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Elon Musk

Elon Musk. Pixabay photo

By Daniel Dunaief

Daniel Dunaief

Our story begins some time around now. No, there’s no chocolate, despite the season, and there’s no meadow where everything is edible.

No, our modern-day story begins where so much of us live these days, online.

You see, a famous and once marvelous company called Twitter is run by an eccentric, wealthy and successful businessman named Elon Musk, who somehow figured out how to create and mass produce electric cars that require no gas and that sound like spaceships.

Musk has decided, after many hours of running Twitter, that he needs to find a successor.

So, borrowing a page from Willy Wonka, he provides invitations that cost 3 cents per tweet to enter a sweepstakes.

When he narrows the field down to those who get the golden tweet, he plans to invite a group of five people to come to a virtual, top secret Twitter tour.

A few people try to make fake tickets, but the ever vigilant Musk spots the fraud. Day after day, people wait until, finally, five people, some of whom have never tweeted in their lives, have a chance to run the company.

Musk appears on screen wearing a top hat and a menacing smile. He demands that no one record what they see or take a screenshot of the secrets he is prepared to share.

Each person has a tiny image — about 1/4 the size of Musk’s — as they virtually walk through a factory floor.

On the first stop, Musk invites them to join him in the secret Hunter Biden/ New York Post room. Ah, yes, the story about the infamous laptop, which will undoubtedly become a part of an extensive investigation into the Biden progeny, is in this room.

“Don’t try to read anything!” he snaps.

But, of course, one of the contestants can’t resist. With a special tool that tracks eye movements, Musk knows that contestant No. 1, who is chewing gum constantly, is trying to decipher all the information. Her screen develops a horrible virus that turns it (and her entire computer) purple.

“You see?” he says, shaking his virtual head at the other small characters. “That’s what you get when you don’t listen. Oh, look, here they come now.”

Wearing virtual clothing embroidered with the Tesla logo, a modern day group of Oompa-Loompas appears on screen.

“Oompa, loompa, doompa dee do.

I’ve got another riddle for you.

Oompa loompa, doompa dee dee

if you are wise, you’ll listen to me.

What do you get when you don’t listen to Musk?

A virus on your computer that will kill it before dusk.

Who do you think should have the last laugh?

It certainly won’t be you or your staff.

Take a moment to ponder this fact,

Running Twitter may take too much tact.”

“Well,” Musk interrupts, waving away the virtual characters. “That’s enough of that. Now, let’s go for a virtual boat ride.”

In everyone steps as a boat careens through a choppy river, passing one door after another, with the names of celebrities who have been suspended hanging from each virtual room.

The boat stops near an embankment. The Musk character invites his guests to look at some special doors.

When he turns around, his virtual eyes widen in shock, his lower jaw drops down to his knees, and he hunches his shoulders.

“How? What? Wait, what’s going on?” he stammers, looking closely at the faces of his remaining four contestants.

Sure enough, on screen, Musk recognizes that two of the faces are the same as his, while the other two look like versions of Donald Trump.

“No, but, I made this game,” he whines. “How will we find out who wins?”

“Ah,” one of the Trumps says. “For that, you’ll have to tune into the sequel, which will only cost $99 and will become a collector’s item in no time.”

Pixabay photo

By Michael E. Russell

Michael E. Russell

When we were kids, Walt Disney gave us the Mouseketeers.  Today Elon Musk has given us the The new Musketeers. Elon Musk has millions of followers, especially Cryptocurrency fans. There is great enthusiasm among many that envision a new Twitter which will no longer utilize selective censorship.

Some of the MAGA folks are hoping that (former U.S. President) Donald Trump will have his account reinstated. Many analysts believe that Elon overpaid for his purchase of Twitter. 44 billion dollars is surely a boatload of money. How do you bet against the wealthiest person on the planet? As a hobby, he sends a rocket into space every other week. Amazing.

Jamie Dimon, Chief executive of JP Morgan Chase is clearly in the corner of all those who believe Twitter had censored too many people. Musk made a clear statement when he walked into Twitter headquarters carrying a sink and proclaimed, “let this sink in” and promptly proceeded to fire all the executives and terminate the Board of Directors. To be continued…

If anyone cares, the stock market had an amazing month. From a low of 28,600 in early October to a close of 32,861, that is not too shabby. A gain of 4,261 points or 15%. If this continues, I will be back to even in seven months!

What does the market expect following these pivotal midterm elections?

According to historical data, stocks usually perform strongly following the midterms. Since 1962 the Standard and Poors (S & P)500 index has underperformed in the 12 months leading up to the midterms and outperformed in the 12 months following them. The S & P averaged a 16% return in the following year, more than twice the average 8% return in all the 12-month periods ending on October 31st since 1961. The strongest parallel occurred after the 1994 midterms. President Bill Clinton had to wrestle with an overwhelming Republican wave that took control of both the House and Senate.

Does this sound familiar? The Federal Reserve was engaged in a very aggressive tightening phase, roughly doubling the fed-funds rate to 6% from 3%.  he similarities are striking. Democrats currently control the Executive Branch and both houses of Congress. These are not my numbers, but the political pundits see a 69% probability that they lose both the Senate and the House.

I am not writing to make a political statement, only to speak as to the potential stock market response.

Today’s world is vastly different from 1994. Back then Alan Greenspan was Chair of the Federal Reserve. He preemptively increased rates which kept the inflation rate in check.  Jerome Powell may be a nice person, but he is no Alan Greenspan! Oops, sorry Dan Quayle. The market surprised everyone in October, even CNBC’s Jim Cramer.

There are many potential roadblocks ahead for the market. Putin in Russia, Xi in China and Kim Jong-un in North Korea. No nice guys in this group. For those of us senior citizens, remember U.S. Treasuries, 1-2-5 and 10 years yielding over 4.2% New York State tax free. Municipal Bonds yielding close to 5%. Please remind our local bankers that 0% interest on checking and savings accounts is not very neighborly.

Whatever the results of the midterm elections, I pray that things get better for all of us.

Michael E. Russell retired after 40 years working for various Wall Street firms. All recommendations being made here are not guaranteed and may incur a loss of principal. The opinions and investment recommendations expressed in the column are the author’s own. TBR News Media does not endorse any specific investment advice and urges investors to consult with their financial advisor. 

The donation made by Eugene Sayan will help with plans to renovate the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe in Shoreham. Image from Marc Alessi

The Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe aims to be a major hub of exploration and innovation on Long Island, not only preserving Nikola Tesla’s legacy but actively helping to inspire the inventors of tomorrow. It is now another step closer to that thanks to the generosity of a local entrepreneur greatly inspired by the Serbian-American scientist.

During a celebration of the nonprofit’s long-term vision for its Shoreham site last month at the The Ward Melville Heritage Organization Educational & Cultural Center in Stony Brook, it was announced that
Eugene Sayan — the founder and CEO of Stony Brook-based health care efficiency company Softheon Inc., will donate $1 million in support of the future museum, business incubator for scientific research and student-geared education facility.

Eugene Sayan, CEO of Stony Brook-based Softheon Inc. made a $1 million donation to the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe in Shoreham. Photo from LinkedIn

With the donation, the center currently has $5 million of a $20 million capital campaign goal set up in March of this year. The funding will allow the center to begin phase one of its construction projects on the grounds of Tesla’s last remaining laboratory. The starting plan is to turn two abandoned buildings on the property into visitor and exhibition spaces for science education programs by next year, and renovate the historic, Stanford White-designed laboratory. Maintenance of the buildings and staff is also part of the overall budget.

“It’s truly amazing,” said Marc Alessi, the science center’s executive director, a driving force behind the center’s plans. “There’s certainly worldwide interest in this place, but Eugene’s donation is validation that there’s also an interest from local innovators in making sure this gets launched.”

Sayan, an Eastern European immigrant himself whose innovative company “strives to create simple solutions to complex problems,” has, unsurprisingly, always felt a strong connection to Tesla and looked to him as a source of inspiration while building his business. When he was made aware of Wardenclyffe during a meeting with the center’s national chair of fundraising Joe Campolo and learned of the plan to build something more than just a museum in Tesla’s name, he quickly involved himself in the effort. In the wake of Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk’s $1 million donation to the center in 2014, Sayan wanted to be the first entrepreneur in the local area to make a significant contribution, while inspiring others to follow his lead.

“It’s an honor to support the Tesla Science Center and its celebration of the important work of Nikola Tesla,”
Sayan said in a statement. “His work and innovation have made an impact on my life, and I’m very happy that Softheon is supporting such an important initiative on Long Island.”

“Having a capability as a science center helps with sustainability. People will keep coming back for family memberships, our new exhibits, to send their kids to robotics and coding classes.”

— Marc Alessi

Tesla Science Center President Jane Alcorn said Sayan’s benefaction, and others like it, will serve to successfully energize the legacy and impact of the inventor of alternating current electricity.

“Mr. Sayan is giving us support when we need it most,” Alcorn said. “We hope others will see the good that this can bring and consider giving a gift of this nature as well. Not everybody has the capacity to do something like this but when people who do have that ability act in a forward-thinking way like this, it benefits all of us. This contribution will make a real difference.”

The center’s board members estimate the entirety of their planned facility will be available to the public by 2022. Upon completion of the project, they said, not only will it include a museum and an immersive science center — including a STEM education program for students, TED Talk-style lectures and workshops for emerging scientists and entrepreneurs and traveling exhibits — it will house a Makerspace program offering lab rooms and classes in areas ranging from 3-D printing to synthetic fabrication and robotics. Incubator programs will also be set up to connect startup businesses from around the world to the site. If a company meets the center’s criteria, with Tesla-oriented focuses like electrical or mechanical engineering, its owners can apply for crowdsourcing and mentorships.

Plans are also in place to work with the Department of Education to implement Tesla into the K-12 science
curriculums of surrounding school districts.

Tesla Science Center Executive Director Marc Alessi at the current Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe in Shoreham. Photo by Kevin Redding

Alessi added that because the closest major regional science center, the Cradle of Aviation in Garden City, is a hike for North Shore residents, he hopes the science center will provide a similar experience for them.

“Having a capability as a science center helps with sustainability,” he said. “People will keep coming back for family memberships, our new exhibits, to send their kids to robotics and coding classes. We eventually want to be the go-to source.”

He said it’s important the center become a place that would make its namesake proud.

“If Nikola Tesla walked onto this site after it’s opened and all we had was a museum dedicated to what he was doing 100 years ago, he would be ticked off,” Alessi said. “Just having a static museum here isn’t enough. On-site innovation really honors what Tesla was doing. [Tesla] was a futurist, he saw where things would go, and that’s what can inspire the Teslas of today and tomorrow. If you bring an 8-year-old child here who gets hands-on science experience, we’re going to inspire a future scientist. We want to help people see the value of science.”