UNITED24 was launched by the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky as the main venue for collecting charitable donations in support of Ukraine. The website is really well done. Funds can be donated by credit card, PayPal, bank transfer, or crypto and will be transferred to the official accounts of the National Bank of Ukraine and allocated by assigned ministries to cover the most pressing needs. A weekly report shows exactly what the donations have been spent on. The site has raised more than $169 million.
fyi, change.org has a petition to kick Russia out of the United Nations. If you agree with that, click here to sign the petition as I did. More than 35,000 had signed when I first mentioned this. The number as of Friday morning is 72,177.
NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rolled out of the cavernous Vehicle Assembly Building this week and is scheduled to make its maiden flight from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on August 29. Barring any weather or technical issues, it will become the most powerful rocket ever launched into space with 8.8 million pounds of thrust. Supporting the Artemis I mission to lunar orbit, its primary payload is the Orion space capsule. Orion is an Apollo-style capsule built for a crew of 4 although this mission is uncrewed as it is a shakeout mission for both SLS and Orion. The primary goal is to test all of Orion’s propulsion, navigation, and communications systems, and to bring it back to a splashdown landing in the Pacific Ocean after several weeks in lunar orbit.
August 20 1977, 45 years ago, Voyager 2 was launched by a Titan-Centaur rocket. A few weeks later, its twin, Voyager 1 was launched. They were to embark on the Grand Tour of the outer planets of our solar system, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, and gave us our first up close pictures and scientific measurements of these worlds. Taking advantage of an alignment of the planets in their orbits around the sun, something that happens every 175 years, both spacecraft were able to visit all of the gas giants and are still exploring today. Voyager 1 reached interstellar space in 2012 and Voyager 2 in 2018. Both spacecraft are nuclear-powered but mission managers say beyond 2025 there will not be enough power to operate any of the science instruments onboard. Traveling at 38,000 MPH away from our solar system, the probes will be out of range of NASA’s Deep Space Network in 2036. About 300 years from now the probes will reach the Oort cloud, a vast part of regional space they will travel through for about 30,000 years.
– Aaron J. Patrick
Crypto had a nice rally but is now falling and has a very long way to get back to recent highs. Bitcoin and Ethereum are leading the way. The two combined represent more than 60% of the total market cap of all cryptocurrencies. The other more than 20,000 cryptocurrencies are mostly junk. There are some exceptions. I dabble in Dogecoin and Shiba Inu but not significantly. They do have some appeal as memes. Creative people are trying to change how banking and insurance work and doing it without regulation. Fraud and failures are not surprising. When you see the promised high interest rate on crypto balances and low rates on borrowing, you know something is not copasetic. VCs continue to invest and governments arouond the world are studying crypto. It is not going to go away. We need Congress to get its act together so the innovation ahead does not move to Europe and Asia.
It was nice to see green instead of more red for awhile. CNBC summed up Friday’s close pretty well, “Stocks tumbled on Friday as Wall Street’s summer rally faltered and rate hike fears resurfaced, leading the major averages to end the week on a sour note.” Gammat stocks up to $9.2 trillion and 25% of S&P 500. Regulators and politicians are after big tech but likely big tech will outsmart them or Congress will go on vacation without any action. I remain bullish on tech.