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Elon Musk’s latest cause: Clean water for Flint

Water samples
Water samples from 2015 show a range of contamination in tap water from Flint, Mich. (FlintWaterStudy.org Photo)

Elon Musk didn’t even wait to get back from his Asia trip to start a new philanthropic campaign, this time to do something about the contaminated water supply in Flint, Mich.

The genesis of Musk’s involvement with the years-old Flint controversy echoes how he came to build a mini-submarine for the soccer-playing boys trapped in a Thai cave. It all started with a seemingly flip suggestion from comedy writer Cullen Crawford — plus an assist from Don A. Bailey, a Flint native who runs a blockchain consulting firm called Lab Mouse Security.

Bailey asked whether Musk, the billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, could help out with a water-testing campaign that he already had in the works. Musk immediately took up the cause, even though he had just delivered a mini-sub in Thailand and struck a deal to build a multimillion-dollar battery and car factory for Tesla in China. (That factory is likely to take years to get off the ground.)

See how the plans unfolded on Twitter.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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