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The “Homeless Billionaire” And His Plan To Save California

German billionaire Nicolas Berggruen has a plan to make America’s “Golden State” sparkle again: cut income and sales taxes, but broaden the revenue base by taxing services at 5%. Now he just has to convince California's voters and political leade

The man with the plan: billionaire Nicolas Berggruen (YouTube)
The man with the plan: billionaire Nicolas Berggruen (YouTube)

Nicolas Berggruen is a German billionaire who owns, among other thing, the successful Karstadt distribution company. He's also a visionary. Berggruen's ultimate goal? To write – together with experts from the world over – the perfect constitution.

But that doesn't stop him from working in the meantime on more practical jobs – like saving California from its crippling deficit. In 2010 Berggruen, nicknamed the "homeless billionaire" (because he lives in hotels and does not own a home) – assembled a committee of experts tasked with renewing and profoundly reforming the U.S. state's economic policies.

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Ideas

Artificial Satellite Pollution, Perils For Biodiversity In Space And On Earth

Exploiting space resources and littering it with satellite and other anthropogenic objects is endangering the ecosystem of space, which also damages the earth and its creatures below.

Image of the small satellite NanoRacks-Remove Debris satellite deployed into space by the ISS

Thomas Lewton

Outer space isn’t what most people would think of as an ecosystem. Its barren and frigid void isn’t exactly akin to the verdant canopies of a rainforest or to the iridescent shoals that swim among coral cities. But if we are to become better stewards of the increasingly frenzied band of orbital space above our atmosphere, a shift to thinking of it as an ecosystem — as part of an interconnected system of living things interacting with their physical environment — may be just what we need.

Last month, in the journal Nature Astronomy, a collective of 11 astrophysicists and space scientists proposed we do just that, citing the proliferation of anthropogenic space objects. Thousands of satellites currently orbit the Earth, with commercial internet providers such as SpaceX’s Starlink launching new ones at a dizzying pace. Based on proposals for projects in the future, the authors note, the number could reach more than a hundred thousand within the decade. Artificial satellites, long a vital part of the space ecosystem, have arguably become an invasive species.

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