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.”

23 Million Americans May Relocate Due to Remote Work

Up to 23 million Americans are currently planning to relocate to a new region or city because of telework, telecommuting, and freelancing.

With fewer companies requiring in-office work, families have more opportunities to explore affordable housing options. This trend is happening for organizations of all sizes, significantly widening the accessible talent pool.

Up to 50 million more Americans are employed through the gig economy, following a similar relocation trend with their self-employment.

Employers benefit from this trend. It creates more opportunities to reach talented workers where they live. With fewer overhead costs and the potential for more productivity, everyone can do more and spend less.

Over Half of Small Businesses Plan to Offer Remote Work

A recent Intermedia survey found that 57% of American SMBs intend to offer remote work as a long-term option for many employees.

As part of this trend, companies have found that employee availability has risen by nearly 20% with this change.

With people leaving places like New York City in droves to escape COVID-19 and high prices, the emerging behavior could have dramatic implicates for state and local economies. The households that remain could be facing housing price drops, tax increases, and higher expenses for utilities and daily needs.

Imagine that your daily commute involves walking downstairs to your home office. You could take your Neuroscience and Perque, work in comfortable clothes, and manage your family’s schedule with much more flexibility. That’s an inviting scenario for many people.

Approximately 1 out of 5 residents in a major city plans to move beyond the regular commuting distance with the telecommuting trend. Over 54% say that they want to be around two hours away from their current location.

Housing prices suggest the survey information is accurate. The U.S.’s top housing markets saw 13 percentage points more in rental price decreases than those in the bottom 10%.

$50 Million Sought by AMC Theaters to Avoid Bankruptcy

AMC Theaters is struggling because of the COVID-19 pandemic. They’ve been hit on three different monetary fronts: ticket sales, food options, and exclusive movie access.

With reduced capacity seating required in most markets, the movie theater chain’s per-screen revenues are down significantly. When fewer customers walk through the door, that means less popcorn gets sold.

The movie studios have also negotiated a significantly lower exclusive run time for new films, hoping to take advantage of the new at-home market.

In an effort to counter these challenges, AMC hopes to sell up to 20 million Class A shares to bring in $50 million in new capital. This news comes on the heels of an October 2020 announcement that stated the organization was on its way toward Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Why Is AMC Struggling During This Time?

AMC found itself handling a lot of debt at a time when it wasn’t needed earlier in 2020. The organization had purchased competitors like Odeon and Carmike, creating a $4.75 billion obligation.

The movie theater chain has been in survival mode for quite some time. It has already looked for ways to boost liquidity while improving its overall balance sheet.

AMC wants to hold on until new content can arrive in theaters. Three titles are expected to potentially tempt customers to come to the big screen again, including “Wonder Woman 1984.”

Those hopes might get dashed with the recent announcement that Wonder Woman will simultaneously premiere on HBO Max.

In the previous quarter, AMC earned approximately $119.5 million in revenues. For the same period in 2019, the theater chain had gained $1.32 billion.

The maximum offering price for each share is $2.39, which would raise a total of $47.7 million if the fundraising offer is successful.