Carl Icahn Sells his Entire Stake in $APPL, Is it the Next Nokia?


The Guardian– Carl Icahn, the billionaire activist investor who has long been one of the most prominent voices declaring the company to be undervalued, says he has sold his entire stake in the technology firm, citing the risk of China’s influence on the stock.

After years of high growth, reaching triple-digit percentage points in 2015, Apple now sells more in China than it does in the whole of Europe. But sales in the country are now shrinking, with revenue dropping 26% year-on-year in the company’s latest quarterly earnings. Icahn’s concerns aren’t related to the China slowdown, however. Instead, the investor is concerned with the barriers to trade that China’s authoritarian regime might put in place.

“You can’t go into that business unless you’re like Samsung which is really like a country backing it,” Icahn told US cable television network CNBC. “A lot of people tried, a lot of people failed … In China, for instance, they will come in and make it very difficult for Apple to sell there. They could theoretically, you know … They’re basically in some senses I would say, perhaps benevolent but a benevolent dictatorship. I don’t know if benevolent is the right word.”

For those that do not know, Apple released their Q1 earnings report this past week. Analysts had been warning that this quarter would be the one where Apple finally falls from its insane climb, and the earnings seemed to match this sentiment. This is the first quarter in 13 years that Apple has recorded a YOY negative growth, in part because of declining sales for their iPhone line and troubling outlooks for their new Apple Watch line. The Guardian reported today that Carl Icahn, a mega-investor worth over $23B, has pulled out his entire $APPL position over scares of Chinese influence over the stock.

This is big news for APPL investors because when Carl Icahn pulls out of an investment, you pull out of an investment. It will become increasingly difficult for Apple to gain more traction in China, one of their biggest potential market growth areas. Fear of government regulations combined with declining interest of Apple products in favor of cheaper and more “fashion-friendly” phones have begun to gain market share. All technology shares seem to follow the Nokia bell curve of dominance, where they slowly rise to an insane market growth and maintain for a few years, only to then quickly fall out of grace. Although Apple has become synonymous with the cell phone and computer industry, do not think for a second that they can maintain this growth forever. Sales dropping over 26% on the quarter is a big signal that $APPL can no longer just put out another marginally-changed product and rake in billions. Without another huge innovation on Apple’s part, perhaps into the VR world, Apple may fall from its spot as world’s top tech stock. All I know is that I don’t think I have ever pulled out of something as fast as I have $APPL (Cromartie could learn a thing or two here).




In the Least Surprising News of the Day, Handless Russian Piano Prodigy Becomes Sensation


The Guardian– Teenager Alexey Romanov has become a promising piano player despite a debilitating illness that has deprived him of his fingers since birth.Sixteen-year-old prodigy Romanov from Zelenodolsk, a village in the Republic of Tatarstan, first took up music two years ago after being inspired by the works of Mozart and Vivaldi.

In the short time since he has performed for the republic’s orchestra and has found fame on national TV. Romanov’s music teacher at a specialist school for children with disabilities helped him get started, beginning with the melodies from films including vampire series Twilight and 1990s Hollywood blockbuster Titanic, both popular in RussiaHe credits two friends for teaching him the basics of music and how to read notes. “They still help me. They send me sheet music, which I study and if I like something, I let it settle inside me,” he said.

Classic Russian move here having a classical piano sensation with no hands. When I first read this headline my initial reaction was “Of course Russia has a piano prodigy with no hands”. I mean after the story last month where the entire Russian U-18 hockey team was suspended for doping and they had to send out there U-17 team to replace them, I didn’t even think twice about this headline.

The only question is why does this kid have no hands? I know this isn’t Soviet Russia, and I know it clearly states in the article that he was born with a disability, but don’t sleep on the fact that Putin and his cronies may have had a hand in this matter. This kid may have wanted to go outside one day instead of practicing piano and his parents may not have approved. Who knows these days. All I know is that the kid has a great musical touch.



SpaceX to Send an Unmanned Spacecraft to Mars as Early as 2018, Breaking the Monopoly of Big Name Defense Contractors on the Industry

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk Unveils Company's New Manned Spacecraft, The Dragon V2

The Verge– SpaceX plans to send its Dragon spacecraft to Mars as early as 2018, the company announced today — marking a major first step toward CEO Elon Musk’s goal of sending humans to the Red Planet. The company didn’t say how many spacecraft it will send, but hinted it would conduct a series of these Dragon missions and that it would release more details soon. In a tweet, the company indicated that the capsules would fly on SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket, a bigger version of its Falcon 9; the rocket will launch the capsules to the planet to test out how to land heavy payloads on Mars. If successful, the endeavor would make SpaceX the first private spaceflight company to land a vehicle on another planet.

SpaceX is sending what it calls the Red Dragon, a modified version of the spacecraft that the company uses to transport cargo to and from the International Space Station. The Red Dragon is equipped with eight SuperDraco engines that allow the capsule to land on solid ground, a technique known as a propulsive landing. The engines are meant to turn on during the Dragon’s descent toward the Martian surface, slowing down the vehicle’s fall and allowing it to land on ground in a controlled way. It’s similar to how SpaceX lands its Falcon 9 rockets post-launch.

Big news out of the space industry today as Elon Musk and his SpaceX team has announced plans to send their new Dragon spacecraft to Mars as early as 2018. For those of you that are unaware (assuming the majority of people here), Elon Musk has been hard at work not only on his new Tesla Model 3 but also on a spacecraft that can eventually help transmit humans to Mars. Today marks a step closer to a Mars human colony as the SpaceX team will now be working on landing heavy equipment and modules on the planet. If SpaceX can figure out how to land their equipment through the Mars atmosphere which happens to be almost 1/100 of the pressure of Earth’s, it will be a major success for the industry and will be the largest thing to ever land on the surface of the red planet.

This step will prove significant in getting people to Mars because it will allow for equipment and supplies to be present before the humans arrive. Having these things in place before arrival will prove crucial to the success of the program. Although NASA is also working on an initiative to send people the Mars, the program is not privately funded like SpaceX is and will not even be sending a rocket to Mars until at least 2020. Knowing NASA’s history of timelines (poor at best), this shows how advanced SpaceX is compared to the rest of the industry.

The fact that a man like Elon Musk can come in and break up the government contract monopoly that mega-corporations such as Lockheed Martin and Boeing had on the industry speaks volumes to how powerful his technology is. Only time will tell how successful the program will be, but judging by the recent successes of SpaceX in landing their rocket on a barge for reuse, this launch may just prove to be a success. If SpaceX can get a rocket to Mars by 2018 without failure, we will certainly see humans on Mars before the end of the next decade. The future is now folks.


Internet Comment of the Week: Universities are Brothels and Athletes are Prostitutes

NYT Manziel Quote.PNG

Interesting take coming out of the Manziel New York Times article this week highlighting the rise and fall of Mr. Juanny Football. Kerry from Florida (Surprising) starts off her take pretty well assuming that young teenage boys (and some girls, not sexist or anything) view education as a significant burden on them. And to be fair, making an athlete go to class like they get paid to do so or something is a significant burden on their athletic careers. Without question, if NCAA football players were able to practice 24/7 without having to go to their African-American gender studies safe-space class they would have a better than 1.6% chance of getting to the NFL.

Where the take starts to get ultra hot is when Kerry from Flordia starts ranting about universities being brothels. She is flat our wrong because I know my university was in fact not a brothel, or at least not based on my sexual activity over the four years there. It is true though that the best schools with the best athletes get the most students. Take Alabama for example. The football prostitutes over in Tuscaloosa were top of the nation this year, and Alabama’s over 50% acceptance rates confirms they get the most students. Case closed. It simply comes down to Kerry from Florida caring way too much about the prestigious university and wishing to preserve the sanctity of NCAA sports. Shame on these prostitutes for ruining what Mark Emmert has worked extremely hard to put together.



Outrageous (maybe) Take of the Weekend: Spurs v Cavs for the 2016 NBA Finals


I’m back with a new segment for your weekends titled “Outrageous Take of the Weekend”. This segment will be where I spew hot takes that none of my friend (s?) will listen to. This week I will be tackling the  NBA and who I see coming out of the East and West. Here’s a hint, it won’t be the Golden State Warriors

The East

Lets start with the cold take of the week: The Cleveland Cavaliers will prance through the first three rounds to reach another LeBron NBA finals. Yea, I know I’m not exactly going out on a limb here. Listen, the Toronto Raptors along with the Eastern Conference as a whole are much improved over last season, but there is no chance that the Cavs do not head straight into the finals. The Cavs so far are having no difficulty with the Pistons, and should face almost no issues with the Hawks/Celtics winner. Cleveland is shooting 47% from the floor on the season, good for 5th of all playoff teams. They had the best offensive efficiency of any eastern conference team throughout the regular season at 1.076 and lead the Eastern Conference in scoring margin at +6.1 ppg over the season. The Toronto Raptors haven’t even made the conference finals in their team history.  Need we say more? DeRozan and Lowry have proven to be unclutch in the past, including their first round exit last season. If not the Raptors, the Heat could prove to be a potential upset to advance to the finals, but at the end of the day the team relies on Amare Stoudemire and Luo Deng for clutch time minutes. Whiteside has proven to be ineffective using advanced statistics, and Iso-Joe Johnson is and always will be a ball magnet. I don’t see anyone stopping LeBron streamrolling yet again to another NBA Finals.

The West

Sound the alarm!! The San Antonio Spurs will beat the Golden State Warriors in 7 games to advance to the NBA finals. You probably think I am out of my mind for picking against a team that won 73 games, but remember that one loss that really mattered? That one when the Spurs actually played their starters and tried to win the game? Yea, the Spurs can ball when they want to. I know the season series was 3-1 in favor of the Warriors, and one of those was a 30 point Warrior blowout, but Greg Popovich is a much smarter man than you or I. He understands that winning that game against the Warriors towards the end of the season gave his players confidence, and by resting his rotation they will be fresh come playoff time. The Warriors on the other hand labored out of necessity of chasing 73 wins, logging significant time on their key players. Come payoff time, this has to favor the older Spurs.

A big reason why I think the Spurs can take care of the GSW is simply because I think their team top to bottom is more talented. If we throw out each team’s top five (although this does favor the Warriors), the Spurs bench is simply better than the Warrior’s. Going through the benches, the Spurs bring out Patty Mills, Manu, David West, Kevin Martin/Kyle Anderson, and Boris Diaw. That is a legit top five and probably better than over half the league’s top five. The Warriors bring out Livingston, Barbosa, Iggy, McAdoo, and Speights/Ezeli, which is questionable at best. Livingston, Iggy, and Barbosa are legit ballers, but the rest of that bench is lacking. Spurs worked this to their advantage in their win over the Warriors during the regular season,  and I expect to see much of the same come playoff matchup time. That is if the Spurs can get past the quickness of the Thunder…

Obviously it is going to be an extremely close matchup, and obviously the Warriors may dominate on their home court, but I don’t see them winning against this improved Spurs team from a year ago. People forget that the Spurs and the Cavs played two fantastic series against this Warriors team. If Irving and Love don’t get hurt, that 2-1 Cavs series lead may have turn into 4. I think Aldridge and Kawhi play lights out, and the Spurs take care of business in 7. You heard it here first. And that is your week’s outrageous take, take that shit to Vegas ASAP.

P.S.- I know that wasn’t the hottest of takes, I’ll make sure to step up the temperature next time.



San Francisco Moves to Mandatory Rooftop Solar Panels, Sets a Goal of 100% Reliance on Renewable Energy by 2020

Solar panel

The Guardian– San Francisco has this week passed landmark legislation requiring all new buildings under 10 storeys in height to be fitted with rooftop solar panels.

The city’s San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed the new rule on Tuesday, making the metropolis the largest in the US to mandate solar installations on new properties.Smaller Californian cities such as Lancaster and Sebastopol already have similar laws in place, but San Francisco is the first large city to adopt the new standard.

From January 2017 all new buildings in the city with 10 floors or fewer must have either solar PV or solar thermal panels installed. The measure builds on existing Californian state law which requires all new buildings to have at least 15% of their roof space exposed to sunshine, in order to allow for future solar panel use.

Great for the city of San Francisco here, and great for the country as a whole. The city is moving towards the mandatory installation of solar thermal or PV cell solar panels on buildings with 10 floors or fewer. With a target of 100% energy from solar technology for the city by the year 2020, a hard stance on solar is a must. The city is taking these steps today by passing the landmark legislation, the first of its kind to be knowledge in the US. The State of California has always been ahead of the technology and carbon-reducing curve, but this is a major step forward and will help the movement toward a reduction on reliance of gasoline and other fossil fuels.

What sucks is that a state like California can get legislation like this passed, yet a state like New York is stuck in the fossil fuel past. It is past the time for New York to get it together on the energy front, and although they are making strong pushes in wind and solar energy systems, they are way behind California. On Long Island specifically, there exists some optimal wind patterns to develop some serious power-producing wind turbine farms, yet state legislators can not get any  bill to even be talked about without the endless assault from the “not in my backyard” crowd. It is time for Americans to take a step back and realize that an energy crisis will be upon us in our lifetime, and steps like this one in San Francisco will ensure that we remain sustainable in the long-term. With dropping pricing in the photo-voltaic industry, other states should be looking at what California is doing and follow suit.


Engineers Develop Handheld Marijuana Breathalyzer, Stoners Passively Lament Between Bong Rips


Montreal Gazette– Engineers developing a breath-based ketone sampler for diabetics have switched gears to produce a hand-held marijuana breath analyzer just as our federal government begins to explore legalization.

The device — about the size of two fingers — is a Bluetooth-enabled breathalyzer that uses microfluidic technology and a selective gas sensor to detect tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. The THC levels in a sample can be analyzed within seconds and the results delivered to a smartphone.

The gas sensor at the end of the channel measures the levels of THC in the sample with a high degree of accuracy, even if the person has also consumed alcohol. The device functions accurately over a wide range of temperature and humidity, a shortcoming of other breath analyzers.

Stunning news out of Canada this morning. Is nothing sacred anymore? Engineers have now developed gas sensors to measure THC levels in a human body, even in the presence of alcohol. What a time to be alive? This can’t be good news for my friend who thinks he drives better while high (I think every stoner I have ever met has said this to me). It is only a matter of time before cops are carrying around these bad boys all over deeply-forested areas next to universities and the majority of Colorado.

On the other hand, this could be one of, if not the greatest invention of the 21st century. Do you know in college when your buddies would drink a couple 4-lokos and attempt to blow the highest BAC into a breathlyzer, even though they drank about 0.69 seconds beforehand and thus the reading was always way too high? I could see this happening ten-fold with weed smokers. Guys ripping bong hits left and right to see how high of a THC level they could get to would be funny stuff, considering they will probably fall asleep or go make some food before they even remember what they were attempting to do. It’s a shame these devices are coming out at the height of marijuana legalization, because the governments are going to look to replace those lost schedule one drug charge penalties in any way they can. If I was a gambling man (which I am), I’m placing my bets on a huge increase in DW-Highs over the next few years.


Manchester Marathon is Mistakenly 380m Too Short, and We Should Take Away the Medals


BBC Sports– Three years of Greater Manchester Marathon times have been declared invalid after the course was found to be 380m too short.The mistake, caused by a measuring error, affects about 24,000 runners who competed in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

UK Athletics will not now recognise times from those races, but the error was corrected in time for this year’s marathon, which was held on 10 April. A true marathon distance is 26 miles and 385 yards.

The Association of UK Course Measurers (AUKCM) said an accredited measurer had ridden the course in 2013 but indicated there had been an error in the calibration of the bicycle wheel. The organisation said it regretted the mistake and the effect it has on runners’ times.

Listen, as a marathon runner myself (humble brag city), nothing is harder than those last 380 meters of a race. However, watching some of these running hardos train all there lives just to fall flat on their face after mile 26 is laugh out loud funny. As we discussed last week in the Boston Marathon, getting carried over the finish line shouldn’t count as finishing the race. Therefore, anyone who has run in this marathon over the last three years should not count their results either. Anyone can run 26 miles, but 26.2 miles is something else. I’m sure records were broken in those races and personal achievements were set,  but a marathon is a marathon and rules are rules. In fact, I think we need to take this a step further and take away the medals from these finishers. Medals are for true marathon runners, simple as that. Although on second thought, taking away the medals from these “athletes” might just be worse than the physical pain of actually running the damn race…



Mitsubishi Admits to Cheating Fuel Efficiency Testing, Who Isn’t These Days?


The Verge– Japanese automaker Mitsubishi has admitted manipulating fuel economy data related to some 625,000 vehicles. The company announced the news at a press conference this morning, apologizing for the deception and saying it is investigating the employees involved. The manipulated data covers four vehicle models that fall under the Japanese category of kei car. This is a classification that covers minivans, trucks, and passenger cars, but is reserved for vehicles that meet economical fuel consumption standards and are consequently taxed at a lower rate.

The models affected include the eK Wagon and eK Space, manufactured and sold by Mitsubishi, and the Dayz and Dayz Roox, manufactured by Mitsubishi and supplied to Nissan for sale. According to Mitsubishi, it was Nissan’s in-house testers that discovered the discrepancy between the cars’ published fuel efficiency data, and their real-life results.

Mitsubishi today announced that they have been manipulating fuel economy data in their Japanese vehicles in a similar manner to which Volkswagen did with their vehicles back in late 2015. At this point, it should honestly surprise no one that these companies are actively faking this test data to push out cars that do not meet the stringent environmental standards set forth by the local governments. For those of you that do not know how the testing works, the companies have an agent come in and test the cars on a roller than simulates driving. What these companies like VW and Mitsubishi have done and have been presumably getting away with is that they have the car output less emissions when hooked up on these rollers. When driving on the road, the cars output more carbon emissions that are over the specified limits yet still pass the tests based on the faked results. It all boils down to a code implemented that actually changes the amount of emissions based on if the car is being tested or not. Savvy move if you ask me.

Regardless, Mitsubishi stock plummeted 15% the day after the news, and other car companies should be quick to take note. I know that most of these cars are not being sold in the US and this news should not affect most, but be weary that any company is liable for these type of emissions cheat codes. As the US government moves to increasingly stricter measures and a possible limiting of gasoline product, these companies will continue to find new ways to get their cars to the US market.  Don’t think your car manufacturer of choice is off the hook (unless you’re Ford or GM, then the government will take extra care of you to make sure this doesn’t happen).


“Dead Official” Appointed to Officiate Soccer Game in Nigeria


BBC– Nigerian football’s crisis has taken a bizarre twist with an attempt to appoint a dead referee for Sunday’s match between Warri Wolves and Giwa FC.It comes as Chris Giwa continues to challenge Nigerian Football Federation president Amaju Pinnick.

A Nigerian court has ruled Giwa should replace the Fifa-recognised Pinnick and in a move to wrest control he has named the weekend’s top-flight officials.However, among those selected is Wale Akinsanya, who died in January.Giwa’s NFF rival group sent notice of its actions to the chief operation officer of the league management company on Wednesday.

It has raised the possibility that two sets of match officials – those appointed by Giwa’s group and those appointed by the NFF – could turn up for the fixtures.

Listen, I know this is expected out of a country like Nigeria, but it is still hilarious to know that a dude who died in January was named the top official for a game this weekend in APRIL. Like yea, maybe the mail system takes a month or two in Nigeria (what mail system?) and the office didn’t get his letter of resignation, but a full three months after is just unacceptable even for those standards.

On second thought, I’m actually a licensed soccer official out here on Long Island (Yea nbd but kbd) and this stuff is expected out of the league offices even here in the US. The system they use in my location is literally out of the 90’s, and I’m surprised I am even able to get games every week. If I were to die, I think it would actually take even longer than three months for the league office to find out and stop assigning me games. Therefore, I think I have to actually change my mind and give Nigeria a pass here. Classic FIFA move too at the end there stating that the court system has to get involved in the removal of a referee from a random Nigerian soccer game. Two referees are now being appointed to the game, which I guess is slightly better than one dead guy?  FIFA at it again.