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Gadgets

Elon Musk says he'll rename flamethrower

Commentary: The Tesla and Boring Company CEO says there are a few problems with customs agencies.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Not a flamethrower after all?

Screenshot by Mike Sorrentino/CNET

It was the must-have gadget of, well, last week.

Elon Musk's Boring Company flamethrower, retailing at $500, sold out within days of its launch. All 20,000 were gone.

Everyone wanted one, it seemed. 

Musk had made it appear so very exciting.

Now he has to face a familiar problem: delivery. And it seems there is indeed a little problem here.

So much so that he insists he's going to have to rename the product. 

No, he isn't going to call it the Exciting Company flamethrower.

Now playing: Watch this: Elon Musk's flamethrower is a hot seller
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Instead this, he says, is a customs issue. In a Friday tweet, Musk explained the problem.

"Apparently," he tweeted, "some customs agencies are saying they won't allow a shipment of anything called a 'Flamethrower.' To solve this, we are renaming it 'Not a Flamethrower.'"

It's an imaginative solution, for sure. 

I can foresee the world's customs officers looking at a package labeled "Not a Flamethrower" and thinking: "Well, that's a relief. Flamethrowers can be very dangerous."

Musk might be aware of this. In another Friday tweet, he suggested an alternative name: "Temperature Enhancement Device."

Yes, that should take the heat out of the situation.

Still, some might wonder whether "not a flamethrower" is actually a more accurate description of the gadget. 

To remain legal in the US, the device shoots flames less than 10 feet. Military flamethrowers can send them anywhere from 30 to 100 feet. The more sanguine among us might therefore describe Musk's version as a fancy blowtorch. 

A Boring Company spokesman told my CNET colleague Amanda Kooser: "The Boring Company flamethrower is safer than what you can buy right now off-the-shelf on Amazon to destroy weeds. Much like a rollercoaster, this is designed to be thrilling without danger. Dangerous flamethrowers are already regulated and require a permit to own in California."

Nevertheless, one California lawmaker wants it banned.

Perhaps calling it "Not a Flamethrower" everywhere would assuage the lawmaker's concerns.

Oh, this is all amusing marketing for Musk. 

It keeps him in the spotlight, while taking a little focus away from Tesla, which is currently enjoying some production and delivery issues with its Model 3

Perhaps Musk could start delivering some less-than-finished cars and label them "Not a Model 3"?

Just to keep the customers entertained for now.

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