Bruce White

Blog #696 D-Day

It was 75 years ago today – D-Day

Today’s thought is surrounded by the “Haters going to Hate” topic.  But, it really was part of it.

Hitler (and others) were haters.  They hated the Jews, they hated people unlike themselves.  The German and Axis armies had conquered western Europe – with their partners in Japan – who had conquered much of eastern Asia.  England had survived the “Battle for Britain” (barely). Is was time to free Europe and get rid of this dictator.

So, let’s look at D-Day – June 6, 1944 – 75 years ago today.

-1 It was the start of Operation Overlord

D-Day started the final phase of World War II.  Paratroopers landed inside France early in the morning with the plan to disrupt the German army along the English Channel.  Then boats from men (I don’t think there were combat women yet) to Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword beaches. By the end of that bloody day the Allies had established a foothold on the shores of France.

-2  It established a second front.  After the blitzkrieg of the first part of World War II, the Western Front was pretty quiet.  Yes, the Allied bombers bombed munition factories and important sites in German and western Europe.  The Russians and Germans armies were logged down in Russia. The Allies needed a second front to stretch the German army to a breaking point.

-3 D-Day involved massive planning

(And without computers).  There needed to be coordination of Allied leaders.

-4 D-Day required an international effort

For example, how to get 1.4 million American servicemen from the US to Britain (and feed, clothe, and arm them and the Canadians and Aussies and free French and all the others.

-5 It was the largest land and air operation in history

Over 18,000 paratroopers were dropped into the area starting at midnight.  Over 14,000 flights took place. Over 7,000 boats were used with over 132,000 ground troops.  Vessels off shore bombarded German positions prior to the invasion.

-6 The Germans were ready.

But, the Allied had ‘leaked’ plans for an invasion through Italy and other places as a ruse.  Americans landed at Omaha Beach and were met by well prepared German troops. Other beaches were not quite as well defended.

-7 D-Day worked because of other efforts

Strategic bombing for a year ahead of the invasion helped D-Day; as well as did the “Battle for the Atlantic” – so Allies (mostly American and Canadian) could ship supplies and men to Britain.

-8 Operation Overlord required more than just D-Day.

Landing forces was the first step in freeing Europe.  It took almost a whole year to subdue the German forces.

-9 Operation Overlord was a significant turn in World War II

It pushed the Germans back in a retreat.  (The German armies did bring more offense later in the Battle of the Bulge and others)

-10 There were other ‘D-Days’

Like landing in Sicily and Italy, later in Southern France.  

All-in-all it was a bloody day.  WIkipedia adds “German casualties on D-Day have been estimated at 4,000 to 9,000 men. Allied casualties were at least 10,000’

I was one of those ‘baby boomers’ born when the troops came home.  Peace and prosperity!!


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Blog #695 Haters Going to Hate

Haters gonna hate!!!

Lately (last six years), I have noticed more hate in the world.  Politically (at least in the United States) Republicans and Democrats have hated each other for years.  I think of ‘statesmen’ – those who can understand other – and those who tried to love and understand each other.

Let’s look at the article:

-1 You are doing something right.

Yup – if somebody is hating you then you must be doing something right.  If you weren’t doing anything – no one would hate you (generally – although there are those who hate at first sight – based on color – or clothes).  

-2 Learn from their attitudes to be more accepting

Don’t resort to hating them – that starts a vicious downward spirals.  Jesus said “love one-another”.

-3 Use their criticism to improve yourself

Actually the criticism you are getting might be helpful.  Let’s say you are a farmer and are planting genetically altered seeds and others are saying that is harmful.  Listen carefully, don’t argue, don’t correct their thoughts. A Proverb says “A quiet answer puts away wrath”.

-4 Be humble

Take the high road.  Don’t become a hater as well.

-5 Learn how to deal with conflict

There will always be differences in opinion.  There is even a concept of “violent’ agreement – where two sides really are in agreement.  Remember the old Miller Lite beer commercials – where one side is yelling “Less filling” and the other side yelling “Tastes Great”.  If you are the center of the conflict- count to ten, take the high road – and (like the proverb) use a quiet answer to put away wrath.

Don’t hate – don’t take their road – love one-another.  

On Friday we will finish this list.

But, tomorrow we will celebrate the 75th anniversary of a very special day!!!


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Blog #694 Tariffs – again

More Tariffs?

From Morning Brew:

“President Trump tweeted Thursday night he’ll slap 5% tariffs on Mexican imports starting June 10 unless the flow of Central American migrants stops. If the border situation isn’t resolved, tariffs on Mexico will rise five percentage points monthly, as high as 25% on Oct. 1.

“Many U.S. industries and trade groups sounded the alarm, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is even considering legal options. But we’re going to focus on the auto sector.

“That’s because a massive chunk of U.S.-Mexico trade comes from the U.S. auto industry’s exchange of goods, services, and parts with entities American players own in Mexico, Axios reports.

  • For Detroit’s biggest carmakers, Mexico-built vehicles were 17% of all U.S. sales last year.
  • Overall, the U.S. imported $52.6 billion in cars and $59.4 billion in auto parts from Mexico in 2018.

Of all the Trump administration’s tariff threats, this is the most nightmarish for the all-important auto sector. Already, shrinking global car sales have dented worldwide GDP by an estimated 0.2%—you can expect that figure to grow if Mexico tariffs go into effect.”

Now, some history:

The Smoot-Hawley Act is the Tariff Act of 1930. It increased 900 import tariffs by an average of 40 to 48 percent. Most economists blame it for worsening the Great Depression. It also contributed to the start of World War II.

In June 1930, Smoot-Hawley raised already-high U.S. tariffs on foreign agricultural imports. The purpose was to support U.S. farmers who had been ravaged by the Depression. Instead, it raised food prices. It also compelled other countries to retaliate with their own tariffs. That forced global trade down by 65 percent.

Smoot-Hawley showed how dangerous trade protectionism is for the global economy. Since then, world leaders advocate free trade agreements that promote increased trade for all participants.

Are we moving towards such protectionism?  It sure seems like we are trying to fight a tariff war – an economic war.  

And …

The reality is that American consumers are going to be hit; American businesses are going to be hit, our foreign relations are going to be hit.

While I am not an economics expert, but I tend to be in the ‘free trade’ group.  If our products cannot complete with those around the world, we need to improve our products and make the quality better.  

China – now Mexico – maybe Europe – who knows where the economy is going to end up?

What do you think?


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Blog #693 I’m Financially Free!!!

I am financially FREE!!!!  WOOOO

Ten quotes from Success Magazine about financial freedom!!!

-1 “When you understand that your self-worth is not determined by your net worth, then you’ll have financial freedom.” –Suze Orman

I have value to others, to family, friends, places I volunteer.

-2 “Real wealth is not about money. Real wealth is: not having to go to meetings, not having to spend time with jerks, not being locked into status games, not feeling like you have to say ‘yes,’ not worrying about others claiming your time and energy. Real wealth is about freedom.” –James Clear

Hey – I’m retired  – no meetings (okay, I still have some).  I’m (mostly) free!

-3 “Money is a terrible master but an excellent servant.” –PT Barnum

I have seen students become slaves to money.  They borrow money for college; get their first job; buy a car; get an expensive apartment; borrow for a wedding – and all their lives live in debt.  

-4 “Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.” –Henry David Thoreau

I experience and love my life (today)!!  WOOO!!

-5 “More important than how we achieve financial freedom, is the why. Find your reasons why you want to be free and wealthy.” –Robert Kiyosaki

The Bible say “Consider the lilies of the field and the bird of the air.”

-6 “The goal isn’t more money. The goal is living life on your terms.” –Chris Brogan

I drive a seven year old car – that gets great mileage.  It is paid for.

-7  “Your economic security does not lie in your job; it lies in your own power to produce—to think, to learn, to create, to adapt. That’s true financial independence. It’s not having wealth; it’s having the power to produce wealth.” –Stephen Covey
Sometimes we get a mindset that we can only do XYZ when ABC might be the best place for us – for happiness, peace of mind and more.  

-8 “A good financial plan is a road map that shows us exactly how the choices we make today will affect our future.” –Alexa Von Tobel
There may be bumps in the road.  Your roof needs repair; your furnace goes out and must be replaced; your car finally dies on you.  Having an emergency fund is a good choice to make!

-9 “To become financially independent you must turn part of your income into capital; turn capital into enterprise; turn enterprise into profit; turn a profit into an investment, and turn an investment into financial independence.” –Jim Rohn
I was probably too naive, but my employers weren’t.  They ‘forced’ me into savings plans – IRA (individual retirement accounts).  I worked hard and I am independent financially.

-10. “You must gain control over your money or the lack of it will forever control you.” –Dave Ramsey
Like before, don’t buy the fancy car, house, whatever until you have control over your money.  Our house is paid off, our cars are paid off, we can buy almost anything we need (maybe not everything we ‘want’)!!!

Wants are unlimited – but meeting your needs and living in control of your life and your money are good things!!

What do you think?


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BLOG #692 Juuling

Juuling (or, I try to learn something new everyday)

This article was entitled: “What Is Juuling And Is It Really That Bad For Your Health?”

I think I had seen signs for Juul – but wasn’t really paying attention until I saw this article.  (I don’t frequently tobacco shops)

The article helped with this definition:
“What is Juuling exactly?  Juuls are a type of vaporizer or e-cigarette, designed so discreetly that most people don’t even recognize them as an e-cig. Juul devices (and other vaporizers) work by heating up a cartridge that contains oils and makes a vapor that can be inhaled.

Going on

“However, the vaporizers are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, and they can be charged when plugged into a laptop’s USB slot—making it easy for students to pass them off as flash drives in class.”

“Juul pods come in flavors like crème brulee, cool cucumber, and mango”

Hey, so I could have a vaping e-cigarette (which to my mind is better than a regular cigarette) that I can warm in my USB port and comes in favors?  Cool (maybe ‘as cool as a cucumber’!!!)

Back to the article: “The Juul vaping device was invented by two Stanford grads in 2007, and has since become the best-selling e-cigarette on the market, capturing 32 percent of the market share”

On the good side, Juuls don’t have the tar and cancer-causing elements of traditional cigarettes.  But … (isn’t there always a ‘but’) – a 2018 study found “teenagers who smoked e-cigarettes had higher levels of cancer-causing chemicals in their bodies than non-smokers.”

But, what about the nicotine?

Well, the article relates this information

“When it comes to nicotine levels, one Juul pod contains the same amount of nicotine as a pack of cigarettes”.  Nicotine is addictive (according to the article) and can cause the user to become dependent upon it. It also can affect brain growth (especially for younger people – like susceptible teenagers!!”

“ these fun-flavored pods have gotten teens across the country addicted to nicotine.”

Some statements from students:

“Fourteen-year-old Margarida Ferreira said she’ll leave class if she’s stressed to hit the Juul. “I kind of need it. It’s just a part of my life now,” she told the cameras. “I know it’s bad but I can’t stop.”

“Fletcher Faden, 16, told the cameras that there have been times when he’s Juuled in class, and pretty much every moment when he wasn’t in class.”

So, it is cool (to teenagers especially), and causes nicotine addiction.  

Sounds like a problem to me!!!


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Blog #691 No room at the top

NO ROOM AT THE TOP (of the world that is)

There is NO room at the top of Mount Everest (the highest point in the world).

There have been eleven fatalities on Mount Everest this year.  There have been long lines waiting to make the last push to the peak of the 29,028 foot mountain (well over 5 miles above sea level).  The picture (see the link) shows people waiting in line on a clear day to make that last trek to the submit and then back down. (Nobody wants to [or will] stay on the summit overnight).  

Seemingly there are three reasons for the backup.  

-1 The Nepal Government issued a larger number of permits to Everest climbing teams

(And charging about $11,000 USD brings in a nice income to the mountainous country).  This year the Nepali government issued a record number of permits for climbing. [381 permits].

-2 There are ‘supply and demand’ issues.  There are many adventure companies who are taking less than fully prepared climbers up the mountain.  Hey – who doesn’t want to be ‘on top of the world’ for a few minutes. (I’d personally LOVE to climb Everest, but at age 71, that is NOT going to happen).

By-the-way, the amount of space at the summit was described as about two ping-pong tables. You can only get so many in that space – without one falling off to their (almost certain) death).  And … in this day and age, everyone who gets to the top wants selfies of themselves and friends (which takes more time on top).

-3 Back-ups do occur.  One of the guides said when he was there, there were two people on the last ascent that really should have found a place to step aside and let faster climbers go by – but they didn’t and backed up the line to the summit. The guide said ““There were two people holding up a line of 50. That was the only problem we had,” he says. “They would not move over and let people pass.” Plus there really is only one path for ascending and descending the last route to the summit.  If there are 50 climbers in line – maybe 20 on the summit, it can be a tricky dance for the people already at the summit to fight their way down the slope after getting their ten minutes of fame on the top.

At that altitude climbers need oxygen to climb.  The climbers leave everything that is not essential at their last camp for the summit climb.  Too much gear will slow you down too little gear (mostly too little oxygen) may cause you to go crazy from oxygen deprivation.  

If you are carrying (say) four oxygen canisters for the summit trek, but waiting in line you use up (say) two canisters – you are inviting disaster.

But, others indicate that the issue might just as well be with the climbers themselves.  

One guide (with the National Geography team) said ““People didn’t seem to know things like taking care of themselves, being efficient with climbing skills, and being properly prepared for the environment.”

A Canadian filmmaker added “I cannot believe what I saw up there. Death. Carnage. Chaos. Lineups. Dead bodies on the route and in tents at camp four. People who I tried to turn back who ended up dying. People being dragged down. Walking over bodies.”

The most recent (at least in the article I read) said the last to die was a 62-year-old Boulder Colorado attorney who died of cardiac arrest (aka a heart attack).  

Most of the deaths are believed to have suffered from altitude sickness, which is caused by low amounts of oxygen at high elevation and can cause headaches, vomiting, shortness of breath and mental confusion.

And, just to add injury to insult, a lot of stuff gets left on the mountain.  It is getting to be quite a trash heap. If you are done with an oxygen canister, just throw it over the edge.  Food and other supplies that aren’t needed are left.

So, if you thinking about climbing the highest mountain in the world – you might want to think again!!!


(When I was a child I read many books on mountain climbing – including books on conquering Mount Everest.  I had an unspoken dream that it would be ‘nice’ someday to climb Everest or K2 or other of the great Himalayan mountains.  That dream passed a long time ago.)

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Blog #690 Passwords? Huh??

Taking care of Fraud with biometric passwords

More and more, computers are moving to biometric systems for passwords.

Somebody standing behind you can see what keys you are pressing and get your typed password.  Word passwords are sometimes difficult. Many require the passwords to be at least eight characters long with at least one uppercase letter and at least one lowercase letter.  The preference extends to requiring numbers and special characters.

Some companies require you change your passwords every ninety days (or a similar ‘must change’ requirement).  Some prefer ‘garbage words’ – like C&ft83-Mnw – words that have no meaning as compared to Amy-Liam-412 – which could be the names of your two grandchildren and the area code where they live.  

But, there is help on the way.

The human body is very unique.  Fingerprints have long been used as fingerprints are unique.  With computers you might have a fingerprint reader to verify that it is you.  [My iPhone has a fingerprint reader. I’m not sure how good it is or if another person can log with their fingerprints.  

Retina scans.

Your eyes (and the back of the eyes – the retina) are also unique.  More sophisticated big mainframe systems might have retina scanners to gain access to systems.  

Facial recognition is also a growing area.  Even if you have gained or lost weight (in your face); grown a beard, tanned (or sunburned) your facial skins, used a lot of makeup, your face still will scan as ‘yours’ (unless you do plastic surgery – which should be a very small percent).

Facial Recognition

Facial recognition is gaining momentum – although some have questions if it violates privacy.  But, on a personal computer or a phone used by one person, facial recognition might be a good way to bypass passwords.

Voice scans / voice prints

The human voice tends to be fairly unique.  Your voice saying “hello” to your computer will log you on; while another person saying “hello” will NOT allow them access.  

Heart Rate Scanning

Some watches and wristbands have ECG monitors – which can communicate with other devices by bluetooth (and thus log you in).

Body Movement

Do you know that the way you hold your phone, the way you scroll down a screen is unique to you?  At least that is what researchers say. If another person took your phone (or touch screen computer), if the device had the right software, it could tell if you were ‘really you’ – or just somebody else using your machine.

After Logging On

A quick story first.  Several years ago I received an interesting phone call.  My (our) credit card had just be used to buy a wedding dress in Austin Texas (and we were living in Connecticut at the time).  That kicked off a fraud warming and the phone call. I, of course, assured them that my wife was in Texas going shopping with our daughter for a wedding dress.  Computers can recognize that. Even though I think I am unique in my computer activities, I’m not. I have a morning routine to check about five websites (mail, weather, Facebook, Twitter and sports) plus a few games (Flow-free Hexes, Flow-free, Set Game and Duolingo).  If my computer was following my actions it would be perplexed (if it could really ‘think’) if I went to movie reviews, instagram, Snapcart and fashion reviews (although they are getting more interesting to me).

The last password authentication that I want to talk about is the ‘chip’.  For years people have been talking about getting a chip inserted someplace (like the back of your hand).  Like dogs and pets are chipped for identification, humans can be as well. There is some controversy with this – but generally a very secure way to know if you are ‘really you’.  

So, maybe passwords are slowing going away in favor of biometric identification, but don’t look it too soon!!


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Blog #689 Good Night

Good Night Moon (or rather – things to do before going to bed)

Today’s article comes from – and gives us some suggestions before going to bed.

Let’s jump in:

-1 No Caffeine after 7 p.m.

Recently I’ve been cutting back on my caffeine.  If you looked at my series on blood pressure the research was mixed on the effect of caffeine on blood pressure – a short spike and then back to normal – or longer lasting effects on the body.  

I’ve gotten a Sleepy Time caffeine tea to have before bed.  I’ve even gotten to like it!!

-2 Review your calendar for the next day early in the evening.  Determine at least two things that you need to do tomorrow.

I also have found that by thinking about the next day, sometimes those activities become part of my subconscious and I even have dreams about those thoughts!!  I have an active mind and putting good thoughts into my brain can mentally prepare myself.

-3 Shower before bed not in the morning

I might go against the grain on this.  I like taking a shower in the morning. Wakes me up and refreshes me.  And, who knows how my body might smell after a night in bed. Rarely (but sometimes) I sweat in bed.  Maybe the concept is to get rested up – and make the morning easier.

-4 Get things ready for the morning.  

The article suggests getting the kid’s lunch boxes ready.  My children are grown and gone – and they are parents. But, getting the coffee in the coffee maker; getting my bowl out for my oatmeal (some suggest soaking the oatmeal overnight); get all your papers and things ready for the morning – so you are not panicking about missing ‘stuff’ in your purse or briefcase in the morning.

-5 Pick out tomorrow’s wardrobe.

While you are still alert reflect on tomorrow – casual day?  More formal day? Who might you be meeting with? Does that require a particular dress?   What earrings should I wear? Can jeans work?

-6 Shut down all electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime.

Research has shown the electronic screens can embed themselves in our brains.  Even turn off the TV. I used to watch Monday Night Football until the end – especially if the Packers are playing.  I know I can check the final score in the morning (maybe have ESPN on in the morning while I dress and eat).

-7 Take a few minutes to tidy up

Don’t wake to a mess!!  Clean up, put the dishes away.  Pick up and organize any projects you were reading or working on.  (While maybe not true, but ‘Cleanliness is next to Godliness’)

-8 Spritz your pillows with lavender – as it is associated with calmness.

(I haven’t tried this yet, but I do have a lavender fragrance in my bedroom)

-9 Read before you sleep.  Don’t read anything too technical, but read for fun. As you know I like audiobooks, but this suggests actual reading. (I wonder if I could substitute bedtime crocheting?)

-10 Dim all lights an hour before bed.

Subconsciously your brain will be thinking ‘sleep, sleep, sleep’.

So there you are – Ten suggestions before getting a great night of sleep!!!


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Blog #688 Concussions – who needs them

Concussions – who needs them (not Brett Favre)

One of the biggest problems with sports are injuries.  And one of the most debilitating injuries (especially in football) are concussions.

A Hall of Fame National Football League player Brett Favre is seeing if anything can be done about that.

This article starts this way “Brett Favre says he might have had “thousands” of concussions during his Hall of Fame career.”.  He also adds that he is experiencing short-term memory loss!! At age 49, that is too young to have memory loss (actually any age with memory loss is too young!!)

WOW – maybe thousands of concussions.  Favre says “there’s a term we use in football and maybe other sports, that I got ‘dinged.’ When you have ringing of the ears, seeing stars, that is a concussion.”

Favre and others have invested in Prevacus – a company who is trying to develop concussion medications and approaches.

Prevacus (on their website) says “Spun out of Florida State University, Prevacus is a development stage company focusing on a new treatment for concussions”.

Their (Prevacus) goes on “Currently, there are no drugs available for concussion treatment – just rehabilitation and rest. Prevacus’ founder has spent many years in the laboratory analyzing the positive effects neuro-steroids have on edema – swelling of the brain. However, the sexual and clotting side effects of some neuro-steroids limit their use. The Prevacus scientific team is in the process of developing an alternate line of concussion therapies and is currently evaluating the safety and efficacy of these drugs in preparation for bringing these products to market. Further, Prevacus is in the early stages of novel drug testing in animals for other neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease.”

Another article says about Prevacus “The drug is administered as a nasal spray and is recommended after diagnosis of a brain injury. Prevacus is said to reduce swelling, inflammation, oxidative stress and cell death in the brain, according to its creator, Dr. Jake VanLandingham. The drug has not been approved by the FDA.

Favre added “ “So the fact that we tackle and the hits are becoming more violent, I don’t see how the concussions will go down. At some point, we have to look at treatment. Prevention can only go so far.”

I like American Football (as compared to the rest of the world who calls soccer ‘futbol’ or ‘football’).  I have seen on television players going out of the game on stretchers after being hit. Quarterbacks (like Favre) are targets for defensive players looking for a sack.  Although ‘helmet to helmet’ hits are generally outlawed, they do happen. Even after being tackled and the player falls to the ground and his head bounces off the turf, might bring on a concussion.  Helmets are padded to help protect the head, but some hits are ‘above and beyond’.

Favre goes on to suggest that children should not play tackle football until they are old enough.  He also says he will not promote football to his grandsons, and maybe golf might be their sport!!

I think that Americans like football as an outlet for savagery.  Other violent sports (like auto racing – where spectators look for crashes) are growing more popular than less violent sports.  

I hope Prevacus can develop a treatment for concussions that works.  Retired sports players with loss of mental power and short term memory paid the price to earn their salaries.


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Blog #687 I’m on Mars Mom!!!

Internet from Space?  Really?

So, what is our old friend Elon Musk up to these days?

Recently the SpaceX company he founded launched a massive satellite project called Skylink.  They put 60 (sixty) satellites into orbit around the earth.

The linked article says “Starlink is designed to provide affordable internet access to people around the world. Last night’s launch was the first of many for the project; about 400 satellites are needed for “minor” coverage and 800 for “moderate” coverage, Musk has said.

And the constellation could end up being truly enormous. The Federal Communications Commission has given SpaceX permission to launch nearly 12,000 Starlink satellites. (For perspective: There are only about 2,000 operational spacecraft in Earth orbit today.)”

So, if I am in the Amazon rainforest, I can still order online from Amazon; if I am in the Congo, I can watch a Conga-dance-line; and if I am in Almaty Kazakhstan – I can read words from the Almighty on my iPhone, tablet or computer.

For years companies have tried to get internet access to places that don’t have it.  Google had a program where they launched balloons with internet capability for such remote places.  The $100 Laptop program had a program that at specific times and places a satellite would pass over an area giving students an opportunity to download books or upload assignments.   

Thinking on a grand scale seems to be the norm for Musk and his associates.  From autonomous Tesla vehicles to tunneling under cities with the Boring Company(like Chicago) to flooding space with thousands of satellites and even promoting solar cells and power.

Musk has also talked about transporting people to and from Mars.  Now they will have internet service.

Is this another major step forward or a strange investment from Musk (and associates)?  Time will tell.


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