Elon Musk’s Jet Tracker won’t come down for less than $50,000, owner says

Elon Musk’s Jet Tracker won’t come down for less than $50,000, owner says

Elon Musk is the world’s richest man, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, and one of the most recognizable people on Earth. His many fans and supporters, whether they drive the electric automaker’s cars or are simply impressed by his work in science and automotive industries, simply want a glimpse of him. So several years ago, Jack Sweeney created a Twitter account that tracks Musk’s every flight using flight data.

Now, Musk is offering $5,000 for Sweeney to take down the site, but he won’t accept less than $50,000.

Musk first approached Sweeney via Twitter direct messages in November 2021. “Can you please stop that? It’s a security risk,” Musk asked of Sweeney, who replied that he would accept an internship, a $50,000 check for college, or a Tesla Model 3. Musk has not yet replied to any of the offers but told Sweeney it did not feel right to have to pay for his privacy.

Earlier this month, we reported that Musk was requesting any information regarding his travel plans be kept a secret. It’s a matter of security, and whether people like it or not, Musk is loved…and hated, by many people. Even those who love him could be as much of a threat as those who wish to collapse his near-trillion-dollar automotive company, and the CEO is not comfortable with his personal information being shared. Another Tesla insider was given insight by Musk earlier this month, stating that the plane trackers and accounts that track his nearly every move are “becoming a security issue.”

Elon Musk says tracking his travel plans has become ‘a security issue’

Celebrities can usually have private plane tracking blocked for a security measure. Sweeney, whose father works in the aviation industry, found a way around it. Handelsblatt states:

“The 15 bots used by the student retrieve flight data from so-called ADS-B transponders. They send out position data to avoid collisions and regulate air traffic. Sweeney’s computer programs learn important key data such as flight altitude or flight direction. In the next step, the bots compare this data with anonymized FAA flight plans. This is how the aircraft and the destination are identified.”

Musk’s personal jet is a Gulfstream G650ER, worth between $60 and $70 million.

Musk’s requests, and the controversy of the site, have actually done more harm than good for the CEO’s wishes. Since the issue became more public, the account has gone from just under 80,000 followers to over 210,000 in the course of just several weeks. However, it may take more than $5,000 for Sweeney to consider taking the site down. “5,000 is not enough for how much I get out of it,” Sweeney said. “It doesn’t replace anything, like the enjoyment factor,” he said. “Options other than remuneration, like an internship, would make taking it down a lot easier.”

I’d love to hear from you! If you have any comments, concerns, or questions, please email me at [email protected]. You can also reach me on Twitter @KlenderJoey, or if you have news tips, you can email us at [email protected].

Elon Musk’s Jet Tracker won’t come down for less than $50,000, owner says

You Asked, We Answered Everything You Wanted To Know About The 2022 Kia EV6

You Asked, We Answered Everything You Wanted To Know About The 2022 Kia EV6

After driving the all-new Kia EV6 around some of the greatest roads in northern California, we came away pretty impressed. Just before that event, we asked all of you what you wanted to know about the quirky EV, and here are our answers.

‘Pneus Roues’ wanted to know how quiet and comfortable it was on different surfaces. 

Well, it’s above average for sure. Don’t take this as a scientifically accurate result, but for what it’s worth, using a phone app to measure sound levels inside the car at 55mph (88 km/h), on nicer roads, we never saw readings above 59db and that only jumped to 68db when we got onto broken pavement. Every once in a while, a tire would catch a rock and fling it up into the massive rear wheel well but aside from that, the ride was very quiet and comfortable with good damping throughout.

Read Our First Drive: The 2022 Kia EV6 Is The New EV Benchmark

‘Michael Jenkins’ wondered when it would be available at his local dealership which applies to all of you since…

Kia says that this is a 50-state car and that dealers are already getting their shipments of it so it’s possible that you’ve already got a few near you. MSRP starts at $40,900 for the base Light trim level and goes up to a maximum of $55,900 for the top-of-the-line GT-Line AWD version, not including a $7,500 federal tax credit and a $1,215 destination fee. See detailed pricing here.

Any wide-body kits for available for the EV6?

No, nothing has hit the aftermarket at this point though we think it’s important to go see one in person because at least to us, it looks balanced in a way that photos can’t really show. The wide rear fenders are awesome too, so going even wider might not be a good thing.

How are the cameras and screens on the EV6 with regard to both backing up and the 360-degree view?

Both were very good. Kia has been killing the whole blind-spot camera thing for a while and as mentioned in my review, every other company needs to please copy that design as soon as possible. It’s better than what we’ve seen from most other brands. The 360-degree camera did a nice job as well though it has some fisheye lens distortion towards the edges of the screen. Still, the top-down view and the dynamic guidelines were spot on and made maneuvering a breeze.

KMS has a great question about switching from coasting mode to regen and if that’s a seamless process or not.

Yes, and frankly, it’s great to be able to carry speed through a corner in an EV as easily as this does when in coasting mode. When you want to get regen go pull the left paddle and it switches on immediately. There are four modes including one Kia called “I Pedal” and each is progressively more aggressive than the last resulting in true one-pedal driving without the need to hit the brake yourself. You can also pull the left paddle to stop should you want to do that.

Is the EV6 an SUV in name only, does it sit as high as other SUVs? Is it comparable to CR-V, Sportage, or similar SUVs?

We’re not sure what to call it if we’re honest. It’s not a conventional SUV, no. It doesn’t sit as high as one, it doesn’t have as much cargo space, but it’s also not really trying to do those things. It’s a far better driver than most any conventional SUV shy of a Porsche too. We think it probably fits best as a crossover.

more photos…

1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy Convertible Coupe heads to auction

1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy Convertible Coupe heads to auction

Before it was wiped out in the Great Depression, Duesenberg was one of the greatest American automakers. This 1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy Convertible Coupe scheduled to be auctioned off by Mecum this March shows how the company achieved its stellar reputation.

Much of that reputation was built on engines that were among the most powerful and sophisticated of the period. This car’s Lycoming 420-cubic-inch inline-8 features then-novel dual-overhead cams and makes 265 horsepower, which was more than most other luxury cars offered. A 3-speed manual transmission sends that power to the rear wheels.

The engine is housed in an alloy steel chassis with six crossmembers for reinforcement. Suspension consists of parallel elliptical leaf springs with front I-beam and semi-floating rear axles. Braking is provided by hydraulic drums at all four corners, with vacuum assist. The car also has a Bijur automatic chassis lubrication system.

1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy Convertible Coupe (photo via Mecum Auctions)

1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy Convertible Coupe (photo via Mecum Auctions)

This was the era of coach-built cars, so Duesenberg only provided a bare chassis to customers, who sourced bodywork separately. The automaker offered two wheelbase lengths in 1929; this car is built on the shorter 142.5-inch wheelbase. Bodywork was provided by Walter J. Murphy Coachbuilders, which built bodies for 116 of the 487 Model J Duesenbergs, according to the auction listing. This car is one of the 60 with the Convertible Coupe body style, the listing said.

The interior is trimmed in tan leather (matching the cloth convertible top) with an engine-turned dashboard chock full of gauges. 

This car—chassis 2165 with engine J142—has been fully restored and has won multiple awards. Mecum doesn’t publish a pre-auction estimate, but any Duesenberg is a rare and desirable car likely to fetch a lot of money at auction. A 1930 Duesenberg Model SJ Rollston convertible sold for almost $3 million at a 2021 auction, while a 1935 Duesenberg SSJ sold for $22 million in 2018, setting a record for the most expensive American car ever sold at auction.

2022 Land Rover Defender

What kind of car is the 2022 Land Rover Defender? What does it compare to?

The 2022 Land Rover Defender is an off-road-oriented SUV that attacks its mission with a unibody design and more luxury than rivals such as the Ford Bronco, Jeep Wrangler, and Toyota 4Runner. 

Is the 2022 Land Rover Defender a good SUV?

Review continues below

The 2022 Land Rover Defender appeals as an adventure vehicle that can inspire a lifestyle. It also works as everyday transportation and has a controlled ride despite its tall stance. It earns a TCC Rating of 6.6 out of 10 overall. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What’s new for the 2022 Land Rover Defender?

For 2022, Land Rover adds a V8 model with a, wait for it, V-8 engine. Additional trim levels dot the lineup and a new, larger 11.4-inch touchscreen becomes optional. The lineup now includes base, S, SE, X-Dynamic, X, V8, and V8 Carpathian Edition models. The difference between the 90 and 110 is two additional doors, 17.1 extra inches of wheelbase, and an optional third-row seat.

The Defender has a mostly modern design with nods to its past. It’s tall and blocky, with dark windows and an available black roof to offset the chosen exterior color. Short front and rear overhangs and a tailgate-mounted spare tire signal that this is an off-road SUV. Inside, the horizontal layout sports sturdy, rubberized materials that should be easy to clean up after a day on the trails. 

The Defender’s design gives it loads of interior space, with enough head room for the tallest drivers. The width allows three across, even in the first row, but the 110’s optional third-row seat is only made for two and they will be sure to suffer. Buyers can choose from five-, six-, and seven-passenger seating configurations. Cargo space reaches up to 79.0 cubic feet in the 110.

Power ranges from adequate with the 296-hp 2.0-liter turbo-4 to plentiful with the 395-hp 3.0-liter turbo-6 to excessive with the 518-hp supercharged 5.0-liter V-8. No Defender is fuel efficient; the mild-hybrid turbo-6 gets the best fuel economy at 19 mpg combined.

The Defender comes standard with four-wheel drive with a 2-speed transfer case and a terrain response system for best traction in all conditions. Every Defender has off-road capability, but the available air suspension and adaptive dampers provide more prowess, as does an optional electronic rear differential. The unibody platform gives the Defender calm and controlled road manners that are only enhanced by the air suspension and adaptive dampers.

How much does the 2022 Land Rover Defender cost?

The Defender 90 base model starts at $49,050 including destination and the base 110 starts at $51,850. Base versions of the Defender come standard with rubber floors, cloth upholstery, heated front seats, a 10.0-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, satellite radio, and 18-inch steel wheels. The turbo-6 engine costs almost $12,000 more, and the Defender 110 V8 Carpathian Edition tops out at $108,550

Standard safety equipment includes automatic emergency braking, active lane control, blind-spot monitors, and a surround-view camera system.

Where is the Land Rover Defender made?

In Slovakia.

GM Mexico union vote begins this week with key labor implications

MEXICO CITY — More than 6,000 General Motors workers in Mexico will elect a new union this week as an upstart group supported by international activists aims to beat one of Mexico’s biggest labor organizations that held the contract for 25 years.

The vote is one of the first under a labor reform that underpins a new trade deal with Canada and the U.S., and aims to help improve pay by breaking the grip of unions that critics say signed deals with companies behind workers’ backs.

The GM vote, set for Tuesday and Wednesday at the pickup truck plant in the central city of Silao, comes after workers in August dissolved their contract with the Confederation of Mexican Workers. The vote was monitored by U.S. officials, who threatened to impose tariffs on GM exports under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement trade deal if the automaker did not protect worker rights.

The U.S. government is watching Silao again.

The vote by nearly 6,300 workers could set the tone for GM’s other Mexican plants and throughout Mexico’s auto industry, which is largely dominated by unions that experts say have reputations for protecting business interests and depressing wages.

GM said it is “aware of the importance of this exercise for our workers” and will work with the winning group.

Many workers want to push out CTM, which has held the Silao contract since the plant opened in 1995 and is aligned with the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) that has ruled Mexico for decades.

The CTM union booted out last year has given way to a separate CTM faction that is asking workers to be open-minded.

“They satanize CTM because the last union didn’t do things as they should have,” said CTM member David Limon.

The rival independent union, SINTTIA, which many workers want in place of CTM, grew out of a movement that urged workers to reject their contract last year, gaining a large following that has boosted its chances of victory.

Two other unions are also competing.

Mexico’s labor reform calls for contract ratification votes to take place by May 2023 and open the door to new unions.

Yet out of more than 3,000 votes so far, workers have rejected only 25 contracts, underscoring the difficulty of changing an entrenched system, experts say.

The Washington-based Solidarity Center, which is allied with the U.S. AFL-CIO labor federation, and Canadian union Unifor are supporting SINTTIA, which has visited worker neighborhoods, pasted flyers on telephone poles and circulated text messages.

“CTM only looks out for its own personal interests,” SINTTIA told supporters via WhatsApp.

Union battle

That argument resonates with employee German, 49, who wants his retirement pension a decade from now to reflect what will amount to 36 years of service at GM.

“If we go back to CTM, it will be the same, all this work will have been for nothing,” said German, who, like other employees, asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation.

Many workers who backed the prior CTM contract formed La Coalicion, or The Coalition, which critics say has ties to CTM. Last week dozens of supporters gathered outside the plant, chanting “Beat it, SINTTIA!”

CTM and a final contender, the Carrillo Puerto union, have also criticized SINTTIA, as rumors circulate that workers could lose their jobs if they support the rival group — an oft-used tactic in Mexico to discourage organizing.

Each group vows to push for raises in a country where wages have stagnated for years, and where inflation is now biting.

“We feel very squeezed … our salary isn’t enough with these prices,” said Juan Ramon Gasca, 33.

Manufacturing workers in Mexico make one-tenth of their U.S. peers, noted Catherine Feingold, AFL-CIO International Director.

“This creates poverty for workers in Mexico and unfair competition that hurts workers in the U.S.,” she said.

U.S. lawmakers, traditionally Democrats who are aligned with their allies in U.S. unions, have echoed those concerns, urging GM and Mexican officials to guarantee a fair vote.

Worker attitudes are shifting.

Juan, 38, is backing SINTTIA but will push back if the union fails to deliver.

“We have the right to raise our hand and say, ‘you know what, this union didn’t work for us’,” he said.