionise their fields. Now we have to build a particle collider the size of a city and then use an elite team of researchers from the world's top universities in order to make adequate progress, such as finding the Higgs Boson.

 

One day desktop science and revolutionizing ideas found by sole people will return. If our lifespans ever last millennia even you or I might write up some universal theory of everything. A theory to combine both quantum physics and general relativity. And that's only in one field!


Current status: slaving away for the math gods of Pythagoras VII.


#15
Jakob

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Contemporarily, there probably will be no more singular great persons in the sciences but rather a great team that build on each others strength and weaknesses to innovate and conduct experiments.

It's just a reality of the time we live in. Long are the days of Heisenberg and Einstein, who could conduct a small experiment or write a paper that would revolutionise their fields. Now we have to build a particle collider the size of a city and then use an elite team of researchers from the world's top universities in order to make adequate progress, such as finding the Higgs Boson.

 

One day desktop science and revolutionizing ideas found by sole people will return. If our lifespans ever last millennia even you or I might write up some universal theory of everything. A theory to combine both quantum physics and general relativity. And that's only in one field!

 

Why do you think so?


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#16
Erowind

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Contemporarily, there probably will be no more singular great persons in the sciences but rather a great team that build on each others strength and weaknesses to innovate and conduct experiments.

It's just a reality of the time we live in. Long are the days of Heisenberg and Einstein, who could conduct a small experiment or write a paper that would revolutionise their fields. Now we have to build a particle collider the size of a city and then use an elite team of researchers from the world's top universities in order to make adequate progress, such as finding the Higgs Boson.

 
One day desktop science and revolutionizing ideas found by sole people will return. If our lifespans ever last millennia even you or I might write up some universal theory of everything. A theory to combine both quantum physics and general relativity. And that's only in one field!

 

Why do you think so?

 

 
Because if a moderately intelligent person were able to study that long they'd surely be able to come up with unique ideas. Research teams will exist too of course, but individuals will actually be able to compete with them again. I can't remember which book of his, but in one of Greg Egan's novels some people choose to spend millennia chasing down original theorems in mathematics. One of the highest honors in a post scarcity society will likely be unique and substantive research. 
 
In that same novel there was also a society that accelerated their perception of time and spent thousands of years watching mountains erode. I think it was Diaspora but it could also have been Schild's Ladder. Both amazing books that helped change my perspective on how society could even be. The main conflict in both of them is a natural disaster that threatens life in our corner of the galaxy. 
 
 


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#17
zEVerzan

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Yeah, say any scientific discovery takes a certain amount of computational power and man hours to "unlock", as well as preexisting material conditions (technologies and frameworks) to inspire it. In previous generations, discoveries could be made on less than the computational power of one human brain and less than a single lifetime of man hours. Now, so much has been discovered that we need the computational power of hundreds of brains and multiple lifetimes of man hours to discover new things.

 

Assuming the computational power of the human brain will increase with technology and lifetimes will be extended, it may be superscientific individuals making most of the discoveries again... or teams of them.


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