—Written by Rachel Stober
Money can’t buy happiness, but it might get you
the world’s first synthetic hamburger, across California in just one episode of The Daily Show, or time—literally.
On Monday PayPal co-founder, Tesla Motors founder and billionaire Elon Musk surprised the world with his latest futuristic idea, the Hyperloop: a bullet transportation passenger pod that would use compressed air to move through a tunnel from Los Angeles to San Francisco at 800 miles per hour in only 30 minutes. (Read all about it on Musk's blog post.)
What drives these billionaires to come up with these unconventional ideas? According to News Australia,
perhaps they're just bored and exhausted all of the conventional things
us mere mortals do. Or perhaps, they just really love that $100 million dollar house they bought in Los Altos Hills?
Last week, Google co-founder and billionaire Sergey Brin announced that he spent well over a quarter million dollars to help create the world’s first lab-grown hamburger. Still in its initial stages, the project aims to create beef that is biologically identical to cow meat, but grown from stem cells.
It took scientist Mark Post and his team at Maastricht University two years to produce Brin's burger, according to the New York Times, and it cost around $325,000. Although its flavors did not wow judges, Brin and the burger’s creators said their main objective was simply to prove it was possible and establish a starting point for what they hoped was the future of sustainable and humane meat production.
And just like Brin and his Google Glass, the Hyperloop isn't Musk's only futuristic idea. He's also founded SpaceX, a manufacturer of rocket ships, earning himself billions of dollars and a persona that is said to be the inspiration for the Iron Man movies. A more down to earth project includes the $50,000 contribution he made earlier this year to widen the 405 Freeway.
The pivotal rule of America’s Cup is that the winner gets to set the rules for the next race, deciding the course and the boats’ standards. Oracle founder Larry Ellison, whose boat won in 2010, has brought the massive funds and innovative thinking affiliated with his company to the task.
Stanford graduate and San Franciscan Tom Steyer used his bank account to fund a national campaign against the Keystone XL Pipeline and according to Politico support Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe in the Virginia governor’s race against a Republican candidate.
Steyer also joined billionaires like Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffett and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg in signing The Giving Pledge, agreeing to donate more than half his wealth to charity over his lifetime.
The third generation of the Washington Post’s owners shocked the news industry when they announced that they would be selling its publishing business to Amazon’s founder Jeffery P. Bezos. Bezos bought the Post in a $250 million deal.
Among Bezo’s other puzzling investments are the $42 million
he devoted to a giant clock to be installed into a mountain on his Texas
property to keep time for the next millennium. The "10,000 Year Clock"
will tick once every year, cuckooing after 10,000 and standing as an “icon for