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War Tactics in Space is Business as Usual

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On November 15th, 2021, U.S. officials noticed debris floating in orbit. Soon thereafter, Russia confirmed the launch of an anti-satellite weapon. Russia had successfully hit and destroyed their own satellite – a test – spewing debris through space. 

This debris cannot be removed and will remain in space for years. At best it will be a nuisance to space-faring efforts. At worst, it could damage vital assets like the International Space Station, potentially hurting crew members. The surprising thing isn’t that this happened, but that similar events have been commonplace since the dawn of the space age. 

When Apollo 11 landed on the moon in 1969, the whole world stopped to watch. It was a feat of technological prowess that sparked the imagination of everyone. Terraformation, Mars colonies, and a solar-system-spanning human future suddenly seemed more than science fiction. If we could put a man on the moon, the possibilities were endless. 

But the international environment was tense.

We were in the midst of the Cold War. It was Sputnik’s origin – the Soviet Union – that led the United States to enact legislation in support of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1958, and eventually put a man on the moon.

In this context, the space race might have been more war tactics than moon-based amusement parks. 

The United Nation was swift to act. The 1967 Outer Space Treaty, according to space experts Michelle L.D. Hanlon and Greg Autry, was a general document aimed at preserving space exploration for all. Except for two important caveats: 1) No missiles from the moon or other celestial bodies – they must be used exclusively for “peaceful purposes” 2) A commitment to taking other treaty members’ interests into account when conducing space activities. 

As Hanlon and Autry point out, these caveats leave room for interpretation. Space law hasn’t been updated since, though several attempts have been made to rein in the otherworldly wilds. 

Since the 1967 treaty, our space adventures have continued. Additional sovereign states have joined the space race. Our spacecrafts have flown to Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. A handful of private spacefaring companies have sprung into existence. The limits of what space has to offer and who can take advantage of these possibilities is shifting. 

At the same time, the potential for war from space has never been far from our leaders’ minds. 

On November 1st, 2021, the United Nations approved five draft resolutions aimed at “preventing an arms race in outer space.” Russia’s anti-satellite testing two weeks later wasn’t illegal, but the debris left behind isn’t about legality. 

In addition to the threat of space debris, one cannot ignore the reason for satellite destruction. Russia is not the first country to add to our collective debris in pursuit of weapons testing. The United States demonstrated this power as early as 1985. China and India have since followed suit.

The UN briefing on the recently approved resolutions offer some light on the situation. Russia was one of nine countries to oppose the draft resolution “Reducing space threats through norms, rules and principles of responsible behaviors.” 

India abstained from the vote, reportedly because the draft did not “address prevention of an arms race through a legally binding instrument and diverts from that objective.” The Philippians echoed this thought, noting that their support “must not be misconstrued to mean the existence of weapons in outer space is acceptable.”

A second approved draft resolution received a different cohort of nay votes. “No first placement of weapons in outer space” (also known as NFP or L50) saw opposition from the United States, among other countries. 

In defense of this decision Ambassador Robert Wood writes: “First, the NFP initiative does not adequately define what constitutes a ‘weapon in outer space.’ Second, the NFP initiative contains no features that would make it possible to effectively confirm a State’s political commitment ‘not to be the first to place weapons in outer space.’ Third, the NFP initiative is silent with regard to terrestrially-based anti-satellite weapons, which constitute a significant threat to outer space systems.”

Several delegates responded negatively to the votes placed against L50:

“The representative of Egypt, referring to ‘L.50’ and ‘L.53’, said that whereas his delegation appreciates efforts in favour of consensus, it is clear that the aim of some States is to turn outer space into a battlefield. “

“The representative of China expressed regret that recorded votes were requested on ‘L.50’ and ‘L.53’.  Indeed, a certain country remains recalcitrant and provokes confrontation, claiming to work towards a shared future while continuing to challenge that concept.”

International relations are never clear cut, but Russia’s anti-satellite weapons testing can also be seen as a preemptive defensive move, and it may be the least of our worries.

 

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Coca-Cola is moving forward with its alcohol experiment

Coca-Cola is moving forward with its alcohol experiment

When someone brings up Coca-Cola, you likely think of the popular soft drink or another Coca-Cola product. However, few are aware that the soda giant has partially pivoted to alcoholic beverages. The company is moving forward with its experiment in the alcoholic drink space that has the potential to transition to the sale of Coca-Cola spirits and other alcoholic beverages across the world.

Will Coca-Cola Shake up the Alcoholic Drink Game?

Coca-Cola’s Chief Executive Officer and Chairman Jams Robert B. Quincey recently gave a speech at the Sanford C. Bernstein Strategic Decisions conference earlier this month in which he touched on the prospect for the company’s experimentation with alcoholic beverages to grow into something more significant. Quincey responded to the inquiry by stating that Coca-Cola’s experiments with alcoholic beverages have been interesting.

Coca-Cola has branched out in recent years, offering its own soda-coffee concoction along with Topo Chico Hard Seltzer through a partnership with Molson Coors Beverage Co. The corporate tandem is also poised to release Simply Spiked to the public in the months ahead.  Spiked is the alcoholic form of the company’s Simply brand drinks.

Fortune Favors the Bold

When it comes to business and most other aspects of life, fortune favors those who take chances. Coca-Cola is pushing the envelope this year, debuting new alcoholic drinks within and also outside of the United States. As an example, the company teamed up with Constellation Brands to bring Fresca mixed cocktails to the market.  

The question is whether Coca-Cola can disrupt the alcoholic drink market that has been dominated by hard seltzers for several years. Coca-Cola’s entry into the summer drink wars foray will certainly be interesting even if it proves unsuccessful. There is no arguing that the company’s willingness to take on the industry stalwarts and attempt to capture market share is a net positive for thirsty consumers.

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ExxonMobil Boasts Highest Profits in 13 Years Amidst Surging Oil Prices

ExxonMobil Boasts Highest Profits in 13 Years Amidst Surging Oil Prices

As the winter weather subsides in exchange for more sunshine and warmth, an increasing amount of Americans will be hoping to travel. Unfortunately, that may not be a possibility for some due to the fact that gas prices are steadily rising with no end in sight. The increase in gas prices has a trickle-down effect on everything from flight tickets to shipping costs. Even though the rise in gas prices is bad news for most Americans, that isn’t the case across the board. In fact, there are some people who are relishing over the pain being experienced at gas pumps across the nation. Among the people who are most thrilled to see the continued rise in gas prices are the executives at ExxonMobil who have been raking in heavy profits as a result of the surge in oil prices. 

The Company has done so well during the surge in oil prices that their first-quarter earning results may have reached up to $13 billion. This represents the highest profits for ExxonMobil since 2008. The first-quarter results are said to have been about $2 billion higher than the results of the 4th quarter of 2021. Whether or not the Company will be able to maintain their momentum throughout the rest of the year remains to be seen as governments across the world are working to do what they can to alleviate their citizens from unbearably high fuel costs. 

One of the biggest factors regarding whether or not their profits will continue to soar is how big of a hit they’ll take by withdrawing Sakhalin-1 oil development in Russia’s far east region. ExxonMobil announced they’d be leaving Russia due to international sanctions, along with what Executive Officer Derren Woods describes as the country’s “needless destruction” in the nation of Ukraine. If the move results in lower fuel costs for consumers, it’s one that would likely be supported far and wide.

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Weird Airbnbs Make Successful Business Venture for One Creative Designer

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The Airbnb industry continues to be quite lucrative for some folks. One designer decided to get creative with the rentals she was offering, and it paid off in a big way. 

Kristie Wolfe is profiting off her ideas which include a Big Idaho Potato Hotel (a converted fire lookout at $200 a night), a Hawaiian treehouse ($300 a night) and a hobbit hole ($400 a night). 

She was inspired by the tiny house movement back in 2010 while working on a potato farm in Idaho. She launched her first property, the big potato hotel when she was just 27. It was a 97 square foot “shed on wheels” but Wolfe loved living there and she knew others would enjoy it as well. 

Her next venture was a treehouse built on Hawaii’s big island which she created for a total of $11,000 and rented it out for $300 a night. She made her money back within a hundred days. 

“I could’ve stopped right there and chilled with the income, but I have no chill,” Wolfe said. 

She continued to build her other units earning her status as a legendary builder in the Airbnb space and enough passive income to last a lifetime. She also learned about the benefits of building in offbeat areas which provide lower costs, less competition, and decreased demand. 

Other lessons learned include how to stay budget friendly. For example, her hobbit hole uses light fixtures made of willow branches which are a low cost and environmental design option. 

She also found out that using the word “caretaker” instead of “housekeeper” on the Airbnb site can get more customers through the door. 

“People always think certain things are impossible. But when you’re pushed into a corner, you just figure it out,” the designer says of her inspiration. 

Her Airbnb properties sound interesting. Will you be checking one out the next time you decide to travel? 

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Crypto CEO, CZ Zhao Becomes One of The Richest Billionaires in The World

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According to the daily Bloomberg billionaires index update, Cryptocurrency exchange Binance founder and CEO, known as Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, was named the 12th wealthiest person, globally.

CZ, as he is known to cryptophiles, is worth $96 billion above Mukesh Ambani, the Indian tycoon whose worth is currently $92.9 billion, and below Oracle founder Larry Ellison, Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg, and others as of January 9, 2022.

CZ’s fast growth to become one of the wealthiest billionaires is a sign that digital currency is widely gaining acceptance in the world. He attained his position amongst other businessmen just 5 years after launching Binance in July 2017.

CZ, a 44-year-old Chinese-Canadian entrepreneur, was born in China and was raised and educated in Canada. He has Canadian citizenship and studied computer science at McGill University.

After graduating from the university, CZ worked for Tokyo Stock Exchange as a subcontractor developing software to match trade orders. After that, he worked for Bloomberg Tradebook for four years as a futures trading software developer.

CZ decided to sell his apartment to fully go into the Binance business after learning about bitcoin in 2013, during a poker game.

CZ is a Crypto founder and a previous member of the team that developed Blockchain.

This is his first time on the list, and yet, he surpassed some businessmen who were already on the billionaire’s list before.

Binance does not have any headquarters, yet it grows. They are planning their global headquarters in France, Dubai, or Abu Dhabi.

CZ told Laura Shin, a podcast host, during the ConsenSys’ Ethereal Summit in May 2020 that neither bitcoin nor Binance has an office.  “Wherever I sit, is going to be the Binance office.”

CZ works for money in order to help the poor. He tweeted on January 10, 2022, “Don’t worry about rankings. Focus on how many people you can help.”

CZ tweeted again on January 11, 2022. “Unpopular opinion: instead of wealth rankings, there should be a ranking of charity and philanthropy efforts.”

A Binance representative said CZ intends to give away 99% of his wealth, just like other entrepreneurs like Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Warren Buffett, and Bill and Melinda Gates.

CZ has been popular in the United Arab Emirates, and he has met royalty in Abu Dhabi who are eager to bring this Binance exchange to their country.

Information was obtained from authentic sources, that CZ is the most prominent person in cryptocurrency. He has an apartment in Dubai and has hosted dinners near the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, and on the city’s Palm Jumeirah Island.

Binance generates income daily with $170 billion of transactions in just 24 hours and generates about $40 billion in a slow day. According to Bloomberg analysis, Binance generated at least $20 billion in revenue in 2021.

There is no business without setbacks, however, and the major setback affecting Binance is regulation. Binance has been the principal subject of consumer warnings in the U.K., Japan, Germany, and other countries.

The U.S. Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service are investigating Binance Holdings Ltd’s practices for money laundering and tax evasion.

A spokesman for Binance said, “we are working with regulators around the world, and we take our compliance obligations very seriously.”

CZ also stated in Bloomberg that he welcomes and wants regulation. “I am not an anarchist; I don’t believe human civilization is advanced enough to live in a world without rules.”

Another aspect of cryptocurrency’s setback is its fluctuating fortune. It can easily slump anytime. For example, in 2021, bitcoin slumped at an 11% rate.

In the future, Binance is trying to get an operating license to maintain its global presence and be stable from any regulatory shake, like that from 2021.

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Floyd Mayweather and Kim Kardashian Being Sued Over Cryptocurrency

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Over the last few years, cryptocurrencies have skyrocketed in popularity. Thanks to Bitcoin, currencies like Ethereum and Dogecoin have become legitimate ways for people to invest their money. For many, it’s been a great way for people to make a significant profit.

However, it’s not all bright and cheery in the world of cryptocurrencies. Right now, Floyd Mayweather and Kim Kardashian are in a bit of hot water regarding their promotion of a specific cryptocurrency. The two have been accused of misleading investors through their promotion of the cryptocurrency token EthereumMax, or EMAX. 

The lawsuit was filed January 7th in Los Angeles federal court. It claims that both Mayweather and Kardashian promoted the coin to their followers in order to get them to invest in it. As their followers invested their money, the stake that the two had in the cryptocurrency increased, netting them larger profits. However, when the two pulled their own money out, the token failed, causing many of the other investors to lose large amounts of money.

The lawsuit stated:

The company’s executives, collaborating with several celebrity promoters … made false or misleading statements about EthereumMax through social media advertisements and other promotional activities.

The portion stating that the promoters used “other promotional activities” refers to Mayweather specifically. Mayweather, being one of the most successful boxers of all time, is no stranger to promotions, sponsorships, and endorsements. When it comes to EthereumMax, Mayweather proudly wore the cryptocurrency on his trunks during his fight against YouTube celebrity Logan Paul.

It is also likely that Mayweather wore the logo for EthereumMax during other promotional activities for the fight, as well. This is due to the fact that the company was one of his more notable sponsors for a significant portion of time.

In relation to Kim Kardashian, the promotion of EthereumMax was far more blatant. Kardashian has one of the biggest social media followings in the world. As such, she also has one of the largest audiences to promote products to. That’s exactly what she did.

In June of 2021, Kim Kardashian posted on her Instagram about EthereumMax. Her post said:

Are you guys into crypto???? This is not financial advice but sharing what my friends just told me about the Ethereum Max token! A few minutes ago Ethereum Max burned 400 trillion tokens—literally 50% of their admin wallet, giving back to the entire e-max community. Swipe up to join the e-max community.

The post itself was even marked as being an ad on Instagram, with the required “#AD” marker at the beginning of the post. At the time, Kim Kardashian had nearly 250 million followers on the platform.

Neither Kardashian or Mayweather has responded to the lawsuit publicly. EthereumMax, however, has put out a statement. They “look forward to the truth coming out.”

Unfortunately it seems pretty cut and dry what has happened in this scenario. The company paid promoters to help them increase the value of their cryptocurrency. This inflation led to profits for the celebrity promoters, as well as the company, but overall, it was the average people who invested that lost money.

The lawsuit has been filed by a New York resident who invested based on the promotional material put forth by the celebrities. He, and countless others who purchased EMAX from May to June of 2021, have joined in the class action lawsuit.

This is the kind of power that we’ve given to celebrities. They are called influencers for a reason. In the future, hopefully they won’t be allowed to promote fintech companies. Until then, their interest in such areas isn’t worth a grain of salt.

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