I could put a positive spin by saying that I agree with Musk that we should be pursuing better tech than SpaceX rockets

While the event itself was trivial, this provides a useful example of how journalists continue not only to repeat but to add to the mountain of bullshit that supports the myth of the real life Tony Stark. Though the tweet Musk was replying to has been deleted confusing matters a bit, this seems to be the sequence:

1. Musk responds to a tweet about an article on nuclear rockets with a vaguely positive comment.

2. He apparently didn't read article (at least not in depth) nor is he well versed on the topic. The "would be" suggests he didn't realize the research was ongoing. More telling is his lack of comment on the greatly reduced role SpaceX would play in a world of interplanetary nuclear thermal rockets. He's talking about a technology that would make his "starships" obsolete for anything more than ferrying (perhaps limited to large cargo if we continue to see advances in air-breathing rockets), but the apparent contradiction doesn't seem to occur to him.

3. The "would be a great area of research" tweet becomes the headline "Elon Musk Proposes a Controversial Plan to Speed Up Spaceflight to Mars."

This constant nudging toward myth is the original sin of the Tesla bubble, why it started and how it continues to grow despite the accumulation of ever more damning evidence. Even respectable publications go (Read more...)