A new book reports that a testy phone call between Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Apple boss Tim Cook ended abruptly with some not-so-kind words from the latter. Musk claims it never happened.
According to Tim Higgins’ “Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk, and the Bet of the Century,” around 2016, as Tesla struggled to ramp up production of the Model 3 sedan, Musk and Cook spoke on the phone about Apple potentially acquiring the fledgling car startup. Musk was open to a deal, but he had one condition Cook couldn’t stomach.
Musk wanted his job – he wanted to be CEO of Apple, Higgins reports, citing people familiar with Musk’s version of events.
“F— you,” Cook reportedly responded, and hung up.
Musk said in December that he wanted Apple to buy Tesla during the “darkest days of the Model 3 program,” when he was sleeping on Tesla’s factory floor as the company went through what he has called “manufacturing hell.” But, according to Musk, Cook never agreed to a meeting.
“Cook & I have never spoken or written to each other ever. There was a point where I requested to meet with Cook to talk about Apple buying Tesla,” Musk tweeted on Friday in response to the report. “There were no conditions of acquisition proposed whatsoever. He refused to meet.”
Cook, for his part, told The New York Times in April that he had never spoken to the Tesla CEO. In “Power Play,” however, Higgins notes that Cook and Musk have been photographed sitting next to each other and that they served together on a business school advisory board in China.
Higgins also notes that it’s hard to say whether Musk’s retelling of the phone call was accurate.
“It’s hard to imagine Musk was serious about wanting to be CEO of Apple,” he said.
Penguin Random House, the book’s publisher, declined to make Higgins available for comment. A representative for Apple did not immediately return a request for comment.
Since Musk’s hunt for an Apple acquisition, Tesla’s market cap has ballooned to $685 billion, making it the most valuable car company in the world. Apple is working on an electric car of its own, a project it started in 2014.
One of America’s newest charter airlines is expanding to the West Coast, and bringing the Cirrus Vision Jet with it.
Starting July 26, VeriJet is offering flights across the West Coast and American Southwest in the airline’s furthest venture outside of its home region of the Southeast.
A single flight hour in the Vision Jet is $3,000 plus tax, and VeriJet doesn’t charge reposition rates if the flight is within a 700-mile radius of Santa Maria, California. That means one-way flights on city pairs such as Los Angeles-Las Vegas, Phoenix-San Francisco, and San Diego, California-San Jose, California, will only cost as much as the flight time, with a minimum of one hour.
Founder and CEO Richard Kane told Insider that the geography of the West Coast is perfect for the Vision Jet since the aircraft thrives when flying at the lower altitudes common on the region’s most popular air routes. VeriJet can also use smaller airports such as Santa Monica Airport that are off-limits to larger jets.
The Vision Jet is ideal for single-pilot operations and can fly four adult passengers with a top range of around 1,300 nautical miles, as Insider found on a recent demonstration flight with VeriJet. Low-speed WiFi is available in-flight and Sirius XM Satellite Radio is also available for entertainment.
VeriJet is also launching a jet card program where the hourly rate is discounted to $2,500 per hour when 100 hours of flight time are prepaid for $250,000. Members also have access to a new “jet safari” program of curated itineraries in different regions.
Itineraries include trips to Canada to see Hudson Bay or the polar bears of Manitoba, Caribbean getaways to locales like Virgin Gorda in this British Virgin Islands, and a national park trip that includes sites like Grand Canyon, Glacier, and Yellowstone National Parks. Another opportunity includes a transatlantic crossing as VeriJet repositions its planes to Europe in advance of its debut on the continent.
Kane calls jet cardholders “founders” since they’ll be accompanied by board members on these trips, with whom they could share direct feedback about the company.
“It’s mostly about going out of the way places that you can’t get to on anything but a small turboprop or [a Vision Jet],” Kane said, “and then there’s spending time with the founders of the company so that you can mold it to what you want it to be.”
VeriJet also just completed a redesign of its website, where customers can directly book flights without having to go through a broker. A mobile application is also on the way with VeriJet just waiting on Apply Pay functionality before it takes to the App Store.
Six guests tested positive for the coronavirus onboard the Adventure of the Seas, a cruise ship sailing from Nassau in the Bahamas, Royal Caribbean confirmed to Insider on Friday.
Of the four vaccinated adults and two unvaccinated children who tested positive for COVID-19, only one is experiencing mild symptoms, while the rest are asymptomatic, the company said.
According to Royal Caribbean, the infected guests were quarantined and the people they were in close contact with tested negative. They got off the ship in Freeport, Bahamas, and took private transportation home. Morgan Hines, a USA Today reporter sailing on the ship, originally broke the news on Twitter.
All crew members and passengers over the age of 16 have to be fully vaccinated and test negative before being allowed onboard the ship, a Royal Caribbean spokesperson said. Royal Caribbean also requires unvaccinated guests to purchase travel insurance, making cruising more expensive for the unvaccinated.
On June 26, a Royal Caribbean ship sailing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Mexico and the Bahamas was the first cruise to sail from the US since the start of the pandemic. Changes to the cruising experience included extra hand-sanitizing stations by elevators and restaurants and intensive care beds and ventilators. The ship sailed at around a third of its capacity, and over 95% of passengers were vaccinated, according to CDC guidelines.
The companies describe the Pottery Barn Special Edition Travel Trailer as “the perfect blend of comfort and style.”
The two companies worked together on the design, which incorporates Pottery Barn hardware and furnishings into a trailer made by Airstream. Furniture includes a custom-made sofa inspired by Pottery Barn’s Big Sur Collection …
Nearly one in five flight attendants has been in a physical altercation with unruly passengers this year.
In a survey of 5,000 flight attendants by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA union, 17% reported experiencing a physical incident in the first half of 2021.
More than 85% of respondents said they had dealt with unruly passengers this year, and 61% of flight attendants said they heard racist, sexist, or homophobic slurs during altercations.
“This survey confirms what we all know, the vitriol, verbal and physical abuse from a small group of passengers is completely out of control, and is putting other passengers and flight crew at risk,” said Sara Nelson, president of AFA-CWA. The union is asking for more support from federal agencies, including the Department of Justice and the Federal Aviation Administration.
“It is time to make the FAA ‘zero tolerance’ policy permanent, the Department of Justice to utilize existing statute to conduct criminal prosecution, and implement a series of actions proposed by our union to keep problems on the ground and respond effectively in the event of incidents,” Nelson said.
The AFA survey found 71% of flight attendants who filed incident reports received no follow-up and a majority “did not observe efforts to address the rise in unruly passengers by their employers.”
About 75% of reports of aggressive passengers involved disputes over masks, the FAA said. President Joe Biden mandated Americans wear masks while flying soon after taking office.
But Nelson said “this is not just about masks as some have attempted to claim. There is a lot more going on here and the solutions require a series of actions in coordination across aviation.”
Several flight attendants said their mental health has deteriorated due to the increase in passenger aggression. A Harvard psychologist told Insider’s Avery Hartmans the aggression stems from the fear and anxiety COVID-19 placed on Americans the past year and a half.
“This is not a ‘new normal’ we are willing to accept,” said Nelson, the union president. “We will be sharing survey findings with FAA, DOT, TSA, and FBI to help more fully identify the problems and our union’s proposed actions to affect positive change.”
“Your goal is to provide a safe ride for the passengers, not an entertaining ride. Keep conversation to a minimum so you can focus on the road,” the company’s “Ride Script” says. TechCrunch obtained the script and other documents through a public records request.
The document instructs drivers to avoid questions about Musk at all costs.
“This category of questions is extremely common and extremely sensitive,” the script says. “Public fascination with our founder is inevitable and may dominate the conversation. Be as brief as possible, and do your best to shut down such conversation. If passengers continue to force the topic, politely say, ‘I’m sorry, but I really can’t comment’ and change the subject.”
If riders persist and ask a question about if they like working for him, drivers are supposed to say: “Yup, he’s a great leader. He motivates us to do great work!”
In response to questions about Musk’s tweeting, drivers are told to respond: “Elon is a public figure. We’re just here to provide an awesome transportation experience!”
The catch-all answer to a question like “Is it true what I’ve read about him in the papers that he [is a mean boss/smokes pot/doesn’t let employees take vacations/etc.” is: “I haven’t seen that article, but that hasn’t been my experience.”
Drivers are also told to evade questions about how long they’ve been working with The Boring Company (“Long enough to know these tunnels pretty well!) and about how many crashes the system has had (“It’s a very safe system”).
The LVCC Loop runs 1.7 miles and has three stops. The Boring Company plans to expand the Las Vegas system and is in talks to build similar tunnels in Fort Lauderdale and Miami.
On Friday, Boeing’s Starliner spaceship will attempt to redeem itself after botching its last major test flight.
The company’s eventual goal is to fly astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA, the way SpaceX already does. Both companies developed their launch systems through NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, a competition that awarded funding to private companies in order to develop new astronaut-ready spacecraft.
But before carrying people, the Starliner has to complete an uncrewed test flight to and from the ISS as part of NASA’s certification process. Boeing first attempted this flight in December 2019, but it turned out that one of the spaceship’s clocks was set 11 hours ahead of schedule. That prompted the spaceship to fire its engines too vigorously, too early – a move meant to come at a later stage of the mission. That caused the spaceship to burn through 25% of its fuel, forcing Boeing to skip docking with the space station in order to save the Starliner from total failure.
Now, the company is confident that it has fixed the problems with its spaceship, so it’s time for the do-over.
“Now’s the right time. This team is ready to go, this vehicle is ready to go,” Kathy Lueders, associate administrator of NASA’s human-spaceflight directorate, said in a press briefing on Thursday.
Boeing must show NASA its spaceship can reach the space station
Starliner is set to blast off atop an Atlas V rocket at 2:53 p.m. ET on Friday – assuming thunderstorms don’t force a delay. The mission, called Orbital Flight Test 2, or OFT-2, will send the rocket and capsule roaring into the skies above NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
If all goes according to plan, the Atlas V booster should fall away after about four minutes. That would leave the rocket’s upper stage to give Starliner one final push into Earth’s orbit before it, too, separates from the capsule. Starliner should orbit Earth alone overnight, slowly lining itself up to meet the ISS the next day.
“That’s the part of this flight that, to me, is so critical: docking with station and then also, on the back end as well, going through that whole undock sequence,” Steve Stich, who manages NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, said in a briefing on Tuesday.
If the spaceship successfully latches onto a port on the ISS, astronauts on the station will then open its hatch and unload its cargo – science equipment and supplies. After that, the Starliner is scheduled to stay docked to the ISS to test out its systems and its endurance in space, until it returns to Earth on August 5.
Boeing’s investigation into the failed flight revealed further problems
As Starliner prepares to fall back to Earth, it’s supposed to shed its service module – a cylinder containing the spaceship’s main engines. That part is supposed to fall away from the crew module, which holds the astronauts.
But this second software error could have caused the service module to bounce back and crash into the crew module. That could have sent the astronauts’ capsule tumbling or significantly damaged its protective heat shield, making it unsafe to plow through the atmosphere.
The discovery of this issue prompted a NASA investigation into Boeing’s coding and overall safety culture. NASA administrators at the time said the software issue was likely a symptom of larger problems at the company. But now, Stich said, “Boeing has an excellent safety culture.”
As a result of NASA’s investigations, Boeing fixed both issues and changed some of the spaceship’s communications software.
“There’s always a little bit of that trepidation in you,” Stich said. “This is spaceflight. The Atlas is a great vehicle. Starliner is a great vehicle. But we know how hard it is, and it’s a test flight as well. And I fully expect we’ll learn something on this test flight.”
Why NASA needs Boeing
Assuming Starliner can make it to the ISS and back without major issues, its next step will be to do it again with astronauts onboard – a crewed test flight. If everything goes smoothly, that flight could launch by the end of this year, Stich said.
NASA is relying on both Boeing and SpaceX to replace the government-developed Space Shuttle, which stopped flying in 2011.
After the Space Shuttles were retired, NASA relied solely on Russian Soyuz rockets to ferry its astronauts to and from the ISS. Then SpaceX’s Crew Dragon passed the agency’s tests, flying its first astronauts to the ISS last year. SpaceX has flown two full crews since then. NASA hopes to add Starliner to its fleet soon so that the agency is no longer reliant on just one launch system.
Primack said while the Mustang Mach-E, which has an estimated range of about 230 miles per full charge, has been efficient for short drives, he faced some difficulty on the over 200-mile commute to New York City. During what should have been a simple drive, he was forced to pull over at four different charging stations in order to find a station that he could use to recharge his Mach-E.
At two of the four stations, he was only able to find Tesla chargers, and at one there were no chargers. He said he was not able to recharge his car until he found the fourth station in a parking garage.
Primack said he felt “panic” during the experience – a feeling he had not expected to experience in an area of the country that had prioritized electrification. He pointed out that his trip cut through high traffic roads in the northeast – an area that was known for being early EV adopters.
His account raises the question of how much more stressful his trip could have been, had it taken place in a more rural area.
Efforts to expand the charging infrastructure in the US
As of February, there are just under 100,000 electric car charging stations in the US, according to a report from I. Wagner, a researcher on traffic and motor vehicle manufacturing. To date, Tesla supercharging stations alone account for over 25,000 stations, according to data from the company’s website. While regular Tesla stations can be used with non-Tesla EVs through a special adapter, supercharging stations are not yet compatible with other electric cars.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter earlier in July that he plans to make Tesla’s entire charging network accessible to all EV drivers by the end of the year. Though, the CEO said during the company’s earnings call on Monday that non-Tesla drivers will have to pay extra to use the company’s supercharging network and would likely have to purchase an additional adapter.
“It is our goal to support the advent of sustainable energy,” Musk said at the meeting. “It is not to create a walled garden and use that to bludgeon our competitors, which is sometimes used by some companies.
For now, Primack’s story highlights the need for greater charging infrastructure in the US, as well as the advantage Tesla holds over its competitors when it comes to EV charging.
“Norwegian Jade’s first Greek Isles voyages sold out shortly after we made the announcement that we were on our way back,” Norwegian CEO Harry Sommer said in a press release.
Norwegian Cruise Line
The ship has 15 different restaurants and cafes, an art gallery, a casino, a library, and a video arcade.
After the debut journey, the cruises are departing each Sunday from August 29 through November 7.
Prices vary from about $677 per person for an inside cabin to more than $4,500 for “The Haven,” which comes with 24-hour butler service and an exclusive sundeck with pool.
Norwegian Cruise Line
“People are champing at the bit to cruise again,” the CEO of Carnival Corp, the world’s biggest cruise company, told Fox Business in June. He said that people were confident in the safety of cruises as the vaccine rollout continued across the US, and that the shots were a “huge game-changer.”
Norwegian said the Norwegian Jade’s deployment in Athens is part of a long-term strategy to increase its presence in Europe. It plans to base nine ships in the region through 2023, it said.
Norwegian’s first ship to return to service from the US will be the Norwegian Encore on August 7, which will start in Seattle for its inaugural season of Alaska cruises.
During the company’s earnings call on Monday, Musk said: “We need to make Full Self-Driving work in order for it to be a compelling value proposition.”
He added customers were essentially “betting on the future” by buying the subscription because FSD is not yet widespread.
“Right now, does it make sense for somebody to do FSD subscription? I think it’s debatable. But once we have Full Self-Driving widely deployed, then the value proposition will be clear,” Musk said.
He was answering a question from an analyst about the subscription’s pricing.
FSD does not make Tesla cars fully autonomous – rather, it adds various driver-assistance features. Tesla says drivers must stay fully attentive with their hands on the wheel while FSD is enabled. The company warned on July 10, following the release of FSD’s most recent software update, that the vehicle may do the “wrong thing at the worst time.”