Episode 071 – Elon Musk is Boring!

Tesla Solar Roofies, some solar blinds to augment that roof, Microsoft OSXing Windows 10, Fan made games, herd immunity requires… you know… the whole herd, Spotify Scan Codes, Conquering the world with stirrups, Tesla’s Model 3 will earn them money, CIL, TIL, and more! This is a jam-packed episode.

The Citizens of Tech podcast covers energy, science, astronomy, inventions, and space exploration with a little gaming, gadgets, apps, and related nerdy things thrown in along the way. Find out all about us at CitizensOfTech.com, CitizensOfTech on Twitter, and in the CitizensOfTech subreddit.

Order Your Tesla Solar Roof





  • Orders are now open.
  • Black glass smooth tiles and the textured glass tiles, with additional styles available in the future.
  • Connectors are magical. Lots of tech involved, apparently.
    • Musk. “This is a connector that has to last for more than 30 years. It has to be weatherproof, heavy rain, snow, slush, salt, water leaking – it’s like connector hell.”
    • Tesla CTO JB Straubel. “A lot of the challenges here leveraged some great learning from the Tesla team on validating automotive connectors and volume production processes. Tesla is building all these tiles ourselves – we are not outsourcing it. We have been able to solve those more complexed design problems and hit those price points that you see.”
  • Tesla says that, “typical homeowner can expect to pay $21.85 per square foot for a Solar Roof.”
    • That’s if 35% of the roof are solar panels. Shingles? Definitely some weasel words there.
    • Tesla thinks that the average homeowner will need around 40% of the roof as solar, although some as much as 70%. All depends on your energy needs.
    • More weasel words, but worth considering, is that you end up getting paid for the roof, because you are making electricity.
    • Actual cost for a solar tile is $42 per square foot which is naturally more costly than a regular shingle, but Tesla considers them cheaper than other alternatives when you factor in the power generated.
  • Elon Musk described the warranty. “Made with tempered glass, Solar Roof tiles are more than three times stronger than standard roofing tiles. That’s why we offer the best warranty in the industry – the lifetime of your house, or infinity, whichever comes first.”
    • Then even shot a ball of hail at the tiles during the durability testing.
  • Calculator to estimate the total cost.
  • Quotes automatically included an installed 14kWh Powerwall 2, which you can opt out of. But you wouldn’t.
  • $1,000 deposit required.
  • 5-7 day installation time. US market prioritized first. Outside US, probably next year.


SolarGaps – Energy Generating Solar Panel Window Blinds


  • “Reduce your apartment, home and/or business electricity bill by up to 70% with solar energy generating smart blinds.”
  • “SolarGaps smart blinds automatically track the sun throughout the day, adjusting position to the optimal angles to generate solar electricity to power devices in your home, apartment or office.”
  • “DIY PLUG & PLAY – With apartment renters in mind, the interior wall brackets are designed as a non-permanent, plug & play solution with additional installation options for homeowners to maximize energy production.”
  • “ENERGY GENERATING – Built-in solar panels can generate up to 100W-150W of renewable energy per 10 sq. ft. (≈ 1 m2) of a window, enough to power 30 LED light bulbs or three MacBooks.”
  • “ENERGY REDUCING – In addition to generating solar energy, the window blinds also save energy by shading your home interior and reducing air condition cost by up to 40%.”
  • “AFFORDABLE – Energy surplus can either be stored by battery or can easily be sold to your electricity company as green energy through a two-way meter they provide.”
  • “SMART FEATURES – Easily integrate with smart devices like Google Home, Echo, Nest Thermostat and more to control by voice, temperature and/or smartphone app.”
  • Install inside or outside – they recommend outside.
  • $18,146 out of $50,000 needed. KickStarter ends Wed, June 14 2017 12:56 PM EDT.
  • Pledge from $39 to $4,895 with lots of options in between depending on what size you get and quantity.


Microsoft Windows (10S store requirement, Timeline, Cortana)



  • “Windows 10 S blocks the execution of any program that wasn’t downloaded from the Windows Store. Arbitrary downloaded apps, or even apps with physical install media, are forbidden, a move that on the one hand prevents running malware but on the other blocks the use of most Windows software.”
  • “Why would Microsoft make such a move? According to critics, it’s not for any reason that benefits Windows users, but rather so that the company can enjoy the riches that come from taking a 30-percent cut of everything sold through the Windows Store.”
  • But the big positive is a clean Windows experience. Apps that meet some Microsoft criteria are in the store. Apps are installed and uninstalled cleanly. Less Windows clutter. Less malware destroying the world. For the right user, this isn’t a bad thing.
  • Let’s assume there’s going to be enough apps in the store is all…not a for sure thing right now.
  • “At its annual Build developer conference, Microsoft took the wraps off the next major Windows 10 version, the Fall Creators Update, and announced some of its new features.”
    • “Timeline tracks what you’re doing—which documents you have in which apps, which e-mails you’re writing, what Web pages you have open, that kind of thing—and lets you retrieve that information later.”
    • “On Windows, the Timeline information is displayed in the task switcher. Press the taskbar button (or, we’d hope, Win-Tab) and Windows will continue to show your currently open applications. But you can now scroll that view to bring historic applications and documents into view.”
    • “The Cortana element is called “Pick Up Where I Left Off,” and it allows a similar kind of restoration of what you’re doing. PUWILO is available in Windows, but, like Cortana, is also available on iOS and Android. This means that for applications that support it, you’ll be able to stop what you’re doing on one machine—writing an e-mail, say—and resume that task on an iPhone.”


Fan Games


  • Some folks out there love certain games so much that they’ll mod them or mash them up with other games. Like taking a map from Red Dead Redemption and bringing it into GTA5.
  • The problem is legality. Good chance this behavior is breaking copyright laws, and will earn you a DMCA takedown notice.
  • Stephen McArthur is an LA lawyer who specialized in video game intellectual property. He helps game companies create policies for “fan games.”
  • “Don’t break the rules and they won’t come after you, is the implication, even though every policy still reserves a right to shut something down in unforeseen or unspecified cases, or for any reason. Still, such rules have to exist, and McArthur thinks it’s good business for publishers with huge fan followings to adopt them.”
  • But if you’re a tool, well…yeah. The companies will act against you. Duh.
    • “McArthur says anything that looks like “cracking” a game is a deal-breaker even if a publisher has articulated fan-use guidelines. Anything that could be considered a hack or a cheat is going to find trouble.”
    • “His advice to mod-makers and fan-game designers: Keep it non-commercial, giving the work away for free. Do not use any of the company’s logos or music, and make it clear that the work is non-official and not sponsored or endorsed by the publisher.”
    • Then, “Keep it clean; nothing controversial, racist, sexist or otherwise offensive.” In case that wasn’t clear enough, “Do not damage their brand or company.”


If you don’t vaccinate, measles breaks out. Super weird!


  • Some folks have decided that vaccines cause autism. There’s no science to back that, but lots of “Internet wisdom” aka ignorant hysteria.
  • In a Somali immigrant community in Minnesota, their vaccination rate dropped from 92% in 2004 to 42% in 2014.
  • Minnesota has now got its largest measles outbreak since the 1990’s.
  • How did the FUD spread? A guy named Wakefield…
    • “Wakefield, a former British doctor who now lives in Texas, is considered the founder of the modern anti-vaccination movement. In 2010, around the time he was visiting the Somali community, he was stripped of his British medical license for falsifying a 1998 study. The study fraudulently alleged that the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine caused autism. Wakefield was paid to produce the study to aid a money-making legal scheme, which ultimately failed. The study was retracted, and Wakefield was also found guilty of dozens of other counts of professional misconduct, including abusing autistic children. Despite the shocking misconduct and retraction, the harmful belief that life-saving vaccines cause autism lives on.”


Spotify Scan Codes


  • QR-like codes for sharing anything on Spotify are coming. Spotify scan codes.
  • Camera built-in to the toolbar.
  • Or grab a screenshot and import it into Spotify.
  • Haven’t seen the official announcement as yet, but it’s interesting.
    • Shows an emphasis on easy mobile sharing.
    • OTOH, there’s lot of ways to share that seem easy enough.
    • OTOOH, anything that reduces a swipe or a click is good. I assume that the codes are going to reduce some of the friction.


Were Metal Stirrups The Making Of The Mongols?


  • “Many historians believe [the Mongols’] power stemmed from an incredibly simple technological innovation: the stirrup.”
  • Stirrups are a big deal. You can ride longer. Less likely to get knocked off your horse during battle.
  • Leather loops were early forms of stirrups.
  • “In 2016, archaeologists at the Center of Cultural Heritage of Mongolia unearthed the remains of a Mongolian woman dating back to the 10th century AD. Along with sturdy leather boots and some changes of clothes, she was buried with a saddle and metal stirrups described as in such good condition that they could still be used today. The stirrups are one continuous thick piece of metal with an open loop for a saddle strap on the top and a wide, flattened, and slightly rounded foot rest. The stirrups had to be comfortable and tough, because Mongols used them to ride in a way no one else rode.”
  • The Mongols were described as riding standing up. They practiced hard in this position, and learned to maintain balance and horse control, hands-free. That meant they could pivot at the waist, and use weapons, making they flexible and formidable in battle. They could flow smoothly while the horse moved under them.
    • Reminded me of being a kid and riding a mountain bike down a hill. You had to let the bike move around underneath you, or you’d get thrown off.


Making Sweet EV Money With The Tesla 3


  • EV’s have been loss leaders for automotive companies.
  • But Tesla makes money on the Model S, and it looks like they might make money with the Model 3. Sort of important with the Model 3, since this is a mass production car, not a boutique special for rich people only.
  • “Whether or not they will manage to is still up for debate, but an analyst today came out with a note predicting that they will be able to achieve a ~25% gross margin – comparable with the Model S’ margin.”
  • “It would be a game changer for Tesla since at a planned production of 400,000 units per year and an average sale price of ~$45,000, it would represent $18 billion in revenue and roughly $4 billion in gross margin from a single vehicle program. In the process, it would remove the popular talking point in the auto industry that reasonably priced all-electric vehicles can’t turn a profit.“


Content I Like

Sam Harris “Waking Up” Podcast


  • Thoughtful, interesting topics.
  • Neuroscience, cognition & consciousness, science, societal implications of xenophobia, true racism vs. political correctness, does man truly have free will, genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, the ethics of eating meat.
  • Sam is best known as an atheist, and an anti-religion attitude comes up frequently in his content. Fair warning if that will put you off.


Today I Learned



Animals that are mobile and (relatively) mature immediately after they are born. For example, baby bunnies are born fully furred and with their eyes open.


The first microwave oven developed by a Ratheon engineer:


It weighed about 750 pounds and was nearly 6 feet tall. It also required water cooling, so it had to have water lines run to it.


The beta microwave was placed in a restaurant in Boston for testing. Raytheon introduced a commercial microwave oven, the 1161 Radarange, in 1954. It was expensive — priced at $2,000 to $3,000 (the equivalent of $16,000 to $24,000 in today’s cash).

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