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      What makes Elon Musk tick? I spent months following the same people as him to find out who fuels his curious worldview / TheGuardian · Yesterday - 06:00 · 1 minute

    Tucker Carlson, Greta Thunberg, Covid sceptics, military historians, the royal family … What would my time immersed in the Twitter/X owner’s feed reveal about the richest man in the world?

    What’s it like to be Elon Musk? On almost every level it is impossible to imagine – he’s just too much. Musk is the hands-on head of three mega-companies, one (Tesla) wildly successful, one (SpaceX) madly aspirational, one (Twitter/X) a shambles. He has plenty of other businesses on the side, including The Boring Company (which makes hi-tech tunnels), Neuralink (which makes brain-computer interfaces), and his current pet favourite xAI (mission: “To understand the true nature of the universe”). He is the on-again, off-again richest human being on the planet, his personal net worth sometimes fluctuating by more than $10bn a day as the highly volatile Tesla share price lurches up and down. He is the father of 11 children – one of whom died as an infant, and from one of whom he is currently estranged – with three different women, which to his own mind at least seems to make him some kind of family man. He has 155 million followers on Twitter/X (we’ll call it Twitter from now on for simplicity’s sake), which is more than anyone else. Only a very few people – Barack Obama (132 million), Justin Bieber (111 million) – can have any idea of what that is like.

    However, unlike Obama, who follows 550,000 accounts on Twitter, Musk follows only 415. That anyone can copy (or at least they could, before the platform recently changed its code so you can now only see a small handful of users’ followers rather than the full list). So that’s what I did, spending this past summer following the exact same accounts Musk follows and no one else, to see what the world looks like from inside his personal Twitter bubble. I wanted to be a fly on the wall in the room with the people who are shaping the thoughts of one of the most influential, and unpredictable, individuals on the planet. I should add that I’ve never followed anyone else on Twitter before – I’ve never even had a Twitter account – so it was all new to me. What can I say? It’s pretty mind-blowing.

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      Weekend podcast: David Runciman attempts to get inside the mind of Elon Musk, and Marina Hyde on the Russell Brand allegations / TheGuardian · Yesterday - 04:00

    Marina Hyde appeals for us all to do the right thing by the victims of Russell Brand’s misogyny (1m23s); and writer and professor David Runciman reveals what happened when he followed all the same Twitter accounts as Elon Musk to try to get inside his head (11m9s).

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      The Guardian view on the Murdoch handover: Lachlan inherits a dark legacy | Editorial / TheGuardian · 2 days ago - 17:40 · 1 minute

    Through his businesses, Rupert Murdoch pushed a world view with the pursuit of money at its heart

    There are not many chairmanships of companies that would so fascinate writers, and television producers, that they would make four series about them. Rupert Murdoch’s long tenure at Fox and News Corp was one. For viewers of Succession, this week’s announcement that Mr Murdoch is handing control to his eldest son, Lachlan, is a real-life coda to a dynastic struggle in which they are already immersed – in fictionalised form. Lachlan’s reputation, as the most rightwing of the three siblings seen as plausible successors, is deeply dismaying, given the power he will now wield and the context in which he will wield it – above all in the United States, where Donald Trump aims to run for president next year.

    The elder Murdoch’s internet ventures were not on the whole successful, and in our digital age his status has been partly eclipsed. Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, the Chinese owners of TikTok, and the boards of Google and Apple, have joined him at the top table of global media influencers. But through news and entertainment businesses including the Fox News Channel, the Wall Street Journal, the Australian, Times and Sun newspapers, and book publishing and film businesses, the 92-year-old billionaire has exerted a huge influence on politics and culture in the US, UK and Australia over many decades.

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      Tesla is the next biggest union target in the United States. Sorry, Elon Musk | Hamilton Nolan / TheGuardian · 3 days ago - 13:34

    The carmaker is now US labor’s most important target. If Musk doesn’t like that, he’s welcome to settle it with an auto worker by cage match

    The massive United Auto Workers strike against the big three automakers is, first and foremost, an awesome demonstration of labor power – the act of a powerful, longstanding industrial union, with newly radical leadership, determined to wage one big fight to reset a playing field that has been slowly tilting in the wrong direction for years. It is also, like a disturbing number of things in America today, a case in which the grotesque specter of Elon Musk looms like a silent villain over the entire proceedings.

    Here is what I mean. The big three – Ford, GM and Stellantis – have long had workforces that are unionized with the UAW. The robust contracts that the union has been negotiating with the thriving industry since the middle of the 20th century played a large part in the creation of the unprecedented shared prosperity of the post-second world war middle class.

    Hamilton Nolan is a writer on labor and politics, based in New York City.

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      Twitter ranks worst in climate change misinformation report / TheGuardian · 3 days ago - 01:58

    Climate coalition cites Twitter’s lack of clear policies to stop incorrect information and confusion from Musk takeover

    A report ranking climate change misinformation gave Twitter (recently rebranded as X) only a single point out of a 21-point scorecard when assessing policies aimed at reducing inaccurate information – the worst out of five major tech platforms.

    The Climate of Misinformation report by Climate Action Against Disinformation looked at Meta, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok and Twitter for their content moderation policies and efforts to mitigate inaccurate information such as climate denialism. The group, which is made up of dozens of international climate and anti-disinformation organizations including Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, released the report to draw attention towards climate misinformation on major platforms and makes the claim that big tech has become a “complicit actor” in accelerating the spread of climate denial.

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      Musk’s Neuralink seeks volunteers for brain implants—who’s in? / ArsTechnica · 4 days ago - 17:35 · 1 minute

    Image of a mannequin on a reclining table, with equipment surrounding its head.

    Enlarge / An on-stage demo of the surgical robot. That could be you. (credit: Neuralink )

    After years of delays , regulatory rejections, and allegations of animal abuse , Elon Musk's brain-computer interface company, Neuralink, is now recruiting its first human volunteers to have an experimental robot implant an experimental device directly into their brains.

    In a blog post Tuesday , the company announced that an independent institutional review board and an unnamed hospital site granted approval for the trial to start recruiting volunteers.

    Neuralink says it aims to enroll people with quadriplegia due to a spinal cord injury or ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). Volunteers will have a wireless brain-computer interface implant, dubbed N1, surgically embedded into their brains by the company's experimental surgical robot, R1. The implant device is said to have 1,024 electrodes distributed across 64 threads thinner than a human hair. After R1 inserts the threads into the appropriate brain region, the electrodes are designed to record neural activity related to movement intention, and an experimental app from the company will decode the signals. The goal of the N1 implantation is to allow trial participants to control a computer cursor or keyboard using only their thoughts. This trial will primarily evaluate safety, but also get a glimpse of efficacy, Neuralink says.

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      Elon Musk’s Neuralink approved to recruit humans for brain-implant trials / TheGuardian · 4 days ago - 01:03

    Company is seeking people with paralysis to test its experimental device after getting green light from independent review board

    Elon Musk’s brain-implant startup Neuralink said it has received approval from an independent review board to begin recruiting patients for its first human trial. The company is seeking people with paralysis to test its experimental device in a six-year study.

    Neuralink is one of several companies developing a brain-computer interface (BCI) that can collect and analyze brain signals. But its billionaire executive’s bombastic promotion of the company, including promises to develop an all-encompassing brain computer to help humans keep up with artificial intelligence, has attracted skepticism and raised ethical concerns among neuroscientists and other experts.

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      SpaceX sues US attorney general in bid to stop hiring-discrimination case / ArsTechnica · 5 days ago - 17:52

    A pen and book resting atop a paper copy of a lawsuit.

    Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | eccolo74 )

    SpaceX has sued US Attorney General Merrick Garland and two other Department of Justice officials in response to the government's allegations that SpaceX discriminated against asylees and refugees in hiring. SpaceX denied the hiring discrimination claims and alleged that the DOJ's administrative process for handling the discrimination complaint is unconstitutional.

    The Justice Department filed an administrative complaint against SpaceX on August 24 alleging that from at least September 2018 to at least May 2022, Elon Musk's space company "discriminated against asylees and refugees throughout its hiring process, including during recruiting, screening, and selection, in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act."

    The DOJ suit alleged that "asylees and refugees had virtually no chance of being fairly considered for or hired for a job at SpaceX." The DOJ complaint was filed through its own administrative hearing office in which cases are heard by administrative law judges. SpaceX is trying to stop that process by filing a lawsuit in US District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

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