Luka Doncic Rookie Card Sells for $4.6 Million

When you think about the high price of sports cards, the most collectible ones tend to be from a different era. If you want an investment-grade baseball card, Honus Wagner is the man you want to have in your safe deposit box.

If you want to keep basketball cards, you’d likely picture Michael Jordan.

Nick Fiorello has a different idea. He recently paid $4.6 million for an ultra-rare Luka Doncic rookie card, setting a new record for the highest price ever paid for this collectible.

The Original Card Was Purchased for $400,000

The Luka Doncic rookie card that sold features the NBA logoman catch. It’s from a Mavericks jersey that the player wore with his signature in blue ink.

It was the only card made of that specific variety.

The card was originally from a 2018-2019 Panini National Treasures Basketball trading card box. It was revealed live during a pack break at a sports card shop in Florida. Collector Bolillo Lajan San reportedly purchased it at the time, with TMZ Sports saying that the price was over $400,000 for the item.

Only one other card has ever sold for more money than this 1/1 collectible. A 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card went for $5.2 million. Before that sale, the previous record was a $3.9 million Mike Trout rookie card.

Why Would Someone Pay That Much for a Card?

Luka Doncic has the potential to be one of the NBA’s greatest players. He’s hit the court strong since coming into the league, and it’s not out of the question that his current trajectory could put him with Jordan, Kareem, and the other legends.

Although $4.3 million seems high today, this card’s uniqueness and rarity ensure that there will always be collectible interest in it. If Doncic finishes his career strong, it wouldn’t be surprising to see this rookie card valued at more than $10 million one day.

Texans Hit with Electric Bills in the Thousands Following Storms

Texas got hit with a rare blast of winter’s ferocity in 2021. The temperatures dropped below freezing, snow arrived, and ice storms created problems with many cities’ utility infrastructures.

Some people had no power for days after the winter storms, and those who did have electricity discovered power bills that reached totals of more than $16,000.

How could something like this happen? It was the perfect mix of capitalism, privatization, and product scarcity.

Texans Had the Option for Supply-Based Charges

When Texas privatized its utility structures, one of the options available to customers was to use the fluctuating wholesale price for their bills instead of a fixed rate.

If there is plenty of power available, the bills could be much lower than average. When a storm unlike anything Texas has seen in more than a century blows through, the results are very different.

Scott Willoughby was one of the people who found out the hard way about this issue. His credit card got charged $16,752 because his lights stayed on during the storm when power supplies were quite limited.

Many other Texans found themselves in similar circumstances, paying $5,000 to $10,000 through automatic billing for their electricity.

No One Was Prepared for the Circumstances

It wasn’t only the power grid that was at risk from the winter storms. The region’s natural gas producers weren’t prepared for the freeze, causing thousands of homes to have no heat. Plumbing pipes burst in homes, some communities had no safe water, and treatment plants got knocked offline.

Most of the people who experienced the pricing issue were with Griddy. Even the company saw that problems could be coming, so they encourage every customer out of the 29,000 they served to switch to a different provider.

Many people were unable to do so, creating massive charges.

The architect of the system, William Hogan, says that the high prices reflect that the market performed as it was designed.

2,000-Year-Old Mummies with Gold Tongues Unearthed

Ongoing archaeology efforts throughout Egypt often come up with some intriguing finds each year. One of the most exciting things from 2021 is some 2,000-year-old mummies with golden tongues placed within their mouths.

A team working at the Taposiris Magna temple in Alexandria has discovered 16 burials in local rock-cut tombs that feature unique rituals not often seen in other dig sites.

Although the preservation techniques are inadequate, based on previously discovered standards, the gold foil amulets they were given make them intriguing. It is believed that this effort was given so that the individuals could speak with Osiris in the afterlife.

Osiris Was Considered to Be the Judge of the Dead

When archaeologists uncovered the mummies, they also discovered gilded decorations of Osiris in the complex. The materials were cartonnage, which is essentially glue, linen, and plaster.

There’s a crown with horns and a cobra on one of the figures, while decorations on the chest appear to be a falcon. If accurate, that would make it similar to the symbol of the god Horus.

Several additional treasures were found in the area, including a funeral mask, eight flakes of a golden wreath, and eight marble masks that were either Roman or Greek.

Coins that bear the name of Queen Cleopatra VII were also found in the temple complex. She was the last ruler of the Ptolemaic dynasty, which ruled from 51-30 BC. After her death, the area became part of the Roman Empire.

Two of the mummies were found to have scrolls buried with them. Scholars are currently analyzing the remaining fragments to decipher what they might say. Statues of the people who were buried there are also part of the find.

Archaeologists announced that they could still make out details from the well-preserved statues, including headdresses, hairstyles, and facial expressions.

It is amazing what can be learned in discovering the remains of the deceased.

This Boston Dynamics Robot Costs $74,500 – Without Addons!

Although we’re a long way from having robots take over our society, rapid technology advancements are letting them come into our homes.

One of the latest examples of this trend is the robot dog from Boston Dynamics. The device is named “Spot,” and you can have one if you’re willing to pay the base model price of $74,500.

That’s right! If you want addons for your robotic dog, you’ll need to spend some extra cash. At least Boston Dynamics includes the first year of software updates for free, along with a standard warranty.

If you want comprehensive protection for your robot dog, a $12,000 service plan is necessary.

What Are the Benefits of Purchasing a Spot?

You’ll discover that Spot might come with a price that rivals a luxury car, but it is a competent robot.

With over 100 units in the wild right now, there’s enough testing to see what the full capabilities of this technology could be. According to Boston Dynamics, a short video clip of the robot walking across rebar at faster-than-human speeds is one of the best advancements they’ve documented.

The current license for Spot is for commercial use. It’s not intended for in-home needs or to operate around children.

With the $74,500 investment, you’ll receive a charger, two batteries, a tablet controller (with a separate charger), and a case for transportation and storage.

If you want to get work done with Spot, the Enhanced Autonomy Package is another $34,750. That upgrade includes 360-degree cameras, better communications, lights, and a Velodyne VLP-16. Even an extra battery will cost $4,620, and the option for expansion ports (only two of them!) is $1,275.

Are you interested in placing an order for a robot dog of your very own? If so, more information is available at shop.bostondynamics.com.

Highlights of the Biden Executive Orders Signed in His First 30 Days

Most U.S. Presidents want to get off to a fast start when they take office. Since the election gives them the mandate to make some changes, the first 100 days are often seen as a gauge of what to expect in the coming years.

When Biden was sworn into office, he started signing executive orders within hours to begin the process of correcting what he thought was wrong with the country.

Here are the highlights of the various executive orders signed in the first month of the Biden Administration.

Biden Made an Aggressive Push on the Executive Order Front

The following table doesn’t show the proclamations, changes, or requests that don’t involve an executive order.

For example, Biden’s first action was to re-engage with the World Health Organization. That step didn’t require an executive order to complete on January 20.

Executive OrderSubject MatterDate
Create the position of a COVID-19/coronavirus response coordinator.This EO provides for streamlined vaccine distribution and virus management duties.January 20
Revoke Keystone XL pipeline.Biden paused energy leasing in ANWR while stopping the construction of the oil transportation pipeline.January 20
Launched an initiative to advance racial equity in schools.This EO effectively ended the 1776 Commission that looked at how American history got taught.January 20
OSHA guidance updates.This order looks at how to keep workers safe from COVID-19.January 21
Re-establish the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.The goal of this EO is to address the needs of low-income Americans.February 14
Revoke city targeting when local officials declare themselves as sanctuaries.With this executive order, Biden hopes to remove “anarchist” titles from U.S. communities.February 24
Rebuild the U.S. refugee resettlement program.This order works to restore the systems used to resettle refugees when their lives are threatened in their home countries.February 4

World GDP Growth Expected to Reach 4% in 2021

The global economy is expected to expand by 4% in 2021. That GDP growth is exciting news, especially after the 2020 losses, but it isn’t a guaranteed forecast.

Economists say that the 4% GDP estimate is based on the assumption that COVID-19 vaccines become widespread throughout the year. There must continue to be a positive immune response in people, despite potential variants, for economic activity.

The only reason why 2020 wasn’t worse is that China was able to recover faster than expected, while the advanced economies had a shallower contraction than anticipated. Those actions still resulted in a 3.5% loss.

The United States Will Have a Below Average Recovery

The World Bank expects the United States to fall short of the global recovery forecast, although not by much.

As the world reaches 4% GDP growth with a COVID-19 vaccine, the U.S. is expected to see a 3.5% surge in 2021. If China gets excluded from the economic numbers, Americans would be slightly above the global average.

Japan and Europe, which saw even more of a contraction in their economies than Americans, will have similar growth struggles in 2021. Europe is expected to grow at the same rate as the United States, while the Japanese might reach 2.5% for the year.

If infections continue to rise and complications in the vaccine rollout occur, the growth estimates could be slashed by almost 70%.

Economists don’t see two consecutive years of GDP loss, but global expansion could be limited to approximately 1.5%.

On the other end of the equation, a faster-than-anticipated vaccine rollout could help the world recover 20% faster.

Although COVID-19 is creating debt risks and other significant problems in emerging economies, it is also providing new opportunities to explore business opportunities. If a vaccine can be successfully administered to most people, we should see a return to normalcy by 2022.

Tokyo Olympics Could Cost $26 Billion

After spending a year on hold, Japan plans for the 2020 Olympic games to be held in the summer of 2021 in Tokyo. The remaining competition schedule is expected to stay the same, with the next Summer Olympics scheduled in 2024.

The original cost estimate for the Olympic Games was $7.3 billion. After the organizers released an updated budget with $12.6 billion in costs, an audit took a look at the rest of the books.

Japan’s Board of Audit found billions of expenditures from national and municipal governments that weren’t included on the financial ledger. They estimate that the Tokyo Olympics could cost over $26 billion to operate.

If COVID-19 protocols are still necessary when they’re held, the price could get even higher.

Organizers Say They’re Not Responsible for the Additional Money

Tokyo 2020 is fighting back on the idea that they’re responsible for the $26 billion that the Board of Audit suggests is the real cost of the games.

The organizers say that the board aggregates several projects from across the country that could be seen as game contributors. It didn’t matter whether the expenses were part of the official program or not.

Japanese media calculate that the price of holding the Tokyo Games could reach more than $28 billion. That’s compared to the $6.9 billion in place for the 2028 games expected to be held in Los Angeles.

The one difference between Tokyo and LA is that the American organizers expect to use several existing venues for the competition. Japan had to build several items, including a national stadium and a village for the athletes.

It’s not all bad news for the 2020 Summer Olympics organizers. Sponsorship sales have reached $3.3 billion, and ticket sales have been strong enough that lotteries have had to be established. When the event’s economic impact gets analyzed, it will still be a profitable venture for the city and Japan.

Ring with 12,638 Diamonds Sets Guinness Record

How many diamonds do you think you could wear on your finger?

If you’re getting engaged in 2021, you might think that a ring with one beautiful Princess-cut diamond is enough. Some gifts might provide a handful of these gorgeous gems, set in a beautiful design that reflects the wearer’s personality.

Rennai Jewels in Meerut, India, decided that a ring with 12,638 diamonds was the best way to show love. Harshit Bansal is the designer of this masterpiece, introducing it to the public late in 2020.

It currently holds the Guinness World Record for the most diamonds on a single ring.

The Ring Weighs almost Six Ounces (165g)

Bansal named the diamond ring “Marigold.” It’s also referred to as the “Ring of Prosperity.”

The foundational design uses an ornate flower to serve as the resting place for most of the diamonds. It employs thousands of 38-carat natural gemstones to create a one-of-a-kind sparkle.

The previous record-holder in this category was Hallmark Jewelers, which is also based in India. They designed a piece that contained 7,801 diamonds.

Each petal in the ring’s design is unique. It took Bansal about two years to complete the work on this piece, which he started almost immediately after graduating from local jewelry design courses.

Underneath the diamonds is an 18-karat gold surface. Bansal only used conflict-free gemstones for the stunning ring.

All of the diamonds are of VVS clarity and in the E to F color range.

The Creator Says the Ring Is Wearable

When asked about what it was like to wear such a massive creation, Bansal said that the jewelry was comfortable and wearable.

His target was always to exceed 10,000 diamonds with the design. Prospective buyers have already inquired about the piece, but Bansal says he’s not interested in selling it at the moment.

“It’s a matter of pride,” he said in a recent interview. “It’s priceless.”

Ikea Ends Iconic Catalog with a 40 Million Printing Run

Ikea decided to discontinue its annual catalog in 2020. The Swedish furniture company called the decision “emotional,” but they also said it was a rational choice to stop producing the fan-favorite publication.

That doesn’t mean the company is abandoning the concept this year. The final issue will have 40 million copies for everyone to enjoy, allowing you to flip through the pages to see the unique styles and updates offered.

When 2021 arrives, the 70-year run for Ikea and its catalog will come to an end. It’s a remarkable shifting of the consumer landscape, since it was only 2016 when Ikea published 200 million copies of its catalog.

If you were thinking about recycling your Ikea catalog this year, it might be a better idea to hold onto it. The item could become a collector’s edition!

The Decision Is a Sign of Our Digital Times

After the events of 2020 caused some people to start washing their fruits and vegetables in bleach, the idea of getting a catalog handled by multiple hands is somewhat unappealing. Even with several COVID vaccines in play, our global society is now a germ-sensitive environment.

We are moving online more with everything because the digital world doesn’t have the same physical restrictions.

Although people used the iconic catalog to see new items or think about how they’d look in their home, the company’s online sales surged by 45% since September 2019. With the website getting more hits per month than the catalog numbers printed, funneling money into that asset makes more sense.

If you still need an Ikea catalog fix, the furniture producer intends to offer a “museum” that allows fans to browse every issue ever printed.

The company will also release a catalog compendium in 2021 for the 2022 sales year for those who can’t resist the idea of turning pages.

Bob Dylan Sells Music Catalog for $300 Million

You won’t find a more prolific or successful musician on our planet. Bob Dylan continues to break records that many people thought were impossible even to reach.

Although bands like The Rolling Stones have had lasting power, Dylan has nearly six decades of industry experience after writing titles like “Blowin’ in the Wind.

He recently sold his entire song catalog, which encompasses over 600 songs, to the Universal Music Publishing Group. The whole deal is estimated to be worth over $300 million, making the deal potentially the largest investment ever for songwriting rights.

Full disclosure: Universal has not disclosed their negotiated purchase price.

Why Would Universal Pay That Much for Dylan’s Music?

Universal falls under the ownership umbrella of Vivendi, which is a French media giant. Now that the rights have transferred from Dylan to them, they’ll receive compensation whenever another artist covers a song that the musician wrote.

Vivendi also get the revenues from streamed songs, commercial sales, and broadcasts. If you hear a Bob Dylan song in a movie, this company gets paid for that result.

Songwriting rights are different than recording rights.

Dylan’s music has already been recorded by others over 6,000 times, including hits from Guns N’ Roses and Jimi Hendrix. Universal is not getting a piece of that pie. Instead, they’re receiving the portion that Dylan gets for being the author of the work.

At 79 years old, Dylan has had numerous notable accomplishments during his career. He’s won an Oscar, holds a Golden Globe, and over ten Grammy awards. Five of his songs are currently in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The deal struck by Universal includes every song, starting with his self-titled debut and ending with his latest album called “Rough and Rowdy Ways.”

Dylan has been recording music since 1962 and sold more than 125 million records.