Security fraud alleged


Staff & Wire Reports

FILE- In this Sept. 17, 2018, file photo SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk speaks after announcing Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa as the first private passenger on a trip around the moon in Hawthorne, Calif. U.S. securities regulators have filed a complaint against Musk alleging that he made false and misleading statements about plans to take the company private in August. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)

FILE- In this Sept. 17, 2018, file photo SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk speaks after announcing Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa as the first private passenger on a trip around the moon in Hawthorne, Calif. U.S. securities regulators have filed a complaint against Musk alleging that he made false and misleading statements about plans to take the company private in August. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)

SEC seeks to oust Tesla CEO Elon Musk over go-private tweet


AP Auto Writer

Thursday, September 27

DETROIT (AP) — U.S. securities regulators are asking a federal court to oust Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk, alleging in a complaint that he committed securities fraud with false statements about plans to take the company private.

The Securities and Exchange Commission says in the complaint filed Thursday that Musk falsely claimed in an Aug. 7 statement on Twitter that funding was secured to take the company private at $420 per share, a substantial premium over the price at the time.

The complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan says that Musk had not discussed or confirmed key deal terms including price with any funding source. It also asks for an order enjoining Musk from making false and misleading statements along with repayment of any gains as well as civil penalties.

“Corporate officers hold positions of trust in our markets and have important responsibilities to shareholders,” Steven Peikin, co-director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division, said in a statement. “An officer’s celebrity status or reputation as a technological innovator does not give license to take those responsibilities lightly.”

An SEC press release says it wants the courts for a “bar prohibiting Musk from serving as an officer or director of a public company.”

Tesla issued a response from Musk via email.

“This unjustified action by the SEC leaves me deeply saddened and disappointed,” he said in the statement. “I have always taken action in the best interests of truth, transparency and investors. Integrity is the most important value in my life and the facts will show I never compromised this in any way.”

The SEC alleged in the 23-page complaint that Musk made the statements using his mobile phone in the middle of a trading day. That day, Tesla shares closed up 11 percent from the previous day.

“He did not discuss the content of the statements with anyone else prior to publishing them to his over 22 million Twitter followers and anyone else with access to the Internet.”

The statements, the complaint said “were premised on a long series of baseless assumptions and were contrary to facts that Musk knew.”

Shares of Tesla fell 11 percent in after-hours trading to $273.56, after falling 2 percent before the market closed Thursday.

The Conversation

A decade of commercial space travel – what’s next?

September 27, 2018


Joel Wooten

Assistant Professor of Management Science, University of South Carolina

Disclosure statement

Joel Wooten does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.


University of South Carolina provides funding as a member of The Conversation US.

In many industries, a decade is barely enough time to cause dramatic change unless something disruptive comes along – a new technology, business model or service design. The space industry has recently been enjoying all three.

But 10 years ago, none of those innovations were guaranteed. In fact, on Sept. 28, 2008, an entire company watched and hoped as their flagship product attempted a final launch after three failures. With cash running low, this was the last shot. Over 21,000 kilograms of kerosene and liquid oxygen ignited and powered two booster stages off the launchpad.

When that Falcon 1 rocket successfully reached orbit and the company secured a subsequent contract with NASA, SpaceX had survived its ‘startup dip’. That milestone – the first privately developed liquid-fueled rocket to reach orbit – ignited a new space industry that is changing our world, on this planet and beyond. What has happened in the intervening years, and what does it mean going forward?

While scientists are busy developing new technologies that address the countless technical problems of space, there is another segment of researchers, including myself, studying the business angle and the operations issues facing this new industry. In a recent paper, my colleague Christopher Tang and I investigate the questions firms need to answer in order to create a sustainable space industry and make it possible for humans to establish extraterrestrial bases, mine asteroids and extend space travel – all while governments play an increasingly smaller role in funding space enterprises. We believe these business solutions may hold the less-glamorous key to unlocking the galaxy.

The new global space industry

When the Soviet Union launched their Sputnik program, putting a satellite in orbit in 1957, they kicked off a race to space fueled by international competition and Cold War fears. The Soviet Union and the United States played the primary roles, stringing together a series of “firsts” for the record books. The first chapter of the space race culminated with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s historic Apollo 11 moon landing which required massive public investment, on the order of US$25.4 billion, almost $200 billion in today’s dollars.

Competition characterized this early portion of space history. Eventually, that evolved into collaboration, with the International Space Station being a stellar example, as governments worked toward shared goals. Now, we’ve entered a new phase – openness – with private, commercial companies leading the way.

The industry for spacecraft and satellite launches is becoming more commercialized, due, in part, to shrinking government budgets. According to a report from the investment firm Space Angels, a record 120 venture capital firms invested over $3.9 billion in private space enterprises last year. The space industry is also becoming global, no longer dominated by the Cold War rivals, the United States and USSR.

In 2018 to date, there have been 72 orbital launches, an average of two per week, from launch pads in China, Russia, India, Japan, French Guinea, New Zealand and the U.S.

The uptick in orbital launches of actual rockets as well as spacecraft launches, which includes satellites and probes launched from space, coincides with this openness over the past decade.

More governments, firms and even amateurs engage in various spacecraft launches than ever before. With more entities involved, innovation has flourished. As Roberson notes in Digital Trends, “Private, commercial spaceflight. Even lunar exploration, mining, and colonization – it’s suddenly all on the table, making the race for space today more vital than it has felt in years.”

One can see this vitality plainly in the news. On Sept. 21, Japan announced that two of its unmanned rovers, dubbed Minerva-II-1, had landed on a small, distant asteroid. For perspective, the scale of this landing is similar to hitting a 6-centimeter target from 20,000 kilometers away. And earlier this year, people around the world watched in awe as SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket successfully launched and – more impressively – returned its two boosters to a landing pad in a synchronized ballet of epic proportions.

Challenges and opportunities

Amidst the growth of capital, firms and knowledge, both researchers and practitioners must figure out how entities should manage their daily operations, organize their supply chain and develop sustainable operations in space. This is complicated by the hurdles space poses: distance, gravity, inhospitable environments and information scarcity.

One of the greatest challenges involves actually getting the things people want in space, into space. Manufacturing everything on Earth and then launching it with rockets is expensive and restrictive. A company called Made In Space is taking a different approach by maintaining an additive manufacturing facility on the International Space Station and 3D printing right in space. Tools, spare parts and medical devices for the crew can all be created on demand. The benefits include more flexibility and better inventory management on the space station. In addition, certain products can be produced better in space than on Earth, such as pure optical fiber.

How should companies determine the value of manufacturing in space? Where should capacity be built and how should it be scaled up? The figure below breaks up the origin and destination of goods between Earth and space and arranges products into quadrants. Humans have mastered the lower left quadrant, made on Earth – for use on Earth. Moving clockwise from there, each quadrant introduces new challenges, for which we have less and less expertise.

I first became interested in this particular problem as I listened to a panel of robotics experts discuss building a colony on Mars (in our third quadrant). You can’t build the structures on Earth and easily send them to Mars, so you must manufacture there. But putting human builders in that extreme environment is equally problematic. Essentially, an entirely new mode of production using robots and automation in an advance envoy may be required.

Resources in space

You might wonder where one gets the materials for manufacturing in space, but there is actually an abundance of resources: Metals for manufacturing can be found within asteroids, water for rocket fuel is frozen as ice on planets and moons, and rare elements like helium-3 for energy are embedded in the crust of the moon. If we brought that particular isotope back to Earth, we could eliminate our dependence on fossil fuels.

As demonstrated by the recent Minerva-II-1 asteroid landing, people are acquiring the technical know-how to locate and navigate to these materials. But extraction and transport are open questions.

How do these cases change the economics in the space industry? Already, companies like Planetary Resources, Moon Express, Deep Space Industries, and Asterank are organizing to address these opportunities. And scholars are beginning to outline how to navigate questions of property rights, exploitation and partnerships.

Threats from space junk

The movie “Gravity” opens with a Russian satellite exploding, which sets off a chain reaction of destruction thanks to debris hitting a space shuttle, the Hubble telescope, and part of the International Space Station. The sequence, while not perfectly plausible as written, is a very real phenomenon. In fact, in 2013, a Russian satellite disintegrated when it was hit with fragments from a Chinese satellite that exploded in 2007. Known as the Kessler effect, the danger from the 500,000-plus pieces of space debris has already gotten some attention in public policy circles. How should one prevent, reduce or mitigate this risk? Quantifying the environmental impact of the space industry and addressing sustainable operations is still to come.

What’s next?

It’s true that space is becoming just another place to do business. There are companies that will handle the logistics of getting your destined-for-space module on board a rocket; there are companies that will fly those rockets to the International Space Station; and there are others that can make a replacement part once there.

What comes next? In one sense, it’s anybody’s guess, but all signs point to this new industry forging ahead. A new breakthrough could alter the speed, but the course seems set: exploring farther away from home, whether that’s the moon, asteroids or Mars. It’s hard to believe that 10 years ago, SpaceX launches were yet to be successful. Today, a vibrant private sector consists of scores of companies working on everything from commercial spacecraft and rocket propulsion to space mining and food production. The next step is working to solidify the business practices and mature the industry.

Standing in a large hall at the University of Pittsburgh as part of the White House Frontiers Conference, I see the future. Wrapped around my head are state-of-the-art virtual reality goggles. I’m looking at the surface of Mars. Every detail is immediate and crisp. This is not just a video game or an aimless exercise. The scientific community has poured resources into such efforts because exploration is preceded by information. And who knows, maybe 10 years from now, someone will be standing on the actual surface of Mars.

1 Comment

Terrence Treft

“A decade of commerical space travel – what’s next?”

apparently from the photo, a lot more smoke and pollution on launch. wonder and imagination about our cosmos is/has always been fundamental to the human psyche. yet, we don’t live there. we live on earth. if we don’t focus our attention on our home planet, a few of us will one day need to mount a rocket to find a new home elsewhere.

Some GOP governors call for delay on Kavanaugh vote


Associated Press

Thursday, September 27

A handful of Republican governors facing re-election called on the U.S. Senate Thursday to delay a confirmation vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh to allow time for an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations.

The governors don’t have an official role in the nomination process, but their voices could add pressure to the Senate’s consideration and help distance themselves from President Donald Trump.

Three governors who called for a delay in the vote have been critical of Trump on at least some issues in the past and are seeking re-election in Democratic-leaning states. Some of their opponents are calling on the Republicans to go even further, including calling on the president to withdraw Kavanaugh’s nomination.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker told reporters there needs to be a full and independent investigation of the claims before a vote is taken.

“I said that because I believe professor Ford,” Baker said.

He was referring to Christine Blasey Ford, who told the Senate Judiciary Committee during a hearing Thursday that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when both were teenagers in the 1980s. Kavanaugh denied the allegations.

At a rally in Boston on Thursday, his Democratic opponent, Jay Gonzalez, still took aim at Baker for not speaking out more strongly.

“I will be a governor who stands up for women, speaks out against sexual abuse and believes survivors who have the courage to share their stories,” he said.

On Wednesday, before Ford’s testimony, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott told the Burlington Free Press that the Senate was obligated to “get it right.”

“So take your time. Investigate,” he said.

Another Republican facing re-election this November, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, called Ford’s allegations serious and said they should be fully investigated.

Through a campaign spokesman, Sununu said the Senate “should think carefully about the next steps in this process.”

His Democratic challenger Molly Kelly, said Sununu should go further and call for Trump to withdraw Kavanaugh’s nomination.

“Sununu’s latest statement is not enough,” Kelly said in a statement. “And he owes the women of New Hampshire an apology.”

The allegations resonate deeply in Maryland, where Kavanaugh and Ford attended separate private prep schools. Ford says the assault took place at a house party in a Maryland suburb of Washington, D.C.

Through a spokeswoman, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Kavanaugh’s nomination should not proceed without a full investigation of the allegations. A week earlier, Hogan had rejected a Democratic state senator’s call for Maryland state police to investigate Ford’s story.

Hogan’s opponent in the November election, Democrat Ben Jealous, went further, saying Kavanaugh should not be confirmed.

“The women who have come forward should have the freedom to pursue legal remedy, and our leaders have the obligation to do everything they can to end this epidemic of sexual violence,” he said in a statement.

Some other Republican governors and candidates for the office stopped short of calling for a full investigation.

Mike DeWine, the Republican running for the open governor’s seat in Ohio, said the Senate needs to look carefully at the evidence, but without specifically calling for a delay in the confirmation vote.

Brian Sandoval, the outgoing Republican governor of Nevada, and Scott Walker, running for re-election in Wisconsin, made similar comments.

Associated Press writers Scott Bauer in Madison, Wisconsin; Michelle Price in Las Vegas; Holly Ramer in Concord, New Hampshire; Bob Salsberg in Boston; Julie Carr Smyth in Columbus, Ohio;; and Brian Witte in Annapolis, Maryland, contributed to this report.

Follow Mulvihill at

The Conversation

Teen ‘boys will be boys’: A brief history

September 27, 2018


Ashwini Tambe

Editorial Director, Feminist Studies; Associate Professor, Department of Women’s Studies, University of Maryland

Disclosure statement

Ashwini Tambe received funding from SSHRC and NEH for her research on the history of girlhood.

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s actions as a teenager are at the center of a public firestorm.

“I’ve been really troubled by the excuse offered by too many that this was a high school incident, and ‘boys will be boys,’ said Sen. Chris Coons during testimony by Christine Blasey Ford before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 27.

But Trump surrogates such as Kellyanne Conway have dismissed his actions are merely those of a “teenager.” The adult Kavanaugh cannot be held accountable, such logic goes, for these alleged youthful indiscretions.

What exactly do we mean by teenage behavior? And who gets to be this kind of teenager?

In the United States, the teen years are frequently assumed to be a time of experimentation, risk-taking and rebellion. But this notion of adolescence as a phase of irresponsible behavior is a relatively new invention.

The idea of adolescence: A history

It was only in the first decade of the 20th century that U.S. psychologists came up with the idea of a separate life phase called adolescence and began treating these years as an extension of childhood.

The term “adolescence” – emerging from the Latin word for youth, adulescence – had circulated in English since the Middle Ages, but modern psychologists carved it out as a chronologically specific phase during which a person prepared for adulthood while legally remaining a child. And, as my research shows, U.S. psychologists’ idea of adolescence took time to take root and traveled slowly to other parts of the world, even encountering resistance in places such as India.

In the U.S., compulsory schooling and age-based classrooms inaugurated in the 1870s laid the groundwork for imagining teen years as a sheltered phase. By the 1910s, educators came to a consensus that compulsory high school should extend until age 18. Before then, most men and women under that age could be, and were, expected to work, get married and even have children.

The most forceful explanation of adolescence as a distinct phase appeared in the work of G. Stanley Hall, founder of the American Journal of Psychology and the first president of the American Psychological Association. His 1904 “Adolescence” described a phase that spread out between the ages of 12 and 18, encompassing the breaking of voice and facial hair for boys and the first menstrual period and breast development for girls – and the emotional maturation following these physical developments.

While the end of childhood had been marked in many cultures with a rite of passage at puberty – such as the bar mitzvah or the quinceanera – he proposed that the emotional transition actually lasted longer and ended later.


Hall described adolescence as a period of rebelliousness and individualism. Rebelliousness, he believed, was a developmental requirement for the full flowering of self. He also expressed anxiety around how to manage boys’ sexual impulses during the teen years, devoting an entire chapter to the “dangers” of sexual development. More than any other psychologist, Hall contributed to the understanding of adolescence as a time of heightened storm and stress and emotional turbulence. His chosen constellation of features – rebelliousness, emotional turbulence, sexual recklessness – became the blueprint for analyzing and assessing the problems of young people.

But here’s the catch. Many of these early descriptions of adolescence were written for and about boys of the same social background as the author – white and middle-class. It was primarily such boys who could enjoy an extended childhood characterized by social and sexual experimentation. Lower-class boys and most black boys were expected to grow up earlier by entering the manual labor market and assuming responsibilities in their teens. A prolonged preparation for adulthood was actually available only to those with economic means.

Double standards

A similar double standard is echoed today in the way Kavanaugh’s supporters grant him leeway. Sympathetic accounts contextualize Kavanaugh’s behavior as part of boys’ culture at the elite institutions where he studied and just “rough horseplay.” This reaction is part of a social tendency to see wealthy white boys’ actions as innocently naughty, rather than dangerous. Black boys, on the other hand, routinely experience “adultification,” as historian Ann Ferguson called it – the assignment of adult motivations and ability. We do not need to look far for contemporary examples: Trayvon Martin, age 17, was stalked and killed by a vigilante neighbor who suspected he was a threat. Even 12-year-old Tamir Rice was killed because police officers thought he was a danger. And 17-year-old boys of color are regularly tried as adults and sent to prison.

What about adolescent girls?

Expectations for teenage behavior are also deeply gendered in the United States.

Innocently naughty behavior has historically been the prerogative of teenage boys rather than girls. Rebelliousness was frowned upon if girls – whether black or white – expressed it. Historian Crista DeLuzio goes so far as to depict much of the early writing on adolescence as “boyology.” Girls were simply not imagined, in psychologists’ work, to have the same entitlement to experimentation and innocent risk-taking.

This double standard continues to permeate U.S. culture. There is a telling relevant example from the U.S. college context: Sororities, unlike fraternities, are bound by a ban on alcohol by the National Panhellenic Conference.

Kavanaugh’s alleged actions as a teen under the influence of alcohol have not tainted his reputation as a judge for many on the political right. But Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez are pilloried by Donald Trump as unreliable because they were possibly drunk at age 15 and 18. Kavanaugh’s own views on teenage girls’ accountability are telling: In a controversial decision he offered as a federal judge, he called to delay a 17-year-old pregnant undocumented girl’s access to an abortion. Although he claimed it was because she was a minor and needed parental consent, his delay could have forced the 17-year-old into motherhood – an adult consequence.

Social expectations

Humans going through puberty certainly experience endocrine changes and neural growth. But our social expectations for behavior are what permit – and indeed elicit – specific types of acts, such as drunken unruliness. As psychologist Jeffrey Arnett notes, Hall’s ideas about adolescent storm and stress have been widely repudiated by subsequent generations of psychologists, even if some of the physiological changes he tracked are still considered accurate. And Crista de Luzio notes that in the 17th century, youth was experienced as a “relatively smooth” period in New England Puritan culture in contrast to Europe in the same era. Widespread youthful rebelliousness, she argues, corresponded more generally with social instability.

Ultimately, there is no necessary physiological reason for holding that unruly or rebellious behavior has to accompany endocrine changes in the teen years. Our uneven expectations about teenage behavior – condoning white wealthy boys’ actions but not those of girls or other boys – say more, then, about us than about teens themselves.

FILE- In this Sept. 17, 2018, file photo SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk speaks after announcing Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa as the first private passenger on a trip around the moon in Hawthorne, Calif. U.S. securities regulators have filed a complaint against Musk alleging that he made false and misleading statements about plans to take the company private in August. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File) In this Sept. 17, 2018, file photo SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk speaks after announcing Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa as the first private passenger on a trip around the moon in Hawthorne, Calif. U.S. securities regulators have filed a complaint against Musk alleging that he made false and misleading statements about plans to take the company private in August. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)

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