William Shatner sets record in space with Blue Origin spaceflight


CBS News 13 October, 2021 - 04:23pm 13 views

Who is William Shatner going into space with?

The toughest part of going into space with Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin company, the Star Trek actor William Shatner said, will be getting in and out of his chair in the New Shepard spacecraft. The GuardianWilliam Shatner: hardest part of space flight will be getting in and out of seat

Is William Shatner really going to space?

William Shatner is going to space aboard Blue Origin. Here's everything you need to know. "Star Trek" actor William Shatner will be heading to space on Wednesday. ... At 90, Shatner will make history as the oldest man to fly in space. USA TODAYWilliam Shatner goes to space aboard Blue Origin. Here's everything you need to know.

What time does Shatner go into space?

The mission, dubbed NS18, is set to liftoff at 6:30 a.m. PT (8:30 a.m. CT) Wednesday, Oct. 13. CNETWilliam Shatner rockets to space with Blue Origin: How to watch live

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Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) became one of the most talked about tech stocks on Reddit's WallStreetBets subreddit in early October, according to the latest data from Quiver Quantitative. Does that buzz indicate the Chinese tech giant, which has lost nearly half its value over the past 12 months, is finally primed for a fierce rebound? Let's see why investors are getting excited about Alibaba again.

In an SEC filing on Oct. 5, Berkshire Hathaway Vice Chairman Charlie Munger's Daily Journal Corporation (NASDAQ:DJCO) revealed that it had increased its position in Alibaba by 82% since July. Daily Journal bought 136,740 shares of Alibaba and raised its total stake to 302,060 shares, which is worth about $47 million today.

That big purchase makes Alibaba one of Daily Journal's largest investments, alongside Bank of America and Wells Fargo. It also represents a major vote of confidence for the company following Munger's controversial interview on CNBC back in June, during which he praised China's financial regulators and said they did the "right thing" in reining in the planned IPO of Ant Group, an Alibaba affiliate.

Alibaba stock's steep decline started last December when China's SAMR (State Administration for Market Regulation) launched an antitrust probe into its e-commerce business.

That probe concluded in April, with the SAMR levying a record fine of $2.75 billion against Alibaba and forcing it to end its exclusive deals with merchants. Alibaba was also hit by a series of smaller fines for its promotional pricing strategies and unapproved acquisitions.

As a result, Alibaba's stock trades at just 14 times forward earnings. That depressed valuation, which is much lower than competitor JD's forward P/E ratio of 37, indicates it could quickly rebound if those regulatory headwinds fade.

China's ongoing crackdown on its top tech companies, escalating political tensions between China and the United States, delisting threats for U.S-listed Chinese stocks, as well as potential property and energy crises in China have all made it painful to invest in Chinese tech companies.

But after a challenging September, many Chinese stocks stabilized in early October as concerns about the property market slightly receded and analysts expressed optimism about the upcoming virtual summit between American President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping. That stabilization could be short-lived, but it could generate short-term gains for Alibaba as investors cautiously revisit the stock. 

Alibaba might look tempting to investors who believe the regulatory tensions will ease, but I'm still staying bearish on the stock for three reasons.

First, China's crackdown on Alibaba and its affiliates is far from over. In early September, Alibaba pledged to invest about $15.5 billion in China's "common prosperity" initiatives over the next five years, presumably to appease the antitrust regulators. But later that month, the Chinese government forced Alibaba to sell its stake in a state-backed media broadcaster at a steep loss, then moved to break up its fintech affiliate, Ant Group (in which it owns a 33% stake in), into three separate companies.

The regulators also forced Ant to open up its Alipay payment platform to Tencent's WeChat Pay and vice versa. The elimination of barriers between those two platforms, which hold a near-duopoly in China's digital payments market, might be good for businesses consumers, but it also prevents Alibaba and Tencent from locking those merchants and shoppers into their ecosystems.

Second, China's actions against Alibaba, especially its bans on exclusive deals with merchants and promotional pricing strategies, could erode Taobao's and Tmall's defenses against JD, Pinduoduo, and other e-commerce competitors.

Lastly, Alibaba is increasingly depending on its lower-margin brick-and-mortar, direct sales, cross-border, and logistics units to mask the slower growth of its core online marketplaces. That shift, along with its big investments in its unprofitable cloud business and obligatory investments in China's "common prosperity" measures, will likely throttle Alibaba's earnings growth as its revenue growth slows down.

Alibaba is gaining a lot of attention from Reddit's WSB crowd, and that increased interest could generate short-term gains. But over the long term, I believe investors should avoid Alibaba and stick with e-commerce stocks which aren't located in China, even if Munger thinks it's safe to brush off the company's regulatory and fundamental challenges.

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Shatner, 90, will have to wait a little longer for his Blue Origin space shot

News 19 WLTX 13 October, 2021 - 02:40pm

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Actor William Shatner's first-ever flight into the final frontier will have to wait. The "Star Trek" star's anticipated trip aboard Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin Rocket is being delayed.

In a statement on its website, Blue Origin said the vehicle and astronauts are ready to go. It's the weather that's causing an issue,

"Due to forecasted winds on Tuesday, October 12, Blue Origin’s mission operations team has made the decision to delay the launch of NS-18 and is now targeting Wednesday, October 13. Liftoff from Launch Site One is currently targeted for 8:30 am CDT / 13:30 UTC on Wednesday," Blue Origin said.

Bezos, the founder of Amazon, is a huge fan of the sci-fi series in which Shatner played Capt. James T. Kirk and even had a cameo as a high-ranking alien in the 2016 film “Star Trek Beyond." His rocket company invited Shatner to fly as its guest.

Shatner, 90, will become the oldest person to go to space. He’ll join three others — two of them paying customers — aboard a Blue Origin capsule. 

Shatner's flight will last just 10 minutes and reach no higher than about 66 miles (106 kilometers). The capsule will parachute back to the desert floor, not far from where it took off.

This will be Blue Origin’s second launch of a crew. Bezos was on the debut flight on July 20. He took along his brother, an 18-year-old from the Netherlands and 82-year-old aviation pioneer Wally Funk — the youngest and oldest to fly in space. Shatner will break that upper threshold by eight years.

"I’ve heard about space for a long time now. I’m taking the opportunity to see it for myself. What a miracle,” Shatner said in a statement.

Shatner played the role of the USS Starship Enterprise's commander for three seasons, from 1966 to 1969. He also portrayed Captain James T. Kirk in seven movies, directing one of them. He's currently the host and executive producer of a History Channel show, “The UnXplained.”

The ashes of two other “Star Trek” powerhouses — creator Gene Roddenberry and actor James Doohan, who played Scotty — rocketed into space years ago following their deaths.

Also launching with Shatner: a former NASA engineer who founded a nanosatellite company and the co-founder of a software company specializing in clinical research. The two took part in the auction for a seat on the first flight. That seat cost $28 million; Blue Origin isn't divulging any other ticket prices.

A fourth seat on the flight is going to Blue Origin's vice president of mission and flight operations, who used to work for NASA as a space station flight controller.

A Blue Origin spokeswoman said Shatner, like the others, met all the company's health and physical requirements.

Last month, more than 20 current and former Blue Origin employees accused the Kent, Washington-based company of having a toxic work environment and not adhering to proper safety protocols. Blue Origin said it doesn’t tolerate harassment or discrimination and stood by its safety record.

Bezos' company is also challenging a NASA contract award to SpaceX for providing a lunar lander that will return astronauts to the moon in a few years. Blue Origin was unsuccessful in its bid for the job.

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Captain Kirk's karmic mission

CNN 13 October, 2021 - 02:40pm

from 2021, LEGO plans to work closely with the geena davis institute on gender in media and UNICEF to ensure its toys and marketing are‘accessible to all and free of gender bias and harmful stereotypes’. the danish toymaker will no longer market its products based on gender, removing phrases like ‘for girls’ or ‘for boys.’ the announcement comes after a new research it commissioned that reveals that girls today feel increasingly confident to engage in all types of play and creative activities, but remain held back by society’s ingrained stereotypes as they grow older. the study was carried out by the geena davis institute in recognition of the UN’s ‘international day of the girl’ (october 11) and to mark the launch of ‘ready for girls’, a new LEGO campaign to celebrate girls who rebuild the story of old-fashioned gender norms through creative problem solving.

the ‘ready for girls’ campaign aims to help girls rebuild the story, ensuring they aren’t losing out on the benefits of LEGO play due to societal expectations. the company vows to ensure any child, regardless of gender identify, feels they can build anything they like, playing in a way that will help them develop and realize their unique talent. the LEGO group acknowledges that boys are also battling prejudice when it comes to creative play and playing with toys that are traditionally seen as being for the opposite sex. 71% of boys vs. 42% of girls say they worry about being made fun of if they play with a toy typically associated for the other gender.

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