Calling Elon Musk’s bluff


Twitter

Twitter has sued Elon Musk over the Musk’s attempt to back out of his agreement to buy Twitter, accusing him of damaging Twitter’s business, and asking the court to enforce the agreement, forcing Musk to consummate the deal.[1] This would be the first of Danny Fortson’s options, one he thought unlikely to succeed.[2] (I concurred.[3]) Of course that’s a very long ways from saying Musk will prevail. I’m still not seeing anyone say he has a legal leg to stand on.[4]

Cara Lombardo and Sarah E. Needleman, “Twitter Sues Elon Musk to Enforce $44 Billion Merger,” Wall Street Journal, July 12, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/twitter-sues-elon-musk-over-attempt-to-walk-away-from-44-billion-deal-11657660307


Gilead

Donald Trump

Coup attempt

Kyle Cheney and Nicholas Wu, “‘His own choices’: Select panel says Trump — not his advisers — set Jan. 6 in motion,” Politico, July 12, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/07/12/jan-6-panel-trump-direct-hand-00045470

Maggie Haberman, “Tears, Screaming and Insults: Inside an ‘Unhinged’ Meeting to Keep Trump in Power,” New York Times, July 12, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/12/us/politics/jan-6-trump-meeting-screaming.html

Abortion

Zachary Groz, “Out-of-state patients surge at Allegheny County abortion clinics as bans enacted elsewhere,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 13, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/health/2022/07/13/out-of-state-patients-surge-at-allegheny-county-abortion-clinics-supreme-court-dobbs-jackson/stories/202207120095


Electric vehicles

When you see a headline like the one in Tom Randall’s article, and the subheading that accompanies it, “Once 5% of new-car sales go fully electric, everything changes — according to a Bloomberg analysis of the 19 countries that have made the EV pivot,”[5] it’s immediately time to ask some questions.

First, if those other nineteen (really eighteen[6]) countries are relatively compact, densely populated countries, then “range anxiety,” the concern about how far your car can take you on a charge diminishes considerably in those countries. Show me countries like Canada, Mexico, or Russia: If they’ve made this transition, then the comparison holds more water.

Second, more of a quibble: The number turns out to be eighteen, not nineteen. In its headline for Randall’s article, Bloomberg is counting the U.S. as among the nineteen because it has passed the five percent threshold. But the claim that “[i]f the US follows the trend established by 18 countries that came before it, a quarter of new car sales could be electric by the end of 2025,” is a forecast, explicitly yet to be realized,[7] that discounts other variables that could be—and I think likely are—important.

The other countries are mostly European, compact, densely populated. China has vast rural regions, but as I understand it, much less communication between rural and urban areas. For purposes of the comparison, we might accordingly treat the cities of China as city states. It turns out New Zealand and South Korea also appear within the eighteen;[8] I think we can treat South Korea as similar to China, with Seoul hosting a likely concentration of electric vehicles, and New Zealand as similar to the compact countries of Europe.

So far, 90% of the world’s EV sales have come from the US, China and Europe. That means countries responsible for about a third of global annual auto sales haven’t passed the tipping point. None of the countries in Latin America, Africa, or Southeast Asia has made the jump. If they do, it’s uncertain whether global miners will be able to keep up with demand for battery metals.[9]

I’m going to leave aside the battery question: It’s important, obviously, not just for the resources they require for their manufacture but the range they offer. But it’s also an area where I see enormous resources being poured into development. The picture with battery technology might very well look very different ten years from now and, frankly, that’s what I’m expecting. If my present car (a hybrid) holds up long enough for this to happen, I’m keeping my mind open to the possibility that the next one will be electric.

That also affects the picture in “countries responsible for about a third of global annual auto sales [that] haven’t passed the [alleged] tipping point” of electric vehicle adoption. If these countries—they aren’t listed—are more like the U.S. geographically and in population distribution, than it is these countries path to adoption we should expect the U.S. more to follow. Randall’s analysis, however, dubiously relies on five percent adoption as a universal tipping point across dissimilar countries.[10]

Tom Randall, “US Crosses the Electric-Car Tipping Point for Mass Adoption,” Bloomberg, July 9, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-07-09/us-electric-car-sales-reach-key-milestone


Pittsburgh

Infrastructure

Julia Felton, “Pittsburgh could spend $1.95 million to repair 30th Street Bridge,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, July 13, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-looks-to-hire-company-for-1-95-million-in-30th-street-bridge-repairs/


  1. [1]Cara Lombardo and Sarah E. Needleman, “Twitter Sues Elon Musk to Enforce $44 Billion Merger,” Wall Street Journal, July 12, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/twitter-sues-elon-musk-over-attempt-to-walk-away-from-44-billion-deal-11657660307
  2. [2]Danny Fortson, “Erratic Elon Musk leaves Twitter with three unbearable choices,” Times, July 9, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/erratic-elon-musk-leaves-twitter-with-three-unbearable-choices-g3tg5zlbt
  3. [3]David Benfell, “Elon Musk’s Achilles’ heel,” Not Housebroken, July 11, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/07/10/elon-musks-achilles-heel/
  4. [4]Danny Fortson, “Erratic Elon Musk leaves Twitter with three unbearable choices,” Times, July 9, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/erratic-elon-musk-leaves-twitter-with-three-unbearable-choices-g3tg5zlbt; Cara Lombardo and Sarah E. Needleman, “Twitter Sues Elon Musk to Enforce $44 Billion Merger,” Wall Street Journal, July 12, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/twitter-sues-elon-musk-over-attempt-to-walk-away-from-44-billion-deal-11657660307; Cara Lombardo and Robert Wall, “Twitter Didn’t Seek a Sale. Now Elon Musk Doesn’t Want to Buy. Cue Strange Legal Drama,” Wall Street Journal, July 11, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/elon-musk-twitter-strange-legal-fight-11657488572; Faiz Siddiqui and Gerrit De Vynck, “Elon Musk’s deal to buy Twitter is in peril,” Washington Post, July 7, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/07/07/elon-musk-twitter-jeopardy/
  5. [5]Tom Randall, “US Crosses the Electric-Car Tipping Point for Mass Adoption,” Bloomberg, July 9, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-07-09/us-electric-car-sales-reach-key-milestone
  6. [6]Tom Randall, “US Crosses the Electric-Car Tipping Point for Mass Adoption,” Bloomberg, July 9, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-07-09/us-electric-car-sales-reach-key-milestone
  7. [7]Tom Randall, “US Crosses the Electric-Car Tipping Point for Mass Adoption,” Bloomberg, July 9, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-07-09/us-electric-car-sales-reach-key-milestone
  8. [8]Tom Randall, “US Crosses the Electric-Car Tipping Point for Mass Adoption,” Bloomberg, July 9, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-07-09/us-electric-car-sales-reach-key-milestone
  9. [9]Tom Randall, “US Crosses the Electric-Car Tipping Point for Mass Adoption,” Bloomberg, July 9, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-07-09/us-electric-car-sales-reach-key-milestone
  10. [10]Tom Randall, “US Crosses the Electric-Car Tipping Point for Mass Adoption,” Bloomberg, July 9, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-07-09/us-electric-car-sales-reach-key-milestone

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