When Ray Harroun came out of retirement in 1911 to race in the first Indianapolis 500, he made one request: He wanted to ditch the ride-along mechanic that the rules required in order to save weight and give his yellow Marmon Wasp a racing edge.
The Indy organizers balked: The mechanic provided a big measure of safety, they said, acting as a spotter who could watch for cars behind or on either side of the racer.
Harroun bolted a mirror to a bracket on his dashboard, was permitted to race without a mechanic, and won the inaugural Indy race - leading 88 of the 200 laps, the most of anyone.
And the rear-view mirror that Harroun used to gain an advantage in a car race? It's now standard safety equipment on motor vehicles of all types - meaning it occupies the ranks of devices or substances that were designed to solve one problem, but were later found to solve others just as well.
Today I'm going to share a similar story, and show you how a fluid developed to keep aircraft parts clean or suppress fires is being used to solve one of the biggest computer problems we face today.
And I'm even going to show you how to make money from it.
Dumping Apple Stock for Google: How Investors Could Get Burned
The trend has some wondering if investors are consciously moving their money from one tech giant to the other.
"There's a lot of money that likes the tech sector, and I think Google has kind of taken over from Apple," Eric Kuby, chief investment officer at North Star Investment Management, told Reuters.
Looking at the charts, it's clear that Google stock is now enjoying the kind of momentum that Apple had for years, while sentiment toward AAPL almost couldn't get any more bearish.
Since Apple stock hit its all-time high of $705.07 in September, it has plunged 40% and lost more than $260 billion in market capitalization. AAPL is down more than 20% year to date.
Google hit several new highs recently, and poked briefly above $840 in early trading Wednesday. Google stock is up 48% from its mid-June low last year, and up 17.5% so far this year.
And at least two analysts recently put a $1,000 price target on GOOG, reminiscent of last year when analysts were rushing to put a $1,000 price target on Apple.
"The bulls are in Google's camp, and the bears are in Apple's camp at the moment," Neil Mawston, the executive director of Strategy Analytics, told CNBC.com, which speculated that Google could be replacing Apple as the dominant tech giant, as Apple supplanted Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) in the past decade.
But any Apple investors who haven't already dumped shares in favor of jumping on the Google stock bandwagon might want to think twice before doing so now.
How to Double Your Money in the "New Space Race"
The New Space Race is still in its very early stages but a particular small-cap maker of rocket engines is already generating an amazing amount of thrust.
Here's the thing. While the stocks of the major U.S. aerospace ventures have generated miniscule returns over the past year, shares of this California firm have soared by nearly 105%.
And that's just a start.
Indeed, the shares of this company experienced a 6% surge in a single day last week when billionaire investor Mario Gabelli told viewers of the popular CNBC Squawk Box program that this company's shares could double from here.
Apple iWatch, Google Glass First Shots in New Clash of Tech Giants
Coming less than a year after Google unveiled its Google Glass Web-connected eyeglasses, reports that an Apple "iWatch" is in the works emphatically confirm that the battle is now joined for dominance over the next wave of tech - wearable computing.
According to the reports, Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) has 100 people working on an iWatch users would wear on their wrists, but that would have many of the same capabilities as an iPhone.
But wearable computers could enable new uses, particularly in the area of healthcare, while perhaps providing the spark to encourage some promising technologies that have yet to catch on, like contactless payments.
Four of the biggest names in tech - Apple, Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG), Sony Corp. (NYSE ADR: SNE) and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) - either are selling, have announced, or are known to be working on wearable computing ideas.
Four Ways to Play the "Cure" for the Flu
We've all seen the headlines.
The flu has made its annual visit to the U.S., reacquainting itself with your kids, spouse, parents, friends and co-workers.
But this strain has been especially nasty, resulting in shortages of the very vaccines that might have moderated its effects.
One of my colleagues here - an editor with a young son - finally got his just last week - only because he stubbornly went to the same Rite-Aid every single morning for an entire week.
I'm sure you have similar stories you could share.
When you think about it, this year's flu season illustrates one of the great ironies of our time.
Although advances in medical technology have enabled us to create the vaccines that so far have kept the yearly viral visit in check, the reality is that those advances have been leapfrogged by global travel, an advancement that makes a pandemic more likely than ever before.
Fortunately, there is an answer - an innovation worthy of the Era of Radical Change, and one that savvy investors can play for windfall profits. I'm going to show you four ways to grab those profits for yourself.
But first we need to really understand the challenge at hand.
Let me show you what I mean.
The Tech Play That's Better Than the "Next Google"
I probably spend more time than anyone searching for hot young startups that will make money for my readers - even as the companies themselves change the world around us.
I'm talking about firms like Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG), which in nine years has grown from a newly public company into a Web search, digital advertising, and online video juggernaut with a market value of $230 billion (and a stock price of $705 a share).
But I'm going to let you in on a secret that I've learned from my three decades in Silicon Valley.
You don't always have to find the "next Google" to make big money.
In the near term you can reap windfall profits by searching for the beaten-down tech stocks that the institutional players seem only too happy to ignore.
Those laggards are often hidden gems ... can come roaring back ... and turn the market on its ear when they do.
Get in the Ground Floor of This $1 Trillion Industry
How many times have you studied the stock charts of Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG), Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) or Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) - and wished you could travel back in time to become an early stage investor in just those sorts of king-making companies?
We can't, of course, but I can offer the next best thing: I can tell you about the brand-new industry where the next stock like this will likely come from.
I'm talking about 3D printing.
Folks who've been following my work know that I've been predicting this sector's emergence for some time. Back in March, I told readers of our sister newsletter Money Morning that 3D printing was a $1 trillion industry in the making. In October, in a note to all of you, I followed up with a roundup report on the newest breakthroughs.
In every piece I've written, my key message was always the same: 3D printing will give tech investors the next real shot at windfall profits.
It's already playing out just as I predicted. But even I was surprised at how much money investors made off this segment last year.
The Top Four Tech Stories That Keep Me Up Late At Night
I'm not one for partying. But I am very much into tradition.
And I have one tradition that makes New Year's Eve one of my most favorite days of the year.
You see, every New Year's Eve - before we head out to dinner - my wife and I sit by the fire as I review the paradigm-shifting events and exciting discoveries of the prior 12 months.
We've come to refer to this exercise as my "annual report."
And now I'm going to share that "report" with you.
On a personal note, one of the most exciting events of 2012 was the launch of the Era of Radical Change.
Last year turned out to be perfect for the introduction of a newsletter that sifts through world-changing innovations in search of the ones that can bring you life-changing gains.
Like the financial markets, the world of technology is moving faster than ever. In the world of science, what was formerly fiction has become fact.
In looking back over the stories that I've penned since April, here are the four top tech stories that keep me up at night.
Their impact could be huge - and so could their payoff.
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