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Tesla CEO Elon Musk might soon be the first person ever worth $300 billion

Tesla CEO Elon Musk's current net worth is $287 billion - that's $91 billion more than Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos. Elon Musk. Britta Pedersen-Pool/Getty Images Tesla CEO Elon Musk could soon become the first person ever to hit a net worth of $300 billion. Musk's current net worth is $287 billion - that's $91 billion more than Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos. Musk's wealth was bolstered by a rally in Tesla shares on Monday. Elon Musk's net worth may soon top $300 billion - which would make him the first person ever to hit the milestone.According to the Bloomberg Billionaire's Index, the Tesla CEO's total net worth stands around $287 billion currently - that's $91 billion more than Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who is worth $196 billion.Musk's wealth was bolstered by $36 billion after a 13% rally in Tesla shares on Monday thanks to the news that Hertz had placed an order for 100,000 Teslas. That was the most significant gain Bloomberg's Billionaire Index has ever recorded in a single day.Musk's net worth is now more than Toyota's $284 billion market cap.He also receives stock options from a pay package that pays out when Tesla reaches certain financial milestones. Monday's surge in share prices increased Musk's wealth by $8 billion, as he had unlocked a new batch of stock, according to Bloomberg.Tesla shares are on a tear this year, gaining about 40% to date, propping up Musk's fortunes.Musk also added $11 billion to his net worth when he sold a stake in his aerospace company SpaceX earlier this month, Bloomberg reported.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

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A single $6 billion donation from Musk, Bezos, and other billionaires could save 42 million people from starvation, World Food Programme director says

The executive director for the UN World Food Programme, David Beasley, said 42 million people across the globe are "knocking on famine's door." MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images; Joe Skipper/Reuters 42 million people are "knocking on famine's door," the director of the World Food Programme said. David Beasley is calling on billionaires like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos to donate $6 billion to help. "Billionaires need to step up," Beasley said in an interview with CNN. The director of the UN World Food Programme called on billionaires Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos to donate 0.36% of their net worth to help save 42 million people around the globe who are facing starvation. "The governments are tapped out. This is why and this is when the billionaires need to step up now on a one-time basis. $6 billion to help 42 million people that are literally going to die if we don't reach them," Executive Director for the UN World Food Programme David Beasley said in an interview with CNN on Tuesday. He added: "It's not complicated. I'm not asking them to do this every day, every week, every year."A UN report released in May found that at least 155 million people faced crisis levels of food insecurity in 2020. Beasley said there are currently 42 million people at the direst level of food insecurity that are "knocking on famine's door." "Just help me with them, one time. That's a $6 billion price tag," he said. Beasley said the hunger crisis was a result of "a perfect storm of conflict, climate change, and COVID-19."He said Bezos, the founder of Amazon, had a net worth increase of $64 billion in the past year and he was just asking for 10% of that. He added that last week, Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, had a $6 billion net worth increase in just one day. As of Wednesday, Musk had a net worth of $253.8 billion and Bezos was worth $196.1 billion."The top 400 billionaires in the United States the net worth increase was $1.8 trillion dollars in the past year. All I'm asking for is .36% of your net worth increase," he said. "I'm for people making money but God knows I'm all for you helping people who are in great need right now. The world is in trouble."Beasley offered to take any billionaire on just one trip so he could show them the reality. "We got a vaccine for this, it's called money, food. It's easy." Beasley said. "Billionaires need to step up."Insider has reached out to Amazon and Tesla for comment. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

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Senate Democrats unveil plan to hit 700 billionaires like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos with major tax hikes

Tesla CEO Elon Musk would owe up to $50 billion in taxes under the Democratic plan. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos faces $44 billion in taxes. Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon speaks to reporters at the US Capitol. Drew Angerer/Getty Images Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon unveiled a plan to hit 700 American billionaires with new taxes. Billionaires like Musk and Zuckerberg would pay tens of billions in taxes if it's implemented. Democrats argue the plan marks a big step in reversing years of growing inequality at the top. Senate Democrats are chasing the growing pile of wealth held by some of the wealthiest Americans.They rolled out a proposal on Wednesday to tax roughly 700 of the nation's billionaires to finance what will be a slimmed-down spending package containing President Joe Biden's economic agenda.The plan was authored by Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, chair of the Senate Finance Committee. It would apply to taxpayers earning above $100 million in annual income or those holding at least $1 billion in assets for three years. "The Billionaires Income Tax would ensure billionaires pay tax every year, just like working Americans," Wyden said in a statement. "We have a historic opportunity with the Billionaires Income Tax to restore fairness to our tax code and fund critical investments in American families." These superwealthy Americans would fall subject to the usual 23.8% capital gains tax on the increased value of unsold assets like stocks and bonds. Figures like Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos could choose to pay their first tax bill in equal installments over a five-year period, according to Wyden's proposal. It's meant to give affected taxpayers more time to come up with the enormous sums of cash.If successfully implemented, the plan would usher in a significant overhaul of a tax code that's chiefly been focused on income up to now. Billionaires often pay much lower taxes compared to everyone else because they accumulate wealth from the climbing value of their stock and company holdings. Those aren't subject to capital-gains taxes until they are sold, known then as a realized gain. Once sold it's taxed at a lower, preferential rate compared to workers' income.What Democrats want to do is compel billionaires to pay taxes on the growing value of their assets annually, treating it as income. But the richest Americans could also take deductions if they suffer heavy losses.Gabriel Zucman, a left-leaning economist at the University of California Berkeley, projects that Musk would owe up to $50 billion in taxes during the first five-year stretch of the plan. Bezos would pay up to $44 billion in the same period, per Zucman's projection.-Gabriel Zucman (@gabriel_zucman) October 26, 2021 Democrats argue that the plan would help reverse years of growing inequality that's seen the wealthiest Americans benefit at the expense of everyone else. It also illustrates the growing appetite among Democrats to aggressively tax those at the very top, an issue brought to the fore during the 2020 presidential campaign.White House economists estimated that the wealthiest 400 American families paid an average federal income tax rate of 8.2% between 2010 and 2018.The plan sparking opposition from billionaires like Musk, whose fortune grew by $119 billion since the start of the year. "Eventually, they run out of other people's money and then they come for you," he tweeted on Monday evening.Wyden's billionaire tax plan is serving as a back-up after Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona torpedoed Democratic efforts to raise the corporate tax rate and undo the 2017 Republican tax cuts. Democrats want to approve a social spending package to expand access to healthcare and address the climate emergency relying on their narrow majorities. But internal divides are bogging down negotiations and Democrats are scrambling to strike a deal with centrist holdouts on the plan's overall price tag. There's consensus to fully pay for it with tax hikes on the rich.The Wyden proposal could generate up to $500 billion in fresh revenue, though estimates vary. While Democrats are broadly supportive of taxing the wealthy, some were cautious about fully backing the Wyden proposal."I'm anxious to look at it," Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia told Insider, adding "the devil's in the details."Some experts warn that it would be difficult for the Internal Revenue Service to set up a new layer of the tax code for billionaires, who can afford to undertake lengthy legal battles and find escape hatches to dodge taxes. Wyden and other Democrats insist the federal government is up to the task to ensure the richest Americans pay up. "We're talking around 700 people," Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts told Insider on Tuesday. "It's not like trying to work through the dealings of millions of Americans. It's fewer people than in my high school graduating class."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

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Elon Musk "didn"t even tell his team" he was moving Tesla"s HQ from the Bay Area to Texas, a top California official reportedly said

Tesla's California leadership didn't know about the HQ moving to Texas until Elon Musk announced it to shareholders, Dee Dee Myers reportedly said. Elon Musk himself moved to Texas last year. Patrick Pleul/Pool via Reuters Elon Musk "didn't even tell his team" he was moving Tesla's HQ to Texas, a top California official said, per Bloomberg. Tesla's California leadership didn't know until Musk announced it to shareholders, Dee Dee Myers reportedly said. Tesla still plans to ramp up production in California despite moving its headquarters. Tesla's California leadership team didn't find out the electric-vehicle giant was moving its headquarters to Texas until Elon Musk announced the move during an annual shareholder meeting, a California official said, according to a report by Bloomberg.Musk said at the October 7 meeting that Tesla would move its headquarters from Palo Alto to Austin, Texas, citing house prices in the Bay Area, lengthy commutes for staff, and limits to scaling up business."Elon didn't even tell his team," Dee Dee Myers, the director of California Gov. Gavin Newsom's office of business and economic development, said during a press call, per Bloomberg."We later talked to the leadership in his offices in California, who did not know until he made that announcement," she reportedly said.Myers made the comment when asked whether Musk had told state officials about the plan in advance.Grace Gedye, a reporter for Cal Matters, also tweeted about Myers' comments in the press call.-Grace Gedye (@GraceGedye) October 26, 2021Musk has been one of the driving forces behind the tech migration from Silicon Valley to the Lone Star State.Musk moved to Texas last year and Tesla began building its Austin Gigafactory last summer. Musk's aerospace company SpaceX, his neurotechnology company Neuralink, and his infrastructure company The Boring Company all have operations in Texas, too, and Musk has said he plans to form a new city called Starbase at SpaceX's Texas launch facilities.Musk said at the shareholder meeting that the company would continue to expand its activities in California, adding that Tesla aimed to ramp up production at its Fremont factory in the Bay Area by 50%."So this is not a matter of Tesla leaving California," Musk said.Myers said at the press call that "I don't think anybody knows exactly what it means that he's moving his headquarters," per Bloomberg."From the perspective of California, they're not going anywhere," she said, per Bloomberg.Musk has repeatedly clashed with California officials, including after coronavirus restrictions forced Tesla to temporarily close its Fremont factory. Musk threatened to move its headquarters to Nevada or Texas as a result.Some have seen the tech exodus to Texas as a sign that Silicon Valley's days of dominating the industry are over.But in an opinion piece for Mercury News, Myers said that: "Tesla hasn't succeeded in spite of California. It has succeeded because of California." She credited this to California's zero-emission vehicle policies and "well over" $1 billion in direct and indirect subsidies she said the state had given Tesla.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: NYT16 hr. 43 min. ago Related News

"Tell Matt Gaetz to watch his back": Authorities arrest a California man they say left Florida congressman death threats

Eugene Huelsman faces a potential fine and up to five years in prison if found guilty of threatening US Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., departs after attending a House Judiciary Committee closed door session with former White House counsel Don McGahn on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, June 4, 2021. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky Authorities say Eugene Huelsman threatened Rep. Matt Gaetz in a voicemail on January 9. A federal jury in Pensacola, Florida, indicted Huelsman for his threat against Gaetz on May 18. An initial hearing for the case will be held Friday at a US District Court in Florida. Eugene Huelsman, 58, was arrested last week in connection with a threat that was made against Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz.The indictment against Huelsman charges him with one count of threatening Gaetz over the phone on Jan. 9, three days after rioters stormed the US Capitol. The charge carries a potential fine and up to five years in prison. "Tell [M.G.] to watch his back, tell him to watch his children... I'm coming for him, he's gonna f-ck-ng die... I'm gonna f-ck-ng kill him... Watch your back, I'm coming for you. I'm gonna put a bullet in you and I'm gonna put a bullet in one of your f-ck-ng kids too," Huelsman said in a voicemail, according to court documents.Huelsman was indicted on May 18 by a federal grand jury in Pensacola, Florida. However, his whereabouts at the time were unknown and the indictment was sealed. He was arrested last week, days after Gaetz criticized the Justice Department on the House floor for its handling of threats against him, claiming it is "biased against Republicans," Politico reported."I think someone may be trying to kill me and if they are successful I would like my constituents and my family to know who stopped their arrest," Gaetz said last Wednesday, according to the outlet. On Friday, Huelsman was released on $20,000 bail, a US Attorney's Office spokesperson told Politico. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: NYT17 hr. 55 min. ago Related News

Shiba inu surges 38% to record high as a petition count for Robinhood to list the dogecoin-inspired token tops 330,000

A Change.org petition requests people to sign up to "encourage Robinhood to be the first traditional brokerage" to list the shiba inu coin. Yuki Cheung/EyeEm/Getty Shiba inu hit an all-time high Wednesday after a petition urging Robinhood to list the coin topped 330,000. Robinhood is waiting for regulatory clarity to add more coins, CEO Vlad Tenev said Tuesday. The meme token's value fell on Monday after Elon Musk revealed he doesn't hold shiba inu. Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell. Shiba inu hit a fresh record Wednesday on growing calls for trading app Robinhood to add the coin to its roster of cryptocurrencies.The token surged 38% to $0.00005763 as of 3:30 a.m. ET, according to data from CoinGecko, taking its gains over the past month to nearly 710%. With a market value of $28 billion, it is now the 11th biggest crypto asset.An online petition, created by Change.org user called Tristan Luke in May, requests people to sign up to "encourage Robinhood to be the first traditional brokerage" to list the shiba inu coin.The petition's goal is to reach 500,000 people. At the time of writing, at least 332,698 had signed up.Shiba inu is already available to trade on other platforms including Coinbase, Binance, eToro, Crypto.com, Atomic Wallet, and KuCoin. Meanwhile, users have only seven cryptocurrency options on Robinhood, including bitcoin, dogecoin, and ether."We feel very, very good about the coins that we're currently listing on our platform," Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev said in a Q3 earnings call on Tuesday. "And for any new coins that we add, we want to feel equally, if not more, good. So we're going to be very careful. We're a regulated entity, and we're hopeful to get some clarity soon on coins."Shiba inu, which is a dogecoin spin-off, rose more than 20% on Tuesday after an anonymous crypto whale bought 276.6 billion tokens for about $11.5 million. As the third most Googled cryptocurrency in 2021, it's become impossible to ignore.An Elon Musk tweet about his Shiba Inu puppy Floki supercharged the meme token's run higher this month. But the coin's value slid briefly after Musk revealed he doesn't in fact have any personal investment in it.Read More: SIGN UP FOR OUR EVENT ON NOVEMBER 17: The future of crypto and its path to mass adoptionRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: NYT17 hr. 55 min. ago Related News

US futures get a boost from Big Tech earnings, but an inflation-driven rise in bond yields keeps investors wary

Strong tech earnings offset the effect of a surge in bond yields to March 2020 highs, as investors rapidly priced in rate rises to beat inflation. Hot air balloons featuring various figures glide over Goreme district. Anadolu/Getty Images US futures edged up, buoyed by optimism over tech earnings, despite a rise in government bond yields. Concern about inflation has pushed two-year Treasury yields to their highest since the start of the pandemic. In crypto, dogecoin spin-off token Shiba Inu surged another 30% to record highs. US stock futures edge higher on Wednesday, after bumper earnings from Big Tech helped offset a sharp rise in government bond yields that reflected investors' expectation of prompt rate rises to stem inflation.Futures on the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones rose 0.1%, while those on the Nasdaq 100 gained 0.2% in European trading. The benchmark indices hit all-time highs the day before following robust earnings from the likes of Microsoft and Twitter. Yields on two-year US Treasuries - the most sensitive to investor expectations for interest rates - rose to their highest since the onset of the pandemic in March last year, closing the gap with those on 10-year notes in what is referred to as a flattening of the curve. Two-year notes were last at 0.507%, up 6 basis points on the day, set for their biggest monthly gain since November 2016, while 10-year notes were yielding 1.622%, bringing the spread between the two to its narrowest in two months. "It should be obvious by now that the market's centre of attention is on the (perceived) need for central banks to get ahead of the rise in inflation," ING head of Americas regional research Padraig Garvey said."What is clear is that front-end rates are now the most important part of any yields curve. They are the proverbial tail wagging the dog: when hike conviction increases, the long-end tends to flatten, and vice versa," he said.Inflation has roared higher around the world, with the price of everything from basic foodstuff and utility bills to key raw materials soaring to multi-year or even record highs, as global activity has snapped back after the worst of the pandemic. In Europe, traders were waiting for the UK government's autumn budget, due later on Wednesday, and the outcome of a European Central Bank policy meeting on Thursday. UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak is widely expected to unveil a raft of new spending measures. "Increases to public sector pay, a huge cash injection for the NHS, investment in regional transport, skills, housing, and education, along with a freeze to fuel duty, however the devil will be in the detail, in terms of how much it is all likely to cost," CMC Markets chief markets strategist Michael Hewson said.The FTSE 100 was barely changed, down 0.1% on the day, while the pound was down around 0.1% against both the dollar and the euro. Elsewhere across the markets, the pan-European Stoxx 600 eased by 0.2%, having touched three-month highs the previous day, while in Asia, the Shanghai Composite fell 1.0% and the Hang Seng dropped 1.7%, dragged down by persistent concerns about the beleaguered property sector.In the cryptocurrency sector, dogecoin spin-off Shiba Inu rocketed up by more than 30% to new record highs above $0.00005940, after hundreds of thousands of Robinhood users petitioned the trading app to add the token to its offering. Bitcoin, meanwhile, was last down 3.2% at around $60,400, down around 10.5% from a record near $67,000 a week ago.Read more: Two of the world's largest asset managers are divided on the prospect of 1970s-style stagflation - here's why BlackRock and Deutsche Bank disagree and how retail investors can navigate the potential combination of high inflation and weak growthRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

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Blackstone CEO predicts the energy crisis will worsen inflation and prompt social unrest

Shortage means "it's just going to cost more and it's probably going to cost a lot more," said billionaire Stephen Schwarzman, CEO of Blackstone. The energy shortage is severe enough that it could cause a lot of unhappiness and social unrest, said Blackstone CEO, Stephen Schwarzman. Benchmark US oil futures are around $85 a barrel after surging about 75% year-to-date. Oil could rise to $100 a barrel, said BlackRock chairman Larry Fink. The global energy crisis is severe enough that it could fuel social unrest, said the CEO of asset management company Blackstone on Monday. Stephen Schwarzman was speaking at the Future Investment Initiative conference in Saudi Arabia. Schwarzman, who is also co-founder of the investment firm, said: "We're going to end up with a real shortage of energy. And when you have a shortage, it's just going to cost more and it's probably going to cost a lot more," as reported by Bloomberg and CNN.When that happens, "you're going to get very unhappy people around the world," particularly in the emerging markets, he continued. Oil prices have surged this year on the back of a demand recovery and energy supply crunch.Benchmark US crude oil futures are up 75% year-to-date, around $85 a barrel - and they could gain more, pushing up energy prices and everything else downstream.Larry Fink, the CEO of BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, also spoke at the conference. He told the audience there was a reasonable chance oil prices would reach $100 a barrel, Bloomberg reported."Inflation, we are in a new regime," he said. "There are many structural reasons for that. Short-term policy related to environmentalism, in terms of restricting the supply of hydrocarbons, has created energy inflation, and we are going to be living with that for some time.""We're not focusing on long-term solutions. We're not trying to change the world on a granular basis," Fink continued. "We have these visions we could go from a brown world, and we could wake up tomorrow there'd be a green world, and that is not going to happen." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: NYT19 hr. 43 min. ago Related News

A single $6 billion donation from Musk, Bezos, and other billionaires could save a record 42 million people from starvation, World Food Programme director says

Executive Director for the UN World Food Programme David Beasly said 42 million people across the globe are "knocking on famine's door." MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images; Joe Skipper/Reuters 42 million people are "knocking on famine's door," the director of the World Food Programme said. David Beasly is calling on billionaires like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos to donate $6 billion to help. "Billionaires need to step up," Beasly said in an interview with CNN. The director of the UN World Food Programme called on billionaires Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos to donate 0.36% of their net worth to help save 42 million people around the globe who are facing starvation. "The governments are tapped out. This is why and this is when the billionaires need to step up now on a one-time basis. $6 billion to help 42 million people that are literally going to die if we don't reach them," Executive Director for the UN World Food Programme David Beasly said in an interview with CNN on Tuesday. He added: "It's not complicated. I'm not asking them to do this every day, every week, every year."A UN report released in May found that at least 155 million people faced crisis levels of food insecurity in 2020. Beasley said there are currently 42 million people at the direst level of food insecurity that are "knocking on famine's door." "Just help me with them, one time. That's a $6 billion price tag," he said. Beasly said the hunger crisis was a result of "a perfect storm of conflict, climate change, and COVID-19."He said Bezos, the founder of Amazon, had a net worth increase of $64 billion in the past year and he was just asking for 10% of that. He added that last week, Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, had a $6 billion net worth increase in just one day. As of Wednesday, Musk had a net worth of $253.8 billion and Bezos was worth $196.1 billion."The top 400 billionaires in the United States the net worth increase was $1.8 trillion dollars in the past year. All I'm asking for is .36% of your net worth increase," he said. "I'm for people making money but God knows I'm all for you helping people who are in great need right now. The world is in trouble."Beasly offered to take any billionaire on just one trip so he could show them the reality. "We got a vaccine for this, it's called money, food. It's easy." Beasley said. "Billionaires need to step up."Insider has reached out to Amazon and Tesla for comment. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: NYT20 hr. 11 min. ago Related News

Florida federal judge says Trump"s former status as a US President doesn"t exempt him from Twitter"s terms of service

Trump is suing Twitter and its CEO for suspending his account after the January 6 Capitol attack. Former President Donald Trump is suing Twitter for suspending his account. Thiago Prudencio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images and James Devaney/GC Images via Getty Images Twitter's terms of service still apply to former President Donald Trump, says a Florida federal judge. Trump is suing Twitter and its CEO for suspending his account after the January 6 Capitol attack. A clause in Twitter's agreement requires the lawsuit be moved to California, but Trump's lawyers argued that he's exempt because of his presidency. On Tuesday, a Florida federal judge ruled that former President Donald Trump's status as a US president doesn't exclude him from Twitter's terms of service, according to court documents seen by Insider. In July, Trump filed a lawsuit in Florida against Twitter and its CEO for suspending his account permanently on January 7, a day after the Capitol siege. The suspension was made on the grounds of Trump inciting violence through the platform, said Twitter at the time.The former president cited censorship concerns in his lawsuit, saying that social media giants like Facebook, Twitter, and Google were "silencing" conservative voices and were being coerced by Democratic lawmakers.On Tuesday, Florida District Judge Robert N. Scola Jr granted Twitter's motion to transfer the case to the Northern District of California, as required by a clause in the social media company's user agreement signed by all Twitter users.Trump's lawyers argued that he was exempt from the clause because he was sitting president at the time of his account's suspension, and that it was in the public's interest to keep the case in Florida.They failed to convince Judge Scola. "The Court finds that Trump's status as President of the United States does not exclude him from the requirements of the forum selection clause in Twitter's Terms of Service," he said.Trump resides in Palm Beach, Florida, with his wife Melania and son Barron, at the Mar-a-Lago resort.Apart from suing Twitter, he has also launched legal action against Facebook, Google, and their CEOs for banning him on their social media platforms.Earlier this month, Trump filed a request for preliminary injunction to have his Twitter account reinstated, pointing out that the Taliban is allowed to tweet their military victories in Afghanistan while he is censored.He announced last week that he would launch his own social media network, Truth Social, to "stand up to the tyranny of big tech." A report later said that Truth Social had violated a license agreement and ripped off code, and that the platform had 30 days to resolve the violation before it would be sued.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

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Trump lauds "great friend" Jair Bolsonaro, as the Brazilian president has 9 criminal charges recommended against him

Jair Bolsonaro, dubbed the "Trump of the Tropics," has been widely criticized for pushing fake news about the pandemic and obstructing public health mandates. Former US President Donald Trump declared his support for Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday, describing themselves as "great friends." Andressa Anholete/Getty Images and James Devaney/GC Images Trump declared his support for Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro, who just had criminal charges recommended against him for his pandemic response. A 1,180 page report said Bolsonaro plunged Brazil into danger and caused needless COVID-19 deaths. Bolsonaro, dubbed the "Trump of the Tropics," has regularly exchanged praise with Trump. Former US President Donald Trump announced his endorsement on Tuesday evening of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who just hours before had criminal charges recommended against him by a Brazilian Senate committee for his pandemic response."President Jair Bolsonaro and I have become great friends over the past few years. He fights hard for, and loves, the people of Brazil - just like I do for the people of the United States," wrote Trump in a statement."Brazil is lucky to have a man such as Jair Bolsonaro working for them. He is a great President and will never let the people of his great country down!" On the same day, seven senators of an 11-member Brazilian senate commission voted to recommend nine charges against Bolsonaro, including crimes against humanity and charlatanism.They approved a 1,180-page report, the compiled findings of a six-month inquiry into Bolsonaro and his administration's pandemic handling.It said Bolsonaro had repeatedly promoted dangerous, false claims about COVID-19 and had tried to stop Congress from introducing public health mandates around masks.According to the report, Bolsonaro had "deliberately exposed" Brazilians to the coronavirus in a bid to get the country to reach herd immunity.It added that the Brazilian leader ignored several offers of vaccines from the Butantan Institute, a government-owned biology research center, and failed to act when he was presented with evidence of corruption in a vaccine procurement contract.More than 605,000 people have died in Brazil from COVID-19 - more than in any country except the US."Many of these deaths were preventable," Renan Calheiros, a Brazilian senator and the lead author of the report, told The New York Times. "I am personally convinced that he is responsible for escalating the slaughter."The charges recommended against Bolsonaro may never materialize. The committee doesn't have the power to start a criminal or impeachment proceeding - that's in the hands of Brazil's attorney general, a Bolsonaro ally. But the Senate panel may seek to bring the matter to Brazil's Supreme Court or the International Criminal Court, per NPR.Bolsonaro, who is seeking reelection, responded to the report last week by saying it was a "joke," reported Reuters.He and Trump have regularly exchanged praise for one another. The Brazilian leader has been called the "Trump of the Tropics," and has supported Trump's unproven voter fraud claims.In turn, Trump called Bolsonaro a "major non-NATO ally" and said he was "honored" to have his 2016 US election victory compared to Bolsonaro's in 2019.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: NYT22 hr. 11 min. ago Related News

Tesla CEO Elon Musk may be the first person ever to be worth $300 billion soon

The Tesla CEO is just $13 billion away from the milestone figure. Elon Musk. Britta Pedersen-Pool/Getty Images Tesla CEO Elon Musk could soon become the first person ever to hit a net worth of $300 billion. Musk's current net worth is $287 billion - that's $91 billion more than Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos. Musk's wealth was bolstered by a rally in Tesla shares on Monday. Elon Musk's net worth may soon top $300 billion - which would make him the first person ever to hit the milestone.According to the Bloomberg Billionaire's Index, the Tesla CEO's total net worth stands around $287 billion currently - that's $91 billion more than Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who is worth $196 billion.Musk's wealth was bolstered by $36 billion after a 13% rally in Tesla shares on Monday thanks to the news that Hertz had placed an order for 100,000 Teslas. That was the most significant gain Bloomberg's Billionaire Index has ever recorded in a single day.Musk's net worth is now more than Toyota's $284 billion market cap.He also receives stock options from a pay package that pays out when Tesla reaches certain financial milestones. Monday's surge in share prices increased Musk's wealth by $8 billion, as he had unlocked a new batch of stock, according to Bloomberg.Tesla shares are on a tear this year, gaining about 40% to date, propping up Musk's fortunes.Musk also added $11 billion to his net worth when he sold a stake in his aerospace company SpaceX earlier this month, Bloomberg reported.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: NYT22 hr. 11 min. ago Related News

It took more than 3 million person-hours to remove a capsized cargo ship off the coast of Georgia

The Golden Ray cargo ship was carrying about 4,000 cars when it capsized and caught fire in St. Simons Sound in September 2019. Firefighters spray water into the cut away mid-section of the cargo vessel Golden Ray, Friday, May 14, 2021, Brunswick, Ga. Stephen B. Morton/AP Photo A cargo ship carrying over 4,000 cars capsized in September 2019 off the coast of Georgia. Crews removed the last piece of the ship from the wreck site on Monday, the Coast Guard said. It took over 3 million person-hours to clean up, the largest wreck removal in US history. The removal of the Golden Ray cargo ship that capsized off the coast of Georgia was the largest wreck removal in US history requiring over three million person-hours, US Coast Guard Southeast said at a press conference on Tuesday. "Even with all the obstacles we had to face, we completed the wreck removal in a timely manner," Coast Guard Commander Efren Lopez, the federal on-scene coordinator at St. Simons Sound Incident Response said.In September 2019, the 56-foot vehicle carrier was carrying about 4,000 cars when it capsized and caught fire in St. Simons Sound off the coast of Brunswick, Georgia. There were 24 people on the ship when it capsized. All 24 were safely rescued. At the conference, Incident Commander Chris Graff of Gallagher Marine Systems said 8,000 pounds of ship-related debris and 9,500 pounds of non-ship-related trash were recovered from marshes and the shore. "The beaches and the marshes are probably as clean as they have been in many years," Graff said.The final section of the cargo ship was removed on Monday, USCGS said.In a report last month, The National Transportation Safety Board said the capsizing was caused by an "incorrect determination of the vessel's stability." Additionally, the ship was able to flood afterward because two watertight doors were left open. NTSB said the combined losses from the wreck were more than $204 million.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYT22 hr. 43 min. ago Related News

An artificial intelligence tool is helping retailers and manufacturers weather the holidays by simulating supply chain issues before they happen

Large companies are using digital twins, AI-powered simulations, to predict disruptions to their supply chains and how to best address them. Visitors watch a digital twins simulation service system for sports venues by Intel at the Apsara Conference, a cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI) conference, in Hangzhou, in China's eastern Zhejiang province on October 19, 2021. Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images Digital twins are used by businesses to run simulations and identify issues before they occur. Companies are using digital twins to stress-test their supply chains, Technology Review reported. Digital twins use data on social media, consumers, and global factors to run simulations. As supply chain disruptions pummel industries across the globe ahead of the holiday season, a simulation tool powered by artificial intelligence (AI) has the power to help businesses predict disruptions to their supply chains and minimize their effects, according to MIT Technology Review.Digital twins are virtual representations of real-world objects or systems, such as global supply chains, that are used to run simulations and identify issues before they occur. MIT Data Science Lab Director David Simchi-Levi told Technology Review that an increasing number of companies are using this tool to stress-test their supply chains."What if there's a drought in Taiwan and the water shortage shuts down microchip manufacturing? A digital twin could predict the risk of this happening, trace the impact it would have on your supply chain, and - using reinforcement learning - suggest what actions to take to minimize the harm," Technology Review reported.From consumer behavior to geopolitical implications and social media trends, digital twins use vast amounts of data on a variety of factors to run simulations, which trains their AIs to analyze the data and make predictions, according to Technology Review.For example, British consumer goods manufacturer Unilever PLC owns over 400 brands and offers its products in more than 190 countries. The company teamed up with Microsoft in 2019 to create digital twins of its 300 global plants to optimize their operation, The Wall Street Journal reported.A pilot digital twin was created for a Unilever facility in Valinhos, Brazil, that saved the company $2.8 million dollars by cutting down on energy use and driving productivity, the company told WSJ.While it's mostly large companies currently utilizing the technology, Simchi-Levi told Technology Review that with a million dollars and 18 months, a company could enjoy "many of the benefits" of digital twins.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYT22 hr. 43 min. ago Related News

Chinese authorities have told Evergrande"s billionaire founder to use his own money to pay down the company"s $300 billion debt, Bloomberg reports

Hui Ka Yan's net worth is about $7.6 billion, according to Bloomberg Billionaire's Index. Beijing has instructed Evergrande's founder, Hui Ka Yan, to pay the company's debt using his personal funds, Bloomberg reported. Hui's net worth is about $7.6 billion, according to Bloomberg Billionaire's Index. Evergrande's debt pile is $300 billion. Authorities in China have told Evergrande's billionaire founder, Hui Ka Yan, to use his own money to pay the company's debt, Bloomberg reported citing people familiar with the matter.The directive was issued after the real estate behemoth missed an initial Sept. 23 deadline to pay an $84 million coupon on a dollar bond, Bloomberg added. Evergrande later paid the coupon during the note's 30-day grace period.Hui's fortune alone is unlikely to be enough to rescue the debt-laden property developer.According to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index, Hui's net worth is around $7.6 billion - that's small change compared to Evergrande's $300 billion debt pile as of June this year.It's also unclear if Hui's personal stash is liquid enough for the mission. His wealth is largely derived from his shares in Evergrande and their cash dividends, Bloomberg added.Markets the world over have been roiled by Evergrande's debt woes as investors fear contagion across the world economy. The developer has an interest payment worth $45 million due this Friday.But local governments China are keeping tabs on Evergrande's bank accounts to ensure the company's funds are used to complete housing projects under construction, rather than being used to pay creditors, Bloomberg added.Hui did not immediately respond to an Insider request for comment via Evergrande.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYT22 hr. 43 min. ago Related News

A toilet tube on SpaceX"s Crew Dragon spaceship broke and sprayed pee under the floor during its first tourist flight

SpaceX's passengers were safe from their own urine, since it never entered the cabin. But astronauts discovered the same issue on another Crew Dragon. The Crew Dragon Endeavour approaches the International Space Station with astronauts on board, April 24, 2021. NASA SpaceX's Crew Dragon spaceship experienced a toilet issue while flying its first tourists in orbit. A tube came loose and released urine beneath the spaceship floor, but pee didn't get into the cabin. Astronauts discovered the same leak on another Crew Dragon docked to the International Space Station. SpaceX's first tourist flight seemed to go swimmingly last month, but there was a hidden problem beneath the floorboards.That issue came from the bathroom - the toilet tucked away in the Crew Dragon spaceship's ceiling, which is shrouded in proprietary secrecy. A tube carrying urine from that toilet broke loose in an area beneath the spaceship's cabin floor, releasing its contents onto a fan. That fan is used to create suction for the toilet, which is necessary because when you're doing in microgravity, there's no force pulling waste in any one direction. The fan then sprayed the pee all over the hidden compartment.Even though all of this happened in microgravity, the pee didn't drift into the cabin. That kept it away from the spaceship's four passengers: billionaire Jared Isaacman, geoscientist Dr. Sian Proctor, physician-assistant Hayley Arceneaux, and engineer Chris Sembroski. While they orbited Earth for three days, on a mission called Inspiration4, they didn't notice the issue, SpaceX representatives told reporters on Monday. The Inspiration4 crew poses in front of the Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spaceship that will launch them into space. Inspiration4/John Kraus "We didn't really even notice it, the crew didn't even notice it, until we got back," SpaceX official Bill Gerstenmaier said in a press conference Monday, according to The New York Times. "When we got the vehicle back, we looked under the floor and saw the fact that there was contamination underneath the floor of Inspiration4."A mechanical issue with the toilet fan had, however, set off an alarm while Inspiration4 was in orbit, prompting the passengers to troubleshoot, Isaacman told CNN Business in September. He did not reveal how they solved the problem. Upon the spaceship's return to Earth, SpaceX technicians opened the cabin floor to investigate the fan issue. That's when they discovered the pee leak.As SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has promised on Twitter, the toilet system is getting an upgrade. SpaceX is redesigning the leaky tube beneath Crew Dragon's floor for its next launch, which will carry four NASA astronauts to the International Space Station this weekend. With the new upgrade, the tube shouldn't come "unglued" again, Gerstenmaier said.Pee is also loose in another SpaceX spaceshipAnother Crew Dragon capsule is currently attached to the space station, since it carried four astronauts to the space station in April and is waiting to carry them back to Earth in the coming weeks. But it has the same plumbing system as the capsule that suffered a leak. The Crew-2 astronauts during a training session in Hawthorne, California. Left to right: Thomas Pesquet, Megan McArthur, Shane Kimbrough, and Akihiko Hoshide. SpaceX Fearing the same toilet troubles, SpaceX asked the astronauts on the space station to snake a camera on a cable into the pee-tube compartment beneath the floor. Sure enough, they discovered the same issue as Inspiration4."Yes, there was some indication of some contamination under the floor," Gerstenmaier said.That could be a more serious issue for this spaceship, which has been in Earth's orbit for nearly six months, and has presumably been carrying loose urine the whole time.After astronauts pee, that urine gets mixed with a substance called Oxone, which removes ammonia so that it doesn't build up in the air. But Oxone can be corrosive, so SpaceX is investigating the possibility that the Oxone-pee mixture could have damaged the spaceship after months of floating around beneath its cabin floor. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk Britta Pedersen / POOL / AFP via Getty Images SpaceX engineers tested this theory on the ground, Gerstenmaier said, according to the Times, by gathering some aluminum parts similar to those on the spaceship and soaking them in an oxone-urine mixture. The engineers put those parts in a chamber that imitates the humidity conditions of the space station. They left them there for "an extended period of time," Gerstenmaier said, though he did not specify for how long.So far, SpaceX has not found significant corrosion in those samples."Luckily, or, on purpose, we chose an aluminum alloy that is very insensitive to corrosion," Gerstenmaier said.He also noted that there is less urine inside the Crew Dragon capsule that's attached to the ISS, since those astronauts were only on the spaceship for about 24 hours before they docked to the space station.SpaceX's on-the-ground testing is still ongoing."We'll double check things, we'll triple checks things, and we got a couple more samples we'll pull out of the chambers and inspect," Gerstenmaier said, according to CNN. "But we'll be ready to go and make sure the crew is safe to return."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYT22 hr. 43 min. ago Related News

The True Feasibility Of Moving Away From Fossil Fuels

The True Feasibility Of Moving Away From Fossil Fuels Authored by Gail Tverberg via Our Finite World blog, One of the great misconceptions of our time is the belief that we can move away from fossil fuels if we make suitable choices on fuels. In one view, we can make the transition to a low-energy economy powered by wind, water, and solar. In other versions, we might include some other energy sources, such as biofuels or nuclear, but the story is not very different. The problem is the same regardless of what lower bound a person chooses: our economy is way too dependent on consuming an amount of energy that grows with each added human participant in the economy. This added energy is necessary because each person needs food, transportation, housing, and clothing, all of which are dependent upon energy consumption. The economy operates under the laws of physics, and history shows disturbing outcomes if energy consumption per capita declines. There are a number of issues: The impact of alternative energy sources is smaller than commonly believed. When countries have reduced their energy consumption per capita by significant amounts, the results have been very unsatisfactory. Energy consumption plays a bigger role in our lives than most of us imagine. It seems likely that fossil fuels will leave us before we can leave them. The timing of when fossil fuels will leave us seems to depend on when central banks lose their ability to stimulate the economy through lower interest rates. If fossil fuels leave us, the result could be the collapse of financial systems and governments. [1] Wind, water and solar provide only a small share of energy consumption today; any transition to the use of renewables alone would have huge repercussions. According to BP 2018 Statistical Review of World Energy data, wind, water and solar only accounted for 9.4% 0f total energy consumption in 2017. Figure 1. Wind, Water and Solar as a percentage of total energy consumption, based on BP 2018 Statistical Review of World Energy. Even if we make the assumption that these types of energy consumption will continue to achieve the same percentage increases as they have achieved in the last 10 years, it will still take 20 more years for wind, water, and solar to reach 20% of total energy consumption. Thus, even in 20 years, the world would need to reduce energy consumption by 80% in order to operate the economy on wind, water and solar alone. To get down to today’s level of energy production provided by wind, water and solar, we would need to reduce energy consumption by 90%. [2] Venezuela’s example (Figure 1, above) illustrates that even if a country has an above average contribution of renewables, plus significant oil reserves, it can still have major problems. One point people miss is that having a large share of renewables doesn’t necessarily mean that the lights will stay on. A major issue is the need for long distance transmission lines to transport the renewable electricity from where it is generated to where it is to be used. These lines must constantly be maintained. Maintenance of electrical transmission lines has been an issue in both Venezuela’s electrical outages and in California’s recent fires attributed to the utility PG&E. There is also the issue of variability of wind, water and solar energy. (Note the year-to-year variability indicated in the Venezuela line in Figure 1.) A country cannot really depend on its full amount of wind, water, and solar unless it has a truly huge amount of electrical storage: enough to last from season-to-season and year-to-year. Alternatively, an extraordinarily large quantity of long-distance transmission lines, plus the ability to maintain these lines for the long term, would seem to be required. [3] When individual countries have experienced cutbacks in their energy consumption per capita, the effects have generally been extremely disruptive, even with cutbacks far more modest than the target level of 80% to 90% that we would need to get off fossil fuels.  Notice that in these analyses, we are looking at “energy consumption per capita.” This calculation takes the total consumption of all kinds of energy (including oil, coal, natural gas, biofuels, nuclear, hydroelectric, and renewables) and divides it by the population. Energy consumption per capita depends to a significant extent on what citizens within a given economy can afford. It also depends on the extent of industrialization of an economy. If a major portion of industrial jobs are sent to China and India and only service jobs are retained, energy consumption per capita can be expected to fall. This happens partly because local companies no longer need to use as many energy products. Additionally, workers find mostly service jobs available; these jobs pay enough less that workers must cut back on buying goods such as homes and cars, reducing their energy consumption. Example 1. Spain and Greece Between 2007-2014 Figure 2. Greece and Spain energy consumption per capita. Energy data is from BP 2018 Statistical Review of World Energy; population estimates are UN 2017 population estimates. The period between 2007 and 2014 was a period when oil prices tended to be very high. Both Greece and Spain are very dependent on oil because of their sizable tourist industries. Higher oil prices made the tourism services these countries sold more expensive for their consumers. In both countries, energy consumption per capita started falling in 2008 and continued to fall until 2014, when oil prices began falling. Spain’s energy consumption per capita fell by 18% between 2007 and 2014; Greece’s fell by 24% over the same period. Both Greece and Spain experienced high unemployment rates, and both have needed debt bailouts to keep their financial systems operating. Austerity measures were forced on Greece. The effects on the economies of these countries were severe. Regarding Spain, Wikipedia has a section called, “2008 to 2014 Spanish financial crisis,” suggesting that the loss of energy consumption per capita was highly correlated with the country’s financial crisis. Example 2: France and the UK, 2004 – 2017 Both France and the UK have experienced falling energy consumption per capita since 2004, as oil production dropped (UK) and as industrialization was shifted to countries with a cheaper total cost of labor and fuel. Immigrant labor was added, as well, to better compete with the cost structures of the countries that France and the UK were competing against. With the new mix of workers and jobs, the quantity of goods and services that these workers could afford (per capita) has been falling. Figure 3. France and UK energy consumption per capita. Energy data is from BP 2018 Statistical Review of World Energy; population estimates are UN 2017 population estimates. Comparing 2017 to 2004, energy consumption per capita is down 16% for France and 25% in the UK. Many UK citizens have been very unhappy, wanting to leave the European Union. France recently has been experiencing “Yellow Vest” protests, at least partly related to an increase in carbon taxes. Higher carbon taxes would make energy-based goods and services less affordable. This would likely reduce France’s energy consumption per capita even further. French citizens with their protests are clearly not happy about how they are being affected by these changes. Example 3: Syria (2006-2016) and Yemen (2009-2016) Both Syria and Yemen are examples of formerly oil-exporting countries that are far past their peak production. Declining energy consumption per capita has been forced on both countries because, with their oil exports falling, the countries can no longer afford to use as much energy as they did in the past for previous uses, such as irrigation. If less irrigation is used, food production and jobs are lost. (Syria and Yemen) Figure 4. Syria and Yemen energy consumption per capita. Energy consumption data from US Energy Information Administration; population estimates are UN 2017 estimates. Between Yemen’s peak year in energy consumption per capita (2009) and the last year shown (2016), its energy consumption per capita dropped by 66%. Yemen has been named by the United Nations as the country with the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis.” Yemen cannot provide adequate food and water for its citizens. Yemen is involved in a civil war that others have entered into as well. I would describe the war as being at least partly a resource war. The situation with Syria is similar. Syria’s energy consumption per capita declined 55% between its peak year (2006) and the last year available (2016). Syria is also involved in a civil war that has been entered into by others. Here again, the issue seems to be inadequate resources per capita; war participants are to some extent fighting over the limited resources that are available. Example 4: Venezuela (2008-2017) Figure 5. Energy consumption per capita for Venezuela, based on BP 2018 Statistical Review of World Energy data and UN 2017 population estimates. Between 2008 and 2017, energy consumption per capita in Venezuela declined by 23%. This is a little less than the decreases experienced by the UK and Greece during their periods of decline. Even with this level of decline, Venezuela has been having difficulty providing adequate services to its citizens. There have been reports of empty supermarket shelves. Venezuela has not been able to maintain its electrical system properly, leading to many outages. [4] Most people are surprised to learn that energy is required for every part of the economy. When adequate energy is not available, an economy is likely to first shrink back in recession; eventually, it may collapse entirely. Physics tells us that energy consumption in a thermodynamically open system enables all kinds of “complexity.” Energy consumption enables specialization and hierarchical organizations. For example, growing energy consumption enables the organizations and supply lines needed to manufacture computers and other high-tech goods. Of course, energy consumption also enables what we think of as typical energy uses: the transportation of goods, the smelting of metals, the heating and air-conditioning of buildings, and the construction of roads. Energy is even required to allow pixels to appear on a computer screen. Pre-humans learned to control fire over one million years ago. The burning of biomass was a tool that could be used for many purposes, including keeping warm in colder climates, frightening away predators, and creating better tools. Perhaps its most important use was to permit food to be cooked, because cooking increases food’s nutritional availability. Cooked food seems to have been important in allowing the brains of humans to grow bigger at the same time that teeth, jaws and guts could shrink compared to those of ancestors. Humans today need to be able to continue to cook part of their food to have a reasonable chance of survival. Any kind of governmental organization requires energy. Having a single leader takes the least energy, especially if the leader can continue to perform his non-leadership duties. Any kind of added governmental service (such as roads or schools) requires energy. Having elected leaders who vote on decisions takes more energy than having a king with a few high-level aides. Having multiple layers of government takes energy. Each new intergovernmental organization requires energy to fly its officials around and implement its programs. International trade clearly requires energy consumption. In fact, pretty much every activity of businesses requires energy consumption. Needless to say, the study of science or of medicine requires energy consumption, because without significant energy consumption to leverage human energy, nearly every person must be a subsistence level farmer, with little time to study or to take time off from farming to write (or even read) books. Of course, manufacturing medicines and test tubes requires energy, as does creating sterile environments. We think of the many parts of the economy as requiring money, but it is really the physical goods and services that money can buy, and the energy that makes these goods and services possible, that are important. These goods and services depend to a very large extent on the supply of energy being consumed at a given point in time–for example, the amount of electricity being delivered to customers and the amount of gasoline and diesel being sold. Supply chains are very dependent on each part of the system being available when needed. If one part is missing, long delays and eventually collapse can occur. [5] If the supply of energy to an economy is reduced for any reason, the result tends to be very disruptive, as shown in the examples given in Section [3], above. When an economy doesn’t have enough energy, its self-organizing feature starts eliminating pieces of the economic system that it cannot support. The financial system tends to be very vulnerable because without adequate economic growth, it becomes very difficult for borrowers to repay debt with interest. This was part of the problem that Greece and Spain had in the period when their energy consumption per capita declined. A person wonders what would have happened to these countries without bailouts from the European Union and others. Another part that is very vulnerable is governmental organizations, especially the higher layers of government that were added last. In 1991, the Soviet Union’s central government was lost, leaving the governments of the 15 republics that were part of the Soviet Union. As energy consumption per capita declines, the European Union would seem to be very vulnerable. Other international organizations, such as the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund, would seem to be vulnerable, as well. The electrical system is very complex. It seems to be easily disrupted if there is a material decrease in energy consumption per capita because maintenance of the system becomes difficult. If energy consumption per capita falls dramatically, many changes that don’t seem directly energy-related can be expected. For example, the roles of men and women are likely to change. Without modern medical care, women will likely need to become the mothers of several children in order that an average of two can survive long enough to raise their own children. Men will be valued for the heavy manual labor that they can perform. Today’s view of the equality of the sexes is likely to disappear because sex differences will become much more important in a low-energy world. Needless to say, other aspects of a low-energy economy might be very different as well. For example, one very low-energy type of economic system is a “gift economy.” In such an economy, the status of each individual is determined by the amount that that person can give away. Anything a person obtains must automatically be shared with the local group or the individual will be expelled from the group. In an economy with very low complexity, this kind of economy seems to work. A gift economy doesn’t require money or debt! [6] Most people assume that moving away from fossil fuels is something we can choose to do with whatever timing we would like. I would argue that we are not in charge of the process. Instead, fossil fuels will leave us when we lose the ability to reduce interest rates sufficiently to keep oil and other fossil fuel prices high enough for energy producers. Something that may seem strange to those who do not follow the issue is the fact that oil (and other energy prices) seem to be very much influenced by interest rates and the level of debt. In general, the lower the interest rate, the more affordable high-priced goods such as factories, homes, and automobiles become, and the higher commodity prices of all kinds can be. “Demand” increases with falling interest rates, causing energy prices of all types to rise.   Figure 6.   The cost of extracting oil is less important in determining oil prices than a person might expect. Instead, prices seem to be determined by what end products consumers (in the aggregate) can afford. In general, the more debt that individual citizens, businesses and governments can obtain, the higher that oil and other energy prices can rise. Of course, if interest rates start rising (instead of falling), there is a significant chance of a debt bubble popping, as defaults rise and asset prices decline. Interest rates have been generally falling since 1981 (Figure 7). This is the direction needed to support ever-higher energy prices. Figure 7. Chart of 3-month and 10-year interest rates, prepared by the FRED, using data through March 27, 2019. The danger now is that interest rates are approaching the lowest level that they can possibly reach. We need lower interest rates to support the higher prices that oil producers require, as their costs rise because of depletion. In fact, if we compare Figures 7 and 8, the Federal Reserve has been supporting higher oil and other energy prices with falling interest rates practically the whole time since oil prices rose above the inflation adjusted level of $20 per barrel! Figure 8. Historical inflation adjusted prices oil, based on data from 2018 BP Statistical Review of World Energy, with the low price period for oil highlighted. Once the Federal Reserve and other central banks lose their ability to cut interest rates further to support the need for ever-rising oil prices, the danger is that oil and other commodity prices will fall too low for producers. The situation is likely to look like the second half of 2008 in Figure 6. The difference, as we reach limits on how low interest rates can fall, is that it will no longer be possible to stimulate the economy to get energy and other commodity prices back up to an acceptable level for producers. [7] Once we hit the “no more stimulus impasse,” fossil fuels will begin leaving us because prices will fall too low for companies extracting these fuels. They will be forced to leave because they cannot make an adequate profit. One example of an oil producer whose production was affected by an extended period of low prices is the Soviet Union (or USSR). Figure 9. Oil production of the former Soviet Union together with oil prices in 2017 US$. All amounts from 2018 BP Statistical Review of World Energy. The US substantially raised interest rates in 1980-1981 (Figure 7). This led to a sharp reduction in oil prices, as the higher interest rates cut back investment of many kinds, around the world. Given the low price of oil, the Soviet Union reduced new investment in new fields. This slowdown in investment first reduced the rate of growth in oil production, and eventually led to a decline in production in 1988 (Figure 9). When oil prices rose again, production did also. Figure 10. Energy consumption per capita for the former Soviet Union, based on BP 2018 Statistical Review of World Energy data and UN 2017 population estimates. The Soviet Union’s energy consumption per capita reached its highest level in 1988 and began declining in 1989. The central government of the Soviet Union did not collapse until late 1991, as the economy was increasingly affected by falling oil export revenue. Some of the changes that occurred as the economy simplified itself were the loss of the central government, the loss of a large share of industry, and a great deal of job loss. Energy consumption per capita dropped by 36% between 1988 and 1998. It has never regained its former level. Venezuela is another example of an oil exporter that, in theory, could export more oil, if oil prices were higher. It is interesting to note that Venezuela’s highest energy consumption per capita occurred in 2008, when oil prices were high. We are now getting a chance to observe what the collapse in Venezuela looks like on a day- by-day basis. Figure 5, above, shows Venezuela’s energy consumption per capita pattern through 2017. Low oil prices since 2014 have particularly adversely affected the country. [8] Conclusion: We can’t know exactly what is ahead, but it is clear that moving away from fossil fuels will be far more destructive of our current economy than nearly everyone expects.  It is very easy to make optimistic forecasts about the future if a person doesn’t carefully examine what the data and the science seem to be telling us. Most researchers come from narrow academic backgrounds that do not seek out insights from other fields, so they tend not to understand the background story. A second issue is the desire for a “happy ever after” ending to our current energy predicament. If a researcher is creating an economic model without understanding the underlying principles, why not offer an outcome that citizens will like? Such a solution can help politicians get re-elected and can help researchers get grants for more research. We should be examining the situation more closely than most people have considered. The fact that interest rates cannot drop much further is particularly concerning. Tyler Durden Tue, 10/26/2021 - 22:10.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: NYTOct 26th, 2021Related News

This Year"s Thanksgiving Dinner Will Be The Most Expensive In History

This Year's Thanksgiving Dinner Will Be The Most Expensive In History Thanksgiving Day, an annual national holiday in the US, began as a way to celebrate the harvest and other blessings of the past year. Nowadays people celebrate the holiday with massive feasts and watch football. But one thing consumers won't be giving thanks to this year is soaring food inflation that could make Thanksgiving 2021 one of the most expensive on record. "When you go to the grocery store and it feels more expensive, that's because it is," Veronica Nigh, senior economist at the American Farm Bureau Federation, told CBS News. She said food prices in 2021 jumped 3.7% versus a 20-year average of 2.4%. Turkeys and all the trimmings will cost 4% to 5% more this year than a year ago. Rising food prices have been an ongoing issue since the beginning of the pandemic, as disrupted supply chains and adverse weather conditions around the world have made supplies of crops dwindle. Global food prices are at fresh decade highs and have begun to hit the wallets of consumers.  September's Consumer Price Index for food was up 4.6% from a year ago. Prices for meat, poultry, fish, and eggs were up the most, soaring more than 10%. The rise in food prices has spooked the Biden administration.  Several factors contribute to food inflation, including supply chain snarls, higher transportation costs, and labor shortages. Next year, food inflation may rise further as fertilizer prices jump.  "Agriculture is like everybody else — it's impacted by the supply restraints we've seen," Nigh said. She said 10% of food costs only come from farming, while the rest (90%) are trucking, wages, distribution, and warehousing.  Besides soaring food costs, consumers may experience widespread supply chain challenges that could make certain food items critical for Turkey Day harder or impossible to find because of shortages. Dr. Krishnakumar S. Davey, president of IRI Client Engagement, published a note explaining IRI's basket of availability, demand, price, and promotion for Thanksgiving is "recording significant out-of-stock rates on several Thanksgiving-related grocery categories at this time." According to Consumer Reports, there is some good news: "turkeys in all sizes will be in abundance."  But there's a dark side to Thanksgiving this year, that is, an income-inequality story which means the top 10% of Americans will be spending more while the working-poor might skip the holiday entirely due to affordability issues.  Tyler Durden Tue, 10/26/2021 - 22:30.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: NYTOct 26th, 2021Related News

Walmart Recalls Aromatherapy Spray Due To Presence Of Rare And Deadly Bacteria

Walmart Recalls Aromatherapy Spray Due To Presence Of Rare And Deadly Bacteria The next time a new pandemic is needed to trigger trillions more in QE, a perfect delivery mechanism is already available. Walmart has voluntarily recalled 3,900 bottles of an aromatherapy spray sold in 55 stores across 18 states after it identified a "rare and dangerous" bacteria in the product that has now been linked to four illnesses and two deaths, abc news reports. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Friday that it had identified the bacteria Burkholderia pseudomallei in the aromatherapy spray. The bacteria in question is a soil-dwelling bacterium endemic in tropical and subtropical regions worldwide, particularly in Thailand and northern Australia, which infects humans and other animals and causes the disease melioidosis. According to Nature, "the high associated mortality rate, wide availability in the environment in endemic areas, intrinsic resistance to many antibiotics and the potential for aerosol spread has made this organism a potential bioterror agent." The spray, “Better Homes & Gardens Lavender & Chamomile Essential Oil Infused Aromatherapy Room Spray with Gemstones," and manufactured by Flora Classique, was found Oct. 6 in the home of a Georgia resident who became ill with melioidosis in late July, according to the CDC. Walmart has recalled its Better Homes & Gardens Lavender & Chamomile Essential Oil Infused Aromatherapy Room Spray with Gemstones after two people died from a bacterial infection The CDC said it will continue to test the bacteria in the bottle to potentially match the bacteria identified in the four patients. The symptoms of melioidosis are similar to that of a cold or flu, according to the CDC. In other words, similar to those of covid. The contaminated spray was sold at about 55 Walmart stores and on Walmart’s websites between February and Oct. 21. Walmart has pulled the remaining bottles of this spray and related products from the shelves and its websites. "Our hearts go out to the families that have been impacted by this situation," Inger Damon, director of the CDC’s Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, said in a statement. "We at CDC have been very concerned to see these serious related illness spread across time and geography. That is why our scientists have continued to work tirelessly to try to find the potential source for the melioidosis infections in these patients. We hope this work can help protect other people who may have used this spray." The Consumer Product Safety Commission and Walmart issued a recall for the lavender and chamomile room spray along with five other scents in the same product line. In addition to emailing customers who purchased the product online, emailed more than 2,000 customers who purchased the product at one of its stores; sending letters to another 263 customers with no email address on record and placing calls to a number of others with no available email or physical address. The CDC will continue to investigate whether other related aromatherapy scents and brands may pose a risk. Tyler Durden Tue, 10/26/2021 - 22:45.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: NYTOct 26th, 2021Related News

Miller: The Slippery Semantics Of Anthony Fauci

Miller: The Slippery Semantics Of Anthony Fauci Authored by Stephen L. Miller via Spectator World (emphasis ours), I do not have any accounting of what the Chinese may have done, and I’m fully in favor of any further investigation of what went on in China. However, I will repeat again: the NIH and NIAID categorically has not funded ‘gain-of-function’ research to be conducted in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”  That was Dr Anthony Fauci during a May 2021 congressional hearing. It kicked off a months-long national media effort to frame questions around gain-of-function research and US-taxpayer-funded virus manipulation as a Royal Rumble between Fauci and Senator Rand Paul. When he testifies or sits for friendly network interviews, Fauci depends on semantics. He relies on the naivety of the interviewer and the audience, employing terminology and definitions he believes only he understands. But like the ponytailed Chad in Good Will Hunting attempting to flex his big brain, Fauci’s arguments fall apart in front of the initiated. Last week, Lawrence Tabak, the principal deputy director of the NIH, sent a letter to Congress saying that EcoHealth Alliance failed to report certain aspects of the experimental work it had been conducting in China on bats and bat-borne viruses. Tabak pledged that the NIH and Fauci’s NIAID would take administrative action, but not much more than that. So Fauci’s absolutist answer from May has proven to be false. At the very least, the doctor needs to answer directly why he chose to deflect questions on gain-of-function research, something his own agency is claiming it had no idea was happening. How could have Fauci have denied back in May something so “categorically” if EcoHealth Alliance, run by Fauci ally Peter Daszak, had failed to report the full extent of their experiments? When Fauci sat for a cozy Sunday interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, he once again deployed his semantic game on the interviewer. Stephanopoulos framed the revealing letter from Tabak as “critics pouncing”: “Some critics and analysts have seized on that to say you and others have misled the public about US funding of this so-called gain-of-function research. The NIH says that’s false.” Fauci addressed Senator Rand Paul directly by responding, “The framework under which we have guidance about the conduct of research that we fund, the funding at the Wuhan Institute was to be able to determine what is out there in the environment, in bat viruses in China. And the research was very strictly under what we call a framework of oversight of the type of research.” Fauci then went on to say “And under those conditions which we have explained very, very clearly, does not constitute research of gain-of-function of concern.” In his answer, Fauci hedges by admitting that there was US funding directed to the Wuhan Institute, but, now, that funding did not directly fund “gain-of-function of concern.” “Of concern” is the new caveat Fauci has added to get around answering the question. He had never used the terminology “gain-of-function of concern” in prior interviews or testimony. He just slipped it in there because hardly anyone notices. Furthermore he knows that the general public and most of the press has no idea what “of concern” means. We know that gain-of-function research was happening in Wuhan and we know Fauci categorically denied US involvement in it. So now he’s attempting to sneak one by the audience and change the terminology, on what the definition of “gain-of-function of concern” means. So what does it mean? It all comes down to intent. “Of concern” is the term used to differentiate studying and manipulating viruses in the scientific environments as a purposeful method to produce bioweapons. Fauci said as much in 2012 when he testified that his department worked with the Defense Department on such experiments. What Fauci is seeking to do is tweak the argument with semantics and write off his critics and the critics of gain-of-function as people accusing Fauci and the Wuhan Institute of developing bioweapons. No one has done so. It’s a game: “Sure we funded gain-of-function, but how dare you insinuate we funded bioweapon research, you kook!” These are not the actions of a medical professional, with a serious interest in a transparent inquiry into the origins of the virus that has led to the deaths of 16 million people worldwide, including 750,000 Americans. These are the games a bureaucrat plays when they are attempting to cover their own ass, their career and their life’s work. Pulling this thread leads to one place: more discovery, more leaks and more gleam off Fauci’s armor in the media. How much more damning information needs to come out before he retires? *  *  * Stephen L. Miller is a contributing editor to The Spectator. Tyler Durden Tue, 10/26/2021 - 22:50.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: NYTOct 26th, 2021Related News