Science & Technology

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has issued notices to Google Inc and Wikipedia for "disseminating sacrilegious content" through the two platforms, it emerged on Friday.

In a press release, the authority said it has been receiving complaints regarding "misleading search results associated with 'present khalifa of Islam' and an unauthentic version of the Holy Quran uploaded by the Ahmedi community on Google Play Store".

Being a matter of a very serious nature, the PTA has approached Google Inc with directions to immediately remove the unlawful content, the statement said.

"The platform has been issued the notice under the Removal and Blocking of Unlawful Online Content (Procedure, Oversight and Safeguard) Rules 2020 to remove sacrilegious content to avoid any legal action by the regulator."

The authority added that complaints were also received regarding hosting blasphemous caricatures of Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) and dissemination of "misleading, wrong, deceptive and deceitful information" through articles published on Wikipedia portraying Mirza Masroor Ahmad as a Muslim.

"After extensive communication on the matter, Wikipedia has been finally served with the notice to remove the sacrilegious content to avoid any legal action," the statement said.

In case the platforms remain non-compliant, the PTA shall be constrained to initiate further action under Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016 (PECA) and Rules 2020, the statement said.

 

The logos of mobile apps Facebook and Google displayed on a tablet in Lille France. – AFP

OAKLAND, Calif/LONDON: Alphabet Inc’s Google relaunched its US payments app, introducing paid promotions to the service and opening a waitlist for bank accounts being launched next year with Citigroup Inc and 10 other institutions. The new Google Pay app, like its predecessor which will be discontinued eventually, enables contactless payments in stores and money transfers.

But now users can transact with groups of people, search transactions, view analytics and explore cashback offers from merchants including Burger King and Target Corp . Google will receive a distribution fee for those promotions, opening a small new line of revenue for the advertising giant.

 

Transactions will not affect the ads that users see on other Google services, it said. The new functionality brings US Google Pay up to par with its counterpart in India, where mobile payments are the norm, while escalating the global battle among tech companies, merchants and banks over consumers and their financial data.

“Our goal is to be the all-in-one app that gives users more value and control out of their money,” said Caesar Sengupta, who oversees Google’s payment initiatives. Pay has more than 150 million monthly users spanning 30 countries. Alibaba Group, Apple Inc, Samsung Electronics Co and PayPal Holdings Inc also offer mobile wallets aiming to be hubs for shopping and banking, with the companies battling over security and other features.

For instance, Google said its web search technology makes its app more useful for budgeting and sifting through transactions to spot granular categories such as “Mexican restaurants” or “T-shirts.” The new US app works at over 100,000 restaurants, 30,000 gas stations and 400 cities’ parking meters, Google said. Google first discussed adding banking accounts a year ago, but did not solicit customers for the service, dubbed Plex, until Wednesday.

Partners such as Citi starting next year will activate checkings and savings accounts with no monthly fees, overdraft charges or minimum balance rules. The Citi Plex users will get free access to its network of 60,000 ATMs nationwide, the megabank said on Wednesday. The offering is Citi’s first bundled savings and checking account.

“This collaboration gives us a platform to drive significant scale in our Retail Bank,” said Citi’s incoming Chief Executive Jane Fraser. The newest Plex partners include Green Dot Corp, Seattle Bank and The Harbor Bank of Maryland. Sengupta said one goal was “to gamify saving and make it a lot more fun.” – Reuters

 
 

This video grab made from the online Neuralink livestream on Friday shows a drawing of the different steps of the implantation of a Neuralink device. – AFP

SAN FRANCISCO: Futurist entrepreneur Elon Musk late Friday demonstrated progress made by his Neuralink startup in meshing brains with computers, saying the work is essential to the future of humanity. Musk has long contended that a neural lace merging minds with machines is vital if people are going to avoid being so outpaced by artificial intelligence that, under the best of circumstances, humans would be akin to “house cats”.

“It’s gonna be important from an existential threat standpoint,” Musk said of the project. “That is what I think might be the most important thing that a device like this achieves.” Members of the team shared a “wish list” that ranged from the technology returning mobility to the paralyzed and sight to the blind, to enabling telepathy and the uploading of memories for later reference – or perhaps to be downloaded into replacement bodies.

 

“Yes, I think in the future you will be able to save and replay memories,” Musk said. “This is obviously sounding increasingly like a ‘Black Mirror’ episode, but I guess they are pretty good at predicting,” he quipped, referring to a Netflix series that puts disturbing twists on near-future technology.

For now, Neuralink is being tested in pigs with the team working on the potential for clinical trials. A trio of pigs in pens took part in the demonstration: one of them named Gertrude was said to have been implanted with a Neuralink device wired to detect spikes in nerve activity in her snout. Gertrude happily focused on food, mostly ignoring Musk and others gathered for the event.

Musk said that since the first version of Neuralink was revealed slightly more than a year ago, the device has been simplified and reduced to about the size of a large coin and the thickness of the skull. With the help of a surgical robot, a piece of the skull is replaced with a Neuralink disk, and its wispy wires are strategically inserted into the brain, the demonstration showed.

The disk registers nerve activity, relaying the information via common Bluetooth wireless signal to a device such as a smartphone, according to Musk. “It actually fits quite nicely in your skull. It could be under your hair and you wouldn’t know.” The purpose of the event was to attract engineering talent to the project, which has much work still to do on chips, software, robotics and more, according to Musk.

Experts and academics remain cautious about his vision of symbiotically merging minds with super-powered computing. Brain-computer interfaces have been done many times, and it is difficult to tell how successful the Neuralink project will be, according to University of Warwick biomedical engineering professor Christopher James. While technology has improved for reading information coming out of brains, it isn’t up to snuff when it comes to sending it back to all the necessary parts simultaneously, according to researchers.

Moving arms or legs involves the brain sending them the proper signals, while hearing and seeing involve the brain receiving sensory information. “What would impress me?” James asked prior to the Neuralink demonstration. “Real time control of complex actions/movements – repeatedly and with little error (oh, and being able to move something whilst doing something else like talking or whistling or whatever!)”

The Neuralink got a “breakthrough device” designation from US regulators last month, and the team is making strides toward clinical trials, according to Musk. Neuralink engineers are building in encryption and other defenses to protect people’s data being stolen or implants hacked, according to the team. – AFP

LONDON: Scientists have created an army of microscopic four-legged robots too small to see with the naked eye that walk when stimulated by a laser and could be injected into the body through hypodermic needles, a study said Wednesday.

Microscopic robotics are seen as having an array of potential uses, particularly in medicine, and US researchers said the new robots offer “the potential to explore biological environments”.

One of the main challenges in the development of these cell-sized robots has been combining control circuitry and moving parts in such a small structure.

The robots described in the journal Nature are less than 0.1 millimetre wide — around the width of a human hair — and have four legs that are powered by on-board solar cells.

By shooting laser light into these solar cells, researchers were able to trigger the legs to move, causing the robot to walk around.

The study’s co-author Marc Miskin, of the University of Pennsylvania, told AFP that a key innovation of the research was that the legs -- its actuators — could be controlled using silicon electronics.

“Fifty years of shrinking down electronics has led to some remarkably tiny technologies: you can build sensors, computers, memory, all in very small spaces,” he said. “But, if you want a robot, you need actuators, parts that move.”

‘Figuring out what’s possible’

The researchers acknowledged that their creations are currently slower than other microbots that “swim”, less easy to control than those guided by magnets, and do not sense their environment.

The robots are prototypes that demonstrate the possibility of integrating electronics with the parts that help the device move around, Miskin said, adding they expect the technology to develop quickly.

“The next step is to build sophisticated circuitry: can we build robots that sense their environment and respond? How about tiny programmable machines? Can we make them able to run without human intervention?” Miskin said he envisions biomedical uses for the robots, or applications in materials science, such as repairing materials at the microscale.

“But this is a very new idea and we’re still trying to figure out what’s possible,” he added.

‘Swallow the surgeon’

Researchers said that they were able to produce the components for the robots in parallel, meaning they could make more than one million of them in each four-inch wafer of silicon.

The legs were made from nanometre-thick platinum that bends when stimulated by laser light, creating the walking motion.

Their average speed was about one body length per minute, the study said, adding this was “comparable to crawling biological microorganisms”.

The robots can survive highly acidic environments and temperature variations of more than 200 degrees Kelvin (-73 degrees Celsius), the study said.

In a commentary also published in Nature, Allan Brooks and Michael Strano of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said the concept of robots small enough to travel through blood vessels had been around since Nobel laureate Richard Feynman talked about the potential to “swallow the surgeon” in 1959. They said the new study provides “a clear vision” for solving the challenge of creating a tiny robot that can both convert energy into motion and is able to be programmable.

“The authors’ robots, although not autonomous in their current form, can be seen as a platform to which ‘brains’ and a battery can be attached,” they said, predicting the “hurdle of developing autonomous programmability for microrobots will soon be overcome”.

Published in Dawn, August 27th, 2020

ایپل رواں سال کی چوتھی سہ ماہی میں اپنے نئے آپریٹنگ سسٹم آئی او ایس 14 کو آئی فون کے لیے متعارف کرائے گی، جس میں صارفین کے ڈیٹا کے تحفظ کے لیے متعدد نئے فیچرز کا اضافہ کیا گیا ہے۔

آئی او ایس 14 اور آئی پیڈ او ایس 14 کے نئے فیچرز میں سے ایک صارفین کو اس وقت خبردار کرنا ہے جب کوئی ایپ کلپ بورڈ تک رسائی کی کوشش کرے گی، تاکہ لوگوں کو آگاہ کیا جاسکے کہ کس طرح کی ایپس ان کے ڈیٹا تک رسائی حاصل کرسکتی ہیں۔

ایپل انسائیڈرز کی رپورٹ کے مطابق اس فیچر کو متعارف کرانے کا فیصلہ ممکنہ طور پر اس وقت کیا گیا جب رواں سال مارچ میں یہ انکشاف سامنے آیا تھا کہ ٹک ٹاک سمیت متعدد ایپس آئی او ایس کلپ بورڈ کے ڈیٹا تک رسائی حاصل کرتی ہیں۔

جیسا اوپر درج کیا جاچکا ہے کہ یہ فیچر مارچ میں سامنے آنے والی رپورٹ کے بعد ڈیزائن کیا گیا، جس کے بارے میں ٹک ٹاک نے بیان جاری کرتے ہوئے دعویٰ کیا گیا تھا کہ یہ ایک اسپام کم کرنے والا فیچر ہے جس کو ایپ کے اس اپ ڈیٹ ورژن سے نکال دیا جائے گا جسے وہ ایپ اسٹور میں منظوری کے لیے پیش کرنے والی ہے۔

مارچ کی اس رپورٹ میں ٹک ٹاک سب سے زیادہ مقبول ایپ تھی مگر مجموعی طور پر 54 ایپس تاحال کلپ بورڈ سے ایپل کے صارفین کے ڈیٹا تک رسائی حاصل کررہی ہیں۔

ان میں متعدد معروف نام شامل ہیں جیسے سوشل میڈیا ایپس ویبو اور زوسک، نیوز ایپس این پی آر اور فاکس نیوز، گیمز جیسے فروٹ ننجا اور بی جی ویلڈ کے 3 مختلف ورژنز کے ساتھ ساتھ ایکو ویدر اور ہوٹلز ڈاٹ کام وغیرہ۔

ان ایپس کی تعداد 56 تھی جن میں سے صرف 2 10٪ ہیپیر: میڈی ایشن اور ہوٹل ٹونائٹ نے ڈیٹا تک رسائی ختم کی ہے جبکہ ٹک ٹاک نے اس وقت اقدامات کا وعدہ کیا تھا، مگر تاحال کسی قسم کی تبدیلی نہیں آئی۔

کلپ بورڈ کا بنیادی مقصد صارفین کو ایپس ایسے ڈیٹا کے ساتھ فراہم کرنا ہے جس کا انہیں علم ہو، مگر اسے حقیقی معنوں میں کبھی استعمال نہیں کیا گیا۔

ایپس کے پاس صلاحیت ہے کہ وہ کسی کلپ بورڈ میں ڈیٹا کو کھینچ سکیں، یعنی یہ امکانات موجود ہوتے ہیں وہ صارف کی جاسوسی کرسکتی ہیں۔

ایپل کے سسٹم میں یونیورسل کلپ بورڈ کے اضافے کے بعد ایسی ایپس کی جانب سے ڈیٹا اکٹھا کرنے کا خطرہ بھی بڑھ گیا تھا۔

انٹرنیٹ سیکیورٹی کے لیے کام کرنے والی کمپنی مائیسک کے مطابق 'یہ بہت، بہت خطرناک ہے، یہ ایپس کلپ بورڈز کو پڑھتی ہیں اور اس کی کوئی وجہ بھی نہیں، ایک ایسی ایپ جس میں کوئی ٹیکسٹ فیلڈ نہ ہو یعنی جس میں کچھ لکھنا ممکن نہ ہو، اس کا کلپ بورڈ ٹیکسٹ پڑھنے کا کوئی جواز نہیں'۔

کمپنی کے مطابق محققین کے کام کی وجہ ے آئی او ایس 14 میں کلپ بورڈ نوٹیفکیشن فیچر متعارف کرایا گیا۔

کولیسٹرول کی سطح میں کمی لانے والی دوا اسٹیٹنز (Statins) نوول کورونا وائرس کے علاج میں مدد دے کر اموات اور میڈیکل وینٹی لیشن کی شرح کو کم کرسکتی ہے۔

یہ بات ایک نئی طبی تحقیق میں سامنے آئی۔

 

یہ دوا عموماً کولیسٹرول کی سطح میں کمی لانے کے لیے استعمال کی جاتی ہے جبکہ جانوروں میں پھیپھڑوں کی انجری کو بڑھنے سے روکنے، مدافعتی ردعمل بہتر اور ورم کم کرتی ہے، یہ تینوں مسائل کووڈ 19 کے مریضوں میں عام ہوتے ہیں۔

طبی جریدے سیل میٹابولزم میں شائع تحقیق چینی ماہرین کی تھی، جس میں لگ بھگ 14 ہزار مریضوں میں اسٹیٹنز کے استعمال کی جانچ پڑتال کی گئی۔

محققین نے دریافت کیا کہ اس دوا کو استعمال کرنے والے افراد میں اموات کی شرح 45 فیصد تک کم ہوگئی۔

اسی طرح محققین نے یہ بھی دریافت کیا کہ اسٹیٹنز کو بلڈ پریشر میں کمی لانے والی ادویات کے ساتھ استعمال کرانے سے اموات کا خطرہ نہیں بڑھتا۔

ووہان یونیورسٹی کی اس تحقیق میں شامل ماہرین کا کہنا تھا کہ نتائج میں کووڈ 19 کے ہسپتال میں زیرعلاج مریضوں میں اس دوا کے استعمال کو محفوظ اور فائدہ مند قرار دیا گیا ہے۔

اگرچہ تحقیق میں ٹھوس انداز سے اموات کی شرح میں کمی کو ثابت نہیں کی گیا مگر ممکنہ علاج کی توقع ضرور فراہم کی ہے۔

محققین کا کہنا تھا کہ اگرچہ ڈیٹا سے اس دوا کے محفوظ ہونے کے شواہد ملے ہیں، مگر مزید ٹرائلز میں کووڈ 19 کے حوالے سے اس کی افادیت کو جانچا جانا چاہیے۔

ابھی تک کورونا وائر کے لیے کوئی ویکسین یا طریقہ علاج موجود نہیں، مگر اسٹیٹنز اور ریمیڈیسیور کے ٹرائلز کے نتائج اب تک مثبت رہے ہیں۔

اس سے قبل رواں ہفتے امریکا میں ہونے والی ایک تحقیق میں ذیابیطس مریضوں کے لیے دستیاب دوا گلوکوزفیج یا میٹفورمن کو بھی کورونا وائرس کے بدترین اثرات کی روک تھام میں مددگار قرار دیا گیا تھا۔

مینیسوٹا یونیورسٹی کی پری پرنٹ تحقیق (ایسی تحقیق جو کسی طبی جریدے میں شائع نہیں ہوئی ہو) میں دریافت کیا گیا کہ ہر جگہ آسانی سے دستیاب یہ دوا کورونا وائرس کے اثرات کی روک تھام میں مددگار ثابت ہوسکتی ہے۔

یہ کورونا وائرس کے خطرے کے عناصر پر ہونے والی چند بڑی مشاہداتی اسٹڈیز میں سے ایک تحقیق ہے، جس میں دریافت کیا گیا کہ موٹاپا اور ذیابیطس کووڈ 19 سے اموات کا باعث بننے والے 2 بڑے خطرات ہیں۔

مگر اس کے ساتھ ساتھ یہ بھی دریافت کیا گیا کہ گلوکوفیج سے کورونا وائرس سے موت کا خطرہ 21 سے 24 فیصد تک ان مریضوں میں کم کیا جاسکتا ہے جو پہلے ہی اس دوا کو ذیابیطس اور بلڈ شوگر لیول کو کنٹرول میں رکھنے کے لیے استعمال کررہے ہیں۔

محققین نے بتایا کہ لوگوں کو اس دوا کو وائرس کا علاج نہیں سمجھنا چاہیے، مگر نتائج سے کووڈ 19 جیسے وبائی امراض کے لیے ویکسین ہٹ کر قابو پانے کے نئے راستے کھل سکیں گے۔

انہوں نے کہا کہ یہ دوا ممکنہ طور پر کووڈ 19 کے مریضوں کے لیے مددگار ثابت ہوسکتی ہے کیونکہ یہ ورم کو کم کرنے کے ساتھ جسمانی مدافعتی نظام کے ردعمل کو کم کرتی ہے۔

کورونا وائرس کے کچھ کیسز میں بہت زیادہ متحرک مدافعتی نظام موت کی وجہ بن جاتا ہے۔

اس نئی تحقیق میں 6 ہزار سے زائد ایسے افراد کو دیکھا گیا جو ذیابیطس یا موٹاپے کے شکار رھے اور کووڈ 19 کے نتیجے میں ہسپتال میں زیرعلاج رہے۔

محققین نے دریافت کیا کہ ان خواتین میں اس وبائی بیماری سے اموات کم ہوئیں جن کو ذیابیطس کی دوا تجویز کی گئی تھی۔

 

خطرے کے دیگر عناصر کو مدنظر رکھ اندازہ لگایا گیا کہ اس دوا کے استعمال سے کووڈ 19 سے موت کا خطرہ 21 سے 24 فیصد تک کم ہوسکتا ہے، مگر یہ تعلق مردوں میں دیکھنے میں نہیں آیا۔

محققین کا کہنا تھا کہ ہم پہلے سے جانتے تھے کہ یہ دوا مردوں اور خواتین پر مختلف انداز سے اثرات مرتب کرتی ہے، ذیابیطس کی روک تھام کی ایک تحقیق میں ہم نے دریافت کیا تھا ککہ اس سے سی آر پی (ورم کا باعث بننے والا ایک پروٹین) کی سطح مردوں کے مقابلے میں خواتین میں دوگنا زیادہ کم ہوتی ہے۔

اس دوا سے کووڈ 19 کے مریضوں میں ورم کا باعث بننے والے پروٹین ٹی این ایف ایلفا کی سطح بھی کم ہوتی ہے، جو حالت بدتر بناتا ہے، خصوصاً مردوں کے مقابلے میں خواتین میں اس کی سطح زیادہ کم ہوتی ہے۔

محققین کا کہنا تھا کہ یہ دوا محفوظ، سستی اور آسانی سے دستیاب ہے اور اگر بڑے ٹرائلز میں اس کی افادیت ثابت ہوئی تو یہ کوود 19 کا ایک حقیقی علاج ثابت ہوسکے گی۔

It all started with the dream of growing a rose on Mars.

That vision, Elon Musk’s vision, morphed into a shake-up of the old space industry, and a fleet of new private rockets. Now, those rockets will launch Nasa astronauts from Florida to the International Space Station — the first time a for-profit company will carry astronauts into the cosmos.

It’s a milestone in the effort to commercialise space. But for Musk’s company, SpaceX, it’s also the latest milestone in a wild ride that began with epic failures and the threat of bankruptcy.

If the company’s eccentric founder and CEO has his way, this is just the beginning: He’s planning to build a city on the red planet, and live there.

“What I really want to achieve here is to make Mars seem possible, make it seem as though it’s something that we can do in our lifetimes and that you can go,” Musk told a cheering congress of space professionals in Mexico in 2016.

Musk “is a revolutionary change” in the space world, says Harvard University astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell, whose Jonathan’s Space Report has tracked launches and failures for decades.

Read: Elon Musk's SpaceX sends world's most powerful rocket on first commercial flight

Ex-astronaut and former Commercial Spaceflight Federation chief Michael Lopez-Alegria says, “I think history will look back at him like a da Vinci figure.”

Musk has become best known for Tesla, his audacious effort to build an electric vehicle company. But SpaceX predates it.

At 30, Musk was already wildly rich from selling his internet financial company PayPal and its predecessor Zip2. He arranged a series of lunches in Silicon Valley in 2001 with G. Scott Hubbard, who had been Nasa’s Mars czar and was then running the agency’s Ames Research Center.

Musk wanted to somehow grow a rose on the red planet, show it to the world and inspire school children, recalls Hubbard.

“His real focus was having life on Mars,” says Hubbard, a Stanford University professor who now chairs SpaceX’s crew safety advisory panel.

The big problem, Hubbard told him, was building a rocket affordable enough to go to Mars. Less than a year later Space Exploration Technologies, called SpaceX, was born.

In this Tuesday, Feb 6, 2018 file photo, a Falcon 9 SpaceX heavy rocket lifts off from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, US. — AP
In this Tuesday, Feb 6, 2018 file photo, a Falcon 9 SpaceX heavy rocket lifts off from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, US. — AP

 

There are many space companies and like all of them, SpaceX is designed for profit. But what’s different is that behind that profit motive is a goal, which is simply to “get Elon to Mars”, McDowell says. “By having that longer-term vision, that’s pushed them to be more ambitious and really changed things.”

Everyone at SpaceX, from senior vice presidents to the barista who offers its in-house cappuccinos and FroYo, “will tell you they are working to make humans multi-planetary”, says former SpaceX Director of Space Operations Garrett Reisman, an ex-astronaut now at the University of Southern California.

Musk founded the company just before Nasa ramped up the notion of commercial space.

Traditionally, private firms built things or provided services for Nasa, which remained the boss and owned the equipment. The idea of bigger roles for private companies has been around for more than 50 years, but the market and technology weren’t yet right.

Nasa’s two deadly space shuttle accidents — Challenger in 1986 and Columbia in 2003 — were pivotal, says W. Henry Lambright, a professor of public policy at Syracuse University.

When Columbia disintegrated, Nasa had to contemplate a post-space shuttle world. That’s where private companies came in, Lambright says.

After Columbia, the agency focused on returning astronauts to the moon, but still had to get cargo and astronauts to the space station, says Sean O’Keefe, who was Nasa’s administrator at the time. A 2005 pilot project helped private companies develop ships to bring cargo to the station.

SpaceX got some of that initial funding. The company’s first three launches failed. The company could have just as easily failed too, but Nasa stuck by SpaceX and it started to pay off, Lambright says.

“You can’t explain SpaceX without really understanding how Nasa really kind of nurtured it in the early days,” Lambright says. “In a way, SpaceX is kind of a child of Nasa.”

Since 2010, Nasa has spent $6 billion to help private companies get people into orbit, with SpaceX and Boeing the biggest recipients, says Phil McAlister, Nasa’s commercial spaceflight director.

Nasa plans to spend another $2.5bn to purchase 48 astronaut seats to the space station in 12 different flights, he says. At a little more than $50 million a ride, it’s much cheaper than what Nasa has paid Russia for flights to the station.

Starting from scratch has given SpaceX an advantage over older firms and Nasa that are stuck using legacy technology and infrastructure, O’Keefe says.

And SpaceX tries to build everything itself, giving the firm more control, Reisman says. The company saves money by reusing rockets, and it has customers aside from Nasa.

The California company now has 6,000 employees. Its workers are young, highly caffeinated and put in 60- to 90-hour weeks, Hubbard and Reisman say. They also embrace risk more than their Nasa counterparts.

Decisions that can take a year at Nasa can be made in one or two meetings at SpaceX, says Reisman, who still advises the firm.

In 2010, a Falcon 9 rocket on the launch pad had a cracked nozzle extension on an engine. Normally that would mean rolling the rocket off the pad and a fix that would delay launch more than a month.

But with Nasa’s permission, SpaceX engineer Florence Li was hoisted into the rocket nozzle with a crane and harness. Then, using what were essentially garden shears, she “cut the thing, we launched the next day and it worked”, Reisman says.

Musk is SpaceX’s public and unconventional face — smoking marijuana on a popular podcast, feuding with local officials about opening his Tesla plant during the pandemic, naming his newborn child “X Æ A-12”. But insiders say aerospace industry veteran Gwynne Shotwell, the president and chief operating officer, is also key to the company’s success.

“The SpaceX way is actually a combination of Musk’s imagination and creativity and drive and Shotwell’s sound management and responsible engineering,” McDowell says.

But it all comes back to Musk’s dream. Former Nasa chief O’Keefe says Musk has his eccentricities, huge doses of self-confidence and persistence, and that last part is key: “You have the capacity to get through a setback and look ... toward where you’re trying to go.”

For Musk, it’s Mars.

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