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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

How to crush your next remote job interview

(OPINION EDITORIAL) Working remotely is becoming more and more popular. Learn how to excel during a remote job interview.

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As the career landscape continues to change, so does the way in which we interview. With an increase in remote workers, there is also an increase in video interviews.

What immediately comes to mind for me was three years ago when I had a video interview with the fabulous COO of The American Genius. Since the company is based out of Austin, and I’m in Chicago, we had a video chat to see if I’d be a good fit for the company.

While it took some of the pressure off being able to be in my own home for the interview, there was definitely the con of…being in my own home for the interview. Fear of any noise or interruption posed as a slight distraction.

Like an in person interview, there are some pressures that go along with a video interview. The main one being that you need to sell yourself as an extremely responsible individual who can handle the freedoms and rigors of remote work.

Employers are looking for accountability in their remote workers. You must be able to execute your tasks in with a heightened amount of self-discipline.

This can be done through use of time trackers and proactive reporting. Keeping track of each task you do, and the time spent doing it, will provide something tangible for your employer. Be sure to explain during the interview that this is something you will provide to the employer.

Next, because there is a change in environment, and arguably a change in responsibility level, the questions asked during the interview may be different from your standard interview.

A few questions that may pop up to keep in mind: what hours will you be working? What is your remote experience like? Is this something you’re seeking for supplemental work, or trying to do full-time? What is your home workspace like? What tools do you use to keep yourself on task? What is your preferred method of payment?

In turn, there are some questions you should be prepared to ask, as in any other interview. For example: What would a typical day look like if we were working together in-house? Do you offer advancement opportunities? How many of your team members work remotely and how do we all stay in contact?

Working remotely can be a whole different beast in terms of proving yourself to your employer. Having yourself fully prepared for an interview can help start you off on the right foot.

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Opinion Editorials

Living as a 7 in the Instagram world of 11s (why hotties rule IG)

(OPINION) Hot people have it, not people want it, Instagram perpetuates it – beauty, and it’s a prime ingredient for success.

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Who runs the world? Girls. Who runs the social media world (read: Instagram)? Hot girls. And hot guys.

Social media has always fascinated me. When I was a freshman in high school I got a Facebook – all you older millennials that had to wait ‘til college can hop off because I wasn’t allowed to have Myspace / Xanga / any other predecessor social sites.

That Facebook allowed me to connect to my camp friends, one of whom lived in a different country, family in other states and the friends that I saw every day.

My story is pretty predictable after that. Social media blew up, I did my millennial duty to help the creation and exposure of new sites and now here we are. Living in a society where hot girls on Instagram selling tea that makes you poo make more money than that girl with multiple degrees.

I’m not gonna blame millennials, but I kind of am, but everyone had a hand in this.

As a society we value celebrity. When I was a child that value manifested into society with tabloid magazines and copying haircuts (hello, Rachel Green). As a teen, that value on celebrity pivoted into the daytime/nighttime / anytime talk show. Now, as an adult that missed the opportunity to make an ascent into stardom via YouTube, celebrity is valued by way of social media.

EVEN CELEBRITIES HAVE THEIR CELEBRITY VALUE MEASURE BY SOCIAL MEDIA FOLLOWERS.

Don’t get me wrong. Several *actually* talented and wonderful people have leveraged social media in niche ways and created a nice lifestyle for themselves. However, I’m also going to assert that 80% of social media influencers / modern celebrities would be nothing if they weren’t hot.

Singers that have worked their way up the ranks with 6 second Vine video snippets and two minute YouTube videos can have insanely gifted voices but it also doesn’t hurt that were nice to look at while they hit that E5 note.

Artists and illustrators that have busted their butts and their hands creating and making stunning visual pieces can create one-of-a-kind masterpieces but it also helps that they throw the occasional full-glam face selfie.

That one guy or gal that posts photos of (seemingly) delectable food can have grown a 100% organic following by creating content that people want to see but it will also never be a negative for them to post a photo of them in their swimsuit on that tropical island they got paid to visit.

And please hear me when I say this: being attractive helps offline too. The amount of times my insanely attractive guy friend has profited from his jawline jaw line is almost as crazy as the amount of times my unfairly gorgeous gal pal has reaped the benefits of having phenomenal facial symmetry. Hell, even I’ve used a hair flip and batted an eye in lieu of twisting arms.

I’m pretty sure there’s some science somewhere that says that its natural for people to be inherently attracted to attractive people. I’m not sure why that is, but at least in my life, I’ve found it to be true. Unashamedly (and slightly shamefully) I’ve listened to authority figures better when they were kind on the eyes, I’ve gone to the cash register with the prettier human, I’ve followed the accounts of people who created an aesthetic I vibed with more.

Sometimes it just feels like that if a quarter of the pictures on a highly followed account – skilled or otherwise — weren’t of the person made up, or shirtless, or provocatively posed, they might not have the same level of following or at least engagement. Honestly, it makes the whole exchange feel insincere (which is a funny thing to say about internet interactions to begin with). Like, even if I buy that gadget / get those clothes / put that makeup on / fill-in-the-blank from that #ad on your Instagram story the exact way you do I still won’t look like you.

Reminds me of that old saying, “you can put lipstick on a pig but its still a pig.” You can buy that stuff off that one hottie’s Instagram but you’re still going to be you.

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Opinion Editorials

Do women that downplay their gender get ahead faster?

(OPINION) A new study about gender in the workplace is being perceived differently than we are viewing it – let’s discuss.

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The Harvard Business Review reports that women benefit professionally when they downplay their gender, as opposed to trying to focus on their “differences” as professional strength.

The article includes a lot of interesting concepts underneath its click-bait-y title. According to the study by Professors Ashley Martin and Katherine Phillips, women felt increasingly confident when they pivoted from focusing on highlighting potential differences in their perceived abilities based on their gender and instead gave their attention to cultivating qualities that are traditionally coded as male*.

Does this really mean that women need to “downplay” their gender? Does it really mean women who attempt this get ahead in this world faster?

I don’t think so.

The article seems to imply that “celebrating diversity” in workers is akin to giving femme-identified employees a hot pink briefcase – it actually calls attention to stereotyped behaviors. I would argue that this is not the case (and, for the record, rock a hot pink briefcase if you want to, that sounds pretty badass).

I believe that we should instead highlight the fact that this study shows the benefits that come when everyone expands preconceived notions of gender.

Dr. Martin and her interviewer touch on this when they discuss the difference between gender “awareness” and “blindness.” As Dr. Martin explains, “Gender blindness doesn’t mean that women should act more like men; it diminishes the idea that certain qualities are associated with men and women.”

It is the paradox of studies like this one that, in order to interrogate how noxious gendered beliefs are, researchers must create categories to place otherwise gender-neutral qualities and actions in, thus emphasizing the sort of stereotypes being investigated. Regardless, there is a silver lining here as said by Dr. Martin herself:

“[People] are not naturally better suited to different roles, and [people] aren’t better or worse at certain things.”

Regardless of a worker’s gender identity, they are capable of excelling at whatever their skills and talent help them to.

*Though the HBR article and study perpetuate a binary gender structure, for the purposes of our discussion in this article, I expand its “diversity” to include femme-identified individuals, nonbinary and trans workers, and anybody else that does not benefit from traditional notions of power that place cisgendered men at the top of the social totem pole.

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