Boyleing Points

When the stock market first dropped a couple of weeks back I thought about an old buddy who used to manage money at a Wall Street firm.  He’d say after a down day, his company “made millionaires….out of billionaires.”  Ya might have to read that twice to get the joke.

Anyway, speaking of billionaires, I‘ve met two: Michael Bloomberg and Stephen Spielberg.  As far as I could tell, they had nothing in common other than having more money than they could ever spend.  Oh, apologies to my friends and acquaintances at the Belle Harbor Yacht Club if I didn’t realize your net worth starts with a “B.”  So please, no letter to the editor telling me you’re like, really rich. 

Anyway, a billion is a lot.  A measly two percent interest on a billion is $20 million a year.

Most people could get by on 20 mil a year but most people, most billionaires, aren’t Elon Musk.

Elon Musk is underrated.  He’s got a funny name so maybe that’s one reason he flies — so to speak — under the radar.  The guy is out there and not shy about publicizing himself but he’s not Einstein or Thomas Edison famous — though he should be.

You probably heard about the rocket launch that was called a “game changer” for future commercial space travel.  Because the rocket boosters proved reusable the costs fall dramatically.  Investment and further innovation will follow.  A manned mission to Mars is downright plausible now.

And Musk is the guy making it happen.  He’s the guy who started the Tesla, the groundbreaking electric car company.  Tesla, by the way, is named after a brilliant inventor, Nikoloi Tesla who was overshadowed by Edison.

Musk has a rocket company and a car company.  And he’s got something called The Boring Company — though it’s anything but.  It’s boring as in making tunnels — not boring as in me writing about inventors.

Sick of traffic, he figured tunnels were the way to go but not just ordinary tunnels.  He plans the kind that have electric sleds that can fly along at 125 miles per hour.  Eventually the sleds will be replaced by passenger capsules that will go far faster. The early version means a trip from Manhattan to Washington DC will take 29 minutes (or one third the time it takes you to get from Rockaway to the City).  He’s got plans for tunnels in California and the east coast. It sounds science-fictiony but he’s already got some permits and some governmental approvals.

He wants to harness enough solar energy to power the whole world.  He’s working on it.

Oh, and robots?  He’s scared to death of Artificial Intelligence. Basically he thinks robots will eventually kill or enslave us. (“Alexa, can I play music for you?”)  And he thinks that World War III will probably occur because of it, otherwise he’s wildly optimistic about the future.

I’m selling him short in this brief overview because he really is our modern day Edison.

But the real point is that he’s a billionaire doing something with his billions.  It seems a lot of billionaires just want to make more billions.  They want to move up on the world’s richest list.

Big deal.  But what I do know, I’m just a thousandaire.

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