The Reactions to Elon Musk Hosting 'SNL' Are Not Positive at All

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Just Jared 24 April, 2021 - 10:46am 10 views

Is Elon Musk hosting SNL?

Famously temperamental billionaire Elon Musk will host “Saturday Night Live” on May 8 with Miley Cyrus as musical guest, NBC announced Saturday. Los Angeles Times'SNL' courts controversy, picking Elon Musk to host

SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk remains focused on his vision for the company: Establishing a permanent human presence on Mars, with its Starship rockets carrying people to and from the red planet.

"We don't want to be one of those single planet species, we want to be a multi-planet species," Musk said on Friday, speaking after the company launched its Crew-2 mission to orbit.

"It's been now almost half a century since humans were last on the moon. That's too long, we need to get back there and have a permanent base on the moon — again, like a big permanently occupied base on the moon. And then build a city on Mars to become a spacefaring civilization, a multi-planet species," Musk also said.

Starship is the enormous stainless steel rocket that SpaceX has been building and testing at its development facility in Boca Chica, Texas. Starship's goal is to launch cargo and people on missions to the moon and Mars. Current Starship prototypes stand at about 150 feet tall, or about the size of a 15-story building, and each one is powered by three Raptor rocket engines.

Musk has previously estimated that it will cost about $5 billion to fully develop Starship, although SpaceX has not disclosed how much it has spent on the program to date. The company has steadily raised funds in the past few years, to fund both Starship and its similarly ambitious Starlink project, with SpaceX's valuation soaring to about $74 billion — making it one of the most valuable private companies in the world.

Additionally, SpaceX last week won a $2.9 billion contract from NASA, to help the space agency land astronauts on the moon's surface with the first crewed mission targeting 2024.

"[Starship has] mostly been funded internally thus far and it's pretty expensive. As you can tell, if you've been watching videos, we've blown up a few of them," Musk said.

The company has performed multiple successful test flights of Starship, although landing attempts after the last four high-altitude flights ended in fiery explosions. Despite the the prototypes' destruction, SpaceX sees the test flights as progress toward creating a rocket that is fully reusable. SpaceX's current Falcon fleet of rockets is partially reusable, as the company can land and reuse the rocket's boosters.

But Musk hopes Starship transforms space travel into something more akin to commercial air travel. The rocket's enormous size would also make it capable of launching several times as much cargo at once — for comparison, while SpaceX's Falcon 9 rockets can send as many as 60 Starlink satellites at a time, SpaceX says Starship will be able to launch 400 Starlink satellites at a time.

Musk remains "highly confident" that SpaceX will land humans on Mars by 2026, saying last December that it's an achievable goal "about six years from now." He added that SpaceX plans to send a Starship rocket without crew "in two years."

In the meantime, SpaceX has many milestones to go before Starship can carry passengers. The rocket has yet to reach orbit. Musk last year said that the company will fly "hundreds of missions with satellites before we put people on board."

Musk may be focused on Mars, but the hurdles of Starship's development are not lost on the space billionaire.

"It's a tough vehicle to build because we're trying to crack this nut of a rapid and fully reusable rocket," Musk said. "But the thing that's really important to revolutionize space is a rapidly reusable rocket that's reliable, too."

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Elon Musk Says Mars Travel Won't Be Just For the Rich, Details CO2 Removal Competition

Interesting Engineering 25 April, 2021 - 05:00am

While sharing his optimistic views about humanity's future, Musk also noted that "a bunch of people will probably die" during first ventures to Mars.

The talk took place at Cape Canaveral in Florida on Thursday, April 22, and was live-streamed on YouTube for anyone keen to hear what these two men had to say. 

One of the main points of the talk was to announce the XPprize Carbon Removal Competition that has a whopping $100 million prize award. It's being called the "largest incentive prize in history." The whole point of the competition is to find innovative ways to battle climate change and rebalance Earth's carbon cycle. A topic Sir David Attenborough would be thrilled about.

Anyone from students to experts from around the planet can take part in the four-year-long competition, so long as they come up with clear and actionable solutions to pull CO2 directly out of our oceans and atmosphere and lock it away in a durable and sustainable way. 

In order to win the grand prize, the winning team or individual must have a solution that works at a scale of at least 1,000 tonnes of CO2 removed every year, model their costs at a scale of 1 million tonnes per year, and demonstrate how their solution will keep scaling up to reach gigatonnes of CO2 removed every year in the future. 

So it comes as little surprise that Elon Musk is supporting such an innovative and forward-looking venture. The Elon Musk Foundation is, in fact, sponsoring the competition. 

When speaking with Diamandis, SpaceX's future travel to Mars and the Moon was brought up, with Musk mentioning that late last week, NASA awarded SpaceX $2.9 billion for the next Lunar lander, and that the next human to step foot on the Moon once again will likely be a woman.

Musk also added a parenthesis to the conversation explaining that he's aware he may sound like a hypocrite by sponsoring a CO2-removal competition while the rockets SpaceX is producing will add more carbon to the atmosphere.

He mentioned, however, that there's no easy way of getting around the physics of a rocket, and that the company has a long-term plan of using as much renewable energy as possible for future rocket flights. He also mentioned that in order for humanity to survive, we have to become a multi-planetary species. Hence the focus on creating safe, interplanetary-traveling rockets — even if they do burn fuel.

When asked the question "Oh, is this just some escape hatch for rich people?" Musk answered that travel, and potential relocation to Mars will not exclusively be for the rich, it'll actually be more geared towards adventurers. Likening future Mars trips to the first voyage to Antarctica, Musk mentioned they'll be uncomfortable, dangerous, exciting, and without a guarantee of a return. He remarked that "a bunch of people will probably die" even. Definitely one for the adventurous spirits. 

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Elon Musk's AI fears as warning 'humans will become more AI than human this century'

Daily Express 25 April, 2021 - 05:00am

South African billionaire Elon Musk has been very candid in the past about his mistrust towards unregulated artificial intelligence. The tech mogul who built his empire through SpaceX and Tesla, has warned of a "potential danger to the public" and said AI could become smarter than humans in as little as five years. For the most part, Mr Musk appears to be concerned by scientists and AI researchers underestimating the potential for machines to outsmart humans.

Just two years ago he told the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai, China, the moment computers surpass us, could be the moment civilisation ends.

Speaking to Alibaba chairman Jack Ma, Mr Musk warned: "The biggest mistake I see artificial intelligence researchers making is assuming they’re intelligent. They’re not, compared to artificial intelligence."

And he is not the only high-profile figure to sound the alarm bells on the potential dangers posed by rogue AI.

In 2015 he was joined by the likes of theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking in signing an open letter on AI.

The document called for more research into the impact AI will have on society while admitting AI can be very beneficial.

But the letter also stressed there is a dire need for a better understanding of the "pitfalls" this technology will create.

The letter, which was published by the Future of Life Institute, reads: "There is now a broad consensus that AI research is progressing steadily, and that its impact on society is likely to increase.

"The potential benefits are huge, since everything that civilization has to offer is a product of human intelligence; we cannot predict what we might achieve when this intelligence is magnified by the tools AI may provide, but the eradication of disease and poverty are not unfathomable.

It comes, therefore, as no surprise to see Mr Musk agree humanity and AI will become closely intertwined in the next 80 years or so.

Lex Fridman, a podcast host who frequently discusses topics such as AI, consciousness and space technology, took to Twitter today (April 23) to share his predictions for the future of AI.

In a tweet, he suggested the trajectory of AI development will bring humanity and smart technology together within this century.

And if this happens, the risk is humans will become more AI than human - a bold claims Mr Musk agreed with.

Mr Fridman said: "Humans have been gradually merging with AI for 20+ years.

"At some point in this century, as a collective intelligence system, we will become more AI than human, and we won't notice."

The SpaceX chief, who has appeared on Mr Fridman's podcast before, replied with a simple: "Yup."

Mr Musk addressed his concerns surrounding AI in a 2018 interview with Kara Swisher, where he argued regulation and research is ultimately needed to understand what scientists and developers are dealing with.

He said: "My recommendation for the longest time has been consistent.

"I think we ought to have a government committee that starts off with insight, gaining insight.

"Spends a year or two gaining insight about AI or other technologies that are maybe dangerous, but especially AI.

"And then, based on that insight, comes up with rules in consultation with industry that give the highest probability for a safe advent of AI."

Elon Musk’s Upcoming ‘SNL’ Hosting Gig Met With Scorn: ‘Bafflingly Terrible’ Idea

Yahoo Entertainment 24 April, 2021 - 03:42pm

NBC surprised pretty much everyone on Saturday with its announcement that Elon Musk would be hosting the next episode of “Saturday Night Live” on May 8, a decision that was met with a resounding, “No, no, no, no, no, no, no.”

Musk, who is known as the founder and CEO of both Tesla and SpaceX, will be the first non-actor or athlete to host the longrunning sketch comedy series since Donald Trump in the fall of 2016. At that time, Trump was still just a candidate for president and that decision was met with a lot of scrutiny.

Musk, who has come under fire over the past year for seemingly downplaying the severity COVID-19 pandemic (and has a history of making controversial statements), is being met with a similar level of disdain.

One Twitter user described the move as one of “desperation” and added, “Did NBC force Lorne Michaels to have Elon Musk host? Or threaten to replace SNL with ‘Apprentice’ reruns?”

Here’s a look at some of the reactions, most of which are negative. Though we should point out that not everyone was unhappy. Musk does have a pretty big following among the Bitcoin and Robinhood investor crowd.

— Ivey McClelland 😷😷😷😷😷 (@iveyjanette_207) April 24, 2021

Mr. Lorne Michaels sir…. pic.twitter.com/hixQftk6rj

— Ezra (@greenyad81) April 24, 2021

A movie in which 1976 Lorne Michaels meets 2021 Lorne Michaels and decides to forget this whole TV comedy thing and become a funeral director.

— Dan (@cultureoflosing) April 24, 2021

Best decision Lorne Michaels ever made! pic.twitter.com/W2mfL1koZq

— Plain Jane🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸Hold the Line (@plainjane5555) April 24, 2021

Society has surpassed the need for Lorne Michaels contributions to TV comedy, please get some new faces in charge

— Brian (@dilfisland) April 24, 2021

— unstuck in time (@BillyPilgrim26) April 24, 2021

I thought Lorne Michaels had lost his touch for dark, absurdist comedy. I was so very wrong… https://t.co/yt2GieYYnE

— Michael Karp (@d8d8_) April 24, 2021

Do we know Lorne Michaels whereabouts on January 6, 2021?

— Dan (@cultureoflosing) April 24, 2021

No, no, no, no, no, no, no. https://t.co/LL3w67Zzsf

— Eric Goldman (@TheEricGoldman) April 24, 2021

SNL is, I’m sure, regretting the choice to have Elon Musk host more and more with each and every tweet you guys are firing off.

— Sonny Bunch (@SonnyBunch) April 24, 2021

SNL getting Elon Musk to host a show is bafflingly terrible. Just gross.

— miss chatelaine's abs (@cinema_gay) April 24, 2021

Musk’s episode will have Miley Cyrus as the musical guest. This will be her sixth time in that capacity.

It’s been a big year for first-time hosts. Along with Musk, “SNL’s” other rookie emcees include John Krasinski, Dan Levy, Regina King, Nick Jonas, Rege-Jean Page, Daniel Kaluuya and Carey Mulligan.

Read original story Elon Musk’s Upcoming ‘SNL’ Hosting Gig Met With Scorn: ‘Bafflingly Terrible’ Idea At TheWrap

WHY: NEW YORK, April 23, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Rosen Law Firm, a global investor rights law firm, reminds purchasers of the securities of Range Resources Corporation (NYSE: RRC) between April 29, 2016 and February 10, 2021, inclusive (the “Class Period”), of the important May 3, 2021 lead plaintiff deadline. SO WHAT: If you purchased Range Resources securities during the Class Period you may be entitled to compensation without payment of any out of pocket fees or costs through a contingency fee arrangement. WHAT TO DO NEXT: To join the Range Resources class action, go to http://www.rosenlegal.com/cases-register-2053.html or call Phillip Kim, Esq. toll-free at 866-767-3653 or email pkim@rosenlegal.com or cases@rosenlegal.com for information on the class action. A class action lawsuit has already been filed. If you wish to serve as lead plaintiff, you must move the Court no later than May 3, 2021. A lead plaintiff is a representative party acting on behalf of other class members in directing the litigation. WHY ROSEN LAW: We encourage investors to select qualified counsel with a track record of success in leadership roles. Often, firms issuing notices do not have comparable experience or resources. The Rosen Law Firm represents investors throughout the globe, concentrating its practice in securities class actions and shareholder derivative litigation. Rosen Law Firm has achieved the largest ever securities class action settlement against a Chinese Company. Rosen Law Firm was Ranked No. 1 by ISS Securities Class Action Services for number of securities class action settlements in 2017. The firm has been ranked in the top 4 each year since 2013 and has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for investors. In 2019 alone the firm secured over $438 million for investors. In 2020 founding partner Laurence Rosen was named by law360 as a Titan of Plaintiffs’ Bar. Many of the firm’s attorneys have been recognized by Lawdragon and Super Lawyers. DETAILS OF THE CASE: According to the lawsuit, defendants throughout the Class Period made false and/or misleading statements and/or failed to disclose that: (1) Range Resources had improperly designated the status of its wells in Pennsylvania since at least 2013; (2) the foregoing conduct subjected Range Resources to a heightened risk of regulatory investigation and enforcement, as well as artificially decreased the Company’s periodically reported cost estimates to plug and abandon its wells; (3) Range Resources was the subject of a Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) investigation from sometime between September 2017 to January 2021 for improperly designating the status of its wells; (4) the DEP investigation foreseeably would and ultimately did lead to the Company incurring regulatory fines; and (5) as a result, defendants’ public statements were materially false and misleading at all relevant times. When the true details entered the market, the lawsuit claims that investors suffered damages. To join the Range Resources class action, go to http://www.rosenlegal.com/cases-register-2053.html or call Phillip Kim, Esq. toll-free at 866-767-3653 or email pkim@rosenlegal.com or cases@rosenlegal.com for information on the class action. No Class Has Been Certified. Until a class is certified, you are not represented by counsel unless you retain one. You may select counsel of your choice. You may also remain an absent class member and do nothing at this point. An investor’s ability to share in any potential future recovery is not dependent upon serving as lead plaintiff. Follow us for updates on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/the-rosen-law-firm, on Twitter: https://twitter.com/rosen_firm or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rosenlawfirm/. Attorney Advertising. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Contact Information: Laurence Rosen, Esq. Phillip Kim, Esq. The Rosen Law Firm, P.A. 275 Madison Avenue, 40th Floor New York, NY 10016 Tel: (212) 686-1060 Toll Free: (866) 767-3653 Fax: (212) 202-3827 lrosen@rosenlegal.com pkim@rosenlegal.com cases@rosenlegal.com www.rosenlegal.com

NBC is likely expecting its ratings to shoot into outer space, thanks to today’s announcement that entrepreneur Elon Musk will host the show on May 8. At first, Musk seems like a left-field choice for a sketch comedy show. But the man behind Tesla and Space X has shown a quick wit in his online […]

LOS ANGELES, CA / ACCESSWIRE / April 24, 2021 / The Schall Law Firm, a national shareholder rights litigation firm, reminds investors of a class action lawsuit against Ebang International Holdings Inc. ("Ebang" or "the Company") (NASDAQ:EBON) for violations of §§10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder by the U.

Meanwhile, weak dollar provides support to commodity markets.

Stocks finished with gains, but off session highs and with weekly losses for major benchmarks, bouncing a day after reports that President Joe Biden plans to nearly double the capital-gains tax rate for Americans earning more than $1 million a year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished around 228 points higher, up 0.7%, near 34,043.82, according to preliminary figures, after rising more than 300 points at its session high. The S&P 500 closed 1.1% higher near 4,180, after trading above its April 16 closing high at 4,185.47 during the session. The Nasdaq Composite advanced around 198 points, or 1.4%, to close near 14,017. Stocks were lifted after IHS Markit purchasing managers index readings for the manufacturing and services sectors hit records and data showed home sales continued at a rapid pace. Investors also played down worries over a rise in the capital-gains tax rate, noting that past rises have been shown to have little correlation with equity returns. The benchmarks lost ground for the week, however, with the S&P 500 off 0.1%, the Dow down 0.5% and the Nasdaq off 0.3%.

Hasbro's (HAS) first-quarter 2021 results likely to have benefited from Wizards of the Coast table-top gaming, digital gaming and entertainment offerings.

Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) is suffering a hangover from 2020 that's worse than anyone anticipated. The streaming leader added just 4 million subscribers in the first quarter, and management expects to add a paltry 1 million this quarter. Netflix's own guidance was for 6 million first-quarter net additions, and Wall Street analysts previously expected Netflix to add 4.4 million subscribers in the second quarter.

For almost as long as Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) has had a streaming service, investors and analysts have asked if the company will get into advertising. Every time, Netflix has always given the same answer: hard pass. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings appreciates the simplicity of the streamer's business model, seeing its simple value proposition as a strength.

Carolyn Everson — vice president of Facebook's Global Business Group — responded to criticism over the spread of vaccine misinformation on the platform, saying the company is "taking very aggressive measures" to remove such content.

Intel's (INTC) Q1 results benefits from strength in CCG business on uptick in PC shipments as well as Mobileye. However, weakness in DCG business negatively impacted results.

In the current climate, it’s not easy to decide where to park your capital. Bitcoin (CCC:BTC-USD) is trading at historic highs. Electric vehicle (EV) stocks continue to make waves. And a day does not go by when we don’t see another SPAC (special purpose acquisition company) stock enter the fray. Amongst all this, what’s the safest way to play the market? Well, that would have to be exchange-traded funds (ETFs). You may be asking yourself why you should invest in ETFs. One can easily just pick up every stock out there that has been doing well. As a cost-effective way of managing a broadly diversified portfolio, owning ETFs versus stocks has several advantages. They provide superior tax efficiency, lower risk and greater trading flexibility than actively managed funds.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips 7 Retail Stocks With E-commerce Locked In So, without further ado, let’s look at seven ETFs that will shield you during a bear market: Vanguard 500 Index Fund ETF (NYSEARCA:VOO) ARK Innovation ETF (NYSEARCA:ARKK) WisdomTree US LargeCap Dividend Fund (NYSEARCA:DLN) iShares Core High Dividend ETF (NYSEARCA:HDV) Invesco QQQ ETF (NASDAQ:QQQ) Vanguard Growth Index Fund ETF (NYSEARCA:VUG) Industrial Select Sector SPDR Fund (NYSEARCA:XLI) ETFs to Buy: Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (VOO) Source: Shutterstock Sometimes, even investing in ETFs can be challenging. If you are confused, it’s always better to go with a conventional approach. And you cannot get more traditional than VOO, which is benchmarked against the S&P 500 index of primarily U.S. blue-chip stocks. The Vanguard S&P 500 ETF is for those investors who do not want any surprises. The ETF offers a simple approach to invest in “the market” that won’t cause you any sleepless nights. The usual heavy hitters like Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) are well represented in the portfolio. It’s no surprise since tech stocks make up more than a quarter of VOO’s holdings. However, it is also invested in more traditional fare like Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) and Chevron (NYSE:CVX). ARK Innovation ETF (ARKK) Source: Spyro the Dragon / Shutterstock.com From a largely passive investment to one that is full of risk and excitement. Cathie Wood had an excellent 2020. Five of her innovation-themed funds became the 25 best-performing equity ETFs of the year. If VOO is the safest way to play, ARKK is for those that can stomach a bit of risk and excitement. As Chief Executive Officer and Chief Investment Officer of ARK Invest, Wood is focused on investing in four disruptive industries: genomics, industrial innovation, next-gen internet and financial technology. Total assets under management are north of $20 billion. Holdings include electric vehicle giant Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA), online payments processor Square (NYSE:SQ), streaming-device maker Roku (NASDAQ:ROKU) and genetic-testing expert Invitae (NYSE:NVTA), to give you an indication of the diversification of the portfolio. 7 Great Retirement Stocks for Gen Z However, the company is focusing on innovative companies. Hence, expect more volatility from this one. Although, with an experienced executive such as Wood at the helm, ARKK is a fascinating investment. ETFs to Buy: WisdomTree U.S. LargeCap Dividend Fund (DLN) Source: Shutterstock The zig-zag nature of this list continues with the next entry. As its name suggests, DLN invests in large-cap companies with a history of strong, stable payments. Some of the notable names in its holdings include Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) and healthcare icon Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ). More of a defensive play, DLN is tempting for those looking to maximize current returns from the equity portion of their portfolios rather than focusing on a market capitalization weighting. Unfortunately, that makes it tilt toward sectors that have historically had high payouts. iShares Core High Dividend ETF (HDV) Source: Sundry Photography / Shutterstock.com Continuing the dividend theme, HDV allows you to invest in high-yield dividend stocks. Much like DLN, holdings comprise companies that offer consistent dividend payments and have a stable profit history. Since the index does not invest in companies with a low payout ratio, some volatile yet exciting picks are not in its portfolio. Additionally, this index gives you access to 75 dividend-paying domestic stocks screened for financial health. 7 A-Rated Retirement Stocks to Buy The total one-year return stands at 38.14%, and the trailing-12-month yield is 3.73%. ETFs to Buy: Invesco QQQ ETF (QQQ) Source: Shutterstock Invesco QQQ tracks the Nasdaq-100 index, making it similar to VOO, yet different. The S&P 500 returned an impressive 16% in 2020. Notwithstanding, the Nasdaq-100 index returned 45% during the same period. You can credit that to the Nasdaq stock exchange being more concentrated, because the total number of stocks in the Nasdaq-100 is much smaller than the S&P 500. Thus, due to fewer names and those names doing exceedingly well, QQQ is another safe way to play the market for stable returns. Top holdings include Apple, Microsoft, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Tesla. Vanguard Growth ETF (VUG) Our next entry on this list of ETFs is all about growth potential. Some investors may not like VOO or QQQ index funds’ broad-based approach; for them, VUG will be more to their liking. It uses sophisticated screening methods to ensure only the companies displaying consistent top-line and bottom-line growth are included in its holdings. 7 Hot Entertainment Stocks Worthy of Your Attention The portfolio includes 250 stocks from a diversified array of industries, with names such as Apple, Home Depot (NYSE:HD) and Union Pacific (NYSE:UNP) representing a sizeable chunk of the fund’s holdings. ETFs to Buy: Industrial Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLI) Source: Shutterstock At first glance, Industrial Select Sector SPDR Fund may seem like an unusual pick. Vaccines are rolling out, but we are not back to full throttle as of yet. Still, if analyst projections are anything to go by, industrial stocks should start whirring again very soon. While industrials might be a hard cyclical sector to read, if you are bullish on the U.S. economic recovery, this fund is a must-have for your portfolio. Considering the nature of the fund, you will only find the top 73 industrial stocks on the S&P 500 in this portfolio. The fund is market-cap weighted. Consequently, the large caps command the biggest weights. Some of the fund’s top holdings include Honeywell International (NYSE:HON), Union Pacific Corporation, Boeing (NYSE:BA) and General Electric (NYSE:GE). On the date of publication, Faizan Farooque did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. Faizan Farooque is a contributing author for InvestorPlace.com and numerous other financial sites. Faizan has several years of experience in analyzing the stock market and was a former data journalist at S&P Global Market Intelligence. His passion is to help the average investor make more informed decisions regarding their portfolio. Faizan does not directly own the securities mentioned above. More From InvestorPlace Why Everyone Is Investing in 5G All WRONG It doesn’t matter if you have $500 in savings or $5 million. Do this now. Top Stock Picker Reveals His Next Potential 500% Winner Stock Prodigy Who Found NIO at $2… Says Buy THIS Now The post 7 Great ETFs to Buy to Ride Out Rough Seas appeared first on InvestorPlace.

Ellen DeGeneres, notorious aficionado of internet culture and memes, is the latest to get swept up in the mania for non-fungible tokens — better known as NFTs. DeGeneres is set to drop her first-ever NFTs next week, with proceeds from the stunt to be donated to Chef José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen food-relief organization. NFTs […]

Rice, who served as secretary of state for former president from 2005 to 2009, told Bush ‘she would refuse to accept the office’ George W Bush shakes hands with Condoleezza Rice in Washington DC on 5 January 2006. Photograph: Matthew Cavanaugh/EPA Former president George W Bush revealed in an interview with People magazine that he didn’t vote for either the Republican incumbent Donald Trump or Democrat Joe Biden in the November 2020 presidential election. Instead, he wrote in Condoleezza Rice. Rice, who served as secretary of state for Bush from 2005 to 2009, was aware of the write-in. But, “She told me she would refuse to accept the office,” Bush shared. This revelation comes amid a promotional book tour for Bush’s new compilation of oil paintings depicting American immigrants and their stories. It’s all in an effort, Bush says, to soften hearts for compassionate immigration reforms after several years of harsh and “frightening” anti-immigrant rhetoric, mostly from his own Republican party. Earlier this week, Bush criticized the GOP, calling current actors in the party “isolationist, protectionist and, to a certain extent, nativist”. Bush told People that he “painted with too broad a brush” and excluded “a lot of Republicans who believe we can fix the problem”. But the former president is not without his own history of faults, and his journey to rehabilitation after a devastating presidency built upon the “war on terror” isn’t as well received by many as one would think. Bush’s legacy includes the illegal invasion of Iraq in search of non-existent weapons of mass destruction, at a cost of hundreds of thousands of lives. He resisted LGBTQ+ rights, botched the government response to Hurricane Katrina and presided over the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression.

It's been a great year for financial stocks -- the sector is up roughly 18% in 2021, second only to energy. In fact, I think the stock remains a solid buy. Despite the stock's slump, MarketAxess, which provides an electronic platform for fixed-income securities trading, reported strong earnings for the first quarter.

President Biden wants to nearly double the capital gains tax paid by wealthy Americans, as first reported yesterday by Bloomberg and confirmed by Axios.Counterintuitive: Biden's plan is better for private fund managers (hedge, PE, VC, etc.) than what he proposed during the campaign.Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with Axios Markets. Subscribe for freeBy the numbers: Biden wants a 39.6% top rate on long-term cap gains, up from the current 20% rate, for those earning at least $1 million of annual investment income. He's also expected to maintain an ACA-related investment tax, bringing the federal toll to 43.4%.Key here is that Biden wants a capital gains rate at all, maintaining it as separate from ordinary income.During the campaign he pledged to eliminate differential treatment of cap gains for high earners, instead categorizing such monies as ordinary income. Among other things, it was a backdoor way to close the carried interest loophole, since it's predicated on a lower tax rate for capital gains.Wait, how is this better? The White House doesn't really expect to get that 39.6% rate for cap gains, just like it didn't really expect to get a 28% corporate tax rate. It's a starting point for negotiations, with Axios' Hans Nichols reporting that the Democratic sweet spot somewhere closer to 30%.Yes, 30% is still way higher than the current cap gains rate. But it's significantly lower than the 39.6% that Biden also wants for top earners on their ordinary income, and which he's more likely to get because it's just a small bump that returns us to pre-2018 levels.Profit-taking. No word yet on if a cap gains increase would be retroactive to 2021 taxes, or go into effect next year (as the corporate tax proposal would do). If it's the latter, and this becomes law, expect a lot of Q4 asset sales.Caveat: All of this is part of Biden's second infrastructure proposal, but there isn't even yet legislative language on his first one (let alone a scheduled vote).Plus, still no word on if Democrats will insist on some sort of SALT suspension, so as to lighten the tax load on wealthy voters in states like California, New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts.The bottom line: Everyone knew Biden planned to raise taxes on the rich. They didn't know that he might let carried interest continue being taxed at a lower rate than ordinary income.More from Axios: Sign up to get the latest market trends with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free

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