This essay explores Earth’s climatory and atmospheric conditions during the late-Cretaceous Period (i.e., when dinosaurs still ruled the Earth), as well as the rapid changes to those conditions thought to have been brought about by the Yucatán bolide (i.e., asteroid) event. Many of the familiar, cosmetic features of Earth’s biosphere that we take for granted today were different 65 million years ago, including: the absence of the polar ice caps; different continental and oceanic layouts; higher concentrations of Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) in the atmosphere. These prehistoric conditions created an environment that was favorable for reptilian species to thrive in, thereby relegating the various mammalian species to a subordinate role. However, dramatic changes to the planet’s biosphere which contributed to the mass extinctions of over fifty percent of flora and fauna (due to the 9.5 km long bolide that impacted our planet), turned the tables on Earth’s dino-overlords, thus paving the way for the rise of mammals. Continue reading Last Days of the Dinosaurs→
“Sol,” which is the Latin word for Sun, isn’t the biggest or most impressive star around. Although we cannot perceive our stalwart patron at its apex without damaging our eyes – due to its brilliantly blinding apparent visual magnitude (mv) of -26.74 – were the Earth located just ten parsecs away the star would be barely perceivable to us in the night sky, with an absolute visual magnitude (Mv) of 4.83. Even so, Sol is the sole supplier of energy for our planet.
In recent years, a great deal of scrutiny has been placed on corporate executives who enjoy lavish salaries and benefits packages, even in times of great economic turmoil. For instance, in a 2009 article for The New York Times, Mark Hulbert references the work of two Harvard Law School professors — Lucian A. Bebchuk and Holger Spamann — as he writes: “… [C]ompensation for bank C.E.O.’s is asymmetrical … they often stand to make much more money when their banks succeed than they could lose if their banks fail.” 1,2 In light of this statement, it seems hardly surprising to note that executives from large investment banking firms such as Goldman Sachs, Merril Lynch & Co. and Citigroup Inc. reported multi-million dollar salaries during the sub-prime mortgage crisis that began in 2007, even as many Americans were losing their homes and facing other economic hardships. As an example, the former C.E.O. of Citigroup, Chuck Prince, received a $10.4 million cash bonus for 2007.3
It’s 6 am on a Monday and the alarm goes off — forcibly yanking you out of a pleasant dream involving sunshine, sandy beaches and a never ending supply of strawberry daiquiris. You scowl at the alarm clock with murderous intent through heavy eyelids, plotting the insufferable machine’s not-so-subtle death by sledgehammer. But as your conscious mind valiantly attempts to arrange your thoughts coherently without the necessary fuel (re: coffee), a hazy realization dawns that if you are not someplace called ‘work’ soon bad things will happen.
Hello yet again, and welcome to the fourth (and final) installment of Residential and Commercial Real Estate Investing 101! Over the past three articles, we’ve discussed many of the core aspects of real estate investing that you should be familiar with, and it is almost time for you to fly from the nest. But before you embark on the long and prosperous voyage that will one day lead you to ludicrous, Donald-Trump-like wealth (sans the ludicrous, Donald-Trump-like hair) — or failing that, at least financial security — I want to cover a few final things.
Introduction — English is the Most Popular Language Among Internet Users and Business Professionals
Did you know that one out of every four people speaks English at some level? If you consider that — at last count — the total human population surpassed seven billion, that means 1.75 billion people are walking around out there with at least some understanding of the English language! Particularly in the technical and professional arenas, English reigns supreme as the most popular medium for facilitating communication.1,2
Hello again, and welcome to the third installment of Residential and Commercial Real Estate Investing 101. Over the past two articles, we’ve touched upon many of the basics — e.g., the pros and cons of investing in real estate, indirect and direct investment options, the importance of evaluating the appreciation potential and projected cash flow of a property — so that by now you should have a pretty good idea of what real estate investing is all about, as well as the type of property (or properties) that you would like to purchase. However, if you are joining the class for the first time, then rest assured you have nothing to worry about! The articles in this tutorial may be read in any order (or even independently of one another), and I have provided links below for the first and second installments:
Welcome back! In the first part of this tutorial, Residential and Commercial Real Estate Investing 101 (Part 1), I talked about the attractive aspects of owning investment property, citing the historical rate of appreciation enjoyed by real estate market investors — about 9% per year — as well as the added option to earn an additional income through rent. I also laid out some of the cons of investing in real estate, including the enormous responsibility that comes with owning properties directly, especially for those investors who seek to become landlords. Finally, I suggested some simple and profitable alternatives to directly purchasing multiple investment properties — such as owning a home and/or purchasing shares in REITs or REIT mutual funds — for those folks who would rather take advantage of real estate market returns, without assuming as much of the hassle that goes hand-in-hand with direct ownership. (Don’t worry if you missed Part 1 of this tutorial, as it may be accessed via the handy link at the beginning of this paragraph!)
Real estate investment can seem intimidating to the uninitiated. The first and only foray into owning property that most Americans will ever make is in purchasing a home — and that’s challenging enough without adding complications to the mix! After all, who in their right mind would sign-up for more in the way of mortgage payments, insurance fees, and maintenance costs?
As an answer, you need only look at the historic rate of appreciation seen on real estate market investments (about 9% per year over the past thirty-five years).1 This makes sense because jobs are created as the economy grows. Consider that the U.S. population sat at right around five million souls two hundred years ago. A century ago, there were (approximately) seventy-five million people living in our country. Today, that number has more than quadrupled, and over three hundred million people now call the US of A home — and you may safely assume that most of those folks are going to need two things at some point: a place to work and a place to live!2,3 Incidentally, both of those things require real estate.