The 400 richest people in America are now worth $1.7 trillion, according to the latest list from Forbes. Some of these people may buy residences in a new building that the New York Times is calling a “billionaire haven”.
The buyers of the nine full-floor apartments near the top [of One57] that have sold so far — among them two duplexes under contract for more than $90 million each — are all billionaires, Gary Barnett, the president of the Extell Development Company, the building’s developer, said this week. The other seven apartments ranged in price from $45 million to $50 million.
since late last year, the “trophy” end of New York’s real estate market has been recording eye-popping sales that seem to have little basis in reality.
(Thank you, Ben Bernanke.)
Actually, it seems like pricey real estate is popping up all over the place. In fact, compared to some other places, One57 looks more like a hillside shantytown. For there are three other locations in the running for the title of the Most Valuable Land on Earth.
1. The “secret” Russian diamond field
One never knows with Vladimir Putin, but Russia now claims to have a vast, asteroid-created diamond field of a “trillion” carats. They’ve known about it since the seventies but kept silent until now. Supposedly the “Popigai crypto-explosion structure” has enough diamonds in it to supply the world for 3,000 years. The Christian Science Monitor reports
the type of stones at Popigai are known as “impact diamonds,” which theoretically result when something like a meteor plows into a graphite deposit at high velocity.
(How I’d love to see a gif of that.)
What are the gemstones worth? Is DeBeers quaking in its boots? Not exactly. The diamonds are not thought to be fit for jewelry; they’re more likely to be put to industrial uses. However Russian scientists say that these impact diamonds are of higher than usual quality, because they’re especially abrasive and have larger grains. Also, they might be from outer space
The Russians say most such diamonds found in the past have been “space diamonds” of extraterrestrial origin found in meteor craters.
2. Senkaku / Diaoyou / Senkaku / Diaoyou / Senkaku / Diaoyou ∞
Don’t look now but China and Japan look perilously close to getting into a fistfight over these disputed islands. Joking aside, all is not well in the East China Sea. Diaoyou to China, Senkaku to Japan, these uninhabited rocks have been the cause of a decades long dispute between the two nations. After several tit-for-tat encroachments by both sides, the Japanese government recently took the bold move of buying some of the islands from the Japanese family that ostensibly had title to them.
The Chinese were not amused. Business Insider reports that protests against Japanese targets have spread to 85 Chinese cities, and their strength and vitriol is actually now starting to alarm the Chinese government, itself. China need not shout itself hoarse, it has plenty of business and economic screws in Japan to tighten. Yet neither country has shied away from agressive actions and reactions in the past.
Why do they even care? Partly because of the history of Japanese atrocities in 20th century. Also partly because countries just like to prove that they are right. However, much of the dispute is also probably due to the suspected reserves of natural gas and fossil fuels that are thought to be nearby. If China and Japan end up warring over the islands, there will be untold consequences for the world economy and some of its powers (like Japan’s ally, the United States.)
3. The Arctic
It’s melting. Scientists think that it has reached a new, record-breaking lowpoint for the summer. This is now the 6th summer in a row that records for the amount of ice cover have been broken. The arctic, as we know it, seems to be going away for good, traded in for shorter sea routes and unexplored mineral riches. Settle in for a long ride as the nations near the Arctic Circle, i.e. US, Russia, Canada, Denmark and their corporate champions jockey to lay claim. This might end up being like the colonization of the Americas and the scramble for Africa all tied up in one.