By Walt Hickey
Canada legalized marijuana but is still trying to get its citizenry to buy their marijuana from legal sources rather than illegal dealers, who at this point are mainly guilty of tax fraud. A gram of cannabis bought from a state-sanctioned retailer costs $10.23 in Canadian dollars, while a gram of ganja bought from the illicit market goes for only $5.59. One problem is that while prices for the legal stuff are indeed down 4.9 percent compared to this time last year, marijuana bought on the illegal, traditional market is down 12 percent. Overall, 42 percent of marijuana consumers said they purchased some or all of their marijuana from illegal sources in a survey conducted the second quarter of this year.
Ivory Coast and Ghana announced they will add $400 per ton charge on top of the London futures price for cocoa exports next year. This is aiming to benefit the 80 percent of cocoa producers who live on less than $3 per day, and given their importance to the cocoa business — Ivory Coast will produce 2.22 million metric tons of cocoa this year and Ghana will produce 0.83 million, a majority of the 4.85 million tons grown globally this season — they’ll be able to shift prices upward for the whole market. Last year, the world consumed 4.6 million metric tons of cocoa, a figure projected to rise to 4.78 million this year.
The Phone Company
AT&T owed $158 billion at the end of June, a breathtaking debt load that helped finance its ambitious acquisitions of Time Warner Inc. and Direct TV. It’s trying to cut that debt by $20 billion this year, and is taking a number of different approaches, from selling its office in Hudson Yards for $2.2 billion to flipping its stake in Hulu for $1.43 billion. Just yesterday AT&T announced that it is getting out of the phone business, at least in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, as its selling its network there for $1.95 billion to Liberty Latin America. The company’s been in Puerto Rico since it bought Centennial Communications in 2009 for $1 billion.
A new study confirms what we already know, which is that the American people are playing with dynamite given their access to vastly powerful computing devices and their lack of knowledge about how to safely operate the machines. Merely 28 percent of adults correctly identified two-factor authentication, which is excellent news for scammers. Furthermore, just 24 percent of Americans know that private or incognito browsing just hides browsing history from other users of the computer, while 49 percent are not at all aware of what it does and the rest got it perilously wrong. There was a 34 percentage point gap between the oldest respondents’ and the youngest respondents’ understanding of private browsing, which is going to make Thanksgiving I.T. help time just wonderful.
Electric aircraft are uniquely difficult to pull off, owing to the serious energy requirements of takeoffs and the weight of batteries compared to aviation fuel. NASA unveiled an all-electric aircraft, the X-57 Maxwell, which will undergo testing over the next few months for a first flight in 2020 if all goes well. Air travel is responsible for something like 2.4 percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, but right now people lack alternatives. NASA wants to find out not only if electric propulsion works, but how electric motors change aerodynamics. One nice perk is that electric engines facilitate a narrower wing than typical engines allow, and engineers hope they can increase cruising efficiency by 500 percent in the X-57.
This Little Piggy Went To The Chinese Market
China’s pork industry has been hammered by a swine fever that will leave its production down 32 million tons or more in 2020. Even assuming the trade war continues, American pork exports to China are projected to see a 12.1 percent rise in 2019 and a 13 percent rise in 2020. Were the market to open up, exports would rise even more, but the impact for Americans would likely be a spike in pork prices and ham next year, as American output is projected to rise just 2 percent in 2020.
Just 20 companies are responsible for a third of greenhouse gas emissions since 1965, contributing overall 35 percent of all energy related carbon dioxide and methane worldwide and 480 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions in the modern era. Just eight are owned by investors — in particular Chevron, Exxon, BP and Shell alone are responsible for a tenth of carbon emissions since 1965 — while the other 12 are state-owned and responsible for 20 percent of all carbon emissions. Saudi Aramco generated the equivalent of 59.26 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide, fully 4.38 percent of the global emissions total on its own. But remember, you need to stop using straws, because you’re the problem.
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