Tesla reveals a slick electric semitruck

Elon Musk's Tesla Motors unveiled its first-ever electric semi truck.

Elon Musk-led Tesla Motors unveiled a new truck yesterday - its first fully electric Tesla Semi. The slick truck has a giant battery which lets it go for 500 miles on one charge and can haul 80,000 pounds. It also comes with Enhanced Autopilot, a next-generation semiautonomous driving tech which will add automation to the truck’s braking, lane keeping and lane departure warnings.

Musk teased about the truck’s unveiling in tweets earlier in the week, saying the truck will “blow your mind clear out of your skull and into an alternate dimension.”

According to Wired, the truck features a carbon fiber cab on the outside, with special attention paid to aerodynamics. The driver seat has been moved to the middle of the cab. Two 15-inch touchscreen control most of the navigation. The battery is reinforced in case of fire or explosion. 

The electric truck gives Musk an opportunity to do something concrete about the issue of climate change, which he has called “the biggest threat that humanity faces this century, except for AI” in previous interviews. As trucks are particularly toxic, making electric trucks a reality could make a direct impact on emissions. 

“Heavy-duty vehicles make up a small fraction of the vehicles on the road, but a large fraction of their emissions,” told clean vehicle specialist Jimmy O’Dea to Wired. 

In California, 20% of transportation-related of greenhouse emissions are due to buses and trucks. Electric truck fleets could have a significant effect on the situation. 

On the issue of autopilot, Musk said it will be the “standard” in every Tesla truck, adding that "this is a massive increase in safety."

The automation can result in massive job losses in the industry, however, with Goldman Sachs predicting that up to 300,000 driving jobs per year will be lost when full automation hits.

Along with the truck, Tesla also made a surprise announcement of a new sports car called Roadster. Available in 2020, it will accelerate at “world record” speed, according to Musk. CNBC reports the 0 to 60 acceleration will be in astounding 1.9 seconds. 

Production of the truck is slated to start in 2019.

Ideology drives us apart. Neuroscience can bring us back together.

A guide to making difficult conversations possible—and peaceful—in an increasingly polarized nation.

  • How can we reach out to people on the other side of the divide? Get to know the other person as a human being before you get to know them as a set of tribal political beliefs, says Sarah Ruger. Don't launch straight into the difficult topics—connect on a more basic level first.
  • To bond, use icebreakers backed by neuroscience and psychology: Share a meal, watch some comedy, see awe-inspiring art, go on a tough hike together—sharing tribulation helps break down some of the mental barriers we have between us. Then, get down to talking, putting your humanity before your ideology.
  • The Charles Koch Foundation is committed to understanding what drives intolerance and the best ways to cure it. The foundation supports interdisciplinary research to overcome intolerance, new models for peaceful interactions, and experiments that can heal fractured communities. For more information, visit charleskochfoundation.org/courageous-collaborations.

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
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Why a federal judge ordered White House to restore Jim Acosta's press badge

A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration likely violated the reporter's Fifth Amendment rights when it stripped his press credentials earlier this month.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 16: CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta (R) returns to the White House with CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist after Federal judge Timothy J. Kelly ordered the White House to reinstate his press pass November 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. CNN has filed a lawsuit against the White House after Acosta's press pass was revoked after a dispute involving a news conference last week. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Acosta will be allowed to return to the White House on Friday.
  • The judge described the ruling as narrow, and didn't rule one way or the other on violations of the First Amendment.
  • The case is still open, and the administration may choose to appeal the ruling.
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