All that Jazz: SPAC, Wozniak, and a team of Apple Computer innovators

One of the most interesting trends on Wall Street these days is the creation of the SPAC, or Special Purpose Acquisition Company, in order to bring IPO riches to investors as quickly as possible while, at the same time, avoiding too much regulatory scrutiny. A SPAC is basically a "blank check" corporation that goes public without any assets at all in the hopes of acquiring or merging with some other company within a time period of 12-18 months. (If the SPAC isn't able to find a suitable partner in that time frame, or if shareholders reject a potential acquisition target, all sorts of bad things happen, and the SPAC basically dissolves into nothingness.) With the SPAC structure, Wall Street investors are basically throwing money blindly at a shell company, hoping that a superstar management team can ink a deal quickly with a great company. If it's done right, the investors could be sitting on a massive investment gain. Recently, for example, both American Apparel (the company with the super-sexy clothing advertisements) and Jamba Juice have gone public through SPAC deals.

Now, it looks like a team of Apple Computer veterans, led by Steve Wozniak, Ellen Hancock, and Gil Amelio, are doing the same type of thing with Acquicor Technology (ticker: AQR), a SPAC that went public in March 2006. Mind you, the company went public without a single asset - just briefcases full of Benjamins and the celebrity drawing power of a Steve Wozniak. After raising hundreds of millions of dollars from investors on blind faith, Wozniak, Amelio and Hancock have been knocking on doors, asking companies if they'd like to be acquired by the SPAC. It's been nearly 12 months, and it looks like Acquicor has finally found a victim target: Jazz Semiconductor, a semiconductor company based in Newport Beach, California. Shareholders are set to vote on the acquisition Thursday. If the SPAC gets the two thumbs up for the deal, then Acquicor will morph into Jazz Semiconductor, and the blind-faith investors will have their fortunes changed overnight. Instead of holding a piece of paper giving them partial ownership of a shell holding company, the investors could be part-owners of a hot new semiconductor company run by Steve Wozniak and Gil Amelio!

[image: Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, 1975]

Antimicrobial resistance is a growing threat to good health and well-being

Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.

Image courtesy of Pfizer.
  • Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
  • As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
  • If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
  • Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
  • By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
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How to bring more confidence to your conversations

Entrepreneur and author Andrew Horn shares his rules for becoming an assured conversationalist.
  • To avoid basing action on external validation, you need to find your "authentic voice" and use it.
  • Finding your voice requires asking the right questions of yourself.
  • There are 3-5 questions that you would generally want to ask people you are talking to.
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Bespoke suicide pods now available for death in style

Sarco assisted suicide pods come in three different styles, and allow you to die quickly and painlessly. They're even quite beautiful to look at.

The Sarco assisted suicide pod
Technology & Innovation

Death: it happens to everyone (except, apparently, Keanu Reeves). But while the impoverished and lower-class people of the world die in the same ol' ways—cancer, heart disease, and so forth—the upper classes can choose hip and cool new ways to die. Now, there's an assisted-suicide pod so chic and so stylin' that peeps (young people still say peeps, right?) are calling it the "Tesla" of death... it's called... the Sarco! 

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Scientists find a horrible new way cocaine can damage your brain

Swiss researchers identify new dangers of modern cocaine.

Getty Images
Mind & Brain
  • Cocaine cut with anti-worming adulterant levamisole may cause brain damage.
  • Levamisole can thin out the prefrontal cortex and affect cognitive skills.
  • Government health programs should encourage testing of cocaine for purity.
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