For once, there's nothing political or divisive. There's no one to be mad at. It's not "us or them".
The world's top experts came together, volunteered for a
dangerous mission, sacrificed, and pulled it off. Ra! Ra! Humanity! Feels like a brief moment of redemption.
Except at the soccer coach who thought it was a good idea to endanger 12 children by going into a cave during monsoon season which also led to the death of an innocent person?
(Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein)
(The Martian by Andy Weir)
(Ender's Shadow by Orson Scott Card)
I'd argue that this kind of belief is extremely valuable for a country's economics as a whole. In order for the populace to be economically productive (and save 50000 kids from dying of diarrheal diseas) you need to create a safe, reliable, and predictable environment. Governments insuring against events like kids getting lost in caves is the way that they get that.
There is plenty of money and resources out there to save all kids dying from easily preventable diarrheal diseases. There is no political will to do that.
I do have a respectful question though - are you, personally, acting to save those 50,000 kids? Is there an effective organization out there that accepts donations for this kind of thing, and if so, are you giving to them?
My thinking is that we're a long way from that point -- there are numerous other, small, sacrifices that can be made.
I'm curious as to what would make you think otherwise?
“Under our system every voter and officeholder is a man who has demonstrated through voluntary and difficult service that he places the welfare of the group ahead of personal advantage.” - Startship troopers 
And since the only people who would be voting would be the ones who were or had done the dying, it's likely a very strong anti-war book, as one would presume only absolutely necessary wars would ever be fought.
Pacifists happen to join armies less.
But also, Nazi leadership was on the shit end of the stick when it comes to WWI. That did not prevented them to start WWII. Instead, the experience normalized the violence for them and shaped their believes. On the other side, Stalin was fighter in particularly cruel war too in his formative years. Was not peaceful either.
Lastly and less importantly, people who had done dying don't vote, they are dead. Only people who survived previous war vote. And survivors often internalized values that are help to survive the war. They sometimes have hard time to adjust to peaceful life afterwards. Your presumption that "only absolutely necessary wars would ever be fought" has no basis in reality.
Also, your theory assumes that enlisted soldiers actions are motivated primary by self-preservation and will vote on that. Some are, but many are not. Others are motivated by duty, career progression, pride, social status, honor, professionalism, tradition, salary, wish to prove themselves or simply by liking to be in the army structure. In case of your hypothetical army, many men will join for career in politics and social status reasons. People motivated primary by self preservation wont join your hypothetical army.
This may not have been what Heinlein intended to convey. But I tend not to find an author's advocacy relevant when reading fiction. I see the author as giving me rope to hang myself if I choose, rather than considering that they advocate anything at all. As I read it, militarism so permeated that society that the only possible contrarian point of view would come from the reader. And I thought that was the whole point of the book. It doesn't matter whether that's Heinlein's intent.
If it's true Heinlein just didn't convey the vast majority of Federal Service was non-military, and yet all we have to go on is the exclusively militaristic bent as written, that deficiency might make the book all the better just to have the ensuing ideological battles and discussions that resulted. And this book generated quite a lot of them at the time, and I see it as overwhelmingly beneficial.
A likely metaphor to the non-citizens of Starship Troopers are those who of their own volition do not enter into military service, do not vote, do not participate in government - exist in large numbers in the U.S. Most Americans now do not vote, they're simply along for the ride, and in effect aren't citizens in any meaningful way (other than perhaps they can't be deported - but in Starship Troopers it was a world government so there's no concept of deportation anyway).
Just check the wiki page, he wrote it himself (under Major Themes, Militarism): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starship_Troopers
That book is fiction, fun to read but still made up.
We can comprehend 13 people and the struggle against nature, while the scope of world hunger is far too complex and emotionally incomprehensible to mobilize enough people.
Billionaires like Bill Gates. Countless volunteer aid workers with organizations such as MSF.
Fact #1: Since 1960, child deaths have plummeted from 20 million a year to 6 million a year.  This was posted quite recently here on HN. Perhaps you missed it.
At the end of the day, the problem of child poverty and the death and suffering it causes is an enormous one but we are making progress on it. Could we do better? Yes. Could we do worse? Oh yes, way way worse.
It’s so easy to forget how nasty Spanish flu, small pox and polio was. My grandfather has stories where they would burn people’s houses/huts with the people alive inside if they had contracted the disease. It was brutal. A curse that would wipe an entire enpire.
... without forgetting the holocaust a year that is still happening.
In poor countries children are your retirement savings, so at an individual level having more children is a rational decision. In many cases they aren't having more kids than they can afford--they can't afford not to have more kids. Even at a national level it's not clear that lowering birth rates without additional changes would help a country economically.
So they are probably (well, not probably)... they ARE going to have more kids whether you like it or not.
The question becomes how do we (Western society, which has more resources than we know what to do with) address the issue and try to do good in the world.
Be involved in how your governments and MNC's behave in these countries. These entities are more likely to pay attention when you, as a voter or customer with more disposable income, say something compared to the citizens of poorer countries who have less of a voice.
It's a natural response to the hardship. If the chance that the kid make it is 10%, then make 10 times more kids. That way you have around 100% chance that your lineage makes it through life.
In other words: In a society where 90% of children die and women have 10 births, one third of the mothers will lose all. All assuming the deaths are independent of course.
I'm only 25 so I don't know how I'll feel in 10-20 years, but right now this is part of my consideration when thinking about long-term goals and whether I'd want to have kids at some point. I might, so for that eventuality, plan B is to adopt. Plan C is to have one (and only one) kid, which already turns two parents into one descendant, so that's better than nothing.
The only thing I'm worried about is that smart families will do this and the stupid ones produce six. It's in the education and not in the genes... but it's also in the upbringing, and if they're brought up with the mentality of the kind of people who currently get six kids...
We shouldn't turn to ideals in an effort to ignore or abdicate responsibility in dealing with the reality we are given.
Do they die of malnutrition or governmental corruption? I thought it was proven in the 1980's that the problem isn't a lack of food, it's the degenerate political systems blocking aid from reaching those who are dying. At least that's the prevailing narrative on reddit.
1. Food is free for the starving in many places around the world.
2. Where it isn't free, a meal of rice and beans is usually within reach of even the poorest.
3. Where it is out of reach of the poor, it may be due to corruption; ie North Korea redirecting food supplies to the army instead of the public, and withholding it from prison camps.
Don't fixate on the price or you'll miss the forest for the trees.
When a million people died in the Irish potato famine, it wasn't just because the United Kingdom prevented foreign aid from reaching Ireland. Ireland was the breadbasket of the empire - throughout that entire time, it was a net exporter of food.
It is the handiwork of the rapists that beget these children.
These are different disasters. The cave impacted 13 random children. Hunger impacts millions of poor children. One is random, the other more predictable.
There are utilitarian arguments for numbing oneself to tragedy which predictably strikes those without resources while defending those visited by random misfortune. (Note: I am not arguing for this utilitarian calculus. Just describing it.)
Coarsely, what happened to these kids could happen to ours. Starvation, less likely. In-group selection is built into our natures, and that is on display here.
Practically, saving these kids takes a short burst of effort. Their families will pick up the slack thereafter because they have—on average—the resources to do so. Saving children from hunger takes long stretches of coördination, together with efforts to ensure their education (to prevent the problem from repeating in the next generation).
It is cruel, and there is probably a solution. But the analogy between these problems is flawed. With minimal assistance, the cave children will become self-sustaining again. That is not true for the chronically hungry.
We don't want to be humanly. We want to be praised for being humanly.
I need to coin a term for this concept, I see it on every Hacker News thread once it reaches a certain size. It is the attribution of the topic to some nefarious intention of a dude in marketing. Once you start noticing it you can't unsee.
Intel fires their CEO? It's a PR stunt.
Startup abandons Europe due to GDPR? PR STUNT!
AlphaZero beats professionals at Dota 2? You guessed it, it's just PR for oligarchy parent Alphabet.
I see this so often now it's becoming humorous. As if some how this being all about PR explains everything. It doesn't explain anything! Although I'm sure Bill over in marketing loves that he has subsumed the historical role of deity in explaining the unknown.
When you try to get a kid out of a cave there is at least some hope of lasting success.
When you have a small group dying of hunger because of a drought, it is easy to perceive what to do and your ability to realize it. So people are more likely to speak up.
If a drought affects an entire nation, you're at least aware this must be a complicated task. So you're more reluctant to criticize inaction.
That behavior is especially problematic when the solutions are abstract or long-term.
Don't get me wrong, I'm glad society found a way to save them, I just wish we took the every day threats to human life more seriously.
What do Thai Navy divers do? If there's no war on, they're probably training. What better training than a live rescue mission? I.e. the wages for those highly skilled Thai teams have probably been paid down already.
Similarly international forces benefit from co-operation because it's something they would want to do anyway: good will, training in co-operation, skills training.
As for volunteers their time is hardly a cost in the same way. But if you're a cave diving medic, the expected utility of using your time to save people in a cave is probably better than working and donating to a charity.
Because for better or worse, that’s not how most money is redistributed.
Failing to save these kids is the case you want to think about - that would be sending the message to the public that if your kid gets lost in the mountains we're not going to save them. Sure this particular "insurance claim" (in this impromptu parlance) was an expensive one, but most of the others aren't, and the thing about insurance is that it is there particularly when the costs are catastrophic.
We can help the 13 because government is not the cause and there is nothing to undo, we cannot help the 3.1 as easily because it would take either removing the government in power to putting the 3.1 in further jeopardy trying to fix it. So the real question becomes, when will the world recognize that some small countries need outside governance to see to the needs of their people. Right now sovereignty is absolute unless the nation in question threatens a neighboring country.
Bill Gates and tens of thousands of aid workers globally. The Chinese Communist Party and businessmen who outsource labor from the overfed first world to the underfed third world are by far the biggest help. Also your aunt who volunteers at the soup kitchen. Often these efforts funded by donations or aid grants (tax money, paid by you and me) from our democratically elected governments.
>We can comprehend 13 people and the struggle against nature, while the scope of world hunger is far too complex and emotionally incomprehensible to mobilize enough people.
Most of us can comprehend two (or more!) things at once. People are extremely mobilized about ending hunger and we have made strides against this in the last century: https://slides.ourworldindata.org/hunger-and-food-provision/
A few hundred people showed up to the cave for a few weeks. Tens of thousands show up to fight hunger every day.
Now off to the Gulag!
if you actually pay attention to border patrol, you will see that these kids have left horrible conditions and many are not separated from parents but from strangers using them to get in or for drug smuggling. some dont even have any parents or family with them.
ICE also saves the most lives on the border
These aren't the ones that the uproar is about. The uproar is about the children who have been separated from their parents, not the children being held in foster care or holding facilities in general. The 3000 separated from parents is a number from HHS Secretary Azar. The Trump administration updated that number to 2342 children separated from 2206 parents.
it happens to families everyday that are citizens too
not a big deal and the kids are still doing better than before, no reason for the uproar
Largely, because the Administration has taken active steps to prevent lawful asylum applications.
> and the kids will be reunited later if they are real family
Maybe, sometimes, after the recent court order requiring that; most recently prior to that the kids were being used as hostages to force parents to sign voluntary deportation agreements and give up asylum claims; during and prior to that children were deported separately from their parents and vice versa in a number of cases. And, in any cases, there was no tracking of any kind to facilitate reunification.
> not a big deal and the kids are still doing better than before
No, they often aren't; especially for the younger children, being forcibly separated from their parents is itself an enormous trauma that will damage their development (social/emotional especially for life.)
Somehow, they handled it just fine and at lower cost without family separation before. If so, why separate them except due to racism? They are now having trouble reuniting families weeks later because of improper tracking.
thinking that its racism is just you jumping to emotional conclusions
there are no problems reuniting families when they are actually families, it is when kids are alone or abused as drug mules that they have to work harder to find where to put them
they still leave horrible conditions so why arent you upset over how bad the other countries are?
Before Trump’s zero tolerance policy, when criminal charges for illegal crossing were essentially never pursued on their own and families with children targeted for deportation without criminal charges were also (since the court order limiting the use of immigration detention for children) not subjected to immigration detention specifically to avoid separation, and where active steps weren't taken to force entrants seeking asylum to enter illegally by preventing access at ports of entry, which is what actually pushed most of the families subjected to Trump's zero tolerance policy into the system in the first place.
> there are no problems reuniting families when they are actually families
Yes, in fact, there are, in the present situation.
> it is when kids are alone
Unaccompanied minors have been a particular problem at times in the past, but that's not the current issue.
> or abused as drug mules
That happens, but, again, is not the source of the current crisis.
> they still leave horrible conditions so why arent you upset over how bad the other countries are?
Most people upset about this administration’s blatant and indefensible mistreatment and hostage taking with regard to asylum seekers are, also, unhappy with the conditions in the countries that they are fleeing. Which is actually a big reason why they are upset at the Administration’s further tormenting them when they are trying to flee, and actively preventing them from lawfully seeking asylum.
No, they don't, even before the Trump Administration policy changes that have produced the recent issues. You are confusing ICE with the Border Patrol. They aren't the same thing.
This does nothing, but underplay the significance of the holocaust.
During the first World War, they renamed New Berlin to Kitchener here in Canada. They may as well have named it Hitlerville. The scale of evil wasn't as horrible as the Holocaust, but it was pretty damn awful. It's true what they say, that the victors write the history books. So few people know about that story.
Anyone using the phrase and then insisting that the literal meaning was intended is thoroughly disingenuous. That speaker or writer is deliberately using the loaded term in order to troll the intended audience with a crystal clear Nazi reference.
If it evokes the use of the concept you dislike, rethink your moral stance on it. Not the phrasing of the concept.
The word for non-murderous concentration camps is "internment".
"It's different when we do it."
"Historically incorrect" is just a way of saying "presently correct". For instance "sensibility" is not a historically correct way of referring to a rational disposition. Historically, it meant what we today call "sensitivity".
Fuck historically correct; I live today, not in history.
It is not a euphimism; everyone knows that it refers to starvation and horrific murder and aren't using that word for the sake of masking this.
It's quite well known that "concentration camp" is not the correct term for the Nazi extermination camps.
All that remains is the small detail of convincing the public at large that they are using the word wrong.
It's simply under-developed and has not become industrialized. When American or European children were dying at higher rates it wasn't because their parents were selfish. It reflected the rate of development of the continent.
Hunger was an issue after World War II in most of Europe, and the US came to their aid. The hunger there was not due to parents being selfish either.
If there is no food to spare, then all the money in the world won't solve the problem. If there is food to spare and people let children starve to death, then people are evil. (edit: there technically exists a third potential that there is absolutely no means of delivering food, but at that point, any discussion is pointless)
EDIT: I suppose this idea makes people uncomfortable because it implies that those same people might be evil even though they don't see themselves as evil. We all want the world to be a better place, but we don't want to be inconvenienced. Rather than do something, we give a few dollars in hopes of absolution. Writing posts about starving kids is easy. Moving 100LB bags of food 12 hours a day in Sudan is much harder. "Be the change you want to see in the world"
That said, the book is great read. Especially if you're into diving. It's just that it should not be read as a role model for anything but reckless regard of ones life.
Not to drift completely off-topic, here is a link to a long thread about Thailand cave rescue from the cave diving forums.
This is related to firefighting, but it's interesting to see what some of the things we are trying to fix are in terms of saving lives, and little is around technology, and much in the way of culture, safety.
His dead is bad news not good news. Everybody would be better off if this man survived. Him dying while trying to save others does not make it less tragic.
Let's not minimize his death by saying (as sibling comment did) that his dead somehow matters less or is less important because he was rescuer and thus different. His life had same value.
“Oh it’s a lovely day outside” “easy for you to say but don’t you know it’s raining at someone’s wedding in Omaha”
First, the first time I fasted I was quited stressed about it, and it was in controlled, cozy environment.
Second, they didn't know if anybody would come. Not even if somebody could come. For 9 days without eating and living in their own shit in the dark, they wondered.
I'm awaiting for the unavoidable book/movie, hoping they don't try to make it epic and get into real details about this.
He shared what little rations they had, and his condition was visibly worse than the children by the time they were found.
He also helped them by teaching them meditation, so as not to focus on their hunger.
Learning meditation is hard. Learning meditation when you are scared, hungry and in such a bad situation is extra hard.
So if the guy pulled it off with 12 terrorized famished kids for 9 days, he deserves his own temple.
Unfortunately it's why we are able to wage war. Was watching a documentary on the Vietnam war the other day and one guy was describing how he felt like an automaton that was focusing only on survival, which kept him from going insane, while another guy was describing how he felt no pain from his bullet injuries while trying to stay alive alone in the jungle for 3 days, only feeling pain after he was rescued.
But yeah, this coach is a hero for sure, I'm so glad they made it out.
Watched that episode with the South Vietnam veteran recalling that episode where he was left for dead (literally, by his own allies AND adversaries), crawled through the jungle for 3 days and only then felt the pain and smelled the nasty odor of the rotting flesh.
The coach probably didn't even take a wrong decision based on the information available at the time (it isn't rain season yet).
If you plan to enter deep into a huge cave, you check the weather forecast. Rainy season or not. And you don't enter if you see a chance of rain.
He failed on this one, and a man is dead because of it.
Now I'm don't think he should be blamed for it. It would be very unproductive.
But we certainly should make it a cautionary tale.
Hollywood producers are already on the ground http://www.newsweek.com/hollywood-producers-head-thai-cave-r...
Elon Musk is ahead of you - he has his government villain already:
I would actually pay to see this.
Sat in the dark, with no night and day, the bodies internal clock gets shot to pieces. They would have had no idea whether they had been there 3 days or 30
Not to mention the cold.
There's a hero-story about the coach that's yet to be told I reckon.
You can go a few weeks without food. The cave is likely at a consistent enough temperature that you're not going to freeze to death (sweating is more likely to be your real issue), so the only real constraint is potable water.
It's also been commented that the children had no idea they were trapped for as long as 9 days. Quite likely, without any source of natural light, they lost track of time, which certainly would help ease some of the panic.
Water of course is a different story..I believe after 48 hours severe dehydration sets in...after 3 days...kaput.
It's not a physiological problem. It's a psychological one. When you ate everyday all your life, not eating is scary.
> I believe after 48 hours severe dehydration sets in...after 3 days...kaput.
You can live more than 3 days without water. Either with training, of because the conditions help (you don't move much, temperature and humidity are favorable, you don't eat, etc).
There are cases were human lived for 9 days without water.
But they had water near them so that was out of the equation.
"At least 155 people have died in floods and landslides triggered by torrential rain in western Japan, says the government.
It is the highest death toll caused by rainfall that Japan has seen in more than three decades.
Rescuers are now digging through mud and rubble in a race to find survivors, as dozens are still missing.
About two million people have been evacuated from the region after rivers burst their banks."
(BBC, "Japan floods: 155 killed after torrential rain and landslides", 10 Jul 2018)
How do we save a dozen kids trapped in a cave? If we put together some resources we can save all their lives within a week or so.
Also, starving kids have traditionally motivated enormous outpourings of effort, so your hypothetical straw man comparison isn't very accurate.
Hopefully it will go as a +1 in our ledger if the fate of our species is ever decided
> "This man...drove more than 200 km just to give ice-cream to the rescue team"
While this level of selflessness and generosity can be found almost anywhere, the Thais are truly some of the most gracious people you'll meet. That country is a gem.
The society is currently torn apart politically (similar, but different, to the polarization in the US) so good to see something unite the nation. And with such a happy ending, too.
What are your thoughts on how technology advancement in the next 30 years would change the way of this kind of rescue mission? Say in 2040, can a group of robots finish the mission in one day with ease? That will be awesome, people can be rescued from bad situations much sooner.
By that time even poor kids in rural Thailand will be carrying smartphones on them at all times.
Those, combined with location-based awareness will warn them just as they're about to enter the cave "uh, are you sure you want to do that? Look at the current weather forecast....".
Remember even as of today AI can compete on a high level of huge video games, face recognition, natural language processing, playing Go/Chess game, etc. Imagine in 30 years, all the robots, armed with AI and made of materials a few times stronger than whatever we have today, should be able to scan, learn, adapt and go. Another minor point, the robots can probably carry some heavy machines (or laser guns) and just pound hard on the cave's narrow sections to make the passage wider. Etc.
The weekend before they found them my wife told me that a monk who was praying for them at the cave said that a ghost was hiding them from the eyes of the divers until Monday. They shouldn't be worried about the children and their coach as the ghost would take care of them.
To my surprise they found them on that Monday.
 I don't have a source as my wife was just scrolling through her Facebook feed
For me it seems as some sort of artefact of human cognition. (Mercilessly used by "last minute" opportunities by salesmen... and journalist.)
We're much better at dealing with time-bounded, localizable problems.
Stalin's quote about tragedies and statistics comes to mind.
There as Quote Investigator article on it, it is again a much older quote. https://quoteinvestigator.com/2010/05/21/death-statistic/
If this quality is order of magnitude lower than other less exciting solutions (e.g. access to medicine and education for kids from poor families), then we should be aware that what we pay for is not lives saved, but an emotional entertainment show.
Someone asked him why he didn't instead pour that energy into helping homeless people. His response was something to the effect that there were plenty of others helping people; his passion was the dogs. I believe he also turned the question around: what are you doing to help the homeless?
A few dozen cave divers can't do much to help the millions of impoverished children, but they used their skills to perform heroic and deadly feats to help 12 children and their coach, and inspired many around the world to ask themselves these types of questions.
Reducing that to a cost-benefit analysis vs some vague "but can't we spend that effort on the other lost kids?" question is both impossible and missing the point.
Cost or donation, can we expect the same for every child in need?
Helping every child in poverty requires a long term paced effort rather than a one time heroic one. As inspiring as this rescue was, it doesn't scale.
I love how the global diving community came together to rescue them, it's unfortunate that Petty Officer Saman Gunan died after doing a run of oxygen tanks to the caves though.
I even liked how Musk came out of left field "grab that tube, we're making a rescue pod!" and then hopped on a plane with it when it was tested and ready. While it didn't really matter I like that sort of thinking outside of the box and how he just dropped everything he was doing and set people to work on it and then took it over anyway in the event it will ever been needed in the future, I really wish more people had that go-the-extra-mile attitude.
There was talk about having the kids wait in there until as late as November, or maybe a long process of drilling an escape hole.
If the rescue had begun a week or two later, perhaps Musk's gadget would have been used. As it is, the divers already had a plan that, by the time Musk arrived, appeared to be working well.
But yeah, he tweets a lot about his projects, and no doubt has some thought toward self-promotion.
He appears to follow through, so I can't be too cynical about his apparent opportunism.
The cave was too narrow in sections for a diver to pass through still wearing his cylinders. How exactly was a sub supposed to get in?
The problem may have been more that it would be too long to navigate some bends in the caves.
It also occurs to me that, being made of aluminum, the tube would act like a giant heatsink in the cold water, chilling whoever was inside.
But with more time before the rescue, and by consulting with divers familiar with the caves, the problems might have been worked out.
So, yeah, taking the tube to Thailand was kind of pointless, but I guess at least shows that it wasn't just empty tweeting. There was an effort.
But he did also send 700 or so PowerWall batteries to Puerto Rico for hospitals and whatnot.
I got the feeling that he just jumped in on that, without further thinking (which at least to me seems sympathetic). Got the feeling that it rather hurt their PR as people were quick to call it a PR stunt, which is foreseeable if you mainly think about PR.
Seriously though, there's a strong cult of personality at play and HN readers frequently downvote any comment that is even slightly negative about Musk or Tesla or SpaceX.
Okay, you are cynical.
But in all seriousness given the domain knowledge that Musk has at his disposal he was perfectly entitled to get involved.
Tweeting his thoughts is pretty much how he rolls ...
But it's conceivable that his expertise could have been useful.
Did any other organisations offer subterranean expertise? Genuine question, e.g. mining companies, drilling, or was it just that Musk made the most noise about it?
There is no evidence presented that Musk, nor any of his companies, has any of this kind of useful expertise.
 Emphasis here on vertical shafts. There is a world of difference between a tunnel-boring machine that tends to remain within a single geological stratum and a vertical shaft that is constantly cutting through several strata of different kinds of rock (that require different cutting techniques).
> There is no evidence presented that Musk, nor any of his companies, has any of this kind of useful expertise
> There is a world of difference between a tunnel-boring machine
Yeah it wasn't the machine he was offering but the expertise.
I get it, you've got it in for Musk. Fair enough, and I'm not out to hero worship him but lets be fair here - he did offer to help, and did so in good faith.
My contention isn't that Musk didn't make a good-faith offer to help, it's that Musk didn't have anything useful to offer. The end result is that would come across as something like this: https://xkcd.com/793/.
There is also a tragedy going on in Japan right now with a lot of people actually with us no more. But a few million people with flooded homes is a 'statistic' whereas a few boys in a cave is a 'tragedy' to paraphrase Stalin.
I think that there is a time for offering assistance in a big public way, there is also the 'George Michael' approach. He was willing to help many desperate people that happened to get into the news, however he helped out anonymously or in a way where it was clear that publicity was not sought. When he passed away a lot of people then learned how many people he had extended his hand of friendship to.
This is true, and a tragedy, but I think it's natural for "12 kids in great jeopardy" to draw more interest than 100+ people who are already gone due to a flood and perhaps couldn't have been saved.
To be honest had the kids been found dead in the cave, it would have been a relative blip on Western media like the flood deaths in Japan or the 41 dead in the sinking of the Phuket tourist boat.
"He was willing to help many desperate people that happened to get into the news, however he helped out anonymously or in a way where it was clear that publicity was not sought"
In this case, talking about it on Twitter was probably an easy way to get in touch with the relevant authorities at the rescue site.
Similarly, when he offered PowerWall batteries to help Puerto Rico, perhaps that made it easy for people who knew where they were needed to get in touch with him.
This was egoism at its finest, taking public credit for 'helping' with a rescue he wasn't invited or asked to help with. And the media ate it up hook, line and sinker.
I know there is a huge anti-Musk sentiment lately. Whatever you think of the guy, I think it's commendable that he used what resources he had to attempt to help.
People can blast him all they want for his 'egoism', but sitting behind the keyboard mocking him is even less helpful than what you accuse him of doing.
Musk injected himself into this situation as only a narcissist can and decided to PR the hell out of it.
Yeah, there's just a bit of anti-Musk sentiment lately, but he brings it on himself.
 I don't think they should. I think businesses should stay out of it. Even the ones helping would do themselves a favor and play down their involvement. It's the respectful thing to do.
Because this wasn't Tesla or SpaceX taking out an ad and saying 'look at all the good we can do!' this was a human using resources in his means to help a situation. In the end it was futile, but it's pretty amazing that they were able to prototype something in days and offer support in the way they know.
Sure, you can argue he's a narcissist, but the public made him that way. His entire legacy and fortune was built on PR, which we gave him on a silver platter. Now all of a sudden it's become bad taste to support him, and everyone flips and expects him to slink away into the shadows.
There was literally 0 net negative from his move. Sure he got his name thrown around headlines, but it didn't take away from the hundreds of people who contributed.
Why is being critical of someone so much more important than acknowledging an act of kindness?
How can people be so blind to think he did this solely out of kindness? Pfffffffftttt!!
The public can't make someone a narcissist.
Granted, Musk probably is thinking he's providing relevant skills, but the concept has several potentially problematic things (most notably, the fact that you're basically doing an underground canoe portage and the fact that spending extended periods of time in a claustrophobic space is likely to be panic-inducing for the children). It doesn't sound like he fielded the advice of anyone who had actually had experience doing cave diving or caving rescue to figure out what problems are likely to come up. Indeed, from the response of the Thai coordinators, it sounds like the general sentiment on their end was a politely-worded "go away, you're not helping."
So while the sentiment of trying to help can be positive, this attempt does feel like it crossed a tad too far into counterproductive territory.
The office of Thailand’s prime minister has thanked the tech entrepreneur Elon Musk for his offers of help. Officials praised his mini-submarine but said it was not needed. Musk praised the "outstanding rescue team" but questioned the expertise of the official who turned down his submarine.
He inserts himself into the event (but contributed nothing), requiring the Prime Minister to kiss his ass (again, when he contributed nothing), then criticizes the people who saved the kids for not using his idea.
I know talking about voting is generally forbidden, but there is no reason for the parent to be flagged. It's not my favorite post ever on HN, but criticizing Musk isn't a violation of HN rules. Several other posts that criticizes him are also flagged (though some of them are pretty useless comments).
It was a good alternative to telling them to hold their breath and dragging them through dark and claustrophobic submerged spaces...
They tested it to make sure it was water-tight and easy to maneuver. Worst case you throw an oxygen tank in it and put a full-face regulator on each kid in the event it would have filled with water (which I'm imagining they did in the water anyway). Much easier to control a panicking child in a tube where he can't get at your hoses or slam his head into a rock.
I don't really understand how the more claustrophobic "submarine" capsule would be an improvement on this.
Also much easier to get said child into a state of panic by sticking them in a claustrophobia-inducing tube. Also, whatever manoeuvrability characteristics the sub might have had, it was still a rigid tube bigger than the child inside. They were navigating caves, where some of the tunnels were hard to navigate by a single (flexible) adult. I _really_ wouldn't want to even chance getting the sub stuck on a tunnel.
You can't say that?! Those SEALs train ALL the time so they have training to fall back on when things happen. You can't introduce something like this and expect them to use it. They would have no training to fall back on.
From what I understand, he got involved while rescuers were still considering their options.
His idea was stupid and useless anyway. It just came off as if he wanted to play the hero and build a Batsub in his mansion to deploy it and rescue the stranded children.
A good idea now would be to send money to the family of the driver who died. That would be helpful.
Even if he did, he didn't interfere or impede rescue efforts and gave them a tool they could possible use in the future. It's cool and a nice thing to do, and doesn't really seem like a big deal.
And yeah, he probably doesn't have all the domain knowledge needed, but I reckon he had some help. Example; the 6 or so people seen on the video when they tested the tube.
I really can't see why people are bashing him. Yes, he was public about it, but he also created something that seems to work, and if it's a prototype, that prototype can be used for further development. It feels like nothing speeds up R&D like a crisis.