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The Trinkets that Trade Up for Houses

It first happened in July 2006. Canadian blogger Kyle MacDonald had a red paperclip. Nearly one year and fourteen trades later, he had a two-story home. Last month, Demi Skipper completed her 28th trade and achieved her aim to follow in MacDonald’s footsteps.

Skipper had started with a bobby pin in May 2020. Last month, though a series of trades, she was officially a homeowner. 

The scheme of using reiterative trades to improve one’s lot is solid economics. Barter, a system of exchange where both people feel they got the better end of the stick, is a longstanding tradition. People value things differently. Imagine if you were to trade a bobby pin for an old photograph of a family and then find the child in the picture. They may be willing to part with something much more substantial than a flimsy hair clip.

Some of MacDonald’s trades fit into this paradigm. Director Corbin Bernsen happens to collect snow globes. When MacDonald offered him a KISS snow globe in exchange for a role in his upcoming movie, the deal was a go. This was no accident. MacDonald had set out to prove the power of relative value: “I must reinforce what I believe the one red paperclip project is all about: relative value. What’s more important to a man dying of thirst in the desert – one million dollars or a glass of water?”

The shocking thing about these stories isn’t that they are possible, but that they can happen so quickly and can involve easily purchased items that have very different price tags. 

You have to wonder: are all the traders in these deals genuine on their appraisal of relative value or were they excited to be part of a fun, popular project? 

Skipper’s followers are asking the same question. In her fourteenth trade, Skipper traded an iPhone 11 for a 2008 Dodge Caravan. An iPhone 11 is not a scarce item. Why wouldn’t the owner of the car simply sell the car, buy the phone, and pocket the excess cash? Or, as golden.kidd astutely points out: “How you got a car for a phone, I have to find these people ASAP.”

Some of the other trades are equally quizzical from an economic standpoint.

According to NBC reporter Wilson Wong, Skipper’s fans did not approve of one of her trades. She traded three tractors for a Chipotle Celebrity card. What is such a card, you might ask? A Chipotle Celebrity card allows its owner to eat at Chipotle for free for one year. Assuming a new card and fifteen-dollar daily meals at Chipotle, the card would be worth just shy of 6,000 dollars.  

That is a heck of a lot less than the estimated 40,000 dollar off-grid trailer she was able to gain in trade. One has to wonder whether the Chipotle superfan wouldn’t instead sell the trailer, procuring over seven years of daily 15-dollar Chipotle meals. They could also be a rebel and take burrito breaks when needed.

The moral of the story has very little to do with economics. Instead, it highlights what people are able to do when working toward a common goal and willing to take an economic hit. Skipper did not trade a bobby pin for a house. The economic hit was shared among a greater number of actors, diluting the price tag of helping this young TikToker achieve her goals. People were willing to help at this diluted price.

Skipper may have eventually attained her goal using good old-fashioned economics, but it is a more heartwarming story to imagine followers that were willing to do more than just watch. They were willing to help a stranger.

ABC news reports on our new homeowner’s response to this journey. She plans to do it again. Only this time, she will donate the home to someone in need “no mortgage, no rental.” That’s a TikTok journey worth getting involved in if ever there was one.

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Donald Trump Announces that His Social Media Platform Will Launch This President’s Day

Former President Donald Trump is making waves with the announcement that his new social media platform will be launched on President’s Day.  The platform, dubbed Truth Social, is one month away from opening the floodgates to conservatives and those who claim to be truth-seekers.  The reveal was made through a listing in the Apple App store.  

The former commander-in- chief first announced the new social platform in October 2021.  Truth Social has the potential to rival the massive social media platforms such as Twitter and Meta that currently dominate online discussions.  Trump has previously lambasted those platforms for censorship.

App Details

Trump’s new social media app is backed by his corporation, Trump Media & Technology Group.  The app can be preordered prior to the anticipated release date.  If everything goes as planned, conservatives will be conversing with one another on the platform as early as February 21, 2022.  

The appeal of the app extends beyond its use as a safe space for conservatives to engage in witty banter with one another.  Truth Social users will share their opinions with one another with the posting of what the Trump group refers to as “TRUTH”, “Re-TRUTH”, video links, news stories, photos, and more.  In other words, the platform has the potential to be used for political, social, and business purposes.  

The listing for the app reads as follows: “Stay informed about breaking news while staying directly connected with the people who influence you – don’t be shocked if they take your TRUTH viral!” 

Similar to Twitter and Meta, Truth Social will empower platform users to establish a profile complete with an avatar.  Truth Social users will also be able to follow fellow users.  The platform will also feature a scrollable “feed” for new posts from followed users.  In short, Truth Social is Trump’s attempt to replicate the Twitter user experience.  Trump was banned from the popular platform while still holding office.  If Truth Social launches next month, it will hit the scene exactly 13 months after Trump was banned from both Twitter and Meta.

Additional Details About the Launch Announcement

The Trump team originally announced the Truth Social app will launch in beta for guests invited to the platform.  The app was originally planned for a November beta launch.  At the time of this announcement, representatives from Trump’s circle described the social platform as “Big Tent” social media that allows for a completely transparent, honest, and free worldwide conversation without the threat of discrimination based on political ideology.  

Trump noted that Twitter allows the Taliban to engage with the public and followers on the popular social media platform.  Indeed, there is a good argument to be made that the former President should also be able to use the platform if terrorists such as the Taliban are allowed to have a digital presence in the never-ending discussions held on Twitter.  Trump recently issued a public statement, indicating he is “…excited to send out my first TRUTH on TRUTH Social very soon.”

Gauging the Potential Response to Truth Social

In a poll conducted last fall, nearly two-thirds of registered Republicans indicated they intend to use Trump’s Truth Social platform.  The poll was conducted by Morning Consult/Political.  It is also interesting to note that a mere 20% of Republicans have no plan to use the platform.

Trump has valuable support in the form of former Rep. Devin Nunes, a Republican from California.  Nunes announced he will depart Congress sooner than expected to work for Trump’s social media company.  

Nunes states, “The time has come to reopen the Internet and allow for the free flow of ideas and expression without censorship.  The United States of America made the dream of the Internet a reality and it will be an American company that restores the dream. I’m humbled and honored President Trump has asked me to lead the mission and the world class team that will deliver on this promise.”

Trump heaped on the praise for Nunes, stating he is a leader and a fighter who will be an “excellent” Chief Executive Officer of the new social media platform.  Trump attempted to pivot away from Twitter to a personal blog called, “From the Desk of Donald J. Trump” in the spring of ’21.  The former president’s blog was shut down merely one month later.  

Jason Miller, a spokesman with the Trump team, noted the blog was merely what he described as a “precursor” to the former commander-in chief trying his hand at another social media platform.  Indeed, the arrival of Truth Social has the potential to put the former President back into the spotlight, potentially helping him reclaim his role as the leader of the free world in the next election.


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Knowing More About NFTs Can Help You Get Your Dream Car

Aventador, Huracan, Wraith, Stradale, Jaguar, irrespective of your dream car, the knowledge of NFTs and how to make money from it can take you a few steps closer to getting your amazing ride.

You might have seen many people on different social platforms with Ape arts and other digital items as their Avi or display picture. If you don’t know what they are, this article is for you. 

The widespread use of these digital arts as avi indicates the blooming NFTs market. Like every other trend, if you don’t act quickly, you will most likely miss out on the huge potential in it. 

I can bet this isn’t your first time hearing about NFTs, but the only thing you know about the acronym is the full meaning — Non-fungible Tokens. However, there’s more. 

It’s the next level of digital art and economy.

Non-Fungible Tokens are digital pieces that can’t be replaced and can’t be replicated. This infers that they’re unique pieces of art which makes them valuable. Multiple people can’t own them at one time, you can only transfer ownership. 

The most famous existing form of NFTs are the arts you’re most familiar with, but Non-fungible tokens exist in other forms too. They’re digitally created through Minting — a process that involves you turning your digital items into a part of a Blockchain that functions as a public ledger. 

Blockchain is a combination of different blocks. Each block is embedded with certain information that can’t be altered. The most used Blockchain for minting NFTs is the Ethereum (Eth) Blockchain, which is why all NFTs sell in eth. 

You can always create and mint your NFT on the Eth Blockchain, which automatically registers your creation in a public ledger and lists you as the owner. Their uniqueness and inability to be replaced make them highly valuable. Created NFTs can not be edited once they’re minted. 

Now that you have basic knowledge about NFTs, checkout how you can make money from these unique tokens

Sell NFTs As Digital ArtsOpensea is the largest marketplace for NFTs. It’s a place where you can buy, sell, or auction minted NFTs.

Around the 11th of March 2020, Christie’s, one of the most popular auction houses globally, sold an NFT work for around $69 million. This is a reflection of how valuable NFTs can be in the marketplace.

Albeit, it’s not all NFTs that carry value. Many celebrities and companies, including politicians, are joining the NFT train, and you’ll feel like the only one left out if you don’t seek some in-depth knowledge about the new sensation. 

Collect and Sell Licensed Collectibles — Converting physical collectibles like trading cards to a digital form that can serve as tokens can be another means of making money from NFTs. 

Brands and startups that require physical collectibles can sell the same thing at a higher value than NFTs (digital collectibles). 

The uniqueness of digital collectibles, the longevity, and the inability to suffer a loss while serving the same purpose as the physical one is enough reason to purchase at a higher value. 

Sports like NBA and Football now have digital sports cards, and other physical collectibles can also take this form. Collecting and selling these items can be another avenue of earning from NFTs.

NFT Video Games — This involves a high level of experience and in-depth knowledge to make this profitable and functional, but it’s a means of earning from NFT.

Although most of the games utilizing Non-Fungible Tokens have yet to gain much popularity, the prospect of tokenizing in-game items seems like an excellent idea.

Most gamers spend a lot on in-game virtual items. Making NFTs can bring a higher value and help the developers make more money.

Exploring this option requires a high level of planning, expertise, and knowledge. 

While this article has paraphrased the basics of NFTs, it still requires your efforts to learn in-depth, and turn the knowledge into a profitable enterprise. 

The booming niche in the cryptocurrency world holds much potential, and you can continuously tap from it with the proper application of knowledge.

Learn, earn, and buy yourself a Lambo!


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Facebook and Google Set To Pay Over $238 Million To France For Cookies

Data Privacy is essential on the internet, especially for top companies that pay enormous amounts for users’ data. 

This is why every country tries to monitor and access top giant tech companies’ operations, to protect their native internet users and keep them safe. Most countries achieve this by setting up private authorities in charge of data regulation. 

This is the duty of the CNIL for France. They have identified the giant companies Google and Facebook as a defaulter of the cookies legislation guiding internet usage. 

The world-leading search engine and content aggregator Google is set to pay a €150 million fine to CNIL — the French data protection regulator. 

In addition to Google being sanctioned by the authority, the giant social platform company Facebook (Meta) has also been fined the sum of €60 million in a similar allegation. 

The Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL) has alleged both companies of defaulting EU privacy rules. The authorities’ news release indicated that Google and Facebook (Meta) have failed to ensure ease of cookie tracking technology rejection by French users.  

This implies that internet users in France cannot as easily reject cookies as they accept them. CNIL flags this as a violation of EU’s privacy rules since they believe there should be freedom to choose whether or not an internet user wants cookies.

The fines were levied against the U.S. and Irish Google’s operations, with both being charged $90 million and $60 million as fines, respectively. For Facebook (Meta), their Irish operation was the one found wanting by the CNIL, and a fine of €60 million was levied against it.

Both companies might also be paying more if they fail to implement CNIL recommendations within the stipulated time. Official release from the authority reads 

“In addition to the fines, the restricted committee has ordered the companies involved (Google and Facebook) to provide France internet users with easier means of refusing cookies, just like the existing means of accepting them. This will guarantee freedom of consent. Failure to do so within the next 90 days  (3 months) will attract a further penalty of €100,000 per day of delay.”

Facebook’s (Meta) spokesperson reached out to Politico to state the company’s position on the said fine by CNIL. In his words :

“The company is reviewing CNIL’s decision, and we’re committed to working with relevant authorities. Our cookie consent controls give people greater flexibility and control over their data. 

We have a new settings menu on Facebook and Instagram where users can always revisit to make changes to any of their decisions at all times. We’re committed to continually improving and developing these controls.”

A Google spokesperson also revealed in a statement that: 

‘The company is well aware of its responsibility to protect users’ trust in them, and also to respect their privacy rights and keep them safe.”

He also notified the public of Google’s commitment to actively make necessary changes and work in tandem with the CNIL regarding the recent developments, under ePrivacy directive.

It’s not the first time the French data regulator would be issuing orders or sanctions related to defaulting cookies legislation. The authority claims to have issued 100+ orders and sanctions in its 10 months of operations. 

Interestingly, Google isn’t new to a CNIL fine. The leading search engine company has been previously fined a sum of €100,000 million for cookie violations under European e-Privacy rules, and also €50 million for GDPR violations. 

Google is still contesting the previous fine at the highest court in France. The most accurate guess is that it will attempt to fight this latest sanction. 

The fine to both companies’ Irish operations will further strengthen the tension between the EU and Ireland. The former (EU) believes Ireland’s policies are too favorable towards tech giants at the expense of users’ privacy. 

It remains to be seen how this will unfold, but one certain thing is that — the CNIL isn’t willing to compromise on making cookie rejection as simple as it can be accepted. 

It’s also yet to be known whether or not Facebook (Meta)  will follow Google’s step by contesting the fine in a court.


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An Inside Look at the $5 Million Home Kanye West Bought Across From Kim Kardashian

There has been some discussion as to whether couples sleeping in separate beds will be the wave of the future.  Kanye West is taking the notion of being temporarily separate-but-happy to another level, choosing to divorce his wife yet still live directly across from her.  The news is somewhat stunning as most of those who divorce want to be as far away from their former spouse as possible.  

Kanye made waves earlier this week when news broke that he has purchased a $5 million home across from his former wife Kim Kardashian.  It was announced earlier this month that the star couple would soon divorce.  However, it appears as though they will be spending plenty of time together, albeit in separate homes.

Kanye Paid More Than the Ask Price

The new home was initially listed for sale at $4.1 million.  Kanye paid $4.5 million for the home.  Perhaps what is most intriguing about the property is that it is a single-story home located directly across from Kim’s house.  The new Hidden Hills pad consists of five bedrooms and four bathrooms.  The stunning home hit the market earlier this September for the first time in nearly 70 years.  Kanye closed on the house less than three weeks later, using his LLC Spruce Blue Trust to purchase the home.

Kanye has publicly expressed his desire to get his family back together.  However, not much is known about the former couple’s living arrangements.  Those who follow the celebrity gossip trail seem to believe the purchase of the home will be for the kids of the former couple.  It is possible Kanye will share the home with his kids, setting the stage for logistically convenient visitations as detailed in the divorce settlement.

The Home is Far From Perfect

The building has been fairly well maintained since its construction in 1955, yet real estate insiders have revealed that it is far from perfect.  Those living in the area have revealed the home purchased by Kanye is in need of upgrades.  In ot`her words, this is not a world-class mansion that an entire family can live in without problems.  All in all, the home spans 3,600 feet.  A massive tree is located within the front section of the home’s interior.  There is also an outdoor pool.  

The property is positioned on an acre of land that includes a lovely equestrian ranch.  The interior of the home consists of beige carpeting along with vintage wood panels and cabinets.   The family room conveniently transitions directly to the pool.  The home also features a lavish guest quarters for visitors.

Additional features of the property include a family room with large sliding doors and a fireplace that provides a lovely view of the pool, as well as the horse corral.  The property also has a two-car detached garage.  Kanye and his kids will be able to walk from the detached garage along a path to a three-stall barn.  The barn is quite extravagant, containing a large hay storage space that links to a sizable paddock for horses.  The barn also has a tack room.  

The exterior of the home features AstroTurf instead of grass in an attempt to prevent a potential drought on the west coast from compromising the property’s greenery.  The sizable kitchen was remodeled in ’05 with the addition of a large island.

However, what matters most is that the house is across from Kim, meaning the former couple can spend family time together with their kids that much more frequently.  Kanye will likely live in the property on-and-off with his kids.  

Kanye Might be Leaving Wyoming for Good

It appears as though the rap superstar is departing Wyoming to live with his beloved kids in the Hidden Hills home for good.  Kanye listed one of his Wyoming ranches for sale a couple months ago.  The ranch is listed with an $11 million price tag.  However, the ranch has not sold as of the time of this publication.  It is also interesting to note the hip hop icon also purchased a luxurious modern Malibu estate for nearly $60 million.  

Kanye previously lived with Kim in the Hidden Hills mansion shared by the couple up until their split.  Kim purchased half of Kanye’s stake in the home for $23 million this past October.  The $23 million equates to a 50% stake in the property, meaning Kim now owns 100% of the multi-acre estate.  

Those who follow the California real estate scene are well aware of the fact that the couple invested years of time and possibly upwards of $50 million or more constructing their enormous estate in the Hidden Hills.  In fact, the home was so lavish that it was featured in an issue of Architectural Digest in 2020.


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War Tactics in Space is Business as Usual

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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