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Opinion Editorials

Is Elon Musk to Donald Trump what NASA was to JFK?

(EDITORIAL) Undoubtedly, being able to say human feet touched Martian soil during one’s presidency would be a pretty compelling argument on the campaign trail. Is this what we might be seeing with Elon Musk and Donald Trump not feuding?

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Mission to Mars

Word across the galaxy is that President Trump may be interested in Elon Musk’s upcoming Mars mission, known as SpaceX. Now don’t get too excited yet, space fans- the “may” in that sentence is significant. Is it possible? Yes. Is it likely? No. Is it unlikely? No. As of right now, this is all simply conjecture. But to make sure you’re strapped in to this emotional roller coaster, there are some clues that may point to something in the works between the two.

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The timing is too perfect

For those who may be unaware, Elon Musk, CEO and founder of Tesla Motors, is developing a commercial space-flight program. Destination? Mars. While Mr. Trump’s presidency thus far could seemingly care less in regards to space exploration and scientific discovery, the administration’s vow to create jobs would certainly be fulfilled if SpaceX’s proposed flight is a success.

With the program’s first launch expected to be somewhere between 2018-2020, it would also coincide with election season.

Undoubtedly, being able to say human feet touched Martian soil during one’s presidency would be a pretty compelling argument on the campaign trail. Allusions to the moon landing* during JFK’s presidency would abound, and what politician in their right mind (we’ll just let this one go) would not want to be compared to a martyred President- especially when they’re up for re-election.

I mean, and it’s Mars.

Why it makes sense

Though a return trip to the Moon is generally more in line with the congressional space policy, SpaceX is already in the works. Asking NASA to shift gears to focus again on sending men to the Moon would more than likely take more time and money. Instead, it would seem more prudent, as well as fall in line with President Trump’s plans to cut discretionary spending, to create a commercial-government partnership- especially since SpaceX is using its own lower cost rocket fuel.

But also, humans on Mars!

Elon is on board

Adding to this theory is the fact that Musk is currently a member of Trump’s economic advisory council, and has decided to stay on the council considering Trump’s recent much maligned immigration bans. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick reportedly left the economic advisory council this week, after receiving heavy criticism for his continued involvement in lieu of the immigration bans placed on 7 Muslim countries. However, Musk took to Twitter Thursday to defend his decision to stay on the council, stating that “Advisory councils simply provide advice and attending does not mean that I agree with actions by the Administration.” He then reinforced that his goals “are to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy”, as well as to “help make humanity a multi-planet civilization”. That’s right, a multi-planet civilization.

United Federation of Planets, here we come.Click To Tweet

But then again, we could always get to Mars and find out there are Bugs, a la Starship Troopers.

And just in case, it may be worth it to bring a copy of Slim Whitman’s “Indian Love Call” to play over loudspeakers upon landing on the “Angry Red Planet”. (Just because the article cannot be complete without at least one Mars Attacks! reference.)

Allow me to reiterate

Again, though, guys, HUMANS COULD BE GOING TO MARS. HOW COOL IS THAT??

*I would like to note that this article does not take into account the idea that the U.S. government faked the moon landing, as I, personally, do not have the patience for that nonsense (though the theory that Stanley Kubrick all but “confessed” to his involvement in the staging of the moon landing by making The Shining is at least interesting).

#SpaceXTrump

Andrew Clausen is a Staff Writer at The American Genius and when he's not deep diving into technology and business news for you, he is a poet, enjoys rock climbing, monster movies, and spending time with his notoriously naughty cat.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Gabe Sanders

    February 11, 2017 at 9:01 am

    I doubt that this will go anywhere. But, you never know with these two.

  2. Pingback: Elon Musk nerds out about AI, assures us they won't take over the world - The American Genius

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Opinion Editorials

Will shopping for that luxury item actually lower your quality of life?

(EDITORIAL) Want to buy yourself a pick-me-up? Have you thought of all the ramifications of that purchase? Try to avoid splurging on it.

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In an era of “treat-yo-self,” the urge to splurge is real. It doesn’t help that shopping – or what ends up being closer to impulse shopping – provides us with a hit of dopamine and a fleeting sense of control. Whether your life feels like it’s going downhill or you’ve just had a bad day, buying something you want (or think you want) can seem like an easy fix.

Unfortunately, it might not be so great when it comes to long-term happiness.

As you might have already guessed, purchasing new goods doesn’t fall in line with the minimalism trend that’s been sweeping the globe. Being saddled with a bunch of stuff you don’t need (and don’t even like!) is sure to make your mood dip, especially if the clutter makes it harder to concentrate. Plus, if you’ve got a real spending problem, the ache in your wallet is sure to manifest.

If that seems depressing, I’ve got even more bad news. Researchers at Harvard and Boston College have found yet another way spending can make us more unhappy in the long run: imposter syndrome. It’s that feeling you get when it seems like you’re not as good as your peers and they just haven’t caught on yet. This insecurity often arises in competitive careers, academics and, apparently, shopping.

Now, there’s one big caveat to this idea that purchasing goods will make you feel inferior: it really only applies to luxury goods. I’m talking about things like a Louis Vuitton purse, a top of the line Mercedes Benz, a cast iron skillet from Williams Sonoma (or is that one just me?). The point is, the study found that about 67% of people – regardless of their income – believed their purchase was inauthentic to their “true self.”

And this imposter syndrome even existed when the luxury items were bought on sale.

Does this mean you should avoid making a nice purchase you’ve been saving up for? Not necessarily. One researcher at Cambridge found that people were more likely to report happiness for purchases that fit their personalities. Basically, a die-hard golfer is going to enjoy a new club more than someone who bought the same golf club to try to keep up with their co-workers.

Moral of the story: maybe don’t impulse buy a fancy new Apple watch. Waiting to see if it’s something you really want can save your budget…and your overall happiness.

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Opinion Editorials

How to ask your manager for better work equipment

(EDITORIAL) Old computer got you down? Does it make your job harder? Here’s how to make a case to your manager for new equipment without budget worries.

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Aside from bringing the boss coffee and donuts for a month before asking, what is an employee to do when the work equipment bites.

Let’s be frank, working on old, crappy computers with inefficient applications can make the easiest tasks a chore. Yet, what do you do? You know you need better equipment to do your job efficiently, but how to ask the boss without looking like a whiner who wants to blow the department budget.

In her “Ask A Manager” column, Alison Green says an employee should ask for better equipment if it is needed. For example, the employee in her column has to attend meetings, but has no laptop and has to take a ton of notes and then transcribe them. Green says, it’s important to make the case for the benefits of having newer or updated equipment.

The key is showing a ROI. If you know a specific computer would be a decent upgrade, give your supervisor the specific model and cost, along with the expected outcomes. In addition, it may be worth talking to someone from the IT department to see what options might be available – if you’re in a larger company.

IT professionals who commented on Green’s column made a few suggestions. Often because organizations have contracts with specific computer companies or suppliers, talking with IT about what is needed to get the job done and what options are available might make it easier to ask a manager, by saying, “I need a new computer and IT says there are a few options. Here are my three preferences.” A boss is more likely to be receptive and discuss options.

If the budget doesn’t allow for brand new equipment, there might be the option to upgrade the RAM, for example. In a “Workplace” discussion on StackExchange.com an employee explained the boss thinks if you keep a computer clean – no added applications – and maintained it will perform for years. Respondents said, it’s important to make clear the cost-benefit of purchasing updated equipment. Completing a ROI analysis to show how much more efficiently with the work be done may also be useful. Also, explaining to a boss how much might be saved in repair costs could also help an employee get the point across.

Managers may want to take note because, according to results of a Gallup survey, when employees are asked to meet a goal but not given the necessary equipment, credibility is lost.

Gallup says that workgroups that have the most effectively managed materials and equipment tend to have better customer engagement, higher productivity, better safety records and employees that are less likely to jump ship than their peers.

And, no surprise, if a boss presents equipment and says: “Here’s what you get. Deal with it,” employees are less likely to be engaged and pleased than those employees who have a supervisor who provides some improvements and goes to bat to get better equipment when needed.

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Opinion Editorials

Minimalism doesn’t have to be a quick process

(EDITORIAL) Minimalism is great and all…but how do you get started if you’re not sold on getting rid of basically everything you own?

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Minimalism. This trend has reared its head in many forms, from Instagram-worthy shots of near empty homes to Marie Kondo making a splash on Netflix last year. If you’re anything like me, the concept of minimalism is tempting, but the execution seems out of reach. Paring down a closet to fit into a single basket or getting rid of beloved objects can sometimes seem too difficult, and I get it! Luckily, minimalism doesn’t have to be quite so extreme.

#1 Digitally

Not ready to purge your home yet? That’s fine! Start on your digital devices. Chances are, there are plenty of easy ways to clean up the storage space on your computer or phone. When it comes to low stakes minimalism, try clearing out your email inbox or deleting apps you no longer use. It’ll increase your storage space and make upkeep much more manageable on a daily basis.

It’s also worth taking a look through your photos. With our phones so readily available, plenty of us have pictures that we don’t really need. Clearing out the excess and subpar pictures will also have the added bonus of making your good pictures easily accessible!

Now, if this task seems more daunting, consider starting by simply deleting duplicate photos. You know the ones, where someone snaps a dozen pics of the same group pose? Pick your favorite (whittle it down if you have to) and delete the rest! It’s an easy way to get started with minimizing your digital photo collection.

#2 Slowly

Minimalism doesn’t have to happen all at once. If you’re hesitant about taking the plunge, try dipping your toe in the water first. There’s no shame in taking your time with this process. For instance, rather than immediately emptying your wardrobe, start small by just removing articles of clothing that are not wearable anymore. Things that are damaged, for instance, or just don’t fit.

Another way to start slow is to set a number. Take a look at your bookshelf and resolve to get rid of just two books. This way, you can hold yourself accountable for minimizing while not pushing too far. Besides, chances are, you do have two books on your shelf that are just collecting dust.

Finally, it’s also possible to take things slow by doing them over time. Observe your closet over the course of six months, for instance, to see if there are articles of clothing that remain unworn. Keep an eye on your kitchen supplies to get a feel for what you’re using and what you’re not. Sure, that egg separator you got for your wedding looks useful, but if you haven’t picked it up, it probably has to go.

#3 Somewhat

Sometimes, minimalism is pitched as all or nothing (pun intended), but it doesn’t have to be that way. Just because I want to purge my closet doesn’t mean I’m beholden to purging my kitchen too. And that’s okay!

Instead of getting overwhelmed by everything that needs to be reduced, just pick one aspect of your life to declutter. Clear out your wardrobe and hang onto your books. Cut down on decorations but keep your clothes. Maybe even minimize a few aspects of your life while holding onto one or two.

Or, don’t go too extreme in any direction and work to cut down on the stuff in your life in general. Minimizing doesn’t have to mean getting rid of everything – it can mean simply stepping back. For instance, you can minimize just by avoiding buying more things. Or maybe you set a maximum number of clothes you want, which means purchasing a new shirt might mean getting rid of an old one.

The point is, there are plenty of ways to start on the minimalist lifestyle without pushing yourself too far outside your comfort zone. So, what are you waiting for? Try decluttering your life soon!

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