$41 Million Mansion Renovation Uncovers 30-Year-Old Mystery

After spending big money to acquire an exclusive Parisian mansion in the Seventh District, the new owners came to discover that a body was in the basement of the home. The property had been abandoned since the mid-18th century. 

The individual was found in a place that hadn’t been visited by the bailiff, the property managers, or anyone else affiliated with the auction.

Authorities believe that the man had been there for approximately 30 years. While police have opened an active homicide investigation, the new owners are starting the renovation process.

It Is an Impressive Parisian Property

Why would someone spend over $40 million on a Parisian mansion that hadn’t been maintained in over a century?

It’s the perfect combination of location and space. The property contains an inner courtyard and private gardens, along with some significant square footage.

The crumbling mansion will have 17,000 square feet of usable space once the restoration process is complete. 

Investment banker Jean-Bernard Lafonta purchased the property after a 15-minute bidding war. He ended up paying six times the reserve price, which is located just down the road from the French prime minister’s private residence.

During the initial investigation, law enforcement officials noted knife wounds on the body, along with several broken bones. The individual was identified as Jean-Pierre Renaud.

Who Was the Victim in This Case?

Although no one really knows the motive behind the apparent murder, Renaud was identified as a homeless individual who had a drinking problem. Police suspect that he may have gotten into a fight with someone else in the same circumstances, potentially for access to the abandoned mansion’s basement.

Lafonta says that he doesn’t plan to make the restored mansion his new residence. It’s getting renovated to become office space for an unidentified international company.

Although authorities suspect Renaud’s murder to become a cold case, they are still following up on leads to see if they can offer some closure to his story.

600 Million Pounds of Candy Bought During Halloween

Halloween is a favorite holiday for many because of how much candy gets exchanged. When you come home with a massive haul, your loot can last until Christmas!

And yes, that fact remains true even with the parent tax in place.

The issue that many people have with Halloween candy is the size of the treat with the calories it provides. You can contribute significant additions to your daily eating habits with only 3-4 pieces.

If you have four fun-size candy bars, you’re averaging 90 calories per serving. That means you’ve added 360 calories to your diet. When other changes don’t get made to offset that amount, it doesn’t take long to start gaining a little weight.

Even the best products from Thorne Research and Vital Naturals cannot offset those gains. 

How to Offset the Candy Binge Each Year

When all of that candy comes into the house, it feels like forbidden fruit. Although it seems contrary to what you hope to accomplish, it is better to give yourself permission to eat those treats than to deprive yourself.

If candy feels like forbidden fruit, you’re more likely to binge on it.

You can follow these additional steps to reduce the temptation even more.

Stop the Constant Self-Criticism

If you blame yourself for lacking control, more stress comes into your life. For many people, the primary coping skill involves eating comfort foods, which leads to more candy consumption. Instead of trying to be ultra-restrictive or harsh with your choices, permit yourself to enjoy those fun-size bars within reason.

Eat What You Want, Whenever You Want

When you allow yourself to eat anything, it is easier to second-guess your choices. It is easier to reject candy because there might be something healthier available. Those cravings might disappear as quickly as they formed.

Stop Saving Up to Fill Up Later

Talking yourself into a deal to binge on your cheat day isn’t going to make more room. You won’t compensate by skipping meals or working out longer These trades are still artificial restrictions that you put on your behavior.

Don’t let the candy be forbidden fruit. When you accept its presence and your ability to eat it, the temptations aren’t as strong.

Mark Zuckerberg Crosses the $100 Billion Net Worth Plateau

Although many people are struggling financially in 2020, Mark Zuckerberg is not one of those individuals. Financial reports indicate that his net worth has risen by over $22 billion since January, allowing him to become the third person in the United States to cross the $100 billion mark.

That means he is currently third in overall wealth behind Jeff Bezos (Amazon) and Bill Gates (Microsoft).

Zuckerberg owns approximately 13% of Facebook, which he helped to create in 2004. Stocks surged recently with news that the social media platform is launching a rival to TikTok, allowing him to achieve the rare financial feat.

If Zuckerberg follows through with his stated goal of giving away 99% of his shares within his lifetime, that increase bodes well for future charitable organizations.

Jeff Bezos Is Worth Over $171 Billion

Despite his high-profile divorce, Jeff Bezos is still the world’s wealthiest individual with his role in leading Amazon. Although MacKenzie received 25% of the couple’s shares at the time of their separation, the company’s shares recently topped $2,870 to give him a massive boost.

Although Amazon has seen significant criticism over its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, the online platform received more revenues as people turned to it for their everyday needs. It was enough money to encourage the company to hire more workers and raise employee pay. 

Zuckerberg may have earned over $22 billion, but it is Bezos who is the big winner. Estimates suggest that the world’s richest person added another $56 billion to his coffers in 2020.

Although those numbers are impressive, they are still nowhere near where the world’s wealthiest people once stood. Andrew Carnegie sold his steel company to J.P. Morgan in 1901 for $480 million. At his personal peak, his net worth was approximately $380 million. When you put in over a century of inflation to those totals, that value was about $310 billion in today’s figures.
It is also important to note that the world’s 46.8 millionaires and billionaires collectively own $158.3 trillion.

What States Are Hardest Hit by COVID and How Hospitals Responded

COVID-19 has hit all parts of the United States. No state has been spared from this insidious virus.

What we do know is that every hospital responds the same way. People receive treatment for COVID based on their symptoms. Some may require ventilators, while others get meds and natural products that assist with their recovery.

Brands like Carlson Labs and DaVinci Labs are contributing to the homeopathic approach to wellness. Products like Barlean’s Organic Oils can help people focus on their health.

If you keep track of the data where the hotspots are at any given time, you’ll know how to respond within your daily routine.

September’s Hotspots for COVID-19

The states currently managing significant coronavirus infections in the U.S. are Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota. These three areas are seeing 25+ daily new cases per 100,000 people. This statistic indicates that they have unchecked community spread.

Most states are seeing escalating community spread at 10-24 new cases per 100,000 people. All of the Midwest and South are in this area, as is Hawaii.

The Northeast, the Rocky Mountain states, Washington, and Oregon still have the potential for community spread. They’re experiencing 1-9 daily new cases per 100,000 people.

The only state that has COVID-19 close to containment is Vermont.

What About the States with Total Cases?

California, New York, Texas, and Florida are the states hardest hit by COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

California has over 739,000 confirmed cases at the start of September, registering over 13,000 deaths.

Texas had over 650,000 cases, with about the same number of deaths reported.

New York only has 439,000 reported coronavirus cases, but their death count is almost 33,000.

Florida reports about 646,000 COVID-19 cases, with about 12,000 deaths tabulated. Their reporting is inconsistent in some areas, which means the figures may be much higher.

Outside of Vermont, just Wyoming is having a successful response to the coronavirus pandemic. The state has only reported about 4,000 cases and 42 deaths.
Current updates are always available at NPR.

War By the Numbers: Which One Was Deadliest?

War and conflict are significant contributors to human death. Millions of people have died over the centuries during these battles, often started for reasons that involve conquest or dominion.

Although we often think of modern wars as having the most casualties, that is not always the case. Here are the deadliest conflicts recorded in human history.

1. World War II

With the Allied vs. Axis powers conflict, the Sino-Japanese battles, and the side wars that waged during this conflict, up to 85 million people were killed from 1937-1945. Although World War II’s official start is 1939, some battles started up to 24 months earlier that became part of the overall conflict.

2. The Transition from Ming China to Qing China

The Ming-Qing Transition was a conflict that took a confirmed 25 million lives, and probably killed millions more. This conflict lasted for almost 70 years during the 17th century as multiple kingdoms and dynasties fought for power and control.

3. Spanish Conquest of the Americas

This conflict took an estimated 25 million lives in direct battle and possibly claimed double that figure with disease introduction. As Europeans came to conquer the Americas for riches, multiple plagues ripped through the region, wiping cultures off the map.

4. World War I

Up to 40 million people may have died because of the various battles that happened in the first global war. After coming out of this conflict, the world had a flu epidemic that took up to 50 million more lives. Those figures don’t account for the Russian Civil War’s casualties that took place during this period.

5. Chinese Civil War

This conflict pitted the ROC against the PRC to see what government style would dominate in China. The communists would eventually win, with the democratic officials fleeing to Taiwan for safety. Almost 8 million people died in this conflict.

6. The Mongol Conquests

The battles that the Mongol Empire started against several Eurasian states took up to 40 million lives. When you add the Bubonic Plague that likely came along during this migration, another 200 million were killed, making this era in human history the deadliest ever recorded. It was over 160 years of sporadic war.

The last 50 years have been the most peaceful our planet has experienced over the last ten centuries. Our continued efforts to avoid war can continue this trend.

What Does It Take to Get Into an Ivy League School?

Eight Ivy League schools represent the epitome of educational achievement in the United States. The schools, ranked in no particular order, are Yale, Princeton, Penn, Harvard, Dartmouth, Cornell, Columbia, and Brown.

Their average acceptance rate is only 9%. The exclusivity of attending one of these institutions has some significant advantages. About one-quarter of the 400 wealthiest people in the United States attended one of these schools. 

How can you give yourself the best chance to get an acceptance letter?

How Do I Get Into an Ivy League School?

It would be best if you thought about differentiation. Over half of the accepted students at Harvard already have a 4.0 GPA, with similar figures found at the other institutions. Being elite in your school isn’t enough.

It would help if you thought about the other activities you have in your life. Does your work get printed regularly in national publications? Do you excel in other extra-curricular activities?

Getting into an Ivy League school requires you to be the best of the best. That means you need to be a changemaker on a global scale.

It helps to have a relative as an alumnus to an Ivy League school that can support your application.

You don’t need to be well-rounded to get into your preferred school. It may be necessary for some less selective institutions, but the Ivy League wants to see people with a strong performance in at least one (if not two or three) categories.

Why Isn’t My GPA Enough Today?

The average GPA for accepted students in the Ivy League institutions today is above 4.0. It’s as high as 4.19 at Cornell. Only Princeton and Yale are lower, and their average is 3.9.

Your SAT or ACT scores need to have a similar altitude to get attention. Yale’s average accepted score is 1580 and 35, respectively. Anything lower may send the application to the rejection pile.

Even with those attributes, an outstanding personal essay is necessary to get your application across the finish line. You must be personable, authentic, and unique. Get your paperwork in early to have the best chance.

$503 Million Contract Extension for the KC Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes

Many young athletes think about the joys of going pro one day. The odds are against anyone starting right now to play professionally in their sport, but the payday is one reason to pursue those dreams.

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs is evidence of what it can mean to have a dream come true. He recently signed a $503 million contract extension to continue playing in the NFL.

How can you achieve your dreams of becoming a professional athlete one day? The journey begins when you start taking care of your health. Products from brands like Carlson Labs, Jarrow Formulas, and Vital Proteins can help you customize the health and wellness foundation needed to perform at an elite level.

Once you take care of the fuel your body needs, you’ll want to follow these additional steps.

How to Become a Professional Athlete

Develop Your Soft Skills

Professional athletes need superior skills in concentration, decision making, physical stamina, and hand-eye coordination. Anyone with the right training can physically perform the movements and complete the expectations of their sport. Enhancing these qualities ensures that you can access the natural talents you have in that area.

Work on Your Interpersonal Skills

Most professional athletes work as a member of a team. That means you must develop your interpersonal skills so that it is possible to be successful with all personality types. You don’t need to be best friends with everyone, but you must find a way to be around them without generating conflict.

Get Ready for the Scheduling Problems

Most professional athletes work when the general public is available to watch. That means you’ll have lots of games or competitions on the weekends and holidays. You have the expectation to train on the days when you don’t compete. Most sports operate for 7-9 months during the year, with some being a year-round affair.

You Must Focus on Discipline

Most professional athletes don’t get rich, famous, or play a lot. The average salary in 2016 was less than $50,000 per year. Your focus on discipline ensures that you can enjoy competing and working in an area that you love. It’s more of a lifestyle than a career.

Anyone can become a professional athlete when the drive to excel is present. You may not get $503 million like Patrick Mahomes, but there will still be fun stories to tell to your family once your career is over. 

It Was Ten Degrees Warmer in the Siberian Arctic in June

A small community in northeastern Siberia likely set the record for the highest temperature ever recorded above the Arctic Circle in June 2020. Temperatures soared to 100.4°F (38°C) in the town of Verkhoyansk, making it the first reading above that threshold in recorded history.

Russians have been recording temperatures and weather readings since 1885. The United States and Europe began to do keep this information around the same time.

The Siberian Arctic is in the middle of a massive heatwave. The region has seen six months of unusual warmth, creating average temperatures ten degrees higher for the month than average. Many believe that these readings are the most persuasive evidence yet that global warming trends change the landscape of our planet.

How the Excessive Heat Changes the Arctic

The trends seen in the Siberian Arctic are similar to what other cold-weather climates are experiencing. Temperatures are at or near the record levels of 2018 and 2019, sometimes by more than two degrees.

When excessive heat reaches the Arctic (or the Antarctic), moisture trapped in the ground evaporates into the atmosphere. This process saps the soil and plant life of the nutrients needed for survival, creating a tinder that serves as fuel for numerous wildfires.

Russia announced in July 2020 that the Siberian region was experiencing almost 250 separate forest fires. A total of 140,000 hectares was burning, creating an emergency declaration for several areas. Even local state television showed planes dumping waters on massive columns of white smoke.

Some Heatwaves in Siberia Are Expected

The year-over-year temperature fluctuations above the Arctic Circle are somewhat expected. Massive shifts in climate can happen annually, and sometimes these alterations occur in weeks or months.

That’s why having such an unusually warm spell, with the Arctic warming faster than the rest of the planet, is such a worrisome event.

The hot temperatures and forest fires are doing more than melting glaciers or rising sea levels. Carbon emissions from Siberia measuring 59 megatons in June 2020, up over 10% from the year before.

That means the hot temperatures are creating a cycle that encourages more warmth to develop. Although winter will bring cold and snow, changes to the permafrost could cause permanent problems.

$1.6 Billion Awarded to Novavax for a Coronavirus Vaccine

Novavax made headlines in 2020 because the company received $1.6 billion from the Trump Administration. The funds are the largest contract of its type for this struggling organization, one which has never brought a usable vaccine to the marketplace.

Why did Novavax get so much attention when other pharmaceutical companies with a better record of success were on the same path? In a rare move of bipartisanship in American politics, executives from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation promoted this small biotech company’s potential.

Republican officials in the White House agreed. The company uses moth cells to create crucial molecules faster than a typical vaccine, providing an advantage during the pandemic era that other companies couldn’t match.

The Company Was on the Verge of Collapse

Novavax made the push to the federal government for the $1.6 billion award after receiving almost $400 million from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, headed by Dr. Richard Hatchett.

The funds are a dramatic turnaround for a company that was on the verge of collapse. After receiving the award, stock prices surged 30% almost overnight.

Novavax was on the verge of collapse. Their leading vaccine candidate was a product intended to prevent a deadly virus in newborns. It had failed for the second time in three years, causing the stock to trade so low that NASDAQ was threatening to delist it.

The company was raising cash by selling its manufacturing facilities.

How could the agency get so much money so quickly to produce a successful vaccine that it had never done before? The answer lies in a secretive mission called Operation Warp Speed.

What Is Operation Warp Speed?

Operation Warp Speed is a public-private partnership (PPP) initiated by the Trump Administration in April 2020. The goal of this effort was to accelerate the development, manufacturing, and distribution of vaccines to stop COVID-19. 

Congress allocated about $10 billion for this effort, including $3 billion for research through the National Institutes of Health.

Novavax received the $1.6 billion offer with one condition: it had to prove that its clinical trials were successful. If that happened, the money would help them to produce 100 million doses of the vaccine.

BioNTech and Pfizer received a $2 billion order with the same stipulation, getting 100 million doses of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine. In July 2020, GSK and Sanofi got funding of $2.1 billion. 

7.4 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Mexico

A massive earthquake struck Mexico’s southern coast in late June, registering a 7.4 magnitude quake that prompted evacuations. The incident killed at least five people as buildings collapsed in the region.

Health services from the state of Oaxaca reported that several hospitals in the region sustained damage because of the earthquake. Two of the facilities affected by this incident were treating confirmed COVID-19 patients.

People as far away as El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala reported feeling the earthquake. Its epicenter was approximately 190 miles south of Mexico City, where sirens wailed in response to the land movements.

Tsunami Warnings Were Briefly Issued

The magnitude of the earthquake caused tsunami warnings to be issued along the southern Mexico coast initially. Early estimates suggested that waves higher than 3.3 feet could come into the shore. Observers in Salina Cru and Acapulco noted waves of more than two feet instead.

Overall, the damage experienced in Oaxaca is considered light to moderate, although several buildings did collapse during the incident. The initial estimate of repairs was less than $100 million.

Mexico is one of the world’s most active areas for earthquakes because of its position along the Pacific Ring of Fire. The country has a long history of managing devastating seismic events. It sits on top of three significant tectonic plates that experience volcanic eruptions and regular movement.

Two earthquakes hit Mexico in 2017, with the strongest reaching a magnitude 8.1. That incident cracked highways and toppled several structures.

How to Survive an Earthquake

If you are inside of a building during an earthquake, drop to the ground immediately. Find cover underneath a sturdy table or another furniture item. Try to stay away from any walls, windows, or glass that could shatter to cause an injury. Stay put into all of the shaking stops.

When you are outside during an earthquake, don’t try to run. Move into an open area away from trees or buildings that could fall if possible. Power lines, broken water pipes, or cracked gas mains could all cause problems after the seismic event.